Soap-hoarding: More Fun In The Philippines

I do so love bubble baths! I used to take hour-long soaks back in the U.A.E., the hot water turning me red while I relaxed and read a book. In the Philippines though, it’s quite the luxury to own a bathtub in your home. I was at a loss on how to celebrate Jan 8 without actually having a bubble bath, when I remembered something sitting in the back of my closet.

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Yummy-smelling soaps!

 

Human Nature Exfoliating Bar in Vanilla

What can I say about Human Nature that hasn’t already been said by other beauty bloggers? I fell in love with this brand ever since I came to the Philippines, because you just can’t go wrong with something that’s organically-grown, locally-produced and 100% cruelty free. I’m a complete convert to their face washes and toners, but we only started trying their soap a month ago, namely the Aloe Fresh Cleansing Bar. I’ll be typing the review up soon, but I have to say, as handmade soaps go, it lasts quite a while.

This Exfoliating Vanilla variant does have an ever-so-delicate scent of vanilla about it, but its main attraction is the Luffa Cylindrica powder which gives it its exfoliating properties. Instead of the plastic microbeads found in regular bodywash, this soap actually contains a loofah, or the dried fibers of the Egyptian cucumber (which is the same thing). Environmentally-friendly scrubbing for the win!

Kala Milk Soap in Green Tea and Lemongrass

One of my resolutions this year is to write a traveler’s review of Munoz, Nueva Ecija. It’s a teensy town with lots to love, and I should know, what with it being my father’s hometown and all. This Christmas, I was so excited to discover a new thing about it: soap made from carabao milk!

Having indulged in the creamy sweet heaven that is carabao ice cream, I know that the good stuff doesn’t lack in fat content, which is excellent for moisturizing skin. From their website (found here), I gather that there’s also a high concentration of lactic acid (away with thee, premature wrinkles) as well as oat protein, which stimulates new growth and is soothing to the skin at the same time (so hopefully I don’t get any breakouts or redness). The Green Tea variant promises to ‘cleanse and protect the skin with its anti-bacterial properties’, while the Lemongrass variant says it’ll ‘help treat acne and other skin inflammations while being stimulating and refreshing.’

If I could use three bars of soap at the same time, I would. One at a time, K…

But I honestly can’t decide which one to start with! Any suggestions?

The Future Years + The Positivity Challenge

 

Plan for the future because that’s where you are going to spend the rest of your life.

– Mark Twain

4. Future years and positivity

Ola amigas! It’s time to break out December’s challenge and I am E-X-C-ited about this one. December is typically that time of year when we look back and wonder where all the time has gone. 2014 is shrugging on its old winter coat and 2015 is just waiting burst out from the closet. Are we ready for 2015 though? Well, by the end of this challenge, I’m sure I’ll be!

What does it entail?

The Future Years Challenge is inspired by the High Existence website’s list of 30-day challenges. I can’t put it any better than how it’s explained on the website: ‘Think of an accomplishment you’d like to achieve for each year of the next 30 years, a year each day.’ I’ll be doing it backwards, starting from Year 30 and then working my way down to 2015.

The Positivity Challenge probably sounds familiar since it’s been going around on Facebook. Every morning, to prevent the grouchies from settling in, write down three things that make you happy. Then, as your day progresses, recognize the negative thoughts and let them go, so you can keep that optimistic outlook up.

Why am I doing it?

I LOVE figuring out details! I’ve never looked as far ahead as thirty years into my future, but I think it’s an exercise that everyone should do at least once in their lives. This is essentially like creating your own road map, with signs and landmarks so you don’t use your way. I don’t remember most of the goals I had when I was a kid, which is a shame I think. I didn’t really plan to be where I am today, but I’m making the best of it and I know these challenges will help me along the way.

What do I hope to accomplish by the end of four weeks?

Who doesn’t want to be more positive? I did better than I expected last month, but I know I can do much better. My mood swings and temper tantrums were frequent last month, so this time, I hope to be able to stop them from occurring so often.

As for looking ahead and planning for the future, I’m looking forward to lots of planning. I’ve got a lot of dreams for myself and my family, so if I do a year a day, I can figure how to make all of them happen.

If you want to take any (or both) of these challenges on, leave me a little note down below so I can cheer you on! Good luck and happy days ahead!

 

Harry Potter MOTW: Best ‘Dumbledore Moment’

The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore

Borrowed from blog.mugglenet.com!

I do so love Harry Potter. So much so, that I almost hate J.K. for popularizing the idea of a magical school, because dammit, writing something similar would be like writing a rip-off. Yes, yes, I know there are other ideas, I just have to mine for them in the deep black recesses of my soul. In the meantime, I have my crossovers, which I look forward to writing aaaany day now. I also have Uncorked Thought’s Harry Potter MOTW, and this week is all about Dumbledore’s best moment.

