More National Book Store goodies



National Bookstore
My summer reading from National Book Store (two books for me and five books for Sophia which I didn’t order, but they sent as a present. They must have read this).


The other day I received the best summer loot from National Book Store. I had ordered Katie Couric’s book “The Best Advice I Ever Got” as soon as Katie and her friends tweeted about it – the likes of Maria Shriver, Ellen De Generes and Ryan Seacrest. It got me curious. So I ordered from National Book Store right away. They have a very efficient system. Just ask customer service and they can order any book for you. Or better yet, join their Facebook page.


Before ordering Katie Couric’s book, I had already placed an order for Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter.” Yes she cooks. She did a series with Mario Batali about cooking. She did a travel show. And her website gives some of the easiest recipes. I was excited about the cookbook because, well it’s no secret I love everything Gwyneth. Shoot me.


National Bookstore
The book was inspired by meals she had with her father. But the recipes include her own finds and contributions from friends and family.


National Bookstore
It has snippets of her domestic life. And lots of resource info on eating healthier.


National Bookstore
Lots of anecdotes about meals she’s shared with her dad. I love this about her. You know how much I adore my parents and family.


National Bookstore
The recipes are easy and very doable. But I’m forced to buy fancy vegetables like artichoke – which I like eating but don’t know how to cook. She also recommends vegenaise, a no-cholesterol vegan mayonaise. She’s not vegan but she prefers this over mayo. I also noticed a lot of granola and oatmeal dishes for the kids.


You don’t have to be a Gwyneth fan to like this book. Like I said, the recipes range from fun and easy to scary like duck confit. It’ll be a blogpost if I get to that level. I’ve never liked cooking before. I wish my parents allowed me to be in the kitchen as a child. My brother was daring enough to cook eggs at a young age. Now he hosts dinners with really complicated and sophisticated food. I love his cooking and he loves doing it. It took me forever to appreciate the kitchen. The past couple of years though – with maids and cooks coming and going – I decided to take control, once in a while. And the few times I’ve cooked in our kitchen have turned out to be really pleasant treats for my family. And I’ve even surprised myself that I love the process of cooking. Maybe it’s because I drink while I cook. Patrick eats “too much” when I cook. And the kids rave about the stuff I make – Lily loves “green pasta” which is pesto-based, Sophia loves my shepherd’s pie and potato au gratin, Stella goes nuts over my macaroni and Patrick loves my risotto (I make it the Jamie Oliver way). Lily, who is my most expressive child, said to me the other day, “You are the best Mummy in the world because you cook the food that I love.” (She says Mummy when she’s emphatic, otherwise it’s just Mom or Mommy).

Back to Gwyneth’s cookbook, I’m excited to try her Seafood Paella (Spanish Mama Style), Sole a la Grenobloise (which seems simple enough as it just has butter and lemon), Whole Roasted Fish with Salsa Verde, Sweet Potato Ravioli (I don’t know about making my own fresh pasta but I’ll try), Vietnamese Prawn Sandwiches and Cheesy Stuffed Burgers. This could be the start of a new me. A new mama.


National Bookstore
Another good read, Katie Couric’s “The Best Advice I Ever Got”


Now Katie Couric’s book was a surprise. I’m not a fan of self-help and inspirational books. I don’t have the time and I just cringe at all that. So when I opened it and saw that it was a compilation of notes and essays from her famous friends, I initially thought, “What a rip off. This isn’t a book.” But when I started reading it, I got hooked. I loved reading about how people with extraordinary lives got to where they were, and about how they love what they’re doing. It was a big surprise when I found out that all profits of this book will go to fund Scholarship America – to help kids pay for college. I wish we could do something like that here!

