WIP Wednesday + Unexpected Additions!

In keeping with my desire to be as productive as possible when it comes to crochet, I’ve got a few Works-in-Progress going on.

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My first time making a doily, as well as working with such fine thread. I’m using 2-Ply Baguio Cotton Sheen in Blue, with an aluminum 2.00mm hook. The first time I held this hook, I was so scared I’d break it, but it’s a hardy ‘un. The pattern itself is simple once you get the hang of the thin hook, and I’m hopeful that I can finish this in time for FO Friday.

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Now this monster of a project is going to be my mom’s Christmas gift: a waist-length bolero of my own design. I’m going to have to block this one to get the shaping right, and I’m wondering whether I should add cuffs when I’ve sewn the edges together.At any rate, I hope it’ll be comfy yet airy so my mom can wear it all year round.

Baguio Cotton Sheen‘s Earth has hypnotic jewel tones, which was the reason I bought it in the first place. The length and breadth that you see is made out of a 205g ball, with the 250g ball sitting on top of it. Since I just love the colors, I hope there’ll be enough left to make me a hat.

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Alright, so maybe this one doesn’t count in the sense that I haven’t actually put hook to yarn yet but I’ve been planning this one ever since the start of the year, so it’s definitely going to happen. This one, Baguio Cotton Sheen in Blonde is going to be shaped up into my little girl’s birthday dress, and I’m cautiously hopeful that I’ve found the perfect design.

That’s it for WIP Wednesday ūüôā

But wait! What about that unexpected addition? Can you guess what it is?

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Did you see that coming?

I finally got my hands on some Japan Surplus yarn! And after I’d given up hope on ever finding one in my vicinity, whaaaaaaaaaat! I got my hands on some pretty plates as well, which will get much more screen time on the blog as props, but that’s not the best part.

All this, the plates, the six giant balls of yarn, only cost me 100 pesos!

!!!

Yes, they’re all acrylic, and there’s some slight smudging on the white ball, but come on! An absolute steal, and it was right at my doorstep all along. Such a beautiful surprise to lift my day up. If anyone wants to know where this particular store is, it’s next to the BPI Bank on the corner of Gemini St. and Alabang – Zapote Road. Fair warning though, they only have a small supply, and the storekeeper told me they wouldn’t be restocking any time soon.

What about you, have any good surprises lately? Crafting anything new?

FO Friday: Scarf, Booties and Hat!

For those not into knitting or crocheting (or crafting in general, I think), FO stands for Finished Object, that creation that you’ve spent hours on, frogging and remaking and getting cramps over. So worth it though, because it’s a great feeling when you’re finally looking at an FO and you know it’s a job well done.

Two weeks ago, I published my first FO post about what I had finished during the first two weeks of March. With two scarves under my belt, I was feeling pretty darn good about myself.

Imagine what I feel now that I’ve got THREE finished projects to show off! I’ll be able to justify another Yarn Traveler haul if I keep this up ^.^Pink Frosting BeanieI don’t usually like bright colors, but this one was too cheerful to pass up. Plus it was perfect for one of my Pay It Forward pledges because she loves pink. I used the Slouchy Crochet Hat pattern from Little Monkeys Crochet, but with a few tweaks to accommodate our (already!) humid weather. The pattern calls for 10ply, but I used 8ply to create a less bulky hat with a hole-y effect. Pink Frosting is a regular two-color variegated cotton yarn from Crafty Kitten Paws, a bit rough on the hands until maybe two-thirds into the ball, but perhaps that was just because of the dyeing process. Once my fingers got used to it, it was easy going and I finished this up in two and a half days.Ocean ShawlThis is my first lace project! Kyaaa, so proud of it. My mom saw it in its beginning stages and immediately asked me to make one for her as well, hahaha. This particular project was modeled after Undeniable Glitter‘s Sparkly Ocean Infinity Scarf. I actually loved the original because it had subtle color changes while still being mostly one color, so it wasn’t monotonous.¬†Ocean¬† from CKP might look a little bit tamer, but the pattern is the real star.¬† This particular scarf is going to a friend that I made during my call center days, and because it’s only 6ply, I think it’s perfect for sunny weather outside and the full-blast air conditioning that we sometimes get at work. This yarn was also easier to work with than Pink Frosting; I didn’t notice any roughness, it was just soft and workable all the way through.

