Summer Daily Base (Light, Protective, and Easy!)

The sun has actually been making an appearance in London over the past few weeks (the British do have a summer – hooray!) and so my daily base routine has changed to adjust to that. If the sun is out, I am out and facing it. You can count on that. DSC08487.jpgThe very base of my base is the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid (approx. £17 but always on some kind of offer). It has an SPF of 50+ and protects against UVA and UVB rays. This “ultra-light” variant works fine on my combination skin while I’m here in the UK, but the Dry Touch Gel Cream would probably be better for me back home in the Philippines. It’s important to use sunscreen throughout the year, but when summer comes around I really bring out the big guns.

Everything else that goes into my base for the summer revolves around the good old less is more philosophy.
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Sweet Summer Deal: Stila Convertible Color Trio (2015 Limited Edition)

I have to be one of the last persons on Earth to try the Stila Convertible Colors. Everyone knows what they are and it seems that everyone adores them, too. I was looking through reviews on the product before writing this post and I did not stumble across a single one that might be considered negative. Crazy! And can you believe that the Convertible Colors have been InStyle magazine’s “Best Cream Blush” for ten years in a row? Again: crazy!

I didn’t go out with the intention of picking this set up but when I stumbled upon it one day while browsing through Essences at Rockwell, I thought it was a good deal. I guess that just as clichés are clichés for a reason, “cult faves” are cult faves for a reason, too. These are awesome and I wish I had brought them into my life sooner…but better late than never!
P1180656The “Beauty in Bloom” Convertible Color Trio (1,150.00 Php) is a limited edition set for summer that contains three mini Convertible Colors, weighing 2g each as opposed to the full-sized 4.25g Convertible Colors.

The set I chose has the shades Camellia, Peony, and Tulip in it, which are all wearable and “safe” shades. There is also a “Blooming Bright” Convertible Color Trio that has brighter colours, namely Lilium, Petunia, and Hibiscus.

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Happy Skin Summer 2015: “Beauty In Bloom” Product Launch and Info

Happy Skin’s summer 2015 collection dropped last week and it is every bit as bloomiful — oops, I meant beautiful — as I hoped it would be. The collection, called “Beauty In Bloom“, is the brand’s second summer release and I remember clearly that it was last year’s summer collection, “Turn Up The Heat“, that first enticed me into purchasing Happy Skin products. Since then I have consistently been amazed at how thorough the relatively-young and proudly-Filipino brand is when it comes to product development and conceptualisation of themes for limited edition and permanent products alike.

P1180737To say that I am a fan of Happy Skin would be 100% accurate. Those who know me know that although I don’t “fangirl” over the usual things like pop stars and handsome actors, I can “fangirl” pretty hard when I decide that I admire someone or something. Admiration is precisely what I have for Happy Skin as a brand and for its co-founders, Jacqe Yuengtian-Gutierrez and Rissa Mananquil-Trillo. So it was with sheer and utter joy that I accepted a friend’s invitation to attend this year’s Happy Skin summer party (thank you times a billion, Iya! ♥).

Now I get to share the experience with you, my readers, as well as information about the collection that I hope will be helpful to you. Do read (or at least scroll) until the very end so that you can see all of the product shots and swatches! 

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What’s In My Beach Bag: Easter Weekend 2015

Hey hey, everyone! Where did you all spend your Easter weekend? My family went up to La Union to get a little R&R by the beach and… eat and sleep, pretty much. It was all sorts of awesome and I feel totally recharged. I never really liked the beach until around two years ago. Now I look forward to soaking in salt water and letting the sound of the waves clear my mind. Just don’t take me to out deep waters and I’m all good. Haha.
IMG_9549My perfectly-sized beach bag is this cute tote that Unilever sent my way with a bunch of goodies in it. I would have preferred an “M” for Mariana, but “I” is different from what I usually see on my personalised things so it’s all good! It really is the perfect size, so I was not going to cast it aside just because it has an I on it instead of an M.