Here are some excerpts from Katie’s book:

Life Is Not a Recipe:
“Whatever you choose to do with your life—whether it’s running a company or cooking dinner—stand for something you know is true. If there’s a recipe for success, it’s staying real and true. Which reminds me: Life is not a recipe. Recipes are just descriptions of one person’s take on one moment in time. They’re not rules. People think they are. They look as if they are. The say, ‘Do this, not this. Add this, not that.’ But, really, recipes are just suggestions that got written down.”
—Mario Batali, chef and restaurateur

Life Is a Series of Happy Accidents:
“Sometimes you just have to learn to get out of your own way. I know there are a lot of folks out there who are hoping for some words of wisdom or keys to the kingdom or that I might let them in on the Big Secret. So I will defer to Carol Brady, who in her infinite wisdom once said, “Find out what you do best and do your best with it.”
—Jane Lynch, Emmy Award-winning actress and comedian

Say Yes:
“Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learn something new. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids.”
—Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google

Patrick and I are consciously going back to reading books – real books. Our iPads are full of so much reading material. I must have more than 20 Zinio annual subscriptions. But reading from the iPad and reading magazines on it have sort of turned me a little impatient and distracted. I wasn’t appreciating or retaining information. So now we are buying real books again. And over breakfast instead of swiping our iPads we are turning pages. It feels good.

I highly recommend these two books. And check them out in National Book Store because they almost always have lower prices than the other bookstores.

Feel free to share your summer reading here… I’m curious to know what you’re reading now.

(Re-published from



My beauty essentials

A couple of months ago Grace asked me to contribute my beauty must-haves in her Divasoria blog. I was cleaning out my desktop and found the original. Here it is again, with some minor additions, in case you missed it. This is a long one. So if you’re not interested in beauty products, please skip this. And do let me know what you think of posts like this. Is it helpful? Do you enjoy it? Or is it a complete waste of time?

Here goes…

For major shoots I work with Christine Duque or Xeng Zulueta. Most of my TV commercials have been with Christine (or Ting). Xeng and I go way back. She used to do my makeup in F, ANCLife and in the early days of Urban Zone. But because all my work for UZ is on location, it’s hard to coordinate schedules with artists, so I just do my own face. I actually really like putting on makeup myself. For events and public appearances I do it myself too. It’s hard to carry professional makeup on your face when there are no studio lights. So I like to keep it natural. Or if there’s time I go to Victor Ortega of Emphasis because he does makeup in a natural way. I actually work with many makeup artists for shoots. Denise Go-Ochoa is also an old favourite.

Ting Duque doing the make up of Ines Delgado
This is Christine Duque at work (with Ines Delgado).

with Xeng Zulueta
Me and Xeng Zulueta

At the launch of Daphne Linens (Vibrant Chic Collection)
Denise Go-Ochoa did my makeup here.

I love this picture for some reason
A very dark photo, but I like it somehow. I enjoy doing my own makeup. I love my little red makeup box.

Salon services are a mix. Emphasis Salon with Victor Ortega, Basement Salon with Joseph Tabile and recently I’ve rediscovered Alex Carbonel of Fix Studio in Greenbelt 5. For big events I get my hair done by fancy blow out with a bit of curl or body. I now refuse to get my hair done up; I find it makes me look old. And because we have black/dark hair, we can never get the same effect of Hollywood updos. Too heavy. I’ve learned that the hard way.

Joseph Tabile of Basement Salon Rockwell. I have been going to him since 1997. Very talented. He’s the only one who can cut my hair short.

365-29 The longest my hair has ever been
In Victor Ortega’s chair at Emphasis Salon. They make the best iced coffee.

I don’t get my brows waxed or threaded professionally. I don’t like thin, over plucked brows. And I have trust issues with salons. When I’m at shoots, I get bonus brow grooming from Ting and Xeng. But in between I groom it myself with an old-fashioned Tweezerman tweezer. Whenever I’m in Canada I get my brows reshaped by an Indian woman at a salon near my parents’ home. I love the way Indian women arch their brows.

In my bathroom

I have a very simple bathing ritual. I use Olay Body Bar ofcourse. If you click on the link, you’ll see my campaign. Olay Philippines website. (Edit: I guess the site is down). I’ve been endorsing Olay for 5 years now and people always ask if I really use Olay. Yes I do. Here’s what my bathroom counter looks like. Sometimes, for variety I switch to Olay Total Effects Body Butter – these have different scents and anti-aging properties. With Olay soaps I find I don’t really need to use lotion anymore. Sometimes I massage a light layer of J&J Light Baby Oil after my shower while I’m still wet. I learned this trick from Angel Aquino. I did this throughout my pregnancies and I’ve kept the habit. It helps lock in moisture. L’Occitane Green Tea Body Milk is good after my evening shower. It leaves a nice light clean scent on the body. When I need to fake a golden glow at shoots, I use Smashbox Body Lights Glowing Lotion. This is my last tube. They don’t make this anymore. The big jar where I keep my soaps in is antique and it belonged to my MIL. A lot of people ask me where I got that. I wouldn’t know where to source that now. You can try kitchen supply stores for huge storage jars that are similar.

