Friday, January 31, 2014

Jasmine Mendiola: "Lakas Maka-Fresh" Bridal Make Up

The best piece of advice I got on bridal make-up was the Kate Middleton philosophy: "The reason why Duchess Kate opted to do her own make up on her wedding day so she will achieve that "natural look" that her husband will see her in everyday."

I couldn't agree more with the Duchess. On my big day, I want to look like my everyday self: maybe a little prettier. More so, I have the face of an 11 year-old (naks!), thus wearing make up doesn't really suit me. Also, I believe most people are prettier with no make up on. Hence, when I was searching for the perfect make-up artist, I knew I wanted the "fresh, dewy, just woke-up-looking-like-this" look. 

However, I never achieved this look every time I have my make up done. Ever. Make up artists tend to pile on the products and either I get dramatic eyes, redder-than-red lips, matte skin tone or overly done blush. 

Thus enter Jasmine Mendiola - I say the best there is in dewy, fresh make -up or as I'd like to call it "lakas maka-fresh look". 


If this kind of make up is your cup of tea, here are some of the reasons why Jasmine Mendiola is the real deal.

1. She enhances your looks and do not change any of your features. Her philosophy is not to pile on products; thus to achieve my look she studied my natural coloring and settled on: (a) no eyeliner to retain the youthful feel but she glued on light, feathery false eyelashes to open up my eyes (b) eyeshadow used were of earth colors (c) extra light foundation for dewy skin tone (d) blush on color is my natural cheek tint which is pink (e) and peach lipstick to retain my lip color.  

2. She entertains you. Apart from listening to her client's requests, she regals you with personal stories, play her own playlist for your wedding and she's just so fun to have on your wedding day. 

3. She's a pro in handling the business side of the deal. She promptly replies to inquiries, works around your schedule and tries to give you the best hairstylist that suits your preference. Hairstyle is by Elaine Ganuelas. She's also great.

4. She doesn't do "before" and "after" photo. I also think it's doing dis-service to your client. 

Here are a few tips I'd like to share to brides on how to look your best on your wedding day:

1. Always have a trial make up session. The reason why I ended up with Jasmine Mendiola was the trial make up session I had with another MUA did not match with the look I wanted to achieve. This was my trial make up look with Jasmine: "parang walang make up lang."

Also, don't forget to bring a friend along so she can give you her opinion on the make up. I also met up with the then-fiance so I can gauge the level of satisfaction of my primary customer.

2. Hydrate and nourish your skin everyday. If you have great skin quality, you're already a step ahead of the game on looking your best on the day of your wedding. Drink lotsa water, have ample sleep, protect yourself from the sun, clean your face, use moisturizer and eat healthy. 

3. Have a happy disposition. No amount of make up can hide stress, anxiety and discontent. If you're happy your eyes twinkle and everyone looks more beautiful smiling. 

So if you are still thinking about it, yes, Jasmine Mendiola is the real deal.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chestknots Studio

One of the wedding suppliers that we're very sure to partner with for our wedding is Jayjay Lucas who heads Chestknots Studio. After nailing down the church and date, I contacted Chestknots for their packages and booked them on the first bridal fair we attended. 

Side story, while booking them sometime February 2013, we took some photos, took our receipt and Mr. & Mrs. Jayjay Lucas happily sent us off. While walking around the fair, Person A touched his pocket and asks "Why do I still have the money for the photographer?" As it turned out, the 10% downpayment was not collected and nobody noticed. We went back to Tin Lucas and handed her the money. It was an opportunity for us to "save" on cost but I don't think that's how things should be done with your wedding partners. Also, what goes around, comes around:so kids, it pays to be good and nice, okay?

With the husband very interested in photography while I want dreamy photos to show my grandkids, the photography team is a priority on our list. We narrowed down the list to 5 and talked to some of them and here's the reason why we chose and are recommending Chestknots Studio:

1. Generally, Chestknots photos are very fresh, light and relaxed - pretty much how we wanted to showcase our day. Nothing is staged, emotions are raw and the approach is journalistic with that dreamy, whimsical feel. We want to have photos showing our crooked faces smiling from ear to ear rather one heavily-photoshopped worthy of a page in high-fashion magazines. 

