There’s A New Girl in Town | Ever New

We have a new store to go to.


I was an early bird
A rack of bodysuits


Vina, Tracy, Aisa, myself and Tina


Thanks to my lack of imagination (or just the impeccable styling skills or Ever New’s Visual Merchandiser) I bought the exact look on the left.

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Legitimately wanted to (also) snag the bolero and satin red clutch
With Melissa and Mona
Ah, and the obligatory blogger photo

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I still distinctly remember the party rush. Whether it’s a birthday (my own, for the most part), the holidays, or random big events I’ve had to attend, they almost always usually entailed frantically searching store after store for the perfect dress (or dresses on those years I felt like a social butterfly). And like a true girl scout, I’ve always had a fail-safe routine. I’d shop in the middle of the year at stores that offer insane discounts (yes, clearance too) to have a bunch of dresses ready for the rest of my fiscal (slash sartorial) year. Most of the time this preparedness served me well. Still, there’d be a few surprises here and there that almost always resulted in hysteria.

For instance, just this June I bought three long gowns for a myriad of weddings I was supposed to attend. Of course, I missed all of them. Leave it up to me to miss big events because of last minute flight changes. So now I have three beautiful spare dresses sitting in my closet waiting to be used. As luck would so devilishly have it, the one wedding I am going to be able to attend this year has a dress code so particular I am again at a loss for what to wear – the dresses at my disposal rendered useless and untouched.

Since said wedding is in two weeks, and an impending flight even closer, I have really had to strategize the trip and its subsequent garments. (I’m in desperate need of warm, heat-inducing clothes, but that’s a different story). In times of sartorial despair, I look to trusted institutions that, time and again, deliver. One of these is Ever New.

Ever New has always been one of those stores I used to gloss over mentally taking note of the items I’d buy should any fancy occasion invite come my way. The Australian brand has always been a go-to for parties with their selection of luxe fabrics and fancier silhouettes. I was extremely in luck that Ever New was launching another branch in SM Aura and was throwing a launch party for some guests just in time for my upcoming fancy event. I came in ready to look at dresses and actually stormed straight to the party rack but, instead, was kind of blindsided by the rest of the selection. What I saw was a new and improved Ever New. While the brand used to be geared towards outfits for special occasions, the brand has now perfectly melded trendy pieces in its collection now offering bodysuits, denims, and – wait for it – sneakers! Even the dressier pieces are updated with modern silhouettes and cuts. Think: less prom, more Gigi Hadid hosting the AMAs.

Everybody – bloggers, media, friends of the brand – was bonding over the clothes. At one point the line to the dressing room got extremely long. Good thing I was there early and got to monopolize the dressing room and take my sweet time which was great because I’m a really slow shopper. It doesn’t help that I’m a Gemini and the deciding alone doubles the shopping time. My personal favorites were the bodysuits, the satin clutches, the pink mules, the embroidered boleros (which I would’ve gotten had I not been so drawn to about twenty-thousand other things), and the gold pleated skirt, which thankfully I did end up leaving with. I kid you not, by the end of the day stocks were running low. That skirt was a hit, I’m glad I snagged my size before others did. My competitiveness comes in handy in the smallest (but most relevant) of ways.

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

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 

A Trip To Parfois Lisbon

Because somehow I ended up in Portugal and went on a quick trip to Parfois.


It’s been six years since my first ever blog entry and I’d like to think a lot has changed since – my style (I still cringe remembering old outfits so bless you, guys, for sticking with me), the posts, and myself. Careers have shifted so many times it’s dizzying to think about and even more confusing to relay to a person asking for small talk’s sake, goals have morphed that even I can’t keep up, as well as tastes. What hasn’t changed is my desire to be open and honest with you. That honesty comes in the form of the occasional secret, spilling childhood memories I hold dear that I only talk about here, and, on a blogger-level, only featuring brands I truly believe in so much so that I’ve become unbelievably nitpicky about who and what I publish. Six years later and that still holds true.

