Thursday, December 31, 2009


As I am writing this, I am home with yet another respiratory infection (good gravy, these things are an annual thing for me), so it does sound like I'm ending 2009 the same way I started it: in terrible health. Many things have happened in between, though, and 2010 looks quite optimistic in comparison - especially with a new teaching job in January, with a possibility of a renewed career in education down the pike. So, in the spirit of New Year's Eve, I will put forth some of my hopes for 2010.
  • Concentrate more on making my own "good" than reacting to other people's "bad."
  • More running, more yoga, more dancing.
  • Also: more vegetables, more fruit, more soup, more herbal tea.
  • Definitely more decaf.
  • Hopefully more time for books.
  • More pictures to post on this blog.
  • More... um, material of note to post on this blog. (Hee.)
  • Meditation. As often as possible.
  • Give up on the dating/marriage thing, for now, so I can fully concentrate on what really matters: God, career, family, and friends.
  • Better grooming. My new job has a strict policy regarding good grooming, but they'd rather you show up on time than blame your tardiness on your style issues. Therefore, I resolve to bring makeup and a hairbrush to work.
  • Start working on an honest-to-goodness schedule - for work, for home, for everything - and stick with all of it.
  • Create more room for empathy. Or, at the very least, diplomacy and mutual respect, even for those who disagree with me.
Until then, I wish you all a safe and wonderful beginning to your Happy New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide, Part 2: Pinoy Holiday Gifts

Apologies for the lag time; I've been preoccupied with some stuff relating to my new job in January (spoiler alert!) and now I have to prepare for BroMei's upcoming visit to the Hacienda this week. On to the entry currently in progress...

Unfortunately for us, you will not find any puto bumbong, or any other holiday treat from the Philippines, in this entry. That's because we're turning our attention to our Filipino friends and relatives overseas, who are either terribly homesick or at least curious about the big to-do about anything Pinoy-related. There has been a significant increase in product quality for many "Pinoy" products in the last few years - be it products from Philippine companies, or goods created by Filipinos for the international market - so now's a good time to check 'em out.

(Disclaimer: No samples were provided by the manufacturers for this story. Yep, not even the manufacturers of puto bumbong... darnit!)

For the glamazon Pinay: While the Filipino fashion press continues to rave about our countrymen conquering the global market (Monique Lhuillier, Rafe Totengco, Bea Valdes, etc.), not much has been written about makeup-artist-to-the-stars Mally Roncal. Leaving aside any theories about ethnicity and aesthetic taste here, I think that part of the reason why she's been slept on in the local press is because her eponymous line, Mally Beauty, has yet to be made available locally... or at least legally, through an actual brick-and-mortar Manila retail outlet. Until that happens, though, let me save everyone the trouble of going through QVC by providing some Amazon Associates links to a few Pinay-friendly Mally products.

As an extra bonus, here's Mally extolling the virtues of a quintessential Filipino favorite: Jufran Banana Sauce! (From one Pinay to another, Mal: Jufran has always been considered "ghetto ketchup" in this household! Bless.)

For the glamazon Pinay, TFC edition: As tacky as it would be for me to suggest a "skin whitener" in this blog, I have to throw some love to the celebrity-endorsed Belo Essentials skincare line. For one thing, I have a (non-Filipino) friend who's super-impressed by the moisturizers in this line, which were developed by celebrity dermatologist Dr. Vicki Belo and her BeloMed team.* Then there's the Smoothening Whitening Bar, which recently got kudos from Preview's Best of Beauty awards for being an excellent exfoliating soap for the shower. I won't recommend these products for their original purpose of "whitening" (unless you really want to look like Sammy Sosa - and, seriously, no) but I can recommend it for evening out pigmentation issues on most Filipino and Asian complexions.

*And as of November of this year, the Belo Med team no longer includes this guy. FINALLY.

For the nationalist Pinay: You've got your Pilipinas shirts and national-hero wallets... so why not show more love for your country with some Pinoy-lovin' bath products? This is where the Human Heart Nature brand comes in: their organic ingredients are sourced from the Philippines, including plants and herbs grown by Gawad Kalinga residents in community gardens. (No surprise, given that the folks behind the brand are the daughters of GK founder Tony Meloto.) The current Human Heart Nature online store ships mostly to the Philippines (with international shipping via FedEx for an additional fee), so those of you who are interested in the line can start with the Christmas bundles, which feature sets for everything from lip balm and body butter to insect repellant and hand sanitizer.

For the spa-loving Pinay: Another emerging Filipino brand, Leyende Organics, works in a similar vein as Human Heart Nature: biodegradable, sulfate-free organic products for hair and skin, produced as part of livelihood projects to benefit members of the community - in this case, single mothers and disadvantaged women. In Leyende's case, however, these efforts translate to the production of gorgeously packaged, spa-worthy products with cheeky names like Mother Butter lotion (with cocoa butter) and Cool Hand Soup hand sanitizer. The current Leyende online store ships mostly within the Philippines (check here for brick-and-mortar outlets that carry the line) but international customers can purchase gift packs from - saving transplanted folks lots of dough on shipping, packaging, handling, and individual pricing for certain products. Awesome. :)

And, on that note, we shall conclude this year's edition of the Domesticity Holiday Gift Guide. Will be back soon after Christmas with a proposed entry on how to tastefully recycle one's Christmas gifts. Toodle-oo for now... and hope you have a blessed, beautiful, and thoroughly happy Christmas holiday season!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide 2009, Part 1

Evidence above to the contrary (that would be The Eraserheads, BTW), you will not find any fruitcake in this year's holiday gift guide. Nor will you find any of your typical Christmas-basket giveaways like scented candles, wine, or any other gift that you can find from everyone else's basket. What you will find, however, are some excellent gift-giving finds, beauty-related and otherwise.*

*Disclaimer: Some items in this entry are marked with links via Amazon Associates, where indicated. No press samples were furnished by the manufacturers for any of the products mentioned.

