Monday, March 31, 2014

Zoya Magical Pixie Dust in Lux Review

It's definitely shiny. WB actually called it 'fabulous'--- and I have to agree.

Zoya Magical Pixie Dust in Lux, a rose quartz sparkle (Click on images for a larger view)
I love Zoya Pixie Dusts (especially Stevie) and for the past six months. They're sparkly, they don't need base coat or topcoat, and when they get dinged up or a bit dull, you just swipe on another coat if you can't redo your nails for that day. So when I saw US nail bloggers posting about the latest collection a few weeks ago, I just knew I had to have at least one. Other than Lux, which Zoya describes as a rose quartz sparkle, the Magical Pixie Dust collection for Spring 2014 also includes two more: Vega (blue opal sparkle) and Cosmo (silver crystal sparkle). 

My pictures don't nearly show just how awesome these are, and you can head over to Polish Hound and Manicurator to see the whole collection swatched but let me just tell you about what Lux was like for a rookie nail polish lover. Some of the blogs reported that this collection was harder to apply than the other Pixies but for me, it was simple enough.

The first coat is not really that rough but for the second (and third ones) you might want to do a dabbing technique because the formula is a little thicker and tends to drag. But you don't really need to push the glitters around-- it's chockful of sparkly, pretty bits with some larger hex-shaped ones thrown in. When it dries, it's really textured and I imagine it would snag on pantyhose but you can smooth it a little bit by laying a coat of Seche Vite on top.

This glitter is hungry though, so even with a top coat it will still be textured. Plus, a single layer won't really change the appearance that much. This is currently my favorite nail polish, because it makes my hand look really dainty in a glitzy sort of way. And I do love sparkle and blingy things every now and then.

Like my other Zoyas, I bought mine at Polish Please! for P425 plus shipping.

April Fool's Day prank: The "magic potion" that will turn into treasure

I'm planning to stay away from social media today, just because I expect that a lot of people will be trying to post something outrageous in the spirit of April Fool's. Sadly, I don't know a lot of witty boys and girls so for the most part, these pranks are going to be mostly lame (i.e.I'm pregnant! joke, hahaha).

I have, however, been plotting a prank of my own for the Wonder Boy (WB), to start off something which I hope will be a playful tradition between us for the years to come. Earlier today, I've arranged for him to anonymously receive a package containing a vial of "magic" potion, and a set of simple instructions which he can read and follow all by himself. Long story short, he'll have to pour the potion into a bowl and then take a nap to 'activate' the magic that will turn the potion into treasure.

Between you and me, the potion is simply some diluted food coloring and the treasure will turn out to be a bowlful of candy, chocolates and small toys. The best part is that when he gets a bit older, he'll figure it out eventually-- and hopefully it'll turn into a fond childhood memory down the road.

Do you have any loving traditions-- April Fool's or otherwise -- that you've started for your kids?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Away from the Madding Crowds: The Perfect Weekend at Nagsasa Cove, Zambales

I hate travelling but somehow, I found myself heading out of the city once or twice a year ever since I had a kid. As much as possible, I've limited the stress by scheduling hotel staycations more often than not, or by travelling with other family members. As it so happens, my son has been bugging me for a swimming trip ever since last year and while I've managed to fob him off with swimming lessons and the odd hotel stay or two, he's been craving for a real beach camping experience. And we found that in Nagsasa Cove, Zambales.
I've been driving myself crazy figuring out how to pull this off when luckily, my google searchings led me this blog which shared an awesome, hassle-free beach camping experience via the Gone Wild Campers (GWC) group. For a flat fee per head, they'll take care of van transportation to and from Manila-Nagsasa Cove, pack everything you need AND fix the food for you. The last is especially important; I didn't want to go all the way to the idyllic paradise that was Nagsasa Cove only to subsist on canned food. I read the travel guide they had up at their website, verified that all I needed to do was to basically just show up, and proceeded to get all excited and feel very adventurous.

There are already a lot of blogs detailing the beauty and the simplicity that is Nagsasa: no electricity, no cellphone signals, and no other way in or out of the island except via the boats or the mountain hiking trail so I would leave it at that. However, let me just give you a quick Kikay Mom rundown on this trip.

