Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in review... a year-ender post from Animetric's World!

First of all, I'd like to greet everyone a Happy New Year! I'm reviewing my 2009 and 2010 year-ender posts as I write this, haha! I'm also looking over my 2011 blog archive. I will formally mark my 3rd year in blogging a couple of months from now. How time flies!

Animetric's World calling cardI'm nearing my third year in blogging and I've really zeroed in on the stuff I really want to tackle, and those are:

  • Beauty
  • Food
  • Gadgets
Incidentally, those are also the three most popular topics here on my blog. But I also like sharing about my travels -- places I visit, hotels I stay in (in fact my most popular post of all time is this Hong Kong Disneyland piece!)... but since I have work and family matters to attend to I don't get to travel all that often like the really hardcore travel bloggers. I occasionally post about shopping finds for my kids and the household. It can be anything from a cute toy for my daughter like Whipple, a lovely bottle of kiddie shampoo like Mustela Baby Shampoo, or something relevant like Meralco's plans for subscribers.

Bridal look by Rowena Wendy Lei My 2011 milestones include (in no particular order):

Friday, December 30, 2011

Laneige Snow BB Essence Balm SPF33 PA++

Okay, this is the last BB cream review I'm doing for 2011 since it's already December 30... hehe! They say save the best for last, and indeed Laneige Snow BB Essence Balm SPF33 PA++ is the best BB cream I've used so far.

Laneige Snow BB Essence Balm SPF33 PA++Laneige Snow BB Essence Balm SPF33 PA++You may be surprised by the big rectangular box... it's because Laneige Snow BB Essence Balm doesn't come in a tube like most BB creams.

Laneige Snow BB Essence Balm SPF33 PA++Unboxing it reveals the product enclosed inside a sealed foil bag.

Laneige Snow BB Essence Balm SPF33 PA++Laneige Snow BB Essence Balm comes in a compact which is bigger and thicker in size compared to the usual compact.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

J.Co Donuts & Coffee is coming to the Philippines!

I got a delicious preview of something great coming over to Philippine shores this March 2012. My blog post title gives it away, haha!

J.Co DonutsTruth be told I've never had J.Co donuts before. It's probably because I've never been to Indonesia, where J.Co originated. J.Co Donuts & Coffee stores can also be found in Singapore, Malaysia, and more recently Shanghai, China. That said, I honestly did not know what to expect. I mean, I've had Dunkin Donuts, Mr. Donut, Gonuts Donuts, Cello's, and Krispy Kreme. Truth be told, none of them ever left me wanting more... well except maybe Cello's cheese donuts.

J. Co Donuts Al CaponeNow here comes J.Co donuts. The first box I opened contained a dozen of J.Co's best-selling Al Capone donuts.

J. Co Donuts Al CaponeAl Capone donuts are covered in white Belgian chocolate and generously topped with almond slivers. The delicious aroma wafted out as soon as I opened the box.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

HSBC x Starbucks promo is back in 2012!

Here's a bit of good news for all you HSBC cardholders out there... HSBC is bringing back Starbucks Instant Rewards in 2012!

Starbucks Planner 2012For a minimum single-receipt spend you can get a tall Starbucks beverage of your choice for free! Just present your printed original and readable HSBC charge slips at any Starbucks branch nationwide to enjoy a treat.

Starbucks Christmas drinksThe HSBC Starbucks promo will start this January 2012. I will post the exact date as soon as it's confirmed. Don't have an HSBC credit card yet? Log on to to apply. Think of it as HSBC's way of wishing you a Happy New Year! :D

UPDATE as of Jan. 14, 2012: Got an update from Starbucks and HSBC. Seems they are working on some issues. Will update this post when details are confirmed.

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Burnham Park in Baguio City, Philippines

Located in the heart of Baguio City, another tourist destination we visited during our recent trip was Burnham Park. I still remember going on a boat ride at the lake in the middle of Burnham Park as a child.

Burnham Park Baguio PhilippinesBurnham Park Baguio PhilippinesBurnham Park is a big open space consisting of concrete roads, lawns, a man-made lake, and lots of trees. You can rent bicycles, tricycles, and makeshift um... car-cycles? The roads are evenly paved so it's smooth riding all theoughout.

Burnham Park Baguio PhilippinesThere are vendors in the park selling snacks like this ice cream sandwich. Generous scoopfuls of your ice cream flavor of choice are stuffed in between a soft burger bun. You can also opt to have your ice cream in a cone.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nivea Fruity Shine lip balm for naturally moist lips!

