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Career Lessons from Madam Secretary

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Netflix's American drama 'Madam Secretary' is a test on my self-discipline.

Equal parts gripping and thought-provoking; the show gets you rooting for Tea Leone's Elizabeth McCord who is both imperfect and amazing.

It's also refreshing to see traditional family values shown on a show as big as this one, and fascinating to have it centered on a woman in a power position.

Here's a quick rundown on some of the life & career lessons I've picked up from this awesome show!

1. Country comes first. Dedication to the country is a central value in this show. It's not devotion to a single figure or leader, but rather duty to what is best for the nation.

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2. Keep family intact. Possibly one of the most important units of our being, supporting and being part of a group of people we can refer to as family is extremely important to our character and well-being.

3. Empathy goes a long way. Whatever job you take on, it can't all be logic all the way. In fact, the role of empathy may just be an undervalued character trait that will bring you far in your career. It makes you human - and we are dealing with humans most of the time, after all.

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4. You've got to surround yourself with a great team. In the show, the Secretary of State makes sure she's surrounded by a loyal and dedicated team - a lesson we can all learn from. After all, we are sometimes just as good as the people we surround ourselves with.

5. A good plan takes you far, but always make room for the unexpected. The twists and turns of daily life make an even better show that fiction, at times. And just as Tea Leone's Secretary of State character shows, she may have a full schedule, yet there are always surprises around the bend which she deals with with grace and strength of character.

I loved this show and so many of the values it emulates! Which career lesson is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below!

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(Photos from the internet)

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Glossy Wars - September Edition

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The Philippines only has two seasons - wet and dry; and yet it doesn't matter that we don't have Winter and Spring. Four-season fashion is celebrated by what is made available in stores and what is seen on the pages of our magazines!

Here's an overview of my favorite articles in some of the most popular Philippine fashion magazines this September!

Earliest Available: Metro and Mega. One's got to appreciate Metro's consistency in being available at the beginning of the month. It's fantastic that Mega was able to make the magazine available sooner. It was quite a vision seeing two red hot covers sit side-by-side at the start of September!

Fave Cover: Metro. Cover star Erich Gonzales' styling was divine. In fact, I found it so hard choosing between the two covers to buy since they were both gorgeous in completely different ways!

Fave Articles:

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COSMOPOLITAN PHILIPPINES

1. 'The Art of War: The Upside of Competition' on p. 62

I strongly believe each and every one of us has a competitive streak, and it just varies in terms of the degree of competitiveness! This article gives practical advice on what is healthy competition (i.e. going back to your intentions and making it about reaching your personal best). Sound advice which is definitely worth the read!

2. 'What you can Learn from your Male Coworkers' on p. 84

For a while now, I've been observing the differences in male and female characteristics and the workplace and also studying what characteristics help someone get ahead. This write-up is all about that - and more. It talks about what characteristics connected with femininity you should embrace, and what you can pick up from men in the work environment.

3. 'Are you $oul mates' on p. 86

Work and financial articles are two things I look forward to reading every month, and this money-related feature is no exception. Money can be a touchy subject in relationships, and this write-up sheds light on what you really need to look at and consider about the role finance plays when a significant other enters the picture which is your life.

Price: PhP125 (about $2.5). Came with the Cosmomen insert.

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MEGA

1. 'Best Buys' on p. 40

Want to update your wardrobe with minor tweaking? Then this is the article for you! Not only do you find out what the latest trends are, you're also given suggestions of where you can buy hot pieces to keep your style on point!

2. 'Stylephile' on p. 62

Mega features Katrina Razon's life and style - a true icon of her millenial generation, and from whom there is much to learn!

3. 'It's Back' on p. 104

A cable TV and movie entertainment guide (complete with plot overview or trivia) which will get you block your calendars.

4. 'Mega Millenial Ball' on p. 230

Beautiful faces and image of style stars from the local entertainment circuit are caught in images which are sure to fire up fashion inspiration for all readers of this magazine!

Price: PhP250 (around $5). Came with Mega Man insert.

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METRO

1. The Tony Girl Gang' on p. 30

I love it when fashion magazines break down what it means to look trendy now. It makes an article relatable and helps you build your wardrobe and update your style. This does the job well!

2. 'Fall/Winter 2017 Trend Report' on p. 52

An absolute feast for the senses! Stunning photos transport readers to a front row seat in the latest fashion shows to embark an adventure of discovery and look runway ready!

3. 'Single Girl in New York City' on p. 64

Possibly one of my favorite cover stories in huge part because of the stunning styling and photos. Erich Gonzales, along with the Metro team, definitely hit the ball out of the park with this feature!