For the new moms: Apart from The Scribes, this year has been a particularly fecund one for most of my friends, who have been blessed with their own long-awaited bundles of joy. Since I'm one of those silly auntie-types who enjoy spoiling other people's children, I like to buy high-quality baby toiletries - it's my way of saving mommies the hassle of buying baby bath stuff in case the little one develops an allergy or any other aversion to the usual drugstore swag. Some of the cute new lines I've seen in the market include The Body Shop's Buriti Baby and the Grandma Minnie's line from Pinoy brand VMV Hypoallergenics (pictured at right) - both of which work exceptionally well for moms, as well.

Also, because I can't resist product names that get to the point, there's always this American classic:

You read that right, folks: One whole pound of Butt Paste. If this doesn't change your life, I don't know what else will.

For your lovely hosts and hostesses: Inevitably you will find at least one person on your gifting list who will end up camping out in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning up. You can, of course, offer up an edible gift... or you can also lend a hand in the kitchen by offering up some festive cleaning supplies. Fruits and Passion, for example, offers up the Cucina line of kitchen staples with planet-friendly ingredients; their dishwashing liquids look like bubble baths for plates. F&P products are easily available in the Philippines (among other international locations) and online in North America, but you can also go the budget-friendly route with Method Home (gotta love the gorgeous bottles!) and Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day (like Kiehl's for your kitchen!) - all of which come with equally unexpected scents to go with the cheery packaging.

Coming up next: The best gifts for your transplanted Filipino friends.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Meimei Wishlist

Dear Santa Claus:

I understand that you're probably tired of me asking you for the same things year and after year, always wondering why you haven't given them to me. Well, I'm going to give you a bit of a break on that front. For one thing, I've been talking to God lately, and He already told me that He's going to take care of the whole career/lovelife stuff that I've been asking for every year, so you can breathe easy. Second of all, I'd also like to funnel my DVD and book requests through my regular wish list on Amazon:

My Wish List

What can I say, HTML is totally my friend.

This leaves us with a few more wishes that I'd also like to share with my readership, if you don't mind. (Note to readers: I'm sharing these because I know you could use some nice gift ideas for you and your loved ones, too! And you gotta agree, these are some of the best for the year.) So, where do we begin?

- An iPod. Specifically, the iPod Nano - okay, so I could take or leave the new video-camera function, but for once I'd like to have a player that I can sync up with my growing iTunes library on my laptop. That includes the podcasts from FitMusic and Motion Traxx, which I'd like to take with me on my walks... and those could easily turn into runs, promise! Throw in a bunch of iTunes gift cards and we're golden.

- A full size bottle of Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. I'm saying this because the sample I got from SisMei last Christmas is almost finished - yep, that's what Philippine humidity has done for my makeup routine, and for once I'd like to leave the house with a non-melted face. Come to think of it, Smashbox just came out with the appropriately-named Smashbox WISH For A Flawless Complexion set, which has the full-sized PFP and its travel-sized buddy! Excellent.

- Any brush set from Sonia Kashuk - the more brushes, the better. The Twist of Fate brush set looks pretty nice; the Brushed to Perfection one looks equally practical.

- Dress sneakers. Not stilettos (okay, not right now - see next entry), and not running shoes (because mine are still good), but some Chuck Taylor-esque sneaks that I can wear around town... and especially to the places where open toes are verboten. I'm currently checking out the Superga Torino (left) and the Cartwheel by Simple.... though, to be honest with you, I'm a tad more partial to Simples because their sizing has always been super-forgiving for my feet.

- And while we're at it, a near-bottomless supply of good insoles - especially if it means that I can continue wearing the cute shoes that I already have in my arsenal right now.

- Any of the fragrances from the D&G Anthology: Right now I'm partial towards 18 (La Lune) or 10 (La Roue de la Fortune), which sound like they'd be great for my weather.

- A little bit of everything from my favorite Fall/Holiday collections from this year, to wit:
- A much-needed shopping vacation in Hong Kong or Singapore. Yep, it's been a while since I've been to HK and SG... and as much as I want to visit Bangkok, too, it doesn't look like the political sitch over there is going to work out any time soon. Besides, I'd like to know how much they've changed since my last few visits during my teens... and if I can make it to either of their shopping holidays, I'm gonna be so pumped.

- A much-needed vacation, period. Okay, scratch that - my post-HNL down time here in the Hacienda counts as a vacation. Seriously, though, I've got a long list of places that I want to visit while I'm on this side of the planet, so I'd like to find the time - and the necessary wherewithal - to get those trips on my calendar this year.

- A better blogging strategy. In fact, I'd like to start posting on a schedule, too... but first I must find inspiration, and then I will find time.

- A car I can drive. It'll be a matter of months before that Philippine driver's license finally makes it onto my hands, thanks to all the practice I'm getting with my Dad's SUV. (Sorry about giving up on stick, Santa, but you understand.) We can talk about specifications later, but for now I'm looking at something midsize, fuel-efficient, and easy to take out on long hauls.

- And, of course, The Usual: peace on earth, good will to all, an end to all forms of poverty, and a bottomless supply of love and laughter for everyone, especially for the ones I love the most. Hugs and cookies help a lot, too. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Last Song Syndrome: Darling Sparro

Sorry, folks, but I gotta say it: If I wanted an eccentric, openly gay pop-music genius with an excellent voice and amazing crossover appeal, I'd take Sam Sparro over Adam Lambert every single time.