I think dry lips is a problem most of us ladies need to address at one time or another. This is especially true during the drier holiday months. I always have a tube of lip balm in my bag all the time.

Nivea Fruity Shine lip balmI got these Nivea Fruity Shine lip balms from an event some time ago. I was happy because I wanted to do an in-depth review and well, I had four variants to work with!

Nivea Fruity Shine in Strawberry

I like the bright and cute packaging.

Nivea Fruity Shine in Pomegranate, Strawberry, Cherry, and Pink GuavaThere are four variants as far as I know: Pomegranate, Strawberry, Cherry, and Pink Guava. If you notice the tubes are bigger than the usual lip balms you'll find in drugstores and department stores. It's hard to believe that these cost only P80 each. I'm so amazed at how Nivea can keep the retail price down and not sacrifice the quality of their products (like Nivea Express Hydration Body Lotion for instance).

Pinkberry is now in Manila, Philippines!

We have all sorts of food and drink crazes here in Manila. When Starbucks first came, it pretty much started the coffee craze. Now the same group who brought us Starbucks brings us Pinkberry, one of the most popular frozen yogurt (froyo!) chains in the US.

Pinkberry Greenbelt 5I braved the horrid holiday traffic one weekday evening for a casual blogger get-together at the newly opened Pinkberry in Greenbelt 5. It's located on the same side as Mr. Jones, one of my favorite restaurants. Pinkberry has six (6) different flavors:

  • Original (sweet + tart)
  • Green Tea (fresh + light)
  • Watermelon (crisp + refreshing)
  • Mango (fruity + sweet) - made with authentic Alphonso mango puree!
  • Pomegranate (bold + intense) - made with 100% pure pomegranate juice!
  • Chocolate (rich + indulgent)
You can ask for a sampler if you can't decide which flavor to go for. :) Pinkberry Philippines For the event, we were each asked to come up with our own signature creation. In order to do so, there are three steps:
  1. Choose a flavor. (original, green tea, watermelon, mango, pomegranate, chocolate)
  2. Choose a size. (cone, small, medium, large, take home)
  3. Top it off. There are four (4) kinds of toppings you can choose from:
    - Daily Fresh Cut Fruit (strawberry, kiwi, banana, pineapple, mango, etc.)
    - Premium Dry (chocolate brownie, cheesecake bites, mochi, waffle cone, shaved milk chocolates, yogurt chips, fruity bears, etc.)
    - Liquid (honey, italian caramel, pom puree, etc.)
    - Luxe (peanut butter crunch, swirly whip, etc.)
Pinkberry Greenbelt 5Okay, so I settled for an original large frozen yogurt topped with banana, raspberry, chocolate brownie cake, toasted almonds, cheesecake bites, mochi, and a waffle cone. I was really floored by the sheer number of toppings available. They even have organic gummy bears.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas greeting for all my readers!

Hi everyone! Just want to greet all of you a very Merry Christmas! It's now the evening of the 24th and I bet everyone's getting together with their family to have dinner or noche buena. As for our family, we just had lunch at Sambokojin earlier and then walked around Eastwood City enjoying the cool weather.

These Christmas cards were made by my kids during class at Global Art Philippines. :D

I hope you all enjoy the holidays!

I intend to wake up late everyday until the kids go back to school, haha! If you have the time, you can join my ongoing giveaways:

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Mines View Park in Baguio City, Philippines

I'll be doing a few travel posts for the remainder of the month since I know that a lot of you will be vacationing out of town for the holidays. Hopefully, I'll be able to help you out somehow.

One of the places we visited during our trip to Baguio City last November was Mines View Park.

Mines View Park Baguio PhilippinesThe last time I was in Baguio was when I was in grade school, so I don't really remember much. Anyhow, Mines View Park turned out to be more of a hawker center rather than a park.

Mines View Park Baguio PhilippinesThere were a lot of food stalls offering everything from freshly boiled sweet corn to gift items like peanut brittle and "kulangot" candy.

