Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brush With Fashion Makes An Edgy Spring from The Body Shop

Spring reminds us of - flowers, pretty things, birds, and butterflies. The Body Shop for this year decided to do one thing... to go the other end of the spectrum and go edgy by unleashing their Brush With Fashion collection for spring. Just this afternoon, they launched the collection to a small group of bloggers at SM Megamall so after my shoot, I immediately got there bags, malette, and all.Prior to this, I already did my homework and visited a store near my place and saw the palettes. It did have a pretty pink color overall and it had the very girly theme, but this isn't girly flowers and pastels but it's got a very edgy, fasyon, and rocker-chic vibe, as you could see with the collection.

The Body Shop collaborated with the London College of Fashion, the most prestigious fashion school in the UK that trained many great designers, like the famous Jimmy Choo. As you could see, the designs on the palettes and cases look like they came out of a fashion magazine or homework of a fashion student.

Now, why is it called Brush With Fashion? All products have built-in brushes incorporated in them - from the all-over face base, tailored cheek tint, lip shine, and palettes. Just great for busy busy girls on the go who have no time to fumble for a separate brush right?

First up, let's look at the brush of the Illuminating Face Base:

It's just like painting class, where we paint an all-over warm glow on the skin. This product evens out skin and gives it a dewy glow before setting it in powder. Personally, when it's spring-summer, I don't like wearing too much makeup but I like a bit of even skin there and there. this would help, yes?

For me, I like to dab this on spot areas before blending it all with the warmth of my fingers. Our tropical humid climate would tell us to set this with loose powder because it would just slide right out if we let it be.

If you're the type who's lazy to find out what blush shade you are, here's a product that could help: the Tailored Cheek Tint.

The difference between the Tailored Cheek Tint from the regular bestseller Lip and Cheek Tint The Body Shop has is that this gel formula goes on clear at first from the tube but once it gets in contact with the skin, it adapts to the body temperature turning into a blush color that's just for you. On some people, it could be a pretty windburnt pink. On some, it could be a flattering coral. It really doesn't matter what shade it turns, but it's sure to be something that's just for you, so no need to shop for blush that you won't use. Since this is gel, remember to put this on before powder so it glows on more naturally instead of 80's streaky.

The Hi-Shine Lip Treatment also has built-in brushes, which are great for personal use. Of course, if you'll be using this professionally, as with all makeups in this line, remember to dab the built-in brush on a clean palette to dispense product and use a clean separate brush to apply to a client to avoid cross-contamination.

It has a very, very slight tint for those lazy to use a separate lipstick while giving chapped lips its much-needed TLC with a yummy fruity passionfruit scent.

There are two eye palettes to choose from, to mix-and-match with very wearable shades that could be worn by women of all ages from 20-60 years old.

Personally, I like the Boho Beauty, with warm brown shades, which are perfect for bridals. I love how pigmented they are and they look great on tanned skin. It goes splendid with brown or nude lip gloss and messy beachy curls.

The next palette, A La Mode is supposedly for fair skinned girls but I think with a little brown thrown in, a morena girl could use this too. The matte flat black is great to set kohls for that intense smoky eye and glittery silvers and pinks could lighten and liven things up.

Aside from the very pigmented colors, the eye palettes have a mini brush to deposit color and also glitter liner to line the eyes, as we could see in the Boho Beauty palette.

Brush With Fashion accessories include a limited edition mini brush set that you could take with you for travels with a cute and chic design instead of the traditional and iconic black packaging we're used to. As with The Body Shop is all about being animal-friendly, the brushes use synthetic bristles instead of animal hair, but work just as well with powder products.

Limited edition gifts with purchase are also available. First up, I'd like to show this cosmetic pouch, which could be helpful for makeup artists. The bag holds brushes and stuff necessary for touch-ups that could be used for photoshoots or weddings. The pouch is available for a minimum purchase of Php3,500, which should include a Brush With Fashion item.

For a minimum purchase of Php2,500 inclusive of a Brush With Fashion palette, the GWP would be an eco-friendly bag which could be used to hold items bought from a bazaar or other small items bought around the store.

