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Spotlight | Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.

I first became acquainted with the brand Cetaphil when I was a teenager. I used to have mild eczema back then, and those nasty rashes would usually flare-up under extreme weather conditions - that is, during the hot summer months or during the nippy months of December and January.

One of the dermatologists that I had consulted recommended Cetaphil in lieu of my usual bath soap and facial wash. I was skeptical at first since I knew very little of the brand ('googling' wasn't even a verb back in '98, lol), but I tried it anyway. And lo and behold - after a few weeks of use, the dry, flaky patches were gone, the itching has subsided, and flare-ups weren't as sporadic as before.

This is the main reason why I have a penchant for Cetaphil products, particularly the Gentle Skin Cleanser. 
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.
Originally formulated for dermatologists, this gentle, soap-free cleanser is recommended for everyday use, even for those with very sensitive skin. It has a mild, non-irritating formulation that soothes and moisturizes as it cleanses the skin. This cleanser is suitable for all skin types - even on kids' and babies' delicate skin - and can be used on both face and body.
Product claims listed at the back of the bottle.
The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser can be used with or without water.
When using it without water, you simply apply a generous amount on your skin and gently rub. Afterwards, wipe the excess with a cotton ball or a piece of tissue. On the other hand, when used with water, you simply apply it on your skin, rub it gently, and rinse when done.
Directions for use + list of ingredients.
This cleanser is non-lathering (no foam or bubbles whatsoever), unscented, and has a thin and watery consistency. It can remove makeup, but only if you're wearing non-waterproof products. If you're fond of wearing waterproof eyeliners and mascaras like me, you'll have to supplement this cleanser with a real makeup remover.
Here's how the cleanser looks like.
I like that this cleanser is non-comedogenic (meaning it won't clog your pores and trap dirt and oil on your face) and it doesn't leave the skin feeling tight and dry. Best of all, I've never had breakouts or allergies with this product. Safe for sensitive skin! :)
And here' s Cetaphil cleansing away the eyeshadow swatches on my skin.
The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser comes in five different sizes - the pocket-sized 60 mL (Php 105), 118 mL (Php 170), 250 mL (Php 323), 473 mL (Php 650), and the 1 Litre that comes in a pump bottle. Cetaphil products are available at leading drugstores (Watson's, Mercury, South Star) and supermarkets nationwide.

Get to know more about Cetaphil by visiting their official website and liking their Facebook page. :)

Tips for Capturing Beautiful Pictures.

A picture is said to be worth 1,000 words. When you take pictures of scenes in nature, these words can come into focus if you know how to capture the right balance of light and dark, as well as the details of what is in the picture.

You don’t have to take professional classes in order to capture the beauty of the outdoors, but you do need a quality camera. Photographers like Robert Rosenkranz can take one scene - such as an ocean wave - and turn it into a stunning masterpiece with a simple click of a button.
Photo credit: Favim.
When you think of ways to take a picture, you might think that you have to sit directly in front of the subject. You don’t have to be right in front of something, and if you want the best picture possible, it’s probably best if you alter the perspective of the picture.

Try standing on top of a chair to get a different view of laying on the ground and looking up to get a wider view of the scene. You can often capture more of the missed details when you do change the perspective of how you take the picture.

Eye Contact
If you’re taking pictures of something that’s alive - whether it’s a person or an animal - try to get as much eye contact as possible. When you’re taking a picture of an animal, you might have to wait until it’s looking at you, or you might have to walk around to another spot so that you can capture the depths of the animal though the eyes.
Photo credit: Cute Overload.
With people, it’s a little easier. There are a few ways that you can take pictures by playing with the eye contact. Let the person focus on something that is off to the side or far away. This will create a picture that is a little more natural.

Looking at someone in the picture is another common way to capture beautiful images that show the love between two people, especially in engagement pictures. When you position the subject of the picture in the center, you can either have an amazing picture or something that looks like it’s been set down in the middle of the frame and forgotten about.

One way to create a picture that has depth is my placing the subject on the side of the frame. The lighting will also affect how the picture turns out depending on whether you use something bright or a dimmer light to pick up on natural features.


Skylights | The Architect's Best Friend.

Anyone who has taken note of the country's housing stock over the years will know that architectural trends come and go. At the moment, we're in something of a contemporary era, where simplicity matters. Something else that matters is glazing although up until recently, architects have been reluctant to take advantage of roof windows.

