Independence and a Hedgren Shoulder Bag For My Birthday

I knew this year would be different from all the other years. I am at the precipice of something new and exciting. I am about to get what I have been craving for these years. Independence from corporate life. As I shared in this post, I will be a free woman starting January of next year, and to celebrate the “new me” I decided to give myself a gift. Of course I was turning 36 and birthdays are always a big deal but I wanted a symbol of my joy and happiness and of course independence. I decided I wanted to go shopping for a bag. None of the stuffy, corporate black leather bags for me, nope, I’ve had 15 years of my share of that. I wanted a bag I can wear with my jeans and sandals.           
I looked in several shops including lacoste, esprit and guess but I couldn’t find anything I wanted. I wanted a bag that is both casual and presentable for when I meet with clients. Of course it has to be roomy enough so I can haul my stuff around. I strolled in a Travel Club store, not really expecting anything since they are more known for luggage, but imagine my surprise when I saw colorful shoulder and laptop bags from Hedgren. 

I’ve heard of Hedgren from my brother-in-law years back. He bought a knapsack with the same brand name. So I knew it’s imported. I looked around and found the pink one so adorable. I wanted it immediately. Sadly they didn’t have it in the size that I wanted. The pink one was just too small. It won’t even be able to take in my bulky make up kit. So I opted for a nice medium sized one in mocha (it's actually iron according to their website).  I know, still a safe color, but I had no choice… at least it wasn’t black. 

I got the new Clapham Medium  from the Subway Collection. Here’s a description from their site:

Be wowed by this fresh, casual collection for girls and women who feel young at heart. These lightweight bags are perfect for a fun day out and an evening about town. 

Casual beauty

so roomy! perfect for me!

Maybelline Clear Smooth Shine Free Clear Stick

I admit I have been living under a rock, with only dual face powder and lip gloss with me to keep me primped up. I haven’t been aware of the latest trends in the cosmetics world. Imagine my surprise when I finally realized I needed supplies and saw this on the Maybelline counter: the Maybelline Clear Smooth B.B Stick. I thought, hmmm, a concealer? A lip balm? Apparently it was a BB cream in a stick… but what the heck is a BB cream?? (toldya it was pretty lonely under the rock I was living in)

Wonderful find at only P249

Well fellow makeup innocents, BB stands for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm. Ahhhh… Apparently it has been made popular here in Asia and recently big brands in North America caught on.

I bought one and tried it on. I was an instant convert! What I like about it is its stick form makes it so easy to apply. Just glide it on your face, like applying lipstick. It comes in such a small package so it is easy to carry around in your purse.

Priced at P249, it is pretty affordable. It has mineral clay which lessens the appearance of  pores and skin impurities without actually clogging them. Makes face less greasy too since it absorbs excess sebum or oil. It has SPF 21, so it also protect skin from harmful sun rays. It can be worn alone as light makeup or as a makeup base.

It has eight benefits in one stick. It gives your skin clear healthy flawless bare skin look:

Improved clarity
Lesser visible pores
Lesser greasy shine (perfect for oily skins!)
Long lasting shine control
Reduction in redness
Smoother skin
More even tone
More radiant

I got mine in the 01 Fresh shade. I love it! It gives almost complete coverage without the heavy and clogged feeling, plus my face ends up with a matte and powdery finish. My huge pores disappeared! Literally! I also put some on my pimples and it lessened their appearance giving an illusion of clearer skin. I also love the fact that when I got home, it was easy to remove too.

Late as I was in this BB bandwagon, I love that I finally got introduced to it through the Maybelline BB Stick. It is now part of my kikay kit!

The Body Shop Tea Tree Goodness: Clearing Facial Wash and Blackhead Exfoliating Wash

A few months ago, I started having blemishes on my skin. At 35, you’d think I’m past the whole pimple and blackheads phase. Weeell, apparently not. I’ve always had oily skin so pimples are no stranger to me, but as I advanced in age (grew older… haha) they lessened. Then all of a sudden I started getting a lot of pimples on my jaw line, on my chin and some on my cheeks. I realized it was probably because of depression, unhappiness in my work life. I guess in moments of melancholy, I’d put my head on my hands.  In effect, irritating pimples sprouted all over. Argh!

