Monday, December 30, 2013

Highlights of a Year of Blogging: My 2013

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As 2013 comes to end, let me recount the major happenings in my online life over the course of this year, starting from the start to the most recent. (^_^)

1. Being always in my own kind of beautiful. Belle de Jour Power Planner has always reiterated that every girl should be her best self! Taking part in the BDJ Rendezvous, the first and the second BDJ Box Beauty Social helped me improve on my confidence and my knowledge with regards to cosmetics. Furthermore, I am continuing my pursuit of excellence by getting my very own 2014 Belle de Jour Power Planner.

Getting my makeup done at the BDJ Fair 2013

The 2014 BDJ Planners

2. Learning how to make videos. Hahahaha~ Ever since I became Rain’s fan, a Cloud, I did a lot of things that I never thought I could do. One of them was making videos. I saw some creative fan videos hat I got inspired to make one, too. The first video was We Miss You, Rain because he was in the army back then. After a lot of videos, my favorite is still about Rain’s Smile. It was a simple slideshow video but I get to smile whenever I see it. 




3. Cosplay highlights, of course! This year was for Rei Ayanami. I also cosplayed Xion last Cosplay Mania. I love cosplay even though my development is slow. This is the only space of my life where I am able to breathe and do everything at my own pace. So I keep on enjoying cosplay and I still will forever and ever and ever… 

Me as Rei Ayanami
4. Twitter. Yes. Who knew I would be active in one of the world’s social media sites. I didn’t know how to move about in Twitter until… I became Rain’s fan and joined the trending events. I met more Clouds that way, too. (^_^) 


5. Starting a Rain blog. I figured that Rain is a topic that I would be writing consistently, so why not create a separate website. Then put all the stuff I learned from blogging and start on a new niche. 

My Rain blog! (^_^)
6. Having my own custom domain! Yay! After years of blogging, I finally got my own dotcom and learned how to configure everything first hand! Cheers to www.myangelmariel.com and www.rain-cloudpilipinas.com!

7. Lucky seven! Ha! My first Cloud anniversary was a blast! I love being Rain’s fan and to be able to experience the feeling of thrill and of excitement for an idol. It’s crazy, I tell you. But I LOVE IT! 

Rain's teaser photo of LA Song. I gotta put that one in!

8. Finally! Most of the stuff I wrote this year was cosmetics and my true love: FOOD. Hahahaha~ That will also be true for 2014, so watch out for more! But for next year, I plan to write about diet as well. Ooh… A diet/food blogger? Let’s see… 

It's my comfort food!

For 2014, my wish is… more articles to write and more experiences to savor... for the love of food, makeup, and spirituality. And of course, more blessings for me and for you, my dear readers. My 2013 was not all that perfect, but I choose to see all these good stuff that I got. The desires of my heart that I prayed for were not given by God this year, but I do hope He will next year! Nyaahahahahaha


Friday, December 27, 2013

Ye Olde Toffee Nut Frappuccino

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Every December, I see to it that I visit a Starbucks store to order my favorite Toffee Nut Frappuccino. Last year while I was having a cup, I told myself that I would dedicate a post to it once a year. It is my favorite beverage of all. I crave for it the whole year ‘round. 

This 2013, I went to Starbucks Glorietta. And yes, being in Makati, they didn't use plastic cups as it was prohibited. So no snowflake printed plastic cups this time. 

As usual, I had my customized Toffee Nut Frappuccino with Java Chips and extra Chocolate Drizzle. Yum! I usually order it Grande size but this year, I only got the Tall size. Woah! Talk about price inflation. The whole thing costs PhP200 now. When before, it was PhP170 for the Grande. Woosh!


My Toffee Nut is different from the normal Toffee Nut.  The java chips give the beverage that extra caffeine buzz. The chocolate drizzle gives it that slightly bitter aftertaste which complements the sweetness of the toffee nut syrup. When mixed together with the whipped cream everything comes together in a delightful blend of caffeine, sugar, and cream. Finally, you gotta love the nut sprinkles. They’re small, yet they stand out in the drink. 

