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Monday, September 28, 2015

Prayer for Our Children

Sharing with all of you this beautiful prayer for our children. Every time I read it, feeling ko bumabait ako. Thanks to Architect Ana Ling, for sharing this with me. Because of this, I am reminded to be more patient and to practice at being a better parent, heehee.

I don't know the title of the prayer book, but I was told by Oliver Dexter Sy of Quirks Marketing that it is available at St. Paul Bookstore. I'll let you know when I find it! ;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

SMART Infinity Brings Les Misérables to Manila + A Trifecta of Treats

"Look down, look down, don't look them in the eye!"

Actually, I'm going to look you in the eye and tell it to you straight, SMART Infinity is bringing Les Misérables to Manila, this March 2016! 

Cameron Mackintosh's acclaimed new production of Boublil and Schonberg's legendary musical finally lands here, and SMART Infinity users are offered FIRST DIBS to ticket purchasing and a 10% discount, from September 29 to October 29, 2015.

Non-Infinity users still have a chance to enjoy privileges of course, just subscribe to Plan 5000 or Plan 8000 and you get two (2) VIP Orchestra tickets, a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and your choice of PAL Mabuhay Miles/Purple Card/Switch gift cards plus a free download of the entire soundtrack of Les Misérables via Spinnr. This offer is also available when members opt for the latest Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+.

A theatrical showcase, fancy phones and shopping/travel - if that doesn't make an Infinity subscriber special, I don't know what else will.

According to Julie Carceller, Head of SMART Infinity, "SMART Infinity has always been about the unique lifestyle it provides befitting the most discerning clientele. In a nutshell, it's all about the eloquence and grandeur of the world of privileges it brings along with the best and latest handheld devices."

She's talking about the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Samsung Note 5 of course.

"The latest Samsung devices, the S6 Edge Plus and the Note 5 have arrived in style via SMART Infinity. We want our subscribers to know that we are pairing the latest devices with options that address your chosen passion." offered James Chi, marketing manager of SMART Infinity.

And speaking of passion, Julie Carceller invited National Artist, the master of Philippine contemporary art no less, Bencab onstage to demonstrate how art and technology can merge seamlessly in true SMART Infinity style. Seeing him onstage, drawing Sabel, a recurring character in his body of work, was breathtaking. I was in awe the entire time and couldn't peel my eyes off the screen.

Completing the trifecta of unparalleled perks available to SMART Infinity subscribers is TRAVEL. 

The SMART Infinity travel tradition allows its members uninterrupted connectivity and data usage while enjoying travel perks, such as getting as much as Php46,000 worth of PAL Mabuhay Miles for  Plan 5000 and Plan 8000. 

These miles can be used for travel to PAL destinations such as Singapore, Japan, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Melbourne, San Francisco, LA or London OR for upgrades to business class. 

Miles are transferable too. Plus, more good news! By December 1, Philippine Airlines will be flying to Cairns, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand from Manila.

*For Plan 5000 and Plan 8000 get the the Note 5 or Edge+ for free plus SSI Purple Gift Cards/Switch Gift Cards/PAL Mabuhay Miles. Note that Plan 8000 gets both the Note 5 or Edge+ for free.

Visit the SMART Infinity website to see the latest plans, exclusive experiences and perks available to subscribers.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cibo Cooking at Home

How? Enroll at Cibo, Buon Compleanno by Casa Artusi of course!

When Chris Yam Daez told me about the class, and then Kris de Guzman shared the poster with me and our friend Jen too, I took it as a sign to, well, sign up for a class. We love dining at Cibo and the thought of being able to cook the same dishes at home? Winner!

Class photo! Well, just with my front row seatmates heehee

Kris and I excitedly went together,  and Chris came early to save us seats. We sat at the table right in front of this big wheel of parmagiano reggiano.

Behind which was Gaita Fores of Cibo herself.

OMG, even before the class started, we were already so thrilled, just being there.

First things first. Here are some of the reasons why Cibo makes the yummiest pastas in town:

They use the juiciest ripe tomatoes to make stewed tomatoes from scratch

The pesto is made by hand using a mortar and pestle. Food processor pesto on the left, hand mortared pesto on the right.

No palengke rock salt here, even the salt is Italian at Cibo

Don't get me started on the butter. I can lick this whole can clean. So creamy with just the right hint of saltiness, I can slather this on warm crusty bread and never leave the table.

Our class was from 2 pm to 5:30 pm and in that span of time, I learned about the history of Casa Artusi, the ingredients used at Cibo and Grace Park and where to buy them (mostly from Bacchus), how to make stewed tomatoes and sauteed mushrooms, the benefits of pasta water, how to reconstitute pasta, and of course, how to cook five of Cibo's best selling pasta dishes:

Penne al Telefono

Farfalle alla Genovese

Rigatoni all'Alfonso

Spaghettini alla Pescatora

Lingiuine alla Ghiotta 

Let me tell you, none of the food hacks recipes online have gotten close to how these are made. But they are all so deceptively simple, you'd be surprised at how easy they are to make. 

Bottomline is, you just need to use the best, and freshest ingredients. I'll share with you the recipe for Penne al Telefono, but won't share the recipes for the rest because well, I'd rather you go and sign up for a Casa Artusi class instead to get the full experience! ;) 

Cibo Penne al Telefono

750 ml cooking cream
2 tablespoons butter
340 grams penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
120 grams stewed tomatoes
30 grams mozzarella cheese, cubed
freshly ground nutmeg
chili flakes
20 grams white cheese/kesong puti
fresh basil leaves
salt, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese, to finish
extra virgin olive oil, to finish
bread, to serve

Preparation: In a pan, pour whipping cream and add butter. Stir until sauce thickens. Add the stewed tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add the cheeses and pasta. Toss. Tear fresh basil leaves and add to the pan, along with nutmeg and chili flakes. Adjust seasoning. Transfer to plate. Top with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with bread.

