Saturday, July 28, 2012

Places: PaperRockScissors the Perfect Craft Store in Davao

Listening to: "It's Time" - Imagined Dragons

Hello everyone! This post is not exactly skin-care related, but I'd like to share something else tonight. Yes, it's a craft shop :) kind of weird, but you know my recently-aquired love for crafting and sewing, right?

However nice Davao City is and its how accommodating its stores and establishments may be, hobby shops are definitely NOT dime a dozen from where I am. I can barely find things I want. National chains for school supplies and crafting items are not much help.

But maybe that's my fault: I don't get out a lot. Well if I didn't go out last night for a dinner at Zabadani Cafe (Grilled Syrian Chicken is just too yummy to pass up!), I would never know that what I needed was right under my nose!

A recently-opened shop called Paper Rock Scissors is one of my recent finds. Located just a minute away from where I work is the hobby shop of my dreams! It is so quaint and pretty and houses a lot of craft items, scrapbooking materials, rubber stamps and so much more.
 

When I got there, I was surprised at the amount of wonderful things to look at! Everything was begging to be bought. Not only their items, their containers and notices are so bright and pretty, too!




I enjoyed browsing around the store as their knickknacks distracted me one after the other. I couldn't stop ahhing~ and ohhhing~ at each little thing inside. It was so colorful, it made me happy! And you know me, when I am hyper I just can't stop myself.

Paper Rock Scissors service menu!
Just outside their main entrance, a random basket of fruit greets you!
I bought something. One of the items in my crafting wishlist~
I commend the owner for setting up this little shop. I also love that when I talked about wanting to modpodge some cute scrapbooking paper, she understood, and she even taught me her secret to DIY modpodge. That definitely is a plus in my books. She sure knows her craft. I feel relieved, you know! I was like "Finally, a store that understands..."

DIY ribbon-tied boxes
Aaaaa! The pastel colors make me want to weep in their loveliness~

Items ranging from ribbons to stamps are the popular must-buys of Paper Rock Scissors. Not a lot of stores carry these, especially ones that you can PERSONALIZE! You can ask about their rubber stamp personalizing at the store. The owner is really friendly and knows her craft! (Pun definitely intended :p )


I love these little jars with the modpodge'd canister covers
So cute! These are cardboard-type crafting paper! Finalllyyyyyy~
I've been interested in purchasing Washi Tape. Not a lot of store knows this, but the owner pointed me to the jar full of washi tapes :) This is an adhesive tape which is made of fabric. I am floored that washi tape is now in Davao!


If you have time, go and visit Paper Rock Scissors at Damosa right along Mamay Road. It's just about fronting Nikkei Jin Kai school. The store has also a Facebook page www.facebook.com/paperrockscissors.ph


I hope they'll stock more on

Monday, July 23, 2012

Products: Organic Skincare - Human Heart Nature, Queen Helene, Lush!

Hello everyone! ~

I am so glad to have some time today to share more about the organic/natural skin care that I use day after day. These are a product of my experiments, tests and from there I finally found some great things that I could use! Being a fan of Human Heart Nature products that I purchased online, I now moved on to incorporating more of their product lines ;)

There are quite a bunch, right? I'm not crazy, these are mostly sample sizes. Also, I am hoping to trim it down sometime soon... I'm just trying out a variety to be sure what products works for me :) 




Human Heart Nature Products (Left-Right) Reviews:

Tomato Extract Nourishing Facial Wash (PHP 79.75 / USD 1.90)- This is a clear, runny gel-type wash that does not produce suds. It cleans so well but does not leave the face 'squeaky dry'. It has a gentle, fresh fruit smell that I really love, and helps me get rid of oiliness and dirt without a harsh feeling. This is a keeper until I try the Blemi & Orange Balancing Facial Wash and see if I like it (Balancing Wash is currently sold out all over!)

Tomato Extract Nourishing Face Toner (PHP 99.75 / USD 2.30)- A wonderful toner that leaves the face dewy. It is clear and watery, with a bright, fruit scent that is not overpowering. I prefer the Balancing Toner over this, though, but this is still good if I need an extra boost for dry parts of my face and especially my neck area.

