Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rebecca Minkoff: MAB vs MAB-Mini

Like many of you, I was kinda stumped when it came to sizing for Rebecca Minkoff's Morning After Bag (aka MAB) and Morning After Bag Mini (aka MAB-Mini).  The dimension of the bags are how does that effect overall size?  I've been to numerous websites and I've yet to see a clear-cut side-by-side size comparison of the MAB and the MAB-Mini.  I've found plenty of pictures of models wearing the bags, but I'm smaller than average (5'3" on a good day!) and most models are taller than average.  How do those model shots help me?  They don't...not really.

I finally got my hands on both the MAB and the MAB-Mini simultaneously (thanks to!  Here are side-by-side pictures of the MAB (on the right) and the MAB-Mini (on the left):
  • Front View:
  • Top View:
  • Side View:
  • Me With Both Bags - Front View:
  • Me With Both Bags - Side View:

Hope this helped ladies!  IMO, the MAB is a great work-size bag and the MAB-Mini is great weekend-size bag.

Here's my video review of the MAB-Mini: Video Review: Rebecca Minkoff's MAB-Mini

My video review of the MAB is coming soon!!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

‘Covered Court ng Pagbabago’ in Brgy. Lapu-Lapu

With the help of Senator Bong Revilla who provided the necessary funds, Congressman Velasco fulfilled his promise to barangay residents of Brgy. Lapu-Lapu, Sta. Cruz, for the construction of a multi-purpose covered court there, shown in these photos.

Upon completion, Velasco noted the sturdy posts and well installed roofing of the building, adding that under his leadership as Marinduque congressional representative, no such covered courts would be started and left behind half-finished or with mere building posts standing.

Velasco stressed that change has begun towards real development in the barangays and this would gradually be felt, leading to a better quality of life for the local residents.

Flowering Tree - Bauhinia Variegata

Bangalore (State: Karnataka) known as Garden City true to its name as lot of flowering trees on either side of most of the roads. They bloom with flowers of various colors. One such tree is Bauhinia Variegata popularly known as "Orchid Tree"

It is an ornamental tree grown in subtropical and tropical climates from southern China west to India. The flowers are conspicuous, bright pink or white, 8-12 cm diameter. These scented flowers have only five petals.

It is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 10-12 m tall. The leaves of the tree are broad and split in the middle.

During the season the tree is full of flowers and with green leaves and pink flowers they look lovely.

Changed plans!!

We will be leaving Barcelona one day earlier than planned. There is rough weather on it's way and we do not want to get stuck here more than neccesary. We're ready to go and will so do tonight. Champagne and farewell hugs at 8 in the harbor tonight. Come by if you're around! 

As you can see, we did not have the time to repaint in the cockpit. Just like we didn't have the time to finish the teak, the toe rails and millions of other smaller things, but it doesn't matter... Now we just want to leave!

More updates coming soon.


"Velasco Achievers"

In June 2010, prior to his assumption into office as the newly-elected Representative of the Lone District of Marinduque, Congressman Allan Q. Velasco addressed the matter concerning scholarships for local college students.

This came in amid talks during the election campagn period that Marinduque colleges could face decreases in the number of college students enrolling in the second semester.
Over a thousand college students were granted financial assistance under the congressman’s Velasco Achievers (VA) program with various sponsors and benefactors immediately responding to support the VA program.

Based on official data from the Marinduque State College (MSC), released by the Office of the Registrar the student population, contrary to apparently contrived fears, increased by 25% this year.

A look at MSC records shows that during the 1st semester of school year 2009-2010 the said college recorded 3,679 students which slightly decreased during the second semester 2009-2010 with the figures down at 3,668. By the first semester of the school year 2010-2011 the figures remarkably went up to 4,585 showing a significant 25% increase.

Congressman Velasco also conveyed to the students that he would continue to address the needs of the youth in the six municipalities. This would not be limited to the scholarship program, he said, but entailed finding jobs for graduates enabling them to also help their families.

