Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sangobion Mommy Blogger Awards!

Hi everyone! Just a quick commercial break before I go back to regular programming, haha! Some months ago I received an e-mail from Summit Media informing me that I was shortlisted by Sangobion as one of the ten finalists for the Sangobion Mommy Blogger Awards. There is a catch though -- the winners will be decided by voting, the online activity I dislike the most waaaah... anyhow, the top three mommy bloggers as determined by voting will each win an Apple iPad3 from Sangobion. Voting is from today till August 17, 2012.

Sangobion Mommy Blogger Awards
To be honest, I don't really know how I even got considered because compared to the others on the roster I seem to be the least mommy-like of all... as in, I pale in comparison. Anyhow, thank you Sangobion and Summit Media for including me. XD

Here comes the difficult part. I need to ask for your help. I could never make it to the top three on my own because I'm just about the only person in my family who is active online... boo! I'm never someone to waste people's time so even as I'm posting this I'm already preparing raffle prizes from my personal stash for those who will vote for me. Aside from that, 25 people from among all the voters will be selected by Summit Media via electronic raffle. They will be invited to the Sangobion event to be held on August 23, 2012 and we'll all see each other there! They'll be raffling off lots of gifts and prizes at the event too so I really hope my readers will be among the lucky 25 because it'll be one super nice and intimate party for all of us. :D

Animetric on Sangobion Mommy Blogger Awards
Here's how to vote:
  1. Register HERE - http://www.smartparenting.com.ph/mommybloggerawards/registration/ -- you will be emailed a validation code after you enter your details in the registration form.
  2. After you validate your account, you can vote here -  http://www.smartparenting.com.ph/mommybloggerawards/voting/ -- please please vote for me. You can click the vote button 3x a day (it's the heart). So I know to include you in MY raffle (I will reveal the prizes later so watch this space hehe!), please post a comment below with your name, email, and vote number (ex: 123, meaning your vote was the 123rd vote I got). If you vote 3x, write down 123, 124, 125 and you get 3 raffle entries! 
  3. You can vote until August 17, 2012.
Okay, what can you win if you vote for me? There will be 5 sets of prizes for 5 lucky voters... starting with:

Nike iPod Sport Kit
Lucky Voter #1 will get a Nike iPod Sport Kit worth P1,500 and Sangobion samples! Winner: Leo Rances Garcia

Zoya Nail Polish + Bobbi Brown Mini Makeup Palette
Lucky Voter #2 will get two bottles of Zoya Nail Polish in Persiphony and Ariel, a Bobbi Brown mini-palette, and Sangobion samples! Winner: Christine Bacal Batiller

Sony earphones + Pond's products
Lucky Voter #3 will get a pair of Sony Bass Boost earphones, Pond's White Beauty Naturals Day Cream, Pond's Gold Radiance Anti-Aging Serum, and Sangobion samples! Winner: Ruby Salazar Papio

Maybelline gift pack
Lucky voter #4 will get Maybelline Clear Smooth Blush in Fresh Apricot, Maybelline Lip Smooth Color Care in Cranberry Jam, Maybelline Long Extreme Stiletto Mascara, and Sangobion samples! Winner: Florievic Cortes

Lucky voter #5 will get a full-sized tube of GoodSkin Labs Tri-Aktiline Total Face Instant Line Reducing Moisturizer, a sample of Lancome's Teint Miracle Foundation, a mini-sized Lancome Midnight Tresor perfume, and Sangobion samples! Winner: Diffany Franzze Guerrero

I will ship MY raffle prize(s) to wherever you are so my raffle is open to all residents of the Philippines. I read in the guidelines that the Sangobion voting is open to females only so to be safe, let's follow their rule. :)

Thanks for all the support everyone, I really hope to meet some of you in the upcoming Sangobion event. :D


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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Seafood and more at Yabu House of Katsu!

I was invited to an intimate blogger dinner at Yabu The House of Katsu in SM Megamall last June 12, 2012. They serve what is undoubtedly the best tonkatsu (Japanese-style breaded pork cutlet) this side of town so of course I confirmed my attendance! :D

Hiyayakko Tofu and Potato Salad at Yabu The House of Katsu
We started off with appetizers while waiting for the other attendees. Yabu The House of Katsu has four kinds of appetizers on their menu and you can order any two for P175. There's Hiyayakko Tofu (pictured above), a big block of cold silken tofu semi-immersed in ponzu sauce and topped with minced green onions and tasty bonito flakes. It was paired with Potato Salad (also in the photo above) which Yabu serves Japanese style, using a combination of Japanese mayo and mustard with the cubed potatoes for a slightly tangy flavor.

