A tribute to grandfathers, and consequentially, a treatise on regret.
The harsh way to put it would be that I traded my grandpa’s heirloom for a battery-operated facial scrubber.
Two years ago in March, I celebrated my birthday with relatives in California. It was a delight getting to meet them for the first time in my adult life, when I could actually remember things and understand the conversations in the Kinaray-a dialect. The experience was only made more delightful by one thing: the opportunity to be with my only living grandfather, Tatay Bening.
Tatay Bening was my dad’s uncle. He was turning 93 the following month. A former public school teacher and war veteran, he was still sharp as a tack and fun to be around. Just like my siblings and I grew up with our cousins, my dad and aunt grew up with theirs, and Tatay was the head of that big brood.
I have always had a fondness for the elderly. To me they are living legacies, their eyes our windows to the storied past. Grandparents, most especially, are the only real connection we have to our heritage, their wisdom our key to unlocking various mysteries surrounding who we are and what we are to be.
And I have always believed that in much the same way a father is instrumental in shaping a daughter’s identity, so is a grandfather to a granddaughter.
I yearned for a Lolo growing up. My parents’ dads were not really around, so I could only imagine what it was like. Hearing stories of the war, of dapper men on the streets of Bacolod or Angeles wearing suits and top hats, of love, fiestas, school, trade, travel, music in those days.
Rummaging through their antique chests and being given mementos: a tobacco pipe, a worn-down camera, a battered old typewriter, a vintage pair of spectacles, a moth-eaten set of books. Singing along with them while listening to AM radio stations on a Sunday. Having my feet on top of theirs and dancing while the vinyl player cranked out Debussy.
Slipped on this little red dress for a hosting gig last week. Titan, the fifth largest wristwatch producer in the world, launched their first store in SM Clark Pampanga last week with a gathering of media and guests at the Activity Center.
I chanced upon an awesome Mango sale the night before and saw a black version of this dress, but how many LBDs does a girl really need? To avoid the unnecessary acquisition but still be able to justify the purchase, I went with the red one.
It’s been a while since my last Disney cover. Let’s kick things off with this. :)
"Frozen" is easily my favorite Disney movie. Sure, it is funny, and heartfelt, and is quite the antithesis to old-school Disney princess movies which quite frankly I am not a fan of. But more than these, the movie goes against the miseducation of girls everywhere that a man’s love is all they could wish for, all they should work for, all they would need to live happily ever after. It puts forth what true love means: not kissing someone asleep (or poisoned to death) because you were struck by their beauty, not dancing with someone all night and then deciding you want to marry them just because they were the prettiest glass-heeled girl in the ball, not pretending to be a prince when you’re really a street rat, or pretending to be human when you’re really a mermaid, just to be liked by the other person.
True love is searching for your own identity, seeing what you’re capable of and accepting yourself regardless of what others expect from you. It is persevering, knocking on someone’s door for as many times as it takes for them to open their heart. It is, as Olaf says, putting one’s needs before yours in sacrifice. It is the love of family, of real friends who appreciate you for all that you are. When you have this, there’s no need to be afraid, to care what others are going to say, to fear rejection or judgment. True love is what remains when even the charming prince turns out to be the villain.
Hug your true loves today! :)
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I was invited by The Spa’s SKIN Dermatology and Laser Center to try their IPL (intense pulsed light) facial treatment. My beauty industry friends cringe at this fact but as far as skin care goes, I’m (be)low maintenance—don’t wear makeup unless necessary and remove immediately upon getting home, wash face twice a day, scrub once a week, and moisturize day and night. Needless to say, I was excited about my IPL experience.
The SKIN clinic in Bonifacio High Street is across the lobby of The Spa. Inside, clients are attended to right away by the receptionist, and led to either the lounge or the resident dermatologist for consultation.
View from upstairs, going to the treatment rooms. I’ve been to The Spa a few times and one of the things I’ve always liked about them is the warm lighting (and that re-energizing minty spa smell—too bad we can’t smell via the Internet heh).
The upstairs hallway. From what I saw, there are five treatment rooms. Mine was that open door to the left.
