Love Chic

Time To Change

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 7

A day I juggled my day job and blogging—shuttled from a business forum at the Hotel Intercontinental…

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 11

…to Century City Mall for an awesome new brand launch, and back.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 12

Hype what I’m wearing on Lookbook here, vote for it on Chictopia here. Black top, Mango. Animal printed leopard skirt, discovered in a Balikbayan box of unworn clothes sent to our house years ago.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 20

Metallic shoulder bag, SM Accessories. A cute piece that could be worn with casual or party wear. Except I don’t party, so I just wear metallics even in daytime.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 21

Metallic gold flats, Ziggy & Zooey. I got these a couple of years ago, along with five other pairs from them, and they’re all still alive and kicking. Glad I got a pair in this versatile color.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 9

Love Chic key and heart pendant, Pulseras by Kim. And the reason for coming to Century City Mall: personalized wristwatch, Marc Coblen.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 19

Since its launch last year, Marc Coblen watches have been gaining a continuous buzz among the style-conscious, tastemaking set around the globe. Adorning the wrists of many a style-maker, Marc Coblen timepieces have become a quick favorite for their versatility—each basic piece can be changed to suit different lifestyles and moods by selecting and changing different watch straps and bezels.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 18

If there are two things I love in fashion, it’s (1) versatile pieces that (2) you can personalize. Naturally, this display at the Manila launch of Marc Coblen in TWG Century City Mall got me intrigued.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 17

First things first: you choose a base watch. They come in black, brown or white straps, and a variety of color combinations for the face. Black, white, gold, silver.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 16

Next, choose a second set of leather or silicon straps. 

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 15

Needless to say, I took my time (pun inevitable) testing out different straps for my base watch. At first, I was going for emerald green.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 14

After a few more tries, I realized a classic camel strap would be easier to match with any outfit.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 2

Then, choose a bezel. The base watch I got was 42mm in diameter (the other sizes are 45mm and 50mm, and 42 is all my tiny wrist could take). I chose one encrusted in princess-cut Swarovski crystals.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 6

Done! Love how the camel strap complement the white and rose gold dial and the Swarovski crystals.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 3 final

This is why Marc Coblen is so cool. Designed by horlogerist Jordy Coblen of TW Steel watches, it’s the only brand of men’s watches designed for women (if you love wearing the watch of your dad, brother or boyfriend too, you know I mean).

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 5

With interchangeability and convenience being at the heart of its design, Marc Coblen watches are the perfect style statement for any fashion-conscious urbanite. Be it casual, trendy, colorful, rugged or romantic, the style combinations are endless! Here’s a how-to video for choosing your own.

    

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 22

Marc Coblen watches are brought to the Philippines by Swiss Prestige Inc. and are available at Century City Mall, SM Southmall, and selected Chronos, Swissgear and Wristpod stores.

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 1

Thanks to my friends at Lucerne Group and Pix Republik for the fun day and the additional photos!

shai lagarde shailagarde lovechic love chic fashion blog style blogger marc coblen watches century city mall DIY event launch pixrepublik leopard print maxi skirt wristwatch 10

What do you think of this outfit? How would you design your own Marc Coblen watch? Tweet me @shailagarde or write a comment below. :)

The Simple Things

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 18

Hello! Finally a blog post after what seems like forever. I noticed some new names added to the followers list—welcome! Thank you for deeming this little space worthy of clicking that Follow button. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, so let’s ease in my “comeback” with something light and easy in lieu of my occasional thought-heavy posts.

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 16

Hype what I’m wearing on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here. Checkered jumpsuit, Dorothy Perkins. Love how this one-piece can be made to look on either the girly or androgynous side, depending on the shoes and hair. 

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 17

Necklaces, SM Accessories. Layered the leaves and rose together to make it more interesting.

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 19

Charm bracelet, Pandora. Raga watch, Titan. Whenever I want to keep my accessories simple, this is my go-to pairing.

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 10

Shoulder bag, SM Accessories. Multicolor manicure, Nail It. A pop of pastels injects a bit of femininity into an otherwise androgynous and monochromatic outfit.

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 9

Socks and buckled zip-up boots, Topshop. I’ve been wearing these to death lately.  Without the socks, they can look like sandals. They’re not as hardcore and heavy as legit combat boots, and they definitely pack a punch in the style department. They add a little height, too.

 lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 3

These photos were taken by my mom when we went to Iloilo a few weekends ago. We were really just having lunch, but the backdrop was too nice to pass up.

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 20

Midway is this farm-market-restaurant in Passi City, Iloilo, reminiscent of the ones we’re familiar with in Tagaytay and Cavite.  

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 14

It’s very much a country-home type of setting. (The banner says, “Grilled Pizzas.” More on that later.)

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 13

The entrance is a small fish pond leading to a lanai.

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 11

To the left is the gift shop and grocery.

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 12

The items they sell are mostly organic and farm-fresh goods.