Edamame and Wakame at Yabu The House of Katsu
The other two appetizers are Edamame (pictured above) which are young green soybeans. You take the beans out by tearing through the soft outer covering. It doesn't really have any definitive taste but it feels light, cool, and fresh so it's nice to munch on. It was paired with Wakame (also pictured above) which is seaweed salad topped with ebiko (shrimp roe).

Chef Kazuya Takeda at Yabu The House of Katsu
Chef Kazuya Takeda, the Katsu Master, was there to talk a bit about tonkatsu (ton = pork, katsu = cutlet). Chef Kazuya is the head chef of Tonkatsu Takeshin, a popular tonkatsu restaurant in Tokyo. He trained the chefs at Yabu so that we too can enjoy delicious authentic katsu. Chef Kazuya said that one of the secrets to good katsu is the use of canola oil to cook it. It's what they do at Yabu.

Yabu Special Katsudon at Yabu The House of Katsu
For the main event, we were first served Yabu Special Katsudon created exclusively by Chef Kazuya. It's katsu drizzled with miso-based sauce then topped with nori, bonito flakes, fried egg, and shisho (Japanese basil). Of course it's all served on top of piping hot steamed Japanese rice. It's soooo yummy. We were asked to choose if what kind of katsu we wanted: Rosu (pork with trimmings of fat), Hire (lean pork), Chicken, or Ebi (shrimp) & Fish.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Adonit Jot Classic -- the stylus that doesn't scratch!

I got to try the Adonit Jot Classic, a different kind of stylus, on my touchscreen gadgets a couple of weeks ago.

Adonit Jot Classic
Adonit Jot Classic looks just like a ball-point pen... well technically it IS a ball-point pen minus the ink. It comes in four colors: red (pictured above), purple, green, and turquoise.

Adonit Jot Classic
I love how sleek it is. The matte yet metallic finish gives it a classy look.

Adonit Jot Classic
Taking off the cap reveals what's special about the Adonit Jot Classic.

Adonit Jot Classic
The ball-point tip has a thin, clear disc attached to it. This is so that the stylus tip doesn't scratch the surface of your gadget's screen.

Monday, June 25, 2012

AntiGravity Yoga at Beyond Yoga!

I got to check out AntiGravity Yoga at Beyond Yoga in Il Terrazzo last May 24, 2012. I've been hearing about this particular kind of yoga since several months back but classes only started being offered fairly recently.

AntiGravity Yoga at Beyond Yoga
AntiGravity Yoga involves using a hammock made of a special type of cloth to suspend yourself in mid-air. AntiGravity Yoga instructors have one piece of advice for those who are interested: Trust the cloth. One hammock is rated to hold over 2,000 lbs of weight so you're perfectly safe.

AntiGravity Yoga at Beyond Yoga
We were told that even a first-timer can do inversions. Previous yoga experience is not required.

AntiGravity Yoga at Beyond Yoga
You're only about 3 inches off the ground during an inversion so it's not as scary as it looks. Fully trained and perfectly qualified AntiGravity yoga instructors will guide you through the whole routine.

AntiGravity Yoga at Beyond Yoga
AntiGravity Yoga lets you hold challenging yoga postures longer in the correct alignment. There's no pressure on the back or neck.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Masatami Shave Ice at Robinsons Galleria

Tried out Masatami Shave Ice at Robinsons Galleria a couple of weekends ago with hubby and the kids. Our cook had taken the day off so we decided to have a quick lunch at Yoshinoya which was also located in the same mall.

Masatami Shave Ice at Robinsons Galleria
The Masatami Shave Ice stand is located in front of Robinsons Supermarket near the food court on the first basement. There were quite a number of people eating so we decided to walk around a bit first and come back when there were seats.

Masatami Shave Ice at Robinsons Galleria
Since we were already kind of full and the servings looked big, we decided to share two variants of Masatami Shave Ice. You can even watch while the staff makes your order.

