Category: Reviews

The store that’s got it all is now online!

Everything now seems to be easily accessible. Paying bills, online shopping, food delivery, even medical results can be accessed online. You name it, the internet has it.

Not to be left behind, our favourite store that’s got it all now has its own online platform! Just the right timing, as recently, the most accessible branch just folded, which is like one short walk or a tricycle ride away from home.

Enter ShopSM, the newest online platform of our much loved The SM Store. Over the holidays, I got acquainted with this platform, and at the perfect timing: I was not able to grab Christmas presents for my husband and my daughter!

We had quite a busy schedule the whole of December, that we went last minute shopping for gifts for our families and friends. It was not a lot, but still took some of our time to think, shop, purchase, and pack those Christmas presents.

Unfortunately, we ended December and welcomed the New Year with Emergency Room trips and medicines. Both my husband and daughter fell ill, and I unfortunately got the bug few days after.

So, browsing the ShopSM store online became retail therapy for me, as I chose gifts for my husband and my mini-me.

What I liked about the ShopSM online? Here’s some reasons:

  1. Easy to access website. The interface is easy to understand, and clearly broken down into categories: Women, Men, Kids, Home, Beauty, Sale, and New.
  2. Quick processing of payment and item delivery. I was surprised to received the order on the first Monday of the year! I purchased the Friday before that, and surprised to have received the confirmation emails immediately, and the message from the courier on a Sunday.  Quick service there!
  3. Return process is a breeze. I followed the instructions on my account dashboard on the ShopSM website, printed the return request form, brought the item to the nearest SM store’s Customer Service, and the return was easily facilitated. The item I returned was a shirt supposedly for my husband, unfortunately, I got a Teens Size whilst I was ordering. After the return process, I was given a voucher, which I can use until February to purchase another item. I decided to wait for hubby to be available so we could shop for his shirt together.
Easy to navigate website. I am always in it!
For my daughter’s ballet class, she needed a new bottle since her previous one got broken.
This was the wrong order! I was excitedly looking at another item, which did not say Teens on it. Unfortunately, all We Bare Bears for Men are only for Male Teens.

Some things that can be improved:

  1. The site kept on hanging whenever I reach the payment and delivery options. I chatted with their online chat service, which advised me to clear my browser data and cache. Which I did, and to no avail. Ultimately, I opted for a COD and delivery, which has additional cost. Still better than going out and picking up the item which would cost additional fare also.
  2. The size guide for teens and males are just the same. Here is where I got the mistake of ordering a teen sized shirt, which is also medium sized. Better check the brands and the exact name of the product before adding to your online shopping cart.
  3. Less plastics and paper for delivery of the items. I noticed that there was just too much plastic to wrap the items. I understand this might be needed to secure the flask I purchased for my daughter in SM Kids. There were also lots of excess papers—copies of orders—inside the package, which ended up in the trash. Probably some other way to reduce these excess papers and plastics?

I do hope as well that they would add more choices soon! Shopping is truly a breeze when done in the comfort of your own home, and with ShopSM, it will be easier. There would definitely be a next time, especially that the nearest SM Store now is about 5 kilometers away, which I would only get to visit on weekends or when there are Novena Masses at church.

Have you done some online shopping lately? What items do you usually shop for online?

~ Touringkitty

Touringkittyps: Five for whiter and healthier pearly whites

Another holiday season has ended. And of course, who says no to food on holidays?

But despite of all the food, do you even mind your teeth and gums? That would probably be last priority, it’s the holidays, anyway!

Good thing, our friends from Oral B sent a package with their latest products, which I got to try while eating all those yummy, sugary, salty, savoury food.

It came in this cute box! My friend thought it to be a graduation cap at first.

And before we fully unbox this, let me also share with you five tips to keep your pearly whites whiter and stronger.

1. Take coloured and acidic drinks like wine or coffee in moderation. Anything in moderation is fine. Just remember that these drinks would most probably stain and destroy your enamel in the long run. Water is still the way to go, and make sure to finish your meal or drinks with water to flush out any dirt immediately away from your teeth.

2. Make sure to brush after eating, and do not consume anything immediately after brushing. Never miss a toothbrush sesh, as it would help take away the smaller food excesses in your mouth.

