She Persisted: Meeting Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger

Earlier this week, we were able to have a meet and greet with the awesome ladies behind the books: She Persisted, and She Persisted Around the World care of Book Passage SF. Chelsea Clinton (Yes, of Bill and Hillary) authored the books, and Alexandra Boiger was the illustrator. The books have contributed to the continuing formidable movement towards women empowerment. It just feels good to be a woman right now, to find our voices and break open that glass ceiling. Although I have a son, I find it important to teach him to look at women equally as example of strength and character. I have been fortunate enough to have been raised by a Dad that taught me I can be a force not only as a woman but as an individual who will be capable to make ripples of change. My Dad was honest with me about the real life challenges of working twice as hard as a man and he made sure I could equip myself with resilience, integrity and grit to keep working on my personal goals. 

When I went through both the She Persisted books previously, I have to admit that it made me tear up because of the way these women rose above adversity and made history. It's immensely inspiring to see that we've come a long way, and while we got some ways to go, we cannot forget these courageous Trail Blazers. Chelsea's history celebratory approach coupled with Alexandra's darling illustrations makes for a relatable good read for young girls and boys. These types of books makes me optimistic and agreeable to Oprah that a new day is on the horizon, it makes the change feel palpably imminent. 

Both Chelsea and Alexandra were gracious to all of us who came to see them in person. I found Chelsea to be warm, down to earth, unpretentious and has an innate public service demeanor.  Book Passage, per usual, does an outstanding job in taking care of their customers and book authors. The event also gave me one of my all time fave Mother and Son moment that will be archived under #goodtimesgoodtimes. 

Match for Africa 5: Roger Federer and Bill Gates

Hello dear readers! Yes, I've come back from the deep dark abyss that was the flu. It wasn't fun at all so now I'm playing catch up with every aspect of my life. I'm grateful though that I was able to spring back gradually this week. Because of the inadvertent wait, I'll try to make this post and the next worthwhile for you. So right before I got knocked down with the dreaded flu, if you are following me on instagram, our trio attended the The Match for Africa 5 at the SAP Center in San Jose, CA.  It's an annual fundraiser tennis event of Tennis grand slam titan, Roger Federer, and Tech godfather, Bill Gates benefiting the Roger Federer Foundation. 

The Roger Federer Foundation per the Match for 5 Africa website states: 

For over 14 years, the Roger Federer Foundation has engaged in education programs for children living in poverty in Africa and Switzerland. lt only works with carefully selected local organizations in long-term partnerships and seeks for systemic change and sustainable impact. The Foundation aims therefore to enable and empower the local population in question to assume their responsibility for the solution of its problems with regard to the contents, organisation and finances. In 2017, 18 programs were running in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and in Switzerland for over 7 million USD reaching more than 2500 primary schools and preschools.

The hubby and I took the munchkin with us as he has been enjoying his tennis classes since last year and have become a fan of Roger Federer. It was also an opportunity for the hubby, whose personal sport of choice is tennis, to marvel at Federer who will go down in sports history as one of the greatest. 

Here was there teaser prior to the tennis match: 

The first part of the event was a friendly one-set doubles match by Roger and Bill against NBC Today Show co-host Savannah Guthrie and tennis US olympian, Jack Sock. It was quite enjoyable as they all were given mics so the playfulness of everyone was apparent on the audio. Mr. Gates is. good tennis player to be fair. We found both Savannah Guthrie and Jack Sock naturally charming.  What a dight to behold though to see Roger Federer in action especially for the 2nd part when it was only him and Jack Sock. He plays the sport with sophistication and finesse that it's like watching a beautiful ballet program. 

