Sunday, July 23, 2017

Date Nights at Music Wizard Coffee and Tea Shop

One of the best ways to make up and give myself a well-deserved "me time" after a busy week is to go somewhere quiet and enjoy some good food. I know I have planned to go on a food crawl and fill this blog with food-slash-travel related posts but just like what I often say, so much things to do (particularly at work) so I've got little time to blog.

So when I am able to, and to welcome the weekend, I would invite friends for dinner on Friday nights just around town. Such has been my version of date nights and lately, we have been frequent customers of Music Wizard Coffee and Tea Shop.


The first time I visited was last month. They moved to a new location (the previous branch was a few steps away from their sister restaurant, Inang Bina's along A. Tiamson Street) just along Manila East Road. And at the time we visited (with my friend Batch) they have been opened for around three weeks. Funny but the reason for this first visit was because of a shallow reason -- I was craving for cheesecake.

The last two instances that went to Music Wizard was for meet ups with my former college professors who have become my friends. We love staying on the coffee shop's second floor. We prefer it best because of its relaxing ambience (read: not too crowded) which is definitely good for me. If you deal with tons of things at work, the least thing you would want at the end of a tiring week is to park your exhausted mind in a place that can provide some peace to it. Some place where you can just sit quietly near the window staring at the lights, people and cars passing by at night while having dinner.  And that's precisely what "our perfect spot" does to me.


Of course, next to relaxing after a week filled with work, we frequent the place for the food. Here are some of the items on the menu that we (or should I say, I) have tried so far:


This was from the time I visited with my cousin and her daughter. I'm not much into carbs so whenever there's pasta on the menu, I make it a point to order even at least for once. But I must say I'm easily enticed with white sauces so Carbonara is something I can't miss for the world. We also ordered the Kitkat Shooter and the Strawberry Smoothie which I preferred to go with the pasta. I loved their Carbonara (which was served warm -- earning a plus point), the dish itself isn't nakakaumay (thus other people tend to make this pasta dish last on their list) and their Strawberry Smoothie because it's not too sweet -- which is good for me who is watching on sugar intake despite I am not a diabetic.


We ordered clubhouse sandwich and mojos (slightly photographed) during the dinner with my college professors a week ago. Their clubhouse is filling with all the ingredients in it, I was already full by the second piece. I also got to try their mojos -- and while it could be compared to mojos of a commercial pizza restaurant, I prefer this once because aside from it's affordable, it's not too salty too.


And the original reason why we discovered the coffee shop was my craving for cheesecake! I am not a fan of blueberry cheesecake but that "unreasonable craving" went on for weeks so I knew I had to do something about it -- dismissing it wasn't an option. And while there are blueberry cheesecakes offered by "high-end" (read: expensive) coffee shops, they didn't appeal much to me taste-wise. But the blueberry cheesecake at Music Wizard sealed the deal for me. Upon inquiring, their staff told me that the bakeshop which is also found at the coffee shop's second floor regularly supplies the cakes on their menu. 

I've had a pleasant dining experience in the three instances that I have visited Music Wizard Coffee and Tea Shop. Given that it offers good (and affordable) food, relaxing ambience (with IG-worthy interiors) and accommodating staff, their worth recommending to friends who wishes to spend quality time over good food and a great view.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bonding with Moms at the Mommy Fleur x Bliss Bowls Brunch

I am temporarily taking a break from the series of delayed post to write about an event I attended about two weeks ago. I was invited by Fleur of the blog Mommy Fleur to a brunch meet up with some of her blog readers at Bliss Bowls in SM Megamall. I have been reading her blog and I won't deny that I also wanted to see the girl behind the stories I've been reading so the invitation was something I wouldn't miss for the world.

Photo: Mommy Fleur, Michelle Pineda
The meet up was held at Bliss Bowls. Most of us arrived at 10 am just as Fleur requested. Being the weekend lakwatsera that I am, I have been familiar about this place existing in Megamall but I only had the chance to try their products during the meet up. All of us shared our preferred smoothie bowls -- yummy treats that are basically thicker than your usual smoothie that you enjoy in a bowl. Their smoothies are made from pure fruits and vegetables topped with superfoods but what's surprising is it doesn't contain water, ice, dairy or sugar. It's a treat that anyone who's serious about dieting or even just wanting to eat healthy can enjoy without feeling deprived at all.


