When Bridezilla Finds the Perfect Hair & Make-Up Artist

Preparing for a wedding has to be the most nerve-wracking thing ever. At least that’s how it feels. I got engaged May of 2015, but we didn’t start with the preparations until the later half of 2016 so you can imagine how pressured and stressed out I was. Juggling two jobs, going on meetings with vendors, making follow ups, requesting for updates, name it, I had to manage it all. In my attempt to “take care of everything,” I overlooked one thing – taking care of myself. What a nightmare for a bride-to-be, seeing the effects of the chaos manifest on her complexion and overall aura. Thankfully, I already booked a hair and make-up artist whom I knew could work his magic and somehow conceal the traces that stress left on my face (we’re talking dark circles under the eyes, white heads, and dry skin).

Justine and I used to work for a Korean online English teaching company. I had no idea he was such a creative and passionate individual. Some few years later, thanks to social media, I learned about his career as a hair and make-up artist. I liked how he could bring out a person’s best features without overdoing it. Based on before and after photos, I could tell he had a way of really giving a girl confidence and making her feel beautiful. His clients seemed to have a glow about them, something I knew I needed for my big day.

I sent him a message, made a few inquiries, and after a few days, decided to finalize everything and book his services for both my prenuptial shoot and wedding day. He was willing to help with more than just my hair and make-up, too. He helped me search for the perfect venue for a photo shoot. Since everything seemed “rushed,” the week before the shoot felt even more toxic which, as you guessed, immediately took its toll on my moods, my schedule, and (as shallow as this may sound) my skin. I remember Justine sent me a message a couple of days before the shoot to confirm the time, date, and venue, and after giving him the details, I mentioned how stressed I was and how it affected my self-esteem. All he told me was to get some rest and, “Ako bahala.

While I may not be an expert at working the angles, I did feel better thanks to Justine. He’s the type who would gamely answer questions, especially about the products he uses (which, by the way, are all high-end, original make-up, including clean, disinfected brushes), and he enjoys laughing as much as the next person.

As someone who loves make-up but does not know how to expertly apply it, I was more than happy (and impressed) with the looks he chose for the prenuptial shoot:

During the shoot, I knew I was in good hands. Working with him and chatting with him made me look forward to the big day more. He knew which shades to use to complement my skin tone and mask the blemishes, he knew which features to play up, and what to do to boost my confidence.

What I also love about Justine is his professionalism. He’s transparent and respects the client’s preferences. He arrives early, is always well-prepared, and most importantly, cheerful and a whole lot of fun to be with. I woke up on the morning of my big day with my stomach in knots, but he kept making me laugh and reminding me to stay calm.

He nailed the perfect bridal look for a summer wedding:

Justine made the biggest day of my life extra special. He played up what people fondly call the “bridal glow” and made sure I looked good throughout the day. He took one look at the dress, the shoes, and the bouquet and tied all the elements together with his magic. It’s no surprise he’s always fully booked.


Thank you, Justine. ❤

You’ll definitely want to make Justine part of every occasion. Get in touch with him through the following numbers:


You may see more of his work here:

Instagram: makeupbyjustinecastillo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/justine.castillo.5


Mixtape for a rainy day


Mess is Mine – Vance Joy

“You’re talking in your sleep all the time, well you still make sense to me. Your mess is mine.”

Away from the Current – Keiko Necesario, Kim Trinidad

“And if I drown in your company, will I lose myself in your stream? Find a way to rescue me away from the current.”

O – Coldplay

“One minute they arrive, next you know they’re gone. They fly on, so fly on. Ride through … Maybe one day I’ll fly next to you.”

Photograph – Ed Sheeran

“We made these memories for ourselves where our eyes are never closing, hearts are never broken, and time’s forever frozen still.”

Skinny Love – Birdy

“Now all your love is wasted, then who the hell was I? Now I’m breaking at the bridges and at the end of all your line.”

Make You Feel My Love – Adele

“I know you haven’t made your mind up yet, but I would never do you wrong.”

My Stupid Mouth – John Mayer

“I could see clearly an indelible line was drawn between what was good, what just slipped out, and what went wrong.”

