OOTD: 10 Feet Tall

>> Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm frustrated at my 5'4" frame but I can't wear tributes all week long. Want to know my secret? I stick to one color and I wear pearls. I love pearls so much I even wear them while running. Yes, that's my secret to feeling like I'm 10 feet tall. This is my secret for acing every single presentation I ever have to go through in my life. This is also my secret for killing every inch of insecurity in my body.

Nude Pantsuit: Pink Manila
Flats: FAME 
Sunnies: Marc Jacobs
Earrings: Jewelmer
Necklace: Jewelmer
Bracelet: Jewelmer necklace worn as bracelet
Nails: Beauty and Butter

Photos by A. Samantila
Thanks to JM Novales
Shot at Bonifacio Global City



Things I Love Sundays: Radical Self Love

>> Sunday, April 29, 2012

Because I Said So. Light colognes. Cold Brewed Tea.

My favorite blogger: Gala Darling on TEDxCMU

This article at The Gloss, on three romance mistakes by Jennifer Dziura. 

Staying out of everybody's hair, staying in, hearing myself amidst the noise, a successful yoga at work run, progress with the challenging stuff, a semblance of a social life even if it's just the last few hours every night.

This cover of Gotye's Somebody I Used to Know

The Fault in Our Stars.  Overcoming Plana Forma -- and living to tell the tale. The spa and getting a ginger scrub. Enthusiasm. Being in control of things, my mind, my thoughts. Spring plans {now, I hope my fall plan falls into place, too!}. Lady Gaga plans. Lifehouse plans.


Congrats to The Reluctant Stylista, Alex Lapa, for winning second place at the Parisian Blogger Challenge!

What's making you happy this week?


What I Know For Sure: The First

Sometime last year, upon the discovery of a truly glorious magazine we all know as O Magazine, a friend suggested I come up with a column on this blog patterned after Oprah Winfrey's issue-ender called What I Know For Sure. It's a recap of lessons Winfrey has learned, re-learned and discovered through the months she's been making the issue. It's a little touchy-feely, and more serious than the rest of the articles in the magazine but sure breathes truth, no matter what continent you're from.

So as inspired by my friend, and by Ms. Winfrey herself, here are some of the things I know for sure, reaped from a tumultuous week(s) that I've had:

1. You can't choose family, so treat family right. My parents have both gone back to their home in New England but at this time of writing, my dad's words are reverberating through my head. I may always have fights with them and I may always be on the opposite side of things and have the inverted opinion but I will always just have one family and I will not make the mistake of not treating them right no matter how many times we disagree on things. I try.

2. You can always un-follow people on Twitter / Facebook / Tumblr / Pinterest. I am not proud of this: My Twitter feed is like one advertising board. Being someone who's lived on the cyberspace for so long, I knew which ones are advertorials, paid tweets and which ones came from the heart or pure interest. I admit: I am one of those, too. Reading other people's advertorial tweets made me realize it's okay to unfollow {as opposed to being afraid of reprimands such as 'I'm following you, why the heck are you not following me?!}. I will try to streamline my tweets, too!

3. One can only spend so much time mourning a heartbreak. This one's more for my 18 year old self. Now that I'm 26, I sometimes think back and look at the things people have been doing now, hear about the things they've done when they were much younger and all I can think of right now of what I did before was spend a lot of time being heartbroken. YUCK.

4. When it hurts, it means you're making progress. This statement is for this part of my career when I've come across tasks I've never done, projects I've never created before, results I have never achieved. It scares me, goodness knows how scared I am. But careers were never meant to be easy --- no, hardships in careers are not meant to tell you you need to find a new one. They're meant to tell you that you've moved away from your comfort zone and experiencing birth pains. Don't pack your bags and say that you deserve better. This is that point where you're going through the test of fire and you'll emerge better for it.

5. Assume nothing. Expectations are the bane of my existence. Nothing puts me down than an expectation unrealized. It can be as small as an expected phone call, an expected raise, an expected thank you. I believe it was from Melissa Hellstern's How to Be Lovely, a memoir for Audrey Hepburn, that I picked up this nugget of wisdom: Assume nothing and see life surprise you. It's harrowing not to expect anything, but the rewards are worth it.

