Keeping your Nails Clean and Healthy

Monday, June 17, 2013

As many of you know, I have a weak spot for pretty nails. Back in college - which wasn't so long ago - I used to paint my nails with very intricate and quirky designs. From plain solid colors to designs with small gems and stickers - I could not go a day without nail polish on. This went on for so long that my nails started to have a permanent yellow or blueish tint. No matter how many times I clean my hands and nails, the stain would not go away. Now, applying nail polish is completely safe*, but sometimes we need to give our nails time to breathe. The more layers of polish and colors we put on our nails, the more chemicals accumulate, causing more yellowing.

So how do we solve this problem of yellowing?

You can take a break from applying nail polish for a while and just let your nails grow until you can trim the yellow part off. I tried to do that, but the sight of the stained nails bothers me. I just end up applying polish to cover it. If you absolutely must apply nail polish (like me, lol), remember to use a base coat to protect your nails from absorbing any pigments from regular polish. I use OPI Original Nail Envy - it keeps my nails strong and healthy. 

OPI Original Nail Envy

Another way to remove the yellow stains is to use a nail buffer.

I bought this Orogold Cosmetics Hyacinth Exquisite Manicure Set when I was in Shangri-La mall the other day -- the kit included a 3-Step nail buffer, nail file, tea tree oil for the cuticles, and a hand & body lotion. It was overpriced for a nail kit in my opinion, but the salesperson was so friendly and convincing that I ended up buying it impulsively. Really. Excellent. Sales talk. The whole kit is regularly priced at PhP 2,550.00, but I got a discount and bought it at half the price + got a few nail buffer refills for free.

Orogold Manicure Set
What made me buy this expensive nail kit was the nail buffer. I tested it on my thumb nail and it worked like magic. It made my nails smooth and really shiny in less than five minutes, without the use of base coat or a clear gel coat! Okay. I know you can probably get a similar product at a muuuuuch lower price, but this thing claims to have Colloidal gold or something in it. I'm not sure if I should believe it and I don't know if it's significantly better than other nail buffers, but it worked great for me. I just don't like the squeaky sound it makes when I rub it against my nails.

To use the nail kit, first remove your nail polish (if any) with a polish remover. Then file your nails in one direction until you get your desired shape and length. Filing in both directions would weaken your nails and cause them to break easily! The provided Orogold nail file is said to be for "gentle, non-abrasive shaping." It does the job like any normal nail file, in my opinion.

Then, use the 3-Step Buffer (my nail buffer has four steps, but I think the sides with Steps 3 and 4 are the same): Step 1, the roughest edge, removes the ridges and unhealthy/dry outer layer of your nails. It takes off the surface ridges as well as any stains from polish. Step 2 smooths out the roughness / marks made by the first buffer. The buffing movement also stimulates blood circulation. The 3rd step, my favorite part, adds a finishing shine to the nails by transmitting the natural oils and moisture of our nails through the surface. Do take note that you can only do steps 1 and 2 ONCE a month. Excessive buffing can be unhealthy because it would make the layers of your nails thin and brittle.

Next, apply drop of cuticle oil or the tea tree oil over your bare nails, cuticle, and under-nail tip. Massage it until it's completely absorbed. Do this several times a week to keep your nails moisturized and healthy.

Lastly, use the 24K Body Lotion to nourish and soothe your skin.

Ingredients (as seen on the box):

The Hand & Body Lotion contains Aqua, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoaraffin, Laureth-7, Ceteareth-25, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Fragrance, Gold, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Methylisothiazolinone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.

The Cuticle Oil contains Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Oil, Propylparaben, BHT, D & C Yellow No. 11, D & C Red No. 17.

After a month of trying the product, I can say that I am still quite impressed by nail buffer - my nails are still glossy and healthy-looking even though I haven't been retouching them with the 3rd-step buffer. And I don't have to buy any other nail buffers because I was given refills that would probably last me for more than two years (since I can only use them once a month). My nails look healthy and are stain-free. It's also easier for me to apply polish now because the surface is really smooth.

