Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Azta Urban Salon at Eastwood City

A little more than a couple of weeks ago, I looked in the mirror and decided to get a haircut. Almost one year has passed since I got my hair magnetically straightened at Shuji Kida Salon and it was getting to be a pain to dry since it's not only long but thick.

Animetric's pre-haircut lookLuckily, I won in Eastwood City's contest and part of the prize was a free haircut and hot oil treatment at Azta Urban Salon.

Azta Urban Salon GCsAzta Urban Salon GCs work a bit differently. You will have to text Meg at the number indicated on the card in order to set an appointment for the service you'll be availing of. I texted her that I wanted to avail of a haircut and hot oil treatment at the Eastwood branch. I also indicated my preferred time. She replied less than 5 minutes later that she would set it up with the branch and then text me when my appointment is confirmed. You can only use GCs from Monday to Thursday of any week so I went on a weekday.

Azta Urban Salon interiorsMy appointment was confirmed and I went straight to Azta Urban Salon's branch at the Eastwood Citywalk. I liked the interiors, it was uncluttered, clean, and spacious. The air-conditioning is great -- it was very hot outside but it was comfortably cold inside the salon.

Hot oil treatment at Azta Urban SalonSurprisingly, they told me to get the hot oil treatment done first. You'd think they'd want to cut my hair first so that they'd end up using less treatment solution, but no they said the hot oil treatment comes first. They massaged the hot oil treatment onto my hair and scalp then wrapped it in clear cellophane. After some period of time, my hair was rinsed and then cut. I told the stylist I just wanted a straight and even cut since I was planning to undergo Japanese straightening again in the coming days.

Azta Urban Salon haircut...and this is the result of my simple, plain, and even cut plus blowdry from Azta Urban Salon. The softening and shine-inducing effect of their hot oil treatment actually lasts for several days, our office staff were actually complimenting me some 2-3 days after.

A haircut at Azta Urban Salon costs P250, while a hot oil treatment's price would depend on how long and thick your hair is. I was quoted P600 for my original hair length at the topmost photo of this blog entry.

Azta Urban Salon
2/F Eastwood Citywalk 2
Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City
687-6527

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Going Vietnamese at the Spiral, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel

I was invited to the Vietnamese Food Festival at Spiral, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel's famous buffet. A whole section would be devoted to authentic Vietnamese dishes from August 25 to September 5, 2010 in celebration of Vietnam's National Day on September 2. Master chefs Somnuck Attawon (Executive Chef of Cham Cham Restaurant in Vietnam) and Le Quang Danh (Executive Chef of Nam Phan Restaurant in Vietnam) take the helm for this special spread. This would be an addition to Spiral's usual 350-dish smorgasbord.

Cuon Nhiep at Spiral buffet, SofitelI tried the Cuon Nhiep (Sweet Mustard Leave Wrap). It tasted like a leafy salad without the dressing, so you can pretty much imagine what it was like. I suggest getting lots of sauces for dipping.

Banh Beo at Spiral buffet, SofitelThis is Banh Beo (Steam Rice Cake). It tastes just like the name implies, like steamed white rice without anything on it. It's glutinous though so there's a chewy sticky kakanin-like quality about it. I kind of liked its clean and pure taste. Can't say the same for my tablemates though. :p

Spring Rolls at Spiral buffet, SofitelOf course, what's a Vietnamese feast without their trademark Spring Rolls? Crunchy and fried just right, they go very well with a combination of peanut sauce and fish sauce found beside them.

Banh Xeo at Spiral buffet, SofitelNext dish I tried was the Banh Xeo (Fried Pancake with Pork and Shrimp). I'd describe it as a crepe-like creation with lots of beansprouts inside. Again, don't forget to get dipping sauce.

Foie Gras Station at Spiral buffet, SofitelBy this time I was already hankering for something more savory and flavorful. I ventured out of our corner near the Vietnamese section and proceeded straight to the foie gras station. Yes folks, Spiral is the ONLY buffet which offers ALL the foie gras you can eat. You tell the chef how many pieces you want and he'll pan fry them in front of you. Then you choose from a selection of garnishings. I think this makes the buffet fee worth every cent since foie gras usually costs a fortune when ordered ala carte. :D

Foie Gras at Spiral buffet, SofitelI opted to top my foie gras with balsamic syrup and caramelized onions. The foie gras is sooo rich, buttery, creamy, and sinful. I really wanted to have more but I was too scared of the cholesterol content, hehe.