Personally speaking, I really like the Boho Beauty palette since it's so classic. I could use it and it would look really great and classic. I could have another client use the color and it would look really clean. The cheek tint I could use on days when I feel like being lazy to whip out my brushes and palettes. Either way, this looks like a cool and exciting collection to check out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Old-New Discovery: My Kryolan Lip Rouge Mini Palette

Most of my Kryolan makeup set are stuff I swear by for being long-lasting and highly pigmented that it withstands makeup meltdown or having the colors drowned amidst stage or studio lights. I took the Lip Rouge Mini Palette for granted though, since clients haven't heard of it or probably because it isn't mainstream. Sure, it was cute since it had a variety of colors available for me to use and since it was in palette form, it gives me more freedom to mix-and match.

The one I have with me now is the LC (I think it stands for Lipstick Classic?) combination, but they have various combos to suit your taste and personal style. Unfortunately, this had to stay at the back of my makeup malette for quite a while. It worked well for prosthetics and body makeup though, so it wasn't exactly unused. maybe that's why I wasn't much fond of it was that it didn't have the nice flavor or odor other lipsticks had. I didn't know how fantastic they are until a makeup artist pointed it out to me. She was surprised that my Kryolan lip palette still stays at the far end of the malette and they're hardly used. After using them, I began to be hooked as well.

The thing that I like about the colors are that they're so pigmented. They stay true to color on palette as they do on the human body. I bet if we accidentally "ate" the lipcolor off our lips and had an x-ray, we'd be having colored x-rays. Even the sheer colors were true as they are on the little pot.

My palette has a variety of shades from pink, red, coral, and nude. Since they are in palettes, this would be best applied with a lip brush for precise application. Lip brush with synthetic and stiff bristles, okay? Lip pencil is okay, if you want with a lot of precision. I really don't like colors bleeding so what I do is dip a (clean and sanitized) pointy paint palette knife (the one they sell at National Bookstore that has a diamond-shaped tip) that looks like the spatula for pizza, except a mini-version. I mix colors in a clean palette since I don't like my colors mixing in the palette that they all look muddy.

Even better, on the lips, they look amazing and stay true to whatever they are color. My favorite is the pink color, on the upper left corner. It looks great in beauty advertorials and even bridal works. It works well too with other makeup brands. I like mixing the nude peach color (upper center) with Viva Glam VI or Clinique Precious Pink for a really nice daytime bride color. The color isn't too brown but very rosy, a tamer version of the Viva Glam Cyndi Lauper lipstick. I like nude colors with dark smoky eyes. The deep red version is like a paint version of MAC's Diva.

Here are some of my works where I used my Kryolan lipstick colors:

Kate's sporting my favorite pink.

Rachel channels catwoman here hence the deep red wine lippie.

The only downside of this one is that it doesn't have that nice candy smell or flavor. It's simple and unscented and unflavored. They do however, look amazing on pictures and are user-friendly that even a non-makeup artist could use this. The mini-palette is great for those who change colors depending on their mood. If you have five or few favorites though, you could get a lip rouge palette in 6 colors or just the lipstick itself.

How about you? Did you have a recent discovery that you just absoltely loved that was just in the bag the whole time?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bohol Adventure Day 4

It's time to see the dolphins. I don't mean dolphins in a regular dolphin show. I initially declined seeing the dolphins because I've been to Ocean Park and Sea World already and I'm already neckful with marine mammals jumping in hoops and all that. It was different though, since these are wild dolphins, meaning they're in their natural habitat.

Giving in to the request to see the dolphins, I was ready to drag myself out of the 400-thread count sheets I've been sleeping in the past two nights for a 6 AM calltime. With the sun barely reaching high, we set off on a boat to watch the dolphins do their thang.

The boat ride was practically I think around 30 minutes long, it would go past Panglao then past Balicasag Island. Pretty soon, other boats were also converging at the same point, not really traffic, but at least we're confident that we're being taken at the right direction.

