Some Lip Loving

I don’t know the definitive moment when I became a lipstick addict – but every time I’m stressed and I feel the need to shop but my wallet is on a diet, I would usually end up with a new lipstick shade. I guess that’s the lipstick theory right at work for you.

I have a lot of favorites which I tend to use for days or weeks on end; no particular brand favorite (as long as it’s hypoallergenic) or price point concerns either. Not to be a snob here, but come on, how expensive can a lippie be? Plus, the good brands (read: good for extra sensitive skin) are usually triple the price of the usual drugstore brands.

Currently though, I am obsessed with Mac’s Twig. It leans on the pinkish side of the range of nudes so it doesn’t wash you out.

Perfect for when you’re denied of sleep and in dire need of some brightening. The only downside is, it washes quickly – a cup of my morning coffee and I need to retouch it again.

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For days when I cannot be bothered to check my lips in the mirror (like when I got stuck in traffic and am five minutes late to an early morning meeting), I rely on my all time Clinique lip crayons. But, I recently discovered that one of my favorite brands, Burt’s Bees, have new shades of their own lip crayons. Quite cheap too as they cost less than Php700 each! I alternate between the pinkish Niagara Overlook and the cherry red Redwood Forest.

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Last holiday season, I had the sudden urge to get a wine red lippie. I’ve never been into the blood-red trend but plum/reddish-purple? I can do that. The first counter I ran into was Shiseido and after one trial swipe of shade RS 656, I knew it was a match made in heaven. This shade ranks up there with my all-time favorite but discontinued SmashBox nude shade.

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On other days when inspiration takes hold of me, I try on other shades, although I still lean towards the ubiquitous and universally flattering nude lip. One shade I find easy to mix/match with outfits and can transcend daytime to nighttime is Mac’s  Yash. There’s just something sophisticated about a nude lip that a red lip can’t project.

But of course, I do feel girly at times so I swipe on Lancome Rouge in Love shade 351M, a light pink with enough shimmer that’s perfect for summer/spring. And of course, for days when I just feel the need to be bold, I make a toss between  Mac’s cult fave Ruby Woo and its lesser known sister, Lady Bug. They’re both vivid red and not for the faint of heart, but the former has blue undertones while the latter is more crimson.

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What’s your favorite shade? 👄💄💋

Skin Care Products I Cannot Live Without

Given my very sensitive skin, there are only a handful of skincare brands that I swear loyalty to – French brands Nuxe and Avene, American brand Burt’s Bees, local brand VMV, and Japanese-made SKII. What’s frustrating is that most of these brands are not available locally. Avene has since been available in our trusted Mercury stores and Burt’s Bees is sold in Beauty Bar outlets. But for my Nuxe needs, I would normally hoard during trips to Europe or Hong Kong or order it online (taxing my non-existent patience and EQ to the max while waiting for my packages to arrive).

So imagine my elation when I saw SSI’s post on Instagram showing the Nuxe body oil – I immediately asked if they are now carrying Nuxe and they said yes!  Of course, that very same day I visited BGC Central where most SSI brands can be found. Going there is like being let loose in candyland so I thought I’d give you a rundown of my trusted skincare products from their Beauty Bar (our answer to Sephora and Sasa).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA. Nuxe foam cleanser, shower gel and creme fraiche. Nuxe carries a wide range of skin care and anti-aging products but my favorite would be their creme fraiche (plant milk-based) moisturizer. It goes on smoothly and doesn’t feel greasy. Plus, it is heavy duty – I use this when I have dry patches on my face, especially during the -ber months, when the cold can be unforgiving. I alternate this with my Clinique moisturizer which I use at night.

Among Nuxe’s many variants and product lines, my favorite is their rose petals-based line – I cannot end my day without cleansing with their micellar rose cleansing water (not in photo) and foam cleanser. I use the cleansing water to take off make up, soaking a cotton pad and patting it around my face before washing off with the foam cleanser. My skin feels petal-soft and smells heavenly after. I love roses but a lot of products in the market smell like vaguely scented chemicals; Nuxe smells like a rose garden.

The shower gel from Nuxe Body is a recent discovery. As I said, I have very sensitive skin and I tried using this supposedly hypoallergenic/mild hair and body wash from a leading consumer goods giant. Sadly, my skin got bumps and blisters and itchy all over. So much for a 2 in 1 product. Now, this gel from Nuxe is so divine – it’s a mix of almond and orange blossoms that smells so natural. I wonder how they do that, like they bottle a garden’s natural fragrance. If they ever come up with a perfume, I would not hesitate buying (or do they have it already???). Anyway, the gel is clear and very fluid (actually doesn’t feel like gel at all), lathers nicely but most of all, rinses easily. Yet my skin feels super clean and moisturized after.

