taiwan travel diaries: daan district

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 was a year of travel for me and I couldn't be happier! It was what I wished for towards the end of 2013 and it came true fluidly just like everything else I focus my wants and attention to. Just like  it says in one of my favorite books:

"when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” - Paulo Coleho, The Alchemist

This has proven true for me over and over again and I couldn't be more grateful. 

For 2015, I wish for even more travel, (to further lands this time ;), a continued blessed and happy family life + cheers to more success and fulfillment!

But before that, here's a round-up of one of the best places I visited in 2014: Daan District in Taipei!



hermes oran - a slight obssesion

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Hermes Oran wasn't something I saw and immediately wanted. It sort of grew on me slowly just like their bags.

I used to think the Birkin looked old lady-ish :P But now, I appreciate it for it's timeless design and solid built. It's a bag that doesn't change its shape or look yet still manages to maintain its lust-worthiness today even more so than when it first debuted decades ago. That definitely makes it worth the investment if you can afford it. :P As of now, I still can't so I settled for a HerBag instead.

I'm thinking it's my HerBag that's made me pay closer attention to Hermes lately. Whatever the reason, it's my new (and most luxurious/expensive) flavor of the month to date. But I also think it's the most sensible when it comes to designer goods.

Like the Birkin, I first thought that the Oran looked like it belonged to the older set but after stumbling on it numerous times while searching for other things. I can't help but feel it call my name stronger by the day....

What do you think?

shopping for skechers twinkle toes w new features

Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's not unusual for grown women like us to go ga-ga in a shoe store....

Just for fun, would you like to see your kids exhibit the same behavior? Take them to a Skechers store near you and have them pick their own pair of Twinkle Toes!


That's exactly what we did a couple of weeks ago as we went shopping for a new pair that Nikola could wear to usher the New Year in...you know what they say, the brighter, more colorful, sparkly and gemstone-y, the luckier! :P



Twinkle Toes has been her footwear of choice since she learned how to speak and pick. Somehow, kids can't resist this shoe that sort of resembles a toy.


And I can tolerate it better than those squeaky shoes that really annoy the bejeezus out of me! :P
Plus with the new On/Off switch it's less embarrassing to sneak into a dark movie theater mid-show.


Aside from the crowd-favorite light-up shoes, Skechers also has tons of new designs for kids including a super lightweight running shoe with a memory foam footpad. 

I pressed my fingers into it and it absorbed the force and just seemed like it melted in fresh cotton candy. It's super comfortable and a greta alternative if you can veer them away from the lure of Twinkle Toes. :P


Little boys aren't left out either with these new stylish designs:


As a mom, I really wanted to get her a pair of running shoes for comfort's sake but at the end of the day, the princess won and she got to take home the most sparkly pair of them all!


And lastly, don't be surprised if you see your kid doing this:


Nikola wasn't feeling a hundred percent when we passed by the store BUT she still couldn't help it. :P
AND while there, there was another little girl also shopping and doing the same thing. The Skechers Flagship store in Glorietta was filled with little stomping noises and flashing feet. :D hahaha

Bonus points? Her new shoe even comes with a new Twinkle Smash app on the Appstore and Google Play Store! :P

in-depth review: xiaomi redmi 1s

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Exactly 2 days after Christmas. 

By now, you've probably been able to rest and recover from the pre-holiday rush.
Now, you're either loaded with cash that was given as gifts on Christmas (:P) or you've finally found the time to shop for yourself.

Either way, if you happen to be in the market for a new smartphone, maybe you should consider the Redmi 1S by Xiaomi...if you can get your hands on one.

xiaomi redmi 1s review

TOP 8 THINGS TO DO IN BAGUIO

Friday, December 26, 2014

HERE'S THE TOP 8 THINGS TO DO IN BAGUIO

Happy Holidays! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Today let's talk about one of my most favorite places in the world to spend the Christmas season in - BAGUIO!

For my foreign readers, Baguio is known as the summer capital of the Philippines because of its cool climate. It's up in the mountains, quaint and very charming. Although maybe not as popular or spoken of as our beaches, it's one of the many attractions you should visit when traveling to the Philippines.

Having said that, here's some of the things worth checking out when you find yourself back in the City of Pines.

azalea hotel baguio

if you're all reading this...stop!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


If you're reading this, stop. :)

Let's all make a pledge to turn off our laptops, set our tablets and smartphones aside so we don't miss out on all the potential memories we can create with our loved ones on this special day.

Time to sit back, enjoy a hot cup of cocoa/coffee, stare at the pretty lights on that Christmas tree we worked so hard to put up. Contemplate, give thanks to all the blessings we have received this year and just relax and enjoy the company of those we love.

Wishing everyone a very blessed, warm and happy Christmas!

Thanks for spending your 2014 with me, cheers to an even brighter 2015.

Much, much love from my family to yours. 

Signing off for now...

