Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lovin' My Elf Studio Two-Way Cake Foundation

I'm currently loving my new two-way cake foundation from ELF Studio Line in rose beige. I was about to get the Studio Line pressed powder in porcelain but I changed my mind last minute.

ELF two-way cake foundation has better coverage (medium to full) than the pressed powder -- the latter has a very light coverage. I am an NC30 and rose beige is my exact shade (or perhaps it's a tad darker but since I got tanned last week from an out of town shoot,  rose beige just matches perfectly). The saleslady was trying to convince me to get the pressed powder in Sand, but I thought it was too pink for me.

What I like:

  • The shade (rose beige) disappears on my jawline after swiping, a good indication that it matches my skintone perfectly. No gray cast nor too yellow undertone even in photos.
  • The coverage is great and the staying power is a winner. I have combination skin (oily T-zone) and one thing I noticed is that when I apply it in the morning, I don't have to retouch it until after lunch when I am just inside the office. If I am outdoors, I need to reapply after around 3 hours.
  • The finish is like MAC studio fix, although I like this more as it does not settle in between the lines on my undereye. Remember to blend it well with a sponge. Otherwise, if applied incorrectly, you might find it a bit "cakey".
  • Affordable at Php 249.75

What I don't like:

  • The case looks like it's made of cheapo plastic. It can break easily!
  • It is not refillable
  • The sponge that comes with it needs improvement. 

Overall, I am lovin' this foundation! I just hope they'll change the packaging soon!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

EOTD: The Body Shop Smokey Copper Palette

Last week, I had dinner with my friends whom I haven't seen in a long, long time. And just before we bid each other goodbye again, one of my dearest friends, and my best boss ever, gave me this palette as a post-holiday gift -- The Body Shop 4-Step Smokey Eyes Palette in Smokey Copper.

The kit contains an eyeshadow quad palette, a flat eyeshadow brush and a slanted liner brush. It also has easy-to-follow instructions at the back of the box, giving you the basics of applying eyeshadow, smokey-style.

The Body Shop Smokey Copper palette has four colors in metallic browns/bronze. It is a handy quad that you can conveniently bring in your vanity case everyday for that "emergency" glam-up moments. Since it has a metallic finish (instead of shimmery), the micro-glitters give dimension to your eyes without having that sparkling "Christmas-y" look. This quad is also good for foiling, especially when used wet.

You can use the lightest color (no. 1) as a highlighter. Apply it first with the flat eyeshadow brush from your lash line, blending towards your brow bone. Make sure though that your eyebrows are well-groomed. You don't want your messy brows highlighted, do you?

Color no. 2 is a nice metallic beige that you can use as your base. Apply it using an eyeshadow brush on your entire lids.

To add drama, use a contour brush to apply color no. 3 (medium brown) on the outer V corner of your eyes. Start from the corner going inwards. Use a blending brush to diffuse color.

You can use color no. 4 (dark brown) either as a liner (draw it closest to your lash lines with the slanted liner brush that comes with the kit), or as deeper color on your outer V. Should you wish to use it on your outer V, get a small contour brush and damp it with water. Dab it gently at color no. 4 and apply from the corner going inwards. Stop just halfway where color no. 3 ends. Don't overlap them. This actually gives a nice gradation of color to your lids. Use a blending brush to diffuse lines.

For your reference, here are the swatches of The Body Shop Smokey Copper Palette on my arm. I am NC30 in MAC, but my arm appears lighter than my facial complexion.

Make sure your brows are groomed. I have sparse brows so eyebrow pencil is a must-have for me. I use Etude House Easy Brow Pencil in #1.

Day eye-makeup using The Body Shop's Smokey Copper Palette
Amplify the look with a jet black gel liner. It defines your eyes more, adding more drama to your look. My favorite is MAC's Fluidline in Blacktrack (thanks to my friend, Karen, for sending this all the way from Canada!)

This gel liner is my go-to eyeliner. It is just amazing how it makes my eyes look fabulous with just a simple line! I used to have Fanny Serrano's gel liner but it turned out that this one is better. FS' dries up and hardens quickly in the pot, while this one doesn't. Plus, FS smudges big time! MAC Fluidline on the other hand can last for more than 10 hours on me! I put it in the morning and there's no need to retouch until I go home.

For this look, I used an Artist Studio fine liner brush which I got from Landmark at Php 39.75.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Le Spa at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila

Due to our cancelled Calaguas trip, I had decided to have a "me" time at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. Last week, I had just won a gift  certificate for a one-hour signature massage at Le Spa (yes, call me lucky!) and I thought this is the perfect time to use it.

I arrived at Le Spa thirty minutes before my appointment. Warm interiors with a modern feel welcomed me into the spacious lounge. I was then asked if I want to use the wet area, and of course, who am I to say no! The lady at the reception led me to the wet area, gave me a robe and taught me how to encode my pin number onto the high-tech locker.