Cozy. I’ve been to clinics where the treatment areas are simply separated by a divider or a curtain, and private rooms like these are much more preferable.
During the consultation with SKIN’s certified dermatologist, she explained a little bit about IPL and what it does. It’s a popular treatment for spider veins (broken capillaries), dark spots from sun damage or aging, uneven skin tone and huge pores. IPL basically penetrates below the skin’s surface to hit the problem area and stimulates the production of collagen. The skin repairs the damage, and the result is healthier skin! The dermatologist recommends about five to six sessions in order to see optimum results. With regular treatment and proper maintenance, you can expect to end up finer pores, improved skin tone and visibly lighter, younger-looking skin.
The day I went, I was feeling a bit under the weather as my schedule has been quite hectic the past few days—juggling a fun full-time job and writing and styling jobs on the side. The timing of this pampering session couldn’t have been better.
Before we started with the IPL treatment, a nurse attendant prepared my face by gently cleansing and massaging it with a moisturizing cream. The IPL treatment may be done in tandem with a full facial, but for now, I opted for the main event right away.
A cold ultrasound gel is placed all over the face up to parts of the neck to protect the skin and keep the heat tolerable. My dermatologist described the sensation to be like a rubber band snapping and so I braced myself for slight discomfort, but as she promised, it’s not really painful. Just a tad warm, and also surprising, whenever the pulsed light hits.
Beep. Flash! Beep. Flash! Thus the protective eye goggles, which they assured me are more than sufficient and made specifically for IPL.
After the cheeks, the doctor targets the chin, and then the nose, and then a slightly lower fluence (amount of light energy in one hit) for the forehead. She explained that since the skin on there is closer to the bone, it would feel hotter than on the rest of the face.
Done! The procedure took a mere 15 minutes, prep time included. No downtime too—it’s okay to resume activities as usual. After the IPL, they simply wiped off the cold gel and placed a moisturizing sunblock on my face. Clients undergoing IPL are urged by dermatologists to stay away from the sun, and to always apply sunblock with a high SPF for both UVA and UVB (sunlight and indoor lighting) protection. Another tip is to come back once a month and nourish skin with vitamins and alpha hydroxy (fruit) acids in between sessions to supplement the treatment.
That half-hour respite from all the workload was certainly more than enough to leave me feeling refreshed afterwards. Sometimes we can get so caught up with all the things we have to rush and accomplish that we stress out and fall ill and wilt in the process. This visit to SKIN was a reminder that it’s okay to relax a bit. Not just okay, but that we actually need it! In that short time I was lying down, I was actually able to take a step back from all the frenzy and brainstorm for some ideas for work. I vow to come back next month, and to start taking better care of my skin from here on. Lesson learned from an intense pulsed light session? Sometimes the best eye openers can come to us when our eyes are closed. :)
Skin Rejuvenation (IPL) is available at SKIN Dermatology and Laser Center inside The Spa Wellness at B8, Bonifacio High Street, BGC.Call (+632) 403-8000/0917-8092399. They also have a newly opened SKIN clinic inside The Spa Wellness at Shangri-La Mall, L6 Leisure Haven East Wing. Call (+632) 656-7878/656-6868. Online, you may check them out on Facebook. Also follow The Spa on Facebook and Twitter @thespa1996 for updates and promos.
Speaking of promos… would I ever just write about my adventures without giving Love Chic readers a chance to share in the experience? Of course not! Here’s how to get a free IPL session from SKIN, too.
These days, I’m loving tops with cutouts at the waist as it helps create an hourglass silhouette. Other than that, it’s added motivation to stay fit. Haha.
It’s bringing sexy back. (Yeah)
A bevy of greens and browns and colored patterns. I don’t know what my seeming aversion to looking 100% poised and polished is all about, but for some reason, whenever I’m in something that would otherwise look too ladylike or glamorous, I end up throwing in a mismatched item to add silliness to the look.
We said we’d avoid cliché school-themed pieces for our school talks, but these mary janes are too cute.
