November 26, 2015

Ang Korona Ng Espanya : Mahirap Iwanan, Masarap Balikan

I'm not going to lie, I knew what I was signing up for when I decided to watch this season's UAAP Finals Game Live at the MOA Arena earlier today. The possibility of a loss resulting to a shattered heart. The certainty of the level of difficulty of the commute going home. The reality that I'll be all alone. All but none have had the power to convince me to do otherwise. So if you saw an awkward turtle hiding behind a cup of soda whenever a FEU player releases a long three, that would be me!

The reason why the UST Growling Tigers are in the Finals is because of our defense and in-your-face three's. However as you can probably tell, today was a totally different story. FEU #17 could've used a little more defending as he was the dark horse in today's game. And what in-your-face three's? They were non-existent! However, FEU's were everywhere - Pogoy's early 3's particularly. Technically there's that but between you and me, it had everything to do with No Heart No Chance and the live Go USTE-ing crowd.
The first few minutes of the 4Q is why I will always love you, my Tigertown Boies. Thank you for giving me at least those moments of thrill and adrenaline rush even for just a few stolen seconds of the game. It's how you guys play the game - massacre then recover. However when you're watching live and it's in the finals, all logic breaks loose. The last minutes though is how I was convinced that I will always choose to love you. Ang hirap n'yo talaga mahalin Tigers, pero pinipili ko pa rin kasi sulit naman. It's like 2006 all over again. Please let it be like 2006 all over again.

What's even more difficult for me is that there's no bad blood here, just pure love. It's really hard to feel anything else for players like Mac Belo even of they're not from your team. You can only hope your team would play better than them on the games that matter - take this Game 1 of the Finals perhaps. I've wanted a FEUST Finals in so long. I guess I should be more careful in what I wish for. Today, they were the better team. Today, we concede.

The scorebox may have shown that we lost to FEU by 11 points. But with a game like that, I'd say that we Mighty Tigers lost to ourselves all the more. So maybe next game, we keep that in mind. Play to win. Not to defeat whoever or defend a crown. Play to win - for and against ourselves. Dahil alam n'yo ba kung sino talaga ang korona ng Espanya? 'Yung pumuno ng MOA Arena kanina. Excited na ako, kayo? Let's go Tigertown Boies and Girls! Tara naman... sa Araneta!

November 13, 2015

The So-Far-So-Good Skincare Staples

I think I've probably established a disclaimer enough about not having a skincare routine, which is why I never call it such. I always just end up having a couple of things that works out for me & use them up for a year (or for how long they lasts) and then that's it. I have oily skin and I easily get oily so I always try to keep it as matte as possible, glowy but never shiny. It apparently takes an army to achieve such and it definitely doesn't (and won't) happen overnight...

Evian Brumisateur Facial Spray. I bought this when I was in SG because it was on sale and how else can you convince me to finally try out a facial spray than an almost guilt-free purchase, right? It's an all 'rounder - it moisturizes, refreshes and tones your face whether it's bare or with make up on. This is my step 2 in the morning after washing my face. It gives me an extra kick of wake-up-and-show-up attitude when I'm suddenly refreshed with a facial spray. I let it dry on its own and then pat on the remaining moist before applying my moisturizing.

Celeteque Dermoscience Facial Wash. I remember my skin feeling a bit off with this the last time as I find the formula too strong for my skin, it literally stings but after switching from one product to another for a while, this one now works fine with me. My skin's never been sensitive but I prefer the gentle cleansers that can remove the dirt on its own. I use this both in the morning and at night. With a splash of water first thing in the morning and then differently at night. I lather this onto my face then use a damp cloth to wipe it off. If you know about my Bell's Palsy story, you'd know why this step is now a critical part for me.

Celeteque Dermoscience Alcohol-Free Toner. Definitely one of my favorites from this set of staples because it does take away all the grease and leaves my skin supple and shine-free. I love this step so much because then I can be sure my face is free from any dirt and will probably regenerate during the night. It's the one step I look forward to when doing my skin care at night - it comes in second after washing my face.

