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.