Monday, August 31, 2015

How Do I Look? Asian Version

Have you ever committed a fashion faux pas? I have. One too many in fact! Just ask my closest friends who've been with me since high school. 

On my journey to finding my fashion style, I've gone through a phase where I wore shiny, heeled leather boots (because I thought they were cool!); high heeled gladiator shoes matched with a dress and I'm just going to a mall for Pete's sake! What is overdress? ; put on a colorful dress paired with a colorful blazer (I remember this gay events director I worked with before who gave me that head to toe look with an OMG! What is she wearing? expression on his face); and even a phase where I never went anywhere without wearing a jacket - yes even when I was just going to the mall (because I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to feel cold!) and I've even at one point piled on one too many accessories that make my overall look busy.   

Thankfully over the years, I've come to discover - and actually still discovering - the fashion style that suits me well. It's not to say I no longer have those fashion faux pas but they've gone from cringe-worthy to minor, can-be-corrected-easily. I have my friends with an eye for fashion and not afraid to speak their mind to thank along with guidance from reading magazines such as Candy, Cosmo and TV shows like What Not to Wear and How Do I Look for the improved version of me - fashion-wise. 

I super loved those two tv shows! I laughed at the disgusted expressions on the fashion gurus faces when they first meet the fashion victim. And I laughed when Jeannie Mai, host of How Do I Look? had a tug-of-war with the unwilling-to-let-go-of-her-old-clothes participant. I secretly wished I could be part of the show actually - yes as the woman that needs a fashion overhaul!  

Well just recently I found out that How Do I Look?, the hit fashion makeover series is getting an Asian re-imagination! It's actually debuting today, August 31 at 8PM (SIN/MAL) on DIVA, NBC Universal International Networks' leading entertainment channel for women in Asia.  




The NBC Universal International format, produced by NBCUniversals Matchbox Asia, follows Malaysian celebrity and style icon Sazzy Falak as she guides eight fashion victims to the path of fashion enlightenment. Jeannie Mai, host of the original U.S. version, and a familiar face to Asian viewers, features in each episode, setting up the fashion challenges each week.


The fashion-challenged victims include onesie-addict/ blogger Apple Allison of Sole Searching Soul (Philippines); indie rock guitarist Ariana (Malaysia); mismatch, mishap/ watercolor artist Choc (Taiwan); sales executive, and literally plain Jane (Philippines/Australia); overachieving, yet outdated, Lavinya (Malaysia); rebel teacher Lianni (Philippines); romantically-insecure Maisarah (Singapore); and the uninspiringly-dressed motivational speaker Yessinta (Indonesia).

To achieve a professional look that can be replicated for the everyday, Sazzy will be joined by a guest stylist in each episode: Liz Uy (Filipina celebrity stylist); Zac Wu (Taiwanese celebrity stylist); Andrea Wong (former editor of Elle Malaysia); and Anindita Saryuf (fashion director of Elle Indonesia).



In each episode, Sazzy and an accomplice a concerned family member, friend or colleague will help transform the lucky fashion victim into a beacon of style.   After having their wardrobe raided, the individual will have their current fashion choices face the Eww Tube, one of the iconic features of the original format. The Eww Tube is a vacuum cleaner-like machine that literally sucks offending outfits up and away after they have been eliminated by the panel of fashion experts and accomplices.

The transformations featured on the series transcend fashion and style. Viewers will also get to witness the complex and emotional backstories of the victims, whose glamorous new looks, and freshly developed sense of style, act as a catalyst for them to adopt a more positive and confident outlook on life.

How Do I Look? Asia is a testament to DIVAs position as the leading womens entertainment channel in Asia. We are confident that this ground-breaking local production, like its original franchise, will strongly resonate with our core female audiences across the region, said Christine Fellowes, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, NBCUniversal International Networks. Using the insights from various in-depth research initiatives on Asian women that NBCUniversal has conducted and developed over the recent years, How Do I Look? Asia features many of the elements that we found women loved: fabulous and fun makeovers, the hottest fashion trends tailored to Asian sensibilities, inspiring and heart-warming personal stories, and a positive underlying message that encourages every woman to be her best self.” 

