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Saturday, September 29, 2012

MFO's Verdict On: Clarins Double Serum

Since I promised to write reviews about the products I do and will swear by, and to make my reviews more comprehensive, thorough and organized, I will be following this framework from now on. Hope you enjoy this new "feature" of the blog - MFO's Verdict On: _____ !

The Product: Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate


The Promise: The one and only anti-aging treatment that reactivates the five vital functions on which skin's youth and beauty depend - hydration, nutrition, oxygenation, protection, regeneration.  Combining the 20 most powerful anti-aging plant extracts, it is the best of nature and science in one product and the culmination of 27 years of anti-aging expertise.

Visible results include noticeably fewer wrinkles, skin that is firmer, more even, more resilient, with renewed radiance and less visible pores.


Put to the Test: To be honest I have only ever started going to Clarins when I got pregnant with Xavi and I would visit the Clarins Spa for my twice a month pre-natal massage sessions. When I was in my 20s, I had always associated the brand with mommy skincare, because my friend Isabelle would stop by the Clarins counter in Lane Crawford to buy products for her mom whenever she was in HK. But well, now that I am a mom, should be right up my alley then.

I have been using Clarins Double Serum for about a month now, day and night. I just follow the instructions on the bottle, pump the serum onto my hand, mix a bit and apply onto face. It starts off a bit oily, but glides nicely onto skin and doesn't feel icky-greasy. I just let it dry on my face naturally.


Btw, you will notice that when you pump out the serum, it sort of looks like you just cracked an egg, with a dark "yolk" in the center. This is because Double Serum's two formulas are never in contact. Each vial has a separate pump dispenser - to preserve the power of the water and oil-soluble ingredients and ensure the two formulas only come together upon application and in the ideally balanced ratio.

Passing the Verdict: I can tell you, there really is a huge difference in my skin. The first thing I noticed about my skin was the radiance. Seriously, it looks luminous. I don't even wear makeup anymore. It is in fact possible that I could be mistaken for a shining, shimmering Cullen. If they ever included a 30 something Asian woman into their coven. Although I am often mistaken to be in my 20s heehee. Oh diba, never aging. Vampire-riffic!

As for the crows feet slowly creeping around my eyes when I smile? Well visibly lessened in about two weeks. I now supplement with Clarins eye cream, for extra "fight the wrinkles" power.

Pores have been under control, ever since I started doing my French "No Water" skincare routine. With this serum, they haven't exactly disappeared, but they have shrunk to a size I am not bothered about. But not yet to a poreless finish. I guess I am not a Cullen with skin as smooth as marble after all. 

Here's an unfiltered, un-Photoshopped photo of my skin sans make-up, taken with my iPhone. I still do have a bit of brown spots on my cheek area, but hopefully as I use the serum longer, they'll fade into oblivion.


Yes no make-up. I don't know if its my skincare routine coupled with the serum, but my cheeks are naturally flushed, aka as rosy cheeks hahaha.

Overall, skin feels nice and tight, and like I said, I am still mistaken to be much younger than I am, so it is safe to say, the anti-aging claim really works!

Practical Tip: Touted to be the complete age-control concentrate, it is recommended for women age 25 and older. A lady is never too young to start a skincare routine in my opinion. I wish I knew about this serum when I was 25. 

Price: Php4,750 

Point of Sale: Clarins Double Serum is exclusively available at all Rustan's Department Stores: Ayala Center Makati, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Alabang Town Center, Essenses Rockwell, Ayala Center Cebu and Gateway Mall

Friday, September 28, 2012

Current Obsession: Isabel Marant Betty

There's a hidden grunge girl inside me. And it comes out when I wear my Isabel Marant Bettys: 

H&M plaid tunic, H&M jeggings, Isabel Marant Betty sneakers 

But this is my current uniform of the moment: a slouchy tee, skinny jeans and my Bettys:

Daley tee from Catalogue63, J Brand skinnies with zips, Isabel Marant Betty

T by Alexander Wang, J Brand 910, Isabel Marant Betty

I first blogged about Isabel Marant's sneakers here. I admit I was smitten when I first saw it in her Greene St. boutique back in 2010. But wedge sneakers? I thought it was just going to be a passing fancy. A trendy item not worth "investing" in. But well, 2 years later and it's been reincarnated in so many color combinations. The style has become a cult piece, it has inspired a myriad of copycats and knock-offs. 