I have a toner that I have been using for years and years, prescribed by my dermatologist years ago, and that was often enough to stop the pimple’s growth. This case needed drastic actions. I went on over to The Body Shop and looked around. I remember seeing their tea tree products up on display a number of times. I’ve been curious but never had the need for it really, until now.

I learned that Tea Tree is very popular when it comes to skin care because of its many benefits, most important of which is its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It prevents infections and skin ailments from further spreading.  It also has antibiotic effects, which is why it is also used to heal minor skin infections, scrapes and cuts.

I decided to buy The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash for my blemishes and The Body Shop Tea Tree Blackhead Exfoliating Wash.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Blackhead Exfoliating Wash and Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash
The first thing I noticed when I opened the bottles was the smell. I love the distinct green tea smell! It feels so clean and refreshing. I even have the Green Tea perfume from Elizabeth Arden (but that would be another post). I first used the Blackhead Exfoliating Wash since I have been plagued with blackheads since my puberty. It promised to unclog my pores thru crushed apricot stones. My first impression, it was too watery or thin, plus the apricot stones were too few that when I used it on my face, I could only distinctly feel two or three pieces. My face certainly didn’t feel any cleaner or clearer after the wash. It does however smells nice. =)

Then I used The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash, again I smelled the familiar and refreshing scent. I also love the clear emerald green color it came in. It says that the intense cleaning it brings is gentle enough to be used daily. Perfect! When I used it on my face it wasn’t bubbly like soap or other facial washes. It just glided smoothly on my face. Once done, I patted my face dry and I immediately felt the smooth, clean feeling. Oiliness from the day’s make up and commute is gone. I love love love it instantly!

So far, my blemishes haven’t disappeared entirely, they do appear to have lessened though. I blame my work for the stubborn pimples. I guess, in any other circumstance, my face would’ve already cleared.  I will definitely buy the Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash again once my bottle is empty. The refreshing smell on my face alone is worth it!

Young Fashionable Women Featured

Yesterday, during my lunch hour, I decided to take a walk to Paseo Center. I wanted a new pouch for my Blackberry 9800 phone, and I remembered that there was sometimes a mini tiangge there in the middle of the center. An oasis of stores selling blouses, accessories, cosmetics and gadgets. Sadly when I got there, there was no more tiangge-style stores in the middle, instead they had kiosks selling different gadgets (I was too disappointed to even give the kiosk a second glance so I can’t tell you what exactly they sold).

I opted to visit the Office Warehouse instead.  Ever since we opened an office for our growing photography business, browsing through aisles of office supplies is a simple joy for me. Then I passed by the magazine stand… I tried to resist the urge to look through the front pages but they all looked too good and interesting. I was drawn particularly to Preview Magazine’s September issue since it featured the 3 most famous fashion bloggers in the Philippines, Tricia Gosingtian, Camille Co and Laureen Uy. I find them so amazing; so young and so in touch with themselves. They just know their fashion and just how to express themselves through clothes and accessories. This is mind boggling for fashion victim me, so I just had to buy this issue just to take a peek at just how they do it.  

Fashion Bloggers on Preview

I also picked up the August issue of Town and Country featuring Cristalle Belo Henares. Another young lady who seems to have it all figured out. For a 35 year old woman who is about to go through a life makeover, I needed all the inspiration I could get.

Cristalle Belo Henares on Town and Country

The magazines did not disappoint. Preview’s feature about the bloggers was well written. It gave readers a peak at they workflow, at how blogging can be serious business in itself or a wonderful stepping stone towards a career of one’s dreams. It goes on to discuss how blogging is not as simple as logging in, typing stuff and uploading pictures. It takes hours to post a blog, including the research and journaling. It takes much thought and dedication! Snaps for us bloggers, huh?

The magazine also features tons of beautiful clothes and make up that I had to wipe my drool off the pages. Argh! I just opened my copy of Town and Country and though I haven’t read the features yet, I have very happy to note that it has long articles about interesting people, not just pretty pictures. I intend to pore through the pages soon.

