Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ten Things You Should Know About TICKLES

Back during my time, when you're a student with a limited budget, Tickles was the place to go to for retail therapy. It was not uncommon for my friends and I to head out to Tickles to pick up a stuffed flower (it's a flower made out of stuffed toy material heehee), stationery, or whatever fun, unnecessary tchotchke they had in store.

So when Tickles finally opened their 80 sqm circus-themed flagship store in Megamall this month, it wasn't a suprise at all that my mom friends all suddenly had Tickles on their Instagram feed. It was the original wasteland of our youth. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, which I doubt, here are ten fun facts about one of my favorite stores in the 90s.

1. Tickles brings out the feel good vibes.

“It seems that a lot of people are rooting for Tickles, because it’s a homegrown brand that carries a lot of fond memories,” says Carlo Tanseco, Creative Director of Tickles. 

True enough, the site of a boarded up store in Megamall with the Tickles logo on it was enough to send me spiralling back to memory lane, back when I was in high school and my friends and I would visit the store in Greenhills and come out with stuff we don't really need but had to have because they were so cute!

2. It's steeped in history and the founder's love for retail.

For my millennial readers who are not familiar with Tickles, you're gonna love the heritage and history behind it. 

Tickles was established in 1979 by Yoya Tanseco, Carlo’s mom, who is still its chairman, chief visionary and master shopper. A creative soul, intrepid businesswoman, and social butterfly rolled into one, Yoya dove into several successful business ventures before finding her true niche in retail.

“From dressmaking and designing wedding gowns, to catering and making cakes for children’s parties, name it, I’ve done it! I’m the type who can’t sit still,” recounts Yoya. “But ever since childhood, I’ve always loved retail. When we would make bahay-bahayan, I would be the treasurer and the purchaser. Mahilig ako sa kaha and purchasing.“ 

And so together with her sister and a good friend, Yoya she set up the very first Tickles in Shoppesville, Greenhills, stocking it with all sorts of cute gift items and adorable finds from travels to New York and Japan. “That was the time Hello Kitty was popular, and all the ballpens were so cute. In school, yan ang weakness ko—notebooks, ballpens… And so I enjoyed shopping for Tickles so much kasi ‘cutie-cutie.’” Everything she picked out would fly off the shelves, and she realized she was able to turn her love for shopping and travel into something that brought happiness to others. 

Soon, the store was no longer just a hobby, and when her sister and friend migrated abroad, she ran the store on her own. Later on, she enlisted the help of her children (and eventually, Chun-chi Soler, Chief Operating Officer) to help with the store’s expansion. 

3. It's a bounce back from the ashes (or in this case, basics) sort of story.

Branching out from the original shop in Greenhills, Tickles set up stores in Shangri-La Plaza, Robinsons Manila, Glorietta, and Alabang Town Center in the 1990s. However, with a struggling economy and the kids busy with other ventures, the stores dwindled to one branch in Glorietta. Even the goods on display were a sign of the times: “Everything was just very basic and functional,” shares Carlo. “But we didn’t want my mom’s dream to die; the brand was still strong, and so with Chun-chi’s help, we focused on reviving the store.” 

Fast-forward to today: Tickles is back and bigger than ever, now with 11 stores across the metro.

4. It's worth checking out their sister stores: a'postrophe and ROY & BIV.

Tickles has also spun off into two other concept stores: a’postrophe, featuring more “grown-up” fashion and lifestyle items, and the bright and cheery ROY & BIV, where quirky gift items are categorized into the colors of the rainbow. Tickles, a’postrophe, and ROY & BIV also all carry the sub-brand Elemenopy (“Made from 100% genuine letter,” Chun-chi quips), which creates a distinct line of monogram- and letter-inspired merchandise for each of the brands. 

5. It continues to be the go-to place for fun, gifts and novelties

From your go-to gift shop for special occasions, Tickles has evolved into a novelty shop for all seasons—and generations. “The line is more curated, and yet now appeals to different markets,” says Carlo.

6. Most of their products are original designs.

In their effort to offer unique items you can’t find anywhere else, the Tickles team now designs their own products, and also collaborates with other brands. Which shouldn't come as a surprise because I remember my former officemate Sabs Cacho once told me that Carlo has an impressive background in industrial design.

“Now, most of the items in the store are proprietary, which means we make it ourselves. Some of the items are still sourced, or made exclusively for us by international suppliers, but our focus is to design our own items. Our goal is to be 100% Tickles-branded,” Carlo reveals. “We also try to find the best sources to make our items affordable,” adds Chun-chi.

