The First Valentine was to a girl named Julia

I know it’s a day late, I had work for the past 2 days, but it’s still Valentine’s Day in other parts of the world and I’m still feeling the buzz simply because I didn’t have time to super enjoy the moments on the day itself.  An aunt of mine who loves me dearly and homeschools her kids shared a bit of St. Valentine history with me.  I’m sure a lot of people have looked into the legend of Valentine’s Day for the sake of it, but I’m not one of them so I was sweetly surprised by the story of a martyred Christian named Valentinus who truly lived (his remains are buried in a church) and a young , blind girl named Julia, the pretty young daughter of his jailer, Asterius.  There are subtle, downplayed hints of Valentinus falling for Julia in the end but these remain in question given how young she might have truly been, in other accounts he was an old man and she was a child, but in this image as you can see, it may not have been that way.  It was always stated in the different stories though regardless of how old she may have been that Julia was beautiful and bright (naks, lol).

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It’s a heartbreaking but touching story about a man who literally died to uphold love and the Christian faith.  In other specific accounts, he was tortured terribly.  I will quote the story here from a source and will not attempt to paraphrase.  The story is quite intact across several sites even official Catholic history ones.  Some aspects of the story vary with regard to her being healed of blindness either within the jail cell with Valentinus after they prayed or possibly after.  There is supposed little embellishment to the core story.  What is not mentioned here is the true historical reason behind his imprisonment, Valentinus would illegally marry young soldiers in secret.  It was not legal because young soldiers were expected to remain single and focus on being warriors.  However Valentinus officiated marriages for young couples in hiding. Too romantic for words. The phrase “Love is blind…” will never sound the same for me again  So goes the tale of the first Valentine:

“The story of Valentine’s Day begins in the third century with an oppressive Roman emperor and a humble Christian Martyr.   The emperor was Claudius II.   The Christian was Valentinus.

Claudius had ordered all Romans to worship twelve gods, and had made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians.   But Valentinus was dedicated to the ideals of Christ; not even the threat of death could keep him from practicing his beliefs.   He was arrested and imprisoned.

During the last weeks of Valentinus’s life a remarkable thing happened.   Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked whether his daughter, Julia, might be brought to Valentinus for lessons.   She had been blind since birth.   Julia was a pretty young girl with a quick mind.   Valentinus read stories of Rome’s history to her.   He described the world of nature to her.   He taught her arithmetic and told her about God.  She saw the world through his eyes, trusted his wisdom, and found comfort in his quiet strength.

“Valentinus, does God really hear our prayers?” Julia asked one day.

“Yes, my child, He hears each one.”

“Do you know what I pray for every morning and every night?  I pray that I might see.   I want so much to see everything you’ve told me about!”

“God does what is best for us if we will only believe in Him,” Valentinus said.

“Oh, Valentinus, I do believe! I do!”  She knelt and grasped his hand.

They sat quietly together, each praying.   Suddenly there was a brilliant light in the prison cell.   Radiant, Julia screamed, “Valentinus, I can see!  I can see!” (in other accounts she was healed weeks later after opening his letter to her which contained a yellow crocus flower that she could slowly begin to see)

“Praise be to God!”  Valentinus exclaimed, and he knelt in prayer.

On the eve of his death Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia, urging her to stay close to God.   He signed it, “From your Valentine.” The next day Valentinus was killed.  His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D., near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory.   He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome.  

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It is said that Julia planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave.   Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship.   On each February 14, Saint Valentine’s Day, messages of affection, love, and devotion are exchanged around the world.”

Sources:

http://www.olrl.org/lives/valentine.shtml

http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/ChurchandMinistry/churchhistory/st_valentine_the_real_story.aspx

http://www.priestsforlife.org/africanamerican/blog/index.php/happy-valentines-day-the-legend-of-saint-valentineTo full post & COMMENTS...

The Imaginary Vday Wishlist | If Price or Place Were No Object

Where we are can kind of suck sometimes when it comes to stuff at the frontier of modern beauty.  While I’m glad more brands have joined the global ones already present in the market, the ranges are far from updated and nowhere near as complete, hello, Clarins doesn’t even have their makeup here, we only have the skincare.  Where is is this rambling headed?  Towards an imaginary Vday wishlist…life of course goes on without any of these things but I thought I’d put this selection out there for you to see as an imaginary edit…what I’d like if price or place where no object.

