Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Favorite Cups of Tea

I’ve always been a milk tea addict ever since Lipton milk tea was first out in the market and Chowking introduced its own version of milk tea – Nai Cha. When I first traveled to Malaysia, I grew fond of their teh tarik that I actually tried making a homemade version. Thai iced tea is undeniably my favorite as well :)

No wonder when all the milk tea stores opened in Manila, I found myself always in line to get a milk tea. I don’t mind waiting in  the long line as long as I get my milk tea fix to cure my insatiable craving.

Let me share my usual favorites:

#1 Gong Cha

It’s my number 1 milk tea favorite. For me, their drinks are the best tasting in town. I always order the Gong Cha House Special series. I especially liked the GC Early Grey and Winter Melon Tea. 


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There are 3 ways to taste and enjoy the Gong Cha House Special:
1.  Open the lid and sip the foamy creamy milk on top.
2.  Taste the flavor of the tea. 
3.  And mix them using the straw. This will give your drink a creamy taste of milk and tea combined. Mmmmm...

      Aside from the house specials, we usually order the those under the milk tea series. So far I’ve tried and liked the Milk Tea with Pearl Jelly, Early Grey Milk Tea, Caramel Milk Tea, Alisan Milk Tea and Chocolate Milk Tea. 

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They have stores in Glorietta (Food Choices), SM Mall of Asia, SM North Edsa, Robinson’s Place Ermita, and Gateway Mall (Cubao). 



#2 Chatime

I tasted Chatime’s milk tea first before I tried the others. Their milk teas are exciting but there are some drinks that are either a hit or a miss. What I love about Chatime is the variety of their drinks. You may get overwhelmed at first by their drink menu. They have milk teas, fruit, and tea drinks; a lot to choose from.

The Chatime Roasted Milk Tea and Pearl Milk tea are good and safe choices. The Matcha Red Bean Milk is also a must-order. If you’re a fan of green tea (matcha) and red beans, this drink will surely become an instant hit for you.

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I’m becoming more addicted to their QQ Jelly drink  like Chatime Grass Jelly Roasted Milk Tea. I'm also loving the their Lychee QQ Milk Tea. The milk tea has kick of lychee flavor on it plus the jelly.

I usually pass by their Landmark Bridgeway branch. They also have stores in Pioneer Center (Pasig), Robinson’s Galleria Supermarket, One Archers Place (Taft), and SM Mall of Asia.


#3 Happy Lemon

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I first tried Happy Lemon in Power Plant Mall. Although I don’t get to order their milk teas that often, I find their Green Tea with Rock Salt and Cheese a really exciting drink. The way to drink it is to sip the cheese on top first and taste the rock salt. Who would have thought that rock salt and cheese would compliment each other’s taste? At first, it would taste kind of weird but once you keep sipping you will appreciate their combined taste. Yummy!

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Happy Lemon has stores in Power Plant Mall (Rockwell), Greenhills (Promenade), Eastwood, TriNoma Mall, and SM Megamall. I hope they open up a branch in Ayala CBD soon. 


#4 Serenitea


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I’ve been hearing raves about Serenitea. So Erick and I decided to try their milk teas one lazy Sunday in Robinson’s Place Manila. We tried their Nagoya and Hokkaido Milk Teas.
They were also as good as the other milk teas but I think I still have to find out my favorite at Serenitea. It wasn't long until I found my not so ordinary cup of tea and that is Winter Melon Milk Tea. 

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To know about their store locations, click here

Serenitea menu

#5 Bubble Tea

When I was still working in Ortigas CBD, I usually pass by Megamall on my way home.  Although I’ve been noticing Bubble Tea before, I never had the chance to try their drinks until the milk tea craze. While most of the other milk tea stores are from Taiwan, Bubble milk tea is from Japan.

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I tried their Royal Milk Tea while Erick had their Chocolate Milk Tea. My drink was just okay nothing really extraordinary or worth raving about but it was also good and lived up to my expectation.

Erick’s milk tea tasted more like a chocolate drink rather than a milk tea. So yeah, in our list Bubble Tea is in the bottom. I noticed that their price is actually higher that other stores that sell more delicious milk teas. I think we paid Php 115 for a regular-sized milk tea whereas you can buy a large milk tea for a hundred bucks in other stores. 

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Bubble Tea has stores in SM Megamall and SM City North Edsa. 


