The truth about sad days

29 June 2014

"Sorrow comes in great waves...but rolls over us,
and though it may almost smother us, it leaves us.
And we know that if it is strong, we are stronger,
inasmuch as it passes and we remain."
- Henry James

These are the things and people that brightened up the past couple of weeks before last Friday's good news.

Waffles with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce from Yardstick Coffee
Meetings are more productive with my favorite Starbucks Mint Blend Full Leaf Brewed Tea and notebook featuring Tiara's art.
Red, white, and blue, stripes over you
Around two weeks ago my officemates and I had a mid-year Kris Kringle just because and I got this pair from Far. These are my current favorite heels.
My friend Mike's pasalubong to me from Hong Kong: an ultra-girly and glittery iPhone case and cute socks
My pretty officemates and I
My oldest friend Niel. We've been friends since we were four!
Sleepover at Marsha's house with Mich last weekend
Steady Sunday with my cousins
Spontaneous kansi-and-cupcake date with my dearest Anne, Alex, and Kira
Not included in the photos are my carpool-mates, but they also deserve to be mentioned. Thanks for bearing with me on my sad state. :)

So there. I guess my simple takeaway from this post is that sad days are inevitable, but there are always ways to turn them around. With friends, preferably.

Now all the barlights are blinking in time

27 June 2014

Today was a good day.

Nope, scratch that. It was a GREAT day. Today I

- said yes to an exciting passion project. 

- got dolled up for a shoot with Ellana Minerals, one of my favorite makeup brands. I can't wait to see the photos!

- GOT PROMOTED. From being ARC PR's Online Relationship Specialist, I will be the company's Online Relationship Officer starting on the first day of August.

My bosses were being too formal this morning saying they needed to talk to me, so I was trying to trace my steps in a bid to remember if I did something wrong but I couldn't come up with any. Blame the two cups of coffee I had this morning, for I was palpitating while waiting for them to arrive in the office. When they came in they handed me my appointment letter and launched a short speech about how they've been thinking about it for a while now and that I deserve it for all the hard (and good!) work I've been doing, I just teared up. I was so happy!

I'm still on a high now, actually. I've been feeling an overwhelming sense of unhappiness for a while now, all the while saying to the universe I need change. I guess good things come not only to those who wait but also to those who do something about it because, well, look, here it is!

And for the first time in a long time, I feel aliiive!


24 June 2014

You were given life; it is your duty
(and also your entitlement as a human being)
to find something beautiful within life,

- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I just love seeing greens juxtaposed with buildings. It's a sight that never fails to make me happy, and that's why I love walking in Ayala Avenue particularly in Ayala Triangle Gardens.

Anyway, no one can stay long in this not-particularly-sad-but-feeling-completely-empty state when listening to Jason Mraz's songs, who incidentally is celebrating his birthday today. Happy birthday, Jason! Thank you for your gift of music. Here's hoping you visit Manila again soon.

And here's more hoping for the best, whatever that may be.

For Ned Vizzini.

23 June 2014

I am currently reading It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. I am not even halfway through it but it is affecting me more than I think it should.

In a nutshell, It's Kind of a Funny Story is about a teenager named Craig Gilner who battles with suicidal depression. It's written in the first person point of view so you get an insight into Craig's everyday struggles with himself. It's a little longer than the books I have read recently but it's acceptable because the pacing is not that slow and the dialogues are snappy. For a depressed kid, Craig is actually pretty funny.

The real horror comes if like me, you also read up on the author's life and see what he or she is currently up to, and you learn that the story is actually based on Ned Vizzini's own struggles with depression. The real horror comes when you find out that Ned killed himself just last December. He was 32.

I didn't know him personally - I know he has written other books but it's the first one of his that I picked up - and I am not one to judge other people's choices in life but it seriously felt like all air left me when I found out about it. So now when I read about Craig's regular battles with himself, I imagine this must have been exactly what Ned went through or was going through. 