Wasn’t Expecting That – Jamie Lawson

“You took my heart by surprise. I wasn’t expecting that.”

Samson – Regina Spektor

“Oh, we couldn’t bring the columns down, yeah, we couldn’t destroy a single one and history books forgot about us.”

Northern Sky – Nick Drake

“I never felt magic crazy as this, I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea. I never held emotion in the palm of my hand, or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree.”


I plant roots so deeply in the people I love that I always lose a piece of myself when they go.

Do you have a favorite aphorism on loss, too? Or do you choose to collect fragments from different stories and piece them together to create a source of relief when you feel particularly alone and confused?

I have a collection of bits and pieces myself, all of which come in especially handy today.

I lost a friend five years ago, and I lost another today. I still echo the same sentiments and questions I voiced out the first time it happened. What is it like, coming to terms with the fact that you’ve really and truly reached the end of your life? Does God allow you to ask questions? What did you tell Him the minute you came face to face with Him? Was your heart filled with sadness or was it bursting with joy? Did you smile when you drew your final breath? Could I have made it all better, had I been more diligent in physically being there and sending you daily reminders of how much I cared?

I hope it is beautiful where you are. I hope your heart is filled with peace, and that peace rains on those of us who want to heal from all the losses we’ve accumulated.

When you lose people and your heart breaks, you feel like there’s no point in trying again or keeping an open mind about, well, everything. We get so caught up in our own anguish that we forget how short life really is. I think you should just love and love despite the scars and bruises. Just love and forgive and fill your life with stories worth retelling. We owe it to the ones who have gone ahead of us, the ones who have faced what the rest of us can only wonder about while we’re still here. We owe it to ourselves.


A bit of time travel

In between the writing tasks I’m supposed to be working on, I sometimes find myself absent-mindedly going through my old blogs, including drafts I thought I had discarded. This includes the Notes feature on Facebook which I just finished browsing now (because I found out that someone actually plagiarized an old blog entry. Honestly, why?). As I was adjusting the privacy settings of each post, I came across a poem that dated back to 2010. I didn’t have the heart to delete it. It was such a beautiful reminder, one all too familiar; one that didn’t sting as much as it used to. There I was, feeling like I was floating on my back, eyes fixed on flashbacks of survival, foolishness, innocence, despair … all of which brought about the poignant and dreamy tone of those carelessly scribbled lines.

So much for completely obliterating the so-called fragments. I do keep these things close to my heart now, especially since I have learned more than I bargained for. After all, “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” right? Anyway. I, then, snapped out of my daydream and watched the gear icon change to a padlock as I tweaked the settings, keeping it locked away, as certain things are destined to be.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald)


The afternoon was calm and the sky, prettier than usual, was decked with faint, white clouds and flock after flock sailing past. It was quiet and it was perfect and it hadn’t felt that way in a really long time.

And I could not dream up a better way to begin the new year.

My utopian Sunday began with a prayer, of course, like each day should. The coffee seemed sweeter and warmer, and the sunshine more vibrant than ever. A few hours into the day and it was time to prepare for our agenda: hunting for succulents and flowers, and mass.

Perhaps it was the gorgeous display of fireworks from the night before, or the glass of wine I consumed before bed, but my mood was just fixed on the rose-colored side (a mindset I usually couldn’t maintain for long, but that was then and this is now).

I’d like to believe that that perfect day just set the tone for the year ahead.

December 28, 2016

Around this time last year, I promised to be more diligent in updating my blog and to fill it with as much compelling content as possible. A few months into fulfilling that promise and I impulsively decided to delete all the entries right at the moment I realized they were all singing tunes of the past. Writing has always been my outlet but sometimes, it tends to hold me back, most especially when I zone out and unknowingly allow myself to be carried by the current of past experiences. During more serious conversations on life and learning, I always reiterate how essential our past experiences are in shaping us. However, it’s quite different when, instead of looking back with fondness and gratitude, we instead become restless and dwell on what could have been done and how the present would be had things transpired differently. That is precisely why I decided to wipe out everything and start fresh. For the nth time, I am starting with a clean slate. Isn’t it beautiful how we have countless opportunities to begin again?

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