Lomography 101

by she said

I usually do workshops or take up some lessons during my summer vacation which starts in a few weeks, but I started earlier than usual this year. 

My mom found out about a Lomography Workshop happening at the new Trilogy Boutique in Alabang Town Center, a place my classmates often refer to as 'the swag shop', because apparently it has swag. (I don't know what that really means aside from the fact that Justin Bieber says it a lot.)

Trilogy is a store that houses some of the most exclusive local and international street wear brands like Miss Sixty, Vans, 7 For All Mankind and Team Manila.

What is Lomography? 
It is a new style of artistic, experimental photography that started in the early nineties in Vienna, Austria. Characterized by vibrant colors, deep saturation and creative visual expression, Lomography is now considered an art movement.

Registration is only P100, how cool is that? :)

The workshop covered the basics that you need to know to begin taking photos with an analogue film camera. I am a total control freak with photography. I want my photos to be perfect ALL THE TIME. That's why I've always loved the idea of not knowing how pictures will turn out until after finishing an entire film roll, because I think lomography helps you to think less, and appreciate great images more.

The two speakers from Lomography Embassy Manila- the official distributor of  lomography products here in the Philippines, also discussed fun techniques and experiments with film cameras, like creating vignetting on a photo, how to put tiny little action figures to create silhouettes against images, and double exposures, all of which I want to try when I get my first lomography camera. (which is hopefully soon. HI MOM)

There is something about Lomography that I have always found interesting, mainly because I think I've always had a penchant for old-looking things, and also because of the sheer amount of time I spent* on Tumblr (*past tense! my account is now sad and inactive) scrolling through thousands of grainy vintage images of the sea and ice cream and girls with beach waves.

I've always wanted to make an analogue photo diary, go on photo walks and do general geeky lomography stuff with generally geeky lomographers.  I hope that's something I get to work on this summer!

Definitely Not Small Talk

by she said
I'm not really that good at small talk. I like conversations where I can really voice an opinion, learn something new or pick up something different. 

I go to a Catholic school and every year I go on either a retreat or recollection with my class, and that's when I get to do just that. I get to have an in-depth conversation, understand people I never thought I would, and pray like a family with people who I'm not related to.

They always teach us in our recollections that we should never judge people by how they act or how we see them, which is sometimes difficult for me to do. I judge people way too easily - by how noisy they are in class, the shoes they wear, or how they do their hair, but I seldom get to understand why they are the way they are. So I'm thankful to get this opportunity to get to know my classmates better. 

We openly shared our thoughts and feelings to each other during the recollection. And after hearing their stories of the challenges they face and what they've been through, I saw them in a different light and it has inspired me to become a stronger person and to always look at what I have in a more positive light.

We were all in tears after, and I am moved that my own story has touched them somehow. 

I always feel renewed after recollections. I still get to go home and have the same life, but I will live it differently.

One Summer, Twenty Three Restaurants

By She Said

I can't wait for summer vacation to start so I can drag my daughter, who is my best eating buddy, to all the restaurants and places I've been keeping tabs on. Some of you may already know that I make a list of restaurants, dessert joints, cafes, and just about any place that spell FOOD that I want to try out in a notebook I have with me while I'm stalking my favorite food bloggers online. So, here's what I came up with....

Summer Restaurant Must Trys- and because I've done my homework, I've also included dishes I want to order ;)

Early Bird Breakfast Club- French Toast Fondue, Viva Longganisa, Spanish Omelette

IHOP- Big Steak Omelette, New York Cheesecake Pancakes, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes, CINN-A-STACK Pancakes, Splashberry Drink,

Maple- Prime Rib Angus Tapa, Spaetzle Jambalaya, Big Maple Breakfast

My Kitchen by Chef Chris- Homemade Italian Sausages, Panizza, Ricotta & Parmesan Gnocchi, Spaghetti con Frutti di Mare, Lemon Lime Cheesecake

Spectrum at Fairmont Makati- I really want to check out the buffet here that features a honey station with live bees!!!

