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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Mutella

Last night, with 3 kids in bed, lights off...

Xavi: I love Mutella!
Me: Did you say Mutella or Nutella?
Xavi: Mutella!
Me: It's Nutella, not Mutella. Say it with me, Nutella.
Xavi: Mutella
Me: Nu...
Xavi: Nu...
Me: Tell...
Xavi: Tell...
Me: Ahhh!
Xavi: Ahhh!
Me: Nutella!
Xavi: Mutella!

Berry busts out giggling. Xavi starts one of his infectious belly laughs. Tepper, who was silently breastfeeding joins in. We all end up laughing. 

Me: Look at Tepper, he can't even say many words, but he's laughing at you Xavi! 

Tepper sits up. Throws his head back and laughs a hearty laugh. And everyone breaks into giggles again. What a fun night! Beats any party!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Kitchen Dreaming at KitchenPro


Beautiful, well-made, heirloom quality kitchen equipment sparks joy in my heart. I can stay for hours at La Grande Epicerie making a checklist of stuff I want for my kitchen (I plan to but haven't gone to E. Dehillerin yet). While I still have yet to own the kitchen of my dreams, I am working towards it, by starting with pots, pans and kitchen tools that will fill it. Heehee.

During our early married years, I would get Le Creuset Dutch ovens and pans from Dada as special occasion gifts.  And yes, I asked for them specifically. It's such a joy cooking with nice kitchen stuff.

I have seen first hand how big of a difference food tastes when cooked in a Dutch oven (also referred to as a cocotte). The beef is more tender, and the food, more flavorful. When we moved to Singapore, I had to use the pots, pans and knives supplied by our serviced apartment for two whole months before our stuff arrived, and I found it so uninspiring to cook. Cutting meat and vegetables with unsharpened knives is tough to start with. Maybe it was my imagination, or maybe not, but I thought the food, when cooked in aluminum or thin stainless steel pots, tasted different too. Ang arte ko, haha.

A few years back, I stumbled upon this post by Marketman, saying, that "..if Le Creuset is the “Mercedes” of the kitchen pot line-up, then Staub must be the “Maybach” or perhaps even the “Rolls Royce” of enameled cast iron pots."

And knowing me, of course I want the Rolls Royce of kitchen pots! I've seen Staub at Sur La Table in SoHo, but because I had a new set of Le Creuset pots then, I felt no desire for more cast iron pots.

Besides, where else would I find space for them in our tiny two bedroom apartment?

But ahhh, Marie Kondo would put me to task here, but with a Manila kitchen now, I now have more room for cast iron pots. And I've got my eyes on the grand prize.

Especially since I found these Staub cocottes at KitchenPro in Shangri-la East Wing. Drool.

The colors of Staub are more vibrant

Marketman has these gray ones, so chic

Mini cocottes! So cute. I'm thinking of an excuse to buy pa, haha

KitchenPro has the potential to be like Sur La Table ha. They also have Zwilling knives and kitchen tools galore.


I've got my eye on this Zwilling cleaver too.


While technically not kitchen stuff, the Zwilling grooming set is a great gift for the man who has everything!


Also spotted these color-coded Victorinox knives. Great for food hygiene and safety as it limits the chance of cross contamination between food groups and potential food poisoning.


I'll tell you more about my KitchenPro finds soon. As this post does not do them any justice!

For more about KitchenPro, visit their Facebook Page, KitchenProStores as well as @kitchenprostores on Instagram.

Visit KitchenPro stores at the 6th level of Shangri-la East Wing, Ground Floor of SM Aura Premier, and 3F Ayala Center Cebu.

Monday, May 16, 2016

MFO's Verdict On: Kojie San Skin Lightening Range

I first told you about Kojie San in an earlier post, when I got to try the products first hand. While I am fair skinned to start with and I have no plans of getting any more lighter than I am now, my main goal really was to just even out my skin tone, given that it's summer and I've been out under the sun a lot, making some parts of me fair, and the parts exposed to the sun a tad bit darker. 

