A comment I get a lot is that I have a way of putting forth ideas and outfits differently. That I don’t seem to simply be looking at trends, following them to a “T” and then merely compiling and rehashing them as if my blog were an RSS feed of content that can already (and more conveniently) be found in legit publications. It’s because I really don’t.
I work a real job in media after all; we are trained to keep an ear on the ground for anything approaching, to keep constant watch on what’s buzzing, to track the trending. Having sufficient awareness of whatever is going to hit mainstream soon, how long it’s likely to last, and the likelihood of its fade out, I tend to refrain from hitching my wagon on it. This habit extends to real life. It feels nice to be ahead—and when not possible, to be left behind to examine something on its own merits while the many have moved on to the next hype. When people would be abuzz about the latest trilogy or book or artist, I would stay away from the news feeds and wait out the loud chatter, returning only when it dies down and I could check it out for myself without any majority opinion to sway mine.
For me, mastering trends means studying the peaks and troughs of their precedents and feeling out predictions from there. Having a sense of what’s poised to hit it big, and simply injecting bits and pieces of it into my own take on things, regardless of whether or not it is hashtag-worthy.
An enduring favorite of many, myself included, has been activewear-sportsluxe-street-urban-sporty-athletic-varsity-chic (insert other fancy terms that point to the same trend of mixing sportswear with stylish clothes here). It’s enjoyed a tenure almost as long-lasting as animal prints and spring florals, but it is a trend undeniably headed towards its demise. I feel skater skirts and dresses would function as transitionary pieces: still as sporty, but versatile enough to make the shift from sporty to, say, punk and romantic looks, less drastic. But who knows? I just like caps, and sneakers, and florals. As I said, I tend to keep to what I feel is coming and stray from what’s already out there. What counts for me is that I’m true to my style.
Clinging on to trends makes one savvy, but it also tends to blur one’s identity if left to reign over it. Like summer flings and fair-weather friendships, trends can come and go without leaving us with anything substantial. Sometimes they return, sometimes they don’t, but always they never last. They die. And it’s not just fashion. Consider this week’s Anne Curtis brouhaha. It’s got everyone clicking “Share” and making commentaries and living in the huge moment, and it won’t be surprising if "I can buy you, your friends and this club" becomes some sort of meme. But like many of its predecessors, it won’t be long before it’s forgotten.
So sure, let’s have fun with trends, delight in the excitement of choices that social media gives us access to—so long as they simply garnish what we already serve. A healthy consumption of trends means that at the end of the day, while what’s hot has peaked and plateaued and we await the next big thing, we have our own selves to always go back to. ♥
Outfit details: Nike Air snapback, Redgirl floral raglan, Mango jeggings.
SM Accessories tote bag. Much mismatch.
World Balance sneakers in my favorite color.
Hype on Lookbook and vote on Chictopia by clicking on the links above. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @shailagarde, and feel free to leave a comment. What trends do you wish to see expire, and which ones do you want to last? I’d love to hear from you!
It makes me happy that more and more people are discovering for themselves the dupery that is our old-school History books. Growing up, my father used to give us alternative reading materials that questioned the veracity and accuracy of the almost-legendary anecdotes of centuries past—how some figures tended be overrated, while others overlooked.
For me, one of these is Gat Andres Bonifacio. (“Gat” is kind of the Filipino equivalent of “Hon.” and I believe it is short for “Gatpuno.” As an etymology enthusiast, I’d like to think this in turn comes from the word ugat-puno: the roots of a tree. An apt metaphor for an organizational leader who rests as the foundation underneath the branches to give it nourishment, grounding and support.)
As with Rizal, I could not let Bonifacio’s sesquicentennial go by without a brief nod to the unspoken truths about his contributions to our rich history. Instead of having to dish out one “Did You Know That…” after another, I’m delighted to link you to credible online resources: the Philippine government’s marvelous efforts here, GMA Network’s special report here, and Rappler’s factoids here.
I must warn you though: reading about these growing up, hearing them from my father or Ateneo teachers, is why I have never been a fan of Aguinaldo. I sincerely do not mean to discredit his legacy or disrespect his descendants, but honestly, and contrary to how he was portrayed in my textbooks, as a young girl I’ve always viewed him as one of those trapos (traditional politicians) who go to great lengths to make themselves appear most heroic. Who plot against the threats to their success, and engage in grandstanding and elaborate PR schemes to claim credit for the effort of others.
On another note, perhaps this is why I’ve never been able to relate with Rizal until I got introduced to “Without The Overcoat" and related readings. He was always depicted in traditional History books as almost legendary, superheroic, that it was difficult to see him for the human being that he was, faults, foible and flagrancies all.