Lea took most of our photos and videos in Cebu, and even volunteered her fingernails for Secret B’s gel manicure.
Cute, right? We wanted to include her in our Secret B video diary but she was too camera-shy! Yes, those were her nails getting gelled. If you can’t get enough of how cute the salon is in the video, here are some more shots.
View from the entrance and reception counter. Blue and pink Love Chic chairs!
We love the minimalist, industrial chic look.
According to owner Ms. Miya Kim, Secret B is a one-stop-shop salon based on the concept of high-end salons in Seoul, where clients come in not just for hair and nail services but for a full head-to-toe makeover and feel like a Korean celebrity for a day.
This is where clients can discuss what treatments they want with the stylists, over tea or coffee. If only all salons had a waiting area as cute as this!
Behind the counter is the stairway to the second floor for nail and skin treatments.
View from the landing.
The main manicure area.
One thing we absolutely love about Korean aesthetics, whether it’s makeup, hair styling, or interiors, is how it’s always just simple yet striking. Look at those shelves!
We were told this room is for skin care services. Just outside it is the couch for pedicures and foot spas.
The painted butterflies? It gives the otherwise plain flooring an interesting quirk.
View from the pedicure couch as Secret B’s husband-and-wife owners look on.
Going to the salon is always a fun and empowering experience, not just physically. There’s just something about a makeover that makes you feel like a new person and gives you the inner confidence to take on anything.
The last of this 4-part tutorial is all about teaching beginners the basics of changing simple daytime makeup into something more glam in just a few minutes. It will continue from the first three tutorials, so for first-time readers (welcome!) I suggest you click here to check those out. As I’ve said in my previous entries, I’m not a professional makeup artist or a formally trained beauty expert by any means. I’ve come up with this series at the request of readers asking me to share how I do my own makeup. To make things more interesting, I’m giving away this fabulous 12-pc brush set from SUESH Cosmetics to one (1) reader! Details later on.
Photo from my Instagram @shailagarde. Since I have big animé eyes, I like to put the emphasis on eye makeup as seen in the last tutorial. On occasions that call for a more dramatic makeup look, I simply add more color and volume. That’s what I’ll be sharing in this how-to.
Beauty is in the eyes… and the eyebrows. Here’s how to look perfectly polished even with minimal makeup, plus win these SUESH eye makeup goodies.
Photo from my Instagram @shailagarde. If you’ve been following this tutorial series, you’ll notice that I’m sticking to one look, which is the natural-looking, fresh-faced makeup. It’s a makeup-for-newbies tutorial after all, and what we’re trying to achieve for you is picture-perfect makeup that you can do on your own. For first-time readers, welcome! Click here for Lesson 1 and here for Lesson 2. And as always, there’s a giveaway at the end of this how-to!
Photo from my Instagram @shailagarde. This is my usual makeup: natural-looking, fresh and dewy. I take inspiration from Korean models and actresses who always look like they just woke up after eight hours of sleep filled with wonderful dreams! Haha. There’s one thing about it that I don’t quite agree with, however—that to achieve the natural look, you have to cover up your face with layers upon layers of (usually pricey) makeup. My approach to it is pretty simple and straightforward, and definitely won’t hurt your budget.
Back when there were no beauty blogs, YouTube channels or classes, makeup was something you left to professional artists to get done right. Growing up, I had limited access to knowledge about which tools and products to use, the right look for day, night, events or shoots. DIY makeup often resulted in wearing the wrong shade of foundation, having on too much blush or enough lipstick to make a clown jealous. And then I started working in fashion, where exposure to the most talented makeup artists in the industry plus work-related research has helped me know more about makeup. In this tutorial series, I’ll be writing each with no outside reference; it won’t be about the right or wrong way to do makeup, but simply sharing the way I do mine.
Upon registration, participants are given colored markers to express their love for Etude House on this wall.
Top view. They really went big with the playhouse/fair concept.
Throw the velcro balls to win the beauty booty of your choice
Sweet treats from Tous Les Jours
Real-life ballerina music box
There was also this incredibly cute pink Beetle with the false eyelashes and lipstick which Shai wanted to drive home.