Sarah xoxo



gel nails at beauty and butter

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

When it comes to gel nail polish, I have to admit, I am super behind.

In all the years it's been available, I only tried it a few weeks ago. :P

The reason behind my apprehension was because I like to keep my nails short and the fact that I need to get gel nails removed professionally.

But because my friends are all into it and have been doing it for quite some time, I finally decided to give it a try during a visit to Beauty and Butter, Megamall.


The reason why I love getting my footspa and mani-pedi's here is because their "Butter Girls" have really light hands. It never hurts and their tools are always sterilized and sealed before use.

So back to gel nails...

I am one of those people who manage to botch their manicures mere seconds after it's done. No matter how careful I try to be, it just ALWAYS happens.

And this is why I have turned into a gel nail convert.

For clumsy people like me, gel nails are perfect. They dry sturdy and quickly after a few minutes under UV light. Once pronounced dry by your manicurist, you can abuse it any way you like :P


And they will look perfect until the day you decide to have it removed.

To counter my short nail fetish, I just trim them even with the polish still on. I don't recommend this but it works for me especially when I get too busy to schedule a trip to the nail salon and I cant stand the "long-ness" of it anymore.

But of course, it's always better for the health of your nails to have it removed professionally within a couple of weeks getting them :)


So I think gel nails in a bright red are super perf this Holiday season cause it'll last you 'til New Year and all the parties in between!

To save money, LIKE Beauty and Butter Philippines to get first dibs on awesome promos like this:


toms gift guide

Monday, December 22, 2014

I'm 99% done with my Christmas shopping, are you? 

That only means it's time for some self-shopping!!! :P

Or if you're still worried about that 1% on your shopping list, why not get them something from Toms while you pick up a pair for yourself along the way....

No plans to shoe shop for yourself? Hmmm, we'll see, I wasn't planning on getting a new pair either but after seeing these oxfords, I'm not too sure anymore.

And besides, since Christmas is the season of giving, it makes sense to purchase a pair from Toms because as we all know, each time we buy a pair, another pair goes out to someone in need.

2 birds with one stone.

Check out what's new from Toms this holiday season:


And these are the brogues I was talking aboutttttttt....

Haven't decided on which color yet but I'm leaning more towards the silver pair.

"silver pair, silver pair, it's christmas time in the cityyyyy" :P 
(don't unfollow me for that please haha)


TOMS is available at Megamall, Nothing But H2O and The Give Project.  
Visit www.toms.com for more information and follow TOMSphilippines on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


ootd: non-cheesy christmas outfit

Sunday, December 21, 2014

So happy for this Christmas break! Really feeling the Christmas spirit and all I'm really in the mood for lately is to celebrate and spend time with loved ones.

It's nice to finally be able to stroll around the mall for leisure instead of work.

I had a nice pre-Christmas dinner last night with Dennis, Nikola and friends and it felt so nice and festive despite having it in a simple (but super yummy restaurant...Tim Ho Wan!!!). Also was finally able to do some shopping for myself and Nikola. Got her a pair of joggers last night from H&M, so adorable! Excited to do another "mini me" ootd with her.

So anyway, about the outfit...If you're looking for some inspiration on what to wear to this year's holiday festivities, here's something I hope you'll find inspiring:

christmas outfit
Instead of going all out in a Christmas sweater/red+green tartan, I decided to focus more on "Winter Whites" and just inject it with a bit of contrasting red and green + some gold for a more Christmasy feel.

celine nano red
white wide-leg pants street style
white vest street style
To summarize, wear anything and just inject the tried and tested Christmas combo of red, gold and green. Or you could also channel a snowflake and go white, silver and blue :)

Happy happy Holidays everyone. Hope you're enjoying the season just as much as I am!

GIVEAWAY: Watch and Win Mercury Drug, Toys R' Us gift certificates and a Multiple Intelligence gift pack!

seattle's best coffee dream journal

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Admittedly not a pioneer in the coffee shop journal game, this doesn't mean that you should overlook Seattle's Best Coffee's Dream Journal.

Up for grabs after completing just 18 stickers on your "stamp card", it comes in 4 colors: Gray, Navy Blue, Green and Red.

Here's the green:


To get one, you must order at least 8 Holiday Drinks + 10 SBC Beverages (not including bottled juice + water).

Holiday drinks include:


    Caramel Apple – White chocolate mocha with apple syrup and caramel sauce with whipped cream, caramel sauce, cinnamon powder and Christmas candy.

     Coffee Hazelnut – White chocolate mocha with the coconut and hazelnut topped with whipped cream, golden crunch and Christmas candy.

     Cookies & Mint – Classic mocha with a mix of Oreos and mint syrup topped with whipped cream, crushed Oreos and Christmas candy.

     Salted Almond Truffle – Classic mocha mixed with almond and sea salt with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, crushed Almonds and Christmas candy.


Unlike it's more popular counterparts, The Seattle's Best Dream Journal is packed with loads of freebies amounting to P3,000!!!