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 15

To the right is the indoor restaurant. There are couches and daybeds, plus some quirky trinkets from the past such as an old-school, coal-powered flat iron. It’s a shame they closed it that day, as they usually do when there isn’t any function or there aren’t a lot of people around.

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 7

When the restaurant is closed, the backyard is where diners go.

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 6

Huts with tables and hammocks. 

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 8

Those three people would be my dad, mom and my uncle who’s now based in California.

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 5

Most of the ingredients in their food offerings come from their own backyard. Like these lettuces. I didn’t get to take photos of the other areas of the farm though, as they were about to close for the day. 

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 2

Grilled pizza. We had about three of these, and still wanted more. 

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 4

I would say Midway’s halo-halo is the best I’ve tried so far, and that’s saying a lot, since I live in Pampanga which is supposedly the home of the best halo-halo. 

lovechic love chic shai lagarde shailagarde iloilo midway farm organic restaurant topshop zara dorothy perkins boots playsuit playground children jumpsuit cute black and white outfit casual side ponytail 1

I couldn’t resist running of to the playground by the lettuces and sampling the mini climbing wall. This visit to Midway served as such a happy reminder that all we really need in life are the simple things: family, honest-to-goodness food, and a clear-skied day.

Let me know what you think of this post by tweeting me @shailagarde or writing a comment below! April is Love Chic’s anniversary month, and Love Chic is on its fourth year, so y’all better stay tuned for the upcoming awesomeness. :)

You can find better

image

I love my job. I get to do the things I liked doing as a freelancer, but on a paycheck that allows me to spend on myself, my loved ones, and those who could use a little push, as a way to pay it forward.

image

It’s not just the material rewards though, or the opportunities for traveling and learning from successful industry leaders and inspiring innovators who care more about substance and less about shallow popularity contests. It’s not just about the flexible lifestyle it has afforded me, or the mentors and friends I’ve gotten to meet who helped reinstate values and virtues I seemed to have forgotten about. Sure, the benefits are awesome. But I love my job for what it represents.

image

For the eight years following graduation, I pursued all the creative things I’m passionate about: writing, fashion, videos, the arts. No doubt I learned and enjoyed a lot. I felt like I could do it forever—that I can never find anything better. I had this stubborn, furious aversion to working in corporate, because I didn’t like feeling curtailed: nine-to-five, dress code, cubicle confinement, bosses. 

image

Thankfully, being forced out of everything we worked to achieve leaves us considering choices we previously deemed out of the question. I finally gave in to my dad's years-long wish of seeing me fulfill my potential on a more stable career path, in a job that requires more than a pretty face or a skinny figure or awesome style or decent social skills. A job that, in addition to allowing me to pursue creative passions, actually stretches me. It's like being on both sides of the green grass. Or having your hand in both cookie jars, if you can relate to baked goods more than to animals of pasture.

image

So while I certainly don’t regret my decade of frolicking in freelance, and have huge respect for my brilliant colleagues in the creative field, right now I am perfectly content in my ergonomic chair, waiting for the driver to take me to the airport to fly home after another productive week. I hope that whenever you feel like settling, be it for a friend or a relationship or a job simply because you don’t think can find better, this story would remind you: yes, you can.

image

Leopard print top, The Berries. Pencil skirt, Mango. Pumps, Parisian. Necklace, rings, bangle and handbag, SM Accessories. Manicure, Nail It Salon.

image

image

image

Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.

Seasons of love

image

Today is one of the most polarizing universal holidays. Love on a normal day is equal parts bewildering, captivating and frustrating as it is; on Valentine’s Day, whatever effects it has on a person is magnified a hundredfold—single or not, happily taken or secretly, miserably so.

image

I must admit that when I was younger (and thus more prone to angst), I wasn’t the biggest fan of February 14th. Sure, I was a hopeless romantic—still am, but it’s also why. I felt that Valentine’s Day tends to become a vehicle for lip service and phony, seasonal gestures of love, done more out of obligation and peer pressure rather than sincere intentions.

image

During last year’s experience though, I realized it wasn’t so much the overcommercialized Valentine packages, the illicit competition among coupled-up friends trying to outdo each others’ gifts, or the woe-is-me posts of the single and uncommitted my newsfeed is inundated by.

image

Last year, I got to experience Valentine’s the way I never have before, and it has helped immensely in how I view it now. I still remember vividly how my mom and dad drove me all the way from Pampanga to Manila so I could attend a brainstorming with my co-producers at the “Etcetera” office. The meeting (and my angst-ridden reverie) was interrupted by a knock on the conference room door: a rose, a grande Green Tea frap with generous sprinkles of chocolate powder on top, and a love letter from one of my best friends, Joanne. After work, my parents and I went to dinner and I got a second rose from my dad. 

image

Those gestures were so simple, but felt as if a switch had been flicked on within me that made me see the light after twenty-something years of self-aware existence. Valentine’s Day wasn’t as trite, overrated, banal or clichéd as I’ve used to view it, after all: it was simply that I had been looking for the fulfilment it brings, in strictly romantic terms. And as I’ve gotten to learn to my utter benefit this year, romance tends to be the kind of love quickest to fade, while friendship endures so much more.

