TEDxKatips: Modern Revolutionaries

>> Saturday, June 30, 2012

The country needs more of this.

One hot, and then cold Saturday morning, wedged between a college student working on her thesis during breaks and a Korean exchange student, I witnessed my first live TEDx. Now, I've blogged about my favorite TEDx videos during the time I got my attendance confirmation for TEDxKatips but spawned by talks yesterday at the Leong Hall of Ateneo, on this glorious day of Sunday, I just have to sit down and push my thoughts to my fingers and type.

{EDIT: The draft stayed sitting prettily in my drafts folder and it is now a few weeks since the actual TEDx.}

Here's the thing: I can keep my notes all to myself, encase my inspiration in my chest and in my heart and be the sole revolutionary {if I ever will be} but the whole point of TEDx talks was to pin down worthwhile ideas and spread them. I hated to be the one who doesn't follow the rules for this one.

And so, with a sleepy head that is me, a cup of lemongrass tea in hand and aching muscles, I share with you my humble thoughts on the recent of TEDxKatips: Modern Revolutionaries:

Ever the drama queen, I was teary eyed listening to Human Heart Nature's Dylan Wilk. His talk explained the entire concept around the cosmetic/skincare brand we all know as HHN now. He says, some years ago, he came to the Philippines, sold a luxury car to give Gawad Kalinga its proceeds and planned to leave. Philanthropist Tony Meloto told him GK doesn't need money but hands --- and so he stayed, where he fell in love with the country and found the love of his life in the form of Anna Meloto. A dropout and he himself, formerly below the poverty line {who is among Britain's richest men recently}, Wilk shares his learnings on why despite the hindrances, he was able to pursue studies and his business endeavors: Help from his countrymen.

It wouldn't be surprising that this was what I did the following weekend:

My adopted baby, Mikka, and I, Legacy of Light Village, Calauan, Laguna.
This is, of course, another story.

I know how disheartening helping have become in this country --- you know how beggars have a minimum amount they'd like to accept? You and me --- we know the horror stories --- but it's worth the effort to continue helping, to look beyond the apathy and the lack of improvement to extend a hand, no matter how little effort, because at the end of the day, time spent with people who needs you will always mean something -- it will always change a life.

And Dylan Wilk will always be one of the many foreigners in this country who put me to shame for being more Filipino than me.

Now, Arriane Serafico's talk was a breath of fresh air --- a refreshing take on being fashionable and nationalistic at the same time. I've seen the tags for Postura on Twitter before but never quite understood the meaning behind it till then, which was pretty genius if you ask me. She talked about starting a revolution --- it never meant that it would need to be of something big. If all you needed to do was jump, then jump. Serafico, whose presentation was concise, brief and straight to the point, touched on using creativity to change the Philippine landscape, it and its multitude problems. "It's more fun to be a changemaker in the Philippines because we have a surplus of problems to solve," she quips and the crowd erupts into laughter.

Anna Oposa, a fierce fighter of the seas discussed how writing letters has gotten her to get marine life organizations to act more humanly towards sea creatures. From my seat at the Leong Hall at Ateneo, I could feel the infectious passion for fighting for them who can't fight. My favorite quote from her talk: It was worse than heartbreak, boyfriends can be replaced, marine life can't be.

You could say Mayor Pie Alvarez had it all. Alvarez, the country's youngest  mayor at 24 years old. She was working for Chanel {I KNOW, RIGHT??} when she decided she wanted to come home to San Vicente, Palawan and run for office. At such age, she chose leading a place where citizens wake up to victims of crocodile bites and where people rarely know what an ostrich is. At 26, I don't know if I can give up the comforts of being in the metro for that --- that much I applaud Ms. Alvarez for. The only downside of her presentation though, and I say this as an observer, was that it lacked the necessary {wish-it-was-negligible} touches of facts, research and truthful backing. I was live tweeting during TEDx {hopefully not to anyone's chagrin} and I could see the older folks waiting for those points, especially when she brought the house down when she pointed out we had a lot of 40 and up aged politicians, to which her point was clear: If you want to make change, should you really wait so long? The problem with staying who you are, I believe, is that you lose friends and audiences along the way sometimes.

