Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Cure Natural Aqua Gel

Another why-did-I-just-learn-to-love-you-sooner item to add to my list is the Cure Natural Aqua Gel. Cure Natural Aqua Gel has been around for quite some time already. In fact, it's quite popular in Japan with one bottle sold for every 7.5 seconds. A lot of Bellas love it.  It has only been recently that I got to try it after I received a sample from our BDJBox Makeup Party. I know, I know, it's quite late that I did because honestly, shame on me because there are quite a number of guys I know who use this.

image source

This bottle isn't a cleanser or a moisturizer, but it's just as important as the two because it's an exfoliating gel. Our skin tends to get dull because of the buildup that we do not see on the surface- the dead skin, dirt, and grime. The dead skin doesn't just make our skin look dull, but it actually blocks out the good things that our skin needs, such as moisturizer or lotion. 

Dirt, grime, and oil are taken care of in the cleansing part but for dead skin, we need exfoliation to do that. Traditional exfoliation (i.e. scrubs) uses rough surfaces (like files and abrasive surfaces) or  particles(seeds, grains, salt, or sugar) to help slough off dry and dull skin. For sensitive skin, this can cause a lot of redness and irritation. Cure on the other hand, if you look at it, is super clear. No grain or bits.

It is also preservative-free, artificial fragrance-free, coloring-free, and mineral oil-free.

Cure Natural Aqua Gel should be used on skin that has just be cleansed. So here's my guinea pig - the back of my hand - which has been cleansed. I use just a pump for this. I then rub the product gently in  a circular motion for 30 seconds. I stress on the gently part. Be kind and don't use any pressure. Your face is not a floor. 

As you rub, you will see white (or gray) bits and particles. These are actually the dry, dead skin which has been dulling your complexion and later on blocking your pores.

Rinse and look! smoother skin! Now proceed with your skin care. 

I personally prefer using this at night, and I only do so twice a week, just to rid my skin of gunk, because I don't want to overdo it.  

Why I like it:

  • It works. My skin feels a lot smoother after, And moisturizer seems to seep through it more.
  • Gentle. It's great for sensitive skin. No sting. No redness.
  • No smell. It's too hot for heavy scents.
  • No scratchy particles.
  • Environment-friendly. We all know how the microbeads are actually very harmful to the environment. This one has no microbeads to clog our waterways. What washes out is just your dead skin.
  • Bang for your buck. A bottle lasts for an average of 4 months.

Cure Natural Aqua Gel may also be used on rough patches, not just on the face. I used this on the soles of my feet to get rid of the dry skin since I'm barefoot most of the time. I also use these on my cuticles to get rid of the hangnail-causing dry skin. Use this on the bikini line and underarms to get to be bare-it-all confident in your beach trip.

Cure retails for Php 1500 and is available at  Rustan's (Shangri-La, Makati, and Alabang) and at Beauty Bar. Like Cure Aqua Gel in Facebook to get more updates or follow them in Twitter and Instagram.

A Crafty Floral Afternoon

It's ironic that some people think just because that I can do makeup, I can do all artsy things naturally. On the contrary, my crafty skills are zilch. I can't draw things at the top of my head and it's super hard for me to style an outfit (hence why most of my clothes are all dark colors, solids, animal prints, etc and I'm usually in my uniform of sando, shorts, and FitFlops). Funny, no, since they both involve the same side of the brain.

My friend Victoria (I call her Vicky), who I love feeding my food, is a paper florist. She makes paper flowers and arranges them much like how a florist makes bouquets and floral arrangement. She started out with this craft when she was assigned to make paper flowers for a shoot and somehow she got addicted to it. Some of her sample works are those below:

papercraft and Plueys

hey look! It's my muse Eriko! 
Oh, and she's an amazing pole dancer and aerialist.

Image Source
Vicky shares her knowledge to others by conducting paper flower workshops. For the month of May, she had one at my own nook - at Fully Booked BHS! Oh and thankfully, I was available that day to try it out.