Celeteque Dermoscience Facial Moisturizer SPF 15. I am not a payong person, I'd rather wear a long sleeve top or a hooded jacket under the broad sunlight than carry an umbrella with me. So I make up for it by making sure my skin doesn't get damaged by direct sunlight. I never leave the house without SPF these days because if you're from the Philippines you'd know how scorching the sun can get in the morning especially at noon. As in parang may plantsa na nakadampi sa mukha mo. You wouldn't want to get sunburnt because it frickin' hurts, aside from the other harmful effects it can obviously cause. It's the last step of skincare and first step of make up for me in the morning before going out.

Quick FX Eyelift Cream. They say you won't be able to tell the difference and benefits of using an eye cream until it's too late so it's best to start as early as possible. So here I am getting my eye game strong early on. I'm always a little anxious when it comes to eyes and eye products which is why I'm normally picky, not necessarily about the product itself but my eyes generally. So I thought maybe any eye cream for that matter will work just fine. It does have a cooling effect, a clear gel that you can massage onto the areas of your eyes that gets strained the most with upwards and patting motions. This serves as my meditation step too, a few minutes of quiet before I finally throw myself into the comfort of my bed. That ain't so bad right? And if I do say so myself, so far so good indeed!

November 09, 2015

My Daily Eyebrow Routine

When it comes to doing my brows, I am always in a constant battle as to how I like it done. Lately I've fallen right into a new routine that involves an eyeshadow, a few tools and a clear brow gel. Very far from my usual way of filling in my brows or the usual suspects I mostly end up using as well.

This time around, an eyeshadow takes the spot. One of the many featured eyeshadows from the MAC x Nordstrom Palette is the shade Omega, a soft muted taupe with a matte finish (second row, fifth column, L-R) and can be well used as an eyebrow powder too. I first got this idea from Tanya, if I remember it right but I've never gotten around to using it as I prefer to use eyebrow pencils and powders until boredom strikes and I wanted to try something new as well as maximize the effect of this MAC palette too.

Now onto the routine... I use a synthetic angled brush to fill in the gaps of my brows with the powder. The less amount of product, the better so I dip it in then tap off the excess. It's also easier to control your strokes with a brush especially if you want it to appear as natural as possible. I follow the natural arch of my brows when filling them in, with light and feathery strokes then go against it with a spoolie to make sure everything's spread out evenly. Since it's a taupe shade, more on the gray side of things, it's not as stark or harsh as the brown or sometimes almost black shades we used for filling in. Now for the fun part, I use a clear brow gel to brush the eyebrow hair up and hold it there. This is the Nichido Clear Eyebrow Gel which isn't the best of its kind but it's all I have at the moment. It doesn't leave the brows crisp and I like that but it doesn't hold them up either. I want a little more tug on it so the bushiness of it all will somehow last longer than a few seconds. This routine takes me about less than 3 minutes to do and I'm currently in love with it and the soft but apt frame it gives my face. It's quite refreshing not having the structured, blocked off, well-done brows for once. I generally skip the conceal around the edges and highlight the brow bone steps because in real life, I'm an eyeglass wearer and having too much products around my eye area can sometimes make me feel uneasy. Plus ssshh... between you and me, I don't think anyone would notice I skipped those parts anyway since look at how huge and thick my lenses are!

PS. Also brows aside, apologies for my rather sloppy make up application in general. HA! #bbloggerfail

November 08, 2015

Surviving Bell's Palsy

"Hello! So... It's hard to take me seriously if half of my face is devoid of emotions when I am such an animated person by default. It's hard not to look into the mirror & not feel bad for having to see my lopsided, drooping lipstick-less mouth. It's also just as hard to even find comfort in food because I have about 25% left of my regular appetite." This was exactly my sentiments a year ago after suffering from Bell's Palsy.

I cannot even begin to explain the fear I had the night I started feeling the symptoms. I overdosed on bacon that day which is why I thought maybe it's going to be one of the serious cases like stroke, perhaps. I went to bed praying and eventually cried myself to sleep because I was so scared. You know your own body so well that you do know when something's actually up and not going right. So when I woke up the next morning looking just about the same but already half smiling, I wanted to go right back to sleep. It has happened, I've gotten Bell's.

The possible reason behind why I've gotten it is still unknown, no official diagnosis can be made since every case is pretty much bizaare but I have a feeling it's stress. I tend to sleep so late and my muscles are all worked up when I finally get a shut eye. Then I'd be so afraid of sweating so I'd have a fan blowing straight up on my face the moment the AC shuts down. Eventually, my facial muscles gave up and ended up paralyzed. Or least the half of them exposed to the sudden changes, rise and fall of temperature for consecutive days.

