Guess That Beauty Blogger!

While I usually don’t have anyone specific in mind when I do my makeup, it makes sense that I draw most of my beauty inspiration from my favorite Philippine-based reads. I hardly pick up a magazine anymore so if anyone is teaching me how to do makeup these days, it’s the fifteen or so girls I read regularly.

Last week when I was importing photos into my portable drive, I saw an old FOTD shot and thought, “Oh, this look totally reminds me of _____.” This was not a one-off thought. In fact, noting the subconscious influence of other Filipina beauty bloggers — or even just amusing similarities — in my looks has happened a few times since last year.

It’s interesting how bloggers can be associated with certain styles and techniques. Over time we learn what works and what doesn’t, and hone our looks accordingly. Or, in some cases, poses! Beauty bloggers may not have to contort themselves the way fashion bloggers do, but we definitely keep to our signature angles. By signature angle, I mean that from this angle, I’m Beyonce but two degrees to the left and I’m Danny Devito.

Actually, I bet my “signature” is my chronic bitchface. If you ever want to emulate it, simply look as though someone just dropped a deuce on your shoes.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to gather what I had and play a little game. Can you guess which look corresponds to which beauty blogger?

I hope this post is taken in the spirit in which it is intended. I’m a fan of all the beauty bloggers ‘featured’ and I hope they’ll appreciate the tribute. For everyone else, it’s time tooooooooooo Guess That Beauty Blogger! 

Blogger 1


When it comes to rich smokey eyes and pale pink lips, this blogger is a maestro. She’s a fan of Burberry and NARS, and wields a spatula as skillfully as she does a makeup brush. She will cut you with her stare, and has no patience for idiots on Youtube. Or idiots in general.

Blogger 2


I can’t decide what I want more: this new mom’s gorgeous bone structure or her impeccable style. I guess in her line of business, having an eye for aesthetics is crucial. Lipstick is her weakness, but she can pull off anything (and does).

Blogger 3


I look forward to seeing her regular FOTDs on Instagram, and it helps that she’s always smiling in them! This blogger rotates her products frequently to showcase daily office looks as well as more glamorous, dramatic styles. Name a red lipstick; she’ll make it work.

Blogger 4


This blogger is blatantly cheating the system because she doesn’t even need makeup to look good XD. With her emphasis on dewy skin, soft shimmery eye makeup and (as of the moment) nude or MLBB lips, her looks are sweet as honey.

Now for the reveals: 

Blogger 1


It’s Romz of Run Barbie Run! Before reading her I was terrified of wearing lipstick colors lighter than my skin, but she’s taught me that when paired with deep rich browns and dramatic shimmer, they work beautifully. That photo made me think of Romz because of the dark background, too!

Blogger 2


Ae of An Artechoke is my go-to girl for subtle and refined glam. When Ae wears her hair in a low side bun, she looks like she could sweep from the office straight to a dinner party/art show opening. When I wear my hair in a low side bun, my mom asks me if the labandera look is in. (IT IS, MOM).

Blogger 3


I was hoping the coy pose might give it away, haha! It’s Juvy of Plump Cheeks! Seriously, she can work any lip color, in any finish!

Blogger 4


Last but not least, Mariana of The Beauty BeeI love how her base always looks lightweight and luminous in all the right places, and she’s taught me that smokey eyes don’t have to be all-out dark to be effective in adding dimension.

How did you do? Did you see any similarities or did I miss the mark completely? There are some more bloggers whose…uh, essences I wanted to emulate (that sounds super creepy and all Hannibal-y, but it’s midnight here and can’t think of a better phrase) but I didn’t have time to sit down and do it properly. Plus, I think it’s more fun when it happens organically! Thank for you indulging me in this randomness.

Revisiting Winged Liner: How to Make Your Eyeballs Fly

It didn’t occur to me until very recently that I was doing winged eyeliner wrong.

Not wrong, maybe, but not…optimally. I always erred on the side of conservative, ending with a slight curve at the very corner of the eye, yet stupidly wondering why I couldn’t achieve the same “uplifted” look that other girls had.


Like this but less fierce. Source

As my guru idol Baby Smiley/Glowpinkstah instructs in her iconic Chola tutorial, “The wings of the liner will take you higher.”

My wings were more like uplifted smiles, which is oh-so-lovely and poetic until you realize that smiles don’t get you in the fucking air. I didn’t want smiles on my eyes. I wanted to soar like a goddamn falcon.

