The Style Mermaid by Kisty Mea

The Style Mermaid | Kisty Mea • Travel Arsenal: Must Bring Items
Traveling light and efficiently is a skill that a lot of people, including myself, still needs to master. But I also noticed when we do travel, we tend to focus on the trivial matters, such as what are we going to wear. Between the panic and chaos, we tend to forget the little things that has utmost importance. 
So, let’s start with the basics. Here are the top five (5) items that we should always bring whenever we travel.  
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1. Passport + Government-issued IDs
You can’t go out of the country without a passport. Your passport serves as your World ID, so keep it close and safe at all times. Before you leave the house, make sure you have your passport with you (along with your travel itineraries).
If you don’t have a passport, now is the best time to get one because you need one if you want to join the Big Blog Exchange 2014! HOW TO GET A PHILIPPINE PASSPORT?
For students: it’s advisable to bring your student ID because you’ll be entitled for discounts. 
2. Money + Plastic Cards
Cash is still king, but it’s better you come prepared by bringing a bunch of your plastic cards with you. Don’t forget to call your bank before traveling!
A lot of credit cards are often partnered with a frequent-flier program. You can convert your card’s reward points to miles, which you can use for future travels.CHECK WHICH CREDIT CARD IS RIGHT FOR YOU!
3. Camera + Memory Cards
A camera provides the biggest souvenir you can bring home. Not only will you be able to take photos of the places you’ve visited, but also the memories associated to those photos. One day, you’ll look back and remember.
You don’t need a high-end camera to take spectacular photos. But I recommend getting a camera that works well in low-light, so you can still take amazing shots even at night. 

4. Phone + Powerbank
I use my iPhone to capture photos I post on Instagram. And I also use it to communicate with my family, if ever we got separated during our travel or in case of emergencies.
If you’re a heavy user, I recommend getting a high quality powerbank for your device. I’m currently using a Valore Shell 6000 mAh Powerbank, which can provide two (2) full charges.

5. Comfy Shoes
Traveling abroad means lots of walking. So invest in comfy shoes, like a pair of Converse or Toms. I don’t recommend high heels unless you’re a witch, and has found a magic spell to survive 10-12 hours of wearing them.
I also recommend that you bring flip-flops or open-toe sandals. You can use these inside the bathroom (in case, the bathroom floor is made of glass-like material… to avoid injuries), when it’s raining or going to the beach.

How about you? What are the other things you think is vital when travelling? I’d love to hear your thoughts, explorers! 

Travel Arsenal: Must Bring Items

Traveling light and efficiently is a skill that a lot of people, including myself, still needs to master. But I also noticed when we do travel, we tend to focus on the trivial matters, such as what are we going to wear. Between the panic and chaos, we tend to forget the little things that has utmost importance. 

So, let’s start with the basics. Here are the top five (5) items that we should always bring whenever we travel.  

Read more

The Style Mermaid | Kisty Mea • {30 Things} About Traveling
I’d like to think that I am a well-traveled woman, but every now and then, you’ll still see me tweet airline companies about an inquiry I am unsure of. I’ve done this a hundred times, and I still find myself confused about things. There are, unfortunately, no specific guide book about what you need to know before or during travel. So, I thought I’ll make a list of the things I’ve learned. 
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Months Before You Travel
Book in advance, especially if the country of destination doesn’t need a visa. Take advantage of those promos!
For visa-required countries, you can also book your flight in advance… if you can afford it and if you’re willing to take the risk. This step is only recommended to those who’ve traveled a lot, because the chances of getting their visa approved is higher.
Research on the country you’re going to. Don’t just research about the places you’ll visit. Know more about their culture, holidays, laws and regulations. For example, it’s prohibited to bring chewing gum to Singapore. So don’t bring chewing gum.
Research on what you should and shouldn’t do, wear or say. For example: Don’t ever touch a Thai person’s head because it’s considered to be very sacred. 
Seriously, now is the time to use Google to your advantage.
A Week Before The Flight
Get a piece of paper, write down the contact details of your loved ones, hotel, the embassy and so on. Make three copies of this paper. Give 1 copy to your relatives, put 1 copy in your bag and always bring the 1 copy with you while you travel. You can also put the file on your Dropbox for a digital copy.
You should also save a digital copy of your credit cards (in case you lost your card), passports, visas, insurance and other documents you think is helpful.
Call your credit card company. Inform them that you’ll be going away, so they won’t mark your card as fraud or stolen. 
Are you allergic or needs medical attention? Call the airline for special requests and questions. 
Double check everything! Check your flight details, your bag, etc.
24-48 Hours Before The Big Day
Poop at home. It’s 10x more comfortable to do your business at home than inside an airplane cubicle.
Be early. You don’t want to miss your flight. 
It’s best to buy drinking water AFTER crossing immigration and security. But that’s just me.
Some countries will have an airport tax. Know how much it cost. Philippines, for example, will require you to pay PHP1620 (travel tax) + PHP550 (terminal fee). Why? Because we suck, that’s why. There’s no travel tax in Singapore. 
Do the web check-in, if it’s available. It’s so much better!
What to Bring: Hand-Carry
Don’t bring an umbrella, sharp objects or any flammable object. 
Don’t bring any liquids above the 100ml limit. 
Make sure the dimension of your luggage will fit the airlines’ requirements. As far as I know, (extreme) budgeted airlines can be very strict when it comes to hand-carry baggage.
Your hand carry should contain the important stuff, like important documents and expensive gadgets. Don’t pack them in your checked-in baggage. Ever. 
In the process, learn how to pack light. 
What to Wear
Wear something comfortable but…
Don’t wear anything that’s too revealing.
Don’t wear skirts or shorts for long haul flights. You can wear those for short flights. It’s ideal to wear loose pants or leggings.
Why? Because airplanes are cold… and dirty. 
Oh, and don’t wear high heels. Please.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
I think it’s a matter of choice but I prefer to use credit cards while abroad. What we normally do is deposit the money in our credit card before we leave the country. I use cash only when needed. 
I highly recommend that you purchase your checked-in luggage allowance BEFORE going to the airport. As far as I know, it’s more expensive to purchase on the airport, on the day of your flight. 
I’ve learned that it’s cheaper to rebook when you’re halfway through your trip. I rebooked my UK flight when I was already in England because it was 10x cheaper. But this may not always work with all airlines (not applicable for Cebu Pacific, sorry). 
Be early for your flight, especially if you’re not a frequent flier. The ideal time is 3 hours before your flight. (Note: I don’t follow this rule though. I usually arrive at least an hour and a half before my trip)
THIS IS AN ADVENTURE! ENJOY IT! :) 
So that’s my 30 Things about Traveling. I wrote this based from my personal experiment (the idea came to me while I was looking for riptide ecut-2v at guitar center and a cheap Hammerax cymbals at musicians friend) but I hope you’ll find this helpful for your future travels. 
How about you? Do you have any traveling tips to share?  

