Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brush Review: MAC 188 Brush

I guess every MAC or makeup addict agrees that a stippling brush is considered a "cordless airbrush, no electricity or PSI computation involved" when it comes to foundation application. I'm a fan of the stippling brush, and I've had two SE 187 brushes since I collected the red brush collection and I absolutely love how it quickly blends to the skin so foundation does not look like makeup and the skin looks like skin. Blend properly and we no longer get the "brush streak" marks.

Mikey, a good friend of mine, who's my birthday twin (his birthday is next to mine) got me an early birthday present when he came home from his US summer vacation, and it's the mini but full-sized version of the 187 brush. Called the 188 brush or the Small Duo Fibre Face Brush, this is also one favorite of MAC makeup artists, and delivers quite fantastically, even if it's half the width of the 187 brush.

Here's a picture of my baby, which I just washed, so it's pretty clean. This is actually a blend of natural goat hair (the black part) and synthetic fibres (the white part), hence the name duo fibre face brush. It's used to usually blend liquid foundation on the face in a smooth, airbrush finish. The width is actually very small. Here, let me show you the comparison between a 188 and a 187. I used here my SH 187 from the red holiday collection a few years back, which is actually quite similar to the full-size one.

Its size actually works up to its advantage since that means it could reach hard-to-reach areas a regular 187 couldn't. I've had times where I still need to smoothen in the foundation at the corners of the nose and the undereye area with a wedge sponge or my index finger should my 187 not reach that.

Here's how we could use the 188 brush:

  • For-all-over foundation application. It can be a bit more time-consuming though than a 187 brush because of its size, but it really provides excellent coverage especially on the hard-to reach areas. This is perfect for beauty editorials or for 1 or two faces when we have more time since perfect coverage is easier to achieve with this brush. When applied correctly, up close, foundation could be almost undetectable.
  • For blending in concealer and foundation. Its width is perfect for the undereye area. For a perfect finish, "stipple" concealer on a blemish with your 188 brush. Blend edges till no brush streaks are seen and set with powder
  • In conjunction with other brushes. Use a flat foundation brush like the 190 or 191 or the 188 brush to apply foundation first and fine-tune areas with the 188 brush. This works when you're pressed for time like in a fashion show or a play.
  • Application of strong-colored blush. If you want the bright fushia to appear just raspberry windburnt pink on the cheeks rather than clownish, here's where the 188 brush helps. Lightly tap the brush on the pan, tap off excess, and blend in the color to the face. The result is more subtle than using a densely-packed brush. The same way goes for mineral highlighters.
This currently costs Php2,050 at all MAC counters. I actually like it and I would highly recommend this for foundation application especially if I'm doing makeup on a bride or a beauty editorial. It works excellent for liquid foundaton such as Studiofix, Select Sheer, Mineralize Skinfinish, and Studiosculpt. For cream-based foundations like Studio Tech or Full Coverage, a flat paddle brush like 191 or 190 would be much suited.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pink Lipsticks, Pink Dresses, and Pink Overload: Working for Legally Blonde The Musical

When I found out that Atlantis Productions would be staging Legally Blonde The Musical, I got really excited. Legally Blonde is one of my favorite movies of all time. Elle Woods is the best protagonist showing that being pretty, kikay, and fun does not necessarily equate to being dumb. Of course having pink as my pick-me-up color too makes me love the pink stage, pink lights, and pink overload. When I heard that MAC would again be the makeup sponsor for the show and I got the email, my answer was a big fat YES to do makeup for the shows armed with four of my pink MAC lipsticks.

Last week was Legally Blonde's first week and I did makeup for some of the shows and the tech runs. It's been both fun and tiring but I'm enjoying every minute of it. I did get to watch the show during the Saturday matinee run and I so loved it. Nikki Gil was such a cute Elle Woods and the blonde wig and pink lipstick (Pink Nouveau, nonetheless) looked perfect on her. I was laughing hard at some of her comedic antics as Elle Woods and it was quite a surprise to me since I've always pictured her as having just serious roles.

Backstage, here's what's in store though.Makeup and wigs await.

