Wednesday, June 26

Travel: Bath & Body Works Toiletries

Another hotel toiletry brand I love is Bath & Body Works. I got some from Villa Montes, a boutique hotel in San Bruno, California. It was near enough San Francisco, and we needed an affordable and spacious hotel that was within our budget. Hotels in the city are so expensive and tiny, so Villa Montes really fit the bill. Free internet and printing too!

Okay, back to the toiletries. They were in tiny 1 fl. oz. bottles, even smaller than Bath & Body Work's retail-available travel sized 3 fl. oz. The hotel had it in Rainkissed Leaves scent, except the mouthwash, which was in mint. Rainkissed Leaves has this crisp and refreshing scent that smells really good. It really reminded me of the rain.

We stayed for about 5 days in the hotel, and just imagine how many sets I got. I am set for all my travel needs. <Insert evil laugh here> I will definitely come back.

Note to hotel management: Take it as a good sign if your guests take home your toiletries with them. :) It's a sign of good service. Well, at least for me.

Other hotels that carry this toiletry brand are Marriott and Wyndham hotels.

Wanna know what the best looking toiletry brand for me is? I wrote about it here.

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Tuesday, June 25

Baby: My Top 10 from Villa Oasis

One of my all-time favorite baby/toddler clothes stores to shop at is Gap. I was checking out Gap's website, and they have this Villa Oasis collection which reminded me of the beach. I am still longing for the beach. Summer's officially over in the Philippines, and I haven't been able to visit the beach this year. Hmm, there's no stopping us though, it's kinda hot all the time here.

The color combination in this collection is navy, aqua, white and teal. There's a hint of yellow and gold there too.

I love shopping for my little girl. So whenever I get that chance to grab some cute items, I do. Here are my top 10 items that I'd love to get for Allie.

Dinner at the beach:

01 V-neck cardigan. This is a 100% cotton light-weight cardigan that is perfect for a windy night. I like that it's in white so Allie can wear it with anything. It's easy to clean too if it gets stained.

02 Zig zag dress. I can picture Allie wearing this dress for a dinner. I love the chevron pattern -- it's so uso now even for kids. There's smocking at the back too. Another plus? I can get a similar outfit so that we're matching. Haha.

03 Strappy patent sandals. Allie's into sandals now, and this seems to be a good piece to be used with different outfits.

Daytime walk with mom:

04 Contrast bow top. This top has puffy sleeves and the bow and stripe details remind me of a sailor outfit.

05 Bow geometric skirt. Can't this skirt get any cuter? The jewel tones of the sea and white just makes it so refreshing. The print reminds me of stained glass patterns and sea glass.

06 Diane von Furstenberg x baby Gap color block sandals. I got this for Allie a while back, so I just had to put it in here. I wish they made this in my size too.

Pool and beach time:

07 Floppy canvas sun hat. In addition to sunscreen, it's important to wear hats so toddlers' faces won't get burned. The floppy brim makes sure that the face is under the shade.

08 Asymmetrical geometric one-piece. Here's another piece that reminds me of stained glass. Just adorable.

09 Bubble knit shorts. Allie has this in pink and she loves wearing it. I think it's a cute cover-up after playing at the beach.

10 Embellished flower jelly sandals. Another one of Allie's outfit staples is the jelly sandal. I think she wore hers until it didn't fit anymore. Her lola gave it to her. It's also from baby Gap but in blush. This light blue jelly sandals would look cute on her too.

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Monday, June 24

Event: The Return of the Vintage Pizzas

One of the California Pizza Kitchen experiences that I remember is when my friends and I went to Alabang Town Center more than 10 years ago (oh em gee I'm old), and we got the Peking Duck pizza. I loved it so much that I was so disappointed when they took it off the menu.

I got so giddy when I received this invitation to try out their vintage pizzas, Peking Duck included. I just had to go. I even asked my husband to change cars with me (I was coding* that day) so I can go to Makati.

*To my dear non-PH readers, we have this system in Metro Manila where you can't use your car based on your plate one day a week. This is to lessen the volume of cars on the road. We have an open window from 9 am to 3 pm when you can use any car, with the exception of the sovereign state of Makati. 

Right before they brought out the vintage pizzas, the good people of CPK sent out shots of their soups: Sedona Tortilla and Mushroom Cappuccino.

