Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ivory and White 2016 Shoot

I'm glad I got the chance to work with Ivory and White bridal again. They're an awesome bunch to work with. Also, I get to take a sneak peek at their lovely 2016 collection.

Although brides nowadays are quite adventurous with their look, the classic, clean look wins for some. I played with corals this time, giving the rosies and smokies a rest.




Some behind-the-scenes shots:


The usual mugshot. Rebecca, our model is just simply gorgeous and fun to work with. Her skin is flawless. With her hair up and clean makeup, she looks like a beautiful ballerina. The corally colors really made her blue eyes stand out

Shooting all those gorgeous dresses is fun!

Stop and smell the flowers. BTS kakulitan. In my head, I wish that I held a bunch of kale and spinach and a pineapple for a nice smoothie. Haha.

Thanks again to the team of Ivory and White bridal for getting me once again to do makeup for their lookbooks. For brides looking for affordable gowns without sacrificing quality, you can check their website.


Lookbook Photos Credits:

Photos by Chyvin Reyes
Make up by Bambi Dela Cruz Dimapilis
Hair by Mara Ashida



The Serendra Cats

Apart from beauty and fitness and craziness and the (occasional) bitchiness, I thought of inserting another avenue which makes me happy - KITTIES! I am a true cat lady minus the extreme crazy and aside from my three baby kitties, I would sometimes be featuring other kitty friends and kitty communities. This is a cat lady's blog, you know!

I befriend a lot of furry critters, from the cats at our condo's parking lot (which volunteer residents have already had spayed and neutered) and cat communities wherever I go. I'm just glad that in this world, there are a handful of people who still care for animals (vegan or not) and for the animals who have made certain establishments their home, they have been made welcome. Some of the communities even had the cats neutered and spayed. Neutering and spaying is a great way to control the cat population. Cats who are already spayed and neutered grow to be healthier and live longer lives.  The cats are natural pest control, keeping roaches and mice away. Also, they're really cute.

I saw these happy bunch on the way to buy vegetables and fruits at Market! Market! These are the Serendra cats and they have made their nest at the area of Wee Nam Kee, Phat Pho, 8 Cuts, and Abe. The clowder has one ginger tabby cat, a calico, and a gray and ginger tortie (?) and recently, another tricolor and ginger cat has joined the team.



They really are gigantic and healthy cats, and I've heard from the security personnel that a Serendra resident feeds these babies. I sometimes visit them after yoga class or before buying veggies and spend a few minutes of playtime as well as feed them treats from my kibble jar. They appear early morning, before the restaurants open and go hide when the people start trickling in and the weather gets too hot. They do sometimes make an appearance during the peak and hot hours when I stop by for lunch. They're more seen at night though, which probably is one of their feeding times.



The calico cat isn't the cuddly type. She likes to maintain her distance though. If you have food, she would eat. Just give her the personal space she needs. She does look good in photos.

The ginger likes people too but maintains a certain distance. She did allow me a few pats but no cuddles. She does stay a very comfortable distance. I met one of the ladies who feed them and she mentioned two of the cat's names are Ginger and Divine. I presume this is Ginger.

This gray and orange kitty is the friendliest. I don't know if she's Divine, but sometimes I call her that. She does her twirls and plops and even allowed me to carry her for several selfies.


She's adorable and playful and likes being petted.

If you happen to be a cat lover and you pass by this area and see these cats, say hello and give them some food. They are very sweet and gorgeous.

I give props to the Serendra community for giving these cats a nice home and the kind people who make sure these cats are spayed and healthy. These cats are just your ordinary street cats that you see in the street but with proper care and affection, can blossom to these gorgeous felines.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What To Do With Super Ripe Bananas

Bananas are a pole dancer's best go-to food. It gives you energy without bloating you or making you feel heavy before a class. It's rich in potassium so it prevents cramps. It's a great after workout food to keep you sugar in check. Plus, it's so convenient.

I keep bananas at home as a staple go-to snack if I'm taking a yoga class early in the morning or I want a midday snack. Sometimes though, I find that due to meal planning, I still got bananas that are getting brown or about to get old. To avoid wasting them, here's what to do with bananas that are about to get soft and old.



