Pro-Youth: Confessions of a Girl 26 Going on 16

>> Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Somewhere, sometime ago, I read that there's merit in turning a statement into whatever the positive spin to it is. I was about to say Anti-Aging, then I remembered that and just renamed the entry Pro Youth. After all, we all want to stay young-looking, yes?

 This is me, five years ago. I sure hope I don't look too different.

Or maybe that's just me.

My journey to staying the youngest that I can started when I started working. In my young mind, I would spare a percentage of my first salary to splurge on anti-aging creams since I was about to jump into the "real world" and therefore get my share of stress. My first bottle of anti-aging cream was Olay Total Effects. While it has worked for me, my skin, I guess, have evolved and well, the search has continued and sometimes, it's a hit. Sometimes it's a miss.

At this point, I'm a lucky person with a lot of hits. Not that I'm really hell-bent on looking 16 when I'm really 26 already. Age can be a tricky thing --- people can get offended when they get asked of theirs, most want to look younger, some want to look older and worldly. I am more of the latter. I'd have loved to stay and look 16 forever -- fresh faced, no lines or creases on the naso-labial line {did I get that right?}, or the corners of my eyes without whispers of laughs that passed by --- but to be honest, I do love how I've matured up a bit. I like that my built is now more a woman than a teenager, I like that my jaw and cheek bones announce dignity {feeling ko!} and my lips can now curve into a knowing smile, unlike the yesteryears when I would just smile awkwardly in photos.

Still, there's a fierce wanting inside -- in all of us, I guess, to preserve the elasticity of the skin, the sparkle in the eyes, the vitality in every word we utter, that spring in our step. Just the other day, my friend's baby brother laughed me off as I sauntered past him in a jumpsuit --- he said I looked like a kid. Maybe I do live out this Pro Youth thing. Soon after, I was inspired to share with anyone who'll read, how I've come to become someone who's 26 going on 16.

1. Play with colors. I can't remember how many times I've gotten several "Why are you dressed like that / You're too young to dress like that?" comments from executives at our office. I've confessed to dressing up in grays and blacks {like this} for the purpose of commanding attention and respect in tough meetings. "You can still do that -- even with fun colors, you know," a colleague said. Now that I think about it, I do act serious, strict and glum in dark, nondescript colors. Since then, I've reverted to yellows, oranges and fuchsias, and my life -- personal and professional were livelier.

 In 2011, in probably my most colorful piece of clothing.

2. Sing and dance whenever you feel like it. I cannot enumerate how bad stress is -- for the health, for the skin, for the digestive system. I once again remember our family doctor telling us that stress is the mother of all sicknesses and I mentally purge everything stressful and unhealthy out of me. While everyone has a different coping mechanism, mine is singing and dancing. Every single day, on the way and from the office, I sing and bust some moves. One time at a stop light in Mandaluyong, I belted out an entire verse of Madonna's Open Your Heart to Me and the car next to me just watched in awe. So much for being discreet.

 I was singing and dancing to Mr. Brightside like I couldn't care less. I will always love this photo. Pure, unadulterated fun, I must say.

3. Spend time with the people who matters the most. When you're working and have very limited time, you don't get the luxury of time anymore {I used to think I did and now I don't, boo}. Choose who you spend it with, choose how and see yourself get refreshed. People you don't like often sap out the childlike wonder in you and will just drive you crazy.

4. Move. When I look at my planner and see what I've been doing since the beginning of the year, I couldn't help but give myself a pat on the back despite that being so vain. There wasn't a week that I didn't do at least one activity {yoga being the most prevalent, running the second, pole classes third and various activities like boxing interspersed}. Physical activity awakens muscles and according to Dr. Oz {of Oprah}, is a main contributor to avoiding sicknesses. Being physically active has led me to feel better about myself, to sweat out the toxins and act like a kid, especially when I'm dancing. 

Or my favorite activity: Yoga

5. This is where the vain part comes in --- invest in a functional anti aging cream. In my case, as it is now, both day and night creams are anti aging {or pro youth, as I'd like to call it} in nature. For day, I use Pond's Age Miracle {the improved version with Cell Regen} and for night, I use Elizabeth Arden's Prevage {with something like Idebanone?}. Never one to be nerdy with chemicals, I find that my day cream, while being thick, doesn't become too oily in this heat {say hello to 32C, ugh} and my night cream is something that my skin drinks up while I'm sleeping without breaking me out. If you will indulge me -- there was this incident one morning when I passed by my Snow White Evil Queen Mother mirror {very antique/cartoonish, so to speak}, and did a double take. My skin was refreshed and bright. Bongga.

