Tropicality

Celebrated the opening of Dorothy Perkins the best way I know how: $$$hopping.

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Whether I intended for my top to match my newly colored hair now a shade of copper care of Matrix Philippines, I wouldn’t know.  I’m honestly still getting used to the color although K-Stew’s recent hair transformation plus a reminder of LiLo’s Auburn locks are quickly steering me in the right, accepting direction.

Much like the copper result, its color counterpart in the form of this tropical top also took me by surprise. A bunch of prints are infiltrating my closet and I’m the only one to blame. Interestingly, I seem to be gravitating towards the same prints. I have a whole range of palm trees, pineapples and camo pieces to complete matchy-matchy looks. Of course the realization of identical inventory conveniently comes after the shopping fact. Oh well, at least there are printed options this time as opposed to a sea of indistinguishable black pieces.

The impulse buy that offers zero buyer’s remorse is actually from the newly opened Dorothy Perkins in SM Megamall’s Fashion Hall. It was my first time to shop at the brand and was pleasantly surprised by the range of trendy pieces – from pastels, to florals, to the now ubiquitous twosies. For the gents, Burton Menswear London just opened its first store in Manila as Dorothy Perkins’ next door neighbor. Check both out, buy a bunch of pieces. I’m pretty sure guilt-free shopping will translate from my screen to yours.

 Top, DOROTHY PERKINS | Skirt and bag, H&M

Wonderlight 7 Red Brown Hair Color care of MATRIX PHILIPPINES

Facing Up To Your Dreams

Twitter parties apparently entail oversharing and post-party keyboard #sepanx. I can’t wait to do it again!

“So, where do we meet?” I’ve never had a Twitter party before so I guess the question was necessary.

Online.” Of course. And so online I went for a two-hour #FaceUp discussion mediated by Candy Magazine with Candy Cuties Enzo Cruz and Mica Caldito, Candy correspondents, bloggers Bea Benedicto and myself and Candy girls as attendees.

With Candy directing questions, we tackled a whole breadth of topics such as dreams, college, challenges, confidence. Candy girls also got to ask us their own questions – which I loved. I’ve never tweeted that much in my life. So you don’t have to go through what may be hundreds of them, here’s a quick recap of my answers and -further down – insights.

When I was in college, my problems were honestly test to test: surprise quizzes, long tests, hell weeks and seeing your eye candy in a bad outfit the most aggressive stressors. (What I deemed most important I’ll let you guess.) My goals were also pretty ordinary – graduate, balance academics with extra-curriculars, be active in orgs and earn on the side. It quickly changed into finding a decent job post-graduation. Now, post-career shift and armed with an unwavering trust in the Universe, my dreams know no bounds – write a book, put up my own company (tried, failed but will keep trying), contribute articles, live in a different city and become a business mogul.

I bumped into many challenges of course – from small ones like annoying professors to bigger ones like life forks. They often involved taking huge leaps of faith though – like quitting my job for fashion school, career changes, approaching strangers to intern or write without experience, etc. The thing is, while it’s always wise to have a fall back, most of the time you just have to jump in. The biggest setback for me was my own paranoid brain. Combined with my then-pessimism, I just didn’t believe in myself enough to make it.

Based on the answers of fellow Tweet-ers and Candy girls it became apparent: self-doubt is hindering all of us from achieving our dreams. We’re crippled not just by not the fear of failure but a lack of trust and confidence in our own selves. We are our own biggest critics.

When we doubt ourselves though, it shows. Fake it ’til you make it is a widespread philosophy for a reason. Lack of confidence seeps into everything we do.

Now, there are certain demons we might need to battle within us and that’s not always easy and an entire different journey altogether. The quick-fix though is by way of our appearance. A lot of times we need to talk to strangers, ask favors and sell ourselves – to employers, to professors, to would-be-significant others. To fake confidence (because I don’t always have it: I’m human and a hormonal woman), I do certain things like wear red lipstick or wear heels albeit painful. But I have learned that I’m most confident – even in ugly Birks – when I have good, clear skin (pimples always make me self-conscious).

I tried to go the magazine route buying a bunch of beauty products I ended up not using because spending 30 minutes a day to spread creams on my face is a commitment I can’t handle. What I religiously do though is wash my face every night using a good cleanser – the germ-killing kind.

A couple Candy girls asked what I used specifically. I think I tried all sorts of facial wash brands before – with beads, without beads, foamy, soy-based. But now I stick to soap and have been using Safeguard. I’ve used it ever since I was a kid mostly for my body but now that there’s a beauty component to it, it stays on my face too. I did mention that I had yet to try their new product Dermasense to actually test it out and because I promised some Candy girls, I bought myself a bar.

