Love Chic

Coming Up

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To make up for the long intervals between posts, I’m giving away (2) Silver tickets to Disclosure in Manila on July 24th. Details after the cut. 

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So here goes another chilly, clammy rainy evening with the breeze wafting through the thin mesh window, one of those nights that somehow manage to simultaneously bring forth a slew of thoughts and reflections and strip you of the eloquence to express them elegantly. For someone who writes for a living, these nights are both intimidating and freeing.

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Intimidating, because how you string your carefully thought-out words together is how you get things done. An idea gets shaped in your head, and you wrap the right words around it so you could turn its intangibility into something others can grasp. Without the ability to communicate that, your idea is just that: a blob inside your mind.

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Freeing, because when your brain is a constant, blurry flurry of ideas, dreams, plans and expectations, the barely audible sound of the drizzle outside causes you to space out in a good way and just breathe and let everything float on by. Your mind is cleared, not unlike when the rain cleanses the air.

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Heart and sole

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Oh look, a pun. But hey, it was either that or something like “sole searching.” Although it would still be quite appropriate—my sole search in the past few weeks was for the proverbial balance. Managing things on the job, putting in enough quality time for family and friends, and attending to some advocacies close to heart, in light of the tragedy that has befallen Bohol and Cebu. 

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I’m happy for this recent succession of national holidays where people could just take a break from it all and just be comfortable. It’s a good thing the weather has been cooperative for the most part, too. Neither too sunny nor too wet for an outdoor stroll, and with just the right amount of breeze in the air to take in nearby sceneries. 

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Miss Sixty sheer dress worn as a top, Marithe+Francois Girbaud skinny jeans. 

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Victoria’s Secret worn underneath because this dress is so short, sheer and body-hugging it might as well be a summer cover-up.

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Pulseras by Kim “Love Chic” heart padlock and key pendants. It’s always a delight when shops send gifts, but even sweeter when they actually send them personalized!

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SM Accessories leopard-printed quilt shoulder bag and XOXO leopard-printed heart cocktail ring, because this is the print that just won’t go out of fashion. Nude gel manicure and plum gel pedicure courtesy of St. Nails in Makati. 

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White patent sandals from Birkenstock. Vote for this outfit on Chictopia here, Lookbook below.

I’ve had my eye on this particular pair after seeing them on display in SM Megamall a few weeks ago. Unless it’s to the beach, I’m not into wearing typical rubber or plastic flip-flops for days when I want me feet and toes to take a break from closed shoes. I like slipping into understatedly nice footwear that I can walk and drive more comfortably in, and these Birkenstocks certainly fit the bill.

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Work Hard Play Hard: Tiesto in Manila giveaway

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

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Shot by Don Michael De Leon of Happyfingers Photography

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

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The Headware headband and Les Moda personalized spectacles.

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Indigenous tribal-print backpack from Davao. 

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

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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. 

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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).

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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. 

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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.
    

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Smile like you mean it: The Killers tickets giveaway!

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Hello! After another fun week out of town for work, I’m back with a new blog post—a hot “The Killers in Manila” tickets giveaway! Read on to find out how you can score them.

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One of their songs that I really like is “Smile Like You Mean It,” for when things don’t go the way we expect. It’s a catchy tune for a somber self-reminder to try and muster a smile no matter what curveballs life throws our way. To always look on the bright side. For me, The Killers really killed it (hehe) with that one.

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It may seem simplistic and clichéd, but it really does work. Studies have been made that show that when you smile, even when you don’t necessarily feel like smiling, your facial muscles send signals to your brain that you are feeling happy.

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Your brain then releases chemicals that in turn makes you genuinely feel better about whatever it is that’s bothering you, and your mood gets turned around.

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It’s one of the few instances when it’s okay to “fake it ‘til you make it.” So go ahead and smile! It’s not known all over the world as the universal best medicine for nothing. Speaking of which, here’s something to smile about. Who wants tickets?