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Top to Bottom: Paloma Picasso for Tiffany’s Handwritten Love ring (Mom has her petite “X” earrings in yellow gold), Whistles Mini Verity backpack black leather, Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil, Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in “Amazing Grace”Clarins Instant ConcealerReturn to Tiffany Rubedo heart earrings, Clarins Instant Light Lip comfort oil (seen here in the Original and ever elusively sold out Raspberry formula)

I was also thinking about Tiffany & Co. the 5th Avenue jewelry hotspot I wasn’t able to hit while in NYC.  I don’t mean I wish there was one here, I wasn’t able to go in the US.  I didn’t have any plans to purchase anything from there, the visit was supposed to be like a tour in honor of a memory.  I wanted to have a peep inside and then have a foodtruck breakfast outside and take a selfie, there’s always a next time.  I know, it would have been such a touristy thing to do but here’s why.  It was the one place there which would supposedly remind me of my paternal grandmother the most.  She would tell me stories of how she loved the place while we watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s together.  Lola said when she was there it was not always to buy, but she loved the staff, the service, and appreciating the precious beautifully feminine pieces they had there.  She also sang Moon River along with me passionately, it was the only song I’d ever heard her sing like that…once in awhile she would also hum Claire de Lune or Nat King Cole songs.  Her eyes used to light up like gems before at the mention of Tiffany’s.  Also did you know, I heard from someone married to a Tiffany executive that Tiffany’s only offer a major half price discount once, on a person’s first engagement ring purchase, it’s a discount that will not be offered again in the same lifetime precisely because they like to honor that value. I’ll go through my other faves in quick random, no-order, this-is-my-blog style today, coz I’m just not in the mood to be like super structured right now, have work later and tomorrow and haven’t eaten breakfast.

For style I’m sure like half the female planet is already making the Whistles Mini Verity backpack that Zoella “showed and told” online a major sellout, who won’t like its simple, small but just rightly sized real leather design?  I believe there’s a silver version which might be an ASOS exclusive if I saw it right.  Regarding the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L camera lens it’s Canon’s priciest 50mm with their widest opening, meaning it’s awesome for close-up shots with beautifully boke’d backgrounds and great for low light…in other words a beauty blogger’s dream lens.  As you can see in this sample photo:

vdafave_canonBy the way, I like that Charlotte Tilbury lipstick not just because of the name, if you click on the CT link you will see the color “Amazing Grace” is just gorgeous, a more modern, more neutral coral with less of a yellow undertone.  Sunday Riley does modern skincare and they do the science battle with botanical weapons of mass reconstruction.  Juno is one of their more gentle facial oils which they say consists of extracts from Broccoli, Carrot, Chardonnay Grape, Black Cumin, Cranberry Seed and a berry seed blend of blackberry, blueberry, and raspberry.  Yea, I’ll take my face to-go please.  On the Clarins stuff, if you haven’t heard Guardian beauty guru Sali Hughes say “I can’t rave about this concealer enough” about Clarins’ Instant Concealer in that wonderful Brit accent of hers then you should on her SaliHughesBeauty channel,that was ’bout before Christmas last year.  Then Caroline Hirons, skincare madame, flashed that new Lip comfort oil  of theirs at her camera in her recent New Stuff video and the dim part of the world (like over here) without Clarins’ newest releases semi went gaga.

Do you have an imaginary Vday wishlist?  Or one probably that hangs around all year in the fluffy cloud above your head?  Mention one or two things you wish for in the comments whether it’s because you can’t get it here or can’t afford it at the moment.  I can’t make your wish come true but I do know that sharing wishes with other people is a happy sort of release.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Bomb Cosmetics’ Little Hotties Scented Melters | On Vday Melt Hearts At Home

This is probably the last month that it is still cool enough to melt a scented candle in the evening.  While I highly encourage getting out and doing any of the activities I mentioned in my previous post I know that a small bunch of you will be choosing to stay in on Hearts’ Day to save and be with each other or yourself lol in the place that matters most.  Whether it’s ME time or WE time there’s no reason staying home should be bereft of a little love in the air especially if “some people are worth melting for”.  Twisting a cap off essential oils and tediously dripping them from a small bottle into your burner can get fiddly or messy.  Toss any of these solid melts in or get guests to pick or make their scent from a bowl of variety (F-U-N) and you’re beyond good.  Kids will also probably love to watch these melt.

