New Year Nails for 2013 | How to Resurrect Sticky Nail Polish, says Marian Newman

I actually redid these gradient glitter nails today using Estee Lauder Surreal Violet from Fall collection 2010.  My fave lavender was turning a bit sticky sitting in the bottle but months ago, worldclass manicurist & nail artist, Marian Newman,tweeted an essential tip that helped me resurrect this old polish. She advised pouring good quality top coat into the old polish in order to thin it out and NOT polish remover or acetone, the latter ruins the formula. Almost everyone and their grandmother thinks that pouring solvent or acetone will revive old polish. Apparently it’s not ideal. Yesterday I used a base polish that turned a little too dark, wasn’t as smooth and chipped right away coz I thought I wouldn’t be able to use my beloved Surreal Violet until I remembered Marian’s tip for its ressurection.



From LEFT: OPI Teenage Dream, Nubar Gem, Estee Lauder Surreal Violet


I used these 3 polishes to achieve the look and there are quite a few layers but I painted them thinly. I started with Caronia basecoat, 2 coats of Surreal Violet, Nubar Gem was used halfway up in light strokes for the extemely fine micro shimmer, then Teenage Dream provided the up front glitter edge.

I used Caronia Fast Drying Top Coat to revive my Surreal Violet polish. I poured a little bit in and shook it till i could hear the tiny ball knocking about again…which I wasn’t hearing anymore prior to this experiment.


After mixing in the topcoat I applied Surreal Violet and it was not streaky at all and covered my nail so easily. It took me 1.5 hrs to get these glitter nails done cleanly for today…had a 30 minute detour thanks to smudging 1 or 2 fingers by accident and redoing them on the way to perfection. I’m excited to revive a lot of my old polishes thanks to Marian’s tip, why don’t you guys give it a go?… To full post & COMMENTS...

My Facial Skincare | December 2012

The last feature I did on my facial routine was 6 months ago and that was reviewed here, so I guess a quick update is in order because my skincare has quite grown up in a sense but there is one item that hasn’t changed as you’ll notice below.  I’ve become more conscious of ingredients and I recognized some sensitivity and an increase in dryness skin-wise and I’m sure that has to do with 30 being just around the corner.  I’ve retreated from toners, even organic ones like Dickinsons because December brought in dryness.  I’m not the sort of person who stays completely loyal to products for years.  Naturally, my sensitive skin gets bored then at a certain saturation point begins to subtly reject skincare products I use for weeks or months on end.  I just wait for it to tell me when it’s due for a switch.  So far for the past 1-2 months these products have been my facial friends, some have been reviewed, some are waiting in line.  It’s a split down the middle on availability…3 are locally available and 3 are imported if I’m not mistaken.  Ignore the toothbrush.  Reviewed items are posted as links.  The funny thing is I noticed how great my skin was after using this team for a week before I was confined for dengue fever at the end of November.  The significant difference in my routine now is the added factor of deliberate nourishment and intense moisturizing after cleansing, aka steps to stay young longer with good organic stuff LOL (I refuse to say anti-aging…”doh!”).


CLOCKWISE: Pevonia Botanica Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, ORIGINS Drink-up Intensive Overnight moisturizer/mask, St. Ives Moisturizing Olive Cleanser, (underneath St. Ives) depotted Nivea Baby Smoothy Cream Moisturizer, Pai (UK) Rosehip Bioregenerate facial oil, Shiseido Extra Gentle Cleansing foam.

The moisturizers have become a vehicle for the active weapon.  My new favorite thing is my Harper’s Bazaar Awarded “Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Facial Oil” which carries vitamins like Pro-Vitamin A, non-irritating active botanicals, carotenoids, and anti-oxidants that penetrate the skin surface with the help of a quick absorbing moisturizer.  Pai  is an organic skincare brand based in the UK known for its multiple type ranges suitable for sensitive skin.


My friend Trixie in Singapore ordered it for me and since they only ship as far as SG and not to the Philippines she brought it home for me when she visited a few weeks ago.  I just use the cap dropper to add 1 drop of the Pai facial oil to my moisturizer (the smell is a bit foodie since it’s organic, it may not appeal to some) and massage it into skin before bed.  My Nivea Baby Smoothy Cream is my day moisturizer (mostly but sometimes I will use it at night) and right now I alternate it with the tropical fruity smelling Origins Drink Up Intensive as my night moisturizer…it’s not really a mask like it says it is.  Both those moisturizers do the job of making sure that while I sleep good things are happening in the facial department and I wake up super hydrated on the surface anyway.  With this new “step” added into my routine before bed I was burning up at the hospital but I was there with even better, more supple, rosy skin with no tiny bumps or rashes.