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I had an amazing time tweeting all of you about these experiences and oversharing. I always say that if people are inspired by my style or the writing as a blogger then that’s great. But what I love most is when people are inspired by the journey – of pursuing dreams and fulfilling passions even if they require radical life changes.

I hope the tweet-up enlightened you (as it did me) as to what is really keeping us from our dreams and I hope you realize that fulfilling them is worth so much more than anything your inner Regina George can throw at yourself.

#FaceUp, little dreamers. Achieve great things.

And tweet me while you’re at it.

face-up-alyssa-lapid-2*For those interested, the soap is actually good! Your face feels tight right after. And because it’s Safeguard, you feel especially clean. I don’t mind using this regularly to say goodbye to the little pests trying to trespass on my face. 

Bring It All Back

Let’s talk fabric manipulation by way of adding, subtracting and converting. And no, there’s no need for sewing.

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While I professed my love for denim skirts recently, I’m finding myself more and more averse to denim jeans. I used to live in skinny jeans a few years back but now they feel a little suffocating. Maybe it’s because I was also slimmer back then so wiggling my way in them was easier. Maybe it’s also because it’s becoming hotter and hotter that the thought of my legs profusely sweating makes me uncomfortable even before putting them on. I do find the occasional pair though that I enjoy wearing. This skinny pair from Freego is becoming one of those. They fit just right allowing for ample movement still – unlike some that make me feel like a newly-wrapped mummy. The wash is also especially trendy mimicking the color of the now ubiquitous 90s-inspired acid wash. Not a big fan of jumping on whatever trend bandwagon but I think I’ve already established that the 90s is a decade I want to relive – at least its wardrobe. And maybe the Spice Girls.

I figured there’s nothing better to wear with denims than a backless onesie. It feels right that the fabric covering my legs is compensated by its absence on the torso. Though I rarely feel uncomfortable in minimal fabric, I used my new YAY coverup cum scarf cum whatever you want it to be, for creative layering purposes. It can morph into about 12 different things (e.g., kimonos, shawls, dresses, etc.) and it’s currently the most versatile piece in my wardrobe – one that will be the first to be packed should a trip come up. I especially like kimono variants so this is something I’m very happy about. I have yet to fully discover how to convert it but when I do, expect a flaunting of my new “talent.”

Let me leave you with another 90s favorite: Sister Act (mostly because I got distracted for a split-second and saw Whoopi Golberg on TV). If after this clip you still don’t miss the 90s then that’ll probably just challenge me to keep referencing the decade until you end up wearing spaghetti straps and acid wash jeans yourself.

Top, ASOS | Shawl, YAY | Jeans, FREEGO

In With the new

On a denim craze and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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I recently unearthed about a gazillion denim skirts from my mom’s closet which is awesome because I’m becoming more and more obsessed with the fabric. I didn’t unearth them fast enough as I made this denim purchase a week prior. I don’t feel one bit guilty though. (Is that greed? Or is it an early sign of hoarding?) I take refuge in the fact that this skirt looks a bit different from what I’ve recently inherited and much softer and lighter than the denim heavyweights of the past. (Fine, leaning towards hoarding.)

Decided to make its debut with another newcomer in my closet, this top from Mint. Pieces with surprises – even in the smallest forms – are usually given a go. I don’t really wear much of the puffed sleeves but I made an exception in this case and am not complaining. I’m actually excited to take pieces not usually found in my wardrobe for sartorial test runs. If they work then great but if they don’t, I stand by Oprah’s philosophy that “a life of ‘oh wells’  is better than a life of ‘what ifs.'”

I should really keep doing that before I lose the adventure bug and revert back to the basics in my closet. And since I’m a moody Gemini, we can’t tell exactly when that’ll happen. What we do know is that it most likely will. ‘Til then, #YOLO.

Top, MINT | Skirt, SUITEBLANCO

Rouge In Paris

A rare outfit shot in Paris when the weather cooperated for about 5 minutes. I would’ve frozen for Paris though.

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I spent 5 days in Paris towards the end of April and got to roam around (and around, and around thanks to the hop on, hop off bus I abused). Though I wanted to take full advantage of every beautiful sight – even the Parisian Metro was gorgeous (at least on the outside) – unfortunately the cold weather didn’t necessarily permit me to take more than the occasional blog-able post.  Because if I’m being honest here (which is all I ever am in this blog really), I only brought one coat. And in hindsight, that wasn’t very shrewd for a 2-week vacation proven by the fact that it was ruined mid-trip I had to buy another one.

Still, here’s one of those rare moments that I had the weather’s cooperation with the sun up for about 5 minutes before it turned cool again and my nose, in reaction to all the exposed skin, runny. Too much honesty, this time?