Che Khoai Mon at Spiral buffet, SofitelFor dessert, I went back to the Vietnamese section and tried the Che Khoai Mon (Taro Sweet Soup). You're supposed to get a scoop or two of this and then top it with crushed ice and creamy coconut milk. It's kind of like cold ginataan except that this one contains rice grains and taro cubes only. It wasn't sweet. In fact, like the rest of the Vietnamese dishes there, it was on the bland side. It's nothing like what Pho Hoa Vietnamese Noodle House serves, since their dishes are all very tasty. But this is the real deal as prepared by Vietnamese chefs so I guess it's the way it really is in Vietnam. :)

The Vietnamese Food Festival will run until Sept. 5, 2010.

Spiral buffet rates are as follows:
Monday to Saturday Lunch - P2,073.29
Sunday to Thursday Dinner - P2,318.94
Friday to Saturday Dinner - P2,564.59
Sunday Brunch - P2,687.41

For reservations and inquiries please contact:

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
551-5555

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yogurt Nation at Fort Bonifacio Global City

I'm not really an ice cream person. I find ice cream overly sweet and sore-throat inducing. I do however, love the tart goodness of yogurt. Thus when I got wind of a blogger get-together at Yogurt Nation last August 20, I was game!

Nachos with Chili Meat and Salsa at Yogurt NationOne of the things that set Yogurt Nation apart from other froyo places is the fact that it also serves food. We had Nachos with Chili Meat and Salsa (P225, pictured above) to start us off.

Dynamite Sticks at Yogurt NationThen we had Dynamite Sticks (P130, pictured above), Yogurt Nation's version of cheese sticks which are filled with a mix of different cheeses including cream cheese. Yummy! They went so well with the tartar sauce (if that was what it was).

Scuderia Pasta at Yogurt NationOf all the pasta dishes served that night, I liked Scuderia Pasta (P165, pictured above) best. The sauce was made of real tomatoes. Really tasty meatballs and lots of parmesan cheese topped it too.

Basil Pesto with Kesong Puti at Yogurt NationBasil Pesto with Kesong Puti (P190, pictured above) is one of Yogurt Nation's most expensive pasta dishes and is marked as a specialty. It was just okay though. Kind of bland and oily, I only liked munching on the kesong puti (white cheese) blocks.

Tasting cup for the yogurt at Yogurt NationAfter the meal, we went to the yogurt machines with little tasting cups so we could decide which flavors to order. There are six flavors to choose from -- original, cranberry, melon, ube, strawberry, and mango. I liked original and cranberry best, albeit melon was a surprise flavor sensation. Ube tasted too much like ice cream so I didn't like it and strawberry was too sweet. Mango was kind of bland.

Toppings at Yogurt NationAfter choosing your yogurt flavors, you get to pick out toppings. I spied on these unique passion fruit popping bobas.

Froyo at Yogurt NationI settled for original yogurt topped with passion fruit popping boba, mini-mallows, and graham powder. The finished order is then weighed on a digital scale and you are charged P23 per ounce.

Animetric at Yogurt NationThe popping bobas actually burst and release passion fruit juice when you chew on them. Mmmmm! :D

Yogurt Nation
1D and 2D Sapphire Residences,
31st St. cor. 2nd Ave., Crescent Park West,
Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

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The Body Shop's Stop Sex Trafficking Advocacy

Did you know that the Philippines currently ranks 4th in the world in terms of countries having the highest numbers of prostituted children? There are 60,000 to 100,000 Filipino children trafficked annually, and most of these are girls to be sexually exploited. Don't you think it's time to make a stand?

Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young PeopleThe Body Shop, in cooperation with ECPAT (End Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) International, have launched a worldwide campaign to help stop sex trafficking of children and young people. You can help simply by signing the petition. Forms are available at ALL The Body Shop outlets, no purchase necessary.

I said NO to sex trafficking of children and yong people
I signed the petition last August 20, 2010. The Body Shop needs as many signatures as possible so as to urge lawmakers to take a more active stance with regards to putting a stop to sex trafficking of children and young people.

Soft Hands Kind Heart Hand Cream by The Body Shop
Purchasing The Body Shop's Soft Hands Kind Hearts Hand Cream (P195, pictured above) also helps the cause, as 100% of the profits for this product are donated to ECPAT Philippines. ECPAT helps provide educational assistance, medical / psychological analysis and treatment, food and shelter, and legal / paralegal support to seek justice for exploitation.

Soft Hands Kind Heart Hand Cream by The Body ShopThe cream is infused with angelica extract and Community Trade olive oil. It goes on thick and creamy but absorbs quickly when you massage it into your skin. It leaves you with very smooth hands that sport a silky sheen. It also has a rather pronounced herbal scent which reminds me of Chinese remedies.

