Journal, Life + Style, Photographs

July, August & September 2014 Snapshots

Wow. I have not made one of these since July? Then again nothing much happened in July that is extremely noteworthy. But I go and forget to make one for August too so here we are! Three months worth of snapshots make it look like I’ve spent quite a colourful time doesn’t it? Well there were moments in-between I’d much rather throw into the bygone fire. Being the dweller that I am I have this tendency to keep thinking about all the bad and sad stuff. I think it’s why I make these collages. I want to keep reminding myself that every time I have a crappy day or week or month, I can’t ever say I’ve had a bad life. That would be such a huge lie.

JulAugSept1

1. I love being sent food products in the mail! I must admit I never thought I’d get sent bagoong by the brand Mura Sarap, but since it’s one of the things I love eating (because I love green mangoes with bagoong!) I was real happy. And what’s even better is I used it to make bagoong rice, which remains to be one of my favourite rice dishes for those teeny moments I eat rice haha!
2. Biggest scallops I have ever eaten in my life was the highlight of my Teppanyaki-All-You-Can-Eat at Diamond Hotel’s Yurakuen
3. When I saw how beautiful these chillis were in our garden, it was the first time I understood why people love planting food in their own backyards. Quite a feeling to see growing, edible things grown in your own home!
4. That girl crying in there? That’s me lamenting how much I miss drawing anything at all haha! This is one of my lyric doodles from years ago. It’s a favourite of mine still. 
5. These macarons began my green tea-red bean obsession, and since this recipe I have made two others with the same flavour combination. This recipe will be up on the blog soon, I hope!
6. Finally FINALLY got together with these guys and gal! It’s been too long since we all left high school and we have met like three or four times since then! It’s ridiculous!

JulAugSept2

7. I had to make a lettering doodle to express how I was feeling about certain people at the time.
8. These cookies from Japan was the beginning of my epiphany when it comes to anything black sesame. Officially one of my favourite flavours now! 
9. Made this puzzle in about two night because I was so excited to finally make one again after so many years! 
10. I really love this baby blue plate I scored for Php 50 a pair! Suited these Hot Cocoa Popsicles a good deal.
11. Gorgeous interior! When I build my own house I want to the rooms to have white walls so they can be bright all the time.
12. Every month I need to get my Japanese cold noodle fix. For September it was courtesy of this yumminess from Kokoro Ramenya.

JulAugSept3

13. Visited this super cool restaurant called Linguini Fini. The street art on the walls are the bomb! This particular area looks like it came out of a gangster movie.
14. Fish face + troll face! Happy to still be able to call this guy a friend even after all these years. 🙂
15. My first walking food tour! Thanks to SM Megamall and the lovely Jin Perez for such an experience!
16. I had business cards made!!! That’s like a huge leap for me in making this whole food blogging thing feel official. Thank you so much to @popspecialist for the amazing service and these amazing cards!
17. I made cupcakes. With beer! And bacon! Now this I can assure will be up on the blog real soon!
18. Another matcha-red bean creation! What did I tell you. I’m a fan! Also, this is the first time I’m using the 1M tip and now I’m going to make it my mission to use it on every cupcake I make. SO PRITTTY.

JulAugSept4

19. In my dreams I went to Hogsmeade and got to speak in a British accent with my fellow students from Hogwarts. In reality I had a taste of the butterbear my brother bought from Healthy Options haha!
20. These Fluffernutter cookies mark my first (and possibly last) encounter with marshmallow fluff. It was aggravating!
21. For Gibby’s birthday we went Vietnamese for a change. Always so happy to have these two in my life to make crappy days better.
22. Asian noodles soups are good for the soul. Beef pho was the choice this time. ❤
23. I have been craving for Auntie Anne’s for like a month or so before I finally got this chance to eat it!
24. My very simple birthday gift for Gilbert in the form of these Matcha-Oreo Muffins, but one he says he loved. Well I’m glad because it’s the smallest of gestures for a BFF!

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Journal

Mixed Tape #1: What’s up?

I got into the writing mood after my snapshot post so I just thought I’d write about the mishmash of things I’ve been up to as of late, starting with the slightly difficult task of soul searching… Yet again! In the last few days I have been trying to grope around for my old self- the core of me that seems to have blinked out of existence- before my job and this endless food blogging commitment took over my life.

The truth is, I have been trying to find a balance between responsibility and my numerous personal goals but so far it has not worked out so well. Responsibilities at work take 80% of my time since it is after all a Monday to Saturday 9 to 6 affair. Then there is this desire to keep improving myself and my food blog by continuously baking and cooking and taking photographs; but I have been doing it in almost every moment of my free-time that it has made the experience begin to feel more like my second job rather than my hobby really. Occasionally I wish I could skip the whole food-making process and get down to the photographing and writing.

