Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Pantry Staples to Overhaul Your Food

I thought before that my unlimited resources to exercise could be an excuse for me to unli-eat whatever. Like I can beast mode my workout and then eat platefuls of steak and cake after. Actually I found this working against me because I found myself being very sluggish the next day or so stuffed that I couldn't even peel myself off the couch or daybed. When I took the test to find out how much calories I should actually be consuming for maintenance for someone with high physical activity and physically demanding job, turns out I don't need much. In fact, for my body type, it was actually less than 2,500 calories. Also, it wasn't just the calories. It was also the type of food you put in your mouth. A bag of chips contains 160 calories. Blogilates' Healthy Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich has 260 calories. If you look at it, the bag of chips may be less in calories that the ice cream cookie sandwich but the chips contain a lot of sodium, chemicals, and stuff our body does not need as compared to the all-natural goodness from the bananas and oats. Which of you think would be a better snack alternative when you want something to munch on in the afternoon? I would think the cookie. When I really started incorporating better food and being really diligent with my meal preps (it does take time but the results are worth it and think of how much money you save on!) there is a total difference with my energy, my performance, and even how I recover to avoid injuries and prolong my fitness life more.

So with that, let's talk meal prep. I do my bi-weekly meal prep where I shop for veggies and ingredients and set aside an afternoon or a few hours before going to bed to cook. Since I'm so engrossed in the kitchen, there's less time to drown myself in social media drama (and gadget overdose migraine). It's like magic you're doing and you're making and getting really good food to last you for days. You can start with very easy, uncomplicated recipes that look good just as they taste good. If you get your groove, you can go and look for more advanced recipes. Just don't starve yourself or suffer eating bland food. If you look at my #bambikittycooks, you will never see yucky, dry, tasteless food. For me, it's just not worth it if you cry with every bite of your food or start hating life and the world halfway through this trend diet you tried out because this celebrity was on it and lost a lot of weight. Just eat a balanced diet. Results are better. You may see results a bit slower than extreme trend diets, but you won't hate life as much.

If you want to get into prepping, here are some basic staples in my shopping cart in the market or supermarket

Rolled Oats

I used to buy steel-cut and rolled oats but now I just stick to rolled since steel-cut is quite hard to find in the grocery. I get one big bag. Rolled oats are very versatile  not just in oatmeal or overnight oats. You can make granola, add them on to home-baked breads, bake cookies, or just grind them up and you have oat flour for pancakes, crepes, and all the refined flour-free recipes you would want to try. You can even blend them in smoothies for yummy brekkies on-the-go.

Low-Fat Milk and Nut Milk

My stomach can't tolerate full cream milk as it is. If I have it, I'd feel bloated and grumbly the entire day. However, I discovered low-fat milk to be friendlier to my tummy and I use this to make panna cotta, breads, or puddings. For overnight oats, smoothies, or on my little cup of hot chocolate or golden turmeric milk, I prefer almond milk or soymilk. I get my creamy fix without the bloating and bathroom trips feeling like I'm about to give birth to Godzilla.


Savory yogurt: used yogurt as dressing for my salad
Yogurt has the essential probiotics we need for a healthy gut. Yogurt isn't just for granola and parfaits. I use yogurt to make tzatziki or in salad dressings. They can also be an alternative to sour cream in your burrito or tacos.Regular plain yogurt is fine but if you can get Greek yogurt for protein, so much the better. For vegans, coconut yogurt is also a good alternative. You can find coconut yogurt at the Salcedo Saturday Market every morning.

Brown Rice/Quinoa

This is a healthier alternative to white rice. Quinoa is an excellent protein source (perfect for after workout). I like that this makes me full faster so that I don't consume as much to leave me feeling like I ate a hollow block. A cheaper alternative would be brown rice or black rice.


As much as possible, I like honey that's pure with no added sugars. Honey that's pure is golden in color instead of brown, kind of like liquid gold. I use honey to sweeten smoothies, overnight oats, make energy balls, or just take it as it is.


organic eggs. happy chickens make happy eggs
I prefer organic eggs from cage-free chickens. Have you seen commercial chicken coops? The chickens are enclosed in small cages with very little space to move and are just made to lay eggs. Such a stressful environment! When I found out that they throw baby chicks in the shredder when they do not meet the standards, I do not want to buy from commercial big farms anymore at the thought of these poor babies! I prefer happy chickens for happy, nutrient-loaded eggs raised in small farms. I buy my eggs from Down To Earth where native chickens enjoy the sunshine and their lives free from hormones and antibiotics.

Good-Quality Meats

I love Down To Earth because their livestock and poultry are raised humanely and are fed the food they should eat. Beef are grass-fed. I buy their ground beef for my ragu. I don't smell any distinct raw meat smell and I don't need a lot of salt to season my ground beef. I haven't tried their steaks but I bet I would love the steak from grass-fed cows. Aside from high-quality meats, I also buy omega-3 rich salmon and seafood.


