#LoveLocal: Budget-Friendly Local Brands Where You Can Get Great Gifts

It’s officially the start of the holiday season, which means it’s time to start shopping for gifts! That also means braving heavy traffic and overcrowded malls. Fortunately, many of our favourite brands are now available online, so you can shop for gifts at the comfort of your own home—even in the office! To help you out, I have compiled a short list of local brands where you can find amazing deals and unique gift ideas.

oneearth

If you have a friend who has sensitive skin but is a beauty addict, get her items from One Earth Organics. This is a skincare company that sells beauty products made from organic ingredients. I am currently in love with their undereye serum infused with argan oil.

BCH_Carousel_Julia

No Pinoy is not familiar with Bench. I still remember seeing their old commercials on TV as well as their eye-catching ads. Aside from that, they offer high-quality apparel and body care products at affordable prices. Your stylish pamangkins will love you even more if you surprise them with Bench’s figure-flattering jeans and shirts. Bench is now available at Zalora Philippines.

sune1

Is your inaanak into arts and literature? Check out Sune and you will find a wide selection of hard-to-find books about the arts. They also sell prints as well as basic swimwear that flatters any body type.

DSC_0693

Get your boyfriend or girlfriend a magnetic poetry kit and they will love you forever! This is a perfect gift for voracious readers and poetry lovers who love playing with words. My fiancé and I bought ourselves kits from Magnetic Poetry MNL and share our creations on our joint Instagram account Tin Can Beatnik. It is a great bonding tool, especially for couples who are in a long-distance relationship.

tumblr_lswqcjmxAh1qmqc02o1_500

Electromagnetic Tentacle is the perfect spot for individuals looking to buy their geek friends and officemates cool merchandise this Christmas. They offer parody shirts that combine pop culture and Pinoy humor.

Where do you usually shop for Christmas gifts? Share them in the comments section below!

TMART Reviews: Ostrich Pattern Gold-Chain Handbag

I don’t have a lot of bags at home. I don’t have too many requirements when looking for a bag, either. It just has to be roomy and sturdy, because I’m not exactly a good owner lol. So when TMART.com told me they’re sending me a bag for review, I immediately said yes. We’ve already heard so many online shopping horror stories so I thought it would be a good opportunity to check out the quality of the stuff TMART is selling. Right then and there I logged in to their website and went to the Shoulder & Handbags section. I wanted a simple black handbag that I can use both for work, school, and travel. I ultimately chose this design:

Fashion-Female-New-Special-Light-Bread-The-Mobile-Chain-Handbags-Ostrich-Pattern-Black_2_600x600Fortunately, the item was available. TMART processed the order on December 4, 2013 and arrived at the local post office on January 13, I believe. The postman left the claim card at my landlady’s mailbox on the 14th, but we only discovered it 4 days ago. So yeah, it took more than a month for the package to arrive, which is normal for me. It really does take 1 month or more for international packages to arrive at my place or at the post office.

IMGP0759.jpg

Upon claiming my package at the post office, the customs officer had to open the yellow bag to check what’s inside. I didn’t mind. I was too excited to see the bag so I hurried home afterwards. The bag was placed inside a fabric bag (?) and wrapped in plastic.

IMGP0761

And, tadaaaa! This is the actual item. It looks pretty good in my opinion and is very identical to the product photo posted on their website. Here’s the link: TMART Fashion Female New Special Light Bread The Mobile Chain Handbags Ostrich Pattern Black

IMGP0763

A closer look at the bag and seams would tell you that it is very well made. For Php 859.78 a piece, it’s a great buy. Anyway, below are the specs of the item as posted on the website:

Specifications

Material Leather, Metal
Style Handbags
Pocket Quantity 3
Bag Dimensions (13.38 x 3.74 x 8.66)” / (34 x 9.5 x 22) cm (L x W x H)
Leather Strap Length 110 cm / 43.3″
Color Black
Weight 690 g / 24.34 oz

Package Includes

  • 1 x  Fashion Female Bag
  • 1 x Metal Chain
  • 1 x Leather Strap

IMGP0764

Indeed, the package came with a leather strap and a legit metal chain. The chain is a bit heavy, which is a relief because that would only mean it won’t easily break. It’s an important factor for me because I’m quite clumsy and can be very careless at times.

