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Five Theories for the Perfect Sleep.

The perfect sleep can seem like something we constantly chase and never truly find. Sleeping too much, or not enough, takes its toll on us both physically and emotionally. There are, however, a few ways that you can maximize the restfulness of your sleep.

Stick to a Routine
In order to sleep well every night, it’s important to stick to a routine. Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning – even on weekends. By having a sleep cycle that is all over the place, our bodies never quite adjust. But by ensuring that you have the same amount of sleep each night, and wake up and go to sleep at the same times, out bodies become used to the routine. Because of this, we are able to shut down more easily and sleep comfortably.

Turn off Your Mobile
It’s been found that the radiation from our mobile phones can interfere with us achieving REM state sleep. So, if you’re using your mobile phone as an alarm clock, it’s best to stop doing that now. Buy an alarm clock, and turn off any devices you have lying around, or just leave them in a separate room. By doing this, our bodies are free to fall into a deep sleep without any disturbance from outside forces.

Sleeping like a boss. :)
Find the Right Mattress
Just like finding a routine, the right mattress makes a large difference on the restfulness of our sleep. Try out some different kinds, and consider any ailments such as allergies or injuries you have that may be affecting your sleep. If you can find the right mattress to cater for your needs, you are sure to have a more comfortable sleep.

Get Rid of the Noise
Any noises you hear in the night won’t just wake you up, but will affect the quality of your sleep for the rest of the night. To ensure a deep, restful sleep, block out as much noise as you can. Close all of the doors in the house if you can hear the fridge humming or the cars outside. You may even want to try out earplugs or earmuffs if you live in a busy, metropolitan area.

Lower the Lights
Our bodies are naturally attuned to sleeping better when the light is low. Try not to leave any lights on during the night, and make sure that your room is as dark as possible. Turn off any gadgets that emit a light, and pull down the blinds if the moon is shining in. The darker the room, the easier you will fall asleep and stay that way.
Sleep can be one of the most important factors in our health and well-being. Make sure that you are sleeping the recommended amount, and that you are using the right mattress for you. Follow these tips to achieve the best sleep possible. Be sure to visit Latex Mattress Australia for more information on choosing the right mattress for a good night’s sleep.


Pucker Up! | EOS Alice in Wonderland Lip Balm Collection.

Whoa. It's been weeks since I last posted a decent product review in this blog. Three weeks, to be exact. I've been experiencing blogging burn-out lately, and although I have tons of makeup and skincare products stashed at home, waiting to be tested and reviewed, I've been too lazy and too uninspired to write.

But now that the little man is on semestral break, I have more time to sit in front of my laptop and try do this as much writing as I can. Take note of the key word 'try', haha. :)

And now that the days are colder, the nights are longer, and chapped lips are imminent, I'll be sharing with you my favorite lip balm brand - Evolution of Smooth, more popularly known as 'eos'.
Inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
This is the Alice in Wonderland Collection, a limited edition set which was released Fall of last year. I got mine from, which I ordered through my friend Jaimee, who owns the personal shopping site Byzmo. I can't remember the exact price of this in dollars when I bought it, but I remember paying Php 625 (a little over $13) for this set, shipping from the US included.
Back of the box. :)
As you can see, there are three spheres included in this pack - each with different flavors. The blue one is Blueberry Potion, the pink one is Watermelon Wonderland, and the cream one is Sweet Vanilla Nonsense.
Little Alices all in a row. :)
This set comes in a very cute packaging. The side panels are adorned with tiny Alice prints, and inside it gets even cuter. It's a mini-diorama of the Mad Hatter, with the quote 'Very few things indeed, were really impossible'. How's that for today's word of wisdom? :)
Very few things indeed, were really impossible.
Now let's talk about the lip balms. They come in the ever-so-popular spheres, but in lieu of the little indentation on the side, these lip balms have Mickey ears instead. Even my little man recognized the design right away. 
Mickey ears on the side.
eos logo on top.
Twist off the top, and voila! You get these solid, egg-shaped balms that you simply smooth on to your lips.
Twist off top. Pucker up. Smooth on. Smile. :)
These lip balms glide on like a dream, and they don't feel heavy or greasy on the lips. They are scented, yes, but the scent is mild and not overpowering. Best of all, they moisturize the lips, leaving it soft, smooth, and supple. No more chapping or cracking!
Definitely my HG lip balms. 
What I love:
- Super cute packaging.
- The product does as it claims - moisturizes, softens, heals chapped lips.
- Yummy scent/s that's not overpowering.
- Non-sticky, non-greasy.
- 100% natural, 95% organic.
- Paraben and petrolatum free.
- Not tested on animals. 