Mines View Park Baguio PhilippinesRichard let me try skewered dried grilled cuttlefish strips. I was scared to eat it at first but it turned out to be a very tasty snack -- salty, spicy, and a little sweet at the same time. It's best eaten while it's hot fresh off the charcoal grill. There are also a lot of stalls selling gloves, sweaters, t-shirts, wooden toys, magnets, etc. at Mines View Park. It's like a large tiangge (bazaar). I'm not really a tiangge person so I didn't bother checking out or taking photos of the non-food wares but there are a lot.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Yakitori Kitchen at Burgos Circle, Fort Bonifacio Global City

*This establishment is now CLOSED.*

We were invited to dine at the newly opened Yakitori Kitchen at Burgos Circle last Dec. 19, 2011. Given my penchant for all things Japanese, of course I was excited. Yakitori Kitchen is Ramen Bar's sister restaurant albeit they don't serve the same dishes.

Yakitori Kitchen Burgos CircleYakitori Kitchen is located along the same side as Sweet Bella Cafe which I had blogged about earlier this year. As the name suggests (yakitori actually means grilled chicken, but can refer to most skewered food), this restaurant is all about grilled and skewered food.

Yakitori Kitchen Burgos CircleYakitori Kitchen is a small and cozy place that's good for casual dining, quick meals, or simply unwinding with some nice icy cold Japanese beer.

Yakitori Kitchen Burgos CircleWe started off the evening with some Momo (P100, pictured above) or skewered chicken leg meat. You get two sticks per order at Yakitori Kitchen so the above is the equivalent of four orders. I'm not fond of chicken at all but the Momo was very tender, lean, and tasty. I love the special yakitori sauce they baste the meat with -- sweet and savory but not as sweet as teriyaki. You can actually ask for extra sauce on the side to accompany your order.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso BB Cream Review

This is the second to the last BB cream review I'm doing for 2011. After one more brand the next ones will be posted in 2012.

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso BB Cream reviewAnyhow, I borrowed my sister's tube of The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso BB Cream for review about a week ago. I have too many BB creams littering the top of my dresser as is so I decided to get a demo unit (hehe!) for this review. I'm on a neverending quest for the best BB cream since I find foundation too heavy for daily use. There's also the fact that I want to reap the many beauty benefits of BB cream.

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso BB Cream reviewThe Body Shop Moisture White Shiso BB Cream struck me as sort of dark when I took of the tube's cap. But there's only one shade available and I could've sworn the tester I tried at the store looked light on my skin.

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso BB Cream reviewPlacing a bit of BB cream against the back of my palm revealed that the shade is actually close to my natural skin color.

Donate to Sendong victims via Starbucks!

Hi everyone! Just a quick post to let you know that you can make cash donations to typhoon Sendong victims via all Starbucks branches.

Donate to Sendong victims via StarbucksStarbucks tip boxes located at the register area will serve as cash donation boxes from Dec. 19 - 25, 2011. All donations will go to the victims of typhoon Sendong and Rustan's Coffee Corporation will match a percentage of your contribution.

Alternatively, you can also log on to Philippine Red Cross to donate via online means here You can drop off donations in kind at all LBC branches.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gift Suggestion: Mom 24/7 Planner for 2012!

I found this planner on my doorstep a few weeks ago. It's Mom 24/7, a totally new planner that's designed specifically for moms.

Mom 24/7 Planner 2012It's like a thick hardcover spiral notebook that comes with a cardboard bookmark.

Mom 24/7 Planner 2012

The inside pages are white and lavender hued.

Mom 24/7 Planner 2012

The pages are divided into months.

Thaipan in Tomas Morato, Quezon City

My hubby and I had dinner with our high school friends at Thaipan, a small Thai restaurant hidden in one of Tomas Morato's side streets. I wasn't even aware of this establishment until my friend suggested it for our annual Christmas get-together.

Thaipan Tomas Morato QCWhen we got there our friends were having Tod Man Kung (P290 for 6 pcs, pictured above), which are deep fried Thai shrimp cakes served with sweet chili sauce. I tried a piece and it was crunchy outside and juicy inside -- pretty good! :D

Thaipan Tomas Morato QCFor some reason all of us got complimentary glasses of cold Pandan juice. I don't know if it's the usual practice but free is good, right? Haha! It was mildly sweet and nice.

Thaipan Tomas Morato QCI ordered Yam Plaa Dook Foo (P290, pictured above) which is crispy catfish with julienned green mangoes served with a spicy sweet lime sauce. It's topped with peanuts and chopped onions too. I liked it a lot. Hubby didn't care for it since he's not a fan of sour food. The crispy catfish seemed more like crunchy meat floss. I normally don't eat catfish but this is yummy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Aqua Mineral from The Dead Sea now in the Philippines!