To donate to the Roger Federer Foundation, click here

Picks & Pics: Under the Weather edition

This week, the flu got me and had the audacity to stay for a bit. I was literally knocked out of my feet. I haven’t had it this bad for a while. The sinus pressure coupled with sore throat we’re excruciating. It started Monday night, fevers in between and body aches that just compounded. Everything tasted bleh, fluids up to the wazoo and alarms through the night to keep the medicine going. I only started to feel relief by Friday morning but remained weak until Saturday. What sucked too was I couldn’t hug and kiss my munchkin who was sad for all the days he came back from school and saw that I wasn’t well. The hubby and my Mom took turns in looking after me and making sure they kept a safe distance between the munchkin and I :(. So grateful for the tlc although, unfortunately, the hubby eventually got the bug from me (hopefully for a way shorter period than mine). 

Here were the regulars this week along with a slew of flu medications: 

1.  Balance Grow Honey Citron and Ginger Tea- found this at Costco last  week not knowing that I was going to be using it  sooner than I expected. It’s tea ina marmalade like texture.  You just put a spoonful or two on hot water. It actually tastes good.

2. Emergen-C Vitamin C fizzy drink mix in Super Orange- supplement to get that dose of Vitamin C  

3. Filipino style Chicken Porridge- warmth all around, comfort food at its best from my Mom :).  

4. Exergen temporal artery scanner- our family’s trusted thermometer. 


Picks & Pics

For this week:

1. Oui by Yoplait, French style yogurt- I love the milder taste and less watery texture of this. Bonus for the cute glass packaging. 

2. Poke Bar at the Market Twitter building- I have yet to come across a better Poke bar than what the Twitter building has. Clean and high quality ingredients makes it a “fresh” experience.

3. Spice Berry for my shellac color for mani at this time. 

4. A Return to Cooking by Eric Ripert- I hope the stars align so we can partake on Chef  Ripert’s culinary offerings.   


Dean & Deluca Roundup

There is only one Dean &Deluca in Northern California and it’s in St. Helena. The reason that the popular New York epicurean establishment made it to the region is in large part due to its former owner and vintner, Leslie Rudd. The hubby and I try to take advantage and stop by when we are in the vicinity. I love how their staff provides valuable insight and excellent recommendations for our culinary inquiries. This time was no different so here’s the roundup:

Assorted salts- Since the hubby discovered the joys of cooking steak via sous vide, we’ve been on the look out for good salts. The best so far is the celtic calt as it really holds the flavor in but we’re always open for more possibilities. The associate recommended these three to try for steaks: White Truffle Salt, Cyprus White Flake Salt, and Applewood Smoked Salt.

Feta & Pink Peppercorn by The Bread Dip Company- Their resident chef recommended this to me and is apparently one of their best sellers. I’ve always liked feta but sometimes it can be overpowering and this has the right balance with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic, Herbs, Canola Oil, Poppy Seeds, and Herbs. The whole Pink Peppercorns gives it character. I paired it the Model Bakery pain au levain and crunchy chilies (more below), et voila, pure magic! I was told that it can be used too with pastas, sandwiches, etc.

Chile Crunch- Per their website: Crunchy, smoky, and infused with just the right amount of heat. Chile Crunch effortlessly transforms any food into a flavor-packed experience. Our unique product is made in small batches from a savory blend of fresh roasted chiles, garlic, onion and spices sautéed in canola oil. The associate told us that the heat comes when you first taste it and it becomes lighter as you go along. I love the texture and crunchiness of the ingredients which totally adds to the yummy experience. I used it with the Feta and peppercorn bread dip, and also with bread and pork rilette from the Fatted Calf.  You can use it basically for anything (meats, fish, salads, etc.) to give it a pop.

Prosecco Bears- This is their version of gummi bears infused with wine flavoring, similar to Sugarfina. Note that they are only flavorings, i.e. non- alchoholic. We all loved this instantly.


Zuzu (Napa)

My heart is full after a packed birthday weekend with the family. For my birthday dinner, we went back to Zuzu in downtown Napa for their Spanish-inspired dishes and tapas. We showed early at 5:00 pmfor an early dinner as they do not take reservations and they fill up rather quickly. There is always a wait if you come later in the evening as they do not have a shortage of patrons. They have such friendly staff too.

