my various life bugs

Posts tagged ‘Manila’

The pattern that revived my past love of Cross Stitch.

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Old flames never die, so they say.  In my case, the cross stitching fire rekindled in me when I saw on the rack of Dreams Yarnshoppe at Glorietta 5 this beautiful pattern by DMC.  The design was adapted from Manuel Baldemor’s painting, Good Harvest. 

What I love about this design first and foremost is the theme of bountiful harvest.  The people figures with blank faces make them relatable and gives way to the focus which is the harvest.  The colors are vibrant and punchy.  The combination of bold and geometric scheme on colors make the images jump out of the fabric.  Yet despite this audacious treatment of colors, the Filipiniana theme is not lost. 

All of that said, I found myself at the counter of said yarn shop clutching the pattern and several threads hoping that my darling hubby won’t disagree with this craft.  And fortunately, he agreed or should I say relented?

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Here’s my latest work in progress…

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I hope to finish this by December 2015 in time for Mr. Baldemor’s return to Manila from Canada so I can get his signature to grace the lower right of my canvas, recognizing that my work is an authentic reproduction of his painting albeit in cross stitch.

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CLARISONIC: The kind of clean that changed my skin

Every gal be it the beauty conscious or the plain curious would be interested in beauty stuff somehow.  So here I go again, curiosity biting me when I saw this beauty gadget for cleaning the face.  Its a gadget that tickles the techie side of me and for beauty, a combination that’s a no brainer for me.

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Clarisonic Mia 2 Limted Edition Surf design

So I read a ton of reviews and watched more youtube videos than I can handle before I took the plunge.  Currently, there are no official distributor here in the Philippines but there’s Ebay.ph and Sulit.com.ph for the brave souls.  Or you may order direct from Clarisonic or at Amazon.com for peace of mind then just reserve your angst while waiting for your package to arrive.

I went the local online route which is buying from sulit.com.ph and I received the real deal and in the color and print I love – the Clarisonic Mia 2 in Limited Edition Surf.

So what is the hoolabaloo all about?   The Clarisonic system is a skin cleansing system that more thoroughly removes impurities trapped in pores so your skin care products will be better absorbed by your skin.  Okay, honestly I don’t have beautiful skin and add to that adult onset acne which my dermatologist said is caused by hormonal changes due to my age.  Yeah right, I’m a 39 year old with an adolescent skin problem.  It all started with one or two pimples on the cheeks then the darkened scar that takes forever to lighten up is the culprit which makes my skin look just nasty dirty.

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Okay so here comes Clarisonic which right away I used twice a day.  I like that I have a choice of the cleanser I can use with it.  So far I dont have the perfect cleanser yet so to speak.  I just use whatever I have for the moment which is Clinique liquid soap, Burts Bees Sensitive Skin cleanser, Dr. Bronner’s peppermint castile soap, or Mommy Patch goats milk soap.  Liquid and bar soaps are great, thick cream cleansers I’m not too happy sbout.

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I only use a 1 minute cycle with 10 seconds on my chin, 20 seconds at the nose area, 10 seconds on my forehead, and 10 seconds for each cheek.  If I wore make up that day, I remove it first before using the Clarisonic just to be sure I take all the gunk out.  But I rarely use make up.  Make up for me is putting on a tinted sunblock then pressed powder and some lip cheek tint.  I don’t have the skill to paint my face thats why I go for the natural look.

What I like about the Clarisonic Mia 2:
1.  Very easy to use.  1 complete charge can give me half a month of use for 2x daily cleansing.
2.  The beepy reminders is convenient for letting me know more or less how much time I have left in the alloted minute.   I don’t want to overdo cleaning my skin so I like that it has a timer as opposed to the first Mia.
3.  I like that its water tight so I can use it under the shower without fear of zapping myself.
4.  Great that it has various brush heads to choose from depending on your skin condition.  I am currently using the sensitive brush that came with the unit but will try the delicate brush next.
5.  Wonderful that I bought the Limited Edition Surf design beacause it came in my favorite bluegreen color.  Actually, I could have gotten a light pink or an emerald green for a much lower price of about less than Php 2000 but I told myself if I will be using this for like forever then it should be in a color I would love handling on a daily basis.  It’s a costly decision but a dark emerald green I think would be an oddity in my hands.
6.  It conveniently reminds you that its losing power by buzzing slightly just after your 1 minute cycle ends. As if to remind you something is amiss.  When it happened the first time, I thought it was breaking down on me.  Oh no, my uber expensive gadget dying before I reached its maximum value.  Then I realized hmm, it’s telling me something, oh I need to charge it. Ladeedah!  I was joyful again.
7.  The gadget is solidly built. The plastic feels sturdy and the brush head attachments look ready for long term use.
8.  It has a plastic case perfectly shaped to hold it for those traveling moments.

