Archive for 2013|Yearly archive page

Gender-neutral gifts for every budget this Christmas

In Philippine Star Column on December 13, 2013 at 1:28 am

People making lists, buying special gifts…you know the rest, and are probably in the midst of weeding out who’s naughty or nice from your “presents” recipients as Christmas draws near. But what to give? There are myriad choices out there- with a boom of online and offline retailers that can make even the most savvy of shoppers’ head spin. Practical as far as this columnist is concerned is the new buzzword, so here’s a shortlist of gifts that are gender neutral and for any budget from frugal-yet thoughtful to splurge-and useful.


1)   A watch with attitude. Oversize, or a slightly bigger than what you’re used to timepiece with either a standout bezel or strap can make a stylish statement without going over the top. Dutch brand MAX makes a whole range of sporty to dressy designs that would look good worn solo (big enough to look like a bracelet) like the Aviator (P 12,900) for a woman, or prepping up a day outfit with its brown leather strap and its 52mm steel bezel. For a more classic look with a slight twist (think, chunky time telling hands and numbers on a 42mm steel bezel) the Phantom in black or white (P 10,500) will be happily received by that special someone you’d gladly invest your time (and budget) on.  MAX Watches available at Bratpack, Aloha Boardsports and Check out



2)   Look cool while keeping warm. Designer Rhett Eala has designed a number of chic cover-ups with delightful details that can easily be worn by a man or woman. Reasonably priced, from less than a thousand pesos to about three thousand, these are travel-friendly hoodies and jumpers that you can be tossed on or into your carry-on. Unisex-friendly, they come in a variety of sizes from XS to XL so you may even think of dressing your entire clan up for the ubiquitous family photo/Christmas card. Available at Nest, 40 Jupiter Street Bel Air 3, Makati. Tel nos. (02) 818-8811 and (02) 403-3062


3)   No borders. For that avid traveler in your life, a lightweight and leather passport holder that can bear his or her initials (or even full-name) is an ideal gift to keep important documents within easy reach. S.C. Vizcarra creates several models in different kinds of natural leather, colors and sizes starting at a very reasonable P 500 each.  For more information visit or e-mail: Tel. no (02) 854-67


4)   The nose knows. Cadentia Nature Eau de Colognes are made in France and are perfect for an everyday refreshing scent-sational feeling. Not overpowering, with four variants (although the Naturelle and Intense are the most gender-neutral) they come in two sizes 250 ml (p 245) and 500 ml (P 345) If you’ve still got a kris kringle party to go to and have not found out who your “baby” is, then this could be your best gift bet. Cadentia colognes available at Rustan’s Supermarket, and online at

5)   Donate Nation. Really tight on budget this holiday season? Or perhaps the thought of shopping for something material not a palatable thought? There are many, many charitable organizations out there still accepting volunteers, goods (whether freshly bought or pre-owned) as well as making Christmas cards or token gifts that can be purchased with proceeds going to a certain cause. There is always a good reason to get down and get generous, and it’s not always based on the money you can dole out. Sometimes quality time with the people you love, or people who need some love is the best gift of all this year.

So, how are you going to play Santa this 2013?

Healthy habits for a (less) stressful holiday season

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2013 at 1:50 am

In a blink of an eye, we find ourselves approaching what is possibly the most anticipated (and dreaded) month of the entire year. “Winter is coming” may have served as an appropriate reminder of the chaos that would ensue on Game of Thrones, while back here in the non-fiction world, the same amount of shivers may be elicited when the words “Christmas is coming” are uttered. So how to keep the stress to a manageable level, before, during and even after the holidaze? Getting into a routine of healthy body, mind and spirit habits, which can carry you past the resolution-energized start of 2014. Here are a few tips to live by:

Drink your vitamins

Pill popping may not be your thing, and if you’re rushing from here to there, you may find yourself forgetting to take your supplements with a meal. So take out the proverbial middleman by getting your daily dose of antioxidants in a potent potion made out of fresh vegetables and fruits. You can even choose to supplement one, two or all three of your meals and go on a full-on juice detox just to give your digestive system a rest. The benefits of a juice cleanse are not only a cleaner overall system and a sharper mind, but also a lot more energy. Juju Cleanse has great-tasting juices that can ease you into it (Level 1) or take you all the way with their mostly green Level 3 concoctions. Their website is also highly informative, which may tempt you into doing a full-day or even five-day juice detox. Should you decide to go liquid before the onslaught of parties and party food, make sure you take time to ease yourself into it and out of it. Want a taste before you commit? You can pop by their restaurant Juju Eats in Makati ( where you can grab a juice drink and combine it with a freshly made salad or wrap and take them with you. You can also call 0917-5763012 for more information.


