Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Clear Anti-Dandruff Nourishing Shampoo

Okay, I bought this just coz it kept popping up in my feed for some reason, but I have no regrets! At P50 for 80 ml, I was able to see if Clear Anti-Dandruff Nourishing Shampoo is for me.

Clear Anti-Dandruff Nourishing Shampoo

Special selling point: Sakura fragrance claim! Not very Fall-Winter/Wet/Cold weather appropriate, so this may have affected my perception of it :P

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dove Whitening Anti-Perspirant and Deodorant in Original

Running out of my previous underarm helper, I decided to try Dove Whitening Anti-Perspirant and Deodorant in Original. This was bought BOGO so there's a piece of plastic that's been resistant to removal.

It wasn't until I bought it that I realized that it was startingly similar to something else.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Retinol Anti-Aging Cleansing Towelettes

In the box my Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Facial Serum was a single sample of one of their towelettes.

I've had it with me for some time since I was reserving its use not as a pre-serum wipe, but as an emergency facial cleanser since it was already conveniently pre-packaged. As such, it's spent a while in my bag getting squished into this shape.

I like that it clearly states its size so you're not quite so surprised. It's supposed to prepare skin for Retinol, though I didn't use it for that purpose. I finally got the chance to use it and…

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ever Bilena Advance Perfect Eyebrow

My everyday makeup (I actually have one now) is composed of two products, and the Ever Bilena Advance Perfect Eyebrow in Medium Brown is one of them.

Ever Bilena Advance Perfect Eyebrow

It's not the prettiest looking pencil, but for P60 (~$1.50), it does its job wonderfully!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Subspace Coffee House, 2015

(This used to be a combined post, but I have separated this entry and a previous one to create an Ortigas cafe list.

Honestly, I came in to Subspace looking for a pumpkin spice latte - this has been unavailable forever. While there was no pumpkin to be had, there are some differences from years ago.

Subspace Coffee House serve a variety of products now. Aside from their pastries, coffee based drinks, and signature drinks before, they serve more drinks including milkshakes, milk teas and "stormies" and various other edibles including finger foods and entrees.

Subspace Menu
Some parts of the decor has changed from my last visit, though not as much as its first year. There is a chair installation on the ceiling which has been there for a while. The cafe is a bit cozier since more seating has been added from before, but since I came during a slow day, it did not feel cramped. They have a projector, possibly for events, and manga you can read at the bar area.

Subspace Coffee Maker Wall
I particularly liked this wall which had a coffee machine painted on.

Wifi available for a minimum purchase of P150 with limited outlet availability. Music a bit inappropriate for study  but good for a relaxed atmosphere with just the right temperature. While the drink I ordered was delicious, no latte art for me :(

Subspace Coffee Shop is Kpop themed. Instead of basic coffee, I'd recommend trying their purple potato and latte, peanut butter latte and anything in their sweet and unique section.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Nature Republic Real Nature Mask Sheet in Aloe

On An Aloe Vera Kick! Just a month ago, I went on about Aloe Derma's Aloe Gel. I liked it so much, I decided to give other aloe products a go.

During Nature's Republic's last sale, I picked up a tub of their Aloe Vera Gel and one of their sheet masks in Aloe. I got a small sample of their Green Derma mild cream as a gift with purchase.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Starbucks Sapphire

Starbucks Reserve at Sapphire St., Pasig City is like your normal Starbucks, but a bit more.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Budget Instant Coffees: Nescafe Original 3in1 and Great Taste Original 3-in-1 Coffee Mix

When I said that Kao Shong was expensive, I was comparing it to these:

Twin Pack: Nescafe Original 3in1 (left) Great Taste Original 3-in-1 Coffee Mix (right)

Both Nescafe and Great Taste offer twin packs that cost P9 for 2 packs, or P4.50 a cup ($0.10).

Now, that's a price that's hard to beat.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

My Everyday Makeup

In reality, I'm just amazed that I do use some form of makeup regularly now.

From 0 to 1 to 2….

Nichido Tinted Brow Gel (Top) and Ever Bilena Advance Perfect Eyebrow (Bottom)

Yep. That's literally it. And the second's just 'coz my hair is too light to live on 1 alone.

Total cost = P310 ($7)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Shopping Reminder

Snapped a shot of this just to remind myself, and you guys should too.

Christmas is coming! And with that, a serious amount of cash flow.

Make sure to use your old bills by December 2015. Try not to accept the old ones unless you're fine with adding an extra trip to the bank.

