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a marianas variety publication


Vol. 1 Issue No. 2 October 2011

m a g a z i n e

home& garden


october 2011

ashley moffatt’s artful home spice l home & garden

spice l home & garden

october 2011

october 2011

spice l home & garden

publisher’s message

Hafa Adai and Tirrow! It is without a doubt that this year’s rainy season is causing us to spend more time in our homes and the more time we are in it, the more we realize how important it is to have a haven or

a space that personally works for us, physically and mentally. This is the reason why we chose to focus on our homes and our gardens for this month’s Spice’s edition, a wonderful way to showcase, despite our limited resources, the different approaches there are in creating personal spaces inside or outside to give us the comfort we need when we are at home. From gardening tips, island flavor recipes, to the beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Ayuyu, ideas from Pacific Home and Garden, the adventures in bath remodeling, and the art and wonder of Ms. Ashley Carter Moffatt’s world, we hope to inspire you to see what is available here in making your home or garden places you want to spend more time in. Thank you and happy reading!

Warm Wishes, Laila Y. Boyer Publisher

a marianas variety publication


Vol. 1 Issue No. 2 October 2011

m a g a z i n e

home& garden


october 2011

ashley moffatt’s artful home spice l home & garden


about the cover Art collector Ashley Carter Moffatt graciously showed spice her home and her art collection — her priceless possessions.

cover photo by alexie villegas zotomayor

spice m a g a z i n e

volume no. 1 issue no. 2

laila younis-boyer publisher

alexie villegas zotomayor managing editor


racquel c. bagnol writer

jeanette sarabia advertising manager

noemi borromeo

5 feature remodeling your bathroom 6 cover story discover ashley’s art collection 11 feature where the Ayuyu’s find bliss

15 green thumb easy gardening tips and making insect repellents 17 gourmet making your own okonomiyaki 18 laila shares heirloom recipes

account executive

loida martinez chito saulog layout artists

© 2011 by Marianas Variety. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No portion of this publication may be copied, stored, transmitted, reprinted, in print or in digital form without a prior permission from the publisher. spice magazine is a monthly publication of Marianas Variety with office at Alaihai Street, Saipan. PO BOX 500231, Saipan, MP 96950 Tel. No. 670.234.9797 Fax: 670.234.9271 email: website: PRINTED BY YAS PRINTING SERVICES

spice l home & garden

october 2011


an adventure in bathroom remodeling Text by LAILA YOUNIS BOYER


ne of the few spaces in a home that gets the least attention is the bathroom, yet we spend considerable amount of time in there each day. As parents, we discovered how making small spaces like the bathroom work more efficiently reduces the stress of getting young children all washed and cleaned up considerably. So, Laurence and I are on a bathroom remodeling adventure with the goal to get as many of the products and services we need on island. As we think about what is it we would like to have out of the space, functionality and practicality come to mind, but we would also like it to exude a spa-like atmosphere. That’s what happens when you watch too many episodes on Home and Garden Television. But really, you would like to have your bathroom be not only a functional space, but also one where you could relax if needed. As noted, “An effective bathroom design should address all your needs, physical and spiritual.” Here is what they had to say are the most important tips to consider when considering bathroom renovations: 1 Choose elegant fixtures. A pedestal sink with graceful lines is more attractive than a blocky cabinet vanity. A classic claw-foot tub is like bathroom sculpture. 2 Sit in a bathtub before buying it. Bigger isn’t always better. A 60inch tub is fine for most people. It offers enough room to stretch out and provides a secure foothold, so you don’t float into oblivion when the tub is full. If you only have october 2011

Warm colors and accents are great ideas for our bathroom space as shown here from

enough space for a small tub, buy an extra-deep one. 3 Select durable flooring. Ceramic, marble and stone tiles are all excellent durable and waterresistant choices for a bathroom. Well-sealed hardwood floors offer natural warmth and act as a foil for the other hard, cold surfaces in a bathroom. 4 Hang a stylish mirror. One beautifully framed mirror over a sink is more attractive than many surfaces covered with mirror. Supplement it with a wall-mounted

adjustable makeup mirror, and consider installing a lighted, mirrored shaving niche in your shower stall. 5 Use found space. Take advantage of space between wall studs by recessing a tall storage cabinet into the wall to maximize vertical storage while saving floor space. The cabinet should have an interior depth of at least three inches and a door flush with the wall. 6 Build a shower area. Consider building an open-con-