The signal we get from seeing dolphins are just to follow the shrieks of excitement. I guess videos would do justice to this more, as I complied a video to muffle my own shrieks when I saw the dolphins. Don't expect high jumps though as these are dolphins going about their own natural way of life.

Spot their fins! The last clip has got the better view of them.

On the way back (dolphin viewing usually only lasts 6-8 a.m., beyond that would be too hot for them), our propeller broke so the dudes who man the boat needed to replace it. Thank god we were near Balicasag Island, so while waiting, I tanned and threw pebbles on the sea to kill time.

The replacement took only around ten minutes and we got back to Alona Beach in time for breakfast, last minute-tanning, and packing up before checking out at the hotel. I was sad while packing because it was so much fun.

It was a fun trip, since you get to enjoy not just the shores but also the city and you get to learn a lot about the things we used to read and study about in school, that they actually exist. Would I like to go back? I wouldn't mind again, this time I better be armed with more gear.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Flowers Anyone?

Valentine's keeps roses and flowers in bloom and surely as you could see, love is definitely in the air. Flowers are indeed classic gifts to everyone, and I'm pretty sure that most of you are quite sick already of the red and pink palette in whatever permutations. For those who still want flowers but want something with a bit more personality, you could check out floral arrangements by Tecson Flowers, to suit your lovies' taste, personality, and favorite color. Take this orange one for example:

Orange is such a cheery and pick-me-up color it instantly gives you energy. It would surely look unique and cute. Valentine's Day falls on a weekday so this could be given during a date during lunchbreak or as a surprise to peak the energy from slaving at work. The checkered burlap cover gives it quite an interesting touch.

I've met a lot of girls whose favorite color is yellow. Yellow isn't exactly a girly color, but I see it more as a happy and fresh color that's pleasing to the eyes. if your girl (or guy, who says that only girls should receive flowers?) has yellow as her favorite color, this could be a good alternative.

A girly-girl would always love pink, so the classic pink isn't missed out here.

Of course these aren't the only colors available. There are various colors to choose from and if you want a rainbow of colors, then it's possible for foolproof happy Valentine's Day. These flowers are available at SM Megamall, SM Bacoor, SM North Edsa, SM Fairview, and SM Valenzuela. They are also located at Greenhills Theater Mall. For foolproof and more info, they also have a website to look on to. Have fun this vday!

Bohol Adventure Day 3

Suntan, suntan, and suntan. It was definitely time to enjoy the beach. Amorita Resort lies along Alona Beach, aptly and unofficially named after a movie star in the 60's named Alona Alegre where she was spotted taking a dip in the said beach while she was filming a movie at the location. Pretty soon people were saying that they want to swim in the beach where Alona swam, then by habit, the name of the beach became Alona Beach.

Powdery sand and turquoise sea I'm here to bond with you!!!! Remember the sand I told you that was fine it resembles a milky substance when rubbed on the skin? Here, I'll show you a handful while I was baking myself:

The sand on the shoreline is a bit rocky so I suggest to wade along till you feel the silkier sand on the feet, but less silty and stay away from vegetation or vagabond sea urchins or starfish. The water's a lot better in the afternoon when it's heated up a bit but the cool water is perfect contrast with the hot sun.
And speaking of cool water, remember the plunge pool from the first post? I am so loving it now as it cooled my skin from all that tanning. Cold yes, but it feels really great.

Internally, a glass of water with a slice of lemon is just as refreshing.

Back to the ocean, I took some pictures by the cliffside. This shot was taken during high tide but on low tide, you could walk by the rocks and all.

High tide? time to stretch

Or make pebbles bounce half-submerged

A random shot of a little toddler getting curious with all the kelps and throwing them.

With all the pebble throwing and all that baking and taking videos and pictures, I didn't realize I was already reddening up. My goal by the end of the trip was to be at least NC43. I ended up being Russian Red instead.

