Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tim Horton's Single Serve Specialty Beverage Cups

Someone gave me a box of Tim Horton's Single Serve Specialty Beverage Cups recently (thank you Christmas). A popular Canadian brand, Tim Horton was always something I'd wanted to try, especially their French Vanilla. At first, not having a capsule coffee machine, I despaired of being able to use it. However, I decided to look at the back to see if I could figure out a way to make it work.

Tim Horton's French Vanilla Single Serve Specialty Beverage Cups
Looking at the ingredients list to the right, it didn't seem like it had any actual ground coffee: it was more like their powdered version adapted for a capsule coffee maker. And the nutrition facts showed that while it was high in fat and sodium, it was surprisingly low in calories.

Tim Horton's French Vanilla Nutrition Facts and Ingredients List

So I opened one of the capsules and it really was a powder!

Tim Horton's French Vanilla Capsule

Just add water :)
Tim Horton's French Vanilla
Since I find it too sweet at the ideal serving size, I think each capsule makes around 1.5-2 cups of French Vanilla. At it's somewhat diluted state, it's one of the best tasting instant coffees I've ever tried. While I don't know how much this costs, I think that unless you have only a capsule coffee machine (which would probably present better with froth), the powder tin would probably a more cost effective option.

So while I haven't been able to optimize my use of those capsules, I've been able to finish 8 of them this way with no regrets.

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Etude House: Perfect Fit BB Cream in Natural Beige

One of the few cosmetic purchases I've made this year is the Etude House Pefect Fit BB Cream in Natural Beige (W13). Bought at the 30% off sale, the price went from around P850 to around P600, it was a total steal.

Etude House BB Cream Perfect Fit Box
Etude House BB Cream Perfect Fit Box

I was looking for something with a bit of coverage, but not too heavy. BB Creams, somewhere between moisturisers and foundations, hit the spot. Perfect Fit comes in a 60 gram plastic tube with a pump top. I got a lot of bang for my buck here XD.

Etude House BB Cream Perfect Fit Tube
Etude House BB Cream Perfect Fit Tube
 It claims to be whitening, anti-wrinkle and anti-darkening. After a month of use, I haven't seen any long term effects… but it is very brightening while you're using it: after water, pearl extract and titanium dioxide are highest on the ingredient list.

Etude House BB Cream Perfect Fit Pump Top
Etude House BB Cream Perfect Fit Pump Top
 It takes me around 2 pumps to cover the face, not including the neck and around 1.5 pumps if I'm using a primer. I usually use only a thin layer on my face, any more is too much: the cream leaves a pale cast that requires either time to set (30 minutes - 1 hour, thanks to oxidation), or a darker toned setting powder.

Etude House BB Cream Perfect Fit Unblended
Etude House BB Cream Perfect Fit Unblended
The BB cream gives me a matte flawless finish while I'm using it and lasts for around 8 hours. While it doesn't start out as a powder, as time passes, it does become more powdery. It has excellent coverage for a BB cream, even with how little I put, but it won't hide major flaws (you need a foundation for that). In addition, it gives me few zits (none cystic) when I, inevitably, end up sleeping with it on. I'd prefer this go down to zero, but it never really claimed that so I can't really fault it.

Etude House BB Cream Perfect Fit Blended
Etude House BB Cream Perfect Fit Blended
While this product is very good for me, I wouldn't recommend it for those with dry skin and those with extremely problematic skin. I'd recommend it for those with normal to oily skin and those with slightly problematic skin. If you are a morena, or if you just have a lot of yellow tones in your skin, you might have problems finding a shade for you since it comes in only 3 shades, all with cooler tones. Of course, you should try it out for a few hours to see if it's right for you (especially those with sensitive skin types) - I probably wouldn't have bought it if it didn't settle properly.

I'm satisfied with this product, but wouldn't consider it as one of my HGs; I'll try to find something better in the future, but for now, this will do.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Manila Ocean Park: 5 Tips

I recently went to Manila Ocean Park for the first time in my life, and find myself wanting to share some tips that might make your (and maybe my) future visits better.

1. Avoid going on weekends: I went on a Sunday and there were a lot of people, most notably bus loads of children on school trips. Aside from the general ugh factor of having so many noisy, sweating people in one place, the attractions operate on a ticketing system that's 80% manual. Go when it's a bit less hectic and if unavoidable, inquire if there are any groups scheduled, and if so, how many.

2. Inquire for show schedules: I didn't see any show schedules explicitly put up (I didn't get a pocket guide, if there were any). The website only had a general guide and wasn't really that helpful. Ask for when each show is and how long it will last so you can watch all the shows. Note that you have to get a written time to be allowed in for the light and water show (called the "Symphony Evening Show"). A hassle since you have to make a stop in the reservation room, but understandable given the small seating and large crowd.

3. Buy a ticket based on what you have time for: Manila Ocean Park has many packages, including encounters and extra attractions. Because I came in the early afternoon and had the Liquid lunch buffet, I didn't have time to see the "Trails to Antartica" and the "Birds of Prey" attraction ( :( penguins ). You can finish all the attractions in one day… as long as you don't start mid-afternoon.

4. Skip the Liquid Pool and Lounge Buffet and eat somewhere else: It's seriously the worst buffet I've ever tried. While I did like their pork steak and fried fish fingers, as a buffet, it was seriously lacking: one soup served in the tiny "sabaw" bowls used in supermarkets, 2 unappetising looking pasta dishes (spaghetti and pancit), 3 viands (including those described previously) and a vegetable side dish of peas,carrots and corn. The desert had local fruits, bad buko pandan and fruit salad.

