Friday, August 30, 2013

Beauty Barrage: Up Close - Lush Exfoliators Part 2: Ocean Salt

We've come to Part 2 of the Lush Exfoliators series. [Check out Part 1: Dark Angels.]

Using exfoliators has become a part of my skincare routine. Like I said before, I don't have my full skincare routine down pat yet, but I now have a handle on my facial scrubs. I try to remember to exfoliate once a week, twice at the most when I have a skin emergency like a zit or something, because I have combination, mostly dry skin. If I exfoliate more than that, my skin gets very dry and goes on complete survival mode, which makes it secrete more oil than usual, and that's not good. Those with oily skin though can exfoliate two to three times a week. I use Dark Angels only when my skin feels unusually oily or rough, or if I'm breaking out. My regular scrub is Ocean Salt.

Lush Exfoliator Number 2: Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Clothes Spin: My Mom's Skirt [Throwback Thursday]

I'm missing my mom so much at the moment. She's in heaven, and well I miss her everyday, every hour, every second, but there are days when it's especially hard. Since it's Throwback Thursday, I'm posting a look that features her skirt, which was one of the few things I kept to remind me of her when she passed away. It's actually my favorite skirt, and I don't wear it often because I don't want it to ever fall apart. It's such a precious thing to me. Picture was taken April last year. 

Black Bench t-shirt, rose ring from SM Dept. Store, gray Aldo watch, wooden bead bracelet with purple hibiscus flowers from The Bead Shop, mom's vintage floral maxi skirt, black Steve Madden satchel, gray gladiator sandals from Greenhills  

Beauty Barrage: Up Close - Lush Exfoliators Part 1: Dark Angels

It's no secret that I love Lush. I love what the brand stands for, I love the smell of their stores, and I love most of their products. Our bathroom is full of Lush -- even the husband uses their Dirty line, but that's another story. I already posted about the Lush Happy Hippy Shower Gel and Lush Grease Lightning Tea Tree Cleanser before, but I figured I should talk about my favorite Lush skincare products first before moving on to other things.

Let's talk exfoliation, shall we? I don't have the best skin. It's rough, dry, and aside from the occasional breakout, I have to deal with acne scars and hyperpigmentation. I'm still trying to find the best skincare regimen for me, but I'm glad that I have at least found exfoliators that work. I'll be doing a two-part series for this because I use two kinds of exfoliating scrubs, and they're both from Lush.

Lush Exfoliator Number 1: Dark Angels Facial Cleanser 

It's amazing! I've been using it for years now and this was actually my first picture of it back in 2011. It actually doesn't look like much. In fact, it looks freaky, since it looks like a black mud cake in the container and it smells pretty sulfuric. It's a facial scrub made of charcoal, black sugar, and actual Rhassoul mud that is ideal for oily complexions because it absorbs the oil in your skin and brightens your complexion right up. You take a teensy pinch of it (you can see that when I took this pic I had already taken a couple of pinches off of it), mix it with a bit of water on your palm so it turns into a thin paste, and then you rub it all over your face. Be gentle -- it can feel pretty rough. Make sure you rinse it off really well too, since this stuff has a tendency to stay on your face. I once got out of the shower with a couple of faint black smudges on my cheeks!

I don't have oily skin -- I have combination, which means parts of it are regular oily and parts of it are dry, but I still tried this and it is awesome. When I first used it, I was breaking out on my forehead and had a zit on the nose coming on, so I used it for one whole weekend (just a couple of days) and it dried everything up! It stopped the pimple right on its tracks and the little bumps are pretty much gone. The zit went away just like that!

I wouldn't recommend this as a daily scrub though because it's so strong it can dry your skin up. I only use it when my face is feeling extra oily or when I'm getting a hint of a zit. My husband, who has very oily skin, loves it too. We treat it like a magic scrub and only break it out when we have a skin emergency.

I've been raving about this for so long in my social networks, but I had to post about this here for inclusion in my beauty product archives. It's incredible.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fashion Fun: The Vogue September Issue 2013

Vogue September 2013

Warning: This is a browser-crasher.

The September Issue is the most important one of the year for Vogue magazine. It's always the thickest issue packed with fun fashion features, and more than half of it is made up of fashion ads, which are just as fun to look at. It ushers in a new year for fashion, giving readers a comprehensive report on what's to come for the next seasons.

My Voguestagram

It has even reached a sort of iconic status because of the movie, The September Issue, which chronicled how much work actually goes into the issue every year. When it came out, I just had to see it. Coming from a magazine background, I could relate to the behind-the-scenes look at magazine production. Every time I think of The September Issue I find myself really missing working in print. 

