Monday, June 11, 2012

Newspaper nail art

newspaper nail art

How to do a newspaper nail art:
  1. Paint nail color (white, gray, or whatever light color you want) and let dry completely.
  2. Dip the nails in alcohol for around 5 seconds.
  3. Press a small piece of newspaper firmly against the nail. The ink from the newspaper should now be imprinted in the nails too.
  4. Apply top coat for protection.
This is just the basic steps. To read a more detailed step-by-step instruction, complete with pictures and a video tutorial, visit WikiHow.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: Spa Ingredients organic soaps

So, this is actually the second time that I've bought a batch of organic soaps from Spa Ingredients. It's a local brand that makes handcrafted organic soaps and other organic products.

I've finally gotten my hands on a decent camera, and here are the photos:

spa ingredients organic soaps
Organic soaps from Spa Ingredients
I must say, these soaps smell heavenly. Honestly, it's like you wanna eat them! (My friend Stephanie pointed out that I like food-inspired products.)

A bar of soap only lasts a few days though. It's okay for me, since I like how it lathers up in my skin, but I figured this might be an issue for some people.

organic soaps
This are labeled "indulgent bath treat." Blueberry cheesecake, cookies and cream, dark chocolate, and chocolate vanilla.

chocolate organic soap

Spa Ingredient soaps with variant labels
Spa Ingredients organic soaps have a lot of variants. My favorites are blueberry cheesecake and cookies and cream. These are the indulgent bath treats. They also have a lot of fruit variants such as papaya, kiwi, watermelon, green tea, among others.

The soap costs Php60 each, but if you buy 10 soaps you get 2 soaps for free (that's what I did). For a minimum of 30 soaps, you can get them for a much lower price of Php45.

They do meet-ups in SM Bicutan if I remember correctly, or you can opt to have the products shipped for Php95 if within Metro Manila.

You can check out the Spa Ingredients website to check the list of soap variants (as it's too long to be posted here). The site also features photos of the organic soaps as well as other products.

Since I'm a fan of these, I do hope the brand gets better marketing.

Don't you think these soaps look yummy?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bayo apologizes for the What's Your Mix ad campaign

This is a follow-up from the previous entry on Bayo's What's Your Mix ad campaign.

The clothing company's vice president, Lyn Agustin, issued the following statement:

"We, at Bayo, deeply apologize for the message our campaign—“What’s Your Mix?”—has unintentionally conveyed. We would like to express our regrets to those who have been offended or felt discriminated against.

Our company and our partners have always taken pride in being pro-Filipino as we continue to celebrate our uniqueness and achievements. We believe that being a Filipino will always make you 100% beautiful. It is unfortunate that this message got lost along the way.

We thank everyone who has shown support for our thrust of promoting Filipino beauty, talent, and creativity."

You can read more about this in Yahoo and Interaksyon. ABS-CBN also reports that the clothing brand has decided to junk the whole What's your Mix campaign.

The problem with the Bayo ad campaign is that it sends different messages depending on how you look at it. Look at this one for instance (excerpt from the copy):
Call it biased, but the mixing and matching of different nationalities with Filipino blood is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world class.
You can interpret it as saying that anyone with a Filipino blood is sure to be "beautiful and world class" or you can interpret it as you have to be with a mixed lineage to amount to something.
So it really boils down to the company's ignorance when it showed the ad campaign to the public.


On a side noteBela Padilla stepping out of the shadows FHM cover

This issue is oftentimes associated with another one from the past. Remember FHM's Stepping out of the Shadows cover featuring Bela Padilla? It's not only the African Americans that the magazine failed to consider, but also Filipinos who are naturally brown skinned and Aetas.

Connection? Same ignorance applies.


Are people just overreacting?

The ads divided the public: some are on uproar, and some are saying that there's nothing wrong with the ads. I think the only time you can treat this lightly is if you purposely ignore the implied message of this marketing campaign. I stand by what I said earlier: you can't look at it without taking cultural context into account, and so it goes to say that if you're 100% Filipino and look 100% Filipino, you're not good enough.

It's basically the same reason why whitening products are all the rage, because supposedly the more non-native you look, the cooler you are.

Final say: the ads are more appropriate in a dating site rather than a marketing campaign for a clothing brand.

