Understated Dressing

This dress – one I have deemed very “me” – stays on. ‘Til my dryer takes its toll and maybe even then.

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Events almost always make me feel underdressed – like I never put enough effort into what I wear nor my hair & make up. Even when I find myself in the most uncomfortable pair of heels – which is, to me, equivalent to Lenten sacrifice – fellow event attendees I bump into are always extremely polished or dressed to the nines with matching full make up. Admittedly, it makes me look like I spent a maximum of 5 minutes on myself in comparison despite my much longer make up ritual (albeit just in the car.)

Then again, being polished wouldn’t feel “me”. Don’t get me wrong, I have the same number of blazers as much as the next person but they are mostly reserved for those special meetings with non-fashion industry folks who wouldn’t understand my understated dressing and who might consider my lack of formalwear rude.

I wore this dress to a recent event and though I felt initially conscious in a sea of elegant midi skirts and tulle, I was reminded that this look actually captures my aesthetic – extremely comfortable (it’s loose and has pockets) and rather revealing. Don’t be fooled: that deep V goes much lower than my belly button, I was just feeling slightly more conservative that day and decided to tie it a little higher and tighter. It was just an afternoon get-together anyway.

I already feel pressured to wear heels out most of the time, I really shouldn’t let societal expectations get the best of my wardrobe too. This dress stays on. And make no mistake, it will stay on for a long time. Probably ’til the strings are tattered by my dryer. Probably even then.

Dress, EVE THE LABEL | Heels, VALENTINO
Photos by PAUL MENDOZA

Pandora Spring 2015 Collection

With Pandora, wearing your heart on your sleeve never rang truer. The only difference is it has cubic zirconia and it’s very, very cute.

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Charms from the Precious Primrose Linepandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-19pandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-1 pandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-16pandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-12pandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-5pandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-25
These butterfly charms are part of the New Beginning line likening the creature’s metamorphosis to that of Spring giving new life pandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-11
With French-Filipino artist Olivia D’aboville 

pandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-10pandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-23 pandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-9pandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-6pandora-spring-2015-philippines-launch-2Long before Pandora landed in Philippine shores, I’ve known it as a brand that holds a special place in my family’s hearts. Not sure about other states but back in Michigan, gifting Pandora charms for different occasions was a big phenomenon. My mom, aunt and cousins all seemingly collecting different trinkets that triggered different memories and held special symbolisms; a cake charm for a cousin who was skilled at baking, a silver passport emblem for a passion for travel and different crystals to match birthstones and different beliefs. It was interesting to see how such delicate and miniature trinkets could hold such power – uplifting, reminding and comforting as needed with just a quick glance.

Naturally, bearing unforgettable moments of my own Pandora charm shopping (which admittedly took more than it should every single time) and eventually seeing loved ones unwrap and open the white box and heartwarmingly smile with its contents, when Pandora invited me to their recent Spring Collection Blogger Launch I was rather eager.

And rightly so. The very intimate event was amazing. It started out with car rides (that picked each of us up from our point of origin) with a pack of gorgeous white macarons greeting us upon entry. The drive to the quaint Henry Hotel was short but sweet (literally, too). We started with a quick welcome by host Issa Litton and went to different rooms to see the newest jewelry and charms and engage in the activities curated based on the different themes of the collection.

The new 2015 Spring Awakening Collection has 4 sub-lines: Precious Primrose, Magic of Nature, New Beginning and Mother’s Day. Each line had a different room that allowed for a tactile experience of the collection. The Precious Primrose area had French-Filipina artist Olivia D’aboville talk about her art. The dainty artist perfectly matched the sub-line with its primrose charms that signified nature’s awakening from its deep, Winter-induced slumber. Magic of Nature had a wonderful terrarium making session with a beautiful selection of succulents and hands-on lessons care of Raab Bustamante. The sub-line, meant to showcase new signs of life as the season changes, carried charms such as apples and dragonflies. New Beginnings, in a Chakra-healing session with Kimi Lu, featured butterfly charms that liken the creature’s metamorphosis to Spring and new life. And the last stop featuring the Mother’s Day line was in partnership with Beauty and Butter for a mani-pedi pamper session. Mothers, like Spring, bring the gift of life so this line for mothers is fitting and well-deserved.

