“Let it go, it’s not worth it.” The choice between revenge and forgiveness was the theme of last Sunday’s church readings. It’s a universal struggle that anyone, believer or not, can relate to: when we are wronged, the immediate and overwhelming impulse is to seek “justice.” To retaliate and show that we won’t take crap from anyone. Yesterday in particular, Luke describes how Jesus’ friends want so badly to punish the people of Samaria when they refuse to welcome and let him pass through their town to get to Jerusalem. “Want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” James and John offer. Ever cool-headed, he simply tells them to walk away, and they quietly take a detour and move along without the drama.
Of course, when you’re a peace-loving guy who advocates “Turn the other cheek,” conciliatory meekness is the clear choice. For the rest of us though, this often proves difficult. Retreating or giving in is tantamount to admitting defeat. Nobody wants to be a pushover, a coward, a loser. But the point isn’t that we be afraid and let people walk all over us, or that we be martyrs and let people mistreat us even when we have aces up our sleeves and bullets in our barrels that we can use to fight back. The point is that we choose our battles, fight only the ones worth winning and let others “win” the rest.
The point is that we see the bigger picture: a year from now, will it matter? Is it a productive use of our time and effort? Will it make us any happier or less hurt? Betting from experience, the answer is a resounding no. It would simply never end, maybe even get worse. There are people and causes far more substantial and worth pursuing.
Today, the first of July, marks two other firsts: first day on my new job as the media and communications executive of a private corporation, first time to take on work in the corporate world. It’s a perfect mix of what I love about freelance creative work (telling stories, advocating Filipino industries, being in control of my own time), and the perks of a full-time job (financial security, travel opportunities, employment benefits). Looks to be an exciting new chapter to look forward to.
The first half of this year was a roller-coaster ride of uncertainties, realizations and wake-up calls—what precise timing that the second half should begin with things looking up and falling into place.
As it happens, when we prudently walk away from a troubling past and never look back, we give ourselves the gift of a future filled with much, much better things. :)
Photos by Don Michael De Leon of Happyfingers Photography. Outfit details: Essenxa ruffled top, Blanc et Noir paisley pencil skirt, Parisian shoes, SM Accessories. Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.
A typical weekend (i.e. lazy) look: slip-on dress, minimal accessories, bed hair and basic eye makeup. Takes five minutes. :) Photos by Don Michael De Leon of Happy Fingers Photography. Check out his works on Tumblr too.
The thing I like best about Don’s photos is how he captures portraits and textures of things as they are, as opposed to trying to make them always look picture-pretty; as a result, his shots have an honesty and “realness” to them that one rarely sees anymore. For our first shoot, I told him I’d go fuss-free and just let him take the reins, see what comes of it.
I mean, sure, there are days that require planning your look in advance, getting all dolled up and dressed to the nines. But to be honest, I quite enjoy days like these. Days when there is no itinerary, when the agenda is anything and the destination is anywhere.
Days when you can just relax with people you’re comfortable with, not having to think about what to say or how to act. When you can just goof around and not care so much.
As children, we didn’t really make a big fuss about the many things people make a fuss about now. With homework done and nap time duly over, we would spend our after-schools and weekends playing, roaming the neighborhood on bikes or skates or just our slippers. It was day in and day out of living simple happy lives, free from bouts of overanalyzing and instant-replays of our mistakes, and the inner struggles between our childlike honesty and society’s dictums of propriety. Something I personally miss about the nineties.
Well, we may not play taguan (hide-and-seek) or langit-lupa-impiyerno (heaven-earth-hell) or agawan-base (capture the flag) in our ratty old clothes anymore, but on a rare day of respite like this, we can let our hair down and leave the fussing for another day. •
Speaking of letting our hair down, here’s a song about not worrying even when sometimes, we get things wrong or feel afraid. Played on a pink ukulele for added happiness. Enjoy! :)
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!
Philippine Independence Day, June 12th, has drawn to a close. I originally planned on precluding myself from writing about it, as I can be quite impassioned when delving into nationalistic topics. Instead, last night, I chose to wear love-of-country, titled it “Flagged,” completely veered away from touching on anything historically relevant, and promptly proceeded to give a rather vapid and unnecessary description of how the styling was a lighthearted tribute to our nation’s colors.
I figured that at best, chances are everyone’s news feeds have been inundated with reflections on the current state of the country and how nothing has really changed much from the times we were under rule, reflections and sentiments that are bound to last only until the 19th (Jose Rizal’s birthday). At worst, chances are it was just another holiday for many, a one-day respite from the rigors of every day life. Would it make a difference to try and stir up fervor in many a jaded heart?
But today I remembered Rizal’s words: “I die without seeing dawn’s light shining on my country… You, who will see it, welcome it for me. Don’t forget those who fell during the nighttime.” Like an itch you can’t help but scratch, I couldn’t shake off the unease that I seemed to be doing a disservice to a national holiday (barely) observed once a year. So I rewrite this in honor of those brave heroes, famed and unsung, who fought so hard to give the Philippines at least a semblance of freedom that day in 1898.