Tall cup of Toffee Nut Frappuccino with Java Chip and Chocolate Drizzle PhP200
I was given a sticker for that purchase. Collect all 18 stickers to get the 2014 Starbucks Planner for free! 


Stickers! (^_^)


The mechanics to redeem the 2014 Starbucks Planner.
I really like the Christmas theme this year: Artistry meets Merriment. Wow! Very creative! 


Artistry Meets Merriment. Wonderful.
There is one thing I know for sure: each Starbucks cup is a work of art, very unique, and handcrafted. By they way, I have tried out the Gingerbread Latte yet. Oh this means, going back for more! Hehehee~


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from Angel Mariel

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I'm just going to do a quick mobile post to greet you all a very merry Christmas! May you be showered with more blessings in life! 

And oh! Don't forget to go to the church too. Today, December 25 is a Holy Day of Obligation. (^_^)


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My First Cloud Anniversary

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It was a year ago when I discovered the man called Rain. Actually, I know of Rain years before. He is very popular in the entertainment scene. But I haven't seen him perform on stage until last year. And man! He blew me away with an amazing performance! 

To see someone doing his best and loving every second of it. That sincere smile from someone who is living his Personal Legend. He has fulfilled his dream and shares it with others by just simply being himself. Amazing! 

That smile! (^_^)

At that time, someone told me, "You choose to become his fan now that he is in the army?"

I pondered on the answer to that, and now I finally have one. The caption of RTT-1175 is perfect for it.

We didn't choose you, our hearts did.


Yep. Becoming a Cloud does not choose any time or place. Rain comes, you see him, you hear him, and then everything falls into place. 

I don't know much about the entertainment industry. I was not very interested with showbiz at all. I thought that it is such a superficial world that nobody in there deserved my full admiration. But then, Rain came and changed my perspective. Never once did it cross in my mind that I would be admiring and following a celebrity with all my heart.

Funny how life is that way. (^_^)

Thanks to this man, I learned how to face life and I became a fighter! My gratitude to him will never be enough. 

He is my inspirational figure and I am proud of him! 

My adventures as Cloud, so far? Hmmm, the first three months was the peak of obsession. Hahaha~ I know right? Then six months, life slowly gets back to normal. Now, after a year... well, my life never came back to normal. Nyahahaha~ There is never enough Rain to satisfy the Cloud heart. 

My world grew! I have found friends from all over the globe as we share our fondness of Rain. As time goes by, I slowly get to know more about my inspiration, what with his new TV Show Rain Effect. Oh! It helps a lot! Hehehe

Becoming a Cloud is the best that had happened to me! My whole life changed completely! Rain is truly a gift from God. 

I am very proud to be a Cloud! Here's to more years to come! 

*Cheers*


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Presenting The Starbucks 2014 Planner

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There are a lot of 2014 planners available out there. For this post, let me share with you the 2014 Starbucks Planner. Every December, people are talking about it! The cover and the layouts are something to look forward to, as well.

For this year, it came in four colors: yellow, magenta, brown, and black. The black one is the Philippine edition (hmmm, tempting!). I'm very much impressed because the cover feels like leather. 

I will feature the magenta one. My friend owns this. I already have a planner for 2014, owning another doesn't make sense at all. Hehehe~ So, I decided to take some photos of it and share what's inside. (^_^)

Left: the box, Right: the planner. 
The cover is embossed with coffee icons and Starbucks coffee blend logos. I noticed the symbol for their coffee Sumatra and the elephant icon for Kenya.

The 2014 Starbucks Planner in magenta

I saw the symbol of the Starbucks coffee blend Sumatra embossed on it.
Here is a really cute feature of the planner: the steel bookmark! Every color has a different one: coffee bean for the yellow, house for the brown, Starbucks cup for the black, and the magenta one has the Vinta icon. This is also the logo for their Kape Vinta blend sourced from the Asia-Pacific. 

