Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013: Family, Food and Fashion

Hi! How was your Christmas break? Mine's been quite fruitful so far, and I'm trying to squeeze in as much bonding time as I can with my family since some of them will be flying back to California on the 4th of January. That's why this is going to be a super quick post since I am also in the middle of doing some errands and spending quality time with them :) I sincerely hope you had a great one and wish that you'll enjoy celebrating the upcoming New Year! I've got a feeling that 2014 will be magical for you and me :)

Food:

I made Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken for our Christmas Eve dinner. The bird was super tender and moist that when Mama was trying to remove one of the legs the meat literally fell right off the bone! I did my own thing with the gravy with chicken drippings, though, because I don't like using packaged chicken broth. It was very flavorful too, and I was smiling all throughout the time I was chopping herbs (thank you God for making them, they smell soooo good!). Follow the instructions for the oven temperature to a T because it's the secret to getting crispy skin and tender meat.

Tweaks:
1. I also roasted carrots and pearl onions with the potatoes. I had no baby potatoes on hand so I used red potatoes instead.
2. I used baby carrots to cut the peeling time by a huge chunk. Just slice them in half and place them in a bowl containing the potatoes and onions, then toss them with a fair amount of salt, pepper, olive oil, and chopped herbs.
3. I also made a paste from olive oil, a bit of melted butter, chopped herbs, salt and pepper. I rubbed a big portion of it between the skin and the breast meat (don't be scared that the skin will be ripped off, it's fairly easy to do and will help you get super moist and flavorful breast meat), then rubbed the rest all around the chicken. Make sure you get it between every nook and cranny to ensure that ALL parts of the chicken will taste delish :)

Here's the result:

The skin was very crispy and tasty. It reminded me of chicken from Max's, a popular restaurant in the Philippines.

Yummy! Oh, and here's the recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/lemon-and-herb-roasted-chicken-with-baby-potatoes-recipe/index.html

For Christmas lunch with the extended family, I baked Chocolate Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese-Butter Pecan Frosting. The cake base lacked a bit of chocolate-y flavor and the frosting was a little on the sweet side, hopefully I'll remember to add more chocolate morsels and reduce the amount of powdered sugar the next time I make it. I might have to add a splash of milk too because the cream cheese flavor might be too much for some people.

Here it is with cake toppers inspired by this blog entry: http://ohhappyday.com/2013/12/christmas-forest-cake-topper/. I seriously wish I made more of these cute trees but I was already running late so I had to make do with just two pieces :( (the sour cream I bought just the other day had mold in it so I had to rush to the nearest grocery, and then in the middle of whipping the cream cheese, one of the whisk attachments on my electronic handheld beater broke. But whatever, I did not let those mishaps ruin my Christmas :) )



Here's the recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-velvet-cake-with-cream-cheese-butter-pecan-frosting-10000000554777/. The toasted pecans in the icing were DIVINE, they were like little crunchy, tasty surprises in every bite. I bought a huge bag of them for a much cheaper price at Costco :)

Fah-shion:

And here I am with a blue Candie's dress I bought from Kohl's during their recent Black Friday sale. The cut and color are very flattering, and the bow at the back adds cuteness without being overbearing. I balanced the girly look by wearing black semi-opaque tights and pairing the dress with black leather wedge booties from Nine West :) The tips of the boots are a little pointy and will help elongate anyone's legs, which is the reason why I love this silhouette so much! <3 Many thanks to Mama who took my pictures hehehe. My purse is from DKNY (c/o TJ Maxx, I love this place) and is reminiscent of Chanel's iconic quilted bag.




Whew! Now off I go to finish some other stuff and maybe put in some time watching Regular Show episodes with my not-so-lil bro :)

Toodle-oo!

