Balm to my soul (err, I mean lip)

IMG_0232-e1361524466113-600x372From left to right: MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner in Fuchsia Fix; Maybelline Baby Lips in Anti-Oxidant Berry; Vaseline Lip Therapy in Cherry; Forever Living Aloe Lips

I can still recall the time my mom let me buy my first ever cosmetic item: a tube of lip balm. I was in sixth grade, and I was at the mall with my mom and my two sisters. I don’t recall what I said to finally convince my mom, I don’t even remember what brand lip balm I bought: all I remember is my excitement at finally being allowed to buy a not-really-essential item with which to appease my make-up craving pre-teen self (although I’m pretty sure I told my mom I needed it, or she wouldn’t have bought it for me…shhh, don’t tell her I’m admitting this after all these years).

Many years later, I finally have the means to buy make-up for myself, but lip balm is still one of the standbys in my kit. I usually have one or two tubes of it with me wherever I go, and I reapply frequently; without it, my lips would crack and my lipstick/gloss would not go on smoothly. I’ve even used a bit of clear balm to combat dry spots on my face or as a quick hand/elbow moisturizer.

Here are a few of my favorite brands:

1) Vaseline Lip Therapy in Cherry. I’ve gone through who-knows-how-many tubes of this clear balm. It manages to really moisturize my lips and it doesn’t sit like goop on the surface. Totally love the cherry flavor (though it comes in an unflavored variant as well) and the fact that it’s super cheap (less than Php 80, last time I checked).

2) Alba Un-Petroleum Lip Balm SPF 18. Again, I am partial to the cherry-flavored variant; other flavors are tangerine and vanilla. Available at Healthy Options, this balm is “100% Vegetarian. No: Animal Testing, Artificial Colors, Parabens, Phthalates, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Myreth Sulfate” (according to the brand’s website) and is perfect for girls who want to go all-natural with their products. At Php 129, it’s a bit pricey but still affordable, I think.

3) Forever Living Aloe Lips. This one I pilfered from my mom, so I don’t really know how much a tube costs. This balm features a really moisturizing formula as well. I think it’s unflavored, but it does have a bit of a waxy scent to it (which doesn’t bother me).

4) Badger Highland Mint Lip and Body Balm. I bought my tin from Rustan’s, but I finished it two years ago and have not managed to replenish my supply. I like its gentle mint flavor and its formula. If you can manage to procure a tin for yourself, I highly recommend this.

Brands on which I’m undecided: MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner in Fuchsia Fix SPF 15 (love that it provides a bit of color on days when I can’t be bothered to apply both balm and color; hate that it’s super expensive and not  so moisturizing on the lips, considering how much I had to shell out for it)…Maybelline Baby Lips  SPF 20 (I’ve tried the mint and berry flavors; nothing to say against it; it is moisturizing but not enough for when the temperature drops and I need something in a richer formulation)…Chapstick

Brands which I won’t be buying again anytime soon: Any of the lip balms/butters by The Body Shop (they don’t get absorbed into the skin; they just sit on the surface, soooo aggravating)…Nivea Sun Lip Care (again, the formula does not get absorbed into the skin).

Let me know in the comments what brand lip balm you recommend 🙂

This post was written by Anj de la Cruz.

How to cook Kare-Kare

Kare-Kare recipeKare-Kare is one of my all-time favorite dishes. I can eat it everyday without getting bored or wanting anything else. What’s not to love about it? It has vegetables, peanut butter and oxtail. Though when we choose to make some at home, we opt to use Pata (pig’s leg) because oxtail takes a while to cook, not to mention quite expensive.

Since I’m only home on the weekends, we see to it that we prepare dishes that our family will enjoy. Hence, on one weekend, we made Kare-Kare. My sister has her own bagoong because she doesn’t like the kind that’s being purchased in ordinary markets. But I always believed that it’s really up to you on how you cook your bagoong. That way, you could make it to your own taste and liking.

Here’s my family’s own version of Kare-Kare.

Ingredients

1kb Pata (cut into smaller portions)
Pechay
String beans
Eggplant
Peanut butter
Garlic, a cup of water, salt (fish sauce if you want)
Powdered atsuete (half a teaspoon will do, just to add color)

Procedure

My family's Kare-Kare recipeHeat the pan with a few table spoons of cooking oil. Saute the pata in garlic and atsuete powder. If you don’t want to use atsuete, then you can omit that. Put the cup of water and let the meat simmer until it’s tender. Halfway through the cooking process, put in the string beans, since they will take time to cook. When the meat and string beans are tender, put in the peanut butter. On this I can’t be specific because the amount of peanut butter is really up to your taste. Some people like a lot of peanut butter, while others would opt for a milder taste. I suggest you take a separate bowl, get some sauce from your dish, then mix a few teaspoons of peanut butter. You can always add if you think you need more.

After adding the peanut butter, you can add in the pechay and eggplant. Salt or fish sauce is necessary but you DON’T need to put a lot, since you’ll be using bagoong later. I just want you to season it well because food spoils easily when they’re not seasoned right. Let it simmer for a few minutes, or until the eggplants are cooked, then you can serve it with white rice. If you’re on a diet, then maybe half a cup or rice will do?

Enjoy!!!

This post was written by Rita Salonga.