November 20, 2016

My Shopping Experience at ZaloraPH

I used to be not a fan of online shopping, I still find it more satisfying to do things the old school way - walk into a store, pick an item you fancy, try it on, pay for it and then leave the store happily.  Not to mention, more often than not - it's a hit or miss with these things. However, times have changed and most of the things that you actually fancy are now within your reach, specifically on the right side of your newsfeed, staring right back at you, with an almost imaginary flashing neon sign saying BUY ME. I'm looking at you, Zalora Facebook Ads. You're lucky if you're able to look the other way but little old me gave in the other day and here's the story of my recent purchase.

Zalora, as they call themselves, is the Asia's online fashion destination. They have been around for a while and I have had previous transactions with them, the first one was back in 2015 when I purchased the #IAmPreviewGirl Moisturising Lippie in Too Cool. I wanted to post about them then, with it being my first time to buy online and avail of their services but I guess the thought got lost along the way. My next purchases would be swimsuits from the brand called Kats Clothing which I mentioned here. During both times, I don't remember having problems with the transaction or the delivery so my record of online shopping so far is tiptop and here's to hoping it would stay that way.

So onto my latest Zalora purchase which I'm finally writing about. I got these Nose Casual Slider Mules before they sold out. I'd link it but I can't find the exact item on their website anymore, how sad. But I know what you're thinking, they are a dead-ringer for that Gucci Princetown Leather Slippers except for two very obvious things. The first one is the colour as these are white and last I checked they don't make them in black just yet. And the next one is the hefty difference between their price tags. This pair retails for Php 1249.00 and let's just say, multiply that amount by 21 times the least, that's the price for the Gucci ones right there. So I guess it's safe to say these are such a bargain especially for its style and quality. The bodice is made of leather but the soles are made of wood. And can we obsess about the rose gold detailing? Because if I've ever had second thoughts before "Add To Cart", it was a done deal when I saw a close up shot and staring right back at me are rose gold soles and dainty buckles. It was love at first sight! As for the sizing, I suggest you size up given the slip on design. I'm normally a size 37 but I got these in size 38 and they were just a perfect fit. I think if I'd gone for my normal size, I wouldn't be able to fully slide my feet in. And with all my excitement, that would've been a real downer right there!

Are they not so gorgeous! As you can probably tell, the worn out marks are already visible but that's okay since it's expected from this kind of material and style. I'm obviously very in love with them and have already given them a lot of wear out considering I've just received them a couple of weeks ago. And if I'm being honest, they're not fresh off the box when these are photographed because I wasn't able to contain my excitement to break them out. In fact, I've discovered other features of ZaloraPH because of this. Did you know you can talk to their Customer Service Crew thru chat and they answer almost automatically? I placed my order a day before the long weekend so I expected a slower movement in between but when I tracked back, there's been no update for more than 5 working days and I wanted to know what's up. I found out through our chat that it has been forwarded to their international supplier and I will be notified as soon as the shipment's been made. True enough I received a message informing me that it has been shipped and will be delivered by Zalora Express on that same day.

Few tips for the road. At Zalora, you can choose your mode of payment. Some items like this are available for COD, but you can also pay thru credit cards and Paypal accounts. Shipping fee is free when your purchase is above Php 995, so mine is for free this time around. Delivery days may vary depending on your location and since I am from the province, 5-7 working days are my default waiting time. They also have a 30 day free return policy, you can find a return slip inside your package which I was thisclose to using until my feet finally adjusted with the design and can now fully slide in without a bit of my ankle peeking outside of the soles. And lastly, I was wrong. With online shopping, you can still get that same happy feeling. When the delivery guy calls out your name and hands you your package, it's like Christmas everytime - except it's a present from me to me but I'm definitely not complaining. And thank you ZaloraPH, just another hit. I know I have yet to miss but I really hope that never happens. 

November 18, 2016

The Cold Shoulder Tops

My wardrobe is very confused at the moment. For one, it has some color in there - I know, shocker! However they're still neutrals but at least my very worn out white shirts have finally taken their much needed days off. And then secondly, I've jumped right into the latest trend there is - off the shoulder tops - which I've managed to stop doing for a while now. Well not anymore, or at least, for now.

I think you would agree with me when I say they're everywhere at the moment but for an obvious reason, since these are very flattering and fun tops you can add into your existing pile of blouses and shirts to give it a twist or a playful mix. They're all I have been wearing on loop for events and for when I go out. And I've worn them so much I've started receiving questions about where I buy them, where they are from and for how much so I thought I'd answer them all in here.

Where they are from. They're brandless. Although I can tell you the designs have been inspired by tops from Zara and ASOS mostly.

Where I buy them. From this tiangge stall located at the MRT Shaw station. You can also try buying from Zalora (here's the link!) however the price is slightly higher than that of the tiangge's (of course).

What they are made of. It varies. The striped top is made of polyester cotton, which makes the sleeves extra puffy. The next two are of chambray material that feels more like what a denim shirt would. The tube top is the only one made of cottony, stretchable material. 

