Making Toothpicks The Ninja Way

Under the scorching sun we trailed behind our guide who fervently led the way, crossing this street and that. Despite the harshness of blaring sunlight, we stopped for a brief moment to admire the blooms that lined the roads. Into a inconspicuous dark alley we stepped, and it felt like we were transported back in time, in some ancient period.

Upon reaching a brightly lit room, each of us sat before a tree stump, readied with 1.5 inch long wooden sticks and a small knife with a slant tip. Not knowing what to do we studied the master’s swift wood-cutting actions, his words in Japanese which probably contained plenty of important tips wasted on us. Haha. But as always, actions speak louder than words, and after realizing that no amount of staring would get us out of the situation, we cautiously picked up our own knives and attempted to make our own toothpicks.




It was one of the hottest days in one of the hottest months in Yokohama. The sun outside was merciless, and we were trapped in a room with no ventilation save for a small fan, trying to make toothpicks out of wood. Actually we weren’t told what kind of wood was that, but research pointed me in the direction of spicebush. They are speckled greenish-black and are flexible yet sturdy, and even imparts a pleasant aroma to the toothpicks.

I was hot, sticky, and wanted to get it over and done with. Why are we doing this, I questioned silently. I raised my head to look at the master who came to help me, his forehead and temples glistening with sweat, and yet he continued to demonstrate and encourage me. I understood not a single word he spoke, but I could hear the enthusiasm in his voice while making those natural wooden skewers.

In his tone, I heard his passion for making these wooden skewers, and to keep this tradition alive. His spirit spurred me on and I wanted to let him know his efforts were not wasted on me, so I decided to do my best. My first few toothpicks were roughly carved and my lack of patience and skill were apparent in the results. I tell you, it’s really no joke. Each strike of the knife greatly determined how the skewer would look like, – if you cut too deeply, the stick would not budge and using brute force is the wrong way; if you cut too shallow, you’ll be making ribbons out of wood. The masters made it look easy, but it was by far one of the hardest manual tasks I’d ever endeavored.

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Harvesting Organic Blueberries In Yokohama




You know what they say about your food preference determined by your first experience of it? If your first ever taste of something wasn’t fantastic, that will most likely be the impression for the rest of your life. Well, that is until you get a taste of how GOOD it can be.

I’ve never liked blueberries. Perhaps those I’ve tried are always sour and small, and worse are those inside and atop blueberry cakes glazed over with some gooey blueberry gel-like liquid. Oh my, I shudder at the thought of it. :(

The experience at Yokohama Asahi Blueberry Forest changed my idea of blueberries forever. It was the first time I saw blueberries not in boxes or cakes, but in their most natural state – on trees! And they were large and super sweet!

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Clean Skin With Simple Steps: Simple Micellar Cleansing Water


There are many things in life that are not quite as simple as black and white, most of them beyond our control. For those that I have control over, I try to keep it simple, especially when it comes to skincare. Gone are the days where I used 9 different products after cleansing. I realized it all boils down to the very first step – proper makeup removal. Even when I don’t apply makeup, I make it a point to remove the impurities and dirt that had accumulated on my skin throughout the day from environmental pollutants or oil and smoke from cooking in the kitchen or sunscreen.

It is imperative to find the right type of makeup removal. I worked out that cleansing oil and milk don’t quite sit well with my oily skin, while it appreciates water-based makeup removers.

How Does Micellar Water Work?

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about Micellar Water, what with all that buzz about it being a magical potion that removes makeup, dirt, and oil from the skin without rinsing. It doesn’t dry out the skin, and some brands’ even provide hydration benefits.

It looks and feels like plain old water, and Simple Micellar Cleansing Water has NO artificial fragrances, colors, or harsh chemicals, making it THE magic potion for sensitive skin like mine.



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Recipe: Chocolate Chip, Almond, Pumpkin Seed Cookies


If I had no restrictions to title length and zero aesthetics sense, the title of this post would be Chocolate Chips And Honey And Oats And Seeds And Flakes And Whole Grain Healthy Cookies. Hahaha. I love chocolate chip cookies, but they get boring after a while, so I really liked this combination of chocolate chip cookies and an assortment of seeds!

