Thursday, 25 November 2010

What’s with washrooms anyway?

I remember all those nice lounge-like public washrooms in the Philippines because it’s rare to find clean and nice smelling “comfort” rooms there. I tell you, what’s normal there is totally the opposite of that word “comfort”. We used to go to hotels to attend corporate events and it really feels comfortable using the washrooms there. When Lito and I were still working in the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong, we used to frequent the hotels in those areas and use the washrooms there. They are really neat, brightly-lit and with ample supplies of toilet paper, soap and paper towels. The mirrors are all over too. Lito’s favorite is Dusit Hotel Nikko and Intercon and mine is Shangri-la Edsa. The malls have decent but paid washrooms where you can have a private moment and comfortably sit in the bowl without pressure coming from the people lining up in each cubicle in the public ones. There are soaps, toilet paper, lotion and hand sanitizer to use after doing the deed. I liked the washrooms of Rustan’s, the paid washrooms of Shangri-la Mall, Ayala Malls both in Makati and Alabang Town Center. I remember my first experience with the automatic flush in the new Greenbelt malls (they set the trend) but I especially liked those bowl-like basins of Nuvo and CafĂ© Havana resto and bars in that area and in Eastwood too way back when the other posh malls like Podium, Powerplant and Bonifacio High street are still under construction. I can still remember the smell of these washrooms, it’s too nice I think the scent lingered with me for quite some time now.
Years passed and I was able to travel and experience using the public washrooms of other countries and airports even. When you think of your own, you will be ashamed. Ours doesn’t even have water or toilet paper to use. A friend of ours from the US who recently visited the Philippines took pictures of all the washrooms he had been to in Manila and in the provinces and I was not too thrilled to hear his stories. I wonder how the washrooms are there now.
I am now in Canada and the public washrooms here are better (but some doesn’t smell nice too). I just got from a lunch meeting in our favorite resto near our office and it was my first time to use the washroom at Moxie’s Grill @Attwell. I was so impressed that it prompted me to do this blog. It was so nice and comfortable you wouldn’t want to leave. It has a fireplace, TV, round lounge chairs with movable mirrors and spotlight you can use when retouching your make up. The lights and over-all interior tells you that you’re actually in a lounge and not in a washroom. I hope to be back there so I can take a picture and you will know how this washroom captured my heart.

Scrapbooking (conventional and digital)

I was able to have my personal time off last Saturday after I dropped off the kids at AJ’s Party (Kyle’s best friend). I went to the mall to kill the time and I enjoyed browsing the scrapbooking materials which was on sale. I didn’t bother buying anything because I really didn’t have time to do it. I still have a stash of paper, albums and embellishments sitting there in our cabinets for some time now. I hope I’ll have that inspiration to do some scrapbooking again. I really have lots to do – our photos have accumulated and there were still lots to print.
And then, I also downloaded lots of digital scrapbooking kits and quick pages that I can use for my photobook projects. Up to the wee hours, I was searching for embellishments and themed kits that I can use in the invitation I’m working on. It is then that I realized that I’ve been missing a lot and my hands needed to scrap or make that digital collage. How I wish I can just start on anything so my efforts in downloading won’t be futile.
It’s almost the year end and my Artscow credits are going to be wasted if I won’t be able to use them. Anyway, I felt happy when I was able to finish the invitation for the children’s dedication scrapbook style.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

My Lex turned 2

The timing was perfect. The special edition DVD/Blue Ray Disney CARS with Diecast Mater and Lightning Mcqueen arrived today. Just in time for Lex 2nd birthday. It was his favorite toy and movie to watch. I think we already watched it a 1 million times. Anyway, my sons liked the movie. We used to watch a DVD copy and the Blu ray is really better. Of course, Lex enjoyed the diecast cars. I only let him played it for a while. Here’s his photo enjoying the cars (as seen in his eyes) under our huge blue and silver Christmas tree:

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Wall Art as gifts

I went to the mall today and I could hear christmas carols playing. I'm so excited to browse thru the stores to look for gifts to buy. Although I already know who am i giving gifts to, I haven't decided on anything yet. Nothing tickles my fancy either so I will do some online shopping for unique (and value-for-money) gifts.

Last week, I bought this item as gift to my sister-in-law and she was so happy with it. The delivery was fast too. I originally wanted this item but it was out of stock when I wanted to buy a wall art. I chanced upon this again last week and thought of giving it to my sister and brother in law for Christmas. It was perfect for their new house. The watercolor design looked like it was freshly painted and the 3 continuous frames in vivid colors match any room my sister in law wishes to display them. The value is too good to be true. It costs $100 per frame in other stores. I will buy this again for our own house.

