Typhoon Ondoy Aftermath

I've stopped watching videos of the flood because it became too depressing and surreal, even. Who would have thought that it would come to the point where cars get whisked off by the flood waters?

This is Eastwood, where our office is located.

Edit: This is Eastwood (or, err, the river beside it):

And this is Katipunan, where our apartment is.

The floodwaters may have started to ebb, but a lot of people need help. Now is not the time to bicker about politicians and faulty drainage systems, nor is it the time to start attacking insensitive people on the internet. Let's save that for later, when we've managed to do all we can. Find out how you can help here.

Shopping Ban Ground Rules

First of all, I just found out that the flood water did not get into our apartment in Manila which is nothing short of a miracle. I was so worried because I saw horrible pictures of heavy flooding in the Katipunan area. Thank you, thank you, universe.

Anyway, on to the shopping ban. As I mentioned before, there will be no more shopping until my birthday. I've just been really stressed the past few weeks, and low-EQ-ness has gone a little bit too far. Among other things, I got a Coach bag, a Clarisonic, and Sonia Rykiel boots in the span of three weeks. So I have to take a breather.

However, there will of course be some exceptions. Among other things, the shopping ban does not include food, buying stuff for other people, and stuff that I've ran out of and cannot be replaced with something already in my stash. For example, I've just hit pan on my moisturizer, so I have to buy a replacement. But say, if I ever hit pan on one of my blushes (which is not happening anytime within the next ten years), I can just move on to other blushes so I am not allowed to buy another blush.

Oh, and one more exception. Since we've recently purchased the Grutt pass which is essentially a free pass to most Tokyo museums and galleries for two months, souvenirs are also an exception. And I'm saying that because I just bought a mug from Tokyo Sea Life aquarium because it has a hammerhead on it and I just fell in love with the hammerhead sharks.

And it does not help that the hammerhead shark is pink. (Pictures of the aquarium are here)

Anyway, that's that.
I am now off to shop for other people. ^^


Word on the street is it has been raining like crazy in Manila the entire day today. I wouldn't know because I've been holed up in the office working. On. A. Saturday. To be fair it's an official working day to make up for the five-day weekend. That doesn't make it any less painful, though.

I'm worried about the state of our ghetto apartment. Especially my room. When it rains outside, it also rains inside my room, because it's cool like that. Everything is probably soaked. I'm hoping the apartment itself isn't flooded, but it seems like half of Metro Manila is submerged right now. And I'm praying that my sister and cousins are still sane. And that maybe the flood has managed to exterminate Squeakerz the giant rat that always greets us when we enter the gate (it was so huge that Armin mistook it for a rabbit - and then he remembered he was in the Philippines).

I've never really experienced heavy flooding in Metro Manila - I mean, the streets are practically underwater after ten minutes of rain but the water never reaches the inside of the buildings. In the province it's a bit more usual, but for some reason our house never gets flooded. My grandmother's house, however, is an entirely different story - her basement is totally submerged and the water is maybe waist-deep on the first floor and when we were kids we would "set sail" in huge basins. Of course back then it seems like fun because we did not have to worry about having to clean up whatever the dark murky water manages to leave behind.

Anyway, I hope everyone is safe and warm and dry.

The EQ has left the building

No more shopping until my birthday. I promise. It's gotten a wee bit out of control. Having said that, I may have drained the shopping budget for two months but I'm happy as a clam.

I woke up really really late today so I wasn't able to get out of the house until 4 in the afternoon. I went to Minami-O in the hopes of scoring another discounted pair of Levi's (since I got my last pair my other jeans haven't seen any action at all), but I didn't find any pair I particularly liked that came in my size so that's kind of a failure. And then I visited Coach just to... look around, nothing more, and was shocked to see that their clearance bin and heavily discounted bags are all gone, which kinda justified this purchase. Now is actually not a good time to visit the outlet parks because fall is coming and they're bringing out the trench coats and I shouldn't really be buying any more coats since I'm about to go home but I just naturally gravitate towards trenches so it's quite dangerous.

