Bless My Bag

beauty bagged by a cheeky Filipina

Blog Breakaway 10/04/2012 – Diliman at Dawn

You don’t have to be in U.P. Diliman to get this, but that’s where I was earlier this morning, and being back in my university for a shoot made it taste even better.

Half the university knew (I’m kidding, not that many) I was not as addicted to taho as I was addicted to the isaw stands (grilled/barbecued offal) that are now alongside the vacant lot which is a hop, skip, and a jump from the University Arcade, but those super savory isaw stands only open in the afternoon.  However taho for me (steamed bean curd with sweet syrup and pearl)  is still such a comforting sweet treat in the morning, especially a morning like this.  Today my University of the Philippines smelt of trees with sun rays peeking, there were people  running, fallen leaves gripped the moist ground, and a soft, nippy October breeze was blowing…what respite from the smoky chaos that is the city.

THE Elizabeth Arden Speaks on Proper Posture – 1932 Pathe Archived Video

Most of you know of her and you know the cosmetic range that bears her name.

Watch and hear this ancient video of Elizabeth Arden herself speaking on the eradication of old 1890’s Victorian style posture and the renaissance of posture in the new century with the support of proper exercise.  What a gem of a video and I couldn’t help but giggle at the way these women were exercising on the beach, but in fairness I do want to get my splits and handstands back eventually.  Temptation Island, anyone?

 *video from British Pathe Archives on YouTube channel vintagefashions

Beauty Bits for the ‘Ber Season – A Non-Holiday Wishlist

There’s nothing like laying down a good wishlist while sitting back and relaxing, it’s like having a guilt-free virtual shopping spree without really…shopping.  I’m sorry but my wishlist consists mostly of stuff you can’t get here…that’s why I wish, right.  This isn’t my holiday wishlist, it’s just…random.  With this though I’ve been a bit of a cheat in making it for today because one or two of the items are on their way to me from weeks ago already.  A friend of mine is bringing back a facial oil from SG and the rollerballs might arrive with some friends from the U.S., just might, and the book I bought from ebay just hasn’t arrived yet.  However, since those items are nowhere in sight yet at present I decided there was no need to exclude them from the list because I’m still excited for when they do arrive.  I’ve noticed at my age, right before hitting the big THREE-OH next year, I’ve become more interested in the skincare, wellness, and fragrance realms in beauty.  There’s generally less makeup on board and I’ve obviously got that bath and body buzz going for me right now.  I know you’re curious about what I mentioned in the previous post so let’s go with that first.  This organic beauty wonder arrives for me in November thanks to a friend.

1.) PAI Rosehip Bioregenerate Fruit & Seed Blend facial oil – “High levels of Trans-Retinoic Acid are delivered directly to the epidermis, which converts to Vitamin A to boost the skin’s natural healing process. Clinical studies show Rosehip is effective at improving the appearance of scars, stretch marks, sun damage and fine lines.Rosehip BioRegenerate™ is unique in containing concentrated fruit hip oil, with double the regenerative sterols and five times the carotenoids of seed oil.  Premium CO2 supercritical extraction delivers the complete and concentrated properties of the plant.  This makes Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate™ far more powerful than simple cold pressed Rosehip seed oils.”Price: Converted about Php1450, not bad at all for well-processed organics.

I first heard about Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate facial oil from the WorshipBlues blogof that Fushigi Shop lady and I’m hoping it’ll replace the current serum I’m using by Kiehl’s because I’m just sharing with Mom at the moment.  I heart her blog and frequent it almost without fail.  She’s not purely a beauty blogger is and is a married Japanese woman based in London.  She said this facial oil was wonderful for her reactive, sensitive skin *fist pump* and I’ve even heard it remedies contact dermatitis and rosacea or acts simply as an anti-oxidant cocktail for the skin.  I’m quite excited to try it and use it in the same way I’m currently using the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate serum (previous post).  Pai organics UK only ships as far as Singapore or HK in our region I think so if you have friends there they’re your best shot.

2.) FRESH Seaberry Exfoliating Soap – “The nourishing formula is fortified with omega-rich seaberry oil and is triple-milled to last longer. It produces a lush, non-drying lather for a luxurious cleansing experience.”Key Ingredients: Cranberry, Bitter Orange, and Rosemary

I did tell you I got the bath and body buzz…I’m still tipsy for bubbly, scrubby, and lovely smelling products.  This brand is known more for its fabulous sugar lip products but nobody really nails organic  fragrant scents like fresh.  They draw the line just where needed so that their products are not too “foodie” and are more fragrant.  I’m excited to see how this soap lathers up and what sort of scent it embraces me with this cozy season.

