Little Black Dress | Smart PayMaya

I think a trip to your favorite online shopping destination is in order.

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Over the weekend, I ordered a little black dress for a date.

Okay, not just! For multiple reasons actually. I was thinking it’s a conservative enough option for a work event, or a networking soirée (not that I attend those- I’m awkward), for a night at the theatre, for working at a MAC store (they’re always in black), for joining a witch coven while still being chic, or for bumping into the love of my life, Mark Ruffalo, while looking remotely cute. Okay, so not all of those are likely (though which ones aren’t I won’t tell). Clue: my actual, real-life, non-Hollywood S.O. did, in fact, bump into Mark Ruffalo. So in terms of plausibility the Bruce Banner entry is pretty high up my list.

My point is, I exhaust all possible options of usability, imagined or otherwise, before I buy. Never mind that an LBD is a classic and every woman should own at least one. I think given my brain fart just now you already know that I love to shop and will find any excuse to justify a purchase. This blog was created for a reason – to cover up an alarming, debilitating vice.

Seriously though, any fashion girl at least scouts or “window shops” the latest trends and items, while a smart girl is always on the lookout for deals and irresistible, no-need-to-justify bargains. I’d like to think I’m both. And I’m guessing you are too.

But not all purchases are made in brick and mortar stores. Online shopping is even more seductive, and rightly so. It is so easy. I still remember when Zalora, an e-commerce company in the Philippines, launched a few years ago. I’ve ordered several times from them since. I also love shop online in the US and have it delivered to MI. Deliveries usually signal my imminent arrival, as I tend to arrive shortly after they do. I’m a sucker for discounts and clearances. Labor Day sales are my absolute favourite. There’s no shame in that.

Now, while I typically use credit cards to pay for items purchased internationally, I tend to shy away from doing the same in Manila. If there’s a Cash on Delivery option, I wouldn’t think twice about using that. I guess I just feel like the e-commerce biz here is relatively young compared to other countries and I’m paranoid about security. Smart Communications, my preferred network, partnered with PayMaya recently, which is a mobile payment app that gives subscribers a virtual prepaid MasterCard with the option to also get a physical card. So the idea is to load any amount to your card, reload whenever you want, have people who also have the app transfer money to you in a few digital clicks, and you have a MasterCard for perusal. I love it because it lessens the security risk by a mile, since there are no extra funds that can be conned into oblivion. People who typically have a hard time getting credit cards (or aren’t allowed to) like students, young ones, and people like the girl from Confessions of a Shopaholic who have serious swiping problems, will finally have an option to pay with some other mode of payment other than cash, especially online when cash payments aren’t an option. The collaboration with Smart is even better because it adds a whole other dimension to the slew of benefits already intrinsically cool about the app including a 10% discount on Smart prepaid loads and exclusive perks and discounts (wait for it). You can also pay bills, but that’s really not as exciting as this next bit of news.

Until December 31, 2016,  you can get PHP400 off any purchase to Zalora with the code SMARTPAY. Just plug that in upon checkout and it’ll feel a lot like Christmas. Get the app via the App Store or Google Play, get shopping, and magically get discounts off your purchases. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, after all. And I can’t think of a better way to imbibe good cheer than by getting gifts delivered straight to my door. Especially those handpicked by me, for me.

For more information on even more perks and exclusive treats, visit smart.com.ph/smartpaymaya.

All that Glisters is Not Gold

Because Shakespeare doth not know the power of accessories.

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It’s Sunday so let’s talk church.

I’ve always been amazed by mass-goers who are attentive throughout the whole celebration. A full hour of concentration is beyond me. I am not as saintly, pun intended. I zone out for most of the homily and am often lost in my own mercurial thoughts. A little girl, around seven or eight maybe, caught my eye at church recently. She had a toy with her, a lavender My Little Pony with a mane so ombre and glamorous it could rival the current fictional LGBT poster child. It’s mane not only had streaks of purple, violet, burgundy, and pink, it also had flecks of gold. It glistened every single time the little girl shifted. It was oddly hypnotic.

While watching this little girl clutch her pony tightly as she was falling asleep (at least the only extent of my boredom is an ungodly yawn, pun totally not intended), I remembered a famous line of William Shakespeare from the Merchant of Venice, “All that glisters is not gold.” I’m probably taking this entirely out of context but, no offense to Shakespeare, this doll not only glistened, it also obviously meant much to the child. Gold is, after all, variable. An old letter, an Instax photo, a puppy, or even a rare Gyarados catch in Pokemon Go can be gold to someone. But we’re not after figurative jewels here. I’m talking about literal shiny things. Literal shiny, gilded things.

Take jewelry, for instance. In most cases, gilded is good and sheen means value. I’ve always taken a minimalist approach to fashion that any form of trinket feels like a glamorous treat. Some jewel snobs would obviously not equate the precious metal with fast fashion options. They probably discriminate based on carat. Hell, they wouldn’t even equate white gold with its yellow counterpart. But to me it was never about whether or not the accessory is worth an arm and a leg or a mere cup of iced venti coffee. Affordable or with a hefty price tag, it adds another dimension to any look. Gilded, glistening accoutrements instantly send an amplified message of grandeur. Sometimes excess. Sometimes success. Accessories often reveal a nugget of information, accuracy notwithstanding, about the wearer. Take watches, for instance. People who wear watches generate instant respect especially if the timepiece comes in some shiny version of a metal. Call it watch bias if you like but in my head watches scream: job, stability, and an ascent up the corporate ladder. I don’t wear watches, by the way, so this isn’t to toot any employment horn.

What did seem like horn tooting, or at least implied a level of narcissism way past that of owning an eponymous website, was creating “art” with myself as the focal point. (Because really, having a site named after you is definitely not as easy to spurt out in conversation with people you just met and are trying to impress as one might otherwise be led to believe. It’s rather unnerving, actually.) What helped me look past my own omnipresent face was the fact that, to me, these Parfois accessories were gems, and that the photos needed to convey that somehow. (Which reminds me, if you haven’t read the post on my trip to the new Parfois concept store in Portugal yet, click here.) So I did what any Legally Blonde-raised, ultra femme millennial would do and slapped a whole slew of gold glitters in the photos. Full disclosure: I’m actually not Photoshop-savvy, which you could probably tell, so “slapping” was more like solving a 1,000-piece puzzle effort- and time-wise.

Trust that these new Parfois accessories– from the embroidered choker from the new Royal Eccentric collection, to the statement earrings, velvety textured bags, all the way down to the studded flats–made me feel a lot more glamorous than usual, even if my looks were fairly lackadaisical with a jeans and shirt combo (shirt also from Parfois) and a simple slip. That is the power of a good accessory– in this case, a bunch of them.

So yeah, all that glisters probably isn’t gold. But boy do I like ’em shiny, textured, gilded, embroidered, and glittering things.

Apparently so does that kid.

Blouse and accessories from PARFOIS