Saturday, December 31, 2011

the last day of the year ♥

Another year is upon us. Thank you, Lord, for blessing us another year of life. I'll be the first to say that 2011 could have been better, but it could have been worse, also. All in all, I just wanna extend my thanks to the people who've always been there for me - my parents, my friends, my bf. I'd be lost without you guys.

It's been fun, and we're gonna rock 2012 together.

What my cousin got me.
And cheers to Janz for this shirt!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

gingerbread starr ♥

This morning, I felt the urge to bake. And being one who never turn down these urges, I did a quick inventory of what's in our pantry, and got to work.

In honor of the holidays, I made Gingerbread Men and Stars. I call this Gingerbread Starr. I would have make other designs, but I don't have a lot of cookie cutters, and hearts, flowers, and animals don't deem appropriate. Except for the one my friend Janz kept asking for, a rabbit with antlers. Some sort of freaky hybrid, but then, she's weird that way. LOL

I spent the whole afternoon baking. Jojo dropped by, and we kept talking, I almost forgot I had a batch in the oven. Good thing I remembered on time, else I'll have charred Gingerbread Men.

Oh, and here's one for the Idiot's Guide to Baking: Stop the chatter and pay attention to what you're doing when getting something from the oven. It leads to first degree burn, which I now have on my thumb.

I thought of leaving it to cool overnight, then decorating it tomorrow, but decided to just finish the job. So, I've made 84 cookies, most of which I'll give away. I'm gonna give them to our two salesladies' children, and maybe to some of the vendors outside our store. There' this one kid I'm fond of, coz she loves to eat. So cute.

Anyway, I'll end this post with a hearty Merry Christmas to each and everyone who might pass by my blog and happen to read this. May your Christmas be filled with fun, laughter, and love.

The smiley is just from the leftover dough. It wasn't enough for either a gingerbread man or a star. =)

Sneaking a peek inside the oven.

With the cookie cutters.

Stacks of cookies.

Wish upon a Starr.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Gingerbread Men Version

Thursday, December 22, 2011

late christmas party post

We had our Christmas party last December 16. It was the first time I attended a school party where the students did the table arrangement and skirting (our batch did this), cooked the food and made the desserts (done by the higher batches).

I got there early, around 5PM, and four of my batchmates were already there. Since we were early, we decided to go to the convenience store across the street to get a few drinks. The girls got T. Ice, while the boys went for Red Horse.

Ienne consumed three bottles, and Cheng and I finished two. But among the three of us, I was the only one who kept eating the chips, so the alcohol didn't have any effect on me. Wish I could say the same for both of them, though. It was funny, coz they got tipsy, and by the time we got to school, we were laughing so hard and they were starting to get noisy.

The party itself was fun. We got games, programs, food, booze, raffles, and gifts. Our batch bonded with the other batches, and we made new friends along the way.

Then there's the "tradition" that was saved for last. I don't know how that started, but it's always done to the new batches every acquaintance party. We were blindfolded and made to go around the school in a line, then we were led to one of the classrooms where we were told to squat or sit on the floor. Oh, the anticipation. After a short, or long (depends on how you perceive it, blindfolded and all), wait, we were drenched in a mixture of oil, water, flour, and eggs.

It's all good fun, but you can imagine the shock we got. The water was cold, and the oil made the floor (which was covered in garbage bags, by the way) slippery that some of us had a hard time getting up without help.

We were told to bring extra clothes for that, but nobody said anything about underwear. We expected getting wet, but we weren't expecting to be soaked. So yes. We went home with wet undies. Not to mention with chunks of flour on our hair, as a quick shower didn't do anything much.

Still, despite getting wet, having stinking hair and being unable to remove the flour chunks, we did have fun. Even though I still wasn't able to get rid of the flour-egg-oil-water-mixture smell from my shirt no matter how many times I washed it.

I cant wait to see my batchmates next year, when we return from our Christmas break.

I wish I had the complete list for the foods, but I don't know where our copy of the menu went.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

why you should date a girl who reads ♥

I saw part of this being reblog in Tumblr, and it was said that Robert Pattinson was quoted saying this, but turns out it wasn't. It was written by Rosemarie Urquico, who hails from Baguio City.

It's a really nice read, and I could just relate to it (the italicized lines are the ones that best describe me). I felt the need to pass this on, especially to fellow bookworms like me.

"Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn't burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes."