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cept shower area that doesn’t need a curtain or door and is less confining than a standard shower stall. In addition to well-designed drainage, a ceiling-mounted rain showerhead and/or a high wallmounted showerhead that splashes less water will keep the area outside the shower drier. 7 Share space for added function. In homes with back-to-back bathrooms, a shared shower with access doors to each of the bathrooms maximizes limited space. Or turn a closet located next to a bathroom into a small ensuite with access to the neighboring bath. 8 Design lighting that works. Good lighting is imperative. Combine halogen pot lights with wall sconces beside or over the mirror for lighting with no shadows. 9 Buy a quality toilet. When buying a toilet, it’s not necessary for you to spend big bucks, but you don’t want to scrimp too much, either. Models with elongated bowls and seats are usually most comfortable. 10 Incorporate luxury into your room. If you’re fortunate enough to have lots of space to work with, indulge yourself with an expanded spa-like bathroom that includes a dressing room –- a haven for privacy and relaxation. Outfit it with a television, exercise equipment, makeup vanity and even a large comfortable occasional chair upholstered in thick white terry-cloth. Oh I wish! Although the terrycloth chair is a great idea, we don’t have enough space for it, or for a television or exercise equipment, so we are going to go for the basics. Continued on page 10 

cover story




GUARDIANS. Fu dogs or imperial lions are traditional feng shui symbols of family wealth and social status


N the homes of grand dames she first learned and experienced art. It was a festival for the senses for an impressionable four-year-old to listen to fine music, to hold a Ming Dynasty vase, to look at a da Vinci or Botticelli at close range, or to even get a whiff of books that reek of years past. Not everyone gets to have a front-row seat to an art exhibit let alone touch a piece of art that one only gets to see in pictures or in museums where glass frames entomb them. But Ashley Carter Moffatt did. Through these visits in Middleburg, Virginia homes from mid-1950s through the ’60s that the young Ashley developed the impeccable  

taste and a keen eye for exquisite pieces of art. “My grandfather and I travelled to the family farms just outside of Washington D.C. We would go to the various neighbors’ houses for tea,” recalls Ashley. She remembers the time she visited the home of Listerine heiress — and widow of billionaire art collector Paul Mellon — Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon on a 4,000-acre property in Virginia. [Mrs. Mellon served as consultant to President John F. Kennedy and wife Jackie on the restoration of the White House.] She says Mrs. Mellon told her butler to accompany her to the bathroom to wash her hands. “Then she would bring me extraordinary artwork—things you would see in the muspice spice l home l home & garden & garden

seum.” When the other grand dames got wind of this, Ashley says they began to share with her their own art collection. “Many of them collected beautiful furniture—period furniture. So I had this extraordinary education. I know the insides of astonishing people’s houses.” Surrounded by people learned in the arts, Ashley says the experience helped mold her. “In a sense it became a natural part of my being.” The art collector, consultant, teacher, and ballet dancer has been on Saipan for the last 18 years and for the last four years been sharing her collection of both oriental and Western art with the public through her Fu Dogs & Qi Continued on page 7 october october 2011 2011




CHOPS. The diminutive sculptures atop her antique Japanese chest are intricately carved using various media.

antique store in Susupe. Born in 1951 in Madison, Wisconsin, Ashley is the oldest daughter of three children of a Univ. of Wisconsin educator and a bacteriologist. Her grandfather whom she loved dearly, Dr. Edwin Broun Fred, was the president of the university and responsible for taking her to tea parties with the immensely rich Virginia neighborhood. Dr. Fred, who was originally from Virginia, was a renowned agricultural bacteriologist who was once chairman of the committee to look into the possibilities of germ warfare during World War II. With her mother and grandfather both bacteriologists, Ashley says she grew up thinking everything was a bad germ. “Everything had to be avoided at all cost,” she says erupting in a boisterous laugh. When she was young she went to a ballet school and took part in the Madison Ballet Company that later on was instrumental in her working with Rudolph Nureyev, whom she considers “probably the most famous danseur of all time.” Not everyone gets the special dispensation to learn the Bolshoi “Swan Lake” afforded to Ashley. She also had the opportunity to work october 2011 october 2011