These days, I don't really feel sad, but I feel mostly hollow. I don't think I am depressed, no, but, do you know that feeling? That feeling when you're not necessarily sad, but you just feel really empty.

I need change.

Also, I need to finish this book because I want to find out what happens to Craig. Real life may not have been kind to Ned, but I'd like to believe something good happens to his fictional characters in the end. 

May Ned's soul rest in peace. 

My initial thoughts on Four Eyes

20 June 2014

Time flew by, I didn't even realize I have been using my glasses for two years now if my Timehop app didn't bring it to my attention.

My Ray-Ban tortoiseshell pair is my most trusted accessory. Aside from loving its unique style and how it frames my face, I literally can't see clearly without it. Not blind, no, but it will feel like I'm watching a 3D movie without 3D glasses on. Can you imagine how disconcerting and dizziness-inducing that will be?

As much as I love it though, I need to let it go at least for a while and have new glasses made as my head has started hurting frequently - a sign that I would have to have my prescription upgraded. The email from Four Eyes to try their services couldn't have come at a better time! Here are my initial thoughts on their service.

Four Eyes is an online optical shop that aims to make eyeglass-shopping easier and more convenient for us consumers. Now you can get new eyeglasses and even sunglasses without leaving the comforts of your home! They offer a wide range of styles for both men and women, all for only P1,495 each. The lenses are offered for free if you opt for Non-Rx or Normal Index Rx lenses, and then you just have to add a minimal fee for other types of lenses: Rx Mid-Index Thin (+ P500), Rx Hi-Index Ultra thin (+ P2,000), Bi-focal (+ P1,250), and Photochromic lenses (+ P1,000). The great thing about it? Shipping and handling is free!

I love Four Eyes for the following reasons:

Virtual Try-On

This service allows you to upload a photo of yourself so you can try the glasses on virtually and see whether it suits your face shape or not. I had a little too much fun with this service but let me show you my top six favorites:

Jigsaw, Sakura, Spotted, Break the Rule, Royal Gypsy, and Teacher's Favorite. Which one did you like best? This tool is also useful for when you want to show the photos to your family and friends so they can help you choose what suits you perfectly. Visit the site and try it for yourself! Just click on the glasses you would like to "try on", then click the Virtual Try-On button I encircled in red above.

♥ Home Try-On

After seeing your virtual self try the glasses on, it's time to try them on for real! You can choose as many as three glasses and have them sent to your address so you can see them in person before you decide what you liked best. This service is also offered for free! You just have to have your prescription ready if you opt for Rx glasses. I saw an eye doctor last week and she said my left eye's grade actually improved while the one on the right remained the same.

I ordered the glasses on Wednesday last week and requested for them to deliver on Monday. I got them on my requested date. :)

The glasses arrived bubble-wrapped and in a sturdy Four Eyes box. The instructions about this service were posted on the lid.

I was so excited to try everything! 

Breaking the Rule
It kinda looks like my current pair. I love the color and the shape but I didn't like it that much when I put it on because the stems are too long for my ears.
I love that it's in black so I won't have any problem matching it with my outfit or makeup. I also loved its sleek and modern look.
Soft old rose colors, stems made of capiz, and makes me look girly and chic yet still very professional.
Can you guess what I got? Eternal bragging rights for whoever gets it right! LOL. I called them to have the glasses picked up yesterday and I got scheduled the same day. So now, my glasses are already being processed. Yay!

♥ A Pair for a Pair

For every pair of eyewear that you buy from Four Eyes, they would donate a pair of Four Eyes prescription eyeglasses to someone in need of eyewear. They work with various recognized partner charities in making sure that the glasses are delivered directly to them. They actually have an outreach program in Cavite in partnership with World Vision this weekend, check out the Event page here and go visit if you can!

