Got married to the Doctor! Part 2: the wedding garb

Previously, on The Islander Girl…

Adrian and I got married! Our wedding was Doctor Who-themed! Our prenup video had us escaping from Darth Vader, a stormtrooper, and a Cyberman, and traveling through space and time! And now, for the wedding preparations…

Our wedding clothes were inspired by a few key Doctor Who looks.
Adrian’s suit was the easiest part: of course he wanted the Tenth Doctor’s suit πŸ˜› He already had the brown suit made but he wanted the blue pinstripe suit for a more formal look. We couldn’t find the exact navy blue with red pinstripes so we got navy blue with light blue pinstripes instead (thanks Divisoria!). Not exactly accurate but close enough. Shoutout to Mang Mando (Kamuning Market) for making the time to make Adrian’s suit! Apparently, Adrian had recommended Mang Mando to everyone who asked about his brown suit and Mang Mando got so many orders to the point that he almost didn’t have the time to make Adrian’s blue suit.

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My wedding dress was a custom dress by Ann Cuatico-Mansueto.Β The first design that Ann and I talked about was based on the Constance Reformation dressΒ but with an additional French lace overlay. I’d initially wanted just the Constance dress but my mom insisted that it was “too plain” and needed lace. Oh well. Unfortunately, no matter what Ann did with the cut, I still ended up looking bigger than I actually am. I guess the flowy dress look isn’t for everyone. The added lace also prevented the dress from being swishy so it just became bulky.

The second dress design was the result of a mishap with the lace. The French lace for my gown was a wedding gift from an uncle who works for a lace factory in New York (thank you Tito Junjun!). My uncle gifted me with three yards of gorgeous uncorded white lace in June 2015. However, because of the first dress’ flowy design, the narrow width of the lace, and the scalloping at the ends of the lace cut, three yards wasn’t enough. My uncle then brought an additional four yards when he visited the Philippines for Christmas 2015. However, the lace he got was one yard of uncorded white lace and three yards of corded ivory lace. Ann and I toyed with the idea of alternating the white and ivory lace to make them fit but decided on making an entirely new dress using just the three yards of ivory lace. Because of the limited lace, the second dress was cut closer to my body and had a semi-mermaid skirt instead of a full skirt. The lace mishap turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the second dress turned out so much better than the first one. It was gorgeous and it matched my body type. I’m so happy with it <3 Ann’s team saved one scalloped edge to use as an accent to cover the join at the waist and to use as tiny sleeves. They also added some minor beading to the dress and salvaged additional lace for the train.

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01b wedding dress

LOOK AT IT!!! IT’S SO PRETTY!!! <3

My headpiece was custom-made by Steph Lopez of Flow Jewelry and Crafts. I asked for a headpiece with stars and touches of blue for a traveling-through-space-and-time feel. Steph used silver, pink, and gold metal stars in two sizes, blue and clear glass beads, and wire to make it. Steph sent me photos first before delivering so that I could comment and make changes if necessary. She didn’t need to change a thing. It was perfect.

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02c star headpiece_smaller

My makeup was by Chichi SotomilΒ and hair by Rommel Escobido . Truthfully, I know next to nothing about makeup (the only thing I’m sure of is that I need to use VMV Hypoallergenics because I’m allergic to a lot of stuff). This is why I ran all of the makeup artists’ portfolios past Anna πŸ˜› Anna initially recommended Mayone Bakunawa because she liked what Mayone did for her friend’s wedding about two years ago. Mayone wasn’t available but she did give me a list of makeup artists that she would vouch for. Chichi was included in the list. After much discussion with Anna and moving stuff around in the budget, I decided to book Chichi even though her fee was way more than what I had planned to spend for HMU because I wanted to be absolutely sure that I’d look drop-dead gorgeous on our wedding day. Looking at our wedding pictures, I think it was money well spent.

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I requested for the dark red lipstick (“Studded Kiss” by MAC is love) because I wanted to look classic.Β For the record, I didn’t wear a veil during the ceremony because I wanted my face to be seen clearly in all the photos πŸ˜› Chichi’s airbrush makeup withstood a non-airconditioned church and a garden reception in March. You can’t get any better than that.

I’d planned to have the test makeup done on the day of the prenup shoot but Chichi couldn’t do it because she’d just had her baby (the prenup shoot was in December) and couldn’t travel to Pasig from Las Pinas. In the end, I decided to trust Chichi’s skill and not have a test makeup session anymore. Plus money. Haha.

