Meet The New ASUS Zenphone 2 Laser 5

Thinking of buying a new phone to complement all your photography needs? Try the new ASUS Zenphone 2 Laser 5.

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I’m always up for the challenge of trying out new gadgets because like a true millennial, I like things that help me do things. Seriously though, any compact item that ensures efficiency and helps with producing output effortlessly is a plus in my book.

I recently came across the new ASUS Zenphone 2 Laser 5 and ASUS were generous enough to let bloggers try the newest phone. It was my first time to stray from my usual cellphone brand and its many iterations so it was honestly a pleasant surprise to come across a new phone that suits my interests and needs to a tee.

ASUS took us to Fort Bonifacio, Intramuros for a fun day of playing photographer to test out the multiple features of the phone camera for #OneDayofZen (photos above). Truly, what better place to snap photos than the heart of Manila riddled with history? After the event, I was pulled aside to answer some questions about the phone and I think it’s best for me to share some of my answers here to highlight how I feel about the new gadget.

1. What do you like about the new ASUS Zenphone?

I haven’t strayed from my usual brand for years so I was honestly surprised that the features, especially that of the camera’s, are so varied. I’m used to very few options and merely rely on post-editing apps such as VSCO and Snapseed to get what I envisioned in a shot but with the new Zenphone I could actually adjust how I take the photo exactly the way I want or need.

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2. What are your favorite features of the new camera?

What I love about the camera function (aside from it having 13 Megapixels), is its low-light capabilities. I’m the type to give up on taking photos once the sun has set but the clarity of the Zenphone in low light is impressive. It’s really bright. As a blogger, stellar shots are a must and the low light feature is an amazing tool to have especially in overcast Manila. There’s also a pretty cool Selfie Panorama feature. I’m not good at selfies and I never volunteer my arm because my arm can’t extend enough to accommodate a number of people. Trust me, I’ve tried. Even when taking solo shots I tend to look, if you will, big. So the fact that I can take selfie panoramas just by rotating the phone (taking up to 30 people, we tried!) is a game-changer.

Aside from these, I like cameras and even though I’m not terribly good at photography I like being able to switch my White Balance, ISO and other settings as needed and this phone has a Manual mode where I can do just that. Although, truthfully, automatic is great on its own. HDR, GIF Animation and the Night mode are some of the other modes I especially enjoyed.

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See how dark it already was and how bright the photo registered on camera? 

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With Ava Te, Trice Nagusara and Aileen Clarisse

3. Do you consider yourself a techie person?

No. Not at all. See, I don’t really rely on technical specs when choosing gadgets. I go by word of mouth, a friendly recommendation and design. Shallow, but true. ASUS piques my design interest, obviously (my phone is gold), but at the same time, I like how ASUS lets non-techie people like myself enjoy technical advancements by their constant pushing of the field. I didn’t even know I had the option of having certain specs and features in my phone much less my phone’s camera but I’m amazed at how these features were packaged and how easy they are to use.

Thank you, ASUS, for always pushing the boundaries in technology. The only next logical step is to add glitter, of course.

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The Owl Has Landed

Polo shirts have found their way into my wardrobe.

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The owl has landed. If you haven’t heard, I’m referring to the owl emblazoned on the newest polo shirt drops of Memo fashion and not an actual nocturnal creature. Nor myself. I don’t remember if they used it to tease me or if they were just matter-of-fact about this, but growing up, people would often refer to me as an owl. (On second thought, maybe people were being a$$holes). My eyes are pretty big, as you may have noticed, and my body clock has always teetered on the more nocturnal side. So when this collection came out – I kid you not – I felt a certain degree of familiarity. Don’t worry, it’s not sad. I love how huge my eyes are and make it a point to always highlight them when I put on makeup.