Price: PhP150 (around $3).

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PREVIEW

1. 'Fashion is Change' on Chapter 2

Preview's take on what's in now from head to toe is presented in easy-to-digest, bite-size pieces!

2. 'Fashion is Power' on Chapter 4

Across, the board, this has got to be one of my favorite magazine features. The magazine dissects how some of the most successful figures in the international fashion landscape dress, and give suggestions how to cop their looks. Truly a dress-for-success article!

Price: PhP150 (about $3)


Which feature is your favorite and why? Tell me in the comments below!

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A Look Back at the Past Month in Fashion - September edition

LWD + Green drop earrings = <3

LWD + Green drop earrings = <3

So much in life is about perspectives. Take, for example, how the past 8 months of the year can be seen as 242 days.

Or how the many gloomy days of the past months can be seen as an opportunity to cleanse the air.

Fashion is, also, a lot about perspectives.

The past month has been my busiest one so far this year, and I found myself looking not particularly for my hippest outfits, but for my tried and tested ones.

So whether it was a question of silhouette or color, I kept reverting to neutrals, and kept sticking with my 'signature' tucked-in silhouette and easy-to-wear dresses.

That's the great thing about having a go-to look: it can make decisions easier.

The other perspective though, is that it can make us lazier!

However you see it, here's a look back at what went down in my style choices in August, as we boldly enter into September!

Beige worn in various shades can be extremely flattering! Here, I wore beige from head to toe at a baby shower!

Beige worn in various shades can be extremely flattering! Here, I wore beige from head to toe at a baby shower!

Back to Basics: Wearing black & grey for a speaking engagement on making commitments. The audience? More than 50 student leaders!

Back to Basics: Wearing black & grey for a speaking engagement on making commitments. The audience? More than 50 student leaders!

Going the floral and body con route during a brand ambassador search at a popular Philippine club.

Going the floral and body con route during a brand ambassador search at a popular Philippine club.

A tucked-in silhouette and gold shoes to keep things simple and classy while I sat as a panelist and shared about my work as a professional speaker!

A tucked-in silhouette and gold shoes to keep things simple and classy while I sat as a panelist and shared about my work as a professional speaker!

Wore varying textures of black and a skirt with metallic detail for my workshop on Problem Solving & Decision Making!

Wore varying textures of black and a skirt with metallic detail for my workshop on Problem Solving & Decision Making!

Which one is your favorite? Share in the comments below!

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Skills you need now (regardless of your profession)

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Fact: The higher up you go in a business or organization, the less it's about technical skills and the more problem solving and people skills become more important.

The truth of the matter is, you can hire people to do the technical skills. It is however, harder to hire someone to manage people and teams when they report to you.

Regardless of the industry, there are skills which matter. These are skills which add value to your curriculum vitae and to your stock as a professional.

These are the same skills which will help you get far in life no matter where you work and whom you deal with.

Skill #1: Listening skills

Perhaps one of the most underappreciated skills, one's ability to listen is so, so much.

A study done in the United States has revealed that almost 50% of those whom resigned from their jobs did so because they felt they were not listened to enough and therefore felt unappreciated. Also, less than 2% of professionals received formal training on how to listen better. (Sources available upon request)

Surprised? I wasn't. Often I get requests to train others how to speak better, which is great. Unfortunately, it's very rare I get asked to do training on how to listen better.

Great listening skills activate one's ability to listen to what their clients really need and want. Shouldn't that be more of what we want?

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Skill #2: Critical Thinking skills

Critical thinking is the root of some of the most crucial skills one can have: the ability to make sound decisions and the ability to problem solve.

To be frank, I've met more individuals who aren't strongly analytical and great critical thinkers than ones who exhibit strength in this area.

The good news is, you can start honing this skill today and wiithout a doubt, your future self will be thanking your present self that you did.

Skill #3: Networking skills

As they say, no man is an island. Whether you're a business owner or employed, you've got to learn to expand your network. It's with the growth of your network that opportunities grow too.

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Skill #4: Conversational skills

Just because you're extroverted doesn't mean you're a great conversationalist, and just because you're introverted doesn't mean you have to be scared about doing things.

There's a way to do this which will allow you to create a great impression on others.

Oh, and make sure it's more about others than it is about you because trust me - everyone wants to talk about themselves. So let them.

Skill #5: Collaboration skills

Unless you live under a rock, you've got to work with others.

Whether or not you enjoy doing it is an entirely different issue. But whether or not you do, you've got to learn to work with others because the world is one big network and we work with others in different capacities all the time.

What do you think are the most important skills to learn now?

Share in the comments below!

