11 August 2014

Time To Bake!


Minsan kailangan mo talaga ng creative break from work!! Watercolor painting, painting on canvas, rubber stamping, and other ways to de-stress are a must from time to time. For this past weekend, I decided to take on a childhood hobby.. baking! Growing up, my sister Aissa and I loved to bake cookies, brownies, muffins, and even cakes, from different recipe books we saw at home.


I looked up a lot of oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipies from the net and chose this from the Betty Crocker website, but did a few adjustments on my own! It turned out well so I'm sharing the recipe and step by step process with you! To first time bakers reading this, baking is really easy because everything is calculated!
 

First, fire up your oven to 350°F, or 176°C. This is just to pre-heat.

Then mixed the dry ingredients together: 2 cups quick-cooking oats (that's different from instant!), 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/4 cup of chocolate chips (I prefer the semi-sweet kind). Set that aside.


In a separate bowl will be your wet ingredients. Mix together 1 cup softened butter and 1 1/2 cup brown sugar. Remember, softened butter doesn't mean stick it in a microwave to make it melt! That changes the consistency of the butter. Just leave out out the refrigerator for a bit to make it soften.


Then mix in 1 egg and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.


Make sure to mix only in one direction. You'll know the batter is smooth enough when the sugar and butter have no chunks left.


Mix together the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients. I like putting it in portion by portion so that it is easier to mix. When batter starts to get thick, use the folding technique instead. That's using the spoon to scoop from below and "fold" on top, repeatedly and circling the bowl. Set aside.


I like greasing the pan so that the cookies don't stick to them after. Remember the stick of butter earlier? So the easiest way to grease the pan is just to save the wrapper of the stick of butter and rub the inside on the pan itself. Keeps your hands clean too!


Get a tablespoon's worth of the batter, roll into a ball, and place on the pan two inches away from each other.


Stick in the oven and set the timer to 12 minutes.


Make sure you check on your cookies at around the 8 minute mark. Sometimes, at the 9th or 10th minute, you'll see the edges of the cookies start to brown. When that happens, you need not wait for the 12 minutes to finish. Important tip too! Stop opening the oven to "check" on what you are baking! When cool air from the outside enters the oven, that also affects baking time.


Cooling the cookies are just as important as baking! No need for a cooling tray, just use your wooden table trays (for hot dishes) and set your baking pan there. Don't try to lift the cookies right away because they may crumble when fresh out of the oven. Make them cool for a bit first.


When done cooling, tadaaaaa! Time to eat! It's a very simple recipe perfect for first time bakers! I hope you try it out, and I hope you like it. If you do try it out, let me know what you think of the recipe!




xoxo

27 July 2014

A DAY IN MY LIFE (IN THE EYES OF OTHERS)




 
Social media has really changed the landscape of everything.

The photo above is a screencap of how my day went, at least, according to other people who tagged me in their photos. Isn't that amazing? A bit creepy, quite cool, but nevertheless amazing. 

Let me give you a peek into a bit of what my timeline looks like, with little bits of what really happened in real life.



 

I was invited by the organizers of the DLSU Student Media Congress to give an hour and a half talk/workshop on hosting.

What happened in real life: I spent the whole morning at our cover shoot for meg magazine in our studio in Eastwood. We ended by 230PM. Our photographer for the day, BJ Pascual, was also giving a talk on Fashion Photography at the same congress, so we were stuck in terrible traffic together and actually got to DLSU at 4PM. (Our talk was supposed to be at 330.) We apologized profusely to the students who signed up for our class.




When they asked me to do a talk, Trish, one of the organizers, mentioned to me that there would probably be over 50 students attending the talk, but that there could be more because registration was still ongoing. On the day itself, there were over 250 students!!!! I was amazed at how many students there are interested in hosting!




I gave a talk on 10 Things I've Learned About Hosting. A few things I shared: Know your stuff. Research. You will face rejection. Deal with it. Gain experience. Find your voice. Have just the right amount of energy and confidence, wag OA.




It is really quite tough to "workshop" 250+ students. A hands on workshop would be feasible for a group of 10 or 20. So to at least make it a bit more like an exercise, from time to time, I'd engage the students in different hosting exercises: the importance of spontaneity, how to do an effective introduction, why it is more important to listen than to talk when interviewing, the crazy things that can happen during a live show, what live reportage is really like, and so on.




What happened in real life: Since the traffic was so bad and we were late 30 minutes, my talk that was supposed to end at 5 extended to 530. My throat hurt like hell. Talking for an hour and a half straight (with matching sigaw, tawa, acting) is no joke! It was great to see faces in the crowd that were really engaged. Some seemed like they were NR, but I hope they learned a thing or two as well.