5. Bring a camera or a phone equivalent: not just to take selfies but to record your experiences at the park. Aside from the attraction, the bay offers some nice sunsets. Also, please don't use flash photography when there are signs telling you not to (even in darkened exhibits, it seemed like there was still light from all the heedless clicking - not cool).

On a side note, the park is not wheelchair friendly.

The park is small, but it's actually an enjoyable place to visit. Hong Kong's Ocean Park is a lot bigger, but if you can't go to Hong Kong, this is pretty good, even without the Pandas.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Victoria's Secret Midnight Dare Body Butter

Tis the season of cold weather, and the perfect time to use a body butter like this.

I love the scents of Victoria's Secret and Midnight Dare's raspberry and sandalwood combination is very addictive.  Because body butters are thicker than lotions, the scent lasts longer, and this is no exception. Since they're so thick, they usually come in a tub for easy scooping. It's not very hygienic, so make sure to have at least clean hands (best after a bath) when scooping it up. You get a bit less product with the butter than with the same scent as a lotion, and while you can get away with using the same amount as a lotion, you might end up using more since it doesn't spread as well. On the plus side, it's a bit more moisturising.

I end up using a lot of product because I love the smell so much. It's very fortunate since I'm trying to finish it asap since it comes in a tub.

Enjoy the weather while it's nice :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Murray's New Orleans at SM MoA

The family ate at Murray's New Orleans Bourbon Street Ribs, Steak and Oysters a while back.  Ambience was nice, but a bit on the dim side. We came for dinner and there were few people.

Bar Area
The bar area looked cool, but the drinks were expensive with the service charge . I tried a Kiwi Margarita, and it tasted faintly of kiwi, but mostly of alcohol. I'd have liked a bit more kiwi to balance the alcohol. On the up side, the serving was pretty big.

Kiwi Margarita
The food was good, but nothing extraordinary: I liked the meatballs best in one of the dishes they served (can't remember the name) out of many, and for a place that's supposed to cater to a different set of taste buds, it was disappointing… I was expecting something on the spicier side. I also had to complain because of a service-menu issue, but they were very accommodating once it was pointed out.

Would I come back to this place? Probably not.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What would you buy in bars?

Note: If you're reading this and you're underage wherever you come from, I'd like to remind you to follow your home country/state's laws regarding drinking.

I normally drink at a house with my friends, and we tend to drink either beers or mixed drinks. It's why I had that post a long while back. For several reasons, I prefer drinking in a private location, but there are times when I end up outside with them. During these occasions, its either pitchers (to share) or beers for me. Why?

1. I'd rather not get drunk in public

Because it comes with a host of problems from the humiliating to the horrifying. Your Blood Alcohol Levels\ (BAC) increases depending on how much and how fast you drink, but the liver can only metabolise one drink an hour. There are charts available to calculate it, but you only need 1-2 drinks in an hour to get that buzz.


2. Liquor, especially hard liquor, is awfully expensive in bars

The mark-up is usually at least twice the store price. This is due to many factors, like why Starbucks is so expensive. It's another story if they're serving something special, but even those you can buy anywhere becomes insanely expensive in the right/wrong places.

For some people, either the former and/or the latter would be fine. But it's just not for me…

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Qtea is a milk tea place found in Jorge Bocobo St., Ermita Manila. It's a nice place to hang out since it's supposed to offer free wifi for a certain time (I think) for a drink purchased. I've never tried the Wifi here and I've only ordered a drink once. I asked a staff member and their tea all comes from Taiwan and it looks like tea leaves are actually used!

Qtea Bar area
 As seen below, the store occupies two stories. It's actually loft type and sunlight filters well through the front of the store. It's a bit darker and cozier near the back. The upper floor is significantly warmer than the ground floor and you'll be listening to chinese music while you chill or study. This place closes late.

 The bar area is also pretty long and kept quite neatly. Unfortunately, I'd rather not buy from a place that charges extra for fresh milk, so I've only tried the earl grey tea once, and it was decent, though I'm not wowed by it (possibly too much ice).

Qtea Bar area 2
… But they make a pretty good waffle! For P95 (or is it 98), you get a drink sized waffle that's crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They, cool the whipped cream in an ice bath before serving, which is pretty nice. My only dislike was that couldn't really go crazy on the whipped cream: serving size was appropriate for light dipping…. you can't really slather it on :( I wonder if you can ask for extra cream XD

Qtea Waffle

I'll probably return here for the waffles :) It makes for a delicious light breakfast or heavy snack while studying.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Skin White Classic Whitening Deodorant

This Skin White Classic Whitening Deodorant (and antiperspirant?) is a roll-on with a "powder silk" scent. If you're one of those people that like the smell of powder, or like to use it, this might be for you. It's a bit on the strong side at first while wet, but becomes on the fainter - like powder ought to be - as soon as it dries off. Tip: Make sure it dries off first before adding clothes on top - this is a liquid roll-on! I haven't noticed any stains on clothes from this but I always make sure everything's dry.

Skin White Classic Whitening Deodorant
While this is marketed as a whitening deodorant and antiperspirant, it only does 2/3 claims: it's a pretty ok deodorant and antiperspirant (lasts 8-9 hours in non-strenuous conditions) especially for its price of around P30 and lasts a long time. It didn't really do much for whitening, though it didn't do any darkening other.