Rainbow Shave Ice with Snow Cap at Masatami Shave Ice
My kids shared an order of Rainbow Shave Ice with Snow Cap. A round portion of shaved ice is drizzled with 3-4 kinds of syrup. It sits atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream and azuki beans (sweet red beans). It's served with a straw so you can also sip it like a shake. The shaved ice is then topped with what they call a snow cap, which is actually condensed milk. The kids liked it and said that the bubble gum flavored ice (colored blue) was the best-tasting part of it. It's like a gigantic snow cone actually, made of a mound of crushed ice rather than shaved ice.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Shu Uemura opens in Trinoma!

Good news to Shu fanatics in the north! Shu Uemura just opened a brand spanking new boutique that's bigger and brighter than all the others in Trinoma!

Shu Uemura in Trinoma
Being the Shu fanatic that I am of course I was there to witness the ribbon-cutting last June 15, 2012.

Shu Uemura in Trinoma
A kimono-clad lady was even giving out sweets by the store entrance.

Shu Uemura in Trinoma
I was wowed by this particular boutique's exceptionally streamlined new look. It's also the most spacious one so far. Women trooped inside to buy after the ribbon was cut because everything as at 20% off that day -- add that to the fact the Shu's prices here are already comparable to the prices abroad and you've got yourself a really great deal! I had just done my Shu shopping a month prior (bought a new eyelash curler, lipstick, liquid eyeliner, etc.) so I wasn't able to take advantage of the big discount.

Shu Uemura in Trinoma
I love the makeover area!

Friday, June 22, 2012

22 Prime at Discovery Suites now serves Cochinillo Asado!

22 Prime at Discovery Suites is a restaurant that has always been known for delicious steaks. This year, 22 Prime expands its roster with its new offering -- Cochinillo Asado, or roast suckling pig, which is being served as a complete meal that's good for two people.

22 Prime at Discovery Suites
I was invited to an intimate luncheon at 22 Prime to preview the Cochinillo Asado last June 7, 2012. I love 22 Prime because I find it so peaceful and tranquil there. The service is nothing short of superb too.

Breadsticks at 22 Prime
Anyhow, we were first served freshly baked complimentary breadsticks with an array of spreads and dips.

Spanish Garlic and Pimenton Soup at 22 Prime
Then came a bowl of piping hot Spanish Garlic and Pimenton Soup. I love the clear yet tasty soup. It's perfect for this particular set menu since a creamy soup would probably overwhelm you if combined with the sinful fat-laced pork that is to come.

Cochinillo Asado at 22 Prime
Then came the main attraction -- Cochinillo Asado! Jane and I shared one serving since it's good for two. It's more than just lechon as 550g of pork is slow-roasted to the perfect melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. It's rubbed with spices like Coriander and cured with sugar, salt, and pepper overnight. Each mouthful is just bursting with flavor.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Spa Reflexology for P550!

Got to try The Spa's latest service last May 25, 2012... it's called The Spa Reflexology. The Spa has always been one of my favorite pampering places because I find that they have the best therapists. I always feel the blood coursing through my veins freely every time I go for a massage... so I take that it's doing wonders for my circulation. It's such a nice and stimulating yet relaxing feeling.

Inside The Spa Acropolis
I went to The Spa branch in Acropolis.

Momblogger and My Mom Friday at The Spa Acropolis
There were four of us bloggers who tried the new service -- Me, Momblogger (pictured above left), My Mom Friday (pictured above right), and Mrs. Martinez (not in the photo).

The Spa Reflexology
We started The Spa Reflexology by changing into robes (which is optional) and relaxing on the recliners. Then we dipped our feet in soothing hot water which smelled kind of minty.

The Spa Reflexology
Then we were fully reclined while the therapist massaged our legs and feet. The Spa Reflexology combines Japanese shiatsu, Thai massage, and Chinese reflexology. The therapist uses her hands, wooden sticks, and cream to soothe the body, focusing on pressure points located on the soles of the feet. But it doesn't stop there... The Spa Reflexology also includes a back and shoulder massage. The room is also equipped with an LCD TV mounted on the wall in case you just want to lie back and relax while watching something.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Benefit Beauty Confessions Blogger Party!

I attended my first Benefit event in the form of the Benefit Beauty Confessions Blogger Party held last May 30, 2012.

Benefit Porefessional standee
Now one of the highlights of the party was the introduction of Benefit's The POREfessional. It's an oil-free cream that minimizes pores and fine lines. Each of us got to take home a tube so I'll be posting a review soon.