Friday, December 16, 2011

on shopping, attending mass, and going home..

The other night, my high school barkada, Tif, and I went to SM. There was a humongous Converse sale going on at the Megatrade Hall, and we, along with throngs of people, were there with hopes of buying original Converse stuffs at the lowest prices.

It's like a big warehouse of Converse stuff.

The line at the counter.

There were a lot of people, and the lines were long. But we managed. And we both survived, with me buying two skirts, the kind with shorts underneath, and Tif sporting a pair of shorts. I got both for only 350 pesos. What up.

There were these pair of high-cut Chucks that I really wanted, but I couldn't find one in my size. Guess it wasn't for me. Fate is trying to tell me something. "Girl, you got two pairs of CTs already, why you need another one?"

What I bought.

And speaking of people gathering, I attended the first day of the 9-day novena to celebrate the coming of our Christ, more commonly called the Misa de Gallo. This is my fifth year of attending, and like the past four years, I hoped to complete this one, too.

It never fails to amaze me how many people would get up early in the morning, before the break of dawn, to attend Mass. The Mass was conducted in Bisaya, and I didn't really understood much of the First Reading, and the Gospel, but I'm glad Father said his Homily in English.

So many people attended, the church couldn't accommodate all the people.

It was a good one, too. Basically, what he was trying to tell us is that we should see the good in people, in thing, instead of always focusing on the bad. If we see the good, then change could happen, and peace may be within our reach.

It was short, succinct, and heartwarmingly satisfying. He got to the point. I don't like priests who go on and on and on without ever coming to what he really is trying to say. And I appreciate those who can deliver a good message without it becoming a 2-hour sermon.

On a much more lighter note, yesterday was our last day of school. And after class, we did arranged the buffet tables and did the skirting for our Acquaintance/Christmas Party tonight. We had a little bit of conflict with the other batch, and we don't really like some of them. They might think they can walk all over us because they're ahead, but we won't let them. We're tough. But what the hell. It's Christmas. Goodwill to men, and all that shit.

I'll be going home to Tacloban on Sunday, and I can't wait. =)

Shoutout to my good friend Jin, who's taking the board exam this week. Good luck, and may God be with you.
This is the face of the next board topnotcher. =)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

not just older, but also wiser

So I turned 19 20, OK, fine, I turned 23 last December 7. It's the first time celebrated my birthday away from home, away from my family. Not that I celebrated in any way, coz I stayed home alone after class, had to study for an exam (which I aced, BTW) the following day.

My Dad was here for the weekend, though, which was cool. He attended a convention, and we got to hang on his free time. Had dinner with him along with his friends, and their kids, and the awesome thing was I got to bring my friends, too. Great. We had free dinner.

I also got myself a new lappy, because Athena was passed on to Dad. He was supposed to buy one for himself, but I asked him if he'd buy a small notebook for me instead and he'd use mine. He agreed so now Athena is with Dad, and I got myself a HP Pavilion DM1 Notebook. Of course, I still think my Acer was better and faster, but it was also bigger and heavier, which makes me don't want to lug around. So HP (I'm still thinking of a name for it) is also good. Lighter, smaller, easier to carry.

Oh, and the DM1 is equipped with Beats Audio, which I so love! I don't need speakers anymore, coz the built-in speakers are loud!

Meet my new lappy, He-Who-Shall-Be-Named. Soon. =)

This is how it looks like, but I got mine in black.

Oh, and I'd like to end this post to birthday shoutouts to my Mom and my Dad. Mom had hers last December 9, and my Dad celebrated his yesterday. I'm so bummed I wasn't there for the party, but I definitely sent my love to them both! I miss you guys. ♥

Thursday, November 24, 2011

random things that make me happy

I've just finished reading Neil Pasricha's The Book of Awesome. It was a fun read, with Neil listing things that are "awesome" and it made me want to do a list of my own, on a much smaller scale, that is.

So, here are random things that are pretty awesome, to me. Some of these may have been in the book, too, but I assure you it's purely coincidence that both me and the author find it great.

