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4.29.2014

Spotlight | Godiva Natural Skincare.

If my memory serves me right, it was back in college when I first came across the brand Godiva. I was staying overnight at my best friend's house, and chanced upon his Mom doing her bedtime skincare ritual. I was quite surprised to see a 'Godiva' facial cream, since the only Godiva I knew of back then were the edible kind (ergo, chocolates).

Fast forward to twelve years later (gosh, has it really been that long since I've graduated from the University?!), I received a package of Godiva skincare products. And a generous one at that, as it contained full-sized bottles plus sample sachets of their entire product line.
Godiva Natural Skincare.
I believe Godiva disappeared from the market for a few years, as I don't remember seeing them in supermarkets or at Watson's for quite awhile. Now, the brand is making a comeback with a new and improved formulation together with a more eye-catching look. If I remember correctly, 'Godiva' used to be written with a cursive font, and they had this pink and white, girly-girly packaging.

As for the formulation, the all-new Godiva Natural Skincare line contains licorice, a plant commonly used as a sweetening agent. Its roots, on the other hand, are known to have several medicinal properties.

Licorice root extract contains an active ingredient called 'glabridin', a potent, naturally-derived ingredient, known around the world for its whitening properties. It works by inhibiting the production of melanin as it nourishes and protects the skin with its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. However, despite of its known skin benefits, glabridin is uncommon to commercial beauty products because of its steep price.

This is where Godiva Natural Skincare stands out. It uses licorice extract that not only has passed various clinical trials, but is also guaranteed safe and effective for use in skin whitening - at an affordable price, at that. Best of all, their products are all paraben-free!

Now let me walk you through each of the products that I've received. I'll give you my first impressions and initial thoughts about the products (not the usual, full-blown product review), as I've only started using them this month. I need more than four weeks (and perhaps bigger bottles, haha!) to properly gauge its whitening effect on my skin.

Read more about my experience with Godiva Natural Skincare products after the jump!

4.28.2014

Which Gadget to Buy?

Gadgets and electronic devices are very popular nowadays. Tablets, phablets, laptops, and the like - all these are readily available in the market, and easily available to consumers.

With its high demand and popularity, a lot of companies are starting to produce their own products and build their own brands. In fact, more and more start-up brands are now starting to become popular, and giving strong competition to the more popular brands. As such, more and more consumers now take into careful consideration which brand of gadget to buy, and where to buy them.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.
With today’s convenience, it’s indeed very much easier for individuals to purchase the things they want - thanks to technology. The online world, in particular, gives us instant access to things that would otherwise be far beyond our reach. This gives individuals an even wider range of products to choose from.

With such diversity of choices, consumers should take into consideration the following factors when it comes to buying gadgets and electronic devices.

Quality
This is the product's distinctive feature, and the one that matters the most. Checking the product’s specifications and features assures you that the brand you are buying is of good quality. This way, you can really be sure that you are getting your money's worth.

Practicality
If you can a same-quality product at a cheaper price, then go for it! Nowadays, high-end brands don’t really matter. As long as the gadget delivers and you get what you're paying for, then why not?

Suitability
In choosing a gadget, also take into account if the product meets your needs and suits your personality. This way, you can really get the most out of the gadget you are buying.


4.26.2014

Foodie Goodie | Katsudon.

If you're following me on Instagram, then you've probably noticed that I'm into Japanese dramas (dorama) as of late. And no, this isn't a new craze that I've just discovered. It's more like, rekindling with an old flame. You see, before I got into this whole Kpop and Kdrama frenzy, I was actually a fan of all things Japanese - from anime, to music, to video games, to martial arts, to food.

