Hong Kong Sights: Exhibit at Times Square

I've been going through my iPhone photos and I realized that I took a just a few photos of my Hong Kong-birthday trip. I found this set of photos I took at Times Square and I was like, "Oh yeah!" Now, I never heard of Mike Stilkey before this encounter but I was amazed at what I saw. Here's a peek at his exhibit, Full of Smiles and Soft Attentions.

Here's the guy at work. His exhibit was still closed and in progress, but I chanced upon him actually painting one of the pieces for his showcase. I took this photo while on the escalator, while my mum and I were on our way to Zara.

This was the book installation/painting he finished. The lady was apparently holding a cute pink cat that we didn't see at first because of the barricade. Adorable! I love how places like Times Square, a famous shopping center, would have such an interesting exhibit. Hong Kong culture supports and promotes the arts as well.

I chances upon a blog that posted about Mike Stilkey's exhibit once it opened. You can click here to go see. Visit the artist's website as well. His style is very interesting indeed.

Join my Etude House Nail Art Vouchers giveaway! I've decided to throw in random Asian confectionary. I love, love, love Japanese sweets and such, so I'll share some with the winner too :)

WIn It! From Unicorns Dream: Etude House Nail Art Vouchers

Win It! From Unicorns Dream: Etude House Nail Art Voucher Giveaway

Please remember to read the terms and conditions as stipulated in the Rafflecopter widget. Give me another day or so, I might be able to add a few more doodads to the current prize. Thank you, and good luck!

NOTW+Tutorial: Cupcake Overload (Without the Guilt!)

Happy Sunday everyone! I want to share with you the nails I rocked while on (birthday) vacation in Hong Kong and Macau. I received a lot of compliments on these cute Cupcake Overload tips, from friends and strangers alike. Some of them asked if they were stickers, others thought I had them done. No, my friends, I spent some time on my butt to hand-paint both hands myself! Sorry for the uncleaned sides where the frosting went over. I hadn't had time to wipe them off before I took the photos.

Before you start your Cupcake Overload tips, protect your nails with a base coat. I used OPI's Natural Nail Base Coat. This will prevent the polish from yellowing and damaging your nails.

Next, using Revlon in Raven Red, I painted French Tips covering 1/4-1/3 of my nail. It doesn't have to be very straight or perfect, you'll be covering up the top with frosting anyway. You can use any color you want for your cupcake. I even thought of using different colors for all the tips! Maybe next time :)

Then, I used LA Colors Art Deco in Gold Glitter to define the cupcake liners. Create three to four lines per nail on the tips only.

For the frosting, I used Etude House's WH702 to frost my cupcakes. One thing to note, though. I purposely let this white nail polish of mine to thicken up a bit to make French tips easier. It wasn't as opaque as I wanted so letting it thicken made it just right. Also, don't worry if it looks kinda goopy, like in my photo below. Not all cupcakes have perfect frosting, right? Plus it adds to the character of the cute nail design.

Next, I painted on some sprinkles. I used LA Colors in Glistening Purple as glitters make the easiest sprinkles. (yes, I cheat!) Looking at my polish stash, I realized that my The Face Shop PK109 huge hexagonal glitter would make nice sprinkles too. You can also use a dotting tool with regular polish fo this.

This next step is optional, but I decided to use LA Colors Art Deco in Red to make heart-shaped cupcake toppers on each nail. I think this may have upped the cuteness factor of this Cupcake Overload nail design. 

Last but not the least, seal your cute cupcake nails in with a top coat. I used OPI's Top Coat. Don't forget to clean up any residue polish on the edges. Simply moisten a Q-tip with polish remover and wipe, wipe, wipe! I cleaned mine up after everything dried :)

It may look complicated, but it's actually really easy! You may just have to go slow on some parts, like when I was frosting my cupcakes. Also, if you don't have LA Colors Art Deco polish, you can purchase a thin tipped brush from the art section of bookstores or craft stores. I got that tip from Achi Nikki of AskMeWhats

So, what do you think of this Cupcake Overload, without the guilt? Sometimes when I'm hungry, I admit to staring at my nails and wishing they were real. Many people loved this! I'm glad that apart from my own glee and pride, this design put smiles on many girls' faces. Shh, I caught a few girls in Hong Kong and Macau looking at my tips. A lot of them smiled at me after, and some waved, gestured or pointed at nails. There were also two ladies who talked to me about them in Hokkien. Cute cupcakes transcends language barriers. Do jeh, girls! 

