Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gratitude and Love: Mother’s Day Celebration

Our family isn’t vocal or demonstrative when it comes to affection. We don’t say I love you to each other or that sort of thing, it’s kind of implicit or a given. It’s just not us, we’re not prone to being all cuddly and expressive. We’re not touchy-feely. We’re not even big on gift-giving. When we were kids, yes we were, on receiving, that is. But as we got older and harder to please, our parents would just buy generic stuff because they never knew what to get us. I’ve grown older and (none the) wiser, but I’ve tried to show my appreciation and gratitude to repay my parents for taking care of me. I know just how hard it is to love me, how difficult I can be. And I know that while it seems there are times that my family drives me up the wall (and vice-versa), deep down, of course, I love them. Despite them, and in spite of myself, I do. We argue, fight, bicker, scream, and shout, and on occasion I get into catfights with my sisters (I know no maturity when provoked), but we’re family, and nobody can stand my weirdness like they do. And vice-versa.

Anyway, Mama and I don’t always get along. And that’s an understatement. I guess we’re too much alike in the wrong ways for that. We’re both too bullheaded for our own good and so we always lock horns or butt heads a lot, in a manner of speaking. I wouldn’t say I’m a rebellious or defiant child, but then again that’s a biased opinion. I have a mind of my own and I do things my way, and needless to say, that doesn’t make for the closest or warmest of mother-daughter relationships. So through the years, Mama and I have had our rough patches, and lots of friction in between, but we’ve stuck it out and put up with each other. What can you do? In Filipino, hindi matiis.

It’s only in recent years, that I’ve been saving up my allowance, that I’ve gotten presents for my family. They do say that it’s the thought that counts, and actually, the act of gift-giving is in itself a gesture, that conveys more than whatever gift it is one is giving, because giving is a gift as well. So I knew Mother’s Day was coming up, and I was stumped as to what to get Mama. Last Thursday, I knew time was running out for me, since I wanted to surprise Mama, and my window of opportunity to buy something for Mama unsuspected, was closing fast. I did a mental rundown of what Mama might like for Mother’s Day. We’re not the overly sentimental type, so flowers, while touching, just wilt and then there’s no other use for them other than looking pretty. I guess you could say we’re utilitarian that way, we appreciate more practical or consumable gifts that are useful, and then you remember the giver and how thoughtful they were to give gifts that served a purpose or satisfied a need. With flowers, ornaments, trinkets, and décor crossed off the list, I went to food, clothes, services, and cosmetics. But then I already bought a cake for Mama before, and as for clothes, I’m no good with guessing Mama’s size, as there’s no standard, and while I know Mama’s size in a particular brand, other brands vary, so I threw that out too. Last Christmas I got Mama a voucher for a full body massage, but I wanted to try something else this time. And I was left with cosmetics. For Mama’s most recent birthday, I got her lipstick, and I thought, you can never have too many, but then if I went to the mall after school, I would be missed, and then I’d have to come up with a cover story, and that’s such a hassle. Then I considered ordering from online shops, but then it might not get shipped in time for Mother’s Day.

That’s when I had the idea to go to Human Heart Nature! Their main branch in Commonwealth is close by enough, and I pass it everyday going home, that even if I were thirty minutes late, I could brush it off as staying after school to do research or whatever. The last time I went to their store, was before the renovation, so I was excited to see what it looked like and the new products they were offering and I knew Mama would also be pleased. Win-win, so they say. So last Thursday, I planned to make a quick stop at Human Heart Nature Commonwealth on my way home after school.

IMG_1014I had a presentation in one of my classes that day, so I dressed up a bit, and wore a printed red dress with layered tiers. It’s just an unbranded dress that I got in a small stall, almost a flee market really, in Hong Kong. I don’t remember how much it cost because that was back in 2010.

