Revelations

 

There are some things, apparently, that I would rather not know. Or that make me question the level of curiosity that I actually have. Jaime and I talked about whether we would get a Congenital Anomaly Scan for our child. A Congenital Anomaly Scan, as the name suggests, is a detailed ultrasound, usually done late second trimester, that checks for any abnormalities in your baby and whether it is growing as it should. Sort of like your baby’s first ever Report Card.

The phrase alone sounded like a terrifying prospect. Anomaly. Aberration. Abnormality. Would we want to know if our child had a defect, some sort of flaw in her genetic makeup? What would we do if we were told that yes, Mr. and Mrs. Martinez, there is something… not quite right with your child. Would we be less joyful, less brave, less thankful?

The answer was, no. If the child had an anomaly in his grand design, then so be it. It is still his own design, and it will be no less grand. This was a child, after all. This was our child, and we would love our child, with all the courage, joy, and thanksgiving our hearts can muster. Whether or not he had a hole in his heart, or had six fingers in his right hand instead of five.

And so we trooped to the Women’s Health Center at St. Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City, for the Congenital Anomaly Scan. Jaime sat at the waiting area, and I was left alone at the screening room. At times the OB sonologist would say such charming things as “Now let’s count the fingers. One..two…three…four…teka di ko makita yung panglima,” triggering a mild myocardial infarction. “Nandyan lang yan!” I would feel like yelling. “Hanapin mo doc!”

“Ahhhh there you go. Nakatakip lang pala. Five fingers on the left! Tingnan natin yung sa right…”

And the whole fun process would start again.

“This is the eye. I have to see a white mass there or..”

“Or…? Or?!?!”

“Or it means your baby may have a cataract.”

“A cataract? As in parang sa mga matatanda?

“Yes.”

“…”

The baby seemed to enjoy this process because it shifted its position and we were forced to wait until it decided to move again and torment mommy no longer. Thankfully, it turned out that my baby’s eyes do not resemble that of his great grandfather’s. No cataract. Cue tremendous sigh of relief.

She then moved on to the heart (4 chambers, check! regular heart rate, check!) brain, lungs, spinal cord, etc. I must say, this OB sonologist was very thorough, and explained everything every step of the way. I was amazed at how detailed these scans are. I could see my baby’s kidneys! I actually know more about this 23 week old fetus than I do about my own body.

To be fair, the tension was more a reflection of my own apprehensions and anxieties rather than the OB sonologist’s relatively candid manner. Every time the OB sonologist paused, or checked her “book” (which presumably tells you the normal-not normal range), or every time she would mutter even the slightest, most imperceptible “hmmmm…” I would silently pray, bargain, and make all sorts of promises to the Almighty. “Lord, please make my baby healthy and I swear I will never bitch about anything in my life ever again!”

Thankfully the OB sonologist gave my baby a clean bill of health. Everything is where they should be, and measures how they ought to measure, and looks how they ought to look. Thank you lord! I shall strive, with all my heart, to keep my promise!

It amuses me when people say kamukha ko or kamukha ni Jaime. All I see is a melting baby! Haha. Hello there!

It amuses me when people say kamukha ko or kamukha ni Jaime. All I see is a melting baby! Haha. Hello there!

He or she?

When it came time to reveal the gender, Jaime was called to the room. The OB sonologist showed us our baby and there and then, I saw our future flash before my eyes.

I shall keep the gender a secret for now, as my darling mother, the excited grandmother-to-be, wants us to throw a gender reveal party come Christmas time. I was puzzled. What IS a gender reveal party? Apparently it’s literally what the name says – it is a party where you reveal the gender. My mom showed me some pegs. Who cooks up these things? But even I had to admit they were cute. The piece de resistance in most parties is this huge box filled with pink balloons if it’s a girl, and blue balloons if it’s a boy. After everyone has voted, the parents open the box and tadaaaa! Out come the balloons!

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We plan to do it during the Christmas party with all the relatives from my mom’s side. I doubt a secret of this magnitude will even last until December, but we’ll see.

September favorites

1. My Amazing Blow Dry Secret

I am the ultimate consumer and I love products with outrageous claims. Some favorites: “Dramatically Different Moisturizing lotion,” “Hope in a jar,” “Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow” and “Ultimate Miracle Worker Night Rejuvenating cream.” Take note, dramatically different. Not just “different” or “somewhat different.” Dramatically different. And not just “night rejuvenating cream,” but THE “ultimate miracle worker night rejuvenating cream.” My Amazing Blow Dry Secret Quick Dry Shake n Spray, I’m happy to discover, is no different. Amazing ba talaga? Well, in a word, yes. The product promised to cut my blow drying time in half. That is no easy feat, considering I have long, thick, wavy hair, which isn’t code for “healthy” so much as “annoying” or “unmanageable.” Not that I blow dry my hair every day, but on the times I do, this product did manage to speed up the entire process. Yey for products that deliver on their promise! The only downside is that it doesn’t leave my hair with that nice, fresh scent. Unlike my trusty Vitress Hair Protect serum . It’s quite pricey too, again unlike Vitress which retails for less than 30 bucks.

2. The Wet Brush
I am, shamelessly if I might say, so easily swayed by advertisements, cute names (see example above), and I believe everything that advertisements tell me. Whiter teeth in 7 days? Yes please! Lose 10 pounds in 1 month? Where do I sign up? I’m naturally curious and I am horribly gullible. Doesn’t always make for the best combination. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. The Wet Brush is supposedly “Kendall Jenner’s favorite brush.” Yes, that’s exactly how they advertised it. I’m not a fan of the Jenners, per se, but if something is some celebrity’s favorite, well, then there goes all my sensibility out the window. It’s Kendall Jenner’s favorite brush! It makes her hair beautiful, and if she’s beautiful enough to have the most liked photo on Instagram EVER, well, the girl must know what she is talking about.

