Happy Surprises: BDJ Box April 2015

I officially love getting BDJ boxes in the mail. I swear, after the May Yarn Sale, I’m saving up money for a 6-month subscription!

box contents

Look at all these goodies!

The theme for this box is ‘Spring into Beauty‘, a call to show off your best blooming self during this helter-skelter vacation time. Traditionally, here in the Philippines, these hot summer months are the perfect time to get away from the humidity of the city, to go lose yourself in the beaches or enjoy the cool breezes of the Cordilleras. Wherever we go, the products in these box aim to keep us at our radiant best.

Here’s a list of what I got, according to the helpful little card that always comes in these boxes:

  • MyChoice Pure Herbal Soap (Php 55, 100g)
  • Tony Moly Intense Case Snail Foot Mask (Php 198, 18ml)
  • Asian Secrets Lulur Whitening Facial Scrub (Php 120, 100g)
  • Asian Secrets Lulur Whitening Body Scrub (Php 15, 20ml)
  • MyChoice Bubble Shower Salt 2-in-1 (Php 100, 225g)
  • Mustela 2 in 1 Hair and Body Wash (Php 520, 200ml) – 5ml sample sachet
  • Mustela Stretch Marks Double Action (Php 1750, 150ml) – two 10ml sample tubes
  • Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion (Php 790, 300ml) – 5ml sample sachet
  • MyChoice Anti Acne Cream (Php 100, 20g)
  • FS Cosmetics Lash Extravagance Mascara (Php 350, 9g)
  • Revlon Highlighting Palette in No. 002 Rose Glow (Php 625, 7.5g)
  • MyChoice Perfume Spray (PHp 60, 22ml)
  • Tony Moly Luminous Glow Aura CC Cream (Php 1098, 30ml)

There’s also the usual inspirational stickers, which I love, and an introductory pamphlet to Mustela products. There’s also an FS Cosmetics catalog, which my daughter will love because she’s in a phase where she likes turning book pages.

Serious respect to whoever packs these monthly subscription boxes. Once I’d pulled everything out, I had no idea how to make them fit again. There’s so much to look at! Huge plus for me, the cosmetics n00b – I have never used any of these products before, ever. And there are SIX full-sized products in here! Totally worth the Php 580 that I paid for it, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!

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Tony Moly Luminous Glow Aura CC Cream

I’ve tried BB Cream before, but never CC Cream. Does it mean a level up in coverage? Apparently not.

According to Wikipedia (which is usually where I end up when I use my Google-fu), these are both classified as tinted moisturizers. However, BB Cream, or Blemish/Beauty Balm Cream can be used as a foundation, but it also has certain healing or protective qualities depending on the brand. CC Creams, or Color Control/Correcting Creams, are lighter than BB Creams and are suppose to even out the color of your face, so I’m guessing they’d be more of a primer than an actual full-coverage foundation.

Squeak-worthiness: 1 out of 6. I’d be more excited for this if there were at least two sachets in the box. I would get only two days of use out of this slim sachet, maybe three if I spread it really thinly. I can’t really do a good review in such a short amount of time.

Revlon highlighter

Revlon Highlighting Palette in No. 002 Rose Glow

I’d just commented on another beauty blog about shimmer pearls. I know these aren’t quite the same, but I’ve also never used a highlighter before. In my mind, I always imagined it to be crayons in shades of white, for that Kim Kardashian contouring routine.

Dreams of sky-high cheekbones aside, this is actually quite a versatile palette. I can see this being used for eyeshadow and blush. I may have to watch more Youtube makeup tutorials to learn how to use it as a highlighter though, because I”m a bit wary of the shimmer.

Squeak-worthiness: 4 out of 6. It’s a much more neutral set of colors (compared to the blush that I got from the Jan-Feb box) so I feel more comfortable using it, but three glittery colors? Might take some getting used to.

