Menina Step debuts in the Philippines

When I was younger, I'd buy shoes without really thinking about it. I'd snap one (or two!) up in a heartbeat if the style was cute and it was cheap. I didn't consider quality and comfort,  which led to many of my pairs being thrown away or stuffed in the back of my shoe closet to be forgotten.

I'm older now and dare I say wiser. I also pay for all of my expenses! This means that I don't have the luxury to indulge in disposable fashion, in shoes and clothes that I can only use less than five times. I'd rather cough up a little bit more for items that I'll wear regularly. Who cares about repeating? Style, real style, is not about being trendy and new anyway. It's about knowing who you are and sticking to your guns in a world that says "this is how you should be".

So when Spanish shoe brand Menina Step invited me to become a brand ambassador, I said yes! I love that their ballet flats come in classic, chic designs and are made of buttery soft leather. The pair I have is super comfy and cool even when the ground is scorching hot. It's made of luxe snakeskin - busy to look at but it goes with all my outfits due to the neutral color! I love how it makes my wide feet look so dainty.

Come meet the other Menina Step Style Influencers in this cool video! They are Alyssa LapidThe Reluctant Stylista, Mariana Bantug of The Beauty Bee Blog, Raiza Poquiz, Rhea Tan Bue, Tina Cruz of What Tina LovesTricia Centenera, and Karla Reyes. They're a bun of fun-loving women who work as hard as they enjoy everything that life has to offer!

If you want to discover Menina Step, come join us tomorrow in the launch of the brand's first pop-up store in the Philippines! You can check out oodles of beautiful leather flats from May 30-31 in front of Zara in Powerplant. ^_^ Hope to see you there in the afternoon! You can also like Menina Step on Facebook and follow them @meninastepph on Instagram.

Blouse and skirt from Zara / Makeup courtesy of INGLOT / Hair courtesy of Blow Out Bar Manila

Blouse and skirt from Zara / Makeup courtesy of INGLOT / Hair courtesy of Blow Out Bar Manila

How's your weekend looking like? I'm going to be so busy! It should be fun though since I get to do one of my favorite things, which is hold a watercolor workshop. I also have a couple of makeup workshops planned so stay tuned for the announcement soon! 

Air Optix launches new colored lenses that look totally natural

Colored lenses are now considered beauty accessories. Anyone worth her makeup salt would know that a bit of color on the eyes would go a long way in enhancing the look! Whether we're wearing eyeshadow or not, colored lenses can make our eyes sparkle and make them appear more mysterious.

Now, I love my clear lenses but when I'm going to events I want something subtle but flattering on my eyes. I adore Freshlook contacts (raved about them before) but recently, there's a new player in town which delivers more beautiful colored lenses!

Air Optix Launch

Air Optix Color is designed to provide natural-looking eyes with healthy vision and consistent comfort. It happens to be the first silicone hydrogel colored contact lens in the market. But what does that mean?

Silicone hydrogel actually allows plenty of oxygen to pass through the contact lenses, thus enhancing comfort. Oxygen is essential for the health of the cornea, the domed-shaped front part of the eye. Insufficient oxygen may cause corneal swelling and/or lead to irritated, red eyes and uncomfortable lens wear. More oxygen = fresher, less tired eyes with contacts on!

At the launch of Air Optix: Celeb ambassadors Pia Magalona, Maxine Magalona, and Gretchen Ho. These women love having clear vision without sacrificing their style. Air Optix is perfect for them since there's a graded variant that's as comfortable as it is pretty.

At the launch of Air Optix: Celeb ambassadors Pia Magalona, Maxine Magalona, and Gretchen Ho. These women love having clear vision without sacrificing their style. Air Optix is perfect for them since there's a graded variant that's as comfortable as it is pretty.

I like how Air Optix feels like I'm not wearing anything on my eyes. The color pay off is also realistic, as it combines three colors in one. They're not comparable to cheap lenses that only have one color, which then makes our eyeballs look like plastic. Air Optix are like Your Eyes But Better contacts! Can we make that a thing, YEBB? Haha.