The September Issue movie trailer

I've gone off-tangent though. Yesterday, I posted about the Vogue September Issues from last year and the year before. This year's edition is actually thinner than last year's, which is a bit of a surprise. Somehow I always expect each September issue to be thicker than the last.

September 2013, 2012, 2011

Kate Moss, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lawrence

Every year though, the magazine outdoes itself, and this year was no exception. September 2013 is truly directional, with some utterly dreamy editorials, and incredibly vibrant features. Here's a rundown.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fashion Fun: A Look Back on Vogue September 2011 and 2012

I've started reading the September issue of Vogue 2013, but I'm not done processing my feelings about it yet. I decided to re-post my thoughts on the last two years' September issues from my Tumblr for reference when I do make this year's post. After developing an interest in fashion and seeing the movie, The September Issue, I started collecting Vogue, especially the September issues. Sadly, I somehow missed out on 2010 -- I just couldn't find it in the magazine stands. Here's a rundown of Vogue September 2011 and 2012.

Vogue September 2011

Tumblr entry from two years ago:

The Vogue September 2011 Issue.

It’s the biggest issue of the year for the biggest fashion magazine. That’s Kate Moss on the cover. I was so glad I chanced upon the magazine stand I got it from on the first day the magazines came in. The bookstores don’t have it yet, and this issue always sells out so fast! It’s a true collector’s item. Look at how thick that is! I took a peek already and I can’t wait to spend tomorrow reading it.

Vogue September 2012

Tumblr entry from a year ago:

The most important Vogue issue of the year is out, and I like it better than last year’s. I haven’t seen it in its entirety yet - I only did a quick flip-through at Cinnabon earlier - but I’ve loved what I’ve seen so far. Here’s why.

Beauty Loot: Drugstore Haul 08.26.13

I haven't gone shopping for makeup and beauty stuff in a long time, but I finally did yesterday! I've been on major frugal mode and I've only been surviving on my makeup stash. After all, I've built up quite the collection and I haven't even used up half of it. Good makeup should never go to waste, so I've been pretty good at that for a while. However, I have been needing a few things lately, so my always supportive husband took me shopping. He patiently waited for me while I stared at products and swatched stuff. I got drugstore everything (frugal mode, remember) and I got a lot of bang for my buck!

My first stop was ELF (Eyes Lips Face), which I've never tried before. It's a brand that comes highly recommended by beauty gurus, but for some reason I have never purchased anything ELF until now. I surprisingly ended up getting a bunch of stuff! I was happy to find out that the brand is so affordable, yet the products have great quality.

Afterwards, I did the rounds of the Revlon, Maybelline, and L'Oreal counters, and got some things from them too. I made a random buy at Clean & Clear as well. I had a few more things on my shopping list, but Robinson's Galleria Department Store (where we went) didn't have the products I was looking for, though I'm glad I was able to find most of the things I needed. [Note: I use the the app Wunderlist for shopping and to-do lists and it's wonderful.] On to the haul!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Clothes Spin: Rain Gear [Flashback Friday]

This rainy, stormy, gloomy week brought to mind my favorite rain gear. It also made me mourn for my beloved Forever 21 army boots that I wore until they got beat up to the point of no return. I need new boots.

Sounding Off: The That Happy Day Mixtape - Our Wedding Playlist

I haven't blogged about music here yet, and that's weird because it's a big part of my life. This is why, for my first Sounding Off post, I thought I'd do a cross-post of sorts from my wedding blog, That Happy Day.

This is a mixtape (more like several mixtapes), made via, of our official wedding soundtrack. My husband and I grew up in the 90s, met in the 90s, fell in love in the 90s. Our wedding was a tribute of sorts to our favorite era. These are the songs we played at our wedding -- from the march, church pictorials and receptions cocktails to the reception program songs, songs the band played, and the party songs. We're mainly alternative/rock people, but we tried to make a good mix of songs from different genres that would bring back memories of that magical time. Just click play for an instant 90s flashback! Enjoy.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bookworming: How They Met and Other Stories by David Levithan

Last Saturday, I found David Levithan's How They Met and Other Stories while randomly browsing at National Book Store. I have two David Levithan books already, both written with Rachel Cohn -- Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List. I was going through his collaborations with Rachel Cohn first, and since I haven't found a nice copy of their third book, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, I thought I would move on to his solo work instead. This book drew me to it, as if the magnets on the cover actually worked, so I got it. I was actually there for another book, but because I need to ration out my book-buying (otherwise I'd end up devouring everything in an instant), I got this one instead, vowing to return for the other book on my next trip to a bookstore.  