Baby wings.

But it was not meant to be, until one morning a few weeks ago when I was midway through a winged line. Amidst other profound thoughts (sandwich flavors ranked by mayo content, fanfiction ideas for obscure fandoms you’ll never know, and how to eliminate odors from trash bins) I decided, on a whim, to end the line sooner, and to flick at the most ridiculous angle I could imagine.

Obviously, my imagination was a bit stunted, because what resulted was a perfectly normal — dare I say, more than passable — winged line.

Now these are wings!

I think the issue is that the shape of my eyes requires the illusion of an uplifting boost, which is why I shouldn’t extend the wing all the way to the edge of the eye. Stopping just before the corner means that the main detail in the look – the flick itself – never sinks lower than the eye.

Also, because my eyelids are hooded, I need to begin with a steep angle so that when my eyes are open the flick “settles” into a more modest angle. I draw the flick at about 90 degrees from the slant of the outer corner, or roughly 45 degrees if based on a horizontal line across the eye.For a less crooked flick, I make a thicker line. It looks a little silly when my lids are lowered, but I’ll take the silliness some times for a decent wing most of the time.

I’ve also taken to “starting” the liner about half a centimeter from the inner corner from the eye. “Starting” is in quotations because I actually start with the flick, then sweep it towards the inner corner to make an outline, then fill in the edge. This is no innovative technique – I think several people do this already. I do it because there’s no point taking it to the inner corners, which are hidden behind the folds of my lids. I also think it lends to the illusion of looking more awake, which is my forever quest.

In this look, I’m using the K-Palette 1 Day Magic Liquid Eyeliner*. This liner lets me exert a huge amount of control and easily draw both thick and thin lines. I love that it’s a strong opaque black too and is pretty long-lasting. I regret not stocking up on this in Manila, as it’s the only thing I can count on at the moment to make these wings!

There’s nothing wrong with the original examples, and I’ll likely use them for other looks, but I’m really enjoying the look of the upturned flick. Also, this look is my current “makeup uniform” — I think I wear winged liner 4-5 days of the week now, with a random selection of Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks for dimension.

What are your tips on drawing a winged line? Are there any workarounds you have to do to accommodate your eye shape?

The Sunday Currently Vol. 6

Feel a bit gross today – could be a cold catching up or the leftover effects of Friday night (more on that later), so will save my usual rambling for the currentlies themselves!


Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, the first in a series of historical fiction about Thomas Cromwell/the Tudor court in the times of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. It feels like a long time since I’ve sunk my teeth into some good complicated fiction, the last one being Haruki Murakami’s Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Is this a good time to confess that I’m not the most avid reader of literary fiction? Actually, my fiction reading overall is significantly lower than what it ought to be — something I hope to fix this year.

Anyway, Wolf Hall is engrossing, the sort of book I look forward to savoring in snatches of the day. It’s not the kind of book I could power through in a couple days, though I’m a fast reader. Mantel’s writing is beautiful and fluid, and takes you through dimensions of time and space and dreams in a few short sentences. One second you’ll be caught deep in a haughty cardinal’s confidences, and the next you’re drifting through the mythological origins of Britain where shapeshifters and kings of prophecy reigned. That’s probably why I can’t read it quickly; it takes awhile to ground myself again and remind myself of the complicated cast of characters, as well as what is actually happening.

I highly recommend it, and am looking forward to going straight into the next book, Bring Up the Bodies.


This is kind of cheating, but last week I started a short story set in the South Pole. It took a lot longer than I expected to finish (and was rightfully chastised for not hitting the deadline, huhu) due to getting caught up in researching Antarctica and the specific project my character was to be involved in. The project itself is called the IceCube Neutrino, designed to track the faint traces of the Big Bang as they crash into pure, unsullied Antarctic ice deep underground. The story is going to be a lot longer than expected (I’m thinking 6 or 8 thousand words, rather than the original 2) but we’ll see.


The kitchen is more or less in order! I have my cast iron casserole (not Le Creuset, but one from Sainsburys which people on the internet claim is just as good), an awesome chef knife, and mixing bowls. Last weekend I cooked a risotto-paella hybrid, which is something my ex boyfriend’s mother made once and I have never forgotten (though hers tasted infinitely better). It’s basically risotto parmesan with paella toppings. I also made a beef minestrone soup (so good on cold days) and chocolate chip banana bread, which when eaten with clotted cream ice cream feels like winning X Factor.

