Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October Foodfest!

As a certified food lover and now, a newbie in food blogging, I decided to share new food and drinks that I've tried and eaten for a month. I love taking photos of every new stuff I see and I crave exploring different places to try different dishes that my taste buds would love (or hate!). So as October ends, here are some of the food that I get to munch with a tiny bit of description and review, too! Enjoy! :)

1. Brownies by Mary Grace Cafe

Per piece 28.00 / Box of 8 170.00 / Box of 16 305.00

Mary Grace Cafe specializes on just breads and desserts, before they've decided to add meals on their menu. But aside from their famous ensaymada and cheese rolls, this one here is something you shouldn't miss. I am not a fan of brownies, but this one changed my mind! One of the best brownies I've tasted so far. The moist chocolate brownie is so good topped with a crusty finish! A combination of crispiness and softness in one bite! Even without the nuts! Worth the try!

Rating: 4.5/5

2. Rigatoni All `Alfonso by Cibo

Regular 325.00 / Family 573.00

Cibo is known for its best tasting pasta and dips, and this is included in the list. The pasta sauce is made up of shrimps, chives, stewed tomato, cream and chili peppers. That's it! The ingredients complement each other very well as you get to taste every bit as you eat. I love how the sauce is a bit spicy because of the chili pepper. Shrimp + Chili is always a good idea. Truly, a shrimp lover's delight. :)

Verdict: 4/5

3. Mushroom Chicharon by Mama Lou's

I have heard of mushroom burger, mushroom sauce, mushroom steak, but not mushroom chicharon. Aside from its crunch and appearance, it is way healthier than your regular chicharon. It may be fried, yes, but looking at the bright side, think of it as a vegetable to lessen your guilt on a cheat day. It tastes so good and it doesn't feel so oily at all. Calling all vegetarians and non-vegetarians out there, another dish to add to your favorites!

Verdict: 4/5

4. Choco Brownie Bingsu by Hobing

Regular 235.00

The best bingsu in town! I am not a chocolate (flavor) lover but because of this kind of desserts, I think I'm gonna change my taste sooner than expected! As they've instructed, to better enjoy the experience, DO NOT MIX. True enough, it turned out really yummy! The whipped cream, brownies, nuts and even the surprise Koko Krunch type of thing inside this pile are perfect. Down to the last drop.. or snow ice! Not too sweet, nor bitter in taste. Their regular size is good for sharing, unless you're too hungry to care! :)

Verdict: 5/5

5. Salted Caramel Ice cream by Carmen's Best

Small cup 90.00

Salted Caramel is becoming one of the most in demand flavors of desserts nowadays. Cakes, chocolates, ice creams and frappes, everything seems to have a salted caramel version. Though I totally agree that a salted caramel flavored ice cream, especially by Carmen's best is definitely a hit! It's a bit pricey but worth a shot! Side effects: Possible addiction. :)

Verdict: 4/5 

6. Classic Churros by Churreria La Lola

The Classic, Medium 110.00 / Dip Medium 60.00

You might notice that you can see La Lola more often, everywhere, nowadays. It's because their famous churros is making a name in town. Even the classic one can already make you say 'wow'! Plus the chocolate dip! They have different flavors of churros and different dips, too. Whatever suits your taste. :) Their churros are freshly made and it is very evident 'coz it will be served hot. Crunchy on the outside, soft in the inside! They have big serving, too! Their smallest size, which is the medium, has 6 big churros in it. Just right for the hungry! 

Verdict: 4/5

7. Strawberry Pavlova by Costa Coffee

Primo 160.00

It is my first time to stay in Costa Coffee and since I don't want to get the usual chocolate drink, I've tried their newest flavor. It's a strawberry frappe with tiny marshmallows on top which are crunchy and sweet. The drink is not sweet at all which makes the mallows serve as the added sweetener. I liked it because it's not too sweet and the drink is not too thick, so its not so heavy to drink. Nothing fancy but if you want to go out of your usual menu, try this!

