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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

MEGA's November 2012 Issue: Packed with Pre-Holiday Pizzazz

If you're not quite feeling the Christmas spirit yet, MEGA's November 2012 issue is guaranteed to bring out the holiday thrill.

It's packed with ideas on how to spoil yourself this time of year. The fashion, accessories, and beauty sections offer a wide array of stocking stuffers that'll make your heart flutter, from party-ready accessories in Brand New Obsessions and the season's best beauty buys in Color Code, to the editors' sartorial and beauty choices in the magazine's Gift Guide 2012. Plus, get pampering prescriptions of anti-aging stone, rock and crystal massages in full detail from Stone Age, this month's Counter Intelligence feature by yours truly. 

Foodies of all kinds (including vegans!) are sure to rejoice with restaurant reviews like A Taste of Sicily and Eat Your Veggies. There's no shortage of soul food either with insightful articles such as Manners Please and Thank You for Not Sharing, which give friendly reminders on manners and conduct both online and offline. 

Grab a copy while it's hot!

The CityLifeStylist

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Makeup Essentials: October 2012 Edition

I can't believe it has been a year since my last In My Makeup Kit post! This time, I'm sharing great new beauty products I've discovered on top of my mainstays*. Get ready for one packed beauty post!

To reiterate what I wrote last year, I'm no expert when it comes to makeup, but I write about what works for me. So without further ado, here are my current favorites:

Photo credits go to the respective brands (L'Oreal Paris, Maybelline, Shu Uemura, NARS)

F1. L'Oreal Paris True Match Foundation in Golden Beige*. I haven't tried any other foundation lately because this already works so well. It's easy to blend and provides enough coverage while allowing skin to breathe with its lightweight formulation.

F2. L'Oreal Paris True Match Concealer in Light/Medium N 4-5. When I feel the need for a little more coverage on certain areas, I dab some of this concealer on. It's a different shade from my foundation of the same brand and makeup line, but this was what the lady at the counter recommended, and true enough, it blends in seamlessly.  

F3. Maybelline New York Clear Smooth Shine Free Face Powder with SPF 18 in Honey*. This is another foolproof product that I use for setting my foundation and making quick touch-ups throughout the day.

F4. Shu Uemura Color Atelier Glow On Blush in P Soft Beige 930. I was obsessed with using the MAC Iridescent Pressed Powder in Belightful as a highlighter for the past year. Unfortunately, after I hit pan, I learned that it had been discontinued! I originally wanted the Albatross from NARS, but after I tried this, I couldn't leave the store without it! Though the product is part of the Color Atelier line as a blush, it was introduced to me at the counter as the brand's best highlighter. I thought it looked too shimmery at the back of my hand but when I swept it under my eyes, the powder instantly brightened my complexion sans the excess sparkle. The case, sold separately from the refill, comes in black and white.

F5. NARS Blush in Orgasm. Ten times better than the Hot Mama blush from TheBalm that I used before, it's a longer-lasting, more pigmented "peachy pink with golden shimmer" powder blush that lends cheeks a radiant, natural flush.

Photo credits go to the respective brands (Etude House, Shu Uemura, Maybelline)

E1. Etude House Code B Strong Eyes Cream Liner*. Blogged about this here, here and here. I've gone through three pots of this already! I've got my dear friend Kang M. to thank for the recommendation.

E2. Shu Uemura eyelash curler*. Also blogged about this here and here. I thought it was going to last forever (because it worked so well for the past six years or so!) but now it's almost ready to retire. Time to get a new one!

E3. Etude House Proof 10 mascara. I love experimenting with different mascaras and this is one of my recent favorites. It lengthens my lashes, doesn't clump, and lasts all day. 

E4. Maybelline The Falsies Mascara. This curling and thickening mascara will make you look like you're wearing falsies! If not applied carefully, however, the formulation has a tendency to clump. I reach for this when I still have time to separate my lashes with a lash comb (as I'm still too scared to try my friend Cor's eyelash refining technique!) 

Photo credits go to the respective brands (K-Palette, Clinique)

B1. K-Palette 24H Real Lasting Eyebrow Liner in 02 Grayish Brown. This is an amazing recommendation from my mom. I only started using this a few months ago, and now I'm hooked. It's a brush tip pen that adds a light brown tint to my arches. I blend it in with a small angled makeup brush. The result? A very natural but polished look.

B2. Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Soft Shimmer in 06 Frosted Blossom. This came with one of my Clinique Bonus Time makeup bags. I use it to highlight my brow bone. I've been told that this technique lights up the eyes and gives the face a bit of a lift.

Photo credits go to the respective brands (Carmex, Maybelline, Etude House, Revlon, MAC)

L1. Carmex lip balm. I usually apply this soothing and moisturizing lip balm before bedtime to make sure that I wake up with hydrated lips. I like the pot packaging best but it's also available in a stick and a squeeze tube.

