a dose of simple coffee

Weekend Snap: Coffee with Joy and Love

a dose of simple coffee


One of life’s simple pleasures is to get a chance to unwind at home, with a good book in one hand, and a cup of hot coffee in another. I wish every day is a weekend.


Food for Thought:

Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.

~Bill Watterson

There aren’t enough days in the weekend. 

~Rod Schmidt




House Envy: A Rustic Home in Formentera



I’ve never heard of Formentera, until I saw this gorgeous home on photographer Jordi Canosa‘s website. So then I found out that Formentera is part of the Pitiusic Islands group in the Balearic Islands of Spain. Wow, that’s a mouthful.  I just really wanted to show you this home in all its rustic glory. Some of the features here I can definitely do in my little cottage back in Aslum.










*All photos were taken by Jordi Canosa.  


Bittersweet Retreat

There was a death in the family. Not even the cottage that I love so dearly gave me the usual feeling of bliss.  But it is my home. And despite the sense of loss, I felt enveloped in its warm embrace.  This home built on top of what used to be a pig pen certainly knew how to comfort my grieving heart.


a dose of simple aslum 6

a dose of simple aslum 7

a dose of simple aslum 5

a dose of simple aslum 8





This Week on Instagram: Attempts at Gardening, Being Lazy, Birthdays, and a Pleasant Surprise

The past two weekends were just about lazing around.



There was that attempt to do succulent-gardening, which was a relative success.




And then, the next weekend became days for celebrating two birthdays and  hosting a reunion with friends.



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And before the celebrations ended, a pleasant surprise came from a friend who had  just arrived from Japan recently!



How about you?  How was your weekend?


All photos can be viewed over at Instagram. Follow me there!


Decorating with Plants


I’ve been attempting to decorate my home with plants, albeit unsuccessfully.  Unlike my mother who is fantastic with plants, I am a certified plant-killer. A few years ago, I actually managed to kill  a cactus!  How I was able to do that to a virtually indestuctible plant is still a mystery to me. But I really want to mend my ways. I envy those who have beautiful, healthy-looking  plants at home. I swear when I have the time, I will grow an indoor container garden,  similar to these inspiring rooms I’ve managed to round up from around the net.

skeletor plant// I love the simplicity of having a single potted plant against a neutral backdrop.

wacamole_planters//Aren’t these humorous pots just delightful?  Potters Luis Llamas and Lydia de la Piñera say their creations are ‘naturally imperfect’.  Just like most of us!  See more of their cute little pots over at Wacamole Ceramic.

treeplanter//Ahhh… what could be a better home for succulents than recycled wood? Created by A+R_Busch.

balcony garden

cd-jr-05//I almost died of envy when I saw this shelf in the home of floral designer Jackie Reisenaur.  How does she manage to keep all these beautiful plants… alive?  See more of her beautiful home here.

cute planters//Isn’t that cute little tripod planter adorable? I want one! Sadly, all of Atelier Stella‘s pots are sold out! I can’t wait for her new products and I hope she re-launches soon!


flowemehappy//I love these pots with personality by Danish design duo Meyer-Lavigne. I also love the way they describe each pot.  Pictured above, for instance, is Esmeralda. “Esmeralda is a big Flower Me Happy Pot. She is perfect for sculptural houseplants. Esmeralda is a warm blooded woman with a big heart.”  Wow!  Esmeralda is me!

7_steve//Steve Soria, a leather craftsman based in Sta. Barbara, California, created these leather plant hangers. He says he used to make some as gifts for friends.  Steve, can we be friends?  See more over at MakeSmith.


In the end, it doesn’t take much to brighten up a room.  Even just one potted plant makes a lot of difference. Hopefully, I’d be able to start planting soon. I’ll keep you posted!


Food for Thought:

My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.

-Mitch Hedberg




Detoxifying Your Home and Bath

With all the wonderful cleaning products available in the market today, it is getting harder and harder to tell which one is better than the other. More important, it’s dificult to tell which ones are harmful to us. Here’s a quick guide to help us determine which among the products we use are safe and which ones should be tossed out.



The Daily Examen

Praying was something I used to love doing. Talking to God used to calm me and make me feel instantly renewed. But when I started working and things became too busy, I just sort of lost interest. I would find myself too tired at the end of the day and would pray without real interest.

Recently though, I have started praying again.  Not the perfunctory prayer that I’ve been so used to doing but the real, heart-felt kind. What changed?  I’m not sure. Maybe it’s age or ironically, work.  All I know is that I’m praying again and I feel good.


One of the things that helped me is the Daily Examen. It’s a technique “invented” by St. Ignatius of Loyola, founding father of the Society of Jesus, and it is described in his Spiritual Exercises. The technique  is very helpful to those who have trouble concentrating. It definitely helps ground me in prayer, especially since I have such a short attention span!