I like it better when people are shown—revealed for who they are. As Bonifacio’s supporters are now seeing, and as I know I will too, the truth about people eventually shines through. ♥
Outfit details: Forever21 floral dress and dotted socks, Parisian wedge booties, Michael Kors ostrich Hamilton bag.
SM Accessories necklace and bracelet, Nail It! manicure. All together now a la Love Actually: “I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes… Christmas is all around me, it’s everywhere I go…”
Slickwraps iPhone 5 wrap from Wrapped Up (that’s too many wraps in one sentence I could almost write a rap about it—ooh, alliteration. Okay, I’m just rambling here). This is officially my favorite of all the cases and wraps I’ve ever tried. My phone is protected all over in wrapping that looks and feels like wood. Plus, it doesn’t make my phone bulkier so I can even put on a hard or silicon casing over it. Then again, it easily matches anything I wear, so I probably wouldn’t have to. Check out the other wooden and carbon fiber gadget wraps by clicking their link above.
A birthday gift from an awesome trip to my awesome uncles and aunts in the States. When styling, once in a while I like to have cheeky themes within my outfits, sort of like an inside joke that only I am in on. For once I’ll share what this outfit’s is: dots on the bag, and dots on the socks. Heh. That’s it, really. I just like to have certain things that match but don’t really.
Forever 21 wedge booties. I haven’t gone shoe-shopping in a while and my penchant for neutral-colored footwear, especially those of the height-increasing type, was reawakened when I spotted this pair on a mannequin.
Needless to say, I fell head over heels. (‘kay, that was quite awful)
Hype this on lookbook above, vote on Chictopia below.
I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath. Scared to rock the boat and make a mess.
So I sat quietly. Agreed politely. I guess that I forgot I had a choice.
I let you push me past the breaking point. I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything.
You held me down.
But I got up. Already brushing off the dust. Get ready ‘cause I’ve had enough.
You hear my voice, you hear that sound. Like thunder, gonna shake the ground. I see it all, I see it now.
I’ve got the eye of the tiger, a fighter dancing through the fire.
'Cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar.
Now I’m floating like a butterfly. Stinging like a bee. I earned my stripes.
I went from zero…
To my own hero.
It’s an anthem everyone can claim for their own. But for those of you who know me and my story—the real one, not the one passed on through a friend of a friend of a friend embellished with amnesiac truths, then you’d know exactly why I wrote in Katy Perry’s lyrics instead of my own words. “Roar” is the life story of this (girl born in the year of the) tiger, and there is very little need for elaboration.
Forever21 tiger shirt, Miss Sixty shorts. Special thanksJoanne Pecson (pictured above) and ETC Channel for inviting me to be the inspirational speaker on personal style during the ETC Campus Tour in UP Diliman a few weeks back.
Antler Accessories necklace to go with the shirt’s studs.
Forever21 nude stockings with cross prints, Skechers +3 wedge sneakers.
Gel nails by St. Nails Spa.
Hype this on Lookbook above, favorite on Chictopia below.
Five months ago, I wrote “Transition.” It was the middle of spring, and although I live in a country that only has sunny and rainy days, the events in my life seemed to be changing the way the seasons do. I had just come from a harsh and dark winter, and in time, the cold melted and ushered in a lush, vibrant environment where everything was growing.
In the summer, I moved on to a fresh new start and decided to “Keep Walking.” When I turned my back on all the baggage weighing me down and the garbage bringing out the worst in me—the things and people that were keeping me from being my best and most genuine self—everything became clear as day. That “Clarity" made me take responsibility for the choices I made in the past couple of years. I saw clearly the short-term consequence: a wounding, a purging, an emptying out.
I also saw the long-term consequence: a healing, a rediscovering, a filling up with real love and genuine happiness. Now, it is autumn. The season for shedding the bits and pieces that aren’t needed, in order to make room for an eventual and inevitable rebirth. For more amazing challenges and experiences. I’d like to believe this is the season I have come full circle. ♥
Outfit details: Shop Enna olive green one-shoulder bodycon dress. I enrolled in 360 Fitness Club last September and aside from most obvious reason being to take good care of my health, clothes like these are why.
The birthstone for March. I also wore it with this sporty outfit.
Hype this above and vote on Chictopia here.
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.
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.
Miss Sixty sheer dress worn as a top, Marithe+Francois Girbaud skinny jeans.
Victoria’s Secret worn underneath because this dress is so short, sheer and body-hugging it might as well be a summer cover-up.
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!
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.
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.
What would be a transitionary outfit from summer to fall, if we had four seasons instead of just wet and dry.
Indigenous tribal-print backpack from Davao.
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 pieces, all-season ensembles, and day-to-night looks.
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.”