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(Photos from Shutterstock)

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Nail talk: My current fave nail varnishes

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Never underestimate the power of a great maniped.

There's something empowering about knowing your fingers and toes are well-groomed and looking awesome!

I only paint my nails once a month to give them some breathing space and so I take choosing my color-of-the-month seriously.

I keep the color on for two weeks, and if I'm going to be living with that hue for two weeks of my life before awaiting the next one in a month's time, I'm going to make sure I choose what I find nicest!

I always consider both my upcoming appointments and what's 'in' as I make the selection.

And so after some trips to the nail salon in the past months, here are my current go-to nail varnishes:

1. Chanel Organdi: It's described as a pale pink, but it comes across as a beautiful light nude when you put it on. It's perfect as an everyday shade and it's totally the type I can wear to client meetings and when I facilitate training sessions. It's like your bare nails, but better!

2. Chanel Eastern Lights: An 'in' shade this year, white nail polish takes me on a trip down memory lane when my grade school classmates and I painted our nails white with correction fluid. Haha! This polish is a classier take on those experimental grade school days: It comes with a faint shimmer which makes it look brighter, and in classic Chanel Le Vernis style stays on longer than most nail color brands.

3. Dior Rouge: I consider this my perfect shade of red. It's so beautiful, you may not mind as much that it doesn't stay as long as Chanel or OPI before it chips from my fingernails. It lasts up to two weeks on my toes. That rich hue is a classic and makes your fingers look like they're worth millions!

What shades have recently been your go-to? Share in the comments below!

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(Featured photo from Shutterstock)

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Interview Questions Applicants should be asking more often

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In an interview setting, many applicants act beholden to the potential employer.

This unfortunately puts the applicant at a great disadvantage.

I'm not saying one should act all haughty and arrogant; in fact, I believe that one should never behave that way.

What I do believe is that one should conduct themselves in a confident manner, quicker to listen than they are to show off to the interviewer.

I also believe interviews are an excellent opportunity to get to know both yourself as well as the organization better!

When an interview ends, the interviewer usually asks if the interviewee has any questions.

Here are some which I think need to be asked more often at the end of interviews:

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1. Having seen my profile and spoken with me, what value do you think could I bring to your organization?

This will help you see your strengths from the eyes of an employer.

2. What growth opportunities could be made available to the position I'm applying for?

This will help you assess if there is actually a long-term professional development plan for the position.

3. Is this a new position?

(If YES = Why did you think it was essential for this position to be created?)

(If NO = Why did the previous individual leave the organization?)

Remember that it's important to learn if you can be a good fit for the organization. Learning why another person left the position is one way of doing that.

4. What are the key responsibilities of the position?

In case this was not discussed in the interview, this will help you understand if the position is worth pursuing or not.

5. What do you expect out of the person whom you'll be hiring?

Oftentimes, what is expected out of someone is not stipulated in an employment contract. This is a way to get to know the nuances of the position better.

Remember: There is a way to ask these questions respectfully. They will help you assess if you and the employer are a good fit for each other.

What other questions do you think are worth asking in an interview? Share in the comments below!

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(Featured photos from Shutterstock)

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August Style Icon

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Personal style is revealing of many things; a manifestation of self-expression, cultural experiences, beliefs, and utility.

This month's style icon is a woman of the world, traipsing around the globe in no less than fabulous pieces which always flatter her long & lean figure!

This August, we look to broadcaster Marie Lozano for inspo. 

If her body type is different from yours (I myself am petite), there is still much to glean from how she styles everything: from dresses to bikinis; from work to the beach!

Here's a closer look at some of my favorite outfits of hers, from her personal gallery a.k.a. her Instagram feed:

What do you think of Marie's style sense? Share in the comments below!

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Glossy Wars - August Edition

Oh, August. For some reason, it always felt like an in-between month to me: So close to the end of the year, yet not quite; and a month which has a mix of both sunny and rainy days that the weather sometimes can't seem to make up its mind!

It was a great month as far as content from some of our fave glossies were concerned. From travel to beauty issues, and the lowdown of useful products and how to wear the latest trends, August is a month that won't pass by unnoticed - at least as far as style is concerned!

Earliest Available: As with the previous month, Metro magazine is still the earliest available. I love how punctual the people behind it are; feeding my need for a fashion fix on the first of the month, right on the dot.

Fave Cover: Mega. The editorial team's efforts in putting together their 'Women to Watch' on the cover completely paid off: The gorgeous women, decked out in soft, romantic makeup and Mark Bumgarner gowns were a sight to behold!