Being surrounded by beautiful jewelry is really enough to make any lady go wide-eyed but the whole event was really well-executed and the activities chosen were well thought of. The tiniest details – like the paper flowers – made all the difference. It really was an event to immortalize by way of a new Spring Awakening charm.

Host Issa Litton made a wonderful point when she said that looking at our new charms would always bring us back to our respective memories at the event. I guess no matter how quick or how small a moment is, Pandora charms, without fail, really do transport you back to those moments you’ve chosen to hold dear. I should know, I’ve been witnessing the charms’ effects for years.

Wearing your heart on your sleeve never rang truer. The only difference is it has cubic zirconia and it’s very, very cute.

Pandora is available at Greenbelt 5, Glorietta 4, Bonifacio High Street Central, Newport Mall, Shangri-la Mall, The Podium, Elemento in SM Aura, SM Megamall, Trinoma and Century City Mall

Viaje?

The concept of Viaje, though I may not be able to articulate it in actual Spanish conversation, sits well with me. Feel the same way?

rags-2-riches-viaje-lookbook-look1-9rags-2-riches-viaje-lookbook-look1-4rags-2-riches-viaje-lookbook-look1-11rags-2-riches-viaje-lookbook-look1-5 rags-2-riches-viaje-lookbook-look1-6rags-2-riches-viaje-lookbook-look1-8 rags-2-riches-viaje-lookbook-look1-3 rags-2-riches-viaje-lookbook-look1-2 rags-2-riches-viaje-lookbook-look1-1I have a confession to make: in my downtime I absolutely love speaking Español. Not that I’m good at it -far from it. What started out as an annoying obsession has lasted months and to no avail.

I took a year of Spanish in high school and again for a semester in college although I don’t necessarily remember much and can’t carry a conversation past the “how are you?” and “I’m fine, thank you”s. Pathetic, really, considering my late grandmother tried so desperately to teach me the language growing up as she grew up speaking it in her own household. But when you’re already trying to figure out another language – mine, Filipino – to avoid being bullied in school,  you learn to prioritize and dismiss the rest as useless and unimportant. Grade schoolers can be especially tough and my petite frame counterintuitively didn’t hide me from my childhood bullies.

While I’ve never been to Spain, I just feel a close affinity to it. The Philippines has a very rich Spanish influence – the country’s heritage and culture are unmistakably of Spanish-descent. Its people too. Well, mostly either Spanish or Chinese.

I recently was given the privilege to model for social enterprise Rags 2 Riches’ latest collection with my good friend Danika Navarro, aptly called Viaje. Now, whether I love the shoot because I love the brand, my partner-in-crime or the Español, I can’t really tell. Kidding. Obviously, it’s the Spanish. (Kidding, Dan, Reese and Arriane.) 

All I know is that the concept of travel – with all its wonder and in all its glory – sits well with me. With a good friend in amazing clothes sporting a brand close to my heart, even more so. The translation is but a bonus – one that adds to the excitement and novelty while also feeling oddly familiar.

The concept of Viaje then, though I may not be able to articulate in actual Spanish conversation, will always feel understood.

What I can articulate clearly and often, are my favorite words “por qué,” “para mi,” and “mi amor” – an endearment I’ve named my puppy after much to his probable confusion. Just those. Oh, and the Philippine National Anthem in Spanish. Now, I personally think that’s impressive.

Check out Rags 2 Riches’ newest collection, Viaje and have fun shopping. Each bag is made my 3 different indigenous communities so you’d helping while acquiring. Win-win. 

Photography by Shutter Panda | Styling by Bea Constantino | Make Up by Lea Ancheta

This is the 1st post in the Rags 2 Riches Viaje Series

A Film Shoot

This shoot was like a Kinder Surprise. And nobody doesn’t like chocolate.

