Thursday, December 31, 2015

Love Letters: 16

Since Dane wrote a letter to her 16 year old self, I'm posting a letter I wrote to MY 16 year old self a couple years ago. :) Happy new Year Everyone! To 2016 and beyond!

Hi Aycs!

It's me, your super un-cool future self, at least based on your expectations and image of coolness at sixteen years old. I am twice your age and a year old right now and boy, have I been through a lot-YOU will go through a lot. Currently, I'm living in a three bedroom apartment with my boyfriend and my 8 year old daughter (Yes, you will have a daughter. Papa kept telling you to be safe, be careful, and even if you did listen, you weren't careful enough!-Anyway, she is a blessing and you will love her. Don't be scared!) but between then and now, a whole other lifetime took place. I don't even know where to begin.

Right now, your permanent state of mind is "Fuck the World", you feel no affiliation to anyone or anything, except your boyfriend and the few friends that are cool enough to be part of your life (equally troubled, by the looks of it) Interestingly enough, you will never like anything that is too ordinary or normal, so even when you snap out of this horrible way of viewing society, you will always gravitate to  people who, similarly, have the same deep rooted desire to be different and set themselves apart from the rest of the world, but in the future, it's to be unique and find your life purpose, and not just to hate everything, just because.

The way you view the world at this age is also very telling of the kind of guys you are going to be attracted to for the next few years. You don't need to apologize to me, I know where you were at. I just wish I was there for you from 16-26 so I could keep you out of trouble. The battle scars those years left still hurt on occasion, specially with one particular guy, whose own issues ran so deep, it's like he almost didn't have a choice but to dump it on you. He projected all his problems on you and made it seem like you were the crazy one. He treated you like dirt, called you dramatic when you cried and was so ice cold sometimes, you would find yourself apologizing for things that were HIS fault and for speaking your mind. I wish I could have taken your hand and run as far away as possible from there. You will become adamant about saying exactly what you feel after you leave this person, and you won't let anyone stifle you or leave you out to dry, at least not without a lot of noise.

You feel like the "bad" kid in your family right now. You know, the one always getting in trouble and never getting anything right. You play it off like you are some crazy rebel chick, but you are 16, and anyone 10 years older or more will know that all of these little antics you pull are part of a big cry for help. Mom and Papa knew that, so they found you someone you could talk to. Listen, you will think of yourself as this disappointing child way into your older years. I wish I could have told you at some point to stop blaming yourself and get passed the guilt, but it's something I shouldn't impose on you. You're a kid, after all. It's something though, that has never fully gone away, but really should. There are moments I find myself so angry I can't talk properly. Mom and I still don't know how to properly fight to this day. I think that whenever we start arguing, I morph back into YOU, but with the sound mind of a 30 + year old. When Mom starts pushing my buttons though, you, in all your childish glory, will eventually come out. I'm 33 now. I need to let go of you. I need to stop trying to please my parents. I am my own person. If they don't agree with my views, whether on marriage or religion or whatever else, well, tough on them. I can't go back to being you anymore every single time.

Everything you did from where you are at now to ten or so years later have made me come to the conclusion that:

- I can't make decisions. I'm always making the wrong ones.
-I cry too often, too easily. I'm too sensitive and emotional.
-It takes me a long time to let go of things and transitions and changes really take their toll on me.
-I can't commit to anything. It's too scary. Mostly because I'm such a bad judge of character and always end up with the wrong people.

Reading all of these right now, I realize, you know what I WAS a bad judge of character, I WAS indecisive, I WAS afraid to commit to anything, and you know what, there is nothing wrong with crying or being emotional (note: not emo)

But that isn't me anymore. I am not you anymore. I am not even my 20 year old self or my 29 year old self anymore. I CAN make decisions, It just takes me a long time, but once I have made them, I don't look back. I have no regrets. I still do cry often. I AM sensitive and emotional, but what's wrong with that? It's not being dramatic. I feel things- very strongly in fact, whether joy or pain, sadness or excitement. I'm not a stoic, and never will be. I can't hide how I feel, that is something that probably will never go away, but now, I realize that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

It takes me forever to let go...of places, people, experiences, but that's only because there is no such thing as half-assed for me. It's 100% or forget about it, so when things go wrong and people expect you to move on with lightning speed, well, I can't. I give a lot of myself in every relationship, situation, whatever, so it takes awhile to get it all back. I analyze to death, overthink, go back and forth over and over, but once I'm done, I am SO done. No looking back. I need to be kinder to myself. I am not crazy.

Lastly, I CAN commit. I have a million tattoos and a little girl, I don't see how much more committed I can be. This just goes hand in hand with my decision making- I need time. The more I am forced to, the less appealing it is to me.

So, 16. Here's the thing. I still have your smile, that mischievous glint in your eye, your crazy ideas, your taste in music and your presence, but if you survived through your issues, it's about time I get over them too. I haven't changed at all, and yet I've changed so much. Does that even make sense? So, what you say, 16? We're good right?

I never told you this, but I love you. You are awesome. Your life will be a crazy roller coaster ride of emotions, sometimes you'll be cruising, others you will be frantic, but you wouldn't have it any other way.

