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6.20.2017

Seoul Searching | BrickLive Centre in Starfield COEX Mall!

After our memorable star-spotting experience at the Red Carpet Ceremony of the 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards, Yue and I headed to the Central Plaza of COEX Mall for a bit of window shopping. As we made our way to the adjacent Live Plaza, where most of the shoe brands are located, we came across a new establishment that made Yue's heart skip a beat.
BrickLive at Starfield, COEX Mall!
It's the BrickLive Centre, an interactive experiential space for Lego fans. Not to be confused with the BTS-inspired cafe in Thailand, BrickLive was initially launched as an exhibition at the Korea International Exhibit Center (KINTEX) in Ilsan. The month-long event was well-received by the Lego-loving fans in South Korea, which led to the opening of a permanent space in Starfield COEX Mall. 
Someone can't contain his excitement!
The BrickLive Centre opened its doors to the public in early March and features five zones - the Play Zone where kids (and even kids-at-heart) can play to their hearts' content;
Ca't rub the smile off his face, haha!
Find Yue! :)
Busy day at the Play Zone!
the Education Zone, which offers art and cooking classes for a fee as part of the BrickLive Curriculum; 
Class in session.
the Gallery, where you can marvel at awesome Lego structures;
Some of the displays can be touched. :)
Photo ops are most welcome.
It's been awhile, Gandalf!
Mario and Luigi and the rest of the crew.
Totoro!
the Merchandise Zone, where you can purchase Lego sets and official BrickLive merchandise; 
Lego Minifigures on display.
One of mt favorite Korean movies of all time.
and the Cafe, which serves cute and colorful Lego-themed desserts and pastries.
Lego Minifigure cookies.
Macarons. 
Cupcakes.


Mini cakes.
Chocolates. 
And more cupcakes!
The Cafe has a nice and cozy ambiance - perfect for parents to sit back and relax while their kids are in class at the adjacent Education Zone, or have a cup of coffee as their kids play with the racetrack and brick pits at the nearby Play Zone. 
Adults chillin' at the BrickLive Cafe.
I sat on one corner with this macaron as Yue joined the other kids at the architecture building table. I let him play for an hour or so, and he had a blast building with bricks of all shapes and sizes. We could have stayed longer, if only I did not have dinner duties (ergo, shopping for ingredients + cooking dinner) that night.
Brickhead? :)
We'll definitely visit this place again on our next Seoul Searching trip. Hopefully, the Minecraft build zone will be open by then. I reckon Yue can spend an entire day at BrickLive Centre and never get tired of it! :)

Live Plaza
Starfield COEX Mall
Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Apgujeong-ro
+82 2-551-1760


6.19.2017

Garantisadong Ginisarap Dishes by Marian Rivera!

Marian Rivera-Dantes is used to playing different characters: Primetime Queen, recording artist, brand ambassador, style icon, and philanthropist. But her favorite roles by far have been those behind the camera - as wife to Dingdong and mom to Baby Zia.

As a modern homemaker, who manages her time between work and family, Marian has found comfort in cooking as one of the best ways to make her family feel loved and to improve her culinary skills. On her social media pages, the Kapuso actress has posted some of her own culinary creations that range from baby food for little Zia, stews, soups, and veggies. And on days when Marian is short on time, stir-fry dishes have become her go-to choices for easy, yummy meals.

Marian does magic in the kitchen with Aji-Ginisa Flavor Seasoning Mix!
Topping her stir-fry list are Chopsuey and Fried Rice made with AJI-GINISA® Flavor Seasoning Mix, as seen in the seasoning’s two new TVCs which began airing last June 4, 2017. In both versions, Marian dances and sings to the tune of her hit song, “Sabay-sabay Tayo,’ while she adds AJI-GINISA® to each dish to make them more delicious and “Garantisadong Ginisarap.”

Like Marian, you can also whip up “Garantisadong Ginisarap” dishes – even non-vegetable ones – by adding a touch of AJI-GINISA® to your favorite stir-fry recipes.

