I was very young when I got stung by a bee and my airways started closing. I can still remember the panic of not being able to breathe and getting rushed to the hospital at 10PM. Thankfully, I was given medication that probably saved my life.

Iya Villania-Arellano
People with allergies, whatever the triggers are, get bogged down by attacks and it is not cool, especially when the condition gets life-threatening. Actress and TV host Iya Villania-Arellano shared that she, too, suffers from allergy but doesn't let it hamper her active lifestyle. 

Iya believes that allergies should not be an excuse to enjoy life. "The great outdoors is fun! There's so much you can discover about yourself, your loved ones, and the world when you're out there," the vivacious MTV VJ related during the press launch for Claritin Reditabs at Whitespace Makati.

Iya does not let allergy hamper her active lifestyle

Filipinos love food. And while we do enjoy exploring the tastes of other countries' cuisines, we always find ourselves craving for what our palates grew up with. I am so glad to have the opportunity to have lunch at Lola Maria Restaurant at The Legend Villas last weekend because this place serves Filipino cuisine ala Fiesta style with that "lutong bahay" touch that is rare in many restaurants today.

Lola Maria Restaurant at The Legend Villas
Lola Maria Restaurant offers all-day dining with Filipino cuisine and select international dishes. If you've been looking for somewhere to bring your family, or even balikbayan friends and relatives, for a great meal, this is one of the places you should go to.

Seaweed (Lato) Salad with bagoong sauce
Let me rave first about the Seaweed (Lato) Salad with bagoong sauce. The taste is so good, I went back for seconds! If there weren't other dishes to try, I would have stuffed myself with this dish (and rice!) alone.

Fish Pinipig

Kids these days are more involved in choosing stuff they'd wear or use. Gone are the days when only the moms would go to the stores armed with a list of things to buy. Personally I think it's good training for children to develop their personal styles and preferences. 

Daiso Japan in Robinsons Galleria
For many young students, one the things that make a new academic year more exciting is shopping for school essentials. I was in Daiso Japan Robinsons Galleria the other day and saw a lot of cool stuff that kids would love.

Get first dibs on the biggest collection of cute, funky, and unique Japanese merchandise in Kawaii designs. Here are some smart and fun back-to-school shopping tips from Daiso Japan, Japan's no. 1 hyakuen:

Adorable bags for young students

Posh. That's the first word that came to mind while I walked towards the elevator that would take me up to Nobu Restaurant. There's a very sophisticated and yet comfortable vibe to Nobu Hotel in City of Dreams Manila that I'm sure a lot of its guests have already felt. After all, one of its admirers happens to be Academy award-winning actor Robert De Niro himself!

Nobu's simple but striking logo
Nobu features a modern, Japanese-inspired aesthetic that, I heard, is found throughout the hotel making the 321-room trendsetting boutique hotel a fun-luxury experience. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to take a peek into one of its rooms yet. 

fascinating chandelier above our table
Still, I had the privilege of having breakfast last Saturday at the hotel's restaurant, a contemporary fine dining venue that can accommodate 335 guests. It has two private dining rooms, a sushi bar, floating water cabanas, two Teppanyaki tables, and a Chef's Table. 

sweets early in the morning? why not!

My husband is a barefoot runner so I always get that question if I'll also run barefoot any time soon. My replies were always an adamant "no." I don't think I could endure the heat from the pavements nor the sharp stones that might result in painful cuts. 

no shoes!
And yet, I did say "yes" to walking barefoot the other day for a good cause. Last May 21, people all over the world supported TOMS' One Day for Better Days by walking without shoes so that underprivileged kids won't have to. I was glad to be part of this campaign that aims to remind people of the urgent needs of children for proper health and education. 

one day without shoes
I joined a large group of people, led by popular Filipino tour guide Carlos Celdran, in walking a whole block around Bonifacio High Street at past five in the afternoon. The experience reminded me a bit of walking on warm sand (because the sidewalks have retained the day's heat) although there were tiny pebbles that would appear every now and then that made me wince in discomfort. It was heartbreaking to imagine young kids going through this every day not because they want to, but because they had no other choice :(

