How to: The Donya Bun

>> Tuesday, April 30, 2013

There will be days when you are tempted to shave your head because the weather is an unforgiving 38 C. Don't. Grab a donut bun and put your hair up.

{Tutorial was shot for}



What I know for sure and things I wish I can say out loud

>> Monday, April 29, 2013

Last night at worship service and at our small group's meeting, I was reminded of the things that a leader should be. The single topic that resonated with me was the topic of humility. 

It resonated to my battered, pieced and pierced heart because there are many things that are hard to do. Humility has to be way up there in the list of next-to-impossible. I can name a few reasons, reasons I only have in my head and I wish I can blurt out loud and tell respective people.

  • No one owes anyone anything. That said, I don't owe it to you to do what you didn't even ask me to do but I did nonetheless.
  • When people state facts, it merely does say the statement. That does not mean I am asking you to provide a snarky response.
  • I wish I didn't spend my time with you. What a waste of time.
  • I am not talking to you. Please stop butting into my conversations.
  • If you have so much opinion about my life, why don't you step in and do my responsibilities? Pay the bills, too.1
You see, if one had the access to my head, I would be bullet-ridden now. When things aren't exactly fine and dandy, one thinks s/he deserves whatever is the good side of the deal. I do that --- I am human, and as I know from the Bible, naturally bound to commit sin. That said, even then, I have no right nor reason to act like I would like to {be snarky, in this case}. 

But I think of the above and I remember that I have no right to stick to pride. I may be human but I had been forgiven, and is under the grace of God. I have no right to be proud.

Hella hard but I will try.

What do you know for sure?

1 I am, unfortunately, not nice as some most people make me up to be :)


Chronicles of Wax: Strip It Chocolate Sugaring

Back in 2011, I swore to myself that I would never ever DIY my wax ever again. It was that time that I was using some wax I never bothered to blog about it because of my painful experience. It was revived when I discovered honey wax and now, with Strip It's Chocolate Sugaring wax which doesn't need heat.

The pot of wax above was a gift from Strip It's Arlette Alvarado, after she found out I was the first customer who bought via Shopinas. I bought a tub of the original Strip It wax after I heard from friends that it didn't need microwave nuking.

With waxing *less chicken skin *hair grows 1-4 weeks *promotes skin lightening SAFE TO USE ON ANY PART OF THE BODY : face , legs, underarms, bikini line or even Brazilian waxing! Since its made up of natural ingredients, you don't have to worry about any allergic reactions. Plus its easy to rinse out because the wax is water soluble. Has 50% less pain compared to other waxes.
I'd been taking down notes on both the original and chocolate sugaring wax and here are my observations so far:

  1. I had only used it without heating and so far, so good. Applying it in small amounts is key. It may take the entire cloth strip {all of it} though to remove leg hair.
  2. Cold vs. Hot wax: Understandably, it takes longer time to remove hair versus when wax is heated. 
  3. Space. Navigating the world of sticky unheated wax requires physical space to stretch your arms when the wax won't break away.
  4. Patience. One needs a little more patience than necessary when DIY waxing. Aside from not being a pro {unless you are, of course}, it can take several errors to get things right, no matter how long you've been doing things. My patience {on myself} was heavily challenged as I tried waxing my legs one Monday morning. 
  5. Price. I remember that the big tub of wax was a little less than Php 500 and that it included reusable waxing strips and stick. I like that part.
  6. Packaging. Unlike my other waxing favorite, I am not a big fan of the packaging. 
  7. For some reason, the original sugaring wax seems to perform better than the chocolate one but hey, maybe that's just me.

Overall  recommendation:
If you have the patience of a padawan, this is perfect for you. It doesn't guarantee quick results but like any journey in life, I promise you will get there.

Strip It Wax is available via


The Harder Choice

>> Saturday, April 27, 2013

... It's harder to be kind than to be clever. Right on, Jeff.

Tomorrow, in a very real sense, your life — the life you author from scratch on your own — begins.
How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?
Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?
Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?” ~ Jeff Bezos


Suddenly a cat person

>> Friday, April 26, 2013

I've spent about half of Thursday's evening with my BDJ girls Can and Kate over cocktails --- and talking about cats.

I'm not sure when it was that it happened but it seems that overnight, I have turned into a cat lady. First of all, I am a semi recluse --- I cannot stand anyone yapping in my ear and I love the fact that I can always choose to spend my time in my own company when I want to.