 BONO artisanal gelato- Pistacchio, Strawberries & Proseco, Speculoos, Fragola, Movie Night (chocolate covered potato chips.malt balls.caramel!)

Brasserie Cicou- Escargots, Foie Gras Ravioli, Roasted Bone Marrow, Koign Aman, Chocolat Moelleux

Sweet Bella- Strawberry Charlotte, Mangotier, Chocolata, Pearl Cake

The Fireplace at the Hyatt Hotel- Millionaire's Salad, Prawns with Mushroom Rissoto, Angus Ribeye, Flamed Ice Cream Alaska

Cafe Ysabel- Lobster Bisque, Silk Road Salad, Baked Scallops, Pan Roasted Seabass, Creme Brulee

Eat Fresh Hong Kong Famous Street Food- Pancake Balls, Squid Balls, Lobster Cheese Roll, Clay Pot Chicken,  Almond Shake

B & T Mexican Kitchen- Fish & Shrimp Burrito, Guaca de Frito Al Pastor, Mexican Burger with Potato Fries, Horchata, Chocolate Nachos

Mien-San Noodle House- Xiao long bao with patola, Fried Siopao, Fried Sesame Balls, Cha-chang Noodles, Beef Noodle Soup, Three Cups Chicken

Corner Tree Cafe- Vegetarian. Veg Biryani, Zucchini Fries, Moussaka, Falafel Burger, Lasagna

Hai Chix & Steaks- Hainanese Chicken Rice, Butter Garlic Shrimp, Ribeye Steak with Beef Rice

 Wooden Spoon by Chef Sandy Daza- Lechon Kawali, Crab Pancit, Stuffed Pechay, Sago Cake

Nomama- Prawn Teppan in Uni Bisque, Nomama Ramen, Miso & Mango Glazed Chicken, Kitayama Wagyu with Miso Butter & Tofu Fries, Apple Pie Gyoza

Chef's Table with Chef Bruce Lim- Roasted Tomato Halaan Soup, Fried Pusit with Green Mango Salad, Canadian Salad, Potato Crusted Salmon, Laing Linguine, Prawn Aligue, Biko with Calamansi Cream, Langka Creme Brulee

La Petite Camille- Pomelo Salad, Eggplant with Chinese Sausage & Shrimp, PHO Combination, Beef Look Luck, Special Rice in Claypot, Saigon Style Pork, Pandan & Yellow Mung Bean

da.u.de Tea Lounge- da.u.de Pho, Crisp Pork Banh Mi, Prosciutto & Melon Salad, Passion Green Tea, Goji Melon Tea, Papaya Kamille Tea, Peanut Butter & Jelly Scones

Gourmandise Patisserie- Blueberry Cheesecake, Raspberry  & Mont Blanc Eclairs, Lemon Meringue Tart, Carrot Cake

Breakfast at Antonio's in Tagaytay- Homemade Yogurt topped with Lemon Curd, Fresh Corned Beef, Pancakes with caramelized pineapple & banana, and Felchlin Swiss Hot Chocolate to wash it all down.

Zubuchon in Cebu City- we have to fly out to eat here?!? Maybe I'll check if they can deliver to Manila ;) Boneless Zubuchon, Stuffed Squid with Sisig, Ginataang Langka with Lapu Lapu, Crab Relleno, Kamias Shake

We've got roughly nine weeks of summer, so that means we have to eat out at least 2 or 3 times a week in order to complete the list. I don't know how I'm going to find the budget since apart from the list, we'll also have to find time to squeeze in our other favorite haunts. Plus we're also keeping positive that we'll get the chance to travel this summer! Wish us lots and lots of luck!

What we did last summer- Baguio 2012

We'd love to know what your summer plans are. Drop us a note and share your plans with us. What's on your list?

