My updated ₱10M wishlist

I was wandering around my blog and came across this post I made 2 years ago, where I listed down what I would do with ₱10M (without saving it for later). Thinking about it right now, as a married woman, my priorities have definitely changed. That fictional ₱10M would not be mine alone but me and my husband's. So here's a 2018 version of the ₱10M wishlist (assuming my husband agrees bwahaha): 1M still goes to my parents so they can buy a new car. With the excise tax and all obviously this wouldn't be enough to get an Isuzu MUX, but they can manage for sure hehe.

1M goes to my in-laws so they could also get a new car van.

1M goes to my parents for the expansion of our apartment building in Novaliches. I consider this an investment.

I previously mentioned I'd allot 5M to buy the vacant lot beside our family home but unfortunately it's already been sold. HUHU

Now my husband and I has 7M to spend! Now assuming we have to spend it all immediately, then here goes:

600K goes to paying off our remaining amortization with the car


6M goes to buying a 2BR unit at the building we currently live in

and finally,

400k goes to furnishing our new home!

Haaay, isn't it nice to dream! What's your 10M wishlist? :D

The Art of Passion: An Inside Look into Shaira Luna’s Dream-Driven Career

MANILA, Philippines – There is no denying the talents of Shaira Luna. From an early age, she graced our TV screens as a “gifted child”. Her passion for learning set her apart and would eventually lead her to forge her own career as one of the most prominent photographers in the country. This July, the thirty-one year old takes her place as Melissa’s Style Maven. #MeInMelissa is the latest campaign in the Philippines from the Brazilian footwear icon, Melissa Shoes. This fresh and empowering digital campaign will showcase pieces from the brand’s 2018 collection, Open Vibes. Luna shares her talent as the campaign’s official photographer.

“I really love that Melissa shoes are comfortable and squishy”, shares Shaira Luna, chuckling. “Sometimes I take for granted how important footwear is, especially for someone like me who’s on my feet for most of the day. Eventually, I found my way to shoes that fit the bill of being both stylish and comfortable.”

At the age of thirteen, Luna found herself at De La Salle University, undergoing a Bachelor of Science degree in human biology. After switching courses for some time, Luna purchased her first professional camera, a Canon EOS 350D. The camera enabled her to flex her creative muscles and would eventually inspire her to pursue a professional career in photography.

In the decade since, Shaira Luna gradually developed herself to become one of the most prolific young photographers in the country. Luna regularly works with high-profile brands and influential names from the world of art and entertainment.

“Behind the camera, especially when shooting for someone else, I make sure I understand their vision and I understand the output that they need from me”, Luna begins. “I just try to make it work for everyone and keep communication open.”

This level of professionalism extends itself to moments that require Luna to stand in front of the camera.

“When I’m in front of the camera, I try to take the place of the photographer,” Luna adds. “I try to imagine what they need from the shoot and I try to move as quickly as possible. I find it is over much faster if I get what they need, so I tend to move a lot in front of the camera even if it’s awkward for me.”

As a fashion photographer, Luna is well-regarded for her personal sense of style. Self-described as an “ever-evolving” aesthetic, she draws her inspiration from rock ’n roll icons of yesterday and today.

“I love Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine) so much! I really love her style and her music,” Luna shares. “I also like Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. I’m very much inspired by icons of the ‘70’s. I’m not sure why. Maybe someday I’ll find out.”

Even then, Luna is quick to admit that a lot of her style inspiration comes from the research she does prior to a shoot.

“In general, I’m very much into the history of fashion and that translates into my style and the people I admire as well,” Luna adds. “I think the reason I got into studying eras of fashion was because of my shoots. So, whenever I have a shoot that’s inspired by a particular period, I find myself going even deeper into what happened during that time, especially the things they wore and why they wore the things they did.”

If there is anything Shaira Luna can share, it’s her love for rediscovering the past through pieces of clothing. “If you just use your imagination, you can try to rework the stuff you already have. Perhaps you can use stuff from your parents and grandparents. You end up with something more unique, something not cookie-cutter. Just something more fun that will put a smile on your face.”

Shaira Luna is an old soul who has built her name by turning her dreams into a successful career. This is reflected in both her personal style and her approach to her work. This bubbly, determined, and highly focused individual has all the qualities that make her the perfect fit as Melissa’s first Style Maven.