Is it doable with a small child?
Yes, very, especially since we went via private van which drove us directly at the Pundakit jump-off point where you take a 45-minute boat ride to get to the cove itself. If you were doing this DIY, you would normally take a bus to get to Iba, Zambales and then ride a jeep and a tricycle to actually get to the shore where the boats for hire are docked. I didn't need to deal directly with the boatmen since everything was taken care of in true GWC style but I have read that a boat which could fit 10-15 people goes for P1500 to P2500 depending on negotiations.
This is in Pundakit. Pundakit in itself is quite a popular beach spot, with its share of tourists and cheap lodging areas. Surfing is definitely doable, as you can see, because of the waves but at the risk of sounding like a snob, it's not for me. Why bother to go out of the city only to end up with the crowds, the grime, and the noise?
I would, however, strongly recommend that you bring a quality child-sized jacket just because the ones provided on the boats are ill-fitting, not to mention a bit weathered. The route between Pundakit and Nagsasa Cove is not really that isolated so even if the boat should somehow capsize (not that I've heard of any incidents recently) you can probably be rescued within minutes but you want to make sure that your kid can keep safely afloat. I'll sound a bit preachy here, but travelling with kids is a lot of responsibility and it pays to err on the side of caution.
This is towards the front of the camping areas. See the pine-like agoho trees? 
Is the food good?
It definitely was; for me, beach food is grilled food and we had our fill in the two days that we were in Nagsasa. Definitely no complaints on that score, especially since I didn't lift a finger to prepare any of it. We even had an evening bonfire with marshmallows and chocolates, which the Wonder Boy definitely loved.
These boys kept us well-fed for two days.

Sleeping in a tent, even without pillows or mattresses, was surprisingly comfortable because the sand was fine and not pebbly. It was a bit like sinking into a memory foam cushion that didn't spring back up. We just used a sarong for a sheet, and another one for a blanket and we had a perfectly good nights' rest.
No matter how careful you are, sand WILL get inside your tent. The GWC boys showed me how to de-sand the inside of the tent (it involves going inside the tent and putting it on its side) and when I did it, the other tour mates thought our tent was being carried off in the wind and hurried over to rescue me.

Here's me (I'm the one holding a coffee cup) with some of the tour mates. Since it was just me, my kid and little sister, we were joiners on this tour. These guys are from JP Morgan and Chase, out on a team bonding weekend. I didn't really mind being on this trip with them although we were, for all practical purposes, the 'outsiders' because they were so friendly and welcoming especially with the Wonder Boy.

So what's there to see in Nagsasa? Since our campsite was basically in the middle, to the right lay the mountain trail (which was sadly closed for visitors during our stay) and the picturesque rocky area of the beach. 

To the left lies the river, and since it was summer, the water was not as high as it could be. It did reach up to the waist after the far bend though. My boy was all about playing in the waves and digging in the sand so we didn't really stay that much on the river side.

I don't have any pictures of the bathrooms but it was decent enough. They were concrete and tile enclosures with a toilet bowl and running water but that's it. You'll have to hang your towel on makeshift bamboo rods and bring a candle or a flashlight at night.

Nagsasa Cove is beautiful, no doubt about it, but I can already see it being slowly ruined by irresponsible travellers. All along the beach are cigarette butts and plastic packs of junk food, discarded bottles and other trash. When my kid and sister woke up early in the morning, we headed over to the rocky beach area to bum around before lunch and on the 10-minute walk there, we collected a big bag of trash by just picking up whatever was right in front of us. It's sad how idiotic people are sometimes.
See this wide expanse of beach that we had all to ourselves? I expect it will change in April and May and we are definitely glad to have gone before then.

We definitely want to come back to Nagsasa Cove. Other than the trash, there is just beauty everywhere. And at night, there are no city lights so you get to lie down on the beach and gaze at the stars, if that's your thing. I did that with my kid for about five minutes, then we went back inside the tent and I pulled out my Kobo while he played with his iPad until he feel asleep.

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