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Example of what it looks like after it’s cooled off over a scent burner, just like melted candle wax. Php445 for minimum of 100g of your chosen melters (mixed scents allowed).

LH_01Bomb Cosmetics in the UK seems to be like a cheaper brand spinoff of Britain’s world-famous highstreet LUSH Cosmetics, they have bath bombs, bath melts and other bath stuff just like LUSH.  These fragrance-filled pieces are like candle biscuits, sort of.  These fragrant Little Hotties by Bomb Cosmetics UK (via Beauty Bar) are a big twist on the warmth that a standard scented candle provides and the fun in choosing and combining scents is what brings these little buggers home.  Click to read the full post and see which scents I chose from Bomb Cosmetics’ vast and their super fun fragrance combo menu.… To full post & COMMENTS...

5 Vday To-Dos That Aren’t About You

I decided to write this because to be honest there are a lot of compilations out there of stuff to do for single people or young couples but most are either about how to save on your own date, how to get noticed, tips on nabbing the one, and all that.  However, I believe much of the world is hungry for a different sort of love. While I won’t deny that there are some useful tips in there about presenting yourself, turning up the chemistry, and dining out I did pick up on the fact that many of the suggestions might not involve the sort of love that genuinely gives.  There are many ways to give to people around us on Valentine’s day, whether you are a single man or woman or a couple who together would like to do something for someone else for a change.

1. Offer to babysit the kids of a couple you love on Vday so they can date. (Taking them with you to the runway is optional… lol) P.S. It’s good practice for AFTER That Happily Ever After.

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Raising Helen 2004

2. Cook a meal together for other people (in case that couple you offered to babysit for would rather stay home.)

 

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Leap Year 2010

3. Offer to babysit someone’s pet…same idea, to provide freedom and SANITY while losing yours LOL.

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As Good as it Gets 1997

4. Do the groceries for a working parent, unnoticed.

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Mrs. Doubtfire 1993

 

5. Last but not the least, show up on a beloved’s doorstep uninvited, not because it’s their birthday or a relative passed away.  Do it just to see how they’re doing, because you never know, they might need you just as much as you need them.  You might just suddenly get this “arcane glimpse of the universe…”-TROY DYER

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Reality Bites 1994

Ja ja, I couldn’t help but release some butterflies in the post lol…and why not?  Valentine’s is just around the corner and remember…love is a much bigger thing than what we are to ourselves and we are invited into that much bigger space one step at a time or in some cases are thrust right into it.  Watch this video about unconditional love.

 

 

“And at once I knew I was not magnificent, high above the highway aisle…but I could see for miles, miles, miles…” -BON IVER, Holocene

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NEW Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Cream Cleanser | SALE Php278 ‘Til Feb.14 Only

I’ve totally given up foaming facial washes for about nearly three years now, it has totally eliminated my frequent allergic facial reactions of the past.  I was  enjoying the fact that my G Stuff Moringa & Multi-Fruit Cream wash worked super-duper well with my Clarisonic Mia 2 when it came to facial cleansing.  I use the Clarisonic three times a week if I’ve been wearing more makeup and just twice if I haven’t .  The Clarisonic device beautifully stirs up and emulsifies the cream wash over my skin leaving it very silky.  What I’ve not super been enjoying is the fact that the scent of G Stuff’s wash (while fragrant, not stinky, you might like it) is just not my type, it’s quite a detergent sort of smell (but I can assure you it doesn’t contain any).  I will continue to hold my breath for the next few weeks while using that Good Stuff up(it really is), that’s just how it is when the smell gets to you.  Thankfully, just yesterday I spotted Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Cream Cleanser which has clearly gone on a major mark down in Beauty Bar for their Valentine promos, major being down to Php278 from what used to be Php795.  Yea I know, what a huge price drop, making this promo price about half the price of any facial wash I’ve been using in the last couple of years like the Andalou one which also contains probiotics.  Let me tell you…this stuff is creamy and slippy, emulsifies, loves my face, and has a pleasant, mild scent.  My Clarisonic Mia 2 reciprocates fondly.  You don’t need a Clarisonic to enjoy this, it’s just as lovely between fingertips.