I bought my wedding shoes from Hush Puppies. Yes, Hush Puppies! I have flat feet so it was a pleasant surprise to find out that Hush Puppies has a formal wear line. Unfortunately, the local stores don’t carry it so I had to order the shoes from Amazon and a friend of my mom’s who lives in California brought them to Manila. The color is called “bone” and the shoes matched my ivory gown.

wedding shoes

More blog posts to follow! Food! Photo and video! Lots of Doctor Who goodness in everything!

My horrible customer service experience with VMV Hypoallergenics

Disclaimers before this post:
1. I love VMV Hypoallergenics‘ products. Theirs is the only sunblock I use. They produce the only makeup I can use. Love their hair conditioner and moisturizing milk lotion too. So I’m writing this because while their products are fantastic and worth every peso, bad customer service can happen anywhere.

2. This has been settled. They apologized and gave me a certificate for a free facial BUT STILL. This experience needs to be told so that there’s a record of this event. Hopefully it doesn’t happen ever again.

The situation:
Late December 2013, I placed two separate orders in VMV Hypoallergenics Philippines’ online store. I placed two orders because the 2nd item I ordered (Armada Face and Body Shield 60 sunblock) wasn’t available the first time around. My first order of the Armada Sport 70 sunblock arrived in January 2014 but the Shield 60 did not. I called the VMV office and after their CS agent checked, found out that 1) both orders were accidentally tagged with the same shipping number, resulting in my second order being classified as “shipped” even though it was not, and 2) the Shield 60 was already out of stock again. Okay, no problem with that. Slip-ups happen occasionally. I asked for a refund for the Shield 60 since I’d changed my mind and wanted to get the Face Cover 30 instead. Here comes the shitty part.

VMV refund

As you can see in the email notification, VMV’s customer service unit recorded my request for refund on January 8. The email said the refund would take 2-4 weeks, although the agent on the phone said that it would actually take 4-6 weeks. She said this was an issue with their payment gateway. Okay, fine. Well, not exactly fine since it meant waiting for 4-6 weeks to get my refund but what can you do, right?

Come February 3, I still hadn’t received the refund. I call VMV’s customer service again. Their agent said that they’d prioritize it.

I call again on February 14 to follow up. The agent apologized, said she’d call me back within the day. She never did.

Come February 18, I was royally pissed already. I called VMV again to follow up. Their agent was useless, didn’t give me a straight answer as to why I hadn’t received it yet. I post and tweet pissed-off messages on the official VMV Hypoallergenics Philippines Facebook pageΒ and Twitter. These posts get me very apologetic replies within a few hours. The same agent says that the refund request was submitted to their payment gateway last February 14 (HUWAW, February 14 lang?!) and that I should get the refund by next week. She also offered me a coupon for 25% off and a free yacht bag as an apology.

By February 28, I still hadn’t received the refund!!! I called BPI to check if they’d received the refund request. The BPI agent said that she couldn’t check the status from where she was. She could only see if it had been reflected in my account and no, I hadn’t received it yet. Cue ANOTHER angry Facebook post. They replied via Facebook, said that BPI said that there’s usually a 5-7 day wait then a charge slip is issued to authorize the charge reversal. By my count, if they’d submitted the refund request by February 18, then the 7-working day deadline was February 27. Adrianne, the head of the web team for VMV, called me to apologize again and said that if BPI still has not reflected the refund by next week, then she’ll submit a request to her superiors to authorize a cash refund instead. She also said that VMV was offering me a certificate for a free facial for the hassle and apologized again (Adrianne sounded sincere and I like her more than the previous CS agent I talked to).

I finally got my refund on March 6 after two freaking months. Texted Adrianne to tell her that I got the refund. She called, said that she was glad that I got the refund and that the offer for the free facial was still open. I accepted it (heck, I went through all that trouble so why not accept it?) and the certificate arrived in the mail last March 8.

vmv certificate1

Moral of the story? Keep following up with companies. Seriously. It pains me that this happened with VMV Hypoallergenics, a company whose products I actually love (perhaps I shall post a nice story about their awesomesauce skincare products when I get the time). I placed orders after after the second one and they all arrived complete and on time, so it looks like this fiasco was a very unusual occurrence. Hopefully it stays that way.

Experiencing bliss at Chocolate Mint Spa

They serve you hot or iced tea while you wait.

After three days of the exhausting madness that was Toycon 2012, I spent two afternoons last week trying to de-stress. My very generous mother gave me her coupon for a free Swedish aromatherapy massage at Chocolate Mint Spa, as well as the use of the other coupons in the booklet.

