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December Favorites: Beauty Edition

I’m a huge fan of pretty, glam things. I love the smell of a great Eau de parfum, the pigmentation of quality makeup, and pink/gold ensembles. Here are my favorites for this December.

Aspyn Ovard Eye & Cheek Palette (Tarte - $39)

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While this palette isn’t a new product, it’s definitely been useful for the subtle, everyday looks I’ve been doing (when I’m not running late and have time to actually put makeup on). It looks gorgeous on the exterior, and even better inside. My only complaint is that the colors match one another too well. Like I said, it’s been perfect for everyday looks, though, so that’s a plus. The blush shade also complements my skin tone well.

Modern Renaissance Palette (Anastasia Beverly Hills - $56)

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TOTALLY in-love with this palette! Received compliments in and out of work the first time I used it. The colors complement one another well, so it’s been my go-to for warm, peachy looks. The brush that came with the palette could’ve been better though, but if you’re into makeup, you’re already aware that brushes aren’t really the best in this case.

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Ginger Sugar Lip Scrub (Aritaum, Althea - $5)

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The cap looks worn out, but it’s only because I’ve been using this scrub religiously. I highly recommend applying this before bed or before putting on lipstick. You can either wash it off or wipe it away with tissue after a few minutes, but I find water is a gentler way of scrubbing it off. It’s very cheap, and smells great, too! There’s really no reason to not pick this up.

Chance Eau Tendre (Chanel - $62)

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Smells like heaven. Since my other favorite fragrance (the next item) is at its edge, I’ve started wearing this everyday. It has a subtle scent after it calms down (but it’s potent during the first sprays). For an Eau Tendre, the smell stays well throughout the day. I love this.

Jour d’Hermès Eau de parfum (Hermès - $162)

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A scent I’ll never get tired of. It’s an Eau de parfum, which means it has more aroma content than Eau de toilette and has the same amount of fragrance as perfumes. Lasts longer than the former too, so I get to appreciate the smell longer. It’s almost gone, and I am in dire need of a refill, haha! Highly recommended.

Sorta Sweet Palette (Kylie Cosmetics - $42)

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Last for this month’s faves is the Sorta Sweet palette by Kylie Jenner. The mattes in this one are quite good given the price point, but the shimmers need a little extra help from either my finger or a damp brush. When they’re on your eyes though, the look is pretty and pigmented. Recommended for those who need a palette that’s warm-toned and small enough to fit in a purse for travels.

And that is it for this month’s Beauty favorites! Thoughts? What have you been using? You have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!

Mini-Trips: Hong Kong

I really traveled this year. Like, really. I went to places I didn’t think I would, and even though most of them were cut short by responsibilities at work, I still managed to make the most of my time. Whether I was solo or with the boyfriend, I truly enjoyed myself.

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I got a room at Shangri-La Hotel since I always feel most at home there. If the country I’m at doesn’t have a Shangri-La, we go for something similar in pricing and feel. That usually helps us discover places to crash when we’re next there. Fun stuff, and often surprises us.

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My boyfriend followed me the day after and we had drinks at the bar. One thing to note is that when you’re in an Asian country gallivanting with a tall Australian, you’re bound to get looks no matter what. He laughs off the attention every time though, but I always feel uncomfortable.

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We then got to have breakfast with a stunning view. It’s moments like it that make me want to keep on traveling as often as I can. You wake up with a sense of adventure, a sense of not knowing what lies ahead that day or what places you can explore.

What I especially loved about this year’s travels was an app. If you’ve never heard of Blay, I suggest you head right over to the App Store and download it because it’ll save you time, remind you of your flights, give you a checklist of what to bring, and give you information on the place you’re visiting.

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When you land, it also directs you to where your aircraft’s baggage can be claimed! I’ve been using it for all my flights since after Paris, and it’s been a great addition to my travel essentials.

If you’re prepping for a travel, add this to your list!

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Hong Kong was amazing. I stayed for a few days while my guy stayed overnight (he had more master classes to take), and I didn’t feel alone when he left. I met two couples who were newly married and one who were celebrating their 5th year. I even met a lady at the Lobster Bar who said her dream was to become a famous pianist and was in Hong Kong to get trained by an expert there. Definitely my crowd.