I say semblance not to undermine any of their efforts, but because had certain things been done differently by the nation’s policymakers at the time, things might have also turned out differently: as we are taught in History class, the Filipino revolutionaries led by Emilio Aguinaldo made this declaration of independence from the Spanish colonial rule on June 12th in his ancestral home in what is now Kawit, Cavite. The flag made by Marcela and Lorenza Agoncillo, together with Rizal’s niece Delfina Herbosa, was unfurled, and Julian Felipe’s Marcha Filipina Magdalo (what would later on be given Jose Palma’s words and turned into the melody of Lupang Hinirang) was played. Despite much pomp and circumstance though, neither Spain nor the United States recognized this declaration: Spain ceded the Philippines to America for $20 million in the Treaty of Paris. It marked the end of the Spanish-American war, and the beginning of the Philippine-American war.
In his El Fili, Rizal wrote that a man holds on to his independence when he retains his own way of thinking. My humble thoughts on this: I’m not a big fan of Aguinaldo. Heh. I’m writing this from memory and from discussions with my dad, and I will reserve the rest of my Aguinaldo stories for Bonifacio Day, but for June 12th, what I know is that after the Philippine revolution broke out in 1896, the Spanish entered into an agreement with the revolutionaries and Aguinaldo voluntarily went into exile in Hong Kong. He came back in May 1898 during the Spanish-American war after the defeat of Spain in the Battle of Manila Bay and enlisted a brilliant paralytic lawyer, Apolinario Mabini as his adviser. Mabini has said the declaration was premature and should involve the consensus of the majority. He was also against the fact that it placed the Philippines under American protection. But Aguinaldo insisted on establishing his “independent” dictatorial government, only to later on issue a statement accepting America’s sovereignty over the Philippines when he was captured. Centuries later and the stories still sound familiar, eh?
I guess this is why I get impassioned when talking about this. This country and its people can become so much more, can enjoy so many possibilities, if only we recognized everything that we are and everything that we have. If only we learned from our past and resolved to do things differently. If only our politicians listened more to our intellectuals: our Rizals and our Mabinis, taking into careful consideration their analyses and educated opinions. If only the small people and the soldiers and those working behind the scenes—the Agoncillos and Herbosas, were given as much importance as the grandstanding generals and leaders. If only these leaders sincerely considered the welfare of the vast majority in making their decisions. If only we held our country in a higher regard, loved ourselves a little bit more, and worked harder to uphold our dignity. Then, we could truly be a people with independence. ☼
Outfit details: Weekender top, custom skirt, CMG platform wedges, Anne Klein purse, SM Accessories necklace, belt and earrings, Japanese Candy contact lenses.
My mom, who among many other things is my photographer and hairstylist, helped me out with an updated version of your typical Filipiniana updo.
Save for the hair, I avoided the updated-Filipiniana look because that’s pretty much always done. Let me know your thoughts—whether about the topic or the outfit. I’d also love to hear how you would style your own tribute.
As you may or may have not noticed in the first and second, there’s an undercurrent of green in this trilogy. I took it upon myself to work with three musts. First, the outfits must be from pieces I already own (you’ll see this dress in a future post; I wore it on the HK/Macau holiday). Second, the outfits must call to mind words like summer, fresh, carefree, happy and young. And third, I must not take more than three hours from styling, to makeup and hair, to shooting everything. I like playing little games like that. Haha.
I was able to put together and shoot all three in one afternoon, and my awesome photographer (Hi Mama!) did an amazing job as usual. It was quick and so much fun!
Don’t let the height of these lace-wrapped wedges fool you. They’re quite easy to walk in! I tried dancing in them as well and I think with a little more practice, they’re a good enough compromise for the vertically challenged who don’t want to wear flats to the festival.
Let me know what you have in mind for your Summer Solstice outfit, or ask me style-related questions, here! Oh, and which one’s your favorite among the three? :)
In March 2010 started a love story eight years in the making. Seph and I met in 2002 through my cousin Jeru, his best friend of 11 years. Through those years we were always just along the borders of each other’s lives, crossing paths every now and then in between relationships, keeping in touch and losing touch and finally finding each other many years and lessons later.
When we did, we were so sure we had both been prepared for this. That there must have been a reason we weren’t brought together eight years ago; that we were meant to first grow and learn from past mistakes. Things fell into place almost cosmically: the chemistry effortless, the connection unbreakable, everyone’s love and support overwhelming. This is what we’ve been waiting our whole lives for, we thought.
It’s been our joy sharing our story with you through this blog—our passions, hopes, milestones and memories. Love Chic has not only been a celebration of our love for fashion, but of love. Of two people whose bond is so strong that one can feel or think what the other feels or thinks without saying a word. Two people with so much in common it’s like they’ve known each other all their lives. Whose differences are so complementary that when their strengths and weaknesses combine, they’re unstoppable. Two people who have made cynics believe that true love is real after all.
