Blue Bell Ice Cream

My mom and I are ice cream monsters - we've consumed more than 4 gallons of ice cream in the last five weeks. No joke.

It started when we bought a half gallon of our favorite local brand vanilla ice cream and a box of wafer cones. When the ice cream ran out after a few days, we decided to buy more to finish off the leftover cones. But as soon as we devoured the cones, we still had more ice cream, so we bought more cones. And then more ice cream. Then more cones. It is a vicious cycle. Because of all this binging, I won't be surprised if we gain weight this summer.

I did try to eat healthy once by eating some green salad, mostly to take away the guilt of eating too much sweets. Mom loves salad and makes sure I get my daily dose of fruits and veggies in my school lunch box as well as force feeds me vegetables for dinner. : )

A few weeks ago, we were introduced to Blue Bell Ice Cream. Manufactured in Brenham, Texas, using the very best and freshest ingredients, Blue Bell Creameries has been churning out great tasting, homemade quality ice cream since 1907. That's more than 100 years in the ice cream business, which is awesome. It's no surprise that they are one of the three best-selling ice cream brands in the USA. So, when they asked us if we'd like to have some ice cream sent over to try, how could we say no?

Blue Bell ice cream products are now available in the Philippines! First introduced by Visfood Corporation in Cebu City sometime in September 2013, it is also now available in selected supermarkets in Metro Manila. Yay!

 Strawberries & Homemade Vanilla- Blue Bell's famous Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream blended with juicy ripe strawberries. We love strawberries, so this is easily one of our favorite flavors! One taste and you'll know this is ice cream made the old fashioned way. Yum ♥

Rocky Mountain Road- Rich, dark chocolate ice cream combined with dark chocolate-coated peanuts, milk chocolate-coated pecans, white chocolate-coated almonds, and roasted walnuts, all surrounded by a flavorful marshmallow sauce swirl.

Cookies n' Cream- Creamy vanilla ice cream with tasty chunks of freshly baked chocolate crème cookies. Blue Bell Creameries were the first to create this now very popular flavor. This is my personal favorite! There's still a bit leftover in the freezer because I'm savoring every bite. Sooooo good : )

We are so happy that Blue Bell Ice Cream is now available in the supermarket near our home. And with the summer heat in full blast, we'll make sure that we have lots of ice cream stocked up. I think I should start going to the gym, too - there's a supermarket right beside it that sells different kinds of sweet treats I want to try. Lol.

Visit Blue Bell Philippines for a complete list of available products and flavors and to find out where to find Blue Bell in Metro Manila, South Luzon, and Cebu City.

Blue Bell Ice Cream
distributed in the Philippines
by Visfood Corporation

Inspiration Board: All Things Bright

I am so happy that summer is finally here! I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do for the break. Fingers crossed we get to travel : ) For today's inspiration board, I put together a bunch of candy colored stuff that remind me of the sun, and the sunny days to come. 

Mom and I plan to kick off the weekend by eating lots of ice cream. Happy Saturday everyone!

Tibi Neon Silk Top, EOS Lip Balm in Strawberry Sorbet, Philosophy Sweet Creamy Frosting Lotion, Topshop Tattoo Floral Teadress, Illesteva Hudson Clear Sunglasses, Dorothy Perkins Lilac Dress, ASOS Pineapple Bag, Smythson Travel Wallet, PacSun Black Poppy Strappy Flats.

Kitchen Stories- Summer Strawberry Salad

The days have been getting warmer and warmer now that summer is here and I've been finding it difficult to stay in the kitchen for long periods of time. I don't allow a lot of deep frying in the kitchen, because our whole house smells like fried chicken or fried fish til the next day, so I've been thinking of preparing food that requires minimal or no cooking involved.

Salads are easy to prepare, as well as healthy and satisfying. Just serve this up with some crusty bread and it's a perfect light summer lunch. Good enough, that is, for the two little ladies of the house (that's us)!

Summer Strawberry Salad Recipe

200 grams mixed baby greens (I used Sunsweet brand triple washed and ready to serve lettuce.)
1 cup strawberries sliced
1/2 cup of Feta cheese cubed
1/4 cup candied walnuts

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
salt & pepper

Mix balsamic vinegar and honey in a bowl. Slowly add in olive oil and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. 

Toss salad greens with desired amount of dressing. Top with strawberries, feta cheese and walnuts.

If not using the dressing right away, keep refrigerated in a jar or covered bowl, whisking or shaking again before use.

I love the combination of sweet and savory flavors in this salad, as well as the extra crunch from the nuts. Local Baguio strawberries are in season as well as other tropical fruits, so feel free to use your fruit of choice.

School won't be over for another week and I'm hoping we'll have time to eat out in between Bianca's college review classes so I can escape washing dishes and being in the kitchen this summer : )

The Way We Ate- The Girl + The Bull

After our lunch in BF Homes, Paranaque a month ago, Bianca and I promised ourselves that we would plan another eating adventure in the area. So many new and interesting restaurants to choose from!