Today I cooked a chicken roast dinner, but because I feel ill I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted.


Very under the weather. Not sure if it’s because I’ve finally caught the cold that’s been sweeping through my classmates, taking them down one by one, or because of Friday night which, to summarize a thousand words, went like this:

I’m too old to be partying like it’s 1999. But it was a 90s theme party (note the wall decorations) in what looked like someone’s basement (but wasn’t), and they filled the wine glasses up to the brim, so of course horrible and amazing things were going to happen. The days of bouncing back from a hangover in time for drunk brunch are long gone.


To sit down and really sort through my goals for 2015. Because there’s only 11/12ths of it left. Lolcry.


This article about a woman whose writing career is sponsored by her husband is a must-read. I commend her for her honesty – it’s far easier to pretend that successful people get by on their own merits. In no way does this discredit writers who have to juggle family life and jobs with writing, and in no way does this say that you have to be supported to be a writer. I think it’s saying that if you have privilege, acknowledge it. It’s no crime to be lucky, but dangerous if you pretend your success is independent of the fortunate circumstances of your life.

My truth is, at the moment, similar to hers. I am where I am not because I’m a good writer, but because I’ve had the incredible good fortune to have parents who subsidize my dreams. It’s super annoying when others with even more opportunities whine about how they got to where they are solely because of hard work. Oh, so it had nothing to do with your connections or surname or family money?


It seems like a slap in the face to people who actually did get to where they are without any of those.

That said, some people get their foot in the door faster than others, or can choose from more doors, but at the end of the day everyone has to work hard to get to where they want. There’s no one path to success, so why pretend yours is something it’s not?

Perhaps I’ll leave things on that rant…might try to get more tea in me before calling it a night!


I didn’t really want to leave things on that rant…so here are Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments for Work. We are kindred spirits, and for anyone who knows the feeling, this is for you!

Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments. #writers #amwriting

A photo posted by Bea Pantoja (@dalagaproject) on

On Uniforms and Unnecessary Choices

I stumbled upon an article about why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same shirt every day. I didn’t expect the article to be very memorable, but his reasoning stood out:

I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community,” Zuckerberg said, after clarifying that he had “multiple same shirts.”

 He said even small decisions like choosing what to wear or what to eat for breakfast could be tiring and consume energy, and he didn’t want to waste any time on that….

“I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.”

As an unabashed lover of all things silly and frivolous, I should be opposed to this kind of thinking. But I’m not. I agree now more than ever. Because I’m more than familiar with the sensation of wasting time due to “unnecessary” choices.

The choice paradox

The “choice paradox” has been extensively covered in pop psychology books. The name comes from Barry Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice but the phenomenon is also covered in Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. Basically, choice — that magical, wonderful force that gives us the power to control our actions, assert our independence, and define ourselves — can have the opposite effect in excess. The more choices you have, the less likely you are to actually make a decision. Some of the studies in this interesting read even suggest that certain choices can even make us less happy. Less productive. Less focused.

As mentioned in the last Sunday Currently, I spent longer than I should have studying electric kettles online. Electric kettles all fulfill the same function — they boil water. But on Amazon, where you factor in price and customer reviews and material and performance, they might as well be different species entirely. If I’d just gone to the grocery shop down the road I probably would have been happy with whatever kettle they had in stock. Now I was rejecting kettles because they “boiled too loudly.”

This issue about unnecessary choice is separate but totally related to my relationship with Stuff: capital S, to represent all the clothing, makeup books, trinkets, and knickknacks I’ve acquired over the years and keep longer than I should. The article made me think about the unnecessary choices I make each day; if not unnecessary, then time consuming. And usually, the unnecessary choices directly correlate to the amount of Stuff involved.

It will take more than Facebook’s overlord to convince me that “what to eat for breakfast” is a frivolous choice…but for makeup and clothing? I could definitely reduce the amount of time I spend each morning indulging my vanity.

Same old, same old

Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with vanity. But it requires a patience with oneself that in me is depleting. I usually love getting ready slowly and leisurely, if time permits. Putting on a full face of makeup and deciding what to wear can be meditative — it’s one of my favorite times to daydream about stories and plots and whatever else. But nowadays I just reach for the same products over and over again.

A year ago I might have written about this as though it were a rut: “my makeup routine is uninspiring! I need a change!” But in fact, I’m kind of loving doing the same face every day — winged liner, NARS blush, whatever pinkish lipstick is close at hand — with the occasional bold lip for some *~adventure*~.