And kudos Bayo, you got yourself some publicity.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bayo's What's Your Mix ad campaign

So Bayo has been receiving flak over their new What's Your Mix ad campaign, the posters of which you can find below.

bayo ad campaign
Bayo ad with text. This has been since taken down.

Personally -- and I know I'm not the only one who feels this -- I find it offensive. I'm not going to sugarcoat that. You don't even need the text to get the subliminal message, that is, you're not good enough if you're 100% Filipino. You need to have mixed lineage.

twitter reactions on bayo ad campagin
Twitter reactions courtesy of Mashable
This What's Your Mix ad campaign of Bayo has been reported in major websites including Mashable and television networks ABS-CBN and GMA-7.

Let's not remove the context of this ad campaign. In our culture, those that have Caucasian features are viewed as ideal. Just this week I'm thinking of doing a study why and how this has come about, and this ridiculous ad from Bayo pointed out an answer -- it's what the commercial companies want the public to believe. This ad campaign is no better.

Sloppy execution of their marketing campaign? I don't buy that. In marketing campaigns, the copy and the photos to be used undergo a lot of stages of revision and should be approved by the client. Whatever message the photos give is intended.

Those said, I'm 100% Pinay and I know I'm beautiful.

And Bayo, shame on you.

(What about you? What do you think about Bayo's ad campaign?)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Win a Human Heart Nature gift pack!

Human Heart Nature is giving away three Php1,500 worth of gift pack on HHN products of your own choosing. Whoo!

You just have to answer their "Get to Know You" survey. The first three questions are filtering questions, which means that if you answer no---as my friend did lol---to question 2 or 3, the survey ends there and you won't be able to fill out the information form.

Photo credit: Human Heart Nature

You can answer the survey in the HHN website. The survey is up on or before June 15, 2012, so hurry up!

Human Heart Nature is a company that sells reasonably priced and often raved-about organic products in the Philippines since 2008, and they're currently expanding their operations in the United States.

I'm not a dealer or member of Human Heart Nature, but I'll probably be after this since my close friend also happens to love some of their products and is badgering me to fill up a membership form to get discounts.

Friday, June 1, 2012

How shampooing daily kills your hair

We, Filipinos, proudly take a bath daily and shampoo daily. It's a cultural thing. It's always hot outside (here I am again with the weather) and we like to be squeaky clean.

But daily use of shampoo strips the hair of sebum, which is a kind of natural oil that moisturizes the hair, and apparently, dermatologists add that shampooing a couple of days a week is still too much.

*My mental powers hear "that's gross," "my hair will stink" comments.* Before you pellet me with sachets of shampoo (organic, please), read first below.

dry hair

Actually, aside from the fragrance, there's no reason to shampoo your hair daily (those commercials brainwashing again). In fact, over-washing can turn healthy locks into dry hair, in worst cases giving the strands a straw-like look. Aside from stripping the hair of natural oil, the white bubbles on shampoo that we consumers love contain harsh ingredients. We mistakenly associate foams with cleaning. Foams are there only for enjoyment purposes.

What is dry hair like? Stiff and dull and frequently needs detangling. If you're truly unlucky, you probably have dandruff too because apparently those two go hand in hand.


How often should you wash your hair

The issue of how often do you need to shampoo is highly debated (and interesting).

Dermatologists at WebMD say that the longer, thicker, curlier, and more processed hair can go on longer without lathering compared to fine and straight hair. On the same website, it is mentioned that daily shampooing is necessary only when there's high oil production in your scalp.

The New York Times reports that, in 2007, Richard Glover, a radio host in Sydney, Australia, asked his listeners to abandon shampoo for 6 weeks, and 86% of the participants said that their hair is either the same or better.

How to go No 'Poo

Just so you know, No 'Poo is a movement against commercial shampoos, and it utilizes alternatives to shampoo.

