Life Lately : Summer Story Vol. 5

 

life lately
PS: This is a long, photo-heavy blog post. Make sure your connection is stable. 

Last year, I had this brief moment thinking that I wanted a period in my life that would be spent away from people for, let’s say, one year. I guess this is what my obsession with Taylor Swift does. I wanted a break just like what she basically had in reputation where she was gone for a year. I wanted that. The peace. The quiet. The silence of nobody physically seeing you for a period of time. Ideally, I thought of doing it after I graduate college. But little did I know, I’d be having it sooner than I thought.  From now on, I’ll be careful with what I wish for. Sometimes, life really gives you what you want in a very bizarre way. 

Although things did not go as planned, there’s still a silver lining in this situation (yes, I’m acknowledging my privilege as I say this). After all, if plan A did not work, there are 25 more letters left in the alphabet. I’ve spent my seemingly-eternal summer trying new things, and doing what I love to keep me sane and to, somehow, earn a living. Continue reading to see how I spent the past few months at home. 


The Lasts of the Past

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This was our last “normal Sunday” outside. I remember wanting to go to the mall pero ayaw nina daddy dahil nagsisimula na yung pagtaas ng mga COVID-19 cases this time so kumain na lang kami sa labas. Instead of the mall, we just went to Duty Free. This was March 8. Ayan Popons, dapat kasi ready ka pag nagse-selfie tayo, ‘di man natin namalayan na last normal na pala ‘to!
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You know that I have a penchant for printed photos so I was also able to print all the pictures from 2019 to the pre-pandemic days. I just miss how everything used to be.
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This was my last day in school, hence also the last time I wore my uniform. I went to visit my friend Iya right before their event got cancelled. While my friends and I were eating lunch, nagtataka kami kung bakit sobrang tindi ng traffic at ang dami ng mga estudyante sa daan, ‘yun pala suspended na lahat ng klase. Little did I know that that was really the last time.

