Showing posts with label My Friends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Friends. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Benefit hosts the launch of Beauty & Sparkle's beauty videos

Last weekend was a fun celebration of my friend, Nicole Romero. She's many things to many people—friend, sister, aunt, editor, writer, fitness enthusiast, baker, makeup artist, blogger, and now beauty vlogger!

Nicole's blog is called Beauty & Sparkle: A Real Girl's Guide to Looking Pretty + Feeling Good. Nic's seriously one of the most professional, most amazing, most fantabulous beauty bloggers I've ever read. All her blog entries are well written, grammatically correct (she's an editor!), fun to read, inspiring, helpful, relatable, and her tutorials are friendly and easy to do. Her blog looks great, too!

And now she's into beauty vlogging! Check out her YouTube channel, Beauty & Sparkle!

I love how cute and pretty and helpful all her videos are! And the music she uses just makes me so happy, makes me do a little dance while I watch my friend, and follow her instructions. I love ALL her videos but these are my favorites:

She's my friend but when we're together, I don't, like, stare at her face. But because of her videos, I get to do just that and OMG doesn't Nicole have the MOST FLAWLESS SKIN ever?!? Seriously. I want to have skin as perfect as hers. And her hair? So lush and fab! And I'll tell you a secret and she will kill me for revealing this—she's naturally that way!!! God was doling out perfect skin and hair the day she was born, I bet!


Beauty brand Benefit celebrated Nic's new vlog with a party last Saturday at their boutique at SM Megamall. Did you know it's the biggest Benefit store in South East Asia??? You should go visit! It's chock-ful of beauty goodies and there are areas for spa treatments. So fab for girls like us and so perfect for a pretty party! Check out these pics I grabbed from Nic's Instagram account:
We definitely felt like VIPs!
Beauty blogger extraordinaire!
Nic and newly engaged Alyanna Martinez.
Nic, Nikki and me! 
Just a few of Nic's family, friends, readers, followers and subscribers!
All the guests went home with a Benefit loot bag!
Here are my photos:
Checking out the products.
My message to Nic and all my readers!
Nicole introducing her videos.
Selfies with her fans.

What a fun party, Benefit! Thanks for having us at your fabulous store and for supporting Beauty & Sparkle!

And because unboxing videos are SO HUGE on YouTube now, let's check out the unboxing videos that Nicole made of Benefit products:

Love your channel, Nic! Congratulations, dear friend, on your successful vlog launch!

Read her blog: Beauty & Sparkle
Like her on Facebook: Beauty & Sparkle
Follow her on Instagram: @beautyandsparkl
Watch her on Snapchat: @beautyandsparkle
Subscribe to her YouTube channel: Beauty & Sparkle

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Thank you to everyone who made me who I am today

This post is brought to you by SMART Communications.

This video made by SMART made me miss my Mama.

It's the song. A few weeks after Mama died, I was commuting to somewhere I don't remember when "Everything I Own" by Bread played on the radio. I love that song. The taxi driver sang along to the radio. I did, too. I like doing that. But when the lyrics went "Is there someone you know/ You're loving them so/ But taking them all for granted/ You may lose them them one day/ Someone takes them away/ And they don't hear the words you want to say," I started sobbing. The taxi driver was concerned and I told him Mama had just died and he nodded and said, "Kaya dapat lagi tayong nagpapasalamat sa mga taong nagmamahal sa atin talaga."

I never got to thank Mama. The biggest regret of my life. But I have heaven to look forward to, and there I will tell her all the words I want to say.

Meanwhile, here on earth, I'd like to thank those who have made my life so amazing.

First, to my husband, my dearest Vince. You have always always pushed me to be a better version of myself, to dream big, to work hard, to not get lazy, to not mind those who tried to pull me down, to focus, to be disciplined. And when I failed, you always caught me then pushed me back up again. Thank you for seeing in me what I don't see. In many ways, you are my mentor, the very best one, because you teach me everything! From understanding pop culture, history, current events, my many gadgets and apps haha, and the intricacies of writing and editing well all the way to the profound ways I can be a better person. Every day is a lesson of love and learning from you. Thank you!