Since I got myself a Four Eyes pair, there is someone out there who will be given his/ her own pair as well. What a great initiative, yes? Being someone who suffers from poor vision, I appreciate that there are companies out there reaching out to those who need help. My friend Ralph also sympathizes and said he will get himself a pair of eyewear if only for this reason alone!

So, those are my initial thoughts on Four Eyes. Have you tried the site yet? I am so excited to get what I ordered! Please watch out for the second part of this review. ♥

Review: Ellana Minerals Loose Mineral Powder Foundation in Cafe Mocha

16 June 2014

I once read a Courtney Cox quote that said, "I only have to do three things to look halfway decent: curl my eyelashes, fill in my eyebrows, and put some lipstick on." Now I know that I could only hope to look half as pretty as her, but I'd like to add one thing: a good base. I don't really have problem skin but on days I want to look more polished than usual, I rely on this trio from Ellana Minerals:

Ellana Minerals Loose Mineral Powder Foundation in Cafe Mocha, Ellana Minerals Let's Make It Last Makeup Primer, and tapered brush, also from Ellana Minerals 
They are godsend for those who want to look flawless. Ellana Minerals products are also non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and non-comodegenic. Pretty affordable, too! For now, this post will focus on the Loose Mineral Powder Foundation.

The Ellana Minerals Loose Powder Foundation has a silky matte finish and offers medium to heavy coverage that downplays discoloration, blemishes, and fine lines. This one costs P460 only and can last a long time since you don't need much each time you use it. Did it live up to its promise of poreless perfection? Read on and see the [unedited and unfiltered] photos below.

My shade has always been Cafe Mocha as determined on my first visit to Ellana's then-office in Quezon City. Have you yet to determine your Ellana Minerals foundation shade? Fret not! You can request for free samples from Ellana and they will send you a sampler set containing samples of all their loose powders! You just have to pay a minimal shipping fee and that's it. No commitment, no nothing - just Ellana's dedication to help every Filipina find the shade perfect for her. Visit Ellana's website to avail of this.

As with other mineral makeup, applying the Ellana Minerals Loose Foundation can be a bit tricky or messy if you're not careful. Here are helpful tips from Ellana's website:
Tap out a measured amount on the cap of the jar. Swirl your kabuki or powder brush in the cap to pick up the product, then shake off the excess. Apply the foundation on your face in circular, buffing motions to get the best coverage. Add more layers on problem areas as needed.
I don't wear makeup all the time as most days I am good with just BB Cream, but I whip out my tapered brush and put this on when I want to look extra-pretty. Here are some photos to show you how it works on me:

I was pressed for time earlier so I went to work without anything on my face except for the Burt's Bees Daisy White Serum and sunscreen. Yes, I go to work sometimes without anything on except skincare products and a swipe of lipstick heh.
Ellana Minerals Loose Powder Foundation in Cafe Mocha on my face
Did you notice the difference? My face certainly looked smoother and clearer! Here are some more photos after applying a little bit more color on my face:

Poreless perfection, indeed!

After work, I decided to check something in Greenbelt. Please note that it takes me about thirty minutes to walk to Greenbelt from the office and back. Here is what it looked like after that less-than-an-hour rendezvous:

My nose has always been the most oil-prone part of my face. It's good to see that aside from a little shiny action on that part, my face remained matte and well-covered.
To make the most out of your Ellana Minerals Loose Powder Foundation, apply the Ellana Minerals Let's Make It Last Makeup Primer first as base to make it last longer. It also makes the skin feel velvety-smooth to the touch and I swear it's one of the best feelings ever.

See it for yourself and request your Ellana Sampler Set now! Or, if you already know your shade, you may order your Ellana Minerals Loose Powder Foundation here. Those who purchase a minimum of P1,000 worth of Ellana products will also get a Lip Scrub in Strawberry Vanilla for free!

Disclosure: I am an Ellana Beauty Advocate but all opinions are mine and are not influenced by this. Affiliate links provided. Those who buy Ellana Minerals products using the banner ads in this blog will get 15% off their initial purchase. See my blog's complete disclosure policy here.

