New thigh tattoo

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So I lied when I said I was done with tattooing. Haha! I wasn’t exactly planning on getting another one, it kind of just happened. Blame it on boredom. But, I am very happy how it turned out. When the thought of getting another tattoo latched to my brain, I knew that I would add it to my first thigh tattoo (because I found it too small and frankly, I’m running out of canvass). But how? As I was scanning the net, I came across designs on octopuses and their tentacles fascinated me. So I decided to get something similar.

I again contacted Frances since she was the one who did my thigh tattoo and I wanted the tat to be consistent – something that would look part of the mandala, a design that is organic to the first tat and kinda “grew out” of it. It took about a week for everything to be scheduled – from me explaining to Frances the design I wanted, to her drafting the designs and to us scheduling the session. She actually prepared two designs – one with tentacles and another with her own design. I ended up choosing the one she personally suggested. It was so pretty!

 

I showed up at her shop in Robinson’s Galleria and the standard procedure commenced – I signed a waiver form, she showed me the new and unopened needle, then we discussed the placement of the tat. I explained that I wanted more of the design to be on the right side of the mandala for more visibility and less on my inner thigh (because I know that would hurt as hell). I also had to think of what color I wanted it to be in. Initially, I wanted it to be black, same color as the mandala. But Frances explained it might look too messy. She was visualizing it to be in dark red as it would look very feminine on me. She also suggested that if I really wanted it to be in black, that she would accent the tips of the design with red. Since she still had to draw the design on my thigh, I had a few minutes to contemplate. She used a special red pen to draw the design – the design needed to be drawn “free handedly” – and as she did, I realized how pretty the red looked on my thigh (just like my foot tat). So I told her I wanted it to be in dark red. When she started inking with the dark red, I found it too dark so she combined a little red in it and that was the color we used.

 

Of course, the inking still hurt, especially on the design near my inner thigh since the skin there is thinner. I had a book and Netflix to keep my mind off the procedure. She mentioned that doing solid lines will always hurt more compared to just filling in with colors. Finally, after 1.5 hours, she was done! I love it! The more I look at it, the more I like it.

 

For some reason, it seemed this tat healed faster than my other ones. Perhaps my body is getting used to being inked? After care was the usual cleaning with baby soap and slathering anti-bacterial ointment combo (I used my leftover ones from last March). I think I won’t be getting another tattoo anytime soon. At least, for this year.

Review: Hello Gorgeous’ Facial Mist, Make-Up Setting Spray and Unicorn Brush Wash

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I am a supporter of local brands, especially if they claim to be all-natural or at the very least, free from most harmful chemicals. I chanced upon this brand called Hello Gorgeous, which branched out from the Skinline Essentials brand. I’ve read great reviews about the Skinline Essentials products so I figured, the Hello Gorgeous line would be great too.
 


What sealed the deal, aside from being a Filipino, all-natural brand was the super cute packaging (I’m so shallow, I know). I’ve been lurking their website and placing items in my shopping cart, just to get their super cute hologram toiletry pouch which is free if you buy P1,000 worth of items either online or in their physical stores. But really, I just wanted to try three of their products which I also happen to need, so I never really checked-out. I then planned on going to their physical store in Greenhills Shopping Center, the closest one to me, but still I couldn’t bring myself to travel to San Juan just to check out the brand. Fortunately, one weekend, me and my siblings dropped by Total gas station in SLEX, where there are a bunch of tiangges. One of the booths was selling the Hello Gorgeous line! Without hesitating, I bought the three items I really wanted – the facial mist (P180), the make-up setting spray (P250) and the unicorn brush wash (P200).

 

Let’s start with the bad. I wanted their facial mist because my good ol’ Nature Republic Aloe Facial Mist was running low. I actually decided to go back to my Mario Badescu Facial Mist but I ordered this from Amazon and would only be getting it once my sister arrives in Manila. So I needed something in between. Here enters the facial mist. Unfortunately, I hated the way it smelled, like rotten coffee or leaves. I can’t say if it makes my skin more hydrated but I still use it as it also seals my make-up after re-touch. It might not smell as amazing as the Mario Badescu mist but it’s not as bad as the Human Nature one so while waiting for my fave mist, I’ll have to make do with this. Not recommended though but feel free to try. What doesn’t work for me might work for you.