Bananas are a staple in a fit person's diet. Notice some gyms always have bananas in stock? They're pretty convenient. No need for knives before eating. Freeze bananas and they make excellent smoothies or vegan "nice" cream. Are your bananas getting old already? Make banana bread!

VCO and Olive Oils

These are oils that I can't live without... literally! I use VCO to cook and bake (I get something neutral-tasting but somehow, the coconut-y summery taste enhances the flavor of certain dishes). Olive oils are what make my pastas, pita breads, foccacia breads,  and stews so awesome. I use regular olive oil for cooking and EVOO to make salads, spreads, raw sauces like pesto sauces, and my hummus. Contrary to some beliefs, I'm not afraid of fat. Just like everything, just not have too much of it.

Leafy Greens and Vegetables (lots of them!)

eat a rainbow - with lots of plant-based nutrients
Aside from salads, I sneak in leafy greens in smoothies (great way to use this when they're getting a bit mushy). I also stir-fry kale or spinach and make this a siding for my salmon and brown rice meal.  Always find ways to add veggies to your diet. They make life awesome, and your poop trips so much easier.


Lemon adds a tangy flavor to most dishes. Make fresh lemonade during the summer or have a warm cup of lemon water in the morning to jump start your metabolism. Lemon is one staple ingredient when I make hummus for that tangy, citrusy lift in flavor.


packaged nuts and dried fruit from Salcedo Market
For the house, I usually have pecans, walnuts, almonds, and cashews. You can add nuts to granola or cereal or you can make your own nut milks. Add some crunch to your salads with chopped cashews and kung pao chicken. Nuts can be used also to make energy balls, homemade nut butters, or if you want, homemade nut (vegan) cheeses.

Frozen Berries

When not in season, I get my strawberries frozen, which are excellent for smoothies, overnight oats, or puddings. Since blueberries are not available locally and the fresh ones can get really expensive, I buy frozen blueberries for my blueberry pancakes or smoothies.

Chia seeds

These fun little things are excellent plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. I use these as topping for my granola yogurt parfait, champorado, overnight oats, smoothies, smoothie bowls, and even make dessert with them. When they expand, they form a gelatinous coating just like sago.

White Vinegar

Aside from making a mean, flavorful adobo, I use white vinegar to make buttermilk for pancakes and waffles for happy, carby, cheat day treats. White vinegar has also awesome uses not just for cooking. Use this in washing strawberries to prevent them from being moldy and yucky or use white vinegar to remove soap scum, clean your fridge, clean your coffee maker and diffuser, make DIY natural house cleaners, and neutralize pet odors. It's practically an all-around kitchen-to-home solution!

Hopefully a little shift and changes here and there can get you happy and healthy eating. In a few weeks of putting good stuff, you would definitely notice a change in your energy and maybe you may feel better in getting yourself started for the day.

Image Sources:

Bananas and Grocery 

Down To Earth https://www.instagram.com/downtoearthph/

Store Directory:

Down To Earth
Makati Curb Holdings, No. 7433 Ground Floor, Unit J, Yakal St., San Antonio Village, Makati City; 
http://www.downtoearth.ph/; instagram.com/downtoearthph

Salcedo Saturday Market
Jaime Velasquez St., Tordesillas St., Salcedo Village
Saturdays 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Powerful and Proud

Have you ever found yourself in a situation when you were at the beach or at the pool minding your own business, reading a good book and enjoying a few minutes to yourself in that cute little bikini you've been dying to wear as soon as you bought it because you looked great when you tried it. All of a sudden, you see some perv staring at you in a creepy way obviously ogling at you and then from a happy summery afternoon, you feel super violated and feel you want to cover up for the rest of your life? Then you start blaming yourself and when you tell others about it, rather than get support, people would further on blame you saying "naka bikini ka naman kasi e" (Uhmm, you were at the pool. What are you supposed to be wearing? A ski outfit?)

Something similar happened to my friend a few days back, while she was out by the pool in one of her trips. She initially posted the creepy encounter in her Instagram stories but thought of making it a post that would not be removed after 24 hours. Here it is below:

Half naked, yet still not asking for it 💕💪🏾 __ Figured that this post should be up on my feed where it wont’t disappear. Coincidentally, March is also International Women’s Month. So if you missed my IG stories yesterday, let me fill you in. __ I was at the pool by myself at the hotel I’m staying at here in Jakarta, when this creep stepped out of his room. Walked up to the edge of the pool and unashamedly ogled at me. He was sitting there for I don’t know how long before I took notice. When he realized that my attention was on him, he transferred and hid behind the bushes, and continued to watch me, like a complete and utter perv. __ I could let this go. Like how all of us girls are told to do so. Making excuses for when men behave disgustingly at our expense. “He just looked at you, it was nothing. You should be flattered”, “People get catcalled all the time, it’s normal.”, “Some people have had it worse, you are overreacting.” and the most glorious one of them all “That’s just how men are. Accept it.” To all of this I indignantly say — HELL. NO. __ So, like a true millennial hehe I stuck a camera up his face and took his photos until he retreated his disgusting self back into his room. Sent his face over to the hotel manager. Reported, and now posting everywhere. Why am I so rilled up over this? Why haven’t I stopped talking about it? Because I am sick of it, and the only way that we can even begin put a stop to this is to be brave, call it out and speak. I refuse to stay a victim. For all the days of my life I will fight. I will shame. I will call out disgusting behavior. Not just for myself but for all the women who have to go through this on a daily basis. It is NEVER okay, and IT IS A BIG DEAL. __ Fully clothed or fully naked. If we’re not asking for it, WE’RE NOT ASKING FOR IT! Plain and simple. __ #InternationalWomensMonth
A post shared by Kayleen Ortiz (@kayleenortiz) on