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The Killers performs on Thursday, September 26th at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and I’m giving away free passes to three (3) lucky winners, courtesy of SM Accessories. One gets a VIP ticket, while two readers each get an Upperbox A ticket.

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Elemental

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Earth, fire, air, water. The Greek classical elements fascinate me, but it’s the fifth one, æther, that I find most magical. 

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In Greek mythology, Æther was the first-born elemental god, the personification of the clearest, brightest sky in which the gods of Olympus lived, and the pure upper air that they breathed. He is superiorly illuminated, and this brightness shone down all over the mortal world. At night, Æther’s mother Nyx (“The Night”) called upon her husband Erebus (“The Dark”) to blanket the world in darkness, and in the morning Æther’s sister Hemera (“The Day”) dispersed this dark mist away so that his light may be seen again. 

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Thus, in classical Greek science, æther is the quintessence (“quint” meaning fifth) that is not of this world. Medieval philosophers believed that the cosmos and the stars were formed and surrounded by æther. Whereas the first four elements were earthly and subject to change and corruption, æther, the “air of the gods,” was heavenly and unchangeable. If earth is green, fire is red, air is yellow and water is blue, æther is purple: a color that, unlike the colors of the earthly elements, is rarely found in nature. 

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In fact, it is common knowledge that purple is the color of royalty and power and this is why. Before people discovered how to synthesize dyes, the only way to produce about 1.5 grams of purple dye was through a painstaking process that involved the beating, drying and extracting of mucus of some 12,000 Murex snails!  

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In color psychology, purple is associated with noble things: good judgment, fulfilment, inspiration. It is the perfect balance of red (masculinity, warmth, energy) and blue (femininity, coolness, stability). For those who believe in chakras, purple is the color of the crown chakra (top of the head) that connects the spirit to universal sources of energy and wisdom. 

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Æther. Heavenly air. Purple quintessence. The perfect balance. People turned to mythologies and associations to explain the way the world around them worked. Going back to the basics, breaking everything down into the simplest, most essential parts of which they are made. Believing that the balance of elements leads to harmony and the disturbance of this balance leads to chaos. Looking to what’s tangible to explain the intangible. I guess no matter how scientific and modernized we have become, my fascination for the old ways of looking for answers in the mystical and mythical would always hold. Some things are best learned when felt with the heart rather than explained with the mind. :) 

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Outfit details: Shop Enna peplum dress. Check out their shop for flirty and feminine frocks. 

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Isn’t the lace back gorgeous? Just the right amount of sexy and sweet.

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Japanese Candy contact lenses. They’re in chocolate brown so it’s not really obvious, but they basically round out the irises and make them look bigger. I wear contacts to help with my 750/750 vision, but it doesn’t hurt that this online store has some seriously cute pairs.

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SM Accessories eggshell and gold bracelet and necklace. I don’t really mean to choose matchy things, but their collections are always well-curated that the pieces usually end up complementing one another.

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Renegade Folk heels. Still as wonderful as when I first got them close to two years ago. 

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Hype on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here, leave a Disqus comment below, and follow me on Instagram and Twitter @shailagarde :) Have a great week ahead, everyone! 


Photographed by Anton Holmes. Special thanks to Noni Mortel. 

Skinny Love

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Been in love with this Bon Iver song from the first listen. It’s about being “in a relationship because you need help, but that’s not necessarily why you should be in a relationship. And that’s why it’s skinny. It doesn’t have weight. Skinny love doesn’t have a chance because it’s not nourished,” in the own words of artist Justin Vernon. I can’t decide which of three versions I love the most: original with lyrics here, version by 16-year-old singer/pianist Birdy here, live acoustic version by British cutie Ed Sheeran here.