Vinta bookmark for the magenta planner.
The planner comes in a magnetic lock, which is a rare feature and I only saw it with Starbucks planners. 

The magnetic lock of the 2014 Starbucks Planner
So let's explore the pages:

The first page tells about the owner. (^_^) 

The first page
The dividers are very interesting as it features information about Starbucks and everything about coffee! 

About Starbucks

About the origins of coffee

Now this, I like! Featuring the various elements of coffee. It ain't a simple cup! 
After the dividers is a blank page for random notes. It is simple and chic. Perfect for doodling, too! (^_^)

The first page of every month is a blank page
The layout for each day is done as to have more space for weekdays, and lesser ones for the weekends. And what I love about it? There is no time format so there is no time pressure when you look at your tasks for the day. Hehehehe

The layout of the Starbucks 2014 Planner is simple and minimal.
Each month has a different symbol on top. It is cute to see such details like this!

A coffee plant icon for February...

...and some healthy reminder for December
Plus more! Free stickers and coupons are included! Yay! The stickers are so cute and the coupons let you save money for future Starbucks purchases.

The stickers are about the Starbucks coffee blends.

Oooh! Coupons!
And that pretty much sums up the elegant 2014 Starbucks Planner! 

The simple back portion of the planner.
Do you like the 2014 Starbucks Planner? Does it suit your lifestyle? If so, grab one in your nearest Starbucks Coffee. You can redeem one by buying a drink and collecting a total of 18 stickers (9 stickers for Christmas featured beverages and another 9 for other Starbucks coffee and teas). Promo period is from November 2, 2013 to January 8, 2014.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

[Review] Bistro Ravioli

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What is Ravioli? That is the question. I only heard about this once during the Twilight movie. In one scene, where Edward and Bella went on a date in a restaurant, Bella ordered mushroom ravioli.

So what about all this? Well, being on a strict diet is really hard. I have come to realize that going to a mall is a lot harder now. What to eat, man? McDonald's, Jollibee, Burger King, all those fast food chains just lining up and what's a girl to eat? 

I was in Glorietta and I really looked for healthier choices, suddenly realizing that they're much more expensive than fast food ones. Ugh. But I have sacrificed a lot already and eating fast food in half an hour can throw away all my hardwork for a week. Now, that is cruel, man. 

So looking around further, I found Kenny Rogers. I know that they're serving healthy food so I thought of eating there. But then, there was a long queue. And I'm very impatient on an empty stomach. Haha~ 

Looking just at the opposite side, I found Bistro Ravioli. It was a small quaint space and looked very classy. And oh! No queue! So I checked out the menu and they serve pasta, pizza, and their specialty, ravioli. Finally, I found my answer for dinner. 

The place was filled with the scent of cheese.They were playing Bossa Nova and mellow music which gave it that relaxing restaurant atmosphere.The staff was friendly, too. They hosted me to a small side table overlooking the kitchen. 

Whenever I'm new to a place and I don't know what to order, I just ask for the bestseller. The waitress suggested Spanish and Feta Cheese Ravioli. Well, I'm not really a fan of spinach but I trusted her without question. I wonder why I didn't choose Bella's mushroom ravioli?  Mushroom and Mozarella Ravioli was in their menu, too. Haha~

"Desserts, ma'am? Try our Choco Lava", she said further. 

Noooo.... Temptation stop! Haha~ I summoned up all courage to utter a simple, "No, thanks." with a smile. Hehehe~

She told me to wait for 10 to 15 minutes for my order. And indeed, in approximately 10 minutes, my food was sitting pretty on my table. Talk about quick service! 

I found out what a ravioli is when I started eating. Ah, I see, it is a filled pasta. In my dish, it was spinach and Feta cheese, as the name suggests. Everything was bathe in yummy tomato sauce with tomato slices and garnishes of pesto.