3.) FRAGRANCE ROLLERBALLS @ Sephora – Brown Sugar by Fresh, Stella by Stella McCartney, and Amazing Grace by Philosophy, $20 and below each

A couple I knew mentioned they were heading to the U.S. soon so they asked if I wanted them to bring home anything.  I thought of these 3 rollerball fragrances that are easy to bring back and are available at just 1 place, Sephora, which are just between sample size and the smallest full size available, of course you get more value for money with full sizes but it’s still MORE money in the end and at least you can try more than one.  They’re also prettier (but not more cost efficient) than Travalo refillable atomizers in the sense that they’re “officially dinky” and have got the fragrance branding on.  I’m not quite sure if rollerballs are refillable…if they were that would be wonderful especially if you decided on a full size afterwards. Click read more to get the full post.


Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate – A New Nightly Regimen

I’ve only been doing this regimen for 2 nights so far, and it’s my mother’s bottle which was a gift, so I won’t be pretentious and say “You need this in your life…”, I’ll just say for now since I am able to share (1 drop a night), that I need it in mine.

I’ve kind of been the “iffy” bird about serums (I’ve never tried any because of my relatively OKAY skin), but if the formulation is composed of mildly processed botanicals and essential oils there’s less hesitation on my part and you have nothing to fear really when it comes to Kiehl’s.  One thing I kept my eye was my personal set of easily irritated whiteheads that would stay in place no matter what I did and would worsen if my skin reacted (they’re spread across my right cheek).  The way I’ve applied this is applying one drop each evening to a small dollop of my favorite moisturizer (currently Nivea Baby Smoothy cream), in my hand though…don’t mind the staged  tiny spatula I have set before you for blogging purposes LOL.  Then I simply massage evenly and gently all over my face.  My moisturizer is a great vehicle for delivering this serum to my face because it absorbs very quickly.  I did it this way so it could curb the potency or intensity of the concentrate for my sensitive skin while still allowing the formula to be absorbed.

“This lightweight, readily-absorbed elixir effectively restores skin’s healthy appearance overnight, resulting in smoother, more radiant complexion by morning. Enriched with Squalane, a botanical lipid similar in molecular structure to natural skin lipids, Evening Primrose Oil, rich in Omega-6 Fatty Acids and Essential moisture to depleted skin. These naturally derived oils instantly penetrate the skin surface to help replenish it. Our recovery concentrate works at night when skin is most receptive to repairing itself from daily aggressors. With skin hydrated, supple and soft, rest assured you can say goodnight to tired-looking skin.  Paraben Free, Fragrance Free, Mineral Oil Free”

What I’ve noticed is waking up to non greasy, supple skin each morning for the last two days.  The bumps, enlarged pores and whiteheads have receded and red patches on the usual reactive areas of my face have subsided.  This is my mom’s so I’ll only use this for a week or two (7-14 drops) and leave the rest for her.  I’ve actually just put in good money for a bioregenerate organic facial oil similar to this (but milder in formulation) and it’ll be on its way when my friend gets here from Singapore in November.  If you’re wondering what that in-transit facial oil is, keep reading the blog a few hours from now or tomorrow (sorry, it depends, I’ll tweet niweiz) because I’ll be posting my current mini wishlist for the ‘Ber season and it includes that.   Follow Kiehl’s Manila on FB for the latest local boutique updates on this brand.  This costs US $50 abroad, so I’m guessing locally this might cost Php2800-Php3000, so it’s lovely that mom got it as a gift from my Ninang, her sister.

Meeting C.S. Lewis’ Stepson, Douglas Gresham – Life with “Jack”, his legacy, & the Narnia films

My six degrees of separation from a late legendary author whom I admire were greatly reduced by about 5 yesterday.  In a nutshell, I could 1.) hardly believe who I shook hands with, and 2.) was overcome by the Godliness, inspiration, and joy he and his wife bring by sharing their faith and Christ’s love for us as facts of the matter.  I met Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis’ Stepson, head of the C.S. Lewis foundation and co-producer of the Narnia films we watch today thanks to a wonderful gathering at Luxent Hotel made possible by Artists in Touch.  I also met his lovely, meek wife, Mary, whose face beams by her husband’s side.  Their devotion to each other totally reminds me of Karl and Ellie in the animated Pixar film, UP.