Help stop sex trafficking by purchasing these productsAlternatively, you could purchase the Stop Sex Trafficking Bag for Life (P295, pictured above). Like the Soft Hands Kind Hearts Hand Cream, 100% of the profits from the sale of this bag goes to Ecpat Philippines. It's a reusable bag that's made of organically grown cotton and produced using water-soluble dyes.

Visit The Body Shop today and help stop sex trafficking of children and young people! For more information, log on to http://www.thebodyshop.com.ph


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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Downy Passion Challenge

I came home to this gift basket from Downy some days ago. It contained three scented candles, two towels, and an invitation to the upcoming product launch.

Downy Passion gift basketI'm supposed to use these towels for the Downy Passion Challenge that has been extended to a number of bloggers like myself. There are two challenges to complete. If I am successful at both, I will win one year's supply of Downy Passion anad Attraction. That was enough to get me going, since we presently use Downy Antibac for laundry.

Towel 1 and Towel 2 of the Downy Passion Challenge
Towel 1 and Towel 2 unwrappedChallenge 1: Perfume or Fabcon Challenge

One of these towels has been sprinkled with perfume while the other has been washed with new Passion by Downy. Which is which?

Animetric's answer: Towel #1 (on the left) was definitely washed with Downy Passion. Not only did it smell fresh and clean, it was a lot softer and fluffier (see above photo) compared to Towel #2 (on the right). I actually wanted to just keep on smelling it haha. I could NOT STAND smelling Towel #2. I'm not a fan of perfume and Towel #2 just reeked of perfume.

Lavender harvest
Image borrowed from http://www.bumblebeeblog.com

Challenge 2: Guess the Perfume Oils Challenge

Aside from Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, and soft musk, Passion by Downy also contains...

a. Cinnamon
b. Rose
c. Lavender

Animetric's Answer: c. Lavender

Being a person who can't stand most perfumes has its merits. While I pretty much feel like coughing at a whiff of most perfume blends, there are three scents that I can revel in and still have a pleasant time. Those three scents are Lavender, Tea (green tea, white tea... it doesn't matter -- my nose likes tea notes), and citrus notes (lemon, orange, etc.). Since tea and citrus notes aren't really included in the choices, I therefore conclude Lavender!

I DESPISE the scent of roses so it's next to impossible for Downy Passion to have it since I love its scent. I also went to the supermarket yesterday and grabbed a bottle of Downy Passion. I opened it and sniffed. No cinnamon notes as well, I think my vast experience with food helped me out with that conclusion.

I hope I got the two challenges right! I could sure use one year's supply of Downy since it's what I really use at home. :D

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Convergys online job fair from Aug. 13 to Sept. 11, 2010!

Times are tough. Being income-less is no longer an option for most people, especially for a parent like me. The cost of living keeps on going up. Just a few months ago our Meralco bill doubled. I remember the time when my kids were still on formulas and disposable diapers. The prices would increase every few months. It’s ridiculous. I can't even begin to imagine the plight of those who earn minimum wages, more so of those who are totally unemployed. You just can't afford to be idle these days.

Convergys Philippines
With this in mind, I'd like to tell everyone about the Convergys Online Job Fair that's ongoing from August 13 to September 11, 2010. Convergys is currently hiring for candidates for a leading worldwide communications provider in the US. These customer service experts will be based in Glorietta 5, the lifestyle & fashion center of Makati City. It’s quite convenient since it’s walking distance from the Ayala MRT Station.

Convergys Philippines employee benefits include:
  • Basic life insurance and basic accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance at no cost
  • Tuition Reimbursement Plan
  • Retirement Savings Plan
  • Employee Stock Purchase Plan
Convergys is also giving away Apple iPads to selected candidates who apply via the Convergys Online Job Fair. All you have to do is fill out the form below:

REFERRED BY:(Paste the URL/Blogsite where you have seen the ad)


YOUR FULL NAME:



MOBILE NUMBER / LANDLINE:



EMAIL ADDRESS:






Another advantage of registering via the internet is the prioritization. Candidates who are scheduled for interviews will be accommodated via a Privelege Lane in Convergys Recruitment Hubs, cutting down the waiting and processing time.

Having a stable, good-paying job is a must for parents like me. If you can get it in your own backyard, you don't need to cross a thousand miles to find it. As for me I can't imagine leaving my children to go work abroad even if it's for a large sum of money. If you're considering switching careers or simply need a better job to support your family, why not give Convergys a shot?