6. No one can push you into doing something you don't like. When my parents were in the country, one of the requisite things I did was attend a luncheon where every member of our clan was present. Unlike many Filipinos, I am not very close with everyone in our family, most especially the boys. I tend to stick to a few cousins and I prefer much more intimate gatherings and outings. So when I arrived at the luncheon, it was a bit surprising to see unfamiliar faces which could only mean one thing: Future or Present In Laws. As luck would have it, I was THE ONLY ONE WITHOUT A PLUS ONE. Even my brother had a plus one so that made me the lone wolf in a pack of love birds. I was a little worried someone was going to point it out UNTIL someone indeed pointed it out. "You should've hired someone to come with you," she said. I sat in silence. I wasn't ready to share my life with someone, much more share my life with with my family to someone. I wish it was defense mechanism --- but it wasn't. I truly was not ready for a shared life. And no one can make me plunge into that until I say so.

7. You will lose a couple of friends just by being who you are. And it's okay. I made the mistake of acting accordingly to what people around me were saying and I regretted it. Today, I have less friends than I had some years ago but it feels much nicer, knowing you can act your real self in front of your true friends and not be afraid of being judged. Of course if they do, you are to be comforted with the thought that you just eliminated someone not worthy of your time. In the end, don't be afraid to act like who you think you are. Don't act as if you're ugly when you know damn well you're pretty. Don't act as if you're in pain if you're really having an easy life.

8. Only you can say who / how / what you want to act and to be. Just because you were an activist, a simple person, a complete anti-thesis of who you were ten years ago, it doesn't mean you cannot act the way you want to be now. If you want to flaunt every single asset that you have, no one bears the right to tell you otherwise.

What about you, what do you know for sure?


Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage

>> Saturday, April 28, 2012

Over the holy week, unlike so many sun + beach worshippers, I stayed home, shifted onto my social recluse version and watched one too many movies and Grey Anatomy episodes. One of the quotes I've heard that day unwittingly struck a chord:

"All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and I promise you, something great will come of it."

Benjamin Mee, played by Matt Damon, uttered those words to tell his kids to be brave --- whether it's approaching the most beautiful woman he's seen at a cafe, or becoming, quite unsuspectedly, the new owners of an abandoned zoo.

I am nowhere going to the direction of reviewing the movie --- it has been more than two weeks ago, and had shown in theaters last year. I do remember a lot of wisdom in that single line --- and that very line jolted me out of bed this Saturday afternoon as I tried to recreate Izzy Stevens' 24 hours of lying down on a bathroom floor when Denny Duquette died. I lied there in complete silence, with no thoughts, no expressions, no nothing.

And then I remembered.

Many times, we're stumped with fear, paralyzed into not choosing to move because it's all so comfortable and the thought of venturing into a life without a certain something is unthinkable. Moving away from our comfort zones entail a lot of hurting, a lot of pain, it may mean a dislocated shoulder {in the event of a handstand gone wrong}, a battered ego, a room for misinterpretations, a wounded heart.

But that venture out of the line that separates comfort and adventure ---- that's usually the beginning of a story we tell our grand kids. Someone said no one looks back and regrets the things they did --- usually, it's the ones we never have. I don't want to be that.

I'm ready.


A Few of My Favorite Snoe Things

>> Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The first time I ever heard of this brand was during a tweet-up with Sherwin {Sowy} at Uncle Cheffy's when Gen dropped by and gave Sherwin's cutie pie of a daughter a couple of lippy things to play with. Some months after, here I am, completely amazed with a brand that leapfrogged its way to the Philippine market:

Snoe's Hair Heroes was my first ever Snoe purchase via Shopinas. To this day, I am very enamored and into this product <3

In a world where so many brands pop out every five seconds, one can't help but wonder: What makes Snoe such a hit to females?

