Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Calling All Angels, Part 3: Entrance With Donation

Before I get back on the horn about Ondoy/Ketsana again, I just want to mention that we, too, have not forgotten the other Ketsana victims in Vietnam, and the survivors of the recent tsunami in American Samoa. The same Red Cross links from the last entry (except for the Philippine Red Cross) can also be used to give aid for Vietnam and Samoa, so please feel free to contact them if you would like to contribute.

This entry is dedicated to those who are holding concerts and other creative benefits for victims of the recent storm in the Philippines. Like yesterday's entry, this will be updated for as long as we can get more news updates regarding these events; if you want to add your event to this list, leave a comment or click on "Email The Author" at the bottom of this page. Maraming salamat po!

Note: This blog entry serves as a Public Service Announcement to create awareness for the ongoing situation in the Philippines. Neither Domesticity nor any member of the Meimei household is directly affiliated with the organizations mentioned below, and will claim no responsibility whatsoever for any incidents resulting from transactions conducted with said organizations. Any and all fradulent information posted in this entry, however, will result in its immediate removal.

  • Quezon City, Philippines: More information on the (ongoing as of this writing) Driven For Life concert at Route 196 in Quezon City can be found in this entry from the Lilystars Records blog page. Bring your donations to the gig if you can; the PhP100 cover charge will also go towards fundraising for the victims of Ondoy. Plus: The Camerawalls! And the foxy Sarah Gaugler!
  • Pasig City, Philippines: The Fully Booked fansite on Facebook has posted a poster for Raise the Roof - A Benefit Concert: For the Victims of Typhoon Ondoy, scheduled for October 21 at the Megatent. Event begins at 2:00 PM and continues all day and night. Scheduled to play: Tropical Depression (yay!), Taken By Cars (holla!), Pedicab (eeeee!), and Imago (EEEEEEE!!)
  • Quezon City, Philippines: If your taste in music does not run towards indie OPM rock, take note: Ricky Lo reports that Air Supply will donate proceeds from their October 3 concert at the Araneta Coliseum to typhoon victims.
  • Metro Manila, Philippines (UPDATED 10/03/2009): By now you may have seen the ads for the Katy Perry concert, originally scheduled for today at SM Mall of Asia, being postponed to "a later date," and not October 16 as previously reported. Tim Yap now reports that KP's concert is now being planned as a fundraiser for the Red Cross, and that David Archuleta will be part of the concert as well. (Source: Philippine Star)
  • Taguig, Manila, Philippines: Also from Tim Yap, a fundraising concert titled Hoy, Hoy Ondoy! has been scheduled for October 7, 8:00 pm at the NBC Tent in Fort Bonifacio. The Camerawalls and Imago are among the bands scheduled to play, along with Hale, Sponge Cola, Hilera, and others. (Source: Philippine Star)
(Aside: Is it me, or is Mr. Eventologist becoming a much better writer these days? I mean, I used to think that Tim Yap was an elitist snob - and there might be some times when I'm right on that - but I'm getting addicted to his Saturday columns now. I also think that getting a Twitter account has been very, very good for him. Cool.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Calling All Angels, Part 2: More Ways to Help

I'm sorry to keep nagging you about the whole deal with Ondoy/Ketsana, but: seriously, people, if we do get another storm by the end of THIS WEEK, there's a good chance that it's going to mess with the ongoing relief efforts. So, pray for the weather to stay clear, for our countrymen to stay warm and dry, and, please, for the love of sweet mangoes, save up all your energy towards helping out and keeping safe.

As it stands, I've decided to keep blogging about ongoing relief efforts for typhoon victims for the rest of the week. Remember, just because people like you and me can't brave the floodwaters (like hunky actors Gerald Anderson and Jericho Rosales) doesn't mean that we can't help. Now's as good as a time as any to save up the shopping and bar tab money, and get ready for the storms ahead.

The following partial list of resources has been aggregated from Google Spreadsheets ( and, Facebook, and other online sources. Contact information for other organizations looking for volunteers and relief goods can also be found at the above-mentioned spreadsheets.

Special thanks in advance to Manuel Quezon III and the admins of the Definitely Filipino fanpage on Facebook, for stepping up and providing constant updates on all relief efforts - thus giving the Pinoy blogverse a better reason to band together and Get Things Done during this time.