Chin up, little girl. I gotchu.

"Do not lose you”, and other things I wish I could have told my 16 year-old self

Don’t listen to them. You are not what they think of you.

You are not a burden, you are wanted, appreciated, loved - maybe not by those who you expect to accept you, but by those who chose to fall in love with your soul.

Be gentle with yourself, it is all you have.

Do not lose you. And if you do, find yourself. You are hiding behind emotional landmines, torrential rainstorms, waiting to be found. But don’t ask others to save you. They are busy saving themselves.

Speak freely, and without hesitation. Somebody should be telling you how much your voice is worth. Don’t quiet down. Listen, but listen also to yourself.

Breathe. The pain will remain, but over time your tears will dry faster. It is okay if you need time to heal, it is okay if you are a mess.. and stay a mess.. for a while. You have to know that that is okay. Do not rush your process. Breathe.

Trust your unfolding. Life, and people and society and expectations will try to mold you into a human being that no longer resembles you. Do not give in. You are you for a million and one reasons.

Be kind, even when they are unkind to you. You are not the one losing this battle. Your scars will light your way at night and teach you things others will never fathom. Learn. Even if you are tired.

Walk away from things. You need very little in life to survive – do not be held down by things you falsely think are vital to your being. If they no longer serve their purpose of contributing to your happiness, well-being or education, walk away. Do not offer up your time to things devoid of value to your soul.

Rest your mind amid the noise. Allow yourself to see clearly, even when things are running amok around you. Slow your mind down. Ease into your thinking. Decipher your emotions. Your anxiety does not own the rights to your peace-of-mind.

Love yourself first. You have nothing to offer the world when you do not see the beauty of the undying pitter-patter in the way your own heart beats for itself. You are not selfish, you are not self-absorbed. You are a fragile, furious, and free being, eyes full of silent thunder, hair wildly whipping in the weather changes, and heart bruised, battered and beautiful. Do not wait for happiness to come to you. It is already within you, in places you had forgotten you hid it, the day you decided to protect your little heart.

Monday, December 21, 2015

#ERICATRAVELS The Henry Hotel, Cebu

I've stayed at The Henry in Cebu several times in the past couple years and each experience has been great. I am always on the look out for more interesting and fun places to stay at and The Henry delivers on that front. 

First of all, I love how the floors are all varnished concrete, and even entering the lobby, you immediately get a taste of what to expect in the rest of the hotel. It has quirky decor and knick knacks that creates a sense of Organized Confusion, and I mean that in a very good way. It's almost like entering your cool friend's apartment, which makes you comfortable and at home right away.

Another thing I like is that the rooms are all different, so in the 3 times I have stayed at The Henry, I have never stayed in a room that looked like the last, which makes it quite exciting because aside from the size of the room, you never really know what you are going to get!

I'm also really into the graffiti on the walls. I'm big on street art and I love how it feels like a very posh warehouse that has been turned into a living space. Rica's, the restaurant adjacent to the hotel, has decent food and super cool decor. Think oversized tables and chairs and an extension to the industrial chic of the hotel.

Their pool isn't too big, but it's a nice cozy spot for guests. I find myself having breakfast outdoors when I'm there, as I don't have the luxury of doing so in Manila. Location-wise, I feel it is close enough to get to where I usually need to go, plus there are two really good restaurants just a stone's throw away- my fave French Bistro- TYMAD and an authentic Italian spot called Antica Osteria. 

I'm leaving for Paris in a little over two months, and I'm hoping to be able to go back to Cebu before I leave. Will definitely spend half my stay here again and the other half in Mactan. IF I come back after my studios, I'm considering moving to Cebu. Love this city! :)

    Address: Paseo Saturnino, Cebu City, Cebu

Monday, December 14, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Huevos Rotos con Chistorra

As much as I like experimenting in the kitchen, I love simple, easy to make dishes. The thing is with me is that I can't just leave things as is, I need to put my own twist on it all the time, to brighten up the dish or to simply just update a classic.

Huevos Rotos is as simple as it can get, with ingredients being as simple as just fried potatoes and an over-easy egg, broken on top of them. A lot of the time in Spain, jamon or chorizo is also tossed in and it's a great meal with just some crusty bread.

My version has all of that, and then some. Here's what I did the other day when I wanted quick and easy comfort food.


3 medium sized potatoes, cubed (leave the skin on!)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
2 eggs
100 grams chistorra ( I got mine at Salcedo Market)
A drizzle of sour cream
1 tsp olive oil
few sprigs of fresh oregano
A cup of red wine ( I used bordeaux)
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Zest of one lime

How to:

  • Shallow Fry potatoes until crispy, about 10 minutes. Set aside
  • Saute onions and garlic, season to taste. Add chistorra.
  • Add oregano and sugar.
  • Add wine, 1/2 cup at a time, to deglaze
  • Remove from heat when all wine has evaporated.
  • Cook 2 eggs, over easy, set aside.
  • To assemble, Add fries to the chistorra and toss lightly. Add the two eggs on top, drizzle with sour cream and sprinkle with lime zest. Serve with crusty bread if you want :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Shipping Cart: A new way to shop abroad

OK, so we all love looking at international shopping sites, but it's always been such a hassle to buy things because a lot of them require a US address, and unless you have a relative or friend who regularly goes back and forth between here and the States, it might be a long wait before you actually get what you order online.