Speaking of which, one of my favorite Japanese dishes is katsudon. It's a donburi (rice bowl) topped with fried onions, egg, and a cutlet of deep fried pork (katsu). I've been craving for katsudon for weeks now, but since we don't have restaurants here that serve Japanese food with the authentic Japanese taste, I tried making my own katsudon instead.
Katsudon

Ingredients:
2 tonkatsu cutlets, sliced
1/3 cup dashi* stock
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 medium-sized carrot, thinly sliced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Steamed white rice

Procedure:
1. Combine dashi, sugar, and soy sauce in one bowl.
2. In another bowl, place the eggs then lightly beat.
3. Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add the oil.
4. Saute the onions until they are fragrant and start to turn translucent.
5. Pour the dashi mixture over the onions and carrots, then nestle the tonkatsu into the vegetables.
6. Drizzle the egg over everything and then sprinkle with green onions.
7. Cover with a lid and cook for another minute, or until the egg is mostly set.
8. In two large bowls, place the rice then top each bowl with the tonkatsu and egg. Serve immediately.

*Dashi is a Japanese broth used as a base in most Japanese dishes. It gives Japanese dishes the authentic flavor, and comes in granulated or liquid form. Traditional dashi is made by boiling kelp, anchovies, and bonito flakes.

Shared with Food Friday and Food Trip Friday.

Fashion Pulse | The Ultimate.

And it's that time of the year again when long sleeves and cardigans take a back seat in our closet, and out come the sundresses and tank tops. But along with wobbly buns and flabby arms come another body dilemma. It's the dreaded back fat - those rolls of flesh that are put into plain sight by an ill-fitting bra.

Thankfully, Shapeez - a bra and shape wear solutions company based in the US - came up with seamless shape wear to address this body hang-up. Their most popular style, The Ultimate, is a bra, camisole, and torso-trimmer all designed into one. It has a patented smooth back design which stamps out back bugles, and eliminates visible bra lines and horrendous muffin tops as well. It has molded, underwire cups with light foam padding that shape and support the breasts, and a smoothing control for the waist and tummy, hips and back.
The Ultimate by Shapeez.
The Ultimate has become a popular choice among women that it's even acclaimed as the best body shaper to date. It's been featured in several magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Glamour, People, InStyle, and O (The Oprah Magazine).
Left - some other bra. Right - with The Ultimate.
Photo credit: Shapeez.
The Ultimate sells for $89, and can be bought online, or at retail stores across Canada and the US.


4.25.2014

ONE FC: Rise of Heroes | Julaton to Replicate Pacquiao's Feat?

Will Ana Julaton emerge victorious in her first-ever mixed martial arts fight?
After Manny Pacquiao's victory over Timothy Bradley, I bet this question has been looming over Filipino fans, and mixed martial arts fans in general.

Exactly one week from today, we will get the answer as Ana Julaton makes her debut on ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC) at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in the card featuring the world bantamweight title fight between Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes and Japanese Masakatsu Ueda.

Julaton, who is of Filipino descent, will be battling former Egyptian kickboxing champion Aya Saeid Saber, who holds an MMA record of 2-3 and has been competing in professional MMA since 2012. Critics say this is considered an added advantage against the Fil-Am.
Photo credit: Ana Julaton.
But what is going in favour of Julaton is her boxing skills and experience being the former WBO and the IBA women's super bantamweight champion. Her deep involvement with martial arts (she's been into it since she was a kid) and black belts in Tae Kwon Do and Kenpo Karate are also plus points for Julaton.

These skills, combined with the new ones she has learned as an MMA fighter will be initially on display when Julaton conducts an open workout for the media and interested fans on Tuesday, April 29, at 2 p.m. at World Muay Thai Team USA at 4008 Yague St, cor. Chino Roces, Makati City. 

Julaton’s entry into MMA is generating growing interest as fans are curious if she would be able to duplicate her success in boxing in the ONE FC cage. She admitted that the transition to MMA has been physically tough but she’s enjoying it, adding that she’s used to the pressure of top competition. She is aware that in MMA a fighter has to use the hands and the feet, the elbows and the knees as well as grappling.

