Happy birthday to me!

IMG_0099

Another year has passed. I turned 33 today and I couldn’t be happier. Plenty has happened in a span of one year. So many special events, memories and people made this such a kick ass year. I could not be more grateful for all the good and all the bad things that have happened this year, and all the years before. They are all life lessons I take to heart, because they’ve allowed me to grow a little wiser, and made me a stronger person.

I can hardly believe I am the same girl I was in my 20s, my teens and childhood. Life has definitely become simpler since I settled down and got married. Things that used to matter aren’t so important now. I have a more relaxed outlook in life these days–I don’t have to kill myself to get to where I want to be. I feel like I can eat and sleep and enjoy life, because whatever it is I need to finish, it can wait until tomorrow. A couple of years ago, I wouldn’t allow myself to be this relaxed about life. Deadlines, events, shoots, taping–these all took over my life until finally my body couldn’t cope with the stress and I got sick. I developed vertigo from lack of sleep and poor nutrition. I didn’t allow myself to eat properly or sleep well because work was always on my mind. I hated my body for not performing according to plan, but you know what, I needed to take care of yourself. More important than any project or deadline is your health and you should never take it for granted.

Its surprising how priorities change through the years. I want different things now. Things that cannot be quantified with riches or success, but real things that matter. Relationships, health, quality of life–these are the things on my must-have list now! Now I want to live happily, without thinking of what other people will think or say. I’ve realized that they actually don’t matter, not so much. Your core relationships are the ones that matter. Back then, I was so concerned with image and what people thought of me. I needed things to be perfect all the time, which was honestly very tiring. I felt like I was putting on a show. It was stupid and unreal, and I was cheating myself and other people of the real me. I felt the need to project this perfect person who was far from perfect. She was shy and a little insecure. She was afraid of rejection so she didn’t go the extra mile to build relationships. It took my 20s to discover this important life lesson: just be yourself. Allow yourself to be silly and funny, embrace your mistakes and forgive yourself for them, live in the moment without any pretences or walls. Since this realisation, I was able to face my fears and live the life I’ve always wanted, doing the things that matter to me.

And what really matters are: Family time. Spending quality time with my husband and dog, doing something or not doing anything at all. Of course, this includes time with my parents, my sister and two brothers. I don’t get to spend enough time with them now that I live away from them but its nice to know that nothing has changed when I am with them. Enjoying delicious food and amazing wine without counting the calories. Skinny is so 2000. Good food should be enjoyed on a daily basis, and I don’t mean junk food, but real honest to goodness healthy delicious food. Wine, yes. Always. Wine is always a good idea, especially when it’s an incredible bottle. Being around my friends. No doubt, friends matter. They really do, and not the ones who only hang out with you when you’re popular or successful. I mean real friends who know the real you and could tell you if you’re doing something wrong. Friends who would stick by you no matter what, even on days when you feel you don’t matter to the world. You matter to them. Period. Filling my home with things I love. Its all about quality, not quantity. I want my house to be filled with only the things I love and my husband loves. If its something we don’t like, it has to go. I like things that has purpose and function and looks nice too. It is good to have beautiful things, but these don’t necessarily have to be expensive. Like I said, these have to be things I love. Working from the heart. While we do need money to pay bills and live a certain lifestyle, we must never, ever forget to love our work. We have to be passionate about it. We have to love it. If you don’t, then you’re doing the wrong thing. It mustn’t feel like work, but an extension of yourself. You have to be able to express yourself, your creativity and love what you’re doing. I feel very blessed I am able to do just that through my blog, through my show, through my endorsements and through my pet projects.

Everything else is secondary. Life can be so simple if you make it that way. I can only hope that next year I am still as passionate and excited about life as I am today. So I am telling my future self as early as now, BE HAPPY! That’s all we can ever hope to be.

Myons French Mediterranean Cuisine

It was a one-of-a-kind dining experience: a seven-course degustation lunch that lasted for three hours. I have to admit, it was pretty amazing, especially since my husband and closest friends were also there to share this feast with me. There was plenty of kwentuhan and laughter that day, as expected, but the best part was really the food. It felt incredible to be served dish after dish after dish–we didn’t have to think of anything, let alone lift a finger. The menu was set specially for us, which made it all the more exceptional. Chef Ivan Joe Yalong really worked hard to make a fantastic meal and we were happy to be on the receiving end. The food just kept on coming, and our taste buds went on a delicious journey.

