My 3 Happy Snacks for the Week

I'm a snacker not a fighter! I love to snack, snack, snack--all day everyday :) It doesn't matter if we just came from a big, hearty steak dinner or a kiddie party with a generous buffet spread, as soon as I get home I raid our pantry like a mad woman looking for something to munch on. And I snack even more when we watch our favorite TV series in bed like Newsroom, Suits, and Game of Thrones. Patrick always kids me for having a bottomless pit for a stomach. I figured I can't change the fact that I love to snack but I could at least make some changes in my snacking choices. So here are my healthy snack recommendations that are tasty and full of flavor---but also very nutritious at the same time. PS: I bought all these snacks at Healthy Options. 

CADIA'S ALL NATURAL 
SWEET POTATO TORTILLA CHIPS
With a dash of sea salt, these chips are perfect with Organic Salsa and ooeey gooeyy cheese!!! You can dip it in your fave low fat sour cream also. Sweet Potato is an excellent source of Vitamin C, B6, D, iron and magnesium. These tortilla chips are made with US grown non GMO yellow corn and sweet potatoes. 

HIMALANIA'S DARK CHOCOLATE GOJI BERRIES
I. am.obsessed.with.this. I could eat this forever and ever!!! If you need some chocolate in your system (especially for the PMSing women out there!!! Yoohoo!) this could be the perfect sweet fix for you. It marries the antioxidants found in dark chocolate and Goji berries into one yummy snacking treat. Goji berries have been revered by the ancient Chinese, Tibetans, and Mongolians for centuries for their supernatural properties. They are high in fiber, iron, zinc, selenium, Vit C and get this---they have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal compounds too. 
CRUNCHA MA ME
These are my little packets of happiness. I love edamame and I always end up ordering them in Japanese restaurants. Like the package itself mentions, these little veggie pods are protein and fiber rich superheroes! At 90 calories per pack, this is the perfect guilt free mid day snack.

Here's a Tip on How to Save Food Waste from Healthy Options:
Dont Scrimp on Flavor: Fresh herbs are pricy. But as with spices, we would never say to skip them—they’re key to making healthy food taste great. Look for combination packages of fresh herbs; they may be labeled “poultry mix” and typically contain a couple of different herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and marjoram. That way you get a bit of a few different herbs and you’ll likely have less waste. Growing your own is another great option. In many areas you can grow hearty herbs like rosemary outdoors all year long. Though the flavors will be slightly different, you can replace fresh herbs in a recipe with dried. The rule of thumb is to follow a three-to-one fresh-to-dried ratio. So if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon (i.e., 3 teaspoons) of fresh thyme, use 1 teaspoon of dried. Rosemary, oregano, sage and thyme are good bets when going from fresh to dry. Avoid making swaps with cilantro, parsley or chives as the dried herbs don’t have much flavor. Love Food, Don't Waste!

Saturday Awesomeness

My four favorite Gilas Players---dancing!?!?!?!?! I.LOVE.IT.

Magis X Dimensione

Good morning my happy readers! I had the honor of hosting the Made In Magis event a few weeks back so I thought of sharing some of the photos with you today. Dimensione, the premier furniture and design company in the Philippines, welcomed Magis' very own Alberto Perazza to Manila. It was an intimate affair with select guests from the press&media, bloggers, interior designers, architects, and students too. Mr. Perazza gave a quick but very interesting talk about the story behind the MAGIS brand--he explained the details so thoroughly and was very generous in answering our questions.
From the start Magis has developed its own culture of experimentation, which involves a great investment in terms of energy, effort and determination. At the same time, it is this culture that provides the courage to push beyond the barrier of knowledge boundaries, to reach important and original results which are the backbone of its competitive advantage on the market. 

This focus on technology allowed Magis to be a first mover in the market through many of its products, for example with Air-Chair (design Jasper Morrison) - which combines a relatively simple design with a sophisticated gas-assisted injection moulding process- or with Chair First- which is the first example of a chair made by air-moulding where the emptying of the frame is not simply applied to the volumes with a small tubular section, but all throughout the extensive and complex volumes of the chair and its backrest. 

Magis’ core knowledge is in plastic materials. Until the early 2000, the focus was entirely on developing new products using this material. Now it is used in a measured way, focusing on more unique and sophisticated projects, adopting plastic only when it can add value to the product. 

This rebalancing of Magis attitude towards plastic marked an important turning point for the company, with the acquisition of different types of technology, such as aluminum die-casting, steel plate pressing and wood processing. 