In my very own assessment, and in no way a gospel truth, nor lifted from a press release, I think what made the brand such a success were the following factors:

 At the Snoe Suntervention Blogger Event

  • Started it big. They had more than 10 branches when they launched --- that battles the problem of where to buy their products. To date, they have 17, plus online shopping, consumers need not worry where to go because they have branches all over busy, dirty Metro Manila.
  • Started it wide. Some companies choose to stay safe and have about five to ten products max -- and focus where they're great at. Haven't tried all Snoe products but so far, I can tell that their philosophy {and I believe I remember this from one of my conversations with the owner, Jen}, is speed-to-market. What they believe a woman would need, they create. It helps that Jen and Gen {who are sisters in law} are naturally kikay that it doesn't take hard for them to know what a girl wants.
  • A really good artist. Never underestimate the need for a great artist who can communicate your brand through brand packages, merchandise and visual merchs. What drew me to Snoe was their ability to come up with puns on their products {which were written by Jen}, even going as far as using a Beatles song -- to which I related to very easily.

  • No claims. You know when your create a brand and you identify what the brand is trying to say or who you want to attract, like organic, natural, affordable etc? Snoe has nothing of that, in fact, I think it's not trying to claim anything, which is refreshing. At the Snoe convention, I asked Jen, "Organic ba ang Snoe?" She nonchalantly responded, "Nope, we just want to help Filipinas gain access to products that address their needs."
  • Filipina Power. Behind and at the forefront of the brand are sisters in law Gen and Jen, who spearheads product development, research, testing, PR and promotion for everything. Wow.
  •  Livelihood and Diversity. If you've ever been to a Snoe outlet, you'd know some of their SAs are formerly members of the male populace {you know what I mean} -- and they're extremely talented, too! That means equality for all in my book and I like it!

 Plus -- they also double as fire dancers. Bongga!

  • Innovative. Who'd have thought of putting hunky men on a female blogger afternoon. This brand is fearless!

 Four months since my first purchase, I am someone who truly understands and likes and supports this brand. As a proof, here's a snap of my dresser:

My Favorite Snoe Things L-R: Snoe Suntervention SPF 80 {in this heat, I take no less than 80}, Snoe Body Ritual Spritz in Nectarine Ginger Tea, Snoe Hair Heroes Intense with Acai Berry, Snoe Body Ritual Hair Glaze in Honey Dew and Melon Yogurt, Oh My Wash in The Movie Star, Star Night Star Bright Toner and Emu Cleanse

Super sweet smelling anti bacterial fizz! Ang bango! Of course I forgot to buy them but will do when I return to the Snoe store I go to.

I'm pretty sure you've been bitten by the Snoe bug, too, so please share your experience and favorites in the comment box! :)




>> Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Never underestimate the power of iridescent nail polish.

Nails by Orly via Beauty and Butter



Chronicles of Giveaways: Win for Yourself a Hair Makeover!

>> Monday, April 23, 2012

It's graduation season {congrats to my brother!} and you know what I did right after graduation, which was six years ago? I dyed my hair. I think I've chronicled well enough in this post all the changes I've done and well, six years after, I'm a regular when it comes to coloring every single strand. If I were to look back, I'd say most of the positive changes were brought about by a change in hair color: bolder decisions, newer possibilities, a more brilliant character. The issue of changing hair color may seem silly but never knock it till you've tried it.

My last day as a girl with black hair. And then everything sort of changed.

From the vault {these pictures are about 4-6 years old!}

Chronicles of Vanity, together with probably the only brand which I use in hair coloring {honestly, what else is there?} and leader in hair coloring technologies, brings to you: The Chroma Makeover Giveaway! Like me, I'd want readers {especially those who've never undergone hair coloring} to find out all the difference we get with red, brown, ash blonde or copper hair. The choices are endless!

All you have to do is tell me in the comments section why you deserve a hair makeover together with an email address so I can contact you when you win.

You had me at soft and shiny :D

  • One comment per reader, contest is limited to Metro Manila readers. I will be picking one winner.
  •  The makeover will be done at a L'oreal Professionel partner salon {not to worry, this would be all over Metro Manila}
  • Before and After photos will be included in a press release.
  • Giveaway ends on May 15, 2012.
  • I wanna join but I want to keep my curls HA HA. So good luck to everyone who's joining!

So, why do you deserve a makeover? Join today!


Things I Love Sundays: Family

>> Sunday, April 22, 2012

The last two weeks have been spent rushing home from work and from social functions to give way to my mom and dad being in the country. It was crazy, too, having had to be at work for more than 12 hours on some days, plus having to deal with this unnecessary heat, I didn't think I could make it. Thank You for making all these possible.

