Movie Review: Begin Again.

Date night just ended.

My boyfriend and I watched this movie to cap off the night.  I have been wanting to see this since last week when it came out, but there are only limited malls that shows this movie because it’s competing with Transformers: Age of Extinction (still), The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Step Up All In.

Anyway, I seriously enjoyed the movie and I can’t wait for rave about it! …Even if it’s 1:12 am!

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  • Movie: Begin Again
  • Starring: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green
  • Rating: 4 out of 5

Begin Again is about Dan (Ruffalo), a record executive who’s drowning his sorrows with alcohol and seriously effin’ his career and Greta (Knightley), a singer-songwriter, who followed her musician boyfriend (Levine) to New York at the beginning of his career, but ended up heartbroken.  Dan heard Greta sing in a pub and discovers a star.

I am a big romantic-comedy film fan.  That’s 90% of what I watch in theatres.  But this one hits the spot.  Maybe because there’s a lot of singing involved or maybe because Adam Levine was in it! Hahaha  He’s such a god!  =P

The first 10 minutes of the movie, in which a scene was replayed three times in different perspectives, was becoming irritating (I think I’ve had it after watching Edge of Tomorrow!), but I realized doing that was significant for the people to understand where each character’s coming from at that time.

It was brilliant how they created an entire album with no money, but with so much love for music that everything just fell into place.  Whether they are recording under a bridge, the back alley, or in the subway, the city sounds plus the melody just fuses together in perfect harmony.

And did I mention Adam Levine was in it!?!!  Oh that voice! And that face! =P

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To finish this off, I think I will be watching this movie again in a few days… this time with one of my best friends!  She desperately wants to see this movie and I couldn’t say no. Hahaha

…And I’m downloading the soundtrack the same time I started writing this post.  Should be done soon. Internet’s a tad slow tonight.

Good night! xo

P.S.  All photos are taken from Google. =)

CLN.

A few weeks back, I needed to buy a pair of shoes to go along with the dress for my friend’s wedding.  I am not a big fan of high heels because I’m such a klutz!  But I have to suck it up since I am one of the secondary sponsors!

In search of the plain black stilettos, my first stop was Payless Shoe Source.  I found one that I liked, but they didn’t have my size.  So I went to the department store to have a larger choice in terms of brand and style, but I left disappointed.

So I went around again and came across CLN or Celine.  I found a 4-inch, peep toe pair. I thought, “Yeah, this is it.  I’m done.  I can go home now.”  When I went up to the counter to pay, the salesperson told me they were on sale and that a second pair is 50% off.  Who would pass up on a sale?! Hahaha  So I went to the other side of the store where all the sale items are.

After trying on probably 10 pairs of shoes, I decided to buy a peep toe flats.  I actually liked the other color, but they didn’t have my size – as usual!  That’s the most frustrating part of being a size 7!  Stocks are, more often than not, sold out. This originally costs Php 599.00, but I only paid Php 299.50!  Not to mention, it’s really comfortable to wear!  Real bargain!

Oh! And also, I got a Php 100 gift certificate for my next purchase!  Who could ask for more?! ;)

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CLN’s Pamela Peep Toe Flats in Green

Fifth Avenue Fuchsia.

If you’ve been following my blog from the start, you’d know I was in search for that “right shade of pink” lipstick.  And yes, I found it after acquiring 20-something different lipsticks!  There were almosts, but the ultimate one is  Maybelline’s Fifth Avenue Fuchsia. I’m not a big fan of shiny/glossy lipsticks, so this was really perfect because it was matte.

It was an innocent stroll in the mall.  I wasn’t even planning on buying anything.  But one glance at the sample display and it caught my eye!  Just like that, it was love at first sight! =P  Needless to say, I used this more than any other lipstick that I have.  And honestly, I might need a new one soon!

photo taken from Ulta.com

photo taken from Ulta.com

 

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Instax Mini 8 Bag.

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I recently ordered an Instax Mini 8 Bag from a retailer on Instagram, @INSTAXTIC. I’ve  been looking for one since I bought my camera in November 2013.  And I’m really glad I waited this long!  Not only was the seller very nice, but I got a good deal also.  Some of the bags I’ve inquired about costs more. I also bought 2 of the Pandora films to add to my collection.


Costs:

  • Bag                     – Php 850.00
  • Pandora Films – Php 840.00 (Php 420.00 each)
  • Shipping Fee    - Php  60.00

Let me talk about this bag further and why I loved it so much.

