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 Calyxta.com 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 www.calyxta.com 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!

Pros:
  • 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.
Cons
  • 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:

Ingredients:

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!

Ingredients:

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.