Sunflowers, Fat Boys, and Mudfish Eggs

It's sunflower season in UP.

Photo taken using my Canon Powershot G9. I gave this to me mom My mom sequestered this when I got my Powershot S90, so I haven't had a chance to use it in a while. The S90 is a pretty good camera, don't get me wrong, but my macro shots turn out so much better when I use my G9. Tsk.

Anyhoo, I was in UP for my sister's graduation.

Here she is with our very own fat boys:

And here she is with the Oblation:

This photo very nearly gave me heatstroke (it was taken around noon).

After the photoshoot we went home to the province where my parents take care of all the bills so I can sleep with the air conditioning on. And my dad brought home a Wii, which we now routinely squabble over.

Random photo from yesterday's dinner:

Mudfish (dalag/bulig in Tagalog) eggs, dipped in tamarind sauce. Mmmmmmm...

Completely Random

Hazel eyes, just for the heck of it.
For the record, I prefer my original eye color. :p

And a couple of nice reads, in case you're bored like me:

Lady Gaga and her vandalized Birkin (アイラブスモールモンスター).

Marian Rivera hacks Good Times Manila.

And Apple finally updates the Macbook Pro line.
(This doesn't exactly qualify as a a "read" but if you haven't already, go watch the ads, most of them are very well thought of).

Things I'm Loving (and a long long ramble)

There's this huge sale right now, but I am too tired to go, which tells you how tired I am. I am seriously seriously seriously burned out. And as much as I would like to take a break just to rehabilitate myself, I can't because there is so much more waiting to be done.

I can't pinpoint when exactly it all started, but my work just started ballooning by the second, and this week I found myself so swamped with work I barely have time to breathe. In fact I was so frazzled I often hanged - someone would ask me a question and I would stare at them for ten seconds, blink a couple of times, and after a few more seconds of silence we both realize I am incapable of processing anything at the moment.

And what makes it so much more painful is I think, no, I know I'm doing a terrible terrible job right now - there are things I should've checked but I did not, things I should've been on top of that slipped my mind, and reports that I should have turned in but did not have enough time to finish. There is just too much going on and it's been increasingly difficult for me to cope.

Anyway, enough of the rant and on to the lighter, more fun side of things.

First of all, I realized I should stop buying make-up and skin care. First, because I only have one face, and second, because unlike clothes, I don't have to use different products every single day. I guess the huge make-up collections are more for people who have enough creativity in them to vary their looks everyday, but that's just not me. I'd rather just stick to my staples.

Skincare stuff:

1. Not in the picture: Shiseido Perfect Whip foaming facial cleanser. Nothing fancy, just your regular facial wash, but it does produce a helluva lot of bubbles. Oh, and MAC Microfine Refinisher which I use whenever I feel like I should exfoliate.

2. MAC Cleansing Oil: I use this to remove my makeup. I've tried Shu Uemura's cleansing oil but I prefer this one (and it's cheaper too). It gets everything off, including waterproof mascara.

3. VMV Superskin Toner: I always go back to this, for some reason. Whenever I try cheating on it I get breakouts.

4. SKII Facial Treatment Essence: I wouldn't say this is a staple, and I hope it's not because it's expensive (I got it on discount courtesy of Anj), and I'm not even sure how it works but I use it anyways.    I'm not sure if it's this one or a combination of the things I'm using but my skin is very very well-behaved lately.

5. MAC Lightful Deep Ultramoisture Cream: I think I've rambled about this enough.

6. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion: This is a recent discovery, and it's a godsend for those annoying stress pimples. I usually make things worse because I'm a picker (I know, I know, it's terrible but I can't stop myself), but this flattens them up almost overnight so I'm left with nothing to pick on.

7. Carmex Lip Balm: It tastes terrible, but it works.

8. NARS Sheer Glow Foundation. I love love LOVE this foundation. It doesn't feel heavy, it doesn't cake, and the shade is almost perfect (I'm using Stromboli), it covers pretty damn well, and the finish is not too matte, but not shiny either. I've tried a couple of ways of applying it - beauty blender, sponge, MAC187, foundation brush, kabuki brush - but I find that the best way is to just go ahead and use my fingers. My only beef? No pump. Seriously, NARS people, would it kill you to include a pump?

9. NARS Blush in Desire and Orgasm. I've been using these two alternately and I still haven't managed a dent. Orgasm I use on days when I want a bit of shimmer, and I use Desire when I feel like my pores are the size of Jupiter (I use the TiffanyD blush trick so it doesn't look scary)

10. MAC eyeshadow in Cork. I just use this for my brows, so this would probably last me for life. I can't really do eyeshadow with the whole crease-outer V-inner corner-outer corner thing, because my eyelids are weird.

11. Nichido eyeshadow in Bronze Eclair. Dirt cheap, but surprisingly pigmented, and it's the only eyeshadow I can actually use - I just sweep it all over the lid and call it a day (or more appropriately, night). I can't vouch for the other shades from this brand, though, because I have another one (the black one) and it's crap.

12. Aromaleigh silica powder in Peaches and Cream. I just recently discovered that it works wonders as a setting powder for the undereye area, so I'm glad I didn't chuck it out together with the rest of my mineral make-up stash.

13. Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus Mascara. This is the best mascara ever. There is no better mascara than this. None.

14. Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler. I don't have to explain, do I?

And that's that. I am on the hunt for just a couple more things though.
First, a daytime moisturizer with SPF15 or higher, OR a good face primer with SPF15 or higher. And then I also need an undereye concealer. Oh, and setting powder. Any recommendations?

Every Morning is a Great Morning

First Royce, and now this.

The universe must have the hots for me ;p

The lovely people at Starbucks allowed me to purchase a huge bottle of their mint syrup! And by huge, I mean HUGE. I think it's not intended for retail but they let me buy it because I'm nice teehee.

Now for someone whose Starbucks staple is a tall nonfat mint latte, this is like a godsend. Now I can wake up to a perfect cup of coffee (brewed by Lorenzo, of course).

Anyhoo, a couple more nice things:

My MAC Microfine Refinisher has arrived! They don't have this here, so I had to ask my officemates to get it for me in Japan. Thank goodness they managed to find MAC in Shibuya, although they did have to ask for directions and were directed to the nearest McDonald's (they're boys so it's a quite reasonable assumption I guess).

And then I got stuff from The Body Shop last weekend.

Don't get me wrong, I love my MAC Lightful, and my skin has been pretty happy these days, but I really really need sunscreen. This Vitamin C one has the highest SPF of all TBS moisturizers, plus it smells yummy. Oh, and 20% off!

And then I needed a couple more items so I could get a stamp, so I got these organic cotton rounds, which are actually really really good. I'm not even half done with my current bag, so I don't know what I need two backup bags for, but, well, they were on sale.

Last but not least, I've recently finished Malcolm Gladwell's What the Dog Saw, and it's a damn good read if I should say so myself (but then again I'm interested in the most trivial little things) so I tried looking for a new book, which took quite a while because everything seems to be about vampires these days. Gaaahk. Aren't we all fed-up with the perpetually-constipated vampire who falls in love with the girl who can't act if her life depended on it? Anyhoo, I found this:

Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me by the cosmetics cop Paula Begoun, i.e. the book I should have leafed through before buying my first ever jar of face cream. Here she debunks a couple of beauty myths (supposedly, you do not need an eye cream, and yes, I am still reeling from shock), and proceeds to rate what seems like a bazillion beauty product based on their ingredients and how well these substantiate the product's claims. If the product is good, she gives it a happy face; if it's terrible, it gets a sad face.

Though this is definitely not the end-all, be-all of all beauty reviews (she does have her own label and naturally every product is rated with a happy face), at least now I know better than to buy Creme de la Mer. But then again, I'm a stubborn little brat with very low EQ, so we'll see.

Bliss in a Box

I don't have much of a sweet tooth; my comfort food is french fries or a huge bag of tortilla chips with salsa. But my happy place will forever be inside a box of Royce chocolates.

Now I really really love the Nama chocolates, but my favorite chocolates are the ones that you can get from Okinawa. I got a box as pasalubong once, and since they're not available in Tokyo I'd only have one at a time, and only when I'm really really stressed and unable to do any shopping. When I went home I tried looking for them in Narita airport but they weren't available, so I thought I'd never get to try them again.

But lookie what I found in Royce TriNoMa:

At first I wasn't sure if this was the same thing because it came in a different box, but I had a nagging feeling that it was, so I checked the brochure and found this:

Kokutoh Chocolate: The finest brown sugar from Okinawa blended into one sumptuous chocolate. A rich and sugary favorite for any sweet tooth.

OMG. I must've gawked at it for hours before deciding to get myself a box. I kinda hate the box; the one I got before looked so much more festive and cute, and the individual wrappers had different designs.

40 squares of happiness. Yay.

It's just the best chocolate ever ever ever. And can I just say, I found it exactly when I needed it, right on cue. Thank you, universe.

Powering Through

Our electric bill is ridiculous. How's yours?

There is something seriously wrong with Meralco. First the power outages, and now, highway robbery. Although the former was quite funny because I was in the office and we had a very very important Japanese visitor that day, and well, that's Murphy's law for you. Power outages in the office are crazy - one second you're happily working, the next everything is black and you've got a billion devices beeping like mad, and the next second you hear people hurling invectives because they don't have a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) and so their work is down the drain.

Anyway, I remember back in college, one of our professors mentioned that Meralco measures power using a 3-minute window. Or it could be 5, or 7. Anyway, an x-minute window. Now for this length of time, you will be charged not with the average consumption, but with the peak consumption within that window. The bottom line is if there's a power outage, and you don't switch everything off, and then the power goes back on, all your appliances turn off at the same time, which results in a spike in your power consumption, and you get charged for the equivalent of 3 minutes (or 5, or 7) of that spike. So it's definitely in your best interest to turn things off during power outages. And I'm saying this because we all know how power outages and elections go hand in hand.

Having said that, I think the best way to reduce the skyrocketing power bill without dying of heat stroke is to go to the mall - there is air conditioning, free WiFi in some, and you get to de-stress. I mean sure, the theoretical savings are replaced by low-EQ purchases, but at least I get something pretty in exchange for my money as opposed to handing it over to Meralco for it to be stuffed into some corrupt official's pockets.

032011 can't come fast enough

Inip na ko. Pfffft.