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film-1As much as I would like to tell you that a blogger’s life is organic and shoots happen spontaneously, it’s not always the case. Actually, it’s rarely the case. Most of the time we wish organic Instagrammable shoots would just fall into place with just the right amount of sunlight (and consequently, artsy, architectural shadows) and perfect random props (like cotton candy.) Unfortunately, people are busy and when we do get the chance to shoot a quick round, we end up chasing the sun – our feelings sinking with its setting. So, shoots are either pre-planned or desperately bargained for depending on your level of organization skills (which I have not) or charm/persuasion.

So, when random shoots are actually offered, especially when it’s rendered in film, you say yes. I don’t usually shoot at night mostly because I don’t know how to edit the colors and I think clothes are given more life when under the rays of the sun – kind of like the concept of Vitamin D or photosynthesis. But it was worth a try. Film, to me at least, is always so unpredictable. But it’s almost always the good kind of surprise. Like Kinder and its toys.

So here are some snaps by Ralph Mendoza (above), a film photog favorite in the biz. The shoot is the chocolate I signed up for and how the photos turned out are the surprise toy. Not bad, Kinder. Not bad.

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and here are a couple snaps by Paul Mendoza, my favorite in the biz.

Lack of Athleticism

Biking my way to a sport. Nah, will probably still end up without one.

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If you haven’t already figured, I have no sport. I mean, I did try to develop skills throughout my formative years taking lessons in swimming, Taekwondo, ballet and golf. My swimming coach threw me in the water so often I developed a different skill altogether – commanding a “fever” high enough for me to skip the class every single time. My white belt never changed color,  my tutu never saw a recital and while I thoroughly enjoyed golf ranges, after a few months, I just stopped.

My lack of athleticism was carried all through high school with Volleyball being my biggest frustration. I wish I was good at it, really. It wasn’t for lack of trying either. I even took it for P.E. in college. I guess my wrists were wimps and could just never spike or serve the way I wanted to. I would often counter to anyone bold enough to point out my deficiency in the sports department, that cheerleading was, in fact, a sport but even then, though I danced all of high school and in college (street, actually), I was never flexible. I can’t do cartwheels (anymore), back flips (ever), nor splits (again, ever). But I loved dance. I’ve been recently thrown into weird physical activities (like Badminton), with consent, that again prove I’m no athlete. I may have nimble, graceful limbs but they are also apparently weak ones.

One activity I did enjoy recently was going biking. Even if it was short, it was nice being able to look back on my childhood remembering biking in our old village in Troy and again in Manila. Also, I had first-time bikers with me so it felt a little rewarding being better at a sport.

If you’re in the PI and want to do some biking for fun, head over to Nuvali and put your pedaling to the test. If you own your own pair of wheels, good for you. Stick to the bike lane – any bike lane- and you’ll be fine.

Seriously though, it was fun. The lack of a coach also meant I could take breaks whenever I wanted and how often I wanted. I even got to do quick Instagram posts in between: my ideal biking scenario. Shoutout to Smart for offering up to 30MB worth of FREE internet data daily for Prepaid subscribers who avail of existing call and text promos. Full disclosure: I may have even watched a YouTube video or two during my bike break. That is what I call recreation.

Come to think of it, next time I’m dragged to a badminton game – one that I’m bound to lose as I don’t run and get extremely annoyed when my partner is bossy – I should probably just excuse myself and watch videos and Instagram (for free!) on the benches. Unless it’s dance. Then I’ll only Instagram during water breaks.

Dress, YAY Designs | Sunglasses, SUNNIES STUDIOS

For more details about Smart’s new promo, you may visit: http://smart.com.ph/prepaid/freeinternet

Swaddled In Sunlight

A sunny Pink Manila look for not-so-sunny days.

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I wish these past couple weeks could’ve been spent looking out the window – peaceful, introspective and silent. Instead, it’s been a whirlwind. Among the good things, my blogging course is officially halfway through. I’m really enjoying teaching and sharing stories with people who are passionate about owning their space in the world wide web. I can’t wait to see their final output but I’m already extremely proud of my students.

