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Chocolate chip cupcakes

 

I made this fresh batch of cupcakes for my niece’s birthday! Kids always love this delectable treat. They are moist and chocolatey. Here’s my recipe for you to try:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
For the icing:
* 4 egg whites
* 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
*1/2 c. water
*1 1/3 c white sugar
Optional: chocolate chips and sprinkles

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.
  3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with your favorite frosting when cool.

Procedure for the icing:

1. beat the egg yolks and cream of tartar til light & fluffy.

2. In a separate sauce pan, dissolve the sugar in water until mixture becomes ‘thready’.

3. Beat the egg yolks and tartar in full speed while pouring the dissolved sugar and water mixture.

*Coloring is optional.

I hope you enjoy these delicious cupcakes! Happy Holidays!

 

 

Sunset

So I recently got my Canon Kissx4 and decided to take some shots. I went over to the pond and the sunset was just amazing… reminded me of The Lion King scenery. Hakuna matata! what a wonderful day, indeed!

Written Communications That Inform and Influence

I found this book very helpful in regards to hammering the right skills to produce an effective written communication.

In a classic article on writing, Betty Sue Flowers identifies four distinct periods or stages in the writing process:

1. The ‘Madman’ brain-storms – this is where all your creative juices flow by scribbling and doodling, you allow your mental powers to use its full ability to think creatively without judgement.

2. The ‘Architect’ organizes relevant ideas into an outline. – In this mode, you start organizing ideas, linking words, phrases, sentences wherever you think they best fit to create a sensible idea.

3. The ‘Carpenter’ adds structure in the form of sentences. -generally after organizing, you begin to form the smaller parts/ideas that support your main idea to elaborate more.

4.The ‘Judge’ rules on grammar and style. – this is where editing comes in. You correct and polish the writing to make it more attractive to the eyes of your reader.

I highly recommend this book to Managers, Writers, Editors, Bloggers.

Buy this book: http://www.amazon.com/Written-Communications-Influence-Results-Driven-Manager/dp/1422103226

The Soul’s Code In Search of Character and Calling–James Hillman

 

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I purchased this very special book on eBay. I was looking for some Psychology books to be used as reference for my Psychology class. I stumbled upon this and read it’s summary as posted by the seller. I automatically fell in love with it and bought it right away. It’s actually a second hand book, a Christmas present for the seller. How did I know? I received it and on the first page there was a note written: “Merry Christmas Sherri”.  And even before this, As I opened the packet containing the book, I got a note from Sheila saying that this book is truly special and as if saying, I am passing this onto you because I believe you need it more than I do so please take good care of it. It did feel truly special and I consider myself lucky for owning this book. First, for its sentimental value and second, for it priceless content. Now let me tell you, this book came in perfect timing. I felt like i was stuck in a rut. I wanted a change in my life in a good way. I needed to know what my purpose was and where I should be going.  I often asked God to give me a sign or reveal to me my purpose. I prayed so hard every night for God  to help me find my way, to show me which path to take and to reveal this to me at the time he thinks I’m ready. So he did. He sent me this book. He made me realize that each individual is a unique one and that I  should learn to accept what God has planned for and not force what I planned for my self on selfish motives. It was quite difficult because I wanted things that would provide my own happiness, and not for God’s satisfaction. It felt as though he was pushing me to take the road I never wanted to take. Year after year, I did things my way and lost track. I lost myself. Had I listened to God, then I would not be in a desperate cry for help.

Now, don’t you worry. I will not go on preaching. I  will share with you something I have learned. Something extremely thought provoking and demystifying. Because I have not yet finished reading the book, I will be posting some lines.. feel free to follow and post comments, reactions, thoughts regarding each line or anything that has caught your attention.

Happy reading!

..Sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path.

” I don’t develop; I am” – Picasso

The soul of each of us is given a unique daimon before we are born, and it has selected an image or pattern that we live on earth.This soul -companion,, the daimon, guides us here; in the process of arrival, however, we forget all that took place and believe we come empty into this world. The daimon remembers what is in your image and belongs to your pattern, and therefore your daimon is the carrier of your destiny.

