Archive for January 2011

What Will You Wear On Valentine's Day? (Part 1)


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Just look at how January flies so fast! It won't be long before we wake up to a romantic February morn.

February, as we all know, is the month of hearts and so I wonder what some of you are planning to wear on that big date night. I was skimming through Forever 21's Spring 2011 Lookbook and found a couple of inspiring outfits...

Part 1: The print-on-print look (photos collated from forever21.com):











This style is practically one of my treasured fashion frustrations. Inasmuch as I try to be artsy fartsy, my low-functioning right brain finds it terribly difficult to come up with an original concept. Thank goodness for lookbooks!

Which of these looks are V-day worthy?

Nyx HD Grinding Blush


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Nyx launched their premium makeup line, the HD Photogenic Studio Collection, which carries an interesting blusher called, the Grinding Blush. 

Photo from Audrey Dao

Nyx website brags: A revolutionary system for face blush. This genius system grinds mineral-enriched high-definition blush powder that deflects light from skin an makes pores appear smaller and smoother. Perfect for photos an filming. Grinding powder allows you to control the amount you need and keeps remaining product fresh. Say goodbye to oil trappings on powders, contamination, and cracking.

The packaging reminded me of Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder:



This is a cool concept from NYX, really, and I've been reading a lot of good reviews from this blush (and the grinding powder, too). However, the uncool thing is having to shell out a whopping $20 for a NYX stuff! Yup, the Nyx HD Grinding Blush is sold at $20. A few more $$$ and you can get yourself a pan of NARS blushes!

Here's how they look like (collated from NYX website):








This blush contains: Mica, Kaolin, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Silica, Hexyl Laurate, Diisostearyl Malate, Magnesium Stearate, Red 30 Lake, Nylon-12 Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, C.I. 77491 (Iron Oxides), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Chlorphenesin, VP/VA Copolymer, Hydroxypropyl Methycellulose, C12-14 Pareth-7, Amodimethicone, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol, Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Salicornia Herbacea Extract.

Jheng, a co-beauty blogger, sported English Rose prettily:

Photo Source

Jheng swatched ALL 8 colors, too! Check them out HERE

Nyx blushes are really great buys; they are affordable and very pigmented (check out some Nyx blush swatches I talked about a year ago). However, with steep price points on their HD Studio line, I am on the fence about getting them.

I will be waiting for more reviews on this. If this blush garners a fair amount of thumbs up for being photogenic and lasting on oily cheeks, I will get one. For the meantime, I'll busy myself creating a good dupe for it.

Photo Source

More resources for Nyx HD Studio Grinding Blush at The Shades Of U, VampyVarnish, and IamBrigitte. If you live in the Philippines and would like to join the NYX preorder (Grinding blush is at P750!!!), click HERE.






400 Years and Still Beautiful!


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A little fun fact about me: I studied in a University who's celebrating its Quadricentennial Anniversary today.

The University of Santo Tomas (UST), my Alma Mater, is the oldest University in the Philippines. Gosh, it's been 400 years since the first University was founded in our country!

The Main Building (oldest building that the school preserved) houses the College of Science,
a Museum and the Administrative Offices
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The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas
The Main Building on a normal school day
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One of the three architectures fronting the University's entrance: the Fountain of Knowledge
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The school's architectural centerpiece, The Arc of the Century
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The University is quite huge. Now, this place was where I got a more womanly form from.:

Photo taken from my sister's camera

We call it, "The Grandstand". My former classmates and I jogged the perimeter of this field together with some of our Physical Therapy professors (how cool is that?!! our professors were the ones who encouraged us to stay fit and bribed us with merits if we jogged... now, i learned that on top of the academic merits, i'm reaping the benefits from jogging by having a prettier physique).

Aerial view: that's the perimeter I jog around on.
Don't ask me how many laps though :)
Photo Source

UST is known for quite a number of things too aside from being really old. Like hosting the "Paskuhan", an annual Christmas celebration held at The Grandstand. This event is famous for free food (for the students, free ice cream for visitors), a variety show, and a lengthy display of FIREWORKS!

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Releasing Lanterns in the Sky in 2010
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That's the Grandstand (where I jog); it's where 'Paskuhan' happens
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Paskuhan is also famous for drawing a HUGE crowd
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Students viewing the fireworks far from the grandstand
(but still inside the school's premises)
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People, not ants...
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My college, The College of Rehabilitation Sciences, has been consistently topping the country's Physical and Occupational Therapy Licensure exams through the years. The year I took my boards was the year when UST once again experienced a 100% passing rate for PT (2003). (another trivia: I was President of the College when I was in my Senior year, I do not want to look back at how I drained myself juggling gruesome academics and demanding extra-curricular stuff).
This is so reminiscent of my college days!
Clockwise: Practical exams (and that's our laboratory uniform),
Learning how to create splints (that's an ankle splint, btw), Research and Thesis, Internship
Collated photos from ustcrs.com


UST Hospital (still inside the campus)
i held internship here, worked here and even became a patient here (Sophomore year)
Photo Source

Here's a toast to 400 years of excellence and for more years to come. I can never be grateful enough for this University's efforts in striving to become a better place for hopeful dreamers like me. Go, USTe!