Here I am 3 weeks later with a better verdict on Kojie San's Skin Lightening lineup. Here goes!

The Product: Kojie San Skin Lightening Line

Product Origin: According to Skinstore.com, kojic acid is obtained from mushrooms that are native to Japan. It is a fine, white powdery substance composed of tiny crystals — the by-product of the fermentation process for sake. Kojic acid is a natural acid that is primarily used for lightening skin pigmentation. It is an effective, safer alternative to hydroquinone. This wonder product is the exact same ingredient found in all 4 of Kojie San's skin whitening range.

The Promise: 



Kojie San Skin Lightening Soap for whitening contains high-grade Kojic Acid that prevents melanin production for lighter, clearer skin. It effectively diminishes dark spots, freckles, acne, plus stretch marks and unevenness.

Kojie San Cleanser + Toner is equipped with Ginseng Extract and Rosehip Oil to revive tired skin. It rids skin of excessive oil while repairing damage.

Kojie San Face Lightening Cream is made from a combination of natural extracts plus high-grade Kojic Acid that lightens as it nourishes the skin. It restores skin suppleness for a healthy, rosy look. 

Kojie San Body Lightening Lotion has an advanced formulation of Kojic Acid plus Rosehip Oil that whitens skin as it heals. It is made for faster absorption to lighten skin in less time and has Collagen + Vitamin E to increase youthfulness and skin health.

Put to the Test:



This is my second bar of Kojie San Kojic Acid soap, and I love it enough to buy after I used up my sample. I still enjoy its tart, fruity scent. I suggest you let it sit a bit on your skin for a couple of minutes before rinsing. It does have a mild stinging effect, but that's just a little bit of inconvenience that I can work with.



What I really want to work on lightening are my elbows and knees. They're still not the same shade as the rest of my extremities, but they've lightened. Of course, I can't expect results from the Body Lightening Lotion in 3 weeks. Will keep on using until I get the desired effect. They do soften the skin though, and I also like the scent.


I don't use this all over my face, but only on parts that need evening out, like my forehead, tops of my cheeks and neck. Also use it as a base for my elbows and knees. Love that it's mild and delicately scented.


I use this on my neck and batok, rather than my face actually. I find that these are the parts that are most neglected and need equal care and attention. Just take a look at that grime I've scrubbed off my neck and nape at noontime. I haven't even been out of the house yet!

Passing the Verdict: I can confirm that this is a good buy. The fact that its whitening properties come from a natural acid, and not some chemical from a lab is a plus for starters. The scent is pleasant. Add to that the reasonable price points, this is clearly a winner.

Practical Tip: Use the cleanser + toner on your batok! It's the part where we often forget to exfoliate and scrub clean.

Price: 

Kojie San Skin Lightening Soap for whitening 135g, Php68
Kojie San Cleanser + Toner 100 ml, Php75
Kojie San Face Lightening Cream 30g, Php120
Kojie San Body Lightening Lotion 200ml, Php262

Point of Sale: Kojie San is available at leading supermarkets, drug stores and sari-sari stores nationwide.

Do you have a Kojie San lightening story? Share your experience at Kojie San's social media accounts on Facebook at KojiesanPH and Instagram @kojiesanph and hash tagging #KojieSan and #BringYourSkinToLight.

Friday, May 06, 2016

My Mother's Day Finds at BCBG

While looking for  a Mother's Day gift for my Mom, I ended up getting this top as well, which I wore to an intimate event I hosted the other day at French Sole in Greenbelt 5. I will tell you more about that in a separate post heehee.


My point for this post is, everyone loved this white top! My friends at the event, as well as my friends who saw it on Instagram and Facebook all asked me where I got it. The answer? Below.


This was at BCBG Max Azria at Shangri-la East Wing. Where they all also have a Mother's Day Promo running until May 15, 2016. That's 20% OFF on select Spring-Summer 2016 items, and this offer runs across all their stores in the country.

A selection from their current Spring/Summer 2016 Collection

To save you time, here's a look at what they have in store, I've taken the liberty to take photos of the pieces that caught my eye. You might find something for you and your Mom here.