{30 Things} About Traveling

I’d like to think that I am a well-traveled woman, but every now and then, you’ll still see me tweet airline companies about an inquiry I am unsure of. I’ve done this a hundred times, and I still find myself confused about things. There are, unfortunately, no specific guide book about what you need to know before or during travel. So, I thought I’ll make a list of the things I’ve learned. 

Read more

The Style Mermaid | Kisty Mea • {DIY Thursday} 10 Quick Beauty Fixes
For some people, their beauty regime can be seen as a bit of a chore and often very time consuming, but there are plenty of tips and tricks to help make you spend your time beautifying yourself much more efficiently. Whether it’s a bad hair day, you’ve woken up late, or nightmare skin issues, a quick fix is almost always needed! Here are 10 useful tips and tricks to help save you time.
[[MORE]]1. The fastest way to dry nail polish
After each coat of nail varnish, let your nails dry for two minutes in the open air and then plunge them into a bowl of ice water for three minutes. The thermal shock helps harden the varnish much faster. Another option is to use cold air from your hair dryer.
2. The fastest way to remove redness on the face
Start by placing a wet towel on the back of your neck to lower your body temperature. This process helps to constrict blood vessels and numb the nerve endings. If you do not have a towel, simply splash your face and neck with cold water or spray.
3. The fastest way to relieve tired eyes
Wrap a bag of frozen vegetables in a thin towel and place it over your eyes for 10 minutes. The cold effect stimulates circulation under the eyes, which helps to reduce fluid retention. If you think this might be a little too cold for your skin, use a flannel soaked in cool chamomile tea which has anti-inflammatory properties. To prevent congestion of the eyes after a late night or very salty meal, make sure you drink lots of water before you go to bed!
4. The best way to reduce your shaving time
Laser hair removal is incredibly popular at the moment and with permanent results guaranteed, you’ll have to invest a little time now with the hair removal sessions, but will save so much time and money in the future. Just think how much you spend on razors and waxing now. Tria Beauty have their own laser you can use in your own home and works in just three months!
5. The best way to fix a broken nail
It’s not uncommon to accidentally break a nail or two but when it happens, it can be extremely frustrating. But you can easily repair it with the material of a tea bag, sort of like Papier-mâché. Simply cut a piece of tea bag (it should be large enough to cover the entire tear), and apply a little glue nail and to support the break. Complete by adding two layers of nail polish, and a top coat to finish. Take a look at this video to see it in action -  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0y-R_1qq7M
6. The best way to fix an unfortunate fake tan mishap
Soak a cotton wool ball with lemon juice and brush the streaky tanned area to help unify your colour: citric acid lightens the skin by acting as a natural exfoliate. If you don’t have a lemon handy, moisten the area and massage it with baking soda. Like lemon, it will remove the top layer of dead skin cells and any colour soaked into the skin. To help get a more natural all over tan colour, mix your fake tan with your body moisturiser and apply the mixture as usual.
7. The best way to hide a bad hair cut
It’s hard to cover up something that has gone terribly wrong but you can start by washing your hair immediately after leaving the hairdresser and style your hair yourself. This might help. Slightly! For the next few weeks, you might have to rely on the use of accessories such as headbands, clips and hair grips to hide the style disaster! In this situation, do not hesitate to complain immediately to the head of the salon and ask if you can have another hairstylist try and fix your style for free.
8. The fastest way to dry hair
After rubbing your hair and giving it a good towel dry, apply a styler such as the Lee Stafford “Blow Dry Your Hair Faster Wonder Spray”. These prevent your hair from absorbing any more water. Then flip your head and start to blow-dry the lower layers of your hair first. Once this is done, use a brush to help dry and smooth the top layers. This technique is said to reduce drying time by one third saving valuable time and energy in the mornings, which means more time in bed!
9. The best way to cover gray hair
Finding that first grey hair can be a daunting experience but if you’ve only got a few greys coming through and you’ve got dark hair, keep waterproof mascara handy for instant cover up. Flat hair is also a way to highlight grey hairs on lighter hair colours so always keep a volumising spray to hand and give your hair a lift.
10. The best way to erase the traces of the pillow face
Waking up late is always a nightmare and it easy to hide the dark eyes and throw on a bit of makeup but having pillow lines across your face is a bit harder to hide. The trick is to wash your face with warm water to thin the blood and then use a moisturiser to smooth the skin. If this is a common problem, try using a satin pillowcase rather than cotton one. 

