Five rainy day skin (and mood) hydrators

Question: what would you rather read, a capsule review (favorites) post or a detailed one dedicated to a single product? The advantage of me doing a capsule review is that it runs through stuff that I'm currently testing - it's quicker to do and come out when the news is still hot. The disadvantage is that, I won't be able to offer as many info and photos as usual.

On the other hand, detailed reviews take a while for me to make (two weeks to two months, depending on the type of product) as it involves consistent use and lots of photographic evidence. I suppose they're interesting to read because you get the full picture about a potential purchase.

Ideally, I will be able to do the same amount of capsule and full-length posts, but I am interested to know about what you think I should focus on more. I'd love to hear your opinion on this!

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Anyway! I thought I'd put together a few things I've been enjoying in this wet and gloomy weather. I've mentioned that my skin is dry lately, and I'm not just talking about my face - my hands, lips, and eye bags are all falling apart like prunes. Okay not really but you get my drift!

I've also been feeling blah. Honestly, happy cheery scents just seem so out of the picture in a gloomy landscape. No? Surely it's not just me. Here are my top five faves in this weather!

I've always been a fan of the DKNY Be Delicious scents, as you know, and the latest one certainly won't change my mind. The City Blossom in Rooftop Peony is romantic and dreamy, inspired by flowers on the rooftops of New York. It features juicy mandarin, bergamot, pink lady apple blossom and black currant with intense rose absolut, velvety peony and sweet raspberry, and sensual woods as the base. 

It's a fruity floral that's completely urbane and grown up. I like that it's not as effervescent and bubbly as the other Be Delicious scents, which makes it a perfect fit for today's gloomy cityscape.

The Clinique Even Better Brightening Moisture Cream Plus is a new moisturizer fave of mine. I'll be posting about this more next week, but I can tell you straight that this is perfect for dry skin! It's rich, but doesn't clog the pores. It brightens up my skin, too, which is my #1 requirement for moisturizers!

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso 2 in 1 Brightening Eye Cream has been keeping my bags looking presentable lately. I luckily unearthed it from my pile of beauty stuff, and it's stuck to my dresser ever since. Love the light formula and cooling metal tip! Effects on my eyes haven't been drastic in the three weeks that I've been using it, but I'm pleased with how it maintains my eyes so far.

The Burt's Bees Honey & Grapeseed Hand Cream is a new tube that I keep close by my work station. It smells so so sweet but I like it! And of course the formula is super effective in keeping away the dreaded old lady hands. 

The Egyptian Magic Cream is touted to be the favorite of Hollywood celebrities (seriously, google it). It's one of those balms that solve any skin problem that involves dryness and irritation. My lips are quite chappy lately so I dug this out of The Pile (really I should call it that) and so far it's been working perfectly. If you have seriously chapped areas in your bod, you might wanna slather this on!

I believe the EMC can be found in Watsons and Mercury Drugstore for less than P300. Don't quote me on that though! Just ask the sales ladies!

Hope you enjoyed this post and hey, have a great weekend!

 

Reader Question: Should you rotate your skincare products?

Hi! Do you believe in rotating your skincare products or having different brands so your skin won't get "immune" to them? Thanks! - Kaye

Hi Kaye! This is a really good question, something that a lot of people are confused about. It may be because most of us notice lacklustre performance from our products after a few months. Sometimes, this new thing works so well that our skin has never been better, but then it peters off until you can barely see the difference. Why could this be?

There are a few factors that may contribute to this change in efficacy.

The breakdown of active ingredients. A product is not 100% the same once you open it. Active ingredients become less stable as you dip into a jar or bottle over time, even when there are preservatives. Light and air getting into the packaging may also change the formula. Which brings me to my next point!

Improper storage. Exposure of the products to light, heat, and humidity also affects the formulation! Most beauty products should NOT be stored above 31 degrees centigrade - hotter than that and they either melt, "sweat", or separate. Light is also a big factor, which is why some bottles are completely opaque or very dark. 