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I hosted an advanced movie screening event of ETC Channel and I wore this tongue-in-cheek because it was a comedy-horror film. (End of outfit post. Lol just kidding) Not much of a story there. I usually go into my blog posts with pictures first, and then figure out what to write when I write. My mom and I shot these a few weeks back, but I didn’t really know what to do with skulls and crossbones. Today, I just felt like uploading them with no direction whatsoever when “Skinny Love” played on my iTunes. Just then, everything clicked. The words—the lyrics and Justin Vernon’s explanation of them—reverberated in my head. “Come on, skinny love, just last the year… I told you to be patient and I told you to be fine. And I told you to be balanced and I told you to be kind. In the morning I’ll be with you but it will be a different kind… Who will love you? Who will fight?”

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We’ve all been there—not just once, not just twice, maybe more times than we could care to count. Whoever we are, however beautiful or strong or intelligent or successful we may be, we have one thing in common with the rest of humanity: all we really want, deep down inside, is to be loved. To be affirmed, cared for, needed, adored. To feel like another person would not want to go on without us. But are we really willing to make do with a love founded on co-dependency than none at all? A toxic, pharmaceutical kind of love that only takes away the symptoms of loneliness and longing but never cures the underlying disease that brings it? A love of two halves desperate to have someone complete them at the cost of losing their individuality? Skinny, undernourished, lightweight love? 

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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. You appreciate a life free of complications and restrictions and having to mold yourself into someone else’s cookie cutter, and having to do the same for them. You hope to only be with someone you can be better with, but not change for. You promise yourself that you would not fall into the trappings of love until you are whole. You tell yourself that perhaps, when you are whole and with so much to give, another whole will come by when you least expect it, and you will be together not because you can’t live without each other, but because you don’t want to. 
     
I do. :)

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Outfit details: Binkydoodles sheer top, Marithe+Francois Girbaud jeans, Parisian booties, SM Accessories bracelet. 

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Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here. 

Solstice

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Where I’m from, summer was ages ago, and so was the CloseUp music festival “Summer Solstice” where I wore this outfit to. It’s still summer in the Northern Hemisphere though, so technically I’m not off-season. Haha.

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I didn’t really feel like writing this just another event post so I shelved it for a while; the afternoon heat today got me thinking of it again.

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In a nutshell, CloseUp Summer Solstice was a 12-hour music festival that featured local and foreign artists of varying genres. It was held April 27 at the MOA concert grounds. 

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More details of the event here, my fellow ambassadors and the artists lineup here.

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I went with one of my good friends, Chris Everingham. 

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Of course, as soon as we got there we saw a lot of other friends. It was like everyone congregated there that night. 

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I’ve never gone on a night out of partying and clubbing before this (and I say this with only mild embarrassment, heh), so to say that it wasn’t bad for a first timer would be an understatement. The music was amazing and the crowd was awesome.

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Familiar faces were everywhere, too, so you never ran out of people to enjoy with.

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When things wound down, we hit the nearby Army Navy to chat and chow with friends.

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Popples, Martin, Lana, my cousin Jeru, Shaoi and Robbie. They’re friends from different points in my life, some way back and others more recent, but one thing they all share in common is the feeling of ease being around them brings. In all honesty, it was the company of these guys that made it more worthwhile to go to Summer Solstice. 

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I think back to when I first encountered the term in high school. It was the title Filipino National Artist Nick Joaquin’s short story, set in the Philippines in the 1850s. It revolved around the “Tatarin,” a three-day pagan fertility ritual held during summer and ending in a festival. Drawn to mystical-sounding titles, I pounced on the story, and my thirteen-year-old mind was entranced by the delicious images conjured by Joaquin’s prose. Thus began my fascination for solstices and equinoxes, seasons and transitions.

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Perhaps owing more to my penchant for finding connections than anything, I noticed how both the story and the event involved dancing, a festival, and the merging of divergent cultures. Both, too, are rife with symbolism—then again, maybe the use of “summer solstice” in itself evokes it. A solstice (literally, “sun standing stlll”) is when the sun comes to a stop before reversing its direction, marking the beginning of a season. Around the time of the event, an experiential solstice was upon me as well: days were long, everything was at a standstill, and I was wondering when the wait for change anew would be over.