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SALE Php278.00 Until February 14 (Reg.price Php795) at Beauty Bar

Intensely hydrates, removes, dirt, oil, and makeup, and with Probiotic technology (lactobacillus…yakult?! lol)

“Our cream cleanser proves nature can create the most remarkable of things. Inspired by the Clary Sage plant’s ability to trap and retain moisture in its harsh environment, our natural cleanser hydrates your skin while leaving it super soft and oh-so supple.”

INGREDIENTS: aqua (water, eau), stearic acid, glycerin, sodium lauroyl glutamate, zea mays (corn) starch, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, parfum (fragrance)*, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, salvia sclarea (clary) extract, lactobacillustheobroma grandiflorum seed butter, cera alba (beeswax, cire d’abeille), cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, jojoba esters,hydrolyzed jojoba esters, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) peel, polymnia sonchifolia root juice, zinc oxide, alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, propanediol, maltodextrin, tocopherol, xanthan gum, glycine soja (soybean) oil, arginine sodium lauroyl lactylate, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, phenoxyethanol, amyl cinnamal, citral, eugenol, hydroxycitronellal, limonene, linalool. _x000D_*natural fragrance

 

I didn’t like their other one, the Deep Cleansing Cream which had like a menthol effect that irritated my skin.  I had a hunch that this Intense Hydration one would be good and I love it when something totally exceeds my expectations.  It’s always a plus for me if a cream cleanser works well with a Clarisonic and rinses off easily without making your skin feel stripped.

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It contains 5 types of nourishing natural oils (no mineral oil) which you can feel within the cleanser glide over your skin under your fingertips, helping move makeup but not feeling greasy at the same time.  The formula emusifies beautifully when water comes into play.  Which is why I need to tell all of you because all those tubes of undiscovered intensely hydrating facial bliss are sitting on the Burt’s Bees counters with a fabulous formula that also sings with your Clarisonic (if you have one) at a super happy price until February 14.  Grab some skin love if you need a new 99% natural gently hydrating cleanser before the Burt’s Bees Vday promo ends in Beauty Bar.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Happy Skin Lippies Go StyLIZed by Liz Uy | Limited Edition Collab…

I think makeup collaborations are fun, they’re quite historical and quite often happen only once, which makes the collections born from their brain spawning even more special.  I’m happy to present this year’s first Happy Skin cosmetics collab for their famous lippies with celebrity stylist Liz Uy which brings forth the StyLIZed lippie trio.  The StyLIZed lippies are available in two premium sets and to buy at php599 individually via Happy Skin counters or here online (local and global shipping available).

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HAPPY SKIN Shut Up & Kiss Me StyLIZed! Acrylic Clutch Set Php1799

Shades below from left: 24 Karats, Style Icon, and Red Carpet

 

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For every StyLIZed lippie sold a sales portion will go to Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation.  “If I could add one more chapter to my book it would be all about lipstick…” says Liz.  The truth on top is plain as day: Change your lippie, change the game.  Jump to the full post to see swatches and me wearing these lovely lippies up close with 3 different looks.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Wet N Wild Megaplump Waterproof Mascara | My Lashes But Better at Php399

I need another waterproof mascara like I need a hole in my head, unless the 4-month turnover period comes around when it’s time to ditch one you’ve got for hygiene’s sake.  Is it just me or is it getting really depressing that local drugstore mascaras have exceeded the Php499 mark more often than not?  I probably wouldn’t mind if we had the variety of delivering mascara ranges that the US and UK are getting, not to mention the obvious quality.  What’s tricky to find is a waterproof one that holds curl at a lower price mark.  Well I found a better priced one at Php399 while at METRO department store the other day and it meets the criteria of what I was looking for and what some asked me to find and share.  They hoped this existed, an affordable non-clumpy mascara that does the job, holds curl, but looks less like…well, mascara when you put it on.  Seriously, the missions people give me in life…LOL.  And so they cried “Kill crispy and turn on wispy…”.

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The wand sports a standard mascara brush which I prefer for separating and defining my lashes.  The effect though is pretty close to L’Oreal’s Telescopic mascara range, just with less volume. In my opinion, Wet N Wild’s Megaplump Waterproof Mascara is misnamed…because Megaplumping isn’t what it does really.  The pack it came in claims “3x Volume”.  Nope, sorry.  It’s not a volumizing mascara as much as it is a lengthening curl mascara that gives you big defined lashes. What you have is sort of a “my-lashes-but-better” waterproof mascara that majorly holds a curl, gives moderate boldness and a more feathery looking awning for your eyes.  Layer it on and you get defining impact.  I layered the mascara a meticulous 2x because I like to do that.  Tip for defining using drugstore mascara is to turn the wand vertical and comb through any segments that need more separation from the roots up.  I might be kinda surprised if this before-and-after comparison doesn’t impress you, even a little bit.

