Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Afternoon of Squee at Miao Cat Cafe

I've heard of cat cafes in Japan and Taiwan and dream that one day, our country gets to have one. Apparently, we have quite a number of cat lovers here in the Philippines and some of them do not own kitties due to apartment restrictions but also some family members who have cat dander allergy. Fortunately, the dream is now a reality.

Paula, our neighbor, tagged me in her Instagram photo where she posted a photo of this beautiful cat in a cat cafe here in Manila. Imagine me widening my eyes in absolute squee of happiness. She also gave very complete directions in its location and even shared their Facebook page. Well, I wouldn't miss it for the world. The following day, I WAS THERE!

Miao Cat Cafe, the very first cat cafe here in Manila is located in Congressional Ave, Quezon City. It's quite young, only 1-1/2 weeks old but they already have visitors coming all the way from Las Pinas, Cavite, Paranaque, and Alabang. The drive is quite long since we came from Ortigas (i had pole class) but we made it! Since parking is quite hard, it's adviseable to park near Filoil gas station (there's like this bar near it, heading towards a village). The cafe is located in the same building as Cake 2 Go. You will see a kitty print mat at the bottom of the stairs and then all you have to do is climb up the stairs and you are in cat heaven.

Before entering, you are asked to read the rules and regulations (no flash photography, no disturbing of cats when sleeping). Slippers are provided as we are advised to leave our footwear on the shelves. After sanitizing our hands and signing the waiver, we can proceed to kitty heaven.

Correction, it's cat lady heaven. Almost everything is decorated with kitty prints and cat-themed things. Apparently, the owners have already been buying and collecting cat-themed things such as fabrics (used for the throw pillows and seat covers), cups, glasses, clothespins, and decor.

look! a pole-cat!

They also have an al fresco area.

#bortarms check!

The resident cats were the highlight of our entire stay. These are the owners' own kitty furbabies. Several purebreds such as munchkin cats, Exotic Shorthairs, Scottishfolds, and Persian cats as well as their own rescued puspins are there saying hello. Let me zone out into cuteness as of the moment.

Miao Cat Cafe charges adults Php300 and children Php150 for a two-hour stay inclusive of one drink and food/pastry. On weekends, it is advised to make reservations as it can get really full.

Cat ladies can go shopping for their cat lady needs. I wanted the dress though but it was too short for me at the torso area.

I think I cried when I left but yes, I definitely would be coming back. It was worth the drive and the kitties certainly takes away the stress away from you once you're there. One thing I find awesome is that everyone was interacting with each other playing with the kitties or sharing their own kitty stories. In coffee shops, everyone just keeps to themselves. I'm not saying it's a bad thing though, but I certainly found it refreshing to converse with fellow cat lovers and find out that I'm not so strange after all taking photos of kitties, collecting cat items, talking to my two cats, or carrying cat food in my bag. It must be a cat person thing.

For those who would want to go to Miao Cat Cafe, it is located at 7 Congressional Ave, Quezon City. Directions are in their Facebook Page. You may call at  022747937 and 09258777617 for your reservation especially if you're coming on a weekend or holiday. Please bring your cameras because you will definitely take lots of photos and videos. They also have Instagram (@miaocatcafe) .

Friday, February 20, 2015

Partner Yoga Weekend

I've been teaching with Yoga For Life since December and it has been a very wonderful experience sharing what I have learned and experienced in yoga. I've been practicing yoga with them for quite some time now, making it a Sunday morning habit. For those who do not know what Yoga For Life is, Yoga For Life is a non-government organization that supports and empowers those living with HIV and AIDS through the healing practice of yoga. We do this by the donation-based community classes where we all practice together as one community regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, HIV status, social status, or spiritual belief. And also, we remove discrimination and stigma.  Teaching has been a wonderful experience for me, and it has been really great to see all my students after classes appreciating my classes and leave with new and relaxed bodies and calmer minds.

Last weekend, since it was a Valentine's weekend, we practiced partner yoga. Partner yoga has two teachers, and I co-taught the two partner yin classes with my favorite doctor Kit. Partner yin yoga is not entirely yin, because we direct our energy not just to ourselves but to our partner. In solo yin yoga we have props that help us get deeper into the pose. Here, our partners sometimes act as props. The photos shown here are from our Sunday class at Beyond Yoga Libis.

In partner yin yoga, we do not just think of ourselves. We think also of our partners. Are we helping our partners go deep into the pose or are we obstructing them from going deeper. Or as we go deeper into the pose, are we hurting our partner as a consequence? It's a give-and-take thing, and we meet halfway. We have to think of our partner. Isn't it awesome how yoga mimics life as well?

Communication by sharing energies. How do we communicate without words while in the pose?

