A Tale of Love and Jealousy: The Phantom of the Opera

>> Sunday, September 30, 2012

It wasn't popular for nothing.

Here's a little story I've been telling to people who have been surprised that the Phantom of the Opera was actually my favorite musical: When I was around seven, I would come home from school, play my father's tape {and much later, his CD} of broadway classics, specifically Cliff Richard's and Sarah Brightman's All I Ask of You. I would don a royal blue gown and sing on top of my lungs.

Sometime in the early 2000s, a film version was released, and there I was sobbing my eyes out as I watched Emmy Rossum and Gerald Butler give life to the characters I only knew from my own imagination as a little girl.

I knew every song by heart, even the reprise. :D

Learn to be Lonely

Think of Me {This is my favorite song from the entire musical, aside from the requisite All I Ask of You}

I had my initial reservations of watching --- a) I had seen the film version, what else was to see? b) it was expensive c) I've seen Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical last year. I certainly did not want to get the nosebleed seats, which were already breaching the 1,000 peso mark and the seats I wanted were around 5,000.

In the end, after very little hesitation and little persuasion, I gave in to my little girl memories. After all, the film, while absolutely stunning and awesome, was no match for a live, heartbreaking, tear-inducing performance by The Really Useful Company here in Manila.

A Little Background

For the uninitiated, Phantom of the Opera is about a soprano (Christine Daae) who have been yet given a break. She was finally given a break, through the careful mentoring of Erik (the Phantom), which made him fall in love with Christine. As Christine progressed to become the star of the Paris Opera House, she snags the heart of her childhood sweetheart, Raoul, which sparks the rage within the Phantom and therefore ensues trouble.

Christine, ever as conflicted about her newfound love and a mentor she felt indebted to, struggles to seek wisdom from her father who have passed. Erik, who have gone 360 with threats, deception, caging Christine in his underground hideaway just to be with his love, eventually frees Christine away, in the name of true, undying love.

Worth Every Penny

I had eye-level seats at the main orchestra, and being someone who tries to live frugally, I was a bit worried it might've been too much for it. Then I thought that if one had to spend, experience is most especially worth it. By the end of the musical, I realized I would've even paid more for the theatrical genius that unfolded before my eyes.
Every POTO watcher who has seen just the first sequence of a stage that transformed in less than a minute from ruin to its old glamour would tell you how that is already a stand out among the musicals that have ran in the CCP stage {have seen Cats and Mamma Mia, both an understatement to the POTO production values}.

CCP had the floating candles, the candelabras and a wheeled 'boat.' I was easily reminded of Thailand's Siam Niramit and realized these was possible in the Manila! 

The Phantom of the Opera, Movie version

My thoughts in bullets:

  • There's a reason why it's expensive --- because of the classic chandelier scene, the underground lake scenes, it being an international cast --- and it was worth it.
  • Claire Lyon's rendition of Think of Me brought me to tears. And yes, that was her first song for the night.
  • Is it me or is the audio much, much better this time? I was seriously thinking there were serious levels of engineering that happened before they started to run POTO. Have been watching a number of international musicals in CCP and it has never been this good.
  • It is so fun to see so many friends at the CCP POTO run, (hello Jheng and Roxy!), especially dressed up, too. THIS is how it's supposed to be. So beautiful.
  • Christine was astounding, Raoul was very cute BUT Erik (The Phantom) gave the most chilling, undisputed best performance of the night.
 Anthony Downing as Raoul

Claire Lyon as Christine Daae

Standing-ovation worthy, Jonathan Roxmouth as the Phantom.

  •  The Costumes. I kept flipping my eyes on each of their Masquerade costumes because each had every detail planned out in exquisite sparkle.

  • Phantom of the Opera is not like Rent, or Love, Loss and What I Wore, or Sweet Charity that had deep-seeded profound issues to dig. There were no quotable quotes nor wisdom to remember, heck even Lion King had more quotes in it. It was about a universal topic and that was love --- but however complicatedly executed. If you are not the literal, audible type, it might be tough to understand some of the narrative embedded through operatic notes, the sopranos and the tenors. A deep, thorough heart ache reverberates beyond the high notes and the carefully produced props and that is the human need to be loved and to be accepted as you are. The Phantom, an enigma of all forms, had displayed the ultimate act of love (as most tragic love stories have) and that is to let go. Always, always a heartbreaking thing to do.
  • While I completely love the modern world, I can't help wishing I lived at the time when opera was in fashion, where people sang songs to say what they wanted to and when true love was well, true.
  • I am so glad that Filipino theater-watchers have now learned not to text and take calls during musicals. I remember well that my seat mate in Cats took a call during the Jellicle Song and I had wanted to smack him in the head right there and then. Same for the ones who sing so loudly. 
  • I am so happy I gave in and watched this --- it affirmed why it was my favorite musical so far.

