"First impressions last," said Denise Dangilan-Barbers, interior designer and owner of Design to Build (D2B) during the recent opening of HMR Furniture store in Greenfield District, Mandaluyong. "Your furniture is the first interaction you will have with your clients and guests."

She explained that there are a lot of ways to create a beautiful living or working space that will help define who you are. For instance, use inspiration from places you've been to or styles you saw in magazines or on TV then try applying them in your home or office. 

It is important, though, to look for high quality and durable furniture that are sure to add a touch of elegance to any space.  

HMR Philippines, known for bringing quality imported products at affordable prices, recently opened a stand alone store to house authentic Italian furniture where clients can browse in comfort because it doesn't have the crowded look that some furniture stores do. The bright lighting also help illuminate intricate details in many of the items.

If you are currently renovating or building your home, make sure to drop by the HMR Furniture store or any of the HMR Philippines branches to check out the beautiful pieces they have there. 

Oh, and don't forget to keep updated of their frequent sale periods as you will definitely find a lot of great bargains you'll surely want to take home!

I don't regularly watch basketball games but when I do get to find the time, I enjoy cheering for my team as loud as any other fan. When I received an invite to watch the Philippines vs. Croatia FIBA World Cup 2014 game with fellow members of the media at Skinny Mike's Sports Bar in Bonifacio Global City, which happened earlier tonight, I immediately knew it would be a fun event.

photo borrowed from Smart Gilas Pilipinas 2.0 Facebook page
I was right. Being with a lot of fellow Filipinos to cheer on our Philippine National Basketball Team, Smart Gilas, made the live viewing aired on TV5 more exciting. Many of us found ourselves collectively shouting and clapping whenever Gilas scores and sighing our regret when players were penalized with fouls or when the ball didn't make it inside the basket.

Alaxan's live viewing party at Skinny Mike's in BGC
hosted by DJ Danny Jay of MOR 101.9 
The first quarter of the game was actually quite disheartening because the competitor's scores kept going up and ended at 21 and 9 in favor of Croatia. Before halftime was over, we felt our hopes rising as the scores became closer at 37 and 31, again in favor of Croatia.

start of the 3rd quarter
By the end of the third quarter, hopes went plummeting again with a 57 vs. 49 score. But it was evident that Team Gilas wasn't giving up because they were able to tip the scale at 66 and 67 with two and a half minutes remaining. Imagine the commotion we created when the timer ended with scores tied at 71!

that moment when the Philippines' score was higher!
Unfortunately, the five-minute overtime, as exciting as it was, didn't go in our favor with 81 and 78 scores. Still, Smart Gilas proved and showed the whole world that the Philippine team is a force to be reckoned with and deserves its place in the World Cup. 

It is still early to say if we will win or not. But, one thing's for sure, our players all possess a #PusongPalaban and they have Alaxan FR to help ease their aches and pains after every game. I sincerely wish our players more strength and determination as they play in succeeding games. No matter the outcome, we know that each member of Gilas Pilipinas is doing his best to make every Filipino proud. We, at home, are rooting for you guys and will be behind you all the way! 

Visit Alaxan FR's Facebook page and get a chance to win
Gilas signed basketballs!
The next games of Smart Gilas in FIBA 2014 are as follows: 

Monday, Sept. 1 - Philippines vs. Greece - 2AM PH time
Monday, Sept. 1 - Philippines vs. Argentina - 11:30PM PH time
Wednesday, Sept. 3 - Philippines vs. Puerto Rico - 7:30PM PH time
Thursday, Sept. 4 - Philippines vs. Senegal - 8PM PH time

If you also want to watch other countries battling it out, click here for the full schedule of all FIBA 2014 games.

Gilas Pilipinas games will be aired live on TV5 and BTV with delayed telecast on Aksyon TV and ABS-CBN Sports and Action

Having gray hair is part of growing old but it doesn't have to make you look older than you have to! Thanks to advances in hair care, people can now avoid looking like they're too eager to head on to their twilight years.

photo borrowed from examiner.com
In fact, in an Oprah episode I saw years ago, she and her guests were discussing about how very seldom they see Americans with gray hair anymore. Here in the Philippines, the trend of getting hair color in salons have also become very popular. Still, for some reasons, there are people who couldn't find time to have their hair re-colored soon enough. And that's when gray hair regrowth starts making heads look a bit unsightly.  

Not to worry though, there's now a non-dye and safe alternative to cover gray hair! Conceal Instant Gray Hair Solution can be used for instant touch-ups anytime, anywhere. It is safe, washable, and easy to use. No water is needed. Just touch up your hair whenever needed.