You could prepare portions of cornflakes, almonds, pumpkin seeds or your favorite nuts, or you could simply dunk in a cup of Post Great Grains. Everything is already in there. 😀

I love observing cookies, how each and every cookie looks so unique and imperfectly beautiful.

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No Time To Slather? Try Vaseline Spray Moisturizer

I cannot get enough of body lotion. My skin definitely benefits from hydration, moisturization, restoration of softness, but what I like most is the precious ‘me-time’ that I get when I sit down at the end of a long day, under dim light, massaging tired muscles with the aid of a lotion, and recalibrating the senses for a good night’s sleep. **Ommmm**

But ain’t nobody got time to slather for a namaste moment every night! Sometimes I’m dead beat from work and the only affair I want to have is that with my bed. Lol.

In the morning, I’d rather spend more time getting my makeup right than moisturizing. I know, we are all guilty of this.

But what if a lotion comes in the form of a spray and gets absorbed in SECONDS?


Where there is demand, there will be supply. But sometimes brands create the demand to let us see how much easier life can be. I think the Vaseline Spray Moisturizer is what we never knew we have all been waiting for! I never thought of getting moisturizer out of a spray nozzle, but now that I’ve used it, I wish everything came in spray form. Lol.

People associate Vaseline strongly with petroleum jelly, so it’s good to see them increase their product offerings. Of course, Vaseline Spray Moisturizer contains micro droplets of Vaseline’s renowned jelly so you get the same nourishing goodness for your skin without the stickiness of the traditional petroleum jelly. 😀



Vaseline Spray Moisturizer resembles a can of hairspray or sunscreen, the latter in spray form being extremely in trend at the moment. Sprays are hygienic because no dirty fingers dig into a tub thus eliminating cross-contamination. Vaseline Spray Moisturizer has an internal, spray system that uses compressed air to deliver the moisturizer, which is protected by an external twist-lock mechanism to prevent spills.

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12 Things I Didn’t Know (But Now Do!) About Davao, Philippines


It’s funny the reactions I get when I tell people I love outdoorsy adventures. It seems I come across as so, but I’m really not that girly. Well, I do have an obsession with makeup and all things beauty-related, but I wouldn’t hesitate going on new adventures, jumping into rivers, zipping across lush greenery on a rope, cycling 60 feet above ground.

Some things on my Bucket List: swimming with sharks, skydiving, and hang gliding. I hope I get to accomplish these in this lifetime.

So of course I said YES when presented the chance to go on an adventure-oriented trip to Davao, Philippines!

This trip opened my eyes to the incredible sights and sounds of Davao City and here I share 12 things I didn’t know (but now do!) about Davao, Philippines.

1. That It Exists

When people think of the Philippines, they think of Manila, Cebu or the popular beach capital that is Boracay. When I first got wind that I was going on a trip to Davao, my response was “Huh? Where?” and so were all the responses when I told my family and friends where I was going. Haha.

It’s okie if you’ve never heard of Davao before either because it was, and still remains, a well-kept secret to mass tourism. That’s why they have plenty of unspoiled white sandy beaches and marine-rich waters filled with underwater creatures still unacquainted with humans.

Davao city is located in Southeastern Mindanao and is approximately 946 km southeast of Manila over land, and 971 km by sea.


2. Be Close To Nature


Being close to nature and embracing Mother Nature’s beauty is a great respite for city dwellers (ME) who are cooped up in a cocoon of concrete walls. We didn’t get lighting fast internet connection all the time, but that forced us to put our phones aside and simply take in the glory of what this Earth has to offer instead of living through our screens.

The government has been actively developing and promoting an eco-tourism program to exhibit the diversity of the country and the activities it has to offer.

At Eden Nature Park’s Butterfly Garden, thousands of butterflies fluttered around us, pollinating flowers, mating, and basically just going about their daily business, while we screamed in silence when a butterfly gently landed on us. LOL.


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