Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ansama rin!

So there's all this hullabahoo going on around Dr Belo and Boy Abunda's statements about rival beauty centers and it got me thinking - is cosmetic surgery worth all the hype ?

You see, the problem is that we all see cosmetic surgery - especially breast augmentation - as being solely motivated by vanity and that, surely, couldn't be good, right ? While vanity may be a major motivating factor for most cases, there are certainly a lot of exceptions to that generalization.

I've seen cases where women with very low self-esteem are transformed into very confident, secure and self-assured people after going through cosmetic surgery to correct flaws. You have to agree that a person who truly feels beautiful inside and out would have no fear of coming out and experiencing the world.

I'm quite glad to see that cosmetic surgery centers such as Charlotte breast augmentation center make more of an effort to provide a good experience for their patients by providing them with in-depth information about their staff, options and procedures - all the information that you need to help you make an informed choice and decision. They even give support to existing and future patients.

For me, this is a very important step in the decision process of going through cosmetic surgery. I would want to know more about the staff with whom I would be dealing with throughout the process. The before and after pictures that they show on their site help as well because they give me an idea of the possibilities - if you're not iffy about seeing photos, check them out and be inspired.


*disclaimer: cosmetic surgery may boost your confidence but remember, it does not always work perfectly.

Monday, February 23, 2009


So I'm catching up on Pinoy gossip and come across a quote from Dr Vicki Belo:

"... and I'd like to say, if you want to look like Boy Abunda, then go to Calayan. But if you want to look like Dingdong Dantes and Piolo Pascual, come to Belo."


Friday, February 20, 2009

An hour at a time

I got back from my monthly trip to HQ last night. I had a good - but not quite uneventful - trip (check out my previous post about the tire blowout).

My colleague and friend G also took and passed the first of three exams towards his MSPD certification while I am there and I am feeling so inspired. I remember planning and thinking about taking MS certifications at around the same time that he started reviewing for his and here I am, still with nothing on my plate.

I guess I better shape up and really get things into gear. G tells me to just start by allotting an hour a day and that should get me to where I'm going - slowly, but surely - and I agree with him.

So this is me, announcing that I'm on techie mode.

And speaking of techies, you might want to check out this site which contains a knowledge-base for file extension ifo. They're trying to put together information about all sorts of programs, applications and file types that are being released and installed on our computers.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Guess who had a tire problem this morning?

It wasn't just a flat tire, the tire burst while I was driving down a state highway. I was so scared when the car started shaking and thankfully, I was able to pull up to the shoulder safely.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's day 2009

I'm flying out to company HQ again tomorrow and I'll see you guys in a few days. I enjoyed the weekend and am enjoying the extra day off today (President's day).

Hubby and I didn't go out on a romantic date on Valentine's day but we did have lunch at our favorite steak place. We both got rib-eyes this time and as always, they were cooked beautifully.

We had to forego Jollibee yesterday too but we did have a quiet and romantic lunch at a nearby Mexican place that serves mostly French food (eh ?).

It's nice too because we were surprised to find such a nice restaurant in an area (street) that reminded me so much of an LRT station along Rizal Avenue in Manila.

This was a pleasant surprise which followed our very disappointing trip to Jollibee.

I'm now thinking of going to more out-of-the-way places to check out the local sights and restaurants. A visit to Wilmington, NC Luxury Real Estate might even be a good idea, am sure that Wilmington, NC is a wonderful city with lots of activities to offer tourists.


I've been on my toes waiting for Jollibee to start their operations in the east coast and it finally opened on Valentine's Day 2009.

Hubby and I were supposed to meet with a friend and his gf in NYC yesterday afternoon so we decided to maximize our trip to the city and drop by Woodside (Queens, NY) and have lunch at Jollibee. This was what met us when we got there:

and this line goes all the way to the back and around the corner and continues for a few blocks.

At first, we fell in line. Half an hour later, we've only succeeded in moving a few places forward and this was due to people in front who gave up and left.

I decided to ask around and got to talk to the manager. I was told that it's an average wait of 3 hours to get to the front of the line outside - this is just to get to the door. It does not include the wait time once you get inside because there are still long lines to the cashiers. She says that this is better than the day before because people were waiting 5 to 6 hours then.

We talked to the guy sweeping outside, he's a Jollibee employee. He says that the day before (opening day), they closed at 9pm but accomodated the people who were still in line at that time. They finally finished serving everybody by 3am and the crew were only able to go home by 5am.
Hubby and I left. I wanted to have some chickenjoy BUT not if I had to wait a few hours.