The first brand I ever worked with was Parfois which was solely an accessories label then. And I’ll tell you exactly how it went down. When I started blogging, I didn’t know much about fashion. I didn’t know anybody from the industry – brand, PR, designer, or media. I really just blogged to keep sane (‘coz the traditional corporate set-up was unbelievably maddening). As a neophyte, it is never easy to start working with brands and build credibility. #feedgoals was not a thing back then. One shopping day, in the thick of the excess-orizing trend, I walked up to a store that caught my eye just a couple of months after it launched in the Philippines and completely fell in love with the brand. So I bought myself a tote (maybe more, impulse buying is also unfortunately something that hasn’t changed since time immemorial) and decided that I wanted to feature the brand here. I mustered courage and asked for marketing’s contact details which the sales ladies warily gave, called them up, introduced my fledgling site, and asked for permission to take photos in store and with any luck interview someone about the brand’s story. It was the first time I did that, I just genuinely wanted to share a brand that I truly liked. To my surprise, they agreed to both the shoot and the interview and it was great.

No, I did not receive free stuff nor was I expecting to. Contrary to popular belief: bloggers don’t always post because they’re paid or #spon. Anyway, I posted rather quickly, thanked them profusely, and that was that.

Until I got an email. I got a thank-you note that mentioned that the brand’s principals in Portugal particularly appreciated the blog post. (One thing to note about this brand is that the head office in Portugal is very hands-on, until now.) It also came with an invitation for me to style their shoppers at an event. This was in 2011 when this virtually did not happen. I was ecstatic. I won’t share the poster here because the 2011 version of me wasn’t even remotely stylish. I do believe I was the first blogger they ever worked with in Manila. I even met the principal from Portugal when he visited. It was a cool experience for anybody, especially a neophyte.

Five years later, despite the many transformations I’ve undergone as a person and as a style “curator”, Parfois is still a brand I admire. I kid you not when I say that other bloggers feel the same way – when Parfois calls, we come. Simple as that.

I saw Parfois in August at an event of theirs, which was phenomenal and completely deserving of its own post. I happened to mention that I was going to Europe for a bit to study in Oxford (which also deserves its own post, I am drowning in backlogs). The brand manager lit up and said if I ever ended up in Portugal, I should go to the head office. I shrugged and wrote it off as wishful thinking.

Somehow, by some twist of fate I did end up in Portugal. Despite everything being rushed and me spending barely half a day in Lisbon, Parfois Portugal went above and beyond to accommodate me. They arranged for someone to pick me up (with luggage and mother in tow) and tour me around the new concept store in the Colombo Commercial Centre.


Here’s what you need to know: apparel isn’t available in Manila yet so imagine how ridiculous I looked grinning from ear to ear at the prospect of finally getting my hands on their clothes. There were velvet rompers, knitted kimonos, jersey jumpsuits, metallic skirts, flouncy tops, monochromatic sets, and so much more- really the perfect wardrobe to go with the dream accessory collection that is their entire store. The new store also had TVs that featured their events and lookbooks- a definite level-up  and I spent a couple of hours there just going around in circles, covering all possible bases before heading to the airport.

It’s absolutely mental that I’ve come full circle meeting the brand in Portugal. This was honestly something I would’ve never imagined when I first met the brand in my early blogging days. The magic of blogging still creeps up on me sometimes.

Needless to say, I shopped. A lot. An editorial will obviously follow. ‘Til then, do stalk them and visit the store sometime. Six years of brand loyalty must mean something. It really is worth a trip to the store. I’m willing to bet that the glean I get in my eye is a universal Parfois-shopper experience.


My favorite collection: Royal Eccentric

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Thank you so much to Ines for taking the time to tour me around and for all the help. You were absolutely wonderful to both my mom and I, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you. Thank you to Catarina for being so kind and generous in arranging everything despite it being so rushed. And, finally, thank you to Michelle, who I met 6 years ago and who has also grown with the brand. The trip would’ve never happened without you! You know I’m a Parfois girl through and through. 


Around the House

There is something (good) to be said about domestication.


