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Personalize Your Scent With Sophia Love!

Friday, June 27, 2014
I am a self-proclaimed scent lover. It's simply because when you love your scent, you feel you are at your best. You feel confident. I buy colognes and perfumes but it's takes really long before I actually get to empty a bottle. My nostrils tend fatigue with the scent at some point only to come back using them again after some time. And so at times, I prefer to buy the handy ones. It helps for me especially during duty days that I try to fit a lot of personal toiletries to work.

I recently got to try the perfumes from Sophia Love Fragrances. Aside from the products she generously sent for my recent blog anniversary giveaway, Ms. Roma Rivera, the shop owner, had sent me a few sample bottles to try. 

Sophia Love is an online perfume shop that offers scents in different bottle sizes depending on your budget. 

She sent me 3 different scents that I personally picked from the 70+ scents listed on her instagram account. I also personally chose the label to be placed and the font to be used in the label. So here were my choices:

1. Bvlgari Petits et Maman for Nathan (font in Emily) 
 "A delicate fragrance for the shared pleasure of mothers and children. With chamomile and talc notes, the sunny fragrance also includes Sicilian bergamot and orange notes."

2. Clinique Happy for Men for Kelmer
 "A refreshing fruity fragrance. A blend of citrussy lemon, mandarin, orange and grapefruit."

3. DKNY Be Delicious for Elaine (font in Emma)
"A fresh and light fragrance for women. Luminous accords of grapefruit are blended with rose and jasmine petals. The ultimate flirty and joyous scent for spring."

What did I like about Sophia Love Fragrances?

1. The perfume bottles are wrapped and shipped with bubble wrap to prevent breakage. It was sealed to also avoid mixing the scents together. As you can see in the photos below, though, the labels smudged when the bottles sort of leaked. When I shared this with Ms. Roma, she promised to upgrade her labels with anti-bleed ink.

2. They are packaged in a frosted bottles.  I kind of prefer perfumes in glass bottles than those in plastic ones because I can keep them really long without having to worry about eroding plastic materials in the liquid. They are even easily refillable.

3.  There are a lot of scents to choose from. Sophia Love offers several scents from the following collection:
  • Designer-inspired perfumes (Homme, Femme, Unisexe, Enfante and Jo Malone
  • Sophia Love signature fragrances
  • Faith, love, hope & serendipity
  • Floral, fruity & yummy
  • Floral collection

Even at the comforts of your home, you can get a hint of the scent you want by visiting their very descriptive instagram account.

4. The scents are really long-lasting. The eau de parfum contains 20% fragrance oil. And I attest that it's oil-based because when my bottle leaked and smudged, it was really oil! Hehe. I don't need to repeatedly spray throughout the day. Even after a rowdy play, I could still the perfume's odor on Nathan's clothes. Likewise, it's a plus for me since my line of work is one that can make you sweat so a perfume that keeps me smelling good throughout my 24-hour of duty is important. But what's even essential for me is that I can wear it on any day and any type of occasion. 

Nathan's first ever designer-inspired eau de parfum
5. It comes in handy. They are available in 5, 10, 15, 30, 60 and 85 ml bottles. You could buy a small traveler's bottle and keep a bigger size at home. If you're a bit doubtful of the scent you choose, you may also have the option of trying out a scent by buying the smaller sizes first before you purchase the bigger ones.
I could just easily fit it inside my chaotic toiletry bag. Haha!

6. They are affordable. There are a lot of refillable perfume stations out there in the market but I don't think you can get as much savings from Sophia Love's online shop. The perfumes are available in sets of 3, 4 and 6 so you can also cut cost on shipping.

7. It's personalized! You can choose any scent you like and customize it with your own label and font size. You can also select the how concentrated the fragrance oils are in your own bottle. You can even put a pop of color on your fragrances. Really cool!

You can choose any scent you like from their list and they will customize the label for you; may it be for personal use, gifts, souvenirs, etc. As for my very own personalized perfume, - See more at: http://beautychapter.net/post/75645688663/my-thoughts-on-sophia-love-fragrances#sthash.k2MFNWvU.dpuf
You can choose any scent you like from their list and they will customize the label for you; may it be for personal use, gifts, souvenirs, etc. As for my very own personalized perfume, - See more at: http://beautychapter.net/post/75645688663/my-thoughts-on-sophia-love-fragrances#sthash.k2MFNWvU.dpuf
Aside from its line of perfumes, Sophia Love also created its own line of bath and body products and home fragrances. Ms. Roma also sends me the shea and cocoa butter beauty bar that I have yet to try and a bottle of Lavender and Vanilla home fragrances, which really smelled good and stayed long in our room.