The novelty is bound to wear off after a while and we'll just come back in the future.

Friday, February 13, 2009

still down

The job market still sucks.

Yet another friend has become a victim of the continuing recession and things aren't looking good. Personally, I am not as anxious as I used to be because I'm seeing some impressive tax reliefs from the new stimulus act of 2009.

Fortunately, there are still companies that are hiring out there, check out, you can even work from home. Check it out.

Another one ?

First, US Airways 1549 crashed on the Hudson. Fortunately, all passengers and crew got out safe and sound.

Now, I hear that Continental flight 3407 from Newark to Buffalo crashed last night, all 49 passengers, crew members and even a person in the home that it crash landed on were killed.

Scary, no ?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


It just dawned on me today how much the word kubeta annoys me. Lately, it seems like my friend keeps bringing up this word whenever we talk and it was when I realized how irritated I was by the word.

For those of you who are not familiar with this word, this is the Tagalog (Filipino) word for toilet.

I really can't explain it but couldn't we all just say loo, bathroom, restroom, comfort room or even "CR" ? We can also say "men's room", "ladies' room" or even "powder room".

Kubeta sounds so ... uh... crass ?

I have this habit of leaving my laptop on and signed in to YM, so one time, I get back to my laptop to check and see if I have any emails waiting for me and what do I see ?

"Nakakatae ka ba sa public na kubeta ?"

Huh? I swear, I checked twice... three times even to make sure if I was reading the question right.

Okay, compared to TAE*, I guess KUBETA isn't so bad anymore.

to my friend - haha! if you're reading this, am not annoyed by you ah, just the word :P



On a lighter note, I just created the first of a few blog portals on that I've been meaning to set up. My new portal is called EasyCooking and aims to aggregate posts & blogs that share easy to prepare recipes. If you want to add your blog to my portal, log in to EasyCooking and click on "Add my blog".


edit: I just realized how totally inappropriate this post is. I never imagined that I would talk about toilets, #2, and food in the same post.

Ugh. But then again, what's done is done. :)

Salted Fish Fried Rice

Did I ever tell you that I'm a friend rice fiend? I love rice, all kinds of rice. This salted-fish fried rice is one of my absolute favorites whenever we go out to a Chinese restaurant.

- garlic
- rice
- egg
- salted fish (Salted Threadfin)
- sliced chicken
- spring onions

1. cut / shred the Salted Threadfin into little pieces - you could probably use other types of salted fish but this is the real deal. This fish comes in dried form but we just this because you're not supposed to use a lot anyway.

My hands and fingers hurt after making himay this fish because the flesh was so hard! I use 2 slices for the 2 serving fried rice that I usually make.

2. Saute the garlic and sliced chicken in oil (I use a little bit of the oil from the Salted Threadfin). When the chicken is cooked, add the shredded fish and saute a bit more.

3. Add the rice and egg.

4. Garnish with egg slices and spring onions.

Back to work

Mom and Dad are flying back home this weekend, I'm betting that my sister and her family - with whom they've been staying with for the last few months - are going to miss them sorely. I hear that Lyle has been asking his Ama (grandma) daily if they're leaving today. He's sad about them having to go.

If anyone's happy about this arrangement, am sure that it's my brother who was left to man the fort while the parents are away. I'm sure that he'll be very happy to have them back. After all, he tells me, he's so sick and tired of having to do the marketing (else, he goes hungry).

Me ? It's water off of a duck's back. My parents aren't with me anyway and we still get to talk to each other often (daily, even) wherever they are so I don't really care where they are physically. I'm sure Mom is raring to go back to work. Though I'm sure she enjoyed playing homemaker for a while, she must be bored out of her mind by now.

I've been bugging them to set up a website for the family enterprise(s). It would be really helpful if someone could just "google" a keyword and get a hit that leads them to our website, no? It would be good publicity sana and bring more people. I'm not really sure yet if they're on board but I'm hoping that they'll be able to check it out when they get back to work. I did volunteer to set up their website anyway and I'm pretty confident that it'll turn out great (and easy) with this premium wordpress theme from I checked out their demo earlier and it seems so complete already. Everything that you need for a website seems to be there, you just have to provide the content.