My hair regimen isn’tt very exciting. I used to be high maintenance – commercial shampoos would cause me to break out. I was limited to using organic shampoos like Nature’s Gate Tea Tree and Blue Cypress. It’s good for avoiding build up and it would leave a slight tingly effect. But after years of using this I got bored. When I tried the new Pantene, I was so surprised I didn’t break out. So now I use Pantene Total Care. But ever five days I use Neutrogena Anti-Residue shampoo to make sure there’s no build-up in my scalp. But I also use Kheils Creme with Silk Groom even though I’m paranoid about build up because I have virgin hair – never been rebounded. And it’s not even coloured right now. I have very thick and textured hair. Silk Groom helps tame my hair without weighing it down too much.

For skin care, needless to say, I swear by Olay Total Effects. On a daily basis I use Total Effects with a Touch of Foundation but when it’s too hot I use the one with cooling essence. It really does feel lighter on the skin. At night I use Olay Regenerist Serum lightly all over my face and neck.

Every two weeks I got to Belo Medical Clinic for a facial. This keeps my skin free from buildup and whiteheads. If I have a little breakout I use Chat 2% from Belo, which isn’t available commercially just through prescriptions. I’ve never done any laser treatments at all. Too scared.

One of my shelves

I love old lady French perfume. The heavier the scent, the better. But I never dab it around my neck because I’ll make myself dizzy. I just spray a bit on my wrists and on my legs. I usually start the off with a sophisticated heavy scent in the morning. And I never reapply within the day. I don’t like leaving a trail of my own scent. I wear scents for my own pleasure. I don’t want to be obnoxious. I don’t have a problem mixing scents. Usually by late afternoon I spritz a bit of my kids’ baby cologne in the car (Bench baby in Jelly Bean, Chicco or Jacadi). I like my hands to smell like baby cologne. I don’t like the smell of alcogel or mall bathroom soaps.

Some of my favourites

Burberry Brit. It smells a bit nutty and Oriental. This is my current favourite. Even though it’s heavy, it’s fades nicely in our hot weather. Viktor & Rolf. I find this scent almost similar to Burberry except it has more floral notes and the patchouli lingers long. L’Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu. I love this scent. It was a gift from Ingrid Go from one of her Paris trips. She made me choose between Timbuktu and another pineapple-like scent which was much lighter. But I chose this – it’heavy and woody. Smells overpowering at first but after an hour it’s so yummy. It actually stays on ’til the next day. Daphne. This is my most precious perfume. There are only 3,000 bottles made by Commes des Garcons. Adora sent it to me as a present. This scent is not subtle at all. It’s very woodsy and spicy – like a combination of different perfumes. It smells different every hour. I wear very little of this at a time. Les Nuit du Hadrien. This is a special bottle, handpainted limited edition I got from Rustan’s. I love this scent – it’s spicy, woodsy and very sensual.

My “active” makeup kits.

I have a few makeup kits. My main one is in my dresser at home. When I have Urban Zone shoots I bring the red Shu Uemura kit (I just found out that it has been discontinued). It has everything inside. I like doing my own makeup for TV. I can do it inside the car. The black bag is from Muji. It’s smaller so I only keep some essentials here. This bag stays inside my car 24/7. The bronze bag is a freebie from Bobbi Brown. I keep this inside my day bag. But when I find it too heavy and unnecessary I leave it in the car and take Johnsons & Johnsons Oil Control Film in Pink Grapefruit and one lipstick for touch ups.

I get my toes done in Fabio Salsa Rockwell. They know how I like my toes done – semi square, no nipping of cuticles, just pushing. I used to keep my nails with light/natural pink or colourless shades. But now I’m into colour – pinks, dark reds, black. This summer I’m using blues, greens and lavender. I do my own manicure. Salon manicures hurt my fingers. What’s up with cutting the sides of the nails? It’s a recipe for an ingrown and infection!