What happened in real life: This talk made me feel like I was coming full circle. Doing research for my presentation, I discovered that my first ever official hosting job in ABS-CBN was for a show called Review Night on Cinema One. That was in August 2004. I can't believe I have been hosting for a full decade already. It has been a tough and amazing journey in this career.

 


What happened in real life: By no means do I see myself as a great host, I have SO MUCH MORE to learn and improve on, but to be given the chance to share what I have learned, at least this far into being in the industry, is a great blessing and opportunity. And to have people want to hear advice from me about it is really humbling and fulfilling.

So thank you, DLSU SMC and to all the students who signed up! Thank you to those who tagged me in their photos and selfies! Sorry to all those I wasn't able to have a photo with!




That night was the 16th Anniversary Party of meg magazine. On behalf of the team, I was asked to give welcoming remarks to the crowd.




What happened in real life: After the talk at DLSU, I had an important writing deadline to meet. After battling terrible traffic (again) from Manila to the Fort (where the event is), I camped out at a quiet cafe to write. After ordering a sandwich, I was told their wifi was busted. Kaloka. I ate my sandwich quickly and moved to another cafe. I ordered a hot chocolate this time, and again, was told that the wifi was busted. I ended up using my own Tattoo pocket wifi. I finished what I had to write and sent the email. My Fashion Editor Rain met up with me and we rode the car together to the party. Rain held up a jacket to cover me as I changed from my top and pants into my dress and heels. I put on lipstick. Then we arrived at the party venue.




It was awesome to see so many people come out to support meg, despite the heavy traffic and the hassle weather the whole night.

What happened in real life: I'm actually going through a phase now. Feeling like I'm in a rut. Asking myself where should I take myself career-wise, where I'll be in 5 years, and other questions that usually pop up when one is at a life crossroad. But this whole day, from working behind the scenes at a shoot, to giving a talk to a room filled with students with big dreams, to being stuck in seemingly endless traffic, to being all alone in a cafe with the clicking of my keyboard, to celebrating in a noisy club with a team I love, all made me realize that we should really remind ourselves not to worry too much. That although it is cliche, we should really count our blessings and not our problems. It is normal to slip away and feel blue, but know that life will surprise you with moments that will make you pick yourself up and carry on.



. . .


One of the most interesting messages I was tagged in was this tweet from @potatoesef.

Tell me, would it be something you would be interested in? What would you like me to talk about, or have, or offer, if ever? Would love to hear what you think.













15 July 2014

#KIDSOFINSTAGRAM

Seeing your favorite kids on your Instagram feed never fails to put a smile on your face. Allow me to share with you the most adorable, lovable, cutest and most nakakagigil little boys and girls whose photos brighten my day!

Of course I need to start with my beloved inaanaks.



I am really loco over Roco!!!! Roco Pamintuan Gonzalez is the super smart, super guapo (biased Ninang) son of my brother JC and I can't get enough of his photos in our family Whatsapp chat group and on Instagram through the accounts of my brother @ziggydala and his wife @chochosmama!




Our family's little princess and Roco's little sister, meet Sabine Gonzalez! Just the cutest, sweetest baby girl who is the apple of our family's eyes. Always salingkit and gaya gaya with her Kuya Roco's activities, it is just a joy to watch her do anything. Don't grow up so fast, Beanie!




Viviana Gangoso Santos is beyond adorable! She is the daughter of my best friend @pepelsantos and wife @mstrissa. This photo was taken the same night she told her dad (who had a long day at work), "Daddy did you work hard for us today?" Gaaaah! Gigil!




My inaanak Diego Picazo Garcia is the incredibly cute unico hijo of my best friend @pampicazogarcia and husband @garciamaui. Always so sweet and often a ball of energy, he's sure to be the life of the party when he grows older.. just like his parents are!




This cutiepatootie is Camden De Jong Pamintuan, son of @tjpamintuan and @chardejong. His droopy eyes and funny smile (you should see the videos!) will surely make you say "aaaw!" A huge bonus are his adorable #OOTDs and #shoeselfies care of his momma.




This future heartbreaker will make you want to bite his cheeks off! Gavin Garcia Kramer, son of @dougkramer44 and @chekakramer, may be a heartthrob now but wait til he grows older! It is such a huge plus that he's a major sweetheart too.




The eldest of the bunch, it is crazy how time flies! Just feels like yesterday when Noelle Lagdameo Martinez, daughter of @mikaelamartinez and @chuchomartinez77 was born! Now she is into music, art, sports, is super smart at school, and gorgeous. Watch out for this super achiever!





But of course there are also kids who may not be my inaanaks but I am so crazy fond of!!!!




