Monday, November 28, 2011

Facepaint: Urban Decay Naked Palette

Succumbed and finally bought the much-raved about Urban Decay Naked Eye Shadow Palette:

Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette has twelve full sized neutral eye shadows in different finishes: matte, satin and shimmer. Thank goodness the shimmer is not OTT. The shades are mostly warm and would suit any skin color. It came with the Good Karma eye shadow brush and a mini-sized Eye Primer Potion. I'm generally happy with this purchase, as I could open just one palette to do an eye makeup routine instead of having several palettes and pans on my vanity. Also, since its my first time to try UD's eyeshadows, I am so amazed how this trumps most other products out there texture-wise. It's so buttery smooth! My only gripe is that I wish it still came with the dual-ended 24/7 eyeliner instead of the brush. Due to high demand versus manufacturing constraints last year, UD decided to make these with an eye shadow brush. Another wish on my end (as if UD will listen to my demands, haha): I hope they make a neutral palette with more cool tones, too. Oh, also a palette like Too Faced's that's all matte.

I would highly recommend this for ladies who likes their eye paint wearable and subtle. This could also be used for a strong eye by defining more with the dark colors. This would be all you need to get you through a work-to-party day.

Will play around with this baby and post some EOTDs soon ;)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Home Design: Organizing Vanity

As much as I want to streamline my grooming routine, I always find myself with quite a clutter after I'm done making myself presentable for the day. My dressing table or vanity, is built right into my wardrobe closet. It has only two storage drawers. Pretty much everything else that doesn't fit into those two tiny compartments are placed atop the desk, effectively obstructing mirror and tabletop real estate.

A vanity could be a loose furniture placed inside the bedroom, or it could be incorporated into the bathroom if the bathroom is spacious enough. Functionality-wise, it should be able to accommodate all your grooming essentials such as beauty and skincare products and styling tools. If you want minimal clutter, one should opt for a dressing table with some sets of drawers to hide everything from sight when not in use.  The style is also not limited to your traditional lola's tokador. In this time and age, furniture style no longer has to be pegged or limited with what's uso or in fashion this decade/era. Now, it's all about the end-user: her/his style preference and lifestyle. It could be shabby chic, minimalist, ultra modern, mid-century modern, filipino, asian… victorian, even. Whatever floats your boat, really. Any of these styles, particularly the period-inspired ones could be brought to 'now' by adding a contemporary twist to them. 

Some bedroom and bathroom vanity ideas:

How about you, how do you organize your vanity?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Food Chronicles: Enjoying the sweet life with Sweet D's Cakes and Pastries

Sweet D's Cakes and Pastries is a home business started by Pastry Chef Cha Cleofas in 2010. Fresh from the Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School in Bangkok, Thailand, Chef Cha wasted no time when she got back home in Manila. She immediately started churning out delectable concoctions in her kitchen for a test clientele of family and friends. I was one of the lucky few to sample her delicious treats, much to the chagrin of my waistline. A few months later, Sweet D's was born. Cha's five-year old niece came up with the name Sweet D's -- short for Sweet Desserts. 

For the 2011 Christmas Holidays, Sweet D's has launched three mouth-watering cakes that are sure to test any dieter's conviction. All cakes and pastries are homemade and baked to-order, so you are always guaranteed of the quality and freshness of each batch.

Sweet D's indulgent offerings:

Sweet D's Kahlua Chocolate Cake: "a perfect combination of dark chocolate and kahlua, sinful... but worth it!"
Red Velvet With Fresh Fruits and Cream Cheese Filling: It doesn't get any more festive than this!
White Chocolate and Oreo Cheesecake: Creamiest cheesecake base I've ever tried!  Together with the generous Oreo pieces and white chocolate, it's smooth and crunchy at the same time.

For an easy sweet-tooth fix, Chef Cha also makes scrumptious cookies: Chunky Peanut Butter and Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies -- "baked with dark chocolates and chunky peanut butter."  One is never enough!
Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies -- Cookies with generous chunks of premium dark chocolate and roasted cashews. This is my all-time fave!

These treats are perfect for parties and as gifts.

You may contact Chef Cha Cleofas at or at 09178065534. You may also visit Sweet D's facebook page . 