I give one million applauses to Kayleen for taking action against the creep by reporting him to the hotel manager as well as to speak up about it where she can be heard. Instead of cowering in shame and fear, here she is speaking out loud, calling out disgusting behavior for all women out there in a bikini, not asking for it but being the strong woman that she is and looking awesome while at it. This girl is physically strong because she can do 100 pushups, look graceful in lifting herself as well as a fully-grown adult, and teach a number of pole classes and still not die. By speaking up and not taking any crap, she is also strong deep inside, and encourages strength in and out of the gym situation. She handled it with so much class too!

This shaming and victim-blaming isn't just the amount fabric cover our skin. It can be our life choices, the sport we choose, the way we wear our hair, the amount of makeup we have on our face, even the food we eat! Heck even speaking our mind gets us in trouble! I've heard these lines so many times spoken by gosh, so many people to so many girls in a whole lot of variables.

"Makibagay ka dahil babae ka."
"Di ka ba pinapagalitan sa pagpopole dancing mo?"
"I like your top kaso I'm too fat/my boyfriend won't let me wear that"
"Straighten your hair, you look like a cheap girl"
"I want to color my hair blue but my boyfriend won't let me."
"Why can't you dress like *insert It Girl's name here*? She dresses like a proper lady."

If 2004 me would cower in polos and jeans and spend thousands on rebonding and be that cookie-cutter kind of girl to please others,  covering up and feeling ashamed whenever I'm sunning out in a two-piece, I don't think my inner and true self would be happy. I am not It Girl in crisp white t-shirts, dark shoulder length hair in a ponytail, and ballet flats or black pumps. That would be trying to be someone you are not. We see what that could lead to, right? This 2018 self would say f*ck it, do what makes you happy (as long as you are not committing a crime. hihi).

Also a bikini not because I am asking for it, because I am having a wonderful time in the beach.
And I do not want bad tan lines and I am not afraid of the sun. 
If we just shut up, cover up, grin and bear it and accept the shame the disgusting practice will not stop. More boys will catcall and ogle because of the "boys will be boys mentality". Women will get abused by horrible partners because of the "babae ka. asawa ka. tiisin mo kasi wala ka na makukuhang iba" mentality.

I echo that the we must be brave, and not think twice to call out and speak. We must not be a victim. No matter what we wear or not wear - if we are not asking for it, we are definitely not asking for it.

Want to dye your hair pink because you've always wanted to? Go!
Want to take pole dancing or heels class because you want a fun workout that does not feel like a workout? Go and sign up for a class, and no, it is not to entice anyone when you post a video. You post a video because you did the class!
Do a full brazilian wax because why not? Yes!
Wear your hot pants in this hot tropical country that it's summer? Many girls will do so to!
Speak up to that lady forcing you to get married because you are already in your 30's and your eggs are ageing? You are the boss of your own body! Go!

Miss Socialite is Miss Socialite. You are you. Not her. No need to copy her clothes or hairstyle if it's not your style. Even if you have the same features. You do not have the same taste or personality.

Feed your heart. Do what makes you comfortable and happy. Be brave. Be strong. Life is too short to be a shadow of who you once were or live in what-if's. Be powerful and for every step forward you do, be proud about it.

Powerful and Proud. Not only is it in the number of push-ups we do or how long can we survive a plank challenge, but how brave we are to stand up for ourselves and encourage every other woman to do the same.

We can do it. I'm with you.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Update On My No-Buy Ban

Hello and Happy New Year all! Here's to more good vibes, good healh, and happiness. Ironically, I'm nursing a mild viral cold now (There must be a bug going on), so with this occasion forcing myself to go into a yin state, I thought I'd check up on myself two months post declaring my No-Buy Makeup Challenge. I haven't done any impulse or panic buys or unecessary makeup shopping or hoarding for myself in two months and I am happy to tell you that I didn't go into chills, have my body split into two or foam at the mouth when I see a new collection on display. Nothing. I'm alive you guys and if you set yourself in this challenge as a 2018 New Year Resolution, I, along with many others in the challenge are living proof to tell you that yes, it's possible.