The ideal storage conditions for skincare, makeup, and fragrances would be in a cool, dark-ish place. Don't store your products in the bathroom (due to high humidity) or in a dresser where sunlight directly shines. You should keep them in drawers or cabinets, or in a room with curtained windows. Better if there's air-conditioning! You can also keep them inside your fridge.

Change in your environment. If you travel to a cooler place or when the season is considerably less hot (like right now), your skin changes - it might become drier. When it's super hot during the summer, your skin also changes. It's different for everyone, but our skin will not be 100% the same when the temperature changes for prolonged amounts of time.

For example, when I went to Japan last spring, my skin became quite dry! During the summer the, my skin became super duper oily naman. Right now my skin is dry again (particularly the cheeks) because of the cooler weather.

Changes in your body. Hormonal changes may show up on your skin (that would be your monthly period, pregnancy, or menopause). Stress from work or school or a change in diet also affects your skin.

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Et ceteris paribus - all things remaining equal - I still believe that changing out a product or two once in a while keeps my skin on its toes. I am very loyal to my facial wash and toner since their main job is to cleanse effectively, but I usually rotate serums and moisturizers. These products show the most improvement on my skin whenever I go on a new one or go back to something I've tried before. Serums in particular have higher concentrations of active ingredients, so I really notice a difference whenever I'm on a new bottle.

That's just my personal observation, however. If your skin is already thriving under your current skincare regimen, there's no reason to rotate or change anything!

Hope this helps, guys. Let me know if you rotate products, and how it's been working out for you!

My lips but gorgeous: The Estee Lauder Pure Color Crystal Lipstick in Crystal Baby

When was the first time you ever wore lipstick? I still remember that moment as clear as day. I was maybe five or six years old, and I snuck into my grandmother's bedroom, as kids do when they're bored. My Lola was a makeup artist so she had a vanity table full of fabulous cosmetics. I picked up a gold tube and slathered red lipstick all over my face - just to see what it looks like. Then I spritzed on some perfume for good measure. As it happens, it's a sunflower scent that's still available to this day!

I don't remember if I got in trouble but if I did, it was worth it. That little adventure made me curious about cosmetics. It encouraged me to explore my options once I was old enough to start using makeup. My Lola, bless her heart, is the most influential person to me in that regard.

Anyway, today I want to quickly show you the Estee Lauder Pure Color Crystal Lipstick in Crystal Baby (P1,400). This is part of a capsule collection released a month or so ago (see more in a bit) centered around an angelic, peachy pink color: the Crystal Baby.  

I wore this lipstick in an Instagram post some time back and everyone was like, "what are you wearing?!" Crystal Baby is a gorgeous, almost nude lipstick with a luxurious, hydrating formula. It's so wet, I thought that it'd be sheer, but the color pay off is actually pretty good!

Check it.

It looks exactly like my lips but on another level. ^_^ It's not particularly long-wearing (three hours, tops) but I don't mind retouching because it has such a lovely moisturizing texture.

A bit about this look: I wore the Estee Lauder Doublewear BB Cream and the Estee Lauder Pure Color Five Color Eyeshadow Palette in Angel Petal. The palette and Crystal Baby go so well together, no?

Here's the rest of the Crystal Baby collection! There's a Nail Lacquer, Shimmer Lipgloss, and Illuminating Powder. It's a great idea to build a whole collection around one modern, beautiful, and absolutely wearable color.

Check out Beauty Look Book's feature on the rest of the collection! 

Check out Beauty Look Book's feature on the rest of the collection! 

So there you have it - if you're looking for a new color you can fall in love with and actually wear everyday, check out Crystal Baby! I love the lipstick to bits. Definitely something I would finish up.

Let me know what you think!

Freshlook Colorblend Contact Lenses in Green

I know I told you guys that I'm done with colored contacts, but Freshlook sent me a couple of boxes and I just wanted to try them out! I got one in Green. It's absolutely gorgeous and as far as I'm concerned, natural-looking!