Again, not only does this opportunity mesh both my loves makeup and musical theater, but it also gives me the chance to practice my skill. Doing Legally Blonde is another challenge. Although this is my third time to do makeup on theater. Legally Blonde is staged at a much larger theater than the last two shows. So, application needed to be heavier and the features of the actors still had to be seen and defined even by the audience at the balcony. The makeup also needed to withstand the high energy levels of the dancing and singing yet stay true to the character.

Oh, and this post of course would not be complete without pictures.

Rock icon Jett Pangan portrays the role of the toughest law professor in Harvard Law School, Professor Callahan.

Guji Lorenzana gets groomed by makeup artist Ning Tadena. Guji portrays Warner, Elle's ex-boyfriend who dumps her for Law School and a more "serious" girlfriend.

Emmet Forrest, Elle's new love interest who has "seen beyond all the blonde to her mind" is played by Nyoy Volante.
When I did makeup for Nyoy, I jokingly asked him if he should look like he really "hasn't slept since 1995" as Emmet's character claims when he narrates to Elle how he struggled two jobs and Harvard Law School.

A notable character would be Paulette, Elle's newfound friend. The motion picture had Jennifer Coolidge portray the quirky parlorista. In this local production's musical, singer Jinky Llamanzares takes the role. Paulette's character makeup was described as "almost draggy" with blue smoky eyes and loud pinks on her lips and cheeks. Jinky's such an amazing singer. When I heard her sing Paulette's solo "Ireland," I literally got goosebumps.
Offstage, she's so fun and quirky like Paulette and the crew simply adores her. Makeup time is definitely fun with her around. The two men in Paulette's life, Dewey (her ex-boyfriend) and Kyle (the UPS guy) is portrayed by Calvin Millado. The short-shorts and extremity-hugging UPS uniform was instant riot and cheer as he sashayed on the stage as Kyle B. O'Boyle.

More pictures during makeup time:

Legally Blonde runs from June 25 to July 18, 2010 at the Meralco Theatre. For tickets, you could call Atlantis at 8927078 or Ticketworld at 891-9999

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Organic Haul from Human Nature

With the trend going green and natural now, I'm glad that there are all-natural products that are being sold in the market now that are not only skin-friendly but also Earth-friendly. I guess it's sorta going "old school" with beauty and skin care, like taking inspiration back during the days when commercially sold-soaps and detergents and chemical synthesis of compounds were not yet available. Not do we pick and grind tree barks or pound leaves abd slather these on ourselves. We just take inspiration and our cue to their benefits and incorporate them to something that's more useful and in a less "raw" form.

I tried a few of these organic products and some of my favorites are found in a brand called Human Nature. The word "heart" in the URL is actually the heart symbol. I've been introduced to the brand when a makeup artist at work used the Cleanser and Makeup Remover and he swore by it. I've had good reviews about it from my models and clients whom I use the product to, so I tried exploring the brand more. I found a small stall in Glorietta 3 that sells organic products so I thought I'd give it a try.

Anyway, so far, here are my Human Nature products that I love and swear by.What I also like with Human Nature products is also their different variants on some of the products, so the fickle minded person that I am can explore various choices and opt for a different "flavor" of let's say hair masque or scrub. The prices are not bad too. Each of these products here on the picture cost about only Php100!

The Cleanser and Makeup Remover caught my attention since I've been looking for a relatively mild wipe-off facial cleanser that I could use in place of my conventional one. This cleanser has honey and cocoa butter, which are fantastic moisturizers. It not only cleanses the skin of makeup and debris but leaves it soft and supple.... just perfect for makeup where I only have 30 minutes or less to create a look.

The Tomato & Lemongrass Toner is recommended for normal to oily skin yet it feels just like water on the skin. I've had my share of toners that sting and burn especially when I'm burned by the sun's rays already beforehand. This one had nada sting. Since it has the key ingredients of tomato and lemongrass, we're loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that keep skin youthful and healthy. Scent also is very mild and although it contains vitamin C, this doesn't whiten the skin to pastiness but brightens it. Remember, lovely makeup starts with lovely skin.