As for the lotion, it's non-greasy and scented like Hyacinth. It's hypoallergenic and great for dry skin. The gold ingredient in it is said to have anti-aging benefits - prevents wrinkles and reduces dark spots. I asked the salesperson if it has SPF, and she said yes. It doesn't say on the label though. Does it really? She mentioned a bunch of other skincare benefits (that I couldn't remember because they sounded like medical jargons), so I hope it would be worth the investment. I don't think it has SPF and there are better anti-aging products in the market, but I bought it anyway as it comes in the set. I also don't really feel the 24K gold in the product, but then again, I'm don't know how gold should really feel on my skin.

Despite the nice smell and feel of my pampered nails, I thought that my purchase was not really worth it because I seldom use the nail kit. I only buffer my nails once a month at most, and I currently have other hand lotions that I could use. There's definitely one lesson learned for me, and I'm telling you guys: Be a smart consumer! Don't get carried away with all the sales talk, especially if it's ridiculously expensive. Don't get me wrong though - as someone who works at a luxury brand for cosmetics and perfumes, I do believe that our skin deserves the very best products and care, but it helps to do your research first before buying anything new. 

* unless they have harmful chemicals like Toluene, Formaldehyde, Dibutyl phthalate!

A Life-Changing First Quarter

Friday, March 22, 2013

In my previous blog entry, I talked about things that I was thankful for in 2012. With the boring monotonous lifestyle I have been having, one would expect me to live with the same old routines and day-to-day adventures. But now, three months into 2013, I am simply overwhelmed. February 2013 was the month a lot of changes happened in my life. Some life skills were learned, my personality developed, and my perspective widened. March is another story - it was the time that I became officially employed, attended our first press event, and ultimately realized how lil' old me can actually fit in this industry.

After I finished my thesis in mid-December, and I started bumming around the house. I ate a lot of junk food, read a lot of books, watched a number of films and series, and played Skyrim (yes, I play Skyrim) like there is no tomorrow. I actually considered myself as a productive bum because I was gaining so much knowledge of popular culture. But the time came when I grew bored of being a bum and getting fat. I wanted to challenge myself and do something more with my time. I wanted to learn how to cook and drive, but I didn't want to spend my savings and 紅包 money for ingredients and driving lessons. So I started looking for a job.

My sister saw a job opening through her friend's friend's Facebook post, and she sent me a link. I emailed my cover letter and resume to the address, and about 30 minutes later, someone contacted me. I had my first job interview the next day, and when I got home, I got the feedback via phone call. I was told that the company cannot hire me yet because I have not yet officially graduated. Even though I am done with all my units, I do not have the documents (my diploma or transcript of records) to process my application. But then, they saw how I was bored at home (I think that was the exact words), so they wanted to offer me a position as a Project Assistant. I can work like a freelancer or intern while waiting for my graduation. The compensation they offered was just about enough to cover my daily transportation, food, and miscellaneous expenses. I thought about it for a day, and the next day, I came back to the office to sign the contract and start my orientation. So much has happened in just three days.

I wanted to have a good start in my career (who doesn't?). I wanted to be in a company / work environment that I would be excited to go to every morning. During our church's prayer and fasting week, I asked God for no delays in my graduation (because I applied late) and to give me a job that I would love and enjoy. I specifically prayed for a position that would help me grow in my career and as an individual - with colleagues that I can be friends with and that would also help me in my walk with God. I felt a bit insecure because I was pursuing a very corporate career in marketing even though I did not have a business degree. But then this opportunity came up, to work even before I graduate, to learn and earn some experience and to beef up my non-business-related resume. That month, I once again realized how great God's timing is. When He answers prayers, He gives you the very best. 

Looking back, I actually miss my nonexistent bum days. I was not able to maximize my post-thesis freedom that much. I have less free time and I only get to hang-out with friends during weekends or after office hours. But with the quarter of 2013 nearly over, I can genuinely say that I am happy where I am now. After my month-long contract as a Project Assistant, the company officially hired as an employee. I recently got my first payroll, and of course, to celebrate these first fruits of my labor, I am giving a portion to the church and to my family and yaya -- I can finally (and proudly) say that dinner is on me! ♥ With the new work environment (and a shorter commute!), I also have more responsibilities. I get stressed and tired sometimes, but so far, I am enjoying what I do. I learn something different each day. I am starting to love this new routine and the independence that comes with it. ☺

