Current Lifestyle Favorites

Apart from beauty, I'd love to share some lifestyle favorites, stuff that I've been appreciating a little more and new finds that help me in my every day life. 

1. MUJI PP VANITY CASE
I've been loving the Muji PP vanity cases for a while now. Recently, I added the biggest one in their line (Php 375), which holds my skincare bottles, tubes, and whatnot, and also my sister's so that it's bunched up together and easy to transport especially when I wipe down the vanity. Some bottles are actually taller than the actual container, but it's not too bad cause I don't really need to put a lid on it.



I started out with the 1/2 sized one (Php 275), which is perfect for lipsticks. It has handles on the side too which makes it easier to carry. Though they sell a separate lid, I opted for the mirror that also serves as a lid, which is somewhere around Php 650. I actually saw the mirror first from Browhaus. It's the mirror they hand out after they fix your brows.

After making a conscious effort to use up my other makeup items, I bought the 1/4 size one (Php 215) which holds random makeup items like concealer, mascara, blush, and others. This sits on top of my 1/2 one which holds the lipsticks.

Naturally, it gets dirty after a while, considering it holds makeup, but they're easy to wash or wipe. Another thing I like about them is that they aren't fully transparent.

2. EGG BRUSH CLEANING PAD

I was strolling around Daiso one time and I saw this, which looked extremely similar to this brush egg cleaner. It was amazing to find out that it was also used as a scrubbing board for laundry. Though, thinking about it, I can see how this works as a laundry tool too. Given that I saw this in Daiso, you know that this only costs less than Php 100.

Basically, it's made of silicone material. The picture doesn't really show that you put your fingers through the opening below, but that's what I do when cleaning brushes. Normally, I would use my bare hands to clean brushes (I swirl them around my palm), but now I can opt to use this especially for smaller brushes. I put liquid soap or shower gel directly on this, wet my brush, and rub the brush against the egg. It cleans the brushes faster; so, I get on with my life faster.

3. GLADE AUTOMATIC SPRAY
If you live in a condominium unit, especially a small one, and if you're sensitive to smells just like me, you might have attempted several air fresheners, room sprays and fragrances, diffusers, and whatnot. Though I still have diffusers spread out around the condo and I spray the rooms from time to time, I have found great convenience from this little device right here. If you do go to the grocery, you might have noticed this already. I got a hold of this automatic spray from Glade in December 2016 and I'm on my 2nd can now.
Basically, it's an automatic, battery operated spray, which you can set to spray every 9, 18, and 36 minutes. The box shows a range of scents, but most groceries usually carry just 3 (lavender and vanilla, ocean escape, and morning freshness). The device comes in this kind of brown and a white. The set (device and can of fragrance) is less than Php 500, I believe. So, after finishing the can that comes with the set, you can just purchase refills. The first scent I tried was ocean escape, which I ended up giving to my mom (including the spray bottle) cause she wanted one too. I wasn't too impressed with that scent. I wanted the morning freshness scent, but it never came with the spray bottle, so I went for lavender and vanilla which I prefer more than ocean escape. After finishing the lavender one, I finally got morning freshness which is a bit lighter or more fresh smelling.  

The bottle can easily be propped on a flat surface or hung on a wall. Ideally, I'd like to hang this, cause the mist (when it sprays) can be overwhelming, but I don't like drilling on walls.

So, those were my current lifestyle favorites. I'd be happy to hear about yours. Let me know.

Skincare I'm Hoping Really Works


If you visit SM's department store or Watsons every now and then, you must have seen some COSRX items and other Korean brands that seem to have no designated kiosk like the likes of other Korean brands like Etude House and Tony Moly. I guess this is SM's way of introducing these brands gradually to the market, which made me quite excited.


Since following Joan Kim on Youtube, I've been hearing a lot about the skincare brand COSRx. So, I got really excited when I saw some of their best-selling products randomly in SM Baguio's department store, of all places. I was thinking, maybe since Baguio is quite popular with Koreans, SM decided to stock there first, but when I went to Manila, I found that it's actually housed in a small shelf with other Korean brands and collective called as K-beauty.