Lastly, for my forever parched and dried locks, if I have time to spare, I use the Organic Hair Mask. This is my favorite "flavor" - mango butter, vitamin E, and peppermint. There's a bigger size than this, for those who have been regularly using the product. However, for those who want to try it out first, you could purchase the smaller size for only Php74.75. I massage like a glopful on my hair and scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes or more before rinsing off. My hair's been quite tamer and the minty feeling is perfect to cool me off during a hot day. The hair mask smells really fabulous too. Oh, and the minty scent clears up my sinuses real quick. :)

Another thing I like about Human Nature is that not only are they organic and devoid of all harmful chemicals but they also do not do animal testing. Definitely this brand lives up to its standards of loving nature, doesn't it? Hmmm... maybe I should try exploring organic skincare too?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Getting the Lara Stone Look

I first learned of Dutch model Lara Stone from a model friend of mine who showed her picture at W magazine along with supermodels Daria Werbowy and Kate Moss. I was immediately drawn to her excellent bone structure and all-over appeal. When I googled her, I saw that she has graced countless of magazine covers, walked shows for huge designer labels, and currently, Ms. Stone is the face of Versus by Versace.

[image from blog.squa.re] ]
Her trademark is her gap teeth and wobbly walk. Apparently, the wobbly walk has been attributed to her small feet, which is a size 7 (regular runway shoe sizes are 8-10), so the shoes provided during runway shows more or less are too big for her. Aside from those two trademark features, her usual makeup shows her with dark and heavy smoky eyes either in black or earthy taupe-brown and light (almost bleached-platinum blonde) eyebrows. Her lips can go vampy red or berry-stained but the dark eyes and light brows have been a trademark look on most of her shots.

[ from designscene.net]

[from fluxuryb.com]

Amazing how the trademark Lara Stone look could go from intense fierce to girl-next door with just a change of color. With that, I wanted to create a Lara Stone inspired-look. Of course the platinum blonde brows would be a bit too extreme for our hair color. I went for a light brow color lighter than the usual 1 to 1-1/2 shades lighter than the head heair color rule, earthy smokey eyes and moist rosy lips. I wanted a look that we could wear everyday. The light brow softens the smokey eye so we sorta get a look that's and in-between of the two pictures I showed you. So here goes my Lara Stone inspired look.
I'll start off with the eyes first, so I could clean up any eyeshadow fallout with moisturizer rather than having to erase foundation. So first, after prepping the face, I tightlined my eyes with dark brown eyeliner to make the lashes look thicker as well as frame and re-shape the eye. Dark brown would prolly be a softer alternative first since I want the color to be earthy. Don't be afraid if it's not a perfect line. We could always smudge it with a q-tip or our finger.

Next, I used an eyeshadow base for t eyeshadow to hold. Apply eyeshadow base from lashline to browbone. I chose a safe shell-colored base that's almost my skin but better.

Next, I dabbed brown or taupe eyeshadow with little or no shimmer all over the lid. on the crease area, I blended this outwards so that the color is even and there are no harsh demarcation lines.

I countoured the crease with a matte color that's darker than the lid color. Again, blend so that there are no demarcation lines. Highlight the browbone with a matte skintone color that's lighter than the skin color.

On the outer corner, dab a bit of darkest brown or black and blend this with the contour color to deepen and "smoke up" the eye. Highlight the inner corners of the eyes with shimmery color.

You could line the eyes again with a black liner for intensity or set the brown eyeliner with black powder for more intensity. Lashes are enhanced by curling them and applying mascara.

Now after the eye makeup, clean up all fallouts with moisturizer and apply concealer, foundation, and set with powder. Then, contour cheeks and nose for a defined bone structure just like Lara Stone.

I wanted a natural colored lip here, so I used tinted lip conditioner to give my lips some color without looking blah. Gloss would be too glittery so stick to natural colored lipsticks in a creamy or luster finish.

Since I wanted brows to be soft, I saved them for last. The overall look of the makeup dictated somewhat the brow look I wanted so I chose a soft, cool, almost ash-blonde color for the brows and brushed this with blonde brow gel to keep them groomed. This is a real-life version of Lara Stone's platinum blonde brows. Save the platinum-blonde brows for shoots and runway.
Overall, this is how the makeup would look, plus an eye detail. I wanted something that's very subtle and not too heavy on the smoky eyes so I could take this for a daytime look. I wanted the look to be really wearable but it would have the trademark light eyebrow of Lara Stone. I think the light brow gives an overall balance to the intensity of the eye, and kind of softens the expression a bit. I wanted a stained lip so there's a flush of color. A good way to get a berry stained lip is to dab a bit of deep matte reddish or berry color on the center of the lip and blend it outwards and top with lip conditioner or clear lip gloss with no sparkle.