The dish tasted very Italian. It was delicious! I could taste the major ingredients distinctively: the firm pasta, the leafy spinach, the cheesy cheese, and pesto. Yet, everything blends perfectly in the mouth. (^_^)


Spanish and Feta Cheese Ravioli (PhP245)
I tried to skip on the drinks but I know how pasta can be overwhelming to the taste buds, so I decided to get Peach Iced Tea. I gotta love the play of the colors dark red and browns. The taste of Peach was the most dominant in the drink. And yes, it was successful in removing the lingering flavors of tomato and cheese. 


Peach Iced Tea (PhP45)
I enjoyed my time while eating because from where I sat, I saw how the chefs prepared the food. They move with sophistication and precise movements. I also saw how their pasta is made fresh from the dough, it was not the instant cook ones. Amazing.

While watching, one of the chefs saw me and he nodded with a smile. Oooh, the chefs were friendly, too. So I nodded and smiled back. 

I was so happy that I finished my dinner. And for the first time in my blogging history, I took a photo of my empty plate. Two thumbs up! 


It was THAT good.
The smell, the sounds, the food, the view was all in the right place! I absolutely loved it! Just when I was about to bill out, the waiter said, "Try our Choco Lava, ma'am." HahaChoco Lava? Okay, maybe one cheat day I'll try it. 



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Baker's Hat

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Whenever I feel down, sad or if life just gets a little harder, and I need some me-time to reflect and relax, I turn to food. Haha~ So all of us have this one thing that gives us instant happiness. And from all my favorite food out there, nothing can beat yogurt's effect on me. Among all brands and varieties, I crown The Baker's Hat as my ultimate comfort food. Yay! 

This one is from The White Hat. I like it because the sour yogurt is complemented by sweet toppings like candy, chocolate, cereal, and some fruits, too. So it's like revisiting your childhood once again with every serving of healthy yogurt. 


The Baker's Hat, large size (P155) plus added chocolate syrup (P20, total of P175)

The Baker's Hat is a serving of yogurt with cheesecake, almond cluster, or your choice of Blueberries or Red Cherries. My large cup always comes with Blueberries. But wait, the original recipe doesn't include chocolate sauce. I just added it because I am a sweet tooth like that. (^_^) 

A closer look of an adventurous palatable dish! 

The yogurt is velvety smooth and sour, of course. The cheesecake sour yet flavorful. The Blueberries are neutral but you gotta love the fibrous fruity effect it gives to the dish. The sweetness coming from the almond cluster and chocolate sauce make this my perfect sweet tooth choice. 

To tell you the truth, I only have the impulse to eat this whenever life gives me a lemon. Sometimes, I get philosophical while eating it. The sour parts are my tribulations and the sweet ones are my happiness. Haha~ Life's journey summarized in a dish! This is one adventurous mountain I am most willing to conquer!


Agree? Photo from The White Hat FB Page

So what is your ultimate comfort food? 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

My dotcom

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I started blogging in the year 2007 (November 24, to be exact).  But I wasn't a serious blogger back then, nor did I knew of what blogging was all about. For me, I started it just to express and make it an online diary to share to the world. 

My first blog post was in Live Journal. It was to document my adventures as I played various video games. It was about my gamer side, hence the title Pure Mental and the domain is http://ultigamerside.livejournal.com/ Hey, it still exists, but it's not updated anymore. 


My first blog ever! 
Looking back, I noticed that I have an inclination to the color green. Haha~ Pure Mental also has a green background and this blog also. But green is not my favorite color. I don't have a favorite color, I just go for what complements my current mood. 

I also wrote in various websites: Friendster, Multiply, and Facebook Notes. But Blogger was the most popular host back in my time. I think Wordpress was not around yet. Haha~ So I decided to go full time here. 

This blog, The Things I Do for Love, has existed since 2008. It underwent various change of names and layouts. However, I only got serious with it on the year 2011. So I consider this blog to be actively up and running for only 2 years. 