<3,

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Meal For a Small Group

Grandiose Thanksgiving dinners are great, but take so much time to prepare. What if it's only you or two, maybe three people celebrating it together? Sure, it's nice to have a lot of leftovers, but I think that after five days of having nothing but different Turkey meat-based meals (or most probably, different versions of a turkey sandwich) you can't really blame a person for swearing off of eating turkey for a month or more. Which brings us to the topic of this post: a scaled-down Thanksgiving meal that won't eat up your precious, hard-earned holiday, but delicious enough to satisfy your binge-eating tendencies. Let me ask you this: how often have you regretted eating five plates of bland food from a buffet as compared to eating pricier, smaller-portioned yet perfectly-seasoned meal from a nice restaurant? Exactly. I've scoured the good ol' internet to bring you satisfying and easy-to-prepare recipes for a nice Thanksgiving meal. Prep these while watching a movie on your phone via Crackle or Netflix and sipping a nice glass of wine, or whichever way you choose that will make your short holiday memorable and enjoyable. Click on the title/link or the picture/video to get the recipe :)


Cornish Game Hens with Garlic and Rosemary

Image taken from allrecipes.com

Image taken from allrecipes.com

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash And Almonds

Image taken from bonappetit.com

Braised Lamb with Roasted Squash and Onion Sauce

Image taken from bonappetit.com

Image taken from http://domesticdilettante.com

Homemade Maple Pumpkin Pie

Image taken from tasteofhome.com
Dessert tips:
-Get the frozen tiramisu/cheesecake from Costco. Remember not to eat all of it in one sitting, ok? :)
-Go to your nearest farmer's market/local food stall. Near my area, we have Butler's Orchard, and they sell pies that you can finish baking at home. And boy, the smell wafting from the oven when you're baking it is just heaven. I think Costco sells them too.

Thanksgiving tip:
-After eating your meal and secretly burping, talk about what things/events you're thankful for :) If you're by yourself, then by all means write it down. It might help on days when you feel particularly low and need to be reminded of all the good that has happened to you.

P.S.
A funny read: 9 Thanksgiving Horror Stories

<3,

Longing for Summer / For the love of boots

As I sit freezing in front of the computer, I find my mind drifting towards memories of warm, bright Summer days in the Philippines. Floating on calm seawater (I have yet to find one with a similar temperament here in the US) with eyes closed, listening to the muffled sounds of the ocean, skin slowly bronzing from the rays peeking through clouds, and wondering how long I've been out there and how far away I'd been taken from the beach by tiny waves and gentle winds. Swiping off the cold sweat from the sides of a glass of fresh mango juice and discreetly patting it onto hot patches on my face. Opening all the windows in my room at night to let the slightly colder winds through, bringing along with it the sound of crickets and unmistakeable VROOOOM of tricycles struggling to go uphill (and the occasional Karaoke singing that goes on til the wee hours of the morning). No matter how long I stay here in the East Coast, I am perfectly sure that I will forever be an island girl at heart, and I will be fine with drastic temperature fluctuations as long as I am granted a yearly exodus to sandy beaches and the sound of waves lapping on the shore.

Winter (the temperature being at the low 30s, I think it is safe to assume that Fall has already come and gone) for me is somewhat bearable because I love layering clothes and wearing boots (the two things that get me through dreary weather). My current obsessions are pointy, buckled boots which make me feel like a cross between a character in a Spaghetti Western film, a wannabe cast member of Sons of Anarchy and an amalgam of my favorite fashion bloggers (who all love the same types of shoes as I do). The more buckles, the better (I am part-magpie, methinks). Below is a collection of boots, mostly from Sam Edelman and Jeffrey Campbell, that I will wear 'til the soles fall off if ever I get my hands on even one of them. Here you go, and here's to hoping a pair will magically appear on my doorstep without me having to pay a single cent.



boots





P.S.

One other thing I love: indoors, cocooned in a blanket, curled on the sofa with a good book, a warm cup of hot cocoa within arm's reach.

Wishfully thinking,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Grammar Tips

Two quick sketches I made eons ago concerning some grammatical pet peeves of mine. I've been meaning to polish them but never got around to it, so I'm posting them here in their hilariously ugly glory. Hahaha. As long as the message gets through, right? :)