Polo shirts stay in an uncharted territory sartorially although I’ve had a few brushes with them growing up (and also here). I’ve always really liked how polos looked especially in the brightest of colors. In my eyes they mean business (don’t collars always mean business?) but, at the same time, are non-threatening because of how casual the shirt can get. A lot of people may think the shirts are reserved for work or for slightly more formal days out but I personally think they can be worn whenever. They can be casual, dressy, even boho (s/o to Ralph Lauren S/S 2105) and there’s a whole bunch of ways to wear them. So when Memo sent me the red and white owl polo, I took it upon myself to buy another one (in bright yellow, no less) and show you guys different ways to wear the shirts. The easiest way would be to pair them with all kinds of denim but you’re free to lean on the flirty side like I did with a lace mini skirt or mean business and go the office route with high waisted pants and pointed pumps.

Working on this editorial initially garnered a “You look different” comment but towards the end it elicited something much more complimentary. I’m sure you will be getting as many – if not more – compliments on these shirts. They are pretty cute on their own and styling them would be a lot of fun. On that note, I’m certain I’ll be using these two both to the office and to a Barcino night out.

I’m just being pretentious. Beer is equally welcome.

Polos and denim jacket from MEMO
Photos by Paul Mendoza

The Heat Is On

It’s Summer and I’m melting faster than the Wicked Witch of The West.

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You’d think the heat in Manila is helping make my dry skin a little less so. Unfortunately, it isn’t. My skin remains dry and appears to peel from time to time even if I’m sweating 24/7 especially the moment I step out the door. I’m telling you – putting make up on in this weather is futile and I don’t know why I even bother still.

Then again, I am not the best at figuring out the optimal layering of clothes (or strategic area coverage) to keep me breezy enough when out under the sun or covered enough for full blast air conditioners I’m bound to come across. Between the heat and the AC, I’m developing thermostat-bipolar-disorder. It’s not a thing yet but it might as well be.

I did discover a bunch of body wash variants to help me get through the day. Thanks to Olay Fresh Outlast, I have the option – 3 to be exact – of showering to my choice of scent and level of invigoration. For extra sweltering days, I use the Cooling variant with Strawberry & Mint (my favorite scent). For mornings when I need a bigger boost than just caffeine, I use Olay Refreshing body wash with Cucumber and Green Tea. And for those days when I’m feeling and looking a little flaky (TMI, I know, but the body does what it wants), I use Deep Moisture with the saccharine remnants of Honey.

Really, just thinking of taking a shower is making me want to have another one in the wee hours of the night. Is that really such a bad idea? Thank you, Olay, for making bath time – especially in the midst of global warming severed summers – especially fun.

Who cares if I sweat a lot post bath? I can always jump back in.

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This post is in collaboration with Olay Philippines

Enter the Digital Pop-Up Store

Enter the first Zalora digital pop-up store. Figuratively, of course.

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I know I seem like a kid online most of the time but I do work. For almost two years I worked at an e-commerce site. Though I didn’t directly handle merchandising or marketing (I handled writing for the sister blog site), I saw how difficult it’s been for Filipino consumers to trust online shopping.

You can’t blame them either. Sizing is a mess across brands and gets pretty confusing. Consumers are bombarded with trends that may or may not look good on certain body types and there’s still a general fear of using credit cards to transact online. Hacking is a threat anywhere in the world, it seems.

I personally shop online. I’ve bought certain favorites via international sites like Barneys.com (my personal favorite) and ASOS.com. I like getting first dibs on sales and being able to order in pajamas. I value convenience and not wasting time more than anything (that’s why I work freelance so I don’t waste time stuck in traffic), but I do understand anxiety over uncertainty on whether pieces would fit and look good.

With that said, the first ever digital pop-up store in the Philippines was launched by Zalora last June 17 in Shangri-la mall to address these very concerns. The pop-up store will be up until September giving shoppers the chance to feel the clothes, see them in person, try them on and fall in love with them as they would given a regular shopping environment. But since it’s a digital pop-up store, customers order the items via laptops and iPads in-store (with assistance if needed) and the items will be delivered straight to one’s doorstep. I think it’s pretty smart given that Zalora is addressing a fear that online shoppers face – some brands (especially on Instagram) filter so well that pieces look so much better in flatlays (or shoots) than they do in real life. They also get a sense of sizing for reference in purchases moving forward. It’s relatively simple really. Shopping is so convenient when done online. Plus there’s no hassle of lugging along shopping bags full when you’re in heels and still want to walk around the mall, maybe drop by the grocery and have a meal with friends.