"Partner Yin Yoga, like what we did at Yoga For Life community class today, is even more intimate: a subtle practice of the self, a gentle exploration of the other, and a gradual discovery of the self through the partner. Trust, vulnerability, openness, honesty, and connection are just some of the gifts in our practice today."

--Kit Navarro

In biology class, we learn about symbiotic relationships, how organisms in the world interact with one another, There is a relationship called parasitism where one just gives and the other just takes at the expense of the other. Commensalism is when the other benefits and the other is just deadma, or unaffected. Partner yoga has to be mutualism, where both species benefit from the relationship.

Full class! Thank you everyone for sharing your energies this Valentine's weekend and thank you Kit for sharing your knowledge!

Life's lessons can be learned also in our practice. An Ashtanga yoga teacher once told me that I should use yoga not just to help me with my body on the physical level but also help me in order to be a better person. Taking spirituality aside, yoga may help me be in harmony with my surroundings, and as I begun teaching, this makes sense now.

And the thought of teaching, I'll be teaching this Sunday at Beyond Yoga BHS, and I'll be doing one my signature Happy Hips sequences. This will be our last community class at Beyond Yoga BHS because Beyond Yoga BHS will soon be moving to Beyond Yoga Serendra.

Happy Birthday Kitties!

Last weekend was special because it was a double celebration since our cats celebrated their birthdays. We had cake and the cats had Fancy Feast canned food, their ultimate favorite wet food.

How much are those kitties by the window Meow Meow!
Candy turned four last Sunday, February 15. He's been doing really well with good appetite. He transitioned last year to Royal Canin Urinary s/o cat food (he prefers dry food over wet, strange cat) due to a bladder problem. His obesity has also been less thanks to the exercise he has been getting by kitty playtime. He still remains a big cat though, probably since he's part Bengal. He has considerably mellowed down though, and bathing him is much easier.

He takes over the bed. Tomorrow, the world
Candy's birthday was the date of his adoption but Burt's is the approximate of his real birthday. When Burt was spotted last June, he was about 3 months old as per the doctor. So counting from his adoption date, his estimated actual birthday is February, and coincidentally, the day before Candy's birthday.

This is Burt now. He has officially left kitten status and is now an adult cat. Isn't he all cute and fat?

He has already been neutered (done when he was about 6 months old) and his shots and deworming complete. Also, he found a best friend with his big brother, Candy.

My two little piggies.

The two are super different with their personalities but became surprisingly best friends. Candy's a bit aloof and choosy with people while Burt loves attention

The hoomans got cake that day while the kitties got Fancy Feast for two days. Unfortunately, no photos of their meals as they wolfed them all down. I wish my two babies lots more long years of living with their family. :) Because life is awesome with kitties around.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Bare Minimum Look with Ponds

Even if I studied makeup and how to apply it the professional way, it's quite ironic to know that nowadays, I feel most comfortable makeup-free, or at least with eyebrows and lipstick (and the lipstick at sometimes can be optional). I remember back then when I thought less was ugly and more was fab. Name it - colorful eyeshadows (I hated browns and neutrals then), smoky eyes, a full face of foundation and two hours of makeup. When it was a shock for me to be makeup-less many years ago, right now, people do a double-take when I actually have production number level makeup on. Because really, who has the luxury of two hours and the hassle of setting up things and packing them back up when there's so much things to do?

I think the makeup gods heard me when I attended a Beauty Trends Talk yesterday led by beauty expert Agoo Bengzon. Guess what? This season, the look that is in is - the bare minimum look or no-makeup look, or what we called in makeup school as the Ponds look. Okay, that flawless face we see in TV is actually a face full of makeup applied by a makeup artist who applied that thick layer of makeup artfully in such a way that the face looks absolutely flawless (and lights, softboxes, the whole shazam). There is, however, a way to recreate that same look without having to hire a glam squad. The best thing I like it is that it's fast and it uses multitasking tools that do not take up a lot of space in our gym bags, handbags, or travelling bags. To sum it up, it's like a better version of yourself with no makeup. Since it doesn't take a lot of time and makeup kit real estate, you have more time to do other things, like have an extra cake or go ahead and fix your hair.

Multitasking tools are probably one of the best inventions in makeup world. Makeup noobs will love it and so do people who hate bringing a lot of things.

A BB cream acts as a moisturizer as well as makeup primer or tinted moisturizer. Back during the day when BB creams were appearing left and right, I really steer clear from them because the formulation was super thick, almost like a foundation and most of the super potent formulas look and feel more like a mask. I'm glad that local brands like Ponds came up with a BB cream that has a lighter formulation on the face with a non-oily finish. I used it this morning on my way to a shoot and I was quite impressed that it looked like a better version of my skin instead of foundation or a mask. Tip: massage the BB cream onto the face, giving your face a mini-massage to boost circulation and give skin a glow.

