We all have stuff we love to look back fondly on. In my case, it’s 2013—the first quarter was just full of people and events you never want to be mired in, followed by a remarkable transition for the better, and then everything went uphill from there.
Today’s weather here in Pampanga was the kind of sunny day I enjoy—chilly and kind of overcast, but still bright enough to inspire.
To be honest, I woke up this morning feeling under the weather, inundated with thoughts of my recent choices and actions and succumbing to the temptation of overanalyzing and dissecting every little detail. I was thinking about unrequited loyalty, how we don’t always get back the same kind that we give those who are important to us.
Whenever I get like this, I remember what someone once taught me: to focus instead on the people who see us at our most vulnerable, who see us be impulsive and foolish and love us anyway. People who, instead of appearing to agree all the way through and watch us crash and burn, care enough to call us out to protect us from the mistakes we’re making. To let us know that at the end of the day, they’re the ones who truly know us and believe in us.
You know how much we love the Korean aesthetic of effortless adorability—be it fashion, beauty or interiors, it’s simple and charming and gets the job done in a way that makes you go, “That’s basic yet functional and pretty… why haven’t I tried that before?”
Neither of us have ever been to Seoul (at least physically)—but in the meantime, we’ve been on the lookout for little pockets of Korea wherever we are.
According to the owners, it’s called Sunday 2PM because it’s that time of the week when things are most relaxed and chill for most people. They gave the café this name to evoke that cozy feeling of being at home.
We just had to film the cutest stuff in Sunday 2PM for another video diary!
So adorable, right?
The way it’s designed also gave us some more ideas for decorating our own spaces.
Apart from coffee and sandwiches, they’ve got a mini library of Korean and English books for anyone’s reading pleasure.
And if you want to listen to or download Korean songs, there’s this mini grocery cart.
There are these “study corners” by the walls near the shelves. Check out the wall papers: customer doodles. Who knew cluttered post-its could look so nice?
Photos by Lea Ann, a talented photographer and young entrepreneur who took a week off from her daily schedule just to hang out with us. On Shai: Runway Dreams dress and vest, Chemistry belt, Parisian shoes. Hype this on Lookbook here.
Parisian flatforms for walking around looking taller.
It’s visiting places like Sunday 2PM that remind us how things don’t need to be over-complicated, over-thought or over-designed in order to work out. No matter how stressed or tired we are, we need only look at photos and videos of our happy places.
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.
Yes, you can pick random stuff from your closet, tie your hair haphazardly, wear no makeup and still blog about it. Blind Clothing floral dress, Ziggy & Zooey zebra print flats, Martina-Martina tribal-inspired necklace, Chemistry bangles. Hype this on Lookbook here.
Another day in Cebu! The best thing about this city is everything’s within walking distance. On this day, we went for a walk to Ayala Center and dropped by the Cebu branches two of our favorite stores here in Manila: Complex and Skechers.
Mixing a lot of colors and ideas into one outfit. I tend to do this particularly whenever we’re doing some sort of athletic or sporty chic look, like today. It’s the easiest look to style—simply don’t style it. Haha!
I love how these Quirkypedia accessories instantly make things… well, quirky! Contact lenses from Japanese Candy. A couple of Koreans actually came up to me in the mall and asked me for directions.
I didn’t really pre-style the items I brought to Cebu, but it was a good thing I brought this top from Style Hub. It’s got this cool jersey-type detail that to go with the sporty shoes. As for the Chemistry belt and shoes—so versatile! You’re sure to see them lots more times in my outfit posts.
Forever a fan of candy colors! It doesn’t really matter whether the colorblocking, neon and athletic-chic looks are in season; whenever I feel like going for a happy look, it’s candy colors for me.
Of course, walking burns calories (and makes tummies grumble). Seph loves Mexican food, and we had heard of a café in Ayala Center Cebu serving just that. It’s called Mooon, and that’s where we headed to grab a bite. Beef burrito, anyone?
Mooon Café’s interiors are also Mexican-inspired. Beautiful wall, isn’t it? We wanted to take more photos of the surroundings, but the place was filled with so many people and we didn’t want to disturb their lunch. More photos on Mooon’s Facebook page.
Thanks to the staff of Complex and Skechers.
Bows, bouquets, braids—pile on the sweetness, why not? Whenever I can’t help but do so, I usually have to inject some edge in it, hence the animal print on the shoes.
My mom took these photos outside our house in Pampanga last week while Seph had his own outfit shoot with his older sister in Tagaytay. My kid brother’s birthday falls on the same day as that of Seph’s mom’s, so of course, we spend it with our families. Even when we can’t be together for a shoot though, we share with each other what we plan to wear so that our outfit shots still make some sense when published.
Nothing too deliberate, really. We’re just lucky that we’re on the same wavelength about many things (and when we’re not, it’s usually because one has something to teach or learn from the other). See his version of this look here!
Our lunch? Yabu, of course! It’s one of our go-to places for comfort food, never mind that it’s an hour’s drive away. We try to schedule whatever errands we can accomplish around the Ortigas area just so we have an excuse to dine at Yabu. This day was no different, except that instead of our usual orders, we decided to try the spanking new offerings on their menu. We started with the green mango shakes—they had the perfect sweet-sour-fruity-slushy blend! They also have watermelon and ripe mango, which we plan to try on our next trip.
A Yabu meal isn’t complete without our favorite appetizers. Seaweed salad with ebiko and potato salad, now with egg added in the mix.
