The Reluctant Stylista

Lists are pretty popular this time of the year since we’re starting on a clean slate.  I’m gonna be a cliche and make one of my own because I have an enormous backlog. Going into detail for each and every thing that was noteworthy is still taking me time, I figure they all deserve a short shout out at least, before they become old (or older) news.  So here goes.

New ways of shopping you ought to try

The new improved Multiply. I used to lurk around my favorite Multiply shops during my web designer days since I was always in front of the computer then.  Now they’ve really changed leaps and bounds and shopping is so much easier.  I hate going to malls anyway (except that now I have to since I get styling gigs regularly and you have to physically be in the stores for pullouts and such). is the Philippine’s first members-exclusive flash sales sites.  Flash sales are a win-win situation.  Lately they’ve started including beauty products, not just fashion.  I bought a total of three pairs of shoes from them, from their Melissa and Tonic sales.  I’m contemplating on getting Phaidon books, too.

Top 3 establishments you ought to visit

Fab salon. My favorite so far is the one in Valero beside Pancake House, but there’s also one in Newport Mall and another in Glorietta 5. Consult with hair genius Lourd Ramos, who gives helpful, personal suggestions and fabulous cuts and styling.  I also like their nail polish collection in the Valero branch and the staff is great.

Fab Salon Valero, Makati

Browhaus (Greenbelt 5).  I probably would never have visited this place if I didn’t have a gift certificate. I thought they might be ridiculously expensive.  Well they are, but now I can see why.  Thanks to ARC, I was able to try their Browgraphy and I loved it.  I’m definitely going back for their expert knowledge in eyebrow shaping.  I hope they’d have a friendlier and more helpful staff, though.  I was the only customer at that time, so maybe they weren’t used to someone interrupting their quiet schedule of doing nothing (I know I’d be miffed if it were me haha). Kira and I asked if we could take pictures, but they refused. That was free marketing they turned down, but what the heck.  Kira and I secretly took photos anyway, because I’m really iffy about eyebrow services and I wanted to blog about the experience no matter how it would turn out.  I like the person who did my brows, though I’ve forgotten her name now.  She shaved off more than what I was used to but it allowed for a more defined arch that I’ve been trying to follow ever since. (Photo by Kira Ramirez)

Browhaus with Kira

Art of Scent (Newport Mall). Aptly named, as they really take the search for your perfect scent seriously.  It’s the first concept fragrance store around here. And let me tell you, for a girl who doesn’t take to perfume especially, I was able to find a scent that I really liked just by the way they categorized things.  Picking a signature scent really does have something to do with your personality and it’s different for everyone. I also like that the attendants don’t push you to buy their latest or most expensive, or chase you with testers.  Instead, the store had trays that classified the scents as Woody, Floral, Fresh and Oriental so that you get a basic idea of what you might like based on their notes and other ingredients.  It really helps identifying what you like!  A great way to get acquainted with new perfume.

Shampoo of the Year

I thought it would be Watsons’ Pure Beauty line, and believe me, I was raving about that shampoo and conditioner.  Then I discovered TIGI Bedhead’s Epic Volume and I fell head over heels in love despite the price tag (P1800/bottle!) that I’ve sworn to replace my bottle once I finish it.  I was reluctant to try Epic Volume because on its own, my hair already has epic volume, but I do tend to overdose with conditioner when I try to tame it.  This shampoo and conditioner make my curls sleeker but it doesn’t kill the volume.  It makes my hair super soft and smell candy-sweet.  I find it comparable to Kerastase in terms of quality and price.  So if you have curly hair and want shiny, bouncy curls that are soft to touch, I highly recommend TIGI Bedhead’s Epic Volume.  I bring it with me whenever I have my hair washed at salons and I make them use this. In fact, it’s the only shampoo I keep in my bag in case I go home to my parents’ unexpectedly (which was much more often during the last two months due to the holidays and preparations for my brother’s wedding).

TIGI Bedhead
(Obviously taken before my half-head shave)

What you should bring to the beach apart from the obvious

Favorite items I brought with me to Novemboracay

Beach Hut Max 100 SPF.  It might not be that obvious to bring 100 SPF if you like tanning as much as the next non-Pinay!  7 days in Boracay can really burn your skin.  I hardly reapplied but I didn’t get scaly skin and sunburn this time with this in tow. So I suppose it has great moisturizing properties aside from its sun protection.

adidas ClimaCool. I discovered this by accident.  I had little clean laundry left while I was packing for Boracay, and I realized I had a lot of unopened stuff from adidas.  So I threw that in my luggage.  Thank goodness because ClimaCool wear is the most practical sort of clothes you can bring to the beach.  They simply don’t absorb moisture and they don’t stink the way regular fabrics do when dampened with salt water.  I reused my ClimaCool plenty of times I wasn’t in my bikini–saved me luggage space and I didn’t have to literally hang dirty laundry outside our room to let the sun dry them up before repacking them. They’re very easy to clean and quick to dry.