Don't believe me? I dare you all to watch (and re-watch) the video for "Black and Gold," which I've featured on this blog last year. Seriously speaking, now, how can you go wrong with a chorus of backup dancers in top hats and tuxedo tails, recreating Gene Kelly-esque jazz moves? And Sam doesn't even have to wear eyeliner or simulate man-on-man sex acts to get his very point across as an artist. That's integrity for you!

And for those of you who (like me) were thisclose to writing off "Black and Gold" as a mere fluke, here's Mr. Sparro lending his impressive voice to a collaboration with the guys from Basement Jaxx. Funny, soulful, touching, plus a danceable beat and a touch of diva posturing... it's all that anyone could ever want in a pop-music moment, and everything that Glambert could only wish he could be.

Download it now:

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Word from Our Sponsors

Just in time for the holiday season...

...Domesticity is now a member of Amazon Associates!

Also, since this can't be a beauty blog without a beauty link...

Click away, folks! :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dear Rhett...

Above: Rhett Eala with fellow designer Patrice Ramos-Diaz.
(Credit: Rajo's Blog,

Sir, after looking at this picture, I am fairly certain that it was you - as in, talagang YOU - helping out the sales staff at the Collezione C2 store at Power Plant Mall.

I did not expect to see you there, really... in fact, I wasn't even counting on seeing a Collezione C2 store at PowerPlant, either, because we were actually looking for the Team Manila store, and neither website for Collezione or Power Plant mentioned anything about this particular branch. (Can I also say that I didn't remember until that very moment that Team Manila moved to another wing? Ngeh!)

I was there with my parents because we were shopping for Christmas gifts and my Dad wanted to get the My Pilipinas polo shirts which you designed for C2. I was about to tell my Dad a story that I read somewhere that - as far as I can recall - involved you and Rajo at a fashion trade show where somebody asked you about a "stain" that turned out to be a print of the Philippine map. But then, as soon as I said your name, a husky guy with thick glasses and a Pilipinas shirt showed up right in front of me to fix a knit minidress on a mannequin.

First thought: OMG it's Rhett! STARSTRUCK! Second thought: Wait, there's a good chance it's not... OMG, he's still fixing the store! Might as well shut it before he gives me the stink-eye!

And, really, I had to think long and hard about saying another word in the store while you were fixing the displays. It was already providential enough that we found the C2 store at Power Plant at a moment when my Dad really needed to get a shirt... but to show up at C2 and see the Rhett in there? Frankly, it has been a while since my last visit to Makati, so all of this was unexpected for me. You could even call it... serendipitous.

I can't tell you which or how many shirts we bought today, because there's a high chance that somebody in my reading audience is going to get a Pilipinas shirt for Christmas. I can say, though, that my Dad bought one for himself, which he plans to wear out and about as proudly as he can... because that's how much he likes your shirts.

Long story short: Thanks, Rhett, for designing the shirts, and thanks to your staff at C2 for helping us pick our gifts! We are so glad we found your store... and so happy with our shirts!



ps. Tiny nitpick - as much as I loved those Herve Leger-ish little minidresses at the store, I didn't buy one because neither I nor the other ladies on my gift list would be able to wear it confidently in real life. Which is a pity, because I thought that the construction was gorgeous. :(

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Domesticity Retail Roundup: Shirt Tales

I can't be the only person who remembers this, right?

Well, then. Here are some of the nice cotton tops that I've accumulated from my last three trips to Manila.

From left: Red top and pink polo shirt from Canadian Club (SM department store, Megamall); purple smock top, Marks & Spencer. I like the M&S shirt because the design isn't printed, embossed, or embroidered in any way; if you look up close, it's actually little patches of sheer fabric "burned" from the jersey, like burn-out velvet. I also liked the cut and the feminine print of the polo, too.

Also, if the red top looks familiar, I'll go ahead and say that this is a dead-ringer for the one I bought last year at Dots in Cleveland:

And the shirt haul didn't stop there - especially when I found out a week later that Bench has a superstore outlet at Market! Market! in Taguig.

Behold: the navy V-neck "summer shirt" from Bench Body, and the lavender "free style" shirt from HerBench... both in my size, which I never thought I'd find in a Bench store!

Let's check out the label here:

Bench's "free style" fit for their shirts is actually quite forgiving on me, because it's longer and more relaxed than their usual fitted ones.* This doesn't mean that Bench now carries shirts that don't look like crap on me (there were a few cute ones that did, unfortunately) but between the loose fit, the roomy collar, and the cute kitty print, there's no way I could go wrong with this particular one. Now if only I could find more...

(Aside: Note that I didn't use the term "body con" here, because "body con" sounds like something a scam artist might pull at a Catholic funeral. Sorry, fashionistas!)

Domesticity Retail Roundup: ...Plus Ca Meme Chose

Meimei in Hong Kong, circa 1985:

Meimei at home, 2009:

Yes, my Mom did make a point out of reminding me that I already bought this hat more than 20 years ago. That's why I had to include a shot of my little self in the background when I took this pic. The hat also comes from Bench, too - even more proof that Bench is to Gap what Jollibee is to McDonald's.

Speaking of retro flashbacks, I never thought I'd see the day when I'd end up wearing leather hippie sandals out and about in public again. And yet:

Maphisto leather sandals, Php895 at Manels in Alabang Town Center. Got them when the leather sandals that I was wearing at the mall broke down on me (booooo), but these are surprisingly comfortable and durable. These are best for casual days when I do a lot of running around.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Blogger's Uniform

...Oh, come on, not all of us can afford wearing head-to-toe Prada while encoding HTML. ;)

Shirt (part of a pajama set), Marks & Spencer. Pajama pants (printed with frogs), purchased at SM.

