Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sample Room Haul

I was able to shop for toiletries for cheap without even having to leave home. How?

Sample Room! ๐Ÿ˜€

I almost forgot how fun it was to order from Sample Room! Last Thursday afternoon I woke up extra early so I thought of just browsing the site to see what's new. I spotted some nice bundled Palmolive samples to try, so I added them to my cart and paid Paypal (using my debit card). I used to line up at the bank and send a photo of the deposit slip via email (hassle), but when I discovered I could use my debit card, never na ko lalabas ng bahay. Chos! I was able to complete my order at 8:30AM last Thursday, and the next day my orders arrived! SO FAST! ๐Ÿ˜

Try before you buy ๐Ÿ’™
 

I loved the pretty paperbag! All my orders were taped and bubble wrapped so they arrived in perfect condition. (Thanks for the care, Sample Room!)
 
My haul ๐Ÿ‘

Palmolive Naturals White+Milk Body Wash & Soap
 
Palmolive Naturals Healthy & Smooth Shampoo and Cream Conditioner
 
Cรฉleteque DermoScience™ Sun Care Matte Moisturizer SPF 30
 
Because I've been with Sample Room for quite some time, I was able to earn points from my previous orders. (This one's my 13th! You can backread my previous blog posts about them here.) I only paid P130 shipping fee for everything! ๐Ÿ™Š SUPER SULIT!

Palmolive (Body) - P108.75
Palmolive (Hair) - P189
Celeteque (Face) - P69
TOTAL SRP: P366.75 - P130 (shipping fee) = P236.75 SAVINGS ๐Ÿ˜†๐ŸŒŸ

Super love it! I'm excited to use the Palmolive White+Milk Body Wash! While the Palmolive shampoo and conditioner duo is not new to me, we've been purchasing it for years. I'm also looking for a new face sunblock, so the tiny Celeteque tubes are a delight to have. They're so cute! ๐Ÿ’›

Thank you, Sample Room! ๐Ÿ’‹ Visit their website, guys! You might find something you'll like. ๐Ÿ’

Love,
Helen


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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Workshop Bespoke Bakery at SM Mega Fashion Hall

Located within the Le Petit Soufflรฉ restaurant in the Mega Fashion Hall is Workshop Bespoke Bakery, the latest offering of Chefs Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla. Their mission: To elevate the Filipino dessert experience.


The place is where rustic charm meets an industrial modern aesthetic. The Workshop is a space where the pastry chefs can create - it's their working shed where adventurous and even risky desserts come to life. It's where fancy meets fun and avant garde, and I have never seen a bakery that offers unusual finds - Matcha Canelรฉ, the Guava Cheese Tart, artisanal Valrhona chocolate bars, decadent Entremets, and more!


Last week, I visited The Workshop for the very first time and I loved what I saw...


The most decadent dessert spread I've come across. We were so spoiled.


They introduced to us their new cakes and collaboration with Yardstick Coffee. Pairing coffee and desserts is tricky business, and whenever I go to any coffee shop, I ask the barista which cake goes well with my drink because I feel that they know best. Now, The Workshop takes the guesswork out of these pairings. They know for a fact that the flavors shouldn't overpower each other so they came up with complementary pairs. Take your pick!

17 Layer Cake with Dairy-free Mocha

It has 17 layers of alternating Valrhona Araguani 72% Ganache and moist chocolate cake, enrobed in 70% Guanaja chocolate glaze and glaรงage, served with a dollop of whipped cream cheese. The 17 Layer Cake is the richest chocolate cake I've had - it's like biting into a block of thick and smooth dark chocolate with thin layers of soft cake. If you like dark chocolate, you will love this one. For me, a single slice is already good to share since it's so thick, dense, and rich.
 
Pistachio Roulade with Madagascar Vanilla Latte

The Pistachio Roulade has the simplest look, but it's not to be understimated. It takes a whole lot of effort to make, and it's made with 100% pureed pistachios sponge and filling. The taste is very light and perfect. I was able to finish my slice in just minutes. (I want more!)

Basque Burnt Cheesecake with Torched Butterscotch Iced Latte

THIS! This cheesecake is crazy good. I haven't had anything like it in my life. I'm used to normal cheesecakes, and I already love them as they are, but I am head over heels with the Basque Burnt Cheesecake!


This is their version of the famous Spanish cake, where it's baked at a higher temperature to get that caramelized almost burnt top with a custardy core. Speaking of the custary core, you can enjoy this cheesecake chilled, at room temperature, or warmed. My favorite version of this is when it's warm and freshly baked, because the custardy core reminds me of the freshly baked egg tarts from Macau. It has a different texture when it's freshly baked compared to when it's at room temperature, but ALL versions of this cheesecake are delicious. To make this light cheesecake even more decadent, they also made their own dulce de leche pecans as toppings. MUST TRY!

Taste test of the 3 new cakes ๐Ÿฐ
 
Spotted: Petit gรขteaux (mini versions of a big cake, individually decorated and not sliced). Aren't they all pretty? ๐Ÿ˜

You can order/reserve your cake(s) by calling The Workshop at (02)944-6541. Workshop Bespoke Bakery is located in 2/F SM Mega Fashion Hall.

