Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's Wedding Bells For Me... Again!

 2012 has been a tough year for me, filled with ups and downs. I stopped blogging for a while after my mother passed away earlier this year, and for the past few months I've just been working and adjusting to married life. Josh and I originally planned to get married in November of this year, but when my mother took a turn for the worse, we decided to drop everything and threw together a wedding at the small chapel in St. Luke's medical hospital. It was a very somber affair, with only a handful of people in attendance, but I'm so happy that my mum was able to attend it.

 Our first, simple wedding, that we put together in a week.

Be that as it may, Josh and I are officially married now but we'd already put down all of our reservations (and downpayments) for the November ceremony. We decided to do say our vows once more (for the third time!), so that we could have all of our friends and family celebrate our joy with us. It's been a little tough to juggle all the wedding preparations on top of our big move + starting our tech company, but I wanted to take a little time to record the details of our preparations. I was able to find some very talented suppliers, and I wanted to share my finds with all the bride-to-bes out there.

I had my dresses for the November celebration made by Bong de Ocampo Couture. She took care of the reception dress, the wedding dress, and all the dresses of our entourage. Her prices were extremely reasonable, and she was recommended by another bride to me a few months ago. If you are a bride who's looking for amazing work for a very reasonable price, I highly recommend checking her out. You can find her website here.

I opted for a simple, elegant design that used a lot of lace. Our theme is going to be Greek/Roman, so the reception area will be decorated with a lot of pillars and I wanted my dress to match. It's supposed to be bad luck for anyone to see the wedding dress before the wedding, but since Josh and I are already married, we decided it would be okay. :)

My reception dress is emerald green with gold beadwork, but it's still being worked on and I'll post it after the wedding in November so there's still a surprise left. ;)

Josh's three-piece suit was made by Leonard Co. They don't have a website, so I'm adding their contact information below:

Leonard Co Design (
No. 6 Balete Drive New Manila, Quezon City
Tel Nos: (02) 7215611/ 7220876/ 7226739

Fax Nos: (02) 7226023 Mobile Nos:(0916)2548000

Like de Ocampo Couture, their prices were extremely reasonable. Having a suit made cost us around P5,500+ (we brought our own fabric), and they were very good at complimenting Josh's frame. We had five groomsmen as well as the groom's suit made by them, all for the same price. A ready made suit normally goes for a little less than P5,000 if you buy it at the department store, but custom suits from other designers will usually run to around P10,000 (even if you bring the cloth).

The entourage clothes aren't finished yet, but I'll post pictures of them in the future as well. Everything is Greek/Roman-themed, and I'm really excited to see how it all comes together on the day itself.

The prenup pictorial was done by Ariel Javelosa photography as part of their wedding package. The package we got included the prenup shoot, two teams of photographers during the wedding day itself, and a 'Day Of' wedding video. We opted for a mid-range priced photographer, partly because I haven't found a really cheap wedding photographer that was actually good, and mostly because at the end of the day, the only thing you have to show for months of preparations are photos. If you're going to spend on one thing, it may as well be that!

I can't speak for the wedding day shoot yet, of course, but the prenup shoot went pretty well. Their equipment is top-notch, and the photographer they assigned to us had steady hands. Some of the poses he requested were a bit cheesy at first, but he got used to us after after a few shots to warm up.

I'll review them again after the wedding, but for now, I'm definitely happy with their work. Here's a link to their website.

Lastly, my makeup for the prenup shoot was done by Yang Gagelonia. I had gotten Carlan Teng for the wedding itself, but as her rates are quite high, I looked for someone else for the prenup. Yang is a graduate of Make-up Designory Manila and she's done tons of events and shoots. Her rates are also incredibly reasonable (she threw in grooming for Josh for free), and she's affordable enough that you can hire her for multiple occasions. I sent her photos of the look I wanted to emulate ahead of time, and she did a great job. You can find her website here.

My hair was done by a salon, but I'm not 100% happy with what they did, so I won't list them. Suffice to say that they lost my appointment and rushed my updo, and it was only my Tokyo Posh hair extension that really saved the day. :\

I'll post more of our suppliers and what they did for us as we go along. Our invitations should be arriving any day now, and I'm really looking forward to them. With the majority of our preparations complete, now all that's left is the wait. How exciting!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

JFDI Bootcamp! + My Travel Makeup Kit (Guerlain, MAC, Shiseido, and more!)