How Do I Look? Asia Season One is presented by regional sponsor Zalora.

Tito Costa, Managing Director of ZALORA Group, said, We​’re excited to be working with How Do I Look? Asias very first season of fashion makeover series and were proud to contribute to the life-changing makeovers featured throughout the show. ZALORA supports Asia's diverse forms of beauty and seeks to empower women through fashion by giving them the confidence to own whatever moment they find themselves in and to encourage them to be the best version of themselves. The shows goal is aligned with ZALORAs commitment to provide a carefully-curated range of fashion options as the right tools to create confidence-boosting looks. This is perfectly echoed in the weekly fashion transformations featured throughout the show.

In Malaysia, the series is also presented by Marigold Yogurt Drink and Panasonic Beauty.

Clozette is the Official Fashion Social Network of the series, which is filmed at an NBC Universal International studio set built in Solaire Resort & Casino, Manila.

For more information on How Do I Look? Asia, including exclusive behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, fashion tips, quizzes and personality profiles, visit www.divatv.asia/hdila

Be part of the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #HDILasia

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Relaxing Stay at Natura Vista, Bohol

Every year, my closest friends and I plan an out of town or out of the country trip - one of the many traditions we've established since 2012 when we all first traveled together out of town to go to Boracay. Last summer, our travel brought us to the province of Bohol with two of my closest friends.

We stayed in Natura Vista Hotel located in Panglao Island. It's a hotel I found through I searched for hotels located there in Agoda.com. I only tried the service of Agoda this year for my travels even though I've known of its existence for quite some time already. It's cheaper pala to book through it than to go directly to the hotel especially when you're booking way ahead of your travel! They even have a "Book Now, Pay Later" term.  

Anyway, back to Natura Vista.



Natura Vista isn't your usual kind of hotel. As the name implies, "Natura" stands for nature. It's a tranquil eco-sanctuary located inside a fishing community of the San Pedro Public Beach. If you want to commune with nature and experience what a real provincial stay is, then I highly recommend this place.

Honestly, I'm a city folk and my idea of a hotel isn't what Natura Vista is. But isn't nice when life throws you a good surprise? It reminded of the time I went on a vacation with some of my other friends to Caramoan. That was a real surprise too!

Let me show you how charming this place is.



This place has a lot of hammocks which I love! 
 


That's our room upstairs with hammocks too! (",)
Our dining area


At Natura Vista, you dine at this garden area where you can breathe nothing but fresh air and eat fresh food. This place is very popular according to Mae, their manager, to foreigners who want to observe local life. Some Filipinos also come to stay at Natura Vista when they want to go to Panglao Island Nature Resort and Spa since a day trip to the latter about Php800 (about Php400-500 of it is consumable for food) is cheaper than staying there. We didn't know that. Good thing Mae, the manager, told us all about it and so we included that in our Bohol travel agenda.


 
There are these wooden bench seats too that you can just sit it on as an alternative to the hammocks. You can just relax here, perhaps sleep, ponder about life if you like, read a book or a magazine or sit with a friend and just chat away while you past the time.

Phone signal is weak in this area and Wi-Fi is weak. I'm used to always being connected online even on vacation so not being able to check my mail, get a phone call or text or check my social media news feed was a strange thing but it was exactly the kind of break I needed.




There's a pool inside the hotel but it's more for wading. Anyway it makes a good additional background for photo opps.

Our room at Natura Vista. It's a nice room with TV. No cable though. Only local channels. But I didn't mind so much since all I wanted to watch that time was Bridges of Love anyway.


Our (Mai Ann and mine's) bunk beds.

I slept on top of the bunk beds and I was not crazy about that. I was always scared that I'd slip on the ladder or miss a step while climbing down. Plus there was a lot of ants - they were black but still! - on my bed which I loathed. But I suppose ants come with considering the place was surrounded by plants.  