Velasco also expressed confidence that no less than 2,000 scholars would benefit from the Velasco Achievers program by second semester this year. Erick Abad, Velasco’s chief of staff for Marinduque Affairs has been designated as coordinator of the scholarship program.

(Photos above show Velasco and staff headed by chief-of-staff Erick Abad, with the help of local leaders (like former Mayor Ofelia S. Madrigal of Buenavista and Vice-Mayor Bel Balitaan of Gasan), providing assistance to college students in the towns of Torrijos, Buenavista and Gasan).

Friday, October 29, 2010

I don't know how, but we've survived this week..

Paint is on!
Bathing platform is on!
The new dinghy and the engine to it have arrived!
The portholes are (almost) on!
The Internet antenna is here!
The watermaker is here!
The books have arrived!
The headache from all the stress is still here, but I'm sure we can solve it with some fine wine/rum/vodka and a delicious dinner with family and friends tonight. It's the last night out in real Barcelonian style...

Hasta Mañana amigos.


To ensure the continuity of the operation of the Marinduque Airport that re-opened in 2008, a new project has been launched through the combined efforts of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and the Office of Congressman Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco of the Lone District of Marinduque. The said project involves concreting of the Marinduque airport runway amounting to some P 40-Million.

(Photo shows Raul Glorioso, Asst. Chief, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Ildefonso Patdu, Asst. Secretary for Planning and Development, DOTC; Glicerio Sicat, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Development, DOTC and Congressman Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco)

With the opening of the 6-star Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa in 2008, the demand for air transportation has inevitably increased and could only be satisfied by re-opening the airport.

Prior to 2008,the airport had not been in operation for four yesrs. In spite of the limitations of the Marinduque Airport with a runway covered only with asphalt overlay, two domestic airlines, Zestair and Seair started serving the airport with their smaller aircrafts. As other airlines like Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines also expressed interest to serve the airport, both Zestair and Seair requested the authorities concerned that the runway be upgraded so that bigger aircraft could ply the Manila-Marinduque route.

The Marinduque airport runway’s entire length is 1,400 meters, 500 meters of which needs further rehabilitation and 700 meters needs to be concreted. In 2009, budget for the construction of the taxiway and apron was already approved by the DOTC, the implementation of which, for some reason, was marred by bureaucratic delays but BAC resolution of award has now finally been undertaken.

Congressman Velasco, who advocates the development of eco-tourism in Marinduque, expressed confidence that the faster growth of tourist inflows into the island-province is assured upon the project’s completion. Concreting of the Marinduque Airport runway is now a DOTC priority project under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.


The Satellite unit arrived last night. I think I forgot some important information last time I wrote about it. It is a Thrane&Thrane hardware and nothing else. We're connecting to the Inmarsat Satellites and airtime is delivered by KVH. We don't have the time to install it before departure, but we'll let you know later on how it works. /T

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last night

Last night we were invited to our new friend's Adam and Camilla's wonderful Hallberg Rassy 312 for dinner. So incredibly stupid of us to bring the camera and still forget to take any pictures - for their boat was beautiful! In fact one of the most interesting boats we've seen, as they've done so much qualitative renovations on it. Their galley, for example, was - hands down - the best one I've seen so far, in a sailing boat. Such an incredible way to use limited space and also making it feel like a real home and not only a boat - with a nice Scandinavian touch to it all. That was an inspiring visit, for sure. Go in and have a look at their well made blog, and say hi from us (their blog is in Swedish but they do speak perfect English).

Thanks guys for a perfect night, and Camilla the food was amazing!! /T&A

Photo from their blog.


We got some very good help by a blog reader, who also recently re-sprayed his Hallberg Rassy 352, to find out which colors to choose from Awlgrip, for our Caos. Thans a lot for your help, Mark! 

The hull is now painted in Oyster White, and the Royal Blue tone will be added tomorrow. Unfortunately we will not have the time to paint the blue lower line, close to the water line, as we need to put the boat back into the water on Saturday, and this line would not be able to dry before the boat gets back into the sea. Will have to sort it out one day later on when we have left Barcelona. Because we're leaving on Sunday and nothing can stop that plan, remember!?