And since I just mentioned two of my favorite stores here, this means we're seeing another Retail Roundup soon!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Favorite Things of the Month

Madonna and Lil Wayne: two great tastes that taste great together. (Really!)

What's rocking my world right now:

- Johnson's Cooling Baby Powder. Our version is scented with honeysuckle - a scent that I never thought I would like, but here it's sweet and fresh, not heavy at all. I sometimes use this in place of a fragrance for hot days.

- Marks and Spencer trousers. Budget-breaking? Heck yes - but compared to the ridiculous markups that I've seen at Gap in Alabang Town Center, this is a fair compromise. I basically plucked this pair out of the rack without trying them on, and was pleasantly surprised by how they fit me when I wore them to church. Perfect length, exceptional fit - everything I could ever want in a pair of pants, and possibly more.

- Hand sanitizer. Right now I have one for each purse. Am pretty fastidious about it, actually.

- Yahoo! Free Games. To those of you who have been trying to recruit me on Facebook for Mafia Wars or Farmville, my sincerest apologies for ignoring you. It's just that I'm still tied up in playing the same demo versions for Jewel Quest 3 over and over again... which probably means I'll never be cool, but that's what floats my boat.

- Leverage. I think we only have the first season running locally, but I'm already hooked. Mostly because the plots sound like a hybrid between Ocean's Eleven and Burn Notice (which, unfortunately, is never on before my bedtime... and this, coming from the same cable system who thinks airing True Blood on a Saturday afternoon is a great idea), and also because of the great cast. Speaking of great casting...

- Chuck and Blair on Gossip Girl. People, I get the hype now... and I really, truly wish that the Powers-That-Be would keep them together. Even if it means seeing them as a bickering middle-aged couple.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What's Your Fantasy: Other People's Fantasies

You ask, I deliver: Here are the hotties on the minds of my other friends in cyberspace, with commentary from yours truly.

For Purl Girl, of Knitzengiggles:

(Need I mention that this picture was taken from Match Point, which is actually one of the few Jonathan Rhys Meyers movies that I actually like? And more so - though sadly - because of what happens to ScarJo at the end?)

For Bakeks, of When Baduy Happens:
(Take it from me, and Bakeks, and Scribey: Ed Westwick playing anyone but Chuck Bass - and himself, for that matter - is, frankly, a disappointment.)

(We're still behind on Mad Men, which means that we in the Greater Manila/ Southern Tagalog area will have to wait another three weeks until we get our fix of hot, backstabbing men in sharp suits. No joke, though: John Slattery is working it.)

For Scribey, just because:


And because The Statham has been delinquent in his blog-boyfriending duties, I've decided to take this guy out of probation:

(...I know, needs-to-make-better-movies and all. Then again, the guy can sing, and y'all know how I feel about that.)

Monday, November 02, 2009

When Every Day is Halloween

(Posted in several boxing forums and on Photobucket.)

Last week was the kind of week where every single day turned out to be Halloween: dog drama, Aunt Flo, too much sleep, not enough good TV*... and then, the typhoon that damn-near ruined everything, from hanging out with Bakeks to visiting our dearly departed at the cemetery on Halloween morning. (Thankfully, this one went by mercifully quick.)

Because the week was already packed to the gills, I missed out on dressing up for Halloween... but that didn't mean that I had no costume in mind.

Thanks to Taaz, I have decided that I am so going to dress up as Karma for next year.

*Which reminds me: whoever programmed this to be shown in chopped-up hour-long chunks should be punished. I mean, hello - Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in charisma-killing wigs? And the teenaged, acne-ridden Rafe Spall - as Tim-sized as possible, before he lost all the pudge - nearly matching them at every step? Not fair, people.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Once Upon A Look(let): A Diva Is Remixed

Let me get something out of the way: Charice, the teenaged Filipino singing sensation who's currently touring with David Foster right now? Love her. Lurve her.

This look, on the other hand? Do not lurve.

And while the Chuvaness Army is currently debating whether or not this look is age-appropriate, my beef with this is that it's not very original. True, I like the big hair... but the hair and the overcooked fake-bake, together? Too. Much. Look. And Charice's God-given features are too delicate to pull it all off.

At first I thought they were trying to make Charice look like Leona Lewis, but after listening to Charice hit those high notes, it dawned on me:

The stylists in charge just tried to turn a 17-year old Filipina into MARY J. BLIGE!

Folks, let me tell you what a bad idea this is: There is only one Mary J. Blige. I know this because I grew up in the age of New Jack Swing, and Lord knows how many times I've re-watched her live performance of "No More Drama" at the 2002 Grammys. Plus, as much as I would love to hear Charice covering "I'm Goin' Down" or "Reminisce," I can't imagine her even touching a single hair on Mary's weave, let alone biting her whole style.

Besides, if the folks really wanted C. to pay homage to the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, they might as well go all the way...

In fairness, I'm probably suggesting this because I used to rock a near-exact version of this very outfit (including the newsboy cap) when I was Charice's age. Seriously, though, isn't this a good midpoint between cutesy and sexy? Not to mention height-enhancing, what with the striped pants and the nice shoes. I would probably swap out the cap for the purple fedora that Mary J. favors, but otherwise I think this should be fine.

Also, something tells me that Charice's stylists in Manila should do themselves a favor and text-message the folks who dress up Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, pronto. (Or Anna Maria herself, if she's even up for it.) Seriously, I think those girls should swap wardrobes, because I can totally see Charice rocking the off-shoulder tees better... and, admit it, isn't it about time Anna put the flat iron away, at least once?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Face of the Moment: Soltera-fied

And now we get to the part where we talk about the makeup from this entry.