Lockdown Diaries

  • Social distancing, hand washing, face masks? Not new to me. – Long before the pandemic, I’ve practiced all these three whenever and wherever. I never run out of alcohol, wipes, and tissue in my bag and in my room. I feel uncomfortable when I’m surrounded by so many strangers (in public transpo, for example), most specially when I come in close contact with them (pag nag-aabot ng bayad). Bawat abot ng bayad, alcohol agad. I swear.  Kahit nakikita pa nila ako, I don’t care. Kahit mabigyan pa ng alcohol marks ang bag ko, basta malinis ko lang ang mga kamay ko I’ll do it. Hawak ng menu? Hugas agad. Humawak sa door knobs? Spray. Karating sa classroom, spray agad ng alcohol sa chair at desk. Ask my friends, they can attest to this. I swear, I always prioritize hygiene more than anything else. And now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, palagi akong nag-lilinis at nag-huhugas ng kamay in fear of contracting the coronavirus. I know this is not OCD and I hope it doesn’t lead to that, it’s just that I value cleanliness now more than ever. 
  • Trying to grow out both my facial hair and my hair—and actually regretting it. – Since the start of the quarantine, I remember thinking that this might be the perfect time to grow my hair. Then I also thought of growing out my beard and as per usual, it was the most hassle thing ever. I eventually found myself buying two electric razors from Lazada so my family and I can get a haircut at home. 
  • My obsession with sunscreen and anti-aging products. – I told myself na kung anong itsura ko nung huli akong nakita ng mga kaibigan ko, dapat ganun pa rin itsura ko pag nagkita kami ulit. Ayokong tumanda so I hoarded skin care products that will hopefully make me unlock the fountain of youth. Pero with the things happening and the kind of government we have in the country, feel ko walang kwenta yung efforts ko kasi tatanda ang itsura mo ng 58 years dahil sa kahayupan nila. 
  • Cleaning the entire house. – As of press time, I’ve just finished a room renovation spearheaded by….you guessed it….me. I’ve decluttered and organized almost one fourth of the entire house. Yup, just one fourth. Probably less than that. There’s just so much stuff to be taken and sorted out. And I know that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure so we’re giving stuff away to whoever might need them. Espirito ni Marie Kondo, ‘wag mo akong lisanin. 
  • Embracing the feeling of uncertainty and actually witnessing a deadly pandemic right before your eyes. – Seeing people die, people getting sick and hospitals getting overwhelmed, seeing businesses go bankrupt and shut down to the point of leaving millions unemployed in the midst of a pandemic is beyond me. I can’t believe that I’ll be witnessing a pandemic in my lifetime. And I can’t fathom how the government let this happen when it could have been prevented right before the year started. And they make everything worse. KASALANAN TALAGA NG GOBYERNO ANG LAHAT NG ITO. You know what makes it deadlier? The fact that the government does not give a shit about it. Kahit anong letra pa ang ilagay niyo sa quarantine, ECQ, MECQ, MGCQ, GCQ (whatever letter you want to add), kung walang mass testing at maayos na contact tracing, wala ring mangyayari. Iba pa rin ang inuuna ng gobyerno so we practically wasted almost 5 months of our lives. We still couldn’t manage to flatten the freaking curve. 
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I just miss the times when we used to celebrate after successfully accomplishing school work.
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I also miss being fetched at Starbucks during afternoons. Tapos aawayin ako ni Popons dahil wala akong binili para sa kanya. Namiss ko na rin yung acid reflux  na nae-experience ko on the way home dahil sa cold brew or caramel macchiato.
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One of our last meals out. I miss this. Hay. Nakakamiss yung kakain tayo sa labas kapag walang dumating na prof. I miss the takoyaki, the lemonade, the turon, the chicken wings, and everything AUF sidegate.
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I also miss going to school as early as 6 am to read for my Psych Assessment class. Tapos super lamig sa quad pag umaga.  Tapos deretso na sa wellness pag 7:30 na pero pagdating doon wala palang susi. I miss school so bad!
  • Missing my friends terribly. – And feeling so sad because we had no idea that everything we did last March 10 was already our last meal, last day, and last few moments together and not knowing when will we ever see each other again. 
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The last time I went out was on the 13th of March. We hoarded for ingredients, not groceries. Sobrang nagkakagulo ang mundo nung time na ‘to. Panic buying lahat. I remember hoarding herbs and pasta during this time. I knew that it would take time before I can actually go out again.
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This is me when I went out for the first time in three months. I really dressed up. Feel ko ako si Yoon Se-ri noong nakabalik siya ng South Korea! Hahaha.
  • Missing the outside world. – I was locked up at home for 3 months but I kept myself busy doing the things I love. I spent the quarantine improving my skills and learning new things. As of press time, I only went out for a grand total of 10 times. That’s 10 days out of 152 days spent in quarantine. And I’ve also realized na kaya ko naman palang mabuhay nang maayos without going to the mall, dining out, shopping every week and all the things I used to do before. Nakatipid pa kami!
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The first thing I learned to play in the piano was “The Song for my Brother” from Crash Landing on You. I was watching the series that time and that piece gave me a major LSS.
  • Learning how to play the piano – Because of Crash Landing on You and my Art class, I was forced to learn how to play the piano. As of now, I don’t know how to play anymore. I haven’t played in months and I no longer have the time. 

Online Classes

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I successfully finished my second year in college even if the final term was spent online. I requested for my numerical grades and guess what? I’m a University scholar for 3rd year 1st sem!
  • Finishing the school year online. – I hated the very demanding projects from my Gen Ed subjects. I still could not fathom their obsession with video requirements. In the middle of a pandemic, pilit na pilit pa rin sa videos. Jusko! Nagugunaw na yung mundo pinapasayaw pa kami! Hay bakit hindi na lang kasi written para hindi tayo pare-parehong nahihirapan?! On a lighter note, my majors and my Psych professors are the most considerate ones. If there’s one thing I enjoyed doing, it would be the Psych Report. It feels as if I was writing a blog post or a biography but from a psychological and theoretical perspective. Siguro yung report na ‘yun lang yung pinaka-sensible at reasonable na online requirement namin. Okay lang na puro written, ‘wag lang audio-visual okay??
  • Finding the motivation for 3rd Year. – I’ve already enrolled so there’s no turning back. I started my 3rd year in Psychology today but I am still not sure if I’m ready for it. My brain is still not academically prepared as of this moment. Ikaw ba namang ilang buwang nagti-tinapay at nami-mintura, hindi ka maga-adjust?! Honestly speaking, I just enrolled because I don’t want to be left behind. Hello, I already wasted 2 years of my life because of K12, I can’t afford to be delayed again! Pero seryoso, may matututunan ba tayo sa online classes? Meron, pero siguro wala masyadong retention? We’ll see how it goes.
  • The dilemma of Academic Freeze vs. Pushing for Online and/or Blended Learning.  – The ambiguity of it all. It’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-dont thing. I know how hard it is to attend classes online, even if I have all the means, what more yung mga mahihirap at walang wala? Paano yung mga batang umaakyat pa ng bundok makakuha lang ng signal? Paano yung mga walang gadgets? TV and Radio won’t suffice, DepEd. Stop trying to make it happen. But on the other hand, if there’s an academic freeze, paano ang mga teachers at ang mga pamilya nila? Paano sila kakain at mabubuhay? Ang hirap lang talaga. Tapos nito, yung competence pa namin ang questionable dahil “natuto lang kami online” at “walang practical application” ang knowledge namin. Guys, it’s just the education sector we are talking about here. Ito pa lang nakakasakit na ng ulo. Paano na? Ano na, PH Government? 