Eat lighter or Eat for a cause

Since we are on the subject of nourishment, if liquefying your life may be too extreme (or seemingly impossible for you) as Christmas draws near, then you may want to look at supplementing your meals with vegan food. In other words, fare that is animal-product free. Edgy Veggy ( has a full menu that can be delivered to your doorstep, or you can grab a bite at their commissary in Pasig. Their newest offering, vegan longganiza (P180) is made with mushrooms, non-GMO tofu and spices, plus every order of this particular meal gives 10-percent of its proceeds to the I Can Serve Foundation. None of their dishes are made with preservatives or animal fat and they serve generous proportions so even the hefty eater can feel satisfied without feeling the usual heaviness and sluggishness associated with eating commercially produced fast food. Meals that contain fewer preservatives and fewer chemicals also lessen the risk of adrenal fatigue syndrome, which is both an energy and mood killer. Spread the joy of the season by starting from the inside with healthier food choices when possible. For more information or to order, call 0917-8474831.


Passive action


Free your mind

A monkey mind is what a majority of us possess. This means simply that we process what seems like 10,000 thoughts in a day. The total is actually much higher than that: it has been documented that we have about 60,000 thoughts a day! Imagine the stress you carry cerebrally daily; no wonder the term “brain fog” has become more the norm, and it’s hitting us at any age, when it used to be reserved for those who were well into their 60s. So how to free yourself from a mind that can’t seem to shut up? Meditation and breathing exercises are the tools to find your center and be the master of your mind, rather than be the slave to it. The Third Eye Wellness Center ( located in Bonifacio Global City is a new all-in-one wellness center that offers therapeutic practices that are beneficial for one’s outer and inner being. Its Transcend Spa offers massages, facials and care for your nails,  a vegetarian café (Chakra Café) where you can order light fare as well as freshly made smoothies and energy healing modalities such as Theta DNA Healing, Access Bars, Crystal Layout, Tarot Card Readings, Past Life Regression and the like. The energy healing modalities allow one to clear or remove limiting beliefs or blocks that may have been taken on from childhood. If you’re feeling like it’s you against the world, then check out what’s happening in your internal world first. You can also call 808-2984 or 0917-6362800 for more information.


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Skin Savers to have on hand

In Philippine Star Column on November 22, 2013 at 12:40 am

Having a first-aid beauty kit is an absolute must in this day and age of bi-polar weather, here- to-there traffic, and the work and social events that are starting to fill up your iCal. These add up to skin stress, and the last thing you want is to look as if the season had partied all over you. Many products are now available in travel sizes, so you don’t have to be weighed down when stashing a couple of them in your purse or leaving some in your office drawer or school locker for whenever you need a beauty boost.

Here’s a shortlist of how to keep the beauty blues away:

Bright wash

Clean, fresh skin is the base for all things beautiful. The SebaMed Liquid Face and Body Wash is 100-percent soap- and alkali-free, making it non-drying and perfect for frequent use. It is also a deep-pore cleanser, a highly economical one as one drop can already wash your entire face. With the humidity and pollution in the country, give yourself a clean slate with this gentle cleanser. Call 242-3636 or 244-6992 for info.

LiquidFaceBodyWash hi res

The great cover-up

Coming in different shades that are great for Filipina skin tones, the Aivee Teo Foundation with SPF 40 can cover up as well as protect skin from the sun’s harmful rays. In a pinch, it also acts as a clever concealer, evening out your skin tone and covering up dark undereye circles. P700. Call The Skin and Laser Clinic at 403-3245 to order.


