Saturday, July 30, 2011

Coming soon from Starbucks: Hot lunch sandwiches, new beverages

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Beginning August 9, 2011, Starbucks patrons will be treated to a whole slew of new, hot lunch sandwiches. At a recent blogger event I was invited to, we were served seven (7) new sandwiches and got to taste two (2) new beverages coming up.

Celine Clemente, Starbucks' Senior Category Specialist, is the woman behind these new sandwiches. I found out from her that they normally change menus once a year. (Hint: if you have a favorite lunch sandwich now, better eat it before August 9, hahaha).

We were also told that not all these sandwiches are heated up inside and out. Some of these sandwiches are served with the bread hot but the filling cold. That was a surprise for me as I always thought that everything was served hot. Apparently, some sandwiches' tastes come out better when the filling is cold. This kind of heating, where only the bread is warmed, uses a convection oven. Note -- each Starbucks branch has this kind of oven.

Another note. Only 4 out of the 7 sandwiches will be available nationwide. Another 2 will be available in all Starbucks branches except in Baguio, Boracay, Bacolod, Cebu, CDO, Davao, Iloilo and Naga. And to make up for this loss, the seventh variant will be available to those places that don't serve the two sandwiches.

It was a good thing I skipped merienda that day because we got a taste of all 7 sandwiches. Here they are:


The Ultimate Grilled Cheese is a grilled cheese sandwich that has six different types of cheeses - Gruyere, Emmenthal, Feta, Provolone, Mozzarella and cheddar with slices of Hungarian sausage. Biting into it, you can taste a hint of roasted garlic and Italian herbed butter on the bread slices as well. I think this will be a favorite of cheese lovers.

A healthy option is the Roasted Chicken Pesto and Shiitake Mushroom on Flat Bread. It's got roasted chicken breast fillet tossed with aromatic pesto mayo sauce and Shiitake mushroom and topped with melted Emmenthal and cheddar cheese on grilled flat bread.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Banapple Greenhills is now open!

I've been waiting for this for a long time now. And here it is. Banapple is now in Greenhills! Located at Northeast Square along Connecticut St., Banapple is one of several new restos near Northeast and East Greenhills.

Like its siblings in the Katipunan area, Banapple retains its bright, sunshine-y, orange-y look in its Greenhills branch. The orange ceiling lamps, the candy-striped wallpaper, and the homey ambience of children's books in recessed walls give diners that warm feeling. Kids would love to linger here as they can while away time reading through the books on tables with a surface made of colorful pebbles in different designs.

The Greenhills branch also has the usual fare of breads and dessert.

When we were invited to try out their food fare, they did not have their new menu yet but just a heads-up for you all to ask for their new food items next time you visit.

This is what we tried the day we visited.

I began with a cup of their Cafe Latte. Normally I would go for a stronger cup but this was already my second coffee serving for the day so I opted for the lighter coffee variant.

Cafe Latte (PhP 85)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Globe SUPERUNLIALLTXT - only P25 a day

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I'm a prepaid Globe user. I was a postpaid user before but shifted to prepaid when I stopped working and did not need to make as many calls as I used to.

Prepaid plans have served me well. I've used Globe's UNLITXT, SULITXT, SUPERSURF and POWERSURF plans depending on whether I needed to do a lot of texting or surfing the web.

But today, Globe did a one-up by launching their SUPERUNLIALLTXT plan. From that long word alone, you can guess that it combines features from the other prepaid text and surfing plans they have.

SUPERUNLIALLTXT costs P25/day only. Not bad! And here are its features:

* Unlimited texting to any network carrier - Globe, TM, Talk 'n Text, Smart, Sun for a day

* One hour FREE internet browsing

To register to SUPERUNLIALLTXT: Type UALL25 and send to 8888. Minimum balance of P1 is needed to continue using this service.

Mobile users who text and browse the internet have a better option now. In my case, I usually use a 3G connection while on the road to stay connected. Instead of subscribing to a text plan AND an internet plan, this is what I can use from now on.

Coca-Cola can glasses are here!

The Coca-Cola Company and McDonald's Corporation have partnered once again to offer a series of 6 colored Coke can glasses. Only 13 McDonald's markets in the Asia Pacific region, including the Philippines, will be able to avail of this offer so it is a true collectible for Coke collectors.

Every time you go to McDonald's and avail of an Extra Value Meal, you can get a Coca-Cola can glass in your color of choice: blue, charcoal, green, lime, pink and purple. Just add P25 to get one glass.

This is the first time that the contemporary-shaped Coke can glass will be available through McDonald's. This is what John Hackett, Coca=Cola Pacific Group Marketing, Customer and Commercial Director said, "Coca-Cola glasses are unique collector's items, and as we celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola in 2011 we are excited to offer the Coca-Cola can glass to McDonald's Asia consumers for the first time. We know consumers will enjoy collecting the multiple colors, and the fizz of Coca-Cola at McDonald's".

Start collecting now. Get the entire color collection or match the glasses to your dining set by getting several of one color. 

Which color/s are you planning to get?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Those hip Urbanears headphones are in Digital Walker!

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When it comes to headphones, I tend to ask friends for recommendations before buying because those hip-looking earphones I see in computer shops may be eye candy but may not necessarily have great sounds. This is why my last purchase was the original Apple earphones with a built-in mike which set me back some P1,600. Better safe than sorry.

