Follow Us @xoxodawn

Mar 2, 2018

3 Tips for Taking Mouth-watering Food Shots

3/02/2018 0 Comments

Change your angle

Flat lays are trending these past few years, and more and more people are jumping aboard the bandwagon. If you want to tell a different story, change your angle, show a different perspective. The height of the cake won't show when viewed from above. My favorite to do is this what I would describe as outerspace-looking-at-earth-from-moon angle.

Don't be afraid to come closer

Just be sure not to drop your camera or phone in the bowl of steaming hot soup. Getting up close and personal means you get the minute details of the dish: the crispy flakiness of the chicharon, the freshness of the herbs used as garnish... These tiny little details adds to the imagination of what the food will taste like and just whets the appetite some more.

Go ala carte

The more food you have on frame, the more the eye travels from one element to the other. Unless you're dining at a fancy restaurant and the plating is superb (and tiny serving sizes really), chances are the several food on your table are all vying for attention. In such cases, it is best to just pick one star to showcase, and maybe just do an album of the different food you've tried at that resto/event, rather than all of them crowding your table and photo and hardly be noticed at all.

Feb 1, 2017

Saladbox January 2017 MaryKayxSaladbox

2/01/2017 3 Comments

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was counting on this month's (January) box to make it up to me and to other subscribers, and that I am excited when they announced that delivery begins on the 16th. Well, I received it that very week and I couldn't be happier!

The box this time is in pink and green colors to channel the look of the new Mary Kay products that it contains. It's prettier than the Holiday box I dare say.

Their theme for this month is Super Fresh since it's the new year and every one is off to a fresh start.

In line with the theme are the new Mary Kay products that the box contains. The cleansing gel and moisturizing gel are infused with enriching, anti-oxidant packed dragon fruit and aloe extracts.

Another item which I don't think really fits the theme is the Mary Kay eyebrow pencil in brunette. But you could always interpret it as having on-fleek brows makes you look fresh. 😕

They also gave away a Mary Kay catalog for those who are interested and curious to buy more items from the brand. Personally, I'd like to get myself some of the products but the prices are a little steep. The ones in the box are among the cheapest of their products.

Overall, I love this month's issue of Saladbox. All items are in full sizes and the quality is unquestionable. For the price, I think it's worth it with how much I spent for the box. The delivery is also quick too. And did I mention that there's a mild fragrance that wafts out of the box when you open it? Love it!

Aren't you interested about getting a Saladbox subscription yet? 😸

Jan 24, 2017

Pili Tinted Lip Balm in Berry

1/24/2017 2 Comments

When I became pregnant, one thing that worried me (among other things) is the fact that I might be causing damage to my baby with the beauty products I so enjoy on applying. I know for a fact that lipsticks are the most risky, not only with the questionable ingredients some brands may contain, but also for the fact that we're ingesting them whenever we eat or drink.

It is for this fact that I have made a deliberate switch to organic and natural products, especially for lipsticks. But finding them in the Philippines wasn't exactly easy. The ones I usually find through Google were brands that weren't available here. Fortunately with a little more time and a little more patience (you need it more when you're pregnant), I finally found one that's homegrown.

Pili Beauty's tinted lip balm is made from natural ingredients with pili oil and elemi oil as its core ingredients. It can be used daily, alone or under lip color.

I chose a tinted lip balm instead of a lipstick because I know that my lips tend to chap. At the same time I don't want to get a plain lip balm because I'd love a little color on my lips for when I go out. A tinted lip balm hits two birds in one stone.

I love the labeling of Pili Beauty. It is forest green with gold and turquoise print. It has a natural, a-product-of-the-forest feel to it. Sadly (and my pet peeve with natural brands), it's obviously pasted on, and a little bit skewed at that.

Another thing I've noticed about natural homegrown brands, their packaging is generic. Maybe that's because they want to keep expenses to a minimum. But being a lippie addict, I still salivate over the gorgeous lipsticks like YSL, or the cute ones from Etude House, or maybe even nice and pretty ones from Maybelline. The natural/organic lipsticks like Pili's aren't ones that'll be gracing the stage of my vanity table.

