A day I juggled my day job and blogging—shuttled from a business forum at the Hotel Intercontinental…
…to Century City Mall for an awesome new brand launch, and back.
Oh look, a pun. But hey, it was either that or something like “sole searching.” Although it would still be quite appropriate—my sole search in the past few weeks was for the proverbial balance. Managing things on the job, putting in enough quality time for family and friends, and attending to some advocacies close to heart, in light of the tragedy that has befallen Bohol and Cebu.
I’m happy for this recent succession of national holidays where people could just take a break from it all and just be comfortable. It’s a good thing the weather has been cooperative for the most part, too. Neither too sunny nor too wet for an outdoor stroll, and with just the right amount of breeze in the air to take in nearby sceneries.
Miss Sixty sheer dress worn as a top, Marithe+Francois Girbaud skinny jeans.
Victoria’s Secret worn underneath because this dress is so short, sheer and body-hugging it might as well be a summer cover-up.
Pulseras by Kim “Love Chic” heart padlock and key pendants. It’s always a delight when shops send gifts, but even sweeter when they actually send them personalized!
SM Accessories leopard-printed quilt shoulder bag and XOXO leopard-printed heart cocktail ring, because this is the print that just won’t go out of fashion. Nude gel manicure and plum gel pedicure courtesy of St. Nails in Makati.
I’ve had my eye on this particular pair after seeing them on display in SM Megamall a few weeks ago. Unless it’s to the beach, I’m not into wearing typical rubber or plastic flip-flops for days when I want me feet and toes to take a break from closed shoes. I like slipping into understatedly nice footwear that I can walk and drive more comfortably in, and these Birkenstocks certainly fit the bill.
In the TEDTalks video “Why 30 is not the new 20,” psychologist Meg Jay talks about how we young people may lead more meaningful lives and invest in a future with purpose and fulfillment as we reach our thirties and beyond. It might be a few more years before I get to that stage, but Dr. Jay’s talk got me thinking of all my quarter-life qualms: the uncertainty at where the paths I’ve taken were headed, the desire to make a significant contribution to society, the realizations that turned mistakes into lessons.
As she underscores in her talk, our twenties are meant to be stepping stones, not “throwaway” years. ”Do something that adds value to who you are,” says Dr. Jay. It reminded me of steps we can take to get there, and I thought I’d wear these reminders on my sleeve—well, my arms—every day from now on.
On one hand, a watch to be reminded that time doesn’t stop for anyone, and that we must spend it wisely because we can never take a second, minute or hour of it back. On the other, a band of reminders for getting started on the me I want to be and the life I want to grow into.
(Paper Dolls top, Human jeans, booties from Korea, Esprit Time watch. Hype on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.) I got the charm bracelet from the jewelry coffers of Pandora. I’ve loved these things even as a little girl, and I used to tell myself back then that the perfect time will come when I can start building one and start filling it up, one life journey at a time.
I chose Pandora for many reasons, starting with my fascination with Greek mythology and the particular story of Pandora’s box which attempts to answer the question of why there is evil in the world. In grade 6, I wrote an adaptation of this story for a school play and got to play Pandora, the world’s first woman whose name literally means “she with all the gifts.” She opens a mysterious box out of curiosity and releases all the evils of humanity, leaving only Hope inside as she scrambled to close it again. It’s a tragedy, but it ends with that hope, and I’d like to think life is like that too.
My Pandora’s box opens up to a silver bangle with two locks and five charms: a silver cross with a heart in the middle flanked by turquoise Murano glass beads, a silver sphere with mother of pearl hearts and a silver flower with aquamarine stones.
The silver band, as a reminder that of two things: that things will always come full circle, and that precious things last. We will always reap what we sow, which is why we should take care to plant only seeds whose fruits we want to eat. Financial success and career achievement are undoubtedly important, but more so are our relationships. Are we making time for our parents, our siblings and cousins, our true friends? Will we be there whenever they need us? Do they know that we appreciate them for everything they’ve been doing for us, and are we able to give the same back to them?
The cross with heart to be reminded of the One who makes all things possible and beautiful. The flower, as a reminder to bloom where I am planted, and my birthstone aquamarine (March) as a reminder that we are born for a purpose, and it is up to us to seek and fulfill it.
The rest are reminders of my aspirations. two turquoise beads (my favorite color!) to represent sea and sky, because adventure is out there! After trying out scuba diving despite not being a beach person and not knowing how to swim and ending up loving it, I realized that there’s so much more out there that I want to see and explore. As they say, traveling is the one thing you spend on that makes you richer. And finally, the white hearts to represent pure love—what I believe in and look forward to finding, feeling and keeping.
