19 December 2013

completing my 25 books for the year

In January, i set a goal to read at least 25 books in 2013. and though there were a couple of months i had to put my goal in the back burner (who has time to read when one is planning a wedding?), i got back into reading this last quarter of the year. if you check out my goodreads profile, i read quite a bit around october until december.

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Ays has completed her goal of reading 25 books in 2013!

Here are  the last few books i read to complete my goal, and a short note on my thoughts about them..

17 December 2013

filipino-themed christmas party

i think this year's theme was expressed more on the food, rather than on our costumes (eh..jp and i didn't have a costume, unlike last year's party). but it was still a lot of fun.

paella,pinakbet,brazo de mercedes and kutsinta
paella, pinakbet, brazo de mercedes, kutsinta

kaldereta, sisig

competitive: girls vs boys games

awarding of best costume


merry christmas from me and my friends here in singapore!

11 December 2013

party food: potato salad

the holiday season means that you'll probably be going to several parties. some people choose to have food catered, while others go the potluck route. for the first party we attended this month, i brought potato salad to share with friends.

Potato Salad with Bacon Topping

i can't say that it's the fastest salad to prepare, but it's really good. and friends will hopefully appreciate the effort you made in making it. the steps are really simple, it just takes a bit of time. check out how i made it.

03 December 2013

singapore life: the art of choping

I have never heard of the word "chope"* until I came here to Singapore. In the Philippines, we "save" or "reserve" a table, usually by having one person in your group sit and wait while the rest of you go off and buy food. It's not really recommended to leave something on the table, like an umbrella or worse, a bag. I've seen people lose their stuff in the foodcourt because they used it to "save" a table.


In Singapore, there's no need to have someone sit and wait, all you have to do is take out the all powerful packet of tissue and place it on the table. 

02 December 2013

collage monday: this year's wish list

Happy December and Happy Monday! Today, I'm sharing some things on my wish list.

I don't think we gave out our wishlists when we did our "Secret Santa" gift exchange during our grade school and high school years. We only set the minimum price of the gift. So I usually received gifts that I didn't know what to do with, and as a giver, I found it hard to buy someone a gift that I thought they would like (most of the time, they did. I stuck to useful stuff like planners and pens) When I started working, I felt kind of iffy about sending my wishlist to my Secret Santa. It's only in the past couple of years that I understood the power of the wishlist (or any list for that matter, but more on that soon). It's really practical for both sides: the giver saves a lot of time because he knows what to get, and the recipient gets what she wants.

They can be practical or not, but it's something we desire for ourselves. But whatever you receive this holiday season, whether it's in your wishlist of not, remember to be thankful. It's always the thought that counts, that people remember you and appreciate you enough to give you something.

What's your opinion on wish lists? Do you have one for this year?

29 November 2013

the power of water

This article appeared in my facebook feed a couple of months ago. If you look real quick, you'll think there's not much difference, but look closer and you'll see how drinking water caused a big change to her face

In my twenties, I didn’t really think much about water and how it affects my body. In my previous office in Manila, I used to be paranoid that the stuff in the water dispenser was really just from the tap. So I drank more cofee and tea than water. Same thing in restaurants, I rarely drank the free glass of water, instead I ordered juice or soda.  Here in Singapore, tap water is safe to drink, though I find that there's a metallic aftertaste with the water in our flat. So I prefer the bottled ones.  JP buys a couple of bottles for us every few days.

I have poor digestion and very slow metabolism. This year, when I was told by the doctor I had to lose a significant amount of weight, I had to do all sorts of healthy things, ie. modified my diet (for the most part. haha), exercise more often, and drink more water. Of the three, drinking water was the easiest thing to do. And I think it's made a big difference. My skin's a little bit clearer, I don't get too many breakouts as often, and it's really helping my digestion. 

Drinking water is also an excuse to get up from my seat at work. Every hour, I go to the pantry to refill my water bottle.  I deliberately use a small bottle so I have a reason to leave my desk, because it's not recommended to sit for hours on end. The article says the lady drank 3 liters of bottle per day. It may seem too much, so if you want to do this, maybe start with 2 liters?