7. They will keep evolving, and moving on to next big hit.

In a market where nothing stays original for long, the team’s challenge is to come up with items that will tickle the fancy of their customers before anyone else. “We always think, what can we offer that is unique, that is not out there yet?” shares Carlo. “It’s inevitable that people will copy our items; it happens. But my perspective is to keep moving forward, design more, be ahead of the trend.” 

8. Expect something fresh and new each visit.

New items are introduced every week, so there’s always something fresh to discover at the store. At the heart of everything they source or create for Tickles is the mission to bring “Happiness All Year Round.”

9. Tickles knows what we want.

From all-time favorite cute Japanese pens and notebooks with humorous sayings, to this season’s bestselling eye masks and food-inspired plushies, the Tickles team lead by Yoya Tanseco seems to know exactly the “kiliti” of Pinoys—perhaps the secret to why they’ve outlasted local and foreign competitors alike.

10. Heritage, forward thinking and a desire to keep it's customers happy is the key.

“I’d like to think that it’s the memory attached to the brand, and the feel-good items in the store, that have made us last all these years,” shares Carlo. “We’re just here to put smiles on their faces.” 

Tickles is located at Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 1, Power Plant Mall, SM Megamall A, TriNoma, UP Town Center, Alabang Town Center, Market! Market!, Marquee Mall, Fairview Terraces, and Ayala Center Cebu. Follow @tickles_PH on Twitter and Instagram, or visit Tickles_ph on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

#SkinHealth Q&A: Healing Pimples from Within

As a follow-up to my last #SkinHealth post, here’s a skin concern from a reader that I know many of us can relate to. Read on!

Q: Hi Tin! You look like you have such nice skin, I can’t imagine you saying you had acne before. I’ve done a lot of treatments at my derma already, but I have yet to see a major improvement on my skin. Any other options I should consider? Thanks! 

- Sad For My Skin 

Dear Sad For My Skin, 

I was on the same boat as you are now years ago, and if it seems like you are not getting the results you want, just be a little more patient. Results do not happen overnight. 

I think it took me a year approximately before my skin totally cleared up. It took a combination of factors for my skin to heal really. Apart from regular derma visits, I embarked on a total lifestyle change: eating healthy, sleeping early, and if it sounds a little bit kooky, willing my skin to heal itself from within. 

Have you ever heard of Mind-Body Connection? In a nutshell, it pretty much sums up the idea that our thoughts can affect our health directly. Case in point, if we are stressed, we either get sick, have a breakout, get migraines, or get hives. 

Here’s what I suggest: Continue on with your derma treatments. You need those regular facials, cleanings and topical treatments. But also work on your #SkinHealth from within. A healthy lifestyle is a given, so I’m giving you three additional tips that also will do wonders for you. 

1) Don’t think about your zits. Honestly, the more I obsessed about my skin, the more my pimples seemed to multiply. And they just got more stubborn and wouldn’t go away. I’d get a really nasty inflamed zit that needed steroid shots, and my derma would make me take antibiotics na because it was bordering on cystic I swear. Ok, I maybe exaggerating, but you get my drift. It was downright horrible. So I decided to just let it go. Yeah, let it go. Get your mind off it, read a book, don’t look in the mirror (super worked for me), focus your thoughts elsewhere, and just go on with your life pretending you don’t have it. 

2) Prayers and meditation. Part of my daily nighttime ritual would be to pray to God to take away my zits. I would say, “God, I’d rather donate to worthy causes than spend my money on my face.” And really, I would. I’d donate to NGOs and give support to blood drives, clothing drives, visit wounded soldiers in hospitals, any way I can give back. Which links to my first tip. I think focusing less on myself and focusing my energies on worthy endeavors had a healing effect.

Plus, this is going to sound really weird but it worked for me, so I am putting this out there. Hear this, I would meditate and imagine a silver light cleansing my face and zapping all the zits with healing energy. I swear, our mind can do wonders in healing ourself. 

3) Consider taking medication like Lactezin. Ok, fresh new discovery! Lactezin is a naturally-derived over-the-counter drug, so you’re ensured it’s safe, effective and still clinically tested. It has a breakthrough combination of three active ingredients – Lactoferrin (antibacterial milk-derived protein), Vitamin E, and Zinc, which combined together, have anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties.

Lactezin starts curing acne from within, providing the body with defenses against acne and skin remedies for beautiful skin. The result is clearer, smoother, less oily skin with finer pores.

This wasn’t around during my time, but now that there’s something like this in the market now, I wish this had come sooner! Would have freed me from all the anxiety caused by bad skin.

Best of all, it deals with pimples the natural way, and not through hormones as it was during my time, where girls had to resort to taking birth control pills just to have clear skin.