Update: A link to the spreadsheet is now posted at; more aggregated info can be found at

Volunteer Activities and Other News:
  • Have you checked on those close to you? Even if you don't have a relative or friend in the flooded areas, you may already know one - through your maids, drivers, security guards, laundresses, and other household staff. You may also want to check with those who work closely with you, especially people like clerks, dry-cleaners, and hairdressers. If you trust them like family, help them out now; you might even end up doing away with the middleman and "adopting" your own community!
  • Also, check with your nearest college or university - or alumni associations for your college/ university - to see if they can use more manpower for their relief efforts.
  • Philippine National Red Cross needs volunteer workers, especially doctors and divers, and vehicles for the ongoing rescue effort. Contact your local PNRC chapter for details.
  • Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS): The Philippine Animal Rehabilitation Center now accepts animal evacuees from all affected areas, especially dogs and cats. Donations are needed for supplies such as covered cages, covered carriers, and dog/cat kibble, as well as "human supplies" like canned people-food and drinking water.
  • Confirming a post from the Lola Techie group on Facebook: The Ortigas Megatent (beside Renaissance Condo along Meralco Ave.) is now a relief hub for donations of food, meds, and water, but needs more volunteers!
Retailer Drop-Off Points for Relief Goods (in-kind donations of food and clothing preferred; please note that some of these outlets will take NO CASH)
  • All branches for Aboitiz 2Go
  • All 7-Eleven Branches
  • All branches for Mail and More (covering FedEx and Air21; call 632-879-4789 for more details)
  • Gas stations: Total, Shell, Petron
  • Amber Ultralounge - The Fort, Taguig. (**UPDATE: All donations taken at Amber will be distributed by the Philippine National Red Cross. Preferred donations include ready-to-eat food, drinking water, clean water bottles, medicine, and first-aid supplies.)
  • ARANAZ - Rockwell, Greenbelt, PowerPlant Mall
  • Trilogy - PowerPlant Mall
  • Alabang Town Center - Concierge Desk
  • Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf - all branches
  • Fully Booked - Bonifacio High Street
  • Greyone Social - Greenbelt 5 and PowerPlant Mall
  • Moonshine Boutique - PowerPlant Mall
  • Team Manila - Trinoma, Mall of Asia, Jupiter Street Bel-Air and Rockwell
  • McDonald's - all branches
  • Jollibee - all branches
  • Luca - Rockwell, PowerPlant Mall, Shangri-La, Eastwood, GA Towers (UPDATE: Divine Lee has brought goods donated at Luca stores directly to the folks in Payatas!)
  • Papemelroti - 91 Roces Ave., Ali Mall Cubao, SM City North EDSA, SM Fairview, SM Megamall, Glorietta 3 in Makati, SM Centerpoint SM Southmall
  • SMART Wireless Centers - SM Fairview, SM North EDSA, Gateway Mall Cubao, AliMall Cubao, SM Megamall, SM Muntinlupa, SM Bicutan, SM Sucat, Festival Mall Alabang, Alabang Town Center and SM Southmall
  • Globe stores - Alabang Town Center, Festival Supermall, SM SouthMall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Bicutan, SM Fairview, Trinoma, SM North, Greenbelt 4, Park Square (Makati)
  • Red Kimono Restaurants- all branches
  • Second Wind Running Store - Teachers Village, Quezon City
  • Embassy Superclub - The Fort
  • Manor Superclub - Eastwood Citywalk 1
  • Recreation Outdoor Xchange - Bonifacio High Street
  • Vivere Suites - Alabang
  • Repost from the FB fangroup for Pinoy indie-pop group The Camerawalls: LILYSTARS RECORDS and JORGE'S PORTRAIT STUDIO are accepting donations in kind (clothes, food, water) in support for Jam 88.3 's Project Ondoy - relief operations for the victims of the devastating typhoon. Contact: 09054441229/09164004343, ......7233586/4114512. Drop center at 35 P. Tuazon St. Cubao Q.C. (Jorge's Portrait Studio across LVN).
  • And speaking of The Camerawalls: The band, and their labelmates, will be playing at Route 196 on Katipunan Extension, Quezon City as part of Driven for Life, a benefit concert on September 30, 2006. The entrance fee (PhP100) will go directly towards relief efforts; donations will also be taken at the gig itself.
Donations via Mobile Phone
  • Philippine National Red Cross, via SMS: Text RED [numerical] AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4483 (Smart).
  • - accepts donations for the Philippine National Red Cross through SmartMoney, Globe Telecom GCash, and PayPal (under
Hot Meals for the Needy
  • Enderun Colleges: Students at Enderun Colleges have been making hot meals for those in need from donations of canned goods, rice, and other edibles. Drop off food and clothing donations at 1100 Campus Avenue, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio @ Taguig City.***UPDATE: Enderun also needs extra can openers to go with your food donations! Call (632) 856-5000 for more information!***

For all international readers of this blog, please check with your nearest Philippine Embassies and Consulates for information on local Filipino organizations and other ways to help!