I also like the cut-out ones by Margiela. But I think, one high-top wedge sneaker in my closet is enough.

Preppy in Pink

Comme des Garcons x H&M top, Topshop trousers, Sperry Top-siders, pink Lifestrength band

This is what I wore when Berry's classmates came over our place for a house visit/field trip. Well ok, I technically wore slippers with this at home, but when I stepped out to run errands later, I changed into my silver Sperry Top-siders - as seen here with my favorite pair of Havaianas flip-flops.


My thought process when dressing up goes like this:

I want to wear this top! It's been over a month since I last wore this. Ok, still fits me, good!

Hmmm, but I don't want to wear shorts because I didn't shave my legs. Pants na lang. But which one? (I try on khaki trousers, but it's not working...)

Aha! I will wear my white pants! But now, what to wear this with? Nude flats look boring, black ballerinas are kinda off. (I open my shoe closet and my eyes zoom into my silver Sperrys. I slip it on. I look in the mirror.)

Woohoo! Perfect! (To me at least, hehe.)

Nautical by Nature

Fa├žonnable knit top, Marni belt, Rugby Ralph Lauren short, Isabel Marant sandals

This is what I wore to run errands in Megamall, not to go yachting. Hehe. What's so special about this outfit? I got everything on sale! Well actually, the same goes for most of my stuff. I normally will not pay full price on clothes and shoes. I always wait for items I like to go on sale, my belief being "If it's still there, it's meant to be."

The striped top, I got at Nordstrom Rack. The shorts I bought online from the Rugby Ralph Lauren website. (After searching for "white shorts" via Shopstyle). The belt was from the Net-a-Porter sale, and my Isabel Marant sandals from Totokaelo's spring sale.

I think there's a lot more fulfillment from buying items I like on sale. It's like the Universe conspired to save that piece in my size, especially for me. Does the same go for you? Do you feel the same way too?

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Buzz on Beauty is on Glamourbox


A few weeks ago my friend Marie told me about Glamourbox, a pioneering beauty website that she is a founder of. When she told me it was similar to Birchbox in the US, I just knew they were on to something fantastic for beauty fanatics. And guess what - Glamourbox launched today!

Basically, when you sign up for a subscription plan, you get a surprise package for the month, filled with beauty product samples especially curated for you. Of course if you fall in love with a product, you also get to shop the full sized version at their online store:


You find this exciting? Here's the 411 from Glamourbox.ph:

Reluctant to splurge on new beauty brands for fear of wasting money on products you aren’t even sure will work for you? Overwhelmed by the sheer number of new products available in the market? WE WERE TOO! But fret no more. We’ve created a whole NEW WAY for Filipina beauty addicts and newbies to cut through all the beauty babel and discover the beauty products best for them. 

Glamourbox is the first premium online beauty subscription in the country, providing Filipinas with the best way to discover the latest beauty trends from across the globe. 

Here’s how it works. Once you subscribe, each month you will receive an elegant box with five deluxe beauty samples from premium, boutique and niche brands delivered to your doorstep. We carefully curate each box with worthwhile items, so you don’t have to weed through all the duds out there. Then, if you end up falling in love with any of the products (and we are certain that you will!), you can visit our online boutique to purchase the full-size of your beauty finds, be they makeup, skincare, bath & body, haircare, fragrances or even beauty tools. So for Php595 a month, we’re essentially delivering the cosmetics counter (and more) to your home…just no troublesome sales people! And to top it off, you get up to three times the value of what you paid for. Um, did someone say S-T-E-A-L? 