Still human two months after not buying any makeup!
Photo by Alfred Mendoza
So how was it during Christmas shopping when you see all the Holiday collections popping up? How was able to resist to buy? Well, sometimes, I noticed that I usually buy out of curiosity. So what I did, I satisfied my curiosity by swatching. When I swatch the product, I get to experience it if it's nice on me. Better yet, I also get to realize that I may have a similar (or an exact dupe) shade in my kit. Then I walk away. If ever that I still want to buy, I gave it usually as a gift. I did that once though and gave a lip kit for my friend as a gift. Buying makeup as a gift is still allowed as well as buying to replenish what you super ran out of. Actually, with most of my gifts, I settled for DIY and followed my own advice.

Remember what I said about having a support or a buddy to check on you? Well it really helped. Azaza added me in a Facebook group where girls all over the world participate in a panning challenge, where they would pan out products. These girls are based all over the world and I get to see their emptied out and panned out makeup and skincare products for the month and their list of already panned-out products from their kit.

cream makeup hitting pan

hit pan with the Cream in my lorac Pro palette.
Seeing a hint of pan in my base color

panned-out contours and blushes

When one girl is having shopping withdrawals, there was a batallion of encouragement and support to stay strong. I posted a couple of photos of my panned-out powder and blush products and I'm actually getting more likes there than a twisty, splitty yoga photo or an adorable photo of my cat.

brow products were the easiest to pan out
I also noticed my makeup habits - that lately, I go by my brow products very fast. Maybe because #kilayislife. I've practically squeezed out my Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow colors and finished up a K-palette eyebrow pencil. I'm almost done with another eyebrow pen and this along with lash glue was my only repurchase for self. Maybe I ought to do more eye makeup just to pan out the shadow palettes and assign lip colors for everyday to pan out several other lippies.

Joining that group also got me more tips so that I can lessen my makeup spending.

1. Unsubscribe. Sometimes, email notifications of stores can be tempting. If you're the type who would want to rush and order the newest product when you see it pop in your mailing list, best to unsubscribe from several email notifications first until your stash significantly reduces. You can re-add yourself to the mailing list back when your goal has completed.

2. Have a theme per month. This will help in your project panning. For people who wear makeup everyday because of work or hey, because we just like to (nothing wrong with that), gather a few products and place it on a small (or smaller) makeup pouch you have on hand and have this on your dresser. Your objective is to pan them out for the month.

A post shared by bambi kitty 🐱🐯 (@bambikitty) on

3. Find other places to hang out aside from the mall. I try not to spend a lot of time in the malls during Holidays unless errands. I took up coloring so I don't stay bored during idle times, attended classes, focused on meal prepping (helps control Holiday bingeing too). If you find yourself bored at home, whip out your makeup kit and create a look.

4. Find ways to maximize your palette - I panned out Shadowplay from my Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour palette while the other shades were barely used. Azaza taught me how to maximize the palette on how other shades can be used to contour other areas (I used to always rely on Shadowplay entirely), create dimension in contour, or act as an eyeshadow. I swear, now I don't need to buy more matte browns! There was even a girl in the Project Panning group page that used old eyeshadow palettes as paints and created artwork! To each her own I guess.

Actually, blogging about this puts me back on track. Maybe I can wear just a tad more makeup on some days or when I have time, create quick looks I can do to maximize things even more. I can even do a theme lipstick for the week or month. Since ultraviolet is the color for 2018, I can gather purple makeup that I should use for the first two months or something.

Are you also in the panning or no-buy challenge for 2018? If you've done this last year, how's your progress going? Let me know too in the comments below.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Alternative Clutter-Free Christmas Cheer Ideas

Christmas time has come again and malls are getting really crowded and so are bazaars for some Christmas shopping. Most of the time, we find ourselves getting knick-knacks which end up unused even up to the end of next year. However, if you still want to give something, here are a few ideas to show that you care that will not end up catching dust or regifted like the fruitcake from last Christmas.

Homemade Food

I used to make these cookies and give them as gifts
If you're a whiz in the kitchen, use your kitchen skills to whip up something yummy. It doesn't have to be limited to just breads, cookies, and cakes. You can make granola and put them in tiny mason jars and give as gifts. Pasta sauces, hummus, dips, homemade butters and pates also make great gifts. I've just joined pinterest and there are so many food gift ideas. The nice thing about food gifts is that they can be shared, spreading the love and joy to more people.


If you're a makeup artist, you can offer your makeup service for your balikbayan tita spending the Holidays here in the Philippines when she attends her high school or college reunion. Not only will she look so gorgeous, but she will have a gift that won't take extra space in her luggage when she comes home. Pro photographers can also give their nieces and nephews a photo session or give their super close friend or relative's baby a newborn photoshoot (it's the perfect gift for the family too). You can offer also to teach your younger cousin a new skill or craft or how to master a dish. There are so many (non-material) ways to show you care.