PRICES 

I didn't get the prices of everything in that shelf, but when I was checking the COSRX products out, I found that they're actually cheaper than some online stores. I started seeing these products early in the year and they had a more expensive price point then, but still cheaper than online stores. But lately, I think they brought down the price and added a 10% discount for SM advantage / BDO rewards cardholders! I'm not sure till when, but maybe check until the 15th of April.



I was really after the COSRX pimple pads, which I remember was around Php 650, but they seem to be repriced to Php 465.50. And after the 10% discount, it's Php 418.95! It was pretty hard to find too. As of late, they're out of stock in the department stores of SM Aura, SM Makati, and SM Megamall and the Watsons in those branches. I happened to visit SM MOA recently and I found it in the department store there. There are only a few more tubs though.

Because I had difficulty finding the COSRX pimple pads, I bought the COSRX Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask instead. It's not really an alternative to pimple pads, but I didn't want to let opportunity pass (or I was just making an excuse to try something new). Though, you can actually get this and other Watsons / SM Store items online at Lazada and you'll see there that it was originally priced at Php 606, but it's re priced at Php 424.25 and less 10% also with the SM Advantage Card. It's Php 381.82.

Lastly, I picked up Scinic's Coconut Cleansing Water, which I think is just like your regular micellar cleansing waters, but it was only Php 412.25 for 500ml. And the bottle allows you to just push on the nozzle (?) without lifting the bottle, similar to Etude's Wondepore toner. After the 10% discount, it's Php 371.02! I wouldn't have gotten it without the discount because it was originally Php 589 and there's just so many micellar waters in the market already.

I think, overall the reduction was 30% and then less 10% for SM Advantage holders.

EXPECTATIONS

Well, as the blog title suggests, I really hope this stuff works, cause they're quite affordable. This year, I really want my skin to improve. I'm approaching my late 20's and I've been wanting to use less makeup (even though I love makeup). I'm not sure why, but I think since we're approaching summer, I just want less stuff on my face. Also, I'm never without blemishes and they always appear in the same spots. So, hopefully, these stuff, especially the COSRX stuff are worth the hype. I'm going to attempt a review on this, probably after 2 weeks of using it.


Have you tried anything from this range? There are other interesting Korean products included in their Kbeauty shelf. Let me know which ones you've tried.

Current Favorites + Mini Reviews


The last time I wrote a favorites post was in 2015! I mentioned somewhere in this blog that I've been trying to buy less and use up my existing products. I threw out and gave some away already (those that I really can't see myself using). Since then, I've rediscovered some favorites, but I've added a few that I've acquired through trips. Here's what I've been loving recently.

CLINIQUE BEYOND PERFECTING FOUNDATION + CONCEALER
I asked my mom to buy this when she was in the US, since it was more affordable there. I also checked out the shades they had in the Philippines and they didn't seem to have something yellow-based in the 2 counters I visited, which was funny since they should have more Asian-friendly shades with yellow bases. So, the shade that I have is not really available in the Philippines, but I'm guessing the ones they have are what were deemed to be suitable for Asia. I have the shade Golden Neutral (number 8).

I really want to do a separate review on this since I enjoy it a lot, especially when the shade matched me the most (after I went on a camping trip and got sunburnt). So, I won't spoil much of the goodness first, but see the photo below for the swatch.


Clinique Beyond Perfecting foundation + concealer mixed with Son & Park's Glow Ring foundation 

SON & PARK GLOW RING FOUNDATION
I got to try this foundation after receiving it from a friend who came from Japan, although it's a Korean brand. What's different about this stick foundation is that it has skincare literally in its core, as you'll see in the photo below. I've been enjoying this product cause it's pretty easy and convenient. The other end of it is actually a brush!

The shade is actually pretty light on me, that's why I've been mixing the Clinique one with this. It definitely adds glow to the face. So, I've been using it more under the eye area to brighten up my skin. It feels really thin and light, but it does the job of touching up and adding coverage. I'd rely more on other foundations if I want something with more coverage.



NYX SOFT MATTE LIP CREAM in ROME
I've had a few of Nyx's soft matte lip cream and they're the first brand I've tried with this kind of texture. Now, so many brands have similar products, but I somehow still enjoy Nyx's because I really agree that it gives a "soft matte" finish rather than a solid matte finish. They're easy to use, light on the lips, and they have a extensive range of colors to choose from. I also love the concept that they use cities to name the shades.

