A wildcard is an opportunity out of the ordinary. In baseball, it gives an inside chance to non-division winners to make it to the World Series.
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.
When we tasted the devastating bitterness of a loss, the initial reaction was to cower and reel. And then we thought of all the things we failed at, berated ourselves for whatever we did that cost us our victory, for not having thought of a different play instead.
And from there, painful loss turns into hapless hopefulness: “If only I could get another shot at this. If only there was a way to try again and win it this time.”
Because this time, we know so much better. Among other things, we know that it’s not because we didn’t have what it takes: the drive, the skill, the experience. We know that sometimes, having what it takes is not enough; that fate is the other side of free will’s coin and that circumstances will sometimes be unkind, but that in the same manner, things could turn around. And when they do, we are more than ready.
This is why many wildcards end up as winners. :)
Outfit details: Divisoria batwing hoodie, Hang Ten denim shorts, H&M stockings.
New Era limited edition Stars and Stripes July 4th baseball cap.
SM Accessories bracelets, cuff, bangle and ring.
SM Accessories quilt shoulder bag.
Asian Vogue platform wedges. Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.
Ph: Don Michael De Leon of Happyfingers Photography (Tumblr | Instagram | Facebook). Special thanks to Magel Ordoñez and Anton Holmes.
In the TEDTalks video “Why 30 is not the new 20,” psychologist Meg Jay talks about how we young people may lead more meaningful lives and invest in a future with purpose and fulfillment as we reach our thirties and beyond. It might be a few more years before I get to that stage, but Dr. Jay’s talk got me thinking of all my quarter-life qualms: the uncertainty at where the paths I’ve taken were headed, the desire to make a significant contribution to society, the realizations that turned mistakes into lessons.
As she underscores in her talk, our twenties are meant to be stepping stones, not “throwaway” years. ”Do something that adds value to who you are,” says Dr. Jay. It reminded me of steps we can take to get there, and I thought I’d wear these reminders on my sleeve—well, my arms—every day from now on.
On one hand, a watch to be reminded that time doesn’t stop for anyone, and that we must spend it wisely because we can never take a second, minute or hour of it back. On the other, a band of reminders for getting started on the me I want to be and the life I want to grow into.
(Paper Dolls top, Human jeans, booties from Korea, Esprit Time watch. Hype on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.) I got the charm bracelet from the jewelry coffers of Pandora. I’ve loved these things even as a little girl, and I used to tell myself back then that the perfect time will come when I can start building one and start filling it up, one life journey at a time.
I chose Pandora for many reasons, starting with my fascination with Greek mythology and the particular story of Pandora’s box which attempts to answer the question of why there is evil in the world. In grade 6, I wrote an adaptation of this story for a school play and got to play Pandora, the world’s first woman whose name literally means “she with all the gifts.” She opens a mysterious box out of curiosity and releases all the evils of humanity, leaving only Hope inside as she scrambled to close it again. It’s a tragedy, but it ends with that hope, and I’d like to think life is like that too.
My Pandora’s box opens up to a silver bangle with two locks and five charms: a silver cross with a heart in the middle flanked by turquoise Murano glass beads, a silver sphere with mother of pearl hearts and a silver flower with aquamarine stones.
The silver band, as a reminder that of two things: that things will always come full circle, and that precious things last. We will always reap what we sow, which is why we should take care to plant only seeds whose fruits we want to eat. Financial success and career achievement are undoubtedly important, but more so are our relationships. Are we making time for our parents, our siblings and cousins, our true friends? Will we be there whenever they need us? Do they know that we appreciate them for everything they’ve been doing for us, and are we able to give the same back to them?
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.
The rest are reminders of my aspirations. two turquoise beads (my favorite color!) to represent sea and sky, because adventure is out there! After trying out scuba diving despite not being a beach person and not knowing how to swim and ending up loving it, I realized that there’s so much more out there that I want to see and explore. As they say, traveling is the one thing you spend on that makes you richer. And finally, the white hearts to represent pure love—what I believe in and look forward to finding, feeling and keeping.
Thank you Joanne for helping me build my charm bracelet—literally and figuratively, Magel for helping me rediscover the spirit of adventure, Robbie for helping me learn when not to give a darn, Anton for helping me find the right words, and you readers, for being there. Next to my family, it’s friends like you who make this a charmed life. :)
“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! :)
Impromptu one-take before bed. Yep, use it or lose it—rusty pipes from a few years of dormancy. Time to flex ‘em vocal muscles again. :) Video requested by my brother Vince’s girlfriend, Winona. It’s their birthdays on June 18th. ♥
We all have those days when things just feel slightly off-kilter for no apparent reason. You wake up with a weird fluttering in your stomach, and it’s not caused by the previous night’s sushi nor the good morning text your crush just sent you. It’s a sinking feeling, the cause of which you can’t really pinpoint—or maybe you can, and it’s just these minor annoyances clumped up into a big stress ball. So how do you quash that feeling?