And now for the big finish, take a gander at these booties!

Ocean Booties Collage 1There was half of Ocean left after I’d finished the scarf, so I thought I’d make my daughter something.I had an existential crisis before making these, I swear. I was questioning my ability as a mother, a crocheter and a human being. Never before have I been so afraid of failing my daughter. My headspace was a continuous loop of “What if they’re ugly? What if they’re too small? What if she doesn’t like them?”

Turns out there was no need for such drama, because Houdini doesn’t like wearing anything on her feet anyway. She’s been kicking off socks and pulling off gloves ever since she was born, that’s why she’s nicknamed Houdini in the first place ^.^ Regardless, Tamara Kelly of Moogly fame should definitely be proud of her easy-to-follow pattern, Loopy Love Baby Booties. She’s got them in varying sizes as well, from newborn to toddler, so if you’re interested in making your little one a pair, drop by her blog!

So there’s my three finished projects for the second half of March. It may not be much, but it lights a creative fire under me! April’s just started, I wonder what I’ll be able to finished this month?

How about you, have you done anything creative this month? Does your kid like toddling around on her bare feet too?

Oil-Pulling: My First Week

Being a full-time mom gives me a lot of time to read blogs after I’ve done the cleaning and washing-up and cooking and what-have-you. A few months ago, I saw a trend popping up on the mommy blogs I frequented, and it was all about Oil-Pulling. Just in passing, I told my mom about what I’d read and the other night, she came home with a bottle of locally pressed virgin coconut oil!

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Tastes like a Bounty bar!

My mom will try any natural folk remedy at least once, but oil-pulling is anything but folk-y. It’s actually an Ayurvedic practice that has been going on since ancient times. Since it’s classified as ‘alternative’ medicine, there’s a lot of positive and negative hype about it. You know how they say that doctors can tell the state of a patient by looking at their tongue? The idea is the same: the mouth is the first step into the body, so you have to take care of it. Using oils will restore balance by dissolving bacteria and draws out toxins.¬† My reasons for trying it are purely vain because I’ve read that it whitens teeth, freshens breath and fights plaque. I’ve long wished for a row of perfect pearly whites, and oil-pulling just might give me that.

Now I’m not a licensed Ayurvedic practitioner, so don’t take my word for it. This log is going to be my full and honest experience regarding this fascinating remedy, so read with a grain of salt and draw your own conclusions!

The rules for starting oil- pulling are simple:

1) Use high-quality oil. Traditionally, one would use sesame oil, since that was what was readily available back in the day, but in the Philippines, coconut oil is plentiful and works just fine.

2) Swish a tablespoonful of oil for 5-20 minutes. Less time won’t let the oil do its job, and more time will reverse the process and put the drawn-out toxins back. Also, use a measuring spoon. Until Day 4, I was working with a regular tablespoon which, ironically, only gave me half a tablespoon.

3) Distract yourself while doing it. This rule is more for me. Ayurveda, like yoga, advocates calmness and serenity, but with an energetic baby and a house full of people, there’s precious little time for that. So I check my email or make breakfast while swishing the toxins away, win-win!

Daily Routine: I usually drink two glasses of water after wake up, followed by the coconut oil, which I dutifully keep mobile in my mouth while I check emails and Facebook. Then I spit it out in the trashcan (an important step), gargle with warm salt water then brush my teeth.

Day 1 (10pm): As soon as I take my tablespoonful, I have to fight the urge to swallow. Twenty years ago, my mom’s favorite chocolate was Bounty, that blue-and-white wrapped coconut explosion. I can see it in my mind’s eye right now, but I will it away and patiently swish the thin oil around my mouth for 15 minutes. As soon as I spit it out, my mouth feels cool and refreshed, as I’ve been gargling with regular mouthwash. There’s not much residue, but I wash my mouth out with warm water just to make sure I’ve gotten rid of any straggling toxins.