I am a sucker for strawberries, bananas and anything chocolate. So when Fleur asked us on her blog prior to the event about our smoothie of choice, I picked Cacao Kiss -- which is just what I got on the day!


This is my smoothie bowl side-by-side Mommy Lea's Green Dream. It's a mix of spinach, bananas, strawberry and mango.


We also got to try Amazing Kale. While I've known and seen kale in grocery stores, it was my first time to taste it at Bliss Bowls. It's got a mild leafy taste from the kale but the other components of the smoothie such as banana, strawberries, spirulina, coconut milk and chia seeds among others make a green leafy bowl a treat to the tastebuds.

Photo: Mommy Fleur, Michelle Pineda

Back with the event, I was hesitant to join at first despite the invitation because I knew most of them are legit moms and (working) housewives. It was funny though because there were cheers when I told them that I am the divergent in the group of species (read: single, no husband, just married -- to a job!)

Photo: Mommy Fleur, Michelle Pineda
|What is a gathering without introductions and stories. Most of the ladies present were either stay at home or working moms. But of course, the highlight of the meet up is hearing stories from the event organizer, Fleur.


And as luck would have it, next to Fleur, I also got to meet Michelle Pineda. Next to being the "official event photographer", she is also Fleur's best friend. Her name rings a bell to me because of my brother Jay Ar (who is also in the same business of documenting events and weddings like her). Michelle is the owner of Michelle Pineda Photography. And just when I thought she was a client of my brother, apparently, she is one of Jay Ar's friends and is a ninang to my niece Sofia. So yes, this event was also a small world of some sorts :-)  She even asked me why I got hooked reading her friend's blog to think that it is a mommy blog (so what in the world does a single girl have to do with it, right? Well, the truth is next to a form of positive diversion, I'm not really sure. All I know is nakaka- good vibes ang mga kwento niya on her blog (at bakit ba, eh magiging misis din naman ako. Maghintay lang kayo! so might as well try to get some points to review and ponder about.)

They always say there's always a first time. But this is a first time that's worth it. I never thought that somehow I could kind of blend in a different crowd. And the experience felt good.

Bliss Bowls is at the 4th Floor Building A of SM Megamall Mandaluyong City

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Despedida de Amiga and Coffee Date Night at Cafe Enye


More than a month ago, one of my office mates, Mommy P took the "greener pasture" and said goodbye to our group Baranggay Tibay to start another chapter called retirement. It's been a tradition in our circle to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. And while we are not fond of goodbyes, Mommy P, more than an office mate is everyone's nanay. And so we decided to give her a memorable send-off party.  

The good thing about having housewives for office mates is they know how to scout deals for almost everything (not just shoe shopping and sale hunting, mind you). For Mommy P's despedida dinner, off we went  to Outback Steakhouse in Eastwood upon the discovery of our colleague Anna -- who found a voucher through Metrodeal.  


After a hearty dinner, these ladies went on an impromptu coffee date at Cafe Enye -- a coffee shop which is just a mere 10-minute walk from our office building. While I have been familiar with this establishment having been in Eastwood City for close to seven years, I haven't tried any offer of the place yet. So after not so much convincing and given that it was a Friday night anyway, I decided to come with them for a once in a blue moon coffee date night. 


Cafe Enye may look simple on the outside but like what they say, looks could be deceiving, for this coffee shop's interiors are interesting. The place is well lit and the walls feature attractive decors. It's like you're being given the home-y feeling ass soon as you are inside. I was that fascinated it made me think if they actually accept reservations for pre-nup shoots.


Pardon the look, but like what I've mentioned, coffee was what we came there for. I don't know if it's just me but in half a decade that I've been with the firm, I have become a coffee drinker too -- even at night time just what this photo suggests. Here I am with my usual iced latte and I'm happy to say that next to the tall serving, they make good coffee -- they served mine just the way I wanted it. cold and not too strong, I was still able to sleep the same night when I got home.That tall glass is just 130 pesos, so in a way, it's a bang for the buck.


It was a night well spent. I didn't mind getting home late after what has been a night with the girls (na napaka-bihira ring mangyari because they all have either kids, husbands or boyfriends to attend to) because for me, it's a good way to defuse and rewire my brain after dealing with work-related matters the whole week. And if you're asking me if Cafe Enye is worth a visit, with the good food and accommodating staff, I'd definitely say yes. I'm planning to return there one of these days to try more of what's on their menu.