You will see more of wall art from my favorite online store. They make great gifts this Christmas.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Bagoong and Pusit Recipes - time for smelly dishes

I woke up at 1 am to cook Pork Binagoongan (Pork sauteed in shrimp paste) because that's the only time the neighbors are sleeping. They will not bother to complain and report me to the superintendent. After 30 minutes, my dish is finished and the apartment smelled like shrimp paste LOL. For those who miss Filipino dishes, try to cook them at home even if the house smells - Langhap Sarap yun, YUMMY!

Here's some of the recipes of the smelly dishes I cooked:

Pork Binagoongan


2 lbs Pork, cubed
1 tbsp Garlic, minced
5 tbsp vinegar
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup tomato, chopped
1 pc chili (banana pepper, jalapeno, or long chili pepper), sliced *
1/2 cup shrimp paste (*no need for chili,I used Barrio Fiesta Sauteed Shrimp Paste, Spicy)
3-5 pcs dried bay leaves
1 tbsp whole pepper corn
24 ounces water
salt and pepper


1. In a pot, pour-in the water and bring to a boil
2. Put-in the pork, vinegar, and dried bay leaves and simmer for 35 minutes or until meat is tender
3. Remove the meat from the pot separating it from the liquid and other ingredients. set aside
4. In a separate pan, saute the garlic, onion, tomato
5. Add the shrimp paste and simmer for 5 minutes (more time is needed for raw shrimp paste)
6. Put the pork in and cook for 7 minutes. Be sure to mix all the ingredients well
7. Add the chili and simmer for 3 minutes
8. Add salt and pepper to taste
9. Serve hot. Share and Enjoy!

Filipino Adobong Pusit or squid in adobo sauce, is cooked along with the ink, so it resembles the spanish calamares en su tinta, but with a tangier flavour, especially when fresh chillies are added.
Serves 2 to 3 persons
Preparation and Cooking time: 30 to 45 mins

3/4 kilo Small sized Pusit (Squid)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 small bay leaf
1/4 tsp. pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp. cooking oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 pcs. Cayenne Chili sliced (optional)

1. Pull out head, tentacles, innards and transparent ribs from the body of the squid.
2. Cut off tentacles just above the eyes and discard innards and transparent ribs.
3. Wash and drain bodies and tentacles.
4. Combine salt, pepper, garlic, vinegar, water, sugar and bay leaf.
5. Marinate squids in this mixture for 1 hour. Drain. Save marinade
6. Saute onions in hot oil.
7. Add drained squids, saute until the juices evaporates (about 10-12 minutes).
8. Strain marinade, add to sauted squids.
9. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
10. Serve Hot with Rice.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Trick or Treating in Etobicoke

My kids were looking forward to this day eversince they received lots of goodies last year in their first Halloween here in Canada. It's Lex first time to join and our first time in Etobicoke neighborhood.

Last Friday, both Miggy and Kyle had their Halloween parade in their respective schools. The funny thing was while they were putting on their costumes, Lex wanted to put on his costume as well even if it's not yet Halloween. He wore a Winnie the Pooh and while they were on the way to Kyle's school, the road workers called Winnie the Pooh and he waved his hands.

A cold Halloween night
We started trick or treating a few minutes before 7:00 pm. It was cold outside and I made sure the kids wore fleece jacket beneath their costumes. Miggy, the Dracula and Kyle, the Police Officer went from house-to-house. Their loot bags were almost half-full after one block. We saw lots of Halloween-themed or decorated houses but there's this one house who stood out. It looked like we were in a set of a scary movie, complete with props and spotlights. There's even a live mummy who moved while I took a photo of Lito and the kids. While going round the corner, a hanging head just appeared above us and Lex got scared. I was not able to pose with the gorgeous witches who are giving away the candies but I had a good time watching them, as if looking at the stars of Practical Magic. We enjoyed this activity and called it a night when the kids loot bags were full. The kids were all smiles when they were comparing all the goodies they received. It was fun!

Lex' first time
At first, Lex was just sitting in his stroller, but no one's giving him any goody so Lito and I took turns in bringing him near the door with the kids. He looked adorable in his costume, he received nice remarks from people giving the treats and from other kids as well. Later on, he wanted to walk and knock on the door or ring the bell by himself. I can't believe that as young as 23 months, he is showing signs of wanting to be independent.