***UPDATE: Go here for more information on how to donate overseas!***

Online Donations (Credit Card and PayPal)

Restaurants, Retailers, and Other Businesses (US and Canada only)
  • Honolulu, HI: No stores - yet - but the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu will take checks and cash donations. Call (808) 680-0451 for details.
  • California: Alas Cargo will send all relief goods for free, and will also carry goods donated at all Island Pacific Supermarkets
  • Fullerton, CA: The Gift Bag Project is collecting donations for typhoon victims in the Philippines at Starbucks on Gilbert & Malvern.
  • Bay Area, CA: Gerry's Grill (click here for drop-off information in Union City; donations will also be taken at the Daly City branch), Intramuros (South San Francisco - benefit concert information here), Erly's Shear Beauty (South SF)
  • Southern California: Forex Cargo (Los Angeles and West Covina) and LBC (West Covina and San Diego) accepting clothing donations for shipping to the Philippines
  • Jersey City, NJ: Donations currently taken at Sinugba Cafe (561 Westside Ave.) and Casa Victoria (691 Newark Ave.)
  • Vancouver, CA: Goldilocks Bakery (Main Street Branch)
Note: This blog entry serves as a Public Service Announcement to create awareness for the ongoing situation in the Philippines. Neither Domesticity nor any member of the Meimei household is directly affiliated with the organizations mentioned above, and will claim no responsibility whatsoever for any incidents resulting from transactions conducted with said organizations. Any and all fradulent information posted in this entry, however, will result in its immediate removal.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Calling All Angels: An Update on the Whole Typhoon Situation

Dear blog-reading folks: I just want to let you all know that we at Hacienda de Meimei are actually safe from harm. We have not been evacuated, our house has not been devoured by flood waters, and my family and I - including my parents, nephew, cousin, household help, and DogMei - were able to weather out the storm together over the weekend. Thanks be to God.

However, a great big chunk of Metro Manila is still underwater, and badly damaged from the storm. And I, for one, am having flashbacks to the worst disasters of the decade: Hurricane Katrina. Indian Ocean tsunamis. The Hawaii earthquake of 2006.* Watching the news doesn't help - less so when a government representative comes on to say something, anything - and I've already stopped reading my Facebook news feed to avoid getting too emotional.

Our family continues to pray for those who are still searching for their loved ones, still waiting for good news, still processing their losses.

View Ondoy situation map for Metro Manila in a larger map

Just a reminder: There is no school tomorrow - I repeat, No School Tomorrow, and that includes everyone from elementary to college - but relief efforts are still ongoing at schools and major universities. I've also heard - through Manuel Quezon III's blog - that Team Manila stores are currently taking in-kind donations for food and other supplies.

A comprehensive list of organizations currently receiving donations - including bank transfers for relief services - can be found here. Although some organizations are currently taking transfers via Paypal, a great majority of relief efforts are concentrated on in-kind donations of blankets, canned goods, and clothes, which are needed immediately.

Thank you all for reading this blog entry. Remember: stay safe and warm, don't forget to hug your loved ones, and - most of all, if you are so inclined - keep on praying.

*Edited, 9/28: I understand that this earthquake wasn't as bad as what just happened, but just to clarify: I was in Honolulu when it happened, and it did freak me out - I had never seen HNL so desolate as it was during that time. My hometown back home had just endured the worst of a Super Typhoon that left a lot of unevacuated folks dead some days before the earthquake hit, so that was not a pleasant experience for me. But let's move on, move forward... and reach out to those in need. Thank you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yeah, Fancy Meeting You Here Too: A Polyvore Set

Today's Polyvore set answers the age-old question posed by the great Pinay dance diva herself, Jocelyn Enriquez:

*Jocelyn, I hear, has retired from the music business to concentrate on her family. But, dang, she can still bring it like the best of 'em; if I'd known that the HNL gig with her and the pre-PCD Nicole Scherzinger was going to be a premonition of sorts, I would've made a lot of cash by now. ;)