Wore another of my By Tipay pieces. It may look like your typical off shoulder sweater but it’s not. 1) It’s made out of pineapple fabric (as is this one), and 2) it has a subtle hole for the thumb covering about 3/4 of my hand which I truly appreciated weather-wise. Paired red and red on purpose but the pinks were unintentional. Guess I’m wired to be matchy-matchy.

The photos were taken at the Jardin des Tuileries right across the famous Louvre Museum which I didn’t bother lining up for – the line was very discouraging. I went during Easter break and everyone seemed to be in Paris that weekend. A stray photo was taken by another famous area, the Pont De Archeveche – the long bridge with the padlocks of love overlooking the river Seine. Paris was so breathtaking and the food was surprisingly amazing. So happy that my first trip to Europe was divine (hyperbolically and literally – I attended a pilgrimage). I can’t wait to go back sans the hordes of tourists this time hopefully.

I’m getting a bit ahead of myself though so I’ll just go through my photos and share them with you while I plot my return, whenever that may be.

Sweater, BY TIPAY | Pants, ZARA | Purse, LOUIS VUITTON | Heels, VALENTINO

Cheat Day

Cheat days aren’t just for diets. They’re for sartorial challenges too.

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There are certain promises – or resolutions if you may – that you make during your birthday. It’s a redemption of sorts or a do-over for all those resolutions you declared during the New Year that we both know you broke.

This time, I’m making mine a little bit simpler and easier to follow through. Now that I’m 24 I promise to dress up more: go out of my black comfort zone, take more risks and just generally put more effort into dressing up (i.e., not grabbing and wearing the exact same pieces over and over.)

But because I’m still getting used to this new sartorial challenge I’ve inflicted upon myself and wrapping my head around the concept of color, here’s a cheat outfit – composed of things I’d basically wear everyday if I could. Easy, no brainer sandals, a loose dress and a  long black piece to wrap myself with.

Otherwise, I’ll try to keep a sunny disposition and an even sunnier outfit. Especially now that the remaining traces of summer are quickly slipping my bikini’s grasp. Summer woes aside, this challenge is meant to remind me to take giant leaps of faith. Hoping that my wardrobe mentality would seep into the cadence of my life.

And just in case I get cold feet, which I probably literally will thanks to monsoons, it’s okay. I’m blanketed by the idea that black on black will always be on point and closed boots always chic. With a safety net safely cast, here’s my advice: spread your wings and take that leap.

Also, disrobe – both metaphorically and literally.

Dress, ZARA | Kimono, H&M | Sandals, BIRKENSTOCK

10.19 And the Mermaid Life

Subtle and not so subtle allusions to the mermaid life (like this flaming red mollusk) are always welcome in my book.

10.19-alyssa210.19-alyssa4 10.19-alyssa5 10.19-alyssa610.19-alyssa8In my former corporate life, button downs were a favorite of mine – not by choice but by need fueled by the desire to look mature (aka older) and therefore, “respectable.” A concept and thinking so inherently flawed I won’t even dwell on it. It didn’t help my case that the button-downs I did get were mostly ill-fitting or just shabby. So I moved on.

Now, years past a life I left behind, button downs seem to be making a comeback in my closet – at least this one from 10.19‘s The Curiousities Collection which has earned its spot in my overused and abused essentials rack. True to my dressing-younger-while-getting-older form, I wore it school-girl style. Sort of to feel and commemorate a Gossip Girl high school wardrobe I never got to experience. (My high school uniform consisted of pencil skirts, vests and blazers. Peculiar, I know.)

While I like it for its fit and how crisp and clean it is, I mostly love it for its blazingly red embroidered mollusk. Any allusion to marine life, okay fine, mermaid life, is always welcome in my book. It might be a little too late to go back to wearing Ariel printed items mostly because Disney doesn’t carry any in my size. I checked. But I am free to do subtle and not so subtle allusions to mermaids.

See, contrary to Ariel’s belief, we actually want to be part of her world. Had she known being under the sea was actually in vogue she probably wouldn’t have traded her mono-fin for, what’s that word again? Oh, feet. Maybe I should re-write the story and challenge the Grimm Brothers’ version. Mine will be a lot less gory and probably 90% music. I declare that as one of my life projects. For now, I’ll go back to wearing items with crustaceans, flounders, eel and even tridents. You know, for inspiration.

FYI, Neil Patrick Harris will totally be Prince Eric.

Button down, 10.19 | Skirt, H&M | Sandals, BIRKENSTOCK

 

Ho Chi Minh Photo Diary

Finally. A smorgasbord of Vietnam travel photos. Enjoy!