Thank you Joanne for helping me build my charm bracelet—literally and figuratively, Magel for helping me rediscover the spirit of adventure, Robbie for helping me learn when not to give a darn, Anton for helping me find the right words, and you readers, for being there. Next to my family, it’s friends like you who make this a charmed life. :)
A friend and I would often talk about the tyranny of choice—when we come upon a fork in the road, we are barraged with a million questions: If I choose this, what would be the opportunity cost? What would I miss out on? If I choose the other, what would I regret? Which one is the right path, the perfect choice?
I got into thinking about this yesterday at a lunch hosted by a friend who was leaving for Canada to continue his Masters. Soon, another friend is moving there to explore his options. Chalking them up to other friends who have been pursuing their chosen paths elsewhere in the world—in New York, in London, in Paris, I thought about the dreams they once shared with me that are now coming true, the challenges they are now encountering and overcoming, the successes they are now enjoying. The actions they have taken, whose consequences have led them to where they are right now.
I also got into thinking about my own choices, my what if’s and if only’s in life. The person I dreamed of becoming when I was younger and the one I am right now, the paths I’ve taken that didn’t quite align with one another, the dissonant and unfocused thoughts within me that manifested outwardly. There were just too many options!
I guess I’m what American psychologist Barry Schwartz calls in his book The Paradox of Choice, a maximizer. Simply put, a maximizer tends to overthink choices and overanalyze consequences. They like to consider each and every alternative and are worried about making the wrong choices. (The opposite of this is a satisficer, who makes a choice and sticks with it without looking back and worrying that there might be something better.) As a result of being a maximizer, I tend to always have realizations in hindsight: had I picked a different set of orgs in school, or hung out with a different set of people, or chosen a different course of study altogether, it would’ve vastly altered the landscape in which I move today. These thoughts aren’t imbued with hapless regret, mind you; I’m just really fascinated by the impact of one single choice. Knowing this has helped me become more focused and keep my goals aligned these days.
One of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, talks about how the diversity of people’s identities and tastes gives way to this explosion of choice just as well. He was referring to food marketing, how we can’t always explain what we want, and how there isn’t one Platonic—perfect and universal—way to prepare a dish. But it also applies to everything else. We have so many choices because we are all so different, and we have embraced this diversity more so today than ever. In the past, people simply became what their parents were. Options for what to buy, where to go, which course to study, when and whom to marry, etc. were as limited as the exposure they had of the world outside their boundaries. Now our world is bigger. The forks in the road have more branches. It can be overwhelming, especially with the variety of choices available to us these days. But so long as we know what it is we want, we should be able to make the right ones. ♥
Sometimes I get asked how I think of look titles or entry themes. It’s nothing serious or scientific, haha. While uploading the photos, I usually just look for a detail somewhere in the outfit and then try to connect it to the day’s story.
Like this dress with all its lines. Wore it to a dinner date with some awesome people. Lately I’ve been having a lot of these dinners, with old and new friends from diverse backgrounds and countries. Different folks with different strokes, yet somewhere along the conversation, we find intersecting interests. I’ve been learning a lot from them and loving it. I think the Universe is making up for a couple of years of incidental social constrainment. :)
On another note of gratitude, to everyone who’s been continually interacting with me through this blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or YouTube, thank you :) It’s still as kilig and inspiring as the first time, and so lots of exciting things are in the works. Here’s to a great week ahead!
Pinkaholic dress, Adidas Originals sneakers, SM Accessories shades and earrings, Hodge Podge pendant. A mix of things I don’t usually put on. Shades, lipstick, dangling earrings, a longer-than-usual shift dress and sneakers to go with all of it.
You know how it’s uncomfortable hearing the sound of your voice on a recording? That’s kind of how the first three are to me. I like when people see my eyes and sunglasses cover them up. I’ve braces on my lower teeth, and lipstick brings attention to that when I speak. Just as dangling earrings bring attention to the fact that my ears rather stick out. Haha.
I usually prefer wearing elaborate necklaces with shift dresses, and leave the more casual pendants like these to when I’m wearing basic shirts. I also never wear necklaces with earrings together; it’s either just one or the other.
When it comes to dresses, I don’t like wearing huge prints. I like the length either really short or really long; never near the knees, especially when I’m wearing flat shoes because I’m not that tall and this gets highlighted by all these things.
And with that, I have just given away some of my nifty tricks for emphasizing one’s favorite features and bringing attention away from the opposite. Except I broke all of them.