365 days and then some after, I haven't fully recovered from it. I was reluctant to admit it at first. I wanted to believe I was a survivor already. Little did I know, I am still here - surviving. I was convinced when I saw the latest rolls of photos I took of myself up close. It's still there, if not some of it. I can still feel the numbness but can't put my finger on it. I feel a twitch every now and again and my face contorts on its own. I still can't control some of my facial muscles and I still can't pull off a wacky, duck face normally. (As if there's a normal way of a duck face, let alone that's even a priority but you get my drift.)

I guess what I'm saying is back then I thought: I can either let this sickness define me or I can let me defy this sickness in all my positivity glory and I ended up choosing the latter. Not much has changed since I still choose to do the same - to defy this sickness in all its glory, until it's finally over. If there's one thing that will definitely stay with me, it can be summed up in two words: BE BRAVE. And this is me choosing to be brave all over again.
Getting my smile back was one of my 2014 favorites. I guess it will still and always be on my list this year and years on end. If you've somehow lost yours too, because of a disease or a tragedy so cruel you can't really smile again after that - please think otherwise. Your eyes can do the smiling too. And that's the kind of smile so genuine to go unnoticed. It may not be perfect, or symmetrical but it is yours. You got it back. You get to keep it. And that's more than enough. Have a lovely Sunday, folks!

November 06, 2015

Meet MAC's Ruby Woo

Actually, that is if you've never met or known her in this lifetime because if there's one lipstick color that definitely needs no introduction - it's MAC's Ruby Woo. However, it did get an extra boost of exposure recently, something it definitely doesn't need because even prior to these, it's always been sold out more often than it's available at face value. If you're from the Philippines you've probably heard about Maine "Yup, I'm that girl" Mendoza, also known as Yaya Dub and one of her make up artists revealed a lip color she used during one of their shoots and it's no less than MAC Ruby Woo. Before you know it, a flock of girls have started raiding MAC counters asking exactly for that: "Meron kayo nung lipstick ni Yaya Dub?" She owned it overnight. Yup, she's that girl. 

However if you're too fancy for that, maybe this next bit will be more relateable to you. Or not. Remember when a few weeks back Justin Bieber released a dance video for his single Sorry? You can watch it here and it is but a proper tribute to pop music and the 90's. Needless to say, the dancers were dressed to the 90's (duh!) and their lips are full on, matte red. A few days later it's gone mad viral, the choreographer revealed the details of the dance video and she shared the unlikely fact you'd want to know about it - the lipstick shade all the dancers wore is one and the same and it's no less than Ruby Woo - a classic red that will suite every skin tone - that's what she said! Clearly one bunch of girls after our own hearts.

As if it needed to be more iconic than it already is, more people from the other side of the fence are now curious as to what exactly is up with Ruby Woo. So mi lady, let me count thy ways. It's a bright red suitable for everyday use. When I say bright red, I really mean it. There's no subtlety in how red this lipstick can get. My initial thought when I finally met Ruby Woo - I think I love you already. And true enough I never stopped wearing it for two straight weeks! However, it's a tough one to love - the formula is very drying, can get a bit patchy and chalky, and can literally put people off with it's brightness. It's presence on your lips can AND will demand attention. I briefly talked about it in this post if you wanted a less detailed take on it, one I posted before the recent hype. But nothing can ever make you not love this lipstick, believe me, there is none.

If Ruby Woo can't get you involved in the bright red lip movement then I don't know what will. I was late to the party as I keep on putting it off, telling myself I am the least person who needs yet another red lipstick in her collection. But who was I kidding? MAC Ruby Woo is THE red lipstick. If you'd only have one red lipstick in your life, I reckon it should be Ruby Woo. It has an identity of its own, when you slip Ruby Woo off your lips, there's an air of authority to it which is why if it's not in your stash yet, I don't know why you still haven't. It may be a little tricky to get your hands on it these days but I'm telling you, it will be well worth the bother, the search, the wait. Because in true lipstick girl fashion, I say this - in Ruby Woo, we trust.

November 02, 2015

The Trio For The Non-Contouring Type

My appreciation for shadow play as much as facial contouring is concerned came later in my life and how I wish I learned about it sooner. The first time I discovered the art of nose contouring, my heart skipped a beat. I am not very blessed on that department and I've always been okay with it but between you and me, a little bit of help won't hurt too. And that's when I started falling in love with tales of facial contours and chiseled cheekbones.