Now what to do with those commemorative anniversary bills?

Kao Shong Smooth and Creamy Thai Coffee

Kao Shong Smooth and Creamy Thai Coffee at P44.50 for a pack of 5 sachets is a bit steep for a 3-in-1 coffee.

Looks good, but is it worth buying?

What I like? Each 20g packet is labeled with the percentage of ingredients, something most Philippine 3-in-1's lack. It also has explicit and easy to understand instructions. In other words, the packaging is quite good.

This variant contains 7% coffee, 51.42% non-dairy creamer, 40% sugar, 0.98% skimmed milk. I'm not sure what the 0.6 percent left is, but I would guess some sort of contaminant which is found in most foods.

Since this is mostly sugar and creamer, it is mostly sweet and creamy, but not enough to overwhelm - making it very easy to drink quickly unlike some other brands that I find are too sweet to drink quickly. What makes it special? It has an earthy, rich undertone different from other instant coffees (around the same price point) in the Philippines. Like most 3-in-1s, the caffeine dose is low but the sugar is high and it gives as much kick as its counterparts.

Will I buy it again? Yes! While it's a bit on the expensive side (more on 2 for P9 coffees - good for the wallet, bad for the body and the environment), it's worth having as an occasional instant coffee on rotation.

On a side note, I wish brands here in the Philippines would make more 3-in-1 variants in jars instead of sachets. While I understand their use here in the Philippines, I'd like a for home alternative that doesn't impact the environment as much.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Facial Serum

Oh my, I've almost finished the bottle and I've yet to talk about it.

Lazy me, once again.

Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Facial Serum
And that's not because it's bad, in fact, it's quite the opposite!

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Body Shop Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet

Want a light moisturiser for hot weather? Try the Body Shop's Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet.
Body Shop Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet

It's a light pink gel with a candy floral scent that absorbs quickly with a cooling effect. I usually use it once daily in the morning as my moisturiser to leave my skin soft and hydrated. On the days I do use make-up, this doubles as my primer.

However, this is probably not for everyone since it contains some possible irritants/pore cloggers.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Aloe Derma Pure Aloe Vera Gel

I'm on an aloe vera train right now, kickstarted by Aloe Derma's Pure Aloe Vera Gel.

It's 99% organic aloe vera juice that can be used for burns, bites and beauty purposes! What makes this  different? In the case of active plant ingredients, the plant and processing can really make a difference. Aloe Derma boasts of a quality product that can be used medically:

Want! Face Paint: The Story of Makeup

I'm not really into makeup, but I adore looking at the history and meanings of different cosmetics, attire, etc… which is why I'm really hoping to grab myself a copy of Lisa Elridge's Face Paint: The Story of Makeup.

I don't know if and when this will happen, but until then, here's her vlog entry of make-up looks throughout the ages. Warning though, this may push you to throw your money at it so watch at your own risk.

Still not convinced? Try to see what she says about it.

Sigh. I'm really hoping it won't be too expensive here in the Phil.

Edit: I've looked at the 3 major bookstores in the Philippines and only one has it in stock at a location far from where I live at a price that's P500 ($10) more than it's amazon price.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Coffee Shops in Ortigas

Ages and ages ago, I posted a tiny little thing about Subspace Coffee House, a coffee shop of a different breed from Starbucks long before the term "Third Wave" hit the country. Since then, I've tried different cafes without fully committing to any, cards not withstanding. I haven't been back in the shop for the past few years until recently. Ortigas, in particular, has a lot of coffee shops without even including the Kapitolyo area. Some notable sources of caffeine:
  • Craft Coffee Revolution at Podium*
  • Starbucks Reserve at Sapphire Rd
  • Mr. Parks Bread and Cake at Garnet Rd
  • Subspace Coffee House at Emerald Ave
  • The Breadery at Emerald Ave
  • Tully's Coffee at Exchange Rd
  • Toby's Estate at Ruby Rd
*While Craft is located inside a mall, which is major minus points for me, it has very good coffee.

This used to be a longer post with a little something about Subspace Coffee House. I've since decided to split and link my previous Ortigas coffee shop posts here instead.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rainy Day Exfoliation Session

When it rains, I prefer to sleep in and relax with a hot beverage, but sometimes I get a strange urge to do otherwise… Sometimes, I like exfoliation. Why is this strange? Because exfoliation, by the very act of scrubbing, is an invigorating activity that makes me more alert and ready to meet the outside world. Something that doesn't usually happen, period.