I probably won't buy this again because I'd like to find something with actual whitening capabilities, but for a basic antiperspirant and deodorant, this is pretty ok for me.

Edit: The smaller size is 30, this probably was around 60.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Importance of Back Ups

My laptop crashed a week ago and boy - did i regret not having a backup of half my files (over 1 year of stuff just gone). Thanks to P, I was able to regain most of my files (THANKS P!!! <-- a="" am="" be="" but="" cannot="" d="" didn="" exclamation="" first="" give="" go="" grateful="" have="" how="" i="" in="" into="" losing="" lot="" more="" of="" p="" panic="" place.="" points="" put="" sentiment="" show="" t="" the="" them="" through="" to="" wish="" words="">
Lesson learned a bit too late: if you have a computer, you need an external drive big enough to contain everything inside (and a bit more) - and you should use it regularly (at least once a month).

Nowadays, I recommend getting at least 1TB of extra space... they're not so expensive now (around P3k) : especially if you're willing to get the non portable ones. The newer, smaller ones are more expensive but they're a lot more portable.

Of course, there's always cloud storage for those willing to pay a lot more, but I don't think its a very popular option in the Phil ($20/month for 1TB on iCloud)... though it does have the benefit of being super accessible (just don't keep nothing really sensitive inside) given a good net connection.

So there, I lost some of my stuff: which is why posting will probably be delayed :( But, silver lining: I learned a very valuable lesson that will stick with me forever.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bobby Brown Extra Face Oil

Four years ago, I acquired a sample of Bobby Brown's Extra Face Oil. While it smelt divine and moisturized adequately, I didn't really feel the oil, so on it went to exile.

Fast forward 4 years:

I found it hiding in one of the drawers. Since it IS Bobby Brown, sample though it may be, I wanted to see if I could use it still. Because, you know I'm never gonna buy this myself :))

The answer: OMG YES.

After four years, this still smells great. And I've been using it for two weeks with no break outs on my face. I put 2-3 drops on at night just after showering and just relax. It's supposed to be a mix of oils, but it smells like sandalwood to me. I'm pretty sure it smelt better when it was fresh tho.

The oil sinks into the skin readily, and doesn't leave any residue after around 15-20 minutes, depending on how heavily I put it.

My skin feels soft, smooth and hydrated the next day. I'm super tempted to use it as a day moisturiser but I'm too lazy to put an extra step since I'd have to wake up earlier.

I do wonder if the product degraded significantly while in storage, maybe - all those wasted years!

This product really made me appreciate facial oils, and I think I'd be more open to buy it in the future. I was meh after trying out the Human Heart Nature Sunflower Oil on my skin - at that time, I wouldn't even think about letting it stay on my face, but now I'd like to try other oils in the future.

I'd buy this in a sec if it weren't so freaking expensive.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Marks and Spencer's Luxy Gold Teabags

Marks & Spencer recently had a sale and I ended up picking up some digestives (again) as well as some tea.

Marks and Spencer's Luxury Gold Tea Bags and Dark Chocolate Digestives
I got some milk chocolate digestives as well, but nothing really beats the dark chocolate.  Directions and storage information are in the back, you can check this as well as the expiration date before deciding to buy.

Marks & Spencer's Luxury Gold Tea Bags
I got this at P198 (around $5) for 80 bags as an everyday tea. I didn't expect anything special from this, just an everyday tea I can drink.

Marks & Spencer Luxry Gold Tea Bags Foil Wrap
I  like the fact that they're foil wrapped and stamped with their expiration date. For its price, I don't expect a good dark, airtight container for them but it's very helpful when stuffing them into pre-existing ones: I can stuff 40 bags in a can - not 80 - and I don't have to worry about the other 40.

Marks & Spencer Luxury Gold Tea Bags Round
These tea bags are round - they might not diffuse as well as the polyhedral ones but I don't have a problem since I find this tea on the strong side. The lack of string would be annoying as well if I take it alone, but since I prefer this with milk, I use a teaspoon and it's not much of a minus.

Marks & Spencer Luxry Gold Tea Bags Brewed
I prefer to steep this at a bit less than 3 mins since I find it way too strong when steeped longer than that. It also leaves my mouth dry when used alone and is a bit bitter on its own - I find that adding some milk solves this problem. The color of the tea is on the red side but disappears with milk. It tastes better with sugar, but since I'm trying to cut it out of my hot drink intake, I usually take it with just milk.

I may try this iced in the future, but I have a powdered iced tea I'm really fond of right now. We'll see.

At this price point, I have no real complaints though I do still prefer the Lipton Yellow for the flavor and effort payoff for an everyday tea. While I can and will finish this as my everyday tea (averaging 2 bag a day right now), I wouldn't buy it again: too much effort for tea I'm just ok with.

Friday, October 17, 2014

September: Instant Coffee Rotation

It's a bit late, but I'd just like to share the instant coffees I've been trying last month.

1. Good Day Vanilla Latte
2. Good Day Cappuccino
3. Great Taste White

Top: Good Day Vanilla Latte, Left: Good Day Cappuccino, Right: Great Taste White.
I like the good day Cappuccino best in terms of coffee-ness, foam and flavor. The sprinkles are a plus, but not so important in the scheme of things.

The Great Taste White is what I prefer next: it's very sweet (unlike its tasteless, cold tetrapack counterpart) and can actually be further diluted with more milk.

I like the Good Day Vanilla Latte least, though I wouldn't turn my nose up at it.