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Of course, seasons never fail. At the precise and perfect timing, the change occurred. And here things are, more vibrant and alive with possibilities than ever before. :)

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Event photos by Jeru Paguntalan and Martin Adelantar of Illustrato. Outfit details: Forever21 corset top and maxi skirt, CMG platform sandals, SM Accessories clutch bag, headband and bracelet. Hype this on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here

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Your thoughts are most welcome! Feel free to leave a comment or a question below. If you haven’t yet, follow me on Twitter/Instagram @shailagarde for updates! 

Great Man theory: José Rizal, Superman

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Today is José Rizal’s birthday and the day I got to watch “Man of Steel.” Two heroes with a universe of a difference—one real, one imaginary, yet both permanently etched in history as beacons of hope in mankind’s inherent goodness.

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I had planned for this to be a tribute post for Rizal, hence the subtle nod to the way he dressed. He was quite the dapper gentleman, sharp and handsome in his coats and jackets.

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But writing about one’s hero can be a challenging task. How do you tell the story of someone whom everybody on this side of the world is familiar with? As for the things about him that are not widely familiar, how do you condense everything you know and admire about someone you’ve looked up to your whole life, into a few paragraphs?

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Rizal is one of the first national heroes that Filipino children encounter, in their one-peso coins and school books. We all know his life and death story. We all know of his famous novels and his equally famous loves. We know that there are monuments and parks and museums and streets and establishments named after him. What else? Well, he is a polymath—excellent in many fields, and a polyglot—conversant in 22 languages. If he were alive today, he’d be receiving awards left and right for his interdisciplinary achievements: educated in Ateneo and UST, attended universities in Europe. He practiced medicine, trained in mixed martial arts, dabbled in visual arts (painting, sketching, sculpting, woodcarving, and get this: comics making). He wrote poetry, essays, novels and papers in various topics and using various languages. He was one of the first proponents of non-violence, perhaps even before Gandhi. He was a visionary: his literary works and his words are just as relevant (if not more so) today as it was during his time.

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I have always been awed by him. His greatness inspires and frustrates me at the same time—the hope that if Rizal could be all of these things, so could I, and the awareness that few are destined for his kind of greatness. This afternoon, I sat down and tried to articulate it all but drew a blank. Giving up, I went out with my mom to see “Man of Steel” for inspiration. By now I’m sure most of you have watched this movie. I’ve read some comics spanning different universes and seen past movies, and while I’m not about to delve into how this particular reboot inevitably veered away from some well-established Superman canon, I will say that I for one appreciate the efforts to ground it more on reality and plausibility. Unfavorable reviews notwithstanding, I enjoyed the film. (Plus, Henry Cavill is smoking hot. Hee.) It underscores how being good and making a difference in the world is not so much reliant on some pre-determined path laid out for us, as on our own choices.

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After the movie, I remembered a Vsauce video I watched this morning about honor, the Great Man theory (that mankind’s history is impacted by only a few men whose destiny it is to be great) and the Accumulation of Advantage (that given the right advantages and circumstances, anyone has an opportunity to be great). The latter is a criticism of the former, but I believe the two are intertwined. I thought that for my Rizal tribute I’d also touch on Kal-el—ordinary in Krypton, and on Earth raised on an ordinary farm by ordinary folk, who just happened to be stronger and faster and more powerful than humans but is a good man with or without superpowers. How Rizal, born to a wealthy family with access to the best education that schools and world travel can give, made use of his gifts for the good of his people. And then I remembered the cover of my History textbook in Ateneo.

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It’s one of my favorite books by one of the foremost experts on anything and everything Rizal: Sir Ambeth has dedicated his life and career to discovering the person behind the legends and myths. The ordinary individual with his foibles and human failings, the funny anecdotes, the contexts of his actions and words. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this image of Rizal as Superman came to mind on the same day I encountered them both and also happened to see the video. It is all a reminder of the importance of heroic imagination—to borrow from Vsauce, “thinking socio-centrically, not ego-centrically. Most heroes are everyday people who emerge as heroes in particular situations.” Here’s to the hope that when our chance comes, we would. •

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Outfit details: Mango tailored jacket, Paper Dolls button-down blouse, Marithe+Francois Girbaud jeans, Cole Haan Lunar Grand wingtips, Dooney & Bourke bag, Guess wristwatch, SM Accessories necklace and bangle.