I’ve not been one of those people who without fail night after night performs the same skin ceremony, but I’ve been more consistent this month especially at night before bed.  I now see why it’s important to have a regimen, so that the benefits compound and give you a completely unmistakeable result…just like exercise which…huhu…after dengue I desperately need to get back to.  Friends might mock these remarks and say “Julia…duh…you were born with great skin”.  Yes, I was born with soft, clear skin…that unfortunately reacts to almost anything new or sub-standard I might happen to put on it, so 7 times out of 10 there’ll be a set of whiteheads/rashes as a result camped in unnoticeable patches/groups on irritated areas that only I can feel (and pick at, TSK!) and only my Mom notices visually.  With this skincare team though, I’ve not been getting those little things.  Some spots have only resurfaced because of the late nights and rich food the past Christmas holiday week.  I recently organized my products with this acrylic container which was a gift so they wouldn’t clutter my bathroom counter.  I will take the time later on to review the remaining things I haven’t individually, but at least this gives you a glimpse of my skincare arsenal of the moment.

 … To full post & COMMENTS...

Post-Holiday Tub Time & Video | LUSH Golden Wonder bath bomb

I remember a time when I was little and my parents used to give me magic capsules to play with from the US.  They were little pills that you threw into warm water and they’d pop in the water and grow into animal-shaped sponges.  I recall being beside my 4 yr-old self with glee and I was quite excited to identify as fast as I could what animal each pill turned into.  This fragrant gift-shaped holiday bath bomb by LUSH called Golden Wonder reminded me of that time and has just rekindled the delight I once had for bathtime magic in an actual bathtub.  Golden Wonder also has a cute holiday feature, try shaking it to hear small bits knocking about inside that are part of the bath surprise (if you don’t hear anything don’t fret, it just means it got stuck), an action plainly in tribute of how curious kids shake their gifts under the tree.



LUSH Golden Wonder holiday bath bomb Php275.00, KEY INGREDIENTS: Sweet orange oil, cognac oil, and lime oil.  Contains edible gold lustre and soluble gold paper stars.

“This isn’t a bath – this is an event !  We loved this ballistic so much, we decided to put one of our most popular perfumes in it, so that lots of people will enjoy bathing in it. Long standing customers will recognise the smell of Snowshowers shower jelly.  “

Please note that it was not this sunny in the bathroom today in fact it was quite overcast outside.  I had to color balance this just to brighten it up, and the video demo at the end of this had to be shot on vivid setting otherwise you would have hardly seen the colors because it was such a grey day.  It’s important to note that in my experience I realized a LUSH bath bomb will not completely cleanse you because they’re different from the LUSH Bubble bars which are actually soaps you crumble and run in the bath.  fOR bath bombs, you fill your tub, drop these in and WATCH, you can choose to watch it happen around you in the bath or wait for it to finish before stepping in.  Bath ballistics by LUSH aka bath bombs provide a visual aromatherapy experience for tub time, kinda like tub fireworks…visual splendor, no deafening bang.


It’s supposed to be covered in soluble gold lustre but the one I got lost most of the sheen probably from sitting in the boutique for too long.   Now, if you’ve got a Golden Wonder bath bomb of your own and still want to be surprised by what it does READ NO FURTHER and leave the blog now LOL.  Because next up is what happens once you drop it into the tub.  Read more to see find out what this Golden Wonder bath bomb does and watch the demo video after.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Cousins | Merry Christmas with Love 2012

Could not resist posting this.  I gifted the girl cousins who come after me with the Love wire bracelet I blogged about a few posts back…and behind my back with love they volted in on Instagram.


Cousin blogs – Clockwise starting from lower left (red sleeve):“Kiana Vee Almost Daily”, “Under My UmbrElla”, “Ordinarily Special (Tahnee)”, “Livin’ the Life (Gabriela) , “Strange I am (Kara)” , not in photo ->”Tease Your Toes (Stella)”

Gab, Tahn, Kara, Kiana (Ella & Stella not here)

Note this, practically all of these girls blog so I’m linking to them for your reading pleasure and simply because as the eldest ate of 29 cousins I’m super proud and love them to bits.  One of the cousins who I also gave a Love wire bracelet to who is not in the photo is Stella, a budding young lady whose hand is not here but I’ll include a link to her blog as well ‘coz quite frankly…practically everything in it is amazing, and I can guarantee, considering she’s only almost 14, that you will be floored.  All these young women will make you sick with smiles and positivity with their musings, joy, and faithful insights and they’ll practically drag the happy out of you so I encourage you guys to give their pages a visit.  Merry Christmas!!  I pray most of you spent Christmas with your families as I did.  Today was such an awesome Christmas…I’ll be coming up with something special using the footage I took today.  Hopefully I can squeeze it in before New Year.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Reviewing the First Christmas – Overlooked Aspects and What Matters Most

Hi, everyone!  To put it bluntly I just can’t sleep and later I won’t have the time nor peace of mind to post anything for you…in fact none of you may have a moment to yourselves to even be reading this post on this very day, but just in case some of you do have spare minutes I’ve left a little film for you to watch.