As I am a slothlike creature, I am not a regular exfoliator by any means, but when I do, this is how it goes.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Psyllium Fiber: Fibrolium vs Watsons Brand Supplement

In an attempt to kill the urge to eat between meals, I decided to try 2 pysllium fiber supplements and settled on Fibrolium and Watsons brands because they were the cheapest and most expensive brands available in my local, well, Watsons.

Fibrolium Psyllium Fiber Supplement

Psyllium is a fiber whose foremost effect is to help you do the number 2. It helps with water absorption in the colon, creating softer stools while stimulating those pipes. It helps retain a feeling of fullness without flatulence and can help with those cholesterol and blood sugar levels. In supplements such as these, only the ground husks are used.

Watsons Psyllium Fiber Supplement
How did they match up?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Avalon Organics Lavender Luminosity Facial Cleansing Gel

In trying to work through some of my (mostly drugstore) samples, I found a couple of Avalon Organics Lavender Luminosity Facial Cleansing Gel 4ml samples and decided to try it out.

I've used Avalon Organics shampoos and conditioners in the past and was curious regarding their skincare products. Avalon Organics, originally available from Healthy Options only, was one of the first organic lines that were available in the Philippines even before the organic movement hit the country.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Commuting to CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines)

A lot of people seem to think that CCP is only accessible via car or cab, and while I can't deny that those are convenient options, it is possible to commute to the area.

To commute to CCP, first try to get to Ocampo Street. This is usually a short walk from the LRT or a jeep to Vito Cruz Station along Taft Avenue. If you're not going through Taft Avenue, you can also choose a jeep that goes to Harrison's.

From Ocampo Street, you can take the orange jeep which will pass through CCP. It will also pass by the Folk Arts Theater, PICC and the Coconut Palace. You can also walk the 16 minutes google maps estimates. I prefer walking myself, but I allot around 25 minutes walking time since the crossing at Roxas Boulevard can take a while.

Google Maps: Vito Cruz to CCP

If walking along Ocampo Street, choose the the side closer to BSP, Harrison's and Rizal Memorial. While Manila streets aren't that pedestrian friendly, that side is a lot better than the other.

Going back after is, admittedly, a bit more difficult for a gala performance: the jeep going back comes by rarely and is often full. It's also not a good idea to walk the Ocampo-Taft area at night time unless you are in a group.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Human Heart Nature

With Human Heart Nature being so accessible, either online or through several stores in malls nationwide, I'd never thought I'd want to visit its flagship store. Located at 463 Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, it's not the easiest places to go to, but I went because Human Heart Nature has their Switch to Goodness campaign which gives you a 30% discount of their products when you trade in clean containers of the same product type.

That was a really good incentive.

I got there and inside was something completely unexpected.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Tosca 2015

Last Sunday, I was lucky enough to watch Puccini's Tosca at CCP. This was the first time I was able to watch a staged opera in real life, and it was amazing: While the stage wasn't as lush as expected (as seen on television) both the music and the singers were something to hear, especially the titular Tosca.

My only complaint was that I wish the 3rd act was a bit longer.

Unfortunately, Tosca is no longer running. The last time it was seen before this was during the Marcos era. Still, it gives me hope that more of the like will be shown in the future.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Romeo and Juliet 2015

Tonight was Ballet Manila's first Romeo and Juliet for October 2015. At first I wasn't quite sure about it as the dancers, especially the danseurs, were very badly synced: some too fast, others too slow.

Fortunately, as the show progressed, I found all leads to be strong with some interesting choreography going on. My only qualm by that point was the balcony scene: while well done, I felt that the levels between Romeo and Juliet could have been played with more. But that's just me.

Special mention to how expressive Juliet's face was.

All in all, I enjoyed the performance. The only true sour point was seeing bits of the audience leave early. It was a good performance and to leave like that is disrespectful.

Ballet Manila will be performing Romeo and Juliet until this Sunday.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Erwin's Gastrobar

Last month was a great month for theater for me. Another good thing was I got to try out new places to eat that I haven't been to. One of these places was Erwin's Gastrobar at the City of Dreams, Manila. Since Solaire was so close, our party decided to go there for the first time.

While being a gastrobar, none of us drank alochol. The board was pretty cute though!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

St. Ives Green Tea Gel Cleanser

Life, for the past few weeks, has been super crazy. It's winding down again but I know it's gonna happen a lot in the future. How crazy? I've considered it a luxury when I am capable of washing my face and brushing my teeth twice in one day.

