Saturday, February 25, 2012

Love: Hacienda Macalauan Pure and Best Milk

I have long loved the milk from Hacienda Macalauan. Definitely the best ever milk, so very fresh and delicious. It comes in in whole and non-fat and a variety of flavors for the low-fat version, strawberry being my personal fave.

It used to be a hit or miss with their old packaging as the freshness would depend on whether they were properly stored in cold storage or not. More than half the time, I would end up asking for my money back because it would smell funky. With the new packaging, it's all fresh, all the time.

Not that I don't have any gripes, mind you. The old packaging was easier to open as with this one, you have to tear through the carton but it's easy enough to tear. You have to finish the whole carton within the day, even if you got the big one as it's not resealable. Just those gripes. I still think it's the bestest ever milk.

Last picture from the product website.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Share: Lasema Spa and Sauna

Korean dramas are all the rage in the Philippines. So are Korean skin and skin therapies. I know several products from the Face Shop I love, some products from Laneige I’d love to try and several Tony Moly stuff I’ve tried. To up the Korean skin experience a notch, hubby and I tried the jjimjilbang. If you’re into Korean dramas, you’ll be familiar with these 24-hour bathhouse wherein people sweat it out and wear lamb towels.

At the Lasema Spa and Sauna, one can try this uniquely Korean experience. Upon entry, you’ll be given two small towels with a pair of shorts and a shirt. Entry is only P400 for the use of the wet area and the jjimjilbang proper for 12 hours. They also offer massages, scrubs and facials for an additional fee but I just wanted to try the jjimjilbang itself and opted not to.

You’ll have to remove your shoes upon entry into the segregated women’s area. I was lucky enough to be alone when I entered the changing/locker area and quickly removed my clothes to get into the orange shirt and shorts. I’m saying lucky as you’re not expected to cover yourself even if you’re in your birthday suit. That’s the Korean thing. I walked around for a while and the area is quite big though not so much that you’ll get lost. You’ll just feel it, though.

When I got into the common area, I was greeted by the presence of the three sauna doors. The hottest one was over 70 degrees. It’s not a constant temperature as it got a degree hotter while we were there. The actual temperature is shown outside with big red LED numbers to keep you updated.

I asked for hubby and they called him from the men's area. Meandering for a while, we decided to try the salt and charcoal room first as it had the mildest temperature. It’s the middle one. You enter on a mat but it covers only a quarter of the floor space, the other portion laid out with pebbles. The salt rock pebbles sure were hot, like beach sand on a hot summer day. There’s a small sitting area near the oven that can sit one but an ajumma signalled us to sit on the pebbles with a smile. It was a cozy room, if toasting is your idea of cozy, with an hourglass to tell if you’ve already sat the approximate amount of time you should. Warning on the hourglass as it is a little hot to the touch at the end areas. Recommended time is 5 to 30 minutes. You eventually get used to the heat and just sweat out after a while. If you find that you can squeeze in some space, you can try lying down and staring at the pretty stone pattern on the ceiling and maybe play around with the pebbles, sifting them with your hands.

After the salt room, the oak and clay room was easier to handle. It was actually easier on my feet as there is a mat on whole floor space. As with the salt room, there is an hourglass to time yourself with. We laid down for a while and just looked up to the pretty ceiling patterns. It’s a good idea to bring a book to the jjimjilbang. There are quite a lot of things to read in the common room, actually, from comic books to magazines to local newspapers. It’s just that they’re all Korean. There’s also a corner where you can surf the net for P50 an hour. The wifi is free so if you’d like to bring a tablet device or a laptop, you could do so.

After a while in the oak room, I felt that I was psyched enough to try the dome clay sauna. It’s like an oven. It smells like an oven. It will roast you alive. I’m kidding. I actually went near the glowing thing at the center and noted that it was just salt rocks with a bit of light under it. Or maybe I’m just wishing I actually didn’t try to roast myself. It wasn’t that easy to stay inside the room for long as the air was so dry and it felt weird to breathe that kind of air for me. Maybe that’s the reason there isn’t an hourglass as there would be no need. A sane person wouldn’t stay inside that room for long.

We tried the ice room next. It was negative 9 degrees cold but after the hot rooms, not that hard to handle. Once our bodies cooled down and pores have gotten smaller, we went round to check for food.

We entered the Jewel in the Palace restaurant but didn’t bother to order. My hubby isn’t very much into Korean food and the prices were a little steep for something he wouldn’t enjoy anyway. We tried the snack bar and got their grilled eggs and free tea. The egg was good. They cook it inside the Clay Dome room for 8 hours and serve it with salt and pepper. We got two each and since I had a craving for more, I figured we better try a proper meal instead so as not to gorge on it.