Rosehips don’t lie

This is a miracle in a bottle. An itchy rash? A pimple? Use Venus and Mars Naturals’ Rosehip Oil for immediate relief. You may witness skin irritants disappear within a couple of days, if not hours. P800 for a 20ml bottle. Order through or call 0922-3092798.


A soft touch

Your hair, nails and other parts of your body also need some TLC so gently spread Souq International Moroccan Argan Oil on areas that need conditioning or a little softening up. It’s so rich, a little goes a long way. Works wonders on cracked heels and tired toes after a whole day in stilettos, too! P1,500. Available at

Moroccan Argan Oil

Buzz off

Not only are those pesky little buggers potentially dangerous (think dengue), but also nobody looks good scratching away at a mosquito bite. The lovely-smelling Cadenia Nature Anti-Mosquito Cologne is a great double agent to up your mood and keep you from getting bitten, especially when you have to party outdoors. P275 for 125ml and P375 for 250ml. Available online at

Anti-mosquito cologne

Have any (or all) of these products on-hand and you can save face no matter where you find yourself as the holidays come rushing in. Bonus: they’re all small enough that they’re travel- friendly too!

Philippine Fashion Week review: Breezy silhouettes and active wear are in the mix for spring/summer ‘14

In Philippine Star Column on November 8, 2013 at 7:37 am

A milieu of designers interpreting the looks for spring/summer 2014 resulted in a rather mismatched free-for-all. Color palettes, fabrics and lengths — even the accessories used were so dissimilar that it would be difficult to say if there is any one staple look for the coming year. In terms of wearability and artistry, there were several designers that displayed consistency. Perhaps for 2014, it’s basically about choosing your style mood: would you want to be sporty, comfy or make a statement? Choose the designer based on their strengths if you don’t want an unwearable surprise.

Veejay Floresca

Active wear may have been on the now US-based designer’s mind as models traipsed out in form-fitting jackets and hoodies coupled with up-to-there shorts or loose flowing trousers. Floresca married materials normally used for sportswear — cotton and jersey — with evening wear fabrics such as chiffon, allowing for movement and texture.





 Ronaldo Arnaldo

Favoring a womanly silhouette, Arnaldo’s collection named “Azure” was inspired by summer itself, the sea, the blue skies and the beach evident in the palette ranging from very light and cool blue to white. Said Arnaldo: “I envisioned it to be worn in a resort or a cruise. It’s all about serenity, relaxation and peace of mind, effortless and easy going. I used fancy crepes, linens, silk satin and jusi.”




Vania Romoff


Yvonne Quisumbing

Staying true to her artistry, Quisumbing’s collection drew attention with dramatic headpieces and shoeless models tiptoeing up and down the ramp. Her collection entitled “Heroine” was inspired by a combination of a topiary, rectangular Rothko canvases and the grand personality of a heroine. Quisumbing incorporated colors such as blacks, whites, peaches and reds, using thick materials such as textured tweed and leather, softened by delicate chiffon, georgette and organza. “I aim to find the perfect balance between the complex and the minimal,” explained Quisumbing, “like the combination of a sculptural blouse on top of pedestal-like pants.” She also credits local heroine Gabriela Silang for being the “personality” behind her line. “She is both delicate and fearless, humble and brave. The collection is my inspiration of such polarity,” concluded the designer.





SOUL TRAIN By Katrina H. Holigores (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 8, 2013 – 12:00am

Tripping out at Tripologie

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 12, 2013 at 8:48 am

I have a luggage fetish. I inherited it from my mom, and she openly admits that the call of a new suitcase is hard to resist. Every single trip, from the very time I could walk I remember entering my a travel or luggage shop with my mother, didn’t matter if she had a brand new, spanking set of suitcases, she just had to see what else was out there. Over the years, I may even say decades, we have had almost every shape, size, color of wheeled, non-wheeled, softshell, hardshell travel-ready container at our disposal. Some lasted many, many years, some were merely used once or twice and then given away. Today, I fully embraced my own travel accessory addiction and took a “trip” down to Tripologie which was very conveniently located on the ground floor of the same building as my yoga studio in Bonifacio Global City (The Active Fun Building).