Conceal is available in black and brown with 3 types of applicators:
1. The stick applicator is ideal for short gray hair strands 
2. The touch-up applicator is for hair and tip applications
3. The brush-tip applicator is best for longer gray hair strands

This must-have for covering gray hair regrowth is exclusively available in Watsons stores for P240 - P250 each but you can also order online through its distributor C'SCOR Global Intertrade Corporation here.  

Good news to my readers. If you want to try out this product, WBL is giving away 3 gift packs of Conceal Medium Brown with Brush-Tip Applicator. A gift pack will have 2 Conceal tubes each. You can join through the Rafflecopter widget below:

FYI, those who will post a photo on Instagram will earn higher entry points. Please take note that I can only send prizes to Metro Manila addresses. Giveaway ends 12MN of September 8, 2014.


Congratulations to Dessie Aquino, Rain Gatdula, and Ann Gole Cruz for winning two tubes each of Conceal Hair Solution! Please check your emails and give me your Metro Manila mailing address so I can send you your prizes. I'd appreciate it very much if you can post a photo on Facebook (tag Write, Breathe, Live) or Twitter/Instagram (tag @ruthfloresca) when you receive the items so I'd know you got them.

Thank you so much to everyone who joined! Please stay tuned as there will be more #WBLgiveaways in the coming days :)

Hawaii's number one burger chain, Teddy's Bigger Burgers, is now in Manila! I had the pleasure of trying out some of its offerings for dinner the other night and was impressed at how tummy-filling they are!

Teddy's Bigger Burgers is on the 3/F of Greenbelt 3, Makati
I ordered the big (there are bigger and biggest sizes, too!) Cheese Burger combined with Onion Rings and a 12 oz. Strawberry Shake. I found it hard to eat everything on my plate given my not-so-big appetite but I'm positive that my hubby and sons could easily finish off an order in no time :)

The brand takes pride in its signature fare: 100% cornfed ground chuck patties served with a sweet and tangy special sauce plus the super thick milk shakes. I like how the patties are grilled and not swimming in oil. They are generally served medium well done but you can request the doneness you prefer. 

cheese burger (P265) and onion rings (P149)
You also have bun choices between potato, wheat, and lettuce wrap as well as select from various specialty toppings such as Waikiki (teri, spud, cheddar cheese, bacon), Hawaiian Style (teri, grilled pineapple paradise), Cajun (cajun seasoning, pepperjack cheese), and Kailua (teri, grilled mushroom, grilled onions, swiss cheese). 

Teddy's was established in 1998 by Ted Tsakiris and Rich Stula and they now have 11 branches in Hawaii. Its mainland stores are in Washington and Iowa with a couple more also opening in California and Texas. Next to Japan, the Philippines is Teddy's second international location.

12 oz. yummy strawberry shake (P120.00) 
Metro Manila residents are invited to the official opening of Teddy's Bigger Burgers this coming Saturday, August 23, at the 3/F Greenbelt 3 branch. This Philippine debut will be celebrated with free Original Teddy's Burgers (5 oz.) to its first 100 customers.

But wait! There's better news! Early birds will also be rewarded as follows:
~ first 5 in line gets one year supply of burgers (1x a week for 52 weeks)
~ 6th to 10th in line gets six months supply of burgers (1x a week for 26 weeks)
~ 11th to 20th in line gets three months supply of burgers (1x a week for 13 weeks)

From the remaining 80 in line, five winners will also get to win a weekly supply of burger for one month (1x a week for 5 weeks) via a raffle draw. Line up starting 7AM in front of the Teddy's Bigger Burger Store in Greenbelt 3 on August 23!

In case you don't make it to the first 100 in line, you still have a chance to win a free burger by taking a selfie with either the Teddy's Bigger Burgers store board or standees around the mall. Just upload your photo on Facebook or Instagram and include the hashtag #teddysburgersph. First 100 entries win a 5 oz. Original Teddy's Burger.

with founders Ted and Rich
For complete promo mechanics, and more information about Teddy’s Bigger Burgers PH, please like their official Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/TeddysBurgersPH).

Many years ago, portable music players used to only hold one cassette tape or compact disc at a time. Now, iPods and other MP3 players can store hundreds to thousands of songs, encouraging users to listen for longer periods.

post at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation reported that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to more than 85 decibels (the usual volume teens listen to their music these days) of sound for 8 hours can damage hearing. 

To better have an idea how loud 85 decibels are, think of the sound a hair dryer or kitchen blender makes. Can you endure listening to that for several minutes, let alone more than 8 hours? Learn about how many decibels certain things produce from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website.    