Anyway, about the set: This set is in no way inspired by my own personal life. (Hello, exes who may or may not be reading this blog!) It is, however, inspired by a running theme I've seen on Looklet: the outfit you wear when you do run into, or break up with, The One Who Got Away. Lord knows how many times I've planned to wear variations on that outfit during my 20s - and yes, there have been a few instances where it was warranted - but the older I get, the less interest I have in digging up any past grievances on who did what to whom. Thus, I think that some updates on this running theme are in order.
  • "Oh, hi. Had no idea you were going to be here." Hanging out at the places where you're most likely to find him is way too obvious; wearing deliberately vampy clothes and makeup while doing so is overkill. It's much easier for you and your ego to know (not just think) that you never planned on running into him, at all, and you just happened to look nice at this very moment. The makeup here is deceptively simple, thanks to the subtle neutral tones (shown here: BeneFit Big Beautiful Eyes and NARS Lip Gloss/ Lip Stain Duo in Stolen Kisses/ Pampa) which can be amplified without looking overdone with some serious mascara, well-groomed eyebrows, and a little rosy blush on the cheeks. You can also see how a similar all-neutral palette works in this how-to video from Bobbi Brown - and while you're at it, take notes on the model's hair in the video, too, which is simply brushed out and left down. Think along the lines of Grace Kelly: clean and tasteful, but never boring.
  • "Thanks. Everything's going great with me - how about you?" A tailored piece or two can convey a great sense of confidence, even when you feel like retreating into the nearest dark corner. The Vivienne Westwood jacket that I chose for this set practically redefines "sharp tailoring" for me, especially with the nipped-in waist and that wickedly pointed collar - the better to show off the built-in corset of the Diane Von Furstenberg dress, not to mention a wicked pair of stems in sheer black hose. And while I did go back and forth about which shoes I should pair with this get-up, I ultimately decided on this perfect pair of Louboutin booties to pull it all together beautifully, as a witty counterpoint to all that black. Tailored clothes, after all, do work best with tailored platform heels.

  • "By the way, Jason says hello." A hunky date may be the perfect accessory, but bringing your own bijoux to the party - especially those you've bought for yourself, with your own moolah - makes the moment even more deliciously memorable. Delicate jewelry, like the Kara Ross necklace or the thin, stackable diamond rings (worn on the right hand, so it won't be mistaken for a wedding set), sends the message to Mr. Ex that you cannot be bought by anything or anyone, not even for the whole universe.

  • "Wait, you haven't introduced me to your date yet!" At this point, a colorful manicure can send all sorts of wrong messages, so it's best to keep the nails short, clean, and at least nude-colored. That way, if his date is already sending dagger looks your way, you can simply hold out your hand and smile sweetly... let's face it, a classy lady like you isn't going to handily pick a raging catfight over him, are you?

  • "Yes, that would be nice, but - whoops, gotta go!" It's your call on how quickly and gracefully you want to exit this scenario. If I was in this situation, though, I'll just say a few short farewells, wink slyly at The Statham, and leave nothing but a cloud of Chanel No. 5 in my wake - ready to move on and move forward with the rest of my Great Plans for World Domination.
So, in summary, here's a little take-away: Revenge and jealousy are like a diet of simple carbs: exhilirating at first, but not enough to keep you going in the long run. Fill your time and space with the things that satisfy your essential self instead, and you'll still be ahead of the game.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Face of the Moment: The Wedding Guest

In order to show you the particular transformative properties of this look, let me show you a "before" picture.......followed by the inevitable "after."


Seriously speaking, though: This is exactly what I looked like when I went out the door on our way to a wedding in Intramuros. Apart from the blouse that you see here, and the gold hoops, I was also wearing a purple Laura Ashley skirt and the plum-colored heels from SM... and yes, this is the same event where I brought my Secosana bag, too. Sure enough, by the time MamaMei and I got to the wedding, I was also awe-struck by the interiors of the San Agustin Church, especially the vintage chandeliers.

So, in a strangely clairvoyant way, it's a good thing I went with gold and purple tones with my makeup as well.

Prep: MAC Paint Pot in Painterly on eyes; Alba Botanica Hawaiian Passion Fruit lip balm on lips; Smashbox Photo Finish on the rest of the face

Base: Max Factor Erace concealer in Natural under the eyes, followed by L'Oreal Bare Naturale in Sun Beige all over

Eyes: Stila Wheat on browbone for highlight, followed by L'Oreal HIP Bright Shadow Duo in Flamboyant - yellow gold shade on lids, purple on outer corner of the eye. Also used L'Oreal HIP Color Truth Cream Eyeliner in Black to create a cat-eye, which I then followed up with another layer of metallic purple from the Flamboyant duo using a MAC #266 brush.

Lashes: Maybelline Volum'Express Hypercurl Waterproof Mascara in Brown, just like the one on the left. This is the first mascara I've ever bought outside of the States in so many years, and I gotta say this: It rocks. Didn't run, didn't flake, kept my lashes full (but natural) and was pretty easy to remove by the end of the day. And need I mention that the formula looks like melted Toll House chocolate chips when you pull it out of the tube? Gorgeous.

