Drugstore Beauty Loot

In recent years, we’ve seen such a dramatic shift in interest in all things related to beauty. From what seemed to be just a frivolous ‘hobby’ for women worldwide, makeup artistry is now a serious (and much sought after) profession– and we’ve got beauty vloggers like Michelle Phan, who has millions of YouTube followers, and blogs like Beauty Lookbook, I Covet Thee and Cult of Pretty—to prove it.

Being a beauty junkie can be an expensive thing. It is all too easy to blow wads of cash in makeup stores, but it is also possible to find great stuff that doesn’t break the bank. My favorite source of amazing and cheap finds? Watson’s! Considering it’s technically still a drug store, you would be surprised at the products you’ll find in here. Thus far, I have never entered any branch this store without buying something. Here are some of the best things you can score there:

  1. Nichido Eyebrow pencil– If you by now have memorized the strokes to perfect your eyebrows, there is no reason you can’t work with eyebrow pencils that cost less than Php 100. They get the job done, last for months and cost less than your morning skinny latte! Get the ones from Nichido—they have a dark brown and light brown variety.     eyebrow pencil
  2. Nichido Eyeliner– Ditto above! Nichido also has a great array of eyeliner pencils, from white or beige (to make your eyes look bigger), black (for that edgy kohl liner look), greens and blues (for a pop of color), and brown (for everyday use). Enjoy, girls!  eyeliner
  3. BYS contouring sticks– This thing is a dream! A retractable contouring stick you can easily use to draw in cheekbones, a sleeker jawline, a narrower nose, and a more balanced forehead. You won’t believe how easy it is. Just don’t overdo it ok, or you’ll look like one of those RuPaul drag queens. Think enhancement, not complete alteration of face.  BYS
  4. BYS foundation stick– This brand also has a foundation stick that’s super handy to keep in your purse. All you have to do is dab a few spots on your forehead, cheeks and nose, and blend with a sponge, and you’re done in 2 minutes. The coverage is great and it lasts all day. The only catch is, it doesn’t come in a wide range of colors so there’s a change your skin will not match the shade. A tip—no matter how good the purchase, do not force it if it’s not meant to be. There’s nothing more horrific than a face that’s waaay whiter than the neck/rest of the body, no matter how much blending you attempt to do!  bys-foundation-stick-cool-ivory
  5. Maybelline mascara– As far as mascara goes, Maybelline’s Great Lash can go head to head with any of the luxury brands in terms of performance, and costs less than half of the price of the others. I’ve roadtested it and have remained loyal for years—there’s a reason why this is still the world’s most popular mascara. lash
  6. Gatsby oil blotting sheets– If you have oily skin, the worst thing to do is layering on face powder every time you get shiny. That clogs your pores and causes blackheads and breakouts! A better idea is to blot your skin with these lifesaving little sheets, then spritz with face mist. If your makeup has faded, that’s the time you need to pat on a little face powder. That way you’ll look fresh all day—because oiliness is next to ugliness!  Gatsby
  7. Garnier Brightening Eye Roll On– Of all the products this brand carries, this one is my favorite. Say goodbye to puffy eyebags with just a swipe! It drains the swelling and works like magic, even after long, harrowing nights of watching Game of Thrones episodes.   So yes, I hardly slept for a month—and I consider it a personal triumph that nobody could tell! You need it, I’m telling you. garnier
  8. Petroleum Jelly– Pop quiz. What product can you use to moisturize your elbows, and knees, serves as cuticle cream, removes makeup, does the job of an eyeshadow primer, can be blended to create a gel blush, doubles up as shaving cream, eyebrow gel, thickens eyelashes, and whitens teeth in photos? Oh you didn’t know? Yes baby, that inconspicuous little jar of petroleum jelly is the answer.  vaseline
  9. Ever Bilena Lip and Cheek stain- I’ve always been a fan of a natural flushed look, like you’ve just come from a run or spotted a crush. Compared with blusher, a cheek stain, when applied correctly, looks more natural and less ‘made up’. So I was thrilled to find this product, it creates exactly that effect, and lasts all day too (unless you deliberately wipe it off). I prefer using it only for the cheeks, but it can function as a lip stain too. At less than 200 pesos, that’s a really good deal.  ever bilena
  10. Argan Oil- I’ve been using Argan Oil on my skin and the tips of my hair for the last 7 years and so far not a single wrinkle nor split end has appeared. That, my friends, considering my high stress-high gimmick lifestyle, is an amazing feat—not by me, but by this Godsend of a multipurpose oil. It’s called Instant Glow Moroccan Argan oil, and if you like it as much as I do, you’ll get the bar of soap as well.  argan
  11. Vitresse Hair Cuticle Coat- With this heat and humidity, I am not surprised people are walking around looking like poofed up Persian cats with frizzy hair. To keep your crowning glory sleek and smooth no matter what happens during the day, it is necessary to follow up your blow out with a light hair cuticle coat. So everything can blow up for all you care, but you’ll at least look like you’ve got things under control.  vitresse
  12. GT Carrot Lotion- My friends are going to kill me for publishing this, because we wanted to keep it our secret and hoard the stocks ourselves. But since I’m feeling generous today—ok, yes, this is our favorite lotion. At SPF 60, it doubles up as a strong sunblock, plus gives the skin a pinkish white glow, and it smells great too. Try it for yourself.  carrot


I know where you’re headed right now, girls! Enjoy shopping and tell me if you have some other great beauty finds from drugstores to add to our list!


