See you tomorrow, Babatnin!

31 January 2014

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! How are you enjoying the long weekend? As for me, I should be packing my stuff because I will sleep over at my friend Marsha's house so we can be ready as early as possible tomorrow for our Babatnin trip.

Babatnin is a charming and picturesque town located in an island off Malolos, Bulacan where my former officemate/ housemate/ very dear friend Ruther lives with his family. To get there, you have to take a 20-minute boat ride across a river and many fishponds. I am not fond of travelling across bodies of water and you'd have to drug me first before you can make me ride a ship, but I do cherish these boat rides mostly because we while away the time just swapping stories, breathing in fresh air, and taking in the views.

Watching the sun rise as we go there and the sun set as we leave is pretty special, too. I am very much looking forward to glorious views of the sunset like this:

Photo credits: Ruther Buluran
Unbelievable, yes?

This is a quote from my old post from last year about our visit to the same place, "Just as I found comfort and serenity in watching the sun rise, there's also a certain peace to be had in watching the sun say goodbye to the day and retire for the night. Sunsets are one of my favorite magical things in the world."

Going to Babatnin is a simple annual tradition my friends from my old job and I have started, and I do hope we can keep doing it for the years to come.

But first, I must pack. Bye for now? I hope you have an equally memorable and special weekend!

"When a person is loved, they are granted the strength of all seas."

30 January 2014

It took me longer than expected to finish reading Simon Van Booy's The Secret Lives of People in Love not because I found it boring but because I found it too mesmerizing that I couldn't help but reread some paragraphs over and over.

The Secret Lives of People in Love is a collection of 18 short stories that deal with, what else, love. Van Booy is very generous with metaphors without going over the top that will make you roll your eyes. Each story is so lyrical, so beautifully written that I found myself seriously doubting my writing ability. Case in point: I have been sitting here for more than two hours trying to compose a decent review but here I am, grasping at straws, at a loss for words.

So beautiful that I imagined myself being serenaded to sleep with these stories.

Some groups of sentences felt a bit disjointed at first but I got used to it after a while. Van Booy has created beautiful stories with memorable characters and rich imagery, if only most of them didn't have to tell about lost love. It felt a tad too pessimistic that it made me question if love should always automatically be followed by loss, until I remembered what used to be my mantra when I was dealing with heartbreak: "Without the bitter, the sweet isn't as sweet." 

Why should love hurt?

Still, even with that unanswered question, I know these stories will stay with me long after today. My favorite is probably Where They Hide is a Mystery.
Although the stars appeared to be close, they were millions of miles away. 
"The light from the stars takes so long to reach us that sometimes a star will have expired by the time we can see it," the Indian man said. 
"Some of these stars are dead?" 
"Nothing dies in the way that we think, Edgar," the Indian man said. "Perhaps what really matters is that they are so beautiful, whether they are still awake or not."
Sigh, it's amazing how much emotions a string of words can stir in me.

I like collecting and reading anthologies because I feel like you get a lot more from a single book. If the stories were all written by the same author, then his/ her "voice" becomes more apparent. Even with sad stories dominating The Secret Lives of People in Love, Simon Van Booy's voice resonates very well with me, and I am looking forward to reading his other works.

Okay? Okay.

I wasn't having the best of days yesterday; it felt too long and all I felt was relief when I was finally safely tucked in my bed. There were several mishaps but the sucky cherry on top was when another bus crashed into the bus I was riding on my way home.

The impact was so great that the glass windows on the left side of my bus were completely shattered, sending broken glass pieces all over. I was seated on the right side so I wasn't hurt at all, but I was already feeling exhausted so my knee-jerk reaction was of complete annoyance. It wasn't until when I was already in a cab to continue my journey home did I realize that a little more force in that impact could have toppled my bus over... And because it was packed with people standing even on the aisles, I could have been crushed. With just a wee bit miscalculation, I couldn't have made it out of there unscathed. I immediately said my prayers and thanked God for that lucky escape.

Even with yesterday's fails, there were still a lot of smiles, like this lovely package sent by The Body Shop, the launch of Pixi Beauty in Manila, watching the 200th episode of How I Met Your Mother with lots of inside jokes and Easter eggs thrown in for the super fans (oh gosh I love this show so much), and seeing the trailer of The Fault in Our Stars.

"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world... but you do have some say in who hurts you." Read my review of the book here.

So, yeah, I wasn't having the best of days yesterday but it could have been worse. So much worse.

Okay? Okay.

