IN my ripe old age of 35—19 of those devoted to the wonderful world of soft news reportage—I have, for the past several years, chosen to use the smug person’s phrase, “Been there; done that,” in a very positive context.
When I returned to my post as Lifestyle Editor of The Manila Times following my three-year sabbatical in 2010, I spent a few months doing the rounds of events to touch base with long-time friends and colleagues, and soon after began passing on invitations to my very young (and good looking) staffers. At present, these are my top gal and guy, Euden Valdez and Ed Uy (do take note, however, that our lone male member is slightly more advanced in months than I am), and tireless contributors Carla Bianca Ravanes and Sheila Mañalac.
Since I genuinely feel privileged and grateful for having experienced the best the Lifestyle beat can offer—through my years as reporter, assistant editor, fashion and beauty columnist and editor in the realms of Arts and Culture, Food, Health, Design, Fashion, Beauty and Travel (not to mention the endless whirl of fabulous parties)—I almost always decide on assigning an event nowadays if I had already been there and done that. That is, if I had been essentially awed, thrilled, delighted, or made to be more open-minded, well rounded and informed, as well as more sophisticated in the world we live.
“It’s your turn,” I always tell my wide-eyed and youthfully energetic writers each time I hand over a promising invite (or forward an e-vite as the case may be in this day and age), without forgetting to add the order to “have fun.”
And so they do as I bid them, and I, in turn, very much enjoy listening to giddy stories when they show up at the office the next day. And more importantly, the articles they soon hand in provide a fresh take on a subject I had written about countless times before—a treat to any editor who is almost nearing two decades in the business, give or take a few years.
Nevertheless, these past couple of weeks—through the ever powerful persuasion of some of my closest colleagues, as well as my very own staffers—I experienced the benefit of rediscovering what it is to be the Lifestyle lass about town. I had “pink” lunches and fully booked weekends, which made me young, wide-eyed and pumped with energy all over again.
No wonder “Throwback Thursdays” have become such a hit on Instagram. Because even if you’ve already been there and done that, I tell you, it can be such a sweet thrill to go back and do it one more time.
The happy, ultra-girly makeup
Back in the early 2000s, when I had just been given my very first fashion and beauty column, which I titled “Hemlines and Punchlines,” perhaps four or five lunches of my six-day work week would be taken up by product launches for what is now a very saturated skincare and cosmetics market.
It was the invasion of brands the Philippines had never even heard about for moisturizers and makeup, and it meant that we, poor and pretty overworked young writers, had to run in our heels from one fancy restaurant to the next, to find out what new miracle tube or pot we could share with our readers.
Now these lunches were, as you would expect, very carefree and girly (save for our very well-written articles and columns, of course), and basically meant lots of chatter over stacks of make up, which we would tryout ourselves following the fabulous demos of the experts.
And so on what was supposedly a regular Wednesday two weeks ago, I joined a very special and intimate luncheon to mark the first anniversary of the highly successful San Francisco-based Benefit Cosmetics in the country at the posh Myron’s Place in Greenbelt 5. The guest list comprised of just six lifestyle editors and reporters out of nine national broadsheets, four of whom happen to be my closest chums in the biz. To say we had a blast is an understatement because to begin with, everything was pink! Plus, the very worldly goods we loved most surrounded us, from concealers to foundations, lipsticks to mascaras, and blushes to brushes.
Thus the gossiping and giggling were endless (pink and makeup does that to you), just like they were during the height of the beauty invasion many years ago. As I apologized to our host for the din we were making, the young and lovely country brand manager of Benefit Cosmetics, Aubrey Bautista, assured me that we had actually created the perfect mood for what Benefit is all about.
“On top of the 200 cosmetic products we have today, Benefit still carries the tagline ‘Laughter is the best cosmetic’,” she began her perky presentation as we hushed down to work.
“Benefit is a brand that is fun and unashamedly girly. It’s a beauty brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously because makeup should be fun, and it should be something that makes us happy. There are no makeup rules or dos and don’ts with Benefit. Anything goes!” she enthused.
For those still unfamiliar with the brand, you may have passed their quaint-looking boutiques at Greenbelt 5, Glorietta and Rustan’s Shangri-La, as well as a pop-up store in TriNoMa, with that trademark pink and white-striped awning.
A makeup junkie even in my old age, I have long been a fan of two of their best-selling products, namely the miraculous little tube called “The Pore-fessional”—a lovely lightweight balm which minimizes the appearance of pores—and their “PosieTint,” a cheek and lip stain in one, which is basically makeup on the run.
The tongue-in-cheek names and slogans for Benefit’s products, not to mention their diverse packaging design (not one looks the same, believe it or not), were the brainchild of sisters Jean and Jane Ford, who founded the brand in San Francisco in 1976.
This is not to say, however, that Benefit is all about fluff, because I know of top makeup artists and beauty writers—yours truly included—who are highly impressed with the beauty problem solutions they’ve developed for the market.
The rest of the luncheon-cum-makeup session then afforded our lucky little group a sneak peek into Benefit’s soon to be launched products, namely: Gimme Brow, a brow-volumizing fiber gel, whose delightful slogan is “Where Brows Magically Appear;” a 15-hour balm primer (yes, 15-hours!) that is both colorless and super lightweight, aptly dubbed Stay Flawless; and the Rockateur Boxed ‘o Powders collection, whose color palette carries warm-toned rose gold blushes that suit the Filipina complexion. The first two products will be out in August (I’ve tried them and I love them!), while the third will be out in October.