Yabu’s chef is Master Kazuya Takeda, head chef of a popular tonkatsu restaurant in Tokyo known as Tonkatsu Takeshin. He has created a line-up of Yabu Special Katsudon sets, which means you can only taste this kind of katsudon here and nowhere else. Each set is served with miso soup, Japanese pickles, unlimited cabbage with sesame dressing and a bowl of fruit. We ordered the Rosu katsudon, sprinkled with bonito flakes and topped with a sunny side-up egg. Just like everything katsu at Yabu, the meat was crispy on the outside, tender and flavorful on the inside.
Yabu has also added a second dish to their original Mixed Seafood Katsu set. The Seafood Katsu Set 2 is composed of salmon, black tiger prawn, crab and oyster, and each katsu was cooked to perfection.
We’ve been craving for cream dory katsu all week, so we also asked for it a la carte. Yum!
One of the wonderful things about Yabu is this promise of perfection. We asked around and nope, they don’t really get any replacement requests—and it’s no wonder why! For very reasonable prices, you get premium food and premium service.
For dessert, we had this Lava Cake topped with a scoop of Selecta green tea ice cream. We both love cake, cookies, brownies and other baked goodies that are chewy and creamy instead of crumby and crunchy—needless to say, we immediately fell in love with how soft and chewy this lava cake is! Each spoonful was filled with delicious fudge chocolate syrup; we planned to take a midway photo of how it looks after a few bites but before we knew it, we had bitten every bit. Oops!
Down the hall to the restroom, you’ll see a whole wall filled with public displays of affection for Yabu.
If you haven’t tried this place, you really should. We’ve brought about a dozen of our friends and family members here and they’ve since come back lots of times on their own. If you like katsu, you’re going to love Yabu.
It was my first time to see these trees in person! Cherry blossoms are called sakura in Japanese and I didn’t expect to see them in Sacramento (which prompted me to make a Sakura-mento joke that I shall spare you from). I thought I’d dress up in their honor.
Hype this look (and be my fan, hehe) on Lookbook here.
My cousins were saying our trip to Sacramento was perfect timing—a few days earlier or later and we would’ve missed the cherry blossoms.
As with my San Diego, Long Beach and San Francisco photo diaries, I won’t be able to share the entirety of my travel photos without inundating everyone’s feeds but here’s another set from one of the many places we visited: the state capitol.
The Church of the Blessed Sacrament, a walking distance from the capitol. It’s where the city got its name from.
The Sacramento Capitol, built in the image of the Washington State Capitol. In the interest of full disclosure, let me admit that I wasn’t aware that the capital of California was in fact not Los Angeles,but Sacramento. Let me know if you didn’t know either—let’s be embarrassing together! Haha!
We went on a guided tour that day but 477 fully-captioned photos with encyclopedic information about California would be overkill. Instead, trivia.
The dome is gilded with goldleaf—gold that has been melted and hammered and molded for decorative purposes. Unlike painted gold, goldleaf doesn’t need to be polished or repainted, and shines like new for decades and decades.
The Senate or Upper House, and State Assembly or Lower House. Apparently, this form of government was influenced by the British government’s House of Lords (for the noble and upper class) and House of Commons (for regular folks like you and me).
Governor Brown’s office. When Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor, the capitol was always full of tourists hoping to get a glimpse of the Terminator at work. He did leave a remembrance for all visitors, though.
Meet Bacteria Bear. Arnold got him in an auction for a huge amount of money and brought him to the office because he was one of the state symbols. But when it was time to leave, he left the bear here because it was too heavy. The bear got its name from all the kids visiting the capitol kissing it and smearing it with snot. And yes, my mom’s hand is in Bacteria Bear’s mouth.
We had great fun and it wouldn’t have been possible without my family. It’s my birthday on the 20th, but they’ve made me feel like my birthday all the days I was in Sacramento :)
The day we spent at the bay area of San Francisco was a blur. I’ve always longed to see one of the most picturesque cities I’ve ever explored through books, and there it was, every scene (as well as the chilly weather) leaving me breathless.
What I wore. Again, I raided my aunt’s barely-used wardrobe that morning for something to wear, as most of the clothes I brought turned out to be too spring/summer for the still very fall/winter temperatures of San Francisco. If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you may recognize the SM Accessories hat, Forever 21 boots, and Seph’s scarf from Baguio. Hype this on Lookbook here.
Our lovely relatives in Sacramento who took care of us as soon as we arrived from Longbeach. They cooked hearty Filipino meals, treated us out to sumptuous lunches and dinners, and showed us around. Here are just a few of the beautiful things we got to see.
Crossed the bridge when we got there
Tulips and other beautiful flowers abloom
Pier 39, where all the shops, restaurants and attractions (such as these sunbathing seals) are, as seen from the Blue & Gold bay cruise ferry
Fellow passengers marveling at the skyline
Sailing near Alcatraz Island
While no longer a prison for the most cold-blooded and sophisticated criminals in the country, Alcatraz emanates an eerie glow, a shadow of its dark history by which one can’t help but be haunted.
Albatrosses flying low around our ferry, as if guiding us on our way
Every hour is magic hour
Sailing under the most famous suspension bridge in the world
Spanning 4,200 feet, with each cable 7,650 feet long, 36 and 3/8 inches in diameter and containing 27,572 wires within, the total wire used was 80,000 miles long and the weight along with the suspenders and accessories is 24,500 tons. I may forget these numbers soon, but the magnificence of how the Golden Gate Bridge was built will remain.
We were advised to dress comfortably on the second day of HKFW.
This was the day we got to cover the Hong Kong Fashion Extravaganza, the most anticipated fashion show in all of Hong Kong Fashion Week attended by local celebrities and covered by national media. We had to be literally on our toes for the flurry of activity that happened that day: designer interviews, press conference, lots of picture-taking, and other fun reporter stuff that didn’t really allow for painfully dressy shoes. Stay tuned for this story!