As I flipped through mine, I found lots of nice surprises like this mouse pad:


Coffee-shaped post-its, coupons for free beverages:


My favorite of all: this adorable coffee cup paper clips:


And even an SBC Playlist CD you can play at home to recreate that warm and cozy Seattle's Best "coffee shop vibe".


I didn't want to shoot everything inside and ruin the surprise for you but I'm telling you, there's still a lot of neat surprises to discover once you get your hands on one. 

Time to call your friends and family, set a coffee date at Seattle's Best and get all those 18 stamps in one day! ;) You have til January 15, 2015 to complete your "stamp card".

Happy Holidays! :)



pond's flawless white dewy rose gel review

Friday, December 19, 2014

Skincare is tricky business and one of my favorite topics. I've followed a strict morning/night regimen for about 15 years now to delay my aging process. :P

 I've tried many products, even before blogging. Most shocking revelation for me was realizing that price doesn't exactly equate to a product that works.

I've had drugstore brands perform better on my skin than expensive "designer creams". At the end of the day, it just really boils down to which one agrees best with your unique skin chemistry. The only way to find out is to keep researching and  trying.

A good product to start with for those in their 20s (and even those who are in their mid-30s like me) is Pond's new Flawless White Dewy Rose Whitening Gel:

jane iredale starter kit - skin care makeup

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I think this year is all about last minute Christmas Shopping. I still have a couple of gifts I need to buy! :P

If you haven't completed your list yet, here's something the women in your lives might appreciate: The Jane Iredale Starter Kit!


The Kit contains:

  1. PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation
  2. Smooth Affair Facial Primer and Brightener
  3. Pommist Hydration Spray
  4. Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder
  5. And a beautiful applicator brush!


Everything is contained in this pretty make-up bag


With a large high quality mirror and enough extra room to house all your other makeup essentials like eyeshadows, lipstick, eyeliner, etc.

It's the perfect compact container to take around when mobile.


And the best thing about the Jane Iredale line? It's good for your skin too!

According to Jane: “I’ve always said, makeup should be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem. Effortless makeup that actually improves the condition of her skin will boost her confidence. She will be amazed by how beautiful her skin can be.”

Jane Iredale Amazing Base SPF 20 Loose Mineral Powder + Pressed Foundation
Amazing Base SPF 20 Loose Mineral Powder - foundation, powder, concealer and sunscreen in one. It provides exceptional coverage with a luminous finish, and is ideal for covering brown spots, redness, eczema, rosacea and acne. Bears The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation as an effective UV sunscreen.

Pressed Foundation - The first pressed mineral foundation, powder, concealer and sunscreen in one. Provides long-lasting, highly pigmented coverage with a semi-matte finish. Also bears The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation as an effective UV sunscreen. 
Jane Iredale Smooth Affair
Smooth Affair Facial Primer and Brightener - A luminizing, award-winning primer that nourishes and prepares the skin. It brightens, hydrates and helps makeup go on easily and last longer.

***when it comes to primer I'm all about brightness, somehow, when I use an illuminating base, my make-up seems to look fresher, longer. I also think it makes me look younger. It's very forgiving and camouflages age indicators quite efficiently. ;)

Jane Iredale Pommist Hydration Spray
Pommist Hydration Spray - A hydrating facial spritz with the added benefit of pomegranate extract. It conditions and protects the skin and may be used to set a mineral base and plump the skin. Natural and Organic Cosmetic certified by ECOCERT. 

jane iredale new starter kit
How To Use:
- Start with Smooth Affair to nourish and refine the skin.  
- Apply one of the skin-loving foundations with the Mini Powder Brush.
- Finish with a nourishing spritz of POMMISST.
- From there, all that’s needed is a swipe of mascara or a touch of bronzer to complete the look!

Discover the difference with Jane Iredale! Check out the new starter kit at Rustans The Beauty Source!

SRP: 2,950


taiwan travel diaries: hello kitty cafe + barbie cafe

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Taiwan is the land of cuteness and Hello Kitty. 

Hello Kitty is everywhere, some places you'd think you're in Japan but no, you're right in the heart of Taipei. She is so popular here that they are the only country in the world with a license to brew "Hello Kitty Beer". Yes, beer! It's made by Taiwan Beer, tried looking for some but I guess I wasn't looking hard enough cause I didn't find any although I was able to visit this:

The Hello Kitty Cafe! This was at the top of my must see places during our trip.


taiwan travel diaries: ootd around daan

Monday, December 15, 2014

Back to my Taiwan posts with another travel ootd. Sporting my trusty over the knee socks again but this time with chucks.

These photos were taken in the back streets of my most favorite area in Taipei: Daan District! Specifically the back roads around Zhongxiao/Zhongshan. 