Am hoping that this could be some sort of a family-project that the younger cousins could help put together.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chicken Broccoli bake

This Campbell's recipe variation has become a standard fare at home. It's very easy to make and requires very simple ingredients and we like to serve this with freshly baked bread (Pillsbury crescents in the picture)


2-3 pcs of chicken

1 can Campbell's cream of chicken

cheddar cheese


  • Boil the chicken in water until cooked then shred the meat, throw away the skin. Keep the chicken stock for other dishes.

  • clean the broccoli cut it up.

  • arrange chicken meat & broccoli in a baking dish

  • Pour cream of chicken over the chicken meat & broccoli

  • Top with shredded cheddar cheese.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • Cover your baking pan with foil and put in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

  • Uncover the pan and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

  • Serve

You can add diced carrots & peas as a variation to this dish.

Noblesse Oblige Award

This Award is presented to bloggers who display consistency in any one or a combination of these conditions:

1. The Blogger manifests exemplary attitude, respecting the nuances that pervades amongst different cultures and beliefs.
2. The Blog contents inspire; strives to encourage and offers solutions.
3. There is a clear purpose at the Blog; one that fosters a better understanding on Social, Political, Economic, the Arts, Culture and Sciences and Beliefs.
4. The Blog is refreshing and creative.
5. The Blogger promotes friendship and positive thinking.

The Blogger who receives this award will need to perform the following steps:
1. Create a Post with a mention and link to the person who presented the Noblesse Oblige Award.
2. The Award Conditions must be displayed at the Post.
3. Write a short article about what the Blog has thus far achieved – preferably citing one or more older Post to support.
4. The Blogger must present the Noblesse Oblige Award in concurrence with the Award conditions.
5. The Blogger must display the Award at any location at the Blog.


Special thanks goes out to Mandy for sending me this award.

First thing I did when I received this award was to check out what Noblesse Oblige means, check out this page on Wikipedia to learn what it means.

Now, before I end this post, I'd like to leave you guys with a plug to check out a new networking site at Why don't you register, check and see if we have any common "Stuff" out there.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Winter 2009

A friend, hubby and I went to Hunter Mountain to go skiing and snowboarding this season. Hubby & friend tried snowboarding for the first time yesterday, I left them at the learning area while I went zipping down the slopes by myself. Whee!

It didn't take long before we all realized how (horribly) out of shape we were and even up to now, we are still feeling the after-effects of our day on the slopes yesterday. We are feeling all sorts of aches and pains all over our bodies - even on muscles that we never even knew existed. Haha!

We all had fun and can't wait to get back on the slopes, hopefully, within this season too.

I end this post with a picture of the exact moment in time when hubby decided that snowboarding isn't for him. This was his nth fall and he didn't want another one. :-)

He says that next time, he's going to try skiing instead.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Good news

Hubby received good news from work yesterday. He's not only been given a (retro-active) salary increase, he got a year-end bonus as well. When distributed into semi-monthly salary payments, it's not a lot really. But in these economic times ? When people should be thankful to still have jobs ? This is a great blessing.

My friend who lost his job last year also had good news to share with us. He's currently working on a project on a contractual basis, but he already has a job offer for a full-time position. There is also talk that the company he is currently working for (the contractual job) is planning to hire him full-time too. To top it all off, his unemployment benefits which had already reached the 6 month limit was granted an extension for another several months. He now has a backup for his backup for his backup. How cool is that ?

When it rains, it pours.

Now, all we need to wait for is for the economy to bounce back so we can all feel much safer. While we're waiting for that, Money Now! USA is available to help you sort out your personal finance problems.

I'm very happy that our 2009 started on this good note. I can't wait to find out what else God has in store for us.

Sotanghon with Stewed Pork Leg

I don't even remember how I prepared this but it was mostly a lot of cutting up the ingredients and stir-frying.

- 1 can stewed pork leg
- carrots, julienned
- scallions
- green veggies (cabbage, perhaps ?) - did not add
- sliced mushrooms

21st century dating

Stories of how a couple (husbands & wives) met each other fascinate me. When I find myself with nothing to do, I usually just log in to my favorite social networking sites and start browsing through my list of friends and when I come across someone whose profile or personal site seems to have been updated recently, I would go into their pages and then go through their friends list.

Every now and then, I'd hit the jackpot and come across someone I know from a long time ago and with whom I've lost touch with. I'd usually try and check to see if they're already married or are dating someone, and I'll try and see if I can find any of their pictures online.

... note to self: As I am typing this post, I suddenly realized that I do have some stalker-ish tendencies. Yikes! Better keep this in check.