I wouldn't buy these just now because I want to try other things, but I would buy again.

Instant coffee has a lot of sugar and fats in it, which is one of the reasons why I prefer the brewed versions. It also has much less of a kick. Still, for days where you're too lazy to set-up or too rushed to do so (without wanting to spend much) and you really need your coffee - I still go for instant coffee.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Australian Harvest Oatmeal in a Box

Between Quaker, Australian Harvest and other brands, I'd choose the one most convenient for me: either the Quaker single serves or the Australian Harvest resealable bag - the only brand I've seen that had resealable packaging. I'd choose other brands, but I didn't have a dedicated container to place it in. Fortunately, Australian Harvest came up with new packaging: a reusable box! 

Australia Harvest Oatmeal

I got it because I wanted a container for my oats: The non-box packaging doesn't seem to be resealable anymore. The package with the box is a bit more expensive than the bag version, but the convenience made me buy it anyway... but I might refill it with a different brand, considering that the "refills" are 500g for a 400g jar, and a single serving has a whopping 1.3g of salt per serving. FYI, you're only supposed to have 5g a day!  Still, right now, it's one of the healthier cheap convenient options I have for a healthy meal or snack. Pair it with some fruit, milk, spice or even coffee for different delicious variations.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Vietnamese Coffee: Phin Filter with Phuc Long Moka Blend

Boy, do I have a lot of coffee posts :))

A few weeks ago, I posted about using a concentrate in order to make Vietnamese iced coffee. Today, I'd like to talk about a more traditional way to make coffee with the use of a phin filter.

Have you ever used a phin filter? For those who haven't, a phin filter is a small metal device which is what the Vietnamese traditionally use to make their coffee. Unlike a french press, it can only make a cup at a time, but being made completely of metal, it's a lot sturdier, cheaper and takes up less space. 

Phuc Long Phin Filter

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Clean & Clear Fruit Essentials Facial Cleanser

I got the Clean & Clear Fruit Essentials Facial Cleanser in Energizing Berry because I wanted to try out a cheaper salicylic acid cleanser other than Neutrogena for a change. It doesn't list its concentration, but should be around the 0.5% range. There are two versions I've seen- the red or berry version and the yellow or lemon- but I prefer berry over citrus. Those who prefer something more refreshing might prefer the lemon version. There is supposed to be a third version, but I haven't seen it here.

Clean &Clear Fruit Essentials Facial Cleanser Energizing Berry
The two main draws of these were its salicylic acid content and the berry-licious scent. The cleanser itself is faintly pink with a liquid to gel consistency. It doesn't lather well, but a little goes a long way and it spreads and rinses of easily. It also helps control my acne, very much like the Neutrogena Deep Clean. I like that it doesn't dry my skin, and can be used more than once daily.

What I didn't get was the bursting beads: they didn't burst on my face and required some effort to burst between my palms. I'd never use that much force on my face for cleansing!

Packaged in a clear plastic bottle with a flip-top cap, it's easy to see how much product you've used. It also has an expiration date clearly marked at the back. At around P150 for 100 ml, it does the job cheaply and can be used twice daily (as compared to the Neutrogena Deep Clean which sells for around P250 for 150 ml and dries my skin out more).

I'd buy this again, but would like to try out some other products first. Luckily, I don't think I'll run out of this anytime soon.

Monday, September 29, 2014

How Cow Milk Shake Factory

This weekend, I tried the newly opened How Cow Milk Shake Factory, a kiosk on the ground floor of Robinsons Galleria. The cute balloons were the ones that attracted my attention. Upon asking, I was told that it sold milk shakes - and I was sold.

How Cow Milk Shake Factory
 The smallest size, 12 oz., costs P45 for their standard items. Their premium items, which have chocolates shown below (menu not pictured), started at P75. The fliers at the side stated that it contained 14 nutrients, but I didn't really pay attention to it.
Regular Menu
Available Chocolate Mixes

Choco Truffle 12 oz
I chose the Choco Truffle in the smallest size. I liked the fact that they made an effort to decorate the cup. While I don't know the chocolate they used, the drink was pretty yummy.

Unfortunately, there was still a lot of ice chips in my drink, so I didn't enjoy it as much. I wouldn't really call this a milkshake because of it even if it falls under the definition: for me, milkshakes should be creamy - I shouldn't need to crunch ice between my teeth. It's more of an ice blended drink when you cross Zagu with chocolate and whipped cream.

I still enjoyed it, especially as it makes a change from coffee based frappes and milk teas. I'd drink this on a hot day -given enough time for most of the ice to melt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sisters Super Heavy Flow

Is it weird that I'm super excited about these? Haha.

Anyway, finally! A long pad at a competitive price. I'm not sure, but it's P21-25 for 4 pads (4+1 for the introductory promo). As someone who likes to move around in my sleep, i've found that longer pads do make a difference.  Most pads available here in the Philippines are either under 300mm, even for night use, or are too expensive to contemplate.

Sisters 340mm
Luckily, there are these now!

Longer pads means more careful application, but the results are worth it, IMO.

This is also not my favorite brand, that distinction goes to Laurier with their super long, super absorbent and and super thin napkins, but at this price point - I have nothing to complain about.

Now, I may change my mind if other brands become more competitive, but for now, for women tired of shelling out so much for something thrown away in around 8 hours, you might want to try Sisters out :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cloud 9 Chocolate Milk Drink

Around two weeks ago, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this Cloud 9 tetrapack at a convenience store. One of my favorite childhood chocolates was now in liquid form! Hurrah!