Weekly BTS

This was the Sunday I was on my feet baking and photographing from 6 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon just so I could have time to do other things aside from blogging duties.

I’m beginning to feel like I’m not approaching it right. Sometimes when I’m on vacation I keep thinking about how to photograph something for the blog that I tend to take myself away from the moment. It’s something I’ve been trying to control since I begun to discover it. Maybe I ought to let myself feel the now rather than trying to compose my draft in my head with the photos and the words I attach to them.

And yet that’s how I go about with everything isn’t it? In my mind there is only one way of doing things right, and that is by doing things well. Meticulously. Doing things in a way that passes my own almost exhausting standards. (Gah whyyyy must I torture myself so?!) Regardless of how popular/unpopular my food blog might be, I take much pride in seeing the fruits of my labour through beautifully-styled photos and well thought-out text. It’s always been who I am, this “perfectionist”. I readily set my mind into doing things I hate, but when it comes to things I like I add my heart and soul into the mix. Sometimes I wonder if people appreciate my work not just for its face value, but also because of the blood and sweat that went into it too. I wonder if it translates well into the work, my passion and perseverance.

Sometimes I wonder if at the end of the day was any of it worth the trouble?

I think I got too caught up into the whirlwind of food blogging. I was enamoured by the idea of how it is something you turn from flour and eggs into something spectacular and delicious. I’ve always loved the idea of creating things with my own hands. But through it all I have let slip any time for the other things I love– the things that for the longest time have been important parts of who I am even before I discovered a love for blogging or creating food. Heck even before I discovered this love for photography that has made me save up so hard just so I can obtain some good gear.

Back when life was simpler and I could just be, there was all sorts of illustrating and sketching. Colours and painting. There was writing too. Gosh I miss that lovely combination.

Here at home, I have a tall set of drawers with wheels at the bottom- similar to the ones you might see in salons- filled to the brim with art and colouring materials. I love colouring materials and never have I missed any opportuniteis to add new ones when I visit my favourite bookstore in Hong Kong. There are sketchpads that have been started but are now gathering dust in their shelves. It wasn’t so hard to go through them before, what with my constant drawing of character designs or manga strips; of my putting to paper a scene from a story brewing in my mind. I even used to letter and doodle my favourite song lyrics. Even such a simple task eludes me now.

The unfinished doodle from 5 months ago of a song by Panic At The Disco.

The unfinished doodle from 5 months ago of a song by Panic At The Disco.

I still have this crazy dream of becoming a published author. You know, sort of like one JK Rowling, who has managed to touch so many imaginations around the world with a captivating story. I like that idea of being able to share something that moves people. It’s always something I aspire to do whenever I write, or draw, or even blog. That is in fact probably what drives me to keep blogging– the hope that I can keep writing something worthwhile. Writing fiction is my number one love even if drawing was my first one, and yet both these are things I have not done in any serious capacity for quite some time. 😦

I do love food blogging, but perhaps I’ve made the mistake of bordering on obsessing over it. (Perhaps I should have made a lifestyle personal blog instead of just a food blog lol. Perhaps I’ve put too much expectations upon myself!) For some reason I just keep going though, because I know if I stop I will regret it. I just need to figure out how to find that balance I lost.

~~~

I had another sort of dream the other night– the type of dream that made it seem as though your world was turned upside down. Everything that was supposed to happen did not, and everything you hoped would not happen did. Like the way of most dreams the details slipped away from my memory the moment I woke. I remember feeling uncharacteristically melancholy though. I did not like the dream, I suppose you could say.

The dream involved my high school friends– people I have not seen in so many years. It makes me sad that sometimes growing older also means growing further apart. Before, everyone fitted snuggly in the heart of a moment, then slowly like birds set free from the nest they fly away, and usually not in the direction anyone expected.

We all keep moving away from each other until there is but a small thread holding each person together. But that could all change. Right?

2009

2009 was the last time we got together. Time flies and leaves you wondering where it went.

I remember a lot of details from my high school years because my memory is like that. It tends to take specific moments and replay them with clarity, like that moment occurred just yesterday. That’s why I am such a sentimental person I guess. I can’t help but get hit by the waves of nostalgia every so often. The memories are not all good, but still… Guess I didn’t realize I was missing them that much, huh?

~~~

I want to end this post on a more joyful note. This mixed tape of mine today is of a depressing sort, and frankly time is too precious to spend with your head down, which is why happy things must be highlighted more than the sad ones, and what better way to do that than with a pic spam?