And of course, some other vanity-related stuff which in no way would ever be taken out of my calendar.

The Women of the Family {my mom is the one to my right}. Talking about *gasp* marriages, jewelry, love for shoes, lingerie and the best skincare. I love <3

Chinese food and family. This is the first time, I think, that my brother appears on this blog.

 Turning more Japanese than ever. Sakura-inspired brightening mousse by Mamechiyo for shu uemura as well as a bottle of fresh cleansing oil is just something to brighten one's day.

Glitter nails. I tend to get distracted because this Ingenue shade from Orly is just tooooo adorable <3
Nails by Beauty and Butter

Summer Makeup is almost nothing! In this picture, I just slapped on some Myra E tinted moisturizer, shu uemura finishing powder, a little bronzer and shu uemura lip gloss. Ang init eh!

New hairstyle. I think I want something like this -- just something more corporate-world-friendly.

A running clinic --- and getting to know how bad my form is in running. At least now I know.

Realizing how arte I truly am with this Parisian video:

Family time at Bantayan Island. How gorgeous is this island? Very.

Speaking of the beach, it's great to be spending time au naturel. No makeup, sea and salt dried hair, just sunblock and breakouts LOL.

What's your sunblock? It was time to bring out the mother of all SPFs --- Sunplay SPF 130! For such high SPF, I expected it to be all sticky but it wasn't. Yay!

To answer and fix my skin woes, I headed to the new Facial Care Centre branch -- Eastwood. Oh gosh, look at THAT pimple. Thankfully, it's gone now! :) Thank you, FCC!

I love coming out of an airconditioned office in the middle of the day, hopping on to a car to meet friends and making chika over yummy food. <3

I finally saw my BTS video for the Parisian shoes thing and oh my gaaaad. Ang arte ko, yun lang!

The Fault in Our Stars. Love. Things you make way for just to satisfy your cravings. Bags and bags of Ruffles. McDonalds' Honey Banana float, getting my spring wish {now working on my Fall wish} and all the silly things that make me happy <3

 The Men of Suits. Can't wait for this show to be back. Photo via the crush of my life, Patrick J. Adams

Suits means Rachel Zane and her amazing outfits.

Still via HalfAdams

This Adele interview with Ushi:

Too funny :D

What's making you smile this week {and despite the heat?}


Do You Have to Let it Linger?

>> Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hello, dearest readers!

I've been on a bit of blogging break to give way to having my parents in the country which means aside from work, trying to stay fit, a semblance of a social life and {how can I forget} work, I've been extra busy. However, that doesn't prevent me from watching a super duper favorite from grade school days: The Cranberries in Manila.

The thing with not being able to blog as much is that I hadn't been able to share my weekly Things I Love -- so I thought I'd share one first for the day, which is being able to be in the presence of an amazing band, waving arms up in the air and chanting with the crowd. Dolores' voice hasn't changed at all!



Ode to My Family 
Just beautiful --- I was a bit emotional at this time :D

Zombie | And no, we don't mean the ghostly creatures. I swear, I felt like I was back in 1990s when Dolores sang this song, every person in the crowd had their arms up and waved.

I can't wait to watch my next concert {maybe Lifehouse!} :) Miss you all!


The New Beauty Wing at Rustan's Shangri La Mall

One Saturday afternoon, Shen and I explored the newly opened, fresh off the oven, smells like new things, Beauty Wing of Rustan's Shangri La Mall.

The soft pink hues is telling of one thing: Benefit is in Shangri La Mall now, too!

The famous Benefit Brow Bar is present at the Shangri La mall, too.

Stocks upon stocks of Porefesional, That Gal and Bathina.

That Gal, Lip Plump and Ooh La Lift

Hervana <3 <3 <3 I have new found respect for super light blushes <3

The famous Hello Flawless!

 I was soooo tempted to buy everything just so I can have this super nice makeup bag!

 Shop MAC, Cook MAC

How adorable are these MAC 'detergents?'

 The Armani of Scents, Armani. Have I told you how much I'm liking Acqua di Gioia?

Have you been to the new beauty wing of Shangri La yet?



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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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