Meet Chuckie, the adorable shih tzu who lives in Natura Vista. I loved playing with him. He's so fluffy!


Natura Vista has received several awards already.

  • Number 1 Eco-Friendly Resort from Consumer's Choice Gold Seals Awards 2015
  • Best Eco-Friendly Resort from the Golden Globe Annual Awards for Business Excellence Philippines 2014 and 2015
  • Best Standard Accommodation from the Golden Globe Annual Awards for Business Excellence Philippines 2015
  • Consistent Certifcate of Excellence Winner from TripAdvisor 
  • Number One Bed and Breakfast in the town of Dauis, Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines 


If you want to stay here, get in touch with Mae at mae@naturavistabohol.com. She is very responsive via email. When I was planning this trip,  I simply coordinated with her through email and all the details I needed were provided.

Natura Vista
G. Hornijas St. San Pedro, 
Bgy. Bingag, Dauis  
Panglao Island, Bohol 



I had a relaxing stay at Natura Vista. If I was ever in Bohol again, I'd consider staying here again. 



Friday, August 7, 2015

Gadget Talk: Lenovo VIBE Shot

Earlier this year, I learned about the kind of consumer I am when it comes to gadgets - the official term or classification that marketers use. When it comes to gadgets like laptops and smartphones, I am a design trend setter because how a gadget looks is very important to me. I'm drawn to stylish, classy and colorful designs.

My first Lenovo smartphone, the S850 was all about the style.



It has an all-glass exterior and it's thin and light too at 140g. Plus it's pink - very kikay noh? The cameras aren't so bad. It's got 13mp rear and 5mp front camera. I used this most of the time for taking photos. It's not so bad really. I've been using this for over a year now!  

Just last year, the Lenovo S850 was launched and I was contemplating on buying it.  Now I'm thinking of replacing it with this phone...



   
Meet the Lenovo VIBE Shot. It's the newest flagship smartphone product of Lenovo. It's designed to look like a point and shoot camera because it's specifically targeted for the photo enthusiasts. I'm already very in love with the way it looks. It's thin and light again and it comes in different colors: Carmine Red, Graphite Grey and Pearl White version! My favorite is the Carmine Red of course. That's what I'm thinking of getting.

What's so special about this phone? The unique selling point of this smartphone is its camera feature. Like I said it's targeted for photo enthusiasts. The VIBE Shot has a dedicated shutter button, which can be used to instantly activate the camera function to snap the perfect shot. It also has an infrared auto-focusing (AF) system that's twice as fast as conventional autofocus* and it's the world's first smartphone that has tri-color LED flash that ensures more realistic skin tones.

Plus the VIBE Shot is supported by a 16:9 BSI sensor, and optical image stabilization (OIS) technology so blurring is reduced should the camera accidentally move or shake and those features also allow for superior low-light performance and clarity for shooting images in darker interiors or at night. 

Whether you're a serious photographer or a newbie, VIBE Shot can cater to you because at the flick of a switch, users can easily toggle between the camera's Auto and Pro modes. The highlight of the Auto Mode is its Smart Composition function, incorporating automatic scene detection and an onscreen “point & shoot” guidance. The Pro mode, on the other hand, gives enthusiasts manual controls like aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings, enabling limitless compositions to unlock their creativity. Another world’s first is the panoramic selfie feature that lets you take three selfies and turn them into one that includes more people.

In terms of its other specs, the Lenovo VIBE Shot is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, has an octa-core chip, 3GB of RAM and a 32GB built-in storage and also expandable up to 128GB through a microSD - great for storing all those photos!  


Anyway since I got my hands on a VIBE Shot demo unit, I tried its camera feature. 






And of course some comparative shots with my phone vs. VIBE Shot. 


Top photo: taken with my Lenovo S850 Bottom photo: taken with Lenovo VIBE Shot


Top left: taken with my Lenovo S850 ; Top right: taken with VIBE Shot
Bottom left: Taken with my Lenovo S850; Bottom right: taken with VIBE Shot

I'm thinking of getting the Lenovo VIBE Shot because of its camera feature since as I mentioned, I take a lot of photos using my smartphone which I share online on my social media accounts or on this blog. I figure I might as well invest in a smartphone with a great camera feature. 

