Reflection: A-Z Blogging Challenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

The challenge’s already over? Whoa, one month goes by so fast!

I must say, participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge is one of the highlights of my year. You see, I’m a really busy person. I blog only when I have time, and I don’t usually have enough time to do so… or at least that’s what thought.

Because of this challenge, I realized that…

  • I have time— I just have to know my priorities.
  • I don’t have to post super long entries because short, meaningful posts are enough (and also because the thought of writing lengthy posts discourages me from blogging).
  • With pre-scheduled topics or themes, I can blog regularly.
  • I can write a poem in less than five minutes. Hahaha!

Thank you, A-to-Z team, for letting me realize all these. I’m also grateful because I met other bloggers and received positive comments for my posts. 🙂  I’m looking forward to next year’s month-long challenge!

P.S.: Special thanks to Ate Gi of The End Justifies The Journey! Thank you for introducing me to this challenge. I owe my newfound energy to blog to you. Hehe. 🙂  And to all the bloggers I met because of this, thank you for visiting my site and reading my posts! Very much appreciated!

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(Yes, thank YOU! Till next year!)

And oh, here’s a list of my A-Z Blogging Challenge entries. For easy navigation. Lol.

  1. A is for Adventures
  2. B is for Bibimbap
  3. C is for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
  4. D is for (All I Do Is) Dream of You
  5. E is for Endings
  6. F is for Feelings
  7. G is for Gala
  8. H is for HIMYM Songs
  9. I is for I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone
  10. J is for Just Tap Dance
  11. K is for Kiss
  12. L is for (I) Love (You)
  13. M is for Milk Oatmeal Cookies
  14. N is for Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
  15. O is for Outbreak Missions
  16. P is for Postmodern Jukebox
  17. Q is for Quando Quando Quando
  18. R is for Red Velvet Cupcakes
  19. S is for Sophie’s Mom
  20. T is for Titanic Songs
  21. U is for Up Dharma Down
  22. V is for Vanilla Cupcakes
  23. W is for What Isn’t Said
  24. X is for XOXO
  25. Y is for You
  26. Z is for Zzz

And by the way, this marks my 75th post! Hurrah! 😛

survivor-atoz [2014]

Happy blogging!
Jane

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Z is for Zzz

ZSo… this is it. The last A-Z Blogging Challenge entry to be posted… for this year. Lol. This is, yet, another poem. I don’t have the time and energy to write my intended topic for this letter (Z is for Zombies) because, well, I’m busy as hell.

And this is, again, another “spur-of-the-moment” one. I’m surprised because I don’t usually write poems and, for the past few days, I’ve written a lot in just minutes. I just put random words together, really. Hahaha.

“Zzz”

Sheets
underneath, a new home
Wrap
and never let me go

So long
been a roller coaster
Peace
seeking the non-existent

Welcome
softly, as I lay down
Goodbye
light of endless lies

Dreams
where I’m destined to be
Finally
turn off the lights

Hope you enjoyed my last post! And advance congratulations to all A-Z Challenge participants! 🙂

Happy blogging (and writing creatively lol)!
Jane

 

Y is for You

Y

Told you… my second-to-the-last (sniff!) A-Z Challenge entry is also a poem…

“You”

You loved, you lost
You left, you returned
You tried, you failed
You cried, you took a break

You loved, you lost
You cared, you were ignored
You tried, you failed
You gave up, you went away

You loved, you lost
You thought right, you were wrong
You tried, you failed
You’ve had enough, you said

You loved, you always will
You forgot, you never did
You moved on, you waved your hand
You said goodbye, you set yourself free

… and another one…

“You”

You build me up
You melt me down
You keep me sane
You drive me nuts

You steal my heart
You bring it back
You’re my sunshine
You’re my stormy night

You bring a smile
You make me frown
You take care of me
You just let me be

You are the cause
You are the cure
You turn me to ice
You set me on fire

… and another one…

“You”

You talk and talk
So many words untold
You like to say
But never open your mouth

How are you lately
Oh, I know perfectly
How could I not see
You shove it in my face

Put your thoughts to rest
I’m tired of seeing them
Won’t you please
Please just stop typing

Reading, listening
If you want to say something
Please just tell me
Talk only to me

Whoa… I’ve been bitten by the “poem ladybug” lol! I don’t know how and why, but… there you go. 😛

P.S.: I repeat, I’m not that much of a poet. Hahaha.

Happy blogging (and writing creatively lol)!
Jane

X is for XOXO

X

Another “spur-of-the-moment” poem for this day’s A-Z Blogging Challenge entry. And I shall warn you: tomorrow’s post is also a poem. Hahaha.

