Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Bamboo: A Plant to Fight Climate Change

Growing up and spending summers at my maternal grandmother’s house meant regularly seeing vehicles headed out of the town dragging along large amounts of tall bamboo plants. I distinctly remember this because my grandmother’s house was located on a corner so when these vehicles turned, it was more than likely that these bamboo plants would hit a part of the house which was, thankfully, just a wall that connected to the gate. We often had to warn people against parking in front of the house because the bamboo would most likely hit their car.

My grandmother’s hometown of Maragondon, Cavite, is often called the Bamboo Capital of Cavite. If you are looking for where to find bamboo, this is one place where you will find it. Bamboo-based products are currently being developed in the town. When I last visited their production area they were producing bamboo floor tiles, photo frames, and furniture. It’s a very promising industry in a place where bamboo is very abundant.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What's in My Vanity Kit?

I’ve seen a lot of blogs that feature the things that women (and men) have in their bags. I don’t think that I’m ready to share everything that’s in my bag so allow me to start small by sharing the items that are in my vanity purse or, as we call it here in the Philippines, my “kikay kit.” 

My purse is a bag I got from a giveaway from fellow blogger Kate Alvarez last year. I think it is a good size for my minimal kikay kit. When I travel and need a bit more makeup, I tend to bring two kikay kits: one for retouching my makeup and another that carries all the other makeup that I need if I need to put a little more on. For this post, I’m sticking with the minimal kit. 
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Monday, February 26, 2018

Swipe Right for Michael Vartan

[Yet another entry that was being searched for in my blog so I had to repost this!]

The first time I noticed Michael Vartan was in the movie Never Been Kissed with Drew Barrymore. I became a fan and started looking for Michael Vartan movies to add to my (then) VCD collection (I think DVDs weren’t that popular at the time just yet --- my age is showing). I had a huge crush on the guy. I was crazy about him!

When Alias came out in 2001, I became a fan of Sydney and Michael. I watched every single episode and waited until the two characters ended up together. This was before the term “ship” was even popular. I was so happy when Michael Vartan and Jennifer Garner started dating and I was very disappointed when they broke up because I always thought they were perfect for each other.

Eventually, Michael got married and for some reason, he was not so visible in the entertainment scene. He had movies and TV shows, but I don’t think they ever had significant airtime or cinema showings around here. In short, I forgot about him for a while. Fast forward to 2014 and news came out that Michael Vartan and his wife had split up (uh, yay?). Just two years later, he is back and visible on TV on the new hit show The Arrangement, where he plays a very creepy leader of a group that is NOT based on Scientology (wink, wink).

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

My Online Shopping Experience

A little trivia about me: I hate shopping. I know, that’s not a very girly thing to say but I just hate it. I’m the type of girl who will only go to the mall if I need to meet someone or if there is anything specific that I need to buy. I usually shop armed with a list. Once I find what I need I’m typically in and out of the place. I’m not the type to wander around and see what else I could buy. I hate that.  

I’m very grateful for online shopping these days because it helps me to avoid the crowds and lines at the mall. Sometimes it can be a hit and miss thing but still, it is more convenient for me because I can shop from the comfort of my own home. I don’t have to dress up, travel to the mall and all that to buy something that I needed. In fact, for the past couple of years, I’ve been doing my holiday shopping online. It helps me get through my list easier and without any issues. I love that these sites now have apps because that makes shopping  
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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Solar Energy for My Home (I Want It, Can't Afford It)

In this day and age where the annual temperatures are getting higher and higher, it’s hard not to spend more on electricity just to keep cool here in the Philippines. Years back I was the type of person who would resort to electric fans because the use of air-conditioning can be expensive but the heat has gotten to the point where I had to buy an air conditioner. One AC at home soon became two and my electric bill was suddenly higher than what we normally pay for. That prompted me to consider solar energy to see if it could be something we could afford to use at home. Solar energy costs are still high given my current budget, but it is still something worth considering because of the savings it will give you in the long run.