Can you tell how shiny and beautiful the hull is now? You can mirror yourself in it! /T

Lunch time

Luscious macaronis with mustard chicken

This is probably the easiest thing to put together and suits us fine when life is upside down like it is on this boat right now. A little bit of pasta, a little bit of marinated chicken and some rucola to that and you're all set. This is how I do it:

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. I've used large macaronis for this dish, as I love the texture of them and the fact that the creamy sauce gets stuck inside of em'. Very wonderful and juicy, from the inside and out. While the pasta is cooking, swirl together a little chicken marinade into a bowl. You'll need more or less:

1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of mayonnaise
ground chili powder
also you could toss in some garlic if you'd like..

As soon as this is done and mixed up, bring some sliced pieces of chicken into it. Leave it to absorb for ten minutes or so. The longer the better but if you have not much time, five-ten min should be OK.

In olive oil: panfry some chopped onion, why not shallots. When they're golden brown, bring in the marinated chicken. With all of the marinade, obviously. Let it all simmer around and leave it to get a brownish, golden tone. You'll see when it's ready. When pasta's done, remove the water and dump in the pasta into the pan with the chicken. Mix it all together softly and add some fresh rucola to it.

This. Is. So. Damn. Delicious. You have to try. Now!



A little tips for you all out there. There are some websites that we simply can't live without (sorry I'm dramatic but that's almost true) and as we cannot access the Internet whenever we need to no longer, what if we had the websites saved on our laptops to be able to view them in offline mode? This is possible of course. What I am using to download full websites is a software called Sitesucker and it does exactly what the name hint of, sucking up every single information from a website and saving it on your hard drive. This is excellent as we now, for example, can be able to view important information about harbors, clearances and specific country informations on Noonsite, wether we have Internet connection or not. The good thing is that this little piece of code actually saves the whole thing in the mode it is showed online with permalinks, images where they should be and all set up for you to view, exactly as it would be on the net.

Unfortunately this is developed for Mac-computers and iPhone's only, but I'm sure there is similar programs for PC's.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meharangarh Fort, Jodhpur

The Fort of Jodhpur (State: Rajasthan) looms on the top of a rocky hill, and it rises 125 mts, above the plains. Built in the 15th century by the Rathore Rajputs, the architecture is such that, one can not separate the fort from bluff-colored sandstone hill on which it is constructed. (Click on the images for bigger view)

The fort is built on the hill in such a way that it is very difficult to identify where
the hill ends and the fort walls begin. The fort at several places has 17 feet thick and 68 feet high walls.

It is approached by a series of 7 gateways set at an angle so that armies could not charge them with any success. Past the gates, the fort-palace takes one's breath away.

Across from huge courtyards are the palatial apartments that have been built over five centuries of bristling history. The beauty and the grandeur of numerous palaces in the fort narrates a saga of hard sandstones yielding to the chisels of skilled craftsmanship. Only some of the spectacular palaces of the fort are open to the visitors.

These consists of Moti Mahal with its pierced screen windows overlooking the coronation seat where the Rathore ruler have been ritually anointed to rule; Jhanki Mahal, the apartment from where the zenana women would watch ceremonial
events; Chandan Mahal, where affairs of state were discussed; the royal Darbar Takhat or throne room with its octagonal throne.

How I Get My Daily Dose of Multivitamins and Minerals

Getting your daily dose of mutivitamins and minerals is important (per my primary physician).  I've honestly tried the whole horse pill route.  I have a collection of women's multivitamins and minerals bottles from GNC, BJ's, Up&Up (Target), etc.  And each bottle is basically new because I have a problem swallowing such large pills. I even purchased a pill splitter but that gets messy (the pills crumble) and the blades in the pill splitters are not travel friendly (TSA anyone?).

