Love Chic

To Miss What You Almost Had

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A tribute to grandfathers, and consequentially, a treatise on regret.

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The harsh way to put it would be that I traded my grandpa’s heirloom for a battery-operated facial scrubber.

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Two years ago in March, I celebrated my birthday with relatives in California. It was a delight getting to meet them for the first time in my adult life, when I could actually remember things and understand the conversations in the Kinaray-a dialect. The experience was only made more delightful by one thing: the opportunity to be with my only living grandfather, Tatay Bening.

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Tatay Bening was my dad’s uncle. He was turning 93 the following month. A former public school teacher and war veteran, he was still sharp as a tack and fun to be around. Just like my siblings and I grew up with our cousins, my dad and aunt grew up with theirs, and Tatay was the head of that big brood. 

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I have always had a fondness for the elderly. To me they are living legacies, their eyes our windows to the storied past. Grandparents, most especially, are the only real connection we have to our heritage, their wisdom our key to unlocking various mysteries surrounding who we are and what we are to be.

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And I have always believed that in much the same way a father is instrumental in shaping a daughter’s identity, so is a grandfather to a granddaughter.

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I yearned for a Lolo growing up. My parents’ dads were not really around, so I could only imagine what it was like. Hearing stories of the war, of dapper men on the streets of Bacolod or Angeles wearing suits and top hats, of love, fiestas, school, trade, travel, music in those days.

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Rummaging through their antique chests and being given mementos: a tobacco pipe, a worn-down camera, a battered old typewriter, a vintage pair of spectacles, a moth-eaten set of books. Singing along with them while listening to AM radio stations on a Sunday. Having my feet on top of theirs and dancing while the vinyl player cranked out Debussy.

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A Different Approach

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It can’t be helped that we tend to view things from the perspective of the majority. This is what works, this is what should be, this is the accepted practice, this is the norm. The standard.

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It also can’t be helped that despite what we know better, sometimes we succumb and view ourselves from this same perspective. Am I—the clothes I wear, the things I accomplish, the talents I possess, the company I keep—good enough, from this perspective?

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And therein lies all the self-doubt and insecurity and failure to see things properly. We become so engrossed in what they say we should know, not what we already know. When we pit ourselves against others in a game of Who’s Better, we never win. 

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I’ve experienced this so many times growing up that I can’t even count the incidents. I’m a bit like Mike Ross of Suits, however, in that I can remember in vivid detail the littlest details from the past, all the way from when I was three. Let’s go as far back as pre-school.

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I was the youngest, and everyone else was painting their eggshell mosaic in the basic shades that came with the watercolor palette. I mixed some colors in mine, so my mosaic looked different. Though my work got hung on the bulletin board, I resorted to using basic colors for the next project to make them stop calling me weird. Another time when I was seven, the teacher taped a “King David” card on the blackboard, with a dozen random words on the other side. We were to pick a word that describes King David and place it around his name. I raised my hand, got my turn, and picked “ruler.” I was promptly laughed at and told that rulers are school supplies.

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I could go on and on, but the point is, the more I tried back then to be on the same plane as the rest of them, the more I felt the disconnect. It was quite the struggle, trying to find your place while trying to not be out of place, as you may have felt too. 

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How-To: Interview #OOTD

Harvey Specter said it well. “People respond to the way we dress, so like it or not, this is what you have to do.” As the enrolled and the employed make their way back to their desks after savoring the remaining vestiges of summer, the fresh grads make their way forward into the proverbial real world. If you’re one of them, Harvey’s words are as much for you as for rookie associate Mike Ross. Your interview outfit is as crucial as your résumé and cover letter as you look to land your first job, no matter what field. I’ve put together a few industry-appropriate looks you can base your interview outfits on.

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Corporate. Involves dealing with clients—sales, accounts management, communications, public relations, marketing, law, real estate, banking, or finance.
Play it safe: You’ll typically be interviewing for an office with a conservative workplace environment, so stick to an impressive professional look: crisp button-down, black or gray suit and pencil skirt or pants with classic accessories.
Play it up: Conservative doesn’t have to be boring. Keeping the rest of your outfit within the traditional silhouette, try a button-down and tailored blazer in a light pastel hue that’s pleasing to the eyes. Keep accessories simple and elegant.

Button-down and pencil skirt, Mango.  Blazer, River Island. Pumps, Forever 21. Watch, Titan. Necklace, SM Accessories. Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here. 

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Creative. Involves, well, being creative: fashion, graphic design, art direction, writing, editing, photography, media, advertising, music or theater.

Play it safe: While a creative job means no one expects you to show up in a business suit, you’ll still have to exude professionalism and reliability. The idea is to show that you’re chic and smart: try trendy pieces mixed with structured items.
Play it up: Even if employees turn up in jeans and sneakers, don’t. Show you made an effort to dress well for that job. Let your outfit tell a bit about your individuality through interesting prints and a quirky accessory, but nothing over-the-top. Keep it balanced.

Top, Mango. Blazer, pants and shoes, Forever 21. Necklace, SM Accessories. “Stories of You” bracelet, Trollbeads. Hype on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.

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Redtro

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Slipped on this little red dress for a hosting gig last week. Titan, the fifth largest wristwatch producer in the world, launched their first store in SM Clark Pampanga last week with a gathering of media and guests at the Activity Center.

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I chanced upon an awesome Mango sale the night before and saw a black version of this dress, but how many LBDs does a girl really need? To avoid the unnecessary acquisition but still be able to justify the purchase, I went with the red one.

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Flight back

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With temperatures at an all-time high this week, it’s lovely to hear the soft peal of thunder over the hum and buzz of the air conditioning tonight, isn’t it? While it’s still officially summer, I thought tonight’s rainy reprieve might be a cool (pun unintended) time to post something other than the bikinis and maxi dresses that the newsfeeds are currently rife with. 

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The Simple Things

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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.

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You can find better

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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.

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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.

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Seasons of love

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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.

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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.

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Solace

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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”). 

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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.

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Statement

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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.

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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? 

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