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Spotlight | Human Heart Nature Pollution Defense Face Mask.

Is your skin feeling dry as if all the moisture has been zapped out of it? Or does your face look tired and haggard even after a good night's sleep? I know it's Halloween, but your bare, no-makeup face shouldn't look like you're a character from The Walking Dead about to go Trick or Treat-ing.

Dull complexion is often caused by stress, sleep-deprivation, dehydration, or a lacking skincare routine - either you're not using the right products for your skin type, you're not exfoliating, or you're not moisturizing your skin. Either that, or you live in a polluted area where you're constantly exposed to air pollutants such as smoke, dust, and fumes. These environmental elements, on top of constant UV exposure, can definitely wreak havoc on your skin.

Now this is where Human Heart Nature's Pollution Defense Face Mask comes into play. Launched simultaneously with the Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm, this new product 'lets your skin breathe clean' by cleansing it from pollutants.
Human Heart Nature Pollution Defense Face Mask.
It contains bamboo charcoal, whose purifying properties have been hailed since the ancient Egypt civilization. The bamboo charcoal contained in this product is 'activated' - infused with oxygen thus increasing its ability to absorb toxins - making it even more effective at drawing out dirt and impurities from the skin.
Product description and usage instructions.
List of ingredients.
Also found in this product is moringa seed oil, which works by counterfeiting the ill effects of pollution on the skin. Its anti-aging properties makes the skin look healthy and helps improve its complexion.
Typical squeeze tube with flip top cap.
This clay-type mask is made with a blend of bentonite and kaolin clay, making this product suitable for all skin types. Bentonite is known for its ability to suck excess sebum from the skin, making it a an ideal product for oily and acne-prone skin. Kaolin, on the other hand, is known for its impurity-absorbing, skin-tightening abilities sans the adverse reactions.
Squeezed a small amount on the back of my hand.
To use, simply squeeze out a generous amount of the product on your fingertips. Spread the product across your face, starting from the bridge of your nose towards the apples of your cheeks and upwards to your temples. Wait for 10-15 minutes or until the product feels stiff before washing it off with warm water. 
Spreading it a bit on the back of my hand.
I love the tightening, pulsating feel on my face as the mask starts to dry. It feels like all that dirt, gunk, and toxins are being pulled and sucked from my face! However, I don't wait for the mask to actually flake and crack as it runs the risk of dehydrating and irritating the skin.
The mask starting to dry.
While I'm not too keen about this mask's earthy, herbal scent, I love the refreshing, moisturized feeling you get after rinsing the product off your face. Not only does it cleanse the skin, it also softens smoothens, and brightens the skin, thereby improving your complexion with regular use. And by regular, I mean once or twice a week only.
How the mask looks like as it dries on my face.
The Human Heart Nature Pollution Defense Mask comes in a 100-gram tube and retails at Php 450. It's currently being sold at an introductory price of Php 395 at all Human Heart Nature branches across the country and on the Human Heart Nature online store. I reckon this offer will last until the next magalogue turnover (which happens mid-November) so I suggest you take advantage of the discounted price while you can.
Squeezing in a photo of my bare face because why not, my skin looks good anyway.
Excuse the eyebrows, though. :)


Foodie Goodie | Meat-ing Meat Buffet.

Koreans love barbecued meat, and all those 'samgyeopsal' scenes in countless Korean dramas is a testament to that. And being a huge fan of Kdramas AND Korean barbecue, no trip to 'my other motherland' would be complete without a pitstop at an authentic Korean barbecue joint.

Last Spring, we had the chance to dine at Meat-ing, an all-you-can-eat meat buffet with several branches across the country. We visited the branch in nearby Gwangjin-gu, just a ten-minute taxi ride away from where we live. This place is also accessible via subway - Exit 7 of the Children's Grand Park Station.
Popular for its affordable pricing and cozy ambiance, Meat-ing is a haven for those who fancy meat and grilled food without having to pay a fortune. The rate per person at this particular Meat-ing branch is 10500 won during lunch hours (11 am to 5 pm) and 11500 won during dinner hours (5 pm to 11 pm). I believe this branch has the cheapest rates as the Meat-ing in Hongdae charges 12500 per person during lunch hours (13900 for dinner hours), while the branch in Paju charges 11900 per person during lunch hours (12900 for dinner hours).
Unlimited drinks for only 2000 won per table.
It was a little past three when we arrived at Meat-ing, and we had no trouble finding seats for the three of us since most of the lunch crowd have dissipated by then. An ahjussi, whom we believe to be the restaurant owner, ushered us to our table and explained to us the buffet guidelines - finish your meal within two hours, eat everything on your plate otherwise you'll be charged an extra 5000 won, unlimited drinks are available for just 2000 won per table