But perhaps the most popular product of Nuxe are their body oils. I got the one with shiny sparkles and I use it on my hair and arms for that little sparkle. It can also be used on the face but I haven’t tried it yet – I am already too oily as it is.

B. Burt’s Bees More Moisture Shampoo. Whenever I think of Burt’s Bees, I think of honey and this product looks exactly like a more diluted version but smells like freshly cut grass or vegetables with hints of honey. It’s got jojoba, baobab, and rice extracts, among a long list of natural ingredients, plus, it’s sulfate free so it’s good for your hair and scalp. It is very hard to find sulfate free hair products so I am glad I switched to this one.

C. Messy Bessy Hand Wash and Insect Repellent. I love Messy Bessy. They have no fuss products that smells really great. And they’re all natural too! I think I use all their household products at home –  dishwashing liquid, dish and toy cleaner (for babies), and hand sanitizer (everyone at work loves this). But my favorite is their liquid insect repellent which comes in a spray bottle. It’s not oily, which is great as I hate having oily hands, and is really tried and proven to keep away insects not just from my little boys but from me as well. This is a mainstay in our travel bags. I also love their hand wash which cleanses grease from my hands thoroughly and smells like fresh cucumber. It makes me want to wash my hands all the time.

D. Tatcha Japanese beauty papers. Or oil control film. But this is so much more than that. Trust the Japanese to transform those thin papers used to wrap gold leaf into beauty products. This thin paper, or aburatorigami, removes excess oil without disturbing makeup. It doesn’t contain powder but I noticed that my skin looks fresher and powder fresh after using this. I was not a fan of those rubber-y oil control films but this one product I swear by.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy journey to find the perfect body lotion is quite never-ending (as I said, Avene is my go-to but it is too expensive here), until a friend recommended VMV. I tried their four-step line with the cleansing milk, toner, moisture milk (for hands, body and face!!!) and sunscreen but found them a bit too heavy for me. But I love the re-everything lotion which is also a triple-threat: can be used on the face, hands, and body. I only use it for my body and hands but I love that it makes me feel soft and moisturized. It’s fragrance free and of course, hypoallergenic, so my skin is quite safe. It’s also good for travel since it covers all your skin moisturizing needs so this is also a maintay in my luggage. Vmv is not carried by Beauty Bar though, but you can get it at SM counters and of course at their stand-alone stores.

What about you? What are your trusted skin care products?

Bruges Lace

I love lace. If I could wear lace everyday I would – oh wait, I practically do! I have dresses, skirts, tops, undergarments and accessories made of lace. My wedding gown was made of lace.

Anyway, enough about my raving about lace. I’m just excited that after two years, I was finally able to use my lace pillowcases from Bruges. Now, Bruges is very well know for its lace, considered by many to be the best in all of Europe. So of course, I made sure to buy some of it to take home with me. I didn’t want to use my old pillows for such special pillowcases and it took me quite awhile to buy new ones (fine, I forgot) but here they are finally!

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Lovely, right? I probably should have bought more. Oh well, I guess this justifies another trip to Belgium. Hahaha!

Royal Restore

I bought this Vernis French wallet from Louis Vuitton four years ago, as a sort of reward after I quit my previous job.

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It was a lovely peach color but after a few weeks, it got smudged, what with all the tape receipt scattered inside my bag. It got so dirty I almost wanted to throw it away. Only the hefty price I paid for it kept me from making a rash decision.

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I couldn’t find a good shop that would resurrect my beloved wallet so I actually moved on and bought a new one (although having learned my lesson, I shifted to a saffiano leather from Prada). And then I heard of Royal Restore.

You see, I have a fear of having my branded items left overnight to be cleaned by unknown shops. Call me irrational, but I would get filled with a nagging suspicion that they would switch my item for a fake one. But when I did a bit of checking about Royal Restore, I found out that it’s the sister company of Mr. Quickie. I am sure all of us have used the services of the latter,or at least have heard of it; my past shoe and bag emergencies have been solved c/o Mr. Quickie and knowing that it’s a trusted company, I finally decided to have my wallet looked at.

They only have one store at Virramall, Greenhills so I really had to go out of my way to get there; if you’re like me who admittedly has a very poor sense of direction, just ask the guards to point you in the direction of Toy Kingdom. Royal Restore is right beside it (it’s a small shop so best watch out for it).

