Sunday, October 28, 2012

Going Yin For Women's Health

Warning: I will be talking about period issues. To the men who read my blog, you have been warned. On second thought, please continue reading. I suggest you do. Really.

Girls, when you were like 11 or 12 and your classmates had their periods did you ever wish that you prayed that you'd finally get yours already? And then years after getting your first flow ever, you curse that you were ever made a woman and wish that you never got it at all? Well, what did you know, I did too. I got my period late in my life.  As some girls my age had their menarche at 10 or 11, I had it at 12 years old.         Summer of 1995 while vacationing in San Francisco with my family and I had it for like 3 weeks, I cursed the world and my own wishes for getting my period ever and cursed genetics for giving me an extra X chromosome instead of a Y.

Eighteen years later, I've had my share of bad days and so-so days. I've experienced every cursed symptom a woman experiences -the bloating, the mood swings, the tenderness, the cramps, and the horrible rage issues and cravings before that. Unfortunately, our culture sometimes has others dismissing our PMS or cramps as "kaartehan lang" or "wala yan, OA lang!". Sure, medicines and pain killers can work to a certain extent but if there was a natural way to make these symptoms lesser, then why not?

When I attended the Yin Yoga workshop for bloggers, our teacher, Dona, mentioned how yoga changed her monthly cycle to make it just like any ordinary day. I got interested into getting into that stage in life. Turns out, that the cramping, the mood swings, pains, and tenderness aren't supposed to be there. Those are actually signs of imbalances in the body, and with yoga and a few lifestyle changes, we can have a regular period day. Thankfully, my good friend, Tiger brother, and doctor Kit invited me to attend a Yin Yoga workshop for women's health (meaning reproductive health issues ) to be conducted by Dona. I love Dona's classes since I first stepped into that Yin Yoga workshop for bloggers. It was really stressful last week due to work so I thought that I could use one Sunday morning just for me and my health. I do want to give a hug to Kit next time I see him because it was just an awesome morning.

The workshop was held at Templa Wellness. I find yoga studios so amazing as although some are located in the busiest buildings of a business district, they exude a certain peace and calmness. We all gathered in a circle first before coming into the practice and for one minute, each participant shared their period experiences.

In this conversation, each girl had a chance to share her own experiences. Some were lucky to have very normal experiences, some had horrible experiences, like practically being paralysed due to excruciating pain. Interestingly, there were those as well who hid it from their families for about a year or so, for the fear of shame or what not, probably something attached to our culture already. I was reminded of an article I read a few years back, of a group who would isolate girls with their periods in a room since they were considered "unclean".

My own experience was quite lucky. My periods were regular ever since. I had the pain and tenderness and all that jazz. It was the pre-period PMS, cravings, and horrible rage issues that I had to curb. And of course, if I could still make the state of my body better and why not? Since I practiced a healthier lifestyle, eliminated meat, and did more sports, I've noticed the slight improvement already with less pains and bloating but the horrible stuff.

After that sharing, Dona shared with us a sequence especially designed to normalize the system during that time of the month. Some of the poses such as the butterfly, dragonfly, swan, and twisted root, I've already done in previous yoga classes but it was just as enlightening that aside from loosening up the body in places where it's tight, it targets also certain meridians in the body. I found out that these salty (potato chips, fries, cheese, etc) or sweet (chocolates, candies, milk tea) cravings are a result of imbalance of the spleen and kidney and certain poses are made to create and achieve a balance, as well as changing the way we eat or look at life.

This butterfly variation is super relaxing. It opens up tight hips and I could actually fall asleep in it.

The dragonfly is a pose I'm familiar with. It helps with my straddle splits and my period.

We also learned variations of the swan and other poses. The whole practice lasts for about 1.5 - 2 hours depending on the length of staying into the poses. The whole practice left me feeling relaxed and less tight, with that usual zen feeling after a yoga session.

It was an enlightening morning to know that our monthly visitor is actually a blessing, a natural detoxifying process of the body. The cramps actually and all the uncomfortable rage, mood swings, bloating, sensitivity, and all that can actually be diminished and our period days can actually be as ordinary as our good days. It was also liberating to know that I am not alone in experiencing its horrors too, and I'm glad to have met women who could relate to the same experience and not judge you for taking sick leaves at work or spending an entire day crying out your cramps.

Thank you very much Dona (she's the lovely girl in black beside me) for sharing your knowledge with us, Ivy (the girl in the orange tank beside me) for organizing this and my beloved brother in my pole family, doctor, and friend, Kit (the sole male in the group, who also assisted Dona in this session) for telling me to attend the workshop.

For those who are interested, I would be glad to share this poster, which means there shall be a part 2 of this workshop! Slots are limited so please sign up fast!

