My Valentine Edit | I. The Day Out

This is late I know, so sorry!  However late it is here!  Happy Valentine’s day, my beloved readers, whether you are attached or not you are loved.   If the tardiness of this post has really taken its toll you can reserve the use of these for any special daytime occasion.  I’ve handpicked some of my current Valentine favorites that I thought would be splendid for a day out and I’ve done a fresh rosy look, too.


Revlon Colorstay Matte & Lacquer Balms – The Kissable Balm range is being integrated with a new name, the Colorburst Balm crayons now also come in two new finishes, matte and lacquer.

Calchews Calcium Soft Chews in Chocolate  – Getting your calcium fix doesn’t have to be boring, chocolate Calchews are my fave because they taste like Tootsie Roll(Note: Not to be consumed like candy.  Take ONCE a day only, also not sugarfree.) Get some here from!

Ellana Pressed Blush Duo in Kitten/Peach Passion – Get rosy pink or pretty in peach with the blush duo I use by Ellana!  Available here with a 5% discount

L’Oreal True Match BB Cream SPF35 PA++ – This BB Cream by L’Oreal leaves a fresh non-sticky radiant finish behind, I didn’t detect any shimmer plus you get decent SPF protection. The only downside is the lady said there was only one shade available locally which more or less matches my MAC NC30-35 skin shade, but in India 3 shades of this are available.

Clinique All About Shadow Duo in Uptown/Downtown – A simple no fuss eyeshadow duo of a nearly white baby pink and a slate grey, the camera didn’t pink up the pink on my eyelids but it made a great all-over lid wash that gave my eyes a fresh boost.

Revlon Lash Potion Mascara(Waterproof) – This has a wand and formula that magically gives you fluttery romantic lashes, no spell required.

Benefit Bathina Fragrant Body Oil  – Seriously, if you want to smell like an “inviting” bombshell this is the delicately pretty scent you should have on.

Aeropostale Live Love and Dream FragranceIf you want a fresh, fruity and bright scent that sort of leans towards that “Jamba Juice” sort of freshness, this is great!

VDL Nail Polish – I love this nail polish range mainly because other than the fact that they have a whole array of shades those luscious lip-shaped bottles are too cute to throw away!

MUJI Travel Lash Curler (clear for personal use)  – I doubted this when I saw it in store, but the saleslady gave me one to try and it worked for me, instant curl without getting pinched at the corners.  It takes a bit of practice but you get big noticeable curl with it and it’s so much more portable. (Note: I don’t recommend it for professional use, it’s great to use on yourself but not to use on someone else.  May work for certain eye shapes better than others, ask to test one before buying)


The only product I didn’t mention is what I used on my brows and I didn’t bother since it was a limited edition Riri pencil by MAC.  The Revlon Colorstay Matte Balm I have on is in the shade Elusive I love that they pack a punch of color and are comfortable to wear.  The new matte and lacquer finishes aren’t as longwearing as the original Revlon Kissable Balm stains but they wear away beautifully and are super quick to retouch.  I didn’t use setting powder but if you’re oily you may want to powder the T-zone or bring blot sheets along.  That’s my Day Out Valentine Edit, would you have added anything?  I didn’t want to overdo the list.  Many of these are in for upcoming individual reviews.  Watch out for those.  Of course to ADD to this Day Out edit my mother suddenly came home with these, if you haven’t noticed these boxes of extra large cut personalized brownies by Cafe Mary Grace are selling fast almost everywhere in the Metro after photos of them spread like wildfire on Instagram a few days ago.

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These yummy brownies are suddenly all the rage since people started posted photos of them online and everyone knows how good Cafe Mary Grace’s tiny regular brownies are to begin with.  They’re flying off shelves at Php280 per box.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Just a Few Thursday Thoughts

When I was in grade school I used to anticipate Valentine’s Day even more than I did when I was older.  Ironically, it was when I was young that something  magical or surprising would happen, almost  every year after Grade 3 especially in my last few years before high-school.  Now that I look back those were innocently fun times.  I was hardly ever or maybe even never a girl who had tactics under her sleeve and I let love roll right on in if it did and I discerned about boys with prayer (when I remembered to LOL).  I’ve learned a lot of right and unlearned a lot of wrong in the last two decades of being “love” aware.  I unintentionally don’t deal BIG on Valentine’s but I’m not one of those anti-hearts-day people either, that would be too pretentious on my part.  A day about love is much too grand to dismiss.


