Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Have Nice-Looking Nails Without Polish

Giving your nails a rest day from wearing polish? Be confident to go bare and have your nails looking pretty and healthy sans colorful nail paint.

Use gloves to protect your hands

We can't scrimp on housework, we all know that. However, exposure to detergents can be harsh for our hands and nails. When scrubbing bathroom floors or washing dishes, slap on a pair of rubber gloves to protect the hands from harsh detergents and cleaning agents. You can also use laundry detergent or dishwashing liquid with moisturizing properties.

Have hand cream ready

In your purse, car, or near your kitchen sink. As you massage hand cream on your hands, don't forget to rub your cuticles too with hand and nail cream.

Buff your nails once a month

Aqua Minerals Nail Kit can be used on days when you have no time to get your nails professionally done. The buffer leaves your nails shiny even days after treatment while the hand cream cares for your hardworking hands leaving it with a nice, elegant scent.
Buffing removes rough ridges and leaves your nails smooth and shiny even without clear nail polish. Do this once a month for beautiful nails. I'm using Aqua Minerals nail kit which includes a nail file, nail buffer, cuticle oil, and hand cream to give my nails some TLC when I have no time to go to the salon. The buffer also leaves my nails shiny even days after my DIY home treatment. By the way, don't do this too often as too much buffing can weaken the nails.

Don't cut your cuticles or pull hangnails.

Telenovela queen Thalia said in her book Belleza that cuticles are like weeds. When you cut them, they just grow back. Apply cuticle remover gel instead to dissolve cuticles and push them back with a metal stick soaked with cotton. I also use Cure gel to remove dry skin and cuticles. I can't say enough about pulling hangnails. They're painful and leave you with a bleeding, painful wound.

Consider vegan or toluene-free formulas

I love dark polish, yet I know they leave my nails with a stain. I try alternating my polish with light and dark polish and when I still want to go dark, I use a vegan formula such as Zoya polish, which is gentler for my nails.

Eat better

Just like your skin, your overall health will show as well with how your nails look. Add healthy and nail-strengthening food to your diet. Also, you may take supplements for healthy nails.

Get nail-whitening treatments

There are add-on nail treatments to whiten nails. Add this to your next polish-free hand and nail pampering session to remove yellowing from dark polish stains.

Resting your nails from nail polish and nail art is actually a step in taking care of your nails, so I hope you like these prettifying tips in making your nails presentation-worthy during its rest day.

Nail polish photo from Zoya Facebook Page.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Look At the 2016 Belle De Jour Power Planner

One of the most popular planners here in the Philippines is the Belle De Jour Power Planner, which has a very good following among many women and has created a community for 10 years. It is more than just a planner with a pretty cover. Through the years, it has evolved into organizing not just your day-to-day activities but also helping you become a better you. I'm also glad to have been writing for their website in sharing my tips in beauty, fitness, and health.

So here's an overview of the 2016 Belle De Jour Power Planner.

The first few pages start you on a good note... by allowing you to give yourself  a general sketch your plan for the year. Remember when New Year's Resolutions were part of someone's practice at the start of the year? This one is something like it but a little more fun and less imposing. It lets you write out your goals - personal, health, finance, career, etc. and probably a fun dream you would like to do, like probably climbing a mountain or conquering a fear. Understandably, the goals may be subject to change. It's okay, I don't judge. It happens to me too.

The Happiness list what  you need to look at when you're feeling down, because as the page says,  "Being clear about what makes you happy is the first step to being happy."

Just like the ornaments called dreamcatchers, which filter out bad dreams and only allow good thoughts to enter our mind, the dream board does something like it. This whole blank space is to be filled with photos, doodles, sketches, designs, words, and cutouts that give you inspiration, drive, and hope. It may be something like a photo of the designer bag you've been saving up for, or a destination you would want to go to. It may be your dream house, or maybe something simple like a dish you really loved and would want to master. Basically, it's your good vibes page.

Inasmuch as we all love shopping and pampering ourselves, we also have to be reminded to be responsible of our money, and our planner helps us budget our hard-earned money and keeps track of how much we're spending, helping us save for our future.

This for me is a very important feature, the menstrual tracker. Keeping track of your monthly period isn't just avoiding the unnecessary dyahe stain by being prepared. Your period in fact, is a measurement of your overall health. My doctor asks me when there's something wrong with me how my period is. And I even get this with Western medicine. The doctor who did my annual physical exam asked me about my period, not my blood pressure, not my diet, and not my medical history. The menstrual tracker keeps track of your flow, if it's regular and if there are months when you skip or there are months that they are happening more frequent, and if you need to see a doctor.