There is a lot of solar energy information out there, it’s not that hard to find. Many companies offer solar panels that will generate energy that you can use for your home, each with different pricing options and products offered. These companies are more than willing to provide you with information on solar energy and will even visit your home to give you an accurate assessment of the cost of installing solar panels to generate electricity for your house. They also explain how the energy generated works with our electric provider through a solar/net metering system with Meralco. Some companies even conduct seminars for potential buyers so that they can understand the concept of solar energy for home/office electricity needs better.
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Friday, February 23, 2018

My Tablea Experiment

Have any of you ever heard of tablea? Technically tablea is a Spanish word that means tablet, but in the Philippines, it commonly refers to a type of thick hot chocolate. Tablea is usually bought in the form of thick, tablet-shaped disks that are made from cacao which is melted in boiling/hot water. I’ve heard that tablea from the Philippines is different from other countries because ours is prepared using the whole roasted cocoa bean and not just the powder. 

I first had a taste of tablea during a trip to Taal, Batangas and I have had a craving for the chocolate since then. Lucky for me I was gifted some tablea from Butuan City and was able to travel to Iloilo where I also bought some tablea along with the traditional batirol that is used to prepare tablea. It was time for me to experiment with preparing tablea!



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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Easy Recipe: Steamed Cream Dory in Light Soy Sauce

One thing that I’ve always wanted to try to prepare is Steamed Cream Dory. The fish is something that I find a lot of in the supermarket and we always use it for fish fillet but we haven’t tried it any other way. I’ve been thinking about looking for another recipe, preferably an easy dinner recipe, and I chanced upon a recipe for it on Ang Sarap.

It’s an Asian-style dish and it reminds me of something that I have tried in a Chinese restaurant. When I was preparing it, I was hoping that I could make it presentable enough to at least look like it was just as good.

The recipe on Ang Sarap serves three. My family is more than double that so I decided to change the recipe a bit to fit my family. Plus, Cream Dory is not sold per fillet, but in a pack. Anyway, here is my “revised” recipe.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My Guilty (Reality TV) Pleasure

If there is one thing that Jennifer Lawrence and I have in common, it’s our guilty pleasure: I love Keeping Up with the Kardashians!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Concha's Garden Cafe: A (Sort of) Review

(Reposting an older entry by request. Please note that this was from a year ago and changes may have already been made since the time of this entry.)

A few months ago, I had an uncle who came over from Japan. He hasn’t been home in the Philippines in years so I thought it would be a good idea to take him out before he went back to Japan. Being an Eat Bulaga fan, I thought he would appreciate a visit to the restaurant owned by one of the hosts of the show, Alden Richards. After a trip to Nuvali and some Taal Volcano sightseeing, off we went to Concha’s Garden Cafe at Cliffhouse in Tagaytay.

I have never been to Concha’s before so I was a little confused by the number of branches that they have in the Tagaytay-Silang-Laguna area. I wish they had their own website so it wouldn't have been so confusing.

Apparently, there is a branch in the Silang area and when we were on our way to Nuvali, I also spotted another one on the road. I have no idea if that was the Silang branch or if there was a separate one in Laguna. Just to be sure, we picked the Conchas Tagaytay location because Cliffhouse was an area I was familiar with.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Joei and Me

Way back in 2003, I was introduced to and started blogging. There weren’t that many people that I knew back then so I was following a select few who were posting about things that I had a similar interest in. Blogging back then was about sharing our interests and our experiences and thoughts. I guess you can say it is still the same today but with the whole social media “influencer” component, it has become quite different. 

That being said, blogging back then wasn’t exactly what it is like now and most of the people that I started following back in the day are no longer blogging (or prefer to do it on a private, invite-only blog). A few of the bloggers who remained have become what I would say are blogging stars, people who have had their blogs featured on TV and magazines. One of those bloggers is Joei, who is behind the blog Joei & Me
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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Mia Maison: The Answer to My Home Scent Obsession

If there’s one thing I’m obsessed with it is finding the best home fragrance that I can use for my bedroom. I started with scented sprays/mists and potpourri. Then I moved on to scented candles, aromatherapy oil and candle wafers on burners, and perfumed incense. As much as I loved those options when I tried them, they did not feel enough for me. I needed something that was not messy, not a fire hazard, and doesn’t trigger my asthma. I wanted something that did not produce too much garbage – candle wax and tea light containers seem to be too much trash for me to produce just to make my room smell nice.