Cheers to beautiful, clear, and healthy eyes!

Cheers to beautiful, clear, and healthy eyes!

There are several colors available - from subtle enhancements (pure hazel, blue, green, grey and brown), to bold and striking eyes (brilliant blue, gemstone green, honey and sterling grey). Below I'm wearing Green since it's always been my secret dream to have green eyes f'realz. 

Air Optix Launch Liz Lanuzo

Here you can see Tara wearing Pure Hazel and Angela wearing Grey. I love how the Grey looks! It lightens the eyes in an unexpected shade. It looks like a stormy sky heavy with rain - nothing crazy as it mixes with the natural eye color. Very chic.

Air Optix Launch Liz Lanuzo

So there you have it. Thanks Marj for inviting me! I enjoyed the event, and the contacts even more. ^_^ If you guys are interested in trying this  new brand out, you can purchase Air Optix for P1,450 (non-graded) and P1,550 (graded). Only clear ones are available for astigmatism. You can find Air Optix in all leading optical shops nationwide.

Curious, what's your "eyedeal" eye color?

With beauty blogger friends Dior, Angela, Marj, Tara, Tellie, and Shen

With beauty blogger friends Dior, Angela, Marj, Tara, Tellie, and Shen

This post is brought to you by Air Optix.

The perfect coral red: MAC Matte Lipstick in La Vie En Rouge

I have many variations of bloody reds, brick reds, plummy reds, wine reds, tomato reds, and orange reds in my lipstick collection so you have to excuse me if I'm a little world weary of red lipstick in general. I used to wear one all the time - a slash of red across my face always does wonders - but now not so much. I like brown and nudey pinks lately. Perhaps that comes with old age.

Recently though I received the MAC Matte Lipstick in La Vie En Rose (P1,000) and it awakened my old flame for red lips. It's an utterly gorgeous coral red that I don't have a dupe of yet in my collection. It's bright and happy and matte. I like to think of it as a modernized retro red!

It's a loud red that looks pinkish in certain lighting. It's blue-based so it should suit most skin tones! Blue-based lippies as you know have a brightening effect on skin and teeth, so always look for bright shades that have a slight bluish tint underneath the pigment.

MAC matte lipsticks have a dry, rather hard formula, but they're also extremely long-wearing. They stay on even after eating and drinking, leaving a lovely even stain once they fade away. I wouldn't recommend this formula for dry lips but you can always wear a lip balm as needed.

Gotta love instantly whiter teeth and a brighter skin with nary any effort. ^_^ I will definitely keep La Vie En Rouge in my summer rotation! What's your summer red?

Ukulele Cover: I'm Not The Only One

Let's kick today off with something different: a song! I've rekindled my interest in the ukulele so I've been practicing everyday. "I'm Not The Only One" by Sam Smith is not only fun to play, it's pretty fun to sing too! I haven't done it perfectly but I still hope you'd enjoy my effort. ^_^

If you're interested in learning the song, the chords are just F-A-Dm-Bb and then a F-C-F at the end of each verse. It's really easy and you can vary the strumming pattern many different ways. Here's how I like to play it!

By the way, if you're on Smart, you can now watch YouTube without having to worry about bill shock because they have new video date bundles. You can enjoy the best of YouTube, Dubsmash, Vimeo, Viewstream, Qik, and Dailymotion to suit your lifestyle and budget.

You can pay as low as P5 for 15 minutes of video streaming up to 65MB. Awesome huh? The most sulit is the P25/2 days of video streaming up to 160MB! Here's a table of the rate and the keywords:

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To access this service, simply text your desired bundle (ex. YOUTUBE25) to 9999. Once you've successfully registered you will be sent a notification of your subscription. It will simply be deducted from your prepaid load or added on top of your postpaid bill.