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MyChoice Anti Acne Cream

Squeak-worthiness: 3 out of 6. I don’t really have acne anymore, but I’m always excited to try new products that will help my husband, who hasn’t left those woes behind yet. I try to tell him a change of diet helps too, but while we’re implementing that, we’ll try this new cream too!

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MyChoice Pure Herbal Soap (Rejuvenating Effect, Natural Papaya)

How fun looking is this? It’s like the jello dessert that looks like stained glass. And it has a subtle sweet fruity scent. I’ve never used papaya soap before, mostly because any soap I used leaves a faint residue and always leaves my skin feeling dry.

Squeak-worthiness: 4.5 out of 6. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded of jello, haha.

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Mustela Stretch Marks Double Action; Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion; Mustela 2 in 1 Hair and Body Wash

Why didn’t this arrive during my 8th month of pregnancy??? That is probably one of my greatest woes: not a single stretch mark to be seen until the last seven weeks of my pregnancy, then BOOM! It’s like they were waiting for me to stop watching for them.

Now I know there’s no way to completely get rid of stretch marks once they’ve developed, and to be honest, I don’t really mind that they’re there. My brother and I have been living with stretch marks ever since our adolescent years, and now we don’t even notice that they’re there. I do love the tiny sachets though, they’ll be perfect for when we go traveling with Houdini.

Squeak-worthiness: 4 out of 6. Mustela is a really good brand for mommies, and I’m excited to try out that it’s like.

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Asian Secrets Lulur Whitening Body Scrub

Can I just squeak about this for a moment? I’ve been wanting to try this brand out since forever, and now I have 6 sachets and the facial scrub! Kyaaaaaaa for one full month of use! I love  shower-related everything, especially in this heat. Shower-time is me-time, just me under the cold, cold spray of the shower washing the day’s dirt and dried oatmeal off – Heaven!

Squeak-worthiness: 6 out of 6. 6 sachets! They’re 20g each, so that’s 120g of scrubby shower bliss, woohoo! I’m using this tomorrow ^.^

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Asian Secrets Lulur Whitening Facial Scrub

Now this scrub contains bengkoang, known by its English name ‘jicama’, or by it’s local Philippine name ‘singkamas’- which, coincidentally, is in season right now. I’ve seen ‘jicama’ turn up in some whitening products, though the only one I’ve ever used was a sunscreen. It’ll be interesting to see how this one works out.

Squeak-worthiness: 6 out of 6. Will this return me to my pre-pregnancy shade? We’ll see!

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FS Cosmetics Lash Extravagance Mascara

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FS Cosmetics Lash Extravagance Mascara (Bristles)

 Ah, mascara. With this and a good eyeliner, I’m all set for eye makeup. I’m not really good with eyeshadow, but I’m happy to say I know my way around a mascara wand. Some days, that’s all you need.

Squeak-worthiness: 5 out of 6. I love mascara so much, I’ll wear it around my baby, just so she thinks my lashes are as long as hers.

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MyChoice Perfume Spray (Passy)

I’m not much of a perfume person because they tend to make my head ache. I don’t even like going down the fabric conditioner aisle in the supermarket. When I buy perfume for myself, I usually go for neutral fruit scents, like cucumber. This perfume smells like an Arabian souq. No joke, it took me right back home. And it’s strong. Even after washing it off, I can still smell it on my wrist four hours later.

There’s a nice undertone when it does wear off, a musky sandalwood note that reminds me of traditional Muslim dress and henna and their very thin walking sticks. But I don’t know if I should keep it. Maybe I’ll look up ways to dilute it properly.

Squeak-worthiness: No squeaks here.

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MyChoice Bubble Shower Salt 2-in-1

First it was the soap, then two Asian Secrets products, now this. Usually I’m up in arms about whitening products. Just be happy in the skin you’re in, I say. However, recent exposure to the sun has made me rethink my stance. I darken like nobody’s business. The inside of my wrist and my face doesn’t match, that’s how quickly I tan. And it takes absolutely ages to even out.It took me almost a year to get read of my last tan line, and I wasn’t even looking to get one! So, in lieu of swimming in the nude, I guess I’ll try a few of these products to even myself out.