I have been trying one thing after another to find the best fit for me and I think that I have finally found the right one: water-based oil used on air purifiers and electric atomizers. I previously bought an air purifier and used scented oil on it but it ended up a complete failure because I used aromatherapy oil which clogged the device. I had to look up what went wrong before I discovered the existence of water-based oils. I didn’t know where to buy it though because most of the places I bought scented products from did not have them.
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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Room with a View

Growing up in a gated subdivision in the southern part of Metro Manila, I was used to living in a house where the view from my window was just the other house next door. When we moved to the province to my grandmother's house, the view was pretty much the same. It was just another house. Plus, her house was on the main road so it was very noisy and not that relaxing. 

But when our family decided to sell our home in the Metro to buy our own place here in the province, my father went house hunting and picked out a house that he liked. There wasn't a lot to choose from but the one he did find he fell in love with. It was a two-story house with a lot area similar to our first home and it was in a quiet part of town. I could see why he liked it when he first showed it to us. 

While my father loved the house, I was a bit hesitant since it seemed to be too far from the main road and the street itself to the house was a bit small. It would be a long walk for me every time I need to go out since I don't have a car. The house was also big (if you consider that we've been used to bungalow-style living all our lives) and I felt it was too much of a job to maintain. While wasn't new and it was a bit of a fixer-upper (it has a bird problem, gutters need a lot of work, plumbing issues), it had potential.  

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Friday, February 16, 2018

My New Facial Care Find: St. Joan's Products

When I was growing up, I hardly had problems with acne. I didn’t even do anything special to my skin at the time, just soap and water. Facial care was something I started taking seriously when I was in my mid-20s. This was the time when I started using products such as moisturizers, cleansers, toners and began visiting dermatological clinics for facials and other skin treatments.

For the most part, my skin has not had any problems until recently, when I made the mistake of buying and trying apparently fake makeup, the supposedly branded types that were most likely being sold in flea markets. After using the BB cream and powder foundation that I bought, my face broke out with a serious case of adult acne. I stopped using those products immediately after but for some reason, the acne problem stayed.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

My Morning Beauty Routine

Lately, I’ve been reading several blogs and it seems that it’s a popular trend to share beauty routines with their followers. I thought it was interesting so maybe I should give it a try. A little side note before I start: I’m not really a high-maintenance kind of girl so my beauty routine might be a little too basic for those who follow those intricate tutorials on YouTube. I guess you can say that if you want a no-frills routine, this could be one you'd be interested to follow. 

morning beauty routine
The products I use...and no, this is not a paid post! (Photo Credit: Zalora)



Step

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Salted Egg Chips, Yay or Nay?

One thing that I keep reading about on social media is that Salted Egg Potato Chips are popular these days here in the Philippines.  I keep seeing photos of it and read about it being raved about by some friends and I was curious. What was the big deal? How come I have never seen any of it in the malls here? Where do I buy these salted egg chips?!

Since I have never seen any for sale on my end of the world, I knew I needed to think of another way to find out what the fuss what about. Thankfully, I have found a  salted egg potato chips recipe on Yummy Magazine’s website for it. Finally, I was going to find out why people loved it! I decided to give it a try.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Spotify's List of My Top Songs from 2017

If you use Spotify, you probably would have noticed a playlist of your 100 most played songs for the past year. I first got this for 2016 and now I have another one for 2017. I guess you can have an idea of what kind of person I am by listening to my playlist. Allow me to reveal a little about myself with the songs on my list!

photo from Pixabay

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Monday, February 12, 2018

My Sharon Cuneta Story

(With the resurgence of interest in Sharon Cuneta lately due to her latest McDonalds ad with Gabby Concepcion, I thought I'd repost an old entry about her on this blog.)

Back when I was a little girl I used to be a big fan of Sharon Cuneta. I started becoming a fan during the days when she was paired up with people like Rowell Santiago and Gabby Concepcion. I was so young then, probably in prep or first grade. I was hooked to all things Sharon growing up: Sharon Cuneta movies were a must. Sharon Cuneta's songs, especially theme songs from her films, were the ones I knew by heart (yes, even the Jack and Jill theme song, which I used to sing with my younger sister).