Also, you may also purchase Sophia Love products as custom-made favors for weddings, birthday and corporate giveaways. I really recommend Sophia Love fragrances especially for those like me who gets fatigue with scents easily. I hope to try perfumes from other collection soon. Many thanks, Sophia Love!

If you are interested with these products, you can visit Sophia Love on Facebook and Instagram.

Disclaimer: All reviews on this blog are the honest opinion of the author. They are not, in any way, affected by sponsor samples.

The Face Shop's Green Tea Oil Free Toner: A Review

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
I've been using the Etude House's Wonder Pore Freshner for 6 months now (sometimes alternately with Celeteque's Acne Solutions Oil Control Toner). I didn't have any regrets using the product-- no massive acne breakouts and less oiliness than when not using any toner. As my previous bottle of toner is about to emptied, I resolved to trying out new brands. 

With Korea being the leading innovator for skin care products and make-ups, I've chosen to have a shot on organic ones. I have tried very few The Face Shop products already but all of them were make-ups. So allow me this time to share with you my short experience with The Face Shop's Green Tea Oil Free Toner. I did a little EBM (evidence-based medicine) here, too. Hihi.

 Photo grabbed from Pomesbeauty.com

Apart from other popular botanical agents such as chamomile, tea tree and licorice, green tea has become a favorite ingredient among organic skin care products. It's a commonly consumed beverage worldwide particularly in Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, China and India. And for tea consumers like me, many of you may have read or heard that it contains polyphenolic compounds, more specifically epicatechins, which are well-studied and known to have not only anti-oxidant but also anti-inflammatory properties. Over the years, it's anti-carcinogenic properties have also been under study. The in vitro and in vivo animal and human studies suggest that green tea polyphenols are photoprotective in nature, and can be used as pharmacological agents for the prevention of solar UVB light-induced skin disorders like photoaging, melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers after more clinical trials in humans, according to a study by Katiyar in 2003. These are the very reasons why many cosmetic companies supplement their skin care products with green tea extract. 

When I was choosing which among the brand's toners to try, my primary goal was to find a product which could help mollify or somehow lessen my face's oiliness, which you may know I blame to my previous tretinoin use. So when I came across the product, I became a little positive that it might help me. The product comes in 150 mL bottle and claims to be useful for all skin types-- more suitable of course for normal to oily, sensitive skin.

The bottle's opening has the right size to get just the right amount you need on your cotton ball or face pad.

Upon pouring an ample amount on my cotton, I realize it's not your usual consistency of a toner. It's a little dense than the previous ones I've used. When I applied it though, it never felt sticky. It rubbed well on my face. 

The green tea scent is what I absolutely like about this product. It gives me a relaxing feeling afterwards, apart from the moisturizing effect it gives on my skin. One thing I noticed, however, is that it doesn't really leave my face feeling tight later. I really don't know with other people but apparently, it doesn't give me that. I'm used to applying toners at least twice a day-- once in the morning before applying make-up and in the evening before going to sleep. I guess using it more frequently wouldn't hurt. I really love the soothing feeling it gives while I apply.

What's in this product? Aside from organically-grown Boseong green tea extract, the toner contains a few interesting ingredients. It's moisture complex is a combination of Xanthan gum, betain and gylcerin which basically is a lubricant and a stabilizer, preventing the product from separating and at the same time, helps keep your skin hydrated. It also contains the 5 free system consisting of artificial coloring, benzophenone, minerals, animal derived materials and alcohol. Benzophenone is an organic compound used in sunscreen.

Now onto the imperative question. Does it keep my face from being oily? Well, I've been using it for almost a week now and so far, there has been no drastic change yet with my skin type. But I guess you also don't expect that from a skin care product, do you? Specially if you have only been using for a few days. A double-blinded study by Chiu, et al., in 2005 suggests that longer supplementation may be required for clinically observable improvements. Also, I would like to try the whole line hoping, of course, that it would improve my regimen.
The line is complete with Oil Free Toner (Php595), Waterfall Serum (Php795), and Waterfull Emulsion (Php595). 

