Blog Life

Ibyang + Instagram = Ibyangram

While my instagram photos are shared on my twitter page and sometimes on my tumblr and fb page, I would like to have a monthly dump of ibyangrams on AWCL too. It is thru instagram that I share everyday moments and random finds. I use instagram as my real time mini-blog. Every end of the month, I’ll be choosing a couple of photos from my instagram and share it here because I have something more to say about a certain ibyangram.

While my instagram photos are shared on my twitter page and sometimes on my tumblr and fb page, I would like to have a monthly dump of ibyangrams on AWCL too. It is thru instagram that I share everyday moments and random finds. I use instagram as my real time mini-blog. Every end of the month, I’ll be choosing a couple of photos from my instagram and share it here because I have something more to say about a certain ibyangram.

Winter officially started in June. The weather has become colder by the day. Although we have a lot of “sunshin-y” days, it can never be too warm as the sun has moved away from this part of the continent. The days are shorter, the nights longer and darker. This season calls us to hibernate, slow down, hug our loved ones closer and find comfort in the things that make us happy. 

While I would love to just sleep Winter away, life has never been busier. My June has been a mixture of staying at home, doing some photography, helping the Husband with his projects and spending time with loved ones. I miss blogging…writing and doing photography for the blog. I wish I could easily find time to sit down and blog as regularly as before but it’s just not possible at the moment. The Husband and I are working on a new site we bought ( which will hopefully be up and running soon. I’ll keep you posted! In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy my compilation of June’s Ibyangram.

The first day of Winter was cold and gray. Perfect for having a cup of tea.

Amused at the huge-ness of this Upo (long melon/bottle gourd). Oh the possibility of so many dishes I can make from this! Grateful to my friend, Rache, for sharing the harvests from your neighbor’s garden.

The first Monday of June was a public holiday so we had lunch at home. Baked meatballs, stir-fried Long Melon some Banchan dishes: cabbage and radish kimchi.

I’m so cold that I just had to wear my ski socks on a Saturday morning.

I bribed the Husband with sweet watermelon & tea so he can watch The Legal Wife’s finale with me haha. The Legal Wife is a Filipino tv series which I watched for a few weeks. 

My photograph entitled “Walking Under A Thousand Torii Gates” is now housed in a 42cm x 52cm frame. This photo was captured while the Husband was walking under the torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Japan. 

I seem to eat more ice cream in Winter. For tonight, Salted Caramel ice cream with wafer biscuits that tastes like Otap

A simple pleasure from America. My first Kate Spade bag.

The green stuff I bought all for $5.25! Some afternoons, I dropped by the Asian supermarket and find veggies which are on sale.

Winter Solstice. Shortest day of the year in Australia. It was a beautiful day so I hung outside our balcony and sunbathe for the a few minutes.

Sunrise hues of pink, orange and blue. The view from a moving train. 

My morning fuel. Whole grain flakes and various seeds & nuts topped with Avocado.

Pandesal, Ensaymada & Spanish Bread. Filipino breads for brekkie.

A pair of Winter slippers for a Socceroos fan. My twitter timeline were mostly about the World Cup especially in the morning. I’m not a soccer fan but I enjoyed reading news and hoorays of soccer fans around the world. 

From my parents with love. Finding comfort from chocolate-coated dried mangoes in this cold and windy day.

Nuffnang celebrated its 6th birthday two weeks ago and they celebrated by giving out prize packs to their followers on twitter. The mechanics were simple. Twitter followers only need to reply answers to their hourly question from 9:am-5:00pm. 12 winners were picked and I was very happy when I got an email saying that I one of the chosen ones.

Nuffnang‘s gift arrived last Friday which included a DVD of “The Artist”, a $20 Baskin Robbins gift certificate and a $20 iTunes card.

Thank you Nuffnang! It’s a pleasure to be a part of your family. Belated Happy Birthday!

The long wait is over. We finally found the right Nespresso machine for us.

The Husband learned about the wonders of Nespresso when he worked in Dubai. That was in 2007. When he arrived here in Sydney, one of his gifts to me were two sets Nespresso cups, spoons and a sugar holder. He told me that one day, we will have our own machine.

It was a mixture of prolonging my love affair with a French press and finding the right machine for us. 

Everytime we’re at a department store, we always find ourselves passing by the coffee machines, thinking and dreaming of having one. Every visit, we’d have a favourite but we were never certain which one to bring home. 