I couldn't buy it then, but last weekend, I was able to purchase one for P15 with my groceries.

The drink seems relatively low calorie at 130 per serving, probably owing to the skimmed milk powder used and was a bit more nutritious than expected with calcium and some other vitamins. Unfortunately, I found the taste very disappointing.

Don't get me wrong, it was pleasant - not to sweet and not too thick. BUT WHERE IS THE CARAMEL? THE PEANUT? THE NOUGAT?

Though it was called a Cloud Nine Chocolate Milk Drink, it had none of Cloud 9's flavor, just a facsimile of its chocolate shell.

Children and adults who like chocolate milk might enjoy this but for those who love Cloud 9, the chocolate, the product is a lie :(

Friday, September 12, 2014

Royal Kona: Roy's 10% Kona Coffee Blend

It's been a short relationship with this sample size of Royal Kona's Roy's 10% Kona Coffee Blend from Hawaii. I only got a small size so I was barely able to appreciate it, but I did enjoy it while I had it.

It's a medium-dark (vienna) to dark roast of arabica beans, albeit with added flavoring. Being only 10% Kona and a medium-dark blend to boot, I doubt it captures the taste of good Kona coffee. However, I still liked it. It's very mild, even though it stays on the tongue, so it makes a good afternoon cup - especially when I'm craving something sweet. Don't expect it to keep you up though.

This sample was supposed to make 10 cups but made closer to 7.

I don't think I'd look for this, but it was nice while it lasted.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Seattle's Best Coffee: Javakulas!

I posted a few days ago about CBTL having an open house for their newest Caramel Brownie Ice Blended. I did try it out and it was yummy. A dessert drink that's hard to say no to! However, this season's favorite is, hands down, from Seattle's Best Coffee: Peppermint Pot Javakula.

I have tried all 3 new Javakulas: Peppermint Pot, Sea Salt Caramel and Strawberry Fields. Why do I like this best? All of them have a far better presentation than either CBTL or Starbucks. Peppermint Pot comes with a real mint sprig on a mountain of crumbled cookie bits. Sea Salt Caramel comes with a little smiling star and Strawberry Fields comes with a small strawberry (not the real thing, mind you). They're all super cute!

But I am, forever, a sucker for peppermint (which is why I do love the Starbucks holiday season).

Currently for the new offerings:

Peppermint Pot Javakula > Caramel Brownie Ice Blended > Strawberry Fields > Sea Salt Caramel

While I do like the Strawberry Fields Javakula, it's flavor is "nakakaumay." The Sea Salt Caramel, adorable as it is, is a bit too sweet for me. A major con for me though is Seattle's Best's Javakulas have a consistency that's hit and miss (compared to CBTL and Starbucks). Go for their large size since the smaller sizes are the ones that tend to be more ice than happiness.

I haven't tried Starbucks' Tiramisu or Banana Rasberry Frappucino - though I do love both tiramisu and raspberries - because I don't think I'll be going to Starbucks for a while. Maybe until I decide if I'll go for a planner this year - if their holiday drinks are enticing enough.

Am I the only one that feels unhappy because they decided to put the minimum load for their card at P300? I prefer a P200 minimum, if ever because shelling out P300 in one go is a bit steep for me. I might as well buy a new card each time! I still haven't figured out how to pool cards together either.

Anyway, Seattles Best Coffee has a BOGO promo on their Javakulas from 10 am - 2pm until Friday, September 12.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dr. Kauffman Medicated Sulfur Soap

I have mixed feelings about sulfur, since while it's supposed to help acne, it's also drying and possibly anti-exfoliative. And as nice as the color is, the smell of rotting eggs isn't really that appetizing.

However, as in a previous post, I still use it as a face and body soap once a day, in order to both cut down on product usage and to get rid of all the stuff I have in my closet. Which soap did I buy?

What I like about this product is that it doesn't smell very sulfuric (no egg smell!), and none of the "medicinal" scent is left behind after rinsing it off. It helps control breakouts of acne of the face and body quite cheaply. It doesn't do anything for cystic acne. It doesn't lather well, but as a result lasts quite long. As a bar soap, it doesn't melt quickly, which also increases its lifespan. It has a clearly marked expiration date on the side of the packaging, so I know until when it's good for.

What I don't like is that this sulfur soap is a bit drying so I really can't use it more than once a day, even if the instructions on the box is to use it twice daily.

Ingredients: Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sulfur, Perfume, Zinc Oxide, Lanolin, Water, BHT, Tetrasodium EDTA, Cl 21108, Cl 12490

I'd recommend those with oily skin and those with mild break outs to try this out for a few weeks. I wouldn't recommend this for those with very bad acne or for those with dry skin.

Will I buy this again? Nah. After 3 bars of this soap with ok but not stellar results, I'd like to try something else.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Last 5 Years

I finally got to watch the Last 5 Years at RCBC! The show runs for 1 hour and 30 minutes without an intermission and will be running until the end of August.

While I did enjoy watching, I wouldn't consider this a great show. Nikki Gil, though her voice seems to be maturing, still does better in comedy. At times, her voice turns nasal (reminding of her usual bubbly roles) and goes flat at the high notes- and the sound system doesn't help: turning it loud and painful. Joaquin Valdez, able to manipulate his to make you understand his emotions, still doesn't have that fullness that makes you feel it.

Also, one of the songs contains that na-na-na-na that reminds me of a very successful british boy band.