Now, the big shebang of the whole show is that we won’t be telling you which products you’ll be receiving each month. It’s a SURPRISE! And if you’re like us, this will be half the fun. 

And if all this wasn’t enough, we’ve also gone ahead and created a Glamourbox community for our members to buzz about their beauty finds, receive invites to exclusive events and enjoy special promotions for products and services.

Itching to subscribe now? Well, you might as well know there's nothing to lose here. Just choose a monthly plan which you can just renew the following month. Or you may get a quarterly plan. The beauty in getting a quarterly plan is you are pretty much sure you'll get first dibs on the samples box. There are only a limited number of boxes per month, so it's always great to be a subscriber. Oh! And it makes a great gift for your cosmetics crazy friend or your skin care obsessed sister too!


Exciting no?! Come join the Glamourbox community at www.facebook.com/GlamourboxPH and follow them on Twitter @GlamourboxPH!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Basta Mommy, Ibang Mag-alaga



This. This Johnson's Baby TVC just tugs at the heartstrings. 

When we had Berry, my mom kept saying how lucky Berry was that I was the one taking care of her. How most kids back home are practically raised by yayas. Well, it never really occurred to me that I would leave Berry in the care of someone else when we were living in the US. For one, just listening to horror stories about kids being maltreated by their caregivers was just gut wrenching for me - I was not going to risk it. Second, the cost of a nanny in our area? Hello! Isang bag din yan a month ha! Hehehe.

Besides, I was a housewife and then a stay at home mom so there really was no need for a nanny. But really, even if we had all the moolah in the world to hire a top notch nanny with amazing credentials, nah. I'd rather take care of Berry myself. I wanted to be there for all her firsts. To teach her everything I knew. To be able to be there right beside her. To protect her from what could or would hurt her. Sometimes I look back and can't imagine how I could carry her, and her stroller up two flights of stairs whenever we took the subway. Or how I would bundle her up in her winter gear and carry her kangaroo style so we could do my errands together. How I would cook, wash the dishes or do the laundry  at home and she would be strapped on my back. It was tough, but I did it. I enjoyed it.

That is why the same goes for Xavi now. We did not get a nanny for him. I am taking care of him myself, the same way I was full-time hands on with Berry then. Minus all the household chores now, heehee. I want to give him the same focus and attention I gave Berry from when she was a newborn up until she was 1.5 years old and her "Nana" joined us in Singapore to help take care of her.

This is true, "Basta Mommy, Ibang Mag-alaga" - unless her idol is "Mommie Dearest", Joan Crawford. We know our kids from top to toe. We see the smallest little insect bites, we immediately spot a scratch where there was none before. Every birth mark, every mole, is carved into our memory. So if anybody or anything becomes a cause of disappointment or distress for them, we feel their pain, it's almost physical. As Steve Jobs says about kids, “It's your heart running around outside your body." If we could only shield them from the big, uncertain world out there we would. 

Thankfully, and I believe, if we raise our kids secure in the knowledge that we do all we can for them, that they are loved by us and that our home is a safe place, then we have done the best we could. We have equipped them with enough armor to protect them from life's aches and pains. Sigh.

Video courtesy of Johnson's Baby Philippines. Like their Facebook page: Johnson's Baby Philippines.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Perfect Wardrobe

I've achieved it. For my life right now that is. (Syempre, may disclaimer haha!)


But seriously, it just feels amazing having a closet edited to a point where I can fit everything in 2 decent-sized cabinets and that's it. Ok, plus half a shoe cabinet for my shoes. But yeah, that's it. At this point, I honestly can say I can do without buying any article of clothing, shoes, bag or any accessory until the year ends. Then maybe for next year, the goal is to just stick to 2 pieces max per season. 

Of course, I still have wants. I am only human. But I can seriously live without them. I can pass by a store without going inside. Come to think of it, I can actually even go inside the store and walk away without buying anything. I go online and I don't even have to "add to cart" or "add to wish list"! Is this really me?!