Last Monday, it was stormy and I was sick with a fever, bound to my bed, so it was the perfect time to start the book. I spent the entire day snuggled under a blanket, alternating between reading and sleeping. I finished it late in the evening.

Public Service Announcement: An Update and #MaringPH

Hello world. I just thought I'd post an update here because I haven't blogged in a while. Where was I?

Manila, Philippines, where I live, has been besieged by terrible monsoon rains (Tropical Storm Maring) since Sunday. The storm was relentless for four days, and didn't stop until last night. I'm all right, as well as my immediate family, as we are all fortunate enough to live in non-flood-prone areas, but unfortunately, a lot of people were affected. There was massive flooding, and tons of people have been displaced and are in evacuation centers, and some even lost their belongings, homes, and loved ones. Some of my relatives experienced flooding inside their homes. Here is my Tumblr post on my thoughts during the storm, and a reblog from my friend Nicole who reblogged it from Neil Gaiman of Maring in pictures.

This is why I haven't really felt like blogging. When I wasn't worrying about our house, my family, relatives, and friends, I was busy with my husband just getting distracted from the rain pounding nonstop on the roof. Today, the sun is finally starting to come out. It's still gray and there are occasional bursts of rain, but the weather has gotten infinitely better. Everyone is slowly getting back to normal.

To those in the Philippines, you donate to the Red Cross to help the victims of the monsoon by simply texting. Text RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart).

For international donations, please check the Red Cross website.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Clothes Spin: Mango Brigitte Tie-Dye Denim Skirt Love! [Throwback Thursday]

One of my favorite pieces in my closet is my Mango Brigitte tie-dye denim skirt. It's a full, mid-length skirt made of very light denim material. It has a fun, blue tie-dye print and comes with a drawstring. When I saw it at the store I was so drawn to it for some reason that I just had to get it. I'm glad I did, because it has proven to be quite a versatile piece. I can dress it down for errands around the neighborhood with just a t-shirt, or build a casual look around it for lazy days in the office, but I can also dress it up with heels for a more polished look. I have even worn it at the beach with my swimsuit!

Since it's Throwback Thursday, here's a look back on the different ways I've worn the skirt. I love that it's pretty and functional at the same time.

Dressed-up and Polished
I forgot what I was doing at the mall the day I wore this look haha. I knew I went to work first -- that's all I remember. It's funny how the majority of my outfit was from Mango, and I took this pic inside the Mango fitting room at Shang. That was totally unintentional.

Mango Brigitte tie-dye denim skirt, black Mango oversized bag, silver and blue Mango cocktail ring

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bookworming: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

From my Instagram about a month ago:

I picked up The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman last Friday, but the weekend was so busy I only got around to reading it last night. I expected it to be a nice little fantasy book, but then I got to the middle and I found myself regretting that I started it in the middle of the night. It scared me, and when it finally calmed down, I went to sleep. I finished it this morning, with a cup of coconut macadamia tea for comfort. It left me feeling a little sad and somewhat awed. It takes you back to your childhood and then makes you realize you are an adult. My heart and brain are still hurting.

I don't really like reviews with spoilers so that's about all I can say about the book. Here's the description from Neil Gaiman's official website:

"A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys. This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real..." 

This is the blurb at the back of the book:

"A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home and is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl and her mother and grandmother. As he sits by the pond behind the ramshackle old house, the unremembered past comes flooding back -- a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy. 

A groundbreaking work as delicate as a butterfly's wing and menacing as a knife in the dark, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out."

I love books that make me feel something not entirely comfortable, that make me think of things I normally wouldn't think about, that make the world seem a little different after reading them. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is that kind of book.  

p.s. When you're done reading the book and therefore have context, check out this Tumblr post of mine about Neil Gaiman's recipe for lemon pancakes.

Note: I usually don't post actual book reviews on Instagram. I just post a pic of the book I'm reading and my initial thoughts, but I somehow ended up writing everything I was thinking there. The book review needed to be here, so I figured I'd just do a re-post.

Makeup Madness: Up Close - Maybellline Bold Matte Lipstick in Mat2

I've been really good at trying to use up my makeup lately. I've built up quite the collection of lipsticks over time and I'm hoping that I get to make good use of it all before it's time to toss them out. I still buy the occasional one when a shade catches my attention though, and one of my most recent buys is the Maybelline Bold Matte Lipstick in Mat2.