I immediately signed up and got super excited in getting the crafty skills on cue. Vicky also assured me that I would be able to do something, despite my lack of skills in the foreign realm of arts and crafts or cutting very straight lines.

Ready to do something new.

Vicky demonstrated us how to make the basic flower patterns which she does, sharing with us tips on how to make the flowers look neat and even where to glue and easy ways to make things even for OC people like myself.

She gave us a pattern that was both pretty and easy to do, and showed us how to modify things when we get to be more advanced in our skills.

A few minutes later, I was able to make my first paper flower. Yay me!

She was also very hands-on with us and gave demos in small clusters so each participant had her undivided attention. She even gave suggestions if we seemed lost in transition on what to do and aside from being teacher of the day, even went around doing trash collection,

Aside from the basic paper flower technique, she also taught us how to make pom-pom flowers out of crepe paper, which resemble chrysanthemums. They can also be used as centers for flowers.

An update on my bouquet, getting there!

Paper flowers are a great idea for gift-wrapping or for giving flowers instead of buying expensive fresh flowers which wilt the next day. I'm personally not fond of fresh flowers because of that reasoning. Also, since I have pets, there are plants and flowers which might be harmful for them, which is also the reason why I don't keep flowers in the apartment. Paper flowers can also be their toys. They don't wilt by the end of the day and also, they're recyclable. During Christmas, we can make paper poinsettias since fresh poinsettias are poisonous to pets.

Vicky made this paper wreath from red and green paper for Christmas
 Paper flowers can also be an alternative to wedding bouquets. It can even be a great and fun activity for your entourage, or you can make it part of your bridal shower,

Finally! save for the (paper) leaves, my bouquet is done! I know, it's super bright!

A group photo with our teacher! Thank you for a fun, fun afternoon!

Just like any skill learned, we do not become awesome at it by just one workshop. Just like makeup, pole dancing, and cooking, things like these take practice. We had our take-home kits with templates and step-by-step tutorials for us to remember when we make our own at home. I'm glad my first attempt turned out quite prettily and rest assured I'll be tagging her in my creations and also have an alternative way to present gifts rather than dunking them in paper bags.

For more of her works, you may check out Victoria Velasco's site at http://www.victoriavelasco.com also to get updates on her upcoming workshops in various venues. You may also follow her at Twitter and Instagram or get in touch with her at hello@victoriavelasco.com

sample works and poster: http://www.victoriavelasco.com
pole photo: http://www.polecatsmanila.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Beauty Tips for the Busy Lady From Ponds.

A beauty routine need not be complicated. Just last Saturday, I attended an event where Cheska Garcia-Kramer shares with us her beauty secrets that are quick and simple. Cheska started out in the 90s as a teenybopper star and now, she not only is an actress but she is also a model, designer, and a mom of three children. She is a hands-on mom and she describes how she takes good care of her family. However, as she takes care of her family, she never forgets to take care of herself and it could definitely be seen by her glowing skin with very minimal makeup.

Although I'm not a mommy to humans, I could still learn a thing or two from her tips. I wear a lot of hats - makeup artist, yoga teacher, cat mom (yes, it's a hat. taking care of pets is not an easy task), pole dancer, the list goes on. On a normal day, I'm not really into the whole 2 hours of hair and makeup kind of thing (I save that for special events or shoots), especially for everyday and more so in today's weather. However, there is a need to take good care of your skin and to look just a bit better. I emphasize on the skin. We should take good care of our skin too, because no matter how expensive the makeup is, if the skin is in bad condition, how will the makeup still look good? Also, with good skin, there's less to cover, less makeup, less sticky feels.

Here are some tips I learned in simplifying my morning routine:

Have your makeup kit ready and organized with your essentials

We have our big baul of makeup that stores our palettes and magic tools. On a normal day however, let's stick to the essentials and keep this in a smaller kikay kit ready for us to use. An eyebrow pencil, lip and cheek tint, eyeliner, mascara, lash curler, a few bright lipsticks, BB cream/tinted moisturizer and powder are all you need to look just a tad better. Sneak in a few brushes (clean of course!)  It's summer still. Go have fun.