Of course  anti-aging creams don't come cheap, at least they are not cheap by my standards --- Age Miracle is about Php 600 per 50g jar and Prevage by Elizabeth Arden is somewhere around Php 6,000, I am not even sure. It takes some practice to know which ones fit your skin, or to know if the effect will last because in all these years testing a number of creams that would put a lab rat to shame, I've wasted a couple of pesos, had the unnecessary breakouts and cried over creams that wouldn't have any effect at all. Thank goodness that these are perfect -- at least now, and for the past month {for Prevage} and the last two weeks for Age Miracle.

6. Sleep. Drink lots of water. Eat your veggies.  I know they are pretty normal but we all need all the reminder that we can get. Don't think you're superhuman and that you can function at the minimum number of hours of sleep possible. I've seen older people's health break down -- and they were the ones who pushed themselves to the limit, not wanting to sleep even when their body called for it. The ones who did not like water at some point had weak kidneys and the ones who didn't eat vegetables looked well, not as bright as the ones who do. Again, that's just me.

7. The Hands and the Feet. I think it was at a Pond's event where I've learned that the hands and the feet show real age, too. Knowing fully well I won't be able to have them botox-ed just in case they get wrinkly, I have decided to start applying serum on them, too. I KNOW. SUPER VAIN. That used to be super secret, too --- I am not too sure whether that's helpful or a turn off  already.

8. The teeth. Over the weekend, I'd been hanging out with my best friend's mom and she told me a valuable lesson -- never let your teeth go. Your real teeth will support your cheek bones, making you look fresh and sharp. She says she's seen too many girls let go of their teeth thinking it's okay to have replacements {nothing bad, but prevention is always better}. Real teeth will make you look natural, she says. As for me, I constantly visit my dentist for tooth stuff, so my set of teeth should be all good!

I don't claim to be an expert on staying youthful but those are the things that make me seem {Again, FEELING ko} younger than my real age. What do you think? Have you got tips on how to look young? Share?



My Academy Awards Sartorial Favorites

>> Monday, February 27, 2012

Because despite being knee deep with work, half my mind was tuned in to Oscars, also known as the Super Bowl of most women. Over a box of doughnuts and sweets, a friend and I placed a wager: Her bet was Meryl Streep for Iron Lady and Rooney Mara (my bet) for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. We all know who won so might as well focus on my sartorial favorites #sourgraping LOL

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Atelier Versace and Salvatore Ferragamo shoes. How one can go the simple and standard and dare I say safe way rock it so much baffles me.

Also, only Angie can present with her hands on her hips. 

Gwyneth Paltrow's white column speaks divine, gown by Tom Ford.

Cameron Diaz's Gucci Premier dress is reminiscent of Demi Moore's watercolor dress from two years ago, but nonetheless beautiful.

Michelle Williams, in her signature pixie cut is youthful in Louis Vuitton.

My Best Actress bet, Rooney Mara in Givenchy Haute Couture looks vintage adorable.

 Bossypants' Tina Fey looks stunning in a simple peplum by Carolina Herrera.

 Always a fan of bows, I am in love with Emma Stone's Giambattista Valli gown.

 My mom's favorite gown from the Academy Awards -- Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad. Even in thumbnails, girl's figure is absolutely distinguishable.

Kate Mara's Jack Guisso Couture blush gown is very feminine. I love.

 Judy Greer looks like a trophy -- a sexy one at that -- in this Monique Lhuillier creation.

Which ones are your favorite? I bet Angie, too! =P

*All photos are from


Things I Love Sundays: Warmth

Nothing, and nothing, can ever substitute the warmth of friendship, of family, of being with people you love, doing nothing, doing a lot of things, laughing, words of wisdom, talking about {past} heartbreaks and knowing in your heart that there is nothing in the world you'd rather be.

Spending time with Phoebe, Nikki and Jheng {not in photo} and loving every minute of it --- especially the words of wisdom *ahem* Nikki =P .
Photo credit: Nikki Tiu

The difference of loving and being selfish. A successful event involving Spanish food. Friends. The March issue of Oprah Magazine. JLC as in John Lloyd Cruz. Who'd have thought, right? Sleepovers. Being mistaken for a college student. Oh, talking to college students about communications, taking interns, too. Knowing that life can be hard {and by hard I mean that traffic can be bad and parking slots can be such a hassle} but someone out there is having worse time than us. Knowing that under every unlucky incident, is a blessing. Animal-print scarves. Thank you, Phoebe!