It wasn’t just all fun and games though. There were also educational talks on beauty, fashion, and skin care.
There was a long line to get inside the beauty area, where princes and princesses (what they call Etude House customers) are treated to a free makeover and beauty crash course.
We had no plans of weighing in on the recent controversy involving FHM Philippines' March issue, but while uploading these photos for just another fashion post, we were reminded of it by word association. Colored background, black and white… It might've been in the back of our heads all this time, as an issue that's close to home for us both. So what the heck, let's throw Lookbook captioning out the window for a moment and throw in our two cents.
Unless you’ve been in hibernation, you probably know that the magazine’s original cover this month featured British-Filipina actress Bela Padilla posing for the camera in a swimsuit, surrounded by five dark-skinned Filipinas in blackface who are either looking down despondently or looking up in awe at this fair-skinned beauty who is “Stepping out of the shadows” (the caption). Guess we don’t need to elaborate on the message this cover clearly sends out. Following a slew of comments from offended netizens, the men’s magazine has recalled the cover and released one with the photo and caption replaced.
All should be well and good now, except it quite isn’t. Because this isn’t the first time we Filipinos have displayed ignorance and insensitivity regarding this, and it probably won’t be the last. Not while the people involved admit outright that they see nothing wrong with blackface, and do not regret having participated in it. Not while again and again, TV shows portray characters in blackface who would be maltreated, ridiculed and hated just for being dark, while becoming lighter-skinned would bring them a better life. Not while we’re okay with how newspapers and magazines continue to paint non-black models black for the sake of art or advocacy without realizing or considering the impact the photos would have, regardless of the accompanying text’s intentions. Not to mention the comments on blog posts about the issue that go along the lines of, “Things are blown out of proportion. What’s so racist about that cover? What’s wrong with painting them black?”
What makes it ultimately tragic is the irony of it all—how we as a people have been victims of white supremacy and racial discrimination for centuries, and yet we ourselves have been participating in it, knowingly, willingly and unabashedly.
Look at Charice. Immense talent, charm, dedication, but with looks that don’t fit the bill as far as Filipino audiences are concerned. She’s been trying to make it in the local music industry but nobody here would give her a break, preferring the mestizos and mestizas with less than stellar vocal pipes. But when Ellen Degeneres gave her a break and the western world embraced her, “Oh, she’s world-famous now, I’m so proud to be Pinoy!”
When I was younger, I auditioned for a TV project. After my turn, I was told flat out by the casting panel, “You’re really good and we want to get you, but the audiences will want something else.” They ended up casting a pretty Caucasian who couldn’t act or memorize lines. The project eventually bombed. Rejection is part of the industry I work in, and it would’ve been fine each time it was because I screwed up or wasn’t right for the part. But what stung was each time that it was because I’m not the typical Pinoy standard of beauty: porcelain skin, aquiline nose, bright-colored eyes.
So when I got to work for a teen magazine and then as producer for TV shows, I made the most of the opportunity: since everyone else was already pitching the standards, I made sure Pinay models and local talent weren’t ignored—those who weren’t just book-worthy because of a foreign-sounding last name or paper-white complexion, but models who actually knew how to pose and project, whose faces were actually for modeling. Talents who actually had talent other than smiling about their easy-earned stardom.
We get to talk often with teens and young adults about their personal issues, and colonial mentality and the insecurities it brings is one that affects us most. We’re happy to notice the changes for the better: morenos and morenas taking the international fashion world by storm, global artists of Pinoy descent proud of their roots, among others. But with something as recent as the cover photo brouhaha, it’s obvious we have a long way to go. We’ll just have to keep doing the little things we can until we get there.
Guess who just dyed their own hair ombré?
The term is a French word which means “gradiation” or “shade.” Instead of one color throughout, you’ve got a darker shade on top that gradually goes lighter down the tips, usually ending in blonde. We didn’t find any salons that offered this, so we thought we’d do it ourselves. We’re glad we did; not only were we able to save money, we were also able to pick up a few self-reminders from the experience.