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Harry Potter MOTW: Least Favorite Book

The cover is fabulous, but I’m sorry Fawkes, I just can’t love this book! (Warning: numerous HP references ahead)

Thanks to the amazing Hayley at A Stitch To Scratch for opening my eyes to a fantastic new feature on one of my favorite subjects: Harry Potter. I kid you not, I am an avid rabid fan of the Golden Boy and his posse, so discovering the Harry Potter Moment of the Week gave me the emotional equivalent of a Fizzing Whizbee.

Anyway, down to this week’s big question: Out of the heptalogy (it’s a legit word, you learn something new everyday), which one is my least favorite book?

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A Two-Fold Return!

These past couple of weeks have seen me come and go from the front of this computer. packing and keeping track of your stuff is bearable but it definitely isn’t fun, especially when all I want to do is eat good food and write my heart out. The week went by so quickly though, so here are two posts that are overdue.

 

Another week of the Partner Challenge under my belt, and I’m feeling really good about it. This week was Undas week in the Philippines. Undas, or All Saints’ Day, is a BIG DEAL when you’re a Filipino. If it falls near a weekend, prepare for mid-week traffic. This whole shebang starts on the 31st of October, which is a half-day off already. If you don’t get ahead of the crowd, you’ll be stuck in it. Everyone does their best to go back to the provinces, or to wherever their dear departed are resting at the moment, so they can be with them and honor them the way we know best: by throwing a feast! Make way for the lechon and Tanduay rum!

At the cemetery.

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Blog Trawl Thursdays: Huzzah For A New Feature

Yaaaay, a new feature! I’m so pleased that I made a pretty icon for it. Isn’t it cute? *self-applause*

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Nowadays, we spend a huge amount of time online. Convenient information is at our fingertips: what does the new foodie place serve that’s good, what’s on the runway in Milan, who are the non-sadistic dentists. Here in the Philippines, we’ve got Instagram, we’ve got Twitter, we even have Looloo (a local Yelp). We can scrutinize a business right down to its humble beginnings in just a matter of minutes. That first virtual contact can make or break a potential client, sort like a first date. An online  presence is now a must-have for any smart business owner, which is why people in Public Relations now include social media marketing on their resume.

In essence, it’s a funny old new world and it waits around for nobody. Anything ANYTHING is possible nowadays, if you’ve got the right marketing.

So, the scenario is this: You are a person with an idea a good person with a great idea. You want to share it with the world and make a little money BUT you don’t have the money to put up an actual physical store. That’s no problem, there are thousands of online stores. If they can do it, so can you.

There are a couple of bumps though:

  1. You have absolutely no money to spare for your business
  2. You have limited time because of a full-time job/a full-time baby/laundry everywhere/your game’s not going to play itself/reasons
  3. The internet is a scary place to be
  4. So little time, so many distractions (I’m looking at you FarmVille 2)
  5. Did I mention you have no funds? Zero money, for serious.

With all that in your way, is launching an online business even possible?

Hells yeah.

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Trans30: First Week of The Partner Challenge

Fez knows what’s up 🙂

First week of my challenge over! This week was a toughie too, starting with the fact that we stayed over at my father-in-law’s, which does not yet give me that ‘home’ feeling. Then I caught a killer cold from my sister-in-law. Usually I don’t get sick, so when a bacterium does get past my defenses, it just kicks my ass three ways from Tuesday: headaches, lead-filled limbs, throat-spasming dry coughs, and both a stuffy and a drippy nose. The only thing I could do for two days was breastfeed my baby. Then, when the headache released me from its clutches, Houdini got her shots and fussed up a storm. Then my husband and his aunt got sick.

Damn. We got through it though, and by remembering to write down one good thing my husband’s done each day, I’ve come to realize something: He doesn’t meet all my expectations as a perfect father or husband, and there are things he does that annoy the heck out of me BUT for a relationship as nouveau and topsy-turvy as ours, we’re doing as well as can be expected.

I would’t describe us as an unconventional family, for the simple fact that there are more ‘shotgun’ weddings in the Philippines than our government would like to acknowledge. Of course, our dear networks like to wrap it in drama and sell it as afternoon romance, but execs gotta make money, right? If our life was a tv show however, it would be more ala-Friends than Gulong ng Palad (Wheel of Fate), no matter how much of a kontrabida I am.

Kontrabida: The villainess of the show. There are two kinds: 1) The one who craves the man/company/hacienda and machinates  her evil plans with a full red lip and artfully arched brows or, 2) The selfish one who takes every minor slight as a major insult. The last one is particularly devious as they can come in any size, color or age. No one believes that they could possibly be a kontrabida, not until the final two episodes. The most discerning watcher knows that the only way they can be distinguished from the hapless hero/ine is by the perpetually pinched skin between their eyebrows and a quick constipated look when something good happens to someone else.

Who then, therefore, gives a crap about how much he isn’t perfect, when I am a dysfunctional evil-doer? Thankfully I haven’t yet unleashed any plans. I’m even more thankful for the fact that, even after a year of being together, my dear resilient husband still puts up with my ways. And he gamely brings me the one thing that can lift my bad moods: a Snickers bar.

Chocolate. That’s how you stop a villainess, showbiz.

This is a good start, I think. We’ll see what else I learn about myself next week!