Becoming Sleek

Archive for the ‘Non-Beauty’ Category

Well well well, an unboxing after a long time! And this one is a new subscription box called She Likes Shoes. From the name you can gather that this is a shoe subscription box, the only one so far in the country. How does it work? You can just go to the How It Works page from She Likes Shoes, or you can read on to see how I did it.


You need to sign up for an account at Creating an account does not mean you are already subscribed and have to pay; what it does is to allow you to see the shoe closet of the month. This is what I did ever since I found out about SLS, and I was able to peek at their shoe offerings without having to commit yet. October rolled along and I immediately felt affinity to one of their October shoes so I signed up for a 3-month subscription around the tenth. I was immediately billed Php499 through Paypal (their only other payment option is Pesopay), and was set up an automatic billing for the succeeding two months for the same amount (Php499) on the 3rd of each month. In return my account was credited with 1 STEP.


STEPS are the currency that you use to buy SLS shoes. For each month you are subscribed you will receive 1 step. The monthly closet will have three tiers of shoes: about four or five shoes costing 1 step; two or three shoes costing 2 steps; and two or three shoes costing 3 steps. You can easily buy additional steps (at Php500 each) at to allow you to buy the higher tiered shoes. As the one I liked luckily was in the first tier, I didn’t need to get additional steps. Also starting just recently, you can also buy the popular styles from the previous months’ closets (Previous Styles), again by paying through Paypal or Pesopay.


Claiming the selected shoe is quite easy. Just select it from the closet and you will be taken to the details of the shoe. Just select your shoe size then click Get Shoe. The order slip will be revealed and you will need to enter your shipping address and contact number. Click Claim Now to finalize the order. SLS will then get back to you through email to confirm your order, and give you a date window within which you will receive your shoes. My email stated that I will get mine between October 21-27. Well guess what? It arrived on October 21!


My chosen shoe is the Hillary. It is a black patent closed shoe with a bit of platform, pretty much a patent version of a schoolgirl shoe. I’ve been wanting to get one for some time, as this kind of shoe is really well within my style. It costs 1 step. It arrived in a nondescript brown shoe box, wrapped well and padded in soft paper. I could not believe it was so light! The shoe looked pretty imposing and bulky, but it was made of pretty light materials I guess. It was just what I wanted!


The fit is a little loose. I’m a half-size (7.5) and SLS only offers shoes in whole numbers so I ordered an 8. I figured it should be okay since I plan on wearing socks with these shoes. The sole feels really cushy although of course I expect I will need to break it in for a bit.

I am one happy lady with her new shoe! I can’t wait to see what next month’s closet brings. I hope there will be one or two that fits my style. She Likes Shoes designs and produces all the shoes they offer, which is quite amazing. Their usual style for the first tier are sandals or flats, while there is usually a pair of boots in the higher tiers.

Heads up! You will get a free step if you subscribed (not just create an account) within the month of October!

Disclaimer: I subscribed to She Likes Shoes with my own money. I am pleased with the shoe and the service which is why I wrote this post.



One of my highlights for last week was finally attending the Watercolor Workshop by Liz of Project Vanity. I missed the first session and I was so happy that she offered a second session that I signed up as soon as I could! The workshop was held last October 18 at the Commune (a cafe along Dela Costa St, Makati City). My daughter is into art so I thought I’d surprise her with her own slot in the workshop. When we arrived the workshop venue was pretty packed! Liz has lots of watercolor fans!


We were provided with all the materials we needed for the workshop: watercolor paper, a set of beginner’s watercolors, brushes, a mixing palette. After a short lecture on the basics of watercolor, we got our hands dirty and did the drills. In this worksheet we tried different washes (flat wash, graduated, variegated, glazing, dry brush) and textures (stippling, stamping, salting).


Clearly my daughter knew what she was doing. Her worksheet looks so much better. She let drop that she may have done this in her art subject in school already. (??!!)


The participants were really enjoying the drills. That is, until Liz unveiled the application of all those different washes and textures. We were instructed to paint a tree, a garlic bulb, and a landscape, which looked pretty daunting looking at the final products! Liz broke it down into steps (which were all really made up of a combination of the above mentioned washes and textures) which made it all seem easy. This is what I came up with.


Not bad I suppose, although Liz did say that my tree needed more water (the mantra of the workshop!). I really liked doing the landscape!


At some point my daughter decided to paint more trees and a sunset/sunrise, and even had a little cartoon drawing on the bottom right. Grabe, I felt so… behind, at that point.


The experience was really great! I learned a lot of stuff and I went out of there inspired to continue to paint. I definitely have a long way to go, but the workshop taught me that I can learn it even at this stage in my life. Thanks Liz for holding this #watercolorworkshopbyliz!

