A 90s Themed Make-up Party

I used to tear out pages from Vogue for inspo and put them inside my Trapper Keeper dividers so this wall brought me back to the good old days.

I came of age in the nineties and lived through the fashion—the good, the bad and the ugly. The Supermodels reigned all over the magazines and I could hardly contain my awe and excitement upon discovering such heavenly creatures when I began collecting American Vogue, choosing to buy my monthly copy with my allowance over food at times. I was especially fixated with their long legs that seemed to stretch for days and marvelled at how a human being could look that divine.

One of the pioneers is Claudia Schiffer, part of the original Supers Rat Pack who went by their first names (because when everyone and their mother knows who you are, last names become an insignificant detail). She recently launched her very own make-up line at an event in Dr. Wine co-hosted by my amiga, beauty expert Agoo Bengzon. We got to play with her collection, a mix of peachy nudes and electric blue shades for the eyes, yummy lip colors and a good, solid foundation line.

What really got me excited was the dress code: ’90s glam! I have very fond memories of what I wore during those years and sometimes, I still catch myself styling an outfit like I was back in high school / college. Here are some of my favorite looks from both my contemporaries and millennials alike.

How to do grunge 2.0 but still has a very ’90s vibe.

No shortage of pica-pica and G&Ts at Dr. Wine.

Doc Martens, check! Tank top over another tank, check! Jacket around the waist, check!

The outfit is 100% grunge but what really caught my eye are her burgundy lips! Revlon Colorstay, anyone?

How to achieve the Bardot pout using Claudia’s make-up line.

Agoo Bengzon, event co-host in a coordinated outfit that’s giving off Milli Vanilli vibes haha!

The slip dress over knitted tee and white sneaks is so ’90s cool.

What I basically wore all throughout HS and college! Braided belt and all.

How a millennial does ’90s fashion. Still so darn cute.

Bootcut jeans with heels and a camo top, yes!

Millennial doing normcore layering.

Animal print polo + corduroy mini + suede booties = timeless chic!

Confessions of a Xeomin Virgin

The star of this post comes in a girly pink box!


At 42, I’ve never had anything invasive (cosmetic treatments) done to my face. Much like any fashion girl, I’m quite lazy when it comes to beauty: I hardly comb my hair, wear minimal make-up if I really need to, don’t get facials or hair treatments. My only consistent beauty indulgence is having my nails done at my favorite nail salon (Nail Spa either in Rockwell or Gamboa st. in Makati). Sure, it’s a bit of a splurge compared to the salon manicurista but I reason that since this is the only beautifying ritual I’m loyal to, it’s okay to spend a bit more.

But I’ve been thinking of my skincare routine a lot more lately, specially since I’m nearing my mid-40s. I’ve invested in serums, oils (I have dry skin) and SPF to repair any damage done by reckless sun exposure in my youth and as a preventive measure so I don’t get rubbery skin in my senior years. Though I should’ve started before age 25  applying moisturiser and SPF religiously—even indoors—I believe it’s never too late to start taking care of your skin. Growing up, I would watch Mom remove her makeup every night with Pond’s cold cream and noticed little else in her skincare routine. You could say she’s really low maintenance when it comes to vanity so it didn’t really become a priority for me until I worked for a magazine in my mid-20s. I’m happy to report though that at 71, she doesn’t look a day older than 60 TBH; call it genes or luck, she is blessed with both. My Tita Lola Guapa however, does not wash her face with cleanser or water AT ALL and instead uses her Dior skincare line day in and day out, simply wiping away make up and dirt with it. I can’t imagine not washing my face with water or wipes but you should see her skin! Nary a wrinkle in sight and baby smooth skin at the ripe old age of 87.

That’s a wall of real flowers BTW. It was really pretty.

Saw my friend Mich, PR goddess with a super fresh, just-went-on-holiday glow.

The beautiful and super nice doctors at SkinCell!

Now I don’t get invited to a lot of events unlike most bloggers, so I was pleasantly surprised to get a message from Bea of Buensalido PR to attend the launch of Xeomin, a safer, purer, less toxic version of the popular Botox to treat fine lines and wrinkles. What sets Xeomin apart from the competition is that it doesn’t cause your body to react and become immune to the toxin, no matter how many sessions you have. It’s basically the “organic” counterpart of Botox in layman terms.

June 6 treatment 

Squinting so Dra. can check my fine lines. Happy to report that there aren’t so much yet.

Numbing my masseter muscles before the shot.

Dra. Issa moments before administering my FIRST EVER invasive treatment (was very nervous inside).

Squeezing this stress ball actually helped!


I have to admit, I was hesitant at first, I’ve never had any needles poking at my face and wasn’t sure how my body would react. When it was my turn to see Dra. Issa Cellona (who was super chic in her black Vania Romoff jumpsuit and heels) at her San Antonio Plaza clinic in Makati, she noted that I didn’t have prominent wrinkles yet (YAY!) and instead focused on my masseter (facial muscles) along my jawline. “This is what we should address, let’s make it smaller!”, Dra. Issa said excitedly and proceeded to fill the syringe with Xeomin while I nervously watched and tried to document it with my iPhone cam. “Give her a stress ball please”, she says after seeing me clutch my fist tightly. No EMLA was applied, as there were a lot of guests that day but in the end, it wasn’t so bad. “You’ll see results in about three weeks since the masseter takes longer to take effect unlike the upper face. Good news is, it will last up to six months!!”, I was assured.