I guess I got influenced by the influx of nude / brown shades, which I didn't really have in my collection. I only had either pink, red, and nude. I was doing swatches in the Nyx counter when I saw this. I was contemplating whether to get Rome or Budapest. Nyx's website describes Rome to be medium nude with red undertone while Budapest was a deep mauve with red undertone. Since Budapest was a little darker, I went for Rome.

CHANEL LÈVRES SCINTILLANTES GLOSSIMER IN 63 PAGODA

My aunt gave me this last year and I've been enjoying it since, like my lipsticks, I don't have a gloss in this shade. It has a sheen to it, but the shade is pretty natural. I use it over different shades of lipstick. It tones down the pinkness of some of my lipsticks, which is another reason why I've been enjoying it. I can use it on its own too. It's also very moisturizing.




MILANI BAKED BLUSH in LUMINOSO
I got this blush during one of our US trips and I've actually wrote about my first impression here. Still loving it.



ETUDE HOUSE PROOF 10 EYE PRIMER
Recently (since the later half of 2016), I have really been into Korean skincare and makeup. In efforts to make use of my existing collection of eyeshadows, I started watching videos on primers. I think it was Morgan of The Beauty Breakdown who talked about this. Since it was quite affordable, I gave it a go. The only eye primer I've tried was the Urban Decay one, when I got my Naked Palette in 2010. Yup. It still came in that potion-like bottle. It's actually super comparable, almost a dupe I guess. Check out the swatches with and without. Amazing!

I used a Clinique eyeshadow for this.

CHANEL EYESHADOW BRUSH #2
I can't seem to find this exact brush online, but it's a regular-sized eyeshadow brush, which I received from another aunt. I find myself reaching for this whenever I wear eyeshadow. It's not as travel friendly though since the handle is quite long. So far, there hasn't been any fall out on the brush even after washing it several times. The black and gold makes it look super sophisticated that I didn't even want to use it at first.

SHISEIDO MOILIP MEDICATED LIP CREAM
I sort of have this trend going where most of my favorites where given to me by friends and family. This is no exception. I'm really lucky. This was given to me by my friend who gave me the Son & Park stick foundation. Shiseido is actually quite pricey here in the Philippines, but apparently they have some products in the drugstore. The text in the box was in Japanese. I just knew that it was a lip balm of some sort. It has a similar consistency to Vaseline, but a little bit lighter on the lips and a little bit minty. The product comes out of an opening and you spread it around your lip with the smooth surface or take the product on your fingers and apply. I have a number of lip balms around the house and in several bags, so I can't really attest to how effective it is in healing dry and chapped lips, but this is the one I use before putting makeup and before sleeping.

I know it's another long post, but I just have a lot to say about these products (I've even held back writing more). I'm really excited about doing more of these and probably more empties posts. What have you been loving lately?

Product Empties & Mini Reviews


Long time no post, but here's to 2017 and what's to come. I'll get right to it.

Last year has been a year of consuming and purging. I made a goal to buy less and finish first what I had before running off and buying the latest makeup item. I also wanted to have less things in general, which made me do some purging, selling, and giving.  While some have been thrown out already, I managed to save some empties for this post. I'll be giving brief reviews of each too.



BIFESTA

I mentioned this makeup remover in this post. It's pretty much the first micellar water I've tried. Up to this day, it's still one of my favorites. Too bad, they don't stock it often in Watsons.

YES TO CUCUMBERS FACIAL WIPES

My sister and I bought these wipes while we were in the States. The scent is great and the texture is not as rough as other wipes. I'm not much of a wipes fan though so I don't think I'll repurchase often, but I guess it's still pretty convenient to have them around for traveling.

ETUDE HOUSE WONDER PORE FRESHNER

I think it took me a year to finish this bottle. It's the biggest one they have that you could actually refill. The pump is also super convenient; you don't need to lift the bottle to dispose product on a cotton pad. What's more important is that the product actually worked well on me. I didn't really notice a difference when I was using it, but I did notice that my skin wasn't in its normal state when I ran out of the product and had to skip toner or use another toner. So, it's probable that I'd repurchase this if I don't get too experimental on my toner. I'm using Clinique now. I'll let you know about it on another post.