In an American Academy of Pediatrics article, I also read that, "Chronic exposure to loud noise may not cause hearing loss in the short term, but it can gradually result in irreversible hearing loss later in life." Serious hearing loss, unfortunately, can also affect the ability to speak clearly.  

The problem is, more and more very young kids these days are freely allowed to have their own portable music players. Once those headphones or earbuds are on/in a child's ears, parents most likely won't have an idea anymore how loud their children are cranking up the volume.

This is where Kidz Gear Headphones could help. I personally tested this product on my iPod Touch with and without the KidzControl volume limiter and was honestly impressed with the results. Without KidzControl, turning the volume full blast on one song really made me flinch! But when I attached the volume limiter, even with the full volume on, the sound stayed gentle on my ears. 

This is good news to me because I can now let my special child listen to songs longer using Kidz Gear Headphones without worrying about accidentally damaging his hearing. The soft foam surrounding the ears moreover make it very comfortable to wear.

The Kidz Gear brand is founded by Laurie Peterson, a mom who wanted to deliver line of products and accessories with adult product features, performance, and quality levels sold at prices in-line with products for children. The result is grown-up performance that's built for kids.

Kidz Gear comes in various colors that kids and kids-at-heart would enjoy having. After all, it says in the box: "Designed for All Ages 2 and Older". These are great headphones that can deliver high quality sounds so children will definitely get to appreciate music better … and more safely.

Check out the other cool colors at https://www.gearforkidz.com/. Kidz Gear is distributed in the Philippines by Digits Trading Corporation.

A campaign was launched last May to challenge women to prioritize their health and well-being so we can continue doing the things we love most in life. Through social media, Sangobion encouraged women to make a pledge to change for the better and staged an online promo where women submitted their pledges while also promising to take Sangobion every day.

This is a timely campaign because a lot of modern women, including myself, are now living very hectic lives. Like many other females I know, we try to balance our personal and professional lives so that we can keep our jobs and still take care of our families. Unfortunately, we oftentimes forget that we should also make time for ourselves!

This past weekend, Sangobion treated the 40 online winners to pampering sessions courtesy of Shu Uemura and Blo Blow Dry Bar at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas. Each lady had her hair and make-up done by expert stylists. While Sangobion helped them stay healthy on the inside, Shu Uemura and Blo helped them look as good as they feel. 

Guests also got to listen to talks on iron deficiency by Dr. Zaida Noblejas-Gamilla, Chair of UST's Department of Ob-Gyn, and practical beauty tips by Patrick Alcober, an internationally accredited make-up artist for Shu Uemura. 

The event, hosted by Patty Laurel, was likewise graced by Sangobion brand ambassadors Kelly Misa and Jenni Epperson who agreed on the importance of spending some me-time every now and then whether it's just a 5-minute daily meditation or getting dolled up in a salon the whole day.  

Sangobion has Ferrous Gluconate, an organic iron that is absorbed better by the body. It helps fight the signs of iron deficiency such as paleness, fatigue, dizziness, and lack of focus and concentration. Each capsule has a chocolate scent and leaves no metallic after-taste that is usually the case with other iron supplements. Sangobion moreover contains essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Copper, and Manganese to build healthy red blood cells and boost the immune system. Sorbitol, another ingredient, prevents the constipation that usually accompanies iron supplementation. 

Ladies, it could be hard to find time for ourselves but we have to do it. Everything can definitely be done if we want them bad enough. Don't forget that aside from making efforts to look beautiful outside, make sure you also feel good inside by taking Sangobion daily to help boost your iron.

For those who also want to win a Sangobion treat, join the next Go Love Life promo and get a chance to win a shopping spree! Like www.facebook.com/SangobionGoLoveLife to get updates and more details. 

* Photos borrowed from Sangobion's Facebook page's Go Love Life! Makeover Event album

One of the new trends in skin care treatment are masks that utilizes Light Emitting Diode (LED) light. I've read the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) first explored the benefits of LEDs in the late 1980's (read article here) for growing plants in space. What they found was that the healing effects of LEDs not only work in stimulating plant growth, but also have positive effects on the human body.

In fact, a NASA article on clinical trials for cancer patients shared, "Biologists have found that cells exposed to near-infrared light from LEDs, which is energy just outside the visible range, grow 150 to 200 percent faster than cells not stimulated by such light. The light arrays increase energy inside cells that speed up the healing process."