Citronella Bug Spray (PHP 99.75 / USD 2.30) - I bought this because of the alarming incidences of dengue all over nearby towns. I purchased one for my little nephews and for myself as well--can't be too careful! This is oil-based and heavy. It has really potent citronella herb smell which mosquitoes hate but I like! I usually just apply this on some parts of my body like arms and legs. It definitely keeps bugs away, I stopped getting bitten! :)

Blemi & Orange Balancing Face Toner (PHP 99.75 / USD 2.30) - Amazing, amazing, amazing! I can't rave about this product enough. I love it because after toning it creates a soft, non-dewy, natural feeling on my face. It keeps my oiliness low throughout the day. It works so well for me that I want to purchase the big bottle as soon as it is available. The scent of smooth citrus perks me up! It is easy to spread using a square cotton.

Moisturizing Day Fluid  (PHP 149.75 / USD 3.50) - A light and easy-to-spread moisturizer that lives up to the "a little goes a long way" hype. It is filled with 15 vitamins and minerals for the skin to enjoy so you can't really go wrong with this. Makes the face dewy but I don't mind, it makes you look glowing and pleasant! Scented with some natural herbs, it gives me some energy, somehow... I dunno :)

Sunflower Beauty Oil - I have the large (PHP 249 / USD 5.90) and travel-size (PHP 129 / USD 3) variants. I keep the smaller one in my bag all the time. It is a clear oil which is amazing for almost everything skin-wise and it has no scent, too! It made my elbows smoother and somewhat evened out the tone (usually elbow areas are darker than other skin areas) I also apply this on my legs and feet at night. I take the small bottle with me to our very cold office so in case my lips get chapped I dab a small amount. I also use it as a hand cream hahah~ My skin definitely gets a lot of boost! I give credit to SBO for my smoother skin!

Healthy Lotion in Berry Bliss - Tried the small sample size and LOVED IT SO MUCH that the next day I got the big bottle. I use this night and day, and it is so light and dries so easily on the skin (no greasy feel what.so.everrrr.) The lotion is not creamy as much as it is runny and has a white color with a strong zing of candied berries! No harmful chemicals, a lot of skin-friendly nutrients: This is my lotion for life!

On the left side are my DAY products which consist of the face wash, toner, and moisturizer (if I'm really lazy I skip this which is probably bad!) and a light lotion for my arms, legs and body to keep the skin healthy.

On the right side are my NIGHT stuff which mostly is the same but the Sunflower oil is heavier than the day moisturizer, and I have some Citronella natural bug spray and the Mint Julep mask (which I use 2x a week only or as needed.)

I know that the Queen Helene Mint Julep mask is not 100% organic but it does have Kaolin Clay. I have wanted to try this product for so long. I used to be a seller of Queen Helene before, but I stopped because the product gets sold out almost all the time that I didn't even own a tube of it myself.

I just recently applied Mint Julep mask last week because my face took a huge hit. Due to my very irregular sleeping habits and stress, my face is a wreck. Here I am with a lot of my pimples (very icky, sorry!):

First application: Monday
Well, thankfully my consistent application of HHN products and a follow-up reapplication of Queen Helene (Thursday) helped my skin recover fast! I still have some zits but not as many as before.

Second application: Thursday (You know you love my clothes-clip-turned-hair-clip!~LOL)
I haven't been applying face masks both sheet and DIY face mask regularly like before since I practically have no time at all and I can't find a 100% organic sheet mask brand yet! But I am thankful that Queen Helene really works at keeping zits dry as fast as possible.

An addition to my organic bathcare routine is the Lush Dirty Body Soap that Mike bought for me during our trip to Manila. I made sure that I used up my other organic soap before using this. It is a cute blue soap that smells of the cleanest fragrance of spearmint. It not only keeps your body dirt-free, it leaves a nice scent that settles nicely for quite some time!



All these products are bought by me (or given as a gift!) Quite an aggressive switch from last year's old skincare regimen, don't you think? I'm trying to really make a stand that we should do away with a lot of irritants and chemicals in skin care. It is important that we use products that NOURISH and make our body happy and free from danger! Let's do our best~

Whew!
That was a long post; but that was for being away all the time and not being around more.
Thank you for reading! See you~

Saturday, July 21, 2012

1Q84: Weaving Metaphysical Threads of Time, Love and Memories

Spoilers! Ending Reveal at the end but don't let it get to ya! Read this book all the same.