But that’s not enough: I want to Zuckerberg my wardrobe too! At least during the winter, when it’s too cold to care about what I’m wearing. I used to declutter my closet by eliminating similar pieces: “this black sweater looks a lot like this black sweater, so I’ll only keep one.” If only I’d known that duplicates indicate the formation of a personal style. Now I want a closet full of duplicates. Ideally all in black and white with the occasional print, but I live in the real world, not the pages of Kinfolk magazine, so it will never be so.

I used to care so much about what I wore every day. If you stopped by our Beauty Blog Sale back in December, you would have seen the ephemera of a past life filled with all manners of clothes – tight Alexander Wang dresses I wore twice, DVF shifts I wore never.

But that’s a topic for another post. I still care about clothes. I just don’t want to think about them as much.

The uniform


Adhering to a somewhat regular makeup and fashion “uniform” is one way I hope to reduce unnecessary choices in my life. Who knows if it will work — I’m trying to do this slowly, because I know that if I plunge into it balls to the wall, it will be harder to maintain over time (for example, Project Life was my 24/7 obsession for a week, and now it’s like…a lightly simmering interest).

Rather than be extreme and say, “I must burn everything in my closet and restock it with COS!” I will try to be even more prudent and exacting about clothing purchases. I’ll practice wearing a uniform with the existing items in my closet. At least for a season. Who knows how I’ll feel once it’s warm again and my desire to dress up outweighs my desire to comfortable.

Anyway, I sporadically update a Pinterest board called Everyday Minimalist Fashion with inspirational but easy-to-wear basics. (Distinguished from Minimalist Fashion because some minimalist outfits can be quite…avant garde), so if you like the style, feel free to check in! Or if you already have a similar board do send a link!

I don’t think I’m ready to adhere to a Capsule Wardrobe or something like Project 333 (where you can only wear 33 items with some exceptions), but for an example of someone who does it really well (and with a similarly streamlined style), do check out the Light by Coco Youtube channel. The link should take you to her “Capsule Wardrobe” playlist.

What do you think about the idea of eliminating unnecessary choices? Is spending too much time on makeup and clothes unnecessary? What is/would be your style uniform?

FOTD: And God Created the Smokey Eye

There are only two palettes I use regularly these days: Urban Decay Naked 2 and NARS And God Created the Woman. These, along with the Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Sticks make up 98% of my eye makeup. Do they make for riveting, adventurous makeup looks? No. Do they suit my current needs to not be insane about makeup? Absolutely.

For now, let us pay tribute to the high priestess of enablement, Carina, for introducing me to the NARS palette a year or so ago. At the time it was a sold-out limited edition item, but when it resurfaced months later around my birthday I saw it as a heavenly sign. Thus prophesied the Sephora shopping cart: “God hath created the woman, and so God shall bestow unto thee the best goddamn smokey eye to ever befall thy beady eyeballs.”


I’m not going to review the palette, but suffice to say that it’s more than wonderful. There isn’t a single off shade in the palette, and it’s small and self-contained enough to be your sole eye makeup travel item. It’s roughly the size of an iPhone 6 — maybe even a bit shorter!

Compact with a rich shade selection, this is probably the best palette for smokey eyes. And while you can use each shade independently or apply lighter eye looks, I tend to use this palette exclusively for that purpose.

The Look

For this look in November I think I used Kalahari (top right) as a base with my finger, then Galapagos (bottom left) on the outer third of the eye swept up over the crease with a fluffy domed crease brush, but going slightly over the crease as well. This results in Galapagos appearing more like the base shade with the Kalahari shimmer poking beneath.

Then I used a small stiff dome brush to apply Coconut Grove on the outer edge of the eye, blending in towards the lid. I use the same brush to run Coconut Grove over the lower lashline. Add eyeliner and mascara on upper and lower lashes and complete.

I don’t remember exactly what products were used, but I know the following to be true:

  • The blush is Hourglass Diffused Heat
  • Lipstick is NARS Montego Bay
  • There was a lot of Hourglass Ambient Powder action going on – likely a mix of Mood Light and the Ambient Light Palette.
  • I did attempt to contour with Clinique Brow Shaper in Shaping Taupe, with a sweep of Burberry’s Warm Glow beneath for…warmth.

Anyway, the palette is the highlight. I love how easy it is to do this eye look – no thinking required, which is exactly what I need my makeup to be these days.