Innovation and craftsmanship -- that's what Cole Haan harnessed to engineer a product that is the lightest and most flexible shoe it has ever created. The iconic American lifestyle footwear and accessories brand unveiled the ZeroGrand yesterday at its Powerplant Mall, Rockwell branch.

Cole Haan's newest men's shoe line weighs less than 290g each and is touted to define the future in footwear. In ZeroGrand, the brand was able to successfully combine centuries-old broguing details with biomechanics, modern materials, and current manufacturing methods. 

There are three elements footwear aficionados should know about the ZeroGrand:

MASS. The weight of heavy shoes induces muscle fatigue. At just 290g, this footwear can challenge others designed for long-distance runners. With ZeroGrand, the future is weightless.

MAKE. With fewer parts resulting in fewer seams, this footwear has a natural, relaxed body that feels almost non-existent on the foot. With ZeroGrand, the future is seamless.

MOTION. The human foot was created to be an elegant instrument of movement, strength, and agility. The new footwear complements this with supple flexibility and plush cushioning that enables it to rebound with each step. With ZeroGrand, the future is boundless. 

Along with ZeroGrand, Cole Haan also launched its new cushioning and comfort platform called the Grand.OS -- an "operating system" for the feet composed of three major features: greater flexibility, reduced weight, and increased cushioning. Whether they're applied separately or together, it was described that all three characteristics deliver exceptional feel without compromise.

The Grand.OS' flexibility is manifested in the engineered insoles, outsoles, liners, and uppers that move with each step. In addition, Grand.OS replaces the heavy steel shanks that have traditionally been used for support with a cushioning compound engineered to be stronger, more flexible, and longer lasting thus reducing the shoe's overall weight and slimming down the outsole. I was personally impressed to see the shoe model in one video doing parkour while wearing them!

David Maddocks, Chief Marketing Officer of Cole Haan in the U.S., and representatives in the Philippines agree that the outstanding thing about ZeroGrand is the fact that it is highly engineered, yet beautifully designed and crafted. Maddocks expressed, "Cole Haan compromised nothing. It's stealth. It's sleek. It's the perfect complement to a modern, slim-cut suit in a way that says: I mean business, but not business as usual."

Curious now to try the Cole Haan ZeroGrand for yourself? Then head over to any of its branches in Rockwell, Shangri-la Plaza, and Glorietta 4. To learn more about this latest collection and to be updated of upcoming ones, like facebook.com/colehaanphilippines and follow @iwearcolehaan on Instagram.

Getting involved in any kind of sport is good because it promotes physical and mental health. However, outfits and equipment can sometimes be very costly especially since good-quality ones are usually made by popular and expensive brands. 

sports apparel, footwear, equipment
This past weekend, well-known surplus store HMR Philippines launched its own apparel and equipment home brand called Loro Sports at its Sucat branch. The comfortable apparel line and sports equipment available were modeled by members of the Philippine Lady Volcanoes who gamely walked the ramp and showed off their fashion styles.

Loro Sports launch
The event, hosted by Philippine Volcanoes member Andrew Wolff, was made more exciting with raffle prizes that includes a coveted North Face jacket, Patrick shoes, and a Dick Smith TV that a little kid won! 

Philippine Lady Volcanoes and Kunie Gonzalez of HMR
Some of the shoppers were also encouraged to join rugby demos by the Lady Volcanoes and I believe they all had a lot of fun. 

if I have a little girl, I'd probably bought a lot of these stuff!
Of course, being inside the HMR warehouse means getting to find lots of good stuff! (Read my other blog post about my first time at HMR last month here). My firstborn son and I didn't let the chance pass as we searched among the "treasures" what things we could use at home.

home furniture and sports items
Our finds? A heavy-duty dartboard (which hubby and I have actually been planning to buy for weeks) for P1,490; a weighted jump rope (I have been searching for one in other stores for months to no avail) for P390; a Waboba Pro water ball (that we could use the next time we go swimming) for P35.00; and two denim bibs for my special child (at 50% discount each) for P27.50 and P14.70. We actually saw more items we'd like to take home but I had to curb the spending budget for the meantime.  

We've yet to buy anything with the Loro brand though because hubby and my other son, the sporty ones, were not with us. Maybe the next time we visit, they'll find stuff they could wear or use. For now, the whole family is enjoying playing games of dart in our backyard and I'm also targeting being able to jump rope with at least half the endurance of Manny Pacquiao in the coming days :) 


Good news, ladies! Singapore's number one beauty magazine is here! 

Grab a copy now of the July-September maiden issue of Aesthetics & Beauty Philippine edition that features the lovely Bianca Gonzalez on the cover. Here, the versatile celebrity talks about her beauty secrets as well as gives noteworthy advice to her young fans. 