LANCOME TONIQUE DOUCEUR

This was a toner I used alternately with the Etude House one and it's the first Lancome toner I've tried. It was given to me with a cream. Since it's more of a sample or a travel sized one, I used it more for travels and not daily. I didn't think it was particularly more special though than the Etude House one.

OLAY CC CREAM

I bought this CC cream after seeing a few videos online by some international beauty vloggers and because I was scheduled to go to Cambodia that time. I decided not to go for heavy foundation on that trip cause I'd surely sweat it off anyway. The tube states that it's a pore minimizing CC cream with sunscreen, but it had only an SPF of 15. So, I didn't really use this as my only sunscreen. In fact, the cream sort of stung when I applied it on my nose, probably cause I rub my nose often. Regarding coverage, it did the job of having minimal coverage (as in barely there coverage), but I'm pretty sure there are other products out there that would do a better job. I guess it'd be good as a base.


I've already talked about this product in this post. I'm on my second tube now. It's pretty affordable too! 


My shade of this product is W3. I did a first impressions of this in this post. I can say now that I really like this. My sister likes this as well. It gives you a light and even coverage. I'm lucky to have guessed my shade at one go. I guess since it's not really a product targeted to Asians, it doesn't have that white or gray cast Asian cushions usually have. The only downside to this is that it runs out fast, especially if you use it daily (even after I've flipped the sponge). I wanted to repurchase this during our second trip to the States, but I wanted to try Asian cushions.

A BONNE SPA MILK SALT

This product is affordable and had good reviews, so I tried it out and it was mentioned in this post. I'm not really keen on getting fairer, but I wanted a scrub that was straightforward and came in a tube. No matter how nice the packaging of a scrub is, if I end up leaving it in the shower, it's bound to be grimy and whatnot. I guess it does that job of exfoliating. I just don't do it often enough to see the whitening effects, I guess.


I hope this helped you. I actually have a lot more empties to share with you. So, keep checking. This year seems pretty promising for a lot of brands. I have a feeling I'll be leaning towards Asian brands this year.  

Cambodia Day 1: Bayon Temple + Tips


After exploring the neighborhood and having our first proper meal, we headed to Bayon Temple. We were half expecting our tuk-tuk driver to talk about the place, but he was really quiet. It's a good thing we were able to read a bit about the place before going. I guess that's the disadvantage of not having a tour guide.


Though some parts of the temple, including the entrance of it are not the actual ones made long long time ago, they're still pretty close.

Tip: Bring an umbrella! The sun and heat are not forgiving.

Cambodia Day 1: Getting There and Getting Around

At the beginning of 2015, my sister and I talked about going on a trip. Just the two of us. She was the type who really liked to immerse in cultural activities and I was too. In family trips though, we don’t really get to go around as much as we’d like. So, this time we went on our own.



A lot of people talk about how traveling really inspires them and how others even quit their jobs to travel full time. While that seems really appealing, it might not be feasible just yet for my sister and I. 


We ruled out other Asian countries that we’ve been to, even if we wanted to head back to those places. We also didn’t consider those our family could possibly visit in the future. Of course, budget was another constraint. Since we were willing to spend almost 5 days out, we wanted to go somewhere where our relatively small budget would fit. We ended up with Cambodia as our 2015 travel destination.



On Goals and the New Year

Somehow, the beginning of this year came with much pressure to evaluate the previous year (2015) and set up life-changing goals.  Though I'm all for that, I wanted to see how I'd actually fair for the first month of 2016.



My sister encouraged me to do a "Life Audit". We based it from her friend's post, which was actually pretty inspiring. At the same time, we also listed or highlighted goals for 2016. The Life Audit is a mix of long-term and short-term goals and actually figuring out what you want in life.  I took a while with this.

At the same time, we got the Passion Planner when we visited the States. It was curated in a way that would make it easier to plot down tasks based on your "passion projects" or goals. My sister got me into this as well. But before getting this, I've already collected enough stickers for the Coffee Bean planner. I must say, they have a great website. I was satisfied with my 2015 Coffee Bean planner, so I pursued this year's one. Yes, I didn't collect for the Starbucks Moleskin planner. I think I would have gotten a better deal if I bought a Moleskin without the Starbucks branding, so I went with the Coffee Bean one instead.