However I hardly go all out on it as I don't feel that comfortable in putting so much product on my face when I'd only be going to the mall or have a stroll around. A little definition is all I need but if you are the contouring kind, there are cream and powder options alike, then you do you. I just personally prefer a light sweep, a little shadow and a very subtle nose line if I can still get away with it. I find that a palette like the BYS Contour Trio is the perfect one to go for if and when you aren't the all-out-contouring type and it's got all the shades you'll ever need. I have got the Sassy 01 that features three shades for cheek, highlight and contour respectively. The formula is powdery in nature with crazy pigmentation which is why you don't need much of it for it to show up, especially the darkest shade which is meant for contouring - a little definitely goes a long way with this. I tend to go a bit crazy using the creamy beige powder as a highlighter. It adds no shimmer but gives you an utter, definite glow. The cheek blush is the one I go for when I want to bring back a hint of color and dimension to a rather flat face after foundation application. It's warm in color and leaning towards the gray undertone so it looks more natural on the skin rather than the ones with orange undertones. They are all matte on the surface but when applied on the cheeks, an infused hidden glow in the formula seems to show up beautifully on the skin. This compact kit can be used on its own and will give out a decent result but it can also be used to set your concealer using the highlight shade and contour with the blush and contour shades for a high definition finished look.

I'm personally smitten by this kit and have no regrets of picking it up during my search for a new compact contouring kit in place of my Urban Decay Naked Flushed which I've already hit pan on. I actually prefer this more as it has no trace of shimmer and just makes you look all glowy, not at all shimmery or shiny. A proper nod to us oily girls who can definitely take a pass on the extra shine, please and thank you. Not to mention the price tag difference, this is such a bargain! The shades are very conventional and can work on both ends of the skin tone spectrum. I'm a morena and this works for me, I can imagine it will just work the same on fair skinned girls too. For everyday use, it's staying power is surprisingly good that my chiseled cheekbones lasted from the time I went out of the house until the time I had to take it off the night. And did I say it won't hurt to have a bit of help every now and again? Apparently this home girl needs help on that department too. Ooopsies!

November 01, 2015

Slept In Bulacan, Woke Up In... Baler!

I was fresh from a send off date with my father at Clark International Airport when I found myself waiting inside a convenient shop drinking a cuppa joe while waiting for my ride which happens to be a friend who's been randomly inviting me over to join him on his escapades. Long story short, I have been a very willing and grateful victim. And this time, it's Destination Baler!

Baler is a town in Aurora way up north. What used to be a grueling 8 hour travel by land now only takes close to 4-6 hours depending on your ability to drive up and down the steeps and curves. It was a long therapeutic ride and personally, I think that's where and when the magic starts taking place. Your mind recognizes the effort, a mere futile attempt to distance yourself from everything else as you accelerate and leave everything behind even just for a while. Your mind recognizes the change and so it adapts.

Arriving in Baler late at night, checking in the hotel and just lying down on fresh and crisp sheets with absolutely nothing on your mind is a luxury I never thought I needed. Or waking up just in time to catch the big breakfast buffet gifted to you in the same hotel whose bed makes you never want to leave. Usually when I travel, it's jampacked with activities and with minimal to none opportunities to lie and lounge around. This travel begged to differ and I gave in. I had zero plans and I was okay with it - I wanted to freely take in what the day has to offer and not force something to happen by planning and constantly trying to tick things off a to-do list.

Four days, I had four days to enjoy Baler in my own terms and if anything, it has turned me into a waterlust. There's something reassuring about the constant waves that will be waiting for you when you wake up in the morning and will be sending you back to slumber in the evening. That's why I think you don't need to rush into learning how to ride or surf one immediately because it is a lifestyle, not a race or a competition. Some things won't happen overnight nor over the one hour crash surfing course. Some things take time. Some things don't. Like learning how to drive a manual ATV or you know, your life even when in reality, you don't know how to yet. Take the wheel, shift the gears and drive at your own pace.

Sleeping in Bulacan and waking up in Baler? My one personal miracle waiting to happen. My one item off my non-existing bucketlist. My one experience I never knew I needed. And my one happy memory I will always be grateful to have within my reach.
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