An Unlikely Beauty Trip

When it comes to beauty, go big or go home.

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The set comes with a whole slew of products including the Original Foundation, Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner, Prime Time Foundation Primer, Mineral Veil Finishing Powder, Ready Blush, Marvelous Moxie Lipstick, Marvelous Moxie Lip gloss, and Eyeliner (not pictured).

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When your older cousin who doesn’t wear an ounce of makeup on any given day gets suspiciously excited over the Bare Minerals outlet store you better pop in. And that I did.

In between bursts of joy from my end shouting “I’m just so happy we’re in a makeup store together!”, something I never thought would happen unless she absolutely had to accompany me, I realized she really liked this brand. I’ve heard about the label a couple of times before but I’ve never actually tried the products. Fortunately, after an unlikely endorsement from my non-make up wearing cousin, I was sold, literally. I needed a new tub of face powder and couldn’t remember the exact shade I previously used from Laura Mercier and somehow the lady from Sephora kept giving me a much darker yellow shade which I think we both knew was way off but she insisted anyway.

As luck would have it, I was eyeing the selection at Bare Minerals while my cousin was deliberating on which primer to get (tough decision, I know), and the sales rep easily gunned down the exact same shade I was eyeing. I trust people who can accurately and instinctively pinpoint my shade.

They had a really good deal that day (actually they have a lot of good deals in that outlet store so if you’re ever in Michigan drop by the Birch Run branch) where you could get a set of full-sized products for way, way less so without any intention of buying anything, I ended up with a whole slew of their products in a very reasonably priced kit. For reference, I think the powder on its own is around $22, and the primer that my cousin relentlessly waxed poetic about is $25. I got both plus seven other full-sized products including two brushes for just $59 with the promo kit. I essentially got a ton of free-stuff. Essentially. Or basically paid a $1 for each extra product. (Don’t try to contest this. I’m not aiming for accuracy just a whole lot of impact.)

While I probably won’t use the brushes so much as the strands tend to fall apart, the actual makeup products are really worth the purchase. The Prime Time Foundation Primer glides on real smooth and makes your skin feel silky. I have gone out a couple of times with just the primer and blush. It comes in a pump and I only need to use one pump to fully cover my face. Really, two would be excessive. The Original Foundation powder is also really good. I’ve never been a fan of loose powder, I have always gone for compact options or liquid foundations but this I really like. When my face isn’t especially dry and want something light and natural I use just the powder. But it does give a flawless matte finish for days I need to be especially dolled up and I brush it on top of my liquid go-to. The Mineral Veil Finishing Powder comes in a small container but also makes for the perfect topper especially along the cheeks. I rarely use it, only for special occasions when I want a semblance of a professional touch. The Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner (not pictured) is also easy to glide on the eyes although I still have a slight issue with coming up a good cat eye if it’s not in gel or liquid form. All sets provide the exact same shades of blush, gloss, and lipstick. The only item that you can and have to choose the shade of is the foundation. I haven’t tried the gloss nor the lipstick yet but they both look promising as nudes.

It’s really easy to get buyer’s remorse from beauty purchases. For one, they tend to be expensive, and two, I only have one face, how much product can I actually use? This was a really good buy though so if you’re ever in need of a primer or loose powder, do consider Bare Minerals. And if you’re anything like me and would want more bang for your buck, then look into their kits. They have a lot of sets to choose from including specialty ones for just the eyes, the base, etc. Thanks, cousin, for the unlikely but very much welcome recommendation.

I knew I loved her for a reason.

A Trip To Parfois Lisbon

Because somehow I ended up in Portugal and went on a quick trip to Parfois.

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It’s been six years since my first ever blog entry and I’d like to think a lot has changed since – my style (I still cringe remembering old outfits so bless you, guys, for sticking with me), the posts, and myself. Careers have shifted so many times it’s dizzying to think about and even more confusing to relay to a person asking for small talk’s sake, goals have morphed that even I can’t keep up, as well as tastes. What hasn’t changed is my desire to be open and honest with you. That honesty comes in the form of the occasional secret, spilling childhood memories I hold dear that I only talk about here, and, on a blogger-level, only featuring brands I truly believe in so much so that I’ve become unbelievably nitpicky about who and what I publish. Six years later and that still holds true.

