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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Return

I'm back from Japan! And I brought with me a lot of extra baggage. Around 10 pounds. Unfortunately, it's not in loot....


It's tummy fat!!! Japanese food is yummy and the servings are big. 10 pounds in 2 weeks.....


Time to diet. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Highly Placed = Highly Valued

I've recently heard a talk regarding drugs in the Philippines -of the illegal kind. The speaker used the scare into compliance tactic in his speech: Apparently, there is a zero tolerance policy towards drugs; if you are found with 1. drug paraphernalia or 2. in a place where a raid occurred, you can pretty much be assured off a spot in jail.


In the Philippines, it is a LITERAL spot as you'd be very lucky to get even enough SPACE to sleep in.


It's good that this person, this agency, is taking their/its job seriously. However, what if somebody drops (1) in your bag while you aren't looking or you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?


Clearly the phrase "innocent until proven guilty" does not apply in this case. It does, however, apply to money laundering when involving high profile politicians.


Is this a good or a bad thing? It's good if you're guilty, bad if you're not. And this person stated without apology that, in effect, it would be regretful if you were innocent but if you were there on the wrong time, then you are going to jail. It is your fault for being somewhere shady in the first place. And you will
lose a chunk of your life while experiencing all of the wonderful experiences of Filipino prisons.


Remember that in the Philippines, aid from the government is usually only for the wealthy and the powerful.


Say no to things that are bad for you, whether it be physical or legal.


What is worse? Taking illegal drugs or robbing a country?

Starbucks Mocha Cookie Crumble + Whoopie Pie

Have you tried the new Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappucino in Starbucks? It's a cup of sugar-sourced calories. I liked how gritty it was, especially when I grinding my teeth, compared to the traditional Mocha Frappucino in Starbucks. Also, that they used a different color for the whipped cream.






Mocha Frappucino (left) Whoopie Pie (center), Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappucino (right)




Starbucks suggested pairing it with a Whoopie Pie, so I did. There's something strangely fun about eating something that resembles Cookie Monster while drinking something with the word "cookie" in it. Especially if you're sharing it with friends and giving it Cookie Monster's voice...






Buy Again?


Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappucino: Maybe in a few months. While it tasted good, it really isn't something I could see myself drinking regularly (I prefer my drinks smooth in general). I'd rather go buy a traditional Mocha Frappucino and save my money and possible fat for something else.


Also, beware of food particles sticking to your teeth. Not very attractive to find something brown stuck there while you're talking to another person.


Whoopie Pie: Maybe in a few months. Again, though it was yummy, I can honestly say that the best thing about it for me was the eyes.




For all Starbucks Philippines Planner holders (me!), note that you have a BOGO coupon for a frappucino this may. On that note, time is running out on the Monday Starbucks promo. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Experience: Getting a Japanese Visa

This is my experience in getting a visa to Japan using Reli Tours Travel Company.



Sunday, May 13, 2012

VMV

Guess what's this picture for?




If you look to your right, you will see a couple of sample cleanser and toner boxes...






vmv superskin 3 toner bottle plus samples




Yes, I'm going to be travelling. And it's always a good idea to pack travel sized items for short trips abroad. I'm going Japan!!! I will be posting my experience in getting a visa shortly in another post. If ever I have people actually reading this blog (is there anyone actually there?), I'd just like to say that I will not be posting anything during my 15 day stay (which is the limit for Filipinos).


I'd also just like to share that I was able to get the VMV Superskin 3 (for oily skin) toner with with a 25% discount. It was previously P700 ($16), but is I got it for P525 ($12). I will be reviewing it in the future. But just a little about VMV. VMV Hypoallergenics is a Filipino brand gone global. It is most famous for the Armada series sunscreens (which I might do a review on). Unfortunately, it also has international prices. VMV is notorious for price increases (I actually dread every sale because it probably means another price increase), so I only buy during sales.


