La Belle Aurore

It’s now past mid-March, only 13 more days to go before April 1. La Belle Aurore, a second-hand bookshop in Hernan Cortes, Mandaue, will be closing its doors to book lovers and literary patrons on March 31. They are having an ongoing sale with books priced as low as P10 and P30 and buy-one-take-one promos for books priced P50 and higher. I’ve only been to the Hernan Cortes branch twice and their now-closed Junquera branch once, so I have not created a lot of memories with the place. Nevertheless, because I knew the shop is closing and I might find treasures there, I took a last trip to shop and brought along someone who loves books more than I do — my grandmama. It was her birthday a few days after, so I gave that trip to the bookshop a birthday gift to her.

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My cousin and grandma, who’s not very open-minded but widely read.

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I took home books written by Black women and books on readings. I love stories on the American pioneer life (started with Laura Ingalls series), so I was very happy to find a collection of American pioneer writers, which included a portion on my favorite writer, Willa Cather. 

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I also found and bought a 1963 paperback edition of Law and the Modern Mind, which I found to be still relevant and a very good read.
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Remember, La Belle Aurore closes on March 31 and the shopkeeper said they won’t be opening again, so hurry now.

FOOD | Cannellini Bean Soup

In my childhood, the only way I know to cook Cannellini beans (locally called “white beans”) is with tomato sauce and a little pork fat, similar to the way canned pork and beans are made. Some months ago, my friend invited me to their home and her mother served us a white bean soup without tomato sauce, and I was bowled over. I loved that soup so much I could not stop thinking about it. I had problems with preparing and cooking white beans, because I don’t want to waste LPG boiling and simmering dried white beans, which takes more or less two hours. I was looking for canned beans, and luckily found canned cannellini beans at Rustan’s Fresh in Ayala Cebu.

Cannellini beans, just like other beans, are good substitutes for meat for health and/or budgetary reasons. Budget wise, beans are cheaper than meat. I bought the canned beans at P69 per can, and this whole recipe can feed up to five people, depending on how thin or thick or soup is. Dried beans are found in local markets and supermarkets. If you buy the dried white beans, you can get more from it and you can feed more people, or use it for more dishes — only it will take you more hours to prepare. Health wise, if you’re a vegetarian or cannot tolerate meat, cannellini beans are rich in fiber, minerals, and protein but low in fat (but, of course, only eat adequately). Taste waste, I grew up loving white beans (and many other beans, for that matter). My sister though, who’s a very big fan of meat, said a little bit of pork fat would have made the soup tastier.

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Ingredients:

canned cannellini beans

bunch of pechay leaves and stalks

thinly sliced potatoes, so it would cook just as soon as the beans are cooked

sliced onions

crushed garlic

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Procedures:

1. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add the beans and potato slices. Add water (or stock) and wait until beans and potatoes are cooked.

2. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Just before serving, add the pechay leaves and stalks. (Pechay tastes a little bitter, so you might want to replace this with something else.) I also mashed the beans and potatoes before I added the pechay leaves to thicken the soup a little.

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DIY | I Got Washified

Washi tapes are very popular these days — check Pinterest and/or Instagram, and you’ll find lots of posts and pins on washi taps. I find them cute, but they’re not very accessible here in Cebu City (or, are they now more accessible?). I found washi tapes at the Savemore branch in Emall, and I bought two rolls at P50 each. Last night, I was working over time, got bored, and decided to “washify” my Cherry mobile phone.

Prior to writing this blog, I did a quick research on what “washi” is, and found that “washi” is a Japanese word for the paper made from the fibers of plants. Paper making in Japan was done by hand and was an art form, a craft where whole families dedicate their lives to it. Like many traditional art forms in Japan, every material used in the paper or washi had meaning. Here’s a more in-depth read on washi.

The washi rampant nowadays are not made by hand, and most of them are not made of paper. For this DIY, I used a washi whose texture was like thin fabric. This is a very simple DIY, and I finished it in less than 30 minutes.

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OUTFIT | Starting Summer a Little Early

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I admit, I quite enjoyed our cold January weather. But the Philippines will always be a tropical country, and because it’s now March, I could not help but think of summer. I’m not a beach babe, and I don’t have anything in particular to look forward to this summer, but summer has always meant a long “vacation” for me. Fashion-wise, it’s a vacation from jackets and coats and blazers, and closed shoes. Here, I’m wearing my summer early with a thrifted white button-down shirt and a vintage skirt, paired with tsinelas, thrifted hat, borrowed shades and Human Nature bag.

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OUTFIT | Bluer than Blue

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On the last weekend of 2013, I had the chance to visit Bohol — after such a long time and after the October earthquake. I assisted in a wedding shoot and although it was a wedding, it was more like a “tour.” We traveled from Panglao, to Alburquerque to Loay. Along the way, I saw remnants of the damage of the quake — the Loay and Dauis Churches, the damaged roads and houses, but I also saw how the people are picking up their lives and continuing to live. It made me teary-eyed, but I fell asleep because it was raining.  Here’s my travel outfit — thrifted knitted stipes, vintage blue plants, slippers, Aldo shades, travel bag from Grandma, and borrowed bag from sister — a very comfortable that Sunday although it was very sunny because I had cough and colds. Photos taken at Alona Kew Beach Resort, Panglao, Bohol.

OUTFIT | The Garden

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I was lucky to snatch this Moschino Cheap & Chic skirt with cute stitching. The stitching reminded me of the many cross-stitch pieces I made when I was younger. I thought it would be the best skirt to wear to a children’s party. The skirt though was too tight I can barely breath in it anymore. That skirt will have to go to someone with smaller hips soon. I paired it with a vintage neon top, gifted handbag and Juan by Janilyn l0w-heeled pumps.

DIY | Pimp Your 2014 Planner

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Even in this age of technology, I still can’t bring myself to use a tablet or a smartphone to keep my schedule organize. It must be just a mental thing — but I love to write down to-do lists, future activities and budgets in paper. I also love ticking off or scratching out done tasks. It makes me more “fulfilled” as compared to when I just typed it in a digital planner. I also love not being able to totally erase my plans. In short, I love planners. At the end of each year, I am always excited to get one. I have found the perfect planner in a Muji one, but I wasn’t able to buy one before 2014 started. I was thankful though to have received a planner from my boyfriend’s cousin. It’s a give-away planner from their insurance company but the paper is good, and I thought there would no longer be any use to buy a new one since this one would do.

To elevate the planner to a “cuter” and “prettier” level, I pimped it up by covering the planner with cloth from a skirt that no longer fits me and covering the monthly page dividers with magazine scraps. I also had washi tapes lying around the house and I made use of them to cover up traces of the insurance company’s name.

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Materials used:

free 2014 planner

old skirt

glue gun and stick (used to stick the cloth onto the planner)

scissors

magazine pages

double sided tape to stick the magazine pages onto the paper

washi tapes