I want to be part of Sample Room's Bloggers Circle!

30 April 2014

It feels like it was only a couple of months ago when I wrote about how excited I was about Sample Room's launch, but it turns out it has already been more than one year! Has it really been that long?


Sample Room has been around for only less than two years but it's amazing how it has revolutionized the way we Filipinas shop for beauty and body-care products! In the short span of time they've been online, they have partnered with a lot of both local and imported products and with our reviews, we have passed judgment on whether they are worth purchasing with our hard-earned bucks or not. Sure, beauty boxes give more mileage for your money, but you have to admit there are still misses among the hits. As for Sample Room, you get to try what you want to try when you want to try it. Try before you buy, indeed!

Sample Room is now looking for more bloggers to add in their Bloggers Circle and I believe I deserve a spot because:

♥ I am spontaneous, adventurous, and willing to try new things. Sample Room's goal is to introduce new products to the Philippine market, and I will be a willing guinea pig to see what works and what doesn't.

♥ I have lots of opinion about everything and I share them as thoroughly, honestly, and tactfully as I can, which is helpful especially when writing reviews. (You may read my reviews on beauty products and services here. Unconsciously, I've also written about my hair several times. Meanwhile, lip products are my favorite and I write about them frequently; you may find those posts here.)

♥ I am very active on social media. My work involves being online almost all of the time so you should expect Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts from me any random time of the day.

♥ I have now learned to be more budget-savvy. Sample Room's philosophy of trying before buying sits well with me because from being an impulsive shopper before, I am now more careful when it comes to my expenses. I wouldn't buy something if it didn't suit me, but I would have no qualms spending more on something if it turns out to work really, really great for me.

Lastly, I deserve a spot in Sample Room's Bloggers Circle because I believe taking care of one's self and appearance is also a way of showing courtesy to the people you meet every day. I know you'll agree when I say that you feel good when you know you look good as a result of taking care of your body, health, and appearance.

Cooling down with Tokyo Tokyo Snow Ice

28 April 2014

Are these summer days scorching or what?

Yesterday's rain-showers offered a rather surprise and brief respite from the heat, but the warm temperature was back in full swing almost immediately after. On days like this, I wish I have a portable refrigerator I can carry around anywhere I go so I can just take one cold treat after another. Since that's not possible, I just drop by Tokyo Tokyo every chance I get for a bowl of Snow Ice.

The Snow Ice is the newest member in Tokyo Tokyo's line of desserts. It comes in heaping bowls of shaved ice topped by a medley of flavorful goodies and it's literally one of the best things this season has brought, and I am not just saying that because I work with them. Just check out these photos, be tempted, and try them yourself. ^_^

Choco Sensation Snow Ice
Features yummy brownie chunks with mini marshmallows and hot fudge sauce
Mango-Peach Medley Snow Ice
Go tropical with juicy slices of tangy peach and tart mango
Halo-halo Snow Ice
A twist on the timeless Filipino dessert with lavish servings of ube, nata de coco, leche flan, and a sprinkle of crunchy corn flakes
The secret is in the ice. The mouthwatering dishes feature a bed of vanilla-flavored ice that is a creamier, fluffier take on typical shaved ice. You also can't beat the drizzle of condensed milk and of course, the generous serving of toppings! Very affordable, too, at just P75 per bowl that is big enough to share with friends!

You know how much I love desserts and how I value it as an integral part of every meal, so maybe I am indeed biased towards the Snow Ice. But really, with this heat and the interesting and delicious taste of that vanilla-flavored ice, who can blame me? Try them now, to see what I mean. Try them now, especially the Halo-halo Snow Ice because that one's available for a limited time only. ;)

Disclosure: I work in PR and Tokyo Tokyo is one of our clients, but I was not required to publish this. All opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure policy here.

"The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be."

26 April 2014

My favorite part in attending big events is always the dressing up. I love conceptualizing what outfit to wear and choosing the shoes and accessories to go with it; I love putting on my own makeup as much as having my makeup done professionally; and, I love figuring out how to fix my hair. I've done it so many times already that I already have a "system". All I need is time and I'm sure I will be able to source everything I need.

I didn't have that luxury of time this week.

I only had less than a week to prepare for this year's Unilever Craft Awards held at Samsung Hall in SM Aura yesterday, but with the help of great friends, I [think I] was able to pull it off.

Every year, Unilever recognizes outstanding brands that have created an impact on the lives of Filipino consumers by holding the annual Craft Awards. I am extremely proud to say that we at ARC PR have been nominated twice this year! We were advised that it's always a posh and swanky affair so Rica, our boss Jenny, and I made sure we dressed appropriately.

I packed my new traincase from Cream Silk (thank you so much!) with my prettifying essentials and went to Rica's so we can fix ourselves up together.

The outfit I was able to source reminded me of Helena Bonham Carter so I figured I should just try to do an HBC-inspired hair and makeup look as well.

I have also decided I will grow my hair this year, thus this awkward growing-out phase that I thought would look better if done intentionally messy. Heh.

Tao by Rajo Laurel for Parisian and spiky/ studded pumps by Comfit Shoes from Sarah's blog sale
I couldn't decide which shoe to wear at first; I was leaning towards the Tao boots but after trying on the whole outfit, I chose to go with the studded pumps. Those spikes and studs are really pointy, by the way, so be careful if you plan on touching them.

