Calling All Bibliophiles!

National Book Store is having their warehouse sale this weekend!

Go to the Quezon Avenue National Book Store on November 14-19, 10 AM to 7 PM to get up to 80% off books and other products. I would if I could, but I couldn't!!

One of Many Ways to Help: The Philippine Red Cross

From the PRC Facebook page

The Philippine Red Cross. Not only do they provide relief after calamities and other events, they also conduct rescue operations. There are many ways to donate, as listed on their webpage. You can use your credit card or atm, make a cash or check deposit or through SMS. I made my family's small donation using Paypal on this page, where you may choose where you want your donation to go. We earmarked our contribution for Supertyphoon Yolanda/Haiyan.

It doesn't matter how much you give, as long as it is sincere. I believe they are also looking for volunteers, if you want to help and give your time. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

Please help if you can! A drop of water may seem insignificant, but remember that oceans are made of many, many drops! (Does that even make sense?) 

Together we can help save and rebuild lives.

Love Flakes with Color Combos CTW511

Color Combos CTW511 is a bright blue jelly with blue micro glitter and flakies. What are flakies, you ask? Flakies are little bits of iridescent film that flash different colours when hit with light. Interesting, eh? Check it out below.

The blue jelly is Color Combos CTW511 is very translucent. The base has to be, so that the flakies will show. When I first tried it, I had no idea what flakies were, so I just painted it on like regular polish. I hated it. With three coats, it looked soooo horrible. Finally, after a little bit of going around the internet, I learned that you had to paint flakies over a dark polish. I did, over black, and BOOM. Lovely! 

This particular polish's flakies flash neon green, violet, fuschia, orange and red depending on the light. It was a little difficult for me to capture it on camera, but I tried. 

The formula of the polish was great. Just the right consistency for me. The flakies painted on well too, with even distribution and no clumping at all. I also like Color Combos' brushes. They're a little similar to OPI's. These ones are a bit flat, but not as wide as OPI's. 

I bought my bottle of Color Combos at Sasa in Hong Kong. It contains 10ml and is made in France. I can't remember how much it was exactly, but it was something like a 2 for $15 or 2 for $25 deal. 

Bye, Blondie! Liese Bubble Hair Color in Cassis Berry

I finally said goodbye to my dark blonde, light brown-ish hair I dubbed Blondie. I had a box of Liese Bubble Hair Color from my last trip to Hong Kong, so I decided to use that. The colour was Cassis Berry and it's described in the Kao Singapore website as "A glamorous pink with a touch of brown." It's made in Japan by the Kao Corporation. I've used this twice in the past and I loved how fun and easy Liese Bubble Hair Color was.

This version was made to be sold in Hong Kong and Singapore so it was in a dual language box, with Chinese and English. The kit came with Solutions 1 and 2, hair lotion, the foamer cap (which produces the bubbles, yay!), a pair of gloves and the instruction sheets. There were actually three versions, Chinese, English and Japanese! I thought it was really cute. Anyway...

Here's the part of the box which shows you what colour to expect depending on your original hair before colouring. My Blondie hair was veeery similar to the Very light colour hair they had pictured. More on the results later.

See the next photo for the gist of the instructions. Almost like shampooing, actually. It's really fun and I find that it colours evenly, with less effort than using the tint brush and bowl. I thought that one kit wouldn't be enough to cover my thick, long hair, but luckily it did! It wasn't as thick and foamy as when I used it in the past, as my hair was shorter then, but apparently it was enough. My whole head was Cassis Berry-ed! The hair lotion included smelled nice, wasn't greasy and my hair drank it all up.

The results! Both taken indoors with the somewhat crappy "selfie" iPhone camera. Bad lighting too, even my skin is two different shades. Should've taken some with the regular one, sorry. Unfortunately, the touch of brown came out as really brown, with the glamorous pink nowhere in sight. When it first dried I lamented the loss of my golden hair but I'm learning to love this colour. It's growing on me! Now do I recommend Liese Bubble Hair Color? Yes! Cassis Berry is also good, but they do have a number of nice shades to choose from.

I realise that the photo below doesn't do any of my hair colours justice. My Blondie hair was more golden, and my Cassis Berry hair is less red, and more brown. 

I bought my box of Liese Bubble Hair Color in Cassis Berry in Hong Kong. It was from my favourite supermarket, Wellcome. Unfortunately, I don't remember how much it cost.

NOTW: China Glaze Skyscraper

A bit sloppy, yeah? But here's China Glaze Skyscaper. Same old OPI Natural Nail Base Coat and Top Coat. I used two coats of Skyscraper here, but I didn't get the same colour in the bottle. Maybe with three coats? Maybe next time. It's a nice bluish-purple with lot's of silver microglitter. Mine shows up more purple than Scrangie's, who describes it as a deep blue jelly.