Now before anything else, let me explain that MYONS isn’t your regular, run-off-the-mill restaurant. First off, it serves French-Mediterranean cuisine, which you don’t find in Manila very often. It specializes on degustation, that can be set according to your taste and liking. In fact, their selling point is really experiencing their food, and they’ve found a unique way to do just that. Myons offers the option of dining in the dark, though you wont be eating in a dark room. You will simply be blindfolded, and tadah, you are dining in the dark. Personally, I prefer this more than being in a strange dark room. If you have any doubts or you want to see what you’re eating, you can simply remove your blindfold. This is great, if you’re looking for a new way of experiencing your food or if you want to try something new with your boyfriend/girlfriend or BFF.

One minor detail about MYONS that you may find a little difficult is its location. The restaurant is located in a residential area at Mayon Avenue in Quezon City. I live in the South so this posed a challenge for me and my friends. But when I got there it actually wasn’t that far. Plus there are so many ways to get there, you just need to find the best route (switch on Waze or Google Maps to help you out). Bottomline is, this resto is worth the trip. I give it two thumbs up.

IMG_7194Our amazing seven-course lunch. Well, eight, if you count the drink.

IMG_7184I love how each seat was personalized for me, my husband and friends.

IMG_7197Ready to eat!

IMG_7189Chef Ivan explained the menu to us.

IMG_7199This drink was delicious–its Pineapple Celery. I never had the two together so this was a surprising discovery.

IMG_7239Bianca and Raoul. <3

IMG_7202First up, we had the Mediterranean Sampler. This was a mix of my favorite dips on grilled pita bread–this was pesto, hummus, eggplant and red bell pepper . I love pita bread, but I have to admit, it was quite filling so I only ate the parts with dip on it haha. I needed to leave room for the rest of the degustation menu!

IMG_7211We had a palate cleanser soon after our appetizer. This Lemongrass Ginger Sorbet was so refreshing. It was light and tangy.

IMG_7215After, we each had a soup sampler: this was Shrimp Bisque, Asparagus Soup and Clam Chowder. My favorite out of the three was the Shrimp Bisque–it was the most flavourful. The Clam Chowder was creamy and yummy, and so was the Asparagus Soup.

IMG_7201Meryll and Bianca enjoying their Pineapple Celery drinks.

IMG_7240So happy to spend quality time with Dirkie, who has been living away for the past year. Glad to have him back!

IMG_7217Next, we had salad. This one is Mediterranean Salad and Shrimp & Mango Salad. The prawn went really well with the mango dressing, and I liked it so much I poured the rest over my Mediterranean Salad. The two salad dressings tasted good together!

IMG_7220Another palate cleanser before the main course. This one is called Cucumber Calamansi Sorbet. This was sweet and tangy. I really like how the calamansi resets your tastebuds.

IMG_7223And for our main course we had Fillet Mignon and Baked Salmon. I am such a steak lover so this was a treat for me, but what surprised me was how delicious the Baked Salmon was. It was fantastic. The sidings like mashed potatoes and veggies went well with the dish.

IMG_7232For dessert, we had an assorted platter of goodies. At this point I was super full, but somehow I managed to made room for dessert haha. I really liked this cake!

IMG_7236Myons was so sweet, we each went home with Red Velvet cake. So good!

IMG_7242Happy and satisfied! Thank you, Myons!

IMG_7244I have to give it to Chef Ivan, he did an awesome job making this degustation lunch.

IMG_7248Me, Meryll, Dirkie and Banks.

IMG_7251             IMG_7249

MYONS French-Mediterranean Cuisine is located at 390 Mayon Ave. Sta. Mesa Heights, Brgy. Lourdes, Quezon City.

For inquiries, call (02) 711-0339  or visit our website at http://myonscuisine.com.

