Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Quickest Makeup Tutorial Ever

Peak season for makeup artists means we have earlier call times on certain days. An earlier start at the office means I have to shave off a lot on morning rituals, than say an afternoon or mid-morning call time. I do quick morning workouts to jump-start my system and pre-prepare my breakfast (because you know me, I should never miss a good breakfast) of overnight oats, giving myself more time to spare. Since I have to go to work, I should make the effort of looking a bit more presentable, whether I'm teaching a morning yoga class or working on a wedding or a shoot. Since there's no time to do like the usual shebang of a 2-hour hair and makeup routine, I worked on a quick routine which makes me look made up while faking a good night's sleep. This routine also gives me more time for a better breakfast or time traffic allowance.

This look is easy, clean and versatile and achievable by anyone. It also uses less tools so it's super efficient. To make things more efficient, I placed everything I'm going to need in one makeup bag. 

Shortcut your prep time by placing all the makeup you need in one kit.
Better if the cat is asleep too.
Placing everything in one bag just zeroes in on what we would be using. It also keeps me focused on the routine so there's no more temptation to experiment on eyeshadow combos. Save that for a later call time. 

Create a perfect base

Products used:
Pond's Age Miracle BB Cream in Beige
Revlon Colorstay Concealer in Medium
After skin care and primer, I applied concealer on redness and dark circles and blended this evenly. If you want more coverage, use a BB cream before concealer. BB creams are like one of the best inventions of modern-day makeup because it creates a super smooth, flawless base while caring for your skin. 

Set your base

Product Used:
Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation
We can get away with powder in colder climates but since we live in a humid country, powder has been the best friend of every Pinay I know. To know if I set my base right, I give my skin a tap. If it feels powdery and velvety with no "stick", it's good. 

Define your brows

Product Used:
 K-Palette Lasting 2-Way Eyebrow Pencil
Use a brow pen or a brow pencil to define the brows and avoid looking funny. A long-lasting formula is awesome especially for long work days, so I don't end up with a half-brow come midday.

Apply some blush

Product used:
Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in Gorgeous Berries
Blush makes you look not dead. If you have  a super early call time, this also fakes the sallowness from lack of sleep. 

Define eyes.

Product Used:
L'Oreal Paris Super Liner Superstar in Black
We love our eyes and eyeliner is our best friend. I'm thinking aside from lipsticks and powders, eyeliner is one of the most favorite makeup products. I know a friend who doesn't wear makeup anymore except eyeliner in a graphic cat eye. So yes, eyeliner is important in creating wide-awake eyes. What I did here is just to line super close to the lash roots, creating the illusion of thicker lashes and wider eyes. With this technique, I won't have to worry about winged eyeliner being even or super straight lines. I used black in this look but you can go crazy and use colored or metallic eyeliner.

Thicken those lashes

Product used:
Fairydrops Volume Burst Waterproof Mascara
In an effort to bring more attention to eyes sans eyeshadow, curl your eyelashes and be generous with mascara. Hello, eyes! 

Apply lipstick

Product Used:
Happy Skin x Disney Princess Moisturizing Matte Lippie in Aurora

Choose any lipstick you like that matches your blush. You can go with a neutral shade or a pop of color as shown below:
Product Used:
Sephora Collection Color Lip Last Lipstick in Royal Raspberry

Highlight For A Final Touch

Product Used:
MAC Iridescent Powder in Coupe D'Chic
(MAC Cinderella Collection)
We like things all pretty and healthy-shiny, instead of shiny-oily or dull matte. Highlight creates dimension and gorgeous glow. Apply highlight on the tops of the cheeks, browbone, and maybe the bridge of the nose and the chin.

Complete Looks:

with natural-colored lipstick

with  a bright berry hue
This is something really quick you can do when you're going to work or going somewhere early and you don't have that much time or if you would want to spend more time with say, getting 10 minutes extra home workout or maybe a nicer breakfast. The quick look also doesn't compromise a lot. It would probably take around 10 minutes to do, and when you've memorized the moves, maybe 5 minutes? Let me know how it goes and what products you used.