Here’s a bit of a personal background: I never had a pet growing up. I have vague memories of a big fluffy white dog around the backyard of my parents’ house, but I also remember that it ran away. My next “pet” was a (slightly deranged) shihtzu given to me by a “friend”, but it basically became my mom’s because I was busy studying and didn’t really spend any time with the dog. However, I’ve always believed I am a dog person. Once we decided that my daughter is ready for a pet, my husband and I bought (!) and adopted a puppy off the old sulit site. I know, I know, I should’ve just gotten a rescue, but I didn’t know better back then.

catdog1 catdog2

This is Zelda, supposedly a dachsund-shihtzu hybrid. She’s been with my family for about 2.5 years now and is well integrated and well loved. I’ve been dreaming of getting more dogs, preferably the bigger breeds like labs because I love big dogs.

About three weeks ago, a stray kitten wandered into my in-laws’ house (in the same neighborhood) and decided to stay. It would have been a good arrangement, except my sister-in-law has a puppy that thinks that the kitten is a toy. The puppy would bite and maul the poor kitty like it would one of its toys. They were about the same size, so at least the kitten wasn’t too hurt. It was not going to end well though, if the kitty were to stay there, as the puppy would never take it as anything other than something to play with.

Soooooo yeah. That’s how we ended up taking the kitten and basically adopting it. We couldn’t bear the thought of just abandoning it somewhere and letting it..well, die, essentially. The difficult part is that basically none of us know how to take care of a kitten, so the internet will be my best friend for a while. I’m the primary caretaker of it, so I see it as my new baby. After several attempts of naming it, we settled on the quite unimaginative name Katkat.


Katkat on her first night with us

As you can see, one of her eyes is unusually large. We took it to our usual vet, and learned that Katkat has several health issues. The eye is basically infected, so she is now on an antibiotic course for a week. She also has worm issues so she got a shot for that. She is also underweight, probably because she’s been a stray for a while. The positive thing is that the vet estimated her age at around 2.5 months, so she’s no longer that delicate and is definitely weaned. She’s now also on a multivitamin course, and I am instructed to increase her diet to get her weight back on track. So far so good, although it’s a daily battle whenever I have to administer her antibiotic and multivitamin.


This is my best current photo of Katkat. Most of my other photos just feature a streak of black and white.

I thought I’m a dog person, I really did! But I can’t take my mind off my kitty, oftentimes daydreaming about her and her funny antics. And I even dreamt that I stumbled upon another stray, and consequently adopting that too! The vet was not any help either, saying that this is how it all starts, and related her own story of adopting strays that now amounted to a total of 16 cats! Frankly I’m still in denial that I actually have a cat. What I don’t deny is that I’ve fallen in love with her! ❤

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One of the things I’m also passionate about, outside of makeup and nails, is containers. Any kind of container makes my heart flutter. I think I inherited this passion from my dad, who would also appreciate the container more than the contents like me. One of my recent acquisitions is this Filed Pocket Wallet. This is the wallet’s size compared to my eyeglasses.


It is a wallet that contains an essential requirement I have for wallets and bags: compartments. And compartments it has aplenty! Check out the inside.


It has compartments for cards, receipts, paper bills, and others. It even has a snap button for added security. Here it is with the snap button closed.


One of the unique features of the Pocket Wallet is the external slot for coins. You don’t have to open the wallet just to put in coins. This is especially useful for commuters.


Inside, the coins go into this expandable bin. It’s actually pretty large, and can hold a lot of coins.


There is also a small slot at the back for easy access. You can put here your parking tickets or something that needs to be accessed quickly.


One of my favorite features of this wallet is the quality leatherette material. It looks and feels pretty sturdy and does not look cheap at all. There is the feeling that this is very well made, and that includes the stitching and zipper. According to their website, they use Lacoste Leatherette for their folders and Ripstop for bags and cases, and all products are made in the Philippines.

Would you believe that this costs only Php295? It’s unbelievably affordable for the quality and function that it provides! This can be bought from Filed’s online store, and Fully Booked branches. It’s available in 8 colors. It’s a little hard to hunt for the specific color that you like though, at Fully Booked, as they don’t stock regularly. I think I got this red one at Fully Booked Eastwood. If you want a specific color, it’s better to buy from the online store.

Pros: topnotch quality and functionality; affordable; locally made

Cons: specific colors are sometimes not available at Fully Booked


While makeup may be a big deal for me at the moment (hence my beauty blogging!), parenting matters (blogs, articles, methods, opinions) is something that will always be relevant to me as I have an eight-year-old daughter. One of the most important things that I’m concerned about is the development of her mind.


BrainFit Studio is a learning center that focuses on developing the five brain pillars that comprise key cognitive abilities that form the foundations for all learning. These are

  • Attention & Memory
  • Sensory Motor Coordination
  • Auditory & Language Processing
  • Visual & Spatial Processing
  • Social-Emotional Self-regulation

activity5 activity6

What does this mean exactly? Each child is given a custom-designed program for addressing his/her specific target areas, based on an assessment based on the above pillars. Through constant and focused practice, the child is able to develop herself in the way that suits her. Children of any age can benefit from the programs.