Now, Maria Ressa {who does not need any introduction, the woman is just inspiring}, walked in, her beginning slide flashed on and I literally felt goosebumps. Her talk called The Courage to Say No was all about turning and running away from corruption. "Evil is knowing better but doing worse," Ressa says. "Most people do not know when they're being evil." A veteran of the news industry, Ressa is awe-inspiring for being one of the few journalists who would go as far as not become a part of the Attack and Collect, Destruct and Collect {ACDC} journalists we have. "Set a line for yourself and do not cross that line," was Ressa's ultimate thing to remember, to get the courage to say no.

To explain further what she's doing to perpetuate a greater sense of knowing current events, she shares the philosophy behind what I believe is yet the best news website currently, Rappler.com, an emotion-based news website. "It is corruption-free," Ressa says in one of the comments.

I could say I was changed. I could say that when I drove home that night, I took it to look at the people around me, the people crossing streets without warning, children who grew up with proper guidance and took it to heart that I will do everything in my power to bring change and less of global whining {to quote Anna Oposa} into the world. I plan to create changes in my own way, in myself and in the community I live in. If one TEDx talk can do that a highly-narcissistic, mostly-selfish girl like me, imagine what it can do to the rest of the country.

Kudos to organizers Francis Tan, Earl Javier and Chris Ang. More, please =)


Tropical Rejuvenation in the City | A Review of Pevonia

>> Monday, June 25, 2012

Once upon a time, I was a city girl who loved her tropical city to no end. And without conditions.

Well, I still do. I still love Manila but just like any other relationship {like Carrie's date with her city, New York}, I have to consciously and consistently date my city to remind myself to look beyond its flaws. And what best way to do that than to duck into a quiet corner in Rockwell and spend a chunk of my day with my skin being sloughed off, in the comforts of the relaxing interiors of The Spa's contemporary designs?

I've always liked these kinds of photos from The Spa. <3

Like every single career girl, a full working week can harrow us to no end: there are the inhumane deadlines, the impossible colleagues {Ha!}, the maddening everyday traffic, motorcycles on the road, makulit people who like calling you in the wee hours of the night, people who do not like listening, people who push their ideas down your throat --- okay you get my point. There will be no end to the stressors in our lives, and I am sure even if we all become hermits, something will eventually become stressful and we all need that thing to make us destressed. And in my book, ang malosyang sa stress, talo.

And what better way to shake off the losyang level stress than to lock myself from the rest of the world and spend three precious hours of my life inside The Spa?

It was my first time to visit The Spa at Rockwell. I didn't know there was a branch at the second floor!

 With Pevonia's Elaine and Jenny

 Going inside my hideaway for the day: Suite 6

Weekend garb + Before changing into the white The Spa Robe.

Always something to look forward to: The Spa's Ginger Tea. YUM!

 In every suite is a set of your own warm towels, robe, slippers, really nice chairs and soft pillows.

 The treatment I chose for my short retreat was called Tropical Rejuvenation:

Travel to this oasis for noticeably smoother, firmer, radiantly glowing skin. Mango, passion fruit, and yogurt brighten and even out skin tone, counteract aging, and deliver anti-aging benefits.

-The Spa Wellness

How was it?

Despite the fear of being electrocuted, I was taking photos in the tub :D

The treatment began promptly after I was given 30 minutes to enjoy the jacuzzi. Soon enough, a therapist was wheeling in a cart of bottles and cling wraps:

Pevonia Mango Passion Fruit Deaging Saltmousse, mist, Pevonia deaging body balm and lotion.
{So shushal the stuff they're using!}

Here's how they look like in bottles:

The next hour was pure heaven of scrubbing and sloughing off. I immediately felt the cleansing changes that came with the scrubs. I never admitted it before but I am an avid fan of scrubs. Ever since I've discovered how beneficial it is to have layers upon layers removed from the body, I've devoted one weekend to being scrubbed off like labada to make sure new and glowing skin emerges. It is worth the effort!

The Good:

  • If you're the body scrub type like I am, the Tropical Rejuvenation is perfect for you --- especially if you're in the mood to indulge and spend on the suite or villa, it can kind of feel like heaven on earth.
  • I kind of wanted to lick my arms after my scrub. I smelled like a farm of mangoes! Mangoes with sweetened milk and fruits! Like dessert! 
  • To quote local parlance: Lakas maka-glow! No more dead skin cells!
On Wednesday, I was ready to love my city once again.