Verdict: 3/5

8. TK Burger by Tapa King

TK Burger 60.00

Tapa King is one of the best choices if you want to have a delicious tapa meal for an affordable price. I am not quite hungry for a tapa meal so I tried their burger. For a price of 60 pesos, this burger is not bad at all. Aside from the beef patty, it already has tomatoes, cucumber, and cheese! It even tastes something that you can make in your home. Doesn't feel artificial at all. If you're craving for a burger but tired of those on fastfood chains, try this one! Satisfying! :)

Verdict: 3.5/5

9. Salted Egg Potato Chips by Anika's

Resealable pack 100.00

I've been seeing friends posting about this salted egg potato chips, and I am lucky to get a hand on this. Actually, there are a lot of brands for this one but I get to try this particular chips by Anika's. It is salty (of course), but really, it tasted like salted eggs! If you love salty foods, then you'll definitely love this! You just have to keep a glass of water handy while eating this because, SALT.  

Verdict: 3/5

10. Chicken Alfredo with a twist by Susan Bayot

Yes, you read it right, this is a cuisine made by my mom. She is so good at cooking, we can't commit to our diet plans whenever we're home! This one is a new dish, made up of chicken, bacon, broccoli and Parmesan cheese! No bias at all but this is delish! I know it's a bit unfair because you don't get to buy or try this one but with the simple ingredients, I am sure you can make this at home! :)

Verdict: 5/5

I hope you enjoyed reading this and I do wish I didn't make you break your diet programs or go on a cheat day a bit earlier. These are all based on my taste buds, judgement and opinion. Your comments are welcome and are highly appreciated! 

Another round of new food and drinks on the end of November!
'til then! :)

Love, Jane Vashner :)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Are you afraid of the dark?

Are you afraid of the dark? 
Do horror movies freak you out?
Is the idea of having an open third eye scares you?
Do you believe in ghosts, and other supernatural beings?

My answer to all of these would be a big YES. I rarely watch horror movies because I can't bear the thought of just sitting in the moviehouse, helpless, while the goal of the movie is to make you scream and almost die with fear!

(Image from Flicker)
Most of us, if not everyone, could relate on the questions and scenario above. While some may be brave, and others seem to be fearful in a sense, (and I honestly admit that I belong to the latter group), we have our own beliefs. Maybe we are scared because of past experiences, wild imagination, hearsays from other people, or maybe, just maybe, a lack of faith.

Someone once asked me, why am I so frightened of horror movies? Why am I afraid of ghosts, dead people, 'aswangs' and the like. I answered promptly, because I am afraid I might dream of them, or see them on random places or they might harm me. And she said, 'don't you believe that our God is more powerful than any scary creatures here on earth?'. I don't understand her that time, but now I do.

Faith, as defined by Webster, is a strong belief in the existence of God.

Nobody, and nothing could ever hurt us, or scare us, if we have this unbreakable faith to God. If we have the time to be scared or be fearful of the unknown and unseen, then we are giving them the power to rule over our minds and bodies. If the energy wasted on this scary things would be shifted to believing our God, it can help us be more courageous and be at peace.  

If you feel the same way as I do, now is the time to check on our faith. Do we really have faith on our God? Or are we saying this because we think that praying, going to church every Sunday or talking about Him to others already denotes a strong faith? If we really have faith, why can't we trust Him that He is always with us? That He can protect us from anything? Approaching the long weekend, this is our time to reflect.

Our God is bigger than anything in this world, and if He is with us, no one could ever harm us. Trust that thinking. Trust Him. 🙏🏻

Happy Halloween! 🎃

Love, Jane Vashner :)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

7 things I learned from living away from home

As someone who grew up in her hometown, who spent her school days in the city and spent half of her life going home everyday, the thought of being away from what she already thought is her whole life seems to be unbearable.. at first.