Beauty Bulletin 2017

Hello darlings! Spring is here, and it’s not only the flowers that need to get blooming. We’re lucky to be living in this day and age of flash technology, where products get upgraded at the blink of an eye. When you read up on all the latest beauty loot below, you can’t help but wonder what they’ll think of next! So get your online shopping face ready, take out those credit cards, and I’ll bet you you’ll be ordering away by the end of this article. Here are the top 10 products I’m excited about for 2017:

  1. Dyson hair dryer– We all know Dyson for their hi-tech cleaning machines, but they’ve gone a step further and created hair dryer that is as quiet as they come! With 3 precise speed settings and 4 precise heat settings, this gadget is going to revolutionize your blowout, not to mention make your husbands very happy! An even better idea—tell him to get you one if he wants to be able to hear anything while you’re doing your hair!  dyson-supersonic-iron-fuchsia
  2. Avene or L’oreal Micellar water– Cleansing oil is a thing of the past, you can say goodbye to that greasy, sticky feeling in this humid tropical climate of ours. These days girls in the know are using Micellar water, which feels literally just like water but deep cleans your face of all gunk—from makeup to waterproof lipstick, deep seated dirt and whatever else. No need to go anywhere near the sink! Just swipe that dirt away with a cotton ball and crash into bed.  loreal
  3. Charlotte Tilsbury Dry Sheet Mask– You know how using those individually wrapped face masks can get super messy? Here’s a mask that’s completely dry, like a sheet of paper. There’s a thing to put on your ears to keep it in place, and the idea is to massage your face for about 30 seconds before the product comes out of the sheet and onto your skin- everything you need from hydration to brightness to smoothness and lift. And you can use it up to 3 times, which is more than you can say for your messy mask.  multi-pack-mask
  4. Cutex BB Nail Concealer– When you’re always getting your nails polished, you know very well that there are periods where you need them to rest and breathe. But you can’t exactly go around with yellow, brittle nails no matter how clean they are! So this BB nail concealer is infused with vitamins to help your nails recover from damage, but hides any discoloration under a healthy, pinkish hue. Nice!  cutex-bb-nail-concealer-0-5-oz
  5. L’oreal Extraordinary Clay Pre-Shampoo Mask– For those of you with oily roots, this clay-texture mask absorbs all that excess oil so that you can clean your tresses properly. Just massage into your scalp for 5 minutes, and when rinsed out, your roots are completely clear and the ends much softer. Who wouldn’t be a fan?  loreal2
  6. Shiseido Synchro Skin Glow– How about a foundation so smart that it knows your skin better than you do? Yes, sounds unbelievable. But this fluid foundation (with SPF 20, mind you) has a special sensing technology that gets in sync with your complexion and adjusts itself throughout the day as your oil levels- and stress levels- change. So you’ll always have that gorgeous glow and just the right level of hydration.  shiseido
  7. Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick– We’ve all used waterproof lipstick, and long-wearing lipstick, but this baby is transfer-proof too. That means, once that color is on your lips, it ain’t going nowhere. No lipstick marks on your teacup, bf’s face, or whatever. And it comes in 30 shades, so you’ll definitely find your perfect match.  urban
  8. Murad Matte Effect Blotting Perfector– This little gem is a cushion compact that contains a serum that immediately absorbs grease, perfect for those besieged with oily skin. It dries down to a clear, velvety finish and goes over your makeup without messing up your perfect blending and contouring. You know that saying ‘oiliness is next to ugliness’… murad
  9. Tweezerman Expertweeze Lighted Slant Tweezer-Even when you tweeze your brows during the day, it can sometimes get difficult to see what you’re doing. This tweezer has a built in LED light and is slanted in such a way that it makes it easier to catch those little buggers of hair strands. How did we even survive without this?  tweezer
  10. HiMirror– Okayyy so I saved the best for last. The Hi Mirror is a data protected smart mirror that not only analyzes your skin but also suggests a customized skincare routine, offer beauty tips and track progress. I am totally sold on this one! Check it out on amazon.com.  Hello Santa baby, any chance you’ll give me my Christmas gift early this year?hi-mirror-640px


I don’t know what my credit card bill is going to look like after this rampage, but hey—your best investment is and will always be yourself. As that famous brand tagline goes, ‘Because I’m Worth It’. Cheers and tell me your kikay stories on muskwie@yahoo.com or Tweet @MiaZamora116.