This past Monday, I explained my good intentions to my doctor but all she heard was, "excuses, excuses, excuses."  She told the following:  Flintstones Complete (the chewable multivitamins and minerals tablet for children) works just as well!!  The only caveat: since I'm iron deficient, I have to take additional iron supplements.  This was fine by me because I'm already taking additional iron supplements.

I went to Target and purchased Up&Up's Children's Multivitamin Dietary Supplement (the Target house brand version of Flintstones Complete).  A quick comparison of BJ's Women's Daily Multivitamins and Minerals and Up&Up Children's Multivitamin Dietary Supplement shows that while the vitamin/mineral breakdown is not exactly the same, it is indeed comparable for the most part.  (For those of you who need more calcium, you will need to take a calcium supplement.)

I now take a children's multivitamin dietary supplement tablet and a iron supplement tablet daily.  I'm feeling good about being more pro-active in maintaining my health...and I'm hoping that it translates directly into more energy!

For those of you who are like me and have a hard time swallowing large multivitamins and minerals pills, grab the children's chewable multivitamins tablets!!

Note:  I was tempted to buy the multivitamins gummy bears.  However, after a comparison of the labels, the multivitamins gummy bears fall short on what you need.  Skip it. 

The great feeling of letting go/What will I miss

It is not so much physical things or material that I will miss, but these are the things that will be a bit hard to live without, once we've left this world for another:

Spotify - The digital music library, where you're able to instantly stream all music you wish, whenever you wish to listen to it. Although we've downloaded hundreds of CD's, I'm sure there will be a lot missing once we're out there. Music is equally important for me and Alex and luckily we have the exact same taste, when it comes to this massively important area in life.

Google Translate - When writing in English, which is not my own language (Swedish and Finish is, FYI), I need to double check spelling and grammar to the extent it's possible. This digital wonder, is definitely something I will miss like crazy, and I hope that y'all will forgive me for my (even more) incorrect spellings and grammars once we're on the seas..

Google - In general. I am a person who's dying to know everything possible about everything I encounter in life and I will miss this open source of endless information like a wise, beloved grandparent. I am a curious, knowledge nerd and want to know exactly what was that bird, what is it's behaviors, how long does it live and why does it do like that? It is heartbreaking to know that I will not be in the know of everything that is going on around me no longer. The collection of 100 books that we're bringing with us will have to be enough as guidance and information bank.

We're living in a digital world for sure, where information is sent faster than the light, and besides of missing some important people in my life, the access to the www is the thing I will miss the most. Yes we do have Satellite connection through Inmarsat, but as the price for usage is around 10$ per MB, it will only be used to what is absolutely needed. Which is to receive important weather informations and to quickly update this blog through email, a couple of times per week.

Some things that I will not miss, but what will be an exciting and a bit strange difference to the previous life, is the access to blogs. Alex, who never reads any blogs - with an exception of a few sailing blogs, have always been wondering how the hell can I have such an interest into reading about other peoples lives? Although I do not at all read blogs to the wide extent I used to when I was deeper involved in the social media industry, I still scroll through a bunch of interesting and less interesting blogs out there, just like I'm holding on to an old habit. Imagine to have been in the know of what people around you, and not around you, do and what they think - for several years, and all of a sudden this access to information will be totally gone. Looking much forward to receive additional hours to the day with this healthy, new change. And I also look much forward to being totally disconnected from it all, for an extended period of time.

I think there is a meaning to all things that happens around us and the fact that I accidentally dropped my Blackberry in the water, was a great way for me to get rid of the strong, unhealthy relation I had with it, as I think I might have had a bit harder to let go of it by myself. I believe that one always have to let go of things, habits and sometimes even people, to reach new meaningful insights in life. And as this circumnavigation may be a one time chance in life, I will try making the best out of it, in the most natural way possible and I want the normal world and the need of constantly being connected - to be as far away from the new life as possible. All the way until I have found the new insights I'm searching for. 