 

Fortunately, the make-up setting spray did not have any funky smell. It smelled ok, very nature-like, but also not too good smelling. Just generic. It does the job of making my make-up matte so it was worth using. I recommend this if you’d like a natural make-up setting spray that does a decent job and keeps your make-up in place. I was however planning on buying Mac’s best seller facial spray because they had a special design (the floral one) but it was out of stock when I had a transit in Istanbul (where it was cheaper compared to in Manila). If I happen to buy it when I travel soon, I’ll probably ditch this setting spray.

 

Lastly and frankly my favorite, is the unicorn brush wash. This is so good! And it’s not my favorite solely because the unicorn looks so cute. I wasn’t able to take before and after photos of my make-up brushes (too excited to use the unicorn) but this definitely does the job. Instructions are simple: wet the soap, swirl your brushes until a lather builds up, rinse then dry your brushes. What I added for my big brushes is after swirling it on the soap and gathering some lather, I used my usual brush cleaner to really clean the bristles thoroughly. I absolutely loved the smell! It smelled so clean and fresh and not overwhelming at all, unlike my Parian Spirit’s citrus scent. It does the job as all my brushes were clean and dare I say, it seemed like the bristles became softer. I think this is because of the almond oil. I love how it cuts my cleaning time in half since instead of using a separate baby shampoo and disinfectant, this soap is enough! Super highly recommended! I haven’t seen any other make-up brush soap in the market that is as affordable and as effective as this so I’ll definitely repurchase!

 

I’m also curious with their other products like the matte lipsticks, lavender hair conditioner, coffee eye serum, face masks, unicorn elixir (fancy name for face serum) and eye liner stamp but I’ll have to finish my current stocks first before going on another shopping spree. Do note that their prices are way lower when they join different local bazaars so try to catch them there too.

That time we went to the Ayala Museum for free

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Out of nowhere, my friends decided to go to the Ayala Museum on a weekend to #GetCultured. Fortunately, my brother actually told me that on this Saturday we were eyeing, there would be free admission. So I told my friends I wanted to go there on that specific Saturday with the condition that we visit during the opening at 9:00am simply because I did not want to compete with the hordes of people going there on a free day. It’s been some years since I last visited so I was down to going back again. After breakfast at the Salcedo Weekend Market, me and my friends went to get cultured.
 


At the lobby, there were some activities available such as making your own bag, coloring for adults and even doing a newscast sponsored by CNN, who were giving away free bags as long as you sign on their wall.

 

There were so many dioramas on the first floor, about 60, plus a lot of artifacts on the upper floors. Elevators are available for those who need it.

 

Going around the museum, you are allowed to take photos only up to the 2nd floor, if I remember it right.

 

My favorite section would have to be the “fashion section.” OK, I only call it that because I forgot what it was really called. It featured the different ‘gowns’ worn by priests over the decades. What I love about them is that the gowns were so intricately designed, with embroidery or delicate stitching. Gowns were also color coded depending on the occasion for it to be worn, eg. black gowns for funerals, white for solemnities and violet for advent and lent.

 

I also loved the section on Zobel de Ayala and his hand written letters to his family (no photos allowed in this section). His handwriting was gorgeous plus he was so eloquent and funny (yes, I read his letters).

For a Filipino museum, I was impressed with how the Ayalas were able to present their museum. I know it doesn’t compare to those abroad, at least those that I’ve been to like the Korean War Museum or the Smithsonian, but still, they had a lot to offer, considering this is a private museum. I highly encourage everyone to visit the museum once in a while. Tangkilikin ang sariling atin. Please visit their website for more information. They are open from 9:00am to 6:00pm, Tuesdays to Sundays. Regular admission fee is P425.

What’s so great about being 30-something anyway?

