Staying Acne-Free Abroad with Belo’s Acne Pro

>> Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Any beauty editor’s concern whenever going abroad is staying healthy-skinned. “Is it too humid to where I’m going, or dry?” “Is the water similar to what we have at home?” “Is it too cold?” were just some of the thoughts I had as I packed my skin essentials to my small toiletry bag. I was off to 10 cities in Europe and all I know was that I had to choose the skincare that could stand both dry and oily seasons my face could get into.

Sometime before leaving, I met a gel-based regimen from the dermatologist to the stars: Belo Essentials Acne Pro:

If there was anything I learned about my skin over the last year was that my skin revolted against anything too creamy. This three piece set was perfect: Everything in it was non-cream based!

Belo Essentials Acne Pro Facial Gel Wash, PHP 99.75 

This facial wash features bee venom, as its main acne zapper, as the two other products in this line do. I didn’t have acne when I left Manila and I intended it to stay that way.

  • The consistency is kinda like viscous gel, but I have to tell you that I used this in 9 C weather all around Germany and Amsterdam and Belgium. Despite the thickness, it slid down my hands sometimes but nevertheless bubbled well on my face when used.
  • There’s a slight fragrance to it, which I like. No-fragrance products freak me out.
  • Skin feels soft and clean, but not dry --- even in dry and cold weather. I had brought with me a plan b facial wash but I didn’t have to use it after all.
  • Easy to rinse off

Belo Essentials Acne Pro Treatment Toner, PHP 79.75

A toner is always a good thing --- it prepares your skin for moisturizer and gets rid of any oil or dirt that you weren’t able to remove properly upon washing the face. 

  • No sting --- but I like a little bit of sting so as much as I wanted to like this toner, I couldn’t. Still, it didn’t do anything bad to my face so that’s fine.
  • If you’re the mild toner type, this would be perfect for you. 
  • There’s a hint of fragrance, which is great. No hint of alcohol and no medicine-like fragrance.
Belo Essentials Pimple-Fighting Gel, PHP 149.75

Strangely enough, I didn’t have to use this one until I was very well on my way home. My guess is that cabin air and oily skin doesn’t mix well. Upon arriving in Hong Kong for a layover, I reached out inside my cabin bag and applied some pimple gel on my face. When I reached Manila, after a fitful 9 hour sleep, my acne were gone.

Overall: Acne will always be a personal experience and each of us will have different sets of triggers and reasons why we have acne. Belo Essentials, a local brand, does not promise that it will banish away your deep seated acne situations, but it functions more of a preventive measure than cure. If you’re bothered with facial acne, remember to visit your dermatologist to know what’s best for your skin type. As for me, I am glad to have been introduced to Belo Essentials AcnePro and will be sticking to this for the mean time.

For more information, visit Belo Essentials Acne Pro through their Facebook Page, and their website, Goodbye, Pimpy!

Happy Tuesday!


Hotel Roundup: Around Germany in Two Weeks

>> Monday, September 15, 2014

Hotel hopping, in theory, is never a fun thing. You want to sleep well when you arrive and relish your breakfast in the morning. When you're traveling, it's nice to be able to catch up on social media sites {which is frowned upon by people older than you, always}, grab a drink or two from the bar down below or in the next corner. But getting on into a tour and maximizing every hour in a new country, a new continent means spending least time sleeping and more time exploring.

I don't claim to have mastered the art of choosing a hotel --- but hotels, sometimes, more than just being your temporary home, is an art form. My favorite writer, Alain de Botton writes:
It’s impossible to get to sleep. The prehistoric part of your mind, trained to listen for and interpret every shriek in the trees, is still doing its work, latching on to the slamming of doors and the flushing of toilets in unknown precincts of the building. The sky is a chemical orange colour. 
Being unable to sleep night after night, for weeks on end, is – of course – hell. But in smaller doses, insomnia in a lonely foreign hotel does not need a cure. It’s an asset with some key troubles of the soul. Crucial things you need to think about get a chance to unfold here. During the day, back home, you are dutiful to others, you’re part of a team of thirty. The emails come in by the dozen every ten minutes. Here, for once, in this box at the end of a long corridor, you can return to a bigger duty: to yourself.
Back in the day when I traveled a lot for work, I never so much cared as to which hotel I'm staying in. Usually, I stay in a posh hotel anyway so I am fine since it's not on my dime. True enough, a survey from Agoda affirms my practice:

However, when it came to business travelers, 74% looked at 10 or fewer hotels before booking, a full 10% more than the average. Unsurprisingly, business travelers also placed the least importance on hotel reviews, with 43% saying that they did not play a significant part in determining their hotel choice, versus 38% for all other traveler types. 