{DIY Thursday} 10 Quick Beauty Fixes

For some people, their beauty regime can be seen as a bit of a chore and often very time consuming, but there are plenty of tips and tricks to help make you spend your time beautifying yourself much more efficiently. Whether it’s a bad hair day, you’ve woken up late, or nightmare skin issues, a quick fix is almost always needed! Here are 10 useful tips and tricks to help save you time.

Read more

The Style Mermaid | Kisty Mea • Real Techniques Review/Makeup Tips
Real Techniques are make-up brushes designed by Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo fame. The brand is a beauty blogger favorite because it is often featured in either their monthly favorites and every day make-up routine.
What makes these brushes unique? The Real Techniques line has a color-code system and each color corresponds to a key step in make-up application: Flawless Base (gold/yellow), Enhanced Eyes (purple), and Perfect Finish (pink). This color-code system, in my opinion, makes the process of applying make-up a whole lot fun and easier because I’ll instantly know which brush to use. Not to mention, these brushes also use names as reference instead of numbers. 
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The Core Collection is part of the Flawless Base and is consist of the following:
Buffing Brush —Although meant for powder and mineral foundation, I use this as my blush brush. A lot of bloggers love this brushes, including Zoella. Contour Brush — From the name itself, this brush helps contour my face. Use this brush to get that the soft, diffused look. 
Pointed Foundation Brush — My least favorite from the set. I’m having a hard time blending my liquid foundation with this brush.
Detailer Brush — You can use this as a concealer or lipstick brush. I adore how it “fits” under my eyes, so I don’t have to use my fingers in blending anymore. Of course, I just have to be careful not to apply too much concealer. 
The Starter Set (no photo, sorry!) is part of the Enhanced Eyes and is consist of base shadow brush, deluxe crease brush, accent brush, pixel-point eyeliner brush, and brow brush. The reason why I’m not including this in my review is because I don’t apply eyeshadows that often. I’m still figuring out how to use them properly. :)

The Stippling Brush is my favorite brush! It’s an individual brush, meaning it was not part of any of the collection. I love this brush because I get that airbrushed look/effect. See the photos below to get what I mean. ;) 
A Few Make-up Tips

In case you’re wondering why my face is darker than the rest of my body, here’s the back story: I lathered a body lotion with SPF15 that day. I wanted to get rid of the bottle already, so I decided to use whatever is left… And voila! But the foundation is just right for my skin. 

Verdict
Maybe it’s too early to say but I absolutely LOVE these brushes! <3 For me, make-up used to be a chore but with these brushes, the whole process of beautifying myself is so much fun. I can’t think of any reason to hate or dislike these brushes, because they’re really easy to use.
The collection set comes with a pouch but most of the brushes can stand on its own. But still, I just have to rave about the innovative pouch. You can fold the pouch and let it stand on its own by just pulling the string. 

On the photo above, I decided to combine all brushes in one case to save space. I’m also using brush protectors from Suesh.
The whole thing only cost me PHP2600 (Including shipping to Singapore!) and it’s cheaper than my Bloom 6-pc. Brush Set (PHP2450, Beauty Bar) and MAC Glamour Daze Brush Set, but is 10x better and prettier. The only problem is that they’re not locally available in the Philippines. Kalm Cosmetics claim that they’re an authorized seller of these products though.
Real Techniques Core Collection and Stippling Brush: Hit or Miss? Definitely a HIT!!!

Real Techniques Review/Makeup Tips

Real Techniques are make-up brushes designed by Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo fame. The brand is a beauty blogger favorite because it is often featured in either their monthly favorites and every day make-up routine.

What makes these brushes unique? The Real Techniques line has a color-code system and each color corresponds to a key step in make-up application: Flawless Base (gold/yellow), Enhanced Eyes (purple), and Perfect Finish (pink). This color-code system, in my opinion, makes the process of applying make-up a whole lot fun and easier because I’ll instantly know which brush to use. Not to mention, these brushes also use names as reference instead of numbers. 

Read more