with the Stuttgart company. But her life and training as a ballet dancer are rich fodder for a separate feature. The art collector whose joie de vivre remains a sterling quality of hers probably learned all the pillars of art early on. From the two-dimensional art like painting in various media to three-dimensional sculpture and architecture, to the performing arts like dance and music, Ashley has had a number of years learning them. She took piano lessons and learned theory and writing scales. She even learned Bach and Beethoven long before she discovered “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” But she admits, she’s more drawn to dance— an interpretation of music. All this knowledge of arts and early exposure all combine to make her a highly qualified designer and consultant. She didn’t get to obtain her degree. She tried majoring in education and managed to teach modern math as a freshman in college. But she realized she wasn’t learning as much so she shifted to physics and also realized she’s missing something which later on while on Saipan she would discover it was quantum physics. From physics, she majored in art history until her poor health forced her out of school. spice l home & garden spice l home & garden

Several years down the road, she got married and found herself working in Los Angeles as an art consultant. She says she has worked with Leonard Bernstein, Alejandro Rey, Tom Hanks, Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Roy Disney and her best friend former Miss America 1976 Tawney Goudin. More than 18 years ago while vacationing in the Isle of Man off the coast of England, Ashley ran into a tax attorney — G.S. “Eagle” Oden — who told her about an island called Saipan in the Pacific. “As soon as my foot touched the ground, I just knew I had come home,” she says. “It has just been difficult for me to leave. Every time I would leave for Los Angeles it just breaks my heart,” she adds. For her, it was an awful experience to be working in L.A. and wanting to come back home to Saipan. For so many years, she would stay in L.A. for nine months and return to Saipan in time for Thanksgiving until February when it’s time for her to go back. She says she’s been happy to be living on Saipan although she’s disappointed she can’t own land. “I’m fascinated by many of the island ways.  

The knowledge the people hold of nutrition and healing that often they don’t realize they know their traditions handed down to their family,” she says. Her return to ballet on Saipan has been fulfilling for Ashley. “I really enjoy working with Miss Anna [Glushko]. She and I were both trained in the Russian style of ballet called Vaganova.” At home Home for Ashley has been a quiet place in an undisclosed location on island. After teaching ballet she comes home and heads to her favorite spot — a purple velvet chair in one corner with two Hiroshige prints on the wall. Every piece of art in her home tells a story. Every door has fu dogs guarding it. Every room conveys a welcoming ambiance—inviting, enveloping. Sitting on a chair with Ashley opens up opportunities for art discourse that can lead to figuring out whether Dilthey, Schleiermacher or Hans Georg Gadamer is the better hermeneute, or discussing the wonders of ancient civilization or analyzing from which Chinese or Japanese dynasty a particular art piece came from. Opening the main door, one is greeted by a large blue and white porcelain and a “tansu” with a Japanese lamp on top. To the right are the Hiroshige prints on the wall, her velvet chair, another “tansu” — chest — with bronze sculptures. For Ashley, the “tansus” or the Edo chests are sentimental to her in a way that she bought them from her modest inheritance. She bought her Japanese chests in Los Angeles. Prior to getting her “tansu,” her grandfather had left her and her siblings money enough to pay for college. Whatever remained they did what they thought they should do. She says “I had no idea how to invest in stocks and bonds and mutual funds. What I did know are antiques and art.” Even though she had money from her grandfather, “I couldn’t afford the art that I wanted.” She says, “When I came across this chest, and when I had the money that my grandfather had left for me, I bought that.” She bought four pieces of the Japanese chests from the Edo Period. [Edo Period or the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japanese history is from 1603 to 1868 and parallel to China’s Qing Dynasty which ruled from 1644-1911.—avz] “My brother and sister put the money into various stocks and bonds. They rose and they fell. But I still have my pieces of furniture. And they are worth a whole lot more now,” says Ashley. The chest was her third art acquisition with a pair of fu dogs as her first. They had been damaged in one of the earthquakes and they lost some of their value. But they were professionally repaired,” Ashley tells about her fu dogs. In her bedroom, on top of an Edo chest rest chops— a form of Chinese engraving used as an identifying  

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mark of the user, more like the owner’s signature. Tipping one over and showing the under side of the chop, she says, “It is beautifully carved on both sides. They are made from different materials, from metal to jade, agate—all kinds of things.” Even the ring she wears is another form of a “chop” that lords and barons in England would use to dip in wax to seal letters. On the two sides of her bed are more pieces of oriental art including a lamp with Chinese Empress Dowager CiQi design. There are fu dogs at the door. In her guest room is where she temporarily keeps her piano—a piece of art that she shares with her mother. She says when her mother was gravely ill, she would often find herself playing the piano every night, playing Bach’s “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring.” One time, she says, her sister who was with her mother, told Ashley their mother was humming a particular tune and when Ashley heard it, it was Bach’s. She says every night for a year she did play until she decided to stop. She says that was when her mother had moved on.