Tyler and Tiff Ablan Reyes, kids of JC's best friend @jayrreyes and wife @jenreyes08, are the absolute sweetest kids you will ever meet. Tyler is super malambing and playful, while Tiff is just so funny and bugay! Love these two balls of energy.




This baby supermodel is a walking doll! Celestia Mananquil Trillo, daughter of @rissamananquil and Paolo Trillo, feels like a baby straight out of a Baby Gap ad. Already a stunner, I'm sure Pao and Ris have to ward off the boys when this one grows up.




Lucas Cayetano, son of Ate @piacayetano, is a real charmer and maybe future politician! So personable, never shy, extremely hyper, this boy makes me so excited to see what he will be like all grown up! But not just yet, Lucas, stay a little boy first!




Another Lucas, Lucas Davila Sta. Ana, is the cutiepie son of @iamkarendavila and hubby DJ Sta. Ana. Always so malambing and even tags along with his mommy on work days, this super trooper is set to charm everyone with his ways in the coming years!




And yet again another Tyler, Tyler Martinez, yes little bro of Noelle, has got to be one of the most handsome boys in the country! Already a commercial model at his age, those eyes and that smile assure us we'll be seeing much more of him in the future.




Look at that darling! Lucho Santos Agoncillo, son of @officialjuday and @thatsmytatayryan can melt your heart with just one look. I swear I give an audible gasp everytime I see his face on my feed. With his parent's charm combined, Lucho is one little boy to watch.




Another living doll, Stephan Santos is the little brother of Viviana! My best friend Pepel told me he will tell Stephan when he grows older, "Son, Tita Bianca found you so cute that she asked if she can be your ninang too. I said yes!" Grabe sobrang cute!




And last but not the least, the country's favorite little girl slash Aling Maliit, will always put a smile on our faces with her sagad selfies. Hello, @ryzzamaechacha, Ryzza Mae!





So the next time you may be feeling a bit blue, check Instagram for these kids' photos. (Thank God for Instagram!) Hope they too put a smile on your face!



20 June 2014

#THENEWBIANCA



 Because I can't imagine myself with my old hair style (just long and straight), the team of Vidal Sassoon Philippines, my hairstylist (of 14 years!) Alex Carbonell, and I decided to collaborate to create possible "next" looks for me! The VS team decided to put the decision up to a vote between the textured bob and the disconnected bob.

Thank you to all my social media followers who took time to like and vote! The winner - by a landslide - was the textured bob!




It was a bright and early Saturday morning at Studio Fix in Century City Mall. As I walked to the salon I was both excited and anxious. Not so much scared because I knew how liberating it was to chop it all off last October, but anxious to see what the new style would look like.





Of course, the first step, shampoo! Vidal Sassoon shampoo, syempre.




I sat on the salon chair as Alex started to work his magic on my crowning glory!




He started cutting from the back, to get the length he wanted to achieve. The cut is asymmetric with it being shorter at the back and longer by the front.




He then started flicking his razor to cut the rest of the sections of my hair! Not scissors, just a razor! "Razor cut," Alex called it. It gives the textured look more lightness as compared to if it were cut by scissors.




Quite interesting that given my short hair, this much hair was still cut from it!




Once the cut was done, I had to document! This cut is without blowdrying, would you believe?! I was so happy because I instantly knew the cut was wash and wear, super low maintenance!




Then they started the coloring process. Alex is a master colorist too, and he describes my hair color to be "an alternate of caramel golds and khaki brown highlights on a light brown base, with khaki reflect."




After coloring and washing with VS shampoo and conditioner, it was blowdried and Alex made a few more snips here and there to finish the look.





After styling and curling the ends, tadaaaa! I just had to take a selfie with my dear Alex! Alex is the Creative Learning Director of Bench Fix Salon, literally the one who trained every single staff member nationwide! He also has his own chain of salons for the Bench group of companies, Studio Fix.


BEFORE
AFTER: #TheNewBianca







I loved how light the cut felt and how it framed my face. It isn't true that you can't have short hair when your face is round or your cheeks are big! For every face shape, there is a specific cut for you. In fact, the layers can even frame your face!




You can #getsassooned anywhere you want. You can try Studio Fix or Bench Fix Salon, you can go to your favorite suki hairstylist, or try a new one you've been wanting! You literally don't need to worry about maintaining or styling your new look every day when you use Vidal Sassoon products because it makes it so easy to fix your hair.

So to every girl (or gay, or guy!) reading this, if you've been thinking of chopping it all off, NOW is the time!!!! Remember, long and straight or big wavy curls are no longer the "standard" of what is beautiful! Go for any hair style you want and carry it with confidence. That's beautiful.