Living The Curious Life Photography

An Exclusive Look: Nicole Romero

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It’s nice to take a peek into someone’s life. But the reason why I started my Blog Series and why I’ve asked to interview the creative people I follow, is to really know how that person is behind their busy life that we see on social media. I want to know their interests, their thoughts, their beliefs and their character. And getting to know Nicole Romero, editor-in-chief of SkinMatters.com.ph and beauty blogger of Beauty & Sparkle, was so refreshing. She really revealed herself; she was so honest and real. And I liked the fact that her purpose in the world is to be positive and how she can spread awareness of how to feel empowered inside and out. But most of all, I like her values and how she writes with her readers in mind. I left her home feeling inspired, and being reminded to continue to do the same. Follow her on Instagram @beautyandsparkl, her feed is gorgeous!

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I always try to get fresh flowers whenever I can, just to brighten up the place and my day. Water is also a constant staple because it’s important to stay hydrated and it’s good for your skin. I always have a notebook and pen beside me. I’m crazy about to-do lists, because it’s better for me to write things down.

All of the boxes and paper bags underneath, that’s where I put everything that I’m supposed to review for the blog. It’s always fun to review makeup and everything looks pretty, but it’s important to know that it’s also work.Once I’m done with my review, then I either add it to my personal stash or put it in the “give away” pile for my family or friends. It’s something that I started from my days in Cosmo—like a beauty product day—which is always fun because everyone loves getting makeup loot. For my followers and readers, I usually partner up with brands since I want them to be able to feel what it’s like to receive products in the mail also. If I really have too many products at home, then I’ll do a random contest. 

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My bag usually just has lipstick, credit card and cash for parking. But if I’ll be out for meetings or events the whole day, then I usually pack a lot more.
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Sunglasses from Dior. It was a birthday gift from my dad when we were in Singapore, and I’m super happy with it.

In the L’Occitane Love tin, I have my hand cream, mint, hair-pins and glue for my false lashes, and Benefit’s Bathina to have sheen on my skin.

There’s also a notebook where I write important things that come up during meetings or jot down blog or YouTube ideas that pop up while I’m spacing out or hanging out with friends. 

I always bring a pen, my headphones so I can tune out if I’m writing at a coffee shop, there’s also a mirror, and an oil blotting gizmo from TonyMoly.

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Cologne. I’m not big on heavy perfume, so this is baby cologne that I transfer into a small bottle that I can carry around.

I have a lipstick for every occasion, so no matter what happens throughout the day I will have the shade I need. There’s a red, a dark color if I have to go to have drinks, matte, glossy, browns, nudes and hot pink. Obviously, I’m a lipstick girl.

Eyeliner, of course! It’s a must for gals with small eyes. 

I do live a go-go-go life, so I have aromatherapy in a little roll-on bottle. If I need to relax, I just smell that. I got that from Korea, from a beautiful store called Neal’s Yard which has the best scents.

There’s a powder for touch ups.

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My wallet. I just put my cards in here, a little cash, and I’m good.

The white MiLi is a UV-ray detector is probably the most interesting thing in my bag. This device connects to your phone via Bluetooth and it can tell you how strong the UV-rays are, so you know the level of sun protection you have to use for the day.

Hair oil just in case I get frizzy throughout the day.

My blush or cheek stain. I like bringing this, so I can re-apply without having to bring a separate brush.

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Follow Nicole Romero on Instagram @beautyandsparkl and visit her websites www.beautyandsparkle.com and www.youtube.com/beautyandsparkle

HOME

My  name is Nicole Romero. I’m the editor-in-chief of SkinMatters.com.ph. It’s a skin care website that’s powered by Unilever and works in partnership with the Philippine Dermatological Society. I’m also a beauty blogger over at beautyandsparkle.com and I also have a YouTube channel via www.youtube.com/beautyandsparkle.

How would you describe your room’s design style? White, clean with pops of color, so it’s still fun and playful.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you decorate and furnish your room? Right now? Instagram. But when I was designing my room, I got most of my inspiration from Pinterest.