I was once able to get the full sized scrub, toner and nourisher (moisturizer) from the Superskin 3 line much less than it costs now *sigh*. I used this combination during my high school years. While the scrub and nourisher where very gentle, the toner was much less gentle and definitely the heavy hitter of the lot. Though I experienced less break outs for the two month period I used the trio religiously, it reduced my teenaged acne by only around 40% (which was still bad during that time); I had to use a different cleanser and spot treatment at night and brought it up to around 60%.


The current toner's sale price is less than (P80) $2 of the old regular price, I think. I don't think I am re-purchasing from VMV until the price becomes more stable since the constant sale-price increase cycle depresses me.


This specific toner is not available in the US; something else called a mandelic acid primer is sold over there.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Starbucks Promo

If you live in a rock, like me, you might not know that Starbucks is taking half of certain frappucinos on Mondays. Time and duration depend on location, but in the Philippines:

2-6 PM until May 28, 2012.

It's the perfect time to hang out with your friends over coffee. For those without a large budget, you can treat your mom to a belated mother's day frap ;)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: Methode Swiss Thermal Therapy Eye Essence

Bought at Sasa in Hong Kong, this product is not available in the Philippines. This product was one the first "higher end" eye creams I've tried, and I'm very satisfied with it. It was bought quite a while a go so I'm not quite sure how much it is but it is on the expensive side. I haven't been using it consistently since I've added a retinol eye cream at night. It definitely lightened my under-eye circles by a shade or two when I used it, but only while I was using it.




Packaging
I've lost the box it came with (so I can't give the ingredients), but this is a 15ml pump bottle. Since it doesn't come in a pot, it's more hygienic. However, you can't see how much product you've used since there is no indicator. One day, you're just gonna pump to find that there's nothing left. I also foresee me having to break the bottle to get the dregs of the product out. This product is made in Switzerland and there is no chance of the cap breaking or any accidental loss. There is also a manufacturing date at the bottom of the bottle so you know when to throw yours out.




One pump is enough to cover both eyes. I didn't have wrinkles when I used this so I don't know if it will help with that, but it hydrates the eye area well. After immediate application, you will feel your eye area growing hot, but it subsides after a minute or so. Added bonus, if you use this after you wash your face, you're less likely to fall asleep afterwards.




It takes a really long while for this product to sink in, around ten minutes or so. It's definitely moisturizing and my eyes never feel dry when I use this product 2x a day. Also, it doesn't give any sun protection so you still need to use something afterwards.


Pros
-hygienic
-covers undereye circles (cosmetic?)
-moisturizing


Cons
-expensive
-no sun protection
-doesn't sink in quickly
-no indicator of amount of product left


Buy Again? No. It's not locally available, and for it's price, I feel I'd be able to get a better eye cream with actual sun protection.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Alcohol in Toners?

Most people would say that you should not use any toner (or face product) that has alcohol in it, and I agree. This is because of it's drying, inflammatory and oil stimulating properties. Thus, for most people, alcohol-free toners are the way to go. And it should rightly be.


However, alcohol-free toners are rare among low-end products in the Philippines. A good, cheap replacement may be a green tea or apple cider vinegar toner. Short shelf life for the first and the smell for the second are drawbacks to these two options. Witch hazel may also be an alternative, but be sure that there is no alcohol in the distilling process or the ingredients list.



On the other hand, I'm not much bothered by the alcohol content in a toner. I live in Metro Manila, Philippines: There is a lot of pollution over here and oftentimes even a double cleansing (oil and water) may not be able to take everything off at the end of the day. I also prefer not to wash my face in public. No other toner works as well in removing all that gunk as well as an alcohol-based one on-the-go or after face washing (You cannot use your toner as a replacement for your cleanser).