If you want to buy VIBE Shot too, you can buy now via Lazada Philippines at Php16, 999 and you'll even save Php1,000. If not, you can buy it through retail some time next week at Php17, 999. 


*Infrared Autofocus: 20 milliseconds for range finding, 150 milliseconds for fine tuning, 24 frames per second focusing. The IR Autofocus range finding is limited to 50cm, therefore it immediately switches to infinity focus when it cannot find an object within 50cms, making focusing 2x faster than conventional autofocus (Test results may vary depending on test circumstances)    

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Recent Read: Fan Girl

Last weekend, my plans to go out fell through because Ryan was sick so I decided to embrace an introvert weekend, catching up on my reading. A friend raved about author, Rainbow Rowell and so among the endless list of books that I could possibly read, I chose one of her novels. 





The plot: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


It was an overall okay read for me. Just okay. Maybe because I couldn't relate to the adolescent and adult struggles the heroine had to face. I had no problem adjusting in College because Erin went to the same school as I. We shared the same classes and unlike Cath's sister Wren, we did a lot of things together. I didn't have a fragile Dad or Mom either. Though my heart did go out to her on that matter. I mean, it must be hard to be young yet have to worry about your parent constantly because he's so fragile. 

Mostly I related to Cath being a writer. When I was in high school, I too wrote fan fiction about the Backstreet Boys, mostly about Nick Carter of course and Roselle Nava. Ha! Ha! That was really because of my friend, Erin, who's also a big fan of BSB and shared the same affection as I did with Nick. It was her idea to write about Nick and Roselle - an idea she got because when BSB first visited the Philippines, they appeared on ASAP (at least I think it was ASAP or whatever the Sunday variety show was called back then on ABS-CBN) and Roselle was the one that interviewed them. Nick playfully put his arm around her shoulder because Brian dared him to. 

While I didn't have a problem letting go of writing about Nick and Roselle, I did - actually still do -  struggle with writing. Sometimes I struggle with openly sharing the stuff I write. I used to not blog a lot because of that reason. Now though my biggest struggle is about finding the time to actually sit down and put my ideas in writing. I actually dream of writing my own novel. But alas, that's just a dream for now. How I make it happen is up to me. 

This year, I challenged myself to read 24 books. How am I doing so far? Already past half the year and I've only read 5. Way, way, way behind. 



 

      

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Changes

There's that saying "Nothing is permanent except change".



I thought I'd start the first day of August talking about the changes that's been happening in my life lately.

There's been another re-shuffling at work. From working under Accounts Department of PR to working as part of the Digital Marketing team - that's my new assignment. I have to let go of this really nice account I've been handling for the past 2 years already - an account I've so enjoyed working on even though it stresses the hell out of me because I truly believe in their products and the client is a breeze to work with.

Moreover, I had to say goodbye to a friend at work because another opportunity have come knocking on her door. It's strange you know how I used to have a seatmate that I constantly talk to in the morning and sometimes have brunch with, how I had a constant lunch/merienda buddy, a sounding board when I'm feeling frustrated at work and someone I can hang out with for dinner or window shopping after work.

It's all a big adjustment really. But change is inevitable. And I am slowly embracing the changes with openness. I have no idea what's in store for me in the new job role especially since it's just starting out - the Digital Marketing department at work, I mean. I'll just have to see how it goes right? And as for my friend, the distance will test test our friendship - just how much we actually like being friends. With different companies and responsibilities, boyfriend to spend time with (hers), other friends - schedules of meet ups will definitely be challenged. But that's the beauty of technology right? Now there's Viber, Facebook, text and call so we can still keep in touch whenever.

Lastly, I recently just reached a milestone in my life. I have officially left my twenties and said hello to my thirties! Who knows what the 30s will bring? But like I said, I'm going to embrace whatever else changes are coming with openness and acceptance.

I made a birthday wish!