The Silver tickets to Disclosure I’m giving away have just been upgraded to P2,800 Gold ones! Details after the cut. But that’s not all I meant by my title.
Awful stories have been occupying our news feeds recently: Palestinians being murdered in Gaza while Israelis cheer on, a Malaysian Airlines plane carrying 295 people getting shot down in Ukrainian skies by rebels, “public servants” in the Philippines raking in billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money while Filipinos languish in deplorable conditions as we endure one calamity after another. We’re constantly faced with universal struggles that platitude-laden websites like Thoughtcatalog and Elite Daily have cashed in on numbered Do’s and Don’ts promising to make life easier.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, not just from the stories I come by every day but from my own, and those of the people I’m surrounded with—family and friends, blog readers, kind strangers—it’s that life may not always get easier, but it does get better, always.
Destination optional, soundtrack compulsory. While I may not be a huge fan of summer, road trips are a different story. There’s something about long drives, snack stopovers and in-car slumbers that feels to me the way reading a riveting book feels: an adventure awaits you at the end, but at the same time, another one is happening during the journey itself.
It’s been a year since my last road trip, so I figured I could use the last few hurrahs of the season to go on one. Before posting up snapshots and stories about that trip though, I’ve assembled together my road trip essentials to share with you guys. (A similar article appears on Beautybook, where I’m currently a contributor.)
Filipinos are still on a high from Megan Young’s Miss World win, and rightfully so. It isn’t every day that a simple lady from a small town in Olongapo gets to fufill her and every other girl’s childhood dream of becoming a princess (in this case, a queen).
Wearing glamorous gowns, beautiful heels and a glorious crown over your crowning glory? Bringing honor to your country amidst pork barrel scams and celebrity sex scandals? Being given a chance to make a profound difference in the world? Check, check and check.
I possess neither the height nor the body proportions it takes to even make it to the preliminaries of any significant pageant of beauty and physiological symmetry (save for the occasional local santacruzan, which hardly counts), but here are three reasons I’m completely okay with that.
One, I’m average. I’m only 5 feet and an inch tall. My skin is far from perfect, with little scars here and there and breakouts every once in a while when I wear makeup for more than a few hours or don’t drink enough water or get enough sleep. My hair is always all over the place: if I comb it, it looks like I have a household broom on my head. If I don’t, it looks like I slept on it and headed out. I have braces to align my crooked teeth, but there are no braces for my crooked grin. I may meet society’s standards in terms of butt size, but I can’t say the same for my chest size. Haha. I am average, and I say that with pride and loving self-acceptance, holding the torch for average girls all over the world.
Because there are more of us, and we are faced with a happy challenge: that of learning to love our physical average-ness, while at the same time discovering which aspects about ourselves enable us to be above average. Intelligence? Charm? Sense of humor? Musical talents? Artistic skills? Numerical aptitude? A penchant for finding the perfect gift or gesture for anyone’s birthday? Whatever they may be, they are the brushes with which we can paint the beautiful portrait of our above average-ness on a blank canvas of average-ness.
Two, I am unique. I may be average, but I am not generic—big difference. Average has the chance to command attention by standing out; generic stays in the background unnoticed, with nothing new or different to offer. I can pull things out of my pocket that no one else can have up their sleeves. The movie Hugo got it right about unique individuals: “I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.”
Three, life is one big pageant anyway. Society is one big panel of judges, and there are universal criteria wherever we go. We are judged by how we look, what we wear, how we carry ourselves, what we want to say and how we say it, the culture and values we represent, the people we associate ourselves with, the beliefs we express and convictions we uphold, how we answer questions we are presented.
In this way, the world indeed is a stage, and every day is a part of the competition where we get to prove our grace, poise, skills and intelligence—not only to the judges and audiences, but more importantly to ourselves. In this way, we can all aim for peace, love and balance in the world, even in our tank tops, jeans and sneakers. :)
SM Accessories transparent cuff and bird-and-flowers pendant.
Bags In The City “Xavier” handbag.
World Balance “Vanity” sneakers. Apt sneaker name for today’s thoughts, yes? Apt, and ironic that there is none of the discomfort or superficiality that usually come with the word: these sneakers are about as simple, soft and comfortable as you can get. If you’re following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you can win a pair for yourself.
Doing a different kind of matchy for Father’s Day! I waited for my dad to get dressed and then patterned my outfit to his.
Yes, my penchant for themed outfits stems from childhood. On special occasions, or just whenever we feel like being corny, my family would go out dressed in matching colors or a motif of some sort. It’s a good thing my dad has a lot of pink and light blue shirts. Haha.
Favorite colors aside, my dad and I have a lot of things in common. People say I got my quirky laughter and witty humor from him, which I always take as a huge compliment because my dad can really work up a crowd. I’ve never heard of a seminar he spoke at where people weren’t held captive by his stories, spontaneous jokes and occasional bursts of song-and-dance. He’s a quick study, able to do a little bit of everything and has a seemingly bottomless arsenal of general knowledge, and I hope I’m a little bit like that too.