Beauty for Sale

Mid-kikay conversation with friends, someone piped up that the only reason anybody is ugly these days is that they’re lazy.   I couldn’t help but laugh—how true indeed! There’s a solution out there for every malady, and any ‘ugly duckling’ can transform into an exquisite swan.   Just look at the transformations of certain showbiz personalities and you can see that nothing is impossible with the help of science. We ended up talking about and comparing treatments, some based on our own experience, some based on what we’ve seen on others, and here’s the round up of the best ones we’ve tried:

For the Hair:

  1. Keratin Treatment- If you have dry, frizzy, stubborn hair and keep going to the salon for blowouts when you want to look good, this treatment will be nothing short of a miracle. It infuses keratin back into the strands so the result is shinier, stronger, perfectly put together hair all the time. Most top notch salons offer this treatment, and yes it can be quite costly—but it is worth it if it means months and months of ‘good hair day’ everyday.


    Straight, glossy hair 24/7

  2. Digital Perm- If your hair is flat, boring and lacks body, a digital perm on the ends can give you a whole new look. You’ll come out sporting sexy, effortless waves and a big smile. It lasts quite long too, even more than a year for some, or until you cut your hair.


    Fancy these curls?

For the Face:

  1. RadioFrequency Facial– If your issue is a round face and you want to create a tighter, more contoured shape– aside from a low carb diet, this is the way to do it. RF is a non-surgical method of tightening loose or sagging skin, especially on the cheeks, mid face, jaw line and neck. It is best for those in their mid 30s to 50s who don’t need or want a surgical face lift. The procedure is quite fast, and there is no downtime too. For some, results can be seen even after the first treatment, while for others it takes about 3-5 successive treatments spaced a month or so apart to see a noticeable difference. There is also a more advanced version of this treatment, mostly known as Thermage or Ulthera, which can significantly ‘melt’ away fat on your cheeks and give you that elusive V shaped face.


    Official photo from the Thermage site

For the Skin:

  1. Fractional Resurfacing– If you have acne scars and craters, large pores, and chicken pox marks, this treatment is for you. It ‘burns’ the skin surface with light, allowing new skin to grow. The result is shallower acne scars, diminished dark spots, and less visible pores. You will need some down time though, because you emerge from it with a very red face, and in the next few days there will be quite a bit of peeling that occurs. Nothing you can’t manage with some cream concealer and powder, and definitely worth it in terms of what your skin will look like after a couple of sessions.


    See the difference!

  2. Glutathione– I am all for loving the skin color you were born with, and if anything—the Miss Universe title of our bronze goddess Pia Wurtzbach proves that you do not need to be fair skinned to be beautiful. However, there are such things as uneven skin tone and discolorations, which glutathione can correct. Now, some glutathione products come in the form of soaps and creams, some are ingested via tablets, but the most immediate results come from the IV glutathione which is injected directly into your bloodstream. 10 vials plus a corresponding dose of Vitamin C will give you a significant ‘glow’ noticeable in person and on photos, and can also lighten dark areas such as elbows, knees, underarms, etc. You will need to maintain it though to keep the results, and of course as with all other treatments, make sure to consult a doctor first before taking anything.

For the Teeth:

  1. Teeth Whitening– Nothing ages the face more than having yellow, coffee-stained teeth! One of the best things you can ever do for your general appearance is to work on a megawatt smile. You can see your dentist for a professional whitening treatment, which can make your teeth several shades whiter. If you want a less extreme version, use one set of Crest whitestrips once a year along with its corresponding whitening toothpaste. Another option as a home remedy is to make a paste out of baking soda and a few drops of hydrogen peroxide and apply it onto your teeth with a Qtip, keep on for about 10 minutes, and rinse off. Be careful not to overdo this though as it can make your teeth extra sensitive and even brittle.


    Crest whitestrips FTW

For the Eyebrows:

  1. Microblading– When I was about 10 years old, I remember watching my mom get her eyebrows tattooed. Sure, the result was nice for a time but after a few years the tattoo turned into some kind of strange bluish color that she needed to cover with brow pencil anyway. These days, the ultimate eyebrow treatment comes in the form of microblading, which requires extensive training to perform. Basically they resurrect your eyebrows by tattooing individual hair strands onto them, looking completely natural and perfectly shaped afterwards. I just had them done, and despite the two days of itching and peeling eyebrows, I am totally over the moon with the result. Finally, no need to draw on or powder on my eyebrows! And yes, your eyebrows make a world of difference because they frame your face. Just look at the 1990s version of Drew Barrymore’s eyebrows versus today and see for yourself!


    Here’s the before and after of microblading.  Awesome work!

For the Eyes:

  1. Lash extensions– I don’t know how a few extra hairs on the eyelid can completely change a person’s appearance, but they definitely do. Having thicker, fuller, upturned eyelashes give you a pretty, feminine look—so much so that you can even skip eyeshadow and eyeliner altogether! Try out a lash extension service, where they individually glue on every strand of hair onto your eyelid, lasting about 3-4 weeks. Be careful not to rub your eyes or expose them too much to water, and just fan your eyes when they sting from the glue. Also, moderation is key—ask for a length close to your original lashes so they look natural instead of costume-y.


    Yup, doll eyes it is.

  2. Colored contact lenses– Many of us were born with very dark eyes, and we wonder what we would look like with different eye colors like blue, hazel, green, or gray. Luckily we can now try them all on thanks to colored contact lenses! Make sure you always wash your hands carefully when you handle them, and never fall asleep wearing them. Replace disposable contact lenses on their due dates, and clean and store them properly after use.