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I like that the Freshlook Colorblends doesn't make my eyes look glassy or disturbingly large. With it, my eyes are the same size, but just loads more interesting with a ring of brown and flecks of green around it. It's so pretty! Now I kinda remember what made colored contacts such a staple in my beauty routine.

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For changing the color of your eyes is much like changing your lipstick. It gives you a new personality, and enhances your coloring as well as the rest of the makeup you chose to wear for the day. Will I go back to wearing these all the time, though? Hmm, maybe once in a while, but not regularly like before. It's fun for events and such but I'm happy with the normal color of my eyes on a daily basis.

Anyway, if you're interested in a new eye color, do try the Freshlook Colorblends. ^_^ I love their soft contacts and how they never irritate my eyes. Plus they have graded lenses! I'm wearing one in a very high grade actually - zero issues, even if they're not adjusted for astigmatism. I believe Freshlook is available in major optical stores.

Freshlook Contact Lenses on Facebook

 

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Love: Zoeva Luxe Complete Brush Set

I first heard about Zoeva from Julia of Bless My Bag. I love her blog, as you know, and was really excited to find a fairly affordable brush set that she recommends! The catch was, Zoeva is a German brand. I can order it from there, but I'm not too pumped about paying for international shipping and taxes here in the PH. Then Julia mentioned that Zoeva is available at Luxola, a Singapore-based beauty retailer. I immediately looked for the set there but sadly it was out of stock.

It was the right love at the wrong time. Zoeva and Luxola flew from my mind until last week, when Luxola's PR manager asked if they can send me some stuff! OF COURSE THEY CAN SEND ME STUFF. Two days later (!) I had my requested products on my doorstep. Shipping was incredibly fast, AND I didn't even have to pay any taxes or fees. Luxola also has an ongoing promo where they offer free shipping for orders above P1,300.

Plus, if you use the code LX-LIZ upon check out, you get 25% off storewide on your purchase. Sweet! Y'all should try this store!

Anyway, let's get back to the Zoeva Luxe Complete Set (P6,000+). I already have several brush sets and individual pieces in my collection, but what drew me to this particular set is the way the brushes are exquisitely shaped. The pointed powder brush caught my attention first as I've been wanting to own something like it since I saw Lisa Eldridge using one from Suquu (which costs a whopping ~P15,000 in Japan!). It looked like the perfect soft contour and setting brush.

I was not mistaken.

Each piece (with the exception of the Eyebrow Line) is incredibly soft and dense when it needs to be. The brushes have a heft and thickness to them which makes them feel luxurious to use; they are not flimsy at all! I also got minimal shedding (by minimal I mean only one hair fell off) during the first wash. None of the brushes bled.

The brushes with white bristles were actually easy to clean even if they seem to be animal hair. I used these heavily during the weekend and all the pigments washed off without a hitch.

This set, I think, is a makeup artist's wet dream. The shape of each brush is well thought out and crafted, especially the face brushes! They have thick handles for easy gripping and balance as you buff the products in. Let's run through each piece!

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Luxe Face Definer. This is a big, slightly pointed brush that can be used for a diffused contour effect and to set your makeup with loose powder. The tapered end means that you can get in between tight spaces of the face easier.

Luxe Cheek Finish. Meant for applying blush, this brush is flat-ish and fluffy. I love how it delivers smooth, even color on my cheeks. I reckon this can be also used to contour due to the slightly flat shape.

Silk Finish. This is a buffing brush that can be used for wet (liquid, cream, gel) and dry foundation. It's very dense, which does help achieve the "silk finish" its name promises. It blends products on my face wonderfully!

Luxe Highlight. It's for applying highlighting products on the high points of the face. It can also be used for a more concentrated contour effect.

Concealer Buffer. I LOVE THIS. It's a dense, domed brush that seamlessly puts on concealer. It can't be used for spot-concealing, but if you have large blemishes and uneven areas this is perfect.

And here are the eye brushes! They're great, too, but I think two or three are a bit redundant. The four crease brushes are different in sizes and shapes. However, most people can do with only two - like a mid-sized and a smaller version.

