Monochrome Dinner Date Outfit

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I’m a huge fan of mixing and matching separates, which is the main reason I don’t often wear a dress. I like seeing which colors go with which and which cuts create nice silhouettes. But I have to admit: there’s a particular elegance with monochromatic outfits that make dressing up so easy and classy.

So for a holiday dinner date look (yes—this outfit is over a month old!), I went for a monochromatic ensemble. It’s an all-black look, but I wanted to break things up with print. I have been very, very much into polka dots lately—it’s such a fresh change (and a more sensual print!) to my usual stripes. This margarita-polka print combo emits summer vibes, but when worn with polished and dressy separates in a dark palette, they fit the bill for a holiday dinner date outfit.

Cute as this outfit is, I was uncomfortable during the ride to my date when I wore this. Goodness knows I popped the first two buttons of my skirt open so that my stomach could hang out and I could catch some air. Of course, I made sure to cover this wardrobe malfunction with my bag, even if there was zero chance the Grab driver would turn around and eye me suspiciously in the back seat.

Even with all that effort and imagination, though, I still had a darn hard time breathing–what the hell was wrong with my outfit, I didn’t figure out until the end of the ride. Turns out, my bra was too tight and making it hard for me to breathe. It was definitely a case of tiis-ganda, haha! Perhaps a wardrobe resolution for the new year is for me to stock up on comfortable, breathable, and flattering underwear—it matters, to say the least.

Off-Shoulder Top: Copper – Margarita Polka Dot Skirt: Mango – Bag: Shop Style Cat – Mule Loafers: Zalora – Plaid Coat: New Look – Beret: Forever 21

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12 Under P300 Stocking Stuffers for Your Huge Fam

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You guys—my mother has 12 siblings. I have more or less 30 first cousins. Add to that the growing number of nephews and nieces I have (maybe around ten right now?). It’s all fun and games until Christmas draws closer, and we start to get overwhelmed with the number of presents we have to buy and wrap for everyone. On the bright side, we don’t have to exhaust ourselves finding the perfect, personalized gift. I mean. 30 first cousins! We’re not that imaginative.

I pretty much share the same experience with my cousins. We always receive similar gifts or some slight variation of it, which is the closest thing we get to an individual present—a lipstick that goes with my skin tone, for example.

On another note—we’d go broke buying holiday presents over P300 for everyone. Suffice it to say that we’ve become a bit of pros on buying decent presents on a budget. So if you’re on a budget, or can’t be bothered finding the “perfect” present, or have a huge fam to play Santa to like my mom does, this gift guide will give you ideas on what to stuff red stockings with!

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1.Sheet Masks (Aloe Essence Mask Sheet | BeautyMNL; Pearl Essence Mask Sheet | BeautyMNL)

2.Body Mist (So In Love Body Mist | Bench; Red Series EDT | Bench)

3.Slippers (You definitely have to get everyone’s size, though) (La Boheme | Banana Peel; Anguli – Benneth

4.Footsocks (BioFresh Foot Cover for Men | Zalora)

5.Lip and Cheek Tint (Healthy Matte Argan Tint and Blush | BeautyMNL)

6.Wallet/coin purse (Gregorio Coin Purse | Zalora)

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7.Earphones (Silver Headset | Lazada)

8.Tumbler (Seansean Stainless Tumbler | Lazada)

9.Umbrella (Automatic Polka Dots Umbrella | Lazada)

10.USB Drive (Strontium Pollex USB Flash Drive 16GB | Lazada)

11.Coin Bank (Great for kids!) (Character Coin Bank | Lazada)

12.File Case (My mom gave these to my cousins back when nearly all of us were still students!) (TPTM File Case With Handle | National Bookstore)

You are, of course, free to explore malls and boutiques for more ideas. Some of my titas and titos have given me basic clothing–a cami top or a pair of pambahay shorts, for example. You can browse through cheap apparel in tiangge/bazaars–but style and fashion tastes are personal. If you’re confident in your level of kamaganak knowledge, by all means, pick out clothes you think they’ll like!

That’s it! Happy Christmas in advance, everybody!

A Secret Affair With Frills

Well, well, well. Guess who’s got a lot of backlog to clear. I have been a lot more active on Instagram lately–obviously it was a quicker way to update my friends with what’s going on. I spend much of my writing energy on my job, so this blog has effectively fallen to the wayside. Last month was especially busy for me, but that’s for another post.

Moving on to this one-shoulder top that I first wore in like, August: if you had asked the ten-year-old me to wear a frilly top,  I would have flinched. I liked to fill up my cart with boxy jackets and cargo pants as a kid, a shopping decision that made my mom mutter, “Para kang lalaki.” (To her credit, I did grow up and identify more accurately as bisexual.)

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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.

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December 2014

 

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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. It was not the most dramatic or the deepest of transitions, but it was a decision I made in a zap: I’ve had enough of full-coverage pieces. 
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.