skincare splurges

I am no beauty blogger (I don’t know anything about makeup) but I’m finding myself more and more interested in skincare. Thought I’d review these items so I’m reminded which ones to retain in my regimen and which ones never to repurchase. What happened to being a minimalist? Well, I blame acne, curiosity and heartbreak. It’s expensive, yes, but also very exciting to try new products! It doesn’t help (or does it?) that New Zealand is kinda obsessed with natural/earth-friendly stuff and I’m a sucker for those haha.



CELETEQUE Hydration Facial Wash

Bought it in the Philippines because it’s supposed to be gentle on the face. But I find it too drying! Which is ironic because it has “natural moisturizing factor”, whatever that is.

NEUTROGENA Oil-Free Acne Wash (Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub)

I like the smell and how it thoroughly cleans my face. HOWEVER, it is also drying (my face is extra dry in New Zealand because of the weather huhu). Microbeads are also bad for the environment but I would probably still buy a bigger bottle. Sue me.

CLINIQUE Anti-Blemish Solutions Cleansing Gel

Expensive but I was desperate to get rid of my pimples. I’ve seen some improvements on my face but I’m not entirely sure if it’s due to this product.

CROP Purifying Mud Mask

I like that it’s mostly derived from natural ingredients. It does sting a teeny bit though. I won’t repurchase because I am too lazy to use it. It’s something I could do without.

BIORE Deep Cleansing Pore Strips

I’m very satisfied. I saw how much accumulated dirt/blackheads it removed from my face. Gross but effective. It’s expensive though so I plan to use it only once or twice a month.



LUSH Breath of Fresh Air Toner Water vs. SUKIN Hydrating Mist Toner

Both earth-friendly! Sukin is cheaper for its size but I definitely prefer the smell and spray quality of Lush. I have no idea what it does to my face exactly but it feels refreshing. Will probably purchase Lush again.


NIVEA Rich Regenerating Night Cream

Its thickness is perfect for the cold months. I love how it makes my skin feel and look hydrated and “fresh” hehe (especially upon waking up). Hopefully, it’s not blocking my pores because I want to use this forever. Might not be suitable in PH weather though.

ESSANO Regenerating Facial Moisturiser

Rosehip oil is supposed to have a ton of benefits so I bought this. Huge bonus that it’s environment-friendly and mostly derived from natural sources. I like it but not crazy about it.

AVEENO Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion

This one’s for the entire body. I had an itchy skin phase and I think this helped cos I’m no longer itchy LOL. Effective on very dry skin like mine.


NEUTROGENA Ultra Sheer Clear Face (SPF30)

SPF30 + non-comedogenic / oil-free are awesome qualities but I find it too sheer/thin for my dry skin. I could put on moisturiser prior but I prefer sunscreen that already acts like a moisturiser. Will try another sunblock next time.

BY NATURE Hydrating Day Creme (SPF15)

I used to wear this everyday! It’s a moisturiser and sunscreen in one product, but I got paranoid that it’s blocking my pores. I’d rather go with non-comedogenic products moving forward to lessen my breakouts. I also prefer higher SPF.



Didn’t see a difference the first few times I used it. I feel like the Clinique products did a much better job treating my acne.

CLINIQUE Anti-Blemish Solutions All-Over Clearing Treatment

I prefer the cleanser. I think that would’ve been enough. I would like it better if this product is more moisturizing. I could skip it most days and just use it on really bad breakouts.

MAC Studio Finish Concealer (with SPF35)

I’m still learning how to apply it properly. So far, it’s failing to conceal my blemishes. I’m sure it’s either just my general lack of makeup skills or it’s not the right color for my skin tone.




Not that I have a chronic illness that I know of but this is still pretty spot-on, especially on days when I have no commitments. When I tell people I am in bed 12hours a day, it’s not 12hours of quality, restful sleep (kung pwede nga lang). What really happens is 2hrs of pre-sleep rumination, tossing and turning (doesn’t make a difference if I’m exhausted, which is everyday kahit wala ko masyado ginagawa; my mind still goes on overdrive once I lie down in bed); followed by at least 8hrs of sleep if I’m lucky.

When I finally wake up, I spend another 1-2hrs of feeling useless (right after the painful realization that I’m awake and have to face the world again). It’s another cycle of worrying, overthinking, overfeeling and hating myself. Miraculously, I am able to gather some energy(?)/motivation(?)/reasons to get up. Some days/nights are better than others. Hirap mga besh, pero kaya naman because life is still beautiful and worth living lol

Polaroid Possibilities (a.k.a. me trying to be poetic while missing you and failing miserably)

I regret not taking photographs of:

You sitting cross-legged on the floor of your living room

going over the videos on your computer.

You sitting cross-legged on the floor of your living room

mumbling to yourself.

You in bed, sleeping peacefully,

facing the wall,

with just your messy hair,

pale shoulders and upper back

in view.