There are some companies that offer US postal addresses for customers to use, which is the same as what Shipping Cart does, but the seemingly small, but actually large difference is this- they deliver straight to your doorstep, instead of you having to go to the post office ( where, let's face it, you sometimes end up paying SO much in taxes, it makes it not even worth it anymore)
So, my first purchase is on it's way- I ordered a bunch of stuff for me and Ananda on Amazon, so it's taking awhile for all of them to be shipped to my US address that was provided by Shipping Cart. But once it's all there, I can pay the shipping fee and it will be delivered to me in about 10 days ( it gives an estimate in your account)

I've been getting emails every time they receive any packages for me and it is put in my storage until I'm ready to have it shipped over. At the moment, I'm only waiting for 2 more things to arrive and I can finally have my goodies sent over to my house already.

Here are a couple things in my storage right now just waiting to be shipped:

Loving this Herschel Supply Co. Black and Brown Duffel bag. Perfect for weekend trips and as a carry on!

I got both this black blazer and a white version too! Want. them. NOW!

Will post another blog entry with my purchases after they arrive, and possibly with another purchase I plan to make. I'm thinking maybe accessories this time? Wait and see!

Instagram feed: @lbcshippingcart

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Angel Hair Pasta with Anchovy and Smoked Clams

People sometimes ask me how I come up with my recipes, and to be honest, sometimes it's purely out of necessity. For instance, it's time for me to make a grocery run and I have nada in my pantry except a few random things, I create something out of what I have- which is exactly what I did with this dish.

Last Thursday, my cousin was coming over for steak, but I wanted to make something else because I had just had steak the night before. I wanted pasta but realized I didn't really have that many ingredients in my kitchen anymore. So, I found a can of anchovies, a can of smoked clams that I usually use to make dip, a lemon that needed to be used ASAP, some angel hair pasta, a couple tomatoes and a handful of basil.

C'est Parfait. All I needed was some garlic and onions and voila, my happy meal :)


1 can anchovies
1 can smoked clams
zest of one lemon
juice of half a lemon
5 cloves of garlic ( or more!), chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
tomatoes, chopped
basil, chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

It's so easy I won't even put a proper " How to'

Sautee garlic and onions in olive oil, throw in anchovies and smoked clams. Add
some salt and pepper. Throw in cooked pasta noodles and toss in the sauce with some lemon juice. Add tomatoes and basil, top with lemon zest and you are good to go!

Monday, November 16, 2015


Unlike my blog partner Erica, I am no expert in makeup. But bear with me while I attempt my most simplified Pretty Pop look, as I got challenged by NIVEA to do. And since I am in the city at the moment, what better way to cheer up a dreadful day sitting in traffic, but with a bright baby pink lip?

I also got to try the new NIVEA facial cleansing wipes, which I have to say, prove really useful in creating this look, as it is completely unavoidable that we will all make mistakes, especially while attempting a tricolor eye color. I'm a huge fan of these facial wipes, because they have just the right amount of cleansing product on them, and I am always in a hurry, even on normal days, and after long nights out, so I always always always make sure I have a stash of these wipes ready.

Thank you NIVEA for sending me a box of makeup to play with, and for helping me overcome my fear of creating my first ever video blog. Make sure you guys check out their facial cleansing wipes, and also my new favorite, the exfoliating wipes, which make your cleansing and nourishing routine easy and hassle-free to maintain.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Best Face Revealed: The Nivea Make Up Challenge

Being a beauty editor for most of my career, I am no stranger to make up! And now that I am Editor-in-Chief of, I am even more immersed in beauty than ever before.

I realized that as I get older, the more I stick to a particular look, and although I am happy with my signature lined eyes and nude lips, make up is meant to be fun so it's good to switch it up once in awhile. NIVEA gave me the perfect opportunity to do so when they challenged me to recreate Cara Delevingne's ROCK ROYALTY look. It was totally outside of my make up comfort zone ( Hello Bright Pink Lip!) but I think I managed to get it right- but not without a few mistakes along the way. I totally hate having to use an oil based make up remover whenever I mess up while applying makeup, so NIVEA's Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes are a godsend. It wipes off beauty boo boo's in a flash without ruining your look.

I got a box of make up with my wipes- basically everything I needed to recreate the look they assigned to me. Click on the video to watch me go from barefaced to Rock Royalty. Aaaahhh, the power of make up!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

FATKITCH: Tatang's Lechon

What's the ONE thing you need to do when you go to Cebu?


With so many kinds out there though, how do you know which one is worth the 2 kilo carry on weight? You can ask people, of course, but since everyone has different tastes, then you won't really know unless you try them ALL!

