Inspiration

Grazing on Green Kitchen Stories

To blog about another set of bloggers, the act is usually carried out when you’re truly inspired.  First thing’s first, let’s put it plain.  I love Instagram, along with millions of you out there.  I won’t say I’m addicted but that I have a healthy connection with the enabling app.  Other than my love for photography it was through Instagram that I connected with my makeup artist role model, UK Celebrity pro Lisa Eldridge, who liked and commented on two of my blogged makeup looks, and then I suddenly placed in one of her online contests a couple of weeks later and my face actually appeared on her website.  A couple of months after she sent me beauty prizes.  Now that I recall all that, it is still quite surreal for me…it’s amazing how a mobile app opened that window.  Instagram hosts a multitude of eye-catching personal portals to this wide, wide world of amazing people.  While engaged in beauty I also follow lots of other inspiring individuals who like to present good food.  One of the best presented online IG accounts I ever chose to follow was Green Kitchen Stories (@gkstories), behind the handle is Stockholm based couple David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl.  There are a lot of food-inspired IG accounts but I do believe it’s mainly because of them that so many are presenting the healthy meals on their table from a bird’s eye view.  I’m so glad we have our own copy of this now.

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I wasn’t aware that team @gkstories were already famous when I followed them early last year.  Online popularity bloomed for them between 2011 and 2012 when they started a cooking blog focused mainly on creating easy vegetarian dishes ( vegetarian = veggies, seeds, fruits + dairy and eggs sometimes).  In 2013, they published their first book The Green Kitchen.  Because of their creative food success, they’ve gotten to travel a lot, I think they were recently in Australia.  I haven’t kitchen tested this book yet, but it’s the first cookbook I read from the start all the way to the dessert tail right after we got it at Fully Booked, probably because of all those beautiful photos, short processes and simple words.  The only challenging aspect is a couple of the ingredients they source (looks like I might be beaching myself at Healthy Options, the weekend markets, and/or Santi’s).  I can’t wait to try the recipes this coming week.  The book contains a list of the pantry ingredients they use on a regular basis, a collection of basic methods, recipes for breakfast, light meals, entrees, to-go picks, desserts, and drinks.  It is also full of breathtaking photos and that for me is the fresh cherry on top.  This one isn’t in the book but is a recent one from their site.

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Beet, Apple, Quinoa, and Sprout Salad, photo credit: greenkitchenstories.com

This book would be wonderful for making lots of fresh food and drinks in the summertime.  Lots of you know that I also love to cook and bake occasionally so I’m hoping to kinda cook my way somewhat through their book, but not everything perhaps due to availability of ingredients.  I don’t do it everyday (I should) though I believe I just might have a knack for it (‘coz some people attack my food ’til it’s gone) and I will admit I’m not afraid to try complicated dishes.  I also have an appreciation for simple healthy preparations you can toss together with hands.  I think a notch up versus my appreciation for Instagram is my love for the edible plant world: herbs, fruits, fungi, legumes, and vegetables.  I’m not vegetarian but I love eating them, making salads, and cooking with them.  When it comes to cooking there are tons of food blogs out there but there are a handful of gems with great culinary quality like GK Stories.  A few years ago and up ’til now I still like Jennifer’s Tiny Urban Kitchen blog for the Asian side of food prep and appreciation.  Jennifer’s also brilliant because she’s sort of like a former chemist turned food fanatic (featured by CNN Eatocracy awhile back).  She also loves to include creative culinary ventures using characters like Totoro in her food.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Movie Minute | Still Alice trailer stokes gratitude…

I’ve been sleeping a lot, recuperating a lot since Christmas passed.  I haven’t allowed my consciousness to slip away like this in years come to think of it.  I’ve never been fond of naps.  I always thought naps were a waste of time and daylight, that is ’til I realized naps provide a comforting albeit temporary escape from a constantly haphazard world.  So slowly I am picking up the pieces before 2015 rolls in and have been screening film trailers online for the sake of it, something I used to do a lot but put away for awhile.  This isn’t a movie review because I haven’t seen this movie yet.  According to a very particular writer friend Still Alice is excellent and for being in a drama genre he claims it’s done tastefully and that acting isn’t overtly melodramatic (he mentioned “no slapping….”).  It is based on the book by NY Times bestselling author Lisa Genova.  The trailer moved me so much I just had to say something about it before we try to watch later on.  It made me realize there is just so much to be thankful for.  After getting that preview I went down to hug my mother.

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“I’m not suffering, I’m struggling…”

 

Another good friend said the book was great, too.  The film’s lead cast includes the incomparable Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, and Kate Bosworth all given roles that seem to fit like gloves.  At least that’s what I can pick up from the trailer alone.  Very simply put it’s a movie about an intelligent woman with the onset symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the feared degenerative illness where you slowly and literally lose your mind.  It supposedly isn’t a light movie, but I don’t mind heavy screen plots as long as what is meaningful is placed at the heart of the story.  I guess I was also looking to be stoked for gratefulness, something that’s really important to me towards the end of the year.  Looking forward to watching this one, it comes highly recommended so I’m told, here’s the trailer.