image

In the beginning of last year, I felt like it wasn’t going to be my time. Everything I wished for, planned for, invested in, and forced myself to believe in was gone in a snap, and all I really hoped for then was to feel less miserable than I did. With expectations at an all-time low, I got the surprise of my life when, from that Valentine’s Day all the way up to today, all kinds of love started to pour in and turned my life around.

image

This year, all the clichés and tired expressions have real meaning. I see how true it is that giving feels better than receiving—I’ve been receiving so much, and it’s when I get to pay kindness forward that the feeling of gratitude comes full circle. How true it is that you can’t give what you don’t have, or teach what you don’t know. How true it is that real love is friendship: looking after a person’s well-being and happiness while having enough self-worth to know what you deserve. Now I do. :)

image

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Warm hugs from Olaf!

image

Dress and booties, Dorothy Perkins. Nautical striped cross-body bag, Aldo. Headband, leaf necklace and leaf bracelet, SM Accessories. Nails, Nail it. Contact lenses, Japanese Candy.image

image

image

image

Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here. Let me know how your Valentine’s Day goes in the comments below, or tweet me at @shailagarde. 

Solace

image

I don’t know about you, but I find social media consumption these days to be exhausting. Every five seconds, there’s an interesting new top 21 list (“21 Shapes You Can Make With Ketchup”). A new video of a child prodigy doing something we ordinary adults can’t do (“Watch This 3-Year-Old Dance Ballet While Playing Her Own Violin Accompaniment”). A new slideshow of tips you never thought would be useful until now (“How To Cook Fried Rice Without Rice”). 

image

The dizzying pace with which we are served these small bites of information on a daily basis is no wonder the majority of us seem to be developing attention-deficit disorders. Can you imagine going into a café to meet your friends without your laptop to while away the time? Heaven forbid you have to sit at your dentist’s reception area withoutyour tablet to play with while waiting. Let’s not even talk about the time you had to endure a 45-minute car ride without 3G on your phone.

image

We all know the many ways technology has helped us immensely. But perhaps we can also look into how we ourselves are becoming like these gadgets—mechanical, wired, needing to be constantly plugged in order to function properly. Social media is becoming today’s double-shot espresso, a day’s deprivation of which leaves many of us frantic and uneasy. 

image

The funny thing is, when it hits us, we tend to look to the Internet—the very source of this frantic uneasiness, for solace. Instead of finding it, of course, we end up right back where we started, link-surfing and browsing and being busy but unproductive. And we wonder why we aren’t feeling better. 

image

Finding solace can be as easy as a Google search, but it’s probably the last place we’d be able to do so. Here’s a search suggestion: to once in a while disconnect from the Internet and connect with our real life friends. To unplug our gadgets and plug into our community, see how we can contribute our work and play skills. To tune out from viral videos and tune in to our elders. When they talk about good old values and the good old days, they’re not just waxing nostalgic; it seems old school remains to be what’s truly cool.

image

Lace skater dress, Crazy Over Daisies. Ballet flats, Ziggy and Zooey. Pearl hairband, necklace and ring, SM Accessories. Shoulder bag, Nine West. “Kimchi” contact lenses, Japanese Candy. Manicure and eyelash perm, Nail it

image

image

image

image

Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.

Knitpick

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Still reveling in this lovely weather. What better way to do so than with layered knits and boots? Dress, Blind Clothing. Jacket, American Eagle Outfitters. Boots, Kohl’s. Crossbody bag, Mango. Lookbook here, Chictopia here. Thanks to the glorious chilly air, it’s a great outfit to wear to a music festival like Jacko Wacko.

image

I’m co-presenting Jacko Wacko, spearheaded by the De La Salle University Manila’s Englicom org, one of the oldest in the school (it’s their 50th Anniversary!) with the aim of promoting cultural harmony and social awareness through nation building. I think it’s great when student orgs set out to produce projects that promote young Pinoy talent. If you would like two (2) tickets to Jacko Wacko, tweet the event poster: “@shailagarde @elcjackowacko I want to go to #elcjackowacko at Circuit Makati on Jan 25!” and ask your friends to retweet. Most retweeted one by Friday, January 24 at 5pm, gets the tickets. I’ll count by clicking on your tweet, so please make sure it’s not a private account. Thanks to Charlyn of Englicom for inviting me a part of this! 

image

image

A couple of other thanks: Lewis & Pearl Cologne sent me these gifts. A pretty roll-up eco-bag with illustrations of Parisian landmarks, personalized travel journal with my name on it, a handy travel cosmetics case, and enough Lewis & Pearl colognes and powders to last a while. Being into European icons, these are really appreciated! Now all I have to do is pick a scent to wear to Jacko Wacko.

image

Also got this present in the mail from Skechers. They recently launched their underwear collection designed for today’s young and active woman. The line features fun patterns, classy neutrals, and playful color combinations to match whatever mood you’re in. Thanks to Jenny of Sckechers for this cute trio!