I've been reading a lot about The Girl + The Bull. Owned by young art and food enthusiasts, Thea de Rivera (aka The Girl) and Gab Bustos (aka The Bull), this artsy resto tucked away in Paranaque has a young and hip vibe. We got to try out their food last weekend, and as soon as we entered the place, I immediately noticed that the staff, servers, and even the kitchen was manned by people who all looked like they were only in their early twenties. The mom in me wanted to scream out "What are you all doing here without adult supervision?!" but decided against it for the risk of being disowned by my own daughter. Lol : )

I was skeptical at first, wondering if the food or service would be any good, since everyone looked so young and inexperienced, but everything turned out okay. They're just on their soft opening stage, so there's still a lot of room for improvement, but they are highly commendable and we enjoyed our lunch.

The Girl + The Bull is currently open Thursdays to Mondays only, with a limited menu. If you're around the area, do take the time to try them out!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken- served with Brioche French Toast, Balsamic Maple Syrup. (available Fridays & Saturdays only)

Crispy Pork Belly Banh Mi, hoisin mayonnaise, red cabbage, cilantro, pickled carrots & radish on brioche.

Korean Barbecue Rib Eye, Kimchi Fried Rice, Fried Egg.

Homemade Faux Twix Bars, sea salt.

The Girl + The Bull
346 Aguirre Avenue, 
BF Homes Paranaque

Prom Pretty

For Prom, I decided to nix the appointment with a professional and do my own makeup, because I'm a big fan of the really natural and simple look - my mom and I hardly wear any makeup, except for maybe a little powder, blush and lip gloss on special occasions. 

I think makeup application should tone down facial flaws like dark circles and uneven skin tone, but most importantly it should enhance a person's best features. My knowledge about cosmetic products is limited - I don't know much about the right shades and colors that best flatter my skin tone. For my next formal occasion, I'll leave the more intricate art of painting faces to the experts!

Professionally trained makeup artist, Nikki Valenzuela, believes that makeup application is an art. She is a graphic illustrator and artist by profession and it was only natural for her to expand her expertise from paintbrush to makeup brush. She's an expert in transforming plain janes into pretty princesses, and we got to see that firsthand while shooting our (super exciting!) first beauty feature for the blog. 

We collaborated on three different Prom looks to suit different moods and styles, with our lovely model Thea David. Nikki showed us how to have a well dressed, polished look, without going overboard.

The first look that we did was the base for all three looks. Something simple and clean that can be easily built upon with stronger shades. I really loved the gold tones that were used! Nikki suggests the use of a makeup stippling brush to create an airbrushed effect with your foundation. She also told us that adding foundation to the lips before applying lipstick makes for a subtler color.
Products used: Face Shop Skin Color Corrector and Primer, L'Oreal True Match Concealer and Super Blendable Foundation in Nude Ivory, Nichido Loose Powder in Natural, Nyx Contour Powder, Urban Decay Naked Palette in Half Baked and Busted, Too Faced Summer Eyes in Sunbeam & Chocolate Sun, Suesh Coral Blush, Mac lipstick in Honey Love, Estee Lauder lip gloss in Praline Paradise
For look two, the golden tones on the eyes were reduced with more neutral shades and white highlights. Lips were filled in with a bright pink pencil. I think this look is really fresh and the lip color really popped!

Products used: Suesh Bubblegum Pink Blush, Nyx Lip Pencil in Fuschia, LA Colors Star Gaze Pallete in Make-out, Nyx Powder Highlighter
For the final look, the lips took on a subtler shade of pink. To draw attention to the eyes, the eyelids were filled in with electric blue eyeshadow and bit of sparkle too : )

Products used: LA Colors Jumbo Eye Pencil in Bikini Time, Too Faced Summer Eyes in Mermaid, Dollhouse Eyeshadow Pallete, MAC Angel A01 Shimmer

This is the first beauty shoot I did! I don't have any special equipment or lighting - all photos were shot in natural light with my weapon of choice, my trusty Canon EOS 1100D. I usually lean towards food photography, where I'm most comfortable, but this was super fun and I would love to do more shoots like this in the future! It was definitely a challenge, but a fun and rewarding one at that : )

Nikki Valenzuela
Makeup Artist

Gold Neck Piece and Blue Beaded Choker:
Palumuti by PJ Valenciano

Kitchen Stories- Seafood Crepes

We're back in the kitchen for more crepes! We have a habit of eating a particular dish or type of food for days or weeks on end until we've had our fill.

In the case of the Mango Crepes, we ate it for around three weeks straight, without fail. We ate crepes for breakfast, crepes for after school snack and crepes for after dinner dessert. We couldn't help ourselves. It was that good!

With the start of the Lenten Season, I decided to try to recreate a savory seafood crepe I always have whenever I visit my favorite Creperie near our home.