1. Muffins or Cakes

Overripe bananas are perfect for baking. The soft ones are mushier and so much sweeter. Make banana bread, banana cookies, muffins, or cake. If you're like me with no oven, try mug cakes, which are single-serve cakes you can make with a mug in your trusty microwave.

2. Pancakes

Have some healthy, gluten-free pancakes for breakfast. Mix 1/2 c of mashed banana with 2 eggs, 1/8 tsp baking powder, a dash of cinnamon, 2 tsp coconut sugar, and a few drops of vanilla extract. Mix to form a batter. Fry your pancakes in coconut oil. The pancakes come out thinner and a bit softer than traditional pancakes. Serve this with sliced bananas, berries, and honey or maple syrup. The pancake itself is yummy and tastes like turon.

3. Dairy-free "Nice" Cream

Here is a vegan and non-dairy alternative to ice cream, Slice up some bananas and freeze them until they are rock-hard. Process in a food processor until the mixture becomes smooth like ice cream. You may add some fruit like strawberries or cacao powder if you want chocolate-banana flavor. Place in a container and freeze.

4. Smoothies

I don't like ice in my smoothie because it dilutes the fruit, juices, and milk. I freeze my fruit instead to serve as ice. Add frozen banana slices to your smoothie for a yummy and refreshing drink.


What other banana-based recipes do you like?


Image source:
Banana photo: pexels.com


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Half-Moon Nail Art

I got bit by the beauty bug first with nail polish and I'm glad nail art is becoming a form of beauty self-expression. My hands get photographed in behind-the-scenes photos or sometimes when I do product shots so I try to have the constant effort of my nails looking just as good. Since I do a lot of cooking and some housework, nail polish lasts just a few days on me. I discovered that nail art does last longer due to the layers and the chips sometimes aren't that obvious. So, I sometimes explore nail art options.

The problem though with nail art is that I'm not ambidextrous so while it looks picture-perfect on one side, it looks funny on the other hand. I figured this gets better with practice. For beginners, I recommend and try to research on techniques which does not require a lot of fine drawing skills on both sides, but easy ones that require simple strokes but just as pretty. I discovered so many endless possibilities. Once you get the hang of it, you can combine different techniques and make your own. The drawing will come later. If it doesn't come, who cares?

Half-moon manicures are like different from your traditional French manicure.

A photo posted by Well Polished (@wellpolishednailspa) on


It uses stickers to act like guards to create the half-moon shape at the base of the nail. It looks hard but with practice, you'll get it.

Now here's my own version.




What you would be needing are the usual basecoat, topcoat, two nail colors,

Basecoat: China Glaze Strong Adhesion Basecoat
Nail Colors: Revlon Nail Enamel in Sophisticated and Revlon  Parfumerie Scented Nail Polish in Sunlit Grass

Aside from that, you would need small round sticker labels like the one below.


I was able to get a pack for around Php30.00 at National Bookstore. Most of the tutorials I could find used reinforcement ring stickers but they seem to be out of stock in the two National Bookstores I went to. So I made do with these round stickers. If any of you know where to get reinforcement stickers (like those round donut-like stickers you place when you punch a hole in papers for filing) please let me know.

Start by painting your nails in your base color. That would be the "moon" color. If your nail polish is quite opaque, a coat will do. Some polishes, depending on the finish may need another coat. For here, I used yellow and gray, which is very mod and 60s.



If you're wondering about the yellow polish, yes it is scented! You won't smell it at first in the bottle. In fact, when wet, it still has the chemical-like, plastic balloon-like scent of regular nail polish. The scent comes out when it dries. They have so many nice scents, so it's hard to choose because you're kind of torn between the scent and the shade. Sunlit Grass smells really fresh, like freshly cut grass. You can even smell it even with topcoat on. However, just like perfume, it does fade in like, a day or so.

It is super important that the polish dried up completely so the sticker does not stick to the wet polish and ruin your "moon". Clean up the sides with a cotton bud dipped in polish remover as well.



Place the reinforcement sticker or sticker label as shown. Make sure that the edges of the sticker are firmly planted on the nail.



Paint over the nails in the contrasting color. If your base is gray, paint over with yellow and vice-versa. Remove the sticker label while the polish is still wet. If you didn't wait for your "moon" color to dry completely, you will understand the need for this step.