When you're underdressed, just grab a scarf, a pair of sunnies and you're instantly dressed up. =P
Thanks again, P!

Gossip Girl S5 E16. I know, for the life of me that I always get kilig on whomever's kissing who but Dan and Blair. I mean, who'd have thought the story line can evolve into this. <3

 Pink Nails.More about this here.

Huge orange neck pieces. Bestfriends. Patrick Adams lookalikes. Audrey Hepburn.

My orange python neckpiece is from my new favorite store, Apostrophe.

Photobooth-ing before going to sleep. Spas. Peppermint teas. Warm towels.

The soundtrack to a literally warm Sunday:

Blindsided | Bon Iver

Grey's Anatomy. For the life of me, I don't know what took me so long to finally get onto this show. I'm currently finishing Season 1 and it's nice to know there's about seven more I'll have to find a way to land my eyes upon. I am completely smitten over Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd.

And an ode to the Youtube clip that started it all. Glad to know I am not in that situation anymore:

That feeling of gratitude you feel when your life ain't perfect but it's working out well and all of a sudden you just have so many things to be thankful for.

Love, light and a lot of sparkle.
Happy Sunday xx


Romance is in the Nails

>> Sunday, February 26, 2012

Anyone who knows me well would attest to the fact  that I am not a very nail polish-y type of person. Some months ago, a friend {who definitely had less estrogen in her} went with me to my usual nail care spot, which is Posh Nails in Morato. I ordered for my usual services of Spoiling Feet and I saw her already wrapped up in treatments, all including her nails and arms, happy and content with her Spoiling Hands AND Feet.

"Akala ko ba girly ka? Bakit mas madami akong pinagawa?" was what she said as I started thumbing through Oprah Magazines. As much as a maarte person I am, it kind of takes a lot to make me go through manicures, for fear of chipping away the polish very early. I also get very distracted when working my hands through my laptop, while writing and when pointing to various things on the screen during presentations.

I bite the bullet for very nice colors, too.

Orly's Artificial Sweetener on my nails, done by Posh Nails

Sweetheart cupcakes served while we were having our "romance" on. LOVE <3

And aren't these the loveliest wafer sticks?

Under the sunlight, I even got distracted while driving. xx

Not to forget the Orly Top to Bottom base coat. My polish is very much intact to this day:

 And I like them on my feet, too.

True enough, the latest offering from Orly's Cool Romance collection is making me feel, well, romantic. That and the fact that I've been reading so much about Audrey Hepburn {thanks to you, Jill!}, I've been inspired lately to be a daintier version of myself, thanks to Ms. Hepburn. And this, this shade of pink is just apt.

Looks a bit violet-ish but is a soft pink on the nails.

Of course, if you're not a pink nor Audrey Hepburn lover, there are other colors to choose from Orly's Cool Romance collection:

Oh wait, Audrey would have loved this, too!

 You're Blushing is a cool shade of gray and undertones of blue.

Jealous Much is a creamy shade of minty green, perfect for summer!

Faint of Heart is a solid and opaque shade of gray.

And for the loveless {hehe}, a steel-y shade of gray in Steel Your Heart.

Of course. <3

Orly's Cool Romance collection are available at the following locations: Purebeauty Store I Marionnaud | First Aid Greenbelt | PCX (Rockwell, Ermita, Alabang Town Center) | Watsons (Greenbelt 5, Ayala Cebu) | Beauty by SM (Makati, Megamall, Fairview) | Landmark-Trinoma | Beauty Cocktails | Robinsons Department Store Ermita

Posh Nails can be found in the following locations.

Now, off to do dainty things with my dainty, romantic nails!


In Shangri La, there's Beauty Bliss

>> Monday, February 20, 2012

Because the Rustan's Cosmetics and Toiletries Division is currently under renovation and Estee Lauder Group of Companies love its valued customers very much, there's a pop up store at 3F Shangri La Plaza until March!

All your favorite brands have now become accessible {I really should drop by soon} plus all the freebies for each brand. There was a photo booth yesterday, too but I'd been cooped up at home working --- did you go?

Happy rainy Monday!