26 November 2013

hong kong

I used to go to HongKong every year since 2006 up until 2010 (thank you, budget airlines). Tickets are quite cheap, and you just have to do a little bit of research to find a good, inexpensive hotel. To me, HongKong is more vibrant than Singapore. Maybe because, it's larger, or that there are more people, I'm not really sure. There is definitely a lot more to see and do.

Buddha in HongKong

It's also a memorable place for me. Here's why:

22 November 2013

weekend lunch dates

these past few sundays, jp and i have been dining out for brunch/lunch. most of the time, i don't bother taking a picture of my food, which seems to be the norm these days. but there are days i would whip out my phone and be THAT person who takes a photo of their plate before eating. here are some of the restaurants we've visited recently and a couple of pictures i took. 

20 November 2013

patterson and christie

time to share with you a couple of books i read last month. i decided to include some mystery/suspense to my reading challenge this year. i rarely read books from this genre, because i usually get confused towards the middle, and then find myself backing up and rereading a couple of chapters so i could continue on with the story. it took me a couple of days to finish these. i picked two of the most famous and best-selling authors in this category, and also from two very different time periods: james patterson and agatha christie.

19 November 2013

what's in a disaster kit?

sheldon cooper had an emergency evacuation bag he would pull out whenever he had to leave his apartment. this was hilarious, at least in the show's context. 

but in the philippines where calamities are the norm rather than the exception, it really makes sense for families to have an emergency kit in their homes. this illustration is from rappler, and i'm posting it here, just in case you want to make your own pack. 

red cross philippines has a comprehensive list of things you may want to include in your lifeline kit, it depends on your family's needs. 

06 November 2013

the book thief

the book thief by markus zusak was released in 2005. and i'm wondering why i only read it this year! as a lover of books, i understood leisel (the main character) when she sought comfort in the words of the books that she steals. to me (and to many other bookworms, writers, literature lovers), words have the power to inspire, encourage and even allow people to escape their sad realities, if only for a while.

the story is told from an unexpected point of view, which i thought was brilliant. you'll feel real sympathy for the characters and you will find yourself welling up with tears towards the end. oh, and it's being made into a movie, which i'm looking forward to watching. i hope they don't stray from the original story.

the book is 500+ pages long, and it will start out slow, but if you keep at it, you'll slowly get pulled into the story. so if you have spare time before the year ends, please read the book, it's really good!

04 November 2013

collage monday: pretty pink things for the kitchen

when we have our own house, i would probably be the one using the kitchen most of the time. i don't want to have an ALL pink kitchen like this, but it would be nice to have a few touches of color in our appliances. things like these...

what about you? any special color you want your kitchen and appliances to be?

i have a "pretty pink things" board on pinterest. check it out and let me know what you think. happy monday!

03 November 2013

last hurrah before the year ends (4 Simple Goals)

this is great timing! last week, I was thinking of what I want to accomplish before 2014 rolled in. since I started on the new job, i'm slowly settling into a routine, which is good, but I feel that there are things that I don't get to do as much as I'd like. elsie over at A Beautiful Mess came up with the 4 Simple Goals challenge.

"The concept of 4 simple goals is, well, simple. Its purpose is to challenge and remind you to create healthy, life-enriching habits during the busiest time of the year. If you're game, here are the "rules":
1. Choose simple goals that will make your life richer and happier on a daily basis. Choose things you may not otherwise get done but are not difficult to accomplish. 
2. Do not choose result oriented goals. Choose activity oriented goals. For example, instead of "lose 10 pounds", choose something like "eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day". Get what I'm saying? Positive actions instead of just the end result! 
3. Choose personal goals you believe will truly make your life richer just by doing them! They can be daily, weekly or one time experiences. 
4. Choose a reward for each goal as it is accomplished! It can be a small or large reward—it's up to you. 
5. Blog about your goals, each one as you achieve it and a big post when they are all finished before the new year!"

30 October 2013

life of pi

this is one of those books i'd been meaning to read for the longest time. most of my friends had this on their profiles as their "favorite book" when friendster was still the popular social media site. i never got to read the book until this year, and i actually watched the movie before i read the book.

28 October 2013

collage monday: happy birthday, elaine!

today i made an extra special collage, because it's my younger sister's birthday! woohoo! if you see her around manila, greet her, ok!

happy birthday, gay-gay!