My Top 12 of 2012

Thursday, January 03, 2013

It's the first week of January! I can't believe another great year has passed. Being at this time of the year gives everyone hope and encouragement. We are at the start of another chapter of our lives. If there was one thing you failed to do last year, this year, we can start afresh. Anyone can choose to change for the better at any time of the year, but it seems to have greater relevance when one changes as the whole world changes. It's a brand new year! The irony of the holidays is that we are both at the beginning and end of something big. In this blog entry, I would like to take time to remember the significant events that happened to me in 2012, and welcome the things that He has in store for me in 2013. Not arranged in any order, these are the things that I am most thankful for last year: 

1. A great OJT experience at Meg Magazine

seen in the Meg April 2012 issue
One of the things I have always wanted to do was to work in a publishing company. MEGA Publishing Group (now called One MEGA Group Inc.) has been my top choice when I answered my OJT information sheet. I remember being so nervous two years ago when I was thinking about the internship interview. In the span of a month, God blessed me so much in my work. I not only learned about my experience there, I also met new friends and got credited for my work, published in the magazine! When I first saw my name on print, I was so so SO happy. I know it might not be a big deal for some, but I was genuinely glad I was given the opportunity to contribute and write a page of the 'Fashion Pop' segment of the magazine.

Read more of this unforgettable experience in detail in a previous blog entry

2. Blogging 

Yes, this little corner of the Internet changed my life in a significant way, too. I created this blog as a space for me to just express my thoughts and experiences. Writing is something I enjoy doing. When I do not have the creative juices for writing prose or poetry, I can write about myself and my life (self-centered much?) through blogging. Haha. I used to 'blog' endless uninteresting things years ago in Multiply and Wordpress, and I re-blog a bunch of entries in Tumblr. Why not take that into another level by really writing something more original and personal, more me? Thus, the creation of this blog. It's a place where I talk all I want about absolutely anything under the sun. Maybe writing or journalizing bits of my life is a form of cyber-catharsis. I feel good about myself afterwards. Plus, I am really happy and grateful to know that people actually read my blog. Thank you!

3. Getting Cultured the Chinese way

May 2012 was the month my parents (and some aunts and uncles) went to Xiamen to visit the ancestral home and celebrate my Ape's birthday. We (the youngsters) didn't get to come but I heard lots of stories from my father when they arrived home after a few days. Through pictures, I got to see where my grandfather grew up and ultimately where a quarter of my blood came from. They also brought home gifts and some authentic Chinese tea, which I really liked. 

Intersection of Carnarvon and Granville road in TST
Though I have studied in a Chinese school for twelve solid years of my life, I never really got the chance to experience the culture in a real and personal way. June 2012 was the month my siblings and I went to Hong Kong for a (late) vacation. It was my first time ever to venture out of the Philippine shores. The first time we got out of the MTR and got to see the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, I really felt that I was in another world. Indeed, it was a great time to unwind, experience new things, and shop like never before. I also got to spend time my best friend, who is living in HK now. At that time, I only had school two days a week, so fortunately, I did not miss any class. 

4. A Fun Way to Gain Calories

It has been ages since anyone in the house used the oven for baking sweets. My sisters used to bake lots of cookies and cupcakes back in the day, but they grew up and went on with other hobbies. One day I told my brother that I was craving red velvet cupcakes. He told me "then go bake some." - I know that probably doesn't sound inspiring in any way, but that started the whole hobby. He accompanied me to the supermarket to buy ingredients and I baked. And baked and baked. 

unpiped red velvet cupcakes fresh from the oven
Through the whole year, I managed to create various calorie-filled goodies. I earned a few bucks by selling a few cupcakes and cookies, but I mostly just give them as gifts for my loved ones. My victims They commented that I have gotten a lot better, from baking cupcakes and cookies to cakes and fondant designs. ☺ I am still not very good, but I enjoy what I do/create, especially when I give them to people as personalized gifts.

