Bless My Bag

beauty bagged by a cheeky Filipina

Gab V’s Family Holiday Edition Super Selfie Video | Featuring Us, The Pangilinans

I’m convinced that the best Christmas gift any of us Pangilinans ever got last year was having this boy/man/broccoli head home for Christmas.  Gabriel Valenciano, what would we do without you?  Like…NOT dance HAHAHA!  Unknown to many I lived with the “Vees” (Valencianos) during my years in college.  He loved the terror/playmate Ate for who I was and I loved his excitable sweet antics, we loved the PC game Rollercoaster Tycoon and I would fix his theme park landscaping for him.


Now he’s grown into his own, making waves in Full Sail University, Florida as a music production student…also recently winning top place for Full Sail’s Got Talent competition.  In case you didn’t know, he’s also become a bit (understating) of a YouTube sensation online with his famous super selfie videos being featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and Goodmorning America even in the selfie with his dad, Gary Valenciano.  This Christmas he came home to be with us and also to do one (or maybe two) more.



Gab posts 15 second videos on his Instagram account @gabvalenciano and the full length longer ones on his YouTube channel. Now he’s done one major, a Christmas Super Selfie edition video with his mom’s side of the family, us, the Pangilinans :) Watch our family Christmas selfie video directed by Gab Valenciano embedded below or at this link here.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

My Best of 2013 Beauty Picks

Hold on a moment, I need to heave a sigh, my facial cleanser got left on the bed and didn’t make it into the group shot…sigh* will do an insert.  The best facial moisturizer also didn’t make it into the group shot because Mom used all of it up already so that will be an insert, too.  So, ANYWAY, on with it.  I basically realized I needed to do this minutes after a chopping frenzy in the kitchen for New Year’s Eve dinner, and on top of all that, the sun was beginning to set.  Talk about well-planned (not).  Some of these I’ve mentioned and reviewed (the individual review links are in pink) and some I haven’t just yet, so consider so consider those that I haven’t mentioned as quick teasers for upcoming reviews!


Well VSCO helped me along and a photo with flash didn’t seem too bad of an idea, ITG and NYLON make it work anyway.  I didn’t do “high-end/low-end” equivalents for everything but it’s a smashing good mix I think.  I did not trim it down to a significant number like 10 or 20 (happy cackle), I have about 30+ products in here, and they all function differently.  Note, one or two items are not available locally.  Read more (click “more”) to get to the complete list of my best picks for 2013.  Happy New Year!


New Year’s Eve Dinner Prep | Mom’s Braised Lamb Shanks

We’ve got to an early start today, but truth is you don’t need half a day to do this, we just finished the first half of the process which is roasting the shanks before braising them later tonight, between now and tonight these shanks are resting.  If you’d like to do this for regular dinner time you can start at 3 or 4pm.  If it’s for a New Year’s eve late dinner you can begin at sundown.  I’ve got my hands all over these pieces of meat.  Mom is the captain and I’m first mate (aka sous chef) aboard our kitchen ship, and we’re preparing lamb shanks for braising tonight!  First though we have to roast a little over 2 kilos of lamb shanks (4.5 lbs exactly) for about an hour.  Total preparation plus cooking time takes about 2 and a half hours.  There’s lots of love in slow cooking.


We begin by preheating the oven to 230° C and while that’s preheating we prepare the spice rub for the shanks. The combined spice rub you see above is made of the following ingredients.


We purposely made more of the spice rub than we needed (double the actual recipe), we only used a total of 4 teaspoons of the resulting powder once this is all mixed together, the extra  we will store for future dishes or if additional seasoning is needed.

  • 2 teaspoons ground all-spice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Grind all of that together finely (you can use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder) then you massage 4 teaspoons of the spice rub all over the lamb shanks and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Finish by cutting deep slits in each shank to create pockets for the herbed butter.



HERBED BUTTER (mix all together with a spatula into a cold paste, then insert into slit pockets in shanks):

  • 100 grams of cold butter
  • 6 sprigs of rosemary, tear off the leaves and discard the stems
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • a pinch of dried ground sage (optional)

Once you’ve got the herbed butter done, insert into the shank pocket slits you cut into the lamb, insert and spread to be exact.  It’s like a little yummy secret inside the shanks.  Once each of the shanks are covered with the spice rub and filled with their share of herbed butter, pop them into the oven at 230°C and roast for 1 hour. When the roasting is done use the port wine from the next step to deglaze the pan and use for braising.

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Now these roasted shanks are ready to be braised for later tonight.

BRAISING LIQUID (Once you’ve used the port wine to deglaze the roasting tray with the drippings combine that with the chicken stock then put in the shanks. Braise for 1.5 hours in the oven at 175° C  in this liquid):

  • 1 & 1/4 cup of port wine
  • A quart and 1/2 cup of chicken stock

After 1.5 hours of braising, remove from the oven, rest the meat for 10 minutes, and turn the remaining braising liquid in the tray into gravy.

Sorry, there’s no photo of the actual braised finished product, it’s because that magic is still about to happen tonight!  Hope you find this recipe interesting, I understand if it was posted too late for any of you to try it, but if not for New Year’s Eve why not make it your first New Year Dinner for Jan 1!  Have a Happy New Year, everyone!


FACE SHOP Yogurt Polish “Vanilla” | Happy Tips Ready to Light Up

When I saw this polish by Face Shop my brother and I were leaving Shangrila Mall after barkada reunions.  It made me think of Babes in Toyland (1986, Drew Barrymore, Keanu Reeves), candy speckled eggs, or rainbow cereal in milk.  All the above are happy kid memories and a nail polish like this just has to be worn to welcome the new year.