#6 Tea Farm


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With frequent lunch and dinner dates in Makati, Erick and I came to know about this small milk tea stall in KPMG Bldg. I'd like to call it as the best-kept secret of KPMG. Comparing to all the other popular milk tea stores, Tea Farm's drinks are not behind in terms of taste and price. We especially liked their Winter Melon Milk Tea and Black Sugar Milk Tea. 


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Tea Farm is located at G/F Garden Area of KPMG Bldg. in Ayala Avenue.

With all the tea establishments sprouting within the metro. it’s hard not to indulge in these yummy milk teas. Drinking tea has becoming a more popular drink option aside from the usual and overpriced coffees. I was never a big fan of coffee so I’m happy that now I have a choice between coffee or milk tea. I’d say in a heartbeat, milk tea please! 

How about you? What’s your favorite?

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Fearless Forecast for the Sign Ox

Kung Hei Fat Choi everyone! It’s the year of the Dragon! I know everyone’s having a good time since it’s long weekend. Yey for that!

From my room window last night, I saw the fireworks display from Makati and Binondo welcoming the Chinese New Year. I’m not Chinese but it’s fun to read Chinese astrology and horoscope. I’m born under the sign of Ox so I was quite curious what’s in store for me in the Year of the Dragon. 

Generally, this year will be good for those born under the Ox sign in terms of career opportunities. Now that’s something nice to hear since my main priority for this year is work.

Here are some interesting fast facts on the fortune of Ox people in the Year of the Dragon:
 

Career
Ox's work in 2012 can be called a mission - so solemn and important that a representative of this zodiac sign will do all that is required to move forward. It will be good if Bull starts training, self-education - the year 2012 will be favorable to change job or even profession. In the upcoming 2012

Haha. This sounds so positive for me! Fingers crossed.

Money
There is an unlucky star appearing in the money area this year. Ox people's money luck in 2012 is below average, but you can have a stable income as long as you perform your work well.

I gotta work hard for the moolah! 

Love
Oxen are most compatible with those born under the Signs of the Rat and Rooster/Chicken and least compatible with the Tiger and Horse. Keep your horoscope allies and secret friend close to you, especially the Rooster who enjoys tremendous good fortune in 2012. With their help and support, obstacles will be less overwhelming, good fortune will be multiplied and success shared is so much sweeter.

Wow, this is nice to know! My boyfriend is born under the sign of the rooster and we simply just get along so well. I should say we complement each other’s attitude. Love.love.love!

Health
Some minor disease related to liver, stomach or spleen could appear from bad moods, but they shouldn't become a serious problem. As long as Cow people can find time to do regular exercise and give themselves enough time to rest and relax, then they should have a healthy Dragon year.

I’m young and healthy so this shouldn’t be an issue.

Of course, we shouldn't rely on these predictions to run our lives.  We are responsible how we live our lives and make our own choices. This forecast is just a mere guide and it gives us an insight on our fortune for the Year of the Dragon. Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Budget shopping at Duty Free Philippines

I have blogged before that I was able to get a Club Elite membership at Duty FreePhilippines (DFP). I got the free membership since we had a total shopping purchase of above USD 500 last time we went there in August of last year.

As a Club Elite Member, you are entitled to discounts, perks, promos at Fashion Walk & Beauty Walk at the Duty Free Fiesta Mall, Cebu Waterfront Hotel, and NAIA Terminals 1,2, and 3. 
I first called up the Club Elite hotline (5524337 local 3147, 8793614) for confirmation that we would be there to shop. Calling the hotline was easy breezy.

We dropped by the grocery to buy some personal toiletries and snacks. Since I was on budget mode, I only bought some essentials from their supermarket.

 
  
Here are my grocery loots:

Vaseline Aloe Fresh Hydrating Body Lotion with Aloe & Cucumber,700 ml @ USD 7.95
Pringles Super Stack in Cheddar Cheese @ USD 2.00
Crown Chocolate Mallows @ USD 1.20
2 Monarch Corned Beef @ 2.70 each x 2 = USD 5.40
Total Purchase: USD 16.55 (Php 716.63)

Conversion yesterday was at USD 1 = Php 43.30. 
That’s what I call budget shopping! I paid in peso by the way. Credit card transactions are not allowed.

I also checked on some items like perfumes and bags I’m eyeing to buy and the prices are way lower than what they're sold in the mall. 

MAC lipsticks are at USD 18 (Php 700+). Lipsticks are sold over Php1,000 in department stores. The foundation and powder are at USD 37 (Php 1600+). The mall price ranges from Php2000-2500.

