Anyone who knows me knows I usually go for relaxed fashion. My every day uniform consists of denim, an easy tank and some sort of jacket, suit or cardigan. It’s just so effortless, and an easy choice when I’m in a mad rush in the mornings. I like flats but I carry a pair of heels in the car in case I need to make a switch.
Today’s outfit was another one of those “uniform” days. These light wash jeans are from The Wardrobe (you can check out their Facebook page at facebook.com/thewardrobeofficialpage and follow them on Instagram at @thewardrobeofficial), the blue tank top is from Terranova, while the floral jacket is from OverStackedPH (LIKE them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/overstacked and follow them on Instagram: @overstacked). My ring and necklace are from Hey Jow! (IG: @heyjowph) and my heels are from Zara. Oh and my amazing bouncy hair was by BLO Blow Dry Bar! Love them.
I’ve had serious dark circles around my eyes for years, and have tried natural solutions (cucumber, potatoes) and different brands, but still no satisfactory results until now. I’m scared of laser treatments or anything of that kind. Could you suggest other ways that may be more effective? Thank you so much! —Michelle Fano
Dark circles around the eyes may as well be one of the most difficult beauty problems to resolve, only because they have many causes, some of which are related to health, age or genetics. I understand you’ve already tried natural solutions like applying cut-up cucumber or potatoes on your eyes, as well as a slew of branded eye creams. Since these have not worked for you, I thought it would be best to take these out of the equation and focus on your other options. Let’s consider the following causes for dark circles.
AGE. The skin around our eyes is thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of our face. And as we age, it loses its collagen and becomes even thinner, causing the area to be more prone to discoloration. Constant sun exposure and no sunscreen can speed up this process even more, and cause collagen to break down. SOLUTION: Use an eye cream with retinol. This will help build collagen around the eye area to prevent dark circles from forming. Also, consistently using sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 will protect your skin from hyperpigmentation and aging.
ALLERGIES. What most of us don’t realize is that constant sneezing or coughing due to a bad allergy can cause dark circles around the eyes. Allergies release histamines, which in turn cause blood vessels to expand or swell. A sinus problem or an asthma attack may also cause the area to darken. SOLUTION: See your doctor about this so he/she can prescribe antihistamine for your allergy. Or if it’s a sinus problem or asthma, you can get the right meds to treat it.
LIFESTYLE. Bad lifestyle choices like drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and consuming too much caffeine have been known to cause raccoon eyes. Poor circulation due to lack of exercise can also worsen your problem. And, of course, not getting enough sleep. SOLUTION: Improve your lifestyle by making healthier choices. This means eating a balanced, nutritious diet, drinking enough water, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep everyday.
GENETICS. Your bone structure may have something to do with it. If you have deep-set eyes, shadows may appear in the hollows underneath your eyes. Pigmentation around the eye area is also hereditary, so if one of your parents have it, there’s also a chance that you might have it. SOLUTION: There are some things about our features that we just have to accept as part of who we are. In this case, you can use the power of makeup to your advantage. Using an eye-brightening concealer will help camouflage the dark circles.
I can’t imagine my life without Lily, our shar pei mix dog. Adopting her really was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Not only is she is sweet and smart, she is fiercely loyal and will go through great lengths to keep peace in the house (really, she barks and goes between me and Carlos during our “loud discussions”/fights). I’ve had her since 2007 and she has been a part of the family since. We take her with us on short trips around the city, and to the beach whenever we can. She likes long, leisurely walks with me, and loves leash-less bike runs with my husband. This girl is such a character. She is obsessive compulsive like me, as she only sits/lies down on clean surfaces; she hates water, but will swim with us at the beach because she doesn’t like getting left behind; and she will do pretty much anything for a treat. (To read more about Lily, click HERE.)
I love her to bits, and we’ve really become a happy little family unit because of her. That is why I make sure she is always healthy, so she can be with us for many, many more years. And as all you pet owners know, taking care of a dog is no easy task. You don’t just buy a dog and leave it in a cage (that’s the worst, please do not cage your dogs unless you’re transporting them). Your pet needs daily walks (at least twice a day), nutritious food, and constant love and attention. And that’s not just in the beginning when he/she is just a puppy, but all throughout their lives. I don’t think there was ever a time when Lily felt neglected, Carlos and I made sure of that. We each take turns walking her, we make sure she eats real, healthy dog food (this means no harmful ingredients, no by-products, fillers and fake meat), we treat her every so often to a big piece of raw beef shank (this keeps her busy for hours), we give her baths regularly, and we set-up a nice, comfortable space that’s all her own (she’s got a big doggie bed beside ours in the bedroom haha). In return, she showers us with unconditional love and keeps the vibe in the house light and happy.