Squeak-worthiness: 5 out of 6. Any excuse to exfoliate is good for me, and I love citrus. And it’s a huge tube!

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Tony Moly Intense Case Snail Foot Mask

My experience with pampering feet ends at a homemade soak with warm water and whatever essential oil is at hand. As for the escargot, I knew their slime was used for face masks (and I don’t know how I feel about that), so this product is a totally new beastie for me.

Excerpt from the leaflet: ‘Its unique formula speeds up the renewal process allowing the outer skin to mature and peel away – painlessly – giving way to new skin’

Now I’m torn: should I use it for myself, or for my mom? And if I do use it for my mom, do I tell her there’s snail slime in it?

Squeak-worthiness: I honestly do not know. I’m not a big fan of slime, which is possibly a side effect of having to eat raw oysters for chef school. Regardless, will definitely do a review of this on my mom.

Ahhhh, I really can’t wait to use these (aside from the perfume >.<)! And there’s such a variety here, which is great. I’ll say it before, and I’ll say it again, BDJ Subscription Boxes are GREAT for people who want to try something new. If anyone wants to subscribe, just drop by bdjbox.com.

What about you, any new surprises lately? If you got the box, did you get anything different? Which product would you most like to try?

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#7DaysWith Lucido-L Hair Make Supplement Styling Milk

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The Product: Lucido-L Hair Make Supplement Styling Milk [Curl]

The Promise: A hair styling product with treatment function, powered by high penetrating Hyaluronic Acid that coats hair strands for soft and tangle-free hair – with long-lasting sweet fruity-floral fragrance.

The Star Ingredient: From the website – “CMC (Cell Membrane Complex) exists among cuticles and cortex cells to help them bond with each other and also works as a “path of water” to transport water to cells. When CMC is lost due to hair damage, cuticles and cortex cells break away, reducing the water-maintaining ability of hair, thus the combination with CMC-like ingredients help water retention to create manageable hair up to ends.”

The Test Subject: I ‘convinced’ my mom to be part of this test. Not that I’m saying my hair can’t use some improvement, but to really put a hair product to the test, you’ve got to try it on hair that needs it the most.

mommy hair uncombed

The ultimate pre-product picture: Uncombed Hair Fresh from the Shower

The Breakdown: I received the milk serum, along with its sister product, the oil treatment, in the January – February 2015 BDJ Box. I won’t lie: the first thing that attracted me to it was its unique shape. It’s so cute!

Don't they remind you of Matryoshka Dolls?

Don’t they remind you of Matryoshka Dolls?

Here’s the sitch with my mom’s hair: She CAN’T go a day without conditioner. In its natural state, her hair is easily tangled, brittle and wiry to the touch. Its the kind of hair that definitely benefits from a luxurious hot oil treatment. Note the word ‘luxurious’ in that sentence, so my mom’s no stranger to at-home hair treatments.

mommy hair uncombed vs combed

Uncombed vs. Combed

On the day of the test, I had my mom go without her usual conditioner. As is obvious from the picture, even when it’s been combed, her hair still looks uneven, with the natural waves just making it look even more untamed. I think this is typical of hair that has undergone chemical treatments, color changes, or has been damaged by extreme weather changes.

Enter Lucido-L.

Lucido-L Styling Milk After Shots

Check out these results! I personally love the feathery fringe at the ends of her hair, no tools required!

The Curl variation of Styling Milk really works for my mom. Her waves are definitely defined and tamed, giving it a very uniform look. There’s a shine to her hair that wasn’t there before, but even after twelve hours, her hair wasn’t greasy, sticky or oily. And no tangles!

mommy hair combed vs Lucido-L Styling Milk

Look at that gleam!