Ellana Beauty Advocate

26 January 2014

A lot of people are already familiar with the story of how this blog came to life, but for those who aren't, well, allow me to tell you. In a nutshell, this blog was born when I was busy looking for makeup reviews and tutorials because I wanted to learn how to do my own makeup. The first blogs I followed were local beauty blogs and, after that, blogs I came across to in 20sb. I was already using my now defunct Multiply Journal to log my day-to-day activities back then but I switched when I realized how much more I can do with Blogspot. My early posts were mostly extra-personal stuff like my shopping hauls, wish lists, people I loved hanging out with in places I loved going to, love, and *cringe* heartbreaks. There are several posts I'd like to delete, but I know that doing so won't undo what happened so what's the point? I'll just let them stay here to always remind me of things I have learned. Besides, it's fun to read old posts from time to time and see how much I've grown.

Fast forward to today. I never thought that this blog would lead to my meeting a LOT of wonderful people all over the world and open a lot of doors. I guess when you really love something and you find joy in doing it, then good things always follow. I am fortunate to have been trusted by several brands for partnerships and even though it doesn't make me earn enough to let go of my day job, I'm still happy because I don't want this to be a money-making venture anyway. I know I will start resenting writing here if it's just for money or free stuff, so whatever I get through this blog, I consider them to be just the icing in this delectable cake.

As I said in an old post when someone left a comment about how feels like a "huge advertising space" now, what I am trying to achieve is a healthy balance between personal posts and stuff I know would interest you and I myself would personally recommend. I may not have gotten my original dream but I'm glad I was able to gain enough credibility, and I would never dream of destroying that just for a few pennies (or, come to think of it, even for a lot of pennies).

I am writing this because I am happy (and proud!) to tell you that I have been chosen to be an Ellana Beauty Advocate, thus the addition of new banner and badges here. So what does it mean? In the interest of full disclosure, it means that for every successful transaction on the site after you click on any of those, a small percentage of the sales goes to my account. Clickthroughs do not earn any revenues.

Ellana Minerals and I go a looong way back (read my story here) and you know how much a fan of the brand I am not only because it's proudly Pinoy but also because I just love their products! Because it's a mineral makeup brand, Ellana's products are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and non-comodegenic. Really affordable, too! And with the new packaging wonderfully illustrated by Soleil Ignacio, my Ellana Minerals products are now the most photogenic items in my traincase.

I played with my new makeup this afternoon!
I love how it looks and feels like second skin.
Ellana Loose Mineral Foundation in Caramel Latte
Ellana Pressed Mineral Blush Duo in Kitten/ Peach Passion on cheeks
Ellana Lip & Cheek Cream Color in Diva on lips
Ellana Sheer Velvet Mineral Finishing Powder
Even with this new partnership, rest assured that as with all other reviews I post here, all opinions about my future reviews of Ellana products (and there will be a lot!) remain my own. I can't wait to share with you my favorites! I would also like to plan something with them for my birthday celebration this year, we'll see. Right now I'm just positively bubbling with excitement, and I hope you are, too!

Glamourbox Special Edition: Snoe

25 January 2014

I love subscription boxes because it's like receiving a box of surprises each time! The days leading to my receiving a box is filled with tingly anticipation, and my EQ [that amounts to the EQ of a pillow, seriously] does not rest until I have the box in my hands.♡

If I can feel this way about beauty boxes, is it any wonder how strongly I feel about my favorite fictional characters?

This is exactly how I felt when I first heard about the Glamourbox Special Edition that will feature Snoe products exclusively! You see, I have been wanting to try this local brand for so long. I'm so happy that Glamourbox and Snoe came up with this edition!

We've teamed up with Snoe to make 2014 your most ravishing year ever! Get a complete makeover for your skin and hair with these unique, skin-loving makeup and bath & body finds!
Would you like to see the contents of the box? Of course you do!

By the weight of the box I knew it would be packed, but I wasn't expecting it would be this packed. Almost everything was full-sized! There was barely any shredded tissue paper here!
At the back of the card is an itemized description of each one together with their respective prices, which you can check out below.

Agent Zero Cleansing Serum
Got sensitivities? Let Agent Zero save the day! Made with zero fragrance, sulfates and silicones, this vegan hair and body cleanser won't irritate even the most delicate babies, kids, and adults.
Full size 250ml/ P599

I'm not sure yet how my hair would react to this so I have to research first (and by research I mean ask the Snoe team), but at least I can use it as a body wash. Dual purpose = excellent for travel!