What is a home to you? A home is somewhere you can relax and get your best ideas from. It’s  your sanctuary. It’s a place that makes you feel happy and safe. 

Where do you spend most of your time at home? It’s pretty divided equally. I try not to work in the bedroom area and keep it a no-gadget zone as much as I can. If I’m working, then I’m usually typing away on my couch, which is why I wanted it to be deep so I can cozy up.

What is your favorite thing in your room? My favorite thing would have to be my glass board because that’s where I write my to-do list.

Is there a particular item or something about your home that has an interesting story? My ‘Be Extra Sparkly’ poster, which I got because of my blog’s name and because it’s also my favorite word. When my designer, Melissa Arriola, saw my old room, she was scandalized because the windows were covered with green cartolina. I only had blinds in my room and I was tired with the light trickling in, so it was a quick fix. The whole time we were decorating, Melissa would tease me about it. When I ordered this poster that had the word ‘sparkly’ on Etsy, she framed it and used the green cartolina as the background. It’s a nice reminder of where I’ve been and her teasing me. It makes everything a little bit more fun and playful.

Are you currently changing or renovating something in your room? Well, my shelves are always in progress. It’s still not the way I want it to be, so I’m always moving things around and still trying to find the perfect items for it.

I always make it a point to….close all my drawers and organize my desk before going to bed. If it doesn’t look fixed, I won’t be able to sleep. I’m super O.C. in my own way, so e erything has to be in their proper place.

WORK

Describe a typical day in your life. There’s no typical day, really. The only constant is that I always try to meditate and center myself for the day. If I have events, shoots, or meetings, then I’ll put in more effort and do my hair and make-up. If I’m just hanging at home, then I’m pretty barefaced. I’m happy when I can just sit at home and write. I usually do my writing at night since it’s just quieter.

Why did you choose your profession? I’ve always loved beauty. I didn’t really know that I could turn it into a profession until I started working for Cosmopolitan magazine. My seatmate at the time (hi, Ianne Sison!) was the beauty editor, and she would come in after lunch time, looking so relaxed and happy. Meanwhile, I would stay at work until 3am to help close the magazine. I got inspired by her work, her writing, and I began to want that, too. Most girls would get excited about fashion, but I could spend hours at the makeup section of a department store and I will never get bored. That’s what excites me.

What does your perfect day look like? Sometimes, a perfect day would where I have nothing to do, take a drive somewhere, and just leave my phone! Any day where I can just not pay attention to my phone would be a perfect day. I didn’t have Internet on my phone (and Facebook!) until I started blogging, and that was just two years ago. I really like being off the grid.

What motivates you to succeed? I strive to be the best version of myself. I don’t like pressuring myself, though. As long as I gave it 100%, whether it fails or not, I’m okay. I don’t want to have what ifs and regrets about doing things in a “pwede na yan” way. The fulfillment you get from seeing your work and knowing that you like it? I take pride it that.

What is your dream job, and why? I already do like my job. I love my job, I love what I do. In essence, it’s helping women feel like their most beautiful selves. So whether you start with inner or outer beauty, my goal is to feel good about yourself, to feel beautiful. I want women to feel just as empowered with or without make-up.  

LIFE

What are the 3 things that make you most happy right now? Simple things like a good night’s sleep. I love waking up and feeling well-rested and ready to take on the day. Second is when I get to play with my adorable nephews or spend quality time with my friends. And lastly, just being able to live the life that I want and having that kind of freedom. I also enjoy treating and giving away things to my readers and subscribers on the blog. I like being kind, and seeing positive comments. This keeps me motivated and it helps me keep doing what I’m doing.

What are the 5 passions you have? I like baking, good writing (I will research grammar rules for fun!), my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram (I put a lot of work into that), and reading books that help me escape or feel empowered.

What are your hobbies and interest other than what you do? I’m trying to work out more, so I’m trying to make that an interest. I do yoga and love Muay Thai. It’s hard and challenging (there was a time I used to do 10 rounds), but now I’m trying to gear up to that again. When I learned it, it made me feel stronger and secure. 