First, they looked at my wallet to assess the damage and determine if it can still be saved. Fortunately, my wallet is still in pretty good condition, leather-wise; the only problem were the stains. Since it was light-colored, they told me the best way to restore it was to dye it another color. They had limited colors suitable for LV Vernis leather; I would have loved a red shade but they didn’t have it so I opted for the safer bet – black. After all, I couldn’t smudge it further, right? 😀

After three weeks of waiting, I finally got a call that my wallet was ready for pick up. I got handed this brown paper bag with a pouch inside which I really appreciate. I had left the original dust bag of my wallet when I gave it to them for restoration but it was a nice touch to wrap it further in their own pouch.

IMG_4795And voila! My wallet looked brand new! Everyone who saw it thought I had splurged on a new wallet until I revealed to them my secret weapon – Royal Restore!

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I am definitely recommending Royal Restore for your leather concerns. I can’t wait to have my suede shoes cleaned as well!

Christmas Wish List

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Just a few more weeks before Christmas and while I am not materialistic (well, not much), I do have a couple of things I would be more than happy to find in my stocking come Christmas day.

Clockwise, from top left:

  • Metallic gold flats, Repetto – I got my first pair from this renowned ballet shoes maker in Paris last year, and have never looked back since. They’re just too comfortable. A bit expensive, yes, but you do get what you pay for. I only wish they’d come up with more styles and prints.
  • Atlas bangle, Tiffany and Co – I love anything from this store. My heart flutters when I see that robin’s egg blue box. I love the Roman numerals and that not a lot of people know it’s Tiffany (at least not where I am from, where the only design people are familiar with is the toggle bracelet with the return to Tiffany heart charm).
  • Tiffany T Square bangle, Tiffany and Co – I love the classic design and since I’ve taken to wearing bracelets again, I can’t stop thinking about these bangles. I am usually averse to anything that screams the logo or the brand name, but this was so tastefully and subtlely done you hardly notice what it stands for.
  • Tokidoki for London Sole flats – my other favorite flats brand has a collaboration that is so quirky I just got to have them. These flats are also very comfortable and not quite as expensive as Repetto, especially if you stick with the basic designs. Plus, they have lotd of prints and material to choose from.
  • Atlast hoop earrings, Tiffany and Co.
  • Musical jewelry box, Pottery Barn – I just died when I saw this. I can’t even believe I haven’t bought it yet. You see, I used to have a similar one when I was a girl which I really loved. It broke and the I lost the little ballerina but ever since I entered adulthood, I’ve been on the lookout for a similar product. It’s only now that I found one. Heck, I want this so badly I probably woudln’t make it to Christmas without buying it.
  • Return to Tiffany mini-heart tag earrings – I know I just said I hate logos or anything recognizable but I would make an exception for this one for the simple reason that I already have the necklace counterpart (courtesy of the hubby).
  • A shell carved cameo – I am obsessed with cameos, especially those that have lockets. But it’s so hard to find anyone who sells them here in Manila. In fact, I don’t know of any at all. But I would really love to have one. It’s a childhood obsession of mine.

I hope the hubby is reading this. I always make it easy for him to give me gifts but he rarely takes the hint I usually end of buying for myself. Actually, we’ve even gone so far as to go to the mall together so we can get Christmas gifts for ourselves. Hahaha!

What about you? What’s on your list?

*pictures taken from company websites

Christmas Came Early: The Jewelmer Noel Pendant 2014

Okay, as I wrote about here, I am seriously in the middle of a pearl obsession. To make matters worse, my boss, who noticed that I’ve recently taken to wearing pearls in the office, texted me at 6AM to inform me that Jewelmer has just released the Noel Pendant, their annual holiday offering.

IMG_4531It is available in silvery white and golden south sea pearls mounted on a specially designed pin (which changes every year!) made of either yellow or white gold, and hangs on a silver or golden silk cord (depending on your choice of pearl).

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For those who find the other offerings of Jewelmer quite beyond their budget, this is a perfect starting point – I think it’s the most affordable piece in their showroom but will add that oomph to an otherwise ordinary outfit. The Noel Pendant is available until December 31 and if you’re seriously thinking of buying it, I suggest you head over to the nearest store so you get first dibs. I was told by the SA that I am actually the first one to buy the pendant at their branch this year and so, was very lucky because I got to pick the biggest and most blemish free of the bunch.

*Okay, I just realized how bad the photo quality is. But the thing is, I sort of accidentally doused my trusty mirrorless camera back in Europe and even though I’ve spent more than five times the amount it would have cost me to buy a new one, I can’t get myself to do so. Haha, priorities, right?