Hello, ladies!

Despite promises otherwise, it's been far too long since my last update. (This post will hopefully spark at least weekly updates from me.) It's been a crazy past few months, as I left my job as Human Nature's lead designer to fly off to Singapore with Josh and two other team members to participate in the JFDI Bootcamp.

The JFDI Bootcamp is a Startup Accelerator, which means that they help you get your grain of an idea to investor-ready in 100 days. Our idea is HobbyMash, an app dedicated to helping lovely ladies (and those pesky men, too! ;)) connect with others who share their interest.

This is a link to our Facebook page for now, but do check it out 
when the app itself is up? I'll post a heads-up when it's ready 
for some lovely test subjects, hehe.

It's a tough environment, and we spend a lot of sleepless nights working our butts off. Not to mention the fact that there are like only two other women in this entire bootcamp-- there's no one I can talk to about makeup, haha!

On the beauty side, I've had to pare down my collection to the barest essentials. It's depressing because I had to leave all my MAC single eyeshadows behind (I didn't have time to depot them and I didn't have a palette anyways). Here's what I brought with me:

1)  88 Eyeshadow Palette - I never appreciated this palette until I actually had to take an extended trip somewhere, and when it came to choosing between my trayful of MAC single eyeshadows and this slim case, the 88 palette pretty much beat everyone else out. (You can get this palette from Coastal Scents plus a myriad of other copycat brands.)

2) Human Nature's Powder Foundation in Sand Dollar - this has been my Go To mineral powder since we released it last year, and the only bad thing about it is that I go through them so quickly. They also expire a lot faster than regular makeup because it's organic, so I never bothered to stockpile it. I totally forgot to buy a couple of backups to bring with me, so when I run out, I'll switch to:

3) Ellana's loose mineral foundation concealer & foundation in Macchiato- This was my favourite thing to use before Human Nature released the pressed type, and I still think the powder performs better in terms of coverage. Unfortunately, it's in loose form so it's quite messy to use, and it's not something you can tote in your kit unless you've brought your giant kabuki brush along with it.

4) Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powers in Shade 3- This was ridiculously expensive and I could've bought 5 regular bronzers for the cost of this one, but I have to admit, it DOES last long. Since I have dark skin, I use bronzing powders in lieu of blushes, and I usually hit pan after around two months of continuous use. However, Guerlain's Terracotta is so incredibly pigmented that just the barest sweep of it across your cheekbones is guaranteed to last you all day. I was kicking myself for impulse buying this a few months ago, but I think it's actually a pretty good buy, now.

5) Shiseido Maquillage Pre-Makeup Smooth Fix - I hardly ever used primers in Manila, but my long hours coupled with the ridiculously oppressive heat here ensures that primers are an absolute MUST. Shiseido has amazing products if you're prepared to pay for them, and this is no different. I was lucky enough to get this from my mum, but I think it's around $40. (Pricy for a measly 30ml, but it does work...)

6) MAC Matte Lipstick in Taupe - I can't extoll the virtues of MAC lipsticks more, but suffice to say that this is ridiculously awesome. It lasts longer than any other lipstick I've tried, has a great finish, and is just WONDERFUL. I've got a small collection of six MAC lipsticks in various shades (brought them all with me, though didn't snap a picture), and none of them have let me down yet! I was a huge fan of cheaper lippies before, but I can honestly say that once I started buying the high-end stuff, I've never gone back. I can't afford to get as many shades as I used to, but in all honesty, how many lipsticks does a girl need? I think that building a small base collection of shades that you will always use is way better than having thirty lipsticks in shades that you will hardly ever touch.

I also brought along a few other key items that are unpictured, but these are the basics of what I use every day. (I don't use mascara too often-- it's only for special days.)

What about you, ladies? What brands make it into your travel kits? :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hello, Ladies! + Hair Story!!