The planner itself is full of inspiration - from the colorful designs, to the quotable quotes, and even added bonus are the tips we get every month as well as words of encouragement. It helps you take care of yourself in every single way.

The booklet full of awesome coupons from partner brands. Of course we have to treat ourselves to awesome things, right?

These are just some of the features I'll be excited to use once 2016 rolls in. Hopefully, this will get me inspired. Maybe that would be the time I get my handspring or unassisted headstand right. This is practically good vibes in a book, and if you have a really good friend or relative who would need some good vibes, this is the perfect gift.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hot New Trend: The V-Look

We're all obsessed with getting the perfect, slim, chiseled face shape. That's why we have the magical powers of contouring in the first place, where we take that extra step of shading and highlighting so we could achieve the supermodel  cheekbones and slimmer face. Others have gone to the extreme of going under the knife to taper off a few angles and achieve the perfect V-shape face, a trend among Asians. As us Asians have naturally round face shapes, this makes us look more youthful yet it can add the illusion of extra pounds in photos or can appear flat.

Without the extra step of makeup contouring and the layers of makeup sitting on your face or spending extra on a good cosmetic surgeon, the illusion of a slimmer face can be achieved through the new hairstyle trend called the V-Look, developed by L'Oreal Professionel.

This look takes inspiration from K-Pop stars, and is described as flattering in all angles and makes use of face-framing bangs, a bit of volume on the top and a few layers to get the ideal shape to flatter your own features. Aside from the perfect cut for your face shape and hair texture, hair color would be taken into consideration to give you the color that would flatter your skin tone and enhance it, no makeup necessary, sort of like, I woke-up-naturally-looking-like-this look. A pretty, fluffy-messy look that's low-maintenance. This look may also create a lot of volume, especially if your hair is fine, saving blow-drying time wrestling with your hair dryer and round brush.

Personally, I like layers to take away the weight from my hair and somehow, for wavy-haired girls like me, layers also enhances my hair's natural texture. I'm not so sure I would try bangs though on me since I don't like hair getting near my eyes when I work out, so my cut always opts for low-maintenance layers to add volume and shape. I'm always open to new color, since I color my hair.

Would you love to try this look for the season? What color would you choose? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Healthy Baon Ideas

At work, we often get served food if our work hours would extend to mealtimes. The food served are very delicious and filling but not exactly the healthiest. These include fast food meals, burgers, pizza, chips, popcorn, cupcakes, and bottles of soda and packets of instant coffee to keep the energy up and running. The classic crew meal is usually fried chicken and rice meal from fast food stalls. Imagine eating this everyday during December wedding season. We may be full but our bodies may not be getting the nutrients they need. Plus, we are exposed to refined sugars, preservatives, cholesterol, and a lot of salt, which are not very good to the body. I noticed that during those times, I would get sick towards the end of the "peak" season because I was not eating good and healthy food then yet I was working extra hard.

I started bringing my own food to shoots and work when I changed my diet after my reset diet. I discovered I felt less bloated and I was able to work properly and still have enough energy after work with no sugar crashes. I also got sick less. Cooking does take time, I admit but I think of cooking as my own "decompression" and therapy. If I know I'll be having work for several days straight, I prepare meals that can be prepared ahead of time and packed ahead and go. You notice that most of my food are recipes from my two The Sexy Chef cookbooks, but I will include also recipes I learned from my friends and online as well.

Here are some healthy baon ideas for work so you get the nutrition you need even if you're not at home. Whether you're a makeup artist like me, an athlete, or work long hours in field or office work, you may find ways on how to eat healthy as well.

Pasta and Noodles

My go-to meals are always pasta because they are easy to make and I could just throw almost anything in. For shoots or wedding gigs, I would prefer oil-based sauces instead of cream or tomato, which can spoil easily.  I use whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta to make it healthier. I do a basic aglio olio base with red pepper flakes and then add veggies. If my food won't stay in my lunch bag for a long period of time before eating, I can use a light tomato-based pasta sauce. Oh, and if I would use cheese, I include my cheese in a separate container.

Cold soba noodles are very easy to prepare and they require no heat. They contain the goodness of raw vegetables as well. Prepare this the night before and pack this in containers and store in the ref. Before you head off to work, grab a container and go.