What I observed right after was some soreness in the area and slight difficulty chewing which eventually faded by dusk (I had the injection around 3pm). I went about the weeks not exactly obsessing about it but checking periodically at night to see if there were already signs of a smaller jaw. On the second week, Bea messaged me to come to a follow up treatment to check the results so I booked an appointment at St. Luke’s hospital where Dra. Issa also held a clinic. She was pleased with the results saying I now had a heart-shaped face instead of square. Indeed, when I took a selfie, I did see a smaller jawline! Dra. Issa then asked me to lift my brows to check forehead lines and saw some uneven ones that she injected with Xeomin, but concentrated mainly on my masseter muscles and added a bit more to both sides, especially the right since it was bigger than the left (due to many one-sided grinding while I slept or was stressed for years). I have since become more conscious about it, and quickly avoid it once I start to.

I’m so excited to see the results in two weeks, hopefully my face becomes even smaller and slimmer. This time, EMLA was applied and I had to wait 40 minutes before getting the shots. Surprisingly, the ones on the forehead hurt more than the masseter, unless I’m just not used to it. I totally get how addictive it is now, this Xeomin treatment. It’s a quick, mostly painless way to a more youthful-looking persona. Best part is, you’ll never get immune to it, just make sure you don’t go overboard. Laugh lines and a bit of wrinkles are signs of wisdom and experience; nothing can replace those treasures.

How much will this treatment set you back? It usually depends on the clinic, which areas are targeted and the units consumed. Range is around P300-P500 per unit.

My “before” photo taken last June 6 at the event.

June 26 treatment

My “after” photo taken last June 26, about three weeks after the event. Taken when I went back for a follow up treatment, this time in St. Luke’s in BGC.

Putting EMLA on my forehead for my follow up treatment.

Afterwards, it’s EMLA for my masseter muscles.

Wrapped the areas with plastic to help the skin absorb the cream. Let it sit for 40 mins.

Dra. Issa and I meet again! She injected my forehead and both sides of masseter muscles. Surprisingly, the forehead shots hurt a lot more!

Looking worse for wear after the session. Notice the needle marks on my forehead? Not in photo are the marks on the sides of my face.

Disclaimer: This IS NOT MY FINAL “after” photo, just wanted to show you how it looked right after the shots. I will take one around July 17, that’s three weeks after this was taken and share it here! Stay tuned!

PS. As of press time, I feel stiffness on my forehead when I raise my brows which is the effect of the drug and immediately noticed less prominent lines!

If you still need  a bit more convincing, read this https://www.instyle.com/beauty/xeomin-injectable-botox-alternative-skin


SkinCell Branches:

San Antonio Plaza (For aesthetic procedures only)

Unit M30, 2nd Level, McKinley Road, Makati City

Landline: (632) 777-2355

Mobile: (0917) 7991412 (Tess)

Open Mon-Sat, 11am – 5pm


Bocobo Center

Unit 3 Mezzanine Level,

1253 J. Bocobo cor. Padre Faura st. Ermita Manila

Landline: (632) 526-1379

Mobile: (0917) 5997620 (Chor)

0917- 8322445 (Edna)

Open Mon-Sat, 9am-3pm


Venice Grand Canal Mall

2nd Floor Unit B152a

Taguig City

Landline: (632) 625-4552

Mobile: (0915) 6034769


St. Luke’s Global

Room 818/819

Medical Arts Building, St. Luke’s Global City Taguig City

Landline: (632) 7897700 loc. 7818 (Abby)

Mobile: (0917) 5997620

T/TH/Sat 2pm-5pm



The Kate Effect

Seventeen Magazine December 2004 issue. Photographed by Paolo Pineda / Hair & Make-up by Effie Go-Iñigo / Model: Fortune Santos-Mercado.

Much like the rest of Manila, I woke up to the shocking news of the death of American designer Kate Spade. And much like my peers in the industry, I was saddened with the loss of a true fashion renegade, not because she was a rebel (quite the opposite actually) but because she was the “antithesis of fashion cool”, as my friend Kissa texted me when she heard the news. Kate wasn’t trying to be the coolest girl in the block—she just was. “To be cool is to be authentic in my opinion and she was It. She was just being herself.”, I messaged back. Kissa, who is Singapore-based and Editor of Singapore Tatler was once my co-fashion editor in Preview back in the mid-2000s. “I remembered you when I read about Kate Spade and that fashion ed you did with the balloons. Gosh that was more than ten years ago.”, she said. A lightbulb turned on and I realised, unknowingly, that that spread was indeed very Kate, even though my inspiration was more Alice lost in the City of Manila.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that Kate had a strong influence in my creative work. I was always amused with her whimsical approach to design, how she didn’t take fashion too seriously, how she made things pretty without being corny. She was a true original, her combination of contrasting prints and color in her work was remarkable, and she seemed like a real girl next door.

I’m lucky I got to save these images digitally and posted them on Facebook years ago so I could re-post them again here. I had this concept in my head about a girl with red balloons hopping around town in different party dresses,  pitched it to my editor, she gave the go signal and off we went. I won’t forget this day: it was hot and we had an old van for transport and dressing room; it was a guerilla shoot, no permits so we had to be fast. I was so intent to go to different locations that by the end of the day, the crew were half-irate with me, tired, hungry and sweaty. Not to mention the hours photographer Paolo Pineda spent post-production to get the lomo effect. This was, after all, pre-filters and Instagram. Oh but how instagrammable are these photos now?

Looking at these now, I see the connection! The choice of clothes, color combinations, the make-up, even the pose and that ubiquitous red balloon was very Kate Spade. As if unconsciously, I was thinking about her when I was brewing the concept all the way to pulling out the looks. A testament on how strongly images stay with us and affect us—especially images that are close to our hearts like how hers were to me.