Fave Articles:

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COSMOPOLITAN PHILIPPINES

1. 'Broke no more' on p. 103

It may have been their annual beauty issue, but one of my fave articles in this issue was about fattening one's bank account. This article gives us different options we can choose from to help us manage our money and stay on top of expenses!

2. 'Bean around the world' on p. 112

I may be a tea drinker, but that doesn't mean I can't be fascinated with learning more about coffee! This write-up takes us on a trip around the world (how different cultures usually take their coffee), talks us through coffee jargon; and shows us coffee maker options including where to buy them, how they're used, and how much each cup ends up costing!

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MEGA

1. 'Wonder years' on p. 108

WE'VE GOT TO TALK ABOUT THAT SPREAD. Equal parts soft and romantic, yet also strong and innocent at the same time. It's an absolute delight for the senses.

2. 'Best buys' on p. 20

Fashion inspo, anyone? Get your fashion fix by getting suggestions on how to achieve looks which are hot right now!

3. 'Get ready to wear' on p. 24

Mega shows how to do distressed dressing whether you're in your 20's, 30's, or 40's.

4. 'Heatlist' on p. 48

Your guide to the latest movies this month - both brand new ones coming out in theaters and not-so-new movies which are brand new on cable TV!

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METRO

1. 'Runway to real' p. 20

You've probably guessed by now that I'm sucker for articles which take runway fashion and what's in and gives ideas to its readers about how to incorporate that style into their wardrobes. This article delighted me by being one of those!

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PREVIEW

1. 'A Preview girl's guide to Manila; insert

Now this is fascinating: My favorite in this month's ish wasn't an article in the magazine but an insert! Filled with tips on some of the best restaurants around town, to some of the best shops, things to do, and other places to go, this feature is a gem to have and to hold on to!

What do you usually enjoy reading about in magazines? Share in the comments below!

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Career Lessons from Designated Survivor

Yep, Netflix subscriber here.

Designated Survivor was one of those shows which kept me up late into the night and wanting to know more and more about what was gonna happen next.

Smart, suspense-filled, and filled with complex characters, here are some of the career lessons I picked up from the show:

1. Sometimes, you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.

The show follows the account of a low-ranking cabinet official who was named President of the United States after all of the top officials were killed. Being in the position that he was in, he had to choose the best people to guide him through the huge responsibility he had taken on. He may make the decisions, but the environment he created for himself, which included the people he chose to keep around, helped shape those decisions which he made.

The same is true for you and your career.

2. Family matters.

Whether they're blood relation or not, there are people whom we see as family. When everything else falls apart, they're the ones we run home to, thus making this support system very important. They're the ones who keep us afloat regardless of what happens in our work life - good or bad.

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3. You have to be careful whom you trust.

No, you can't trust everyone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't trust anyone. Just make sure you filter out those whom you can't trust as you go along, because keeping them around will drag you and your energy down. Sometimes, we're put in a position wherein we can't completely avoid those we don't trust, but we can still choose what we do and don't share with them.

4. Productivity doesn’t always happen in the morning.

Sometimes the most crucial decisions have to be made midday or at night. This makes it important to really look after ourselves: sleep, right food, and exercise. You know the drill.

5. Confidential means confidential – even from your family and friends.

Take it from President Tom Kirkman who learned this lesson the hard way: When information is classified, you've got to make sure you're only sharing it with the people who are part of the discussion. Too often we take this point for granted, sharing seemingly harmless information with friends and family. The problem? What if they (intentionally or) unintentionally share it with someone else and it causes more harm than good in the situation?

Among these, which career tip resonated with you most? Share in the comments below!

(Show photos from various online sources)

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Signs you may be in a toxic job

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Congratulations - you got the job!

Do you still remember that day?

It was filled with hope and promise, but unfortunately for many, the honeymoon ends quickly.

Quite a number of people are dissatisfied with their work, but are either afraid to speak up or make a move. Alas, this results in frustration and dissatisfaction; and in some cases negatively affects performance and professional relationships.

It's always healthy to keep a good sense of awareness about where we are professionally, and this list is for everyone, especially if you're employed.

Take the list and do your honest evaluation of where you're at:

1. You spend more time at work than you do out

2. You find yourself constantly having to watch your back

3. You can’t say anyone is really a friend

4. You’re lucky to be able to grab lunch, or have a restroom break

5. You’ve had to compromise your principles on the job

6. You can’t say you’re happy

7. You’ve either lost a lot of weight since you’ve started or have stress eaten often

8. You've done your research and you're earning far less than what you should really be getting

9. You can't trust your boss

10. Some things about your job makes you cry

11. You're not learning much anymore

12. Your boss plays favorites

If you said yes to any or all of these questions, then it may be time to reevaluate your work.