So there you go, enjoy your videos! Thanks for watching mine. ^_^ I'd like to know what you think, or if you've got a song request that you think is bagay for me to do.

This post is brought to you by Smart.

Swatches + FOTD: Emilio De la Morena for Artdeco SS15 Collection

Fresh yet sultry, modern but romantic - that's what the new Emilio de la Morena for Artdeco Cosmetics is all about. This spring-summer collection features bold bursts of color and subtle pastels that contrast beautifully when worn together. Delicate rose, subtle apricot, vibrant pink and pastel mint evoke a mood that's sublimely perfect for the season.

But wait, who is Emilio de la Morena? He is the Creative Director of the fashion brand of the same name, founded in 2005. It combines Spanish craftsmanship with a London aesthetic. De la Morena's vision is to create clothes that flatter every woman and highlight the elegance of the female form. His first collection in 2007 actually won the "New Generation Award" and was purchased for a permanent exhibition as part of the textile museum in Barcelona (Museu Tèxtil i d’Indumentària. 

For Spring 2015 Emilio de la Morena presented his latest fall/winter collection at London Fashion Week. If you can't get hold of the clothes, then his Artdeco collab is the next best thing! Here are my thoughts and swatches on these pieces. ^_^

Let's start with the jewels of the collection: the Blush Couture (P995) and Eyeshadows (P350 per pan) that come in a limited edition compacts designed by de la Morena himself. The blush has three soft luminous shades that deliver a subtle glow. It makes my cheeks look peachy and healthy, but it's not as pigmented as I hoped. On my Asian skin it's more of an illuminator than a blush; on fairer skin, I imagine it shows up more. 

Nonetheless, this blush is still quite pretty! I like to wear it on no-makeup makeup days, or with bright lippies when I don't want my cheeks to stand out.

The Beauty Box Quattro (P475) can fit four eyeshadows and a blush strip from Artdeco. For now I've only got the new eyeshadows - #60 Pearly Milky Mint, #81 Pearly Summer Lilac,  #95A Pearly Soft Pink and in #109 Pearly Snowdrop. The names are pretty descriptive! I find the 60, 95A, and 109 much too pale on my skin tone, but 81 is absolutely gorgeous. It's an electric lilac that makes my eyes stand out when worn around the upper and lower lids.

These eyeshadows need a base to make them pop. Try the Artdeco Eyeshadow Base if you haven't yet! It's an affordable (around ~P500) reliable primer that's great on oily lids.

Here's an FOTD I made with the Blush Couture and #81 eyeshadow. I feel that it looks daring yet still sweet. Pastel makeup is tricky to wear but not when you know how to balance it out with defined features - strong brows, a dark liner and mascara, and a bright lipstick should do it.

Speaking of lipstick, there are four new ones in the collection too (yep it's pretty large). The Art Couture Lipstick (P895) has a shinier, creamier formula while the Perfect Color Lipstick (P650) is more satin and richer in pigment. Both of them wear pretty well at 4-5 hours without eating and drinking.

I've got swatches for three: the Art Couture Lipstick in Cream Soft Pink #268 (left most) is a nice daily color. It's still pastel, not quite MLBB, but it's wearable even on my medium skin. The Perfect Color Lipstick in #91A Soft Pink (middle) is my favorite - it's a gorgeous mid-toned pink that brightens my face instantly! The Perfect Color Lipstick in Strawberry Red #01 looks surprisingly orange-y on my skin tone. It's a great summer red that doesn't bleed and when it fades, it leaves an even stain.

The new collection also has Lip Brilliance Glosses (P795) and a Soft Lip Pencil (P495) for those who are OC about their lips. These come in basic shades that can be worn on top or below your lipstick.

I'm wearing the #81 lip pencil here topped by a sheer gloss. That's always a good combo for days when you don't want to retouch!

So there you have it. ^_^ Do check out the Emilio De la Morena for Artdeco SS15 Collection in your nearest Beauty Bar counter soon! You can also order it from the online store.

Thoughts? Anything calling out your name?