Watch a show

Instead of toys which are only good for a few months before catching dust at the back of the toy closet, treat the kids to something new like watching shows based on their favorite cartoons and fairy tales. Ballet Manila would be having their world premiere of Snow White this weekend and will have shows running on November 25, November 26, December 2, and December 3 all at 6 pm. This will also feature familiar tunes with that feel-good reminiscing feeling adults and children will all like. You can check our their suprise performance at Glorietta in the video below for a preview.

Host/Organize a Meal

My fresh pasta will be part of an annual dinner with friends
I did say that this will take my entire morning and day so I had someone make the sauce
Sometimes, a quiet meal with a few close friends is what we need instead of a Christmas party with loud music and different versions of Despacito playing in the background where you could hardly hear each other. Gather a few of your friends and just have a quiet, intimate dinner where each of you bring a dish (you can even have a theme say Japanese, vegan/vegetarian, Asian, etc) instead of fighting for a seat at a mall restaurant. Come in comfy clothes, enjoy great food, fun stories, and have a merry time with less stress, gifts not necessary.

Spread Good Vibes

Extending Christmas cheer not just to humans but four-legged friends:
Feeding the stray kitties at BGC
Be the friend who is there to calm that friend of yours already stressed reviewing for a big exam. Feed a stray animal. Help someone cross the street or offer your seat at the bus or train. Drive for your friend who has a lot of errands and wouldn't want to commute from one location to the other with the rush hour. Not really a gift gift, but it spreads good cheer too.

Let's spend the Holidays worry-free, stress-free, and clutter free!

Image directory:

gift photo: Pexels.com

Thursday, November 9, 2017

No 'Poo Hair Care

My hair and scalp went haywire and this was due to an overabundance of chemical buildup on my scalp from chemical treatments, residues, as well as dirt and sweat. Aside from dry, parchy hair, my scalp was in an embarassing state of flaking and I would see some red, irritated patches. It would also itch and sometimes, I would see rough eczema patches on my left ear and my neck. I planned to color my hair for the Holidays but with my hair in this situation, hair color might make it worse. So just like being supersaturated with the toxicity of social media that we unfollow, my hair had to go on forced detox.

This detox didn't mean that I should stop washing my hair because that would be gross. So what to use to clean my hair? DIY 'poo-free shampoo, meaning a shampoo that's free of sulfates, silicones, and all these chemicals my hair is already quota na with. You can make your own shampoo with a few things. Some of them can even be found in your own kitchen such as apple cider vinegar, olive oil, VCO, water (distilled), baking soda, lemon juice, etc. As natural as it can get with ingredients that are easily pronounced and uncomplicated.

For my DIY chemical-free shampoo, I googled recipes with ingredients that are not hard to find. I found a recipe that uses castile soap. Since castile soap would be too harsh for my colored hair, I found another soap/shampoo base alternative - Coconut Oil soap, which I purchased from Naoe, a local online shop that sells raw materials to make your own DIY home and body care products. Coconut oil soap can both be used as soap/shower gel and shampoo. The ingredients for this soap base are just water, coconut oil, and vegetable glycerin.

Naoe essential oils  for my DIY products, prouldy local
To make my no 'poo shampoo smell better, I use essential oils, which made my hair product (and other things I can make on my own) smell better and more spa-like Even before essential oils became a thing, I've been using them just in my air purifier or burning them in my oil burner (I got one as a wedding favor from a wedding that I did many years ago). It was mostly for aromatherapy really but I didn't know these oils had awesome uses aside from smelling good. Naoe also has essential oils (starting at Php 180) but you can also purchase essential oils from Ilog Maria, which is also the same that they use to make their soaps.

DIY shower gel ingredients
The procedure to make this is simple. All I had to do was combine coconut oil soap base, almond oil (or jojoba oil) for moisture,  lemon EO, rosemary EO, and peppermint EO (peppermint feels so good and soothing on my scalp. Not to mention I smell like a Christmas candy cane after). Topped this with distilled water and gave it a good shake and I'm ready with my shampoo. I sometimes follow up with an ACV rinse (a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar and distilled water) to balance the pH of my scalp. If there's no ACV, a squeeze of lemon or juice from two calamansi would do the trick just fine. I actually prefer the latter because the ACV smell still lingers even though very mildly.

We can purchase bottles to store our DIY care from Beabi, True Value, or The Oil Lifestyle. The Oil Lifestyle also has mini funnels (Php 18 for a pack of 2) if you would want to make small batches of these products. 

going hipster with pastel labels
A little over a week into this and I've noticed that my scalp does not itch even if I didn't wash it in the morning. There's no more eczema on my hairline and ear and the flakes slowly disappeared as the days went on. My hair doesn't have that gross "hasn't been washed" smell or feel. I do not itch after a workout, even a sweaty Corewell session. Also, less hairfall when I brush or blow dry my hair.

a literal I-woke-up-like-this look daily
There's one con to this DIY product though: How my hair feels. It may smell really great and my scalp and ears are so behaved but my hair was in a state of stickiness. I thought I totally murdered my hair at the expense of my scalp but when I googled about it, it was actually a period of my hair detoxing and going through a withdrawal phase from all the chemicals it has been used to -all the silicon coatings, the chemical buildup, and my scalp producing more sebum than it should thinking my hair is so dry. It does go away though.