What you might not like:
- Not available locally.
- It's a limited edition release, (plus it came out Fall of 2012) 
so it's a bit difficult to find this set now.
- The spheres are a bit too bulky (but they're cute nonetheless, haha).

Have you tried these lip balms, or other EOS products? Which one is your favorite? :)


Foodie Goodie | Jack Skellington Cupcakes.

With the Day of the Dead just around the corner, I'm sure there are lots of Halloween parties happening left and right. If you're hosting one, here's an idea. Spice up (or should I say 'spook up'?) your dessert table with this quirky treat inspired by the king of Halloween himself - Jack Skellington! They make great giveaways for the kids (and kids at heart), too!

Jack Skellington Cupcakes

For the cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter softened
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vinegar

For the frosting
White buttercream frosting
2 toothpicks
Tube of black decorator's icing

1. Preheat oven to 325 °F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.
2. In a bowl. combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt. Mix on low speed until blended for about 3 minutes.
3. Add in butter, vinegar and eggs 1 at a time until combined. Slowly add milk to batter until completely mixed, scraping down the bowl as you mix.
4. Scoop batter into baking cups filling about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick  inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 to 20 minutes.
5. Frost the cupcakes using the white buttercream.
6. For each cupcake, use the tip of a toothpick to lightly etch the outline of two large Jack Skellington eyes in the frosting.
7. Slowly pipe black decorator's icing onto the etched lines and then fill in the inner circles. Use another toothpick to spread and smooth the icing.
8. Pipe on two short lines for a nose. Next, pipe a long line across the bottom of the cupcake for the mouth. 9. For the finishing spooky touch, randomly top the mouth with a bunch of short icing barbs.

Shared with Food Friday and Food Trip Friday.


The Face Shop | 10 Years of 'Natural Story'.

I must admit, the main reason that I started buying and using The Face Shop products was because of their poster boy, Kim Hyun Joong.

He was my favorite Flower Boy (from the hit 2009 drama 'Boys Over Flowers'), my favorite among the members of SS501 (his now defunct boyband), and one of the first Hallyu stars that I literally went gaga over, lol.
My favorite Flower Boy.
Moving forward, Kim Hyun Joong has been endorsing The Face Shop for the past three years. Launched in 2003, the brand opened its doors to the public with its very first branch in Myeongdong, South Korea, and has since become a household name in the global beauty industry.

'Natural Story' was the brand's concept, and it was as simple as it could be. The Face Shop wanted to share the benefits of nature, and together with science, deliver the best products for the skin.

Taking pride in using only the highest-quality, all-natural ingredients, The Face Shop also boasts of products that are reasonably priced for the modern woman of today. Their successful line of skincare and cosmetic staples is testament to worldwide consumer loyalty, and product effectiveness.

Natural Story.
It's been a decade since that fateful day in Myeongdong, and to commemorate this glorious occasion, The Face Shop has released a 10th Anniversary Limited Edition set containing five of their most popular, best-selling products of all time.
Happy Anniversary, The Face Shop!
Included in the set are:
Natural Sun Super White SPF50+ PA+++.
The brand's signature sun care line. Since its release in 2006, the Natural Sun AQ line of products has seen additions and evolution due to advancements in sun care technology. Nine products comprise this trendy sun care line with each product empowering consumers with sun protection plus added skincare benefits based on their activities and needs.

