Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ode to Women, Love and Frienships

If there was one show that I could watch over and over again it would be Sex And The City. I truly believe that it’s one of the best-written shows with the perfect blend of chic, depth and wit. I know most people will disagree with the depth part, P included. We got into the SATC discussion the other night and I had a lot of thoughts left unsaid. He was of the opinion that SATC single-handedly damaged women’s self-image and perspective. If I may quote him, “SATC just brought shallowness to all new heights.” I beg to disagree!

I guess if you happen to catch just one episode you would get the impression that the show is just all about sex, image and fashion. But you have to go beyond the show’s face value to appreciate the compelling insights about a woman’s life journey. The same way that you can’t judge women by their looks. Just because we put a lot of effort into looking fabulous doesn’t mean we’re shallow. We can be passionate about fashion and be fierce in the boardroom at the same time. While we search and wait for the perfect mate, we are also trying to make a positive impact in our community. We’re multi-faceted and multi-dimensional.

The SATC execution may be a bit exaggerated, specially the number of pairs of Manolo Blahniks they own and how frequently they have sex, but the insights in every episode are real and relevant to women. It deals about the complexities of relationships and how women grow and learn to accept ourselves more after every encounter whether it was meaningful, exhilarating, superficial, momentary or heartbreaking. Yes, we are all looking for love but at the same time there is a limit to how much we will compromise our personal values (whether good or bad).

Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.”
- Carrie Bradshaw

The show was also about great friendships. Girlfriends that are always there to help us bounce back after each fall. We may not always agree with our friends but there is a bond between women that just draws us together when it counts most. During our journey towards self-discovery and our constant search for Mr. Right, we will always have the security of knowing that we have girlfriends who will love us for who we are (or who we are not).

Maybe mistakes are what make our fate... without them what would shape our lives? Maybe if we had never veered off course we wouldn't fall in love, have babies, or be who we are. After all, things change, so do cities, people come into your life and they go. But it's comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart... and if you're very lucky, a plane ride away
- Carrie Bradshaw

I dedicate this entry to my great friends Jill, Marla, Barbie and Carly!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Beef with Broccoli

Just wanted to post another recipe that is easy to prepare. This is what we had for dinner last night :)

500 gms beef tips
1 head broccoli
1/2 stick carrot
4-5pcs (fresh) button mushrooms
2-3pcs garlic
Salt and pepper

½ cup water
¼ cube of beef or chicken bullion
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp flour


Season the beef tips with salt and pepper and set aside. Wash the vegetables thoroughly. Remove the stalk of the broccoli and cut the flowerets into smaller pieces. Slice the mushrooms and carrots (into chips) and finely chop the garlic.

Boil some water in a sauce pan. Once water is boiling, add the carrots. After 1-2 minutes, add the broccoli. The water should stop bubbling at this point. When water resumes boiling, wait a few seconds then drain the veggies and set aside.

Prepare the sauce by adding the bullion cube to the half cup of hot water. Stir until bullion is dissolved. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir together until thoroughly dissolved. Taste and adjust accordingly.

On a wok or skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. When oil is hot, add the seasoned beef tips and cook until meat is brown. Once cooked, set the meat aside with its juices.

In the same pan, add another 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the garlic until almost brown. Add the beef tips with all its juices and sauté with the garlic. Push the beef to the sides of the pan and add the mushrooms in the middle. Cook mushrooms until soft. Add the broccoli and carrots in the pan. Mix well so that all the flavors infuse. At this point, add the sauce mixture and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Serve with white rice.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Musings about the internet

We’re going home to Manila very soon and we’re very excited to furnish our apartment! The top 3 things in our to-do list are to 1) get a comfortable bed, 2) install the AC and 3) secure a DSL connection. The internet has been such an integral part of our lives now that it would be difficult to move in without it.