My skin has been faring poorly from a month previously because of this, but it's not as bad as I've been expecting. One of the reason's why is St. I'ves Green Tea Gel Cleanser.

St. Ives Green Tea Gel Cleanser

I originally bought this since I already foresaw that my current cleanser, while great for my everyday life, wouldn't be able to keep up with turbo mode. I needed something that would keep those big zits from coming out even with a super hectic lifestyle. Thus, my choice was an oil-free salicylic acid cleanser.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Purederm Make-up Cleansing Tissues

One year ago, Nivea's facial wipes exploded across news feeds everywhere. However, I found them too big and too expensive to store in my bag for daily use. Luckily, I saw some smaller and cheaper alternatives in Watsons. One of these were Purederm's Make-up Cleansing Tissues.

I was, at first, hesitant to purchase this (over the in house brand) because of my previous experience years ago with the Make-up Remover Cleansing Tissues of agest past. For those who've never tried it, the originals were soapy and required water to remove. I'd always get a residue even after using quite a bit of water and would end up using another cleanser (this was way before oil/double cleansing was popular). 

Fortunately, this is extremely different from before.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August Round-up

August 2015 was a great month for me because I was able to watch a lot more shows than I usually do in a month. Of course, that leaves me with too few funds for daily needs such as food and skincare, but I wouldn't change a thing!

Therefore, in lieu of an empties post (and with an empty wallet), I've decided to rank the shows I've watched instead.

Listed by overall enjoyment:

1. Hamlet (play) - simple but great acting.
2. La Cage Aux Folles (musical)  - the power of a single star outshining everyone.
3. Singing in the Rain (musical) - not bad, needs polishing.
4. La Cenerentola (concert reading, opera) - great music, dismal direction.

I surprised myself, writing that list: I'd have a very different list if I were looking at how "good" I found each performance compared with others of its ilk. However, this has shown that a great experience in the theater, no matter what type of performance, doesn't just depend on the work of those on stage. Part of this burden rests with management and with the audience itself.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hamlet, August 2015

Yesterday, Sunday (August 24, 2015) CCP's Little Theater, better known as Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, was host to Hamlet. This was the work of Terruno Espressivo and Shakespeare's Globe.

For a little background, the goal of this tour is to hit all 205 nations in 2 years, marking the 450th year of Shakespeare's birth and the 400th year of his death. Thus, unfortunately, the Philippines only had 2 shows marked on the same day at CCP.

What do I think? This play was very much worth it, even for those who aren't big fans of his work (in general).

Friday, August 21, 2015

Singin' In The Rain, August 2015

Last night, I watched the first performance of Singin' in the Rain at Solaire. As usual, especially at opening night, the show started later than expected. Thankfully, not as long as I expected it to be. It also had the smoothness of a first show: meaning none at all. There were certain glitches in the sound system, and the show had to stall for 20 mins in the second act due to technical difficulties. There was also a misguided rainshower during intermission.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

La Cenerentola August 2015

Yesterday, I watched La Cenerentola at Meralco Theater. La Cenerentola is a Rossini comic opera of Cinderella , and this was the concert reading thereof. Despite the stellar cast of Arthur Espiritu, Karin Mushegain, Beong In Park, Noel Azcona, Ronnie Abarquez, Myramae Menezes, Tanya Corquera with conductor Ang, it was the worst theater experience of my life. And it was not even because of the sound system, though I could not hear the males properly at the lower ranges when they didn't project their voices.

It was because of how this concert was treated.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

La Cage Aux Folles, August 2015

When La Cage Aux Folles came out early this year, it barely came on my radar. I was aware of it, yes, but I had no intention of watching it. I'm not very interested in drag queens, aside from the occasional episode of RuPaul. Luckily, I was able to see what I was missing out on.

La Cage Aux Folles, done by 9 Works Theatrical, is as what one of their lines say: gaudy and grand. In a good way.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

Top Coats

This is a list of my current top coats that I've just recently checked for usability, with the last two about to be thrown out.

(L-R) China Glaze in Matte Magic, Orly Top 2 Bottom, Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, Orly Won't Chip.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

July Empties

Very few things were finished last month, but at least some things are officially gone.  This month's empties are:

L'Oreal Feria in Cherry Crush, Etude House Pearl Aura Brightening Essence Lotion, Clean & Clear Fruit Essentials Facial Cleanser in Energizing Berry and Victoria's Secret Body Lotion in Secret Charm.

