Zeno Hot Spot.

I rarely breakout, maybe a pimple or two when our 'monthly friend' comes to visit, but this product is getting me all curious!



ZENO HOT SPOT is a hand-held device that uses a single ingredient you can actually pronounce - heat - to destroy the bacteria that causes your pimples. The result: quick and painless acne relief.




Sounds like the perfect gadget to have in your purse for those zit emergencies right?  I'd buy it in an instant if not for three things: First, it's only good for 80 uses.  And according to the manual, you have to zap a zit a couple of times a day.  So, 80 uses wouldn't get you that far.  Second, it's $40.  Not really that expensive but it's the same amount I spend for two other products I usually buy for these kinds of emergencies.  Those are tried and tested, this one isn't.  Third, the product got mixed reviews.  Some say Zeno works, some say it doesn't.  Some claim the Zeno lasted them for more than 80 uses, some claim it lasted them for only 3-5 uses.  

Anybody ever tried this product?  To buy or not to buy?













image credits:
Target.com

Christmas Loot Bag.

Hi everyone! How was Christmas? It's been raining non-stop here in SoCal (which is out of ordinary) and everything's closed today so I figured this is the best time to update my blog.  I've actually been suffering from bloglaziness-itis for some time now and quite honestly, I still have it up to this very minute. However, I'll try my best to get the gears going again starting with a peek into my Christmas loot.




Re-discovering Tia Maria's.

Warning: Still under the influence of margarita while writing this post ;)

T and I were supposed to go to Tagaytay for dinner but because something was wrong with my phone, which received messages only 3 hours after it was sent, the plan didn't push through.  After discovering the problem  with my phone and talking for a bit, T and I ended up craving for Mexican food.

The first place we went to was Mexicali in Alabang Town Center.  Closed.  The next one we went to was Poquito Mas in Westgaste Alabang.  Closed.  With the way things were going, we really were tempted to just do the usual Army Navy again.   But since we were both in the mood to try something different, T and I gave it one last try and headed for a mall we barely go to.  And there it was, a Mexican place that was still open at 9:30pm... Tia Maria's!



Tia Maria's isn't exactly new.  I remember it being such a hit at one point during the early 90's but eventually its popularity died down nearing the latter part the decade.  Good thing it was re-introduced again through a Festival Mall Alabang branch which opened last year.




I was craving for nachos so I got the Nachos Grande (P335)*.  Tia Maria's Nachos Grande was a big platter of nachos topped with Cheddar sauce, fresh salsa, black olives, jalapenos and drizzled with sour cream.  YUM!  The serving's good for 3-4 persons but what the heck.




T was supposed to order beer to go with the nachos but since Tia Maria's had a promo, we went for it.  Nacho Grande + Pitcher of Margarita for only P495 (savings of P95).   I think the bartender loved us a little bit too much and added more than the usual tequila in the mix.




Originally, T was only supposed to order Tacos (P138) to satisfy his craving.  But since he felt like having an eating binge, T got the Mexican Platter (P480) which was a large plate loaded with a Super Burrito, Enchiladas, Tacos and Quesadillas.  It came with condiments such as salsa fresca, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese sauce.   The server said the platter was good for 4-5 persons.  Bring it on!




Everything was good, from the nachos to the platter to the margarita.   Usually, Mexican food gets icky after a while (for those not used to the rich flavor of the various spices used) but I never felt that way despite eating dishes good for 8-10 persons.  It was also a big plus that everyone from the servers to the bartenders were really nice.  From the time we entered Tia Maria's until the time we left, everyone was so friendly and attentive.




I don't know how many girlfriends can say they've drunk margaritas with their boyfriends or how many boyfriends can say they went on a foodtrip eating stuff good for 10 people with their girlfriends.  Well tonight, T and I did!  And it really was fun fun fun ;)  Till the next spur-of-the-moment thing... Ay Caramba!


Tia Maria's
Dining Date: 3 November 2010


3rd Level Festival Supermall
Commerce Avenue
Alabang, Muntinlupa CityPhilippines
(632) 659-2832


522 Remedios Street cor Madre Ignacia St.
Malate, Manila
Philippines
(632) 522-0429


552 United Nations Avenue
Ermita, Manila
Philippines
(632) 525-7389


4th Level Bridgeway
SM Megamall
Dona Julia Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City
Philippines


Katipunan Avenue cor Alvero St.
Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Philippines
(632) 426-2350


Upper Ground Level Back Terrace
SM City Baguio
Baguio City
Philippines
(6374) 619-7681









*Approximately $1 = P50

My High School Reunion.