Six summer-worthy eyeliners that are as pretty as they are long-wearing

It's so hot that stepping out of an air conditioned room feels like you're walking in soup. It's so hot that when you shout "Ang ineeeeettttt!" you feel a little better about yourself, although it's still as hot as before you yelled at it in defiance. What kills me though is that the heat has made many of my makeup reliables, well, unreliable! They would melt and start to slide off 15 minutes out of the house.

The good news is that there are still some products that prove their worth in this weather. Here are the eyeliners that can withstand the hottest, busiest day! They will never give you up or let you down, turn around and desert you. ;P 

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner (~P1,500). You can swim in this eyeliner without worrying too much, that's how long-lasting it is. I've had it for a year now and it has never failed me, even though I wish it were opaque in one swipe. Still a winner though!

Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner (P575). Yup, it's affordable and awesome! It comes in lots of intense fun colors and a creamy formula that glides on the lids. Once it sets, it's there 5evr. Promise.

Pixi Endless Silky Eye Intensify Duo (P890). I wore this yesterday from 10am to 10pm and it did. Not. Smudge. It faded a bit, but it didn't budge. I love this stuff.

Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil (~P150). This is the cheapest best eyeliner I know. It's pigmented but not as rich in color compared to the more expensive liners here; still, it's a great deal. It stays on all day too!

Eye of Horus Goddess Pencil (P990). The colors and shimmer on this line are gorgeous. It wears well throughout the day like the rest of the pencils here - you're just paying for a longer pencil (i.e. more product) and beautiful shades.

K-Palette Real Lating Eyeliner 24H Waterproof (P700). Just in time for summer, K-Palette has come out with an even more long-wearing formula! This is SO MUCH MORE BLACK compared to the old formula. Must-try! It's still my fave basic black liner after all these years.

Left to right: Essence Long-Lasting Eye Pencil in Cool Down / Eye of Horus Goddess Pencil in Jewel Amethyst / Pixi pencil in Brown / Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner in Outrageous Emerald / Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in #17 / K-Palette black eyeliner

Left to right: Essence Long-Lasting Eye Pencil in Cool Down / Eye of Horus Goddess Pencil in Jewel Amethyst / Pixi pencil in Brown / Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner in Outrageous Emerald / Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in #17 / K-Palette black eyeliner

If you can't even with eyeshadow anymore, go for bright eyeliner shades to give your look that summer vibe. It's so easy and makes a lot of impact! 

So there you have it. Which eyeliners in your stash are in your summer rotation? Which ones have given up?

Video Tutorial: How to apply natural-looking concealer and foundation

Over the years, I've tried many different products and techniques when it comes to applying my face base. I've gone through a lot of trial and error but I've finally found what works best for me! The secret? There's no need to be too fussy or precise with your base. Your focus should be to make it look like your skin, and not like you piled a load of gunk on (unless that's your thing of course).

I've talked about my foundation and concealing routine many times here, but I thought it would be more interesting to show it as I do it. Thanks to NMFtv for shooting this with me! I've got a couple of more for you guys, so watch out for my Project Vanity Basics series. ^_^ Have fun watching, and do let me know if you've got any questions or reactions!

Products used: Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primer in Peach / Shu Uemura Lightbulb Foundation / NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer / Happy Skin Eye Need A Miracle Corrector / Laura Mercier loose powder

Products used: Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primer in Peach / Shu Uemura Lightbulb Foundation / NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer / Happy Skin Eye Need A Miracle Corrector / Laura Mercier loose powder

Smell fabulous, always

I recently had a home decorating itch so I scratched it. Seriously guys, SM and Landmark have it all and at crazy cheap prices too. I remarked to my friend, "How do they even make any money at this rate?" 

"On the back of Chinese labor, of course," he said. Hmmm. My place looks a lot prettier now in any case, thanks to the marvels and misfortunes of modern mass production. So. I decided on a blue, yellow, and cream theme to create a cheerful atmosphere that's not overly feminine. I've got enough of that on my blog! I just have to find a new cabinet for my shoes and some cream or yellow curtains and I shall call it a day.