Benefit It Stick
Honestly I was quite excited to attend because one of the first beauty products I ever bought in the past (the very far past, haha!) was the Benefit It Stick, a one-shade-fits-all concealer in pencil form. I bought it from Bloomingdale's in the US when I was still single, so that's how far back my relationship with Benefit goes. It has been discontinued though, so it was never available here in the Philippines.

Benefit products
Anyhow, we were told that we could choose to take home any Benefit product on the table above in exchange for a beauty confession that answers the question "Have you ever faked it?" from us which would be recorded on video. Hmm... you can confess 2-3x I think, then take home 2-3 products.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

8 Spoons -- delicious home-cooked party trays + giveaway!

It's our cook's yearly routine to take a few weeks off during the summer months in order to take a vacation in the province. That said, those weeks always put me in a spot because well, I can't cook to save my life... and now I have a hubby and two kids to worry about too. If it were just me I think I can subsist on stuff like fruits and oatmeal for a few weeks but my family is a different story, haha!

8 Spoons Party Trays
So when 8 Spoons, a catering and party tray service offered to send samples of their food, I was more than happy to accept. It was very timely since our cook's trip back got delayed due to bad weather and we were getting tired of constantly dining out in restaurants. We got 5 party trays in all and each one was good for 8 people.

Baked Salmon with Cream Cheese from 8 Spoons
First there was Baked Salmon with Cream Cheese (P800 for 8 people / P1,500 for 15 people). Each tray is clearly labelled so you don't get confused.

Baked Salmon with Cream Cheese from 8 Spoons
A big tray of juicy salmon is topped with rich cream cheese and surrounded by buttered sweet corn kernels, carrots, and peas. It's really a steal for P800 considering that a small portion of salmon in a restaurant will easily set you back at least P400. My kids really loved this dish since the salmon is so soft, boneless, and easy to eat -- not to mention really flavorful! I think they ended up finishing most of it over the course of the next 2-3 meals, haha!

Monday, June 18, 2012

So you're a blogger... so what???

I find it ridiculous how some people would invoke the magic words "Blogger ako!" ("I'm a blogger!" in English) expecting to cast some sort of spell that makes people, brands, and establishments bend to their will. I mean, really? I hear more and more accounts of such incidents as time passes and it's not doing any of us members of the blogosphere any good. If anything, I think it makes us look like spoiled children who throw fits if we don't get our way.

Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr
It's true that the internet is a powerful tool. It can make or break people, brands, and establishments. But it's really not as simple as going online and typing out "So and so sucks!" without any real substance or story behind it. So no, being a blogger doesn't mean you can automatically influence people to love or hate something on the sole basis of blogging about it. We must not let being a blogger give us a false sense of power and entitlement.

Here are a few points I'd like to share in relation to this matter:
  • Being a blogger doesn't mean you get a free pass to events.

    I have a friend who works for a brand that holds events on a regular basis. During one such event, 2-3 people approached registration. These people were not invited to the event but they were insisting on entering the venue, waving their digicams at the registration people while saying "Blogger ako! Blogger kami!". So??? WTF? Would you go to a birthday party, wave your cam around, and say "Guest ako!"?

    While I get a lot of event invitations, there are actually brands I like that don't invite me, haha! But then I don't get all worked up over it and demand to be invited (yes, some bloggers hunt down the PR or marketing people and do that... ugh!). I just take things in stride. If they want you there, they will contact you. If not, then well, that's life! You just have to accept that you can't always be included in every single function.

  • Being a blogger doesn't mean you can just go up to a brand and demand free stuff.

    I have friends in brand management and marketing who tell me that they get emails and messages from people asking for free products so they can blog about it. If you are going to do that, make sure you have statistics and substance behind you to back you up. It's a business. With millions of people online, if a brand gave in to the demand of every single person who requests something from them I don't think they'd be making money. There's no free ride in this aspect, brands give out products for review because they expect a significant amount of exposure for it... and as I've mentioned in a previous post, they're not getting it from a blog or blogger with nothing to offer. If you so badly want to try it, buy it.

  • Being a blogger doesn't mean you are entitled to anything, period.

    There's nothing special about having a blog. Heck, my 7-year old daughter has one and she started it when she was 6. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry can put up a blog in a matter of minutes, so no, being a blogger really does not make you any more special than the rest of the non-blogging populace. That said, invoking the magic words "Blogger ako!" as if it meant anything significant is really quite useless. Yes you are a blogger, but then so are millions of other people all over the world. The only difference between you and a non-blogger is that maybe you have a louder voice online -- and that's something that's always contestable.

