27 May 2013

Book Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa


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From Goodreads: "Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally. Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike."

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa 
Series: Blood of Eden, #2
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Paranormal, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic
My rating: 1 out of 5 stars
I loved The Immortal Rules. I thought it was a refreshing spin on the modern vampire tale. Allison Sekemoto has easily joined the ranks as one of my favorite heroines. I devoured it in one sitting. Well not exactly, it was more like four days but you know what I mean, unputdownable. That it took me almost a month to finish the second book bums me out. I thought there was an awful lot of rehashing from the first book. That was well and good for those who have not read the previous book but I read it just a couple of months ago so Allison's frequent trip down memory lane bored me silly. I also felt like time, as I have very precious little, could have been better spent in character development. I would have loved to have seen more how certain characters got from point A, where we left them off in the first book, to point B, where we pick them up in the second book, instead of them appearing seemingly out of nowhere. And finally, unless Sarren dies prematurely in the next book, facing the same enemy over again, after everything they've been through, just sounds exhausting to me. I didn't understand "Mr Stephen", I don't get his motivations or has he always just been such an ass? Zeke and Allison romance - I didn't buy it. Kanin was mostly absent. And Allie? I really loved her in the first novel but here, she was too busy with her inner monologues to notice I was losing interest. Call me crazy but the only character I did like was Jackal. I know a lot of you guys loved this book but I must've missed something or Julie Kagawa may just be paving the way for a spectacular book three, I don't know,  I guess I'll have to wait and see.

22 May 2013

The Zesty Guy

I haven't been making magic in the kitchen lately. Oh, I still cook, but, just the task of styling and photographing food has become somewhat daunting. Plus, it's not like anybody misses my food posts on Facebook anyway. OK so now I'm just fishing. Hey, have you guys seen Kraft's Zesty Italian Dressing commercial series? I must've been living under a rock because I'm seeing them just now. But to you uninspired cooks out there, who for some reason have not seen these yet either, I give you The Zesty Guy.
Happy Wednesday, ladies!

18 May 2013

Swatches and Review: Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipstick

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Being a huge Revlon fan, I draw no satisfaction of saying that these suck. To be honest, I have read mostly negative reviews about the new ColorStay Ultimate Suede lipstick online but I still wanted to try it and see for myself. Also, I thought, no, more like hoped, that it would be different for me. That while it dries the heck out of most people's lips, it would somehow moisturize mine. Yes, I live in a parallel universe where everything goes my way. So anyway, the Ultimate Suede lipstick line comes in 20 shades - pinks, reds, corals, purples, they all look so pretty I wanted to get them all! But I'm glad I didn't because that's just about the only good thing I could think of to say - gorgeous colors. I exfoliate my lips, apply lip balm under and a lip gloss over it and it still manages to suck all the moisture out. I had to apply lip balm every so often to get through the day. 10 minutes after application and my lips feel tight, 30 minutes and they're chapped. By hour 2, the product settles into lines and accentuates the cracks and oh my gosh if that's not bad enough, it makes my lips flake. I get that as with most long-lasting lipsticks, a little drying comes with the territory. But this one is just painful to wear. Not just because one would tend to peel or pick, sometimes bite off the flakes but one time I swear, I went to the movies wearing this and my lips got stuck together. Prying your lips apart may sound like a line straight out from romance novels but if it's your upper and bottom lip you're talking about, it's just sad, not to mention, excruciating. I'm thankful that though I was super excited when these first came out, I managed to rein my impulsiveness and just bought 2, well 3, but I gave the other 1 away. Flashing Lights I believe it was called, a peach coral shade. So what I'm "stuck" with are Preview and Iconic.
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Php575 (about $15)
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Top-Bottom, with flash: 070 Preview, 055 Iconic
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Top-Bottom, without flash: 070 Preview, 055 Iconic
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070 Preview, with flash
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070 Preview, without flash
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Preview is a muted dusty rose with shimmer, reminiscent of Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie.
055 Iconic, with flash
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055 Iconic, without flash
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Iconic is a peach nude shade with gold flecks. Looks to me like Peach Parfait, again from the Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter line.

12 May 2013

Resto love: Italianni's Restaurant

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Shrimp and Asparagus Alfredo, 
Abbondanza Php925 | Regular Php625 | Lunch Php350
Fettuccine in Asiago-Parmesan sauce, plus asparagus tips, shrimps and bacon
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Crispy Pork Ribs, Php425
Crunchy outside juicy inside pork ribs with spicy scallion dip, served with garlic rice and veggies
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Pepperoni Pizza, Php450
Mozzarella, pepperoni, and arugula
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Tropicale Pizza, Php425
Mozzarella, bacon, pineapple, and arugula
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Herb Roast Chicken, Regular Php595 | Springs Php425
Roasted chicken with Italian herbs served with vegetables, garlic rice or mashed potato and Italian gravy
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Seafood Cioppino, Abbondanza Php895 | Regular Php595 | Lunch Php395
Linguine in a red wine sauce with clams, mussels, calamari and shrimps, drizzled with basil pesto
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Grilled Pork Chop, One Chop Php425 | Two Chops Php695
Pepper-crusted grilled pork chops served with vegetables and garlic rice
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N.Y. Cheesecake, Php450
A slice of New York cheesecake with strawberry amaretto sauce
Yum!

07 May 2013

Book Review: Still Alice by Lisa Genova


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From Goodreads: "Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she's a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life - and her relationship with her family and world - forever."