25 October 2013

under the sea

last weekend we went to the SEA Aquarium in Sentosa with our friends. it was mine and JP's first time to go there. we wouldn't have gone if not for discounted tickets courtesy of our friend D. i'd been to underwater world several times, a couple of years ago, so i think this attraction is just the same as that.


21 October 2013

collage monday: for the office

two weeks into the new job, and i can say i'm doing alright, so far. what i've been looking at is how people dress up at work. thankfully, most people don't wear anything too formal, and the dress code is pretty relaxed, at least in our location. 

the thing is, i've seen some in the office who wear clothes that are a little TOO casual, not really my style, unless it's friday. long ago, i attended a workshop where the trainer told us: "if you look good, you feel good, then you'll work better". i make sure to dress up and make myself look presentable, so  that i'm psyched to work...even if i don't face off with clients.

15 October 2013

books: if i stay/where she went

i've been reading quite a few young adult novels lately. when you go to bookstores, there's a big section that's dedicated to YA fiction.  i used to think young adult was the "sweet valley high" series and the "sweet dreams" books. these days, some topics, i think, are not quite suitable for "young adults"(what age range is this anyway?)

11 October 2013

guest post: of cities, travels and many, many lovers

happy friday! today, i'm honored to feature an honest-to-goodness world traveller and empowered, independent lady. she's also the sister of one of my good friends, nina. i got the chance to travel with ate prime when we went to that eventful myanmar trip, which was a good thing. aside from going with my friends, i also had a travel-experienced older sister, which was a reassuring thought, given what we encountered over there.


i seriously believe each city in the world has it's own personality. ate prime describes some of the places she's visited in her article below, including, of course, singapore. 

09 October 2013

have a little faith

i remember the reaction i had when i read "tuesdays with morrie" by mitch albom. at the end of it, i cried like a baby. i've read his other novels and always, the same effect.  his books are always a good read (they tend to be a little winding at the start, though). anyway, i finished this one while i was in manila, in just one afternoon. 

image from amazon

the synopsis (from wikipedia)
"Albom (Mitchel David "Mitch" Albom) writes in the introduction to this book[1] that the idea for it began with the request by Albert L. Lewis, his childhood rabbi, to write and deliver the eulogy when the time came for the rabbi's funeral. Albom agreed, contingent on an agreement that he could begin a series of interviews and conversations, in order to get to know Lewis as a man, not just as a rabbi.
Albom writes that his conversations with Lewis -- whom he refers to as the Reb, an affectionate term drawn from the Yiddish word for rabbi -- eventually led to an increased interest on Albom's part in the power and meaning of faith in a larger sense. In his hometown of Detroit, he forged a link with Pastor Henry Covington, an African-American Protestant minister at the I Am My Brother's Keeper Church. Covington, a past drug-addict, dealer, and ex-convict, was ministering to the needs of his down-and-out parishioners, in an urban church serving a largely homeless congregation, in a church so poor that the roof leaked when it rained.
The book alternates between his conversations with Lewis, and excerpts from some of his sermons; and Life of Henry, the title of the sections describing his conversations with Covington, and stories about him." 
as always, albom's book provides the reader a lot of inspiration. my favorite quotes from the book:
“To these people, unhappiness was a condition, an intolerable state of affairs. If pills could help, pills were taken. But pills were not going to change the fundamental problem in the construction. Wanting what you can´t have. Looking for self-worth in the mirror. Layering work on top of work and still wondering why you weren´t satisfied - before working some more.” 
“The secret to happiness...be satisfied and be grateful.” 

i think albom's strength is that he tells his stories in a very simple way. and the fact that the messages come from older people, who have experienced life, so there's a lot of credibility to it. some people say his books are "too preachy", as if forcing those life lessons on us. but hey, sometimes, we do need to be reminded about what we're doing wrong. and maybe if we hear it through people who have experienced life, it'll resonate better in our hearts. 