Follow the official MYONS French-Mediterranean Cuisine SNS accounts for updates:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MyonsFrenchMediterraneanCuisine

Twitter: https://twitter.com/myons_cuisine

Instagram: http://instagram.com/myonscuisine

MYTH Lifestyle – Organika: Hopeless Romantic

Surely you’ve passed by MYTH Lifestyle‘s Greenbelt 5 store before. It’s hard to miss. It is one of the few stores that carries designer clothes in ready-to-wear sizes. In a lot of ways, this store is heaven-sent, especially for fashion-forward individuals who want to support and wear Philippine fashion but don’t have the time to have a design made for a specific occasion. While it is quite special to have a dress custom-made by your favorite designer, not all of us have the luxury of time to go through the process of consultation, fitting and final fitting. Sometimes the idea of buying something off the rack is more appealing, especially when you don’t have to sacrifice design, fit and custom detail. And when it comes to price, well, there is an actual price tag to look at so you wont get shocked after you get your dress. Lets make this clear though that this wont happen if you talk to your designer about price and budget from the start. But I can imagine it can happen to some people.

MYTH Lifestyle invited a few fashion editors and bloggers to view their newest collection called Organika: Hopeless Romantic. The collection was born out of the direction of designer Randy Ortiz to represent a woman’s ethereality and innocence in this fast-changing world. A roster of veteran and celebrated Filipino designers showcased a fresh, inspiring collection that falls under this theme.

IMG_6253Some of the stunning designs on display at MYTH Lifestyle Store.

IMG_6260Detail shot: each dress is unique and special.

IMG_6259Beautiful designs you wont find in any RTW/fast-fashion store.

IMG_6258Lace and gingham.

IMG_6244Clean classic lines by Randy Ortiz.

IMG_6237Intricate detail work by Mark Tamayo.

IMG_6240Bold jewel tones by Chris Diaz.

IMG_6235Beadwork by Mark Tamayo.

IMG_6271Elegant pieces by Pablo Cabahug.

IMG_6249Fun, quirky designs by Noel Crisostomo.

IMG_6248Dresses you can wear at any age by Joel Escober.

IMG_6242Love this ball gown by Chris Diaz.

IMG_6265MYTH Lifestyle also carries one of a kind accessories. This necklace is a standout piece.

IMG_6266They also carry men’s shoes.

IMG_6269Bejewelled belts.

IMG_6261More unique pieces.

IMG_6282Anna Sobrepena tries on one of Mark Tamayo’s dresses.

IMG_6286Bianca Valerio hosted this intimate event.

IMG_6272With MYTH designer Chris Diaz, StyleBible’s Isha Andaya-Valles, COO of Shop Manila (the company behind MYTH Lifestyle) Ruby Gan and Edwin Ao, the only designer in MYTH that caters to men.

 

***

 

MYTHThe Organika: Hopeless Romantic collection. 

Noel-Crisostomo-for-MYTHNoel Crisostomo. 

After being named the “best new Canadian designer”, Noel has had success in re-establishing his name and brand since his return in 2007.

Chris-Diaz-for-MYTHChris Diaz.

Featured as Mega Magazine’s Young Designer finalist back in 2002, his romantic creations reached international fame as he joined Concours International des Jeunes Creatures de’ Mode, Accessories Division last 2005.

Pablo-Cabahug-for-MYTHPablo Cabahug. 

Mastering and being inspired by the female form, Pablo Cabahug has created pieces that are easy to adore, leading to his being named 2011 SM Global Pinoy Awardee as well as LOOK of Style Awards’ Designer of the Year.

Joel-Escober-for-MYTH

 

Joel Escober. 

Another of MYTH Lifestyle’s in-house designers, Joel’s trademark is the application of heavy textures and bold embellishments achieved through his masterful execution of pleating and appliqué work.

TW Steel Slim Collection

TW-SteelThe new TW Steel Slim Collection: These are priced at P18,000 (for steel bezel with leather straps), P21,000 (for gold plated bezel with leather straps and steel bracelet watches) and P26,000 (for gold plated steel bracelet watches). 

