Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ready to get back up!

In case you guys didn't know I had a challenging (I won't say bad) last quarter of 2013 - refer to this post here. Despite the set backs I've regained my footing and am now ready to get back up. 

In case you didn't notice I haven't been blogging or posting stuff online as much as I used to. Well this is mostly due to my unexpected change in plans. But that doesn't mean that I haven't been writing - I actually have been writing old school style in a worn out steno notebook, making sure I don't forget my thoughts and reflections; just waiting for the time when I would be ready to sit in front of my good-old laptop and start typing in a frenzied state and I guess that time is now. 

Even before I started blogging I've always had the 'itch' of wanting to write and wanting to get my thoughts across. I guess that's the frustrated writer in me wanting to break free from its prison. I'm just lucky that I got to hone my writing skills when I was in College by being part of the school newspaper. So even if I lack the formal training one requires to call themselves a professional writer I still get by as a blogger and freelance writer. 

So now I'm finally adjusted and I'm finally ready to regain my place in this obscure realm known as cyberspace. Because even if I lost myself, stumbled and fell I was still able to get right back up. 

It doesn't matter that it took time or that I still feel the pain at times; what matters is that I got right back up and I'm ready to be me again.          

What 2013 Taught Me

Thorns in the wind. Photo by Paul Cheng. 

Do you know how people say- this wasn't their year? Well 2013 didn't really end well for me - for two months (September - October) I've been feeling down and all this started one fateful September night when the world as I knew it turned upside down. 

I was wrongly accused and 'punished' for something I didn't do. Although I won't be going into the details since this blog post isn't about what happened to me but how I was able to pick myself up and move on. I mean when I was ten years old I woke up to find out my father had passed away so I'm pretty much used to the universe throwing shit in my way. 

Needless to say I did go through a period of depression but through the grace of God and the love and support of my family and friends I was able to dig myself out of the hole I put myself in. 

Before I got officially over the depression though, it got worse when December came around but now that I'm okay I can feel and enjoy the cool December breeze. (it's colder up in Antipolo) and I was also able to admire the Christmas lights. Even Paul who doesn't really get excited about Christmas started the practice of opening the Christmas lights on the tree. 

Our tiny but mighty Christmas tree and the presents for family underneath, which Paul would light up in the evenings. Photo taken two days before Christmas.

For the first time in a long time I finally feel happy and content and I am ever grateful to God for allowing me to be healed from my wounds. It's not like he waved a magic wand and made all the pain go away; there will definitely be some scars and I might be tempted to pick at the scabs from time to time. 

Shit does happen, some shittier than others but what matters is that you clean yourself up and carry on. 

Whether we like it or not there will always be bumps on the road, it can never really be just smooth sailing along the way. No matter how much lying in bed, crying your eyes out while eating ice cream and watching cheesy shows sounds appealing when you are down and sad, you will really have to pick yourself up sooner or later. Sometimes you might force yourself to get better because of responsibilities and because your family depends on you (like in my case) but you should never forget that the person that you should be the utmost reason of getting yourself out of a rut is no other than yourself. 

Warm sunlight through the trees. Photo by Paul Cheng.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Product Review: Etude House: Wonder Pore Freshner Toner

It's been some time since I've done a product review and while I really want to be that blogger who goes on product hauls every week, visiting stores to buy make up and other beauty products - I'm not but that does not mean that I won't make the most out of the beauty products that I do get to buy. 

So with my renewed fervor in blogging I will start my product review blogging (spree) hopefully with this Etude House: Wonder Pore Freshner Toner

Lately I've noticed that I am becoming more dependent with toners partly because I have been putting make up more often now and upon arriving home after a long day would need an effective toner to get the make up and dirt off my face. 

So after finishing my usual Ponds toner in a short amount of time I decided to buy a toner that would last longer. Hence my trip to Etude House looking for an ideal toner for someone like me who has oily skin and large pores! Remember it's important to know what kind of skin type you have so that you can buy beauty products that are ideal for you.  