I actually shopped at Zalora right before the launch and wore the in-house brand from head-to-toe. My friend Angela is also matchy-matchy in a full Zalora look. Naturally, we had to take #twinning selfies and hog the dressing room.

Do check out the store at the fifth level of Shangri-la mall and try on pieces you’ve already been eyeing. If you’re a little lazy to dress up and head out, just head to zalora.com.ph. You’ll get addicted to online shopping in no time.

Trust me, I already have (another) long Zalora wishlist of my own.

Dress, trench coat and shoes from ZALORA | This post is in collaboration with ZALORA 

Who’s Aging Now?

Let’s talk about the inevitable process of aging and the miracle of anti-aging products.

I just turned 25 and already I feel like my metabolism is slowly declining and my laugh lines starting to appear. My ascent into my late 20s may be causing some age-induced paranoia but I found that it’s better to be safe than #sorry.

Fortunately, I was gifted with age-defying products just in the nick of time. I won’t be pretentious and say that I’m knowledgeable about skin care because I’m really not. But I did ask a beauty blogger friend if I could start using age defying products in my 20s and the answer was a resounding yes. Not that I needed approval, I was rather keen to start.

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Enter Olay Regenerist’s Miracle Boost Youth Essence and Advanced Anti Aging Micro-sculpting Cream Moisturizer known as the #MiracleDuo. The products are the newest from Olay Regenerist and impressively have already been gaining traction in the beauty community. Best used together for maximum youthful effect, these products are the freshest additions in my otherwise easy skincare regimen.

The Miracle Youth Essence is a serum best used twice a day after toners and before creams. It’s sheer, light and is easily absorbed by the skin unlike most serums that leave your face a little oily. Its promise is to help the skin look energized and I think my skin definitely got a gentle glow.

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The Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream on the other hand is a really effective moisturizer. My face is so dry most of the time and this is exactly what I needed to make my skin look healthier and dewy. A friend of mine taught me to always use moisturizer on the neck as well as the face so this cream is being spread throughout.

I personally think that it’s great that these two products can be used both during the day and at night so I don’t have to keep changing products or remembering a whole different product line up. My handy Miracle Duo will be kept within reach.

I am aging after all. When I get feedback on how old I look, I’ll get back to you. But I’m willing to bet that with this Miracle Duo it wouldn’t be 25.

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originally posted for everydayme.ph 

Canadian Tuxedos

Rekindling my love for sparkly footwear with my new Menina Step flats.

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Remember that scene where Dorothy clacked her red glitter pumps to go back to Kansas? Why she wanted to leave the wonderful world of Oz I don’t really know but what I am sure of is that my penchant for sparkly footwear started the first time I saw that movie. And I saw it a lot. I can sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow in my sleep – if you ask nicely.

Interestingly, decades of living in this world don’t seem to change childhood favorites. I still think fondly of anything Disney, Power Rangers, Pokemon and, thanks to Dorothy, over-the-top sparkles. With that premise, one can instantly infer I zoomed in on these sparkly Menina Step flats the moment I laid eyes on them on a website. I never let them go since. I love how these flats sparkle with every touch of light making me feel like a 14 year old princess – precious and feminine with a literal twinkle.

I do love how the look was styled (by Raiza Poquiz) in a skirt version of a Canadian tuxedo. It kind of puts into perspective the age of the wearer (me) leaving behind the looming threat of looking like a Disney-addicted grown-up who can’t act nor look her age. (I’m 25 if you were wondering.)

It’s cool how it shows that these glitter bombs can be worn with anything. So if you were a closeted Disney/glitter fan, now is the time to come out and literally strut. There’s no place like home the streets to raise your fashion flag, in Meninas that is.

This post is in partnership with Menina Step flats from Spain
Photos by Karlo Torio
Hair by Blowout Bar
Makeup by Reggie of Inglot Cosmetics

Party Like A Rock Star

New decree: wear whatever makes you feel like a rockstar. Or Beyonce.

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It’s a hard knock life, really. The kids of Annie had it right. Traffic sucks, work is draining (don’t tell my boss I said that) and it’s just tough to hear bad news on a daily, even hourly, basis.