Day 2 (7.30am-ish): My mouth feels like normal after a long night of snoring- in a word, icky. As usual, I drink my two glasses of water, and then I reach for the coconut oil. The urge to swallow is not as strong as last night’s, but afterwards, I do notice a feeling of floatiness in my head. It’s like a baby headache- not painful but a touch distracting. On a more positive note, I have noticed less plaque build-up!

Day 3 (7.00am-ish): If ever you try oil-pulling and somehow end up spilling half your measure down your face, you are not alone. I feel like a hot coconut-scented mess right now. And then I proceed to feel a little- floaty, tired and cranky for the rest of the day – – which may mean I’m one of those people who goes through a harsher detox. Note to self: Drink more water.

Day 4 (7.00am exactly!): Detox-y feeling aside, I think my quality of sleep is getting better. I feel more rested and I wake up earlier. It could be the 8+ months of sleeplessness catching up, but waking up now feels like less of a chore. Today, I unearthed a proper measuring spoon from our kitchen drawers, so let’s see if having an actual mouthful makes any difference. I feel a lot of gunk coming off my tongue though, so that’s good.

Day 5 (7.00am again): I”m waking up earlier and earlier, and my mind isn’t foggy at all! I love this feeling, because now I only have to deal with one grumpster whose name I will not divulge but it’s totally my husband.¬† Still some gunkiness around the tongue area while I swish this stuff around, but I’m still taking that as a good sign.

Day 6 (6.35am, whaaaat): I’m not even using an alarm clock, that’s how awesome this is. I do feel very drowsy in the afternoon, but then¬† again, Houdini does too, so we take a nap together like we did yesterday. I don’t even notice the Bounty-ness of the oil anymore.

Day 7 (6.15am, legit sorcery): By this time, I definitely know that this morning’s spoonful isn’t going to be my last, so I swish with a smile and go on with my day.

Now, after the week of testing, I had a week off oil-pulling because we visited our in-laws and I left the bottle of coconut oil for my mom to use. The change crept up on me slowly, but when I realized why I was feeling so tired, that just made me decide to make oil-pulling a permanent part of my morning routine. Getting some much-needed sleep is so important, and as a new mom, I’ll do anything to get a good night’s sleep.

Lessons Learned: From personal experience, I believe that oil-pulling does have an effect on the body. Those first few days were definitely a detox period, but even then, the quality of my sleep was notable. Did oil-pulling exceed my hopes and dreams? Nope, not really. But then again these types of holistic, natural procedures almost never give quick results, because they’re meant to be integrated into your daily life. even if I didn’t get my picture-perfect pearly whites this week, I did notice great improvements in my sleeping habits, as well as plaque reduction, tongue health (pinker than ever before!) and less bleeding of the gums (it’s gross but true).

There you have it. Coconut oil is going right on my shopping list every week.

Coincidentally, the week that I was off oil-pulling, coconut oil got all up in my radar, as if to say: “Hello, fresh breath and deep sleep isn’t all I’m good for!” Here are some awesome links to give you that coconut-y boost:

  • ¬†Thanks to the lovely Shari’s post about MAC’s makeup collaboration with Julia Petit, a well-known lifestyle blogger in Brazil, I learned about Julia’s beauty regimen, which is coconut oil. I’m inclined to believe that it works, because this lady is 42 years old and has the skin of a teenager. There’s also a mention of a sexylicious must-have lipstick in that post, so¬† ^.^
  • Inspired by the thought that coconut oil could transform my desperate skin into Julia’s sun-kissed perfection, I went look for and found 7 Reasons Why Coconut Oil Should Be Your New Skin Moisturizer (if anyone’s still on the fence, you’re very welcome :D)
  • I swear I didn’t go looking for these, but the title caught my eye: Constipation Candy. It’s paleo-friendly and you can make it organic if you swing that way. Coconut oil, cleaning you up inside and out ^.^
  • And of course, I can’t leave out the post that inspired me in the first place: Genevieve’s How To
    Do Oil Pulling (With An Extra Detox Twist). I may try the twist as well, once I’ve ordered some essential oils. I’m thinking tea tree or maybe rosemary.

