Month: April 2017

A Tale of Fashion, Style and Three Celebrities

Fashion can be many things, depending on who’s designing the pieces but, style is how each of these pieces come together to create an outfit with the purpose of exuding a personality or an image that the wearer owns, no matter what time of the year it is.

Here are three celebrities we love to watch doll up:

1.  Emma Stone.  For her award-winning role and performance on “La La Land,” she once said, “This is a film for dreamers and I think hope and creativity are two of the most important things in the world and that’s what this film’s about”.  She has been a regular sighting on the most prestigious red carpets around the world, and what a sight to look at she has been. Here are her top looks:


  • Givenchy Golden Gown.  The Oscar Best Actress winner did not disappoint in this gorgeous gown that raised her glamor by several notches higher. The gown was laced with embroidery running from her chest down to the hips. From there to the ankles, the fringes swayed with Stone’s every move.
  • Valentino Dress in Nude.  Simply elegant, this star-studded sheer dress highlighted Stone’s beautiful, flawless face. If you want to ace a similar outfit, you should check out how Cosmelan can help you fade unsightly blemishes once and for all.
  • Chanel Dress in Pale Yellow.  The actress was vibrant and stylish in this classic and chic casual dress from Chanel as she attended her movie’s premiere night for the Toronto International Film Festival. She accented her outfit with a headband and a pair of Christian Louboutin ankle-strapped pumps.

2.  Gigi Hadid.  The top brass model has been giving everyone a good show on the runways, the covers, and the streets. Here are her top looks recently:


  • Miu Miu button-down khaki.  She wore this season’s biggest trend with a high-waist bikini bottom.
  • Gucci Classic Loafers with Fur.  She’s been seen comfortably striding on the streets in these comfortable and yet luxurious pair of soles.  Furs on shoes have become a common sighting this season, most especially with the still growing popularity of pompom shoes.
  • Miaou Plaid and Cropped Pants.  She wore this pair with a lingerie top covered with black leather jacket, and wore it with a pair of ankle boots.
  • Tommy x Gigi navy-inspired overcoats, pants and tops.  We started loving those navy blue and white stripes and metallic button details the minute the powerful fashion collaboration was announced last year, and we’re still loving the inspiration now.

3.  Selena Gomez.  This Latina is knocking out every look this season and all eyes are on her.

  • Coach bags and clothing.  She has been named the official ambassador of the world-renowned brand. Recently, she has been rockin’ Coach bags and toppers in her outfits.  We loved how she wore a rose-embellished Coach jacket with a plain, cream tanker underneath and a pair of black body hugging cropped trousers, worn with ankle-strapped sandals.
  • Maiao Tommy Jean – Pinstripe. She wore her pants with a knitted, cropped, high collar blouse in mustard yellow.  For her soles, she used flat mules to keep the look easy and comfy.
  • Vilshenko Giovana Layered Dress. Pastel printed with florals, this layered dress definitely embodies the feminine flair that we’ve seen still turned heads on the runways of Dolce and Gabbana, and Altuzarra.
  • Proenza Schouler with a three-tiered knot dress upfront. Quite a revealing, dress with layered details in black and white. Selena wore it with a pair of ankle-strapped heels.




Davao and my unsatisfied cravings

I miss hanging out in Davao. That was what I realized flying in and out for a conference a few weeks back. I miss Davao too but, it’s better when enjoyed with good friends.

I know what made me start to feel sentimental. It’s my unsatisfied cravings for the great food selections that I’ve had the opportunity to share with good people in my previous travels. It’s being in the company of somebody who knows Davao better than I do that was missing. Hay.

A series of unfortunate gastronomic experiences

With my flight from Manila to Davao scheduled for 7 am, Tuesday morning started really early and I’ve had just less than two hours of sleep! I had to wrap up a project for a client before flying out to deliver a presentation for a meeting in Davao. I didn’t have dinner the night before — toxic na.  So, you could guess how badly I wanted to be face-to-face with really good food first thing in the morning.

My half-closed eyes, my zombie skin and a quick snapchat at the backseat of a taxi.


I had second thoughts about taking my breakfast at the airport. “After all,” I thought, “I’ll be in Davao by 9 am and my presentation wasn’t due until 1 pm”. I’ll have plenty of time to find a nice spot to sit and polish my presentation before my time was up. However, I didn’t want to risk straining my body. Whenever I fail to give it enough sleep, I make sure I feed it well.

