Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Field Trip To The Avon Plant

I would like to thank Ogilvy and Avon for giving me the awesome opportunity yesterday of touring the Avon plant yesterday. It was an awesome experience that I would like to share with everyone, well, at least in photos and over here. I remember the field trip I had to the Crayola and Monggol factory when I was still in grade school. I ended up being so giddy at seeing how the crayons were shaped, molded, and labelled. Well, this time, I visit a factory to make crayons for big girls.

Originally, I wasn't supposed to be in the tour as I had work scheduled on the original date. Due to the storm with no name, the tour was moved and I was available that day so yay! The shuttle service was in Starbucks 6750 and we then travelled to the Avon Products Manufacturing Inc. (APMI) plant in Calamba, Laguna to witness how the products we get from our Avon lady are made and manufactured.

We were personally welcomed by APMI General Manager and Manufacturing Director Collin Whittington.

We had lunch catered by Bizu as we talked and bonded with our fellow beauty bloggers and met new friends and even got in touch with members of the Avon team. After that, we were introduced to the history of Avon and how it grew to the company that it is now, then came the much awaited part of the trip -the Avon plant tour.

Before we even stepped a boot in the plant, we were reminded of safety precautions. Prior to the event, we were given guidelines on what to wear - shorts, sleeveless shirts/sandos and close-toed shoes were not allowed for safety reasons. We also had to remove our jewelry and keep them safe and locked and brought only our cameras (or cellphones doubling as cameras) to the production area.

Our uniform for the day: lab coats buttoned up, hair nets, and protective masks.  It's like chem lab all over again. But yes, this is for high quality control and also for our own safety.

Awww!!! Look at the sign! Thank you Avon!

We were shown the machines and ingredients used to make our favorite Avon products like lipsticks, lotions, perfumes, body gels, and up to their own packaging. I'll be posting a few photos as for security measures, there are areas that prohibit photography.

I love how organized they are! Each factory line is carefully planned to deliver quality products in constant measurements. They're very organized, cost, and energy efficient. I also noticed that the factory is spotless. The floors are super clean you can actually do eggrolls and cartwheels there without fear of turning gray.  They really are serious with QA here, doing periodic inspections and general cleaning. Raw materials are tested periodically with some reagents in the laboratory to ensure that each raw material (or ingredient) to be used is fresh so we get quality products each time we buy.

Seeing how our favorite Avon products are made was actually very enlightening. Oftentimes, we take things for granted, like a bottle of shower gel we receive in the mail or we think of a lipstick in our kikay kit as one of the hundreds that we have, not realizing that someone who holds more than a thousand lipsticks per day  actually earn a living to feed his or her family and send children to school doing so. Every product we see here is indeed a labor of love. Yeehhhsss!!!!

All them goodies are packed and ready to go. And yes, packing and sealing is very organized! An OC person would surely love it here.

As we put out lab coats back and head off back to Manila, we had a new appreciation for the bottles of Avon Skin So Soft products we have in our bags. More than being giddy about seeing the ultimate kikay girl's dream of seeing a big vat of mascara melt or a kettle full of lotion, we know better than to take our goodies for granted. I bet when I do visit again, it would be a whole new different experience, like a new machine added or a new system implemented. Thank you very much Avon! You definitely made my day. Till the next field trip.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Elizabeth Arden Introduces Green Tea Cherry Blossom

Last Thursday, I was invited to spend a very Zen afternoon at Neo Day Spa at Bonifacio Global City by the wonderful girls of Elizabeth Arden Philippines to witness the unveil of a new fragrance to their Green Tea Fragrance family. Thankfully, the weather decided to cooperate and it was a sunny, sunny Thursday full of joy. Looks like the elements are happy too.

Green Tea Fragrance was introduced to me more than ten years ago. I love the light, fresh fragrance it has.With our hot and humid country, this is the fragrance I highly recommend for anyone, both for ordinary days and special occasions because it's not too overpowering and it has that fresh, energetic scent that gets the blood pumping. Remember when fragrances get a bit too strong when the body warms up? For some reason, this fragrance doesn't overwhelm my senses even after a pole workout. Yep! I use this when I pole. So really, I'm excited about what this new fragrance is.

When I got to Neo Day Spa, I was first introduced to a bit of history on the Green Tea fragrances, first starting with the classic green tea fragrance up to the introduction of several other variants - Lotus Flower, Camellia, and Lavender. These scents have that same energetic burst of green tea.

Finally, in a room decorated in pink and white paper lanterns and cherry blossoms, we were whisked to a whimsical land in Japan reminiscent of watercolor paintings. The decorations were just apt for the introduction of the newest scent: Green Tea Cherry Blossom, a light, citrusty-floral scent that comes in a pretty cherry blossom pink bottle.

