Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Egghead is turning 2! (My Beauty Blender that is! :D)

It has been almost two years that I've been using this and I think it's about time she makes a debut on this blog. I hitched the Beauty Blender bandwagon years ago while browsing through HD Makeup Studio & Academy's multiply site. I was a firm believer back then that all sponges are created equal. No matter what shape or size, you get the same output each and every time. So when I saw this and how much it costs, I heard myself saying ridiculous! A sponge that costs that much? You have got to be kidding me! But then of course, I started researching about this "wonder sponge" to get acquainted on its wonder powers. 
"Airbrushed effect without an airbrush"
Introducing Beauty Blender, the ultimate make up sponge applicator. Invented by top Hollywood make up artists Rea Ann Silva and Veronica Lorenz.

Beauty Blender has been created without edges in order to eliminate visible lines and streaks to leave you with a professional finish and a flawless complexion. When you want an airbrushed finish without having to use an airbrush. 

Airbrush makeup was a budding trend back then and for those who want to achieve the same outcome without the price tag  of an airbrush machine, this was their best bet. It is used best with liquid makeup applied with a stippling/bouncing method for the airbrushed effect. But you could also use it with cream and powder makeup, Wet or dry works just fine. 

The more I learned about it, the more I wanted it (darn it!). So after countless sleepless nights of contemplating between my needs and wants, my weakness caved in. I purchased one. Back then it wasn't available locally (now, you can find it at Rustan's with the cleanser) so you have to really order it online. The Beauty Blender was sold abroad with its own cleanser but to be practical, and to cut on ginormous shipping fees, HD Makeup Studio offered it without the cleanser. That is just fine as you could clean it with a gentle shampoo ( I prefer a gentle dishwashing liquid) and water. 

So after almost two years of stippling and bouncing, I present to you my egghead...
The once bright pink color has faded due to numerous washing. The pointed part as well as the bottom has evident foundie stains. That being one of its cons. The Beauty Blender has an expected life span of only 6 months as I've read online. I guess this proves that if you take care of it really well, it would last you a very long time. This one, except for the stains and fade out, still performs as it did the first time I got it. An issue though, with BB, is how would you store it in your makeup pouch without damaging the sponge? Putting it in a box would take up too much space. So, I got the inspiration from the BB itself and used this...

I saw my nieces playing with this during Easter last year and asked them if I could have the pink one that sort of resembles the Beauty Blender. 
I then tried to see if they would fit perfectly together and they did! From then on, I could take egghead with me anywhere with ease and not worry about it being bent out of shape and getting damaged. The picture below shows the Beauty Blender being a bit bigger than that of the Easter eggshell toy but that is because I just washed my BB when I took this photo. The Beauty Blender doubles in size when wet so I had to wait till it dries before I could put it inside its case. ;D
For fellow owners out there having the same dilemma, I just had to share this little discovery of mine in hopes of crossing out a con in your book.

If you're looking into trying out the Beauty Blender, it is available through HD Makeup Studio's multiply site at Php1,200 or you could go check out Rustan's if you want the cleanser too. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Big Condiments Battle: Mustard or Ketchup?

Ready? Fight!

We all have been asked this question at one point or another. We buy a hotdog from the hotdog stand whether it be on stick or with a bun (if you're really hungry), but the question remains the same - "Ketchup or Mustard?".  Some people would save themselves the trouble by saying "a little of both" or "do you have mayo?". I can already hear the person standing behind you say "Geez, did you hear the man say mayo? Ketchup or Mustard! which is which! choose already!". Hahaha... I know both of these condiments have their own set of fan base. But let us do a battle and let the facts do the the talking shall we? (maybe halfway through this post you'll know which camp I'm rooting for :D).

Let's start with Ketchup. The red tomato-based condiment. Known to be a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant which may help prevent some forms of cancer. But did you know that Ketchup originated in China? (yes, just as bikes, firecrackers, pasta, etc.) Back then, it was far from the Ketchup we are familiar with nowadays. It was made from pickled fish. Yes, more like "patis" or fish sauce. It was only in 1801, that an American named Sandy Addison, created the tomato ketchup. 