It may not be the healthiest solution, but I can live with it (for now). Thus, at the moment, any product that has alcohol content is not necessarily a turn off for me. Call it hypocrisy, recklessness, youthful folly. Maybe I'll be better (or richer) when I'm a bit more grown up. I've seen that some toners are effective, even with their alcohol content. Some faces are also capable of bearing the alcohol. I think I'm one of them. Here's hoping for the best.



I know I will probably regret this in the future.


:(

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: Clinique Acne Solutions Spot Healing Gel

For someone as acne prone as I am, there will always be a need for a spot treatment. Spot treatments are basically the precision attacks you use to kill zits when they are already there. I've tried several spot treatments and this is one of those I favor. Clinique's Spot Healing Gel's active ingredient is 1% Salicylic Acid.


clinique spot healing gel




It's actually my second bottle of this stuff. The first bottle I had had a green cap, which I like more than the white one. There was also some spill-over when I first opened this one, which was a bit of a waste of product. Fortunately, you only need a small amount, being a SPOT treatment (don't put it all over your face), so my previous bottle lasted me 2 years.


clinique spot healing gel


This product leaves a clear film over the zit. It is best used on newly formed zits (hit 'em while they're young). There is a stinging sensation when applied to the face, though it is not as bad as Eskinol Dermaclear-C Overnight Pimple Gel (that burnt my zits so bad, I had brown spots where my zits were when I placed it on overnight). I prefer to apply this after I wash my face in the morning and at night. Baby zits are gone in one day.


On zits that have already come to a head, this product initially makes the zit look works. It then takes a few days to work. DO NOT worry your face while this is happening. GROSS ALERT!! One day, the film will peel off with the hardened pus inside, in my experience.


I like that I don't have to use a cotton swab or even my fingers. When placed, it leaves behind a film, and should not be used under make-up. I prefer salicylic acid over benzoyl peroxide because of the carcinogenic and bleaching properties of the former. Of course, this product is not the only spot treatment I use as it has shown limited effectivity.


clinique spot healing gel


Pros
-clear
-effective on baby zits
-quick dry
-lasts a long time
-easy to use


Cons
-stings slightly (may not be good for sensitive skin)
-can't be used under make-up
-not effective on all zits


Buy Again? Maybe. Yes, unless I find a better clear spot treatment in the next 2 years.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kerfuffle: A Difference in Opinion

Just this afternoon, my brother and I were talking about "big words" and the people who use them. These "big words" which usually have at least 3 syllables aren't usually used in daily life and often have simpler counterparts.

Example: kerfuffle.

According to him, it is better to use smaller words, especially in writing. This is so the reader is able to better understand the text.

Example: fuss.

But the word kerfuffle to me is different from the word fuss: The essence may be the same, but there are differences between the two, as two slices of new york cheesecake from different sources may have different tastes, textures, presentation and price. I myself am fond of the former example because of the light-heartedness the word implies for me (because it sounds close to fluff).

As to NOT knowing the meaning of the word, a dictionary (or dictionary app) can always be used to find its definition. Sometimes, it is not even needed! The use of context clues may help clarify the meaning of the word. In fact, children often learn what words mean without being given the actual definition of a word.

Learning is a wonderful thing.



Warning!

If you do decide to use big words, you should be very aware of what these words actually mean. There is the chance of embarrassment when pointed out by a more knowledgeable companion.

Also, be prepared to be called a pompous pie hole and the like.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Electric Kettle

One thing I can't live without is an electric kettle. Even if the sides of this thing are plastic (I prefer metal), I love this because it's pink. While I'm not too fond of the color itself, it does add a bit of cheer to the area. It can also hold 0.5-1.8L.



A quick source of hot water is always a must in my book, though it gets much less use now that it's summer.



As soon as you plug the device in, a blue light comes on,


which turns red while boiling.





This feature is useful as it reminds me that I have hot water available, which I am prone to forgetting mid-boil, and to unplug the device after use instead of leaving it plugged all the time. While other people might not need this reminder, I definitely do.

Avoid vampire power, unplug your devices after use :)