Lo and behold their best selling Wonder Pore - Freshner! Which is a 7 on 1 total pore solution. 

  1. Maintains a ph 4.5 + 1
  2. Refines skin tones
  3. Keeps the elasticity of pores
  4. Deep cleanses pores 
  5. Minimizes appearances of pores
  6. Controls large amounts of sebum
  7. Moisturizes the inside and outside of your skin. 
I had to edit some of the wording and grammar used from what was on the actual product. 

Honestly when I first saw this product I kept thinking of the Wonder Girls with their ever catchy and popular song 'Nobody but you' but singing girls aside this looked to be a very promising product. I mean anything that focuses on cleaning out the pores is a plus for me! 

I opted to purchase the 500ml bottle even if it cost P 798.00. The 250ml bottle was around P500+ so definitely bigger savings with the bigger bottle :) 


When purchasing the 500ml Wonder Pore it comes in an aqua plastic packaging that matches the color pattern of the bottle itself. The packaging is littered with cute illustrations and unfortunately more Korean than English words.

Here are some of the English text written on the bottle: 

The product is (a) total solution for pore care, preventing enlarged pores, less firmer skin (?) and skin troubles by eliminating what hurts skin health(y) from within. 

(Directions) Soak the make up cotton with the Freshner and wipe your face from the center to your face to the outside. With gentle patting, let the skin absorb the leftover Freshner. You can carry the Freshner in a mist type container and apply on your skin when there is too much sebum or (if) you have itchy feeling. 

(Caution) For external use only. Avoid contact with the eyes. Keep out of reach of children. Discontinue use if signs of irritation and/or rash appear. 

Pardon the editing within the parenthesis the inner grammar police in me couldn't help it.     

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Movie Review

If you follow me on Twitter you would have probably seen me literally 'begging' for invites and passes for the premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug well it's actually because of a number of reasons- first since Paul and I are big Tolkien fans. When we were boyfriend and girlfriend we spent so many hours watching the Lord of the Rings on DVD (the extended version, with commentary and of course the special features and all the behind the scenes that come with the DVD). We also have (of course) The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey on DVD :) 

The Second reason is that December 10, 2013 is actually our second wedding anniversary and I really, really wanted to celebrate by watching the premiere. Unfortunately it didn't push through so I just had to take matters in my own hands. (I actually got an invite bit it was only for one- sooo....)  

So yeah -Paul and I really are a match made in geek heaven - wanting to celebrate our wedding anniversary with Bilbo, Gandalf, a band of dwarves and a grumpy dragon. Even if that didn't really happen we went out to watch the movie with Paul's sister, her husband, their son and Paul's Ate who actually owns the DVDs we watch. Yep the geekiness runs in the family!   

Continuing in his tradition of translating Tolkien's work into a great cinematic experience, Peter Jackson once again slips on the one ring to rule them all on and transports you in an epic adventure - even if it means changing a thing or two in the story.     

First of all Legolas (Orlando Bloom) is not in the original "There and back again" story but is included in the movie most probably for the legions of fan girls. You can only have so much bearded dwarves, a clean shaven elf is nice to see on the screen for a change but Paul is not a fan girl and is not such a big fan of Legolas either. He keeps on shaking his head on the 'too much hero shots' for Legolas and I must agree that he has a lot of in the movie to the point of overkill maybe? 

A difference from the first Hobbit movie though is the increase in stunts in the second film, complete with walking on walls ala Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Orc decapitations too. I guess working with Dwarves would definitely limit those kinds of stunts but that definitely did not stop the crew from going all out in the barrel and river barrel ride scene. Anyone who gets out of that situation definitely deserves the title of barrel rider! 

The Wildest River ride ever- in barrels! 
Another elf who was also not in the original story is the female elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and in keeping with Peter Jackson's practice of letting female characters kick butt on the screen, Tauriel kicks a lot of Orc butts indeed. In case you didn't know, in the books Tolkien gave more traditional roles for his female characters who often sat back and looked pretty while the men did all the sword swaying and the arrow loosing action. So big thanks to Peter Jackson for putting a little girl power in his adaptations. 