What are you most grateful for? I’m grateful for my family and the life and opportunities that I have. And that I’m a hard worker. There’s this misconception that blogging is easy, you get freebies, and just aim to get famous quickly. But people don’t realize the hard work that goes behind building your brand. I had to learn how to take and edit my photos. It’s a lot of work, so I have more respect for those who can blog so effortlessly.

What are your 3 greatest accomplishments? It would be going for that job in Cosmo. I think that really set the tone. When I finally realized that’s what I wanted to do, I was all in—Cosmo or nothing. It was very scary, because it would’ve devastated me if I didn’t make the cut, so that was my bravest and greatest accomplishment. Also taking on that editor-in-chief position at SkinMatters.com.ph because I’m not just a sections editor anymore. I’m now leading a team and developing content and it’s a pretty big website. It’s a huge responsibility, because we’re also teaching women how to take care of their skin. But my real accomplishment would be being brave enough to be who I am, because sometimes, you’re afraid to be who you are, or you don’t know who you are. I worked on figuring all that out, rebuilt my foundation, and became my own woman. 

What has been your biggest challenge? Constantly putting myself out there and trying to be as real as possible to my readers. There’s a tag line on my blog that says ‘A real girl’s guide to looking pretty and feeling good.’ That’s what keeps me grounded. It’s constantly thinking of ways to improve myself and work.

What is your life quote? Believe in Yourself, and Be You!

How do you want to be remembered? I want to be remembered as somebody who helped people feel beautiful and sparkly—inside and out.

DREAMS

What is the thing you most wish you were great at? Photography. I wish I was better at using a real camera. That’s the next thing in my skill set that I want to develop, is take pictures and be able to edit my own videos.

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be? Travel. Just get away with no phone. It’s good to do a digital detox as much as you can. Before I go to bed, everything is on airplane mode. No phone or wifi since your brain could subconsciously pick it up. 

Everything should be off.

If you could master one skill you don’t have right now, what would it be? Still photography, I guess. I need to learn how to use a real camera. It would save me a lot of time. 

If you speak another language, which would it be and why? French. I know that’s a typical answer, but I would love to learn the language because I enjoy hearing it (it’s sexy!). Another one is Korean, it’s soothing to listen to.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? The South of France, and just hide out there.

If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future? Future! That would be so much fun! 

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why? I’d love to live in Paris, Seoul, and maybe even South Africa (just to see what it’s like).

If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat? I would have dinner with Jesus (haha), I guess we’d have bread, right? And wine.

If you could have the answer to any question, what would that question be? How do we solve poverty? We can improve everyone’s life this way. It’s a Ms. Universe answer, but I only get the answer to one question, then it has to count. 

BLOG

What’s your favorite blog? I’ve actually been more into YouTube channels lately, like Ingrid Nilsen, Michelle Phan (The Queen), and Jeffree Star. He’s so funny and he really opens your mind! I tend to follow websites more than blogs though, like Refinery29 and Allure.

What do you think makes a good blog? Good writing, photos, and integrity.

What makes your blog successful? I write with my readers in mind. I’m always thinking about exciting things that I can share with them.

What advice would you give to new bloggers? Do it because you love it and because you want to share what you’re thinking with the world. I would also say be as positive as you can be, but real of course, because you never know who you might end up helping. Don’t see other bloggers as competition, use them as inspiration. It can be challenging, but you have to realize that sometimes, one person’s success doesn’t mean you’re less. Sometimes, their success is actually paving the way for you. And lastly, don’t forget the people who helped you along the way.

List 5 people who have influenced you and describe how. My parents gave me the values that I have and showed me the importance of having faith in yourself and God. My friends always inspire me, and believe in me even when I don’t believe in myself. I’s important to have people who have your back in more ways than one. Michelle Phan and the Glossier team inspires me because I admire the way they developed their love for beauty. Michelle’s makeup skills are pretty cool, too. She has a book, and I’d love to have my own beauty book someday. That’s where I see myself progressing.

Do you want to see other creative’s desk or what’s inside their bag? Just leave me a comment below and I will try to make it happen. Until the the next Blog Series!

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