Second, to my beautiful children, my darling Vito, IƱigo and Piero. I always thought the toughest part of my job as your mother is to teach you about life. In the 5 years I've had that honor, I've realized the toughest part is opening my eyes and heart to the lessons you teach me every day. How to be patient, how to be silly, how to be compassionate, how to forgive, how to be full of wonder, how to be humble, how to be fully alive, how to truly love. I struggle each day to be a better mommy because you deserve no less than the very best. Your patience with me is my inspiration. Thank you!

The light of my life! They teach me so much!

Third, to my family—the Ampers and the Saleses. Vince and I are, well, different from you but you all always accepted us and loved us. You supported us, our dreams and our lifestyles even when you didn't understand. Even though we mostly update each other through Facebook haha, you are always there. You teach us always about generosity of the spirit and the hugeness of hearts bonded together by blood. Thank you!

Fourth, to my friends. My family—because they know I can be obstinate—have long realized it is never a good idea to put me in my place, but you, my dearest friends of which there are few, have always bravely called me out when I'm being an asshole or just stupid. You encourage my dreams and you shoot down my fears. Yet you always show me respect and acceptance despite the many times I can be dumb and full of doubt. You've taught me about fierce loyalty. You inspire me all the time because of how amazing you all are with how you passionately pursue what you want—anything from the outfit you want and the career you desire to the life you want and be absolutely unapologetic about it. We're all so busy now and some of us live far far away but I love that we keep tabs on each other through Facebook, Instagram and emails because you value our friendship. Thank you!

Fifth, to my blog readers and all the friends I've made online. My life would not be this amazing now were it not for you. It's true. I don't know where I'd be now if not for blogging. You made it possible for me to spend every day with my family. Your support for my blogging, my projects, my workshops, my everything I do online is what feeds my family. To top it off, you email me all the time encouraging me to keep blogging, you share with me your life and your wisdom, you edit my grammar and spelling, and you tell me you love my little boys every day! You've taught me that friendship need not be a face-to-face thing. It can be made, forged and sustained virtually and yet be even more real than flesh-and-blood ties. Thank you!

This 2016, I'm going to be more appreciative. Like, if not verbally to their face at least through emails or when Facebook announces it's their birthday and I can expound more on the standard "Happy birthday!" greeting. I will really tell everyone who's made a difference in my life that what they do and how they live their life has made a monumental impact. That's the least I can do. I don't ever want to have unspoken gratitude as my regret ever again.

I also hope I've made a difference in your life, dear Loyal Readers. I've got quite a few plans up my sleeve for my blog this 2016. I want to use whatever influence I have to share with you what I've learned from my husband, my children, my families, my friends, my readers, my work, and my God. It's going to be an exciting year of learning for all of us! Stay tuned! Thanks!

For more on how SMART wants us to be teachers with the help of technology, visit

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Sunday, October 04, 2015

Beauty Biz Bliss: Collaboration, not competition

I have really amazing news, dear Loyal Readers!

Last weekend, on Sept. 26 at the Work-at-Home Expo 2015, my friends Ginger Arboleda of entrepreneurial lifestyle blog Mommy Ginger, Martine de Luna of intentionally blissful lifestyle blog Make It Blissful, and myself of this all-about-honesty-in-an-increasingly-fake-world blog launched our new business—Beauty Biz Bliss.

Me, Ginger and Martine onstage at the Work-at-Home Expo.

Beauty Biz Bliss caters to the woman who has made a living out of her passion. We want to support this amazing woman in everything she does—from looking and feeling her best as she works to growing her business and managing her home and family with a blissful attitude even with all the work she's busy with.

As working women ourselves—Ginger owns several businesses, Martine is a social media consultant, while I am a professional blogger and magazine editor—we've encountered many challenges that come with pursuing our passions. Isolation is top of the list. Working from home, our days filled with dirty diapers and typing on a computer, there's hardly any time to create and nurture friendships. Having no co-workers and bosses also means we have no sounding board on our performance. When we do go out for meetings and events, how exactly do we present ourselves as professionals when we're used to wearing tees and shorts when we work?