“We elected the body, the parents, the place, and the circumstances that suited the soul and that, as the myth says, belong to its necessity. This suggests that the circumstances, including my body and my parents whom i may curse, are my soul’s own choice- and I do not understand this because I have forgotten.” – Plotinus

We must attend very carefully to childhood to catch early glimpses of the daimon in action, to grasp its intentions and not block its way.
a) recognize the call as a prime fact of human existence;
b) align life with it;
c) find the common sense to realize that accidents, including the heartache and the natural shocks the flesh is heir to, belong to the pattern of the image, are necessary to it, and help fulfill it.

Soul- thin insubstantial human image, in its nature a sort of vapor, film, or shadow… mostly palpable and invisible, yet also manifesting physical power.” – Primitives

“Soul originates in an image and conceived in the form of an image” – Ake Hultkrantz

Paradeigma – a basic form encompassing your entire destiny” – Plato in his Myth of Er

Part II (Continuation…)

EMINENT AND EXCEPTIONAL.

Edgar Wind is the greatest scholar of the Renaissance imagination.

A method that fits the small work but not the great has obviously started at the wrong end… the commonplace may be understood by amplifying the commonplace. Both logically and casually the exception is crucial because it introduces… the more comprehensive category.Edgar Wind

Thought to ponder on: If the exceptional is the more comprehensive category, then we may comprehend more, by studying an extraordinary person, about the deeps of the human nature than by studying even the largest sample of accumulated cases. A single anecdote lights up the whole field of vision. We may see disturbances in children less as developmental problems than as revelatory emblems.

Part III

A VISION OF CHILDREN.

Excerpt from The Soul’s Code:
During early life, the children and the daimon often are taken to be one and the same, the child absorbed by the genius, a confusion which is understandable since the child has so few other powers and the daimon comes with so much. Then the child is set apart as exceptional, special, a prodigy- or as a dysfunctional troublemaker, potentially a violent criminal, to be tested, diagnosed, and weeded out.

Could we begin to look at children with this vision in mind?


Let us exchange the term “abnormal” for “extraordinary” and let the extraordinary be the vision against which our ordinary lives are examined.
Should we choose to embrace each one’s individual differences, gifts, extraordinary behavior… then society shall accept what is beyond normal and set aside flaws.

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Part IV

THE ONE ON LIFE. THE WHY’S AND HOW’S.

NOTE: You may have noticed I’ve been using the term daimon a lot. “Daimon” as Plato and the Greeks call it is otherwise known as “Genius” by the Romans, “Guardian Angel” by the Christians, “Heart” , “Spirit”, “Soul” as we use these terms today.

Moving on, I would like to share with you another excerpt from The Soul’s Code…
By looking at ourselves as examples of calling, at our destinies as manifestations of a daimon, and at our lives with the imaginative sensitivity we give fictions, we might put a stop to the worry, the fever, and the fret of searching out causes. Like dogs chasing our own tails, we are bedeviled by the “why” question, which conjures up its twin, the devilishly “how” – how to change. The pursuit of happiness becomes the pursuit of answers to the wrong questions.

I say:
Happiness is about being contented with what you have. It is a choice. It is an attitude you choose to live by.

Do not change who you are or what you want to be. Create the person you want to be. Don’t let other people persuade you into being the person you’re not. Don’t live by someone else’s rules. LIVE YOUR LIFE.



Like cures like: A theory of life must have a base on beauty if it would explain the beauty that life seeks.

Wallace Steven makes clear these cloudy thoughts:
… The cloud preceded us
There was a muddy centre before we breathed,
There was a myth before the myth began
Venerable and articulate and completed.

My Gerardo’s Culinary Experience: Batch 11

As part of Batch 11, I take pride in being part of Gerardo’s School of Culinary Arts, General Santos City. It has gained recognition over the years. Just a bungalow structure, silently drawing attention to it’s excellence of service. As the saying goes, “Small but terrible!” Who would have known that a culinary school existed in GenSan? It’s profound ability to generate professional chefs is now recognized in the local industry as well as abroad. Word  has spread like wild fire! Contagious as it is, almost everyone has experienced it. Professionals such as Doctors, Lawyers, Businessmen and whoever they may be has indeed endured the nearly 3 month intensive fast track culinary sessions led by husband and wife Chefs Gerardo and Faith Arbis.