If your school org or brand has something new to share, drop me a line and I’ll see if I can spread the word. Have a great weekend, everyone!

image

In Love

image

Yup. 

image

image

Literally. Cropped baby tee, Sugar Rush Closet. Distressed boyfriend jeans, 101 New York. Handbag, SM Accessories. Peep-toe heels, Figliarina. Baseball cap, New Era. Mens’ style watch, Timex. Nails, Nail It! 

image

Bambi Chocolate contact lenses, Japanese Candy. All my contact lenses come from this lovely online shop because they work like instant makeup. On most days, all I need are a bit of eyeliner, mascara, and brow-cara. Click here for my tutorial series on everyday makeup.

image

This was a cap-sleeved baby tee that I decided to DIY. I cut off the sleeves and trimmed the hem and neckline to turn it into a tank top. Click here for another, more elaborate t-shirt DIY project I did recently.

image

My dad doesn’t own a single watch. He never wears watches, ever. Having no collection to borrow from, the only way I could fix my longing for a men’s watch was to look for one that would fit my wrist. Turns out Timex has ladies’ watches that look like men’s watches, except with cuter features. This one has a sun and moon design for AM and PM. 

image

A Christmas present from my cousin. The colors reminded us of June 12. I could’ve easily worn it for my blog entry then. Heh. 

image

Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @shailagarde. Post a Disqus comment below, ask or say anything here. :) 

Statement

image

Each time the new year rolls in, many of us take to writing down a list of resolutions for things we want to change or improve on, as well as a wishlist of accomplishments and acquisitions. After all, we’re familiar with the law and powers of attraction: think positive, work hard, and we can attract whatever it is we want to happen in our lives.

image

The thing is, though, very rarely do we see all the things we’ve written get realized when we look back on our lists come December. Eat more fruits and veggies? Sure, until about two weeks in. Sleep eight hours a night? Okay, but you really need to catch up on all episodes BBC Sherlock and your neighbor’s Facebook life, so maybe four hours will do. Hit the gym for those six packs? Maybe… next time. So, why this discrepancy between the first and last weeks of the year? What makes us end up with disappointing lists when we start out so eager and motivated to become better versions of ourselves? 

image

I’ve come to realize that it has to do with taking charge of our list, rather than letting the list take charge of us. Think of writing new year’s resolutions and goals as something like ordering from a restaurant when you’re really, really hungry. More often than not, you end up ordering so much more than you could really fit in your stomach. When we write our lists in January, we’re so filled with a hunger to start the year right. In our desire to overachieve, we end up overreaching. Eventually we become paralyzed and de-motivated to push on.

image

So, in lieu of a list of 50 mutually exclusive activities and goals, try writing a personal mission statement—something that declares how you want to see yourself at the end of the year. When you have one thing to look to, you’ll be able to stick to the actions that you know can take you closer to your goals. Here’s a simple example: 

"I aim to travel Europe in December. I will save up by setting aside 25% of my salary/allowance, avoiding Starbucks, cutting back on shopping and gimmicks, and other unnecessary expenses. I will avoid hospital or medicine bills by becoming more health-conscious, which includes working out, sleeping and eating better. I will practice my socializing skills by spending less time on the Internet and more face time with friends. I will learn more about the countries I want to visit by reading books on them."

On a list, these resolutions might be on no. 1, no. 12, no. 18, no. 33 no. 47… Having too many makes it unattainable, and it makes it difficult for us to sustain all of them. If we have one statement, we can eliminate the ones that wouldn’t really tie together with our end goal, and we can ensure that the ones left are realistic and achievable through discipline and determination. :) With this, I wish you all the best!

image

Cropped long-sleeved top, Pinkaholic. Front-flap shorts, Betty at SM Ladies Fashion. Metallic wedge sneakers, Human. Earrings, SM Accessories. Raga watch, Titan. Chocolate Brown Geo contact lenses, Japanese Candy. Manicure, Nail It! Photography, mom. 

image

image

image

image

image

Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @shailagarde. Say or ask anything here

Yearender

Some say 2013 was a rollercoaster. For me, it was an uphill ride. Here are my top 10 posts why.
   

10. Starting Over [link

image

It is never a walk in the park to find out that someone you trusted and loved has been betraying you in every way imaginable for half of your three-year relationship. The pain, humiliation and anger are enough to reduce even the best of people into a shrivelling mess. But it’s the messy breakups that turn out to be our redemption. We are saved from people and situations that were never worth it from the start, and freed from having to be stuck with them for longer. It’s like spring cleaning: we throw away what’s broken and rotten, and when we get rid of trash, we make room for everything beautiful that we deserve. I will always consider this to be one of the best things that ever happened to me.

