Monday, May 20, 2013

Renaissance Woman

My oh my! If there's a Queen of Talk, I'd definitely be the Queen of Procrastination :(  I've been holding off my blogging activities for so long that I already forgot my password!

Yeah, yeah.  It's all my fault, blah, blah.

Now that I'm back in the blogging scene, I could only hope for more will-power (to do the conceptualization of every blog), creativity (where does one buy this!?!) as well as the right mood (to make it more like 'me').

Goodbye procrastination, hello new-found passion for action..!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tea-ology 101 (A Repost)

Tea has grown into a vastly popular drink; have we not witnessed today's Bubble Tea pop-culture phenomenon? Aside from the fact that it's been around since time immemorial (dating back to the ancient days of the Chinese), tea has become quite the fashionable attraction these days-- a testament to the recent boom of the 'choose-health' trend. 
Tea: the wise choice indeed; for it not only aids against cancer and supports the immune system, it helps create better smelling breath, and initiates weight loss too.
TEA TRIVIA: Tea was discovered by the ancient Chinese ruler Shen Nung, when a fateful leaf fell into his boiling water.
So what exactly is tea, might you ask?
Tea is the 2nd most consumed drink in the world, ranking next to water. All teas originate from the same plant: the Camellia Sinensis; a subtropical evergreen plant native to Asia, but is now grown around the world. 
Tea is made of three basic components:
  1. Essential Oils: Provides the tea's delicious aroma and flavors. 
  2. Polyphenols: Brings about the "briskness" or astringency in the mouth; the components that carry most of the health benefits of tea.
  3. Caffeine: Found naturally in coffee, chocolate, or tea; caffeine provides the natural energy boost that comes from tea.
And what isn't? -- Tisanes.
Herbal teas, which experts term Tisanes (a French word for "herbal infusion") are usually dried flowers, fruits, or herbs steeped in boiling water (no actual tea leaves are included).
TEA FACT: In Europe, including some other countries, the use of the word "tea" must strictly refer to the Camellia Sinensis kind. 
Some Like it Loose: Tea Bags vs Loose Leaves
Tea bags are a relatively new invention. The quick and easy clean-up of the leaves makes it enticingly convenient, BUT it sacrifices the tea's most valuable quality: flavor. The innovation of tea bags had created a new problem: the improper expansion of leaves. In order for a tea leaf to fully release its flavor, it needs a great deal of room to expand; so an obvious solution was to use smaller leaves. Merchants started purchasing cheaper grades of tea known as "fannings" or "dust"-- the lowest achieved rankings of tea. Sure, this 'tea' may add some color to your cup, but not nearly as much flavor! 
Though thanks to modern technology, companies have come up with larger high-quality bags, allowing the leaves to expand; wherein more water is allowed to flow through, bringing more flavor into the cup.
Making the Perfect Cup: How to prepare tea the proper way!
Factors to Consider:
  1. Water: If it tastes funny, so will your tea! Tea is 99% water; it's the basic foundation of your tea liquor. Tea companies recommend that you use either spring or mineral water. 
  2. Tea Weight: More tea means a stronger brew. The general rule is to use one teaspoon of leaves to 6-8 ounces of water; but there is no exact formula. Adjust the tea weight according to your personal preference!
  3. Temperature: Use boiling water (212F) when preparing Black, dark Oolong, and Herbal Tea. These teas are tough. They can take the burn; and may even require it in order for its leaves to break down, releasing its flavor and antioxidants. Use cooler water when steeping more delicate teas, such as Green, Green Oolong, and White teas. Water that's too hot will cause a delicate tea to taste overly bitter or astringent. 
  4. Time: For most Black teas-- 3-5 mins.; dark Oolong and White teas-- 3-5 mins. (though these teas are much more forgiving types, and will remain drinkable even if steeped a bit longer); light Oolong and Green teas-- 2-3 mins. if you're looking for a strong cup (a little time-TLC must be employed when steeping these delicate types).
Tools of the Tea Trade 
To steep loose full-leaf tea, you will need the following:
  1. Kettle to heat water
  2. Teaspoon for measuring
  3. Teapot with a strainer or tea infuser (Make tea time fun! Check out the following quirky infusers!)
  4. Tea cup
  5. Small dish to save spent leaves
  6. Watch or a timer
  7. Water and loose full-leaf tea.
To steep tea bags, all you need are:
  1. Kettle to heat water
  2. Tea cup
  3. Small dish to save steeped bag
  4. Watch or a timer
  5. Water and a teabag 
  1. Heat water to optimal temperature using a kettle.
  2. Pour a bit of hot water into your teapot; swirl and discard water.
  3. Scoop desired amount of tea and place it in your teapot.
  4. Pour your heated water into the teapot.
  5. Start your timer. Once you've reached your desired steeping time, remove the strainer/infuser that contains the leaves.
  6. Place the spent leaves on a small dish (to save them for succeeding steeps).
  7. Pour the freshly brewed liquor into your tea cup; enjoy!
More interesting TEA TIME TIPS:
  • Add milk, honey, or sugar to your cup, not to the teapot.
  • Premium quality tea leaves may be steeped multiple times; you may put the spent leaves back in the teapot and restart the process.
  • When water boils, oxygen is released. The Chinese call boiled water, "dead water"; you can't get the best cup of tea from water that has been repeatedly reboiled.
 For copyright purposes, here's the link:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