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You ever been to Hong Kong? Share your stories in the comments!

Mini-Trips: Singapore

This year was huge for me in terms of traveling. Since August, it seemed like I had suddenly won the lottery, threw all my cares out the window, and just decided to see more of the world.

I guess I had reached a point where I just didn’t want to be stressed out by the reality of how hard life can be. Maybe I just didn’t want to care about what other people would think about me anymore. Whichever the reason, I did what I had always wanted to do.

(I had meant to vlog these little trips but got caught up with work.)

This was also the first time I traveled overseas alone. This was definitely a nod to my goal of becoming more independent and self-aware by the end of the year.

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While spending some time alone, I was able to reflect a little on life, my situation, where I expect to be in the next few months, and what the hell I did wrong. You see, when I graduated college three years ago, I had grand dreams of getting employment at Pixar or Laika as either an animator or character designer. I had a need to prove myself worthy of the Cum Laude honors I received. It got to my head. I was so full of it.

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The time I spent in Singapore allowed me to do a little reflection of my situation. Whether or not I was willing to make more wrong decisions for the sake of comfort or just give it all up for my dreams. Here are some of my reflections.

  1. At 26, I no longer have the luxury of time. What I thought I could do in small waves should now be done as quickly (and as soon) as possible.

  2. Am I still willing to sacrifice my career growth for the purpose of seeing the company I’ve grown to love take-off and fly?

  3. I have a lot of regrets, but if I leave where I am… will I regret that too?

  4. What would I be doing right now if I chose a different talent to hone? Would I be in Singapore still, or would I be living permanently somewhere else?

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5. Passion… or pay? As much as I hate to bring those two apart, I have yet to experience a period where they are both favorable.

6. I need a financial advisor. And someone to actually manage my money for me.

7. I really need a different job. I need a place where I am given the freedom to grow and devote time to improving my skills.

8. Maybe getting married will solve most of my problems.

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Sigh.

Too bad I only spent like 2-3 days in SIngapore. I think the fiancé would’ve loved to come with me, but he had classes for his Master’s. At least I got some alone time.

I guess that’s all for this post. I’ll try to be more active here and post more energetic things (though it might take a while).

Discovering Paris

It’s always a surreal feeling when, after months of endless work, you splurge and get yourself a ticket to one of your dream destinations. For me, that place was Paris. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had a desire to explore the place and spend a few nights there with a special someone - so we made it happen.

Last August, my fiancé and I went to the city of love. Here’s a storybook vlog I made, months after. (I started missing Paris really badly and couldn’t look at the photos on my phone after going back home.)

That’s all for this post!

Photos are also up on my Instagram account, so pay me a visit there!

Until the next one. Au revoir!

The Indy Miss Podcast

Hey guys! Oh my - I know it's been a long time since I posted, but with everything that's happened, I'm hoping to be forgiven (pretty please?). This is a special post because after years of thinking about creating one, I finally have a live, working podcast! I could scream right now.

Browse all streaming options here:    LINK

Browse all streaming options here: LINK

What's the history?

Ever since college, I've always expressed  to my friends my desire to come up with a podcast for my brand. Back then, I was worried about what I could talk about, if I could actually commit to coming out with something weekly, and if I had the time to keep going at it.

When I graduated in 2015, I again had the urge to pursue this goal, but I never got around to it. I got a job, became busy trying to up my graphic design skills for the corporate world, and doing workshops. It was a great year for me too, and this idea was sent to the back of my mind.

Come 2016, I stumbled upon an amazing set of podcasts and my desire was rekindled. I didn't have the equipment though, so again, I put it on the back-burner that year.

The year 2017 came around, and I finally bought a decent microphone setup (thanks to a very generous sponsor!). I proceeded to do covers and record my own compositions, but I didn't think about podcasting at all that year.

Okay, so what happened next?

It was early 2018 that everything made sense to me. This year, I knew I couldn't keep holding off my idea any longer, so I started turning some posts on this blog into podcast episodes, starting with "A Quick Guide to Long Distance Relationships". That first episode got SO MANY VIEWS that I knew I wanted to keep pursuing this new path.