Pros:

  • The pump dispenses a measured amount, so you can decide how much or how little to use
  • The consistency of the product is watery, but not sticky, so it’s easily worked into your hair
  • This teensy 70ml bottle goes a long way – The recommended amount for mid-length hair is the product from 2 to 3 pumps, but with how damaged my mom’s hair is, we had to use around 5 pumps. We’re going on our 3rd month using it!
  • It’s the perfect size to put in a bag – even a mommy’s bag!

Cons:

  • This stuff has a strong floral smell – fortunately, it dissipates after half an hour or so, leaving just a slight scent

This product is going on my Re-buy list. With Php 295 and five minutes, I can have healthy-looking, salon-worthy hair for months!

Have you tried the Styling Milk? Any other hair goddess products I should try out?

Happy Surprises: BDJ Box Jan-Feb 2015

I laid out big plans for this year. 2014 was full of life-changing new experiences: getting married, giving birth, wiping someone else’s butt. I wanted 2015 to be just as full of surprises and lessons, so I looked for something that would give me exactly what I wanted. After much deliberation, I decided to sign up for the BDJ Box.

The Belle De Jour beauty subscription boxes have been in the Philippines since October of 2012. Yes, my good readers, two years before I ever found out about it. Obviously, ‘trendsetter’ is not part of my résumé.

No matter though, it’s still win-win for me: I get to learn about new brands, test out new products and be surprised every month. Who doesn’t love surprises? Plus, the Bellas-in-charge promise a curated box that’s worth three times the paying price. So, last year, I put aside a small part of my commission so I could indulge in something not baby-related. This, I hope, won’t be just another whimsy of mine but a fun and guilt-free girly experience.

So guess what arrived yesterday?DSCN6558

Honest admission: I ripped the packaging off this baby like it was hiding chocolates. My first box! And when I saw the theme this month was ‘Kawaii‘, it just amped up my giddiness. For those who haven’t been lost in the fun world of Japanese animation yet, ‘kawaii‘ is usually translated as ‘cute‘. According to my wiki-fu, other translations (depending on how it’s spelled) are ‘a radiant face‘ or ‘able to be loved‘. My initial expectations of this box were either a) that it would explode into a fountain of squishy teddy bears and cupcakes upon opening, or b) whatever products therein would lead to a more ‘kawaii‘ me.

“Do you want to guess what’s in here?” I cooed to my daughter as I figured out how to open the box.

She doesn’t care; she’s too busy gumming her rattle. Silly mommy.

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Here’s my first look at what’s inside the box, minus the explanatory magazine

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A little rearrangement and the contents are displayed for all to see!

Alright, so there’s no fountain of teddy bears. Doesn’t matter, the high of essentially getting a present in the mail still makes me squeak at the shiny new boxes and containers. I’ve never owned any of these brands before, so I’m looking forward to trying them out. Also noteworthy is the fact that all of these products are full-sized so I can really get the feel of any potential effects.

Here’s a list of what’s in the box, written in the order of the helpful little card that was included:

  • Bifesta Cleansing Lotion Bright Up (Php419 for 300ml)
  • Lucido-L Styling Milk Curl (Php295 for 70ml)
  • Lucido-L Treatment Oil Straight (Php295 for 70ml)
  • Pixy Eye Shadow (Php315)
  • Pixy Blush On (Php345)
  • Pixy Two Way Cake Fit (Php275)
  • Pixy Coverlast (Php325)
  • Sunkiller Perfect Strong A (Php495 for 30ml)

*squeaks* So many new things to try!

First in line are the makeup products.

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Pixy Eye Shadow in Romantic Poem and Pixy Blush On in Carnation Bloom

Time for another honest admission: I do not know how to use these two items ‘properly’, which apparently is with a brush or a q-tip or Draco Malfoy’s wand. I mostly use my fingers, sort of like a kid finger-painting their own face. Sounds gross, I know (but I wash my hands quite well with my beloved soaps so it’s not that disgusting, right? Right?).