Viva Santo Tomas!





Crocs on Glutathione


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(a guest post from Crickette, the Crocodile)

I was inspired by The Beauty Bin's glutathione review a year ago, where she talked about how ph338 and tathione307 (what's with the 'ending-product-names-with-3-digit-numbers' gimmick?) working magically on her skin.

A few months later, I decided to give in to this Asian fad. I never thought it could work so well for cold-blooded crawlers like me:

BEFORE Oral Glutathione (please forgive me for the horrible pics, my skin is so dry):






I went through  a whitening transition phase after a month. From black, to a bronzier skin. I  kinda liked this tanned-look for a moment, but decided to push through with those little pills.




And after several months, I am 90% white:


croc-on-gluta


Gluta Junkie

So there, I kinda feel like a Hollywood celeb now. I'm getting offers from producers to star on upcoming remakes of Hook, Lake Placid and, of course, Crocodile Dundee.


I already turned down an offer from the executives of the Ong Bak series. They wanted to recreate this scene from Ong Bak 2 in their upcoming flick:

Photo Source

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These photos were taken during our trip to Avilon Zoo last year. I will be posting truckloads of animal photos soon... I hope you don't mind :) -herroyalbleakness, not Crickette

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock Review


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Product says: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 50+ (PA+++) is a breakthrough in sun protection.  Stabilized with Helioplex, it provides superior balanced broad-spectrum protection against skin-aging UVA and burning UVB rays, and combines it with Dry Touch technology for an ultra light, non-shiny finish. This lightweight sunblock has a light fresh scent and is gentle enough for even sensitive skin. 


Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF50+, 88mL
around P500, available in groceries and beauty stores


Ultra light, clean feel; leaves skin soft and smooth; waterproof, sweatproof; non-comedogenic; oil-free and PABA-free [PABA - para-Aminobenzoic acid; an old ingredient of sunblocks which has been proven to cause skin irritation.]

What I love about it:
1. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunblock is a non-greasy product and has a fairly high SPF (and all that Helioplex stuff) which mattered a lot. Albeit the moderately thick consistency, it gets easily absorbed (under the right conditions, see Uh-oh #2) and does not leave the skin heavy at all.

Neutrogen Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock has
a rather thick consistency but is lightweight!


2. While it can make the skin tad whiter within the first few minutes of application, the paleness dies down in a while. You may want to dab on a slightly darker shade of powder to neutralize the whiteness, or, lessen the amount of product you slather onto your skin (you may be applying too much).

3. Sunblocks are notorious for causing a white pall on pictures (whitecast), the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunblock doesn't (throws a bunch of confetti at the tube). 

Uh-ohs:
1. The scent is something I could not take. The initial strong floral gimmick is something I wish the manufacturers would work on. However, I noticed that after half an hour, the scent kinda tones down into something more pleasant. 

2. I had to make sure I applied the product in front of the fan or in an air-conditioned room to get that 'dry-touch' promise. If you have combination or oily skin, you'll benefit from this tip.

Dry-Touch? Depends on your skin type!

3. Lightweight? Well, yes, but my face felt a little heat from it, thus causing me to sweat a little. This sunblock is definitely not the type you would like to wear alone if you have combination skin + sweaty skin. I make sure I set it with my mineral powder for a better finish.

4. The tube tip can be quite a mess every after use so don't forget to wipe it off with tissue.

5. If your face hates silicones (although most girls love the smoothened-look effect that this ingredient leaves the face), you might break out from it.

Ingredients of the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock
no Titanium Oxide, no whitecast...that's why!
it's also not -cone-free, by the way

Recommendation:
When looking for a face sunblock, there are two major considerations I take in: (1) it has to be non-greasy, and (2) it has to have an SPF high enough to withstand the ultra hot summer in the Philippines (SPF30 and above, please). Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch has fulfilled these two conditions and even exceeded my standards by being a lightweight product that glides smoothly on the skin.

I highly recommend this to those with dry and combination skin. Girls who oil a lot may not be too happy with the fact that this tube can be a hit or miss in keeping the face matte. 