When it comes to watches, TW Steel is pretty much a household name. It is known for its oversized watches, a signature design that made the brand recognizable from a mile away. But just when you think you’ve seen all that TW Steel has to offer, the Dutch watch company launches its Slim Collection. Sleek, sophisticated and sexy, these watches quickly got on my ‘must-have list’. Its designs are classic and elegant, yet it still looks modern and updated. My favorite one is the TW1306, which is the all steel bracelet watch with the steel face. It’s a great everyday watch, and you wont break the bank purchasing it.

At the TW Steel Slim Collection launch, three endorsers were introduced: James Younghusband, Nico Bolzico and Sebastian Ripoll. These three dashing men seem to be the perfect representatives for the brand, as they are able to successfully balance business and sports with their happy personal lives. James Younghusband, as we know, is a celebrated football player and right midfielder for the Philippine Azkals, and also spearheads the Younghusband Football Academy. Nico Bolzico, on the other hand, is a successful and well-travelled economist who is also a polo aficionado when he’s not dressed in his bespoke suits. He is also the longtime boyfriend of singer/actress/host Solenn Heussaff, which explains why he looks incredibly familiar–you’ve seen him on Solenn’s Instagram photos! Lastly, Sebastian Ripoll is an accomplished strength and conditioning coach, and also works as a producer for a documentary series with ABS-CBN called Team U.

IMG_5647IMG_5661IMG_5659Here they are: TW Steel Slim Collection endorsers, Sebastian Ripoll, James Younghusband and Nico Bolzico.

IMG_5636It was my first time to eat at Black Sheep, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Their menu didn’t give anything away. In case you didn’t know (like me), Black Sheep is a modern gastronomy restaurant and single malt whisky bar headed by Chef Jordy Navarra.

IMG_5629And so this was my appetizer called Chicken N Egg. I wasn’t sure what this was at first so I asked. As explained, this is a chicken wing glazed in dark beer, salmon roe and orange & Cointreau foam. Interesting. The salty salmon roe was overpowering, but overall it was a tasty introduction to a different kind of lunch.

IMG_5632This really got me confused. I didn’t now what I was eating, so I checked the menu: it said Longganisa. Where? I felt like I was eating mango ice cream with pork flakes. Well, that’s one thing that was described right–the pork flakes. The black rice I hardly saw, but I’m sure that was deliberate. I’m still confused about this right now, but at least I can say I tried it.

IMG_5639This one I liked: 36-Hour Pork and Free Range Chicken. It was delicious, but seriously it wasn’t enough for lunch. I wanted more of this but of course, I couldn’t demand for another plate. I can eat 5 of these, only because this is served in bite-size portions. The pork was soft and tender, and its flavor was sweet and salty. This was really yummy. The chicken had an interesting taste, but also very good as well. Lots of spices and flavors happening here.

IMG_5655That’s where my meal ended. I took a bite of this dish called Cigar, and I had to push it away. I hate the smell of cigarettes/cigars and this really tasted like a cigar. I was astonished how this could be a treat for some people, but I guess it depends on whether or not you like cigars/cigarettes. This was too out-there for me. I still prefer good ol’ chocolate cake as my dessert.

IMG_5690I was happy to see my friend Joei at the event. We talked about marriage and kids and other girly things at the event. Joei has a food blog called http://www.joeiandme.com, be sure to visit! Oh here we are with the three handsome endorsers.

IMG_5686We fit the watches and fell in love! IMG_5697With TW Steel’s Dawn Dacanay.

TW Steel is available at the following TW Steel Boutiques (The Podium, Marquee Mall, Shangri-La Plaza, SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Aura Premier, Century City Mall, SM City North Edsa), Lucerne, Chronos, Swissgear, WristPod, Adora, and Le Temps.

Jumpsuit apparatus

IMG_7079 IMG_7064IMG_7050  IMG_7086 IMG_7032IMG_7075    IMG_7092I love jumpsuits. They’re stylish and easy to accessorize, and depending on its fit lends a look that’s relaxed, structured or sexy. Of course, the type of jumpsuits I prefer are the relaxed and easy ones. I like an outfit that allows me to move, as I usually need to run from meeting to meeting, and squeeze an event or two in between. Today’s OOTD can take me pretty much anywhere–from an event to dinner and drinks.