Get that checklist and tape it where you can see it.

#ChekasChecklist is all the tutorial you need on a busy day. It's simple and fast and gets the basics covered. One thing about Cheska's super fast and super efficient makeup tutorial is that she really stresses a lot on brows. Brows are what frame the face. In one shoot I did, the designer client also noted how the brows change the entire face. I personally prefer using my favorite trusty eyebrow pencil (Shu Uemura hard 9 formula) to give my brows some shape and definition. They even last an hour of pole class and a quick ashtanga workout.

For beginners, I would recommend what Cheska used here, which is brow powder or a nice matte brown eyeshadow that's a step lighter than the head hair color.

Caring for your skin is as simple as 1-2-3!

Clients would know me as aside from being very OC with brows and blending, I really have to start makeup with clean skin. Either tell my model or client to get their face washed or I would cleanse it myself using facial cleansing cloth or makeup remover and Evian water (wiped with facial wipes). Toner and then moisturizer come next and we don't have to put a lot.

Pond's  Age Miracle Cell ReGEN Day Cream is a non-sticky facial moisturizer

We just need a pea-size amount. The best way to apply moisturizer is to massage it to the face in an upward motion because this will counter the downward moment of sagging (one tip I learned). The massage also boost circulation and creates a glow from within.

Pond's Age Miracle BB Cream is a primer, foundation, concealer, and sunblock in one awesome tube.

 A layer of BB cream protects the skin and enhances its glow. Pond's BB Cream has SPF to protect our skin from the harmful rays of the sun and it's tinted so it also acts as a foundation evening out the skintone. I also like that it's light enough and perfect for warm climates. Now do your makeup and you're finished! Not hard!

Looking good doesn't have to be hard, and no matter how busy we are, we should always take time to take care of ourselves, because it's something we owe to ourselves and keep ourselves balanced, mom or not.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion Review

I hate zits, They literally are an eyesore and I wish they never existed. That bright red gross spot ruins your day when you look at it in the mirror or when you finally take off your makeup. I also don't like it when people call you out for it, like "Uy! you have a pimple on your nose/forehead/cheek!". Swear, whenever a zit on my face gets attention, there's this inner fire in me that wants to punch the person that noticed it. Also, lastly, having a zit is uncomfortable. That spot hurts and I always wait for the day that I get up and that it has miraculously popped and left my life forever never to return. Zits though have a nasty way of leaving. They take forever to go away and when they do, you have that scab to deal with (maybe you popped it, maybe it exploded or dried out but will surprise you with another one on the same spot).

I've seen raves on the Mario Badescu drying lotion for quite some time, I think way back when blogs did not exist, Internet was still paid by the hour and the beauty resource I have were Seventeen magazines bought abroad. Celebrities love it, readers love it, and I must try it. But alas, with student allowance, it was too expensive for me. I resulted to other methods like waiting it out, concealer, tea tree oil, etc. They do work, but it did take some time. Finally, when a zit landed near my upper lip and eating was getting to be a pain, I was like, "The hell with it, I'm getting myself a bottle of it right now. Mahal na kung mahal."

Called "instant-gratification-in-a-jar", this tiny bottle contains active ingredients to dry up whiteheads and pimples - wait for it - OVERNIGHT. Great for those who want their zits gone right away. This 29-mL bottle costs php P1,095 and is available in Rustans.

This product contains calamine and salicylic acid and other quick-drying ingredients that would shrink your whiteheads overnight. It is to be stored upright, and not to be used shaken.

Here's how to use: With a clean face (after moisturizer), dip a cotton bud just until it touches the pink sediment.

Then, apply the pink lotion on the area to be treated. No need to spread. Let dry, go to sleep, and rinse it off in the morning.

My verdict:

Why did I not buy this sooner?

