Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Books in the Mail: HarperCollins Stash for August-September

I've just about settled here in Manila, yet my address is giving me a headache. I've only been used to a residential address, not a condominium unit number so I'm always worried about lost mail. I didn't think that my Harper Collins books would find its way to me. Until one fine morning:



I was absolutely crazy happy. I have very little faith in Manila postal offices due to horrendous reports of misdirected mail, opening of packages, and even high taxation of mailed goods which is so ridiculous #thirdworldproblems and all that.

I received two packages from Harper Collins on the same week, so you can just imagine me jumping for joy. Here are the books I received from several months' worth:



I am an avid fan of Harper Collins, even before they noticed me and my blog. They are one of the publishing houses that I love because their editors and agents are AMAZING! They source out new authors and get them published, and those are testament to their great skill in sniffing out the best stories that a lot of people like me love.

It was just a lucky strike that they approached me to ask if I would be happy to receive books from them. I can't turn down offers of books, y'all. I would even forgive any mortal enemy (if I had one!) if they sent me a book as a peace offering. Seriously. You can see how easy it is to buy me gifts during the holidays!

I've decided on the first two books that I will read. Maybe a review if the story is worth it (I can't review a book I didn't enjoy at all. I'm just not cut out for that.)

I'm setting my sights on

1. All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg. Here's some first looks of the book:


Very pretty cover!


It seems its a very light read!




Book blurb:
"Brooke has been happily married to her college sweetheart for fifteen years. Samantha's newlywed bliss is steamrolled when she finds shocking evidence of infidelity on her husband's computer. Katherine works eighteen hours a day for the man who irreparably shattered her heart fifteen years ago. 

Brooke, Samantha, and Katherine don't know one another yet, but all three are about to discover the conquering power of friendship - and that they have all they could ask for, as long as they have each other."

~**~

2. The Widows of Brazton County by Jess McConkey. Here's some first looks of the book:


It's a thicker book but looks like a light read!



Book blurb:
"Kate is ready to put her nomadic, city-dwelling past behind her when she marries Joe Krause and moves with him to the Iowa farm that has been in his family for more than 140 years. But life on the farm isn't quite idyllic as she'd hoped. It's filled with chores, judgmental neighbors, and her mother-in-law, who - unbeknownst to Kate until after the wedding - will be living with them.

As Kate struggles to find her place in the small farming community, she begins to realize that her husband and his family are not who she thought they were. According to town gossip, the Krause family harbors a long-kept secret about a mysterious death that haunts Kate as a dangerous, unexplainable chain of events begin"



I've actually already started on Widows, and right now I can say it's a PAGE TURNER! I'm not one for mystery because I can't stand not finding out what's happening! This feels like a great read!

Thank you for reading!

Goodluck on your reads!~

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, September 23, 2013

3W Clinic Intensive UV Sunblock Cream SPF50 PA+++

Sunblocks and sunscreens are a staple in my everyday wear. I stopped wearing those bb creams or any kind of foundation ever since I decided to stick to a really good sunblock. Basically, I only started to rely on sunblock when I finally found my favorite high-SPF product that didn't leave a white cast or make me oil up so bad after trying so many products.

It was only 2 years ago when I discovered the Kose Suncut Essence UV Protect Milk SPF50 PA+++ and my love for wearing sunblock began. Ever since then, I stopped using bb creams since they only really gave me max SPF35 and I don't like that with most bb creams its hard find a good shade that lasts.

Unfortunately, buying this exclusively online and internationally is taking a toll on my pockets. I buy my Kose Suncut from Sasa.com twice a year, and I usually get the "USD$70 purchase for free shipping". And even if the Kose only costs a little under P250.00, getting it here is such a pain. I'm looking into trying brands that I can source out locally

2 weeks ago I was at Eastwood to attend the Chocolate Festival and I chanced upon this bazaar that sold Korean skincare and makeup products. And I saw this!


I was immediately intrigued and the lovely Korean lady (the owner, I guess) helped me test it out along with various cosmetics that she tried to make me buy hahaha she was so cute, like a mama-uljzzang!