This grey jumpsuit is from online store Before Twelve (you may order from their Facebook account: facebook.com/beforetwelve or from Instagram: @beforetwelve), while the black quilted leather jacket is from H&M. This necklace is one of my favorites by jewellery designer Joyce Makitalo–this is from her 1969 collection available at http://www.seektheuniq.com. My sandals are from another online store: Shoe-Nga (check out their Facebook account: http://www.facebook.com/shoenga and Instagram: @shoe_nga). My lipstick is MAC Russian Red, while my red nail polish is from Deborah Lippmann.

 

 

Samsung Cook Off

IMG_7343

This is it! The big Samsung Cook Off!!! If you remember a few weeks ago I announced this contest in my blog. It should be hard to forget, as this wasn’t just any ordinary giveaway but one of the biggest contests I ever ran in this site. The mechanics were simple: the most creative and yummiest recipe wins a Samsung Smart Oven, and would go on to compete against two other winners in a cook off (these are the winners of mommy bloggers http://www.annalyn.net and http://www.animetric.blogspot.com). The grand winner gets to take home a Samsung RT6000 Refrigerator, which is the newest and most innovative refrigerator in the market today! This was the culmination of that contest–an exciting day where three amateur chefs went head to head in a nail biting cook off which was judged by Chef Ernest Reynoso Gala and members of the Samsung team.

The chefs in competition were Roki Ferrer (my winner) who made Chicken Tagine with Couscous and Tzatziki, Lorraine Lorenzo (Annalyn’s winner) with her recipe, Thai Chicken Nuggets in Red Curry Sauce, and Vic Ejanda (Rowena’s winner) with his Roasted Chicken in Basil and Lemongrass. The common ingredient for the three was chicken, which was a funny coincidence. (I love chicken, so I was taking notes the entire time.) The contenders only had one hour to prepare and cook their recipes, which required their complete concentration. Each one also had to explain what they were doing while cooking the dish, which was probably the most difficult thing about this competition. Our blog winners were such pros though, they really brought their A-game and prepared their dishes with such ease and precision. And to top it off, the whole thing was televised! This Samsung cook off will be shown on the Lifestyle Network very soon, so watch out for it!

***

This is Lorraine Lorenzo, Annalyn’s winner. She prepared her best recipe: Thai Chicken Nuggets in Red Curry Sauce, which is the favorite school baon of her kids. The dish is made from scratch using all-natural ingredients. This is definitely a healthy (and tasty) lunch alternative for kids. Her children are so lucky to have a mom like her who cooks so well and experiments with different dishes. This recipe was pretty amazing. It’s definitely not your typical chicken nuggets. The chicken was so tender while the red curry sauce gave it a flavourful kick. What an ingenious recipe!

IMG_7273IMG_7294IMG_7293IMG_7341

***

The next contender is Vic Ejanda (Rowena’s winner), who is a food scientist. He enjoys experimenting with food (apparently he also makes his own beer) and he also uses natural ingredients like herbs and spices to make this yummy dish. His recipe, Roasted Chicken in Basil and Lemongrass was incredibly good. I am still amazed at how he was able to roast an entire chicken in less than an hour (of course, you need time for preparation). The chicken was roasted all the way through and its flavors were just delightful–basil and lemongrass really go well together!

IMG_7268IMG_7276IMG_7335IMG_7333

***

This is my winner, Roki Ferrer. He works in PR at Globe Telecom and is also a food blogger, though he hasn’t updated his blog in ages (I kept urging him to get blogging again–this is his site if you want to check it out: http://dkitchenbitchen.blogspot.com). He loves to cook and experiment with different cuisines. His recipe, Chicken Tagine with Couscous and Tzatziki is a Moroccan dish he created from his love of spices. He stocks up on spices during his travels so he doesn’t have a difficult time making his favorite recipes (smart move). This dish was really excellent–I love the exquisite flavor of the tagine. Its taste is really distinct (and delicious). It paired perfectly with the couscous!