I'm not perfect. I myself have made mistakes along the way but I think I can truly say that I've learned from them and I'm still learning. It just irks me when bloggers get stereotyped as a self-entitled lot with no ethics because of a few bad apples in the barrel.


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Sunday, June 17, 2012

United Colors of Benetton Perfumes -- Hot Gold and Cold Silver!

Benetton is a brand that has been around for as long as I can remember. It was practically the rage when I was in high school. We had Benetton shirts and bags among other things. I will always remember the United Colors of Benetton multiracial ads wherein a mix of Asian, caucasian, and African-American models would grace magazine pages and posters.

Benetton Hot Gold and Cold Silver
Years later, Benetton is still about colors... but those colors have further evolved into scents. Last May 25, Benetton launched its latest scents -- Hot Gold and Cold Silver.

Benetton Hot Gold and Cold Silver
I got to preview both scents during the launch. 
  • Benetton Hot Gold is the scent for women. I loved its light, fresh, and fruity notes from the combination of bergamot, golden apple, and yellow peach.
  • Benetton Cold Silver is the scent for men. It's an unmistakably manly fragrance with top notes from yuzu, coriander, and ginger. I actually won one bottle of this from the on-the-spot Twitter contest held at the event... I wish I had gotten Hot Gold instead though, haha!
Benetton Hot Gold and Cold Silver Eau de Toilette are available in 100ml bottles for P1,375 each at Fresh Fragrance Bars and leading department stores nationwide.

Benetton Bianco and Nero
There was also Benetton Bianco and Nero.

Friday, June 15, 2012

LAB Series Skincare for Men now in the Philippines!

Okay, I'm skipping over a lot of backlog posts for this one since Father's Day is coming up this weekend!

LAB Series Skincare for Men
Anyhow, everyone who knows me or who at least reads my blog would know what a skin care addict I am. I'm the type who really cleanses, tones, and moisturizes every single day and night, plus I don't leave the house without sunscreen. But women aren't the only ones who need to be doing that... men need to take care of their skin too! That said, I have good news for everyone (especially men) -- LAB Series, a skincare brand exclusively for men, is now available in the Philippines!

LAB Series Skincare for Men
Last June 6, I brought my hubby to the LAB Series Gentlemen's Event held at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel. The function room was set up in such a way that men could get their skin analyzed and then they could try various LAB Series products.

LAB Series Skincare for Men
He underwent a skin analysis that revealed what we already knew, that he has oily skin. BUT it also said that his skin's firmness is still top-notch and that he has dead skin cells on the face that needs exfoliating.

LAB Series Skincare for Men
The equipment was especially calibrated for men so if a woman goes through the process, the results would not be accurate. Taking the skin analysis results into consideration, the LAB Series consultants talked to my hubby regarding his skin concerns so that they could provide him with the appropriate products.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cue Modern Barbecue at Bonifacio High Street Central

We were invited to dinner at Cue Modern Barbecue last May 22, 2012. It's one of the newest restaurants on the block and so I was really interested in what it had to offer.

Cue Modern Barbecue BHS Central
I ordered Grapes n' Ginger Shake (P135, pictured above) to help me cool down since it was so hot and humid that afternoon. It's a tad too sweet for my tastes and I really didn't taste the ginger. Next time I think I'll go with Green Mango n' Basil. My dinner companion Frannywanny loved it though. :)

Cue Modern Barbecue BHS Central
For starters, we had Bone Marrow and Steak Tacos (P485, pictured above). Basically you get one of the soft flour tortillas and then fill it up with steak pieces and salsa then top off with a bit of sinfully rich and fatty bone marrow. It was incredibly tasty, but I was too afraid to have more than one small serving, haha! XD

Cue Modern Barbecue BHS Central
Then we had Fried Buttermilk Wings (P355, pictured above). Crispy fried chicken is marinated in buttermilk then coated with crunchy breading and maple pepper glaze. I loved how well-cooked the chicken was. I normally dislike chicken but this dish gets my thumbs up.

Cue Modern Barbecue BHS Central
We also had A Skillet of Homestyle Mac & Cheese (P375, pictured above). Three different cheeses (cheddar, gruyere, and mozzarella) combine with lots of savory bacon bits and tomatoes for a deliciously creamy dish.

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