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I saw this college student. There was nothing special about her. Just your regular kolehiyala. But for some reason, I suddenly told myself: Thank God I’ve graduated from that phase in my life. It was such an unexpected thought that I realized that I am much happier with where I am now, and that includes my age.
 

So it got me thinking: what’s so great about being 30-something anyway? I’ll tell you. A lot! These are just my personal experiences and thoughts. Of course, every 30-something adult has their own lives to live and circumstances to face and so the following points will not be applicable to everyone. And also, let’s face it, adulting can sometimes be hard and totally not fun. Even so, being 30-something for me is a great time to be alive because:

1. I am now earning my own money. And not just any money, but more-than-enough-money-that-I-can-be-a-blessing-to-others kind of money. Money that can buy not only what I need but also what I want. Having an ATM that doesn’t reach 0 pesos is awesome and a blessing (which should not be taken for granted).

2. I know myself better. I now know what I want in terms of the kind of job I like, the relationships I intend to keep, how I enjoy myself, activities that I really want to be a part of my life, where I want to spend my time, how I dress and all these things. I guess when I was younger I didn’t exactly know which direction I wanted to go or what I really wanted to do. I don’t know everything, I don’t have answers to every question, but I know myself enough to get me through the day.

3. I have chosen my closest friends wisely. When I was in college, I tried to fit in this group of friends simply because they were my batchmates. They were awesome, don’t get me wrong, but I just felt I didn’t fit in. I tried to keep them even after I graduated college. Once, on a road trip, they started doing marijuana. Nothing against (medical) marijuana but during that time, I was really uncomfortable with the idea and so then and there, I decided to cut them out of my life. I haven’t seen them since (though we still keep in touch somehow because hey, they are really nice naman). I guess as you grow old, you tend to keep those friends who are precious to you and have known for such a long time plus those others whom you just click with. The rest, I cut out from my life completely.

4. I don’t feel guilty anymore – doing things that I love, ignoring toxic people, spending my money the way I want, living my life the way I want to live it, staying at home and doing nothing, saying no to people. When I was younger, I’d always feel guilty if I didn’t fit in this mold that society or the media or my family or my well-meaning friends had for me. I missed one church service? No worries, it happens. No family yet? I don’t care and so should you. I don’t drive my own car? I hate driving. I just bought another bag? Hey, it’s my money. All these cookie cutter expectations don’t bother me anymore.

5. I have learned to ignore. 2010 for me was a year of learning and one of my favorite truths then which I have taken to heart until today is this: no matter what you do, someone will always have something negative to say about you. Heck, even Mother Theresa has bashers. So why would I expect not to have any? Thus, I have always reminded myself of this basic life truth and ignored those kinds of people or negative comments that come my way. I don’t like back stabbing or bad mouthing other people. But it happens to me. Since I cannot control what other people say about me – whether based on truths, half-truths or just plain gossip – what I can control is how I react. As long as I know that I didn’t do anything ‘bad’ on purpose, I choose to react by ignoring them and by just being me.

6. I have more exposure. Because I’ve been in the workforce longer and because I am able to travel both for work and pleasure, my eyes have now been opened to more experiences and problems of the world and seen more places and known more people from different backgrounds and cultures. It really does change you because you know that there’s more to this world than just the Philippines and the Filipinos. Full disclosure: because I’ve ‘dated’ a number of foreign men, Pinoys now suddenly bore me. Haha!

7. I understand that the world doesn’t revolve around me. In connection to the above, gone are my emo days when I would drown in self-pity because of this and that. This life that we have is much bigger than you and I and I have learned to embrace this truth.

8. I acknowledge the fact that I will die. Maybe in 30 years or in 5 years but also possibly next year or tomorrow. No one knows. As a youth, you think you’re invincible and don’t usually think about death. But now, this is something I constantly remind myself so that I don’t take things for granted. Or so that I’ll stop being sad or upset or depressed or angry because those emotions, though valid for a limited period only, are just wasting my time.