With an opportunity to fight for ONE FC, a stage that reaches 1 billion viewers in Asia, it's important for me to be humble and to continue getting better as a fighter. When I debut on May 2nd, in front of 20,000 ‘kababayans’, I must be focused. There's a lot on the line,” said Julaton in an interview with Rappler.
ONE FC: Rise of Heroes.
Other Filipinos on the ONE FC card are Eduard Folayang, Jujeath Nagaowa, Rey Docyogen, and Eugene Toquero.

Folayang (13-4), who won an exciting match just last December against Dutch-Indonesian Vincent Latoel, will face a former champion in Japanese Kotetsu Boku, who is also coming off a TKO win over Arnauld Lepont last March.

Former WBC Asia Atomweight Champion Nagaowa, the first Filipina who will be fighting in the ONE FC cage, will take on seven-time kickboxing champ Jeet Toshi of India.

Former URCC champion Docyogen will be looking to get back into the winners circle against American fighter Joshua Alvarez, while Toquero (4-1) will face undefeated Malaysian-American Gianna Subba (3-0).

3 Reasons Why You Need a Monitored Home Alarm System.

A home alarm system doesn't just protect your home, it protects you, your family members, your pets, and even your neighbors. Studies show that homeowners who have visible, actively monitored home alarm systems are less likely to be burglarized or vandalized, and that protection extends to their immediate neighbors. By installing an alarm system in your home, and having monitoring services from a company such as www.alarmrelay.com, you're protecting your home and everyone and everything in it - from burglary, robbery, vandalism, fire, and more. Here are three famous reasons why you need an alarm system:
Jon Bon Jovi.
1. Even Bon Jovi can be robbed.
A man by the name of Nicholas Tracy found Jon Bon Jovi's New Jersey shore-side home, managed to break in undetected, and made off with 100 thousand dollars worth of precious jewelry. While he was eventually caught because he ran out of luck when he tried to rob a neighbor of Jon Bon Jovi's, you can guarantee that the singer had an alarm system installed afterward, and to this day probably still doesn't sleep quite as soundly as he used to.

P Diddy.
2. Puff Daddy has a creepy stalker.
Puff Daddy aka Diddy has the misfortune of being overly-admired by Quamine Taylor, a man who has broken into the Diddy Mansion numerous times. Oddly enough he never stole anything. But perhaps more creepy is the fact that instead of making off with electronics, money, and jewelry, Taylor decided to live like Puff Daddy by wearing his clothes, sleeping in his bed, and eating his food. After he was finally caught, it was discovered that an unarmed basement entrance was his way in. Diddy has since beefed up his security system.

Kate Moss for Rimmel.
3. Kate Moss was robbed while she slept.
While Kate Moss, her boyfriend, and her mother were fast asleep in the comfort and seemingly secure haven of the Moss home, several thieves broke in and made off with over 140 thousand dollars worth of artwork. The thieves were never caught, and Kate Moss' lack of a home security system definitely contributed to the ease in which the thieves were able to get in and out with no one being the wiser.


Big discounts and more at Globe's Great Gadget Sale!

Celebrate summer and have fun in the sun with a new gadget in tow! Bond with your friends, capture precious moments, and stay connected with the Globe Prepaid On-the-Go Great Gadget Sale where you can enjoy up to 90% off on phones and gadgets!

Choose from your favorite phone brands such as Samsung, Nokia, LG, Sony, Lenovo, Huawei, Alcatel, MyPhone, Cloudfone, Star Mobile, Gionee, DTC and Cherry at the Globe Prepaid On-the-Go Great Gadget Sale with irresistible offers and packages. Whatever your budget is, there's a gadget waiting for you at one of the biggest phone sales ever to hit gadget-land.
The Great Gadget Sale!
You can also trade in your old phone – whether a Cherry Mobile, iPhone, Blackberry, Huawei, HTC, LG, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Xperia, Cherry, or MyPhone, and pay your cash-out using your Globe Rewards points (100 points = Php100).

Avail of wonderful deals for gadgets including Nokia Lumia 625, LG G2 mini, Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, Lenovo A516, MyPhone Hail, Star Mobile Diamond V3, and much more. You can also enjoy a free data plan subscription for 2 months when you purchase your gadget at the event.