I haven't had every single lechon brand from Cebu, but I've had about 5 kinds, and this- Tatang's was my 6th, and I have to say, it is my favorite so far- beating even my forever favorite CNT. There's lots of reasons why, and definitely not least is the crispy skin and the fact that it's boneless! Also, I taste a hint of anise that goes so well with the saltiness. I have this plain, or sometimes with calamansi, since I don't like vinegar so much, but when I heat it at home, I go all out. Instead of just popping it in the toaster ( I do that for the skin!) I chop some garlic and onions and FRY the lechon in it, while adding a bit of fish sauce. Once the garlic is crispy and onions are wilted and caramelized, remove from heat and serve with fluffy white rice.

I brought home 5 kilos last month so I could share the joy with my parents, aunt and friends and I still have a kilo in the freezer. I know this is available in Manila, but was told that there's nothing like Tatang's in Cebu, so I will still keep buying it there.

Next Cebu trip, I am definitely, finally going to Carcar, which I heard is a lechon and chicharon PARADISE. Walang ganyan sa France! Taking advantage while I can!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fitness 101: Anti-depressants and Weight Gain

So, this was me last March.

This is my good weight. I wasn't too skinny, I was working out and I was probably around 107 pounds.

I know the number on the scale does not and should not matter, but ever since I started on antidepressants, I slowly started feeling like I was gaining weight.

Of course it does not help that the stress of work, and Manila traffic and all my other responsibilities, plus the mood swings I get sometimes from the meds, gives me little to no time to work out regularly.

Before you all start yelling at me, I know I'm not overweight now, but anyone who has been on medication knows where I am coming from, and I hope this also helps people who are on meds for the first time, so they don't panic if they notice some weight gain.

Last I checked a month ago, I was 112 lbs. This is the weight my nutritionist wanted me to be when I was an severely underweight 97 lbs, but for me, that's a 15 lb weight gain in the span of two years. Granted, I needed to gain that weight, it still does not make me feel good about how gross I am feeling physically right now.

Ok, so there are a few reasons why you might be gaining weight while on antidepressants:

1. Your chemicals are balancing out, so yes, you probably enjoy food a lot more.

2. Your appetite is growing- FOR CARBS. I don't know about you but I have this constant craving for anything starchy and bad for me- and I've been eating larger portions than I normally would. Your meds might be spinning your carb cravings to crazy levels.

3. Your metabolism might be slowing down. This plus constant carb cravings. Not a great combination.

4. It might be your specific medication or the combination of your meds. I asked my doctor to switch me from Zoloft to Pristiq- which is not supposed to make you gain that much weight. Oh God, imagine if I didn't switch? When I started on Zoloft, I was drinking a slurpee a day until it started becoming super ridiculous and I had to tell my doctor.

5. If you did not notice it earlier on and have been on meds for 6 months or longer, then you are probably noticing it NOW. It's been 9 months for me, so yes, it is about that time.

The good thing is, you feel better now, and I guess that's all that matters at the moment. I'm getting off my meds in time for my big jump to Paris (Yes, I AM MOVING! ;p) and I'm hoping that being a student again, with more time will allow me a regular work out schedule, despite all the yummy French food. Also, I decided to take the Metro to school, but walk an hour or so home everyday.

So for those who are about to start on or have just started antidepressants, it will benefit you to already switch to a healthier diet and more exercise. To those, who, like me, were skinny and now feel like jello- have no fear, it's still worth the effort to start working out more and stop eating all that junk! The weight loss may not be as fast as what you are used to, but it's better than ballooning to 20 pounds more than your usual weight.

So, there you go. My biggest frustration right now from these damn pills is me feeling like the Marshmallow Man. I know it might seem silly to some, but people on meds..... I heat ya loud and clear!

The plan:

To stop saying yes when my officemates ask me if I want shit food like KFC for lunch. I mean, I won't even lie, even at my healthiest, I loved fast food as much as the next person, but I could totally control my cravings and not have it for months!

To work out everyday for at least 45 minutes. Even if ti means having to wake up mad early again. And since my sleeping has become more normal, that just means that if I want my 8 hours, I need to sleep at 10 PM.

Alcoholic beverages only 2x a month and only wine. 3 glasses MAX. 2 days of the month of my choice.

Drink more water!!!!!!!

Will update this every two weeks to give progress reports.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Asian-style Chicken in Milk

This is my Asian version of Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk. As much as I love the original, I sometimes want something that gives me the same sense of comfort but with flavors closer to my heart. Does that make sense? lol!

Anyway, it's pretty much the same process, just with different ingredients. It's so easy to make and so flavorful. It always makes me eat more rice than usual! Also, I recommend 1.5 cans of coconut milk, but for more sauce, add the last 1/2 can- I think you will want to!