At present, ketchup could come in different blends. There you have the classic or original blend, the sweet blend that targets mainly the younger consumers, Organic, Low Sodium, No Salt, No sugar, made with Balsamic Vinegar, made from green tomatoes (yes, green ketchup! Imported from our alien friends from the neighboring planet of Uranus. ;D), etc.

Oh, you think that's weird? Try Blue, Purple, and even a multi-colored one! Ketchup Giant Heinz was behind this crazy idea hoping to capture the kids' interest. It was then discontinued in 2006 due to poor sales (lesson: Never play with your food. Let us leave these kind of things to Crayola. It is much more up their alley.)

Enough of the crazy talk. Let us now move on to our other contender - Mustard.

First mustard preparation as a condiment could be traced back to the the Romans where they mix together unfermented grape juice and ground mustard seeds. The first mustard recipe was indicated in an old Roman cookbook dating as far back as the late 4th or early 5th century! It was a mixture of ground mustard, peppercarawaylovage, grilled coriander seeds, dillcelerythymeoreganoonion,honeyvinegarfish stock, and oil. First intended to be used as a glaze for a roasted boar.

By the 10th century, due to exportation, mustard preparation reached Paris where they began their own production. Later on Dijon, France became a well-known centre for mustard production.

Mustard serves a base for many sauces. Can be used for marinades and salad dressings. It could also be added to Hollandaise sauce to prevent it from curdling. Use of mustard on hotdogs, however, was first seen in 1904 in a St. Louis World's fair in (none other than) America. The bright yellow French's mustard was seen.

There's a vast list of the different kinds of mustard. Starting with your basic mustard (the most commonly used) consisting of the spicy brown/deli-style mustard, Dijon mustard, stone-ground mustard, whole-grain mustard, and yellow mustard. And just like Ketchup, there's also the sweet variety which consists of the honey mustard, spiced honey mustard, brown sugar and pecan mustard, prickly pear honey mustard, maple mustard, sesame ginger mustard, and sweet and hot mustard just to name a few. But it doesn't stop there. You also have the Fruit mustard, Herb mustard, Hot mustard, Old world mustard, and Spirited mustard wherein they add alcoholic spirits or beer for an added flavor.

Each country also has their own mustard preparation. There's the Australian mustard and the Russian mustard the latter being stronger and more acidic. You could also find mustard made with balsamic vinegar, black olive, sun-dried tomato and Maui Onion.

If Ketchup is lycopene rich, Mustard is a good source for selenium a nutrient which has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, decrease some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer. It could also be very helpful for digestion, and can help to speed up your metabolism.

There you have it folks, the battle of two major condiments. Which side do you play for? I guess based on these facts, you already know which team I play for right?

Credits: All photos used were taken from the internet.

Mario Badescu: The first encounter (Glycolic Foaming Cleanser)

I got interested in this brand after I read Liz's blog post (Project Vanity) about an MB haul. It was also her first time to try anything from the brand. The brand name sounded familiar but I could not remember specifically where I heard it before. When I learned it was being sold at Rustan's, my initial expectation was expensive. Though reading on through her post, I was surprised at how reasonably-priced their products are. I was curious.

Around that time, I had been breaking out badly. I tried the Benzoyl Peroxide regimen and it worked well in controlling them at first. But as I progressed, the dry skin build up brought about by the BP began clogging my pores resulting to cystic acne. Hurts even more! The regimen recommended using AHA to slough off the dead skin cells but I have no idea where I could purchase one. The BP regimen was so limiting. Dedication is the key. This brought me to research more about Glycolic acid. I searched high and low for a local moisturizer with glycolic acid. 10% to be exact. But no luck. Then, I went to Mario Badescu's website to see if they offer such a product. I stumbled upon the Glycolic Foaming Cleanser. 
Retails for Php945 (approx. US$21)

Really wanted to get the Glycolic gel but it was too pricey for a first time purchase. So I went and got the cleanser instead. Of course, the curious cat that I am could not wait to get home to try this stuff. I was excited. I did have two cystic acne already present on both sides of my face near the ears ( parts where I usually breakout). After using this, I was amazed. The other cystic acne near my right ear was flat. This might seem too good to be true but I'm not exaggerating. My skin was smoother as opposed to the rough texture I had before. I could not put a finger on it but I could not help but stare at my skin on the mirror (flabbergasted!). Then, an MB baby was born. Hahaha... I was hooked!