My father once told me that the reason my sister was named Sharon was that I had insisted on having her named after Sharon Cuneta when she was born. In a weird twist of fate, Sharon Cuneta ended up being my sister’s godmother for her confirmation (but that’s another story altogether).

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Health vs Work

Late last month I was on sick leave for more than a week. On the weekend before that, I thought I just had a simple cough and cold situation but by the time Monday rolled in I was having difficulty breathing and had chest pains brought about by an extremely dry cough. I tried to tough it out and went to work for a couple of days but by the end of the week, I just couldn’t handle it anymore so I went on leave.  

I went to the doctor and had to use a nebulizer for a week. I had to breathe through the machine to take in the steamed medication every 8 hours. It was such a task to do but it did the job (along with several other medications that the doctor prescribed).  

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Friday, February 9, 2018

The Brave

Hi everyone. My name is Clare and I am a couch potato. I love staying at home to catch up on my favorite shows and to discover new ones. Thank goodness for streaming sites/services or I wouldn’t be able to catch up on all of them on cable TV.

DND-mode when watching TV. That's kind of my thing. (Photo from Pixabay)

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

On Budgets and Personal Money Management

I’m probably not alone when I say that one thing that is very hard to manage is money. You could be earning as high as millions a month (or thousands or hundreds) but I think that for everyone it is a challenge to spend wisely. Rich people are lucky, they have people who manage their finances for them but for simple people like me, it’s something that you have to give some time and attention to.  

I tend to make sure that I stick to a budget. Since I earn a fixed income monthly, I know how much money goes in, which means I can make sure that my expenses cover only the same amount (or less, preferably). I tend to separate money for the bills every payday and then make a budget for my day to day expenses when I’m at work, which goes into a workday wallet. 

I used to love using those big bulky wallets that have all those places to put money in but lately, I’ve taken to using a small purse that I got from Victoria’s Secret. I don’t think it was meant to carry money but I’ve found it practical since I don’t bring that much money or cards with me. I call this purse my lucky wallet because, for some reason, I never seem to run out of money when I use it. It is never empty. Just when I think I’m going to run out, I end up with the money to put in it again.
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Monday, February 5, 2018

Care for Some HQ?

I have a confession to make: I am a trivia nerd. I remember telling a friend who was working in a TV trivia game show about how I knew most of the answers to the questions in their show and it was frustrating for me when the contestants couldn’t answer them. I don’t know why, but those small, insignificant notes on things and people and places tend to stick with me. I enjoy playing trivia games on my phone because of it. It’s not just the whole getting the answers right that I enjoy but also the chance to learn something new.

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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Paper Planes Back Home

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you were in a coma? Or tried to imagine how exactly the moving on process to the next life goes? It’s something that I’ve always been fascinated with. I’ve read books about people with near-death experiences and they each have a different interpretation of what happens. Some people say the experiences are real, some say it’s part of a dream-state that our brains are in. After reading Paper Planes Back Home, I kind of wish it would be like what the book was about. 

In this book by Tara Frejas, Gianna was in an accident that led to her being in a coma. She woke up on a cloud where she meets Skylar, who is also on a cloud of his own and guides her about life in that place. The main rule is that you can’t fall asleep or else you will move on to the next life. If you want to go back to your life, you can’t drift off or it will become permanent.
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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Change

One thing that most people who have been around me know is that I’m a planner. I’m the type of person who hates doing things on a whim. I’ll think about something a dozen times before actually doing it. I tend to steer clear of the unexpected and I'm not the type of person who does things spontaneous or unplanned. My tendency is to stay in my comfort zone because that is where I’m sure that I can manage all the variables involved. I am not particularly good at dealing with change, which is why I feel that fate has decided to do something to make me face it once and for all. 

The tail-end of the year brought several “plot twists” in my life that made me realize that, as cliche as it sounds, “change is coming.” There is not much choice left for me except that I have to face it and decide whether to deal with it in a positive or negative light. I’m erring on the side of the former at this point because honestly, what good would it do to dwell on the negatives right? Life is too short to focus on things that do not make me happy. I just need to move forward and see where life will take me, as uncertain as it can be.

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