Half-moon design!



Repeat on the remaining nails. Let dry for 3 minutes or so until the top color sets a bit.



For added shine, apply topcoat. Clean up edges with a cotton bud soaked in polish remover or a those polish eraser pens.

This technique took me quite a while to perfect though. I really learned the hard way that you really have to make your "moon" color dry up super completely. I can't stress this enough. If you can get reinforcement rings, that would be better since they're smaller and easier to deal with pressing the sticker onto the nail. I had a harder time with the circular labels since they're bigger. You may also jazz up your half-moon by adding more art.

Note also that since the layers are thicker, it takes a while to dry. 15 minutes will get you the top layer nice and set but give it an hour or so before you take a shower or go to bed or chop veggies. The patience is worth it.

It's my first time to do this so I'll be perfecting this technique in the next coming days.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

My Favorite Workout Channels

Lately, even going to the gym or getting out of the house alone is a chore in this heat. For those who need their workout fix without leaving home, check out these YouTube channels to keep you moving without even needing to step out of the house. I find this absolutely great since I'm such an introvert and sometimes there are times when I have this mood that I don't like to go out because I feel so stressed or overwhelmed with all these energies around me that I really like to retreat in my cave. But then, I get this itch to exercise (kind of funny though). These are some of my go-to channels when I need to work out at home and I want something to really follow rather than do things at the top of my head.

Because of online workout videos, #theresalwaystimeforfitness can actually happen


The Fitness Marshall

Their cardio hip-hop workouts are for those who hate cardio. Lead by Caleb Marshall, he takes you into a sweaty, sassy dance session to get your heart rate up and melt the baddies away. With fun tracks such as Justin Bieber's Sorry, Britney Spears' Toxic, Rihanna's S&M, and Pussycat Dolls' Buttons to name a few, you would be super inspired and stoked to dance you don't even know that it's cardio. He even recruits his sister and grandma to work out with him making this a workout for anyone. And who cares if you look funny? You're just at home.

Blogilates

I wrote about her and as you can see, I'm a fan of this lady and she has so many fans around the world. It's practically a community. Blogilates not only features a series of workouts that you can do everyday with a theme each month but also easy recipes for healthy eating to keep the pounds and muffin top off. There are also words of wisdom and inspiration to live by so this fitness thing will not just be a one time thing but a lifestyle change. With her bubbly personality, it's as if  you're working out with your friend.

Fightmaster Yoga

Missed the yoga studio because of traffic and you just want to get home but still want to get the body moving somehow? Or are you travelling and want your yoga fix but couldn't find a yoga studio near your area? Fightmaster Yoga is lead by yoga teacher Lesley Fightmaster and she has a variety of free online classes depending on your practice. Basic yoga stretches, yoga flow, power yoga, ashtanga yoga, or yin yoga, there are so many classes to choose from. I do this class when I can't go to the yoga studio and I definitely need a yoga fix for the day. Try her 50-minute ashtanga yoga if you want something strong or chill with her yin class at the end of a hard day's work. No time at all? Do the Yoga Quickie workouts.

TaraStiles

Model-turned-yoga teacher Tara Stiles is like one of my life pegs. She's fun, she's gorgeous, she's got both strength and flexibility balanced. and she makes yoga fun and less intimidating. I was doing her classes way before becoming a yoga teacher and even way before developing my own yoga practice. Oh and that body is such a fitspiration. The best thing about her channel is that she makes yoga fun and less intimidating. I like how some of her videos are titled. My teaching style is somehow inspired by her because I also want yoga to be fun and less intimidating. Most of her videos are quick, and she has a routine from the moment you get up and also when you're about to go to bed. Also, she has recipes in her channel .

As you can see, I vary my workouts a lot so my body doesn't get bored and plateaus. I sometimes mix and match, like I would do cardio hip hop, then do some pole training and cool down with yoga or something to that extend. What matters is that there are ways I can get things moving too. Also, if you're travelling and where you're staying has free WIFI, put it to good use and get your daily dose of fitness. Have fun and stay fit and fab!