My laptop has been my reliable and constant companion for the last 9 months (aside from my hubby, of course). It’s really ironic how I can sit in isolation in front of the computer the whole day yet I feel so much more connected to the world around me than ever before. Ah, the wonders of the world-wide web!

I practically live my life in front of the computer. For one, it’s the only way I can conveniently communicate with all my family and friends while away from home. Come to think of it, I’m more updated now with the goings on than when I was in Manila. I guess you value relationships even more when you’re outside your comfort zone.

The internet is also my ultimate reference for virtually anything and everything. I learn whatever I need to know with a few punches on the keyboard, from current events, recipes, celebrity gossip, lesson plans, bus routes, weather forecast and contact numbers to first aid care. Most of all, it’s the best source of free entertainment, from movies and TV shows to songs. Who needs cable TV when you can download?

If I am ever going to be stranded in an island and I could only wish for one tool, I would ask for a laptop with high-speed internet connection. If I had that, I might not even want to go back home anymore. It would be paradise.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Jailhouse Rock!

Have you seen the controversial dance videos of Filipino inmates in Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC)? These videos show more than 1,000 inmates practicing synchronized group dances to the tunes of "Thriller" by Micheal Jackson, "Radio Gaga" by Queen and "Jumbo Hotdog" by the Masculados. They are so amazingly entertaining that the videos have been viewed more than 1 million times in youtube over the last few weeks.

The videos were posted in youtube by the detention warden himself, Byron F. Garcia. He was recenlty quoted in ABC news saying "While the goal is to keep the body fit in order to keep the mind fit, such may not happen if it is done in a manner deemed unpleasurable. Music, being the language of the soul, is added to that regimen."

Even Patrick Rubio, chief admistrator of the Directorate of Operations within the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, agrees saying "There's a time to dance and a time to sing. If they say laughter is the best medicine, how much more for dancing?".

What did i tell you? Pinoys really love to sing and dance...even in prison! It's so unconvetional but it has been effective in keeping the peace and order situation in CPDRC so far. Imagine how dancing has united all the non-conformists? Hundreds of killers and rapists tapping their feet and swinging their hips in synchrony to the tune of "Jumbo Hotdog". Only in the Philippines!

To see the videos, click on the links below:

Thriller http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMnk7lh9M3o&NR=1
Radio Gaga http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAVVVMcTShQ&NR=1
Jumbo Hotdog http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxrPxudZjj8&mode=related&search=
Sister Act http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fptZ3FY-AwY&mode=related&search

If you want to read more about the featured news report on ABC news:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I Want One Of Those

I just recently stumbled upon this ultra cool website www.iwantoneofthose.com which sells stuff that you don't really need but you really really want! The site offers a wide selection of uniquely-designed fabulous knick knacks for people with a great sense of style and humor. Unfortunately, they only deliver around Europe and US. So for those of us living in Asia, it's just a great reference for gift ideas (that we can copy and sell in bazaars..hehehehehe).

So far, here are some items that i don't really need but i really really want....

Sun Jar - a jam jar that stores sunlight! Just let it sit on your windowsill during the day, once it gets dark the jar automatically glows with the day's sunshine. What a bright idea!

Every girl deserves to have a diamond...key ring!

Pick your nose cups - the alternative to boring party cups. Each cup has one of 12 different shaped and sized noses printed on it. I want to throw a party just so i could use them. It's going to be hillarious!

Mukka express - plug-in cappuccino maker that let's you enjoy the perfect cappuccino whenever you want at the comforts of your own home (or office desk). Simply add water, your favorite (ground) coffee beans and milk and within minutes you can have you frothy cappuccino without breaking a sweat.
Foot in the Door - undeniably the most stylish door wedge in the known universe! These stilleto stoppers are made of soft rubber and come in two colors, red and black. Now we can add a touch of couture to our doors.
Cork Candles - these cork shaped candles are made to fit into any bottle so you don't have to go through the frustrating exercise of trying to ram cadle sticks into wine bottles.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Welcome to America, Victoria!