Sedona Tortilla Soup: Tomatoes, tomatillos and corn with mild creen chillies and
Southwestern spices Garnished with tortilla strips
Mushroom Cappuccino Soup: Fresh button mushrooms, abalone and Shiitake cream soup
topped with milk froth and nutmeg

They also had us taste their Moroccan Chicken Salad. The reason I haven't had this yummy salad before is that I always go with my comfort food at CPK -- their Thai Crunch. But after having this one, I am surely going to get this again. What I love about it are the squash, dates and avocado. Although I haven't had the acquired taste for beets, the beets in this salad do not taste too earthy so I still like it.

Moroccan-spiced chicken, Romaine, roasted squash, dates, avocado,
toasted almonds, beets, chopped egg, carrots, dried cranberries
and bell peppers. Tossed with honey Dijon vinaigrette.

CPK brought back five vintage pizzas with their original topping formula, with a new hand-stretched pizza dough. It's lighter and puffier than their old crust recipe.

Goat Cheese Pizza -- my current favorite. It's a veggie pizza yet I was a convert!

Goat cheese, Mozzarella, sauteed onion, grilled eggplant, red and yellow peppers
with tomato sauce. Garnished with parsley.

Tostada Chicken Pizza -- it's like an open soft taco.
Southwestern black beens, Monterey Jack, Queso Quesadilla and grilled chicken breast
topped with lettuce, chunky fresh tomato salsa, ranch dressing, scallion greens
and crispy tortilla strips.

Santa Fe Chicken Pizza -- if you're a burrito lover, you're going to love this one.
Grilled chicken breast, caramelized onions, Mozzarella cheese. Topped with cilantro,
chunky fresh tomato salsa, sour cream and fresh guacamole

Teriyaki Chicken Pizza
Teriyaki chicken strips, Mozzarella, Queso Quesadilla, red and yellow
peppers, red onions, slivered scallions with a Teriyaki-ginger sauce

Peking Duck Pizza -- it was served two ways... one was wrong -- instead of Shiitake, they put in black beans. Haha.

Roasted duck, Shiitake mushrooms, Mozzarella and hoisin ginger sauce. Garnished
with fried wontons, hoisin ginger sauce and slivered scallions.

DEAL ALERT: For you vintage pizza lovers, CPK also has this promotion where you get this CPK Vintage Passport when you order a vintage pizza. Every time you order a vintage pizza, you'll get a stamp. Once you collect 5 stamps, you will receive P500 worth of CPK gift certificates. This promotion will run from July 1 to August 31, 2013. Redemption is valid until 60 days from end of promo period. 

We also participated in a Vintage Pizza quiz where we answered some trivia on the pizzas they served. In return, we got awesome vintage necklaces. Each one was different. I got a cute Eiffel one.

Thank you CPK Philippines!

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Friday, June 21

Baby: Keep Them Busy With Arts and Crafts

We spent one afternoon at my parents' house, and we did not bring Allie's iPad that contained all her Phineas and Ferb, Barney and Disney Jr. videos. It was a great thing that we left it at home because I got to show and teach her some crafty stuff to do.

I decided to let her do a card made from stuff we found lying around: one A5 sheet of sketch pad, plain colored notepads, and glue.

I folded the sheet in two. Then sketched a heart in front. Using the notepad, we tore them into small squares. I had her glue the pink and peach squares down on the heart part. Then, we glued the purple squares around it.

She loved doing it! And I enjoyed teaching her. 

I told her to draw on the inside too.

Here she is displaying her piece of work.

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Wednesday, June 19

Beauty: Shu Uemura's Cleansing Oil

A few weeks back, I ordered some Shu Uemura from Taste Central. It was my first time to get some Shu Uemura stuff. I read about it online, and was swayed into buying. Did I mention ads and good reviews work for me? Haha.

I got a couple of Shu Uemura sets. Each one has the following -- cleansing oil, UV under base mousse and tsuya skin.

Using oil to remove make-up was something I've heard of before, but you know, not in the Shu Uemura sense. When I was in high school, I tried removing my heavily made up face (it was prom) using baby oil on cotton to no avail. It was hard to remove. Of course, my face was left greasy and all. Icky. I had to wash my face with facial wash twice, maybe more. I didn't use it again.

I've tried my fair share of different makeup removers, and although I've been satisfied with a couple of them -- see my post here and here, it never stopped me to try this one.

Image from Into the Gloss
Liv Tyler uses it, and her face looks amazing.

