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#SKINVESTMENT

For somebody who can be fond of cosmetics, I can be really lazy when it comes to putting on makeup. There are times when I refused foundation just because it seems like such a hassle to apply and spread evenly on my face. Haha! While that’s not always the case—I have my arte days of course, I find that there will always be times when I’d rather not put on much makeup or any at all, because I want to be able to rub my eyes freely without smudging anything, and well, because lazy days are simply inevitable. Plus, it’s always nice allowing my skin to breathe every so often.

All that said, I made a decision a couple of weeks ago to invest more in skincare so I can go out barefaced more confidently. Before this decision, my skincare could be comparable to a guy’s actually. My routine only took me about a minute or two. As long as I didn’t have too many pimples at once, that was good enough for me. Hello, mediocrity.

Like any decision, mine had to start somewhere, and while I got tempted to make Step 1 all about purchasing new products—clearly my area of expertise, I knew it wasn’t the wisest direction to go. I still had several unconsumed products at home, and I figured my action plan would need to start with discipline before anything else. Discipline to make time for skincare and not get sloppy about it anymore. That, before skincare shopping. (!) And like a sweet reward, this reminded me that sometimes you already have the solutions you need; you often just neglect them.

So as Part 1 of my #skinvestment series, I’m going to talk about three products I already have at home, which I learned to fall in love with (again). :)

 

Equate Beauty Exfoliating Wet Cleansing Towelettes

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I was able to try this first with my mom. She had it but didn’t really need it, and so I used it. That was the time I finally accepted that washing my face wasn’t enough to get rid of makeup, and that not fully removing my day-long makeup always leads to getting pimples.

These makeup removing towelettes that come in 60’s are available in Walmart, and are priced affordably at $5 a pack. I find it a winner because while it’s a steal, its quality is definitely not compromised. The towelette’s cloth is enduring, and by that, I mean that it isn’t thin and it doesn’t tear. One towelette is also more than enough to rid a whole face of moderate makeup.

I also like that it has cucumber, aloe, and green tea, making it very refreshing when used on a tired face. The wetness also feels light and unsticky on the face, that the lazy side in me could easily do without further cleansing after this.

The only negative thing I could say about it is that it isn’t available here in the Philippines. Hehe.

 

VMV Fine Finish Pore Minimizing Skin Mattifier

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At 150ml, this toner made for oily skin is priced at PHP 715. It’s quite expensive, considering I’ve found a relatively good toner at Healthy Options (not the cheapest store in town) for only half its price and thrice its size. Then again, that wasn’t as effective as this one. :p

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I’ve been using this product twice a day everyday—once in the morning and once at night. The bottle says to gradually increase usage from twice a week to twice a day, but I read that fineprint a little too late. Haha. I guess my excessive oilyness saved me from any possible irritation I could’ve experienced from this abrupt usage. Thank you, oils!

To be honest, I’m not so sure what exactly a toner does except for further cleansing. But after using this product regularly for about two weeks, I have noticed my skin to produce less oil throughout the day. Normally, just a few hours after going to work, my face would be noticeably shiny already and by late afternoon, I couldn’t afford not to blot because it’s already gross not to. But thanks to this dear toner, I haven’t been using my blot paper as much and I also haven’t had to retouch my foundation even after a long work day. Amazing!

 

Differin Gel

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Differin is a topical retinoid used for acne treatment, produced by Galderma. Adapalene, its active ingredient, works by affecting the growth of cells and decreasing swelling and inflammation.

This product is one of the very few that has stayed with me for ages, dating back to the time I suffered from puberty acne. This was introduced to me by my aunt who was a dermatologist. And that’s when I realized OTC products like this, which aren’t so commercialized are usually much better than, say, Pond’s or Clean & Clear. At least when it comes to treatment.

I know of a friend who applies Differin to her entire face and it would usually bring about pimples, but only as a way of ridding her entire face of bacteria. As for me, however, I only use it as a spot treatment. So everytime I get a pimple, I’d put it only on the small affected area, and it works by drying and flattening it out in about 2-3 days.