The shade I chose was berry. I thought it'll give me a hint of color that looks like I'm brimming with health. 😀

But I was wrong. Pili's tinted lip balm is very pigmented. 😅 And it's buildable too. So the more I put it on (you know the term - slapping on lip balm), the darker and vampy I become. So much for looking healthy and glowing! 😅

And another thing, I can't exactly wear this at night because of the pigmentation. I'm afraid it might stain my pillowcases. An un-tinted one on the other hand might have been a better choice because it feels good on the lips and keeps the chap at bay.

The price of this one is at P300+. Too expensive for a lip balm. This is available online at Pili's website and at online stores like BeautyMNL and Zalora. Check them out, they have other shades.

So in summary,

I love the tinted lip balm from Pili because it's made with natural ingredients, it's moisturizing, and it's pigmented. It is also easily available online (although that made it difficult to gauge the color on yourself). What I don't like about it is that I chose the wrong shade (I misjudged the intensity on the lips), it's price and it's packaging.

Jan 13, 2017

Saladbox Holiday Box Unboxing and Review

1/13/2017 0 Comments
I've always wanted to try out subscription boxes. I thought they're a fantastic idea. You get to try out brands and products you haven't tried or heard of before, and you usually get your money's worth. The boxes they also come curated in are so cute that they make for pretty additional storage on the vanity table or in drawers.

But they're not inexpensive (in my opinion). One box is usually priced almost at P1000. You might be able to save if you subscribe for longer periods, with 3 months being the shortest and 1 year the longest, but I do not have money for that. Not right now.

So when Saladbox announced last October that they're offering 3 beauty boxes for P1000, I thought it's a good deal. One box for P333. I checked out the Saladbox website and the items they curated were enough to make me decide to go ahead and purchase.

Boy was I ever disappointed. First and foremost, the delivery took forever. I paid in October because it was an October promo. I was excited to receive my first box on November. Super excited! My packages I usually have delivered at my hubby's office and as early as 2nd week of November I told him I was expecting one. 😀

Well, as it turns out, Saladbox is consolidating the November and December boxes in one box - the Holiday Box. Ooookay.

To be shipped at December 5.

That deflated me a little.

Well, no worries. We are just within Metro Manila so I figured since it wasn't in the thick of the holiday season yet, deliveries would only take a couple of days max.


I am following them on Instagram and I kept checking how the delivery was going, has anyone received theirs?

A lot of the comments I've read though were negative. Those who haven't received it are pissed while those who did were disappointed.

Hmmm. 🤔

I finally received mine just a few days before Christmas. And I've noticed, it was the day after I commented on their Instagram page asking where my box is. Maybe they have forgotten about me and needed reminding?

When I finally got my hands on it, yep so excited once again (new makeup!) I opened it to only feel indifferent.

Look at them. They will not cause you to jump for joy.

At the same time, for P333, I think what I got is already worth the price.

But then hang on. Why am I getting an Ever Bilena blush instead of the Ever Bilena lipstick they announced?

They had been hinting about this quality lipstick (don't quote me on that - haven't tried it) that they're including in our holiday boxes and even sent us an email asking us what color/shade we prefer from 3 choices.

Where is that lipstick that I made the effort to pick a shade of? 😂

It looks like they have run out of stocks that's why some packages were super delayed. But I'm curious as to how come? Didn't we made our orders as late as November (they still do promote their boxes even when they are suppose to be already delivering them)? Shouldn't they know how many items they needed to fill every box? And how come I get the replacement product when I paid as early as October? Was it because I availed of the cheapest promo? Because if that was the case, then they shouldn't have gotten my hopes up with an email about choosing the dang lipstick color!

Anyway, I'm not that upset. I'm trying to stay off lipsticks that aren't natural/organic anyway because I'm pregnant so I'm happy I got the blush instead.

But this blush looks inexpensive. It looks like a toy. Or at the very least newbie makeup for teens - if you know what I mean. I'm not talking about the Careline lip balm in macaroon packaging. I love that one. I love cute packaging. But Ever Bilena's blush's packaging looks like it'll easily break. I'll let you know how it'll fare once I tried it out. And I'll let you see pictures.

In the box is a greeting card and a discount card. Nothing festive about the contents though.