In fact, we'll rephrase that last sentence. Roof windows were once upon a time very popular and they served as a terrific way to bring natural light into a building without invading any neighbor's privacy. Unfortunately, this same natural light brought countless problems. First of all, it was impossible to shut it out due to the accessibility issues, then came the heat which transformed any home which took advantage of roof windows into a greenhouse.

Something needed to be done. On one hand, these roof windows solved a problem, on the other they brought a load more issues which architects just couldn't deal with.

Now, we may have a solution and fortunately for architects, it doesn't involve any rigorous alterations to their blueprints. Instead, it's all about the interior designer and the power they have with window blinds.
Photo credit: Wikipedia.
Blinds for roof windows have been available for years, maybe even decades, but for a long time they just couldn't be operated. They were located far too high and while some manufacturers may have given their customers operating wands, again the situation was far from ideal. Therefore, when the motorized blind hit the market, here was a target market that was ready to lap it up. It immediately meant that all of the problems associated with roof windows could be alleviated, and architects could return to using them on a lot of their projects.

Of course, it didn't solve all of the problems completely. Just because the sun's a little too hot one day, doesn’t mean to say we all want our properties to be masked in darkness to avoid the heat that penetrates the windows. Unfortunately, this is what was still happening. This was before the solar shade came to market, that is.

This nifty system is able to block the majority of sun rays, and only allow a select few through the glazing. Ultimately, we still receive some of that elusive natural light, but there should be considerable emphasis on the term ‘some’ here. It’s not loads, and it’s certainly not enough to make the temperature of a room unbearable.

When the above solution is combined with a motorized blind, roof windows suddenly have a new lease of life. However, it’s still worth mentioning that other solutions can be adapted. Another new invention, the insulated shade, can block out even more heat than the solar blind and while it doesn’t allow any natural light through, in certain climates it might be more beneficial. Alternatively, for those households that wish to stay simple and traditional, good old fashioned roller and Roman blinds can both be combined with a motorized system to block out the heat. It’s generally down to budget – but one thing’s for sure - roof window are here to stay this time around.

Wordless Wednesday #132 | Oss!

Future blackbelter with his Sensei.
The boy is now wearing his very own gi! :)


Find The Best San Francisco Hotels.

If you're ready to find the very best deals on San Francisco hotels, then it's an excellent idea to come prepared to shop. Sure, you can click on just about any website that claims to find you the best deals on hotels in San Francisco, but how can you be sure you're really getting the best possible arrangement for your money? It's one thing to guess, but it's a whole other to be absolutely confident in your dealings.
Photo credit: Cheapacampa.
Finding The Best Hotel Deals In San Francisco
The city of San Francisco is one of the jewels in the crown on California. Without this perennial tourist and business attraction, the Golden State might only be a silver medal finalist. So, when it's time to make the journey to San Francisco, whether on business or pleasure, you can be sure of one thing: You're not the only one who has this trip on their mind. So how can you be sure that you'll get the deal that everyone else misses out on?

How To Get The Deal That Others Have Overlooked
When it comes to getting the deals on hotel rooms that others have overlooked, you've got to be looking in the place that they simply haven't. How can you accomplish this feat? As it turns out, it's much easier than you think. In fact, all you really need to get the deal that others have missed out on is the name of a certain website that you may never have heard of before.
Photo credit: Grayline.
Hipmunk Is Your Nationwide Hotel Connection
The truth is that, up until now, Hipmunk has been the nation's best kept secret when it comes to hooking up customers with excellent deals on hotel rooms and travel packages. Thousands of customers have used this first class website to score unheard of savings on their hotel rooms. And Hipmunk can do the very same for you.

Contact Hipmunk For The Best Hotel Deals
If you're ready to have a great time in San Francisco, you need to plan ahead so that you can get the best possible deal on your hotel room and all of your other reservations. Hipmunk is the company that will put you in the driver's seat when it comes to getting big savings on fantastic hotel room deals. Log on to the official Hipmunk company website at today to see what they can do for you.


Spotlight | Laneige Winterland Magic Makeup Collection.