  1. Popping bubble wrap. Come on, who doesn't like to pop bubble wrap? My Mom wouldn't often get exasperated because she keeps bubble wrap for future use or for storing breakable items such as vases, mugs, etc. And everytime I see one, I pop it before my Mom can use it, which leads to her telling me how I wasted a good length of bubble wrap, yada yada yada.
  2. The smell of freshly-baked bread. Ah, baked goodies. How I love them. Which is one of the reasons why I'm studying Pastry Arts. There's just something good about the smell of freshly-baked bread.
  3. Freshly laundered sheets. They smell good, the feel good, and what's more, it's clean. They give new meaning to a good night's sleep.
  4. Laughing over something that you just remembered. I do this. I'm the type of girl who laughs over something that happened yesterday, the other day, last week, last month, or even last year. When I remember something funny, whether it's something I read in a book, or one of my friend's crazy antics, I just give in and laugh. And this often happens while I'm alone, so people would look at me as if I'm crazy.
  5. Jumping into the deep, blue sea. During summer, my nephews, my cousin, my cousin's friends, and I would go to Kuya Robert's hometown in Antique. Their house is right along the beach so we'd often go for a dip in the sea. They have this small floating cottage made of bamboo, and there's a diving board built at the side. We'd usually climb the bamboo poles till we reach the top (about 8 feet high, I think), then we'd pinch our nose, close our eyes, and just.. Jump. Climbing is a little nerve-wrecking, our knees start to shake, but the feeling of free-falling into the deep sea is just awesome. It's only for a few seconds, but those seconds you feel free. And once you hit the cold water, you get hit with this feeling that hey, I just jumped from an 8-feet high board to the 15-feet deep sea.
  6. When my Mom cooks my fave dishes. My Mom never remembers what food I hate. She'd be all, "Why aren't you eating that?" during dinner and I'd go, "But Mom, I hate raisins." And the next time she cooks something with raisins, we'd have the same conversation all over again. But even with that one flaw, what's great about Mom is that she knows what I like. And nothing beats that feeling of happiness when I sit down at the table, and realized that Mom cooked all my favorites all at once.
  7. The smell of onions and garlic being sauteed. Back at home, when I had nothing to do, I'd sleep late, and wake up around noontime. And since my room is just beside our kitchen, the aroma of whatever's cooking would usually drift into my room. I'd wake up to the smell of sauteing garlic and onions, and my stomach would rumble just from the smell of it. There's something very familiar and comforting about that smell, not to mention the awareness that, in just a few minutes or so, lunch will be ready. And it'll be eating time again!
  8. The milky smell of babies. Babies have this milky-odor that's very comforting. And it's nice to cuddle with a baby, and maybe sniff him/her every once in a while.
  9. New socks. They feel nice and soft, and it's like my feet's able to breathe even while trap in a pair of shoes for hours.
  10. When my Dad texts me just to check how I am. I am a Daddy's Girl, but while my Dad and are close, we don't have that firmly-bonded relationship where we hang out together, do things together, and I share my everyday life with him. So when he texts me just to ask if I'm OK and to ask how I'm doing, it gives me a very warm feeling.
  11. The smell of books. One cannot be a bookworm and not love the smell of books. This may sound weird, but while waiting in line at the cashier in a bookstore, I'd be sniffing and smelling the book in my hand. Just one of my little quirks.
  12. Free WiFi. In this day and age of laptops, WiFi enable cellphones, tablets, iPods and iPads, wireless connection is a must. It's also the time where coffee shops and restaurants offer WiFi, but you have to order something to avail it. That's why it's so awesome when you encounter WiFis that aren't password protected. So, here's to people/establishments that share their wireless internet for everyone. Cheers to you!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

my little home away from home

Being an only child, I've always had to battle my parents (well, my Dad, especially) for independence. My Mom taught me to be independent at a young age - I was barely 8 years old when she taught me simple house chores like washing the dishes, sweeping/mopping the floor, doing my own laundry and ironing.

From there we moved on to basic kitchen duties, where I started washing and peeling veggies. Then came chopping, gutting out fishes, and eventually, cooking. I know how to cook basic dishes - adobo, sinigang (with the benefit of Maggi's sinigang mix), spaghetti, tinola, omelets, etc, thanks to Mom. Although when I get lazy, I do instant noodles and canned goods, but I try not to make a habit out of it, because it's not healthy, yada yada yada.

That was the time I discovered the miracle of cookbooks. Mom encouraged me to explore, so I'd make dishes on a trial and error basis (whatever the results, we'd still eat it), following the recipe. But cooking isn't my first love. Baking is. So, here I am. But I'll get back to that.