Remember - we're more productive and have a greater chance at success in a job we truly enjoy; working with people whom we respect.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you think are other signs of being in a toxic job.

Share in the comments below!

(Photo by Shutterstock)

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August Edition: A look back at the past week in outfits

Off to an afternoon stroll: Paired a new linen top with an old skirt. The best part? The tiny bow right across my belly!

Off to an afternoon stroll: Paired a new linen top with an old skirt. The best part? The tiny bow right across my belly!

Dark and Bold: With many rainy days and lots of traffic, I chose to go with the route of deeper hues in my clothing choices the past week.

Here are some of those moments! Hoping it inspires on days you have trouble putting pieces together!

Traffic Selfie: I was off to speak at the Central Business District when I took a moment to go live on Instagram and to document this perfect pair: A new deep-V sleeveless top with an older jacket in a gorgeous hue. Both pieces, from Forever 21.

Traffic Selfie: I was off to speak at the Central Business District when I took a moment to go live on Instagram and to document this perfect pair: A new deep-V sleeveless top with an older jacket in a gorgeous hue. Both pieces, from Forever 21.

Working Barefoot: Matching from top to bottom is a fail-safe way of looking put-together... And even taller!

Working Barefoot: Matching from top to bottom is a fail-safe way of looking put-together... And even taller!

In a Cinch: Going for a cinched waist creates a beautiful solution, as shown in this $18 I purchased last year. The color is still in, and the classic design is still in style!

In a Cinch: Going for a cinched waist creates a beautiful solution, as shown in this $18 I purchased last year. The color is still in, and the classic design is still in style!

I remember how fashion made me look forward to coming to the office even on days I didn't feel like it.

How did you use style in the past week? Share in the comments below!

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Things Anyone can Learn from my Industry

We all hold different jobs and are part of different industries.

As a professional speaker and learning facilitator, I recently got to thinking about what career lessons my own industry holds; especially for those who aren’t in the same practice.

Here are my reflections as to what can be picked up from my field – which can help you in yours!

1.       There’s competition everywhere. Do SWOT.

In every occupation and industry, there’s always competition. Some of us thrive in competition, while some of us don’t. The bottomline is, we need to deal with it anymore, and might as well do that well.

SWOT are a popular strategy model for organizations. Known as Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Strengths; this helps organizations flourish in their environments.

I realized that SWOT can be used by people to, as we position ourselves in the environment of our employer and industry.

Just remember that Strengths and Weaknesses are internal; while Opportunities and Threats are external.

2.       You can’t stop learning.

Learners flourish. Whether your job is interesting or boring, continuous learning will keep you on your toes and excited for what you can learn next.

There are different ways you can engage in learning: finding a mentor, focusing on a new area in your job description, volunteering for an extra-curricular activity, or reading printed or online resources about your organization or your job.

Also, you can read books, attend seminars, join conferences, watch learning videos online or reach out to a potential mentor or coach who isn’t part of your organization.

3.       It’s essential to know how to market ourselves.

You might be comfortable in your job or restlessness to transfer to a new one. You may be in the process of starting a new company, or closing down an old one. Wherever you may be in your life, it’s essential to be able to market yourself professionally.

There are many ways, but you can start with this list:

a.       Have a clean, professional-looking calling card which talks about your specialization;

b.      Attend seminars outside of your company – the ones you’re really interested in. This hits two birds with one stone: a boost to your CV, and meeting people in your field of interest;

c.       Join professional organizations. I’m a member of Toastmasters International, a public speaking and leadership skills organization; and it has created friendships for me, and opened me up to meeting others from industries different from mine.

What lessons can you share from your industry? Tell me and my readers in the comments below!

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(Photos from Shutterstock)

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A Look Back at the Past Week in Fashion

I love looking at OOTDs! They give me ideas on how to combine different things from my closet and give me a renewed sense of appreciation for things I already have.

Although I often work from home - and in my pajamas; there are times when you'll find me running around Metro Manila, and trying to get things done.

Here's a look back at the style choices I've made over the past week. The funny things is, none of these pieces are brand new! :)

All Blued Out.

All Blued Out.

I don't wear pants when it rains. When the hem gets wet, I feel cold. Instead, I use warmer dresses which fall above the knee. It is, after all, easier to wipe a muddy leg, than it is easier to dry cold, muddy pants!

Nothing beats something classic for work!

Nothing beats something classic for work!

My training client asked me to go barefoot - literally!

It caught me by surprise at first, but it ended up being the most comfortable I'd ever been at a session!

With my barefoot self was a classic black dress in the perfect length and with the perfect fit - neither too tight nor too loose!

Bringing sunshine into a rainy day!

