Coffee: is it good or bad for your health?

Ever since I could remember, I’ve always loved coffee. No matter how much I love my frappuccino, I still prefer coffee hot even on a warm day. I used to take it BLACK. Just plain coffee, no sugar and no milk. But then, I started feel palpitations hehehe 🙂 Seriously, I thought that if I’d drink coffee often, I should at least enjoy it with sugar and a little bit of milk or creamer.

People who know me would often send me free/complimentary 3 in 1 coffee mixes, and to be honest, I can be a perfect endorser for some of these products. Not like with my chocolate cakes, I drink almost any brand of coffee. Of course I would have my favorites, and coffee is really much better if it’s brewed, but I’m a very mobile person so I just bring packets of instant coffee mixes with me.

Since I need to know what I put in my body, I did some research about coffee. I was surprised that there’s a lot of difference when you French-pressed it instead of using the ordinary paper filters. One leaves more oil therefore there’s a big chance of raising your bad cholesterol when you drink it often.

There’s a lot of debate about whether drinking too much coffee is good or bad for your health. There are also studies conducted by several universities to prove that coffee consumption is either detrimental or beneficial to one’s health.

While reading some of the results, I was analyzing my own health. Am I really over doing my intake of coffee? How much is too much? Which is healthier, hot or cold coffee? These questions kept on popping in my mind while reading.

Well, one study shows that drinking coffee will lessen one’s chances of having Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. That’s a good thing, right? And oh, in Taiwan, research showed that coffee actually helps in preventing Type 2 Diabetes.

These are just about coffee… I haven’t even touched on the subject of regular coffee (caffeinated) and decaf. I can’t stand the taste of decaf; I feel like I’m cheating myself with it. It’s like you’re drinking coffee but you’re not. Maybe it’s a psychological thing for me, but I do want to be informed on exactly what the differences are between these two.

Caffeine is a stimulant. Therefore, some people drink coffee to keep them on their toes. But for someone like me whose blood is half coffee, I don’t get stimulated by coffee anymore. But I don’t really have a normal sleeping time either. My dorm mates, on the other hand, depend on coffee whenever they need to be up all night.

Help me with this please, because as much as I would want to continue with my coffee habit, I still consider my health as my top priority. Maybe if you know something about coffee, we could exchange ideas in here, and maybe share some recipes too. I don’t normally bake, but I know espresso really makes a difference when baking anything with chocolate. ‘Til next time!

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

Rainy days and the Pinoy dishes that match

Last week was hell week for me. I got stuck in the office for four days straight and I had to shop for extra essentials because I couldn’t work while smelling like yesterday’s news.  My body was practically running on coffee—news was everywhere so work at the media firm I work in just kept on piling up.  Add that to the fact that there was really no room to sleep in, so I just ended up taking multiple naps.

But if there’s one thing that I was overwhelmed with during the calamity, aside from flood water, it was food.  Inasmuch as I feel for the victims who were stuck in their rooftops, my officemates and I were constantly hungry and had to refuel as needed.

Do you notice that whenever it’s raining you feel like you’re always craving for something? Some people crave for food, while others have this feeling of snuggling on a sofa with just a hot coffee or cocoa.  If I could indulge on a rainy day, I would cook something, anything! I don’t usually eat after, but the smell of food in the room calms me. I guess food really has that effect on me.  I don’t really have to eat it, i just have to see it.

As a proud “promdi,” there are certain foods that we like to cook when it’s raining, or what I like to call “bed weather”.

  1. Suam na mais – For some people, the sabaw of choice is sinigang because it’s hot and sour, good for rainy days.  But I love the stickiness of the corn, sautéed in shrimps, garlic and onions. Then top it off with chicharon.  Any fried food will go well with it, but I prefer fried fish like tilapia or galunggong.  If they’re fried super crispy, you can actually eat even the bones.
  2. Champorado – Need I say more? Chocolate rice pudding: you can eat it either hot or cold.  I like it hot, then pour some milk over it.  Good to eat when cuddled up in the sofa with a big blanket while watching TV.  My mom and my grandmother like to pair it with tuyo, but I don’t eat tuyo so I always skip that part.
  3. Turon – I know turon with ice cream is a summer thing, but when it’s raining, my family usually has nothing better to do so we end up in the kitchen, cooking whatever is available in the pantry. This is one of the things we often whip up for ourselves.
  4. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and suman – This I can eat over and over again.  I wait for at least a day after buying the suman before frying them and then submerging them in hot chocolate.  Yummy!
  5. Chicken sopas – I have to be honest, I don’t normally cook this because I’m the only one who’s fond of it at home.  But whenever I’m out and it’s raining, if a restaurant we’re in serves it, I’ll definitely order it from their menu.  I just like the comfort it brings when you drink in the milky soup.