Your sleepy, gorgeous, sexy morning face.

That moment when you got out of bed to check your phone

and that fucking attractive dimple of yours

decided to show itself.

You staring out of my living room window.

You looking up at the sky tower.

You intently checking out the artworks in the art gallery,

jacket on one arm.

You sitting on that bench,

waiting for me to alight the bus on that windy, and colder than usual, Wellington morning.

You walking closer to me,

greeting me with a hug, as I said something about the cold weather.

Boy, you would have made the perfect subject.


Wrote a rough draft of random things I learned/experienced at 25 on my Notes app last month, a couple of weeks before turning 26:

Studying abroad is no bed of roses, contrary to popular belief.

If you say “nothing serious”, it could be interpreted as DTF. “Dating” isn’t exactly a walk in the park (but you will sometimes walk in parks hehe).

It’s possible to be over the moon and to feel sunshine on rainy days.

Someone will give you the exact shade of rose that you want. And if you want to press it, press it BEFORE it starts wilting.

Kung wala kang issue sa katawan sa sariling mong bansa, maglalabasan pagtira mo sa ibang bansa. Hello breakouts, digestion problems, losing so much hair on a daily basis.

Alcohol is a depressant. It won’t help you sleep and it makes you feel bloated.

Neil Gaiman is always right. “It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean.”

You think you will never enjoy cooking your own food – you will.

You would/should travel long distances, literally and otherwise, for people you love/trust/crave.

“Get your ass on that bus, girl”

Words are cool but actions are cooler.

You will associate places with people. A park, a karaoke bar, sometimes a whole city.

Make lists, use that notes app, that reminders app, jot it down on paper.

You could grow up grade-conscious and not care about grades too much when doing your Masters  (in other words, you change, you grow up, you realize you value learning, not scores)

It’s okay. If it’s not, it will be. 

So many things happened at 25, so much to be grateful for. Got a scholarship and extreme pre-departure anxiety, said goodbye to my WWF family, flew to NZ, Lived in NZ (still am and still pinching myself), had my heart broken, got homesick, had trouble sleeping, had trouble getting up, did counseling, cried like i’ve never cried before, cried even more, learned in the classroom, learned outside the classroom, had hairfall like never before, got facial acne like never before, got a number of other physical issues but hey i’m still breathing, survived my first semester of Masters and being away from home and familiarity, felt like complete shit next to my super smart and articulate classmates, shared laughter/beer/new experiences with an awesome group of Pinoy friends without whom i might have gone insane and eternally depressed, blew a huge chunk of my stipend on travel, explored new places and fell inlove with the bits of NZ i’ve seen so far, got pissed off and amazed by the changeable weather, met someone unforgettable, kissed someone for the first time, learned how to cook simple dishes and realized i enjoy it, baked for the first time, had my heart broken (again), realized how much there is to life, how blessed I am and how grateful I am for everything. Overall, my 25th year had been incredible. Special mention to my bedroom and my bed na araw araw akong sinasalo.

Masaya, malungkot, pagod. Mej luma na pero tama si Ate Katy Perry: no regrets, just love!

One of my biggest frustrations in life springs from my inability to communicate (in writing or orally) without feeling stupid and/or ineffective after. I always feel inarticulate, that I could’ve phrased something better but couldn’t so it just comes out in shambles. If it’s spontaneous, I will either shut up or come up with something incoherent. My amateur communication skills are most palpable at work or at university, but also applies to everyday conversations to some degree. (Ironically, my undergraduate degree is in Communication). So yeah, I can’t help but feel jealous of confident and eloquent people out there.


Yesterday, I came across this passage from Alain de Botton’s book, “The Course of Love”, about what makes a good communicator (in other words, what I am clearly not) and it makes a lot of sense. It stems from low-self esteem and fear of not being accepted and making a fool of one’s self. Knew it!!! That’s obviously my problem. (The book, by the way, hasn’t failed to amaze me and touch my core page after page.)


“What makes people good communicators is, in essence, an ability not to be fazed by the more problematic or offbeat aspects of their own characters. They can contemplate their anger, their sexuality, and their unpopular, awkward, or unfashionable opinions without losing confidence or collapsing into self-disgust. They can speak clearly because they have managed to develop a priceless sense of their own acceptability. They like themselves well enough to believe that they are worthy of, and can win, the goodwill of others if only they have the wherewithal to present themselves with the right degree of patience and imagination.


As children, these good communicators must have been blessed with caregivers who knew how to love their charges without demanding that every last thing about them be agreeable and perfect. Such parents would have been able to live with the idea that their offspring might sometimes — for a while, at least — be odd, violent, angry, mean, peculiar, or sad, and yet still deserve a place within the circle of familial love. The parents would thus have created an invaluable wellspring of courage from which those children would eventually be able to draw to sustain the confessions and direct conversations of adult life.”