To make me look less like Professor Snape, I periodically brush my hair to redistribute the oils so they don't get stuck at the roots. This made my hair look smoother and shinier instead of taong grasa waves. Blowdrying in a cool setting also helps it "set" better after a shower. If I still look horrible, I just tie my hair and no one notices my roots.

I didn't have that "detox" period on my skin though as my skin loved the DIY shower gel. It was great for a nighttime bath since I scented it with lavender, ylang ylang, and frankincense. My hair rebelled though when I used it as a shampoo but this is my chemical-dependent hair still undergoing a detox.

The fun part though was making other things from the raw materials. I made my own linen spray when I ran out of linen spray (a mix of witch hazel, lavender, and distilled water) which also served as a dusting spray and since these are so mild ingredients, I used them also to tame my greasy hair.

A DIY spray for home and even hair
I also noticed that my hands do not crack as much with these DIY home care products or do my nails break like crazy from harsh chemicals (I do wear gloves just in case). Since I have pets, I steer clear of EOs that are not good for pets and give a good rinsing on  surfaces and keep my materials away from them. I also make sure that I do not use phototoxic oils on surfaces that would be exposed to sunlight. Caution should always be exercised and if an oil is not safe due to allergies or whatever, it's best to stop using it.

I do would like to continue using DIY skin and home care, even the DIY shampoo. The shampoo though isn't for me to do so forever, but I can use it on the occasion that I would want to go on a detox. I can continue on using my DIY home care, knowing that linen and dusting sprays can cost so much money when I can make something on my own.  I should also remember to make small batches since these, being freshly made in my own kitchen usually do not last longer in storage than commercial products. I can try mixing different blends too, to match my mood. Any blends for me to try out?

Store Directory

www.beabi.com.ph; facebook.com/ilovebeabi; instagram.com/ilovebeabi

Ilog Maria

available at Retail lab Glorietta and Ayala at the 30th and The Park, Shangri-La Plaza
www.naoe.ph; facebook.com/naoe.ph; instagram.com/naoe.ph

The Oil Lifestyle
facebook.com/oilifestyle; instagram.com/oilifestyle/

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Back To School for Halloween

Even if I've been experimenting so much with special effects makeup in my makeup posts, I never really went to school for it, for the reason that it was more of something that I just want to do for myself and most of what I do is usually beauty and bridal. It was a very expensive course too to take on its own so I figured out I'd wait it out first and put my money on other things. However, when the time and opportunity came for me to attend a Basic Special Effects workshop at the Center for Aesthetic Studies last month, I decided to go and grab this time. Although I'm not doing makeup as much as I did before, I still couldn't say no to this seasonal skill. My heart, after all, beats for special effects.

Literally I stepped into this school 10 years ago when I first had my very basic makeup training. Right now, it's in a different location.

Back then, the Center for Aesthetic Studies (or CAS) used to be in Jupiter Street and I used to walk from de la Costa to Jupiter with my makeup bag to get to class. Now, it's located along Gamboa Street in Legaspi Village on the other side of Makati, a walking distance away from Greenbelt 1.

We now have director's chairs! I recall the time I would hoard monoblock chairs to stack them together so I have a relatively high chair.

BYS Philippines has a special FX line to cater to your Halloween looks
We just had to bring our brushes and some other tools which fit a way smaller and lighter makeup bag. Makeup products were provided by the school with their partner brand, BYS Cosmetics, even for their special effects line. Yes! BYS also has a special effects line now!

Thanks to my student/friend Moe who agreed to be my practice model for the day despite the fact he had little sleep the night before. This is his photo before the crazies happened.

We started out with an introduction to special effects. We would learn ageing, bruises, cuts, lacerations, and burns. Already with the outline and my heart was pumping like doing cardio. Making stuff like these is so much fun. Also, we would be doing the other end. If in beauty makeup we hide flaws, here, we enhance flaws and make flaws. It's like my mind did an inversion.

For every segment, there would be a demo. Here is Teacher Bo giving a demo on the model. He has worked in countless TV productions and horror films (including the iconic horror movie series Shake Rattle and Roll). He even has a page in IMDb! Yes, being the nerd that I am, I actually researched this.  Teacher Bo has been my forever teacher in CAS since he was my teacher in basic makeup before.

ageing using cream/powder shading, stippling, liquid latex, and white greasepaint.
One important tip I learned from him is less is more. It's better to layer on products and blend it evenly to make things look more realistic. This holds especially true in bruises where it's not supposed to be one mask of purple paint but there should be a gradation of colors and the skin underneath should show through. I also learned that it's not just showering a fake would with red makeup and fake blood. There's a bit of other colors thrown in as well. If you get a real bruise, take a good look at it and see the different colors.