The effectiveness of this product made me turn my back on benzoyl peroxide permanently, because that one feels harsh on the skin. It stings, usually leaves darker pimple marks, and sometimes even causes unnecessary peeling. Differin, as compared to that, feels a lot more gentle. Actually, you won’t feel anything when it’s applied. If any, it might even have a cooling effect because it’s gel-type and is light on the skin.

This isn’t the cheapest product in the market but it lasts me a long time. I don’t recall how much it is because it’s been that long since I last purchased one at Mercury Drugstore. At 15g, my most recent tube has stayed with me for over a year and it’s still not running out.

**

Next up will be about my newfound step-by-step skincare regimen. I’ll also be reviewing a few new products I was able to try out. Hehe. Of course I ended up giving in to buying some! :D

 

Things I’d Buy with Nordstrom Coupons
There are but a few things I like to do to distress that doesn’t involve spending. One of them quite ironically is window-shopping, which I mostly do online, perhaps because I can do it anytime and anywhere. A lot of times, this does the trick as I get to immerse myself in nice, fancy things even just virtually, and next thing I know, all my worries have been relegated to my brain’s very own recycle bin. Sometimes, though, it backfires and I get even more stressed by the idea of having so many (expensive) wants but not nearly having enough money for all of them. Haha.
One of my most trusted go-to shopping websites would be Nordstrom.com, because it has all the brands I like and all the things I fancy. From bags to watches, and from shoes to cosmetic products, they’ve got them all covered.  
Not only do I get to lust over the things I already want, but I also get a good grasp of what’s next in line for fashion, allowing me to appreciate newer things from time to time. That said, Nordstrom, being around for more than a hundred years now, has indeed served many to not just buy into fashion but to actually discover their personal style further and possess it for good. Can you imagine, Nordstrom only started out as a small shoe shop in Seattle before, and now they have hundreds of store branches and e-commerce sites?
And while I have not purchased anything from their site yet because I had always been afraid of shipping costs and taxes, I recently learned that there are such things as Nordstrom coupons (!!!) that might just make my cost problems disappear. Check out http://www.photius.com/nordstrom-promo-code/ to see all available Nordstrom coupon codes and deals! <3 And yes, you’re welcome! Haha.
Anyway, having discovered such awesome news, I immediately logged on to Nordstrom and made a list of items I would very much like to have, with the use of these promotion codes! Heehee. :D

1. Mario Badescu Acne Starter Kit
So lately, I’ve been trying to invest more in skincare. My routine before this “trying” is comparable to a guy’s actually. I just washed my face with Cetaphil, and that’s it. But for a few weeks now, I’ve been making more time to cleanse my face properly. I also started to use toner (something tells me I may have over-toned – I switched from zero toning to twice a day toning, overnight and I just found out that isn’t very advisable), exfoliate, moisturize, apply sunscreen during daytime, and even try on facial masques.  And since this isn’t a skincare review, I won’t go into details on how my skin has been doing, but let me tell you, I’ve been wanting to buy and try out more skincare products than ever before. If only I was a beauty blogger, then I could justify purchasing a lot of them but since I’m not, starter kits are heaven-sent, as I won’t have to commit to anything that might end up not agreeing with my skin.
And yes, I chose Mario Badescu because I’ve heard great things about it since I was in puberty and had horrible acne. Strangely, I never got to try them out. Maybe that’s why I still have occasional acne. Haha. 


2. Longchamp Le Pliage Neo – Small
I’ve always been a fan of Longcham Le Pliage bags because I could put everything in it and it wouldn’t budge! Plus, it’s very minimalist and classy, and matches almost every outfit I have.
What I wasn’t always a fan of, though, are small bags, primarily because I didn’t like scrimping on space. But that changed when I began to appreciate crossbody bags. Suddenly, I was willing to give up my beloved space for something called style. Haha! So I thought this Neo one is perfect because it’s a mix of something I’ve always liked and something I just recently fell in love with. This feels like a no-compromise find. :)


3. Timex ‘Intelligent Quartz’ Fly-Back Chronograph Watch
I’m not sure if this is meant for guys. The size being 43mm tells me it is, but the design tells me it’s not. Regardless, I think my not-so-small wrist can carry a watch this big.
What can I say, I like everything about it. It’s pretty smart casual which makes it very versatile. I like the maroon (for a change) leather strap and its matte black face and the dial with white and gold details.