Our class consisted of 18 students all from the age range of 19-50+ . Some working, some have established businesses, some students and some just bums (excuse my term)- either thirsty to feed their interests, thirsty to work abroad or thirsty for a calling. Our mentors were wise beyond their age, strict when it came down to business but also friendly and accommodating.

Everyday was a challenge! There was to learn something new. Tests were given almost every day and if not, we would be in the kitchen dirtying ourselves with all those ingredients. We would laugh our hearts out, exchange recipes, memorize recipes, cook and quiver when our plates were off for judgment. There were off days and on days just like any other. We would scramble like rats when Chef would scream just as a tiger would in his kingdom if anything went wrong–  “Hell’s Kitchen” we thought to ourselves, and by that I mean Chef Gordon Ramsey’s style of training!  We knew that Chef Gerry meant the best for us. There were no excuses acceptable in his kitchen as you could only say “Yes,Chef!”

I, being a complete idiot in the kitchen, was now cooking different cuisines and have even gained positive feedbacks in one of our on-the-spot challenges : To make a five star dish out of a Scald fish.

Here it is, this is my creation which I call:

Scald Fish in Olive Oil a la Baccalau

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Thank you very much. I’m actually quite happy about it as I never (not even in my wildest dreams) expected that I was capable of creating such a dish. I swear it is absolutely not the best in the world- but a positive feedback from Chef Gerry is a trophy to me!

All these priceless memories are kept a worthwhile experience which I will forever hold dear. I’d like to share with you some my photos with my fellow kitchen comrades.

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I hope that you too will find that hidden talent and develop it just as I have. You will never know what your good at unless you try it. Once you find your passion, develop your skills, work hard and you can achieve whatever it is that you want for your life.

REACH FOR THE STARS!…

Last May was our annual graduation… fellow student Chefs from different batches were there as we all celebrated and exchanged our caps for an official chef’s toque.

Here’s to everyone who graduated! Cheers to us! May we continue to live up to the code of professionalism and exemplify quality service and excellence!

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For more info please visit GERARDO’S SCHOOL OF CULINARY ARTS

My FIDA Experience: A 3 day workshop on basic make-up!

                                         

Fashion Institute of Design & Arts, Davao held a 3 day workshop on basic make-up artistry last March 2010. I was one of the ones who attended. Simply because I wanted to learn about the art of make-up. Aside from that, I was even more excited to learn that Davao had indeed finally put up a fashion school. I travelled all the way from General Santos City to Davao. As I entered FIDA, I was greeted by the receptionist with a warm smile. I looked around and my first thought was “Wow! It’s so pretty in here!” The walls were White and Purple, with glass doors, and dainty interiors. It was truly inviting! She pointed to a glass sliding door that led us to a huge purple room with white dressers that had light bulbs surrounding the mirrors. In each of our dresser, there was a pack of brushes and materials given for free  to be used later on. I brought my own set of 24 pieces of brushes and make-up as well.

The class was headed by Chief Make-up Artist Archibald Tolentino. We began our class with an Introduction of course. Archie is Chief make-up artist of Maybelline Philippines. He has been in the industry for years and has earned a reputable name and career. On a table beside him, he had a number of kits containing all the cosmetics you could find (as in everything!).

On our first day, we began our discussion with THE BASICS: Skin Care 101. What we needed to know that most of us don’t really know and never even knew. As eager as a student, I listened carefully and took down notes. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Why should we care about the face? Because our face is the most exposed body part other than the hand. When we walk outside, the face is exposed to all kinds of toxics such as pollution and the sun’s harmful UV rays. Even just by putting make-up our face absorbs all those chemicals. Fact is- the face is the most sensitive part of the body. We must always make an effort to keep it clean and hydrated.