For how much. Their usual price, as in the amount they tell you when you ask them straight out "Ate, magkano yun?" is Php 300, if I remember correctly. But they can go for as low as Php 200 - depending on the number of your purchases but you can usually arrive at a closed deal for Php 230 which isn't so bad at all.

The only downside. BUT a major factor is the sizes, or lack thereof. These tops are usually under the 'one size fits all' range so it's really a hit or miss if your arms will fit in the holes or if you'd be able to pull it down from your head to your neck. Or if it will fit you at all, which is such a shame.

I personally find it as a way to incorporate a bit of fun and style into your wardrobe especially if you're a working girl and you're tired of all the usual office outfits. The off the shoulder cuts are extremely flattering and refreshing without even trying. And seeing it made me embrace a trend in all of its bare bare 'em shoulders glory, I think it's safe to say, it'll also be worth your time and trip to the nearest tiangge near you even just to try if it's something you would fancy, too. Let me know how it goes!

November 13, 2016

The Brown Nudes by Maybelline

Creamy Matte | Brown Nudes
Brown Nudes | Burgundy Blush
Brown Nudes | Clay Crush
Brown Nudes | Nude Nuance
Brown Nudes | Nude Embrace

Obsessed is probably an understatement of the century as I haven't really worn anything else on my lips since these came out. The Creamy Matte Brown Nudes by Maybelline is probably one of the most awaited and most talked about lipstick collection from the brand especially here in the Philippines where you have IT Girl Georgina Wilson as your endorser. Case in point? She was wearing Nude Nuance in one of her print ads for the launch, so naturally it was the most sold out shade among the range. The rest of the shades are Nude Embrace, Daringly Nude, Clay Crush and Burgundy Blush.

The general formula of these are called creamy matte which also translates as a demi-matte, an almost-but-not-quite matte finish but with an impact of bold color to go with it. Since it's not entirely matte, it means it transfers easily and longevity isn't as long as a usual matte lipstick would be. I also find that with this particular range, the formula seems to vary depending on the shade. Let me give you a rundown...

Burgundy Blush is the darkest shade from the collection. It is a reddish brown color leaning more on the warmer side of things that the payoff almost appear like burnt leaves - the pretty kind. For a bold lip color, it doesn't bleed on the sides, however it transfers easily so blotting it off with a tissue or dusting off loose powder on top are some tricks you can apply to make it work for your lips. If you're looking for a bold statement, look no further - this shade definitely takes the cake.

Clay Crush is a shade I didn't think I'd like at first. It's nude beige with peach undertones, borderline orange in color. I find that the formula of this alone is quite flaky and unforgiving to dry lips. Since it's still matte (however demi-) and on the lighter end of things, it can highlight the traces and lines of your chapped lips - so girls, exfoliate and moisturize first. I love how the color payoff seems to instantly brighten and lift up my face with its subtle but noticeable tint of peach.

Nude Nuance has got to be my favorite, favorite - if that is even acceptable. This has been my default lip color eversince I bought in on the first day the collection launched. As much as I wanted to get everything, I can't so I swatched all 5 shades and this was the winner almost by default. It's an easy color, it's flattering and good for everyday use. It is also quite pigmented, one layer already gives off an opaque finish, so you can choose your way on how you want to apply it. Straight from the bullet always works, but I find that when you dab it onto the lips, it helps give off a more relaxed and off-duty look.

Nude Embrace is an muted nude beige that can potentially wash you out if you're a morena like me and not careful. You also need to layer it up more than the usual to get any color payoff. It's so light that it cancels and evens out the color of your lips, more like a lip concealer actually with a brown tone to it. I had to decide between this and Daringly Nude but since I wanted to go for the less forgiving - I picked this. Daringly Nude gives off a nude beige color too but with light pink tones so I knew it wasn't going to be right up my street.

Few things to add for the road. 1) You may want to wait for flash sales or sales, period. Maybelline always comes up with sale promos during the end of each season so wait it out. I bought Nude Nuance for its regular price (P299) and then came back for the 3 other shades when they went on sale, P100 off, a few weeks after; 2) sanitize and swatch the testers real-time on your lips if you can because the arm swatch can be deceiving. It will depend on your skintone and undertone so what might work as nude for me may wash you out and vice versa. You'd want to be sure than be sorry to have a new lipstick within your reach but not be able to use it at all; and lastly, 3) as if I haven't said it enough, if I can only pick one shade form this range, it'd be Nude Nuance. I reckon it will flatter any skin tone and a perfect lip colour for date nights and lunch with the ladies. It's basically easy everything - color, formula, texture and price. That's like hitting a jackpot in the lipstick territory.

November 07, 2016

MAC Fast Play Amplified Creme Lipstick

I am the kind of woman who endlessly thinks about her next MAC lipstick purchase, or any MAC purchase for that matter, even if I have no plans of buying anything at the moment. It's just a list that won't come to an end anytime soon I'm afraid, but it's also something I'm less proactive about. It's not like I walk purposely inside a mall and tell myself -- "I will buy a new MAC lipstick today". Hardly ever the case actually. I just keep a list at bay, that way when when a situation presents itself, I just tick one shade and range at a time.