When on a personal trip though,  I am the queen of reading reviews! I'd read reviews for days on end until I absolutely need to. Because I'm still not over my recent Germany trip, here's a roundup of my notes about the hotels I stayed in all over Deutschland. Hope it helps you in case you're going there!

  • Mercure Hotel Neu-Isenburg, Frankfurt, Germany. This was my first hotel in Germany so it kinda set the standard. It's not a Hilton or a Sheraton but I love that they had seamless services for wifi {in Europe, a lot of things are not free, even the restrooms}, an amazing breakfast buffet {yogurt, muesli, cold cuts, all types of jams, fruits, milk, waffles, bacon etc} and the best Bavarian cream I've ever tasted in my whole life. It's conveniently 20 minutes away from the Frankfurt airport and near Frankfurt downtown as well. There are nearby restaurants as well as a drugstore, too!
  • Holiday Inn, Cologne, Germany. It was okay. I was expecting Holiday Inn to have laundromat services, it being an American chain of hotels. Unfortunately, I was shocked to find no laundromats, weak wifi signals, so everyone had to be in the lobby to get a signal and a so-so breakfast buffet.
  • Best Western Hofgut Sternen, Blackforest Germany. This one looks like I stepped into a forest and there were deers running around the perimeter. The cabin we had was like one where Goldilocks went to. Best bed, too!

  • Park Plaza Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, Germany. Berlin is my favorite German city and Park Plaza was such a delight to stay at. I will always remember this hotel because I woke up here to the news of Robin Williams' passing, and the huge bay windows were beginning to shine the sun on me. They had the usual Where magazines and a city guide which I took home, hehe, because Berlin. 
  • Wyndham Garden, Dresden, Germany.  I remember walking such a long walk to my room but the buffet dinner was awesome. :)
  • InterCity Hotel, Nuremberg, Germany.   I can't remember a lot about this hotel except that it was directly across Sheraton Hotel in Nuremberg and that beside it was the best Italian restaurant I've been to {Osteria, was what it was called} 
  • Holiday Inn, Munich South, Germany. Like the other Holiday Inn in this list, I am not a fan of the hotel because they charge you for wifi, so thanks but no thanks. It was especially unnerving too, because I guess there were about 40 of us, so they moved everyone in our group to the meeting room downstairs and created an informal buffet table which made the lines slower and longer. I've stayed in other Holiday Inns, the one in Toronto, and it was a nice one though.
Overall: Hotels in Germany are generally not too spacious -- so don't be surprised to see your room when you do go. Toiletries are not all included, so you may have to ask for it from the reception, or if you're like me, I just bring my own in several small bottles. There are no laundromats {hehe, this is not the US hehe} but the breakfasts, overall is just amazing. Everything is fresh, yummy and overflowing. And always, whenever you're going on a trip, remember to check reviews online! :)

Happy Monday!


Things I Love Sundays: Rain

>> Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's been raining again, but this time, with so much appreciation learned, I am liking the rain.

I remember having a peaceful drive home last night in the rain. I was coming from the PETA theater, and from Quezon City, all in all, from a night of watching a local musical called Rak of Aegis. It was a funny take on the plight of the Philippine chaos -- ridiculous floods, corruption, bribery, haplessness. I enjoyed the show thoroughly, though I don't buy the topic of resiliency anymore. To me, resiliency just retains the status quo.


It had been a great week. It's the kind of week where you feel like a lot of things have turned 180 degrees around. It's the kind that made me feel like a new person --- one where I've gotten new friends, a new perspective in life, learned a whole lot of new skills and ate good food, celebrated birthdays.