Here are some basic steps to keep your face in its natural and healthy glow:

1. Wash – wash with mild soap and cold water(cold water closes the pores and prevents dirt from entering)

2. Tone – tone with an astringent right for your skin type (oily, dry and combination skin)

3. Moisturize – find a moisturizer that has an SPF that works for you. I normally use this moisturizer as it best suits my skin type Nivea Sparkling White Whitening Day Care Age Control

TRIVIA ALERT: In Japan, we wonder why even at age 40 they still have that beautiful skin. Here’s why: as early as the age of 16, they start applying anti-aging moisturizers on their face and are very religious about it. As they age, their skin becomes susceptible to it. Normally, at age 25 our skin starts to age and that’s when we supposedly apply anti-aging moisturizers. But, it would be smart enough to start as early as you can!

Now moving on,  before putting on cosmetics you need to keep in mind that you should always start with a clean canvass. Given: the face is the canvass and you are the painter. Painting on a used canvass is not only unhygienic but also results to a sloppy and negative effect.

So, once you follow those 3 basic steps, you are now ready to glam up! Here are some make-up essentials you need to invest in:

4. Primer – set your skin with primer. It is the secret to a flawless finish because primer covers your pores and makes it even. I like using Revlon’s Beyond Natural Smoothing Primer 

5. Concealer – hide those blemishes and under eye circles. Use one shade lighter than your natural color. I use a palette from Doll face 15 pc concealer palette

6. Foundation – creates the flawless finish that adds to the glow. I’m a Revlon girl so I use Revlon Photo Ready Foundation

These are pre make-up essentials you need to have in your kit. It is very important that you apply these before putting on powder (pressed or loose) and anything else. You will see that right after you have followed these steps, you will have a plump and fresh skin giving its natural glow. You will also notice that your make-up will not cake and you will find your make-up staying on for a longer period.

My recommendations are simply my personal choices. You can always opt for something different. There’s a huge variety of cosmetic brands out in the market that you can choose from. You can also go over the counter in any drug store and get inexpensive cosmetics just as you know that they work for you.

I can’t wait for yet another class or workshop! Forgive my busy schedule, I hope to join FIDA soon!   

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For more on Fashion Institute of Design and Arts you can visit http://www.fidarts.com/

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The Wise Owl Says:

Live to teach, Live to  inspire, Live to learn because to Live is to give and gain. – myownself

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day.  ~Elwyn Brooks White

I have a simple philosophy:  Fill what’s empty.  Empty what’s full.  Scratch where it itches.  ~Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living.  The world owes you nothing.  It was here first.  ~Mark Twain

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.  You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.  ~Albert Camus

I count life just a stuff
To try the soul’s strength on.
~Robert Browning

Today, fill your cup of life with sunshine and laughter.  ~Dodinsky

Human life is purely a matter of deciding what’s important to you.  ~Anonymous

The only way to have a life is to commit to it like crazy.  ~Angelina Jolie

To succeed in life, you need three things:  a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.  ~Reba McEntire

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.  ~Havelock Ellis

[Psychoanalysis] is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts.  Life itself still remains a very effective therapist.  ~Karen Horney, Our Inner Conflicts, 1945

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.  ~Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

God asks no man whether he will accept life.  That is not the choice.  You must take it.  The only question is how.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life.  It goes on.  ~Robert Frost

You live and learn.  At any rate, you live.  ~Douglas Adams

Life can be easy, it is only question of choosing between solutions and illusions.  ~Didier D’haese

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.  ~Joseph Campbell

In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures life may perfect be.
~Ben Jonson, To the Immortal Memory and Friendship of that Noble Pair, Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H. Morison, 1640

Life is easier than you’d think; all that is necessary is to accept the impossible, do without the indispensable, and bear the intolerable.  ~Kathleen Norris

I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here, and what the question might mean.  I might think about it a little bit, but if I can’t figure it out, then I go on to something else.  But I don’t have to know an answer….  I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly.  It doesn’t frighten me.  ~Richard Phillips Feynman

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