I couldn’t make it anymore obvious in my previous posts that I am a poor student living in England.

But I’m still a single lady with a desire to look “young” forever. Grooming is still at the top of the priority list. In my version of Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, image is more important than food. Yes, I am unashamed to declare that “I am vain”, like most of you out there are. 🙂 So let’s stop being sorry for caring about our appearances and start enjoying our vanity products!

Things I’ve learned here that I never in a million years would think I can ever do by myself:

1) Blow-dry my own hair almost everyday. I know it can harm my tresses but this cold weather will give me a headache if I go out with wet hair. I had to learn a technique called “sectioning”. I part my hair in “sections” starting from below upwards. I use a huge brush (£1 in Primark) and Babyliss’ turbo dryer (£10 on sale in Boots). I point the dryer downwards to make my hair look as straight as it is in the photo below.



2) Thread my own eyebrows. Back in Manila, I go to the salon twice a month to have my brows cleaned. Now, I had to learn how to use a thread and tweeze my own brows. Youtube became my bestfriend. I also now know how to cut my nails (but with some casualties, I broke one nail yesterday! Hahaha)


3) Dye my own hair. I used to spend a lot of money to have my hair professionally dyed. I recently got tired of my red hair and decided to turn it into dark brown again. I bought a £5 Clairol foam dye and did it all by myself (But thanks to my classmate Aizee for helping me massage my scalp! Hahaha slumber party!). I was done in 25 minutes! What a huge savings from the £55 that a salon here would charge me for coloring. (Notice the inverted Wilkinson plastic bag I cut to serve as a protective cape?! Hahahah)



I used to depend on so many people when I prepare for work in the morning–a househelper to wash and iron my clothes, my dearest cousin/housemate to blow-dry my hair. Sometimes I even ask Karen of David’s salon to go to my unit to iron my hair. Too high maintenance! Now I think I’ve proven to myself that one can live independently and still look good and have fun! Yey to DIY!


Posted in BEAUTY, DESIGN, FASHION, HAIR, Uncategorized



It’s easy to be famous. What’s hard is to stay famous.

After the 15 minutes of fame, the cheers fade away, the lights dim, and the crowd…well, they eventually go home.

But this brand Ray-Ban , it’s not just a one-hit wonder. It has always stayed on top of its game, producing winner eye wear styles year after year since 1937.

It has created so many cool designs that it can now brag of iconic pieces produced and reinvented in different colors to answer the demand of cult followers.

Ray-Ban and I…we met through my uncle Tito Ray (No kidding! His name is really Ray!) He was always in a white shirt, a pair of Levi’s (another classic), and a pair of gold-framed Ray-Bans.

For some reason, I would always reach for Tito Ray’s sunglasses, try them on, and put Sanrio stickers on the lenses. What?! I was a creative kid and I thought The Little Twin Stars were the coolest! Hello Kitty who?! 😛

So Ray-Ban and I, we have a history. And we’ve been through tough times ( How could I possibly go to work the next day after a bad break-up without donning a pair of black Ray-Bans?) and good times (When I travel, I see the world through them).

I don’t normally spend on designer eyewear because most of the stuff that come up are trendy and fade away fast. So I stick to these Icons:

Google Breakfast at Tiffany’s , Blues Brothers, Risky Business, and the two words that convinced me I badly needed a pair: Audrey Hepburn.

What I have though is the smaller edition, the new wayfarer in black and in tortoise. [Tip: When you can’t decide whether you want black or brown, get the tortoise. Best of both worlds. :)]



[SKU Code: RB 2132]

Now this is the boss of all Ray-Bans. The brand was practically built on this style.

According to my know-it-all friend Wiki, after a balloon flight, a certain Lt. John Macready complained that the sun has damaged his eyesight. So he asked Bausch & Lomb to create a stylish eyewear that would protect his eyes from the sun. Bausch & Lomb came up with The Aviator, a thin gold-plated metal frame with green lenses. The US Army Air Corps adopted the design and when General Douglas MacArthur landed on the beach in Leyte, Philippines during World War II and was photographed wearing them, the Aviator’s fame sky-rocketed.

It doesn’t hurt that it was also the famous style that Tom Cruise wore in TopGun. Who wouldn’t covet?

I have it in medium and large. Two-toned translucent lenses in medium so I can wear it even inside buildings and a large greenish black lens to cover my sky-high cheekbones.

[SKU Code: RB 3025]


The Cockpit is a permutation of the Aviator. This pair landed on my lap during a trip to Malaysia. I accidentally dropped it while trying it on. I had no choice but to buy it. It grew on me. Unlike the aviator, I need not adjust it to avoid my huge cheekbones.

[SKU Code: RB 3362]

This caravan is an alternative to the aviators. It has a square frame and a distinctive double bridge.

[SKU Code: RB 3136]

I debuted this one when I took my Alopecia Areata Awareness picture for my friend Abby Asistio. Abby has had Alopecia since she was young. She’s a batch lower than me in high school. It’s hard to miss Abby. Aside from the fact that she’s tall and beautiful, she was always wearing a black hat.