4. Batiste Dry Shampoo (Medium & Brunette)
Having thin hair and oily skin, by 6PM my crowning glory is already far from glorious. It gets very limp and quite greasy, and this was always a problem before when I’d go out after work. After all, it isn’t like we have shower at the office where I can actually wash my hair. There were times I’d be so desperate I’d wash it in the sink, but that usually ended badly because my clothes would get wet in the process. Hehe.
That all ended, though, when I got introduced to dry shampoo. Oh what a revolutionary product! After trying several brands, my undefeated favorite is Batiste. I was able to buy a couple before in Bonjour (Hong Kong) but they only had the basic variant which is white. That’s totally normal for dry shampoos but I would love to try this one as it has a hint of brown color, so it’s probably easier to apply.


5. Catseye London Small Tabby Cat Cosmectics Bag
There are three things I like about this product. First is that it has a very adorable cat face on it. Second is that it’s affordable at less than P1000. Third is that its lining has a plastic covering, which is perfect to bed cosmetics, as it’ll be exponentially easier to clean. It’s just perfect for somebody like me whose makeup kit is always a mess.


6. Michael Kors Cooper Chronograph Bracelet Watch
Because there’s no such thing as having too many watches, here’s another watch on my wish list. And for a change, it’s a silver one. (I was always a gold girl but lately I’m finding silver to look classier. I’m not too sure why.)
I love the simplicity of this watch. It looks very clean with its light silver bracelet and white face. I find the black details (the numbers) as a fine touch, too.


7. Kate Spade New York Cedar Street – Monday Crossbody Bag
Like I said, I love ‘em crossbody bags!
I’m not sure if I can last a whole day with a bag this small but maybe if it was for dinner outs or movie nights, this will do. And if you’re not into metallic, they also have this in black, beige, baby pink and baby blue. I’d say this is actually perfect for BFF’s. You and your best friend can have matching Cedar Street bags but in different colors. ;)
*** 
This post is sponsored by Photius.  

Things I’d Buy with Nordstrom Coupons

There are but a few things I like to do to distress that doesn’t involve spending. One of them quite ironically is window-shopping, which I mostly do online, perhaps because I can do it anytime and anywhere. A lot of times, this does the trick as I get to immerse myself in nice, fancy things even just virtually, and next thing I know, all my worries have been relegated to my brain’s very own recycle bin. Sometimes, though, it backfires and I get even more stressed by the idea of having so many (expensive) wants but not nearly having enough money for all of them. Haha.

One of my most trusted go-to shopping websites would be Nordstrom.com, because it has all the brands I like and all the things I fancy. From bags to watches, and from shoes to cosmetic products, they’ve got them all covered.  

Not only do I get to lust over the things I already want, but I also get a good grasp of what’s next in line for fashion, allowing me to appreciate newer things from time to time. That said, Nordstrom, being around for more than a hundred years now, has indeed served many to not just buy into fashion but to actually discover their personal style further and possess it for good. Can you imagine, Nordstrom only started out as a small shoe shop in Seattle before, and now they have hundreds of store branches and e-commerce sites?

And while I have not purchased anything from their site yet because I had always been afraid of shipping costs and taxes, I recently learned that there are such things as Nordstrom coupons (!!!) that might just make my cost problems disappear. Check out http://www.photius.com/nordstrom-promo-code/ to see all available Nordstrom coupon codes and deals! <3 And yes, you’re welcome! Haha.

Anyway, having discovered such awesome news, I immediately logged on to Nordstrom and made a list of items I would very much like to have, with the use of these promotion codes! Heehee. :D

1. Mario Badescu Acne Starter Kit

So lately, I’ve been trying to invest more in skincare. My routine before this “trying” is comparable to a guy’s actually. I just washed my face with Cetaphil, and that’s it. But for a few weeks now, I’ve been making more time to cleanse my face properly. I also started to use toner (something tells me I may have over-toned – I switched from zero toning to twice a day toning, overnight and I just found out that isn’t very advisable), exfoliate, moisturize, apply sunscreen during daytime, and even try on facial masques.  And since this isn’t a skincare review, I won’t go into details on how my skin has been doing, but let me tell you, I’ve been wanting to buy and try out more skincare products than ever before. If only I was a beauty blogger, then I could justify purchasing a lot of them but since I’m not, starter kits are heaven-sent, as I won’t have to commit to anything that might end up not agreeing with my skin.