That said, it came as a complete surprise that I found myself sipping coco lychee tinis and cooing over the idea of having a Persian cat {or more unrealistically, an exotic shorthair} to come home to every day. My future ninang for my cat, Candice, of course, was a huge contributor as to why. As I had learned:

  1. Cats are low-maintenance. Living in a building where there is no ample space and no household help, I'd love a snob little creature to live with me whom I just need to leave enough food, a scratching post, ventilation and toys and not wreak havoc in my house.
  2. Cats aren't as playful as pups. I lived most of my younger life with two dogs and I know for sure how physically active they get {especially Jack Russells and shih tszus}. 
  3. Cats are fiercely loyal. That explains the snobiness when older -- cats develop this sense when they are kittens so it may be tough to consider adoption {nothing against it, but unless it's a kitten, I'm afraid I can't}.
  4. Cats don't smell as they thought it would. One can always simulate a litterbox at home and throw it immediately. 
  5. Cats are by default, cute. I think when I do finally get that kitty, I would have even more reasons to come home early. Sigh. So cute.
From Emperorz

Sigh. So cute!


How to brighten up a day

>> Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Malayo pa lang, alam kong ikaw na yan," said my colleague R as we descended the steps of our office building. "May pinagdadaanan ka ba?" asked another.

"I really just want to use a new lipstick, that's all," I replied as I pursed my fire-engine red lips. It was a Monday, the start of a brand new workweek and I wanted something new. And something different. I had pondered over the meaning of life over the weekend and whether I should get a side shave but being the chicken that I am, I decided that I wasn't ready for such gasp-inducing change.

I turned my attention to just using a new lipstick, as I have been doing for the past few days. Lipsticks are a non-committal, inexpensive and cheer-me-up solution to a fine and dandy day. I am grateful for our friends over at L'oreal who sent over lovely new shades to try.

There were days when I'd think to myself, "Why am I not like the simple girls who look so pretty despite not putting anything to their faces?" and not put anything. The next day I would and I would realize how silly it was. I am not a simple girl and I would never be {no matter how hard I aspire to be one} so might as well embrace that fact. Lately, I've taken joy from having to eeny meeny miny moe over lipstick shades in the morning. Much to St. Luke's BGC's shock, I had chosen red on the day I popped in for my appointment.

Think Pink reminds me of my favorite MAC lippy, Pink Nouveau!
Fairy Touch, on the other hand, is very dainty.

When they said Intense, I didn't expect it to be intense like this. Lovely!

Sometimes, a lipstick is the only pop of color in an otherwise all black ensemble.
{Wearing Think Pink in the photo above}

What's your change something quick technique? I need more hence I shave the side of my head!


K Palette Real Lasting Eyepencil Review

>> Tuesday, April 23, 2013

“Your eye looks different,” says my friend J as one of the days that he saw me without an iota of makeup. It was during a tutorial shoot that I realized how truly, unabashedly different a face is with and sans makeup.

Eye liners are timelessly one of the few products that draw that unmistakable line between fresh and made up, an ally when it comes to rebelling against the sameness of the day. A line on the eyelid makes the eyes pop bigger – the one on the waterline is like a dark secret waiting to be kept forever.

I’ve taken to wearing eyeliners everyday now, more and more that days are unwittingly bland without them.  This is how I found an ally in the form of K Palette’s Real Lasting Eye Pencil.

To touch the segment of my life such as the eyeliner department is like fixing something that ain’t broke. For as long as I could remember, I knew how to apply eyeliners and had no problem with the elusive liquid eye pens and gel liners. The concept of soft lead hadn’t come to me until it arrived to my lap.

Hooray for English instructions!

Epically known for their makeup, as I’ve seen are the Japanese --- whose technology often breaks through even the most impossible. I recall hearing about some strange innovation the other day --- maybe I shall tell you about it when we meet.

As for this product at hand, let it be my pleasure to spread the word on how it has added to my {makeup} life immensely:

Somebody forgot to caption this photo :D

The Pros:

  • No tugging. Not only products that do tug contribute to a jagged line, the tugs are scary and they might add to the “wrinkling” process of the eyelids.  K Palette glides on ever so smoothly.
  • Waterproof. I tried to wash away the swatch I had on my hand {it was a work morning after all} and it took me a couple of minutes to fully remove it. It does come off easily with my favorite shu uemura cleansing oil though.
  • Does not smudge. I am not the type to apply eyeliner under the eyes but on the day I first tried this, I tried it on my lower lashlines and thankfully, I didn’t look like a raccoon by end of the day. It’s sweat-proof, too! Yay! 
  • I can create a wing tip. Love love! Though if you want a more defined wing tip, you can always go back to liquid and gel liners.
  • Pigmented. As opposed to the normal pencil liners, this one is thick at one swipe. If you’re looking to make a thin line, this is not the product to go to.
  • No worrying. if I leave the cap open since it’s soft lead. Plus it’s great for smudging and for creating smokey eyes.
  • Locally available. K Palette’s Real Lasting Eye Pencil in Deep Brown is available at all Beauty Bar branches for Php 795.