9. Meeting Troian [link]

image

"Days like these remind me that we must appreciate the small victories, the baby steps we are able to take towards becoming our better selves. And that, when things are meant to be, they will fall into place without us having to exhaust ourselves in struggle." This was the day I drove 85 kilometers to see Troian Bellisario and Patrick J. Adams in the flesh. I got an interview and a photo with her, and I got this and a birthday greeting from him. As a fan of SuitsPretty Little Liars, and these two, this post makes it to the highlights of 2013. What made it more special are my two best friends, Joanne (who made the videos possible) and Abi (who drove half the way, waited with me and took photos).

8. Graduation [link]

image

Written after my brother’s college graduation and my birthday celebration at a home for orphaned and street children. Coming back to Ateneo to attend the ceremony, and listening to the messages of Cardinal Tagle and the professors and Jesuits I admired, brought back memories of my late teens and early twenties and of the ideals and values I hoped to live by back then but had forgotten through the years. They say our lessons will repeat themselves until we learn them, and I realized just how true this was. Needless to say, it wasn’t just my brother who graduated that day.

7. Dive, Don’t Drown [link]

image

Few events are more life-changing for me than this. For one, I took swimming lessons thrice and failed. I can swim when the water is shallow enough that I can stand up in the pool… which is to say that I can’t. I’m not a beach person, either. I don’t even own a bikini. But my best friends Joanne (a wanderlust with a thirst for new experiences) and Magel (a certified diver and avid adventurer) have been urging me to try things I’ve never done before, and one crazy day, I found myself telling them I wanted to dive. I conquered my fears, found a new friend in an amazing person, and discovered new things about myself. I actually love the sea! I’m ready for that fourth attempt at swimming lessons.

6. Transition [link]

image

I have a pretty accurate read of a person from my first conversation with them, regardless of whether they’re being real or not. I turn out almost always right. Despite this, I found myself in toxic relationships left and right. I didn’t feel comfortable with myself, compromised my values for majority approval, traded secrets with and confided in people who I knew deep inside weren’t listening with genuine intentions. Afraid to break away and burn bridges, I chose to participate. When I wrote this post, I was seeing the consequences of this choice. I was able to see which were my friends for as long as they had something to gain, which ones left without hearing me out, which ones were afraid to rock the boat standing by me, and which friends truly cared how I was, asked what happened, reprimanded me for my mistakes and loved me anyway. They’re the ones I have with me now.

5. Skinny Love [link]

image

Thoughts at a Coffee Bean while Birdy’s version was playing. “All we really want, deep down inside, is to be loved… But are we really willing to make do with a love founded on co-dependency than none at all? A love of two halves desperate to have someone complete them at the cost of losing their individuality? Skinny, undernourished, lightweight love? When you’ve had one too many, you tire of chasing after a kind of love that is bound to last only so long as the novelty and euphoria of the feeling is there. You resolve that this time around, you will love yourself first… that perhaps, when you are whole and with so much to give, another whole will come by when you least expect it.”

4. Charmed [link]

image

Reflections on being twenty-something, and wearing a charm bracelet for the first time. “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… Two turquoise beads to represent sea and sky, because adventure is out there! The white hearts to represent pure love—what I believe in and look forward to finding, feeling and keeping.”

3. Wildcard [link]

image

Baseball caps were all the rage this year, so the sport became a springboard for this post. “In many other sports and competitions, it essentially means the same thing: a second ‘in,’ a chance to redeem oneself despite failing to make it under normal circumstances. Many times in life too, we only either win or lose. And when we lose, there’s no going back. But every now and then, wildcard opportunities present themselves and offer a way back in… This time, we know so much better… We are more than ready. This is why many wildcards end up as winners.”

2. Autumn [link]

image

I have a fascination for the five elements and the four seasons. This post is a conclusion to the parallels I made between the seasons and the events of this year. “Now, it is autumn. The season for shedding the bits and pieces that aren’t needed, in order to make room for an eventual and inevitable rebirth. For more amazing challenges and experiences. I’d like to believe this is the season I have come full circle.”

1. In Order To Bloom, You Have To Pull Out The Weeds [link]

image

A celebration of the outpouring of blessings that has come my way. “I look at the vast garden of people who have helped me blossom throughout the past year. Familyold friendsnew friends, old colleagues who knew better than to believe fabricated lies, new work colleagues in a new industry filled with intelligent, mature and accomplished individuals. People who heard all sides but didn’t take sides, saw the mishaps and saw me through the mistakes, gave me a tough time out of tough love, and stayed throughout everything. The happiness and contentment I feel today is for and because of them.”
    
