Picks of the week

We've now entered the last half of September and I seriously don't know how in the world that happened. It all just came so crazily fast! Thankfully, Dubai's weather has improved a lot these days and I'm so excited to fully embrace the colder season. You have no idea how much my scarves and cardigans have been raring to come out of the closet. It's been a long time coming! Few more weeks and we'll finally be on our flight back to Manila vanilla again. My brother is planning to also go on a trip to Singapore with mom and I'm really itching to join them. It's going to be so much fun for sure.

Speaking of fun, I just want to share with you the things I've been loving this week. This short list is so random I know, but I seriously couldn't recommend these awesome stuff enough.


Travel Destinations List: Beautiful Oman & Sri Lanka

Aside from the promise of colder weather, we are also looking at the possibility of yet another very long weekend next month for Eid Al Adha here in Dubai, and the travel bug in me can't help but go into total overdrive once again, lusting to get on a new adventure.


Travel Diaries: Ait Ben Haddou and Atlas Studios, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Being total movie buffs, we already lost count how many films shot in Morocco we have watched, most specifically in Ouarzazate, tagged as Morocco's very own Hollywood or locally-coined Ouallywood. The favorable weather condition (it's sunny by default), cheaper production costs, and exotic location, have lured a long notable list of filmmakers from all over the world through the years. I actually thought it was a far-fetched dream and until now I still can't believe we managed to pull off a great holiday in such a beautiful and exotic country.


Liquid Lipsticks Confessions

Happy International Lipstick Day, gorgeous! Last year, I posted about my favorite lip products in celebration of Lipstick Day, but today I want to talk about my experience with a product that's become increasingly popular among every makeup aficionado and for very good reasons — liquid lipsticks.

There's no denying how much liquid lipsticks had levelled up since their invention in the 1990's. Its popularity soared to great heights last year, but this year is different. It totally boomed (fireworks and all). With just about every brand releasing their own line and version, we have undoubtedly reached a whole new era of liquid lipsticks. So here's the lowdown on my own immersion with this beauty trend that I really hope would last until eternity, with reviews of some of the liquid lipsticks I have tried recently.


5 Beautifully Clear Skin Products To Love

Truth is having perfectly beautiful skin is just next to impossible. Even those people loaded enough to afford religious visits to their trusted derma clinics for "maintenance" still get the occasional zits and fair share of skin emergencies. But this shouldn't deter a regular plain Jane like me from atleast trying my best to care for my skin, right? Here are five skin cleansing and moisturizing products which I am loving at the moment.

4 Reasons Why Couples Who Travel Are The Happiest

Here's the biggest secret: A third party was the very reason why our marriage has changed for the better. He's fun, demanding, and always gets me excited in more ways than one. He loves to plan things out, but he can also be the most spontaneous. He loves a good challenge and pushing people to their limits. Because of him, I've discovered so many things about myself and I have done a lot of firsts that I thought I could not do before.

5 Summer Beauty Products To Love

There are so many things I love about Dubai, but if there's one thing I'd rather not go through, it has to be summer. It's scorching, sweaty, icky, and always leaves my skin in its worst sorry state. In fact, we've contemplated on going to the beach today for a quick swim, but after barely an hour of being outdoors for a quick grocery shopping, we just had to call it a day and go back home with our beloved air-conditioner on. It's just soooooo hot outside!

Yes, temperature levels could get super insane on this part of the globe, but allowing the summer season to be merciless to one's skin is a complete abomination. You don't want to go down that road for sure. That's why it's very important to be prepared and of course, protected. Here are five of my go-to summer essentials:
Moisture is King
I've listed down my three favorite moisturizers on this previous post, but as soon as the summer season kicks in, the one product that does the job best for me would have to be Benefit Triple Performing Facial Emulsion. The price is a little on the splurge side I know, but it's definitely worth every cent. It's got SPF 15 and also gentle to my sensitive skin.

Lather it up
There are times that I'd like to ditch body lotion completely because it can feel extra icky once you start to swelter, but keeping skin hydrated is crucial in this cruel weather. The Face Shop Natural Sun Milk body lotion is heaven-sent in this department. It's not as sticky compared to others and has a very mild scent that's not overpowering. And the most important part? SPF 40. That alone pretty much got me sold to it.

Save 'em puckers
What's worse than chapped lips? Sunburned lips. Yes, there is actually such a thing! One of the most neglected parts of the body during the summer season would have to be the lips. Fortunately, there are a lot of lip products available in the market with SPF, but I always go to good ol' Labello Sun Protect Lip Balm. I swipe this first before topping it off with my favorite shade of lippie and my kisser stays protectedly safe from the harsh rays.