Then again the perfect eyeshadow application requires at least one clean brush for blending. I guess I can do with extra crease brushes since I might not always wash them.

Luxe Soft Definer. This is strikingly similar to the MAC 217, which is easily the most famous eyeshadow brush in the world. It can be used for applying and blending eyeshadows.

Luxe Soft Crease. It's a largish brush for crease makeup. It's great for getting that super blended effect.

Luxe Defined Crease. Same shape, but smaller in size than the Soft Crease. This places concentrated amounts of eyeshadow on the crease.

Luxe Smoky Shader. This is a flat, paddle-like brush that is pretty dense. It's for putting on cream or wet colors, as well as concentrated amounts of powder eyeshadow on the lids.

Luxe Petit Crease. It's a small, stiff brush with a domed tip. Quite the same function as the Defined Crease, but I'll pick this any day.

Here are the brushes for defining the eyes:

Luxe Pencil. It has a pointed tip that makes it ideal for smudging eyeliner or placing eyeshadow on the lash lines.

Wing Line. This is awesome for creating the perfect cat eye. The steep angle of the tip fits my eyes more comfortably than the typical angled liner brush.

Brow Line. Other than the Concealer Buffer, this is easily the most unique brush I've come across. It's razor-thin and has short, stiff bristles. Why? To "stamp" individual hairs on your brows! That's usually the domain of pen-tip brushes, right, but this one does the job beautifully. I love it. It's ideal with powder products. I mist it with water first before dipping it on the powder.

Fine Liner. A normal bent eyeliner brush. It creates thinner lines versus the winged line.

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It bears mentioning that the brush handles are shorter than usual. It's totally fine by me! I didn't notice any difference in application. The brushes also come in a gorgeous pleather pouch - it might be disappointing not to get a brush roll, but seriously, who uses brush rolls nowadays? It's only for transporting and storing brushes. Otherwise, you'll just be placing these brushes in a jar at home or even during a makeup job if you intend to use them a lot.

I think I'll be using a pouch more often than a brush roll, so I get a better deal this way IMHO.

Now, I forget the exact price, but the 15-piece set + the pouch is around P6,000. Yeah, that's not exactly cheap, but in the brush world that's a steal already! The Zoeva brushes have professional-level quality at a fraction of the price. For example, a MAC face brush would cost you around P2,000- 2,700. The Zoeva Luxe Face Definer is only P1,187 at what I feel is the same level of quality as MAC brushes.

The Silk Finish is just P733, while the Luxe Cheek Finish is P838. You get the idea. If you're a makeup artist looking for her first set, or even a supplemental set to an existing collection, I highly recommend the Zoeva Luxe Complete Set. If, like me, you just love makeup and amazing products that make your routine quicker and more fun, this is also a great set to try. ^_^

This set is currently out of stock at Luxola, but you can buy most of the brushes individually here. Don't forget to use the LX-LIZ code upon check out to get your 25% off storewide, alright? Let me know how it goes!

What do you think of this set?

 

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Delightfully delicious: Avon Naturals Body and Hair Care

So I have a big launch for a client next week and my associate is out this week. She's getting married to her long-time partner - I'm deliriously happy for her! - but yeah this leaves me in a bit of a bind. This morning I had to decide whether I will take a blog hiatus this week. I know, if I don't post for seven days the world would still turn. But I can't just stop. It's a fully-formed habit, this blog, and besides I've been doing this for so long I can run it on auto-pilot, if I have to.

Please forgive me if my posts are a lot shorter than usual. I hope you'd still find time to read them though, because I have a lot of interesting products for you this week!

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One of them is the Avon Naturals Body and Hair Care Line (P200-300). This has been around for AGES! I remember using this in high school since my mom always bought several from the Avon catalog. I don't remember the exact variants anymore but I remember loving the 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner as well as the lotions.

Thirteen years later, Avon Naturals products are still as popular as ever. You can find matching body washes, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and the 2-in-1s. It's crazy that Avon sent me almost everything from the line, but hey, at least I was able to definitely pick out the most promising ones for you guys!

