Friday, July 31, 2009

SmokeFree QuitMeter

I found this nifty little banner over at Topaz Horizon:

Abet quit smoking on my birthday last year--one of the best birthday presents I have ever received. Those are his statistics above, based on 15 sticks a day at P40.00 per pack.

Over P7,000 saved in seven months. Very nice. Abet had been smoking since he was 14 years old--around two-thirds of his life--can you imagine how much that had cost?

Abet and I met because I asked him for a light, I couldn't find my teensy black lighter inside my giant, multi-pocketed Nine West bag, so I can't really say that I regret all those years that we had been smokers, but I'm mighty proud that we kicked the ugly habit in the butt, pun intended.

I quit months before Abet did, that means that I have saved more... I deserve a little reward, no? Hmmmm...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hello, everyone!

Finally, this blog is up. After months of writing just for myself, I have decided to share the link to friends and family and all.

I've been blogging since 2003 for contacts on Blurty, LiveJournal, and Multiply, and I'm just starting to write openly here on Blogspot. I'll still be crossposting from Multiply, because that's where my entries actually get read and commented on.

I'm having fun with Blogspot so far, tinkering with the links and gadgets on the right-hand sidebar. Moreso, I'm having fun browsing the blogosphere, I've already stumbled upon quite a few online journals that I instantly liked and will continue to follow.

Why Guwapa? Mainly because that's my email address on Gmail, and it was the default account when I signed up for Blogspot. I hope I live up to my username--it's a beautiful life, after all, and I hope to share little snippets of this life here on this blog.

See you all around!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Flowers of Baguio

Actually, these were just inside Fort del Pilar:


I just love Baguio City. The city is so charming with its pine trees, gorgeous mountain views, cool fresh air, picturesque winding roads, quaint restaurants and cafes--and taxi drivers that give you change down to the last peso.

You know what I like most about Baguio?

The fact that my brother is there, of course. :-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I love these clever photographs by Michael Hughes:

Read about the stories behind the pictures at his blog,

See the rest of his Souvenirs set on Flickr.

I like to collect items from my trips, little somethings that remind me of my visit. A big chunk of my collection is composed of the usual tourist trinkets--magnets, keychains, maps, and postcards (some of which I sent to myself)--but I've taken home bus tickets, admission tickets, boarding passes, pressed leaves and flowers, tins, table napkins, paper bags, even candy/chocolate wrappers. I'll keep anything that will remind me of my travel experiences. Even the pencils and tape measures from Ikea have earned a place in my "travel" box. Abet gave me a beautiful velvet-lined box last year where I store souvenirs from our trips together, I hope to fill it up with more items.

What do you take home as souvenirs?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Baking High!

I went on a baking spree last night. The last time I baked was New Year's Eve, and I sure did make up for all those months that I didn't touch the oven.

I made cookies for the first time, and they turned out very nicely, if I may say so myself. I started with oatmeal-raisin cookies, and understandably, my first batch didn't turn out too well:

oatmeal-raisin cookies

I forgot the basic fact that dough expands upon baking. Epic cookie-sizing fail. Anyway, I learn quick, and just dropped rounded teaspoonfulls onto the cookie sheet. Perfect.

oatmeal-raisin cookies

Moist, sweet and cinnamon-spicy, crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, just like how a nice oatmeal cookie should be. This recipe will be in my repertoire.

I also tried making the classic chocolate chip cookie. This was pretty simple to make, and the fun part was eating the dough itself. So good. No wonder they make ice cream flavors out of this.

cookie dough
chocolate chip cookie dough

Is this a chocolate chip cookie, or is this a chocolate chip cookie?

chocolate chip cookie

I also tried making chocolate cupcakes, just because I saw these pretty yellow silicone cupcake molds and floral cupcake liners at Bakers' Depot:

chocolate cupcakes

I wasn't too happy with the cupcakes, they're not as moist and fluffy as I'd like them to be, but my mom and sister thought they were good. I forgot to take some to my officemate Cassie who's an excellent baker for diagnosis and remedy. I want to keep making cupcakes, I really want to make pretty frosted ones in yummy flavors such as banana-walnut and red velvet with cream cheese frosting. I'll try making these again next weekend, this time in blue gingham paper liners.

Of course, I made my famous carrot cake, my pride and joy. Mama asked me to make two:

carrot cakes

This cake turns out perfect each time and has been a constant hit among my friends and officemates. Mama texted me this morning to say that this was "d best krt kk ever n d hol wyd wrld" and Momon's officemates said my cake was delicious--and that was without the cream cheese frosting yet (I was too tired last night to make the frosting).

Joe has always been a fan of my carrot cake, I'm sure he'll like this, I hope he'll like the other goodies as well. We're going up to Baguio to visit, bus leaves in two hours.