Thankfully, it faded into a nice golden NC45 the day after. I plan to maintain this color. I really like being tanned than pasty white. Hey, just to know I did use sunscreen that day. :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Brides, This Is For You

For those who are still planning their weddings, this could help if you still have suppliers you would like to get. Got nothing to do tomorrow? Then hop over at The Grove from 10 AM to 7 PM.

I've been to one bridal fair in all my life. At first, it was just to get a quote and meet with the florist (recommended and accredited by our venue) but it was good chance that I shed my "supplier" aura for a few minutes and see what's in there. What do you know? We found our gem of a cake supplier, Joy San Gabriel right there so who knows if you meet your florist or fall in love with a spectacular venue there? What's great about it are not only do you get to meet these suppliers in the flesh and check their works, these are selected suppliers so you're assured that each supplier is a good one. This also means that this intimate setting wouldn't overwhelm you with a lot of suppliers that you wouldn't know which to choose or you'd go home with a reamful of flyers.

The Grove by Rockwell partners with Power Weddings and Metro Weddings for this event. Couples could pre-register online at http://www.e-rockwell.com/grove or contact Jiro Bengzon at JiroB@rockwell.com.ph

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Bohol Adventure Day Two

The resort alone isn't the only thing we came here for. Today, we're about to see what makes Bohol so famous, so leaving the shoreline for a few hours, we boarded a tour van that took us to the Countryside. Amorita is actually in Panglao Island, an island that's also part of Bohol and connected to the city proper by two bridges, so yes, our journey from Tagbilaran airport to the hotel was done is just one ride.

Anyhow, we were introduced to our tour guide Cathy, who didn't make the tour just an injection of facts and 411's, she did it as if she's telling a story, which I think is far more effective because it makes the tour more interesting. If you drive by the streets, Bohol preserved much of old architecture, featuring houses and buildings made out of limestones and hand-cut coral stones binded with some stuff with egg white. I see also a lot of authentic nipa huts or bahay kubos dotting the streets and countryside.

Not only did they preserve their architecture, even the conservative Filipino values are preserved. Bohol has no nightlife, for one thing. To them, night is for resting (also an optimal time for the nocturnal tarsiers to go about their ways), just like nature intended. Until age of 18, the children and teenagers have curfews until 10 pm and the latest curfew for everyone else is 1 am. There are hardly any bars or clubs around. Would you believe at this day and age, the practice of harana, or serenading a girl by the window of her house is still being practiced here? Of course, ballads are now more modern as compared to the ballads of before.

Our first stop was the Tarsier Sanctuary where we got a glimpse of a real tarsier.

Tarsiers aren't monkeys actually. For one thing, their tails hang just straight down and the tail is only used for balance when tarsiers jump from one place or another. Monkeys usually curl their tails. As monkeys feast more on fruits, the tarsier's diet is usually lesser invertebrates and tadpoles. It's actually difficult to place what exactly a tarsier is, since it looks like a monkey, marsupial, rodent, or even an owl. A fun fact though is that tarsiers have actually been inspirations of our Hollywood mascots like the ewoks, gremlins (the cute variety, like Gizmo of course and not the scary freaky ones), and Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Taking pictures of and with the tarsier had to be careful because one, we shouldn't have flash photography and also we were not allowed to pet, touch, or toy with the tarsiers.
awww hello! This little one's a shy one

Yet this little one stared at me head on.

Tarsiers are very small animals, and the actual size of these are just the size of the fist, with the infants only being an inch small. It is said that the mother tarsier and the baby tarsier both live far from the daddy tarsier because sometimes the baby tarsier gets mistaken to be a prey.

The next stop was the wonder of the world that made Bohol famous... the chocolate hills, so named because from afar, they look like lumps of chocolate candy. The brown color is actually leaves that were burned and dried to encourage soil or leaves that turn brown due to time. The leaves this season are green now though, but still, these were wonderful just the same. Two of these hills were developed to tourist spots known as Twin Hills, home to Chocolate Hills Hotel and Restaurant.

There's also a view deck where you could climb various stations to take pictures of the hills over at Twin Hills.