And yes, I chose Mario Badescu because I’ve heard great things about it since I was in puberty and had horrible acne. Strangely, I never got to try them out. Maybe that’s why I still have occasional acne. Haha. 

2. Longchamp Le Pliage Neo – Small

I’ve always been a fan of Longcham Le Pliage bags because I could put everything in it and it wouldn’t budge! Plus, it’s very minimalist and classy, and matches almost every outfit I have.

What I wasn’t always a fan of, though, are small bags, primarily because I didn’t like scrimping on space. But that changed when I began to appreciate crossbody bags. Suddenly, I was willing to give up my beloved space for something called style. Haha! So I thought this Neo one is perfect because it’s a mix of something I’ve always liked and something I just recently fell in love with. This feels like a no-compromise find. :)

3. Timex ‘Intelligent Quartz’ Fly-Back Chronograph Watch

I’m not sure if this is meant for guys. The size being 43mm tells me it is, but the design tells me it’s not. Regardless, I think my not-so-small wrist can carry a watch this big.

What can I say, I like everything about it. It’s pretty smart casual which makes it very versatile. I like the maroon (for a change) leather strap and its matte black face and the dial with white and gold details.

4. Batiste Dry Shampoo (Medium & Brunette)

Having thin hair and oily skin, by 6PM my crowning glory is already far from glorious. It gets very limp and quite greasy, and this was always a problem before when I’d go out after work. After all, it isn’t like we have shower at the office where I can actually wash my hair. There were times I’d be so desperate I’d wash it in the sink, but that usually ended badly because my clothes would get wet in the process. Hehe.

That all ended, though, when I got introduced to dry shampoo. Oh what a revolutionary product! After trying several brands, my undefeated favorite is Batiste. I was able to buy a couple before in Bonjour (Hong Kong) but they only had the basic variant which is white. That’s totally normal for dry shampoos but I would love to try this one as it has a hint of brown color, so it’s probably easier to apply.

5. Catseye London Small Tabby Cat Cosmectics Bag

There are three things I like about this product. First is that it has a very adorable cat face on it. Second is that it’s affordable at less than P1000. Third is that its lining has a plastic covering, which is perfect to bed cosmetics, as it’ll be exponentially easier to clean. It’s just perfect for somebody like me whose makeup kit is always a mess.

6. Michael Kors Cooper Chronograph Bracelet Watch

Because there’s no such thing as having too many watches, here’s another watch on my wish list. And for a change, it’s a silver one. (I was always a gold girl but lately I’m finding silver to look classier. I’m not too sure why.)

I love the simplicity of this watch. It looks very clean with its light silver bracelet and white face. I find the black details (the numbers) as a fine touch, too.

7. Kate Spade New York Cedar Street – Monday Crossbody Bag

Like I said, I love ‘em crossbody bags!

I’m not sure if I can last a whole day with a bag this small but maybe if it was for dinner outs or movie nights, this will do. And if you’re not into metallic, they also have this in black, beige, baby pink and baby blue. I’d say this is actually perfect for BFF’s. You and your best friend can have matching Cedar Street bags but in different colors. ;)

*** 

This post is sponsored by Photius.  

Even Your Weight Can Be Happy

I know it’s not obvious but there was a time in my life when I treated weight loss as if it was my only mission on earth.

To give you a brief background: I gained so much weight during late high school and early college, and upon finding out how much I weighed during one PE class, I nearly fainted out of shock at the number I saw. At first, I dieted like a normal person and probably lost 10 pounds on the first two weeks or so. Still sane. Until it got out of hand and I did diet pills, starvation, and also occasional bingeing and purging. Already insane.

The truth is, this battle for me was more of a mind thing than it was a body thing. It consumed me more than anything at that time. It robbed me of peace and joy, and for a time, may have gotten me depressed. I cried once after eating a lot of peanuts. And one summer, I didn’t want to go out of the house because I gained a little weight. One to two pounds maybe. Looking back, though, it was probably the thinnest I had ever been!