Form vs Function It’s one question often debated in an art class. But for Ashley, “The form as I have always learned — form has to follow function.” “I have to figure out how to get the function to conform to the form,” she laughs. When she has her heart set on a particular piece to be set in one corner, it may not necessarily be the best place to put it. She says she has figure out how to make it function. “I intuitively know that’s where it belongs.” Some people when they buy art pieces, they think of function first rather than form. In her case, she says, “Sometimes I usually fall in love with a piece of art and figure out where it will function best.” And fall in love she did with her art pieces like her Hiroshige collection which adorns her walls. “I have been collecting Hiroshige for such a long time and I know so much about it. There are specific pieces that you can spend a lifetime searching for,” she says. At the moment she has 150 pieces. “I have had a few that were gifts. Most of them I purchased in auctions. I was able to get really good pieces for as little as $30-$50. Other pieces I paid several thousands for,” she adds. Her introduction to Hiroshige’s work was through Frank Lloyd Wright, a dear friend of her grandparents’ Dr. Ed and Mrs. Rosa Fred. Ashley says she spent some of her childhood visiting Taliesin East in Spring Green, WI where the great American architect lived and had a school. She says Wright had a rule. “He would not build a house for you unless you agreed to put anywhere between two to five Hiroshige prints in the house you are building.” She says Wright had wall after wall of Hiroshige prints october october 2011 2011

and she remembers the great American architect walking through and sharing them with her. “I began to see them through his eyes.” A visit to Wright’s house—now a museum— in Los Angeles brought back memories of her childhood. On the second floor is a study where Hiroshige prints all over. “I knew what painting was to come next. I could taste the familiarity of them.” Talking about her Hiroshige is a sentimental journey back to childhood for Ashley and her home definitely speaks volumes of her past. Aside from her Hiroshige prints, there’s a preponderance of Ming Dynasty [1368-1644] and Qing Dynasty [1644-1911] vases. Aside from Hiroshige, “I have a lot of antique blue and white porcelain.” “I have a cocoon vase from Han Dynasty,” she says referring to her oldest piece of art in her collection. [After the death of Qin Dynasty Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi—the Chinese emperor whose imperial tomb complex is guarded by thousands of life-size terra cotta warriors — China was ruled by Han Dynasty from 206 B.C. to 220 A.D. — avz] Describing her oldest art piece, Ashley says, “I find that piece very beautiful in its simplicity and its durability.” She also tells Spice she has inherited a lot of artwork from her grandparents some of which were given by dignitaries. She has a pewter rice bowl and keeps the rice hot. “I do have odd pieces that were personal gifts from my grandparents,” she says. Designing for others If she were to design somebody else’s house, Ashley says, “I believe artwork in your home is something that you’re passionate about.” She adds, “I don’t care if they are donkeys, birds or hats—it doesn’t matter. If you are passionate about it, it‘s going to work in that environment.” According to her, if the artwork “moves you or it reminds you of the beautiful day you had, if it elicits some emotion in you and it is yours, you should have it on your walls.” For Ashley, to put a décor in the house just because your designer told you so “is you’re selling yourself short.” She says art is an outlet “to calm us down, to get back in touch with our part of our soul that needs to be soothed.” For Ashley, people sell themselves short when they say they know nothing about art. “Truth of the matter is they know a lot more than they think they do.” If she were to design for others, she will ask about the person’s background, what he or she october 2011 october 2011

‘TANSU.’ From her modest inheritance, Ashley Moffatt acquired four Japanese chests called “tansu” from the Edo Period or Tokugawa Shogunate period.