Here are our favorites:

Boquerónes; Spanish White Anchovies, sliced Egg & Remoulade on grilled Bread

Queso Frito; Pan fried Manchego Cheese with Roasted Poblano Chiles & Guajillo Sauce

Bacalao; Salt Cod drizzled with White Truffle Oil & Garlic Crostini

Paella del Dia: Bomba Rice, Chorizo, Shellfish, Sofrito and a Daily Meat

Arròs Negra; Black Paella with Clams, Shrimp, Mussels, Calamari and a Daily Fish (after 4pm)

Akaushi Flat-Iron Steak from Snake River Ranch with roasted Jalapeño Chimichurri


Semi-permanent Beauty Tricks/Hacks

Disclaimer: For all intents and purposes, I am not beauty guru in any way shape or form. I actually feel weird calling it a “beauty’ trick or hack but just did it for the sake of appropriate categorization. My only beauty routine mantra is “do your best to look human-ish”, hehehe.

If you have been following my blog for a bit, you’ll know that as a Mom and a professional, I do not have  a lot of time in the morning to get myself made up between getting the munchkin ready for school, driving him to school and parking my car to the train station to get to work. At the same time, I do not want to look like life ran me over so my solution has been to keep make-up simple and done in under 10 minutes. I’ve also come to rely on semi-permanent services like gel/shellac manicures, and eyelashes extensions.

I’ve switched from regular nail polish to gel/Shellac since the middle of 2012. Although it costs more ($30-$40) than the usual mani, I still go for it because it stays put and shiny.  It is sturdy and does not chip away even after 2 weeks. It takes so much for it even to get damaged (unless you’re deliberately keying it, even with that, you have to spend some effort). Your nail just naturally grows out which compels you to get it redone. If you’re a mom like me who does a lot chores with bare hands (not very keen on gloves), you’re going to love shellac because it can really take the beating. It lasts so much longer so you don’t have to the nail salon as much. Word of caution, make sure that your nail salon and the nail technician who does your nails know and follow gel/ shellac directions. It involves thin coats of polish on your natural nail, with a brief time for curing under a UV lamp between every coat, 10 seconds after the base coat, and two minutes each between the two coats of color and the top coat. When the top coat is done, you get a quick shine with a soft cloth and alcohol, et voila! You are done. The longest art of the process isthe prep on your nails prior to the color (cleaning, buffing, cutting, etc.). Also, you need to have strong and healthy nails for it especially for removal that requires a special wrapping process with strong acetone. The chemical allows the polish to be released from the nail bed. It’s also good to observe if you get adverse reaction to the product so you’ll know if it’s compatible to you. It’s not for everybody. There’s been more variety of colors and brands to choose from 2012 to now(Gelish, CND, and OPI comes to my mind). It’s great to have as well right before I travel so I don’t ever have to worry about my nails chipping at any time. Nothing makes me feel like I can rule the world quite like a fresh and sturdy manicure.

Here are videos I could find: 

Over the holidays, I discovered the wonders of semi-permanent eyelash extensions. A cousin urged me do it a couple of years ago but the idea was so foreign to me. I also found that there was not much salons that offered it. Now with its proliferation, the price have become reasonable. I asked my niece the mechanics of it when she got hers done. What sold it to me was the timesaver aspect as you look like you’re always ready to go (and always awake, LOL) without fussing over mascara. Fortunately, the nail salon that would do my gel/shellac manicure that is conveniently located across the munchkin’s tennis class did eyelashes too so I finally did it. The process took about an hour and you lie down eyes closed while the technician glues each small cluster to your lids (no, it wasn’t 1 strip to just plop on like I thought). I didn’t think it was painful and you can actually sleep through it if you like. There’s a glue smell of course during the process but I didn’t think it was overpowering. I was pleasantly surprised with the results and the boys immediately loved it too. It’s nice to enhance every now and then I guess. It felt a bit weird in the beginning as it felt “extra” on my eyes but then I got used to it. I have to choose the right eyeglasses and sunglasses though so I don’t always hit the lens. Overall, I’ve received so much compliments on it so I felt it was worth it. I honestly I have been able to get away with little or no make-up without people asking me if I was feeling under the weather (rude, right?). I usually try to stretch it out in 3 weeks before coming back for refills as some will start to fall as you shower and wash your face. The 4th week is really stretching it out as they will start to look like spiders fell on your lids and decided to sign a lease.