Most people don't like Mario Badescu's packaging because it's so simple. But I like that they focus more on quality of the product. The foldable spout on the bottle is actually nice. Reminds me of the Coleman water jug that was a big hit when I was in grade school. :D It's more convenient than having to constantly screw and unscrew a bottle cap.

The glycolic foaming cleanser smells familiar to me too. I've smelled it before when I was a kid and I remember it also being a facial cleanser or being something to be used on the face but I'm not getting a visual on the exact product. Frustrating! Anyhoo, the cleanser lathers really well and you only need as small as a pea size drop to cover the entire face. I just love how clean my face feels after using this but not tight and dry. I have been using this for less than a month now, alternating with a gentle cleanser and so far so good. I love this cleanser! The bottle is 177ml so rest assured this will last me a very long time.

You could find Mario Badescu at Rustan's Essences (the entrance near Glorietta 4 across the MAC counter) you would not miss it as it is easily visible from the entrance. One thing though, when I went to Rustan's (Makati) I asked if they have samples of some of the items I want to road test first like the eye creams and stuff, they weren't able to provide me some. Bummer! None was the answer each and every time. That was annoying to tell you the truth. I don't want to invest on something that I would find out later would not work for me or worse will break me out. That's why a sample is a deal breaker or maker for me. So if you are a company and you're reading this, DON'T SKIMP ON SAMPLES. We are not all billionaires. We want to know if we are investing our hard-earned money on the right products that actually works for us. :D

So what Mario Badescu product has worked for you and you could not absolutely live without?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Chocolate Fire Virgin

Yes. Yes. Yes. Guilty as charged. I've been a Chocolate Fire virgin until that faithful night of November 5th 2011. We just egressed from the Global Pinoy Bazaar. It was late and we were hungry. My sister had visited CF a couple of times before so she's aware it is still open at that time. She took pity on her ignorant little sister so she decided to take me there.

Was not able to take photos of the facade and the downstairs dining area where I think one of Willie Wonka's oompa loompas reside. The counter close to the cashier were filled with different chocolate concoctions. I had to take a mental note to close my mouth or I might start to drool. When we went up to the register to order, it was a choice between dessert or savory. Since I haven't had dinner yet I went for a pasta dish and strawberry milkshake to wash it down. The place was so cozy you'd think it's already close from the outside. We went upstairs to look for a table which is easy as there weren't much people at that time.
See that painting of a woman on the bathroom door? I was told that was painted by Solenn Heussaff.
It was late. Please excuse my sister for taking a bit of a snooze while waiting for our food to arrive.
CF Hot Chocolate

Strawberry Milkshake

Pesto Roma


The food was okay. Considering the price of each dish, I expected a more pleasing plating. Take that Schublig for example, just that: a sausage, mustard, and rice on a plate. Nothing special. The Schublig, I could've bought in a delicatessen in a pack. The Pasta was just okay either. No meat and this was priced above P200 already! should have had a bit more somethin' somethin'. The milkshake was sinful. Haven't had milkshake in a while so this was a real treat! The hot chocolate was delicious. Not too sweet. I guess savory dishes isn't CF's strong point. The chocolate is the star of the show. So if you are in the mood for a sweet fix, this is the place for you. I'm sure there is something in that bountiful array of chocolate display that will surely satiate your sweet tooth.