Gastronomic Adventures

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The Quarantine gave me so much time to accomplish all the things I wanted to cook. This was my first list. I have 5 more, I think.
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As of press time, I’ve accomplished half of this list and I’ve made a 6th list.
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Italian spread.
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Western.
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Father’s Day Spread
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Baked bread because bored.
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I love working under pressure, to the point that I’d be up to cook a lot of things in just four hours. I love the adrenaline.
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April and May were spent in the kitchen because I was busy accepting cake orders. These are the classic chocolate cakes I once sold.
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My forever favorite, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.
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I also tried making garlic bread from scratch. It’s a Martha Bakes recipe. And if it’s from Martha Stewart, it must be good. And it is.
  • Cooking and Baking – In case you’ve read all my summer stories in the past 4 years, the only reoccurring theme would be me going on kitchen adventures. I’ve also realized my culinary philosophy recently and that is “People eat with their eyes first, then with their nose, and with their mouths last.” that’s why I really assure that what I prepare is not only tasty, but appealing to all senses. 
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If you didn’t learn how to bake bread this quarantine, were you really in quarantine?
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Homemade pasta!

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Faceless emoji.
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I bought a pasta roller just so I could accomplish this! It feels so fulfilling to actually make and cook homemade pasta using homegrown ingredients. I feel like a true chef. Haha!
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Shrimp Scampi using homemade fettucine.
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This was my first attempt in pasta making. I had no roller then so I cut these by hand, and tadaaa, a Tagliatelle recipe.
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Attempted to make homemade puff pastry too!
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I swear I’ll never do this again. Nakakaloka. Ang sakit ng katawan ko after ko ‘tong gawin.
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Look at them layers! I rolled this dough stone cold. Imagine how sore my arms were! Ilang days atang namamaga yung batok at braso ko noon, feel ko may naipit akong muscle or nerve. Puff pastry never again. I’m just gonna buy!
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It was worth the pain naman, look at these goodies.
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I also made homemade ice cream! Actually, wala na kaming binibili sa grocery masyado kasi ginagawa ko na lahat sa bahay. Mapa bread, pasta, ice cream, pizza crust, cakes, and all that!
  • Homemade Everything Series – During the early days of the lockdown I thought, “If I want something and I can’t go out to buy it, why can’t I just make it?” And that’s the beginning of my Homemade Everything and Andrei Recreates series. I wanted fettuccine but I can’t go out. I wanted lasagna. I wanted pizza. I wanted ice cream. But I can’t go out!!! Thank heavens our kitchen is complete and fully equipped so it was a breeze doing all of these goodies. My next goal is to make cheese from whole milk, and to make tomato sauce using fresh and homegrown tomatoes. I want to make a farm-to-table meal! Martha Stewart and Jamie Oliver who? 
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My forever staple McChicken! Laging ito yung inoorder ko sa Mcdo when I was still in school. (Wow parang nagdrop out ako no?!) I recreated it using homemade brioche buns and the Cook-it-Yourself Chicken Fillet of Mcdonald’s!
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My own version of Conti’s Mango Bravo. This was my most liked post in What’s Your Ulam Pare? with almost 5k likes. Kinabahan nga ako kasi merong nagcomment na Conti yung apelyido. Siguro affiliated siya sa Conti’s. Don’t worry po, ‘di ko ‘to balak pagkakitaan. Haha!
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Mango Tart
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Black Forest Cake
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Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies. My all time favorite!
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Proof Bakery’s Chocolate Espresso Cake.
  • Andrei Recreates –  And since I have all the time in the world, I decided to recreate the food I’ve been wanting to eat. The ones posted here are actually just some of the famous desserts and food I tried to recreate. I’ve done a lot more but I did not document them because they were either too-good-i-wont-share or pic-is-too-ugly-i-wont-share. If we’re friends on Facebook just check them out!
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Sigurado ka bang na-quarantine ka kung hindi ka gumawa ng Dalgona coffee?
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Coffee cake for Tatang’s 70th.
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Coffee Crumble Ice cream from scratch!
  • Coffee Series – There’s this feeling of accomplishment or fulfillment when you brew your own cup of coffee in the morning. It’s also just this time that I realized na we have so much coffee at home. So what better way to use them than to make your own cup, and use them for a variety of recipes! It even got to a point where I want to invest in an espresso machine because I wanted to try latte art. Oh my love for arts and coffee. I take Kremil S after every cup though. 😛 

