Travel Make-Up Kit

When I was younger (teens and my early 20s), I didn’t care much about make-up and skincare. In fact, I never owned anything remotely related to beauty. It was only in my late-20s that I discovered and cultivated an obsession with cosmetics and since then, I’ve become some sort of hoarder, although I have yet to get to the part where I actually learn to use them. 
But even though I am practically clueless when it comes to putting these products on me, I have a tendency to pack every single one I could into my luggage whenever I travel. You know, for that unforeseen event when you would have to do your own make-up and everything. And because I have this weird notion that I know and have the time to put them on before I step out my hotel room for the day, so that I would at least look decent in my travel photos. 
Ahh, such trivial pursuits. Hehe. 
But, packing five bottles of foundation and a dozen lipsticks can be quite problematic for those of us with limited baggage allowance (not to mention my overpacked kikay kit is bursting) so I figured, why not edit a bit, right? So I stared long and hard at my dresser drawer and figured out which products I use on a daily basis (in an ideal world).
  • Primer. I’ve recently discovered this primer, That Gal, from Benefit which I absolutely love. It’s pink and it brightens my usually dull and pale skin, plus it smells like strawberries! I’m usually allergic to fruity scents but for some reason, this one agrees with my nose. 
  • Lip/Cheek tint and blush. Also from Benefit , this nifty little box of tricks is a lifesaver. I mean, it has a small bottle of bestsellers Benetint (lip/cheek tint) and High Beam (a highlighter), a powder blush, a creamy gloss, a brush, and a pocket mirror. With matching instructions to boot! I normally just use the tint and highlighter though, since I’m too lazy to use powder blush and I tend to “eat” the gloss. 
  • Cream blush. On days when I really want to look a little made-up or more presentable, I put on this Nars Orgasm blush. This has been voted the best blush-on many times and what can I say? It lives up to the hype.
From left: Kikay kit from Benefit contaiing tint, highlighter, powder blush and lipgloss; Nars Orgasm cream blush; Benefit’s That Gal primer

Oh, and one other thing I love? This little wand from Benefit which has the tint on one end and a clear gloss on the other end. See? You only need this in your bag and you’re good to go! And did I mention that the tint smells oh so rosy? As a finishing touch and when my face feels a little too oily, I pat down this minty face balm, also from Benefit. It works as an oil absorbent and also to set your make-up and it smells citrusy. But again, for some reason, my nose loves it!


Clockwise from tip: Benefit’s Pocket Pal with tint and gloss; L’Occitane’s Rose hand cream; Benefit’s Dr. Feel Good face balm; Clinique spot correcting cream; Benefit’s high-beam. These are the minimum carry-ons in my kikay kit.

And I just have to add this little power-packed moisturizer. During my last foreign trip, my skin got so dry (I think it got confused with the weather – 31 C during the day and 11 C during the night) it started cracking. None of the moisturizers I packed (the Tea Tree line from The Body Shop) helped so I asked the kind girl at Sephora to give me her strongest moisturizer and she gave me this FAB Ultra Repair Cream. FAB actually stands for First Aid Beauty. And it truly lives up to its name. 
FAB repair cream; Benetint lip balm with SPF – smells like roses!

On a side note, I’m stuck in bed right now and since I don’t want to be totally unproductive, thought I’d write about some of my latest make-up purchases. These babies aren’t exactly new – just a very late post. Hope you get to try and like them as much as I do!

Only Avene Touches my Skin (at least for now)

I said it before but I’ll say it again – I have really sensitive skin. Lately, the condition’s gotten worse so I had to go to a derma and she recommended that I try Avene.
It’s a French brand that uses spring water from the founts of Avene (hence the name)and it’s recommended for people with really sensitive skin. I got the cicalfate, a repairing cream for my skin since I now have scaly skin that’s so dry it’s actually breaking and bleeding in some parts, from my derma (I think it’s for prescription only) but the rest can be bought at Mercury drugstores. 

Hubby bought the soap for me. I used Aveeno (a Johnson and Johnson product) and while it’s still a good one, it hasn’t been able to keep up with my increasingly sensitive skin so for now, I’m using the Avene one.  And I don’t know for how long, but if you purchase a regular priced item, you get a sample sized facial essence for free. Lucky me got two! A good deal and also what I need since I ran out of SKII and I have yet to retrieve my Shu Uemura goodies.

Anyway, so far so good. After just a few days, my skin is healing already so I can’t wait to also grab their lotion and lip balm. And if results are as good, then I’m definitely a convert. Prices are quite steep though – the Cifalcate is Php1,000 for 1.35 Oz (it’s a little bigger than the smallest toothpaste tube) and the soap is Php695, a tad more expensive than Physiogel (another product I recommend for those with super sensitive skin) but definitely cheaper than SKII (which isn’t even sold locally; the nearest place would be in HK). 

But it’s definitely worth it than enduring itchy and painful skin.

Cebu in One Day

Since summer is almost done and I have yet to do any major trips (my Bohol trip last February doesn’t count – I still consider it part of the Christmass-y season though it was very hot), I decided to tag along one of hubby’s trips for a weekend in Cebu. 

(But to more precise, I think it’s hubby’s way of making sure I don’t nag him for being away for most of the summer. I can’t nag him for always going on trips if I’m with him, right???)

Anyway, this was the view from the hallway outside our room:

I’m a crab (born under the Cancer sign) and while I don’t believe all those zodiac things, I do love the water. I can spend hours or days just looking at it.
We stayed at the Costa Bella resort. I was a little hesitant at first since I read not so good reviews about the place. It was isolated and the beach front wasn’t really much; plus the pool closes at 7 and 10 (for pools 1 and 2, respectively). But, the people were very nice and I really liked the room. Too bad though that the hubby lost his Tissot watch there – sad because since we got married, we’ve been buying his/hers watches and now one of mine doesn’t have its “partner.”
Sorry for the lopsided shot – I had only two hours of sleep since I got home really late, had to work some more and slept at 1AM only to get up at 3AM for our early morning flight.
Enough about that. There aren’t really a lot of touristy places in Cebu (and the beaches are subpar compared to nearby Bohol and Boracay) so you can easily just get a car rental and breeze through the city.