Walking inside this well-lit, cleanly designed shop had the same effect on me as a candy store would have on a diabetic. My senses went into overdrive. Wall to wall had every kind of travel accessory a travel bug would love to own. Different brands, from Thule, Carlton, Echolac, Wenger, HelloLulu…the list goes on bombarded me to the edges of my peripheral vision.



As much as I wanted to browse for hours, I knew I had to make it back in time upstairs for a yoga class, so I gave myself about 30-40 minutes as a deadline. Thankfully, I was greeted by Brand Manager, Arlene Gadil, and the other staff members (like the very patient and informative Paolo) who took the time to show me several sets of luggage based on my needs and wants.

Weight, of course is very important, I normally travel alone and didn’t want to cause additional strain to my body by having to cart around and lift heavy bags. The first option was the Carlton Aerlite


It came in three sizes, four wheeled, TSA Lock and are expandable up to two inches…which is great news for those last minute shopping needs. 🙂 There were two colors that got my attention, the khaki and the maroon. Green and red are my favorite colors, so I was first trying to decide between these two.

But, on the subject of expansion, Arlene and her team decided to expand my experience with luggage and brought out something else.


The even more lightweight, hard-shell, scratch-resistant, rainproof Sonar line from Carlton. I think the color alone took my breath away. This was definitely something I would be able to spot right away on a conveyor belt. Not to mention I’ve never had a hardshell set before, always choosing the more “practical” yet “classic” look and functionality of the softshell.

I was in decision-hell. I had brought two of my yoga co-teachers with me, and one said “get the red” (Aerlite) and the other one said “I’d get the green” (Sonar). One plus the Aerlite had was that it’s equipped with I-track.


Each Aerlite piece has a special code that you can input in a worldwide database. This acts as a tracker should any of your Aerlite pieces go MIA.

But, the hardshell, in their pistachio green glory just kept drawing my eye to them. I ended up spending about 20 minutes like this:


Seriously, this was the longest I ever took to decide on any shopping spree I’ve had. We opened up the two biggest ones and although the Aerlite definitely had more space…I decided to go with the set that took my breath away. 🙂


I am euphoric…so euphoric that on the suggestion of Arlene I also got a universal adaptor that she claimed would just make my gadget life wherever I went so much easierImage

Thank you to the Tripologie team!!! I can’t wait to happily say “Have bags (ok Sonar suitcases) will travel 🙂


For more information or to check out the Tripologie branches call:

Tripologie BGC – (02) 4785065

Tripologie Alabang Town Ctr – (02) 5536608

Tripologie Eastwood Citywalk 2 – (02) 5845669

Juice for (fashion) emergencies

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 2, 2013 at 6:26 am

I love to eat. If you happen to be following me on twitter or on any of the other social media programs you will probably notice that I predominantly post food. This love for both feasting and fashion runs on a rather precarious ledge with me always teeter-tottering between being happy with my body and then going into panic mode. I know, I know, there are better ways to stay in shape then going to extremes, and I have slowly learned this (through too much yo-yo dieting mishaps) so I am happy to say I have found something that does help me shed some pounds and inches as well as boost my metabolism and reduce the acidity from some of the rich dishes I tend to indulge in from time to time. I juice. Yes, my motto is just juice it. If I wasn’t so lazy, I’d probably just juice my own stuff, but I have the personality of one who likes to invest in something in order to believe that it will work. So, I don’t mind spending for fresh fruit and veggie juices to be delivered to my house (including superfood smoothies) whenever I need to detox, and detox quick.

Juice for you. Freshly made everyday.

Juice for you. Freshly made everyday.