That all said, the production was simple, but decent with some nice songs written in. Both leads were able to carry the show until the end.

For those who want to, you can still catch it this weekend. Tickets can be purchased at ticketworld or on-site. For those who won't be able to watch, a movie version will be coming out sometime in the future.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Trung Nguyen Coffee

Have you ever tried vietnamese coffee? If not, you really should! In Manila, Highlands Coffee serves Cafe Da (Iced Coffee) and Cafe Sua Da (Iced Coffee with Condensed Milk). While I do enjoy those two drinks, Highlands Coffee is significantly more expensive here than in Vietnam. Fortunately, there are cheaper ways to enjoy Vietnamese coffee!

Caphe Tuoi by Trung Nguyen

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Money Drains or Things to Buy:

It's a good thing that there's an Open House for CBTL Swirl Card holders this Sunday, August 17, 2014... because there are a lot of things I want to get (which I may or may not get)

1. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet: This is a book based on the web series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, available on Youtube. If you're a fan of Pride and Prejudice, The LBD are a must watch (it even won an Emmy).

2. Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen: If you're a fan of Garth Nix's Old Kingdom Series, you'd want to read this. I have and love the Abhorsen Trilogy, and though I haven't read the companion works, I find myself interested in this.

3. Chicago: A musical coming to the Philippines this December, showing in Solaire. Tickets are already available via Ticketworld.

4. Beauty and the Beast: A musical coming to the Philippines January 2015, showing in CCP. Tickets are already available via Ticketworld.

I don't really want to watch Potted Potter or the Noli Me Tangere Opera, but would welcome tickets for it, if I could get them.

At least for now, I have the The Last 5 Years to look forward to this month.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Lactacyd Protecting Daily Feminine Wash

I've tried a couple of feminine washes in my life before I've found that water alone is usually enough for everyday use. Though I love the "cooling sensation" some of them have, most of them actually do nothing - a waste of money, I believe. Nonetheless, I still like to stock a bottle in my shower caddie because there are a few occasions I believe that a feminine wash can be helpful:

1. During your period: Because you're not just getting rid of your normal vaginal secretions. It's not just blood, but endometrium coming out of you. It also makes that area a bit more alkaline so some acidity may be helpful.
2. Preventing or during an infection: Some washes contain ingredients that might be helpful in preventing or ameliorating an infection down there (ex. yeast infections).
3. Pre and post surgery

I end up using it just a few times a month, but I see value in having one lying around. I've tried many different feminine washes, but right now I'm using Lactacyd, protecting version. Why this and not the other variants? It's because I really don't use it regularly so I'm unlikely to see any of the other effects (such as claimed in its whitening variant).

Lactacyd Protecting Daily Feminine Wash Packaging
A phrase worth repeating: for external use only!

Lactacyd Protecting Daily Feminine Wash

Why this and not other brands? While I do love the cooling sensation I find with some other brands, I've found that most others really don't do anything that water and a mild soap can do - with a few exceptions. For example, I'd think that for pre and post surgery, I'd prefer using a wash with iodine. Luckily, I don't need to have anything done down under!

While I buy Lactacyd because of its active ingredients, Lactoserum and Lactic Acid, I dislike the fact that this bottle, unlike some other variants, do not contain an actual ingredients list. Note that while the bottles from the Philippines don't seem to have it, the ones imported from Vietnam do.

I'm also glad that I don't use this often because the scent of this wash is very strong and sharp. On the other hand, I'm sure to wash my hand after every use, because I'd rather not have this lingering around. The product itself is a runny liquid that turns creamy when rubbed - it's a bit difficult to get small amount, especially with a large bottle. I get the largest bottle size because the price difference between the smallest and the largest is a lot. The 250 ml bottle is only around P250 while the smallest size at 60 ml is around P60.

As always, wash the product off and dry thoroughly after.

For women succeptible to or with infections, I'd recommend buying this. But I'd like to reiterate, I don't recommend using this daily.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

A few years ago, I never could have empathised with those who have a fear of dentists even if I'd had braces or half my wisdom teeth removed. I disliked going, of course, but more because of the shame I'd feel once he or she found out how poorly I took care of my teeth or the annoyance and expense of needing something done because of my poor oral hygiene/diet. For some strange reason - maybe it is only now that I'm older and more conscious of what's going on around and within me  - I keep dwelling on my latest dental procedure: having my wisdom teeth removed.

As nice as my the dentist was, I did not enjoy the procedure and had difficulty falling asleep because I kept re-living the experience. Even now, in partial pain and an inability to eat most foods, my biggest con was the actual removal, and the reflections thereof.

If you do not need to have them removed, I'd advise you not to. But for those who DO need to, here's a rough guide for what to do and expect:

Pre-Op: Canvass for both your doctor and your panoramic xray. Some dentists will have a machine in their office and some will not. You will need to have a panoramic xray done so your teeth can be evaluated before the surgery and as a guide during the procedure. Costs for this, as well as for the procedure itself will vary. Note that while you may be charged for your consult, inquiries over the phone aren't- so don't be afraid to ask for a rough estimate. Have your xray done, find a doctor and schedule an appointment sometime where you have at least a day to recover.

Also, talk to your doctor about issues such as:

Will you need to take antibiotics before the procedure? Because if you have an infection there, you might need to in order to avoid complications later on or to defer the procedure until it's cleared up (this is where actual consultation is crucial). Ask him or her about that and other problems you may have - such as allergies to certain medications, problems with bleeding and clotting. Be informative. They'll need as much info as they can. Also, ask all the questions you may possibly have: when you go for a consult (with all healthcare professionals), its good to prepare a list of concern and questions in your head.

