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 gobuy.com.ph (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, GOBUY.com.ph | Skirt, PENSHOPPE | Bag, GUCCI

MAC Is Beauty

Let’s talk makeup.

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Fashionphiles in the country are more beauty conscious than ever. While fashion trends are easy to commit to, sometimes purchasing makeup requires a little more justification. Clothes are affordable, used for a measly number of hours in a day and can be layered under mounds of fabric the moment you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable like bumping into someone with the exact same look. Loud trends and statement pieces are actually easily justified – an investment for going out, for parties or special dates. As rare as those occasions may be, there’s always that option of pushing garments to the back of your closet and dusting them off when needed.

Makeup on the other hand is a little trickier. It’s not everyday you get to wear orange lipstick or copper eyeliner (although I don’t see why not). Aside from the shelf life being pretty short, I think makeup can make girls as conscious as much as it can make them confident. An inappropriate beauty comment by an uninformed dude (it usually comes from them, no?) and a woman can spend the rest of the day in shame burying the made-up face she left the house feeling 100% confident in.

I personally love makeup. The feeling of popping open a new tube of lipstick is unparalleled. I spend late nights trying on new purchases and figuring out how best to use them. Aside from the shallow rush, I especially enjoy having an arsenal of hues and tools to use at my disposal when I need to impress, convince, play nice and sometimes even intimidate. Given that I wear black about 82% of the time, makeup is my first line of defense in self-expression and stepping out into this harsh, harsh world.

Makeup has been part of my life early on with me sneaking my nose in the contents of my mom’s kit. My curiosity was sated as I was allowed clear lipgloss and balms, and sometimes, a pop of blush growing up. Inevitably, after years of barely-there products, I fell in love with the boldest of colors post-puberty. Green eyeliner was my absolute favorite using it everyday in my last couple years in college.

Unfortunately, the line I liked was discontinued and I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect emeralds, teals and amethysts since. Finally, after years of beauty trials and, consequently, errors, I finally came across the perfect eyeliner selection.

MAC Philippines launched its MAC IS BEAUTY line yesterday at the Glorietta Activity Center and I kid you not when I say I’ve finally found my match – about 16 of them actually. The collection is a full range of cosmetics from 12 lipstick shades, 4 lip glass hues, powders, mascara, nail polish, pencil liners and my absolute new favorites the set of 16 fluid liners – colored gel liners in the rainbow hue of your dreams from teal all the way to glittery copper (see below). The event set design in a bubble gum shade of pink was but an Instagrammable bonus.

The collection does not shy away from color and offers a quick step to glamorize anyone who needs a little pick-me-up or a confidence boost. Power swipes are just as effective as power stances and a bold red lip is as captivating as a well-fitting pantsuit. Let’s stave off the nudes for now and embrace the bold and the beautiful within us. And if some jerk says otherwise, laugh it off and keep at it.

Remember: #MacIsBeauty and so are you.
MAC_IS_BEAUTY_beauty_72MAC_IS_BEAUTY_ambient_72mac-is-beauty-collection-6Special thanks to Shari and Raiza for the photos

Bali, Balesin

If I had a bed that overlooked the sea with actual waves to put me to sleep and not my Nature Sounds app, I think I’d be pretty much without want for the rest of my life.

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I’m trying real hard not to flood Instagram with photos of my recent trip to Balesin but such scenic snaps trump any form of willpower I have left. For your sake (mostly mine), I’ll try to limit the posts (and longing) per day but I forecast about another week of babbling about how amazing the trip was.

And truly, it was. From the company, to the activities, to the brand and its products I’ve gotten to know more and grown to love, to the little slice of paradise that Balesin is, it was, hands down, one of the best events I’ve ever attended. Shoutout to Nivea and ARC PR! Again, more babbling to follow when I finally have photos of our Amazing Race competition and decent documentation slash proof of how my team came in last. But I digress.