That’s it for my first Bunny Tries and Tests feature! How was it? Have you ever tried oil-pulling? Do you have any coconut oil wisdom that you’d like to share?

Celebrate!: The Galas of April

Can I just say that March was an awesome crafting month for me? Practice does make you faster, even when a baby is next to you, getting tangled up in the yarn (Seriously, I don’t even need a cat anymore). I mean look at all these finished projects and WIPs!

March Crochet CollageJust the thought of making more excites me. I’ve even got a few designs in the works, but I’ve got to get my stash more rounded out. That’s essentially the reason for my struggle between beauty versus fiber- I simply don’t have the cash to indulge in both!

Ah well, it’s a new month, so it’s time for new pursuits. This April brings us closer to the great outdoors… or at least that part of it that’s just outside our doorstep.

  • Garden Month
  • Straw Hat Month
  • Decorating Month
  • Car Care Month
  • Financial Literacy Month
  • Global Child Nutrition Month
  • Frog Month Month
  • Physical Wellness Month

There a whole month to celebrate frogs?! Heck yeah, I’ll take that action! Now all I need is a whole month to celebrate my all-consuming love for turtles…

My adoration for amphibians aside, there are some dailies I’m looking forward to this month too.

  • Apr 2 – World Autism Day
  • Apr 5 – Go For Broke Day
  • Apr 6 – Plan Your Epitaph Day
  • Apr 11 – Day of Silence
  • Apr 12 – Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day (!)
  • Apr 14 – Pecan Day
  • Apr 18 – Animal Cracker Day (!!)
  • Apr 19 – Garlic Day (!!!)
  • Apr 22 – Jellybean Day
  • Apr 24 – Teach Your Children To Save Day
  • Apr 26 – Sense of Smell Day
  • Apr 30 – International Guide Dog Day

Unlike Ravioli Day, I refuse to let Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day pass by without a mention. Add to that an ode to one of my favorite herbs and I’ll be filling this blog up in no time.

How about you, do any of these dailies catch your eye? Do you love frogs as much as I do? All comments are welcome ^.^

Have some cute!

I was going to post some big wordy post today, about how my heart is torn in two. Less dramatic than it sounds, really… But honestly, how am I supposed to choose between the lushness of yarn and the sparkle of makeup?!

But that’s a story for another time. For today, let me finally show off my beautiful baby girl! DSC_0738 DSC_0824 DSC_0830 DSC_0876 DSC_0605DSC_0642DSC_0699DSC_0461 DSC_0469 DSC_0478 DSC_0554 DSC_0564

I’m such a sucky photographer, but that doesn’t take away from the cuteness on the other end of the lens. That’s all I have for this week, I hope to have more cuteness in store for the next!

Two Scarves and a Sunburn

March is only half-over and I’ve got two projects done already! Must be that (Inter)national Crochet Month magic! So now, without further ado, let me present some scarf candy for your eyes.

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What was once this…

Seafoam Cowl

… is now this!

This is just a lovely pattern (Lion Brand’s Cardiff Cowl for any Ravelry users out there) which worked up super quick, even for a n00b like me. Full disclosure: I used a 5.5mm hook instead of a 5.0mm like the pattern calls for because I wanted it to be more loose and airy.¬† The Baguio Cotton Sheen was a soft and lovely dream to work with and I’m sure my future sis-in-law will be quite pleased with this. I’ve still got half a ball of this color left, and it’s a toss-up whether I whip up a matching hat or if I make a little something for Houdini.

Colorbright Infinity Scarf

Look at those colors! But not too long, because they might blind you >.<

One of the great things about having a Ravelry account is you have a place to document when you started a particular project. If ever I needed confirmation that I’m not the world’s fastest crocheter, this scarf is it. It’s actually the perfect beginner’s pattern because you really get to practice your single crochet stitch and your double treble stitch and your patience. This Summer Infinity Scarf is perfect for our hot and humid weather, especially in a lightweight bamboo modal yarn. It’s so great that it inspired me to make some summer-appropriate patterns of my own but I’ve got to buy more yarn first!

