Of Desserts and Sweets

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Coffee Chiffon Crunch, Mango Cupcake and Red Velvet Cupcake

I’m not much of a sweets person. It may look like the other way around, but it’s actually the husband who’s a dessert junkie. So now, you basically have an idea who finished our orders. ✌

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The husband looks happy with our cakes. ✌

Just recently, a pastry shop and specialty restaurant opened in Imus. It’s very near the city hall and the city plaza where we usually hang out — it’s like the street food district of Imus, so having this new resto is a fresh addition to our growing number of hangout choices.

Initially, my mom wanted us to try Arlene’s sans rival. She said it’s like nothing she’s tasted before, so of course we were intrigued. However, just before we entered, the owner, Arlene, was outside and told us they didn’t have sans rival today. Well, so much for my mom’s over the top marketing. 😛

Anyhow, we settled with the toffee chiffon crunch (or whatever it’s called), the mango and the red velvet cupcakes.

The cake didn’t look appealing at first, but when I tried tasting it, it was actually a bit moist! I liked the toffee on top best. Haha.

The cupcakes were not too sweet, so I liked them, but because of the texture being not too soft, I felt that after finishing half a cupcake, it was slowly turning bland. Had it not been because of the icing, I would have stopped eating because I was actually very full from our dinner. I guess that’s also one of the reasons why I was being so picky with the cupcakes. 😥

While prices range from 100 – 250 pesos, their food and dessert choices will not let you down.

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Arlene's is just perfect for crafters and hobbyists, right?

Arlene’s also boasts of a youthful yet elegant feel. The interiors are in playful colors — even their drinking glasses are quite colorful, which gives me much delight.

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Arlene's entrance

I’m guessing I’ll be coming back to this place soon. ❤

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Happy me!

My Top Philippine Drama List

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I’m not a fan of Philippine drama series, so it amazes me when people can actually talk non-stop about the latest episode of their favorite teleserye. Pinoy dramas have either very predictable plots – complete with exchanged children at birth, kidnapping, delayed police response, and guns – or are too Americanized, adapting Western culture when it comes to fashion and work environment, and showcasing quite a liberated interpretation of dating and being in a relationship.

Am I conservative? Maybe, but do you actually expect a woman dressed in skimpy shorts to go to the office and be treated with courtesy and professionalism? I don’t think so. And no, the Philippines does not yet tolerate a rather generous display of skin and flesh roaming around her streets.

And because I’m done with the mediocrity of our own teleseryes, it becomes such a joy when I hear of a new series that promises a story out of the usual Mara Clara twist and ending.

Here are the series that topped my list:

1. On the Wings of Love
Cast: James Reid and Nadine Lustre

Yes, I’m feeling #SepAnx right now. OTWOL is the only legit Kapamilya teleserye I have watched ever since Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa starred in the original Pangako Sa ‘Yo — well, partly because the TV at my parents’ house couldn’t catch the ABS-CBN signal. 😛

No other teleserye, apart from Korean drama, has stirred my emotions the way OTWOL did — to the point that I chose not to watch for more than 2 weeks because of the extreme hate I felt for Simon, that scumbag!

I also liked the use of symbolism throughout the story — the doves, the barriers that were prominent whenever conflict arose. Pampu/Mekeni had a follow-through in the ending, which made me think, “Wow, this series was well thought of.”

While there were a lot of kissing scenes between Clark and Leah, the scenes didn’t look forced. I wouldn’t say it was Americanized, because after all, the setting was in the US, so it was natural for people there to just… go all the way.

The show also focused on the Filipino family, and that is something we have to be proud of.

And then, there was the very redundant “Pag mahal ka, babalikan ka.” Well, it served its purpose, to the doves and to the main actors. 👌

Proud OTWOLista here!

2. My Husband’s Lover
Cast: Tom Rodriguez, Dennis Trillo and Carla Abellana

This series changed the way I looked at GMA shows. Although I am not in favor of same-sex marriage, I did not feel offended or violated when I watched the show. MHL had a great way of delivering a neutral message to its viewers.

What I like best about it, apart from Tom’s smile, is the cinematography. Even the scenes that did not need any dialog but had every detail in place for the viewers to understand, or even wonder about. Its focus on the present was a relief from the obligatory flashbacks we often see on TV.

Same old stories, no matter how good the actors are, get boring over time. Sometimes, we just have to hand it over to the new breed of actors and directors – thanks to their creativity, we get to enjoy innovation in our teleseryes.

PS. Are you looking for number 3 and so on? Sorry, only 2 made this list. 😛

Of Gifts and Hobbies

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My DIY planner -- an old Usana binder covered with cloth and inserts I printed (both self-made and from online craftees).

I love notebooks! Journals, diaries, organizers, planners, notepads and colorful pens make me super happy — the same happiness and kilig ice cream gives me! I guess whatever we want to receive on our special days all comes down to one thing – our hobbies.