And with that, our late lunch at Meat-ing commenced. The husband took the meat for grilling from the rows of counter-type refrigerators, while I took side dishes from the buffet counter next to it.
Meat of all kinds - beef, pork, chicken, and duck, too!
Samgyeopsal - slices of pork belly.
Salad bar.
Meat-ing offers a variety of meat options - pork, beef, chicken, tripe, and duck, even. They also have a salad bar loaded with fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, onions, apples, and tomatoes. For appetizers, they have potato wedges, tater tots, and dumplings to name a few. They also have rice, kimchi, and soup. And yes, everything is unlimited.
Yue feasting on potatoes while waiting for the meat to be cooked.
Of course, you have to grill your own meat. The grill is a modern infrared burner sunk into the table. It doesn't burn as hot as the gas burners in the typical samgyeopsal restaurants, and it doesn't cause excessive heat which can singe the table or the utensils. An ahjumma, whom we believe is the samonim of this restaurant, stopped by our table to place a parchment paper on the grill. I reckon this is to keep the cleaning to a minimum. She stopped by a few times to change the parchment paper each time we finished grilling, and if I remember correctly, we grilled four batches of meat. Haha!
Beef and pork belly, batch 1.
Dakgalbi, samgyeopsal, lean pork, tteok, batch 2. 
Husband enjoying our meal. Yue stopped eating after the second batch of meat.
For dessert, the husband and I had a scoop of ice cream each. I would have wanted to eat more, but I can only stuff my face (and my tummy) so much. Voracious eaters will definitely have a field day at this restaurant. Lol. 
Cheese and strawberry ice cream.
If you're in Seoul and in the mood for some meat indulgence, then Meat-ing is a restaurant worth-visiting. The service is good, and the food - vis-a-vis the price, is great. Our total bill amounted to 33500 won (around $30 or Php 1500) - not bad considering price of luxury buffet restaurants here in the Philippines which is around Php 1000 per head. :)

Seoul, Gwangjin-gu 179 Neungdongro
+ 822-2625-7942


Seoul Searching | Revisiting Kondae: Common Ground.

My frequent visits to South Korea made me realize that shopping in Seoul should not be limited to just the (more) popular tourist destinations. Of course, I still love going to Myeongdong because almost all of my favorite Korean cosmetics brands are there, and Dongdaemun because it has Shake Shack and sneaker outlets.

However, I came to realize that it's more fun to shop at the lesser-known shopping districts where it's relatively peaceful (read: no rambunctious tourists from you know where) and less crowded. And if you're lucky, you might come across some really good deals (like 1+1 sale events or clearance sales) or find goods that are sold at cheaper prices.

One of my favorite lesser-known shopping destinations is Kondae (Konkuk University), located just two subway stops away from where we live. Lined with restaurants, cafes, and retail shops, Kondae is a go-to destination for teens and yuppies (I have not used this word in such a long time, lol), and is now garnering attention for being the new Gangnam.

Kondae is known for its 'Taste Street', a whole block lined with pubs, cafes, and restaurants with vast dining options - from samgyeopsal, Chinese food, to Western cuisine. It also has a Rodeo Fashion Street where you'll find a variety of clothing stores and popular sports brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. In addition, Kondae is also home to Common Ground, the very first pop-up container mall in the country.

Welcome to Common Ground!
More of Common Ground after the jump!


The #NationalPamperingDay Experience.

Stress has been my best friend for the past few weeks. I had writing deadlines to meet, business transactions to complete, Yue's summative exam's to prepare for (if you're following me on Instagram then you know how OC I am when it comes to reviewers and exams), and social media projects to accomplish. To make things worse, Yue got sick which entailed sleepless nights, several trips to the doctor, and missing school for a few days. Pretty taxing, right?