Thicken as desired.

The Cons:

  • I really can’t think of any.

K Palette Real Lasting Eye Pencil is available at all Beauty Bar branches in Deep Brown and Black.


This is why I wrote you, my love

>> Monday, April 22, 2013

My dearest,

One of the most amazing things one can experience is a change in perspective, a change of thoughts.  While everything else is pretty fine and dandy, the fine and dandyness of things can be rather cloying and all too familiar.

The days felt like they all led up to the same ends, my love. Every hour, every second has been spoken for and most of the moments were identical, if not twinkling in its sameness.  My dreams mirrored someone else’s and my downfall was nothing different.

I want to be different, my love.  I want to follow the road to discovery of what I truly want, not what the society wants, what my family wants, nor what you want.  The road we follow is often the one that is most paved and for once, the world calls me to step where none has lain his foot on yet.

I am not writing to you, I am writing to your letter. The black type of Cambria dots the pixels of the screen, against the blinding glare of my screen and of the windows to my north. I reread your letter, and like a misspoken line in a play, my stomach grumbles in disagreement.  Where your aftershave used to signal sunrise, it has now caused me to seek to find a new aberration than that of yours. You, in your cookie cutter ways were everything that screamed familiar.

There used to be a word for this but I forget now. I have to go.

John Galliano Parlez moi d'amour is available at all SM Beauty stores for Php 2,500 (30 mL).


What I Know For Sure: Success

>> Thursday, April 18, 2013

When I was 16, I had this idea in my head that at the age of 27, I could call myself a success if I:

a) am employed with a job I love {HA! How enterprising.}
b) am living on my own {I obviously had issues with rules}
c) am living without household help whatsoever
d) can do whatever at 10 PM and with no curfews {issues!}
e) can party/go clubbing/go out of town any time my heart pleases {oh my clueless 16 year old self!}
f) have enough money in the bank to live comfortably and without debt {You realize when you're older that money doesn't exactly equal happiness}

Funny how time changes things so much.Yes, at 27, I can say everything above is true for me. But I can't say that those are all that makes me happy.

Over the weekend, I've been reading a book I put off for a year. Recommended by older male peers, Timothy Ferriss' The Four Hour Workweek is something, at first glance, a book I might never choose to read. As the people who recommended it are non-Filipino friends who've spent a quarter of their lives globe-trotting, I couldn't see myself doing the same thing, especially now that I've sort of transformed into a junior Martha Stewart wannabe, always daydreaming of patterned rugs, china, tea parties and hosting mimosa brunches.

Success is defined by the number of uncomfortable conversations that you can have.

... says Tim Ferriss. By now, you can tell that what used to sit in my maybe-I'll-read-you-someday pile ended up finally being read. Congratulations 16 year old Tara for achieving the items above. But maybe it's truly time to step out of that comfort zone you've been hiding in for so long now. Maybe the time has come to build new measures of success. Maybe I will want new, exciting, uncomfortable conversations. We will know.


That and the lost art of etiquette is something I hope would make a comeback.



Feeling Good

>> Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nothing like a new, happy song and a pretty good day to put you in your best mood :D Sharing with you my 'recent' discovery, Mowgli's The Great Divide. I'm not sure why but the song makes me kilig :)

Photo via


Calling all VMV Fans!

Tomorrow's a special day for all VMV fans! Stock up on your favorites! :)

See ya!


Winking my way to Brazil

>> Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The road to a hair-less life is often met with fear --- after all, every single way is laden with pain, resources and time. As an advocate of being hair-free existence, a new waxing and laser studio, especially in the hood where I’m always in, is most welcome, if not, anticipated much.

By now, you should know that this is not the Brazil I'm talking about =P

Due to waxing jobs rarely being affordable to procure on a monthly basis, I only make appointments before beach trips, in this case, before I left for Siquijor.