A salad on a hot day is a refreshing. Salads can be tricky since they tend to get soggy, so here's what I do: I prepare the greens ahead of time by washing them, draining them, then cut into bite-sized pieces and storing them in airtight containers in the ref. I make crabstick mango salad, which is the perfect baon for shoots. I just keep the dressing in a separate container and just pour it over my salad when I'm ready to eat. Another salad that's great is massaged kale salad. There are a lot of recipes that can be found online for this and this is a salad that can keep long without getting too soggy. Kale also loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, which can prevent you from certain diseases.

Overnight Oats

I'm one person who never misses a proper breakfast. If my shoot is early and I have no time to actually sit down and eat breakfast and wash the dishes, I make overnight oats and store this in a mason jar. I can also make a yogurt parfait from Greek yogurt, bananas, honey, and homemade granola.


Another grab-and-go breakfast idea is a green smoothie, which can be a meal in itself. I can even have this in the car in sips while driving to work. A perfect breakfast smoothie is one I found from The Sexy Chef, which makes use of banana, apple, plain yogurt, coconut water, coconut sugar, rolled oats, spinach, and romaine lettuce. I top this with chia seeds and I'm good to go.

Rice and Quinoa meals

Nothing is as comforting as a rice and ulam meal. I prepeare this when I have a bit more time (and if I wake early enough). I usually combine quinoa with a good lean protein with some veggies on the side. If I have no quinoa as of the moment, I susbtitute with black rice or brown rice, which are nutritious. Here are some ideas I made:

teriyaki salmon with steamed broccoli and spinach served with black rice

quinoa with mushroom gyoza (store-bought) and teriyaki salmon

healthified Arroz A La Cubana from the Sexy Chef. Prepare the meat and brown rice pilaf ahead of time and just boil the egg (remove the egg white) and fry the saba in VCO the day itself.


We all want something sweet. yet we want to keep our waistlines in check. Make small cups of chia pudding to go with your food or bake some whole meal banana cupcakes. A small cup of yogurt parfait can also be made into a dessert, like this mango matcha yogurt I made from Greek Yogurt, Matcha Powder, Mangoes, chia seeds, and organic honey.

If you have no time to cook...

If you have that day when you're pressed for time to prepare a meal for that day, here are some places where you can buy food for yourself if you want to eat healthy still. If you're used to eating healthy, you can apply the same principles as well when you eat out in choosing the food that you eat in a restaurant.

Salad Bars like Juju Eats and Salad Stop can give you access to yummy and filling salads and wraps you can have to go. Check out also their desserts and cold pressed juices.

Weekend markets like the Salcedo Saturday Market and Legazspi Sunday Market also have stalls which have healthy and delicious food. If you might be working on a Sunday in Makati, you may stop over as well at the Legazpi Sunday Market to check out the healthy raw vegan desserts by Dahon Kusina. They also have healthy vegan meals and snacks that are just as flavorful. I had a chance to have a shoot one Sunday at the Legazpi Village area so I stopped by Dahon Kusina to grab a dessert to go with my baon.

Dessert to go with my food: Homemade Vegetarian JapChae with Choco Hazelnut Pie from Dahon Kusina
Food delivery services are in nowadays, especially for busy people on-the-go. They cater to your specific dietary needs (vegan, vegetarian, ovo-lacto, pescetarian, paleo, etc) and design a food plan that you would love and deliver your meals  right at your doorstep. One of our sponsors at our BDJBox Makeup Parties, V Kitchen, provides yummy and healthy vegetarian and vegan selections that do not scrimp on flavor and nutrition value without breaking the bank.

Healthy food provided by V Kitchen in our BDJBox Makeup Party Last August. Check them out in Facebook and Instagram

I'm glad that there are so many ways to get the right nutrition nowadays, from cooking your own meals to food delivery services, to alternative healthy takeout places. With today's busy schedule, there's so much more reason to eat healthy so our body gets the proper nutrition to be able to work properly. Try switching your diet for a few days and see the energy difference. You may notice that you would get sick less and you save yourself the trip to the doctor or expensive medicines and the hassle of getting sick. I admit that cooking and eating healthily takes a lot more effort than just grabbing a burger meal from the fast food joint a few cartwheels away from your office door. However, your health is the best gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones, and just as you work hard, give yourself the proper tools to be able to do so. :) Have fun eating healthy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Happy Fancy Feast Cat-urday

So I had a wonderful Saturday last week or I should say CAT-urday because I got to spend the afternoon with kitties and cat parents and cat lovers as I attended Fancy Feast's Cat Crafternoon. This one has been my fourth time attending it and I love attending these events because it gives me time to bond with other cat people and learn better ways to take care of my furbabies.