Better late than never!
I finally got my hands on the Winterland Magic Makeup Collection, which is part of the Laneige 2013 Holiday Collection. It's a limited edition set that's no longer available in stores, so I consider myself lucky to stumble upon this baby on the worldwide web.
Laneige Winterland Magic Makeup Collection.
The set contains three of Song Hye Kyo’s most popular Silk Intense Lipsticks and four crystallized shades of Pure Radiant Eye Shadow plus an eyeshadow brush/applicator in a specially designed case.
Hello, My Little Winterland! :)
The packaging alone is a winner. The illustration on the box has a cheery, festive vibe while the silver and red hologram sparkles around it give a glamorous feel. The edges of the box and the lid have a magnet inside, so it's easy to open and close.
Pure Fantasy Look. 
And on the inside of the cover, there's a booklet with step-by-step instructions on how to create looks using the contents of the Winterland Magic Makeup Collection.
Glow Fantasy Look.
Here's a closer look at the eyeshadows.
Clockwise from L-R: Pearl Light Pink, Pearl Pink, Pearl Coral, and Pearl Khaki.
Save for Pearl Khaki, these eyeshadows aren't heavily pigmented, which is quite understandable since Laneige is all about 'natural beauty'. All four shades are shimmery, but don't get intimidated as they have just the right amount of glitter to make your eyes sparkle.
From L-R: Pearl Light Pink, Pearl Pink, Pearl Coral, and Pearl Khaki.
As for the lipsticks, they come in 1-gram tubes with cute little prints on the cap. These are miniature sizes, so yeah, they're smaller than the regular 3.5 gram lipstick.
L-R: Beige Chiffon, Blonde Coral, Pink Garden.
All three shades are nicely pigmented and have buildable color. Texture is creamy, glides smoothly on the lips, and they moisturize quite well. They smell wonderful, too!
L-R: Beige Chiffon, Blonde Coral, Pink Garden.
And in case you didn't know, these lippies were made popular by the 2013 drama 'That Winter the Wind Blows'. Song Hye Kyo wore all three shades in the drama, and that's actually one of the reasons why I wanted to own this set so badly, haha.
SYR36 is Beige Chiffon, LR104 is Pink Garden, and SR105 is Blonde Coral.
SR102 is Glam Pink, not included in the set.
Beige Chiffon is a lovely shade of nude, which looks very natural on the lips. Perfect for days like today when I'm too lazy to wear makeup and just want a bit of color on my face. Pink Garden and Blonde Coral are two gorgeous shades that closely resemble each other, though the latter is less shimmery and has a more peachy hue.
Products Used:
FACE: Etude House Beauty Shot Face Blur,
Etude House Precious Mineral Any Cushion,
Benefit Erase Paste in Medium.
EYES: Shiseido Eyebrow Pencil in Brown,
K-Palette Real Lasting Micro Eyeliner in Black.
CHEEKS: Ever Bilena Cheek Blush in Raisin.
LIPS; Laneige Silk Intense Lipstick in Pink Garden.
I love all three shades so much that I'm considering buying full-size tubes once I've used them all up. (More like I'll ask the husband to get them for me, haha!)

The Laneige Winterland Magic Makeup Collection retailed for Php 1950 (around $44) when it hit the market in 2013. As I've mentioned earlier, this set is no longer available in stores, but you can still purchase the Silk Intense Lipsticks (Php 1150 each) and the Pure Radiant Shadow (Php 1450 per quad) separately.

Have you tried Laneige eyeshadows and lip colors before? What are your favorite shades? :)


Foodie Goodie | Nutella Cake in a Jar.

Oh, the many things you can do with Nutella! You can spread it on wheat bread, make brownies with it, use it as frosting, use it as a doughnut filling... heck, you can even lick it straight from the spoon! The possibilities are endless!

Today, let me share with you this super simple recipe that requires only two ingredients and takes about a minute and a half in the microwave. Yes, it's quite simple to make and tastes great even via microwave! :)
Nutella Cake in a Jar

1 box yellow cake mix, prepared according to package directions
1 teaspoon Vanilla, Butter, & Nut Flavoring (optional)
Lots of Nutella
3 pint-sized canning jars

1. Thoroughly wash and dry the inside of each canning jar. Spray the inside of each jar thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Stir the Vanilla Butter and Nut Flavoring into the cake mix. Spoon about 1 cup of cake batter into each jar.
3. Cook one jar at a time in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until the cake is cooked through.
4. Allow jars to cool slightly, then scoop the top half of cake from the jar.
5. Spoon a tablespoon or so of Nutella into the center of the jar, replace the top half of the cake back in the jar then top the warm cake with another layer of Nutella.
6. Serve immediately or cover with a lid and store in the fridge. Cakes should stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.

As seen on Babble.


Tips to Find a Good Mountain Resort.

