I invite you to take my place.

The past months were my most exciting months in Summit Media.

That’s actually really more of an understatement.

In my past six months as a producer for fashion and lifestyle magazines, I have learned so much more than I had originally expected to take home with me. I learned that there is no one person aliking another; with human personalities, backgrounds, and motivations so distinct that it’s impossible to deal with any two of the exact same profile (at any given time). I gained a broader perspective on bridging diverse personalities for the purpose of materializing their talents into one breath-taking output (in our case, glossy advertorials). I felt what it’s like to be addicted to the sense of fulfillment when people stop at the page the team had worked on and hear them say, “that’s really beautiful.”

But, as with any unique individual, I come from a different background and I am motivated strongly by other compelling goals. So here I am, counting my days with mixed emotions, conditioning myself to miss the kind of fulfillment and addiction that come from bringing exceptional personalities together in projects. Then again, had my heart been irrevocably where I stood the past six months, I would have stayed longer than decided.

So dear reader, this is me inviting you to consider taking my place. You will learn a lot and you will meet beautiful people both in and out of the office, you will learn the value of sincerity in truly caring for the people you work with, and who knows? You may even learn to love being where I will be coming from.

What’s to lose, anyway? Believe me, it’s worth a shot. ;)

E-mail me your resumes at francesca.montes@summitmedia.com.ph or aix.montes@gmail.com.

Home cooking: Apple crumble cinnamon surprise!

So here I am at the office, too early for the rest of the world and experiencing a bad case of separation anxiety for not being in the family kitchen.

I know. I was the last person I’d expect to be this attached to anything–sorry for the term–domesticated. But I’m loving this unexpected transformation. There’s something about the labor that spells love for the ones I cook for, creativity to make each dish unique, and a sense of success every time a dish turns out yummy. Of course, every burnt and bland dish is still a good lesson to learn.

Now on to the purpose of this entry. It was an accident. I didn’t mean to do it. But I did and the whole family loved it! Let me share with you my very own (and first) apple crumble cinnamon surprise!

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It’s very easy and it doesn’t require much. The only aspect about this meal that I had difficulty dealing with was the crumble–baking is and never will be for me.

Ingredients:
- Large apples (ideally 1 and a half for each person)
- Maple syrup
- Cinnamon
- Crumble (baked flour, brown sugar, and butter)
- All-purpose cream
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Easy steps:
1. Spoon out (yes, literally) the meat of the apple and retain its skin and shape. I chopped off the top first before spooning out the meat to turn it into a convenient cup.

2. Delay oxidation of the apple skin/cup by wiping the inside with lemon juice (In my case, the next citric fruit available, calamansi!), and storing them in the freezer.

3. Simmer the diced apple meat (am I using the right term?!) in maple syrup and cinnamon for a good 10 mins. Keep mixing the combination to avoid searing.

4. Mix sugar, flour, and butter until you achieve a bread crumb-like consistency. Bake in the 150c pre-heated oven for 10 mins.

5. Fill the empty apple shell/skin/cup with the  cooked apple cinnamon cubes. Top each with crumble, all-purpose cream and sprinkle it with more cinnamon (in that order).

6. Serve!

Oh gawd. I do hope you understood my step-by-step explanation as this was actually my first time to outline a detailed recipe. Was it? See, I don’t even remember if I ever had!

In retrospect, the ingredients were pretty simple. It just got laborious when I added the apple cup thingy. But the home does deserve something like this on special occasions, doesn’t it? I made this for our last family breakfast of 2013 and the apple crumble cinnamon surprise was yummy with juice, coffee, and a bunch of family jokes–in our case, teasing our father with whatever we got under our sleeves. ;)

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My new year’s wish for you and I.

During our new year’s noche buena with my dad’s side of the family, my cousins and I talked about each other’s resolutions. I must say it was a one-sided conversation as I have yet to list down mine. But one-sided as it was, I was actually inspired to get mine started, asap.

Which brings me to this morning: still in my pjs in bed, with left-over fire crackers booming from the other side of the valley (quite literally as we live in a mountain), I shuffled in my mind the new things I could do for the year. I have a list, with “pigging out less” at the top of it. I’m actually not sure on how to go about that, but it’s staying up there. And while I was deciding on which to prioritize between “be more organized” and “joke less”, a word so important to me came into mind.

GUMPTION.

To make it easy for you, here’s a definition by Google:

It’s my most favorite word in the world. The moment I learned of it as the fitting title to Hans Zimmer’s musical piece (check: The Holiday OST), I became attached to it like a madwoman. I kept it in the recesses of my mind; a word spoken rarely or spoken in a hushed tone only insects could hear.

Now I’m sharing it with you because this is my number one new year’s wish for you and I.

This is so we get to accomplish all our resolutions with enough gusto to last the whole year (or whatever timeframe we give ourselves). So we can begin chasing our heart’s desires and turn mere abstractions into–bit by every bit–realities. Really, it doesn’t matter what we decide for ourselves this year. What matters is if we have the gumption to get them done.

I have made so many resolutions in my life that are now filed under ‘backlogs’ and here I am, most definitely not getting any younger (Hello there, 25, sitting 10 months away from where I am). Had I been less scared or had I made no reservations whatsoever, I would have at least made it half-way through them by now.

To fearlessly run for my life, to constantly feel the excitement of steering my own ship, these are what I need to get me through the new year splendidly. I wish the same for you. :)

Remember, gumption’s the word.

Happy new year!