Thursday, May 30, 2013

Glad to be Globe

Organizing a wedding ceremony is a big bomb of stress. Organizing a SECRET wedding ceremony is a WAY bigger bomb!

When my Aunt Jackie and her husband, Uncle Bruce, arrived here in Dumaguete for a quick holiday, nobody in the family was expecting that Uncle Bruce had been keeping a secret plan.  He was planning to organize an intimate renewal of vows ceremony in celebration of their first wedding anniversary.  When I learned of this plan, I just died!  I knew that I AM the perfect person to lead all the secret preparations.  Not just because I am the most reliable person for secrets, but because I AM the most interested in organizing events like this!  And the OC in me just can’t entrust this to anybody else.  Okay, okay, and I am the most excited!!!  Colorful invitations, rainbow cupcakes, vibrant decors, bubbles, and everything lively and pretty! Oh, I couldn’t wait!

I know that for exciting stuff like these, there’s nobody else but my team whom I can trust.  We’re an inseparable team of four – Janjie & Argey, Me & Keith – and we always make crazy things happen!

What made the preparations all the more harder was that our team just couldn’t be together then.  All three of them were busy with work, while I was the appointed tour guide/babysitter for the couple.  I had to be with them most of the time, while I look for a venue, coordinate with suppliers and the team, and buy stuff.  So, how was all these possible?  Well, everything was basically done over the phone.  Transactions were made and plans were discussed through texts and calls.  Thankfully, everyone was on the same network - Globe – so I got to save on the costs.

The day before the event was the most stressful.  I had to travel the 121-kilometer distance from Dumaguete to Guihulngan, where the event would be held, two times in one day! TWO eff-ing TIMES!  Then there were the hundreds of calls and texts to the team, the suppliers, and the members of our family who do not yet know the set-up.  Janjie, Argey, Keith and I practically had ZERO SLEEP making all the paper flowers, pinwheels, and all the various decors that we still had to DIY. 

Hours went by so fast.  At 4:00 a.m. on the day of the event, we had to rush to the venue to set everything up.  We HAD to do all the setting up in 2 hours because Janjie and I still had to go back to where Aunt Jackie and Uncle Bruce were staying to do Aunt Jackie’s hair and make-up.  Yes, Janjie and I also did these ourselves. As I said, we make crazy things happen.  

Early morning view of the venue. Look at that beautiful sunrise!

Aunt Jackie, by the way, was made to believe that we were only doing a post-nuptial shoot.  Being around Aunt Jackie, I had to communicate with Uncle Bruce with weird eye movements and awkward hand signals.  Gosh, I must have looked really weird!  

Janjie did Aunt Jackie’s make-up while I did the hair.  I was doing it while texting last-minute instructions to Argey and Keith who were waiting at the venue.  Yes, I had finally mastered the art of multi-tasking by that time.

We then headed to the venue with Aunt Jackie still clueless as to what was about to come.  When we arrived, and the set-up and the guests had become visible, Uncle Bruce then faced Aunt Jackie and said, “Honey, will you be my wife again?” And my heart just melted!  The combined surprise and happiness reflected on Aunt Jackie’s face was priceless!

The ceremony was intimate with just a few very close family members in attendance.  The colorful decors with the green grasses as backdrop created a surreal atmosphere and emanated vibrancy in the already romantic mood of the scene.  The event, like everything else, wasn't perfect; yet it is in its imperfection that we derive the unexpected beauty and fun that even a year’s planning cannot engender.

Despite the limited time and resources, I was still glad to have organized the event.  Everything, however, may not have become possible without my dynamic team and, of course, Globe, my trusted network since forever.  On that occasion, it has once again proven itself reliable and unfailing.  I’m just glad to be Globe! 

Stressed faces alert!

Thanks team! ;)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

FTP Beauty Staple: Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream

I have always been a fan of matte lippies.  I love how they're shine-free and make the lips appear more natural than their glossy counterpart. When I first acquired my first shade of Nyx soft matte lip cream from Glam Street, I just knew that I will forever be a matte fan. I then felt so ecstatic knowing that I finally have THE ONE, the perfect matte lip tint for my daily beauty needs. 