For your next vacation, a mountain resort seems far fetched but it is a unique idea for your adventures. There are good and bad resorts like there are good and bad people, and you cannot rely on all of them to be calm and safe. Taking some time to think about what a mountain resort can offer can make your choice much easier. Here are some things to look for:
Photo credit; Tagaytay Highlands.
For many people, the most important task when searching for a resort is to check out the scenery. There should be a clear, open view of the mountain landscape and nearby waters, if any. Look for safe, easy ways to get up and down the mountain and reach the roads. Look for a scenic resort that caters to everyone from executives to wilderness dwellers, such as the Mohonk Mountain House. To start with, make sure the scenery is the best in that area.

Customer Service
Every good isolated mountain resort has friendly, exceptional staff members. You need people with the patience and friendliness to get you through the trip. From the hotel cleaning staff to the restaurant workers, you need quality work at all times. A catastrophe can easily occur in the mountains, so they must know what to do in these situations. Overall, customer service can be the worst quality of any resort or business. No customer wants to deal with an unfriendly or hostile hotel employee. On the other hand, it can also make your trip one that you will remember for a lifetime.
Photo credit: Philstar.
Based on your needs, look into the amenities in a resort. Look for a spa, a Jacuzzi, balconies and maybe even hot springs. You want amenities that help you relax by the scenery and enjoy it as much as possible. Inside of the resort, you want all the luxuries of your average resort. The impressive mountain scenery should not be the only highlight of your stay.

Safety is another issue. Despite its amenities, you want the mountain to be safe. It's like making sure you have a sturdy carabiner before you go up for the climb. Check out the weather reports if you plan to visit a resort deep in the snowy mountains. Know if any buses have ever gotten stuck in snowstorms, or if any people have been caught in avalanches.

Look at the Mountain Resort Options Available to You
When you think of a resort, you usually do not think of a mountain resort, but that is always a good option. There are numerous resort options available to anyone willing to research the provider and travel the distance. The amenities might surprise anyone who wants to get away for a few days in the mountain air.


Spotlight | Human Heart Nature Safe Protect Sunscreen.

For most of us, summer is all about outdoor fun. Think beach escapades, theme park adventures, and barbecue parties. But these fun times can come to a quick end once those harmful ultraviolet rays penetrate your skin. Sounds scary, I know.

During the summer, when the UV index is at its peak, it's important to wear sunscreen most of the time - especially between 11 am and 2 pm to avoid potential life-long damages of the sun. These days I've been using the Safe Protect Sun Screen from Human Heart Nature, and so far so good!
Safe Protect Sun Screen.

Launched earlier this month, Safe Protect is the improved version of its predecessor, the Safe Block Sunscreen. All-natural and chemical-free, the Safe Protect is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that boasts of a PA++++ rating. And by PA, I mean Photo-aging protection, which refers to how much your sunscreen shields you from UVA rays that may cause long-term damage to the skin. The more plus symbols, the better protection you get. That means four plus is definitely a plus! :)

Literature at the back.

It also has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 which deflects 97% of those cancer-causing UVB rays and protects you for about seven hours. But like all sunscreens, this SPF 30 drops after a few hours or so, especially when your skin is exposed to water. So whether you're swimming in saltwater or pool water, make sure to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours.


You'd also be glad to know that this sunscreen is free from chemical ingredients that are quite harmful to corals. Studies show that the chemicals found in sunscreen induces 'bleaching', which causes corals to turn white and eventually die. With Safe Protect, not only are you protecting your skin, you are protecting precious sea creatures as well.

Sunscreen tips!

All-natural, cruelty-free.

Now here's how the product looks like.
A generous dollop of Safe Protect.

Consistency is just right - neither too thick nor too runny, which allows for easy application and skin absorption. It doesn't feel sticky, and does not leave a white cast on the skin either. It also has a nice, mild scent, which lingers on the skin for quite some time.

Apply liberally, spread evenly!

I love that this sunscreen is very mild and gentle on the skin - no allergies, no breakouts, and safe for sensitive skin. My six-year-old loves this product as much as I do, and applying this before leaving the house has become a habit for him - even after his ten-day swimming lessons are already over. :)

Little man wearing Safe Protect on his face, neck, arms, and legs.
His skin darkened a bit (he swam daily for ten days after all), but at least he doesn't look too charred. Haha! 

There are instances, however, when this sunscreen's consistency would become oily. I understand it's because of the zinc oxide and the absence of synthetic binders, thus causing the oil to rise and separate from the zinc. Not too big of a problem though. All you have to do is shake the tube very well before using and the consistency becomes nice and creamy again.