First of all, it has a cute design inside – the white accent color in the middle makes it chic!  I only saw solid colors from other sellers – boring! hehe It has an adjustable and detachable  strap/sling.  Plus, the camera is snug inside the bag – a perfect fit!

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Next, the flap/cover is detachable.  That means you don’t have to remove the camera from the bag to be able to shoot photos!  Just snap the rivets back onto place to secure the camera again.

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These are my growing collection of Instax films.  Aside from the Pandora one, I bought the rest in Bangkok last March.  Finding this seller on Instagram is a blessing!  Now I don’t have to go far to buy some cool and affordable films!

Films

If you want affordable Instax cameras, accessories and films, you may contact @INSTAXTIC through the following channels:

Again, thanks @instaxtic for the fast and smooth transaction.  I certainly would buy more stuff from your online store again!

From Laguna to Tagaytay.

I really need to start blogging real-time! Lately all I ever want to do is relax. Bum out. Just lie on my bed and let time pass. Haha

Anyway, school’s over. We had our repertoire (finals) on June 17th. After being extremely busy for 2 weeks preparing for that, my classmates planned to have a much-needed vacation. The rainy season has just started, but everyone’s still craving for some sun. I myself wasn’t able to go to the beach because of school. I like going to the beach off-season anyway.

I’m getting off track.

So the plan was to go to Pansol, Laguna, rent a private resort, drink booze, eat and bond. There were only 9 of us who showed up and with one tiny car. Okay, not tiny, but it wouldn’t fit all of us! We agreed on taking the bus. But then it started to rain! After some debate, we decided to cramp inside that tiny car! Kate, the owner, wasn’t too happy with that, but she didn’t have a choice. Technically, there’s only 8 of us, since the other one will just follow.

So the adventure began. There were 5 of us crowded at the back seat of this tiny sedan; 2 seated on the passenger side. Nevertheless, it was fun!

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L-R: Darla, Me, Bea, Yelle, JR Below L-R: JM, Larra, Kate ***Taken from Larra’s Instagram

We arrived in Pansol around 3pm and the search for the right resort started! Another dilemma!!! After looking at 5-6 resorts, we were directed to this amazing resort that felt like it’s away from the city, had a huge space, and that we could stay until noon the next day. Usually you can only rent a resort for 12 hours and you have to check out by 7 or 8am the next day. After haggling, we agreed on Php 6000 for the stay and we’re only renting one big room.

Isabela Hotspring Resort
B2, L10 Lazaro Subdivision, Villa Lagos, Pansol, Calamba, Laguna
0927-4816404
http://www.facebook.com/IsabelaResort

This three-storey resort offers not only a swimming pool, but also some recreational stuff such as pool table, table tennis, a functioning TV, a fantastic view, a kitchen and grilling area, a refrigerator, a karaoke machine, and three air-conditioned room. Plus, the care takers were very kind and accommodating.

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View from our room.

While we got settled in, others decided to buy food from the nearby market for food to cook for dinner.

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Boodle Fight!!! Dinner is served. Clockwise from Top Right: Kim, Chef Nat, Kate, Bea, Jr, JM, Yelle, Me, Larra, and Darla

Chef Nat and her friend, Kim, also joined us, but they won’t be staying over night.  Dinner was simple.  No need for cutleries!  Thanks to JR and JM for preparing and cooking our meal!

Ianne arrived after dinner. Now, we’re complete!

After dinner, I decided to take a swim. The warm water was really relaxing. And you don’t have to worry about getting cold at all, even when you get out of the pool. The weather was just the right coolness.

We played card games, sang (a lot!), drank more booze and most importantly, talked, shared stories and bonded.

The night ended roughly around 2:30am.

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The next day, we were woken by JR (who got drunk first and slept really early. Read: 9:30pm. And yes, he’s the one passed out on the floor in the photo above). He bought and cooked breakfast for everybody. Actually, him getting drunk was a blessing! Otherwise, nobody would bother to cook breakfast! Haha

After breakfast, we went back to the room, tried sleeping again! We agreed to go to Tagaytay for lunch and will stay at Ianne’s house nearby to pass time before going back to the city.

Luckily, JR’s girlfriend will pick him up so we didn’t have to cramp inside Kate’s car!

We ate at LZM in Magallanes Square because everyone’s craving for some Bulalo. After that sumptuous lunch, we went to Starbucks, just right across the street. Waited for Chef Nat who will be joining us again!

