There’s always room for improvement. It’s the biggest room in the house.

I came across the above quote many years ago and never forgot it. It’s very apt for my attitude towards this blog. Some people have asked me if I still write here, to which I shamefully say no. In fact I was close to giving it up altogether, until yesterday when emailed me my annual blogging report of 2012. Even if I didn’t write a single entry (yes, not a single one!), I managed to get 6,600 views! To those who dropped by, thank you so much. Maybe 2013 will inspire me to write again and be excited to blog about beauty!



Have a sparkling 2011!

Happy New Year!!! One of my resolutions this year is to update this blog regularly. Gulp. Let’s give this a try.

In my attempt to save on a mani pedi today (actually my favorite home service I DO NAILS was closed today), I painted my own nails with two shades from Orly’s ‘Tis The Season collection. I painted the base with Candy Cane (a deliciously apple red shade), then topped the tips with slivers of Glitz and Glamour (a deep gold shimmer).

Because I’ve been so spoiled with I DO NAILS’ great service, I haven’t painted my own nails in months. So when I did my own nails this evening, gasp, my nails look like they were painted by a two-year old monkey. They looked so bad that I didn’t bother taking a photo to post here (plus, I left my camera with my nieces over the weekend). Anyway, I liked the color combination, so I’ll repeat this in the morning when I have better lighting conditions, less New Year alcohol in my system, and well, I DO NAILS will finally be open.

Happy New Year, everybody! Have a sparkling year ahead!

Orly Tis The Season (P349.75 per bottle) is available at Marionnaud, First Aid Greenbelt, PCX (Rockwell, Ermita, Alabang Town Center), Watsons (Greenbelt 5, Ayala Cebu), Beauty by SM (Makati, Megamall, Fairview), Landmark-Trinoma, Caswell-Massey and Robinsons Department Store Ermita

Touch up with TATCHA

Tatcha way u-huh-u-huh I like it!

A few weeks ago I went on a four-day surf trip that left me with a glorious tan. The upside: I don’t have to wear concealer under my eyes (my dark skin has caught up with my dark under eyes), and all I need is a swipe of blush and a bit of lip gloss to look polished. The downside: my skin has gotten oily, leaving me with a film of grease (not the John Travolta kind) on my face.

I’ve been keeping a pack of TATCHA Aburatorigami on my dresser for the past weeks, and finally remembered to use it two days ago. What’s a TATCHA,  you ask? The Aburatogami is a Japanese oil-blotting paper which was discovered hundreds of years ago by Japanese artisans who would hammer gold into ultra thin pieces. A special handmade paper was wrapped to protect the gold, and in the process this paper was made very fine, thus producing the very first form of Aburatogami. By some serendipitous process, the Japanese discovered that this paper was very oil-absorbent, and soon after that, Kabuki actors started using it to touch up their cakey stage makeup without fear of smearing off. Pretty soon Geishas got wind of it, and this became their beauty secret to keeping their skin fine and oil-free.

Many kinds of oil-blotting brands have surfaced, one of which is the TATCHA Aburatogami (P595, Beauty Bar) A package contains 30 pieces of natural, fragrance- and oil-free sheets. Each sheet has a few gold flecks—proof of its gold leaf workshop origins.

My skin is far from that of a Geisha’s, but blotting my oily, sweat-laden face with this 95-mm square leaflet is enough to get me looking naturally fresh and dewy. Now my pack of Tatcha is no longer on my dresser; I take it with me wherever I go.

Get out of that beauty funk

Try on a new lipstick shade helps you get out of a beauty funk.

You know how you have bouts of beauty-related neglect? Like when you don’t feel like plucking your brows for three days, then you think “I could do without it for a couple more.” Then another seven days pass by and you look at yourself in the mirror and find a cro magnon staring back at you. How about when keep your nail polish on even when the one nail has started to chip. “I spent a fortune on my manicure, might as well keep this on for a few more days,” you tell yourself. One and a half weeks later your poor nails look you’ve scraped them against concrete. It’s called neglect.

I realized how much I’ve been ignoring this blog when one of my star students in barre3 class sweetly reprimanded “you haven’t been updating your blog!” Gulp. It hit me. I had been putting off blogging for over a month because of this and that (working on the current issue of Runner’s World Philippines, doing makeovers for Sisters On Style—a project my sisters and I are working on [more on this in the future!], writing for Women’s Health, teaching barre3, doing makeup for weddings and magazines, running, climbing, and so much more.

I wear many hats/play different roles, but being a beauty coach is one of my favorite duties because I help women (and men, too) learn how to feel better about themselves. Another reason I love my job: Sharing beauty secrets. One of my secrets in getting out of a rut: trying on a new lipstick shade. It changes my look instantly and perks me up instantly.