Anyhoo, long story short.

This bag is just so incredibly gay but for some reason I really really like it so I thought what the hell. It's big enough to use for the office and it has a shoulder strap which is always a good thing. In retrospect I might have been influenced by my looklet. It looks kinda washed out in the photo but it's a really really deep purple. And it's 50% off which is always my excuse hehehehe.

And then, this is when all the EQ flew out the window, I went to this shop that sold Louboutins and Manolos and Christian Lacroix. And I really was just looking around to see if my heart would really stop when I see Manolo Blahnik shoes (they didn't, but to be fair there were only three pairs), but then I found this girl trying on these shoes in black and purple and I just found them really really pretty, so I tried looking for them to see if I could, ehem, afford them but I can't find them anywhere so I had to wait for her to decide she didn't like them and return them to the shelf. They're by Sonia Rykiel and were going for 50% off and they weren't exactly pricey but they weren't cheap either but I just couldn't leave without them so...

The heel is cylindrical which I found cute, and it's surprisingly comfy, no kidding. Of course I haven't walked around the entire day in them.

I have no idea when I would get to wear them, but I'm sure I'll find some good excuse. In the meantime, here is more shoe porn.

My New Baby, and then some

I just had the most terrible work week ever. I know I say it all the time, but seriously last week was the worst. It was stressful and frustrating and just... stressful.

But the universe still loves me because I got this when I got home Friday, and it was delivered the next morning. I was so happy I was literally skipping when the package arrived.

It's my biggest biggest online purchase to date, and I actually got a bit scared that I might've been a wee bit too reckless (like if it turned out to be some shady website that's quite a lot of money down the drain). But anyway, here it is and it's the prettiest thing ever.

It's a Clarisonic Mia in pink!!! If you buy the pink one some proceeds go to the fight against breast cancer which is always a good thing. I got it from Skin-etc because it was cheapest there and shipping is super fast - I got it in less than a week after I placed my order which is impressive. I initially wanted the original Clarisonic (which also comes in pink) but it's way more expensive and the charging cradle is not autovolt which is kinda annoying. Like most chargers support 100V-240V so I don't see why it should be any different. Anyway, the Mia is supposedly for travel so it'd pretty much charge anywhere. And it's lighter too. It doesn't beep, though. The original Clarisonic beeps to tell you to move on to another part of the face which I always thought was kinda neat.

Now I have used it only twice so I can't say if it's any good - for skincare stuff you'd really have to give it a couple of weeks to really see results - but I've been loving it so much that I have to stop myself from washing my face more often than is necessary.

One tiny tiny beef though - it takes so long to charge! Apparently you have to charge it for 18 hours to get 20 minutes of use which is kinda disproportionate, don't you think? I'm guessing it's because of the magnetic charging system - the charger attaches to the handle magnetically and there are no metallic pads whatsoever in both the handle and the charger. I'm actually kinda wondering how any electricity is transferred at all (the handle is completely waterproof so no conductors anywhere). But anyway, it's no biggie.

So after I got my package I headed off to Shinjuku because MAC Studio Sculpt was released last Thursday and I've been dying to try it since then but I couldn't because I had to work. I didn't get too much shopping done because I kinda felt queasy after so I had to go home but I'm probably going back tomorrow (I have a 5-day weekend!!!). Anyway, here's the initial damage:

I don't want another foundation disaster (you know, when you get the wrong shade of not-so-cheap foundation), so I got colormatched. When I did swatches I thought I was an NC47 but when I told the make-up artist I wanted to get colormatched she grabbed NC25 and NC30, which tells you that you should never ever ever rely on swatches made on the back of your hand to get the correct shade. She tried NC25 at first but it was "chotto" light, and then when she swiped NC30 we both nodded in agreement because it was perfect (we nodded because we can't really, you know, converse).