2. It only takes a talented bunch to be creative in arranging hangers, coins and the bouquets to give that oh-so-cool pictures. Yes, they're very easy and fun to work with. For non-models like us, only simple instructions were given and it resulted to my Pinterest-kinda-wedding photos. "Magtawanan kayo" ==> you get the iconic tawanan sa damuhan shot, "walk towards us, parang nagddate lang" ==> you get the skip hop photo "rest your head on Nestee's chest" ==> you get my I-am-super-kilig-even-with- my-eyes-closed portrait. Yes, they have non-intrusive shooting style. 

3. Reasonably-priced. Chestknots have increased their price from the time we booked them but I believe it is still considered average in the industry. 

What are our key takeaways for couples who are searching for their wedding day photographer:

1. Decide on the feel of the photos you want to have: (a) light, fresh, raw and Pinterest-worthy (b) dramatic and fashion magazine-worthy. We chose the former. 

2. Shortlist photographers according to the shooting-style you want and check out their blogs, Facebook page, Vimeo links to see if they are consistent with the style you are searching for.  

3. Check if the rate suits your budget. 

4. More importantly, meet them and see if you have that working rapport with them. You don't wanna be stuck with a bunch of people - that you paid for - who you don't like. Really. 

Finally, we are recommending Chestknots Studio because they delivered and exceeded our expectations. The photos in my previous posts and what you'll see below are proof that they can deliver Pinterest-worthy photos while making us feel at ease. Most of the locations in the shoot were chosen by them, so please trust and give your partners room to decide.

Book them, they're worth it.

Pink socks never look this good and manly

On to some crazy shots. My husband looking dapper and handsome while I... I am being myself.

I can remember Yakie directing her Ryza Mae poses here that's why we were laughing hard with the  girls still looking very lovely

We do have a few (maybe 1?) proper portrait shot

I love, love this class photo by the steps of the Chapel

Now on to the what really happened during our day - capturing the raw emotions of the people at the wedding. I noticed 98% of the attendees were photographed with their biggest smile on -(",)-*wink*

The hug of brother bear

and a mother

The would-be in-laws

and guests showing their hands

Even the gentlemen did not escape Fr. JP's show of hands

This tender kiss

And the smiles of my FE boys -(",)-*wink*

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: My (Version of a) Perfect Wedding

"Happiness is being married to your bestfriend"

The challenge with having browsed all the dreamy weddings at Style Me Pretty, Bride and Breakfast and Martha Stewart Weddings is you have encountered all the possible she-bang that makes a wedding something out of the ordinary. Drowned in tons of drool-worthy inspiration saved on my Pinterest page, iPad, iPod, phablet and wedding magazines, Person A and I engaged in thousands of conversation to pull off a wedding that is truly our own and speaks of who we are. We listened to friends' suggestions, sought out the help of family to execute our DIYs and described our specifications to "wedding partners" but left all the decisions to the 2 of us; our first project as a family.

In the end we settled with (1) everything relaxed, fresh and polished mixed in a sea of blush pink and a soft shade of grey. Throw in  (2) something "us" in all the details such as the table arrangement (table names are after our favorite places), gown embellishment, ceremony and reception signages, entourage (Fifi was the un-official ring bearer), incorporated Person A's favorite color (hint: NOT grey) in the accessories (we've searched far and wide from SM North to Alabang Town Center for that iconic pink dress socks which we grabbed at Greenbelt), used coins we collected from the countries we visited and  secretly added a Harry Potter coin, and we were very brave to forego tradition as long as it is not required by the church: we did not have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, no garter and no bouquet were tossed during the reception - there were no singles games, as we promised our friends. Though, there was a table quiz game to celebrate Person A and I's competitive spirit - yep, there was a math question to be answered in 10 seconds.