    Or try a Kate Bosworth and wear one hazel eye and one blue eye.  So pretty!

For the Lips:

  1. Permanent Lipstick– If you have very pale or discolored lips (from smoking, etc), there’s a solution for you too. A lipstick tattoo! The procedure entails tattooing your color of choice onto your lips, so you literally eat, drink, swim, sleep, and wake up not having to worry about looking too pale or having to apply lipstick every hour or so. Yes, those who have undergone this have said that it hurts quite a lot, but for the convenience it brings afterwards, they would definitely do it again.


    What a semi-permanent lipstick tat looks like


As a last word of advice—make sure you only see licensed, professional practitioners for all of these treatments and procedures! Never mind if it costs a bit more, as long as you’re sure it is safe and effective. Also, remember that any ‘beauty’ these treatments bring are only skin deep. They help boost your confidence and self esteem, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But more importantly, work on the beauty that goes beyond what the eyes can see. Character always far outweighs appearance.


2016 It Girls

What makes an ‘It Girl’? I’ve thought about that question so many times and still can’t find a perfect answer. We’ve seen the likes of Kate Moss, Liv Tyler and Winona Ryder of the 90s, Angelina Jolie, Mischa Barton and Sienna Miller of the early 2000s, and Blake Lively et. al. of 2010 zoom into everyone’s radar, fascinating girls and guys alike. There are celebrities more famous than them, sure—‘It Girls’ are normally not even in the mainstream. There are women far more beautiful, more talented, or more accomplished. But these girls, they’ve got something different. It’s almost like a magnetic sex appeal, without being overtly sexy. A sense of mystery, without needing to broadcast every little detail of their lives or screaming for too much attention. They’re young ingénues, but they seem to be made of a deeper substance, and have a mature, creative view of the world. It’s a cool, reassured, confident sense of nonchalance, as though saying—‘here’s a glimpse of who I am, but no one will ever really know everything about me’.

We all know these types. They are at our high school and college halls, at our local celebrity scene, and of course on the international circuit. So who are our global ‘It Girls’ of today? Let’s do a run down and take our style cues from here:

  1. Gigi Hadid– This half-Palestinian model is the ultimate golden girl, with blonde waves, blue green eyes, a killer bod and perfect toasty tan. She’s got 12.2 million followers on Instagram and is the current obsession of every red-blooded male on the planet. She has been the cover of at least 3 different international Vogue issues, has done Sports Illustrated, and worked on high fashion campaigns like Chanel and Balmain. Her mom was a formel model, her stepdad is music icon David Foster and her BFF is Kendall Jenner, who comes next in our list.


    Gigi Hadid, photo from Vogue Brazil

  2. Kendall Jenner– Unlike the other members of her family, I dare say this one has the only semblance of class and glamour. Strikingly beautiful and stylish without trying too hard, she was ‘discovered’ because of the Keeping Up With the Kardashians show but has really blossomed into her own brand in the modeling industry. She has worked in Chanel, Givenchy, Elie Saab and Balmain campaigns, is the face of the Estee Lauder brand, and was recently admitted to the coveted Victoria’s Secret Angels clique. Oh, and did I mention her 24.6 million Instagram followers?


    Kendall Jenner, photo from http://www.popsugar.com

  3. Olivia Palermo– Such elegance, this one! An American socialite and model, she first came into the scene via a 2009 show called ‘The City’ with Whitney Port and the rest of their posh posse. This crew is the real Gossip Girl cast! She’s done several ad campaigns as well, but is really better known for her picture perfect life with hubby Johannes Huebl, her dog Mr. Butler, and her flawlessly put together outfits. 3 million Instagram followers under her belt.


    Olivia Palermo, photo from E! Online

  4. Jennifer Lawrence– Everyone’s darling JLaw was ‘discovered’ when she was nominated for an Oscar for her breakout performance in ‘Winter’s Bone’ at only 20 years old.   She showed up in a slinky red gown, blonde waves, and sweet smile, and the world was captivated. Add that with being cast as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, then the young Mystique in X-Men, and winning the Oscar for ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, and you’ve got yourself a superstar. But instead of being so distant and hard to reach, this girl is totally grounded, manages to poke fun at herself, dances on top of a piano at a Billy Joel concert, and even fell flat to the ground on her way to pick up her Oscar. How can anyone not love her?


    JLaw stepping out for the first time at the Academy Awards

  5. Cara Delevinge– The eyebrows that launched a thousand campaigns. This British model was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, growing up in one of the wealthiest districts of the world. She’s mostly known for her work in Burberry and Chanel, although she has walked for nearly all the major fashion houses to date, making her one of the world’s greatest supermodels and one of the most influential people too, based on her social media following (25.9 million on Instagram). She also appeared in the movie Paper Towns, playing an It Girl too, and has signed up for major films in the works. Cara has talked about battling depression, and is a big animal lover too.


