Saturday, July 30, 2011

Great Beauty Finds for Under ₱100

Reality check: Money doesn't come easy nowadays. But that doesn't mean our looks have to suffer! Luckily, my sister and I found really good beauty items, each worth less than 100 bucks! We got the following bargains:

1. L'Oréal Paris Total Repair 5 
Their promo comes in 180 mL bottles for both shampoo and conditioner, costing ₱99 each. It fights 5 hair problems, namely: hair fall, dullness, dryness, roughness, and split-ends... My hair has all those issues, alright! I haven't tried the shampoo but my hair's been more decent ever since I started using their conditioner. It's softer, healthier, and it smells good, too.

*Note: It's also available in sachets and smaller bottles.

2. Glam Works' Nose Pore Strips
Ever been bothered by those tiny hairs around your nose? Or spent hours squeezing out your blackheads? Well good news, dear! You can have your solution for just ₱89. All you have to do is wet your nose with water, put on the nose strip, wait for 10-15 minutes to dry,  peel it off and voila! A cleaner and smoother nose instantly. 

*Note: Make sure the strip dries on every nook and cranny of your nose for better results. It can also be used by men as proven by our guinea pigs, Kuya Rap & Kuya Martin.

3. Maybelline's LipSmooth Color Bloom
I remember the first time my sister and I used this. I glided the white balm on my lips and my sister said, "Hey! It says 'lip color' on the package. Why isn't there any color? So that's why it's only 99!" And so I reapplied the balm over and over. But when we looked at the mirror, it was like watching magic as my lips slowly turned deeper and deeper shades of pink. We looked at the package again. We missed the part that reads, 'Color Changing Lip Balm'. Lol!

*Note: Apply lightly. The color actually pops even with just one application. It gives your lips a natural tint that's great for daily use.

All products mentioned were purchased at Watson's. But you can also check a drug store near you. 


The Taming of Mr. Thornton

I was at Power Books last week waiting for a friend when I saw Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South. I haven't read the book but I was familiar with the story because BBC made a TV mini-series adaptation of the novel. A few years back while channel surfing, something caught my eye. It was a period drama about 1800's England, the cultured and socially-driven South in contrast to its more bold and industrial North. On top of which, it's a love story!

BBC adaptation
Margaret Hale and John Thornton, the protagonists, couldn't be more different. She's a lady and daughter of a former clergyman from the South, he's an owner of a mill in the North. The first time they met couldn't be more disastrous. Margaret saw John beating the crap out of his employee for smoking in his cotton factory. In her opinion, he was a brass, uncultured tradesman. While he thought her haughty, he can't deny that she's beautiful and intelligent.

Throughout the story, their knowledge of each other deepened. John's overbearing mother disapproved of Margaret because she thought all Southern ladies' greatest ambition was to marry a nice, rich man. Of course in his mother's eyes, John was the most desirable of them all (I thought so, too!) and that Margaret was entrapping her son by saving him from a mob of strikers. Though John downplayed his mother's suspicions, he proposed to Margaret. She rejected him (the lunatic!). She thought he just wanted to save her reputation and not because of love.

John was devastated and left. But he couldn't stop himself from visiting Margaret. One day he went to the Hales only to be turned down admission. Margaret's fugitive brother Frederick, was in the house to see their dying mother and she was afraid to tell anyone outside their household lest her brother be arrested. John once again left the house more hurt than ever.

The dastardly handsome
John Thornton
When Margaret went to see her brother off the train station, someone from their past recognized them. They brushed him off and hurriedly hugged and said goodbye. Well, wouldn't you know it, John himself witnessed this exchange of affection! He thought she turned him down because she already has a "lover". News reached John's mother and she quickly noted what kind of a woman Margaret was prancing around in the middle of the night embracing strangers.

As luck would have it, the man who recognized the siblings died and soon inquisitions were made. Margaret was questioned but denied she was at the train station. Mr. Thornton covered for Margaret which led to her clearance. When she knew of this, she realized she was in love with him (finally!). Margaret became an orphan and her godfather left her a substantial inheritance. She went back to the South to be with her relatives.

