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BLOG SALE ANNOUNCEMENT + NEW UPLOADS this week!

I'm having a blog sale but most of the items are yet to be posted since I have to get them from my parent's house. If you are interested kindly visit the BLOG SALE from this site's menu.



For inquiries, please send an email to arra.jurado@gmail.com

A Stroll Down Nagore Square, Penang

This is just one of the posts on my short stay in George Town, Penang. I was glad to find out that George Town has restaurants and cafes that resemble those found in Quezon City (think of Maginhawa, Tomas Morato or Timog).

One night while strolling along Nagore Road and checking out the establishments, we happened to pass by this quirky restaurant called PIK NIK crowded with large groups of what looked like college students. We were lucky to find a table the next day just before patrons started to come in, and had our late snack there. Customers can play and dine at the same time because they got card and board games.







Their menu isn't much, but it has pasta and rice meals if you really want to have a full meal. We ordered waffles with bacon and eggs paired with maple syrup, cheesy baked macaroni and fries.




The waffle was good - I enjoyed it because I like my food sweet and salty. I only had a little of the baked macaroni because the waffle was quite heavy on the stomach.



I was disappointed in their iced lemon tea. It's not the same brewed tea that is served in most restaurants in Malaysia. It tasted like the powdered drink we have here in PH. Anyway, it's a good thing Christian liked his toffee drink. 



I loved all the dips for our fries! We had wasabi and honey mustard aside from the usual ketchup.

I wanted to get myself some gelato but I was too full. So, we went back to the hotel and took a nap because we didn't know what else to do and it just looked like we're killing time. 

After the long nap, we checked out the nearest mall from Nagore Square (just walking distance from PP Island Hotel). I took this photo while we're on our way. Apparently, Penang has a thing for street arts. 


In Malaysia, they really go all out with the Chinese New Year decors. You have got to see their malls. So many faux cherry blossom trees everywhere!















Even if it was a Friday night and two days before Chinese New Year, Nagore Square wasn't swarming with people. Penang is very laid back indeed - very Fairview, Quezon City. Haha.


Another, I-need-to-capture-this street art photo. 

After my hour-long shopping at a Guardian pharmacy, we grabbed some drinks at a bar located along a short stretch of an alley.


I got a mocktail garnished with a blinking object. The people beside our table were in awe too. 

Yours truly enjoying the drink. I had too many frizzy drinks from this short trip.


 A mandatory photo of us. I wish we could stay like this forever, living carefree. We had a petty fight that night because I didn't want to be taught about the camera settings (silly, he-he).

That is all for this one-day wander at Nagore Square. If you happen to be visiting Penang and your hotel is just a few blocks away from Jalan Nagore, want to dine and wine, check out retail stores (more like window shopping because some boutiques are pricey), include this in your itinerary. I believe there are also nail salons and spa houses here. It's not called a lifestyle hub for nothing.

NEW IN: Mushroom Brush


Introducing my first makeup brush purchase this 2016! I like unconventional makeup brushes because they add a special feel to my vanity table. So, when I saw this at Pretty Angel Shoppe I knew I had to get one. They used to have a showroom near my place but they've relocated which is not actually far from our village. But, I didn't want to go all the way out there just to buy a single brush so I asked my sister to get this from their booth at Pop Culture Trinoma on her way home.



The short bristles are soft and dense. I have used this in applying my BB cream and it did a good job in reducing my application time in half.

It comes with a free brush guard and is also available in black and baby pink, but I love the white color the most because it just looks so pristine.

Next on my wish list is a paddle foundation brush. The set is too expensive (Php 4,000 is the cheapest) and the brushes in color gold are not sold individually! So I'm waiting for a re seller who would release a similar brush for a more affordable price. If you know one, kindly tell me!

NEW IN: Essensu Hair Spritz in Sayaka




Essensu Lifestyle Essentials is fairly new in the market and one of their heavily promoted products is the scented hair fragrance spritz seemingly inspired by anything Japanese (think of cherry blossom).

One of the things I love doing in Malaysia is eating. It bothers me that the smell of food sticks to my hair whenever I eat at restaurants, not just in Malaysia, but pretty much a 'mane' problem everywhere. So I asked my sister who's working for the company to get me a bottle of their hair spritz because I had no time to buy my travel essentials for my trip.