ArtVentures

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Bloom. (Paras, 2020)
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Initial draft of my denim jacket painting. As usual, ‘di rin naman ‘to nasundan talaga. 

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Nakukulangan pa ako this time so I added blue callalilies in the middle.
  • Denim Painting – I watched Netflix’s Next in Fashion during the early days of quarantine and I was inspired to upcycle some clothes I already have. And since I am also inspired by no-less-than Love Marie Ongpauco-Escudero, why not fuse my love for fashion with my love for arts? I got this denim jacket from a package we got months ago. It was an old one that I decided to give a new life by painting flowers on it. 
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Love Marie, pray for us. My new patron saint. Char.
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I painted Heart and the next morning, I woke up to her seeing my IG Story! I was so happy I got noticed by the queen!
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Bright from 2gether the Series
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Win from 2gether the Series
  • Coffee Paintings – This part should’ve been in the coffee series part earlier but I know that artworks are not edible so I placed them here instead. I’ve painted some of the people who made my quarantine life better. 
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I painted this in Autumn of 2014. Charot, walang Autumn dito. Basta ang natatandaan ko Grade 9 Sembreak ko ata ‘yun, Undas of 2014. Basta matagal na ‘to. Hahaha!
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FUN FACT: This painting was also used in one of the advertisements of AUF way back 2017. This was one of my Mom’s last projects before she resigned. They needed a painting so she brought my then work-in-progress painting.
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I almost ran out of paint trying to cover up the previous paintings. Quarantine lang pala ang gigising sa painting talent kong natutulog. Haha!
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#21DREI Initial draft.

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I’d call this painting my lucky number painting, inspired by the number 8. I drew 8 daisies, and shaped the vase like the number 8.
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Cue Katy Perry: “Cover me in daisies. Daisies. Daisiiiiieeeeeees.
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Daisies. Impressionism. (Paras, 2020)
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2020 (Paras, 2020). I decided to name it 2020 because I’ve long envisioned this year to be a bright, golden year but then again, the pandemic started to permeate all parts of our lives.
  • Back to work. – And since I’m doing my best to keep myself entertained this quarantine, I decided to finish my works in progress and start some new ones. The big canvas I used to paint 21DREI was six years old, the other ones were just reused because I don’t want to spend my money anymore. #magtipid. As of press time, I’m working on my biggest painting ever but I am not sure when will I be able to finish it because I’m having my online classes! 

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  • Restoring and Varnishing my old paintings. – I got myself a bottle of clear coat so I decided to protect all my old paintings. This way, they’d be easier to clean and all potential dirt won’t damage the artworks. Next goal would be getting all of them framed!
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This is how the bag looked before. It’s a Dune London tote bag we bought years ago. But since the leather is starting to chip off and the bag was already dying, I decided to resurrect it. Haha.

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  • Painting mom’s bag – And since I no longer want to invest in a canvas and my Love Marie complex is at an all time high, what better way to live through her life is to paint bags! I may not be painting an Hermès bag but at least ‘di ba? I can widen my range of artistic skills by painting bags. The original bag had cracks and chipped leather because it wasn’t well taken cared of, so I upcycled it by painting over it, just like how Heart did with her stained lizard-skin Birkin. 

Gardening

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All of these f–king died (except for the Aloe which I can’t eat) because of the Basils on the right. May dala silang COVID, nahawa yung mga katabi nila. Kidding aside, mukhang may fungal infection yung mga basil when they arrived. Ugh, dapat pala naka-quarantine rin. Char.
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I also tried to propagate my herbs using water. The Basil and Mint have developed roots but still died. Ugh.
  • My dreams of having a herb garden – Fresh herbs are very rare in groceries (they’re only available in high-end supermarkets) and are also a little bit pricey so I wanted to have my own plants. It gives me a sense of power when I use fresh herbs when I cook, what more when you harvest your own in your garden? Farm to table realness! Unfortunately, my plants died because of a fungal infection (or mildew, I think?) including the rosemary I bought last February. Ugh. Sucks. 