For those of you who would like to try it, here’s an infographic you can use. It’s an easy-to-follow method that even non-Catholics can do.

To know more about the Daily Examen, click here. To know more about St. Ignatius, click here.




Now Shake It!

I have so much on my mind lately as I’ve been struggling to write several papers for graduate school. I swear I will go crazy soon. It’s not easy to be a student at this age!

Good thing I can surf the net in between lessons.  (Yeah, it can be counter-productive  but that’s another story.)

This morning, I stumbled upon something I totally needed:  photos of the most adorable dogs you will ever see, taken in mid-slow mo.  I  was laughing so hard as I looked at these guys photographed by award-winning photographer Carli Davidson.





Shake is a photographic series that Davidson began some years ago and which she finally compiled into a book and published in 2012. She has captured the wacky images using a high-speed camera that shoots at 10 frames a second,  and specialized lighting that enabled her to snap even the most minute of details.



To know more about SHAKE, visit Carli’s website here.

Meanwhile, here’s the motion version of SHAKE. Enjoy!

SHAKE from Variable on Vimeo.

Okay, enough of this. Lemme go back to my studies.

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The Story of Three Beautiful Things


The tea pot lived as Pinatubo volcanic ash before I found it sitting on a shelf in a shop in Glorietta. The cup and saucer lived separately in Japan- perhaps formed by hands of master potters-before winding up in two different surplus stores in Manila where I found them. Somehow they’ve all ended up here, a complete set on my table– each with a different past but all with the same present and future.


Lazy Sunday Lunch: Pasta with Shrimps

Sometimes, when I’ve had a full week, my brain automatically shuts down on the weekend. The last thing I want to do is think of what to cook. Scouring the fridge for leftovers is a desperate option. Good thing I stock my pantry with a few staples that can get me through a lazy day like today: canned tomatoes, dried herbs, pasta, plus a few tasty ingredients.


Today was such a day. Luckily, I found some shrimps in the freezer. So this is what I came up with. You have to make this. I mean it. You really do.

Pasta with Shrimps.

Sauté onions and garlic.

When garlic turns golden brown, add shrimps. Be careful not to over cook the shrimps.

Sprinkle with fresh or dried basil.

Add canned tomatoes and a little tomato sauce.

Season with salt and pepper.

Let simmer for a couple of minutes.

Mix sauce with freshly cooked pasta.

Enjoy with a glass of wine.


After consuming, go back to bed.

Food for Thought:

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” 

― Julia Child

banana chips

The Weekend List: Banana Chips, Cough Drops, and Succulents

Hi. My name is Pauline and I’m a banana chips addict. You wouldn’t blame me once you’ve tasted these.

banana chips

I bought a bag of these chips from the university cafeteria yesterday. And I couldn’t stop stuffing my mouth with them. So this weekend, I will make some at home using this recipe. I hope they turn out as crisp and delicious!

Meanwhile, I’m feeling a little under the weather. A few of these homemade cough drops may be able to keep the cough and colds away. Will try the recipe here.

cough drops

Finally, I’m planning to revive my garden which has become a giant litter box for my cats lately. I’m thinking of getting succulents which are so beautiful and easy to care for.  Like these ones:


succulents 2

Aren’t they just pretty?

How about you?  What are you up to this weekend?

Food for Thought:

Always strive to excel, but only on weekends.

~Richard Rorty

Aslum sunset

This Week on Instagram: Home Sweet Home

After almost a year,  I was finally able to go home to my hometown in Ibajay, Aklan last week.  The trip was even more special because we celebrated my mother’s birthday, which was just a couple of days after our town’s  Ati-Atihan Festival. As always, going home and seeing my parents was such a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. There’s really no place like home.

planeFlying home for the first time in almost a year.

Aslum living roomHome at last!  Our little living room overlooking the lake outside.

Aslum sunsetTiny fishing boats anchored for the night just across our house.


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Ati sandOur new puppy Ati and his new found play ground by the sea.

swing out sister sm

Swing Out, Sister! 10 Awesome Swings You’ll Love

swing out sister sm

Swings remind me of my childhood. There’s something about them that makes me feel carefree and adventuresome. On a swing I can go as high as  I can, with not a care in the world. On a swing I can get lost in my very own space.

dedonThis super-cozy Swingrest Hanging Lounger was designed by Daniel Pouzet, co-architect and designer of Dedon Island in the Philippines. It is said to be the first product to come out of Dedon’s Outdoor Living Lab. It comes with a cute little table, perfect for resting your glass of wine or iced tea on!  Have a look at Dedon Island here.

daybed swingThis swing must have been a raft in its past life. But stacked with a matress and cushions, and suspended just a few feet above ground, it’s the perfect hanging daybed for daydreaming.

duffy london swingThe Swing Table by Duffy London invites adults to ‘play’.  I can imagine enjoying a meal with like-minded friends here.