Anyway, my point of writing this post isn’t really about what happened before anymore. It’s more of how I have found my happy weight quite recently, and how I’ve achieved a ‘healthy’ relationship with food, perhaps for the first time in years. And nope, this post isn’t for those aiming to lose weight, but more for those who have an exhausting love/hate relationship with food and who want to quit it, for those who want to maintain their weight while eating the food they love. And I’m writing this now (in the car) because for the first time in a while, I actually feel like something needs to be said and so here I am, with the things I’ve learned over the years about food, fitness, and body image:

1. If you’re terribly obsessed with your weight and it’s gone overboard, stop weighing! I know it’s easier said than done, but you will have to stop—at least for a short while. This is the first step. Take a break. Let the scales stop dictating your happiness.

For me, there were periods as long as a year or two when I didn’t step on the scales at all. There were times when the avoidance felt like cowardice, but looking back, I realize it was just about choosing your battles. And life is so much more than how skinny or fit you are, so if you have better battles to fight, it won’t hurt so bad to avoid it for a while. After all, you’ll know when you’re ready to step on it again. And you will. And it won’t be so bad, trust me.

2. When you’re not weighing, the least you can do for your body is to be conscious of how your flesh feels on you. I think most often, this can be a good enough guide to how well you’re doing body-wise. You can easily tell by how your jeans fit, or by how you feel when you wear tight-fitting tops.
 :P

3. The only way to be able to do #2, though, is to have a more realistic body goal. It’s actually really great that strong has become the new skinny. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m older or if the society nowadays indeed promotes healthier body pegs.

Personally, I now like girl crushing on well-rounded women who have strong-looking physique. Example: Kaley Cuoco from Big Bang Theory.

4. Stop labeling food as good and bad. Paleo and other healthy eaters might kill me for saying that. But for me, doing that will prevent you from overeating in general. Because sometimes, you think something is good so you eat excessive amounts of it. Other times, the more you try to avoid the “bad,” the more you crave for it and when self-control fails, uh ohhh, red alert!

You’ll see that once you’ve stopped being so strict with labels, you will find that your body and tastebuds will be the first ones to reject “bad foods” because they make you feel gross afterwards. Take note, gross; not guilty. Guilty is more of a mind thing, and like I said, I suggest you focus more on how your body feels. 

5. This is one that I practice the most: Eat what you really want to eat when it’s mealtime, and make sure to have protein there. If you want fried chicken, go have fried chicken. With rice even. And gravy. Try not to eat all the skin but if you do, don’t kill yourself for it. 

I say eat whatever you want during mealtime, so you get full (hopefully not way too full) and also satisfied. Because usually when I settle for something I don’t really want (like salad, when what I really want is a big, juicy burger), I end up snacking on junk food later on. And that’s where people gain weight, I think. On empty calories, that even cause you to crave one thing after another. A vicious cycle!!!

6. And may I repeat, protein is a must! As much as possible, I never eat my meals without protein, in fear that it will cause a spike in my blood sugar and make my hormones go wild, which could easily result to eating and eating and eating. And so far, it has worked. Ever since I ate full meals with protein almost all the time, I rarely crave for sweets. Or if ever I do, I only eat very small portions of it, usually just to take out the remaining taste of what I just ate. Not because I’m trying to control my intake, really. But because I really can’t have more or else I’ll feel sick of it.

7. Walk around. After meals. When you’re bored at work. Fidget. Pretend you have ADHD and be unable to sit still. Dance along to good music in your bedroom. Clean. Help do house chores. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Window shop!

These are the least you can do if you don’t want to exercise regularly. Try “feeling” active. Somehow feeling like it will make you want to do more of it. And then there goes your cardio somehow. Hehe!

8. When you have really limited time and want to do a workout, do strength training instead of cardio. Disclaimer: I’m not sure if fitness gods support this but I have my reasons for it. Such as: Working out your muscles have a more lasting effect on your metabolic spike, so even with a short workout time, you can have an much extended calorie burn somehow. Also, when you build muscles, you get to burn more even when you’re not doing anything active. Lastly, and this may sound silly, the sore feeling after core workouts, let’s say, can be addictive that you’d want more of it. The sore feeling also makes you feel good, and reminds you you did something good, and it’ll continue to remind you even days after you did your exercise.