I rarely blog about personal stuff but my grand high school reunion meant so much to me that I couldn't help but publish an entry about it.

A few minutes before everyone arrived.

Sweets For My Sweets: Gelatissimo And Frutti Froyo.

Yes, another yogurt post!  But this time, with a twist of gelato ;)


Gelatissimo

A hunt for the perfect dress to wear to my grand high school reunion brought me and T to Greenbelt.  Despite a really filling dinner at Dillinger's (saving this for another post), I started to crave for something sweet at the end of the day.  Just in time, a couple passed by us with little cups in their hands.

"I want that!!!", I told T.  

So, we searched Greenbelt 5 until we found a big crowd on the 2nd floor.   Turns out, they were all lining up to get a cup of gelato at Gelatissimo Cafe.


There were more people around the area.

Two things that surprised me about Gelatissimo Cafe: 

1. It's a franchise from Australia
Initially, I thought it was a locally grown concept.  My next guess would be it's a franchise from the US or Italy.  Both times, I guessed wrong.  Gelatissimo Cafe is from Australia.

2. The Greenbelt branch is already their 3rd one.
They opened their first two branches in Cebu.  According to their website, they'll be opening a 4th branch in Trinoma and a 5th branch in Serendra soon.


Thought this bottle of water was imported but turns out, it's from Cebu!

I've always wondered how gelato and ice cream differed.  Thanks to Wikipedia, I learned that gelato is just Italy's version of, well, ice cream though gelato usually has a lower butterfat and sugar content than the regular ice cream.


The gelatos are based on home recipes.

There were so many flavors to choose from at Gelatissimo Cafe!  Good thing they allow free sampling or I wouldn't know which one to pick though it was just a bit difficult to do since the place was packed.  T and I were just fortunate to have an attentive server waiting for us to point, point and point at flavors we wanted to try. 


Love it how they place 'ingredients' on top of the gelato (check out the yogurt cups!)

After tasting a whole bunch of flavors, I still couldn't decide between strawberry and rockmelon.  My bright idea?  Get a medium cup so I can have both!  T, who couldn't decide between 3 flavors, followed my strategy and got the large cup.  Only later did we realize that the small cup is more than enough for one person (especially for those who had a rather filling dinner aka us ;))


First-timers, try the small cup first!

They also have Take Home packs in 500mL and 1L sizes!

I don't remember the last time I had gelato since I became a yogurt junkie so I really can't compare my experience in Gelatissimo Cafe with anything else.   Probably just the gelato in Amici which is also superb.  But in any case, T and I really enjoyed our Gelatissimo cups.  5 stars!  The only thing they can improve on though is their present set-up of having the door opposite the cashier.  Moving the entrance to the other end of the store away from the cashier would be more efficient since it would separate people who are just requesting for samples from those who are paying or getting their orders already.


Gelatissimo Cafe
Dining Date: 22 October 2010


2nd Level, Greenbelt 5
Paseo de Roxas cor. Legaspi St., Ayala Center
Makati City
Philippines



Frutti Froyo


Apologies for the blurry pictures since I only took them with my iPhone.  I really have to get the new Lumix soon *wink*


My wish has been granted.  They finally opened a yogurt place in the South that charge by the weight!  Everyone meet Frutti Froyo :)


I love the set-up.. so colorful! ;)
 
The children's corner complete with stage and kiddie chairs.

Just like Yoggle, Frutti Froyo is a self-serve yogurt place.  You get your own cup, mix your own yogurt and pick your own toppings.  And instead of billing you by the scoop or the number of toppings, the cashier weighs your cup and charges by the ounce.


There were 8 flavors of yogurt.

Get your own cup!

But though the concept is the same, I'd prefer Frutti  Froyo over Yoggle.  First, the ambiance of Frutti Froyo is more appealing with the happy colors, modern interiors and bright lights.