I was so happy with the results! I'm planning to make more of this recipe to keep in the freezer so I can just reheat portions for either lunch or dinner for those meatless Fridays of Lent. This meal would sure hit the spot, served with a small salad on the side. I hope you get to try this out.

Seafood Crepes

Village Gourmet Plain Crepes (one pack contains 6 pieces)
1 cup cooked crab meat
250 grams shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
2 cups fresh spinach washed and hard stems removed
1 ½ cups all purpose cream
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
lemon wedges

Prepare shrimp and cut into pieces. Heat olive oil in a medium pan, then saute onions and garlic. Add shrimp and cook until pink. Add cooked crab meat and saute for about three minutes more. Add spinach and stir gently until wilted. Pour in cream and simmer until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

In a non stick pan, reheat crepes according to package directions. Arrange folded crepes on a plate and top with seafood cream mixture. Serve with lemon wedges.

You will have some left over seafood good for another batch of crepes. Just keep in the refrigerator or freezer for your next meal.

Stamp Auction At The Manila Central Post Office

Last month, I found out through a cousin of mine that he had stumbled upon a Stamp Auction at the Manila Central Post Office. It really got me curious. I've never been to an auction and I've also never been to MCPO. I love old architecture and I thought it would prove to be a good excursion for Bianca and I aside from our usual Sunday lunch out.

The Manila Central Post Office is located infront of Liwasang Bonifacio in Intramuros, Manila. It was built in 1926, but was severely damaged after World War II. It was reconstructed in 1946, preserving most of its original design.

Today, the post office building still stands as a grand structure despite the obvious signs of decay.  The high cost of maintaining such a massive building has been a challenge with fewer people sending mail the traditional way because of advancing technology.

The Manila Central Post Office was designed by Juan M. Arellano. Its beautiful neoclassical design with the iconic pillars reflects the elegance of the 1940's.
To help preserve the significance of the post office and to help keep it alive, a small group of avid stamp collectors hold Stamp Auctions every 1st Sunday of the month. 

We were excited to go to our very first auction last Sunday. Although we are not planning on being serious collectors, we wanted to try our hand at bidding, just to complete our experience and of course to take home a few stamps as a memento of our trip to old Manila.
Stamps, Postcards, Vintage Stamped Envelopes, Banknotes, Old Coins are on display and available for viewing before the auction begins. Bid prices start for as low as P15 and nothing over P2000.

Auction Proper. 
There were even a few foreigners in the group. Bidding goes fast so you have to be attentive when they call out the ones you've chosen to bid for.

Here's what we took home- RP 1991 Butterflies Mint Strip, RP 1987 Manila Hotel Mint Set and RP 1993 Medicinal Plants Mint Set.
*photo credits: Don Flores

We were lucky that no one else wanted the stamps we chose, so we got them at their original bid price. Probably because they were not really collector's items, but we were happy with our choices anyway. The more seasoned bidders were going for stamps that featured Philippine Presidents and events like the Olympics or Special Holiday issued stamps. 

I'm glad we got the chance to do this together. Stamps are like little pieces of art with each one representing a particular event, person or place. So the auction was both like a history and art lesson for us. I've already started looking through old letters and envelopes at home, because, who knows? I might have something of value tucked away somewhere : )

Manila Central Post Office
Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila
Tel. No. 525.7028
*Stamp Auction- Every 1st Sunday of the month
                            Viewing starts at 1:00pm
                            Auction starts at 2:00pm

Window Shopping

I've been window shopping on the web over at my favorite online shops (with a stress on the "window shopping" part) ever since my post here. And I have been convincing myself that I actually need all these home decor, plates and new furniture in my life. I want them all! But the bank account is not willing. Lol.

Well, a girl can dream, right? Here are some of the pieces I've chosen. Please send me links to your favorite home decor shops so I can stalk them with you : )

Seek The Uniq offers exclusive, limited and highly covetable pieces from both local artisans and from suppliers around the globe.
I'd love to have these on our dining table:
Clockwise- Lilac Ceramic Rose Serving Tray, Blue Filigree Plate, Periwinkle Art Nouveau Catch All Tray, Fine Bone China Sugar & Cream Set.

Anthropologie is a multi-channel lifestyle brand that sells clothing, home furnishings, found objects, gifts and decor.
Our living room could sure use an update.  My favorites are the colorful stoneware vases:
Clockwise- Moresque Chairs in green, blue and raspberry, Spectrum Vases, Library Letters Vintage Hardback Books, Cartography Pillow.

Heima designs quirky furniture and furnishings for the home. They create custom made furniture aside from their original collection of tables, chairs and more!
I want to build a craft room / craft area in the house. The Ms. Librarian Chest of 16 drawers will hold all my washi tape, twine and rubber stamps. I want!:
Clockwise- Eden and Eve Side Tables, Garden Capsules, Molly Settee, Ms. Librarian Chest of Drawers.