I don’t know about you, but for me, affirmation makes me want to do good and even inspire me to be better than good. :)
9. Sleep for at least seven hours a day. Now this is supported by science. Having little sleep causes you to crave more and eat more. Plus, it impairs your judgment so again, you end up eating more than you normally would.

10. Don’t reject that beach invite! Haha. This is one I used to be guilty of. Because I literally stopped being mindful of what I ate for a time, and may have gained more weight than I could tolerate, I didn’t like the idea of being almost naked in front of people. Most especially with my slim friends around!

But, sometimes booking that out-of-town trip helps you reconnect with your physique. Sometimes, just fitting swimsuits and getting surprised at the fact that you don’t look half as bad as you feared makes you want to do your body good. And sometimes, without you even realizing it, your eating habits change and become a little better than before because of it. :)

11. Drink lots of water! Teas, coffee and other drinks that either have little to no sugar or have natural sugars are okay, too. Why? Because liquids help prevent bloating! Ironic as it may sound, the more water you drink, the more liquids you flush away. So drink up to beat the bloat! And as a bonus, these liquids help you stay full, and also prevents overeating.

12. As you can see, one of the recurring points in this post is to avoid overeating as much as possible. Because overeating tends to be a habit. If it’s a one-time thing, then who cares? But when you’re always doing it—because overeating today usually makes you overeat the next day (promise, this is also backed by science),—you’ll end up feeling fat and bad. And the next thing you know, fat is no longer a feeling but an actual reality. And by ‘fat,’ I don’t mean the world’s standard definition of it. “Fat’ is when you’re past the size you’re happy and comfortable with.

In summary: Think good, feel good, do good, and then look good. In that specific order. :D

Friday Favorites

1. Wonder how it’ll be if we assign kids to write scripts for adults? Watch this and find out!

Original source: http://blog.petflow.com/this-is-the-cuteness-you-get-when-kids-write-scripts-for-grownups-im-obsessed/

"Umm, I need to sell, uh, a penguin." “A real penguin or a pet penguin?” “A pet penguin.” Aaah, I die of their cuteness!

2. A wine lover? Check out this list and tell me which one is your favorite.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/christianz/12-items-to-improve-your-wineaholic-lifestyle-1pyg?bffb

 This one’s mine:

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Vino2Go Portable Wine Glass

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25 Layers of Kimukatsu Goodness

Almost every Sunday after church, my parents and I (with our strong, varied preferences towards food and restaurants) have to go into a 15-minute argument over where we should eat before finally deciding on a place. Luckily this last Sunday, we were spared by the unwanted stress of having to choose, argue and decide, as we were invited to try out a new Japanese restaurant around the block.

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Kimukatsu is conveniently located at the fifth floor of Shangrila Mall’s East Wing, and as you can see in the photo, it can be found right across Bratpack and Flight 001. While this local franchise opened a branch here just last December, Kimukatsu has had multiple locations in Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, and Sendai for a while now, and is very well-known for their pork cutlet.

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Friday Favorites

I am starting a new section in my not-so-sectioned and not-so-updated blog, and it is called “Friday Favorites.” Picked up from the blog of my girl crush to end all girl crushes, Lauren Conrad, I am to compile random things that piqued my interest all throughout the week, and post them all on Fridays. To make things more consistent, I hereby commit to positing five (Another F!) every (other) week.

So here are my Five Friday Favorites at the moment:

1. 21 Things You Suddenly Start Wanting In Your Mid-20s by Chelsea Fagan

http://thoughtcatalog.com/chelsea-fagan/2014/03/21-things-you-suddenly-start-wanting-in-your-mid-20s/

Can’t be more relevant! Well, all except yoga. I still don’t think I am made to do it.

2. Olivia Palermo’s pleated skort.

My favorite ensemble is the one in the middle. It’s eye-catching from red to toe. (Hehe.)

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*This is taken from People’s Style Watch Magazine – June 2013 issue. :)

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