At the moment, you can hardly call mine a MAC Lipstick Collection, I only have three. I have Patisserie, the pinkish nude with a lustre finish, Ruby Woo, a retro matte red and the latest addition called Fast Play, a what I like to call my-lips-but-extremely-better shade. It's a rosy pink color with brown undertones but transfers as a nude on me. The formula is an amplified creme finish by default and that explains its rich and creamy texture. It's also moisturising on the lips with a bit of gloss to it but still gives off an opaque finish even with just one swipe. It's also reasonably long lasting although I initially find the longevity a little too quick for a MAC lipstick but I find that the good ole blotting technique works especially for the amplified creme finish range. I cannot stress enough how addicting the scent of a MAC lipstick is. It's not overwhelming at all, it just smells nice and fresh. It's not really that strong but it's very distinct and you can guarantee the person next to you can smell it especially after your retouch.  

Fast Play is easily one of my favorite neutrals because the shade is very close to my natural lip color. It's an easy color with an easy formula. Although I can tell there's a drugstore dupe of this somewhere, it is still nice to have a sophisticated tube of lipstick you can carry out with you when you're out on a fancy date and you just want your lips to look and even smell better. That's a weird way of putting it out there but you know what I mean. And oh, about that next MAC purchase thing I was talking about? I'm already thinking about MAC Liptensity Lipstick in Doe and Toast & Butter, you two have just been right up on that list. See? It won't come to an end - not just yet.

October 28, 2016

Pretty Things Inside: A ForMe Clothing Haul

If there's one local store I go to on purpose every time I go to the mall, it's ForMe. This routine has been established after that one fateful day when I finally purchased a pair of their Super Skinnies and the rest, as they say, is history. I fell in love with the practicality of the brand - it's not way too pricey for working girls like me which I think is the target market generally and the designs are all pretty with a punch of fun, formality and feistiness. In a nutshell, it's right up my street.

So when I finally had a chance to drop by the boutique in Trinoma this week, it wasn't at all a surprise to come out of the store not empty-handed. In my defense though, all these items were on sale. (I heard they're still on sale at the moment, so go check them out over the Sale Weekend!) They have a rack that contains all the "Last Chance To Grab" items and that is where you will usually find me. I've already mentioned before that I have stopped splurging on clothing because I have finally found my style and that just includes a plain white shirt, pair of nice fitting jeans and comfortable footwear. One more thing is because I have a whole lot of passion to consider first before even thinking of buying new clothes. Unless it's something I specifically or really need for an event, which rarely happens too. All right, enough blabbing... onto the pretty things.

A white dress. This is definitely a size or two bigger than my usual size but I thought it will work well with my body shape just the same. It appears as a shift dress made of textured material with embossed details and with zip sides in gold detailing - the selling point for me. I have worn it with pointed heels, strappy flats and white sneakers and it looks good on all of the looks.

The printed black tops. The material of these tops are lightweight and the cuts are interesting. The collared long sleeve top has a cutout back that opens up to expose some skin. The illusion is that you have a covered up front and then at the back is where the party's at. The other is one of those boxy type blouses that's surprisingly flattering when worn. I loved the little pops color, dove gray and neon blue respectively, to break the rather monochrome theme going on. It's easy to wear, in more ways than one.

A pair of washed off jeans. Like I said, I loved them for their Super Skinnies so whenever I can find a pair of jeans on the rack, I look for one that I like and this one is grey in color made of denim-stretch material and with default folded ends. Although had I known they won't be as skin-tight as the Supper Skinnies in the long run, I would've gone for a size smaller because I find that since it's made of stretched denim, my pair is now a bit loose on me on the waist department. I usually go for the lazy tucked in look when wearing these pair and I really like it - slouchy feels and all that jazz.

October 27, 2016

Life Lately 1.0

Hello there. So... Things are a bit slow on the blog front for a couple of months now, as you can probably tell by the absence of posts. But if you follow me on Instagram, my username's @jyscmll, you would have seen that I'm more out there the past months that I have been gone here. Head over to check how it's been going on in my weird world without vowels. I'm still getting the hang of Instagram Stories though, but we'll get there. Baby steps...

Speaking of baby steps, I have also been taking some more of it towards a few changes for the blog. Nothing major, I really just wanted a more personal blog name, an easier page to navigate and slightly more aesthetically pleasing website both to your eyes and mine. I have been working with someone who's designing it for me for months now and hopefully we can get to the bottom of things during this last quarter of the year. Fingers crossed.

It's not an easy job to create something you, your own boss, would approve of. I know that now. Especially when it comes to a passion project you are so invested in. However, it's always rewarding to see when your vision slowly and finally comes to life. I have to pick out which font, and what size to use. How to find and use a host for all my blog images. What theme and filter to use for the photos. Navigate and transfer everything from one host to another. It takes a lot of time, energy, patience and passion and those things do not come around in bulk, they will run dry at some point.