Next time, I'll do a better job painting it on so hopefully it'll look as pretty as Scrangie's. I actually looked at her swatches when I was shopping for my polish back then. :)

To M, with Love

I'm not really good at eloquently sharing what I feel... I guess this photo will sum up our entire relationship:

Happy first anniversary! I guess this would be my (electronic) paper present.



NOTW: China Glaze Nova

I swear I should stop looking at nail polish online. My first ever bottles of China Glaze were an impulse purchase. I was looking at my favourite nail sites, Scrangie and The Polish Aholic, and bam, I had two dozen bottles of China Glaze on the way. Anyway, here is what I just painted on my just nails now.

Everyone, this is China Glaze Nova. I absolutely cannot get it to show up properly on my lowly iPhone camera, but it's freaking lovely. Lot's and lot's of small silver glitter and hex holo glitter in a clear base. I cannot tell you how much I love it. So so much. I'm willing to give up One Direction for a day just for Nova. Ugh. This is two coats of Nova with OPI Natural Nail Base Coat and OPI Top Coat. It's just so beautiful. I love Nova.

Glitter is my weakness. That is all.

What's New Today: The SM Beauty Box

A few days ago I was so intrigued when my favorite beauty bloggers started posting about the SM Beauty Box. After a few clicks here, some oohs and aahs there, and maybe a bit of drooling at the photos, August 1 has arrived! My mum and dad were nice enough to drive and accompany me to SM North EDSA so I could get my grubby paws on this magical box.

We had to take a short pitstop at a bench for my dad since he was having a hypoglycemic episode. After his RBG which read 44, a piece of candy to help bring his sugar levels up, my mum went down with me to get the Beauty Box. I got one for myself, and my mum got two. She wanted to get three but I was like, hey stop, that's too much! That's why we have three boxes between us. 

They weren't kidding when they said it was limited. The ladies at the other counters told me that the stocks were all out. My mum and I got three, and there were like seven on the table when we left. So I'm not sure what time they ran out. A manager opened one up to peek, and the other ladies were all around us. The Olay lady was held up the eye cream and lash serum duo, and was like, "Ours costs P1499! Get smoother eyes in a week and better eyelashes in three days!" (I was so amused I kinda forgot to remember exactly what she said. It was something like that though.)

There's the contents in all it's glory. Fancy, isn't it? The cost of all the products in the SM Beauty Box is P4000, but they're selling it for only P799. What a steal right? That's why my mum got two of them. She told me she'll be gifting some of the stuff. 

For more details, allow me to direct you to Achi Nikki aka AskMeWhats. Click here!!! She lists every single product in the box, plus she classifies them into groups like hair, face, etc. 

I hope that if this proves to be popular, which I think it really, really is, SM and Watson's makes more Beauty Boxes so other folks can get this too. Maybe they can make this into a monthly thing, yeah? Like a subscription box, but retail.

I'm really excited to dive into this box as there are a lot of new brands for me to try. I've been wanting essence since they've been made available in Canada and the US, but I procrastinate so... It's already here so yay! I have the Opal conditioner under a shower cap and towel on my hair right now. It smells good, so we'll see how it goes!

EWYG: Lovin' the Rain!

Eat What You Grow Update 1: My baby lettuce plant is not a baby anymore! He grew out of his baby cotyledon leaves and now he's sporting a bunch of fine grown-up leaves. He looks like a fine adolescent lettuce, yeah?

Also want to mention that we both love the rainy season. I don't have to water him at all, since it rains almost everyday. And on the days it doesn't rain, I always check on him and he looks just fine. (The soil is still damp and no, we do not want to over water. Plants do drown.) He looks nice and happy now and I can't wait 'til he's big enough to harvest.

Bonus point: How many times did I say "fine"? Lol.

Garden Project: Eat What You Grow!

My family and I live in an apartment so we don't have a garden. I actually envy those of you who have plots of land and soil. I really wanted to plant and garden, so I had to make do with little pots. My mum has a bunch of ornamental plants, so I decided I wanted something edible. This is my first shot at vegetable container gardening. At the middle or end of this little series, I want to be able to eat what I planted and grew, so wish me luck!  I hope it tastes good.

I bought a packet of lettuce seeds from the garden supply store near our home. It had a nice photo of fluffy purple loose-leaf lettuce on the packet, so I thought, "Why not?" The plastic pot I found at home, as well as the sack of potting soil I used. 

This is one week after planting. It germinated in about three days with it's little embryonic, cotyledon leaves. At seven days, you can see the first true leaf of my baby lettuce. It's adorable, and I can't wait 'til they're big enough so I can start munching on them. This little pot is the heart and soul of my challenge to myself: Eat what you grow!