Another challenge we encountered was the fiercely competitive nature of blogging. Mom blogging to be more specific. We think maybe this is because we raise our children in many different ways—some breastfeed, some give formula; some believe in tough love, some adhere to attachment parenting principles; some believe in sending their kids to traditional schools, some are staunch homeschoolers. Perhaps these differences raise our defenses, thinking that because someone's ways are different than ours, her actions are a criticism of our decisions. In our experience, we have been shunned, bullied, gossiped about, and even threatened just because we live the way we do, which was painful to us.

We now believe that there is no need to compete for readers and brands. We all have our own unique strengths, after all. Ginger wants to empower entrepreneurial mothers through her blog—naturally her readers are business-minded mothers. Martine's blog is all about having an inspired vision, purpose and lifestyle—her community of readers is made up of positive women who love beautiful everything. My blogging is all about being real and honest in absolutely everything, even when life gets ugly, I will talk about it like it's no one's business—and my readers are all feisty, brutal and no-nonsense women. We attract different kinds of readers and different kinds of brand partners.

There is no need to compete!

Especially because we three have the same purpose—to empower women. When we collaborate, we make each other stronger. For one thing, working together helps us reach a bigger audience. We strongly believe that we women should be encouraging each other, working together, and finding ways to live with each other's differences, maybe even celebrating them! We believe in collaboration, not competition.

That's how Beauty Biz Bliss was born! We talked about what we're good at and what we're poor at and realized we can help each other out. Martine is absolutely driven with ideas and vision, and she's great at making things look pretty. Ginger is all about execution with frightening efficiency, and she knows how to make money. And I have experience working with big brands, and my years in magazines have taught me a lot about looking fabulous. Together, we can build each other up where we think we need help.

We also realized that many women need support and encouragement, too. In fact, a thread in the Facebook community, WAHMderful Community for Work-at-Home Moms, encouraged us to create workshops addressing this very need of many women. So okay! Let's do this!

Beauty Biz Bliss will offer workshops on everything a working woman needs to juggle her full life. We'll learn how to put on makeup in 10 minutes, what to wear to meetings and events (especially useful to women who work at home), on how to build your brand, market it and get more business, and how to balance that all with joy not stress. We are planning big and beautiful events! Yes, so we can all get together with other women and share stories, swap business contacts, and build each other up. We also plan to work with brands that want to target us working women and offer them our unique voices to help push their campaigns.

Sooo exciting! We really want to help us women encourage each other (yes, we hope you also encourage Ginger, Martine and myself) with this new collaboration. Isn't this so exciting!?

If you want to be part of our new community, please like our Facebook page: Beauty Biz Bliss.

If you are a business that wants to reach our audience of empowered working women, send an email to

If you want to collaborate with us for gorgeous and inspiring events, email

If you are a beauty and fashion brand and you want to be part of our mission to help women be absolutely gorgeous, email me at

Together, we can all make a difference in women's lives. We really do believe that the secret of the universe is working together. I hope you think so, too! Imagine what we can all do when we help each other! I'm so excited. Please pray for us, okay? Thanks always for the love and support!

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Topaz Learning Workshop: Philosophy pampered my friends (plus, join the next one!)

What's been happening?! Well, a LOT. That's why I've disappeared! Lots of exciting things happening to y little corner of the world! But lemme share with you one fun one. Together with skincare brand Philosophy, I threw a little beauty party for my friends recently.

But first, naloka ako sa "well-known beauty maven" sa invitation. As in hahahahaha! Thanks, Philosophy, for calling me that even though I'm not exactly Miss Universe! Far from it! But, because of my current skincare regimen, I have the best skin I've ever had in all my 38 years. So, let me share with you what Philosophy products are making my skin look amazing, then I'll give you a peek at my little skincare party, and then I'll invite you to the next Philosophy pretty party!

Philosophy products I love
I only started using Philosophy this summer. As many of my blog readers know, I had been using and loving Shiseido's Ibuki skincare line. Now, Ibuki is designed for people in their 20s but it had worked for me anyway. Unfortunately, at the start of this year, hindi na yata nakayanan ng Ibuki ang almost-40-year-old skin ko. So I began using a drugstore brand touted for its regenerating abilities. Unfortunately again for me, the only thing it regenerated on me are pimples!!!