Visit http://www.ajinomoto.com.ph/recipes/ and like www.facebook.com/AjiGinisaPH and www.facebook.com/CookmunitybyAjinomotoPH for more dishes to try.

***
Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation (APC) is an affiliate of Tokyo-based Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Established in 1958, APC lives by its promise to provide consumers products that will always give the delicious taste to healthy and nutritious meals as embodied in APC’s slogan Ajinomoto® “Eat Well, Live Well.®” APC’s complete line of quality food and seasoning products are produced by international affiliates and local toll manufacturers using Ajinomoto’s license, quality standards and technological expertise. APC’s products include AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning, Ajinomoto® Brand Ginisa Flavor Seasoning Mix, AJI-SINIGANG® Cube, Ajinomoto® Brand Chicken Powder, PORKSAVOR® All-in-One Seasoning Mix, CRISPY FRY® Breading Mix, CRISPY FRY® SEASONED CRUMBS®, TASTY BOY® All Purpose Breading Mix, AJI-SHIO® Seasoning Mix, SARSAYA® Oyster and Sweet and Sour Sauce and “amino Fres-C” Instant Drink Mix.


6.18.2017

Spotlight | NLIHome Honey Soap.

Earlier this week, I raved about the Essence Cushion from an up and coming Korean cosmetics brand, The Cellin. The brand is manufactured by NRCommunications of Korea, a distribution company which has been business since 1999 and the same company which produces and distributes NLIHome products.

NLIHome is a lifestyle brand which carries personal hygiene and home care products made with natural ingredients and eco-friendly materials. Among these is the Honey Soap, one of NLIHome's bestsellers.
NLIHome Honey Soap. 
Hangul text at the back. I reckon these are the product descriptions.
Honey has long been a popular additive in soaps and other skincare products, and rightfully so. For one, it's a natural humectant, which helps retain skin moisture. It also has antibacterial properties, which can help clear acne and prevent future breakouts. In addition, honey is a chock full of polyphenols, an antioxidant that protects the skin from free radical damage.
More Hangul text on this side.
And on the other.
Now aside from honey, this soap also contains propolisdokudami (also known by its scientific name Houttuynia cordata; a medicinal herb famed in Asia for its health benefits), and snail secretion extract (packed with hyaluronic acid which increases skin suppleness and improves skin texture), among others.
Main ingredients of the NLIHome Honey Soap.
As seen on the NRCommuncation website.
Do note that most of the text in the soap box is written in Hangul, so I had to refer to the internet for the complete list of ingredients for this Honey Soap. Thankfully, I found them on the NRCommunication website, along with other details about the product.
Unboxing the NLIHome Honey Soap.
The NLIHome Honey Soap comes in an 80 gram box. Inside it is an opaque plastic pouch which contains the bar of soap.
The NLIHome Honey Soap, unwrapped.
Although there's nothing fancy about how the soap looks - rectangular in shape, fits the palm of my hand, has the NLIHome logo carved on the center - its scent is quite noteworthy. It has a sweet and nutty scent that's not overpowering but lingers on the skin even after bathing. It lathers quite well and rinses off completely without leaving a filmy residue on the skin.
Fits the palm of my hand.
I've used this on my face too, and I love how this mild and gentle soap cleanses thoroughly without the drying feel. I've been using this product for a little over two weeks now, and I love how this soap 'calms' the occasional red blotches on my face, which acts up whenever the weather is too hot and humid.

That being said, this soap is safe even for those with sensitive skin. Kids and babies can use this soap too, but please do a patch test first just to be sure that your little ones are not allergic to honey or bee by-products. Yue uses this soap, too. He's enamored with the scent and loves bathing with it.

The NLIHome Honey Soap sells for Php 130 each and can be bought online through The Cellin Cosmetics Facebook page.


6.16.2017

Spotlight | Apicuria Natural Oral Spray.