How I usually know if it's good enough a product to check out:

> Availability and accessibility of product: The seller is a Korean woman that wants to setup shop here in Manila and she seemed to have a lot of 3W Sunblock! She was even surprised that I knew 3W, since she tried selling it out but nobody wanted it as much, since most buyers only know the popular Korean brands that have set up flagship shops here in the Philippines. She told me she used 3W as well!

> Check for the right ingredients and product claims: Immediately I checked for SPF, PA, UVA and UVB and it's a yes, yes, yes, yes! Since using Kose with its SPF 50 PA+++ I can't settle for less anymore. Whenever I wear SPF 30 I kinda always felt like it wasn't enough of a protection, especially when I go out midday. The ingredients seemed to be in Korean, though.

> Test the product if it's something you want to put on daily and for skin suitability: I was able to get a hold of their testers, and I was very wary since  at first I saw it was a cream type, and for two years I was used to water type sunblocks that don't feel heavy at all. But when I tried to spread it out, I was very happy to note that this was incredibly easy to spread and seemed more watery than it first belied. I tested it on a patch of my inner arm and my neck as well and experienced no weird thing after 5 mins which is enough for me.


So far, after 2 weeks of using the product, the only thing I regret is not buying another tube. I use it religiously whether I'm going to work or going for a quick trip to the supermarket.

PROs:

  • Keeps skin protected and moisturized
  • No scent at all
  • Easy to use and to spread on the face
  • Cream type but more milky and watery
  • Maybe a good makeup base for those of you looking for high SPF makeup base
  • VERY AFFORDABLE: PHP190.00 (USD4.00)
  • Lasts for 8 HOURS! (I tested indoors, a/c room)
    • Lasts for 4.5 HOURS! (running around, commuting)
  • Available locally in independent shops
CONs:

  • Slightly dewy finish (need to powder sometimes?)
  • Not buildable (if you're looking for that, this one does not pile up, since it's watery)
Squeeze out a good amount of sunblock from the tube

Try to spread it out

Spread it out thinner all over the skin

Voila! No white cast

Has a slightly dewy finish that I like (so I don't look like I have dry skin) but my face is oily so I have to set with powder maybe? But not as much of a big deal, yaaay!


My new favorite sunblock as of today until we can have Kose here locally!
Thank you for reading~

Keep safe and warm!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan (Wishlist Granted!)

A month ago, I was doing groceries at a local mall when I felt the urge to go to the used bookstore shop nearby. Whenever you go to used book shops, you can't really expect to getting a specific title, but more of a certain 'genre' that you want to read. On that particular day, magic happened and I got both the title and genre I wanted

I was able to spot The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sudaresan after overturning some books, looking for some interesting titles. My heart was racing as I glimpsed this cover:


I couldn't believe my luck, plus I only had to fork over PHP50 to get this! What are the chances?! I was so happy going home and excited to get started on reading.

Here's the Book Blurb:


"An enchanting historical epic of grand passions and adventure, this debut novel tells the captivating story of one of India's most controversial empresses - a woman whose brilliance and determination trumped myriad obstacles, and whose love shaped the course of the Mughal Empire. Skillfully blending the textures of historical reality with the rich and sensual imaginings of a timeless fairy tale, The Twentieth Wife sweeps readers up in Mehrunnisa's embattled love with Prince Salim, and in the bedazzling destiny of a woman - a legend in her own time - who was all lost to history until now."
The novel starts in Persia, where Mehrunissa's lineage is traced. Her family has Persian noble blood, and her father, Ghiyas Beg, served under the imperial court and was a respected aristocrat. But before Mehrunissa was born, their House had begun its decline due to the changing of rulers, which meant "changing guard" inside the court as well. The family migrated to India after falling through its darkest times.

Ghiyas Beg had a good reputation and a good name, and had years of strong tenure in the Persian court which he hoped will be enough to grant him a position in India's royal courts, under Emperor Akbar's reign. He quickly absorbed the intricacies of the Mughal court, and in time proved himself to be indispensable.