Tip: Go to Le Spa an hour before your schedule if you want to make the most out of your stay at the wet area. This way, you can indulge in soothing Jacuzzi, or pampering steam/sauna.

I quickly changed into my robe, had a shower and drank a glass of cold water. Afterwards, I went straight to the steam bath.

Take your pick: steam or sauna?

I was the only one inside the steam room so I indulged in the relaxing warm room for about 10 minutes. I sniffed the warm steam, as if I am doing some kind of breathing exercises during a Bikram class. For me, this is the best steam bath I've ever had. Just the right steam. Not suffocating. The doors were easy to open. Just push it outwards! I remember there was a time whenI was in another spa and the steam was too intense that I couldn't breathe anymore. And worst, when I was trying to open the door, it wouldn't open! Only to find out that it's a sliding door that needs a forceful sideward pull to open! Good thing I didn't pass out!


After that soothing steam bath, I took a plunge into the warm Jacuzzi. It was so relaxing! I indulged for another 10 minutes. The water was warm, not hot. The pressure is enough to softly knead your aching muscles. Best of all, it can comfortably fit a group of five to seven people, perfect if you're throwing a bridal shower, or a girl's day out.

Afterwards, I had my last stop at the sauna. I brought a glass of water inside as I knew it can be dizzying sometimes due to the dry, hot air inside. While I was lying down in this inviting sauna, I couldn't help but miss hot flow yoga. I wish I can get back to practice soon.


At 4:00 pm, I was already in the lounge, waiting for my therapist to lead me to my room. But before I continue my story, let me share with you some photos of one of Le Spa's breathtaking rooms, which I got the chance to see last week during the Spiral press launch.

The room at the second floor of Le Spa has its own bath tub and steam bath. If you are a couple and wants to spend some time together while watching the famed Manila sunset, then better book this treatment room at around 4:00  to 6:00 pm.

There's also a private veranda where you can chill out before or after your treatment. In their spa menu, there's what they call:

 “Duo” Couple’s Romantic Ritual
Indulge in a 3-hour use of a romantic couple’s suite with a choice of a 90-minute Marrakech Sweetness or Filipino Pride massage for two; includes a bottle sparkling wine, decadent pralines and a sensuous bath ritual.

Priced at Php 6,000 

Imagine watching the sunset while indulging in sparkling wine and pralines after your massage. Or, if you want to go the extra mile, then stay overnight with:

Jardin D’ Eden
A 3-hour World’s best or Local favorite Massage for couples and overnight accommodation at Sofitel with breakfast for two.

Price at Php 12,800

It would have been nice to share this romantic rejuvenating experience with your loved one. I want to do this on Valentine's Day or our next anniversary! =)

Enough for daydreaming and let's get back to reality. The therapist led me to my single room at the second floor. From its windows, I can see the large pool and the Manila Bay, of course. The minute we entered the room, she asked me what music do I prefer. Among the choices (classical, jazz, nature, ethnic), I chose nature, and I must say I love it. The music resembles the soothing waves of the sea and the refreshing air that envelopes the trees. It reminded me of my massage experience at the payag-payag in Bluewater Sumilon (click here), where I fell asleep to the natural sound of the breeze and waves.

Foot wash
The therapist gave me a foot wash, with some sea salt from the Dead Sea as sanitizer. This one alone was relaxing. The foot wash lasted for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, she started on my one-hour signature massage. When I asked what oil do they use, she said it's sweet almond oil. The scent was very mild for my liking, as I am used to lemongrass, green tea or virgin coconut oils.

Single room
The massage was fantastic with the right pressure especially on my back. She put a  hot towel afterwards which I really like. Again, I fell asleep. And after awhile, I woke up when I heard the sound of a bamboo rainmaker, which she said they usually use to mark the end of the massage. Cool!

The rainmaker that they use to mark the end of the treatment
When the massage was over, she offered me some organic mango tea which I also like! It's naturally sweet due to the natural flavors of mango, but I bet there's no sweetener added on it. Yum!

I went out of the  room relaxed and recharged. How I wish I can go back  soon. It was really one of my best spa experiences in the Philippines!

