Bless My Bag

beauty bagged by a cheeky Filipina

Nature Republic Botanical Mandarin BB Cream | My Bourjois Healthy Mix Dupe

In the past I’ve never found a mid-range BB cream that I was really comfortable with that perfectly matched me in terms of shade and formula.  The proof is in the pudding, only one or two BB creams in the past were ever mentioned on this blog.  To me BB creams can sometimes tend to be scary ingredient cocktails topped off with higher SPF, the veritable cherry on top.  One or two BBs in the past have broken me out into rashes within minutes which is why I often keep away from BB land and stay close to my Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer for normal days.  They’re not particularly popular among people with sensitive skin but many active individuals who spend a lot of time outdoors commuting or doing other activities have made BB creams a daily staple.  BB creams are most popular in Korea and Japan respectively.  Many branded BB creams hailing from those countries sport anti-aging ingredients in conjunction with UV protection.  They’re basically souped up tinted moisturizers, or in terms of coverage they fill the Asian-pop niche between sheer tinted bases and classic liquid foundations.  BB Coverage is generally expected to be sheer to moderate but the level does vary from brand to brand.  In Korea and Japan even a good handful of men don’t shy away from the regular use of BB creams.  Korean brand Nature Republic have been around a couple of years locally.  While Nature Republic is not quite as big as FACE shop or Etude House here and are somewhat under the radar I still quite like the look and textures of their cosmetic range.  I happened to be in Landmark, Makati and while waiting for an appointment I came across Nature Republic’s mod but also classic looking botanical BB Cream with SPF35 PA++.  Immediately after I swatched it I got it.  It’s that good, plus it’s mineral oil and paraben free.

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 Nature Republic Botanical Mandarin BB Cream, 30ml, SPF 35 PA++, Php680 -10% = Php620

(Does NOT contain/Free of: Parabens, Tar, Mineral Oil, Benzophenone, Talc, and Triethanolamine)
Made in Korea (2 shades: #21 & #23–only #23 sold here)

KEY INGREDIENTS: Water, Glycerin, a combo of silicones, Niacinamide (one of Ruth Crilly’s aka AModelRecommends’  fave good ingredients for skincare bases), with fruit extracts of Satsuma Orange (Jeju Mandarin), Guava, Mango, Grapefruit, Coconut, Kiwi, and Papaya.

STORE BRANCHES: SM Megamall, SM North Edsa The Block, SM Fairview, Festival Supermall, Landmark Trinoma, Landmark Makati and Sta Lucia East Grandmall.

The product bottle with a pump appealed to me instantly.  I noticed its packaging similarity to  Benefit’s Hello Flawless liquid foundation.

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Considering they only sell one shade locally I think I’m pretty blessed that it’s such a great shade match for me, don’t you think?  I swatched Nature Republic’s Botanical Mandarin BB Cream on my hand and the thin formula with medium coverage and a soft, fresh, radiant finish instantly reminded me of Bourjois Healthy Mix’s Gel Serum foundation (UK) but this contains SPF35 and Healthy Mix Gel has no SPF.  Read “more” to get the full post, more information and see some “before and after” shots with this BB Cream on, plus testing it with and without flash photography.

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My Nationwide Valentine Giveaway 2014 | Until Feb. 6, Mga SAD Diyan Sumali Na

This Valentine’s I want you to smell great, look great, and plan a lifetime of love everyday you wake up alive.  To SAD (Single Awareness Day) Club members don’t be moping about waiting for the sun to rise, this giveaway ESPECIALLY goes out to you guys.  Remember the “Relaks Pag-Ibig Lang Yan…” planner I blogged about here a few weeks ago?  It’s here in all its swoon-y looney delight!

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I personally think that this giveaway is the most quirky love shove yet.   One mushy winner takes all after this NATIONWIDE giveaway closes on Feb. 6. <3  Click “more” to jump to the full post with close-up photos of the prizes and to join via Rafflecopter.

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5 Ways to Relax Before 2014 Hits High Gear

The month of January is drawing to a close and while it may have been an already hectic month for some of you for many others it may just be the last mellow month before the year truly kicks into high gear.  I wanted to share 5 simple ways to relax before truly swerving into the “rat race”.  It’s okay to prepare to speed up, but there always is a calm before the storm and I think before you make speedy decisions it’s important to clear out that mind.