Here's my before and after: 


On both process for mani and lash extensions, I invest about a solid hour each but it makes me worry free for rest of the 3-4 weeks. That’s a huge time saver for me for busy working mom like me and it works. It’s also a time that I just get to relax and feel pampered. For any mom, I don’t think that would be oppressive or disruptive of a household’s schedule or you can do it like me and time it during your child’s activities and you’re not really needed (i.e. you’re just an annoyance).


  1. Read reviews online to check if the establishment is legit and if customers are satisfied especially with cleanliness and safety of products if they were not referred to you by someone you know.

  2. Know if you can physically take it on, i.e. for gel/shellac, do you have strong nails? For eyelashes, do you have sensitive skin or allergies to glue?

  3. Speaking of tips, do not forget to literally tip your person and tip well if you can.  Typical is about 15% but I usually go well over that and I can’t tell you enough how nice it is when they are able to move around your schedule. You take care of them and they will take care of you.

In summary, we don’t always have to have it all together but it helps if we can look like it. I’m open to any more suggestions or recommendations. Please feel free to share your beauty tricks or hacks with me as well.

Ladurée at the Grove

Just cannot pass up the opportunity to get my paws on their fluffy pieces of heaven, Laduree’s macarons, and rose croissants. They still had some Valentine’s day special heart shaped macarons. The shell is flavored with citrus and jasmine note, filled with chocolate ganache infused with Laduree’s Josephine tea. Also got myself the Spring/Easter box, a light teal box to add to my collection, and Jardin Bleu Royal tea.

It was nice to enjoy the balcony area too. They have the classical French interiors like most Laduree while their Beverly Hills counterpart is more of pretty California jewelry box. I find both interiors pleasant.

February at Dominique Ansel LA

If the hubby and I would have it our way, we would like a residence at the Grove. It just never gets old for us  whenever we are able to visit especially now that they house Dominique Ansel, and Ladurée. It’s like an oasis in the middle of bustling Los Angeles.

This time we were able to order what I call “spectacle” treats of cookie shots, and the frozen s’mores as you witness first hand the finishing touch. They pour the vanilla milk on the cookie shaped like a shot glass in front of you. As for the frozen s’mores, they torch the sides of the square shaped marshmallows on a stick. The munchkin, the hubby and the Mamu (my mom) truly savored the cookie shots because they are cookie people, Lol. I am more of a cake person but I did enjoy the frozen s’mores.

The cronut for February is Hibiscus Rose & Toasted Rice. The rose was suble the way I like it and I’m always up for toasted rice. It was wholly delectable for me. We also ordered the Paris-LA which is their version of Paris Brest with choux pastry filled with orange blossom ganache, muscovado ganache, and raspberry jam topped with a chocolate California poppy and poppy seeds.


Ipsy for February

Ok, so I succumbed to the whole beauty subscription thingie. I find that my purchasing inclinations is inversely proportional to my lack of sleep, LOL. Anyhoo, this was my first time so I decided to start small with Ipsy and their cost was reasonable. By the time I put in my payment info, I was notified that I was on the waiting list. I forgot about it and about a month after, I received notification that I was scheduled to receive a package. It came in a bright pink envelope (simple but genius marketing strategy). There was a small cosmetics bag and of course, 5 products. The bag was a simple beige/rose These are the contents for my glam bag:

  1. Klorane Dry Shampoo- I actually liked this instantly. It felt light on my hair and the smell was not overwhelming.

  2. It Cosmestics Bye Bye Undereye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Concealer- I was delighted to see this in the package because I almost bought it a week before. Truly is full coverage with its smooth cream so I welcome it officially to my cosmetics bag.