I hope you guys stay safe and dry.  I heard there’s more rains coming.  Stock up on food, batteries and don’t forget to just enjoy life.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

Getting your make-up to last

I’ve heard that people with an oily skin type are lucky because the extra moisture in their skin slows down the aging process. (If this were a Facebook post, this is where I’d hit the “Like” button.) However, I can’t help but be frustrated when my carefully-applied make-up melts after only an hour or two; I have better things to do with my time than to reapply my “face” several times a day. And so, over the years, I’ve made it a habit to take note of and experiment with techniques and products that will help my make-up to last longer.

Here are some tips, tricks, and products that you can incorporate into your make-up routine:

Use a primer. Applied before foundation, this product is especially crucial for those with combination/oily skin, but those with drier skin types will also benefit from using this product. A pea-sized amount is usually enough to cover the entire face; you can also blend it down unto the neck area.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer and Mary Kay Oil Mattifier

Work foundation into the skin. Different methods of application—by hand, using a sponge, using a brush–are recommended by different make-up artists; experiment and stick to the method you prefer. The important thing is to blend well with gentle but firm strokes; make sure the product is not just sitting on the surface. Also, setting with powder helps. Blend the powder well, too, so your face doesn’t look cakey; you don’t want to look like an espasol.

Spend a bit more time on your eyes. You can opt to use an eyeshadow primer. But the key to getting your eyeshadows to last is to apply, blend, apply, and blend again. Layering is key. You’ll get more staying power if you apply a little product at a time and slowly build up intensity rather than applying tons of shadow all in one go. Also, matte finish shadows–as opposed to shimmery or frosty ones–generally stay longer on  the lids.

A couple of eye primers: Stila Prime Pot and Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer

Use waterproof foundation and eye products if you have them. These really make a difference in terms of longevity. Keep in mind though that waterproof make-up will usually require special removers. Oh and if you will only ever invest in one waterproof product, let it be mascara.

From top to bottom: Max Factor Colour Perfection Pencil Eyeliner; MAC Loud Lash (this mascara really does not budge, but it can be difficult to remove afterwards); Maybelline Hyper Curl Mascara; and K-Palette Real Lasting Liquid Eyeliner

A make-up fixative is helpful, but not necessary. After you’ve finished applying your products, hold the fixative about 12 inches away from your face and spritz 3-4 times to cover your face and neck; wait awhile and then blot the excess lightly with a facial tissue. This should help your look stay in place even longer.

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Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix

Retouching is key. During the course of the day (or night), lightly blot any areas that have gotten a tad shiny with oil absorbency sheets or one sheet of facial tissue. Dust powder lightly only on the areas that need it, since applying all over could make you look cakey. Assuming you applied your makeup well in the first place, the only other makeup product that you will need to reapply is lipstick/lip gloss.

This post was written by Anj de la Cruz.

Missing the kitchen… and my baon!

No kitchen in my dorm!
No such kitchen in my dorm! 😦

I don’t like it when I can’t cook, or when I’m staying in a place without a kitchen. Cooking’s always been my “escape”. I cook when I’m happy, when I’m sad, and when I just feel like it.  So imagine if I have to stay somewhere without a spatula or even a fridge?

My life’s been turned upside down for the past month. I started work with this special project, its grown-up stuff… meaning, boring and really, not related to cooking.  I moved back to my old dorm and even though I feel comfortable in it, there’s one thing missing: the kitchen. My dorm don’t allow any form of cooking, well, aside from the instant cup noodles that you just pour hot water in, there’s no way I could sneak in a portable stove without them noticing it, or smelling it.

Every day, I feel like I’m in a scavenger’s hunt for the food that I want to eat and bring to work.  Yes! I prepare my baon because my schedule is weird and when I work, I usually don’t like being bothered.  I live near a university, so food is really abundant.  But I’m also wary of the many possibilities that these foods are not properly prepared.

So, every day I try to look at the food, not caring if the customer next to me is annoyingly tapping her foot while waiting for me to finish my order.  I make a mental note of the food they offer that day, and if I decide to go back the next day, I’ll look at their menu and see if it’s a re-hash of yesterday’s offering.

I’m really not picky, but I do know the look of food when it’s fresh and it’s already been a day’s old.  I remember when I was still in high school. I don’t like bringing lunch boxes to school. I had that period where I wanted to look cool in front of the other students, so I would line-up in the cafeteria and scout for whatever piping hot food they had to offer.

For moms out there, maybe it’s added work if you pack your kids’ lunchboxes, but it’s always better to be safe than be sorry later.  I know cafeteria food is not as bad as it seems, but there’s just too much junk food available to your kids, and you’re not always there to regulate how much of it they take in. So, I suggest give them something nutritious to combat whatever junk they’ll put in their mouths come lunch time.  A packed lunch with some protein, carbs and a little amount of sweet will help your children get through the day.

Don’t worry, it might take time for kids to get used to having packed lunches, and they might even say that “it’s so not cool” bringing lunch kits at school, but believe me, they’ll get used to it eventually.  And if they’re hard-headed, just bring out your “mothers know best” card. I’m sure they can’t argue with that.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.