With all that technology has to offer us nowadays, I'm beginning to see more and more couples who met through the internet - chat rooms, SMS, internet personals, and even social networking sites (haha!). I remember the times - it wasn't so long ago - when admitting that your bf was a phonepal sounded taboo. Nowadays, these are so normal.

There's even a 411 Dating Info website if you have not decided which dating site or method you want to use to meet other people. What can I say ? Welcome to the 21st century.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I've been talking on and off about cleaning out our closets (mostly, mine) and donating the stuff that we don't use anymore to the Salvation Army.

I started doing this last year and was able to put together a big bagful [think santa claus sack] and just set it aside in a corner of my home office. I never got around to actually dropping this off because I wanted to get a receipt and get the value deducted from my taxes. Soon, the big bag of clothes in the corner of the room just blended into the background and was forgotten.

So last night, we were sorting out the laundry and started running out of clothes hangers. Our closets are bulging and are about to burst. Even the laundry closet, which used to be empty, is now FULL of off-season clothes and jackets. I even have a hard time lifting the lid of the washer because I have to push the clothes aside. This is not good.

I find it so hard to part with my possessions. :(

Now, I'm going through these clothes again and I have to force myself to fold them and put them in the bag meant for the SA. I keep thinking that they're sayang and that I'll need them again when I get back to my old size -- haha! I guess I should know by now that this is never gonna happen, right ?

Monday, February 2, 2009

VDay 2009

Our 2nd year anniversary is just around the corner and I'm thinking about possible places where we could have dinner and celebrate. I know that scouting for date locations is usually a man's job but sometimes, a girl has to do what she has to do to have a proper date night, right ? We could probably celebrate Valentine's day as well since our anniversary and Vday are only a few days apart anyway.

And so, this gives me something else to think about aside from work - what to wear, accessories, makeup (yay!) and perfume. I'm checking out this new perfume blog and will try and compare different reviews about perfumes.

For a few years now, I've stuck to my favorites - Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden and Lancome's Miracle. I've always been attracted to light floral or natural fragrances that aren't too tangy.

Salted pork and century egg congee

Hubby and I have been craving for congee since the weather started getting colder last fall. I only used to be able to prepare good-'ol arrozcaldo but hubby had other (and better) ideas.

He preferred to have a different kind of lugaw and wanted me to try making salted pork congee. So I googled a few recipes and we called up MIL for some tips and instructions and this was what we came up with.

- pork cubes
- salt
- century egg
- salted duck egg
- a couple of thin slices of ginger
- rice
- dried scallops (optional)
- sesame oil (to coat the rice grains)
- chicken boullion powder (for flavoring)

1. Cut the pork into cubes, rub with salt and keep them in the refrigerator overnight.
2. To start cooking, rinse the pork and boil in a pot of water.
3. Prepare the rice by coating it with sesame oil.
4. When the pork has been boiling for a few hours (I like my salted pork so soft that they are falling apart when I bite into them), add the dried scallops and then, the rice.
5. Stir and continue cooking until the rice is cooked and you have congee.

6. Taste and flavor with chicken boullion powder.

7. If the congee is bland, use some salted dug eggs (cut up into small pieces or mashed) to flavor the congee. I've prepared this dish a few times and sometimes I had to add the duck egg and sometimes, the congee came out salty from the pork already.

8. Slice up some century egg and mix into the congee. The pic below shows the congee with bits of salted duck egg (the white stuff) and century egg slices.

This is good, we prepared this for Mom/Dad during our visit to California, they loved it and finished the whole pot.


We were out looking for Snow pants last weekend and decided to drop by Walmart on the off chance that they might be selling some, we didn't want to have to drive all the way to our favorite outdoor gear store - Campmor - because it was so much further.

Now, if you've been to Walmart, you should know what I'm talking about. For my readers who are in Manila, think SM garage / parking lot on a payday weekend. The parking lot - which was huge! - was full and you had to wait to get a slot.

Now, we must have been idling in our section (no other waiting cars in sight) for around 5 to 10 minutes when the owners of the SUV beside us started to back out. Yay! Just before we were about to slide into our slot (we got delayed because this SUV who was leaving blocked our car while he was trying to turn his vehicle towards our direction), another vehicle came from the other lane and stole our slot.

Mad, I decided to march down and confront the other car. Hubby tried to stop me, but I was seeing read and was unstoppable. I blame hubby a bit too because at this point, he saw another vehicle about to leave na pala but he didn't even mention that. If I had known that there was a better spot coming up, my anger would've been abated.