Store Directory:

Fairy Drops;

Happy Skin
Glorietta 3, Ayala Grand Mall; Greenbelt 5, 2/F; Powerplant Mall 2/F; Robinson's Magnolia 2/F; SM Megamall, 2/F Mega Fashion Hall; Eastwood Mall, 1/F; UP Town Center, 1/F; available at Rustan's Beauty Source, Beauty Bar, and Plains and Prints;;;

Available at Beauty Bar;;

L'Oreal Paris
Available at all leading groceries, beauty hubs, and department stores nationwide;;;

Click here for a complete list of stores;;;; 

Make Up For Ever
2/F Mega Fashion Hall Building D, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, (02) 631-5681; G/F Greenbelt 3, Makati City, (02) 621-5248; 1/F TriNoMa Mall, Quezon City, (0915) 990-9571; 2/F Main Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City (0919) 273-4805;;

Max Factor
available in all leading department stores and beauty hubs nationwide;;;

available at all leading department stores, drugstores, and supermarkets

available at all leading department stores nationwide;;; 


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Space To Love: Footworks Dance Studio and shoot BTS

Last Friday, I had a shoot with the pole and aerial teachers from Footworks Dance Studio. Footworks Dance Studio is located in Katipunan Avenue. It's located on the Southbound lane of Katipunan, right before Tokyo Bubble Tea. If you're coming from Capitol Hills or Balara, just go down the road of Katipunan, take the flyover, and start keeping right. It's located after the small restos and the Quirino Memorial Center. The building is sort of yellow, and the same building as Elorde. If you're coming from Eastwood/Taguig, just take C5 and go to Katipunan, make a U-turn under the flyover and you will see the building on the right.

From Footworks Facebook page

Footworks Dance Studio holds aerial silk, aerial hoop, pole dance, TRX, and aerial yoga classes taught by Polecats Manila teachers. This is for people who live in the QC/Libis/Marikina area who find the Ortigas studio too far.

From Footworks Facebook page

The studio currently has 5 X-Pole chrome poles, 4 aerial hoops, and 4 aerial silks to get your aerial fix.

Check out the super cute graffiti as well that spell "Footworks"

A photo posted by Bambi De la Cruz 🐱🐯 (@bambikitty) on

I have to give myself a pat on the back for my set-up and pack-up skills. That light source there comes from my light table, which is a smaller one that I use if I need to save space on my workstation. I use a mix of yellow and white lights for my station. When people ask me why, I say if it were an all-white station they would hate me for it because it would be too bright for their eyes. I also personally like a mix of yellow and white so I get the right daylight mix and warmth for photo purposes.

Aside from pole, hoop, and silk, Footworks also has other classes which can compliment your choice of aerial workout. There's aerial yoga, which helps you stretch tight muscles, destress, and create balance.

From Footworks Facebook page
Flexibility increases your range of motion safer as you work towards your backbends, splits, and all those flexi tricks.  It also helps with active flexibility and balances your strength with bendiness. Because pole dancing is still a dance, there's also pole dance classes to improve on floorwork. There would be a new class added, called Pole Flow, which helps with floorwork, transitions, and of course feelings (yes! feelings are important), for pretty, poetic pole dance numbers and concepts.

Our shoot had a total of six teachers. Let me show you the makeup I did on the 4 teachers.

Amaya teaches Flexibility and Aerial Hoop. She loves her trademark winged eyeliner so I gave her winged eyeliner (If you look closely, I did some sort of graphic ombre cat eyeliner) with long lashes. The rest was kept neutral, although a bit on the warm side. The eyes I have to sort of smoke things up, just for pictorial purposes, for definition,

Bianca teaches pole dance. She's a ballerina too! The look here is quite rosy, but even though I did use pinks and roses in this color, I didn't make it super pastel-y, girly pink, which is also not my style. It's an in-between of clean and glam but not all sweet.