The only valentine thing I'm doing - red nails
I went red on Valentine’s day.

Today's colours: Chanel Insolente nails, red Pylones ring, striped dress, blue ponytail holder
Two weeks ago I was in bright pink – Chanel Insolente. I like this for the summer

Bluish nails
On Palm Sunday I was in light blue. I forgot the name of the bottle. Oops.

I'm loving lavender. Here's Orly Bonbon.
This is my current favourite. Orly Bonbon.

My own nail lacquers are a mix of high end and drugstore brands. I have a problem spending almost 30 dollars on one bottle of nail lacquer. I only do that as a special treat. Nail colour is something new to me. I used to keep my nails bare (only my toe nails had colour). Liz Uy gasped when she heard me say that. In her words, “I feel naked without nail lacquer.” So now that I’m into this, I enjoy owning a lot of colours. Which means, I can’t spend too much money on them. Besides, there are some really good inexpensive brands – like Face Shop. I use a top coat from Sally Hansen. It dries the lacquer in 30 seconds. I swear!

Some favourites (pre-summer)

The Face Shop RD 303, a deep burgundy shade. Poor girl’s Chanel Vamp. Mac Nocturnelle, black without iridescence. I prefer this on my finger nails rather on my toe nails. This was a gift from a 65 year old aunt in Canada. Rimmel London Steel Grey, a pleasant surprise for only $4 Cdn. I got this before Chanel Particuliere became all the rage. I love the brush applicator of Rimmel, it’s flat and wide. Chanel Rose Insolent, the happiest pink nail lacquer. Shu Uemura P927, a peachy pink iridescent colour. I use these on my toes. Perfect for a nearly nude colour. Unfortunately it seems shu uemura has discontinued its nail lacquer collection. Essie Bordeaux, deep wine but for some reason it looks redder on my nails. I rarely go with red nails, but when I do I use this.

I did my own manicure
The day of my wedding. I did my own nails.

For TV shoots I use Shu Uemura Face Architect in both pressed powder and liquid, also La Mer Crème foundation in Honey. I can scrimp on eye shadow and lipstick but not on face powder and foundation. I have yet to find a more economical alternative to these two brands. Lately though I find that I prefer to leave my face bare during TV shoots, so I actually forego foundation and just use MAC Studio Finish concealer under my eyes and a bit of powder to even out my skin tone.

My face products

I like using highlighters around my cheek bones and sometimes around my eyes. Guerlain Parure Pearly White Sculpting Highlighter Brush is awesome. It gives a really amazing glow. This is actually a makeup base, but I use it on top of makeup. Guerlain Meteorites Voyage pressed powder. It’s transluscent. I use it as a highlighter sometimes. Or when I’m barefaced, I apply this lightly with a brush.

I prefer lipsticks over lipglosses. I don’t like having sticky lips – my hair gets stuck on my lips and I can’t kiss my kids. I love pink lip colour. I feel it makes me look younger and fresher, haha. I can only pull off nude lips when I have heavy eye colour. My current nude is Smashbox Exquisite. My current pink favourites are (L-R) Estee Lauder Rubellite, which I can’t exactly find online because I think it was a limited edition issue from their Breast Cancer campaign, The Body Shop #55 Pure Blush, very rich consistency and I feel like it moisturizes my lips, and Chanel Rouge Allure Insolente – which leans towards fucshia. My other Chanel lipcolours are Matador, Mademoiselle, Legende and Precious. For times when I want a rich red stain but nothing too opaque, I use CO Bigelow Tinted Lip Balm in Merlot Mint – it feels medicinal and makes lips look wine stained.

I also like using MAC Pigment instead of powder eyeshadow. I feel like a real artist when I blend pigment. I have a few but I end up using Dazzleray and Reflects Gold more often. But as it turns out, upon research I found out that MAC pigment isn’t recommended for use around the eye area. Gasp! You may risk scratching your cornea. Okay, so that’s the end of that. (I still use them though. Gosh, I know my eye doctor Dr. Alnette Tan reads my blog. Ooops.)

