Thursday, October 18, 2012

Behind-the-scenes of OK!'s staff shoot, Part 2: The girls

Here is the second part of the OK! staff shoot. Let's meet the staff!

This is Joanna Tuazon-Mendoza. She's our absolutely amazing Features Editor. She is such a great writer. She's also so professional. She has a keen eye for grammar and spelling and facts. Her favorite thing to do is give us grammar refresher lessons! She always sees my writing mistakes (which are few, to my credit, but they're there) and very tactfully corrects them.

She's also a mommy of two boys and I seriously don't know how she's able to juggle work and family life. I know people tell me I juggle so well. Actually, I don't. I've been a mess this entire year! But Joanna, she's my peg of the woman who can make it all work!

To Joanna's left (and to your right) is Sandra Pineda, our editorial assistant. I hired her just before the other department heads could snap her up. Whew! She is the perfect combination of beauty, breeding and brains. She's so hardworking and has the most admirable work ethic and attitude. She will do anything without complaint and with a big smile. Nothing, absolutely nothing breaks this girl's spirit. She is a ray of sunshine all day, every day.

Those are Mary Love Siy (red) and Fran Haw Ang (purple), OK!'s publishers. They're in charge of making sure OK! gets ads, gets promoted and marketed, and reaches the newsstands. They're basically my bosses. Haha! They've been really great this past year in trying to push OK! out there. Thanks, Fran and Mary Love!

Oh, Fran and Mary Love are bloggers, too. Food bloggers! Fran is also known as the woman behind Frannywanny and Mary Love is the author of Glutton Shopper.

The two Franceses of OK!. What I really like about Fran is she's a blogger like me. She understands print media and she has a love for online media, too.

Joanna with Lana Chan, OK!'s super efficient, super reliable, super incredible Managing Editor, who manages to stay skinny despite eating all day. She attributes it to her stressful daily commute from faraway Fairview to Mandaluyong City. Lana is my rock. She's my Sam Gamgee. OK! will collapse without her.

Well, as long as these two don't get drunk, OK! will be okay. Just like me, Joanna and Lana don't drink. In fact, I was there the first time Lana got drunk and we were very alarmed. We thought she was going to die! On one glass of wine!!!

As for Joanna, I think it was at this very shoot that she first got drunk. Joanna's a quiet girl. She's only talkative when she's lecturing us about our grammar and when the she talks about her favorite star/movie/TV show. But at the shoot, for no reason at all, she found everything funny! She was drunk alright!

Who's looking at the camera? That's our red carpet columnist, Jay Santiago. Yes, our red carpet expert is male. I toyed with the idea that a man's eyes might be a better judge of women's clothes and, in this case happily, I was correct. Jay's red carpet  pages—anywhere from 4 to 16 in any given issue!—is one of the most popular sections in OK!.

In ravishing red is Kabbie Rodriguez Alipio, our Associate Fashion Editor. She has worked miracles on our fashion pages! Kabbie can walk into any store—high end or low end—and put together a smashing outfit even if all I see are rags. It's a talent, folks. Not many of us have it! Kabbie makes Hollywood celebrity fashion fun and, most importantly, she makes it attainable for lesser beings like us!

What I also admire about Kabbie, actually what I most admire about her is her spirit. She is a good woman and you can't put a good woman down. Believe me. I tried. She just kept throwing back the punches and when she fell down, she just got back up, dusted off her stylish self, and became better. Kabbie is an inspiration!

As you can see, I am absolutely happy I have the best staff in the world. I really truly enjoy working with them. They will have bigger careers than mine because they are far more talented than I am. My only real talent is I can pick the good ones and I can bring out the best in people.

In the pink dress is Elaine Natividad, our Associate Beauty Editor. She's absolutely brilliant. Just like everyone in the staff, her work ethic is incredible. She has a huge responsibility (OK!'s advertisers are mostly beauty brands) and works so damn hard, and yet she goes to work looking gorgeous, attends events left and right, never misses a deadline, has time to accept other writing jobs, and has even more time to spend with friends traveling the world regularly. How does she do it?!?

I plucked Elaine from marketing. She was really young then (actually, I hired these kids when they were about 21-23 years old) and seemed overly bubbly. But I saw a determined gleam in her eye when, during her interview, I asked the standard "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"and she replied, "I'll be the editor-in-chief of OK! magazine." Some bosses would be threatened by that but I loved it! I saw a girl who was ambitious and will work hard and learn well because she's eyeing the top prize.

And here's the gorgeous gang! Oh wait! I haven't talked about Red de Leon, our art director! He's the cutie at the very right. Red is another awesome talent. He injected freshness and dynamism to OK!'s pages. OK! used to look very predictable, very template-y. Then Red came along and our pages just came alive! Every page is stunning. I am so in love with my magazine as a reader, not just as its editor, all because of Red's great direction.

So now you know why my job seems easy. It really isn't but because I have the most talented people on board, working in OK! feels like I'm paid to eat chocolate. I am beyond grateful.