Are you a blogger? Simply post about the Convergys Online Job Fair and earn P2,000 with every successful referral! You can check out the referral form HERE.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dimsum Plus at Shang Palace, Makati Shangri-la Hotel

Hubby and I had lunch with friends about a week or so ago at the Chinese restaurant Shang Palace in Makati Shangri-la Hotel.

We availed of their Dimsum Plus promo. For a net price of P999 per person, you can eat all the dimsum you want from 11:30am to 2:30pm, Monday to Saturday. You also get one free main course plus an endless supply of appetizers, soup, rice, vegetarian dishes, and dessert. They will give you a menu where you can order what you want so everything is freshly cooked.

Dimsum Plus Shang Palace Makati Shangrila HotelI had Deep fried ham shui kok with minced pork and chicken first. I loved the combination of chewy, glutinous, and slightly sweet outer covering with the savory fillings.

Dimsum Plus Shang Palace Makati Shangrila HotelI couldn't resist trying their Deep fried taro puff with dried scallop. It had a very light and flaky crust filled with a dollop of soft and tasty mashed taro inside plus a scallop. Yum!

Dimsum Plus Shang Palace Makati Shangrila Hotel

Steamed barbecue minced pork buns, or better known as asado siopao, were up next.

Dimsum Plus Shang Palace Makati Shangrila HotelFor my soup, I picked Sichuan style hot and sour soup. I've always loved hot and sour soup and this one was no exception.

Dimsum Plus Shang Palace Makati Shangrila HotelSteamed Lapu Lapu fillet with garlic sauce was my main course. The fish was tender and I liked the light soy and garlic based sauce. With the size of the main course, I'd say two people could share it, which is good so that you and your dining companion can have a total of two main courses.

Dimsum Plus Shang Palace Makati Shangrila Hotel For dessert I tried the Sweetened almond cream with glutinous dumpling. It was served hot. The thick and soup-like almond cream was very comforting to sip after such a hearty meal, and the single dumpling in the middle reminded me of galapong (balls of sticky rice flour) in ginataan except that it was filled with sweet peanut paste.

Dimsum Plus Shang Palace Makati Shangrila HotelWe also tried the Chilled sweetened fruit pudding with syrup. The yellow one is good, as it tastes like creamy ripe mangoes. The pink and green ones were just weird. It did not come in syrup as described, but a pool of light evaporated milk.

With about 20 types of dimsum and an excellent selection of appetizers, soups, main courses, and desserts, the P999 you'll be shelling out is worth every cent. They have a no leftovers policy wherein you'll be charged regular prices for uneaten portions so make sure you order only what you can finish. The servers will always ask you how many pieces of dimsum you want per order.


Shang Palace
2/F Makati Shangri-la Hotel
Ayala Ave. for Makati Ave., Makati City
840-0884


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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blinc Mascara from Beauty & Minerals

I was fretting about my misplaced Shu Uemura Precise Volume Mascara when I received a Blinc Mascara sampler in Black some weeks ago.

Blinc Mascara sampler
My beauty blogger friends swear by its staying power. They also told me that I would not even need any make-up remover as it would come off with just water.

Blinc Mascara in Black
It sure looked like regular mascara.

Putting on Blinc MascaraI swiped it on my lashes without using an eyelash curler. The first time I used it I didn't know I had to keep my eyes steady for a full 60 seconds so that it would dry properly. I blinked and smudged it all over my lids and undereye area.

Eyelashes with Blinc MascaraWow, that's length! I'm scared of eyelash extensions so I'll stick to mascara when I need to define my lashes, thank you.

The look of Blinc Mascara
...and yes, I LOVE the look. I didn't even use eyelash curler.

When I got home that night, I used water and very very gently rubbed my lashes between my fingertips. Tube-shaped clumps of product came off, but not a single eyelash! I was mascara-free in no time. It didn't run or smudge the whole time I was wearing it too. :)

Blinc Mascara comes in 3 colors: Black, Dark Brown, and Purple. It costs P1,350 for a full-sized tube. You can order it from Beauty & Minerals.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Believe and win Levi's GCs!

I used to believe that I could only get a good pair of jeans from the US due to my awkward size. I would haul pairs and pairs of jeans whenever I had the chance to This changed after I got my first pair of Levi's Perfect Fit Jeans a few weeks ago.

I believe that in order for a person to be truly happy, she must be true to herself.

Levi's I Believe Badge
This one sentence says it all for me.