So far I've only tried applying it with my Beauty Blender and it's perfect. To tell you the truth I haven't touched any of my brushes ever since I got my hands on that pretty pink egg-shaped sponge - it applies liquid (and even powder) foundation perfectly and it's really really easy to use.

On the way back to the train station I passed by Lumine because I had to use the bathroom (which was really really pretty) and there it was - a newly-opened MAC free-standing store. It's the first MAC free-standing store I've seen; all the rest were counters in department stores. I don't know when it opened but I'm guessing it's new because all of the testers have barely a dent on them and some haven't even been swiped yet, and that is never ever the case with any MAC counter. It's not a pro store, though, so I still can't get my Azalea blush. Now at this point I've been to a couple of drugstores looking for an eye cream but I couldn't find any and I've decided to just get the MAC one but I was too tired to go back to my usual MAC counter because it's a bit far. But since I've stumbled upon yet another MAC store I decided to get the Fast Response Eye Cream there together with my fourth MAC member's card. I still like the one in Isetan though, just because the people there seem more friendly.

And then I dropped by this store called Plaza which sells all sorts of stuff - makeup, clothes, food, stationary, UGGs, you name it. I almost bought a label-maker just because it was nostalgic and all (my mom never let me use our label maker back at home) but I realized I have nothing at all to label but we'll see. It might be handy for when I'm packing. Anyway I just got random stuff - velour puffs (there's this makeup artist in YouTube and he recommended using velour puffs for MSFs and it's actually really good), a Goody detangling comb, and a Rosebud lip balm because my Carmex click stick is getting kinda filthy (does anyone really ever finish an entire stick of lip balm before it turns disgusting?). The original Rosebud salve works better, but it tastes like Vietnamese Pho noodles, no kidding.

Anyway, I've been rambling. Today I cleaned up my entire apartment and did my laundry and all, so I should be free to do as I please for the next couple of days, and I'll be damned if I don't get to squeeze in some shopping.

The Million Reasons Why I Love Japan No. 2069799

Got to love Japan Post.
I just got my Undeliverable Item Notice Slip tonight, and I'm still able to re-schedule the delivery for tomorrow morning (For instructions on how to re-schedule deliveries online, may I refer you to this site).

As for the actual undeliverable item, let's just say I've been very stressed lately.

EQ Meltdown

So today I went to Akihabara and...

Me + DSLR = total poser!

Me: Anong gagawin niyo pag bumili ako ng Mark 7d?
Them: Di ka na namin isasama sa kahit anong lakad namin.

This weekend's shopping is rather bleak, to say the least. I mean look what I got:

Lens cleaning paper which cost me 50 JPY. The fare to Akihabara and back is almost twenty times that. Sheesh. But I did find nice things, like iPhone stuff (a speaker slash dock and yet another case, among other things) and a really really nice stapler (I know it's weird but I really can't find decent staplers in the Philippines and the one they have in Yodobashi can staple together what seems to be a hundred pages of paper with minimum effort, I am not kidding). Found, but did not purchase because I'm still reeling over last week's purchase. And also because I'm planning to purchase the Studio Sculpt foundation from MAC which will be launched here on Thursday. They were on display already and I swatched a couple and much to my shock I think I'm already an NC42. Either the shades run lighter or I've totally scorched my skin over the summer.

In other news, this year's recently concluded UAAP Cheerdance Competition was full of surprises, and with that comes tons and tons of drama. I guess it's unavoidable on such events because you don't have a definitive scoring system so at the end of the day people can still bicker on and on about who deserves to win. Anyway other people's bitterness aside, props to the Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion for finally making it to the top 3. You have no idea how wonderful it is to see our cheering squad perform an actual cheerdance routine instead of... squat-thrusts? And the moonwalk is love!

Anyway, time to hit the sack. It's been a long tiring day and there is no shopping to relieve me of the stress.

