Vacationista: US Trip Day 20 (Watter’s Creek: Frog Café, Five Guys, Sonic)

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Today was basically our last day in Texas with my sister so we tried to maximize our time together. After breakfast of pancakes and bacon and coffee, me, my sister and cousin went to Watter’s Creek again for some ‘girl’ time.
 

‘Drove through’ the post office so my sister could ‘drop’ her letters without getting out of the car. How awesome, right?

Then we visited the huge crafts store called Michael’s which had a lot of cute items. 


Afterwards, spent the afternoon with coffee and Nutella crepe with strawberry and banana at Frog. The three of us had a lovely time just chatting and bonding.

 

We also dropped by Lowe’s which made me want to build my own house already. Haha!

Since we were leaving for Washington the next day, I bought a pound of chia seeds for only $4 from Sprouts because they were really expensive in Manila (half a pound already costs Php400). Told my sister to buy more for me and just include it in the balikbayan box.

We were also gifted with our last glorious, Texan sunset.

 

For our last dinner in Texas, me and my cousin wanted an all American burger diner experience. The best we could do was at Five Guys, which was a really good choice. Peanuts were available while you wait for your order.

 

We had mini cheeseburgers, which meant only one pattie but already huge in serving, brother-in-law had the regular cheeseburger with two patties, then we all shared the large serving of Cajun fries which was a lot. I love how you can customize your burger toppings and glad they had mushrooms and caramelized onions available.  

 

I mentioned how interesting Sonic was, which has a lot of drive through counters where you just order and a staff brings out your food, for you to eat on the go. No restaurant or building is available to dine in. There were a few tables available though outside their kitchen. Just so we could experience it, we ordered a small Sonic ice cream. I initially wanted a mini ice cream because I would be the only one eating it but they ordered a small one for me. And it is huge. It’s bigger than my hand! It’s like a medium sized drink here in the Philippines. Haha. Needless to say, the ice cream was good but I didn’t even finish it, not even half way through. Note to self: request no whipping cream on top the next time I buy there.

 

Spent our last evening in the comfort and coziness of our Texas’ home.

Vacationista: US Trip Day 19 (Chipotle, Popeye’s)

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My cousin absolutely wanted to try Chipotle just for the heck of it so even though my brother-in-law would say that there are more far better Mexican restaurants available, he gave in to our request. We also wanted to try Popeye’s chicken so we compromised: bought some Popeye’s fried chicken as take out and ate it in Chipotle.

 

You choose whatever goes inside your burrito or burrito bowl. Sister had a huge burrito wrap with no rice (she only ate half of it), some guacamole bowl then a combination of pork and chicken with veggies burrito bowl. They even had their own tabasco sauce. Chipotle was ok, I guess. Cheap and quick Mexican fix.

 

I did like their paper cup and paper bag packaging though. Yey for collaborating and being more environment friendly (read the description).

Started packing our two balikbayan boxes ($97 per box shipping fee via LBC). Note to self: bring own packaging tape from Manila when I go back. Bought the most expensive tape ever in Walmart ($10)

Vacationista: US Trip Day 18 (New Year’s Day, Café Brazil)

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Started the new year right by going to our local’s church’ service. As usual, they had some coffee and Max’s donuts available, which me and mom availed since we didn’t have any breakfast.  


 

Lunch was at Café Brazil which boasted of having several different types of coffee which you can have on unlimited basis. For some reason, their coffee tasted so watered down for me. 


Me, my cousin and mom shared a set of creamy Turkey wrap and cheese panini with chicken, both with rosemary roasted potatoes, and a huge platter of fries topped with cheese. Sister had a sandwich with really good sweet potato fries while my brother-in-law had some kind of omelet.

 

We then went to another shopping complex and dropped by Ulta, a beauty store, but didn’t find anything I wanted followed by an Outlet Store nearby, where I was finally able to find some loose mineral foundation from Smashbox ($15) since I realized that mineral foundation really is the best foundation for me as it looks natural and gives me that ‘fresh, blooming face.’ Checked out Manila prices in Beauty Bar and it was P1750 so this was a good buy! 

Dinner was prepared by my brother-in-law which was a whole lot of seafood in coconut milk. It was so good! Lots of lobsters, salmon, shrimp and fish!

Vacationista: US Trip Day 17 (Costco again, New Year’s Eve)

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Early the next morning, we woke up at around 645am to greet my brother-in-law at the finish line of his 2-day fun run.