Take care girls, and have a great week ahead!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Creations By Lourd Ramos Opens in Soho Central Podium

Lourd Ramos is one makeup artist who has made his mark in the industry not just by being one of the top and in-demand makeup artists but also a color expert. Where some makeup artists cower at the thought of touching or fixing  hair (myself included), he touches and fixes hair like he knew how to from the day he was born.

Lourd is an expert in hair as well, in coloring, styling, and making it look fabulous. Taking his expertise in a whole new level, Lourd Ramos opens a new branch of his chain of salons, Creations, in Soho Central Podium, a mall that's located at Greenfield district a stone throw away from Ortigas business district.

I was invited to the launch of this newly-opened salon. The interiors of this place is a combination of bright colors purple, red, and white with clean lines and minimalistic zen feel. Isn't it a great place to just chill, relax, and have your hair done after a long day's work?

That great wall of hair products to tame the tresses. *drool*

I got to try also their vegetarian hair treatment, which is a rich treatment for fried tresses that has been parched, fried, or dried from processing or weather.

Yes, just a little can already tame and care for my super long, thick, and deep-fried hair.

The treatment was massaged into my hair and scalp and left for 15 minutes before rinsing it off and then my hair was blow-dried into soft curls.

The Creations staff were very professional and answered all the questions I asked completely. They really focused on working and made sure my tresses were taken care of. And, I was happy to know that no animals were harmed in the creation of this product. I like staff that are friendly and professional. They even gave suggestions on how I can style my hair at home given my very low-maintenance lifestyle.

Thank you Creations for my very shala Victoria's Secret-like curls, which made me human for an entire day.

With my blogger friend Kira Ramirez.

My tresses thank Creations for that awesome morning. And I'm glad too for knowing that no animals have been harmed with my vegetarian hair treatment. :) Oh, and it only takes 15 minutes. :) 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Thank You, Suesh

Something that made me smile amidst walking in the mall, oh, that's barely walking in the mall as I wore high heels. I had to dash from a wedding gig for family lunch and I didn't have time to stop by the house to grab a pair of flats so heels I go. But this made me smile, anyhow.

Suesh is a homegrown brand that sells affordable makeup supplies like brushes, toolbelts, and makeup trolleys at more affordable prices than luxury brand counterparts. It started first selling to start-up makeup artists and pro makeup artists and now, makeup enthusiasts also start trooping to the showrooms for makeup workshops or get their supply fix. When I did the same yesterday, I was really happy to discover that their brushes and toolbelts are cruelty-free, meaning no animal has been harmed from production of their merchandise. It makes me happy to know that not only are Suesh products affordable, they also care for animal welfare, a cause I truly believe in.

Thank you very much Suesh for being cruelty free! The world needs more brands like you!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Teaser: Karl Lagerfield for Shu Uemura collection

From the tail end of the last post, you met Mon Shu, Shu Uemura's newest muse who's coming on October 20-21. Oh, did you just see what she's bringing along?

They're too pretty I just had to squeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My eyes popped at the top of the pyramid, the limited edition makeup box! I've heard that the colors are pretty wearable too! There are exciting prizes to be won too! To know more about it, visit the Shu Uemura Philippines Facebook page to find out more!!!! I'll also be posting announcements in my instagram account too (follow me @ bambikitty on Instagram!)

Oh, and if you're there and you see me, drop by to say hi!

Swatching Supreme Matte Lipsticks and Meeting Mon Shu (soon!)

I was at Rockwell yesterday and I visited the Shu store. As usual, I love the very friendly atmosphere and the white lights that never lie so you know how the color of makeup actually looks on you and how concealer performs to cover blemishes even in harsh light.

If you know me full well, I'm a lipstick and brow girl, and the queen of quick makeup looks for everyday. I like bold lipsticks if I'm running late most especially so usually I see in my photos pictures of me with hardly any makeup but with mattified face, fuller brows, and red (or pink or any bright color) lipstick.

A few years ago, I had a photoshoot with Josa Quintas where in one peg, she had to put on red lipstick. She brought out her super favorite matte red lipstick from, of course, Shu Uemura and the shade was RD 165. It looked really awesome on her so I bought one at the Rockwell branch when I got the chance. It looked really pretty, pigmented, without the drag super dry mattes give. If I really like a lipstick, I go buy backups when it's about to run out. I was surprised to know though, that when I went to the counter and asked if they still had it, they mentioned to me that it's a shade that would be phased out soon but not to worry as Shu Uemura will be coming up with newer formulations in their products and more reds.

