Starbucks' Dark Mocha Frappuccino

I have this unexplained addiction to Starbuck's Dark Mocha Frappuccino.

Unexplained, because:
  • I was never a fan of frappuccinos.
  • I do not like dark chocolate.
  • I have a sweet tooth, and this drink is not sweet.
So what happened?

I blame it on Cheryl, Mia D. and Ding. Why?

First heard about it from Cheryl who told me how good the drink was, and that got me curious. Mia D reconfirmed Cheryl's observations. So I now have two friends with good reviews of the drink. What made me decide to go ahead and try it was my SMS exchanges with Ding. Told her I've heard good reviews about Starbucks' new drink but I'm afraid to try it because of the calories. She got back to me, and told me to "Try it Light, 60% less calories and 40% less fat." Or the other way around. No wonder she is head of Marketing!

The good thing about frappuccinos is that it takes me a long time to finish it. Gives me enough time to savor every sip of this rich dark chocolate drink. As I mentioned, it does not taste as sweet as the other frappuccino drinks. It has chocolate bits, or what I'd like to imagine as cookie crumbs, to chew on while drinking it.

People's Hottest Bachelors of 2008

When I checked, my eyes immediately found this photo in the Popular News section.

Guess who made it to People's Hottest Bachelors of 2008...

From People.Com:
He can sing in front of millions of people, but the 25-year-old American Idol winner admits that his stage bravado doesn't always carry over into his personal life. "Looking a pretty woman in the eye and convincing her I'm worth taking a chance on is different. It takes a specific brand of guts, and it's not the kind I have."

Kate + Lance

I had been so out of touch, that I was too surprised to read a news article in that the beautiful Kate Hudson is dating the 7-time Tour de France champ and Livestrong founder Lance Armstrong.

Talk about two of my favorite persons ending up together (well... dating). It's how I felt when I learned about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, and the power couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Kate & Lance in New York.
Photo from People.Com.

Feeling Imeldific

I have an obsession with shoes. I would choose them over bags, accessories and clothes.

When I was a child I did not understand how and why Imelda Marcos could have two thousand pairs of shoes. Now that I'm in my 30s, my views on Imelda's shoe collection are certainly different. I totally empathize why she ended up with so many pairs.

While my shoe collection does not even resemble that of the former first lady, I have the basics - dress shoes, casual shoes, trainers, etc. I certainly won't have no problem adding more pairs to my collection. The only problem is I don't think I can afford more, especially when I'm currently obsessing over Cole Haan - Nike Dress Air collection.

Last week, I watched an episode of Oprah which featured the Cole Haan - Nike Air technology. Oprah was raving about it, and that caught my attention.

What pushed me to research more is an entry from ShopCrazy with the headline, "Angelina Jolie's red carpet secret." A very pregnant Angelina Jolie wore these shoes to the Cannes Film Festival. Shopcrazy describes the shoes as:

These are no ordinary heels. They use Nike Air technology to cushion the ball and heel of the foot. Date from the Nike Sports Research lab showed rear wearing heels throws the entire weight of the wearer onto the balls of the feet, coming down with the same force as it would if she were running.

Further studies show that just like sports shoes, the appropriate cushioning could counterbalance the pressure. The Nike Air technology in the form of Air “bags” offers the perfect solution.

The Cole Haan Dress Air collection includes a selection of pumps, wedges, slingbacks, sandals, maryjanes, and thongs—all with at least three-inch heels, leather lining, padded leather-wrapped sock lining, and beautifully concealed Nike Air cushioning. The styles come in neutral and earth colors with the occasional shades of green and red, and textures such as patent, suede, animal print, metallic, denim, and linen.

Now that just sounds fantastic. It's an answer to every woman's wish of a dress shoe that is comfortable and stylish.

Going through the Dress Air collection, I fell in love with these styles:

Fiona Mid Air Pump

Carma OT Air Pump

Jena Air Mary Jane
Fiona High Air Pump

Don't they look fabulous? I know I want them. The only hindrance is I cannot afford a pair. I checked out a Cole Haan store last night, and as I suspected a pair costs more than Php 10,000. The one I showed my husband was for Php 18,000! Now there goes my chance of owning a pair.