With my experience being limited to two waxing salons, that being Lay Bare in Makati and Strip in both Greenbelt 5 and Serendra, I was both excited and nervous as I climbed up to the 3rd floor of C2 Building in BHS.

Are you ready for the nitty gritty? Here we go:

  • I am washed over with a sense of calm – I love Wink’s interiors and choice of songs to play.
  • I was a bit disconcerted that my waxing specialist did not leave the room at the time I had to remove my clothes in preparation for the waxing session. I am not sure if this is common, but it was pretty odd. Maybe I will ask her to leave next time.
  • Wink uses high-grade paper for every individual customer. Since I am not an environmentalist, I am not sure whether this is more eco-friendly than using towels that can be washed. Nevertheless, it wasn’t much of a bother, though it’s a bit weird lying in the salon bed without a towel cover.
  • The waxing specialist asked me if the temperature was acceptable --- always a nice touch.
  • The waxing specialist talked to me warmly --- a gesture I appreciate every time I go for waxing as it relaxes me and takes my mind off of the anticipated pain.
  • However, I did not anticipate the pain that came with Wink’s Brazilian Waxing service. As a longtime patron of Brazilian, I was surprised I have reached a new low for pain tolerance as I winced in pain in the middle of the session. HA! The session proved I was human after all.
  • Kudos for the price at Php 680 a pop. That takes waxing to a whole new level of affordability.
  • The length of each session ultimately depends per lady but what used to take 15 minutes for me, at least, was about 35 minutes. As I allot an hour to this task anyway, it didn’t bother me. The specialist admits to still training to be able to achieve the 15 minute mark, which was great.
  • Love the location! I can just walk to C2 Building and not have to cab it. Plus it’s not in the full view of restaurant goers so I can do my business in peace.

Overall, I recommend Wink to ladies who have a higher tolerance for pain when it comes to waxing, and those who don’t want to fork out so much for a Brazilian.  I continually recommend this as well to my friends who are keen on trying laser hair removal but are afraid of the price tag. It’s definitely less painful (as attested by my friends) and considerably less expensive than most laser studios.

For the full service menu, click here.


Chronicles of Beaches: Siquijor Island

>> Monday, April 15, 2013

As you can tell from the title of this post, I am about to write a post on one of the most underrated islands in the Philippines, the island most known to everyone as the land of mambabarangs, Siquijor.

To be honest, it all started as a random work day, my colleagues and I were waiting for lunch time and one colleague popped the suggestion of going to Palawan for Holy Week. “Mura lang forever Manila-Busuanga,” I quipped. As you would’ve guessed, the next few minutes were spent mock booking on Cebu Pacific’s website but every Palawan flight cost as much as a Hong Kong trip and we didn’t want to spend so much.

“How about Siquijor?” one of my friends asked. We all knew Siquijor had immaculate, pristine beaches but as Filipinos and therefore slaves to folklore and superstitions, we had a bit of reservation booking a flight to Dumaguete (plus a boat trip to Siquijor Island) for a few minutes.

And then came the “Why nots?”

The next thing we knew, there were six of us heading to the island of Siquijor on Holy Week, Good Friday notwithstanding.

As the days leading to the Siquijor trip came nearer, we were met by all sorts of “precautionary” warnings:

“Magdala kayo ng bawang.”
“Magsuot ka ng metals.”
“Wag na lang kaya?”
“Hindi man lang kayo natakot eh Biyernes Santo?”

My favorite travel companions :)

Maybe our cross cultural upbringing had something to do with it, or the fact that it’s already 2013 and it can’t be possible that people still believed in mambabarangs that led us to push through with the trip. As I always say, the scariest decisions are always the ones that give the best rewards. If we listened to other people’s fears, we never would’ve discovered how white the sand of Siquijor was. Or that it was seemingly the top destination for Europeans in the Philippines. I never would’ve learned to swim. Or we may not have seen a side of Visayas such as this.

Dumaguete's Casa de Coco Amigos served as our waiting lounge before boarding the Ocean Jet.

Props for artwork!

Upon arriving from Dumaguete to Siquijor, this is what welcomes you. I had to resist the urge to jump in.

Every day was a great day to be sleeping under the sun.

Pina coladas and sunrises.

Setting up to 'sleep' :D

Beach companions. Thanks for the beach tote, Pevonia!

With Matt, my swimming teacher :)

What is cerveza negrita?

Au revoir, Siquijor! I promise to spread the word about your beauty!
And to come back there when I've found the love of my life!