When I ask Alex what will he miss the most, the only thing he can think of is an excellent cup of hot coffee with milk. He is wonderfully simple like that and it will be a great challenge to see how long time it will take for me to reach to a similar level of feeling content with less. Can't wait to begin the process. /T

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So close but oh so far away

It feels like we're so far away from this image, although it is only a matter of five days left till departure. It starts to get really cold here in Barcelona, 16 degrees (60F) on the days, and the nights I don't even want to think about. It is terrible. As terrible as is the tone of our skin that slowly have began to fade to a pale, dusty shade of white - after not being exposed to the sun for over two months. There is no words that can describe how much we want to get away from this all now. How much we want to trim our sails, slowly sail away with the serene and calming sound of the waves lapping against the hull, with the wind in our hair and the knowledge of that we do not have to return. At all. Ever - if we don't want to. The thought of being able to sit there on the deck of our freshly painted and newly renovated boat who will bring us from this cold place to one adventure after the other, gives me pain in my stomach - as it feels like light-years to reach to that day. It is a painful longing we have to deal with at the moment and the time seem to go so terribly slow that I almost can count the milliseconds between each breath I take. 

Picture taken 6 months ago.

P.S: Don't forget to become friends with us on Facebook, this is where you will find more info and short notes from us, when we don't have the time to update here. New pictures uploaded in our private folder today. Only visible for our friends, remember. /T

Happy Tuesday

Alex thought I should throw in a happy and joyful picture after the bad mood I (we) had to deal with last night. So here we go. A childish smile, captured this morning for breakfast. I don't have much more than this to give you, this morning, as there's too much things to check off from the never ending to-do-list. At least we've now organized for Internet connection aboard so that we will be able to receive important weather information and update this little diary of ours, from the middle of the vast oceans. We'll be connecting to the Inmarsat Satellites, with a Thrane&Thrane FB150 antenna unit and we're purchasing the airtime through KVH - which was the company we found to have the most affordable airtime plans. We'll have the antenna installed the day after tomorrow. That's all for now. /Taru

Monday, October 25, 2010

I May Iron Like Crap, But I Steam Like A Pro!

I suck at ironing.  I iron wrinkles in rather than iron them out.  In addition, I have singed not only my clothes but also myself.  What's a gal to do with a closet full of wrinkled clothes?  Buy a garment steamer (on sale, of course).

I was able to snag Conair's Deluxe Compact Fabric Steamer for about $20 (from Kohl's) and I can now steam clothes like a pro!

This garment steamer is indeed compact compared to the "pro" versions that have built-in racks.  In lieu of a built-in rack, the Deluxe Compact Fabric Steamer comes with an over-the-door hook that will hold hangers and the hose head:

The hose wraps around the tank for easy (and compact) storage.  Two attachments are included: crease and lint.  I'm pretty sure that I will never use the former and may occasionally use the latter.

Unless you're going to consistently steam your entire wardrobe, don't shell out the big bucks for a pro version.  This compact version works quite well.  I steamed about 8 items and it took me about less than 15 minutes, probably even less than 10 minutes.  (I will keep you posted as to durability. I'm hoping that this is a quality garment steamer and won't conk out on me after several uses.)

There was a slight learning curve but if you keep the following in mind (aka "my mistakes"), you'll be a steaming like pro as well:
  • Steam your clothes from the bottom up.  Heat rises up...and that means steam rises up.  Steaming yourself is not fun.
  • Steam goes through fabric.  Hold your item taut from the bottom only.  If you hold it taut in other areas, you may accidently steam yourself.  Again, steaming yourself is not fun.
  • It take longer than the stated 5 minutes for the steamer to be ready.  If you're in a rush, forget steaming.
  • You clothes may be slightly damp after steaming so let them hang dry for 2-3 mintues.  Again, if you're in a rush, forget steaming.
  • Do not put your freshly steamed clothes in a pile...especially if they're still a little damp.  They'll just get wrinkled again.  Make sure you hang them up.  If you have the hangers ready, it'll lessen the urge to pile the clothes up.

