Monday, September 30, 2013

Manic Monday Quotes: 10 Ways to Love

Whatever it may be that turns your monday manic, I hope you remember to love.

 Happy start of the week! 

September ended, and we survived. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Got 5 minutes? Do some yoga.

This will come out as a very lame excuse. I don't have time for exercise. Who does? I try to walk up and down the fire exit stairs whenever I can, instead of having to wait around for the lift. I used to walk to my colleagues' cubicles to ask questions (instead of simply lifting up the phone). With communicator, email and the need to multitask, though, I do a lot less walking now. 

Hence, I am glad to have discovered the 5-minute yoga app on iTunes (just between you and me, I've had the app for almost a year. It's fully paid for, but Candy Crush got in the way of things.) I have been consistently on it for the past two weeks...and, I kid you not, I do feel some changes. My abs feel tighter - and a little sore. I am also slowly building up on the flexibility piece. Two weeks ago, I literally creaked while doing poses. The creaking has come down to a slow stop... a creak here, a creak there (everywhere a creak-creak?!)... But not full time creaking. Perhaps, I am doing something right.

The way it works is that it gives you 5 different poses in a span of 5minutes. At each pose, the app gives you specific instructions on how to execute. Then it gives you 40 seconds to hold that pose. These are some of my favorite poses.

I love that this stretches the entire body, practically. It especially works well on stressed shoulders, from hunching all day in front of a laptop.

This one will work wonders on your abs. If you only had time for 1 minute (man, that must be one hectic day) - do this. 

There are some symmetrical poses each time - you have to do 40 seconds on each side. Like this pose for a full leg stretch. 

And finally, this.

This was a real challenge. Trust me, or try it now.

Well? The balancing part is definitely tough. In the middle of the 40 seconds, I still have to hold out one arm and hold on to something to keep the balance. My goal is to be able to fully balance without help. Soon. My belief is the ability to balance physically should help me in other things in life. Clarity of mind, ability to better multi-task... Get home early (work life balance?!). Let's see.

Since I have started doing this, I have now realized that I can do yoga. I used to think it was slow, boring, and only for zen type of people. Now, I realize it works even for busybees like you and me.  HuffPost Living even came out with an article about yoga poses you can do in bed. You mean, I don't even have to get out of bed? Yup! It sounds (and is) absolutely perfect.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

I cooked: Arugula Salad Mix and Match 

I came across this very intriguingly yummy recipe by RecipeGirl awhile back. I love mushrooms... I have loved them since I was about 8 years old. And then she talked about balsamic onions - another delicious combination (just reading it makes me drool). It was a shoo in for a must try recipe. I saved it in my favorites list and it ran through my mind for several weeks. But I was not too confident yet about making the sandwich because I didn't have the perfect cheese for it. So, I decided to tweak the recipe a little - and turned the pieces I loved into a salad. But, RecipeGirl, I will still make the sandwich soon, and when I do, I shall tell you about it.

Things fell into place for me quickly. I had bought fresh mushrooms from the market in Connecticut, and I had this nice crabmeat in a can that I could use as additional toppings (also from the sunday Connecticut market). Down to Earth had delivered a fresh batch of micro arugula the day before too.

So I followed RecipeGirl's instructions for balsamic, caramelized onions. Olive oil, sliced white onion, salt (I used sea salt), balsamic vinegar... and patience. It takes about 20-30 minutes for onions to get caramelized (even longer if you like them darker).

"My Craft
And I stewed the mushrooms (I used black shiitake mushrooms, but you can use other types of meaty/fleshy mushrooms too). Olive oil, salt, white wine and mushrooms.... I still cannot figure out how to reduce the amount of water that seeps out of the mushrooms. For this particularly recipe though, I lived with it since I later used the mushroom liquid as dressing.

My Craft
I used the liquid from the mushrooms, mixed it up with more balsamic vinegar and a pinch of coco sugar to make some additional dressing for the salad. It's good to mix this up on the stove to make sure it all gets mixed in together.

And finally, assemble your salad with arugula, caramelized onions, mushrooms and some crabmeat. I think this will work with roasted vegetables too. Without the toppings (of crabmeat) - it can be a perfect side salad for a steak.

For something I made up, this came out pretty good. I hope you try it, and enjoy it too. Drop me a note when you do! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

K's Point of View: The Squid in Les Miserables

At the Brain Fit session last week, physiotherapist Cheryl Chia talked about the auditory part of our brains. She talked about how certain words only differ from each other by "milliseconds." For instance, the words "say" and "stay" differ only by 100 milliseconds. When we don't hear that "millisecond" of a difference - our brains go to work, putting in context clues for us to understand (and realize) exactly which word was said. For instance - if I said "will you stay with me?" You won't necessarily have heard exactly the word "stay" - but since you heard the rest of the sentence, you would have automatically put in "stay" there as that's the word that would have made sense with the rest of the sentence.