This was also the winning dish at the Samsung Cook Off!!! Which meant Roki won both the Samsung Smart Oven and Samsung RT6000 Refrigerator! And since I chose him to represent my blog, I also won these prizes!!! I let out a scream when Roki’s name was announced, because I’ve been dreaming of these appliances since I blogged about them. My husband and I are still in the process of buying our major kitchen appliances, and these were exactly what we needed!!! THANK YOU, Samsung!

IMG_7260IMG_7269IMG_7299IMG_7304IMG_7306IMG_7311IMG_7349CONGRATULATIONS, Roki Ferrer!!! :) Your dish was superb! I can’t wait to try it at home.           IMG_7360The three contenders for the Samsung Cook Off: Vic Ejanda, Lorraine Lorenzo and Roki Ferrer.

IMG_7351Bloggers unite: me, Annalyn and Rowena.

IMG_7370So happy and proud of Roki and his wining dish.             IMG_7325For those of you who want to try making Roki’s yummy dish, here is the recipe:

Chicken Tagine with Couscous and Tzatziki

CHICKEN TAJINE
1 kilo chicken, cut into serving pieces
1 head garlic (15 cloves)
1 small red onion, quartered
1 small can pimientos (2 pcs), sliced
10 prunes, cut in half
1/4 cup dried kumquats (got these from HK, available in Asian specialty stores)*
juice of 1 lemon, peel reserved
1 cup cubed potatoes
1/4 cup melted butter, plus some for greasing dish
1 3/4 cup water
* traditionally prepared with preserved Mylar lemons which are hard to find here. Seems to work for this recipe.
Spice Mix:
2 teaspoons Turmeric (yellow ginger)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cinnamon bark
1 tablespoon local saffron (kasubha), or 1 small pinch real saffron threads
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
big pinch of chili flakes
Procedure (so easy):
1. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Grease a large oven casserole with butter.
2. Place chicken on the dish and rub thoroughly with the spice mix.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
4. Cover tightly with foil (double up the foil to make sure steam does not escape), and bake for at least 2 hours. If you have a real Tajine, you can do this over the stove – something I also want to purchase when I go to Morocco.
5. Then lower the heat to 325F, uncover the dish and bake for 30 minutes.
COUSCOUS
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup coucous
1 tsp salt
1 pinch saffron
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chopped pecans
dash of cinnamon
pinch of pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley

> Bring water, saffron and salt to a boil.
> Add couscous and cover. Let stand for 10 minutes.
> Stir in pecans, cinnamon, lemon juice and parsley.
> Serve with Chicken Tajine and Tzatziki.


TZATZIKI

1 cup plain yogurt

1 small cucumber, grated
salt & pepper to taste
squeeze of lemon juice

> Combine and put in fridge until ready to serve.

Tricks of the Trade: Steps to prevent the appearance of blackheads

balmain (2)

HI, MISS KELLY! I’m 16 years old and I have a lot of blackheads. I mean a lot. I was wondering what are the solutions to my problem because it really frustrates me. Thank you.

Blackheads can be irritating to look at, especially when you use one of those magnifying mirrors. First of all, they’re dark and visible up close, which can hurt your confidence when someone draws attention to them. Second, they’re stubborn and hard to remove on your own (if you’re attempting to do it yourself, hold it right there). And third, when infected, a blackhead can actually turn into a pimple, which will only make matters worse. Now before you panic, you should know that blackheads don’t form overnight.

I understand that your body is still going through a lot of changes since you’re 16 years old. Your skin may all of a sudden be erratic, going from normal to oily, with blackheads forming in the worst places (the nose and chin being the most popular areas). Hormones are to blame for this, as they jump-start your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Of course, oily skin is still manageable when it doesn’t have any blemishes. There are solutions for blackheads, and ways to prevent them from coming back. Do not attempt to remove the blackhead yourself. These usually run deep, and you’ll want to remove the entire blackhead (and not just the tip).

Visit your derma. I suggest you go for a normal facial, which consists of skin cleaning. Here they will scrub your face clean, remove/extract your blemishes, and apply medicine after so these won’t get infected. This may cause temporary redness on the affected area, but this should go away after a few days. And once you’re there, consult with the dermatologist who can tell you exactly what is happening to your skin and give you products that will improve your skin’s condition.