Magis is a Latin word that means “more”. It is the sophistication of design, the interest in new materials and technologies, the courage to go beyond trends and to consistently show the audacity of an explorer that give meaning to its name. -Text c/o Dimensione
Here's a photo with my ultimate idol and Bench supporter, Daphne Osena Paez. I'm always so giddy and nervous when I'm around her!Bigla akong nababarok when I chat with her! I end up kicking myself as soon as she leaves---Patty, ano ba yan?!?! What happened to your English!?!hahaha! She's so charming, elegant and classy---but extremely down to earth and approachable. Ahhh, Daphne for President!!!!

Again, my deepest thanks to the DIMENSIONE and BENCH FAMILY for having me host this event! It's always great working with your fun and innovative team :) MAGIS products are exclusively sold at select DIMENSIONE stores in Metro Manila.

Fashion Friday with Suiteblanco

October is just a few sleeps away and y'all know what that means....FALL/WINTER 2013 is finally here!!! I'm obsessed with these pieces from Suiteblanco!:) As you all know, Suiteblanco is a leading European fashion brand that originated in Spain. The weather has been erratic these days with rain showers surprising us at odd hours, so the Fall/Winter collection is actually perfect for those days you need to "layer up" for unpredictable weather. Happy shopping!


Visit Suiteblanco in SM AURA!

#TBT

2011. This was taken just a few days after I became his "GIRL". 
Awwwww.. The kilig of becoming officially official :)
Photo by Sam Godinez-Valenciano

Switch and Save Nation

Hey folks! I just wanted to share with you some photos from last week's Switch and Save Press Launch Party. It was wonderful to be reunited with my SUPER SWEET Watsons Family and of course it was great to catch up with my fellow Switch&Save endorsers: Divine, Tessa, Iya, and Mikael. 
Top Manila Events Host Issa Litton interviewed each of us and Tessa put me on the spot!!!! I won't write about it here because it was already very embarrassing for me last week---let's just say it has something to do with being an "active newlywed". I cringed!!! I love this crazy, crazy girl! She always makes me laugh with her out of this world humor! Hahaha!

Sadly Victor Basa was down with a fever but his better half, Divine was there to share about her favorite Watsons products. Our newcomers Mikael Daez and Iya Villania were also there to join the fun----can I just say, Iya is one of the most genuinely sweet and considerate "artistas" you'll ever meet! And Mikael is such a sensible young guy too (naks, very Ate lang!). I'm so glad they joined us this year!
Look at all the Watsons label products we got to hoard at the event!!!! 

Don't forget, Watsons is helping me give away a brand new IPAD MINI so be sure to scroll a few posts down for the mechanics :) Again, to my WATSONS family thank you so much for making me a part of this awesome campaign! It's been one helluva ride so far!!!

Ditch-Your-Diet-Kinda-Good

Here are some photos from my Sundate with my Ateneo buddies at the newly opened Pi Breakfast&Pies at Malingap Street, Teachers Village QC. Congratulations to Chef Ed Bugia, Alessa and PJ Lanot and the rest of the PINO Group!!! You guys are expanding so quickly--I'm truly so proud of you guys!:) The food was insanely good! CARBS CARBS CARBS! It's the perfect cheat day destination!Oh and they have lots of freshly baked goods for take away too :) Read more about it HERE


At yesterday's Bride and Breakfast Garden Soiree with my two BFFs Stella and Sheila :)

My Honeymooning Parents in NYC


Tuesday Cuteness: Father and Daughter Tandem


St. Nails

My girlfriends Dani, Marge and Nicole and I had a lovely "HALOED" experience at St. Nails last Friday. They were kind enough to close the place down for us so we were able to chit-chat merrily (and loudly--hihihi--that's what happens when girls get together) for a few hours after having our toes and hands done. If you want to have a bit of privacy with your girlfriends--whether it's for a bridal shower, a birthday celebration, or in our case a random weekday get together---then you can just call St.Nails a few days before so they can accommodate you and your girlaloos!:) 
Carol of St.Nails arranged for the works---hand/foot massages, scrubs, paraffin wax treatments, and of course mani-pedis with gel polish. I love getting paraffin treatments because it makes my restless feet and tired hands soft and supple all over again. Yes, it's a bit of a splurge on top of the standard mani-pedi but if you have the extra cash, I say do it!!!:)
St. Nails is located at the complex of the Petron Gas Station along EDSA just outside of Dasmarinas Village. The cozy interiors of St. Nails makes it perfect for small get togethers. The seats are very comfy (happy pwets!) and they even provide complimentary wifi for their guests--this means you could surf the net or even get some work done while getting pampered! 
Another bonus came in the form of FOOD---yes, good food! Carol prepared merienda for us!:) She served light sandwiches, cupcakes, and our ultimate favorite: HER DESSERT JARS!!! They come in different flavors: Green Tea White Chocolate Mousse, Orange Choco Mousse, Lady Finger Trifle, and my favorite the Peanut Butter and Oreo combo!!! You can contact Dessert Jars at 0922 8570679. 
Thank you again so much to St. Nails for hosting me and my girlfriends! We will be dropping by again very soon :)
Ground Floor, NFB Building
Located at the Petron Gas Station in EDSA cor Arnaiz Ave.