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Illustration: Kathleen Jennings “@tanaudel”

1.) TURN OFF/LIMIT TECHNOLOGY- I’m sure this image already suggests that with flying colors.  I am so obviously not helping in this department at the moment LOL, but right after this you should get out of here.  I myself did this last week.  If this isn’t possible for some of you because of your jobs (especially if you’re in the internet industry this needn’t apply) at least restrict yourself to PMs, DMs, email, and SMS messages for work, or set a time of day when it’s time to switch off once work is done.  Better yet charge your laptop and tablets outside of your bedroom.  Also stall the selfies for awhile.  One of my uncles has actually prohibited his daughter from taking selfies of herself until she’s 18 and no, she’s not even one of my celebrity cousins.  She’s allowed to take pictures of herself WITH other people.  To some it may sound absurd but I believe that limiting self-consciousness in children and adolescents is wise…it expands compassion and encourages a consciousness towards others.   I wouldn’t expose my future children to interactive technology until they’re after the age of 5 or in Grade 1.  I know it’s easier said than done but the experts have found many problems with toddlers addicted to gadgets.  New studies from the world’s top experts have shown that premature exposure to touch and video technology in toddlers is inhibiting their proper mental development and exercise of their motor skills.  The rampant use of technology to amuse children is also fueling rage and impatience at an early age.  They grow up believing there is a shortcut or button for everything.  Some experts are even calling exposure to videos and apps “baby crack” which dopes them and entertains them to make them stay put, but it is highly unhealthy.  In the end, for us adults, life’s not all about your best profile photo.

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Stay away from YouTube, 9GAG, Vine and the usual places you go to try and be amused or entertained by sometimes irrelevant information, yes even blogs.  I was only on YouTube last week to look at some possible recipes and also to follow workout sessions.  The mind isn’t a bottomless pit and it can get crowded and the excess won’t help especially during times when you need to be able to think clearly for work…the net junk will reduce decision-making quality. There, there, don’t sob now, LOL, it’s not forever…I’m only saying that temporary abstinence flushes the mind.

2.) TRY COOKING OR MAKING A SIMPLE MEAL FROM SCRATCH –  If you can read, you can cook, if cooking’s complicated try baking.  If none of that is simple enough, make a sandwich, salad, multiple dips (guacamole for example), or soup.  Don’t use a mix that’s jampacked with fillers and MSG, really COOK something.  Some may have natural talent but with practice others who don’t can still feed themselves and other people…seriously.  If you have any doubts check out Jamie Oliver’s apps, YouTube channel, and books.  If you want local kitchen tested recipes look no further than Nora Daza’s easy to follow books.  There’s also an economic relevance that will boost your health when you cook it yourself, because the unhealthy stuff (rich dishes, deep fried dishes) are more difficult to make and clean up after than healthy stuff (salads, soups, steamed, grilled, and boiled stuff).  Watch this video here.

I’m late in the game but finally discovering that I enjoy being in the kitchen and have a palate (sense of taste) that impresses my family…now I need to develop the regular habit of planning meals and buying the ingredients.  I baked a lot a few years back but it’s been way too much of a hiatus. This culinary motivation might also be related to the book I’m reading by Banana Yoshimoto called “Kitchen”.  Which leads me to my next tip.

3.) READ A BOOK, A BOOK WITH REAL PAGES – Gadgets put strain on the mind because they offer too many options for you to change your mind.  Press this to go here, tap this to do that, jump here…jump there.  Our minds have become like Mexican jumping beans because of too many options presented.  Pick up a real book and there’s nowhere else to go but to the next page…and sometimes that’s exactly what we need.  One story, one path, one direction, one thing…what makes you beautiful…*cough*.  Read it in  bed, in your favorite chair, or in a tub…it’s nice to know if the book falls into the water all you need to do is hang it out to dry…you break nothing.  Also…don’t read it with music on I suggest, we’re trying to train the mind to do one thing undividedly.

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4.) GO OUT AND SEE @SOMEONE IN THE FLESH - This might be my favorite one yet.  There’s nothing like two or more souls meeting up and having a good time outside of Viber, Snapchat, iMessage or whatever else we use from day to day to connect.  Nothing compares with a real, personal connection with someone whose face you can squeeze.  Surprise someone by actually calling them up and rallying the flash mob.  SEE A HUMAN BEING, STOP STARING AT AVATARS.