Take the weekend that had just passed. I was carefully planning my ensemble to attend my newspaper section’s 10th anniversary, but because I’ve been having too much of a good time socializing with both new and old friends, I did notice a thickening in the waist and a little bloating in the belly. I exercise almost everyday, whether it’s walking/running or yoga but I knew that in order to slip into my dress rather than squeeze into it, I would have to zip my mouth. The thing was, it was also my mother’s birthday and we were planning a special dinner for her. I didn’t want to be one of those mood-dampening dieters who wouldn’t touch a single thing when others were celebrating. Besides, it was a restaurant of my choice, and I wanted to eat something glorious with her so I decided on getting a moderate juice fast from Juice Jab. ( Juice Jab has several “strengths” of juice fasts. The first is a mild version, which you take to just replace ONE meal a day, the second (moderate) which I chose is to replace TWO full meals in a day (and if that one meal consisted of just fruits and veggies-you could lose more weight) and the third was strong, meaning the whole three days you would just take juice instead of solid food. Now, I’ve done the Master Cleanse (10 days of just liquid) so a weekend for me would be easy. As a brief background, my Bangkok-based friend Mia, introduced me to Juice Jab’s founder, Bibet who was very helpful on the phone when I called her asking which level of juicing would be best for me based on my desired result. Thanks again Mia and Bibet!

Moderate mission. My six bottles per day for the weekend.

Moderate mission. My four bottles per day for the weekend.

To be honest, when you’re given the option of juicing +food or just juicing, I realize I am more disciplined with the just juicing bit, having the option of eating even one meal kind of makes me go a little overboard, like a man on deathrow being given a last meal. But like I said, I did want to eat at my mom’s birthday dinner so I stuck with the moderate option and made a promise to myself to hydrate more and slot in extra exercise when I could. The first day was the easiest, as the first batch of four juices arrived. Very cute bottles, unusual in shape, but I do wonder if they could be recycled or returned for the environment’s sake. The first juice tasted very much like the Master Cleanse concoction (Gold Strike-cayenne pepper, honey, lemon, water) exceptthat Master Cleanse uses grade B maple syrup (more antioxidants) than honey. This, plus the Emerald Punch (celery, ginger, pineapple and spinach) were my favorites in terms of taste. Very refreshing and great after a yoga class especially when taken chilled. The advantage of taking a moderate strength juicing program over a strong one is that you can still exercise at your usual pace since you are being hydrated and you are allowed solid meals. If you aren’t used to a detox, then start off with the mildest version, and work your way up to the strongest one.

In the mix. See what juices contain what.

In the mix. See what juices contain what.

The juices are delivered the night before and come with a an insulated bag (for first time orders) so you can carry your juices wherever you go. What’s great is, should you decide to order again anytime in the future, your next order is less since it removes the price of the insulated bag. Here are the price points:

Price is right and gets light (er) with every order!

Price is right and gets light (er) with every order!

So what happened? I didn’t need to lose a dramatic amount of weight, so I was happy that by Monday I had gone down to my “ceiling weight” and my dress went on without any hitches. I may have to watch what I have for dinner tonight but that is certainly better than having to fidget and pray that a zipper or stitch doesn’t blow while you’re moving about in a crowd full of people.

Added bonus? Since I was able

Friendly fitness! Juice with a buddy.

Friendly fitness! Juice with a buddy.

to juice away 2-3lbs pounds and a lot of acid and junk during this detox my body felt way (and weigh) lighter during a hard yoga class last Saturday, and my instructor even remarked how much more “open” my body was. Music to a beginning yogini’s ears.

For a healthy quick fix, or for that big party where you want to look and feel incredible, look to juice 🙂 Oh, and I want to add, if you need a “support system” you can get a friend to join you and you get rewarded not only with better health but a Php 200 gift voucher on your next order. Win-win!

Check out for more information and to place your order (delivery charges may apply)

The healing power of bespoke jewelry

In Philippine Star Column on August 30, 2013 at 1:39 am
Bling it on. Customized jewelry with healing properties