Carlos Celdran 

The choice of accessories can make or break one's overall look. That's why style decisions can be sometimes tricky because there are so many pieces of jewelry and timepieces out there just waiting to be matched with different outfits. 

lace cutouts
Morellato, Italy's largest watch and jewelry brand, recognizes this dilemma and introduces the Morellato Style Series to help fashionistas and style seekers to accessorize better through lectures, workshops, and discussions with styling experts.

pearls with metals
Jasmine Koh, Morellato Business Development Manager, describes Morellato as being known for harmonious proportions, sensually chic femininity, and refined Italian taste. "We understand how it can be challenging at times to complete an OOTD (outfit of the day) when your accessory doesn't feel like it complements your look," she shares. "The Morellato Style Series will address that concern by giving tips on how to wear your jewelry and timepiece as you make your style statement."

Jenni Epperson wearing rose gold pieces

One of the things women (well, even men) get conscious about is having cellulite. Some try to get rid of these unwanted fats through dieting while others resort to rigorous exercise. However, fats that have accumulated over the years seemed to have settled in for the long run. Think of it as cooking oil or lard that hardened and won't budge despite a lot of shaking.

Vine in BGC
What melts "sleeping" oil is heat, right? At Vine Holistic and Medical Aesthetics, Medical Director Dr. Emehly Sevilla-Castillo shared that there are other ways to eliminate cellulite aside from diet and exercise. "We have non-surgical body sculpting treatments that will help you slim down faster," she explained. 

private treatment room
People who don't like undergoing surgery or getting injections can avail of various services offered at Vine. Dr. Em had me try their Tri-Shaper treatment that involves three procedures in one session. She said patients can immediately see results from before and after measurements. However, one should complete the recommended number of sessions for best results.

diagnostic testing

Striking design, comfort, and durability -- that's what Italian-inspired watch brand Veloci is known for when it comes to beautiful timepieces. Recently, Veloci made a splash by launching its newest collection via an all-white pool party and fashion show held at The Palace Pool Club, a posh and very elegant events' venue located in Bonifacio Global City.

Veloci's All White Pool Party at The Palace Pool Club
Present to showcase the collection were top models Hideo Muraoka and Catriona Gray, who were chosen to represent the brand and be among the first to show off their Veloci watches. DJ Nina Saputil was likewise on hand to provide fresh beats.

Catriona Gray with other Veloci models
Managing Director Marnie Chua described, "Veloci aims to be known as a brand that is always evolving -- one that keeps up with the fashion trends and offers high quality watches at reasonable prices." Indeed, elegance and convenience go hand in hand as Veloci introduced integrated silicone straps, exciting new dial colors, and stainless steel and gold cases. 

Models in white wearing Veloci

I’ve often heard it said that women should age gracefully and I associate that with taking care of one’s health, including the skin, to delay, if not totally stop, aging. We, ladies, are very fortunate that in our time, there are genuinely effective products that can help us maintain healthy and younger-looking skin.

no makeup, no filter photo taken early in the morning
Olay, one of the world’s most trusted skin care brands, has discovered in one of its studies that women’s skin starts to look dull, fatigued, and dehydrated as it ages. This is because Skin Cell Energy, which is high among young people, declines as women get older. 

I can personally relate to that because there are mornings when I’d wake up with visible lines on my face caused by accidental folds on my pillow. The thing is, it now takes longer for my skin to “bounce back” and for the temporary lines to disappear unlike when I was much younger. I suppose this is caused by skin becoming dehydrated through the night.

skin health comparison 

Summer is still in full swing this middle of May. The temperature remains hot and the heat of the sun definitely can even cause sunburn. For my readers who have had too much sun and unwanted skin darkening, here's a giveaway to help lighten back your skin!