Tara's Office Survival Kit

>> Friday, February 17, 2012

... and no, this is not my most awaited article about the kind of officemates you should avoid. {Hehe.}

I can only presume the women who read my blog to be women like me --- the ones who choose structure over free time, the ones who are in the concrete jungles of Manila --- career women in their own rights. Most days, the office can be our refuge, a safe place where our dreams of taking over all sorts of industries happen. Most days, it is a sanctuary where we feel very useful {I am guilty of this!}. But sometimes, it can be quite the room with bare walls, with harsh airconditioning and traces of birthday celeb handa and the radiation of monitors.

Frankly, I like sitting in front of my computer --- I can do this all day most days. I do sit cross legged, though and I am detached from the world through my iPod. I used to think that being behind a monitor can do nothing to dry skin out, or make me feel ugly but it does. And so that is what my survival kit is for:

  1. Clean and Clear Oil Control Film. This item has appeared on this blog so many times simply because I don't think I can ever live without one. Aside from its original function of clearing oil, its grapefruit scent wakes me up during meetings that are useless {What? Some can be!} and energizes me through afternoons that makes me want to nap.
  2. Green Cross 40% Isopropyl Alcohol with Moisturizers. I recently switched my alcohol of choice from Biogenic {because it smells good} to this, because it smells way better. Every day, when I arrive at my desk, I wipe everything in my space with this and my day starts well.
  3. Garnier Eye Roll. I don't know if it's just me but most days in the middle of the day, I feel the area around my eyes tighten and when I roll this onto them, it feels better and I am a happy girl. Why?
  4. Versace Bright Crystal EDT. I alternate this with Elizabeth Arden's Red Door as the scent I spritz on before every meeting. I make it a habit to walk into air sprayed with this before proceeding to meet anyone. I'd feel naked without a trail of scent.
  5. Crabtree and Evelyn's La Source Hand Therapy. They say that age is evident in one's hand. I do not want mine to show my real age. I'd like to believe I'm still 16 :D
  6. Celeteque Hydrating Moisturizing Mist. Any office's air conditioning can wreak havoc on our skin, especially if we're there for eight hours or so. If I apply moisturizer, I'd have to go through the whole nine yards, I spray this onto my face and I can feel my face thanking me for it.
  7. Watson's Leave In Conditioner. I use this mostly for its scent. You know when you're a corporate person and you enter all sorts of celebrations and milestones and the scent of food just sort of sticks to your hair? I abhor that --- so I spritz this onto my hair and it smells fresh and is alive again.

Do you have an office survival kit, too? What's in it?


Hair Bliss with Dove Shampoo

>> Thursday, February 16, 2012

I am only grateful that I did receive this lovely package from Dove Haircare some weeks ago:

I have the driest hair ever --- dry to the point that it's frizzy when un-cared for and can get itchy if it brushes onto my shoulders and I am forced to tie everything into a bun and risk looking like a joyless principal. It's so dry it's brittle and crunchy and falls off because it's so weak. I know. :s

It's no secret really. I've been raving constantly about Dove Haircare--- and not because they're free but to be honest, hell to the effing yeah, that, too! But what I love most about it is that it actually works and it's super mabango! Today in the elevator, a guy friend smelled my hair for five seconds and it would've been offensive if he wasn't a friend.

Plus --- I get to wear my hair down more often :D

Heh x. My weird face but what I was trying to take a photo of was really hair in all its bouncy curly glory.

What I Love about this new product:

  • It's moisturizing. I don't know about any other variant but when it said intense, it was pretty intense. To be able to condition my hair means it had to be more than  the average and had to be thick, too. I don't have split ends but boy, did this cure the dry strands.
  • LESS HAIRFALL. I was shedding hair like I was sick it wasn't funny anymore. It gradually decreased after day 2 and now, it's like I don't even have hairfall anymore. Then again, I'm using the conditioner, too, alternated with another AMAZING product but that's for another story. After bombarding my hair with all the moisture that I could get, I therefore conclude that dryness is the culprit to hair fall. I'm never skipping deep conditioning again.
  • The shimmers. It doesn't really do anything but it's too cute for words!

  •  It smells really good. Ask the friend from the elevator ride. Plus it stays on the whole day. I went to yoga and spent the day doing intense poses {I DID A HAND STAND!!!} and sweating like a girl and before I went to shower, I smelled my hair and it smelled like I just got out of one. 
  • Reasonably priced. I have no fear of running out of this product because every 180 mL bottle from the Dove Shampoo range is just at Php 110. From a Marketer's point of view, this is going to give a lot of shampoos a run for its money because of its competitiveness. Goodbye drugstore brand shampoo! I am a loyal Dove user now.
  • Wide range.  The thing with mass market brands is that they tend to be centered on normal types of hair. And the thing with me is that I'm a pretty niche market with super extremely treated hair. My shampoo might be found oily for others so I don't usually find suitable products for my curls. I am very happy with Dove's Intense Repair variant.
  • No dandruff for me.