Of course, keep your mind open to different treatments, but also remember that when it comes to medications, do your research and only take FDA-approved medication from a a reputable source or manufacturer.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Age Gracefully with NuSkin ageLOC®

My celebrity trainer friend Kat Garcia always says  "Abs are made in the kitchen! Torn in the gym! 80% nutrition, 20% sweat!"

No doubt about it, nutrition is key not just to staying in top shape, but also to good health, and a feeling of overall wellness all together.

This is also the premise of NuSkin's latest anti-aging supplement, ageLOC® Y-Span which is now available in the country starting this August. That key being, to give the body what it needs nutritionally so it can continue to do what it is designed to do — live more youthful, energetic and healthy years. 

ageLOC® Y-Span has a unique capsule technology – Licap® – that allows for both liquids and solids to be delivered together in a single hard shell capsule. This technology improves the bioavailability of fat-soluble ingredients, which help ensure the delivery of anti-aging benefits

ageLOC® Y-Span was designed with highly innovative gene expression science and features a unique blend of natural ingredients that are not readily available in everyday diets. Ingredients include purple corn extract, alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, citrus bioflavonoids, resveratrol, and vitamin K2, among others. 

If it sounds out of the ordinary, its because each ingredient was carefully selected for its unique health benefits and ability to positively impact gene expression to create a proprietary blend that delivers broad spectrum benefits. 

It supports DNA integrity, systemic cytokine responses, and antioxidant protection while promoting healthy brain, eyes, heart, skin, immune function, bones, joints, lipid metabolism, and physical performance. No doubt about it, ageLOC® Y-Span is NuSkin’s most advanced anti-aging dietary supplement, and possibly the best in the market today. Because I've never heard of an anti-aging supplement until I learned about this!

While we are on the subject of anti-aging, I might as well let you know of the other anti-aging products  and services you might want to check out at NuSkin, should you decide to drop by their Ortigas Walk-In Center. It's open to the public, Monday to Friday (11AM to 9PM) and on Saturday (10AM to 7 PM).

First of course is an introduction to the ageLOC® products: the Cleanser + Toner, Day SPF, Serum and Night Cream. I went home with the Cleanse + Tone and have been trying it out for a week now. It is quite amazing, leaving skin feeling clean and fresh without feeling tight at all.

There's a BioPhotonic Scanner which measures anti-oxidants in our system. I did this before at LifeScience, where my skin carotenoid score was pretty good, landing in the green zone. Sad to say, I fared poorly this time, finding myself in the yellow zone. I tried to figure out the demotion, and I have to admit, I haven't been eating as healthy lately. I've caved in to junk food in the last two months whereas I remember never eating a bag of chips that time I took it at LifeScience because Tepper was purely breastfed pa. See, nutrition really is key. More fruits and vegetables for me, please!

Now, I have to be honest about this. This is the blinged out, Swarovski'd version of NuSkin's popular Anti-Aging Galvanic Spa System, but it's just so donya, this is what I'm putting out here. It's basically a spa in a gadget, and helps work in products and treatments deeper into the skin. You can try it out when you go to an ageLOC® expo.

The basic version is Php21,500 and already comes with 2 boxes of Galvanic Face Gels. There's also an ageLOC® Galvanic Body Spa System too, which covers more surface area than this.

If you've always wanted to have your Body Composition analyzed, this Karada Scan Body Composition and Scale tells you more than just your weight, but also your body fat, Body Mass Index (BMI), visceral fat, and Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR).

Oh, and your body age too! I swear this machine does not lie, because it says my body age is 30 lang. 10 years younger, woohoo. Hahaha.

There's a Facial Analysis System, similar to the Visia Imaging System I've tried before. If you want to really look into the state of your skin, pores, wrinkles, texture, porphyrins and all, this is facing the cold, hard, truth.

You may also get a whiff of their various essential oils at the Epoch Essential Oils station. These can be applied on to skin or used to scent a room via diffuser. Either way, it's a natural and proven way to heal both body and mind and if you're looking for essential oils, they have it right here.

I quite enjoyed my morning at the ageLOC® expo, trying out their anti-aging services and discovering new products I would have tried if I didn't have to leave early. It was also great meeting Blaise Fortuna, NuSkin's Marketing Communications Manager, whose name sounded so familiar, I felt like we've met before. Turns out we have, on Instagram. How fun is that! 

For more about NuSkin, visit, follow @nuskinph on Instagram, or visit NuSkin Philippines at the 15/F of Octagon Center, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Cheeky Way to Beat the Heat: Icoño Series at Tesoros

Thanks to Dadang Tesoro, I found a fun way to beat the heat. With humor and a big ass fan, that's how. If you're starting early with your Christmas gift list, take note of the  Icoño Series at Tesoros.