The vibe here is so awesome. It kinda looks like Japan. It's super artsy. Almost each block has a small coffee shop and there are roads and roads of indie boutiques selling everything from clothes, specialty motorcycle shops with tons of cafe racer paraphernalia, music shops, skate shops, sneaker stores, pubs, bars and more. I could spend all-day day roaming around aimlessly here. 

Will talk more about the shops here in a later post. I still have tons of photos that need to be edited. Thanks for your patience. :)

Meanwhile, here's what I wore for another full day of shopping and exploring the city:
rebecca minkoff mini mac bag

affordability - key deterrent from buying property?



The lifestyles we lead today is very different from that of our grandparents. Back then, amassing property was a top priority for them. It's quite astounding and slightly jarring to know that nowadays, most Filipinos choose not to buy their own home.

According to a survey, the key reason is affordability.
Is it really that expensive to invest in property nowadays that most people prefer to rent?
In my humble opinion, I think the problem lies mostly in long-term commitments rather than affordability.
Nowadays, Filipinos prefer to throw their money away in rent. From what I gather, monthly rent isn't that much more than what you might have to shell out monthly as payment for a house or condominium unit. I think the main difference is that if you rent, you can easily and conveniently cancel the contract should you fid yourself needing extra money somewhere along the way. When buying property, your money is pretty much stuck until the full amount has been paid.

I can only deduce that this is mainly due to our country's mall culture and how a lot of people these days choose to live beyond their means.
This is scary business. As a 30-something mom, I find our home to be my biggest source of security. No matter what happens, (knock on wood), we will always have a place to seek shelter in.
More than a car, a nice wardrobe or a designer bag, I think investing in a home should be everyone's top priority even if it might mean a huge  shift in your lifestyle. A home is your legacy and according to an extensive study done by Lamudi, now is the best time to invest.
The report, Real Estate in the Emerging Markets, provides a comprehensive overview of the property sector in 16 emerging countries, including the Philippines.
(The 16 countries covered in the report are: Indonesiathe PhilippinesMyanmar,Bangladesh
 

It also states that more than 90% of real estate agents and brokers are overwhelmingly optimistic about the future of the Philippine market. 


I think it's time we start being positive too!

For an easy-to-read online format of the full report, Visit www.lamudi.com.ph/research.

Launched in 2013, Lamudi is a global property portal focusing exclusively on emerging markets. The fast-growing platform is currently available in 28 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, with more than 700,000 real estate listings across its global network. The leading real estate marketplace offers sellers, buyers, landlords and renters a secure and easy-to-use platform to find or list properties online.

Visit Lamudi on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn



ootd: lacoste 1212 watch launch

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Last December 12, I attended the launch of Lacoste's new 1212 watch.

The new watches were inspired by their iconic pique shirts. The straps feature the same pique mesh found on all Lacoste polo shirts. At the 3 o'clock dial rests the Crocodile logo.

The watches are unisex, large-faced and come in 6 colors: grey, red, blue, white, green and black:

lacoste 1212 watch
Something I didn't know before attending this event was that Lacoste was created by a popular tennis player in the 1920's named René Lacoste who was nicknamed "the crocodile" for his tenacity on the court!

He created the Lacoste pique shirts for better sweat absorption + freedom of movement and named it L.12.12.

L for Lacoste
1 for it's one of a kind fabric
2 for its short sleeves
and 12 for the number of the final design version he selected for production!

lacoste watches
Who would've thought that a simple shirt would turn into an elegant classic staple for years to come??? 

And because of its minimalistic yet stylish design, I'm pretty sure that these new 1212 watches will be loved just as much as the pique shirts that inspired their creation.

At the end of the event, we were allowed to choose a gift from this Christmas tree:

lacoste 1212 watch launch manila
Each box, contained a designated watch color. I really wanted the green one at first but I ended up getting the black one instead. After wearing it for 2 days, I'm actually pretty happy with the color I got. I think it suits my style and my clothes better. What you think? :)

lacoste 1212 watch
I also like how it's mostly rubber with minimal hardware. It makes choosing my accessories for the day way easier. Don't need to worry about matching it to just silver or gold jewelry. :)

SRP: P7,550

In our invite, we were requested to wear a Lacoste shirt or something sporty. My inventory of Lacoste shirts solely consist of the baby tee versions that were so popular a few years back. I don't really care for tight tees anymore so I borrowed one of Dennis's shirts instead:

lacoste street style
Paired it with a midi skirt from Topshop for a (sort of) vintage Tennis player look:

leopard print slip ons street style
white balenciaga first street style

And this is what happens after I run out of ootd poses. I only have about 3: look straight, look to the side and look down. :P

So lacking in emote skillzzz.

balenciaga first street style
orange midi skirt street style
lacoste live shirt | topshop midi skirt | steve madden leopard print slip ons

photos by AnaGonzales.com

The new Lacoste watches are available at L Timestudio, Wristpod, select Chronos boutiques, SM, Landmark and Robinson's Dept. Stores

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

taiwan travel diaries: daan district

2014 was a year of travel for me and I couldn't be happier! It was what I wished for towards the end of 2013 and it came true fluidly just like everything else I focus my wants and attention to. Just like  it says in one of my favorite books:

"when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” - Paulo Coleho, The Alchemist

This has proven true for me over and over again and I couldn't be more grateful. 