Keeping you connected!
"Summertime is the perfect season to get a new gadget. For the youth and the young at heart, it is the best time to be outdoors, to plan for summer getaways, and upload photos and videos to share experiences. With the Globe Prepaid On-the-Go Great Gadget Sale, getting a new phone need not be expensive. Get as much as 90% discount when you purchase your favorite phone brand by trading in your old phone and using your Globe rewards points. With Globe, enjoy the wonderful summer season with a gadget of your choice at a price that's within your easy reach," said Issa Cabreira, VP for Prepaid Business at Globe.

Head on to the TriNoma Activity Center on April 24-27, 2014 at 10am-10pm to enjoy the biggest phone deals at the Globe Prepaid On-the-Go Great Gadget Sale.

4.24.2014

Looking Professional in Restaurant Uniforms.

People who own and operate their own restaurants typically want their wait staff and chefs to look and act professional at all times during their shifts. If employees show up to work in tee shirts and jeans, they lack the uniformity and cohesiveness that go into staffing a professional eatery. Rather than let their employees work in street clothing, restaurant owners can learn more about why they should order uniforms for their wait and kitchen staff. They can order uniforms that reflect the atmosphere and professionalism of their eatery online.
Photo credit: Japan Dong Phuc
The type of uniform that people choose to order can depend on what kind of restaurant they are running. If their establishment specializes in southern cooking, these owners may prefer that their staff wear checked aprons and white shirts. However, if a person is operating a French cafe, that person may wish the staff to wear blue or red shirts and pants to reflect the national colors of that country.
Photo credit: Ali Express
Along with considering the variety of uniforms that are available online, owners can also consider accessories for their hosts and hostesses. People who walk into a restaurant are often greeted at the door by a host or hostess. The appearance of this greeter can set the tone of these customers' overall dining experience. When owners want their guests to recognize the comfort level and professionalism of the establishment, they may outfit their host employees with ascots, scarves, and other accessories that set them apart from the other staff members there.

4.23.2014

Fashion Pulse | Complete the Motorcyle Look.

There is nothing better than riding on a motorcycle on the open road. Whether you have been riding for your entire life or bought your first motorcycle as a retirement gift for yourself, you want to create the right look for yourself whenever you are on your bike.

While it is assumed that all bikers like to wear leather and cowboy boots, that isn't the case for all riders. For many riders, they like to wear something comfortable and warm while they are on the open road. Regardless of how warm it is when you get on the bike, the breeze that you will experience while riding may cause the air to feel much colder on your skin.
Photo credit: Harley Davidson.
In most states, it is illegal to ride a bike without a helmet. Even if it is legal to do so, you should still wear a helmet as a safety measure. By wearing a helmet, you can avoid being one of the many stories of people dying or suffering severe head injuries because they were not wearing protection.

To finish the look, you should consider a cool belt buckle that tells the world that you love to ride. The next time that you are online, you can shop for motorcycle belt buckles here from the comfort of your own home.

4.22.2014

Wordless Wednesday #80 | Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day, Earthlings! :)
And here's my #GlobalSelfie as part of NASA's Earth Day 2014 campaign!
Hello, NASA! I'm in our garden here in Laguna, Philippines! :)

4.21.2014

Spotify + Globe Telecom | Making Beautiful Music Together.

Spotify, the most popular music streaming service in the market to date, has made yet another milestone. It's now available in the Philippines, and it's made possible by no other than Globe Telecom.


Available to all Filipinos today, Spotify gives you:
An unbeatable music experience. Listen to whatever music you want, whenever you want, on any device. Discover, organise and share. Offering amazing audio quality of up to 320kbps and with a brand new design, playing your favorite music never looked and felt this good.

Unrivaled music access. Over 30 million songs at your fingertips and updated daily, mixing global hits with one of the most extensive OPM catalogues available. Check out music from your friends and favourite celebrities. Add in our unbeatable music discovery and organisation tools and Spotify has all your music needs covered.