Nose laceration created with scar wax
Scar wax was a tricky thing to work with especially with spirit gum. This gets really sticky sometimes.

In special effects, we use old brushes and paint brushes (yes, the ones we buy at National Bookstore). This also puts to good use our powder brushes and other brushes that have seen better days. The sponges we use in beauty makeup can still be put to good use. Just give them a good wash and use them to apply liquid latex or tear them to create texture. We can even use old mascara wands to create texture or brush color on brows and mustaches or so on.  This is a good take on upcycling and lessen the turnaround time for a lot of sponges and brushes to be thrown out. 

blisters and third-degree burn
I had the most fun in creating burns because it involves layering of products. If you are not that squeamish, you can search actual photos of burns and wounds to make your work more realistic. If you're like me who's a bit squeamish, just type "special fx burn makeup". The search engine will give you graphic images, but at least you know that these were made by other makeup artists using fx makeup and not medical cases, so less chances for the stomach to turn.

I must admit that doing special effects was longer than doing beauty makeup. I usually do like a full glam makeup in 20-30 minutes (excluding hair). However, for special effects, it usually takes me an hour or more. Sometimes it takes even two hours depending on the concept. I do love it still because of the challenge and also, each look has a story. Like for a burn, how did the character get burned? What kind of burn? Is it an acid burn like Harvey Dent in Batman or was he burned by an angry mob like Freddy Krueger? If it's a cut, what kind of a cut is it, who or what made it, and so on. There are different kinds of fake blood to use and I already wrote ways on how they are used.

Of course this would not be complete without a photo-op with my teacher!

He even gave tips on how we could fine-tune our skills and how to store products, like pre-prepped prosethetic gelatin. He also gave tips on special fx equipment shopping should we start building our kit, like what to look out for, what colors to buy, and so on.

If not doing special effects makeup for Halloween for movies/tv or for Halloween, there are ways where I can apply this:

Gorify a vintage-themed party with a sexy zombie pinup girl look.

  • Christmas parties. I know of some people who would extend Halloween gore to their themed Christmas parties. I once did a makeup on a friend who went for a drowned zombie look for her under-the-sea themed office Christmas Party. They had a standout zombie with the mermaids and fish.
  • Prenup shoot - Some couples get creative beyond the usual HH-WW photos by the beach or garden or the staple flower crown smiling photo with a flowy skirt. You can have a Doom, Call of Duty, Walking Dead, or Zombieland - themed prenup shoot. Get your entourage in the fun and transform them to zombies in a zombie apocalypse themed shoot. 
  • Recitals and performances - My brain has gone somersaults with conceptualizing a look with my friend Ronnie during his pole competition looks. Just in case he would have a zombie-themed competition look going, I am fully equipped. 
  • Plays  - doing special effects makeup for stage requires a bit more heavy hand and less blending so the look can be seen from afar. Last 2015, I did an ageing look on veteran actor Bembol Roco for his role in the play Arbol de Fuego. He had to look around 20 years older than his actual age.

This is a tad more crude and the lines less natural for stage purposes.

I have more special effects makeup looks on Instagram. You can search for them via the hashtag #bambidelacruzmakeup on IG. Have fun coz I did!

Image Directory

Center for Aesthetic Studies Facebook page (workshop poster and school demo photo)

Store Directory:

BYS Cosmetics
www.bysphilippines.com / facebook.com/BYSPhilippines; instagram.com/bysphilippines

Center for Aesthetic Studies
Unit 103 1st Midland Condominium Gamboa St., Legaspi Village, Makati City ; 897-0383 / 897-0307 / 0917-8970383 / 0918-8970383 ; www.cas.com.ph ; facebook.com/centerforaestheticstudies.ph ; instagram.com/centerforaestheticstudies

Monday, October 23, 2017

Breakfast You Make While You Sleep

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you skip breakfast, you ruin your entire day. That's why my healthy, homemade breakfasts are a must for me and I wake up extra early to make them. But when I really have no time, overnight oats are my go-to breakfast on mornings when I'm in a rush. You just dunk the ingredients in a mason jar and place these in the ref and in the morning, you have a healthy, delicious meal waiting for you with minimal or no time to prepare.

This is practically one of the easiest breakfasts to make and there's no culinary skill required. I just need a mason jar, some basic kitchen equipment, and ingredients. I prefer using a wide-mouthed mason jar for this but a regular mason jar works as fine. Just be sure there's a cover.