 Photo taken by my friend Tania.
Outfit (of the Music) of the Night:

Pant Suit: Pink Manila
Belt: Promod
Necklace: H&M
Purse: H&M

Have you seen The Phantom of the Opera?

*Official photos are from www.facebook.com/POTOManila
*It's not too late, the show runs till October 14 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines!


shu uemura reigns supreme with the new matte lipsticks!

>> Thursday, September 27, 2012

I usually know what I want. Except when there's too many choices {and sometimes I just get it all}. Then the shu uemura Rouge Supreme Matte collection happened and one of the hardest choices I made this week is probably to choose which shade I like.

MDR. Morte de Rire or LOL in French (thank you, Reyna and Tans for the introduction.)

It was a hump day and I had been feeling way crappy for my own good that I swung by shu uemura Rockwell to pick a bullet of one of their shades of the new collection. Pretty much like a little girl on Christmas Day, my mood was up in the heavens and I was so happy tinkering about the store, puttering over the eye shadow colors and milling about in the white interiored store.

rouge unlimited supreme matte
breathtaking matte finish, yet with comfortable glide on lips achieved with soft creamy texture formulated with signature hybrid pigments that provide pure, high fidelity, intense and deep color pay-off.

As I chatted with shu uemura's Karen, I took each bullet for a test on my lips and my top 2 were definitely PK 376 {a deep, hot fuschia pink, which Frances got} and PK 348, a light pink that resembles my personal favorite, MAC Please Me. The last of the six colors that the store carried was BG 931, an opaque nude shade which disinterested me at first glance. I had such fat, siopao face that a nude lipstick would make me fat.

BG 931 hardly showed on my skin! See bottom part of my hand.

Guess what shade I got that made my crappy day turn around.

 Talk about love at second swatch. 

 {Excuse the dryness}... because I fell in love with BG 931 as I tried it on.

 Beaming with the lovely Karen of shu uemura.

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Matte is available at all shu uemura stores at Php 1,195.

You already know what my favorite this week will be!


Face of the Day: Sugarlicious

>> Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I've long stayed away from the overprocessed sparkling creation that is sugar --- and for the most part of my life, I have developed an intense love for brown sugar, and its even rawer sibling, the muscovado sugar. As I look back on all the looks I've created in my life (not too many), I realized I stayed away from non pink looks.

Guess it's not too late to start after all!

An obvious favorite these days is this little kit from Benefit called Sugarlicious:

Sugarlicious contains travel size of the following: Benetint, High Beam, Sugarbomb blush and Sugarbomb lipgloss.

I'm getting a kick out of using High Beam. I love it when the sun shines on my face cos it does reflect light back!

Maybelline Liquid Mineral Cream Foundation
Maybelline Mineral Concealer
L'oreal  White Perfect Pearl Duo-Tone Whitening Powder Foundation in Golden Ivory


Maybelline Liquid Eyeliner
Maybelline Cat Eye Mascara
Benefit They're Real Mascara

Benefit Benetint
Benefit High Beam
Benefit Sugarbomb

Benefit Sugarbomb Lipgloss

I loved the look so much I wore practically the same things the entire week.

Looking at my barely-there makeup makes me want to slap on so many colors at one touch! Guess I'm going back to my color-loving self this week. Stay tuned!



Soft as Petals: shu uemura Tsuya Skin

>> Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I attribute it to maturity --- this higher than usual emotional quotient. After all, after one whole day of devouring the contents of this blog from the beginning, in hopes of knowing where I had come from, understanding the changes I had gone through and deciding the tone of voice and its direction, I could see it had been different. Whereas I was a crazy person jumping on one skin care trend to one in the blink of an eye, I believe I've been more discerning over the last five years, more careful in what I ingest, what I put into my skin and what I share online.

It has been three weeks since I have been immersed in the promise of skin that's petal-soft, you won't be able to stop touching your skin {which is bad, really}. Aside from shu uemura's cleansing oils, the Tsuya Skin and Underbase is the first of its skincare and its kind that I have ever tried and below is my verdict.