*All photos courtesy of Sweet D's facebook page.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hair Styling: Herstyler Grande Clipless Curling Wand

"Tourmaline barrel creates smooth, glossy curls with Ceramic technology which produce negative ions to seal cuticles and repel humidity (no frizz!) Quick heat recovery without sudden increase of heat to minimize damage, leaving your curls shiny and luscious. The slim, rubberized handles facilitate your styling experience securing the barrel in your hand. Our Grande Baby curler is suitable for all hair types; from fragile and fine to wavy and thick. The body of the curler is constructed using light-weight, high-strength composite materials, commonly used in the aerospace industry."

A Curling Iron, particularly the traditional metal kind with the clip, has always been a challenging hair styling tool for me. It is not an easy tool to master. It takes too long to use on my medium thick hair, without guarantees on the outcome even if I use it in tandem with tons of hairspray and a hair product that enhances and holds curls. Most of the time, I just end up with burnt ends and a frizzy mess.

From a year ago, I saw this feature on on Clipless Curling Irons. Hair stylists swear on the ease of use, and a glossy frizz-free outcome due to the iron's ceramic coating. It is also said to make curls that last until you wash your hair. I've had no luck searching for this in Rustan's and Watsons. I saw one from a Multiply merchant but was wary of buying because it was generic/unbranded from China. The seller also kept changing the shipping cost, it was a turn-off. I was almost tempted to place an order from the pre-order merchants in Multiply and Girltalk for a Con-air, Sedu or Remington one. 

As luck would have it, I saw this Herstyler Grande Clipless Curling Wand being sold in for only 2000 Pesos. This costs 140 USD from the Herstyler website, and on sale at 89.95 USD from  It was second hand but the seller guaranteed that she got it new from the US. It was not even a month old and she has used it for only a maximum of 3 times. Her reason for selling was because she already cut her hair short and didn't see any use for the product anytime soon. I asked for a few days return guarantee from her in case it didn't work as expected, and she gladly agreed. It still came in a box complete with the product cards and a heat resistant hand glove. It looked new and didn't show signs of wear in the rubber handle and ceramic barrel.

The verdict: IT WORKS! You need a low learning curve to use it. The results were a far cry from using a traditional curling iron. I was able to curl my whole head in medium sized sections 30 minutes tops. The iron is so light and not clunky, it was a breeze to use. The revolving cord also helps so the cord won't get tangled as you move and wind the tool around. The tourmaline ceramic barrel did produce curls that were shiny and not frizzy at all. You can adjust the tightness of the curls or loose waves depending on how tight you wind it onto the barrel. I first tried doing tight bouncy curls sans any fixing product to test how long it will hold. It loosened into medium-sized mermaid waves after about 3 hours. 

I would recommend using a gentle humidity-resistant fixing spray such as Finesse or Tresseme (available in Watsons and S&R respectively)  to hold the curls while keeping it soft and bouncy. Skip the Aquanet on this, it will only give it a crunchy texture and residue fallouts. 

Me and my best bud Anj recently used it when we attended our friend's wedding. Used together with a Finesse hairspray, our 'do lasted from 7 in the morning until we washed our hair in the evening. It did not frizz even though it was so humid in the church.

Tighter curls for me and loose mermaid waves for Anj. 

This is one great pre-loved buy, and won't be returning it. I hope this type of curling iron will reach our store shelves soon so more ladies can enjoy varied hairstyles without committing to digital perming.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Facepaint: Etude House Proof 10 Mascara

 Ever since I got interested in makeup, I have been in the search for THE perfect mascara. I've tried numerous, particularly drugstore brands. I don't really want to splurge on high end ones since mascaras have a very short shelf life once opened. You have to chuck it in the bin every three months, or else risk infecting your eye. 

 Etude House -- one of the Korean cosmetics shops that have been popping up in Manila like 'shrooms quite recently, has made this thirty-year old feel like a kid in a candy shop every time I visit their store. I love visiting their store. They offer makeup, skincare and hair products at very affordable price points. Their products' packaging are mostly aimed at tweens/teens with their whimsical princess-y motifs. 