The girls and I had one of our epic slumber parties again. Cheers to more than a decade of friendship :)

I've been reading again and while this shelf shows mostly chick lit, I can't put down
Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential :) I'm almost done!

Waking up to U2's free album on my playlist is a blessing not an invasion of my privacy. I know Apple enough to be too cool to invade my privacy when needed.

Is it me or is it really exciting to change toothpastes and toothbrush? Especially if it's a wee bit unique, too :)

Girly details remind me how fun it is to be a girl :)

But even then, one ends up as one of the boys :P

Currently watching: Perfume (2006)

Listening to: the sound of the fan

Thinking: Paris, of course. Can't wait to see you, Paris.

Loving: that I haven't worn makeup in a week and no one seems to notice.

Looking forward to another week of learning, celebrations this week, an afternoon of girl power and beauty this Sunday and more Anthony Bourdain before sleeping every night. 

Happy Sunday, my dearest!


Reading Inspiration: Books I'm Currently Reading/Read Recently

>> Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I'm getting there. I'm finally embracing reading through a digital medium lately. More than once a night has it been since, that I have been going to bed with my iPad and not because I've been reading Real Simple and HGTV magazine. I've been on my iPad and heavily engrossed with some fiction work I've stumbled upon while traveling.

Now, more than ever, it's so easy to fall off the reading track. It's so easy to get distracted by social media, the lights of technology and the beep of a notification. There was this article on Elite Daily, which was about readers being the best people to fall in love with. That made me think I wouldn't even like myself then because I wasn't reading so much!

Actually, there is such evidence. Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, reported in studies published in 2006 and 2009 that individuals who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective. This link persisted even after the researchers factored in the possibility that more empathetic individuals might choose to read more novels. A 2010 study by Mar found a similar result in young children: the more stories they had read to them, the keener their “theory of mind,” or mental model of other people’s intentions. - Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer, TIME Article by Annie Murphy Paul

Anyway. I'm getting back to reading and reading without any distractions {meaning iPad's wifi is turned off} and here are my current reads. I hope you're getting a lot of reading done, too!

  1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I had this idea that Rainbow Rowell was the new YA queen when I started reading Eleanor + Park, which fell flat on me, unfortunately. I swiftly switched to Attachments {oh, the beauty of an e-reader!} which was more right up my alley. It was about an IT guy whose job was to filter the emails at his place of work. He, of course, finds himself curious, and later on, in love with the girl whose emails he was reading. I loved this book, it's the kind you want to read on a rainy day with a cup of berry tea beside you.
  2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was at a busy Fully Booked branch that I started to read this and wow, ain't that a lot of suspense! It was about a married couple whose wife disappears as they were celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary. There was something about the way Nick described his wife --- well, most reviews said it was sick, so I guess there I go, being adventurous in reading. I almost never read suspense and mystery books because I lose so much sleep over it. I'm reserving it for this coming weekend. Shocker.
  3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell. Oh, the beauty of being married --- is what it depicts. I'm curious and curiouser about the married life, slowly coming to terms to a life change I used to detest. Not at all YA, but not too adult, I love Landline's smooth fiction on a married couple's trying phase in their marriage {career, children, being in LA vs. Omaha}, with a time travel aspect when Georgie, the wife, gets to call the 1998 version of her husband through her childhood yellow rotary phone. I'm still not done with this one but how I love reading this! Obviously, I've turned into a Rainbow Rowell fan, and it's not surprising. The woman writes stuff you'd want to read when you want to feel better.

  4. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Finally, something that's not set in the US --- Don Tillman is a professor in genetics in Australia. He is one of those people afflicted by Asperger's disease where he is devoid of any emotion and his approach in romance is very scientific and methodical. If you ever wanted to hear Sheldon Cooper think, this may be an intro to that :P Don embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.
    I've always had a thing for nerds and this kind of affirmed it so. Why? Because nerds can be good at whatever they need to be good at. Wink, wink :P

  5. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. One of my close friends C's favorites is this book and over the course of our friendship, she made it known that this was an amazing book. At that time, I was like, "Anthony Bourdain, who?" Having no TV can do that to you --- so I stayed away for a long time. Now that I'm sufficiently hooked on his show, apparently, his book even better. It was like the sex, drugs and rock and roll of the New York culinary scene. Amazeballs.