There are many traditional views on the birth of Jesus but digging deeper into the Bible has revealed some incidental aspects that may change many things about the Nativity story as most of you know it, but there’s nothing to be fearful of because these details will never change the things that matter most about the beginning of the greatest story ever told.  I invite you to watch this lovely entertaining, informative and yet heartfelt video “Retooning the Nativity.”  As Emma Thompson had to confirm with her lobster bedecked daughter in the movie Love Actually, “So there was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?”.  Merry Christmas!

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Wrap and Re-Use | Magazines Instead of Giftwrapper

These aren’t new if you’ve followed my Instagram feed, but since the stream is getting such good feedback I figured I’d put it centerstage.  Because I’ve not really prepared and gone out to buy giftwrapper this Christmas I’ve decided to make use of paper taking up space at home, like fashion magazines.  In this case I’m working a lot using pages from an older issue of W magazine which is known for being a uniquely enlarged size. I cut and crafted Ferragamo inspired bows from standard glossy magazines for an accent finish instead of faffing around with ribbon this year.




For plainly wrapped gifts using brown paper bags, construction paper, or undyed handmade paper I purchased these cutely illustrated sticky tapes from National bookstore to accent them, about Php60 or Php70 per roll. Yes, I am still wrapping and so are a lot of people out there and the other batch that will be giving their Christmas gifts on New Year. Hope this post inspires you all to get creative for the ones you love, we can be economical but still do it with flair. Merry Christmas, everyone!!… To full post & COMMENTS...

Stila’s In the Know Palette – All The Neutral Mattes I Need

I was actually having a chat with myself when the holiday season came rolling in and concluded that I’m finally over eyeshadow palettes.  Nothing new popping up in new brand collections seemed interesting except for perhaps the “pocket-able” Urban Decay Naked Basics palette which I thought was genius save for one important fact, they didn’t throw in a matte taupe shade or shades you can alternate for brows (brow shades make any palette an instant win).  I was Christmas shopping the other day at Rustans Shangrila Mall with Mom and finally got a much needed alone moment without her (so I could shop for her, which I did) but you know being joyfully alone during the Christmas season in a Rustan’s beauty hall can ultimately lead you to some awesome  discoveries for yourself…like over at the Stila counter for example.

Camera 360




The Stila In The Know eyeshadow palette would make a pretty gift for a beauty enthusiast, a beauty blogger, or a makeup professional with a budding bridal makeup career which involves a nearly neverending use of neutral matte eyeshadows (which are also ideal for mature clients).  I personally think that Stila is the next best brand to Urban Decay you can actually get here locally that reflects the same sort of young urban “it” vibe and there’s something more silky and creamy about their award-winning powder  eyeshadow formulas.  Another in the series of palettes they began releasing, like the “NaturalEyes” palette I blogged about, the In the Know eyeshadow palette comes with 10 pigmented matte shades, 6 of which are nearly identical to the Urban Decay Basics offering which includes a matte black, Ebony.

Camera 360

ROW 1: Air / Wind / Desert / Clay / Earth | ROW 2: Driftwood / Fire / Rain / Smoke / Ebony

Oh, lest I forget (actually editing this in after having already published the post) the palette, just like the Naturaleyes one also comes with a Stila Smudgestick, a blendable waterproof automatic eyeliner in a lovely, rich deep grey shade called “halfmoon”.


The In the Know palette  has won me over because unlike the UD Basics set this set also has a rust shade called Fire, a grey called Smoke, a vanilla shade called Air, and *drumroll* a very wearable taupe called Rain.  The light and darker coffee-like browns included are also slightly more ashy than the ones in the UD Basics palette, thus making this work for brows as well.  At Rustans, the Stila In The Know palette costs Php1750…just so you know locally there isn’t too big of a price hike in comparison to the price on the Stila website where it costs about US$39 which is just under Php1650.  The great thing about this Stila palette is this one  unlike the “Naturaleyes” palette last year, this has got a mirror…and that proves I think that they revised packaging based on consumer feedback.


 … To full post & COMMENTS...

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