When you chance upon a novel such as this, there is no way not to balk. It is about 1000 pages thick, with no paperback version, and authored by Murakami himself, the Contemporary King of Magical Realism who asks his readers for an almost insurmountable amount of suspended belief. A sharp imagination is required before the journey starts at Page 1, but it is a journey worth the miles.


1Q84 has the touch of alternate-world feel with an edgy, dreamlike pace. The novel has its surreal story that you can try to tie with reality by understanding and interpretation, but only with a fine silk thread that breaks when stretched. It is every inch a Haruki Murakami, but we are treated to an ending that is shocking as far as his signature style goes.

I started reading this when I was commuting home, stuck in traffic with only my iPod playing series of classical Romantic Pieces by Antonín Dvořák and a heavy book to save me from boredom. And what do you know, the very opening of 1Q84 made me almost ill, gravely suspicious, looking around me and up to the darkened clouds like some unknown Eye in the Sky waited for this very moment for me to open this very book. It was like a force of nature. "Freewill" was damned. I figured I could start with the first two chapters and get to know the people in 1Q84  just in time to get off at my stop.

In the book, Aomame was stuck in traffic too, the expressway congested to a bumper-to-bumper traffic with no end in sight, bored faces of other vehicle drivers around, the taxi she's riding playing a charged symphony of Sinfonietta by Leoš Janáček which Aomame was surprised to know she actually knew.  And although a history buff, Aomame had very little inkling for timelines of classical music.

Personally, when it comes to classical music, I am lost on composers and long titles with foreign names. While I appreciate very much the melody and the symphony, I would never be able to tell you who composed this, or that, but I can tell you if I've already listened to it or if I liked it. Normally, we're all like that, right? But somehow, with just a little taxi music as trigger, Aomame knew the entire breadth of the history of the musical piece from the depths of her subconsious.


Aomame had to shake off an unpleasant, suspicious feeling with small talk with the taxi driver. She was running late for a meeting, and the taxi driver told her of a hidden stairway from within the expressway that was a shortcut to take her to Shibuya. But his monotone warning about it seemed a bit unnerving.
"Please remember: things are not what they seem... It's just that you're about to do something out of the ordinary. Am I right? People just do not ordinarily climb down the emergency stairs of the Metropolitan Expressway in the middle of the day--especially women ... And after you do something like that, the everyday look of things might seem to change a little. Things may look different to you than they did before. I've had that experience myself. But don't let appearances fool you. There's only one reality." 
After that bizzare word of caution, Aomame goes to the turnout and walks to find the stairs, careful not to get her skirt and coat wrinkled and her stockings caught while she descended down the ladder. Her 'meeting' cannot be forestalled any longer. There's a job she was paid to do: the icepick in her purse needs to be stealthily jammed in someone's neck as soon as possible.


Meanwhile, 30-year-old Tengo is trying to decipher a disturbing, recurring dream, that even when he's awake he has visions of. It is him as a baby, about a year old, in the crib adjacent to the bed where his mother has just taken off her light, white slip to reveal a smooth expanse of breast for a man who Little Tengo knew was not the father he has known. This fragment of memory has long filled Tengo with curiosity, guilt and apprehension. He doubts that the brain in the stages of infancy can remember such vivid details, and for him to remember it up until now. Memory seems a running theme in 1Q84 and it is tied with 'reality versus the fanciful and the temporary'; who can really be sure that what you are remembering from very early childhood is not a product of a hyperactive imagination? Is it only a parcel of a story heard from somewhere or from someone else?

Growing up, this "attack" of memory would leave Tengo almost paralyzed; whether standing up or sitting down as the all-too-familiar crib, bed, his mother, and the unknown man would materialize all around him, his brain gets dizzy from trying to grasp the temporary memory while losing grip of reality. At that very moment when the memory attack seized him, he was with Komatsu, a long-time acquaintance with a sharp glint in his eye. Komatsu repeats his proposition to Tengo: to serve as a ghost writer for Air Chrysalis, a terrifying and strange novel written by a 16-year-old almost-mute girl. The novel shortlisted for one of Japan literature's great awards.