Blogging has been a huge blessing to me. It gave me rich experiences and it improved my confidence. The once shy girl now knows how to make friends. Hehehe~ It opened my world and perspective. I met influential people, as well. 

So for the success that my blog has been, I decided to go serious with it and purchased my own domain. Yay! I chose netignite.ph as the registrar as recommended by +Lhen OrdoƱa. I didn't have experience setting up my own website, but thankfully, Google has a tutorial that helped me get through the process. The Net Ignite website is user friendly which helped me navigate through easily. I was at the verge of making a support ticket to the staff because I couldn't understand heavy IT terms like DNS, CNAMEs, A Records, and all other nosebleed terms. It was my boyfie +Ian Ho who guided me through it all. 

Now my dotcom is http://www.myangelmariel.com/ and my blog dedicated to Rain is http://www.rain-cloudpilipinas.com/

http://www.myangelmariel.com/
http://www.rain-cloudpilipinas.com/
Great! But the down side is losing all stats, Facebook likes per article, and Google +1's. Sigh. Ah well... it is time to start all over again to regain all those numbers back. Thankfully, my followers are here to stay. (^_^)

So my advice to those who want to venture into blogging? If you are serious about making an online presence, buy a domain at the start and plan out everything. That way, you won't have to worry about losing stats in the future. 



Monday, December 9, 2013

[Review] Vidal Sassoon Premium Base Care Shampoo and Conditioner

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It has been quite some time since I posted any updates or reviews about hair. I did promise myself to try out more hair care products but truth be told, skin care products get the better of me. Hehehe

It was my 8th Sample Room haul when I grabbed the chance for some Vidal Sassoon hair care samples, in full sized bottles


My Vidal Sassoon samples
First stop: the packaging is such a beauty! Diamond shaped top with a small round bottom and those classy prints make these products a really chic eye candy. It comes in my favorite color, too! 


The packaging is formal and chic.
Both the shampoo and conditioner have the same mild scent. It is the common fragrance found on women’s shampoo. The Base Care shampoo has a creamy consistency. The cleansing power is good but it doesn't dry the hair. 


VS Premium Base Care Shampoo
The Base Care conditioner is the one that did the magic for me. It is so viscous that only a small amount is needed for it to fully cover my entire hair. And my hair, as we all know, is very dry. With other brands, one whole sachet is needed for a full coverage of my hair. With Vidal Sassoon, only about 2-3 cm of conditioner was all it took. 

VS Premium Base Care Conditioner
Afterwards, my hair felt so soft and smooth that combing it became easier. Upon drying, the frizz reduced a little, but it is already a big difference to my type of hair. 

In terms of the product claim, the Base Care shampoo and conditioner clearly deliver on its promises of providing moisture to the hair. However, I have another existing problem with dandruff. Okay, these products are not anti-dandruff so I won’t hold it against them. 

My verdict, left on the Sample Room website:



Yes, I will buy it for now, until I find the perfect solution for my various hair dilemma: dryness, dandruff, frizz, damage… all of the above, I guess. Haha~



Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

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Today, December 8, is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Let us honor our Blessed Mother today through prayer and going to the Church. Don't forget, this day is a Holy Day of Obligation. (^_^) 

So what is the Immaculate Conception? 

Photo source

In other words, the Immaculate Conception means that Mary was conceived free from Original Sin. Original sin the sin committed by the fall of man, the rebellion of Adam and Eve. All of man inherited this stain of sin from our ancestors, except Mary. 

The Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Catholic Church, and it requires the highest intelligence of faith to fully know and understand it. 

Our Blessed Mother confirmed it herself in her apparition to St. Bernadette in Lourdes. When St. Bernadette asked who she was, Mary replied, "Yo soy la Inmaculada Concepcion" (I am the Immaculate Conception). 