L2. Maybelline Lip Smooth Color Bloom in Peach Blossom. I use this sheer "color changing lip balm" as a moisturizing base before putting on lipstick. 

A girl can't have too many lipsticks and lip stains, but out of all my lippies, here are the ones that I currently have on rotation:

L3. Etude House Look at My Lips lipstick No. 9. I recently bought a couple backup tubes because the line is going to be discontinued! The only problem I have with this lipstick is that it's a bit dry. Hopefully, the brand's new line of lipsticks will be more moisturizing.

L4. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain. My mom also introduced me to this! She's in love with Revlon's balm stains and has started quite a collection. They literally last all day (without drying out my lips) which is why I can get away with borrowing one from her dresser every morning! No touch-ups required. Recently I've been swiping on the Rendezvous shade, which is a gorgeous, long-lasting coral. I top it with one of my nude lipsticks such as L5.

L5. MAC lipstick in Freckletone. Combined with L4, the result is a lighter coral that's almost peach. Worn alone, it is a peachy nude hue. I love combining highly pigmented corals with nudes! 

I'm not a big fan of eyeshadow, but I'd love to learn how to achieve the smoky eye. Perhaps I should get myself a neutral palette to experiment with! Stay tuned for reviews.

For now, you may want to join me as I go beauty vlog-hopping on YouTube. Here are a few of my favorite beauty vloggers who give some of the best makeup tips, tricks and tutorials:
  1. Tanya Burr
  2. Ingrid a.k.a. missglamorazzi
  3. Elle Fowler a.k.a. allthatglitters21
Just like the products they feature, these beauty vlogs are awesome pick-me-uppers and stress busters. 


The CityLifeStylist

Thursday, October 11, 2012

MEGA on Ageless Beauty in the October 2012 Issue

A few months ago, MEGA featured its annual MEGA Beauty Awards in the May 2012 Beauty Issue, which was packed with reviews on skin care, makeup and hair care. This month, the magazine introduces its very first MEGA Beauty Awards for services and treatments. Articles on anti-aging remedies such as body sculpting and skin rejuvenation also fill the Age Issue, including my writeup on Pond's Age Miracle line, Potent Potions.

photo credit:

On the cover is Angel Locsin, who looks regal in a lavish ensemble and opulent jewelry by Vida Lim. Equally majestic is Candice Adea, now known as "the most successful Filipina in international ballet competitions," whom I trailed the spotlight on in World Stage Stunner.

Grab a copy of MEGA's October issue!

The CityLifeStylist

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Behind the Scenes at the September 2012 MEGAWOMAN Shoot

In case you were wondering what the creator of Shoephoric's shoe closet looks like, here's a little peek. Yup--there's more where these came from!

I really regret forgetting to bring my camera to this shoot. We were doing the MEGAWOMAN feature for MEGA's September issue and I wanted to take crisp behind-the-scenes shots of our lovely subject: Ann Jacobe, Chief Operating Officer of Striker Mobile Media and founder of the "social network for shoe lovers," Shoephoric. 

At least you can grab a copy of the magazine to see the beautiful photos taken by Louie Pariñas! Ann impressed Louie, art director Yselle Reyes, and the entire crew with her gracefulness and natural ease in front of the camera.

Ann also made us feel comfortable straight away as she warmly welcomed us into her home, every corner of which reflected her family's love for the arts. From dance figures and sculptures and striking yet understated paintings, to Ann's extensive shoe collection, each piece added drama and personality to the Jacobes' artistic abode.

I was amazed, to say the least, not only with the number of pairs Ann owns but also how well-curated and well-organized her collection is. Her exquisite choices, all of top quality, are neatly arranged in her shoe closet, showcasing how each pair looks from the front and the back.

Read about Ann Jacobe--wife, mother of two, and IT and shoe guru--in the September issue of MEGA. If you don't have a copy yet, you can still get your hands on one! It's a collector's item, being MEGA's biggest (and most packed!) issue to date.

The CityLifeStylist

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Miracle Product: Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula

photo credit: Shu Uemura

I've tried countless facial cleansing products that are "allergy-tested," "dermatologist-tested," "for sensitive skin," and "for combination/oily skin" but have never found a perfect fit until I switched to this miracle product: the Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula. 

I only started using the cleanser last year despite reading tons of rave reviews about it in magazines, online forums, and blogs for years because I was skeptical about using oil on my already oily skin. When I finally tried it, however, Shu proved me wrong within the first couple days of usage. It could very well be called a "deep pore cleanser" because it left my pores clear without leaving any product residue or stripping away moisture at the same time. Since then, I only get breakouts when I'm under a lot of stress, but even those disappear in one to two days thanks to the cleansing oil.

