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.