One of the things my mom loves about my dad is how his eyes sparkle with intelligence. I agree; my mom was the one who mostly taught me English, Humanities and creativity while my dad was the one who taught me Maths, Sciences and analytical thinking. I remember him teaching me two-digit division when I was five! I hated it at the time, but now I wish I paid more attention. Haha. My books back then were filled with circled words: whenever we came across a term I wasn’t familiar with, he would encircle them with a pencil and scribble its definition. It wasn’t all left-brained for him though. He’s a compelling storyteller, a darn good cook and a sweet nurse: I grew up practically living in a hospital due to weak lungs, and even though there were many things I wasn’t allowed to eat or do (e.g. watching cartoons would make me laugh, and laughter would set off an asthma attack), I never felt like I had a deprived childhood, because Papa was always there singing for me, reading to me, carrying me, bringing me everywhere. Then until now, there’s always something to be learned just hanging around him: you would drive by a city and he would tell you a building’s history. You would listen to music and he would tell you trivia about the artists of that genre. You would eat at a restaurant and he would tell you how a particular dish is prepared depending on the region. Sometimes I would doubt the veracity of his stories or assume it to be one of his poker-faced jokes, but then I research about it and they turn out to be true. Long before National Geographic and Discovery Channel, we’ve had our own live version.
The one quality of my dad that I aspire most though is his remarkable resilience. Looking at him now, one probably wouldn’t be able to guess what he’s been through. Think of some telenovela plots you can remember and then mix them up: riches-to-rags childhood, growing up with an absentee father at the care of relatives in Iloilo while his mom worked as a labandera (laundrywoman) in Forbes Park, working as an ice candy vendor in the marketplaces of Caloocan and then as a construction worker in Merville among many other odd jobs while paying his way through school. His career is just as storied: he’s held high positions in the banking, foreign service, business and power industries and has had more economic ups-and-downs than a Ferris wheel, but he plowed through and bounced back each time. He’s been mistaken for a CPA, lawyer, professor, restaurateur, and an engineer of all sorts, because even if he is none of the above, he displays unparalleled excellence in any field he gets into. I may sound like I’m a gushing daddy’s girl, but if you meet him, you’d know what I mean. He has his own version of “Bloom where you are planted” that I often share in my own talks: “Ang diyamante, kahit ihalo mo sa buhangin, kikinang at kikinang pag nasinagan ng araw.” (A true gem, even when hidden in the sand, shines brightest under the sunlight.) He teaches us by words and example that though you can’t always control your circumstances, you can always control your attitude and make the best of any situation.
Despite knowing all these, many times in the recent past I’ve found it easier to give in to emotions or laziness or self-doubt. When confronted with daunting situations, I would forget to stop and ask myself, “What would Papa do?” and go on to act however I felt like acting. But I take comfort in another thing my dad likes to tell me: “You can only be who you’re not for so long. You won’t be able to sustain it, and sooner or later you’ll be forced by circumstance to go back to your core.”
I’d like to think I’ve been on my way back to being who I’ve always been supposed to be. After all, I am his daughter, and he is my dad. ♥
Outfit details: Lee Cooper sleeveless button down, Betty flap shorts, Crocs strappy slip-ons, SM Accessories bag.
I’d love to hear your stories too, so go ahead and leave a comment below.
Happy Father’s Day to all dads out there!
As I write this, the A/C and fan are on full throttle and bright sunlight gashes through the window despite the blinds being drawn. Seems like summer doesn’t just want its presence felt; it wants us to be looking it in the eye. Lol.
No complaints there, though. It’s the best time to be donning breezy outfits, few accessories and barely-there makeup. Forever21 dress, SM Accessories, Parisian shoes.
Coinciding with the coming of summer is the coming here of one of today’s hottest actors, “Hunger Games” star and newest Bench endorser Liam Hemsworth. This is what I wore his lunch tête-à-tête with the media a few weeks back.
Here’s what went down with the hottie from Down Under as he talked “Hunger Games,” action films, beating up Thor and men’s fashion.
Shot with my DSLR on my right hand while my left hand was shooting with my iPhone (just to be sure). Haha! Just think of the shakiness and un-enhanced audio as your way of feeling like you were actually in the room—it was utter and enjoyable chaos.
A breezy top with jeans and boots is pretty much a manifestation of how I feel about the current transitional season. It won’t be long before temperatures start rising again in time for the summer, but I’ve always been a cold-weather girl so I wanted to hold on to whatever few and fleeting chilly spells we can still enjoy.
Hot or not, I love how the bright colors of spring/summer can perk up any outfit and give it that carefree, casual feel. Check out this ombré orange necklace! It’s not really my favorite shade, but I’ve been wearing this piece a lot because it just seems to make my outfits happier somehow.