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Unplanned shoot on a clear night. Filled in my brows, slapped on eyeliner and headed out with my mom for a few snaps, just as the sun had set.
I just bought this camo dress and remembered the awesome coincidence that I have a New Era cap and sneakers to go with it, so what the heck if we had nothing but lamp posts and a camera flash. Hype this outfit on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.
This giant toy soldier behind me is one of two that stands guard day in and day out at the entrance of this village. I think they were supposed to only serve as decorations last Christmas, but nobody had the heart to take them off-duty, and their post became permanent.
There’s something quite liberating about gung-ho guerrilla shoots such as this one.
Zero makeup save for the eyes, unkempt hair, sneakers. For the more glamorous fare, there’s almost that pressure to aim for the prettiest look and the best poses.
With this one, you can’t really try for more than a few shots per area. Everything has to be done quickly, so you have to take whatever you get and work with it.
If you’re familiar with “Game of Thrones” then the title requires no explanations. The Night’s Watch is a military order sworn to protect The Wall, a massive structure made of ice, stone and magic that separates them humans from the wildings—nomadic folk and supernatural creatures that pose a threat to their kingdoms.
Majority of its members are former criminals, bastards and disgraced noblemen who were given the choice between condemnation or redemption by serving in the Night’s Watch, and chose the latter. Redemption themes hit close to home as you may know, thus this title.
May we all be to ourselves and our loved ones as the Night’s Watch are to their kingdoms: flawed, yet redeemed by a commitment to defend and protect our own from external forces that attempt to break in.
SM Accessories silver cuff and ring
Adidas camouflage sneakers with pink stripes and laces.
And this beautiful Raga wristwatch from Titan. I just love elegant sparkly watches that are just as beautiful as bracelets so I can wear them in contrast to more streetwear-type outfits. Titan’s Raga collection has a lot of these.
Pretty, yes? Here’s a little something for you, too: get a chance to win this Titan watch by giving the best answer to one simple question.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
I thought I’d do something different for this one.
Japanese Candy contact lenses match the tie-dye headband, no?
Cuff and butterfly ring from a bazaar, Nail It! manicure.
Adam Saaks x Ed Hardy style. Haha. A bit of DIY know-how helps to jazz up your wardrobe every now and then.
I was going to wear the shirt as is, maybe pair it with shorts and knee-high boots or something, but there was a new pair of scissors lying around the house and I was bored. And so…
Photos taken with my iPhone (follow me on Instagram @shailagarde!) I didn’t plan on doing a tutorial and was just taking photos to document my first time to DIY a shirt this way. I basically just cut off whatever I felt like cutting off, stretched the cloth a bit, then weaved the strips together like I used to when I made friendship bracelets in high school. Then I kept cropping the shirt until it was the length I wanted.
So when I put on the shirt, I just grabbed whatever pieces felt right to pair it with. Now I don’t really know how to describe this look. Part-boho, part-rocker, part-casual? Hahaha.
So what do you think? Is it something you’d try? Feel free to leave a comment below, or tweet me @shailagarde :)
I write this from the balcony of my hotel room overlooking a ridge whereupon bright city lights are sprawled as far as the eye could see, twinkling and substituting for the stars that have opted to go into hiding this rainy night. The breeze is the kind of cold that makes you long for a warm embrace or a fluffy hoodie (I have the latter), and ever so slightly smells of pine trees. Today was 11 hours of being on the road for ocular visits and meetings here in Cagayan de Oro, but I don’t feel tired at all.
Let me tell you a secret—well, it’s not so secret actually. I can be quite stubborn when it comes to pursuing my passions. I graduated X years ago, but this is my first full-time job. I’ve always seen corporate work as very rigid and constricting, compared to working freelance where there are no dress codes, no time records, no company memos to adhere to. You get to do what you want, when you feel like doing it, where you want to do it and in whatever outfit you please. Never mind that there isn’t much economic stability and career sustainability—so long as you’re happy and following your heart, right?
That was my mentality about pretty much everything else, not just career. So long as you follow your heart, everything else will fall in place. Inversely, if you do things you have to even when you don’t want to, your success won’t be as fulfilling. I saw it as a battle of the heart and the intellect, and I always wanted for the heart to win. But I’ve seen the glaring holes of this naive polarity in events of the past few years that it got me questioning. Does it really have to be one or the other? Can we not find a middle ground where we would be able to do the right thing as determined by the mind, and still be able to do the happy thing as determined by the heart?
As it turns out, of course we can. The confusion and frustration of not knowing which path to take, of waking up in the morning very unsure of our next step, of every uncertainty that comes with that familiar experience we all like to call quarter-life crisis… all of those things are not because we lack the skills, the knowledge, the experience or the clarity to find the answer to our questions. Chances are, the only thing we’ve been lacking all along is the willingness to listen to what that answer is.