And so when I received the invite to partake in this year's National Pampering Day, I said yes in a heartbeat. Held last October 17, the nationwide event was hosted by Nailaholics, the country's most popular nail salon and spa. With the aim to give every hardworking Filipino a well-deserved treat, all Nailaholics branches in the country offered free services from 10 am to 1 pm.
October 17, 2017 is National Pampering Day!
The very first National Pampering Day was held last year, and was widely-received by the public. As such, Nailaholics decided to run a sequel and make it more meaningful by adding more options to the free services that they offer. This year's event now had a foot spa and a foot massage, as well as the free manicure that had been a big hit the previous year.
Nailaholics SM San Pablo.
Anticipating a huge crowd of patrons, I visited Nailaholics SM San Pablo as soon as the mall opened. True enough, there were already plenty of customers when I arrived. Most of the seats inside the salon were already occupied, and almost all of their nail technicians had customers to attend to.
National Pampering Day is free for all, women and men alike. :)
Miss Jen, the branch manager, ushered me to an empty seat in the corner. She asked me which of the free services will I be getting (foot spa, of course) and was a bit apologetic that I had to wait for a few minutes for my turn. I told her that I don't mind the wait, and it was nice to see that many customers came to the event despite the nationwide transportation strike.
Miss Jen making the rounds, checking if each customer is satisfied with their service.
You see, for every customer who will avail of the free service, Nailaholics will donate Php 10 to a charity of the customer's choice - World Vision for the rehabilitation of Marawi City, Save the Seas to help protect the country's marine and coastal resources, or PAWS to support their campaign of adopting stray dogs. More customers meant more donations for the charities mentioned.
My nail technician, Angel.
After a few minutes of waiting, my turn finally came. Angel was my nail technician for the day, and as she sat in front of me to scrub the callus off my feet, I realized that I have not had a foot spa since my last trip to Seoul! And that's already half a year!
Getting a well-deserved and much-needed pampering on National Pampering Day!
My nail technician did a good job of exfoliating my feet and massaging my legs, asking me from time to time if the heat of the water is okay, if the scrubbing tickles, or if the pressure on my legs and feet were just right. She gave me the most relaxing foot spa I have had in years that I will most likely book her for my next appointment at Nailaholics.
The technicians in action.
Kudos to Nailaholics SM San Pablo for a job well done, and congratulations to Nailaholics for another successful run of the National Pampering Day! Thank you for having me this year, and will look forward to next year's festivities! :)


Foodie Goodie | Budae Jjigae.

I've been feeling very 'Seoul-sick' lately. I miss the nippy night air in Seoul. The sights, sounds, and spicy food. Our tiny, one-bedroom apartment and its heated floors. Our well-stocked pantry whenever we're in Seoul. And my husband, most of all.

Watching this week's episode of Running Man made me miss Korea even more. Especially after seeing Yu Jae Seok, Haha, Song Ji Hyo, and the rest of the gang - health buff Kim Jong Kook included - wolfing down ramyeon at a ramyeon buffet somewhere in Seoul.
Ramyeon overload on Episode 373 (Do Whatever You Want) of Running Man!
I felt so 'homesick' and so hungry afterwards that I decided to whip up a (ramyeon) storm in my kitchen. And by that I mean 'Budae Jjigae' - a type of stew typically made with ham, sausage, baked beans, and kimchi.
Haha enjoying his bowl of ramyeon.
'Budae' is the Korean term for 'army base', while 'jjigae' is the Korean term for 'stew'. The name 'budae jjigae' literally translates into 'army base stew', and there's actually a sad story behind it.

In the 1950's, Korea was known as the world's poorest country. Food was extremely scarce after the three-year war which divided the two Koreas, and most people in South Korea had to depend on relief aid from the United Nations and other countries. Canned goods such as Spam, sausages, and pork and beans from the US army bases supplemented the food shortage during that time. A restaurant owner in Uijeongbu, where US army bases are stationed, started to make a stew using these canned goods. Mixed with the local Korean flavor, the budae jjigae was born. 
Spam and ramyeon - perfect combination. :)
Since then, this dish became immensely popular all over Korea, and is slowly gaining popularity in other parts of the world. Even world-renowned chef and food critic Anthony Bourdain loves budae jjigae, so much that he even taught Anderson Cooper and Mario Battali how to make it.

Here's how I made mine. Take note that this dish actually requires kimchi. However, I'm not really fond of kimchi so I used Chinese (napa) cabbage instead. If you like kimchi, then by all means, you can use it for this dish. 

1 can Spam, sliced
1 can pork and beans
1 can Vienna sausage, sliced
1 block firm tofu, sliced
1 cup Chinese cabbage, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
4 cups of chicken stock
1 packet instant ramyeon (Samyang Original is my brand of choice)
My favorite instant ramyeon. :)
For seasoning:
1 packet instant ramyeon seasoning
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon gochujang/red chili paste (optional; add this if you want your stew to be extra spicy)

Budae jjigae! 
1. Combine all the ingredients for seasoning in a small bowl. Mix well.
2. In a large shallow pot, arrange all the stew ingredients with the ramyeon noodles on top.
3. Add the seasoning to the pot, and pour the chicken stock over.
4. Bring the pot to medium heat and let it boil. Mix the seasoning as the stew boils.
5. Untangle the ramyeon noodles and spread them out in the pot. Do not overcook!
6. Serve while hot. Top with sliced cheese if desired.