Organic Papaya
Be the fairest of them all! Delight in the fresh, fruity smell of carefully hand-selected fresh papaya fruits in this organic beauty bar. It gently exfoliates skin to erase all signs of dark spots and blemishes.
Full size 150g/ P139

Lightening Licorice
Make your sensitive skin stand out! This special beauty bar with licorice safely brightens and nourishes skin for a younger, silkier complexion with a pinkish glow.
Full size 150g/ P139

Whipped Body Frosting Lotion in Honey Dew Melon Yogurt
If your skin's feeling dehydrated, whip out this indulgent lotion for an instant moisture fix. Infused with skin-protective Vitamin E, papaya extracts, and SPF15, you'll see, smell, and feel addicted to your radiant skin!
Full size 150g/ P249

I am indifferent about the soaps and lotion because they're the sort of products that if you tried one, you've tried 'em all. It should be noted though that the Honey Dew Melon Yogurt lotion smelled sooo good! They're admittedly not one of my favorite fruits but I wouldn't mind smelling like one.

Snoe also has a Pearl Basil and Mojito Scrumptious Body Spritz. Color me curious, I would really like to know how it smells that I am thisclose to ordering a bottle.

Foaming Hand Sanitizer in Lavander Brew

Hands feel clean, soft, and silky-smooth with this quirky alternative to traditional hand sanitizers. Soft bursts of foam wash away dirt and germs while leaving skin hydrated. Feel the fizz!
Full size 50ml/ P179

The purple liquid turns to foam when you press the pump? Interesting. My makeup remover employs the same principle but instead of turning lotion-like, the foam is used as a facial cleanser. I can't wait for my current sanitizer to run out so I can start using this!

Deep Moisturizing Lip Treatment in Pink Pout Pucker
Keep this on your bedside so you won't forget to treat your puckers while you sleep. A word of warning, though - it creates luscious pink lips that may attract the opposite gender!
Full size 4g/ P249

One can never have enough lip balms. I have a ton, sure, but this is the first one I've had that is recommended for nighttime use. Or was that just a cheeky description?

Face Powder in Perfect Beige
Armed with acai berry, the most nutritious fruit in the world, this mineral powder is more than just makeup. It protects skin from free radicals, and tightens and smoothens fine lines yet totally blends naturally into the skin.
Full size 35g/ P799

Would you believe that this is the only sample-sized product in the box? It's a great idea because we can be sure about our shade instead of being given a full-sized version of the incorrect one, right? I hope this works fine on me.

So, what do you think? I personally think it's a great box with a little bit of everything thrown in: makeup, skincare, and hair care.

Should you get this box? Longtime fans of Snoe should get this because it really is great value for money. Imagine getting all these for only P595? Having a bottle of Agent Zero alone already gives you more than your money's worth! Meanwhile, those who have never tried any Snoe products before (like me!) should get this because it's an awesome sampler/ starter pack of what Snoe has to offer. I have read a lot of positive reviews about this brand and I'm glad I would finally get to try these products myself. If you would like to get your own Snoe Special Edition box, just visit Glamourbox's official website. You may also follow Glamourbox on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and beauty tips! Meanwhile, to see Snoe's other products (and there are a LOT!), you may visit their Facebook page.

Did you get this box, too? What's your favorite in the bunch?

Disclosure: The box was sent to me by the Glamourbox team for free. I was not paid nor required to write this post.

Review: Revlon Matte Lipstick in Pink About It

24 January 2014

What an exhausting week. I think this is the most tired I've felt since this year started. This has been a terribly busy week in the office, and I had to attend to an extra pile of work today because I was on sick leave yesterday.

But, c'mon, I know you're not here to read my rants so let's just talk about beautiful things. Earlier today, I went outside for a quick break to stretch my legs (okay okay, I walked to McDonald's to get apple pies), and can I just say how beautiful it was? Clear blue skies, windy, with rays of afternoon sun peeking through treetops... It was perfect and it was wonderful. I love working in Makati if only for days like this.

I would want to leave this week on a good note, so let me talk about another thing that makes me happy aside from beautiful days, books, and music: lipsticks. I love how they add more life with just a swipe or two - it's my ultimate favorite makeup product! Now that you know this, you may find it easier to understand why I *gasp* broke my self-imposed shopping ban. After merely three days. You see, I spent so much on books in the first week of the year that I banned myself from buying anything before I've gotten rid of the unused stuff that are just accumulating in my desk drawers, but when my friend's officemate sold a bunch of drugstore makeup products in their office at more than half the price, I couldn't not buy!

