Beautiful in Black,
BB Cream,
Budget Bundle

Who knew that making maps opens doors to newfound interests? For me, making maps had me revisiting the color wheel. And the color wheel very much extended itself to the clothes I choose to wear. It’s a known fact that black and white is in vogue this year. An article from Metro magazine May 2013 confirmed that my current style goals are in line with what’s being hailed as chic for 2013. But even when it is not as trendy this year, I still like wearing black because they are classic and they go well with almost anything.

I never really knew that I had it in me to put something together. But I guess people do change over time. My one constraint, budget considerations, gave birth to what I now call as a Php-1000 budget bundle. Every month, I will try to challenge myself to put together something for Php 1,000 or less and post about my finds here in my blog, in the same way that I share board exam tips.

For May, I chose the little black dress ensemble from Forever 21. All in all, the whole thing costs Php 1,025. It’s Php 25 more than my allotted budget but at least I did not wipe my wallet out in trying to come up with this look. I am currently attracted to having a collection of little black dresses this year so I think other colors are out and black is so in for me.



Little Black Dress of F21 Essentials – Php 405

Olive Cat’s Eye Sunnies – Php 330

Square Fancy Earrings – Php 70

Headband – Php 220



Little Black Dress (usual boutique) – Php 2,000

Cat’s Eye Sunnies from Ray Ban – Php 10,000

Square Fancy Earrings – Php 1,500

Headband – Php 220

SAVINGS: Php 10,000+!


I’ve always wanted to wear cat’s eye glasses. There is something so feminine and alluring to it. So, when I tried out this Olive Cat’s Eye at F21 last Tuesday, I knew that it was meant for me to keep:


The earrings were on sale at 69 pesos only so I threw that in as well in the netted shopping bag. Black is just something that goes well with the curves you have, whatever curves you do have (even the curves you wish you don’t have). I don’t have a small waist and this has frustrated me for years. The black dress is like a comforting balm that tells me, “It’s ok. Just wear me and let yourself loose. It’s our secret and I will accentuate you in all the right places.”




After my recent trip to Eastwood for the Le Faire Basic Makeup Workshop last Sunday, I decided to purchase a basic brush for blending eyeshadow, a smoky eye palette in keeping with my wedding’s motif, and the very famous BB Cream. I opted to buy Tony Moly’s BB cream (328 pesos ONLY!). It’s Korean which suits light-skinned Asians like me. I did not end up trying the lessons I learned from makeup but my sister Gracie just showed me how good she is with a makeup brush by coloring my eyes.



I love the effect of Tony Moly Dear Me BB Cream. I thank my bestfriend Jhona for telling me about this tiny makeup shop at Megamall near Chatime. I was also delighted to discover that the headband I took at F21 came with a double purpose. It can actually pass as a necklace:


Or I can play up and be more daring and wear it as the headband, as I originally intended:


Orange lipstick surely provided me a freshly kissable pout (Orange lipstick by Le Faire) and after the end of this informal photo shoot, I think I’ve pretty much kissed away most of my fears about dressing up:



Photoshoot Location: Binangonan, Rizal

Photos and Makeup: (soon to be Engr.) Grace Ann Barrameda

Model and Styling: Engr. Helen Mary S. Labao

Clothes and Accessories: Forever 21

Makeup Products used: Elf eye shadow, Le Faire lipstick, Marionnaud eye brush, Dear Me BB Cream with SPF 30 by Tony Moly


Special thanks to:

Atty. Paul Isaac Barrameda

Engr. Jhona Bernabe

Miss Maureen Marie Belmonte

Miss Ann Jillian Adona

Miss Neneth A. Leaño


A Truce with Heels

Today marks the day where I sort of make peace with my sworn fashion enemy: high heels.


After poring over pages and pages of gown details for my upcoming wedding, I realized that I have to reconcile myself with these oh-so-painful type of footwear. I have a year to make things right; after all, it was a season of flats and sneakers during college days and the first two working years post-board exam. One time, I was forced to wear high heels to join a really obscure beauty contest in a faraway land. I lost to the other girl because I did not know how to strut my stuff in my red 5-inch heels.

I know. It’s odd to confess a putrid allergy to high heels. Stylish women pay a lot just to snag themselves a pair, and every style book swears that a woman can never have too many of this. It’s every woman’s style weapon. Among heeled shoes, there are hierarchies with classics ranking high and rare in the shopping list. The right pair of nude heels makes you appear taller and sexier, and all colors of high heels give you that typical swinging hip that makes walking so alluring to watch.

I settled for a classic color in my cabinet, although I honestly am not a consistently style-conscious person. In my peace talks with tall footwear, I opted to wear really little black cotton dress with a pin-striped blazer draped above it. LBD came from a Forever 21 sale in Megamall. 🙂


It’s sort of a transition dress from work to a nice dinner date for Friday evening. This morning, before stepping out of the house, I slipped rather uncomfortably into a pair of beige heels. This was bought by my fiance and his sister last December for a wedding. I think she’s the perfect reconciliation choice as I warm up to dressing like a woman.


I realize that high heels are actually the rejected bestfriend of my legs, always waiting for me to come around. She has lovingly welcomed me this time. And yes, she loves my legs, too. I was the only unwilling person who hated wearing her, but now I think she’s here to stay for as long as my legs don’t give out. I still have my running shoes and sneakers for my workout in case I want to get comfortable and dandy.

Looking at that picture of myself wearing heels, I kind of got convinced already that I must allot some space in my sneaker and slipper-swamped shoe rack for these really adorable babies. Walking in it is an acquired taste, but I have not seen any other pair of footwear which can make my legs look as nice as that. Hihi. 🙂

(I ended up wearing flats in the afternoon but it’s a good start. And massive thanks to running PE class in college for toning my legs somewhat.)

happy helen

I guess I’m off to greater heights literally speaking. 🙂 <3

In Search of the Perfect Little Black Dress

Weird as it may sound, I find it hard to find the just-right little black dress. I swear that once I find it hanging in a store and I can afford it, I’ll buy it immediately. Every style bible swears by the timeless importance of an LBD; one can never have too many little black dresses.

I was at Robinsons Galleria two days ago and I was looking at boutique after boutique while waiting for my good friends Homer and Jethro. They had little black dresses on the racks but I just could not find the unexplainable oomph factor that I was looking for.

It may be the one that can accentuate my legs and hide my still-being-sculpted ab. Having an apple body type somehow made me a shoo-in for short flowy dresses. But it’s not just that. I was looking for a certain fabric and a certain style that screams simple yet not-so-simple.

I guess it’s really happening for real. I am starting to have a love affair with my closet. It is no longer a superficial staple to cover my skin and to keep me moving in the hustle of bustle of life. It has evolved into something I have a healthy interest in. At this point, I think I can now succumb to the proverbial retail therapy.

Years ago, this would be unthinkable. It was just books and more books. Again, I am a late bloomer in this category. But it’s never too late to begin. And understandably, I begin with the little black dress, because every person exploring about style begins with the classic charm brought by the LBD.