Pepper Lunch and Cherry Culture

So first of all, Pepper Lunch is now open. Although the one near our office was empty when we went there for lunch. Well not completely empty; our officemates were there too. What E. coli? Filipinos have tougher stomachs than that. To be fair, the plates were extra hot today.
Anyway, two nights ago I got my "Undeliverable Item Notice" which is this slip of paper from the post office that you get when they attempt to deliver something and you're not home to receive it. Since today is Happy Wednesday I scheduled the delivery for tonight. The delivery person was half an hour too early but thankfully I was able to catch him while he was about to leave the building (he just confirmed my room number and gave me the package, no questions asked).
I ordered a couple of things from Cherry Culture in a fit of low-EQ-ness. I just really wanted to try the Beauty Blender and this was the only website I could find that would allow me to ship to Japan even if my credit card's billing address is in the Philippines. No way in hell would I have something shipped to the Philippines because our postal system is, well, Third World.

I originally wanted the 2 Beauty Blenders + Cleanser kit but they didn't have that so I got the Beauty Blender + Cleanser kit. And being the crazy excited person I am I already tried it out tonight and it didn't disappoint; I am almost regretting buying my other brushes because this is so much better.

I also got a couple of NYX stuff because I've been wanting to get my hands on these but they're just so expensive here in Japan it's crazy. I got two of the cream blushes in Red Cheeks and Glow and I've swatched them and they're quite pretty, but I'll reserve my judgment for later. But this is what they look like up close and personal:

Anyway, I still have two crazy work days to power through. Wish me luck.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: VMV Superskin2 Toner

I realized all I do is post about my hauls but I never do reviews. I'm a bit apprehensive about doing reviews because I'm quite fickle - one day I'm in love with a product, the next day I hate it. But I figured I owe a lot to people who do reviews so I might as well share my two cents. And also because I have to have an opinion on everything. :p

So here goes:

VMV SuperSkin 2 Toner

The Good:
This product is designed for acne-prone combination skin. And it really does work. I started using this after a nasty nasty bout with adult acne and I haven't had major breakouts since. I still do get an occasional zit or two during that time of the month all women abhor and when the weather gets wonky but I don't wake up every morning dreading to look at the mirror for fear of a new pimple.

The Bad:
The formulation is quite strong. The instructions say you should use it twice a week at first, and then gradually increase the frequency as your skin's tolerance level increases. It's also a bit drying, so always follow it up with a moisturizer (which you should be using anyway). And it also contains retinoic acid which increases the skin's sensitivity to UV so ideally the moisturizer should have SPF (mine doesn't because my skin goes bonkers when I use sunscreen).

The Ugly:
The packaging leaves much to be desired, and the bottle opening is huge so you always end up with a soaking wet cotton pad. But this is quite forgiveable; I just decant it into a spritz bottle.

Oh, and the most annoying thing: I checked the website, and this product is no longer listed. I'm not yet panicking since I still have a backup and a bottle lasts for months (and even longer if you transfer to a bottle with a tinier opening) but I'm seriously hoping they don't phase this out.

All in all I'd say it's worth a try if you're having acne problems. Just don't get too eager and use it everyday on the first week because that will just make everything worse. And this usually goes on sale like, every other month, so definitely don't get it at full price.

No Fair

Well this is annoying. From Japan Today:

All 187 Pepper Lunch restaurants closed after food poisoning.

And to add salt to injury,

I already have enough stamps on my point card for a free burger steak and now I can't claim it and it expires on the 9th!!! Hmmpf.

Here we go again

To be perfectly honest, I actually thought I wouldn't get any shopping done this weekend. Of course I couldn't be more wrong.

See, my apartment has been a real dump the past few weeks. I am not kidding. Normally I'd get a bit of tidying up on weekdays and on weekends I'll do my laundry and ironing and hoovering. But lately I've been such a slob so things started piling up and it's now kinda disgusting. So this morning I decided that unless I clean the apartment, there will be no shopping for me. How's that for motivation?

