Monday, August 31, 2015

Using Short Term Vacation Rental Agencies

There are many online vacation rental agencies that list millions of short-term rentals worldwide, allowing for more competitive and cheaper rentals. In some cases, the rentals are rooms in a house; sometimes it's the entire house, sometimes fabulous mansions. In most cases private owners are the ones listing their places in the online sites.

We used Home Away to find a wonderful apartment in the Saint Germain District of Paris, right across River Seine.

It was a flawless transaction although I should mention that I was diligent in checking the reviews of the apartment. One is advised to check the reviews carefully and to make sure there are many reviews, not just a few, because there are scammers who list in these agencies. I also called and talked to the owner/manager directly, and was careful to pay my deposit with a credit card. I had copies of all email-correspondence as well.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Health: Eggplant Juice to Lower Cholesterol

Here's another natural treatment I recently learned: eggplant juice to lower cholesterol. This information came from my Kaiser Permanente Doctor who grumbled about a medical guideline about statins. It would, she said, put all men 55 and above on statins, and women 65 and above on statins.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Some Writers' Quotes About Writing

I've been thinking some more about this need that writers have to write, and I looked into some quotes by authors about writing. Here are some quotes that resonate within me. Read them, then read them again, and again.  Have a great weekend! ~Cecilia

"Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself if you would have to die if you were forbidden to write." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story within you."  ~ Maya Angelou

"Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experience." ~ Leo Tolstoy

Friday, August 28, 2015

Does Creative Writing Release Endorphins?

I haven't had time to work on my novel-in-progress, but now that my life is settling down, I feel a great urge to get back to writing.  It feels like a hunger, a need: it's something I must do in order for me to feel I'm doing something productive with my time.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cecilia Brainard's Author's Page in Amazon

I haven't checked my Author's Page in for a while. The page includes my books and ebooks available at Amazon.

Here's my Author's Page - click on the url:

Tags: author, writer, Philippines, Filipino, Philippine American, novelist, literature, books #philippineliterature

This is all for now,

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Restaurant Review: Johnnie's Pastrami in Culver City, California

Even though we're crazy about the deli sandwiches at Langer's Deli in Los Angeles, we had lunch at Johnnie's Pastrami Restaurant, at 4017 Sepulveda Bvld, Culver City. Johnnie's has high ratings in yelp, tripadvisor and zomato and has been in business since the 1950s. It's open until 1 a.m. -- a plus to those who have hunger-attacks late at night.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

France Train Shooting: What To Do if a Terrorist Is in Our Midst

l-r: Chris Norman, Anthony Sadler, French President Francois Hollande, Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos 

The French are enthralled by the three Americans who acted so swiftly to stop the Thalys gunman. In their news conference Sunday afternoon at the US embassy in Paris, they came over as archetypes of American masculine virtue: handsome, strong, modest.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Feeling Proud of Three Americans who Foiled Terrorist Attack in France

I've been feeling proud of these three Americans who foiled a terrorist attack in a train heading from Amsterdam to Paris: l-r in the picture Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone, American Ambassador Jane Hartley, and Alek Skarlatos.

I've been following every scrap of news about this incident since the news broke and am looking forward to tomorrow's event where the heroes will be honored by French President Francois Hollande.

Kudos also to the other brave men who fought the train terrorist: the French who wishes to be anonymous, French-American Mark Moogalian, and Briton Chris Norman.

Brave men, all of them!

Read a followup article about "Americans Receive France's Highest Medal" After Subduing Gunman on Train.

Read also

Tags: terrorist attack, train, France, American servicemen, Spencer Stone, Alex Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, France train attack, #francetrain

This is all for now,

Friday, August 21, 2015

Beauty Tip: Snail Slime for Beautiful Skin

 When I was in Korea, I bought facial cream with snail slime or mucin - pictures below. The writing is in Korean characters so I have no idea who made the product. There are numerous snail slime products in Korea of varying prices. To play it safe, I got a high end product.

The story goes that Koreans noticed that people who handled snails had smooth and youthful hands and that their small cuts healed quickly, This discovery led to the development of skin products with snail mucin. They don't have to  kill the snails, thank God for that, they harvest the slime. Snails excrete the slime when agitated. The sticky, gooey stuff contains hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, antimicrobial and copper peptides, which are good for the skin.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

News Headlines That Have Caught My Eye

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Movie Review: The True Story Behind Remembrance (Die Verlonere Zeit)

I feel like I'm a roll because I found another good movie on Netflix.

Remembrance is a 2011 German release of a Holocaust-related film. German-Jewish Hannah Silverstien survived a Nazi prison camp and now lives comfortably in New York with her husband and daughter when she discovers that her wartime lover who had helped her escape survived World War II. The movie crosscuts between scenes of the woman in New York and wartime scenes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cecilia Brainard Google+ Views 4,376,647

Monday, August 17, 2015

My Morning Cup of Coffee: Believe & Succeed

My morning cup of coffee today.

The cup says:

Believe & Succeed

Courage does not
always roar.
Sometmes, it is
the quiet voice
at the end of
the day saying,
"I will try again

Read also
      Tags: courage, success, words encouragement

      This is all for now,


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Movie Review: The Physician, Film to Enjoy

I hadn't heard about the movie, The Physician, and just happened to find it in NetFlix, with a 4.5 star rating. That's a high score and so I thought I'd watch it. I was glad I did. It's the kind of movie that takes the viewer away to another time and place, and for most of the 150 minute-running time I was enchanted.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Photos of Children from Colombia, Croatia, Amsterdam, Philippines

Photo by Hilary Walling, Little Boy in Colombia 

Here are some photos of children ... our future. 