5. Getting to know his Family

2012 was also the year I got closer to Ivan and his family. I met his parents and siblings the year before, but I was incredibly shy (I still am) and quiet that I blushed too much. I told myself that I have to get over my shyness and improve my social skills because no one likes a boring and excessively blushing girl. Fortunately, Ivan helped a lot in being the middle party so there were no awkward situations. And because I spend so much time with him, I naturally got to spend time with his family, too. I was able to bond with his sister when we planned to go to the soft opening of the The Mind Museum last March (but we were late so we ended up eating in Serendra instead) and when we attempted to make mochi ice cream balls last August. I got to talk with his parents more (and even had an brief heart-to-heart talk with his mom!!) when I accompanied them for a last minute shopping before his study trip to Korea.

To say that I am happy and honored to be introduced to his folks is an understatement. They are incredibly sweet and kind to me, and more than being thankful for having Ivan in my life, I am also very thankful for the people who made him that way. 

6. My Sister's Wedding

Achi and my (now) brother-in-law got married just last October. It was such a lovely and heartwarming event. The venue was magical and the ceremony short but gushingly sweet. A lot of people laughed and cried; we were all so happy to witness how God's promise, a perfect love story, came to be fulfilled. At the reception, my brother and the groom's sister sang a wonderful duet and the parents had their speech (papa was funny and great). After years and years of waiting and praying (and months of stressful wedding-planning), achi finally got married to the love of her life under the sky (which is, according to her, how she always pictured her dream wedding to be). God is so great. ♥

♥♥♥ (Photo taken by Ces Tan)
Her marriage not only led to changed in the way I live (literally, because she doesn't live in our house anymore), but also inspired me to really come to God to "experience the best version of [my] life" (-- her exact words). I am so thankful for my achi and my new brother, and also to the Lord Jesus for bringing those two together.

7. Leveling-up in School Spirit

When I was in my first year of college, I remember getting free ice cream because the our school's basketball team won a game against ADMU. Although we didn't get in the final four that year (or the next couple of years), I get instantly fueled up when I watch the UAAP games with my sister or my friends. I think it is safe to assume that most Lasallians are high on animo, or (school) spirit. This year, my best friend decided to make the most out of our stay in college by really participating and cheering on our basketball team live.

Animo! ☺
It wasn't my first time to watch a game live, but I had way so much fun this time. Suddenly, I became a huge fan(girl). Because of my best friend's influence, I was able to understand the games more, and why it matters to a lot of people. I remember feeling extremely cheerful and tired from shouting and clapping when the Green Archers (finally!) secured their spot into the final four. Yes, we did not win overall, but cheering on the Green Archers was an exhilarating experience that I will surely remember in college.

8. A Dream Come True that was Nick Jonas

my view of the stage ☺ it was a bit far, but I was happy. 
October 2012 was not only the month where my sister and her boyfriend tied the knot, it was also the month I ticked off something from my childhood bucket list. After nearly six years of waiting, I finally managed to look at the Jonas Brothers in the eyes at their concert a few months ago. I am a huge Jonas Brothers fan and I am prouuuuud of it! I remember dichi asking me, "If you had a chance to attend one concert in your life, whose would it be?" I answered the Jonas Brothers right away. And my wish came true! I was fighting back tears at hearing the first few notes of the opening song. It was such an amazing concert. They were amazing performers. They sang all of their hit songs. The rendition of Lovebug gave me goosebumps. Nick said he heard it was wonderful in Manila in Hello Beautiful. He also sang Wedding Bells. I have nothing left to say.

9. The Bittersweet End of my Academic Pursuits

no more thesis work!! ☺
I am very happy to announce that I am finally done with all my classes, my final thesis, and yes, with school!! Writing my thesis was such a roller coaster ride. I have been working on it the whole year and it was physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. I cried so many times over it, and sacrificed sleep and social life just to get it done. It was all worth it. Mark 11:24 (NIV) says, "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." - it is such a powerful verse! You can overcome absolutely anything through Him! Apart from the wonderful feeling of freedom, I am so happy that I am able to honor and thank my parents for investing in my education. Now, I am just waiting for graduation to make everything official. Thank you, Lord!