What I love:
- SPF 30/PA++++
- Non-sticky, non-greasy.
- Lightweight, easily absorbed by the skin.
- Has a nice scent.
- Non-irritating, safe for sensitive skin.
- Doesn't leave a white cast on the skin.
- Proudly Philippine-made.
- All-natural, cruelty-free.
- Reef-friendly.
- Affordable price.

What you might not like:
- Consistency becomes oily at times. 
- Comes in two sizes only.

The Safe Protect Sun Screen is available in two sizes - 50 grams and 200 grams, and is currently being sold at an introductory price of Php 249.75 and Php 599.75, respectively. This product is available at the Human Heart Nature website, and at Human Heart Nature branches nationwide.


Spotlight | Bifesta Sebum Cleansing Lotion.

I can't believe that the last time I featured a makeup remover in my blog was January of last year. That means I have stuck to one brand of makeup remover for the longest time without even realizing it!

But thanks to one of my mommy friends at school (who's just as addicted to makeup as I am), I was able to break the monotony and try a new brand of makeup remover. She gave me this bottle of Bifesta Cleansing Lotion, which I have been using for a little over a month now.
Bifesta Sebum Cleansing Lotion.
This water-based makeup remover is available in four variants - Bright-up (for dull and flaky skin), Moist (for dry and sensitive skin), Age Care (for mature skin), and Sebum (for combination skin). It comes in a sturdy and reusable plastic bottle, and is available in one size only (300 mL).
Cleansing Express.
Now if you're the kind of person who hates going through the long, elaborate, and oftentimes tiresome process of removing makeup, washing your face, toning, moisturizing, etcetera, etcetera - then this product is just for you!
Comes in a 300 mL bottle.
More popularly known  as Cleansing Express, the Bifesta Cleansing Lotion is a one-step makeup remover. With just two or three pumps on a clean cotton pad, this product melts and removes oil in makeup, cleanses the skin, and tightens pores all at the same time. If you're feeling lazy, you can just leave this on your face, skip the rinsing, skip the toning, and just proceed to moisturizing. Well, I still choose to rinse this off my face out of habit, because I'm OC like that. Haha! :)

Here's a detailed, step-by-step instruction on how to use the Bifesta Cleansing Lotion:
Click the image to enlarge.
Now here's my cotton pad doused with two pumps of Bifesta Cleansing Lotion. The liquid is actually clear, and it's mildly-scented, too. It's gentle on the skin and doesn't sting the eyes, which is a plus for me.
Two pumps of the Cleansing Express!
It does a good job of cleansing the skin and removing non-waterproof/regular makeup like BB Cream, powder, eyebrow pencil, eyeshadow, and blush. However, this product doesn't work too efficiently with waterproof eyeliner and mascaras - especially mascaras. Well, this product is water-based, after all, so I really can't complain.
All that gunk off my face!
If you wear light and washable makeup, this product is right up your alley. But if you wear heavy makeup on a daily basis, this product may not be the most economical choice as you'll need more than just three pumps to get all that gunk off your face.

Overall, I love how this product is affordable and easily available, and how it removes makeup without irritating the skin. I also like the fact that it contains green tea extract, which rejuvenates the skin, and hyaluronic acid which brightens and smoothens the skin.

The Bifesta Sebum Cleansing Lotion sells for Php 419 per bottle and is available at Watson's and other leading drugstores.

Have you tried this product before? What's your favorite brand of makeup remover? :)


Foodie Goodie | Oreo Coffee Smoothie.

On regular days, I like munching on Oreo cookies while sipping a cup of my favorite coffee.
But on an awfully hot day like today (it's 33 degrees outside, my goodness!), I'd prefer to have something cold and refreshing. Something like an Oreo Coffee Smoothie - the perfect way to cool off in this sweltering heat!

Oreo Coffee Smoothie

9 Oreo cookies, divided
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 cups vanilla yogurt (or vanilla ice cream)
1 tablespoon coffee
1/4 cup Cool Whip Whipped Topping (optional)

1. Crush one piece of the cookies into fine crumbs; set aside.
2. Place yogurt, milk, chocolate syrup, coffee, and remaining 8 cookies in blender container. Cover, and blend until smooth.
3. Pour evenly into 4 glasses; top with whipped topping and the reserved cookie crumbs.

As seen on Snackworks.