To get to Siquijor, you may fly Manila-Dumaguete via Cebu Pacific or Air Philexpress and ride Ocean Jet from Dumaguete Port to Siquijor. For anyone who’s interested, we stayed at Coco Grove Resort which is 10/10 for me!


Artdeco Spring Fling

>> Friday, April 12, 2013

A woman's mind is like sifting through 2,987 tabs all at the same time, said one Facebook post --- might've been an somee card, for all we know. I couldn't help but nod in agreement and click into understanding.

We're all a little guilty of that, I guess.

Anyway, sometime over the past few weeks, a welcome break came in the form of brunch with the ladies of Beauty Bar and Artdeco, a German brand known for, well, I personally love their concealers! The brunch was at Bizu at One Rockwell and I loved how it was in this secret chamber with its own wifi. In my busyness with the move, the homemaking attempts and the struggle to live a new life, I have forgotten the joys of just being prettified.

Artdeco's Ria does my makeup for the day using Artdeco's Spring collection, Butterfly Dreams
{and yes, I'm actually sporting blue eyeshadow!}

Doesn't Ria look like Sandara Park? She's so pretty!

"Butterfly Dreams" collection - light and delicate, just like a butterfly: this spring/summer look is extremely feminine and delicate, with beautiful pastel colors and lip products to die for! 

Speaking of the collection, above is the yummy palette of Artdeco's Spring Collection

Nail enamels to try. Watch out for reviews! :)

Have you seen the Artdeco Spring collection yet? What's your pick?


The only lotion you will ever need

>> Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's a bit disconcerting sometimes when in the morning, when you have to reach out to various bottles to fulfill your SPF needs. I specifically get iffy applying both body lotion and sunblock on myself because a) it takes so much time and b) minsan, ang lagkit lang talaga. 

As a lady trying to maximize my time {I have a lot of errands and chores to do, that's why time is gold!}, it appealed to me that Vaseline, a drugstore brand, came out with a lotion that's both moisturizing and sun-protecting.

As y'all know, I just recently learned how to properly swim so I'm literally flip flopping myself onto swimming pools every other day. Can I just say how much I love swimming now? I LOVE SWIMMING! That's why this promotion for Vaseline is just perfect because as my fellow BDJ Minister Nic says, I have the perfect tan {I don't have a photo so I don't know.} But I do know that I've cut my time slathering on two types of lotions with this now :D It's been a few weeks since I've tried this out and so far, so good!

If like me, you'd love to bask in the sun, too, try out the contest currently being run by Vaseline. See the mechanics below, it's really very easy:

Good luck!


Celeste and Jesse Forever

>> Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A heartbreak is sometimes disguised in the form of going back to friendship --- as I learned last night from watching what was supposedly a pampaantok movie, as I ended my eventful Tuesday no work day, Celeste and Jesse Forever.

A divorcing couple tries to maintain their friendship while they both pursue other people.

There's no such thing as a perfect breakup. There will be times when you think you're ready to part with someone, downgrade from lovers to friends, and slowly slink back to being lovers and realize that the only way to truly part as planned is to part ways. When you have both loved and broken each other's hearts, there's no (easy) way to transition back to friends. Or that slinking back to being friends is the most heartbreaking thing that can happen to you.

Ok, where did that come from?

Aside from the awesome edits, the soundtrack is a gem --- if you loved 500 Days of Summer, you'll love this one, too. I did, despite the eery familiarity of Rashida's character {not her situation}, I loved the film. 



First Impressions: Cure Aqua Gel

>> Thursday, April 4, 2013

Happy Thursday!

Today, I will be sharing with you some of my notes on a new product that has been hanging out in my bathroom for days now. After a couple of days detox-ing from products + a long beach trip which makes one lazy to put anything on at all save for sunblock, I got around to experimenting with a gift from Beautybox: Cure Aqua Gel:

The Cure Aqua Gel is supposed to help in exfoliating the topmost dead skin cells in the face --- I'd imagine it's a mini facial and peeling at home. After one washes her face and dries with a towel, apply the Cure gel and you'll see a bit of dead skin coming off.

First impressions

  • Smells like alcohol --- which is a good thing for me. I like the smell of alcohol. Not to panic, this is mostly water so no, using it is not drying out your face.
  • Yay for English translations!
  • Soft as baby's skin. Oh my gosh, what a revelation this is! I love using this every morning and night time because I feel like my skin is much smoother to touch!
Are you using this, too? Thoughts?



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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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