So if you're a CF Virgin like me (correction: were), pay them a visit at:

Chocolate Fire
PDCP Building, Leviste cr Rufino Sts, Salcedo Village, Makati City
(near Makati Sports Club)
Contact No.: (02) 840 FIRE (3473)

Concealers: Makeup Forever Full Cover Concealer

This post is the first part of a concealer series I plan to do. Lately, because of the hot weather here in the Philippines, the last thing on my mind is makeup. Foundation, to be exact. I longed for the perfect spot-concealing concealer that won't budge from my oily face so I could go through my day wearing just that on several blemishes and no full on face makeup. Finding just that can be frustrating for oily-skinned people like me. Now, I've never tried anything from Makeup Forever before. Quality was not the issue here but the price tag. MUFE products are so darn expensive. But I guess, thinking about it, since the brand boasts of their waterproof cosmetics, if you don't have to constantly retouch your makeup, you'll only be using a little at a time. So in this case, don't let the little tube fool you. Since this product is so opaque, you literally would just need a pin size of product for every blemish you need to cover. This will last you forever to finish!
I like that it claims to be non-comedogenic as I'm prone to skin congestion. I did commit one major mistake when I got this: wrong color! (oh, and I got Jedi mind-tricked by the SA thinking it is the exact match). She suggested Golden Beige (#10) when what I really wanted to try out was Beige (#8). It is actually a great match if you were to use it as a foundation. But my intention was to spot conceal so this ended up drying two shades darker than my skin tone making the blemish more evident. Boo! Major fail.     
Oh well, the staying power is good especially if set properly with finishing powder. BUT it is not totally budge-proof. If you rubbed on it a bit, it will rub off. Lived up to its waterproof claim as I did test it out by dunking my swatched hand in water and trying to simulate a swimming motion. Don't know yet how it would hold up to saltwater. Guess we'd have to wait till I go to the beach again (clue: not any time soon). Dries to a matte finish but a little tacky/sticky to the touch. The packaging is hygienic. The opening on the tube's mouth is big enough to dispense a controlled amount of product.
When putting this on, I suggest you do it layer by layer letting the first one dry first. Be careful not to put too much as it will cake up. A little goes a long way. Dries quickly as well so you'd have to be precise and quick when using this.

If you're thinking of getting this, I couldn't emphasize more on getting the RIGHT color match. Don't be afraid to try out several shades first and wait a couple of hours because once dry, this will definitely go two shades darker. Check it out under natural lighting as store lighting could be deceiving. 
see the difference? Turned a bit orange when it dried.

Done right and you would have a great investment in your hands. Makeup Forever Full Cover Concealer 15ml. (0.5fl.oz.) retails for P1,650 (approximately US$37). Not cheap, so choose carefully. :D

Friday, November 18, 2011

A little piece of Heaven called... Theo and Philo

I've been reading about Theo and Philo's artisan chocolates through blogs since early this year. I was really interested in the unusual flavors they have to offer and really wanted to try them. It was only early this month that our paths crossed when they participated at the Global Pinoy Bazaar last November 5 and 6 at the Rockwell tent in Makati. My sister was also an exhibitor there. When I visited her booth to show my support, she told me she bought some chocolates. Imagine my glee when I saw the familiar wrapper! It was indeed Theo and Philo.

It all started out with the founder's (Philo) necessity to learn how to cook while living abroad which then progressed to baking and constantly working with chocolates as his primary ingredient (full story you can find at their website www.theoandphilo.com).

Now, if flavors like Green Mango and Salt, Labuyo, Ginger, and Calamansi does not intrigue you, their exquisite packaging probably will entice you to take a second look.

Feels like Christmas while unwrapping this...

Each candy bar is wrapped beautifully you could give these as presents just as it is! I love dark chocolates so it was great that most flavors are made with dark chocolate. I didn't get to try the Labuyo flavor, though. Would have been a real treat for me since I also love spicy stuff. Oh, well, maybe next time for sure! :D The 70% Dark Chocolate didn't last long. My sister and I devoured the whole thing like monsters! Hahaha...We couldn't even wait long enough to take a decent picture! :D

The Barako flavor is puuuuureeee heaven to those coffee addicts out there. Wish it came in bigger bars. That one was really good I didn't manage to take a picture. Each bar is priced at P95 (approximate US$2). A little pricier than your average candy bar but I'm telling you, it's worth every penny! Just wish they would sell bigger versions ---sigh--- 