Bling it on. Customized jewelry with healing properties

People often look at jewelry as simply an accessory that can add a touch of elegance or playfulness to their outfit of the day. Jewelry also connotes a certain status, or has sentimental value for some, but only recently have people discovered that the gemstones or semi-precious crystals used in certain pieces may actually contain magic “powers.” For German-born Pamela Bähre Ebensperger, the call of the crystal was what piqued her interest in switching careers from in-demand fashion model to accessory designer. “I was a model for 17 years, traveling the world and getting exposed to so much beauty and design but I knew I wasn’t going to be a model forever so I wanted to find a new love. I have always loved jewelry, what it is and all that it symbolizes, so  I learned to craft jewelry, goldsmith, silversmith, stone-setting, and the techniques involved. In  2011, I studied gemology in GIA and did some specializations. I am currently completing a jewelry design course,” explains Bähre Ebensperger. Having moved to Chile when she was very young, she soon found herself exposed to the more metaphysical attributes of gems and semi-precious gems. Latin America has some of the biggest mines in the world and because its culture is a blend of both mysticism and modernism, she found herself designing intuitively, starting off with creating pieces for close friends and family. “I use all kinds of crystals from diamonds to quartz. All gemstones have vibration, and energy. They can all store, focus, transmit and transmute  certain energy frequencies so I choose them carefully, having in mind what the client wants and needs,” she says. She also intimated that metals carry their own frequency and she chooses to work largely with silver and gold as settings.

Precious things. Metals and gemstones in unusual, one of a kind designs.

Precious things. Metals and gemstones in unusual, one of a kind designs.

Bähre Ebensperger’s personality is as sparkly as her designs as she eagerly shares some of her “success” stories in matching a particular piece to a client. The first piece she shows me is a set of wedding bands she made for a gay couple in Chile. “They’re actually among the best hairstylists there,” says Bähre Ebensperger. “In Chile there’s no legal marriage for gay people yet and they have been together for over 30 years so they asked me to make them something symbolizing their union. I made wedding bands that don’t look at all like wedding bands. I crafted them out of silver  since it  embodies the energy of the moon, feelings and creativity. They told me when they wore the rings they really felt the energy and love and said it was as if they were starting a whole new chapter!”

Cuff it up. Chunky and sleek shapes and sizes.

Cuff it up. Chunky and sleek shapes and sizes.

The next photo she shows me is a ring — something she made for her mother who was going through what she calls a life-transforming situation at the time. “She wanted something to remind her of her new spiritual awareness and the power of her mind. I chose to design a flower in full-bloom made of white gold. Gold, besides being very malleable,is a metal that attracts wealth and prosperity. Silver is the add space color of grace so she is constantly reminded of the grace of God.” The next picture she shows me is of a ring she made for her very close friend, Rosa, which has a stunning blue gemstone that draws the eye. “The stone is called Alexlite and it is a color variety of the crystal flourite. It was made to symbolize our friendship so I wanted grace, creativity and the perfection of nature because for Rosa it is very important to be natural and true to one’s self.” Bähre Ebensperger continues: “Rosa is also head of sales for an international clothing brand so she tends to be ‘masculine’ in her ways, so the ring serves as a balance-transmuting and transmitting feminine qualities. She is also awakening to her spirituality and dark blue or indigo is the color of the sixth chakra, the one that connects you to your higher self and spiritual realms. As the stone changes color from blue (in fluorescent light or daylight) to purple in incandescent light (yellow or candle light) it also embodies the attributes of the seventh chakra which is the one that connects us to God.”

Mama mia. A ring made for the designer's mom to symbolize her spiritual growth.

Mama mia. A ring made for the designer’s mom to symbolize her spiritual growth.

What can one expect when getting Bähre Ebensperger to craft a personalized piece? First, she explains, “Getting inspiration after talking to and getting to know my client… their dreams, desires, and what they want to feel when they wear the jewerly… their aura. Then comes the design or, in my case, this is almost always the crafting. The metals must be melted, forged, shaped, polished etc. and if the piece has gemstones the setting follows. I usually just see the materials and the inspiration takes its own form.”

Nice necking. A choker that connotes an upward movement of energy.

Nice necking. A choker that connotes an upward movement of energy.

Lovers of Ovex jewelry are more than happy to shell out a minimum of P17,000 per piece with the security of knowing that it is perfectly attuned to them in every way, eliciting certain emotions everytime they put it on. Better yet, as every design is one-of-a-kind, it serves as a reminder of how unique and special they truly are.

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For more information e-mail or call: 0949-8889238.

Cleansing your system of toxins and bad habits: The Master Cleanse

In Philippine Star Column on August 8, 2013 at 11:45 pm
Soup opera: Break your fast with vegetable soups that are packed with goodness.