  • If you add a massage before the scrub {comes separately}, it would already have been sinful. But heavenly --- how's that for an amazing irony?
  • The wrap {in yogurt} left me touching my arms all day. Smoother skin, indeed!
The Bad:
  •  It doesn't come cheap --- that's Php 3,000 a pop but then again, quality and privacy doesn't come cheap nowadays so that's completely understandable.
  • Nothing else, what's not to like?
Overall recommendation: Advisable for career girls, working moms, frazzled people, and basically anyone who's looking forward to take the day off, literally, all the dead skin cells and just to hide away from the rest of the city. It certainly worked for me and revived my love for my city. Some days, I could feel myself having this instead of my usual massage at The Spa {yes, I hie off to the BGC branch every so often after work}.

What's your take on body scrubs and dating your city? Do share!


Campus BDJ: We've Got Winners!

>> Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Congratulations to the lucky readers who won one Campus BDJ planner each! Thank you for joining, everyone!

The section of the Campus BDJ that would be most beneficial to me is the Sem Break Planner because I looove going on trips and this would be the best way to plan ahead. With this on hand, I won't have to worry about where to go, what to do and buy aaannndd most importantly, I won't spend too much outside of the budget! Plus, connected with this is the Menstrual Tracker so that I know when to plan my trips! Campus BDJ is definitely a must-have and need for me! :D

Jen Lapis

The most beneficial section of the Campus BDJ for me is the 'Sem Break Plans' cuz me and my friends loves to travel and explore new things during our break! I think that would be very helpful for me and to my beloved friends :) 

Marvi Buncaras

Congrats, girls and check your inboxes re: prize details!


Midnight Blue: A Review of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Line

>> Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When I was little, I had this song I liked so much. I've heard of it on the radio during a school bus ride and that time, there was no Sound Hound or Shazam so I spent maybe a year trying to catch it again and again so I could mentally take note of the lyrics and sort of find the title.

Midnight Blue | Electric Light Orchestra
Oo na, I'm such an old soul

When you've spent a year trying to find something, its name, or anything else, you don't forget. I guess that's why I had related a 1979 song to a beauty product, yes? Yes, I don't know why I do that.

The sheep in the background means it's pajama time! xx

The first time I've heard of this rather nightly elixir was when Frances had a contest up and I was feeling annoyed with my skin because I did all these bad habits for the skin. Incidentally, I sometimes feel like I had better skin before! Or maybe that's just cos it's me and I won't be a very credible judge of my own face.

Tara circa 2010.Back when I wore jeans and drank Coke Zero.

Tara, 2011. At the Nuffnang Family Day. Photo by Sophie Uy

Tara Cabullo, present. Maybe all these obsessive habits on beauty and skincare was worth it after all cos I don't look that bad {I think!}

You know what's common with the last two photos up there? Both were taken on a day when I had less than four hours of sleep and yet --- I looked decent and more. I actually look like I had full eight hours sleep!

To be honest,  I didn't realize how beneficial this serum has been for the last two years until now that I've actually sat and thought randomly that I should be writing a review about it. So here you go, my thoughts on Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Midnight Recovery Eye:

The Good:
  • Unlike some girls I know, Kiehl's MRC did not break me out despite going overboard of putting on more than one to two drops of it before slathering on night cream. According to Kiehl's Brand Manager Sheena Dy, to apply it, all one needs to do is squeeze a drop from the bottle, spread through fingers and pat on the face. 
 LOL we're oily from applying the products while having dinner cos they smelled so good!
  • There has been no fail --- every time I wake up, as long as I've applied this concentrate, I always have a well-moisturized skin in the morning signs of which are soft, supple skin despite being dried out by air conditioning or cold weather. As I've learned over the years, skin breaks out from dryness and not from being oily {unless it's dirty} so as long as my skin's properly moisturized, I don't break out.
  • When I was in Toronto, I was completely unprepared, having super duper light summer skincare so after a day of being out into the bone dry Toronto mornings, I broke out from loss of moisture. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery was then just a part of my nightly routine. I experimented on using it during the mornings and guess what, IT WORKED.
 I slapped on a few drops of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate before heading out and the flakes went away. And look ma, no jetlagged look!