paolo lenti swingThis rattan swing by Paola Lenti looks like the perfect seating area for reading a book on a hot sunny day.

swing dedonThis basket-like swing reminds me of Moses’ crib.  I bet I won’t have a hard time falling asleep in this one.

ikea swing“Swinging develops the sense of balance and body perception. It also brings a feeling of well-being and relaxation,” says Ikea of their PS Vinga swing. I couldn’t agree more!

rattan swingAt first glance, this rattan swing looks like a birdcage. But I’ve sat on one of these and found it surprisingly cozy.

cushioned swingA traditional swing made from a simple cushioned plank and sturdy ropes offers a playful respite from a very grown-up room.

lawka-hustawka-w-mieszkaniuThese last two look like DIY projects.  The idea may be simple, but I’m pretty sure the relaxation that comes with using these bench-like swings is priceless.

hans swing

Food for Thought: 

You’ve got to be rich to have a swing like that.

-Bob Hope 

moleskine hack a dose of simple

My Moleskine Planner Hack

There was a time when I had an unhealthy obsession with notebooks. Hardbound, softbound, spiraled, stitched… it didn’t matter! I would hoard several just because. I just loved how I felt whenever I wrote on them and the resulting creativity and momentary ‘blackouts’ (i.e. getting lost in my thoughts) that went with writing. But of course, I’d like to think that I’ve outgrown that obsession (yeah right! :) ). What I haven’t outgrown, though, is the need for a notebook planner. I’ve attempted to go paperless several times. I’ve tried using palm pilots, digital calendars and now, calendar apps but to no avail. I’d always go back to writing on a notebook planner. Needless to say, my love for notebooks run deep.

Ten years ago, I started using Moleskine notebooks. They may be pricey (overpriced, some say) but they’re the only luxury I afford myself. Okay, them and bags. Haha. Seriously, Moleskine is in a league of its own. And I think a Moleskine notebook is worth every penny.

So here I am at the beginning of a new year with a new Moleskine with fresh, crisp pages to write on. But as not all notebooks are created equal, even Moleskines need a hack or two. So here are some tips.

moleskine hack a dose of simple

I keep my Moleskine along with other writing implements in one place for quick organization and easy access. This year, it is this this zippered file holder which I bought from Saizen for 88 bucks (about 2 dollars).

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIt looks small but it can definitely fit a lot!

Processed with VSCOcamContents from left (clockwise):  neon colored tape, stick-on notes, pencil case (with 2 pens) washi tape,  small notepad, Moleskine planner and stickers to colorcode activities.
Processed with VSCOcamSince the planner I bought had no boxed monthly pages, I printed out my own and attached the pages onto the notebook using Washi tape.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI’ve color-coded my priorities with neon-colored marker tapes bought from The Japan Store for 66 bucks.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetMoleskine comes with 3 sheets of cute little stickers.  But I also bought small round stickers to color-code my activities.

Processed with VSCOcamFinally, one of my best buys yet,  these stick-on notes from SM Hypermart! Bought them for 25 pesos a pack.

I can’t wait to start filling out my notebook. How about you? Do you have Moleskine hacks as well?  Do share!

UPDATE:  Click here to download the calendar template I made. You can edit all the dates and the highlighted events at the lower portion of the calendar. Enjoy!


Food for Thought:

Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.

-Pearl S. Buck

backsplash a dose of simple

Making a Backsplash

A kitchen’s backsplash can make a whole world of difference, methinks. Not only is it practical, it also ‘prettifies’ the room, especially when done with taste and sophistication.

backsplash a dose of simple


I love this  kitchen designed by interior designer Katie Ridders.

katie ridder rooms book kitchen green moroccan mosaic tile counter to ceiling backsplash cococozyThe counter to ceiling backsplash made from aqua mosaic tiles gives an otherwise plain room some character.


Brazilian-Apartment-Colorful-kitchen-backsplash-tilesThe patchwork styled backsplash of this kitchen is truly one-of-a-kind. And it would have looked so cluttered, too,  if not for the blue shelving and cabinetry that pulled everything together.


portuguese ceramic backsplashHere, beautiful white and blue Portuguese tiles or Azulejos adorn the wall– a perfect little kitchen vignette if you ask me.


pastelgreen backsplashIf colors are too overpowering, one can also opt for muted pastel tiles. Just make sure you have coordinated plates and glasses to make everything look perfect!


Red-rival-Colorful-kitchen-backsplash-tilesI love the combination of the blue and yellow Moroccan tiles set against the red cabinets and shelves in this kitchen.
terracotta backsplashFinally,  I appreciate the simplicity of this backsplash made of handmade terracotta tiles. In a country home, it is perfect. I just don’t know how the homeowner has managed to keep the unpolished tiles look so clean.

As always, please click on the photos to get to the source.

Food for Thought:

The kitchen really is the castle itself. This is where we spend our happiest moments and where we find the joy of being a family.

-Mario Batali