Spray fresh
I know that it's meant for babies, but I prefer buying Evian Baby Face and Body Spray than the regular Evian Facial Spray just because. Honestly, aside from the added 'baby' to the name, I don't think there is much difference between the two because both have the same product content and also hypoallergenic. My logic is if it's good for babies, then it's good for you too. This spray works as an amazing make-up setter and also cools and refreshes the skin for an instant vibrant glow. We always bring a small spray bottle of this every time my husband and I travel.

Summer scent
This wasn't originally on my all-time favorite scents list, but Daisy by Marc Jacobs would have to be the most refreshing scent ever that's just oh-so-perfect for a casual summer day. I simply couldn't say no to the floral packaging that spells cutesy and sunny. Silly I know, but I did consider buying this at first all because of the daisy flowers-decorated bottle. It's light, feminine, and smells clean like just-stepped-out-of-the-shower clean. Definitely a happy scent!

What are your favorite summer essentials?

Image Credits: Pixabay

5 Films That Will Inspire You to Travel

Let’s face it: we’d all travel 365 days a year if we could. However, even the most hardcore traveler takes the occasional day off every once in a while. Whether your feet have been stuck on the ground for too long and you’re looking for the motivation to get away, or you’re simply recuperating from your last big trip before gearing up for the next one, travel movies are a fantastic way to keep your wanderlust ignited while you're stuck at home. 


Travel Diaries: Bangkok, Thailand

As a pre-birthday treat for myself, I asked my husband if we could go on a quick trip to Thailand during UAE's long weekend last December. It didn't take much to convince him, and before I knew it, we were packing our luggages and rushing to finish work early in order to catch our late night flight to Bangkok.


A Paris-Inspired Reading List

Ramadan has always been a great ally when it comes to reaching my reading goals and this year is no different. When I'm not catching up with my favorite series or annoying the hell out of my husband, I am usually just curled up in a ball silently reading a book, which is quite nice to be honest. One look in my already-filled up bookshelf however, and it's become more obvious that space would really pose a huge problem for us if I don't stop acquiring more books. Yes, I've amassed quite a home library in our five-year stay here in Dubai, but this bookworm just couldn't bring herself to stop. And no, this isn't me complaining at all. :)


Picks of the week

Ramadan is already in full swing, which means shorter office timing and longer timing for everything else and I'm definitely enjoying every bit of it while it lasts. This weekend has been quite uneventful since we decided to stay home-bound, but I did manage to finish off some chores and catch some episodes of Game of Thrones with the husband while dreaming of a trip to Morocco (one of our dream destinations) hopefully this Eid if everything goes as planned.

Here's another round of my hand-picked goodies this week same as what I did last time, which are just perfect for a lazy weekend spent relaxing at home, in hopes that maybe you can pick a fave or two to try and enjoy for yourself too. :)
The sweet gourmand pack has always been my choice when it comes to home fragrances. From cupcakes to ice creams, I really have a thing with the flavor vanilla, and when you add a whiff of cinnamon in its mix, there's just no way I could say no. This is why I just had to get my hands on this Cinnamon Spiced Vanilla scented candle from Bath and Body Works during their crazy sale a couple of weeks ago. Now our home has been smelling so deliciously good because of it.

Speaking of vanilla, Soap & Glory's Clean, Girls body wash smells so divine as well. It has a fruity and floral punch to it also and unlike other harsh soaps and body wash, this one is non-drying at all. The creamy formula is very hydrating and lathers so well, which to me is important to feel clean and fresh after a shower especially in this summer heat. Forgot how many times I've said this about Soap & Glory, but their product line's pink and vintage packaging is just utterly cute!

I'm also all about these two candy-colored nail polishes from Nature Republic which I got from a Sasa beauty haul during our last trip to Hong Kong. These shades look ridiculously summery and fun!

The beautiful cover illustration of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and The Damned had me at first hello. It's his second novel, a lustrous satire of a marriage on the rocks set on a glamorous and Jazz-era New York City. Not yet halfway-through it though and I haven't read a classic in a while to be honest, so this is a welcome change.

I received this bottle of Burberry Weekend perfume as a birthday present from my friends Natasha and Marie and have only started using it this past week. As a loyal Issey Miyake fan, this scent came off too strong at first spray but once it sets on the skin, it's actually quite refreshing. The powdery scent is a mix of clean and sweet that is unexpectedly long-lasting. This perfume received my husband's seal of approval too. So thanks girls for this classic!

What are your favorites this week?


Beauty Haul: Happy Skin Cosmetics

I had a medical emergency in Manila last April which had me stuck at home for almost three weeks, and I'm telling you, my skin (along with my spirits) has never been duller. Thank goodness for sweet family and friends popping by every now and then to keep me company bringing with them not only yummy food, but a lot of thoughtful gifts as well.

