The Phantom of the Opera

I fell in love with the Phantom of the Opera many, many years ago – even before my tenth birthday, the moment I heard the song “All I Ask Of You” playing on our stereo. It was hauntingly beautiful and it was also at that moment that I became a fan of Barbra Streisand.  Fast forward a couple of years and I finally managed to get myself a copy of the novel by Gaston Leroux and I fell so in love with the story I just had to reread it again. And again, until I could almost recite the lines. 
So imagine my excitement when I heard late last year that the Phantom will be staged here in Manila. Hubby had been fortunate to watch the Broadway version (I wasn’t able to join him on his trip – I was pregnant that time, and well, we don’t really mix business trips with vacations; too stressful for us) so he was a bit nonchalant about it but for me, the only version I know was the movie version. By hook or by crook, I knew I had to see it.  And I told hubby I will not settle for anything less than front row (spoiled wife alert). 
The famed chandelier. Sorry for the blurred shot. Cameras weren’t allowed and I took this shot on our way out.
What can I say? Five minutes into the show and I was bawling my eyes out. The songs were just too perfect and we couldn’t help humming along every now and then. My favourites (aside from All I Ask Of You) include Think Of Me, Angel of Music and Music of the Night. 
These songs were rendered wonderfully by the cast; Christine Lyon gave a fine performance as Christine Daae. She was pretty, sexy and therefore looked and sounded almost exactly as I imagined Christine would be (not exactly, mind you, because of my personal bias that Christine should have a softer register, sort of ethereal sound to her voice). 
Of the two guys vying for her attention, I found Jonathan Roxmouth’s Phantom’s singing more piercing and perhaps, more skilful than Anthony Downing’s Raoul. But Downing was just too cute. He reminds me of Prince Caspian (from the Disney movie) except that he sounds so good. 
Jonathan Roxmouth as the Phantom

Anthony Browning as Raoul
As for the costume and set, well, I can’t find any fault with it. Everything was as it was in the movie and in the Broadway version (according to hubby), except for the lake and the masquerade scenes, which were decidedly tamer for the Manila version. 
Hubby and I loved it so much we bought the live recording from the 25th anniversary, and played it on the drive back home, and watched the movie (for the nth time) last night. And I still want to watch the musical again. I still have two weeks. That’s how good it was (I’m a fan, obviously, but you should really see it).
*Cast photos grabbed from the net. 

Hey, Mickey, It’s You Again!

I suddenly found myself on a trip to HK, which I was partially unprepared for. One, I thought it wouldn’t push through, and two, if it did, I thought I was going alone. Thank goodness I had a colleague with me (imagine geographically challenged me finding my way in a foreign country – never mind that it’s a country I’ve been to a couple of times in the past). Anyway, we had only a full day free before we had to head back to Manila so we sort of weighed the pros and cons between Disneyland and Ocean Park and decided to go with the former.
Our first stop? Mickey and Minnie photo op! I didn’t get a picture with them last time I was here (since we lined up at Fantasy Land, and you can only have a photo with one character at a time there) and it was my companion’s first time, so we braved the glaring sun and the almost two-hour queue for this:

Voila! Mission Accomplished! Okay, on to my outfit (geez, hadn’t done this in a long time!): lace cardigan from my sister in law, top from Ever New, leather shorts from Forever 21, boat shoes from Sperry, and my “paparazzi” shades from Michael Kors
It’s lucky that we started out early since the queues weren’t that long at most of the rides/attractions. We even got to ride Autopia in less than 15 mins (compared to the almost one hour wait I endured with the hubby and little brat)!

Even though I spent two full days here just two months ago, there were several parts of the park I wasn’t able to visit and I made sure we got to visit those this time (again, luckily, my companion didn’t want to walk and wait in the sun too much so indoors it was for us).
 Went to It’s A Small World – which is actually for very little kids, as you are treated to a montage of the different cultures/races around the world (both real and fantasy – they even had flying carpets and mermaids) while floating down a small “river” on a motorized boat.

One of my favorites 🙂

I honestly enjoyed it! It was so colourful and I felt quite proud that they put a portion for the Philippines!
Look! Our tarsier has its own spot!

The afternoon parade was scheduled early this time around so we had to dash from our little boat ride to Sleeping Beauty’s castle to catch the parade. I was a bit worried it would be the one where they spray you with water but this one was fairly water-free. Hihi.

Look at the crowd!
I am somehow reminded of Michael Jackson with this ensemble.

Oh, I finally got a bit up-close with the Disney Princesses! Too bad Aurora wouldn’t look our way.
Snow White and Belle (Aurora was standing to Belle’s left, but she was facing backwards, so…:(
Right after the parade, we headed back to Fantasy Land, just in time to catch The Golden Mickeys – one of the highlights of this trip. I was immediately sorry we didn’t take Joey to watch this show. Again, we were lucky coz the queue wasn’t too long and we only waited 15 minutes or so.

Almost all the famous characters were there – Mickey and the gang, Mulan, Ariel, Tarzan, Belle and the Beast… I particularly liked the Beauty and the Beast segment where they started off dancing behind a curtain and then the stage was transformed into a huge ballroom!

 And then there was also the Little Mermaid segment and well, you all know how much I love Ariel. Under The Sea was my ring tone for years because of this movie. Too bad flash photography wasn’t allowed and I couldn’t get a decent photo from where I was seated at the back.