I still enjoy the worldwide celebration of love, gift-giving and sappy music even.  I just happen to believe it’s people who really make Valentine’s Day special, not the other way around.  I’m pretty neutral about it because well, for one I don’t think we need just one day to go all out and express love, it can be any day but at the same time it’s still lovely to have a certain time of year to look forward to.  I pray that people learn to never regard Valentine’s Day as just an excuse to do finally do something affectionate to end up with somebody.  I’d like to think about it more deeply like as another more obvious opportunity to reach out to someone sincerely.  The well-meaning S. A. D. (single awareness day) questions will float up again and I’ll just have to say “No real reason why, just haven’t found my willing weirdo.”… To full post & COMMENTS...

L’Oreal Playball Wax Smoothie Spray | On Its Way Out to Hair Heaven :(

“So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye…”   It absolutely pains me to say I found my holy grail styling product for my short pixie hair last November, it is L’Oreal Playball Wax Smoothie (Force 3) but it is soon leaving shelves for good, or so I was told.  I now have one of the 50ml travel size sprays but only because a friend wasn’t using it.  Before this product it was L’Oreal Elnett but the small spray sizes are inaccessible locally (in EU or UK only).  I love my short hair but I still deal daily with a horrible cowlick wave on the left side of my head (it starts at the root so it needs taming) and I was also getting somewhat envious of all these bloggers getting to play with these “lift” or texture sprays.  I needed and wanted a hairstyling product that worked for me, too!  Something to let static and baby hair know who’s boss, haha.  I didn’t manage to get a L’Oreal Wax Smoothie spray of my own at first, someone just let me test theirs at the time when I first tried it.  I was like “Omigosh, where did you get this?”.  I was put out after finding out from a friend and work colleague that this very wonder product (for me, not the rest of you with long hair probably) is being DISCONTINUED.  If you’re style-specific and need an innovative spray that gives the texture appearance and hold of clay or wax but applies as light as hairspray that’s exactly what this is.  A product this specific doesn’t come along every day.  Huhu…

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“L’Oréal Professionnel Play Ball Wax Smoothie Spray is a texturising spray wax that will help you to create unique and constructed styles.  It creates a medium hold and leaves hair smelling of pears.” It also leaves a nice non-greasy looking sheen and I can skip hair oil for shine on the special occasion days when I use this.

Showing sympathy my friend gave me his free sample (and he may have a few more hidden away somewhere I hope) because he never uses it on all the long-haired ladies he does hairstyling for.  With long hair it’s all about vavavoom volume and oomph but for my pixie hair I needed something extremely specific that did the exact opposite of all those lift and texturizing/volumizing sprays.

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It had to be something which kept lift from the roots at an attractive minimum, took care of wayward baby hair, and gave smoothing hold without sacrificing my haircut’s piece-y texture.   This does that all and not only that, it smells attractively of sweet pears.  I strategically spray it just where I need some targeted control.  I still work it through my hair with fingers after spraying but with this my hands don’t get all gummy.

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It isn’t your typical wax in a pot, it’s in an aerosol spray, this isn’t the full size it’s a deluxe 50ml travel size which I love.    This does the job of keeping volume at the roots down but not completely flat (so I don’t look like pomade came down on my head at 300kph), just down to just the right level while keeping the piece-y textured appearance of the haircut.  Regular wax is tolerable but ugh, I hate it on my fingers.  So, I wrote this review to try and feel better but now I think I’m a bit more depressed LOL.  Don’t concern yourselves I’ll manage.  L’Oreal, can you like not kill this…please?

 … To full post & COMMENTS...

REVLON PhotoReady Bronzer |Matte and Long-Wearing Drugstore Delight

When Revlon met with me and handed me this delightful drugstore bronzer I looked it over and thought “Finally, finally…a MATTE mid-range priced one and it’s the right sort of terracotta shade”.

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REVLON Photoready Bronzer is on the Revlon website however the U.S. site has no info posted on it (strange), but it’s there.  It comes in  one colorway “100 Bronzed & Chic”  It retails at about $10.00 in Walgreens, but over here there’s an obvious “hike” at Php975.00.