The first shade that I was able to try was Addis Ababa, and I never stopped using it since then.  During one of our photoshoots, I asked Jhet to try it, too, and we were so pleased with how pretty it looked in the pictures.  Because it gives you that matte finish, it doesn't reflect with the light or the camera flash, and it makes the lips appear naturally tinted.  It's soooo picture-perfect! 

Nyx soft matte lip cream is highly pigmented yet so lightweight.  It's so soft and creamy which makes it so easy to apply and blend, and its doe foot applicator is a huge bonus.  It also does not go off easily; it lasts for a very long time.  Nyx boasts that this cream contains a moisturizing formula, despite its dry and light feel; and to top that, it smells amazing, too!  I don't recommend it (alone), however, to those with dry and cracked lips, as some of the cream settles on the creases and makes it look awful, but some lip gloss will do the trick (I do that sometimes).  For non-matte fans out there, you will still love this product under your favorite lip gloss. 

Right now, these three shades never leave my beauty kit. They're now my daily beauty staple!  By the way, thank you Glam Street for supplying me with these!

Now, allow me to show you how each shade looks.

Here with Antwerp

Antwerp is a mid-tone, yellow-toned pink. Its nude peachy shade is ideal for that natural, daily look as shown in the photo above.

Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa has that bright fuchsia shade that gives off an instant youthful vibe. It's my favorite among the shades that I have and now I'm running out of supply.  I am currently in a desperate search for a new one. 

Addis Ababa over a Mac Red shade
I also tried using Addis Ababa over my Mac Red lipstick, and I was really happy with the result of the combined shades.  The lip cream toned down the bitchy redness and gave my lips a matte finish, ready for the camera.  

San Paulo

I gave Jhet a lip cream in San Paulo for her birthday, and she just loved it.  She uses it every single day.  I also got me my own San Paulo shade. It's currently my daily lip tint, now that I'm saving up my Addis Ababa for special occasions only until I find a new one.  

The Nyx soft matte lip cream is actually available in 13 amazing shades. Now I have my eyes set on Amsterdam and Monte Carlo. 

What's your daily lip tint?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's the Little Things...

At times we are not aware of how we affect other people's lives. At times what we consider as 'no big deal' means the world to some. As Dante Alighieri once put it, "A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark."

So, why am I suddenly all philosophic? Well, I don't know. It's perhaps because of a surprise visit of an old friend, who seriously is a different man now. He was a colleague in our university's yearbook staff, which I once headed. He was practically everything a mother could complain about - party animal, drunkard, survives school through classmates' generosity - but when he became a part of our 'family', he was slowly transforming into a responsible, obedient and responsible man. His close friends (a.k.a. frat brothers) and classmates would always credit me then for his great transformation, but I would always tell them that it was he himself who chose to change and that we were only there to help him through.

Today, he went back to the university and visited us in the office (I now serve as adviser to the group), and my heart is just filled with joy and pride seeing him again, hearing all his stories, and poking fun at his new dialect. He is a totally different man today, talking to me in metaphors and inserting bible verses into our conversation, and I just couldn't help but be prouder. Then, in the middle of our fun talk, he told me how thankful he was to me for giving him that only chance he needed to change his life, for all the skills that he acquired from the team that he is now able to apply to his work (he is now a supervisor of some sort), and for the good character that he has built while being a part of us. Right then, I just know that we are really doing the right thing; that in Pylon, we not only build skills, but most importantly, we establish character.

So, how was all that related to my outfit? Well, I don't know. Honestly, it is not, but I know you'll excuse me for ranting once in a while.

Now, on to my outfit. If you ask me to dress smart casual, I'll show up with this - plain polo, high-waisted shorts, flats and some simple accessories that add pops of color. This look gives you a casual, laid-back feel, without sacrificing smartness and flair, just perfect for weekend breakfast/coffee meetings. 

By the way, most of our photos here were taken by the talented Argey of Argey Designs & Photography. He specializes in wedding photography, but also does amazing portraits. Check out his page:

White polo and oxblood shorts - thrifted
Cut-out booties - Hebe Manila

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Where at?: Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum

"Filipinos want beauty. I have to look beautiful so that the poor Filipinos will have a star to look at from their slums." - Imelda Marcos

And the woman thought she deserved a beautiful, grand house everywhere she goes, too. 

The Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum is one of our major stopovers during our short trip to Eastern Visayas.  This imeldific mansion, which may look like a shrine upon entrance but will eventually transform into a lavish, ostentatious structure upon further exploration, is just one of the 29 rest houses of the former first family.  This is one of the Marcos properties that have been seized by the PCGG and is now a public museum.

Upon entrance, you will be welcomed by a serene chapel.  At first I thought this is all that's inside, but the guide hurried us and told us that we still have a lot of rooms to see.

The mansion has 13 guest rooms with different themes and design, but is similar in its extravagance.  Each room is like those of first-class boutique hotels where every piece that you see is for sale.  When we entered the first room, I was having a hard time choosing which spot to take pictures first.  Two minutes later, we were hurried again by the guide, and I was really dismayed over not being able to capture enough of its grandeur.  When we were led to the second room, I just knew then that I really wouldn't be able to have enough just after one visit.  The next rooms seemed to be better than the previous ones, and one will always get blown away with all the beauty that await.

Each guest room has a diorama like this that represents the major milestones in the life of Imelda Marcos.  How cool is that?  These figures totally make the regular framed photos a cheapo. 

Further into the mansion is this humongous receiving area that connects to the various rooms in the ground floor, including the dining/conference room that holds a 40-seater dining set that's made of hard wood. It's so long you won't even hear what the person at the other end is saying. I wonder if meetings then included much shouting.

Apart from the fountain in the middle of the huge receiving room, this bas-relief of the Malakas and Maganda legend is also a major point of interest seeming to invite all the guests' attention. It's such a beautiful piece of art that's entirely made of hard wood. 

The gigantic floor-to-ceiling mirror fronting the grand staircase is pure joy for people who love taking mirror shots (ehem, just like us).

The grand staircase leading to the equally lavish second floor is, well, GRAND, in every way.  And yes, your eyes are right about that red carpet!

Apart from the huge receiving area in the second floor, this grand ballroom also takes up an enormous space.  Uh, no.  You're just looking at the majestic chandelier.  Just shift your focus a little.  A little more... aaannnddd.... there.  You're now seeing the ballroom.  This is where the grand socials were held before.  Opposite this angle is an elaborate King and Queen chairs where the hosts would sit for some drama.  

This receiving area on the second floor is filled with various art pieces, including some antique Chinese jars, antique paintings by famous artists, majestic chandeliers, bronze sculptures, and some elegant furnitures.  Most of these were acquired and imported from various countries. 

Adjacent to the receiving area is another conference room with a longer table than that of downstairs.  This one might have been for very important/controversial meetings since the walls are sound-proof.

The mansion's second floor also holds the presidential family's bedrooms. This one below is the former President Ferdinand Marcos' bed. Adjacent to his room is his personal bodyguards'.

Aimee must have felt like a real princess with this bed. 

And this one, my friends, is Imelda's bed. I wonder why the couple have separate rooms. 

Imelda's room is huge, and her bath/comfort room is as big as the guest rooms.  The room is filled with beautiful furnitures and grand pieces.  Well, what do we expect?  It's the room of the woman who always claimed to be allergic to ugliness. 

During our visit to the mansion, I was filled with an amalgam of emotions. There was, of course, great appreciation and a hint of envy, too. Seeing the overall intricate beauty of the structure, who wouldn't be? Then there also was some sort of animosity over all the extreme lavishness, while the majority of our countrymen remained living despondently in, as Imelda put it, 'their slums'. Most Filipinos then were trying to make ends meet; providing for their families and religiously paying the taxes. And here's the country's first lady living in a lavishly extravagant (redundancy intended) lifestyle with "five-million-dollar shopping tours in New York, Rome and Copenhagen, and sending a plane to pick up Australian white sand for a new beach resort" (Wikipedia).

Oh, well, everything that happened, happened years before I was even born.  Though history lessons and granny's stories portray how painful their experiences were, I know I don't have that much right to dwell on this issue.  The Filipino people have long moved on.  They've so much as moved on that they even managed to elect Mrs. Marcos and her children to government positions again.  That must have been what the "forgive and forget" mantra means.  Just how stupid can we still get? (*sigh)

"If you know how rich you are, you are not rich. But me, I am not aware of the extent of my wealth. That's how rich we are." - Imelda Marcos
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