Watsons Giveaway

As you all know I've been Switching and Saving with Watsons Label for two years now along with Divine Lee, Victor Basa, Tessa Prieto- Valdes, Mikael Daez, and Iya Villania. Here's our BTS video from our photo shoot, watch it hurrrrr :)
video
The Switch&Save Nation has been growing with new kabarkadas joining us each day. If you have been caught by the Watsons bug, please share your experiences with me! And drum roll....you could WIN A BRAND NEW IPAD MINI!!!! That's right, I'm giving an ipad mini to one of my awesome readers :) All you have to do is drop by Watsons (like you normally do, I'm sure!) and take a selfie with your favorite Watsons label product and tweet it :)

So, you want to win an IPAD MINI?!? Here's how!
1. Take a SELFIE with your favorite Watsons Label Product.   
2. Post it on Twitter with the hashtags #watsonslabel #pattylaurel (do not tag @pattylaurel, please use the hashtag instead to qualify as an official entry).
3. You could send as many entries as you want!!!!! The more, the merrier. Get creative with your entries!
4. The contest will end on September 30 and the winner will be announced on my TWITTER PAGE a few days after.




Naci Comfort Food

New Happy Resto Discovery Alert!!!!:) After 2 failed attempts (due to schedule conflicts and bad weather), we finally locked down a dinner date with the sweet (and very, very, very pretty!!!) Nadine and Natasha, co-owners of NACI COMFORT FOOD. We decided to bring my in laws and make it a fun midweek date. 
I asked the girls if NACI was a name derived from their names which coincidentally both start with "NA" and they just giggled and explained that the word NACI actually meant RICE. Oo nga naman! RICE! When I browsed their menu (which is super high tech by the way, it comes in a tablet device!) it all made perfect sense. To have a varied menu built on the concept of RICE was an excellent idea! We all love RICE, I love RICE and almost 99.9% of Pinoys love RICE. 

Their best sellers are mostly rice dishes: Peruvian Chicken Rice (this one you have to order!!! It's a very filling dish that sort of marries a risotto and a paella), Shrimp Jambalaya Rice, Hainanese Chicken Rice Bowl (my dad in law had this and he was very happy with his order!), and the Yakimeshi Beef Rice Bowl. But don't worry, they also have non-rice dishes like pastas, light sandwiches and thin crust pizzas if you're looking for other types of happy carbs. Their servings are quite generous, good for sharing :) Much credit goes to the late and great Chef Ed Quimson for developing such a colorful repertoire of dishes. 

My mom in law had the Slow Roast Pork Belly drizzled with BBQ sauce, Patrick had Nate's Steal and Eggs topped with Onion Rings, and we all tried the Veggie Mushroom Burger (which was surprisingly tasty!). 
And great news for the health conscious peeps out there! They offer LITE sandwiches and COHEN meals too. I personally am not under the COHEN program (or any specialized diet for that matter) but it's great to know that they provide healthy alternatives for those who want to consume less salt, less carbs, less sugar or control their portions. Natasha mentioned that they built this part of the menu especially for those with health concerns who would still like to enjoy dining out (and not have to worry about bringing a tupperware with their baon!) with friends and family. It's a win-win for all, everyone-happy-kind-of-restaurant. Comfort food for those who can afford to indulge in the extra calories, Kiddie meals for the young tots and Healthy food for those looking to make lifestyle changes. 
Oh and the DESSERTS at Naci stand alone on their own! You could definitely drop by even just for their desserts. Their famous Pistachio Sansrival is a sure hit but my golly, you have got to try their Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie with Ice Cream. I wanted to cry. Sobrang sarap, sarap, sarap!!!! Crunchy, Crispy, Crusty Chocolate Chip with an ooey gooey center oozing with chocolates and pecan nuts! Ayyyy, grabe! Babalikan ko 'to. :) 
Again, our deepest thanks to Nadine, Natasha and the rest of the NACI staff for having us for dinner. Thanks also to the super enthusiastic waiters who made it a fun dining experience :) :) 
Unit 3, Two Parkade, 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City

Mini Crafternoon

Here are some iPhone pics from our Leather Art Crafternoon at Pipino. Thanks to my BFF Alessa of Life After Breakfast for hosting me, Chia, Chino and Lulu for this mini mini mini class :) I made 3 neckpieces today---mega milestone for this uncrafty little woman. 