Kit teaches Aerial Yoga. For male grooming, I always apply my male signature the "naturally flawless and defined" look, and updated the technique I have from my "Queen of Male Grooming" days circa 2008-2009 to the "Khaleesi of Male Grooming". Males do not really wear makeup on a regular basis so I should make the makeup look like flawless skin. I also defined brows and added a natural flush and contours for warmth, not for taga-level shaping.

Tippi teaches pole dance and beginner's pole. She's one lucky girl who looks great in pinks and purples for eye makeup. This look reminded me of Emily Blunt in Devil Wears Prada. I used this for her second look, when she was doing her photos with pole (her headshot just had her in subtle brown smokey eyes). The lipstick coincidentally is her favorite lipstick shade, Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry.

Top Row: Amaya and Kiara
Bottom Row: Bianca, Kayleen, Kit, and Tippi
Photo from the Footworks Facebook page

Kiara also did makeup on Kayleen as well as herself (she's also a Footworks teacher, teaching pole and TRX). I haven't seen Kiara in ages and this was also a wonderful time to catch up with her and all.

It was a rainy day but inside the studio was almost like a sunshine-y summer with these group of people. I'll share the photos when they come out! Thank you to Team Footworks for a fantastic Friday.

Image Directory:

Graffiti photo and makeup documentation from the author

Photos of the studio, Flexibility photo, and group photo from Footworks Facebook Page


Footworks Dance Studio 
4th Floor 213 Katipunan Avenue Extension, Blue Ridge, Quezon City

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Night Of Magic With Cinderella

There's something about fairytales that still enchants us, no matter what age we may be. Despite many re-tellings and adaptations of various fairytales, we view each version with fresh eyes, as if it would be the first time to watch, no matter how much the story was read  to us as children. I've both read and watched several versions of the story Cinderella. When I was a child, there was a constant debate with an old playmate on who was the better princess - Snow White or Cinderella, which went on for months it needed grownup intervention. I liked Cinderella more because of the story and the songs. Maybe it's her affinity towards animals (errr, maybe except the part that she's friends with mice) or she had super cute shoes and she had a calming voice as she sang "Sing Sweet Nightingale" while doing her house chores.

Just last night, I watched yet another version of Cinderella, this time a full-length ballet production brought by Ballet Manila. This show is choreographed by none other than Ballet Manila's artistic director herself, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde (who also portrays Cinderella's Fairy Godmother).

Lisa Macuja Elizalde portrays Cinderella's Fairy Godmother.
Photo by Ocs Alvarez 
As a ballet dancer,  Lisa herself has never had the chance to portray Cinderella (describing this role as "the one that got away") .  Now, she interprets not just the role of this princess but also the other characters that make up this story as she, along with Osias Barroso choreograph this full-length ballet show.

Cinderella with her evil stepsisters. 
The fairy tale Cinderella teaches us to continue dreaming and believing as well as to have courage and be kind. As Danielle de Barbarac (in Ever After, a movie also based on Cinderella), she takes matters as well in her own hands and takes charge of her life. Being a very popular fairy tale and whatever version you might remember, Cinderella has a way of reaching out to us. What makes this ballet version of Cinderella special is that this has a universal appeal to both adults and children alike. The musical score includes familiar music from two very popular versions of the fairy tale - the Disney version (A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, Bibbid-Bobbid-Boo, Work Song, So This is Love, etc)  and the Rodgers and Hammerstein version (Ten Minutes Ago, Stepsister's Lament). I remember during the press preview, the little girl beside me was so excited when "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" played and was humming to it. Using music from the popular versions makes it easily appreciated even by those who do not watch ballet on a regular basis. It sort of ties everything together making it relatable from parents to children and even to someone who would be watching a full-length ballet for the first time.

