This past week, we had two different appointments in Manila, which facilitated two different shopping trips. One was at Ayala Center in Makati, which has been radically revamped since I last came here in 2000 (hello, Greenbelt 3!) - I wore out my shoes just walking from wing to wing, looking for stores. The other was at Festival Supermall in Alabang, which is just as gigantic as Ayala Center but not as confusing to walk through. Despite the grand magnitude and impressive range of items at both malls, however, I still managed to buy only a handful of stuff - because, as you know, I'm way too frugal that way. (To be fair, however, I barely stopped myself from drooling all over the new Diptyque and L'Occitane stalls at Rustan's.) So, instead of talking about what I saw at each store, I'm going to talk about the things that I actually bought. Shocker!
- Maxi striped blouse, Landmark: Lately I've been a fan of the open Mandarin collar, which is basically a band around your neck with a deep V-like opening in front (the better to show off that sternum and not look like a block, heh). This blouse - with long, roomy, uncuffed sleeves - is made from cotton shirting, with pink and yellow stripes and buttons the size of US quarters. It doesn't button all the way down, though, but I think it's a good informal alternative for the moments when a traditional shirt would be too starchy and a T-shirt would be too casual.
- Maybelline lip gloss and lipstick, PCX: Let me state for the record that I am a sucker for sales, especially for lip product. That's why I couldn't help but snap up not one, but two, about-to-be-discontinued products that are obviously not available in the States. (The clerk told me that they were clearing out stock to make way for the Moisture Extreme line.) The Moisture Whip lipstick in Mystic Burgundy is a darker version of the US Moisture Extreme's Red Dawn shade, which has a satin finish; it's not a daring, bloody red (like the Maybelline ME's Cherry Brown or my beloved MAC Underworld) but more on the sensible, plummy side. I still needed a lip balm to wear this, but it stayed on sensibly nonetheless. My current favorite, however, is the Fruity Jelly lip gloss in 06 Strawberry, which I bought for way less than $1.99. At first I was scared because it was such a pale baby pink in the tube, but I was surprised that it went on super sheer without even looking the least bit sparkly. Not to mention that the stuff smells like candy and is the least bit sticky going on your lips. Really awesome!
Seriously, folks: The Asian versions of familiar global brands are definitely worth a look and try. Some brands are pretty good with putting out products and packaging that are definitely geared to the Asian market and not mere retreads of tired American or European stock. When I went to PCX, the sale table also had the most darling eyeshadow singles from Maybelline - tinier than the American compacts - as well as sensible eyeshadow duos from L'Oreal. Now if only they would manage to diversify the shade ranges for their foundation (and not stick us non-"porcelain/ivory" folk with just one shade that isn't always a guaranteed match - there's a reason why I do end up at the Lancome counter from time to time), I'd be a happy camper.
- Tea tree and lemon eucalyptus incense from some New Age stall, Ayala Center Glorietta: It's supposed to be for the outdoors, to ward off insects, but I use it in my bedroom because it smells great. Also because I sometimes get mosquito bites, so anything's better than nothing.
Lest I forget to mention this, I got a haircut at Jesi Mendez last Friday. My hair's still long, but layered in such a way that it's practically feathered all over, like a '70s shag. The layers around the crown, in particular, are really short verging on mullet-like, so if I tie my hair back it almost looks like I went all the way and got a pixie cut. (I like to joke sometimes that my current hairdo is the result of a one-night stand between Sienna Miller and Steve Perry.) That said, I'm far from looking like a retro holdover; on the contrary, it's now so feathery and shaggy and rocker-chick-y that it looks even better when it's slept in and messy, especially when I pin the sides back. It also looks better when I brush my hair while holding my head upside down, with minimal to no styling product whatsoever. Hey, it could work.