Unfortunately for me, I went into perfectionist freak-out mode in choosing the right picture to show off the makeup. See, this picture was actually taken in the middle of the kikay process, and I forgot to add mascara to what was an otherwise great look. (Mind you, I was taking these pictures in the middle of preparing for a hosting gig at our church.) Add to that the inevitability of changing tops in the middle of said kikay process, and my face was perilously close to becoming a hot mess - literally - by the time I was ready to leave the house.

Enter my alter ego La Soltera, who we last saw deceiving my fair viewers into thinking that I have found my calling as a telenovela actress.

She took one look at the JPEGs I had in mind, and immediately turned up her nose like the Bella Flores of this generation. I didn't even have to ask her what the matter was, because she gave it to me straight.

"We have to go digital," she said.

"But why?" I asked. "I just wrote an entry about my full-disclosure policy on this blog, and you're telling me to retouch my photos? Do you think I'm going to risk my integrity for that?"

"Look," she answered, "you're already risking your integrity as a beauty blogger by posting a picture of you with makeup that ended up not looking good on camera, and you knew it. You already owe it to your readers to show how it did work without resorting to shoddy photography. And, hello, this isn't your first time... remember?"

I shuddered. I didn't want another repeat of that badly-done wig job from Taaz.

"And besides, you of all people should've known that Taaz just added new features to their makeover functions," she added. "This would've been the perfect time to talk about those."

"All righty, then," I answered hesitantly. "But no wigs, okay?"

So: Badabing, badaboom.

(We had to futz around with Taaz's HTML code for this picture, so if you need - as in, really need - to see the "before/after" versions of this makeover, click here.)

"Looks like somebody had fun with the photo-editing software on my computer," I said.

"Aw, hush, you look great," LS answered. "But Taaz still didn't get the correct list of the products I used on this picture... so why don't you do the talking?"

Products Used IRL:
  • Primers: Smashbox Photo Finish primer and MAC Paint Pot in Painterly
  • Face: L'Oreal Bare Minerale pressed powder in Sun Beige; Max Factor Erace concealer in Natural, mixed with Cover Girl CG Smoothers concealer in Deep
  • Blush: Everyday Minerals in Salon Fun
  • Eyes: Stila Icon all over, followed by Stila Twig on lid and L'Oreal HIP cream eyeliner in Black (applied on upper lid and 1/4 of lower lid)... followed by a layer of MAC Hot Contrast (now discontinued) on the eyeliner
  • Brows: Some pencil (can't remember which)
  • Mascara: Maybelline Volum'Express Hypercurl Waterproof in Brown
  • Lips: Clinique Long Last Glosswear in Kissyfit layered over a coppery-pink NYX Round lipstick (could be Calisto) - though Taaz would also recommend Make Up For Ever's lipstick in #311 Golden Copper
Other Things Worn:
  • Scent: Penshoppe Paints body spray in Fuchsia
  • Outfit: Olive green peasant blouse by Mossimo for Target; silk rose-print skirt from Gap; enamel-plated black orchid necklace from Singapore

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What's Your Fantasy: Feast for Life Edition

Dear Discovery Travel & Living Southeast Asia:

- Please tell Janet Hsieh to stop screaming, or at least tell her people to stop sending those clips of her screaming. I've already met my WOOO! Girl quota with reruns of How I Met Your Mother, thanks.

- Please continue to air reruns of No Reservations, and in particular the one where Anthony Bourdain visits the Philippines. You know how we feel about our country, so it's nice to be reminded, time and again, that Tony believes we have the BEST. PIG. EVER.

- Also, I need more Chef Abroad, too. Too bad that I am never home whenever that show comes on... unless you count that one show where I thought I saw Michael Smith in the kitchen with Marco Pierre White, and even then I can't be sure that it was him.

- You know which show also needs more reruns? Jamie at Home. As much as I love the documentaries about Jamie Oliver's wacky experiments with school lunches and fighting British obesity (and how delicious is it that Timothy Spall gets to do the narration for the Ministry of Food documentary?), I would rather watch him skinning pheasants and harvesting rutabagas. I swear, watching him in the garden relaxes me.

- And speaking of hosts who happen to be cute, it would be nice if you could deliver any of the following to my doorstep, preferably on the days when my parents are away from the Hacienda:

Andrew Anthony, from Life's a Trip (yep, it was the haka episode that lured me in)

Bob Blumer, from
Glutton for Punishment (because one second of him sticking his tongue out unconsciously is way hotter - to me, at least - than 30 minutes of Gilles Marini taking his clothes off... and that's saying A LOT)

And because I have this alphabetical-order Canadian-host theme going on right now, I'll throw in Corbin Tomaszeski (even though his humor on that kitchen show reminds me a bit of that annoying handyman from the last few seasons of Clean House)

Also, because I'm not that blind, I'm also going to ask for Bobby Chinn and Curtis Stone as well... as long as they shut up and keep cooking, heh.

Other than that, thank you so much for continuing to be part of our cable package, and for keeping me sane during these last few months. Y'all rock.

Mahalo, Meimei

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yet Another Episode in the Hair Chronicles

The last time I got a haircut, I looked like this:

Could use a little more zing, perhaps, but not too shabby otherwise.

Then two weeks ago, I got another haircut - and came out looking like this:

I'll talk about the makeup in a bit, but let's focus right now on the story behind the hair.

What happened was that I hadn't been able to get a hold of the stylist who did my hair last time. (Who is, in fact, the same person who does my Mom's hair.) After one last futile attempt to schedule an appointment, I decided to go to another salon in our town, just to get the deed over and done with.

The salon that I visited was different from my usual. While the other place was stuffed to the gills with customers, salon assistants, and diva-esque stylists, this one was very low-key - not too crowded, but most of the customers were regulars and the stylists were friendly.