For perfumes, I checked two of my favorite scents: DKNY and Elizabeth Arden Green Tea. DKNY Be Delicious is at USD 62 for the 50 ml while they have the promotion of two 30 ml bottle with different scents at USD 68 . Not bad! Elizabeth Arden has ongoing promo also where you can get two bottles of same scent at USD 32.

Of course, I wouldn’t miss to check on Longchamp. Here the prices at DFP:

Cabas – USD 89
Le Pliage (medium short handle) – USD 115
Le Pliage (large long handle) – USD 149
Planetes (large long handle) – USD 169
Planetes (medium long handle) – USD 149

If I just had money, I could have bought the Planetes in large long handle. I’ve been drooling for the black planetes ever since.

To get to Duty Free Philippines, check on this link. If you’re going there via commute, you may ride any bus going to Baclaran. From Baclaran, ride the jeepney with the signboard “Sucat Highway”. You will not miss the Duty Free Philippines Fiesta Mall since it’s very visible from the highway. You may also take the bus going to Paranaque with "MIA Road" signboard coming from EDSA. The bus route is only until NAIA Terminal 2 or the Centennial Airport, you need to take the Sucat jeepney to get to DFP.

Promise, the next time that I'll be back I'm in for some serious shopping! 

Make-up model for a day

Since Erick moved to Singapore, I've been spending my weekends mostly at home. Occasionally, friends would invite for meet-ups but oftentimes I’m a homebuddy these days.
So when my good friend/officemate Shane asked me if I could be her model for her make-up class, I said yes. Since I really got nothing to do, I thought why not. It could be fun after all! Shane is taking up make-up class as a hobby but eventually she plans to do her own bridal make-up in her wedding in June. Isn’t that cool?

I’m no make-up person to be honest. I’m just a powder and lipstick girl. I found it a bit of an effort to do my own make-up. 

Shane did two make-up styles to me on that day: deep-set eyes and round eyes make-up. I really liked the round eyes make-up that Shane did. It was fun doing the make-up session since it's feels great to be all made-up once a while. I also learned the basic tips for applying make-up. I’m no make-up guru but I picked up some really good steps on how to do it.

1.    Choose the right shade of foundation for your face. It should be closer to your natural skin tone. To test it, apply a stroke of  it in your jawline or cheeks and not on your hand. The one that disappears naturally is the right shade for your face. 

Shane used a cream foundation during our make-up session. Using a foundation brush, she applied it on my face by dabbing it lightly. She focused on the usual dark areas of the face like under the eyes, nose, and around the lips.

2.    Apply eye primer on the your eyelids. Using your fingers slowly glide it in your lids. The eye primer ensures that the eyeshadows will stay on your lids.

3.    Apply powder evenly on your face with a powder brush. Find a powder that suits your skin tone.

4.    Using a fan brush, apply loose powder under the eyes just above the cheek. This is done to dust away anything that fell from your eyes and cheek during the make-up application. 

5.    Apply a medium shade eyeshadow on the eyelid up to the crease. Extend the shade to the outer eye corner and continue down the lower lid.

A darker eyeshadow should be applied above the crease of your eye.

Use a lighter eyeshadow somehow close to white or beige in the upper eye just below the brown bone.

For the session, Shane used brown and warm colors since it’s a day make-up. Also, I wanted it to look natrural since we were going somewhere after her class.

6.    Appy an eyeliner by lining the eye from the inside of the lashes outward in one big sweep. You may use a liquid eyeliner or gel eyeliner which is easier to use. 

7.    Curl your eyelashes  using a curler  and apply mascara. 

8.    Groom the eyebrows combing it using a spoolie brush. You can use a brow shadow or pencil to fill or connect the spaces between your brows. Use a lighter shade of brow shadow.

9.    Apply blush on your cheeks.

10.  Choose a good shade of lipstick to go with your look. And you're all set!


Here's what I looked like after the make-up class with Shane! Thanks girl :)

Make-up model for a day :)
There was one time that I did my own face for a friend’s wedding last December. The wedding was 9 in the morning so I had to prepare like 6am or 7am. There was no open salon during that time so I was forced to learn a simple bridesmaid make-up. Thanks to YouTube and Shane for the tips!

Simple bridesmaid make-up by moi :)
I'm learning few things about make-up day-by-day and I'm excited to learn more techniques and essentials when it come to make-up applications.  It's fun to be a girl!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I love end-of-season sales!