So anyway, for you who's trying this for the first time, I am super sure you will love it. I love how my face feels after every use of this product. It leaves my skin feeling soft and radiant; I think I am hooked. I try to use it every time I wear makeup. Here's how I use it:

[1] Take about 5-8 drops, or about a shallow pool on your palm that's smaller than a penny. If you have the pump one, about 1 to 1-1/2 pumps will do. (It's recommended for you to use 4 pumps, but I find that less works well too.)

[2] Massage into your face for about a minute. Start on your cheeks and forehead. End on your eyes/lids and lashes. I swear it melts the heaviest of makeups. But be careful, although it's gentle to the eyes, the tiniest bit of oil will make your vision blurry. Easy enough to remove. Use some eye drops or contact lens solution. It works on your lips too but I'm too scared to use it there.

[3] Wet you hands and rub gently on your face. This will emulsify the oil; it will turn into a milky white substance. Continue to massage it for about 20 seconds more.

[4] Rinse with water. It really doesn't leave that greasy feeling.

[5] Dry with a soft towel.

If it's hard to follow, watch this video from Shu Uemura on how to use their cleansing oils.

I think Taste Central still has the Shu Uemura Summer Fresh set on sale here. Only P840 plus P100 shipping.

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Tuesday, June 18

Event: Christchurch -- See Through My Eyes

Tom Hoare, 11 years, Mt Pleasant School – “Driving in my community is a lot harder than usual.”

Christchurch Children Tell Their Story in New Zealand Earthquake Photo Exhibit
The New Zealand Embassy, in cooperation with UNICEF, is bringing to Manila the photography exhibition entitled “Christchurch: See Through My Eyes”.
          The exhibition showcases photographs taken by 24 children from Christchurch, New Zealand, and illustrates how the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes affected their lives and communities.

Karina Croitoru, 11 years, St Martins School – “A little help from steel containers keep Sacred Heart Cathedral up.”

          New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Reuben Levermore said: “We hope that the exhibition will encourage people to reflect on how best to prepare for disasters, including here in the Philippines.”
          New Zealand is a long-standing development partner of the Philippines. The New Zealand Aid Programme supports disaster risk reduction and management projects in the Philippines aimed at building greater resilience against future disasters. New Zealand has also extended humanitarian assistance to communities affected by natural disasters, including Tropical Storms Bopha and Washi, which devastated parts of the southern Philippines in each of the past two years.  This includes support for UNICEF activities.  
          For his part, UNICEF Philippines Representative Tomoo Hozumi remarked: “The countries on the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ – be it the Philippines, New Zealand, or Japan – share the challenge of high susceptibility to major disasters, which is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. Forms of expressive activity, such as photography, help in the psychosocial recovery of the affected children. I hope this exhibition enhances understanding, compassion and commitment to disaster awareness and preparedness.”
          For the “See Through My Eyes” exhibition, the young photographers, aged 11 to 14, participated in workshops led by professional photographer and ICT educator Stuart Hale, from whom they learned basic skills for taking quality digital photos and how to compose a shot to communicate their thoughts and ideas. Every young photographer also provided a caption to their photos.

Jade Harrison-Best, 12 years, South New Brighton School – “This is my Earthquake Dog. We adopted her after February 22nd.”

“See Through My Eyes” will run from 21 June to 5 July 2013 at the Water Dragon Gallery, Yuchengco Museum in Makati City.
# # #
For further information, please contact:
New Zealand Embassy Manila, Telephone: 8915358
Mitch Duran, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Philippines, Telephone: 9010113;

Jingjing Romero, PR Consultant, STRATOS Inc., Telephone: 4332626;
Mobile: 09178532415;
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Monday, June 17

Fashion: Lulu Guinness x Uniqlo Collab

So I told you about my first trip to Uniqlo. Never have I been so thankful there was a delay in getting new styles to the Philippines. I was able to grab a few Lulu Guinness tops. They are uber comfy, and the cut is very flattering. They are my favorite tops now. Most of them are black and white so they can be worn with any color. They are only P790 a pop, so grab some now why don't ya?

Speaking of, you can get your fun and quirky Lulu Guinness handbags and accessories for up to 50% off. Yup, they are on sale.