Signs of the Times (?)

This was forwarded to me by my boss this morning...
and I found it hilarious,
but so TRUE.

What Kept Me Busy

From Business World Online
Vol. XXI, No. 222
Thursday, June 12, 2008 MANILA, PHILIPPINES
Arts & Leisure

Cooking isn’t for wimps

Ten executive chefs from Manila and Cebu battled on June 5 in a friendly competition over who could produce the best culinary creations using the finest ingredients from Canada for a charity dinner/auction held at the flight deck of Canadian navy ship HMCS Ottawa. The winning recipes they launched that day, along with two of each chef’s all-time favorites, will be sold in a cookbook for the benefit of Bantay Bata 163 in Manila and the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF) in Cebu.

KNIFE at the ready for the 2nd Canadian Culinary Cuisine Cook-Off

There was also a silent chef’s auction.

The 2nd Canadian Culinary Cuisine Cook-Off provided the entertaining sight of chefs of different nationalities, who had attained the highest level in the culinary world and were used to ordering staff about their respective hotel kitchens, blithely beating eggs, bloodying hands while carving the meat, and performing other mundane tasks, all the while cracking wisecracks over each other’s heads. Blame Canada

It has to be said that the good-natured chefs got along just fine before this competition and rarely crossed spatulas. After this stunt, the seeds of rivalry have been sown, and maybe next year we’ll see a return of the contenders, battling it out under the Canadian red and white.

The Manila team was composed of Frenchman Patrick Fournes of the Hotel Intercontinental Manila, Austrian Karl Heinz Krautler of Makati Shangri-La Manila, Swiss Christian Werdenberg of Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Canadian Bill McGrath of Taal Vista Hotel, and Australian Adam Mathis of The Peninsula Manila.

The Cebu team was composed of German Martin Przewodnik of Alegre Beach Resort, Italian Stefano Verillo of the Hilton Cebu Resort & Spa, Canadian Luke Gagnon of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Frenchman Emmanuel Guemon of Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa, and German Joerg Walter of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

"Canadian cuisine to me represents and signifies multiculturalism, a broad integration of flavor, ingredients, cooking styles, cooking techniques. Canadian cuisine to me is all things to all people... We love all [these recipes] because we all partook in the creation of the dish, we all have an influence — therefore we all hold a stake," Mr. Gagnon told BusinessWorld right before the cooking commenced.

The chefs had deliberated together and created their recipes before the cook-off, although ingredients were brought in from Canada as late as the morning of June 5. The list ranged from prime Alberta beef, prairie bison steak, Quebec foie gras, cold-smoked sockeye salmon, Pacific king crab, British Columbia oysters, Digby scallops, Nova Scotia lobster, Dungeness crab, wild blueberries, and pure maple syrup.

"Canada is 300-odd thousand miles long, so from the East coast to the West coast, there’s a variation of foods all the way across. We even have Lithuanian influences, Indian influences, so it’s a very diverse country... The food itself, the main course ingredients, you have got to imagine we have all the best, really, because we have the land, the water, the fields... I used to be able to pick wild blueberries, wild raspberries, just walking the bush," shared Mr. McGrath.

Fruits of their labor

Around 110 guests attended the charity dinner, with rows flanking 12 VIP tables seating dignitaries, prominent businessmen, as well as the senior officers of the navy ship. The creations were alternately served, and so neighbors could compare and contrast the appetizer, soup, main course, wild card dish, and dessert of each team.

But not even the judges — namely food columnist and chef Claude Tayag, ABS-CBN News Channel host David Celdran, Philippine Daily Inquirer chair Marixi Prieto, Cathay Pacific country manager Vivian Lo, and HMCS Ottawa executive chef P01 Steven Stacyszyn — could tell which came from which team.

THE CEBU team stands beside the HMCS Ottawa.

(Apart from the judges, the rest of the diners had a collective vote.)