Which is mainly the reason why I haven't been posting or haven't posted anything at all. I feel like I've been putting off publishing anything until the last changes have been made, final touches have been added and the new site's ready to launch. But since it's been taking a lot of time than I expected it to, my fingers are now itching to go back into typing and my camera's gathered enough dust on the shelf that I think it's time to dip my toes back into beauty blogging like I used to. With or without the newness of it all. So check back my little corner of the interwebz in the next days, I have a few things beauty and style lined up. Do drop by if that's something you're interested in. I'll see you then!

July 22, 2016

That SM Woman Top As Seen On Me

Alternative title: That SM Woman top you've seen on me for the 10000000th time. I know, I know. 

I remember being tagged in one of my friends' tweet that SM, or Shoe Mart to most of us, a leading department store here in the Philippines, is 30 this year. We also turn 30 this year, which means we have the same birth year - 1986 and why the SM brand is nothing new to me. I was already a fan of their SM Parisian line even in high school. But I've never really set foot inside its department store lately, let alone in its Women's section. Apparently, they had a major rebranding as if purposely catering the 30 somethings woman of the world - driven, confident, beautiful.

It goes without saying I am shamelessly an outfit repeater. If a blouse is as flattering as this one, you need to get the most wear out of it. It was also an instant people-pleaser, conversation-starter! "Where did you get it? Are there other colors? Ibigay mo na lang sa 'kin yang blouse mo." Not that I actually need to hear or receive any kind of validation from others but let's admit it - that's a happy feeling, that's a compliment, let's learn to smile and say thank you. As for the material, it's neoprene meets polyester, with what my little to none knowledge when it comes to this. It's overall flattering as it doesn't cling to any unwanted body parts, if anything it exposes every woman's flattering points - bare shoulders, draped arms, thin halter straps and square neckline - check, check, check, aaaaand check. They have them in 3 colors - creamy white, midnight blue and very black. It took all my non-existing powers to just pick out one for the meantime because I actually have my eye on some other designs as well. Their prices have always been competitive but very reasonable for what they are, ranging from PHP 599 to 1099, which is why I felt like I have always gone for the other brands than choosing something as generic from the department store but that was old news and before the newest collection and categories of SM Woman has been released. 

Case in point? People are as shocked when I actually tell them it's from SM Woman, including my very own mother. So I suggest that if you haven't been, rush to the nearest SM around your neighbourhood because true to their words - they've got it all for you.

July 08, 2016

My Kid Cousin Does My Make Up

"Oh it's 11:11. I wish for a romance like Clark and Leah." My kid cousin from Down Under, boys and girls with an On The Wings of Love reference. She's called Yana and she comes home once a year to be with us and she just stuns me every time. She does the flick like nobody's business, for one.

This is during one of the days she had asked me if she can do my make up. She's still too young to have all of the make up on her face so I am the willing volunteer. It was hard to keep a straight face during the whole make up session especially if every single time she looks at my face after every make up application, she would always laugh and then say, "Oh that's not so bad." And I would have to agree. She does the flick like no other, but I already said that. Hands down, one of the skills I never had when I was her age. Also, she prefers pink and glitters on the lid. That's maybe because she's just 12. And girls her age like pink and all of the glitters. I had my eyes closed and had no mirror within my reach because I wasn't allowed to look at her masterpiece until she told me so - her rules, my face apparently. A few more strokes and giggles after, I was finally allowed to do so. That's when I grabbed the mirror and the camera altogether to snap images of my face at once.

This kid knows her stuff. She was the one who handpicked all of the things she'd be using and you can tell from her selection how young she is and how she wants her make up to look like - all of the pinks and sparkles. She would only ever ask me what proper make up brush to use for foundation and eye make up. And she despises eyebrows. "Eyebrows are never my thing", her words exactly. I don't need to say that it's flick I like the most though because, would you look at that - that's using a pencil liner. And I would have to agree, it is not so bad - not at all.

July 04, 2016

The Liquid Lipstick Under 200 Pesos

Surprise, surprise! I'm finally here to talk about something we are all familiar with, as you can probably tell. It feels so good to be back into writing not-so-differently this time around. Anyway, enough of the blabbing, onto more serious things now, like lipstick of course. The liquid lipstick trend took the beauty world by storm especially when the likes of Kylie Jenner started dipping their toes in the business - with her coming up with an own line of Kylie Lip Kit and she's just one of the many. But if you can remember, I've already talked about my very own fondness for this trend on this post. However, I'm now back armed with something new and specifically a liquid lipstick under 200 bucks - downright budget friendly as opposed to the rest of the ones in the market, if you ask me.