Though I am green with envy with these young  ones, I still hold on the belief that it is never too late to pursue one’s dreams. SO I trudge on this scary path of beauty and fashion and see where it leads me. In the meantime, I have linked the fashionable threesome’s blogs to mine so I can be kept up to date with their latest fashion finds and be inspired… maybe a fashion post soon? Aja!

Someone's Got A New Bag

Although I love Berto to bits, I have to admit he’s a not a guy who often gives gifts. So I was quite surprised when I he offered to buy me one.

When I was younger, I went through the typical girly phase of wanting to have lots of bags and wallets. I was never into clothes but bags and wallets were another matter. As I matured, these are some of the things I disciplined myself into giving up. I kept a few essential pieces then I disposed of the rest. I bought only when I really need to like when the old one is already broken. Lately, I have been wanting to get a new bag. I have my trusty office bag that’s large enough to keep all my stuff; my  camera bag which I use on photography gigs; my red Lacoste bag, a valentine’s gift from Berto. This is the bag I use on weekends, when I get together with my friends or when I’m out malling with Berto and Bea. I just got tired of lugging around a red bag all the time. It just begs for attention! Haha. So I decided I needed a quiet (boring) bag. An ordinary black one, one that I can carry around without hogging all the attention.  I simply mentioned it in passing to Berto as we passed by a store display of black bags. Imagine my surprise when he offered to buy one for me! Who was I to resist? That’s right, Kwala’s got a new black bag. (shown here with my latest read, Jessica Zafra’s Twisted Travels.)

Retail Therapy

You wake up one day and you feel something is not right. You prepare breakfast but the toaster doesn’t work. You take the kids to school and on the way there you get a flat tire. Of course you arrive late for work only to see an empty office since there was a meeting called at the conference room. It was for the announcement of your rival’s promotion. A promotion you’ve been hoping to get. Yes, indeed it is a bad day.

So what do you do when you need a little pick me up? Some reach for sweets, some go for some pampering at the spa, while others hop on over to the nearest mall to seek some retail therapy.

Retail therapy is simply shopping to feel better when you are feeling down. There is a code we women stick to, there is no problem that a new shade of lipstick can’t resolve… or in my case, a new book or magazine! Here are some retail therapy tips to make this experience for enjoyable.

• Don’t overshop. Retail therapy is more effective in lifting you up when you purchase for several inexpensive items rather than just one pricey one. The act of choosing and purchasing relaxes us and make us happy. Let’s admit it, we don’t actually need the items we buy; we just buy them to make us feel better. When you purchase overpriced, branded goodies, the bills can eventually cause more problems than solutions. Buyer’s remorse will cause stress and anxiety and that defeats the purpose of the therapy.

• Keep in touch with your feelings. Are you shopping to feel good about yourself or are you trying to escape the bad things in your life? Be careful. Masking and numbing your feeling with shopping can lead to addiction. Think drug addicts and compulsive gamblers. None of them started knowing they will end up addicted to their habit; they thought they’re only trying something for fun, until the habit got the better of them. Make sure you can still control your shopping. Can you still resist the siren calls of shops of sale? This is always a good sign.

• As much as possible, shop in cash only. Don’t use a credit card. If you can’t afford it, don’t shop. It’s that simple. Shopping is not the only thing that can make us feel better. There are other ways to feel good without breaking your bank. Talk to a friend, go for a swim, visit the local gym… it’s just a matter of finding out what suits you and your lifestyle.

Every so often, I also indulge in some retail therapy. Nothing beats the feeling of going through rows and rows of books… excitedly leafing through them, skimming through the contents to find something that piques my curiosity, until I find one that really interests me, slowly turning it over to look at the price tag and hoping it is something that will fit my budget. Once I’ve found what I want, I skip on over to the cashier. I pay for my purchases and the cashier places my babies in a paper bag…. Ahhh…I feel the stress drain from my body. I love it! This process makes me oh so happy, that is until I get home and I place my new books with my other unread books. Argh! I still have so many books to read! When will I ever find time to read them? When will I ever find time for myself?! Yes… by then I’ll be stressed again…and looking forward to that next trip to the bookstore. Hahaha!

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