And with that I'm blissed out with my shampoo. What about you?

Have you tried the Dove shampoo / hair products? I hope you're loving them as much I am!


The Dragon Tattoo Keeps Haunting Me

>> Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I couldn't wouldn't shut up about it.

Sometime in 2010, I received a set of the Millennium series, a trilogy by Stieg Larsson which took the world by storm. I had intended well to spend a good time in bed reading everything but well --- life happened and here I am, halfway onto the first book and reeling from the movie, or I hope the first installment of yet another Fincher classic.

It was almost as if I was in the haywires of David Fincher's mind.

There isn't much to say --- expounding on the plot is pretty useless because it was a movie with such intense twist I was a bit holding my breath. I, who has ADD at cinemas, was transfixed and engaged the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes that the movie was running. The last movie I'd been like this at all was Inception.

Admittedly, this is not for the faint of heart. TGWIDT is a crime-suspense thriller, the chills of which are reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs. You know the kind of suspense that you get from quiet killing intent? It did not help that Powerplant Cinemas' surround cinemas had great audio, I was so afraid that terror was running up and down my spine. In some of the sequences, I found myself having had to breathe a calming series of breaths.

Notable for her performance was Erica Albright from The Social Network, playing Lisbeth Salander --- is Oscar nominee Rooney Mara. Her portrayal of the frail, computer hacking bisexual Salander was excruciatingly well you'd think the part was written for her. From her various interviews all over America, I found out that it took her 2 and a half months to finish auditioning for the part, they even make her drink alcohol sometimes as Salander seems to be "strung out" most of the time.

With a knack for tapping into anyone's computer, Salander was the toughest researcher in Sweden --- and together with Mikael Blomvkist, they crack open a 40 year mystery.

In her signature black grunge outfits, Salander can make anyone scramble in terror.

But it being a movie I saw on Valentine's Day, I distinctly remember that Lisbeth Salander, in her grunge wear, swearing shirt, hacking genius, can also fall in love.

I can totally understand why this movie is not showing anymore on Philippine cinemas ---- it can be quite graphic and gruesome and disturbing. But if you do ever chance upon a DVD when it gets released, do watch a movie that's engaging and thrilling and captivating.

And since I've extracted this entry out of my mind and hands, maybe I can now proceed to shut up.

Oh and did you know David Fincher directed Madonna's Vogue video?
Wala lang, masabi ko lang si Madonna.




>> Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oh, the things we learn from kids.

The thing with being an adult is that our idea of happiness gets more complicated. We know we'll be happy if we get that promotion, if we finally purchase that dream house, when we finally send the kids to the best school we know, when we pay off all our debts, when we finally go through that perfect wedding.

It never really ends. I could ask myself what would make me happy this instant and honestly: I don't know. I'm not sad but I've stopped caring so much about what makes me happy and just decided to go with the flow {that is of course, for now}.

Last Thursday, I had a little moment and realized how much kids, Charles Schulz and Charlie Brown can teach us about happiness.

Happiness is finding a pencil.
Pizza with sausage.
Telling the time.
Happiness is learning to whistle.
Tying your shoe for the very first time.

Happiness is playing the drum in your own school band.
And happiness is walking hand in hand.
Happiness is two kinds of ice cream.
Knowing a secret.
Climbing a tree.
Happiness is five different crayons.
Catching a firefly.
Setting him free.

Happiness is being alone every now and then.
And happiness is coming home again.
Happiness is morning and evening,
Daytime and night time too.
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That’s loved by you.

Happiness is having a sister.
Sharing a sandwich.
Getting along.
Happiness is singing together when day is through,
And happiness is those who sing with you.
Happiness is morning and evening,
Daytime and nighttime too.
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That’s loved by you.

And just in case you want a live performance of this show, I do believe it's still running at the Carlos Romulo auditorium in RCBC Plaza. I have never laughed so much in my life <3 I love you Lucy van Pelt!

Happiness is slinking away to bed after this entry <3



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All I Want to Do

1. Go to NYC. 2.Create and not touch an emergency fund. 3. Tell someone I love him. 4.Cook a five-course meal and serve it to someone I love. 5. Love my imperfections but improve them, too. Read the rest here. Read the the 30th version here.
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