But that’s okay. Once in a while, we all gotta step out of our comfort zones.
Whether it’s with small things like wearing things we normally wouldn’t, or with bigger ones like doing what we thought we couldn’t, trying something new leaves us feeling great about ourselves. The initial feeling of unease eventually leads to a sense of accomplishment. Instead of caring what other people think or say of us, we went ahead and freed ourselves of the limits we previously imposed.
A few days ago, my friend Anton challenged me to do one thing every day that’s out of the box. It doesn’t matter what it is, he said, as long as it’s something the old me wouldn’t have done. It’s been a helpful and happy exercise, so I’m sharing it in case you want to try it too. Let me know how it goes! :)
Hype this: Lookbook / Chictopia
Titled because Run D.M.C. is a hip-hop group from Queens, and because my best friend Lester lives there. This outfit is inspired by the street photos he sends me every day of stylish people and interesting scenes he comes across. It’s part-torture and part-motivation; before this year ends, I aim to finally see New York in person.
Giordano released a line of colorful shorts for the summer and I picked out this light blue. It can Iook denim, cotton or chambray, depending on the piece it’s paired with.
Got this button-down from Giordano in Hong Kong just because it was on sale when we went, but I think the Manila stores also have it.
Thought I’d throw in a couple of non-poses. Haha. My mom continued clicking the shutter while I was taking off the button-down.
Yes. On some days there’s many an awkward stance and last-minute clothes-fixing before arriving at a fairly decent shot.
I’d love to know how you’d style this look differently. Maybe with sneakers instead of platforms, change the hair, choose another color button-down? Or we could just chat about whatever. How was your Labor Day holiday? Have you ever been to NYC? Do you like Run D.M.C.? Why is it so hot? Drop me a line here or leave a comment below :)
Binkydoodles cutout top and maxi skirt, Crocs wedge sandals, SM Accessories necklace and bangles. I’m doing a trio of outfit ideas for the CloseUp Summer Solstice, the first music festival of its kind to happen in Manila this Saturday. While my first one has a more casual urban feel, this one’s for the hippie in you. Hype it on Lookbook here, Chictopia here.
In putting together these outfits, I wanted to only use pieces that are already in my closet. I wore this cute top in this post and the maxi skirt in this one. I like going floral on floral for summertime events.
I tucked the bottom of the cutout top in the skirt to shorten it and balance out the look, since the skirt is already long and flowy. It’s a really breezy outfit that’s great for staying cool despite the heat we’ve been beleaguered with these days.
Since everything’s already colorful and feminine, I went with pointy white accessories.
It’s going to be difficult to wear heels and complicated shoes to a music festival—they’re usually held outdoors in unpredictable weather, and entails doing a lot of standing up and walking. I went with these Crocs (yes, they’re Crocs) to complement the accessories, and of course, to add height. Maxi skirts make you look longer, especially when paired with wedges.
Pulled my hair up into a bun in keeping with the carefree vibe of the outfit. I don’t really comb my hair because it tends to go against the natural waves. Buns are a good way to keep hair in place, as frizz and sweating are inevitable at a summer music festival.
How do you like this outfit? Is it something you’d wear to Summer Solstice? Let me know what you think, or ask me your style-related questions here.
Just something for the summer. Been going on drives with my loved ones to nearby places that I haven’t been to in a while. Looking forward to more of these this year :)
Hope you’re all having a wonderful week so far! ♥
Today’s weather here in Pampanga was the kind of sunny day I enjoy—chilly and kind of overcast, but still bright enough to inspire.
To be honest, I woke up this morning feeling under the weather, inundated with thoughts of my recent choices and actions and succumbing to the temptation of overanalyzing and dissecting every little detail. I was thinking about unrequited loyalty, how we don’t always get back the same kind that we give those who are important to us.
Whenever I get like this, I remember what someone once taught me: to focus instead on the people who see us at our most vulnerable, who see us be impulsive and foolish and love us anyway. People who, instead of appearing to agree all the way through and watch us crash and burn, care enough to call us out to protect us from the mistakes we’re making. To let us know that at the end of the day, they’re the ones who truly know us and believe in us.
Much as we’d love to, it’s ridiculous to wear fall’s layers outdoors on this side of the planet. So instead, we took the season’s staple somberness and combined it with the bright prints and more wearable pieces of often-summery Manila.
Simply Felice sequined top, printed skirt and necklace; Ferretti peep-toe wedges, Promod fingerless lace gloves, SM Accessories headband. hype this on Lookbook here.