 Back to my quest of finding the Holy Grail of cheap mascaras, I purchased Etude House's Proof 10 Mascara in Black for less than 600pesos.

 This mascara is hyped to create intense and dramatic eyelashes. I have no idea what the Korean description says at the back of the packaging. The store assistant said that this gives volume and length at the same time, and is also waterproof, budge and smudge-proof.  So yay, dropped it into the shopping basket with high hopes it will work.

 I have short and slightly curly lashes. I often use mascara to make my lashes appear thicker, lush and of course longer. I also have oily lids, which usually makes even the toughest and highly-hyped mascaras give me raccoon eyes after a few hours of wear.

Bare eye

... with 2 coats of EH Proof 10 Mascara

 The verdict: Etude House's Proof 10 mascara does make my lashes appear somewhat thicker and a bit longer. It did not flake nor budge after close to 8 hours, even in humid conditions. It takes about 30-60 seconds to set after applying as the formulation is very liquid, even after a week of constant use. You have to refrain from blinking a lot or touching it before it dries. But once it dries, it's set for the day. It also holds the curl from my Shu Uemura Lash Curler. On my first few uses of this though, I had some worries that the mascara's fibers seemed to be getting into my eye. But it has not bothered me again after several times of use. I would have reservations on recommending it to someone with ultra-sensitive eyes and those who use contact lenses due to the fibers. It is not waterproof as the SA claims. Not for teary-eyed moments and activities involving water, as it smears upon water contact. Lastly, with regards to removal -- its moderately easy to remove using an oil eye makeup remover. 

 Overall, I'm quite happy with this product and use it almost daily. It would be a perfect 10 if it were also waterproof. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Designing for self

I am currently in the process of designing our own home.

Currently, for most of 2011 that is.

In designing for clients, it's usually said: "it would be a lot easier to decide on the design path for this project if it were my own."

That is actually far from what has been happening for most of this year. For one, it's so hard to please every single family member. It is no easy feat to fit all the rooms and activity areas each member of my family wants/needs into a two-storey structure, in less than 300 square meters of a plot of land. That, and still leave a decent amount of open space for a garden or lawn.

I am also expected to factor in some feng shui and Filipino building beliefs -- try fengshui-ing for five family members with different Chinese zodiacs. And we're not even Chinese. Add to that some supposedly practical bedroom positioning of ALL bedrooms to face the East. There's also my mother's belief that we should only position the front door to face either East or South. But wouldn't it be more practical and security-efficient to place the door where it is easily accessible and visible to/from the main access path, which does not conveniently happen to face either East or South, but West. So the dilemma continues.

Of course, being a designer, I am also in a way pressured to deliver aesthetics-wise (but I BELIEVE that will be a given, plus aesthetics is SUBJECTIVE).

Perhaps I have to start grounding the design somewhere, but eleven months into the year and I'm still pretty much lost.

A random sketch I did of a possible facade for our house. Entourage c/o my bro.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tous Les Jours now in Manila

photo from Tous Les Jours' FB page

" "Tous Les Jours" brand was launched in Korea in 1996 to give consumers a totally satisfying bakery experience. It launched an on-site production system for each store, which guarantees the quality of our fresh, delectable cakes made from the finest ingredients. "

Tous Les Jours will open its first store in Manila on November 11, 2011 (11.11.11 !) at SM North Edsa The Block. The marketing pics from their facebook page look so yummy, especially this Rose Inspiration Strawberry Fresh Cream Cake. Its supposedly topped with natural strawberry powder and has fresh strawberries inside. It looks so pretty and delectable. Can't wait!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spaced out

Welcome to my blog!

This is me taking the time to appreciate myself more -- by slowing down, taking notice, indulging in my passions, and living in the moment.  In short, this blog is dedicated to me zoning out.

I am passionate about  zone out to Home Design, Art, Beauty, Fashion, and Food.

These may be range from anything that intrigues me, makes me smile, or laugh. Cry, even. An idea that picks me up. A person that inspires me to kick start my momentum. A thing, or things that would spell the difference from a boring routine to an added step to look forward to; all the better if it results to some form of positivity, whether from within or in outward appearance.

Join me seize the moment. It’s a beautiful world out there.