Raspberry Roots Sleeping Mask.
Koreans are known for incorporating mask sheets in their daily beauty regimen, and The Face Shop's 'Real Nature' and 'Raspberry Roots' masks are consumer favorites. The 'Real Nature' line sells over a million pieces globally per month while the 'Raspberry Roots' line is a favorite among international customers since its release in 2006.

Rice Water Cleansing Foam.
Staying true to its commitment of providing effective and affordable skincare products, the brand’s famous 'Herb Day 365' and 'Rice Water Bright' cleansers have remained at budget-friendly prices for 8 years in a row. These products are best known as long-lasting cleansers that have superb brightening and cleansing powers with instant results guaranteed.

Chia Seed Moisture Holding Seed Cream.
One of The Face Shop's signature skin care lines, Chia Seed is armed with an eco-friendly concept and packed with premier hypo-allergenic quality ingredients. The Chia Seed Moisture-Holding Seed Cream,  which keeps the skin soft and hydrated 24/7 by sealing in moisture, has been a steady best-seller since its release last year.

One of my favorite BB Creams of all time (I even regard heralded this as one of my HG BB Creams), and the number one selling product in the brand’s BB cream category. More than 1 million pieces have been sold since it was first introduced in the market, making it a legend among consumers - a hit in countries like China, Southeast Asia, and Japan.
The 10th Anniversary LE set. :)
Selling at Php 1500 (around $34) here in the Philippines, this Limited Edition Set is now available at all The Face Shop outlets worldwide.

Have you tried any of these products yet? What's your favorite beauty/skincare product from The Face Shop? :)


Foodie Goodie | Carrot Cupcakes.

Who's in the mood for carrot cupcakes? I am! I even dreamt of them last night, haha!

And so for this week's edition of Foodie Goodie, I'll be featuring - yep, you guessed it right - this carrot cupcake recipe which is a fusion (or should I say my tweaking) of the recipes I learned from both Martha Stewart and the Food Network. Enjoy! :)

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of ground nutmeg
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots, peeled)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup shredded coconut, for garnishing

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.
2. Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. In a large stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the brown sugar, oil and eggs until well combined.
4. Add the carrots and vanilla.
5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
6. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chopped walnuts.
7. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
8. With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and orange juice until smooth and creamy.
9. Frost the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with the shredded coconut.

Shared with Food Friday and Food Trip Friday.


EZRA | The First Capsule Collection from ZALORA.

So what's a 'capsule collection', you may ask. Just to be clear, it's not a collection of medicines, or things that you pop into your mouth when you are (or to avoid getting) sick. A capsule collection or capsule wardrobe is actually a set of easy-to-wear items that can be mixed and matched to create a number of different stylish ensembles.

This concept was pioneered by American designer Donna Karan in 1985, when she first released her '7 Easy Pieces Collection'. These seven pieces are: a bodysuit, a blouse (or turtleneck), a coat, a jacket, a skirt, a pair of pants (or trousers), and an evening dress.

When this collection debuted in the runway, Donna Karan showed models dressed only in bodysuits and black tights. And as the show progressed, the models then began adding items of clothing such as jackets and trousers, to show versatility of the pieces and the interchangeable style of dressing.

An example of the 7 Easy Pieces.
Here in the Philippines, online fashion store Zalora recently launched their own capsule collection with their own clothing label, EZRA. This in-house, exclusive collection features clothing, shoes, and accessories for women, with a range of menswear already in the works.
Here's a bit of info about the brand:
Fresh, exciting and current, EZRA is for fashion-lovers who pride themselves on staying on the forefront of trends and up-to-the-minute style. Drawing inspiration from the catwalk, celebrity looks and street style, EZRA is a must-have for style-setting individuals that value unique and affordable fashion.

EZRA’s collective of international, Singapore based designers continually scour the globe for inspiration to bring you the latest in what’s directional and cool. This is seen in the diverse range of on-trend pieces found in both the women and men’s collections of apparel, footwear and bags.