For 2015, I wish for even more travel, (to further lands this time ;), a continued blessed and happy family life + cheers to more success and fulfillment!

But before that, here's a round-up of one of the best places I visited in 2014: Daan District in Taipei!



Monday, December 29, 2014

hermes oran - a slight obssesion

The Hermes Oran wasn't something I saw and immediately wanted. It sort of grew on me slowly just like their bags.

I used to think the Birkin looked old lady-ish :P But now, I appreciate it for it's timeless design and solid built. It's a bag that doesn't change its shape or look yet still manages to maintain its lust-worthiness today even more so than when it first debuted decades ago. That definitely makes it worth the investment if you can afford it. :P As of now, I still can't so I settled for a HerBag instead.

I'm thinking it's my HerBag that's made me pay closer attention to Hermes lately. Whatever the reason, it's my new (and most luxurious/expensive) flavor of the month to date. But I also think it's the most sensible when it comes to designer goods.

Like the Birkin, I first thought that the Oran looked like it belonged to the older set but after stumbling on it numerous times while searching for other things. I can't help but feel it call my name stronger by the day....

What do you think?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

shopping for skechers twinkle toes w new features

It's not unusual for grown women like us to go ga-ga in a shoe store....

Just for fun, would you like to see your kids exhibit the same behavior? Take them to a Skechers store near you and have them pick their own pair of Twinkle Toes!


That's exactly what we did a couple of weeks ago as we went shopping for a new pair that Nikola could wear to usher the New Year in...you know what they say, the brighter, more colorful, sparkly and gemstone-y, the luckier! :P



Twinkle Toes has been her footwear of choice since she learned how to speak and pick. Somehow, kids can't resist this shoe that sort of resembles a toy.


And I can tolerate it better than those squeaky shoes that really annoy the bejeezus out of me! :P
Plus with the new On/Off switch it's less embarrassing to sneak into a dark movie theater mid-show.


Aside from the crowd-favorite light-up shoes, Skechers also has tons of new designs for kids including a super lightweight running shoe with a memory foam footpad. 

I pressed my fingers into it and it absorbed the force and just seemed like it melted in fresh cotton candy. It's super comfortable and a greta alternative if you can veer them away from the lure of Twinkle Toes. :P


Little boys aren't left out either with these new stylish designs:


As a mom, I really wanted to get her a pair of running shoes for comfort's sake but at the end of the day, the princess won and she got to take home the most sparkly pair of them all!


And lastly, don't be surprised if you see your kid doing this:


Nikola wasn't feeling a hundred percent when we passed by the store BUT she still couldn't help it. :P
AND while there, there was another little girl also shopping and doing the same thing. The Skechers Flagship store in Glorietta was filled with little stomping noises and flashing feet. :D hahaha

Bonus points? Her new shoe even comes with a new Twinkle Smash app on the Appstore and Google Play Store! :P

Saturday, December 27, 2014

in-depth review: xiaomi redmi 1s

Exactly 2 days after Christmas. 

By now, you've probably been able to rest and recover from the pre-holiday rush.
Now, you're either loaded with cash that was given as gifts on Christmas (:P) or you've finally found the time to shop for yourself.

Either way, if you happen to be in the market for a new smartphone, maybe you should consider the Redmi 1S by Xiaomi...if you can get your hands on one.

xiaomi redmi 1s review

Friday, December 26, 2014

TOP 8 THINGS TO DO IN BAGUIO

HERE'S THE TOP 8 THINGS TO DO IN BAGUIO

Happy Holidays! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Today let's talk about one of my most favorite places in the world to spend the Christmas season in - BAGUIO!

For my foreign readers, Baguio is known as the summer capital of the Philippines because of its cool climate. It's up in the mountains, quaint and very charming. Although maybe not as popular or spoken of as our beaches, it's one of the many attractions you should visit when traveling to the Philippines.

Having said that, here's some of the things worth checking out when you find yourself back in the City of Pines.

azalea hotel baguio

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

if you're all reading this...stop!


If you're reading this, stop. :)

Let's all make a pledge to turn off our laptops, set our tablets and smartphones aside so we don't miss out on all the potential memories we can create with our loved ones on this special day.

Time to sit back, enjoy a hot cup of cocoa/coffee, stare at the pretty lights on that Christmas tree we worked so hard to put up. Contemplate, give thanks to all the blessings we have received this year and just relax and enjoy the company of those we love.

Wishing everyone a very blessed, warm and happy Christmas!

Thanks for spending your 2014 with me, cheers to an even brighter 2015.

Much, much love from my family to yours. 

Signing off for now...