Can you tell I already used it before taking a pic? Yeah I usually can't resist trying lipstick on immedietely after getting it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Toy Nerdiness: My Weapons Arsenal

Hello! It's a stormy typhoon Monday here and I just crawled out from the rock I've been living in for the past week. Sorry about the lack of posts -- life happened, as usual. Anyway, I spent a couple of days the past week fixing up the apartment, and it reminded me of this special corner in our place.

From my Instagram post: "Bad guys, beware. Don't even try breaking into our place. We are armed and dangerous."

Monday, August 5, 2013

Random Linkage: Monday Must-Reads 080513

Having a case of the Mondays? Here are links to stuff from the past week to distract you from the Monday blues.

p.s. I haven't had time to spend on my Feedly, so I only have a few links today. 

Fitness Agenda
Attack of the Pink (Fashion, beauty, girly-girl stuff]
  • Are holy grail beauty products worth the hype? Here's Elle Fowler's take on the Urban Decay Naked Palette, Beauty Blender Sponge, etc. [Dreaming in Blush]
Geek Stuff
Everyday Randomness
  • Blind MasterChef winner Christine Ha's IAMA (I am a... ask me anything.) [Reddit

Friday, August 2, 2013

Bookworming: All's Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria

I haven't read an e-book in a while. I actually read e-books on my iPod Touch (they're handy when traveling and such), and I've filled up my virtual bookshelf with so many digital books that I haven't gotten around to reading everything. However, in general, I still love paper books. I like that I can stare at them lovingly on my bookshelf and feel the pages in my hands.

Recently though, I got back to reading on my iPod Touch because my online friend Chrissie Peria of Kitchen Cow and Kingdom Cow aka Kaoko wrote an e-book! I'm pretty proud of this girl. I used to meet up with her to obsess over bento and now she's an author. When I found out through her blog, I went to Smashwords with a quickness and bought the e-book. Anyway, the book's called All's Fair in Blog and War. I started it one Saturday noon and finished it in around a couple of hours.

Posted this picture in my Instagram and Tumblr before I started reading.

All's Fair in Blog and War is a novella about love and blogging. It's actually local chick lit with a sprinkling of international flavor. It gives you a lot of fun Philippine tidbits, but it also takes you to the old world-new world streets of Macau. It's a story about travel bloggers named Five Cuevas and Jesse Ruiz who don't like each other but were forced to go on a trip together. Now that makes it seem like it would be predictable, but the book is all about the journey, not the destination, and what a wonderful journey it was. It was pretty cute! I got really kilig with it.

Since it's about blogging, the book comes with accompanying Twitter and Instagram accounts, so you get a solid feel for the story. You'll see all the places, food, and other travel miscellany that were talked about in the book. Check out 5travels on Twitter, wanderingcamera on Twitter, and fivetravels on Instagram.

All's Fair in Blog and War is a happy little book that will make you want to find a cool travel buddy and explore new places. Read it on a gloomy day and it will cheer you right up! It's only $0.99 on Smashwords and you get it in all formats. The kindle edition is also available over at Amazon. Go get it friends!

p.s. Check out that pretty cover art by Cla Ines, who also did the design for this site.

Makeup Madness: Getting to the Bottom of the Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter Lipstick in Tutti Frutti

TGIF! Let's get to the bottom of this post, shall we? By "getting to the bottom" I meant literally getting to the bottom of a lipstick! In makeup circles it's known as "hitting the pan", but the phrase doesn't really work for lipstick, so "getting to the bottom" it is.

This phenomenon (haha) is actually a rare thing for me, simply because I have a ton of lipstick (and lip gloss and lip balms and whatnot). It's my favorite beauty product and I just can't get enough. I do try my hardest to make good use of everything though. Great makeup shouldn't go to waste! Cue Exhibit A:

The top box was my lipstick bin last year. I've tossed out some lip things that expired (that I never got to the bottom of) but I got new ones since then.

The Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter wasn't my first orange lipstick, but it's the one I ended up using the most. I got it last year in May, and though it has been on constant rotation with a few of my favorites, I only just reached the bottom of it now. That simply means it packs a lot of product in the tube! Cue Exhibit B:

Brand new

Fresh lipstick

Clothes Spin: Dressed-up White [Throwback Thursday]

Time for a Throwback Thursday look post! This is an outfit I wore to an unusual wedding. The guests were all required to wear white -- the girls, white dresses, and the boys, white shirts with khaki pants. That's because the wedding was Star Wars-themed, and the groom wore a Jedi-inspired black suit with bright blue accents, and the bride wore a light lavender gown. (Holla, Jho and Ron!)