What I love about it is the unique print, it’s not really a design, just a pattern of different colors, as if you splattered different colored paints on a red canvas. It has a very light and breathable fabric, so it’s very comfortable and I like how the tiers in the skirt part give it some volume and it’s not just a plain old dress. I didn’t want to match head to foot, so I wore a pair of gray peep-toe flats. Unfortunately, I was a little heavier when I bought this, so with my current weight loss, it’s a little loose fitting on me. It’s not a big problem, but if not for the garter in the waist, I would look straight up and down.


IMG_1022As for my face of the day, please excuse my puffy eyes. Since I’ve started wearing makeup to school again, after my acne outbreak subsided, I’ve had to go back to waking up fifteen minutes earlier and it’s been an eye-bag inducing adjustment.

Here I have on Ever Bilena’s matte lipstick in Mauvey. I kept my lip color neutral so as not to clash with the bold colors of my dress.

I love looking fresh and radiant, sans the eyebags, of course, and I actually don’t really comb or brush my hair before going to school, I just fix my part and my bangs, but I leave the rest of my hair alone because I like the tousled, out of bed wavy look. By the time I get to school, it gets limp, so it’s no use combing or brushing, either way.

My last class finished early that day, and it was perfect for my trip to Human Heart Nature, because of the spare time, I’d get home the usual time and there’d be no questions asked. So after class, I drove the same route home, but I watched out for Human Heart Nature. Commonwealth is really, really long, and sometimes, I over/under estimate exactly where, along the span of Commonwealth, certain establishment are, especially since, when I drive, I pay more attention to the road, and though I notice the places I pass by, I don’t always remember the precise locations, and instead I have a vague idea of more or less their vicinity. For example, it’s near a gas station, and the like.

So when I was on Commonwealth, I drove under the speed limit for once, instead of the speed limit itself, so I could look out for it and not miss it. Anyway, I spotted it as soon as I saw the sign from a distance, and I made my way to it, but the area of Commonwealth where it’s at is near a pedestrian overpass, so jeepneys and buses make a stop there for passengers to get on and off, and that means, it’s hard to squeeze in there to find a parking space, with all the public transportation in the way. Thankfully, their security guard at the storefront assisted me in parking my car, giving me signals when I went in reverse. Even after over a year of driving without a chaperone, I still get unnerved in tight parking spaces, especially with going in reverse. I have a small car, so it’s relatively easier to squeeze into small spaces, but still, I break a sweat when I have to park in reverse. Thank God for that helpful security guard.

When I went inside, the layout was much the same as the old one, it was slightly bigger, with more shelving and seating, and more décor, but it was still the same interior, very cozy and homey. There was free coffee, but I’m not really fond of coffee and I wasn’t planning on staying long, anyway, so I passed. I browsed their newest products first and then I did a quick survey of the shop.

IMG_1028IMG_1030In the end, I chose the brand new Strawberry Hand and Foot Salve because Mama is always on her feet and she suffers from dry and cracked heels and since Mama works with her hands a lot, she can get dry hands too. I also got Mama the Natural Hair Mask because she sometimes has trouble taming her hair as it tends to get frizzy a lot. I thought both those products smelled really good and that Mama needed and would have a use for. I’ve tried other Human Heart Nature products myself in the past and I was pretty satisfied with the results, and I love how they don’t use any harsh chemicals and everything’s natural. I was tempted to buy some products for myself, but I told myself it could wait, and I went there for Mama and not for me. Another time, perhaps.

Actually, I also wanted to buy Mama one of their lipsticks and an eyeshadow trio, but the shades I wanted were out of stock. I was disappointed that even in the main branch they didn’t have everything readily available, and I would have understood, I wouldn’t have minded much, but one of their cashiers had such a bad attitude that it turned me off. The makeup that they have on display are testers and samples, and if you want to proceed with a purchase, you have to ask at the counter for brand new stock. I approached their counter and the attendant was in the middle of a telephone conversation. I didn’t interrupt her or anything, I just excused myself and waited for her to finish her call. I clearly announced myself and made myself known. But instead of acknowledging my presence with even a slight nod, or a simple “One moment, please,” and I would have been happy to wait, mind you, she just completely ignored me. Even when she finished talking on the phone, I had to get her attention yet again. I was thoroughly insulted, and I felt like she was so dismissive of me! And even when she finally entertained me after being so utterly inattentive, she was such a slowpoke, and by then I had run out of patience! When I inquired about the makeup, she didn’t know if it was in stock, and took a long time finding out, only to tell me they were out, and she was just pokerfaced and absent. Unacceptable!

