11 Jan

My bag is heavy because of these


I know, my shoulder is screaming DUAL SIM PHONES. Three of them I own (some of the oldest models but they still work well—so cool) and inherited two from my mom who’s abroad, so I gotta take her calls. Maybe I should get one of these, THE CHEAPEST DUAL SIM PHONE ON THE PLANET:


that went as low as this — gaaahh!


php499 (about 12 bucks??), and php599, which is only about 15 bucks. Holy cow.

And if I want it with a camera, it’s just an additional 2 dollars:

Cherry Mobile C8 dual sim with camera

Cherry Mobile C8 dual sim with camera

Meanwhile, the phones don’t roll around in my bag knocking each other because I like to keep them in this nifty little CHEAPEST POUCH ON EARTH


50 pesos (less than a dollar) for the pouch, has 3 compartments. So I got two. Because I don’t need to spend as much as USD30 on this to house my old phones

The Montgomery Street Case from Acme Made

The Montgomery Street Case from Acme Made

I’m sure this is well made, and mine isn’t as padded or cushy, but I’ll settle for that 🙂



Brief Hibernation

10 Jan

Had too much food during the holidays, rolled into a corner and slept, then briefly woke up to loud thundering sounds and a show of lights in the sky

aaaand then rolled back into my corner…

To the superstitious, would you view this way of starting the new year as :

  1. a portent of EXCESS and ABUNDANCE or
  2. a year’s worth of  WASTED energies
  3. or a constant bout of LAZINESS

No matter, I will just have to try my best to cope with the curveballs fate will throw me this year. And all because I sold my soul for these delectable meal endings:

1) Delicious, frozen, chunky buko pandan salad that doesn’t skimp on the buko and the pandan gelatin. And not too sweet.

Nathaniel's Buko Pandan Salad

Buko Pandan Salad

2) Somebody brought a box of these to the house one time. And that was the only time I have eaten these because I still couldn’t get inside their store. J. Co Donuts: love the assortment, the flavors, the mild sweetness. Hate the looong lines. @%&*@!

J. Co Donuts

J. Co Donuts

3) Dulcelin Strawberry Cake. Comes frozen, best eaten frozen. Sponge cake part is dense and moist, with a chewy nutty layer in the middle. Best of all it is not sickeningly sweet.

Dulcelin Strawberry Cake

Dulcelin Strawberry Cake

It just replaced this cake as my favorite:

4) Estrel’s Lemon Chiffon Cake in Butter/Caramel Frosting. With Filling PLEASE.

Estrel's Caramel Cakes

Estrel’s Caramel Cakes. I just added the topper : printed graphics on vellum board, taped a toothpick on the back and stuck the whole thing on the cake.

On second thought, just thinking about Estrel’s cakes still makes my mouth water, so I’m just putting this on a very close second to Dulcelin’s.

Nathaniel’s also offers simple, savory meals and kakanin. Masarap sila magluto. They don’t have a website, so aside from the link to their facebook that only lists their Pampanga branch (where they originated), you could visit this site as well.

Dulcelin Gourmet also offers savory dishes which are good party-size alternatives to Conti’s.

J. Co, well, just follow the line.

Bargain Beauty

2 Jan

I love the discovery of cheap products that function well. I don’t want to buy very expensive makeup that would probably be predictably good, because

  1. I don’t wear makeup often.
  2. I have other purchases to make besides makeup.
  3. I should live below my means.

And I was surprised to find this works:

Nichido Eyeshadow (L) in Sugar Berry and Blush (R) in Sunkissed

Nichido Eyeshadow (L) in Sugar Berry and Blush (R) in Sunkissed

Why I like them:

  1. Swipe your finger on the product in the pot and it feels smooth and finely-milled.
  2. Transfer of product on skin (not on brush) is immediate, ergo
  3. Color is solid and even: one swipe can be enough.
  4. Lasts: does not wear off or wipe off easily.
  5. No adverse reactions from skin.
  6. Cheap!
L-R: saizen ellefar eyeshadow (darkest hue); nichido eyeshadow in sugar berry; nichido blush in sunkissed

L-R: saizen ellefar eyeshadow (darkest hue); nichido eyeshadow in sugar berry; nichido blush in sunkissed


THE Ingredients. (Sigh)


Of course, I may yet try this one by Human Heart Nature:

Mineral Eyeshadow

But I think the only thing good about it is THE Ingredients. (Sigh.) One review on their website confirmed what I always experience on a tester at cosmetic counters: it’s difficult to get any semblance of the color on the palette—you have to rub your finger repeatedly on the pan to get some color.