Scent / Size / Price

I initially wanted to get Sakura (cherry blossom) but the Sis told me that the scent Sayaka is their best-seller and Kris Aquino's favorite. For its name, I expected a fruity-floral scent but it smells citrusy and crisp. It's actually a versatile scent if  I may add.

One of its ingredients is deodorized ethyl alcohol. Anyway, I don't feel like googling it right now. Haha.  I don't really like the idea of spraying alcohol on my hair but the argan oil sort of eases my worry away. Priced at Php 350 a bottle, the 30 ml hair mist is somewhat pricey. I don't really use it daily because I always work from home anyway, so it's fine to spray it religiously when I'm out.


Longevity / Caveat

On my hair, the scent lasts for less than an hour but you can still notice a faint smell throughout the day so you're not totally left with unscented hair. It will help mask the smell of food but is not effective in covering the smell of sweat on your scalp. However, it's not a big deal because who does have a sweet-smelling scalp anyway?

Tips / How to use

The key here is to spray it sparingly on your hair few minutes after you step out of the restaurant. This is to give enough time to lessen the smell of food before putting hair fragrance, or else it would smell funny - although tolerable. Make sure to shake well before use until the fragrance and the serum are mixed together. It is advised to hold the bottle 3 to 4 inches away from the head. Then, spray the product on random sections of your hair.

Availability / Social media accounts / Final thoughts

I always bring this with me and it has been one of my daily must-haves. It is affordable and convenient to carry around. Plus, the product is housed in a fancy bottle adorned with a little ribbon which I find really cute.

It's available in Essensu kiosks and I believe they also deliver within the country. For branches in Metro Manila, I was only able to get the following: SM North EDSA, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Place Manila, Cash and Carry Mall and Fisher Mall and Skin Perfect branches nationwide. 

Visit Essensu Facebook Page or their Instagram @accountessensu_ph for more info.

I'm curious if you also find it necessary to use scented hair mist daily when you're out and about. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

MY HAUL | My First Catrice Purchase



It's funny that I just recently found out that Catrice has been around in the Philippines since 2014. Like, 'luh?' (para in sa mga bagets ngayon) . It's been a long time since I purchased cosmetics because I have been working from home since early 2015 so I don't play with my makeup collection as much as I used to.

Although the brand's packaging is aesthetically pleasing with it's clear acrylic packaging, I never paid attention to it until I spent a good one hour at a Guardian pharmacy in Penang. The brand is a bit cheaper in Malaysia - actually, most things in Malaysia are cheaper. 

Anyway, below is the list of products with  their prices in Malaysian Ringgit (counter-clockwise):

Absolute Eye Colour Mono in 080 Go, Charlie Brown! | RM 15.90 (Buy 1 Take 1)
A cool brown color in matte finish.

Absolute Eye Colour Mono in 400 My First Copperware Party | RM 15.90 (Buy 1 Take 1)
They say it is a dupe for MAC's Satin Taupe. 

Sun Glow Matt Bronzing Powder in 030 Medium Bronze | RM 18.90
I have been using a darker pressed powder from Clinique as my contour powder for so long that I didn't even think of getting a good bronzer. I've had been meaning to get the matte bronzer from NYX in Light, but this one from Catrice is much cheaper so I had to get it.

Defining Blush in 020 Rose Royce | On Sale RM 13 (RM 16.88)
Blusher is my third must-have beauty product, next to eyebrow products and tinted lip balms. I love blushers in beige, rose or mauve colors and based on a few swatches online, the color payoff is promising.   

Camouflage Cream in 010 Ivory  | RM 16.90
I don't use concealer but I read some good reviews about the Camouflage Cream so this is the first on my to-buy list. It's quite light on my skin, but they only had two colors and the other one was too dark.

That's all for my small haul from Catrice. Their products are not expensive at all even in their regular prices. It cost me roughly Php 200 for each item! I got the two mono eyeshadows for the price of one. I actually bought quite a lot of stuff from Guardian which I will be sharing on my next post. I feel guilty for spending money on pretty things, but whatever.

Kindly share your favorite Cartice products. I forgot to check out their highlighter. I read somewhere that it's a must-have from the brand and a nice dupe for Benefit High Beam. 

Instagram | PH Beauty Accounts to Follow!