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I tested Wet N Wild Megaplump Waterproof overnight as well.  For the love of discovery I slept in it and I woke up and it still looked like this.  There was no smudging, just a few stray black particles at the corner of my eye and the curl was still intact. 

My brother gave the look a thumbs up when I asked.  It doesn’t look unbelievably black but you still get that impact somehow (especially if you’ve curled your lashes well).  It’s also great on the lower lashes.  In this Wet N Wild Megaplump mascara I found the full tube I was hoping to find of a formula that matched the #2 end of Cover Girl’s Bombshell Mascara Duo.  Not a bad find I think.  If I feel like wearing something less BOLD but lifts my look regardless, I’ll certainly reach for this again, soon.… To full post & COMMENTS...

PANTENE’s 3-Minute Miracle Loves My Hair | FREE Shipping via SampleroomPH Til Feb.4!

It takes a minimum of 3 minutes to completely tell your hair 3 words with one product, “I love you…”.  With the arrival of PANTENE’S NEW 3-Minute Miracle Total Damage Care treatment conditioner we’ve pretty much got our hair covered with love ’til summer hits!  I’ve tried this lovely stuff, it kinda smells of parma violets and mixed berries to me (a bit too sweet but fresh enough with that tart note).  While I have no tales to tell you about miraculous cascading hair flips I will say that I did get undeniably smoother softer hair on the first use with some surprising spring and lift at the roots of my pixie cut.    Short cuts gleam and get healthy and springy while long waves and curls will stun in the sun after being treated with this conditioner for sure.

 

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Awhile back, about 3 years ago, I remember reading my British friend Charlotte’s rave reaction post about a UK Pantene product called Colour Protect Colour Seal Concentrate (a treatment conditioner she put on and rinsed out after the standard shampoo/condie combo in the bath).  She said this in her blog post here  “I worked a blob of the new Pantene Colour Seal Concentrate through my hair last night after doing the usual shampoo/conditioner routine, left it on for 2/3 minutes and rinsed it out.  I went to bed with wet hair, fully expecting to regret my laziness the next morning and instead woke up to the softest, smoothest hair I can remember having.”  Since then I was hunting and waiting and waiting for a product like that to enter OUR local market.  I recall searching on ebay for the exact one she mentioned from the UK but it wasn’t available that time.  I highly believe Pantene’s 3MM conditioner may be the closest thing I can get to what she tried because results were evident overnight.

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Another way to use this stuff at the beach this coming summer is to slather it into your hair and scalp as a protectant while tanning, leave it in and head out!  Lie in the sun and have a sort of hot-oil treatment using this while you’re at the shore or in the pool before rinsing it off (back in your shower).  I’ve actually seriously rekindled an appreciation for Pantene haircare since late last year when I discovered that even if they were scented I didn’t itch.  I haven’t been allergic to the range they sent me before Christmas which is a wonderful thing. So first I got into their silicon-free and paraben-free Aqua Pure shampoo and conditioner which hello…got rid of my dandruff, and it isn’t even a dandruff shampoo.  The flakes probably meant I was dealing with sensitivity on the scalp because after I started using Pantene Aqua Pure that scalp problem almost completely disappeared.  At the same time I realized that Pantene’s Color and Perm conditioner which they also gave me was also great and also made my hair so silky after one use (probably also a close relative of the one Charlotte met).  Then in S&R Membership grocery weeks later after all that complimentary shampoo for review (seriously consider this girl with next to no hair feeling a major difference) I personally spotted another Pantene treasure, the shampoo/conditioner tandem called their Expert Collection Advanced Keratin+ range (formulated in Switzerland, made in the US) and yes finally purchased that for real because it was an ultimate find, even amidst all the free haircare…and that’s going to be a different post, folks.  Obviously, without a doubt I’ve currently switched over to Pantene haircare coz I’ve literally stopped scratching my head about the whole thing and am sincerely into their Pro-V power for my little locks right now.

 

DISCLOSURE: *product sponsorship for reviewTo full post & COMMENTS...

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