Monday, September 30, 2013

Videos of the Week

Sharing with you some amusing videos I found last week.

A man's 40,000 km journey from Europe to Asia! Meet Rob Lutter.

World Cycle Kickstarter // The Lifecycle Adventure
from Rob Lutter on Vimeo. Follow this man's awesomeness at The Lifecycle.
On to my friend Halley who proposed to his girlfriend. Boys, this is how you should do it, okay? I can almost hear Halley say "shock and awe".

Halley Tugade - Ligaya MTV from David Garmsen on Vimeo.

With SDE pa!

Halley and Val | Same-day edit Proposal from David Garmsen on Vimeo.

There you have it folks, this week's amazeballs -(",)-*wink*

Saturday, September 28, 2013

I Don't Believe in Make-Up: Avene Light Hydrating Cream SPF 20

Woohoo! I am baaaccckkkk.... albeit intermittently but we'll have to work around the number of things that's happening all around and I have decided to talk about skin care. Tons of things interest me but I have to say making the skin healthy and moisturized is high up on the list.

I am a loyal Shiseido and Kiehls' girl but I do like to discover new products that can work wonders on my skin. Dermatologists have been recommending Avene products to their patients for ages. I do remember 10 years ago that my mom's dermatologist prescribed Avene ultra rich moisturizer for her almost 50-year-old face for maximum moisturization. Specializing on sensitive skin, all Avene products contain Avene Thermal Spring Water which is very low mineralised, rich in silica and trace elements and clinically proven to soothe, prevents irritation and has anti-free radical properties.

This water is from the South of France - Saint Odile specifically and has been known to treat horses which suffer from intense skin eruption. If it can treat horse skin diseases, some sage found a way to make it work best for humans. My personal take is if it's good for sensitive skin, it's generally good for everyone!

The last 4 months, I've been applying Avene Hydrance Optimale Light Hydrating Cream with SPF 20 in the morning.

According to Avene, it maintains and restores skin's hydration. Gentle, light texture and penetrates quickly while absorbing excess oil, leaving skin with a matte finish. Of course, it contains the spring water which soothes and softens skin.

I personally think this is a winner. It indeed makes my skin soft, even-toned, highly moisturized. No skin problems at all. Also, it is the lightest moisturizer I've tried - not oily and you can even go out without loose powder on.

This is my skin without any product on - not even powder. 

Pardon the puffy, bagong gising look but do focus on the skin quality - not bad at all.

This is me sweaty and all - after yoga. No product on - to be clear, the only product I put on is toner, moisturizer and loose powder.

I don't get the rosy cheeks look naturally (Shiseido has that effect on me) but I'll put this next to Shiseido. Will use this product in rotation with my other favorites.

At PhP 1800 for 40mL bottle, it's a bit expensive but for great skin and without the worry to buy make up, I think it's worth the buy. The Hydrance Optimale line has 4 variants of this cream: for dehydrated skin, for oil skin and for hyper-sensitive skin. The one I got is for normal - combination skin.

You can get this in the Philippines from Mercury Drug Store or from most dermatologists.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Work as Worship

To us who are dreading Mondays, may this video inspire you as it inspired me last week.

Work as Worship!

Video from RightNowMinistries.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Indian Cuisine: Kashmir vs Bollywood

Manila has developed a taste for spicy food as evidenced by the number of curry-serving restaurants cropping up in the metro. Given that I will most likely have spicy food the next few days (this draft has been sitting in my Mac for 3 weeks now) allow me to share my experience with Kashmir - the Indian food dame along Pasay Road and Queens at Bollywood - the new kid on the block in Greenbelt positioned to be a hip stop for Indian cuisine.

As a basis of comparison, let it be known that these 2 will be shared based on ambiance, chicken tikka masala and lassi. In general, New Bombay - winner of Manila's Best Indian Restaurant and Person A and I's favorite Indian place - will also be the gold standard for curry dining. At least in our case.

The Place: Kashmir

Having discovered that I love Indian food, we have been on the lookout for Indian places in the metro. Kashmir has always been on top of the list to try given that it has received a number of accolades in the past.

Kashmir is a positioned as a classic restaurant with rich traditional decors. Chairs and furnishing are heavy wood. Smell of incense and rich perfume engulf the place.

Casual seriousness - if such a phrase exists - is how I'd describe the place.

The Place: Bollywood

An Indian-food enthusiast colleague introduced us to Bollywood. Optimizing a meeting with a wedding partner, Person A and I decided to try Bollywood while discussing decors with a vendor.

This restaurant fits well in posh Greenbelt. Its interiors is distinctly Indian - with rich ambiance rendered by the heavy furnitures tempered by modern cushion and the smell of incense and old-world.

Fitting to its name, the walls are adorned with pictures - possibly of Bollywood stars and movies. Also, Bollywood MTVs are constantly in the loop in the restaurant's television sets.

This is a good pitstop before heading out to party or drink in the Greenbelt area.

In both restaurants, Indian-looking diners are a norm - hence it's a good sign that the food is authentic.

The Food

Kashmir serves Malaysian, Middle-eastern and Indian cuisine. Servers are very attentive - it maybe that we were there early evening.

Once order is placed, spicy nuts and local delicacy will be served. It's hot and perfect to let you crave for your main dish.

Bollywood, on the other hand, serves bread while you wait for the main course. 