Tsuya in Japanese means 'ideal,' a word that's often mangled according to what one wants to believe. Thankfully, shu uemura conducted research {I am loving research lately, IDK why}, and found that among 5,000 Asian women, these were the parameters that constitute ideal skin: smoothness, porelessness, translucence, an even tone, a fine texture and good skin color. When I think of all those, I remember my Japanese classmate in yoga, Mariko, and how I would get distracted with her skin, which especially glows when she's upside down on a hand stand. I only know so few Japanese women but every single one of them has amazing skin {show me a Japanese, Chinese or Korean woman who has blemishes or acne and I'll let you pinch me} so Mr. Uemura must've been right when he started his brand after all. Not that I ever doubted him, ever.

It was imperative I try it.

What makes it different, this Tsuya skin?

Branded as youth switch activator, Tsuya skin boasts of a receptor called Rhamnose receptor which taps into skin to signal its self-regeneration and metabolism. Being almost 27, I am beginning to see why women are becoming vainer and vainer --- the skin gets drier and duller over time. Rhamnose Receptor, according to shu uemura's dossier {a pile of documents I studied very carefully before posting this}, is said to be inspired by a Japanese flower called Enju. 

How was the experience?

shu uemura's Nadia and Karen explained that to use Tsuya skin was like applying a booster to your daily skincare. In my case, I had been religiously using Obagi's Clenziderm line for a month now. You can tell I am breaking out and on medication and haven't been really moisturizing because my skin is too oily. They say that Tsuya boosts whatever product it is that is in your face and the first time I slathered a little bit of  the iridescent concoction, I was affirmed yet again that it is such a joy to be experiencing luxury skincare products like Tsuya skin and that no matter how long I've been doing all these, it doesn't really get old.

The bottle, the milky, iridescent substance spelled luxe.

The Good:

  • Instant effect. And when I say instant, I slept with this on, on top of my Clenziderm Therapy Lotion and Celeteque Gel Moisturizer and I was amazed at the glowing effect the next morning I didn't want to take shower immediately.
  • The scent and the feel is simply divine. One can tell this is not your run of the mill serums in the market. It smells of perfection, like rose petals crushed with peaches. In my head, this is a Japanese woman walking down the Tokyo district with a cup of green tea in hand.
  • You only need a pinch. The first time I used it, I was too squeeze-happy I ended up having more in my fingers than I needed so I spread it onto my neck and collarbone. As it turns out, the serum is potent and very little is needed even for a big-square-area like my face.
  • Three weeks and counting and my face is still affected by its awesomeness.A softer glow and porelessness is what I achieved, however this is most visible only on my forehead. The rest of my face is still experiencing acne from my messed up hormones but my forehead is darn perfection.
  • Comparable to two serums I have tried in the past, Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate and L'oreal White Perfect Radiance Boosting Essence, and one I've yet to use, L'oreal Youth Code Essence, Tsuya skin delivered a boosting performance every day that I've injected it onto my skincare routine, making it a viable competition to the serums I've mentioned above.
  • No allergies, no rashes, no tightness.
  • The glass bottle is a nice touch --- I really hate it when things come in plastic.

The Not so good:

  •  The Tsuya skin youth generator is not meant to eradicate acne marks or pimple scars so if you have all these, expect them to still be there if you aren't doing anything else. Then again, it didn't promise that.
  • No SPF whatsoever.
  • Luxury priced at Php 3,250 a bottle. As always, remember that you get what you pay for.
  • At the risk of being called biased, I would like to say that is a perfect little bottle of beauty. I'd gladly skip a few massages to be able to afford this.

Overall Recommendation:

Tsuya Skin youth generator is an add on, a fairy dust, if you may --- it means it's not a basic necessity to your skincare. Heck, if you're oily-skinned, my derma says to just skip the moisturizer. I know most women has very little skin problems, some of the women I know and interact with on a daily basis are blessed to have done nothing special on their skin and yet glow like crazy.  You don't need to get it if you glow already but if you think you've been having dry, dull skin, this just might be able to salvage that. Remember to do a little testing first before indulging but as I've known shu uemura for a while, and nothing among their line is allergy-inducing at all.

 That's my skin after two weeks of religious usage.

Good luck!

Tsuya Girls. L-R Sophie, Angela, Martha, Phoebe, Earth, Rowena, (seated) Jheng, Myself and Shen

Here's an awkward, oily me for my outfit of the night:

Dress: Forever 21
Bag: H&M
Accessories: Apostrophe
Shoes: SM Parisian Shoes

Have you experienced Tsuya skin? What's ideal skin for you?
Share with me on the comments section!