Cafe Enye is at the Ground floor of Excelsior Building Eastwood Avenue Eastwood City Libis Quezon City.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Healthy Eating at Go! Salads

I really did not plan going on any food-related challenge but earlier this year, I found myself setting aside a particular day to indulge in cheat days. I know, we all are foodies but I realized, (and with my mom's constant reminder), I am not getting any younger. to others, being in your 30's is like the "high time" for almost everything. But hey, reaching that "part" also mean getting near that big 4-0. And my mom keeps on telling me not to wait until that age and the pains of getting old start appearing before I become health conscious particularly with what I eat. If I could set aside a particular day for "cheat days", why not set one (or two) to eat healthy.


Due to my decision of venturing into healthy eating, I discovered Go! Salads, a salad bar which is just near my workplace in Eastwood City. I've known that place but I just had the chance to try the food on their menu just months ago. At first, it was just me who indulged into this form of #SaladDayFridays but lately, when I told my office mate Cherry about my Friday habit, she as well tried it and is now hooked on their salads as I am.


Go! Salads have a variety of salad options for you to choose from. Their leafy greens are all organic and locally produced which you can purchase for 120 pesos. And whenever I visit, I always order their Bayani Salad. A simple mix of greens, corn kernels, candied cashew nuts and adobo flakes with soy sesame dressing.


My office mate Cherry on the other hand tend to seek variety with her food. In the number of times that she came here with me, na-order na nya ata halos lahat ng salads sa menu. Yesterday, her choice was the Darling Breakfast -- made with ground chicken longganisa, sliced tomatoes, greens and tomato honey vinaigrette. 


  
Apart from healthy salads, Go! Salads also have smoothies and teas. I have been regularly ordering their vanilla lemongrass tea which is a healthier option from the usual instant iced teas. It's not too sweet and you can really taste the lemongass infused in it. Not to mention it's affordable at 40 pesos.

Their smoothies are also a must try. Cherry would always order a smoothie to go with her salad -- yesterday, she got herself a Breakfast Smoothie. At 120 pesos, you get not just a healthy but filling "meal in a glass". I once tried to order the Breakfast Smoothie at lunchtime and despite consuming it during office hours, I still felt full even hours before dinner.

So if you are just like me whose on the lookout for healthier alternatives with what you consume, I suggest that you try what's on their menu. I'm always looking forward to Fridays, or in any case, when Cherry asks "magda-dahon ba tayo today?". I hope to try the other items on my future visits. 


Go! Salads is at Level 2 Techno Plaza 2 Eastwood Avenue Eastwood City Libis Quezon City. Open daily from 11 am to 11 pm.

Monday, June 5, 2017

#MarriedFeels


I have been married for exactly five years and three months today. At the back of my head and despite of just having slept for only two hours , I am thinking, so this is how it feels.

But before you start making your own conclusions and speculations, I'll make it clear, I am talking about a rather significant union (at least for now). I'm talking about being married to my job. As I am typing this entry, a part of me still has this happy question. Has it really been five years? And while that question exists, there is also a part of me that is trying to replay a number of things in my head.

You see, reaching this milestone is not a walk in the park.Someone once said that finding the right job is like finding The One destined for you to have. You need to kiss a few wrong frogs to find the right prince. And I must say I had gone through that phase before I arrived to where I am right now. Yes, I tasted career setbacks a number of times. Particularly during the time I had to experience what they call "quarterlife crisis" when I literally felt uncertain about everything. It reached a point that I almost befriended fear. I even started to question if there's really one out there for me. And if there was something I was asking at that time, it was not something specific. All I just wanted was for God to give my life FEASIBILITY -- in what way was something I don't know how. 


People always say you'll find things when you least expect it. And that was what happened to me five years ago. Landing in a career that was at the bottom of your choices is like falling in love with a guy who is the last on your list. I just simply gave it a shot and let go of what happens next. Only to find out that it is when you let go that things will really start falling in the right place. 

Funny how, next to learning the law, its language, surviving the workday with just a few (or worst, zero) sleep (and it's something I won't recommend anyone to try), the career I married for half a decade of my life taught me things that I could hopefully apply to another significant relationship in the future. People think I live a stress-filled life and find it amazing how I was able to manage. But on the other hand, I still tell them that at the end of the day, I am still human. I have my weakest moments too and I tend to break down and cry when I can't take it anymore which is just okay. And just like any relationship, the past five years isn't composed of rose-colored glasses. There are tough days too. Days that I tend to think what if I just stop, leave and completely quit but then it also taught me to be more patient with situation, circumstances and people. To love and appreciate what you have while you still have it. To let go of some things and to not sweat the small stuff. That everyone commits mistakes and that it's okay to not be perfect.