Also, get insider scoops on the latest in beauty and fashion as A&B makes it easy for readers to find more information about the latest trends and treatments that are best for them. 

Oh, and do check out my contributed articles! I interviewed model, writer, and PR maven Apples Aberin who shared about what keeps her beautiful; wrote about Blue Water Day Spa's newest massages; and covered the launch of the SM Woman collection during Philippine Fashion Week.

There are a lot of things you'd like about this magazine. Let me know what you think once you get hold of a copy :) 

A&B is published by Mapletree Media Pte. Ltd. For more information and to get updates, like A&B on Facebook and log on to www.aestheticsandbeauty.com.ph.

There are ladies who love having their nails done regularly. I can relate to that and love having colors on my nails every so often. But once the nail polish starts peeling or getting chipped, I try to remove them immediately because I feel it's quite unclassy to go around having cracked polish on my nails.

What I don't get though is that a lot of women still allow themselves to be seen with nail polish that should have already been removed days ago! Admit it, you see ladies with chipped nail polish on their hands or peeking out of their flip-flops / open-toed sandals and get turned off. Right?

photo borrowed from www.thegloss.com
Still, I can imagine why some would rather let old nail polish stay than go through the tedious task of removing it. After all, you need several cotton balls and repeated drops of acetone on them to totally clean your nails. That doesn't include yet the acetone spills that sometimes happen and which leave unsightly white marks on wood floors or coffee tables. Yeah, those happened to me, too! 

So imagine my delight when I discovered Yuka Nail Polish Remover Wipes. Each container has 35 round sheets that are already soaked in a nail polish remover solution. It is acetone-free, non-toxic, and made of ingredients that won't dry your skin. It doesn't need any cotton so there's no mess and no spills. I am sure moms, with little girls who also like having their nails done, would love this product!

Yuka is easy to use, very handy, is trendy, and fashionable. It comes in grapes, orange, and strawberry scents and are sold at only P65.00 per 25g container. It is available in the Philippines through C'SCOR Global Intertrade Corp., also the distributor of Tiny Buds baby products. You can check out their online store here.
Like before, because I appreciate this blog's readers very much, here's another giveaway. I'll be raffling off 2 Gift Packs that includes 3 Yuka Containers and 1 nail polish each for my Twitter and Instagram followers. Please join via the Rafflecopter widget above and don't forget to post the REQUIRED photo on Instagram. Kindly take note that I can only send prizes to Metro Manila addresses. This giveaway ends 12MN of August 25. 

Edit - August 25: Congratulations to YM Yen Morales and Ma Clarice Lao-Itumay for winning a Yuka gift pack each! Please check your emails and send me your Metro Manila mailing address. I would appreciate it if you can post a photo of your prizes when you get them and tag WBL on Facebook or @ruthfloresca on Twitter/Instagram.

Thank you to all who joined. Next giveaway is now up, here. Good luck! :)

Along with the rains that started coming in recent weeks, get ready for a new downpour of new shows as Cignal TV launched 6 exciting channels that will give viewers more reasons to stay home and avoid getting soaked outside.

Last May, the Direct-to-Home (DTH) pay TV provider launched Disney XD, first in HD in the Philippines. The channel is the new home of superheroes, action and adventure movies, anime shows, and comedy programs that have already begun to redefine heroism to today's young generation.

Just this July, the home entertainment innovator once again upgraded TV viewing by launching five more channels:

THRILL is for those who like watching anything on horror and suspense. So get your thrill on as this all-new channel features shows and movies 24/7 that will definitely make you jump out of your seats!

KIX gives your daily dose of high-octane and adrenaline pumping shows featuring combat sports, cutting edge reality, hit action series, and blockbuster movies. It is your 24/7 action entertainment authority.

TLC will get you ready to travel the world, explore different cultures, discover new things, and live the good life! Enjoy watching shows here such as Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition, Now Boarding Travel Series, Cake Boss, Project Runway, and more.

MTV PINOY celebrates music and Pinoy pride. The recently relaunched channel is Filipinos' go-to music TV station for everything OPM.  Refresh your eyes and ears with amazing tunes by local artists and other MTV specials.

River Monsters on Animal Planet
ANIMAL PLANET uncovers a world of wonder and diversity as viewers discover new and amazing things about the world of animals.  Watching this channel will definitely be a fun learning experience for the whole family! 

Make sure you don’t miss all the fun and excitement these new channels can bring into your home. If you're not yet a Cignal TV subscriber, log onto www.cignal.tv to know more about its subscription packages. 

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