For your basic ingredient formula you need:

1. Rolled oats. Not the instant one and not the steel-cut (that one you use for regular, slow-cooking oatmeal). Use old fashioned rolled oats. Have these with you because these are very versatile.
2. Milk - I use almond milk or soy milk for my milk but if you're not lactose intolerant like I am, then go ahead and use dairy milk. My ratio of rolled oats to milk is 1 part oats to 1 part and some more milk (like 1/3 cup oats to 1/3 cup plus a little less than 1/4 cup milk) , and you will see why.
3. Chia seeds - you can purchase chia seeds at a health food store like Healthy Options, S&R, or The Superfood Grocer. Chia seeds when soaked have this gelatinous coating that give the oats a nice, thick, creamy texture. That is why my ratio of milk is 1 part and then some more, so our chia has enough room to expand. I do this trial and error. If I see my oats look too thick and crowded, I just add a splash or two of liquid and give it a good stir and I'm good to go
4. Yogurt - Yogurt has all these yummy probiotics that are good for you. They also contribute to the creamy consistency. Use coconut yogurt if you're vegan. The best yogurt though to use for me is low fat Greek yogurt because of the protein content (for muscle!). There are also some recipes that use coconut milk or coconut cream instead of Greek Yogurt or a combination of both.

That's your base. Then you add in sweeteners, spices, toppings, or whatever. Sometimes, fruit is added already during the prep time. For the toppings, I usually place them before I eat them, especially nuts, so they stay crunchy. If I have time, I take photos and upload in Instagram.

Look online and there are so many recipes of overnight oats to choose from. Even restaurants and health food stores have their own versions

I have here in this post a few overnight oats recipes for you to try so you literally wake up to a yummy, effortless, and healthy breakfast every single day.

Banana Bread Oats

You can make your overnight oats as a snack.
If you want nuts, place them in a separate container.
This is like a warm hug to wake you up in the morning. Great for pre-workout energy food

You will need:
  • Banana
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • a sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Almond milk/soy milk
  • maple syrup
  • sea salt
  • vanilla
  • rolled oats
  • yogurt.
  • Place the banana in a blender and blend with soymilk until you get a smooth consistency. Allow the froth to settle a bit.
  • In a mason jar, dunk the oats, chia, a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  • Dunk a big dollop of yogurt, a splash of vanilla, and drizzle with maple syrup. 
  • Add your banana milk. remember the ratio (1 part oats to 1 part and some more milk).
  • Mix the whole thing up. Close the mason jar and place this in the fridge. Go to bed.
  • In the morning, get your mason jar and give the contents a good stir. If it's a bit too thick, splash some almond milk until you reach a desired consistency. 
  • Top with some more sliced banana and pecans and cinnamon if you wish and eat with tea.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats

Chocolate. Peanut Butter. No explanation needed.

You will need:
  • Rolled Oats
  • Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Chia seeds
  • Almond milk/soy milk
  • vanilla
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • maple syrup or coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Mix the milk, peanut butter, syrup/sugar, and cocoa powder until you get a chocolate milk like consistency
  • In a mason jar, combine well the oats and chia seeds.
  • Pour in the chocolate milk and give it a good stir. sprinkle a bit of seasalt and add a splash of vanilla. Mix Well. Cover your jar and store in fridge. Go to bed and dream pleasant dreams.
  • Eat as is in the morning or top with desired toppings. I like using banana, nuts (cashews and walnuts), cacao nibs, flax, maca powder, and shredded coconut. 
  • Optional: before eating, I take out the contents out of the mason jar and pulse it on the food processor for like 20 seconds until I get a porridge like consistency, like champorado.

Good Morning, Sunshine

This one I added a bit of turmeric powder. Don't get scared. The flavor of turmeric blends well with cinnamon. It also has a lot of nutritional benefits and gives your breakfast a sunny yellow color.

You will need:
  • Rolled Oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Soy/Almond Milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla
  • Maple Syrup or coconut sugar
  • Yogurt
  • Dried Blueberries

Dunk them all  in a mason jar. Since this is the third recipe, you pretty much know the drill already.
In the morning, eat with nuts, bananas, mangoes, and cacao nibs. Add a dollop of coconut cream and a sprinkle of more coconut sugar for sweetness.

Ube Overnight Oats

Love local and lilac with this sweet treat
If you purchased a jar of ube jam from your recent Baguio trip, add a scoop of this to your oats for a pretty, lilac breakfast. If your ube is already sweet, you may skip the sweetener because that and the fruit is gonna make this breakfast so sweet. Since ube is like the new salted caramel or salted egg, I thought if I made ube waffles and ube pancakes, why not make ube overnight oats as well?

You will need:
  • Rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Soy/Almond/Cashew milk
  • A scoop of ube jam
  • Coconut milk/Coconut cream

Place oats and chia in a mason jar and combine well. Add some coconut cream or coconut milk. Coconut cream makes it so much thicker and richer but milk will do fine. Add your ube jam and top with milk. Stir so the ube jam is well distributed onto the mixture. Alternatively, you can blend the ube and the milk in the blender for a more homogenous consistency of ube milk. Stir well and place in the fridge overnight. Top with fruits of the season. #Lovelocal with bananas, mangoes, cashews, and coconut flakes. For added sweetness, sprinkle with coconut sugar.

Have healthy, happy mornings with your overnight oats! Never skip breakfast and stay healthy!