Bringing sunshine into a rainy day!

I only like to wear a bright hue - which this week was a perfect thing to do to chase away the gloomy days brought about by a storm.

When the rain had softened to a drizzle I ran out and had a photo taken - to capture this moment of semi-twirling in the rain!

What fave fashion moments have your recently had? Share in the comments below!

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Monday Morning Playlist

It's not a coincidence that most heart attacks reportedly happen on Mondays.

The thought of the word 'Monday' alone conjures images most people dread: traffic, work commute, ugly bosses, petty coworkers.

The sad reality is, not all of us have the luxury of avoiding those things on Mondays.

So to help make your Mondays brighter, I've put together a playlist for you - one filled with love, happy thoughts, and warm hugs!

1. Scars to Your Beautiful - Alessia Cara

Inspiring and uplifting, this song reminds you that whatever your struggles may be, you're not alone.

2. 24K Magic - Bruno Mars

Because, that energy! Hard not to feel upbeat while listening to this song! Believe me, I've tried and failed miserably!

3. Slide - Calvin Harris

This song has a smooth beat and seriously good elements which can help keep Monday blues at bay!

4. Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake

Dance, dance, dance! This track gets your feet moving no matter who you are or what you do!

5. Symphony - Clean Bandit feat. Zara Larsson

Some songs give you a lighthearted feeling - and this is one of those. Thanks to Zara Larsson's amazing vocals and the pretty background music, you'll have this symphony on repeat.

6. It Ain't Me - Kygo and Selena Gomez

This hit collaboration will keep you chill and ready to take on your tasks for the day!

7. Malibu - Miley Cyrus

Soothing and lighthearted, this song will inspire your hustle so you can take that next sweet escape!

8. Try - P!nk

Some studies have shown that grit is one thing that separates successful people from unsuccessful ones. This song is all about. So let this song inspire you to try, try, try.

9. Something Just Like This - The Chainsmokers & Cold Play

Because work can be inspired by a head full of dreams.

10. Begin Again - Taylor Swift

Fall in love with this song as you begin again with a new week filled with opportunity and promise!

What's in your Monday morning playlist? Share in the comments below!

(Featured photo from Shutterstock)

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July Style Icon

Do you have a girl crush?

I'll tell you who's mine.

About two years ago, I started paying attention to the style and creativity of a lady who was slowly yet steadily entering into the public eye through social media.

From outfit to interior choices, her style radar was always on point.

The most amazing thing is, she is now helping shape the landscape of Philippine lifestyle, through the work she has done for the eyewear and restaurant businesses she runs with her fellow stylish associates.

My chosen style icon this month is It Girl Martine Cajucom! Keep scrolling to see her Insta-fabulous photos!

Thanks for being a style inspo, Martine!

Tell me what you think of our July Style Icon in the comments below!

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(First image courtesy of Shutterstock)

 

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A Letter to my 2018-old Self

I find much value in time capsules, because they capture the history of today, and yet looks forward to tomorrow with hope.

As I write to my future self, I invite you to do the same!

 

Dear Doreen,

I hope you are happy and well, wherever you may be in life at the moment.

This month - July 2017 - has been filled with joy and peace. You started working on a business project in June which has allowed you to bring hope to others, and has become a vehicle to enable you and others to achieve your dreams.

It hasn't been an easy year. We sure had our share of ups and downs. We failed in school and had been lied about by a client. We stepped down from your role as Executive Toastmasters' Club President. We went on vacation to Cebu and Bohol in April and to your horror found out that the Abu Sayyaf were there at the same time! We spent almost a month in Bangkok after that and split the time between work and vacation. We are happy and secure in your relationship. We are driven to work harder by your mom's upcoming retirement. We have found joy in writing and posting regularly and launched this new website by end of December 2016. We achieved milestones in our career this year, including being welcomed as part of LinkOD's facilitation pool.

Time, as usual, has gone by so fast, and as much as we don't particularly enjoying seeing the signs of aging (HAHA), we are thankful for our many blessings.

I can only hope that where you are is even better than where I am. Until I get to where you are, I promise to love and take care of who I am.

Sending you love, light, and blessings,

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Glossy Wars - July Edition

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Glitz and glam - that's what magazines evoke in my mind. I started buying fashion magazines from my allowance as a university student, and at one point during my professional career, I even subscribed to US Vogue!

As a new monthly feature on my blog, I give you, my dear readers, the lowdown on some of the bestselling Philippine fashion magazines, to help you to find out what's really inside, which one is right for you.

Earliest Available: Metro. I was able to buy Metro on July 1st, which I think gives them an advantage. After all, beauty and fashion are fun, fast-paced industries so who wants to wait til mid-month to get your hands on a magazine which is supposed to be for this month?

