As a mom, taking care of my husband and children is my priority. However, I’m a firm believer that one cannot pour from an empty cup. As a woman, self-care is just as, if not most important. Taking the time to pursue my passions sharpens my mental and physical health, which also betters my self-esteem, stress management, and overall well-being.
Now, if I was to mention the things that bring me joy, at the top of my list would be books, fashion, and travel. Since it’s the month of love, it’s an opportune time to share some of my favorite things, a trove of local finds, naturally. All of which would make perfect presents for your loved ones. (The number one rule in gifting is giving something you yourself would want to receive.)
Celebrating Valentine’s Day may not be for everyone, but dare I say, that in these extraordinary times, everybody will appreciate receiving a token just because—even more so when they find out it is made and sourced locally.
The Gift Of Self Care
Although we are all dying to get massages, facial, and much needed hair pampering, it is still a risk to go outside. I’ve been cutting my daughter’s hair (and my own!), giving my husband facials, and basically practicing DIY body beautification services at home. Here are my recommended products for you:
Facial Set from Orogold
They will rarely admit it, but our husbands are vain when it comes to their skin, too. I introduced mine to Orogold Cosmetics and we’ve been avid users for years. The different skincare collections are infused with luxurious ingredients like gold, diamonds, vitamins, and pearls. Its Beauty Boost Ultrasonic Machine is a must-have in one’s beauty arsenal. Use the cool vibration setting to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, tighten the jawline and relive fatigue.The heating vibration setting encourages maximum product absorption and promotes circulation for a more luminous complexion. For more beauty finds, visit www.hemera.ph
Skin System by Hada Labo
Affordable, effective, and suited to Asian skin, this line is a favorite of many celebrities. Hyaluronic acid is the main ingredient of all Hada Labo’s products. It holds up to 2000 times its own weight in water and keeps the skin looking healthy and hydrated. For your daily beauty regimen: Cleanse with the facial wash (P385), apply the brand’s star product Goko Jjyun Hydrating Lotion (P685) on your face, neck and décolletage and lock In the hydration with the Hydrating Light Cream for oily skin (P850) or Water Gel for dry or normal skin (P850). Products are available in leading drugstores.
Marta’s Handmade Soaps
I personally love products that smell like food. So, it was love at first sight (and smell) when I saw the array of goodies that Marta’s Handmade Soaps carry. From hand soaps (Peppermint Swirl), lip scrubs (Cotton Candy and Bubble Gum), lotions (Oatmeal and Honey) whipped soap (Fruit loops), to soy candles (Cilantro Lime Zest), and linen sprays (Green Tea), this label has me giddy with delight. Marta Ortoll-Lichauco turned her hobby into a thriving business, but not before educating herself in the science and art of cold pressed soaps. She attended courses in the US and UK, sourced premium ingredients and developed her artisanal skincare line. Fill your home with all things good from www.martashandmade.com, @martashandmadesoaps on Instagram.
Parfums de la Bastide
Espiègle perfume (P5499) reminds me of early mornings in Provence. Sunny, juicy and sweet, the scent is a surprising blend of citrusy blood orange and the sweetness of almond milk. The aromatic mix is a unisex perfume that is bold and confident. Available at www.hemera.ph
Tangle Angel Professional Brush
You’ll never have a bad hair day again with Tangle Angel. This wing-shaped brush (P999) comes in fun colors, is heat resistant up to 120°C, antibacterial, antistatic, and is ideal for detangling wet or dry hair extensions, as well as on your natural locks. (I always use this on my nine-year-old who has very thick hair.) Did I mention that this is also used by no less than Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge? Find the products on https://cultfavorites.com.ph or @tagleangelph on Instagram.
There are so many talented Filipino designers! Sadly, the fashion industry has taken a fierce hit due to the pandemic. So, buying products made and sourced from local artisans and suppliers will help businesses survive and also ensure continuous livelihood for many sewers, weavers, and other craftsmen. I’m a proud owner of the works of some of these excellent artists and have discovered new brands to proudly patronize.
Barrel Bags by Vin Orias
Self-hailed “creativepreneur,” Vin Orias makes accessories, bags, home pieces, and tailored clothing. “My work is an amalgamation of a desire to produce things uniquely Filipino and the many inspirations I get from art, food, travels, and even from the faces I see while strolling in Quiapo or Tondo,” the idiosyncratic designer enthuses. His roller bags (P10,750) made from discarded leather sourced from Marikina and panels of solihiya weave from Pangasinan, have been seen in the arms of Manila’s stylish set since its launch in Arte Fino in 2019. Find his pieces at Orias Studio Quezon Ave., QC, in Frankie& Friends Store in Rockwell, Sm Aura, and Molito Alabang. Visit the label’s website www.orias.ph and @oriasessentials on Instagram.
Coat Dress and Masks by Religioso
Sisters Yvette and Choc Religioso stay true to their design aesthetic as can be gleaned from racks of feminine and functional garments in their eponymous boutique. Clean, structured and understatedly elegant, each piece brings value to any woman’s wardrobe. I found pretty pastel tops and skirts, which can be mixed and matched, chic outerwear and head turning modish dresses. Kudos to the designing duo for keeping their collection fresh and focused! Visit the Religioso store at the 2/F of Greenbelt 4, Makati or online @religiosomanila on Instagram.
Denim Bags by Adante Leyesa
Adversity gives rise to ingenuity. “The lockdown restricted me from sourcing raw materials, so I thought, why not denim,” ponders local designer, Adante Leyesa. “It’s readily available, has great character, and gets more versatile as it ages. To create my latest collection, I applied the Boro technique, which is the Japanese art of mending, patching and stitching together different fabrics to create a bigger textile.” The result is a modern, durable, and fresh version of his now iconic Cocoon bag (P9500), unisex totes (P6000) and fun bucket hats (P4000). Denim fashion and more at @adanteleyesa on Instagram.
House of Heirloom Accessories
Accessory and bag designer Tan Vitug has always shied away from going commercial. All her creations are one-of -a-kind and produced in very limited quantities. “My 2021 collection aims to make the client feel like she’s shopping at avant garde boutiques along Le Marais, Marrakesh, or King Street even.” Using wood, metal, fabric and acrylic, each piece evokes sensible style. Price starts at P700. Check out @houseofheirloom on Instagram.
Masks by Noel Crisostomo
Who wouldn’t love these designer masks (P1000 for 4 pieces) from illustrious fashion designer Noel Crisostomo? Multiple hearts are rendered in playful colors and digitally printed on duchess Mikado silk. Do remember to put DOH approved 3-ply masks before donning these fashionable covers as the final layer. To order, visit @queenstreetwestph on Instagram.
It’s the conscious effort that we put in caring for ourselves while looking after our family and friends that matter. Reward yourself with a glass of wine at the end of each day, indulge in retail therapy every so often (much better if you support local, of course), dress up and take a safe stroll, write heartfelt notes, serenade your spouse, give long hugs to your kids, pray as a family, and surprise your loved ones with gracious gifts. Choose joy! After all, happiness is a decision…and so is love.
Wife, fierce mom to two sharp-witted kids, corporate lawyer, passionate writer, bibliophile, world wanderer, and fashion enthusiast – these are just some of the hats that Paulyne wears. She’s most comfortable, though, in her invisible tiara, which empowers her to conquer the world. Catch a glimpse of The Busy Queen P’s life as she shares her adventures in parenting and beyond.
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