Aubrey further talked about other exciting stuff, such as the Manila visit of Jean and Jane’s daughters, Annie and Maggie in October (‘tis indeed the younger generation’s time to shine); as well as the opening of a stand alone boutique in TriNoMa come August, and the SM Mall of Asia branch, which in fact, held a grand launch just last Thursday. But of course, I let Euden cover that super fun event this time . . .
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Let me count the ways to the title above. The first thing you have to do is to head on over to Discovery Suites, the well-known premiere serviced hotel in the Ortigas Business District, and the rest will simply follow.
I was thoroughly pampered indeed for the weekend of July 12 to 14 (shortly after my power pink lunch at Benefit) when I finally accepted an invitation from the ever enjoyable and hospitable gang of Gemma Batoon (group director of marketing services for The Discovery Leisure Company Inc.), Marc dela Cruz (public relations director of Discovery Suites), and seasoned PR consultant Rosary Ysmael.
Having seen my transformation from singleton-about-town to wife-and-mom of two boys, they had a hunch I’d be assigning the familiarization weekend for the hotel’s new health and wellness and weekend packages to my young posse of writers. They knew I can no longer bear to be away from the adorable racket, tight hugs and wet kisses of my mischievous sons for too long. (Honey, did I forget to mention something about your here?).
“Bring your family along!” Rosary texted the magic words that ridded me the guilt of a working weekend.
The “Pamper Thyself Weekend” at Discovery Suites was truly a much needed break from my usual routine of home-office-home, and allowed me yet again to touch base with friends and colleagues, as well as relax, exercise (a bit), relax (some more), eat (a lot), and yes—even go shopping!
So after office that Friday, I picked up my sons and their yayas, and made the 20-minute drive from our house to Discovery Suites so I could work while knowing my kids were just a few floors above or below me.
Welcomed with cold towels and a beauty queen bouquet at the well-appointed hotel lobby, we were escorted to a newly renovated two-bedroom Serendipity Suite, where a sign that said, “Welcome home Ms. Tessa Mauricio-Arriola” sweetly hung at the end of the elegant dining and living room area.
As I hurriedly—I mean patiently—set up my boys and their yayas in the second bedroom (they had toys, milk, snacks, a huge TV and new DVDs, OK?), I rushed to the door as I heard the bell where two ladies from the hotel’s Terra Wellness Spa brought in a warm foot bath with rose petals.
As my husband took over dinner duties with the kids, I went up the penthouse for socials at the hotel’s multi-awarded 22 Prime steak restaurant, hosted by Discovery Suites’ resident manager David Pardo de Ayala; Gemma, Marc and Rosary; Discovery Leisure Company’s new corporate chef, Anthony Raymond, whose 15-year culinary career took place in such establishments as the five-diamond hotel The Peninsula Beverly Hills, and the French Michelin-Star restaurant Stella Maris in Paris, among others; and the rest of the weekend’s guests.
David simply said, “This weekend is all about good company, good food, rest and relaxation, which is what guests to Discovery Suites can always expect.”
And so, dinners, lunches and breakfasts meant superb meals (both healthy and guiltily indulgent); Saturday was filled with physical and soulful pampering with a yoga session, a heavenly massage, and more breathing exercises; and finally, Sunday was all about vegging out with room service breakfast, and after check out, a short walk to The Podium mall across the street where some of us ran errands, shopped, or simply enjoyed the favorite Filipino pastime of air-conditioned strolling.
While the weekend taught me to: 1) Save enough money so I can always afford an extra room for the kids during getaways (I confess that I loved the few hours of escape from the racket, here and there); and 2) Learn to walk to the mall; the most important reminder of the weekend was that we, hardworking career moms, should never think that indulgent “me time” is something to be guilty about. It is, in fact, a necessity because it is the only way we can shake off all the stress that our never-ending juggling act brings. The stress that manifests physically, affects our moods, and weighs down our spirits. So go for that getaway, entice your taste buds, relish a massage, and revive your spirit every so often. Because for certain, you’re going to be a better boss, a better co-worker, a better wife, a better mom, and a better you.
Discovery Suites’ latest packages comprise of Suite Indulgence—an overnight stay in a one-bedroom suite, which comes with two kinds of 60-minute spa treatments at Terra Wellness Spa (choose from the Terra Signature Touch Massage; the Deep Tissue Massage; and the Hilot Massage) and breakfast buffet for two at Restaurant 5; the Sweet Weekend in two- or three-bedroom suites, inclusive of breakfast buffet for two at Restaurant 5, milk and cookies at bedtime, and a discount on room service; and the Business Suite Package for a minimum two-night stay, complete with food and beverage vouchers to the hotel’s F&B outlets, discounted business center services, express check in and check out, and a 90-minute massage of choice at the spa. Yoga and breathing exercises may also be organized at the hotel’s Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club with yoga specialists Bee Marfil and Monica Eleazar Manzano. For more information, call 719-8888, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or log on to www.discoveryhotels-resorts.com.