Baby Shower for Nicole’s 2nd

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!

IMG_8312It’s another boy! What a blessing for Nicole! <3

IMG_8307Meryll and Banks helped set up these balloons and party hats.

IMG_8313Party of five: Noelle, Nicole, Meryll, Banks and I.

IMG_8320Orzo 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.

IMG_8319Chicken 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.

IMG_8329Sisters Noelle and Nicole.

 IMG_8324Organic Mushroom Fritters (P320). Mozarella-stuffed button mushrooms wrapped in homemade Italian sausage, breaded and crisp-fried and served with a fresh cherry tomato passato.

IMG_8330Burrata (P270). Yummy burrata cheese topped with grape tomatoes, fresh basil and drizzled with balsamic reduction. I love cheese, so this was a winner for me.

IMG_8336The Barcelona Pizza (P690). Spanish-inspired pizza with tomato sauce, turkey chorizo, shiitake mushrooms, roasted garlic, fresh mozzarella and Grana Padano.

IMG_8341Noelle, Nicole and Meryll enjoying the good food.

IMG_8333Vegan Cheese (P220). Homemade tofu “ricotta” cheese, topped with sweet onion jam. This was surprisingly good! A delicious alternative to cheese (for those who are vegan / lactose-intolerant).

IMG_8338Eggplant Parmigiana (P350). Layers of eggplant, tomatoes, mozzarella and tofu bits in a rich tomato sauce and served with garlic bread.

 IMG_8355Nicole starts opening her gifts.

IMG_8359This one’s from me–an outfit for her little one! Adorable ‘I Love You Mummy’ onesies, little shoes and knit hats.

IMG_8367These are from Meryll: colorful toys and a bib! 

IMG_8360Banks gave these. Cute striped t-shirts and a Sophie the Giraffe teether.

IMG_8363That is one cute giraffe! Haha, is it wrong that I kind of want one for myself?

IMG_8372Baby essentials from Mothercare.

IMG_8369More gifts from Mothercare!!!

IMG_8380Stuffed and happy.

IMG_8378We each got Mothercare giveaways! Yay!

IMG_8318Can I just say there are amazing macarons from PAUL. My favorites are the coconut, raspberry and caramel. These made such great gifts!

            IMG_8385IMG_8383Love the quaint, homey interiors at The Wholesome Table.

 IMG_8390We can’t wait to meet your little bundle of joy, Nicole! Love you! <3

Sangobion #GoLoveLife Makeover Day

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.

IMG_7596IMG_7589IMG_7645IMG_7634IMG_7608IMG_7602IMG_7590IMG_7616IMG_7626IMG_7644IMG_7642The winners having fun

Check mate

IMG_7096IMG_7167 IMG_7177IMG_7165IMG_7146I 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.

Tricks of the Trade: Shave, wax or laser–how to deal with underarm hair

Marni (5)

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.

Night out

IMG_6545IMG_6596IMG_6555     IMG_6577IMG_6558   IMG_6572

When it comes to dressing up at night, I prefer loose, drape-y frocks to tight body-hugging dresses. I can’t stand the thought of wearing a dress that looks great but is so tight it constricts my breathing. Of course, this is all based on experience, and I’m sure you can all relate. We’ve all had to suffer through a tight or ill-fitting dress for an evening. It is super uncomfortable, and you’re lucky if you can even have a bite of your dinner. I once missed out on a delicious five-course dinner (I only had soup) because the dress I was wearing was too tight. I got a lot of compliments for that dress, but you know what, I couldn’t wait to go home. In the car I immediately removed the dress because I already felt like passing out. Terrible! Haha sorry guys, I guess today is share-your-horrible-dress-experience day.

Anyway, this dress is the opposite of that–it is extra comfortable but still looks chic and effortless. It is from online store Before Twelve (you may order from their Facebook account: facebook.com/beforetwelve or from Instagram: @beforetwelve). I paired it with a lace motorcycle jacket from GUESS (in case I felt cold), and accessorized with gold rings from H&M, a snakeskin clutch from Bali, Indonesia and these blush heels from Sala Chaussures (check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/salachaussures). I love the black ribbon detail in the back. It really adds a little something to the outfit.

 

Kenneth Cole re-opens at Rockwell

Finally, Kenneth Cole re-opened its store in Powerplant Mall, Rockwell! It looks bigger and better–the walls and flooring are all white now (a mix of brick and wood) which I thought made a huge difference as it helped the merchandise stand out. For me, this made shopping easier. A brighter store allowed me to take notice of the little details in the clothing and accessories, and see the quality in the clothes, which is really what the brand is known for.