Other costs such as anaesthesia and medications after. Generally, the estimate they give you includes whatever local anaesthetic they use (but it never hurts to inquire, just in case). However, if you really want deep sedation, use of a general anaesthetic is much more expensive and may require an anaesthesiologist.  You may also need antibiotics after the procedure (especially if you are older). You will definitely need pain medication after. Factor in the cost of your meds.

Your dentist is your ally, but you have to things yourself. Research. Google is your friend. You should know how to take care of yourself post-op since you might be unable to after. You can also choose to stock up on the foods you will be able to eat. Hint: Ice cream diet!

Op Day: Do all of the preparations he or she tells you to and be sure to bring your xray. Come a bit ahead of time in order to do your paperwork. Hope that the procedure is quick and painless (don't be afraid to ask for more medication if you feel any). Follow the instructions he gives you and schedule your return for follow-up, if necessary (ex. suture removal). If you can, have someone with you to take you home (do not attempt to drive yourself).

Post-Op: Remember all the things you've researched and act accordingly. Make sure the blood clot doesn't dislodge and keep the area clean. If you have any problems, don't be afraid to contact your dentist and book an appointment.

After everything's done, don't forget to keep caring for your teeth.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Marks & Spencer White Peach & Almond Hand & Nail Cream

There's a part of me that can't believe that I've reached a point in my life where I regularly need hand cream.

A month or so ago, I began using this when I saw that regular lotion wasn't just cutting it due to frequent hand and dish washing, along with some laundry. My poor, dry hands then found this M&S White Peach & Almond Hand & Nail Cream lying around the house.

M&S White Peach & Almond Hand & Nail Cream
I think this is an older version, and current packaging is far prettier but with a flip-top cap. As a 100 ml tube, it's a bit bulky to carry around. The screw cap, however, is a good fit if you have a big enough bag. The scent is really nice and lasts for a while, and sinks into damp to dry skin in less than a minute.

While this isn't a miracle cream, it does the job of moisturizing my hands well enough without leaving any residue. I've been using it twice or thrice a day while in the house since I find it too big for my bag.

I don't think this product is suitable for either very dry skin or cold weather, but for those living in the tropics, this is a very adequate everyday hand cream.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil

A few weeks ago, I had a skin reaction. Now I'm not sure if it was due to too much exposure to the sun, too much alcohol or an effect of my own sweat, or even a combination of 2 or even all 3 -but it did leave parts of my skin red and even sting-y at times. My normal lotions made it sting more so I decided to use an oil instead.

At first I tried Neutrogena Body Oil, which I love using. However, it still stung my sensitive skin. I then thought of using a natural oil - but I was out of sunflower oil and coconut oil - while it didn't sting, also didn't sink into my skin. I couldn't wear a nice shirt on top of it, much less leave the house. Fortunately, I found a bottle of Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil lying around the house and decided to use it.

Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil
I put more than a few drops of the oil 2-3 times a day after showers. It stung a bit at first (but much less than the lotions and neutrogena during the first two days of use) and not a t all after. While the oil doesn't absorb as easily as the Neutrogena Body Oil, it did sink in after 20 minutes or so -unlike my VCO. The oil smelt like chocolate and the residual scent lasted a bit longer than the Neutrogena. I don't know how much this product costs, but I did like this product as my skin was no longer red by the end of the week.

The only thing I dislike about this product is that, like the Neutrogena Body Oil, the container gets oiled  up easily (you can see the oil marks on the bottom, advantage to Neutrogena), though it hasn't accumulated as much dirt.

I haven't used this on my face (its been off any moisturizers - I've been using a concentrate for the summer, and am unlikely to switch until my skin gets drier) but I might try it out in the future. I won't hesitate to use this anytime my skin becomes sensitive and reacts to something, and I'd recommend this for those with dry or problematic skin like I did.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

DIY Scarf

I haven't been very productive this summer, so I wanted to make something to prove to myself that I was not a 100% bum. Maybe 99% only. So here it goes:

I went out and got myself 2 skeins of yarn and used this youtube tutorial here to make myself a scarf. This was a hand-knitted scarf: the youtube instructions were for a cowl but I made a long scarf instead.

Red Heart Reflective Yarn in Peacock
I bought was Red Heart Reflective Yarn  in Peacock from V.C. Trading in Cubao. Each skein costs P340 for a total of P680. That was all I spent on this project since no needles were required. I wish I could find something cheaper since this yarn costs $6. Use a bulky yarn - in my case, each skein was 100g and 80m long for a 6mm needle. I'd actually prefer using a bulkier yarn and use this to knit with needles, but I couldn't find a thicker alternative.

I ended up with a scarf with a loose weave, around 8 ft long since I stopped only once I saw that I was running out of yarn. For some reason, it looks green-ish in the pictures but it's actually blue.

The weave is really loose and it's not meant to be stretched out. Because its reflective, it's best used at night :D

Compared with something green to see the blue tones better. A nice messy scarf for a night out with friends.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Does one ever outgrow chocolate?

After gorging myself on a variety of choco-licious goodies, I began to wonder wether or not I should stop, or at least moderate my intake of this gift of the gods, be it in solid or liquid form. Now, I won't say how old I am, but ever since I stopped being a teen, I've told myself that it would be the last year of me eating whatever I pleased, and I'd do better once I was a year older - because my metabolism would be slower and I needed to take better care of myself. And this went on ad nauseam (was this expression even used correctly? Oh well).