I love Instagram! And a lot of people do. It's kind of entertaining to browse photos of bloggers and celebrities but I actually spend most of my (IG) time window shopping for makeup and clothes. I did not intend to pick just five accounts. It's just that, I can only think of these accounts right now. I did not include those Instagram users who have pioneered beauty blogging in our country because most probably you're following at least one of them.  Anyhow, let's see my top picks, in no particular order. 


I have a thing for good flat lays taken with natural light. It's rare for me to find an Instagram feed like Maj's, probably because I had stopped engaging myself from the beauty network for quite a long time. When I started following her, she has taken a bunch of photos featuring Ever Bilena products, which makes the brand more appealing. EB should give props to this girl!




RAIZACONTAWI

Raiza (Rai) is a Manila-based makeup artist who regularly facilitates makeup workshops. It's unlike me to follow bloggers who are full-time makeup artists because I'm someone who loves browsing through photos of beauty products than looking at selfies or FOTDs - but of course, I like pretty girls, haha. Besides, her flawless sultry looks have a signature feel to it which I like, because anything that is too experimental doesn't fly with me. I like her even more when she started vlogging during her Beauty Bound Asia stint.




DENISEOCHOA

Another makeup artist on my list! Being a Kathryn Bernardo fan, it's normal to get curious who's behind her fresh-faced look, and ever since I learned about her, I instantly became a fan of her work! If you've been living under a rock, Denise Ochoa is widely known in the showbiz industry as the go-to makeup artist of many female Filipino celebrities. Her signature makeup look is every girl's peg - dewy, fresh and natural. I often find myself wishing I could hire her as my bridal makeup artist - well if funds permit. Haha.




ARNIEVILLANUEVA_

This is not exactly a beauty account but for the fashion savvy. Apparently, our metropolis is not a place for the Plain Jane to strut her stuff - Hello, hassle commutes! That is why I like Ms. Villanueva's OOTDs. They are relatable and wearable. Her wardrobe staples are crisp and minimalist, yet very chic. I personally think that young professionals should take an example from her. Her style is contemporary and youthful.


KARENLIZESCOBAR

I stumbled across her account when an online seller that I have been following regrammed her lip swatches. She regularly features organic beauty products or drugstore makeup that are being sold online. She takes beautiful swatch fests too! I really wanted to try the products she recommends but I have too many in my stash.

Maybe you can recommend an Instagram account that I haven't discovered yet? 

Budget Beauty | My Favorite Tinted Lip Balm from a Local Brand!


First of all, thanks to Karen for letting me use one of her photos on my blog. Mine's already all white, the lip balm that is because the print on the sticker easily rubs off.

Before being fixated on this tinted lip balm, I was a fan of AVON's Simple Pretty Magic Lipstick (it's even Kathryn Bernado's favorite). But then I discovered this lip balm from Skin Potions through my sister who's fond of using organic skin care products. She bought it from Pop Culture Trinoma, where you can also find some online sellers selling clothes and beauty products. If you're not familiar with Skin Potions, it is one of those budding online stores who offer makeup and skin care products, mostly organic. Here in the Philippines, 2015 was a huge year for Instagram sellers of organic skin care products!

It was hard for me to find a tinted lip balm that I really like because most of them are not moisturizing and are too sheer for my liking. I know tinted lip balms are supposed to make your lips still look natural. But, I have dark lips so if the color is sheer it will not look good on me - I feel like it looks forced and tacky. 

I only have the shade Snow White's Kiss, which is a true red color on me. On other girls, it looks more pink than red. You can check Karen's lip swatches here. I like pink tints the least because they remind me of Lipps Candy - the one we used to buy as kids then use it as a lipstick because it leaves a pink stain.

Anyway, this is the kind of tinted lip balm that I was looking for: First, it is moisturizing - prevent dry lips. Second, it's pigmented. It sure is not an alternative to an opaque lipstick, but the amount of the liquid tint in the lip salve is greater than most tinted lip balms that I have tried. Third, this is the kind of tinted lip balm that leaves a good amount of stain even after eating.

About the not so good side - it has a bitter taste. I can tolerate the taste but it may be off-putting to many. If you're someone who likes licking lips or locking lips with the bf, you might want to blot with a tissue first. Because it's definitely not a boyfriend-friendly taste. 

While I prefer mine red, Skin Potions offers a variety of different colors. You can order it from your nearest online re-seller but it's also available in selected malls.