Because of his position in court, his family led a more comfortable life with access to the inner Royal courts. Mehrunissa grew up in the presence of the ladies of the Zenana, the group of wives and concubines of the Emperor. She grew close to the Emperor's first wife, the chief lady of the Zenana, and it is there that she flourished and her link to Prince Salim, the next in line to the throne, was solidified.


The novel spans at least two rulers of Mughal India, Emperor Akbar and Emperor Jahangir (Prince Salim) so there's a lot of intrigue, drama, war and conflict in between. If you're looking for a quick love story though, this is not the novel for you. Mehrunissa and Prince Salim's exchanges are very few and very, very far in between (think: start of the novel and end of the novel and nothing else! Hahaha!)

It is such a romantic, enthralling, sweeping and deeply historical book. I can't rave enough about books that delve into the detailed traditions and customs of a certain culture, and this book does not disappoint in that regard! The narration is quite rich with atmosphere, and the dialogue has a personality that rings true with the person talking, as if you can almost hear the velvety voice of Empress Ruqayya, the exasperated sighs of Emperor Akbar, or even the rich timbre of Prince Salim's voice.

But I was deeply touched by this story! I couldn't help hating some of the ladies in the Zenana, especially Jahangir's first wife, Jagat Gosini ("Name pa lang, evil na!" I thought to myself one time while reading hue hue hue) But I guess her jealousy has ground, because if you're privy to both Mherunissa and Jahangir's internal struggle with their passion (they meet once when they were young, both were intrigued and could not get each other off their minds, and they meet again more than two decades later and you can almost tell their thoughts are ready to combust) then you may think that Gosini is totes justified in her jealousy.

And how beautiful is this quote?

"He had been her choice when she was eight, was still her choice when she was thirty-four, and would be equally important to her for the rest of her life."


That is some kind of intense.

The Twentieth Wife is my most wishlisted book of all time (Of all time! ~Kanye West) if you check this pathetic post; I didn't really think that I would be able to actually get my hands on this lovely book. And if I may quote: "Oh, why do I want books that are impossible for me to buy?!"

Now I stand (sit?) corrected! Well, not really completely true, because if you saw the date of the posting, I blogged about it "March 29, 2009" I mean, it was soooo long ago it even surprised me that I remembered the book and how much I wanted it.

But even after 4 years of patiently waiting, scouring used bookstore after used bookstore, I finally have it and have read it page after precious page. To paraphrase Mehrunissa:

"This had been her choice when she was twenty-two, was still her choice when she was twenty-six, and would be equally important to her for the rest of her life."

:') I wonder if I can find the next installment of this book, The Feast of Roses, soon?


Wish me luck! I need it for the next book sale scouring!
And thanks so much for reading!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Event: Chocolate Festival @ Eastwood Mall



When Greencross posted that image banner of the Chocolate Festival on my wall, my soul was seize with an inexplicable feeling of destiny! and a low, rumbling, thundering voice replaced my high-pitched ones...

"I MUST GO! I SHALL EAT THE FOOD OF MY PEOPLE..."


So we went! :D


In transit, I was so EXCITED because I thought it was my first time at Eastwood. Do'h! I kinda forgot I actually have been there. Double do'h! I was there 2 years ago with Greencross and Kazama, during one of our wedding video editing sessions. I remembered that we ate at Johnny Rockets (Dancing Johnny Rockets staff was still a novelty to me that time that I sported a big stupid grin on my face as I saw them bust a groove in front of me!) but, to be clear, it was still my first time to go inside Eastwood Mall!


Saw LINE posters at some of the mall benches and just had to take a picture.
 Sporting my Monster Hunter 4 shirt that I've been wearing like crazy. Yea... I don't think it has been washed.


The Chocolate Festival is sponsored by the Eastwood City / Megaworld Lifestyle Mall to celebrate and promote chocolate products all over the world. During the event, should you decide to buy the chocolates from various Eastwood Mall shops (PHP 500 minimum purchase) you will be given a chocolate bar as a reward! Your receipt can also get you the Golden Ticket to the Chocolate Buffet.

We were only able to buy TWO things:

1. A bar of dark chocolate brownie (PHP 65) This looked so fluffy that it betrayed its RICH and DARK taste. I can almost taste the native cocoa used to make this.