There are natural shampoo products and home ingredients you can use, including:
  • A mixture of water and a teaspoon of baking soda to make a paste. Baking soda removes grime while retaining the hair's natural oils. Massage in the scalp and let sit for a minute. Rinse with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. Don't worry, the smell will go away.
hair washed with baking soda
Hair washed with baking soda. Photo credit: onjustacoupleacres
How to use apple cider vinegar according to hair type (from Yahoo Shine)
  • Curly, wavy, long, or thick hair: mix 1/2 cup of vinegar with 4 cups of water, once every 2 weeks
  • Straight, thin, fine, or short hair: mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 cup of warm water, once a week
  • Chemically treated hair: colored, permed, or straightened: mix 1/2 cup of vinegar with 2 cups or warm water, once a month
  • Naturally curly or thick hair: mix 1 cup of vinegar with 3 cups of warm water, once every 6-8 weeks.

 beer as shampoo alternative
  • Beer -- Beer works as hair conditioner and tonic. Dilute with water or simply pour directly in your hair while in the shower.
          Reserve another cup of beer for later. Chug down.
  • Egg yolk -- Egg yolk is mostly protein and is commonly used to treat damaged hair. You can also use it as a shampoo alternative. Just don't rinse off with hot water or you'll cook the eggs.
  • Mayonnaise
  • Dry shampoo -- There are dry shampoo products and there's baby powder.

There's a transition period when you go without shampoo. Your hair may become frizzy or greasy or it may itch. Read about these and necessary solutions in Nature Moms.

So here's the ultimate question we'll go back to: How often do you have to wash your hair? There's no hard rule here; it depends on your hair type (see table on apple cider vinegar as example). As an added note, I don't think the authors of these articles realized how dirty and polluted Manila is -- in fact, it is one of the five most polluted cities in the whole world.

So personally, I'd go for a day or two without shampooing. Besides those natural alternatives, there are organic shampoos now available from different brands and dealers.

Further readings on the subject:
  • If you have curly hair and wants to go shampoo free, read Naturally Curly.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Piece-y pony hair tutorial

Another hair tutorial. :)

I'm sidetracked with her lovely ombre hair.

pony hair tutorial
Photo credit: thebeautydepartment

Friday, May 25, 2012

Filipinas and brown skin

Philippine beach
Photo credit: travelphilippinesnow

For someone unfamiliar with the beauty culture in the Philippines, whitening products are always a surprise.

Bianca Gonzales, actress

People in the Western love to get tan, while we -- having a naturally brown skin or what's called morena -- fight this life-long battle to get fairer skin. I'm saying life-long because the weather here is always sunny (that is, when there's no tropical storms brewing), and it's fruitless to try to stay away from the sun.

Morena skin looks beautiful. It matches up well with bright colors and white. Have you ever seen a morena wearing white bathing suit? The colors are so contrasting it's breath-taking and exotic.

Gals, love your natural colors. ♥

Read more similar items in makeupandbeautyblog and Planet Philippines.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

American Idol finale: Who's your bet?

I know I'll probably get a lot of hate for this since most of the Filipino community support Jessica Sanchez, but honestly I like Phillip Phillips better.

phillip phillips and jessica sanchez
Photo credit: Fox
To tell you the truth I hadn't bothered watching the show (I happen to abstain from television shows), and until my office mate sent me a video link of Phillip Phillips singing Stand By Me, I wasn't aware of him. Watching the video in Youtube, I was like, "omg, his voice..."

Phillip has the *swoon factor* and he has a unique voice. I've been in the Philippines for more than 20 years, and though it's undeniable that Jessica has the voice, I've seen her kind a thousand times. You would too if you live here. Heck, I've watched kids sing better than most international sensations.

Side note: Has anybody else noticed that Jessica looks a bit like Sarah Geronimo?

For me, Phillip is the better performer; he's the artist. He chooses a song and he owns it. He sings it with his style. Jessica has a great voice, but in a couple of songs she lacks emotional connection, which is probably due to her age.

American Idol is not just about having a great voice. It's about being able to perform too, to entertain, to move the crowd.

There, I've said my take. Nothing more to do but wait for the results.


He won! Congrats, you.

phillip phillips american idol winner

Hawaiian floral nail art

Hi guys, just a quick post. I hadn't been able to update this blog lately. Like I said before I've started a business, it's up and running, and besides that I've got a new job and am still settling down. I try to respond to messages/questions as soon as I read them though. :)

Okay, now that's over, here's another nail art.

hawaiian floral nail art
Photo credit: chalkboardnails

The design is inspired by a spring floral nail art in Youtube.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Morning after pill in the Philippines

Hi gals, earlier this week my office mates and I were discussing the Reproductive Health Bill (still pending after a decade in the Congress), and as such, it came to me that a lot of women here in the Philippines are not familiar with different kinds of contraception -- including the morning after pill.

The morning after pill is an emergency contraception taken after an unprotected sex or contraceptive failure (e.g., broken condom) when you're in your fertile period. Simply put, it prevents you from getting pregnant.