Visit The Face Shop Facebook page for more information on their Baby Leaf Green Tea line.

A Dose of History: Ilocos Travel Diaries (Bangui, Burgos and Batac)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Finally, the last one! 

I've honestly tried to include everything in my last post but they just wouldn't fit in. Too long for a blog post. So this is the last sequel to my Ilocos Travel Diaries. Sharing with you guys our trip to Bangui, Burgos and Batac Ilocos Norte and our trip back to Vigan.

Fifth stop: Bangui Wind Farm

The Bangui wind mills are located along the 9-kilometer long shoreline off the Bangui bay. Just the sight of these equally-spaced 20 Southeast Asia's biggest turbines left me awestruck. Even the ocean was sparkling blue. Presently, the wind farm is under Phase III of construction wherein 6 new wind turbines are planned to be erected.

The place is open freely to the public and is kept neat by the villagers. I would suggest you drop by really early in the morning or late in the afternoon because we went there around lunch time and sun was really scorching hot. And the sand was, too. Make sure to bring a cap or umbrella.
Each wind turbine has the capacity to generate electricity up to a maximum of 1.65 Megawatts for a total of 24.75 Megawatts. - See more at: http://www.philippinetraveldestinations.com/bangui-windmills.html#sthash.88OBQO3F.dpuf
Each wind turbine has the capacity to generate electricity up to a maximum of 1.65 Megawatts for a total of 24.75 Megawatts. - See more at: http://www.philippinetraveldestinations.com/bangui-windmills.html#sthash.88OBQO3F.dpuf
Each wind turbine has the capacity to generate electricity up to a maximum of 1.65 Megawatts for a total of 24.75 Megawatts. - See more at: http://www.philippinetraveldestinations.com/bangui-windmills.html#sthash.88OBQO3F.dpu

The obligatory windmill famfie!
If you are looking for really cute and cheap souvenirs, there's a few stands just a few steps from the shore. We bought their Nat Geo-inspired sandos as pasalubong for my father. The material is nice and comfy. The smallest windmills can be bought at P 20 each.

Sixth stop: Cape Bojeador

Not far away from the town of Bangui is the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos Norte-- so named because it overlooks the Cape Bojeador and the vast West Philippine Sea. In order to reach the lighthouse, you will need to climb several steps. When we reached the top, however, we noticed it was under renovations so that some parts are not accessible to travelers. They say it's still operational, though. So once you're there, never forget the scenery. It will be worth the climb. :)

Seventh stop: Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

The rock formations are located on the rocky coast of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. I didn't exactly see the rock formations myself because it's already siesta time of the day and an approximately 600-meter trek is already tiring for me. Kel and his brother were the only ones who went because their parents already had the chance visiting the site several years back.

Anyway, just see for yourself through these pictures how magnificently created these creamy white, limestone formations are.

Last stop: Ferdinand Marcos Presidential Center

Initially, we planned to visit the Paoay Dunes. Unfortunately, when we went there the 4WDs can only accommodate 5 passengers and we were 7 (of course, with 2 kids). Although we weren't able to see the dunes and try the sand boarding for ourselves (which Kel had been so seriously wanting to try), we didn't really have much time to get upset probably because we're a little tired already for the day. We, then, decided to stop-over Batac and visit the resting place of the late President Marcos' body.

The Presidential Center is the very own ancestral house of the late president's family in Batac. Since the museum is privately owned and has recently been refurbished, entrance is now priced at P50.00. I've never seen the museum before but my mother-in-law would tell how much different it is now from what it was before.

Some of you might also have heard or known that Marcos' remains lie in this mausoleum. It's being kept in a glass-topped coffin inside an air-conditioned room. But I don't really believe. Haha! It's just a wax replica. Some would say that the real remains lie underneath. Still had the goosebumps, anyway!

Tip: Make sure to come before 4 pm if you want to see the wax figure of the late president. There's a viewing time folks for non-relatives and friends. Lol

The plate numbers that the Marcoses used

 Some of Imelda's Filipiniana dresses

Another tip: Try the dragon fruit ice cream in Batac. Gaaah! I forgot the flavor of the green one. Hahaha!