That's all for me right now. I have a couple of other titles in my bookshelf {Mindy Kaling's Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me?, Alain de Botton's Art as Therapy among others} but I'll save them for another day.

Happy Thursday!


Sunshine Award + Facts About Me

>> Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My perfect selfie friend Nicole of Beauty & Sparkle nominated me for a fun award called Sunshine Award. Unlike her, I have posted several personal stuff on this blog and since most of you guys like it when I do that, here are some more :)

  1. Post a picture of the Sunshine Blogger Award (done!)
  2. Post 11 random facts about yourself
  3. Answer 11 questions from the nominating blogger
  4. Link back to the blogger who nominated you (done!)
  5. Nominate 11 wonderful bloggers, that you feel bring sunshine to the blogging world.
  6. Write 11 questions for your nominated bloggers
Random Fact #1: I don't own a TV. Haven't had one in so long that I don't know the TV series in local channels anymore and I don't get it when people reference TV commercials. I've stopped paying for cable because I don't like the timing of the series I watch on TV so I just get those online and watch when I have time. I am interested in Anthony Bourdain at the moment and I watch Breaking Bad when I can stomach it.

Random Fact #2: Despite already doing the fairy tale route in Germany, I still don't know who followed the crumbs and who was eaten by the wolf.

Random Fact #3: I absolutely adore the smell of peaches and pink grapefruits.

Random Fact #4: If a movie about my life is to be made, I'd like Kristen Bell to portray me. Or Blake Lively.

Random Fact #5: I adore typography. Show me a font and I bet you I can identify it =P

Random Fact #6: I've come to that age where I don't like wearing heels anymore until I absolutely need to. I can't believe it either.

Random Fact #7: I'm perpetually in sunnies except in evenings for two reasons: I don't like it when the sun gets into my eyes and I like being able to stare at people without looking like I am. =P

Random Fact #8: I am uninterested in unflavored coffee mate. Either real cream or flavored Coffee Mate please.

Random Fact #9: The only jeans/pants I like wearing a lot are yoga pants and jeggings. I dislike wearing jeans unless they're stretchy.

Random Fact #10: I still dream of becoming an engineer/urban planner. I don't know when and how I can do that but I still hope.

Random Fact #11: I am fascinated by cultures {a special place is in my heart for France} and all the differences in each country.

Whew, that was long :) As for the rest of the post, it will be all about answering the questions written by Nic on her blog:

Name something you can’t resist. A good conversation.
What’s the one book you can read over and over again? Right now, it's Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard.
Which celebrity would you trade lives with? Blake Lively.
What quote inspires you? How you do anything is how you do everything. No shabby work ever.
What’s the best beauty advice you’ve received? Take good care of your teeth.
Your favorite midnight snack? Jellyace :)
Where did you go on your first airplane ride? General Santos City
What’s the best part of this day so far? Traveling to Amsterdam
If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be? Berlin. Or Amsterdam :)
If you had a time machine, when would you go? 2002.
And of course, what’s the latest beauty product you’ve fallen in love with? Happy Skin's Shut Up and Kiss Me in Just Say Yes.

I nominate the following:
Here are my eleven questions:
  1. What keeps you blogging everyday or whenever you blog?
  2. What's your favorite song right now?
  3. If you had a hand, who would you choose for Chris Martin? Gwyneth or J.Law?
  4. What's in your life bucket list?
  5. What's a place in your travel list?
  6. Favorite rom com of all time?
  7. Favorite chick flick of all time?
  8. Mr. Big or Aidan?
  9. Any signature cocktails?
  10. What's your signature scent?
  11. Name one thing you have to do this lifetime.
That's all. Happy Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday!



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All I Want to Do

1. Go to NYC. 2.Create and not touch an emergency fund. 3. Tell someone I love him. 4.Cook a five-course meal and serve it to someone I love. 5. Love my imperfections but improve them, too. Read the rest here.
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