    Cara Delevingne, photo from Marie Claire UK

  6. Emma Watson– Hermione’s all grown up, and what a fabulous job she’s done at it! She’s managed to transition to adulthood sans the drama and wild antics of shaving her head bald a la Britney Spears, or going completely nuts a la Miley Cyrus. This girl has been classy and fabulous all the way. Aside from the extremely popular Harry Potter franchise, she also appeared in ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’. She has modeled for Burberry and Lancome, while pursuing studies at the prestigious Ivy League school Brown University and Oxford University. She is also a UN Goodwill Ambassador and a certified yoga and meditation instructor.


    Emma Watson, photo from Us Magazine

  7. Karlie Kloss– This stunner has a very distinct type of beauty. She’s American with Danish roots, has modeled for nearly every major fashion label, and is a Victoria’s Secret angel too. She’s known for a very strong runway walk, being the ‘face’ of campaigns like Loreal, Nike, Gaultier and Louis Vuitton, and aside from modeling has also done some hosting jobs for MTV. Her BFF is the music icon Taylor Swift, and their travels and adventures are often shared on Instagram with her 3.9 million followers. Karlie is also a coder (as in computer), and has a scholarship fund for young girls interested in computer science. Plus she bakes cookies and has collaborated with the popular Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC for a special Karlie’s Kookies recipe, for the benefit of less fortunate children.


    Karlie Kloss, photo from W magazine.com

  8. Hailey Baldwin– Recent headline maker since she became Justin Bieber’s main squeeze. She’s the daughter of Stephen Baldwin, niece of Alec Baldwin, BFF of Kendall and Kylie Jenner as well as Gigi Hadid, and has been in several all-American brand campaigns like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. At 19 years old and with 4.1 million Instagram followers, it looks like she’s still got a lot of room to grow, so this is one to watch.


    Hailey Baldwin, photo from Glamour.com

  9. Georgia May Jagger- When you’re the daughter of a rockstar (Mick Jagger), a model (Jerry Hall), are Brit, and a model yourself—I think that automatically gets you ‘It Girl’ status. Georgia May is the face of Rimmel cosmetics, and has represented Chanel, Miu Miu, Versace and Vivienne Westwood. She has full lips and a striking, gap-toothed smile (and is probably the reason it became cool to have one). Yes, girls in China, the US and Korea are getting surgery to have gap teeth!


    Georgia May Jagger for Bazaar magazine 

  10. Suki Waterhouse- Here’s the final member of the British It Girl squad (Cara, Georgia, and Suki). She is also a model and has done work for UK brands like Burberry and Marks and Spencer among others, and is a photographer, with her work appearing in London galleries and exhibitions. Suki is also famous for being the girlfriend of Hollywood bachelor Bradley Cooper, and has about 900k followers on her Instagram account.


    Suki Waterhouse for Elle magazine 

So that rounds up our top ten list, ladies! Choose a peg and get pointers for style, but don’t ever forget to be you, do what makes you happy, and live your life, because regardless of what other people think of you, you are IT to yourself and those who love you.

The 2015 Kikay Gift List

I’m back from the Big Apple and crashed right into the holiday madness in the Philippines– land of the 10,000 Christmas parties, with matching gift exchanges, out-of-this world traffic jams, sudden typhoons, and a major, major Miss Universe soap opera brouhaha. What a fabulous welcome home!

After shopping for all your friends and family, the long list of godchildren, office colleagues, service people, manitos and manitas, and everyone else in your NICE list, don’t forget the most important person of all: yourself! It has, after all, been quite a year—you’ve worked hard, made friends, achieved big goals, weathered storms and sorrows—and you do deserve a reward.

Here is a list of what every Kikay girl wants to find under the Christmas tree or inside her Christmas stocking (there’s still New Year’s if you didn’t make it to Christmas Day!).

  1. Rouge Louboutin– This lipstick must have made a record beeline at the top of every glamorous gal’s must-have list the very second it came out. With its sassy packaging and traffic-stopping colors, it’s just irresistible. You’d have better luck ordering online though, it was sold out in every store I visited!

    Rouge Louboutin

    If this ain’t love…

  2. Marc Jacobs Decadence– Have you ever seen a perfume bottle so gorgeous you would pounce at it without even knowing what it smells like? This baby is one of them. In a brilliant shade of green straight out of Emerald City, a gold chain and tassel, it’s pretty enough to carry around on a fierce night out. And the fragrance? Sensual, luxurious, and woody, with a scent of Italian plum. Gotta get it.


    I need you in my life!

  3. Naked 3– We all know Urban Decay’s Naked 1 and 2 became cult favorites, and it’s likely that you have either one (or both) in your makeup arsenal case already. But check out Naked 3- sweet and sophisticated, its palette is perfect for everyday (or day to night) use and brings out a flirty, feminine glow.


    Tickled pink!

  4. Nike Flyknit– This is the perfect pair to inspire you to whip your derriere into shape for a fit and healthy 2016. I’m not a sneaker person at all but even I gasped when I saw these. Lighter, faster, gorgeous and functional, it comes in a variety of colors and even has lunar (glow in the dark) ones. Totally worth the splurge!


    Stop and stare!