Here is a review of the Revlon Matte Lipstick in Pink About It. It's my first non-nude lipstick ever since I dyed my hair red.

Suede-like cushion and maximum color
Glides across lips without any drag, cakiness or resistance
Does not feel dry upon application

Pink About It is a nice salmon pink lipstick that doesn't look too coral nor orange. I prefer using it as an everyday lipstick for daytime looks but I guess it can also be paired with smokey eyes if you plan to use it in night outs or the Oscars/ Grammys, whatever, right? Not too shabby packaging, too.

Revlon is not kidding about the "matte" part, giving it a nice retro vibe that easily brightens the face. The best part about it though is that it didn't dry my lips at all! I've only ever tried it after a swipe of lip balm, though. Put a bit of clear gloss on the center of your lips if you want more dimension.

Crazy pigmented, too! If you do the swipe-blot-swipe technique, it can last for more than four hours (without eating nor drinking) before it fades to a soft pinkish color.

I love that even though it's bright, it doesn't really clash with my hair. I doubt I will finish this lipstick since I still have a lot to rotate in my stash, but in the event that I do I would definitely buy this again. Too bad this color has already been discontinued. Tsk.

No regrets on breaking that shopping ban, although you'll be glad to know that ever since I got this and one other lipstick, I haven't broken it again. And because of that, I deserve a reward in the form of another tube!


Wait 'til you see the other one I got. It's still too bright for my hair so it's still in storage, but I'll definitely post a review of that, too. ;)

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend, you!

Five Products : One Face

20 January 2014

"I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little, if only out of politeness. You never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny, and it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny."
- Coco Chanel

My first Beauty Resolution for 2014 is to fix myself up not because I've gotten uncharacteristically vain, but because I recognize that presenting yourself well is a form of courtesy. It doesn't even have to take too much time, mind you. In this post, I will tell you my most basic "fix myself up" routine when I'm already pressed for time or when I don't have to prettify myself too much, like on quick grocery runs or when I will just stay in the office all day and don't have to meet any clients or attend events. It's my most basic no makeup-makeup look!

Revlon CustomEyes Mascara in Blackened Brown
The Face Shop Lovely me:ex Design My Eyebrow in Brown
Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia
Make Up Factory Blusher in Moulin Rose
Hayan Korea BB Cream

I'm sure that even makeup newbies know how to apply all these, so I won't give a step-by-step tutorial here. Instead, I'll show you Before and After photos as well as some quick notes about these products.

Anyone who has dabbled with makeup will tell you that it is always best to start with a clean base. For me, beyond any type of foundation, taking care of your skin is the most important step. I follow a skincare routine that I found works best for me, and I have no intentions of switching any time soon. 

For this Five Products : One Face look, I do these: First, I apply Myra-E Daily Sun Protect Facial Moisturizer on my face. After that, I blend Hayan Korea BB Cream on my face using clean fingers. I love this BB Cream! I've tried several other brands but they all broke me out, so I am sticking with Hayan Korea. Also, even with touching up with powder only once midway through the day, it keeps my face looking fresh and dewy! Mine is about to run out though so I must buy backups soon.

Next, I fill in my brows with The Face Shop Lovely me:ex Design My Eyebrow in Brown. I used to take my eyebrows for granted but due to the influence of my friends Alex and Kira, I have learned to embrace my thick eyebrows and enhance it even more hee. A swipe of Revlon CustomEyes Mascara in Blackened Brown completes my eye makeup for this look. I have drafted a more comprehensive review of this mascara, and I will update this with the link once it's posted.

The Make Up Factory Blusher in Moulin Rose lends a healthy flush to my cheeks while my favorite Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia (full review here) ensures my lips remain soft and that I do not look too pale nor sickly.

And because I can't go anywhere without my glasses on:

Isn't that easy? I can even do this in the van on the way to work! If I have the time and when I'm in the mood I even use more products like a primer, eye liners (different colors for the top and bottom lash lines), and a highlighter - mostly when I would have to look more polished yet still corporate-y. Buuut that's another post for another time though because it won't fit in the Five Products : One Face blog post title anymore. ;)

DJ Elise Dembowski

19 January 2014

“I believe that a person's taste in music tells you a lot about them.
In some cases, it tells you everything you need to know.”