Here's a Bonus! Gaita's tomato salad recipe: Cut up tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and top off with basil leaves. Quick and easy, you can just imagine how simple the pasta recipes are, taking off from here.

I've tried cooking the Penne al Telefono and Linguini alla Ghiotta for Dada and the kids at home, and both were certified hits, I am so excited to have them try the rest. 

The class is Php4,500 per session, but it's time and money well-spent. At the very least, I can say I am Gaita Fores and Casa Artusi certified! Heehee.
Chris, Kris and I with Gaita Fores, proudly brandishing our certificates!

That said, you ought to know the next class is on September 26, at Ascott BGC. To reserve a slot, email m.commissary@gmail.com or text/call  Marga at +63 905 445 9643. 

Stay peeled to the Casa Artusi Facebook Page to learn more of their activities. I hope they teach us how to make the Cibo potato chips next time.

For more on Casa Artusi in the Philippines, visit www.casartusiphilippines.com and Like the Casa Artusi Philippines Facebook Page

To reserve a slot for the September 26 class at Ascott BGC, email m.commissary@gmail.com or text/call  Marga at +63 905 445 9643.

Friday, September 18, 2015

5 Tips for Holiday Shopping + Mango Kids Fall Fashion

Berry loves dressing up and shopping for clothes, that's not a secret.

Xavi enjoys dressing up too, in fact, he chooses his own clothes for school now. One thing I've realized though, it's not a good idea to dress up preschoolers when they've just woken up from a nap. Case in point, this:

Berry and Xavi are dressed head to toe in Mango Kids

Heehee! There's no denying though that even with Xavi's sungit face, they both look so chic! That said, with September drawing to a close, we've got to face the inevitable. Holiday shopping!

Here are some tips I've learned when shopping for kids clothes for the holidays.

1. Buy separates

While that long sleeved dress looks so adorable, sometimes it may not be worth spending on. It may be too warm, too itchy, or just plain uncomfortable. I've learned it makes better sense to just buy a dress, and a cardigan separately. The cardigan may also be matched with a top and jeans or other dresses, so there's more bang for your buck!

sparkly silver cardigan, tulle dress and pink flats, all from Mango Kids

2. Know what your child likes. 

In Berry's case, tutu inspired dresses are always a winner.  If your daughter is a girly girl like mine, she can never have too many tulle dresses. Sometimes I try to buy according to my taste, but in the end, she would hardly wear it, if at all. That's money down the drain. I've realized I am better off just letting her choose for herself, or choosing something based on what she'd like, even if I have to reign in my desire to control. Heehee. 

Berry can wear this Mango dress with tights, ballet shoes, a tiara, fairy wings and a wand, and it's an instant Halloween costume!

Now boys are easy to shop for. Maybe just get clothes in colors they like, and make sure the fabric and construction can take the rough and tumble of being worn by active little guys.

3. Buy what's practical.

Even if the dress has been merchandised to be worn with pink shoes, I would buy shoes she can wear outside of special occasions. Hence, choosing black flats instead of the ballerina pink ones. This pair of black ballerinas may be worn with all her other dresses, with shorts and trousers, and may even be worn to school. Win-win.

This pair has subtly sparkly elastics so it's not just any old pair of boring black flats. Better yet, they're comfy too

4. Buy a size bigger.

When in doubt, always buy a size bigger. It's easier to knot the straps, temporarily shorten hem lengths or stuff a shoe with extra insoles, or wear it with thicker socks than buy something that will only be worn twice or thrice and then outgrown.

Mango Kids blue suede booties for boys

5. Buy quality.

Many parents think it's not worth spending on children's clothes. I believe in spending on quality. My kids may not have a lot of clothes, but they are all made well, and built to last, such as these ones from Mango Kids. Enough to be passed on not just to younger siblings, but to much younger cousins as well.

That said, don't discount hand-me-downs! I don't think kids are kawawa if they have to wear hand me downs. I gladly accept my friends' kids' clothes, and I pass on pre-loved clothes to family and friends. It's a happy cycle! 

To see more of MANGO Kids Fall fashion, follow @mangokids on Instagram, or better yet, visit MANGO Kids in Glorietta 2, Mall of Asia, SM BF Paranaque, Trinoma, Ayala Cebu and the newly opened store in Eastwood.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

H&M Holiday 2015

the H&M showroom gets cozy for the Holidays

Oh gosh, it's that time of year again. Who's ready for the holidays? I know I'm not!

Although admittedly, it's hard to get Scrooge-y when you're faced with warm Gingerbread Man cookies and a DIY ornament corner by Craft Manila.

Add to that, Holiday decorating suggestions from H&M.

Last year, I had a wishlist of items I wanted to get from the H&M Holiday Collection, and I was able to buy them all save for one. This year gets scarier because just look at how much more options there are now. You can actually go by theme: classic red, rustic silver or sophisticated gold.

Then again, the living room vignette at the H&M showroom managed to combine all three themes together into a look that's festive and yet clean.

So who says you can't mix and match, especially when you can afford to get them all because H&M Home is so affordable. Some of the items from the Home Holiday collection are out  now, but the rest should be trickling into H&M Home stores soon.

Don't forget to check out the Autumn/Winter 2015 Collection for kids and the A/W 2015 Studio Collection as well. They're perfect for Holiday dressing!

H&M Home is available at SM Makati and Robinsons Magnolia.

P.S. Watch out for H&M Cebu, opening very soon!
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