Facebook: Workshop_ph
Instagram: @workshop_ph

Which cake and coffee pair do you like best?
(Mine's the one with the Basque Burnt Cheesecake!
The coffee's so Instagrammable, too! ๐Ÿ˜)

Love,
Helen

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Life update + some ballet inspiration ๐Ÿ’ญ

Late last year my life was in disarray. I thought I had it all planned out. I quit my full-time job to pursue further studies. When the time came for me to finally actively search for work that would suit my newly acquired skills, I always seemed half-baked and wouldn't make the cut. The time I finally passed, the offer got stalled. I'm not sensitive towards rejection, but there came a point when I knew it simply was not God's will for me. I also lost important people in my life - death of a family member and the end of a relationship. I've never felt this lost. Sometimes, I felt like I was losing even my blog because whenever I tried to write, words won't come out. But I won't let that happen. Even when I feel like stopping, there is always a reason to go on.

Just the first half of the year has made me learn a lot of things. I've learned how silence can be powerful, too. I've learned that you must not depend on anyone else for your happiness. That joy comes from within you, and it's far greater than happiness which comes from external forces. I've also learned that sometimes you need to cut negative and toxic people out of your life for good, not because you're a mean person but because you deserve peace. Unexpectedly, I went back to my former workplace. This was definitely not part of the plans I had for myself, but sometimes life is funny. The only thing to do now is to bloom where I am planted. ๐ŸŒธ I'm slowly picking myself up and getting back on track. But I still need your prayers. So please please pray for me! ๐Ÿ™ That I may have the strength to get through this year. I may seem tough, but really, I'm not. I was just born with a resting bitch face. LOL ๐Ÿ˜œ

I also realized that if I want to feel happier, I must... EXERCISE! ๐Ÿ˜… Last month, I was given a very welcome break - a chance to try out Ballet Manila's Adult Summer Program. Ballet Manila is the country’s premier classical dance company, and they have schools in Pasay and Fisher Mall in Quezon City.
 

Due to my work schedule, I go home late everyday so I wasn't able to attend the weekday sessions. I was able to have a glimpse of Floor Barre though, which was a mix of fitness and classical ballet for adults - no previous ballet training required.


The class was under Teacher Victoria, who was both strict and motivating at the same time.


I tried the class when the Adult Summer Program was about to end, so my classmates were way up in terms of skill and knowledge. My only regrets was not being able to start the classes in April due to conflict with my work schedule. It's been so long since I really moved around and exercised, so I welcome this good kind of pain. The experience was fun and it definitely lifted my mood. Endorphins at work!

Ballet and dance were help me cope and adjust - to be more like my old happy self again. On a greater scale, art changes lives. Let me introduce you to two living proofs: Jamil Montibon and Jessa Balote.


Graceful, strong, and well-traveled. One quick look at Jamil (22) and Jessa (19) will never give you any clue that the two dancers grew up in the slums of Tondo and used to scavenge for a living. As scholars of the country’s premier classical dance company, Ballet Manila, both Jamil and Jessa have been to some of the most prestigious theaters around the world, performing in front of world leaders and society’s elite.

But their journey to success has not been easy. In fact, it was—and still is—riddled with trials. As both continue to dance their way out of poverty, one thing they note that Ballet Manila has provided them with the ability to dream.


“Ballet Manila has helped me aspire for more,” shares Montibon. “Before I entered the company, I was resigned to the fact that I will probably spend the rest of my life on the streets, collecting trash. Ballet Manila has made me realize that I have something to offer to the world. Now, my dream is to become a soloist and travel to more places. I really want to see The Kremlin Ballet Theatre with my own eyes!”


Both Jamil and Jessa are proud products of The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila—an institution that will celebrate 20 years of classical dancing education this month with a recital titled ‘Just Dance 20’.

To date, dancing has taken the two from the streets of Tondo to those of Hong Kong, South Korea, and London. Ballet Manila ensures that their scholars always have a fruitful experience whenever they travel. The company allots time for them to enjoy and immerse themselves in the local culture of the places they visit.


Both Jessa and Jamil were handpicked by Ballet Manila’s Artistic Director and CEO, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, to become part of the company’s Project Ballet Futures program. According to Elizalde, it was their distinct physical attributes that made her decide to include the two in the program.


“One attribute of Jessa that allowed her to stand out among those who auditioned before is her ability to turn out her legs,” says the famous Prima Ballerina. “Meaning, her ability to rotate her legs 90 degrees to the right and left. Also, she had really clean lines."


"Meanwhile, the strength of Jamil’s legs really impressed me. We asked him to jump on the very first day of the auditions, and he just soared."

Since being accepted in the company, both dancers have undergone classical dance training based on the famous Vaganova style of dancing. Considered by experts and dance enthusiasts as the best in the world, the Vaganova technique served as the foundation of Elizalde’s long and fruitful career—allowing her to reach her dreams of becoming a famous prima ballerina and traveling to places she never thought she’d see in her lifetime.

“Ballet has given me so much and I know that it can give the same to others. The key is really to just keep pushing yourself and to constantly open yourself to learning—not just from your teachers, but from your peers as well. I know for a fact that the Philippines has so much hidden talent waiting to be discovered, and some of those, like Jessa and Jamil, are often hidden away from the spotlight. And that’s why Ballet Manila continues to run Project Ballet Futures.”

Ballet Manila’s Project Ballet Futures is a scholarship program that scouts for potential ballerinas and danseurs in some of the most deprived neighborhoods all over the country. Once accepted, all scholars get free meals, transportation, supplements, dancing gear, and allowance in addition to the full dance scholarship. The program recently held another round of auditions where it accepted a total of 17 new scholars.


“The beauty of dancing is not limited to performances. It transforms people for the better, and that’s one message we want to send out to everyone. Dancing—especially ballet—offers so much more than superficial beauty. It instills discipline and helps uplift spirits,” ends Elizalde.
Love,
Helen

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