  • A bottle lasts a lifetime. Well, technically, a few years. I've had my first bottle when I won one from Frances' contest and bought my second early in 2012. That's bang for the buck, y'all.
  •  The Midnight Recovery Eye has been helpful in keeping the dark circles away. Have been sleeping very few hours most days for the last month, with no explanation and no one can tell. Yet.
  • Oil is our friend. Repeat to self.
  • Both smells like spa on the face and like little twigs of lavender. Mmmm :)
  • Sheena continues to educate us about the proper application of eye creams, "Apply everywhere, in the area surrounding the eyes, lest it's just useless. Apply especially on the corner where the eyes crinkle."
The Bad:
  • The glass bottle of the concentrate is amazing on the boudoir but scary to stash on the luggage. I had to wrap mine in tons of shirts to make sure it doesn't break on my 16 hour flight.
  • I'd imagine this would be a little too much for women who have oily skin. As I have pretty dry skin, it was perfect. If you have otherwise, best to try it out with a few drops first.
  • Doesn't come in smaller sizes.

Overall RecommendationKiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate is a bit scary at first, what with it being this blue bottle of pure oil, scary if you're oily and just plain heaven sent if you've got dry skin. I completely recommend if you've been meaning to amplify your skincare {like I was}, finding a serum and have turned away from cream-based skincare and/or just looking for the solution to dull, lifeless, no-sleep skin look.

What's your daya to make yourself look like you've had sleep? Mine is Kiehl's MRC!


OOTN: Keep Calm and Sparkle On

>> Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rockstars don't sparkle. They --- rock. The thing is, last May, the news on rankings came out and the company I've been working for four years now just emerged as the top life insurer of the country. It may not sound as big a deal if you aren't in the financial services industry but think of it this way: whatever it is that you're rooting for {your school, or the company that you're working for} just dominated every single aspect of the landscape --- THAT. That's the feeling. Complete and utter victory.

Now, the best thing about Sun Life is that no good deed ever goes unrewarded. As its way of celebrating all the hard work every single person in the organization put through {that includes everyone from the Asia Leadership Team all the way to mail room folks and services, EVERYONE}, the company had a huge party in the form of a concert that spanned the 60s to 2000s. The Bloomfields, The Dawn, Juan Miguel Salvador, Ogie Alcasid, Piolo Pascual, Itchyworms and Parokya ni Edgar each had a set for one night and since we rocked 2011 the most, we all had to come as rockstars.

And with that, let me share with you my non-rockstar outfit which I think still looked like a costume :D The real story with this was that I really wasn't prepared. We had the same theme back in December and even then, I knew rockstar chic wasn't at all my peg and I always kind of looked err, grungier than I liked to be and there was no way I could come in a suit because frankly that was all I wanted to be wearing that week. I had made up my mind I wasn't about to wear shorts again in public and well, until the last minute, I wasn't sure what I'd wear. It was then that my brilliant friend, T, suggested I wear this beautiful sparkly Religioso dress and well, that's how I ended up looking all sparkly rock chic. I hope.

 I think at this time, I wasn't yet used to the weight of the lashes :D

I wasn't really making a statement {at least unintentionally, I was} with my yellow tributes from Parisian Shoes. In my sleepy haze that morning, that was the pair of shoes I grabbed instead of another, edgier pair. But I sure hope it works.

My eyelashes might as well have been that night's concert venue :D

Dress: Religioso
Purse: H&M
Accessories: H&M
Shoes: Parisian Shoes

What do you think?
What would you wear on rock-themed concert?

Photos by A. Lateo and M. Palacio


Of Facials and Tolerance for Pain

>> Saturday, June 16, 2012

Do facials really hurt? My male friend and colleague, who at that time was a month away from getting hitched, was asking me on our Friday drive to the office the tragedy of facials and if they are really worth the pain.

Ever the pseudo philosopher, I cruised through Shaw Boulevard and responded with what I hoped was my best poker face, "Nothing hurts you until you let it." And then we erupted into boisterous laughter.

 The mask is just one thing. They rarely picture the pricking.

The truth about facials is that they're ridiculously uncomfortable and hardly enjoyable. Facial specialists put you under steam for at least 30 hours and poke at your face with those metal sticks until you involuntary shed a tear after which said facialist would ask you, "Ma'am, masakit po ba?" You wish you can break into a litany of profanity.