07 October 2013

hardware shop brunch and temple visit

these days, we're all about going to brunch on the weekends. i think that's a sign of middle age. haha. we got a good tip from diovie about this little café housed in an old hardware shop, so we tried it this past weekend.

you'd probably miss this little shop if you don't look closely, it's located in the lavender street vicinity. i was reminded of banawe street in QC when we were in that area, we passed by quite a few car parts stores and repair shops.

06 September 2013

2013 singapore night festival

the singapore night festival is an annual event organized by the national heritage board and several singapore museums showcasing the works of different artists and groups. it's held over two weekends, usually mid to late august or early september. for the first weekend of the nightfest, i went with my sister, since it was her last few days in singapore after a year and a half of working here. and then, i had jp with me the week after.


03 September 2013

100 days of marriage

this past sunday marked 100 days since jp and i got married. i know you usually have to wait a year (or two) before writing something about your marriage, at least that's what i've read around the internet these past couple of weeks (hey, i have a lot of free time these days). anyway, i just wanted to share some things i've realized, some little life changes that i thought of a few weeks after we got back to singapore as husband and wife.

starting the journey...

02 September 2013

collage monday: drugstore finds

raise your hand if you're guilty: a random trip to the drugstore (in sg, it's either watson's or guardian) turns out into an unexpected shopping spree of products you think you will use one of these days, but days turn into weeks, into months and said products are still sitting there in your toiletries cabinet. 

you are not alone. i used to do that too. but when i moved in with jp, i had limited space for my things, so i had to make sure i only have the things i really need. i ended up throwing away a lot of products that i bought from the drugstore because they were way past their expiration date. i didn't use them at all. what a waste of money!

30 August 2013

guest post: from singapore to indonesia

hey, it's friday! today, my guest post is courtesy of liana.  i met her several years ago through one of those eating sessions over at nina's house. we've gone out a few times with our small circle of friends, though sadly, not as often as i would have liked. i am impressed by her wit, and the way she speaks and writes. i'm a grammar police on other people, but i find myself second guessing my words when i talk to her. haha. she writes her thoughts so eloquently over on her blog.


let's read about her move to indonesia and what she remembers most about singapore.

28 August 2013

baked! banana chocolate bread

our first overseas trip as a couple was in hongkong, one of my favorite cities. while there, we visited my college friend and her family. she served the yummiest banana bread with chocolate chips, which jp raved about for the next few weeks. until now, that's one of the things he remembers about hong kong (that, and a memorable trip to ngong ping).

27 August 2013

an update to my angel project

remember this little project i wrote about last march?  i posted the progress in instagram two weeks ago. at that time, it looked like this. hooray for progress (and unemployment. haha!).

the angel is almost done! yey!

23 August 2013

tips for living with housemates in singapore (or anywhere)

this week, i thought we'd take a break from our guest posts, but still give you a little bit more information on living in singapore. for many filipinos here, the concept of living with other people in one flat is normal. because of the high rental rates here, it's rare for a pinoy to live on his own unit. you will live with about two or more other people in a flat during your stay here. you're lucky if your flatmates (or housemates) are people you know already, but there may come a time that you will live with total strangers, who will eventually turn out to be good friends or the bane of your existence.

22 August 2013


my sister-in-law posted these pictures in facebook. this is the water level in our village as of monday. the philippines experienced another major typhoon, and as expected, the floods came. thankfully, our house was not affected. my sister-in-law went out to buy gas (nice timing to run out, right?), and when she went out, the water got progressively higher as she went towards the main gate. from ankle deep near our place to almost waist-deep. she had to ride on a truck.


21 August 2013

round things: chocolate chip cookies

this is another attempt to make things from scratch and not buy pre-mix batter for baking. much like the homemade pancakes, i adjusted the recipe to use a little bit of wholemeal flour and sugar substitute instead of regular sugar.

everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, and i think they're the easiest thing to do, so i baked a batch one afternoon.


16 August 2013

guest post: singapore memories from ireland

it's friday once again, time for a new post on our "singapore" series. my next guest writer sits on the other side of the globe in ireland! when we got news a couple of years ago that she was moving to europe, our initial reaction was: wow! and then we were concerned.  to us who are here in singapore, i think we're not too bothered about being alone here: we usually have a circle of friends we can run to. besides, the philippines is a few flight hours away. but moving out of your comfort zone, half the world away and on your own takes a lot of guts.

my friend nina was a kindred spirit the moment i met her. we both loved books and art. so we can go on for hours with our talks (along with our other friends). after six years in ireland, she recalls her life in the little red dot. 