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Hype on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.

Grass is greener

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Worn on a lovely Saturday out with my mom. Shot on a wide open field just outside our village, near a small plaza that houses our favorite homey café and restaurant. I’ve been based in Pampanga since December, the longest I’ve ever stayed here ever since moving to Manila for college many years ago. When I was younger and San Fernando was not yet the bustling and progressive city that it is today, I dreamt of going to Ateneo and getting a job and living in Manila. I thought of it as this place where you have access to everything: the good malls and restaurants, the good theme parks, the good hospitals, the TV stations and magazines and advertising agencies where I wanted to end up working.

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Grass really is greener on the other side—as soon as I got to Manila, I found myself always wanting to go home! I was overwhelmed by the intense traffic, the faster pace of everything, and the way people my age seemed worldlier, socially savvier and more wais about certain things than I was. I started to appreciate the simplicity and mellowness of life in Pampanga. Makes me think how we can take for granted the things we grow up with, keep longing for that which we do not have. When we finally have a taste of it, yes, it is wonderful and amazing, but often turns out to be not exactly what we had imagined. We discover that like anything in this world, there are trade-offs and downsides to every perk and upside. And then we realize that what we’ve always had is what we’ve always wanted in the first place, or at the very least, that it wasn’t so bad after all.

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Every time a new school year starts, I think of all the freshies out there and wish them well—especially those on a scholarship like I was, because it means additional expectations and challenges. As the first one in my family to leave town, I know how it can take a while to get adjusted to everything in Manila, to develop and polish everything from the way you dress to the way you relate to people and the way you speak and present yourself, while still retaining your values and identity. Above all, to learn to be strong through trials and temptations that will come your way while your family and support system are miles away.

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Of course, it helps a lot that my house is just an hour or so away from Quezon City and that whatever is there is also here now. Still, it wasn’t always the case, and it took me quite a while to get the hang of things, and there was a lot of hard learning that had to happen (there still are, actually). I always say that in my years in college, I learned infinitely more from life outside those classrooms than inside. I’m glad I got to experience both sides of the grass—only here, grass might literally be greener. Heh.

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Changed my hair because we were planning to shoot a song there and the wind was blowing my waves all over the place. I do a decent French braid, but my mom’s is definitely loads better, don’t you think?

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Anyway, we tried to do a couple of takes but there were a lot of welcome distractions: the sound of birds, dogs barking and children having picnics and playing around. We ended up making friends with them instead!

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The girl holding my ukulele, Angelica (same name as my mom’s), was the first one to run to us. She sat down beside my mom and quietly watched me sing and play. Soon, her sister and friends followed and we had a fun chat with them. They told us they live nearby, at a car muffler shop, and they often come to the fields to have lunch under the trees. A great idea that I can’t wait to try with my family when we’re all home.


So I ended up doing the song in our basement, where I also did this and this. :) “On The Side Of Me” is by Corrinne May, a Christian musician from Singapore. I’ve always loved this song, and I decided to sing it as thank you to my family, friends and blog readers—the words are so real for me I wish I wrote them myself. Hope you like it! I don’t have much yet, but you can watch my other silly videos and subscribe to my channel here.

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Outfit details: Binkydoodles dress, Ziggy & Zooey shoes, Fab Manila bag, SM Accessories bracelet and ring.

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Hype this on Lookbook here, Chictopia here.

Sunshine and roses

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Worn on a day of interviews and meetings, in between which were dates with loved ones. I’ve found that squeezing in time for family and friends always makes stressful days seem brighter and more exciting.