1 whole chicken
2 tablespoons tamarind puree
Optional: 1 tablespoon sinigang mix
Fish sauce and pepper, to taste
two thumb sized pieces of ginger, peeled and chopped into three equal parts
2 whole heads of garlic, peeled
1 stalk lemongrass, bulb part chopped roughly
zest of 1 lime
1.5 cans coconut milk ( 2 if you want more sauce)
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 tablespoon oil
2 tsps coconut syrup or brown sugar
Handful of coriander

How to:

  • Rub tamarind, sinigang mix, patis and pepper on your chicken and leave on for 10 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a dutch oven and fry chicken breast side down for 5 minutes or until skin browns. Flip over and repeat.
  • Turn off heat, and remove oil.
  • Add more fish sauce, pepper, lime zest, garlic, ginger, lemongrass (including leaves) Kaffir lime leaf and coconut milk and coconut syrup or brown sugar
  • Bake in oven, covered at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Remove cover and cook for another 10 minutes until skin browns.
I like serving this with lemongrass rice! Don't forget to add coriander and a little more lime zest when you serve it! Drown your rice in the sauce too!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Mexican-inspired Fish Sandwich

I LOVE Mexican food, and there are days when I really just want the flavors, but don't have time to go out and get tacos, or I'm home late and don't have the right ingredients. A sandwich is always easy to cook and easy to eat, and this is something both my daughter and I can eat with neither of us complaining.

You can take a basic fish sandwich and turn it into something special. In this case, I was craving Mexican, so I took components of a fish taco and turned it into a sandwich, with salsa fresca, shredded cheese, garlic-paprika yogurt aioli and cilantro.



White Fish Fillets ( I used Dory) cut in half, remove ends.
Lime juice
Dash of soy sauce
Pepper, to taste
Panko Bread Crumbs
Shredded Taco Mix Cheese

Salsa Fresca

Lime Juice

Garlic-Paprika Aioli

1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cloves garlic
lime juice
paprika, to taste

How to:

  • Marinate your fish in soy sauce, lime juice, pepper and cumin for at least thirty minutes.
  • While  fish is marinating,  Make salsa fresca-chop tomato, onion, cilantro and toss together with lime juice and salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Make Garlic Aioli. Put all ingredients in a food processor. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Add cumin, salt and pepper to panko bread crumbs, Dip fish in flour, then egg and lastly, bread crumbs and fry until cooked through and crispy on the outside.
  • Put the fish filet on bread, add a generous a mount of cheese, and pop in the oven or toaster until melted. Top off with salsa fresca, garlic- paprika aioli and cilantro.
  • Enjoy!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Making Faces: Get this Look

 I went to Make up School in London in 2005, practiced professionally for a few years, then went back to my first love- writing. I still miss doing make up and always jump at any opportunity to do so. Also, I work as the Editor-in-Chief of now, an online beauty magazine and shop, so  I am pretty lucky to be surrounded my products all the time, and I also get to practice on my officemates (Thanks for letting me ambush you)

Last March, my sister Ala got married in Sydney, and aside from being her Maid of DisHonor, I was also assigned to do her make up for the big day. I borrowed some products from the office and brought them with em to Sydney. I already knew what kind of look she would like and would suit her. First of all, I am on the side of "less is more," when it comes to foundation. Also, it's your wedding, you want to look like yourself, but enhanced.

Ala does not normally wear a lot of make up, so I wanted to keep it that way, but play up her eyes a little bit and have her wear a lip color that is still pretty natural, but with a bit more oomph than what she would usually use.

To get Ala's look I used:

Eve Pearl Flawless Face Palette in Medium
Temptu concealer wheel
Mac Studiofix Powder
Egyptian Queen Sheer Glo in Paradise
Urban Decay Naked 3 eye shadow palette
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette
Eye of Horus Goddess Eye Pencil in Nubian Brown
Eye of Horus Goddess Mascara
Nars blush in Orgasm
Urban Decay All-Nighter Long-lasting Make Up setting spray
Ofra Liquid Lipstick in Laguna Beach
Nyx Lip Cream in Prague
Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Natural Rose

How to:

1. Start with a clean face. After applying moisturizer, combine the two shades of cream foundation that come in the Eve Pearl Flawless Face Palette until you get your perfect match. Apply on eye lids, under eyes, on your nose, chin and wherever you have red patches or uneven skin color. Use Temptu Concealer wheel to hide blemishes.

2. Apply Egyptian Queen Sheer glo on the apples of your cheeks and blend upwards. Follow with the highlighter found in the Eve Pearl Palette. Using a large powder brush, dip into your pressed powder and apply on your face to set.

3. Using a blending brush, apply Nooner, from the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette on your eye creases. Follow this with Liar and Mugshot on the outer corners of your eye lids, until right down the middle. Using your blending brush, blend away until there are no distinct separations between the colors you used.

3. On the very outer corners, apply Darkheart, still from the Naked 3 Palette and blend some more. Take your Eye of Horus Eye Pencil in Nubian brown and first fill in the gaps between your lashes. You can then smudge this and get a great line on your upper lash line that will also make your lashes look thicker. If need, add a thin line on your upper lash line and smudge again.

4. Draw a line on your lower lash line, using the same eye pencil, but stop 1/4 of the way through and gently smudge. Top if with three coats of mascara. I don't believe in falsies for weddings, except if they are super natural. Otherwise, just load up on the mascara. Make sure it's waterproof.