I don’t really use eyeshadow that often because my few attempts at blending have always led to me looking like an awkward macaw-toucan crossbreed. From my months of perusing numerous beauty blogs, I now realize that this is because I was experimenting with colors that were bought by my beautiful Spanish-blooded pink-toned mother for her use. I, on the other hand, am either yellow-toned or olive. No wonder her makeup looked garish on me.

The powers that be from BDJ sent me an eyeshadow duo in purple, shades that Pixy dubs Romantic Poem. I was apprehensive at first , but I took my time studying and swatching and what not. Both photos below are taken under fluorescent lighting but in different angles. The camera picked out the glitter a bit more but the colors are true to form – the base color is a shimmer-laden pale pink while the contour shade is similar to palatinate (hex triplet #682860).

Squeak-worthiness: 4 out of 6 (I love purple, but I’ve got the feeling it’ll look more like a smack in the eye instead of a smoulder)

PicMonkey Collage

In a pinch, I’m sure the eyeshadow’s base color can be used as a highlighter. Above, you can see my amateur attempt at blending. Note to self: need to learn moar about blending.

The blush (the patch on the left) is a nicely pigmented peach called Carnation Bloom, quite silky to the touch and easy to overblend (for a n00b like me, at least). It’s a very sunny shade and I’m actually quite eager to try it out.

Squeak-worthiness: 4 out of 6 ( With our tropical weather, I usually have no need for blush. However, it seems versatile enough to be used for both me and my mom, so I get twice as much practice.)

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Pixy Two Way Cake Fit – Foundation with sunscreen is always a win!

Prior to the start of this year, I completed gutted my makeup kit. I did away with everything except the eyeliner pencils, wanting to start from scratch. Now I’ve got a new foundation to try and in a shade that was completely unexpected: Tropical Beige. It’s much darker than the foundation I had and I have to admit to some hesitation before trying it out because I assumed I was at least two shades lighter. Apparently, I was in some denial since the pregnancy, because it blended in beautifully even while dry.

Squeak-worthiness: 5 out of 6 (I love foundation. The only reason this doesn’t get full marks is because I want to put it through its paces first.)

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Pixy Coverlast – Is it a cosmetics faux pas to use your foundation as your touch-up powder? Well, even if it was, I’ve got compact powder now!

Not that I’m complaining about having two cosmetic products, but I don’t really see the difference between foundation and compact powder. Perhaps I’ll learn more about it as time goes on. Is it typical though to get a foundation and a powder in two different shades? The shade I got for the compact powder is Natural. I don’t know how many shades there are but I’m sure there’s something closer to Tropical Beige. I’m worried that it might give me a greyish cast, but that’s what experimentation is for.

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Squeak-worthiness: 3.5 out of 6 (I don’t much notice if my makeup’s faded, and my face is well-behaved in that it doesn’t get noticeably oily again after my foundation is in place. I wouldn’t mind toting this around though, with its fairly-sized mirror and sneaky powder puff placement)

Alright, now that the makeup is done, on with the other items in the box!

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Bifesta Cleansing Lotion Bright Up

According to the literature that came with the box, ‘Bi‘ is Japanese for beauty and ‘festa‘ is short for festival. A grand fiesta of beauty on my face? Why, yes please! I love that they sent over an entire bottle of cleanser, because if there’s one part of the make up routine that I’m fanatic about, it’s cleaning my face first thing in the morning and before I go to bed. Cleansing Lotion is a bit misleading though. I was expecting it to have a gel-like texture, but it’s watery instead. I’ll be using it at night, though I haven’t had a chance to wear makeup at all since the pregnancy,  and we’ll see how (or if) it’ll work on giving me ‘brighter, even-toned skin by removing dead skin cells’.

Squeak-worthiness: 5.5 out of 6 ( A giant bottle! Plus points for it not being overly scented or harsh.)