A Girl’s Next Best Friend

Diamonds, as they say, are a girl’s best friend. But who says you can only have one best friend?  In my case, I have a lot of best friends so let’s talk about the one that I’ve been obsessing about lately: Pearls.

I’ve always been fascinated with pearls and I keep hoarding them whenever we go to the beach and the locals would sell ready made sets. I never wore them, however, and would almost always end up giving them out as gifts. I never felt like the pearl spoke to me, you know? With diamonds, I wear them small, big, or whatever but I never found the pearl I wanted to wear day in and day out.

The oldest pearl set in my jewelry box is this peach-y freshwater pearl set that I got five or so years ago in Boracay. They’re really small (tiny even!) and lackluster which is why I don’t wear them but I kept the set all this time because I loved the color. Plus, it was a steal at Php500!

IMG_4463I realized that I prefer big pearls so when I saw a manong at the beach during our Bohol trip two years ago, I immediately got the hubby to buy me a freshwater pearl bracelet set in sterling silver. It was quite pricey for me, at Php 400 since prior to that, all my pearl purchases were always Php500/set (earrings, necklace and bracelet). Sadly, I promptly lost that bracelet even before we left the island so I looked for an almost exact replica at the Market Market Pearl Market. This one was even more expensive than the one I lost but it looked so pretty (not in picture below are the earrings which came with the lot) and had a nice sheen to it.

IMG_4464I stopped buying pearls since I don’t really wear them… But a few months earlier, I got this voucher from Jewelmer and I saw the most exquisite golden pearls ever. I immediately googled the price but soon found out just how expensive they were. But still, golden pearls? I never even thought such a thing existed! Pardon my ignorance but I always thought pearls were white or off-white.

Those golden pearls started haunting me. I literally couldn’t sleep without googling and browsing photos of pearls. And I knew I had to have south sea pearls for myself.

But first… I had to test the waters. I figured, if I would buy such expensive jewelry, I should have something I can wear daily. This need is where the freshwater pearl comes in. They’re cheaper and easier to acquire so even if I lose/ruin them, or decide that I don’t want pearls after all, it won’t be the end of the world. So I got myself these baroque freshwater pearl earrings set in silver with cubic zirconia for that extra shimmer. Not exactly cheap (and I didn’t haggle – I’m not good with haggling) but very pretty.

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I tried wearing them daily for a week to see if my mind will change. But nope, seeing them dangling from my ear only made me want the south sea pearls even more.

After that, it was time to go after the big ones – and for this, I googled several weekends away researching the most reputable/safest place to buy south sea pearls (SSP) without breaking the bank. This search led me to Berdori Jewels.

Berdori has a stall at the Greenhills shopping center pearl market. The stalls move around every week so just look for their signage. Anyway, I was just supposed to look but then I saw this gorgeous pair of milky white south sea pearls in white gold with diamonds! I normally take forever when buying big ticket items because contrary to popular belief, I am actually kuripot. Case in point: I had psyched myself for months that I would buy a Tod’s bag and a pair of Valentino rockstud heels but when I got to the store, I couldn’t stomach the thought of spending that much on a bag and shoes. Things that, you know, depreciate. But jewelry… They only increase in value as time goes by. Plus, my heart was aflutter looking at those earring and I knew I had to have them.

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Beautiful, right? It actually comes in a set, with a pendant and a ring, but I couldn’t decide whether I want the set… maybe as a Christmas gift for myself? Teehee. In any case, I decided to get a strand of pearls to match the earrings. The SSP strand was too much for my budget so I had to make do with freshwater. We had a hard time looking for a strand that would match my earrings though; see, SSPs and freshwater pearls have different characteristics, be it their luster, size, or shape. Freshwater pearls tend to be smaller, less shiny, and the shape are more baroque/off circle than south sea pearls. As you can see in the photo below, the individual pearls in my necklace are almost all off-circle. But still, it was barely noticeable because the shade and the size were almost identical. I had to pay a premium for it, however, because freshwater pearls as good as this are quite rare, and therefore, more expensive.

In any case, I am quite happy with my purchase and I keep getting compliments whenever I wear them.

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Now, as I mentioned, what triggered my newfound obsession with pearls were those golden SSPs from Jewelmer. They’re rather too expensive for me and while Berdori has some nice golden pearls, none of them had me reaching for my wallet. So I extended my search to the jewelry section of the major department stores in the city. And I found a pair that made my heart skip a beat.