14 August 2013

round things: zucchini chips

a couple of days ago, i was craving for something salty and couldn't find anything in our pantry. i think our supply of chips from the philippines has run out. anyway, i found some zucchinis in the ref. i bought them a few days earlier thinking to use them for a vegetable juice, but i decided to cook them for snacks.

i'm not going to say that this is an all-out healthy dish, but i think it beats out oily potato chips you buy from the grocery store.


13 August 2013

our national day weekend via instagram

we didn't go outside singapore this past long weekend. i got my dependent pass too late that by the time we looked at flights going to other asian countries, the rates were too expensive. i even thought of just going to nearby malaysia by bus, but there were no more rooms at the hotels in the city i wanted to go to. i think most everyone wanted to get out of the country (yes, even the locals). in any case, we had an enjoyable four days just relaxing at home and also going out with friends.

09 August 2013

guest post: coming back to singapore

happy national day! to celebrate this special day, i think it's just fitting that our guest writer is someone who has left and come back to singapore--twice! you would have seen his pictures around this blog several times, and i even wrote a special note for him years ago. i think he has been one of the people with whom i travelled a lot with, and really just someone who's always interesting to be around. 

mini temple
dressed like locals in india

apo used to write a blog, that even my older sister enjoyed reading. somewhere along the way, he stopped writing, for reasons unknown (busy schedule, travel?). in any case, i'm glad i was able to persuade him to write for me this time.

without further ado, let's read about his singapore experience!

07 August 2013

first attempt at embutido

i always associate embutido with fiestas and special occasions. it's one of those dishes that everyone's grandma, mom or aunt has their own version of; some secret family recipe that's only taken out for a special day. in our house, we never made embutido, we usually got it as a gift or as take-away from family parties. what's been a mystery to me is how it gets made. search for "embutido" on google and take a look at the images. how did the eggs get inside the sausage?

anyway, i finally decided to stop thinking about it and try making my own. i used the recipe from here, with a few missing ingredients, mainly the raisins and the sweet pickle relish, because my husband didn't reply immediately when i sms'd him if he eats those. so i took them out, better safe than sorry.

02 August 2013

guest post: married in singapore

my guest writer for this week is foyan. i met her here in singapore, at one of those house parties i used to go to where our common friends meet. eventually, we got together with the rest of the group for our visits to museums and more get togethers. 

she was the first in our group to get married, and have a (cute!) baby. she also writes about her thoughts and experiences on her blog.

how's life in the little red dot as a married woman, to a local? let's find out!


31 July 2013

homemade pancakes

these past few weeks, i've been making more of an effort to make breakfast for jp. the cooking part is not hard, it's the waking up early that really gets me. he wakes up very early, since his work site is on the west side of singapore (we live on the east side). his travel time is about an hour and a half, despite the efficiency of singapore's train system. it's really just very far. and so i have to wake up when he does, so that while he's preparing for work, i'm getting his breakfast ready.

26 July 2013

guest post: singapore through a single girl's eye

one of the things i wanted to accomplish this year on my blog is to have guests write posts on this space. it took me a while to think of what to ask people to write about, but a couple of days back, jp and i were talking about how different things are in singapore these days compared to a few years ago.

and then...DING! that's it, that's the subject for my guest posts for this first round!

since national day is coming up in a few weeks, i asked my friends to write about their singapore experience. i've told a lot of stories about my own life here in the little red dot, and i thought it would be nice to ask my friends how theirs have been. when i set out to find who would be the best people to ask for posts, i didn't have to look far. medyo nahiya ako to ask them, but they were enthusiastic about it when i posted in our facebook group. 

this group of friends were my constant companions in museum tours in singapore (i think all of us were in an "artsy" phase back then), long-drawn out breakfasts, and travel. so here's how it will go down: from today, and every Friday until the end of August, they'll tell you all about their own singapore experience. ready? let's go!

my first guest is diovie, the youngest in our group. i worked with her briefly in our previous company in manila. she's one of the people who came to singapore earlier than i did. she's been in the IT industry as a developer and project manager for almost seven years. here's her singapore story...