My mom's gift is somewhere here. Mom, if you're reading this, consider this a virtual treasure hunt! Take a guess. I hope I don't disappoint hehe.


Some fun baubles, the kind that's ok for yaya to give, in case ma-budol budol sya

Mom, you are gold! Gold!

For the hot mommas to wear to dressy occasions

This mini trunk style minaudiere is adorable!

Love the lace detail and hardware neckline on this dress. It's a good mix of tough yet sweet.

This top is gorgeous! It's from the Runway Collection. I want it.

Take a look at the colors and textures. The fabric is thick and lush too, you can pass this piece on to your granddaughter even.

Evening pieces that's great for dinner or dancing, or both.

Gorgeous stitching and sequins on that black cut-out dress in the previous photo

The Adelia sequinned cutout dress as seen on the lookbook

Sweet dresses that a twentysomething, even a sophisticated teen would want to wear

Again, great fabric and details. Something you can always expect from BCBG Max Azria.

There's a whole lot more to see in store. They also have suit jackets with lace panels, evening gowns, resort wear, and accessories that I leave for you to discover. *wink wink*

Joan Parfait wide leg pants

 Keanu lace blazer

Michaella strapless gown

For more on BCBG Max Azria, Like /BCBGMAXAZRIA on Facebook

In the Philippines, visit BCBG Max Azria in the Shangri-la Plaza East Wing, City of Dreams Manila, Resorts World Manila and Greenbelt 5.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Heinz, Kelly Ketchup and Bento by Kat


I have known Kat Maderazo for over a decade now, and I've seen how she started with her bento baons way before she coined her brand, Bento by Kat. I have never had the chance to attend her bento tutorial events though because of schedule conflicts. 

So when Monica Manzano of My Little Globetrotters invited me to the Heinz Kitchen Creations event with Bento by Kat, and I had the afternoon free, I jumped at the chance, and finally got my wish.  Yay!

Of course, my kids love Heinz Tomato Ketchup too, and it's a product that's a staple in our pantry, same with their Malt Vinegar and White Vinegar

And yes, I love love love their tiny bottles of condiments whenever we order room service in hotels. Love Heinz, so that's a double reason to go.


Of course, the event was very educational, as expected. Kat is amazing. She's a Japanese-certified bento box maker, and her bento boxes are just so creative and inspired. Obviously, she puts a lot of thought, time and effort in her kids' baons. Oh, what I would give to have the time and patience to do bento.


During the event, she taught us how to do Kelly Ketchup, which looked like a challenge at first. But once we got past the intimidation phase (haha) and we all pretty much got the hang of it, I think we all did pretty well.


Basically, while there are many many tools, both necessary and pa-cute for Bento, these are the essentials you need: the bento box, toothpicks, a paring knife, scissors and forceps.


For Kelly Ketchup, we mixed Heinz Tomato Ketchup with the rice, to give Kelly her pinkish skin tone. Plus, I'm pretty sure ketchup rice tastes good. I used to enjoy eating my rice this way as a kid, heehee.


Using a cling wrap, Kat taught us how to shape the head, body, arms and legs of Kelly. It was close to playing with Play Doh, basically.


We used the egg omelette for the dress, cheese for the headband, sushi nori for the hair and eyes, and then we garnished the empty spaces of the bento box with the chicken nuggets, vegetables and grapes. The finishing touches like the rosy cheeks and shoes, I did using Heinz ketchup, as suggested by Kat.


Here's my version of Kelly Ketchup. My friend Pam Siao aka Green Lunch Diaries said Kelly looks like Berry. I think so too!

use the scissors to cut the dress, hair and eyes, the forceps to lay out tiny decorations, and the knife for cutting vegetables and shapes

Here's a side by side of our Kelly girls: by Pam, me and Amber!


While I doubt I will have the patience to do bento baons every day, I see how our everyday ingredients and condiments are brought to life with some extra time and a whole lot of imagination!

Thanks so much to Heinz for a fun-filled afternoon, and for bringing so much flavor to our dining table, all day, everyday!
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