Our first stop was Magellan’s Shrine in Mactan. Not much here but place was really well-kept and not crowded. Too bad it was so hot that we forgot all about Lapu-Lapu nearby.

After that, we went to Fort San Pedro. I read somewhere that it’s the smallest fort in the country – quite obvious as you can circle (err… the place is actually triangular in shape) the place in 10-15 minutes.

The fort used to have fourteen cannons, and judging from the number I saw, I guess most of them are still there.

The place is kind romantic – it had a garden inside which I think would make for a lovely wedding reception. But again, I’m showing my personal bias here – hubby and I were married in Intramuros and had our reception inside one of the gardens there.

We also went to mass at the Pedro Calungsod Chapel – built by the Sy family inside the sprawling SM Compound. I kind of got lost hearing mass because parts were in Mandarin, even the songs!

We were quite famished after the mass so we headed out to CRT…but they ran out of lechon. 😦 So… we settled for the 2nd best lechon in Cebu: Rico’s Lechon. 

Which was quite a disappointment. The meat wasn’t tender and flavorful and the skin wasn’t crispy. I was happier with the lechon sold at the Market Market grocery. And the staff weren’t very friendly – there were five of us in the group and they kept insisting that the 5th member of our group sit in a separate table – by himself!!! Of course, we wouldn’t have it so we politely told them that the best thing to do was to push the two tables to the wall, thereby creating enough space for five, leave the aisle open and the 3rd table free for other customers. I think they hated us for suggesting it. 

But if ever you end up eating at this place, get the spicy lechon. The original one was no good at all.

After lunch, our guide took us to the Cebu Heritage Monument, a sculpture by National Artist Edgardo Castrillo, depicting different eras in Cebu’s history – perhaps one of the nicest monuments I’ve seen in the country. I mean, we don’t have this in Manila!

Perhaps the highlight of our tour was the Yap – San Diego ancestral house which was just across the street from the monument. Hubby and I are suckers for old stuff and our dream is to have an old-style Filipino house so this was a real treat.
Dining room downstairs – I don’t really think the family used this space as a dining room back in the day. As far as I know, the ground floor of old Filipino houses are almost always used as stock rooms.
Playing master and mistress of the old house.
The formal dining room upstairs
The master’s bedroom which is still used today. They’ve put insulators so they can put air conditioning in the room, otherwise, the place would have been unbearably hot.

Breakfast nook. Do you spy those gold plates and pitchers? Now I want to go to my lola’s house and horde hers. They’re antique and I would hate to see them just broken to pieces.
This is perhaps the spookiest site in the house. I don’t know about you but I have a certain fear of images and statues.

Manong had to explain to my companions what this chair is for but I already knew! In fact, we had an even more indulgent version at home – a rocking chair version carved out of narra with long armrests for you to rest your legs on (not your arms, mind you). It was one of my favorite hangouts at my parent’s house ( inherited my love of wooden furniture from them so you’ll see lots of narra, mahogany and teakwood stuff at our family house). Hahaha!

Of course, we couldn’t miss Magellan’s Cross:

Just ignore the Ben10 balloon floating in the ceiling, will you?
Colorful candles for the devoted Catholics who want to pray at Magellan’s Cross
The Santo Nino Basilica, or what you can make of it anyway on a busy Sunday.
Okay, we’re not Taoists but this temple was part of our guide’s itinerary and I’ve never really been to one so there. It’s inside the gated Beverly Hills community up in the mountains overlooking the city (I almost laughed when our guide said we were going to Beverly Hills – I thought he was joking).

I have to say – while dragons are one of the symbols of the devil for Catholics like me, I respect the way the Chinese  revere their places of worship. The place was immaculate and obviously well-kept. If I were part of this religion, I would really be proud of this temple.
We didn’t dare climb the steps up to the temple itself. I was in no condition to hike for obvious reasons and we were all tired so we just gawked at how pretty the temple looked and went on our way.

Our last stop was Tops – quite a literal description of the place since it is the highest vantage point in Cebu. I don’t recall visiting this place during our honeymoon seven years ago (7 years!!!) but the hubby insisted we did so fine. It’s not that he has a better memory but since I couldn’t prove otherwise, I just let the argument swing to his favor.

Pretty! Once you step in, the labyrinth-like tunnels open up to tables on the right…
… and stores on the left.

viewing deck
Well, that’s it for my short but sweet Cebu escapade. We stayed only two days (and I spent the first day just catching up with our friends) but I really enjoyed it.

I’m Back!!!

I’m back!!! I don’t know if anybody missed me while I was on hiatus for the last two or so months (I hope I have some loyal readers out there) but it’s good to be back blogging. 

So… what have I been up to?

Well, my laptop got a virus that made it very hard to upload photos and browse the net. I couldn’t use my office laptop because, well, it’s an office laptop, and I am not that familiar with a Macbook so I was hesitant to blog using hubby’s (for fyi, I am using a trusty Vaio running on Windows). And hubby took his sweet time getting my laptop fixed and by the time he did… well, I just got a little too busy.

And sickly. Been having dreadful migraines (and a panic attack once!) of late so I just lie down whenever I have free time. But more on this later. Trust me, it’s all good, nothing to worry about.

I’ve got a couple of posts lined up so please be patient. Need to sort out the photos first which takes me quite some time. Hope I get it all done today!