Lip and cheek tints give you some color so we look alive, especially since I tend to get pale-looking if I'm in my non-tanned skin color. Bobbi Brown Art stick in Rose Brown is a neutral rosy color that glides on the lips in a sexy matte color (a la Kylie Jenner) and can also be used on the apples of the cheeks as well.

After lightly powdering the T-zone and oil-prone areas, You may go ahead and do your eyebrows or if you still have time, lightly sweep the lids with your eyeshadow. Inglot;s Rainbow eyeshadow is a 3-in-1 pan with 3 shades that you can use together without taking up a lot of space in the teeny makeup bag or the hassle of carrying a lot of eyeshadow pots. This particular palette can also double as blush too.

Busy ladies who need to have pretty polished nails minus the chips despite doing a lot of work can finish off with gel polish, which gives shiny nails sans chips up to 2 weeks or until you cry because you want to take it off,

Of course the skin itself should be taken good care of before and after (most especially after) makeup. I always emphasize on skincare because good skin is the perfect base for makeup, whether it be that full glam-on face or the relaxed everyday makeup for going out. Ponds launched yesterday the newest addition to their skincare line - the Ponds Pearl Cleansing Gel.

I am recommending this to those with extremely dry and/or sensitive skin because this really cleans the face when I tried it. Most people with dry or sensitive skin tend to get that tight, stingy feeling after they wash their face. For those who wash their face with regular bath soap, they feel this too. While the tight and tingly feeling may feel oh-so-nice and clean, it actually means stripping your skin of its natural moisture. Although some opt to just clean their face with water, this still does not feel clean enough. This gel cleans the face so you get the nice clean feeling without the stingy, dry feeling after. This feels lighter than the other Ponds facial washes that I'm familiar with, especially those formulated for oily and acne-prone skin.

The cost is also light on the pocket (100 g for Php 155 and 50 g for Php 85. You can take the 50g with you on the gym and you still have extra space in your bag). This will soon be available on March but if any one of you would like to be one of the first to try the Pond's Pearl Cleansing Gel, log on to Zalora on February 20 . If you are on of the first 100 shoppers, you will get this with free shipping.

Maybelline White Superfresh Foundation Road Tests

A few weeks ago, I was invited to the launch of Maybelline's newest product, the White Superfresh Powder foundation, which will be hitting makeup counters come this February 28. The newest foundation promises a 12-hour no-retouch fresh look without the annoying oily, cakey look. For busy people with crunch times that they forget the midday blot and retouch, this must be a dream come true.

And also, the chic packaging is a plus for the inner minimalist. It comes with a sponge for easy application. It also works with brushes, for those who want to use their brushes to apply the powder.

Maybelline White Superfresh comes in 3 different shades - Nude Beige, Natural, and Honey, with Honey being the darkest. These four shades are more neutral and yellow-toned so it compliments Asian skin, I also like the velvety feel of the powder when swatched, almost comparable with expensive brands. Powder foundation is really expensive and it's really hard to look for a really good one. At only Php299, startup makeup artists or makeup students can purchase this first, and the cost of even all 3 shades is less than one expensive compact.

Swatches L-R: Nude Beige, Natural, Honey

During the launch, we were asked to do the water test. I will repeat it once more here. We were given two compacts. One is another brand of  powder foundation, which also performs very well with good texture. The other is Maybelline White Superfresh.

When spritzed with a lot of water, this is what happens:

For the other brand, the makeup even slid off in flesh-colored drops (encircled) whereas for Maybelline White Superfresh, the water seemed to just get absorbed with no streaks. So what is the significance of this? That means that when we sweat (oh yes, we live in a tropical country after all and ahuh summer is 2 months away),  we would have the streaky mark. But with Maybelline White Superfresh, we would still look quite presentable even with minimal retouch.

In fact, for a recent photoshoot, I used this product on my model:

Model used Nude Beige, the lightest shade. I hardly did any retouching on the duration of my photoshoot. In fact, I do not remember doing any retouching at all, even without makeup setting spray.

Using Honey on my model, Cassandra a while ago for our lookbook shoot:

With the staying power, I may recommend this to those with oily skin and for the bridal retouch kit, if a bride would want to assemble one. Since it is in a compact, it is less messy than loose powder. The pocket-friendly price may also benefit students or office workers who would rather spend on other things than makeup.

Performers may also use this. This is what I used on Hannah when she performed in one of the Polecats gigs.

 As you all know, pole and aerial performances and studio lights equals sticky and sweat and streakiness. I also forgot to bring my makeup setting spray here but even after their number (and a lot of warm-ups before their number), her makeup still looked pretty fresh.

Some may be worried with the high SPF, since high SPF can cause the ghostly flashback (hello white faces from the SPF 70). Glad to know this one didn't have any of the flashback.

