Saturday, July 30, 2011

That 70s show

An opportunity presented itself for me to finally purchase a pair of Isabel Toledo Vespadrille wedges. (If you don't know what Vespadrilles are, they're just my recurring shoe obsession.) I was in Payless on Sunday and was browsing through the racks when I was led by an irresistible force to this section -


I picked up a pair of Vespadrilles in my size and placed them on the floor ONLY to take pictures -


But before I knew it, they came to life and crawled up my feet. I told the shoes to please don't do that because I may end up taking them home with me, but they insisted that I try them on. I was powerless!


Kidding aside, I passed up on the Vespadrilles even when my Mom offered to buy a pair for me because I realized that they aren't comfortable. For one, Vespadrilles do not come in half-sizes. It was just my luck that I was neither an 8 nor a 9 so that's that. Plus, my sister owns a pair and although she's very happy with how they look, she's unhappy with how uncomfortable they are. When I tried them out, true enough, the soles were so heavy it felt like I was carrying steel balls chained around my ankles.


I am one for style over comfort so I am not closing my doors on the Vespadrilles yet. At the moment, however, I think I'm good. Mostly I'm just satisfied with my So!Fab wedges, worn here with a dress from Apple & Eve -


This is my patented smirk-a-pout look. :p Yes, those are my sandals' heels that you see at the back. Ganyan siya kataas. Bongga.


- posted via Blogpress for iPad

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Banana-rama

I was in the mood for frozen bananas last week. The first time I tried those out was from a kiosk in the basement of the Annex in SM North. Layo. Feeling frustrated cook, I Googled recipes for frozen bananas and came across instructions that were pretty straight forward. Here we go -

Step 1: Buy bananas - Check. This one I can do.


Step 2: Slice bananas and insert straws. - My "recipes" called for wooden popsicle sticks but I couldn't find them in the grocery so I settled for these.


Step 3: Freeze bananas for at least three hours.


Step 4: Melt semi-sweet chocolate, dip frozen bananas in melted chocolate, and roll in crushed nuts (walnuts in our case, sosyal). You noticed, I sped through Step 4 because I seem to have messed that Step up when we made our bananas.


For one, the chocolate that we bought took forever to melt. Secondly, when the chocolate finally melted, the consistency was so thick that we couldn't coat the banana with it. And thirdly, apparently, I had to wait for the chocolate to cool before dipping the banana in it. Toink. Nalapnos ang aking saging! (Sorry, I don't have an English equivalent for "lapnos".)

If you think that there is no way anyone can ever mess up a recipe as simple as frozen bananas, then you are obviously wrong. Maybe I'm just missing something here. Is there a special type of chocolate that melts easily and hardens the minute it touches something cold? Next time, I'll probably just go with Hershey's chocolate syrup. Or I could go back to that kiosk in the basement of the Annex in SM North.

- posted via Blogpress for iPad

Monday, July 25, 2011

Battle of the Chickens

I realized, as soon as we tried out Bon Chon Chicken, that the reason why I wasn't impressed with Chicken Charlie was because I'm not a fan of this type of cooking in the first place. I was expecting the spicy-tangy taste of buffalo wings, only to end up with a soy garlic taste that doesn't even come with blue cheese dip. Little did I know that it was merely a matter of comparing apples to oranges.


You see, even when both recipes work with the same chicken part - wings, obviously - they are really worlds apart. Buffalo wings hail from Buffalo, New York. They are chicken wings, fried unbreaded and then coated in a sauce composed of vinegar-based cayenne pepper and butter. NY wings are typically served with vegetable sticks (celery, for instance) and a dip (like ranch or blue cheese).

The likes of Bon Chon and Chicken Charlie, on the other hand, hail from Seoul, South Korea. Like buffalo wings, Korean "paper fried chicken" is fried unbreaded and mostly unseasoned. Unlike buffalo wings, however, Korean fried chicken will not be slathered in sauce but will only be lightly seasoned with soy and garlic or hot pepper sauce. Like I said, Korean chicken is fried twice, resulting in a delicate, crunchy, paper-like skin. It is often served with pickled relish and ahhh, beer.