Aside from giving female characters some orc heads to cut off, Peter Jackson also likes to add a little hint of romance and love in the air and in the absence of Aragorn and Arwen that 'honor' fell on the hands of Kili (Aidan Turner) and Taruriel- wait what? Yes you got that right there was also some weird, nay awkward Elf-Dwarf flirting going on. Oh and can I say it was also a bizarre love triangle between Kili- Tauriel and Legolas. Let's see how this inter-racial romance plays off in the next movie.    

Legolas and Tauriel: Absent in the books but kicking ass in the movie. 
A new character who was in the books was also introduced in the second movie and this is Bard the Bowman played by Luke Evans and Paul and I both agreed that he looks a lot like Will Turner from Pirates of the Carribean, even Paul's 11 year old nephew thought so! Its rather amusing to note that Bard looks like Will since Orlando Bloom is also in The Hobbit (as Legolas- but you already knew that). Maybe the character design or make up department could have given him a different look. Nevertheless Bard is a really interesting character given that he represents the human race in the movie. 

Kalook-a-like ? : Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) from Pirates of the Carribean and Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rurouni Kenshin character stills spread online!

Updated! Last December 12, 2013 a photo of actress Tao Tsuchiya as fan favorite and head strong Misao Makamichi went online. I think she's really pretty - look at that face! I just wish she would wear more blue just to complete the association with the character :) Looking forward to her acting chops and stunt skills since Misao's character will be doing a lot of both in the movies! 

Fans should stay tuned since more character posters are scheduled to be unveiled on the official website on December 29! I really hope we start seeing some bad guys in the movie ;)  

Kamiki Ryunosuke as Soujiro Seta

As if the summer of 2014 could not come any closer - new Rurouni Kenshin character stills featuring new characters in the upcoming Kyoto Arc movies have been making its way in cyberspace and across social networking sites for the past days. 

Some fans may say 'Yay!' while others may say 'Nay!' but I definitely give a pat on the back to the costume and design team of the movies for maintaining the same consistency in bringing beloved characters from the series to their flesh and blood counterparts on the big screen. 

Channeling Soujiro Seta's boyish charms actor Kamiki Ryunosuke eminates the same charisma as Shishio Makoto's right hand. Now can we see his famous 'poker face' smile?! 

Yusuke Iseya as Aoshi Shinamori
I'm still trying to figure out if I'm loving or hating the hair which actor Yusuke Iseya is wearing as Aoshi Shinamori, I guess it would take more than a photo to determine that, seeing how the hair movies in fighting and action sequences would probably be the deciding factor. But aside from the hair, we simply cannot deny Aoshi's signature swagger emanating from that photo. Cue in the ladies' swoons.

Please raise your hand if you're exited to see Aoshi's Kaiten Kenbu or Spiral Sword Dance because I know I am :)   

Min Tanaka as Nenji Kashiwazaki (Okina) 

And can we just get an overwhelming warm and fuzzy 'awwwwww' for actor Min Tanaka's photo as Nenji Kashiwazaki or better known as his old spy name: Okina. I just love his character still and plus points to the super kawaii neko (super cute cat) on his lap! Here's to hoping that the movie will also feature him kicking butt with his steel tonfas. 

These character stills are just getting everyone fired up for the two movies: 
"Rurouni Kenshin: The Great Kyoto Fire" and "Rurouni Kenshin: The End of a Legend" which is scheduled to hit theaters in the summer of 2014 in Japan. 

Speaking of fired up fans are already clamoring for photos or teasers of the ultimate bad guy - Shishio Makato! 

This photo of Takeru Sato as Kenshin Himura on the set of the movie shooting some final scenes has also surfaced. The cast and crew are hard at work at shooting this 'important scene' where we see Kenshin covered in wounds. I can pretty much guess which scene this is and I'm just as stoked and excited as ever! :)

2014 please come sooner!  

Takeru Sato as Kenshin Himura on the set shooting an 'important scene'