I give a yay for the quality and affordability of this product, especially since a lot are really looking at value for money. I wish though that they had a darker shade to fit the darker-skinned ladies. Overall, this is what I can recommend to startup makeup artists, young models in their own personal touch-up kits, office workers, or the bride on her prenup shoot or wedding day.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Your Personal 3-Minute Meditation to Happy Hair

My hair's been abused in all senses - blow-dry, style, and even the tugging of my hair from ponytails and scraggly buns (take note, hair when wet) with elastics can cause a lot of damage. Although the hot shower feels so good on my sore muscles after a yoga class, I know my hair, if it could talk would scream and beat me senseless. I think the hair gods heard the plea of my tresses because I got a sample of Pantene's newest product, the 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner as I was heading out. I love getting these goodies giving me this good karmic energy. I tucked it in my bag and drove to the studio.

In yin yoga world, 3 minutes is the approximate time we give our bodies to hold our poses for our connective tissues to open. The three minutes here in Pantene 3-Minute Miracle, we give our hair the TLC it needs from its daily damage and abuse. It's like an extended meditation in the shower to pretty and healthy hair. With 80% more key conditioning ingredients versus regular Pantene conditioner, this product is supposed to improve my hair health and smoothen my hair and repair up to like 3 months worth of hair damage my hair has.

Yes and all it takes is three minutes. This is great when I don't have the time (or funds) to actually sit down for an hour at the hair salon to get a hair treatment. My hair being super duper long and thick kinda costs a lot to get treated. I can get this done at the shower. It's like three minutes of meditation to healthy, happy hair. 

The formula in comparison with other conditioners is a bit thicker, but I'm just glad that it doesn't have that strong, heady smell or chemical-like smell. In fact, it has the same category of signature fresh-fruit clean scent Pantene shampoos and conditioners have. I do, however, have to use more than dime or pea-size amount to get all areas of my hair covered and I give my hair that massage to boost circulation. I leave it for 3 minutes (or a bit more, depending on my feelings) using my phone as a timer and rinse (not hot water, I know my lesson). 

My verdict: My hair is much better to manage to comb with a wide-tooth comb and less tangled when I run my fingers through it when it's dry, I'm giving a yay to the scent for not being too strong or overwhelming. I just have to remember to not use this when i'm styling my hair because since my hair's super slippery and silky, the curls may not hold. I can, however, use this after a photoshoot or event where my hair needs to be heat-styled and sprayed to hold. Without blow-drying my hair, it looks more human hair than barbed wire and since my wavy hair is prone to frizz, this actually minimizes the frizz it naturally has. 

This is already available in the market by the way. An 180-mL bottle costs Php159.00 while if you would be a regular user or have longer and thicker hair, you may want to avail of the 340-mL tube for Php259.00. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Polecats Manila in 360 Fitness Plus Alabang

For those who live in the South, this is good news.

Polecats Manila comes to Alabang! For all you people who want to try pole dancing but find Ortigas too far or if you are a Polecats student who lives near Alabang who would still want to get your pole fix, this is for you!!! Polecats Manila will be holding classes in 360 Fitness Plus Alabang really, really soon. Yaaay!

The launch was held yesterday offering two free trial beginner classes open to both men and women. And no, there is no need for prerequisite dance background, fitness background or natural-born skills. All you need is to just try it and have fun. And a pair of teeny tiny shorts and skin with no lotion or moisturizing elements.

Beginner's class taught by Momma Cat Christina Dy

Tomcat Mikko Ignacio teaches the boys on men's pole.

It's awesome to know that what once started as a dream four years ago became a reality - a premiere pole dance  and aerial arts school with a lot of accomplishments under its belt with growing family members some of them winning international pole competitions. Their students as well have also brought pride to the school winning pole dance competitions both locally and abroad. As of the moment, they are conducting a training program for future pole dance instructors.

Polecats Manila going #beyondlimits

All pole classes are taught by qualified pole dance instructors certified by the International Pole Dance Fitness Association, Viva Vertical, and XPERT Pole Fitness. Classes are designed with a comprehensive pole curriculum that emphasizes proper technique and most of all, safety. We want to prolong our pole dance life of course! And yes, we do not expect handsprings come day 1, if any one of you are scared.

Classes will start on March 3, 2015 and classes for pole dance at 360 Fitness Alabang would be Tuesdays 8:30 p.m. and Sundays 2:00 p.m.  The rates are at Php 250 for members and non-members would be Php 500.

New Alabang Students! Join Stellar!!!!

So let's turn our world upside-down shall we? Few more months till summer!!!!

360 Fitness Plus Alabang is located at Westgate Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Their contact numbers are 801-1017 and 0917-5180923