Hello, I am Krissy, and I am completing a 40 Books for 2014 challenge. The book This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales is my third. 
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing. 
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
I almost didn't finish this book, but only because I found it a bit difficult to relate with Elise. I can be terribly shy but it is fairly easy for me to befriend people, so it was hard for me to understand why she cannot get friends. I mean, if we knew one another in real life I'm sure we would hit it off right away, but then she's a fictional character so... yeah. (I do believe though that she and Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower could be really great friends.) I was ready to give up but I was already 62% in and I knew I would have book-guilt if I didn't try to finish it. Kindles tell you what percentage of the book you're in; don't you just love technology? Good thing I did because I ended up liking it!

When I was a kid, one of my many dreams was to be a DJ because I thought it would be cool to play great music and get paid for doing it. I forgot all about that dream when I started wanting to be a writer instead, but I was reminded again when we had a DJ assignment for Radio-TV Production class in college. Oh man, I sucked big time! No matter how much I focused, I couldn't cue the next song nor work on the levers quickly enough. That was the final nail on the coffin of my radio DJ dreams. I've digressed so much, haven't I? Sorry. Anyway, although not exactly being the same as being an underground dance party DJ, it employed the same principles so I was able to understand the things Char taught Elise when she was still trying to learn.

At first I thought the book is about a teenager being too melodramatic and all because she couldn't find any friends, but then I thought about how lonely she must have felt — lonely enough to want to take her own life. It's horrifying to think how even with all this technology that claims to bridge communication and let people get closer, most still feel isolated. For someone who has always had a friend available when I need one (it's a gift and I am thankful), it is unthinkable but I know it happens. This Song Will Save Your Life chronicles how Elise was able to get past that and find a field where she truly shines, where she finally feels accepted and adored.

The story is told on a first person point of view, which is funny, sarcastic, and self-aware. I loved it. Aside from the tragic reality of suicide, the book also deals with family issues, friendship, identity, self-discovery, the incessant obsession for popularity, a little about love, and ultimately, music. Lots and lots of music. I've been listening to this playlist of the songs mentioned in the book all afternoon and I may or may not have been doing a little a lot of dancing while writing this post. It's a little embarrassing to admit it's the first time I have heard some of the songs there since I am a bit more of an alternative songs from the '90s-kind of girl but I guess it's never too late, right?

So yeah, read this book. Or not. Whatever you want. I'm not going to tell you how to live your life. ;)

“You think it's so easy to change yourself. You think it's so easy, but it's not. True, things don't stay the same forever: couches are replaced, boys leave, you discover a song, your body becomes forever scarred. And with each of these moments you change and change again, your true self spinning, shifting positions  but always at last it returns to you, like a dancer on the floor. Because throughout it all, you are still, always, you: beautiful and bruised, known and unknowable. And isn't that - just you - enough.”

"How long will I love you? As long as stars are above you."

15 January 2014

I have anticipated seeing About Time ever since I saw the trailer late last year, and man did it not disappoint. If you're one of those people who can only "tolerate" a set number of movies about romance for a period of time  (but, why?), please please pretty please make it About Time.

It is about love (and not just romantic love, mind you) with a dash of fantasy and magic realism. Please take note that unlike other romantic movies that also deal with time, About Time is a feel-good movie  very much unlike The Time Traveler's Wife (the movie and the book left me feeling depressed) and In Time (interesting premise but failed to deliver). It also makes you evaluate whether you're living life to the fullest or if you're just, you know, going through the motions. Even though I was already expecting to like it, I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would. I am sure you will love this.

Without giving too much of the story away, the movie is about Tim who discovers that he can travel back through time. And what does he do with this power? He scores a girlfriend, for one. Yup, he did not go back in time to buy winning lottery tickets; it's all about L-O-V-E for Tim. For the rest, you will just have to find out. Allow me this tidbit, though. I think my favorite part was when Tim's dad told him about what he did with all this extra time: he read books. That is totally what I would do, too! Well, that and watch movies.

Beautifully shot and cleverly acted by an awesome cast and with an excellent soundtrack, About Time is endearing, charming, and captivating. I couldn't find any faults in the movie except maybe I wish Rachel McAdams would stop being so perfect. She has the best job, too, reading for a living. I want her job! She lights up the screen every time she appears and no one else (not even Zooey Deschanel) could have played the role better. Bill Nighy and Domhnall Gleeson were also very convincing as the father and son who not only share a secret but also have a very tight relationship that goes beyond parent-and-kid. About Time was from the same creator of Notting Hill and Love, Actually. If after learning that you still can't decide whether to see it or not, then consider seeing Rufus Scrimgeour giving fatherly advice to Bill Weasley motivation enough.