No doubt, the new store, along with its new merchandise did not disappoint. I found plenty of noteworthy pieces I would love to add to my closet. There were a lot of athletic chic tops, bottoms and dresses that looked super polished, leather bags in fun, bright colors, and statement shoes that works from day to night. A lot of the items in the store are versatile and hardworking–they’re the type of pieces you would want to wear all the time, and you really could because they are made so well. I, along with other bloggers and celebrities had a blast shopping that day.

Thank you, Kenneth Cole for inviting me to this awesome event!

IMG_7527My shopping buddies that day: Nicole Andersson and Maggie Wilson-Consunji.

IMG_7539I love this bag! I got it as soon as I saw it.

IMG_7525My top picks from the store. These are super chic and so wearable.

IMG_7533These caught my eye. You can totally wear these with that coral dress in the other photo.

IMG_7517Maggie’s son, Connor joined us at the event. So cute!

IMG_7528Maggie and her new Kenneth Cole bag.

IMG_7508Kenneth Cole’s Roseanne Adriano with Maggie and Connor.

IMG_7543Brent Javier.

IMG_7552Nicole and her new pair of Kenneth cole shoes.

IMG_7547Sam Ajdani.

IMG_7559Me with the boys.

IMG_7566IMG_7565

L’Indochine

One of my favorite things about travelling is that I get to find all these unique and one-of-a-kind pieces for my home. I am always on the lookout for pretty things like ornate plates, colorful throw pillows and quirky decor. They add character and style to any room, which I love because it immediately makes your place feel like its yours. I always look forward to travelling to a new place because I want to find new things to add to my collection. But of course, the reality is, I can’t travel all the time. Good thing though there’s a store that offers exactly what I’m looking for, and I don’t need to ride a plane to get there.

It’s called L’Indochine, and it carries all the fun, eye-catching things that I want in my home. They have furniture, plates and bowls, glasses and goblets, throw pillows, accent pieces, tops and dresses, coverups, jewelry and so much more. It’s the type of store I can spend hours in (and believe me, I have) and every “round” I make I find something new that I love. This store is owned by sister-in-law tandem Leona Laviña-Panutat and Charlene Carlos (otherwise known as the Inspiration Seekers) and they’ve recently opened their flagship store at Mega Fashion Hall at SM Megamall. I love how all these intricate, hard-to-find things can be found in just one store–no need to scour bazaars and haggle for good prices in far off lands (though I have to admit, this still appeals to me haha). The convenience of finding these special items in one place is a huge plus for me, and I’m happy I don’t need to travel so far to get my fix. Check out all these great finds at their store opening.

IMG_8046IMG_8047   IMG_8062 IMG_8073 IMG_8079 IMG_8091 IMG_8097 IMG_8099 IMG_8121 IMG_8077 IMG_8092 IMG_8065 IMG_8088 IMG_8093 IMG_8084 IMG_8060 IMG_8087 IMG_8114 IMG_8089 IMG_8110  IMG_8063 IMG_8080 IMG_8064  IMG_8066IMG_8104

L’Indochine can be found at:

SM Mega Fashion Hall4th Level SM Megamall Building D, Ortigas

and

SM Aura Premier, 3rd Level SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway corner 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

*

For updates on new arrivals, follow @theinspirationseekers on Instagram.

 

Citrus citrus!

IMG_6399IMG_6494IMG_6486IMG_6403  IMG_6505IMG_6459

I’ve been wanting to wear this two-piece dress since summer, but I completely forgot about it. I found it in my closet recently and decided, I might as well put it on than wait until next year to wear it. Thankfully, it was a sunny day when I squeezed into this and I had a proper event to wear it to. Note to self: I really need to start planning my outfits, to be sure I wear everything in my closet (as opposed to putting on the first thing I see). This tropical print dress is from Zara, my fun yellow heels are from Sala Chaussures (check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/salachaussures), lilac clutch from RagsIIRiches and earrings from J.Crew.

Tricks of the Trade: How to deal with oily, breakout-prone skin

Alexander Wang (3)

Hi, Kelly! I’m really bad at putting makeup on and I want to learn to properly apply it. I have combination-blemished skin. But my problem area is my T-zone; my forehead is the most problematic part since it breaks out a lot.

