Nivea Lemongrass & Oil Soap Review

>> Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Over Christmas, one of the nicest presents I got was a care package from Castro PR and the Nivea / Beiersdorf Team. It contained the Nivea essentials --- lotion, moisturizers, Nivea creme and my a seemingly new member in the bunch, the Nivea Lemongrass & Oil Creme Soap.

Soaps were never what I used from Nivea --- though I did love their deodorants and cremes and baby stuff. I guess I was stickler for loyalty that way. Until I was sent this, I never would've tried.

Some observations:

  • SMELLS amazing. The thing that pushed me to use this bar of soap earlier than I had planned {I don't like opening stuff when I still have stuff in the bath}, is because of its fragrance. I brought it home from the office and while in the car, its scent wafted everywhere. It smelled good and I am a big fan of lemongrass so goodbye reasons, I opened the box.
  • Unfortunately, the scent is where it ends. The soap sadly fails to deliver on moisturizing properties as well as retaining its fragrance after being unboxed. It may be that this is not one of Nivea's stellar products --- I still love their milk deodorant anyway. It's a product I keep coming back to all these years.
Would I buy this product?

  • Unfortunately, no. I truly believe that soaps should be three things: fragrant, fresh and moisturizing. But I am grateful to have tried :)

Have you tried Nivea soaps? What's your verdict?


Slides: The Start Up of You

>> Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thanks, Mari-an, for sharing this! To anyone who's a businesswoman or a corporate woman, this is a very good read. In summary: invest in yourself because the world is EVER changing.



The Audrey Hepburn of Waxing: Wink Laser and Wax Studio

>> Monday, February 25, 2013

Classy. That was my initial and foremost reaction as Liz helped us onto the newly-opened waxing and laser studio at High Street Central, Wink.

It was a warm Saturday afternoon and Liz and the rest of the beauty-chatting-blogging posse and I were at our favorite joint {that would be Slice, ha ha}, stuffing ourselves silly with choco yema, sugar cookies and more choco yema.

"Why Wink?" was our common question to owner Holly Chang, who at 24, was already quite the inspiration to us. You know me, I'm all about guts and {aspiring} business smarts. According to her, she wanted to start some place that wasn't as apparent {ergo, obvious} as a waxing place. In a country like the Philippines, most of the population still frowned upon the idea of being waxed to nothingness --- especially, you know the ones.

"If anything else, whomever goes to Wink can just wink when asked where s/he came from," she adds.

Addressing a market need

"There is either very expensive centers who cater to the market who are fans of laser --- and then there are those that are extremely inexpensive. Wink comes in the middle, where there is obviously a gap," she continues. I could think of so many places which are value for money but incredibly painful to the skin but hey -- that's not the topic now :)

While I have yet to try out the services {but beautiful friends like Alex and Sophie have all tried it}, I am keen on trying the services out. As Holly promised, the costs are not too steep: Brazilian Wax is at Php 680, underarm waxing is at Php 330 and leg waxing is at 450. You may check out the laser prices here, too.

And because I haven't tried the service yet, I am posting a mini-tour of Wink instead, just so you have a feel of what it's like inside a Wink room:

 Gotta love the interiors :P

Every treatment uses a recyclable paper that's changed every after customer --- hygienic and environmentally friendly!

Your attendant will give you her card: just so you can come back to her next time and stay with one attendant every time :P

Clean and well-lit halls

As a bonus: Snoe is sold at Wink. :D

And as an additional info, this is what happens when you get lasered:

 Image via Wink

Wink is perfect for:

  • Ladies who would like to be discreet and classy about their 'hair' affairs
  • Ladies within the BHS / Fort area
  • Ladies on a budget --- Wink services are easy on the bank account.
  • Ladies who would like to try laser services without going on a full package term

Wink Laser & Wax Studio | 3rd Level, C2 Building, 7th Ave cor. 28th Street , Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig | Monday to Sunday : 11:00 am to 8:00 pm
Contact Numbers: +632.808.7258 | +632.624.6945 | +63917.303.WINK | Facebook       

And in any case you're wondering what Strip is, it's Marilyn Monroe. 