Anyhoo. Deciding what to take in any sort of bag is an ever-evolving process on top of being quite personal. I suppose that’s why people love “What’s In My Bag” videos on YouTube (myself included). It’s just so interesting to see what a woman decides to lug around with her. This is my current selection of things: IMG_9551The most important thing in my beach bag is my jug of water. I have always been that girl who carries around a huge jug of water. From grade school (big-ass blue Coleman) to high school (foot-high steel Thermos with pink carrying case) to college (Lock & Lock plastic water vessel inside a geeky carrying case with adorable dogs printed all over it). No shame in being properly hydrated, my friends.

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New This Summer: Vaseline’s Water-Based Serum Sunblock SPF 30 PA+++

Have you stepped outside recently? It’s scorching hot. And I am loving it. I was totally born to live in a tropical country so I welcome the summer with open arms. There are days when it gets to be a bit much, but I’d much rather be battling the heat in a pair of shorts and a loose top than wearing layers in a colder country. If I can hit the beach and wear just a bathing suit and cover up, that’s even better.

With all that skin exposed, I do have to use a lot of sunblock, which can be uncomfortable and sticky. This summer there seems to be a new trend that addresses that discomfort: serum sunblocks. They’re a lot thinner in consistency that your usual lotions and they settle into the skin much quicker as a consequence. Just last week (absolute perfect timing) I was introduced to my very first one, by Vaseline.
P1180224The Vaseline Water-Based Whitening Serum* (Php 249.00 for 180mL) might have just an SPF of 30 PA +++, but that’s actually enough to block out 96% of harmful UVA and UVB rays. That’s a scientific fact (not just marketing bullshit), but you will have to reapply your sunblock more often if the SPF is lower. I’d say once every 2 hours is ok, but already stretching it. It stands to be a bit of a hassle, but the formula really isn’t sticky so you won’t be making yourself more uncomfortable.

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Summer Lovin’

I think this past week was the first full week of summer weather we’ve had this year and I loved it. I was built for nothing but tropical weather, which is not to say that I don’t complain when it gets to be too hot (like 42 Celsius omg) but you can’t beat living in a tropical country in my opinion. I can’t deal with the cold (much less winter weather) for more than a month. Gimme that blazing, scorching hot sun any day, be it shining down on the city streets or at the beach. That said, there’s quite a bit of adjusting to be done when summer comes around in the Philippines, especially when it comes to beauty/makeup. You can’t duck into malls for air conditioning 100% of the time, so if you don’t make a change, your face is just going to melt off.

To begin, it’s a good idea to wear less makeup in general. If you don’t wear a lot of makeup in the first place, then you’re off to a good start. You might just survive the summer. If you’re a little more like me and you find makeup enjoyable to wear and consequently would rather not let go of it, here are some little bits that make summer beauty fun for me:
Summer Essentials1. SPF! This ain’t number 1 for no reason. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and is the only one that is exposed 24/7 as it protects you. Do it a favour and care for it in return! Wearing sunblock is a must all year round, but I understand that it can be unpleasant because of the stickiness. My faves are my Armada Face Cover 45 and Armada Sport 70 because they are very comfortable on the skin. The Face Cover 45 even mattifies the skin so it makes for a perfect makeup primer.

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Rarely do I ever stray from my Jergens Ultra Healing body lotion, but I thought the Vaseline total moisture Cocoa Glow looked perfect for summer. I imagined the lotion itself would be coloured to impart a soft glow/tan, but it’s the typical white color that most body lotions are. That was a tiny bit of a disappointment, but it does also mean that I can use it at night without fear of it staining my sheets. It’s not a surface tanner. Instead it’s meant to nourish though 3 layers of skin to bring out that natural glow. Obviously cocoa butter is a part of the ingredients list, and because of that this lotion smells amazing. I’m also not one to usually go for scented body lotions (because my skin is so sensitive), but this hasn’t caused me any problems. It’s definitely better than Vaseline’s original scent—I loathe the smell of that stuff. Overall I am a happy, pleasantly-cocoa-scented, well-moisturized customer. :) I would recommend this for summer use, especially since using perfumes on hot days can be unpleasant. On top of moisturizing, the Vaseline Cocoa Glow lotion covers that too. :)