Now, I’m not sure how you take care of your pets (I’m sure you spoil them just as much as we do), but I have to stress here how important it is to feed your dogs/cats the right food. Of course, I don’t mean scrap table food (there are A LOT of food that are harmful to our pets, so this is a no-no), nor am I talking about cheap commercial dog food (most of these don’t even contain real meat), but real, honest-to-goodness nutritious food that will keep your dogs/cats in tip-top shape. Anyway, you’ll notice right away if your pets are healthy–usually their coats are shiny, they are energetic and active, and they don’t get sick. I mean, really, if we spend to make sure we have a balanced diet and exercise (yoga/pilates/gym), we also have to do the same for our pets. They are completely dependent on us and they count on us to make smart choices for them, especially when it comes to their health and nutrition. Most of us consider them as members of our family, which is why we need to treat them like one.
Join the healthy pet food revolution:
Sing n’ Rap Like BOW AND WOW
This contest is SO MUCH FUN!!! Your pet can star in the next Bow & Wow music video AND win a year’s supply of all-natural pet food! All you have to do is send a video of your dog or cat performing to the Bow and Wow rap “Let’s Talk About Pets”. Here are the contest mechanics:
The contest runs from September 16 to October 31, 2014.
I love wearing blush and red together. It looks fun and unexpected, especially when paired with gold accessories. This button-down shirt from online store The Wardrobe (follow them on Instagram: @thewardrobeofficial) is such a classic piece. It became an instant favorite as soon as I tried it on. I wore it with these wine red denims from GUESS and black and white leather oxford shoes from The Carrier Pigeon Project (TCPP)–every TCPP item sold contributes to keeping children’s dreams alive through the following initiatives: 1) orphan outreach programs, 2) school kit giveaways, and 3) donations to charities and organizations that focus on feeding and sending children to school (go to http://www.carrierpigeonproject.com). For my accessories, I used this snakeskin bag from Michael Kors and a gold necklace from H&M.
What cream can you recommend for under-eye wrinkles? If you can give other tips, too, that would be great. I’m 27 and kind of worried that they might get worse. Appreciate your help, thanks!—Sheena Enriquez
I am glad you want to start an anti-aging skincare regimen as early as now. Some women wait until their late 30s and early 40s, which may require more drastic measures and potent creams. There’s no better time than today to start it, especially when it comes to taking care of your eye area. Skin around the eyes is thinner and more sensitive than the skin on the rest of our face. It lacks a protective fatty layer that gives skin its elasticity. Also it has fewer oil glands, which makes the area more prone to dryness. Left untreated, the skin will most likely exhibit fine lines and wrinkles early on—which we don’t want to happen.
Find the right eye cream. Constantly keeping the area nourished and moisturized has proven to be an effective way to prevent wrinkles. There are so many creams to choose from, which can be a good thing (more options), but then again, it can also be quite confusing. An important tip I’ve learned is to always read the label. Try to familiarize yourself with the different active ingredients found in products, and from there you’ll be able to find the right one to suit your needs. Another thing to take note of is that there are many categories of eye cream. These are made to target specific problems and provide specific solutions, such as minimizing puffiness, lightening dark circles, erasing fine lines and wrinkles, or, for some, a combination of two or three things. So, read the label to be sure you’ve got the right one. In your case, the active ingredients to watch out for are retinol and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). These give skin a renewed appearance, but depending on their potency, some products can make skin sensitive to the sun. Another effective ingredient is vitamin C, which has been known to increase collagen production and protect the skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Aside from your daily dose of eye cream (during the day and before going to bed), there are other ways to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Incorporating these good skin habits in your lifestyle will keep your skin looking naturally youthful. Start on these today.
Apply sunscreen. Excessive sun exposure is the No. 1 cause of wrinkles. Wearing sunscreen in the morning before heading outside is a must, and definitely worth the time and effort. These days you can find multitasking products that are formulated with SPF-foundation. Face powders and BB creams now have sun protection. Using these may be a better option if you don’t like layering one product over the other.
Get enough sleep. It seems simple enough, but most of us don’t get the adequate number of sleeping hours a day. When we lack sleep, our body produces cortisol, a hormone that breaks down skin cells. This is the reason we get dark circles and eyebags, and, in the long run, causes our skin to wrinkle.