So many things have happened this past year that I can barely believe my last entry was over six months ago! I haven't had much time to keep up with my blogging or my beauty routines, (shortly after my last blog entry, I switched to MAC and haven't explored many other brands beyond that), but it seems that my hair is the one thing I won't stop experimenting with.

If you all remember, my last entry pretty much had my crazy hair looking like this: Assymetrical and BLUE. (I don't regret turning blue, but I'm glad it was only semi-permanent.)

After this, I felt a bit tired of how it looked and wanted a HUGE change. The blue had faded into a dull green (take note for those who plan to use Manic Panic), and I knew I needed to change it. But you all know how much how boring I find black hair, so I decided to chop it all off and then maybe go back to blond.

I did a shorter asymmetrical cut first, to see how it framed my face. I liked it well enough, but my hair was so fried that I couldn't really color it again. I'm mildly amused at how insane my hair looks with all the different colors. I would have loved this back in college.

After it grew out enough to color, I decided to go shorter and redder, pixie-style. I really liked how it looked, and was intending on keeping it this way for a while:

However, Josh proposed on my birthday in the middle of this year and we set a concrete date for 2012. I realized that I really didn't want to immortalize short hair on my wedding day, so I've been growing it ever since. Now, my hair is a strange shade of copper, and it's almost chin length and wavy (my natural hair).

I suspect I'll be changing it again to a more conventional hair style before the year is out, as I've got some rather exciting adventures on the horizon. I'll certainly miss working in the cosmetics/beauty industry, but hopefully good things are coming. :)

Stay beautiful, ladies~!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Love Minerals Beauty Bar Launch: A.K.A. Why I Love My Job

I have to admit that working at the break-neck pace of the Beauty Industry is very taxing. Between designing the packaging to making the catalog and the website, my job at Human Nature/Love Minerals has been tough with a capital T. Even my blog has suffered because I haven't had time to sit down and eat lately, much less spend an hour or so  pounding out a blog entry.

But really, when days like this come around, I have to say that all the blood, sweat and tears is so very, very worth it.

Love Minerals Hydrating Lipsticks: Passion Fruit Packaging

Love Minerals will be available at Beauty Bar very, very soon, and I feel like this is the best sort of validation I could ever get as a packaging designer. I've loved Beauty Bar since I was a vain little college kid, and to have Love Minerals-- a purely Filipino brand-- right up there with all the big brands, makes me really, really happy.

Love Minerals Eyeshadow Palette: Sweet Innocence
Purchase here.

When I conceptualized this design, I wanted something that would stand up next to Burt's Bees and the Balm but at the same time not look too quirky next to high end stuff like Paul & Joe and (god help me) Guerlain. Without going into detail, when you make packaging, you have to consider dreary things like pricing, turn around times, and what local manufacturers are capable of doing.

The road to getting to this point was long and difficult, as I'm sure early purchasers of our initial gold line will attest (the gold, while beautiful, rubbed off when jerked around in kikay kits). Not so with the material used in the Passion Fruit line, so you can rest assured that aside from looking pretty, the packaging also holds up to getting toted around wherever you go. :D

 Earth Angel. My favourite shade!

I hope all my readers and beauty blogger friends give our Passionfruit line a try... I've been using the lipsticks for a while now, and Earth Angel looks absolutely fantastic on morena skintones.

Swatches and looks to follow, as I'm still waiting for my complimentary eyeshadow and lipstick to arrive, haha! ;D Stay beautiful, ladies~!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hair Story: Mad About Blue!

I have to admit, this is probably the weirdest hair color I've ever had. My never-ending quest to try out new styles has reached it's crazy best (currently, anyway, as I'm certain I'll try to top this in the future) with blue, blue hair!

Manic Panic: Shocking Blue (Amplified formula)
Available at for Php1,150

My last experience with Manic Panic was trying to dye my hair Cotton Candy pink, and it did absolutely nothing to my pale blond hair. Unfortunate, since I was rather hoping I'd get the lovely shade of pink hair that crazy anime characters usually have. :P (For those of you who've never heard of the brand before, MP boasts vegetable dye that doesn't damage your hair upon application. It also doesn't last that long, but hey, you can't have everything.) In any case, when my original try didn't do anything, I turned to HBC's chemical-goodness-- cellophane in Plum. And boy, did that work.