About Melissa

Melissa is an iconic global footwear brand from Brazil. Established in 1979, Melissa is highly regarded for its long-lasting and avant-garde designs, and collaborations with a number of high-profile names from the world of art and fashion.

From sexy stilettos to fabulous flats, Melissa shoes have brought fashion and comfort to new heights. Melissa brings the future of fashion to the world.

Instagram: @melissaphilippines
Facebook: MelissaPhilippines

Wedding Preps at Seda Hotel Vertis North (Deluxe Room)

I know this is a bit late (too late, in fact), but better late than never, right?

We booked Seda Vertis North back when it was only 2 months old. They were new and didn't have any star rating yet, but we greatly considered them because they seemed to have a 4-5 star potential, and it's the closest we could get from our wedding venue at Fairview haha (Microtel excluded lol). But what have you, just this May, they were awarded a 5 star rating by The Department of Tourism, making them the first 5 star hotel in Quezon City. Good job! For our wedding preps, we booked 2 Deluxe rooms with them (smallest). One for the bride, one for the groom. We didn't opt for the bigger suites because only our immediate family members will be preparing. Plus, it'll be out of budget for us haha.

We got the rooms for around ₱6,000 net each, with breakfast buffet for 2 included. That time, they weren't super strict with suppliers yet. They allowed our photographers to come up, as well as our coordinators and other family members. We didn't have problems bringing crew meals to the room as well. Also, they waived our photoshoot fee since we booked 2 rooms with them. So we were able to use their public areas (lobby, pool, hallways) to shoot with our family and entourage. Again, that was before. I think they've updated their photoshoot guidelines.

The Lobby

The lobby looks elegant and minimalist, not much going on. Pretty sleek. There's a computer station on one end where you can surf the internet for free; a high table lined with iMacs and Macbooks for everyone's use. Reception is very welcoming as expected. Interiors are modern-Filipino inspired, with pieces made by renowned designers like Kenneth Cobonpue and Vito Selma. Due to the minimalism it kinda strikes me as Japanese inspired too hehe.

We were lucky they waived our photoshoot fee. I think it's partly because they're still new, not so strict, and some of the facilities are still under construction. The poolside was pretty bare, and there's not much exterior landscaping. The lobby, the staircase, and the mezzanine though offered awesome backdrops for our photographer, Dave Sarabia. Here are some of his shots:

My goodness, Seda's walls are so good. The stonewalls are amazing. The Sculptures and fixtures are beautiful. The place is adorned in neutral colors, lots of grays and browns, but the accents and texture make it so clean and elegant.

I told you there's not much by the pool. 

Groom squad by the pool area with QC skyline.

The Room (Deluxe)

The room we had was big and spacious, super clean and polished. The bathroom was roomy and complete with the usual: shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, pair of toothbrush, toothpase, emergency sewing kit, shower cap, and qtips. They also have a hair blower.

On the pantry corner there's complimentary bottled water, coffee and tea. And then there's the mini fridge with snacks (that are not free), and electric kettle.

Closet is big, there are towels, bath robes, disposable slippers, iron, ironing board, and a safety vault.

TV is big and with cable, internet is okay. Window is floor to ceiling, and the drapes are clean and uhm, nice haha. The interior is pretty neutral, looks neat and feels relaxing!

In fairness, they didn't miss anything a 5 star hotel would offer. Great!

The Pool and Spa
Pool looks nice, pretty bare and dull that time. I think it needs more plants and a better landscape plan. Sorry I don't have a decent picture of it!

The Spa and lounge area is also super clean haha. I can't say it's grand, for me it still looks a bit bare. So much empty space around.

They have a steam room and a sauna room, and also a massage room.

The vanity areas are very polished looking too. I really don't know haha, all I can say is it's clean an nice but that's because it's unused. The vibe is different. You can't say it's well-maintained because it seems no one has ever used it haha. When we got there, this facility was tooootally empty. Considering it's a Saturday, Seda hotel was super empty. I guess it's because they're just starting out. They opened around April or May 2017? And we got them 4 months later. It's freaking brand new so will let the emptiness pass this time hehe.