  5. A Luxe Robe and proper lingerie– What better way to relax towards the end of 2015 than to turn your home into a spa and slip into a comfy satin (or terry) robe, light up the scented candles, pour yourself a glass of wine, and listen to a bit of jazz? No really. Pajamas, tank tops and boxers are cute for a 14 year old. Time for an upgrade.


    Off to bed in style

  6. Coffee Maker or Juicer (whichever applies)– Ensure great mornings the whole year through by investing in either a great coffee maker for that perfect brew, or a juicer for all the detox days you intend to have—and probably need!
  7. Anything Bespoke or Monogrammed– There is nothing more ‘special’ than something made especially for you! Whether it’s a monogram pendant, stamps, stationery, towels, trays, glassware, cheese boards or other essentials, you’re off to a classy start with these. Check out the Customized Chic page on Facebook or Oliver and Maude on Instagram for the best items I’ve seen so far.
  8. Activity Tracker – Help yourself (or a dear friend) jumpstart a healthy lifestyle with a Fitbit tracker or the Nike Fuel + Band, which can count calories, monitor exercise and activity, food, weight and and sleep– thereby promoting weight loss and overall well-being. Make 2016 all about becoming a better version of yourself!


    Get movin’

  9. Anything community related– Here’s the gift that keeps on giving! Get yourself and your best girls items made locally, to uplift and support our own communities. They can be food items (check out the Echo Store for lots of great ideas), personal care (like Human Heart Nature), home cleaning essentials (Messy Bessy), clothing and fabrics (Anthill), and so on!
  10. Art– Want something that will last forever and will always make you happy and proud everytime you see it? Then go buy art. You will never outgrow or tire of it, and there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to choose. I am particularly proud of my lovely friend Golda King, who recently held her solo exhibit here in Cebu, and whose works are the latest buzzword in the Philippine art scene. Visit some of our galleries in the city such as Qube or 856 G for amazing finds!


    Speaking of art, why not make some yourself?

  11. Kim K’s waist shapers– If you would like an hourglass, Jessica Rabbit-meets-KimK-figure, the secret, apparently, is a latex waist shaper. Wear it over a tank top while working out, or under your regular clothes the rest of the time, and enjoy two inches or more immediately off your waist!



  12. A Kindle, or lots of books– Make a list of all the books you would like to read in 2016, and make sure they’re not just the romance or chick-lit kind. Balance out biographies with management/leadership books and some interesting fiction, plus perhaps a bit of self help, and you’re set. Some suggestions: ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek, ‘Strengthsfinder 2.0’ by Tom Rath, and ‘The Good Girl’ by Mary Kubica.
  13. Apple x Hermes watch– Okay, we are talking about Apple, one of the best, most tech advanced companies in the world. And Hermes, the supreme deity of leather goods. They have created a watch together, which not only tells time, but pays for bills, keeps you in touch, monitors activity, plays music, greets friends on their birthdays, and performs many more wonders. This is one of those things that remind you that you’re totally living in the Future. I wish I could rush back and tell my 10 year old self about it!

    apple-and-hermes-unveil-luxurious-takes-on-the-apple-watch-01-570x905-378x600 (1)

    Talk about form and function!

  14. The Chloe Drew bag– I do not have enough superlatives to describe this year’s ultimate It bag. It can go from day to night, is fancy enough to catch attention yet classic enough to remain relevant for years and years to come. Very, very gorgeous. It’s just that it costs and arm and a leg, but yes, this baby is super worth it.


    This makes me want to cry!

  15. A Dog– If all you want for Christmas is pure, unconditional love—get yourself a dog. It’s the best way to practice giving love yourself, as well as responsibility. I’m all about Boo the adorable Pomeranian, but my mother had other ideas and came home with an Ewok. Nevertheless I love the little monster to bits, and waking up to his little barks and waggy tail is the best part of my day.


    Meet my very own Ewok! 🙂


Merry Christmas and a fun, fabulous 2016 to all of you Kikays out there! Cheers!

Let it Snoe!

I’ll let you guys in on a secret. In all my years of road testing and experimenting on all sorts of beauty products and cosmetics, one important realization I made is that the price or origin of an item has no direct correlation on its quality or performance. I’ve found that sometimes, drugstore brands do a better job than very luxurious, high-end items, and more importantly, that local products can also very well out perform its imported, more established (and more expensive!) counterparts.

Forgive me for getting all choked up, but I just watched the movie Heneral Luna and part of its effect on me is the desire to give justice to our own products, our own entrepreneurs, our own businesses, which provide jobs and livelihood to our fellow Filipinos. *By the way please find a way to watch this movie if you haven’t already.