I had a full day shoot scheduled for today and I was worried I wouldn't be able to make it to this class--so a HUGE thanks to the magazine staff I worked with today for letting me exit the pictorial a good 30 minutes earlier!:) Thank you Lord for letting me work and play today!




Chicspiration: Jessica Alba

PERFECTION!!!!The Hair. The Shades. The Bag. The Cropped Turtle Neck Knit Top. The Ball Skirt. HECK. Even the yellow cab behind her looks stylish too. I love you Jessica Alba!!!!!!!!!
via Just Jared

Urban Ashram Manila

Hope you're all having a happy rainy Monday folks! I've been on the lookout for a new fitness regimen for weeks now, I want to start something I can do more regularly. Since I'm far from the athletic type--it's been quite difficult for me to find my groove. I know I have to be patient though and not be too hard on myself. Just like my cooking which I used to despise before---who knows, I might start enjoying exercise too! It's all in the attitude! Kaya 'to! Hahaha!:) So in the coming weeks, I'll do "exercise hopping"---I'll try different sports/fitness regimens 'til I find the ONE. I thought it would be cool to share my discoveries along the way--who knows you might find it helpful for your own fitness hunting. Hehehe :)

I just started taking a few classes at Urban Ashram at the Fort. It's conveniently located on the 3rd floor of the Active Fun Building on High Street. Since my doctor advised me to start slow, I decided to join their low impact classes first. I tried their FERTILITY YOGA class with instructor Ines and I absolutely loved it!!!! They have the session every Saturday morning, but their schedule changes every month though so it would be best to check out the site before dropping by. Unfortunately for me, I often work on weekends so I'm not able to attend as regularly as I would like to---but if you are lucky enough to get weekends off and you want a relaxing exercise that will keep your feminine bits in sync, this is something I would highly recommend for you! Don't feel intimidated by the word "Fertility", this type of yoga is not only for married women who are looking to conceive (though it has been proven to be very helpful for those who plan to start a family!)---if you're a woman and you want to be fit (both in and out) then this could work for you. 

"Fertility Yoga is an integrative approach for enhancing the well being and health of women. With different elements of Eastern and Western traditions and an understanding of the female anatomy, Fertility Yoga is designed to gain body awareness, restore pelvic health and enhance conception. The class is composed of adapted asanas, sequences for optimal pelvic alignment, different relaxation techniques, pranayama, visualization and meditation. Furthermore Fertility Yoga helps women embrace the power that comes with being a woman. This realization of the Shakti power of the female is extremely empowering, discovering the source of peace and infinite creativity in each of us, allowing it to grow and expand in every aspect of our lives. Come and join us for this beautiful journey of healing and self-discovery."

Urban Ashram hosts many specialized yoga classes catering to different needs (and schedules!). They offer Hatha, Vinyasa, Pranayama, Kundalani, Prenatal/Postnatal and Restorative classes..as well as one of their more popular classes the FNR (Flexibility Not Required) Series. "The FNR Series is a fun and accessible way for you to get into Yoga, without having to worry or be intimidated about not being flexible or strong enough to start your own practice. Emphasis is placed on laying the foundations for a safe and lifelong practice through proper alignment, action points and the generous use of props in order to manage specific issues such as tightness, injuries and other medical conditions." 

The studio itself is very, very pretty. It feels like you're working out in a cool loft in the heart of Brooklyn. The environment here is very inviting and the instructors are very patient and accommodating! :) I'll be trying a few more classes this month, if you are interested to try their classes just shoot them an email/text to reserve a mat. You'll find a link to their website below!

The Weekender: Taal Vista Hotel

Have you seen Katy Perry's ROAR video? She must've checked into Taal Vista Hotel because that's the exact same view we enjoyed from our suite! Hehehe!:) Yep, that's really a clip of our very own Taal Volcano in this international superstar's music video!
Since TGYTY is just a short drive from Alabang, it's perfect for those who just want an instant escape from the Manila chaos. You can drive up on a Saturday morning and head down by Sunday..this means no work days missed! The fresh air, sweater weather, and lush greenery are more than enough reasons to do Tagaytay for the weekend. So when Cecil and I were invited to try out the rooms, food and facilities of Taal Vista Hotel last weekend we immediately said YES! We were accompanied by our husbands and nieces of course which made the trip extra fun. Thank you so much Celine for arranging everything for our family :)