To everyone who has touched my life this year, please know that I think of you every day and I thank you and wish you all the happiness in the world. You have made 2013 the best year ever, and it can only get even better next year. Happy New Year! ♥ 
   
All the love,
Shai

In Order To Bloom, You Have To Pull Out The Weeds

image

Getting caught in toxic relationships isn’t easy, especially in the Filipino culture where people tend to move in flocks and herds. Never mind that some interactions are tinged with manipulation and quid pro quo—you scratch my back, I scratch yours—in order to make it, we are told, you have to keep scratching and conforming to the status quo and grinning and bearing things (and people). 

image

But as a favorite quote of mine goes, “You can’t fly with the eagles if you keep scratching with the turkeys.” What I was too afraid to admit earlier this year has turned out to be an amazing gift.

image

In order to bloom, you have to pull out the weeds. Trials are the best way to filter out your foes from your real friends, my mom said. Not everyone who listens to you is there to listen; some do for the gossip and now you know which is which, my dad said. Those who won’t believe you or stand by you didn’t deserve to be with you in the first place, my sister said. No one will be weighing you down anymore. You can finally grow to be the person you were meant to be, my brother said. 

image

I look at the vast garden of people who have helped me blossom throughout the past year. Family, old friends, new friends, old colleagues who knew better than to believe fabricated lies, new work colleagues in a new industry filled with intelligent, mature and accomplished individuals. People who heard all sides but didn’t take sides, saw the mishaps and saw me through the mistakes, gave me a tough time out of tough love, and stayed throughout everything. The happiness and contentment I feel today is for and because of them.

image

Whoever’s reading this, I’m sending you these same vibes. May you also have the courage to stand up for what you deserve, to let go of everything that’s keeping you from growing and be surrounded with good people who will be happy to see you bloom. :)

image

Outfit details: Forever21 Girls (yes, the kids’ section) top, Forever21 skirt.

image

SM Accessories necklace.

image

Titan “Raga” watch.

image

SM Accessories bangle and bouquet ring.

image

XOXO handbag.

image

Parisian clogs.

Sooner or Later, The Truth Always Shines Through

image

It makes me happy that more and more people are discovering for themselves the dupery that is our old-school History books. Growing up, my father used to give us alternative reading materials that questioned the veracity and accuracy of the almost-legendary anecdotes of centuries past—how some figures tended be overrated, while others overlooked. 

image

For me, one of these is Gat Andres Bonifacio. (“Gat” is kind of the Filipino equivalent of “Hon.” and I believe it is short for “Gatpuno.” As an etymology enthusiast, I’d like to think this in turn comes from the word ugat-puno: the roots of a tree. An apt metaphor for an organizational leader who rests as the foundation underneath the branches to give it nourishment, grounding and support.) 

image

As with Rizal, I could not let Bonifacio’s sesquicentennial go by without a brief nod to the unspoken truths about his contributions to our rich history. Instead of having to dish out one “Did You Know That…” after another, I’m delighted to link you to credible online resources: the Philippine government’s marvelous efforts here, GMA Network’s special report here, and Rappler’s factoids here.

image

I must warn you though: reading about these growing up, hearing them from my father or Ateneo teachers, is why I have never been a fan of Aguinaldo. I sincerely do not mean to discredit his legacy or disrespect his descendants, but honestly, and contrary to how he was portrayed in my textbooks, as a young girl I’ve always viewed him as one of those trapos (traditional politicians) who go to great lengths to make themselves appear most heroic. Who plot against the threats to their success, and engage in grandstanding and elaborate PR schemes to claim credit for the effort of others. 

image

On another note, perhaps this is why I’ve never been able to relate with Rizal until I got introduced to “Without The Overcoat" and related readings. He was always depicted in traditional History books as almost legendary, superheroic, that it was difficult to see him for the human being that he was, faults, foible and flagrancies all. 

image

I like it better when people are shown—revealed for who they are. As Bonifacio’s supporters are now seeing, and as I know I will too, the truth about people eventually shines through. 

image

Outfit details: Forever21 floral dress and dotted socks, Parisian wedge booties, Michael Kors ostrich Hamilton bag.

image

SM Accessories hair bow, Japanese Candy contact lenses. It’s the first of December, so I decided to dress up like a present. 

image

SM Accessories necklace and bracelet, Nail It! manicure. All together now a la Love Actually: “I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes… Christmas is all around me, it’s everywhere I go…”

image

Slickwraps iPhone 5 wrap from Wrapped Up (that’s too many wraps in one sentence I could almost write a rap about it—ooh, alliteration. Okay, I’m just rambling here). This is officially my favorite of all the cases and wraps I’ve ever tried. My phone is protected all over in wrapping that looks and feels like wood. Plus, it doesn’t make my phone bulkier so I can even put on a hard or silicon casing over it. Then again, it easily matches anything I wear, so I probably wouldn’t have to. Check out the other wooden and carbon fiber gadget wraps by clicking their link above.

image

A birthday gift from an awesome trip to my awesome uncles and aunts in the States. When styling, once in a while I like to have cheeky themes within my outfits, sort of like an inside joke that only I am in on. For once I’ll share what this outfit’s is: dots on the bag, and dots on the socks. Heh. That’s it, really. I just like to have certain things that match but don’t really. 

image

Forever 21 wedge booties. I haven’t gone shoe-shopping in a while and my penchant for neutral-colored footwear, especially those of the height-increasing type, was reawakened when I spotted this pair on a mannequin.

image

Needless to say, I fell head over heels. (‘kay, that was quite awful)

Hype this on lookbook above, vote on Chictopia below.