3. Choose a good toothpaste and toothbrush that can help you clean and keep clean your teeth.

Toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss. Power trio for your dental health.

With the package came Oral B’s Charcoal White toothbrush (which I super like!), and their latest innovation, the Gum and Enamel repair toothpaste.

The NEW Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste is clinically proven to protect gums and strengthen enamel in 2 weeks. Oral-B’s Gum and Enamel Repair toothpaste has unique ActivRepair™ technology, clinically proven to neutralize bacteria on the gumline, and even keep it away afterwards, too. It also repairs the damage caused to your tooth enamel by everyday wear and tear and continues to protect it afterwards. Not only that, but it also helps do all this in just two weeks.

I saw a significant lightening of my teeth on my first try! Now that’s something I looked forward to each time I brushed, since I have consumed quite an amount of sugary Christmas treats and coffee to keep me awake for the piano playing and singing during Dawn Masses.

4. Don’t forget to floss! This we oftentimes forget, and because we neglect flossing, bacteria buildup is faster. Included in the package is the Oral-B Glide Floss. What I particularly like about this floss is that it does not shred and as the name says, glides in between your teeth really well. I am not a floss user but this one makes me use floss every after toothbrush already.

5. Visit your dentist regularly. Once a year is sometimes all it takes, so that the dentist can assess your dental health. In that one visit he will clean your teeth, which has to be done annually as well, and recommend if you need fillings, among other things.

So, there you have it! Five easy steps for that protected teeth, holidays and beyond. Keep up a habit of better teeth with Oral-B’s line of quality and innovative dental products.

Here’s to healthier pearly whites! And a Happy New Year to all.

~ Touringkitty

Weight of Words: Words Create Worlds

If words could kill, then I’d long be dead.

Words are my love language and one of my self-expressions (poetry, writing, and blogging). Sadly, words tried to put me down several times in the past.

Thanks to Weight of Words, I rediscovered how powerful words are, how beautiful they are.

And how they should matter, or not. Ironic, isn’t it?

Very timely to have watched this work on Ascension Sunday, which was also World Communications Day. The Homily tackled about how words are used in social media nowadays, creating fake news, among others. And how our role as bearers and spreaders of the Good News is important nowadays.

Going back to the work, honestly, I did not know what exactly to expect in a “solo devised theater performance,” as the description announced. All I know is that a dear friend and great artist, Abner Delina, Jr., will surely showcase what he is known for–being daring, brave, and true to his work.

The premise was simple: how words are used, misused, and abused. The presentation on point and exact: from birth to death and how words evolved from nothing to everything. The message was clear: for all of us to be careful with our choice of words, and not to dwell on what we hear so as not to affect us. The latter may be harder to do, as with my case, but lately I have been praying more, got back to my meditation, and choose my words carefully before speaking or writing.

Abner is indeed a storyteller. With this work, he took his storytelling a step higher and turned out to be a message bearer, speaking for those who do not have the power to speak.

He based this monologue from a book of the same title published by CANVAS. He’s got a solid team of collaborators as well, handling various aspects of the production, which all contributed positively and greatly to the show. This is not just his work, but of so many who believed that mental health is important in this generation of using lesser and more meaningless words. Unfortunately, though, I was not able to participate in the discussion after the show, since I had a rehearsal to attend.

I have been called names in high school, been judged by people I trusted, even people who do not know me that well. There were even instances social media was used against me to destroy my name, which gave me emotional trauma. I never thought that words can cut like a knife, and they made a pretty deep cut which lasted years.

I thank this show for giving me this reflective pause about words I use, misuse, and abuse, and how these very words may affect me. Since morning that day, and especially during the Homily at church, I have been praying and reflecting and preparing myself to watch this show, to have an open mind, to accept things as they are, to forgive, and to use words as source of positivity and strength.

After all the setbacks, I should keep myself reminded of the following:

Sticks and stones may break my bones, (but words can never hurt me) . (Old adage)

It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away. (Bee Gees’ Words)

For no word from God will ever fail. (Luke 1:37 NIV)

You still have four more chances (yes, four more shows!) to watch this work for yourselves, and like me, discover the power of words. See poster below.

If you have watched it already, do let me know what you think of the work in the comments.

And if any of you or your family and friends, even those you do not personally know, think they might need help, do not hesistate to reach out and tell your story, too. Sharing is caring, definitely.