I got a lot of audio comments in my inbox from my listeners who said they've learned so much from it and they were thankful for having a podcast like mine. My heart swelled. I knew I've always wanted to help people improve themselves and their relationships, and to have a channel that reaches beyond my own country is amazing.

Within two months of the podcast being live, I got sponsored by Audible (get your free 30-day trial and a free audiobook!), and now, I'm sponsored by Shopify as well (get a 14-day free trial now and explore Shopify)!

So what's the podcast about?

Starting that podcast last March was the best decision I've ever made. More than that, it allowed me to share tips for people in relationships, people who are single, those who want to try public speaking but are scared, designers who need additional help - anyone who wants to better themselves can learn from The Indy Miss podcast.

Here are a few topics out of the 21 episodes already available:

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(I've long wanted to blog about this, but again, my work load got the better of my time. I now wish I'd blogged about it sooner, but we're here now.)

Where can I stream this?

My podcast is available on 9 platforms, which is CRAZY (haven't gotten the link to Overcast yet)! You may also click any of the links below:

Choose your platform and listen away!

What else should I expect?

I release episodes once a week, either Monday or Saturday morning, but sometimes, if it's an episode that I really feel like sharing mid-week, I release a bonus episode.

There will be a lot more topics surrounding self-improvement and relationships, and the occasional tech-related topic (without being too technical that the general public won't relate to it).

I'm also open for suggestions, so please leave a comment if you'd like to propose anything.


I'm so happy to be able to share my podcast to everyone, and I hope to keep getting better and write more relatable episodes! There's LOADS more to come, so follow or subscribe to the podcast on your favorite streaming platform!

Until the next post, loves!

Loving Long Distance: Keeping It Interesting

No matter how in-love we are with our other half, there are moments where the relationship can get pretty stale if there’s nothing new going on or if we’re doing the same things all the time. In this case, adding a little (or a lot) of spice will do you both good.

From being in a relationship for almost 14 years, I can lend a few tips and insights as to how to keep the relationship exciting and interesting. These tips have worked for us, and I’m hoping they’ll benefit you as well.

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1. Care for the little things. 

Short messages, small cards, or quick calls do so much to keep the relationship strong. This should be a no-brainer, so it boggles me when some friends ask for advice and tell me the same exact thing: that they need more from their boyfriends and that they don’t communicate much between fancy dinners and overseas trips (if there are any).

With my guy - I think I’ve hit the jackpot (in more ways than one). I don’t deserve the attention he gives me. To be honest, I’m the more passive half, but that doesn’t stop him from sending little notes my way. Be it a short message on Skype or Messenger, a tag on a meme on Facebook - in short, any action that allows him to interact with me throughout the day. I often send him little notes as well. I might be passive at times, but I’m not a snob, haha.

Given our distance, small things really matter as it helps lessen the miles and makes us feel like we’re physically together.

2. Invest in experiences.

In a long distance relationship, every moment matters, and if you only get to see each other once a month (or less than), making each meeting special will take some planning.

As for us, we take turns in planning trips for our monthly get-togethers. Last December, Lance and I visited Sweden to spend time before the New Year. It was his turn to do the planning, and it was the best year-ender ever. He booked one of the prettiest hotels in Stockholm called the Nobis Hotel (and the most beautiful room ever), booked us a tour, and just made everything incredible for the both of us.

When it’s my turn to plan though, I can’t splurge on luxury trips. He insists on paying for everything all the time, but I don’t like having to rely on him that much. So, I try to budget. I book us hotels and fancy dinners too, but nothing so luxurious as somewhere abroad. I’m not as loaded as he is, but I do know how to give my guy a good time my own way. Often, the best experience is somewhere where it’s only the two of you present.

Simply put, you could either go big, or go as much as you can afford. What matters is you do something together, you experience something together, and that makes for some great stories and memories.

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3. Show your affection.

Here in the Philippines, public display of affection (PDA) isn’t really the norm. Perhaps in the cities, it’s become commonplace - but most of the country are still quite conservative, so couples don’t air out their love through physical touch that often.

In other countries, PDA is very common. Couples kiss in public and touch each other without having to think of being judged or scrutinized. This foreign way of thinking has always been normal for me living in Australia as a kid, and having an Australian boyfriend certainly helped solidify my opinion on the matter.