There are now three branches here in the Philippines: Greenhills, Binondo, and the recently-opened branch in Makati. They offer a free trial so you can explore the options before you sign up. I am hoping that they open a branch in the north of the metro soon!


Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had terrible grades in the penmanship/writing subjects as far back as I can remember. Because of that, I’ve set out to improve myself in that area, which resulted in an interest in calligraphy. I’ve never had any formal training in it; I’ve just had a book on introductory calligraphy forms back when I was a teen (the book is lost now, boo!).

Fast forward to today. Eula of eulasleeps opened a workshop just for calligraphy, and of course I couldn’t let that pass! (Bonus: I get to meet anther of my blog heroes, yay!) It was held yesterday at the Ellana Minerals Showroom at La Fuerza Bldg Makati. It was a pretty intimate event, with only five participants.


Eula gave us an introduction to calligraphy and an overview of what our individual calligraphy kit contents are for. We were given two nibs each (an italic nib for italic forms and a flexible nib for script), a nib holder, a mechanical pencil, a cute notebook with guide marks, a bit of ink, some worksheets and guide for basic forms, some different types of paper, and a primer written by Eula herself. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the kit, but check out this spread on the workshop table!


After showing us how to prepare the nibs, we went directly into practicing! We tried first the italic nib (Speedball C2) for the italic forms, on parchment paper at that! I never felt so fancy. I thought my practice sheet didn’t turn out so bad.


We also practiced with the flexible nib (Esterbrook 356). I thought it was quite a lot harder to use than the italic nib, mostly because I am quite heavy-handed and the Esterbrook required a light hand. Unlike the italic nib, this one didn’t have its own ink reservoir, so one has to dip for ink quite frequently. My practice sheet clearly says I need more practice!


I of course couldn’t resist writing my own name.


The last part of the workshop was dedicated to making our own postcards using any of the materials provided, including the other types of ink (even watercolor!), nibs, and washi tape. I wanted to showcase the range of inks available so I used almost all of them! I really still suck when it comes to using the flex nib though.


Eula also kindly provided us with a snack. These are honestly the best tasting red velvet cupcakes I have ever tasted!


Check out the other photos from the event below.

nifty02Eula, our workshop instructor. I really love the curls in her hair!

nifty03The nibs included in the calligraphy kit.

nifty05Parts of a flexible nib.

nifty11My favorite ink of the day. Beautiful purple shade!

nifty12With my workshop coparticipants! (L-R) PatG, Jezza, Krissy, Meg, Eula, me

Big big thanks to Eula for offering this workshop! I had tons of fun and I learned a lot!

PS: Did I mention that this was held at the Ellana Minerals Showroom? Yup, you guessed it! I bought quite a bit of stuff from Ellana after the event, which I’ll show in another post.

One of my favorite booths at Blogapalooza 2013 was Brownbag Coffee Solutions. I am a coffee enthusiast (nay, addict?) and I love to try out new brands and blends. I have already heard of Brownbag Coffee last year from When In Manila. I was intrigued by the packaging back then but unfortunately I wasn’t able to try it out. Fortunately they were at Blogapalooza and I was able to try them out directly.


The booth was set up with those large coffee machines/espresso machines that you see in coffee shops or hotels. I made a beeline to the booth and signed up immediately. I was handed a small paper cup of their #2 coffee (Arabica+Robusta blend). While waiting for the coffee to cool, I was able to chat with Enrico Curioso, the Chief Caffeine Junkie of Brownbag Coffee Solutions. I learned from him that they service high end hotels and restaurants. They also have a website to learn more about their products, and they even have some gift suggestions just in time for christmas!


Enrico gave me a bag of the #2 to take home and try for myself. Awesome! I immediately went and depotted it into a glass container, and I cut out the label to remind me which coffee I put in it. It may seem like not a lot of coffee in there – it’s because I’ve consumed some already, and I am also giving half the bag for my dad to try. He is also an aficionado and he is the one that started me on coffee in the first place!


Check it out! A cup of the delicious #2 in my trusty KeepCup. Great to take to the office in the mornings, and it doesn’t take long to brew a single cup in my trusty small coffee maker (a gift from my dad, incidentally). The taste is just perfect, not too strong and not too mild either. I like putting in a bit of sugar and some fresh milk.


This is definitely a hit for me! I can’t wait to try out the #1 (Pure Arabica) and #3 (Pure Robusta), which I plan to get for myself soon! Thanks for letting me try out your coffee, Brownbag!


Who is Becoming Sleek?

A Filipino blogger interested in all things makeup, skincare, and nail polish. She may or may not also be interested in crafting, cats, and food.

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