I think their blush has more promise:

hhn blush

On to other cheap but good, and cheap but not good:

saizen cosmetics

The eyeshadow quad at right does not apply evenly AT FIRST, but definitely blendable with a brush:

top row of swatches: applied with a finger; bottom row, applied with finger and then blended with a brush

top row of swatches: applied with a finger; bottom row, applied with finger and then blended with a brush

AND it doesn’t last, AND it had a metallic smell. Not to mention all the scary ingredients that are sadly quite common:

saizen ellefar eyeshadow quad

The foundation at left (three pictures above) came in a blister packaging but was discarded before I could take a photo. Anyway, this was the only kind that had ‘Chiffon Foundation’ printed on the compact. GOOD: applied with a brush, it left me with a light, smooth, even, and lasting finish/coverage. AND IT’S ONLY 88 PESOS (about 2 USD).

If I had known long before, I wouldn’t have bought this—my ONLY concession to expensive makeup (hehe, so far):

shiseido perfect smoothing compact foundation

This is a refill that already cost me almost php2,000 (about 47 USD), because the one with a case was about php3,000 (about 70 USD)! — bought early this year.

AND THEN I checked their website just now, and the cased one is just USD31.00 shiseido perfect smoothing compact foundation

What the bell?! I am so not in a good mood right now.

So, on with another great Nichido buy: their eyeliners. Namely:

top: mineral kohl pencil in ONYX; bottom: nichido minerals eye pencil in TIGER EYE

top: mineral kohl pencil in ONYX; bottom: nichido minerals eye pencil in TIGER EYE

Goes on EFFORTLESSLY. No fear of pulling your skin just to get solid, continuous application. AND IT’S ONLY php138.

top swatch: Nichido minerals in tiger eye;bottom swatch: NIchido mineral kohl in onyx

top swatch: Nichido minerals in tiger eye;
bottom swatch: NIchido mineral kohl in onyx

What not to buy in Saizen:

saizen eyeliner

This time the product is MIA and I am left with the packaging. But take my word for it, it is almost like trying to use drag a pencil that’s made to write on paper to draw a line on your skin. The words ‘drag’ and ‘skin’ shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence.

Aido seems good as well. Ever Bilena, not so much.

What I don’t like with these local inexpensive brands are their LIPSTICKS. They’re either too matte or too bright.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Makeup is like fashion. As long as it has the basic, proper elements— as with makeup, an even color/shade application/coverage; and with fashion, a nice fit and finish of the sewn details—and that you wear it with confidence, cheap can be tasteful.

I’d love to know what else is out there. (Elf is a bit overrated, I think.) Here’s to a frugal 2013!




For The Hair Up There: Tresemme, etc.

1 Jan


It’s always a good thing when new products come out in trial sizes. Consumers would be less hesitant to try it out, or give it as gifts.


So I got a pack, tried it out, and liked it. It was good for my thick, coarse asian hair, the kind that doesn’t fall back in place when you shake your head, and fluffs up in humid conditions. Bleh.

My hair also loves the Pantene (and this conditioning mist) and Rejoice products (Procter & Gamble), Dove, and the less expensive, commercial Loreal line (Elseve / Total Repair). Ironically, the pricey Kerastase didn’t work well on my hair — it left my hair a bit sticky and heavy..

Not surprisingly, just like the others mentioned above,  Tresemme (Unilver) contains a lot of these unhealthy ingredients:


tresemme conditioner

Apparently, the bad stuff makes my hair softer. Because unfortunately the good stuff doesn’t make my hair as soft:

human heart nature

Of course, this would probably work well on finer, naturally smoother hair. However, I want to try this so much:

100% Natural Smoothing Hair Serum

And even though I already tried this, and it’s not greasy and doesn’t weigh hair down, I’m just going to stick with using it on my skin:

Sunflower Seed Beauty Oil *

Or maybe I will still use it to apply on hair, like a treatment, before I wash my hair. I love Human Heart Nature because their products are non-toxic and they don’t cost an arm.  Check out their website to see why they don’t use certain ingredients. And if you want to take it a step further, like using the simplest ingredients to wash your hair — baking soda /vinegar / apple cider vinegar / lemons; egg / honey / olive oil / bananas / avocadoes to condition, etc. — you can start with these websites:

care2 website

the daily green website

And a lot of other websites that inform about green living, or at least do-it-yourself natural bath and body products. Because unless we encase ourselves in a plastic bubble, there will always be something toxic in what we’re using, breathing, eating, etc. So we do what we can to make up for those little bad elements that could add up. Here’s to a healthier 2013!

Nail Vanity

27 Dec

A 200-peso bottle of nail polish is a splurge for me. php300? Maybe. php500? That’s a bag of groceries.

About a month ago I got this Revlon one (color name: Mischievous. price: php225, or about 5bucks) at a department store because I wanted to try on the stone-colored/mud-colored polishes that are in this cold, holiday season. Length of time to decide to buy: 30 mins.

And then about a week ago, I saw this small bottle of Sassy putty-colored polish called Coffee Brown (very milky coffee) at Watson’s SM Annex for 19 pesos or about half a dollar. Length of time to decide to buy: 2.5 seconds.