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Can you believe that we’re halfway through the year already? It seems just like yesterday when we were filled with apprehensions (both realistic and Mayanistic, heh) about how 2012 would end. The past six months have brought so many welcome changes—way better than anything I could have ever expected back then.

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One of these is a solid and opportune semi-shift in career. I’d rather get into it when everything has been settled. What I can say for now is that I’ve always thought I had my career goals mapped out: I knew exactly what I wanted and how to get there. But sometimes, we come upon crossroads and unknowingly take a path that goes in circles. And when we think we’re being thrown off-track, it turns out that we’re simply being re-placed on the path we should’ve been on in the first place. Our steps become surer and things become clearer, and on the horizon, that which we’ve always aspired seems even closer.

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…And then we look back one last time, and it’s forward on from there. :)

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They say it’s not always sunshine and roses, but when you’re surrounded by happy and loving people, the storm can bring its thunderous gloom and heaviest downpour and your spirits will never be doused.

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Outfit details: Flights of Fancy top, Redhead bodycon skirt, Asian Vogue pumps, XOXO wristwatch, SM Accessories necklace and purse, Japanese Candy contact lenses. Hype this on Lookbook here, Chictopia here. Follow me @shailagarde on Twitter and Instagram!

Groove Back

A hark back to circa 2009 when I was doing TV production full-time. Had this vest-over-tank top with wristband and sneakers thing going on, and would often be mistaken for someone who plays in a band—specifically bass, for some odd reason. 

Would it that I were. The only time I’ve ever been in a band was for a few weeks in senior high school, and only to fill in for a friend who got sick. Plus it was for vocals; I’m fine with YouTube covers but for legit performances, the only instrument I’d be comfortable enough to play would be air guitar. 

Band or no band, music has always been a profound part of my life. My mom still has cassette recordings of 3-year-old me singing everything from Whitney Houston to Francis M, as well as little snippets of my grade school “compositions” (i.e. some words strung together haphazardly mostly to make them end in rhymes, sung to a pretty generic melody). Every highlight of my life, every person that bears making a memory of, has their own OST. Strangely enough, in the past couple of years, I had stopped singing, even in private. I barely listened to music by my own choice or for its sheer pleasure. If you checked my iPhone then, there was, as Siri snootily observed, “nothing in your Music library, just… silence.” If you are what you listen to, I was… how shall we put it? Vacant.

I finally got out of that laughable atrocity and got my groove back this year. It feels fascinating to be reunited with the gallimaufry of beats that once occupied my playlists and my soul. I will not use the word “eclectic” for the same reason I avoid the word “bipolar," and say instead that you’ll find Armstrong and Sinatra and Fitzgerald with their contemporaries from the swing band era along with the earnest riffs of Cash, Chapman and Mayer, the anthems of Marley, Queen and Journey (way, way, way before Glee, thanks to my dad) along with the happy comfort of Hillsong United, Manoling Francisco and Velvet Underground, and the sweeping symphonies of centuries-old Tchaikovsky, Bach and Beethoven along with movie soundtracks and Top 40 hits of recent billboard charts. I’ve started singing again. In the shower, while driving, at karaoke, in front of crowds, on YouTube. I’ve also gone back to self-learning basic music. Could girl-in-a-band turn from mistaken assumption into reality? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps

Outfit details: Landmark tank top, YRYS vest, Human skirt, SM Accessories cuff. 

Shulong sneakers.

Skull Candy headphones, Cam’s Case hand-painted personalized iPhone 5 case. Hype this on Lookbook here.

On the bright side

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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?

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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.

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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).

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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.

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Outfit details: Binkydoodles midriff top, Flights of Fancy palazzo pants, CMG platforms, SM Accessories bag, Dickies sunnies. Contact lenses from Japanese Candy.

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Hype this on Lookbook here and Chictopia here. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @shailagarde!

Intersections

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Blind Clothing one-shoulder dress, CMG wedges, SM Accessories necklace, earrings and clutch bag, XOXO watch. Contacts from Japanese Candy.