5. Apply blush on the apples of your cheeks. Finish off with some pressed powder.

6. Fill in your eyebrows with a natural brown. I used Faint from the Urban Decay Naked  Basics Palette.

7. Apply Ofra Laguna Beach Liquid Lipstick and add Nyx Lip Cream in Prague only to the middle of your bottom lip and gently rub your lips together to blend. Top off with Pixi Lip Balm in Natural Rose.

8. To make sure her make up would last the whole day, I used a mattifying setting spray from Urban Decay.

All Products except MAC and NARS are available at Follow @calyxtabeauty on instagram, FB and Twitter

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Beauty Buzz: Eyebrow Extensions

My make up looks have changed several times through out the years, but one thing never changes- I usually play up my eyes and leave my lips bare or apply nude lipsticks that mimic or enhance my natural lip color.

One frustration I think most ladies have is having to deal with our eyebrows on a daily basis. I have days when I feel like my brows are perfect, and therefore I am invincible, and other days when I don't want to leave my house because one eyebrow looks better than the other.

My friend has a salon called Xtensions that specializes in eyebrow and eyelash extensions. I've gotten eyelash extensions in the past, but brows? "How?" I was thinking. So I went over to their Greenhills branch to try it out.

Like eyelash extensions, hair is glued to your brows one by one. Make sure you have a lot of time on your hands, because this is definitely not a quick in and out service. It took a few hours to get both my eyebrows done. It took a little bit of getting used to because I had no make up on that day and I suddenly had these bold brows, but once I did my face the next day ( photo above!) they looked great!

  • No more daily eyebrow pencil application.
  • No need to worry if your brows look good, because they will look good all day!
  • Perfect framing of your face. You can consult as to which shape will suit you best.
  • It lasts about 3 weeks- month, if you take care of it properly.
  • You can wear less make up since your brows are already done.
  • You need to be really careful. No soaping your face or rubbing your brows or you will see the hair falling off little by little, causing gaps in your brows. And since you can't apply make up to your eyebrows, you have to live with those gaps.
  • It takes awhile to get done. Definitely not a lunch break activity.
  • Sometimes when you don't have make up on, they look a bit strong on your face, or maybe I'm really just not used to it!

 Check out Xtensions on the 4th Floor of Virra Mall in Greenhills Shopping Center. 
Telephone: 5606195

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Guacamole

 I looooove avocado. Growing up, I remember eating it mashed up with sugar and condensed milk. A lot of people outside Asia can't imagine eating avocado sweet, but it's THE BEST! Avocado smoothies, ice cream- gimme all of that!

I also like it with eggs and toast, by itself even, and of course, as guacamole.

Now, I don't like to judge, but why the hell do people buy guac when it's so easy and so much better to just make it yourself? Here's how:


3 ripe avocados
1 medium red onion, chopped finely
1 medium tomato, chopped finely
juice of one lime
1 clove garlic, minced
dash of salt and pepper
dash of cumin
handful of coriander, chopped

How to:

  • Scoop out all the flesh from your avocado and squeeze juice of one half of your lime to stop it from turning brown.
  • Mash your avocado gently if you want it chunky, and then incorporate all other ingredients except the coriander.
  • Combine by hand for chunky guacamole, or pulse in a food processor for a creamy version.
  • Add coriander last minute and combine.
  • Serve with Lime flavored chips topped with melted cheese. (YUM)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Annecy #TravelFeature

I was planning my France trip, and had an extra day before I planned to head back to Paris from Lyon, so I asked for suggestions for where I could go for a day or two and Annecy was mentioned a couple of times. Prior to that, I had no idea where Annecy was or how beautiful this town is, but upon googling and clicking on a few pictures, I was sold.

Annecy is located in the Rhone-Alps in the Southeast region of France, right at the Northern tip of Lake Annecy. It is only 40 km away from Geneva and has been called the Venice of the Alps. Lake Annecy is also Europe's cleanest lake, and you will most likely see people swimming in it or doing water sports.

I only spent 24 hours here, and although it was enough due to the small size of the town, I wish I had one more day just to hang out by the lake, have a crepe and a kir at one of the cafes and just write in my journal or watch people go by. Although it is VERY touristy, it is also beautiful and charming and old, and honestly, it won't bother you one bit.

I rented an airbnb apartment while there, about a 7 minute walk to old town Annecy and the lake, so it was perfect. It was on a quiet street away from the tourists but not far from anything worth seeing. I had one day there, so I asked my host to suggest a place I could have a nice meal at, since it will probably be my only meal there. She suggested a restaurant called L'Etage, that serves traditional food from the area ( her suggestion was Tartiflette- which is basically potatoes, cream, bacon, onions and reblochon cheese, but I had a "Tarticrepe" earlier that day, with the same ingredients in crepe form, so I opted for something else)

 Behold, my starter. I would have been happy with this alone- Baked eggs with cream, black truffle, mushrooms and chunks of foie gras. I think I had my eyes closed the entire time I was eating it.

Next course was grilled sirloin, cooked rare, with shallots and a decadent bone marrow- one of my favorite things to eat! Some people find it gross but I could eat it all day! I managed about half this steak, because although I am constantly hungry, my stomach capacity is actually not as big as the average person's. This came with fries and a salad. Ate half the fries, ignored the salad. HAHA!