It works by keeping the ovaries from releasing eggs. It also contains hormone that thickens the cervical mucus, thus blocking the sperm and preventing pregnancy.

The morning after pill is taken within 3 days after the intercourse. There is, however, a newer version introduced in 2010 that lets you take it within a longer period, that is, within 5 days. You can read more about morning after pill in NetDoctor.

It is best to take the morning after pill as soon as possible. It works best when taken within 12 hours of unprotected sex and is less effective as time passes.

Is it safe? Yes, it has been deemed safe and effective by the US Food and Drug Administration. You can read more about that and other brands of emergency contraception in Emergency Contraception.

Some quick info:
  • Don't take morning after pill if you're already pregnant. It does not terminate pregnancy. A morning after pill is a kind of birth control, not abortion.
  • It also does not prevent pregnancy for any unprotected intercourse that happens after taking the pill.
  • Expect to get your menstrual period within 3 weeks after taking the pill. If not, do a pregnancy test.
  • Your menstrual may come a week earlier or a week later than normal. If it's more than a week late, again, take a pregnancy test.

Morning after pill in the Philippines

First of all, it's highly recommended that you consult an ob-gyn first before taking this pill. A consultation will cost only around Php500, or lower if in local clinics.

Nordette is a popular brand of morning after pill here in the Philippines. It's an over-the-counter drug, which means that you can buy it without prescription. They have it in Mercury Drugstore and Watsons.

Like I said though, it's better to consult an ob-gyn first. Nordette has side effects which might make it unsuitable for you, or your ob-gyne might not recommend it if you're not in your fertile period (e.g., sex happens after your menstrual period).

How to take Nordette:
  • Take Nordette within 120 hours (5 days) of intercourse
  • For the 1st dose, take 4 light-orange pills and, after 12 hours, another 4 light-orange pills as second dose.
Read more about Nordette, including its side effects and contraindications in Pharma-Help.

Gals, this is all there is to it. If you have other other questions, to be safe, consult an ob-gyn.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Parabens: Are your make-up and cosmetic products safe?

It's not true that what you don't know won't hurt you. Ever heard of parabens?

Look at the ingredients in your face and skin products, meaning, lotions, cleanser and moisturizer as well as creams, as well as shampoo and toothpaste. See the word "paraben" in there? Tip: this can be ethyl-, methyl-, butyl-, heptyl-, or prophylparaben.

Okay, if you see it printed there clearly, you might want to reconsider using that product again.

Why? Because you might have unknowingly exposed yourself to paraben dangers: you see, parabens are chemical preservatives linked to certain diseases. If applied on skin, given enough time, these can be absorbed directly into the blood stream.

Check the skin care products you're using!

Why are parabens so controversial?

There's a reason informed customers are shying away from products with paraben and brands are suddenly touting "paraben-free" labels on their products. Parabens are associated with premature skin aging, early puberty and decreased sperm levels in males, and, more importantly, breast cancer. The Breast Health Magazine lists some interesting studies concerning parabens that you might want to check out.

Of these paraben dangers, breast cancer gets perhaps the most attention and focus. Simply put, parabens mimic estrogen, and for decades, it has been known that estrogen is linked with the development and progression of breast cancer. Furthermore, through scientific examinations, parabens were found in breast cancer tissues. You can read more about that in Breast Cancer Fund.

You will be surprised to see that a lot of famous local and international comestic and skin care products use parabens. I have tried browsing around the local department store (SM and Watsons) and checked the known brands we see in tv and billboards, and yes, paraben is almost always listed in the ingredients.

Although for safety purposes I won't mention brands. :)

Does that mean that you should ban the use of parabens?

To be more clear, it is not yet proven whether parabens actually cause breast cancer, but the fact that parabens were found in breast cancer tissues is enough reason to be worried. Paraben might be the cause or simply a contributing factor, but the bottom line is, parabens are there for a reason. Therefore, I think that the mere association of parabens with these is enough for us to be cautious on what products we use, especially us females who are undeniably vain when it comes to our skin.

In simple terms: follow the precautionary principle. It's terrifying to continuously use a certain product only to discover later on that you had been inadvertently exposed yourself to long-term harm.

If you look around stores more carefully, there are always paraben-free products. I think we can all agree that it is always better to be safe than sorry.