My favorite out of all the lovely presents I've received while recuperating was this amazing haul of Happy Skin Cosmetics from my sister-in-law. It's a local brand developed in Japan and primarily distributed in the Philippines, promising a line of makeups which "cares for your skin". I've seen a these cutesy products circulating on Instagram especially among Filipino celebrities, and it really got me so curious. The packaging is a cool combo of wit and pretty that's bound to charm just about anyone.

Here's what was inside my surprise beauty loot:
My eyes instantly lit up when I saw two Shut Up & Kiss Me Lip & Cheek Mousse in Fall In Love and Laugh Always shades, a Get Cheeky With Me blush in Sunset Kiss shade, and an Eye Need A Miracle corrector. Such fun names, right?

I've been in the lookout for a good concealer which specifically targets the under-eye area for a long time now, and Happy Skin's Eye Need a Miracle Corrector was exactly the kind of miracle I needed. My body clock has gone totally bonkers ever since coming back to Dubai, and while I still figure out again how to get enough shut-eye, this product is doing such a great job concealing my dark circles and bumps. It's not heavily creamy, which I really like and makes it easy to apply and blend. Plus, you don't need a lot of this product to cover up those unwanted circles. Just a little goes a long way. 

I'm not a big fan of bronzers nor pink blush, but Happy Skin's Get Cheeky With Me Blush in Summer Kiss shade has got the right tint of peach and orange which is right up my alley. It doesn't come with a brush though, but the staying power of this product on my skin is actually pretty impressive. Use your hand or a brush, the color of this blush looks lovingly subtle and natural on the skin. Win!
My favorite from this stash would have to be this duo of Happy Skin's Shut Up & Kiss Me Lip & Cheek Mousse. I couldn't choose a favorite though between Fall In Love and Laugh Always shade. Depending on the look I want to channel, both shades really complement my skin tone well. I go with Fall In Love, a fun and charming color for an effortlessly pretty look; while Laugh Always is my go-to bold shade for a sophisticatedly elegant look. I love that it is a dual-purpose product: both a lippie and a blush. And did I mention that these lippies come in this gorgeous teal and gold box that looks like a book? This booknerd couldn't be more content! :)

Has any one of you guys tried Happy Skin Cosmetics before? How did it fare on your skin? :)

Travel Diaries: Macau

During our Hong Kong vacation, my husband and I also managed to go on a quick day trip to neighboring Macau. We purchased our return ferry tickets from TST Terminal in Kowloon and spent the entire day sight-seeing. To be honest, it would have been better if we stayed for atleast two days because my legs and lungs almost failed me rushing from one place to the next. In our goal to check everything off our itinerary, the day trip almost became an episode of Amazing Race. Haha! Exhausting, but fun nonetheless. Good thing I was wearing one of my trusty white sneakers. :)

A former Portuguese colony, Macau is actually one of the richest cities in the world, sandwiched in between Hong Kong and China. I was impressed with the overall vibe of the place: clean, safe, and modern, but still very loyal to their history and culture. Tourism and legalized gambling primarily fuel their economy, which is apparent in the number of American casinos established inside Macau. 
The immigration process was quick since we didn't need a visa to get to Macau. We then boarded one of Galaxy Resort's free shuttle buses lined up just outside Taipa Terminal. Believing in beginner's luck, we did try the slot machines inside Galaxy only to be disappointed big time (never again). To mend our broken hearts, we cooled down with some sweet crepe and drinks from Mazazu before hopping on another free shuttle bus which took us to Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Center. Those free busses are truly heaven-sent and have made this trip a lot easier for us.

We spent a good two hours inside Macau Tower, a 338m high tower and one of the city's most iconic landmarks. My knees literally weakened walking on top of the see-through glass floor of the Observation Deck. I didn't realize before that an insane fear of heights could actually exist! Fortunately, we managed to tide through it and even posed for some silly photos armed with nervous smiles.
The view from the top of Macau Tower mirrors just how modern it is with all those skyscrapers.

Everyday do something that reminds you you're still alive
This beautiful quote I saw at the Adventure Deck of Macau Tower just resonated with me.

A cup of Mikado coffee and a slice of cake at the Singing Bean Express later, we went to our last stop which was Senado Square, a paved town square and UNESCO heritage surrounded by numerous European-style buildings and where a lot of events in Macau are being held. Sitting by the fountain is a visual treat and would give you a glimpse of the hustle and vibrancy of the place. To get there, we boarded a bus but this time a public one. Bus routes are very simple and easy to understand. Take note though that the driver will not return your change if you paid extra. Rates are fixed, but better to have exact change with you when riding public buses. Also, taxis can actually be crazily expensive in Macau.