As for the sunburn, I was outside in the sun for most of yesterday, Houdini-free might I add. Being born and raised in a desert climate, you would think I wouldn’t sunburn so easily. Wrong-o!

Since I was standing under a tree in midday, the sunburn is so much more noticeable on the shoulder that wasn’t under the tree, leading to some serious uneven coloring. Will be posting a picture later on, but trust me it’s hilarious once the baby oil has been rubbed on and my skin stops screaming. The suckerpunch is that I don’t peel, ever. That means my shoulders will be like this for at least a year.

Funzies right? How about you, have any experiences with scarves or sunburn this month?

Yarn Hoard Friday!

I said I would post when it came and here it is!

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Look at them! I just wanna roll in their colors and love them forever!

From left to right, top to bottom:

  • Local Hand-dyed Cotton in Yellow Yolk
  • Local Hand-dyed Cotton in Ocean
  • Local Hand-dyed Cotton in Pink Frosting
  • Local Hand-dyed Cotton in Tablea
  • Baguio Cotton Sheen in Earth
  • Baguio Cotton Sheen in Blonde
  • Baguio Cotton Sheen in Seafoam
  • Abaca Fiber in Tan

For those not in the know regarding the local yarn scene here in the Philippines, let me just give a little breakdown.

Crocheting used to be a big deal in my grandmother’s time, but like other handicrafts, it has fallen by the wayside in these modern times. Happily it’s been making a comeback, with online yarn stores and crochet groups available for all to see (and join) on Facebook. The bulk of craft yarn comes from Baguio, where the colder temperatures make shawls and beanies items of necessity, instead of mere fashion statements. There are many types, Cotton Sheen being one of the more uncommon ones, but supply is always one message away so they are the cheapest brand available. The ones I’ve handled before were of a different line (acrylic or rough cotton, I’m not sure) and weren’t really baby clothing appropriate, but Cotton Sheen is much smoother with a lustre that appeals to the magpie in me. As of right now, I don’t have a solid plan for either of the colors that I bought, but I’m on the lookout for something fun and wearable. I’m hoping Blonde works out as my baby girl’s birthday dress, but I’m still searching for a pattern.

Abaca Fiber, also known as Manila hemp, is also sourced from Baguio. It’s very sturdy and surprisingly shiny, but it tangles up oh so easily. I know because there’s a huge mess of it on my lap now. It’s a lesson in patience, it really is. My plans for this will be coasters, many, many coasters for my many, many in-laws. Gotta get a head start on those Christmas gifts if I’m making them by hand!

The mass shipping Baguio yarn aside, the making of local hand-dyed cotton is also taking off, though there are only a few who make them so far. The ones that I have were from the magical hands of Crafty Kitten Paws (awesome name, right?) and they smell delightful. Since they’re handmade, this kind of yarn is more expensive than the first, but not by much if you really want quality stuff. For these sweet-smelling fancies, I’ve got some solid plans : Ocean and Pink Frosting will find new lives as friends’ birthday scarves; Yellow Yolk and Tablea will somehow be crafted into a chevron baby carrier. I lie tell not, Houdini is the reincarnation of a baby koala bear and my arms can’t handle it anymore. I may have to make my own design up though, since there aren’t any baby carriers available on Ravelry.

Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for my bank account), a friend of mine owns the online yarn store that all these babies come from. There are quite a few local shops like these here in the Philippines, but they basically all sell the same thing. My friend is doing her best to stand out from the pack, and so far she’s doing very well. The store’s name is The Yarn Traveler and, joy of joys, she’s unveiling a new line of CKP’s ombres and pastels this weekend. And guess who’s naming them!

Anyway, If I’ve tempted anyone to visit either website to oogle at beautiful pictures of fiber fantasy, drop me a line so we can oogle together!

Celebrate!: The Hilarities of March

*dusts off her blog*

Well, here we are again, at the start of a new month, and nary a blog post to be seen for weeks. I wish I could blame it on the lack of a decent camera but let’s face it, no one’s coming here to see a Pulitzer-winning photograph.