  3. Luna Highlighter- I do minimal make-up for most days so using a highlighter is only apt for me when I have to go an evening event. I just don’t quite know how to use highlighters in the best way even in the abundance of you tube tutorials.

  4. Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick- I was looking for a neutral toned lippie as the ones I use right now is a deep red and burgundy so this was perfect.

  5. Mellow Precision Pen Eyeliner- I’m more of an pencil eyeliner kind of girl as I like the smoky effect of it so I’m holding off on trying this one. I also don’t feel that I have the steady hands to draw lines accurately from my prior use of other liquid eyeliners, and I am likewise not keen on cat eyes.

All in all, I liked the roundup Ipsy sent me, almost freakishly intuitive so it all worked out. I look forward to the next glam bag.

Vive la Tarte (San Francisco)

Vive la Tarte is another gem I found via Instagram. When I showed the pics to the hubby, it was a done deal to visit. Since I am already in the city every day, it was quite convenient to have an early brekkie with the hubby. The space looks small from the outside but it is massive once you get inside. They have stadium seats on the left and have regular seating with tables on the right. I found the projected menu wholly fascinating which complimented the minimalist industrial vibe. You can actually see all the baking action happening while perusing their goodies.

As for their menu, they had banana/ginger and key lime croissants that morning. I am one of those weird people that can eat bananas plainly (but I won’t look for it) if I have to but do not like them when incorporated in bread or pastry. I do love plantains for dessert but not regular bananas, like I said, I’m weird. I wanted to put it in context so when I say I totally loved the banana/ginger croissant, it’s really saying something. The flavors were perfectly balanced on the cream, it was magical. They also had filled donuts and the munchkin loved the vanilla. The hubby also ordered this egg, bacon and cheese focaccia that was so yummy. All went well with Sightglass coffee.

We would totally go back to try their “tacros”. Vive la Tarte have 2 locations:

Main- 1160 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Branch- 166 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105


Pics & Picks

Round-up for the week:

  1. Fred and Friends Copper Solo Cup- I love this play on the copper Moscow mules. It’s chic without being pretentious, IMO.

  2. Askinosie Chocolates featuring Davao, Philippines cocoa beans- Learn more about them here:

  3. Ginger lime, and Twisted Mango Diet Cokes- These are my faves from the new Diet Coke flavors. They also have feisty cherry and  zesty blood orange.

    4. Vintage-ish letter board- I got this at Target at their dollar aisle for $3 only. I try to change my mantra every few weeks. The only downside is that the kit  does not provide so much pieces per letter so you have to make do and be creative so as not to use the same vowels over and over. They also had a pink board but as you all know turquoise is still numero uno in my book. 



Happy Valentine’s Day

Wishing you all a have a wonderful and affectionate Valentine’s Day! Spread the love! ❤️


Girl Empowerment Books

On my recent visit to Amazon Books, I was delighted to see a significant amount of books about women or profession that little girls can aspire for. I hope that there will be more books to come so we may empower the women of tomorrow. Here’s a few: 

She Persisted

by: Chelsea Clinton

The Girl who thought in Pictures

by: Julia Finley Mosca

Women in Science, and Women In Sports written and illustrated by: Rachel Ignotofsky

Rosie Revere, Engineer; and Ada Twist, Scientist

by: Andrea Beaty 

Din Tai Fung (Valley Fair, San Jose)

We first tasted Din Tai Fung in Glendale, California after we missed visiting it in Hong Kong. It’s a popular Taiwanese chain in Asia. We loved it and had other Xiao long Baos (soup dumplings) after but no one seems to come close to DTF. We were so excited that they opened one finally in the Bay Area last year but we had to let a few months go by because we heard the queue’s been crazy. They don’t take reservations, you have to check in first and then they will text you once you’re next to get a table. We finally went a week ago and we waited for a little bit over an hour before getting the text. It was fine though because we were going around since it was inside the Westfield Valley Fair mall. About another 20 minutes wait before actually getting seated. You revel behind the glass watching them make these dumplings by hand. Makes for an entertaining wait.