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Hype this on Lookbook here, Chictopia here.

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Sometimes I get asked how I think of look titles or entry themes. It’s nothing serious or scientific, haha. While uploading the photos, I usually just look for a detail somewhere in the outfit and then try to connect it to the day’s story.

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Like this dress with all its lines. Wore it to a dinner date with some awesome people. Lately I’ve been having a lot of these dinners, with old and new friends from diverse backgrounds and countries. Different folks with different strokes, yet somewhere along the conversation, we find intersecting interests. I’ve been learning a lot from them and loving it. I think the Universe is making up for a couple of years of incidental social constrainment. :)

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On another note of gratitude, to everyone who’s been continually interacting with me through this blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or YouTube, thank you :) It’s still as kilig and inspiring as the first time, and so lots of exciting things are in the works. Here’s to a great week ahead!

Try something new

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Pinkaholic dress, Adidas Originals sneakers, SM Accessories shades and earrings, Hodge Podge pendant. A mix of things I don’t usually put on. Shades, lipstick, dangling earrings, a longer-than-usual shift dress and sneakers to go with all of it.

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You know how it’s uncomfortable hearing the sound of your voice on a recording? That’s kind of how the first three are to me. I like when people see my eyes and sunglasses cover them up. I’ve braces on my lower teeth, and lipstick brings attention to that when I speak. Just as dangling earrings bring attention to the fact that my ears rather stick out. Haha.

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I usually prefer wearing elaborate necklaces with shift dresses, and leave the more casual pendants like these to when I’m wearing basic shirts. I also never wear necklaces with earrings together; it’s either just one or the other.

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When it comes to dresses, I don’t like wearing huge prints. I like the length either really short or really long; never near the knees, especially when I’m wearing flat shoes because I’m not that tall and this gets highlighted by all these things.

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And with that, I have just given away some of my nifty tricks for emphasizing one’s favorite features and bringing attention away from the opposite. Except I broke all of them.

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But that’s okay. Once in a while, we all gotta step out of our comfort zones.

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Whether it’s with small things like wearing things we normally wouldn’t, or with bigger ones like doing what we thought we couldn’t, trying something new leaves us feeling great about ourselves. The initial feeling of unease eventually leads to a sense of accomplishment. Instead of caring what other people think or say of us, we went ahead and freed ourselves of the limits we previously imposed.

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A few days ago, my friend Anton challenged me to do one thing every day that’s out of the box. It doesn’t matter what it is, he said, as long as it’s something the old me wouldn’t have done. It’s been a helpful and happy exercise, so I’m sharing it in case you want to try it too. Let me know how it goes! :)
  
Hype this: Lookbook / Chictopia

Queens

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Giordano chambray button-down shirt and shorts, Forever21 Run DMC cropped tank top, SM Accessories bangle and ring, Nine West shoulder bag, Call It Spring platforms.

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Hype this on Lookbook here, Chictopia here.

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Titled because Run D.M.C. is a hip-hop group from Queens, and because my best friend Lester lives there. This outfit is inspired by the street photos he sends me every day of stylish people and interesting scenes he comes across. It’s part-torture and part-motivation; before this year ends, I aim to finally see New York in person.

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Giordano released a line of colorful shorts for the summer and I picked out this light blue. It can Iook denim, cotton or chambray, depending on the piece it’s paired with.

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Got this button-down from Giordano in Hong Kong just because it was on sale when we went, but I think the Manila stores also have it.

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Thought I’d throw in a couple of non-poses. Haha. My mom continued clicking the shutter while I was taking off the button-down.

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Yes. On some days there’s many an awkward stance and last-minute clothes-fixing before arriving at a fairly decent shot.

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I’d love to know how you’d style this look differently. Maybe with sneakers instead of platforms, change the hair, choose another color button-down? Or we could just chat about whatever. How was your Labor Day holiday? Have you ever been to NYC? Do you like Run D.M.C.? Why is it so hot? Drop me a line here or leave a comment below :)