Fave Cover: Preview. I love the bold styling of actress Solenn Heussaf, and the eye-catching cover color. A work of art!

Fave Articles:

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COSMOPOLITAN PHILIPPINES

1. '15 things to do this month' on p.8

This had me coveting the convo pieces they featured and had me scrambling for my planner to schedule their suggested activities for the month!

2. 'Wear it like' on p. 32

I loved these easy, practical takes on getting the look of some of our favorite international style stars!

3. 'Work like a billionaire' on p. 82

Self-help to love! This write-up shares practical tips to adapt new habits which billionaires have!

When I was able to find it at a local bookstore: July 16

Price: PhP125 (about $2.5)

PREVIEW

1. 'Ask Preview' on p. 38

Food for the fashionista brain! Get trivia on the latest goings-on in the fashion and beauty industries through this feature!

2. 'Checking in' on p. 78

This gorgeous work of art – layout after layout featuring the work of Filipino fashion designers from the Manila Fashion Week is food for the senses.

When I was able to find it at a local bookstore: July 12

Price: PhP150 (about $3)

METRO

1. 'Must try looks' on p. 14

Wondering how to update your look this month? This short feature gives the answers!

2. 'Runway to Real' on p. 18

Get runway ready through these quick and easy tips to cop looks from runway shows!

When I was able to find it at a local bookstore: July 1

Price: PhP250 (around $5). The regular price is PhP175, but this edition came with Metro Weddings... In a way, it was force-buying the second magazine :(

MEGA

1. 'Packing light' on p. 42

A travel and fashion journalist shares her insight from experiences on what we really need to wear when we travel.

2. 'Eye of the Beholder' on p. 62

Amazing travel photos from travel photographers - enough to make one go green with envy - and an absolute shame to miss!

When I was able to find it at a local bookstore: July 5

Price: PhP250 (around $5). Came with Mega Man insert. Hands down the most expensive among the four magazines, and possibly a bit too pricey.

Which local magazine is your favorite and why? Tell us in the comments below!

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8 Ways You Can Go Green at Work

Interested in practicing more eco-friendly ways? Then this list is for you!

With global warming increasingly becoming a threat to humans and wildlife alike, we can all do  our share to make this world a sustainable place to live for generations to come.

Here are some small steps you can do today!

1. Say no to plastic utensils - and plastic straws. As we consume daily,  more and more stuff gets thrown into the landfill. We can help by choosing washable utensils over plastic ones, and by saying no to straws, unless you absolutely need one!

2. Say no to plastic and paper bags when you buy lunch. Eat at the restaurant when possible, bring your own food to the office, or bring your own eco-friendly bag to put your restaurant takeout in!

3. Bring your own cup instead of using ones made of paper or styrofoam. It's healthier too.

4. Have a small plant on your desk. This helps increase oxygen in your workplace.

5. Carpool or Walk More. Uber Pool counts too! One car servicing more passengers going in one direction reduces carbon emissions and traffic!

6. Turn off lights when not in use. It reduces your electric bill and helps save Mother Earth!

7. Keep your AC at 25 degrees Celsius. Because the colder your airconditioning is, the worse it is for your health and the environment. Why? Here's a quote you need to see:

"The electricity generated to power air conditioning carries both global and personal health consequences. In burning fossil fuels such as coal to supply electricity to homes and workplaces, power plants discharge clouds of soot and other pollutants into the atmosphere. Among these are mercury and carbon dioxide (CO2)."

From http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/green-guide/buying-guide/air-conditioner/environmental-impact/

8. Turn off energy switches on extension cords, or pull out electrical cord. Because energy many continue to flow when switches aren't turned off, or cords aren't pulled out from sockets.

What eco-friendly practices do you have at work? Share in the comments below!

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Wardrobe Essentials

Have you heard of the phrase 'Personal Branding'? I love how Marketing practitioner Laura Lake defines it: "The process of developing a “mark” that is created around your personal name or your career. You use this “mark” to express and communicate your skills, personality and values. The end goal is that the personal brand that you develop will build your reputation and help you to grow your network in a way that interests others. They will then seek you out for your knowledge and expertise.” (Find out more on https://www.thebalance.com/why-is-branding-important-when-it-comes-to-your-marketing-2294845)

Physical Appearance is part of your brand. There are many of these 'lists' which you can find in different places, but here are the things I find most important to have in everyone woman's closet:

1. Plain T-shirts. They don't even have to be white - feel free to choose a color and neckline you like. They're simply the most flexible things you can dress up or down.