Between the two, I now know that I'm a fan of buffalo. Hence, my original opinion of Chicken Charlie. But if I had to choose a brand of Korean fried chicken, I'd pick Chicken Charlie over Bon Chon any day. Here's why.


First off, Bon Chon has become so popular in Manila that the crowds are starting to get uncool. In fairness to Bon Chon, we didn't have to wait as long as we did at Chicken Charlie but the lack of breathing space was really such a hassle. Ang ingay pati.


I'll give plus points for the presentation. At least Bon Chon gave out actual utensils and plates. Haha


But as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Based solely on my personal experience, Chicken Charlie's chicken is crispier and much tastier than Bon Chon's. Bon Chon chicken is crispy on the outside alright, but the meat to me was tasteless. Chicken Charlie's soy garlic chicken tasted like soy garlic even without the skin.

There you go. Be wary though that whoever is declared victor in this Battle of the Chickens will basically still depend on personal tastes. Pao for instance likes Bon Chon more. Malik just likes the fries and (off topic) Chowking's Chicharap. Teehee


- posted via Blogpress for iPad

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What is a Maroon?

We watched the UP Fighting Maroon's game against the NU Bulldogs on Sunday because we were especially inspired by UP's victory over the UE Red Warriors the week before (yes, the one that broke UP's 18-game losing streak. Waha)



Pao was all for school spirit, so he wore his one and only maroon t-shirt.



I wore maroon shoes, if that counts.



From this angle, it looks like the UP bleachers is a sad sad place.


It kinda' is. While the people on NU's side of Araneta were cheering their hearts out, some of us on UP's side were reading pocket books during the game! Si Malik nakatulog nga eh. Heehee



UP lost, unfortunately. It was doubly unfortunate that I expected that to happen. In our basketball team's defense, UP is such a straight as an arrow nerdoks academic institution that we don't treat our school athletes differently. This means, unlike say players from A University or L, UP players have to actually attend classes, study for their exams and THEN train. Poor kids. Maybe all those calls for travelling and all those air balls (gasp!) were because they were preoccupied with their midterms the next day. Yeah.



Anyway, I realize that not too many of us know our university hymn. I'm not a follower of the UAAP so I didn't really know that we sang school songs at the end of each game. Now that I know, I'm posting the words to UP Naming Mahal below, by way of public service. Memorize it! (That means you, Paolo)

* * *
U.P. naming mahal, pamantasang hirang
Ang tinig namin, sana'y inyong dinggin
Malayong lupain, amin mang marating
Di rin magbabago ang damdamin
Di rin magbabago ang damdamin

Luntian at pula, Sagisag magpakailanman
Ating pagdiwang, bulwagan ng dangal
Humayo't itanghal, giting at tapang
Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan
Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan

* * *
We'd like to watch another one of UP's games if time permits. It's at least fun observing all the wide-eyed college students milling about like their futures mattered (uy, I'm just being Nega-tron here). If you're ever in the mood, the UP Fighting Maroons are scheduled to play on the following dates:

Game 3: Sat, July 23, 1pm
UP Fighting Maroons vs La Salle Green Archers

Game 4: Sat, July 30, 1pm
UP Fighting Maroons vs Ateneo Blue Eagles

Game 5: Thu, August 4, 1pm
UP Fighting Maroons vs FEU Tamaraws

Game 6: Sun, August 7, 1pm
UP Fighting Maroons vs UST Growling Tigers

Game 7: Thu, August 11, 1pm
UP Fighting Maroons vs Adamson Falcons


Malik: "Let's gow, UP."

That is all. Toodles.

- posted via Blogpress for iPad

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dealing with it

I'm tired and I have no one to blame for it but myself. My schedule was ideal when I moved jobs from a law firm to my present employment. I worked from 9am to 6pm, rarely had to take work home with me, and kept weekends sacred. But since deciding, knowingly and voluntarily, to go back to school, my days have become more complicated.

I somehow still manage. I show up early so I can read and work on my assignments before clocking in on weekdays. Lately, I've also been studying on half of my weekends. So that's half-off my time originally spent with the boys. I don't know yet if I'm doing well in school. We've had one midterm exam so far and that turned out okay.