The darn spot on my upper lip was dry as a Sahara overnight. No more of that irritating swollen pain on my zit area. There was some sting though during the application, and the smell is almost medicine-like, like toothache drops but tolerable. You actually need a little amount so I think this would last me quite a while.


  • Effective. What usually takes me a week for the zit to dry took me overnight.
  • Safe on sensitive skin
  • Scent is tolerable
  • Value for money, a little goes a long way.
  • Can be used on whiteheads, pimples, and relieve the itch from insect bites,


  • The tiny bottle don't come cheap! 
  • Since it leaves a pink spot on the face, you cannot use this during the day, unless you want to go out with a pink spot (or spots!) on your face.
  • For people allergic to salicylic acid, this might not be the product for you.
  • Slight sting, but I guess it depends on the person.

I suggest that since this contains salicylic acid, to do a patch test first before buying, as some people may be sensitive to salicylic acid. See how your skin reacts. If it's great, go ahead and buy.

I'm glad I made my purchase and I can tell that it worked for me. My only wish though is that I hope that I don't get to use this often, because that means getting zits a lot.

Hot Stuff for a Hot Day

Is it hot in here?

Yes it is. It's already mid-May, it's begun to rain a bit but it is still friggin' hot. So hot that I had to do a lot of changes in things, particularly my beauty products. Last season, soap formulas were richer and lusher, I could afford to wear a full face of makeup, body oils, and creams (at night of course). Here are some of my summer beauty and wellness staples to keep me cool and refreshed with temperatures rising high.

Gel moisturizers

As many know, I don't use moisturizer during the day  since it makes me slip a lot when I do pole or yoga (no moisturizer is one cardinal rule in pole dancing, just like please warm up before class). When I do moisturize, I use a cooling gel formula instead of  December's creams and butters. My friend Romina gave me this tub of aloe gel as a gift when she went to Korea for a trip. It's like a cool glass of water on my skin. I can also use this to soothe my chafed skin after pole.

Go minty!

Ilog Maria Spearmint & Oatmeal Soap available at Ilog Maria Honeybee Farms or at Echostore

I love peppermint anything! This soap cools me down and the scent lingers even after I have left the shower. The scent of peppermint is very energizing too, like morning coffee without the caffeine jolt.

Light makeup

See the tutorial for this look at BDJBox.com
I have kept makeup minimum due to the weather. On days when I need to look a bit more er, alive, I have a basic makeup routine that I do using minimal products as possible. I also save time doing this!  I also switched to a lighter formula makeup remover. As of the moment, I'm using Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil in Fresh (the pink bottle) because it's really light on my skin which can get really greasy during these hot months. The smell is super fresh and even though the formula is super light, it's pretty effective in removing makeup too. Even waterproof mascara!

Lighten the (hair) load

haven't gone this short since I can't remember. Got a cut and style from my favorite salon
I've maintained my hair long, and I like it that way since I think it's more low-maintenance. This summer, I lopped off four inches off of it, and it's been a refreshing change. Hair dries faster and it's less of a load. There's still length to keep it away from my face and neck in a ponytail as well as do playful curls with it when I want to. By the time colder months start, it has grown already to the length that I'm used to.

Human Nature Clarifying Shampoo, Php 149.00
[image credits]

My shampoo formulation also changes. Since I swim, I switch to clarifying shampoos to rid me of the buildup. If I know I'll be outdoors, I put a light leave-on hair cream on my hair with built-in SPF such as Snoe Hair Heroes Intense UV & Thermal Barrier Shield.

Tummy Treats

I opt for fresh juices as much as possible or infuse my water with fruits and veggies instead of buying drinks filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners.

post-pole snack: smoothie from Jamba Juice and a DIY salad from Juju Eats
 Salads are super refreshing for the body too so whenever I dine out, I more often than not opt for salads. All these raw food goodness have so much benefits for our body and there are so many good fruits in season as well, so we better take advantage of them.