Skin  Potions Lip Candy | Php 180 | Official Instagram Account: @skinpotions
The photo above is from the Dream Catcher blog.

Budget Beauty: My Favorite BB Cream from Pond's


Skin Profile

Color: Light to Medium, Yellow undertone
Type: Combination to Oily skin
Condition: Few post-acne marks on the chin and across the forehead

Pond's Flawless  White BB+ Cream

Product Summary

Shade: Beige
Coverage: Light to Medium
Finish: Satin
Longevity: Long-wearing with minimal fading
Scented: Yes
Price: Php 299.00

This is my most-used and most-loved BB cream to date! I have been using this for two years now and I never switched to foundation ever since I started using it. It is lightweight and gives me a skin-like finish. It dries instantly and not sticky at all. I prefer dewy or satin finish over matte (even though I sweat and oil so much) because I like it when there's a subtle sheen on my face - it looks more healthy and radiant.

The product can provide light to medium coverage so you still need a concealer to hide stubborn dark spots. However, for daily use, I like mine more natural so I let my acne marks show as long as they're minimized or lightened. Still, it has good coverage for a BB cream. Although it is moisturizing on the skin, it still clings on dry patches so you need to prep your skin with your trusted moisturizer.

It's pretty weird that I get better coverage if I apply it using my fingers instead of brushes. It also lasts longer on me if I do that. But since I have oily skin on some areas of my face, I start blotting after 3 to 4 hours wear. I rarely retouch with powder, but it's better to pat some powder after blotting. The product doesn't break me out despite their reputation of giving girls pimples.



If you need a regular BB cream that is lightweight, gives great coverage and doesn't give you the sticky feeling. Try this BB cream from Pond's! It's also very budget-friendly!  

Who else loves Pond's Flawless  White BB+ Cream?

Keep Track of Your Cash Flow Using Google Sheets


It's pay day again and every millennial is rejoicing! I wish you and I could have the paycheck that is more than enough for our family. But, we all know that nothing in life that's worth having comes easy. So let's start by sacrificing a little bit and use tools that will help us manage our cash flow.

My  boyfriend and I agreed to save more this year, hence the need to closely monitor my cash flow. It also means having to eliminate our planned trip to Phuket and Bangkok on my birthday. But hey, It's still early. We'll just see how much we have saved as my birthday approaches. Haha.

Last Tuesday, I spent an exact amount of Php 324 for transportation and Php 420 for food. If you compute those amounts, it's already 3 days' worth of my allowance when I was still in my first job. Maybe for some people, Php 744 is a reasonable amount for a fast-paced life in Manila. But I think it's more than enough for a day of an employee who's not married and is still living with his parents.

Let me share my latest discovery: the Google Sheets. It's not actually new but I just learned that I kind of like the look and feel of the available no-fuss templates. Use it if you are like me who do not like operating non-social media activities on smartphones like scheduling and looking at your to-do list I also prefer typing on my laptop and writing on my planner.

I love using Google Sheets because it's easily accessible in Google Chrome if my Google account is signed in. I use most of Google's services and extensions, from email to blogging, so it's very convenient to have all  the necessary tools placed into one browser.

MONTHLY BUDGET

The Monthly Budget template allows you to enter your earnings and expenses, as well as organize them into categories. You can only edit the Starting Balance, Planned column and Categories. For the starting balance, I sum up my current savings (not including long-term savings) and cash-on-hand. 


The Actual columns retrieve data from your daily transactions which can be found in another worksheet. It's ideal to enter the exact amounts so you can have the actual figures of your expenses and income.




ANNUAL BUDGET

I have accomplished another template which is quite similar to the Monthly Budget template. Before another month begins for an annual view of my cash flow, I will transfer all the actual data to the Annual Budget template to give me a forecast of my ending balance for this year. I am hoping that I will hit my ending balance figure. 


For the next month, just save another copy of the Monthly Budget template. Replace the Starting Balance with the End Balance value from the previous month. Then, keep doing the same thing across monthly budget and annual budget templates. Maybe the only downsides are: the currency is in USD; and, switching between templates. But those are just my minor issues. Overall, I like it as it is. The practice makes me decisive and strategic about handling money. It also makes me feel guilty to spend more than I make. I hope this tip helps! I understand if you don't feel like making this a habit now because it seems a bit tedious for a busy person working a 9 to 5 job.

Do you have any tips about money and career? Please send me an email or comment below!