Music anywhere, everywhere. Download the Spotify app and listen to any song, album or artist, on any device, for free. Shuffle play on mobile or play any song on tablet or desktop. Alternatively, upgrade to Spotify Premium for P129 per month and enjoy the ultimate music experience.
On my Spotify playlist. :)
Spotify's exclusive tie-up with Globe Telecom offers all 38 million Globe Postpaid, Globe Prepaid and Tattoo-on-the-go Prepaid subscribers free access to the app through the telco's new data plan, GoSURF. GoSURF gives customers mobile internet access complete with Spotify for as low as P10 a day. Even better, streaming music on Spotify won't touch your default data allowance across all GoSurf plans!

Postpaid subscribers, on the other hand, can choose from a variety of offerings, from GoSURF 299 with 700MB of data valid for 30 days including Spotify Premium, up to GoSURF 999 with 5GB of data plus Spotify Premium.

"Globe customers will have music to discover right at their fingertips with Spotify, and sharing music with all their friends is just but a click away," says Peter Bithos, Chief Operating Advisor at Globe.

He adds, "With its comprehensive music catalogue and features such as playlist creation, music discovery and offline mode, Spotify gives us a new and exceptional way of listening to music. Coupled with our GoSURF plan, our customers get to enjoy the best of both worlds; consumable mobile internet to do the things they love plus 30 million songs to listen to and share, all for free."

Spotify is the biggest music service of its kind globally, with over 24 million active users and over 6 million paying subscribers. For more information or to start using Spotify, visit www.spotify.com or check out the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/spotify.

4.20.2014

ONE FC: Rise of Heroes | Ana Julaton set for MMA debut.

After making a name for herself in the world of professional boxing, Ana 'The Hurricane' Julaton will become a two-sport athlete as she makes her mixed martial arts debut in ONE FC.

CEO of ONE Fighting Championship™ Victor Cui stated, “ONE FC is returning to the Philippines with a night of exciting mixed martial arts action. Filipino fight fans have been clamoring to see Ana Julaton in action for years and their wait is finally over as Julaton will make her mixed martial arts debut opposite kickboxing champion Aya Saeid Saber. This explosive bout completes the lineup for ONE FC: RISE OF HEROES. Fans all over the world can look forward to a night of world class mixed martial arts action as ONE FC: RISE OF HEROES comes to you live from the Philippines!”
Photo credit: Kevin Iole
Ana 'The Hurricane' Julaton is the first Filipina boxer to win the women’s WBO Super Bantamweight and IBA Super Bantamweight World Championships. Julaton’s signing with ONE FC marks her first step to becoming a two-sport athlete. Her overpowering attacks in the ring earned her the nickname “The Hurricane” and made her a fan favorite in the Philippines. It took her only five professional bouts to win a championship in boxing and she hopes her mixed martial arts career will be equally successful.

Ana Julaton is excited to compete in the Philippines for the first time. She stated, "Aya Saber is an experienced MMA warrior and champion in kickboxing. I know she will bring her very best on May 2nd. I'm training for my ONE FC homecoming fight in Manila harder than ever before and what gives me strength through my ups and downs are the hearts of my kababayan all over.”
Julaton vs Saber - the match that completes the ONE FC: Rise of Heroes fight card.
Aya Saeid Saber is an Egyptian kickboxing champion who has conquered the kickboxing scene in the Middle East. Saber now sets her sights on scaling ONE FC’s highly competitive female circuit. She combines explosive kicks with steadily improving takedown skills. This is a clash of striking styles and Saber is relishing her opportunity to upstage Julaton and upset the boxing world champion in front of her 20,000-strong Filipino home crowd.

Saber stated, “I am excited and honored to be the first female mixed martial artist from Egypt to compete in ONE FC. I can’t wait to get into the cage and beat Ana and make my fight team and family proud. Unlike Ana, I am not new to MMA. Be careful Ana, you are entering my world. I’m coming!