For my latest color change, I'd actually intended to buy from HBC again. But they were out of most colors of cellophane at their Eastwood branch and I really didn't want to risk a permanent dye on my already damaged hair. So I went back to Funky Streaks on Multiply, tried to pick a color that ran darker (this dyes better, IMHO), and sent in my order.

One day later, my kit arrived. I chose to purchase the amplified formula because it boasted longer-lasting color, and I crossed my fingers and got to work. Or rather, my boy and I got to work. XD The last time I attempted temporary color on my own, I ended up having patchy spots, so I begged Josh to help me with the back of my head and he agreed. (Yes, I've got the best guy ever. :D)

If you want to color your hair, I'd definitely recommend getting a friend to help out. It's almost impossible to get it right by yourself, and it'll just end up frustrating you once it comes out with uneven colors.

I left the dye on for an hour and a half under a shower cap, periodically heating it up with a blow dryer. The color came out rather perfectly IMHO, as it covered all my blond bits whilst still keeping my black streak visible (it doesn't cover black). Under sunlight, it's a rich, sexy blue. When I turn my head, it turns turquoise. Whenever I wake up and see bright blue strands, a grin spreads across my face. It's such a fun, happy color, and I'm super glad I decided to go with this shade!

I'd originally intended to keep my blond-hair-with-black-streaks a bit longer, but it didn't look so good unless I flat-ironed my hair. And with hair as beat-up as mine, I couldn't afford to apply heat to it that often. With my blue hair, I can keep it curly and loose and it pretty much behaves as my original black hair did. I swear it got thicker after I applied the dye!

If anyone's interested in trying out Manic Panic dyes, you can check out Funky Streaks over here: I bought my jar of amplified cream for Php1,150. Pretty pricey, but definitely worth it if you can't find the color you want from HBC (their cellophane is 2x the size and only costs Php400).

Here's wishing you all a bright, happy Monday! Stay beautiful, ladies~!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Battle of the Lip Stains: Styli-Style, E.L.F., and Revlon Reviews

For someone who constantly says that I prefer lipsticks to lipstains, I own quite a lot of the latter. I've been collecting stains of the Korean variety for quite a while now, and I've loved everything from TonyMoly to Etude House's offerings. Lately, however, I've been starting to expand my lipstain collection with products from Western companies. Korean lipstains only come in two colors-- pink and red-- and both shades are often far too bright for my morena skintone.

With the arrival of Revlon's Just Bitten lip stains, I began to wonder if I was indeed missing out by skipping their products. They were offering quit an array of colors, and I decided to keep an eye out for it whenever I went to the mall. As luck would have it, however, I didn't chance upon any Revlon counters for several weeks, and I ended up trying Styli-Style (from Beauty Bar, Eastwood), and E.L.F. (from Watsons, Eastwood).

I was pleasantly surprised with both brands, and by the time I found myself in a Watsons that carried Revlon, I was a firm believer in the beauty of lip stains. While Korean lipstains are pretty much the same consistency regardless of brand, I was a bit surprised at how different the formulations of ELF, Styli-Style and Revlon were.

For a full breakdown of the pros, cons, and my final verdict on each brand, read on!

ELF, Styli-Style, and Revlon!

Styli-Style Lip stain- As a big fan of their semi-permanent eyeliners, I didn't hesitate to shell out the Php550+ for a tube of their stain. I tried out the brown one first, and though it didn't look like much when swatched on my hand, I was surprised at how great it looked on my mouth. I have lip lines that color tends to sink into, and this formula managed to evenly color my lips. It didn't sneak into the crevices and cake into disgusting lines, and I was incredibly pleased at how well the color suited my skintone. It was also buildable, and easily went several shades darker upon several applications. (You should wait a bit for it to dry before swiping again if you want it really dark.)

I loved this product so much that I went back for a tube of the pink variety, and this was surprisingly pretty on my lips. I expected it to be a bit fluorescent (ala Korean stuff), but it came on as the prettiest pink flush. If you're interested in producing a "no make-up" look, this is the stain for you. With one pass it looks like your lips are healthily flushed, and if you want a deeper, sexier pink, you can just layer it on!