With my beauty box came another box. The Saladbox Man. It's their curation for men. I thought, "Hey! Good idea! I have an additional gift for hubby."

But then I thought, does this count as a 2nd box out of my three? I researched online and found out this is a freebie and doesn't count with the number of box subscriptions. Hooray! Free gift for my man!

These are the contents. I am not complaining. These are more than what my hubby is even using (I'm just talking about the astringent really).

He was happy to receive this. And although he's unsure about the astringent, and raised his brows with the toothpaste (toothpaste as gift! 😅 ), he's pretty happy to have new bath products that he won't need to repurchase any time soon.

Final Verdict

So overall, although I'm dubious whenever I see Saladbox promoting their new box (it's Mary Kay this month of January - which I'm excited about but really keeping myself from over-expecting), I think it was well worth the money I spent for it and I'm willing to give them a chance to make up for it (with the Mary Kay box hahaha). I hope I won't be disappointed next time.

And they announced deliveries will begin on 16, Monday. 😸

So how about you? Have you tried any subscription boxes yet? Did they live up to your expectations?

Dec 23, 2016

BeautyMNL Haul & Shopping Experience + Contest!

12/23/2016 0 Comments

I don't know about you, but I really love online shopping. Especially this Christmas season, it is so much easier than braving the crowds and traffic. You have no idea how frustrating it is to be carrying several shopping bags only to find that there are no available taxis in sight and the lines are so long for both taxis and public transportation alike. Not to mention I am heavily pregnant!

I do this every year, scour the world wide web for places to shop for Christmas gifts. This year, I am fortunate to be handpicked by BeautyMNL to test run their shop. I thought, what better timing!

And I wasn't disappointed. I initially thought, seeing ads of BeautyMNL, that they only carry western products like Maybelline and Revlon, but I was pleasantly surprised that they have Korean brands like Innisfree and Cosrx. Those brands aren't easily available here in the Philippines so this is a great find.

I have also discovered they sell organic products, which they so handily categorized with its own tab by the header. You'd know from my previous post how I was looking for organic stuff now that I am pregnant. Their organics page have brands that I haven't even heard of before. I really had a fun time looking at everything. And yes, I want everything.

But I can't afford everything. So here's what I bought:

It's a mix of natural/organic cosmetics, skincare, bath, and wellness products, plus a couple of Korean items.

One of my favorite find is this Au Naturel box. BeautyMNL curated a few organic items into one beautiful box. They are from different brands so you get to try out new products and discover what you love. The concept is similar to subscription boxes but with this, you'll know exactly what you'll get and they come in full sizes. BeautyMNL also has other boxes/sets aside from Au Naturel, so best to check those out. They might have something you'd be interested in.

This box contains:

  • a hand sanitizer by Made By David in grapefruit and sage
  • a body bar by Be Organic in coffee and seaweed
  • a body scrub by Zenutrients in goat's milk and oatmeal
  • a lip and cheek stain by Skin Genie in cherry pink (freebie)

Should I dare mention that these are among my fave finds too?  Hehe. I guess I'd rather say that these four are the ones I am excited to try the most. 😉

The Lip and Cheek Stain Alive by Skin Genie is one of their bestsellers and have been included in their 2016 BeautyMNL Awards. I picked Rose Pink and Creamy Peach because I already had an organic berry tinted lip balm and was looking for other colors I could wear.

This stain guys is only P80! No wonder it's a bestseller. Not only is it organic, it's also in a stain/tint formula (which is my fave among lippies) and it doubles as a cheek color too. Win!

No-Sedum Mineral Powder by Innisfree. Guys, if you've been following Korean beauty trends, then I don't need to tell you that this is a cult product, highly sought after by oily skinned gals like me. Only, this isn't easily accessible here in the Philippines because Innisfree doesn't have a store here yet (as far as I know). So I'm very happy to find this at BeautyMNL and so excited to try this.

Eyelash/Eyebrow Growth Enhancing Serum by Leiania House of Beauty. I'm so curious about this. I have neither luscious lashes nor normal looking brows (and I've made that known several times) so this is something I really want to try and work. I'm giving this away as a Christmas gift though, but I'm crossing my fingers it's effective so I can get one for myself. Nyahaha. 😄 Sorry I'm using you as my guinea pig *undisclosed name*! It's organic, so you can rest assured you won't damage your face.