One major reason why I’ve been hesitant to buy a Nespresso machine is because I love that I have different coffee brands at home. I’ve always loved making coffee manually, via a grinder and French press and with these two around, I can freely buy coffee beans anytime I want. I thought that having a Nespresso machine will curtail that. So everytime the Husband told me, “Come on, let’s buy this machine.” I would always say, “Not now, later.” 
In August, we learned that Nespresso came out with a new machine. It was called Nespresso U. We liked its simple yet sophisticated design. It was love at first sight, I guess, because I kept thinking of it for days and imagining how it would look in our kitchen.
The Nespresso Experience

We read and asked the staff at Nespresso Boutique about the machine and here are some of its features:

  • pre-programmed cup sizes. The three buttons on top of the machine refers to three cup sizes: Ristretto (25ml), Espresso (40ml), and Lungo (110ml).
  • soft touch interface
  • automatic piercing and brewing
  • automatic capsule injection
  • modularity – adjustable water tank according to space availablility
  • magnetic dip tray
  • automatic power off mode
  • no drip technology (stopping drips and automatically ejecting each capsule in the used capsule container)  which makes it one of the cleanest machines in the market.

On our last visit at Nespresso Boutique, the staff informed us that they were having a promo for some of their machines in store, that if we buy a machine we’d get a AUD$50 cashback. The promo was until September 9. So I had to think about it fast. Four days before the promo ended, we bought our first Nespress machine, U.

Nespresso U is reasonably priced at AUD$299.00 and it comes with an Aericcino 3 Frother and 16 coffee capsules. Because of the AUD$50 cashback promo, it means the total cost of the machine and frother for us would only be AUD$249.00. Great timing and value!

The Nespresso Experience
Nespresso Capsules. Better known as the Grand Crus, it comes in 16 different coffees. That means sixteen flavours, aromas and different levels of intensity. The intensity is defined by a coffee’s degree of roasting, its body and its bitterness; it does not refer to the amount of caffeine found in the coffee.

Best to note that their decaf capsules are decaffeinated using the Swiss Water method to remove all the caffeine naturally and leaving a smooth full tasting long coffee. So their decaffeinated capsules are perfectly safe and healthy.
The Nespresso Experience

Nespresso currently sells a Limited Edition capsule, the Crealto. It’s strong and rich but smooth. You can buy a pack of 30 capsules for only AUD$25.++. We were told that it will only be available for a few more weeks so if you haven’t tried it, get it soon.

The Nespresso Experience
Current favourite Grand Crus. Of all the Grand Crus I’ve tried, I enjoy Crealto, Arpeggio, Dulsao de Brasil and Decaffeinato Lungo the most. It seems that my taste palette leans on the high intensity coffees. 
The Nespresso Experience
Blessing from blogging. The money I used to buy this machine came from what I earned from blogging. At least everytime I see our Nespresso machine, I can always say “This one came from my blogging efforts.” I’m so grateful that I’m able to buy something useful from my writing endeavours. Like I always mention, never in my wildest dreams did I see myself being active in the blogosphere. God knows how long I’ve hesitated and resisted to be active in this digital world but believe it or not, it is only recently that I’ve fully embraced it. So far, the universe has been very kind to me. And I’m very grateful to everyone who reads and supports my blog (Thank you, dear readers and advertisers!). 
The perks of being a Nespresso Club Member. Every member gets to have a card or key once a machine is purchased. Members get discounts in some Nespresso accessories or capsules. Given a minimum order of 200 capsules, they will deliver to you for free.  They also offer machine assistance service and if your machine needs repair, they can loan you with a machine (depending on availability). My favourite benefit is dropping by the Nespresso Boutique and going to the Piano Tasting Bar where you can have a cup of coffee to taste. 

They can recycle used capsules! Just go to Nespresso ecolaboration website and know more of this project.

The Nespresso Experience
We are very happy with our Nespresso U. It’s so easy to use and the Nespresso Grand Crus tastes so good. We are enjoying every cup that this machine is making. If you’re thinking of buying one, it’s a good investment for the home especially if you love having great coffee all the time.
Last year, the Husband surprised with an iPhone 4s. Last Friday, he surprised me with a MacBook Air!

It was just a matter of time until I get a new laptop, I just didn’t know when. I’ve always been a Windows user and have been happy being one. I’m just a simple girl really when it comes to computers. There’s a non-techie part of me that will always be terrified at learning new technology. The Husband has been encouraging me to switch to an Apple laptop but I’ve always hesitated. 

This year, I gave my netbook to my dad so for the past few months, I’ve been writing and doing photography tasks using a desktop computer and an iPad. However, this year, it’s been quite a challenge doing tasks via our desktop because we’ve been using it to watch TFC Online (we’ve subscribed so we can watch Filipino shows and news). So I had to think about getting a new laptop again so I can catch up on my blogging and other digital projects I’ve been conceptualising for the past months. Along with the thinking, I’ve been saving up money in case I do decide to buy one. Lately, the road seemed to have led me to buy a MacBook Air as it answers to a lot of my needs.