According to the Shu Uemura website, "All of Shu Uemura's cleansing oils are formulated using the unique HPO (high performance oil) system, a complex combination of three moleculary distinct oils that trap the lipophilic residue of stubborn waxes and oils found in waterproof mascara, foundation and lip color. Once emulsified by water, the cleansing oil encapsulates hydrophilic residue, such as dirt and sweat, gently lifting both types of impurities from the pores simultaneously." How amazing is that?

photo credit: Shu Uemura

There are different variants so you can choose the best one for your skin type. I've tried the High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula and the Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil. The latter is made specifically for combination to oily skin, and it also works for me, but I prefer the thicker consistency of the former.

I believe the product is definitely worth the price because it is very effective. The deep cleansing effect is perfect for me as I could no longer get facials because I always break out after a session. (Trust me--I've invested in high-end and mid-priced dermatologists and skin care clinics to no avail.)

Shu Uemura suggests the following steps in using the cleansing oils:


1. Place three to four pumps of cleansing oil on dry hands (Two pumps already works for me)
2.  Spread gently and thoroughly over dry face.
3. Add a few drops of lukewarm water to face to emulsify the oil. (Oil will turn milky white.)
4. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

You can also check out this video.

If you haven't found the right cleanser for your skin type, this could be it. Shu Uemura is available at Shangri-la Plaza, TriNoma, Rockwell and Alabang Town Center.

The CityLifeStylist

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Behind the Scenes at the September 2012 MEGA Stylephile Shoot

Featured on Stylephile in the September issue of MEGA is the beautiful Adrienne Ley. Sweet, sassy, and full of energy, she gamely struck her best poses in different corners of her home during the shoot, both indoors and outdoors--even in the middle of the koi pond!

Adrienne, a budding entrepreneur fresh out of college, modeled like a pro. She crossed barefoot to the middle of the pond, slipped into her Schutz heels and prepped patiently as we set up the fan for that "wind effect" to get the perfect snapshot. She looked smashing! 


She seems to have inherited her eye for style from her mom, Linda Ley, who cheered her on as Yselle Reyes directed the shoot and photographer John Ocampo snapped awayRaymond Ko of L'Oreal Professionél created her wavy tresses while Jomel Razon did her makeup.

Above are two of my favorites among the sexily sophisticated outfits she put together for the shoot. Adrienne strikes a good balance between chicness and comfort with her selection's interesting back-baring details on soft, comfortable fabrics. She finished them off with edgy accessories and statement shoes, which she also prefers to be comfy. 

That explains her Jeffrey Campbell obsession. "You’ll feel like you’re in rubber shoes," she says of her kickass Jeffrey Campbell "Lita" platform boots in the right photo, which she wore with a top from H&M, a Givenchy skirt, a Zara vest, a Mango belt, and accessories from Mango and Bangkok. (Check out the feature for more outfit details!)

Here are a few tidbits from our chat that didn't make it to print:

You and your mom share wardrobes and exchange style advice. But how is your style different from hers?

AL: She won’t wear shorts or anything short, but since I’m in my twenties, I’m game for that. She won’t wear spikes ‘cause it’s not her thing. She would wear something encrusted, but not spiked. She won’t wear three rings all together, but I would. She’d never wear jeans, but I can wear jeans for work or for school. She won’t wear something that’s very revealing. Like, I’d wear a corset top and a body con bandage skirt. She’d wear a corset with a flowing maxi skirt or palazzo pants.

If you could raid anybody’s closet (aside from your mom’s), whose would it be?

AL: Divine Lee’s! She’s my idol. I’d love to raid her closet. I can relate to her because she also has big feet! I actually discovered my favorite Lita boots from Jeffrey Campbell when I saw her post on Tumblr! When she said they were available at SM, I immediately headed to SM! That’s where my love for the Jeffrey Campbell shoe collection started. I also like how she mixes high-low items. She’d have an Hermes bag but her outfit would be Topshop and H&M. So I take it from her that not everything has to be expensive. You can mix the high-end fashion pieces with high street items. And her formalwear is always fierce! 

Do you have style turn-offs in the opposite sex?

AL: I don’t like guys in jeans and slippers. If they want to wear sandals or slippers, they should wear shorts. It’s a turn-off when guys don’t dress up for the occasion. They should also look effortless, not over-the-top. I like it when guys look fresh, clean and classic. And they have to have well-fit pieces.

In your opinion, what is the biggest fashion blunder a girl can make?

AL: I think it’s copying off someone else’s style. When you copy what someone else is wearing, it’s not necessarily going to look good on you. Fashion is something that’s personal. It’s something that reflects your character, your interests, your passions, your personality.

I'm sure we're all looking forward to seeing a lot more of Adrienne Ley!