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Genres: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Psychology
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I had a great aunt who suffered from  Alzheimer's. She taught Social Studies in school. I remember because when I was little, she used to make me watch state of the nation addresses on TV with her. I didn't know much about the disease then, let alone that it was an actual disease. I chalked up her descent into dementia to the aging process. Frighteningly progressive for her age, but natural. I picked up Still Alice because of the questions that after all these years, I didn't think to ask - What is Alzheimer's Disease? What causes it? Am I at risk? Told in Alice's point of view, it presents a clear, unforgiving account of what having Alzheimer’s disease is like. Imagine getting lost in your own home, losing your grasp of language, and forgetting everything you have known and learned. It's an insightful, heartbreaking narrative that depicts a three-dimensionality that may be lacking from similar-themed stories but written from the caregiver's perspective. Gripping though as it is, I find Lisa Genova's writing style clinical that my mind wandered a bit during the jargon-heavy moments. Of course, I'm not discounting the fact that the dialogue could already be at its simplest and there's just no way to effectively explain in layman's terms without sacrificing the accuracy of the subject matter. I get that. Far be it from me to fuss but I could have been a lot happier with a little dumbing down. Sorry, really smart people!

05 May 2013

Swatches and Reviews: Revlon ColorStay Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin, Colorstay Whipped Crème Makeup, PhotoReady Makeup

It's about time I do a foundation review so I'll start with - anyone care to take a gander? Revlon.  love Revlon. My MLBB product has always been the ColorBurst Lip Butter in Peach Parfait and my HG foundation, the ColorStay Makeup in Buff. I have tried 3 of their foundations and neither one broke me out. Plus, Buff is by far the closest match to my skin tone (light complexion with yellow undertones, for reference, I wear MAC NC25). Also, they aren't that expensive and they last a very long time. I really think Revlon is the best drugstore makeup brand out there.
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From Left-Right: ColorStay Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin 150 Buff, Colorstay Whipped Crème Makeup 150 Buff, PhotoReady Makeup 003 Shell
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From Left-Right: PhotoReady Makeup 003 Shell, Colorstay Whipped Crème Makeup 150 Buff, ColorStay Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin 150 Buff
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From Left-Right: PhotoReady Makeup 003 Shell, Colorstay Whipped Crème Makeup 150 Buff, ColorStay Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin 150 Buff
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From Left-Right: PhotoReady Makeup 003 Shell, Colorstay Whipped Crème Makeup 150 Buff, ColorStay Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin 150 Buff
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ColorStay Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin, Php825 (about $20)
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ColorStay Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin comes in 20 shades. 150 Buff matches my skin perfectly. I'm one of those gals with different color face and neck so one of the reasons why I love this foundation is because it blends on smoothly leaving face and neck passably evened out. It also keeps my oilies at bay, my T-zone stays relatively matte longer, think 8 hours. I don't really do a full-coverage face so I keep it light or medium, depending on the state of my ginormous eye bags and I find that it's enough to even out my complexion, no need for concealers. It doesn't cake, or settle into fine lines. Sometimes, depending on application, it does settle into pores and it doesn't really do anything to minimize the appearance of them, but that's not really a deal-breaker. I have huge pores and I have long since made my peace with it and besides, that's what pore minimizers and HD powders are for, which I use before and after foundation. It does dry really quickly so I had to apply it by sections but the good thing is it doesn't rub off on clothes. My only gripe is it doesn't have a pump.
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Colorstay Whipped Crème Makeup, Php975 (about $25)
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Colorstay Whipped Crème Makeup comes in 16 shades. I wear 150 Buff. It's a tinee tiny bit darker than the liquid ColorStay. It doesn't give me the same face and neck color when I first apply it but I find that it changes color, like the longer I have it on, the nearer match it gets to my skin tone, if that even makes sense, I don't know. It has a different consistency in that it's "whipped", souffle-like. It also keeps the oil under control but not as well because I find myself using blotting sheets once or twice during the day. It gives decent coverage, also doesn't cake, doesn't settle into fine lines. Pores? If my HG foundation does zilch to my pores, then I certainly would not expect this to do miracles. Not that it does, cause it really doesn't. It doesn't dry as quickly so I can do my entire face in one go. Still, no pump.
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PhotoReady Makeup, Php925 (about $25)
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Finally, one that comes with a pump! It's funny though because out of the 3, I like this one the least. I wear 003 Shell. It's supposed to make you look good on photos, I guess that's what the tiny glitters are for, so you look like you're glowing.
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No, I don't sparkle like Edward Cullen does on a sunny day. The sparkles are barely noticeable. It does however give off a white cast in photos. It's light coverage but it's buildable, although I don't put on a lot because it makes me look orange sometimes. It doesn't stay on as long and it makes my face oily 3 to 4 hours after application. That said, I still like this better than the other foundations I own. Anyway, when I first dabbled in makeup and cosmetics, I spent countless hours looking at reviews and swatches especially. And I still do. So I hope this helps.

03 May 2013

Book Review: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi


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From Goodreads: "Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it's all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of. And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family? Now her life is completely different... every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left."

My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
As a semi-hypochondriac, I try to steer clear of books where any form of illness is the central theme. I already worry incessantly about other stuff so fretting for what I may or may not have on top of that is overkill. Anyway, I was browsing through the new releases when this book caught my eye. I loved the dress! I thought if the blurb sounds as good as that dress looks, then I'm sold. It didn't say much though so I had to check the reviews for clues as to what Lucy did that changed her life. My Life After Now is the first HIV/AIDS-themed novel I have ever read. And though it's not one I would normally pick out, I'm glad I did. I was curious not just about the disease but as to how a 16-year-old would handle contracting the virus and living with it for the rest of her life too. With a realistic plot and relatable characters, Jessica Verdi has written a powerful, heart-wrenching story that just as much entertains as it enlightens and perhaps even moreso.