Enter Snoe, a local cosmetic brand that has been my favorite for years now. My relationship with this brand started when I was walking by its stall at a mall in Manila and caught sight of the packaging of some of their items. They had a cheeky, retro feel to them, with clever puns too and I thought to myself, ‘this must be a new foreign brand’. I ended up hoarding lots of stuff, from the Hair Heroes shampoo, the Beauty Sleep soap, the detox whitening clay mask to name a few…and imagine my surprise when their perky salesperson told me that it was all local! I was so happy and proud that such a brand exists that we can call our own (and a little jealous that I hadn’t thought of it myself, hahaha). So anyway, I was really impressed with their products so I have remained a loyal customer since. Here are some of my must haves:

  1. Hair Heroes Shampoo in Drunken Master– Since I have slightly problematic hair that becomes weighed down and lifeless by midday, this really did the trick for me. It has beer hops (I’m guessing that’s why the pun Drunken was put in), barley, apple cider vinegar and egg white. Zero sulfates. And the effect of all these is to purify and clarify your hair from product buildup, mineral deposits, residue and excess oil so that it becomes healthier, shinier, and enables other products to be absorbed better. I use it at least once a week or a little more frequently when my hair looks dull and lifeless. For those who have oily scalps or lackluster strands–highly recommended indeed.  3-Hair-Heroes-Drunken-Master-Creme-Wash-with-Beer-Hops-+-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-+-Barley-+-Egg-Whites-400x400
  1. Hair Heroes Intense 5-in-1 Conditioner– Personally, I find anything with Moroccan argan oil in it is worth its weight in gold. This one is a fantastic product that brings back the shine, fixes damage and split ends, and does a multi-purpose job as a cleansing or rinse-out conditioner, a deep moisturizing hair mask, a leave-on detangler and even a shaving cream. It is especially beneficial for those with colored, permed, rebonded, or chemically treated hair, and can also lessen hair fall. What more can you ask for in a conditioner?   1-Hair-Heroes-Intense-Argan-5-in-1-Cleansing-Conditioner-400x400
  1. Snoe White Soaps– Oh we’ve got lots of choices here. There’s a soap with intense glutathione. There’s one with citronella. Another that exfoliates with oats. One with licorice. And yet another with Kojic acid. It’s pretty much a whitening cocktail meant to lighten bothersome dark areas in your skin. Let me clarify, I do not necessarily advocate whitening as a means to ‘beautify’. Real beauty is loving the skin you were born with. However, if you have areas you need to ‘work’ on, like underarms, elbows, knees, groin, etc—any of these whitening soaps would work like a charm.  snoe white
  1. Eau La La Magical liquid cream– This one is a cream that turns into liquid so it’s quickly absorbed by the skin. It can brighten, revitalize, and fade out discolorations or spots because it’s got chia seeds and prune extract– a strong anti oxidant that protects against free radicals. Plus, being a moisturizer, it makes your skin more supple and less fatigued. Try it and after about a week of consistent use, you really will say ‘ooh la la!’  eau-lala-without-bg-309x400
  1. OMG Energy Facial Scrub– If you’re one of those people that drag their feet in the morning, wishing you could snooze just a few minutes longer (like me), this facial scrub is just what you need to perk up! It has micro-circulating action that increases cell energy levels and enhances your radiance and glow, even after a long night out. Ingredients include mangosteen, minerals and baker’s yeast. So whenever you need a zing, this facial scrub is definitely the thing.  omg
  1. Here Comes the Sun Block– It ain’t summer anymore but we still need to use sunblock every day, because yes the harmful UV rays can still penetrate our skin through the clouds (umm..duh) and cause wrinkles, dark spots and discolorations. This lotion is a strong SPF 45 and contains turnip (as in singkamas). It moisturizes, protects against sun and UV damage, and works as an anti-oxidant. I usually hate sunblock lotion because it’s so heavy and oily, so I was quite happy to discover that this lotion uses a non-grease, paraben free formula. I like the size that fits nicely into my handbag, and they have it in a 100ml size too. Remember that commencement speech that vent viral in the 90s… forget everything, just trust me on the sunblock.  2-Here-Comes-The-Sunblock-Instant-White-SPF45-with-Bengkoang-300ml-400x400
  1. SABStance High intensity Blush– Ok, everybody needs a little ‘tickled pink’ moment, but you can create the look yourself with this powder blush. Complete with Amazonian clay, Pomegranate, Acerola cherry and Acai berry extract, and created by the internationally trained makeup artist, beauty blogger and you tube makeup adviser Sabs Hernandez, you’ll love the natural ‘blooming’ look it gives you. My shade is X2 Patience, what’s yours?



  1. Rouge deluxe lipstick– Not only does this lipstick give you rich color and a buttery crème finish, it also works as a complete lip care product because it contains argan oil, sunflower, macadamia, grape seed, avocado and rosehip.   So while making you look pretty, it also nourishes, revitalizes and softens your lips to be extra…ehrm…kissable!  rouge
  1. Super Fresh Dry Shampoo- On those days where your hair just feels extra limp, or a bit greasy from the humid weather, this dry shampoo with sage and peppermint can breathe life back into your crowning glory.   You can throw all your ponytail holders and bad hair day disguises away because from now on, every day is going to be a best hair day!  dry shampoo
  1. Make Out Cleansing Oil– After a big night out with heavy makeup, smoky eyes, the works… the last thing you want to do when you get home is wash off your makeup. Plus since a lot of that stuff is waterproof, you’ll need to scrub extra hard to get the gunk off your face! Very bad for the skin. This cleansing oil is a total blessing because it literally just melts the makeup while you lightly rub it on your face, then you can wipe it all off and go to bed. The next day you’ll wake up with clean, soft skin (and clean pillows too).  makeout

That wraps up my Snoe top 10! Check out their whole product list at www.snoebeauty.com and rush over to the Snoe store at the 2nd Floor, New Wing, Ayala Center Cebu and at Metro Gaisano. You can tweet me your favorites too @miazamora116. Here’s to beauty, and to fabulous Filipino ingenuity.