There’s something to be said about domestication. Sexist depictions of women hanging out in the kitchen and making sandwiches aside, there’s a certain appeal in knowing your way around the house. This side of the world (I’m back in Asia, btw), it’s not always a given. We’re almost expected to be dependent household-wise and any allusions to wanting to break free of the nest is scoffed at and immediately dismissed as disrespectful. But I’ve always admired—and respected—those who can work a washing machine, know how to clean nooks and crannies, make coffee, and just fend for one’s self without having to rely on microwavable mac and cheese on a daily humdrum basis (at which point I’m still at). In my defense, I used to be able to cook all sorts of things I just haven’t done it in a really long while.

Independence. That’s the implicit quality that domestication conveys. (K, maybe the implication isn’t that subtle.)

Now, in asserting how independent I am to people, I have rebutted that independence comes in different forms. (Though the fact that I had to vehemently defend just how independent I am maybe speaks for my falling short of it). Independence could be measured financially, I said. It could also be in terms of working on one’s own without having to constantly rely on other people for help. It could also mean singularity of mind and being able to make decisions by- and for- oneself. A lot of times I don’t throw domestication in the rebuttal mix because it’s an area I’m not necessarily adept at. There is shame in that, to be honest, but you and I are much closer than we both thought possible and you, dear reader, deserve to know the truth.

But that should change. I always thought moving to New York would be the truest testament of my independence—a rebellious, dramatic proclamation of what I thought independence should look like. Obviously, I haven’t moved yet. We’re still holding on to that dream despite the fear of failure which, trust me, gives me anxiety now and then.

In the meantime, I’m trying to remember just how many containers of detergent I have to put per wash cycle, how much oil to pour in a pan to make my favorite pasta and to not hunch my back so much when washing dishes because #lowerbackpains are real. I can’t delay growing up just because I’m delaying a life change out of fear. And that’s the truth. I don’t know how my nieces in Michigan are so much more capable of running a household than I am with a full ten-year advantage. Shame, shame. Maybe posing with the washing machine is stretching it a bit but I’m trying to prove a point and that is that domestication is just as admirable as the living-the-life posts on Instagram with matching breakfast buffet spreads: hashtag, hotel life.

I can make chocolate covered strawberries though so I’m still winning in life? Kind of?

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Look 1: Denim halter dress, GAP | Eyeglasses, SWAROVSKI

Look 2: Tan ribbed top, PACSUN | Yellow pants, THE LIMITED

Look 3: Striped dress, ASOS | Boots, 3.1 PHILLIP LIM 

Into The Woods

I’m turning into Pocahontas and I ain’t mad at it.

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The woods have always reminded me of certain scenes in my childhood. Running around the forest (looking for the puppy I mistakenly let out), hiding behind trees waiting for deer to show up, and walking along trails trying to identify fruits and mushrooms (even if I could never tell which were edible and which weren’t) are some of my fondest memories in the woods. Now when I do see a barrage of trees I feel an emotional connection somehow but since I’m out of outdoor-practice, I immediately scour the place for snakes. Not that I can actually tell if there are snakes by a mere stare but, you know, it feels reassuring to check.

I bumped into this (I wanna say marsh but it’s really not) empty lot with a bunch of trees and fallen leaves that made it look like autumn and immediately knew I wanted to take photos there. Tippi was thinking the same thing apparently so we both giddily parked haphazardly to take photos in a place that was obviously intended to be left alone.

I’m happy we took our chance. Currently enjoying my 4th of July weekend but this trip so far is turning me into a real-life Pocahontas. I literally just looked at a groundhog’s hole a few hours ago. Maybe this shoot was a foreshadowing. Pretty accurate, no?

Photos by Tippi Sy


Dog Days

Happiness hit her like a train on a track.

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There’s much room for interpretation re: dog days. What comes to mind is Florence and the Machine’s upbeat song (that may be about abuse?), days of sluggishness acco. to google, and, on a more personal note, my days with my actual dogs who I remember every time I see this shirt.

I never thought I’d like pets until I had them. I had a poodle when I was a baby but she was a barker and that didn’t sit well with me as a two-year old. She unfortunately died viciously and the gory and frightening memory is forever imprinted in my head.