9. I now have a routine. Which I like because I’m a routine kind of gal. At the same time, this is also the perfect age to change that routine and completely do something else. Especially for singles, being in the ‘middle spectrum’ of life, it’s totally possible to do a 360 degree turn and pursue something else that you want.

10. I do what I want. Under the premise that I am not doing anything illegal or hurtful to other people and the like. I know that I am still bounded by the rights and wrongs of society but still, I realized that I only have one life to live (which might be cut short, see item #8) so why not live in a way that I want to live? It’s not always easy, it can get frustrating but really, I’ll eat that donut if I want to even if it has 500 calories. I’ll hold his hand because it feels good. I’ll go to that country because I want to see a part of the world that’s totally different than mine. I’ll ignore that annoying text even if the other person is waiting on me. Let me be.

Given the above, I am not saying that I have everything figured out. I’m just trying to live my life to the fullest – in a way that I think is best for me – and not waste what was given to me. I’m still included in that group of people who are still grappling the meaning of their life. But now with more class and poise.

Halo-halong Discoveries Part V

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Book Sales. As much as I love reading, I am also very picky with the books I read. I used to read ebooks religiously but I’m now finding myself reaching for the hard copies. Must be because I’m getting old and digital books hurt my eyes. I’m usually the what-do-my-friends-recommend type of reader but sometimes, I also try to be experimental and just buy a random book, especially if the price is right as I also don’t like buying new books and paying too much. Aside from the gem I found last time for my Malapascua trip, I found another of Georgia’s adventures’ book by the same author (P25). I also found two more interesting books called Dogs of War (P25, I love war stories) and another one called 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth (P25). I love it when I find books for such dirt cheap prices! 


H&M Sales. More often than not, I like going to H&M rather than Forever21 because I find the former has better quality items. And when they go on sale, THEY GO ON SALE. As I was walking around the mall, burning calories during my lunchbreak, saw these super cute, powder blue, suede chunky heels (whew! That was a long description). It came at a perfect time since I was looking for new heels to take turns with my good old trusty SM Parisian heels, which are now showing wear and tear (because I use them every week for the past two years and they are so comfy and goes with anything). What made it perfect was that it was only P300 from P999. Where else can you buy such cheap (but hopefully sturdy) heels? Comfy too! The gold clutch I have been eyeing for so long but couldn’t bring myself to pay P700 for it since it’s made up of hinabi-like material and really, because I don’t need it. Good things come to those who wait and voila! It was on sale at P300. But instead of keeping it for myself, my sister wanted it so I’ll be giving it to her. Lastly, the red glittery flamingo tape dispenser was also on my maybe-I’ll-buy-it-if-it’s-on-sale-list because no way was I going to pay P349 for an office supply albeit cute. Initially, I wanted the unicorn version I saw in Indonesia but since it was between the flamingo and a whale, I went with the flamingo (P100). My colleague kept teasing me it’s a duck. And what’s a tape dispenser without colorful tapes (P50 for 2 instead of P199). So yeah, simple things – sometimes needs, sometimes non-sense wants – make me happy. #TreatYoSelf  

 

Rustan’s Supermarket Discounted Items + Smoked Salmon. I love lounging around supermarkets and is always part of my itinerary when I travel abroad. Even here in Manila, I actively try to find really good items and when I do, it makes me happy, especially when they are on sale. Since I pass by Shangri-la everyday, sometimes I stop by their grocery just to scope the goods. On this particular trip, found some Buy 1,Take 1 one-liter Snapple in Peach (fave!, P124 for two) and half price Vanilla and Cherry Coca-cola (P19 each). But my best find is the smoked salmon! The first time I dropped by Rustan’s, there was no salmon, which disappointed me since I thought Rustan’s would be carrying this. When I didn’t find any, my second option would be S&R which is very inconvenient and out of the way for me. Good thing on my next trip to Rustan’s, found not one but two brands of smoked salmon. I chose this particular one (P219) because its expiration date was in December, though I ended up eating it that night. Once you open it, it is recommended you eat it within 3 days. I paired it with tortilla wraps, Japanese mayo, tomato and a whole lotta romaine lettuce. I was in heaven! It was really good! Each pack is good enough for two meals if you’re a salmon eater. So happy I can binge-eat salmon (only twice a week though since it’s high in sodium) just like when I was in Georgia and the US, where salmon is overflowing. If you don’t like salmon, an alternative would be tinapa which has the same smokey taste.