These two I picked out to be given as gifts.

Papaya Kojic Soap by Be Organic. I'm  not very particular with skin whitening, but I know of someone who is. I just want to introduce to her an organic alternative because I find the chemicals in store bought kojic soaps to be very drying.

Blackhead Silk Finger Ball by COSRX. COSRX is one of the Korean brands that many have been singing praises for. This item I picked is for blackhead removal. It is made of silk in thimble form, something I haven't seen before (Koreans are so innovative) and is said to be painless yet effective.


BeautyMNL's package came in a transparent zip lock bag with gold foil insert. It looks pretty guys, I'm even tempted to give some of my gifts in this exact packaging. 😄

Payment, Shipping and Delivery

BeautyMNL makes it easy for you, they have payment methods in all forms. They accept Paypal (my preferred method), credit cards, bank transfers, bank deposits, and cash-on-delivery.

I was able to avail of their holiday free shipping promo, but their usual rates are P50 for Metro Manila and P150 for provincial. They also offer free shipping on orders P1500 and up.

Delivery was fast. I received mine right the next day after ordering (but I paid through Paypal, it might take longer if I paid through bank deposit since they'll need to confirm the payment first). This is the norm for Metro Manila orders. For provincial, the wait is between 5-7 days.


Guys, let's join the #selfieMNL contest! It's a monthly contest and it's so easy to join. Just post a selfie on instagram and tag BeautyMNL and Rosanna Aranaz and include the hashtag #selfieMNL. Prizes include a printed polaroid of your selfie and P200 BeautyMNL GC. What's there to lose? We're posting selfies on IG all the time anyway!

Complete details here.
BeautyMNL website

Dec 9, 2016

Natural Bath And Beauty Products Locally Made In The Philippines

12/09/2016 0 Comments

Being pregnant really changes one's perspective. I have become more conscious of the things I eat and the products I allow my body to absorb. First on my checklist was the lipsticks, because we all know that we easily ingest them every time we eat or drink. I am a self confessed lippie addict, and I was sad to see them just sitting on my vanity untouched, more so when I have nothing to apply on my lips. But I have to make sacrifices, for the sake of this little human being I am incubating.

This led me to search for natural and organic products that are safe for pregnant women, as well as for babies. The earlier search was in vain since all I found were products from abroad and either they're not being sold here in the Philippines, or they are crazy expensive!

But I've finally found some that's all natural and/or organic. And they're locally made too! Score! They're less expensive than their foreign counterparts yet they're just as good.

Here are some of the brands I've found.

Phina's Little Factory

Phina's Little Factory or PLF is known for its handmade soaps, shower gels and body scrubs. Phina also makes lotions, face serum, toners, kitchen soaps and even candles. She boasts of hand making all her products and using all natural ingredients. That means no parabens, no sodium laurate sulfate (sls), and no artificial colors and fragrance, just all the natural goodness and benefits that using pure ingredients has to offer.

Image credit: Phina's Little Factory

Pili Beauty

Pili Beauty's core ingredients are pili oil and elemi oil. They incorporate both oils in their products which includes soaps, lotions, lipsticks, lip balms, lip and cheek tints, as well as deodorants, vapor balm, mosquito repellent, and essential oils. Pili oil is known to be rich in antioxidants, contain vitamin E and has moisturizing properties. Elemi oil on the other hand has firming and anti-bacterial properties.
Pili Beauty Website

Image credit: Pili Beauty

The Happy Organics

The Happy Organics' products are mostly bath, skincare and wellness products. They have handmade soaps, body scrubs, shampoos and conditioners, cleansers and toners, as well as healing balms, room sprays, and body oil. Among their varied products, and what I haven't found elsewhere, are whitening products such as a whitening bar, scar remover, underarm deodorants and creams. They assure that all ingredients are safe and eco-friendly and complements the skin.
The Happy Organics Website

Image credit: The Happy Organics

These are just 3 of the brands I've encountered on my research. I'll share more brands on my next post so stay tuned. If you have any recommendations, feel free to leave a comment down below.

Have a nice day!