So I know on the car window, the passenger was a woman who looked to be in her 40s, she said "Yes ?".

"Miss, you took our spot, we've been waiting for parking a long time and this should've been ours."

and she replied in a VERY SARCASTIC TONE, "Sorry, we got here first!"

Ha ? I was so surprised at their utter lack of manners & conscience that I was speechless for a few seconds. I didn't know what to say. Eventually, I found my voice and said "okay, I see that it's useless to talk to people who are very rude."

AS I turned to walk away, she had the nerve to shout back, "I don't like talking to stupid people too!".

To which I retorted "then you must not like talking to yourself then!" and I left.


Thinking back, I should not have confronted them anymore. After all, what else was there to say to people like that ? They obviously did not have a shred of courtesy, they have no manners. The most surprising part was that these were middle aged to retirement age people. Obviously, uneducated and very uncouth.

My brother tells me that I should not even have lowered myself down by talking to them because by doing that, I am bringing them up to my level (or bringing myself down to theirs). He's right.

But the best comment that I heard was from someone else - "never mind, they're old people right ? just keep in mind that they'll probably die soon anyway so they don't have that much time annoy people with their rudeness." And THIS, made me smile.


And thinking back some more, I now realize that this is such a petty incident and shouldn't even worth a second thought. After all, there are more serious issues and tragic events that we can think about such as holodomor

Coupon Discrimination

I've talked about coupon clipping on and off these past several months and obviously, I am a coupon-clipper. So far, I've seen different reactions from store clerks whenever I present my coupons. Most of the time, they don't care. It's a common enough practice and it's no big deal.

Every so often, I do encounter raised eyebrows. Just last night, hubby and I went to Dunkin Donuts. We had 2 coupons - one for a free Dunkaccino and another coupon that lets us buy 2 donuts at 99c.

When I handed the coupons to the clerk, hubby was right beside me. We were told that we weren't allowed to use both because the coupons are limited to one per customer per visit, I then pointed out that hubby and I were 2 customers.

For a fraction of a second, I think the DD staff had his eyebrows raised. I felt a bit insulted and thought that he was looking down on us because not only did we come in with coupons, we came with 2!

He did let us use both of them and it was sort of funny too. Remember, it was one coupon per customer ? So, I gave hubby the other coupon and handed mine in first and said "I'll use this". He gave me a free Dunkaccino (no purchase required).

When that transaction was done, hubby then handed his in, selected the 2 donuts and when it was time to pay, he paid from his wallet. The total came to $1.06 with taxes, hubby didn't have coins so I got some from my wallet and gave that to hubby so that he can hand it to the cashier because after all, it was his coupon and his purchase.

And you know how you're supposed to tip baristas, right ? The change usually goes into their "TIPS" jar ? Now, I am an avid DD fan and drop by whenever I get the chance. I usually make sure that I give a chunk of change especially when I get good service. This time ? I paid $1.10 and got 4c in change. 4c went in to the TIP jar, just to annoy him (and no, we don't plan to drop by that branch in the near future, there are plenty of other DD branches in our neighborhood). If I had been a little bit more annoyed, the 4c would have gone back into my wallet.

Now, as I'm typing this up, I can't shake the nagging feeling that I might have been in the wrong. Is it shameful ba ? or embarassing to use coupons ? I do know some Filipinos who refuse to use discount coupons because its embarassing. Or did we, perhaps, abuse the system when we maximized our savings when we used 2 coupons in one trip ?

Ski season

MIL just reminded us that by lunar reckoning, hubby and I have been living in the US for 2 years now. This is one of those instances when time just went zipping by and I didn't even notice.

That conversation with MIL reminded me that I have not skiied in 3 winters! I remember wrapping up my gear and placing them in (temporary) storage the season before I got married (to avoid accidents) and I remember talking this over with hubby and agreeing with him that we'll be doing some snowsports when he gets here. We just never did.

So this year, eto, am taking out my skis to be tuned up. I also just found out that I couldn't fit in any of my snow pants anymore (argh!) so we'll have to buy new ones for both me & hubby.

Hopefully, I should have ski/snowboard pics to post in the next few weeks.

On the downside, I'm still having some trouble with dry skin. I've tried everything that has been recommended to me - I use bath oils, body oils and slather on thick lotion AND thick cream every so often - but when the weather gets really chilly (and note that I am home 95% of the time!) I get super dry & itchy skin. I'm ready to try this new 7 Cream with Manuka Honey and hopefully, this can work a miracle.