“XOXO”

Alone at last
You and I
Eye to eye
There’s no turning back

Don’t you dare
Move so fast
If you must
Please stop the time

This one chance
May never be ours
We’ll make it last
There’s no holding back

Hugs and kisses
We’ll close our eyes
Stop the clock
Pause, rewind

Happy blogging (and writing creatively lol)!
Jane

W is for What Isn’t Said

W

Another poem from yours truly! Just for this year’s A-Z Blogging Challenge. 😛  (Yes, I’m being poetic because of this challenge. Lol)

I repeat: I’m not that much of a poet. Hahaha.

“What Isn’t Said”

Arms wrapped
Silence all around
Your lips moving
No words coming out
But your eyes say a lot

Whispers in my ear
Reasons to believe
You look at me
What isn’t said
I don’t need to hear

Impulse movements
You take me by surprise
Sweet things irresistible
Actions towering
Over words forgotten

Unimportant, irrelevant
Such definitions too boxed
Your eyes, your heart
What isn’t said
Doesn’t matter anymore

Happy blogging (and writing creatively lol)!
Jane

V is for Vanilla Cupcakes

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For my letter V entry for this year’s A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ve decided to share one of my many attempts to perfect the art (and science!) of cupcake-baking. Yes, V stands for vanilla cupcakes!

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Vanilla-flavored cupcakes are considered as staples in any bakeshop. Aside from chocolate and red velvet, vanilla cupcakes are the ones we usually see in various pastry cases. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re moist with just the right amount of sweetness… my mouth’s watering right now. Lol just kidding!

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Of course, I was so excited to make my own batch of fragrant vanilla cupcakes. Fortunately, I found a perfect recipe in Easycooking‘s website— simple yet delicious! I love this recipe because it doesn’t involve “rare” ingredients and it’s so easy to follow. Now I’m going to share it to you as well. (But don’t forget to visit Easycooking’s site! Divya has a lot of good recipes posted there. :))

Vanilla Cupcakes
Yield: 18 cupcakes

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Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (I always use unsalted)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup milk (I always use fresh milk)
2 eggs
2 tsp instant coffee powder

Procedure:

1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt thrice, then set aside.
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3. Combine butter and sugar; cream well.
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4. Add eggs one by one; beat well.
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5. Alternatively add the flour mixture and milk thrice; mix very well.IMG_20140201_194305IMG_20140201_1943336. Lastly (for the mix, that is), add vanilla extract. Reminder: taste your batter before putting it in the oven!

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7. Line your muffin pan with liners and, with an ice cream scoop, fill them with 2/3 batter each.

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8. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
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After patiently watching your cupcakes rise up in the oven (hihihi), you can now let them cool and top them with your choice of frosting!

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I used my leftover coffee buttercream from last time’s recipe (though I didn’t include it in the post hehehe) and, in fairness, they blended nicely. The frosting itself needs a lot of work, but taste-wise, they’re delicious together! Oh by the way, I got the coffe buttercream’s recipe here. 🙂

Vanilla and coffee… never had them this good! Hahaha.

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Happy blogging (and baking)!
Jane

 

U is for Up Dharma Down

U

Yeah… my officemate Ate Gi is right: this A-Z Blogging Challenge post is all about my favorite local band, Up Dharma Down!

Up Dharma Down .

(Photo: 2.bp.blogspot.com)

I don’t usually listen to local and modern songs, but recently, I discovered an amazing yet underrated band. Up Dharma Down rose to fame during my high school years (around 2005, I think?), but I didn’t care until earlier this year. I hear their name everywhere, but most of my favorite songs are from 1950s to early 2000s, so I didn’t pay attention.

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(Photo: up-dharma-down.lyricss.org)

Though I regret the wasted years that I didn’t listen to their songs (lol), I’m still happy because, now, I’m one of their million biggest fans. I love all of their songs. I listen to UDD every day– on the way to work, in the office, after work hours… every time! They have a separate playlist on my player, and it’s been on repeat since I discovered them. If I keep talking, I’d sound so obsessed… so I’ll stop. Hahaha.

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(Photo: up-dharma-down.lyricss.org)

Check out their songs here:

(Playlist by Nathan No Llora)

Oh… by the way: recently, my friends and I watched their gig in saGuijo (an acoustic bar near my place) and this happened:

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(Photo: Dhiejhae Baquiran)

Thank you, Armi, for this awesome picture. And thank you, Dhiej, for making us smile like this. Yay!