I know I sound entitled, but I’m a paying customer! I was already angry and I just paid for the two items in my basket and I didn’t look around anymore for any other products. The only saving grace were the polite security guards yet again, who held the door open for me and assisted me in leaving the parking space and merging back into traffic. I was mildly placated by this good service, that I tipped the security guard, and I don’t normally tip, unless people go above and beyond to guarantee customer satisfaction. When I got home, I even sent a Tweet to the Twitter account of Human Heart Nature and they apologized and said they would see to it. I should hope so!

I hid my surprise present in the back of my closet, and bided my time for the perfect opportunity to present Mama with my simple and small token of love. I was busy on Friday with an exam, and on Saturday, I was slaving away on paper due for Monday. We had made plans to celebrate the occasion by going to Trinoma for lunch after hearing mass because there was another sale. Just this morning, at breakfast time, I greeted Mama and gave her my present. She seemed glad and I was happy that I could offer a little something and that I could brighten her day even just a bit. Again, I’m not the “I love you” kind, so I have to find other ways.

IMG_1035After breakfast I got ready for our day out and I wore a pale blue denim dress and my favorite pair of green sandals. I love how the blue denim looks old and faded and the details of the buttons, the garter, the stitching on the top, and the frill on the sleeves and the layering of the skirt part all add to the preppy look.

It’s a little big on me, because it was the last piece at the time that I got this, and smaller sizes were no longer available, but I liked it so much I just made do. But it being oversized does give it a more casual air. It looks like I’m out to have some lighthearted fun with my family and my dress isn’t in the way. HAHA!

I also wore this in Ilocos and it’s very comfy. I know it’s a bit short for Church, but whatever, okay. Don’t judge.


My makeup is pretty much the same-old same-old. Here I’m wearing Nyx Round Lipstick in Tea Rose and you won’t be able to see it because I have hooded eyes, but I have a tiny bit of cream colored eyeshadow on.


We were late to Church, but the mass also started late, so we were still on time, as it happens. There were more people than usual at that time slot, but that’s probably because today’s Mother’s Day after all. I can’t recall what the Gospel was about, but anyway all the priest talked about in the homily was tailored for the occasion, so it doesn’t really matter. It was all about paying tribute to all the mothers out there. There was a different priest today, not the Indian one from last week, but a Filipino one, and he had a Bisaya accent, so at times I had to strain my hearing to understand what he was saying. One of the readers, an old woman, also kept mispronouncing “Peter,” instead of the long “e” sound she used the short “e” and it was so off, and I felt so mean sniggering inwardly, but I couldn’t help it. That’s what you get when you take a voice and diction class, you’re all the more conscious not just of your own mistakes, but more so of others’. The mass was okay, I guess. The homily was appropriate, but also very generic, about a mother’s sacrifice. It was heartwarming, but I’ve heard it all before. What else is new? I would have hoped for something more personal from the priest.

After that, just like last week, we went to the mall straightaway. I actually wanted to offer to drive for Mama and the rest of the family, but I decided against it, since Mama wouldn’t have wanted me to. They still don’t have any confidence in my driving skills, and they’re afraid I’ll put them all in danger, so Mama would rather drive herself and get stressed out than have me behind the wheel fearing for her life as well as ours. I like to think I’ve improved greatly, but like I said in the start of this entry, Mama and I don’t agree on things like my driving, and besides, when I sense that my passengers are nervous, I also get nervous. This leads to me being jumpy, and at the tiniest little thing, Mama barks at me, like “Watch out for that motorcyle!” even when I do see it coming, and this vexes the hell out of me and makes for a tense car ride. So, for everyone’s peace of mind, Mama drove us to Trinoma.