The Ephemerality and Eventual Death of a Trend

image

A comment I get a lot is that I have a way of putting forth ideas and outfits differently. That I don’t seem to simply be looking at trends, following them to a “T” and then merely compiling and rehashing them as if my blog were an RSS feed of content that can already (and more conveniently) be found in legit publications. It’s because I really don’t.

image

I work a real job in media after all; we are trained to keep an ear on the ground for anything approaching, to keep constant watch on what’s buzzing, to track the trending. Having sufficient awareness of whatever is going to hit mainstream soon, how long it’s likely to last, and the likelihood of its fade out, I tend to refrain from hitching my wagon on it. This habit extends to real life. It feels nice to be ahead—and when not possible, to be left behind to examine something on its own merits while the many have moved on to the next hype. When people would be abuzz about the latest trilogy or book or artist, I would stay away from the news feeds and wait out the loud chatter, returning only when it dies down and I could check it out for myself without any majority opinion to sway mine. 

image

For me, mastering trends means studying the peaks and troughs of their precedents and feeling out predictions from there. Having a sense of what’s poised to hit it big, and simply injecting bits and pieces of it into my own take on things, regardless of whether or not it is hashtag-worthy. 

image

An enduring favorite of many, myself included, has been activewear-sportsluxe-street-urban-sporty-athletic-varsity-chic (insert other fancy terms that point to the same trend of mixing sportswear with stylish clothes here). It’s enjoyed a tenure almost as long-lasting as animal prints and spring florals, but it is a trend undeniably headed towards its demise. I feel skater skirts and dresses would function as transitionary pieces: still as sporty, but versatile enough to make the shift from sporty to, say, punk and romantic looks, less drastic. But who knows? I just like caps, and sneakers, and florals. As I said, I tend to keep to what I feel is coming and stray from what’s already out there. What counts for me is that I’m true to my style.

image

Clinging on to trends makes one savvy, but it also tends to blur one’s identity if left to reign over it. Like summer flings and fair-weather friendships, trends can come and go without leaving us with anything substantial. Sometimes they return, sometimes they don’t, but always they never last. They die. And it’s not just fashion. Consider this week’s Anne Curtis brouhaha. It’s got everyone clicking “Share” and making commentaries and living in the huge moment, and it won’t be surprising if "I can buy you, your friends and this club" becomes some sort of meme. But like many of its predecessors, it won’t be long before it’s forgotten.

image

So sure, let’s have fun with trends, delight in the excitement of choices that social media gives us access to—so long as they simply garnish what we already serve. A healthy consumption of trends means that at the end of the day, while what’s hot has peaked and plateaued and we await the next big thing, we have our own selves to always go back to. 

image

Outfit details: Nike Air snapback, Redgirl floral raglan, Mango jeggings.

image

SM Accessories earrings and bracelets, Silverworks nickname necklace (also worn here), Wrapped Up Slickwraps (also here).

image

SM Accessories tote bag. Much mismatch.

image

World Balance sneakers in my favorite color.

Hype on Lookbook and vote on Chictopia by clicking on the links above. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @shailagarde, and feel free to leave a comment. What trends do you wish to see expire, and which ones do you want to last? I’d love to hear from you!

And You’re Gonna Hear Me Roar.

image

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath. Scared to rock the boat and make a mess. 

image

So I sat quietly. Agreed politely. I guess that I forgot I had a choice.

image

I let you push me past the breaking point. I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything.

image

You held me down.

image

But I got up. Already brushing off the dust. Get ready ‘cause I’ve had enough.

image

You hear my voice, you hear that sound. Like thunder, gonna shake the ground. I see it all, I see it now.

image

I’ve got the eye of the tiger, a fighter dancing through the fire.

image

'Cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar.

image

Now I’m floating like a butterfly. Stinging like a bee. I earned my stripes. 

image

I went from zero…

image

To my own hero.

image

It’s an anthem everyone can claim for their own. But for those of you who know me and my story—the real one, not the one passed on through a friend of a friend of a friend embellished with amnesiac truths, then you’d know exactly why I wrote in Katy Perry’s lyrics instead of my own words. “Roar” is the life story of this (girl born in the year of the) tiger, and there is very little need for elaboration.

image

Forever21 tiger shirt, Miss Sixty shorts. Special thanksJoanne Pecson (pictured above) and ETC Channel for inviting me to be the inspirational speaker on personal style during the ETC Campus Tour in UP Diliman a few weeks back.

image

Antler Accessories necklace to go with the shirt’s studs.

image

Forever21 nude stockings with cross prints, Skechers +3 wedge sneakers.

image

Gel nails by St. Nails Spa.