I also wanted to introduce you to someone special. He used to be homeless, but he has taken up residence on and around our house with a bunch of his little buddies. His name is Grey. He is the cutest, feisty little kitty. He likes to take afternoon naps on my aunt's pots and squished plants. He also likes to bat with his paws whatever I dangle in front of him when I play with him after work. 

Grey is my favourite from the Cat Colony, with Spot a distant second. I tried to pet him yesterday, but I got a bit scared when after touching him with my finger, Grey turned around and started talking to me. I'm not familiar with cats at all, so I wasn't entirely sure if that meow-ing was hostile or friendly. We'll have to see how that goes.

NOTW: Splatter Nails

AKA the Graffiti Nails! These are super easy to do. I just used a straw, dipped it in my nail polish, and blew on my nails. It gets a bit messy so put something like paper towels, old newspaper or a rag on your surface. I have this huge UNIQLO catalog that I use and reuse. I love it.

This was really quick, easy and fun. I liked that no two nails were the same, and that resulting manicure had a bit of texture to it. Some might not like textured nails so that is one thing to consider. 

NOTW: Abstract Nails

Okay so I'm cheating a little here... This was actually last week's abstract nails. Oops! Not a tutorial, but there are tips down below to help out.

Another confession: I used to tape to get sharp triangles. My freehand is practically non-existent! My tape work was sloppy though, as you can see some smudges and bleeding. I used a peachy pink and a red from The Face Shop, a blue from Elianto and the green is Color Club's Wild Cactus, plus the usual OPI base and top coats.

Some tips for doing your own manicure like this:
  • Make sure each layer of polish is dry before putting on tape for the next color.
  • Use magic tape! Cello tape is too sticky.
  • Put on the lightest color first, then more opaque colors on top. Use any combo you like, go crazy!
  • You don't even have to do triangles, although it is the easiest and uses less tape. Make any geometric shape you like.
  • You can freehand your shapes, if you like! I just got lazy to tape and impatient for the polish to dry so I painted on the green immediately. You can see that it's more uneven than my reds and blues. Not a strong point for me.
  • Try to avoid getting polish on your cuticles and skin. I guess this goes for any manicure. That is my biggest waterloo. 

Color Club Wild Cactus

Just sneaking in a quick swatch after more than four months! I've been through a family ordeal, and I've only started to feel a bit normal now. As normal as it can get, anyway. 

Please excuse the sloppy painting job. I've got polish all over my skin and cuticles, meh. 

This is Color Club's Wild Cactus. I got this mini bottle of polish as an extra with my order from House of Flair. It's a good, solid emerald green, opaque with two coats. Not streaky at all! It applied very well and the consistency was good. Not thick but not too runny either. I can't remember if I put on a topcoat or not when I took the photo... Base coat was OPI Natural Nail Base Coat.

Itty-Bitty: Majolica Majorca's Lash King is on Sale!

Yes ladies, it's on sale! From PHP 795, Lash King is PHP 499 for a limited time only.  I got mine from MM at SM North EDSA. The SA told me that it's only until 27 February 2013. Both the Black and Brown Lash King are on sale! Head on over to the Majolica Majorca Philippines Facebook page to find out more.

Here's a photo of mine. Yipee!

Hong Kong Bites: Lei Bistro

One of my favorite restaurants in Hong Kong is Lei Garden. One of their branches is located across City Garden Hotel, my family's hotel of choice lately. Last time though, my cousin brought my mum and I to Lei Bistro for snacks. It has a more modern, casual vibe to it, compared to Lei Garden's formal banquet-style set-up. You can find Lei Bistro in the basement of Times Square in Causeway Bay. 

Please excuse my crappy photos. No matter what I did I could not get the lighting to work for me. Above are the usual dimsum fare in the steamers, hargow, siumai, and xiao long bao. These are classics, and they are all very tasty and juicy. Yum.

In the middle are my favorites. To the right is the crispy roasted pork that had me addicted to Lei Garden in the first place. It's almost fatless, and it is not kidding when it says crispy. You can hear it crunch from the next table, I swear. It comes with a mustard-type sauce, which I don't care for since it's too hot for me. And I must add, one serving is a big block of nine cubes. I was too excited and we ate a few pieces before I remembered to take a shot. 

The dish in the very middle is called Deep Fried Pastry with Shredded Turnips. I don't like turnips, but this made me sing praises. The pastry was very delicate, but it held the hefty turnip filling. It was not too oily either. The filling was hot and delicious and perfectly seasoned. My mouth is watering now as I recall that yummy experience.

Last but not the least, we had this crispy noodles dish with fried shrimps. (I'm grasping at straws here since I can't remember what it's called.) It doesn't look like much in the photo, but it was yummy and filling and it fed three people!