We got there as the mall was just opening and there were plenty of parking spaces left, and we found one a short walk away from the mall entrance. It was still early, so we did some shopping before lunch. We went to The Ramp, Crossings, and I checked out the small outlets of the online shops for Charm Makeup Brushes, Dollface Cosmetics, and Ellana Minerals. I had been meaning to buy myself a proper eyeshadow palette and some makeup and more makeup brushes for the longest time, but I hadn’t gotten around to it because I prioritized buying my own camera first. But since I’ve been saving my allowance this summer and I got back the money I spent on my camera, I could afford it already. I don’t go to Trinoma often though because the layout does not make any sense, and whenever we go there, it’s like we’re walking in circles, and the stores don’t go in any logical order, and we’ve experienced going from one end of the mall to another unable to find what we were looking for, so I thought this was the right opportunity to get the makeup I’d long been yearning for, when Mama suggested Trinoma for Mother’s Day. I could always order online anytime, but then I waited to go to Trinoma because it seemed more reasonable, than to shoulder the additional cost of shipping, not to mention the inconvenience of depositing bank payments, contacting the sellers, etc. Face to face transactions with tangible outlets are still best.

So, I bought myself the Dollface 88 Color palette, the budget, or the most basic and versatile palette for a noob like me who just wants more variety, and some products from Ellana Minerals. I checked out Charm Makeup Brushes, but I didn’t get any more stuff, because I was already way over-budget, I still have to set aside money for our trip to Singapore in case I find something I like over there.


Since I’d checked out Dollface Cosmetic’s website long ago, I already knew what I wanted even before I went there. I was actually surprised by how compact the entire palette is! It somehow looked bigger in pictures, but of course that because of zooming in. But if you compare it to the mascara I got in the picture above, and to the small jars of Ellana products, you’ll see how small it is. I chose this palette, apart from the obvious reasons that it was the cheapest one at PhP 800, because I think it offers me the best color selection and the range is suitable for day and night and for bold and for neutral looks. What more can a girl ask for?


I really liked how helpful the salesladies were. I picked out the Ellana products before the Dollface palette, and the one assigned to Ellana was off somewhere, but the Dollface saleslady who was around attended to me to the best of her ability, and only went away apologetically to fetch the Ellana saleslady when my questions were already in depth about the Ellana products and were outside of her knowledge. When the Ellana saleslady arrived, she helped Mama and me pick out products for ourselves. Mama bought some blush, and I got well…a handful of products. I’ve been using Ellana Mineral’s foundation and blush for over a month now, and I’m really happy with the results, so I wanted to try out more of their products. I like how the products are local, yet are very high quality.

The first time I got anything from Ellana, I only bought 1 gram sample sizes for PhP 100 each, and from daily use, my foundation was already running low. I wanted to get a bigger size, the 4 gram jar, to last me a longer time, but it was out of stock, so I bought another 1 gram size. The shade I’ve been using is White Choco Mocha in Intensive Blend for oily skin, but I only picked that out from swatches online, and here there were complete testers, and I also asked for a second opinion from the saleslady, and she recommended that I use Café Breve instead. They’re both in the lightest shades, but they differ in undertone. Ellana’s shade guide says you should pick your undertone based on the color of the veins under your wrist. If your veins are mostly blue, you have a cool undertone, and your skin is pinkish. If your veins are mostly green, you have a warm undertone, and your skin is on the yellowish side. But if you have a combination of blue and green veins, that means you have a neutral undertone and you’re more olive skinned.

It sounds pretty simple, but it’s kind of tricky for me because I have both pink and yellow undertones and I have both blue and green veins. In the past, I used more pink based foundations to favor my face, but that would bring out the yellowness in my neck. When I tried yellow-based foundations to match my neck instead, it brought out the pinkness of my face. So I tried Ellana’s neutral undertone, and upon first application, it does come off on the pinker side, but since I’m acidic, it oxidizes later on to be a closer match to my skin. But both Mama and the saleslady agreed that I should switch to Café Breve of the warm undertone because that’s still more dominant, and I thought maybe they were right. I will road test this tomorrow to see if it does match me better, if not, at least I only got a sample size, and not a full size.

