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    This one made me weepy this morning. Girl finds out her bestfriend and roommate -- a 160-lb English Mastiff has terminal bone cancer and only has a few months to live. So armed with a bucket list of adventures she would like to share with her dog, they go off on canoe rides, road trips, visits to both busy spots and quiet spaces and, finally, spend a last day together by the ocean in Maine, where she finally finds peace and acceptance. This is real love, people.


    I still keep a journal despite having a blog. No matter how spill-all-my-guts-out open I may seem, there are many things I do and think that I'll just never tell. I've always thought it kept me sane to be able to express myself without fear of being censored or criticized. Whenever I pick up an old journal, even one from my 13-year-old self I realize that as much as I've changed so much is still the same. I just know how to dodge bullets faster and better. From: HUFFPOST Healthy Living, 01/20/15


    Which is why I've decided to keep this blog around, at least for a little while longer. I've always picked up a pen (or sat in front of a keyboard) any time I needed to make sense of my world; writing allows me to get into my head and get all my thoughts out without having to worry about how ridiculous I sound (that's where the editing comes in). From: The New York Times, 01/19/15
    This was lovely. The post is by a novelist who was asked how to encourage a young writer. It sounds eerily like the story of my life -- now all I need is to keep reading and keep writing (and, okay, start submitting). From: M Molly Backes' blog, 07/12/11


    Every day at work I see all kinds of female bodies: athletic, boyish, curvy, voluptuous, natural, enhanced, preteen, post-baby, postmenopausal -- thousands of different bodies I've seen up close and personal in my lifetime. This infographic shows that the description of the ideal female body changes every decade or so, going back hundreds of years. I hope that soon we define the "perfect" body as one that is simply healthy and functioning; that what matters is that we're comfortable in our own skin. From: Greatist, 01/15/15



    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
    The Normal Bar: Where Does Your Relationship Fall?
    All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost
    Gun Dealers' Daughter: A Novel: A Novel
    Crazy Rich Asians
    The Undomestic Goddess
    The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

    Gigi's favorite books »
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October 28, 2006



I've always admired people with a green thumb, like my mother. Me, I touch a plant and it dies. I like hardy plants that stubbornly thrive even though I shamefully neglect them, like the 50+-year-old roses in my garden.


I love your last sentence, pretty much says how I feel when I am in the caribbean -- surrounded by their vegetation -- makes me feel like I am (almost) home. Strange how plants/shrubs/trees have that effect on so many of us.


Oh my gad!!! We really have the same interests !!! I love plants and flowers as well! And gardening (pottering around!) is something that I find so peaceful and calming. My favorites are the bamboos and the ferns and the japanese maple trees... they are really very artistic and they give any garden that tropical jungle look that I love! Exactly what our friends and visitors say when they come and visit our place. Ohhh, I love the birds' nests and the birds of paradise too!!! Could you post some photos ah?


Anna - Geraniums. But you need to go to a well-stocked garden nursery to get the more interesting varieties. They love the sun and can take abuse, and produce really pretty flowers.

Trish - Not to mention they're good for the environment, and for us as well. What I love about being surrounded by greenery (both here and back home) is that it's always cooler inside somehow, and definitely more relaxing.

Hi Jase - I'll take pictures in the Spring and post them. That's when it gets really pretty. :) Don't forget to post photos of your place as well, OK? I love gardening...time passes by quickly and when I'm done I feel like I'm settled with my thoughts, I got a bit of a workout, and everything looks better than before I started. Definitely win-win all the way. :)


Gi,I also like plants. My living room is like a li'l jungle actually lol I'm not sure if I am with green thumb though!I'm into orchids,btw since orchids are relatively cheap here!


Enjoyed this post!

Like you, I've had my share of visits, no, safaris, to plant nurseries, garden shows and plant bazaars.

I remember your rain forest of a house of course. However, during college, the time we met, my interest in plants took a back seat to sports ( oh, and girls too). I did not explore the different varieties of plants in your place, as I would have done in high school . after college, and now, when I make more space for my love of plants. As I told you before, had I known that there was such a field as landscape architecture then, that would have gotten me thinking.

I hope you could post or send me pictures of your garden. Pinky liked it a lot when you brought her to your home last summer.

We share the same preference in design it seems, not the symmetry of manicured gardens, but the natural shapes and sizes of plants, with the different heights, colors and textures carefully considered and combined.

For me, not even the most expensive decoration can beat how plants can liven up the house (and with very little cost). Whenever we have visitors, we bring in several potted plants in, and place them in various kinds of baskets - really tranforms the place.

How plants almost always bring you back to your relationship with your father struck me too. Plants have indeed taken added significance because of family. The rosemary at the doorstep has become more special because of how the kids would brush the branches early in the morning to release the scent. Mexican cilantro always reminds me of Pinky's frequent pickings for her cooking. Now I anticipate that daughter Gabrielle will soon be raiding the lettuce beds to feed our new pet rabbits.