Tell me, what’s your secret to getting out of a beauty rut?

Sex and the City 2 at our fingertips!

Sex and the City fans are revved up for the sequel of this fabulous chick flick, and to celebrate the movie’s arrival, I’m getting my hands on Dashing Diva’s Manhattan Collection, an array of nail polish shades that scream New York.

Got myself Carrie-d AwayRight now I’m wearing Carrie-d Away (P325), a natural shade with just a whisper of color. It’s the perfect polish to make my fingers look longer and more graceful, which is the effect I want to get when I do my ballet stretches in the barre3 classes I teach. My normally stubby-looking digits (thanks to climbing) look as refined as a ballerina’s in this fresh shade.

Polish up your act with the Manhattan Collection from Dashing Diva

You’ll love the other shades, like Charlotte’s Wedding (a sweet cream color with shimmer), DD MC Miranda’s Law (a red orange color reminiscent of the fiery lawyer’s locks), Limo Service (fashionable jet black) and so much more.

The Manhattan Collection is available at Dashing Diva in Beauty Bar. For more information visit

My top two Zit Zappers

Back in college I plunged into the Metro Club swimming pool at 5:30AM three times a week, where I trained with my triathlon training buddies and sisters. The water in the club pool contained so much chlorine that made my skin break out. My complexion got so bad that I had to make weekly trips to the dermatologist (without any success, unfortunately) to get pricked and scarred and sucked. I left the doctor’s office each time looking swollen and red like a longganisa.

Even when I stopped swimming, my skin NEVER cleared. The pimples weren’t as massive as when I was in college, but I had numerous bumps that took over my face. Then of course there were the zits that turned up very often like unwelcome dinner guests. I was constantly hiding under full-coverage foundation, and my high school friends can even attest to my New Year’s resolution of “finally having clear skin.”

When I took on the job as beauty and fitness editor at Marie Claire Philippines in 2005, I got exposed to different kinds of skincare and haircare products which I tested like a lab rat. These trials let me abandon my original facial soap, shampoo, and conditioner, which I later realized were the culprits of my bad skin! Finally, a moment of clarity dawned on my face. Whew!

These days my skin is smoother, with an occasional zit arising from PMS or a beauty product that doesn’t agree with me. And when that happens, I turn to two of my favorite pimple exterminators:

Junkisui Refreshing Spots Serum (P1,150), is a clear liquid that uses a tip applicator to put on this quick-acting product. Because it’s invisible, I use it on troubled spots in the day time. Because it’s so small, I can carry it with me to reapply on pimples that want to take over the planet. Hours later, the horrendous zits shrink dramatically.

My other favorite is Clarins Stop Imperfections Tinted Blemish Control Cream (P1,150). It’s a lightly-tinted cream which is aims to camouflage your spot while killing the bacteria that causes the pimple. Since I’ve gotten two shades darker this summer, this cream is too light for my skin, so I use it at night before hitting the sack, and the next morning, my once troubled area is hardly noticeable! Talk about overnight sensation!

I’m curious. What’s your tried and tested pimple treatment?

Junkisui Refreshing Spots Serum (photo courtesy of Kosé) and Clarins Stop Imperfections Tinted Blemish Control Cream (photo courtesy of Clarins) are available at Rustan’s.

Chocolate without the guilt? Bring it on!

A chocoholic's delight!

I’ve been treating myself to a lot of chocolate lately—Reese’s, Ferrero Rocher, Kit Kat, and my recent and only guiltless discovery—Montagne Jeunesse Chocolate Mud Masque.Because I’ve been working and working out under the sun the past couple of weeks, my skin is in dire need of moisture. So I ripped open this spa-in-a-sachet and slathered the chocolate goodness on my face layer by layer by layer (I must have put about five). Now I know what it feels like to be a pastry chef.

I puttered about my apartment waiting for the properties of the mask to sink in (deep cleansers to draw out the skin’s sins, shea and cocoa butter to moisturize, and the yummy smell of chocolate to make you want to actually eat chocolate. ), after which I rinsed off the brown mask with warm water. The upside: My skin looked lighter by half a shade (no kidding! Was my skin THAT dirty?), and it felt softer. The downside: the mask looked and felt like chocolate that I ended up popping a Ferrero Rocher into my mouth as soon as I patted my face dry.

Do you want to experience this calorie-free chocolate treat? Tell me in three sentences why you want to try the Montagne Jeunesse Chocolate Mud Masque. If your answer is sweet enough, I’ll give you an entire box of this yummy delight!

Montagne Jeunesse Chocolate Mud Masque, P78/pack is available at leading drugstores and department stores.

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