I got the yellow tray in Landmark for like 500 bucks and it's perfect! Aside from housing a vase and some polaroids, I also placed a few of my fave perfumes here so that I never forget to wear one right before I leave. The problem with rushing out is that I neglect to wear a scent sometimes - it irritates me to no end as I feel naked without perfume. With this new set up though, I'm always visually reminded to smell great. ^_^

Here are my current picks: Elie Saab Le Parfum (boys love this!), Elizabeth Arden Cherry Blossom (so fresh), Estee Lauder Modern Muse (sexy and sophisticated), and Philosophy Amazing Grace (stylish without trying too hard). These scents make me feel beautiful and play well with the outfits I like to wear. You'll notice that all are well-loved.

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Just a slice of life post for y'all. So busy today! Let's talk more tomorrow!

Six of my favorite foundation brushes

Your hands are your best tools when applying wet foundation, but brushes offer convenience, precision, and even speed when applying both powder and liquid bases. I prefer to use brushes when I'm doing someone else's makeup because it simplifies the process. On myself, I use them when I'm looking for a finer, more photogenic finish. They're also best with dense, problematic foundations that cake up if only the fingers are used to put them on.

Best foundation brushes.jpg

And so, here are some of my favorite tools for applying foundation! You'll see some of my old favourites here. I haven't really acquired new brushes in the last few months because I'm already happy with what I have. Besides, they're supposed to last for a long time! Tools should be well-loved and equally well-taken care of. ^_^

Zoeva Luxe Face Definer. I love this for applying powder foundation and finishing powder. It's also a great all-around brush since it can also function as a blush and contour applicator.

Soffia All Over Face Brush. This is quite expensive but it's the most luxurious brush I own! The hair on it is super soft and fine, yet so densely packed. I use this also for applying powder foundation, especially mineral formulas. It spreads the product beautifully and quickly.

Estee Lauder Foundation Brush. The brand aside, paddle foundation brushes like this are a must for patting on and building up sheer foundations. They can also be used for applying contour and powder makeup.

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Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush. This is a lovely, compact brush for applying runny/watery foundation with sheer to mid coverage. It gives me a smooth finish and allows me to get into the corners of my face.

Beauty Cosmetics Multi-Task Brush. This is such a steal at P250! I like using it to apply my mineral foundation as it's perfect for the swirl-tap-buff routine required of MMUs.

Zoeva Concealer Buffer. This was designed for concealers in mind, but I like using it to blend out small areas where my foundation might have streaked. It's also great for adding coverage on spots and things so that I don't need to pick up a concealer anymore.

Beauty Blender Makeup Sponge. This unassuming egg-shaped sponge is one of the best open secrets when it comes to applying liquid and cream foundation. When wet, it makes even the thickest, most difficult formulas to glide on like second skin. I've had it for two years now and it's still good as new. Love this so much!

And that is that. What are your fave foundation brushes?

Capsule review: Pixi Spring Summer 2015 Collection

Have you tried anything from Pixi yet? If not, you're seriously missing out. This cosmetics brand from London has many hidden gems such as the Flawless Beauty Primer, the Tinted Brilliance Balm, and their ultra-creamy eyeliners. I use them regularly! The products are a bit pricey but not that expensive considering the quality IMHO. They're definitely worth checking out at Glamourbox.

Soooo today I want to show you Pixi's Spring Summer 2015 Collection. The dream team isn't the typical take on the season in terms of color, but focuses more on practical products that we can use everyday. I love it! I'm on board with basics I can add to my collection. I adore color, but I also love having reliable things to use in this weather. It's not like I have a lot of time to primp beyond the basics anyway

You'll be pleased to know that Pixi now has the Brow Powder Palette, Endless Silky Eye Intensify Duo, LipLift Max, and Glow Mist. Here's a quick review of each one!