Quit smoking. Studies show that smoking quickly ages skin. This happens because the flow of blood and oxygen to the skin is restricted. Vitamin C also becomes deficient (one cigarette stick robs your body of 35 milligrams of vitamin C). Also, the constant puckering and squinting from smoking causes wrinkles to form around the mouth and eye area. So quit smoking. Of course, if you don’t smoke, good for you. Just be wary of secondhand smoke, which can also be dangerous to your health.
Wear sunnies or reading/driving glasses. Again, constant squinting is a terrible habit, as it causes all these lines to form on your face. That’s why it is important to wear sunglasses when you’re outdoors. If you have bad eyesight, make sure to wear your glasses or opt for contact lenses.
Eat the right food. Diet plays a big factor in anti-aging. Eating the right food means you’re supplying your body the right stuff to fight damage caused by free radicals. Make sure you get enough fruits and vegetables daily, as these contain a lot of antioxidants. Also, salmon is a great source of omega-3, which gives skin a healthy, plump appearance. Other foods that protect skin from sun damage: soy and chocolate.
It’s baby number two for my good friend Nicole Hernandez-de los Angeles! We planned a little party for her at The Wholesome Table, and as always, it was loads of fun catching up with these ladies. Nicole and I have been friends since I started modelling in 2001 (she started waaaaay before me–she was 13 years old when she did her first commercial!). We met through a model search (by the now defunct Teen Magazine Philippines) where we were both finalists for this contest (you can read about it HERE). Soon after, we found out we both lived in Alabang and studied in De La Salle University, so I ended up carpooling with her in the mornings when we had the same schedule. And we’ve been friends ever since! We’ve seen each other through engagements, weddings and babies (a second for her)! Exciting times.
We had to arrange this lunch for her right away (Nicole is already on her ninth month and is ready to pop anytime). Good thing Mothercare came to our rescue!!! Seriously, they were so amazing–they set up Nicole’s baby registry, which made it sooooo easy for us to get her the gifts she needs. On top of that, they gave Nicole the BEST GIFTS, like essential things she would use from the hospital palang! And they provided everyone with Mothercare giveaways and super yummy macarons from PAUL (they were exceptional, I didn’t want to share hahaha)! It was the easiest baby shower we’ve ever planned, all we had to do was show up! THANK YOU, Mothercare (special thanks to Niko and Mariel for making this happen, and of course, to Ben Chan for being so generous)!!! Also thank you to The Wholesome Table for accommodating our little party!
Orzo Salad (P450). Made with grape tomatoes, capers, fresh basil, mint, feta cheese, dried cranberries, arugula and tossed in red wine vinaigrette. The orzo was a little bland, but all the other ingredients added flavor to the salad. Pretty good.
Chicken Dukkah Salad (P420). A hearty salad made with dukkah-coated grilled chicken, roasted squash, tomatoes, sliced red onions, cucumbers, crumbled feta cheese and sunflower seeds drizzled with balsamic vinegar. The smell of the dukkah was a little overpowering for me, but otherwise this was a very tasty salad.
Eggplant Parmigiana (P350). Layers of eggplant, tomatoes, mozzarella and tofu bits in a rich tomato sauce and served with garlic bread.
Nicole starts opening her gifts.
This one’s from me–an outfit for her little one! Adorable ‘I Love You Mummy’ onesies, little shoes and knit hats.
Banks gave these. Cute striped t-shirts and a Sophie the Giraffe teether.
That is one cute giraffe! Haha, is it wrong that I kind of want one for myself?
Stuffed and happy.
We each got Mothercare giveaways! Yay!
Can I just say there are amazing macarons from PAUL. My favorites are the coconut, raspberry and caramel. These made such great gifts!
Love the quaint, homey interiors at The Wholesome Table.
I generally like filling out forms. I think it’s fun when I am able to supply each question with a corresponding correct answer (haha I blame it on the obsessive compulsive gene that pushes me to be this way every day). Its structure appeals to me, which is why I fill out most of the forms for me and my husband (visa applications, bank application forms, even raffle coupons, that’s my thing). There is one question that really bugs me though, only because I can never seem to answer it properly. It’s ‘OCCUPATION’. I usually need a couple of seconds to answer this because I can’t seem to decide what to write. Is it model? Host? Writer? Blogger? Or maybe wife?! I feel like I don’t have a proper title to describe what it is I do, and I feel like it may always be this way (unless slasher is accepted as an answer).