Feeling like a kid again ;)


Second, there are more toppings to choose from in Frutti Froyo.  Plus, they're all arrange in cool dispensers.  Yoggle toppings are just placed in simple metal containers.


So many toppings to choose from!

Fruits.

BIGGGGG bottles of syrups!
 
Third, Frutti Froyo's dark chocolate syrup is divine!  I guess it's because the brands they carry are more expensive.   Yoggle only carries Hershey's and Reese's Pieces syrup which I can easily get at the  supermarket.


Love love love this!

T and I shared a cup so the cost was around P260.  Not bad at P130/person, just like Yoggle.  The verdict?  I'll take Frutti Froyo over Yoggle any time but only for the ambiance of the Alabang branch and the wider range of choices.  I'm just not too sure if the other branches look the same and offer similar choices.
 

Frutti Froyo
Dining Date: 14 October 2010


The Commerce Center
Commerce Avenue
Filinvest Corporate City
Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Philippines


Trinoma
Edsa corner North Avenue
Quezon City
Philippines


Petron Square
Katipunan Avenue corner Mangyan Road
La Vista, Quezon City
Philippines


Tomas Morato
corner Scout Madrinan
Quezon City
Philippines



 

Guam: Fiesta Resort Hotel, Premium Outlets, Two Lovers Point, Planet Hollywood, The Plaza, Talfofo Falls Park.

Before this trip, I honestly knew nothing about Guam except that it was a US territory and that it  played a big role in World War II.  I imagine it to be just an empty island containing nothing but a large US naval base, like the ones in Olongapo and Subic.   Boy, was I wrong.
 
Guam is an island in the western Pacific Ocean and is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government.  The island's capital is Hagåtña (formerly Agana). Guam is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands.

Guam is actually a shopping destination with a number of designer shops and American stores.  It's also a good summer destination with beaches akin to that of the Philippines.  No wonder Guam is so popular with the Japanese!


Day 1
24 September 2010

Strolling by the beach.

Everlater.

Update (November 3, 2010): Check out my posts where I tried embedding Everlater into my entries:
1. Hanoi, Vietnam 
2. Guam
----------

If you're a friend of mine in Facebook and Multiply, a follower on Twitter and Tumblr or a constant reader in Blogspot, you know that the two things i like the most is food and travel.  However, due to  reasons beyond my control, I don't get to blog immediately after a trip so I forget the details.  Post a few photos on my Facebook and Tumblr, maybe once in a while.  Tweet, sometimes.  But never blog.  Counting off from the top of my head, I have around 4 trips during the recent months which I haven't even started blogging about.  Then I discovered Everlater.

   
Everlater is a free travel journal designed to help adventurers around the world share their experiences and connect with others. Members can also instantly transform their online logs into personalized travel photo albums for friends and family to enjoy.

Hanoi, Vietnam.


Note: You might be wondering why you haven't seen this post before.  The entry was written and published on October 29.  However, since this is one of my 'backblogs', I moved the entry's publishing date back to September 19 for chronological orderliness :) 

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, will be celebrating its 1,000th year this October. Too bad I missed the big celebration by only a few weeks! 

Christmas lights all over Hanoi!


Army Navy vs Charlie's Grind & Grill.

Resurrecting two places I've tried for the first time last year but which I got to eat in again recently.

Army Navy

It's always the burrito for me!

yoggle.

you're probably thinking... another yogurt post?.  well, to tell you honestly, i try to refrain from posting about things already written about a thousand times before even if it interests me to avoid being just 'one of those blogs'. but i had to write about this yogurt place because it's pretty unique!  and i'll tell you why in a bit.  first, say hello to yoggle.


front of the store.

in the philippines, the common practice of yogurt places is to make you choose between different sizes of cups and charge you by the topping. 


the inside's bright and cozy.

but in yoggle, they let you put as much yogurt and toppings as you want and just charge you by the weight!  this method is perfect for people like me who prefers a pinch of this and that on my yogurt. 

get your own cups!

they have so many flavors to choose from like kiwi, strawberry, taro, vanilla, green tea and original.  i mixed green tea and original though i wish i mixed in other flavors as well.


self-service.

after getting your yogurt, you can place as many toppings as you want.  they have all the usuals --- mangoes, graham, gummy bears, cherries, almonds, chocolates and so on.  




the cashier then weighs your cup and charges you by the ounce.  when the cashier rang my yogurt cup, i expected around a P250 peso bill with the amount of yogurt i put in and the number of toppings i raked.  but surprisingly, they charged me only P120.  wow!  in other yogurt places, that's only the price of one large PLAIN yogurt (no toppings).  amazing.  




too bad yoggle is just too far from us.  i only got to eat there because T had a basketball game around the greenhills area.  can't wait for my next visit!


click on the map to enlarge.