A bit of magic, hope, and love. The Fairy Godmother arrives and gives Cinderella comfort.

colorful costumes as Cinderella meets her prince at the ball
The costumes and sets were full of color and all things gorgeous and sparkly. Cinderella's blue ball gown costume kind of reminds me as well of the gown the princess wore in the movie version, the one with Lily Cole (at one point, I looked if there would be a glass slipper version of pointe shoes). I must also commend the costume change from Cinderella's rags to her ball gown that happened in the finale of Act 1 because that was literally almost like magic happening onstage.  The costume of the Evil Stepmother (played by Jonathan Janolo in drag who gave the role a very lighthearted comedic flavor) reminded me as well of Lady Tremaine in the cartoon version, from the hair with the white streak down to the maroon dress. The atmosphere was very happy and light and with all the colors and sparkles, it kind of reminded me of happy childhood, reliving an old classic fairy tale we grew to love.

The Dance Tutor, Cinderella, and her Evil Stepmother
Photo by Ocs Alvarez
They also added several elements and characteristics  that give nod to modern times, such as the Dance Tutor who taught the Stepsisters how to dance for the ball. That probably had to be one of my most favorite scenes I was amused at the characterization of the dance instructor which actually reminds me of super stereotype  "fasyon" type of artist during modern times.

I was really enjoying the whole play I didn't realize the show would almost be over. The show was an entertainment to everyone.  The children in the audience were very happy and identifying characters and getting excited. This is so perfect in welcoming December and the Holidays are coming and amidst the Christmas rush and the stress and the horrible traffic that gets worse every single day of our lives, we just need something that make us feel good and just feel happy. With what's happening, we certainly need good vibes and optmism and just relive the magic we enjoyed as kids.

Cinderella by Ballet Manila would have another show today at 3 pm as well as two other shows next weekend: Dec 3 at 8 pm and another one on December 4 at 3 pm (perfect for a whole family affair as the children won't stay up past bedtime). I promise a wonderful family affair for everyone.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Summer in November

Hello all! I just had an amazing vacation at the beach last week and with all the crazy things have been happening and with things just getting crazier with the traffic as Christmas draws in closer, I thought, that even an overnight stay of sun, salty air, sea, would be good, right? I took photos, swam, tanned, and even tried a 15-minute snorkeling experience and saw huge fishies! You know what? I didn't even need to use a boat because their were fishies even just a few meters from the sand!

This was a hotel staycation-accidentally turned beach road trip since the hotel wasn't available but no worries, since I never say no to a good dose of saltwater. Besides, my last beach trip was what? 2014? The resort of choice is probably familiar already to some, but it nevertheless still is gorgeous - La Luz Beach Resort in San Juan, Batangas. It's just 2 to 2-1/2 hours away from Manila.

Back in Paradise.
Swimwear by I Love Koi
This beach is great for families, friends, couples, or even a solo YOLO trip. Rates are affordable and during the summer, I see quite a lot of student get-togethers. We chose a perfect time to go here on a non-peak season on a weekday. Weekdays mean less traffic going out-of-town, less crowded beaches, and this month was just perfect because it's still tan-friendly sunny. The water is super clear (no seaweeds!) and with less people, it's almost like having the beach to yourself and no need to be super conscious about the perfect beach selfie.

The sand is just a bit on the coarse side, but it's still okay. There are cabanas if you want to enjoy the beach under the shade (while getting a massage) or if you're like me, a sun worshipper, go ahead and bask yourself under the sun in the gorgeous, cushy white lounge chairs.

A junior premier room is around Php3,600 a night plus 1,485 charge for meals per person. They have other rooms to fit larger groups and families. Don't worry because there are airconditioned rooms and WiFi is available so you can upload your photos in Facebook and Instagram and get updates in Viber and Twitter. You would need however to bring your personal toiletries and maybe a microfiber towel for the beach. There are also other activities to do to enjoy the beach like sports and board games. I did try a bit of snorkelling but I only stayed for 15 minutes since I get really claustrophobic with the mask. It was a pretty sight under water though.

Food was okay and buffet style. They actually have a newly-renovated dining area and from the looks of it, it looks great for a wedding reception. La luz has been known to be a nice prenup shoot location and of course, I think it's perfect for a wedding as well.

