October 2017: Tropics in My Mind

 

 

My eyes sting from staring at my screen for too long, watching words form on and move around blank documents. I don’t need to tell you how busy I’ve been with my job (it’s not particularly a stellar description of someone’s day now, is it? Everybody always seems preoccupied). But for a quick update, I’ve done some millennial job hopping this past month and am currently in my third job since graduation. I got my degree just a little over a year ago, so that’s something to note.

In any case, I adore the new brand I’m working for. It’s a company that really matches my personal interests, so that’s a huge plus. I’m given a lot more work to do compared to my previous job, but the nature of tasks allow me to stretch my writing skills like I never have before.

Still, having dived into the employed life straight after getting my degree left me with little time to travel. But you know how life is: there’s a price to pay for every hour you don’t work. (Are we an overworked generation?)

So there’s that, plus, I actually like working…o.o I’ve been bound to the desk for the last two years. I’m at a point in my life where I feel restless when I don’t have a task to work on. It’s like the most natural thing to do, and I’m not sure if that is problematic or not. Whether I have a real need for an escape or I’m just amused by the idea of it, I have yet to find out. (So maybe I do need to book a trip, in the end.)

My other favorites for the month:

  1. How to Get Away With Murder Season 4. I’ve been left lifeless after watching the last of Game of Thrones Season 7, but my other favorite show is back just in time. Additional note: I am now reading Game of Thrones and I HAVE TO mention that of course!!!
  2. This ridiculously funny video of Ava Ryan reporting on FW fashion trends. Totally a guilty pleasure for me.
  3. Granola and yogurt. I love plain rolled oatmeal–I am drooling just saying this, I seem to have a thing for bland flavors. But granola is a decadent, crunchy change, so I’m baking some up this weekend!
  4. This street fashion photographer for Collage Vintage.
  5. Plaid Coats. You SAW that coming, didn’t you?
  6. Ultra-cool boots from Modern Vice.  Can’t pick just one, can’t buy any at all.
  7. Halloween. I was looking for Halloween baking ideas the other day and I’m not  ashamed to admit that. That’s about as far as I’m going to yap about it, lest I don’t stop.

 

 

 

About That Scar

Two years ago, I had a series of insect bites that led to a huge skin problem. Nasty red patches surfaced on my skin and spread throughout my feet and legs like wildfire. It even felt like wildfire: I remember the burn jolting me awake on some nights and I had to try my damn hardest not to scrape at the inflamed spots with my fingers.
Of course I wasn’t very good at resisting it. Unfortunately for me, one of the spots got infected, leaving me with a huge scar on my leg. That’s the pigmented area you’re seeing right now.
For years, I covered up my skin disease–and the scars I earned in the aftermath of it–with jeans, maxi skirts, and patterned tights. As much as I believe that my value as a person does not entirely rest on my skin, I could not always muster up the courage to flaunt my legs (or you know, my scars). People naturally make initial judgment based on appearances. To borrow words from G. Stegelman, “Judging a book by its cover makes an ‘ass’ of ‘u’ and ‘me.’ The thing is, that’s now hot we operate. Every day, we make a thousand assumptions based on what we see.”
So I wore outfits that provided me with fuller coverage. I have to say, that made shopping limited and much harder.

img_5105

December 2014

 

img_5104

January 2015

Eventually, I got tired of my sartorial repertoire: jeans and trousers stuck to my skin in the midst of humid summer heat. In tropical countries, that won’t always do. I longed to wear playful skirts, off-duty cut-offs and easy dresses. I still didn’t have the courage to don them, though. Until one day, I ran out of pants to wear, and my girlfriend (whose carefree attitude comes easier to her than to me) told me not to stress it out and just put on shorts for a change.
Since then, I’ve been wearing shorter clothes again. It’s wonderful to slip into a cute dress and shop clothes that aren’t full-coverage. I still have visible scars, but in many ways, a burden has been lifted off. It’s liberating to wear what I like, instead of wearing what I think people will like.
Admittedly, I have covered up that huge scar on my leg on photos with particular poses, or, if applicable, long, billowing cardigans. Sometimes, bright lighting washes it out, so it isn’t too pigmented–which is a good thing, because it does the work for me! This is the first time I’m releasing a photo of myself with the scar pretty visible. I have no intentions of editing it out, because I cannot bear to publish what is essentially a lie. That would create another burden for me and I’m done producing a flawless appearance that people would prefer to see.