Portugal's influence is still very much manifested in the charming city's infrastructures and traditions which I have to say, blended nicely with the Chinese culture. Just walking around and gazing at the old and nouveau felt amazingly beautiful.
Warm beef jerky and Macau's famous egg tarts! A trip to Macau without atleast sampling these won't be complete.

That would be me forcing a smile for a last photo with the facade of Saint Paul Ruins at the far back. Unfortunately, we had to rush and catch our ferry ride back to Hong Kong. We actually almost missed it, if not for the friendly cab driver who picked us up in front of Casino Lisboa and drove through all the shortcuts possible. He was kind enough though to stop for a few minutes right across Wynn Hotel so we could catch a glimpse of the dancing fountain. It was in no way comparable to Dubai's dancing fountain, but at that moment, it was just as refreshing and the exact breather we needed.

The limited time we had in Macau was really such a bummer. I would have wanted to atleast 'stop and smell the flowers' or maybe do a full on Geum Jan-di from that famous episode of Boys Over Flowers which was entirely shot in Macau. But I'm saving all of that for next time. We discovered and got immersed in a beautiful place new to both of us, met so many nice people along the way, and that's what matters.

Yes, maybe there were some things I would have done differently during this trip, but the adventure we had in Macau was insanely incredible. It's short but sweet, which is exactly how we wanted it to be.

What are your next vacation plans?

Friday I'm in love { White Sneakers }

I'm in a total white sneakers phase a lot these days. Admittedly, it's my chronic lazybones that brought me to this point in my life. I guess I've just had enough of those "what should I wear?" moments every morning. Still working on applying the same uniform philosophy to my entire wardrobe though. It's a struggle, but I'm positive I'll get there (hopefully still in this lifetime). 

A pair of white shoes is just incredibly comfortable, goes well with practically any outfit in your closet, and so easy to work with. Yes, wearing white is a little high maintenance since it's a pain to clean, but it's a classic that never goes out of style. I'm just lucky to be working in an industry that allows me almost absolute freedom when it comes to dressing up. Whether you're the denim pants wearing or Sunday dress strutting type, you can always count on a cool pair of white sneakers. Here are five of the best white shoes on the planet ever.

From top to bottom: Michael Kors Colby Flat Lace Trainers, Adidas Stan Smith Copper White Kettle Snakeskin in Metallic Rose Gold, Chuck Taylor All Star Classic in High Top,  Chuck Taylor All Star Leather in Low Top, and Chuck Taylor All Star Classic in Low Top

What's your favorite pair shoes?

Images are from YesstyleHouse of Fraser, Footlocker, and Ebay.

Best Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin

My perpetually dry and ultra sensitive skin is starting to feel the horror that this cruel Dubai summer brings. And I'm telling you, downing lots of water and staying indoors with the air-conditioner in full blast will help, but they are so not enough to save you and your skin from feeling victimized by the scorching weather. Fortunately, moisturizers have been invented to keep dry skin at bay. And although there were lots of hits and misses, it's amazing that I've finally discovered my dream team of hydrating creams that are perfect for my sensitive skin. Here's my trio of goodness.
Burt's Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream is so gentle to the skin and it has been my go-to nourishing cream during the day when I don't have to go out of the house. I say this because it doesn't contain SPF. This moisturizer doesn't irritate my skin with its unique formula of cotton, rice extract and aloe. The good news? Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. Going natural is always a good thing.

I alternate Burt's Bees with my Soap & Glory For Daily Youth 365 Moisture Lotion during the night. My skin has this disgustingly weird habit of breaking out like crazy whenever I use a certain product daily, so I need to switch it up every now and then in order to avoid zits. Sadly, I spent the latter part of last year suffering physically and emotionally from adult acne so no, I'm not going down that road again ever. I don't do mistakes twice.

To be honest, I only ended up taking home this product for its uberly cute pink box. (Pink with a touch of vintage? Just take my money, please. Haha!) Good thing S&G's For Daily Youth, didn't disappoint when it comes to soothing my stressed and dry skin. The cream is not sticky, instantly absorbed, and also apparently suitable to all skin types. The scent kinda bothered me at first (it has peach and juice extracts), but I eventually got used to it. Don't get me wrong though. This product doesn't smell bad at all. If you like mild citrusy scents, then this one's perfect for you. I just would have preferred if this is fragrance-free, but other than that, this cream works wonders to my skin.

Lastly, when I have no choice but to go out there in the sun, I protect my face with Benefit's Triple Performing Facial Emulsion. This product is oil-free, packed with SPF15, and comes in this clear glass bottle that has awesomeness written all over it. I've been using this for three months now after discovering it through my friend Kim's post on Instagram and my sensitive skin couldn't get any happier. This one's a real winner in my books. Even my husband is using this daily.

How about you? What's your favorite moisturizer?
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