There's just no denying that further adjustments have to be made now. While Pao and Malik are watching TV, I have to be scrunched up in a corner of our room reading and solving exercises. Last weekend, I decided to just embrace the situation and make the most out of it. Studying in UP is, after all, a privilege. I owe it to taxpaying citizens to take this opportunity seriously. Naks. So anyway, 6 years since I last used a study table, I now have my very own "workspace" at home -



Waha. I basically just cleared out 1/4 of our desk and took out some of Malik's puzzle mats so I can use a folding chair. Talk about modest. It kinda looks pathethic no? Haha But it will do.

* * *

By the way, we got a couple of these folding chairs from a local department store, originally for when we have get-togethers at home. I didn't know they were from Ikea until I got around to setting up my study corner.



But wait, does Ikea have their furniture manufactured in China?



- posted via Blogpress for iPad

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chicken Charlie

This week, after an exceptionally tiring work day, the boys and I tried out Chicken Charlie over at J. Abad Santos St. in San Juan (same strip as Ristra's, House of Lasagna and Serenitea). I really wanted to go to Charlie's at Ronac that night but Pao insisted that we try out something new. So off to Chicken Charlie we went.


Chicken Charlie uses the double-frying technique popularized by Bon Chon Chicken. First they fry the chicken in vegetable oil "to take out the fat" and then fry it again to make the skin super crispy. I am not sold on the claim that Chicken Charlie is healthy. They say that their chicken has zero grams trans-fat, but common', the chicken is FRIED...TWICE.



First off, the place is small. I estimate that it can barely accomodate 15 people so it's not a place to hold parties in, unless well, you're a loser with no friends.



Service is slow. It took 30 minutes for our order to arrive, which may be justified because they cook only upon order. Whatever. I was hungry, irritable, and I needed to be fed fast.



I'm also deducting pogi points because of the presentation. We were handed paper plates (really thin ones) and I was not impressed -



All things considered, I think Chicken Charlie is the kind of business that derives success out of the sheer genius of their product. Their chicken IS crispy, and yet the meat remains juicy and tasty. We got drumsticks + chicken wings, with flavors split between soy garlic and hot sweet, for PhP288. Okay naman, but a wee bit pricey.



(Again, minus points for presentation. The pieces with toothpicks [!] are the spicy ones.) We also got potato wedges for PhP49, which were not something I would write home about. Serving size is small and they mostly tasted like unwashed potato skins.



Will I go back? Maybe. If I happen to find myself in the area. But I surely won't purposely go there. It just isn't worth the trouble. Sungit. Hehe Next up, Bon Chon.



- posted via Blogpress for iPad

Friday, July 15, 2011

Substitutes

You folks should know, Payless is currently on sale. My [asa pa ako] Isabel Toledo x Payless vespadrille wedges are at 25% off, which means they're now more reasonably priced at around PhP2,500!

Still, after my last shoe purchases, my only logical course was to pass off on the vespadrilles. Naks, how very mature of me. Heehee But since I can't seem to leave a store on sale without taking something - anything - home, I ended up with these instead.


Uy, ankle socks at 3 pairs for PhP120. Not bad.





So what does one do with dotted ankle socks? Well, wear them with old school t-strap sandals of course!


I wish I could say that I put a lot of thought into this outfit, like "O. I purposely chose a full skirted black dress to emphasize my footwear." or "Black on black is so in this season." But I can't. The fact of the matter is, I wore this dress because it had been hanging on our clothesline for months now, just gathering dust. Kinailangan ko na siyang gamitin kasi namumuti na! Haha I'm off to work. Good morning world!

- posted via Blogpress for iPad

Thursday, July 14, 2011

At his own pace

We underestimate Malachi. I've since learned not to ask Malik to do things to show off to other people, because he just won't. Besides, sometimes it just feels like we're pressuring him to impress others when all he should be occupied with is learning and having fun.

Anyway, when it's just us in our bedroom, I swear Malik does the most amazing things. Like the other week, just as I was thinking that Malik never cares to listen to what we teach him (This month's lesson: Body Parts), he takes out the eyes of one of the cartoon characters in our floor puzzle mats, brings it up to his eyes (like shades) and actually says "eyes".