likes, if he or she comes home often, among other things. “What’s important is it works for you,” says Ashley of the decors in the house one puts in it. Asked by Spice if it’s not just art for art’s sake. “No—not at all.” The kitchen When not contemplating on her art or teaching ballet, cooking —culinary art—is another of Ashley’s passion. “There’s a dish that I am just crazy about. It’s from a restaurant in Pasadena called Chronicle,” she says. She describes the dish as more like a chicken kiev wallowing in a divine sauce made of tarragon and thyme. Every time she goes to a store and sees tarragon and thyme, she says, “I go berserk and I have to find that chicken,” says Ashley bursting in laughter. Art is her life Looking back on the years she spent workspice l home && garden spice l home garden

ing as a consultant and much farther back to her childhood, Ashley lived and continues to live and breathe art. “I feel responsible for all these beautiful things that I have amassed,” she tells Spice. She says it’s her job to protect them—keep them safe. She’s blessed, she says, that she has been allowed to keep them. Sitting on her purple, velvet chair in the living room with a view of her art collection, she finds peace and joy. “I never get bored with them,” says Ashley. As she relaxes on the chair with Alessandro the cat (named after Sandro Botticelli)—she feels comforted by the thought that every piece of art in her home echoes a rich past and provides a sentimental journey back again to the days of her tea parties with the grand dames of Virginia and back again in the loving arms of a grandfather who was instrumental in her obtaining an extraordinary art education. [Those interested to seek her advice on art, natural healing and interior design can contact her at] 


Continued from page 5

So far, we have ventured into Island Bath and Ceramics, owned by Ivan and Tatiana Ilmova, on Middle Road next to Transamerica, which we also checked out,as well as Ace Hardware in Garapan and Susupe, and YCO Hardware in Garapan and we love the choices we have thus far. Rain shower heads, large and small bathtubs, a variety of sinks, toilets, tiles and shower stalls all at affordable prices. Rain shower heads…oh, just the idea of water pouring like rain is relaxing already. There are a few other local stores for us to explore, some offering unique accessories and décor, so the adventure continues. The tricky part is now coming up with a design that fits the look and feel we would like for our bathroom, making it energy and water efficient, child-friendly, and at the same time, a place of relaxation and rejuvenation. There’s HGTV creeping up again. Well, at least, it isn’t that Selling New York episode, where a couple almost turned down a 1.2 million dollar apartment because the stove looked like an “easy bake” oven. Talk about picky details. There are ways to bring in luxury and comfort while keeping to a realistic budget and it is good to know we will able to achieve that here at home. Here’s to a fun adventure in bathroom remodeling and happy hunting!

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blissful respite

mountain of the

Text and photos by RAQUEL C. BAGNOL


ESTLED amid lush foliage on top of a small hill covering several hundreds of acres in Papago is a white imposing, three-storey house that the successful couple behind McDonald’s Saipan owners Joe and Marcia Ayuyu call home. The rough path from the main road could be a big turn-off, especially for small cars and one would never think that a lot of beautiful houses october 2011

are there but we rounded the curb and there we were. After several postponed schedules, Spice finally got the chance to visit the Ayuyu house one cloudy afternoon. The gates opened as though an invisible hand is pushing it apart and we drove all the way up to the family garage. Looking up from the wrought-iron gates several meters away up to the house that looks like spice l home & garden

an imposing state building, one would never imagine that an abundance of warmth, simplicity and elegance rolled into one characterize the Ayuyu’s residence. Donning on her gardening shoes and gloves, Ayuyu emerges into the small garden outside the main door and proceeds to tend to the blooming orchids and other flowers. Ayuyu said that tending to her garden gives her the best 11

form or recreation. The sight of soft pastel-colored carpets complimented the light hues of beige and light green curtains, artfully chosen to match the furniture in the living room met our eyes when Ayuyu ushered us in. One distinct feature of the house that is immediately noticeable is the spaciousness and air of relaxed ambiance that lures you to stay. The high-ceilinged living room furnished with a round sofa set and throw pillows gives a homey feeling, a far cry from being cooped up in the confines of the office. This is the real essence of what the Ayuyus call a home. A rectangular dining set facing tall glass windows overlooking the Lao Lao Bay and the lush greenery and colorful gardens provides an atmosphere of dining in an exotic location but 12