They say spicy food make you happy, and with that I concur. I was in good spirits after just one bowl of budae jjigae! :)


The Best Way to Build Your Makeup Kit for Less.

Every makeup lover should have a fully stocked kit to rely on no matter what look they are trying to achieve. You should have the necessary tools for contouring, smoky eyes, and even the right stuff to create a Halloween look to die for. If you’re starting from scratch, though, it can seem quite daunting. Makeup isn’t cheap, right? Right, but don’t worry – there are plenty of easy ways you can save money while building the makeup kit of your dreams.

Remember, sites like eBay can be a great place to check for makeup deals when you’re building your kit – don’t be afraid to branch outside of department stores.
Makeup haul, just because. 
1. Skin Care
The most important piece of your makeup kit isn’t even technically makeup. It’s the skin care. Serums, wipes moisturizers, Vaseline, and even hemorrhoid creams are a must, whether you’re a professional or you just love getting your makeup right on a daily basis. You don’t need name brands when it comes to the majority of these things, but don’t scrimp on moisturizers, wipes, and serums.

2. Your Needs
Building your kit right will take time, so it’s important that you get the basics right the first time. So, it’s time to analyze what makeup tools you have now and assess what other necessities you have. Think about what items you will use most often as that is where you’ll want to spend initially. These are also the things you may want to look for quality in and spend a bit more and save on the other items you won’t use as often.

3. Cost Isn’t Everything
A small price tag doesn’t mean that the product isn’t good, nor does a large price tag mean you’re getting the best product possible. Choose brands that are priced affordably, you get high-quality makeup products at inexpensive prices. Don’t be afraid to choose a combination palette – it is far more cost effective to go down this route than it is to buy a dozen shades of eye shadow separately.

4. Bulk Buys
You should feel confident about buying certain items in bulk because it’s cheaper and you will need to change things up often. For instance, your brushes should be changed regularly to prevent any skin irritations, rashes, or acne, so don’t be afraid to buy more than you need to get a lower price. You’ll thank yourself in the future. The same can be said for mascara wands, cotton balls and buds, foam sponges, and cotton pads. Think about it, the less you spend on these items the more money you will have to spend on the right parts of your makeup kit.

5. Research
Read reviews and check out ratings on new products before you buy. This will help you avoid spending too little on products that aren’t worth it or overspending on big brands that miss the mark.

6. Brushes
This isn’t the area to save money on – your brushes should be of high quality as it will ensure your face lasts and that you get the most of your makeup. You’ll also work faster with better tools, so don’t get stingy when shopping for the perfect brushes.

7. Invest in A Box
It doesn’t matter when it’s a tool box or a tool bag, as long as you have an organized storage area for your makeup you are set. This will allow you to fully organize everything you have and prevent you from buying the same products in multiples. How on earth do you expect to keep track of everything if it’s just dumped in one big bag?

8. Foundations and Primers
While you shouldn’t go cheap on your primers, you can save money when buying foundations. You don’t need to buy the biggest brands you simply need to choose a foundation that will provide you with the right amount of coverage and that will last the entire day.

9. Brush Cleaner
We’ve already covered how important your brushes are, so make sure they live long and prosper by investing in a good brush cleaner and using them after each use. This will help extend their life and prevent any unsightly rashes or acne breakouts from occurring. Of course, it will also ensure your finished look is flawless. You should have an antibacterial spray handy, too.

10. Makeup Remover
This is another item you shouldn’t cheap out on – ensure you invest in a brand that will adequately remove the makeup and is good for your skin type. There’s nothing worse than a remover that aggravates skin and causes breakouts.

Are you constantly searching for the ultimate life hacks and money saving tips? It’s time to bookmark Bargain Hunters blog to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the amazing tips and hints on offer.


Freebie Alert | #NationalPamperingDay.

The long wait will finally be over as Nailaholics Nail Salon and Spa welcomes you once again tomorrow, October 17, 2017, for another real pampering treat at the celebration of the National Pampering Day.
See you tomorrow! :)
Relieve your stress and make sure to drop by at any Nailaholics branch nearest you from 10 AM to 1 PM to get a free pampering service of your choice. You may choose to get a soothing manicure, relaxing foot massage or a calming foot spa.