Lei Bistro is rather popular and like most good restaurants in Hong Kong, expect to wait minutes to an hour to be seated, even during supposedly off-peak times. To learn more about this Michelin starred restaurant (they have one star!) visit their website. It doesn't look updated though.

Have a Slice of Real Life: NBI E-Clearance-The Conclusion

Short update regarding the issue in this post. I went to NBI Main at Taft the following day. Best experience. Air conditioned waiting area at the lobby outside the room, fast data capture, and they gave me a receipt to claim. I didn't have a hit but apparently everyone who gets clearance for a visa will have to go through extra record checking and I had to go back in three days. I also went back to Ever Commonwealth after two to get the other one, since I paid for it.

To conclude, I recommend getting the E-Clearance from NBI Main at Taft if you need an NBI Clearance for any reason. It's very fast and convenient. You skip the encoding and payment steps, go straight to biometrics data capture and your clearance gets released if you don't have any issues. Just remember that you might have to go back in two weeks if you choose to have it done at another center. Also, read all the instructions and follow them to the letter. You can apply and find everything you need at the NBI website. Good luck!

Nautical NOTW: The Louis Tomlinson Inspired Nails

Ahoy mates! Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been bedridden for almost a week, and I'm due at the doctor's again tomorrow. I apologize for being incoherent now, since aside from my back pain, I'm experiencing some side effects from my meds. (mainly headaches, dizziness and nausea) For now, I offer a Nails of the Week post. Here are my rather messy Nautical Louis Tomlinson Nails:

Tada! I really like the theme of this. Stripes and an anchor, nautical, yay! But, I'm not entirely sure why I'm posting this. I think did a crap job. The dark blue base is uneven at the cuticles, and my lines are just plain weird. (Note to self: DO NOT rush a nail job late at night. You will regret it.) Kinda sad, since this was actually inspired by this photo below:

Can't remember where I got this photo. It's been sitting on my desktop for a while now.
Now, Louis "Tommo" Tomlinson is known for his love of stripes, yeah? And I really like this photo of him in particular. It helps that Liam (I like his old hair here, bless him) is holding Louis' nape while whispering in his ear. I spent most of the day in pain, and reposting One Direction stuff on Tumblr, while listening to their albums. Before I say goodbye, I present another LiLo photo, below, for good measure.

This is from tumblr. From a user named luliver or something, can't remember...

NOTW: Dorothy Who? + Nail Decal

Just a quick update for my Dorothy Who? nails. I stuck this cute little dragonfly on my left thumb! I love the texture it gave my nail and the orange on blue contrast made the dragonfly pop.

I bought a pack of these little buggers at a bookstore. They were actually labeled as scrapbooking accessories. I'm weird like that, I scoured the racks with M looking for things I can stick to my nails. A few days after putting on Dorothy Who?, I painted on a thick layer of base coat and positioned my dragonfly. I let it dry then finished off with a top coat.

Check out your scrapbooking section for other small tidbits you can use on your nails! My pseudo-nail deal was very cheap too. Only Php 10 for about a dozen of these. You might be able to find them cheaper in bulk or at hole-in-the-wall places.

Have a Slice of Real Life: NBI and E-Clearance

I interrupt the sort-of regular beauty programming with a snippet of... NBI's E-Clearance. This will be  short, promise. Last year, I was able to get my green copy NBI Clearance from Robinson's Metro East because my aunt was able to pull some strings. Now, I need another copy and I need it fast so I decided to try the E-Clearance since it was recommended by a friend. I completed the steps and printed my QR Code.

You have to print the QR code. They will email it to you as well.

I went to Ever Commonwealth since it was near my workplace. What happens is you skip the payment and encoding steps that take forever when you arrive, and you queue for the biometrics at this center. The problem was, they said that I had to go back on Jan 21 because they need to verify the E-Clearance payment-something-or-the-other. Because M and I cannot wait that long, I decided to try my luck at NBI Main tomorrow. I will get back on this topic soon. Please wish me luck!

NOTW: China Glaze's Dorothy Who?

Happy new year! My first post, and it's nail polish! Surprise surprise! I've been a bit more into nails lately, and I dare say that I am a bit inspired as of late. Also, the new year brings a life changing activity I am about to complete. Weeeell, it's actually just the start, but every journey begins with the first step!

This year, let me present to you China Glaze's Dorothy Who?! It actually, really has a question mark. Anywoo, it's an old release but I just around to using it recently. It's a blue jelly with silver and blue glitter in it. Absolutely stunning! I may have messed up application a bit, and I probably needed another coat. But still, super beautiful, isn't it? Here's another photo, and maybe I need a nicer, glossier top coat.

Products I used: OPI Natural Nail Base Coat, China Glaze Dorothy Who?, OPI Top Coat
I love this! I will be wearing Dorothy Who? again in the near future. Next time with three, thicker, more even coats and hopefully, a better top coat :)
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