Ayuyu said they only use this dining set when they have visitors but the family mostly takes their meals at the round table near the kitchen. A tour of the house, starting at the third floor showed four regular sized bedrooms for the children, complete with individual bathrooms and walk-in closets and one huge master bedroom, which in itself is a dream. Minus all the frills one usually see in most bedrooms, the Ayuyu’s master bedroom is simple yet elegant, where you wake up into the most spectacular sunrise and a view of Lao Lao Bay lagoon on one side, and the green jungles on the other side—all spread out in a glorious panorama from the clear glass windows that stretched from one end of the room to the other. Highlighting the master bedroom is Ayuyu’s spice l home & garden

favorite spot—an oval Jacuzzi with huge glass windows overlooking the sea and the mountains. Three short steps would lead you to enjoy escape into total bliss to enjoy the soothing squirt of hot water jets and soak all pressures into relaxation. Ayuyu said that sometimes, when the pressure at work is too much, she steals some time fill up the Jacuzzi and forget everything for a few moments. A door on one side of the master bedroom leads into the balcony where the family can enjoy fresh cool air straight from the mountains. Ayuyu said that when she’s home, she can shed the pressures of work as though nothing else matters but the peace and relaxation she gets in this heavenly respite. Down a flight of spiral staircase we went and emerged into the basement of the house where october 2011

the stockroom is. It is also where Ayuyu’s housekeeper stays. A sports room with a pool table and exercise machines occupy one room, with a sitting room with huge paintings on the wall with glass walls providing a refreshing view of the gardens outside where you can relax after a hearty workout. A side door leads to a swimming pool which the Ayuyus rarely use. A balcony adorns each floor, an escape when the family wants to breathe fresh air or simply wants to commune with nature. Going back to the second floor, Ayuyu concluded our tour at the spic and span bar-like kitchen and at the most used room in the house which is the family room. Unlike the living room, the family room boasts of comfortable seats and recliners, personal knick-knacks and a huge television at the center of the room. The Ayuyus thrive on simplicity, without the clash and clutter of lavish frills you would expect from most households. The simple but tastefully chosen decorations and furniture gives the whole place an elegant setting. Ayuyu said that she brought all the decorations and paintings on the walls from the mainland but some of the materials they used to construct the house are from here. Ayuyu said that they started constructing the house in 1997 when they came to Saipan, and moved in a year later despite the unfinished state of the house. “We continued with the construction after we moved in and completed it after another year,” Ayuyu said. She added that they bought the place from one of the local residents who have already relocated to the mainland. In addition to the colorful blooms that Ayuyu maintains around the house, the whole area is surrounded with various fruit breaing trees like pomelos, mangoes, bananas, and more. “My husband wanted a big space where he can plant, and that’s how he spends his spare time,” Ayuyu said. On weekends and at times when they need a break, the family spends time at this heavenly retreat. The big house echoes with empty halls and rooms for now as Ayuyu’s two elder kids are already in the mainland but the Ayuyus are looking forward to the time when their children get families of their own and the halls will be filled with laughter and the soft patter of children’s feet.

TARO SUE STORE Store Hours: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm Monday to Saturday Tel. Nos.: 234-5416 / 17 • Fax No.: 235-5415



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gardening made easy Text and photo by RAQUEL C. BAGNOL


RE you one of those that wish to grow your own flower gardens at home but thinks you don’t have the time, space and the green thumb to do it? Flowers and plants appeal to different people in different ways but going home to a house filled colors with the heady fragrance of fresh blooms could sometimes spell the difference between depression and inspiration. The sights and smells from beautiful gardens have the uncanny ability to comfort and sooth people who are forever wrapped with stress from the daily routine of work. If you want your front or backyard to bloom with colored fragrant flowers, if you want to boast of having the latest landscaping ideas, if you enjoy reinventing your surroundings and bring in the beauty of plants and flowers, you need not remain wishing forever. You can do it and have your own full blooms outside your home in no time at all. Here are some beginner’s gardening tips you can check out. If you drive around and see homes whose faoctober 2011

cades boast of colorful blooms, remember that a lot of work or money went into it before they achieved that beautiful garden. Before you dig the first spadeful of soil to begin your garden, relax and condition your mind that this is a fun and entertaining activity, not one that exerts stress. Next, make a plan so you will know where you start. What plants and flowers do you specifically want to grow in your garden? As soon as you have decided, do some research or visit the flower gardens of some friends and acquaintances to get some helpful tips to get you started. Chances are those flower growers would be enthusiastic to share their tips and experiences with you. For starters, you can buy seeds but if you don’t want to start from zero and tend the plants until you get flowers, you can visit the Sabalu market at the Civic Center or at the flea market at the Marianas Business Plaza grounds on Saturday mornings to get your starter flower sets. spice l home & garden