I still have to understand why it’s practically double the price over here, but it’s certainly the best drugstore bronzer I’ve spotted so far.  I’ve exaggerated the intensity of the application so that you see the true tone of it…I’d probably wear it slightly lighter.  It can basically act as contour or like a “blonzer” for oriental skin, a good all-around shader.  It hugely reminds me of Guerlain’s 4 Seasons Terracotta compact bronzer.  Read “more” to get the full review, see swatches and photos in non-direct light plus a before and after application shot.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Summer Stuff | I. The Beach Edit

Summer’s suddenly got its foot in the door, wow.  All so suddenly while we were all delightfully cozy last week the climate shot up nearly 10°C from two weeks ago.  I’m reacting based on the temperature here in Laguna which back then was hanging at 20°C most nights and is now nearly 30°C in the daytime.  This post was supposed to be for the middle of the month but given the sudden temp jump it looks like some people might be planning beach trips earlier.  Anyway, it would be great for you guys to grab your summer stuff during the current string of sales out there.  I’ll be doing kind of a short series of collective edits because I know not everyone will be heading to the beach, so there will be an Urban City Summer Edit waiting in the wings shortly after this.  By the way this edit won’t include pricing sorry a few of the items I don’t have the price for, but I will mention why I like them.  I was in Palawan for an event recently and have decided to show you what I had with me.  Consider these for your next beach trip, they served me well. “Yoohoo! Big summer Blowout!”

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NIVEA Moisturising Immediate Sun Protection for Face SPF50 PA++ – While most of NIVEA’s sunscreens can be for both face and body they’ve specially formulated a more hydrating one for the face to combat dryness and provide some sun relief.  I love that NIVEA sunscreens never break me out and make the skin feel more nice than sticky.

NIVEA Protect and Bronze SPF20 Medium protection – No need to feel torn between tanning and protecting your skin, get the best natural tan and protection from Nivea’s new Protect and Bronze sun spray!

REVLON Photoready Bronzer Compact (Matte)– If you’ve been yearning for a Guerlain Terracotta compact but just can’t allow it to kill your budget the only way to get that for a way more reasonable price is to be invited to a warehouse sale OR you can opt for this drugstore dupe by Revlon which I think seriously comes pretty close sans the luxe fragrance and some luminosity.  This matte bronzer ticks the boxes that matter.  It’s got a cute embossed coral design and it’s an encircled quad of appropriately warm matte browns which you can swirl together to bronze or contour as you see fit.  As I like to use it, use the upper half or lower half depending on how light or dark you’d like to go, especially for evenings at the beach.  Plus it’s got a mirror and is affordable with no obvious fall out…did I mention you can use them as eyeshadows? Win.

BENEFIT COSMETICS Cha Cha Tint Lip & Cheek stain – Honestly when I’m at the beach and I want a headstart on rosy cheeks cheek stains will last longer and you can use fingers.  If you want to blend it in better without staining your cheeks with dots  (Cha Cha tint sometimes dries way too quickly, even before you can say “blend”) mix a couple drops of your cheek tint with a couple drops of your sunscreen, tinted moisturizer, or whatever base is already on your face.  Then apply the mix on the apples of your cheeks in a circle motion.  You won’t have to worry about rushing to blend it before it stains if you mix the tint with your base between your fingers.


Still not in the mood? Sing along here.

NIVEA Immediate Sun Protection for Body SPF50PA++ – Straightforward reliable sun protection that’s good for the skin, also suitable for face.  My brother relies on this variant as an active football player.  I forgot to include Nivea’s After Sun spray with Aloe vera in the photo, but just know that I had it with me.

K-Palette Real Lasting Eyebrow Pen –  Water and sweat resistant, enhances brows naturally and the pen applicator means you don’t need a separate brush as you would with brow powder, plus it’s pretty much the drugstore dupe for the SUQQU pen Lisa Eldridge loves.  Makeup artist Xeng Zulueta uses this as well.  Sold.

Nature Republic Botanical Mandarin BB Cream – Basically my dupe for Bourjois Healthy Mix but with a moderate level of SPF35 PA++.  Just love this, even the light fruity scent, also even if it is in only one shade, my shade (#23, match for MAC NC30) Review here.

