Dove #RealBeauty

One of the many things I love about Dove is that they promote #realbeauty. Unlike most brands that tend to push a very exclusive version of beautiful, Dove inspires women to become the best versions of ourselves. By doing this, they help make beauty a source of confidence and not anxiety–their goal is to make all women look and feel their best, which ultimately makes us feel happier.

I’m pretty sure you’ve taken notice of Dove’s many campaigns. They are always inspiring, heart-felt and make us feel good about ourselves. It’s because Dove actually celebrates every woman’s beauty, promotes inclusion, and makes huge efforts to raise self-esteem and confidence, and these are clearly shown in all their campaigns. They have been doing this for 60 years, and today they are recommitting to this with three vows:

1) Dove will always feature real women. Dove believes that beauty is for everyone and therefore features real women of different ages, sizes, ethnicities, hair color, type or style. Real women are introduced by their names and their campaigns will continue to reflect the population’s diversity.

2) Dove will always portray women as they are in real life. They promise to never present the unachievable, manipulated, flawless images of “perfect” beauty which the use of retouching tools can promote. This means zero digital distortion of women, and images are actually approved by the women they feature.

3) Dove will always help girls build body confidence and self-esteem. Globally 8 out of 10 girls opt out of key life activities when they don’t feel good about the way they look. Dove has a mission to ensure the next generation grows up enjoying a positive relationship with the way they look – by helping young people raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential.

For over 10 years, the Dove Self-Esteem Project has educated over 20 million young people in body confidence and self-esteem and has become the biggest provider of self-esteem education of its kind. The brand works with world renowned body image experts and leading universities to develop evidence based and academically validated educational tools. Their goal is to educate 20 million more young people around the world on body confidence and self-esteem by 2020.

As you know, I was invited by Dove to attend their global campaign launch in New York City last month, and part of the program was to meet four amazing, wonderful women. To be honest, I was super grateful to be part of this trip, because I was truly inspired by their remarkable stories. They were as real as it got, and I could not wait to share their stories with my readers.

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REBEKAH MARINE (www.rebekahmarine.com) is a model, inspirational speaker and humanitarian. Despite being born without a right forearm, Rebekah has defied all odds in the fashion industry and has become one of the most recognizable models in the disabled community. She began her journey in 2011 when she decided to explore her options for a myoelectric prosthesis. When she was being fit for her new prosthesis, a friend suggested she model her new “accessory.” It was at that moment Rebekah realized she could turn her “disability” into something extraordinary.

“Throughout my journey as a “bionic model”, I started to realize that it is more than just about me. That it’s about helping people that may not see the brighter side of the cards that they were dealt; it’s about helping people embrace who they are as a person; and it’s about educating people who are living with differences. I have this rare opportunity to teach people that while we all struggle with our lives, we have the ability to control how we treat those struggles.”

Rebekah’s story is incredible. Despite her disability, she was able to start a modeling career and even walk in New York Fashion Week! She is such an inspiration to all of us, and teaches young girls that your disabilities or limitations should not stop you from achieving your dreams.

JESSICA TORRES (www.itsjessicatorres.com) is a style blogger, social media influencer, and body positive fashion reporter. She started her style blog in 2012 and has made quite an impact in the blogging universe as she is one of the first plus-size Latinas bloggers. She makes fearless fashion choices that promote body confidence at any shape and is a role model for so many women who are struggling with their weight and self-esteem. Apart from blogging, Jessica is also a full-time body positivity reporter for Revelist.

“It really affected the way I saw myself in this world, and I let it affect the way I let other people treat me. I missed out on so much in life. For example, I didn’t go to my high school prom, because I thought, ‘I’m gonna look really gross in a dress,’ so I didn’t want to go. And when I go to parties, which is really rare, I didn’t dance. I would sit in a corner, I would sit down, because I didn’t want my body jiggling to offend anyone. And I didn’t want people to look at me and say, ‘oh, she’s jiggling here, she’s jiggling there’; I didn’t want to be the center of attention–that was my biggest fear.

After two years of researching and looking at blogs, I decided it was my turn. The reason why I feel like this is that I didn’t have any role models–I didn’t have anyone that looked like me, I didn’t have anyone that was plus sized and said, ‘you can be fashionable too, you can be beautiful too, you can be as pretty and amazing as you want to be.’ So I wanted to start my blog, and I had my little brother who was my blog photographer, and one day I was like, ‘take a photo of me in a crop top’, for the first time. And I did it. And it was amazing, but I was still very nervous. And when I built up the courage to take a picture with a two piece swimsuit, that was the moment I was like, ‘OK’. Because I started to receive messages from women telling me, ‘hey, I saw you wearing this dress, and now I feel like I can wear it as well.'”

IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD is an American sabre fencer, and a member of the United States fencing team. She is best known for being the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the United States in the Olympics. In individual sabre at the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won her first qualifying round bout, and was defeated in the second round by Cécilia Berder of France. She earned the bronze medal as part of Team USA in the Team Sabre, becoming the first female Muslim-American athlete to earn a medal at the Olympics.

“My entire life growing up in a predominantly white town in New Jersey, playing in a sport that made me stick out like a sore thumb. Being acknowledged for being different in a sport was the first time where I constantly had people questioning whether or not I belonged because I was black, or I belonged because I was a Muslim girl. Because I wore my hijab, was I safe to participate in a sport; could my opponent participate or compete against me and would that be safe for them because I was wearing a hijab. These were the questions I was getting as a kid.”

DAPHNE SELFE has gained the title: oldest professional fashion model. She has been modelling since 1949 when was picked unexpectedly for a magazine cover at 21 years old (she was born in 1928). She was rediscovered in her seventies, and has been working ever since. Now in her eighties, she is busier than ever and loving life, as campaigns from all over the world keep coming. Daphne proves to the world that age is just a number; she is truly an inspiration to all women!

“I was a model when I was 20, for about five years, just doing normal sort of modeling in the ’50s. And then I didn’t anymore for a bit, and then when I got to 70, I got rediscovered, which you all probably heard about. I’ve had such a great time since, I mean, much better than when I was 20. I mean, I never went abroad when I was young, well, then during my time nobody did. But for modeling now, well, you’re in Paris tonight, then tomorrow you’re in New York… and so here I am. I’ve been all over the world–I’ve gone to lots of places where I never thought I’d be in, but then I say, I’ll go anywhere for as long as you pay me.

That’s the thing with young models, they think when you get old, you’re going to go off. You can go off but you’ll still be a model, if you’ve got a bit of personality and enjoy it all. It doesn’t stop you. And it’s nice working with younger models because they’re not jealous of me. They just usually want to be like me, which is very flattering.” 

So, of course, I couldn’t get over how gorgeous the flat (where the event was held) was. I took plenty of photos, and was able to take one with Daphne as well!

                 

Exploring Hong Kong with Eye Society

This is it! ❤ The reason behind that wonderful Asian cruise we took: to shoot the latest campaign for Eye Society featuring the best eyewear brands, like Prada, Miu-Miu and Rayban (to name a few). It was the best kind of work, because we were basically shooting a campaign while on vacation. The best part: I got to bring my family, which really made it quite perfect.

Special thanks to Star Cruises for taking care of us throughout the entire trip, as well as Eye Society for showing us how to travel in style. It was definitely a trip to remember. I absolutely love that I have all these gorgeous photos and videos to remember the trip by. Photos were by amazing lensman Jerick Sanchez, and videos by the equally talented Paolo Zulueta. Other influencers on this trip were Brent Javier and Catriona Grey, who are featured in the videos below.

      

Travel Diary: Kaohsiung

When you think of Taiwan, Kaohsiung is usually not the first city that comes to mind, unless you’re actually from there. Vacationers plan trips to Taipei first, then maybe on their second or third trip, they will venture out and explore the rest of Taiwan. To be honest, I have not heard about Kaohsiung prior to our trip and if it weren’t included in the itinerary of our cruise I don’t think I would see it at this time. Of course, you already know that we went on a cruise (I might have overshared on Instagram)–we went on a six-day-five-night voyage onboard the Superstar Virgo that reached Laoag, Kaohsiung, and Hong Kong. You can read about the first leg of our trip, which was Vigan, HERE.

So, what is there to do in Kaohsiung? A lot if you are only spending the day here (the cruise ship only docks about 12 hours per destination). Main landmarks of Kaohsiung city includes the Tuntex Sky Tower, the ferris wheel of the Kaohsiung Dream Mall, the Kaohsiung Arena and the Kaohsiung Harbor. The city is newly developed (it used to be an industrial city) but it has a large number of shopping streets, organized night markets and newly developed leisure parks such as the Pier-2 Art CenterE-DA Theme Park or Taroko Park.

Natural attractions of the city includes Shoushan (Monkey mountain), the Love RiverQijin, the bay of Xiziwan, the Dapingding Tropical Botanical Garden and the Yushan National Park at the northeastern tip of the city. The city also features various historical attractions such as the Old City of Zuoying, a historical town built during the early 17th century, the Former British Consulate at Takao built during the late 19th century or various sugar and crop factories built during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan.

Because we were there for a very limited amount of time (about seven hours), we were only able to visit the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum and the Pier-2 Art Center. Initially, we were set to spend time at the Love River, but it was raining, so our tour guide took us to the art center instead. I have to say, my family loved our time in Kaohsiung, which was great because I had no idea what to expect from this trip. The weather was cool and pleasant (except for the rain showers when we were at the Love River) and we were able to take plenty or gorgeous family photos.

The Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, previously known as the Buddha Memorial Center, is a Mahayana Buddhist cultural, religious and educational museum located in the Dash District of Kaohsiung. Construction of the museum began in 2008, and the museum was opened to the public in December 2011. Since its opening, the Buddha Museum has frequently been featured as one of the top 10 landmarks of Taiwan.

Okay, at first I thought, this might be a little boring, especially for Tristan who doesn’t understand a thing about buddhism or religion. But that long walk up to the museum was just his idea of fun, and loved every moment of it. It was like a big playground for him, which isn’t what it is, I know. But I was just so happy he loved the place that I was happy too! As a result, we were able to take lots of happy family photos. ❤

                   

So instead of spending the last few hours we had left at the Love River, our tour guide decided to take us to the Pier-2 Art Center instead. What a great idea. We all loved hanging out at this cool arts center! It was originally an abandoned warehouse site, but due to Kaohsiung’s shift from being an industrial city to a service city, well this was created. The warehouses were built in 1973 and due to the persistence of local artists, the area was finally released and remade to be an arts center. In 2006, the Bureau of Cultural Affairs of the city of Kaohsiung, under management of the Kaohsiung Pier-2 Art Development Association and Shu-Te University‘s art development workshop took over the center, starting a series of exhibitions.

There were little stores when we visited, as well as plenty of amazing outdoor art exhibitions. This made for an amazing backdrop for more family photos! Hehe. As long as my husband and I are able to take gorgeous photos, I am happy. It was a great day, indeed!

                    

My Chocolate Staycation at Shangri-La Makati

If you haven’t made plans for Holy Week, well, a staycation might just be for you, as you don’t have to travel a long way to get there. Shangri-la Makati is offering a wonderful staycation package promo at the moment, and if you’ve been following me and the Baby Barangay on Instagram, you’ll know how amazing it is!

The Baby Barangay (sans Nicole and her family) went on a chocolate staycation last weekend, and yes, you read “chocolate” right! Our families had the best time with the kiddos, decorating cupcakes and Easter jewelry boxes, and eating them all after, of course! No doubt, Shangri-la Makati is the best choice for a getaway this Holy Week, especially since they’re offering a yummy weekend for the whole family. Scroll down to see what they have to offer.

THE GRAND CHOCOLATE KITCHEN: Upon arriving at the hotel, you will find a colorful chocolate factory right in the middle of the hotel’s grand lobby. Here you’ll find all kinds of chocolates and sweet confections prepared by their amazing pastry chefs. I have to say, this creative installation is a perfect place to take family photos–the display is just super fun! This Holy Week, April 13, 14 and 15, kids can participate in cookie-decorating classes with the hotel’s friendly pastry chefs. The best part: they get to bring home their creations for free. Registration is at the selling booth of Sinfully near the concierge.

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CHOCOLATE STAYCATION: This was just the perfect getaway for my little family. Shangri-La’s cutest Easter bunny, Rafa will show you an amazing time and will leave plenty of chocolates for the family to enjoy. And OMG, I need to tell you: Shangri-La makes THE BEST chocolates (try their white chocolate–so good)! Oh, and guests who book two nights at Makati Shangri‑La from now to April 16 will get two free tickets to the Easter Sunday Party! There will be surprise presents and chocolate treats at this super fun event!

EASTER SUNDAY PARTY IN THE RIZAL BALLROOM: On April 16, children will be in for the most unforgettable Easter egg hunt in a forest adventure and city adventure. They will be delighted to watch Rafa and Friends’ first musical show. There will also be a magic show, a giant sunken ship inflatable playground, children’s meals and wonderful Easter prizes to bring home. You cant miss this!

EASTER FAIR: Guests staying from April 13 to 16 will have the little ones entertained with interactive sessions in the comfort of the hotel facilities. Every day, there will be arts and crafts, cookie-decorating classes and children’s movie screening.

DINING SPECIALS: Throughout the season, guests may take the family on a culinary journey around the hotel and discover the best finds from five restaurants, namely, Circles, Inagiku, Shang Palace, Sage Bespoke Grill and Lobby Lounge. They can look for Rafa, Pao-Pao, Pochie and Bubbly at the restaurants for a nice surprise treat.

As a special treat, the Baby Barangay was invited to visit the pastry room, where all the chocolate magic happens! The amazing pastry chefs taught the kiddos to decorate yummy Easter cookies and treats. And each family got a giant jewelry box each that we were allowed to fill with as many chocolates and cookies as we wanted! What an amazing experience!!!

       

Of course, we all got to enjoy our “hard work”–we had all this for tea right after. Yummy!

For inquiries and booking, call (632) 813 8888 or send an email to slm@shangri-la.com.