IMGP0765

The bag has three pockets, like what is stated in the product description, an inside and outside gold zipper, and a gold metal handle. The zippers are working perfectly, by the way.

IMGP0768

Here is how the bag looks like when using the leather shoulder strap (L) and the gold metal chain (R). I think the leather strap would be great for school while the other is for work and meetings. What do you think? I honestly can’t wait to use it!

By the way I made an unpacking video in case you want to see more of the item. Please ignore the noise. My very nice neighbor decided it’s time to wash her dishes just as I was filming. Hehe

OVERALL PRODUCT RATING: 4.5 STARS
Shipping: 4 STARS
Packaging: 3.5 STARS
Truthfulness to the product description: 5 STARS
Product quality: 5 STARS

DISCLAIMER: This is not a paid post. I was not given any monetary compensation to do this review. The opinions published in this review are based solely on my experience. I and this blog are not responsible for any unfortunate incident you may encounter with the above-mentioned seller/merchant.

Online Shopping Choices 2.0

Hey there! I’ve finally got myself together, so I’m back. I had personal issues to settle and goals to reach, that’s why I took a break from blogging. One thing I cannot get enough of is online shopping, though. It’s very helpful for lazy people like me—it’s convenient and hassle-free, plus the variations are endless (if you know where to shop).

I had my fair share of shopping horrors so I only buy from trusted online shops (see below). Last year I also made a feature on some local boutiques, which you can find here.

Subcult

965353_10201155241873308_1025942481_o

The brand name, Subcult, is a clipped word for ‘subculture’ which basically means a social group having distinct characteristics. From the name itself, you’d know that Subcult does not offer just any kind of clothing. Every piece is interestingly bizarre, kooky, and spunky (No wonder fashion editor/stylist Andre Chang loves the brand.). If you’re into muscle tees and clothing with graphic prints, Subcult is definitely the shop to go to. It is owned and managed by Unica Policarpio, a graduate of De La Salle University. You can find Subcult on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Boutique de Reines

8561_680181181998992_542781920_n

I’ve shown a lot of Boutique de Reines, which means Boutique for Queens in French, pieces on this blog through my outfit posts.  They have every apparel a woman needs—dresses, separates, bikinis, accessories, and even tickets to your favorite events. It’s like every-girl’s store, where the pieces are functional but at the same time not too expensive. Definitely budget-friendly! You can find Boutique de Reines on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

House of K

35469_687750034575282_55287424_n

House of K, formerly GF Shop, is owned by sisters Xylle, whose real name is Kristie Xyla, and Krissel. So you can pretty much guess why they renamed their brand to House of K. The shop initially sold adorable gadget cases and accessories, but after gaining some followers they decided to venture into the shoe business and then into bags subsequently. Their pieces are quirky and dainty—a perfect fit for girls who love color and all things pretty (like me hihi). You can find House of K on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 🙂

Personalized Accessories

377919_275027055895269_362860736_n

One thing I love about online shopping is that you rarely see someone wearing the same stuff you’re wearing. What we put on our bodies is like a representation of who we are. Our choice of clothing and accessories is a reflection of our personalities, which is probably why many of us want to stand out, be unique—and why Personalized Accessories has become such a hit to people. Personalized Accessories designs all their products and also accepts designs from clients. Their products range from necklaces to bag tags, which you can give as gifts if you’ve run out of creative juices. You can contact Personalized Accessories on Facebook and Twitter.

***

In a few days I will be celebrating my 25th birthday, and as a treat, I and the above-mentioned brands will be giving away some lovely items on the 29th. So make sure to come back! 🙂

Metamorphosis’ First Summer Collection Is Out!

Do you like 50s inspired clothes? prints? quirky outfits? I do!

I mentioned weeks ago that I began working on creating my own line of clothes and it’s here! Actually, it’s been live for more than a month now, I only found the time to share it here today. I have to improve my marketing skills, I know. HA! In the meantime, here is my first 8-piece collection, which I shot and styled myself using Chad’s Canon AE-1 film camera with my lovely model Tiana Cruz:

Audrey skirt 500

Hailey skirt 450

Raina skirt 500

Twiggy skirt 500

When I designed these clothes, I thought of Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy in the 60s. That’s why I named some of the pieces in the collection after them. The 50s and 60s are the two decades that broke fashion traditions, especially the latter. New and unconventional styles also emerged. Color was everywhere!