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey – This gives that “bit-my-lip” effect even before you’ve pulled an all-day one on shore.  Hundreds of models have this in their handbags as that off-duty lip shade for all seasons.

Bobbi Brown Lipgloss in #9 “Pink Sugar” – I’ve rekindled my love for lipgloss thanks to this.  I was seriously not a lipgloss person for awhile.  It has a certain level of stickiness that isn’t a hassle, plus after a meal my lips still have that sheen and the understated shimmer doesn’t migrate across my face. It’s nice when lips catch the light on beach nights.

Hurraw Cold Pressed Vegan Lip Balm in “Earl Grey” – When will this NOT be in a favorites post?  Hurraw balms have really become my staple lip balm.  They hydrate and comfort lips naturally and have flavors you can believe in.  They’re actually on sale right now at Taste Central here, but you can also inquire at

Absynthe PH Pure Argan Oil – More or less the only hair product I brought apart from shampoo.  I love that their pure argan oil  nourishes hair, adds healthy shine and keeps ends well-behaved plus it comes in a portable size that’s easy to bring! You can purchase Absynthe beauty products from their FB page here.

Huiles & Baumes SOS Balm – Being at the beach always requires some sort of all-purpose salve for sudden abrasions, nicks, scrapes or first degree burns.  I brought along my 95% organic SOS balm which reportedly is an ever-ready Mommy Angelina Jolie handbag staple (was given this by the Taste Central team, but unfortunately it isn’t on their site anymore). 

To full post & COMMENTS...

The Revamped Return of Ellana Minerals | Pressed Products Now Available!

Ellana Minerals was one of the first Filipino makeup brands ever to impress me in terms of value for money and not at the expense of quality either.  I don’t even use powder all the time but their powder formulas never fail to impress me in terms of coverage and smoothness.  They rose in popularity for the wide range of mineral makeup shades they offered that suited varied Asian complexions (especially for powder foundation).  I just made a friend last Christmas (a fellow “Inglesera” painter friend who studied in I.S.) and she got surprised that I had Ellana loose foundation in my “kikay kit” during dinner.  She said “You have it, too!  You know that’s the only one I’ve found locally that works for me.  I don’t even know much about makeup but I put it on and I like it.”

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Ellana Minerals’ beautiful new packaging illustrations are by talented artist, Soleil Ignacio

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ELLANA MINERAL POWDER FOUNDATION Php460.00This powder product put Ellana Minerals on the map.  I still prefer the loose foundation over their new pressed versions, but I feel that their pressed powder compacts serve a new vital purpose for me.  You can apply your loose Ellana mineral powder at home using a kabuki or dense buffing brush at a level of coverage that you can control, then bring the matching pressed powder along with you for easy day-to-night touch ups and less mess on the go.  My MAC cosmetic shade is NC30 (a yellow medium/fair).  My spot on shade in Ellana’s range would be right in-between Hazelnut Latte and its lighter step-up French Vanilla Latte. 

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Hazelnut Latte is the closest to my skintone but just a bit too dark, it’s actually my summer shade.  French Vanilla is a tad bit too light naman but still okay for evening looks and can suit NC25-NC30 girls (mac shades).  There’s a bit of a jump between shades but what’s awesome about Ellana’s range is there’s a warm range and also a cool range of light to deep tones we can choose from, which is mainly why I love them.  I’m considering getting Chai Latte to see because its tone looks like it could sit between Hazelnut and French Vanilla even if it’s slightly cooler.

Ellana mineral powder foundations provide moderate to heavy coverage, are fragrance-free, suitable for sensitive skin, and provide intensive oil control.  The powders also, apart from covering a multitude of flaws,  really photograph immaculately well with no flashback.  I actually blogged about the brand a couple of years ago here.  I felt Ellana ease out of the limelight for just awhile, but I figured they would never totally leave the beauty biz since such a huge market (myself included) loved their range (comparable to Bare Minerals in the U.S.).