For the past 5 years, I was busy buying the ultimate piece. I rarely bought anything, but when I did, it was the piece I have always wanted. I never settled for second best or "pwede na". So now, whenever I open my closet, every piece there is something I love. Yes, items I bought years ago, ever since I started curating my closet, are still there, hanging. Each treasured up to now.

Months ago, I started a couple of postings on the art of wardrobe building. But that sort of took a back seat with the demands of my daily life. After all, writing about personal style and one's thought process as I went about building my idea of the perfect wardrobe cannot be rushed. It requires as much thought as  doing it.

Now that my little ones and I are pretty much settled into a routine, hopefully I can go back to tackling those topics again. Just the right timing too when my friend Gretch U. came over to visit us at home and we started talking about the blogs that appeal to her now - which are more about personal style than "Look at me I am so cute in this outfit" sort of blogs. I guess it has come with age, the change in our lifestyle as moms, and well, maturity I suppose that our interests have shifted.

I guess I am rambling at this point. What I am driving at is, while I will still continue writing about products or stores that I like, or that I think you will like, I will also be writing more about personal style. It feels like an achievement to be able to say, I am done shopping.

Now enough about me, let's work on building your perfect wardrobe too!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gwynie Wears J.Crew

“She has a relaxed ease and a natural sexiness, goop is a frequent online stop for me... Cool style. Cool site.” - J. Crew's Jenna Lyons (via WWD)










There is an effortless ease to her style that just resonates with me. But Looks 5 and 7 are my faves. Which ones are yours?

New Crocs, New You!

Would you believe me if I told you these heels are all from Crocs?
Myersita in pink 

Sammilee in snake
 
Jabinta in black 

Thrillita in turqoise 

And how the flats from Crocs have come a long way from how they first looked?
Semmy in light grey 

Crosmesh mallet flat in espresso
 
Crosmesh skimmer in oyster 

Duet flat in raspberry/grey 

And that they now have sporty designs that would look great during dress down days?
Hover in navy
 
Melbourne II in scarlet 

And that, well, Crocs has actually gone the sexy route?
Flodo in natural 

Sexi Aliana in osyter
 
Sexi Sandal in scarlet 

Believe me, it's true!

According to Laureen Uy, Crocs brand ambassador, "The new Crocs collection reveals edgier designs that fit the more fashion-forward Filipina, who values her style without compromising comfort."

I would have to nod my head in agreement. These new styles are pretty amazing. And judging from the Crocs level of comfort, should feel amazing on the feet too!

Visit www.crocs.com.ph and Crocs Philippines on Facebook for more details.

Holidaze Sale at Mothering Earthlings!


Don't want to put the 'daze' in holidaze? 

Then shop the Mothering Earthlings Sale happening now! All Agoo, googoo&gaga and Fiddle Tops items are marked down! 

Don't wait till the last minute to do your Christmas shopping ha, October is about to begin in less than two weeks! Prezzure!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

L'Occitane Love + Get Onboard for Sight

My nth tube of L'Occitane Creme Mains

My love affair with L'Occitane started when my friend Jenny Yu gave me a tube of Creme Mains (with 20% Shea Butter - oooh!)  when she visited us one super cold fall when we were still living in the East Coast. She told me it was the only hand cream that worked for her during her winter stay in Austria, while attending her MBA exchange program.

Since that fall, and every fall/winter season since then, I would keep a tube of Creme Mains in my bag. It truly was the only moisturizer that did not make my hands hurt from the cold. I'd buy a tube every year and it would be enough to last me the whole year actually. 

L'Occitane has also became a toilet staple and our place for picking up presents. For our wedding in Manila, Dear Hubby & I bought L'Occitane gift packs as thank you gifts for our godparents, which I hope they loved  receiving as much as we loved giving it to them.


Oh and here are a couple of tips! Costco at times sells L'Occitane, for a lot less than the SRP. Make L'Occitane a frequent stop too when you go outlet shopping. Whenever we'd visit Woodbury Common - I make sure to stop by L'Occitane to stock up on hand soap and conditioner (the Woodbury Common stores seems to never have any shampoo in stock, strange haha).  