Photo credits:
fitness photo by Dix Perez

My Favorite Work Footwear

When I was younger, I couldn't imagine life without high heels. Practically every shoe that I own had to have high heels, even my sneakers. Remember the Spice Girls-style sneakers? I actually owned a pair and it lasted me so well. I even used it to run for my P.E. finals (I made it by the way). However, a decade or more after my high heels obsession, I'm into flat shoes. I didn't even know why I loved high heels back then in the first place.

There are times when I work that I need the height boost, like if I'm about to give a workshop/demo or a talk, for photo purposes. But when I know that I'll be standing most of the time, as in really working, like a client call, wedding, fashion show, or a shoot, I know I need my trusty flats. It pays to be comfortable since I'm on my feet a lot and not to mention carrying all my equipment myself. Sky-high heels and lifting trolleys are a no-no. :)

So far, in my shoe collection, I have a few go-to shoes for work which I find super comfy with minimal pain over the course of time.

FitFlops



I wrote about FitFlops way before and in fact, they rank by far my most favorite footwear of all time, nevermind if they're not very pretty for my feet. It's quite expensive at Php3,500 almost but for me, it was super worth it. They conform to my feet and give me the right elevation I need so my ankles and lower back do not suffer that much. I can drive wearing them!

Boots

rock, leather, and boots for a wedding gig with my friend Lei Ponce. 


I own a pair of leather boots I bought at CubaoX last 2012. I found these boots in fact while shooting a prenuptial shoot then and I didn't want to let go of the boots and thankfully, they had my size. It was originally supposed to be my boots for Stellar 2 but somehow, I used it beyond Stellar. Boots are great for me during the rainy season or when it's a bit colder and I'm in a venue where it's better to keep my feet covered or when I have to be a bit dressier. Currently, the boots have a bit of wear and tear and a few kitty scratches. I was wondering if anyone knows where I can have them restored a bit since I want it to look a bit dressier but if not, then I may have to wear this for more casual occasions where the scruffy look actually adds to the appeal.

Ballet Flats

Ballet flats keep my feet covered and I can still wear skirts, shorts, jeans, pants, or dresses and still look like a girl on the occasion that tells me I should. I could wear this when I have to be a makeup artist during the day and then head off to a press launch at night (no more heels for this Tita of Manila). I found these quirky dog-cat ballet flats at a bazaar. Thankfully they had it in black.

I get funny comments with these shoes if I forgot that I left the house wearing different shoes or if I made these shoes myself. They are great for driving and feel as if I'm driving barefooted. The only problem though is that they're too flat and since I have a high foot arch, walking on them for quite some time can put pressure to my ankles so I usually reserve this for events that I won't be out so much, I have that same problem with regular flip-flops and super flat sandals, so not to worry, it's not the shoe; it's me and the foot arch.

I discovered though that Melissa shoes have flats with just a teensy height boost so it's less stressful on the ankles.



I'm crazy for leopard prints so it's just apt that I get myself a leopard-print shoe like the one above. I was just so glad that they had it my size. I'm currently in the process of breaking these shoes in and I discovered wearing them with footsocks takes the friction off the feet.  Although while I was at the store, there are a few shoes that I'm eyeing on so this may not be my last Melissa shoe though.
perfect for me because I'm a cat lady. This however, did not have my size but I like looking at it.


The Maleficent shoe got my villain heart pumping. I would wait for this to go on sale. *wink*

Sneakers

They're great for working out, for walking around, and of course, why not for #MUAduties?

working with my now kumare and fellow makeup artist Jinky


My Fila lilac sneakers were purchased on sale last 2011 (notice how I keep on the lookout for sales?) They aren't for training though but okay enough for walking around and standing. Again yay on the arch support, For sneakers that I can take from training to work to long walks and on my rare travel occasions (since I hardly travel nowadays), Skechers memory foam sneakers give me support, cushioning, and comfort. I don't have a photo of the one I have right now though but I super love it since it's super comfy. I've not only worked wearing it but also done HIIT, cardio hiphop, insanity, etc.