Despite the poor reviews I’ve read about the “Victoria Beckham: Coming to America” prime time special, I did managed to sit through the whole one hour program whilst devouring slice after slice of pizza. The show was exactly what I expected it to be – mindless entertainment. I actually appreciated Posh B’s sense of humor and I liked how she poked fun at herself - imagine dressing up a doll to look like her as a decoy from the paparazzi. I wasn’t really expecting Victoria to share some profound insights or say anything thought-provoking. I just wanted to watch it for the sake of being entertained. It was like reading the Shopaholic series or Bridget Jones’ Diary only this was real.

I think Americans were just expecting to see something different because she was British. They got disappointed when they found out she was just like any other dolled-up diva American celebrity. What I actually found even more shocking (and disturbing) were the Beverly Hills socialites who invited her for afternoon tea. Their Botox-injected faces and collagen-filled lips made Victoria look normal and ordinary.

If there’s one thing I learned from V Becks tonight it’s that celebrity reality shows are NOT meant to be taken seriously. There’s no need to over analyze. It is what it is – an hour long escape from our own reality of work and house chores.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The cost of happiness

I read an interesting article from www.thesimpledollar.com about Discovering What’s Important and Discarding The Rest. In the article, the author suggested that each person should make a list of the things that make us happy and another list of things that make us feel low. We should prioritize the list of things that make us happy and try to center all our emotional and financial efforts on those things. This way we can spend our time and money wisely on things that will truly give us fulfillment, at the same time help us eliminate unnecessary spending and make us feel so much happier about the money we spend. More often that not, our lows would include being financially crippled and not having enough for what we need when we need it.

I couldn’t agree more with the author. I often catch myself asking the question “where did my money go?” And most of the time I realize that I had spent it on trivial things that don’t really make my life significantly better. Like buying a new color of lip gloss or a new bottle of lotion or a new scent of perfume which I then realize I already have too much of. I get easily tempted to buy every pretty pair of shoes that I see. Then I complain afterwards that they hurt my feet and they end up on display in my shoe rack (for my appreciation only).

I guess I should reconsider my priority list again and evaluate what really matters most in my life. I think at this point what would be on top of my list would be my emotional, physical and spiritual well-being and having a well-nourished mind (including that of my husband). I won’t shun away from shopping but I will definitely think twice before I purchase a new dress, a pair of shoes or a handbag. (I’m still a girl, I have needs.)

Recently, I was tempted to spend all my savings from tutoring on $40 designer dresses in the outlet store. Luckily, I didn't have much time to look around when we went to the shop. Now, i have to re-think what I'm going to do with my savings. Spend it here in Korea OR save it for Pilates classes and travels to the beach in the Phils OR simply save it for the rainy days?

Whether we admit it or not, money really does play an important role in our happiness rating. The happiest people don’t necessarily have to be millionaires but I would bet that they are financially independent – debt free and living well within their means.

I still believe in the saying that the best things in life are free but at the end of the day, the reality is we still have bills to pay. We need to save and spend wisely.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

My friends always ask me what I do during the day to keep myself busy now that I’m not working. Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret…www.people.com. I admit to being a celebrity stalker! I can look at celebrity photos for hours. For some reason I can’t resist peeking at the private lives of the Brangelina bunch, Tomkat and Britney Spears. And I’m always curious to see what Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Eva Longoria and Nicole Richie are wearing. What can I say, it’s my guiltiest guilty pleasure.

But when I’m in the mood for real gossip I go to www.perezhilton.com. It’s tagged as Hollywood’s most-hated website because it’s the best source of the latest unadulterated celebrity juice. I get my weekly update on who’s gay, who’s pregnant and who’s dating whom from the Manhattan-based gossip columnist who delivers news with an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek and sometimes cruel slant (as Wikipedia had put it).

Warning: Celebrity gossip is addictive.


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