Although it seems I will forever associate L'Occitane with hand creams. Especially since they have a slew of different hand creams, it's really up to you to discover which one works for you.


I got to check out the full range when Therese and Denise of L'Occitane invited me to a hand massage treat during L'Occitane's Happy Hands Day!


Since I'm a Creme Mains fanatic, I decided to try something different this time - Amande aka Almond Cream. Not as thick and rich as Creme Mains, but equally moisturizing. Perfect for our tropical weather. Oh and look! They used facial water to prep my hand. I like!


Oh, and did you know that since 1996, L'Occitane has been using Braille labeling on all their packaging? For a company known for tickling our sense of smell with its sweet smelling soaps, creams and other bath products, they have also joined the fight not to lose the sense of sight. Here's the story:


There are 280 million people in the world who are visually impaired. The sad thing is, 80% of blindness is preventable. For 11 years, L’OCCITANE has been working with the NGO, ORBIS, to put an end to this situation. The L’OCCITANE Foundation, created in 2006, centralizes activities associated with this partnership. 

Every year, to support ORBIS, a fund-raising product is sold in L’OCCITANE stores, with proceeds given to the NGO. ORBIS, the only Flying Eye Hospital in the world, travels across the planet, with its international team of doctors and nurses on board, so that it can train local medical staff and save the sight of thousands of people. 



This year, the new fund-raising products from L’OCCITANE are the Get Onboard for Sight soaps in the shape of planes wearing glasses, inspired by the ORBIS plane. Enriched with nourishing shea butter, they leave hands soft and delicately perfumed. Two versions are available:


The Pink Soap (Php995)  scented with delicate, floral, fruity notes of grape, blackcurrant and white rose  and the Blue Soap (Php995) scented with fresh, sparkling and zesty notes of verbena, lemon and grapefruit.


Imagine, when you buy these soaps, not only are you pampering yourself or a loved one, you are also looking out for the less fortunate who otherwise could go blind.

For more information about L'Occitane in the Philippines, the L'Occitane Foundation and Orbis, please visit: 

L'Occitane Philippines Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/loccitane.ph
L'Occitane Foundation page: fondation.loccitane.com 
ORBIS page: orbis.org

In the Philippines, visit L'Occitane inside Rustan's Department stores.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pois Belly and Kids


Shopping for kids' clothes here in Manila ain't as limited as I thought it would be. Although I have to say, it's hard shopping for chic boys clothes talaga. It's not like I can just go to any children's boutique and instantly find something I'd like for Xavi to wear. But OMG. Girl's clothes? Here's my new discovery when I went to SM Megamall to run errands - Pois Belly & Kids:


They have these floral printed dresses that are like updated versions of the Laura Ashley dresses my younger sisters wore during the 1990s. They also have embellished pieces that look a lot of fun. I can imagine these to be quite adorable on little girls.



Oh! Here's an extra fun outfit. This striped "animal" top paired with lemon yellow scalloped shorts. Perfect for school and play dates:


But ahhh! When I spotted these, I thought of Berry right away: pink, ballerina-inspired and super tulled to the max. She would be so into these sort of wearable confections.


But my favorite pieces in the store above all are these relatively understated pieces. Loving the pink & gray story here:


I particularly fell for the striped top & tulle skirt outfit and the chic party dress. I am pretty sure Berry will love these too:


Pois Belly & Kids also has clothes for tweens and expecting mamas:


Price range is from about Php550 and up. When I visited this afternoon, they even had a sale section that was at 50% to 70% OFF! ;)

Pois Belly & Kids is the brainchild of Clement & Rowena Velasco of Eurowear Marketing Corporation. They currently have six stores located at: Trinoma, SM Megamall Atrium, Glorietta 3, SM Mall of Asia, SM City Cebu and SM City Iloilo. 

For more about Pois Belly & Kids, visit and like their Facebook page, HERE!

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