Womenswear incorporates fun and flirty designs for the girl who loves the frivolity of fashion to the chic and trend-savvy, for the girl who likes to stand out from the crowd. Pieces that can take her from day to night with ease are paired with footwear and bags that effortlessly complete the EZRA look. EZRA’s Men’s collections embraces a wide-range of trends from youthful street-style to a more refined sartorial look that allow any guy to experiment with an assortment of modern, global-inspired looks.

Now take a look at some of my favorite stuff from this newly-unveiled line. These are pieces of clothing that I would actually wear, considering that I'm a simple jeans and t-shirt girl in real life. Haha! :)
Drop-waist T-shirt Dress, Php 595.
Tweed Jacket, Php 2195.
Metallic Lace Tee, Php 649.
Embellished Collar Sheath Dress, Php 1795.

You can view the entire collection here, and you can get to know more about EZRA here. :)


Sneak Peek | xoxo Minnie Etude x Disney Collection.

Tomorrow, October 15, will be D-Day.
And I mean 'Disney Day', as Korean cosmetics giant Etude House launches the xoxo Minnie collection - a collaboration with the multinational mass media corporation, Walt Disney.
Pretty Sulli!
Makeup enthusiasts, Korean cosmetics junkies (like me!), and even Kpop fans have been buzzing about this upcoming collection, and here's a sneak peek at what Etude House has to offer.
Click the image to enlarge! :)
I see a lot of shimmer and sparkle in this photo, with those nail glitters and pink and red nail polishes. There's also a Volumizer Mascara, single eyeshadow pans, and false eyelashes to boot. Of course you can't miss that pink lipstick - front and center, and that pan of blush with Minnie Mouse embossed in it.
I'm officially lusting over the second blush.
There are two blushes in this collection, with two different illustrations on the cover. The third pan, as it turns out, is a case for the Precious Mineral Any Cushion. The Cushion pact is actually refillable, so if you have refills in stock, you can simply insert it into this uber cute Minnie Mouse case.

Now here's the thing. This collection will be released in South Korea only. I'm not sure if Etude House even has plans of releasing this collection in other parts of Asia in the near future, but for now, it's just gonna be South Korea. Having a husband who works in Seoul sure comes in handy, lol.

If you have friends or relatives who are in South Korea or are planning to visit the country, then perhaps you can ask them to get this collection for you. Or maybe, just maybe, my favorite online stores will be able to source out this collection. Let's keep our fingers crossed and I'll post updates just in case. :)


Get your Pink on for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.
Photo credit: Fine Art America.
In an effort to educate and empower women to take charge of their own breast health, Q-T Intimates, an innovator in the world of intimate apparel, is collaborating with the Breast Cancer Charities of America (BCCA). Q-T Intimates is proud to partner with the BCCA and support the work they are doing to make a difference in women's lives.

The BCCA is the leader in integrated cancer care, bringing together progressive breast cancer authorities from different health care and allied health care disciplines to spread their message to the women of America. They focus on bringing the body, mind and spirit to the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

Through their program services, BCCA's goal is to educate, teach and provide the latest accurate information about integrated cancer care, cancer prevention, recovery, treatment, early detection and survival. The group is dedicated to ending breast cancer as a life-threatening illness. Their iGoPink campaign hosts several events and fundraisers each year to help fund research on the link between breast cancer and nutrition, educate the public and health care professionals on integrated cancer care, and support the "Help Now Fund," which provides food, clothing, shelter, transportation, mammograms and more to women who are uninsured or in need.

Q-T Intimates has created a limited edition bra, the Breast Cancer Awareness Bra, that is available only through the end of October. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each limited production bra will go to support the BCCA's iGoPink campaign. The fashionable t-shirt bra is made with seamless microfiber and features a low center gore, underwire support and lace trim detail. The black padded plunge bra is also adorned with pink bows and a sparkling pink breast cancer awareness ribbon charm.
The Breast Cancer Awareness Bra.
Crafted with imported materials and made of 90% Nylon and 10% Spandex, the Breast Cancer Awareness Bra is produced in limited quantities and will be available for delivery throughout October only. It's currently being sold at $25, and $5 per bra will be donated to the iGoPink campaign.

Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a special discount!
Q-T Intimates will continue to celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by offering 20% off all orders over $50 throughout their online store. Use offer code AWARENESS at checkout to receive this special discount.

P.S. Even the American Gangster is a Breast Cancer Awareness advocate. Thank you for supporting the cause, Chael Sonnen! You truly are a champion. :)
Pink ribbon on his walkout shirt, UFC Fight Night 26.


Foodie Goodie | Beef & Rotini.

I've always been fascinated with rotini pasta ever since I was a kid. They're literally pasta 'with a twist' as they come in a corkscrew, spiral shape. They even have colored variants, such as the Barilla Tri-Color Rotini, which were often given to us as gifts by relatives who used to work in Italy.

And after seeing how much love my Spaghetti Aglio Oglio received from you, my dear readers, I decided to share another pasta recipe for this week's edition of Foodie Goodie. Like the Aglio Oglio, this dish uses the simplest ingredients and takes just about half an hour to cook.

Beef & Rotini

500 grams lean ground beef
1 pound rotini pasta, uncooked
1 pack 250g Del Monte Beef & Mushroom Pasta Sauce
1 pack 560g Del Monte Sweet Style or Italian Style Spaghetti Sauce
2 cups Mozarella cheese

1. In a skillet, cook ground beef until brown. Drain the excess oil.
2. In the same skillet, stir in the pasta sauces and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
3. Stir in uncooked rotini and return to a boil.
4. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes or until rotini is al dente). 
5. Remove from heat then sprinkle with cheese.
6. Cover and let stand for five minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Shared with Food Friday and Food Trip Friday.


Trend-spotting | Red is in for Autumn 2013!

This season's makeup trend is all about being fiery and bold. And nothing speaks bold like a tube of smoldering red lipstick. So expect MAC's Ruby Woo and Rimmel's Kate Red to be selling like hotcakes this season. (As if Ruby Woo isn't a bestseller all throughout the year, lol.)

Not to be outdone by the European and Western brands, Korean cosmetics companies have also released makeup collections that are attuned with this season's trend.

Feast your eyes on the latest releases from some of my favorite Korean makeup brands.
Han Bo Reum for The Face Shop.
It is what it is for The Face Shop's Fall (and Winter) Collection - Simply Classic
My eyes are fixated on the fourth to the last tube. :)
Their Artist Touch lipstick has three ranges - Moisture, Glossy, and Creamy Matte. Pictured above are the shades from the Moisture range.
Yoona for Innisfree.
Meanwhile, glossy, moisturized lips are the promise of Innisfree's Color Glow line. There are ten different shades in the collection, and those purple-toned ones in the middle kinda tickle my fancy.
BoA for Missha.
Missha, on the other hand, calls its Fall collection 'Belle Epoque' - reminiscent of the era of artistic and cultural refinement in French history. That wine red lipstick from the Fatal Aura range is giving me the 'Moulin Rouge' vibe - chic, sultry, and utterly sexy.
Rosy Tint Lips.
Etude House's Rosy Tint Lips are actually lip stains - with a twist to it.
Sulli for Etude House.
They're packaged like lip glosses but are highly pigmented, with a creamy texture and a matte finish. And I can't wait to grab shades number 3 and 8 for myself, lol.
Loving Laneige. :)
Last but not the least, there's Laneige and their heart-pounding, show-stopping collection of 'Serum Intense' Lipstick. They have 20 different shades in the collection, all of which have a lovely, satin finish.

But why, you may ask, is red the 'in' thing this autumn?
Park Hye Jeong, a makeup artist at NARS, puts it this way, "A prolonged recession makes people feel that they can't afford even a little bit of luxury. A simple touch of red lipstick alone is like complete make-up, so the answer is red."

So ladies, which red lipstick will you be wearing this season?