Favorite Blogs V3

>> Saturday, February 23, 2013

Because I am a voracious blog reader as I've ever been. Sharing with you what takes up a LOT of my down time:

a. The Everygirl. This may be in the category of blogazines but it doesn't matter anymore. TEG has been a huge inspiration to me and to this blog and I'm thrilled that they've turned one. Awesome photos + Stellar copy + Inspiring features = It's every girl's manifesto.

b. It goes without saying that I am a fan of the personal blogs of TEG co-founders, Alaina Kaczmarski and Danielle Moss. Being both design mavens, I was instantly drawn to the beautifully-designed sites and impeccable taste in interior design. Both their blogs drawn me to the city of Chicago {even more than NYC}. Someday, I will visit that city and go through all the inspiring places they've written about.

c. Switcheroom by Elle Uy. I almost never backread any blog that I come across with but Switcheroom made me keep this link in my iPad for a long time. I loved her interior design projects and how she eventually came up with her own decor and furniture studio. Amazing!

d. Jess Lively. Her With Intention posts are incredibly enlightening and makes sense of my time, too. It's like every act in a day is designed to serve a purpose --- who knew I'd ever reach that point that THAT is actually what I want? Amazing.

e. Gala Darling. Time and again, Gala's blog blows my mind -- and for good reason. You know when your mind drifts away sometimes when the posts get too long? I never do that with hers. Her blogs are always so well-written, well-photographed and well-designed. It's impossible for any girl not to like her glittery, clean layout.

f. Goop. Gwyneth and really adorable pink and pastels. What is not to love?

g. Garance Dore. She makes things look easy and breezy and fresh. Like life is all about holding a camera and snapping away at pretty things that come your way.

What are yours?


Feels Like Baby Shampoo: Kerastase Cristalliste

"This is like baby shampoo!" I exclaimed to Mikki, when during a dinner, we began talking about Kerastase's newest member: Cristalliste.

I quickly elevated this bottle's bathroom status to first shampoo {I switch shampoos every single day} at first because of its color. It reminds me of Audrey Hepburn!

As someone who's been using Kerastase for many years now, and because my hair calls for it, too, it was surprising to know that the brand had a variant for 'simple' hair as I'd like to call it. 

Hair that sparkles like crystal, weightless as light --- the Kerastase Paris Cristalliste is enriched with the Liquid Light Complex, cleaning and purifying the hair's roots, polishing the hair's dry ends and enhancing its natural glow and shimmer. The result is hair that's feather light and smooth, cascading down in a flowing manner, with luminous shimmer caused by the refraction of light from one hair fiber to another.

I don't know about the shimmer and sparkle but man does my hair feel light. I think that would have to be the best and most notable feature of this shampoo. That and that it smells like baby shampoo.

This is best for:
  • Girls in search of shampoo that would not weigh their hair down
  • Girls in search of shampoo that isn't too fragrance-y
  • Girls in search of shampoo that lathers really well
  • Girls who like pinterest-worthy shampoo {IT IS, right?}
  • Girls with 'virgin' hair --- as this shampoo does not address chemically-treated hair. Check out other Kerastase types instead.
 The one I have is for Fine hair but I believe there's a type for hair with dry ends.

On the ingredients side: so far so good!

And if you were wondering, this is how my hair looks and feels like --- very light!

This is me sans makeup and any hair product.

Other notable information:

  • No hairfall caused by this product
  • No breakout
  • No dandruff
  • But neither have I experienced above with any shampoo :)

Kerastase Cristalliste is available at Kerastase Paris salons {mine is Tony and Jackey and Piandre!} for Php 1,200.



Every Other Way

>> Friday, February 22, 2013

Do you wanna know my song of the day? This is all I've listened to for more than 24 hours now! :D I know the video is pretty useless but it's a really nice song :)

I promise.

Is it strained, when I call you
Or do you think, that I might forget
Oh your love, is radiating
The farther away
I go
I go

Do you count, on me now
And do you wait, up for me all night
I wish I could run, to you when you need me
You know I can't be far
For long
For long

Heart don't fail me now
Cause there is no time to waste
Don't shut me out, we shouldn't wait another day
I've searched for you, on my hearts high speed chase
Hear me out, may be the only chance to say
Hold me now
I've said it Every Other Way

These tears I've cried
More moments gone to waste
I've searched for you
I've said it Every Other Way

[Chorus :]
Heart don't fail me now
Cause there is no time to waste
Don't shut me out, we shouldn't wait another day
I've searched for you, on my hearts high speed chase
Hear me out, may be the only chance to say
Hold me now
I've said it Every Other Way

Have a great Friday, ladies!


February BDJ Box Unboxed: Shiseido!