A bit on the eye detail:

For a bit of customizing, you could deepen the crease with more black eyeshadow and carry this over to the top if you want a more intense smokey eye. If you find the almost all-matte look too dull, try blending in a bit of shimmery pigment on the center of the lid and blend this outward. Naturally thick brows could go ahead and skip the defining part and go straight to the blond (or clear) mascara to tame down stray hairs.

Have fun creating your very own version of the supermodel look. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pale Pretty Pink With MAC's Pink Nouveau

I'm here out to review one of MAC's bestselling lipsticks, Pink Nouveau (pronounced noo-vow with a long "o"). This pink is a regular item that's obviously been in demand for its pretty pale look. Being lazy to do eye makeup, I've always gravitated towards deep and bright colors to save time without looking pale. I save the nudes and light pastels for the times when I need a bright smokey eye since a pale lip and pale eye could leave me looking washed out.
Pink Nouveau is a pink that's hard to miss. A favorite in beauty editorials and girly shots, this color has created a fan base on its own. It's a pale pretty pink in a satin finish. Satin in MAC means it's semi-matte.

From the swatch, we see that it's not a slick and shiny as those in the lustre finishes. The finish is quite opaque though, and it covers the lip's (or in this case, the skin's) color just like matte finishes do. Despite the opacity, it's not that drying as matte but not as moisturizing and cushy as the amplified or cremesheen finishes. Since it's part of MAC's regular items, the packaging would still be the iconic black packaging. I actually thought that this was a bright pink but actually, it looks quite natural comparing it to two of my pink lipsticks.

On the left is Saint Germain from the Euristocrats collection last year. On the right, we see the bright KSP-pink of Hollywood Nights from the Heatherette collection. Pink Nouveau is an in-between of the two in terms of brightness. Saint Germain would be too pale to wear on its own so it needs a dramatic eye or bright blush so the face doesn't look too dead. Hollywood nights would be brighter than this and would need a face that's more tamed-down.

It really looks pretty on the lips. I like that it's not too shiny and the pink is pretty classic. It could be used on a bride, even. I could match this up with smoky eyes like I did with my Tek Tok TV guesting yesterday (for those who are curious about the pink shade I was wearing) or a fresh face. This shade also could be worn by morenas as well. I wore this shade without a lipliner. I suggest pairing this with a pinkish-nude lipliner so preserve the pretty pastel pink hue. For girls with very dry lips, prep lips up with lip balm first before applying lipstick and lipliner, so it's not too dry.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Makeupbybambi Was On TV This Morning!

I was invited to guest on a TV show called Tek Tok TV, a show hosted by bloggers Vince Golangco and Hannah Villasis about news on technology, gadgets, the Internet, and blogging. It's my first time to guest on a TV show and I'm both nervous and excited about it. Tek Tok TV airs live every Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the Global News Network (GNN) channel of Destiny Cable.

I dashed out of my house and braved first-week-of-school traffic to get to the studio on time. I made it a point to make my hair look decent and hammered it down to prevent it from fluffing up because of humidity and sweat. Days prior to this show, I was suffering from laryngitis so I took all means and meds to get my voice to a sorta decent level and took a decongestant the night before to help me sleep.

I met Vince and Hannah at the GNN studio. They briefed me first on the show's flow. They would start with me first (eeek!), so the butterfies on my stomach tripled. The two reassured me though that it's going to be a fun and relaxed atmosphere. I also met the other guests, Lauren and Liz of Ukay Manila and Andrea and Val of Glambox.

We were directed to the studio where we were briefed again of the sequence plus the blocking. I did a recheck of my makeup to make sure there's no shine, smear, or smudge.

So here's the set being fixed up.

Me with triple the butterflies on my stomach
Vince does last-minute checkups on angles and lights.

I wait for my turn as Vince and Hannah do a quick intro. Thanks for this picture Noemi!
My interview turned out quite smoothly rather than having me faint at camera-point. Although I'm used to being shot for photoshoots, TV was quite different since my movements and speech are captured. Hannah and Vince made it easy for me and the interview was really fun and relaxed. Just like friends having a conversation. Aside from this blog and makeup 411, I also plugged and talked a bit about our baby project, Blognapinoy, as well since it merges both my loves makeup and blogging. Colds, cough, and nasal cow-like voice forgotten.

