Love Chic

Coming Up

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To make up for the long intervals between posts, I’m giving away (2) Silver tickets to Disclosure in Manila on July 24th. Details after the cut. 

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So here goes another chilly, clammy rainy evening with the breeze wafting through the thin mesh window, one of those nights that somehow manage to simultaneously bring forth a slew of thoughts and reflections and strip you of the eloquence to express them elegantly. For someone who writes for a living, these nights are both intimidating and freeing.

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Intimidating, because how you string your carefully thought-out words together is how you get things done. An idea gets shaped in your head, and you wrap the right words around it so you could turn its intangibility into something others can grasp. Without the ability to communicate that, your idea is just that: a blob inside your mind.

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Freeing, because when your brain is a constant, blurry flurry of ideas, dreams, plans and expectations, the barely audible sound of the drizzle outside causes you to space out in a good way and just breathe and let everything float on by. Your mind is cleared, not unlike when the rain cleanses the air.

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One for the Road

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Destination optional, soundtrack compulsory. While I may not be a huge fan of summer, road trips are a different story. There’s something about long drives, snack stopovers and in-car slumbers that feels to me the way reading a riveting book feels: an adventure awaits you at the end, but at the same time, another one is happening during the journey itself.

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It’s been a year since my last road trip, so I figured I could use the last few hurrahs of the season to go on one. Before posting up snapshots and stories about that trip though, I’ve assembled together my road trip essentials to share with you guys. (A similar article appears on Beautybook, where I’m currently a contributor.)

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Lighten up: SKIN IPL giveaway

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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.

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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. 

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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).

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The upstairs hallway. From what I saw, there are five treatment rooms. Mine was that open door to the left. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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Beep. Flash! Beep. Flash! Thus the protective eye goggles, which they assured me are more than sufficient and made specifically for IPL. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. :)

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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.

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Peace, love and sneakers

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Filipinos are still on a high from Megan Young’s Miss World win, and rightfully so. It isn’t every day that a simple lady from a small town in Olongapo gets to fufill her and every other girl’s childhood dream of becoming a princess (in this case, a queen).

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Wearing glamorous gowns, beautiful heels and a glorious crown over your crowning glory? Bringing honor to your country amidst pork barrel scams and celebrity sex scandals? Being given a chance to make a profound difference in the world? Check, check and check. 

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I possess neither the height nor the body proportions it takes to even make it to the preliminaries of any significant pageant of beauty and physiological symmetry (save for the occasional local santacruzan, which hardly counts), but here are three reasons I’m completely okay with that.

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One, I’m average. I’m only 5 feet and an inch tall. My skin is far from perfect, with little scars here and there and breakouts every once in a while when I wear makeup for more than a few hours or don’t drink enough water or get enough sleep. My hair is always all over the place: if I comb it, it looks like I have a household broom on my head. If I don’t, it looks like I slept on it and headed out. I have braces to align my crooked teeth, but there are no braces for my crooked grin. I may meet society’s standards in terms of butt size, but I can’t say the same for my chest size. Haha. I am average, and I say that with pride and loving self-acceptance, holding the torch for average girls all over the world.

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Because there are more of us, and we are faced with a happy challenge: that of learning to love our physical average-ness, while at the same time discovering which aspects about ourselves enable us to be above average. Intelligence? Charm? Sense of humor? Musical talents? Artistic skills? Numerical aptitude? A penchant for finding the perfect gift or gesture for anyone’s birthday? Whatever they may be, they are the brushes with which we can paint the beautiful portrait of our above average-ness on a blank canvas of average-ness. 

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Two, I am unique. I may be average, but I am not generic—big difference. Average has the chance to command attention by standing out; generic stays in the background unnoticed, with nothing new or different to offer. I can pull things out of my pocket that no one else can have up their sleeves. The movie Hugo got it right about unique individuals: “I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.”

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Three, life is one big pageant anyway. Society is one big panel of judges, and there are universal criteria wherever we go. We are judged by how we look, what we wear, how we carry ourselves, what we want to say and how we say it, the culture and values we represent, the people we associate ourselves with, the beliefs we express and convictions we uphold, how we answer questions we are presented. 

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In this way, the world indeed is a stage, and every day is a part of the competition where we get to prove our grace, poise, skills and intelligence—not only to the judges and audiences, but more importantly to ourselves. In this way, we can all aim for peace, love and balance in the world, even in our tank tops, jeans and sneakers. :)    

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Outfit details: “Love” striped tank top from my cousin, Human dove-printed pants. Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.