A Day in the Life of Tara Cabullo

>> Monday, September 24, 2012

Sometime during the weeks of butt-numbing, head-crunching work that I had been consistently missing blogging, I asked a dear friend on what could be the next best topic to blog about and she nonchalantly answered: How about you blog about what happens with your day?

I wasn't sure what I reacted initially --- after all, my day could be more boring for some, and a little too crazy and gasp-inducing on other days for some {why, you just have to ask me in person}. I wasn't sure I could blog about the very busy days (ones that include running in heels), I wasn't sure I could take photos.  Plus, most of the things I do either can't be blogged about.

Days-in-the-life posts somehow puts things into perspective, is what I realized while taking photos and writing this post. It makes you very well think if you're truly satisfied with what you do and what you have and who you encounter every day. It makes you feel grateful. It forces you to stop comparing yourself with the lives you see splattered all over the internet and at the end of the day, makes you realize that you are where you are supposed to be.

 I wake up at roughly between 5:30 AM and 6:00 and this is the first sight I see: the books I read the night prior on my bed side table. Dan Roam's Back of the Napkin, Nina Garcia's Look Book and Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat

It is of note, I guess, that I also read again upon waking up, after breakfast and after doing my makeup.

Om, shanti. Before breakfast, I devote half an hour to 1 hour for yoga and my race to 1,000 crunches {I only get up to 100}. 

I usually have buttered toast, yogurt or a huge plate of rice :D After which, I do my ACV thing for good digestion.

Everyday, I have to choose from my humongous basket of toiletries. I believe I was in the shortlisting process when I snapped a photo here.
L-R: Kerastase Fibre Architecte Shampoo, Kerastase Chroma Captive Shampoo, Dove Intense Repair Conditioner, Nanny Rose Gugo and Lawat Shampoo and Zen Zest Talc Body Scrub

My clothes for the day hang beside my mirror --- they have been prepared the night before.

 After prancing around after I've dressed up, looking at my clothes from all angles, I sit down to do my makeup. While doing so, I bop my head to One Direction.
 L-R: Charm Retractable Flat Top Brush, L'oreal Colour Riche in Golden Vanilla, Benefit Brow Zings, Benefit Sugarlicious, an eyebrow shaver and my iPod.

Here's the complete look --- I was going for a very nude, very understated look. 

 Inspired by all the sugar I am not eating, I spritzed on Vanilla Ice Cream cologne from Zen Zest's Sparkling Sugar collection.

 It's a short drive to the office, here I was passing by Rockwell Bridge.

 Heh. My messy desktop.

 Aftermath of a quick morning discussion, a rambling of things to do for the week, an oily nose and even more meetings.

 Reading and tea break with this apricot tea. Super yummy!

 Lunch (out) can either make you feel you were out under the sun all day or smell like what your seatmate had for lunch so be sure to freshen up with these!
L-R: Pevonia Mist, Green Cross Isopropyl alcohol, The Body Shop Fire Lily and Amber Fragrance Oil and Snoe's Sweet Hair Glaze in Melon Yogurt

 That day, I was lucky to be witness to an amazing woman speak about drawing lines, the difference of being evil and good and the social good.

Here's an excerpt of the article I wrote about her speech:

Ressa approached the podium in her thin, unassuming frame, her demeanor, pleasant. If unfamiliar, one cannot tell this is the same woman who authored Seeds of Terror, a blow by blow account of the hideouts of Al Qaeda in Asia. She smiled as she made references to the Spanish novel hero, Don Quixote {the character penned by Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes} and how that fact betrays her age. From the front of the podium, it was impossible to tell the woman’s extensive experience in investigative journalism, her staunch reputation on journalism, the many millions and dollars she has refused in exchange of her integrity and much too many credentials that earned her numerous prestigious awards, one from Esquire in 2010, as the sexiest woman alive for her fearlessness.

Before resuming with mind numbing tasks, I paid bills online, too!

 Where I exercise my skills, I write a lot of letters.

 Beginnings and endings are orders of the day, too.

 And choosing shoes.

 The day ended with a lovely practice but of course I wasn't able to take a photo of that so here is my yoga outfit instead:

Coverup: SM Ladies' Wear 
Yoga top: Zobha
Yoga pants: Victoria's Secret VSX
Flip flops: Roxy

And that my friends, is how my day goes. Not the most exciting of my days but nevertheless fun and affirmative of my reason and higher purpose in life. I wish I could share everything that happened that day, though but maybe in the future! xx




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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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