Dansen button-down shirt; Giordano shorts; Sperry Topsiders; SM Accessories shades, watch and wristlets. Hype this on Lookbook here.
You know how much we love the Korean aesthetic of effortless adorability—be it fashion, beauty or interiors, it’s simple and charming and gets the job done in a way that makes you go, “That’s basic yet functional and pretty… why haven’t I tried that before?”
Neither of us have ever been to Seoul (at least physically)—but in the meantime, we’ve been on the lookout for little pockets of Korea wherever we are.
According to the owners, it’s called Sunday 2PM because it’s that time of the week when things are most relaxed and chill for most people. They gave the café this name to evoke that cozy feeling of being at home.
We just had to film the cutest stuff in Sunday 2PM for another video diary!
So adorable, right?
The way it’s designed also gave us some more ideas for decorating our own spaces.
Apart from coffee and sandwiches, they’ve got a mini library of Korean and English books for anyone’s reading pleasure.
And if you want to listen to or download Korean songs, there’s this mini grocery cart.
There are these “study corners” by the walls near the shelves. Check out the wall papers: customer doodles. Who knew cluttered post-its could look so nice?
Photos by Lea Ann, a talented photographer and young entrepreneur who took a week off from her daily schedule just to hang out with us. On Shai: Runway Dreams dress and vest, Chemistry belt, Parisian shoes. Hype this on Lookbook here.
Parisian flatforms for walking around looking taller.
It’s visiting places like Sunday 2PM that remind us how things don’t need to be over-complicated, over-thought or over-designed in order to work out. No matter how stressed or tired we are, we need only look at photos and videos of our happy places.
Don’t say you haven’t been warned—following these outfit photos are scrumptious shots of what we had for dinner at Torch with friends. Hence the garterized skirt to make room at the tummy area. Haha!
I really love this SM Accessories necklace, so I looked for items I could wear with it instead of the other way around. The geometric print Veva Deeluxe dress was kind of short and edgy on its own, and since we were headed to dinner, I decided to use it as a top and pair with a maxi skirt in a solid color that would go with the necklace.
Where we went: Torch in Greenhills for an intimate Bloggers’ Night Out, in celebration of the restaurant’s second anniversary. Left to right: Sarah, Bestie, Marj (who organized this get-together), Earth, Shen (standing), Ana, Mich, Pax, Jackie and Paul. If you’re seeing a lot of reds, it’s because the outfit theme was “Torch.” So what was for dinner?
Appetizer: Mushroom Bisque. Hot, creamy concoction that your tummy will love.
Appetizer: Truffle Fries. The dip is divine.
Gambas Pizza. Pulutan meets comfort food.
Always such fun rolling these things.
Volcano Roll. Delightfully spicy and flavorful.
Secret Sushi (off-menu). This is hands-down our favorite dish for the night. It’s just so creamy and exploding with flavor.
Wasabi smileys are so cute!
Steak Fondue. Dip it into olive oil and then choose from five different sauces. Yum.
Salpicao Medallion served with rice and veggies. Homey comfort food on a platter.
Dessert: Frozen Brazo de Mercedes. Tasted like a yummy combination of ice cream cake and cheesecake, two of our favorite desserts.
Dessert: Panna Cotta with Fresh Fruits. Light and easy.
The night’s drinks. We picked Cabernet Sauvignon (red) and Chardonnay (white) because it was a Wednesday and Torch has Wine-All-You-Can Wednesdays right now and we like alliterations.
Signature Beer-Tail Mango Daiquiri with Upside-down Beer. We didn’t get to taste this, but it looked like a lot of fun.
Snowflake Coco-Lychee Martini Slush. Fancy cocktail that we also didn’t get to taste. It takes pretty photos though, eh?
Marj and Sarah with Torch owner Mike Chua. Sarah was chosen as the evening’s best-dressed blogger, and she won a year’s worth of Torch Pizzas! Since you’re reading this, we take it you’re not on a diet. If you’re craving for their pizzas too, they’ve got a “Buy 1, Take 1 Pizzas” promo from December 6-8. Click here for more details.
In navy and maroon shades during our fashion blogging workshop for Myth boutique a few weeks ago, where we busted some myths (pun unintended) on blogging and bloggers. Urban Goddess sheer butterfly-printed top, The Catwalk sheer floral skirt, Crave More necklace, SM Accessories bangle, Fab Manila bag, Schu brogues. Hype this on Lookbook here.
Contact lenses from Japanese Candy, without which I would have probably looked like a stereotypical cat lady that particularly lazy day. I was feeling under the weather, as you can probably tell from my unkempt hair and color-less face. I had a slight fever, cough, colds and sore throat but I was so excited to push through with the talk! We’ve been looking forward to it for weeks.