The rest of the Ellana products I got were a 1 gram jar of blush in the shade Happiness for PhP100, a 2.5 gram jar of their green color corrector at PhP 190, and 6 gram jar of their HD powder for PhP 420. I already have their blush in Fetish, but I wanted to try another shade, and the green color corrector is for my rosacea, to at least help neutralize some of the redness and my blemishes. I’ve been using Krave Minerale’s Oil Eliminator and Skin Hydrator, but I’ve almost run out, and since I was already buying a few things from Ellana, I thought I’d give their HD powder a try. It was only available in 6 grams, so I got it, and anyway, I’d probably use it up in no time, so no sweat.

IMG_1043After I got what I wanted at Ellana, I briefly considered buying a kabuki brush from either Charm or Ellana, but I have more than enough makeup brushes at is it, so I decided not to buy one anymore. I called on the Dollface saleslady and asked for the 88 color palette and she got one for me. I liked how, even though I was buying it in person, and not getting it shipped, it was still lovingly and carefully double-bubble wrapped inside the box and outside it. She even accompanied me to the closest counter, and it was a really big help because it was actually in the other end of the store. My total reached PhP 1610! My, oh my! No more spending for me until Singapore! I need my pocket money for shopping over there!

After that, we went to have lunch. We originally planned to eat at Conti’s, but Mama had a sudden craving for KFC! HAHA! We were on our way to Conti’s but we passed KFC and Mama had one whiff of the fried chicken and vetoed. It was her special day and so we went along, but who doesn’t like KFC? We ordered a bucket meal and just some mashed potato and coleslaw for Mama for our fixings and gobbled it all up with generous helpings of gravy from the nearby gravy refill station. I forgot to take a family picture because we were all so engrossed in lunch, sadly. There was a photo booth area, my sisters weren’t up to it, but Mama was, and we took some pictures, and then there was option to send it to you e-mail address or to publish it on Facebook, but there was an unknown error, even though I was following the directions, so I couldn’t retrieve a copy. Boo. And here we had some cute pictures too.

In any case, we went to Landmark Department Store, where the sale was, since it wasn’t mall-wide, unlike SM’s big sales. And surprise, surprise! Apart from the discounts in Landmark, Maybelline was having its own sale and all the products were on 20% off, I think. My Cat Eyes mascara that I’ve been using the past few months was actually getting dried up, and I needed to buy another tube, and there it was, from PhP449, it was marked down to just PhP 359! And Mama also bought herself a nice lipstick from Maybelline and some Baby Lips lip balm for my youngest sister, all discounted, so she offered to pay for my mascara, since I paid for all the things I bought earlier! Of course, I didn’t say no when Mama was in the mood to buy me mascara! Thank you, Mama!

We bought some other toiletries in the cosmetics department before we went to the clothes, shoes, and apparel section. Mama and my sisters looked for bathing suits, since I already got one the last trip to the mall, but Landmark didn’t really have a wide selection of swimsuits, so only one of my sisters got a swimsuit. We didn’t have any luck either with clothes and shoes, so we went to the Home Department. That’s usually Mama’s thing, furniture and appliances, but we tagged along since it was Mother’s Day. We didn’t buy anything more at Landmark, and we were ready to go home, because there’s not actually much to see or do at Landmark.

On the way back to our car, we stopped to buy a chocolate cake from Hungry Pac. We tried it right away when we got home, as dessert and sort of an early merienda or afternoon snack. It was really moist, fresh, and light and the icing was really good. It’s not as heavy or rich as most cakes, and not too sweet either, so you can help yourself to a thick slice and not get sick or in Filipino umay or suya. I only got a medium sized slice, though.

All in all, Mother’s Day this year was nice. I hope I’ve managed to make Mama happy today. Our relationship is far from perfect, but we keep at it and we’ve stood by each other through thick and thin, because family’s all we’ve got. It’s not a bed of roses at all, but we have our moments, and that’s what counts. Love is love.

Thank you, Mama!

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