‘Chaikofi Xpresso,’ here I come! From my previous experiences ordering from this kiosk, I know it takes them a considerable amount of time to serve the food. There were only 40 minutes left before boarding time. I badly wanted to order a rice meal but I ended up asking the cashier what they would be able to serve in a few minutes. Well, sandwich, of course. I ordered chicken sandwich and a bottle of water.

As I scrambled through my external memory disk looking for some slides I wanted to add to my presentation, I almost lost track of time. After about maybe 20 minutes, the cashier delivered my order in a takeout bag. Less than five minutes later, she came back and snatched away the sandwich — me, still frantically searching my hard drives. “I gave you the wrong order,” she said. I didn’t mind.

We were down to the last 10 minutes before boarding time, finally, my sandwich (the correct one) was brought to me. My laptop bag was heavy! I wanted to keep my hands free. So, I started gobbling down my sandwich then, walked to my gate assignment. In my head, I promised myself, “Bawi ka na lang mamaya (make up for it later)”.

As soon as we safely landed, almost on time, at the Davao International Airport, my LTE was on. I was looking for a well-reviewed coffee shop near the event venue, the Waterfront Insular Hotel. Boy, I thought I got lucky! ‘Cafe Uno’ happened to receive really good reviews so I didn’t have to go anywhere else to get a good quality coffee.

Once there, I changed my mind about coffee and instead, helped myself to a full teapot of black tea mixed with hot milk and brown sugar. Yum! Then, I decided to order a Margherita Pizza, personal size. Barely 30 minutes after I sat myself down at ‘Cafe Uno,’ the organizer called to ask if I was ready to deliver my presentation — my slot was moved up! To make the story short, I didn’t get to spend my moment of calm, and I was sorry because the place had a nice ambiance to it even in broad daylight. Okay, I did quickly tore two slices of pizza into pieces and it was super thin and crispy. The pizza only cost Php 200 and ‘personal’ size meant family size in a local pizza joint. That voice in my head once again said, “Bawi ka na lang mamaya (make up for it later)”.

After I was done, lunch was served at the event hall. Let’s just say that I didn’t have high hopes because I generally don’t dig hotel food. Lunch lived up to my expectations.

When I decided to leave, there were still 5 hours left before my flight so, I decided to head to Abreeza Mall. It’s one place in Davao I haven’t gone to before. So, I went strolling with my heavy laptop bag on my back, my shoulders were already complaining. I was looking for a souvenir shop where I could get native goods because it was so hot I didn’t want to head all the way to Aldevinco.

I decided to try a local food stall. I was on my way to take my table at Margie’s but was beat to it by two friends who, turned out to have 10 other people in their company. “Goodbye, Margie,” I thought to myself.

I headed down to ‘Pastanni’ instead which had a nice, quaint corner squeezed next to where ‘Tinalak Home’ (absolutely a feast for the eyes, that store is) was.  I ordered Beef Risotto. When it was served, I was so speechless that I couldn’t even ask the waitress, “Where’s the beef?” I just surrendered — this was not a good day for my palate.

I got my 12 kilos of pomelos then headed to the airport. (I got a taste of that already and I can tell those beautiful pomelos will be my treat. Anyway, of course I checked them in. Once I made it to the gates, I was still craving for good food. I didn’t risk it anymore. I was done trying. This time, I helped myself to a Chips Delight Peanut Butter and a bottle of water — didn’t disappoint.

Memories of tasty treats in Davao

I may have to reserve the list of the good food I’ve tried in Davao for another post though. All I can say for now is that it’s not the end of Davao for my always hungry tummy. I’ll be back, and I’ll make sure to travel with a friend next time. Magkita unya ta pohon! (I will see you soon.)

I’ll be grateful if you happen to have any suggestions where I should eat and visit next time I’m in Davao. Let me know below.


Smart Drugs: Should we be excited or afraid?

Have you seen the movies, “Limitless” or “Lucy”? Wouldn’t life be such a breeze if there was a drug you can take whenever there is a problem that you cannot solve or, if you simply want to ace a presentation even with barely an hour of sleep?

Smart drugs, also known as “Nootropics”, are real.

Have you ever heard of smart drugs before? Whether you have or not, tried it or not, listed below are seven questions we should all be asking about these alleged brain enhancers:

1. What are smart drugs?

“Smart drugs” is a loosely used term that refers to a group of substances that are believed, some with scientific studies supporting their claims, to enhance brain activity, most especially those processes that improve memory, intensify alertness, enhance problem-solving skills, and boost brain and muscle energy. Many have legit medical uses for various cognitive-related dysfunctions, while some would rather be branded as supplements.

