From Madrid to Manila: Menina Step Is Here 

When I found out that Menina Step, a shoe brand of Spanish origin, was coming to Manila, I was excited to say the least. Flats might be available available in abundance, but they’re also the easiest to get totally wrong.  Give me a crappy pair and I’ll feel just that–crappy. Give me a good pair of flats and I will feel as amazing as I would in a pair of stilettos. That’s how I feel in my Meninas.
Menina Step shoes are exquisite. They are handcrafted in Spain by leather artisans and they come in a wide variety of classy flat styles. They are also extremely comfortable to wear; The best thing about genuine leather shoes? They mould to fit your feet like a strangely misplaced glove.

I feel kick-ass and classy in my Meninas, and I’m so very happy to be able to give you guys a preview of the pair I wore at a photoshoot for the brand recently.


Venue: Aruga by Rockwell


Rockwell also happens to be the location for Menina Step’s pop-up launch on May 30 & 31. More details about that at the end of this post! 

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Leather Love: My Ni Qua Manico Mini

Hello. My name is Mariana and I love leather bags. This Ni QUA Manico Mini (2,395.00 Php) is my most recent acquisition. P1160879I won it by entering Topaz Horizon‘s birthday giveaway, which gave me the chance not only to own a Manico Mini but to customise it to my liking as well.

If you’ve followed me for long enough, you’ll already know that I’m a big fan of Frances (of Topaz Horizon) and that she’s influenced quite a few online purchases that I’ve made in the past. I admire the woman for many reasons, not the least of which is her ability to say it straight, whatever “it” might be. There aren’t many writers who can do that without being over-simplistic or boring–and Frances is far from boring. BUT before I go too far and wax poetic about the woman and come off borderline-creepy, I just wanted to say that I’m happy to have won my Manico Mini from her because she’s super cool.

Now the reason I wanted to talk about my bespoke Manico Mini on the blog is not to brag about winning it or anything like that. I wanted to put a good overview of the quality of the bag on the internet so that any prospective Ni QUA customers know what to expect. It’s a brand that’s only available online at the moment and I know that something like this will be useful for those who don’t want to make decisions about purchases without being assured of quality (and rightly so). 
P1160897The Manico Mini is my second bag from Ni QUA, which tells you something in and of itself. I like that the brand makes use of real, good-quality leather, and also that the pieces are stitched together and that they don’t line the interiors of their bags. It’s a specific kind of look and if you’re not into it, you won’t be into these bags. If you’re on the fence, I can tell you that the great thing about simple leather bags with minimal hardware and no lining is that they are extremely lightweight and pretty darn durable.

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A Different Kind of Subscription Service: She Likes Shoes

Do you like shoes? I most certainly do and I think a good number of women would respond to that question with a “yes” in a heartbeat. That being said, there are degrees of liking shoes. I have a friend who owns close to 70 (!) pairs — each of them unique and well-loved. Other still have closets set up just to display their shoe collections. I’m not quite at that point (I would call myself more of a bag person), but I do like having more than just the basics when it comes to footwear. My personal “collection” consists of close to 30 pairs, some of which I share with my mom. 

I have wanted to revamp my shoe game for a while, but I just don’t have the time to spend hours in a department store’s shoe department (although I would love that). Thank goodness for online shopping and subscription services –that’s right, a subscription service is part of the solution to my problem! Enter She Likes Shoes


She Likes Shoes is the first and only shoe subscription service in the Philippines. It works exactly the same way as with beauty sub boxes, but with shoes! How awesome is that? For a relatively small amount of money, you get access to SLS’s monthly closets and one or two shoes, depending on which STEP you’ve picked (we’ll get into that again later). So, here’s what you gotta do: 

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Meet My New Frames from Get Glasses Online!

Some of you might already know that I need distance glasses for driving and…uhm, seeing things from a distance. Lol. I just started wearing glasses this year and it’s taken some getting used to, but I do appreciate that I can see the world in HD now. There was also the bit where I had to get used to having another accessory to take care of. I lost my first pair after just a month, and so I had to get my second pair in a hurry.

GGoldThese are my black Ray Ban frames. I love them but barely two months into owning them, I started thinking about getting another pair in a lighter frame colour. I sometimes feel a bit cartoonish in my Ray Bans, so I was looking at brown/tortoise shell frames and metal frames. Now there are a LOT of options for frames in Manila, but they can be pricey if you stick to branded frames. I personally don’t mind spending a bit for frames because hello, they go on your face. But there’s also a point where the patong (amount added onto base price) goes up way too high. I was seeing Dior, Tom Ford, Prada, and Chanel frames with prices jacked up to around 20k at times. So I found the frame I wanted, but I didn’t want to fork out an absurd amount of cash. Enter Glasses Online:

GG1When I found the website I was extremely pleased to see that they carried awesome brands at discounted and/or just lower prices in general. The carry brands like Persol, Carrera, Oakley, Ray Ban, and even Celine. And they don’t just sell frames for reading and distance glasses, they carry sunglasses and contact lenses too. The down-side to using the site is that you don’t actually get to try the frames on, but what I did to get around that was find the frames I wanted in a store, take the item’s code number down, and search Glasses Online for it. After some time, I found the perfect pair and placed my order. Two weeks later…GG2My Tom Ford babies arrived at my doorstep! <3 Shipping would have been faster if I had chosen a popular frame, but I had my heart set on this particular one. I adore Tom Ford as a designer (on a makeup-related note, I own no TF item just yet. Shame!) and I love the “T” detail that wraps around the edges of his eyewear, as you will see in a bit! 