It's ironic, because from the time I was a kid, my Mom preached about how important it is to know my way around the house, because someday I'm gonna make my way in the world and no one's gonna be doing it for me, but I had to fight my Dad tooth and nail before he let me be on my own.

Granted, that if he said yes before, I'd be studying Medicine at Manila, not Pastry Arts here in Cebu. And baking being my first love, I'm not sure how I currently feel about that. I don't have regrets about not going into Medicine, but when the taxi I rode in (I usually take the jeep, but I went to Unitop and bought three mono-bloc chairs) passed by Cebu Institute of Medicine the other day, I felt a twinge of something. Just a hint of what could be.

So anyway, I was beyond thrilled when my Dad told me I could study here in Cebu. Of course, that might be attributed to the fact that there are no decent cooking schools back home. My Mom knows for a fact that I'd do fine by myself, but my Dad still needs a little convincing. After all, I'm his one and only baby girl. ♥

This is the first time I'm gonna be away from home and from my parents for a long time. The last time I was at Manila, I was there for about for months or so, but this time I'll be gone for a minimum of 10 months. I miss them both so badly, not to mention Lex, but still. This is exactly where I want to be.

I agree with Dorothy. Indeed, there's no place like home! But I sure put in some effort into making my little place feel like home.

From outside the door.

Another view from the outside.

Behind the door. Slippers, sandals, shoes. And I'm wearing the fluffy bedroom slippers.

Everything but the kitchen sink! =)

Making do with a table for my little kitchenette. There's my rice cooker, electric heater, and electric stove so I can cook.

My toilet.

My bed. The top bunk is messy, seeing as how nobody sleeps there. So I just dump my stuff on it. And there's my teeny, tiny electric fan. Plus my freshly laundered clothes beside it, waiting to be ironed.

Where I sleep. And there's my precious book, Professional Baking. ♥

My dining table, courtesy of Kuya Larry. Thanks! My laptop and Kindle take up space, though.

The closet. Messy, as always.

The small screened balcony where I hang the wet clothes after I wash them.

It's not much, but it's home. My home. =)

Friday, November 18, 2011

i survived my first week

"The only way to master this is to answer more problems. So, I'm going to give you more problems."
-Chef Nick

Then he hands out papers. And everybody in class groans.

That's the thing about schools. No matter if you're elementary, high school, college, graduate school, or even in culinary school, homework and assignments are something to be groaned about. And, when Chef told us that he was gonna postpone our exam, everybody pumped their fists and said, "Yes!" School will be school, and students, no matter how old, will be students.

I love our school. We get free WiFi access, the bathrooms are clean (and they always have tissue paper), we can get water from the dispenser for free, and our classroom is air-conditioned (to the point where we all complain about the room being too cold). Of course, for the price we are paying, I'd say that we all deserve the best, don't you think?

I can't say the same for our current subject, though. Everything starts from the basics; and that's what we're doing right now. Math. Oh, I like Math, but now I'm rethinking it. Seeing all the numbers make me dizzy, and I'm starting to question myself if being a Pastry Chef is worth going through all these (yes, it is!).

So, Culinary Mathematics. We started with conversions, which is easy enough. And then we moved on to product costing, which made my hurt pound, but is fairly tolerable. But then there's the horror of recipe costing. and I don't know if I could take some more. At least our classes are over for the weekend. And thank God Chef Nick didn't give us any more assignments, like he did for the past 3 days.

Another thing about school that I just remembered, is how the students would go tho class early for the purpose of copying another classmate's homework. Not that we did any copying. But we did go in early, compared our answers, cheered when we got the same, then debated on who is right or wrong whenever the answers differ.

And I've made friends. Not the let's-hang-out-and-be-BFFs-together kind, though. Just the come-on-let's-sit-together kind. We still have more time to bond later on.

Oh, and speaking of friends, this shoutout goes to one of my BFFs, Janelle (I don't know why I keep putting her link, it's not as if she updates her blog, LOL). It's her 19th birthday today!

I miss you loads! =)

Monday, November 14, 2011

back to school

So.. Today was my first day. It was basic Culinary Mathematics, and it's basic Math all over again, but I had fun. All we did was introduce ourselves, listen to Chef Nick's short lecture (he's a Pastry Chef, and he's awesome), converted one unit to another (cups to pints, teaspoons to quarts, kilograms to ounces, etc.). It's not much yet, but we all gotta start somewhere, right?