I also got a brownish-maroon polish at php100 (or about 4 dollars) at a kiosk called Girl Stuff, which only sells nail polish. The saleslady said they have the same composition as the bag-of-grocery equivalent, and that the polishes are formaldehyde-free and toluene-free. I like that. Length of time to decide to buy: 10 seconds.

L-R: Girl Stuff, Sassy, Revlon

L-R: Girl Stuff, Sassy, Revlon

L: Sassy Coffee Brown, R: Revlon Mischievous

L: Sassy Coffee Brown, R: Revlon Mischievous

Sassy verdict:

  1. Turned out to be more flesh-colored than cement-colored
  2. Formula seemed a bit thin or diluted, you need to apply at least 2 coats so color will look even.
  3. Ease of application: ok, but only because the formula was very fluid.

Revlon verdict:

  1. Had a bit of bluish tinge–but only very slightly.
  2. Color is more concentrated, formula is thicker, and you can get away with just one coat.
  3. I found that application gets a bit more challenging as the formula gets thicker. It was still not easy applying it evenly– I would either be over- or under-applying.
  4. Toluene- and formaldehyde-free: Yay!

Girl Stuff verdict:

  1. This may be toluene and formaldehyde-free, but it gave off a stronger (unpleasant) smell than most other polishes.
  2. Very thick formula, so it was a bit tricky to apply.
  3. This was the only color I liked in their line, so I don’t think I will repurchase. So to start getting some of my money’s worth, I ended up putting this one on 🙂


I still like nail polishes in these colors, very flattering to my skin color, and very Berenice Marlohe.


Well, kind of. I am not going to sport dark polish on long nails.

And to make your polish last, I recommend Etude House Jelly Pop top coat.

top coat to use: Etude Jelly Pop (L); base coat in photo: San San colorless polish from HBC

top coat to use: Etude Jelly Pop (L); base coat in photo: San San colorless polish from HBC

Then I use an acetone-free polish remover from Lander, which I only see in Landmark department store:


Acetone-free is supposed to be good.


It may contain methanol instead, which this article says is even more harmful than acetone, especially when it comes into contact with skin.

YIKES. Now I have a dilemma. Because I can’t give up nail polish yet, especially on my toes. I try not to leave the house wearing open-toed shoes without nail polish on. And I rarely wear closed shoes.

So until my favorite local healthy-beauty company comes up with a line of nail polish, I’m just going to have to make up for that toxicity by using other less-toxic products in my beauty routines, and eating healthy, etc.

For the meantime, I’m loving my painted toenails.


Looking Forward To The Markdowns After Christmas

27 Dec

At SM The Block, Nature Republic got me excited about their 50% discount on some major face creams

nature republic

Everything in this section of the store (shown below) are 50% off (until supplies last). Everything else is 10%-20% off.

nature republic

They heralded their natural ingredients


And so then I was so going to get this (this will only be php500 – or just over 10 bucks – after discount)

nature republic argan nutrixer

But stopped when I read the ingredients Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Propylene Glycol… thanks.  I am limiting my toxic or highly-probable-toxic compound intake, and I refuse to be sucked into the fancy advertising campaigns. No matter how pretty. I am sticking to my locally-produced, very reasonably priced, healthy skincare:


Human Heart Nature boasts of using over 90% natural ingredients in their products, and that they eliminate the downright bad chemical ingredients out of them (SLES, parabens, mineral oils, phtalates, etc.–really scary stuff).


Some of their other items:

human heart nature products

I’m not a dealer, I’m just a big fan of non-toxic products. Check out their website.

Bye, Nature Republic. Thanks, Miss Salesperson, you’ve been nice and helpful anyway


Hello, Mango sale


and the store beside you is on sale, too


And a host of other stores are on sale as well. That is why I held off going on a shopping spree before the holidays. Hope I still have money.

The Grinch After Christmas

27 Dec

Wait, what? That was it??


A family member of ours was in the hospital…

We woke up to the sound of ambulances and fire trucks

because a big fire burned down a house and killed its inhabitants early Christmas morning—

while we watched helplessly from only a block away.

There were no songs playing in the house, tv wasn’t turned on, no excited chatter among milling family members—we have a rather big, extended family all living together–kind of.

The living room was empty!


And the next day, I went to the mall, and there were more people than there were right before Christmas!

So why was I there? Because I went to my dentist.

The Metro Manila Film Festival may well be one of the factors to the surge of mall population because the cinema areas were so packed



This was at the theaters at The Block which wasn’t as bad as in the main mall, where I couldn’t take a picture because I couldn’t even stick my hand in my bag to take out my camera. We were like sardines in a can, or the MRT during rush hour.

Consequently, lines to the parking places and the toilets were long.

So why was I grumpy again? Oh yeah. I got my period.


Good thing animals are funny.

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