    Patiently waiting

    Isn't this beautiful? It's the valve for the watermaker. For the watermaker that should have left Switzerland last week but for some reason it will not hit the road before tomorrow. Will it be here on time, is the big question of today. What else are we awaiting? The book order. We ordered books from The Book Depository with the impression that the delivery would reach us no later than 3-7 days after placing the order, as they promise on the website. It has now gone 12 days and only one of 56 books have arrived. When I contacted the company to ask for the tracking number on our delivery, so that I could search for the rest of the books myself, they informed me that they do not send any packages with tracking possibilities. Excuse me, you don't do what? - Was my instant reaction and suddenly I regretted that we've placed a 600 Euro order with them in the first place - but there's not much to do now, I guess. Just wait and hope for the best. Stressed, frustrated and a bit pissed off - that's the mood of this sunny afternoon. /T

    Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner

    Lalgarh Palace is located outside the Bikaner city limits. It is at a distance of 3 kms from the city. This palace was built between 1902 and 1926 by Maharaja Ganaga Singh in the memory of his father, Maharaja Lal Singh.

    The architecture of the palace is Indo-Saracenic where one can see elements of Rajput, Muslim and European styles.

    Now, this palace has been converted into a heritage hotel. But, the first floor of the palace is converted into a museum, the Shri Sadul museum. The museum has on display are artifacts and personal possessions of the Bikaner Maharajas.

    Morning view

    This is the view we encounter first thing in the morning when getting out on deck, out hauled on the yard. It is a delightful and sunny day and so far we've been extremely lucky with the weather. It's like the weather gods knew that we only have a few days left and that we desperately need to finish the spraying process. Thanks for that.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Food Therapy: Manzo @ Eataly

    I love meat.  I love Italian food.  I had to try Manzo at Eataly, the new Italian supermarket/food court/wine bar/restaurants (and more).  To avoid disappointment, I went in with NO expectations.  As a result, I left with a fantastic experience!!  (Let me just say that (a) it's crazy crowded inside Eataly, (b) it ain't cheap to eat at Eataly and (c) it takes a few trips to get a feel for the layout of the place.) 

    Since we didn't have reservations, we had about a 45-minute wait.  What did we do for 45 minutes?  We kept ourselves busy by tasting an antipasto tasting platter and downing some prosecco at the wine bar!!
    • We ordered an antipasto platter of cured meats and cheese:
    • It also came with honey, figs, and bread (wrapped in brown paper):
    • Between the three of us (me, Sunshine and my dad), a bottle of prosecco was the better value than having everyone order by the glass:

    We received the "You Table Is Ready"call just as we were finishing up our antipasto platter.  It turns out that we didn't get a table but three seats at the bar. And it was probably better than getting a table!  It's more relaxed and if you want the attention of your waiter, you have it...because he's right in front of you.  Think sushi bar experience (less the sushi) rather than bartender bar experience.

    I wanted to order the Beef Tasting Menu (because how could you not want to with that name??), but we were all a bit full from the antipasto, so we ordered a la carte and shared every dish.
    • We kicked off the meal with the Carpaccio Of Tenderloin: (Beef carpaccio has always been a favorite of mine.  I didn't really want to share this one...)
    • It was then followed by a very addictive Agnolotti Del Plin with brown butter and pargmigiano: (My dad didn't really want to share this one...)
    • I really enjoyed the Pappardelle with sausage and radicchio trevisano:  (Sunshine really didn't want to share this one...)
    • I ordered the Fried Quail as my entree:  (I'm a huge fan of both fried food and quail, so how could I not??)
    • And the boys ordered the Ribeye For Two as their entree:

    Yes, I did share my quail...because I really wanted to taste the ribeye.  The ribeye was good but I'm still partial to the Grilled Ribeye For Two at Babbo (my waiter told me that the chef hails from Babbo) because I really appreciate a drizzle of balsamic vinegar over my ribeye.

    I will make reservations next time for the Beef Tasting Menu.  This way there won't be a wait and I won't end up filling my tummy with antipasto.

    Note: Eataly is located at 200 Fifth Ave (b/w 23rd and 24th St), NY, NY.