We ordered the Xiao long Baos of course, shrimp shiumai, wonton soup, minced pork noodles, stir frien noodles and fried rice pork.  They were all superb as the hubby and I remember it to be. The iced black tea with salted cream and boba was ridiculously good we still dream about it. 

Here’s their address: 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95050


I have this fondness for fresh smelling scents. I do not generally do well with traditional strong floral scents although I love fresh flowers. I first heard of Diptyque as the candle of choice by celebrities and luxury shops such as Dave Yurman. Recently, I was at Nordstrom at the Jo Malone section trying to picking out another fresh fragrance to add to my already fave, French Lime Basil. The associate was quite inundated with patrons before me and Diptyque section was next to it. It was a particularly busy afternoon for them as well and one of their associate asked me if I could just give her 5 minutes to wrap up a transaction she’ll give me a rundown of their products. I was glad that I agreed. She gave me a brief history and sizable options for my “fresh” particular preference. I love that their products smelled so nice but didn’t have harsh ingredients. I picked Do Son eau de parfum, their website describes it as: Tuberose, Orange Leaves, Pink Peppercorns, Musk - Divinely mysterious tuberose unveils its powers of seduction on a bed of berries and flowers. It is embraced by the fresh sweetness of a sea breeze, like a pagoda on the edge of the Gulf of Tonkin.  Coincidentally I was interested in Jo Malone’s Tuberose Angelica so it was perfect that this one had tuberose as well (I will come back for JM some other time). 

I must say that so far, Do Son has been long lasting. I got the bottle for home and a convenient travel roll to take with me in my bag.  The hubby and my son raves about the smell (“She always smells so good” always make it to his top 3 descriptions of me already,  Lol, so this reinforces his notion). It’s so gentle though that you can also use it as hair mustI did succumb to getting a candle as well just out of curiosity of what the big deal is. The associate also gave me sample of their satin oil, and home spray. Needless to say, I’m also now a Diptyque customer. 

Pre-Valentine’s Breakfast

Pre-❤️’s day French themed brekkie with the boys. A duo of pistachio, and mixed berries beignets made by the hubby. Tea and coffee services (barista 🤣) by wifey. Appetite and excitement by the munchkin 😆. Oui, oui! 💋#teambrekkie #happyvalentine #jadoremoncher #beignets #maisonliberato

To Grandma Catalina

I remember her bright yellow Metro Aide shirt when I was a kid in the Philippines, tired but always working, sweeping the streets, rain or shine. It was amazing to see this seemingly frail immigrant widow from Guadalupe, Makati find her place under the Southern California sun still in the service of others. To us, You are the original siga of Mariposa. You graciously took me under your care when my wings weren’t quite ready. Today you went from one City of Angels to another. It’s been an arduous fight Lola and you fought like a champ, Rest In Peace ❤️. #sleeptightgrandmataling #gratefulforgrandmas #losangelesmemories


Valentine's Day Traditions

Do you have any Valentine’s day traditions with your kids? The thing was with our family, my brother’s birthday fell on Valentine’s day so naturally most of the celebration was geared towards him. I remember he always had a chocolate heart cake when we were growing up. In the midst of all the hoopla of the day, my Daddy was still able a mini tradition with me, giving me heart shaped donuts from Dunkin Donuts. This is the reason why DD consistently has a nostalgic effect on me and why my son is nicknamed as the “Munchkin”.  My tradition with the munchkin is that I give him a card from the hubby and I, mini balloon (sometimes with chocolates or macarons). We also have him give cards and some sort of treat for his two widowed grandmas so they will perpetually have a Valentine.