Sarah xoxo



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

gel nails at beauty and butter

When it comes to gel nail polish, I have to admit, I am super behind.

In all the years it's been available, I only tried it a few weeks ago. :P

The reason behind my apprehension was because I like to keep my nails short and the fact that I need to get gel nails removed professionally.

But because my friends are all into it and have been doing it for quite some time, I finally decided to give it a try during a visit to Beauty and Butter, Megamall.


The reason why I love getting my footspa and mani-pedi's here is because their "Butter Girls" have really light hands. It never hurts and their tools are always sterilized and sealed before use.

So back to gel nails...

I am one of those people who manage to botch their manicures mere seconds after it's done. No matter how careful I try to be, it just ALWAYS happens.

And this is why I have turned into a gel nail convert.

For clumsy people like me, gel nails are perfect. They dry sturdy and quickly after a few minutes under UV light. Once pronounced dry by your manicurist, you can abuse it any way you like :P


And they will look perfect until the day you decide to have it removed.

To counter my short nail fetish, I just trim them even with the polish still on. I don't recommend this but it works for me especially when I get too busy to schedule a trip to the nail salon and I cant stand the "long-ness" of it anymore.

But of course, it's always better for the health of your nails to have it removed professionally within a couple of weeks getting them :)


So I think gel nails in a bright red are super perf this Holiday season cause it'll last you 'til New Year and all the parties in between!

To save money, LIKE Beauty and Butter Philippines to get first dibs on awesome promos like this:


Monday, December 22, 2014

toms gift guide

I'm 99% done with my Christmas shopping, are you? 

That only means it's time for some self-shopping!!! :P

Or if you're still worried about that 1% on your shopping list, why not get them something from Toms while you pick up a pair for yourself along the way....

No plans to shoe shop for yourself? Hmmm, we'll see, I wasn't planning on getting a new pair either but after seeing these oxfords, I'm not too sure anymore.

And besides, since Christmas is the season of giving, it makes sense to purchase a pair from Toms because as we all know, each time we buy a pair, another pair goes out to someone in need.

2 birds with one stone.

Check out what's new from Toms this holiday season:


And these are the brogues I was talking aboutttttttt....

Haven't decided on which color yet but I'm leaning more towards the silver pair.

"silver pair, silver pair, it's christmas time in the cityyyyy" :P 
(don't unfollow me for that please haha)


TOMS is available at Megamall, Nothing But H2O and The Give Project.  
Visit www.toms.com for more information and follow TOMSphilippines on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

ootd: non-cheesy christmas outfit

So happy for this Christmas break! Really feeling the Christmas spirit and all I'm really in the mood for lately is to celebrate and spend time with loved ones.

It's nice to finally be able to stroll around the mall for leisure instead of work.

I had a nice pre-Christmas dinner last night with Dennis, Nikola and friends and it felt so nice and festive despite having it in a simple (but super yummy restaurant...Tim Ho Wan!!!). Also was finally able to do some shopping for myself and Nikola. Got her a pair of joggers last night from H&M, so adorable! Excited to do another "mini me" ootd with her.

So anyway, about the outfit...If you're looking for some inspiration on what to wear to this year's holiday festivities, here's something I hope you'll find inspiring:

christmas outfit
Instead of going all out in a Christmas sweater/red+green tartan, I decided to focus more on "Winter Whites" and just inject it with a bit of contrasting red and green + some gold for a more Christmasy feel.

celine nano red
white wide-leg pants street style
white vest street style
To summarize, wear anything and just inject the tried and tested Christmas combo of red, gold and green. Or you could also channel a snowflake and go white, silver and blue :)

Happy happy Holidays everyone. Hope you're enjoying the season just as much as I am!

GIVEAWAY: Watch and Win Mercury Drug, Toys R' Us gift certificates and a Multiple Intelligence gift pack!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

seattle's best coffee dream journal

Admittedly not a pioneer in the coffee shop journal game, this doesn't mean that you should overlook Seattle's Best Coffee's Dream Journal.

Up for grabs after completing just 18 stickers on your "stamp card", it comes in 4 colors: Gray, Navy Blue, Green and Red.

Here's the green:


To get one, you must order at least 8 Holiday Drinks + 10 SBC Beverages (not including bottled juice + water).

Holiday drinks include:


    Caramel Apple – White chocolate mocha with apple syrup and caramel sauce with whipped cream, caramel sauce, cinnamon powder and Christmas candy.

     Coffee Hazelnut – White chocolate mocha with the coconut and hazelnut topped with whipped cream, golden crunch and Christmas candy.

     Cookies & Mint – Classic mocha with a mix of Oreos and mint syrup topped with whipped cream, crushed Oreos and Christmas candy.

     Salted Almond Truffle – Classic mocha mixed with almond and sea salt with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, crushed Almonds and Christmas candy.


Unlike it's more popular counterparts, The Seattle's Best Dream Journal is packed with loads of freebies amounting to P3,000!!!