The manmade rainforest was next, on our way down from Chocolate Hills, which was actually a reforested area where mahogany trees were planted. Why mahogany? Because mahogany could stand drought longer than most plants. The manmade forest is also home to some of the largest millipedes I have ever seen.

Since we climbed up and down a hill, we all were hungry. With so much sites to see with empty stomachs, our tour decided to hit two birds in one stone...er... ride. In the form of a floating restaurant/modified motorized boat that traversed along the Loboc River.

Food served in the floating restaurant were mostly Filipino food, so it was time for those craving for authentic and home-cooked Filipino food to dig in.

The Loboc River cruise is actually an hour's journey, with a few stops along the way, including a group of people who performed dance nubers.

We even spotted mini waterfalls!

Singing and dancing is much prominent in Loboc as Bohol's music capital, home to the Loboc Boys Choir, which won a lot of awards abroad. Should we see someone from Loboc in the next reality singing tv show? Why not!

During the cruise, we spotted a humongous building preserving the architecture centuries ago. Turns out it was the Baclayon Church, the oldest stone Catholic Church in the Philippines. Before going here, we were warned that Bohol is again a very conservative place, substituting risque pictures stuck in tricycles for biblical or inspirational passages and encouraging the youth towards the religious path. As you step inside the church, you have to follow a strict dress code, and they have shawls and wraps provided should you come in tourist attire. Not our fault entirely, that's just the way it is here. There are just rules to be followed, and they are very strict with proper church attire.

Not only did Baclayon Church preserve its church, but they also preserved some artifacts, which are displayed in the museum. Unfortunately, documentation via pictures or video is strictly prohibited in the museum so we couldn't produce photos. There were artifacts displayed such as old musical instruments, music sheets made with cowhide bound with carabao skin, intricately embroidered robes worn by priests during mass, and Church paraphernalia which could put the local store which supplies religious items to shame with their details.

The last stop before we headed home was the Blood Compact Monument, which everyone was free to take pictures with. It's got a fabulous view of Panglao Island as well, so either with the monument or by the view deck, it sure is a fantastic picture place. Tip: It's best to go here on the way home, around 4:00 p.m. when the sun's not too scorching and the metal has cooled.

The trip back home was smooth, and we arrived just in time for the sun to still be up for a quick dip in the ocean.
The day was ended with an hour of Swedish massage brought right to our suite to knead all the kinks away from the walking.

The staff of Amorita personally went to our suite and prepared the beds for us. At the same time, it was turn down time so our room was scented with citronella oil and we had our complimentary cookies and pastries. The oil used was mineral oil with no scent, staying on the safe side, especially for those who are sensitive to scents. After the massage, the oil was towelled off so we proceded with dinner.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Bohol Adventure Day One

As I am typing this, I am seated comfortably on a king-size bed with the softest sheets known to mankind in a private villa, well-fed and tanned. I'm currently in Bohol and would be spending the next four days (3.5 days to be exact) and I'd like to deviate first over here from all the reviews and features that I do. After all, this sure is part of wellness, beauty, and health - to get a boost of fresh air and happy experiences and travelling to pretty places. And while at it... TAN (safely of course).
My obligatory feet by the shore picture, always taken on the first day I visit a beach. First thing I do is run to the ocean and dip my feet on the water.

When it was time to choose a vacation place, the first thing in mind was to choose a location. I wanted local first since I wanted a beach and February is perfect for beach season since the sun isn't scorching and our swear glands aren't overdrive. Besides, one thing we have to be proud of are our beaches here in the Philippines, with calm lukewarm waters and powdery white sand.

With a beach setting in mind, it was time to choose which beach. Initially, Boracay would come to mind but we've been to Boracay only and we wanted something new. Palawan was the second choice, although I was quite hesitant due to Palawan's notoriety for being attacked before. Besides, Palawan reminds me of college field trips anyway. Bohol was another option, which was ultimately the choice after the reviews about it. Besides, it would be more than just baking on the sand, something new right?