Exfoliate. This is why facial scrubs are around, so you can slough away dead skin and prevent your pores from getting clogged. You should do this weekly (twice a week if you have very oily skin). Just make sure you find one with gentle, soft granules as the skin on your face is more sensitive than your body’s.

Read the label. You’ll need to find the word non-comedogenic on the label of your favorite moisturizer, sunblock and makeup. Why is this so important? Because this means the product does not block pores. This helps address the root of the problem, and prevents whiteheads and blackheads from forming.

Change your hair product. Sometimes we break out not because of our skin care regimen, but because of our shampoo, conditioner or styling products. Switch it up to see if it makes a difference. Opt for gentler, more natural formulations.

Clean your makeup brushes. Another common cause of blemishes is dirty makeup brushes. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to always clean your phone screen (or simply don’t press it against your cheek during a phone call), and change your pillowcase regularly.

This article was published in the Lifestyle Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on November 29, 2013.

My #JourneyToHappiness

JourneyToHappiness

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, then you must have seen my #MyJourneyToHappiness posts. It was a month-long campaign (powered by Enervon) that helped me get closer to reaching my happy goal: to spend more time with my family and friends. I did this by uploading photos of myself hanging out with my husband and dog, with my family and my closest friends. These were automatically linked to Enervon’s site: http://www.journeytohappiness.com.ph thru my Instagram account. I wasn’t sure at first if joining the campaign would even have an effect on my life, but you know what, it created something good and positive. Taking photos somehow pushed me to make time for my loved ones, and not just to take photos, but to really spend quality time with them. It was a conscious effort, and I loved every bit of it.

You see, for a few months my relationships seemed to have taken a backseat because of work (especially when I was travelling for Trending Now). I rarely saw my friends and family, and I only got to spend time with my husband and dog when I was home from my trips which was three days in a week. I didn’t think much of it at first, but after a few weeks it began to take its toll on me. I felt sad and lonely, even if I always had people around me. And I started missing out on important events and felt bad I couldn’t be there. Life really is all about balance, you can’t be all work and no play (or relationships). You begin to feel like something is missing, and no amount of work or money can ever fill that void. And so I spent the entire month making plans with my girl friends, making sure I had dinners with my family on Sundays, while allowing ample couch time with my husband and walk time with Lily, my dog. This was such a great experience as I was able to connect with the people who matter the most in my life. And in the end I couldn’t be happier.

The cool part about this campaign was that Enervon categorized life goals into four types: Journey to Career Growth (get promoted, start a business), Journey to Fitness (lose/gain weight, get into a healthy lifestyle), Journey to Love (this was my goal–spend time with family and friends), and Journey to Expression (be a singer/chef/artist). This gave everyone a chance to join, as of course, we all have our goals and priorities to make our lives better and happier. It was so easy to be part of this: after registering on the site, you link all your Instagram posts to the website by adding @enervonph and hashtag #journeytohappiness on the post, then you’re on your way to making your life better and happier! I think this is something we should all practice in order to create balance in our lives. When it comes to our goals, we should push ourselves to do better every day. It wont hurt to document your progress too, this will help keep you going and inspire you to do your best.

Lovely lilac

IMG_6804  IMG_6892  IMG_6868 IMG_6900  IMG_6886IMG_6815 IMG_6860IMG_6865

I don’t usually wear blazers, but when I saw this soft lilac blazer from Dorothy Perkins, I just had to get it. I’ve been obsessed with the color lilac since the beginning of the year, and I can’t seem to get enough of it. It is such a happy color, and it looks very clean and polished. I wore it with a v-neck t-shirt from Thread 365 (available at http://www.pormada.com) and black jeggings from Uniqlo. I like the combination of lilac and red, so I wore these red and silver flats from online store Hied & Szik (you can order from their Facebook account: Facebook.com/heidandszik and from Instagram: @hiednszik). For every purchase you make from this brand, you help a child in need through World Vision’s Child Sponsorship Program. My accessories are a mix of gold and silver (I love wearing these together): the beaded medallion necklace is from 1969 Joyce Makitalo (available at http://www.seektheuniq.com), my bracelets from Thomas Sabo, and watch from Marc Coblen. Happy Monday!!!