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch is definitely among the sunblocks I'm glad I bought, however, with my latest 2 new sunblock discoveries, I feel that this tube can be easily outdone by other brands.


A Guide To Purchasing Modern Sponges


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The birth of Beauty Blender definitely elevated the status of a sponge as a makeup tool. With the addition of the Sonia Kashuk Blending Sponge and the Sephora Precision Sponge, I basked in tons of sponge reviews for several days (almost wanted to just stick with my good old disposable sponges!) weighing which of these three should I get.

Since I've learned heaps from what I've read, I'm sharing a summary on the comparison of these three sponges.


Kashuk Sponge Photo Source; Sephora Sponge Photo Source; Beauty Blender Photo Source

The Feel
Beauty Blender has the softest, smoothest and the most lightweight feel among the three. You can squeeze it effortlessly. Sephora Precision Sponge is the densest.

When used, the Beauty Blender gives more bounce to makeup application, allowing a faster rate of stippling while properly blending the makeup in. Sonia Kashuk Blending Sponge comes in second to being springy, while Sephora, last.

The Shape
Sonia Kashuk wins for its ergonomic shape. It has a tapered middle part that's great for gripping and most users swear that this feature adds to its ease of use. The two others are pretty much on the same page because of their similar shape.

However, because of SK's erratic shape, only its base and tip can be used to apply foundation. The other two's basic shape allows more surface you can use in applying your makeup.

Durability
There's a huge ruckus to the reviews I've read on which sponge is the most durable. Up till now, I can't tell which one is built to last.

Is it perhaps because they're all equally durable? And that the user's ability to care for them is a BIG factor to consider?

Price
A single Beauty Blender sponge costs $20. To get more value for your cash, you can get two for $26. SK costs $9-$10, and Sephora's Precision Brush is priced at $12.

After-care
The Beauty Blender comes out the cleanest among the three. You have to squeeze the other two a bit harder every time you clean them (minus points for durability?).

Sonia Kashuk Photo Source; Beauty Blender and Sephora Sponge photos from Sephora


Surprise, surprise
These three are meant to be dampened prior to use. Sonia Kashuk's and Sephora's do not expand much after soaking with water, while the Beauty Blender expands twice its original size (that's bigger cross-sectional area for makeup application!).

That into consideration, biggest-to-smallest sponge is during use is: BB-SK-SPB.

And the biggest surprise of all? Each brush performs just as well as the other! No sponge is better in terms of makeup application! All three can give you that flawless, natural look

Makeup Alley Ratings
BB - 4.4/5 84% of the 147 reviewers will buy again
SK - 4.2/5 83% of the 146 reviewers will buy again
SPB - 1/5 no one of the 3 reviewers will buy again

Conclusion
I can see you are relieved that there's really not much difference in the way these three sponges apply makeup. I am relieved, too! That makes decision-making a hell lot easier, right?

Beauty Blender obviously wins the race. Most affirm that Sonia Kashuk's Blending Sponge is a pretty good dupe to it. If money's an issue, then SK's your best bet. And if you're gaga about Spongebob, then go for the Sephora Precision Sponge (OMG! I really don't know what to say!)!

More resources
Okay, so if this post didn't help much, let me direct you to Hell Candy Makeup and Cosmeddicted.com. They've got in-depth feature of the Beauty Blender vs. Sonia Kashuk Blending Sponge vs. Sephora Precision Sponge you might want to read.









Happy Sunday + A Bunch Of Giveaways


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If you still remember, I was rather dismayed a couple of nights ago because of some rude remarks to mongrels.

I am just so happy and relieved to realize that most of my beloved readers share in my love for dogs and that we love each and everymutt without fussing about whether they're purebreds or not.

To those who emailed me and encouraged me to pursue the punch, thank you! I loved how violent everyone sounded ^.^ And if you're wondering if the punch pushed through (as an installment), I believe I was able to hit him real hard with my "Mongrels-are-beautiful remark + a pic of my dear Boggart" drama. He sent me a text message after the incident:
I didn't realize that you were into pets and I feel sorry you had to hear my arrogant views on mixed breeds. Honestly, I don't really like how Mongrels look. After our "one-way" argument last night, I thought about why I didn't like them. I still don't like them at this point but I'm willing to not run over them when I see them. I'm treating you to dinner as penance. Bring the Christmas dog along.
That was pretty much like a punch in his nuts (just like what dear Ellen wanted me to do)! An apologetic guy admitting to being guilty and trying to change his views. I might just ask for a sack of Vitality Dry Dog Food in place of dinner.

And oh, going back to beauty stuff, please don't forget to join these giveaways:

Starryxuan's Giveaway



Nilufar's Giveaway


Ladycrow's Giveaway

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