Category Archives: Beauty and Style

Playing Barbie: Pilot

My pseudo-photoshoot with Mae remains to be one of my favorite shoots to date. Not like I did a lot.

I just decided that if I can’t travel, I might as well make do of what I have at home. Well, first stop is makeup.

Makeup is a part of me. I used to be a celebrity-wannabe and anything colorful and stylish has to be in my hands pronto. I began joining wedding entourages when I was two, hence I started wearing makeup when I was two. I couldn’t stand keeping my eyes open when my mom lines my bottom lashline, and end up crying and smearing the kohl down my perfectly applied foundation and blush. I absolutely hate it when that happens, so every time my mother ‘forgets’ her makeup kit at home, I play with it. And they say, practice makes perfect. I am not a hustler in painting people’s faces, obviously. I guess it’s one thing to know how to apply makeup expertly, but total makeovers are another.

I do own a ridiculous amount of makeup–palettes, brushes, blushes, shadows, lip color, tubes of mascara, pencils, eyeliners–all the works. I practically invested in those things. Why? It’s that one thing I call ‘Past Life Syndrome’. I cannot, for the life for me, articulate my extreme affinity with any of my interests. I mean, most people can come up with utterly inspiring reasons why they love to do this, or to do that, but I am just drawn. Since words fail me, I have no choice but to leave the justification of my obsession to my past lives. And mind you, makeup is just one interest out of the long list of activities I spend most of my time, and resources on. I probably lived multiple times before, I wonder how they went. Hmm.

Anyhow, since I am on full-time student mode (my internship is coming to a close real soon), and my travels are on an all-time-low (*shudders*), perhaps I could humor you with some makeup…notes? I really don’t want to name it ‘tutorials’ because they are already a lot going on YouTube, and Michelle Phan is also my makeup Goddess, but a little sharing couldn’t hurt, now could it?

On Mae: 1) I plucked her eyebrows. We’ve known each other for less than 24 hours and I already plucked her eyebrows. She said it was okay. I told her if it’s all painful, she can slap my hand away. She didn’t.

2) Swabbed on some toner to get rid of shine and leave the skin with a matte finish. Mae has perfect skin, mind you, but it’s kind of automatic to me.

3) I used Revlon PhotoReady Makeup (005 Natural Beige), and a blending foundation brush. Using that kind of brush leaves the foundation light and non-cakey.

4) Benefit – Confessions of a Concealaholic. Yep, the whole nine yards.

5) Finish off with loose powder.

6) Victoria’s Secret eyeshadow are, surprisingly, bright, intense and easy to blend. I attempted to create the smokey eye but with bronze tones. Light shadow for base, then darker bronze on the inner corners of her eyelids. Finally, shimmery black shadow for the effect.

7) Falsies! (aka fake lashes)

8) Who says you can’t use mascara on fake lashes? You have to, actually. This will help the real lashes stick with the fake ones, unless you want two sets of eyelashes. Scary.

9) Victoria’s Secret bronzer to define her cheekbones.

10) Victoria’s Secret highlighter on her brow-bone.

11) Maybelline Gel Eyeliner for a much dramatic effect. I dip my eyeliner brush in water so it’s easier to maneuver the brush along the lids.

12) Eyebrow shadow to fill-in her eyebrows. The darker the better!

13) NYX Round Lipstick in bright coral red. Use a lipbrush for precision.

I am still getting used to the makeup jargon, which will be improved upon real soon. I swear. In the mean time, admire the Black Swan–I mean, Mae. Hah!

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A When In Laos Special: The Wash Hair

For a person who’s anything but spontaneous, I am really impulsive.


One lazy Wednesday, my friends were booking a flight to Bangkok then off to Hua Hin, a beach paradise approximately 200 km south of Bangkok. We got lucky we made the cut for the promo rates which summed our fare less than THB 2,000 (around USD67) each via Nok Air. While they were planning our trip, I was admiring how gorgeous Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Hernandez’ hair was. It was the first time I saw a beauty queen with short hair. I mean, most of them have long and wavy coif but she had a sleek but equally stylish bob. So I sent an SMS to my friend and asked her when I should reimburse her for the tickets and then typed in I really want to cut my hair. She replied that we would go to the salon after work.

When we finally agreed with the time, I started fidgeting and the thought of cutting my long locks after two years scared the hell out of me. Hair grows, I (re)assured myself. Some people liked my hair for being naturally bouncy and wavy, but on my part, I got tired of it. On the other hand, I was afraid something will go wrong during the haircutting process and I might end up looking –uhm –worse.