10. Experienced the Legen.. -wait for it- ..dary!

And by that, I meant college parties. Okay, it's kind of big deal for me because I was already in my senior year of college and was never allowed to attend college parties before. Ever. I know I'm not missing out on a lot because I am not really into drinking or dancing, but it was something I should at least experience before I graduate. Fortunately, my best girl friend was always with me and I had a great time. I literally felt like a kid in LIV last November - we played with paint guns, ran on muddy fields, and had fun under the rain. The aftermath wasn't so pretty, because I got paint all over my clothes and I kinda ruined my sister's shorts, but it was a lesson learned.

I couldn't have asked for better company ♥
I also managed to catch up with fellow 109 batchmates in the TOTEM graduation party last December. It was like LPEP 2k9 all over again, some batchmates I don't see that much were there. At the end of the fun night, I realized how everything led to this liberating yet agonizing truth at the back of my head - it was a graduation party. I'm graduating. I'm getting old.

And it's definitely something to be thankful for.

11. New Friends, New Experiences

This one is a bit general, but the year would not be complete without making new friends and trying out new things.

I am very grateful for the people that I have met this 2012 - colleagues and bosses from my internship, classmates that I met from cross-enrolling, friends from FAST09 and ACG, and fellow lit majors who were a batch younger than me. I'm not a very outgoing person, and I realized that the older I get in school, the more difficult it is to really be close to someone and/or keep in touch with people. During my last term, I was almost always alone because some of my friends have class or have graduated already. I knew that giving myself 'alone time' is kind of healthy and liberating, but it's also pretty lonely. That's why I am really truly thankful for the people who kept me company, encouraged me, and cheered me on (especially with my thesis!!) the past year. As cl
iché as it might sound, I wouldn't get to where I am now if it weren't for those people.

Having new friends also means sharing new experiences! I had so much fun flying with my girl friends in AntiGravity Yoga, assisting local bands and block sections in Faastigan, visiting the zoo for an environment project, and helping fashion editors in styling for a magazine shoot (to name a few)!

12. Close and Comfortable

Apart from all the new things I have encountered last year, I am also greatly indebted to the things that remained the same, with people that were already familiar to me - my good ol' friends and family. After achi got married and moved out of the house, I got to annoy hang out with my brother more (since he took over the room next to mine and dichi's, while his old room became an entertainment room). It made us literally closer than before. ☺ I miss my achi, but it's like nothing much changed. Our new family set-up is not really 'new' because I felt like my brother-in-law was already my big brother long before he got married to achi.

It was also the year I got to spend more quality time with my high school friends. We never really hung out together during school days because our schedules clashed, but this year we coincidentally had similar breaks. Eanne and I became almost inseparable because we would usually eat lunch together. I was also able to bond with Kaye more because of her demanding school projects (which is kinda ironic). Maybe it's just me, but I think that the moments we shared this year is more meaningful and heartfelt. I have known these guys almost my whole life. It's really nice to know that we still find time for each other despite our busy schedules.

high school never ends ♥
Aside from my high school friends, I am thankful for my college buddies, too. Tricia graduated last October and I was still in school, but that did not stop us from meeting and chatting almost every day. She was always there to listen, whether it be about my insecurities, rants, or dilemmas in school. I think we have both gotten closer last year, and I am really looking forward to how our friendship would grow even more this 2013.

My lit loves, Marian and Nikki especially, were also with me when I had my Dark Ages, a.k.a. thesis blues. They, too, were suffered from the same unhealthy feelings of stress and panic, and it was nice to know I was not truly alone (even though I technically am, because it was an individual work). They were my constant companions, from stress-eating to researching in the library. We encouraged each other and ranted together.

Ivan has also been a significant part of my year. Before his term in Korea, I had spent a great deal of time talking and being with him that he has become like a default presence in my life. We became more comfortable with each other last year. I am thankful that until today, I have someone like him - a best friend who understands me, a crying shoulder who comforts me, brother-figure who cares about me, and a personal stress ball who listens to my problems.


So much has happened last year that the blessings I have received from Him do not fit this list of twelve. I am thankful for so much - for my growing family, for the good health of my loved ones, for my upcoming graduation, for my successful OJT, for Ivan's stay in Korea, for a revival of my passion in reading, for my supportive friends, for my first trip abroad, for high school reunions, for an awesome college life, and for all the happiness. 2012 was a great year, but I know 2013 will be even better. ♥