Look ma! I'm on TV!
Andrea and Val talk about their product, Glambox Airbrush Cosmetics next. They also did a demo on how their gadget works on Hannah, as shown.

For e-commerce and online shopping, bloggers and online entrepreneurs Liz Lanuzo and Lauren Dado talk about their store, Ukay Manila and also talk about their blogs and their love for makeup, fashion, and all things beautiful.

It was definitely a fun morning for me. Guesting on TV was indeed a new and exciting experience and I'm glad I was in good company that time.

from L-R: Giant Me, Lauren, Liz, Hannah, Vince, Val, and Andrea.

For those who didn't catch the show, I was told that they soon would be uploading the videos on YouTube so I'll update you guys on that when they do.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

OOOHHHLALA Moment: Shapeless (and Colored!) Dress

I've been scared to death to wear anything aside from the usual neutrals and blacks that I wear. Yet when I saw this aquamarine dress on the rack yesterday, the mute but fresh color plus the silhouette, not to mention the pocket-friendly price tag made me want to buy it. And so I did and wore it today. If you're wondering where I bought that dress, I got it at Get Laud.

The first time I encountered Get Laud, it was just a small stall in the bazaar part of Alabang Town Center. I was making embellished shirts and they had the quality I was looking for. Back then, Get Laud just sold shirts and tank tops. Now, they have branched to funky tops, wrap dresses, maxi dresses, and even jumpsuits. Horray!

I love the quality of their dresses since they're pretty comfortable and wearable without taking a toll on our third-world pockets. The jersey dresses are my absolute love, especially the plain ones which I could morph into a top, a dress, or with the right accessories and shoes, I could take this to work, to play, or to dinner or lunch.

Anyway, back to this new dress of mine:(I also have this in black. :) )

This shapeless jersey dress could morph into a top by just hiking up the hem and pairing it with a pair of skinny jeans or leggings. Right now, I used this as a dress, and as a dress, I could make it as short (as I did here) or as long as I please. I wanted to go all girly and show some leg so I chose a mid-thigh length and paired it with gladiator wedges for an interesting detail. The wedges were pretty comfortable and I didn't limp, to think I stand up most of the time. The fabric enables me to survive the warm weather without melting into mulch. I like how it clings to me on the right places and loosens up on the top part. On a more relaxed note, I could wear this with flats or flipflops if I just want to keep it casual and relaxed. My hair is half-up and half-down here but towards the end of the day, I decided to tie it back in a ponytail to fight the humidity. With a skin-revealing outfit like this, I kept accessories minimalistic - watch, earrings period. Let the legs say it all.

Why the color aquamarine? I wanted something fresh, but I chose something that's not too loud with color. Red would be too much for this cut, especially if I'd be wearing it quite short.

I'm really liking Get Laud now for their outfit choices without breaking the bank.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wishing and Hoping.

[picture from visualizeus.com]

My birthday strategically is placed at the middle of the year, and I've always liked that trivia because it divides the year right down the middle. Anyway, with it coming, I always draw up a list on what I would like to have. A little bit of materialism, since I am human after all, aside from answering the question I get that what I want to have from people who ask me, instead of being caught blank with that question and repeating the same answers or inventing something, I'd rather do a blog post. Okay, I say that each time I do my birthday registry list but you get the idea. Anyway, here we go:

1. Equipment. Why equipment? Because I really use them for work. I'm in the process of creating a makeshift studio already so I could do makeup even while at home for those who want to go to my house for trial makeup or if they want to go to my house to have their makeup done. First up is a makeup chair to save me from back pains especially if I would have to stoop down to do makeup, which kinda affects also the quality of the makeup since I create a shadow while stooping down. Throw in a portable light case too. Each of these cost less than Php7,000, and yes, I have a piggy bank for this. I plan to get an airbrush kit as well too, since a lot of inquiries ask me if I do airbrush and although I'm not a 100% airbrush convert yet, being a sucker for traditional, I feel the need to have one soon.