Everything smells good, I think, but these ones have the most sophisticated, delicate scents. The formula of the body gels and lotions isn't what you'd call fancy, but they do what they are supposed to do. The gels lather up wonderfully while the lotions aren't sticky at all.

Here are my faves: the Pomegranate & Mango Shower Gel and Hand & Body Lotion (this is the best scent IMHO!), Apple & Grape Hand & Body Lotion, and Papaya & Milk Shower Gel. I like fruity, sparkly scents in my body care, which is why I gravitated to these.

I'm not adventurous when it comes to hair care (I break out easily from hair products), but for old time's sake I will test out the Strand Strength Shampoo and Conditioner, and the Maximum Moisture Conditioner. Sounds like something I would need as I have thin, dry hair. Crossing my fingers these work well for me!

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So there you go. ^_^ Do you use Avon Naturals products? What are your personal picks?

Bobbi Brown Week: Tinted Lip Balm in Pink Popsicle

My mama always told me that wearing too much lipstick will turn my lips dark. Guess what, eight years and hundreds of lipsticks later my smackers are actually lighter! I've worn loads of different brands and formulas in the last eight years but they seem to have weirdly bleached my lips. I remember them being darker in high school, and I even have a slight rim on my top lip. Now, my lips are so pale I can't bear going out without at least some tint! I look bloodless otherwise.

I think that removing colors properly prevented my lips from darkening prematurely. As with any makeup, it's not wise to sleep with lipstick or stain on, regularly, as the color might settle deep inside the skin. Just take it off when you're done!

Anyway, to finish up Bobbi Brown Week here on Project Vanity, I have here the Tinted Lip Balm in Pink Popsicle. It's a handy balm for the ultimate nude lip - it has juuust the right amount of apricot pink color to even out my lips but not add on too much pigmentation. Obvs, if you're not into the truly nude lip look, this is way too bare. As for myself, I find it a great way to wear lip balm that enhances my lips in a subtle manner.

Just look at the difference! If I didn't show the "before" photo, you wouldn't have guessed that I have something on, right? In a full face shot (I'm wearing the balm in this look) it looks like I just have transparent lip balm on. I think so anyway.

The formula is quite hydrating and doesn't feel heavy on the lips. It lasts for about three hours on me. The tube is pretty basic, but it doesn't feel like your typical light plastic packaging for balms. It's classy as befits Bobbi Brown products.

There are certainly other more affordable tinted lip balms out there, however, if you love Bobbi Brown and love this particular color, then there's no reason not to check it out. ^_^

Hope you enjoyed this themed week! Feel free to suggest more themes and I'll see what I can do!

See you tomorrow at the Watsons Doll Glam event!

Hey all, just wanted to shoot you an invite to a Watsons event that begins today! It's called Doll Glam, a gyaru-themed beauty fair where top drugstore brands will showcase their best kawaii looks. Tricia Gosingtian and Alodia Gosengfiao will have an activity tomorrow too, so don't miss it if you love these girls!

I will be there as well! I'll be hanging out at the Pixy/ Heroine Make counter (it will be set up at the activity area of SM North EDSA The Block) around lunch time, tomorrow July 26. By 12:30-ish, I'll be doing a quick workshop to demonstrate a Tokyo-inspired look using eye makeup from Heroine Make and colors from Pixy. Let's meet up if you're in the area! I can help you with my usual awesome tips (lol play along) and finding the right shades for your skin tone.

It's an excellent opportunity to explore the two latest Japanese brands to hit the Philippine market. ^_" Shall I see you there?

Bobbi Brown Week: Shimmer Nail Polish in Golden Beige

There are three typical problems when it comes to nude nail polish: the opacity, level of streakiness, and the color that actually suits your fingers. The Bobbi Brown Shimmer Nail Polish  (P900) completely blows those issues out of the water for me - it's just so, what's the word, perfect!