Friday, December 28, 2012

MAC Cremesheen in Creme Cup

Last year was all about bold, hot, pink lipsticks for me. Talk about NARS Schiap and MAC Pink Nouveau as my daily power lipstick. I just adore how it brightens my face even without any other makeup involved. But after awhile, I kinda got tired of my Barbie pink lippies so I looked for something pale. And so I learned about MAC Cremesheen in Creme Cup (Rustans, Php 1000).
It was my first time to try a MAC Cremesheen lipstick and I must say I am loving it. It is not matte nor glossy, just somewhere in between, thus, it isn't drying but still has good staying power. MAC's Pink Nouveau has a Satin finish and it has a nice amount of moisture when you apply it. But mid-day I noticed that it tends to clump on my lips, making it look cracked. That's not the case with MAC Creme Cup. It feels like a lip balm with a nice color payoff.
Nice pale pink color perfect for daily use, or to pair with bold or smokey eyeshadows
Good staying power. I reapply after 4 hours or after eating
Not drying
Nice smell
Can look too washed-out when worn alone. Ideally, it should be worn with a statement blush or bold/smokey eye makeup
Price can turn some off (not me, definitely!)
lip swatch under flourescent lighting

hand swatch
With my satisfaction with MAC Creme Cup, I am now eyeing MAC Shy Girl or Ravishing as my next lippie haul. Help me choose please! I am NC30. =)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Having A Ball

MGR in red ball dress by Renan Pacson
Awit ng Ibong Adarna necklace by Palamuti by PJ Valenciano
Makeup by Chuchie Ledesma for Creations by Lourd Ramos
Hair by Jay-Ar for Creations by Lourd Ramos

Last November 17, 2012, I had the privilege of being part of Manila's most anticipated charity ball of the year - the 11th Philippine Tatler Ball - held at the Rizal Ballroom of the Makati Shangri-la Hotel. Just like in the past years, the well-heeled society congregated to the opulent venue in their most alluring evening gowns and suits. 

The night before the ball, we already had our hair colored and trimmed at Creations by Lourd Ramos in Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City. I was so happy with my new hair color (base: mocha brown, low lights: dark ash brown). Trimming my locks also gave it more volume and subtle, sexy waves, which I actually love.

The night before the ball
On the day of the ball, I had to go back to Creations to have my hair and makeup done. I was actually planning to do my own hair and makeup but decided last minute to have it done professionally at a salon. Chuchie, the makeup artist did a neutral smokey eye look for me complemented by pale nude lips. She had also put some falsies (a first time for me) which really made my eyes look dramatic. I hope I can replicate it on my own! For my hair, Jay-ar rolled my locks into big velcro rollers for some big sexy curls. Nice!

Subtle smokey eyes and pale lips plus sexy curls!
My friend , Renan Pacson, made me a bustier dress with full bias skirt in metallicized silk tafetta, while PJ Valenciano had created a red and black Awit ng Ibong Adarna necklace and earrings to complement my gown. 

Awit ng Ibong Adarna by Palamuti

The design is inspired by a mythical bird from Philippine literature “Ibong Adarna” by Francisco Balagtas. It has simple swirling patterns perfect for the ball's Chinoiserie theme. The necklace can actually be worn to add flair to a plain white or black shirt. 

The night was full of gastronomic masterpieces, overflowing wine and champagne, entertainment, and of course, a charity auction for the benefit of Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation. 


Renan Pacson 
+63 917 498 3831

Palamuti by PJ Valenciano
+63 917 8607193
+63 2 9641997

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Mandarine Reflexology and Spa at The Bellevue Manila

On our first night at The Bellevue Manila, our itinerary includes a pampering one-hour massage at the Mandarine Reflexology and Spa. 

The spa is located at the third floor of the Tower Wing where the pool and the poolside bar are also located. We were welcomed by warm interiors in shades of red, yellow and black. 

While waiting for our room to be ready, we were served two cups of tea. The tea was not too hot nor cold, just enough to awaken our senses before a rejuvenating retreat.

After awhile, we were led to our room, a couple's room that is. It is spacious enough to fit two beds and a small bed for my toddler (where she stayed the whole time playing her Dad's cellphone). There was also a huge flat television, so my daughter indulged in Nickelodeon for the time being.

Clean robes, shorts and towels are provided, and the sheets and pillows are all sanitary.  The room smells like a fusion of green tea and peppermint, which I both love. I asked the therapist to dim the lights so that I can take a nap while I'm having a massage.

The one-hour massage started with a few kneading to prepare the muscles to a more relaxing experience later on. I commend the therapist for using just enough pressure (I like it hard on my back and medium on the rest). She also placed a warm herbal pillow on my back which is so relaxing! I swear after that I wanna look for that herbal pillow and buy it for myself. We were, however, not able to see the shower rooms and the jacuzzi at the Mandarine Spa. I guess that's not part of the treatment. It would've been nice to stay in the jacuzzi for a few minutes before indulging in a pampering massage.

After our rejuvenating massage at the Mandarine Spa, we checked out the poolside and we were so amazed by the kois swimming in a little pond there. They are so big and vibrant!

The poolside also offers a nice view of the city's skyscrapers. Its vibrant lights complete the mood.

The poolside bar offers drinks, cocktails and snacks while you indulge in the Olympic-sized pool, or your toddlers enjoy in the kiddie pool adjacent to it. Good music and a smoothie will definitely make your day at the poolside!