Brows: Smashbox Brow Tech in Blonde and Taupe, from the Try Me Kit. Sounds weird, but I've learned that matching brow powder or pencil exactly to your eyebrow color only makes your brows look heavier. Better to just go one shade lighter - or two - to keep the look natural, but still full. In my case, though, I am definitely leaning towards getting a full-sized Brow Tech in either Taupe or Soft Brown.

Cheeks: BareMinerals All Over Face Color in Warmth. Will I ever get tired of this? Never! :)

Lips: NYX Lipliner in Rose Brown, followed by Clinique Long Last Glosswear SPF 15 in Mystic. As much as I didn't like Mystic at first, it's beginning to grow on me; I remember re-applying this in the car and finding that it gives off this cool, gypsy-ish vibe. I think that Mystic would go swimmingly well with the darker colors from MAC's Style Black collection, or even Chanel Noirs Obscurs... in fact, Mystic would be a great alternate lip color to the superdark shades from both collections.

Hair: Bench Fix Professional Clay Doh on the top layers, brushed out with a boar-bristle brush.

Needless to say, I had fun at the wedding, and I wish I could go sightseeing around Intramuros again. In the meantime, I'm actually more inspired now to wear hoop earrings more often and start playing with makeup again, especially the mascara and the lip gloss. Nice!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sometimes a Bag is Just a Bag...

...but sometimes a bag needs an explanation.

Hi, my name is Meimei, and I own a bag from Secosana.

Let's face it: I can't really defend myself here. Longtime readers will point out that I don't always carry nice bags around, for security reasons, and no matter how many times I write about the Fendi Zucca or the Louis Vuitton Mahina, I will always end up buying whatever it is that happens to be on sale. The bag that you see above, which cost me all of P650 (US$13), is no exception... because it was on sale at Robinsons.

But: It's a Secosana.

A great majority of fashion bloggers from Manila will tell you that Secosana is the red-headed stepchild of the Philippine fashion scene. Secosana bags may be cheap, they will say, but they are also the knockoff bags that you buy for your maids as a Christmas present, or the bags you take to the places where you're most likely to get ripped off by a purse snatcher. Secosana bags will break your heart when they start falling apart on your after several months, no matter how well you take care of them. Add to this the fact that Secosana has allegedly started increasing their prices, and we're looking at a resentment so deep-seated that it would take a PhD in social anthropology to explain the whole thing in a dispassionate, unbiased manner.

In the meantime, look at this bag:

Repeat after me: Again with the cheap "leather." Look closely at the bottom detail, too, and you could see that those swirls are actually "S"-es. And can we talk about that color? Because, really, this bag would have been so much better if it came in a creamier beige hue... which it didn't, because the other color in the store was bright fuschia.

That said, I stand by my line of reasoning for getting this bag. Yes, it was on sale. Yes, I need a second purse for the days when I have to go to Mass, which is very often. (This explains the frequent presence of reading glasses and a hand fan in this bag.) And even if I didn't have to deal with the security issues of purse-snatching, I know that I've done my best to de-cheezify this bag by reducing the number of decorative charms to the lone pair of tassels that you see here. Not that hard, really.

As for the fasyonista credibility problem... well, I have seen more horrific bags in the same price range as Secosanas (four words: Baby Phat knock-offs) and better-quality bags for less cash... but it's not like the brand itself hasn't tried hard enough to make a better product. I know that they've made cuter bags in their past collections, and it's not like anyone else is expecting them to use real leather, so it's obviously a question of addressing the construction quality at this point.

Let me also add, however, that I've actually carried this bag to a formal event last weekend in Manila, and nobody cared enough to notice. So THERE.

This may be a Secosana, but it's still my Secosana, and I'm sticking with it. That is, until I can scrounge up enough money to spring for real, honest-to-goodness leather... labels be damned.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Once Upon a Look(let)

Or as I like to call this new series, "An Addiction is Born."

Credits from Shoulder bag, Longchamp; bracelet, Hermes; tank, Topshop; skirt, Stockhlm; heels, Burberry.

Hong Kong, 7:25 pm. "It sounds like they're going to be late," the traveler heard L. say to him when he got out of the bathroom. "I bet you it's going to be some kind of wardrobe crisis, or something."

He didn't let L. finish the thought. This night was L.'s idea, after all. Every night was the same in every city: Take these nice ladies out to dinner, take them out dancing, let the chips fall where they may. In L.'s case, it always meant that he got to take a girl back to the room. For the traveler himself, it was good night, good luck, and Glenlivet at the lobby while he waited for L. to finish his business...

At least I bothered with toothpaste and aftershave, the traveler thought, as he adjusted the sleeves on his dress shirt.