 He rewarded us by treating us to some Starbuck’s coffee and breakfast at Chick-fil-A where my cousin and I shared an egg and cheese muffin with potato tots. 
We again went to Costco because my brother-in-law wanted to buy lobsters, clam, shrimps and salmon fresh. He’ll be in charge of cooking for our New Year’s dinner tonight. Sis also bought a pack of waffles which were sooo good! I, on other hand, armed with $40 bought 5 different cheeses – 2 chunks of Smokey Gouda (which I’ve tried before and really like), Tillamook’s Colby and Monterey Jack slices, Romano and English Cheddar. Each cheese cost about $7 per pound. These were actually our heaviest items in our luggage, which totaled 4 kgs already. Wore my Gap pjs, bathrobe-looking coat and warm booties to the grocery like a typical American. Haha!

 

Smaller than the Centennial park, a quick walk to the nearby park called Country Meadows Park provided us with fresh air and a beautiful view.

 


New Year’s Eve came and we celebrated by hugging and having a little ‘bang’ with party poppers. Would you believe the staff from Walmart had to ask us if we were above 18 years old, just to buy some party poppers the size of a chocnut? Haha! Unlike in the Philippines where fireworks are easy to buy as candy, it was really, really quiet in Texas. Like deafening quiet. But you know what? I didn’t mind. I didn’t ‘look’ for or missed the Philippines-style of New Year’s with fireworks and noise. Then again, I’ve never been much for holidays. For me, holidays are a time to rest, relax away from work and bond with family. I could do away with all the extras like decorations and such. Even I don’t celebrate my own birthday. Haha. Guess I’m weird like that. I did joke though that it smelled like the Philippines when we used the party poppers, since there was a faint, barely there scent of a firecracker.

 

Our simple yet super scrumptious dinner was my brother-in-law’s shrimp pasta. Toasted the year 2017 with some fine wine.

Review: ELF Lip Exfoliator

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I am a fan of exfoliation because I think it really helps in keeping your skin fresh-looking and healthy. I’ve shared before my chosen face exfoliation techniques – both with the peeling gel type and with the face brush – as well as my weekly DIY body scrub made up of coffee grounds. But what about the lips?

I am one of those women who have constantly chapped lips even with religious application of lip balms. Though I’m not proud of it, one of my bad habits is actually peeling the dry skin, leaving my lips with splotches and yes, blood (eww I know). So regular exfoliation is required. As much as the good ol’ toothbrush works well enough, I happened to chance upon the great discounted ($3.5 from $5) set of ELF during my trip to the US, which included a maroon lippie and their lip exfoliator, which I have been trying to get a hold of for years.

The one I got was the Cherry Tart flavor. Had to stop myself from constantly licking my lips because it smelled (and tasted) good. I probably won’t die from tasting it but better not to do that since it’s still made up of chemicals. I love how the exfoliator is in a tube for very much easy application, unlike other scrubs which are in pots, making it messy and unhygienic to apply.

 

It doesn’t automatically slough off your dry lips nor does it immediately make them soft. But what I do is after showering, I swipe it on my lips and leave it on for a few minutes, something similar when you use petroleum jelly. Afterwards, I wipe it off and my lips’ dryness somehow lessens. I think for the price and convenience of this exfoliator, it’s a great buy. I probably won’t buy one again unless discounted (plus it’s not available in the Philippines yet) but it’s a fun product to add to your beauty regime.

Vacationista: US Trip Day 16 (Costco, Papasito’s, New Year’s Eve)

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Preparing for tomorrow’s New Year dinner meant a quick trip to Costco. It’s just like any huge membership-based, warehouse-style grocery – like Manila’s S&R or Landers – except that there’s less people here than its Manila counterparts. Haha! To think the New Year is coming.
 


Me and my mom started buying stuff to put in the balikbayan box. Our food haul included a 3 lb container of Folgers ground coffee, a 1.36 kg bottle of minced garlic (yey), a bottle of pureed ginger (perfect to add in dipping sauces like vinegar), two 2kg bottles of Italian sauce and a box of chocolate pretzel rods ($13), which I love because they are so yummy and I can’t find an alternative here in Manila. We also bought 200 pieces of 13 gallon drawstring kitchen bags, single sheet aluminum foils (so you don’t have to keep cutting them), 3 boxes of Afrin for my allergies, kitchen mats, a 3 piece sauce pan and a 2 organizer racks.

 

My favorite Costco buy would have to be the $7 fur lined, red wool booties, which were super comfortable and oh-so-cheap! I have a habit of buying ‘winter stuff’ for my future travels, which is a habit proven wise in my past experience. I mean, for sure I’ll have travels in cold countries in the coming years so why not buy those booties, just in case? Wore them immediately after paying for it and the next day during errands and absolutely loved them. Haha! Had to leave them behind though because no more luggage space and told my sister to include it in our next balikbayan box. Yet, she tells me she tried them on and is thinking of keeping it for herself. Told her it was only on loan for her in the time being. Haha!