Overall, our spa experience was a blast. So, if you happen to be in the south, why not pass by the Mandarine Spa at The Bellevue Manila.

The Bellevue Manila

North Bridgeway, Northgate Cyberzone, Filinvest Corporate City, 
Alabang, Muntinlupa City

For more inquiries, please contact 7718181 or email

Special thanks to Mr. Ryan Chan and Ms. Jehn Domingo for this wonderful staycation

Our Birthday Staycation at The Bellevue Manila

The grandiose lobby connecting the main and tower wings

Every year, my husband and I would always have what we call a "birthday trip". Two years ago, we went to Puerto Princesa before the Underground River was declared as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Last year, we survived the paradisal Caramoan Peninsula. This year, we decided to postpone our birthday trip to El Nido until early November in time for the long weekend. But, when we were invited to stay at The Bellevue Manila, it just seems too good to say no. Lo and behold, we decided to have a birthday staycation in the city.

Artful wall accents in vibrant colours
The Bellevue Manila is located at the heart of Alabang in Filinvest Corporate City. Its name is derived from the French words "belle" that means beautfiul, and "vue" which means view. 

It is about  a 45-minute drive from Makati City, or even less if you're taking the Skyway. Or, you may also opt to commute by boarding any Alabang-bound bus from EDSA or Osmena Blvd. Alight across Starmall and walk through the terminal near Festival Mall where vans that go inside Filinvest Corporate City are located. Fare is Php 10. It will bring you right at the doorsteps of The Bellevue Manila.

The charming elevator lobby
The reception area of The Bellevue Manila is located at the Tower Wing (the other one being the Main Wing). The warm smiles of the staff will welcome you as they assist you on a smooth check-in. A charming staff in a beautiful long dress assisted us to the Tower Grand Deluxe - our room for the night.

We were so surprised when the lady showed us complimentary wine and cheese, and a delectable birthday cake waiting for  us in our room! How sweet of them! There was the award-winning Manny O Agapitos Branco and a plate of cheeses. They must have known that I can eat cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I particularly like the one wrapped in herbs.The white wine stays true to its description,  a nose of tropical fruits with a refreshing soft acidity. Nice choice for The Bellevue Manila, I must say.

A birthday treat from The Bellevue Manila

The 46-square meter Tower Grand Deluxe room is the biggest among the deluxe category. It is a corner room so it gives a panoramic view of the city. It also has a plush king-sized bed with pillows that are so soft they will lure you to sleep. I do not know how The Bellevue Manila knew that we will be coming in with Akisha, my 3-year old toddler, but a small bed was waiting for her when we got inside the room. Talk about personalized service! These people must have done their research on us very well. Thumbs up! 

The spacious room with a plush king-sized bed

We were also welcomed by a complimentary fruit basket and a note card from Mr. Ryan Chan, the Corporate Director for Communications and Marketing of The Bellevue Resorts. Sir, maraming salamat! Indeed, we had a pleasant and enjoyable stay at The Bellevue Manila. Two coupons for a complimentary welcome drink were also handed to us. The drinks can be claimed at the poolside bar and at the Vue Bar at the 22nd floor of the Tower Wing. The bar boasts a 360-degree view of the city and a state-of-the-art light and sound system.

Welcome fruit basket

The bathroom and bedroom is separated by a glass panel, a drama that I like actually. There is a tub for a relaxing warm bath, and a rain shower. Premium Acca Kappa bath amenities are also available. I particularly like the White Moss Glycerine soap which I use up to now for my face. 

The glass panel separates the bathroom from the rest 

A rainshower in the sleek bathroom

Acca Kappa bath amenities 
From one of our windows, a panoramic view of the city and The Bellevue Manila's Olympic-sized swimming pool can be seen, while on the other, a picturesque view of sunrise in the morning.

The Bellevue Manila is a perfect nook when you want to somehow be "away" from the metro without actually leaving the city. I actually thought the location is inaccessible, but after we went there in less than an hour via the Skyway, I was quite amazed at how near the place is, and how convenient it is to commute from Makati. Plus, the location isn't as busy as Makati or Ortigas, so you will really feel like you are not in the city at all. It is very family-friendly so no need to worry about tagging your kiddos along. I am sure, The Bellevue Manila is also a nice place to celebrate the upcoming long weekends and even Christmas! 

Take advantage of their ongoing October promo rate of Php 5,500 nett per night on a Tower Deluxe room, or Php 10,000 nett for two consecutive nights or two rooms both overnight. 

More of our birthday staycation soon! So, stay tuned!

The Bellevue Manila

North Bridgeway, Northgate Cyberzone, Filinvest Corporate City, 
Alabang, Muntinlupa City

For more inquiries, please contact 7718181 or email

Special thanks to Mr. Ryan Chan and Ms. Jehn Domingo for this wonderful staycation