Long story short, I managed to finish cleaning the entire apartment in four hours. It was terrible; my sink has this plastic strainer thing so debris won't go directly to the pipes and I had to clean it up. I normally have a strong stomach but little itty bits and pieces of food in water just makes me gag. It's the worst worst chore ever. Anyway I did finish way ahead of schedule and even managed to cook lunch.

So I was off to the nearest outlet park (Mitsui Outlet Park in Minami-O) with the intention of buying shoes for my two brothers which was a failure. I found a couple of nice pairs (at least to me they looked nice) but they were very specific with what they wanted - Nike Free 7.0 - and I couldn't find those.

Levi's is still having this crazy crazy 80% off sale on their ridiculously overpriced jeans and they seem to be adding more styles every week. Of course most of them are in anorexic sizes (seriously, who wears a size 22?) but I found a really nice pair in my size. It's too bad there's only one in stock; I would've wanted two - one for heels, and another for sneakers. The original price for this pair is insane - 15k yen - but it was going for less than 3k and they even waived the alteration fee so there's no way I was going to pass that up.

Since I had my jeans altered I had to wait for 30 minutes so I looked at a couple of shops but didn't really find anything I liked. The red Lacoste bag that I have been looking at for about a year now is still stuck at 40% off (I'm waiting for it to go for at least 70% off before I buy hehehe) which is annoying. Anyway after half an hour and then some I went back to Levi's to claim my jeans but they weren't ready yet which was a surprise. So I headed off to Coach. Oh man.

Will it help if I say it came with a huge huge discount? I'm guessing no but anyway, I really really likey. I'm not really too fond of monograms so I'm really glad I found this hiding in one corner of the store. Although admittedly it looks a bit too "grown-up" for me hahaha. But I really do like it - I'm a sucker for chunky hardware and the size is perfect (I have too many oversized bags and it's time for some normalcy). When I reached the counter the lady there spoke to me in really rapid Japanese which I took to mean "hello dear customer we would like to remind you that there are no returns or exchanges for sale items so should you regret this purchase after you walk out of the store then that's your problem and your problem alone." Anyway I just nodded and paid for it (and almost bought an overpriced Coach keychain just because) and left the store with a silly smile plastered on my face. No actually I was biting my nails while waiting for the train. Major purchases are stressful.

After the tragedy in the outlet park I headed off to Shinjuku with every intention to buy the Studio Sculpt foundation from MAC because I thought it would be released today but apparently I thought wrong, so I ended up buying cK foundation. Yes, cK as in Calvin Klein.

I still think Kate is the best liquid foundation there is but their darkest shade is now too light on me, no thanks to the unrelenting heat.

I also dropped by Lush so I can use my discount. I ended up buying "Big" shampoo (which is a bit stupid considering I hated the other two haircare products I purcased from them) and this new soap which smells like mint chocolate chip.

The shampoo looks kinda weird, and apparently it contains sea salt, but it should be interesting. And supposedly it gives volume, hence the name.

I'm not sure what this soap is called since the only thing I can read in the label is "time" and the rest is all kanji. It smells wonderful at first whiff but I've had it beside me for a long time now and it's starting to make me nauseous so I'm not sure if I would recommend it.

Now unlike our kiss-ass president, Japan's prime minister doesn't make a habit of declaring holidays when people die, so I have to go to work tomorrow. I leave you with a couple more pictures of my last bag purchase in Tokyo (yeah right).

The Bitch is Back

As much as I would like to stick it out with Wordpress it just baffles me why I have to shell out bucks just to customize the way my blog looks, in the same way that I don't understand additional fees for extra e-mail storage when Gmail's available storage space increases by the second (literally). 
Anyway the point is, I'm back. Please update your links; I promise I'm staying this time.