Win 1 of 2 GlutaMAX gift packs that each contains: Instant White Lotion with Glutathione (SPF 35), a bar of Instant Lightening Soap with Glutathione, and a bottle of Light and Tight Feminine Wash. All products have been awarded with the Superbrands Seal

The past centuries have seen how the Philippines became a thriving place where cultural exchanges happen. These activities undeniably influenced the Filipino taste and made us always ready to try out diverse and exciting flavors from all over the world. 

with foodie blogger friends
Japanese classics, for instance, have become such a hit with the Pinoy palate such that the food craze over Tonkatsu, Curry, and Ramen is evident across the country. Now, a new player has come to town and is ready to create a niche in the Philippine food scene.
Tenya from Asakusa, Tokyo
Tenya, a highly popular restaurant that originated in Asakusa, Tokyo is now open to serve Japanese food lovers with authentic Japanese Tendons! It was an eye-opener for me to find out that in Japan, restaurants only serve their own specialties. This means if you want sushi, go to a sushi place, but there won't be any tempura there. You have to go to a place that serves tempura instead to satisfy your cravings.

All-Star Tendon (P325)

We all love receiving gifts. It's always a nice surprise to get items that we are sure we could definitely use in the coming days. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to send out gifts to people we care about even if we can't physically visit them anytime soon?

Robinsons Selections makes it possible to wish someone wellness, encouragement, friendship, or love! This new service now offers clients to have flowers, chocolates, and even beauty and bath kits delivered straight to friends and family.

Celebrating motherhood can be done any time and anywhere as long as we have our family with us. Still, the title of being called "Mom" is most felt when people find time to make the second Sunday of May a really special one by filling it with surprises and fun activities. 

Pop the balloon corner
That's exactly what Ayala Malls did last week. Manila's premier shopping destination held a thrilling celebration of everything about being mom during Mother's Day and even the days before that. 

prizes for moms (wishing I'd won the microfiber towel :p)

Moms are often described as the "queen of the house" and yet, we seldom get to feel like royalty. That's okay, actually, because we know we willingly take on the many things we do for our family for love. However, it is always a welcome reprieve when we do get treated like a queen once in a while :)

flowers for mommy
This year, being a mom just became doubly memorable for me because, aside from also celebrating my birthday on Mother's Day weekend, I experienced The Peninsula Manila's indulgent and awesome MomMeCation package!

The staycation actually started the moment I set foot outside our house because The Peninsula sent over a car with a uniformed chauffeur to pick me up and take me to Makati. When I was dropped off at The Peninsula's entrance, I was surprised to receive a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a lot of enthusiastic Happy Birthday greetings before getting escorted to my room by the hotel's very gracious Director of Public Relations himself who even insisted on carrying my overnight bag! I wish there were photos of those moments because they would probably show my big grin and wide eyes.

The Peninsula Manila's Premier Suite 

There are only a few days left until Closeup Forever Summer happens on May 16, 2015 at the MOA Concert Grounds.

This year, Closeup is taking things to the next level by combining indie and EDM in one music festival - Angus and Julia Stone for an indie afternoon, and Martin Garrix to headline for EDM at night.

Martin Garrix headlines EDM night

I love Welch's 100% Grape Juice because it is a refreshing drink especially when served very cold. I've read that this product is made from 100% Concord Grapes found only in the US and that they are pressed into juice within 8 hours of harvest. That's good to know because it means consumers get the best quality and freshness we deserve! 

Welch's 100% Grape Juice
Welch's 100% Grape Juice (which has been around since 1869!) is packed with anti-oxidants called polyphenols  and Vitamin C that may help promote a healthy immune system. This all-natural juice does not contain any preservatives, no added sugar, no coloring , no flavoring and no cholesterol.  Each 8 oz serving contains about 40 pieces of  Concord grapes. 

Welch's is made from 100% Concord Grapes

I am one of those who believe that what you have under your clothes has an impact on what you wear. Unfortunately, I often see a lot of fashionable-looking people who, on closer inspection, have unsightly lines and bulges caused by the wrong choice of undergarments. 