If you've been catching several beauty posts mingling all over the web, you most probably know that BDJ Box for February is exclusively Shiseido --- and well, a Nippon Touch Up kit :)

If you haven't seen any post about it, here are some photos of MY box, a box I squealed at when Dar gave me because I'm a crazy cat like that. Plus, lately, I've been liking Shiseido after getting to try their eyebrow liners, facial wash and toners.

Shiseido White Lucent mask and serum, a lipstick, softener and wrinkle cream.

Is it just me or isn't Shiseido's packaging absolutely elegant?

... which reminds me, I am the official reviewer for BDJ Box and White Lucent!
Stay tuned for that review :)

Did you know the BDJ girls lovingly cut each confetti by hand? That's all love, everyone! :)

As for me, I'm truly very excited to use up my samples --- if only I'll figure out how to use them. Top of mind comment on the brand, while it does the job, it's usually tough to figure out because it uses different words, yeah?

And before I leave you, thought it might be of interest to you to join our current challenge, up at BDJ Box. :)

Good luck!


Giveaway Alert: Swan Lake Accessories

>> Thursday, February 21, 2013


It's such a beautiful Wednesday as I type this. I slept early last night and here I am, typing away at 6 AM and I've been awake since 5 AM. Being a nocturnal person, this almost always never happens but here I am, enjoying a lovely sunrise. Over the weekend, I've had productive hours, too. Did you notice my new banner?

If not, here's an image of it:

 Gold, glitter and handwritten. This reflects my current aesthetics at the moment and I'm very thankful my Photoshop skills can translate them to life. Errrr, pixels I mean.

So in celebration of that --- I was thinking today is a really good day to give away something nice, don't ya think?

A budding entrepreneur, Abby of Swan Lake Accessories have been kind to sponsor a giveaway here on my blog.

Swan Lake Accessories is a nice little online store with the cutest, most adorable finds like that nifty mustache necklace. One lucky reader will take home all four items above by joining through the rafflecopter below:

The winner is: Fati Racede

 Giveaway is open to all Philippine readers!
One winner will get to receive all of the accessories in the  photo above.



Now, ain't that Parisienne?

>> Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I stood there, entranced, with Paris, the French accents, the music.

Tres adorable!


Gus Waters does it for me

>> Friday, February 15, 2013

Some girls have TV heroes, some have movie heroes and being the book geek I realized I am, mine is a book hero --- you know the ones. If he happened to have been a real person, you would unagreeably agree to go on a date with him if he asked you.

I know in my heart that I have a lot --- but right now, I can only think of one:

The Fault in Our Stars' Gus Waters had me waxing romantic. Maybe it was because his life was threatened, or that the girl she loved could die any moment, but his actions, his words, had me swooning at how he exemplified kilig-inducing kind of love --- bringing a sick girl to her favorite author halfway across the world.

More than that, he was smart, he was philosophical, he was wise. It is a wonder how he attained all his quotable quotes in this book. I have a nagging suspicion that John Green, the author, have had his heart broken in many ways and many times to be able to churn out a number of heartbreak stories in this lifetime.

Sometimes I wish I could give him a hug.

“May I see you again?" he asked. There was an endearing nervousness in his voice.
I smiled. "Sure."
"Tomorrow?" he asked.
"Patience, grasshopper," I counseled. "You don't want to seem overeager.
"Right, that's why I said tomorrow," he said. "I want to see you again tonight. But I'm willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow." I rolled my eyes. "I'm serious," he said.
"You don't even know me," I said. I grabbed the book from the center console. "How about I call you when I finish this?"
"But you don't even have my phone number," he said.
"I strongly suspect you wrote it in this book."
He broke out into that goofy smile. "And you say we don't know each other.”

It was like Gus Waters was the confluence of all the wit, character, humor and humility that I have liked in fictional characters and real people in my existence. While I would like to think I am a very realistic and practical person most of the time, I couldn't help but wish there was a person like Gus Waters on this planet:

“You realize that trying to keep your distance from me will not lessen my affection for you. All efforts to save me from you will fail.” 

He also knew the simplest way of melting a girl's heart, as I discovered:

 “Because you are beautiful. I enjoy looking at beautiful people, and I decided a while ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence”

Plus, he was such literary geek:

“But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.”  

What brought this on, you ask?

Last year, Fully Booked's Aimee Diego {who also blogs here} asked me to be part of only my favorite book store's campaign called What's your story? It was mostly about what our favorite books were and why, which really felt like a traitorous stab at my library. So I did what I thought was fair --- I closed my eyes and reached for a book from my shelves and brought it with me to the shoot.

That is the subject of my little talk in the video below :) Hope you watch it!