17 July 2013

dan brown's inferno

i just finished reading dan brown's inferno, after a month!

it was slow reading because i honestly found it long-winded. here's my review over on goodreads:
i read this book because I was curious about the uproar in Manila regarding how the city was described in the book. to be honest, the Manila scenario in the book could have been any other city in the world, Filipinos are really just sensitive when their country is being put in a negative light, even if the description was accurate. poverty, pickpockets, traffic, pollution, they all exist in Manila, but it also exists in other parts of the world. honestly, if dan brown changed the name to say, bangkok, or mexico, it won't affect the story at all. in any case, i found this book, well, boring. it took me a couple of weeks to finish, because i just couldn't bring myself to read it most nights. long and winded description about florence, venice and their structures, i felt as if i were reading a lonely planet guidebook. 
the plot was ok, but I didn't feel the excitement as with Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. and is it just me, or do you also see Tom Hanks in mind when reading about Robert Langdon?

and just like that, i added 1 book to my yearly reading challenge. i think i have to get a move on so i can reach my target by december. what's a good book to read these days?

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Ays has read 7 books toward her goal of 25 books.

16 July 2013

gardens by the bay (the cloud garden)

i can't remember when i last went to the gardens by the bay. i think it was to watch the j.lo concert last december. to be honest, i haven't really explored the gardens and its conservatories, simply because i'm saving it up for a time when we have visitors to take there or when i get really stumped as to what to do on a weekend. singapore is a very small country, that if you live here, you pretty much have a limited number of places to go to, so you have to find ways to amuse and entertain yourself, ie. visit tourist attractions (it helps if you have visitors, so you see them through "fresh" eyes. haha), hang out at a favorite restaurant or bar, or wait for Filipino bands or artists to have a show here.

anyway, last Saturday, i decided it was time for jp and i to finally visit the conservatories at the gardens. just to see what it's all about.

more after the jump...

03 July 2013

the lululemon manifesto

how's your week so far? here's a nice, inspiring manifesto from lululemon.

some of the messages are too small,  here's the PDF so you can read everything. happy mid-week!

02 July 2013

seven little words

i got a pretty cath kidston notebook, along with this little game book last week.  i like doing word search games, and sometimes crosswords. this one is a bit more challenging:


so you make seven words out of the given clues. the words are taken from combining the syllables at the bottom of the page, which you use only once.


perfect for when you're waiting for flights, for the bus, or generally just bored. haha. 

29 June 2013

so i made carrot bread

this week i wanted to bake something, but since i've been told i need to stay off sugar and carbs, i had to look for diabetic-friendly recipes. i'm NOT diabetic, mind you, but i figure i should eat like one, to give me a little push towards more healthful eating.

22 June 2013

last stop for summer 2013: boracay!

we had a one-day stop in cebu after the coron trip, and then we were off to boracay for jp's cousin's wedding. although i've been here a couple of times, and i'm concerned about the commercialization, boracay is still a nice place to go to. the sand! that's what i love about this island!

beachfront-shangrila boracay

more after the jump...

20 June 2013

life in singapore: the yearly haze

one of the things singapore prides itself on is cleanliness. there are very, very few places where you'll find trash around here. there are a lot of rules here relating to cleanliness and pollution (ie, those laws about no chewing gum, no spitting, high price of owning a car, etc.), any newbie would think, ang O.C. nila". and you do see the results. it's very clean, seldom do you see a smoke-belching car or bus (and if you do, rest assured, it would have gotten a penalty already).

19 June 2013

travel: palawan!

i went to Palawan as a single girl several years ago. that time, i went to Puerto Princesa, which is where the underground caves are. this time around, i went to Coron with my husband. just looking out the plane window, we knew we were going to a magical place.

view from above

more after the jump...

17 June 2013

collage monday: mints!

i'm on a sugar and carb suspension for a couple of months. and i miss eating chocolate (it's just been about two weeks since i last ate anything sweet. haha). anyway, all i can do right now is basically LOOK at sweet stuff. in tribute,  here's a couple of my ALL-time favorite mint-chocolate treats.


most people don't like chocolate mints. they say it's like brushing your teeth and eating chocolate at the same time. haha. it does take a while to get used to the taste. but i say, more chocolate for me! haha. 
well, not right now for me.

what about you? what kind of chocolates do you like?

