Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recipe of the Day: Macaroni and Cheese

When my mom was in the US, she used to send us instant macaroni and cheese, which is common there. Now Lucky Me released its own version. Theirs is yummy, but the contents of one pack is bitin! So I decided to make our own too! Hope you enjoy this!


1/2 kg San Remo twisted macaroni
1 pack Knorr Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 large jar of Magnolia Cheezee Spread
1 tetra pack of Nestle Cream (EDITED 02/27: I forgot to include this in the list, sorry!)
1/4 ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped finely
1/2 tsp salt

1. Cook macaroni according to package instructions and set aside.
2. Cook mushroom soup according to package instructions and add all contents of cheese spread and Nestle cream. Boil and simmer until thick consistency is achieved.
3. Mix macaroni and cheese sauce while both are still hot. This allows the macaroni to absorb the cheese sauce.
4. Saute ground beef in onion and garlic. Add salt and cook until ground beef particles become very small.
5. Top cheesy macaroni with sauteed ground beef.

your every woman,

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spreads, Dips and Sauces: Garlic Cheese Spread

I like this gourmet garlic cream cheese we bought at a kiosk in a supermarket, but I wasn't able to maintain stock since it wasn't too affordable. Luckily I was able to whip up a good dupe.


1 bar of Magnolia Eden Cheese
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of 100g Dairy Cream butter
1 tbsp white pepper
2 tbsp vinegar

1. Place all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Place bowl on top of a bigger bowl with boiled water. This heats the cheese and butter without having to really cook them.

3. Stir to even out all the ingredients.
4. Best served with Sky Flakes Fit! :D

your every woman,

How A Wheeled Shoes Changed Lives

This is my entry for The Red Shoes Story Contest. I'm not sure if rollerblades would count as shoes...All I know is that this pair that I owned really made a difference.

I wanted to do figure skating when I was a kid but knowing that ice skating rinks in the Philippines are not freely available, I thought I'd settle with rollerblading. But we can't even afford rollerblades at the time. I was envious of my friend who got to buy rollerblades just as soon it was released, so I told myself I've got to have one.

I grew up. My mom had to leave for the US to make ends meet and I had to stop a year after High School. But I never forgot about the rollerblades. I got a stint as promo girl for a telecommunications company and on my first salary, I bought myself one! A red, rubber wheeled pair of rollerblades! To steer clear of people asking me why I bought a pair at such a late time in my life, I just told everyone that rollerblading was my game and I'm good at it!

That was the time when I learned how amazing mind over matter works. I knew how to rollerblade in theory, but I never got to try one. And since I told everyone that I knew how to, I had to convince myself also! And you know what happened? The first time I put the shoes on, I glided like a pro!

But that was not the most interesting part. The basketball court where my little brother and I used to play in was near a slumlike community where kids knew how to swear as soon as they learned how to talk. Those kids got interested with the rollerblades too and figured out a way to be friends with us.

Even with just a couple of uses, I knew I had my time with my rollerblades. I already felt how to fly with it and was already able to prove myself. It was the kids' turn. As icky as it may sound, I taught the kids how to rollerblade by letting them use my shoes. Each kid would have a turn every afternoon as long as they brought their own socks and promised never to swear. I was amazed at how fast they learned how to rollerblade and forgot about swearing given the time I had available for them!

Then on one valentines day, I was suprised by the same kids who came over to my house and asked me to go to the court. They might've thought I wouldn't come over because of the occassion but I would've anyway. When we arrived, the rest of the kids welcomed me with cards, plastic roses and some candy! Each one hugged me and thanked me for being their "ate" every afternoon.

I eventually stopped going to the basketball court because of a few stints and school. I also never played with the blades since I started teaching those kids. But still, those pair of rollerblades that I had really made one part of my life meaningful.

your every woman,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Customers Are Not Always Right: An Open Letter

CUSTOMER: My connection is inconsistent.

TSR: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that your connection is inconsistent and I can definitely assist you out with that. First, let's test how much speed you are getting from the network. Please open speedtest website and tell me how much you're getting for download and upload speed.