Now, I have definitely noticed a decrease in my metabolic capability - as evidenced by the clockwise movement of the bathroom scales as the years pass. I also have had some success at slowing the rate of weight increase by a variety of mechanisms - healthy or otherwise.

However, there is one food group that I have failed to suppress the consumption thereof:


It deserves its own category separate from sweets or any other. It is a food group on its own. It is happiness in your mouth (yes, even more than my other beloved - bacon).

Whether local or imported: I cannot stop myself from devouring these treats. Bite-sized bits (why bother calling them party-sized?) disappoint me; a full sized bar to share or to hoard is something I look forward to, even as I know that it does not fill the stomach like it fills the mouth.

Will there ever come a time that I disdain chocolate? Probably not.

One day, I hope to try all the good chocolate there is. Right now, I'll satisfy myself with whatever I can find.

Was there a point to this?

Yes. I'd like to point out that I just really love chocolate!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Biore UV Bright Face Milk

Though the weather seems to be turning - rainy season is on its way - I'd like to say a little about my summer's unsung hero: Biore UV Bright Face Milk with SPF 50+ and PA+++. Mind you, this bottle is an older formulation - the newer one is supposed to have PA ++++ under the new rating system.

At first, I didn't much like it because of the distinct smell of alcohol when first sniffed and applied, but I gradually changed my mind. It doesn't sting, dries quickly and leaves a nice powdery matte finish that lasts all day. I don't quite remember how much I paid for it, but it was at a drugstore price -very cheap. I'd buy it or its ilk if I could since this bottle is now empty.

Goodbye summer!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lemon Deal: Asia's Lashes Full Body Wax

Have you ever had a lemon deal? A deal voucher that promises a lot of things but under-delivers? It's not my first time to have one, and it probably won't be my last.

I bought a voucher for a full body wax session at Asia's Lashes - a P1950 value for P399. However, when I got there - I was told that I would be given only four services: upper lip, underarm, bikini wax and full leg waxing. According to their price list, value is only actually at P1280 value. Now, for P399, it's not a bad deal - but still false advertising... unless either my math is wrong or their full body wax session entails only those 4 services.

Total lemon.

While there are other reasons for me not to continue using this establishment, outside the scope of this post,  this is one major turn-off.

Thankfully, not all deals are lemons. Hoping I have less of those in the future.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Benefit Brow Wax Beneficence - Maleficence

Benefit had half off on their brow waxing service for a week, lasting until today. On one hand, my eyebrows have never before looked more groomed. On the other hand, it took out a giant chunk of skin at the end of my left eyebrow.

Benefit Brow Wax Effect

You can see it as a triangular patch that starts at the end of my eyebrow. At first I thought it was simple swelling, but when I got home, I saw otherwise.

So, i'm never doing that again. I think I'll stick to tweezing and threading instead.

Hoping for tips on how to regrow the skin properly without getting a scar. I can't wait until I can wash the area so i can seal it up. :(

Friday, May 16, 2014

Choco-late de Batirol

What is a trip to Baguio without the ubiquitous trip to Camp John Hay?

Some people go for the shopping, I go for the food. It's a good thing that Baguio is much cooler than Manila, especially in summer - so you can best enjoy hot chocolate and other goodies such as suman and bibingka. I had this as a mid-morning snack after the long drive up, and it's the perfect pick me-up to start sight-seeing.

Different sets were available, and what we got came with their signature batirol hot chocolate, suman and bibingka. For those who don't know, a batirol, batidor or molinillo is a wooden implement used to whisk the hot chocolate. This version, while frothy also contains a lot of "grit" which gives it a nice texture as well as flavor. Note that this hot chocolate is not as sweet or as creamy as your standard Starbucks hot chocolate. It does not overwhelm the tongue, which pairs it well with both the bibingka and the suman. The serving of hot chocolate is generous, but the food was not enough for our hungry tummies - we had to order another serving of delicious bibingka.

Suman (F), Choco-late de Batirol (M) and Bibinka (B) at Choco-late de Batirol

It is possible to order a concentrate of the product at their store. However, included instructions were a bit too complicated for me right now. Maybe in the future, or at one of their other branches.

Choco-late de Batirol
Camp John Hay
Baguio City, Philippines

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Halo Halo de iloko

Halo Halo de Iloko is a great place to try Filipino dishes. The decor includes bits of old furniture and framed comments of famous (I think) people who've been there.

Out of the dishes we tried, the Sisig Iloko was the best. We tried the okoy, which was also very popular, but liked the sisig best.

Sisig Iloko
We also tried their halo-halo. The deep fried halo-halo is a must try. Though it's delicious, I think a bit more ice cream would have been preferred.

Fried Halo-halo
There were two other halo-halos on their menu, one served in a coconut and one in a glass. By the time we ate, there was no longer any of the former so we had the classic one instead. It did not disappoint.

Fiesta Halo-halo
I wish I got to try the Buko Halo-halo, but we did not have time to return; the restaurant only has a set amount of Buko Halo-halo per day. The night we came (dinner time) was very busy, and there was a waiting time of around 30 minutes before we could get a table. Since it was also very busy, the food took a while to come.

I would suggest going a bit earlier in the day, to best savor the icy coldness of the halo-halo.

Halo-halo de Iloko
San Fernando, La Union