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Micromini Reviews (and I am back)

Hi everyone. I'm here again posting a bunch of teeny tiny reviews of some products I have used since my last review, because I feel bad for not making use of my experience to help other skin care addicts.

And yes, even if I got too busy, I was able to continue taking care of my skin!

Here are the various items I used from October 2014 til today:

Nature Republic Bulgarian Rose Emulsion - If only my nose was not that sensitive to fragrances, this emulsion will be a holy grail day moisturizer. It is cheap, moisturizing, and it works well under the hot and humid Manila weather. If you have a very tolerant sense of smell, I highly recommend this emulsion.

Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Essence - a very easy to find AHA exfoliator in the Philippines, which works as intended. It made my skin plump, soft and smooth, although it did not make my pores look refined. It looks expensive at a price tag of more than 1000 pesos, but this 50 mL bottle will last a while. The only problem with this AHA is it warrants a bigger obsession for sunscreen as it is quite strong (glycolic acid), and it made my face very irritable against the sun. I had to abide by sunscreen reapplication, or else.

The Face Shop Herb Day Cleansing Cream (Green Tea) - I used to LOVE this line, now I totally hate it. Although I used the Mixed Fruit variant before, I noticed that the main ingredients between my Green Tea and Mixed Fruit aren't the same. Reformulation? Highly probable, which is why I will not repurchase.

Etude House Real Art Cleansing Oil (Sensitive) - typical cleansing oil with a very runny texture and strong but tolerable scent. Cleans well but it left my skin feeling dry immediately after use.

Innisfree Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil - the apple aroma was weird and seemed very synthetic, but the texture is glorious! Ah, but it did not clean my face properly and was too gentle, it left my sebaceous filament sticking out and begging for extraction (which I still left alone).

Missha All-Around Safe Block Waterproof Sun - it may not have titanium dioxide, but I do not recommend this sunscreen. Unless you're a fan of very thick creams and all lined up for a geisha makeover.

Aaaand that takes care of the 8 months worth of skincare hits and misses.

I realized I CAN update this blog, although not as vigorously as I did prior to my freelancing work. So I am back and will check in from time to time, especially in cases like this - I just couldn't bear it!

I was lost, and still am

Hello! It has been a while and I'm sure some of you are wondering where I have been. A LOT of things had happened since I last wrote anything here. Some may be rearing to see a random review from me, but let me preempt you: I want to, but I cannot.

During the later half of 2014, I had a spike of demand for my work-at-home engineering gig. It was exhausting and fulfilling, but it was taking a lot of time. I am still engaged with this work, happily at that. And while it has stopped my blogging, it is expanding my knowledge of my craft and it is paying for the bills. Yay!

But while my career is gaining some good ground, my personal life, unfortunately, is not. I got pregnant last November but I miscarried a month ago. It was my first pregnancy too, after a year of trying. My husband and I were traumatized, to say the least. I am afraid of getting pregnant again, because the gory imagery that night of my baby's unfortunate demise is still with us. It would have been slightly easy to accept if we had a chromosomal problem during that pregnancy, but we lost the battle due to a ruptured placenta. The fact that such incidence is quite unusual does not help, too.

This is where I will take a leave from Pas Sosyal.

I will probably still update this blog from time to time to reply to comments and mail, but currently my work is owning my time right now. I've overloaded myself with projects so I won't even have time to cry too much, plus this working-horse-mode gives me some motivation to cope up with our loss.

In case you've seen all this blog has to offer, you can find a variety of good blogs being recommended within reddit. /r/AsianBeauty and /r/SkincareAddiction are two skincare related subreddits packed with tons of information - from linked blogs, to helpful FAQs, databases (check our /r/AsianBeauty's spreadsheet on cleanser pH!), progress pics and many more. The people there are quite giddy about it, too, so I highly recommend visiting those.

Anyway, thank you guys for the follow, link, reads, comments, and mail. Blogging about girly stuff was fun - but I think my experiences, both from highs and lows, shifted my priorities that I now want to just focus on my husband (but not kids - I'm not going to try to conceive ever), career, and my personal healing.