In all fairness to the product, The Wet Brush is truly the softest brush I’ve ever used. It does detangle my hair and it can be used for either wet hair or dry hair. I use it for both, although I enjoy it more when I use it while my hair is wet. I plan to give this to friends for Christmas. I imagine thrusting this into their hands and saying “This is Kendall Jenner’s favorite! And it will be yours too!”

3. K-Palette Lasting Two Way Eyebrow Pencil
Doing my eyebrows is my favorite thing to do in the morning. I don’t always get it right. Some days it’s acceptable, some days the right brow looks better than the left. Some days both brows are a mess. But I enjoy doing it just because I don’t know exactly how it will turn out. This product has given me more “good days” than bad days. It’s easy to use too. I just line my brows with the pencil, fill it up using the eyebrow, and I’m done. I think it’s safe to say that this little thing shall remain in my kikay kit for the time being.

 

4. Bad Bird Umami Fried Chicken
This was a discovery Jaime and I made on a casual Saturday afternoon date at Hole in the Wall, Century City Mall. I wasn’t actually sure if umami was safe for pregnant women, so While waiting in line, I had to Google “umami safe for pregnant women.” Before my pathetic 3G internet worked, we were up next and I decided, fuck it, bahala na. So I went ahead and got this umami fried chicken with 2 pcs sweet potato waffles with miso butter and maple syrup. Susmio ang sarap. No regrets whatsoever. Jaime got the Dirty Plate, which consisted of the fried chicken, fried rice with bacon and chicken liver, and kimchi. Delicious as well.

And if you’re wondering if umami is indeed safe for pregnant women, yes, it’s generally safe for pregnant women and children. Ha!

5. Akemi Suprelle Ultra Quilt duvet
I have searched high and low for a duvet that isn’t too heavy, too expensive, too thick, etc. We would love to have goose down feather duvets, but alas, no tengo dinero. The ones I previously purchased were too thick that we ended up sweating, even with airconditioning on. The one “feathery” duvet we had was hand me down, and it was so worn out that we literally had to sweep feathers around the bed every morning. Not fun. Akemi’s Suprelle Ultra Quilt comforter is the best duvet I’ve ever had. Really soft but provides just the right amount of warmth. It was warm when you want to be warm, and cold when you feel like being cold. Yes to technology! And if that doesn’t make sense to you, you will have to get one and see for yourself.

Gold!

We celebrated Jaime’s birthday this year with a bang – by watching Spandau Ballet, live in Manila. Well if, like us and our tito tita standards, you define ‘bang’ as watching an 80s band perform their greatest hits and some new songs they have churned out over the years. We thoroughly enjoyed the concert, as did the hundreds of other titos and titas in the audience.

Spandau Ballet sang old favorites like Gold, Through the Barricades, Lifeline, Round and Round, and of course, True. We were thrilled that Fra Lippo Lippi was the opening act, too. Or at least one member of the band was. Yihee prom songs. The kids in the audience had absolutely no idea what was going on.

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Grisly little trivia: Spandau Ballet actually refers to the “dance” that Jewish prisoners made while they were being gassed or hanged at Nazi concentration camps. No wonder the band landed in the list of “World’s Worst Band Names,” a list that includes Dogs Die in Hot Cars and Crazy Penis.

It will be a couple more years before Jaime actually turns golden. Hopefully we’ll still have enough energy to watch concerts then.

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Gourmand Market

When we were in London for our honeymoon, Jaime and I wanted to check out their famous Borough Market, but we never got the chance to. So when I heard that the 3rd run of the Gourmand Market, which was supposedly inspired by London’s Borough Market, was going to be held in BGC on the same weekend we were in town, we figured, why not?! So off we went.

The place looked something out of a Pinterest dream board. Chic, stylized food booths, cutesy little handpainted wooden signs, picnic tables, chalkboard menus, all that stuff.

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We spent the days of our weekend gorging on glorious food. Here are our favorites for future reference (Left to Right)

HHome by Good Earth Asado Pork Floss – asado siopao with sesame dressing and pork floss on top

Phatboy’s Ice Cream Sandwich – I got the mint ice cream, sandwiched by giant Chocolate Chip cookie on one side, and a dark chocolate chip cookie on the other. Topped with m&ms and chocolate chips. Heaven.

Gourmet Garage’s Crackling Bagnet wrap – wasn’t able to take a photo of the actual wrap, but it looks and tastes as good as that bagnet right over there.

El Jefe’s tortilla chips, with cheese dip, and salsa and everything good in life on it.

Gourmet Corner’s lamb curry – my husband is a fan of lamb, and curry, so unsurprisingly he went straight for this first..

Not in the photos are: Gourmet Corner’s mushroom truffle cannelloni, which to me was the star of our entire Gourmand Market experience, and Empanada Mas original chicken, original pork, and chorizo empanadas, bite sized goodies cooked to perfection.

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We also tried their drinks. My absolute favorite was Stellina’s Lemonade. Guzzled their old fashioned lemonade and cranberry lemonade the whole weekend. Super refreshing, with just the right mix of sweetness and tanginess, and for only 40 bucks for a 400mL bottle, not bad at all! Jaime tried the Standford & Shaw old fashioned ginger ale.

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We loved Gourmand Market so much we took home Delimondo’s Corned Beef and sausage, and Chorizo Cebu’s chorizo longganisa. Breakfast for the entire week is solved!

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We asked ourselves what we would serve if we had been part of it. Jaime would whip up curries, wrapped in pita bread, and I would probably just serve taho, in different varieties. It rained a lot during the weekend, and good old fashioned taho would have been a nice distraction.