For 25 years, my whole world literally revolved around the town where I grew up. Family, friends, school, work, hobbies etc. Everything I needed is right on my fingertips. I felt complete, stable and satisfied. Until that one day that I need to move away from home. I had so many questions on my mind. How can I survive? Who will help me there? What will I do in case of emergency or something? Where will I go for help? Can I make it? I am so scared and I have no idea on how to live outside my world.

Everything is scary in the beginning, well I guess even in the middle. But when you had a peek of what is something new for you, when everything is said and done, all you have are lessons, experiences and a whole new bunch of knowledge for another chapter of your life.

The very familiar road :)

So to share with you the things (realizations) I learned from living away from my home, read more. 😉

1. I begin to make new friends (or acquaintances).

"No man is an island", as a saying goes. No matter where you go, always prepare that smile! I've met a lot of people while away, some stayed as acquaintances and others became my true friends. Even if you think you can live your life well alone, think again. They are the people who can help you when your family and old friends can't be there for you. Friends are one of the reasons why the world is a better place and your life, a little brighter, even at your darkest times.

2. I learned how to be more positive and stronger.

I am a small girl thrown into this unfamiliar place. A far place that I've never had traveled my whole life. And now I need to stay in it for quite some time. All I want to do is break down and cry  (actually, that's what I've done in my first few months). Until I realized that no one can help me but myself. Of course, with the support of my family and friends, I got passed through it. Thank God! That's when I decided to be strong, little by little, I felt a change in who I am the first time I stepped on that place.

3.I learned how to work around the house.

It is important that you know the basics. This line is not just applicable to sports but to life as well. There was a time that I was locked in my room and my phone was already in my car. I am so helpless! Good thing, my dad taught me how to change a doorknob. That was my lifesaver! Literally speaking, a basic knowledge on some things is very essential. Especially when you are all by yourself. You should know how to change a busted bulb, how to fix a clogged toilet, how to cook, the list goes on. The point here is, you are now independent. So you better start reading, talk with people and start being curious on the things around you.

4. I realized there will be no place like home. Ever.

Being far away from home made me realize how important my family is for me. I admit that a lot of times, I took them for granted not knowing what purpose they have in my life. When I became independent, a lot of times I wished that I am at home. Where the meals for the entire day were carefully prepared by my mom, the maid would take care of my laundry, my siblings are there where I can easily ask them to hang out wherever. When I was alone, I realized all these simple but big blessings that I have. So while time permits, and you still have them, family, loved ones and friends, treasure them. Value them. Because it is true that you don't know the value of a person until he/she is gone.

5. I started saving and investing on my future.

While it's not easy to be all alone, it is much more difficult to manage your finances. Being on my own, I need to budget my money in order for me to have something to spend and something to save. Before, I would easily splurge on things, but when I got a taste of how important money is, many questions boggled my mind before purchasing a luxury. I have also took into consideration the investments I need to make to have a secured life.

6. I realized that I have changed.. a LOT.

I am no longer the awkward and scared girl I once was the first time I took a step on this place. In every chapter of our lives, there will always be lessons and challenges. I have grown to be a woman that I could proudly say, a lot closer to the woman I aspired to be. From the immature, cry baby I was before, to an independent and more equipped lady today, I could say, I love the change I had. The change that I could never undergo, just by merely staying in my comfort zone.

7. I learned how to enjoy every bit of being independent.

It's scared to be all on your own, but I get to realize that nothing lasts forever. And this situation is no exemption. Being independent may have its scary consequences but it also has a lot to offer. I have learned so many things, lived a life I never had imagined, traveled to places I thought I could never reach, met people I had no connection with. I learned how to love the freedom that was given. I took photos, memories, love and experiences. As they say, enjoy it while it lasts. and I am glad I did. :)

Last sight of Dagupan's beautiful sunset

Never be afraid to be on your own. If given a chance or opportunity, take it! A lot of experiences, lessons, memories and learning await you. After all, you might find something you are looking for all your life... outside your little box. :)

Love, Jane Vashner :)