Like I said, I have had the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick for reference so when these collection started coming out, I was more than happy to swatch here and there. I decided to pick up Pink Pearla pink mixed with tones of muted mauve brown that's good for everyday use and Rich Vino which I find appropriately named as it is a deep plum red that reminds me of how your lips would look like after taking a sip of a wine. These are just two among the six shades from the ED Advance Liquid Lipstick Collection. And it's amazing how the shades look exactly the same on the packaging as how they are going to transfer on your lips. For a price of Php 180, I have to say, I'm quite impressed with these. The packaging is not too shabby either. While I find some of them can get too liquidy or wet for my liking even if the claim to have a matte finish and the others have got a flimsy doe foot applicator, even the Bourjois one has a funny smell to it - it's surprising how I find none of those flaws with these.

The only downside I can think of is the shade range, this morena girl could really use some mauvey browns thrown in there too but so far, there were just pinks and reds. Also, unlike most of the liquid lipstick in the market, these are not matte. Not. At. All. They have a satin finish which explains the slight gooeyness of the appearance on my lips in the photos. However, what probably makes this a no-brainer purchase for many is that they are locally available, easy to get hold of and very affordable. One swipe is opaque enough but I like to build it up to two layers. Which is why the colors are too intense in the photos, I wanted to make sure you'll see the color payoff clearly. I have to say, they are actually bloomin' nice. Agree? And since they were in no way matte, I had to apply some few tricks and tips to get the finish I prefer, I blot the excess off with a tissue, when I wear them out. But then again for a bargain price of Php 180, these liquid lipsticks are not so bad themselves. Whether for fun or for practicality, I don't see why you wouldn't want to just give in and try these ones out. Let me know when you actually do!

July 03, 2016

An Overnight Stay at The Island of Cagbalete

I prefer spending summer on a beach or climbing a mountain. In my mind, it's far more logical to sweat with a purpose rather than just sweat at home, in your pajamas, lying around. So when a friend asked me to go on a quick island getaway with her and some of our friends, (when I say quick I mean an overnight stay since she'll just be home for 10 days), saying no is just not an option. We could've easily drove to a nearby beach down south or up north just to quench the thirst but where's the fun and thrill in that? Plus we're too stubborn for our own good that we didn't want to just scratch off the beach itch, we wanted all of the works we see on Instagram, travel blogs and news sites come to life so we ended up picking a secluded white beach that will take us a bus ride and a ferry to reach. Welcome to our overnight trip to Cagbalete Island in Mauban, Quezon

This trip was extra memorable because I had to do all the planning and organising but do not be fooled, having my friend Rora on the other end for the decision-making made all the difference. Booking a place to stay in was easy. We listed down all the available resorts, sent out inquiries and ended up booking a 2 day trip at Nilandingan Cove. Their website is very easy to navigate and understand so we quickly had an IT ready the next day. Accommodation, instructions how to get there, food packages and reservations, even the menu for the meals we'll be having during our stay. And if you must know, their resident caterer, the manangs who were more like our adopted nanays during our stay were excellent cooks! I recommend you avail of the food package, it's not pricey and it's sulit to the bones, take my word for it. You can also message them on their Facebook page, if you want a quick response to your inquiry. They have a reservation form readily available for filling up so the transaction will be made easy from there on. Here's a quick rundown of what went down. (Naks, I try so hard to rhyme sometimes.)

At 4 in morning of April 25, we were already at the JAC Liner Bus Terminal in Cubao as we decided to catch the earliest scheduled trip which is at 5AM. Travel time is for about 4-5 hours so our estimated time of arrival in Mauban is at 930AM. The port is just 15 minutes away via a tricycle ride and you can find them lined up outside the terminal so the transfer for one place to another is as easy as it can be. So is booking your private boat, paying for the terminal fee and the actual boat ride to the island which took about an hour. So that's half of our day done, we have to maximize our stay so right after checking in, we ordered for our lunch to be served prior to heading out to the Yang-In sand bar. It will turn out to be a good call because going to and from one island to another takes more time than we thought it would be. After taking loads of photos and selfies and everything in between, we eventually disregarded the gadgets and just spent some quality time with each other, the beach and the sun. Until our attention was caught by one of the boatmen because our things are starting to be swiped off by the rising tides and waves. We thought it was also a good time to finally head out back to the resort too. It was a glorious island that we had all to ourselves, more than all the Instagram-able photos, the experience we took home with us is something out of the ordinary - you had to be there, I'm so glad I was. The rest of the day was spent winding down in one of the villas kubo, munching over a sumptuous dinner with a few cold drinks and Hawaiian chocolates on the side. It was the perfect way to cap off a good day.

We were up by 7am the next day, April 26. We changed into our swimwear at once and headed out for an early morning dip session by the beachfront. Since the tide is still high, there was no way we can go to The Magic Tree located on the further area of the mangroves just yet. We waited it out and hoped for the best and what do you know, by 10AM, after taking our turns in the shower, we were happy to discover the tides have finally gone low and we can now walk our way towards the tree. Giving us enough time to take a few snaps with it before heading out of the island for good and not before giving it a new name, The Lonely Tree just because we can. Major props to Nilandingan Cove for taking good care of us. The owners were there to welcome us with their warmth and drinks, which we appreciated after an hour long trip from the port - literally refreshing and to send us off wishing we'd return sooner rather than later. Leaving the island was a bit hard as expected, if it were up to us, we would've wanted to stay for a little longer but our happy hearts and tired sandy feet were more than grateful for the sweet and short experience. T'was good enough to last us until the next one and as good as any overnighter can get - we'll take it.