I arrived at my destination just in time to complete the first two chapters of the novels. I couldn't put it down. And every free time I had was dedicated to reading 1Q84, and the exquisite pulling-off each layer and strand that make up the weaves of Aomame and Tengo's life in 1Q84. There are so many menacing aspects of this novel, especially when it comes to "religious/academic cults" and the otherworldly secrets that they protect. There is the deep silence of the children and the moon, who are the key observers in the foreboding that surrounds the events. My imagination ran wild with the characters, Ushikawa 'the Ugly', Fuka-Eri the young girl who ran away from a cult bringing with her the fantastic tales of the Little People and the Weaving of the Chrysalis and the 'Cat Town' that Tengo was lost in.

And despite all these things that were woven to wall up and force things apart, Aomame and Tengo, with almost virtually no communication and no other memory of each other except that quiet afternoon from 20 years ago when Aomame took Tengo's hands into her own, they fought through the muddle of 1Q84, for whatever little they have and to hold once again each other's hands under the brightly-lit moon.

You all knew I cried at the end right? And yes, the ending is shocking as far as Murakami goes. But my heart was close to bursting in tears of delight.

IT IS THE MOST LOVELY, AMAZING, ENTHRALLING, IMAGINATIVE NOVEL. EVER.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Craft: My Hobbies & DIY Headset Cable Cosy

Hi Everyone! Today I'd like to share a new hobby and a simple DIY for headphone owners :)

I'm working a 8-5 day job and a nightly side hustle writing gig, but that doesn't stop me from busying myself even more with different hobby projects and nonsensical things I cook up inside my room. I have recently found the urge to learn how to sew and make my own stuff, even though I am terribly rusty as the last time I picked up a needle and thread was in grade school for our home economics project. Aside from reading books, trying to learn how to draw plus paint in watercolors, discovering personal finance, my anime-watching pasttime, and everything in between, I am not sure why I want to add DIY/Sewing on my list. But I found that it's pretty relaxing and gives a good feeling of accomplishment.

My first venture was a DIY Headset Cable cosy, since I just bought myself my beloved AKG K44 Headphones a month ago and I'm pretty much inlove with it, but since owning this, I live in perpetual fear that something may happen to it. So, I made the cable cosy because the AKG has pretty long cables and it can get tangled and wavy pretty quick :( This is something done in just under 20 mins, so it's really not a huge project but this cosy is really helpful for me.

Procedure:

1. Measure your the length of your cable and cut a matching length of strip of fabric. Fold the fabric lengthwise and baste or pin.

2. Sew the ends of the fold. I used a horrendous backstitch! But it's ok nobody's gonna see it anyway. ;)

3. Thread a crochet thread into a big needle and hook to one end, this will help in trying to turn your fabric inside out.

4.  Pull the crochet thread as you go. Slide the end out.

5. Insert the headset cable and,

6. Thread until it goes to the other end

There! Finished! Here's me on a bright day, listening to GooseHouse JP with the headset cosy.

Thank you so much for dropping by and reading!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Travel: Aicha in Manila (My Trip Highlights)

Hey!

Ah, It's been quite some weeks of hiatus! But I am happy to report LIFE is still going so swell like you wouldn't believe. I took some time off from the busy rigors of work to enjoy myself in Manila! Being a quaint little Davaoena, this bustling metro is very new to me. I love Manila for its diversity, trains, huge malls and the food stalls galore!

Today I will delight you all with mostly food pictures from my trip :)

Had some macarons from Bizu! I FINALLY ATE REAL WONDERFUL MACARONS. Not the unappetizing macarons from a local store in the city, which is brittle, dry and not so much chewy and delightful and cracking as these little numbers:

Choco mint, Mango, Vanilla Macarons

I think Dairy Queen is my reason for catching a flight to Manila. I am like a horrendous crackhead everytime we pass by a DQ kiosk/stand: I JUST HAVE TO KEEP ON EATING DQ. Their Kit-Kat Blizzard mix has been my go-to and most-missed ice cream in the world.


Had some great food pasalubongs from Salazar at Ongpin! It was my first time to go there, so imagine my confusion! But loots were scored anyway :)


We also took some time to partake our breakfasts at The French Baker, which is divine, and I wonder why it's not in Davao yet. I love their rice meals, and their rice is served formed into a pyramid! Pyramids are KING.


Even when snacking, we go to Dairy Queen. A quick Dilly Bar is all you need to keep your strength up!