You could find Theo and Philo artisan chocolates at the following shops:

ECHO Store - Podium and Serendra
Manos Nail Lounge - Unit 2-i Crescent Park Residencees 30th St cor 2nd (along Burgos Circle), Bonifacio Global City. Tel 478-4057
Ritual - The Collective, Malugay St, Makati City
Team Manila Store - Rockwell Power Plant Mall, Makati City
Aji Ichiban - Rockwell Power Plant Mall, Makati City
Cyrano Wine Shop - C. Palanca Street cor. Legaspi Street, Legaspi Village, Makati
Shangri-La Hotel Gift Shop Makati
Shangri-La Hotel Gift Shop Edsa
New World Hotel - Makati
JojiBerry - Crossroad 77 Plaza at Mother Ignacia St., Quezon City
Figaro - Greenhills Promenade
Fling Frozen Yogurt - Cliffhouse Tagaytay, Aguinaldo Highway, Maharlia East Tagaytay City
The Coffee Ministry - Royale Place Bldg, Amsterdam Ave. (Don Antonio Drive), Diliman, Quezon City
Cafe Antonio - 2F Spanish Heritage Bldg, San Juan cor Sta Catalina Sts, Dumaguete City
Baligyaan - #352 Pastrana Street, Kalibo, Aklan
Oca's Kitchen - Sentro Bldg, 1342 JC Aquino Ave, Butuan City 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tony Moly Charcoal Nose Pack

The last post I made before I hibernated was all about Tony Moly. I still owe you guys thoughts on their Charcoal Nose Pack. My go-to nose pack had always been that one from Glamworks basically because it's very affordable sold below P100 and does the job really well in pulling out the ugly whiteheads. So when I ran out and stumbled upon the newly-opened Tony Moly kiosk at SM Bacoor, I picked up a pack of their Charcoal Nose Pack. I was curious (naturally!) of the charcoal part as it is known, based on studies, that charcoal in skin care helps lift out the impurities and dirt from the skin's surface. I also liked the Pond's facial wash with charcoal so I concluded this too was worth the try.

I'd like to apologize for the lack of the step-by-step pictures on this one. I did took some shots but somehow they mysteriously vanished from my hard drive (excuses! hehehe..). Anyways, it's alright as I don't have much raves for this product. The only good thing I find about it are the slits on the pore strip they strategically placed so that it will fit snugly onto the contour of your nose. Other than that, I'm relieved this is being sold in individual packs (P28 each, as I can recall) that I wasn't lured into buying a whole box. It didn't manage to pull out a single whitehead from my nose. Not a zilch! I really had a high expectation with this one ( my bad..) so imagine my disappointment. Oh well, this is just one of Tony Moly's products so I'm not totally shunning this brand. There are great reviews for the Tomatox mask maybe I'll look into that next.

Have you tried this pore strip? Did it work for you?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spring's here! ( atleast for me. :D)

photo from www.CartoonStock.com

Hey guys! missed me? Haven't been blogging lately. Sorry about that! Though, I have a good reason to back that up. You all know, as much as I love blogging, I'm also an avid blog reader. Lately though, I find my "cynical" self getting tired of all the marketing hoopla. I had an overdose. Funny how an E-marketing graduate manage to get sick of such a thing. Marketing, as much as it is beneficial to any business could go different ways. Too much and things will start to look pretentious. Sort of like how you hate it when SAs follow you around as you browse thru the product displays in an attempt to do great customer service. Do you get what I'm trying to say here?

Anyways, I also needed the reboot to be able to give you guys more honest to goodness pieces. Let's just say the curious cat just had her claws sharpened and is a bit more fierce in giving out her opinions. :D (HER opinions. Meaning my own. So if you don't agree with whatever I'm saying, the comments box is there for a reason. Don't be afraid to open up a discussion. It's healthy. :D )

I'm back! So expect a bunch of posts on products I've been testing out while I was hibernating. If you have suggestions, feel free to tell me, I won't bite ( just as long as you don't bite me first! hahaha..). Talk to you in a minute kittens! Stay tuned.