Category Archives: Beauty and Style

Tales of A BeautyHoarder

It’s a bit of a stretch to call myself a makeup artist just cos I’m nowhere close to the people on Face Off. I have the audacity to use #mua all the time in my posts on Instagram just to join the bandwagon, if you know what I mean. What are hashtags for, right?

When people ask why I don’t take proper makeup workshops or attend makeup school, I only think of two things: 1) School again?; 2) I’m not sure if I’m committed to the craft enough to lay all my cards on the table, quit my full-time job to pursue a career that a million girls (and guys) are much better at.

In my chosen career-path, only the people who experience momentary insanity apply for graduate school; and the academe is a pretty small circle compared to the empire of art and cosmetics. Besides not everyone can be like Bobbi Brown, Anastasia and Michelle Phan. You’re lucky if you even get a ‘regram’ from them.

Okay, what the hell am I talking about.

Well, in my years of being a washed-up travel blogger/avid reader/frustrated actress/one-time Medical Doctor-dreamer/one-time Lawyer-wannabe/former PhD student (in the time being, at least)/university research associate/pseudo-fashionista, there was one thing that was in my purse–after all the sweat and tears, after all the dreams that have come true and/or shattered–a makeup bag.

I started walking down the aisle as a flower girl in weddings at the age of 2. My Mother would stand close to the altar with a cookie in hand so I’d walk and grab the coveted cookie. Of course, she couldn’t let the flower girl go to battle without the proper warpaint. Fascinated with whatever she’s doing to my face, and whatever watercolor thing she uses to do that, I would open her magic batik purse sitting on her dresser and spill the watercolor all over the place. I’d smear the colors, draw lines with the pencils, pucker my lips when it’s time for the red clay-ish thing, and whoa what do we have here–a baby clown.

That being said, I did the same thing over and over again every afternoon for years. I bought my very first eyeshadow when I was 12 and it changed my life forever. Since my Mom cannot grace all my programs in school, I’d do my makeup myself. I bought magazines and copy the looks of the covergirls (still can’t do the Candy-wink, unfortunately). Mismatched eyebrows, scraggly eyeliner, lipstick on my teeth–who cares. I just like the fact that my eyes looked bigger, my cheeks didn’t look like somebody slapped the heck out of me and my pout (and teeth) was a vision in red. Yes, even before the Anne Curtis red-lip craze, I was sporting a red lip in high school events.


Why hello me!

Until one day, my friend bought me an 8-piece set of professional makeup brushes from the US as a present. It was the first time that I felt in control of whatever art I wanted to recreate. And even to this day–that I take selfies as makeup inspiration for my 57 followers on Instagram (HAHA!)–makeup is the only time when I feel calm, in control and focused. AND PREEEETTYYYY. With my chronic dissatisfaction of the things around me, and my ADHD tendencies, when I do makeup for myself and for my ‘clients’ and see them glow, radiant and happy afterwards? Screw Delayed Gratification, I am addicted to the instant fulfillment I get from it.

When people ask why I’m not making a career out of this. It’s the same with writing–I don’t want my love for it to be ruined by the whole rigmarole of the ‘industry’. The pressure of having to do this for everyone with unrealistic expectations is kind of overwhelming. I don’t want to end up hating it because I can’t live up to other people’s standards. I’d like for it to remain as a hobby, kind of a friend/sister helping another friend/sister in need. The compensation I get from it is just a bonus.

Right now, I’m happy with Instagram. Drawing inspiration from hustlers is kind of my thing nowadays. I don’t even care if some people think it’s stupid or it’s useless or it’s vanity controlling me. Because in a world where ‘happiness’ is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I think I already found mine. Let’s stick to that. 🙂


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Filed under Beauty and Style, Musings

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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Filed under Beauty and Style

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,  after  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