For this look, I wore this “Young Blood” pendant because our audience consisted of, well, young blood.
Since the top and skirt are both sheer and soft, I wanted to offset the daintiness of the ensemble with accessories that aren’t so much on the girly side. Like the Crave More necklace, this SM Accessories bangle can easily edge up any outfit.
My current go-to shoulder bag from Fab Manila. What I love about this brand is that not only are the bags pretty and versatile; the workmanship is also very impressive. I can’t wait to wear the other pieces they sent!
Completing the “teacher” look, haha. I’ve worn these Schu brogues lots of times, for when I want extra height minus the discomfort of wearing heels.
On a random note, I love how this outfit is in the shade of the Love Chic logo pink and blue, without really being pastel pink and baby blue. Hee.
During our talk, we were asked to share our experiences with blogging, as well as answer some questions about Dos and Don’ts, sponsorships, events and other issues.
We were also asked to give some tips on styling, social networking, and marketing your blog. We were almost embarrassed to talk about these things, because there were other bloggers around! So instead of speaking from an authoritative point of view the way workshops or seminars usually go, we went with an experiential approach, just telling our stories and the lessons we learned along the way. We also ended up quoting our parents on some of the things they taught us that we were able to apply to fashion blogging. Our only hope was that those present were able to take something from our stories! Speaking of which, here are some of them: organizers, blogger friends and readers in their stylish outfits!
Arvin Hernandez of Myth and Gia Tugob of Schu
Ana Gonzales and Sarah Tirona
Paul Chuapoco and Taylor Bonostro
Arnie Villanueva and Rovie Divinagracia
Karl Garcia and Sef Tiburcio
Daryll Fagarang and Kim Nieves, Alyssa Yu
Ayah Capalungan, Phylicia Pineda and Pamela Jayne Ang
Thanks to Paul for taking photos, to our friends at Myth and Schu, and to everyone for coming and telling us that you had fun! This is why we love doing talks—it’s an awesome way to interact and learn from each other. :)
If you’d like to have us in your school or org to talk about fashion blogging, styling, marketing (or even relationships, haha), simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d love to set something up!
A belated Cebu diary. We all know the title is Italian for “the sweet life,” and we couldn’t think of a better way to describe this particular day.
Really digging this turban from Bonne! Not only for the fact that it’s pretty, but also because each piece from this brand is handmade by designer Bonsai Fojas. It’s like wearing art on your hair while protecting it from the sun. As for the huge shades, well, they double as concealer for an un-made-up face.
Shorts are a staple in the wardrobe of any girl living in a country with a tropical climate, but shorts that stand out should be a staple in any girl’s closet, no matter the weather. Look how pretty this Style Hub piece is! Paired my shorts with equally interesting accessories, like this pair of handmade bracelets from Hobby Loft and that cute candy-striped travel clutch from Fab Manila.
One of my current feet faves because it’s the perfect combination of comfort and height. I don’t know how many times I’ve blogged an outfit post wearing my Parisian flatforms, but this won’t be the last time for sure.
Photos by Lea Ann. I’m not a beach or summer person, but I gotta admit sunny days are the perfect excuse to wear something super short and chill!Thanks to Lea Ann for the photos! We shot these at one of Cebu City’s trendiest hangout places nowadays, Dolcé.
See that car at the back? (Try not to be distracted by the Benz, haha!) The yellow one, that’s Travis, the car of our friend Lea in which we drove around Cebu. That’s where we took our outfit shots. This nice geometric building is Dolcé.
So, what is Dolcé and why does it look so nice?
It is a café slash restaurant slash dessert place…
…that also houses an architectural interior design studio.
Dolcé started out as a design showroom run by three sisters, one of them an architect. It used to be that they only offered food to guests who were dropping by to check out the place or meet with the designers. But soon, more and more people came by and started requesting for more.
What started out as a casual design showroom with coffee and a few snack items has now evolved into a full-fledged and hip hangout complete with baked sweets…
Rice meal bentos…
And the sisters’ own concoctions of healthy and yummy shakes.
Of course, it won’t be called Dolcé if it didn’t have signature sweets! These are actually from the owners’ family recipes, of the desserts they loved to eat growing up.
On the other end of the café is the design studio, aka the office that started it all.
Outside, there’s a separate private area for barbecues and small functions, plus an area where you can have a breathtaking view of the city.
We truly had a sweet and awesome time here, and we can’t wait to go back!