For the past events that I have attended, I usually don't bring my cats. This time, I brought Burt, who loves Fancy Feast and would be much more well-adjusted and more social. My baby Burtie behaved so well and seems like he enjoyed the attention he got too.

I realize today that Burt is a big cat. Well, I guess it's all the love too we give him. I love the Japanese-style tea party setting where we sit on the floor with cushy throw pillows and get served tea and food. I probably wolfed down my food so I wasn't able to take photos.

The furbabies also got their food, Fancy Feast of course.

We were taught this time how to make accessories for our furbabies. The Toms would be dapper with bowties while the lovely queens would have rosettes.

We used a no-sew technique using craft glue. You can also sew them too, since it's more durable that way. It's also a great way to recycle fabric scraps. The bow is attached to their collar using a garter.   This one's for Burt. I'm making one for Candy when I get home. I put the bowtie on Burtie and he seems to like it though. My baby was so behaved the entire time, which gave me all the opportunity in the world for cuddles and hugs.

We also learned about basic first aid and cat grooming via Dr. Racky Velasquez of Mt. Sinai Vet Clinic. Dr. Racky also treated Burt before, when I had to bring him to the clinic when he was feeling lethargic.

I learned how to check for ear mites and clean cat's ears the right way as well as trim their nails. I give my cats a bath monthly (weekly or twice a month during summer or hot months) and I got good tips on how it would be a better experience for them.

Burt found a friend in Riley, who's the daughter of my pole friend Kiara.

He also seemed to be in deep conversation with this kitty.

We met this handsome cat named Boris, who's the furbaby of Candy's Tita Karen.

Cuddling up with mommy the whole time. Burt is such a sweet baby cat.

We also went home with Fancy Feast goodies and treats, which he would gladly share with his Kuya Candy

This was an awesome time to socialize Burt more and also get to know other cat people and share our stories. Learning to make cat furniture and cat toys would also save me money from buying expensive toys and also up my craft skills. I'm super happy I got invited to this Cat Crafternoon and I'm super looking forward to more Cat Crafternoons with my furbabies. Hopefully, next time I get to bring Candy too and have more of my cat mom friends join.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Nude Lipsticks to Love

I'm a lipstick and brow product junkie. Even without a full face of makeup - brows, lipstick, and a bit of powder on the T-zone is my super quick go-to look when I need to look more human without going over-the-top. I'm always on the lookout for nice brow products and I collect lipsticks of almost every color. I've lost count of how many lipsticks I own, both for personal and gig use.

I'm afraid of wearing nude lipsticks on their own because I always thought I'd look dead. If I do wear nude lipstick, it;s usually with a very heavy or dramatic smokey eye or cat eye. Fortunately, nude lipstick doesn't necessarily mean looking dead. There are also nude lippies which give a nice and clean look to the face, or a my-lips-but-better natural look. No need for heavy smokey eyes for some. They look great just like that or with help of eyeliner and mascara, just for more definition.

Some of my favorite nudes

1. NYX soft matte lip creme in Abu Dhabi 

I discovered this a couple of months ago when my friend Jinky and I were shopping for makeup at SM. This pretty nude shade looked great on me and the brown isn't too muddy.
wearing Abu Dhabi during a cat cafe visit

The liquid dries matte and doesn't budge or feather too much. Also, it's quite blendable with other lipliner colors.

2. Happy Skin Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Matte Lippie in Too Cool

 This is a limited edition lipstick that is actually a collaboration between the brand and Preview magazine for Preview's 20th anniversary. Such a pretty color that's not drying and also it's super pigmented. It may be pale and almost skin tone on swatch, but I actually like wearing it with just me defining my brows and powder on my T-zone.

3. MAC lipstick in Hug Me

This is one of MAC's lustre finishes that I like. Hug Me is an awesome sheer shade that photographs well in beauty shoots. I use this for ladies who are scared of a bit of color on their lips. In shoots, I layer this with a neutral mauve lipstick for a nice, natural my-lips-but-better look.

4. Revlon Lipstick in Pink Cognito

I got this in our August BDJ Elite Box along with an array of other Revlon goodies. Glides like butter and gives a nice rosey shine without looking too psychedelic. Use this on your own or as a gloss. There's a bit of reflective particles and for some who would want more coverage, I suggest using a lipliner for this.