The Next Door North Park restaurant was quite filling. We couldn't and didn’t even finish our meal as the serving of the fried rice was huge.

We tried the wet areas separately as it is segregated by gender. You get into your birthday suit and scrub at the shower area first. You can shower standing up or sitting down on one of the small stools provided but it seemed weird to sit down in them considering other naked people have done so. Afterwards, the wet sauna. If there is a hell, I’m sure it would be warmer than that, but it was way too hot for me already. Weirdly, it’s supposed to be milder than the jjimjilbang saunas but I couldn’t take a minute inside that place and sitting on the hot bench was torture. I wanted to splash my face with the flowing water like the girl who entered before me did but I just couldn’t bear to move in that place. The heat was everywhere. I’d crouch down to the floor if I could but it seems like the hot mist actually came from the floor. I really didn’t get it. Hubby said that the wet sauna in his side was comfortable. I’ll try it again next time to check if it really was as bad or they might just have overheated that room at that time.

The pools I could take. The mildest was 27 degrees. The ginseng pool was 41 degrees the first time I tried it and though tough to get in at first, was a good soak. Since no one else was sharing the pool with me, I even tried floating on it. Afterwards, the 42 degree green tea pool was tolerable but like the clay dome, not something I could take for long. After trying the wet sauna once again, for about 30 seconds. Or maybe 10, I went back to the common area to wait for hubby and explore.

As I have a bottomless stomach at the moment, I tried the grilled egg once again, the iced shikhye and the shin ramyun. The ramyun was like eating liquid chili pepper. I’m not good at hot stuff at all. The shikhye didn’t help. It was iced rice but I tasted a little ginger. Chili with ginger is way too much for my poor tongue. I ended up trying the Jeju island water. It tastes the same as local bottled water though. You can ask the server not to clean up your food if you’d like to go to the sauna for a break before finishing off your food when there aren’t too many people around.

There are a lot of sleeping areas around the jjimjilbang. The caves are ok, and you can open the lights inside it if you’re claustrophobic. On top of the caves is another sleeping area. There is another sleeping area in front of the big flat-screen tv. I’d love to watch but it was all in Korean. There is a common room with big comfy reclining chairs and a big fish swimming in the walled aquarium. The chairs are a little bit used up, though, needing a bit of reupholstering. Another area is the entertainment room but I didn’t explore it much as only girls are around and I was waiting for my honey.

To take advantage of the experience, I did the jjimjilbang and sauna round three times and though most of the time it was just staring off into space, I enjoyed it. It was a great way to treat the skin, let the brain doze for a while and release toxins in the body. We are definitely coming back.

Pictures from

Monday, February 6, 2012

Looked Up: Baby Carriers

I’m looking into getting another baby carrier now that the Safety 1st carrier will be retiring soon.

BabyBjorn Comfort Carrier, $199.95 (Available in for $144.77 for the black)

This carrier is designed for 3 months to 2 years. It is designed for comfort, with padded shoulder straps and waist belt, baby’s leg is in the recommended wide position and baby can be carried facing either inwards or backwards. Unfortunately, it is designed to be worn in European climes, not tropical countries like ours. I will not be buying this unless I win the lottery but I would dearly love to receive one as a gift.

This is my dream carrier, which might be weird for some people as it looks quite simple but that’s the beauty of the design for me. Simple is definitely best, I think. The design is based on Asian types of baby carriers used for a good long while, centuries even. I’m not sure as to ease of use. I’m guessing there’s a market in the Philippines for this type of baby carrier as there isn’t a local producer yet. This carrier is designed for comfort, with support in the proper places for both the carrier and the babies being carried. Also, it’s not too thick that baby will be too sweaty though that could depend on the body temperature of the person wearing baby. My body temperature runs a little colder than most people so it’s ok for me. I thought about buying this but it seems simple enough to sew one so I think I’ll try that for this month. J Actually, it’s more like finding a seamstress who’d sew it for me. I’m not that good at sewing. Lots of patterns can be found online like this. This is good for newborns to 35 lb babes.

Moby Wrap, $44.95

Though this carrier looks like it’s hard to wear, based on a lot of reviews, this is the most comfortable one. Please note that the Moby was designed for lighter climes than ours (tropical) so it might be hotter than you expected. It takes lots of practice but definitely worth it as there is the ultimate support for both wearers and babies and great contact too. There is a local producer of a similar one, the Bailey Wrap, which is made of a material much friendlier to our climes. Great for newborns to 3 years.