I got acquainted with Aqua Mineral from The Dead Sea, a beauty and skin care brand from Israel, a few weeks ago over an intimate dinner at The Fort.

Aqua Mineral from The Dead Sea PhilippinesThe first two products unveiled were Aqua Mineral from The Dead Sea Total Silk Body Scrub and Blissful Body Butter.

Aqua Mineral from The Dead Sea PhilippinesAll Aqua Minerals products do not contain parabens and Sodium Laurly Sulfate. Minerals and salts from The Dead Sea are incorporated into the formulations. I volunteered for the Aqua Mineral from The Dead Sea Total Silk Body Scrub demo because I love scrubs. It has Dead Sea minerals to exfoliate dead skin cells, sunflower seed oil and sesame oil to soften the skin, and argan oil for its anti-aging properties.

Aqua Mineral from The Dead Sea PhilippinesSince we were doing it over dinner, a small basin was prepared and my hand was the demo subject. A small amount of scrub on a teaspoon was placed on my hand. A little product goes a long way so this big tub will last for months.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gift suggestion: Crumpler Carrot, Limpet, and Noose! (Christmas Giveaway!)

Anyone who's into gadgets knows that Crumpler makes some of the best bags to store them in (I personally use a Crumpler 2 Million Dollar Bag to lug around my Sony NEX-5N!) . Am I suggesting that you give out bags whose prices are 4-digits long? Oh no, this post is for the more budget-conscious set who don't want to compromise as all the items are under P1,000. Crumpler's three latest products are guaranteed to make you the ultimate gift-giver without breaking the bank!

Crumpler The Carrot Review

Item #1: The Carrot by Crumpler (P950)

Simply put, Crumpler's Carrot is a pencil case. But it's not just any pencil case, being made of highly durable and waterproof material. This is perfect for my son who's in grade school.

Crumpler The CarrotIt zips up nicely with a distinct Crumpler logo-stamped zipper. It also has a reinforced eyelet so you can attach it to a keyring or the accessory loop on another Crumpler.

Crumpler The Carrot
Here's a peek inside The Carrot.

Crumpler The CarrotThe Carrot by Crumpler -- I'd like to see my son wear this one out as most of his pencil cases are on the verge of falling apart when the school year ends.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Va Bene Pasta Deli at Petron in Makati

I normally post about things in chronological order but heck restaurant posts have been few and far between here on my blog lately.

Va Bene Pasta Deli Petron Makati ReviewAnyhow, I had dinner with my sister and cousin who's here on vacation from Australia at this small and quaint Italian place called Va Bene Pasta Deli. It's located on the second floor of a gas station, but that shouldn't deter you from checking it out... especially if you love pasta.

Va Bene Pasta Deli Petron Makati ReviewWe were served with complimentary toasted bread with a bowl of tomatoes, herbs, and parmesan cheese in olive oil as we tried to make up our minds on what to order.

Va Bene Pasta Deli Petron Makati ReviewWe decided to order Buffalo Mozzarella Salad (P370, pictured above and below). It consists of tomatoes, capers, and mixed lettuce in balsamic reduction. I ordered it thinking I'd get crunchy deep friend mozzarella cheese that's kinda like Buffalo Wings but I was apparently mistaken hahaha. It's a nice light salad to start your meal with though. :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gift Suggestion: Bakersville hand-made bagels and breads!

I got a lovely Christmas gift from Bakersville Boulangerie & Patisserie a couple of weeks ago. Bakersville is the brainchild of photographer turned chef Marco Abesamis.

Bakersville Boulangerie & PatisserieI got three kinds of New York style bagels (Plain, Savory Onion, and Roasted Garlic) and a loaf of hand-made oatmeal bread.

Bakersville Boulangerie & PatisserieThese NY style bagels are special because they're crusty outside while being soft and chewy inside. All that without using eggs, butter, oil, or milk in the batter! Honey is used to add a hint of sweetness to the bagels instead of sugar. Very healthy don't you think? It takes 2 days to make these hand-made and healthy bagels due to a long fermentation, resting, and shaping process. My husband and I loved having the bagels for breakfast. They're very filling and they're not greasy nor are they sweet. Perfect with a bit of butter, cream cheese, and/or jam. I actually don't mind having one with a cup of hot coffee without any filling. These bagels cost P120 per pack of 3. Really perfect if you're trying to watch your fat consumption! <3

Hand-made oatmeal bread from Bakersville Boulangerie & Patisserie

This is Bakersville's hand-made oatmeal bread.

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