Left with dark pimple spots all over my face, I was looking for something to slough off the dead and tired skin layer and a brightening moisturizer. I've been getting facials at the Aivee Clinic but because I wasn't following instructions (OxyGeneo facials should be done every 10 days and my schedule was always too full for me to follow that strictly), my skin would go back to being dull. I needed something I can do at home. This is the miraculous answer:

My skin is always super soft and smooth after using this. I use this once a week. I'll do a full review next month. Anyway, love love this but because I'm 38 na, I need to exfoliate more than once a week so I added this:
This is kinda sticky and it stings a little since it's a chemical peel. But it really adds a glow! I'll do another review of this, too, next month!

Then because I have dark acne spots and freckles (also known as sun damage!), I added a brightening line. Within two weeks, my spots started lightening up!

Because the spots situation is being managed, I started using this last week. It's the anti-aging line of Philosophy and I can see changes in my skin!
Reviews soon! Oh, I'm really planning to blog regularly now! Kahit once a week man lang, or photos man lang! I miss my readers!

Anyway, my dear Loyal Readers, why don't we have a fun afternoon together, finding out about skincare, getting pampered, and getting fab Philosophy products? Just like how my friends did one fine afternoon when I invited them to a small party at Philosophy Mega Fashion Hall! Here's what happened:

The fun Topaz Horizon x Philosophy workshop

Friday, August 14, 2009

My online money making experience

Since my Belle de Jour talk on earning money online, I've been getting a lot of questions about how I make money with my online activities. To answer your questions, I'm writing this post.

(That's a bad photo, I know, but it's the only one which proves that I really did give a serious talk--on money no less!

I earn money through three ways: (1) I have an eBay shop, (2) I'm a member of a paid blogging network, and (3) I have ads placed in my two blogs.

(1) Selling on eBay is very easy. While a ton of girls use Multiply as their online shop platform, I find it easier and safer to sell on eBay. First, because there's a feedback system so I have a better idea of who my buyers are and, second, the tools are already there so uploading photos and item descriptions, answering questions, sending invoices, etc. are a piece of cake.

my eBay shop

I highly suggest that if you have a lot of unnecessary stuff at home like clothes that don't fit anymore or if you like making lovely items like gift cards or cloth bags, then sell, sell, sell! You'll be amazed at how much money you can earn from your junk/hobby!

(2) Another way to make money online is to join paid-blogging networks that give you assignments from advertisers. Each post you write for them is a paid post--you are literally writing for money. Some networks ask you to specifically promote or review their product/service. Others just give you a phrase that links to their clients' website.

This latter is my favorite and this is what the network I  belong to is all about. I like it because the advertising is not so obvious and the assignment challenges me to think creatively. For example, how am I going to insert "Pleasanton motorcycle accident attorney" in my blog post? As you can see, it's not always easy!

Because of my paid blogging work, I've been able to buy the coolest film nerd shirts, necklaces, shoes to sell on my eBay shop, and--for my PS3 addict husband--this super rare Sackboy doll that is only available in the UK!

Vince, a huge fan of Little Big Planet, loves his Sackboy.
That toy cost me GBP 60 (PHP 4,750)! But just look
at his smile--so worth it. Thanks, PayU2Blog!

(3) I also have ads placed on my blogs but I'm not earning much from them. They're from Google Adsense and Nuffnang. I've heard of people earning USD 100 a day (!!!) with just the ad revenues on their blogs. How do they do that???

I'm very aware that my online money making experience is not that impressive. I'm a newbie--just started in November last year because, as my credit card was stolen, I was desperate to make money. And my friend Jennie of Marriage and Beyond has been so encouraging and helpful because she earns super duper lots from her blogs.

Gorgeous blogger Jennie and me

So it's funny that Belle de Jour actually asked me to tell the BDJ girls how to make money since they ended up teaching me instead! If you have any advice at all, please help--how do you earn from your blogs? Because, as much as I love my magazine, I'd really like to start working from home one day!