The only time I use gloss is when I’m shooting something close up. And when I do I prefer something with shimmer. Right now I’m into Bobbi Brown Rose Sugar 3 and MAC lipglass New Flame. Otherwise, no gloss for me. I can’t kiss my babies.

I’m probably the only one in the industry who hates waterproof mascara. I don’t like how difficult it is to wash off. I have very little lashes left after years of wearing waterproof mascara. I prefer easy-to-remove mascaras like L’Oreal Telescopic Clean – it lengthens really easily, but it’s not a mascara you can reapply over. It has tendency to get dry and hard fast. I love that all you need is soap and water to wash it off and it comes off in flakes, doesn’t smudge. The other mascara I use is Cover Girl Professional Super Thick Lash, it really does make your lashes look thick. And with this you don’t even need eye make up remover. Just water. Kuh Ledesma tipped me off on this one.

Here are the eye/cheek colours that I like to use. A mix of high end, professional and cheap finds.

Joe Fresh Eyeshadow Trio in Forest, I love this! Only 6 dollars. Joe is a brand created by the original creator of Club Monaco who then introduced Joe Fresh inside Loblaws, a giant chain of supermarkets. I blogged about this a few weeks ago. Victoria Jackson Mystic Eyes, this is so easy to use. Good for every day. No need to blend the multiple hues, I usually just use one colour and spread it across my lids. Mac Cheek & Cheerful Mineralize Blush, this has a nice sparkle. Good for highlighting cheekbones. Guerlain Ombre Eclat Duo Liner in Heuere Bleue, my no-fail product for smokey eyes. I use this for my on-cam work. I find it easier to do a smokey eye than natural/bright eyes. Mac Eye Shadow Haunting, I use this for daily non-occasions. It can be applied with an opaque effect but I like it transluscent, with just a hint of blue. Credit goes to Xeng Zulueta who introduced me to wearing eye colour (as in real colourful colour) during her Shu Uemura days. Shu Uemura (the code is in japanese). This is a great shade to cover the entire eyelid. It makes your eyelids appear dewy and glossy. Bobbi Brown compact, I always have this with me. The problem is it doesn’t have a brush or applicator. So I still have to carry brushes. But the lip colours are great in this palette.

Eye pencils

I don’t have links and specific names of these eye pencils (too tedious). Basically, I’m a major user of eye pencils. I can get away with not wearing any eyeshadow and just a bit of eye pencil because my eyes are already pretty strong. I was stuck on black eye pencil but about ten years ago I discovered how lovely dark green and light blue can be. It’s tricky at first, but with practice you’ll know how little you’ll need. I like using a dark pencil on the upper lid and a lighter colour like blues or moss green on the bottom. The three middle pencils above are from MAC. They were a special edition issue. The pencils have shimmer on them. So awesome! I like using them in the outer part of my lower lid and it gives a little sparkle. I used to use Chanel, Estee Lauder and other prestige brands. But lately I’ve learned that drugstore brands also work well – like Maybelline, L’Oreal, Cover Girl.

So that’s all for now. Whew! With all these crazy products, you think I’d look polished everyday. Truth is, I rarely have more than 5 minutes to spare for makeup and grooming. And yes, sometimes I dare go out without a hint of makeup. Like this…

Early morning egg hunt
Boo! Early morning easter egg hunt. Thank goodness for my aviators. And those hair clamp things.

Lipstick only. And a smile with my little one.

Hope I didn’t scare you. Honestly, before spending gazillions on cosmetics, take care of your skin first. You’ll be amazed at how little you’ll need after.

The dove drama

Right after I posted this story about a mourning dove hatching an egg in my parents’ porch, my dad sent me this photo yesterday afternoon.

Parents' house
His email said, “Paloma has left the nest.”

So we were all happy. After all, that’s what birds do. They fly. Paloma was healthy and she was free.

Well, the plot thickens. This morning my dad sent this email…

Parents' house
He wrote, “Today’s find.”

What a big mystery! There was no egg yesterday. It was an empty nest! Where did this egg come from?

This just in: “This is a new one, probably from another bird. They are all over the place. The young bird is gone and must be enjoying flight w/ other birds. Nature’s story is very interesting. Dad”

Wow, and it’s not like they live in the country. They’re in an urbanized area, near the city centre. Wow.