There is probably nothing more musical to one’s ears than the words “You look great! You’re so payat!” For most of us weight-obsessed individuals, the battle of the bulge takes up much of our daily conversations with friends, family and even total strangers. Have you ever gotten the “Hey! Have you lost/gained weight?” in place of a simple “How are you?” Our foreign visitors often have to be briefed that the mention of their current state of, well, body mass index is as normal as talking about the weather and they should not take offense. No matter what time of year it is in our country, thin is always in. I still remember those (including myself) who go on one ridiculous regimen after the other in the months leading up to Christmas because, we all know, even an Olympian will not be able to resist the temptations laid before him on a noche buena spread.

I can safely say I’ve been on both crazy to not-so-crazy diets, ones with ridiculous anagram meanings, to ones that were healthy, but needed medical supervision in order to do it without going stir-crazy. I had come to a part of my life wherein I was just plain old tired of yoyo-ing from one dress size to another. Not to mention that drastic dieting does take its toll on your skin and well-being. Sure, you can lose a dramatic amount of weight if you want to in a very short period of time, but if you didn’t change anything else about you (say, your attitude towards food and/or stress) you’ll just binge your way back to overweight glory in no time. Looking at the mirror and wondering where the skinniness of my youth went was not the best way to start or end the day.

It was early in this year that I made the conscious decision to pay equal focus to both my mind and my body. So I enrolled in yoga teacher training and for that whole month, I went vegetarian. Thirty days of intense yoga plus lighter fare started to make a difference in my overall well-being. Since some yoga poses require you to carry your own body weight, a shrinking body mass helps your practice dramatically. That month I must have dropped almost 10 pounds and was feeling strong and more aware of my body, so I then decided to do a detox, choosing Stanley Burrough’s Master Cleanse. A caveat: I am not in any capacity a nutritionist, but I have learned to do my due diligence before starting something new. The Master Cleanse, known more popularly as “The Lemonade Diet,” works on the premise of cleaning out your system completely and providing a brand new spanking “you” inside, after a minimum 10-day rest period from all the food and beverage that you may be addicted to. If you think you aren’t addicted, see how long you can go without sweets, coffee or even processed foods such as white rice or cheese.

This cleanse asks you to rid yourself of your bad food habits by committing to only drinking a concoction of organic lemons, water, cayenne pepper and grade B maple syrup, combining it with light to no exercise, and rest. Going into the diet, you have to start to wean yourself off of meats, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods, etc., so that by day one you can go through your day with a thermos or two filled with liquid gold. This detox is not for the fainthearted. You have to commit and realize that a majority of your eating habits (the bad ones) are due to your emotional attachment to food, drink and even the social relationships you associate with eating. The first two days are relatively easy; pride is what can carry you through the first 48 hours, plus by the second day you may already lose two pounds, which feels pretty good. It’s Day 3 that is the biggest hurdle (at least in my case). Much like a drug addict or alcoholic goes through withdrawal symptoms, I got a headache and the sweats (others got stomachaches or feverish symptoms) and you feel like you need a food “hit.” You just have to keep drinking the lemonade blend and even more water and, if you find yourself constipated, an herbal laxative tea.

Days 4-6 is when it begins to dawn on you how little you need food, or at the very least, how much food and drink you over-indulge in, because you are now feeling more alert and strong considering it’s been days since your last swallow of solid food. Days 7-8 are also challenging because you may start to argue with yourself, and say things like “I’m more than halfway done, I can quit now.” Or “I’ve already lost almost 10 pounds, I can stop this!” You can lose about 1-2 pounds a day on a Master Cleanse,” but bear in mind that 60 percent of what you lose is water weight. By Day 9-10 you are feeling stronger than ever, lighter, and if you have had problems sleeping, you will find that you don’t need to sleep as often or as long and still feel energized. Not to mention your skin and eyes are brighter than they’ve ever been. If 10 days is your maximum, then start to wean yourself back to the non-liquid intake slowly. I would highly recommend the super food smoothies of Edgy Veggy ( or the slow-cooked vegetable soups of Real Girl Toy Kitchen (www.realgirltoykitchen) to help you break your fast over Days 11-13.