5.) REALLY WRITE, DRAW, OR SOMETHING – You needn’t laugh, some kids today don’t even know how to draw or write anymore sadly.  Even if you’re not an artist you should know that committing something to paper physically actually unwinds the mind.  You could draw your coffee cup with a ballpoint pen for all I care but handwriting and drawing brings the mind to a different place, and it is peaceful.  If you really can’t stand drawing then paint something blank like a box or a cup a different color…just the act of doing something visual with your hands to impact something else makes a difference.

I hope these tips all together didn’t end up feeling like a “filler” blog post, I really wanted this post to be different and matter and not just be beauty or the usual wellness related methods to relaxation :).  I’d like to challenge all my readers to at least try one of these 5 things once for more than an hour before January ends and see how doing something in a lower gear actually takes you higher for some reason.

 

Aeropostale “Live Love Dream” Hand Lotion | Holy Grail Hand Cream, Batman!

It’s a bit tricky to find a hand cream you like in a tropical country, and the least thing you expect is to find it in a clothing store.  Day in and day out for most of the year anyway we “sweat it out” and the weather is generally quite sticky at planet earth’s waist.  Hand lotions from abroad usually end up making hands feel like they’ve got a greasy layer over them when worn locally, especially if some of the richer formulas were developed for the international markets that get winter.  During the first few days of January I did a bit of post Christmas sales shopping for upcoming bridal showers and birthdays and I, quite typically, ignored the clothes at Aeropostale and floated over to the fragrance counter to test the Live Love Dream scented stuff with no expectations.  The packaging was, to be expected, teeny-bopper-y (mild gag) but when I looked again…it wasn’t too bad, but what surprised me most of all in the range was the hand cream/lotion itself.

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INGREDIENTS: Water, Butylene Glycol, Sweet Almond Oil, Fragrance, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Avocado Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteareth 20, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Shea butter, Sodium Polyacrylate, Ethyhexyl Stearate, Vitamin E, Trideceth-6, Limonene, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Sodium hydroxide, Lilial, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Alpha – isomethyl-lonone, Geraniol, Citronellol.

Individually, the 50ml hand lotion sells for Php285.00, they don’t carry a bigger size but a little more than pea size amount of this cream is enough for both hands .  I stalled with the tester in my hand after first application and had to apply a bit more…it felt akin to the Victoria’s Secret Body Lotions which in my 90s teen era experience smell great but also delivered back then in terms of skin softness.   I wasn’t imagining things, the LIVE LOVE DREAM cream moisturized my hands just enough but I didn’t feel like I was left with a “glove” of ingredients sitting on top of my fingers.  The scent…oh my golly gosh, that slightly universal but bright, non-annoying fresh scent didn’t leave my hands for hours.  Note though, if you’re not open to tart fresh scents you won’t like this.  Later on in the day while walking about the city if I smelt something I didn’t like nearby I’d put my hands up to my face to smell them instead.  Read more (click “more”) for the full review (yes, told you I liked this hand cream) and a sneak peek at one of my upcoming Valentine giveaway prizes!

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“Fast” Food 2014| For Us Who Can’t Go “Food-less”

Okay, consider this a cheat post, but actually…not really because I’m primarily fasting from beauty blogging.  The main reason why this could not at all wait ’till next week is simply because almost everyone who is fasting will be done by the end of the month or even next week…which would render this post with food suggestions useless.  I know there are many of you like myself who are anemic and cannot go  on “food-less” or 100% juice fasts.  In fact my doctor, Roberto Salvino (Spanish for “savior”), who actually saved me from my second bout with dengue over a year ago said because of my blood with naturally low hemoglobin I’m required to eat “lean” meat (fat and offal NOT recommended with the exception of liver) at least 3 times a week with iron supplements.  So this January, actually at the beginning of this week I began my “fast” by trimming indulgence and sticking with this more or less balanced diet to detox and lose Christmas weight.  I put on 3 or 4 lbs because of no exercise last Nov/Dec and mainly because we ran out of oatmeal for breakfast and Tipco juice so my morning meals were greasy again, that detail of a different breakfast, plus instant Milo instead of Tipco juice, with no exercise every morning really put on the pounds.  I’d like to call this post “Fast” Food, pun intended, so it’s basically just a purer, healthier selection of eats that actually taste good in my opinion (you don’t have to agree about V8, I know more than half the world hates tomato juice, but I love it). I originally planned to stick with this lot just for a week but I now plan to extend ’til the end of the month so it will make more of a difference.