Blue from American Express®


Last Wednesday I put on my high heels and left suburbia to attend the launch of a new credit card — Blue from American Express®. I have to admit, it was my first time in Republiq. Okay laugh now. You all know I’m not a night owl. But I made an exception for this as I am always on the lookout for credit cards that give a little love in return (I like rewards, memberships, bonuses, benefits). I never imagined I’d care about credit card benefits, but as a consumer, credit cards rule my world.


Blue from American Express


Here I am with the women of BDO and Kate Torralba, who was feeling under the weather but you wouldn’t guess it by the way she looked (amazing). The bank execs were all wearing a touch of blue. I wish I had taken detail shots. Good thing I chose to wear that chambray dress in keeping with the theme.

So you’re wondering why the launch was held at a hip club when most credit cards and bank events take place in more subdued corporate settings… Well, this new card Blue from American Express is aimed at young consumers. I remember when I was younger, I was given an American Express card upon graduating from university. It’s one of those must have brands to make you feel that you’ve arrived. Or at least you’re on your way there. Blue from American Express is the card for the young and affluent crowd.

Here’s what makes Blue from American Express special and unique —

The new Card carries with it the American Express brand assets of prestige and exclusivity and comes with an innovative clear plastic design with a modern blue accent in the center and a full range of superior and exclusive benefits, perks, and web-based features tailored for fulfilling young and dynamic lifestyle needs.

The key benefits include:
Express Access to hotspots such as clubs, bars and events
Instant rewards and savings at restaurants and retail outlets through the Blue Treats program
Introductory Finance Charge of 0% up to October 31, 2011
Free membership for the first year and a low monthly fee thereafter for the Card
Payment convenience through BDO’s wide payment network.

In addition, Blue Cardmembers can enjoy safe, convenient and hassle-free online shopping at any of Blue’s online shopping partners such as globaleshop, My-ShoppingBox and other Social Buying and e-commerce websites. They can also enjoy savings and freebies exclusively offered to Blue Cardmembers and more perks from BDO, as well as an exceptional selection of year-round savings and offers in dining, shopping and accommodations at 270 merchants participating in American Express SelectsSM program in the Philippines and over 1,000 Selects merchants worldwide.

Source: Press kit


Blue from American Express
I can’t think of better celebrity endorsers than Phil and James Younghusband. They’re gorgeous, hip and they’ve definitely achieved so much in their young lives. Guys can relate to them and may want to be like them, and girls… well, we swoon.


Blue from American Express
Katrina Stuart (Vice President & Group General Manager, Global Network Services, Japan, Asia Pacific and Australia, American Express), Phil Younghusband and James Younghusband and Ma. Nannette R. Regala (First Vice President and Consumer Lending Group Marketing Head of BDO)


Blue from American Express
The plastic card itself is newsworthy. Just check out how it looks. It’s completely clear and transparent. This is a patented design exclusive to American Express.

In 2003, American Express announced that the U.S. Patent Office awarded the company a patent for the invention of clear card technology. This marked the first time a card issuer successfully developed transparent and translucent card products to be used with infrared-beaming machines, such as ATMs (transparency and translucence generally refer to the degree of card clarity, with transparent cards appearing close to the clarity of a glass window). Source: Press kit


Blue from American Express
The lovely Georgina Wilson was the host of the show. She joins the Younghusband brothers as an endorser.


Blue from American Express
Kate and I were floored when this gorgeous singer – Amber – came on stage the ledge. She had the face of Mandy Moore and the body of Katy Perry. And she can sing and dance. Who is this woman?


Blue from American Express
So how could I resist. They were at the next table beside ours. Hee hee. I small talked them about the futsal program in our club. They are coaching some kids this summer. Sadly neither of my girls want to learn futsal. They’d rather do ballet and Glee singing.


Blue from American Express
Kate and her wacky shots.


Blue from American Express
And here we are, getting cozy. Haha. Just kidding. We were talking about Blue from American Express, ofcourse!


In the Philippines, BDO is the sole issuer of American Express. The bank likewise dominates the credit card merchant acquiring business in the Philippines with BDO POS terminals being the only terminals in the industry to accept the most credit card brands and BancNet, MegaLink, Expressnet cards as well. For more information, visit