I hope you can try out this Cupcake Overload design. Have a dose of sweet, sugary goodness without the guilt!

UD on Gifts with Purchase and Sampling in Manila

GWP's, Gifts with Purchase, is a common marketing technique used by retailers to encourage customers to to purchase items in order to receive a free gift. It's pretty simple. Customers buy, often reaching a certain amount, and the promotional item is given. Samples, on the other hand, can be freely given without any purchase. Here in Manila, some stores can be rather stingy with their GWP's and samples. The higher end boutiques here usually have GWP's more often, and usually have more samples on hand. They can be a bit picky about who they give them to, though. My aunt is a regular in Rustan's so she (and by extension, me!) is given samples from brands like Clinique and Murad regularly, even though she doesn't buy a lot from them often. More often than not, you might have to ask for samples to receive them.

A few of the Murad samples my aunt passed on to me
On the middle end of the spectrum, I tend to patronize the Korean beauty brands more often. I remember this one time my mother and I were in The Face Shop in Mall of Asia. We brought Milo with us and they thought he was so cute so when we paid, they loaded up our bags with samples. One other time, when I asked if they had samples of other products at the cash register, she gave me two little packets that were smaller than movie tickets. Etude House, on the other hand, has GWP promotions every month, I think. I received an Aqua Cure travel kit once, and I think one of the best value GWP's I got was a free sheet mask for a P500 purchase.

GWP packs given at Thailand's TFS

Other countries seem to be more generous with their sampling and GWP's. I'm sure you've heard of Korea's skincare stores, side by side along the same street, handing out free sheet masks and filling your bags with GWP's. Sure, most of the bulkier items might be cotton pads, but I'd take free cotton pads for buying something than nothing. But of course, that's just me. The Fresh Fruit Lemon sheet mask packs are what they gave my aunt and her friends in Thailand's The Face Shop for buying a compact and a few bottles of nail polish. They gave them three packs of those, and each pack contains two masks and the Blemish Zero toner and moisturizer sample. So generous! Which brings me back to TFS here in Manila. That one time I asked for samples, they sorta made me feel like I was asking for handouts. Not fun for me.

All in all, I find that GWP's and samples are rather hit and miss here in Manila. More often than not, you're likely to receive GWP's and samples in higher end brands. Of course, if you're really keen on trying out a product, you can always try your luck and ask a sales associate for a sample. I also notice that other brands, when available abroad, tend to be more generous with their GWP's and samples. Of course, this is my own view and you may have other, more pleasant experiences on this matter. Please do share :)

God of Carnage: Show Info, Promotion and Giveaway!

We interrupt your regular UD programming with an update from Upstagers Manila. See parents behave badly as Lea Salonga, Adrian Pang,  Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and Art Acuna star in the Tony Award winning GOD of CARNAGE. The Upstagers Manila brings you the opening night!

Play by Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Bobby Garcia
Lea Salonga as Veronica
Adrian Pang as Michael
Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as Anette
Art Acuña as Alan
13 July 2012, 8:00PM
Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC, Makati
Ticket Prices:
Orchestra Center – P1600
Orchestra Side  – P1400
Loge Center – P1200
Loge Back/Side  – P900
Balcony – P600
Please check the seat plan for available seats
You may reserve here or via SMS. Please check our Contact page.

The Upstagers Manila has an Awesome Foursome promotion going on. Simply purchase four Orchestra Side tickets and get the fourth at a 50% discount. For more details, please click here. And finally...

Win It! from The Upstagers Manila: God of Carnage tickets
Get a chance to win free tickets to the God of Carnage opening night by liking The Upstagers Manila on Facebook and entering the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck on this contest!
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