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Lucido-L Styling Milk Curl

There are four kinds of Styling Milk: Airy, Wave, Curl and Straight. To my consternation, I received Curl. My hair is wavy at best, and stubborn at its worst. It laughs in defiance against curlers, irons and digi-perms. My head is a no-curl zone. I may not be able to use this for its intended purpose, but at least I can use it to smooth down flyaways.

Squeak-worthiness: 5 out of 6 (I’m initially sold on anything to do with hair. I love that it isn’t sticky before or after application, and the scent isn’t overpowering either.)

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Lucido-L Treatment Oil Straight

When it comes to night treatments, I haven’t had any luck finding one that works for me. I diligently looked for one while my hair rebelled against a perm, all to no avail. I had to chop most of it off to save the rest. There’s still a lot of damage to be cared for though, so this Treatment Oil will come in handy.

Squeak-worthiness: 5 out of 6 (Having tried it out as soon as I opened the container, I can attest that this lovely concoction isn’t greasy at all. My hair just soaks it up, so I might just have this chucked in the Empties by the end of the month.)

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As you can see, I am absolutely terrible at taking pictures. I took so long, the oil ran down my hand, hahaha. Curiously, I noticed that it was quite warming. Does that mean it can be used for homemade hot oil treatments?

Hmm, I may ask my mom to try these treatments as well while she’s home. Her hair’s been ravaged by the boiling hot tap waters of the Emirates, so giving her locks a little TLC is overdue.

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Sunkiller Perfect Strong A

Now that’s an attention-grabbing name! Who doesn’t want a bit of Sunkiller in their pocket? Yes, I may have diapers in my bag, and all the shoulders of my shirts may smell like spit up, and I may spend most of my time either crocheting or memorizing Sesame Street songs, but by golly I’ve got a pocket full of Sunkiller and I’m not afraid to use it!

Despite the awesome moniker though, I’m afraid I don’t know much about the product or the company that makes it. All I know is what’s typed up on the info card: an ultra-light sunblock which is highly resistant to sweat and water, and dries to a matte finish. It also claims to have a special menthol blend that leaves a cooling sensation instead of a heavy, sticky one.

Squeak-worthiness: 3.5 out of 6 (A minty sunblock? I’ll try it, but Houdini and I rarely leave the house.)

That’s it for my first box! Overall squeak-worthiness would have to be at 5.5 because, hey, it’s my first time! As someone trying to find their feet in the oft-confusing world of cosmetics and other beauty-related products, I have to say that this particular box really helped by pointing me in a solid direction. Plus, value-wise, BDJ delivered on their promise. This box is more than four times the subscription price (Php 2,764 for Php 580), and I didn’t even have to go to the mall.

Well done BDJ, and thank you for the delivery!

The 2015 BDJ Planner

The Journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the Dance of Life takes place.

– Barbara De Angelis

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My little paper bundles of joy!

First off, let me just say I’m so happy I’ve finally got my own BDJ Planner! I’ve been in love with these sleek beauties for quite a few years now but since my work provides me with free planners, I didn’t want to buy another just because it appealed to the kikay inside me. But, what with motherhood starting to take its toll, having something trendy and colorful to use is exactly what I need to remind me that being a mom is not all I am.

BDJ stands for Belle de Jour, a term that has become more and more popular with the ‘it’ crowd with every passing year. Fun fact: ‘Belle De Jour’ is French for ‘Morning Glory’ (like the flower) or ‘Beautiful in the Day/Beauty of the Day’ (the literal translation). How ever you care translate it though, there’s no denying the feminine sentiment. That is what the BDJ Planner attempts- very successfully -to convey: the empowerment of women. In these demanding times, it’s easy for small details and unwritten dreams to be forgotten. Happily, Darlyn Ty, the entrepreneur behind Viviamo Inc., really hit the nail on the head with this gem of a planner. And to think it just started in 2006!

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