Aside from gorging myself with food, I went to The Reading Club, or "The Bookshop in Balagtas Street" as one article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer has named it. This, I think, was the highlight of my entire trip. I was floored. There is just something so intrinsically wonderful about selflessly giving your time to promote literacy and make books available to everyone! You can read my article about The Reading Club 2000 at my other blog by clicking on the link.


My three-day stay was markedly happier than my previous vacations! Maybe because this time I was prepared and we went to really good places! Here I am with Mike, in Cafe Noriter (favorite cafe in the country!) displaying my happy-face-ON.



Back in Davao and back to the drawing board!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Aicha in Manila: Reading Club 2000

Hello everyone!

I've been gone for some time.

I'd blame being busy with work, but that's unimaginative. And partly untrue. I blame new hobbies. I also blame the old.

In any case, July was welcomed with a happy trip to Manila. Being from Davao, the sights and sounds of this metropolitan city is both familiar and foreign. Like coming home to your idyllic childhood home only to find blinding solar panels at the roof and a lot of metal furniture in the once-cozy living room. Davao is urban but with a countryside feel, but Manila is one of those perfect urban jungles. All those cars and all those expressways and high-rises!

I was glad for this vacation, it gave me a lot of walking! *huff~ and a lot of food trips! And since reading this news feature from The Philippine Daily Inquirer about a Reading Club in Manila that gives out free books, I swore to visit it no matter what!

The Reading Club 2000  Manila

After dropping by Cafe Noriter in DSLU, I committed to a whole lot of walking just to get to Balagtas street. Naturally, I made a mistake in estimating how long it would take. I'm not from here so Google Maps was the only thing saving me from total lost-age. I was lucky enough to finally get to the train tracks along Osmena and walk some more blocks.

And behold, it was a sight for sore eyes. (feet were relieved too!)

The Reading Club 2000

I almost cried manly tears. Well actually, I did. It was beautiful. The Reading Club 2000. It was the bookshop of my dreams. I was so kilig!~*

I immediately lauched to full-force hunt mode. There were so many books for such a small corner lot. Rows upon row, shelves upon shelves. Hardbound, paperbacks, new copies, tattered ones, slightly damp and thoroughly dry, magazines dating from the early 1990s, NEW freaking COPIES of Kazuo Ishiguro NOVELS, & ETC ETC ETC. ASAJKDSDDFJAS---I felt like the whole place was made for me.

I kept on my little hunts! I didn;t even know what I was looking for, but I was 1000% I was to find it if I looked diligently enough.

I felt like was sharpening my nails like this cat: (isn't his markings so minimalistic? I loved him!)
I can't imagine how anyone at that single time could have been as honored as I was to meet Sir Nanie Guanlao, the founder of the Reading Club. He was just right beside his pushcart when he took a little notice of me and inquired about where I was from.

I told him I came from Davao and I read the article from PDI online newspaper that there was this special place in Balagtas street that was meant for me promoted literacy through free books made available for children and adults alike.


My Tagalog is so very... endearing. I can't speak it very fluently, and I have this lilting Davao accent that makes it funny for native-born Tagalogs to hear. But he spoke to me in English so I was comfortable. I loved everything this club stands for!

the library on Balagtas Street
reading club 2000 on Balagtas Street

Isn't this place so magical? So Inspiring? I am so glad to know that there are also clubs like this in other parts of the country as referenced by this picture:
For every paper tacked above, it is a corresponding area of the Philippines where there's active Reading centers, you can see that there is one from Tagaytay, in Muntinlupa and more! Sir Nanie also invited me that maybe I could be the one to start in Davao. Wow, imagine that. To be part of this wonderful drive to promote reading and love of books. I am seriously considering this you guys. There's always my friends from the Davao Reader's Club to make this happen right? :D

give books manila reading clubfree books manila reading club 2000

The main problem that the Reading Club faces is that the rain showers that is prevalent in summer is terrible to the books. Sir Nanie and his companions do their best in making sure that when there's a chance of rain, they bring out protective clear covers! But it is more important that these books are taken home by somebody that would care for very well.

balagtas street free books

I finally found some books I wanted to read! My hunt is successful :)


I took the books to ask Sir Nanie if I could get the lot. He told me I didn't even need permission! Just take what you want! Enthralling! I also left my email address to be part of the Reading Circle email group. This way, I can know the activities of the club even if I am far away.


And here are my books from The Reading Club :)

I am still in awe. I will treasure these books for as long as I live!