My office’ Starbucks branch discount. I don’t usually drink handcrafted aka expensive coffee, simply because I just need a regular cup of hot coffee to start my morning on the right track. I don’t like watered down coffee but simple ‘own brewed coffee’ is good enough for me. But one Wednesday, my colleagues invited me for some afternoon coffee and since that was the day me and some other friends were going to watch a 9pm movie at Cinema 76, I opted to get a cup of joe to keep me awake (I sleep early like a lola. Haha). My other colleague then mentioned that Starbucks had a P100 Grande Wednesday. For that day, it was Vanilla Latte but since our organization has an agreement with the government, it does not pay taxes and this includes the concessionaires inside our office. So, we ended up paying only P82 for the grande cup. Sweet deal, huh? #WorkPerk

 

Poo-rific Spray. Stop reading now if you feel we’re not that close yet. Haha! Randomly saw this in Robinson’s Supermarket and was convinced to buy it because (i) cute packaging and (ii) it smelled divine. Basically, you spray this directly into the toilet bowl water for a floral scent while you do your business. It’s not a need, I mean, you can still poop without it but the experience is more enjoyable because it smells so good. Another version is found in True Value but more expensive at around P100. I like this better because it’s very handy and affordable at P55.


 

SM Raincoat: Be stylish even during the rainy season

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I tried my best to never use a rain coat even though I walk to and from work. But with the rainy season here and me still not wanting to take a cab or bus to work and just simply walk the 2 kilometers per way each day, I decided that apart from my umbrella and rainy day shoes, I should look for a raincoat lest I continue looking like a basang sisiw everyday.
 


The main reason I don’t want a raincoat is because they are usually so ugly looking and plain and made of cheap looking material. Sure, there are those with really nice designs but I would never splurge on some expensive plastic coat. That is until I stumbled upon SM Supermarket’s section of US branded clothes. One of the items were raincoats in different designs including a black and white striped one that I initially wanted but had no other size. So I chose the grey striped rain coat with pink flowers! Isn’t it adorable? With the price tag of P250, it’s affordable, stylish and will keep me dry during this season. Yey for cute rainy day outfits!

Foodie: Beerhouse (Kapitolyo Brewing Co.) and Behrouz Persian Cuisine

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A few months back (months talaga!), some colleagues and I decided to grab some drinks. One of them lived in Kapitolyo and so she knew about this local beerhouse which brewed their own beer, aka, craft beer. Don’t be fooled by the masa name ‘beerhouse’ as the place is quite nice and cozy. I know cozy is not exactly a word you usually describe a pub but really, the place was very inviting and had the ‘relaxed’ vibe. 
 


We went there after work and was able to avail of the Buy 1, Take 1 promo that they had so we only paid P150 for two glasses of locally crafted beer.

 

Best part was that we could buy food at the nearby food park and bring it to our table at the Beerhouse, since they really don’t offer any food. We ordered so much food!

 

I’m not a heavy drinker but I do like supporting local businesses and I encourage you to do the same too.

 From beer to no beer, again a few months back, I was craving for some kebab so my friend suggested we eat at Behrouz at Metrowalk. I have been wanting to try that Persian restaurant! We went there on a weeknight and the place was deserted. The restaurant is huge with plastic chairs and tables, giving it a food court vibe.

 

What they lacked in ambiance, they made up with in food. The servings were huge and super delicious! We had the chicken and beef kebab plus roasted tomatoes and onions and naan. It was so good! I highly recommend this restaurant if you want your fix of yummy, authentic-tasting kebabs. Do note that they only serve halal food so that means, no beer allowed (though really, kebabs would go so well with an ice cold San Mig).