The only thing that I haven't reviewed in this list is the Etude House Essence.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Body Shop Shampoo in Rainforest Balance

If you've read my blog recently, you'll know that I dyed my hair red relatively recently. In order to help the color stick, I've been using The Body Shop Rainforest Balance, a shampoo for oily hair.

This shampoo costs P695 for 250 ml. Fortunately, I was able to buy this on sale! Why did I buy this?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Superhero Ennui

I'm getting tired of all the superhero movies going around. At first, like most of the world, I was enchanted with Nolan's Batman. Other movies followed, with varying degrees of success. I even supported some of the reboots: I preferred the X-Men 2011 reboot to its predecessor.

But now reboots are being rebooted, TV series linking to movie counterpart, and lesser known characters placed in the spotlight.

The new Fantastic Four? Count me out. Deadpool. Ditto.

And it's not even due to the characters themselves, but I'm oversaturated. I've missed some movies and am definitely passing on the TV series. The next superhero movie I plan on watching will be Batman vs. Superman, and it will be due to the attractive powers of Henry Cavill and Jeremy Irons… and curiosity as to a Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cupcake Lab Peanut Butter Reese Cupcake

Cupcakes are a bit of a dying trend in the Philippines. People have already gotten tired of the cronut. I'm hoping the macaron will gain more popularity, especially since Laduree is coming to the Philippines (but that's another story). However, there's still a part of me that craves a cupcake now and then.

I then ended up getting a Peanut Butter Reese Cupcake (not sure if this is the real name) at Cupcake Lab for P90.

Peanut Butter Reese Cupcake
Why? I love me some peanut butter and Reese. And this did not disappoint.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reflections: Skin Changes

Looking back at my previous posts, I've realized that my skin is completely different from how it was as a teenager.

As a teenager, my face was oily and acne prone. I was heavily obsessed with anti-acne products, some more successful than others. Still, my skincare was relatively simple with emphasis on cleansing, toning and spot treatment. I was not very fond of most moisturisers since oil-free and gel variants weren't part of my vocabulary.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tsoko Nut Batirol

Last Saturday, a bunch of us went to Ayala Museum in hopes of getting free entry. Unfortunately, the place was totally packed and we decided to go somewhere else.

We ended up at Tsoko Nut Batirol at SM Makati.

Tsoko Nut Batirol

Though they were selling these P99 cooler blends, I went and got the large hot chocolate Tsokolate Ah Batirol (P98).

Tsokolate Ah Batirol

While not as rich as some other blends, this is a very good mix of tablea chocolate that reminds me a lot of  my childhood. The cold version, which I sipped from one of my companions, was quite nice too.

I'd forgotten about this place but it was nice to be reminded again.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Victoria's Secret Hydrating Body Lotion in Secret Charm

Here I am holding my mostly empty bottle of an old bottle Victoria's Secret Hydrating Body Lotion in Secret Charm. This is not a new scent, because the bottle is old. I don't think the new lotions look like this anymore.

Victoria's Secret Secret Charm Hydrating Body Lotion (old version)

If you've read one of my older posts, you'll know that I have an endless stash of lotions: this was one of them. When I first used this, it seemed familiar to me, but I knew I never tried this before….

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Giving Tea Organic Green Tea

It's the little things that make life better, and one of the things that have made me happy is The Giving Tea's Organic Green Tea that R picked up for around 200 Baht (P260, $5). Its 100% certified organic status, is something that might draw people in, but there are other things that I like about it.

The Giving Tea Organic Green Tea

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bifesta Sebum Cleansing Lotion

Time flies by so quickly: I remember when the Bifesta Sebum Cleansing Lotion was a new thing, way before Bioderma's Sebium H2O entered the Philippine market.  It's a bit late now, but at least now I've got a better grasp of what the Bifesta Sebum Cleansing Lotion can do.