Look, here's the exact peeping doll design from the Uniqlo UT collection.
Peeping Doll Zoe $360  $180

This one I like too:

Lulu Hotel Edith $495 $347

Another cutie below. Just look at the clasp!
Black Polka-Dot Leather Medium Eva $695 $487

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Sunday, June 16

Family: Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all dads out there. 

Just a special shout out to my dad and my hubby:
Love you forever.

"My dad is awesome." - says me and Allie

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Saturday, June 15

Baby: Be Careful this Dengue Season

My daughter's been having an on and off fever for four days now. I've been controlling her fever with paracetamol since it started. When the third day of fever struck, I had to bring her to the pediatrician to just make sure it wasn't dengue fever, which is caused by mosquitoes and is prevalent in tropical countries like the Philippines during the rainy season.

Symptoms* for dengue include:
  • Sudden, high fever
  • Severe headaches
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Severe joint and muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash, which appears three to four days after the onset of fever
  • Mild bleeding (nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising)
*from WebMD

Her pediatrician ruled out dengue because Allie doesn't seem bothered with her fever. Her disposition is still the same -- a happy little baby, magulo, malikot, sayaw ng sayaw. He said that if Allie had dengue, then she would feel miserable even if she doesn't have a high temperature. Allie still plays and runs and dances when in between high temps. Her temperature never went above 39C. The interval of her on and off fever gets better every day. I'm glad that we went to the pediatrician because he got to check if it was an infection. No daw. The doctor said it was viral; just let it run its course, control the fever and it should go away after the fifth day. We're now on our fourth, and I just wish the virus would go away. But if she still has fever by tomorrow night, I have to let her pediatrician know.

Here is Allie after I gave her paracetamol. She's enjoying her plastic turtleshell while watching on her tablet. No fever.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to prevent dengue. The best way to prevent it is to not get bitten by infected mosquitoes. Here are some ways to avoid mosquito bites:

1. Drive down mosquito breeding grounds. During rainy season in the Philippines, the mosquito population really goes up because mosquitoes usually breed in stagnant water. One way to reduce mosquito population in your home is to get rid of those places where they breed. Remove old tires, pots and pans that collect rain outside your home. Make sure water drains properly in and around your home.

Singapore's National Environment Agency has this checklist, as well as some useful illustrations:

How to prevent dengue if you're living in a condominium

How to prevent dengue if you're living in a landed property

2. Apply mosquito repellent. DEET and picaridin are synthetic chemicals made to repel mosquitoes. Natural mosquito repellents include oil of lemon eucalyptus and oil of citronella. According to the FDA, never use products containing DEET on infants below two months, and, dig this folks, oil of lemon eucalyptus they said is not suitable to kids less than 3 years old. So make sure you read the cautionary texts on your insect repellents okay? You can also ask your pediatrician.

1. Mosquito patches; 
2. DEET-free spray but with oil of citronella and oil of lemon eucalyptus;
3. Mosquito repellent wristband; 4. DEET-free but with 10% picaridin insect repellent 
5. All-natural mosquito repellent with active ingredients -- oils of citronella, peppermint,
cedar, lemongrass and geranium
Hmm, so those mosquito patches that are DEET-free? They have oil of lemon eucalyptus, and the FDA says it's not for kids under 3 years of age. Oh my goodness, I've been using those things on Allie. I should stop; besides, they don't work that well anyway. Allie still got bites.

Although I know DEET is the most effective mosquito repellent, I am still iffy about using it on Allie. If you want to use DEET on your kids, make sure the DEET content does not go above 30%. Picaridin, the other synthetic mosquito repellent, works as well as DEET and better tolerated on the skin and fabric-friendly too. By the way, I read from What to Expect that the following things don't work: wristbands soaked in chemical repellents, pills with garlic or vitamin B1, ultrasonic devices, bird or bat houses, and bug zappers.

3. Place mosquito-repelling plants in your garden. Citronella, rosemary, catnip, lemongrass, peppermint, marigold and basil are some mosquito-repelling plants that you can grow. They smell good too.

Images from:
Catnip - Thrifty Fun; Rosemary - BBC;
Lemongrass - Wikipedia; Marigold - Spices InfoBasil - Academy of Food
Citronella - Stuartxchange; Peppermint - Dr. Jake Felice
4. Make a mosquito trap. If you're up for it, you can also channel your inner MacGyver and DIY a mosquito trap like this from Green Planet 4Kids. Head on there for the step-by-step instructions. Very easy to do. I'm sure your kids will enjoy making it with you.