Different kinds of flowers and plants are sold in pots that you can buy and allow to grow in your garden. Does your proposed flower beds exposed to too much sunlight? Some plants grow best in the shade, and if you have trees around your house, this can make things easier. If you go for flowers and plants that grow best under a full sun, you wouldn’t have to do anything about seeking shades at all. Again, doing your research on the different characteristics of the plants and flowers you want to plan can go a long way toward a successful gardening, and this applies to whatever you are planning to plant such as annuals, perennials, flowering bulbs, ornamental grasses, climbing vines, roses, shrubs and trees or wildflowers or other variety. You can also check online stores if you want to grow flowers that are unique in the area, but do research first so you will know what to expect. You will be surprised at the bliss you will get when you coming home to a home surrounded with a lovely garden. Happy gardening. 15


mosquito repellents


iving on a tropical island sure does have its benefits: warm weather, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, marine preserves, lush landscape and my all-time favorite, mosquitoes! Right. I remember doing a shoot in Ordot where parts of the garden were more like jungle and there were so many mosquitoes I swear I heard them chanting my name, “Marisssssssa! Marisssssssa!” It sent chills up my neck, which of course may have actually enhanced the blood sucking experience for those that chose to feast on that exposed portion of my body, while others eagerly conspired to do more damage by going for my temples and cheeks. I was so worried about looking like a crazy woman on-camera and losing my composure in front of my guest that I endured the torture for as long as I could before wrapping the interview and booking it out of there. It took about 20 minutes for me to regain my appearance. The welts on my face were so bad I looked like a 3D map of the Marianas! Since then I’ve learned that there are plants that can actually serve as natu­ral mosquito repellents (I invite you to add them to your garden if you’re considering having us over to feature your home). They are easy to find as I’m certain most nurseries carry one or all of them. And the best part is each of them serves multiple purposes. My favorite is rosemary. It’s an herb that makes a beautiful ornamental plant as well as a delicious culinary seasoning especially when added to lamb or chicken. You can typically find these in small pots grown to about 4 inches. And while it’s possible to grow from seeds, they can be difficult to germinate so you’re better off starting with a cutting. That way you’ll be sure of what type of plant you’ll get. It’s also possible to root rosemary in a glass of water – but you may just want to consider propagating for the most dependable results. 16


Here’s what you do: 1. Snip about a 2 inch cutting from the soft, new growth of your estab­lished plant. 2. Remove the leaves from the bottom inch and dip that tip into a rooting hormone. 3. Carefully place the dipped end into a container of dampened, sterile seed starting mix. Choose a mix that says it is well drain­ing, like something containing peat moss with vermiculite or perlite which can also be found at 4. Place the container in a warm spot with indirect sunlight. 5. Mist the cuttings daily and make sure the soil does not dry out. 6. In about 2-3 weeks, test for root growth by very gently tugging on the cuttings. 7. Once your cuttings have roots, transplant into individual pots about 3-4 inches in diameter. 8. Pinch off the very top of the cutting to encourage it to develop branches. 9. Begin caring for your cutting as a rosemary plant by providing sun, good drainage and good air circulation. 10. Once your rosemary matures, feel free to plant it in the ground; be sure to fertilize and give it full sun. Other natural repellents include Thai basil, which has a minty flavor and goes great with spaghetti or can be added to iced tea; it’s also self-seeding so more of the plant grows once the seeds drop. All you have to do when using it as a repellents is simply grow an a b u n dance of it or if you spice l home & garden

aren’t sensitive, try rubbing the leaves on your skin. And then there’s lemongrass, which goes really well in a pond area or when incorporated into a rock garden. Throw it on the grill to activate its repel­lent properties and then sit back and relax while you enjoy the barbecue! I would have gladly used any or all three of these plants for that matter in trying to ward off those pesky mosqui­toes during my shoot that day. While I’m sure I probably would’ve smelled like a spa spice rack — it’s a small price to pay in order to keep those fun-loving mosquitoes at bay! Marissa Borja, owner and host of Pacific Home & Garden, is a regular contributor to Guam Variety’s new home & garden section published every Friday. From home security to making the home energy efficient, her articles provide local tips and solutions for our families

