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!