At present time, Shu Uemura has launched their Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte lipsticks. Matte lipsticks are awesomeness in a tube. They stay put more than most creamy and glossy formulations. For those doing beauty editorials, they do not reflect light while staying true to color. For those with full lips like Angelina Jolie, this is a great way to wear brights like red, hot pink, or coral without the lips overpowering the rest of the face. I tried to check out for myself what shades they had. Obviously, I went for the brights.

Their bestseller, according to the counter was M PK 376, a bright hot pink with a cool undertone.

 It's bold, attention grabbing, pretty, and here's another bonus: lippies with cool bluish undertones can make the teeth look whiter. No painful bleaching procedures necessary!

Lo and behold, I found out that my favorite Shu red, RD 165 is back, in supreme matte formula but it's got that same vamp vixen classic red power we all love.

Aside from the bright and bold statement lip colors I showed here, there are also beiges, browns, neutrals, and softer pinks in the Supreme Matte line, for those who want something more conservative. I didn't find this type of matte too dry, and it didn't drag when I swatched it. When I wiped the lip color off the back of my hand, there is some sort of "stain" still left.

The price is Php 1195, and it's the same price as all the other lipsticks.

Oh, it's two weeks to go before this much-awaited launch as Shu Uemura introduces its newest muse:

Her name is Mon Shu and she's excited to meet you too! Oh, and let's all be excited at these new goodies coming to Manila for a very limited time!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Faking it With Benefit's They're Real! Mascara

Ahhh, mascara, you are indeed a lazy girl's best friend. I mean, come on, we all love putting on makeup, but there are those days when it can be a chore since for one thing, it takes a whole lot of time to do makeup. What if you have other chores to do or somehow decided to take the day slow and embracing the yin of it all? For eyes that look more wide awake, I really rely on mascara. That instant definition of  curled lashes gives that wide-awake look and suddenly, you have eyes, and lashes. It's faster than putting fake lashes and much more comfortable too.

I purchased Benefit Cosmetics' They're Real! Mascara a few weeks ago after hearing good reviews from those who've tried it. The picture on the box got my un-mascara-ed eye popping because from ho-hum lashes, they instantly turned to vavoom lashes as according to the label, from a consumer-panel survey, these were the results:

94% dramatic length and volume
90% base-to-tip curl
94% saw visible lift
100% saw long-wearing results.

If it can turn eyes that are meh-level to yowza! level, then this must be worth a try.

I have to comment Benefit Cosmetics again, as they have such awesome packaging. This one looks like a spy weapon, like an elongated grenade or something.

I like the wand has got the end with bristles to get product wedged in those hard-to-reach areas. This could also be used by those with really sparse lashes or lashes on the bottom lashline to avoid those mascara speckles.

I didn't use makeup for the test here, though. Just the mascara. So that's my bare eye

Then I curled my lashes using my favorite lash curler. Sure, curling your lashes does give it a bit of definition.

To apply mascara, I got the brush, dabbed excess on a tissue, then wiggled the wand from base to tip

The bottom lashes, I used the pointy end 

Then after, you can see my new lashes.

It's not really super falsies effect. It still looks like my own lashes, except they're longer, darker, and more defined. Normally, volumizing mascaras thicken the strands so they plump up, but sometimes, they clump when you go a little too overboard. this one, I'm happy to say didn't but just to be sure, don't go too overboard with the coats (3 is fine). From my personal experience, it didn't weigh my lashes down and it still looked pretty defined and natural. Natural with impact. I could actually use this alone with no eyeliner.

Closed eye detail.

Just a reminder though, if you're a bride, and you know that you'll be crying, this isn't a waterproof mascara. it is, however, long-wearing so it can withstand probably an entire day or even a workout session (I worked out to this). Don't worry, non-waterproof formulas aren't that bad. We need them to give our lashes a break once in a while from those waterproof formulas, which can be a pain to remove everyday. Just use this if you have that extra-special occasion that you know you won't cry or submerge your face in water. We all deserve to be pretty everyday right? Even while giving our lashes a rest.

Benefit's They're Real! mascara retails for Php 1,200 and it's available at all Benefit counters. It's a bit more expensive than most mascaras, so this belongs to my treat-to-self category of mascara. It does last long, however, especially if you take good care of it. For pro use, I recommend using this in beauty shoots or editorials with natural-makeup pegs without using false eyelashes. 

Some tips:
  • Never, ever, pump the wand into the bottle. This could cause air to get trapped inside, thus drying and/or clumping the product.
  • For small eyes, make them appear wider, rounder, and larger, by concentrating application on the center lashes instead of the edges. 
  • To elongate very round eyes, concentrate on the outer edges. It's almost like the wing-tip eyeliner or wing lashes. 
  • Blot used wand with a tissue before storing. This would avoid clumps.