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Golden Beige a yellowish beige that looks like it has a creamy finish from afar, but a closer look would reveal elegant golden shimmer suspended within the layer of color. It's fairly opaque on me with just two layers, but I do three to get the shimmer to show up more. It doesn't streak AT ALL and dries within 20-30 minutes.

I love the color, as it brightens up my nail bed. It's so posh-looking too! Do you agree? Staying power is good as well - it stays on me for about 4-5 days with minimal chipping. 

Overall, I have absolutely no complaints about the formula and color of the Shimmer Nail Polish in Golden Beige. Well, it could be less expensive I guess, but the quality justifies the price as far as I'm concerned. ^_^ Look this up next time you're at a Bobbi Brown counter!

What do you think of this color? Would it suit you too?

Ice cream-inspired eyeshadows on your lids? Why not!

What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Mine would be salted caramel! I also love that Bono Gelato flavor with garlic-flavored potato chips in it. Droooool. It's so weird when you think about it but I swear, it works! I shouldn't but I am definitely overdue for a cup of that. You should try it out if you haven't yet. ^_^

Ehem. Anyway. Let's remember that we're on a proper beauty blog haha. I got to thinking about ice cream because one of Stila's latest collections is inspired by the world's favorite dessert. The brand is commemorating its 20th anniversary by bringing back their vintage paper-wrapped palettes and putting in some delectable eye colors for us to wear!

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Here's the Stila Rocky Road Eye Shadow Trio (~P600) to ogle at. The packaging is just too cute, while the actual eyeshadows are a treat to wear. I've reviewed a couple of palettes in the past so I won't go into a lot of detail. It would suffice to say that the quality of the eyeshadows are superb, as usual.

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Here are the swatches. The cream one is a bit on the translucent side at first swatch, but I don't think it's meant to be your typical lid wash - it's quite sparkly and twinkly with it's fine shimmer. I think it's designed to be patted on top of whatever eyshadow you're wearing to add dimension! The taupe and chocolate brown have excellent pay-off and this wonderful smooth texture that leaves minimal fall out.

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In this look, I wore the NARS Pro Prime under the colors to further intensify them. The beige went into the inner third of my lids and brow bone, the taupe on the outer third and crease, while the chocolate brown intensified the outer corner of my eyes. Love the dramz!

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These colors are a bit too shimmery than I would like for a typical day time look, but you can definitely mix them with your other matte or satin eyeshadows so as not to look too sparkly. I'm all for sparkle at night, but during the day it's better to have it in measured doses.

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Nonetheless, I quite like the Stila Rocky Road Eye Shadow Trio and had fun doing a few looks with it. I'll keep it around, if only because of the cute packaging! <3 You can check out the other available trios + blush duos at Stila counters inside Rustan's Essences.

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That elusive doll pink lipstick

This'll be quick as I need to get ready for work! I wasn't actually planning on writing about this but as I was editing my FOTD picture in my last post, I can't help falling in love (again) with the lipstick I was wearing! It's a Pixy Lasting Matte Lipstick in Be In Love (P300). If you collect lippies, then you know how hard it is to find a delicate doll pink color in a version that actually suits medium to dark Filipina skin tones.

By jove I have found it!

You may have heard of Pixy already. It's a Japanese brand that has an affordable line of products for everyday wear. I think I have all their lipstick formulas and shades, but I honestly have yet to try all of them. Good thing I was randomly swatching a few the other week. That's how I came across Be In Love.

I've tried the MAC Pink Nouveau, the Happy Skin Valentine Kiss, Revlon Stormy Pink, and Shu Uemura Matte Lipstick in M PK335, but these are too cool and pale on my medium yellow skin.  I love the idea of a feminine pink like this but I have almost given up on finding one that suits me.

But Be In Love is the one. <3

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Seeee? I'll be talking about the formula and the other shades from the Lasting Matte line next time, but if you're interested in checking Pixy out, you can find the counters inside Watsons (SM Aura, Mall of Asia, SM Sucat, Festivall Mall, SM Sucat, and SM Bacoor). ^_^

Okay I'm off! Lemme know what you think!