As I flipped through mine, I found lots of nice surprises like this mouse pad:


Coffee-shaped post-its, coupons for free beverages:


My favorite of all: this adorable coffee cup paper clips:


And even an SBC Playlist CD you can play at home to recreate that warm and cozy Seattle's Best "coffee shop vibe".


I didn't want to shoot everything inside and ruin the surprise for you but I'm telling you, there's still a lot of neat surprises to discover once you get your hands on one. 

Time to call your friends and family, set a coffee date at Seattle's Best and get all those 18 stamps in one day! ;) You have til January 15, 2015 to complete your "stamp card".

Happy Holidays! :)



Friday, December 19, 2014

pond's flawless white dewy rose gel review

Skincare is tricky business and one of my favorite topics. I've followed a strict morning/night regimen for about 15 years now to delay my aging process. :P

 I've tried many products, even before blogging. Most shocking revelation for me was realizing that price doesn't exactly equate to a product that works.

I've had drugstore brands perform better on my skin than expensive "designer creams". At the end of the day, it just really boils down to which one agrees best with your unique skin chemistry. The only way to find out is to keep researching and  trying.

A good product to start with for those in their 20s (and even those who are in their mid-30s like me) is Pond's new Flawless White Dewy Rose Whitening Gel:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

jane iredale starter kit - skin care makeup

I think this year is all about last minute Christmas Shopping. I still have a couple of gifts I need to buy! :P

If you haven't completed your list yet, here's something the women in your lives might appreciate: The Jane Iredale Starter Kit!


The Kit contains:

  1. PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation
  2. Smooth Affair Facial Primer and Brightener
  3. Pommist Hydration Spray
  4. Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder
  5. And a beautiful applicator brush!


Everything is contained in this pretty make-up bag


With a large high quality mirror and enough extra room to house all your other makeup essentials like eyeshadows, lipstick, eyeliner, etc.

It's the perfect compact container to take around when mobile.


And the best thing about the Jane Iredale line? It's good for your skin too!

According to Jane: “I’ve always said, makeup should be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem. Effortless makeup that actually improves the condition of her skin will boost her confidence. She will be amazed by how beautiful her skin can be.”

Jane Iredale Amazing Base SPF 20 Loose Mineral Powder + Pressed Foundation
Amazing Base SPF 20 Loose Mineral Powder - foundation, powder, concealer and sunscreen in one. It provides exceptional coverage with a luminous finish, and is ideal for covering brown spots, redness, eczema, rosacea and acne. Bears The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation as an effective UV sunscreen.

Pressed Foundation - The first pressed mineral foundation, powder, concealer and sunscreen in one. Provides long-lasting, highly pigmented coverage with a semi-matte finish. Also bears The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation as an effective UV sunscreen. 
Jane Iredale Smooth Affair
Smooth Affair Facial Primer and Brightener - A luminizing, award-winning primer that nourishes and prepares the skin. It brightens, hydrates and helps makeup go on easily and last longer.

***when it comes to primer I'm all about brightness, somehow, when I use an illuminating base, my make-up seems to look fresher, longer. I also think it makes me look younger. It's very forgiving and camouflages age indicators quite efficiently. ;)

Jane Iredale Pommist Hydration Spray
Pommist Hydration Spray - A hydrating facial spritz with the added benefit of pomegranate extract. It conditions and protects the skin and may be used to set a mineral base and plump the skin. Natural and Organic Cosmetic certified by ECOCERT. 

jane iredale new starter kit
How To Use:
- Start with Smooth Affair to nourish and refine the skin.  
- Apply one of the skin-loving foundations with the Mini Powder Brush.
- Finish with a nourishing spritz of POMMISST.
- From there, all that’s needed is a swipe of mascara or a touch of bronzer to complete the look!

Discover the difference with Jane Iredale! Check out the new starter kit at Rustans The Beauty Source!

SRP: 2,950


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

taiwan travel diaries: hello kitty cafe + barbie cafe

Taiwan is the land of cuteness and Hello Kitty. 

Hello Kitty is everywhere, some places you'd think you're in Japan but no, you're right in the heart of Taipei. She is so popular here that they are the only country in the world with a license to brew "Hello Kitty Beer". Yes, beer! It's made by Taiwan Beer, tried looking for some but I guess I wasn't looking hard enough cause I didn't find any although I was able to visit this:

The Hello Kitty Cafe! This was at the top of my must see places during our trip.


Monday, December 15, 2014

taiwan travel diaries: ootd around daan

Back to my Taiwan posts with another travel ootd. Sporting my trusty over the knee socks again but this time with chucks.

These photos were taken in the back streets of my most favorite area in Taipei: Daan District! Specifically the back roads around Zhongxiao/Zhongshan. 