Pros: Affordable, buildable, not as drying as most stains
Cons: None for the colors I have, but I wish they had a darker, blood-red shade.
STAY-NABILITY: 4 out of 5 stars. This won't come off if you talk, kiss, or eat dry food, but it will start to fade once you drink or eat an actual meal.

E.L.F. Lip Stain- I'd never bought an E.L.F. product before, but I'd had such a good experience with my Styli-Style stains that I was constantly on the lookout for more shades. I came across this when I was buying goodies at Watson's, and I was immediately attracted to its (approx) Php250 price tag. I snapped up the red immediately, and was surprised at how thick and creamy the formula was upon application. It dried up seconds later, however, and provided the most budge-proof, matte stain that I'd ever had. This stain comes with a gloss side, and boy howdy, do you ever need it.

My lips hurt from being so dry without the gloss layered on top of it, and the formula made my lips tingle upon application (not in a good way). Unlike Styli-Style, the formula of this product is very opaque. It's very close to the pigmentation of a lipstick, but it has the staying power of a stain. It was the color that attracted me to it in the first place, and I was definitely a believer after using it for a few weeks. I went back for the other two available colors soon after. Birthday suit wasn't very suited to my skintone (think Lady Gaga lips), but Fashionista was quite nice. Red Carpet is still my favourite, though, and if you want to try this brand out, I'd definitely recommend that shade.

Pros: VERY Affordable, really opaque color, comes with gloss
Cons: Dries lips like crazy
STAY-NABILITY: 5 out of 5 stars IF you use it without gloss-- it really is budge-proof if you don't mix anything with it. It drops down to 3 out of 5 stars if you use the gloss on top of it, however, as the sticky mix ends up with the staying power of an expensive lipstick.

Swatches for Styli-Style and E.L.F.

Revlon Just Bitten Lip Balm and Stain - Instead of a gloss, this stain comes packaged with a shiny balm on the other end. The applicator is a marker type (like Styli-Style), and the shade I got, Midnight, was a deep, lovely plum. Unfortunately, that's where the good stuff ends.

As a much-blogged about product, I had high hopes for Just Bitten. When I finally found a Revlon counter that sold it, they only had this one shade left. I didn't mind so much because it was a lovely dark color and I was looking for something like it, so it really wasn't a bad buy at Php595. HOWEVER, no matter how cheap something is, it will never be a good buy if the product amplifies your lip flakes, sticks in the creases, and applies unevenly. I exfoliate my lips just like any gal, but the sheer number of steps that you have to take to make this product work for you is insane (exfoliate, moisturize, apply balm, apply stain, apply balm again... ugh.).

I think that Revlon knew this was a terrible formulation when they shipped it, because they had the foresight to include the balm. It's kind of like saying, hey, we know our product sinks into creases and amplifies all the imperfection on your lips. Have some lip balm, because the only way this product will work is if your lips are flipping perfect. :P

I highly recommend steering clear of this cruddy product, or at least until they reformulate. The consistency is pretty much the same as Styli-Style's (sheer at first, but buildable to a nice, deep hue), but it doesn't glide, blend, or moisturize your lips at all.

Pros: comes with a balm (that doesn't retract, whut), nice shade variety
Cons: Applies terribly, dries like nobody's business (and this is even when you wear it with the balm!!)
STAY-NABILITY: 3 out of 5 stars. It stays on for a bit, but when it fades, it fades terribly.

All in all, I'd definitely recommend picking up some Styli-Style stains if you're interested in a milder, nude finish. If you want a loud, opaque stain, go for E.L.F. If you have perfect lips that are line and flake-free 24/7... try Revlon, lol. 

Stay beautiful, ladies~!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

GIVEAWAY "Why I Love My Guy": First Wave Winners Announced!!

Jaz snags the random raffle prize for her entry "It's Rolly's Birthday!" and Zashi snags my top pick for her clever poem over at ZashiArts. Ladies, I've sent you confirmation emails, so please make sure you send me your info as soon as possible.

Free diamond peels for our two lucky winners! :D

As for the rest of my readers, don't despair! Your entries all still have four more chances to win awesome HBC prizes! The contest is still open to new entries, so be sure to join now! :D
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