2. Sneakers/Rubber Shoes: Would you believe I do not own a decent pair of rubber shoes? For one thing, I am not an athlete and my daily routine for workout is alternating between yoga and pilates and also a bit of bellydancing for fun, which is mostly barefoot. When I do bond with Carmen Electra, I do so barefoot or in stilettos. I definitely need a pair of rubber shoes for walking and for working out as well. Before it was all about heels heels heels. Must be age?
3. Makeup brushes: Can't get enough of them, and these are definite investment pieces. I now believe on investing on good brushes. I do love the Dashe and Suesh brush sets because they're super soft without breaking the bank. Of course, the premium brushes that top my list are MAC and Bobbi Brown. I'm slowly collecting the MAC brushes now. I got a 188 already, thanks to my good friend. For MAC, i'm eyeing on the 150, 188, 168, 191, 130, 239 (I need a lot of these, they're the absolute best), 224. For Bobbi I want the blush brush, lip brush, smudge brush, and the angled eyeliner brush (which I would love to use for the brows and the gel liner). The red Shu Uemura brush is also another brush I'm really lemming on. Why do I need several brush sets? For the reason that sometimes whenever I wash my brushes, they have no time to dry and I need them for the next day since I have a client or gig, so at least backup.
4. Black outfits: Tailored shift black dresses, black pants, black tops, black leggings, black skirts, black shoes, black boots... Black has dominated my closet as well as key classic items like jeans and basic shirts. When I need to be "serious", I have my black outfits, which are stuff I should never run out of.
5. David and Goliath Shirts. I love them. They're quirky and give life to my otherwise black-and-neutral dominated closet. I have yet to pair a David and Goliath top with an elegant black leather-like pencil skirt. What I like about them too is their length, I could bend down without showing my lumbar area for the whole world to see..
6. LayBare GCs, obviously, because I like staying hair-free. Oh, and Veet Wax strips while at it. I am crying to the world for laser hair removal.
7. GCs to my favorite stores so I could freely shop. :) name them: The Ramp, MNG, Zara, Topshop, Promod, Dorothy Perkins, Gap (for the laid-back look), Terranova, Regatta, and my makeup supply shop: Rustan's. I'm also loving SM Stores for their clothes so there.
8. Laptop, which is the gift I'm thinking of giving myself as well, since I want to do work while I'm mobile. I swear, I should learn to part with a desktop soon and live the life of mobility. If I need music, speakers cost cheap.
9. A better phone. Why? Because my 6-year-old phone needs to retire badly. I need a phone with more memory now.
10. Gigs. Good ones. Gigs make me happy. Gigs make all of us happy.
11. Happiness and more success - because I don't want to be 100% too materialistic. Hahahaha. And lots of good karma and love. :)
12. Music Sheets of the following songs: Womanizer (Britney Spears, acoustic version), Runaway (The Corrs), I Never Really Loved You Anyway (The Corrs), and It's Oh So Quiet (Bjork). I'm still traditional when learning music. I don't know chords (I can't tell a C major from minor), I just read the sheet with the actual notes. I've been searching high and low for the sheets for these songs.
13. I'm dreaming on this but a piano or a big keyboard. The piano entertains me when the power's out and the keyboard is more portable. Personally, the keyboard is relatively low maintenance, but the piano has more octaves. I can dream but if I see one on my door I'd be happy and inspired to do more covers.
14. A video-capturing device that records audio better to go in conjunction with the lappie. I didn't want 13 gifts, so I made it 14. Hehehe... For good luck.
With 5 days to go, I'll just enjoy the rest of the time that I'm (quite young). Anyway, whatever age I am, I'll just be happy and enjoy. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Woooootttt! Landing on DPP Magazine.

With the year as young as a newborn baby, I always make it a point to insert a bit of work in the first few days of the year. For me it brings good karma. I dunno why, but it sorta does.

Anyhow, remember my first shoot for the year? I saw in Facebook that one of them landed in DPP magazine. :) That's me on the lower right corner sweeties!
Thanks to Aly Reyes, a photographer met at Manny Librodo's workshop last January. Two of his pictures ended up at the latest issue of Digital Photographer Philippines Magazine (look for issue #32!)