I also have a few whiteheads on my right jawline. The pores on my cheeks are kind of noticeable. My makeup tends to cake and slip off during hot weather and it’s driving me nuts!I’m really bad at putting makeup on and I want to learn to properly apply it. I have combination-blemished skin. But my problem area is my T-zone; my forehead is the most problematic part since it breaks out a lot.

How do I properly put makeup on? And what type of makeup is best for my skin? How do I make the makeup last longer, and how do I properly cover up blemishes? I honestly want to achieve a natural look. By the way, I have fair complexion. —Astrid

We have a few things to consider here. First is how to take care of your specific skin type, and second, how to expertly camouflage your blemishes while making sure makeup adheres to your skin and stays on for a good amount of hours. Let’s tackle skincare first. Your skin, as you described it, seems to be on the oily side. Your T-zone tends to break out a lot, the pores on your cheeks are noticeable, and there are whiteheads on your jawline. These are all telltale signs of oily skin, and the most likely reason you are getting breakouts is because some of your pores get clogged. Oil that’s supposed to pass through pores gets trapped, which makes oil and bacteria gather underneath the skin, forming blemishes like blackheads and pimples. Pores get clogged for one reason or the other; makeup can sometimes cause this, as well as changes in the weather, or it can also be your skincare regimen.

I suggest that you switch to a facial wash that specifically targets blemishes and prevents pimples from forming. Look for a facial wash that contains active ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which have been known to effectively fight acne and pimples. If, however, your skin is on the sensitive side, opt for a facial wash with natural ingredients like tea tree oil or lavender oil. These are just as effective, as they kill bacteria and help skin heal faster. Of course, if you are experiencing a bad breakout, you may want to see your dermatologist. He or she can help you identify the cause of your blemishes and prescribe the right skincare products.

Another way to prevent pimples is to use an oil-free moisturizer that’s formulated for oily skin. I know it seems weird to be recommending moisturizer when your skin already produces too much oil. But, yes, oily skin still needs a good dose of moisture. As much as you want to lessen your skin’s oil production, you also want to be sure it doesn’t get too dry, as oil glands may take this as a signal to produce even more oil, thus making skin super-oily. Other things you can do to help prevent blemishes: Use a gentle facial scrub once or twice a week to slough away dead skin cells and prevent pores from getting clogged; eat healthy, meaning lots of fruits and veggies, to promote healthy skin; and also drink lots of water.

Now, on to makeup. What you want to achieve is a fresh face, which means you don’t want your makeup melting by lunchtime. There are a few tools and tricks you can use to do this. These seem to work for me, especially when I need to wear makeup the entire day.

Use a makeup primer. I’ve been recommending this for some time now, and I am a firm believer of it. I’ve tried wearing foundation and powder alone, but with primer or base underneath my makeup, it really makes a world of difference. First off, skin instantly becomes matte, and it stays that way for hours. I don’t see any traces of oil forming throughout the day when I have primer on. Second, it really allows your foundation to glide on smoother. It’s as if uneven skin, pronounced pores and little bumps or blemishes go away, and are better camouflaged underneath the makeup. Lastly, with primer, makeup really adheres to skin, which means you look fresh for a longer period of time, and don’t really need to do touch-ups. I strongly recommend this if you want to wear makeup with oily skin.

Go for face powder. As you know, powder soaks up oil. And if your primer isn’t enough, you may need to pat on face powder (it can be loose or pressed) every once in a while, just to make sure your makeup stays on longer. This is very important, though: When choosing a powder, use one that is non-comedogenic, which means it’s formulated so as not to block pores.

Stay away from creamy makeup. As pretty as some creamy makeup may look, these are not for your skin type so you should steer clear of them. These may come in many forms, including crème eyeshadow, blusher, highlighter or lipstick. For oily skin, it’s best to stick to matte to natural finishes.

Go easy on the shimmer. Highlighters and shimmery shadows or powders can help prevent your makeup from looking flat or too matte. This is all well and good, until you end up using too much, which then translates to an oily look. Usually, shimmer is applied on the brow bone, along the bridge of the nose, on cheekbones and the chin area—but very sparingly. I think, in your case, it may be better to avoid it altogether, as you don’t really need that extra shine on your face. Or, if you have to use shimmer, look for those that are ultra-fine and natural, as opposed to glittery and sparkly.

This article was published in the Lifestyle Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on November 8, 2013.