It was only ’til recently (about 3-4 years ago) that puppies re-entered my life. Now I have four. I’ll be the canine equivalent of a stereotypical old maid/cat lady in no time. I chanced upon this lone shirt at the clearance rack of Penshoppe and knew I had to have it. Though my puppies are actually all shih tzus, the way this cute little embroidered nugget tilts his head reminds me so much of my own little munchkins.

Whatever pieces remind you of, I think it’s special when an item of clothing can so easily bring back precious moments or even favorite tunes. So until I can embroider my own puppies’ faces on shirts, I’ll be wearing this shirt to constantly remind me of how magical they are (by merely existing) and how happy I am to have four pawed-midgets in my life.

I can’t wait to cuddle them when I get back home.

Photography by KARLO TORIO

Shirt, PENSHOPPE | Skirt, ZARA | Bucket hat, VANGUARD from PACSUN 

Meet The Robinson

Trust me, it’s a keeper.


Exhibit A: Yesterday my mom (lovingly) called me a shopaholic. And for good measure. In my defense, I was helping her find a purse and, mind you, her directions were confusing. Other than this occasion when I was being charitable sharing my expertise and unrivaled patience in scrolling pages and websites on end for vaguely similar looking items only to be dejected at every potential offer, I can probably be deemed as such. I do it for myself every so often- most of the time ending with an empty cart but the thrill of the search is real.

Exhibit B: I texted my S.O. at 3 in the morning saying “I think I overbid on eBay.” Granted, it was my first discovery of the site and Sophia Bush just dumped around 1,500 amazing items for charity so I was a little bid-happy. Now I’m kinda hoping that someone greedier than myself would outbid me on some of the pieces. We’ll see in 5d 7h and counting.

Point is, I do know my websites and my sales and I get a rush when opening beautifully packaged items and stripping tape off boxes. It’s fun. So just imagine my delight when I got the new Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Mini Satchel in the mail. Of course I took to Snapchat but my joy was much more tactile to those around me IRL. I got it in Manila, took it to roam around the city, and then flew it cross-atlantic to the other side of the world to accompany me back home. When I was choosing which bags to bring stateside, the Robinson was an easy choice.

The bag, named after Tory’s parents, Buddy and Reva Robinson, is a compact yet roomy purse that can be worn as a sling (not pictured) or lugged around as a cute little satchel. Its leather is soft and textured and the bag has two secret pockets perfect for throwing in short-lived trinkets like parking tickets and change- an added bonus in my book. We all know rummaging through a purse for tiny items mindlessly thrown in is an exercise in itself. The bag comes in other colors too (see below) like the Riviera Blue, Sunbeam (a soft buttery yellow, my second favorite), Tiger’s Eye (brown), and Poppy Red.

I’m a sucker for bags. I always try to rationalize my love for them (and for buying them) but I always end up logically rebutting my own self that I have but one body. How many handbags can I really carry/own in one lifetime. (Full disclosure: the answer to the former is miniscule compared to the unparalleled potential of the latter. Oh, to own hundreds of bags! And shoes! That’s the dream, no?)

If your fashion/closet dreams are even remotely close to mine, this buy is a good place to start. You’ll be a hoarder (in the hundreds of items) in no time.


Grab your own Robinson bag here (p.s. it’s on sale).

For Manila readers, visit Tory Burch in Greenbelt 5.  


Outdoor Products + A Backpack Giveaway

Making new memories with backpacks while proactively erasing all high school-related ones.


I think I’ve sworn off all things that remind me of high school. Including old friends. Kidding! Seriously though, it was a phase I gladly bid sayonara to with it’s big binders, uniforms, rule against having nails long (blame CAT), a block system, etc. Backpacks were one of them. I mean, they were extremely functional, and, in retrospect, kind of cool with that one strap dangling from your dominant/toned shoulder look, but backpacks felt so…young to me. And I guess the horrors of having to bring every single textbook on a daily basis left lasting scars.