Though I don’t do it as often as I should because I work mobile, am a freelancer and therefore spend my days typing away in my pajamas (I know, it doesn’t seem so tough after all), I do think every once in a while we owe it to ourselves to dress like rock stars. Falsely implied by my title, I don’t mean drinking ’til the morning light but feeling like a rock star on the inside. It sounds cheesy, I know, but I just saw Pitch Perfect 2 for the second time and am still uplifted by Flashlight.

Back to rock stars – if dressing like a literal one with an oversized hat, a leopard print item and a furry vest makes you feel like throwing confetti and party poppers, then do it. If it’s a sequined Bulls jersey a la Beyonce, you can go for that too and don’t forget to tell me where to get one. (The number of pop culture references in this blog post is making me proud of my social media-induced knowledge.)

I shot this look for Menina Step, a brand of flats making its debut on May 30 in Powerplant, Rockwell all the way from Spain. I usually stray from ballet flats because the promise of comfort is never met and I end up with blisters on my ankles. Luckily, I really do like this brand style- and comfort-wise and can’t wait to hoard more pairs than my closet (or mom) can handle. Shoutout to Suiteblanco – a label of the same point of origin, how fitting – for an equally comfortable vest. I could literally hug my (faux) furry self all day.

The vest calls for 24/7 AC but I’m willing to up my electricity consumption on my special days when I want to feel great. Remember this new decree: wear what makes you feel like a rock star. Or Beyonce. Everybody wants to feel like Beyonce.

Photos by Karlo Torio 

Vest and denim jeans, SUITEBLANCO | Flats, MENINA STEP

Cotton Candy Sneakers

Traded my sandals for sneakers and took a different sartorial route.

Alyssa Lapid 3I’m always jumping at the chance to work with different people and try out different things. I’m typically safe in my everyday choices – in life and sartorially. Even with food I don’t stray from my tried and tested restaurants and fail-safe dishes. But when opportunities are thrown my way I tend to grab them. Last week I got the chance to shoot with fashion photographer Ronan Capili. We spent 5 minutes at most taking photos and it was so light and easy I’m glad I made my way to the shoot. I did manage to get lost in a pretty straightforward route and had anxiety over which lane to take but eventually ended up exactly where I needed to be. Driving is so stressful.

To make things a little more interesting, I also traded my sandals for sneakers, specifically, singer Demi Lovato’s new Colorful Comfort collection for Skechers which have memory foam so they were particularly comfortable. I’ve always admired people who could wear trainers and still look stylish I just never thought I’d do it myself. To inspire the outfit, I even created a Pinterest board (here)  – my preferred solution to all creative blocks. Breaking the stereotype that sneakers solely equate to sporty looks (pun intended), pink was the obvious feminine choice. In hindsight, I didn’t intend to look like a sorbet but if that’s the vibe you’re getting I won’t refute. This new Demi Lovato collab pair actually reminds me of a cross between blueberry yoghurt and spun cotton candy and reminders of ice cream variants/sweets are always welcome in my book.

Photography by Ronan Capili

Top and Skirt from SM WOMAN | Sneakers by SKECHERS

Toughen Up, Champ

Let’s talk about drawing strength and boxing champions.

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Looking at these photos, I was trying to pinpoint why they feel and look so different. I realized after certain Instagram comments that this set seems unusual because the outfit and  the attitude in some shots evoke a tougher exterior – much tougher than my usual feminine rendition.

Interestingly, I’ve never considered myself tough. I have always been emotionally volatile and extremely empathetic to the point of me being brought to tears with random senior citizen sightings or animal videos that pop up on Facebook. That’s the truth. And though it makes me seem like a whiny human being, tears have always flown freely and that’s not something I’m ashamed of.

Still, over the years, I’ve learned the value of being tough when needed. Being bullied, experiencing hostile work environments and just a lot of negative energy thrown my way have taught me the importance of toughening up or, at the very least, putting up a resilient, impenetrable facade. The adage ‘Fake it ’til you make it’ has surprisingly worked on several occasions and has proven to be the better approach than being emotionally honest. Unfortunately, some people still see emotions/reactions as signs of weakness and are met with sexist blows. So much for progression. I know. In turn, even when advising friends on how to approach the workplace, I have often logically advised against confrontation and flaring up.