Have a great weekend! 

Photo by Hilary Walling, Child in front to St. Mark's Church in Zagreb, Croatia

Children Watching Puppet Show in Dam Square, Amsterdam, Cecilia's photo

Boy Studying in Cebu, Philippines, photo courtesy of Joyce Torrefranca

Read also

Friday, August 14, 2015

My Myanmar (Burma) Photo Published in CEO and Business Management Magazines!

A while back Daniel from a not-for-profit outfit working for health in Myammar (Burma) emailed asking permission to use a picture that I took of a little boy in a flower market in Burma. It would be used for a job advertisement for a new senior local member or staff. He said they wanted "to be more impactful and innovative than usual, and thought of associating with an attractive and positive image of life in Burma."

I gave him permission to use it and today he emailed back:

HI Cecilia,

Just wanted to forward you this – a bit later than I had originally promised, due to my summer vacation.

This is a scan from CEO magazine; we also used a B2B Business Management magazine.

Once again, thank you again for use of the picture.



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Followup on Our Raccoon Visitor

This is a followup up to an earlier blog entry about a raccoon in our premises. To summarize, we've had nocturnal visits from a destructive raccoon.

I called an outfit called Wildlife Control Services and talked to the woman there. I wanted to order Raccoon Eviction Fluid, which is the scent of a male raccoon, and which supposedly drives away pregnant or nursing female raccoons. Apparently male raccoons eat babies that are not theirs, which is why the females flee.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Video of Sparrow Feeding Baby Bird

I caught a mother sparrow feeding its baby on video. (Click on the middle part of the above picture to view.)

This baby bird has been in my backyard for a couple of days now. It has feathers but still can't fly. Two adult birds have been hovering over it, taking care of it, trying to teach it to fly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Raccoon Eviction Notice

Dear Raccoon,

This is an Eviction Notice for you to get out of my property as soon as possible.

I do not want to poison you; I do not want to trap you; I do not want to hurt you. I insist, however, that you move out.  This is firm. This is non-negotiable.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Leprosy: Saint Damien of Molokai, Patron of Lepers and HIV/AIDs Sufferers

The Belgian nuns at my school used to talk about another Belgian, a priest, Father Damien, who worked and lived with the lepers at Molokai, Hawaii. He was born in 1840 and went to Hawaii in 1864. He began his ministry with the 600 lepers of Molokai in 1873. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Reminiscing with the De Vries at Le Petit Cafe in Santa Monica, California

We had dinner with our friends, Carol and John De Vries, whom we have known for many years. Our sons went to school together and were/are good friends. Chris (our son) and Kevin (their son) had many escapades which we recounted over dinner.

Middle East: Syrian and Turkish Wedding Couples to Remember

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Cat Video: My Cats Chasing Laser Beam

My cats love to play and at night start stalking me until I play with them.  Che (named after Che Guevara) likes to chase the beam of a laser point. He runs around the room and enjoys himself, regardless of the fact that he never catches the light. Tesla (after Nikolai Tesla) prefers playing with a long ribbon on a stick. He's gotten very good at leaping up to catch it.

I caught them on video playing with the laser point beam.  Che is the mackarel one (with stripes); Tesla is the gray with white 

Enjoy this short video of my cats playing. To view, click on the middle part of the top picture.

Read also
Cat Pictures: My Literary Cat Reading "One Hundred Years of Solitude"

Tags: cats, cat video, #catvideo, funny cats, pets, animals
This is all for now,

The Grand Central Market of Los Angeles, California

We visited the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles which has been in continuous operation since 1917. It's been revamped in recent years and has become more gentrified. The high-energy place now attracts a huge crowd of people, some of them tourists, some office workers from the surrounding areas, and many other types of folk who were there for lunch or to shop for produce, meat, cheeses, and other food items.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Restaurant Review: Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica

We like the deli sandwiches at Bay Cities Italian Deli and Bakery at 1517 Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica. I get their "Godmother" which has  Genoa Salami, Mortadella Cappacola, Ham and Prosciutto plus Provolone with a piquant dressing. They have other sandwiches or you can ask them to make what you want.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Health: Cecilia's Good Morning Smoothie Recipe

This is the smoothie I made this morning. 

I threw assorted fruit, nuts, even some vegies into the blender. I added a teaspoon each of flax seeds, powdered Brewer's Yeast, and powdered Moringa (Malunggay). I added around a cup of water. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Travel: More Pictures Taken in Maui, Hawaii

I have three cameras when I travel: my Sony RX-100, my backup camera a Canon PowerShot A710, and my Smartphone. The Sony takes very sharp pictures but the downloading takes a long time, so sometimes I will choose the Canon. My Smartphone isn't as good a camera as the two, but is handy.

Sorting out pictures requires more work since I have to download the pictures from all three.

Here are more pictures taken in Hawaii. Click to enlarge the picture.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Philippine Literature: Filipino and Filipino American Literary Figures

These links from my blog have bios of noted Filipino and Filipino American Literary figures:

Estrella D. Alfon (her picture shown above)

Read also:
Good Night, Gilda Cordero Fernando

Tags: Philippines, Filipino, literature, writer, authors, books

This is all for now,