2. Are smart drugs legal?

Yes. Since many have medical uses, smart drugs are legal drugs. Although many are marked for prescription use only, users are able to access them easily, including via online transactions. When these are marketed as supplements, in the US, there is no proof of claim that needs to be reproduced, no stopping its distribution, and people can easily access them.

However, the use of a legal drug is another issue. Regulatory authorities would often rule that medicines are for sick people. That was what drove the US Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) to ban the selling and marketing of Piracetam, a category of smart drug, as a supplement or, without prescription, beginning in 2010.  Piracetam is formulated to enhance the brain function of stroke patients. In 2016, the UK Home Office also took a similar stance against the nootropic brand, Noopept, considered to be a drug that gave a legal high. It is formulated with a substance synthetically resembling Piracetam.

The American Medical Associated has taken a stand on the use of smart drugs, albeit indirectly. The body passed a consensus “discouraging the non-medical use of prescription drugs for cognitive enhancement in healthy individuals”.

3. Who are using smart drugs?

According to reports, up to 25 per cent of students in top universities in the UK have tried Modafinil.  It doesn’t stop in schools. Another report exposed that use of smart drugs have also become common among young employees of startup firms located in California, where Silicon Valley is located.

4. Do smart drugs really make you smarter?



Those who have tried them and are hooked claim that smart drugs do enhance their performance. Others who have tried them say it was a nightmare.

For your information, listed below are just some of the smart drugs in circulation:

  • Modafinil (Provigil).  This is a drug originally formulated to treat narcolepsy. It simultaneously enhances attentiveness and keeps the user awake. A study by Battleday and Brem confirms that Modafinil use indeed leads to these cognitive improvements.

Since the patent has expired, this drug’s formulation is now available as a generic medicine but, you will still need a prescription to get your hands on it.

  • Nicotine.  It (not nicotine from cigarettes) enhances attention and mood by re-energizing your cells. In turn, the changes make your brain function on overtime.
  • L-theanine and Caffeine. This combination allegedly enhances your memory and mental endurance (1, 2).  That means, you can solve much more complex problems with it.

5. Are there any side effects?

Smart drugs are playing with no less than your brain so, how can it not have side effects? These drugs influence how your dopamine levels behave. Its behavior, in turn, turns on or off several mechanisms in your brain and body.

Smart drugs with legit medical use are being taken irresponsibly, outside of their originally intended use, and are being taken without prescription. That means, the effects of these drugs have not been exactly observed when taken by perfectly normal and healthy people.

Worse, many are marketed as supplements. When such products get a “Generally Recognized as Safe” label from the FDA, the manufacturers need not provide any proof of medical claim nor is it required to disclose potential side effects. In fact, many of these so called smart drugs do not even go through clinical trials. The market implication? They can be openly accessed by whosoever wants to use it.

So, again, are there side effects? Although it’s hard to say for sure, what is certain is that the risks are high.

6.  How can you access smart drugs?

Prescription only drugs require you to go see your doctor first. GRAS-labeled varieties are available right off-the-counter.

Still, both kinds are widely sold on the Internet, even in the Philippines apparently as we found some websites that do offer them. Users also get them from their personal networks and street vendors. With more people buying, the demand is high and, from the end of the manufacturers and distributors, the dollars keep piling up.

7. Should you be using smart drugs?

Let us take the allegation that smart drugs enhance certain cognitive functions to be true beyond doubt. What they do then is give you a boost but not exactly make you learn new things or new skills to help you get ahead with your performance.

Even when we leave each other to choose for ourselves, smart drugs have more societal implications than you might think. It’s like giving one person steroid and asking him to compete in a race with another who does not have it. Who said that life was fair? Then again, is it just? Should governments give all of their citizens smart drugs then? What an outrageous idea that would be!

People who advocate for the use of nootropics namedrop young, top-brass CEOs of startups who have allegedly used smart drugs too. Impressive but, Einstein didn’t have a smart drug when he unlocked the Theory of Relativity. So, when you are seriously considering to take or, are already taking, smart drugs, think about this: Where will you be when the smart drugs are gone?

If you are a parent, you should be worried too about how smart drugs may be making our children less resilient and more reliant to external factors other than their own smarts.

Smart drugs take away the pain in the gain, the excitement of a long wait, and the thrill that can only come from sheer, unadulterated hard work. In the long run, smart drugs make you believe less in yourself and in what you can do on your own. It’s not the smart drugs that will solve the equation you cannot decipher — that will have to be you.

This article is not intended to provide medical advise of any sort. Seek professional help for any medical attention you think you might need.