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SM Accessories transparent cuff and bird-and-flowers pendant.

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Bags In The City “Xavier” handbag. 

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World Balance “Vanity” sneakers. Apt sneaker name for today’s thoughts, yes? Apt, and ironic that there is none of the discomfort or superficiality that usually come with the word: these sneakers are about as simple, soft and comfortable as you can get. If you’re following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you can win a pair for yourself.
    

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Smile like you mean it: The Killers tickets giveaway!

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Hello! After another fun week out of town for work, I’m back with a new blog post—a hot “The Killers in Manila” tickets giveaway! Read on to find out how you can score them.

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One of their songs that I really like is “Smile Like You Mean It,” for when things don’t go the way we expect. It’s a catchy tune for a somber self-reminder to try and muster a smile no matter what curveballs life throws our way. To always look on the bright side. For me, The Killers really killed it (hehe) with that one.

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It may seem simplistic and clichéd, but it really does work. Studies have been made that show that when you smile, even when you don’t necessarily feel like smiling, your facial muscles send signals to your brain that you are feeling happy.

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Your brain then releases chemicals that in turn makes you genuinely feel better about whatever it is that’s bothering you, and your mood gets turned around.

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It’s one of the few instances when it’s okay to “fake it ‘til you make it.” So go ahead and smile! It’s not known all over the world as the universal best medicine for nothing. Speaking of which, here’s something to smile about. Who wants tickets?

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The Killers performs on Thursday, September 26th at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and I’m giving away free passes to three (3) lucky winners, courtesy of SM Accessories. One gets a VIP ticket, while two readers each get an Upperbox A ticket.

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Punchdrunk Panda Artists Collab

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Punchdrunk Panda, purveyor of local graphic-designed merchandise, launched its latest collab collection of footwear and camera straps on November 7.

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The collection was launched during a fun hangout of bloggers and artists on November 7 at Pino Resto Bar in Makati. It’s the newly opened branch of the noted Pinoy-fusion and veggie restaurant in Maginhawa, and they served up comfort food while everyone gathered ‘round to check out the merchandise. Proof that the food was good? Everything was obliterated within a few minutes and we were only able to take photos of these.

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Crispy buffalo wings with a creamy tangy sauce

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Cheese sticks with nori seaweed, and maybe pesto? We’re not the so great it comes to food blogging because we like to just eat and tend not to bother with the names and the ingredients. Apparently, on this day, we’re not the only ones.

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Look at the empty plates beyond. See what we mean?

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The artists for Punchdrunk Panda’s latest collection: Nemo Aguila, Jen Horn, Alessandra Lanot, Manix Abrera and Diego Mapa.

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Jen and Manix look on as Nemo explains the idea behind his designs. (Side note: the strap Jen is clutching is her design, stamp collection. We weren’t able to take photos, but it is an awesome menagerie of passport stamps as an ode to her love for travel. Check it out here.)

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Nemo’s graphic artist background is evident in his designs, which are reminiscent of graffiti drawings.

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Alessandra, who owns Pino and its veggie counterpart Pipino, made a design with all the vegetables mentioned in the folk song, “Bahay Kubo.”

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Diego, who’s a musician and an avid fan of the History Channel series “Ancient Aliens” (just like us!) collaborated with visual artist Dan Matutina on a design inspired by space and the universe.

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Comic artist Manix Abrera of Kikomachine Komix, created a hilarious strip about the dilemmas of capturing the perfect photo. Imagine you and your friends about to witness a beautiful sunrise, and the resident photographer takes too long tinkering with the ISO and shutter speed that you fail to capture the very moment that called for a photo. The characters in his strip ended up missing even the sunset! Yep. Based on a true story.

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For the shoes, Manix created this his-and-hers “forever alone” design, in a show of his trademark humorous take on emo-ness.

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Yes, we know a lot about Manix’s work because (1) Shai used to work with him via email on a regular basis a few years back, and (2) we have all his Kikomachine comics.

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It was our first time to meet him in the flesh though, so of course we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be fans! Autographs! Haha.

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“Class picture” at Pino’s doodled wall. Clockwise from left: Madz Rausa, Alexis Lim, Charlene Ajose, Jonver David, Jen Horn, Alessandra, Lloyd Salac, Shai, Tin Rementilla, Helga Weber, Diego, Manix, Paul Chuapoco, PdP’s Pauline Santillan, Nemo, PdP’s Nica Kim, Abbey Sy. See more photos at the PdP facebook page!