15 June 2013

pre-wedding slideshow

i had shared this to family in facebook, but i'm putting it here too. this is a slideshow i made of what we were up to before the wedding, set to taylor swift music, which i think was this summer's theme. we played her "red" album a lot last month.

i think this is my second slideshow, after i tried it on our f1 weekend last year. i should make more of these, you get to see a lot more pictures while listening to music, 'no? haha.

enjoy your weekend!

14 June 2013

some more details

when i was preparing for the wedding, i looked at a LOT of wedding sites, magazines and books for inspiration. pinterest was a big help to me, but it can actually overwhelm you if you don't have any sort of idea about what you want for your wedding. one of the first things i decided on was the color and the theme. check out my pinterest wedding board to get an idea. :)

11 June 2013

wedding video

i'm back! and i'm married!

we had a whirlwind couple of weeks in the philippines and have been back in singapore for a few days now. jp is back at work and me? i think i had too much sun, so i'm just getting over a major flu attack. which i got the moment my mom left singapore. haha. 

there have been a LOT of pictures of our wedding posted in Facebook (thank you, friends and family for posting), and while we're waiting for the official photos from our photographer, i thought i'd share our wedding video. 

JOHN+AYS {same day edit} from Franz Arrogante on Vimeo.

more pictures and stories in the next few posts :)

09 May 2013

no signboard seafood

this is a severely delayed post. last march, we were treated to no signboard seafood restaurant along geylang road by jp's housemate (thank you!).

no signboard sign

no signboard seafood is one of the more popular restaurants here in singapore, famous for chilli crab.
read the story about how it got its' name on their site.

we ordered these (you will be hungry afterwards, promise!)

chilli crab, of course!


buttered asparagus

buttered asparagus

orange chicken

orange chicken

fried bun, perfect for dipping into the chilli crab sauce


and yes, one more look at the chilli crab!

the geylang road branch gets pretty crowded on weekends, so be sure to get there early. we went there on a weekday, and although it wasn't crowded, we were seated in the back of the restaurant, which is very near the garage. it's not fine dining on this branch, but the food is so good, you really won't mind where you're seated. 

hay, chilli crab! so yummy!

Here's the address of the branch we went to:

No Signboard Seafood
414 Geylang Road
Tel: +65 6842 3415
Daily 12pm – 1am

07 May 2013

the singapore library

someone sent me a message that i should post more entries about living in singapore. i guess she meant useful ones, like housing, food, jobs, etc. maybe some other day, i think i will have to enlist my friends' inputs for those. but for now, let me tell you about one of my favorite places in the city.

so last month, i was reviewing for an exam, and when i study, i need a quiet place where i can't be distracted. i could stay in my room at the flat, but that actually poses a couple of problems: 1) there's a TV in the room, so i will be tempted to watch, 2) i can't have the aircon on all afternoon, since that'll drive our electricity bill way up 3) i will be tempted to go to the kitchen and eat. haha. 

29 April 2013

something to try: chocolate mousse express

this is something i will have to try to make AFTER the wedding. because if i do it now, i will probably have to run for 4 hours to burn it off. haha! enjoy!

27 April 2013

the dove beauty sketch

as one of three girls in the family growing up, there would always be inevitable comparisons among my sisters and i. i would often hear people say: "mas maganda si insert any of our names here, kaysa kay insert any of our names here". but i never really paid much attention to those, because mama said we were ALL beautiful.