I was wary --- that much, I admit. I was wary that the facial I was invited to try at the newest addition of Facial Care Centre's roster of branches in Eastwood would hurt I'd be lost for words to say. I had my fair share of horror stories and many of them from trying out facial treatments that made my skin worse. Or plainly made me cry. If I wanted to do some cleaning, why not try a peel? Then again, peels are far more expensive and requires down time so there I go going back to facials. Facials take off the baggage of dead skin cells and moisturize the skin better than we do and you know, that's the time they blow up the pores {ergo, the steam} so they take out whiteheads, blackheads and whatever impurities they can find.

The first thing I had to do as I availed of Facial Care Centre's Purifying Indulgence, a treatment meant to deeply clean the skin{always a problem, or maybe I'm just too vain}, I was led to a consultation room where my skin was assessed. It was the first time I found out I had such sensitive skin. Aside from the fact I always break out on the chin area {a sign of hormonal imbalance}, my skin reacted fairly quickly to any weather change.

After which, I was led to a very sunny room and saw these:

The devil is in the details.

Breaking out is hard to do.

 Pristine. Just the way I like it.

After a facial, skin is going to be a little red. Don't fret.

  ... because it's going to be amazing the next day. Or at least, in my case, a lot better. See the pimple on my chin? Gone! {Well, I had them injected at FCC} Heh. xx

My specialist was attentive to details, as I carefully instructed her not to detrimentally poke me to my death. I hated pricking but she made it bearable {a real talent, I know}. She also chatted me up on really important things like the scent of my hair {haha, hello Foxy Curls}, school {she thought I was 19, NAKS}, and the importance of knowing what you want in life. Deep.

To date, I'd say this was the most thorough facial I have tried, without the necessary pain. We all know how pain is directly proportionate to how much vanity we want to indulge into but as I've said, nothing can hurt if we don't let it. There are painless options. And while this facial was nothing painless, it was considerably less painful than those I've undergone in the past.

Special mentions would have to be the extremely clean interiors, the privacy {no one seems to care about privacy anymore nowadays}, the lights which were not too bright and the crowd. There were no annoying crowds such as noisy teenagers experimenting with  mommy's favorite facial place and daddy's credit card {LOL, sounds like me in my teens HAHA}.

And so, with that litany of the science of facial, my friend did end up getting a facial {on the same place, too} and came back to me with clearer skin and the glow of love.

What's your story on facials? Sakit di ba?

*Facial Care Centre is located at 30F Unit C MDC Building, E Rodriguez Jr. Ave. cor. Eastwood Ave., Bagumbayan, Quezon City


The sound of a pretty sigh

>> Friday, June 15, 2012

... is what I hope I made when I chanced upon this lovely bottle of a seemingly charmingly pretty elixir.

Swooned. I haven't swooned in a long, long time.

Love and light,


Inspired Workspaces {and see what's on mine}

>> Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lately, my obsession over redesigning my workspaces {both home and office} has been insane.

Blame it on these two websites, The Coveteur and The Everygirl, which feature workspaces of stylish and creative people that I am left wide eyed and daydreaming about how to go around redecorating mine. It doesn't help that Daphne's post here featured a myriad of Instagrams of the best cluttered desks. I'm leaning towards white, airy, sunny spaces, which I don't have just yet. In a couple of months' time though, I'll be able to a) redecorate my home or b) find a place that fits into my idea of a space that's conducive to creative thinking. I'm thinking huge boards to tack on tearsheets, white shelves to put my coffee table books onto, and white gadgets {the new MBP is calling me, then again I also want a 27" iMac}. But until a couple more months of planning, my current workspace would have to do.

Some of the workspaces that I've been drooling on are:

Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty:

Jessica Sutton of Jessica Sutton Designs:

Marina Larroude, Style.com

Erin Gates of Erin Gates Design

Too dreamy for words, yes? but right now, these would have to do:

My room's walls has always been Tiffany blue but I seriously want some butter yellow walls or white.

All you need is love <3

This is the side that should have just housed issue upon issue of InStyle and W Magazine {all under the red sarong} but instead became my altar of sorts with my photo and all unread books. Yes, all of those have bookmarks in them and are being alternately read every night.

My pink polka dot mousepad <3

 My "work" space at our office at BGC. It's pretty chaotic.

And if you're wondering what brought this on, it's because of this little store I chanced upon when I've been wandering at the Archaeology wing of Powerplant Mall! Funny its name is like a pick-me-upper, too!


What does you workspace look like?
Share with me? I love seeing workspaces!



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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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