My phone’s Viber just beeped: three messages. From my family’s group thread, my boss, and a friend, all asking about my day and telling me to rest well. The rain has mellowed down into a light drizzle. I can hear the drone of the TV in my room: Cesar Millan’s voice and the excited barking of small dogs. Except for these sounds and the humming of the airconditioning, everything is quiet on all fronts. How did it get from the noise and chaos of uncertainty to the peace and silence of clarity? I stopped being stubborn about always doing what I wanted, and tried this time to listen to my elders and do what I needed. I tried a path I never would’ve tried had events early this year not transpired.
That choice led me to a job where I get to do everything that I’ve always known I wanted to do since I was five: write, tell stories, shoot pictures and videos, travel. There is a dress code, but the women of Suits have been teaching me how to dress up for work, and it’s been fun. It’s a nine-to-six job, but even when I’m not traveling like this week, my boss encourages me to get out of my desk every now and then and do whatever I need to get my creative juices flowing. “Less bureaucratic. I trust you,” I was told. The pay and perks are more than enough to enable me to pursue all my other passions and still have a lot saved for the future. Working for a company that values God, family and work in that order results in office people being nice and contagiously positive. Above all, I no longer wake up in the morning not knowing where I’m headed. “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.” :) It amazes me and my loved ones each day how much things in my life have changed for the infinite better, and if there’s anything I’d wish on others, it’s this same gift of clarity.
Look details: Philosophy top, Veva Deeluxe pencil skirt, Janylin peep-toe heels, Euphoria chain necklace and bracelets, SM Accessories ring, Nail It nails, Japanese Candy contact lenses. Hype on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.
Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @shailagarde! Feel free to share your own thoughts by posting a Disqus comment below :)
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.
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?”
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?
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. :)
Outfit details: Binkydoodles sheer top, Marithe+Francois Girbaud jeans, Parisian booties, SM Accessories bracelet.
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.
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.
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.
I went with one of my good friends, Chris Everingham.
Of course, as soon as we got there we saw a lot of other friends. It was like everyone congregated there that night.
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.
Familiar faces were everywhere, too, so you never ran out of people to enjoy with.
When things wound down, we hit the nearby Army Navy to chat and chow with friends.
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.
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.
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.
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. :)
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.
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!
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 friend and I would often talk about the tyranny of choice—when we come upon a fork in the road, we are barraged with a million questions: If I choose this, what would be the opportunity cost? What would I miss out on? If I choose the other, what would I regret? Which one is the right path, the perfect choice?
I got into thinking about this yesterday at a lunch hosted by a friend who was leaving for Canada to continue his Masters. Soon, another friend is moving there to explore his options. Chalking them up to other friends who have been pursuing their chosen paths elsewhere in the world—in New York, in London, in Paris, I thought about the dreams they once shared with me that are now coming true, the challenges they are now encountering and overcoming, the successes they are now enjoying. The actions they have taken, whose consequences have led them to where they are right now.
I also got into thinking about my own choices, my what if’s and if only’s in life. The person I dreamed of becoming when I was younger and the one I am right now, the paths I’ve taken that didn’t quite align with one another, the dissonant and unfocused thoughts within me that manifested outwardly. There were just too many options!
I guess I’m what American psychologist Barry Schwartz calls in his book The Paradox of Choice, a maximizer. Simply put, a maximizer tends to overthink choices and overanalyze consequences. They like to consider each and every alternative and are worried about making the wrong choices. (The opposite of this is a satisficer, who makes a choice and sticks with it without looking back and worrying that there might be something better.) As a result of being a maximizer, I tend to always have realizations in hindsight: had I picked a different set of orgs in school, or hung out with a different set of people, or chosen a different course of study altogether, it would’ve vastly altered the landscape in which I move today. These thoughts aren’t imbued with hapless regret, mind you; I’m just really fascinated by the impact of one single choice. Knowing this has helped me become more focused and keep my goals aligned these days.
One of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, talks about how the diversity of people’s identities and tastes gives way to this explosion of choice just as well. He was referring to food marketing, how we can’t always explain what we want, and how there isn’t one Platonic—perfect and universal—way to prepare a dish. But it also applies to everything else. We have so many choices because we are all so different, and we have embraced this diversity more so today than ever. In the past, people simply became what their parents were. Options for what to buy, where to go, which course to study, when and whom to marry, etc. were as limited as the exposure they had of the world outside their boundaries. Now our world is bigger. The forks in the road have more branches. It can be overwhelming, especially with the variety of choices available to us these days. But so long as we know what it is we want, we should be able to make the right ones. ♥