Express yourself with Novelina Zeelke Cream Hair Color

Jet black hair. That has been our hair colour since birth.

But with ever changing world, plus the inevitable grey strands, one has to keep up with having their hair coloured.

I am not so much of a fan of colour, but about four years ago, my “virgin” jet black hair was subject to colour because of an opera production, wherein my character was a fairy with gold hair. Say what?! But out of need, I had my hair coloured. And been doing it about once a year since then.

And what perfect timing was this opportunity to try the Novelina Zeelke Cream Hair Colour a few days ago.

You read it right! Free application until December 28, 2018. So head on to Cash and Carry Mall in Makati for that Happy New Hair look!

Here are some snaps from my hair transformation. 

Colour of choice: Burgundy. Cos why not?

For my hair length, two bottles of this were used. Did not realise my hair was very long already! Haircut time soon.

I remembered I just had my hair colour done last March, and it was a brown shade. But my hair grew a lot already, so you could see the colour separation there.
Here we go! The lady who did my colour said I had a few grey streaks already. Because of previous hair colouring. 

And the finished product…

Ta-da! Not so obvious, but the lady said it will be evident when light strikes.

And here are some after colour shots of my hair.

After a show the day after I had the hair colour done.
After a show last weekend.

So, how was the overall experience with Novelina hair colour?

  1. I was worried with the chemicals used because I can be sensitive with them. Gladly, their formulation did not make my hair itch.
  2. They also have the colours in herbal formulation, just in case you wish to try it. I deliberately chose keratin cos my hair needs that extra shine.
  3. I was expecting the hair colour to bleed since it is burgundy, and true enough, it did…only in the shower and not on my bed! But it still bleeds a little, about 12 days after the colour, but I do not wash my hair everyday. Guess it will eventually be gone.
  4. I liked the effect–colour shows up when light strikes, and I am perfectly fine with that.

Thanks again, Novelina, for having me try this out! Should you wish to try their products, visit Cash and Carry Mall in Makati and have it applied for free until the 28th of December.

Make brushing more fun with Minions!

If it were not for my parents’ diligence in bringing us to dental appointments and cleaning regularly, my sister and I would probably have a bad set of teeth.

And so we do this now to our daughter, who, not like me, didn’t like brushing as a little girl.

But when the tooth fairy teeth started to take her milk teeth away (a few months after she weaned from breastfeeding), our daughter became more mindful with taking care of her teeth.

It was hard back then to look for toothbrushes that would suit my daughter’s small mouth and teeth, and we’re glad to find Colgate Minions tooth brush and tooth paste!

Let’s say it together: squeeze, brush, rinse!

We used to have sooooo many tactics in order to have our daughter get toothbrushed. Tandem brushing (she brushes my teeth while I brush hers), Daddy and Mommy tag team to brush the squirmy baby, name it, and we did it. Plus, because of her rather small mouth, we had to look for a brush that would fit her mouth.

When she turned five, we started using Colgate Minions toothbrush and we’ve been using it for a couple of years already.

Cute in blue and yellow.

Touringkittyps
Top three tips on how to take care of your teeth:

  1. Drink water after eating. If possible, gargle immediately. So that no dirt will remain in mouth.
  2. Avoid dark-coloured drinks (cola, coffee, tea) that may lead to early discoloration of teeth.
  3. Brush every after a full meal. Do not eat after brushing.

As the new and permanent teeth kicks in, our daughter is very mindful of tooth brush time, and how thoroughly her teeth are being brushed. Glad there’s Colgate Minions tooth brush (that comes in twin packs) to help us maintain her pearly whites.

 

Get yours now!

 

~ Touringkitty

Cusina Home introduces a Natural and Safe Dishwashing Liquid

Since having a child, my main concern is cleanliness at home. Especially with dishes, because this is the most used item at home on an everyday basis.

So I only choose natural products, as much as I can, for washing my dishes. And I am very meticulous with the smell, its effectivity in cleaning, and how much it can wash.

Friends from Cusina Home dropped by the Brotzeit workshop to give samples of the product. At first look,  the products were like concentrated juices?