Breakfast at Misto
The room we booked comes with free breakfast for two. It was awesome. There's the usual Filipino favorites, rice, tocino, tapa tuyo, etc. An array of bread, cereals, yoghurt, waffles, fruit juices, fresh fruits, coffee, tea, and so on. It's your typical posh breakfast buffet. The ambiance of Misto is undeniably classy.

Aaaand that's it!
Seda Vertis North is definitely a great addition to QC. They're pretty affordable too compared to other 5 star hotels. There's really not much to do around aside from shopping because it's inside a mall complex, but well, that's Quezon City for you lol.

Location and Contact

Seda Hotel Vertis North
Astra Corner Lux Drives, Vertis North, Diliman, Quezon City, 1101 Metro Manila
(02) 739 8888


[Review] SkinStation Underarm Diode Laser Hair Removal

I availed of SkinStation's 8+1 promo for ₱5,000 two months ago which entitles me to 9 sessions of UA diode laser hair removal. Each session should be taken with 6-8 weeks gap in between to allow you to observe its effect.

Was it effective? Oh yes! After just my first session, my underarm hair growth has lessened significantly. Growing hairs are thin and can be plucked with my fingers. It's super amazing. The primary reason I availed of this service is really to treat my super dark underarms. Nakakahiya so you don't need to see them, just know that they're very dark lol. Laser hair removal doesn't have direct whitening effect but less hair growth is said to help lighten the underarms by limiting the growing follicles that causes itchiness and chicken skin. So it's kindof a 2-step thing for me. Laser hair removal is step one, then underarm whitening is next. Clear and hairless underarms are said to react better to whitening agents... so we'll see lol.

Related: [Review] My Wink Laser Studio underarm whitening experience

The process for both underarms only takes 15 minutes. Super fast. They cover my eyes with protective shades and start cleaning my underarms with a cleanser. I felt they slightly shaved my UA too. Then they apply a cooling gel then begin massaging the area with the Diode laser device. It's said to be painless but I still felt some stinging sensation. Nothing too painful though. It was tolerable.

The process was fast and the results are quite impressive. My underarms seemed lighter because of less hair, but it's not really lightened per se haha.

I like the vibe of SkinStation branches. The place looks serious, very clean, super bright, and the personnel are very professional. They don't hard sell. They'd recommend their other products and procedures but never make kulit about it. Another thing I liked about the clinic is their system. Everything is digital. You can book online and they'd notify you through text and email. You can call to set an appointment and they can identify you through your number. This isn't breaking new technology but I appreciate their use of it.

Oh and one more thing, SkinStation has A LOT OF BRANCHES so it's very accessible for me.

  • Session 1 (June 2, 2018) - Fairview Terraces branch
  • Session 2 (July 17, 2018) - Shangri-la Plaza branch
  • Session 3 (September 8, 2018) - Shangri-la Plaza branch
  • Session 4 (October 20, 2018) - Shangri-la Plaza branch
  • Session 5 (December 22, 2018) - Shangri-la Plaza branch
  • Session 6 (February 5, 2019) - Fairview Terraces branch
  • Session 7 (April 20, 2019) - Shangri-la Plaza branch
  • Session 8 (June 12, 2019) - Shangri-la Plaza branch
  • Session 9 (August 21, 2019) - Shangri-la Plaza branch
Soooo, in terms of hair removal - check na check tayo dito. I've seen results from my first session agad so I'm hopeful for the coming sessions.

In terms of whitening - nope this is not a whitening treatment so I didn't get my hopes up. It's a good prep for whitening treatments though. :)

Oh and if you could recommend effective and affordable underarm whitening treatments, thank you in advance!

UPDATE: As I'm nearing the end of my sessions, they increased the intensity of the laser. At this point the treatment feels more painful. There's more heat, more stings, so don't be afraid to tell your aesthetician if it's getting uncomfortable so they could apply more cooling gel. On my 7th session I had noted discomfort more than 4 times and my aesthetician complied by applying more gel. She would also ask me from time to time if it's getting too hot or prickly so just be honest para hindi masaktan! Haha

FINALLY: I finished my last session with them last week (August 21) and they recommended to get booster sessions once in a while if I still see some growth. A session of UA Diode Laser Hair removal costs ₱1,500, but I know from time to time they offer Buy 1 Get 1 free session, and actually just now they're offering the 8+1 promo again (until August 31, 2019).

Now off to look for mild yet effective underarm whitening treatments!

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