Just recently, Abby came up with an awareness campaign for Alopecia, a hair loss disease that still doesn’t have any cure. She urged her friends to do the “double A” sign and post it on their social networking accounts. She’s doing this to make people aware and to stop the bullying against those who are suffering from this disease.

Read Abby’s story HERE.

This post is very timely because a few minutes from now, Abby, a singer and TV personality, will be holding her concert at Jill’s in The Fort and will show her bald head in public for the first time ever. She’s done hiding under a wig or a black hat. She’s now ready to show the world what a courageous woman she really is! What a gutsy woman indeed! I’m so proud of her!

Just like Ray-ban, Abby Asistio is one Icon of Cool!

Peace out,

Ray-Ban. Never Hide.

Branded Lifestyle Inc. Philippines

Alopecia Areata Awareness



I was a nomad during my freshman year in Ateneo. Since my blockmates and I didn’t “own” a bench, we would squat at the ISO/SEC stairs in between classes. Sometimes, we would spend our breaks in far Sta. Lucia Mall. To this day I still don’t know the ending of the movie Perfect Storm ‘coz we miscalculated the length of the film and had to quickly go back for Sociology class! Pathetic, I know.

On some days I’d join my friend Rica and sit with the basketball players along EDSA Walk since her sister was at that time the girlfriend of a varsity player. It was hard to be the only 2 small girls in a bench full of 6-footers. We had to tip-toe and wave up high just to greet them. 🙂

I couldn’t recall how or when a group of Ateneans from Miriam College High School ( MCHS, formerly known as Maryknoll) including myself gravitated towards each other and occupied one of the benches in SEC B. All 30 (plus or minus) of us now had a permanent bench we aptly called the MC Bench. Our neighboring benches were the “Holy Bench – from School of the Holy Spirit”, “PolSci Bench” and a bench we (secretly?) called the “Pogi Bench”. (Guess it’s not a secret anymore, huh? Hahahaha)

Now these girls and a boy (Hello, Jvic!) would talk about anything and everything under the sun during break. Fast forward to 2012, we still do the same but this time, during annual Christmas dinners, children’s parties, wedding receptions, and YOLO-themed birthday celebrations! 🙂

Tonight was one of those times. Tanya, the president of Handmaids of the Lord MC-Ateneo Chapter (LOL), celebrated her 30th birthday with a fabulous Tea Party.

This party was 5 months in the making. It was the most awaited bench celebration of the year! (Aside from Ditas & Edward’s wedding in December of course!) In fact, I had to delay my flight a few days back just to be able to attend this fun party.

Tanya (who likes to be called by her “heiress name” Tatiana) urged everyone to come in a creative fascinator. Prizes up for grabs served as a good motivation to dress-up and wear a stylish headpiece.

[The birthday girl Tatiana]

I knew I’d wear a piece from Tiara by Tracy Dizon. Tracy was our high school classmate who joined Project Runway Philippines. She found her niche in millinery–creating one-of-a-kind hats and fascinators. I’ve been her client since 2010 when I launched the bodycare line Sakurabella and asked her to create a kimono-inpired fascinator.

Tracy has had collaborations with top designers Veejay Floresca and Joey Samson.

Veejay and Tracy were both contestants at the Japan Fashion Design Contest
in Tokyo and Tracy said that it was Veejay who first believed in her work–

“Veejay gave me the freedom I needed as a designer to create pieces that will complement and not overshadow his gowns. He did not dictate how I should design a piece. Veejay would just give me fabric swatches and I’d take inspiration from that when creating a fascinator or a veil. He respected my own turf.”

Tracy’s pieces start from PHP 3,000 / USD 70. Her workers used to design for internationally acclaimed hat designer Philip Treacy. Tiara by Tracy Dizon is also now available in Tokyo, Japan.

Tracy’s design aesthetic is vintage meets kawaii. Since she graudated with a degree in Clothing Technology at the University of the Philippines, it’s no surprise that she now specializes in sourcing quality fabrics. She also works as a clothing stylist for TV and Print.

[Designer Tracy Dizon wearing her signature cat eyes glasses]

Here are a few of Tracy’s beautiful designs:







Here’s the interesting piece I wore to Tanya’s tea party:


I won best fascinator!


More photos from the party:

[Ladies who Lunch]

[MC Bench Couples]

[My semi-despedida haha!]

[Fabulous Ladies]

More photos by pro-photographer Dale Sta. Rosa.






Photos by Jean San Juan:



This tea party was prepared by Event Planner Kat Canillas and hosted by Atty. Vimari Villamor and ANC TV Producer Billy Jane Ramos for Atty. Tanya “Tatiana” Ramiro.

Your Royal Highness,

Tiara by Tracy Dizon

For text inquiries only: 09275325815.

Facebook Fan Page HERE.