Other areas of life have been pretty crazy and probably not in the way that anyone would like. Alas, such is life and one just has to plow through. I’m doing so in clothes that have the capacity to transcend moods and, in themselves, have the power to transform thoughts into sunnier dispositions. Maybe it’s why I chose to be swaddled in over-exposed sunlight. We’ll never know. Though if I do learn how to talk to my sub- & unconscious (via dreams too) that would be great. My interrogating tendencies can be better used understanding myself. Not that I don’t think about stuff enough. As a gemini that is pretty much all I do.

Anyway, going back to the topic of clothes, I was decked out in Pink  Manila in two different instances (and in this top alone, even more). The top is so light that it brings a certain ease to the wearer. Not to mention grace and playful sophistication (there is such a thing). The skirt can also rival how delicate the curtains are with its lace-inspired print. You read that right, it isn’t lace at all. Anyone would’ve been fooled. And maybe that’s one of the reasons why I like it. Upon closer look one realizes that it’s a completely different material altogether – like its sole purpose is to break lace stereotypes.

Before I get more cryptic and confusing, let me cut this short. I hope you are all swaddled in sunlight in the coming weeks and every positively associated idea that it entails. If not, there’s always gorgeous clothes. Love and light to all.

Top and skirt, PINK MANILA | Bag, NEON ISLAND 

Underrated Flexibility And A Blogging Workshop Giveaway!

Having too much fun in a reversible coat. Flexibility is so underrated.

Also, I’m officially teaching!

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After college (also: after resigning from my then corporate life), I took a certificate course at SoFA Design Institute. During my short time there I’ve come across a whole lot of talented people and have always been in awe of the limitless potential housed in that campus. The kids I’ve come across were always brimming with ideas, always executing amazing designs easily translating illustrations to actual garments. I’ve always felt that these were people that I should help somehow- in any capacity. My involvement in Platform Show Manila, an event that showcased different independent brands, was born out of that desire to lend a helping hand to young designers – people who needed business experience, a nudge in the right and introductions to the press and consequently a bigger audience.

Years later, it’s my blog (or more accurately, my body) that I use to showcase talent. One friend from SoFA is Eunice Sason who has since ventured into her own eponymous RTW line – one I have supported and wrote about prior. I recently came across her reversible coat and have gotten good mileage out of it. It’s grey on one side and gold on the other and it’s one of the easier pieces to throw on when your look is a little too revealing (like when you head to church) or when you just need to pack a punch. Reversible pieces should be the next wave in intelligent design. Flexibility is so underrated and really much appreciated, at least by me. If you are also a firm believer of value for money and cost per wear, this reversible coat is a steal. It’s also currently on sale at Php 700 along with her other designs that go from Php 350-750. Check out her sale items here and a fun .GIF showcasing its reversibility below. Next time I’ll do more of a crazy dance to keep things interesting.

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Speaking of SoFA, I have amazing news. I’ll be TEACHING a blogging workshop that starts next Tuesday, March 10. It’s 4 sessions, 3 hours each. This isn’t your typical “do what you love” talk. It’s about branding, being different, micro-blogging and so much more. The course is an amazing deal at Php 2,500. Trust that I’ll do my best and impart whatever information I believe you’ll need to carve your own space in the blogosphere and turn your site into a brand. Especially since this is the first time I’ll be considered part of “faculty.” I really hope to see you there. Spread the word if you can too – it’ll be much appreciated.

For inquiries, enrollment and reservation, contact SoFA’s Admissions Office at 09175018136 or 4784611/22 local 115/117 or email [email protected] Reserve now!

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Edit: GOOD NEWS! I’m giving away 2 slots to this Blogging 101 workshop worth P2,500. Schedule is 6-9PM T/TH starting March 10-March 19. All you need to do is:

1. Regram this SoFA poster OR post your own photo that answers the question: Why should you be chosen to attend the blogging workshop for free? (Remember to include your answer in the caption.)

2. Hashtag #SoFABlogging101 and #WeLiveDesign 

3. Follow both @alyssalapid and @sofadesigninstitute on Instagram and TAG both accounts 

See you there!