No photo, but dessert was strawberry mint soup with lime sorbet, and although I was bursting, it was a great palate cleanser and I happily walked home and rubbed my belly in bed! I ate all that for only 35 euros. Plus, I had a Kir before my meal.

It's hard not to fall in-love with this town, and it's only 2 hours from Lyon, a stone's throw from Geneva and 4 hours from Paris! I definitely recommend an overnight or 2 night trip if your schedule permits.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How to pack for a long holiday #TravelFeature

Packing light for a long holiday, and one that requires moving around to places with different weather conditions is not easy! We left for Europe in June, which is technically summer, but due to global warming and just crazy weather changes, it was freezing when we got to Paris, got even colder in Amsterdam, and stayed chilly all the way to Berlin, before warming up slightly in Vienna and finally becoming scorching hot in Venice and Florence. Even if the cold front only lasted for our first 3 weeks in Europe, we still needed to pack a few jackets, beanies and scarves so we'd survive. So how exactly does one fit two months worth of outfits in a 20kg baggage allowance? Here are some suggestions:

1. Start packing EARLY- In order to refrain from panic packing, get your luggage out about 10-14 days before and start doing a preliminary pack. Remember that this will be edited in the days leading to your departure, but at least you have an idea of what you would like to bring.

2. Bring multi-use pieces- As much as you probably hate repeating outfits, you will have to when you travel, especially if it's a long haul trip. Bring a lot of basics that you can mix and match. This is a challenge to your creativity! You really don't need 3 pairs of jeans and 5 scarves plus 3 jackets. Bring a nice leather jacket that goes with everything, and 2 each of jeans and scarves. Remember that you will shop along the way. I don't care if you say you won't because YOU WILL.

Black Leather jacket at Albert Cuypmarkt in Amsterdam

Black Leather jacket outside Liberty in Central London

Black Leather jacket in Blvd. Saint Germain in Paris

3. Consider what kind of city you are going to- If it's a walking city, forget your stilettos and stick to flats. A pair of nice boots and some ballet flats will go with a lot of outfits, and only bring fancier footwear if you are going for a wedding or somewhere you need to get dressed.

Ballet flats outside the Uffizi in Florence

Ballet flats in Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris

Walking sandals in Venice

4. Pack less than 20kg- Again, YOU WILL SHOP. Believe me. And when you get to the end of your trip, it will hurt to have to throw some stuff because your baggage is over weight. Remember that excess baggage fees are CRAZY.

5. Pick the right bag- I thought I did by bringing what was basically an oversized duffel bag with wheels. I had brought the same luggage to a 2 month North and South American trip a couple of years prior and it was fine, forgetting that in the US you are allowed 2 pieces of baggage. It was ok when I left Manila but got progressively heavier as we traipsed around and was especially a BITCH when having to go up and down stairs at train stations. I almost missed a train from Prague to Berlin because of this.

Bags! bags everywhere! leaving Amsterdam to go to Prague!

6. Forget toiletries- Buy when you get to your first destination and as you go along. Unless you have a crazy skin or scalp condition, I'm sure you can live without your 11 step beauty routine for awhile. Plus, it's so much fun to shop at supermarkets when abroad!

7. Prioritize- Make sure you get your MUST BRING items in your bag first before anything else. Some of these items might be chargers, cables, universal adaptors, passports and papers, identification, basic meds and the like. Get those important things in order first before deciding whether to bring your pink sneakers or your blue ones.

8. Lay clothing out and put outfits together- The ones that are featured in most outfits deserve to be packed and brought with you. If some of them can only be worn with one outfit, leave it behind for when you get back, or for another trip where it can get more airtime.

Remember, YOU will be lugging everything around with you so pack only what you are willing to carry. I threw out so much stuff along the way and I totally regret it!

Photos by Mio Paredes, Issa Perez de Tagle and Myself :)

Erica's Kitchen: Red Velvet Cupcakes with Zesty Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting #WeekendBaking

I LOVE Red Velvet Cupcakes, and I used to make another version that was a slight twist on the usual- I paired the cake with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting instead of just the regular cream cheese and powdered sugar. I actually came up with this because I could not find powdered sugar anywhere, so I had to make do with the ingredients I had at home. The lime zest was a last minute addition and I was lucky it worked!


For the cake-

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to:

  • Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix all wet ingredients in your mixer/ Kitchen Aid.
  • Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until batter is smooth and lump-free.
  • Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way and bake for 15 minutes at 350 C

For the frosting-

  • 1 8 oz bar cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • zest of 2 limes

How to: 

  • Beat everything together, but keep about 1 teaspoon of lime zest. 
  • When cupcakes are cooled, frost each, either with a piping bag or a spoon.
  • Top with some lime zest.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Aroz a la Cubana #QuickFix

I absolutely hated it whenever we had this at home when I was a kid. I didn't like the idea of raisins with ground pork, I didn't even like ground pork to begin with! I would usually just eat the egg and rice and mix in some Knorr seasoning and that would be dinner for me.