Life Update + August Favorites

As you may or may not know, I moved houses two months ago with the fam. Our new place is smaller, but nicer for the same reason. It was nice to step inside the house and see only the essentials: appliances we really use, salvage-able books  and wearable clothes we plan on keeping for years, enough mugs and plates for everyone. We didn’t bring in any ceramic stock, impractical holiday gifts, and whatnot, which have piled on over the years.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much space for the things I loved, either. Many of them were bits and pieces of former hobbies. I’m iffy about saying that these things are even ‘former’, because every project and interest I was preoccupied with as a child will always be a part of me. Others were academic books—many of which I still want to go over, but many of which couldn’t squeeze itself into my small new room. Finally, there were the letters from friends and personal diaries that I have collected since childhood. Documentation is crucial for a writer. But storage is a spatial luxury that I’m unfortunate not to have. (Admittedly, I did look around for my dusty diaries but couldn’t find them.)

In the back of my mind, I imagine that there will come a day when I would be looking for and needing  these things again. But I also trust that I’ll always find a way to sort of put myself together without them to hold. I’m now on a mission to maximize my room and find a way to store documents and life tidbits that I will be creating and collecting moving forward.

In other news, I have begun to plot morning and evening routines, but am not always successful in executing them consistently. Some days, I’m on survival mode due to an early call time at the office and late arrival back home due to the horrendous metro traffic. That’s when I ditch my routines altogether, hah. Other days, I’m cramming and out of it. I’m still working on that. 😛

What has been characteristic of my August, though, is my heavy dependence on coffee and addiction to Game of Thrones. You know how people talk about a TV show ruining their lives? I’ve never been able to relate more than after I ventured into Westeros. AAAH. I have bought the set of A Song of Ice and Fire book series and am finishing up my current read before I start on the first book. I can feel my personal and professional responsibilities trembling in nervousness.

Here are some other things I’m really into this month:

  1. Avocado + Eggs. I used to eat healthy! *insert all the self-judgment and shaming emojis* Avocado and eggs aren’t a new combo to me, but lately I’ve been buying avocados and eggs weekly again and pretending that my diet is going well by having them for breakfast. 😂👏 NOT. But I love these guys on toast!
  2. This woven bag from @shopstylecat. What a standout, fun design!
  3. Visor hats.  I used to wonder what the point of wearing this hat was because it technically did not protect your hair from heat or sun damage. But now I’m re-considering, and I’m in it for the cool vibe. HA. Fashion is fashion, no shame! Currently, I’m on the hunt for a straw visor hat and leather visor hat, preferably in a two-toned design.
  4. Headspace. I started using it this August and have been enjoying it since! I haven’t subscribed yet, though. I’m still finishing up all the free sessions.
  5. Weighted Workouts. When I have to workout in a pinch, workouts with dumbbells are my go-to. (I practice pilates, if anyone needs that for context.) I especially love moves that hit more than one muscle group.
  6. Third Wave Coffee Shops. I know, not novel. But it wasn’t until I was a working adult when I finally got enough money to indulge in coffee that isn’t an Essenso 3-in-1 or homemade brew. I’m currently crossing off cafes on my Third Wave Cafe list. The coffee above was shot at Toby’s Estate! Love their coffee as usual. It was my first time to try their food, however. Couldn’t stop wolfing down the grilled cheese plate, and that’s saying something because I rarely pig out. 😂
  7. White Noise. I recently discovered the beauty and benefits of white noise like rain and cafe chatter for productivity. (I used to put on a rainy background combined with Norah Jones for mood purposes, but I did not necessarily work with the music playing then.) I tend to mentally sing-along when I listen to regular songs, but I find that white noise is more effective in blocking out distracting thoughts. I use either Noisli or Rainy Mood for that. I’m interested in hearing about other productivity hacks anyone uses, so please do share if you have any! I’d love, love to know about them. 💓

June 2017 Mood

What a crazy month it has been. This June, I moved to a new place, celebrated my anniversary with my partner, and had erratic writing assignments at work. Not to mention, lots of freelance projects. Here are the little things that brightened me up while I was swamped with to-do’s!

1. “Worn is reclaiming fashion as something that can be exciting, challenging, different, quirky, interesting, not just as something you have to consume.” – Jane Pratt

I was in the bookstore to buy clay for my baby sister, and ended up getting this book as well. Best part is I was expecting to pay P1500, but apparently the book was on sale. I only had to hand over a total of less than P500!

2. Relaxed jeans. The obsession over this silhouette started in later May and was sparked by these deconstructed jeans from Mango. I thought it was too pricey, so I resorted to look for cheaper options, and the hunt continued well into June. I sorted through various denim iterations: mom, boyfriend, cigar. Had to ping customer service several times and ask for leg measurements before I hit ADD TO CART. (Yes, I had limited time to make trips to the mall and cannot wait to find my pair of relaxed jeans.)