In a lot of ways I think we all feel the same way about who we are and what we do. The word ‘occupation’ seems overly simplistic, because the reality is very complicated. We do so many things in a day to make ends meet. I mean, we aren’t just bankers, teachers, lawyers or housewives. There is more to us than that, as we constantly juggle many things to make life easier for others. We can easily come up with a long list of things that keeps us occupied on a daily basis, yet it doesn’t seem enough so we continue to push ourselves to do more. I certainly can’t fathom the idea of doing just one thing. I need to be productive, while being able to manage my household and relationships. Of course, we all know that we can’t do everything. There isn’t enough hours in a day! Yet we continue to try. In the process of trying however, some of us end up making ourselves the last priority. We forget to take care of ourselves, which is sad because we never forget to do our work, and responsibilities. Even other people’s favors come before our needs! I mean, if you can’t remember the last time you had an indulgent, pampering ME-day, well, then join the club of hardworking selfless gals. There are millions of us out there, attempting to do the impossible.
I love that there’s a brand who thinks of us when we don’t even remember to take care of ourselves. Sangobion recently held its #GoLoveLife Makeover Day for the lucky ladies who made a pledge to change their lives for the better. The forty winners were treated to a beauty day, courtesy of Shu Uemura and Blo Blow Dry Bar. So you can say it was a huge pampering party for all of us. We got to spoil ourselves for a day while looking our best–what a great event! Check out the photos.
I love wearing plaid. It is such a throwback to the 90’s, it transports me back to my teen years when grunge was all the rage. Of course, these days I prefer a more polished look, which is why I opted to pair this red plaid men’s shirt from GUESS with this black & white skirt from H&M. These heels are from Stuart Weitzman and my ring is also from H&M. I didn’t feel like accessorizing so much as I wanted it to be all about the shirt, and yeah, I think I was able to do just that. Red nails and lips complete the look.
Hi. I’m wondering if you can help me. I’m 16-years-old and suddenly hair is growing where it shouldn’t (below my underarm, almost next to my breast). Can I shave it? I’m scared that if I do it will get worse! Do you have any advice? Also is it normal to grow hair there? ELLA
Before anything else, there’s no need to worry or panic. What you are experiencing right now is perfectly normal. Being a teenager means going through many changes—both physically and emotionally. It seems like your body has changed practically overnight, and yes, that might include hair growing in areas where they didn’t grow before. The body you once knew has begun to change, and it will continue to change in time.
Before you do anything drastic, you must know that your underarms are actually very sensitive. They have a weaker barrier function than the skin in the rest of our bodies. We also tend to sweat more in that area which makes it prone to bacteria (of course, you already know to use an anti-perspirant/deodorant to remedy this). The reason why I mention all these is to remind you to be gentle with your underarms, and properly care for it so that it doesn’t darken or get irritated.
Now, with regards to your question of whether or not you should resort to shaving: There are pros and cons. The advantage of shaving is that it is quick and relatively easy. The downside to this is that hair grows back in just a day or two, and over time it can cause ingrown hairs, darkening of the underarms (due to razor burn or friction—we tend to remove 1/3 of our skin when we shave) and if you’re not careful, get nicks and cuts. I wouldn’t recommend shaving your underarms unless it was absolutely necessary (say, you had to wear a sleeveless top or swimwear and had no other means to remove the hair but with a razor). Like I said, it is the quickest way to remove unwanted hair but it can make the area unsightly in time. Not to worry though, there are other ways to go about removing hair on your underarms. These may take a bit of an effort (and may cost more than a razor), but will definitely produce better results.
Get a wax. Though you may find do-it-at home waxing kits at your nearest drugstores or department stores, I still suggest you go to a professional to get this done. There is a proper technique for waxing that you might not be able to do on your own. In this case, a waxing technician will know exactly what to do, and will leave your armpits smooth and hair-free for a good week and a half to two weeks. Another plus is that hair that is waxed tends to grow back less dense than before, and will be less painful the next time you go for a wax.
Go for laser hair removal. This procedure used to be quite expensive, as the technology was still new a few decades ago. But now, practically every dermatology clinic and aesthetician center offers this, at an affordable price or payment scheme. This uses laser beams to literally zap away underarm hair, until it finally falls off after the second or third session. Depending on the machine used, it can feel something like a quick slap on the skin to absolutely nothing. Results can be seen in about five to six sessions. Of course, being that you’re only 16, you will probably need permission from your parents to undergo this treatment. Some clinics may need to wait until you are 18, so check on this. This is, however, the most effective hair-removal treatment there is, as it guarantees that you’ll be hair-free (on your underarms) for life.
This article was published in the Lifestyle Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on September 5, 2013.