So bye for now, guys, I'm off to the Church. (^_^) Have a blessed Sunday! (^_^) 



Saturday, December 7, 2013

On Food and Dieting

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I recently started on a diet and it has been difficult. This is where change takes its toll. Adjusting and changing routines is very tiring and difficult to begin with. There are times when I just wanted to give up. 

Sigh. Can a food blogger really go on a diet? 

You know, it's like saying, I love you so much I don't want to let go. Noooo! I love food so much that I don't want to give up on it. Even if I'm on a strict program, I just couldn't help but eat because it makes me happy. Oh! Why am I not a shoes and bags girl? It could have been easier that way.



Dig in! My comfort food of all! 

But then, whenever I see my latest photos and seeing how my body has improved, I get encouraged to continue with the diet. 

Latest photo. Taken November 30, 2013
So how can this be resolved? 

I have thought of still eating but choosing healthier choices. Yeah I know delicious food are seldom 100% healthy AND yummy at the same time. But at least, you can reduce the harm it can do to your body. Take for example my latest trip to Bono Artisanal Gelato or replacing my favorite meat sauce with tomato sauce in Sbarro's Baked Zitti. Oh, skip on the drinks, too, and drink only water. Little things, yes, but they help in the long run. One day, there might come a time where I will be able to completely eat healthy. 


Sbarro's Baked Zitti with tomato sauce. Water on the sides, please.

Being on a diet gave me the realization that I am capable of -power word- DISCIPLINE. I am partially Hedonistic when it comes to life. Enjoy the present moment. Enjoy the Now. Don't think of the future. 

But dieting has taught me that instant satisfaction is only for a short time. And whether you like it or not, there is a future. So if you want your future to be healthy, better start working on it now.

I am able to master my cravings not just in food but also in shopping. Yeah man! Dieting gave me the opportunity to believe in myself that I am in control of my life: what I buy, what I do, and most of all, what I EAT.

But still, all these realizations are not enough for me to totally forget my true love: FOOD. Hmmm, my piece of advice to myself and to you: love your body much more than you love foodThen everything becomes easier! 

So... let the hunger games begin! 


Love. (^_^)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Etude House Again!

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It's been quite some time since I went to one of my favorite Korean cosmetic store, Etude House. I love everything in there. The pink motifs, chandeliers, doll house theme, and most especially, the greeting "Welcome, Princess!" as I enter the store. 

It was last weekend when I went there. All I wanted to buy was some wet tissues and a facial wash. I use those regularly in my skin care routine. But you know, a knowledgeable sales assistant do help in the increase of sales. Hehehe~ Agree? 

It's not bad thing, really. Truth is, I was impressed at the Etude House girl, Cindi, who assisted me in my shopping. Most of Etude House's packaging is still written in Korean and I was really impressed how she explained the products to me. Cindi was quite knowledgeable about the products. I know because she kept on talking skin care or cosmetology terms. Well, she did not need to elaborate because I understood her. And yeah, I didn't ask for details, too. 

I bought the thing I use everyday. I commute going to work and all the pollution along the way needs to be removed when I get to the office. So cleansing tissues are a must!


Happy Tea Time Cleansing Tissue 50 pieces (PhP198)

In truth, I was eyeing the Green Tea Cleansing Foam. But the lovely sales girl got me interested in the new Happy Fresh Foam line of cleansers. It has moisturizers already, she said. I doubted on whether I should get it because it is more pricey than the current one that I use. But well, let's try it! 


Happy Fresh Foam in White Clay (PhP228)
I only need a bit more to reach PHP500 to qualify for the GWP. So Moistfull Collagen mask to the rescue! I am obsessed with face masks so I don't have any complaints. 


Collagen Moistfull Mask Sheet (PhP98)
The GWP item is another face mask. Yay! It is called Pearl Extract Mask. I have used this before and it gives the dewy effect on the skin.


Pearl Extract Face Mask (Free!)
And my Etude House day is complete! Can't wait to review these products.


My Etude House haul
Oh! I love the paper bag, too! 


As written on the Etude House paper bag. 


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