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The brand got a pretty makeover and while they still have their loose powder available they’ve finally bravely put out pressed compact versions of their well loved mineral powder foundation, it provides the same product but in an easier to apply compact that allows you to control sheer to moderate coverage, primarily for touchups.  BUT WAIT (that tone), there’s more!  They came out with eyeshadow and blush compacts, too.  Read “more” to get the full post, more photos (with and without flash) and see me wearing Ellana Mineral loose powder makeup in a more or less complete look.… To full post & COMMENTS...

NEW Nivea Protect & Bronze Sun Spray | Get Safely Sunkissed for Php599

As you probably already know from Instagram (@blessmybag) I’ve just returned from a press junket at Palawan where NIVEA PH revealed the new product that’s bound to rock our summer boat.  NIVEA is a world market leader in affordable sun protection formulas that are good for the skin.  They’ve also been around 120 years so there are no buts about how established these guys are.  Another thing that I didn’t happen to know is that NIVEA actually invented the SPF system standard.  They do up-to-date research coupled with frequent safe testing on human volunteers (using the back of the hand) to ensure the quality of their products.  Way before I ever became a beauty blogger NIVEA was in our bathroom and yes, mostly in the form of sunscreen for my baked brother who is currently one of the country’s best teenage football players.  They’ve brought in a special spray lotion product for summer this year that aims to jumpstart a healthy, natural tan without “fake tanning” you and more importantly does it with sun protection.  They’ve had the regular Protect & Bronze lotion before but now you can spray on this light lotion. This product is actually the solution to my dilemma as someone fair-skinned.  I’d like to tan but I hate having to choose between tanning oil and sunscreen or combining them in doubt that I’ll ever get properly sunkissed.  This product boosts your own tan while protecting you, plus it smells nice, not annoying.  Interesting, noh?

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“Protect & Bronze sun spray combines immediate protection with a natural looking tan. *The formula contains a natural plant extract which helps support skin’s own melanin production (in-vitro). Use regularly for an even and natural looking tan. Contains no self tan.” PRICE: Php599.00 for 200ml, available in leading groceries, department stores, or pharmacies that sell Nivea skincare.  NIVEA PH site shows they also have the SPF10, 20, 30 and spf 50 but that’s depending on availability I guess.

(At the press launch we were given SPF 20 which is still safe even if it isn’t as high as 50 as long as you frequently reapply and layer it on like I did, I didn’t burn but just take note it isn’t summer yet.  )

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LAGEN ISLAND, PALAWAN <Email: / Direct Landline: (632) 7503957>

Truthfully, two days in Palawan is not enough time for someone as fair as me to get a full on medium-well tan that will last (someone like me needs over a week at the beach).  What I liked about NIVEA Protect & Bronze is without using tint I managed to generate a healthy sunkissed glow within the first few hours.   I also applied every 2-3 hours to stay protected and to help build my tone.  What it does initially if you don’t have as many days at the beach is it takes the edge off pale skin and encourages your skin with a botanical extract to develop a well-rounded natural tan, no tints or harsh chemicals.  I actually somehow saw a subtle difference within minutes from applying it indoors even before heading out into the sun.  I’m nowhere near tan at the moment, but I’m not a sickly pale shade anymore either (bathing suit provided by Roxy PH).


Disclosure: I had to adjust this photo’s brightness and hue from the camera shot to properly match the actual sunkissed me in real life, mobile phone photos tend to need some help in capturing real life color sometimes.  Please be assured that my skintone in the photo is properly exhibited, also don’t mind the shadows from the coconut trees overhead.

The lower SPF variants of Nivea Protect & Bronze like 20 and 10 are actually great for outdoor brides who don’t want to look pasty on their wedding day and want an overall healthy glow.  P.S. I do NOT have a tummy ache lol, I just really don’t know how to pose.

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By the way, I personally asked one of NIVEA’s global bosses if it is safe enough for the face because the instructions that say “Don’t spray on face” might confuse you.  The formula IS SAFE for the face, you’re just not supposed to spray the product directly from the bottle onto your face to avoid getting it into your eyes.  Spritzing it onto your hands and applying on the face is the correct way to do it.  You can develop a deeper tan with this given you’ve got more time under the sun.  NIVEA Protect & Bronze Sun Spray is available for Php599.00 in leading local department stores, groceries, and selected pharmacies/beauty floors.… To full post & COMMENTS...

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.


 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.


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.… To full post & COMMENTS...

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