It's officially the rainy season here in the Philippines, but for the past few days we've been experiencing nothing but the blazing sun and the scorching heat. Last weekend, however, was a totally different story. It rained non-stop, with thunder, lightning, and all. It's this extreme weather conditions that I'm always wary of, because it's times like these when Yue and I would often end up with a cough, sore throat, or a bad case of the sniffles.
Apicuria Natural Oral Spray.
Thankfully, I came across this product - the Apicuria Natural Oral Spray - which can relieve such minor ailments. Dubbed as a'natural throat soother', this oral spray is made with honey, propolis, and a variety of herbs such as mint, calamansi, licorice root, marshamallow root, and perilla seed.
Product description and ingredients.
It's manufactured by The BeEmpire Inc., a social enterprise which advocates beekeeping as a sustainable livelihood and gives credence to apitherapy or the use of honey bee products as alternative medicine. ('Api' is the scientific name for honey bee.)
Usage directions and expiry date.
The use of honey as medicine is nothing new. It actually dates back to the ancient civilization, when the Egyptians would use it to treat wounds or even as an embalming fluid for their mummies. The antibacterial property of honey has been proven by modern medicine, thus making it one of the most potent and most natural antibiotic.
Made with honey + propolis + herbs.
Similarly, the bee byproduct propolis has also been used for centuries to fight off infection caused by bacteria and to treat minor wounds. It also helps in boosting the immune system and hasten the healing of wounds.
Hexagonal box.
The Apicuria Natural Oral Spray is packaged in a hexagonal box, a reference to the shape of the honeycomb. The spray itself is housed in a 12 mL plastic bottle which comes with an easy-to-pump nozzle. Its handy and compact packaging makes it ideal for travelers and even frequent flyers.
Handy 12 mL bottle.
To use, simply spray 2 to 3 pumps on the throat, mouth, or affected areas (think canker sores, commonly known in Tagalog as 'singaw') 3 times a day or as needed, preferably after meals.
The same text on the box are also printed on the bottle.
I love the instant relief that I get from Apicuria whenever my throat feels scratchy, or when I feel like I'm about to catch a cold. It tastes sweet, just as honey should, with a hint of mint and citrus.
The nozzle.
But how I wish I had discovered this prior to our last trip to South Korea! You see, Yue got sick during our final week in Seoul. He had tonsilitis, which eventually led to three days of fever AND a trip to the doctor. Had I known about Apicuria earlier, we could have alleviated his sore throat then.
Spritzed it once on my palm, just to see what I'm spraying inside my mouth. :)
Definitely bringing a bottle or two of the Apicuria Natural Oral Spray next time we fly! This little wonder worker has earned a spot in my Seoul survival kit and my daily travel kit. There's actually a bottle sitting inside my purse as of this writing. :)

The Apicuria Natural Oral Spray retails at Php 299 per bottle. Available at the Human Heart Nature online store, Human Heart Nature branches nationwide, and through the Apicuria official Facebook page.


6.15.2017

The 5-Day Flat Belly Diet Plan.

The belly area is one of the toughest spots to lose weight. The “pudge” as we call it, just sometimes will not budge and we are left with that pouch of flab. Fortunately, there are some diet tips that work best for getting a flat stomach. Add one of these tips for over the next 5 days and you will have a great 5 day flat belly plan.
Photo credit: Pixabay
1. Increase your fiber intake.
Instead of a boxed breakfast cereal, which is usually packed with added sugar, choose to have all-natural oatmeal instead. Eat a lot of beans with whole grains and vegetables to make sure you are getting the recommended amount of fiber each day which is 30-38 grams for men and 25 grams for women. If you start to track it, you will quickly see that you are probably not even coming close to that amount.

2. Have a probiotic yogurt or kefir drink every day. 
Probiotics keep things moving along in your intestinal tract and help your body digest foods properly. It is becoming increasingly clear that the gut biome is important when it comes to weight loss. The gut biome is the makeup of bacteria in our stomachs and intestines. Depending on the types of bacteria you have in your belly can determine how well you respond to hunger and fullness signals with hormones like ghrelin and leptin. Probiotics or fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi help tremendously.