Bifesta Cleansing Lotion

Bifesta is actually a cleansing water, and not a "lotion" as used normally. I used to use this on days where I couldn't wash my face properly - before the days when "beauty wipes" became in. Though I didn't feel perfectly clean after, I never had any irritation or break outs after using just this product at the start of the day. As to its original purpose as a make-up remover, I was happy enough with it as it was cheap at around P400 ($8) and it could take off my BB cream, blush, eyebrows, eyeshadow and lipstick.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

L'Oreal Feria in Cherry Crush

I wasn't able to get a picture of the dilapidated box this came in, but these are the contents of the L'Oreal Feria Dye Box:

L'Oreal Feria Cherry Crush

Since my roots were showing after my last bleaching experience, I decided to dye my hair on a whim. Unfortunately, a quick trip to Watsons didn't yield a bubble dye for me to try so I decided to use this stored Box of L'Oreal Feria instead.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Nivea Body UV Whitening Serum

During my previous posts, I complained about the old Nivea Body Milk but said that I was using the Nivea Body UV Whitening Serum as part of my summertime sun-sparers.

Nivea Body UV Whitening Serum

Bought during the great Nivea sale, did I regret this purchase?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Green Frog Bus Review

Just this week I was able to try the Green Frog Bus System, once at 4 pm and one after 5. My first trip was comfortable: I lined up at the hybrid bus stop and was able to take a seat. I paid the exact fare and went down at another stop comfortably.

My second trip was murder.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cafe de Seoul

Cafe de Seoul is a relatively old cafe at One Archers Place, Taft Avenue, Manila. I had a hard time finding the entrance to this place, because of its non-standard placement. The layout is interesting and not your standard square.

I liked that the place wasn't too cold, a probable malfunction in the airconditioning, but it has few outlets to use: this place is better suited for hanging out than working. You can also order rice meals. The decor was quirky, interesting, though not as well embelished as its older sibling, Noriter, another Korean coffee shop in the same area.

I liked their matcha tea latte, which was quite strong and sweet (customized). The staff is very accommodating. I'd hang out here again in the future, but I'd avoid the student crowd during rush hours.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Sushi Foodie

With all the Japanese restos around the Metro, I'm surprised it's the first time I've seen a sushi place (that's not a mall kiosk) catered specifically to those who want sushi on the go.

There was only a small variety of selections in Sushi Foodie (the place is relatively new, and I came relatively late in the day) so I chose the set below for P162 (~$3.5) because it looked like the most filling and appetising option. They had some cans of CC Lemon and a few other drinks, but it wasn't cold, so I declined.

Sushi Foodie P162 Set
Sushi Foodie P162 Set
As seen above, there are 8 pieces of maki divided into 3 pieces of nigirizushi, 1 piece inarizushi (3rd from top) and 4 makizushi (bottom 4).

Marumiya Ajidouraku

Are you kitchen-illiterate? Do you want cheap, cheap food?

If you answer yes to both questions, you are probably part of the population that exists on canned goods and instant noodles.

But did you know that you have another option?

All you need is rice - available via rice cooker, convenience store and cafeteria - and Marumiya's Ajidouraku: a  rice topping for the busy or lazy person!

Marumiya Ajidouraku

Monday, July 6, 2015

Friday, July 3, 2015

Sale Shopping in the Philippines

What have I been doing that I've been missing the mid-year sale?

While not as phenomenally marked down as the January end of the year sales, the mid-year sale (which lasts for most June and parts of July) is one of the best times to shop in the Philippines (a place without Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Yes, I believe that Black Friday and Cyber Monday should be capitalized. In the Philippines, where businesses do NOT believe in stacked discounts (coupons, discount vouchers etc. disclaiming their validity for regular items only) and international shipping (costing at least 100% more than the product itself in "taxes" if you are lucky enough to get the item), the end of the year and mid-year sale are the best time to find good deals on clothes and shoes.

Always look closely at what you're buying. You're buying not only old stock, but products that may have been manhandled a thousand times. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are no "lemon" laws for wearable items on sale, not in the Philippines. Recent trips to an international clothing chain and shoe chain have told me that all these transactions, being sale items, were final.

Now, this may be obvious and more helpful next year since it's already July, and most stores are already on the tail end of their sales, but items that are still in store at the end of a sale are probably undesirable (whether innate or acquired). It may still be too expensive for the audience it's catering to, in a size too small or too large (advantageous if you go to an international store with non-average sizing), or have a defect you can't see at first glance. You may be able to haggle the price down (if you really want the item) in small businesses, but most stores in malls will not allow further reductions for even glaringly inferior products (such as stains, tears, etc.).

On the other hand, be prepared for LARGE crowds, especially at the start of the sale. Wherever malls are built in Manila, the people flock and traffic slows to a crawl. This is a hundred times worse during big sales and some major malls become so crowded that it becomes impossible to try on items in a dressing room, pay without queueing for hours, use the public restroom, eat in a decently-priced restaurant, park inside the building, or even move without hitting another person.