The stylist who worked with me was an older, soft-spoken man who concentrated on my hair even as he talked shop with the other folks in the salon. I had brought along a picture of Heidi Klum to give him an idea of how long and layered I wanted my hair to look like, plus another picture of a model from a Matrix ad with diagonally-cut bangs to show him how I wanted the layers in the front to fall across my forehead. So he went ahead and got to work.

When we got my hair to its desired length, however, he had this peculiar look on his face. At first I was concerned because I thought it was OK, but for some reason I knew that he was going to let me down if I told him to keep it long.

Then he told me what the problem was: "Tinning seesor."

Long story short - translated and paraphrased from the original conversation in Tagalog - the problem was that the last stylist had used thinning shears all over my layers, which eventually resulted in the back and bottom layers of my hair going totally limp and mullet-y whenever they grow out. In order for me to avoid looking like Steve Perry before my next haircut, he said, he really needed to blunt out the thinned layers by cutting them short. He warned me, however, that it wasn't going to be enough to take out the jagged ends, which meant that my hair was still going to grow out with weird little shaggy tails in them.

By this time I wasn't worried that my hair was going to grow out with zig-zag edges any more; just the way he said "tinning seesor" was enough to snap me back into reality. I gave him the go-signal to keep cutting... et voila.

This was a moment of truth for me, to be honest. Of course my hair was going limp - it was actually feathered to the point of being uneven! And if my old, bowl-cut childhood photos were any indication, blunt-cutting was the best way for my hair to look, and feel, thicker. So how did I manage not to pinpoint that problem with the other stylists I've worked with in the last few years - even after countless pictures from hair magazines? All I needed to do was tell the hairdresser exactly what I wanted.

And this stylist, who charged me no more than the equivalent of US$2.00 (tips included), gave it back to me in spades.

Two weeks after the haircut (and the photo taken above), my hair has grown out significantly. The stylist was correct about the extent of the "texturizing," because my layers have gotten pretty shaggy - but the blunting actually works because it's now growing into a sophisticated, layered bob. As for the diagonal bangs, they're also working for me, because now the hair in the front doesn't just flop straight into my eyes or flatten down the sides; it's not swoopy - yet - but the diagonal angling has done wonders in maintaining the direction of the side part, even without product. Plus, my hair has more body and swing now, so the cut is working wonders.

I'm not sure how long it will take before I'm up for another haircut - not when I'm still growing out those jagged layers - but if I do, I'm definitely going back to this salon. Seriously, it's a great deal, :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Unsolicited Career Advice, Part 2: Now With 100% More Polyvore!

As much as it pains me to do so, I guess I'll have to go ahead and do this:

Remember my open letter to Anna Maria Perez de Tagle from around this time last year? Well, consider this entry a sequel.

Anna, dearest: As your unofficial ninang in the Filipino blogverse, or at least this particular corner of the Pinoy blogverse that deals with these sorts of style issues, I feel like I have to be a little more protective towards you. See, I know that you're very much into this fashion thing. We have similar approaches to our wardrobe, especially when it comes to the specific "issues" that come with being petite. And I love that you're also working with classic, retro looks, which is very refreshing for a young woman of your age.


You do realize that you are headed towards a style rut, right? (Just look at your IMDb page and tell me that you're not.) And for every picture that shows you at your best - including this totally chica gray number - there are probably a handful of others that, unfortunately, make you look like the Bride of the Marshmallow Man. And I will not dignify those pictures with a hot-link.

I'm not doing this to rag on you, dearie. You're still very young, and having a lot of fun - so it follows that you should enjoy this moment while it lasts. But I also want to remind you that, somewhere down the road, you will want to do things differently - in fashion, and in life - and you will realize that, at 19, you're way too young to be stuck in a rut.

Behold: Another set from Polyvore, created by yours truly.

What we're dealing here is the one instance where you're most likely to get your picture taken at this point in your career: premieres for teen movies, where everyone usually dresses up hip and casual. Think of it as the Disney/Nick version of aspirational dressing - not too casual as to look cheap, but not too OTT so as to get the parental units upset. There are two looks in this one set - one is breezy and casual, and the other is dark and edgy - but both are unified by the same constants: a basic, knee-length black skirt (in this case, the Balenciaga in the middle), tanned legs (though you may want to add some fishnets in there if you want), and major eyelashes from the Diorshow... along with the long hair and clear skin and whatnot, of course.

The casual look: Pacific Rim fusion. I don't know if you've seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but one of the things that really stood out for me in that movie was Mila Kunis and her consistently flawless tan. I wanted to recreate that here by incorporating some beachy elements into the existing look. The ikat print on the top runs vertically - hello, lengthening effect! - and pairing that with the gold earrings leads the eye up towards the face. The woven detail on the platform sandal grounds the ethnic look along with the black skirt, and takes the outfit away from the beach. Since this look is very summery, I chose to pair this with some light bronzer from Sephora and a sheer, creamy lip gloss from Philosophy to go with that semi-effortless glow.

The semi-formal look: Eurasian chic. Should you decide that a scholarship to FIT or Parsons would be a good post-Disney career move, may I suggest updating that off-shoulder look to something a little more avant-garde? Sure, that Martin Margiela top is way too pricey for a deconstructed T-shirt, but it's tailored to stay as close to the body as possible - again, a big plus if you want to look taller, especially when you add the earrings and the peep-toe heels to the equation. And because I couldn't resist going dark with this, I would suggest taking the light pink side of the Sephora bronzer from the other set and pairing it with some Urban Decay eyeliner and a MAC Lipglass for extra-chica factor.