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What I’m not so keen about it:
1.  The PRICE!!! Aaaargh!  My mind labored for a week finding the best deal and if I do need this in my life.  I knew my answer was yes since the first time I set sights on it at the net but then again Php 8000.00 you don’t stumble upon everyday.
2.  The rounded design is easy to hold and looks nice but try putting it on your sink and it will roll on the brush side which is not too great.  Maybe they can come up with a way that it will stay upright amd not roll like crazy all over.

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Do I recommend this?  Well, yeah!  (I initially wrote H over W but thought otherwise, censoring myself)  My skin feels smoother, looks cleaner and radiant.  I just had 2 pimples after I started using it but it died away instantly without scars and without dermatologist interference.  I felt my skin drinking the skin care stuff I put on it making it more effective.  And I think the reason I don’t breakout anymore is because my pores are clean and breathing well without any impurities clogging it.

If you have perfect skin and just want to get this out of curiosity and because you have extra moolah to spare, then don’t.  You don’t really need it.  But for the rest of us who are in one way or another are unhappy with their current skin condition then by all means, don’t think twice anymore.  Your skin will be thankful for it.  Mine did!

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Sample Room experience

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So, during the unexpected break of no school due to weather and holidays last week, I had time to reconsider my skincare regimen.  Looking at my current spread makes me wonder…are they still working for me?

I’ve been with Clinique for more than a decade and have stockpiled on some fave items but I’m not liking the condition my skin is in.

Thus another reason for me to search the web.  I then chanced upon the existence of Subscription boxes.  Currently, there are 4 I am aware of locally:

BDJ Box
Glamourbox
Orange Box
Salad Box

The above subscription boxes are are all on beauty products.  You subscribe for your choice of a month to 3 months delivery of beauty products for a specified amount ranging from Php 500.00 – 1,599.00 and you will receive a box filled with famous beauty brands and also some up and coming ones in sample sizes and full sizes.  You won’t know what you will receive but you are assured that the total price of the items in the box will be more than the amount you paid for.

I have been lurking at the websites of above-mentioned subscription boxes but haven’t taken the plunge yet.  Why?  Well, I am not very adventurous when it comes to products I put on my face.  When I need a specific item, I research it to bits comparing it to other similar products and learn which one will give me the best value for money.  Although receiving a big box full of goodies will tickle me pink inside, I might only like 1 or 2 items to justify the moolah I spent for it.  But I’m not totally closing my doors to this concept.  

So, here comes Sample Room.  This site offers new members with 100 points which they can use to get samples of products they wants to try.  The products featured has an assigned points rating.  You may only get a maximum of 3 products within your 100 points per transaction.  Then once you all ordered for them, you pay for the shipping fee of about Php 100.00.  Once you received them, you may road-test the product and send your review to Sample Room so when approved they will return to you the points you used for that product.  Then you may make another round of orders on samples again.  Neat right?

Okay, this idea of sampling is more my cup of tea.  I get to control the products I order.  It’s like asking for a trial size from the manufacturer before you take the actual plunge of buying the actual size at retail price.  Sometimes, the sample size is the actual selling size in the market which is great but entails also higher points.  So you need to be a VIP Member (for Php 599.00) to avail of more stuff you might like.  I still get this and understand the extra expense.  Have I piqued your interest now? 

All these being said, I signed up for Sample Room and became a VIP Member right away.  Why?  All the good samples have high points which I can only avail as a VIP member.  Oh, and to be quite honest, it was kind of a bummer when all the great products were out of stock but they do restock so if you are diligent in checking their website every now and then, like in my case 2x a day, then you will get dibs on the new stocks.

I made my first transaction with the following products:

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Colour Collection Gluta Whitening BB Cream SPF 30

–  I have never tried a BB cream yet and would like to know what the fuss is all about
–  colour of the BB cream is a more natural shade of brown for the Filipina complexion
–  product came in full size of 40 ml. which costs approximately Php 599.00 in retail

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Colour Collection Vitamin E Lipstick – Pinkish Nude (Sheer)

–  I need a very hydrating lipstick to give variety to my loyal Clinique Chubby Stick
–  I like that this is a sheer shade since I’m not too vavavoom with lip colors
–  product size is actual full size of 4g which costs Php 330.00 in retail

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Pevonia Enzyme- Spherides Peeling Cream 

–  I guess I need a dose of micro peel to renew my skin
reviews sated great results so far
–  sample size is 5 ml. which costs approximately Php 374.00; full size is 50 ml. costing Php 3,740.00

Experience on Sample Room service

The Up Side:

1.  Response to emails are instantaneous when you’re emailing them during office hours.  Realistically, maybe a lag of 10 minutes.  You won’t die waiting for 10 minutes so it’s an excellent waiting time for email response.   They respond right away, are courteous, helpful, and straight forward with their communication.