My First Wash Hair

In 2008 when I had my internship here, I observed that the ladies have long, shiny, straight hair. I, for one, was always wondering how in the world they are able to maintain it because in my case, whenever I grow my hair long, I always come to that point where the whole maintenance gets to me and end up cutting it short. Turns out, some of them don’t wash their hair everyday; instead, twice or thrice a week, they get a little help from beauticians in the country –hence, Wash Hair *sic*. This is like the regular shampoo/blow-dry combo salons offer but the thing with the wash hair is the hairwashers thoroughly massage your head… translation: it kind of hurts. It’s supposed to be hard, Mina (my friend) chuckled, I actually like it that way. You can tell him not to though.

Right, I thought to myself. When could I have mentioned this to my hairwasher when he looked like he enjoyed scraping my scalp off. But despite all my shock and scalp-ache, while he was blowdrying my hair, it felt great. My hair feels lighter and clean and it smells fruity.

I wondered though, I was about to get my hair cut…why is this dude drying my hair? Aren’t they supposed to leave it that way and blowdry it after the haircut?



I heard of dry-cutting before, but I thought it was only offered in high-class salons in the metro. I first came across this concept when I was watching a lifestyle show in the Philippines where a famous hairstylist, Pin Antonio, did a little makeover on Jodi Sta Maria’s hair. But that was in the early 2000s and I never thought that technique is also practiced in Laos.

Apparently, dry-cutting is preferred by some because the hair is on its normal state, so texture and weight of the hair are already studied by the stylist. This also helps the clients to see the actual look and not be fooled by the blow-drying-to-perfection scheme at salons to make the hair look fab but the next morning, it has gone beserk. The stylist also can easily spot those annoying split-ends.

The hairstylist came in. He asked me if I got the picture of the style that I wanted. Earlier that day I was taking screen captures of Stefania Fernandez’ short hair; I saved all possible angles just to be sure the stylist gets the right picture. I showed him one and he was all, Okay. He started twisting my hair, placing pins on top my head, and then went snipping and snipping like he wasn’t cutting hair at all. It felt like he was cutting grass.

After 10 minutes,ย  afterย  some crazy twirls and flips –change has happened overnight.

So when you’re in Laos, and you see a salon even small ones in residences… Go for it. It will only cost you roughly two dollars but the light feeling after a stressful day at work or heavy sun exposure? Priceless.


Filed under Beauty and Style, Walk and Talk, When In Laos

A Beautiful Sinh

Ahh, the status symbol that is the sinh, and how someone spends a fortune on these doesn’t need further elaborating. Whether at work, weddings, special events –Lao ladies will always strut their best Lao skirts yet. Some are expensive, some are surprisingly affordable, depending on the look and where and how it was made. Designs, colors, and patterns vary for every occasion and setting, but one thing is for sure…everyone is going to look. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I bought two new skirts made in Xamneua, Houaphan. Quite expensive, yes,but they are beautiful.

As of today, I own twenty-three Lao skirts. I am not planning to buy anymore just cos my luggage is throwing up clothes and then I would have to pay for the excess weight and that ain’t good. So while I scheme on how I can bring my Lao skirts home intact, just admire how intricate and how lovely these skirts are made. Take note, they are uniquely designed, so the skirt that you’re going to invest on is most prolly the only design there is available. Lucky you, huh?

My favorites yet ๐Ÿ˜€

So once you see it, buy it. I saw this gorgeous deep purple skirt with gold-ish pattern and I decided I would buy it once I get the chance cos I didn’t bring money then–it was already gone when I came back. That happened twice.

A closer look at my magenta skirt. Pretty fab!

These skirts are believed to look good on ladies with narrow waists and proportional hip sizes. Most girls here are only half of my size, uhh okay, almost half, so at first I got a little insecure. But I did get compliments when wearing these, they told me I looked nice and that I looked Lao (yes, that is a compliment!!) so I became more and more confident. However, a year here can leave everyone bored…I’m afraid I’m looking even more generic that’s why I’m going to have to mix it up a little.

A closer look at the pattern of my black Xamneua sinh

Take note that you don’t buy it as a skirt already; you get the fabric plus the pattern then you go to your favorite seamstress to have it made into a Lao skirt, a regular skirt (A-line or pencil) or a dress, have it shortened or retain its length…any look you want, actually.

One of my best.

But I suggest, get one and have it made in Laos, keep it as authentic as possible and I’m telling you, people will notice. ๐Ÿ™‚

I love this skirt, it's got a huge pattern and it's nicely done.

I will upload the whole “collection” soon. If you want a Lao skirt, you can also leave a comment below!

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Filed under Beauty and Style, Walk and Talk, When In Laos