I was also able to do a bit of early morning 6 am yoga by the beach. Bring your own mat or use a beach blanket.  The sound of the waves was enough calming to do during meditation and savasanna.

More tanning in the morning!

For some reason, I always meet animal friends wherever I go. I met two baby kitty friends in the dining area - a white and orange and a calico one.

The white one accompanied me at the beach

The resort also had a resident dog. She's very sweet.

She was just by my side while I was at the beach. She's very gentle.

I've been here thrice - twice for work and once in 2014 for a yolo beach trip. I guess this was the best trip I had so far since the weather was perfect and the beach was super quiet with clear waters.  I would definitely come back here and maybe stay a bit longer than overnight. I super love beach trips and I wouldn't mind a few days away from Manila for this and I wish for more beach trips in the future for work or for chillax (hint hint!)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Tips For A Hassle-Free Holiday

Can you believe Christmas is coming really fast? Time does fly! Bazaars are coming up and if you visit a Starbucks branch, you may notice that the holiday drinks are already here (I'm so glad Peppermint Mocha is here as that's my ultimate favorite Holiday drink, nonfat decaf please!).

With Christmas season comes traffic. Every December Friday, I always find myself stuck in horrible traffic due to the countless parties people rush to after work. Parking in the malls have been harder due to holiday get-togethers or some Christmas party somewhere. Last year, just weeks after I got the car repaired from a hit-and-run bump, the car got another bump because a guy cut me while in a hurry to go to a Christmas party. So guys, just an advice, drive carefully, don't rush, and if you're an inexperienced driver, just take GrabCar or Uber.  

Minimize stress from Christmas traffic
Traffic is unavoidable and as the Christmas rush can cause stress, I thought of ways to make Christmas enjoyable and just lessen the hassle. With less hassle, hopefully we can be jolly and bright instead of The Grinch this holiday season, just a little bit.

Online Shopping

Give yourself or your loved ones the gift of beauty by ordering at
Do your Christmas shopping at the comfort of your own home, office, a coffee shop while waiting for your car wash, or while getting a pedicure or your hair done. It saves on transportation and gas and also makes use of your time rather than sitting in traffic. In fact, you can even shop while in traffic, as long as you're not the driver of course. For your makeup junkie friend, log on to to check out beauty bundles or their favorite lipstick, skincare, or that limited edition product they have been lemming for. Support also our local economy by shopping at the sites of our local designers and entrepreneurs. 

A photo posted by Anna the Backstage Baker (@thebackstagebaker) on

Aside from clothes, makeup, and skincare you can also buy baked goodies to give away for your officemates. Check out various baking entrepreneurs, get their calling cards and order in advance as there can be a long waitlist when Christmas approaches. 

Home Get-Togethers

Instead of Christmas get-togethers in a restaurant where waitlists are long and reservations are hard, organize a get-together in a friend's house instead. Make it a potluck event where everyone can bring a contribution. You can even make it a nice theme party. No problems with mall parking or pressure to finish or change location because other customers are waiting

Plan Your Events

Usually, I choose just a few parties to attend per year, to avoid being stuck on the road all the time or avoid marathon parties (2-3 parties per day). Avoid double-booking so you don't shortchange your loved ones or spend the entire day rushing and stressing on the road or a lot of Uber surge rates. It's okay to take it easy and not spread yourself too thin.


Whether you're crafty or a whiz in the kitchen, homemade gifts add a personal touch. Make use of those talents and give something homemade and personalized. You can even turn it to a small business during the season to earn a few bucks on the side.

Keep Your Usual Rituals

Do your little rituals that make you happy. They will keep you sane.

Don't skip your usual habits like workouts, weekly mani/pedis, or rush your breakfasts due to the Holiday rush. These small, familiar things keep us grounded and calm us in this very busy season. Buying that wrapping paper can wait.

Any tips that you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below.