Yellow and green are a different story—two colors I love wearing. Especially yellow. I got this bag from my aunt exactly a year ago during my birthday trip to the US and I’ve been wearing it to death every chance I get… I tend to do that with gifts from loved ones.
If you’ve been a longtime reader of this blog (and I sure hope you are!) then you’ve also seen these boots a lot. Because really, what can’t you wear with a nice pair of brown boots?
I seldom wear jeans anymore and usually go for shorts or dresses, but I’m glad I went with my gut that afternoon. As with most of my outfits, I put this together at the last minute to go and attend the Philippine launch of American Eagle Outfitters. Maybe because I’ve been a fan of the brand since college, my chosen neon-and-jeans ensemble was spot on with AEO’s Light and Bright Spring Collection.
Style steals from Divisoria. Polka dotted dress for P80.
We had this outfit shoot during my sister’s graduation from Ateneo Law School, hence the color choice. That was months ago but for some reason, we’ve forgotten about it until our recent computer spring-cleaning. Better late than never, as they say! And yes, this dress cost just 80 bucks. I got the cropped blazer for less than P500 as well. I just jazzed up the outfit with a bright pop of pink, black tights and an updo. Budget-dressing is a fun exercise for when you want to look like a million bucks for a fraction of the price.
Divisoria dress, SM Department Store cropped blazer, Simply Vera checkered tights from Kohl’s, MK Hamilton Ostrich-embossed tote, Schu brogues. Hype this on Lookbook here.
As my family and friends know, I’m not actively into expensive bags; meaning, I can appreciate their beauty and value but I’d probably feel a terrible case of buyer’s remorse if I saved up and bought one for myself. I don’t really have disposable income, so I’d end up imagining all the other things I could’ve bought with the money. But this electric pink Michael Kors is special to me because it was a birthday gift from my aunt and uncle. Got this at Barstow during our drive from Longbeach to Las Vegas last summer. I absolutely loved every moment of my month-long stay in California, and this bag reminds me of all the fun times I spent with my dad’s side of the family there.
I’ve had these brogues for some time now and I still can’t get enough of it. And “check out” the tights (pun intended).What about you? Go ahead and share about your favorite fashion item (to splurge and thrift) and even better, show us how you would style them. ♥
On busy work days such as this one, I can’t afford to take longer than ten minutes to get ready. So what I usually do is just pull on the something simple and comfortable, but still with some interesting details here and there.
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!
Runway Dreams floral bustier top, The Catwalk long white skirt, SM Department Store striped socks, Crocs mini wedges, Chemistry bangle, Antler Accessories necklace, sunnies from Divisoria. Hype this on Lookbook here.
Hi from Bangkok! I’m here with my mom to do a little bit of touring and a whole lot of shopping.
Food. It might seem like a silly joke (“We came all the way from Manila to eat KFC”), but a country’s fast food says a lot about their culture as well—we found out for example that Thai fast food chains offer yummy chocolatey drinks like Milo, and seldom have anything on the menu that isn’t spicy or doesn’t taste like curry. Like these shicken strips.
Instead of gravy, this is what they have, other than ketchup (which they call tomato sauce). After dinner, we took a walk outside looking for dessert, because Bangkok’s street food has a strong reputation for being truly awesome. Alas, there weren’t any stalls open nearby and we ended up here.
The sandbags are for protection against unexpected flooding, as areas surrounding the city have been experiencing the past few days before we got there. Getting inside McDonald’s became an adventure in itself.
A tall glass of Ovaltine Swiss. Why don’t we have this here? If we did, we wouldn’t need to go to our coffee and tea places for our frap fix.
A seriously delicious drink that we ended up gulping down before we could take more decent pictures.
We’re glad we brought our Sperrys to this trip. Pretty handy and stylish for traveling, as we found out the next day.
We spent our first day in Bangkok on a tour to different Buddhist temples. This is the temple of the Reclining Buddha, a 200-year-old giant statue. Which we found pretty awesome, considering we’re only used to seeing Buddha images seated like this.
As if being a massive statue wasn’t enough, the Reclining Buddha even has intricate designs on its feet.
These must make amazing footprints on the beach.
View from behind: Buddha’s got spiky hair
Souvenirs were being sold outside the temple.
We went back to the hotel for brunch after a tiring and fulfilling morning.
Chili-filled rice meal with chicken, veggies, peanuts and special sauce for Seph.
Chicken fillet with crunchy bits of we don’t know what, and cucumbers in some sweet and spicy vinegar sauce
In their food courts, you exchange your baht with coupons and use these to pay. We had some extra coupons left, and bought these.
And then it was back to the city for round two of the temple tour.
Spotted: Reclining Buddha, now standing tall. Whoa.
Oh hi, how’s the weather up there? On another note, we couldn’t help but marvel at the elaborately designed roofs and buildings on the temple grounds.
Other than taking pictures and goofing around, we spent some time reflecting and being thankful for our blessings inside one of the smaller temples. Day 1 has been wonderful so far, and we have a feeling it will keep getting better.