You look on the bright side of things. Yes, it sounds patronizingly trite, but it’s also tried and true. One of my best friends, Joanne, would always tell me something to that effect whenever I would go to her for things that bothered me. “Life is beautiful, Shai! I won’t allow you to wallow when there is so much to be thankful for!” I used to feel bad at how she wouldn’t join me in my life’s lamentations. When we’re young, we tend to shrug off these things and be oh-so-dramatic about our woes instead of choosing to be positive.
But then it occurred to me that she’s one of the happiest, perkiest persons in my life and thought I’d give her attitude of gratitude a sincere try. Whenever an imaginary dark cloud loomed, I would list down every single thing I’m thankful for. Not just the significant, mind-blowing, life-altering ones, but even the most mundane (the amount of milk I poured was just enough to finish my Koko Krunch, all the stoplights I passed today were green, the barista spelled my name right on the cup) and those we sometimes take for granted (I arrived at my day’s destination safely, the elevator didn’t get stuck while I was alone inside, the waiter brought me water without being asked).
It’s one of those practices that are childishly basic and stupefyingly logical, yet a struggle to get the hang of. There are times when writing down all those thank you’s feels like the last thing I want to do. But cliches are nothing if not notorious tenets of simple wisdom: the more I rebel against it, the deeper I sink into a rut. The more I keep at it, the better everything starts to seem. These days more than ever, I’ve come to know that while we will always be besieged with trials, we will also never run out of things to brighten our days once we start looking. ♥
Sometimes, things happen that temporarily suspend our ability to think straight. People we value do us wrong, throw away our love and friendship. Intoxicated by their betrayal, we find ourselves making poor choices, moving away from who we are and compromising the values we grew up with. We end up acting on our heightened emotions, forgetting that wanting to cause pain to people who hurt us will do nothing to ease our own pain.
Dress from Bangkok, maxi skirt from The Catwalk. Freshlook Illuminate one-day contact lenses from Sarabia Optical Rockwell. Lookbook // Chictopia
If a psychic ever foretold I’d be doing this, I would’ve laughed the incredulous thought off, until about two weeks ago. Me, dive? The only time I’m ever near the ocean is when I cover beachfront events for magazines or produce summer segments for a TV show. I can swim only in waters shallow enough that I can stand up with my head above the surface—which suffices to say I can’t swim to save my life.
Yet despite my trepidations about the sea, last weekend found me at Mabini, Batangas with my friends Magel, Joanne, Chez and Chris. Not just to swim, but to learn how to sink. And as I would later find out, to learn many things more.
We got to meet Magel’s friends as well. Dan and Jonathan beside us are intro divers too, while the ones in front (Magel, Anton, Javy and Kevin) have all been diving here for years.
I met these two in 2009. We were all part of the production team of Project Runway Philippines 2 and instantly hit it off. From back then until now, Magel and Joanne have always been a source of strength and wisdom. I know I wouldn’t even think about trying this if they weren’t the people I’d be with.
Pool session with James, our instructor.
We were taught the basics of mask clearing, regulator clearing, equalizing, finning and proper breathing. To my pleasant surprise, I took to water like, well, a duck takes to water. The week before our diving trip, up to the minute I was already parking the car at the resort, I had spent so much time and energy being scared and worried how everything would go. All that wasted effort on something that turned out to be so ridiculously simple!
I volunteered to go first. Pink fins always help give a girl courage.
And then I was off to sea. There was nothing but the steady rhythm of my breathing, harmonizing with the muffled gurgle of a thousand tiny bubbles around us. Even the noise of my own thoughts was drowned out.
Underwater shots care of Javy’s GoPro and underwater camera case.
At first, I held on tight, like a baby about to take her first few steps. But as we went deeper and deeper, the water seemed to be more welcoming, beckoning us to come and see all the beauty she has to offer.
It’s gonna be okay, it seemed to say. Slowly, the current washed away the fears and anxieties and I was able to let go.
The undersea wandering left me wondering why I’ve been squandering all those opportunities in the past to try new things and see what else is out there. Why I’ve let myself be hindered by so many fears I myself conjured up, by apprehensions I allowed people to shove in my head, by regrets I willingly wallowed in.
Joanne and Chez, who were just as afraid at first. When we all came up, the feeling was indescribable.
It helped enormously that I was with three types of divers that day: the inexperienced ones who shared my fears (thank you, Joanne and Chez), the seasoned ones who showed us how awesome they feel (thank you, boys), and the teacher who helped us transition from one to the other (thank you, James).
Above all, thank you, Magel. I’ve been a hermit crab this whole year, and you patiently coaxed me out of my shell to try and do things I previously thought unthinkable.