Saya, P988

I’ve posted on this carrier before. It’s also good for newborns up to 3 years though the Wrap carrier has more support. You can always buy the stabilizer belt if you want more support. The thing about this carrier is that it originated in the Philippines and looks very stylish. I posted their sling-type pic above because if you might notice, I like posting men wearing babes. It just seems right to me. I wanted to buy one and would have bought one already but one thing stops me. The size of the carrier you buy depends on the person who is going to be wearing it, not on the baby and there are 3 people who will be wearing baby in our house and it isn’t right in my book to buy 3 different ones. If mom and dad are of the same frame, though, no worries on that count there.

Except for the BabyBjorn, all other carriers posted above allows baby to be breastfed without being taken out of the carrier.

Pictures from the product websites.

Review: Safety 1st Baby Carrier and Next9 Ring Sling

This post is for my sister.

We have two baby carriers at home. One is the Safety 1st Baby Carrier, which my husband likes a lot. Please note that there has been a lot of worries about the positioning of baby with this type of carrier and it gives me constant worries over his legs, his spine and his body temperature but I’m happy to say that through all those worries, our baby has been developing quite well.

We’ve used the carrier since our baby’s first doctor’s appointment when we realized just how unwieldy a stroller would be for such a small baby and have never been out of the house with baby without it. We’re probably going to be retiring the carrier in a bit because he’s almost 8 kilos and the limit for the carrier is 9 kilos. My shoulders have actually started aching with the carrier after only an hour and wholly believe it is almost the right time for us not to use it.

In using the carrier, we’ve never forced baby into it whenever he gives any signal of discomfort. Whenever we’re seated and not moving about, we’ve opened up the top part to ensure he isn’t heated up too much as the material is a little thick and quite padded. Thankfully enough, it is quite easy to open and close, with snaps and a zipper by one leg enclosure to ensure he gets out. It’s not the type of carrier that you can get baby out of without waking him up, though.

I’ve tried breastfeeding baby in it and it is possible to do so. A little adjustment is needed to do so to ensure the position but it’s very much possible.

In essence, the carrier has helped us a lot over the past months but given the chance to buy another one, it wouldn’t be my first choice. With the weight limit of 9 kilos, we’re looking at something we’re using for 6 months only, though the age limit is 9 months. Also, I’m not keen on the hip dysplasia thing. One thing I’m thankful for is that my husband has been willing to carry baby in it as it’s black and not girly.

Our other carrier is a Ring Sling from Next9. We got it about a week after getting the other one as my baby went into a growth spurt and we needed something to ensure that my mother doesn’t get too uncomfortable holding baby. My mother and I love this carrier because of its versatility. You can use it from birth till baby is already 3 years old. Good luck to our backs by then but we use it around the house whenever baby wants to be held all the time and it gets too uncomfortable for our arms. I tried to use it out but hubby became too uncomfortable as our baby squirms a lot so I deferred.

It takes a while to get used to this carrier and constant practice is needed if it’s going to be used a lot. Needless to say, hubby never took to it though. Maybe someday.

Ilog Maria Propolis Cider Liniment and Propolis Throat Spray

I’d like to take time to post something my mother and my husband loves.

I bought the liniment as my mother has the worst arthritis. Through all the aches and pains, I figured getting something for it was the least I could do. My mother swears by the liniment and she puts it on her knees every night, wrapping it with some bandage afterwards. I had the chance to try it when my hubby asked to be massaged and it really does get deep into the skin. You wouldn’t feel it at first but the feeling develops after a while. When I ran water over my hands to get rid of smell afterwards, it was icy. Please be warned that it is quite deeply scented with camphor and menthol and will overwhelm any room and the room next to it when applied.

We’ve been quite through a lot with the throat spray. My husband hated it at first because it tasted funky but he gets mouth sores a lot. It works so well for them. Just a spray and the sores heal amazingly fast right after. His schedule shifts a lot and most of his workmates get the cold and he says he’s not afraid to catch any because of the throat spray. It’s also good for mouth odours. We love it so much we’ve stocked up. We love it so much I’m not sure our stock is going to last. Thank goodness Ilog Maria is easy to order from.

 Pictures from the product website.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Share: Failed outfit shot black and white

I wanted to share my outfit but I failed because I had a crappy camera phone, shaky hands, and no timer and tripod. Yes, someone else tried to take a picture of the entire outfit but it was an even bigger failure so I didn't post that.