The first brand I ever worked with was Parfois which was solely an accessories label then. And I’ll tell you exactly how it went down. When I started blogging, I didn’t know much about fashion. I didn’t know anybody from the industry – brand, PR, designer, or media. I really just blogged to keep sane (‘coz the traditional corporate set-up was unbelievably maddening). As a neophyte, it is never easy to start working with brands and build credibility. #feedgoals was not a thing back then. One shopping day, in the thick of the excess-orizing trend, I walked up to a store that caught my eye just a couple of months after it launched in the Philippines and completely fell in love with the brand. So I bought myself a tote (maybe more, impulse buying is also unfortunately something that hasn’t changed since time immemorial) and decided that I wanted to feature the brand here. I mustered courage and asked for marketing’s contact details which the sales ladies warily gave, called them up, introduced my fledgling site, and asked for permission to take photos in store and with any luck interview someone about the brand’s story. It was the first time I did that, I just genuinely wanted to share a brand that I truly liked. To my surprise, they agreed to both the shoot and the interview and it was great.

No, I did not receive free stuff nor was I expecting to. Contrary to popular belief: bloggers don’t always post because they’re paid or #spon. Anyway, I posted rather quickly, thanked them profusely, and that was that.

Until I got an email. I got a thank-you note that mentioned that the brand’s principals in Portugal particularly appreciated the blog post. (One thing to note about this brand is that the head office in Portugal is very hands-on, until now.) It also came with an invitation for me to style their shoppers at an event. This was in 2011 when this virtually did not happen. I was ecstatic. I won’t share the poster here because the 2011 version of me wasn’t even remotely stylish. I do believe I was the first blogger they ever worked with in Manila. I even met the principal from Portugal when he visited. It was a cool experience for anybody, especially a neophyte.

Five years later, despite the many transformations I’ve undergone as a person and as a style “curator”, Parfois is still a brand I admire. I kid you not when I say that other bloggers feel the same way – when Parfois calls, we come. Simple as that.

I saw Parfois in August at an event of theirs, which was phenomenal and completely deserving of its own post. I happened to mention that I was going to Europe for a bit to study in Oxford (which also deserves its own post, I am drowning in backlogs). The brand manager lit up and said if I ever ended up in Portugal, I should go to the head office. I shrugged and wrote it off as wishful thinking.

Somehow, by some twist of fate I did end up in Portugal. Despite everything being rushed and me spending barely half a day in Lisbon, Parfois Portugal went above and beyond to accommodate me. They arranged for someone to pick me up (with luggage and mother in tow) and tour me around the new concept store in the Colombo Commercial Centre.

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Here’s what you need to know: apparel isn’t available in Manila yet so imagine how ridiculous I looked grinning from ear to ear at the prospect of finally getting my hands on their clothes. There were velvet rompers, knitted kimonos, jersey jumpsuits, metallic skirts, flouncy tops, monochromatic sets, and so much more- really the perfect wardrobe to go with the dream accessory collection that is their entire store. The new store also had TVs that featured their events and lookbooks- a definite level-up  and I spent a couple of hours there just going around in circles, covering all possible bases before heading to the airport.

It’s absolutely mental that I’ve come full circle meeting the brand in Portugal. This was honestly something I would’ve never imagined when I first met the brand in my early blogging days. The magic of blogging still creeps up on me sometimes.

Needless to say, I shopped. A lot. An editorial will obviously follow. ‘Til then, do stalk them and visit the store sometime. Six years of brand loyalty must mean something. It really is worth a trip to the store. I’m willing to bet that the glean I get in my eye is a universal Parfois-shopper experience.

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My favorite collection: Royal Eccentric

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Thank you so much to Ines for taking the time to tour me around and for all the help. You were absolutely wonderful to both my mom and I, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you. Thank you to Catarina for being so kind and generous in arranging everything despite it being so rushed. And, finally, thank you to Michelle, who I met 6 years ago and who has also grown with the brand. The trip would’ve never happened without you! You know I’m a Parfois girl through and through. 

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