Just before our day ended, we went back to Vigan City. Nathan badly wants this new toy that Kel bought along Calle Crisologo. Luckily, we were able to see one of Vigan's newest attractions-- the dancing fountain show. And I just found out that it's Korean-engineered. Really cute!

Lastly, the Vigan experience wouldn't have been all complete without us trying the authentic Ilocos empanada, freshly eaten along the street of Calle Crisologo!

And that folks was the culmination of my 2014 summer trip! Thank you, Ilocos! Will definitely come back for the sand dunes.

Next stop next year:


Right, Kelmer? Hihi. <3

A Dose of History: Ilocos Travel Diaries (Paoay)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Can you imagine going to 8 or 9 different places all in one day? That's where this tiring yet priceless family adventure brought us. Let me share with you our tour.

The Ilocos experience wouldn't have been complete without us visiting their famous destinations. So after leaving the lovely Balinese-inspired resort in Currimao, we were off to our series of adventures. 

Disclaimer: This is only part 1 of our Day 3 in Ilocos. The post will be too long if I include everything here. :)

First stop: Paoay Church
More popularly known as Paoay Church, the St. Augustine Church is one of the famous Baroque churches in the country. Built in 1694 and completed in 1710, it has been designated as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Twenty four carved buttresses stands as support for the church’s structure withstanding seismic movements that occur hundreds of years ago until present.

I quickly fell in love upon seeing the grandeur of church and the finer details -- a combination of Baroque, Oriental and Gothic architecture, it kept centuries past. The coral stone bell tower stood as a towering guard beside the magnificently built home to Catholics in Paoay. 

One tip for travelers, there are courteous student volunteers that serve as tour guides for free around Paoay which you can go to ask around or even take your pictures. We did! Hehe. P.S. Don't forget to give a tip.

Next stop: Herencia Cafe and Restaurant

It was around lunch time when we left Paoay church and we decided to look for fancy restaurants nearby. The student tourist guides led us to this Ilocano restaurant a short distance from the church. The Herencia Restaurant prides itself as the birthplace of pinakbet pizza (That certainly didn't sound good to me though. Hehe!). 

The restaurant's a little full when we arrived but luckily we were ushered to an available table immediately. Upon getting comfortable on our seats, we immediately asked for the menu and chose from their authentic Ilocano selection. We ordered their classic Pinakbet pizza, the half is Cheese since I don't eat veggies. Also, we tried their other dishes such as Kilawin, Crispy Dinuguan, Poqui-poqui and Beef Steak. For dessert, we ordered Banana ala Mode and Halo-halo. 

Tip: You can also purchase some pasalubongs here. Their banana chips are way cheaper than those you could buy outside.

Third stop: Arte Luna

After leaving and while walking towards where we parked our ride. We saw this small art gallery nearby. Launched December last year, the Arte Luna aims to provide a venue for masterworks of Ilocano local artists. It was organized by the local government of Ilocos Norte and Dr. Joven Cuanang of Pinto Art Museum. It's basically a wide room inside the Rufino's Cafe which showcases paintings and photographs made by local talents. Open for everyone, also for free!

Fourth stop: Malacañang of the North

Malacañang ti Amianan, as the locals call this impressively crafted 2-storey house overlooking Paoay Lake, is located in the coastal part of Paoay. It was said to be a birthday gift of the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos to her then first lady Imelda Marcos. Opened in January 2011 to the public after being sequestered from the Marcoses' properties, it then became a museum under the care of the local government of Ilocos Norte.

The picturesque Paoay Lake
Entrance fee is P20.00 for adults and P10.00 for kids, probably used for the maintenance of the mansion. There are also student tour guides available to assist you and tell stories about the place. 

Marcos' achievements during his term as president
The couple's master's bedroom
I can just imagine how the sisters Aimee and Irene used to play in their big bedroom when they were kids.
The living room inside the 2 daughters' bedroom
One of the two dining areas in the mansion
Feeling senyorita

Those were only the first half of our Day 3 in Ilocos. More of Ilocos Norte and our trip back to Vigan on my next blog post. Happy reading! =)