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V8 Low Sodium Original vegetable juice  – 8 veggie juices in tomato base, I add Tabasco to spice it up, don’t get this unless you like tomato juice.

Silk Chocolate Soy Milk – No GMOs, so I get my chocolate milk fix without actual “dairy”, my brother likes the Vanilla flavor in a purple box.  This is so, so yummy and it tastes like the right kind of chocolate.

Tipco Broccoli  juice – This is NOT yucky at all, looks suspiciously green BUT tastes just like apple juice :) the kids at Brent school love Tipco. 

Comida Rica Kaffir Lime Dressing – THIS makes me eat lots of salad, if you’re tired of European vinaigrettes try this Asian inspired one available from Echostore.  I can safely say we’ve gone through about nearly 10 bottles of this stuff in the past few months.  It’s the perfect vinaigrette partner option along with that roasted sesame Asian cream dressing everyone likes.  Now the vinaigrette people can be happy, too.

Quaker Whole Grain Rolled Oats – If you’ve hated oatmeal all your life it might just be because you were eating the instant variety…that used to make me gag, I had bad memories of being force-fed instant oatmeal by some yaya.  When I tasted REAL oatmeal that wasn’t instant I started eating oatmeal everyday and I shed unnecessary flab just by changing my breakfast.  Mix it with honey and fruits if you still can’t take oatmeal “neat”.

Sweet Spring Country Farm Organic Salad Greens – In case you didn’t know my uncle, Kiko Pangilinan leveled up from Senator to Farmer and our family now has regular access to organic salad greens every week.  We buy our fresh salad greens from him, here the tomatoes are also from his farm in Alfonso, Cavite.  Check out their Facebook page here. “farm stall is located at Robinson’s Summit Ridge along the Tagyatay Nasugbu National Road in Tagaytay city. We are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 8pm.” Mobile: 0932 846 1572 Email: sweetspringcountryfarm@gmail.com

Kimchi – Korean kimchi (spicky pickled cabbage) always adds lots of excitement to my meals.  I like anything pickled actually.  This gives added oomph to mealtime especially when seafood is the main.  A simple pickle you can put together that I ALSO love which is more Tagalog is radish ceviche (ensaladang labanos) the thin, shaved or sliced white radish (labanos) slices steeped in white vinegar , salt, a bit of sugar and pepper, together with some sliced red onion and tomatoes to make the dish blush a bit, an added touch would be chopped spring onion, just a little. :)

White Fish -  You can switch for local fish like boneless bangus (milkfish) which I super love or tilapia.  This one here is River Cobbler filets from S&R, huge double filet in a Php150 frozen pack. 

Free range/organic eggs – In case you have a sudden hankering for meat eggs are the lesser evil. You can whip up something quick with them or use them in vegetable dishes for added body in dishes.  You can go yolk-less and stick to using the white if you’d like to restrict yourself more from dairy.

I’ve allowed myself mainly seafood and chicken for protein, lots of fruits & vegetables, salad, real (not instant) oatmeal sweetened with organic honey, pure juices, water,  and soy milk.  I am forbidding myself to take heavy red meat dishes, instant noodles, sweet junk (chips I don’t really like, anyway, except for Piknik), pastries.  carbonated/softdrinks, and powdered drinks are a complete no-no.  What I’ve forgotten to include in the picture is Apple Cider Vinegar and Tabasco which I use a lot for seasoning in conjunction with some of these.  For those of us who still need to eat but want a safe detox I think sticking to these is great. For munchies dried fruits and nuts are a good option but I try to drink juice or water instead when I feel the urge to munch, less calories.  Just remember it’s much better to consult your doctor if you’ve never drastically restricted yourself from certain foods and if you have vitamin supplements don’t quit those during the fast.  This is pretty much a low sodium balanced selection with no red meat. What do you think?  Have you already jumped on the fasting bandwagon?  Would you much rather stick to a selection of “fast” food as I have rather than go food-less?

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