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Lunch at LZM

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Starbucks!

Had an exciting chat while having coffee and took some crazy photos while waiting for Chef Nat.  By the way, thanks to my monopod with Bluetooth remote!  It was the easiest group photos we’ve taken!  No need to ask someone else to take our pictures!

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We headed to Ianne’s for an afternoon nap. Lol

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Going home, we had 2 cars available so we weren’t cramped inside Kate’s car anymore. I rode with Kate along with Ianne, Yelle and Larra. The others rode with Chef Nat. JR and his girlfriend left earlier to go to Batangas.

We left Tagaytay at 6pm and traffic on the highway was terrible! We had to amuse ourselves to (somewhat) forget that we were tired and really eager to go home. After a 4-hour drive, I finally got home at exactly 10pm!

It was truly an adventure. I would be missing these people now that class is over. And although there were only 9 of us there, I had a blast! :)

Red Velvet Cupcakes.

I hate throwing out food especially when I could have used it for something.  This time it’s the sour cream.  It is not a cheap buy, but I prefer using that when making my own buttermilk over using vinegar.  So I decided to make Red Velvet Cupcakes.

I bake these more often than I want to because of the sour cream dilemma!  Nevertheless, they’re moist and super yummy!

First things first, line your muffin tins with cupcake liners.  I used these foil cupcake liners I bought in Bangkok, Thailand in March.  I found them more ‘stable’ when handling and I don’t have to worry about getting my hands dirty from the oiliness of the cupcakes.

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Preheat your oven to 350F.  Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and cocoa powder.

Using the paddle attachment of your electric mixer, cream the butter until soft.  Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated.  Don’t forget to scrape the sides with a spatula from time to time so everything is evenly mixed.

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To make my buttermilk, I mix 3/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of sour cream.  Let it stand for 5 minutes before using.  In that same cup, add the red food coloring and mix.  I usually prepare this in advance.  Since buttermilk is not readily available in our supermarkets, I have to make my own.  If you have a different way of making your own buttermilk, that’s fine, too.

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With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk mixture – starting and ending with the dry ingredients {DRY-LIQUID-DRY-LIQUID-DRY}.  Don’t forget to scrape down the sides!

In a small cup, combine the baking soda and vinegar.  Allow it to fizz then quickly fold into the batter.

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Personally, I use the same measuring cup to pour my batter into the liners, but you can also opt to use a scooper.  Fill the liners about 2/3 full.  Anything more than that, your cupcakes will look like muffins! Hahaha

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Bake them for 18 – 23 minutes.  Halfway through I like to turn my cupcakes so they’re evenly cooked.  Another tip, you don’t need a toothpick to test if your cupcakes are done!  To check the doneness, gently/lightly poke a cupcake using your index finger, if it springs back to it’s original fluffy form, it’s done!

Take out of the oven and cool completely before frosting.

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I used 2 different frosting here.  The Buttercream (left) is the one I used from a previous bake.  The Cream Cheese frosting (right) is what I usually use for Red Velvet Cupcakes. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Equipment/Utensils Needed:

  • Muffin Tins
  • Electric Mixer with Paddle Attachment
  • Cupcake Liners
  • Spatula
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Measuring Cups, for dry and liquid ingredients
  • Weighing Scale
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Strainer for sifting

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups   Sifted Cake Flour
  • 1/2 tsp           Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp           Salt
  • 2 Tbsp            Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
  • 114 g               Butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup     Granulated Sugar
  • 2                       Eggs, large
  • 1 tsp               Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup             Buttermilk — in this case 3/4 cup Whole Milk + 1/4 cup Sour Cream
  • 2 Tbsp          Red Liquid Food Coloring
  • 1 tsp               Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1 tsp               Baking Soda

 

Instructions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350F.
  2.  Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  3.  In a bowl, sift cake flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.  Set aside.
  4. Beat butter until soft.  Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  5. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated.
  6. Prepare the buttermilk by combining 3/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of sour cream.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  Add the red food coloring to the buttermilk and stir.
  7. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients {DRY – LIQUID – DRY – LIQUID – DRY}.
  8. In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and distilled white vinegar.  Let is fizz and quickly fold into the batter.
  9. Scoop/pour the batter into the lined pans not more than two-thirds full.
  10. Bake for 18 – 23 minutes or until done.  Turn the muffin tins halfway through the baking time.
  11. Leave in the muffin tins for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Cool completely before frosting.