Doorbell. L. runs to the door, kisses his date on the cheek. The traveler smooths out the creases from the front of his jeans. He immediately spots the woman who was to be L.'s date for the evening: tight black dress, fake-label handbag, strappy sandals meant to look "sexy" and "hot" but come across as "crippling" in real life. In short, exactly L.'s type.

"I brought my friend," L.'s date announces to the room. "I hope you don't mind if she joins us? She could be a partner for your friend over there!"

Aha! The traveler has seen this scenario before, too. Yet another guarantee that he will end up spending the rest of the night getting acquainted with the lobby bar's collection of fine single-malts.

"That's fine," he hears the other girl speak. "That makes
two of us who'll be staying up at the lobby tonight."

Then she enters the room.

The traveler stands up. For once, he was glad that he also bothered with his contacts.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meet Me in ShoeMart

Fun fact for the young 'uns: Didja know that the SM in SM Department Stores stands for Shoe Mart? Oh, don't look at me like your parents forgot to tell you. Even now, whenever our family goes to Mall of Asia, we still make arrangements to meet at ShoeMart.

And as much as it makes certain brand-conscious fasyonistas cringe (especially when you consider that we now have Aldo entering the market here), it's hard to deny that SM still has one of the best shoe selections in the Philippines. Never mind that the shoe-buying experience here isn't the same as, say, Macy's or Neiman Marcus; you still have to shop by brand, or else you'll be adding five more minutes to your wait time while the staff tracks down your exact size and style. You may not be paying for the ambiance, but trust me here - the shoes themselves are so worth it.

Take, for example, these red flats, from SM's Parisian house brand.

Any well-heeled fasyonista will tell you that the "leather" on these babies is so fake that it's practically cruelty-free, and the rubber soles make them look very cheap. But do I care? Heck no. These are go-anywhere shoes for me: polished enough for a job interview (there's something very Dior about the big buckles and the round toes) but tough enough for me to walk through puddled streets. I even use these shoes during my driving lessons, because they give me the traction that I oh-so-desperately need for working with manual transmission. Not to mention that these shoes fit better the more I wear them, too. And, since I bought these last month at the can't-fail sale price of P499 (roughly US$10), it's practically a steal.

Also from the Parisian line, and also on sale for P499: these strappy sandals.

Again with the cheap "leather" - and to be honest, the heels on these babies do a little wobbling whenever I walk. (I'll need to hunt down a store that sells Foot Petals, or at least those Dr. Scholls inserts.) Yet, I love the plummy-brown color of these shoes, and the strappiness is practically Aldo-esque and Sofft-like in its own way, without the ridiculous markups. These are probably the closest I'll get right now to the ongoing gladiator/ S&M trend without the bank-breaking consequences... and even with all the extraneous retrofitting, which would still put the grand total for these shoes at par with what I would've spent at Nordstrom Rack for a similar pair.

I didn't get to check out all the other brands, but I've tried a few of them on during my last SM trip and I can say that their prices are still relatively affordable (within the Payless range) even if they do have a considerable edge over the Parisians in terms of materials and design. Still, it's fascinating how a lot of the local shoe manufacturers are finally catching up with the global trends - which only makes it easier for me to get my shoe fix whenever necessary. Already I'm thinking about going back to SM for a pair of boot-cuffed flat sandals similar to these, which are beginning to look more like a brilliant idea to me in spite of my muscular calves. Oh how I wish! :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just. Gorgeous.

Edited to add that this offer is available only for MAC customers in the United States, since the US website does not ship internationally... and MAC Australia, which also covers the Asian market, has yet to make these products available on their site. So, feel free to call your relatives in the US or Canada if you want to get hooked up, pronto!)

OMG, you won't believe how excited I was to see the announcement for MAC Custom Palettes in my inbox.

(Screencaps, mine; click all pictures for a larger view.)

I actually cropped out the blush palette (6 pans, US$105.00)... not because I don't like blush, but because I wanted to make room for the real draw here: the eyeshadow palettes in 4-pan form (US$47.00) and 15-pan form (US$177.00).

It's fun to build the eyeshadow palette because you get to choose from colors that are already available in the permanent collection. The textures available here are Satin, Frost, Lustre, Velvet, Veluxe, Veluxe Pearl, Matte, and Matte2.

(Side note: This is for the MAC PRO customers in the house - do the Pro Palette Refill Pans fit into these babies as well, since the palettes don't come pre-assembled anyway? I thought I'd ask because it looks like the refills come in a wider range of shades, and the palettes I just saw on the MAC Canada site look very similar to these. Just a thought.)

I can't resist customizing my own palettes (and I hate seeing packaging go to waste), so I went to work on building a 4-pan for myself... which you can now see below.