Finally, a photo dump of sights we saw, activities we did and stuff we ate. This has been a long time coming. Enjoy!

saigon3saigon1saigon2saigon4saigon7saigon8yamamay-swimsuit-1nicart-1ho-chi-minh-travelHave you ever tried drinking on the floor by the street? Me neither. ‘Til Vietnam. Try the Backpacker’s District for this nightlife experience. ho-chi-minh-travel4ho-chi-minh-travel5The entrance to the Cu Chi Tunnels (as explained here). Tell me, am I the only freaked out by this? 

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Must see: the old Post Office and the Notre Dame Church right across it. ho-chi-minh-travel9saigon5vietnam-what-to-do-4

Shot a few bullets at the Cu Chi Tunnels. My first and most likely my last rifle-trial, thank you. vietnam-what-to-do-6vietnam-what-to-do-14

#StreetFoodRealness: My Banh Mi was wrapped in a flyer and tied in a rubber band. vietnam-what-to-do-15vietnam-what-to-do-17

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Had such an amazing time during my 4 day trip to Saigon. Should you end up going yourself I suggest you check out the Benh Thanh market for some bargain shopping, the NotreDame church, old Post Office and the Opera for some beautiful architecture. Head to Mui Ne, a 4 hour bus ride from the city, to see the Sand Dunes and relax by the shores of the South China Sea (not that you should swim there.) For historical references you can head to the War Museum which is absolutely depressing and to the Cu Chi Tunnels which are amazing. Taste everything you can, Vietnamese food is amazing – Pho Bo (beef noodle soup), Bo La Luc (fresh beef spring rolls), and the Cha Ca La Vong (fish with dill sauce) are must-try dishes. The iced coffee with condensed milk should also be a daily staple for you (if not every meal). However, eat street food at your own risk. You’re the only one who can gauge the limits of your own stomach. Lastly, for a nightcap, try to kick it backpacker style and plop yourself on a mat. The novelty is refreshing.

If you want a more detailed guide on what to do in Vietnam, check out my more comprehensive post on WeCreativeNatives. If you are considering going to Ho Chi Minh, you should. It is absolutely worth a trip.

Let me rephrase that, the Pho is absolutely worth the trip.

Camouflage Of A Dress

Great designs fit anywhere and everywhere. Even in highly historical places.

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I can finally shut up about Vietnam as the last from my Teena Sabrina Tan collaboration is posted. Spent my last day in Ho Chi Minh exploring the famous Cu Chi Tunnels – the famous underground base that the Southern Vietnamese used during the anti-American resistance in the Vietnam War. The tunnels showcased the genius of the Vietnamese – they dug 3 underground levels each with specific assigned areas and purposes. The entrances were so tiny – only an Asian built could fit – and so secretly hidden with traps abound to make sure no spy or enemy infiltrates the base. The route underground is also especially dark and winding that only those who know the landscape can survive. The Vietnamese also thought of the littlest details that were proven effective like wearing their slippers backwards so their footprints would lead their enemies in the opposite direction. So smart.

I, on the other hand, was not as it might not have been the wisest decision to wear a long dress to the tunnels mostly because one is expected to take a peek inside and crawl from one entrance to another. Maybe I did it on purpose to avoid triggering my claustrophobia. I do think the print was fitting representing different facets of war – blood, death and the ability & need to camouflage. I’m pushing it, I know, but it does fit, doesn’t it? But that’s the thing about great designs, they always seem to fit just right.
Dress by TEENA SABRINA TAN

Borrowed From France

An elegant top for an elegant setting. Hey, I’m finally matching my surroundings!

  Untitled-8IMG_2176copy Untitled-1The third in my collab project with Teena Sabrina Tan is finally up. The look features a halter top with ruffles flowing from the neck all the way down to my bare back. Shot this look at one of the more luxurious areas in Vietnam where fashion (power)houses Chanel, Versace, Prada, Dior and more can be found. The area boasts of French-inspired architecture – a stark contrast from the other, more oriental streets of Saigon – one that captures the elegance of the top. I don’t usually bring such delicate pieces to my travels that I know involve a lot of walking and touring but maybe from now on I’ll be forced to. It’s nice to deviate from my harem pants+white tank stereotypical tourist look once in a while.

This collab series is about to come to an end and I’m pretty pleased I was able to showcase different tourist spots so far  – something I’ve been enjoying more than I care to admit. Hope I could get to do more of this soon. My next trip is coming up in a couple weeks. It happens to be in an island though and I’m not sure I’m comfortable enough to do numerous bikini posts in one go.

We’ll just have to see about that bikini-spree. Or I can always crop myself out of the photos. Beach views are especially awesome.

Top, TEENA SABRINA TAN | Skirt, FOREVER 21 | Sunglasses, FORME