2. Black Jacket. Because when you do need to dress up, this is one thing that never goes out of style. Get one in a style you like, and go for one that isn't too bulky. You can, after all, just layer up on your inner wear if it gets too cold.

3. Dark Jeans. Because dark jeans are easier to dress up or down than light ones. They're also more flattering most of the time.

4. Black Pants. My favorite ones come in the high waist cut to give the illusion of longer legs. You can use them at work, on a night out, and even on a casual Sunday when paired with a casual top.

5. LBD. You guessed it right. No list is complete without a little black dress.

6. Stud Earrings. Absolutely perfect with many things and incredibly flexible. My personal favorite are Swarovski studs. Decently priced, they give you the right amount of sparkle, but won't get stolen because thieves know they're not diamonds. :)

7. Classic Watch. It can take you from day to night, and you'll look sophisticated, always.

8. Pearl Necklace. Because sometimes, you need to look fancier.

9. Heels. No, they don't have to be the classic black pump. They're a pair in your choice of design, for whatever suits your lifestyle. My color recommendation is nude - it gives the illusion of longer, and sexier legs.

10. Walking Shoes. It can be a pair of sandals, but it has to be a pair that can fit into a nice handbag. Bottomline, it has to be handy and comfortable. I'm a Fitflops fan.

Did you enjoy this list? Would you want my top ten list for men?

If you do, please leave it in the comments section and I'll email it to you!

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(Photos from Shutterstock)

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In my Makeup Bag

If you're like most of us, chances are, you wanna know what products are worth buying because trial and error is an expensive process.

Given the limited capacity of handbags, we only bring around a few tested products to keep us looking and feeling good in a busy day.

Here are the little warriors I lug around with me:

1. A pretty makeup kit: Ladies, I can't emphasize enough the importance of having a decent-looking makeup/essentials kit. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it has to look presentable. Don't you sometimes go to the restroom with just this pouch in tow? People see it. Make sure it's something presentable.

What I use: A glittery pink pouch I purchased at Forever 21 for about $6. It's sturdy, and it's always a conversation piece!

2. A powder brush: This small brush is something I bought in a pack at Mac Cosmetics a few years ago. I never use the sponge with comes with face powders. It looks waaaaay more natural and less cakey when I dab on face powder using a brush.

3. A Lipstick: This particular one is Burt's Bees Lipstick in Sunset Cruise. It's made from natural ingredients and this is the perfect coral pink shade for warm-complexioned people like me!

4. Facial Tissue: Tissue is multi-purpose and this Sanicare pack comes in the perfect size.

5. Hand Sanitizer: Because, eww germs. I've tried out a bunch of compact hand sanitizers and this one from Green Cross has one of the cleanest scents.

6. Wet Wipes: If the world was a battle field, wet wipes would be my helmet. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but really, it's VERY important to keep a pack around. It cleans your hands, it wipes away unexpected stains from those noodles you had for lunch, and you can use it to wipe your restaurant table when you're doubtful about how well it was cleaned. Needless to say, it protects you, and I prefer ones which sanitize, like this one from Sanicare.

7. Face Powder: I have oily skin and the way I survive the day looking fresh is with some help from face powder. The shade I use from Bobbi Brown is Pale Yellow, and I'm told it flatters most complexions. Such a relief since it minimizes the mistakes you could make in choosing the right shade!

8. Concealer: I could do away with foundation, but not concealer. It conceals dark marks left by pesky pimples and hides dark circles which shows how tired you really feel. I've been using the 'Fair' concealer shade from Artistry (they only have two shades, and the other one is darker-toned) for a reason: it stays on my skin nicely. I've used concealers in the past which were too watery, or made my skin turn orange for some reason. But this one just looks au naturel, all the time.

9. Feminine Wipes: Because I'm a stickler for keeping fresh and clean, I make sure I always have a pack of feminine wipes with me. I usually buy this pink PH Care pack for one reason - it's a trusted brand and one of the cheapest you'll come across. (Budget-consciousness kicks in.) Lol

10. Eyeliner: To take my look from day to night in a snap, I always keep eyeliner in my makeup bag. You'll see this one has taken a beating - I've had it for years. Because I like the smokey, smudgy effect, I usually use a pencil eyeliner, like the one shown in the photo, which is Teddy from Mac.

11. Hair Pins: To go from having my hair down to a pretty updo, I use hairpins. It's also useful for bad hair days. :) I usually buy ones which are a bit more expensive than the cheap ones from the corner store, because the latter can't keep my hair up (which is saying something since I have really fine hair strands). So choose Goody or H&M or F21, because with hair pins, quality matters.

What do you have in your makeup kit? Tell me in the comments below!

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