Weekend Love

By She Said

My daughter and I rarely spend our weekends or even summer holidays outdoors. We prefer to stay in controlled temperature, air conditioned places. I guess the punishing heat of the sun is just something unbearable for us and being outdoors is something we really don't enjoy.

This is really a far cry from my childhood. I grew up in a beach front house where I spent most of my days under the sun, submerged in sand & salt water. I moved to Manila only when I was about to enter College, and I have been so caught up with city life that I've only gone back to my childhood home twice in a span of 28 years. 

We now live in a community that has a lot of parks, open spaces, bike trails and sports facilities that are all very accessible to us but seldom use and often take for granted. So, I had this brilliant idea to spend the Valentine weekend differently this year and take advantage of the still somewhat unpolluted air in our village in the south of Manila.

It took some time to convince my daughter about my plans because she was already planning to spend the weekend in bed glued to her iTouch and our internet connection. But with much cajoling and pretty pleases and promises that she will have a good time and good food to eat, she finally agreed! 

We woke up early Saturday morning and trooped to the Saturday Market nearby.

                      So much fresh, organic produce and seafood. I am quietly asking myself- why am I not shopping here every weekend???

                                                                      Potted herbs

 Fresh cherries


What we ate for breakfast- oven baked pork belly. Notice the morning sun shining down on our food? It's been awhile since we've eaten outdoors!

Puto Bumbong- I can eat this all year round.

Red Velvet Cupcakes from a neighbor / homebaker


Kids with bicycles, enjoying the outdoors.

After breakfast, we visited one of the parks that has an ongoing exhibit by the village's Garden Club. They do this every year but we hardly go. This year's theme was all about "Verandas".

Spotted these plants for sale- Scented Malvarosa (used as a mosquito repellant) and Dwarfed Philodendron (Hope plant). Wanted to buy but I found them overpriced at Php600 and Php1200!

We capped off our Valentine Weekend at the nearby Alabang Town Center for a Helicopter Flower Drop on Sunday. This mall is like a second home to us. My daughter practically grew up here :)

  Blizzard of rose petals!

I think this weekend was the most time we have spent outdoors. We had so much fun that I think we are now converts and we're already planning our next outdoor adventure!

Kitchen Stories - Saturday S'mores Jars

Long time no see! It's been a while since I've posted, but hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things soon. Summer is coming fast and this school year is ending really quickly- I don't know if I'm quite ready to let my classmates and Soph year teachers go, but I cannot WAIT to have a stress-free few months and go on complete hibernation/cat mode.

I spent my Saturday afternoon making S'mores Jars for a few of my friends, because I am a total angel. Mom found the instructions on a Paula Deen site, and it took us awhile (read: a few months) to round up all the things we needed, but we finally came around to doing it and I'm ecstatic with how they turned out!

Simple S'mores Bars (adapted from a recipe by Paula Deen)

1 ½ cups teddy bear shaped graham cookies
1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows
1 ½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
 ¼ cup brown sugar
1 quart size mason jar (wide mouth)

layer all ingredients in a mason jar with an instruction label that reads:

preheat oven to 350℉ / prepare a 9" square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray / pour out marshmallows and chocolate chips into a bowl along with ¼ cup melted butter, reserving about 1-2 teaspoons / in another bowl, mix remaining butter with teddy grahams / layer teddy grahams on the bottom of the baking dish / top with marshmallows and chocolate chips / sprinkle with brown sugar / bake for 15 minutes / remove from oven and cool completely / cut into bars

Used shipping tags we found at the grocery store to write down the recipe.

We couldn't resist trying to make our own S'mores Bars at home, so mom whipped out her baking dish and we got to work. Here are a few photos from the making...it's a miracle these aren't blurred because mom kept making me laugh.

We still don't have an oven, so we're using our toaster oven, and it turned out pretty okay!

 Baker's Twine, Ball Mason Jars, and these cute Chevron & Polka dot Favor Bags are available at Paper Chic Studio

We'd love to see your take on this, if you ever decide to try it out! What are YOUR little Saturday projects? :)