I know a mall, which I will not name, that I refuse to step into when it's on sale for reasons of preserving my sanity and my ability to breathe. If you do decide to go to such a sale, eat well, empty your bladder before hand, wear something you can easily put clothes over (shorts, spaghetti strap and slippers) and gird your loins… maybe bring a lemming if your morals allow you to: I have seen women have children, SO's and service personnel line up at the cashier while they shop.

As someone who has been in the poor soul's position, unless the other offers to save you a spot, don't. I generally prefer going to smaller malls with less traffic, if I go at all. While the selection is not as varied,  I end up being able to do more and even enjoy the experience.

However, if you do like seeing people losing their temper to get a "must have,"mall sales are the place to be. Also, if you like stealing stuff (theft done by both shoppers and pickpockets). Watch all your things, and people too (because, kidnap does happen here). Note that the mall is not a place for infants and young children that tend to cry, get hungry and get lost. However, if you're lucky, you might find a place for some of your youngsters: While there are few actual day care centers in Manila, I've seen a revival of the "mall playcare centers." Slots may be enough for regular days, but not during big sales.

This post is incomplete and may be edited in the future!

Hopefully, this will be helpful for future shoppers.

Not sorry for the semi-long post.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Clinique: Can you guess?

A remnant from one of Clinique's Bonus Time offers ages ago (old but unused), some of you may be familiar with this blue and silver tube:

A short pause to think about it.

Hint, its's a mascara.

This is the Clinique Lash Doubling Mascara, and its not quite as its namesake promises: It's quite capable of lengthening my short, stubbly lashes without spiders or clumps; but it does not double the size. Even with the first coat, my lashes are much visibly longer, though not much volume is added. Using 1-3 coats looks natural enough with smaller length increases with each added coat. Though it doesn't look quite so natural, I've used up to 5 coats without any problems for added volume. The wand is the regular pine cone/christmas tree shape, and it's fairly easy to use. I don't have any problems with its drying time either, just a few minutes and I'm good to go.

Unnfortunately, in this weather, it tends to smudge in like crazy, giving me instant dark circles. Ugh. I can use it if I'm sure to be in an air conditioned room the entire time, but not if I'm exposed to a tiny bit of heat (which is all the time in the Philippines!). At night, with temperatures on the cool side, it'll last around 3 hours before smudging.

As a freebie, I can't really judge the price, but the Clinique Bonus Time offers are always worth it for me…

Can I use this mascara? Sometimes, but I wouldn't recommend this purchase for people who live in the tropics.  I think this works quite well for quick night excursions or in-office use (applied in your office's bathroom) but it's no substitute for a waterproof mascara. I'll be using this but I'll be passing along any  tubes I see in the future.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunplay Skin Aqua Acne Clear Milk

As shown in my previous pre-sun care routine, I've been using Sunplay Skin Aqua Acne Clear Milk for my face this summer. The picture below was its original packaging and I'm not sure how much it costs now, but I remember it being quite cheap.

This bottle contains 25 g of product that promises SPF 50+ and PA ++. I've been using it for a while and I haven't run out yet. The milk itself is white and watery, but doesn't leave a whitish cast. The scent isn't remarkable and it dries quickly without being sticky. It's marketed towards those with acne prone skin, and while I haven't seen a definite improvement because this product, it hasn't worsened at all (no clogged pores for me!). However, from what I can read on the back, this product also contains vitamin C and E, so those who are sensitive to vitamin E may decide to steer clear.

I wouldn't recommend using this on the eyes. While I do this since I don't have a dedicated eye cream with SPF right now (as I stated before), it is a bit irritating used alone.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summertime: Sunsavers 2015

Before summer ends and the rainy season officially begins, here's a quick look at the products I've been using.

(L-R) Nivea UV Whitening Serum, OraLabs Lip Naturals Lip Balm, Sunplay Skin Aqua and Neutragena UltraSheer Sunblock

Nivea UV Whitening Serum: used on the body for "regular days" when I'm sure I don't go out in the sun. Review to be done in the future.

Sunplay Skin Aqua: used on my face. I don't have a dedicated eye cream with sun protection so this also ends up over a non-retinol eye cream. (Also, I just realized that I didn't review this, so review in the future!).

Neutrogena UltraSheer Sunblock: used on the body for days with known sun exposure. I'd use this everyday, but it's too costly to do so for me.  While I probably won't review it anymore (because I didn't review this either, apparently), this was a hoarded item that I'm considering stopping just to try newer (and less expensive) body blocks.