When he’s in the country, we WEAR affection on our sleeves. We hold hands, cuddle, kiss, and touch each other with little care for what the world thinks. It’s been like that for the past 13 or so years (minus the 1st year of high school, haha), and with every year that passes by, we’ve managed to keep things exciting. (Try touching his ass in public and you’ll see what I mean.)

Don’t feel like you have to hide how you feel because people will judge. That’s natural to humans. We judge others ALL the time. Let your body loose once in a while if you’re still not convinced. It’s quite therapeutic.

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4. Try role-playing.

While role-plays are usually for the bedroom, you can also use it to add some spice throughout the day. In a relationship where you can’t always physically be together, talking over Skype or phone is kind of the only way you can communicate. If you’ve been in a relationship for as long as I have, I think you’ll naturally develop some ‘inside language’ you both automatically understand depending on the mood.

There was a time where we were both feeling a little peckish (for food and something else, haha), and since we had some time to kill, we had a little phone conversation surrounding food (I was a fruit and he was a vegetable) and how we wanted to eat each other. Yeah, that happened. Left us both flushed afterwards, and it certainly helped bring us closer together.

Role-playing is the chance to look into some of your partner’s innermost thoughts. I’m very into the psychology and behavior of people, and from the books I’ve read, observing what roles they usually go for will indicate their desires. It’ll help you get to know your partner better, and complement his/her desires with your own.

5. Play with fashion.

We rely on our visuals very heavily, and when we see something we like, we snap out of boredom and turn our attention towards it like a hawk. When you’ve been with your partner for a while, playing with your wardrobe every now and then will bring the surprise.

If you’re more of a jacket, shirt, and jeans kind of girl, switch it up a bit! I’m the type who doesn’t dress up a lot, and when he’s on vacation in the Philippines, he has an expectation of what I usually wear, i.e. jeans, a regular statement shirt, and some rubbers.

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The last time my boyfriend visited, I changed my style. Instead of my usual ‘blah’ outfit, I wore a printed, tubed jumpsuit, some sandals, and a lovely floral kimono I had recently bought. The guy was all over me. Couldn’t take his hands off my ass, haha.

The attire not only made me feel better about myself, it also gave my guy a new image of me in his head when he went back to Australia. Something to keep him thinking about me until we see each other again.

(If you’re not comfortable with reading about intimacy, please skip the next point.)

6. Sext.

Sexting is a pretty taboo subject in the Philippines, but as much as people hate to admit it, this form of communication does wonders to keep the passion alive.

Personally, I think sexting outside a relationship is a no-no. Between couples though, I’m perfectly okay with it (I mean, we do it, so...). I think it’s yet another way to become closer to your significant other, and allows for exploration of another level of intimacy outside the bedroom.

Sexting shouldn’t have to be “dirty”, okay? You can do it in a classy way. Make it an art. Make it a poem or something. It doesn’t have to be a foul, disgraceful thing. Text just enough to make his imagination go wild, but don’t withhold so much too that the other has no idea what you’re actually trying to say. This is also the perfect place to try out some role-playing.

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7. Write each other stories of your day.

Out of all the tips, this has been the one which I’m always excited for. I love it when Lance tells me about his day and what he feels at the end before going to sleep. Our stories could be very long or very short depending on our energy levels and how much we want to share. (Yes, you don’t have to share everything with your other half.)

In the past, we’ve sent these stories over email, but as mine has started to get clogged by other urgent things, his messages fall to the bottom of the mailbox. To avoid this, we keep a shared diary online, a blog that only we have access to. We log our events of the day and we read them before bed.

You know why this works? It makes both parties feel that regardless of how far apart they both are, they’re still involved and “in-the-know” about the important parts of their partner’s day. Yes, it requires effort, especially if you both had a very tiring day, but it’s worth every last bit of energy.

Lance and I don’t often get the chance to actively chat and be present at the same time, that’s why we leave messages and just wait until the other sees it later in the day. With these story logs, it’s the perfect day-ender. It’s like you were with him the entire day.

Like I said in the beginning, these have worked for us and are all based from experience. If any or all of these work for you, then I'm happy. If not, let me know how you made your relationship last. I might be missing a few things in here, haha.