The dress code was easy for the hubby, because almost all guys have white shirts and khaki pants in their wardrobe, right? It threw me for a loop though. Aside from the fact that my closet mainly consists of black, gray, blue, and orange clothes, I'm not really fond of white. I can be such a klutz and white is too high-maintenance for me. It also reminded me of Lo from the MTV Show Laguna Beach, when she said something like, "I would love a cute white dress, but I haven't found any. All white dresses I've seen are either too tacky or trashy." That was actually exactly what happened. I had a hard time finding anything that looked modern and wasn't made of lace (too itchy for me).

I like sartorial challenges though, so even if I was tempted to just ignore the dress code, I didn't give up. Eventually, I found a dress that suited my taste -- at SM, surprisingly, after scouring so many stores. Although it had a modern cut, I needed to give it another dimension. I put on silver accessories to dress it up, but my shoes added a pop of color and casual vibe to the outfit, since the boys were in khaki pants and all. Here go the pics, plus outfit deets for the hubby (my boyfriend at the time) and a couple of pics of us at the wedding under the cut.

Silver necklace and white dress from SM Dept. Store, silver bracelet bought from a cousin, silver heart connector ring bought from a friend, silver and white Giordano watch, paint splash Jellybean wedges

Beauty Barrage: Lush Happy Hippy Shower Gel

Last week, I tweeted about discontinued products I was missing for Throwback Thursday. I mentioned the Lush Tramp and Back for Breakfast shower gels because I loved them and thought I would be using them for years but now they're only available online.

Then Lush posted a tweet asking followers to tweet the discontinued products they miss, inspired by The Blue Purse. [Thanks for the shoutout Lush!] 

That got me thinking about my favorite Lush shower gel of the moment -- the one that hasn't been discontinued, is still in stores, and I still get to use a lot. No question -- it's Happy Hippy. Here's a review.

I've been using Happy Hippy for a long time now, and thankfully, it hasn't been discontinued! It's a grapefruit shower gel that has such a fantastically bright fragrance. It works for both hair and body as well, that's why I use it mainly for trips, the gym, overnight things and such. I usually get the small bottle to keep it handy, and I like that it's so convenient, I don't have to tote around separate shampoo and shower gels. It's a staple in my gym and overnight bags, but I also use it at home on mornings when I need a dose of sunshine. I really like citrus smells in the morning. They leave me energized and raring to get my day started. 

This particular shower gel also feels great. It's light and not sticky, rinses off easily, and just erupts in a burst of fresh grapefruit goodness in the shower. It leaves my hair and skin soft and shiny.   

I love it because it is pretty close to my retro product favorite, Back for Breakfast, with its sunshine-y, citrus-y smell. It actually sort of hails from way back at Lush's first company, Cosmetics to Go. It's such a customer favorite, they started making it again. I hope they won't ever discontinue this one! p.s. I love the usage instructions!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tales of the Culinary-Challenged: My Favorite Spinach Recipes

A lot of people assumed I started learning how to cook only when I got married, but unbeknownst to many, I've been trying for years since I've been living with my parents until I became independent and lived alone. Cooking just really doesn't come naturally to me, that's all, which is weird because I come from a family of people who cook. However, I am pretty surprised that I haven't had many cooking mishaps. Maybe that's where the family cooking genes come in.

Now I am trying to learn my parents' recipes. I miss their home-cooking and I would like to be able to eat those dishes with my husband. Before I got married though, I learned a few recipes in an effort to be healthy. [Check out Cooking Edamame and Breakfast Oatmeal with a Twist!] I thought I would share a couple of my favorite, very easy, very basic spinach recipes. I must say I'm not a big vegetable person, but spinach was a veggie I naturally gravitated towards. Maybe it was all those Popeye cartoons that I watched when I was a kid, heh, but I think mostly it was because I was having lettuce/salad fatigue at the supermarket that day I decided on spinach. Plus, I was always cooking broccoli and cauliflower already, and I wanted something new. I'm rambling as usual, so here you go. I usually cook these recipes when I'm on a diet. I eat these for dinner without anything else, but on days when I have diet fatigue they make great side dishes.

Garlic Spinach

You need a few cloves of garlic of course, a bunch of spinach (I usually use half a bag for just me but for regular non-dieting appetites one bag should do it), and extra virgin olive oil, which is important because it tempers the spinach's natural bitterness.