Clockwise rom top left: Bamboo (light beige with peach, Matte); Vex (beige w/ pink-green pearl, Frost); Club (red-brown with green pearl, Satin) and Sumptuous Olive (khaki w/ pearl, Veluxe Pearl). Note all the green tints in here, which keeps this otherwise neutral palette from being too namby-pamby.

If I wasn't so space-and-budget conscious, I would've gone completely off the rails and made another quad with Bitter, Nylon, Wedge, and Satin Taupe. But, oh, the possibilities!

Now, if only these would be available in my neck of the woods - and soon...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Case for the Basics: Your Basic Grooming Routine

Like many Filipinos, I've been culturally conditioned to keep my appearance as neat and presentable as possible. Years of college and living away from my parents has done nothing to undo that conditioning; up to now I still can't leave the house without a quick mirror check and a once-over with a brush.

The older I get, though, the more I tend to settle for "presentable" rather than "chic." And I'm not alone here; for every woman that leaves the house with a "full face," there are probably 7 more whose schedules are so hectic that taking time for makeup is Just Not an Option.

Since I'm a stickler for starting with the basics, I recommend going through this checklist every single morning, or at least before you pick up a single makeup brush. The rules are not hard and fast - heck, I'm guilty of not doing all of this - but trust me, just one tweak will make your life so much easier.
  • Do you take good care of your skin? Every makeup artist will tell you that even the best makeup is worth nothing without a good canvas. I've written about the Clinique 3-step system in the past, because it boils down every person's skincare routine into three basic concepts: cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing. It doesn't matter how you do it, or when, as long as your skin remains clear and healthy. Same goes for the rest of your body, too; no matter how my day goes, I never step into the shower without shampoo and a Salux washcloth for my body wash of choice... and that makes all the difference.

  • Do you brush and floss? Laugh if you must, but even the best lipstick can't hide a mouth that hasn't seen the business end of a toothbrush. And it doesn't have to be the most expensive toothbrush, either - though it does matter if your brush can clean your teeth without your soft palate getting poked every so often. Toothpaste, same deal. As for floss, I can get pretty fastidious about it because I hate the thought of anything getting stuck between my teeth, and I'd rather have a good day at the dentist than a lifetime of bleeding gums.

  • Do you groom your brows? As my senior yearbook picture shows, your eyebrows can be a deal-breaker for any look. Here's a little tutorial from Seventeen magazine to get you started... but try not to pluck too much, so you won't look Botoxed.

I'll have more to say about showering, exfoliating, and eyebrow grooming in the coming days... but, really, if you've answered "yes" to any of these questions above, you're practically ahead of the game.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Noble Elegance and Casual Formality

You know what? The deadlines and to-do lists can wait. Bring on the fasyon!

I took the name of this collection from the Shu Uemura makeup collection shown in this set, which has a lot of clean, conservative colors; on that note, the look I'm going for here is similarly clean and modest. This is more for those "in-between" moments when you want to straddle the line between casual and formal: creative workplaces, church services, work-related cocktail parties, that sort of thing.

  • Always start with the shoes. The Charles David sandals may be black and high-heeled, but the wide straps look quite comfortable and the leather is soft and matte, which takes the intimidation factor down several notches. I can totally imagine wearing this with creamy beige toenails, which provides a nice counterpoint.

  • Dress comfortably. Construction is also what caught my eye with the Milly dress shown above - I could quibble about the fabric, but I can see a dress like this made with cotton jersey or a lightweight silk... possibly in a different print, but with the same solid bands to create the kimono-like effect. The other element that rescues this dress from every other department-store DVF ripoff in the market is the panel in the middle of the V-neck; it's cut low enough to flatter, but still modest enough to keep "the girls" out of sight and out of mind.

  • Stick to classic accessories. Assuming that you want to remain inconspicuous (ie. not flashy), you want your other accoutrements to stay in the same key as your outfit and shoes, if not lower. Thus, the Marc Jacobs bag has minimum bells and whistles; the ladies' watch comes with a classic leather strap; and the gold hoop earrings stand out even when scaled down next to the bold graphic print. Top it off with the ladylike makeup and a spritz of soft floral fragrance (even if it's not Vera Wang, as shown here), and you should be good to go anywhere.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Post Warmer: Get Smashed

Nope, I didn't go out and have a "lost weekend" of my own, but I wanted to just drop in on you guys in case anybody was wondering why this blog has yet to be updated.

Anyway, it has been a busy week, starting with nurse duty for DogMei (let's just say that it was not a good day at the vet) and continuing with some non-blog projects that I needed to get out of the way. Right now there are Post-Its on my writing desk to remind me of the things I need to write, fix, or arrange in the coming days and weeks... and unfortunately, the deadlines for some of these things are coming sooner than expected, so it will be a while before I turn my attention back to blogging about shoes and makeup and stuff.