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(Photo: pbs.twimg.com)

Happy blogging (and listening)!
Jane

 

T is for Titanic Songs

T

Who isn’t familiar with the story of RMS Titanic? The “great, unsinkable ship” that, well, sank in the Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912. The cause: huge iceberg. This unfortunate event in history led to one of the most loved and memorable movies of all time, Titanic.

(Titanic official trailer)

But this A-Z Blogging Challenge post isn’t all about the movie nor the historic disaster. This is about the movie’s official soundtrack (OST).

TitanicProtagonists

(Photo: 3.bp.blogspot.com)

Titanic is one of my super favorite movies, and its OST is also very dear to my heart. I love how each score affects the whole movie. Its music is one of the reasons I cry every time I watch Titanic. Yes, I still cry until now. Hahaha.

titanic-true-love

(Photo: myfavouriteworld.files.wordpress.com)

Anyway, here are my favorite Titanic OST (all composed by James Horner):

(The Portrait)

(Nearer My God To Thee)

(Hymn To The Sea)

Hope these songs didn’t make you cry… because they always bring a tear (or two) to my eyes. *sobs*

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(Photo: images4.fanpop.com)

Happy blogging (and listening)!
Jane

S is for Sophie’s Mom

S

If you’re a frequent visitor (and reader lol) of my blog, you should know by now that I love cupcakes… and that I have a plan to try out every cupcake stores in the metro. So, as part of that plan (and for this day’s A-Z Blogging Challenge entry), I now present to you… Sophie’s Mom!

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Surprisingly, this chic cupcake shop is soooo near my place. Haha.

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One day, I decided to check this place out. According to my research (lol), their bestseller is red velvet cupcakes. Unfortunately, they were sold out the moment I got there. Fortunately, there were still three flavors available: dulce de leche, brazo de mercedes, and mango.

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(From left to right: mango, dulce de leche, and brazo de mercedes)

In summation, all of the cupcakes taste really good. The dulce de leche’s a bit chunky and cold, but it was my favorite. 🙂  Finished all of them. Haha!

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I was a bit disappointed because I wasn’t able to try their red velvet, but these three cupcakes made up for the other’s absence. Sophie’s Mom also has other offerings, such as truffles, cookies, mochi ice cream, tarts, brownies, eclairs, and more.

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Aside from the food, I also love the place’s interior. Yes, it’s the usual design of every cupcake place I’ve been to, but still cute. 🙂

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(Look at those knick-knacks… especially those cupcake liners priced around P60.00! Rad!)

I’ll definitely go back here… hopefully the red velvet cupcakes are already available by then!

Oh, btw, visit their Facebook page for more information!

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Happy blogging (and eating)!
Jane

 

R is for Red Velvet Cupcakes

R

Red velvet is one of my super favorite cupcake flavors (chocolate being on top lol), so one day, I decided to make my own batch. Gear up, ’cause this A-Z Blogging Challenge entry is about red velvet cupcakes!

I followed Aikko Aragon’s (of Bake Happy) recipe because it’s easy and very Pinoy. Haha. Check it out here: click!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 36 cupcakes

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Ingredients:

3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups Yakult
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 bottle red McCormick food color
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups butter
3 eggs

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup cream cheese
454 g / 1 pound confectioners sugar (sifted)
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup all purpose cream

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Mix Yakult, apple cider vinegar, whole bottle of red food color, vinegar and vanilla extract. Set aside.

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3. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Dry whisk or sift (I like whisking dry ingredients so I used my trusty wire whisk). Set aside.

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4. Cream together butter and sugar well.

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5. Add eggs, one at a time.

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6. Add the flour mixture and Yakult mixture in 3 lots. Mix well.

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7. Pour in cupcake liners (2/3 full). Bake for 15 minutes.

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For the frosting:

1. Cut butter into small chunks. Beat for 3 minutes, or until smooth.

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2. Gradually add confectioners sugar. Mix well.

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3. Add cream cheese (also cut in cubes). Mix well.

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4. Add all-purpose cream. Again, mix well.

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5. For the final touch, add vanilla extract.

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Aaaaaand ta-daaah! My red velvet cupcakes!

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My frosting’s a bit crunchy, but overall, it was good. 😉  My niece helped in the kitchen, and she’s also my first taste-tester. Thanks, Jaja!

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(My niece, trying out “our” baked goodies lol)

Next time, I’ll try to add some red sugar crystals or choco powder on top. I’m still working on the whole baking thing. Hehe.

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Happy blogging (and baking)!
Jane