CUSTOMER: Download shows 69,120 kbps and upload shows 955 kbps.

TSR: Sir, based on what you're paying for on the account, it shows a 10,000 kbps download speed and a 1,000 kbps upload speed, which means that your download speed is way higher than what you're provisioned for and your upload is within range. But since the connection is inconsistent let me... (customer interrupted)

CUSTOMER: What do you mean "it's higher"? I'm only getting a download of 6.9 mbps and I'm paying for a 10,000 kbps speed! (*unit in speedtest site is in kbps, 1 mb = 1000kb)

TSR: But you read the download speed as 69,120 kbps right? 6-9-1-2-0? What is the unit on our speedtest site? Isn't it in kbps?

CUSTOMER: Yes! 6.9 mbps. Do you know how much to convert kb to mb? It's 1000 kb to 1 mb.

*And since customer's conversion is the same as tsr's conversion and he will be proven incorrect with further argument...

TSR: Mr.__, let's not argue about the conversion of mbps and kbps. It does , however, show here on my line test that there are power level issues on the network. Do you have a router?

CUSTOMER: Right now I'm running the speedtest again. In the meantime, let's talk about mb to kb conversion, shall we? (*mocking laugh of another person in the background*)

TSR: Mr. ___, it shows power level problems on my line test here and we usually fix this with a modem reset. However, I want to know, do you have a router?

CUSTOMER: I don't have a router.

TSR: Because my line test shows a *brand router. Do you mean that you don't have a *brand router?

CUSTOMER: I'm running the speedtest now and it's getting better. I'm now getting a 7.4 mbps download speed. You must be doing something there?!

TSR: I haven't done anything Mr.___. I rechecked my line test and I now show a different connection to the modem. Did you connect your computer directly to the modem?

CUSTOMER: See it's getting better, I'm now getting a 7.6 mb download speed. Are you doing something on your end?

TSR: I haven't done anything. But it shows that a direct connection from the modem to the computer was done. That must be the reason the internet is faster...because the computer is now directly connected to the modem.

CUSTOMER: That's the reason I'm calling! The connection is inconsistent! I've tried bypassing my router...powercycling the modem...That is why we need you to fix this issue and if you are not the person who can help us, then why are we talking to you?!

TSR: Ok, if you have already tried bypassing your router and powercycling the modem and my line test still shows these power level issues, let me get you over to your local office so that they could further assess your lines.

CUSTOMER: What is the local office for? I have a local ____ office just about ___miles across from my house, do you mean that local office?

*OTHER PERSON IN THE BACKGROUND: The connection is inconsistent and then we will be sent to the local office?!

TSR: The local office in *place. They will be the one to further assess your connection and they will determine whether you need to have a technician sent over or your modem replaced.

CUSTOMER: Where are you located?

TSR: I'm in the Philippines.

CUSTOMER: You're in the Philippines? Are you kidding me?

OTHER PERSON IN THE BACKGROUND: The connection is inconsistent, we call to get our problems resolved and a f***ing person from the Philippines is f***ing...

*customer hang up

I just want to let you guys know that people who were born and raised in the Philippines are smart enough to try everything out first before calling for support. Which is why we feel different when we answer calls about very simple things. But that doesn't mean we don't want to provide assistance, especially when we are working for the customer service/technical support industry.

We will be forever grateful to this industry because it's the one that provides food on our tables and other whatnots. But it doesn't mean that we can always swallow all the swearing and racial comments we hear from our customers.

We know how it feels when something about a service fails. But that's not an excuse for bad behavior.

We understand how it sucks that a percentage of jobs that could've been for your own people was sent to our country. But you must also understand that the big companies thought of a lot of aspects before deciding to bring the business here and hire us and not anyone else.