So, I'm basically very much planned up. It won't matter though unless I actually do enough for me to at least have some progress with my goals. That though is the harder part. For me, January meant the start of another semester as well. I feel like it's only now that I'm getting settled in, now that the month's about to tend. And honestly, sometimes I just feel like keeping it simple with my goals.

How did I do for January? Well, honestly, I could have done better. Although, I think I'm off to a good start. 2015 was definitely something. It was hard. And I could see 2016 being the same way or even harder. But I welcome you, 2016, with arms wide open. It's my 25th year too, so I really want to do something great, come back to this post and be happy that I've actually reached a goal or completed a project, even if it's not the biggest one.

I wish the same for you. Let's do this.

"Either I will find a way, or I will make one" - Philip Sidney

FOTD: First Impressions

Happy new year everyone!

Just like that, another year has started.  Last year, I've posted only 13 posts, a few posts less than my posts in 2014.  I'm really lagging behind from what I hoped to achieve in terms of consistency.  As much as I love posting here, there's always been a struggle to balance out school, chores, and social gatherings.  The blog was my go to if I had free time.

This year, I'm really hoping to keep up and at least post once a week. So, I'm going to get on with it with this photo-heavy post of my first impressions / face-of-the-day of a few "drugstore" products.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this somewhere, but in the Philippines, we don't really call brands such as Maybelline, L'Oreal, and Revlon as "drugstore" (I think). Sure, you can get them from Watsons, which may be considered a drugstore, but they're available in department stores too.  Sometimes, they're mixed in with some of the high-end makeup and skincare as well.

If you know me, you'd know I follow some beauty "gurus" on Youtube and they would talk about makeup from the "drugstore".  Some of them are actually not available in the Philippines.  Now that I've had the chance to go on vacation in the States, I finally get to try some of them.

"Drugstore" Haul! :)

Let me tell you, seeing a whole aisle of beauty products was overwhelming.  I didn't know where to start.  Luckily, the place where I got this was pretty stocked, so I didn't have a problem finding some things.  The others really run out of the "holy grail" / cult favorite drugstore beauty products.

So, here's how I started out. I've just applied my everyday moisturizer.



Love: The Body Shop Body Butters

The Body Shop Butters are the bomb!



I think I've bought at least 10 of these already and I've used more than half. Let me explain why I love these soooo much.

First of all, they're on sale most of the time.  The best time to get it is probably around the April - May months or whenever they have that buy one get one promos or 50% off promos.  Normally, the regular variants are around Php 695, but sometimes they have limited edition ones that are a little bit more expensive. The limited edition ones are seasonal.  The green one on the photo is actually the Virgin Mojito variant, which came out last summer.  So, right now, they have some Christmas ones like the Glazed Apple one.  I would be happy to receive any of these any day of the year though. Lol.  I think it's this year when they came up with a bigger tub, which got me excited, but I realized that I've stocked up on so much of them already.


About the texture and consistency - it's a little bit rich and heavy, but it's great during the colder days or days when you'd be in an air-conditioned environment the whole day. Well, the better way to describe it is it's buttery. Lol.  Yup, I know, they ARE body butters.  The great thing is that it really keeps your skin moisturized the whole day.  I actually thought it would just be a regular cream with nothing special to it, but I really think these are the best products you can get from The Body Shop.



Favorites - now, if you get there, you might be all overwhelmed.  There are tons to choose from when it comes to scent. But most of my favorites are in the earlier photo.  If you know me, I go for the neutral smelling ones and less of the sweet ones.  The yellow / orange one is the Honeymania variant which has Community Fair Trade honey.  At first, I thought this was going to be sweet, but it wasn't at all.  The green one is the Virgin Mojito variant, a limited edition released last summer. It has a citrusy scent, but is a little bit sweet too.  The beige cover with the blue is the Wild Argan Oil variant. It has Community Fair Trade wild argan oil from Morocco, which makes it seem a little bit more luxurious.  The other beige one is the Shea body butter, which I believe is a best seller and has a nutty but neutral scent.  Another personal favorite is the Olive body butter.  This is a classic.  The scent might not be appreciated by some, but I do like it.

If you know The Body Shop, they maintain different product lines. So there's a whole line of Argain Oil products, from shower gels to actual oils.  And so with the other variants.

So, if you're last minute Christmas shopping or not, drop by the Body Shop and give these a try. :)