This milestone makes me think of days when I would ask why did I land on this job when I thought my qualifications are not even enough? More than just a career that earns me a living, pays the usual expenses, the answer to my prayer also taught me one thing: and it's not just to grow professionally. My ways were different with God's ways. His plans obviously aren't my plans. More than anything else, maybe it's really part of God's reason why I am here.. That I have to be here to grow as a better person and better equip me for what is in store for me in the future.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Glaiza Returns to Ayala


Even before last week's Dia del Libro, I can't say I am a stranger with Makati and its premises. Prior to landing my current job as a paralegal, I once worked for one of the offices in this area as a legal transcript editor when I was in my mid-20's. 


Last week was the first time in seven years that I set foot in Makati again. While some things, transportation wise haven't changed (oo, ma-traffic pa rin), some thing on the other hand did. Just like the places near my former workplace. Case in point was Ayala Triangle Gardens. This area of the park now has an inviting signage and landscaped pavements. Back in the day I was employed in this business district, I would watch frisbee practices or walk around this part of the park to detoxify my stressed mind before going home in the morning (I used to work in the graveyard shift back then).


This part of the park is the area that faces the office building where I used to work. Save for the lights hanging by the trees and the restaurants, this part hasn't changed a bit. Even if I haven't visited here for a long time, this place still reminds me of London's Hyde Park just like the old times.


Pardon that pawisan look, (this summer heat is a hassle I know!). This is the exact area of the park where I had my own "bahala na si Batman" moment. I agree that in times of confusion, sometimes, all a person needs is a quiet place to think and contemplate. During the time I was weighing the pros and cons between staying with my job in Makati and relocating to Quezon City to accept a challenging but better-paying job in a US advertising company, it was in this place where I made the decision and "took that big leap" to decide to leave Makati and being a legal transcript editor and relocate to Quezon City. While my stint in the US advertising company did not last that long as I hoped and wanted, I was not left empty-handed either. Just months after putting an end to life in the graveyard shift, I was accepted in another company, in the law firm where I have been gainfully employed for half a decade now. 

Returning to a place that was once part of one's past could sometimes be both refreshing in the way that it's nostalgic too. I plan to be back sometime though I hope it would be on a day when the weather isn't as unforgiving as how it is these days. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Paralegal Joins Dia del Libro 2017

Last April 23 was International Book Day. A week prior to the event, I have found an article regarding this year's celebration of Dia del Libro. It is an event spearheaded by Instituto Cervantes and given that it was a weekend, I am free to travel somewhere and attend to this event -- no questions asked. :-)

So what really is Dia del Libro? As explained on the website of Spot.ph:
The tradition of Dia del Libro began in Barcelona, Spain as part of St. George's Day on April 23. It is also the day the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes and English poet William Shakespeare died-- April 23, 1616. With such significant coincidence, UNESCO declared April 23 as "World Book and Copyright Day" in 1995.


The event was held at Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati. Aside from participating publishing companies where you can buy books and be entitled to a 20% discount, ambassadors from countries like Spain and Venezuela were also present to grace the event. This year's Dia del Libro also featured paintings from a pop up museum of Museo del Prado.




One of the highlights of the event was this invitation to people in the venue to join in re-writing the book Don Quijote -- by hand. Next to the experience of joining a foreign celebration, this writing challenge was actually the main reason I decided to attend this year's Dia del Libro. 


The activity proved to be a challenge -- but an exciting one at that. Each participant is being told "dos minutos para escribir" which means that each of us are given just two minutes to write a part of the book. And if you think that's already challenging, the real catch is once I was seated facing the book -- the manuscript is purely in Spanish! 


Similar to once you purchase a book in the event, after a participant finishes the two-minute deadline, he/she is given a red rose as their way of saying thank you and because it's part of the Spanish tradition in commemorating the event. There were other events that day including a cultural show but I had to beg off because next to the scorching summer heat, I still had some commitments to attend to. But if you were to ask me how I found the event given that this is only the first time I attended, I'd say it was fun to have experienced something new and maybe, I'll be going again next year.