See you wherever, and don't forget your sunscreen!


Korean emulsions: My new moisturizer choice

Remember when I raved about my improved skin and attributed it to switching to a different moisturizer type? One of the new elements I've added to my regime was switching from a normal, heavy moisturizer to an emulsion for my morning skin care routine. So what is an emulsion, and how is it used?

Korea Budget Trip: Budget for everything else, but not for Myeongdong

Last week, we visited South Korea for four days and three nights. As we wanted it to be a budget-friendly travel, we used the extensive public transportation Seoul had to offer and stayed in a motel. Of course, I had a side budget for possible hauls - in case I saw products that would be very hard to ship to the Philippines. Thanks, ERAP. /s

Note: I am the type of traveller who does not take too much pictures. I don't know but I feel taking pictures spoil the "moment". All I have are potato quality ones, too.

Roof of a rather plain structure in Changdeokgung Palace's
Secret Garden (to the disappointment of my companion
is not the Korea-novela)

We got around the city using the subway and integrated bus systems. The whole let's-use-the-public-transport thing is COOL as I believe the city is best get to known this way. However, I had elderly with me (they knew stairs would be frequent), and so it was difficult for them, plus they had the attention span of a 5-year old so it was crazy to keep them from getting bored during commutes.

I belong: Countless times during that brief tour, I've been spoken to
in Korean, for obvious reasons as seen in this selka
(what they call selfies there)
We visited Changdeokgung Palace, sat around Yeouido Park eating the best friend chicken I've ever tasted (no exaggeration there), got into a Han River cruise, explored Nami Island, took photographs of giggling senior citizen at the Trick Eye Museum, had coffee in a cat cafe (someone please bring this concept here in the Philippines), visited a Korean family and had a grand lunch, and of course went shopping in Namdaemun Market (for the folks) and Myeongdong (for me, haha).

"Why can't we have this in the Philippines?", I asked myself
as I recalled the savory chicken we just ate.
The weather was very pleasant at 10-20 degrees Celcius for me and my husband, whereas my mom and mother in law were trying desperately to hide their shivering during the first night - they did not want to wear proper clothing because they did not want to carry heavy jackets. My skin though felt quite happy with the autumn season - emollient sunscreen not melting off the face, sweat and heat not aggravating my pores. Skin heaven!

"Why can't we have nice things in our country?", I asked
myself as I still thought about the chicken.
Apart from the nice weather, I noticed there was significantly less pollution in Seoul as compared to what we've been used to here in Metro Manila. There is also less private vehicles, but more taxis instead bring the traffic to be as long as the stop light says red. People just really use public transport. I even saw really glamorous ladies ride the subway. As an engineer, the city's transport system itself is a tourist's marvel for me. Plus, the underground stations had a Missha or Nature Republic in them somewhere, so yeah.

Yellow trees are marvelous too. And so are the
ahjummas with their good skin.
My wallet had been suffering due to a 30% sale I took advantage of in one of the underground Missha's (they're very cheap yo, like 300 pesos cheap), when on Day 3 we visited Myeongdong. OH MY GLOB. All of the Korean skincare I could ever want is in that locale, and it took a lot of willpower to not overspend on products I will probably use months from now (just kidding, I'll be back in April...prepared). Did I mention they had cat cafes and dog cafes? 

Yes, I'm jealous. The cat may sleep during its shift!
And they're not to be disturbed.
Finally, during our last day, we visited a Korean family who felt like our family's "Korean version" and had the grandest lunch ever. The tables were crowded with plates, and I enjoyed it so much! Later that day, we also had enough time to check the Duty Free Shop in Incheon International Airport. A secret from me to you: some brands like Shiseido / La Mer are miles cheaper compared to their prices here. For example a Shiseido eyelash curler is priced around 800 pesos in the airport's DFS, which when purchased here would cost one 500 pesos more.

"Did you make that mess? You human tourists!"

I really enjoyed the brief stay in Korea - totally worth the time (I missed my work, huhu) and money. Hopefully, my school schedule would make it possible for me to go back in April. I can't wait!