Metamorphosis is a very meaningful word to me. When I was a kid I relied on second-hand clothes from my cousins. My clothes were often old, ill-fitting and out-phased so I grew up with low self-esteem. But I used that as motivation to strive harder and to dream. My personal style changed. I now know what looks good on me (and on others too). I metamorphosed from a scrawny baduy girl to a lady who is now aware of fashion.

I like wearing clothes that exude happiness and love, which is why I chose wonderful prints and lively colors for my first collection. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do! You can view more photos on Facebook here, and I would really appreciate it if you’d like the page too. 🙂

Follow Metamorphosis Clothing on:

Facebook

Twitter

Website

Online Shopping Choices

Like shopping? Who doesn’t? Shopping is just one of best pleasures in life, especially when we have the spending power. But what if we don’t? Most working women tend to be skeptical about shopping, I know because I experience it myself. It’s difficult to buy stuff when you know you’ve worked hard to earn that money. But I have to satisfy my craving so to speak,  so I always search for shops that do not price too much but sell trendy items at the same time. Aside from that, time is also a factor. Busy women who work 8 to 12 hours a day find it difficult going to malls, so our usual go-to place is the internet. It’s convenient and cheap, we don’t have to worry about bracing the traffic just to get to that sale, right? 🙂

Below are four of my favorite online shops. Their items can be compared to those you see in malls, with prices that won’t certainly break the bank.

Dresses

I like dresses. If you scan my lookbook, you’ll see me wearing a dress in almost every photo. I just feel more feminine in them. Koreana and Gelibean Couture provide the prettiest items at a really affordable price.

Koreana is owned and managed by Pearl Avenilla (pictured above), who is often mistaken as a Korean, which would probably explain why she christened her online shop with such name. I call her secretly a superwoman, as she also works as a full-time bank manager while managing and modelling for her shop. Koreana’s price range begins at Php 300 to Php 600—very affordable if you ask me, not to mention you’ll instantly get a preview of the actual items as they are modelled by ‘real’ girls from my hometown, Naga City. Like Koreana’s Facebook page HERE and be delighted by Asian-inspired goodies. 🙂 I have worn two items from this shop in June and October.

Gelibean Couture is owned and managed by another superwoman, Angelina Go. A jack-of-all-trades, Angelina does the photography, make-up, and styling of her catalog, a testament to how incredible and stylish this woman is. Gelibean Couture (and its owner) has been featured in several media outlets, most notable of which is the Wall Street Asia Journal. Cool huh? What’s way cooler is you can imitate her style in just Php 300 to 900 tops. Like Gelibean Couture HERE or add the Multiply account for easier transaction 🙂

Bags

A look cannot be complete without accessories, and one of the most important and ergonomic piece of accessory is a bag. My favorites are Tsoknat Bags and Satchella.

Tsoknat Bags manufactures handmade bags for customers who appreciate modern, playful, and quirky designs. It is owned by Toni Rose Palma, who hails from Naga City, my hometown. The shop has been around for quite a long time, and thanks to Ms. Toni’s unwavering creativity, her shop offers new and unique designs. And have I told you the bags are made from scraps and used textiles? Tsoknat Bags is also 2007’s No. 1 online shop in the country. Ms. Toni only has one stock per design, so you’ll never worry of seeing someone else carrying your bag. Visit Tsoknat’s Multiply online shop or like the Facebook page to know more about their products and sales.

If you are into satchels like me, Satchella is the shop to visit. Satchels can be quite expensive, but Satchella offers the same design but with a cheaper price tag. The shop is owned by Fay Barroga and Kaycee Umali, a young entrepreneur studying at DLSU.  Their bags are worn by top bloggers Tricia Gosingtian and Dani Barretto. The bags are very roomy, I can even fit my laptop and notebooks in them. I purchased one in June and it’s still good as new. Durability? Check. Price? Check. Like their Facebook page HERE.

As a special, Christmas treat to my readers and blog followers, these shops (plus others which will also be announced soon) will be doing a blog giveaway here on Metamorphosis beginning December 1 until the end of the month. So make sure to drop by one week from now and get a chance to win items (yes, ITEMS) from each of these shopping havens!