July 02, 2016

The Necklace: A Deep V

I am not exactly one to accessorise, let alone excessorise - I have had a more detailed post on this as to why, read about here, but I do love a jewelry statement piece every once in a while. There was a time I would only wear a gold wrist watch from Swatch and nothing else. Or a pair of pearl earrings with studs and that would be it. Part of the many reasons why is because I am a very acidic person which means if I wear anything fancy, it'll rust up in no time and change its color before my eyes. I used to buy few trinkets from the high street stores like F21 and H&M, especially when they come in rose gold but I've learned the hard way that the most wear out I can get from them is just up to 3 times, if I'm lucky. So eventually, I decided to take a pass on them altogether.

Until I came across a collection of necklaces that is somehow acidic-resistant, if that's something I can call them. My sister have had one for the longest time, although with a different design and she was brave enough to let me try it on and actually wear it out. Given my history I didn't want to at first, I was afraid of ruining the piece all at once but when I finally did, we were all surprised that my acidic nature didn't react badly to it. So I made a mental note to myself that the next time we across the same collection, I'll make sure I'd get one for myself.

And that is how I ended up with this dainty deep V gold necklace. I love how incredibly thin the chain is, it almost goes unnoticed. And then suddenly there's the deep V at the bottom holding the two sides together. I got this from a local pop-up jewelry boutique inside Robinsons Malolos called Edz & Len, if you must know. And this is how I've been wearing it. You know how much I love my vneck tees, I think it's safe to say they have found a partner with each other. I think it's now been established that when it comes to accessories, for me - the subtle, the better. I mean, it may be subtle but it's still there. But definitely, no tassels and feathers - it stays on as a dream, for now.

June 14, 2016

Story of a Sunday 2.0

My Sundays are usually spent with family at home in Bulacan. We used to live in this area far north of the province, a good one hour travel from the city we now live in. It's the place where we grew up as kids and where our mother church is at so it has been an unwritten tradition to go home on Sundays, in more ways than one. Though this last Sunday was an exception. I knew I wouldn't be home and most likely to spend the whole day alone tucked inside an industrie cafe somewhere in *wait for it* Makati. I know what you're probably thinking - why would she literally go the distance, travel to Makati and on a Sunday?

I was quite questioning myself as well up until I was in line for the cab that will hopefully take me to my destination. As per the Grab app, fare shouldn't be over a hundred bucks so I'm guessing it's just around the area, at least that's what I'm hoping for. "What do you know... Of course I'll have my first day of period today of all the days. Ts the day of the writing class workshop, by the way". The message I sent my friend who told me about the workshop in the first place, as soon as I locked the cab door. Thank goodness for technology. She's physically unavailable to come with me since she's working abroad so sending her a message was the next best option to keep me company. 

"So you're going to have to make a pass on this? Sayang naman." She offered since she thought I completed ditched the idea of going. What she didn't know was that I was already en route to the venue and I just needed someone to talk me into it since my hormones decided to mess things up for me, thankyouverymuch. And then she said the one thing I knew I needed to hear, "Go! I have a feeling na hindi mo pagsisisihan 'yan."

I was early - and when I say early, I mean one solid hour early which is rare for someone like me who tends to end up cramming or arriving just in the nick of time. The thing is I wanted to be early. Since it's been a while since I last attended a social event, I thought I'd use the spare time to warm up and soak in the atmosphere before the crowd shows up. Plus it's a coffee shop, relatively new to me so I wouldn't really have a problem distracting myself until it's time for the workshop proper. Or you know, in case something comes up, I have a lot of time to figure a way out and not miss out on the workshop. With my history, believe me that this is a possibility.

"How To Be Alone S29 E06", that's how I captioned my snapshot of the workshop backdrop, I was seated in the middle of the second row, and in a couch so I had pretty good view. I was technically alone but definitely not lonely since I was surrounded by likeminded people who were linked together by the love for the written words. And then the aloneness of it all disappeared when I suddenly saw this familiar guy walked up the stairs and eventually took a seat right behind me. 

It was Arthur Bernard. Or maybe you know him by his band Hale and his nickname, Champ. But I personally know him as someone who used to inspire me so much back in college or you could probably say, a rockstar I literally used to chase around. Although if I'm being honest, that is still the understatement of the century. A Conversation with Champ is another story waiting to happen somewhere, I may or may not write it but I have it, it's mine and it happened.

I can think of a million ways on how to be alone. I could probably come up with a couple of stories on how to spend a Sunday. I can make of a good plot for a story or a conversation, even a monologue.  But I'm pretty sure none of them could've up possibly lived up to the reality this particular day had to offer - what do you know, for once my reality had something better to offer than my fiction. They say if you made an impact on a musician's life, you'll end up in a song, somewhere. I concur. If you come across one of us and you made an impact, you left a moment or we shared a memory, you'll end up in our story, somewhere.