Ended up getting this one from Mango. I love it. Hugs me in all the right places.

3. Getting back on the fitness track. I used to workout and eat clean three years ago to cope with depression. Now I’m getting back at it, starting with gentle workouts, as a way to destress. And get a Kim K. Ass.

4. Portraiture. Love, love this work by Wesley Taylor. 

5. Newspaper boy caps. If I only have two caps to keep in my wardrobe, it’s a newspaper boy cap and a beret. I’d keep them for life.

6. Game of Thrones. I’ve been spoiled, but I’m still enjoying the show. It’s that good.

7. Essenso coffee. My June was a cycle of “I can’t wait to go to bed and wake up tomorrow so I can have a cup of Essenso coffee.” The grocery near my old place carries this, and I have yet to discover if they’re available somewhere else.

Oversized

I saw this gingham shirt on local street style brand, Copper. I was surprised it hasn’t sold out yet despite being an old item—in fact it’s still available on Copper’s website as of writing. I’m not necessarily claiming that my tastes in clothing flow in the same current as the market’s, but this gingham shirt, with its modern puffed sleeves, is an oversized-top-fit-bottom dream: an ensemble that has its fair share of Pinterest popularity.

Then again, I’m a girl who likes oversized tops. Tucked into high-waist bottoms, it’s an effortlessly stylish silhouette that really suits my figure. I have a rather small torso, well-maintained love handles, and what-used-to-be-nice gams that have been bulking up over the last couple of months, thanks to all the delicious carbs I’ve been eating and lethargic sitting I’ve been doing. But I can manipulate my figure with my clothes, and I enjoy that aspect of dressing up.

(Disclaimer: I do not promote lack of exercise, haha! Get your sweat sessions in—it’s GREAT for your body not just on a physical level, but on a mental level as well! I’ve been trying to get back on being active for the past couple of weeks, too. Healthy habits are an investment, really.)


Gingham Top: Copper – Faux Leather Skirt: H&M – Loafer Mules: Zalora – Messenger Bag (old): Ebay

Photos: Joanna Cabangon

May 2017 Mood

Avocado Smoothie Bowl

Post is a little late into the month, but here you go. I’m crazy for these things lately:

  1. Coconut Mango Cheesecake from Kuppa Roastery and Cafe. I never use the phrase “slice of heaven” when describing food because quite frankly, no dish or dessert has given me the impression of paradise until I had a forkful of this slice of heaven. I happily travel through all seven train stops just to visit this cafe—their coffee and dishes have kept me coming back the past few weeks! 
  2. Witch Hazel Facial Mist from Beauty Bakery, oh my god. A few spritzes of this sweet-scented mist lifts my mood. This is my ultimate pick-me-up for the scorching summer season.
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy Volumes 1 and 2. By extension, both films’ killer soundtracks that get all the good vibes going (Vol. 1 soundtrack here and Vol. 2 soundtrack here). I took this quiz on Buzzfeed to find out which GotG character I am based on my song choices, and I got Nebula. No complains from my end, but I’m not sure about the accuracy of my results because I did not know all of the song choices in that quiz. Hah!
  4. Smoothies and smoothie bowls. My first attempt (avocado smoothie bowl, as shown above) isn’t your typical Insta-worthy bowl, but it sure tasted good. Then again, you can rarely go wrong with a smoothie mixture, right?
  5. Dreamy dresses from Réalisation Par. I adore this one and this one.
  6. High-waist vintage jeans—not within my entry-level writer budget, but absolutely decadent. Visit Persephone Vintage for charming vintage finds.  The shop features items from Levi’s and Calvin Klein to name a few.
  7. “What I found really interesting about Kawakubo’s clothes is that although from the outside some people might think that they’re unwearable, they totally are [wearable]. My first real close encounter with Kawakubo’s clothes was when we borrowed things for the Punk exhibition. It was then that I realized she completely understood dressmaking and tailoring techniques in a beautiful way. And she understood historical fashion techniques, and she’s been able to completely, in a sense, obliterate [them] through using them.” – From this Vogue write-up on the genius of Rei Kawakubo, as elaborated by a conservator and written by .

Owning It

I was initially hesitant to get out of the house clad in this outfit. After getting dressed, I had to stay a good 20 minutes in my bedroom, standing in front of the mirror and studying the details of what I was wearing. My mind oscillated between the length of my short shorts and the best transportation method I could get to cover myself and minimize the attention I could receive in these short shorts.

Continue reading