Life in Styles

Choco Topps is a sweet revenge from Suncrest Foods Incorporated, the manufacturer of Cup Keyk. Remember Cup Keyk – cup cakes that come in different flavors: cheese, ube, and pandan, among others.

Yes, I am talking about the locally made cup cakes that most kids or moms  grab from grocery shelves, or conveniently  buy from the neighborhood sari-sari store that sells for P6 a piece.  I tell you these cup cakes have remained top choice for merienda treats for everyone. I believe Choco Topps, however, made a more noteworthy difference, a huge leap to say, for Suncrest to remain as one of the major players in the local food industry.

I had my first bite of Choco Topps, about  three weeks ago when my mom bought a pack for my son.  Since then I and my son have become a fan, especially me , and have since started on a contest: who eats more in a single sitting, a glass of juice clasped in one hand.img_0963

Choco Topps has chewy, chocolate icing, topped with vanilla flakes or candies, while the chocolate cake is filled with rich, vanilla cream. The last bite should already make you full; but it is seemingly just so difficult to resist for a second grab, or maybe even for a third one.

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With several players in the food industry attempting to hit the market in a single shot, Suncrest must definitely be proud of their latest product, because one bite of Choco Topps truly tops it all.

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Do you love to read? Or better yet, to eat? Then FOOD and FOODIE Magazines are for you. I came across these magazines, since my brother, who’s almost a Chef in his own right, owns them. Some of them he did buy himself; some of them were given by generous friends.

FOOD and FOODIE Magazines are both published by ABS-CBN Publishing, Inc. Whilst FOOD is released on the 15th day of each month, FOODIE is published on a bi-monthly basis. What’s not to love about these magazines? Let me count the ways.

Though these two magazines initially project an air of class and sophistication for anything culinary, surprisingly, when you go deeper into the pages, they are actually a balanced view between the classy and what may be ordinary. The recipes are both for the upper class and the average Filipino homemaker.

Next amazing thing about them is that their stories on food and people, surrounded by the love for food and cooking, are truly engaging and strike right through the heart – of cooking, that is! Besides, you will surely learn something new from their helpful tips.

Third, if you love looking at sumptuous dishes, this is definitely it! Or if you have a passion for photography, especially food as the subject, you can refer to their photos as wonderful basis. So it’s actually not just about cooking, it’s also about picture-perfect food.

And, of course, if you just love going on a food trip with your partner, best friend, or anybody you can tag along with, then the adventure awaits in the line up of restaurants regularly featured in each issue. When you see them around the bend, and are reminded of how these magazines talk about their cuisines, don’t just pass them by. Check it out for yourself!

Buy them, and don’t keep them  to yourself.  Put these magazines in a fancy gift box and surprise a friend or two! For something as affordable as P95 each, FOOD and FOODIE Magazines are not painful to the purse.

tsokonut3I had long seen Tsoko.Nut (pronounced choco-nut) on Dela Rosa St. in Makati City for years, but that’s how exactly I had been doing–just look at it. I had been looking at it, but in my mind, I had actually been curious.

My curiosity ended last Saturday, as I got down at the Dela Rosa parking after a half-day tour of a real estate development in Paranaque City, which awed me no end, but that’s another story.

Sandy and I thought to have lunch in Pancake House, but we found ourselves at Tsoko.Nut instead, after looking at the huge menu banner by the entrance; not that we didn’t like the classic Pancake House dishes.

It was a first for both of us, and it was like beginners’ luck.  Daing na Bangus with Pinangat was great. At P109 per order, it was a winner–not too heavy, not too light. Just enough to tide you over till snack time in the late afternoon. I would think that the other dishes were great, too, as most of them were traditional Filipino food.

I had coffee after, as I always do after a meal, but Sandy, who had the chocolate drink, told me it was too good to pass up. I decided to have one to-go, and thought it would be good to take sips in between green and red lights on the way home.  Sandy was right–it was creamy, nutty, and rich, so naturally tasty!

Why haven’t I discovered it long before? I had tried so many choco drinks before, but Tsoko.Nut’s is best so far.

This is choco cafe is for the Pinoy’s taste. And perhaps for the rest of the world.

Summer is here again, folks! The Philippine Islands will once again teem with bodies beautiful clad in bright and light wear.  Don’t you just crave for sexy tans you can brag about? If you have it, this means you have finally made that travel during summer.

We crave for martinis in bikinis, because this means you have worked your way out into finally getting that dream body ready for the beach, and it’s time to make a toast. For some reason, summer makes us crave for these and more. And let me tell you what I crave for this summer.

Aside from travel and more lovin’ this summer, I crave for these wonderful Boho outfits from Polyvore. A Boho look this summer? Why not? Because I believe the best thing about going Boho is that it can fit in any season. It’s just a matter of picking and matching up perfect pairs. Check out these to-die-for outfits!

Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody – by SIXella on Polyvore.com

..Boema Bella..
..Boema Bella.. – by Sophie on Polyvore.com

According to WorldCloset.com, a true bohemian is a free spirit, a goddess, a lover of world culture and admirer of ethnic traditions in music, dress, and clothing. Here is my challenge: awaken your own bohemian life in these fabulous outfits! Who knows? The true you is actually that Boho look.

There is more to Polyvore, click here to find similarly wonderful boho outfits.

It’s summer! It’s 32C but feels like 39C. Hot, huh? Sweat it out at 65% humidity. That’s the Philippine Islands for you!

And it’s going to be hotter, folks, which is just about the right time to usher the summer in.

I heard April 3 is a rockin’ reggae day in Eastwood Central Plaza. The event promises some good vibin’ refreshing sound of reggae music, courtesy of Reggae Mistress, at which time, has been around seven years, and fitting is this celebration of summer in the islands–some reggae music. I can’t wait to be in the midst of positive vibes!

chong-copyI have seen this band capture the reggae scene, a sort of a re-living the good old days of Tropical Depression, Coco Jam, and what have you, in recent years. Small wonder that Reggae Mistress has kicked the seven year itch–with the Tengasantoses (Chong and Chang) at the helm.

This dreadlocks-donning couple is loyal to reggae to a fault, I tell you, for not having left the good vibin’ and even bringing into the scene their daughter Irene and niece Ira, the two completing the “mistress” (three misses) with Chang, the reggae mom!

With Chong, the legendary drummer, and the instrumentalists, the band’s rhythmic sound is so inviting, leaving you with no choice but dance to the beat. Believe me, there’s no saying no to the beat when you hear the percussive sounds this band creates.

Don’t believe what I say, be there on April 3 and see and believe.

Less is more. This maxim came from a German architect named Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, pertaining to the minimalist design in architecture. But this applies well to my travel practice, which is to bring less in any of my trips, whether be it for a week or month-long travel. Yes, I call myself a minimalist traveler.

I am a minimalist traveler for only one reason – Convenience. I find utmost convenience when I simply carry a few things with me. It saves me the hassle of looking after so many bags and keeping myself responsible for it all throughout the travel time. Besides, I am forgetful, so it relieves me off the possibility of getting myself doomed after losing my things needed for the trip.

So how does one become a minimalist traveler? A minimalist traveler always and only carries three important items. These are the money belt or belt bag, a day bag, and a backpack. Money belt or belt bag. This is where you keep necessary documents most often required in the airport, like passport, travel ticket, credit card or ATM card, cash, itinerary list, and the like. You have quick access of them when urgently needed. Click here for a sample money belt.

A day bag is a day-tour bag, or like a messenger bag. This is where you store personal items, like your guidebook for the tour, foreign dictionary or phrase book, notepad, flashlight, compass, extra shirt or small towel, camera, and other things deem essential while on tour. Actually, this is sometimes accompanied by a money belt. Nevertheless, some choose to just take with them a day bag for the tour, or stick with money belt alone. Click here for a sample day bag.

One thing though to keep in mind when taking alone a backpack, that is reliability and durability of the bag. Since you are packing all your clothes and belongings inside, you need to make sure that you have a reliable and durable backpack with you. And to be assured that all clothes fit inside this backpack, rolling up your clothes is one travel tip you shouldn’t miss. Click here for a sample backpack.

Nevertheless, minimalist travelers may still vary from one style to another. Like I said, one may only bring his money belt and backpack, leaving a day bag behind. Because the truth is, a minimalist traveler can still travel with so much style.

For more travel tips, click here.

This was my second alone-time on a Saturday morning…nice to have some time by yourself. Good for going back to your center after a hard week’s work.

I found myself at one of the tables in Cafe Mary Grace, one of my recent favorites. You feel like you’re home at this cozy cafe, despite being in the monstrous newest mall in the city, Trinoma Mall. It’s just tucked away from the noisiest part of the mall anyway, and is strategically located across National Bookstore–buy a book there and sit down at the cafe.

Despite the really appetizing soups and pastas and sandwiches, I settled for three-cheese ensaymada and brewed coffee. Three-cheese because the Filipino sweet bread is topped with cheddar cheese, kesong puti (white cheese) and grated keso de bola.

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A bite of the soft, sweet ensaymada and the salty cheese, drowned by brewed coffee was heavenly, while reading inspirational quotes from empowered women from a book I took out of one of the cafe’s bookshelves, 100 Years of Women’s Wisdom. Pure pleasure priced at P244.00, rather an inexpensive way to center yourself.