Stay safe everyone.
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Thursday, June 13

Freebie: Printable Labels For Your Kitchen

Designed by the Lia Griffith, here is a free printable for your spice racks. It mimics a black vintage chalkboard, and
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Wednesday, June 12

Book: Gone Girl

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Tuesday, June 11

Fashion: Isabel Marant x H&M Collab

H&M's newest collaboration is with ... (drumroll please) ... Isabel Marant. The Isable Marant Pour H&M collection is bound to hit selected stores and online this coming November 14, 2013. Exciting times!

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Event: Wicked in Manila! Yes!

I am THISCLOSE to confrming that Wicked will be coming to Manila. Yes. THISCLOSE. Maybe closer.

Wicked is the musical basis of Gregory Maguire's book of the same title. It is somewhat a prequel to the Wizard of Oz -- the story of Elphaba (Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (Good Witch of the North).

Sidenote: Elphaba's name came from the initials of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' author L. Frank Baum. Haha, sorry ngayon ko lang nalaman.

Okay, so I've been browsing through tweets of those I follow. One tweet led me to an article from
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Monday, June 10

Deal: Gelatissimo BOGO on Summer of Italy Sorbet

Love sorbets? Here's a pretty good deal for you. From June 8 to June 16, Gelatissimo is offering a buy one get one free promo on any Summer of Italy sorbet.

Don't worry about your diet, ladies. These are 100% fat free. 

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Sunday, June 9

Tech: 8tracks App

Handcrafted internet radio on the rise here. One of the things I missed when I moved back to the Philippines was Pandora. Pandora, as in internet radio, and not the charm bracelets because we have that here.

Well, my sister introduced me to 8tracks the other day. 8tracks is a collection of music playlists. It lets you choose a music playlist based on categories. Pwede na siyang pamalit sa Pandora. First, it would let you choose from the following.

Say you choose 'happy'. Then it will let you choose from these subcategories.

Then you pick the playlist.

Then hit play.

There are lots of playlists to choose from. Maybe you're in the mood for pop + workout... or some breakup + sad music.

Love it yet? Well, you can access it through your laptop ( or even your mobile phone by downloading the app.

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Saturday, June 8

Event: Wicked in Manila?

I've been hearing stuff about Wicked coming to Manila as early as January 2014. Wicked is probably my all-time favorite musical. I watched it while we were in the US, but not in New York. We took a drive up to North Carolina with my sister to watch it.

I remembered the NC stay vividly because it was the first time I decided to partially use my miles (and my credit card) to book a hotel, and when we got in the hotel, they didn't have my booking. I was so pissed at the airline that time because I got a confirmation number in the email to go with it. We called the miles customer service, and they spoke to the receptionist. Nothing. The miles people couldn't help me out. Then, the good folks at Hampton Inn took pity, booked us a room and upgraded us to a suite for the same price. I love them!

As for the cc payment I used to partially pay for the initial booking, Amex took care of that. All it took was a phone call. I explained the situation. They immediately credited it back to my account. I swear they are the most awesome, easiest to talk to credit card company in the whole world. If I can just hug them, I would.

Here is the lobby of our hotel.

Our bathroom had a television behind the vanity mirror.

After a few minutes of resting, we went ahead to the theater.

It was a tiny theater.

We took some photos before the show started.

We were three happy campers.

I don't mind watching it again. Okay, that's the understatement of the year. I would LOVE to sit up close the stage and watch it again. I promise I won't sing along. You better not too.

I heard tickets might go on sale as early as July this year. I'm feeling giddy just thinking about it.

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Friday, June 7

Crafts/DIY: Hermès Jigé clasp

Can't afford the real thing? Well, here's a cute craft project for you. You can even customize it if you are that creative. You can download the templates from here. Enjoy!

Image from Hermes

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Thursday, June 6

Fashion: Twirl Around With Tulle

Have you seen this really adorable Anthropologie tulle skirt?

Image from Anthropologie
It seems like tulle skirts are the rage today. Printed tulle skirts like this are pretty hard to find locally. Project Happy sells tulle skirts but only the plain ones (so far). Their tulle skirts are one of their bestselling fashion pieces, and it's no wonder that they are bringing them back...

This time, it will be available in maxi length. Here is a first look for you.

Project Happy will be having a bazaar pretty soon, and they will make these skirts available. So watch out for it. Like Project Happy for updates.

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