And my batchmates are all nice (we're Batch 20). Most of them are under the Culinary Arts program, though. Only two of us are doing the Pastry Arts thing. But it doesn't matter, coz we're all together for our classroom lectures, and there are Pastry Arts students from the previous batch.

Chef Nick mentioned something about having all Pastry Arts students gather and making a gingerbread Christmas village, which is ambitious (he said it himself). But if we do proceed with that plan, OMG, I can't wait!

Anyway, can't blog long. I gotta make visual aids to help me memorize the conversion units. Gah. And we've got assignments. Boohoooo.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

it's my first day alone

I forgot who sang that, but when I was younger my Dad would play songs from the 60's, 70's and 80's, and I remembered that one.

So, last night was the first night I spent alone here. My friend, Jin, and I accompanied my Mom to the pier, where she boarded the slow boat leaving at 10 PM. My room feels so quiet with only me in it, but it's not unpleasant. I actually like being alone, and now I have more time to read (because I have no TV, and I have no desire to get one). Afterwards we split shared a banana split, then we walked all the way to my place.

I attended our orientation yesterday, and I got to meet my classmates. It's nice, because we sorta bonded despite our differences - courses, ages, nationality (we have a Korean classmate). Also, the one who oriented us, told us, "Students, what you cook.. You will eat." And I thought, "Oh God, hopefully I'd finally gain weight!"

Classes start Monday, and I'm so excited. My journey to being a pastry chef starts right now. ♥

Here's a little something one of my best friends, Janelle, gave me before I left.
It's a t-shirt, with the above picture printed on it. Fitting, don't you think?
*For your souvenir and printing needs, visit Janz' shop at Real St, Tacloban City, across the Medical Arts Bldg of Bethany Hospital.
It's kinda hard to miss. Just look for a cute, purple shop. =)*

Sunday, November 6, 2011

love love love

I got bored, I had nothing to blab blog about, so I thought, why not? I started the 10 Day You Challenge, and this is my second post about it.

So, here goes.
  1. Baking. This is the ultimate hobby, stress-reliever, and anti-depressant all in one. A friend once told me my passion lies in baking, and I'm thinking she was right. I've always wanted to be a pastry chef, and I'm working on that dream.
  2. Eating. This goes hand in hand with baking, and cooking, too. What I cook, I eat. What other people cook, I also eat. I'm not a picky eater, not much (I don't eat okra, though - even I have limits). If it's edible, and it's yummy, I'd eat it. Good thing I'm blessed with a fast metabolism, and I always maintain a 24-inch waistline no matter how much I eat.
  3. Reading. Now, this is something I wouldn't be able to live without. To me, reading is a necessity. It's more as important as the air I breathe, and, no, I'm not exaggerating. I started reading looking at pictures when I was as young as 3. I remember my yaya (nanny) had a hard time feeding me, as I'd insist on eating with a book spread out next to my plate. Check out my Goodreads profile.
  4. Travelling. We (me, my nephews, my cousin and her friends/co-workers) travel to a new place once a year, usually in the summer. So far, the best place I've been to was Coron, Palawan and Singapore.
  5. Beaches. I love everything about the sea. Swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, jet-skiing, island hopping. I'm a certified beach bum. One of these days, I'ma try scuba diving, too. I love the Philippines, because of its pristine beaches. Proud Pinay.
  6. Sunsets. I love watching the sun set. I like the way the sky changes its color from blue, to orange, red, purple.. Until it turns black as night.
  7. My Ngit♥. I'm 22 years old, and I've been with only one guy. He was my first boyfriend; we broke up, then got back together. We call each other Ngit, short for Pangit, which is the Filipino word for ugly. Weird, huh? But that's a story for another day post.
  8. My Mom and my Dad. That's two, I know, but I'm counting my parents as one. Because that's how I see them: they're a unit. Partners. I have the coolest parents, ever. I'm an only child, but I never had curfews. I never got everything I asked for (how only children get everything they want is such a myth), but I received everything I need. My parents raised me to be what I am today, and I think they did an awesome job. I love them both so much.
  9. Last but not the least, I love my Daddy God. I know this is so cliched, but it doesn't make it any less true. My parents, my Mom especially, are both Catholics, and they raised me according to the religions teachings. Prayers and faith, those are two things my parents taught me not to lose. I believe in Him, and I know He's watching over me.

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