Layered crucifix necklace from Anagon Collection, Casio wristwatch, Swarovski bangle, and YRYS earrings and ring
I added some color to my predominantly black ensemble with a coat of Diva by Caronia
I'd like to thank my friends Rica for lending me a corset (because I couldn't find the one I bought years ago) and Nio for lending me the black poofy skirt that I have loved ever since Alex wore it at BU4. Here's a little secret: that skirt has a 22-inch waistline! I'm no longer the stick-thin girl I was so one of the two most challenging parts of yesterday was when Rica was zipping me up! The other one was when I struggled to breathe the rest of the night! LOL.

I did the easiest makeup look I know: smokey eyes!

We were quite early at the venue so we were still able to squeeze in a little snack and cocktails.

Rica keeping it chic and classy

We didn't win but nevertheless it's an honor to be nominated on our first year of handling a Unilever brand. Incidentally, I had an epiphany during our event last Tuesday when, while listening to the EVP/ CEO of Shakey's speak, I suddenly felt emotional. This is cheesy, but there are moments during our events when I pause and take it all in, and wonder how different my life would have been if I didn't take the leap back in 2012. This happens especially when I meet smart and innovative people, and I just can't help but be inspired by them. I even get emotional sometimes because I just feel thankful I'm here. It gets stressful, yes, but I'm grateful. Not to say I'm not grateful for the job I left behind because I did meet a LOT of great people whom I am still great friends with, but, last Wednesday would've been my seventh year with the company if I didn't leave. I'm glad I did.

I'm meant to be here. I love my job. :)

The title of this post came from a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Peace, love, and sand between my toes

20 April 2014

My friends and I grossly underestimated the number of people hoping for an exodus from the city for the long break that our supposed five-hour travel time to our destination was met with a lot of difficulties. Eventually, after almost nine hours on the road, we got to The Circle Hostel in Sitio Liwliwa, Zambales and it was amazing.

Truth be told, I've never heard of The Circle Hostel before. According to their website, their goal is "to create affordable lodging and create a positive and friendly community atmosphere amongst travelers." They also want to be "a sanctuary for the artsy and the adventurous where people can express themselves freely among each other and on our walls." My friend Ed who went there last year said the place is very relaxed and laidback, and based on the photos I imagined it has a very Jason Mraz-ish vibe to it.

I was right. Stepping in to The Circle Hostel was like stepping in to a Jason Mraz video where everything is light and breezy and wonderful.

For P350 a night, we stayed on the bunk beds. We were a little late in reserving so all the bottom bunks were already taken and we had to stay at the topmost bunks. It was a little challenging to climb all the way up especially if you're holding something but we easily got the hang of it.

Each bunk has its own mosquito net and curtains for privacy. Guests are given fresh linens, blankets, and pillow cases upon checking in.
I am showing you a photo of my toes so you can see how high up we were.
Locker area
You also have the options of staying in tents or renting a hammock. Hammocks are cheaper at P250 a night but I can just imagine how painful your back will be in the morning.
Shower area
Store within the hostel that also offers surfboard and padlock rentals

See those artworks and murals? They were all painted by guests! Everyone is welcome to borrow paint and brushes and paint away.

Whenever it was still too hot out to go to the beach, we either stayed in the hammocks or went up the common room. (Doesn't that just remind you of Harry Potter?)

The common room houses bean bags, a speaker, musical instruments, and more importantly, these:

Outlets for charging your gadgets!
I think it was very clever of the owners of The Circle Hostel not to put outlets in the bunk beds and put everything in the common room instead as a gentle nudge for everyone to meet there and "connect" while waiting for their gadgets to charge. :)

I never realized the extent of my dependence to a reliable Internet connection until I was forced to live without it for three days (no wifi, very weak data connection). I mean, without the security blanket offered by Facebook and Twitter whenever boredom strikes, what else was I supposed to do?

Turns out, there was a LOT. I could write, I could sing, I could read, I could swim, I could stroll by the beach, I could gaze up at the stars, I could talk to people. I'm not gonna lie, it felt very disconcerting at first and I had a massive case of the FOMO, but on the second day I became a lot more comfortable about it. Relished the thought of not having to check what everyone's up to or if any work emails are coming in, even. Thanks to my friends Ed and JV's outgoing personalities, we met a lot of new friends!

Halo-halo with Salve
Joy, Inad, Ed, and JV
Beachin' with Carlota
Categories and dares
Ed and Sasha, the wanna-be snowman

From The Circle Hostel, it's just a three-minute stroll to the beach strip. As expected, we spent our afternoons there until the sun set, and went back in the evenings to watch the stars.

I had a mini crush on one of the guys in the group behind me but I never had the courage to say hi and now I am regretting it a lot.

I just want to go on more adventures, be around good energy, connect with people, learn new things, grow, and I'm thankful I have friends who share these adventures with me.

We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. Thanks for another memorable weekend, Ed and JV!
I'm glad Ed's friend recommended this place to him. The Circle Beach Hostel was an awesome host and I will definitely come back! I wish there were more showers and toilets though but yeah, I will definitely be back!

"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."
- Desiderata, Max Ehrmann
I am back in busy and fast-paced Manila but I don't mind as I feel refreshed and rejuvenated. My heart is grateful. Cheers to more adventures!