I experienced a perfect example of this "auditory" malfunction while watching the movie Les Miserables the other night. We were at the scene when Marius was asking Eponine who the blond girl in the hat was. In the midst of singing, and other sound effects... Eponine said, "Cosette."

K: Who's Posette?

At this point, the husband and I looked at each other, trying to keep straight faces. 

Me: It's Cosette, not Posette. That's the name of the girl wearing the hat.

K: Posette? That's her name?

Me: Cosette. KO-SET. Posette is different.

K: Oh.

Me: It's a nice name, isn't it?

And it went downhill from there.

K: Hmm. Yes. But Posette is nice too. (pauses to think). And it's yummy too.

To those who are confused - "pusit" is the word for squid in Filipino - and it's often pronounced "pu-set." There you go.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Forgive the mess...

Seriously, moms, how do you juggle all the wonderful things you need/want to do with the finite set of time in your hands? I am constantly challenged by it. I have wonderful intentions... But reality is, something has got to give. Yesterday, with two hours to go before dinner (and I am blessed not to have to cook dinner every night)... I was again reminded of how little time there was in a weekend. I wanted to paint with the kids, write a blog post (yeah, to add to my --- insert sarcasm here --- 60 or so posts), and do a little organizing.

I ended up painting with the kids first...

... and then started 1 paragraph of a post.


I still had this to contend with (and believe me, i have lots more that are in worse condition).

I am reminded of something a colleague at work told me recently. She was lamenting to her mom about keeping a household, and having to rely on (ironically) unreliable household help. Her mom asked her, "(When you were growing up) did you think I liked keeping a disorganized house? Did you think I was naturally disorganized that way? It was simply because I wanted to focus on you (4) children before, and made sure you were taken cared of well, above anything else."

That sure strikes a familiar chord. In our busy lives, we all juggle many things (not only moms, but regular people too). Most often than not, we are juggling one extra ball too much, over what we are truly capable of. It is during these times when the most important balls prevail... Our children, our husbands, our family and friends.

So, please forgive the mess. I let the ball drop.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Luxury that is Brunch

Brunch, to me, is such a luxury. My normal breakfast is a cup of oatmeal on the drive to work, and (on most days) a tall cup of coffee to tide me over till lunchtime. On good days, I'll have a small pastry along with it. When I was pregnant, and while I was nursing - I would pass by McDonald's for pancakes... For the extra calories! For lunch, I would usually eat at my table while going through email, or paying bills online, or just catching up on "mindless" tasks (i.e. tasks that do not require my brain to fully function while I chew....) 

Brunch, to me, is a luxury. 

1. Brunch means I got to wake up later than usual that day. Brunch usually starts at around 10 o'clock right? That means no work!!!

2. Brunch means I get to eat fancy food, freshly brewed coffee, and someone will serve me my food. It means I will get a proper table setting, and a napkin for my lap too!

3. Brunch means I can dawdle over my food... I can sit, look at it, take pictures of it, Instagram it, talk about it, take small bites.... I don't have to scarf it down in 2 seconds because I am rushing to a meeting.

4. Brunch means there's someone beside me who I can share this beautiful, fanciful food with! I get a proper human being rather than a square screen. I get a proper reply, rather than a pop up message. I say what I want to talk about, and not have to type it out.

5. Brunch brings me back to good times. It reminds me of the year spent in grad school. It reminds me of the Easter Sunday brunch somewhere in the forests of Fontainebleau - that stretched to 4pm in the afternoon. It brings me back to carefree days.

Hence, I welcomed brunch with the SoMoms at Cafe 1771 in Ortigas with a lot of gusto. It was going to be all the good things I mentioned above... Plus SHOPPING! Before the shopping though... Let me show you the spread.

Our brunch menu.

The vegetable fritata, which i absolutely loved. It's actually a great idea to do this for leftover veggies too.

A favorite among the SoMoms, the salmon lasagna.

Thin, juicy slices of chicken picata.

Mini (and cheesy) croque monsieurs.

These pancakes were served with bananas and caramelized walnuts. Simple but super yummy!

It was an engaging morning, meeting and socializing with these group of moms (and dad) who are all so engaged in raising their kids and being better versions of themselves.  Now, that was indeed a perfect brunch - good food, good company and good conversation.

For your own mini event needs (not just brunch), check out Cafe 1771. In the El Pueblo branch where we went, there are areas at the second floor (this is actually the Wine Bar section) that can be converted into small private rooms. They are perfect for intimate get togethers. I honestly have not had lunch or dinner at Cafe 1771 recently... But if brunch is an indication, I am sure they will not disappoint. Now, this would be a little telling of my age... Cafe 1771 used to be a "dating place" back in the late 90's. It was Chateau 1771 then. This was the heyday of St. Francis Square, and The Podium did not exist yet. I was early 20's then and it sure felt very posh to go there. 

Now, didn't I promise some shopping? Watch out for my next post on mompreneurs and shopping! See you soon! In the meantime, why don't you go and try the luxury of Cafe 1771?