This is crispy bread with choices of dips. 

Perfect if you are already hungry.

Kashmir Chicken Tikka Masala (PhP450 )

Chicken cubes in spicy curry sauce. Serving size is good for 2 - if you are watching your diet and 1 if you are hungry and want to enjoy a hearty meal.

It's herby and spicy enough. What makes it distinct is its liver-like aftertaste. It makes the sauce extra rich and adds the bitter character.

Speaking of sauce, it's perfect with roti canai.

Roti Canai (PhP 90)

Malaysian croissant-like, fluffly bread enriched with milk and ghee.

The bread is soft and fluffy and has a sweet after taste. Perfect to temper the spicy sauce. This is the best bread for the tikka masala!

Bollywood Chicken Tikka Masala (PhP )

Tender pieces of barbequed chicken in a tomato buttered and spiced sauce.

Spicy level is mild, sauce is mildly flavorful and not as thick as how I want it to be. It's decent but can greatly improved with more spices and herbs.

Bollywood's Naan (~ PhP 100)

This rendition has a sweeter taste to the bread and softness. Fluffy - it's not but it's good enough for the spicy sauce. It's your typical good naan.

Spicy food is always good with Lassi as dairy washes down the spicy taste in your tongue.

Kashmir's Mango Lassi (PhP 155)

Dairy is very dominant with generous amount of mango. This is what I consider extra rich, sweet lassi. Perfect to tame down the spicy taste.

One of the best, if not the best, lassi in town.

Bollywood's Lassi (~ PhP 120)

A good rendition of lassi though not too much on the mango flavor. 

More slices of fruit and some shots more of dairy would make this glass excellent.

In Summary

1. Kashmir is fitting of its grand dame status: food tastes good and authentic, the ambiance is perfect for serious Indian dining and you can hardly go wrong visiting the place.

2. Bollywood, on the other hand, is a good Indian-food stop when you're in the Greenbelt area. The ambiance is hip while the food tastes good enough.

3. Food alone, I would suggest New Bombay and Kashmir while for convenience and ambiance, Bollywood makes the cut.

Festejo Bldg., 886 Pasay Road
San Lorenzo Village, Makati

Queens at Bollywood
3F Greenbelt 3, Esperanza St
Ayala Center, Makati

Monday, September 9, 2013

Discovery Weekend

I just had a jam-packed, draining but very fulfilling weekend. It was my most memorable and enjoyable retreat to date. I enjoyed it because I was with Person A and one of the ground rules was, we are not to socialize with anyone but ourselves, meaning the weekend is just meant for your partner.

Yes, it was a couple's retreat and I am glad that we attended the Discovery Weekend before tying the knot. 

According to the websiteThe Discovery Weekend is a program designed to enrich and deepen the couple’s relationship and prepare them better for the sacrament of marriage.  It is aimed for you to:
  • Asses each one’s relationship to oneself, to each other, to God and the community.
  • Experience, develop and deepen your relationship through a method of communication and dialogue which you can bring into your marriage
  • Witness to many dimension of marriage openly, honestly and realistically through a team of married couples and or a priest

Our weekend started at 5:30, Friday afternoon in the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Quezon City. The compound is full of trees and have lovely paths where we love to take walks in between reflections and after meal times. 

After dinner Friday, the sessions started and it went on until 4PM Sunday afternoon. Friday and Saturday ended at 11PM. 


There were 10 topics shared in this manner: 15-minute talk, 30-minute sharing by a married couple and 45-minute reflection through a dialogue with your partner. The topics covered are categorized into:

1. I - about yourself, about your feelings
2. You and I - you and your partner
3. God and We - you as a couple and God
4. God, We and the community - being a part of a community and sharing your love to the world

There was also a couple confession facilitated by a priest and during the Eucharistic celebration, couple communion was done. Cool!

Here are some notes I took which hopefully will give you an idea about what I learned over the weekend.

On feelings and reactions

How to dialogue

Dialogue behaviors as sharer (DEEP) and listener (LOVE).

On masks that we wear and should take off when we communicate with our partner

On Marriage as a Sacrament and as a Vocation

We loved our Discovery Weekend experience and we highly encourage couples who are getting married or are seriously in a relationship to spend time and treasure for this weekend:

1. Our main key takeaway is how to communicate to each other especially when you have to settle issues. It's about DIALOGUE: tell your partner how you feel, why you feel that way and what do you need from him/her. Having a common structure would make it very easy to be on the same page then move on to resolving the issue.

2. It is also highly recommended for couples who did not get the benefit to start out as friends. Through the 10 topics, the reflection materials would allow you to reveal yourself to your partner and discover things that you don't know about your partner.

3. You will be reminded on how to be the best person you can be for your partner.

I would like to end this post by sharing Father Wax's (the American priest who assisted us over the weekend) homily, "Your goal in marriage is to support your partner to become a saint and your goal as parents is to do your best to allow your child to become a saint".

Lala Denilla - DW Secretariat
Room 307, Spiritual Pastoral Center (CEFAM)
Seminary Dr., Ateneo de Manila 
Loyola Heights, Quezon City

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Marriage Quick Tips

Allow me to share this handout we got from the weekend.


I am brewing up a full blog post on how our weekend was spent. I am so excited to share it with everyone especially those who are in a serious relationship.

Material courtesy of 


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