What motivates you?

14 June 2014

On a recent heart-to-heart with a good friend we shall call A, she confided in me that she is no longer happy with her job and that she is thinking of quitting and looking for another job. She actually tried to resign before but her old boss talked her out of it and encouraged her to move to another department instead if what she was after was a change of work environment. She did, and although she likes her new teammates in the new department now, she said she is still not happy, at least not as happy as when she was on her very first team. It's impossible to go back to that first team though, because almost everyone has left the company already, including myself. Being the bright-eyed idealistic and dream-chasing person that I am, I told her she should listen to her heart and do what she believes would make her happy. It's a little difficult though because she also has to be practical and think of her and her family's expenses.

On another conversation with a different friend we shall call M, she told me that A finds motivation from her peers at work, and if she doesn't feel the same level of support we showed her from before, she would always be dissatisfied. She cited my case as an example and said I quit my high-paying job to go after what I really wanted, because my motivation is not money but passion. I remembered my friend R who is driven not by money per se, but by having the means to treat his family with nice things every once in a while. For example, his Father's Day gift to his dad is a trip to Palawan for their whole family. As for me, I went back to living at my parents' house because I can't afford to live on my own like I did before, but I feel more fulfilled doing what I am doing now. I don't earn as much as other people with the same job description as I have, but I'm happy that I don't work in excess of eight hours (except when we have night events which happen very rarely) and that my boss doesn't make me work on weekends. I mean, sure, I can't stay this way forever and I'd have to look for a way to earn more money so I can save up for my future, but at the moment I am okay with the way things are (although as I wrote before, I am slowly developing an aversion to routine). I am not happy happy, but I am okay.

The other day, my officemates and I decided to exchange gifts just for the heck of it. We drew names, pointed out what we want from our chosen online shopping site, and ordered them for our "baby". This may be an ordinary sight in the office for some, but it would look comical when you find out there are only three of us. Yes, three girls being silly and wanting to be cheered up by an expected unexpected gift. When I recounted this to M, she said that is because we were taking pleasure wherever we can, and I realized that she was right.

We are all driven by different things. So I guess that is where it all boils down to: everybody wants to be happy but the only way we can achieve that is if we are able to pinpoint what motivates us and see that it is met. My three main reasons for going to work with enthusiasm right now are passion, friendships formed (not just with my officemates but also with my carpool-mates), and the opportunity to learn something new every day, but I honestly don't know until when it will stay that way. Everything changes, and although I am as sure as the sun rises that my main motivation will always be passion, I'm not sure until when I will be content with the way things are.

What about you, what motivates you?

"There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
- Nelson Mandela

Review: Maybelline Color Show Lipstick in Plum Perfect

12 June 2014

I read a Bobbi Brown quote somewhere that says, "The most versatile lipstick you can own is a shade that's just a bit brighter than your natural lip color." This perfectly describes my newest acquisition, the new Maybelline Color Show Lipstick in Plum Perfect!

Maybelline New York is a brand that is constantly inspired by the vibe, energy, and trends of New York and its women. Over the years, Maybelline New York has come to be synonymous with daring looks and bold beauty trends. And where make-up and fashion collide, Color Show was born. 
Color Show is the revolutionary make-up line by Maybelline New York that successfully combines scientifically-advanced formulas with up-to-the minute trendsetting shades and textures to create the most affordable and aspirational color collection ever.