Rocking Rainy Days

We are, my friends, experiencing the last of the scorching heat waves this summer has brought us.  If you have lived it up (as you should), your skin should be pretty tanned by now, your smile bigger, your heart lighter– and you’ve soaked up enough sun, sea and good vibes to gear up for the rainy days ahead.  Now it’s time for ‘regular’ programming—school starting, work resuming after all those sojourns out of town, and so on…but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop!  Here are some suggestions for rocking your rainy days:

  1. Keep color in your life.  You may not be prancing around in a bikini but you can always still look bright and vibrant with bold colors and prints.  There are many ways to inject color into your wardrobe—use a fun umbrella, dress up an outfit with a striking cardigan or parka, wear that bright pink lipstick, accessorize with a pretty scarf, or keep wearing your tangerine or lemon colored bag.  You’re sure to be a sight for sore eyes, no matter how gray the weather is outside.

    Literally carrying sunshine around :)

    Literally carrying sunshine around 🙂

  2. Use patent leather and jelly shoes. If you think your shoes will be exposed to some sprinkle, patent leather is the way to go—it won’t absorb water as fast and is easy to wipe off as soon as you find cover.  Sure beats getting canvas or certain types of leather shoes all soggy the whole day.  The same thing applies with jelly sandals and flats–just make sure you don’t run as you might slip on wet floors!

    The Tory Burch jelly Reva flats

    The Tory Burch jelly Reva flats

  3. Whip out the jackets. It’s a whole new season to experiment with your clothes and bring out your favorite jackets!  There’s the hoodie, the bomber jacket, the short trench, the denim jacket, the parka…the list goes on and on.  Go ahead and pretend every day is a fashion show!   Time to take your Doc Martens out for a spin too, they look totally cute with a dress and jacket.

    The boots and leather leggings aren't necessary here, but that jacket I love. :)

    The boots and leather leggings aren’t necessary here, but that jacket I love. 🙂

  4. Overhaul your makeup. Embrace the new season with new colors.  Put away the bronzer for now and focus on fresh pastels, or a mod look.   Contouring is gradually phasing out, and ‘strobing’, or highlighting certain areas with an iridescent cream, is the new rage.  Then wear sweet blushes and glossy lips (or bright red matte lipstick) and you are all set to bloom your way through the showers and thunderstorms.

    All I want for Christmas is MAC strobe!

    All I want for Christmas is MAC strobe!

  5. Have a ‘night in’ instead. If it’s too much hassle to go out, find parking, and walk all the way from the car to wherever you’re meeting your friends, why not host a mini party indoors instead?  Just order pizza, bring out the Cranium or Taboo board game, uncork the wine, or watch some cheesy DVDs.  Nothing fancy, but sometimes just the right amount of fun.

    Another super fun party game.

    Another super fun party game.

  6. Make a rainy day reading playlist. Delicious rainy nights call for staying curled up in bed with a good jazzy playlist and an equally good book.  Add a cup of fragrant tea or hot chocolate and you’re in heaven.  Spotify can help with the playlist, and as for books…to each her own, of course, but I would like to recommend “Hector and the Search for Happiness”.  It is just so charming and you’ll surely be happier for it.

    Read this!!!

    Read this!!!

  7. Experiment with your hair. Keep things interesting with a variety of hair experiments, because keeping it loose may get a bit complicated in this humid, moist, or rainy weather.  Try out neat braids, a high ponytail, or a ballerina bun.    Don’t use a lot of product, the last thing you want is for all of it to get matted in and make strands look greasy.  If you must let your hair down, use your hair straightener and some hairspray (or better yet, get a Keratin treatment).   Good luck to all of us!

    Kate Bosworth and her ballerina bun

    Kate Bosworth and her ballerina bun

  8. Wear more dresses.   It is so not fun to be moving around in drenched jeans!  Dresses keep your legs bare, so you won’t have to endure wet fabric for long.  Also, always keep a stash of tissues and wet wipes in your bag to remove any raindrops or traces of mud.

    There's a reason she was called Queen B.

    There’s a reason she was called Queen B.

  9. Enjoy indoor activities. Since you’re staying in a bit more this season, why not bake some cookies and smell the aroma of yumminess all over your house?  You can make it a fun activity you’re your mom, your friends or your kids.  If baking is not your thing, you can also try art or crafting.
  10. Dance in the rain. I remember this quote:  “Life isn’t just about weathering the storm, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”.  So despite things not quite going your way, keep moving, keep trying, keep praying, keep living, and keep finding ways to be happy.  That’s the best thing you can possibly learn, regardless of the season.  Dance