Use sun protection everyday, even when it's cloudy. However, honestly, I try but I usually end up skipping the body blocks during rainy season...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Gino's Brick Oven Pizza

I've finally been able to try Gino's Brick Oven Pizza at Podium Mall!

Gino's Brick Oven Pizza
I've been curious about this restaurant ever since C recommended it, but I've only been able to try it recently. So far I was able to try the following:

 A pizza composed of sausage, mushroom, egg, gouda and cream. Very good by itself but I think it works better with their Spicy Honey.

Salted Egg, P190
Salty, delicious and interesting. I'd try this again.

BOMB, P420
Balsamic onions, mushroom, blue cheese. My favorite pizza of the night. The mushrooms had just the right level of sweetness and the blue cheese complemented nicely.

Aglio Olio Pasta, P170

A bit too heavy on the olive oil, probably wouldn't order again.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza, P395

Tomato sauce, mozzarella, buffalo chicken, blue cheese. A lot of my companions loved this, and I liked it too (especially with the super generous mozarella serving). It was a bit too spicy for me though.

I loved the pizzas I've tried and would probably return for the same or other varieties. Each pizza is sliced into 6 generous slices, and I'd honestly be able to put away half a pizza because of how good it is.

Something to try is the dalandan pitcher for P170 because it's pretty rare to find in a restaurant. It's pretty sweet and the pitcher serves around 6, diluted in ice.

Gino's has pretty great value for pretty good pizza. Service was decent, and the place looked well enough with metal and wood furnishings. The only problem I had was the prevalence of backless chairs, which could be replaced with normal dining chairs.

I highly recommend this place.

Monday, June 15, 2015

DIY Hair Bleach Hortaleza Professional

Before you start DIY Hair Bleaching, you should either know what you're doing or accept whatever mistakes you make. Color correction is expensive and you're better off going to a salon if you aren't willing to laugh at and live with your mistakes. There are some great, inexpensive salons out there and vouchers are available for some others. If you still want to try DIYing your hair bleaching, then continue.

You will need:
1) Bleach Powder - Hortaleza Professional Hair Bleach Powder (below)
2) Developer - Hortaleza Oxidizing Lotion 12% (below)
3) Tinting Brush - brand forgotten (unknown)
4) Non-metal Bowl - repurposed Victoria's Secret Body Butter tub
5) Gloves - I used latex gloves, but vinyl prefereed
6) Clamps - not pictured
7) Shampoo - not pictured

In addition, I'd recommend having:
1) Hair treatment - Cream Silk Hair Treatment (a remnant of years ago before a packaging change, maybe I should review this in the future)
2) Cape - I recycled the capelet from the Richenna Bubble Dye set. Also, use the grottiest clothes you own while doing this.
3) Detachable showerhead - makes clean-up easy
4) Good ventilation - to get rid of that ammonia-bleach parlor smell
5) Friend - to help with the hard to reach areas

Get all your things ready. Make sure to prepare your bathroom by taking out anything that you don't want bleached or laying out newspapers to catch anything as you would by dyeing.

Put on gloves and mix your bleach powder and developer. The Hortaleza Professional Hair Bleach Powder is a blue tinted powder, though it can't be seen well in the picture. Empty a single packet for short hair reaching around chin level. You'll need more for longer hair.

Hortaleza Professional Hair Bleach Powder

Make sure you have your ventilators on as you add the developer with a 1:1 ratio.  I used the 12% because I have very dark hair. Mix with the tint brush.

Hortaleza Professional Hair Bleaching Powder + Oxidizing Lotion 12%

Use the tint brush to apply on hair. Ideally, you'll have person help you reach the back areas, else you might miss areas of your head. Apply around an inch from your scalp, using clamps to segment your hair. Go back for the roots after 15 minutes.

I followed the instructions on the back of the packet, but realized the time wasn't long enough to bleach my oily roots. It's better to judge by the color - I removed mine once I saw lightening at the roots by rinsing until the water ran from blue to clear, and then shampooing once. The bleaching process turns your hair into straw so make sure to use a good hair treatment both immediately after and the weeks to come.

The Hortaleza Professional Hair Bleaching Powder and Oxidizing Lotion bleaches well. Unfortunately, it does this by damaging hair and your sense of smell. If you don't mind the hassle, the set cots less than P200.