We had lunch at my brother-in-law’s favorite Mexican restaurant called Papasito’s. We were lucky enough to get a table immediately since they say the place is always packed. Their match boxes are so cute with their logo in colorful designs.

They served unlimited nachos with salsa and tortillas with butter. Ordered extra cheese as dip. We then had some fresh salad and chicken fajitas which came with some rice and beans. It was huge that me, my cousin and mom shared everything. Plus, they gave us beef and chicken instead of only chicken so they made up for it by adding more chicken fillets, and not taking the beef away, so more for us. My brother-in-law ordered his favorite, which was the roasted quail (4 quails). For dessert, we had their local fried flour with vanilla ice cream and toasted almonds. It cost about $80 for everything.

 

We dropped by Stacy’s again and I finally bought the Kate Spade bag I saw days earlier in TJMaxx. I told myself that if I didn’t find any bag I liked from the outlet stores we visited in San Marcos, then I would buy this particular Kate Spade bag. I was half expecting it would no longer be available since Christmas had already gone by and I thought people would have bought everything from the store but alas, it was still there. Like, it was the last of the three. I was already willing to pay the price of $199 which I saw before but when I took a closer look, the one bag I was holding was only $159. When I compared it with the others, same style, it was the only one with that price. Talk about fate! It definitely must be for me then. Haha! Bought a $0.99 reusable bag (photo above) because the elephant design was too cute to pass up. 

 

Dropped by the Dollar Tree store again and surprise, surprise! Goodbye Christmas décor, hello Valentine’s! Hahaha! As expected, all their Christmas goodies were on half sale so we grabbed a couple of cute items to give away. Two of each kind: Frozen inspired candy canes, Santa chocolate bars, ring lollipops, and a container of hard candies.


Went also to Ross and took home these cute holiday table napkins for only $0.50 each and a tube of leather wipes ($3.5) for all my leather goods. How convenient! 


Did some more grocery shopping at Walmart (when meill the shopping end?! Haha!) and bought 5 bottles of Herbal Essences shampoo (was on promo for $1.68 each, I think) and lots of Christmas decor and chocolates all on half price off. Best buy? The cake mix for only $0.68. Yep, you read it right. 

Halo-halong Discoveries Part I

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Sanicare’s Disposable Toilet Seat Cover

In the US, toilet seat covers are normal and can usually be found in their public comfort rooms, because hygiene. Haha. But here in the Philippines, people are like, what hygiene? Generally, public comfort rooms are so dirty but since you got to pee real bad, you just go ahead and do your business. I’m happy to have found this little gem because it gives you the peace of mind that your bum is touching ‘clean ground.’ Plus points that it’s biodegradable, flushable of course and has a cute design, though I would suggest they ditch the design so they could lower the price even further. It’s P32 for 5 covers. I tried it out and sure, it’s nice and my bum thanked me for it but word of caution though, with the crappy plumbing in Manila, this might not be properly flushed down the toilet so if you feel it would just clog the toilet, opt to throw it out manually (which kinda sucks because the whole point of this is convenient flushing). I’d probably just buy these when I travel to Asian countries, where toilets are not always the cleanest.

 

Reusable Feminine Pads

From disposable to reusable – and men please stop reading now – I’ve been seeing these disposable feminine pads and being a curious cat (and environmentally-friendly at that), I decided to get myself a set consisting of regular flow pads and panty liners. In the long run, not only are you saving the world, you are also saving your pocket. Got mine from the instagram account of MumNBubsFashionPh, who I highly recommend because the owner is really easy to talk to, allowed me to choose my designs, answered all my questions and even gave me a discount. I actually inquired from Chill’s Cloth Pad too but their customer service is worse. MumNBubsFashionPh also carry reusable diapers and other baby products. I really wanted these to work for me because I absolutely want to stop using commercial pads. Worst case scenario, I’d only use them in the comforts of my home. I mean if our parents could do it, then why can’t we, right? Never have I been more excited to be visited by Aunt Flow than today. Hahaha!

Initial reactions:

1. Super soft and cottony – no irritations!

2. Manageable and easy to clean

3. Does the job pretty well

4. The pantyliners can even serve as pads for light days while the regular pads can serve as overnight ones! 

In conclusion, was delightfully surprised how awesome it worked for me! So highly recommended!