"Ethereal, fresh and feminine, this new exquisite citrus floral fragrance brings together the sparkling femininity of delicate pink petals and the lush freshness of green tea leaves to create a truly unique and beautiful fragrance experience. The scent opens with sparkling and luminous accords of lemon and bergamot. Its refreshing drops are combined with green tea vapor to announce delicate cherry blossom mixed with fine notes of green tea leaves. A base incorporates woody notes of birch tree intertwining with angelica and moss."

We were given vials to try the fragrance on our pulse points. The first whiff of the scent is citrusy and fruity, just like the top notes of the other green tea fragrances. The uplifting topnote is why I personally like to use Green Tea when I'm having a very busy day ahead and I need all the energy I need (and probably why I use this also when I work out). Afterwards, it fades and enters the middle and bottom notes which are floral and feminine, yet still light and fresh without overpowering the senses. The floral notes do remind us all of girly things and flowy fabrics, but it still has got that light, citrusy scent that I like.

We were served tea-infused sandwiches and iced tea.

I wasn't able to eat the other sandwiches as it contained pork and ham, as I'm converting on becoming pesco-vegetarian  but I feasted on the roasted vegetable variants. The iced tea was super yummy I think I had two servings of that!

Aside from the Green Tea Cherry Blossom, we were also introduced  to another pretty makeup collection from Elizabeth Arden, which, with their pretty rose packaging matches the Cherry Blossom's pink bottle and feminine fragrance. This collection, Rose Aurora, is available at Elizabeth Arden makeup counters and is available in easy-to-use universal shades to flatter the skin tone.

The lipstick is in a pretty neutral pink-brown shade that feels cushy on the lips, and the highlighter can be a sheer, shimmery blush. More on these later. :)

We were treated to a massage by the awesome staff of Neo Day Spa and served sweet macarons later.

Hi loves!

Thank you so much, Elizabeth Arden for the gift!

With the wonderful girls of Elizabeth Arden and all the beauty bloggers. I can be a boy in black in a sea of pastels and heels. :P

Green Tea Cherry Blossom is available in leading department stores and is exclusively distributed by Rustan's Marketing Corp. The 50 mL eu de Toilette Spray costs Php 2,250 and the 100 mL spray is Php 2,950.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bouncy Hair with Pantene Nature Care

oh yeah, it rhymes. woord! 

I love my hair and its unruliness. Back then, I used to like wrestle with a blowdryer and an iron to weigh my hair to flat straightness when it's effortless to everyone. Ten years later, I've accepted that it's what it is - long, thick, and wavy and effortlessly that way. I love how it easily curls and I don't need to comb it to get that out-of-bed look. Since I love my hair so much, I take good care of it, the low-maintenance way, that is to keep it clean all the time.

I thank Pantene for sending me over some goodies over the weekend from their latest line, Nature Care, which I'm really excited to try (as soon as I finish the big bottle of Pantene that I bought, the one that has a pump dispenser. See? Told you I love the brand). Thank you Pantene, and my brushes thank you too! Just like our skin, there are different types of shampoos created  for different people, since we all have different hair types and needs. For example, if hair is fine and limp and needs a bit of oomph, bring it back to life with Fullness and Life

"Fullness and life is designed for the Filipina who can't get enough of beautiful hair with volume. Even with volume, she still wants hair that is manageable or no 'buhaghag' ."

Big, beautiful hair, how can we go wrong? I love my big hair. I think it looks great when I do headflips and it's a staple in magazine covers and Victoria's Secret runway shows.  This big hair means big hair with awesomeness, and not hair all over the place that looks matted and dry making me reminiscent of the crazy cat lady in The Simpsons (I know, I am a crazy cat lady but my hair doesn't have to say it). Pantene Nature Care Fullness and Life Shampoo cleanses hair while giving it some nourisihing complex. Just like the name "Nature Care", it takes inspiration from mother nature with elements like avocado oil, grapeseed extract, and bamboo. To prevent frizz, especially for curly girls like me,  the conditioner will make it look prettier and more manageable.

For those who want a little tamer side of life, Smoothness and Life will make hair smooth and sleek without looking dry, flat, and dull, as that sometimes happens when I fry my hair too much. It's the hair ad look without looking flat and dull as it nourishes the hair with Cassia complex, aloe vera, calendula, and ginger. Sleek hair doesn't have to look weighed down and heavy.

What's great too about Pantene Nature Care is that they smell really nice and fresh, with that clean scent that lingers in the bathroom post-shower. I like clean scents and even my brushes smell nice and fresh when they're finished cleaning. I actually like Smoothness and Life with my brushes and will probably use that too with them and also my hair. Fullness and Life, if I want those big bombastic headflips or bounce and then drop to superman drop.