That beautiful montage on the train station while How Long Will I Love You? (two lines of which, I used as this post's title) plays was PER-FECT. It may not have been *that* subtle but it hit me right through my chest and that's always good.

So, have I convinced you to see it yet? Enjoy the movie!

"We're all travelling through time together, every day of our lives.
All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride."

"We were fools to think that nothing could go wrong."

14 January 2014

For once, for once, for once
I get the feeling that I'm right where I belong
Why am I the one always packing up my stuff?
I think I kinda like it but I might have had too much
I'll move back down
Why Am I The One is written and composed by Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost, Jack Antonoff, and Jeff Bhasker. It is from Fun.'s second studio album Some Nights.

Review: Max Factor Lipfinity Lasting Tint in 06 (Royal Plum)

13 January 2014

On a bad day, there is always lipstick. I was at a loss for topics to blog about so I checked my albums and found this set. It has been waiting in my drafts for quite a while now so, yeah, why don't we talk about lip color? More specifically, the Max Factor Lipfinity Lasting Tint in 06. The name is not printed on the label but after a quick Google search, I found out that this shade's name is Royal Plum.

Keep your deep lip colour without the sticky thickness of traditional lipsticks for lightweight, kiss-proof colour that lasts.

Doesn't it remind you of a marker pen? The applicator nib supposedly "allows you to trace the contours of your lips, while the flat side of the nib enables you to easily color in the wider fleshy area." I didn't have a hard time applying this but it felt a little disconcerting to be honest, since I couldn't help but feel that I'm using a real marker on my lips LOL.

With the name Royal Plum I was actually expecting a more (duh) plummy-deep purplish color, but this shade is more like cherries and apples to me. These photos were taken without flash beside a window with abundant natural light pouring in. Except for the watermarks, no editing or adjusting was used.

Here is what it looked like against my natural lip color
... and applied completely on my lips
I liked that it's fool-proof and very easy to apply. It is also really pigmented that you don't need to go swipe-crazy to achieve this level of color. It has many qualities, but subtlety is not one of them. True to its name, my Max Factor Lipfinity Lasting Tint lasted on me for about three to four hours before the color gradually faded to a nice pink stain. It is also transfer-proof and did not dry my lips. I haven't had a chance to try if it is also kiss-proof, but I will certainly let you know when the situation to test this claim presents itself. Kidding!

However, you might have noticed that the color bleeds a little so a lipliner (which I do not have, can you believe it?) would be helpful. Also, I am not a fan of the taste. Not that it's unpleasant but, you know how I couldn't help but think that I was drawing on my lips using a marker when using this? I kept on imagining that is how marker's ink tastes like! Also, the color looks too... artificial for me. But, you know, that's just me. I think it would still work well depending on the outfit and the occasion.

Case in point: when it's paired with a bare and clear face!
It is advisable to store this properly to make sure it doesn't dry before you've had the chance to use it all up. I am also not sure how much this is as it was given to me as a gift, but I will update this post when I get more information. I'm pretty sure it doesn't cost more than P700, though.

So, what do you think? I have been steering clear of bright colored lipsticks since I colored my hair red, but I think I'll revisit this lipstick and give it another try. Who knows, I might not think of markers then.

Disclosure: I got this product from a goodie bag at another event where Max Factor was one of the sponsors. I was not contacted nor required to make a review and all opinions are my own.

My 2014 Beauty Resolutions

11 January 2014

On my first post for the year, I wrote about ways I can make the most out of 2014 together with some personal goals I have set for myself. This time, I zero in on the goal that talks about taking care more of my body and well-being by writing about my beauty resolutions for the year. I wanted to write about this not because I've uncharacteristically gotten vain, but you see, making an extra effort on how you look is a special form of courtesy.

Fix myself up. I love how makeup can enhance one's best features and hide minor flaws. Through makeup school, I learned a lot about proper makeup techniques that I couldn't have learned just by watching tutorials in Youtube. Thanks to these lessons and the generous brands who've been letting me try their products, I have learned how to do various looks and what makeup and tools to use depending on the occasion. I've realized that it pays to fix one's self up even just for errands. Not that I was a slob before this, but, you know. It doesn't even have to take too long! Properly groomed eyebrows, a slick of tinted lip balm, and BB Cream can already do the trick, and I can do those in five minutes tops! Note though that It doesn't mean I wear makeup all the time; except for moisturizer, I don't put anything on my face if I will just be in the house the whole day.