For the record, this is the portion of our floor puzzle mats that I was referring to -



The character's name is Doraemon, a Japanese cartoon that looks like this in 2D -





This is Malik handing me Doraemon's eyes -



And, I hope this works, here's a video of Malik that night -


- posted via Blogpress for iPad

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yaya Two

You may have noticed, Ate Bear isn't with us anymore. It turns out, she wasn't treating Malik right when we weren't around so that's that. [Last photo of Malik and Ate Bear together. She was Malik's yaya for a year.]



Malik's new yaya, Yaya Two (more on this later, heehee) is a lot more attentive to Malik's needs and dots on him like a relative. Here she is staying with us at the Pen one weekend -



Unfortunately, all the attention that Malik's been getting from Yaya Two isn't working well for us. Malik thinks he can get away with anything now, resulting in longer lasting temper tantrums -







I don't know if Malik's only acting up in our presence. But I'm seriously worried about this phase (at least I hope it's only a phase). I've requested Yaya Two to not give in to Malik's tantrums all the time. Let him mop the floor with his body all he wants, I tell her. I see though that she's finding it difficult not to pick up Malik when he's crying. I appreciate that she is caring, but the consequences are more complicated than we realize.

I at least know that it's not a childcare provider's place to discipline my child. That's our responsibility as parents. But when we're not around, as we sadly often are, what happens? Will Malik grow up thinking that he can throw things around or play with his food because no one in authority is around to tell him not to? How does this work? How?

- posted via Blogpress for iPad

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Here I go again

That time when I said that I'd be cutting back on my shoe purchases was momentary. Even though I recently adopted a new shoe-organizing system and declared that I don't have enough plastic shoe boxes to store more shoes, I go out and buy myself new pairs. Three of them.


So here's how you know that you need intervention: It's when you drag your husband and 1 yr old to the mall at 8:30 p.m. even when it's pouring like crazy, so you can hop over to a shoe store to buy shoes that you saw the day before.


Gladi: Pwede ba tayong dumaan sa The Block? May babalikan lang akong sapatos.
Pao: Ayoko nang magpark, nakakapagod.
Gladi: Okay lang. Maghazard ka na lang. (Runs to store and buys shoes in 10 minutes tops. Phones husband to pick her up at entrance, while greedily clutching shopping bags.)
Pao: O ano, okay ka na?
Gladi: Okay na *smiles*.


Oh well. At least my new shoes are from local brands So!Fab and Shoebox & Me. Let's just think of this sick sick episode as my way of contributing to the economy, shall we?

- posted via Blogpress for iPad

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Malik's five new things

As you may have seen from Wednesday's post 1) Malik likes to dance. He has choreographed moves to Katy Perry's Firework and actually knows how to dance Billy Jean. For real.

2) We've been taking Malik to Active Fun at the SM North Annex and he's been having a blast. The awesome thing about this is, vouchers bought from Metrodeal give Malik unlimited play time for only Php175. Last weekend, Malik got so tired of unlimited-ly playing, there came a point when he was just sitting on top of the slide, watching other kids play. Kailangan talagang sulitin. Haha



3) Malik got his third hair cut last month. We took him to a regular barbershop this time, where the barber used a regular labaha to shave around Malik's ears and nape!







Observe the fear in Lola Parrot's eyes. Never again, folks. Never again -



4) Malik has learned his way around the iPad. He knows which apps to touch and the purpose of the home button. Here he is posing for the camera -



And Facetime-ing with daddy, who was then in Palawan -



5) Malik's new Spiderman Firefly toothbrush is the bomb. We actually don't have problems with oral hygiene because Malik just loves his orange and strawberry flavored toothpastes from Sans Fluo. But the Firefly toothbrush makes brushing more fun for mom and dad. Malik, on the other hand, appears to be just mildly entertained. Ladi-da.



BONUS) Check out Malik's Barney bedroom slippers. These came courtesy of Lola Bel and aren't really new. Malik was too little when we got them. Now Malik's big enough to insist that he use it before entering our bedroom. They're too cute.







- posted via Blogpress for iPad
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