And they come in interesting scents:

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I have been using the Ginger Yuzu Peel and so far, I am liking it. I like it because:

1. Just one drop in the sponge and it generates enough bubbles.
2. Just have to water the sponge some more and more bubbles appear.
3. It smells oh so good!
4. It rinses easily and squeaky clean.
5. I am assured that my dishes are safe because it’s made of natural ingredients, from fruit and plant extracts.

I am one who is very particular of my dishes, especially for my little one, who is eating by herself and preparing her food by herself at times. So clean dishes equal clean food for the family.

You may purchase Cusina Dishwashing Liquid in leading supermarkets. Visit www.cusinahome.com.

Brotzeit Junior Chef@Work with Mommy Bloggers Philippines

Summer is synonymous to workshops.

This summer alone, my little learner is taking ballet, just finished swimming, and taking day workshops, like this recent one we attended in Brotzeit Shangrila Plaza.

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We were welcomed with this banner.

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Kinder Koche für den Tag! Kid Chef for the day. I miss speaking auf Deutsch!

And I missed Germany because of the overall feel of the restaurant.

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Typical German Bier Bar. They serve Bavarian Cuisine. Oh yes, Munich.

Since it’s all about brot, or bread, I assume the kids were making bread. And they did. For starters, they made Brezn, or Pretzel. I let my little one work her way by herself, they had great instructors led by Chef Ivan.

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My daughter did the entire process herself–from putting ingredients together, mixing the dough, rolling, shaping the Brezn.

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From the oven to her mouth, these Cheese Brezn or Pretzels looked and tasted good. Lekker!

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The “Graduates” with Chef Ivan. Great job, MBP kids!

The kids had loot bags from one of the sponsors, Toy Kingdom.

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Mommies had our own loot, too, from Cusina Home. Watch out my review of this product, my new household dishwashing buddy!

 

The workshop was great exercise for the kids to acquire kitchen skills. It also taught them how to focus, following instructions, reading ingredients, waiting, keeping the workstation and their hands clean when preparing food. I must say, my kid learned a lot in this short time, and applied these skills at home (we both love baking!).

You can still have your kids experience this in Brotzeit, all Saturdays of May!

17x22in_Kids Party Package Menu A5 Size_FA Path_041316

 

Vielen Dank, Brotzeit!

~ Touringkitty

 

Magnolia Ice Cream + MaiChard: Pinasarap ng Tamang Panahon

It’s extremely and terribly hot these days! Just makes me want to jump in a pool or stay indoors with my AC in high cool temp.

Makes me want to scream, “Ice Cream!!!”

During Holy Week, I got a timely invitation from Magnolia Ice Cream to taste their newest Best of the Philippines Collection flavours. Such a great break from the intense heat that day!

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The very accommodating Elmer Villasanta, product head of Magnolia Ice Cream, talked about their newest products and campaign.
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The three new flavours are Banoffee Pie, Mango Salted Caramel, and Strawberry Crumble Pie. Sounds like desserts, right? Because the names were taken from cakes and dessert flavours. Likewise, the main fruit ingredients are summer fruits–bananas, mangoes, and strawberries, all refreshing in this summer heat.

As you can see, Magnolia had us taste all three flavours in one sitting, giving out a serving of two scoops each one after the other, while the flavours were introduced. It was the first time for me to eat that much ice cream! I wasn’t able to finish each glass though but they all tasted so good and rich.

And the endorsers of these new flavours were introduced to us. And they’re no strangers to the guests who came in the intimate event, because they belong to different fan clubs of the endorsers. No less than the Phenomenal Love Team, Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza.

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Larger than life: Alden and Maine standees in lieu of the real thing. Close enough!

Fans of Alden, fans of Maine, and fans of their love team had this opportunity to get to mingle for the love of Aldub and ice cream. It was nice to learn how passionate these people are in supporting their idols, who were handpicked by Magnolia to endorse their new product offering. Who else could best spread the news but their fans themselves!

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Alden and Maine fans flocked Magnolia's office for the tasting.

We also got a pre-launch viewing of the newest Magnolia commercial featuring Alden and Maine, to the delight (and kilig) of the guests. Click this link to watch the commercial.

And if these were not enough, Magnolia extended the ice cream treat to our families by giving us free samples of these three flavours! Plus, they thought of the little ones at home and threw in some popsicles for them.