When Carlo invited me to Digital Walker Eastwood's launch of Urbanears headphones, I thought that I'd have the chance to check out something other than Apple products. The Apple earphones I had were okay, sound-wise, but the metal earpieces hurt my ears after prolonged use. I was longing to find another option.

Urbanears is a company out of Stockholm, Sweden. Their team is made up of entrepreneurs, industrial and graphic designers, tech nerds, former retailers, salesmen and businessmen. They have backgrounds not only in electronics and design but in fashion as well. Their aim is to produce earphones that do not just have excellent sound quality but great fashion sense as well.

Vic Icasias of Technoodling

I picked up some very interesting trivia about Urbanears from blogger, Vic Icasias:

* The models - Urbanears' 4 models (Bagis, Tanto, Medis, Plattan) are derived from the names of suburbs in Sweden. In fact, the coordinates of each town is found in the packaging of the related Urbanears, just like this one.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nominate your 10 bets for the Globe Tatt Awards now!

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When it comes to adapting to technology, Pinoys are definitely not far behind but oftentimes, waaaay ahead! And we have taken like fish to water as well with social media, making the Philippines known as the Social Networking Capital of the world.

Recognizing that as many as 95% of online Pinoys are into social media, Globe Tattoo has launched the first ever Tatt Awards -- a series of awards recognizing Filipinos who have used their passion and energy to create a strong, unforgettable social media presence.

Timed to launch last June 30 with the second annual celebration of Social Media Day, an initiative of award-winning social media and tech news site, Mashable, the Tatt Awards seek to find 10 awardees in 10 different categories to be the first to be recognized in the field of social media.

Judging will consist of social media peers as well as the Tatt Awards Council of Judges including veteran journalist and the force behind ABS-CBN’s News and Current Affairs initiatives Maria Ressa; Rock Ed Philippines founder Gang Badoy; prolific blogger and entrepreneur Cecile Zamora-Van Straten; tech blogger supreme and Tattoo ambassador Rico Mossesgeld; Flippish star and YouTube personality, director, and video blogger Kring Elenzano; RX radio DJ Chico Garcia; President of the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association (IMMAP) Hans Roxas-Chua; and Tattoo Head of Nomadic Broadband Business, Dong Ronquillo.

4 of the 8 judges (L-R): Dong Ronquillo, Gang Badoy, Rico Mossesgeld, Kring Elenzano

Nominations are already open and will run till July 14, 2011. After the nomination period, the nominees in each category will be shortlisted and will undergo another screening round with the judges.

You can nominate anyone (or in the case of some categories, any group) and you can nominate as many people as possible. Here are the 10 categories:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Seeing the brighter side of life with the "Be Happy" Movement of NGF

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Studies show a rising incidence of depression. Unfortunately, depression is not easily recognized as such and treated appropriately and as a result, suicides occur when these may have been prevented. Some depression triggers known include, but are not limited to, sad moments brought about by rejection, failure, trauma, and illness or loss of a loved one. Each one of these triggers requires varying medical approaches to manage and treat the resulting depression.

The Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF) was set up in loving memory of Natasha Goulbourn who suffered from depression but was known for her love for life and compassion for others. Her Mom, Jean Goulbourn, is its President. The foundation was created with the sole mission of sharing with the world wide-ranging education and comprehensive information about depression. And it seeks to demystify and help eliminate the stigma carried by people suffering from depression by holding lectures and seminars that promote integrative approaches in the management and treatment of depression. Both proven modalities of mainstream as well as alternative medicine are employed for the benefit of those suffering from depression.

NGF believes that before real depression sets in, a state of happiness can be created and maintained on a regular, continuing basis. So they decided to launch the "Be Happy" movement -- to plant small seeds of happiness that eventually blossom into feelings of joy, pleasure and cheerfulness within the self. These "seeds" could be as simple as a kind gesture, a word of encouragement, a smile or a hug.

How does this "Be Happy" movement work?

A!life Nurtures the Nurturing Woman

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Been there, done that!

I've led a very busy and fast-paced life as an IT auditor, IT consultant and banking executive for close to 20 years while trying to raise 4 kids. I almost lost our youngest child due to a threatened abortion while in the midst of a very stressful joint venture negotiation. When I quit working cold turkey to become a full-time homemaker, my busy day just shifted from work to home. I became busy attending to the needs of the children, making myself very visible as class officer, then parent council member.

My life is similar to those of other women out there who pursue a second career while still trying to be as nurturing as possible to children and to spouse. Our days are not over when we come home. We just exchange our corporate hat for our homemaker hat. This life can get very stressful when children and spouse get sick because we have a third hat - that of a caregiver.

The woman who takes care of everyone has to have someone (or something) take care of her as well so she can continue functioning the way she wants to. I know what it is like to be so busy that sometimes I forego a meal or forget to take my vitamins. And when I get sick, my family seems at a loss as to how to take care of me because I normally take care of them!

This is what Pascual Laboratories was thinking of when it created the A!life line just for women. The people behind Pascual Laboratories came up with 6 different supplements, with each one addressing a particular health concern of a woman to nurture the woman's needs so she can continue to nurture her loved ones.

The products that they presented to us during the launch are the following:

a!life Protect - for healthy, radiant skin
Free radicals pose a health risk to people, making them ill, overweight and lethargic. These are released into the body by stress, pollution, poor diet, radiation, pesticides, etc. Constant sun exposure of skin to UV light also generates oxygen radicals which damage skin cells and connective tissues. a!life Protect is said to contain Pynogenol, a super antioxidant that helps to protect the immune system against the free radicals while inhibiting inflammation caused by UV exposure.