Interestingly, I have grown past that fear of looking young. I just turned 26 a few days ago and now that I’m finally in my late twenties (HA), I welcome all age-misleading components of my look that could potentially shed years off me. So shiny lip gloss a la high school, check. High ponytails, check. Jumpers, check. Backpacks are just my latest addition to that roster of items alluding to the fountain of youth – my holy grail. Just kidding, my holy grail is actually a list of restaurants/dishes but you get the picture!

I’ve discovered that it’s not just any backpack that I like though. I came across Outdoor backpacks with a couple friends and I fell in love with both the designs and the functionality. Full disclosure: I recently trekked up a mountain with a little rafia sling purse with barely any closure. Never doing that again, thank you. After that, I realized that while backpacks initially gave me certain unwarranted throwbacks, they are suited to my current lifestyle as a travel magazine editor. It makes absolute sense for me to lug a backpack around instead of annoying (but pretty) bags to our cover shoots and out-of-town trips especially when they involve any ascent or descent (up a mountain, down a cave, etc.). Trust me on this one. I learned the hard way.


So let me introduce my new Outdoor bag which I love because it seems to demand being outdoorsy with its sandy hue (like a desert) but at the same time is extremely functional. It has a laptop sleeve inside which is Godsend, and a few more sleeves for little things like cords, phones or even gameboys (which is exactly what I fit in it in my trip to Michigan).

Yes, I’m currently home in MI and I can’t wait to spend time with my family. Don’t hate me yet for leaving Manila and having my stress levels reduced by half. I do have a surprise for you with probably the easiest giveaway I’ve thrown so far. I know you guys also love to travel and explore so here’s your chance to win your own Outdoor backpack by joining my contest. Outdoor is giving away one backpack EVERY week for the next 8 weeks so get posting!

  1. Take a photo with your group of friends. Any travel/lifestyle shot will do – at the beach, in a coffee shop, in a mall, or wherever you guys hang out! (note: no need to have a backpack, any group shot of your friends doing whatever is fine!)
  2. Post your photo on Instagram (make sure your account is public!) and don’t forget to follow and tag both @outdoorproductsPH and @alyssalapid.
  3. Use the hashtags #PackForLife and #alyssalapidXoutdoorproducts
  4. The photo contest will run for 8 weeks with one winner per week chosen by Outdoor.
  5. You can post as many photos as you like for more chances of winning! And each week is a clean slate so keep joining (it’s just like posting a groufie anyway!) to win!

Good luck, explorers! I hope you’re one of the 8 winners! There’s something about this brand that makes you pack up and go. And that’s definitely a good thing.


Lean Like A Chola

Leaning like a chola, sartorially.

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In the spirit of my chola reference (which is derivative of Down’s Lean Like a Cholo), I want to begin this post in Spanish and say, ¡hola! Mi chicas! Of course, with the limited phrases I actually can say, let’s keep the Spanish to the pleasantries and just stick to English.

Sob story: my friends have all but left me in Manila. College friends have flown to different continents since 8 years ago and post-college friends have gone to New York to pursue their passions leaving me high and dry. Interestingly – and I do not say this as a brag – whenever my college friends would show photos of us friends, their worldly colleagues (i.e., international) would assume I’m Latina. Not sure if the case remains the same but maybe my long curly locks of old made a huge impact on my perceived ethnicity. Never mind that they were off-base, those comments would always get me excited. Latinas are gorgeous. They’ve dominated Ms. Universe for most of the pageant’s lifetime (except for this year, everybody knows Ms. Philippines killed it.) They have the fieriest personalities- at least from their portrayals. And they have such a beautiful sense of style with the boldest of colors, the frilliest of ruffles all the while keeping the sexiest of silhouettes without having to wear latex bodycon. And while I don’t consider myself even remotely in their league, I could, from time to time, reference them sartorially.

If this off-shoulder top from (which, by the way, is a great site for affordable thrills) isn’t giving you the Latina vibe, then maybe the red bandana turned topknot headband would do the trick. At least that’s what I’d like to think.

Let’s hope I did it justice somehow.

Top, | Skirt, PENSHOPPE | Bag, GUCCI