Instead of creamy or cheese dips, I make fresh mango salsa, which also goes well with fish or chicken. If I want something cold, I would go for fresh fruit popsicles or a cup of yogurt. I'll save the ramen and pho come rainy days.

These little tips help me keep cool during these high temperatures and definitely keep my mind cool as well. Try these to make summer more awesome. Because it really is an awesome season. Make the most out of it!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Juice ko po: Chronicling my first few juice experiments.

I was gifted with a juicer by my sister a few weeks ago, a hand-me-down, since she bought a new one for herself. I was all happy to have one because finally, I can make fresh juice instead of buying those in the carton with a lot of artificial coloring, flavoring, and sugar and enjoy fresh juice goodness. It's a pretty old model since it's been around for quite some time, and not really the expensive ones in the market, but as long as I drink the juice right away instead of making it stand for long hours, it would be okay.

I'm pretty excited to make fresh juice since it's so much more nutritious than the artificial counterpart. So far, we haven't bought juices on a carton for a month now. Before it was just orange juice from the carton or pineapple juice from the can and the fresh juice only being buko. Now I have made a lot of concoctions in pretty colors. Some can be found online or shared by friends and co-workers. Some are brave to experiment but I would much rather go and follow a recipe to know the right combination.

My first one is cucumber pineapple. It was a really hot day, and I needed something to cool me down. I juice my fruit cold, so there's no need for ice.

Of course I read about the pros and cons of juicing. I like the part that it's a better way of consuming food I really am not fond of eating as it is, say oranges, grapefruit, and pineapple but would prefer it as juice. It's less heavy than a smoothie too, so I can have it with a meal. The only downside though is that most of the fiber is lost during juicing, but my fiber intake is quite good anyway. I just like the fact though that instead of sugar-ladden drinks, I get the real thing, straight from the fruit and into my glass.

This berry mint julep consist of strawberries, apples, peppermint leaves, lemon juice, cold green tea, and organic honey to sweeten. Lots of vitamin C and the peppermint feels good since it's been really hot lately.

But a bit of heat is good with some ginger, and on some drinks, I add a bit of ginger, which is great for people like me with digestive problems. I don't have a photo of it but I add ginger to apple pineapple juice, beet juice, etc.

Beets are great for the liver and also for stamina. I originally wanted this drink to be pink lemonade but I think I put too much beet for it to be dark red, so it's like err dark red lemonade. I put a bit of sea salt on the rim of my mason jar and made it a healthy beet margarita. I think the beets did it well here because it became super sweet.

My drink this morning in a fancy Bellini glass so it's pretty for photo purposes. Pineapple juice with chia seeds and a mint leaf.

I used to make virgin mimosa with ginger ale and orange juice (from a carton). I wonder how it would taste with fresh orange juice now?

Due to the natural sugar in juice, I haven't been craving a lot for sweets lately, like before, which must be a good thing. A personal favorite during the hot day, which is also good for healthy skin is pineapple, cucumber, and mint. it's like a fruity shower in your insides.

Of course nothing beats the real thing, the fruit or veggie in itself, which I have. But this is a great way to consume them as well, Tidying up though can be time consuming, but I'm looking at it as an awesome workout as well.

Dear MUAs. Protect Your Numbers

Since most of our contact information is public knowledge (to be contacted by future clients, brides, etc), that means that being public info or easily acquired through directories, we must also be aware that there are people who really have nothing better to do and would just like to waste your time.