Everyone’s experience with The Master Cleanse is different, so let me just share mine. I lost about 11 pounds during the time period and gained back four. But, since my appetite and stomach had decreased in size, I was no longer as hungry as I used to be, and my metabolism had also increased and hasn’t decreased since the fast. I am at my lightest weight now, having lost an additional 15 pounds since going off the fast in May and I’ve dropped three dress sizes. A detox is for an overall rehaul that can result in not only cleansing one’s body but kicking dependence on food to make one feel good. Check out to see if this is the detox for you.

Reposted from:

SOUL TRAIN By Katrina H. Holigores (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 9, 2013 – 12:00am

Eye-lights: New products to flatter your peepers

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2013 at 3:07 am

I have a thing for eye creams. Probably amongst the personal care products I use, I take great pains in investing in eye creams. The eyes as many know, are the windows to the soul and though I don’t believe in extreme measures to reduce the signs of aging (we can all age gracefully) I do feel that having a brighter “frame” for what we look out into the world with should be given a lot of TLC.

There are several and the market that address the fine lines, to the deeper ones, and I try to stay clear of those that have a lot of chemicals and artificial fragrances. Regular use of any of these products is highly recommended for best results.

Skyendor Corrective Line


You want a dramatic shift in your facial mapping? Go for this line that just won The Anti-Ageing Product of the Year award at the Asia Spa Awards 2012. It covers all the bases, from your eyes, to lips, to face, you name it. Plus it’s lightweight and pumped up with all kinds of good stuff for you to see and feel it almost instantly. I road tested this on a friend who for many years has exposed herself rather irresponsibly to the sun and in just a week, at a dinner, it was remarked how good she looked. We kind of smiled at each other slyly, knowing that she had a secret weapon to her new-found youthfulness-OK well, after this blog, maybe not so secret anymore. We concentrated on her expression lines around her eyes, and already that made such a big difference. She is now encouraged to try the entire line on the rest of her face!

NeoStrata Skin Active Intensive Eye Therapy


Among the products I looked over, this was the most appealing for my particular situation. My eye lines are not yet too dramatic, but a little preventive love was needed. I liked that this product contained AppleStem Cell Extract, Vitamin E and Peptides among other ingredients. After two weeks of use I did notice that the area in my eye appeared plumper and softer-even if after a weekend where regular sleep was hard to come by. My friend’s didn’t notice how tired I was, and I’m crediting it to this eye cream!

For more information on where to purchase Skyendor and NeoStrata products call (0917)-5579619.





Come Fly With Me-A Workshop with Alexandria Crow

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2013 at 11:55 am

It looks like I have fully embraced my inner yogini. Finally having gotten my Teacher’s Training diploma, I find myself happily immersed in one yoga workshop after the other. First in June, a rather intense four days of back-to-back seminars (both physically intensive or philosophy rich) of yoga at the Asia Yoga Conference in Hong Kong. Coming back to Manila I discovered I had gotten way stronger, and way braver in doing my asanas (poses). I could get into an inversion with less nerves, it was just a matter of learning how to keep upside down for longer than a couple of seconds. That is now my current challenge, finding my center even when my perspective has been flipped around. Enter August with the coming of the almost ethereal beauty and grace of Alexandria (Alex) Crow.


Although coming from a gymnast background, Crow battled with injuries that kept her inactive for some time. Her workshop in August will focus on “floating”. Working the upper body, opening the hips and strengthening one’s core (and probably reserve) to get up, and up into arm balances and inversions.


There will be whole day classes, community classes and short, intense workshops for anyone who is wanting to deepen their yoga practice. I look forward to finding out the best way to get my legs up over my head, fully focused on my breath and feeling light as a feather. August will be my month to float and fly, and I hope to see more of my friends lifting off beside me on their mats! Check out Alex Crow’s schedule (August 9-14) on: or call one of Urban Ashram Manila’s two branches:

Brixton Branch (02) 661 YOGA / 0917 881 YOGA

High Street Branch (02) 869YOGA / 0917 718 YOGA