SRP for Pantene Nature Care shampoo and conditioner is Php 120 for the 170 mL shampoo and it's also Php 120 for the 165 mL conditioner. For once-a-week deep conditioning, the tub is awesome during rest days when there's no shoot going on or after doing a few laps in the pool.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Yin Experience

I've had a lot of friends who practice yoga, are passionate about it, and even went to studying on teacher training. Which is why it did get me to be curious. I'm familiar with yoga and I've done some home DIY practices I've stumbled online or in magazines, but never classes. I want to, and am open to, especially when I got into fitness. I'm glad two of my yoga-enthusiast blogger friends Ria and Jane organized a yin yoga event for bloggers and it didn't take enough convincing for me to say yes. It was rainy too that day (also, it's a perfect yin weather) but I still went through with the class and excited about it. I first heard about yin yoga from Jane and she told me it's a passive kind with yoga, that targets the deep connective tissue. She knows I have an obsession with getting bendy and flexible and splitty and she told me this would help a lot.

Yin yoga is actually a calming yoga practice where we come into poses with our muscles in a relaxed state, instead of tensing them up or engaging them. The poses are held on for like 3-5 minutes and just let gravity and time take you deeper into the pose. As we go along our very active lifestyle, our body tenses up and we kinda lose our flexibility in the process. It somehow starts to make sense as I remember Kayleen telling us that we need our stretches after we do our squats to gain our flexibility back. Last weekend's bridal fair also had me standing up most of the time with tense wrists and arms and as I wrote this, it kinda made sense why my split was higher again when I went back to pole class the following day.

I was at Beyond Yoga in Il Terrazo earlier than our call time and I had a chat with Ria before the session. I asked her about her journey to yoga, which she started becoming passionate about. I met Ria 2 years ago. Back then, she weighed 40 pounds heavier and had an unhealthy lifestyle. Now lighter with a calmer disposition, she is now in yoga teacher training and a full vegetarian.

Our teacher, Donna Tumacder-Esteban introduces herself to us and also a bit of yin yoga. I love how she explained it and how it made sense for those who never heard about yoga. And just so you know, we have no headstands in yin yoga.

The yoga class started with us sitting in a cross-legged position allowing out minds to calm down as we start getting curious with our body. I noticed that my breathing was faster and shallower and as usual, I was tense around the shoulders and neck. It took quite a while for my shoulders to drop. Hip openers came next and we did the butterfly pose, something I'm familiar with as I do a lot of these in pole class and it somehow feels like a torrent of hell on earth is removed from me. I think it's because girls carry a lot of stress on the hips though, I'm not sure.

photo by Ria

I'm quite flexible on the hips as than most people so this pose was quite easy for me to bring my forehead to touch my foot. I felt the stretch on my outer hips too and I love splitty hip stretches.

Donna spots me for this other pose, and teaches a bit of modification so I could get the stretch up to my neck.

This hip stretch didn't make me cry as much as the caterpillar pose did, since it needed a bit of back bendiness. However, towards the later part of the stretch, I felt myself getting lower in the pose. I didn't fight it and just surrendered, relaxed, and felt a deeper stretch. The end of the session had us do a Savasana pose, where we lay in stillness. By this time, I noticed my breathing get a bit slower and deeper and there was a time that I would be able to just not breathe for a few seconds and then go back into another deep, slow breath. The session ended with Donna answering a few questions, and demonstrating more poses. She showed us a snail pose, which was much like an inversion. When I tried it, surprisingly, I was able to execute the pose and hold it longer. I also tried doing a split, and I was able to make it lower and squarer.

Group picture! Spot me na galit sa saplot.

That's my fellow polekitten Anna! She's awesome on the yoga mat as she is on the pole.

Ria also shares her favorite healthy veggie recipe of incorporating more vegetables in our diet using a Green Smoothie recipe.

I see mangoes, I see bananas and I see what? :Pechay and malunggay? Ria was like, "yes, pechay!" Quite unusual but I was game. She mixes plain yogurt, mangoes, bananas, a bit of cold water with malunggay and pechay

It looks green but promise, it tastes awesome and delicious. In fact, I was so inspired that I went to the grocery after and bought a lot of fruit and vegetables for a home version.

Yin yoga is an awesome complement to the dynamic exercise I have. Actually, after the session, I felt energized and my whole system reset. Aside from the fruits, I also bought a yoga mat after for home practice.

Thank you Jane and Ria for the invitation, and Donna for that marvelous session! More fitness love!

Beyond Yoga is located at 3F II, Il Terrazo building Tomas Morato Ave COR Scout Madrinian St. Quezon City. Contact them at or at  0917 -5BEYOND (0917-5239663)