I've already bought a couple of fans for friends and my sister-in-law who found it so fun, I'm betting this would be a hit for the Titas and Donyas of Manila, fanning out to the rest of Titas and Donyas of the islands.

Launched in collaboration with Monchet Olives of Casa Mercedes, the limited edition Tesoros Icoño Series was unveiled to the public last July 21 at the Tesoros store on Arnaiz Avenue.

It was a natural progression for the the two brands since Casa Mercedes has been supplying fans to Tesoros since the 1950s. Both have long been acknowledged as respected Filipino brands that continue to remain relevant by adapting to the times, coming out with products that appeal to a younger demographic.

See how fun these fans are?

The line was designed by retired media executive and Casa Mercedes heir Monchet Olives, who revolutionized the Pinoy fan with the Katha Award-winning “Icoño Series” – inspired by the film “Heneral Luna” and the utterances of the “Castilaloys of Pinoy Society”. Check out the rest of the collection here.

I love how irreverently funny and borderline bastos each piece is, there's a bound to be a fan to shock  your conservative Abuela, flatter your favorite Tita, annoy your Donya friend, bring a touch of humor to your serious and uptight hermana and send a message to your feeling coño cousin.

The fans retail for Php750 and available at the Tesoros Handricrafts store in Makati.

For more about Tesoros, visit their website, or follow @tesoroshandicrafts on Instagram and Facebook. Visit the Tesoros store at 1016 Arnaiz Ave., Makati City to view the complete fan collection.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Chuvaness x NBS

When Cecile van Straten aka Chuvaness asks you to save the date and invites you to the launch of her collaboration with National Bookstore, you block that schedule and you go. That's a no brainer. 

Cecile told me to save the date two weeks before her launch. Without seeing anything from her collection for National Bookstore then, I already knew it was going to be good, and that I would be in for a treat. Because I know enough that when something is Chuva-approved, it's going to be something I would want as well.

True enough, it was a visual treat just being there. It was like stepping into Cecile's world of bleached wood, clean lines, kawaii characters and a wasteland of stationery and travel supplies.

Cecile led the pack in her Vetements sweatshirt, trousers with extra wide cuffs and her signature platform sneakers, but I know her well enough not to ask for her photo, hehe.

Of course, the Ramos women of National Bookstore were there, to welcome the equally chic crowd.

Xandra Ramos-Padilla in Sacai and N21, Tita Presy Ramos in House of Dagmar and Martiniano, Pat Ramos in Uemelo Munenoli, Rachel Comey and Mich Dulce

I think all the guests dressed for Cecile. Well, Pat & I did. We wore Japanese, from Tilda of course.

Wearing Japanese: Pat's top is by Tokyo-based designer Uemelo Munenoli and I wore NICO, by Nicholson and Nicholson, an Osaka-based label by Yusuke Nakagawa

I thought the pieces were totally Chuvaness. Chuvaness x NBS is an inspired collection that represents pieces, illustrations and sayings that we've all come to identify with Cecile and her blog.

There's the cute, tiny tote bag

The Coco Chanel saying, "In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different."

Shoe travel bags that say "Good shoes take you good places"

The most adorable illustrations of chica girls by Keeshia Felipe on this utility kit, graphic design by  Yodel Pe 

The outfit on the girl wearing the polka dotted dress is the exact same dress that inspired Cecile's polka dot birthday party back in 2014. She wore this dress of course, and effortlessly pulled it off, so to me, this is the most Cecile outfit of all

Cecile always sends out thoughtfully packaged presents so it totally makes sense for her to have gift wrappers in her line

There's also round clutches, note cards and so much more, but I ended up buying these.

The gift wrappers and stickers are totally mine. I'm visiting friends in New York soon, and I thought the shoe bags, stationery and pouch would make fun pasalubong. I'm going back for more. I'm thinking ahead, and think these would be great Christmas presents as well!

Prices are very reasonable, and the quality of each piece is impeccable. The gift tags start at Php49 and the most expensive of the lot is the big tote bag at Php699. 

The #ChuvanessxNBS collection is available at the following National Bookstore branches: Alabang Town Center, Ayala Fairview Terraces, Estancia Mall, Festival Supermall, Glorietta 1, Greenbelt,
 Greenlanes Arcade, Katipunan, NAIA, Market! Market!, Power Plant Mall-Rockwell, Quad Alpha Centrum, Quezon Avenue, Robinsons Ermita, Robinsons Magnolia, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, SM Aura Premier, SM Bacoor, SM Clark, SM Dasmariñas, SM Fairview, SM Mall of Asia, SM Manila, SM Megamall, SM North Edsa, SM Southmall, SM Sta Rosa, Superbranch Cubao, Trinoma, Uptown Place Mall.
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