ClimaCool and suntan oil...must-have!

Urban Decay primer potion.  I hardly ever used this, but I found a handy use for them at the beach.  Since I don’t have smudge or waterproof eyebrow pencils, and I hate going anywhere without my eyebrows drawn in, (yes, even at the beach) I tried swiping them on before the eyebrow makeup.  They work.  I went underwater and they didn’t budge.  Just don’t go rubbing them off with skin contact.

Jenova/Triple Pinky. I swear by this lip and cheek tint.  Even after swimming, the tint doesn’t just go away.  It’s comparable to Smashbox’s O-glow, except it’s cheaper.  And if you’re like me and your skin tends to look gray and lifeless after sun and saltwater exposure, this is a invaluable.


Best lingerie

House of Vanita -- Contessa


House of Vanita. Not really new.  I was one of the blogger models for them back in 2010.  But they deserve a mention because since then, I haven’t found a bra that fits me better than the one I got from them.  It’s really a shame they don’t have other stores/outlets other than their showroom in Citibank Tower, Paseo (Makati).  I’d hoard their stocks if they did, even if they are a bit more expensive than the usual (then again, expensive for me just means anything more costly than cheapo but ever reliable and hip Bench).

Top moisturizers to try

Human Nature’s Royal Jelly and Aloe Vera Night Moisturizer. If you’ve read my review some time ago, you’ll know how much I raved about this product.  It’s cheap, effective, organic and local.  It does feel heavy at first application, but just wait for it to get absorbed.  It’s an all-time favorite as it makes my skin soft and supple when I wake up in the morning.

Mosbeau Placenta White All-in-One Facial Cream. I didn’t really expect anything from this at first, but it totally surprised me.  It’s light like a water-based moisturizer but moisturizes excellently and it’s multi-purpose.  I use it for day and night.  A makeup artist once commented how well-moisturized the sides of my nose were and that surprised me because that’s usually the driest part of my face apart from the sides of my lips.  This was the moisturizer I used just before that.  So far, it’s also the only moisturizer that has been managing this weird drying around my lips (I should really check with the dermatologist about this).

Mosebeau Placenta White All-in-One Facial Cream

Most underrated mascara

The Face Shop’s Freshian Volumizing Mascara (01 Curling).  I think I’m the only person or blogger who loves this mascara, as I never read anything about it elsewhere.  It was my first, and though I’ve tried others that are more expensive and raved about, I still come back to this.  It thickens and curls my lashes easily and it’s just as hassle-free to wash off.  A friend says this makes her raccoon-eyed at the end of the day.  Thankfully, I’m not given to raccoon eyes despite my oily lids–then again, I find that the smudged liner/mascara look suits me, so I don’t care either way.

The Face Shop Freshian Volumizing Mascara

Must-try local organic brands

Leyende. It was love at first sight with Leyende–they have the best packaging in the local beauty industry, in my opinion.  I love their minimalist look, excellent typography  and clever names for the products.  I’m also a fan of the cloth bag that’s made from recycled car seat covers that sometimes comes with your purchases.  Leyende has also recently launched their Real Benefits campaign.  Watch the video here.  Leyende truly is beauty with a heart!  I know among local organic brands they’re a bit more expensive in comparison–but they’re totally worth it.  And I must say, I LOVE the scents of their products.  I recommend: Face Canvas, and La Dolce Muscovado Natural Sugar Exfoliant.

Leyende Real Benefits

All Organics. I think this brand is not as popular as it should be.  I love their toner and my mom swears by the Rose Hip cream.

I buy most of my organic products from Sesou, including these two.  They have stalls in Glorietta, ATC and Trinoma, but I usually drop by the Glorietta branch on the ground floor across the exit/entrance to Landmark.


Best makeup discoveries

The Face Shop’s Phytogenic Infinite Makeup Base. I’m in a mild panic whenever I find myself without this. Again, I made an accidental discovery when I ran out of SPF at my parents’ home and found a small sample of this, quite forgetten in my makeup kit.  It had SPF 15 so I decided to smear it on.  I was surprised at how it made my skin look much better.  I thought maybe it was just my imagination or I was having a good skin day.  But after continuous usage, I’ve been stopped a total of 4 times (yes, I counted) during different conversations only to be asked why my skin was looking flawless.  Of course it’s not–but if this makeup base can give that illusion, how can I, in vain conscience, not keep it up?  I never even believed in makeup base before this as I used to consider it an unnecessary step for girls like me.