Yoggle
Dining Date: 21 August 2010


RONAC Building
Ortigas Avenue corner Santolan
San Juan
Philippines











photo credit:
yoggle's facebook account


*conversion is approximately $1 = P50

Krazy Garlik.

T and I went to Greenbelt today because I wanted to get another Moleskine. But it took some time for me to decide on which one to get --- big? small? red? black? soft cover? hard cover?  So it was past dinnertime by the time I was done.  I was ready to suggest a no-fail place like Chili's when we chanced upon a new restaurant called Krazy Garlik.





Back to the 90s (part 3): Sweet Valley and Archie Comics.

continued from part 2...

It's pretty understandable that some of you might not have heard of Yakult (read my blog post about Fro-ya) considering it's only widely popular in Asia or the Wacky Worm (read my blog post about the Wacky Worm) not coming from certain schools where it was a real hit, but it's highly unlikely that as a 90's kid, you would not know these two books which are making a come back.  The first one is Sweet Valley!


the cover of the 1st sweet valley high book.. classic!


Back to the 90's (part 2): Wacky Worm.

continued from part 1...


It seems like the 90's was only yesterday and yet it's already actively making a comeback!  Movie remakes and TV shows are suddenly resurfacing.  Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place, anyone?  I also noticed trends short of being called faux pas (shoulder pads?!) appearing in runways again.  Imagine my surprise finding a toy which I thought didn't exist anymore.  Remember the Wacky Worm?
demonstrating how the wacky worm works.


Back To The 90's (part 1): Yakult and Sebastian's Fro-ya.

I'm pretty sure almost everyone is familiar with the term fro-yo because of the yogurt craze that swept the archipelago but let me ask you... have you ever heard of Fro-Ya?


Check for this sign to know if they're serving fro-ya.


TOMS Shoes: One For One.


"Today, there are 2 kids in Africa who aren't barefoot anymore because of me."




para'kito.

I hate mosquitoes! Ever since the rainy season started, they've been everywhere!  In the garden, at the beach.. They flock to me like bees to honey and I've had it!  I've always wondered why they seem to like feasting on my blood more than anyone else around me.  Finally, my skin doctor told me that I emit this scent that attracts the little vampires. Lucky me.

I'm already getting tired of putting on insect repellent every so and so hour which was why I rejoiced when I saw a product tailor-made for people like me!




Para'kito is essentially a company that concentrates on making products that repels mosquitoes.  As of the moment, they have two products: wristbands and keychains.  The wristband comes in different colors such as yellow, black, green, blue and has printed versions too such as fatigue, hearts, hawaiian and so on.  Para'kito claims that the band is waterproof so you don't have to remove it when you go swimming.

The keychains are the newest addition to the Para'kito family.  You can hang them anywhere --- baby carrier, belt bag, bedside table, bedpost --- and mosquitoes will not go near you!



The common denominator between these two products are the pellets.  According to Para'kito, the pellets contain a unique natural repellent formula, which associates essential oils, with food-based molecules and a perfume composition which repels mosquitoes.  Every product of Para'kito comes with two pellets and each pellet lasts for up to 15 days.
Just this minute, I am being hounded my mosquitoes which figured out a way to get through the doors and screens of our house.  Aaaaaah! I think I'm heading over to buy a Para'kito product. honestly, I was a bit skeptical when I saw the bracelets a little over a month ago in our neighborhood mall but with 4 bites on my leg in less than 5 minutes, I think I'm giving it a shot.  P750* isn't that much to spend for a little peace and quiet away from these pesky little insects.









update: i bought a pink band and installed the pellet right now since mosquitoes have been attacking me again. i'll post a review after 15 days (7/22)

*approximately P50 = $1

photo credits:
parakito.com