Skipping flight and airport details, we arrived at Tagbilaran airport where a private shuttle took us Amorita Resort, which was a 35 to 40-minute drive from the Airport, passing through Tagbilaran City proper and crossing a long bridge to get to Panglao Island. It's not as butt-numbing as you think, and the guy from the Resort would give us details about the city, especially us, since it was our first time here.

The number one mode of transportation is the tricycle. Unlike the tricycles we're used to in Manila, this one's bigger, and during a slow-stop, I was able to zoom in on one trike with manong gamely posing for me.

The starting fee for the tricycle is Php 7.00 and just like a cab, it's more expensive the farther you go. A trike ride from Tagbilaran Airport to the resort costs around Php 400.00 if you're the type to prefer to wing or rough it.

Tagbilaran only has two malls, BQ Mall and Island City Mall. Sorry, no SM malls here but they do have familiar establishments in the city like banks and food joints in the city proper. The rustic old houses had old Pinoy architecture preserved.

Amorita Resort is located at Panglao Island, among the other beach and luxury resorts that dot the coastline. It's a pretty new resort and the website posts a whole lot of pictures which are indeed a treat. Clean lines and intimate atmosphere rather than a commercialized resort, with around 30+ rooms total.

When we got there, all we saw were big gardens first with lots of foilage. A girl held our welcome drinks, iced tea with ginger that was really yummy and didn't taste fake or it came from a powdered kind. Since checking in and prepping the room would take a while we decided to look around and have lunch first in the restaurants.

The first thing that made my jaw drop was the infinity pool, which looks as if you're heading straight to the ocean with comfy beach beds. You could just relax there after a dip in the ocean or the pool and watch the sunset as your tanned skin starts to cool down.

The beach was no exception. It was quite kelp-y on the part right next to the resort so we decided to walk a bit father to where it's clearer. I don't know if it's just the season but there are hardly any green stuff along the shoreline. The beach slope isn't that severe as well, so you could still stay a bit far off the shore and still have the warm (instead of freezing cold) water be waist-deep. Sand was so silky-powdery, almost like a tad rougher version of powdered milk. In fact, it's quite milky, it doubled as great exfoliant. I suggest to use the ones that are farther off from the shore as the ones in the shorelines were still coarse. The fine, fine sands though rivalled a body scrub that I tried in a spa before and left my skin feeling super smooth... and I have an entire shoreline of it at my disposal!

I like taking pictures of boats. They say boats are lucky in careers, so you'll see a lot of boat pictures in my albums.

Amorita has 8 Garden Villas each with a private garden. It's like a tiny little house just for us. Except it's got a humongous king size bed.

A private dip-pool to cool off after a hot day touring and a sun deck to tan if you find the pool or beach too crowded.

Something new is the outdoor washroom. Yep, you got that right. The bathroom is outdoors. But not to worry, it's cleverly concealed so no one's gonna see you if you're doing your business there. I was in fact nervous when the guys there showed it to us but they assured me that it's cleverly concealed from the outside. It's got the privacy of a traditional indoor enclosed bathroom but it's got a rock garden inside and a comfy rainfall shower that has both hot and cold water. The good news about this too is that our swimsuits or handwashed items are dried naturally outdoors just like at home.

Did I tell you that they have Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries (in Aloe Vera, which is just so perfect for sunburnt skin) and are fully equipped with all toiletries from shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, toothbrush, and toothpaste? The toothpaste tastes mildly like choco-mint candy. Oh and did I mention the supply of cookies and water too?

The Garden Villa was our choice since it was reasonably priced and mid-ranged among the three other rooms (Deluxe and Ocean View, with a view of the Bohol Sea as it's perched on top of a cliff). And well, we wanted something different.
The sunset of Bohol is something too, best viewed by the infinity pool. We were lucky that it wasn't a crowded day so we got our taste of Bohol sunset and snippity-snapped them away. These shots take note, aren't taken by an SLR but a simple and cute point-and-shoot camera and everything's directly posted and lighted by nature.

Day one was definitely great. Tomorrow, we explore stuff that put Bohol in the map. Time for beauty sleep!