I had one incident when I got a call a few months back after a class. Even though the number is unsaved, I still answer because it might be a client. Turns out, the guy on the other line introduced himself as my friend with a new number and played the guessing game to me. He had a good English with good modulation, so I know it wasn't some random street person. I really hate playing guessing games because I really do not have time for that but he was like, "sige na, parang naman we're not friends" So listening to his voice carefully I asked if we were friends from work, pole, or yoga. After a pause, he mentioned yoga, and after guesswork, he said he was one of my co-yoga teacher friends. I asked why was his voice a bit lower, and he said he was feeling ill or just woke up. He told me about a personal problem he had in life that he was confused with. I didnt give much details about myself or personal experience relating to that problem. I would like to thank the self-help books I had to read regarding listening skills for making that conversation all about the person I was talking to. It really helped with my safety. Before ending the call, he said that he would call the following day. The following day, I missed his call since I had work but I sent him an SMS (still thinking that he was my friend from yoga) saying, "hey sorry I missed your call, what's up?" No reply. Then, I saw that yoga teacher friend of mine online and sent him a message in Facebook apologizing for not answering his call. That friend of mine in Facebook was like, "Hey, I never sent you a call." That's when I got creeped out. I asked him if the number that called me was his, and he said it wasn't and his real number is a postpaid line.

That number of the guy pretending to be my friend called me. And when I asked who this one was, he asked me, "Are you drunk?" My real friends know that I absolutely do not drink due to my alcohol intolerance and what more drink and be at a drunk state at high noon so I put the phone down and immediately blocked the number.  I also relayed the message to my real friend, who I met in person telling him that someone pretended to be him.

Just a while ago, I had a conversation via SMS with another friend of mine, who's a casting agent. Just a few seconds later, I got a call from another unsaved number. Another male voice, almost as low as my casting agent friend's. This time, I'm much smarter and asked who this one is. And he pretended that the signal in his other end was weak and I was like, "I want to know who you are. " and then he was like, "Why won't you guess?". I immediately thought this was the same guy pretending to be my yoga friend and about to pretend to be my friend from another field if I proceed with another guesswork. I placed the phone down. Just to be sure, I called my friends verifying if they did call me, and they said they didn't (yes, I really want to make sure ). I relayed to them what happened to me, that someone called me assuming a random friend's identity.

My work number is quite public information, and it's pretty easy to get. I'm in mailing lists of PR companies for work. I am in a wedding supplier directory. I've joined bridal fairs. But it's for work and for potential clients to reach me. My friends who I work with also reach me here to book me for shoots, invite me to events, or even to lunch. I'm sure it's the same for other suppliers and vendors out there.

Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to not reveal a lot of personal info, like current whereabouts or names or addresses. After the first call, I resolved to stop playing guessing games via phone. it may be bitchy but it's for my own protection.

Most of us suppliers and even bloggers have a lot of information that are public, or at least easily acquired. A blogger friend of mine was harassed by someone regarding his/her personal life via SMS, That's why we really can't keep a lot of things private. What we can do is filter what we post. It's good to not post photos of the exterior of where we live or tag the exact name of our village or condo in social media. If you can keep a separate number for work and another number for personal, do so, and only give out the personal number to close friends and family. Always ask who this person is whether texts or voice call, in case you get the experience that I had, is that the person assumed the identity of my yoga friend, which resulted in an awkward conversation after I met up with the real yoga friend of mine. The second call distinctly sounded like my casting agent friend,  I'm just paranoid that I counter-check and immediately alert my friend that someone stole his identity. That's how scams and text modus operandis work.

Also, trust your instinct. If you felt iffy about the conversation, message your friend in Facebook asking him or her if he or she did call you at this number. Never play guessing games and it's just right to ask who that person is through SMS or voice call,

Since it is a prepaid number, I don't know if they can actually be traced by the network and deactivated. I know we could only report spam messages to Globe but not calls like these.

To the person who called me, know that by not posting the two numbers you used, I am doing you a favor because it might be your own personal number and I don't want to embarrass you with your family and friends. You know who you are and do the rest of the world and yourself a favor and stop what you are doing. Being a makeup artist, my number is available on bridal supplier directories for work. You also pretended to be my friends, stealing their identities. and you almost had me fooled with the second one since you sounded almost as much as my friend. Judging from how you speak, you seem to have had good education. Please find a job that will occupy your time, help others by donating to charity, or talk to your family and real friends, those who know who you are. I have a life of my own that I want to live.