See, hija, it all works out for the best: you don't have to follow this to-the-letter, but you can pick up a few hints here and there to get you inspired. Baby steps, mind you, or you might end up skankifying yourself. Good luck! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Commercial Break: Maquillage!

Here's the stunning Japanese model Anna Tsuchiya modeling the Shiseido Maquillage x Alexander Wang collection.

Colors used: Eyes Creator (3D) in BR365 and Moisture Rouge in RS721.

And speaking of Shiseido, here's Angelina Jolie for - what else? - Integrate lip gloss.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Randomesticity: Fatigue

Que vivo Mexico! Que viva Colombia! Que viva las Filipinas!

It's only Monday, and already everyone is so, so tired. This morning's paper, the blogverse, the relief-operation volunteers... they're all full of crankiness, as if the storm clouds from the last two weeks had been replaced with an equally dark sense of bitterness and collective cynicism. As much as I want to chalk it up to human nature, though, I'm not buying it - and I don't know if this makes me sound like Anne Frank or something, but I want to believe that we'll make it out of the darkness soon enough if we don't keep adding our psychological garbage into the existing mountain of trash we're in right now.

Sorry, Philippines, but I can't afford to stay emo for another week.

I want to remember that there has always been a world outside this country, this existence, before all of this happened. I want to remember that this world outside ourselves will be there to help pull us through for as long as we're willing to reach out. I want to remember that there was, is, and will always be, something - and dare I say it, Someone - bigger than all of this... bigger than corruption, global warming, and even the weather itself.

That's why I take comfort in this piece of advice, which I got from a family friend recently: One will eventually find amusement in even the darkest situations. For every person who cries about losing their home, or getting their relief donations stolen from under their noses by hoarders, there's another person who's going to make sure that somebody gets a reason to smile once in a while.


Not much of a bulleted run-down for this edition of Randomesticity, though, since I still have yet to deliver on what I promised last time. Already, however, I am seriously jonesing on eyeliner, so I'm thinking about breaking down and buying the first cheap kohl pencil that I get my hands on in the next few days.

In the meantime, a few more thoughts:
  • Proof that I'm probably getting too old for this sort of thing: I'm of the opinion that La Roux is one of the most overrated and over-hyped bands that I've heard in quite a while, and crawling pretty fast on the list of Bands I Just Don't Get, Period. Which means that I'll probably start liking them by, oh, around this time in 2011, if they haven't broken up already.
  • Looklet has been driving me up the wall with their site's inability to save any of the stuff I've created... a pity, since I was actually enjoying all the crazy avant-garde designs on that site. (The fact that they don't have a "publish to blog" option only makes things more frustrating for me.) So, until this problem gets resolved, I'll going to stick with Polyvore for my aspirational-fashion fix.
  • Apart from the blog-monetizing that I talked about in the last entry, there's also a huge career-related development brewing in my real life, which I can't share yet in full until the particulars have been nailed down. All I can say is this: It will be epic.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Interest of Disclosure

Above: A snippet from a recent Sephora Beauty Insider email I received recently. (Why oh why oh WHY did I have to move out of Honolulu before this could happen?)


About the FTC regulations asking beauty bloggers to disclose where and how they got products reviewed on their sites...

Let me be up front here by saying this: There are several ways that a product review ends up on Domesticity.
  1. I bought the product myself.
  2. The product was a sample that came from a separate purchase. (This is applicable for things that I get from Sephora, or things I find between the pages of a magazine... but not for the majority of Pinoy retailers that I frequent, since what's usually considered as a "sample size" can be bought for a small pittance at your local store.)
  3. Somebody else bought the product for me.
  4. Somebody else bought the product for themselves, but I ended up cockroaching them from the nearest vanity. (My apologies to my parents, my sister, Scribey, and the makers of fine hotel toiletries throughout the world.)
  5. Somebody else bought the product for their salon and used it on my personage... but then, that would lead to #1, so it just brings everything full circle.
  6. I signed up for the brand's mailing list. (I think I did this with a review of Dove products not too long ago.)
  7. If I didn't buy it, or it didn't come from a separate purchase, then I am either going by a second-hand account or I'm basing my judgement on a swipe I made on my hand. (My apologies to Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, and the Aveda salons of Honolulu... you may have lost the biggest sample whore that ever sample-whored in the entire state of Hawaii, but rest assured now that my word is pure gold, and I never lied to you about having a blog!)
I could go on and on, but here's the main point: Not once have I reviewed something, anything, that was given to me by a publicist for the purpose of putting out a non-negative review. Like I've said before, I only use this blog for fun, but have not used it for profit - and never, ever, for the sake of earning freebies.

And sure, there are circumstances where I've come close to a few ethics violations... but I have yet to receive a cease-and-desist letter from anyone, and if I did I'd be the first person to publish the whole thing in verbatim.

Sometimes a picture of a product that I have never tried ends up on my blog. But that's probably because I happened to like the label or the advertising campaign. Again, I would be the first person to tell you if I was contacted by the Powers That Be on the brand side of that product... preferably before I do the review, but I'd tell you too if they contacted me afterwards anyway.

I say this now, too, because I also happen to be friends with a few brand managers from some of the big guns in the personal-care industry here in the Philippines. (Clue: NOT Vicki Belo.) I'm not saying that they shouldn't contact me and ask me to blog about their products - in fact, I actually welcome their input - but that doesn't mean I'm not going to speak up if I find something wrong. Like, say, if they sent me a lotion that turned my skin the color of a legal pad, or if the shampoo they gave me made my hair smell like dirty socks.