Who is yours?


Valentine's Day thoughts

>> Thursday, February 14, 2013

This is the fifth {or fourth} Valentine's Day I'm spending without a Valentine. 

I'm not too sure if I ever said something about it on this blog but it used to matter a lot to me that I didn't have anyone to be cheesy with on a day which I thought was of purely commercial, unlucky-you-no-V-Day-girl nature. For a couple of years, I'd come home, watch both Bridget Jones movies and will myself to vow that the next February 14th would be a witness to me involved in a loving, committed, sweep-me-off-my-feet, can't-live-without-you, let's-join-the-throng-of-people-on-V-Day type of relationship.

Five (or four, I have seriously lost count) years since, it still hasn't happened.

Someone I was on a date with once asked me before what Valentine's Day meant to me and because I was on a date with him, I told him I was not the type to gush over flowers, a romantic date nor a Valentine's gift.

I was lying. I was wishing he would send me flowers that V Day but he didn't. So much for hoping. {Yes, a girl, like me, can hope}.

All throughout those years, I was a lost girl, trying to make sense of why I couldn't go into a relationship. Triggered by a question on why I didn't have a Valentine prodded me to think why I spent Valentine's days alone. My longest one lasted two years which means, outside of my family, my only proof of commitment was with my job. I began to think, "Was it me? Was I incapable of making something work? Was I supposed to not have been too nice? Was I too much of a  'snob'?"

And here is yet, the best of all questions, as pointed out by one of my friends:

Did I have too high standards?

I still don't have the answers, honestly. Until now, I have not grasped the concept of what it takes to be truly sharing life with someone in a relationship. I don't know how anyone else defines a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship but even if it's not marriage we're talking about, I am already thinking of all the physical space this person will be occupying in my life --- the one next to me when I eat my dinner, the one next to me when I watch a movie, the one where he drives me home from work, the one when he meets my parents, that one where he hangs out with my friends.  Until recently, I have not taken the physical space factor when I had been trapped, physically, with someone I realized I couldn't stand.

Was I really ready for that? I was stumped with my own question.

That was how I realized I wasn't ready for a relationship, let alone marriage, a second star in my daydreams. That day, I realized that the world had successfully molded me into thinking I was nothing until I could make someone carry my bag with big doe eyes and move heaven and earth to be with me and that I didn't want to be stuck in that mold, too. If Meredith Grey had her looking at babies pasttime, I read wedding blogs when I get stressed. I still do, even if I am quite sure I am not ready for one right now.

Relationships are a lot of work. If you think otherwise, check yours and see where you don't exert an effort and be honest at where it stands. I know this for sure because even my family is a LOT of work. We live in different time zones but we make it work. We make it work because we love each other and we choose to stay family despite the distance. It works because we exert time, money, effort with lots of love to make it work.

The same can be said of friendships we choose to keep. It lasts a long time because we choose to overlook things that do not break the non-negotiables in a friendship. It lasts because one chooses not to make a big deal out of cancelled plans and flaky moments. It lasts because one doesn't need to be right all the time, doesn't need to always have the upper hand. And in my book, an honest-to-goodness friendship is the foundation of a great relationship that leads to marriage.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

There goes one of my biggest definitions of love --- and right now, I am not too sure I am ready to follow those words for one person, outside of the ones I have now, such as my family and friends, presumably the one I'll spend Valentine's Day with. Maybe it will happen when I am not looking, maybe it will happen when I resume looking, maybe it will happen if I followed the advice of elders and actually went out on dates, maybe it will happen when I am at home in front of my TV on Valentine's Day watching Serendipity {which I plan on doing, BTW}, maybe it won't.

I don't really know that now. What I do know is I am finally out of that cliche that at 27, I should be feeling bad I can't maintain a relationship and that I should be working on it and that I am a bad person just because I choose not to continue dating somebody. I would appreciate it if lines like "Why aren't you dating around, you're still young?" the 1990s sounding "Collect and collect then select," I hate women being collected so why should I do that to boys? --- stuff like these are stuff I wish would stop coming my way.

I know love now. I come from a world of broken promises, flimsy love, feels-like-love, maybe-it's-love world. So many times I've stopped dead in my tracks and decided I truly loved someone BUT no, in the Bible's words, I don't think I do. And while I do know how every girl deserves the best love she can get, I know for sure that the other party in my hypothetical future relationship deserves the best, too. That is how I know I'm not ready. Love is too special and wonderful and huge not to have my undivided, patient and everlasting attention and attention. I can't plunge in it without going all in.