Image Directory:

Traffic photo

Online shopping

The Backstage Baker

Store Directory:

The Backstage Baker


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Polecats7: My Pole Story

I can't believe I've been doing pole since 2011, almost 6 years and 7 years ago, the group that made me start my pole journey was born. So much has changed 7 years ago and the school just keeps growing.It wasn't just the workout that worked, it is what paved my way to becoming a stronger, healthier person. I was more open to other forms of workout and eating better (yep, my nemesis beans included. Still no monggo bean though).

Each student and teacher has a different pole story to tell. It's been going on in social media how we've all been sharing snippets of our pole stories, and it's amazing at how our journeys are. After four memories, I thought of consolidating my pole memories into one blog post. It was hard to choose which memory to choose, as there are so much stories to share from March 2011 to present, different memories to paint this picture. I also edited the order of the photos, making it more chronological.

Pole Story #1: Our first photoshoot

Our photoshoot was what started it all. I met my (future) teachers through my good friend AJ. I was really curious as to what pole was. I thought it was just like striptease workout (like the Carmen Electra workout videos) with a pole as a prop until I saw someone do an invert. I got intrigued with pole and this got my interest to take it, just for fun and curiosity. Who would have known I would be hooked?

Pole Story #2: My first pole trick photo

"If there's no photo, it's not true." This was the usual heckle from the men's pole class. This was my first pole trick photo, the plank. This isn't the proper form in so many ways (I also couldn't climb during that time) and I am currently judging the photo right now. At that time, I wanted a pole photo for Facebook. Those shorts were one of my first few pole shorts ever and I still wear them up to now. (P.S. My plank has improved since then)

Pole Story #3: Stellar 1

Stellar 1 was the first-ever pole recital and I was glad to be part of it. I was still Beg 1 at the time I joined. With only less than 100 students, we put on a fun and wonderful show. More confident than I was when I first entered class, I danced in all smiles in front of the audience. Despite that I had zero flexibility and dance background, I felt like I rocked it. And you know what, I think I did. It gave me hope that I can do it and I joined two Stellars after.

Pole Story #4: Pole Star Workshops

with Crystal Lai

with Estee Zakar

with Natasha Wang
with Marlo Fisken

I didn't learn only from my teachers. I also learned from international pole champions that visited the studio sharing their tricks and tips on getting stronger, improving your lines, learning new dance techniques, and so on. Most of their tips are practically engraved in my brain (I'm looking at all your split techniques, Crystal!) and some of these stars have become friends, even if we are miles and timezones away. It shows how closely knit the pole dance community is, you find family and home wherever you are in the world, no matter what color your skin is.

Pole Story #5: Joining A Pole Dance Competition

Seriously, how mustered enough guts to join a pole dance competition I didn't know. It was one of those you live only once moments and taking chances. The training process was hard but those are memories that I shall not forget, bruises, scars, broken skin and all. The sacrifices were worth the experience and although I didn't place, the experience, friends gained, and the bonds shared already made me feel like a real winner.

Pole Story #6: Gateway to fitness

taking up ballet

my students in Yoga For Life
The photos posted are not really pole-related but if it weren't for pole, I wouldn't try out other forms of fitness, getting into yoga because I needed to cross-train for flexibility, which eventually lead me from doing just yin to exploring vinyasa, power yoga, and becoming a yoga teacher. I tried ballet to improve my lines and to work on lower body strength. I started eating healthier so I feed my body good fuel so it can work better. I guess I know a fitness regimen works when the end goal isn't just to lose a few pounds but it becomes a lifelong commitment to be healthy.

 Pole Story #7: Learning from each other

The Mimis and teacher Kayleen from Stellar on Broadway. This has to be my most favorite Stellar ever. 
We didn't just learn from our teachers. There are lessons to learn from each other, from my classmates and colleagues. Actually, their own stories can also inspire and their own videos also inspire. I'm glad that in this small closely-knit community, I found support that I needed to stay on, for every fall, bruise, and injury. Those are one of the things that kept me motivated.

So that's my pole story. What's yours?