Five products, one face = my go-to everyday look
Revlon CustomEyes Mascara, The Face Shop Lovely me:ex Design My Eyebrow, Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia, Make Up Factory Blusher in 20, and Hayan Korea BB Cream
This also includes blowdrying and styling my hair before I leave the house for anything important like work or seeing my friends or eating out.

Don't fix what ain't broken. Applies not only to life in general but also to skincare, yes? There was a phase in my life that I was very willing to experiment and try all sorts of products from different brands, but now that I have already discovered what works for me, then there won't be much need for that anymore.

My skincare line of choice: Shiseido Ibuki
In the photo are the Gentle Cleanser, Softening Concentrate, Refining Moisturizer Enriched, and Eye Correcting Cream
When it comes to removing pesky eye makeup, The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover is a winner. Inexpensive, works great without tugging, and doesn't sting! I should post a more in-depth review soon.
Take better care of my body. That includes practicing yoga more often and eating healthy and (this is too difficult to type) avoiding junk food, refined sugar, and everything deep-fried and processed.

Some nice candy-colored sports bras I bought a couple of weekends ago
Spring clean periodically. And by periodically I do not mean annually. This spring cleaning should cover every aspect of my life: my room, my work desk, my bookshelves, my closet, my makeup kit, everything! You never know how many treasures are hiding in those corners. In relation, after my latest book binge where I spent over P2,000 on books just last week, I should pledge not to buy anything - book, clothes, shoes, makeup, anything! - until I have gotten rid of everything I am sure I won't have any use for anymore. This will be extremely difficult, but hmmm, let's see.

Expectation: what my work desk should look like
I am not even going to post its counterpart Reality photo here.

This is not even a teeny quarter of my lipstick collection
I should take a group photo of everything just to see how many I already have.
Use up my makeup. In line with the resolutions above, I should bring out my traincase more often and apply the things I learned in makeup school by experimenting with different makeup looks. It's fun but I get lazy and think this is time better spent on reading, but when I see the results I couldn't help but feel proud of myself hee. It's also a good way of making sure I use up my acquired makeup before they expire.

Look straight ahead. This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I have a tendency to look down at the feet of the person in front of me whenever I'm walking. I need to be a little more confident so along with this resolution, I also pledge to stand a little taller and sit up a little bit straighter.

And perhaps the most difficult resolution of all, get more sleep. I mean, I try to but how can I when there are just too many books to read and too many movies to see?

There you go. I hope this post made you smile. As I said, I don't consider myself vain in any way but, you know, inner beauty is great, but a little mascara never hurts. What about you? Do you have any beauty resolutions for this year?

Plan your 2014 in Hello Kitty way!

10 January 2014

Random fact about me #3,708: I didn't like Hello Kitty when I was growing up. Why, you ask? Well, because all the other girls in school liked her and I wanted to be unconventional. When everyone's color was pink, mine was yellow. When everyone's lunch boxes and school bags and pencil cases had Hello Kitty all over, mine had Tweety. When my mom brought me to Gift Gate to get trinkets or other knick-knacks, I chose Kero Keroppi or the Little Twin Stars or Zashikibuta. Hah. Anyone but Hello Kitty.

Hello Kitty eventually caught up with me, though. Now that I'm all grown up, I couldn't resist her! 

The plushie, not the human (^_^)
For all Hello Kitty fans out there, I have wonderful news for you! You can grab an exclusive Hello Kitty planner just by shopping at SM Kids' Fashion! See details below.

Imagine spending 365 days with the world’s favorite cat. Now, little girls can enjoy precious moments with Hello Kitty thanks to SM Kids’ Fashion. This 2014, young fans of the famous feline can grab an exclusive planner featuring three bold-colored covers, red, pink, and white, with a gold stamped Hello Kitty logo. 
By completing exclusive stamp cards available at all SM Kids’ Fashion outlets, kids can get their very own limited edition notebook organizer. A P300 single-receipt purchase of regular-priced Hello Kitty apparel from the SM Kids’ Fashion department entitles bearers to a stamp card and free first stamp. BDO Sapphire and Diamond Rewards cardholders and SM Prestige members can get their stamp cards and first stamp with no need for a minimum purchase. 
Young fashionistas can complete their cards by collecting stamps through P300 single-receipt purchases of regular-priced Hello Kitty and SM Kids’ Fashion apparel. A total of five Hello Kitty stamps and five SM Kids’ Fashion stamps is equivalent to one complete stamp card. Included apparel is available in the Children’s Wear, Girl’s Teens Wear, and Character Shop section of The SM Store. 
Get the purr-fect item to plan your fantastic year with The Limited Edition Hello Kitty Planner Giveaway only with SM Kids’ Fashion. Promo runs from November 15, 2013 to January 15, 2014.
I love SM Kids' Fashion because the clothes are so cute and really affordable, and the best thing is I can still shop for clothes there! I actually bought these floral pants from there. Great deal, yes? I also got my granddaughter Kaylee a pair of denim jeans from Hello Kitty in SM Kids' Fashion for Christmas:

Just look at those tiny heart prints! Isn't it adorable? If I didn't have a planner yet, I would totally gun for one, but since I already have one, well, more stocks for the others I guess. If you don't have a planner for 2014 yet (but why?) and you love Hello Kitty, then go to the nearest SM and check out the clothes and shop for your kids, nieces, cousins, sisters, or yourself!

My hair care essentials

08 January 2014

Hair doesn't make the woman but good hair definitely helps. I was not conscious of these things before but when I started working, I realized how important it is to put your best foot forward and present yourself well. When it comes to first impressions, hair is one of the first things other people notice. You can't really expect to be taken seriously in important meetings if you show up with unintentionally messy hair, can you?

You can't control everything but you can control your hair. As promised, I present to you my current hair essentials to make my hair manageable and more 'behaved'.

Shampoo and conditioner from Vidal Sassoon's Premium Color Care Series
Vidal Sassoon Premium Color Care Series contains specially formulated ingredients that help hair damage due to coloring, while retaining vibrant color and enhancing shine
This is hands down the BEST color care shampoo and conditioner I have ever tried. Red is one of the fastest-fading colors to dye your hair with and my stylist even said I should expect it to turn to brown after two weeks only, but through the help of this duo, my hair color has remained vibrant even after almost a month! See my Redhead Chronicles here. Please note that I shampoo every other day and condition every day. I had difficulty looking for stocks of these at supermarkets so I was so glad when Sample Room offered them. Would you believe I got them for FREE and only paid P130 for shipping? Visit Sample Room to grab your free samples now!

Toni&Guy Dry Shampoo
Revitalizes flat hair and absorbs oil to add body and lift
Dry shampoo is slowly getting traction in the local market but this is the only one I have tried as of now. It is best used on those instances when you're having a really good hair day and you don't want to wash it yet. All you have to do is spray at the roots to absorb excess oil. Voila! Instagorgeous hair! To be honest, I've only ever tried it twice but I got nice compliments in those two occasions and I really liked how shiny my hair looked so I would't mind using it more often. Smells really good, too!

Kérastase Nutritive Oléo-Relax
Smoothing, controlling care for dry and rebellious hair
That's it! If there is one word to describe my hair, I'd use 'rebellious' aside from the obvious like ultra-thick, big, heavy, and wavy. I use it every day and seriously, a single drop works wonders! I got these bottles from Glamourbox's February 2013 box and Sample Room, but I would gladly purchase a new one when my stash runs out (which will not be anytime soon) even though it could be little too expensive!

Toni&Guy Forming Spray Gel
Gives definition and control, with a lightweight feel
For parties and more formal settings, I use this to give my hair a more defined form. I like this because unlike other hairsprays, it's not too heavy on the hair. Pro tip: Do not apply direct to your hair; spray it on your hands instead and work your way in there, sister!

TIGI Bed Head Hard to Get Texturizing Paste
A mouldable formulation that separates and shapes. The lightweight formulation provides matte texture for short to medium hair lengths. Moisturising ingredients keep the hair soft and pliable, while beeswax thickens the hair for a fuller appearance. Hair is supported with a light touch and infused with maximum texture
This is what I like using when I'm in the mood for intentionally messy hair. Note that the keywords I used are "intentionally" and "messy".

Vidal Sassoon Creation Travel 1200W Quietone Dryer
I have had this blowdryer for more than three years now and I am so glad that it's still working perfectly! I have been using it every day ever since my Japanese blowout and now I couldn't leave the house without drying and styling my hair first.

I also try to do a DIY hair mask or hot oil treatment at least twice a month. I wasn't conscious of hair matters as I just used to tie it up on a ponytail when it was still long but now that I'm sporting a pixie cut, I find styling it fun because it proves that you don't have to be limited to your hair's length. (^_−)☆