3. Do a cleanse to get rid of toxins.
Cleansing with shakes or doing water fasts have become increasingly popular as a way to help our bodies get rid of the things that weigh us down. One common plan is called Isagenix which offers a 9 day cleanse with their nutritional drinks and shakes. I personally know someone who lost 18 pounds during one 9 day cleanse and went on to lose another 60 pounds. You can even include some healthy meals as part of your 9 day cleanse program because for some of the days you have a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and then a healthy dinner. Your energy will increase, your skin will clear up, and you will reset your metabolism with a good, natural cleanse.

4. Don’t eat 2 hours before bedtime.
Think about this. You eat a huge bloating meal and then lie down to sleep. Sure, your digestive system keeps working to a certain extent, but it also needs some time to rest as well. The last thing you want is a giant meal sitting in your stomach all night. Eat two hours before bed and wake up with your body already burning its fat stores.

5. Make the switch from soda.
You know you have wanted to do it for some time now, but it just seems impossible. The addiction to soda is intense and can make it hard to let go. When you consider that you can do anything for two weeks, make the decision to end the habit and find better alternatives. Try La Croix seltzer water so you can still have bubbles and use flavors like lemon and lime to make plain water taste a bit better.


6.13.2017

Bespoke Gift Ideas for Father's Day.

More often than not, finding a gift that's thoughtful and unique for the special man in your life can be notoriously challenging. The task is often Herculean that you'll almost always end up buying a necktie, a pair of boxer shorts, or a set of socks because these items are the only things that you can think of.

But contrary to popular belief, men aren't that hard to shop for - especially if you have a deep understanding of what his hobbies and interests are, and pay attention to the things that he like and dislike, for that matter. And with Father's Day fast-approaching, it's now time to rack my brains and come up with interesting surprises for the men in my family. Thankfully, I found a haven of gift options online and they now have me covered in time for Father's Day!

For my husband who works the night shift.
A personalized Frenche press, for men who run on coffee. This cafetiere features a heat resistant borosilicate glass beaker inside a chrome-plated steel frame with a black polycarbonate handle. The coffee pot can be hand-etched with your own words over five lines. Should I have this etched with "I love you forever", or that looks too cheesy to bring to his workplace? Haha!
Personalized cafetiere.
For my comic geek brother.
My brother, now in his early 30's and soon-to-be a father of two (my sister-in-law is currently pregnant with their second child), will forever be like Peter Pan. He's still addicted to video games, watches cartoons, and still into comic books - just like he was when we were kids. This Vintage Comic Clock makes a perfect gift for him, and for those men who will forever be kids-at-heart. The clock's face can be customized with your comic book/superhero of choice.
Vintage comic clock.
For my banker brother-in-law.
Nothing says dapper like a business bag handcrafted from the finest Italian leather. This Calvino business bag, which can be personalized with the recipient's initials, looks smart, simple, yet elegant - exactly the aura that my brother-in-law should exude whenever he's meeting clients or having a business luncheon with his boss.
Leather business bag.
For my father-in-law, and his wine collection.
I can't exactly say that my father-in-law is a wine connoisseur because he hardly drinks wine and other alcoholic beverages. But he does have a wide collection of wines and spirits at home, most of them are gifts from relatives and friends. This beautifully handcrafted wood rack is a stylish way to display his wines, and makes a nice accent to the kitchen in my parents-in-law's home.
Personalized wine rack.
For my grandfather who loved to cook.
And I say loved because it's been almost eighteen years since he passed away. But my grandfather, whom we fondly call 'Lolo Daddy', has never been forgotten, and we'd always remember him for his love for food, his cooking skills, and how much he loved us, his grandchildren. If he were still alive, I'd probably surprise him with this Magnetic Knife Block and have the words 'Best Lolo' ('lolo is the Filipino term for 'grandfather') etched on it.
Personalized Magnetic Knife Block.
So forget the socks, ties, and boxers, and get your dad or husband a gift that's meaningful, something that will pique his interest, and is right up his alley. I'm sure you're bound to find one at Gifts Less Ordinary. :)