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Christmas Cheer | Upcycling the News

While I wouldn’t go with just any old newspaper for giftwrapping the Financial Times makes the cut because it’s cheerfully peach tinted.  Plus the paper and print quality makes for a presentable parcel.  These pretty papers have been just stacked around here after Mom reads them (she buys her FT issues from Fully Booked).  I decided I could dress them up by making folded bows and origami accents, I’m not wrapping as many gifts this year.  However it’s much harder to do origami with newspaper, it’s not as stiff in weight so it doesn’t hold creases as well, it still works with effort put in.

Processed with VSCOcam with k2 presetPardon the lack of festivity in this post, we are not as prepared as last year, but we do plan to have a happy Christmas.  I pray yours is every bit as meaningful…parties or not, gifts or not, feasts or not because the reason for Christmas is infinitely more important than what the season brings into our lives.  I hope we all remember that for whatever we receive or don’t receive we still ought to pursue giving.  Jesus loves you and knowing that is all you need to be able to touch someone else He loves.  Maligayang Pasko :)To full post & COMMENTS...

Flashback Friday | Cozy Hits

Sitting back before I try and do some more blog polishing.  I’m still hitting some programming roadblocks regarding certain areas of the layout but I’m getting there.  I’m really feeling the freedom right now of having so much more room for high-resolution imagery.

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Processed with VSCOcam with j3 presetSince we’ve been bundled up at home I’ve kind of been feeling like I have the hollowed out voice of beloved faithful Ann Voskamp narrating life right now, lol.  All shots except for the last were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S5 mobile phone and exported with theVSCOCam app.

 

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Unboxing Christmas at Pottery Barn PH

There’s just something about I hadn’t planned a visit to Pottery Barn in Central Square, BGC. I just happened to be walking around and was suddenly and ever so positively quite taken by what I saw from the store entrance. A Pottery Barn sort of Christmas had just arrived along with the company’s VM.  I had arrived on the actual day Pottery Barn PH was unboxing Christmas!

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Mini Christmas houses sold for charity. If you place a flameless flickering light inside it comes alive with warmth through the windows.  Most if not all are over Php1000.00

 

I made two purchases, one is their Jingle decorative throw pillow with bells on it and “jingle” inscribed in red gothic lettering and when you shake it you really can imagine Santa Claus and his sleigh arriving, it isn’t super affordable at Php1900+ but it was just too unique for me to pass up on for the house.  This is the one Pottery Barn’s VM from the US, Dean told me was “really cute” while he was arranging pieces in different areas of their Central Square store in BGC.

Processed with VSCOcam with k1 preset I first set it on a wooden loveseat bench we have on the second floor and though the look was minimal the pillow made all the difference and brought a chic sort of festive vibe to the area.

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The minimal festive look outside our master’s bedroom

 

The other, the “All is Calm, All is Bright” Silent Night themed throw pillow (Php1600+)  is my utmost favorite and they sell the pillowcase separate from their Php595.00 pillows.  It just jumped out at me when I saw it in store (although, to be honest it is very easily DIY-able …with a canvas case and some acrylic paint perhaps) and I liked how it was so tastefully designed.

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So I got two “Silent Night” pillow cases for the house, one for our living room and one for my bedroom.  This is how the pillow looks in our living room at the moment.

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I transferred my warm white LED Fairy lights from my vanity dresser last year to my bedside, stringing it up across my clear beaded curtain and laying the excess along the sill of my main window which is alongside my bed.  So this is what my bedroom (or at least the side with the bed) looks like now.

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With my main ceiling light switched off the less tiresome but bright enough glow of the fairy lights is just enough for reading or great calmer ambience for when having a massage or watching movies on my laptop.  I get excited before each sunset now for the chance to switch on my lights.  I still want to be able to shoot a pre-evening sunset shot with the lights on…I think that might look particularly marvelous.  The staff told me that day when I was about to leave that what I saw wasn’t even half of the stuff they needed to unbox and more shipments were coming in.  I think now might be a good time to sneak a peep at Pottery Barn in Central Square BGC and see what new Christmas items have arrived!… To full post & COMMENTS...

Beauty Between My Highlights | The Crux of Really Reading That Bible

“8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”  JOSHUA 1:8 (NLT)

I’m not surprised that for many of us the idea of  Bible-reading is automatically slapped with the hashtag #boring or brushed off with the neutral “Whatever, I’m livin. He’s with me'” shrug.  I named this post Between My Highlights, because He made those areas between my USUAL verses our special meeting place.  In a way in my life He’s met me most deeply in between my triumphs and victories, not just amidst celebration.  I wanted my experience to touch on a gaping hole in modern Christianity, which is we don’t actively pursue what’s for us in the Bible.  We want someone to tell us what’s in it, but we often don’t want to look ourselves.  We have one so we say we have one, or sometimes two even, or perhaps just the app for Sundays and connect group days.  The revelation for me was if you don’t read your Bible to know Him, or just reading through the verse then closing it without meditating, I don’t feel it can be quite called praying as a WHOLE, because prayer is supposed to be a conversation, not a one-way street with a shopping list in hand, and sometimes what He has to say won’t fall on your head from your ceiling or appear on a billboard or jeep, it may already be lying in wait within the pages of His Book in addition to that still, small voice.  We commune with Him in prayer and a massive part of communicating with Him is reading His Word, because unlike the still small voice that we sometimes “think” we hear you can return to the verses He reveals to you over and over.