Your mention of chocolate mint, reminded me to pass by the Manila Seedling Bank and finally buy the herb tomorrow, when I go to Quezon City.


Hi Gej! Bawal ba magdala ng halaman doon? Let me know, because it would be great if I can bring you some herbs on my next visit. Ang sarap talaga ng amoy ng chocolate mint, 'no? When I'm watering the plants and I brush against the leaves with the hose, the scent is so wonderful...cooling and yummy. It's amazing how many varieties of herbs exist -- if we had a huge garden I'd have a whole area devoted solely to them. Anyway, I miss you guys na -- are you planning to visit us before I go home in October next year?


Bringing plants might pose a problem. We used to sneak in plants from abroad , in our long bags, with sina W and Mon P when we used to compete - exciting then, but not a good idea for you.

But seeds are ok. Yes, would love to order some.

An herb garden would be really nice. Even 4 square feet for herbs will be enough to have quite a number of them.

You might also have heard of herb spirals, with several herbs positioned well in a corkscrew- like mound walled by bricks. The herbs are positioned based on their sunlight and water needs (e.g. the chervil on the shady side of the spiral, or the rosemary at the top, so as to max imize sunlight and assure good drainage for its dry-soil -loving roots). Usually, it can put in 1-4 sq meters of space.

I also make edible gardens - veggies and herbs all mixed in . Will work on this some more as I get more space.

Is the chocolate mint as invasive as the other mints? Do you grow pineapple sage - intriguing variety ha. Also, did the Peruvian restaurant have this special yellow chili - aji limo- used in their salsas? Very nice flavor daw, so would be a nice hot chili to grow.

Till your next green post...


Hi Gej - dad used to do this all the time, too. I probably shouldn't say more and "out" him this way, but how else did he get all those plants back home di ba? :)

Chocolate mint is invasive, but I grow it in a huge pot. Mine dies down in the winter and then returns in the spring, so I usually hide it behind other plants when the pot looks empty. You can find Pineapple sage fairly easily here, believe it or not (I've seen them at the Armstrong Garden Center even, I think) and the only reason I haven't planted one yet is because I have no idea where to put it! Must build some kind of raised planter box talaga.

These plants really surprise me; for instance I had a medium-sized pot of lemon verbena that I sat on the ground. Next thing you know, it's this tall tree-like shrub! The roots found their way through the drainage hole of the pot and submerged themselves into the soil. It grows so fast that I keep hacking into it -- but keep telling myself I need to learn how to distill the oil and make soaps or something. Sayang naman.

Yes, the name of that chili you mentioned sounds really familiar. That Peruvian place I brought P to serves two kinds of sauces -- one red/orange and the other one green -- based on two different chilis. I normally don't like spicy food, pero masarap sila. I'll ask the owner more about it next time I'm there (which should be soon).


I planted my peppermint, java mint and spearmint in open beds too, so now, they're by the fringes and eager to visit new places. I also experience mint dying out, both in pots and in the field. Read somewhere that , digging the soil,burying the leafless stems back under, and adding new soil and compost to cover the thinning parts helps re-invigorate the plants, and it's been working so far too.

Found some interesting recipes with pineapple sage so it made me curious.

Pictures of your garden ha. Also hope I could meet your Dad and see the plants the next time you visit ( I don't think I'll be going the the US anytime soon).

Yes, distilling oil and other similar processes using herbs can be very interesting - can be part of your Beauty Jones blog in fact. Do you want some formulas? Have quite a bit from the books I've accumulated on herbs. Am just focusing on culinary herbs now under the name "Kitchen Herbs" , but I suppose the "Beauty Herbs" part will be for the future.

Just got a visit from a friend who lives nearby (and who by the way loved Howling Dave's- your friend Batjay's bro - short-lived 70s rock radio show) who collects a lot of different chilis and makes several kinds of hot sauce concoctions. Naturally the aji limo story intrigued him. Funny though , the next generation of seeds from his chili collection became almost the same, from all the cross-pollination - so soon he will have a collection of i chili variety.

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  • LISTEN: "Pluto" by Chamsom


    I don't have to understand Korean to love this song, although I think it's about a person who was in a rocky relationship that ended but still feels deeply for her former lover and is feeling lonely tonight. "You're like a little star that's far away from me and keeps disappearing." I suppose the title -- Pluto used to be known as the ninth planet from the sun but now isn't even considered one -- might provide a bit more context to the song's meaning. Spotify


    Immortal Perfumes is a Seattle-based micro-perfumery specializing in historically inspired, handmade perfumes. All perfume blends are original recipes made from a mix of jojoba, essential and fragrance oils. None of the oils used in this shop are derived from animals. Every bottle is handmade by JT Siems in her Seattle studio. I'm already in love with the fragrance inspired and named after Duchess Georgiana Cavendish. Notes: Black Tea, Lavender, Jasmine, Amber, Bergamot. Read her story here. #6mosnoshopping