It also helped that we had a very clear vision of our special day which I stole shamelessly from my previous SFC Household Head: Paolo Ylagan (3) The Ceremony is for God, The Reception is for family and friends and the day after and forever will be for the 2 of us. In our numerous disagreements and discussions, when faced with several alternatives, we go back to our guiding statement and used it as a basis of our decision. Will it be pleasing to God? Will our family like it? Will our friends have a good time? 

In the 12 months that we spent preparing for our wedding and marriage, (4) we try to be faithful in praying for the wedding that God wants us to have. I am very grateful that He gave us the resources - time, helping hands and treasure - to pull off the wedding of our dreams. Truth be told, with human strength alone, it was impossible.  We were 120% over the initial budget, which we patiently saved up for years, and coughed up the unplanned cost in a year, debt-free, while allowing us to enjoy a relatively luxurious honeymoon to start our forever after.  He also blessed us with the perfect weather: overcast morning, drizzle during the ceremony, bright sunshiny cocktail hour and windy dinner at the golf course lounge to make our guests comfortable in the evening air. Mama Mary's and St. Clare's intercession never fails.

I can probably throw #1, #2, #3 out of the window and still declare the 10th of January 2014 as the best day ever: (5) the day that I married my bestfriend, the man of my dreams and the person who values and treats me as the most precious being in this world. Having him as my husband makes me think that I must have done something good in this lifetime to deserve such perfect blessing from God. If you noticed in the photos "para akong ngiti na tinubuan ng mukha" the happiness was emanating from within and I had that disposition 2 days before the wedding that my make up artist commented "Papamasahe ka ng mukha pagkatapos baka napagod ka na sa kakatawa" and my photographer asked "Nakapagkape ba to, parang may tama?" and the skip-hop you'll see in the video and photos are real - just like what we do when we go on our walks. The adrenaline and endorphin were still sky-high the day after that we found ourselves walking along the Aguinaldo Highway at 6AM to the hotel where our parents were staying to look for a few things in my car!

So that pretty sums up why I think our wedding is my version of a perfect wedding despite the hiccups and glitches that day: oh yes, the band botched up our first dance and some of the songs, the coordinator could have done a better job and I heard more issues I was shielded from. For someone with a suspected OCD and a self-declared control freak, my favorite line that day was "OK", "Kahit alin", "It really doesn't matter". I know in my heart that, the most important thing is I am to make a commitment to Person A in front of God and nothing else matters.

I can tell a story with each photo but I will share instead the phrases that were scattered all over the reception to convey our idea of love and forever.

To the best wedding team ever: Jayjay Lucas and Chestknots Studio, Novia Zapata, Justine Bumanlag and Saso Event Styling, Kristel Yulo, Wang Videography, Joy San Gabriel, Splendido and Ladera Catering, Jasmine Mendiola Make Up and Elaine Ganuelas, Khristian Cunanan and the Team Cunanan, Rachelle Marie Dangin and Walter Escano, Flowers of May, Jose Graciano Bartolome and Mico Villena, Katrina and Kristina Baris, our entourage, Bueno Spanish Sardines, a gazillion *high fives* and our sincerest gratitude.

Lastly, Rev. Father John Paulo Bautista, SHMI for the prayers, words before, during and after the wedding and for our Papal blessing, thank you very much.

"Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, God gives us a fairy tale."

"You can thank your stars all you want, but I'll always be the lucky one."

"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine"

"All you need is love"

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."

"You will forever be my always"

"You're all I need to be with ... forevermore"

Photographs: Jayjay Lucas and Chestknots Studio, Invitation & Signages: Novia Zapata, Entourage Flowers & Reception Styling: Justine Bumanlag and Saso Event Styling, Bride's Gown: Kristel Yulo, Video: Wang Videography, Cake: Joy San Gabriel, Venue & Catering: Splendido Taal Golf & Country Club  and Ladera Catering, Bride's Hair and Make-Up: Jasmine Mendiola Make Up and Elaine Ganuelas, Hangers & DIYs: Khristian Cunanan and the Team Cunanan, Event Host: Rachelle Marie Dangin and Walter Escano, Couple Story Video: Jose Graciano Bartolome and Mico Villena


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