Tickets for ONE FC: RISE OF HEROES are on sale now at SM Tickets. Ticket categories begin with the full Red Carpet and cageside experience for VIPs at PHP 6,360 followed by Patron PHP 3,180, Lower Box PHP 1,280, Upper Box PHP 640 and General Admission PHP 220.

Fans in the Philippines can catch all the action live on FOX Sports Philippines while the rest of Asia can catch the action live on STAR Sports. Check your local listings. Also, fans from around the world can witness the action online via live streaming at www.onefc.livesport.tv. The event will be available for purchase at just US$9.99.

4.19.2014

Hong Kong Holiday | The Lucky Nugget.

Deep inside the Grizzly Gulch - the western-themed attraction in Hong Kong Disneyland - lies the quaint and quirky saloon called The Lucky Nugget.

The Lucky Nugget.
It's a quick service restaurant that serves snacks and refreshments.
You can choose to seat inside the saloon, or enjoy the outdoors on these picnic tables.
Their menu includes crispy battered fish fillets, shrimp and chips, salads, and the mango panna cotta that we all know and love.
The menu.
Prices start at HK$22 (Php 126) for their ala carte french fries, with the HK$70 shrimp and chips combo (Php 401) being the priciest item on their menu. Combo meals include a bottle of cola - your choice between regular Coke, Coke Zero, and Sprite.
Shrimp or chicken? You choose. :)
Cute character salad.
Mango Panna Cotta. And fruits, too!
We stopped by for a quick snack, and to give our bodies a few minutes of rest from all that walking around and taking pictures.
Photo op at The Old Jail.
The majestic geysers of Grizzly Gulch.
We all had Chicken Nuggets and Chips, one combo meal each.
Chicken Nuggets and Chips.
The food may look very simple, but they're incredibly tasty, especially when dipped in sauce. The batter is light and crisp, and the fries have very little grease.

Now the best part of our Grizzly Gulch stopover? We bumped into Mickey and Minnie while on our way to Main Street! We were actually the first in line for the photo op! :)
Yee-haw, it's Mickey and Minnie! :)
The Lucky Nugget
Grizzly Gulch, Disneyland Resort
Lantau Island, Hong Kong
+852 2162 5010

Shared with Food Friday and Food Trip Friday.

4.18.2014

Swimming with the Royal Dolphins.

With school out and long days to fill, summer is the perfect time to engage kids in fun, educational activities. And because I don't want my son to spend the entire school break playing video games and watching the telly, I signed him up to several workshops that will keep him busy and active all summer long.

First on the agenda is the Learn to Swim program. Facilitated by the Lake City Swimming Club (also known as the Royal Dolphins), this 10-day program is divided into three classes - Toddler, for kids age 6 and under; Basic for kids age 7 and above; and Advance for kids age 7 and above. The fee for all three classes cost Php 1,700 each.
Warming up before the swim.
Eager beaver!
Take the plunge, and see more of our swim class photos! :)

4.17.2014

A Weekend in Paradise.

Whenever Mum comes home for her annual vacation, we make it a point to spend a day or two at the beach. You see, we're a family of beach bums, and my Mum, who spent most of her childhood and teenage years in Subic, practically grew up by the sea.

For this particular beach trip (which happened about two weeks ago), we decided to go somewhere close by since my grandmother will be travelling with us. That means Subic, Bataan, and most definitely Pagudpud were out of the picture. And so we ended up choosing Sariaya, which is about an hour and a half away from where we live. My sister, who acts as the family's travel planner, chose Paraiso Beach Resort for our weekend getaway.
Welcome to Paradise!
'Paraiso', by the way, is the Filipino word for 'paradise'. And I guess there's no better word to describe a scenery such as this.
Ahhh, the beach! :)
More of Paraiso after the jump! :)

4.16.2014

Wordless Wednesday #80 | Bruce Lee, baby!

Bruce Lee UFC shirt, check.
(Bruce Lee) Onitsuka Tiger Tai Chi shoes, check.
I'm a happy fangirl. :)