Last Friday, we head down to the city and went to the Apple Store. I’ve decided to get the MacBook Air (MBA) but I was also ready to walk out the Apple Store empty-handed in case my gut feel tells me otherwise. I didn’t know the Husband was brewing something in his mind while I fiddled with the MBA. His instagram below said it all…

So we talked to one of the Apple genuises about purchasing an MBA and willingly accommodated us. He told us that if we decide to buy, we can just go to the counter and they’ll get our purchase ready for check-out. We went to the 2nd level of the store and had a look at accessories and when we’re ready to go, we stopped by the counter and that’s when the Husband started talking to the staff. 

He was getting a MacBook Air!!!  And then he told me, “This is your Christmas gift!” I was shocked, surprised, overwhelmed and elated when I heard what he said.  Oh wow!!!!  πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Like a kid, giddy and giggly when I got my MacBook Air. 
September Surprise: A Very Early Christmas Pressie
September Surprise: A Very Early Christmas PressieSeptember Surprise: A Very Early Christmas Pressie

That evening at home, the Husband gave me a crash course on how to navigate the MBA. Oh ha? Si Husband, benefactor na, trainer pa! LOL. 

Right now, I’m still in awe of the Husband’s surprise and in happy disbelief that I’m writing this post using my new writing partner, the MacBook Air

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If I had one free week, I’d go on a blogging holiday and I’d do nothing but blog.  While I’m not pressured to update this blog on a daily basis, I do like writing about my food and travel adventures because more than anything else, I blog for myself.  Keeping a blog has become a useful tool for me as sometimes I go back to my previous posts on places, restaurants and recipes when the need arises.  I still haven’t figured out how to I will share our Philippines, Gold Coast and Melbourne trips (they all happened last year!!!) as efficiently and concisely as possible but I have an inkling of a plan.  In the meantime, let me share with you a restaurant that fascinated us when we visited Gold Coast in December 2011.  

On the morning that we arrived at Gold Coast our room wasn’t ready yet (we were early for check-in time) so our first agenda was to attend mass (it was a Sunday) and then find a place to have a meal and hang out for a few hours.  Our relatives recommended to visit the biggest mall at Gold Coast, Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, located at Broadbeach.  

We found St. Monica’s Church not too far away from our hotel so after mass, we took the bus to Pacific Fair Shopping Centre.

Arrived a little after 12noon, we felt famished and a bit tired.  We assumed all the getting up early and travelling to Gold Coast had taken a toll on us.  For lunch, we wanted something fast but fresh.  At one corner of the mall, we found a Japanese Restaurant called Zushi Sushi and immediately cheered when we saw the sushi train.

Sat ourselves on the sushi train and wondered, “Where are all the sushi?”

Then suddenly, we saw a miniature train on the sushi train tracks!  Oh how cute!!!

Restaurant: Zushi Sushi (Broadbeach, Queensland)

Behind the miniature train were the plates containing yummy sushi.

Restaurant: Zushi Sushi (Broadbeach, Queensland)
Restaurant: Zushi Sushi (Broadbeach, Queensland)

We only got two plates of sushi, both freshly-made and delicious.

Restaurant: Zushi Sushi (Broadbeach, Queensland)
Restaurant: Zushi Sushi (Broadbeach, Queensland)

We ordered a plate of stir-fried spicy beef with rice, soup and salad.  It was good enough to share.  The beef tender and juicy.
Restaurant: Zushi Sushi (Broadbeach, Queensland)

Restaurant: Zushi Sushi (Broadbeach, Queensland)

For our first meal in Gold Coast, we enjoyed the food and were greatly amused by the creativity that is the miniature train.  This is one sushi train experience we will never forget.

We had a good walk around Pacific Fair Shopping Centre and we instantly felt how laidback it was at the Gold Coast.  If Sydney feels laidback, Gold Coast is more of that.

Pacific Fair Shopping Centre (Broadbeach, Queensland)
Pacific Fair Shopping Centre (Broadbeach Queensland)
Pacific Fair Shopping Centre (Broadbeach Queensland)
It was during dessert at Baskin Robbins when I told the Husband, “I want a life like this–simple, more laidback.”  The Husband agreed.
Baskin Robbins
Baskin Robbins

Zushi Sushi & Teppanyaki – Pacific Fair
Shop 148 Western Food Court
Pacific Fair Shopping Centre
Broadbeach, QLD 4218
07 5572 7877