John's business suffered heavy losses. He finally learned of Margaret's brother and that she didn't have a "lover" after all. He went after her to the South while she decided to go back North. They met half-way at the train station and confessed their love for each other.

 John and Margaret
Classic love stories sometimes are so over dramatic and sappy that I couldn't bear it. Although I haven't finished reading the book, I can already tell that there are differences and that I like the TV adaptation better. Of course the book will be more detailed thus I feel, character flaws are more distinct. The adaptation highlighted the protagonists more and although flaws were shown, it was tolerable. Also it had such subtle and gentle way of showing the "kilig" factor. Not to mention the actor who played John, Richard Armitage (sigh...), suited the part to a T. He worked so well with Daniela Denby-Ashe (Margaret) you wish they were the real thing! So next time you're in the mood for a romantic watch, why not try North and South and say, "Much obliged, Mr. Thornton!".

Rating: 4.5/5


Friday, July 29, 2011

Fo' You

From the tip of my toes
To the roots of my hair,
RAGE that boils
Like a magma flows.

A heady scent
of HATE, I fear
Starts to engulf
The air I breathe.

Total darkness
I can not see;
What's to be?


I tried to look
But couldn't see
High and low
I saw not me

Where did I go
What did I do
Is it too late
Quickly, quickly

Among the shade
Beyond the shadows
I caught a glimpse
Could it be

I couldn't tell
I mustn't stare
How could I not
It's glaring back
at ME

Falling in Love @ Burgoo

After watching the Harry Potter Series finally come to its end, my sister and I felt sad. (If you're a Harry Potter fan, you probably felt the same way, too.) We decided to drown our sorrows with what lifts our mood best...FOOD! :))

It was my sister's treat (as usual) so she asked me where I'd like to eat dinner. All that crying over HP 7 must have worked up my appetite. By that time, my stomach didn't really care. It just wants to be fed! We were in the mall so I pointed to the nearest restaurant. It's called Burgoo and it was my first time to eat there.

Huge servings
As we took our seats on a cozy corner, I immediately liked the place. Instead of tablecloths, the tables were lined with white paper where customers could doodle on with crayons which they also provide. It's a creative way for kids and 'kids at heart' like me to pass time until their food arrives.

But we didn't have to wait long for our food to be served, much to my grumbling stomach's delight. First off, we had Mozzarella sticks for appetizers. They were crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, plus the tomato dip complimented it well.

For main courses, my Ate had Pork chops with rice and corn and carrots. She made me taste it; It was delicious! I had Seafood Au gratin* which was served as a pasta dish. And my god, it's heavenly! I love it! It had all the clams, mussels, and fish meat going on but you'd be surprised how light it is.
Raspberry Cheesecake 

We had to unbutton our pants to make room for dessert. We had ordered Raspberry Cheesecake and were a bit disappointed that it didn't have actual raspberries. But it turned out to be so good we forgave it. Ate Faye tasted it first. She said, "You have to try this! (As if I needed urging) It will lessen your fullness." She was right. When I took my first bite, I knew it was my first 'real' cheesecake. It was rich, salty, and it was meant to be served with the tangy raspberry sauce so as not to overwhelm you with its 'cheesy-ness'.

We realized that we ordered more than we could chew. The servings in Burgoo are big. (Even for us!) One serving is big enough for two so we still had leftovers to take home. My sister and I went home happily with lighter hearts and more than satisfied palates.

Rating: 4.25/5


Burgoo - 3F The Block SM North EDSA, Quezon City

*au gratin (French). adj. covered and cooked with browned breadcrumbs and sometimes cheese.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Of Friends and Blisters

Last May, as a birthday treat to myself, I went to Hong Kong & Macau with my friend, Che. Although we have been friends since the 3rd grade, it was the first time we traveled together. We were so excited even though we knew that budget will be our limitation.