Here's the portrait:The Sleeping Beauty inspired shot is one of my favorites, in fact. And I got a lot of good comments with this photo. Thanks to Manny Librodo for inviting me to his workshop and Aly Reyes for this shot. :) I wanna hang this in my wall now.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Nurture Spa Experience Day 2

Day 2 of our Nurture Spa experience was all about wellness. While a normal day for me would consist of waking up at the sight of my clutter and the sound of cars zooming at the roads, I woke up with this scenery a few steps from our dormitory door:

Makeup-less save for brow definition, I proceded with the other bloggers at the activity area at 7:30 A.M., for the first activity of the day, which was the Qi Stretching and Breathing exercises.
Yoga mats were laid out on the floor and we were introduced to Jerry, our instructor who gave us a brief overview on Qi exercises. This was quite similar to yoga except that positions would be constantly repeated. Before the activity, we were told to wear comfortable clothing. I settled on a comfy shirt and leggings, which would enable me to stretch without heavy fabrics blocking my way. An empty stomach would also be better so we could do the positions better.
The first thing that was taught to us before the positions was breathing. When we inhale, we expand the stomach like a balloon. When we exhale, we push it back in, "deflating" it. The first exercises were quite easy, which loosened up tight areas in our body such as hips, thighs, and neck. Some of the stretches could be hard, if you're not flexible enough but Jerry showed several modifications on how to do the stretches if you couldn't do the full stretch.

Breakfast was served after our activity at Tanglad Bistro. I chose a hearty Filipino breakfast of Tapa, egg whites, and rice plus a serving of hot tea. For dessert, we were given a plate of fresh fruits for us to enjoy.

Massage came next. Before the massage, we were handed out client information sheets to sign and check for current health conditions and medical history, such as surgeries, pregnancies (for women), health concerns, diabetes, etc. After we submitted our forms, we were given 30 minutes to rest then we were lead to our therapy rooms. We were told to shower first before treatment so our skin is cleansed and rejuvenated. Just like makeup, we need to be clean before the massage.
Anyway, so here was the massage. Before the massage, I was told to sit at the foot of the bed and soak my feet at this wooden basin with warm water. I saw a mound of yellow paste in a little dish beside the bowl. When I asked what was it, I was told that it was ground corn to be used for scrubbing the feet. This was quite interesting because I've experienced only commercial scrubs and salt scrubs, yet never corn. The ground corn didn't feel scratchy on my feet though. In fact, I was quite ticklish during this time. The scrub was then rinsed and my feet dried. I was then asked to lie on my stomach for the massage.
The oil used on me was a soothing blend of lavander and ylang-ylang essential oils in a coconut oil base. What I like with it is that it felt warm and syrupy instead of greasy on my body. The therapist only asked me if the pressure was right or if I had any certain areas of concern I would want to concentrate on. She also answered some of my questions, like what was the thing she used to poke certain areas on the soles of my feet (it was actully a bamboo stick) and she used warm banana leaves to spread the massage oil on my back. I think I had a 10-minute nap while she kneaded out the knots on my back and hips while sniffing out the scent from the aromatherapy bowl.
When it was time for the head and face massage, I asked if she could use less oil since I'm sensitive to anything greasy on my face and she agreed. Even with the absence of oil, the massage still felt very relaxing and I could feel the tension and kinks in my body go away. The therapist adjusts to the client's needs, like during stretching. She won't force out the stretch if the client isn't flexible enough. If I felt that the pressure was too hard, she would adjust. Had it been my way or had we not followed a schedule to be boarding the shuttle back to Manila, I would have wanted that massage forever.
After the massage, I was served hot tarragon tea, which really felt good in the tummy. It was a perfect way of capping a very good massage. Since I don't want to be slick and too greasy when the humid city temperature kicks in, I requested the oil to be hot-toweled off me. The massage got rid of all the tension and cramping I've been experiencing especially in the tight areas on my shoulders and upper back (from carrying heavy equipment), hands (from typing), lower back, and even on my legs from prolonged standing.
After dressing up, I went back to the dormitory with the rest of the bloggers to pack our stuff before we headed to the shuttle back to Manila. The three-hour ride was spent chatting with the guys and sharing our own experiences. Aside from a very relaxing overnight trip , I'm happy that I got the chance to bond with my old blogger friends and meet new blogger friends as well. This working vacation was absolutely great. I would definitely go back to Nurture Spa for more treatments and I do hope that I get to do a destination wedding here soon.