Don't you just love end-of-season sales? I do! It's the time to of the year to splurge on shopping because everything is on red tag. I actually don’t shop a lot unless they’re on sale especially for branded items. With the end of Christmas season, almost every shop has a huge SALE sign on its window which is hard to resist. For someone like me who passes by the mall on my way home, the temptation is harder to resist.

So anyways, giving in to the temptation here are my good finds from last weekend’s shopping spree :)


Sleeveless scoopneck dress from Kamiseta. Bought this off the rack for Php800 which is 50% off the original price. I love its material - 100% cotton jersey which could easily pass for an office dress and be worn casually.


Brown knitted sweater dress from Terranova. I wasn't supposed to check Terra but my feet brought me to their shop and luckily I found this dress. The moment I fitted it, I knew I had to buy it. The material is light and comfortable; it also provides warmth when you're in a cold place, just perfect for our freezing office temperature. The tag price? Php695, a 50% off from the original.


Celine wedges and flats. I've been planning to buy on some decent shoes and wedges since last month but I've been waiting on shoe sales. I am such a cheapskate hehe. Celine offers a wide selection of shoes for every personality. I am a fan of their shoe collection because it's trendy, reasonably-priced, and sturdy. I bought the black wedges for Php799 while the black flats for Php499. Both shoes are already less 50%.

 

I am so liking my new buys :) I will have to go back this week to check on Mango. I'm eyeing the brown trousers because of its perfect fit. I hope Zara would go on further reduction sale this week. I will still have to check on Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Charles and Keith, Promod, and yes I will go back to Terranova. Haha! I'm counting the days until the next payday, that's five more days :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Staycation at Lancaster Hotel Manila

Happy New year everyone! I’m sure everyone has some kind of resolution for this year. Well goodluck to all of us! May we keep it through the rest of the year.

As for me, I only have two things on my list: growing my savings and finally do the career move. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. So yeah, sad to say travel isn’t in my resolutions for this year. But fret not because I know that I can’t resist my itchy feet. I will only travel if it’s on the budget. 

Having mentioned budget trips, we just had a staycation at Lancaster Hotel Manila. When I was still working in Ortigas Center,  I used to pass by this hotel on my way to work. It's conveniently located in Shaw Blvd. in Mandaluyong before you reach the flyover if you're coming from the Manila area. See I told you, I’m in for budget trips. It wasn’t really a trip; after all the hotel was just like 30 minutes away from our house. It was a staycation and provided a good change of environment.  Since my dad will be leaving again for abroad soon, we also caught up with some last minute family bonding time. It was supposed to be my mom and dad’s overnight trip but they insisted we join them and so we did.

We stayed in the junior suite which is basically a conventional studio-type room with small kitchen and bathroom. There was also a cable TV, fridge, telephone, and broadband access. The overnight stay package also includes free buffet breakfast and free newspaper delivered daily. 



We  managed to fit in this queen sized bed. My mom kept complaining how hard the bed is but I slept soundly all throughout the night.

 

The thing I like about the room is that it looks spacious although it was junior suite. There was also a fridge and a kitchenette where you can prepare your food and do some light cooking. 


From the mere look of the room, you can say it looks clean and spotless but I noticed that dust have accumulated at the bottom of the bed near the window. The room's glass windows are not that clean, you can see stains and dusts from the outside which obstructs the view. Despite this, our room still has good view of the Shaw flyover especially at night so you can see the road lights and traffic.

The bathroom is simple yet clean with a toilet and shower with bath tub, hair dryer, and all the basic toiletries that you need.
 
 

Honestly, I really didn’t  go out of the room during our whole stay. I was glued to the bed and just watched TV the whole time. It’s good to laze in a hotel bed once in a while. That’s the whole point of a staycation for me..sleep, watch TV, eat, and do nothing. So I can’t say much about the other facilities offered by Lancaster Hotel.  They pretty much have the usual facilities like the business center, function rooms, coffee shop, restaurants, swimming pool, roof deck, and spa which is soon to open. 

We checked the pool at the roof deck. We were thinking of swimming but found that the pool is only 3.5 feet deep; it was too shallow for adults like us. 


If you're looking for a hotel to stay with reasonable rates, decent rooms, and good location Lancaster Hotel fits the description. They offer promo rates for longer stay, so take advantage of it. Indeed, our stay was a time well-spent with the family although it meant more of snuggling closer in bed.