This is mine.

June 13, 2016

An Unlikely Swimsuit Haul

I know it's a bit weird to actually talk about swimsuits when everyone's starting to complain about the rain and thunderstorms. But that's why I called it in early - it's rather unlikely, even for me. Both because the summer season is slowly fleeting away and another thing is because the last thing you'd probably think of is me doing actual swimsuit shopping. There's just no way! But you see, I also have two beach trips coming up and since they are now on sale... excuses, excuses. Where's the old Joys and what have you done to her, woman? 

The Impulse Buy. As I said, I'm not the type of girl who wakes up in the morning and think to herself "Oh, I better go online and buy a swimsuit today." But this interesting one piece with gold u-detail on its bikini top that cuts right thru the front to create an illusion of two-piece by exposing a bit of skin from a brand called Kats Clothing caught my attention. It's bound to happen as the ad kept popping on my Facebook feed as if willing me to give in and have a look. Soon enough I found myself browsing thru Zalora's pages and before I know it, a purchase has been made. The fabric was a combination of nylon and spandex so it will fit you like a glove and keep everything tucked in the right places. I do suggest you size up because I am usually an L (based on the sizing chart on the website) and while I can still make it work, I still think I should've gone for the XL instead. Similar here, although I've got the navy blue one, I can't seem to find the link for that.

The Bandeau Top. I picked this up inside a pop-up store during one random trip to the mall and I was tempted to try it on just for fun. But I was surprised on how I liked it. It fits me perfectly, flatters my upper body (and I'm quite heavy in there), and it has got some pretty neon prints on it that I'm sure will look good in photos. You see, priorities. It's padded and comes with a metal double hook to secure it on the back. Bandeaus are a bit tricky as you need to consider if it's gonna fall off and/or cover everything that needs covering up there. This one's gotten it right on both department and even has a twisted frill in front that's quite flattering too so you see, there's really no surprise that it came home with me. I bought this in store but similar design here.

The Reversible Number. At least that's what I have been trying to repeatedly tell myself as if to convince me that it's not an extravagant purchase on my part. I know, I know. This is from a brand called Eighth Mermaid and the style is called Coco Burst, which explains the prints on it as well. I gave it a lot of thought before adding it to cart but when I saw its reversible feature, it was a done deal. I mean, I guess it's not so bad after all if I am virtually getting two swimsuits in one and a plain black suit at that. A girl would never not need a black one piece swimsuit in her life. The side boob is also an interesting and flattering feature that also helps in creating a slimmer waist silhouette. It doesn't slip and aesthetics-wise, it's quite pleasing to the eyes. It also comes with a handy beach bag and post card that says: take me to the beach. Um, yes please? Find it here.

May 27, 2016

Matte and Creamy Lips, Oh Really?

By now, you have probably figured out I am more of the matte kind of lipstick girl. And every lipstick girl out there who loves them also knows their mattes a little too well - they aren't exactly  and usually creamy. They often feel dry and dragging but looks so amazing on the lips. Which is why it's a tough one to pull off yet an easy one to fall in love with. So when a lipstick claims to be matte and creamy at the same time, I am easily swayed but not that easily convinced. I literally go... Oh really?

That is how I initially reacted to the news about the Maybelline Creamy Matte Collection. It took them a while to get here so when they did, everyone was so excited to get their hands on the collection. The shade range is pretty limited to just 10 but I think there's enough to choose which one will be your weapon of choice. Or in my case, weapons of choice.

I picked up the shades Touch of Spice, a taupey brown shade with a hint of pink to it so it doesn't appear that dark when applied. This is a bit harder to find since it's a crowd pleaser and instant favourite among the girls. And I can totally see why. The shade is right up anyone's street, it's definitely right smack in the middle of mine. It's extremely flattering and a no fuss everyday lip color in general. It also doesn't help that Kylie Jenner seems to wear her lips with the same shade and let's face it, we all love a little bit of Kylie. The other shade I got is the Divine Wine, another crowd favourite. It's a deep, wine red (hence the name, I suppose) but a wearable one. It's not an in-your-face red, it's just the I-haven't-had-enough-time-to-think-about-my-make-up-today-so-red-lips-it-is kind of red. It's surprisingly easy to wear and even easier to apply.

These creamy matte are true to its claim as far as the formula is concerned. It glides on easily to your lips, straight out of the bullet and you're good to go. And that's not something you can say about the rest of the matte lipstick out there. Although if something's this good, something's also got to give and for me, that's longevity. The longest it lasted on me is about 4 hours with minimal drinking on the side. I guess since it's creamier in formula, it doesn't really stick to your lips so it gets easily swiped off. But that's something I can live with, especially if it's not such a pain to apply. A few touch ups now and again won't hurt for me. And as for the price, this is pretty much a bargain, for Php299 each? I'd say that's a fair deal for a drugstore lipstick for its quality. And in case you're still wondering... Matte and creamy lips? Oh yes. Really!