                                                                   back in the 90's

personally, i prefer being smart and kind to being beautiful. because being beautiful is subjective. people have their own ideas about beauty, ie. a V-shaped face (at least that's what locals in Singapore seem to like), long lashes, straight, shiny hair. whatever. people will look at you differently and say you're pretty or ugly. but being smart, being kind? these are objective. either you are or you aren't.

but sometimes, those beauty magazines tell you otherwise. there was a time in my teenage years where i experimented a lot with makeup. i would sit in front of my mom's dresser, and put on her makeup, just to see if i could look like those models in the magazine. more often than not, i didn't. haha.

a glamour shot you need to take at least once in your life. haha

i believe that there are no ugly people in the world. only people with ugly hearts, you know, those people who radiate negative energy towards others, that sometimes it warps your perception of their beauty. and sometimes, we ourselves think we're ugly. who isn't their own worst critic, right? there are days when i look in the mirror, and seriously think i'm so NOT pretty. and then i snap out of it, brush my hair, powder my face, put on a nice outfit, smile and then voila! i'm beautiful again. 

this dove ad is going viral around the internet these days. and it does put in perspective how we see ourselves. really touching and an eye-opener for us girls. 

16 April 2013

engagement shoot

we had our engagement shoot last saturday. here's what my sister captured via her phone while the photographer was at work.

wee! we are excited to see the result of our whole day (take note: WHOLE DAY!) shoot around singapore.

03 April 2013

how i cooked paella!

for our easter sunday lunch, we decided to be festive by having paella! there is no better way to celebrate than having a nice warm plate of paella on your table. it's no wonder that this dish is almost always on most filipino family's menu whenever they celebrate a major life event. 

i have two things to say about paella: one, there's so much effort put into this dish, what with the ingredients and having to chop them all up, cook them, and make sure it tastes just right. you really have to appreciate and give a big "thank you" to whoever cooked it for you. second, there's just so many ways of cooking it. i did a google search for paella recipes, and i got really confused. so i read through several recipes, and what i ended up doing was a mash up of the instructions i got.  i think in the end, it will taste how YOU want it to taste. 

here's what i used:

bell peppers, onions, green onions, coriander leaves


green peas, tomato paste, chopped garlic, eggs (really more for garnishing), chinese sausages, and a small packet of paellero (note: this is a powder mix that i think consists of saffron and some spices. you actually want to use real saffron, but since i brought this to singapore from manila, i wanted to use it this time). you also need paprika powder (not in picture) for marinating the chicken.


squids, shrimp  (you can also have scallops, clams, mussels, but my sister is allergic, so i didn't put those in my recipe) and chicken (i bought the chicken along with the bones,  because i boiled it in water and used it as chicken stock for cooking the rice.


oh yes, i forgot to take a picture of the rice (main ingredient. haha). our iron chef friend, kman, suggested i use arboro rice. but i couldn't find any at shop and save, so i used jasmine rice, which i soaked in water before i put in the pan.

here are some of the ingredients when i chopped them up. see the can of peeled tomatoes there? yep, that's one more ingredient. side note: there are people who, when they cook, the kitchen gets really messy. personally, i cannot tolerate messy kitchens. i really like to prepare everything  first before i start cooking, kind of like what they have in cooking shows. it's really just neater and helps you cook more calmly and efficiently.


i cooked the chicken first, after marinating it for about 30 minutes in paprika, salt an pepper. then i cooked it in oil, garlic and onions, after which, i set aside on a plate with paper towels.


i did the same thing to the shrimp and the squid (except the marinating part).


then afterwards, i sauteed the following: garlic, onion and bell pepper, plus some of the coriander leaves. added the tomatoes and mixed them well. i added the rice, which was previously soaking in water and to cook the rice, then i put in the chicken stock that i made earlier.

you really have to guard it while cooking, because you don't want the rice to dry up (kind of when you cook it in the rice cooker). and just when the rice is almost cooked, i added in the paellero powder (or the saffron strands, if you have it). and also mix in the chinese sausage, chicken, shrimp and squid. when you do that, it's an arm exercise, because you will have to stir the dish several times. to make sure everything is evenly distributed.

when it's done, it will look like this:


you'll probably want some lemons too:

jp was so happy that he took a picture and posted it in Facebook (he rarely updates his facebook page), so that was special. haha. PLUS! he treated me to some ribeye steak for dinner. 

this is what i posted on instagram:

happy easter! #paella

there you have it, our easter lunch. it will probably be another really special occasion (or a special request) before i make this dish again. it takes a lot of effort and time in the kitchen. so next time you eat paella, remember to send your regards to the cook. i think he or she would really appreciate some kudos for making this special dish. 

*here are some of the paella recipes i looked at:

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