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“Humor aside, I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put Him. We have kept Him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on Him in prayer, we wonder where He is. He is exactly where we left Him.” – RAVI ZACHARIAS

The truth, folks, is just before this year I was a serial non-Bible reader.  Yep, my YouVersion Bible app kept sending me that “would you like to take at least 5 minutes to read…” alert over and over for two years and I’d feel so nagged by it before.  I preferred my real Bible but I wouldn’t really meditate.  I used to pay attention to it just on Sundays but now…recently, I’ve been completing the app plans like wildfire.  I look forward to them. I don’t expect a badge or a trophy or a “good for you” slap on the back, there  just really happened to be a turning point sometime around Feb to March early this year, and I’m just thankful that God changed something in me, I pray for good.  In the past I agreed with that Joshua 1:8 verse above because I knew I ought to, hellooo, I’m a believer I should, but I didn’t do it, meaning it didn’t really reach me deep down.  I would peak in reading and dip quite quickly when life was going well.  I quipped certain verses to encourage friends and write in my journal (so easily because my parents were Navigator affiliated family evangelists from when I was 2).  We can sort of thank the media for all the pop-ups, IG accounts, Tweets, sites and feeds with inspirational quotes and Scripture which we don’t seek out but encounter ‘coz otherwise we starve unconsciously.  “Newsflash” as Judah Smith says, that’s not really knowing God.  You don’t really nurture a friendship with your best friend by hoping you see their status in your feed today.  We reason out “Oh, I saw two verses in my feed today, that’s already seed that’s going to grow in me…” true, yes I agree, but what delights the Lord is when we love Him with all our mind, heart, and soul…and love isn’t passive, love is active, a commitment to love is a priority.  Read more to get the full post and of course I’ll include an embedded video.… To full post & COMMENTS...

One Year of Happy Skin Makes Us Happy | Online Store Now Worldwide & New Stuff

Whoever thought a NEW Filipina cosmetic brand like Happy Skin could make the world-class waves that they have in just one year?  I never would have guessed that Happy Skin would be able to penetrate the market this relentlessly and in the most positive way.  A year has gone by and we celebrated at Vanilla Cupcake Bakery yesterday, we who have stood by them, offered support, and watched them grow are prouder than ever.  Congratulations, Jacqe Yuengtian-Gutierrez and Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, we continue to stand by you!  Happy Skin’s online store at HappySkinCosmetics.com by the way is now officially operational WORLDWIDE.  Mabuhay ang mga Pinay!

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Here’s a sneak peek at some of their new stuff with full reviews to follow ;)

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Many I’m sure did not have the slightest suspicion early on that a Pinay beauty brand would ever so suddenly and FINALLY give Filipino women what they deserve, a range of better cosmetics manufactured with close supervision that give payoff and safer formulas.  I’m already making the positive comparison between them and Bourjois, the well-loved French drugstore brand, we’ve got our own brand that stands at par and it is Happy Skin!  Congratulations, girls.  Can’t wait to take pictures and show my readers your new items!!

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Flower Tips, Literally | Blossoms bright, bring me light…

A little quiet over here yes, been a bit more busy as a bee would be, so it’s no wonder I’ve been hovering over these and pruning them to my heart’s delight.  A tip for keeping flowers perky is to not just immediately dunk them in a vase of water as is but to do so after first cutting the bottom tips of each stem at a diagonal angle so they don’t clog up when touching the bottom of the vase.  Also trim any leaves near the bottom of the stems so they don’t drown and rot in the water making the water bad for the flowers to take in.  Once you do this and leave them for a few hours so they can drink, come back later and touch the petals you’ll notice if some of them were wilting when you first bought them they’ll suddenly feel perked up.  To keep flowers alive longer do the same diagonal trimming of stem tips every few days (daily if you’re OC) and change the water everyday to every other day.

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“Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord. Philippians 4:4 JB PHILLIPS version”

I inserted a blossom as a garnish into my Sola iced tea this morning to cheer myself up (for mum flowers make sure it’s only the blossom, no stems or leaves).  I popped the airtight cap on the bottle first for safety, drank a bit to make space, closed it and shook up a storm to get foam and poured it into a glass, tada, al fresco worthy iced tea.  I’ve been a bit under the weather deep inside, so apologies for the sudden calm over here.  God is faithful and He’s been bringing me closer to Him in ways I never thought possible.  As it turns out I needed a bit of diagonal trimming myself.  On the brighter side, there’s something real exciting by the way I have to show once I receive the photos, can’t wait to share that with you.… To full post & COMMENTS...

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