In the meantime, please enjoy this helpful link that I've provided for a nice little evening look from Smashbox. Click here, or on the picture below, to check out all products and view the accompanying instructional video.

And speaking of videos, here's one from The Gossip. Yes, I'm a little late on the Beth Ditto bandwagon. Sue me.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

From the Vaults of Hacienda de Meimei: I Love the Nineties!!!

For all intents and purposes, this post is best enjoyed with an accompanying soundtrack:

Believe it or not, these pictures are actually from my happier days in high school, when my hair wasn't permed and my angst was at bay. No wonder I kept them all.

1994: Forgive the uneven reproduction quality of this shot for a moment, and ignore the baggy green Mom Jeans. This picture has the hallmarks of the Meimei style: side-swept bangs, red lipstick, and a fitted, solid-color top with sleeves. In this case, said top was a black mock turtleneck, which I was able to pull off for as long as my chest remained, shall we say, in development. (Damn you, college weight gain!) If I were to restyle this picture, I would've chosen a long-line T with a more flattering neckline - say, a V-neck - and better-fitting low rise jeans, to avoid the sagging-butt effect shown here.

Also, I should mention that the cool watch I'm wearing here is, believe it or not, a Swatch. I remember this because I had to swap out the cheesy, worn-out plastic strap for a classier one in green croc leather.

1995: All I can remember from this shot is that this was taken during one of the happiest moments of my life - happy because I was hard at work covering an event for the school paper (ask Scribey - she was there), and I was definitely in love with... um, where was I? Now, I like to joke that this picture is proof that my ego is definitely bigger than my actual hair - as you can see, the shadow behind me makes me look like I got myself a full-blown wig, when in fact I'm actually sporting a plain, one-length bob. And I like how my makeup has all but worn off here, too. What I don't like: the jacket, and the overdone eyebrows. Which reminds me...

Senior year photo: This was taken within a day or two of the last one, but GOOD GRAVY where was Kevyn Aucoin when I really needed him? Ten years ago, I posted a Photoshopped version of this one, where I tried to alter everything from the foundation line on the forehead to the toothy Joker grin... it just didn't work. If anything, though, I think this is actually a great example of a pattern I've found in my pictures from the last decade: the more makeup I wear in the picture, the more insecurities I actually have to hide from the camera. The worst pictures I've taken during my teens, in fact, can be attributed to a combination of too much makeup - dark lips, heavy brows, pasty foundation - and not enough spark behind the eyes. In retrospect, though, I really had no reason to be insecure at all; the old rivalries were beginning to fade away, the studying wasn't going to be so bad, and it wasn't going to take long before puppy love gave way to deeper and truer passions for life and love itself. Oh, well... at least we've come a long way from all of that, and it's all good from here. :)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Domesticity Reviews: Bench Fix Professional Clay Doh Molding Clay

Enough with the hair jokes! It's time to bring in the big guns!

This, my friends, is Bench Fix Clay Doh, now in its new packaging. This 80g tub of hair product cost me PhP90 (roughly US$1.80) at my local Bench store, but it has done so much for my flat hair, especially for my ill-behaved bangs.

As the name suggests, the texture of this product is more clay than dough; there's a mixture of talc, mica, and titanium dioxide (among others) blended into that petrolatum-and-beeswax base, along with jojoba oil to keep things non-crunchy. It's supposed to give your hair a matte finish, too, but it didn't make my flat strands dull at all.

Here's what I do: I take a pea-size dab of Clay Doh, warm it up on my fingertips, and then run it through my bangs to keep them parted. Depending on my mood, I can continue piecing and spiking the pomade through the strands with my fingertips, or - as shown above - I can break up the spikes with my boar-bristle brush for a smooth, classic look.

And this is how it looks like in action:

Flatness = zilch; shine and body = winner. Did I also mention that Clay Doh doesn't weigh my hair down, or give it that oil-slicked finish that most fine-haired folks get from traditional pomade? Exactly.

A little Clay does go a long way, too: not only does that pea-sized dab cover a lot of hair, but it actually keeps said hair in place for hours on end. And I do mean hours: I've seen Clay Doh hold up my bangs for an entire day of errands without restyling, even with the crazy Philippine humidity. I've even fallen asleep with Clay Doh in my hair, and I still woke up with nary a stray strand poking into my forehead.

All in all, I continue to be very impressed with Clay Doh, and pleasantly surprised that I'm able to use a salon-quality product for far less than what I would've paid back in the States. This might as well be up there with my favorite hair products of all time!