"We five judges had no idea who did any of the 10 dishes even when the winner was announced. Each of the 10 chefs was designated to do one dish. Only SGV knew who did what. T’was a close tally though. But each chef won a citation for their dish. Overall tally, Manila won," Mr. Tayag noted in an SMS message to BusinessWorld.

The winning dishes were Cebu’s appetizer of Nova Scotia lobster with spicy mango salsa; Manila’s soup of Nova Scotia lobster bisque, lobster salad green pea shooter, lobster foie gras terrine, and mango ravioli, Cebu’s wild card of smoked B.C. sockeye salmon and crab meat; Manila’s main course of slow-roasted Alberta prime rib with pine cone potatoes, maple leaf root vegetables served with Yorkshire pudding and rich au jus; and Manila’s dessert of maple chocolate fondue, chocolate mud pie with maple Saskatoon berries, macaroon almonds, and aum?niere maple berries.

Creativity, appearance and taste were factors, of course, but it was a very close fight, with Mr. Tayag being much impressed with the "flavorful" Manila wild card of B.C. sockeye salmon ravioli in truffled forest mushroom nagé, scented with fumé de sal Chardonnay sauce — which didn’t actually win.

Mr. Stacyszyn, who donated two of his best cooks to the teams, observed the process from start to finish and noted how the chefs worked together. "My judging [includes]... how they got to that creation, because my cooks are going to get some experience today, and hopefully they’re going to bring that back to us, under the ship, and we’ll try some of it," he told BusinessWorld.

The auction of the chefs will be tallied this week, with the top 10 bidders able to select a private dinner for four to be prepared by their chosen executive chef at their respective hotel properties.

Last year, the first cook-off in Cebu garnered P240,000; it’s expected that the final count for this one will be much higher with minimum bids for the auction starting at P15,000 and the added fun value of pitting Cebu vs. Manila.

At the end of the day, the winning team won a trophy (which they’ll be surrendering to the winners of the cook-off challenge next year), and the chefs their citations and goodie bags, but the real winners were the dinner guests who had a gustatory experience anyone would envy.

Of course, one could shell out P1,000 for the cookbook, which will be sold in each hotel and participating bookstore, and try out the recipes for themselves. — JDP

Thank God for Weekends

I love weekends. If only it wouldn't end...

Especially when I've spent more than a month preoccupied with work. I have never been this busy at the office. I couldn't remember a time I was this stressed and agitated. My own wedding preparations were not this stressful and demanding. It's probably because I am working for a Miranda who expects her close to impossible ideas to be implemented. She thinks she is God. The big day is this Thursday, June 5th.

In the last two weeks, I had been going home late, or going home exhausted. I hate it that I can't be the wife I wanted for my husband.

Well, thank God for this weekend --

  • Jed worked for a couple of hours only and then he was free to spend the weekend with me.
  • I slept as much as I could. Have to store as much energy which I will use when I go back to work tomorrow.
  • We watched the World Pyrolympics last Saturday, together with my family, at the San Miguel by the Bay in Mall of Asia. The show was worth the traffic, crazy crowd, and expensive dinner. My jaw probably dropped a few times out of amazement.

  • I spent Sunday afternoon hanging out with Ding at the Power Plant mall. We found the perfect place to have lunch - nice, quiet and cozy - at the UCC Cafe. After lunch, we watched Sex & the City the Movie. We both loved the movie. It's best watching it with a girlfriend who remembers the clothes Carrie wore on Season 1.

  • I caught up with household chores I put off doing last week, out of exhaustion. My dear husband helped me with the chores and I had time to write this important entry.
  • Jed dragged my butt to ULTRA and we jogged for an hour. That felt great! I've been feeling sluggish as I had no time for the gym because of too much work.
  • There was the American Idol Season 7 marathon on QTV11. When I can, I watch Mr. Cook's earlier performances and saw his transformation to the star that he is now.

So am I ready to face the challenges at work?

I don't think I will ever be ready. I'm praying for my best behaviour. May God be with me as June 5 comes close.

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