See yah!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Charlie's Grind and Grill

After a two weeks of dieting and religiously going to the gym after work, I felt that I needed to reward myself with seriously good chow for the weekend. Last Saturday was a good time to try Charlie's Grind and Grill, which I first read about on Our Awesome Planet and which my officemate Gelo has been majorly raving about. Anton of OAP claims that Charlie's serves the best burgers pound-for-pound (parang si Pacquiao lang) in Manila, and that opinion alone is enough for me to bump up Charlie's on our ever-growing 'Restaurants to Try' list.

Their specialty is the freshly-ground handcrafted black Angus burger, freshly-ground meaning they grind and grill the beef as you order:

Charlie's Grind and Grill

At P175 with the fries, this baby was a steal. The beef was juicy and flavorful with that distinct grilled yumminess, the vegetables were crisp, the bun was fresh, and the hand-cut fries were the best fries I've had. I'm trying to recall if I've had a better burger... maybe I haven't. It's definitely well worth the hype.

I ordered the small Philly cheesesteak--Batangas Triple A sirloin beef steak with caramelized onions, sauteed peppers, and cheese (P220):

Charlie's Grind and Grill
This 'Hungry' size is already good enough for two, I can't imagine how starving one might be to finish the bigger 'Starving' size for P380. My cheesesteak was more 'cheese' than 'steak,' which was honestly fine by me.

We ordered half a dozen buffalo wings (P150, served with veggie sticks and bleu cheese dressing):

Charlie's Grind and Grill

The wings were crisp despite being drenched in the tangy buffalo sauce that went perfectly with the bleu cheese dressing. Abet and I were already full from the burger, fries, and cheesesteak by the time we attacked the wings, I didn't think we'd be able to finish them, but we did. They were that good.

We're already planning to go back to try their fish and chips, pulled pork sandwich, and meatballs marininara pasta. We also want to try the newest additions to their menu: their desserts. We were so full after our meal to have desserts. (We did get some Angelati Italia gelato a few hours later--yum!)

Oh, and Abet has a couple more reasons why he liked Charlie's aside from the good food: they serve American craft and premium beers (Corona was at P130), and the naughty urinal below *snicker*:

Charlie's Grind and Grill
Charlie's, we'll be back!

Charlie's Grind and Grill
16 East Kapitolyo Drive, Pasig City

Monday, July 6, 2009

Non-matching bridesmaids

My wedding is still light-years away. However, that doesn't stop me from fantasizing about how mine will be like. Didn't we girls do that when we were seven?

Anyway, this early, I already have a nice picture of what I want for my wedding day. I've already decided on the groom, the church, the rings--and I have dream suppliers for the cake, caterer, photographer and videographer. Doing research this early gives us and idea of how much we need to budget for the big day, and how we could come up with that amount when the time to tie the knot comes.

I love browsing wedding websites to get ideas on making my wedding beautiful and intimate and uniquely "us." One of the things I've always been fascinted with are bridesmaids in non-matching gowns. They look so pretty in photographs.

It's nice when the same fabric is cut in different styles:

But this one in different fabrics, styles, and shades in the same color is even better:

I like it best when the dresses are in the different colors of the wedding motif. These two pictures below have the colors that I have in mind for my wedding:

Now tell me, is this not the sweetest?

However, who has bridesmaids of the same height and body type?

On a local note, here's a picture from Stephanie Coyiuto's recent wedding which I read about in The Philippine Star last Sunday. Pretty, no?

*Pic above taken by Lito Sy, grabbed from All the rest are from The Knot.*

Nakakainis naman.

I'm heartbroken.

If not for that darned A(H1N1) virus, right now I should just have arrived in Singapore from Kuala Lumpur via bus. Tonight I would have been eating Hainanese chicken rice and Hokkien mee and satay and kaya straight from the jar. But because I don't want to put my (paranoid) mom's health at risk, we decided to cancel. Disappointed as I am, I just got more excited about my trip to Malaysia this October and to Singapore this December for the annual guitar festival.

Unfortunately, I just read at the guitar festival's website that there won't be a guitar festival this year:

There will be no International Guitar Festival nor
International Guitar Competition this year, 2009 in
view of the global economic downturn and H1N1 flu in
different parts of the world. We regret any
inconvenience caused.


There won't be a reason for us to go to Singapore this year. Naiiyak ako. We're supposed to buy our rings there (even if it's eons before we get to use them).

Abet said we'll travel somewhere we haven't been to before next year instead. We've been to Singapore anyway. There's an annual guitar festival in Bangkok he can participate in.

I guess I'll just look forward to that. Still, I'd kill for some authentic chicken rice right now.