Pixi Brow Palette.jpg

Let's begin with the star of the show, the Pixi Brow Powder Palette (P750). This features five matte colors for defining and highlighting the brows. The shades are perfectly chosen to suit any hair color you might have, dark or light, blonde, red or brunette - name it, you can mix it with this palette! It can be used dry for softer brows but it's best applied with a wet brush to achieve amazing (yet still subtle) definition.

This brow powder stays on all freakin' day even when I've been sweaty. It fades but not noticeably so; it doesn't melt off in the heat and humidity. The brush that comes with it is serviceable but far from the best though. I just use a thicker brush with natural hair for better results.

Swatch of the Pixi Brow Powder Palette / Top is a dry swatch, bottom is a wet swatch

Swatch of the Pixi Brow Powder Palette / Top is a dry swatch, bottom is a wet swatch

I usually mix the light brown and the red brown as a base color, then place the chocolate brown where I have gaps in my brows. I use the charcoal black to define choice edges particularly under my arch. Yeah it's trickier to use four colors for just one set of brows but I promise that you'll get better-looking results! Do experiment to see what combination works best for you. ^_^

You can also use this palette as eyeshadow and eyeliner, which makes it more sulit versus other eyebrow products out there. You just need to put your brushes to work and to wear eye primer. It's a great find, something that I highly recommend even if you're not a makeup artist. I've been using it since I got it weeks ago!

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My next favorite is the Pixi Endlessly Silky Eye Instensify Duo in Brown (P890). This is a double-ended pencil with a deep plummy brown on one side and a champagne on the other. This is less creamy than the other Pixi liners I've tried, but goes on a lot more opaque. It also doesn't smudge or smear on me all day.

I love using the champagne on my waterline just to bring some sparkle to my eyes. The brown is also exciting since it's not a flat brown; it almost looks plum in some lighting, and is such a rich flattering color on my skin tone.

The Pixi LipLift Max (P790) is a clear plumping lip gloss with a minty tingle. It delivers on its promised effect - my lips do look poutier! - but it's a thick gloss. It wears well and doesn't slide off, you just have to be prepared for how it coats the lips in a snug blanket of gloss. In this look, I wore it on top of a lip liner to get a defined shape + volume.

Last but not least is the Pixi Glow Mist (P950). This contains Propolis and Argan Oil to hydrate the skin whenever it needs some lovin'. I love spraying this on my face this after I've applied my foundation, so that the finish looks more skin-like rather than puff pastry haha. It does give a glow. Contrary to what it sounds like it doesn't make me oily at all as the oil to water ratio is very low. 

The Glow Mist is a great way to freshen up skin in this heat without disturbing the makeup. It gives off a super fine mist with a pleasant clean smell. 

Overall, I love the Pixy SS15 Collection and would recommend it to anyone who needs to amp up on their makeup basics. ^_^ If you can just get one product, get the Brow Powder Palette! It's really sulit plus it looks amazing. 

Eyeing anything from the collection?

Pixi is exclusively distributed by Glamourbox in the Philippines.

MAC is Beauty Event + Prices

What's wrong with being a little high maintenance? MAC invites you to indulge yourself in pure, delicious vanity with their latest collection called MAC is Beauty. It has new hues of eyeshadow, lipstick, Cremesheen Glass, nail polish, and 16 new colors of the best-selling Fluidline. The brand launched the collection with a bang in Glorietta 1 last week, in all its pastel pink, salon-themed glory. Here are some photos from the event!

The MAC is Beauty look is all about glowing, peachy skin, lined eyes with pops of intense color, and juicy lips. The big 80s hair and swinging circle earrings are optional!

Here are the prices for your reference. If you can't see the details, open the image in a new tab to view a bigger version. ^_^ Do visit your favorite MAC counter soon to swatch the new collection to your heart's content! I just might, as I didn't get a chance to do so during the event. I remember a bronze eyeliner catching my eye last week. Have fun!