For hands-on party planning needs, contact
Kat Canillas
+63 917 897 5282

Posted in BEAUTY, HAIR


I’m letting you in on a secret. I have my own Browhaus machine inside Jing Monis‘ salon in Greenbelt 1.

Her name is Malou.

For PHP 350/ USD 8 only (exclusive of tip), Ate Malou tweezes (tweeze for humans; pluck for chickens) my eyebrows like nobody else does! Heck, even I don’t have the patience to tweeze my own brows as clean as she does it and I’m already a professional makeup artist!

Mind you, she doesn’t thread my brows. No tears from skin getting tortured by the thread with Ate Malou. All she uses is her pair of red tweezers.
And voila! Expertly shaped and groomed brows!


Now you know who to run to when you’re already looking like Betty La Fea! 😉


Jing Monis Salon
3rd Floor, Greenbelt 1 Mall,
Makati City, Philippines
For appointments, contact 8934098.




My hair has always been hard to manage because I have too much of it! Not complaining because that’s an easier problem to handle than having too sparse like my mom’s. I guess either type has its own pros and cons.

My hair strands are luckily thin. But as I’ve said, I have too much. To dry it in the morning, I need to be in front of a fan for at least an hour (time I usually don’t have so I go to work with wet hair to the amusement of my officemates). Often, I have to apologize to my boss for looking like Morticia Adams for the first few hours of the day. She would always say that I “transform into a human being” only after lunch when I’ve already fixed myself up.

My hair is also very healthy. It’s so lush and sometimes too oily that hair holders lose grip and glide down. It’s frustrating to curl my hair because it straightens within 5 minutes.

Hairdressers have actually advised me to “kill” or “damage” my hair a little bit so it will change its texture and lessen its oiliness. That advice I followed when I was already in college.


I’m a very loyal client. The first ever hairdresser to cut my hair the way I wanted it to flow was Arman Montero of Salon de Orient. I used to follow Arman to wherever salon he would work at. When he went freelance, I asked him to go to my condo every 6 months to cut my hair. He used what he called “in-line” cut technique which texturized my hair in a way that it appears thinner and looks better as it grows longer. Don’t have a photo of Arman but searched the web and found this tiny picture of him. He’s straight, buffed, and sports an afro. 🙂



When Arman went abroad, I was miserable until I heard of Jing Monis. Jing gave me full mega bangs which gained the approval of my father. As a kid, Papa would proudly cut my bangs because he wanted me to look like a doll with my hair framing my huge eyes and prominent cheekbones. I would bawl like a baby coz I wanted to grow my bangs and sport the “one-length” like mama’s. I thought it was really ladylike.


(Jing Monis and I circa 2010)


(with Mama who also goes to whichever salon I tell her to go)

I got tired of the bangs and later on tried the services of Alex Carbonell of Studio Fix through a recommendation of a friend. Alex was formerly from Propaganda Salon. I fell in love with him! He cut my hair the way Arman used to. And he encouraged, not forced me, to go light.


I’ve gotten so many questions about my hair ever since Alex cut and colored it. Even TV personality and friend Patty Laurel had asked me about my tresses.


(Cut by Alex starts at PHP 1,200. Color starts at PHP 2,100)

My brides (makeup clients) would often use my hair as a color peg for when they would go to Studio Fix by Alex Carbonell in Greenbelt 5 to have their hair done. I have five college classmates who are already converts and Alex-believers because of me. 🙂


What I like about Alex is that he’s very prim and proper. He doesn’t come of as boastful despite the many celebrity clients he has been handling. He doesn’t name drop. He treats his clients like they are all equals. I also like that he trains his staff well. Everyone is well-dressed and well-mannered. Alex doesn’t gossip as well. I’ve observed him when he talks to his clients. He doesn’t have the habit of bad-mouthing other hairstylists or even celebrities.

When I asked him how he grows his clientele, he said that he believes in the old school way of doing business and running a parlor–“be professional and meticulous in dealing with each client and they will come back. No need for expensive PR blitz.” He doesn’t have Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram because he likes keeping his life private. He banks on his existing clients to spread the word of his expertise and excellent service. One happy and satisfied client here, obviously! 🙂

When Alex is not around, I entrust my hair for trimming to two of his staff: Hermes and Romeo. It’s my first time to actually have back-up hair stylists in one salon. That’s how much I trust how Alex trains his students. And so far, I haven’t been disappointed.

(Hermes in the middle, cut starts at PHP 500)

(Hairstylist Romeo)

Now I’m a bit worried because I will be moving to London where cost of living is so high, I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford quarterly visits to the salon. I just made the very painful decision of cutting off more than 3 inches from my already very long hair. I really hope I will be able to maintain this. [For those asking, my current hair color is ash brown with medium blonde highlights.]


I will miss Studio Fix so much!







For Studio Fix by Alex Carbonell bookings, call (02) 5013062 and 64.

Feeling Best Tressed,

p.s. Sorry for the d-pics overload 🙂