When I moved to my new place a few years ago, I got this weird craving for it. I had no clue how to make it so I called my mom's cook. She gave me a recipe, and I tweaked it to my taste. I also use ground beef, because it's sometimes pork or a mix of both. Anyhoo, here's my version of food from my childhood!


250 g ground round
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs yellow mustard
1 piece Kraft cheddar cheese singles
1/3 cup raisins
1 tsp brown sugar
3/4 cup beef stock
eggs, sunny side up
steamed white rice
4 plantains, sliced in half lengthwise and fried

How to:

  • Saute onion and garlic until translucent.
  • Add ground beef and fry until browned.
  • Add tomato paste, mustard and brown sugar. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add beef stock and cheese. Cook there is no liquid left. Halfway through, add the raisins.
  • Assemble on a plate, making sure everyone has some rice, an egg, beef and banana. Alternately, you can put beef on a serving plate, put eggs on top and arrange bananas around it so people can serve themselves.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Doritos Fried Chicken aka Junk Food dressed as Dinner #SorryinAdvance

First of all, for those asking before, no I did not invent this recipe. I saw online somewhere months ago and had been wanting to try it for ages. During a bout of PMS, I finally threw all logical, adult thinking out the window and bought a couple bags of Doritos ( Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese) some chicken wings and ate some junk dressed as dinner. No regrets whatsoever, although I wish it wasn't so good that I want to eat it at least once a week.

This is my own take on the recipes I saw online- added more flavor by marinating the chicken overnight as well as seasoning the chips a little more. You lose a lot of the flavor when you fry it, and not seasoning it the first time I made this was the biggest mistake. Anyway, here you gooooo. Don't hate me if you gain a few pounds. It's worth it!


1 kilo chicken wings (separate the drumette and wing)
1.5 cups cour cream
Juice of 1 lemon
Liquid Seasoning, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 tbs garlic powder
2 bags of Doritos, crushed 
1 tbs onion powder
1 tbs garlic salt
1 tbs oregano
2 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten

How to:

  • Marinate Chicken overnight in sour cream, liquid seasoning, garlic powder, lemon juice, pepper.
  • When ready to cook, add garlic salt, onion powder, oregano to flour and mix in a bowl.
  • Put Cool Ranch Doritos in one bowl and Nacho Cheese in another ( don't forget to crush them before hand!)
  • Douse the chicken in the flour mixture, then dip in the beaten eggs, and lastly, cover with the Doritos crumbs.
  • Fry at medium heat for about 10 minutes per batch. Don't overcrowd the pan and make sure the heat is not too high or you will probably have burn skin and raw meat. Ew. 
Enjoy- but just once in awhile. Don't say I didn't warn you! :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Because Berlin. Döner Kebabs for days #WIAT

I wish it was a #WIAT but really it's more like #WIAAMIB: WHAT I ATE ALL MONTH IN BERLIN.

Döner Kebabs is a Turkish sandwich made of meat shavings grilled on a rotisserie, served with a salad and a series of sauces. Also, it is made of "now I am officially fat." NO REGRETS. I scoured all of Berlin to find the best one IMHO and found one around the corner from Alexanderplatz, which I ate without shame in front of my little sister who was fasting for Ramadan. Without shame, I tell you.

If you're ever in Berlin, you need to include one in your itinerary immediately, or sin multiple times, the way I did. Because Döner Kebabs are pretty synonymous to Berlin.. ain't no Berlin without Döner Kebabs.

Okay, I'm hungry now.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fitness: 10 reasons I love Yoga

1. Contrary to what you might think, it's very challenging and works muscles you did not know existed.

2. It gives you at least one whole hour to think of nothing but what you are doing at that very moment. I love how you throw out your intentions to the universe and dedicate your practice to something or someone.

3. It clears your mind. I always have these crazy epiphanies during savasana and they have helped me make some pretty important life decisions.

4. You don't need to compete with anyone. 

5. You see and feel the improvement the more you practice. 

6. You can do yoga regardless of your age, fitness goals or capacities.

7. You can do yoga anywhere!

8. It helps with flexibility and balance.

9. It makes you wanna eat healthy after LOL Seriously. helps that juju eats is right under one life studio in makati where I practice.

10. I feel light after and love life. Sounds cheesy but it's totally true!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Red Light 9-course tasting dinner by Chef Justin Golanco #RESTAURANTREVIEW

Before embarking on my summer, my best wingman-buddy Kim took me out for my current favorite food-spot in Manila; The Red Light, where our buddy Justin Golangco serves up a pretty mean custom dinner for those looking for something special. 

Here was our menu:








Words are not needed when it comes to his menu - here I am, sitting in Berlin, getting extreme withdrawals. Not to sound biased but I loved every single dish (no joke) - and if I had to choose a favorite, it would be tricky but the crab wins for me each time. Followed closely by everything else, haha.

Check out Chef Justin Golangco at:

The Red Light (@theredlightph)

Ground Floor, W Young Building, Felipe St., Poblacion, Makati, 1209 Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 917 585 4043