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I Love Landmark

Could not think of a better title for the life of me, but I just wanted to share a few of my finds from my most recent visit to Landmark. Their beauty section is located at street level (which I believe is the “basement” level of the building) and they always have some of the most random, totally useful, and unique beauty tools and finds. LH2Look out for the generic makeup brushes which are on display close to the escalators. Their packaging is pretty much just clear plastic with a pink label on top that reads “face hair body.” I picked up four of them because 1) I had tried a couple already before and 2) they are really, really cheap. LH1The two on the right are the same as one brush that I’ve already tried out, which is why I got two more. They’re really small and nice to just throw into a travel bag or even just to have around when you need a spare clean brush for blending. The two brushes on the left are ones that I picked because the shape looked good and… that was pretty much it. Haha! They have been performing really well so far and after two washes they haven’t shed.

LH3All under 55.00Php (under 2.00 USD). Amazing. The handles are not made of the best materials (plastic for the two on the left and wood on the right) but they look much more pricey than they actually are. I have brushes that cost me over 3000.00Php and while I can feel (more feel than see) a difference because pro brushes are weighted properly, these do minor jobs perfectly fine. :)

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Personal Makeup Challenge (feat. MAC Ronnie Red)

Some time last week Liz of Project Vanity asked her readers a question: What makeup look do you think isn’t for you? So many people left comments and it was really interesting to read what makeup looks or products others find daunting. Surprisingly a lot of people don’t like coral shades on their lips and bronzer. Not so surprising was that a lot of people veer away from smokey eyes and red lips. I myself feel quite a bit apprehensive when it comes to certain kinds of reds. My comfort zone is with the dark, deep reds, and I only ever wear them at night– I call it my “after 6pm” rule and I’ve always stuck to it. In reply to Liz’s post I mentioned that there are girls who can totally rock a bright red lip while the sun is still high in the sky, while I feel like I’ve aged some ten years or am trying too hard (lol). But I promised myself I’d give it another go (because you never know when something will just start working for you) and here I am documenting my little experiment / challenge to myself.

MRRI chose to use “Ronnie Red” from the MAC Archie’s Girls collection because it’s a bright pink-red (totally out of my comfort zone) with a matte finish. Matte lipsticks are generally more modern looking, though that’s really a matter of opinion. I already have a number of reds in my little collection but this is the very first with a matte finish and I have to say I liked it quite a bit more than the usual shiny or glossy reds I’m used to. 

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[On Vacation]

My apologies for the long lulls between posts! I’m on a break from school and I’ve been making good use of the time we have off, so I haven’t been on my computer very much which is a refreshing change I think. Anyway, one of my essentials when going on (any) vacation is a pair of sunglasses. I have a couple of pairs that are special and that I always handle with extra care, but I like having cheap plastic sunnies to throw in my bag and not really worry about breaking.
Now the problem with those is that you’re not always 100% sure of the quality of the lens. The main reason for wearing sunglasses is, after all, to protect your eyes.  So when I saw this cheap frame for sale online I had an idea– what if I have good lenses placed into cheap frames? I went ahead and placed the order since I liked the shape and colour of the frame. I then made my way to Pascual Optical and chose the darkest lenses available and had them put in…

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The Cuzo Anne Satchel: She’s a (Blue) Beauty!

Like what you see? Can you believe it’s from a local brand? Well me too and neither could I! Haha. This is my newest baby: a deep blue satchel made of stamped genuine leather. I had been on the hunt for a bright blue bag for the longest time, and while this one isn’t as blue as it comes off in the photo (in dim lighting it even looks almost black) I still like it a lot. And yes, I did say it comes from a local brand: Cuzo. 

I came across Cuzo’s products while reading through Topaz Horizon, a blog run by Frances Sales, an editor of an entertainment magazine. She had purchased one of their nylon bags and was thinking of getting a leather one too since the quality of the one she purchased was so good. The bag I chose to get is called the Anne Satchel, and it comes in four different colors: blue, green, maroon, and toffee. The maroon one looks fantastic and it was a tough choice between it and the blue–but I decided that since I never go for blue, it would be a good change.

The Anne Satchel is currently on sale at 2,250.00 Php (originally 2,850.00 Php). That’s roughly 54 USD, which is not bad at all for a bag made of real leather. :) I even got 100php off by using a promo code that Topaz Horizon provided, yay!

I’m really glad that local brands are improving quality-wise by leaps and bounds lately. I love when I am satisfied with a local product and I am always happy to support brands like Cuzo, which sell products that are proudly Filipino made.

To see more pictures of my Anne Satchel, read on! :)

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REVEL Is Calling For Contributors!

REVEL, the online magazine that I co-manage with my friends is calling for contributors! Details below:

Do YOU have something to say?

Want to share your music, art, or photography?
Talk to us through to tell us you want in!

Submission Guidelines:
1. You can write about ANYTHING as long as it falls under the following columns: Art, Beauty, Causes, Fashion, Inspiration, Music, Pop Culture, Science, Travel & Lifestyle
2. Articles must not be longer than 800 words
3. Photos, Illustrations, and other visual artwork should NOT contain offensive material and discrimination of any kind. If you are submitting a photo that you do not own, be sure to properly cite it!
4. Content is subject to review and approval by the REVEL team. Should there be a need for revision, the REVEL team will contact you via email

Let us know if you’re interested by August 17 (Friday)!

Article submission deadline is August 24 (Friday)!

*Photo by Matthew Lee!

I manage the beauty column for REVEL, but there are other columns as well, all open to submissions! :) I suggest you check out the site to see it for yourselves! And of course I sincerely hope you like it. :)
REVEL main website:


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