But love as a feeling is never enough. Falling in love is the easiest thing, while staying in love requires commitment. It takes two; not one, not three, to make a relationship work. As it turns out, the worst fears and gut feelings I’ve been having for a while were real: Seph and I have stopped moving together in this direction. The things that were supposed to be just between the two of us—secrets, plans, dreams, problems, were no longer just between the two of us.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, our story has come to an end.
They say fight for what’s yours. Give it your all. But when it turns out it has no longer been yours for over a year now, you can fight and give with all you’ve got and it won’t make the slightest difference.
When that happens, all you can do is forgive, and move on. Be grateful for what happened, and have faith that things can only get better.
From here on, Seph is leaving Love Chic to me. There will be changes, but with the same name and aim of inspiring young people to be their best and confident selves. We hope you’ll continue to be supportive of us even as we go our own ways.
Made this on our anniversary to celebrate our story. It’s time to let it go. :)
To everyone who stood by us from the very beginning, when we were starting out with webcam photos on Facebook albums. To everyone who read our first blog posts and watched our first videos. To everyone who came by our talks, wrote to Dear Love Chic, dropped by our bazaar booths, watched our guestings, and read our features. To everyone who showed their faith in us, who looked up to us and made us feel like we were doing something right. To everyone who loved Love Chic, and sephshai.
It’s been a while since our last blog post! Along with the coming of the new year (and the Chinese new year lol), a lot of changes have been afoot.
Change, we often hear, is the only thing that’s ever constant. The only thing that follows a pattern. At first, resistance; and fear of tipping the balance. Of rearranging anything.
And then, enough courage to embrace the reality that what has been comfortable, what’s easy, isn’t always what’s right.
Enough courage is mustered to face whatever must happen head on, with a sound mind and a willful heart.
Hi guys! Hope you all had lovely Valentine celebrations yesterday. Just because February 14th is over, though, doesn’t mean the love season is!
Our Forever21 Valentine’s Lookbook contest is still on-going!
The contest is open to all fashionable couples who want to show off their unique sense of paired-up style in Forever21 outfits.
We’ve posted a few samples already to help get you inspired. The winning couple gets to win a P10,000 shopping spree.
Schoolboy meets schoolgirl in collared button-downs, knit cardigans and loafers. “Campus crush” looks for the Forever21 Valentine’s Lookbook contest.
We’ve been blogging these sample entries to give you guys a better idea how you can go about your own entries for the contest.
It could be as matchy as you want, or not! It could be in a studio, or outdoors.
It doesn’t really matter as long as your theme is pretty clear, and you’re able to express your individual and paired-up styling.
Show off your sweet style and get to win a P10,000 shopping spree from Forever21.
Denim button-downs layered over tangerines and blues, worn with nude shoes. One of the many ways we’d style ourselves for the Forever21 Valentine’s Lookbook contest.
How about you? Join the contest for a chance to win a P10,000 shopping spree at Forever21.
A sample entry for the Forever21 Valentine’s Lookbook contest:
denim, leather and studded boots.
Calling all couples! Get ready for our sweetest giveaway yet. Pose a la Love Chic in your most stylish outfits for a chance to win a P10,000 shopping spree from Forever21.
Just a few samples to give you ideas. It doesn’t matter if you take your photo on the streets or in a studio, as long as it showcases your sweet style.
Contest mechanics here:
Dropping by Heima is always a sweet treat, but more so on December 6 with the launch of Juicy Couture’s Viva La Juicy La Fleur and John Varvatos’ Artisan Black EDTs. Both are reinterpretations of Juicy Couture and John Varvato’ bestselling fragrances, Viva La Juicy and Artisan respectively.
Inspired by the blushing aura of being in love, Viva La Fleur is a veil of sparkling mandarin, wild berries and water lily combined with the luminous blend of dewy honeysuckle, gardenia petals and soft jasmine. A whisper of creamy gourmand caramel, vanilla and sandalwood lingers in the background. It’s fruity and sweet, but not in an overpowering way, which is exactly how we like it.
John Varvatos is a menswear designer who started out with Calvin Klein and Polo Ralph Lauren in the ’90s before developing his own line in 2000. Artisan Black is a limited edition scent from his new collection. Each bottle is hand-woven by a craftsman, so no two bottles look exactly the same. Inside is a surprising symphony of contrasts—with top notes of citrus, black basic and boxwood leaves, middle notes of dark woods, ginger and essential floral oils, and the woody, musky base notes of patchouli and soft leather.
That day was a feast for all the senses; apart from home design eye candy, easy-listening grooves, and the fragrances, guests were invited to sample these. Created by Chef Anne Chua of My Pink Wasabi, kashi maki means “sweet maki.” This particular collection was custom-made for Viva La Juicy La Fleur so that anyone who’s ever smelled a perfume and thought, “This smells so yummy I wish I could eat it!” actually could.
Boys and girls, here’s your chance to win limited edition @RayBanCollector wayfarers.
Love isn’t a walk in the park. Make sure who you’re walking with is worth it.
Shai: Simply Felice outfit, Ferretti peep-toes, SM Accessories sunnies. Seph: Chemistry button-down, Hang Ten shorts, Ferretti slip-ons, SM Accessories. Photo: Jeru Czar.