1. Could/Should/Would HAVE (not "OF")

2. Lose vs Loose
Two things before I say adieu:
1. Yay for bed rest. I was feeling under the weather today from all the moving I've done these past few days, but I think I'm ready to go to work tomorrow :)
2. The jacket from my last post was sold for $255! A friend of mine in SFC will be donating the money plus all other donations we'll be collecting to Red Cross through her company, who'll match the amount. So it will become $510 :D And to think that three hours before the bidding ended, I was fussing so much about the top bid at that time (only $122) because it did not even hit the price I bought it for. But then I decided to just lift it to God and go to sleep since I only had 5 hours left until I needed to wake up for work the next day. Lo and behold, I checked my email the next day and saw that the bidding ended at $255. I was ecstatic, elated, joyous. That really and truly did make my day. Thank God for generous souls like the winning bidder plus the countless others who have poured their support and love for my brethren in the Philippines :) Mabuhay and salamat ng marami! <3 

P.S.
Please continue to pray for the health and safety of the survivors.

"The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’" - Matthew 25:40

<3,





Sunday, November 10, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan

Hi guys, I just now put up a listing for a leather jacket that I was originally planning to sell for, well, personal profit. Instead of doing that though, I decided to donate 100% of the sale to victims of Typhoon Haiyan via a reputable organization (I'm still pondering on where it should go). It breaks my heart that yet another disaster has befallen on my dear motherland, and that even though Haiyan passed by for just a few hours it managed to leave a monstrous amount of destruction and a large death toll in its wake. I'm continuing to pray for the health and safety of the victims and of the brave volunteers from relief operations.

Here is the link to my ebay listing:

Michael Kors Black Leather XXS Jacket with Wool Lining



And links to pages where you can directly donate (please remember that every cent counts!):



Fellow Filipinos, remain strong. In God we trust!

Pictures of the destruction caused by Haiyan:




Monday, October 21, 2013

Outfit Photo Dump

I figured I should just post all the #OOTDs and entries to fashion contests I've made ever since I went AWOL. Here they are! :)

Yes, I photoshopped my lip color. Otherwise it would be an odd shade of dark lilac, because the lipstick I was wearing gradually turned lighter and thus did not match my outfit :/
(Kenneth Cole Contest) Wearing: a handmade genuine dagger earring from the Renaissance Festival, Hudson jeans, Calvin Klein heels, Kenneth Cole top, Bernardo leather jacket, Michael Kors belt






















Top left: Forever 21 top, Halogen patent leather brogues, Sanctuary Clothing jeans (a steal at Rugged Warehouse for $7 from $130 O_O).
Top right: Chambray button-down from Ross, LOFT faded skinnies, Sara Bareilles tour shirt
Bottom Left: (for a DKNY contest) DKNY shirt and bag, Target skirt, F21 wool jacket
Bottom Right: (goofing around/pretending to be a Korean actress in a romantic comedy) Plains and Prints top, H&M skirt, Ivanka Trump shoes, Target blazer (supercute!!!!)




















Top left: (CFDA/Tommy Hilfiger contest, the theme was Red/White/Blue. I won tix to Tommy's show in Feb :D ) Tommy Hilfiger dress, Old Navy jacket, Banana Republic bag, Nine West shoes
Top right: (another entry) Polo Ralph Lauren shirt, Old Navy top, Simply Vera by Vera Wang boyfriend pants, BCBGeneration heels
Bottom left: (yup. You know it!) BCBG top, DVFxCurrent/Elliot jeans, BCBGeneration heels, Kate Spade clutch
Bottom right: Aeropostale top, Hudson jeans, Ren Fest leather earrings (they're so cute!), thrifted squirrel pin




Top left: Dress from my aunt, Givenchy accessories, Jessica Simpson clutch
Top right: Parachute concert tee, Simply Vera bf jeans, Coach bag
Bottom: Locket by my cousin of the tutorial-iffic jewelboxballerina.com, Chinese Laundry sandals, Ross dress, Gap top-as-jacket


And the pièce de résistance, another entry to the Kenneth Cole contest (haven't heard anything from them though, so I assume I lost :( Ah well, you can't win them all!)
Fergie peep toe booties, Coach bag, Kenneth Cole top, Kenneth Cole sunnies, Forever21 coat

Oh, and I also made these Instagram videos for a Stuart Weitzman contest. Sadly, I didn't win either of them. I did enjoy the process of filming them and coming up with a gimmick that echoed their new campaign with Kate Moss titled "Made for Walking" :)


video

video

Nytienyt!
<3,