Like most of you who are my age, Taal Vista Hotel has become a Tagaytay staple in my head. A lot has changed for this hotel though, for the good of course. I was very impressed to see how much it has improved under the management of the SM Group.  Their new rooms are very well appointed and spacious, obviously built for families and barkadas. I also love that it's a big sprawling property, you could do some HHWW (holding hands while walking) from your room to the restaurant because it's a bit of a walk. Hehehe! 
And of course, we have to talk about the FOOD. We checked in just a bit past noon and then enjoyed the Heritage Buffet at the Cafe on the Ridge. The selection was quite extensive featuring different cuisines in one long spread. My favorites were the Paella and Sukiyaki---and the desserts!!!! I went a bit overboard with the sweets (as usual!). I had Halo-Halo, Marshmallows dipped in the Choco Fountain, Mango Crepe, Cakes, Brownies---yes pinagkasya ko silang lahat sa tiyan ko! But the most noteworthy of them all would have to be the Saba and Langka Gelato which the Taal Vista Hotel F&B team makes from scratch. Super delicious! 

They also feature a special cultural dance show from 12:30-1:30 PM on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. This show is such a hit with the foreigners and balikbayans. :) We were also very lucky to be serenaded by 3 manongs who sang with so much gusto. They even sang their own version of Justin Bieber's "Baby" and it won the heart of our 11 month old niece Natalie who was clapping throughout their performance. 
After that BIG lunch, we had to practically drag our feet back to the hotel room because we obviously packed some extra pounds! Just moments after inserting our keycard, we found ourselves knocked out in our plush and comfy bed. It was a long and peaceful afternoon siesta---something Patrick hasn't been able to enjoy in weeks. After the nap, I woke up and set up my laptop to catch up on my Downtown Abbey-ing. (I just recently started and I'm now obsessed with this series!!!). Celine sent me a text to inform us that they had something special planned for the evening and that it would be a surprise. She told us to meet us at the lobby at 7:30 but we were actually ready by 6:50! I have the lowest EQ and you all know I'm a sucker for surprises---but we waited a bit just so we wouldn't look too excited! 
The Taal Vista Staff (headed by Chef Edwin Santos) was determined to WOW us for the evening and they definitely succeeded! They surprised our group with a candlelit dinner at the ridge which was absolutely stunning. How I wish I owned a decent SLR to give you better photos, so just check out the pics below and multiply the wow-ness by 10 to achieve the full effect. This can definitely be arranged for any of their hotel guests. As long as you give them a heads up a few days before, the team can whip up a romantic dinner with a dramatic set up for you and your loved ones. I can imagine this would make for a perfect proposal set up, girls ipakita niyo na 'to sa mga boyfriends ninyo!!!! Bilis! Or if you would like to surprise your parents with a nice anniversary dinner---this would definitely make them teary eyed!
To maximize our time before checkout, we started early with a BIG breakfast. Buffet AGAIN?!?!!!! Heck yeah! Hahaha!:) We ate, ate, and ate some more. We ate so much at breakfast that we managed to skip lunch and just have a late merienda at around 2! After breakfast, Patrick and I took Audrey for a quick dip in the pool with Treena's kids Hailey and Hannah. Pat and I don't have kids of our own yet but we do love family/kid friendly hotels/resorts and try to make a note of these places for future reference, naks. Taal Vista, NOTED.
Before checkout we chilled a bit at the Lobby Lounge. They serve light snacks, cakes, cookies and even some authentic TWG tea (my fave!). And the interiors at the lobby lounge are just darling. I imagine hosting a little tea soiree or despedida de soltera here would be perfect. Our weekend stay was short but fun: we were able to sleep, eat, and most especially we got to spend time with our nieces (our favorite girls in the whole wide world!!!). 
I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the General Manager of Taal Vista Hotel, Mr. Walid Wafik. Also a big shout out to Treena Tecson, Celine Arenillo, and the rest of the team for making it a very relaxing weekender for our family. Thank you also for allowing me to share this experience to my readers too---that's right, one lucky reader+their special someone will be enjoying this Taal Vista VIP treatment too!

I am giving away a gift certificate for a 
ROMANTIC WEEKEND GETAWAY 
for you and your sweetheart!

1. Click the Like and Tweet buttons below.
2. Tell me why YOU and Your Sweetheart deserve a weekend getaway at Taal Vista Hotel. Just send your answer along with your name and address to pattylaurelfilart@gmail.com on or before September 16, 2013.
Winners will be notified directly via email on September 17.


 

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