This is how I know it's the best Valentine's Day yet. It's not hinged on another person, on an idea I'm trying to wrap my head around or the niche people are trying to put me into. I hope you're having an amazing day, too.

Happy Valentine's Day, kids.

Auntie Lola Tara


Words to Live By: For the girls always in a rush

>> Wednesday, February 13, 2013


{Photo Essay}: Getting to Know BYS

>> Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One of the many things I'm pretty sure I won't outgrow in the next decade or so is my liking for getting to know brands which are of worthy pursuits. Surely, I have a lot of cosmetics and skincare stuff --- but if like me, you get a bit of a tingling feeling every time you encounter tubes and bottles and palettes of pretty makeup --- well, it's hard to stop. I guess it really is just the way girls are.

Hitting two 'birds' in one stone that day, I got to know two new players in the field: BYS {Be Your Self}, a cosmetics brand from Australia and Seda Hotel beside Muji at BGC.

But first, here's what I wore:

 It was a slightly hot day but still managed to wear my favorite jacket from Zara.

 Fellow Winter Collection girls, Pax and Angela who were both wearing heavy jackets like me.

Here I am wearing BYS' lipstick duo in Dusty Rose. It's a good dupe to MAC's Please Me!

Thank you, Martha, for taking my OOTD photos!

Just had to take her photo: My favorite Kanin Partner in Crime: Michelle

I must've spent a good hour ogling all sorts of BYS stuff laid out for us that afternoon. One of my initial impression was that the brand was expensive and later discovering that price point was even less than Php 500.

The foundation products seemed of good quality --- not too runny and everything was packaged in black.

 Because of my genetic disposition {LOL}, I stayed away from the eyeshadows and eye liners. They were a bit too funky and colorful for me. Though I did see some neutral palettes so do expect a post on that one! =)

BYS Bronzing Powder + swatch. Great pigmentation. As for longevity, I'm not yet sure. Packaging can be better.

Nothing else spells being yourself than wearing neon eyeliner. If you're the type who does, this is very good news for you because BYS are in store all over Metro Manila!
You can find BYS cosmetics at all Watsons' Department Stores.

To end this post, here's some makeup wisdom:
There's only one best person to be in this world: Yourself.

Have an amazing Tuesday, my dearest readers!


Watercolor Crafternoons

>> Monday, February 11, 2013

"How come watercolor was never this fun when we were kids?" 

I mused this as soon as our teacher for the day, Alessa Lanot of Life After Breakfast started demonstrating the different strokes one can do on 300 gsm paper and various-shaped watercolor brushes.

It was a Sunday afternoon and while the rest of Manila was in siesta, my friends and I were happily stowed away at the fourth floor of Fully Booked at BGC {where, incidentally, my photo was on display already YAY!}, tinkering with water, color and drawing and doodling away.

Naturally, I asked everyone NOT to judge my artwork when we're done {queue huge guffaw} as my only background in art are my super *kick ass* Photoshop skillz :P As it turned out, most of us in the class had no background and were looking to make more sense of our Sunday afternoons, doing something productive with our hands.

The first part of the afternoon was all about learning the various strokes {wet on wet, thin and thick, dry, flat}. When Alessa was demonstrating and we, obedient students, I was amazed at how things worked out. My strokes looked normal! Artsy, even!

It was a refreshing experience, to test the capability of my fingers, rather than relying on accuracy to maintain my strokes. As compared to my Photoshop skills, watercolor drawing was far more challenging. There was no Command + Z to click when you pick the wrong color, stroke beyond the lines or spill water on your paper.

It was almost like I was back to kindergarten --- there was no expert, there was no competition, and everyone had sloppy drawings =P In the middle of the drawing frenzy, we were fed yummy chocolate chip cookies and healthy taro chips.

The next half of the class was focused on the sort of challenging activity that is to draw our name using shapes, what we had for breakfast and our initial prettified with flowers.

My 'classmates' show their work of watercolor art

 And just like in kindergarten, you make some friends with your seatmates.
Hello, Angela!

And of course take a class photo =)

I could've been the most enthusiastic of the class. I came out of the class giddy with happiness --- maybe because it's too fun doodling and choosing colors and splashing your work with color. And for someone who tips and taps on a MacBook and an iPad most of the time --- it was so nice to do something new with my fingers.

Hmmm, now which one of her other classes to attend to next?
Details on Alessa's classes can be found on her blog, Life After Breakfast.



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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. Read the the 30th version here.
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