Being tough is actually really difficult emotionally and physically (as proven by my struggle in yoga) which is why I greatly admire people who are. One of them is Manny Pacquiao. He needs no introduction but for journalism’s sake: Manny is a Filipino boxing world champion who has defeated many a big name and has been a crowd favorite since time immemorial so much so that even his wife and mother have become pop culture icons on their own. Aside from him being  skilled and having amazing discipline and work ethic, I appreciate how he’s so open to being physically vulnerable. I mean, he takes punches for a living. And I see that vulnerability as being tough. But it’s not just physical pain that he faces head on, it’s a combination of psychological, mental and emotional factors too. If I knew that somebody was literally betting on my opponent beating me and praying that I lose, that idea might keep me awake at night (even more than usual) and plant deep-seated self-doubt that can only be undone by a therapist. Manny hears criticism and taunting left and right, it’s part of the job, but he’s still so confident and seemingly invincible and to me that’s admirable. I’d barely be functioning.

He has an upcoming fight in a few days against Floyd Mayweather that the world is looking forward to. Though I personally cringe watching people hurting each other for hours, I invite all of you to watch the game on May 2, 2015. My favorite network Smart is offering a lifestream view of the fight through the Viewstream app on any mobile device LIVE and commercial-free for only P499. No credit card is needed, it can be charged to your postpaid bill or prepaid load for Smart, Sun and Talk ‘N Text subscribers.

I will most likely cover my eyes during parts when I think he’s getting hurt (and maybe feel a little bad for Mayweather when knocked to the ground) like in a horror movie but I’m definitely waiting for that winning moment.

You watching may not entail any realizations on being courageous and how you can also apply Manny’s principles in your own life but as a person constantly grappling with the idea of being strong and impenetrable, Manny is my hero. And I’m 100% certain I’ll be inspired by his game – win or lose.

Let’s talk about it online? Use the hashtag #SugodManny to show your support for our champ or just engage in dialogue. My expert live tweeting may include “OUCH.”, “I CAN’T LOOK” and “OMG OMG OMG” but you are very much welcome to join in the conversation – before, during and after the fight.

Photography by Elisa Aquino 

Makeup By Jart of MAC Cosmetics 

Enjoy other perks such as exclusive Manny stickers on Pinoy Stickers, Viber, Line, and WeChat. Just text MANNY to 2600 to get FREE stickers; exclusive Manny-themed camera templates on the Camera 360 app; An exclusive footage of Manny’s training on Viewstream for Smart, Sun and Talk N’ Text subscribers

Kicking Off Summer

Kicking off summer by reminiscing waters I didn’t swim in. Still, better that than nothing, right?

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Summer in Manila is scorching. Prickly heat, severe sweating and rushing from AC to AC (establishments not rooms) characterize the dawn of April heat. It doesn’t help that my Instagram feed is full of folks from New York and Europe all seemingly still wrapped in heaps of layers. You either love the tropics or you hate it – it’s fairly seasonal.

I know in my heart I should be lounging by pools day in and day out but pools don’t always present themselves to me. And let’s not get started on the island girls I follow on social media. Their posts are all of bikinis and after a while you start to feel sorry for your beach-less, computer-fixated life. I know I do. Ironically, I was in a pool over the weekend but it was for a shoot and it was empty and devoid of both water to splash around in and the intoxicating smell of chlorine.

So here I am reminiscing the second to the last layout from our Rags 2 Riches Viaje lookbook shoot with my homegirl Danika who by now can seem like my lesbian lover especially in our Fault In Our Stars-style shot (see last photo). Alas, neither of us is willing to be Ansel Elgort and only the Shailene to his knight in shining armor. Or boy-next-door. Whatever, I didn’t read the book nor watch the movie. Sad story lines are not my cup of tea.

Fun times though. Dipping our legs in the coldest of waters, sipping tangy orange juice and beating the heat with giggles; Not a bad way to kick off summer.

Photography by ShutterPanda
Makeup by Lea Ancheta
Styled by Bea Constantino