What about you? What do you believe? Share it with the world by visiting http://apps.facebook.com/ibelieve-badge/ and creating your very own Levi's I Believe badge... who knows, you might just snag 1 of 3 P1,000 GCs Levi's Philippines is giving away here on my blog. :)

Contest Mechanics:
  • Go to http://apps.facebook.com/ibelieve-badge/ and follow instructions in order to create your very own Levi's I Believe Badge.

  • Entries will be judged according to the creativity of your photo and statement. You can use any photo, you can even use props or imaging software like Photoshop. The only condition is that YOU must be IN the photo.

  • Share your photo on your Facebook wall and use it as your profile photo for the duration of the contest. Your profile pic description must read: "Please visit http://apps.facebook.com/ibelieve-badge/ to make your own Levi's I Believe badge."

  • Post a comment below with a link to your Facebook profile so your entry can be validated and judged.

  • 3 winners will receive Levi's GCs worth P1,000 each. Winning entries will also be featured on Levi's upcoming website.

  • Deadline for entries is Sept. 3, 2010. Contest is open only to Philippine residents. Prizes will be mailed to the winners. :D

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Carol's Texan5 Chicken & Ribs

Had dinner with fellow foodie friends last week at Carol's Texan5 Chicken & Ribs in San Juan City. This particular branch was newly opened as there were still balloons and congratulatory flowers by the entrance when we went.

Carol's Texan5 Chicken and RibsBasically you order from the counter, pay up, take a seat, and then wait. Kind of like fast-food style except that it's not instant -- they'll prepare and cook as you order. We had a few appetizers like Texan Style Nachos (P145, pictured above). Crunchy nachos were topped with cheese sauce and ground beef then served with a small bowl of salsa for dipping in the middle. The great thing about going out with foodie friends is you can kidnap their food. I got these from Jane. :p

Carol's Texan5 Chicken & Ribs

...and I got these delicious Homemade Fries (P60, pictured above) from Carlos. :p

Carol's Texan5 Chicken & RibsHubby and I ordered Ribs (P385, pictured above) for sharing. We were told that it's big. It came with coleslaw, Texan Rice, and buttered vegetables. He had the rice, I had the coleslaw.

Carol's Texan5 Chicken & Ribs Carol's Texan5 Chicken & Ribs

The Ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender and tasty.

Carol's Texan5 Chicken and RibsSince hubby had the rice, I ordered for a small plate of Corn (P25, pictured above) as a side dish.

The place is very brightly lit, kind of quiet, and immaculately clean -- it's quite conducive for chatting with friends. After dinner, we crossed over to Serenitea for a cold drink. We sort of wished we could have brought over our drinks to Carol's since Serenitea is very cramped and noisy.


Carol's Texan5 Chicken & Ribs
2/F 713 J. Abad Santos St.,
Bgy. Little Baguio, San Juan City
727-3843
http://www.texan5.com


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Friday, August 20, 2010

Manny Pacquiao for Sony Bravia 3D TV

I witnessed something momentous last August 11, 2010 at the New World Renaissance Hotel. Sony Philippines signed boxing legend Manny Pacquiao as the official brand ambassador for Sony Bravia 3D TV.

Sony Philippines' Managing Director Mr. Takao Kuroda presents Manny Pacquiao with the Sony 3D TVAs a result, Manny Pacquiao became the first person in the Philippines to own a Sony Bravia 3D TV. Now I first tried this phenomenal piece of technology when it was unveiled in Boracay last February and it's really mind-blowing. You use powered 3D glasses with a gigantic screen with crystal clear images. Everything just jumps out at you.

I had the chance to play a demo version of Gran Turismo V for the Sony PS3 right before the luncheon and all I can say is wow. The Sony people are saying that a 3D boxing game with Manny Pacquiao is a definite possibility.

Manny Pacquiao for Sony 3D TVWe were allowed to ask Manny questions during the event. I asked him what he thought of the Sony 3D TV as I saw him trying it out prior to entering the venue. "Parang lumalabas pala galing sa TV ano?" he gamely answered. Manny admitted that the first Sony gadgets he ever owned were the Walkman and the Betamax -- "...yun pinapasukan ng VHS," he candidly described, much to everyone's amusement. He's very down-to-earth, likeable, and natural. I immediately understood why so many of our countrymen idolize him.

Manny Pacquiao and Takao KurodaManny presented Sony Philippines' Managing Director Mr. Takao Kuroda with an autographed Team Pacquiao jacket while the latter gave Manny a Sony 3D TV jacket. They also put on the Sony 3D TV glasses for a photo op.

Although I was not able to have a photo taken with the people's champ, I still consider myself fortunate for having the opportunity to meet him and talk to him. :)

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