*Photo lifted from istribawel.com 

Summer Stripes

Let’s get right into it— when I saw this bag while shopping at WAGW a few weeks back…

… I just had to have it. It’s orange, nautical-looking, and it’s made of coated canvas (so practical!). On display, the long strap was tucked inside so it was in its large clutch form, which only made me love it even more. When I checked the inside of the bag, there was the strap nestled against the surprisingly really good quality lining. The best part? It was only around1600php. I used a 10% off coupon pa, so it came out at 1400php. If that still sounds a little pricey to you, imagine buying the Prada bag that this one is a copy of (yup, it’s a knock-off, hehe) which is probably 10x the price.

These are from the Prada S/S 2011 collection, which features that oversized leather buckle design. Love it to bits but I really cannot afford something like that especially considering that they are a bit trendy. Another thing that I love about the bag from WAGW is that the buckle does NOT say “PRADA.” Neither is it made of real leather, but that’s easily forgiven given the price. :)

This bag is the single thing that made me feel like summer had finally arrived (remember that I got this a few weeks ago). That’s saying a lot, but it really got my mind working on my summer wardrobe and what to bring to Boracay in April. I just couldn’t wait to use it!

The one down side to the bag (if it can be considered a bad thing at all), is the small size. I’m used to carrying huge handbags filled with all of my essentials and back-up items that I would probably only need in strange emergency situations… but I should be learning to carry smaller bags anyway. For its size, this can hold a decent amount of stuff. My wallet, sunnies, mints, small comb, and a lipstick fit nicely with room to spare. :)

I’m so glad I found this bag! Overall, it is one of the best steals I’ve encountered in a long time, with the price matching the quality very nicely. It’s not an investment piece that will last me for years, but I didn’t buy something that will fall apart after the first or second use either. I realize that this might come off incredibly shallow, but it’s amazing how much a good find can make a girl smile. :)

In case you’re wondering, WAGW (What A Girl Wants) is located in Robinsons Galleria on the second floor. Check it out, they have really cute things at a very reasonable price. :)

Kicking It Off On A Full Stomach (Summer, that is)

So far (two days in!), the break has been great.  Yesterday Greg and I went to dinner at 2nds (original plan was Chelsea but we changed our minds) and I totally forgot to take pictures! We love that place though, it has a cozy feel to it and really good food. They just have to make some improvements to the acoustics in the room. Peoples’ voices bouncing all over the place. We watched Sucker Punch afterwards and I really loved it, despite the terrible reviews it’s been getting. I suppose I wasn’t expecting much of it in the first place so it easily exceeded my low expectations (content-wise). The graphics, cinematography, over-all visuals were great. I love date nights.

What I did remember to take pictures of was lunch today at Bistecca with my mother. Check out the awesome steak we had! I definitely recommend this resto if you’re serious about your meats. They serve it with flavour-infused rock salts. Mmm.

Drool. Love their plates, too.

The side dish + sauces

We also got truffled french fries. Ever had something “truffled” that had just way too little (or too much, which is just as bad) truffle oil in it? Yeah, well this is not that. It was perfection. The sauces and salts in the picture are for the steak. Some mushroom-y really fresh sauce, a gravy, garlic-infused rock salt, chili-infused rock salt, and truffle-infused rock salt. That is how it’s done, people. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Chandelier made of empty glass bottles

Bistecca is located on the ground floor of Rockwell’s Joya tower. If you’re looking for a good steak, go for it! I love that the first thing I can say about my break is that I’ve been having good food. I also get to see my barkada twice this coming week! So excited for that. Will be in Singapore from Thursday until Sunday too–yay for summer! :)

In other news, not being able to indent at the beginning of my paragraphs here is really getting on nerves now. Haha.

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