I actually was able to buy another tub of Strawberry Crumble Pie just recently, and the family finished it in just a couple of days! The big tubs (they only sell in one size) are really meant to be shared with the whole family.

Thank you so much for that yummy and wonderful afternoon, Magnolia Ice Cream!

Do watch out for more from Alden and Maine for Magnolia, and watch out for exciting promos from our favourite ice cream!

If you want to win autographed mini standees, here’s your chance!

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1. Follow @magnolia_icph on Twitter.
2. Watch out for the questions from Quiz Masters Alden and Maine.
3. Tweet the correct answer with the hashtag #MagnoliaIceCreamisALDUBest
4. First to tweet the correct answer wins!

Philippine Proverbs: A golden book of wisdom

“May kasabihan po tayo…” (We have a saying…)

This is a familiar line to our generation. A local television noontime show has this motto-memorization, er, mini-beauty pageant for little girls giving nuggets of wisdom as they introduce themselves.

Words are wisdom, and these are compiled in one book called Philippine Proverbs.

E-vite for the event.
E-vite for the event.

National Book Development Board head, Ms. Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz chose 105 proverbs from a bigger selection from master folklorist Dr. Damiana Eugenio, who compiled various folk literature that includes stories, legends, myths, folk songs, among others. The proverbs come in about 20 Philippine dialects, and translated to English for commonality.

It is an easy read, and I try to savour the language, especially those unfamiliar to my ears (well, eyes, in this case). I actually read them aloud then read the English translation. Some dialects would have similar sayings to English, some cross dialects, that one can be found in several different regional groups.

The book was launched in a very intimate (but filled to the brim) venue last March 15. Friends, family, fans, and mommy bloggers (like I am) were in attendance. It was an afternoon of local Filipino kakanin, quick Proverbs Bingo game, and a small skit of a couple who spew proverbs while fighting, (which made some of us panic a bit–the elder lady beside me was one).

We were able to have our copies sign by the author herself, along with the illustrator, Eisen Bernardo. His lively drawings and vivid colours made the book easy to the eyes.

Author and Illustrator at the middle, flanked by mommy bloggers (and their babies).
Author and Illustrator at the middle, flanked by mommy bloggers (and their babies). Photo credit: Mommy Joy Barachina Lojo.

And since there were other books on sale (some by the author herself too), I got a couple for my husband and kid, which I had signed as well by Ms. Neni.

Thank you, Tahanan Books, for inviting us to this launch.

“Ang gamot sa kalimot ay paalala.”

“Bukas, kwento na lang ang lahat.”

“Time is gold.”

These are but a few of the sayings I carry to heart all the time.

 

Just like in an autograph book in high school, what is your motto?

 

~ Touringkitty

REVIEW: Primomo Washable Crayons

We got some new crayons to try out, and give a review on. What fun it is to write on this blog!

Ready to unbox!
Ready to unbox!

Here they are, Primomo Washable Crayons made in Japan!

So, the crayons are supposed to be non-toxic, worry-free, and keeps hands clean. They are also washable, easy to hold, scented, and erasable. Time to put it in a test!

My daughter immediately drew a rainbow and some figures. She first asked me if they were donuts. And yes, they smell good!
My daughter immediately drew a rainbow and some figures. She first asked me if they were donuts. And yes, they smell good!

She can hold it anyway she wants, but since she knows how to hold a pencil, she first found it funny to hold inside the ring. But she did well here!

Now, for the eraser test.

Red crayon sample.
Red crayon sample.

Eraser sample. The eraser came with the crayons, but I have not tried if you can use any type of eraser, though.
Eraser sample. The eraser came with the crayons, but I have not tried if you can use any type of eraser, though.

It got erased, right? Though I have not yet done it fully. I think I could have erased it more.

The product looks really safe to use and non-toxic. I also liked the texture of the crayon itself, and you won’t feel sticky after using it. Some crayons would have residue on your hands or paper after you use them.

Although, I think this crayon is just for the beginner child only. I don’t think this would work well in your adult colouring books because you might not control the grip well. This is a good product for your young child as he discovers and strengthens his fine motor skills by colouring.

Get these super safe crayons for your little ones at these branches. Available at selected Fully Booked or Toys R Us branches (click link for full list then pull down Primomo menu). It is also available online through Lazada.ph.

Thanks to Mommy Bloggers Philippines for letting us try these!