october 2011




WENTY-nine years into her marriage, Elizabeth Miyata says she never fails to cook her husband’s favorite dish “okonomiyaki” — Japanese omelette — especially on a Sunday. “It’s my husband’s favorite dish. Knowing it’s his favorite, I tried to learn it first among other Japanese dishes,” Miyata says. Miyata, owner of Filipino restaurant JHEMS in Garapan, says okonomiyaki is one of the easier

meals to prepare. Ever generous and obliging to Spice Magazine’s request, Miyata showed how it is made. This meal is served without rice and complements well with a bottle beer. Easy to prepare, okonomiyaki is ideal for a working mother who’s always in a rush. Miyata says, “It’s not that expensive either.” Those who tried Miyata’s okonomiyaki says they only have one word to describe it — oishi!

Ingredients: 5-7 eggs flour pork belly aonori (seaweed flakes) katsuboshi (bonito flakes) Japanese mayonnaise Okonomiyaki sauce Age tempura Water Dried shrimp october 2011

Directions: Mix flour, egg, and a glass of water in a bowl. Then Add minced onions and cabbage. Put dry shrimp and age tempura. Prepare pan on low fire. Add a small amount of oil. Scoop the mixed batter then spread on pan. Fry both sides until brown. Serve hot. Sprinkle aonori and age tempura on top. Add okonomiyaki sauce. Adding mayonnaise is optional.

spice l home & garden



flavors of the

islands Text by LAILA YOUNIS BOYER


he smell of banana and mango slowly baking in your oven is a great reminder about some of the wonderful island flavors and how lovely it is to enjoy them with your favorite cup of coffee or tea. My mother in law, Elizabeth, introduced this Banana Bread recipe to me a while ago, pleased with the fact that it uses only one egg and still comes out moist and delicious. I love it, not only because it comes out rich and delicious, but it also uses one bowl for easy set up and clean up time. As I got better with the recipe, I started adding other fruits, such as papaya and mango just to see how the flavors would turn out—the results, my all-time favorite, mango and banana. Enjoy! one of our teppanyaki dishes recently at Giovanni’s Restaurant, took apart the cabbage and served it with fresh tuna with a splash of soy sauce and butter. In the words of Food Network’s Rachel Ray, delish! Take one of your favorite canned tuna dishes, whether it’d be with corn, cabbage or green beans and use fresh tuna instead. The flavors are amazing and we are helping our local fishermen by buying their fresh catch at the same time. Yay! Some of our local fish markets take the time to clean and fillet the fish for you, if you are not into cleaning your own fish. All you have to do is ask and the effort is well worth it for healthy eating and this delicious recipe! Stir-Fried Cabbage with Tuna Ingredients: 1/2 cabbage, cut into 1 inch wide strips 1 small onion, or 1/2 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges 2 cups cubed fresh tuna or a tuna fillet ½ tbsp butter (optional) 1-2 tbsp soy sauce ½ tsp black pepper 1 tbsp Canola oil for frying

Banana Mango Bread Ingredients: 3 large bananas, well mashed 2 large ripe mangoes, pureed 1 egg 1 stick of butter, melted 1 1/2 cup of flour 1 cup of brown sugar 1 teaspoon of salt 1 teaspoon of baking soda 1 cup nuts, optional

Preparation: Heat Canola oil in a large skillet and saute onion on medium-high heat until softened. Add cabbage and stir fry until softened. Add tuna and stir well with vegetables. Add butter. Season with black pepper and soy sauce to your preference. Enjoy!

Preparation: Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl; put into a well greased loaf pan. Bake at 350° for about 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Notes: Because of the natural sweetness of the bananas and mangoes, the brown sugar can be reduced to half a cup. Also, it is helpful to soften the butter and blend it with the bananas and mangoes in a blender before mixing it into the batter. The leftovers in the blender make a delicious homemade banana mango butter that you could use on toast or on pancakes. Yum! This recipe was inspired by one of our young local sous chefs at the Hyatt Regency Saipan, Zen Tomokane, who in the middle of cooking


spice l home & garden

october 2011

october 2011

spice l home & garden



spice l home & garden

october 2011

Spice Magazine - Home&Garden Edition  

Marianas Variety's lifestyle magazine

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