Hype this on Lookbook above, favorite on Chictopia below.

Autumn

image

Five months ago, I wrote “Transition.” It was the middle of spring, and although I live in a country that only has sunny and rainy days, the events in my life seemed to be changing the way the seasons do. I had just come from a harsh and dark winter, and in time, the cold melted and ushered in a lush, vibrant spring where everything was growing.

image

In the summer, I moved on to a fresh new start and decided to “Keep Walking.” When I turned my back on all the baggage weighing me down and the garbage bringing out the worst in me—the things and people that were keeping me from being my best and most genuine self—everything became clear as day. That “Clarity" made me take responsibility for the choices I made in the past couple of years. I saw clearly the short-term consequence: a wounding, a purging, an emptying out. 

image

I also saw the long-term consequence: a healing, a rediscovering, a filling up with real love and genuine happiness. Now, it is autumn. The season for shedding the bits and pieces that aren’t needed, in order to make room for an eventual and inevitable rebirth. For more amazing challenges and experiences. I’d like to believe this is the season I have come full circle. ♥

image

Outfit details: Shop Enna olive green one-shoulder bodycon dress. I enrolled in 360 Fitness Club last September and aside from most obvious reason being to take good care of my health, clothes like these are why.  

image

Japanese Candy green contact lenses, SM Accessories emerald green earrings, Silverworks aquamarine pendant.

image

The birthstone for March. I also wore it with this sporty outfit.

image

Pandora charm bracelet. The silver flower also has an aquamarine stone, while the Murano beads are in the same color. The meaning of this bracelet and all its charms are on this post

Hype this above and vote on Chictopia here.

Work Hard Play Hard: Tiesto in Manila giveaway

image

What would be a transitionary outfit from summer to fall, if we had four seasons instead of just wet and dry. 

image

Shot by Don Michael De Leon of Happyfingers Photography

image

“Fashion Blogger” tee from Bjorn Bedayo layered under a thrifted denim button-down and Pinkaholic high-waisted shorts.

image

The Headware headband and Les Moda personalized spectacles.

image

Indigenous tribal-print backpack from Davao. 

image

Kohl’s wedge boots. Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.

image

In this time and age where efficiency is king, versatility is key. Things—and people—have to be as functionally maximized in all other aspects as they are in one. Everything is expected to be transitionary, hence the popularity of multi-way piecesall-season ensembles, and day-to-night looks

image

And us? We have to know how to “Work Hard, Play Hard.” We can’t just be one or the other; to make the most of the “Sweet Things” in this “Beautiful World,” we’ve got to be ready and raring for both. To be able to enjoy “Silence” as much as we enjoy the exciting “Elements of Life.” To say to ourselves, “I Will Be Here” as we seize the day, and then gather with our friends afterwards and say, “We Own The Night.”

image

I just served you up with some of the smash hits created by legendary Dutch musician and record producer of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), Tijs Michiel Verwest. More popularly known to you and me as world-renowned Grammy Nominee DJ Tiesto, he’s coming back to Manila next week and I’m giving away tickets.

image

But first, a look-back at his DJ career. It began with Tiesto playing mostly New Beat and House Music in small clubs in his hometown of Breda, the Netherlands. He rose to popularity in the early 2000s after his performance at the Live at Innercity: Amsterdam RAI party, and the release of his first solo album “In My Memory” and has since been producing award-winning EDM hits and albums, holding world tours and concert parties, and receiving countless recognition for his music. One of Tiesto’s albums, “Elements of Life,” was number one on the Dutch album chart and Billboard Top Electronic Albums in the US, and was awarded Best Electronic Dance Album in 2008. 

image

One of Tiesto’s most notable performances was at the opening ceremony of the Athens Summer Olympics, making him the very first DJ to play live on stage at an Olympic event. He was also the very first DJ to rank #1 in the Top 100 DJs list by DJ Magazine for three years straight. His other awards include Best International DJ at the DJ Awards (2008), The Best DJ of All Time and The #1 DJ by Mixmag Magazine (2008), International Dance4Life Ambassador (2006), and The 40th Greatest Dutch Citizen of All Time and Officer of the Order of Orange–Nassau by the Dutch Royalty (2003).

image

With a proven track record, there’s no doubt Tiesto is one of most sought-after EDM DJs in the world. In the Philippines alone, he’s spun his tracks in front of the hottest clubbers, EDM enthusiasts and personalities in two of the biggest and hippest dance arenas in 2008 and 2009. 

image

This October 3, Tiesto will be coming back to Manila for his very first concert party at the Big Dome as World Wide Womb, Ovation Productions, Driven Manila, and Republiq present Tiesto Live in Manila with special guest, the fastest-rising and most exciting female Australian DJ Tigerlily. Tickets are now available at Ticketnet. You can check out www.ticketnet.com.ph, World Wide Womb and Republiq for more info, or call +639175508888 for VIP tables. Of course, you can join my giveaway first for a shot at scoring tickets for free.
    

Read more