May 25, 2016

The Freedom Not To Choose

When I was in my early twenties, quarter life crisis hit me hard. So hard that I decided to buy a ticket, pack a suitcase and leave the country for good to see what the other side of the world has to offer. Fast forward to my early late twenties, I decided to come back only to quit my day job completely to try and find my passion for something else entirely. I told you, it hit me that hard.

During both times I was convinced that I was settling for my life and not living any of it at all so I decided to do something about it. I was driven and determined to make it work. But what I didn't know back then is that freedom comes in all forms but not limited to quitting a job you don't like or chasing the sunset from one of the world's beautiful places.

Now that I am almost thirty, I found out that freedom is nothing like I perceived, or expected it to be. However, I'd like to believe it also comes with the territory. When you're younger, you cannot afford to give up on freedom just yet. You crave for it, you wanted it for so long. When you're older though, or at least lived life through 3 decades already, you'll find out that freedom can sometimes come in little and big moments of your life when you no longer have to choose.

You no longer have to choose between quitting your job or climbing that mountain. Or driving your own or taking the Uber. Perhaps if you should go for red lips or nude tones for the day. Freedom happens to you. You'll end up chasing it. You'll even be desperate to hold on to it. Some people try so hard just to have it. But if you are one of the lucky ones, you'll always have freedom within your reach simply because you let it happen to you. With or without. With and within.

April 14, 2016

Two Months And Then Some

It personally feels so wrong to just drop a new beauty-related entry after disappearing for almost two months so I thought I'd properly ease my way in by having a chat about what's up.

I never stopped writing, if there's any consistency at all, it's that I never stopped writing. I remember my own "Write anyway..." battlecry when I had the same problem years ago and pleased to realize I've managed to hold up my end of the bargain. However, I have just been writing... differently.

You're probably wondering and going Justin Bieber on me already - sorry, but what do you mean? - so here's what it is. I started working on a passion project called #monologuesbyjyscmll the same time I stopped writing any content for TGTC. It's basically all of my words and thoughts finally written on something concrete - paper, Facebook feed, photo caption, even on receipts and tissue papers.

Here's one of the stories I wrote, if anyone's interested. Have fun reading and let me know if it's something you want to read regularly in here. I'll try and post one after another.

/ "So... what's a girl like you doing far out here, going for a solo walk on the beach? I mean, you can be chasing the waterfalls or riding the waves."

I looked sideways as I was suddenly aware of another shadow casting over mine and obviously a different voice other than the one inside of my head. I thought you'd eventually offer your hand and go for the universal hand shake as well to maximize the cliche effect of the situation. However, to my surprise, you gave me an easy smile and a casual shrug instead, "David, by the way."

'Hmm, now David...', I said looking back down. 'Ain't that just the oldest one in the book. I'm positive you can do better than that. Come on, try again.' I let a few more steps passed before finally looking up to return your smile, "It's Jess... by the way.'

I was expecting for shared laughs and shy smiles to follow but I was wrong. For the third time in a span of ten minutes since we met, you have caught me off guard again. You stopped on your tracks, turned your back and eventually headed the other way.

I had to laugh, of course you would. Just like the waves and the rest of them who has now come and gone. You'd just casually crash into me, stay a while and eventually drift away. When will you and your big mouth ever learn, Jess.

I decided to head back towards the beach house, go for a shower and grab a drink or two after. It's time to call it a day and that's when I noticed a guy with the same easy smile suddenly standing up, walking towards me with a drink for two in his hands.

'So tell me Jess, what's your story?' //

February 10, 2016

OPI Gelato On My Mind

One of the many ways to wear pantone colors for 2016 is thru our fingertips, it's subtle and it works. You can go all out and dress like Serenity and Rose Quartz, that's basically blue and pink in the color wheel since there are no rules here but I much prefer the muted approach which in this case is by painting my nails with OPI Gelato On My Mind. A pastel shade of blue described as delish, minty and icy cool that is part of the The Venice Italy FW S15 Collection.

The formula is creamy with a rather liquid consistency that I had a hard time trying to even out the color on the surface at first coat. But it gets easier as you go on another layer and that's when you can get an opaque finish. It makes your nails pop, as in a noticeable pop of pastel that can brighten up any outfit, or in this case, the year that is upon us. OPI nail polishes are generally quite lasting, especially with a good top coat to boot, one that wouldn't start bubbling or dries very quickly is something I'm still on the hunt for. But with any clear nail polish, they seem to last for a week before they start chipping off - chores and all included.

Gelato On My Mind is easy and refreshing on the eyes and I can imagine it being a good summer color as well. I reckon it will look gorgeous on tanned skin tones with traces of sand on the sides of your palm. It's not exactly something I'd wear on a daily basis but on a beach getaway over the weekend? That's happening. We may never know if wearing it out will bring extra dose of luck our way but we can only hope and it wouldn't hurt to try, eh. So if you're a pastel polish kind of girl then I guess that's your tips and tones for 2016 already sorted this early.
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