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  • Trying to plant from seed. –  Last May, I thought of planting herbs from seed because I really want to cook a farm to table meal. I’ve tried planting countless times, from Parsley to Cherry Tomatoes to Basil but then again…you guessed it…they did not germinate at all. I think it’s because of the soil, my watering technique, or the seeds were expired. But I never lost the motivation to keep plants so I sowed some seeds on my birthday and now I’m in the process of growing a basil plant! Finally, after many many failed attempts and dead plants, I’m able to grow a plant from seed! I’m also waiting for my Dill and Chives seeds to germinate soon. I can’t wait for them to grow so I can use them in the kitchen. 

Turning 21

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You all know that I turned 21 in the way I did not initially plan. Maybe this is what God wanted for me, and whatever He wants, I’d gladly accept. Prior to the 8th of July, I went out for a pre-birthday treat with my parents then I cooked for my birthday dinner celebration at home. As part of my 21st, I was also given the creative freedom to redesign and renovate my room in lieu of my forthcoming online classes. Months ago, I only wanted one out of the three things I mentioned earlier. I remember telling myself, “when I turn 21, I have to choose only one gift—retail therapy, good food and company, or a room makeover.” And boy, I didn’t know I’d be getting all three, and guess what made my 21st even better? Taylor Swift also dropped her surprise album, folklore. Ahhh, I’m living! Best birthday and birth month ever. #21DREI

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My choices for my 21st Birthday Cake.
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As usual, none of these actually went into fruition. Ewan ko ba, plano plano pa ako pero hindi rin naman ito yung mga sinusundan ko. 
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Since none of my initial flavor profiles were chosen, I started from scratch yet again and came up with this. I chose red velvet para swerte! Hahaha. I know red is a lucky color! And because I don’t want my cake to be too sweet, I just designed my cake with whipped cream. I have this weird obsession with cakes topped with whipped cream. They just taste better and lighter.
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I admit, it wasn’t as pretty as I thought it would be. It does not look like how I imagined it. Maybe because I expected it to have strawberries but there were none available that time. The cake tasted good nonetheless!
  • Designing and baking my cake. – Being the very hands-on artist that I am, of course I’d be the one planning, designing, and baking my own cake. Actually, itong birthday ko para siyang group work na isang tao lang lahat ng gumawa. Ganung levels ko itong sineryoso. Joke, katulong ko mga pinsan at pamilya ko! Hahahaha.
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I even made a menu for my birthday dinner! I’m THAT extra.
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Charcuterie board is love! Fun fact: I love blue cheese kahit lasa daw siyang sira. I love cheese in all forms, shapes, and sizes.

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My other fancy birthday cake. A caviar pie with smoked salmon rosettes. 
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Mom’s prawn thermidor has become a staple in our meals. We never run out of seafood and we just cook these when we feel like it. Looove!
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Belly pot roast. Slow cooked and hickory style!
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Smoked salmon in lemon, garlic, and butter, with asparagus on the side. Heaven. Imagine the taste of tinapa and salmon in one dish? Perfect combo. I love tinapa and salmon equally. Hihi.
  • Cooking my birthday dinner feast. – I planned this birthday menu a month before my birthday. I really really made sure that I’ll eat salmon on my dinner celebration. Just imagine how tired I was when I cooked and prepared almost all of these dishes! 
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What would I do without Pinterest?
  • Renovating my room – Here’s the mood board I chose for my room makeover! I can’t and won’t post the before and after photos of my room here because I value privacy (even if I’m an open book). I believe that my personal space is not for public consumption. Just imagine how it looks! The makeover is not actually done yet because I’m still waiting for my new room decor and my other room essentials. I’m also waiting for my paintings to be framed! 

 

And that ends this post! If you reached this part, thank you. Please please please stay at home as much as you can. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Take your vitamins. Practice social and physical distancing. Keep safe always. Til the next post! 

 

Love,

H1

 

2 thoughts on “Life Lately : Summer Story Vol. 5

  1. Wow. Just wow. I love everything you do. Your talent. Your passion. Creativity. Especially yung foods yum! Haha. Youre like the most perfect guy that i have ever seen and knew. Thank you for sharing. Nakakainspire talaga! Miss you so much drei hehe. -saenassi

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