I went on a trip some months ago and I enjoyed it a surprisingly more than I was anticipating, to tell you honestly. You know how some people seem to have comments about a certain place even before they get there? Well I have learned to leave those unproven impressions at home whenever I travel. Sometimes the most random places can surprise you! Guimaras, a place that has never once crossed my radar, certainly did.

Here are some of my favourite pictures from the trip, with some captions when you hover over:

And now to make me you crave for the beach!

In case anybody’s interested, a more detailed diary entry of this trip can be found here, here, and here. ‘Till the next mixed tape edition! 🙂

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Journal, Life + Style, Photographs

May & June 2014 Snapshots

Life has been fairly okay the past two months. Not much happened in the realm of picture-worthy, except of course the ones I’m sharing below. I’ll be writing about some stuff soon on the blog that I have been kind of going through the last few weeks that has left me feeling pretty exhausted.

I’ve been carrying the storm around with me and it’s a bit of a shock that I seem to have forgotten the therapy that produces the most wondrous effects for me in terms of taking the weight off my shoulders– writing. I used to write a lot of contemplative stuff that always helped me sort my thoughts out and put things in perspective. I should probably bring that habit back. Alongside illustrating. And colouring/painting. (What a jumble my life is right now that I seem to have forgotten the fundamentals that make me who I am…)

But for now, happy pictures!

MayJun1

1. I attended what was quite possibly the best hotel invite I’ve gotten so far in Sofitel Manila. It’s not because of the food although obviously that played an important part, but because of the painstaking effort Ms. Jane put into making sure I felt welcome and at home. Even though I was just reviewing their five-star restaurant I really appreciated the time she took to chat with Gilbert and I, and the fact that she actually read up on my blog to get to know me better before our meeting. That’s how you do it, folks!
2. I can’t and will never attempt to imagine what my life would be like without my brothers. They drive me crazy sometimes with their quirks (as I’m sure I do them too) but my life is awesome with them in it, arguments and all. (Missing in the photo is my other brother Jason.)
3. I made an announcement on my Instagram a while back that I want to start collecting snow globes of all the countries I visit. I didn’t expect anybody to pay it so much attention that they would actually help me with trying to collect them! But Gilbert, being the sweet friend that he is, bought this home for me after his trip to Greece. I haven’t been to Greece but at least I don’t have to worry about the snow globe anymore when I visit! (Which I surely will!)
4. Speaking of, we went Greek for our Mother’s Day meal! I’m developing a serious love for souvlaki. I’ll be making that at home sometime soon hopefully.
5. I searched high and low for this colour because I fell in love with the swatches. (Sometimes Google is the enemy haha!) My Instagram photo did it no justice and I’ll probably be writing about this soon again because I looove it so much, but anyway, check out Revlon‘s Colorstay Nail Polish in Provence. It’s a gorgeous pastel lavender. Very girly and classy, and very nice to look at.
6. I tend to shy away from contemporary books because frankly I find them boring, but the book Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt was anything but. I fell in love with this book and the many quotables in it, but this particular one resonated with me so much. I had to write it on a full spread in my quote notebook.

MayJun2

7. I will always love these afternoons spent with my two best buds. This is Gilbert by the way, responsible for 2 out of the 3 snow globes I have in my collection at the moment.
8. This is my third snow globe, and it’s from a country I actually previously visited at an age when I did not know the value of sentimentality yet. Thanks again for bringing this home for me, Gilbs!!! (The dude has been travelling a lot lately!)
9. Painting my nails is always something that can drive me to tears of frustration. Not even kidding. But on days when I miraculously paint my nails well, I need to photograph it. First time trying out the Forever 21 polish, and probably also the last… I’m still debating whether buying polishes and painting my nails on my own is worth all the trouble.
10. I must say, after purchasing a bunch of props for my food photography, I find myself looking forward more to the photography part rather than the baking/cooking part hahaha! I still love both of course, and I can’t do food photography without the food obviously! But I’m now very determined to improve food photography as a skill of mine, so I’ll be on the lookout for some nice props. Any suggestions for good spots to find props in the Metro Manila are are welcome! 🙂
11. Perfect macarons of the Chocolate-Chilli variety. I might’ve found my holy grail recipe. I must repeat this recipe to make sure.
12. I saw a list compiled by Huffington Post that put Rum Raisin Ice Cream in the list of bad ice cream flavours or something of the sort, and I just don’t get why. Made with good rum, this flavour can be pretty bangin’. Just ask my brother Jason, who texts me about how awesome it is every time he has a serving of the homemade version I prepared.

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