And as for free treatments... well, speaking as somebody who has participated in all sorts of PR shenanigans in a former lifetime - like dancing in a fish costume for a government agency, and coming close to getting my teeth bleached for television - I know too well how the game works. Again, not to say that I shouldn't be getting invites for product launches (because, au contraire, I welcome that too... call me, Power Plant Mall!) but I'm also not going to hesitate to show you proof that I was invited to the event, the reasons why I was invited in the first place, and whether or not somebody else paid the bill for me. Then again, I do live in a country where even prominent fashionistas get crap service at expensive salons... and thus have a bigger duty to blow the whistle, in case anything goes wrong.

Long story short: I'm fully compliant.


That said: I'm in the process of considering options for advertising on this blog. I don't want to disclose too many details, except for the fact that I am exploring an option that lets me generate revenue locally. It might change the "profit" angle for a bit here, but I'm hoping that I could do this without compromising the editorial tone for the rest of this blog. Will keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Case for the Model

Yep, that's the new ad campaign for the D&G Perfume Anthology, and the short version is running on Philippine television. Using "Freedom '90" as a soundtrack only makes this ad sweeter.


I'm not gonna lie to you: I've been following the brewing crapstorm at Chuvaness over the use of foreign celebrities and models by the Filipino clothing brand Kamiseta. On the one hand, I get why a lot of folks are confused about a Filipino brand spending scads of money on New York shoots with top global celebrities, including current Kamiseta endorser Natalia Vodianova; it brings up all the unspoken anger about race and colonial mentality. Yes, it would be nice to have a Filipino brand using Filipino models as part of a global push. Yes, it would be nice to use Filipino talent behind the camera. Yes, it would be nice if the clothes themselves were, well, nicer.

But you know what? It is a global market - and whether you like it or not, "nice" doesn't cut it in a global market that demands more from every brand, even the established ones. We can argue till the cows come home about what Kamiseta could've done differently, but it's still not going to change the fact - as Cecile put it quite succinctly - that the final decision comes from the brand itself.

I'll also be blunt here: If the ad agency for Kamiseta only wanted a foreign face for their clothes, it would've been so, so easy to pluck out an expat kid or two out of nowhere, hook 'em up with a stylist, and let things go from there. As a former international-school kid, I've seen how these things work... not first hand, mind you, but I've lived in the Philippines long enough during the '80s and '90s to see how a well-orchestrated ad campaign can turn, say, that baggy-pantsed jock in your Algebra class into an Armani-clad "businessman" toting the benefits of coffee creamer, or a gawky 8th grader into a super-cool skater boy promoting boxed juice to Filipino kids. Nowadays, the Philippines is a different market for foreign models, and the influx of (affordable) new talent from South America and Eastern Europe has made Caucasian-featured models more easily available to local advertising agencies.

So what does a Filipino brand have to do to stand out in a global market like the one we have now? Easy: Skip the regular models and go for the big guns. San Miguel Beer has already blazed trails in the last three years by pairing Manny Pacquiao with Erik Morales and Jet Li (and note to San Mig: I can has Ricky Hatton commercial plz?), and Bench has started making inroads into the greater Asian market with ad campaigns featuring Jerry Yan of F4.

Kamiseta isn't even the first Filipino fashion retailer to use a non-Asian (read: white) global celebrity, either; for that, you need to go way back to Mandy Moore's earlier ad campaigns for Penshoppe.

(Screencap taken from

Compare Mandy's ads for Penshoppe to the Kamiseta campaigns with the likes of Petra Nemcova, Alicia Silverstone, and Kate Hudson. Notice the quality of the photography, the poses, the whole feel... then tell me if all the money Kamiseta poured into getting all those big-ticket models and stylists have not paid off handsomely.

Personally, I think that Kamiseta's taking a big risk by following the Mango playbook of featuring models outside of their nationality (see also: MNG's campaigns with Karolina Kurkova and Milla Jovovich); it's a way of establishing brand-name association, in terms of both product quality and mystique. I wouldn't be surprised if this risk pays off so well that Kamiseta ends up breaking into the major fashion markets in Japan, Europe, or even the USA... but until then, all this debate has done is make Kamiseta even more buzz-worthy, and might even make the bottom line more profitable for the company.


And while we're on the subject of putting the Philippines squarely on the fashion map, I have a bold proposition to make here.

You know how Target gets people like Devi Kroell and Alexander McQueen to design stuff for their stores? Or how Payless usually gets a line from, say, Abaete or Lela Rose?

...Okay, so we already got a Pinoy designer into Target already, and that would be our boy Rafe Totengco. (Side note: Those bags that Rah-FAY just did for Tar-JAY? Lurve.) But stick with me here: What about a global designer collaborating with a Filipino retail brand?

You say it's been done before? Sure - Lesley Mobo (a UK-based Pinoy, as a matter of fact) just did a very cute lingerie (and, um, boxer/brief) line for Bench, which I adore. And the Mobo for Bench line, come to think of it, is the best example of what I have in mind for a major collaboration anyway: not too high-falutin' that it's out of reach, but not too far down the bracket that the quality might come into question.

Try to picture this: Monique Lhuillier designing limited-edition capsule lines for Rustan's, featuring resort-inspired clothes and/or linens that capture the old-meets-new vibe of her native Cebu. Or Rafe Totengco going back to his old retail roots by designing an affordable (leather!) line of shoes and bags for SM. And, since we've already made such a big deal about Steve Aoki helping to establish a hipster boutique in Manila, let's start bringing in more boldface names in here too... Gwen Stefani working with Cinderella, perhaps? Or a cross-collab between Tracy Feith and Kamiseta? Or Mossimo serving as a creative consultant for Bench?

Wild, I know. But if I can only dream, why not go all-out and start dreaming big, right? The only thing more scandalous than all of this is not pushing the envelope far enough.