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Click here to see more photos and details of the collection: men’s topsiders, women’s skimmers and camera straps

Makeup for newbies: Insta-glam (Win a 12-pc Suesh brush set!)

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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.

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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.

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Makeup for newbies: face base

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Learn how to put on your freshest face with this tutorial, plus get to win this fabulous face primer and shine eliminator from SUESH. First, let’s continue last week’s tutorial.

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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.

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Makeup for newbies: Brush Basics

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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. 

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Home buddies (Giveaway)

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Here’s one giveaway you wouldn’t wanna pass up! An ultra-chic @Mandaue_Foam set of armchair and footrest, plus five Fantasy pillows up for grabs and it’ll only take minutes to join. Read on for details.

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This couldn’t have been a more serendipitous circumstance: as you may have read in our previous posts, we recently got ourselves a condo unit which is to be our future home/office. Being genuinely interested in interior and industrial design, we’ve not only been familiar with Mandaue Foam, but have actually been planning to go to their Quezon Avenue showroom for our home furnishing needs. Needless to say, when they invited us, we were beyond excited.

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It started out as a foam manufacturing company in Mandaue City, Cebu in 1971 by entrepreneur Rosita Uy. With affordable quality, excellent workmanship and great customer and after-sales services, Mandaue Foam has grown to become one of the biggest and most preferred furniture companies in the country today.

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Their approach to finding the perfect mattress and pillows for you is a combination of scientific and emotional: you can actually make like Goldilocks in the Mattress Testing Area and try on the different beds. An assistant could give you a run-through of the different materials under each one and help you decide which suits you best.

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Form and function—the vast showroom also presents various suggestions for designing your bed space.

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Among all the beds we saw, this is by far our favorite…

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Yes. It’s the Sofa-bed Transformer. *REE-RAWT-ROW-RA-ROOT*

Perfect for condo-dwellers who don’t have a lot of rooms for family or friends sleeping over. Especially for us two, because we don’t really like the traditional foldable ones that are obviously sofa-beds.

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Other couches that caught our fancy. The best thing is you can have yours customized or made-to-order. Your own design, your own choice of upholstery, fabric and accents.

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These stylish pieces are proof that outdoor furniture don’t have to mean stainless steel tables and monoblock chairs.

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Guess how much these beautiful lighting fixtures are? Believe it or not, most of them cost less than a summer trip to the beach or a complete head-to-toe outfit. They make for great accent pieces! We are definitely taking those light bulbs home the next time we come here.

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Even if you’re not that big on furniture, you’d still enjoy a shopping trip to Mandaue Foam. From pillows and curtains to clocks and mirrors, the showroom carries inexpensive statement pieces to suit your personality. Emphasis on “inexpensive,” because when you’re used to department store prices of similar items, it’s unbelievable how affordable the ones at Mandaue Foam are. 
   
Special thanks to Jonver David, Thysz Estrada and Mandaue Foam Quezon Avenue manager Sir Jojo for the showroom tour :)
   
On to our giveaway!

• Open to Love Chic followers on Twitter and Facebook residing in the Philippines.
• Follow Mandaue Foam on Twitter and Facebook.
• Leave a Disqus comment below about why you should win the armchair and footrest. Where will you place them in your home? Be honest and creative with your answer! Don’t forget to include your Twitter username in the comment.

That’s it! Deadline for entries is midnight on Saturday, May 5. Make sure you follow the mechanics because we’ll be checking! We’ll choose the winner of the armchair and footrest based on their answer, while the five (5) Fantasy pillows will be raffled off via Randomizer among the remaining entries. Winners will be announced the next day at 11AM.
Best of luck!
     
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UPDATE 05/05/12: WE HAVE WINNERS!

It wasn’t easy choosing from 57 wonderful entries, but @danzendear wins the armchair with footrest for an answer that was well-designed, straightforward and practical—qualities that Mandaue Foam products are also known for. 

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Next, we drew five (5) winners of Mandaue Foam fantasy pillows via electronic raffle: @chubxyden, @tetrice, @Seven12Seven7, @hollowedevil and @crystahal. 

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Congratulations to the winners! Please send your full name, address and contact info to lovechicmail@gmail.com :) To those who haven’t won yet, keep posted because we hold giveaways from time to time. Thanks to Mandaue Foam for providing the prizes and thanks to everyone who joined!

How to sparkle

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

A Day With Freyja: Giveaway

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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.

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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…

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Tacos! And Sola! How did they know we love munching on these?

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Om nom nom

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And then there’s this. Our feet have been thanking us all week.

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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!

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UPDATE: We have a winner! See here.