So many places to go, so little time

My Bucket List of Places to Visit in 2012:

Paging Malacanang:  The working class needs more long weekends!
As for you airline companies, we need more seat sale too!!!

Mt. Pulag (veni, vidi, vici)
Ilocos (Norte and Sur)
Legaspi (April 18-22)
Boracay (ideally with a friend who hasn’t been there)  
Baguio (Feb 26-Panagbenga)
Quezon (May 16-Pahiyas)
Ilo-ilo (Mar 3-5)
Guimaras, and finally
US (for the realization of my American Dream...)

Dream Guy

Inspired by one dream, one guy, one fantasy
(BFF Marvin will be fuming mad in case he chances upon this)

Try as I might, I can’t get that dream out of my sight.
It was so real, or was it just surreal?
You and me, will it ever be?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Conquering Asia

I just got back from a tiresome trip around Singapore and Malaysia.  Last May, I also had the privilege of touring Thailand.  After the recent trip, I realized there are plenty of global destinations (within Southeast Asia) accessible to me which is why I decided I wanted to try the tri-city tour covering Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia and Hongkong's Disneyland (to bring out the kid in me).  The HK trip is reserved for my niece and hopefully, my nephew.  I can forego said place but if both kids will go, so will I ;) As regards the tri-city adventure, thankfully I have a dear friend who also wanted go do it, which makes planning and budget all the more feasible.

Watch out for my blogs to-be, I need to have the luxury of time to be able to do that.  For the meantime, it's my turn at *Scrabble ;)

*My latest pastime...Incidentally, this latest fling of mine merits another post...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 26, 2011=Family+Earth Day!

Complete attendance!  All of the family members are accounted for this hot Saturday evening of March.  This is a rare treat considering two of my siblings-in-law work abroad, we never seem to be complete in family gatherings, which is why my heart is filled with glee!!!

Equally important today is the Earth Hour, at 8:30 in the evening everybody is enjoined to turn off their currents to help save Mother Earth...We actually did our share in preserving our planet.  For a full hour, we turned off all the lights, unplugged all electrical appliances and chatted away in the company of gigantic mosquitoes. What a way to spend quality time together, indeed-the best things in life are free!

The Human Heart

"The human heart knows things the eyes don’t see, and the feels things the mind cannot understand"
This was sent to me as a text message last, last Valentine’s Day by my cousin.  It made its way into this blog as I was able to keep the message in my inbox for over a year.  I dare say I have inspired a number of friends with this message, me included! For some reason the heart is such a wonderful part of us, more often neglected which is why it manifests itself in the form of heartburn, stress and fatigue.

One of the reasons why I love Paolo Coelho is because he depicted a human (Santiago) conversing with his own heart and overcoming personal adversity in the process.  Until ‘The Alchemist’, I never thought it can be done.  I have always treated my heart as just a body part, not an essential part of my very existence.  Now more than ever, I listen and talk to my dear heart!

Happy Heart’s Day to all!!!