The CityLifeStylist

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Roads Less Traveled: Secret Shopping Haunts, Exotic Fare, Tournament Travel and More

Whenever I go on vacation, I consult friends or relatives based in the area to get tips on fun activities to try and interesting places to visit. But when you don't know anybody who lives (or has lived) in your chosen destination, it can be challenging to spot the places frequented by and the activities loved among the locals if you just ask around when you're already there--especially if there's a language barrier! One thing you can do before your trip is read local blogs, websites and online forums, and browse through local or community-based online magazines to get inside scoop on things like hole-in-the-wall restaurants, hidden shopping haunts, and popular shows and activities. 

Thanks to my friends, family, and online research, I've managed to compile several ideas that you might also find appealing. I haven't tried everything yet, but most of these are definitely on my list.

photo credit: and

1. Shop
The Philippines is a treasure trove for ladies who love personal adornments. Different places in the country offer precious and semi-precious jewelry as well as less expensive but stylish accessories sold on the cheap. Davao is popular for its pearls, though you can also find them in Manila at reasonable prices. The Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan has rows and rows of stalls selling pearls. In Cebu, there is a "hidden" strip of stores where you can buy accessories made of mother of pearl, wood, and stones like turquoise and corals, among many others. I do not have the exact address, but it is walking distance from SM City Cebu and is near the Natasha building. The search is part of the fun, don't you think? If you're an accessory freak, you'll definitely enjoy this treasure hunt! 

photo credit:

Countries with One Town, One Product (OTOP) programs such as the Philippines and Thailand offer items made of locally available materials that are produced by locals who have learned how to make their products from their elders. Their skills are passed on from generation to generation, ensuring the authenticity and good quality of their wares. During my last trip to Thailand, I stumbled upon beautiful handcrafted stuffed elephants made into toys and key chains as well as embroidered elephant purses in one of the towns we passed through. At OTOP product fairs held during some annual festivals, you can find different towns' offerings, such as food items, fabrics, and various handicrafts. You can check the Tourism Authority of Thailand website for festival schedules.

photo credit:

Hong Kong, one of the world's top shopping destinations, keeps a lot of "secrets" that fashion mavens may already be in on. But for HK newbies, these places can be a revelation. One is high-end bargain shopping haunt Ap Lei Chau, which has been mentioned on Hong Kong-based sites like Sassy Mama and ButterBoomIt has also been mentioned on the Vogue India website, along with accessories haven Wing Kut Street and Li Yuen Street a.k.a. "The Lanes" where you can find Vicky's, a store offering made-to-order shoes, and other stores that offer made-to-order clothes in fine silk and various fabrics.

photo credit:

2. Eat. 
If you're willing to eat anything offered to you in unfamiliar places, Anthony Bourdain would be proud. But if you have a weak stomach or if you're allergic to a lot of things (like me!) it is best to know your options beforehand. For food and restaurant recommendations, I refer to reliable sources like CNNGo and The New York Times Travel Guides. These references are very helpful because reviews are often accompanied by price range and other useful bits of information. 

3. Play. Competitions that are highly anticipated in certain places can be fun to watch, but participating is even better! Tournament travel allows you to take your hobbies a step further and explore new places at the same time.

One idea for those who love surfing and awesome Pinoy music is the Surf & Music Festival 2012 in Ilocos Norte, Philippines, which opens in a month. The event, held from October 31 to November 3, 2012, will have a surfing competition for beginners as well as performances from some of the best Filipino bands like Up Dharma Down, Radioactive Sago Project, Sandwich, and Sinosikat, among many others. (Check the poster above for more details.)

Another option that's perfect for poker fans is joining live poker tournaments. Ladies, take note that poker is no longer "a man's game" these days as proven by model, actress, and poker pro Lacey Jones, the poker Barbie, who shows us how to kick ass on the card table in style. Among the popular spots for poker tournaments are the Bahamas, Vienna, Barcelona, and Budapest, and the good news is that these competitions are just two to three hours long, leaving you a lot of time to tick off other activities on your vacay to-do list! Plus, there are websites that offer great tips on where and how to join. 


4. Engage. When I'm exploring a new place, I love learning about longstanding customs and traditions as well as the local pop culture. When I visited Thailand last year, I attended a monk ordination ceremony, checked out the goods sold at wet and dry markets, sampled authentic Thai cuisine, rode an elephant, explored the Khao Yai National Park, and trekked to the Haew Narok Waterfall. I also shopped at the famous Platinum Fashion Mall--which is pretty much like Divisoria Mall and 168 Mall in Manila but with more fashion-forward pieces at low prices. Oh, and even if I couldn't read the Thai editions of women's magazines Elle and InStyle and teen magazine Popteen, I still grabbed copies and got to discover local trends in fashion, beauty, and even lifestyle and entertainment.

I hope this post can help you come up with your own to-do list for your next vacay!

The CityLifeStylist