2. Caramel moist cake (PHP 90) And this is soooo good. It's perfect and fudgy and the caramel tasted fine (a lot of caramel tastes burnt! Yeccch!)



Aside from ready-to-eat chocolate, there were also some raw chocolate products displayed from Malagos Garden. I love this farm because they're originally from Davao (Wut up, Davao! Represent!) and I used to have field trips at their farm when I was in grade school. It's amazing what they're doing with their brand. They have become export-quality and have become one of the top-selling chocolate producers in the country.




There's something about GOURMET CHOCOLATES that makes my heart melt. It's their smallness and delicate-looking designs that makes me want to om nom nom nom. It's my first time to hear about RISA Chocolates but I guess they've been famous for quite a bit of time. I was at their booth and saw newspaper and magazine clippings from famous media names. I wouldn't be surprised... I mean, look at these wonderful things!





RISA chocolates reminded me of the PRINCESS ELIZABETH gourmet chocolates from Japan that I've eaten a couple of years back. It was so good that I still remember their brand.


Here are some more shots of the chocolates that I've coveted during the Chocolate Festival (but was too poor to buy!)












Freaking amazing right?
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review: Rohto Shirochasou Face Wash

Hello!
I've been MIA for a bit of time now. I haven't been busy, just really lazy! (Is that better or worse? LOL) I CBA to open blogger sometimes. A couple of days ago, my fans friends gently reminded me of the reviews that I need to share with them.

I'd like to introduce you to the face wash I ordered online from Rakuten :)


If you're huge on Asian skin care products, you've probably already heard about Rohto laboratories. I think they're the bees knees. They always seem to offer lots of products that are very effective. Before I even knew of this product, my sister was already using Rohto Hada Labo Tamagohada face wash, which we used to wash our face with 2-3x daily. It was my first Japanese face wash, I think and I've always liked it. Shirochasou was also a gift from my sister when she came back from Japan a couple of months back.

My beat-up looking Shirochasou! I've been using this as my ONLY face wash for 4 months now.
This is my favorite face wash to date! I love love love it. And when I started worrying that my tube of face was was about to empty out, I searched high and low for an online shop that carried this product. Unfortunately, I had to depend on international online shops like Rakuten. I immediately bought 2 pieces!

Full Sized Rohto Shirochasou
What I like about this face wash:





It's perfect if you have oily skin and there's a lot of sebum production. It doesn't really dry out the skin. I noticed that somehow that my face immediately after washing still feels supple / silky to the touch.






Because I don't use foundation, bb/cc cream I always have the problem of removing the sunscreen I use daily. Here's how to know if your face still has sunscreen:

"If the water droplets on your skin look very round and bubble-like (like how water droplets look on a water-proof or oily surface), then you probably still have traces of sunscreen on your skin." ~ info by: Skincea 

After washing my face I do the water test and verify that I don't see round/bubble droplets!





It's so foamy! WARNING: Produces a lot of suds!!!! Don't squeeze out too much because you'd find yourself with more cream than you know what to do with!

Take a small amount first. Above is what I usually take to clean my face and my neck.

Washing my face is something I don't forget. I wash my face while taking a bath, after I go home from work, and another before I go to sleep. I've even proven that I just can't sleep without washing my face first! It icks me so bad that no matter how sleepy I am, I force myself to get up and wash!



I wanted to test the cleansing power of the Shirochasou foam. I wanted to get an eyeshadow or eyeliner but it turns out I actually don't have one! Ugh. But I did have a sharpie... So I went ahead and swiped the ink on my wrist.


I took some Shirochashou and gently applied it on the stain. Woah. I liked what I saw! Please remember this is actually a permanent marker hee hee hee.


So as far as cleaning goes it its really really good! My verdict for the Rohto Shirochasou face wash is:

!!!

Despite it not being sold locally, I would rather buy it cheaply from an international seller. PROTIP: It's best to buy 2-3 pieces in one go to save on shipping. Your bulk order will last you for at least 6-9months depending on frequency of usage.

Thanks for reading!
Happy labor day (to US people!) Happy normal day (to everyone else!)