She luckily found a promo airfare from Cebu Pacific while I booked a small room at a charming little inn called The Lee Gardens Guest House in Cameron Road. We were to stay there for 4 days & 3 nights including a detour to Macau to watch the "House of Dancing Water" show.

We were right to expect that it will be an unforgettable experience. While planning for months heightened our anticipation, it didn't guarantee a fool proof trip. We did get into some hilarious missteps. Like missing our bus stop thus making us lose an hour of our lives finding our inn. The words "Lost in Translation" kept popping in my head as we ask the locals where our hotel is.  Different intonations of "Cameron Road?", "Cameron Road?" were uttered to a couple of taxi drivers which earned us vigorous head shakes & ejection from the vehicle.

Me & Che at the Ruins of St. Paul
Of course we did smarten up in no time. Che learned that a map can be read topside up, upside down and even sideways. I learned that blisters can develop in a matter of hours (I had a total of six on both feet!). A friendly staff in our hotel pointed us to a nearby alley lined with local restos. Not only were the food delicious, they were cheap as well. The highlight of our trip though, was when we found out that our seats for the HoDW show was on the edge of the stage. Now, notice that the title of the show has "water" in it. Yes, it meant we were drenched to our very core. I mean, I was shivering for about a third of the duration of the show!

But it was all part of the fun. Che & I were laughing our heads off every time we were splashed with water (the show did provide towels) or when the performers (close enough to touch) popped out of the pool and tried to intimidate and scare us. We were having the time of our lives, problems were forgotten for one & a half hours. Gymnasts, acrobats, actors, dancers, swimmers and divers performed in one spectacular funfare. It was a show like no other.

On our last day, with our wallets considerably lighter (I had HK$ 5 left!), we sadly said goodbye to Hong Kong, our carefree & responsibility-less days. When I saw my friend a few days ago, she asked me where we should go next. I smiled as flashes of those fun-filled moments crossed my mind. Hmm... I'm not sure. Any suggestions?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today I Don't Feel Like Doing Anything

It's been raining all day so I basically spent it by lying on bed and listening to my iPod. One artist struck me in particular. The melody of his songs are light yet moving, the lyrics are well-written (I later found out that he wrote and produced all his songs with his team called 'The Smeezingtons'), and his voice is just beautiful. It's the perfect feel-good playlist.

I'm talking about Bruno Mars and his debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans. It consists of his hits like the sweet love song "Just the Way You Are" and the martyr-themed "Grenade".  Also the carefree "Marry You" which talks about youths jumping into marriage, the poignant "Talking to the Moon" for the heartbroken, and the friendship song "Count on Me". His songs are fresh and relate-able. The song that I can relate to the most today is definitely "The Lazy Song". Haha!

Other songs by Bruno Mars that are unfortunately not included in the record are "Nothin' on You" and "Billionaire" where he was featured by fellow artists B.o.B and Travie McCoy, respectively. Personal favorites are his version of Brandy's ballad, "Long Distance" and his new uplifting song, "Today My Life Begins".

It's now 11 in the evening and it's still drizzling. I better crawl back to bed and push the replay button. Can't get enough of Bruno! :)


Hello, Harry!

You could say it was love at first sight. I was in my last year of college when I first laid eyes on Harry. There I was minding my own business when my uncle gave my little brother, Rap, a set of books. Little did I know my world will never be the same.

They were the first 3 books of the Harry Potter series. I read Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban first because my brother was still reading the other two. I couldn't believe that I liked... no wait, loved this children's book! I  mean, I'm supposed to be a teenager full of angst, cursing & hating my life. Instead, I was giddy like a little girl.

You see, I was transported to another world. A magical world to be exact. Where instead of a cellphone as a must-have, you get to have a wand; where your best friend is a giant & your pet is an owl. I always thought that my Chemistry professor was a "terror" but found out she's a saint compared to Snape.

Harry Potter is not just a book. It is a story most of us can relate to. It mirrors some of the things we go through and a place to escape to when "real life" becomes chaotic . I guess the child in me hasn't grown up yet but I'm glad I met a friend called Harry.