Lesson 1: Stand on your own two feet. We’re firm believers that nobody is self-made; whatever form of success we currently enjoy, people along the way helped us get to where we are. However, being dependent on others is a different story. If you always need people to do certain things for you, what happens when they leave, turn their back on you, or worse, demand repayment and rub in your face all the good they’ve done when things go sour? Do things yourself. If it works, you’ll have leveled up and won’t have to drown in debts of gratitude. If it doesn’t, you’ll still have learned and have no one to blame.
Lesson 2: Dare to be different. Just because everybody’s doing this or wearing that or getting hooked with this app or going to that hip-happening place doesn’t make it imperative that you should, too. Au contraire. Dare to be a starter, not a follower—and dare to stand by your own choices and preferences.
Lesson 3: Experiment. Take risks. Whenever hesitation or fear strikes, ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen. What have you got to lose? Will it matter in the greater scheme of things? Will it matter three, five, ten years from now? And even if the answers to these are bleak, well, sometimes the best way we can truly learn and grow is through our mistakes and failures.
Lesson 4: Be yourself, always. In this day and age more than ever, this seems to be one of the simplest yet most challenging things to practice. With everyone so inevitably connected and perennially updated, it seems to have become so important to be who we are expected to be: edited, curated, censor-approved versions of ourselves, rather than who we are happy to be: just ourselves! How can we be true to other people if the person we see everyday in the mirror is fake?
…All this from three tubs of hair color. Who knew? Haha. Tutorial, anyone? Tell us what you think—use that Reply button on your Tumblr dashboard or leave a Disqus comment :) Hope y’all had a good start for the new year!
I often get questions about what I use on my face on a daily basis. Some questions specifically ask for makeup brands, while others, skin care products. I’d like to answer more on the latter, since as much as possible, I like to keep artificials (makeup, cosmetic accessories, hair products, etc.) to a minimum.
The only beauty booty I regularly use are eyebrow filler, eyelash curler, volumizing mascara, and concealer (under the eyes, around the brows, and on the bridge and sides of the nose). No problems going out in public wearing absolutely nothing but moisturizer, unless the day’s schedule calls for full makeup, like in this outtake from a photoshoot.
No amount of primer, foundation or BB cream can conceal blemishes and rough spots—the sad reality is, thick makeup actually emphasizes these. The real secret to looking nice in photos lies not so much in beautiful makeup, but in clear, smooth, blemish-free skin.
A recent discovery: Nivea Sparkling White day care cream and whitening cleansing foam. From a few weeks of use, it’s actually been doing what it says on the bottle, cleaning “deeper into pores to prevent acne and reveal fairer skin.” Plus, the foam smells and feels good to lather on the skin. Blemish-battling in a bottle, designed to keep skin looking photo-pretty, anytime!
Speaking of pretty, the Gondo Girls have some treats in store for you. Click on the picture, Like NIVEA Philippines on Facebook, and stay updated.
An invite to try out Freyja Day and Nail Spa couldn’t have come at a better time: with everything so hectic at work, we both needed a quick relaxing break. And so we happily went. We were welcomed by a clean, invigorating scent and cozy interiors.
Freyja is the Norse goddess of love, beauty and war. Cool, huh? You’ve got to check out their Facebook page to see the many pampering services they offer for both guys and girls. We were both treated to Vana-goddess Whitening Hand and Foot Spa, plus Reflexology for Seph and Nail Art for Shai. But first…
Tacos! And Sola! How did they know we love munching on these?
Om nom nom
And then there’s this. Our feet have been thanking us all week.
Musical nail art in turquoise and pink. Neat, isn’t it? This October we’re holding a ton of giveaways. Two Love Chic readers will be treated to a blissful “Mellow Me Out” package. Open to both guys and girls. You must be following us on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook to join.
To join, reblog this post on Tumblr, share on Twitter (@FreyjaDaySpa) and Facebook (+ tag @Love Chic and @Freyja). You may leave a Disqus comment to let us know you’ve joined. We’ll be choosing winners via randomizer and announcing them on November 5. Yay!
UPDATE: We have a winner! See here.