The first thing you need to know about the Chocolate Mint Spa is that they take their business hours seriously. They disconnect their phone outside of business hours (1pm-1am). While this is an admirable trait, I definitely would have appreciated it if, instead, they left the phone connected and used an answering machine to tell me that they’re not open yet and to leave a message to set an appointment. How was I supposed to know that the phone was just temporarily disconnected and not broken like I’d originally thought?

Chocolate Mint Spa (CMS) is located on the second floor of the building that also houses Banco de Oro along President’s Ave. in BF Homes, Paranaque. The building is across the street from Pancake House and Starbucks. The stairs to the second floor are on the left side. The sign is just above the stairs and is kind of small, so just look out for it.

Once you enter the spa, you’re greeted by a cozy atmosphere. The plush chairs are comfortable and they offer you a choice of hot or iced tea while you wait. They only turned on the ambiance music when I entered so hooray for energy conservation techniques.

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Dreaming of a massage from the Oils and Scrubs spa

There are two reasons why I love “groupons” (or group coupons, as Groupon as technically a brand but whatever :P): 1) I love getting stuff at a discount (who doesn’t?) and 2) it gets me to try new places I wouldn’t have otherwise. Aids and I ended up trying Oils and Scrubs Spa before I left for Palawan after buying a voucher for a honey and oatmeal treatment, glutathione body scrub, and one hour massage and I have to say, the experience was just heavenly.

First off: the spa is hard to find at the moment because the facade of the building they’re in is under renovation so the spa window is hidden under a blue tarp. Ack. The spa is almost at the corner of Arnaiz Ave. and Amorsolo St in Makati, beside BPI.

This was my first time to get a body scrub so I had no idea what to expect. With our scrub and massage combination, the scrub is done first then the massage. They give you disposable underwear to wear and the bed is covered in plastic. The therapist rubbed the glutathione in first, starting from my shoulders then down to the rest of my body and my arms. Even the body scrub was relaxing! The glutathione scrub is supposed to result in fairer skin, but of course you need multiple sessions for that so I can’t say if the treatment worked on me or not. The honey and oatmeal treatment came next, with the oatmeal acting as a mild exfoliator and honey as a moisturizer. Lucky for me that oatmeal happens to be good for sensitive skin. The treatment was very… sticky. LOL. Like I said, it was my first time to get a body scrub and I found my muscles cramping from having to stay in the same position for the entire time I was left alone after the application of the treatment. I could have moved but moving while sticky was more uncomfortable than the muscle cramps. I was also at the mercy of the “relaxing” nature sounds soundtrack of the spa. Nothing against recorded nature sounds, but they don’t relax me. I would have preferred to hear some Foo Fighters instead but that’s me πŸ˜› Next time I go here, I’ll get the non-sticky body scrubs.

After an eternity of stickiness (though it was probably only about 15 minutes), I was instructed to shower and wash off the oatmeal and honey. Be sure to ask for a fresh towel prior to getting into the shower as they initially only provide you with a bathrobe and the robe isn’t exactly that useful for drying off. This is also when you toss the disposable underwear and put your own undies on for the massage.

The massage was wonderful. I wish I could tell you what massage style they used (Oils and Scrubs offers Swedish, Shiatsu, and Oriental Stick Massage) or how exactly they pressed into my aching muscles (I requested for a harder massage than their standard) but I conked out after around 15 minutes. Now, I rarely fall asleep during a massage – who can sleep when someone’s prodding you every minute? – but this time was one of those rare times where sheer exhaustion combined with the perfect pressure and produced a vegetable Macy,

My rating: 9/10 (I’d have given them a 10/10 but I live in Paranaque so their place isn’t convenient for me and they’re admittedly on the pricier side if you pay full price).

OILS AND SCRUBS SPA CO.
Ground Floor, Gervasia Centre, Amorsolo Street,
Legaspi Village, Makati City Philippines
Tel. No.: (632) 519-6782, (63) 917 5250082

Download their service menu

Skincare, the Dermalosophy way

The people who know me know that I’m probably one of the least kikay people on the planet. I only use makeup when I need to go into the office and wear contacts only when I’m in costume (as per XO Aids, “Walang Jedi na may glasses“).I finally caved and got my first facial and acne pricking last year – the acne just got so bad – but I had to stop about three months ago because of the expense. I started getting facials again last March because of the Groupon deal for a deep cleansing facial and intense pulsed laser (IPL) underarm treatment at Dermalosophy and I have to say, it was absolutely worth it.

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The Dermalosophy clinic

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