I used to obsess on high heels back then because I thought they are the only ones that would look good when I need to wear a dress. Actually, now I discovered flat shoes need not be flat and boring because there are so many styles to choose from. I'm not much of a style person but I know the importance of looking presentable especially in my job, because I have to be my own advertisement. There are situations when I can get by with my usual shorts, tank top, and flip flops with no makeup and my hair in a scraggy bun. However, on times that I need to insert a bit of style whether classy, sporty, rock, or glam, there are shoe options to try without sacrificing comfort or risk losing balance and getting injured.

Photo sources:
FitFlop photo: FitFlop Facebook Page
Melissa Flats: Melissa Facebook Page

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bridal Work: Paula

I find it amazing how cat lovers or animal lovers find a way to become friends, and here's a story.



Paula is my neighbor. How I met her is so funny. I was on my way out when I spotted her talking to my cat Candy by the window and another one of our building cats. As you all know, cat ladies have a constant click. We happened to belong to the same Facebook cat group. She sent me a Facebook message when we found each other's profiles.  I also met Paolo, who happened to be more of a cat person than I was.  My friend Romina met them in one of our cat rescues and she still remembers them and tells me, "They're a fun and nice couple. I like them a lot."

That was a couple of years ago. Sending food to each other like forreal Titas of Manila and exchanging cat stories and kitty playdates later, I was tasked to do a very important thing - to be the makeup artist on their wedding day, which I am just super stoked to do. I did Paula's makeup already as a bridesmaid in one of her friend's weddings as well as a YOLO moment photoshoot. Even if I practically memorized her face, I wanted of course her wedding to be the most perfect makeup she would ever have in her entire life.

For Paula's wedding look, she wanted to still look like her and not have a total operasyon-level makeover. You can still wear bright lipstick or have smokey cat eyes and contour but still look recognizable that you're you.


Paula has a full head of natural, gorgeous curls, which she embraces. She wanted her curls to show on her wedding day. No 5 hours of straightening then recurling here. We just humidity-proofed her hair. I think it was the quickest bridal hair my hairstylist ever did.

candy pink lips is MAC Pink Nouveau, a shade usually worn at the reception but we used it as a ceremony color. 



Adorable shoes + short wedding dress. 


The couple inserted their own individuality in their wedding, choosing food they really like and having a theme that fits them. They also inserted elements of them being cat people in their wedding.
Groom's gift to bride is an illustration of their life together - artwork done by Chichi Romero
wedding favors: Spanish fans. Note the kitties on the logo. I kept the cards. Hihihi. 
 Having a summer garden wedding, they chose a white-themed wedding where the guests wore summery whites to keep things cool and clean. I'm thankful for the discovery of airbrush makeup because they stayed on fresh up to the end of the festivities.

The three bridesmaids are the three sisters of the bride, each sister had makeup that fits their own style and personality, natural, smoky, rosy glow.

Family Photo
 Paula loves rom-coms and it fits that her prenup video would be rom-com themed. You guys can watch it here. The masterpiece was done by VOV Productions. Makeup and hair for the couple, both done by me.


The thing I loved about their wedding is that it expressed their individuality so much and it really shows who the couple is instead of following every single celebrity wedding or going through cookie cutter conventions. At the same time, the element of classiness is still there. All I felt was genuine happiness.  It was one occasion to be remembered by everyone.

Final touch-up before the ceremony. 


I've witnessed Paula during her preps up to the last part of their reception and she's super cool and calm about everything. As she wrote in her post-wedding status message, she emphasized one aspect: You can have a great wedding without being a bridezilla. I definitely would have to agree with that, and she's a perfect example to that part. It was so easy to do her makeup and her smile was all natural. She was talking to her friends, suppliers, eating the good food, and she had so much energy to really talk to everyone and make sure her suppliers are well taken care of. I would definitely recommend that as a number one advice to all brides.

The happy couple

Congratulations Paula and Paolo! It was one gorgeous and super cute wedding! Love, hugs, and lots of kitties.


Suppliers:

Photographer: Shutterpanda
Video: VOV Productions
Makeup: Bambi de la Cruz Makeup Artistry
Groom's Makeup: Jinky Ureta
Hairstylist: Annaliza Alejo
Bridal Gown: Curitthy Couture 
Venue; The Henry Hotel Manila
Caterer: Apartment 1B


Photo credits:
official wedding photos by Shutterpanda
Bambi with the couple, fan, and bridesmaids by the author