Okay, enough drama. Let's do fluff! I'll talk about the outfit details on Topaz Fashion. That's tomorrow! See ya back here then!

Behind-the-scenes at OK! staff shoot, Part 1: Me

You saw my makeover photos on Tuesday and if you're wondering what the dolled-up look was for, it's for OK! magazine's staff photo. We always have a staff photo in the April and December issues. So the last time I blogged about our staff shoot was last March! This time, I made sure I brought a camera.

Here I am on Cherry Pacheco's chair. She cleansed and moisturized my tired face, then put on a ton of foundation and concealer!

I've always had bad skin but recently, because I started using Souq Organics Moroccan Argan Oil and SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, my face has really improved. Like, super! I have no more pimples, not even whiteheads and blackheads. All that's left (and stubbornly so!) are the acne marks. I look like I have polka dots all over my face. But they are slowly fading away!!! I love Souq Argan Oil and SK-II!

Progress! I now look like a human being! I love how Cherry made my eyes look large. Dark circles can really make eyes recede. I haven't slept beyond 4 hours since 2010 and I don't know when I'll ever sleep beyond 4 hours ever again so dark circles will be my lifetime companion now. I must learn how she did my eyes!!!

Here's what my hair looked like from the back. Very Gossip Girl! Or very bridal, very ninang, whichever way you want to look at it! I just love that that's all my hair. I was tempted to get extensions because my hair is falling so much due to post-partum hair loss. But the hairstylist just mega curled my hair for volume and voila!

This is Mango Tree at Bonifacio High Street Central. Mango Tree is a Thai restaurant and bar. We dropped by on a hot Tuesday afternoon for our shoot and the place was such a lovely retreat from the heat. We loved the high ceilings, comfy chairs, yummy cocktails (yes, cocktails at 3pm!). We also loved the light! There was so much light!

A lot of people think I'm a party girl who goes bar-hopping for fun. Hmm. Let me tell you two things I love about the places I frequent—I love super clean spaces that are gloriously lit, and I love quiet. I don't like dark, windowless rooms because I can't see if the place is clean and cockroach-free. I intensely dislike loud music because I like conversation and how can anyone talk when there's loud music blaring? And I don't drink alcohol.

Well, I do drink alcohol, about 3 glasses of wine a year. Ya, a glass of wine every 4 months. Since getting pregnant and having kids... Maybe one glass? I haven't had a drink in so long, I don't even remember. Until last Tuesday! Happy hour at 3pm!

This is our photographer Mitch adjusting my pose, then telling me (and she was so embarrassed to say it) to "Suck it in." Haha. I laughed my head off. I never lost the baby belly!

I'll talk about the staff's behind-the-scenes tonight and our fashion tomorrow, on Topaz Fashion. Meanwhile, if you're craving for more fashion, the October issue of OK! is our annual Best Dressed Issue! So grab a copy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Speaking of makeovers...

My blog just got a major redesign and I am super loving it! Thanks so much to Patricia of Fancy Girl Design Studio for patiently working with me. I had a definite look in mind—from style, colors and fonts!—and Patricia executed perfectly. It was a huge pleasure working with her.

Now, as long as we're on the topic, let me share with you my makeover today:
Wowza. I haven't even put on lipstick yet and already it's a vast improvement!!! Huge thanks to makeup artist Cherry Pacheco for transforming me today!

Anyway, I wanted to show you that photo because I wanted to share these random thoughts:

I'm still me. Lots of people think I'm this big time, hot shot, just a lady of leisure, super glam girl. They always exclaim, "Nagbago ka na!" Actually, I haven't changed at all. I've just become busier. Most days, I look like the girl on the left (well, when I'm home!). But even on those days when I'm the girl on the right, I'm still the same person.

I may be a magazine editor today but I won't be in this cushy job forever. What happens then? I am grateful for what I've achieved in my life but I can't let it get to my head. My job, my bank account, my trappings, they come and go. So while I enjoy glamming up, I also keep a firm grip on what makes me real—my marriage, my sons, my few trusted friends, my faith.

I care about how I look... but I don't care that much. I dress up. I put on makeup when I have to be somewhere. I like looking good! Caring about my appearance isn't vanity. It's my way of respecting myself and other people (translation: I don't want to be a pain to people's eyes!).

At the same time, I also think my looks don't define me. In fact, even without makeup, I think I look fine, so I don't allow myself to be obsessed with clothes and makeup and trips to the salon. Looks are important but they aren't valuable. There's a difference.

There is always room for improvement. While it's true that people, especially girls, should accept who they are, I also don't subscribe to the thinking that self-acceptance means letting yourself go. For your sake, look at yourself in the mirror, assess your flaws and assets, minimize the bad and highlight the good.

That means please get a good haircut, adopt a skincare regimen, wear clothes that fit you well, eat healthy, exercise. That means take care of yourself. I don't buy that "Real girls have (insert whatever noun here)!" as an excuse to be lazy about looking better.

That's all really. Love yourself, yes. Love yourself more. Love yourself better!

*photo courtesy of Cherry Pacheco