I haven’t just been faffing around the house though, I’ve actually been doing a lot of crocheting. It’s tiring work, seeing as I have to do it during Houdini’s nap or after she’s gone to bed at night, but for a beginner I think I’m doing alright in terms of finished projects.

Feb Crochet Collage

Left to Right: Paper Napkin Holder, Purple Bow Cup Cozy, Washcloth, Hook Jar Cover

Craft-wise, everything is going great. Got my new hooks in the mail a few days ago and they’re sitting pretty in their fancy jar as we speak. They came with three huge hanks of yarn from the northern city of Vigan, my mom’s hometown. The problem is that they’re hanks, which I have to wind myself. I also just talked myself into buying another load of yarn from my friend, and when they arrive, I will make sure those photos are proudly front and center on this blog.

Houdini-wise, we seem to be in a sleep-crawling phase, where she does her little zombie version of trying to look for me with her eyes closed. It’s adorable but I miss a solid eight hours like whoa. Haven’t had one of those since I got pregnant… Just call me Mistress Eyebags.

Ah well, let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of this post: the fun events that only March can bring!

  • Nutrition Month
  • Spiritual Wellness Month
  • Cheerleading Safety Month
  • International Listening Awareness Month
  • Women’s History Month
  • ¬†Craft Month (Huzzah!)
  • ¬†Caffeine Awareness Month
  • ¬†Credit Education Month
  • ¬†Sing With Your Child Month

And now for those all-important dailies:

  • Mar 1 – World Compliment Day
  • Mar 6 – Holi, the Festival of Colors
  • Mar 7 – Cereal Day
  • Mar 8 – Women’s Day
  • Mar 9 – Crabmeat Day
  • Mar 10 – Pack Your Lunch Day
  • Mar 11 – Organize Your Home Office
  • Mar 15 – Pears Helene Day
  • Mar 18 – Biodiesel Day
  • Mar 20 – Ravioli Day
  • Mar 22 – Start of Peanut Month
  • Mar 23 – Near Miss Day
  • Mar 29 – Niagra Falls Run Dry Day
  • Mar 31 – World Backup Day

Any excuse to buy a box of cereal and eat some ravioli is good enough for me. Putting these in my journal so I can be reminded. If anyone plans to celebrate any of these awesome activities, please please please leave me a little note below so I can celebrate with you!

Celebrate!: The Fetes of February

Still riding on my posting high from yesterday, I thought I’d bang out the fourth installment of Celebrate!

February is shaping up to be a productive month. I’ve already received two packages from BDJ, which sends my inner fangirl into gleeful fits. I’ve also finished crocheting Houdini’s first hat, which I’ll be able to submit as my first HPKCHC assignment because I’ve also finally bought an SD card reader for the computer. Last but not least, I’ve halfway through the second season of Elementary! How could I have put it off for so long? The relationship between Sherlock and Watson is as epic as ever.

February is actually my favorite month of the year. It’s still a time for new beginnings, but it doesn’t feel as hectic and demanding as January. It also has only 28 days: short, sweet and fun.

  • Love The Bus Month
  • International Hoof Care Month
  • International Self-Esteem Month
  • Bake For Family Fun Month
  • Hot Breakfast Month
  • Library Lovers Month
  • Cherry Month
  • Potato Lovers Month
  • Relationship Wellness Month

There are also some pretty unusual daily celebrations this month:

  • Feb 2 – Groundhog Day
  • Feb 4 – Stuffed Mushrooms Day
  • Feb 9 – World Marriage Day
  • Feb 11 – Satisfied Staying Single Day
  • Feb 14 – Quirky Alone Day
  • Feb 19 – International Tug-of-War Day
  • Feb 25 – Chocolate-covered Peanuts Day
  • Feb 26 – Personal Chef Day
  • Feb 27 – Kahlua Day

If you’re stuck and don’t know what to write about, why not pick one of these dailies, or challenge yourself with¬†a month-long observance? Either way, send me a link so I can read all about it!

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¬†r√©sum√©.

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 Рthe 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)

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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!