And best of all, by simply participating in this year’s National Pampering Day, you will be able to support the cause of your chosen organization. You can extend your help in the rehabilitation of Marawi City by supporting World Vision, help protect our country’s rich but threatened marine and coastal resources when you support Save Philippine Seas or support The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in preventing animal cruelty.

“With all the preparations we’ve made, we are very excited to welcome everyone tomorrow and make them feel that they deserve real pampering” said Arvin Amaro, Marketing Head of Nailaholics Nail Salon and Spa. This is a once a year treat only from the number one pampering destination in the Philippines – Nailaholics.

See you all tomorrow and Happy National Pampering Day!

Visit to check their services and find the branch nearest you. Get updates through their Facebook Page Nailaholics Nail Salon and Spa, Twitter @nailaholics and Instagram @nailaholics.


Spotlight | Human Heart Nature Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm.

Cleansing is the most basic step of any skincare routine.
For me, it's cleansing twice in the evening - after an entire day of wearing makeup and spending the most part outdoors, exposed to dust, dirt, and pollution.

Double cleansing starts off with a cleansing oil or micellar water to break down the makeup, sunscreen, and excess oil on the surface of the skin, followed by a water-based cleanser for a deeper, thorough cleansing. This has been part of my bedtime routine for years now, and I must say, double cleansing plays a huge part in keeping my skin smooth and 'pore-less' (save for the days before and during my monthly period).

Now if you're the type who finds it too much a bother to cleanse your face twice, or have ultra-sensitive skin and fear that double cleansing might 'over-wash' your skin, then this product is right up your alley.
Human Heart Nature Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm.
Human Heart Nature recently launched an array of new skincare products, which includes the Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm. It's a solid balm that liquefies upon contact with the skin and melts away dirt, residue, and even long-wearing, waterproof makeup.
Product details at the bottom of the tub.
If you're familiar with Banila Co's Clean it Zero (aka the holy grail of cleansing balms and the first step of my double cleansing routine), you'll be glad to know that this product does pretty much the same thing - at half the price AND sans the mineral oil.
Comes with a small spatula.
The Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm is made with pure virgin coconut oil which easily breaks down waterproof eye makeup and even long-wearing matte lipsticks. It doesn't strip the skin of its natural moisture. Instead, it nourishes and hydrates the skin as you cleanse, making it a softer and smoother canvas for the rest of your skincare routine.
Here's what it looks like.
This cleansing balm also contains castor seed oil, known for its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects; sunflower seed wax, which is rich in nutrients and anti-oxidants; and mimosa flower wax which soothes the skin, makes the complexion glow, and gives this product a sweet, warm, and powdery scent.
A little goes a long way. :)
To use, simply scoop a small amount of the balm using the tiny spatula that comes with the tub. Apply it on the skin and gently massage it on your face to remove your makeup.
Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm vs. Clio Kill Black Waterproof Brush Liner
and Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip in TooLips.
As the product melts away your makeup, it also breaks down into a silky oil which you can wipe off with a cotton pad and rinse with just water. 
A small scoop on the back of my hand.
The balm emulsifies as you rinse and leaves the skin with a soft, milky feeling like a cleansing oil would. However, it does not add any excess oil nor does it make your skin look like a greased pan. 
Massage it to melt away your makeup...
I love how this balm removes makeup in a jiffy. Even Clio's Salon de Cara - one of the most resilient mascaras that I have used to date - melted away in seconds with this cleansing balm, making this whole makeup removing/cleansing process a lot easier for me. 
Tadaaa! Look, clean skin!
Sure, I still rinse my face with a water-based cleanser afterwards, but there was this one time that I was too dead-tired to go through the entire ten-step skincare routine that I hit the sack as soon as I removed all that gunk off my face. Thankfully, my face did not suffer from breakouts or irritation, nor did it feel dry or flaky the morning after.

Another thing that I love about this product - aside from the fact that it's made with all-natural ingredients - is its travel-friendly, no-spill solid formula. I can easily slip this into my carry-on without having to worry about the size (each tub weighs 40 grams), or liquid spills in my luggage.

This cleansing balm has definitely earned a spot in my skincare routine! Definitely buying another tub once I finish this one, though I don't think it will be anytime soon. :)

The Human Heart Nature Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm retails at Php 345 per tub and is available at the Human Heart Nature online store and Human Heart Nature branches nationwide.