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FACE SHOP’s Yoghurt Polish in Vanilla (Php150.00) contains small and large hexagonal glitter partying in a creamy, milk white base.  I like that it screams “party” without having to be metallic.  The look is completely opaque on 3 coats (as seen above, no top coat) and a little more tender to look at with 2 coats.  Wearing this just gets me all excited for New Year.  Are you rocking any party polishes this season? Since we’re spending New Year at home with family and friends I think I’d rather rock glitzy nails than a full on makeup look, but we’ll see what I feel like tomorrow :).

The Heart Swatch | A Handful of Meaningful Thoughts

There are some who freely spill their personal lives onto an online page, and everyone can with the freedom to do so but not everyone should at just any time.  I do, too, once in awhile…spill a couple of words every now and then.  I’m not made of stone.  DISCLAIMER: This is not a “kodigo (codex)” on how to figure me out, there are no tips and tricks, nor will you find “tsismis (gossip)” here…and please this is not an “I’m-single” plug.  I just want to encourage women to be more prudent, picky, and fabulous.  There have been times in the past where it’s been tempting to slap on all the feelings on relationships “Pollock” style into one post, whipping and splatting every ounce of emotion, frustration, or hope into WordPress for all the world to see.  However, unknown to many is the fact that I have loved ones who keep me in check, they’re heart watchdogs if you will (mothers and aunts who read my blog).  While they do not at all dictate what I choose to do I still look to them with the deepest respect because of the inspiring lives and perfect-imperfect marriages my parents, aunts, uncles have.  I’ve seen many of them at their best and worst but what’s amazing is as a whole, majority being more of the time, they all look like they don’t want to be with anyone else…victories, hangups, and all.  That’s why I don’t talk about what’s in my heart a lot online, because it’s a precious ounce of me and because it’s not always Spiritually prudent to do so.  Today I am led deeply to talk about this.  Once in awhile, I do go on a personal tangent like this just to let you guys know I do have a beating heart that is my own and to see if I can encourage or touch any of you with something other than a photo of lipstick or nail polish.  That was a long intro, but the rest of this should be relatively quick-er…lies.

emma gwyneth paltrow_02

In case you were wondering…the Jane Austen heroine (women who find true love are heroines) I pretty much feel I can relate to or feel similar to is EMMA.  First, I look like Gwyneth Paltrow and I’m married to Chris Martin, I’ve been spoiled (in the best sense) but I am not a brat, I’m as stubborn as an ox, I’m snarky, thoughtful but not sweet (don’t let my smiley face deceive you), once in awhile because I’m so opinionated (oracle tendency) I let words fly and get into trouble unintentionally then I have to dig myself out but won’t ever hesitate to apologize.  I’m prayerful especially at the end of my rope (so is she).  Plus, ugh confession, I like playing cupid and try to match friends without them knowing and I take a step back to watch my handiwork potentially unfold (haha, are you a victim? You will never know…)

We begin with a name, Jane Austen.  As women today, we revere the brilliant author for her ability to fulfill every woman’s romantic desire and staggering hope within a few hundred pages, but we have also been forewarned to not base or align our real life hopes in the manner that Jane’s women have in the stories.  So shouts the world: “for crying out loud, Ladies, Jane ended up dying alone…don’t believe her…” that isn’t fair.  Gone are the ‘olden’ days, people say now, today is a new age…don’t set your expectations too high or you’ll end up alone.  Alone in a Queen size bed…alone, possibly, yes, but in the long-run HELLO at least not besieged by the wrong person who might also be besieged by me!  My prized morning breath is on reserve (he’s so blessed, lol).  Yea, I’m picky but I’m way too much of a cheesy romantic to don the “down-with-love” feminist cap, okay.  I’m not like that at all. People have been asking why I’m 30 already and still single… typical ask-a-roo at this point but I really don’t blame them,  it’s a fair question.  Truth is I don’t really know *shoulder shrug* and don’t really have a straight-up answer that I’m not required to give, it is what it is…my personal knight just hasn’t been discovered.  I’m not on a MAN BAN ayt?! LOL!  My last relationship (which was my 2nd) ended a while back and I just found myself about to turn 30.  I’ve known for awhile that I’m an old soul and late bloomer (still working on the independence tab), a true slow boiler, I’ve felt it ever since I was in grade school…I’ve always been slower than most people at almost everything (except studies, writing, and drawing, I’d just turned 16 when I entered U.P.).  Point that eases any tension: I am loved in more ways than one, and I know it to my bones…so I can’t keep from smiling on the outside.  Which is why I don’t cry myself to sleep at night while eating ice cream (puh-leez w/ a head shimmy) begging to be hitched or anything like that.  I just watched Sense & Sensibility with my folks and Dad cried (he’s an action guy who plays Call of Duty Ghosts and he finished S&S crying).  If you haven’t watched any Jane Austen film yet, try Emma, it’s a good JA starter that won’t make your nose bleed as much.    I told myself once that the bottled romance in my heart had a soundtrack…for a long time I kept hearing a tune played in my head, for years I couldn’t remember what movie it was.  When I replayed the movie Emma last year after many years I froze…it was the music…the music I’d been looking for, you can listen to the Emma track here, don’t worry it’s an instrumental, no spoilers :).  My Pangilinan grandfather (father of 9) was recently confined in the ICU, thankfully he’s out already, but while he was there he had a moment of present-mindedness …he recognized me near his bedside. Once before, in college, he advised me “Hindi bagay sayo ang okay lang…(Satisfactory doesn’t suit you)” a one liner that would continue to guide me in every relevant life aspect love included. This time he asked if I was married already, I said no, and he said “Good.  You have waited this long already for the right one, you can wait a little longer para MASAKTO MO NA.  Be patient.  Be sure.”  Incidentally, his wife’s name…is Emma :).

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