Phytogenic Infinite Makeup Base

Jane Iredale. Up until last year, I’ve always used liquid foundation.  It wasn’t until Prestige’s Wet/Dry foundation and then later, Jane Iredale that I’ve completely switched to powder foundation.  At least for the time being.  I like the combination of this light mineral foundation with the Phytogenic makeup base from The Face Shop.  It works for me so I’m sticking to it.  Plus, Jane Iredale is touted the makeup you can sleep in–it’s that light and fresh on your skin that it supposedly doesn’t do any harm to leave it on.

Jane Iredale starter kit


Favorite fashion stops

Oxygen. Hands down my favorite stop for local RTW. I hate to describe it as edgy, hip and cool, but that’s exactly what it is.  I shop both the women’s and men’s aisles–androgynous style at its best!  You can layer it in different ways, too.  Oxygen is my GAP.  I wear it every week, and sometimes, everyday.

Bosquejo Bazaar. I always seem to be wearing Bosquejo. My favorite is his hardware accessories collection, made from different sorts of knickknacks that you usually see everyday but would never have thought of using as materials for a necklace or bracelet.  Another is his Sacre collection, since I’m a sucker for old things.  If you want something different that stands out, definitely check El Bosquejo.

Bosquejo Bazaar

Freeway. They’ve been a favorite of mine since they started the National Artist series.  For me, this is the best take on the patriotic fashion trend that started a few years ago.  It’s not so in-your-face or literal like the Philippine map and flag prints because they feature classic Filipino art/literature.  My favorites being the Ang Kiukok and Ramon Valera collections.  Now they’re featuring Manansala.

Freeway Manansala


Fab flats

Yosi Samra. I used to believe that once you slip on those high heels, you ought to standy by them the whole day, no compromises. Still, if you just can’t, then it’s a good idea to always have a back up in your bag in the form of foldable flats.  I haven’t been using them as they ought to be (you know, as a back up) but as my actual footwear for the whole day.  In the case of Yosi Samra, the first time I slipped them on, they were so comfortable and lightweight, I ended up wearing them everyday for a whole week.  And I was walking across uneven pavements the whole time!  I was surprised that the stitches didn’t give up–they’re that durable.  And if they endured my feet and the way I walk, that’s really something.

Yosi Samra

Melissa. They may not be the most comfortable shoes if you go for their most stylish styles, but you’ve gotta admit they really stand out.  I’m totally in love with my Joy Maskrey pair–and they’re comfy enough if you know the right socks to use them with.

Joy Maskrey

Shoelogy.  I got my favorite zebra flats from them, and they’re the comfiest pair ever!  I don’t always feel the comfiest with flats, so I get really picky with them.  I’m sad they haven’t restocked this style because I wanted to buy another pair as mine is pretty worn out.  Plus, I really like their zebra print in Oh well.


Favorite fashion designers

Noel Crisostomo.  He’s one of the best designers around here, one of the few who’s got impeccable taste.  He’s got real class, he’s down-to-earth and really talented.  My favorites are his art deco-inspired designs.  I wore one of his creations to the First Philippine Fashion Ball.  He’s also is one of our go-to designers for KC Concepcion.

Noel Crisostomo for Philippine Fashion Ball

Eric delos Santos.  He can do classy and downright sexy.  But most of all, I love it when he does flowy.  He’s one of my favorite designers last year, though I haven’t been able to work with him as much as I wanted to.  I was able to do some pull-outs from him, though, and he’s always very friendly and warm.  I’ve yet to meet him in person, though, haha!  We normally just communicate through text.


Favorite style team

The dynamic duo, make-up artist Rae Venturanza and photographer Noel Salazar.  If you’re looking for a team to work with you on your pre-nup, pre-debut or your wedding, I highly recommend these two.  I’ve worked with them on several projects.  They’re also a couple, getting married this November 2012.

Photoshoot with Jenica
Photoshoot for Jenica’s pre-debut

Macky Angeles or Hair x Makattak. Last month, I had part of my hair shaved off, and I think it’s the best style decision I ever made.  I love my hair!  So if you’re up for a unique style or cut, give Macky a call.

Grimace loves my hair

Even Grimace seems to love it.

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