2.  Registration is eazy breezy.  You know, you just need basic knowledge with web surfing.  If you were able to sign up for a free email address at Yahoo!, then sign-up here is a no-brainer.
I paid for my VIP membership August 28 in the morning, got my 1000 points credit after an hour.  Ordered my items right away.  Paid for my shipping in the evening and voila!  Got my items at my doorstep on August 30 noontime via Xend.  I guess if I have paid for my shipping by noon that day I could have received my parcel the following day.  And to think I expected my package to arrive within 2 weeks, this feels like instant gratification!  Woohoo!

3.  Packaging is in a brown sturdy paper bag just like a loot bag sealed with a Sample Room logo.  I like that packaging is recyclable.  The lipstick was wrapped in bubble wrap for additional protection.

4.  Total value of my loot = Php 1,303.00 less my shipping cost of 100.00 less my VIP membership of 599.00.  I saved Php 604.00 with this transaction.  Great right?  The more I transact within the 2-month period, the more I gain.  Hmm, I’m liking this! Yippee!

The Low Side:

1.  There was a bit of a snag with my VIP Membership when I can’t order my chosen items due to my 1000 points not crediting properly.  But the operations team handled it all well for me that I never felt I had a bit to worry.  They solved it within 30 minutes.  So I guess this should not be on the low side after all.
2.  The list of items are mostly out of stock.  You have to snoop at the website every now and then.  But I think if you are a VIP member, you receive an email of items they restock so you get first dibs if you act immediately.  This is just on the low side for me because all the items I really want to try are all out of stock and I have no idea if it will be restocked soon.  

Conclusion:

Over-all, it was a good first transaction.  I am road testing the BB cream and the CC lipstick.  Hopefully I will like them enough to keep them in my stash.  Thank you Sample Room for a great experience so far!

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Girl with Hedgehog

Girl with Hedgehog

A girl with a hedgehog. This seems to be a painting commissioned by me. A girl with a thick cascade of thin frizzy hair with a hedgehog in the crook of her arm, all envisioned following the mystique of the famous Mona Lisa.

This lovely painting was done by Fatima Ronquillo and with her gracious permission is now the background art for my blog. I feel honored. Ms. Ronquillo is a self-taught artist, pure talent through and through. She is a Filipina whose art is now reknowned in the USA and is another addition to our Filipino pride. Visit her blog here at WordPress (www.fatimaronquillo.wordpress.com) and say “Mabuhay ka!” She’ll understand.

Mme. C sees purple

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Nikon D5100 with Nikkor 18-200 VR, ISO 16000, handheld, no PP.

Where:

My office shelf

Why:

I received a wonderful surprise today from the mail all the way from a land known as Hungary to most but known to me as a place where a thoughtful friend of mine resides.  To me she is warmly known as Bogi, a mom just like myself, an artist in her own right, a creative writer of sorts, and most of all a friend who remembers. 

Madame C is wearing a gift from Bogi.  A purple frock crocheted by obviously loving hands.  Thank you Bogi my friend for your lovely thoughts.

How:

Handheld shot with a cranked up ISO. Details are there with nice bokeh.  No fill flash.  Autofocus was searching for that sweet spot and I have to move about and distance myself.  Manual focus doesn’t quite nail it.  Also, have to do the shot inconspicuouly lest someone sees me.  It will look strange to others not in the SF circle. (chuckle, chuckle)

Sunrise outside my window

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Nikon D5100 with Nikkor 18-200 VR at 90mm, manual focus, handheld.

Where:

Beside my dresser cum work station at home is a window facing east.  Just outside is an old aratilles tree.

Why:

I start my mornings at 5:00 am sitting and contemplating the days worth of work noting down thoughts on my small notebook and beside this window. I take a quick bath and by the time I’m doing the usual ladies prepping,  the sky is lighted this way.  The mood is ripe for philosophical thoughts.

How:

Opened the screen cover of the window, brought out my cam and hanged it precariously out.  To get this shot, I needed to use the flippy screen, the top most feature of the D5100 I adore.  Although my heart pined for a D7000,  the flip screen of the D5100 was the practical choice for the way I do my shots which are mostly handheld.  Plus 1 point for the  D5100 here!

Blooms outside my office window

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Nikon D5100 with Nikkor 55-200 VR 175mm.

Where:

Just in front of my office beside my window is a bougainvillea given by my mother.

Why:

The blooms of this bougainvillea is my focal point during eye rests after staring for a long time at the computer. It has provided me shade during summer months and showers the office fascade with pale fuschia confetti of blooms after being shaken by slight afternoon winds. I noticed that wind picks up strength starting at 2:00 in the afternoon giving us a carpet of blooms by 5:00 pm.

How:

I positioned myself beneath the bougainvillea. I was playing with my apertures and manual focus.

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