When you feel like bringing hell to your customer service or technical support person, ask yourself this. What are you calling for? You are calling for HELP, aren't you? And help is what we're giving you. It wasn't our fault that the service is not perfect, after all, no service will ever be perfect. We don't just answer calls and get paid. We get scores for the times we satisfy you, for the times our calls were the best, for our knowledge of the services and procedures, for how accurate we documented your concerns and for the time it took for us to resolve your concern. So don't think anyone of us is making it hard for you. There's something called COOPERATION and if you ever took the time to find out what it means, everything will be easier for you and your representative.

And by the way, you must also understand that you will never, EVER, get your maximum provisioned Internet speed. That's just how it is. A lot of factors contribute to your connection speed and if you can't understand that, start thinking about not using the Internet.

your every woman,

On Stay At Home Partners

I have nothing against stay at home partners, but that still depends on the reasons. And for me, the only valid reasons will be the same reasons I have if I choose to be a stay-at home mom. The bullet points I consider when a family chooses to have one partner stay home are the ff:

-There is a child /children or a home-business that needs to be taken care of and the family believes that one partner will be the best at this job.
-Child/Children's grandparents and other relatives will not be able to look after the child on a 24/7 basis.
-Nannies don't seem to be enough when it comes to child/children's educational, physiological, psychological and behavioral well-being (which is almost always the case...).
-Salary of one partner can suffice ALL the needs of the family comfortably and with enough extra for savings.
-If bullet point number 4 does not apply then the family should have, at least, a small business for the stay at home partner.

Now I'm talking about families with equally capable other halves. Disabability and inefficient education of one partner is another story. In my family, bullets 1, 2 and 3 apply, but 4 and 5 don't. It's a good thing we were finally able to get a good nanny after the problems we had with the ones that came before her. But still, I believe that parents will always be the best caregivers for their children (unless proven otherwise...).

So yes, I do yearn to be a stay-at-home parent, or better yet, a work-at-home one. But if after a lot of talking throughs and considerations, we discover that Drew is the best partner to stay at home, then by all means!

I've had a share of being a stay-at-home parent for about 2 weeks when one of the nannies bailed on us and it's not all bed of roses. In fact it was equally, if not more exhausting than work! Cleaning the house, doing the laundry, cooking food plus meticulously making sure that children get proper development on all aspects of their being is definitely NOT easy.

I guess all I'm saying is that, the decision to have a stay-at-home partner is not something a family cannot randomly choose. Gender preference shouldn't even be a factor! ...Nor does laziness, lack of self confidence in finding jobs and convenience of financial assistance from relatives. In a country where everyone will most likely get livelihood from being an employee, deciding whether a partner should stay-at-home or work for a living can make or break a family's success.

Think about it.

your every woman,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Kikay Influence

I'm just talking to my hubby yesterday and we came across talking about how I started being vain. I remembered my mom had this mirrored dresser, with all sorts of stuff she puts on her face, and how much I loved being there. She had St. Ives's Apricot Scrub and Oil of Olay Moisturizer among others. Olay was a lot oilier then, which made me shudder away from it. But Apricot Scrub was very nice. That's why it was one of my very first picks when I started buying my own stuff.

I also remembered one time, when I saw mom put something on a cotton ball and applied it on her face. I was sooo curious I tried it on myself and guess what? It burned my nose! I was so embarassed to talk about it and just told anyone that I tripped over something and fell face down.

My mom had to leave for the US before my elementary graduation and stayed there 'til I'm 20, so I never got further kikay training from her. That sort of weakened my liking for cosmetics but didn't really kill it. I got by with using merthiolate to color my lips, and then my cheeks. Imagine that?! My late grandma and our helper used it, so why not?

I also tried to use baby powder to put a thick white line on my eyes because I didn't know what they used on celebrities. But since it tends to become transluscent as you spread it, I figured it's not effective for the look I wanted.

Growing up without my real mom (plus other factors that will not be discussed here...) gave me teen self esteem issues. But I found refuge in girly magazines such as Candy and Meg. From there, I got information on the latest beauty buys -their prices and where to find them, without having to personally ask another person. That's the time I learned about a Japanese transluscent medicated face powder, which I bought from PCX, The Body Shop's tea tree concealer and Bench cheek tints. I'll just go by the make up counters, get what I exactly needed and pay for it.