"Dive, but don’t drown." I texted my parents and siblings just before I went out to sea, and that’s what my dad said to me. Knowing his penchant for humorous wordplay, he was probably just trying to be funny in telling his daughter to be careful. But his words spoke volumes more than that.
As the sun sank into sea, the realization sank into me that indeed, there are many things that will besiege us. Challenges, triumphs, excruciating sadness, immense joy, failures, victories. Whichever of these pressures arise, what’s important is that we learn to equalize, to go with the flow, to take deep breaths and calmly work our way through the current and not let ourselves be swept away. To clear the fog in our masks that might be keeping us from seeing things clearly. To dive into things and take it all in, embrace what’s enveloping us, but not let it drown us.
I can’t wait for what the next experience will be teaching.
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? :)
Binkydoodles cutout top and maxi skirt, Crocs wedge sandals, SM Accessories necklace and bangles. I’m doing a trio of outfit ideas for the CloseUp Summer Solstice, the first music festival of its kind to happen in Manila this Saturday. While my first one has a more casual urban feel, this one’s for the hippie in you. Hype it on Lookbook here, Chictopia here.
In putting together these outfits, I wanted to only use pieces that are already in my closet. I wore this cute top in this post and the maxi skirt in this one. I like going floral on floral for summertime events.
I tucked the bottom of the cutout top in the skirt to shorten it and balance out the look, since the skirt is already long and flowy. It’s a really breezy outfit that’s great for staying cool despite the heat we’ve been beleaguered with these days.
Since everything’s already colorful and feminine, I went with pointy white accessories.
It’s going to be difficult to wear heels and complicated shoes to a music festival—they’re usually held outdoors in unpredictable weather, and entails doing a lot of standing up and walking. I went with these Crocs (yes, they’re Crocs) to complement the accessories, and of course, to add height. Maxi skirts make you look longer, especially when paired with wedges.
Pulled my hair up into a bun in keeping with the carefree vibe of the outfit. I don’t really comb my hair because it tends to go against the natural waves. Buns are a good way to keep hair in place, as frizz and sweating are inevitable at a summer music festival.
How do you like this outfit? Is it something you’d wear to Summer Solstice? Let me know what you think, or ask me your style-related questions here.
Just something for the summer. Been going on drives with my loved ones to nearby places that I haven’t been to in a while. Looking forward to more of these this year :)
Hope you’re all having a wonderful week so far! ♥
Wore this to the media launch of Close-Up Summer Solstice. It’s this new tradition that Close-Up is kickstarting this year: a 12-hour non-stop music party featuring the hottest local and foreign artists. My fellow ambassadors and I were asked to go for a summer outfit that you would typically wear to a music festival.
I’ve never been to one, so I just based it on festival fashion photos I see online: boots with something breezy and low-key, injected with a few boho or hippie elements.
The media launch was held at White Space last March 5, where ambassadors gathered together: actors, fashion bloggers, Magic 89.9 radio DJs and other influential youngsters. Left to right: Rocco Nacino, Steven Silva, Enzo Pineda, Kryz Uy, Camille Co, Laureen Uy, Carla Humphries, Mike Concepcion, Nicole Andersson, Coleen Garcia, Verniece Enciso, Seph Cham, me, Vern Enciso, Jessica Mendoza, Andi Manzano, Suzy Gamboa, Riki Flores, Enrique Gil. Each of us belonged to a social group, and we were all part of the selection process of the artists.
My group! David Guison is also with us but he couldn’t make it that day.
Check out the colorful bean bags and backdrop!
So who are the artists we’ll be rocking out to at the Summer Solstice?
A breezy top with jeans and boots is pretty much a manifestation of how I feel about the current transitional season. It won’t be long before temperatures start rising again in time for the summer, but I’ve always been a cold-weather girl so I wanted to hold on to whatever few and fleeting chilly spells we can still enjoy.
Hot or not, I love how the bright colors of spring/summer can perk up any outfit and give it that carefree, casual feel. Check out this ombré orange necklace! It’s not really my favorite shade, but I’ve been wearing this piece a lot because it just seems to make my outfits happier somehow.
Yellow and green are a different story—two colors I love wearing. Especially yellow. I got this bag from my aunt exactly a year ago during my birthday trip to the US and I’ve been wearing it to death every chance I get… I tend to do that with gifts from loved ones.
If you’ve been a longtime reader of this blog (and I sure hope you are!) then you’ve also seen these boots a lot. Because really, what can’t you wear with a nice pair of brown boots?
I seldom wear jeans anymore and usually go for shorts or dresses, but I’m glad I went with my gut that afternoon. As with most of my outfits, I put this together at the last minute to go and attend the Philippine launch of American Eagle Outfitters. Maybe because I’ve been a fan of the brand since college, my chosen neon-and-jeans ensemble was spot on with AEO’s Light and Bright Spring Collection.
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.