I am so awed at people who have hobbies that are totally incongruent with their jobs or their academic capabilities. An example is a friend from college. He was one of the smartest people I knew; he was also one of the weirdest. He loved reading books on psychology and philosophy, yet Playboy and FHM magazines were also part of his library. He had the most objective opinions and ideals. He drank; he smoked; he even smoked marijuana, but his fancy for little kids was so endearing one would think he’s already a father. 🙂

So back to what I was saying. We usually classify people according to their looks, their brains, and even their upbringings, but we can’t judge them for what they do in their secret times and places. For me, hobbies define the heart of a person – the inner personality only he/she and God know, and whatever gift we always look forward to on our birthday and at Christmas only reflects our values and belief system – who we are when no one’s looking and how we view ourselves in relation to the world and life itself.

Since forever I’ve thought of myself as a poet, a playwright, a female Shakespeare clothed in thick adipose tissue. If I had to express myself, I would gladly do so in writing — in poetry more often. I couldn’t imagine my life without words written by my calloused fingers.

The funny thing, though, is when I receive a journal or a notebook that I actually terribly like, I don’t use it just yet. I keep it on display until I grow tired of poring over it and admiring its pages. Until a new and fancier one arrives, I wouldn’t be using my beloved journal for just any writing. It should contain my best works, my best poems or stories. This was the case until September 30, 2011. I didn’t have spare money to buy a new devotional journal, but I had all those cute diaries from Korea and Taiwan that I didn’t want to use for JUST any writing. I had them for display!

Then came the voice of thunder. Yeah, God spoke to me about my pretty journals.

I came to realize that daily devotions are NOT just any writing. It’s God’s voice in a horrid and unpleasant situation. It’s His comforting embrace amidst a dark and repulsive state of mind. It’s passionate, unconditional love pouring out on a seemingly hopeless life. Why couldn’t I dedicate even one of my favorite notebooks to the One who gave His one and only, of course, favorite Son for my salvation? *bangs head on the table*

God gave His best for me. What is a notebook compared to Jesus? I know – a speck of dust in a palace of pure, untarnished gold. I doubt if it has any purpose at all. If I don’t give my best and all the best gifts I have received to God, do I have a right to claim the perfect Gift of all as my own? Not a chance.

So yeah, I like all these stuff for writing, but over the years, I learned not to buy the prettiest. Looks might mislead me to a different purpose, and I wouldn’t want that. ✌

One Word: FOCUS

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December seems to be one of the busiest months of the year, especially in the Philippines, where the holiday rush is just as normal as the next biggest SM sale, not to mention that it spans for more than a month!

Aside from December being our wedding anniversary month, all kinds of reunions are being held here and there. While I do love this month mostly because I get to spend some ‘me-time’ amidst all the busyness, I sometimes dread having time to spend at home — there are just too many things to do!

Now with only a little more than two weeks before the year ends, here is a list of the things I wish I could HAVE TO focus on:

Ultimate home cleaning. Yes, this comes first. Why? Simply put, I am not good at cleaning. Before I got married, I dusted the window screen once every two years, sorted my stuff out once a year, and rarely dusted or mopped the floor. I am not good at this stuff. In fact, I can live with clutter. However, being a good wife requires me to be excellent at it. So yep, I’ll be focusing most of my chakra on the house. 😛

My blogging career. De-cluttering my mind. Of course, I would like to spend more time blogging about all the things, God knows how many, I’m ranting about every single day, but before I could blog, I believe it is important to free my mind from the chaos inside it.

Shying away from social media. This falls under the ‘De-cluttering my mind’ category. Facebook is too loud. There are just too many things going on in the news feed alone, which makes me wonder if I’m getting enough brain exercise to keep myself productive.

Spending time with my notebooks. To effectively ditch the unnecessary, I have decided to write them off. I hope I succeed.

Strategic planning. As what has been constant in the past years, I have always started strong in planning and organizing my life. The sad part creeps in from the middle to the end. I even buy planners, but seldom finish them until the end of the year. Hence, I am dedicating my Christmas vacation to planning how to efficiently plan my life for the months to come.

I wanted to write more, but then, the word, focus, would lose meaning.

#ListersGottaList

Not a Blog for Nothing!

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Recently, a couple of friends and I challenged each other to keep our blogs active and post anything at least twice every month. We agreed that if we fail to have a blog post until the 15th or 30th of the month, we would have to grant any wish the others choose.

And because of my hectic schedule, I surely do not want to be Fairy Godmother granting their wishes anytime soon. 😛

What better way to keep my blog up and running than to utilize daily prompts from the more active bloggers in the blogging world! Here’s a list of links to the prompts I might refer to for the duration of our bi-monthly blogging challenge:

There you go. Now if these prompts don’t work out for me, I don’t know what will. Wish me the best, guys! 😛

Planning – the first step. Or so I think.

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The Blog Plan

So here goes my first shot at attempting to rebuild my writing faculties — blog planning — because I know I will get nowhere if I don’t do this.

Seriously, the planning part is just half of it. The other half is me trying to incorporate other stuff into my blog. Like this post — it doesn’t seem to be under any of the categories I listed down.

So help me God.

It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.
— Confucius (says my Rewire app)