My self esteem issues continued even until now, which makes me love cosmetics all the more because good ones take care of my skin and make up make me look different if not better.

Now my daughter, seeing me doing all these kikay stuff, seems to be growing in the same vein, which for me is good. I just wish she does it because she loves herself and being a girl and not for something else. I'm still coping with some self esteem issues and do my very best to conceal it so that it doesn't influence her. I will also do everything I can in my willpower to always be around, at least until she can get by on her own.

So how about you, who influenced your being you?

your every woman,

Recipe of The Day: Home Made Barbecue Marinade


1 small pack of Del Monte tomato paste
1 whole garlic, minced
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt

1. Mix all ingredients together and use to marinade pork and chicken overnight.
2. Mixture can cover around 1/2 kilo of meat. Leftover marinade can be brushed on meat while barbecueing.

your every woman,

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Your Man On Make Up: A Change Of Heart

Remember how hubby felt about make up? Well, he finally understood how much I love make up when a friend from a photography group at our office suggested that I try putting my make up to good use by painting their subjects faces before a shoot!

I'd really really love to be that group's official make-up artist, but that's not gonna happen automatically! I have to show proof that I can! I need to practice and hope to be ready before someone else shows up with the same plan as mine!

Now, I don't have a sister, I'm no longer living with my mom, Ella is too young to practice on and I've grown too comfortable about coloring myself! I can't just ask people to be my practice subjects because I'm not that confident. I want to practice on someone I can be comfortable making mistakes with. Guess who were the lucky GUYS?

My hubby and his friend! Aren't they pretty?!

Hehe, pwede diba?! So, am I ready?!

your every woman,

The Reviews That Bought Me: Baby Products Edition

When I became pregnant with Ella, I didn't know anything. I had to research online and read a lot of parenting and child-care books to know what I know now. It was then when Smart Parenting Magazine's Online Forum was of great help. I have a mommy and hubby has a mommy too, but the forum gave unbiased advice from mommies who don't personally know each other, which was very effective. That website jumpstarted my yearning to find more parenting information online. So far, here's what I purchased from what I've read:

Bioneem Insect Bite ointment from Smart Parenting Magazines Online Forum

Clears bumps and dark marks caused by insect bites as soon as the next day!

Ilogmaria Propolis Ointment from Smart Parenting Magazines Online Forum

Heals wounds the right way. I even posted about how it healed by daughter's wound without scarring here!

Ascof Lagundi as reviewed by The Meticulous Mommy

This is so guilt-free effective that I even posted about how it worked for my daughter.

Cornstarch as recommended by Ms. Darlene of By Nature Handmade Soaps

Definitely better and more affordable than commercial baby powders!

Baby Sling as recommended by Dr. Sears

I really loved my baby wearing days with Ella! It helped me bond with her while doing some house chores! I loved it sooo much, I also posted about the advantages of baby wearing here!

BPA free bottles as recommended by Safe Mama

Because of choosing these bottles, I know I'm one step ahead in preventing illnesses from attacking my daughter when she grows older!

As a mother, I am always researching. And these will not be the only products I'll get to patronize from the Internet. I'm sure there'll be more! Anything you'd like me to try?

your every woman,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Choose Life!

It's ProLife Month! And even though I'm not really pro some of their advocacies such as doing away with scientific pregnancy preventive measures, I actually am pro life!

And since I cannot write about abortion without appearing self-righteous, I'm gonna let you in on one story of life...of Samuel Alexander Armas!

A mother and a father, who, after several attempts of bearing a child, got their hearts broken when they finally did, but were about to lose it to spina bifida. These parents did everything they can to save the child including having to put their faith on a doctor that would operate on the fetus while 21 weeks inside the womb!

click on picture to get full story from Wikipedia

Well, they were successful and the baby is now a grown boy. But just think about the misery of those who were never blessed with a single offspring!

So even though life is not really for us to choose, I pray that anyone who will ever experience such kind of predicament decides wisely.

your every woman,