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The pearls aren’t really gold but champagne-colored and is set in 18k yellow gold with diamonds. See, I am quite predictable in my jewelry choices! Anyway, just see how clearly I am reflected on the pearls! You can almost see me holding my camera. One of the earrings has a small fish bite but it’s off to the side so it’s barely noticeable but overall, I love this pair so much.

I still haven’t given up on those Jewelmer studs – they still haunt my dreams. Hahaha! Maybe that will be my jewelry goal next year. See, I have this personal goal of buying a piece of jewelry and/or watch for myself every year. One time, I got a citrine earrings and ring set, another time I got a diamond ring. I made a notable exception this year since I bought several pieces of jewelry and watches but I chalk that up to all the stress – I cope with it through shopping. Hahaha!

I hope you enjoyed my little pearl reveal!

Last Days of Summer

The weather in Prague was a lot hotter than I expected. It was cool when the sun sets, but during daytime? The sun showed no mercy. No wonder I got burnt!

Nevertheless, Prague is very beautiful. Cobblestones, and hard to pronounce, much less remember street names, contribute to its old world charm.

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Charles Bridge at 7AM.

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Dress, belt, Mango; sandals, CMG; bag, Longchamp; necklace, Parfois; sunglasses, Michael Kors; watch, Kate Spade; charm bracelet, Pandora; pink crystals rosary, bought from the Duomo in Milan.

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We had to wake extra early for this, otherwise, the bridge gets so crowded.

Selfie

Just in case you haven’t noticed – I’m a big fan of white tops. It can be a plain white tee, a blouse, a lacy top, a tank… Sometimes, I don’t even realize I have lots of white stuff that it’s still the first color I grab when I go shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I love color but you can’t ever go wrong with white.It’s a blank palette, like black, but not as intimidating. You can dress it up, down, or go all out glam. It’s perfect.

Top, Stradivarius; Tank (underneath), Promod; jeans, Lucky Brand; flats, Tod's; watch, Kate Spade.

Top, Stradivarius; Tank (underneath), Promod; jeans, Lucky Brand; flats, Tod’s; watch, Kate Spade.

I found this top while walking past a Stradivarius store in our neighborhood in Paris. We were always either too early or too late but on our last day, I knew I had to have it. Oh, and those red flats? I had absolutely zero intention of shopping during this trip since I am saving up for a new house (with the addition of Georgie, the house is kinda cramped these days), but when I saw those shoes, I made beeline for the store, asked the salesman for my size, and promptly went to the cashier. All in less than ten minutes. My friends were amazed. Haha.

Anyway, I am not very fond of taking selfies so this is my way of being a little sarcastic (and that sarcasm is directed at me, lol). Look at my instagram and you’ll know right away. I mean, I’m too plain Jane! I’m not insecure at all (I’ve long accepted that I am not Hollywood material) but I wouldn’t exactly invite trolls to nitpick my looks. But hey, sometimes, I like to pretend that this blog is still somewhat related to fashion (which was the reason I put up the original blog over at blogger in the first place).

 

 

 

Printed Matter

The day was a mix of hot and cold – the sun was up, but the cold breeze kind of negated the heat so I decided on a fast becoming favorite sleeveless top from Target and some skinny jeans. Funny, I was never a fan of skinny jeans because I find them so restrictive but these jeans from Topshop are so comfortable, so soft, and fit perfectly that I bought two in different colors (I am thinking of getting two more pairs – maybe royal blue and mint green?).

And this top from Target’s collaboration with Peter Pilotto is a dream. I love prints and the vivid colors on this one makes me stand out in a sea of muted palettes (at least it seemed that way to me, hahaha). I’ve been a fan of Target’s designer collaborations since forever and I wish that some fashion mogul will bring the brand here to Manila. Pretty please? My Target x Missoni flats are still my favorite go-to shoes and they’re still as pretty as they were when I first took them them out of the box. 

Top, Target by Peter Pilotto; Jeans, Topshop; pumps, Coach.

Top, Target by Peter Pilotto; Jeans, Topshop; pumps, Coach.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, no matter how comfortable Coach’s pumps are, I couldn’t very well walk all over Schonbrunn in them so I brought a pair of trusty slippers with me – a little glammed up version with gold metal chains just so I wouldn’t look so out of place roaming the palace grounds in flip flops.

Slippers, Comfit.

Slippers, Comfit.

I have a personal rule when traveling: bring only two pairs of shoes. I’m a shoe person and I’m pretty sure I will buy a pair of two wherever I am so it doesn’t make sense to bring a lot – plus it gives me more space in my luggage for shopping.