When Douglas spoke with us he was very vocal about his faith and warmly shared about the 10 years he had with “Jack” (C.S. Lewis) as his stepfather.  He met Jack as an 8 year old and already knew him as the writer of the Narnia Chronicles and fondly remembers how he expected Jack to be some bigshot (being the “god” of Narnia), but instead here was this charming elderly man, “with nicotine stained teeth and fingers, and quite frankly the shabbiest clothes I’d ever seen on a man”.  Supper at their home he said, had he known any better, ought to have been recorded with a tape recorder stuck under the table, with writers from the “Inklings” such as J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings author) and a handful of others coming to bring the outpouring and debates from their prized streams of thought over for dinner.  Today, had those conversations been recorded, they would have been priceless.  Jack, Douglas says, also had a way of talking to children.  He never talked down to them as if they were insignificant individuals but always respectfully addressed them as small human beings who don’t know very much and who always had something terribly important to say.  This lent itself to his becoming of the greatest literary novelists for children.  Jack’s most popular book for children was the second book from the Narnia Chronicles and the first to become a successful box office motion picture, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.  When I was in college, I was once featured in a print ad campaign by Power Books as a young rookie Student Leader from the U.P. College of Fine Arts who loved to read, and when asked which book or novel had a profound impact on my life growing up, it was none other than The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which eventually became a major motion picture.  This cat belonged to me, this is Priya, she is not with us anymore, she passed away shortly after we moved to Laguna.


Douglas wishes though that more people would notice the beauty of one of Jack’s greatest works ever, in his opinion, “Til We Have Faces” which I have read when I was in college.  It was deep, moving, heavy in a sense, but absolutely beautiful.  He hopes this becomes a properly done motion picture someday.  In my mind I want Rebecca Hall to play Orual.


“I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer . . . Why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”  Haunted by the myth of Cupid and Psyche throughout his life, C.S. Lewis wrote this, his last, extraordinary novel, to retell their story through the gaze of Psyche’s sister, Orual. Disfigured and embittered, Orual loves her younger sister to a fault and suffers deeply when she is sent away to Cupid, the God of the Mountain.  Psyche is forbidden to look upon the god’s face, but is persuaded by her sister to do so; she is banished for her betrayal. Orual is left alone to grow in power but never in love, to wonder at the silence of the gods. Only at the end of her life, in visions of her lost beloved sister, will she hear an answer.
I read this and recall crying or becoming lost in thought throughout the day.  It’s quite difficult to describe but it’s a retelling of the love story of Cupid and Psyche and it involves the point of view of Orual, Psyche’s unattractive sister.  I’ve nearly forgotten the main plot of this, I do have to read it again.
When Douglas was asked by Isabella (Kuh Ledesma’s daughter)  if C.S. Lewis ever gave him writing advice as a child, Douglas shared to the audience “Yes, in fact he did, he told me this ‘First, be sure you know exactly what you want to say, and afterwards be sure you have said exactly that.”
C.S. Lewis greatly mourned the death of his beloved wife of 4 years (she had cancer when she met him), according to Douglas “Jack had just met the love of his life, my mother, and it greatly affected him when she had to leave us, which as you know is why he wrote ‘A Grief Observed'” which to this day is one of the greatest written analyses on mourning the death of a loved one.  I must share with you how wonderful it was to listen to Mr. Douglas Gresham, who shared the importance of Jack’s faith in Christ as well as his success as a respected and revered author.  Mary his wife, is such a devoted, kind sweetheart.  When asked a teasing question on what it is like to be married to Douglas she regally said in the most loving sort of tone “It is an honor and a privilege to be married to him” and Douglas took the mic from her after and needed to say back “It is MY honor and privilege to be married to Mary…” Douglas has a deep, almost booming, “god” sort of voice (which he once put to good use in broadcast) which actually, strangely so, reminds me of Liam Neeson’s Aslan, only more refined.  When you close your eyes, you know it’s the voice of a person who loves Christ so deeply and so genuinely that you cannot help but listen for as long as you can.  It isn’t even preachy because you can see it just is what it is.  Here is a talk he gave to a body of students in North America at a Liberty University Convocation in which he shares about the significance of his faith.



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