Gunze models
According to Gunze, the leading innerwear brand from Japan,  one's most intimate apparel requires serious thinking when you go shopping because they have do the power to make you feel attractive. Innerwear should caress, accentuate, and protect your body so you have to look for three fundamental things before you buy some: utmost comfort, perfect fit, and high quality.

Gunze in Glorietta 3, Makati
Filipinos are in for a treat because Gunze is now available in the Philippines! The brand, which was established way back in 1896, manufactures premium quality silk. It later expanded its product line to intimate apparel for men and women. Gunze's philosophy, "a touch of comfort," reflects the kind of products it offers to customers worldwide.

worn like a second skin

Scent is a powerful thing. There are certain fragrances from my past that can bring back certain memories in an instant whenever I smell them. Babies, it has been said, know their mother's scent even before they are able to see their moms. It's not surprising then that a simple whiff of something familiar can evoke so much emotion and nostalgia

beautiful table setting at The Peninsula Manila
As Mother's Day comes nearer, we can't help but go on trips down memory lane and remember precious times with our moms while we were still growing up. More than the familiar sights and sounds, scents play a role in reminding us of moments with Mom -- the mouthwatering aroma of her signature dish, the comforting smell of a baby blankie as she tucks you in at night, and the scent of her favorite perfume that remains on her dress long after she has taken it off. 

posing for a portrait with my mom

I grew up with food and beverage brands that remain popular to this day. If you are also familiar with Tang, Eden Cheese, Oreo, Cheez Whiz, Toblerone, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Halls, and Tiger Energy Biscuits, you should realize by now that you've been snacking with Mondelez Philippines for a long time!

Cooking with Mondelez products is really easy!
As a backgrounder, Mondelez was the name chosen for the snacks company that once formed part of the former Kraft Foods. When there was a split with the North American arm that handles the grocery portfolio in 2012, Mondelez International was created, but with the same heritage in snack-making.

outputs of our group effort

Personal finance-savvy people know how to spend wisely. Even if they have the money to buy a lot of stuff, it doesn't mean they should already stop looking for great deals. At Watsons, I personally get to splurge a bit when I shop for various products because I find good products at really affordable prices!

frequent Watsons shopper here!
Watsons' Switch and Save campaign helps its customers save as much as 80 percent off on personal essentials so we could set aside the savings for other things we'd like to pay for. I like shopping at Watsons because it has a wide range of personal care items, beauty essentials, and even medicine under its own label. This gives shoppers a lot of value-for-money choices without having to compromise on quality.   

The irresistible deals have even caught the attention of popular Philippine personalities who already switched and saved. These include Tessa Prieto-Valdes, Patty Laurel, Iya Villania, and Christian Bautista.   

Watsons SM Aura Premier
Last May 2, shoppers at Watsons SM Aura Premier had the pleasure of being served by saleslady-for-a-day Tessa Prieto-Valdes who added pizzaz to her Watsons uniform with colorful head accessories that made her very easy to spot anywhere in the store.  

Tessa, known as the SeaPrincess of Twitterverse, is a great example of someone who can mix style and practically. Although she's often seen at the grandest parties and most exclusive events, she remains a very wise spender when it comes to her personal items. "A smart shopper knows when she is getting a good deal, that's why a lot of us are always here at Watsons," she pointed out. "You'd be surprised with the savings you get just by choosing Watsons Label products!"

Tessa Prieto-Valdes

There's a saying that goes: "Work smarter, not harder." I agree! I believe that there are a lot of ways to work more efficiently without sacrificing the quality of our output. I think that's where the phrase "life hack" originated. After all, why make doing things more difficult for yourself when there are alternatives out there that can provide convenience and deliver the same, or even better, results?

Rubbermaid reveals a better way to clean
I found this true when I first used the Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop. At home, we clean the kitchen floor every night because that is the area of the house where spills and messes accumulate most during the day. Admittedly, it's quite a burden to lug around a bucket full of water or cleaning solution wherever I go so I can rinse the mop and wet it again when the soap suds run out. 

convenience + quality in one!
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