I loved the show so much I actually wanted to line up again. 

After that, it was another indoor activity for us – this time, the Mickey Philharmagic. Well, the show was in 3D so I have no photos to show you but it was really good. I got dizzy joining Donald on his wild flying carpet ride and got literally sprayed with water when he went under the sea to visit Ariel (and yes, I got teary eyed hearing Jodi Benson’s voice singing Part of Your World).
It was getting dark by then so we made another mad dash to Toy Story Land. Too bad that the Parachute ride had a verryyy long queue; the estimate was actually 90 minutes before you can enjoy a three-minute ride. So, no thanks. We weren’t about to miss the fireworks for this. Haha.

On our way to the most recent addition to the park, Grizzly Gulch, we passed by the still under construction Mystic Point. It’s going to be launched in 2013 and I can’t wait to come back with the little boybie when this one opens. 
Anyway, didn’t get to enjoy Grizzly Gulch. It was already dark (I get dizzy in the dark) and the rides were not for the faint of heart (read: roller coasters) and I couldn’t trust my companion to carry me back to our hotel in case, well, in case I fainted. So we just roamed around and went back to Sleeping Beauty’s castle. 
No, I am not riding anything more than five meters high.

To cap off our one-day excursion, we braved the crowds to get as close to Beauty’s castle without getting crushed. Trust, the crowd was so big, and most of them were sitting on the paved roads.

But the fireworks lighting up to the tune of your favourite Disney songs? Definitely worth it. I actually got teary eyed again. Hahaha. 
My arms were practically dead from holding my camera over my head – I wasn’t even looking and it’s a miracle I even got half-decent photos. I am definitely coming back. Maybe this Christmas?:D

Beauty Favorites – Rainy Day Edition

It’s been ages since my last make-up purchase – pardon me, I’ve been trying to use up my existing stuff rather than let them expire.

However, if there is one make-up item that I get to use regularly (by that, I mean about every other day), it would have to be a lip/cheek tint. I am quite naturally pale with dry skin, plus I sleep really late so come morning, my skin is pasty and ghost-like. I don’t really have any brand loyalty when it comes to blushes but I love Smashbox’s O-Glow and O-Gloss (if you are willing to shell out around Php1,000 for each small tube) and Bench Tint (a steal at around Php200 which you can use for both lips and cheeks). 
Clockwise from top: Soft Touch Automatic Lip Liner and Total Age Repair from Etude House, Blood On pot from Majolica Majorca
So anyway, my latest discovery is Blood On, this cute little pot from Majolica Majorca which you can apply to your lips and cheeks. It has no scent, which is a big plus point since I am allergic to scents and it doesn’t taste like anything. It’s cream so you can just dab your fingers, dab on your skin and blend as you please – very easy to use! And quite cheap too given that it’s dual purpose (I forgot the exact cost but probably around Php500).

I have almost used up my Maybelline BB Cream (after more than a year of sitting on my dresser!) and while I still prefer my Paul and Joe powder foundation over BB, I can’t seem to find time to head to Rustan’s Makati to get a refill (it’s the only cosmetics counter in the whole country, I think, that sells this) so I ended up trying Etude House’ BB Cream. 

My verdict? It’s not as smooth as Maybelline so you have to do a lot of blending with your fingers and it has a light scent (actually nice but it sometimes triggers my allergies); but coverage is light to moderate. Good enough for daily use. You might want to stock up on face powder or blotting paper as my face looked oily/shiny after a few hours.

I also got the cute lip liner from Etude House. What’s great about it is that it’s automatic – you just turn the pencil and the liner comes out. Plus, it has a pointy tip and the liner itself is a bit creamy so it’s very easy to apply. You really have no excuse to line outside your lips as this pencil practically guarantees accurate application. I use this when I need to look presentable but have only a few minutes to spare.
Cle de Peau concealer, Shu Uemura lipstick and Calvin Klein lipliner

On to my next batch of purchase – I have been googling for the perfect concealer for my skin. I have always relied on The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Concealer Stick but it works mainly on covering pimples (while the tea tree helps to dry it up); it doesn’t do much in the way of covering dark under eyes and acne scars. And then I came across Cle de Peau (if I’m not mistaken, this is a sister company of Shiseido). Several websites and magazines have voted this the best concealer in terms of hiding what you want to hide. True to form, it did hide my pimple scars – so well even I was deceived. Hahaha! Plus, it’s quite creamy so blending it is not hard. It’s a bit pricey though – around Php4,000 and you have to get it abroad.

I also got a new shade of pale pink lipstick (shade 310) from Shu Uemura which I absolutely adore. It’s a warm but light pinkish hue which doesn’t make me look washed out but is also pale enough to look almost natural. I’ll post pics soon of me wearing this shade.
Shu Uemura cleansing oil

Now, with all these new goodies to put on my face, it makes sense that I also invest in a good make-up remover. For years I have used Philosophy’s Purity, a multi-purpose cleanser/toner/make-up remover (I’m a sucker for multi-purpose thingies – I am lazy you know) but I was thinking of trying a different cleansing method. And who else should I turn to but the legendary Shu Uemura cleansing oils? 

After using this product, I was like – how come I am only using this now? It felt so good on my face, it doesn’t smell, and my skin felt supple immediately afterwards. I am in love with it.

How about you? What are your recent beauty product purchases?