The vibe here is so awesome. It kinda looks like Japan. It's super artsy. Almost each block has a small coffee shop and there are roads and roads of indie boutiques selling everything from clothes, specialty motorcycle shops with tons of cafe racer paraphernalia, music shops, skate shops, sneaker stores, pubs, bars and more. I could spend all-day day roaming around aimlessly here. 

Will talk more about the shops here in a later post. I still have tons of photos that need to be edited. Thanks for your patience. :)

Meanwhile, here's what I wore for another full day of shopping and exploring the city:
rebecca minkoff mini mac bag

affordability - key deterrent from buying property?



The lifestyles we lead today is very different from that of our grandparents. Back then, amassing property was a top priority for them. It's quite astounding and slightly jarring to know that nowadays, most Filipinos choose not to buy their own home.

According to a survey, the key reason is affordability.
Is it really that expensive to invest in property nowadays that most people prefer to rent?
In my humble opinion, I think the problem lies mostly in long-term commitments rather than affordability.
Nowadays, Filipinos prefer to throw their money away in rent. From what I gather, monthly rent isn't that much more than what you might have to shell out monthly as payment for a house or condominium unit. I think the main difference is that if you rent, you can easily and conveniently cancel the contract should you fid yourself needing extra money somewhere along the way. When buying property, your money is pretty much stuck until the full amount has been paid.

I can only deduce that this is mainly due to our country's mall culture and how a lot of people these days choose to live beyond their means.
This is scary business. As a 30-something mom, I find our home to be my biggest source of security. No matter what happens, (knock on wood), we will always have a place to seek shelter in.
More than a car, a nice wardrobe or a designer bag, I think investing in a home should be everyone's top priority even if it might mean a huge  shift in your lifestyle. A home is your legacy and according to an extensive study done by Lamudi, now is the best time to invest.
The report, Real Estate in the Emerging Markets, provides a comprehensive overview of the property sector in 16 emerging countries, including the Philippines.
(The 16 countries covered in the report are: Indonesiathe PhilippinesMyanmar,Bangladesh
 

It also states that more than 90% of real estate agents and brokers are overwhelmingly optimistic about the future of the Philippine market. 


I think it's time we start being positive too!

For an easy-to-read online format of the full report, Visit www.lamudi.com.ph/research.

Launched in 2013, Lamudi is a global property portal focusing exclusively on emerging markets. The fast-growing platform is currently available in 28 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, with more than 700,000 real estate listings across its global network. The leading real estate marketplace offers sellers, buyers, landlords and renters a secure and easy-to-use platform to find or list properties online.

Visit Lamudi on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn



Sunday, December 14, 2014

ootd: lacoste 1212 watch launch

Last December 12, I attended the launch of Lacoste's new 1212 watch.

The new watches were inspired by their iconic pique shirts. The straps feature the same pique mesh found on all Lacoste polo shirts. At the 3 o'clock dial rests the Crocodile logo.

The watches are unisex, large-faced and come in 6 colors: grey, red, blue, white, green and black:

lacoste 1212 watch
Something I didn't know before attending this event was that Lacoste was created by a popular tennis player in the 1920's named René Lacoste who was nicknamed "the crocodile" for his tenacity on the court!

He created the Lacoste pique shirts for better sweat absorption + freedom of movement and named it L.12.12.

L for Lacoste
1 for it's one of a kind fabric
2 for its short sleeves
and 12 for the number of the final design version he selected for production!

lacoste watches
Who would've thought that a simple shirt would turn into an elegant classic staple for years to come??? 

And because of its minimalistic yet stylish design, I'm pretty sure that these new 1212 watches will be loved just as much as the pique shirts that inspired their creation.

At the end of the event, we were allowed to choose a gift from this Christmas tree:

lacoste 1212 watch launch manila
Each box, contained a designated watch color. I really wanted the green one at first but I ended up getting the black one instead. After wearing it for 2 days, I'm actually pretty happy with the color I got. I think it suits my style and my clothes better. What you think? :)

lacoste 1212 watch
I also like how it's mostly rubber with minimal hardware. It makes choosing my accessories for the day way easier. Don't need to worry about matching it to just silver or gold jewelry. :)

SRP: P7,550

In our invite, we were requested to wear a Lacoste shirt or something sporty. My inventory of Lacoste shirts solely consist of the baby tee versions that were so popular a few years back. I don't really care for tight tees anymore so I borrowed one of Dennis's shirts instead:

lacoste street style
Paired it with a midi skirt from Topshop for a (sort of) vintage Tennis player look:

leopard print slip ons street style
white balenciaga first street style

And this is what happens after I run out of ootd poses. I only have about 3: look straight, look to the side and look down. :P

So lacking in emote skillzzz.

balenciaga first street style
orange midi skirt street style
lacoste live shirt | topshop midi skirt | steve madden leopard print slip ons

photos by AnaGonzales.com

The new Lacoste watches are available at L Timestudio, Wristpod, select Chronos boutiques, SM, Landmark and Robinson's Dept. Stores