My mother wanted me to wear this necklace but I hate the feeling of necklaces so I just wrapped it around my wrist to compromise. It turned out pretty well.

My Anthology Seouls. I did a review of these a while back. I take it back. I love them lots now. They're 5 inches but I don't feel that at all even after a whole day. I read somewhere that Anthology shoes don't make your feet smell. I can vouch for that. I have feet that sweat a lot but with these babies, they don't smell at all in these. It must be the leather lining. Karotitay is doing an Anthology giveaway of any of the available shoes. I highly recommend trying for one. Actually, I recommend buying one from their site. They deliver for free anywhere in the Philippines.

Isn't this pattern cute? I've had this dress since college. It's doesn't have a brand but I'm guessing Chinese. There's this darling black ribbon detail. Really, the shot is such a failure. Too bad, really. It would have been great. I need a camera.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Craves: Butterfly Twists Chelsea Boots

My heartbeat went just a little faster in excitement when I saw these boots. I love boots. Lots. But I don't like packing them. I tend to travel some in a year and end up wearing one pair of shoes and slippers. These foldable boots are going to change my life. I want the burgundy!!!

 Pictures from the Butterfly Twists website.

Looked Up: Chicify Sale

I mentioned in an earlier post that Chicify is on sale, There are loads of stuff I'd like to buy because the pickings are good. What can I say, I like a good bargain.  I'm hoping a certain someone close reads this post and buy me a certain present he has yet to give me
Cuddlefish Bouyancy Suit, P1,750
Technically, this isn't for me. This is for my cute little angel who looks really good in blue.

Cole Vintage Alessia, P1,039.20
I'm always into something I can easily nurse in and this looks like it fits that. This totally would go with a post-pregnancy figure like mine.
Details A Line Cardigan, P690
I like cardigans a whole lot these days because blazers are just way too hot to wear and I like wearing shirts and cardigans make shirts more formal than they actually are without being too stuffy.
Hebe Manila Ibiza Pumps, P999
I just love how nude shoes feel right on any outfit I wear. They're also good for making me feel clean and light.

Love Handles Forest Trees Clutch, P232
I need a new wallet. Mine just gave up. That's that.
French Pochette Momme Planner, P799
It's not so much that I'm a planner person but I am a person who likes to write a lot. I know, it's already February but it's not like half the year has already passed by. Also, it's adorable and has space for cards and money. No need for a wallet, really.
Subculture Cut-Out Shorts with Belt, P696
I'm thinking of stocking up on shorts. I only have one pair to go out with and that's embarrassing. The flower details on these are darling and the color is poppy without being too flashy. My type of pair.

Subculture Pleated Shorts with Belt, P792
Yes, stocking up. The pleats would go well with both casual and semi.

Pictures from the Chicify website.

Review: Butterfly Twists Leather

Chicify is currently on sale and I got myself a pair of flats. They're a pair of twisty flats in black from Butterfly Twists. They're available in small, medium and large sizes, hovering between two shoe sizes per option. I got them for P649.50 plus delivery costs.

They initially had a very bad first impression for me and I was wondering what the heck I was doing buying a pair online just because they were 50% off. The fit was too tight for me and there was a little bunching by my toes. Based on experience, bunchings like that would feel like a nail was drilling on them by the end of a long day.

Reading up the bill and finding that I can't return or exchange on sale items made me reconsider them. Yes, I am that kind of person. I checked the bunching and found that I could actually adjust them. The first time I saw the pair, they were this twisted unruly things. You actually have to adjust them a little inside so that they would align before you wear them the first time.

Going out for a spin on these for 2 hours, I've made peace with the pair. They're not super comfortable but they're not bad either. It's a so-so kind of thing for me.

First off, the back of my heel hurt a little because of the elastic. I tend to have that problem with a lot of shoes. Other than the back of the heel, the fit is tight, but not so much that you feel like you put your foot in a sardine can. It's a hug kind of tight which I like and I love the fact that they make my feet look so small.

The soles are silicon and provides great traction. They're thin but I walked the whole 2 hours and the soles absorbed the shocks so the pads of my feet don't feel like I walked in them that long. I even skipped a few times.

For the twist part, they're easy to fold and come with a bag to store them in. The bag is a little big and the ribbon was a little hard to pull at first but I got the ribbon to pull eventually and the bag is easily folded up into something smaller.

All in all, I like them. Not love but like is good. I like them so much I'm wondering if it's excessive to buy another one. I'm loving the gold but the silver and the white seems like they'd work for me too. And the satin ones look really darling too.

Pictures from the Chicify website.
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