I love Maybelline because they have a wide range of products at affordable prices, but I am not the biggest fan of their lipsticks because if I count the hits and misses, theirs are most often a miss. Case in point: my Amethyst Ablaze lipstick from The Jewels by ColorSensational line. For this Plum Perfect though, it's definitely a BIG hit! Just look at the swatches:

I love my new Maybelline Color Show Plum Perfect lipstick because it:
  • is in a plum color that is universally flattering. As what the quote above says, it matches my natural lip color, only a tad brighter.
  • is crazy pigmented. One swipe is enough for the color to show but it is also buildable if you're in the mood for more vibrance.
  • is non-drying and moisturizing. It glides smoothly even when I didn't prep my lips with lip balm before application.
  • is long-lasting.
  • tastes and smells like candy! I know fragrance in beauty products does not sit well with other people, but personally I don't mind so long as it is not unpleasant.
  • is super affordable at P165 a pop! With that amount, I wouldn't mind grabbing two or fourteen more from the same Color Show line! (There are fifteen shades in total from this collection.)
I've been using Plum Perfect almost exclusively these days. Here is a photo of myself wearing it on today's roadtrip/ errands day with my friends Ralph and Mike.
Beautiful things don't demand attention, and this lipstick is a perfect example of that. Plum Perfect is perfectly pretty in its subtlety, and it has now gained permanent residency in my everyday makeup kit.

Review: Holika Holika Angel's Ring Bubble Hair Color in Red Wine

10 June 2014

Following last week's mood-uplifting haircut, I decided to do something with my hair again. It was a mess of roots and brassy brown after my red dye job from last December faded out so I figured I should just dye again as an attempt to have a more even color. I already spent my money on other things so I didn't have the budget for another professional dye job but what I did have were boxes of Korean hair dye and lots of free time.

On Sunday, I set to work and even enlisted the help of my mom. I used Holika Holika Angel's Ring Bubble Hair Color in Red Wine which was one of Kira's birthday gifts to me.

The box contains the toner and developer in a pump bottle, gloves, a plastic apron, a sachet of hair treatment, and an instruction manual written in Korean with no English translations
Please note that I didn't have high expectations for this but since I liked my Holika Holika Jewel Light Waterproof Eyeliners, I opined that maybe it wouldn't be so bad. I also had generally positive experiences with similar products I've tried like the Richenna Bubble Color and Lolane Z-Cool Intensive Color Cream so I thought it wouldn't have that much of a difference.

It did.

First, let me show you an unfiltered photo of my hair before last Sunday's DIY dye job.

All kinds of messy, and it's not even the Jason Mraz A Beautiful Mess-kind of mess
Because we couldn't understand the Korean manual, I just repeated what I did when I used Richenna and Lolane. After carefully tipping the developer and toner combi in the pump bottle to and fro until it was warm, my mom applied the foam to my hair that she also meticulously divided into sections.

Toner + developer foam

Almost an hour in, my mom said she can't observe any changes on my hair, but I just told her to continue because it might not show right away. Instead of the recommended 30 minutes in the Richenna manual, I left it on for almost two hours before I rinsed it out. Yes. Almost. Two. Hours.

Here is what it looked like after my quick shower and hair treatment:

What happened? Did I just waste almost three hours of my life (one hour application, two hours of waiting)? I gave it the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe it would show up after a couple of days, like what I experienced with Lolane Z-Cool Intensive Color Cream.

The next day, it looked like this:

Today, it looked like this:

My hair is so big but I don't have a lot of secrets x_x
I don't know about you, but I'm having trouble reconciling this orange-y color with the supposed Red Wine color on the box. I get that I have really dark hair but I was expecting it to have even just a teeny hint of red, not orange. It wasn't able to cover my roots completely but at least it was able to mask them even for just a little bit. Props for the lack of harsh salon-smelling fumes, too!

So yes, I don't think I will purchase another box of Holika Holika Angel's Ring Bubble Hair Color ever again. Good thing I didn't spend for this. (Thanks again, Kira! It didn't work for me but I appreciate the gesture.)

Oh well. I should just chalk it up to experience and make sure I set money aside for a professional dye job next time. I wish I can afford JuRo Salon, heh. In the event I really have to settle for the DIY dye-route, I will just make sure I will get either Richenna or Lolane instead.