5. MAC Lipstick in Blankety 

This is pale as pale as can be, almost white on swatch. I know others can wear this on their own and it looks fine on them. Since this is a super pale lipstick in a nice creme finish, I go heavy on my eye makeup wearing this, so the look isn't too lost and I don't look like I need a blood transfusion. I also wear this with lipliner since it's not too pigmented like Too Cool. But it's a really pretty shade if you're going for the 60s sex kitten look or Victoria's Secret smokey-eyed model.

6. Fashion 21 lipstick in Ginger

Fantastic color payoff without sacrificing moisture quality. It looks great on my lips with a hint of coral and neutral brown. I used to be scared of browns because I thought it makes me look muddy but it actually worked on me. Also, it's super cheap. I can take this to travels as well, since it's such a nice warm neutral color to wear for everyday. I should steer this from higher temperatures though because it's prone to melting. Or maybe, I can depot this to a lip palette.

Any lipstick that you would like to  share?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

When Yoga Saved The Day

I was feeling quite down last week. As some of my friends know, the car got into an accident while it was parked when I taught a class QC. The damage was just small, and I'm lucky to have it still up and running very normally. I got ticked off a lot though because the driver who did the damage didn't owe up to his or her responsibility and just took off and left. There was no CCTV available so we weren't able to trace the culprit except for a few clues that it was a white car about the same height as mine or probably lower, like a sedan or something, from the paint and the location of the damage. The guards weren't even helpful though, and seemed to wash their hands off the whole thing and would rather have a lazy shift Sunday twiddling thumbs.  Ugh!

Anyway,  while letting insurance taking care of everything, I had to get back to real life so I maximized last Wednesday going to the insurance to have them estimate the damage. While it took only minutes, I was able to find decent parking too since I had some work in the morning (nope, not doing street parking this time, I was able to get a decent parking at a parking lot) and then stopped by for tea at a nearby tea place since I was way too early for my call time (30 minutes) and the studio was closed. 

Thanks for the message, Sip. I missed your real brewed teas (I had the sweetness adjusted and lowered to 30%) and your chicken chops are superb. Work finished relatively early so I transferred the car to Greenbelt then and waited for my next appointment there, anyway.

I looked forward for this next appointment though because it was the press preview of the Global Mala Project happening this September 26 at WhiteSpace Manila.

This is the largest unified worldwide yoga event in line with the United Nation's Day of Peace and the Fall Equinox.

This event is designed to promote peace and positive change through yoga as well as raise social consciousness and funds for noteworthy causes. This year's benefit happens to be Children's International.

Friends and yogis have been going to this event, which is like a yoga buffet with various classes ranging from ashtanga to power yoga as well as quiet and restorative yin yoga classes. There are also talks and demos as well as master classes, for yogis who would want to go deeper into their practices. 

The event is actually a private Vinyasa class followed by a quiet meditation class (like an extended Savasanna), a yang to yin type of class, something that I look forward to. I miss practicing in a class and this might be just what I needed.

Thanks to Manduka for all these mats we used to practice. Cushy for my wrists because we did an arm balance.

Leading the Vinyasa class is Nikki Torres of Beyond Yoga. Nikki is my yoga teacher and the class made me miss her classes a lot, even the DOMs I feel after. She teaches Vinyasa Yoga and Yin Yoga as well as Zumba and maintains a fitness blog - Pretty Darn Fit.

Nikki talks about connections, which eventually became important during the practice. Yoga is all about connection, and we also connect our poses to the breath. Most especially, the principle of connection became important during our peak pose, Bakasana or crow pose. I'm still not comfy with my own bakasana though but at least I was able to do a jump back.

Probably my favorite and most stable inversion ever, the shoulder stand.

Held this a bit longer than expected. Felt the effects on my tired legs.

A long savasanna was held after her very yang class and a meditation practice was done by Francois Flaviano of Bliss Yoga, leaving us refreshed and relaxed and a perfect way to end the day. My legs are happy with a slight burn.

Water to rehydrate after a class. Thanks Certified Calm for providing these! Love the steel glasses too I wanted to take the one I used home with me.

Glad to see these yoginis again. Hi Bri, Jane, and Nikki!

Yoga always leaves me hungry after a class and actually after this, instead of craving a big slice of cake or a greasy burger, I went to a Vietnamese restaurant and ordered a bowl of vegetarian pho, rewarding my body (and soul!) something good for it. I think I needed that flow and get in touch with myself (just as Nikki said about connection) and shake off the downy-dump vibe.