Let me kick off this Balesin style series with a dress I grabbed last minute that I realized I’ve fallen out of love with (that’s what you get for packing an hour before you leave for the airport: futile luggage contents.) The settings of the shots though are more than enough to justify just about any dress – loved or no longer wanted – so a full post on this wasn’t really contested. These photos were taken at a Water Villa in the Bali-themed nook of the island which is literally a villa atop water. If I had a bed that overlooked the sea with actual waves to put me to sleep and not my Nature Sounds app, I think I’d be pretty much without want for the rest of my life. The rest of the photos were taken at the Balesin spa. Though prices for an hour’s worth of massage are pretty steep, shooting is free and we made thorough use of the landscape. Like any decent blogger would do.

Oh, Nivea, thank you for giving me another reason to be grateful and another trip to dream about. I cannot wait to go back.

Taking you on my journey, via OOTDs of course, in the next few posts. Stay tuned!

Photos taken at Balesin at the Nivea Come Closer event 

Fashion Resolve

With the New Year comes a new personality and a new look.

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The New Year usually rings in a brand new personality  and I wanted to match it with a brand-spanking new chop. Although my haircut wasn’t necessarily driven by metaphorical associations like chopping off the bad along with inches of my dry hair, I feel like it’s a good fresh start.

So with a new cut and a fresh outlook I bring you a fresh outfit story featuring this top from Pink Manila. It was gifted to me very recently and it’s one of the many cute pieces you can snag at their store filled with, in my opinion, more affordable versions of the current trends in the market with prices jacked up at other retailers. The top is incredibly flattering with two buttons undone but it’s also equally chic to have it buttoned all the way up especially since my thighs are basically exposed.

I realized I made resolutions but none of them are fashion-relevant so I would like to come up with wardrobe reminders for the remaining 362 days of 2015. Here they go:

1. Be open to items, looks, colors and silhouettes I would’ve otherwise shunned. I think at a certain point we come to define our personal style and are unknowingly boxed by our own set parameters that we only move within the variants, brands and pieces we think are fitting. My style heroes are those who always come up with the unexpected so it’s time to try surprising myself as well.

2. Stop impulse buying. I think this is a tall order that’s been a resolution from time immemorial. Every time I impulse buy and shop too much I declare (audibly to an audience, mind you) that I will henceforth stop shopping the following year. And yet, I do. My willpower is questionable, really. But, at the very least, I would like to spend at least a couple days thinking about a piece and try not to walk into a store not really looking for anything and end up buying the first cute piece I see.

3. Purchase from local brands more. I know there are amazing local brands in retail and I really do my best to shop at those but sometimes, admittedly, it really is just cheaper to scour the likes of Forever 21. I know some people behind the brands and how hard they work, their hardships and their passion and I think I’d rather help fuel that than conglomerates who employ child labor. (Resolution 3.b is to be more conscious of which brands are actually enforcing terrible working conditions and forced labor and to stop supporting those brands.) On a different note, I would also like to introduce a new category in the blog that will feature my interviews and write-ups on certain brands and individuals so that you can also get to know them a bit more. 

4. Veer away from low-quality pieces that will look cute for a season and end up torn, tattered and sartorially useless the next. There are brands that really don’t think of quality and an uneven seam is just something I can no longer stand. I’d rather pay for basics that actually last more than a few rounds of being in the dryer.

5. Try to put a little more effort in dressing up. I kid you not when I tell you I have throw on dresses that I literally wear over and over mindlessly. This year, I do want to try to put more effort into looking like I tried. No more Birks for events, I guess.

Do you have sartorial resolutions? Share them with me. I might have to add more although taking mental note of resolutions is kind of difficult, no? But hey, it’s still January and I’m still all about change.

An Open Back

A dress fit for love united. Cheers to the newlyweds!

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A good friend of mine from college got married last week and I kind of cried. Ferdie’s the first from our group to get married and we’re all just really happy for him. But before we (I mean I) get cheesy, I’ll steer you in the sartorial direction and share what I wore to the event. This dress was a last minute change as the dress I was supposed to wear wouldn’t close. (Debunking blogger myth #5,467 that all us bloggers are a size 2. My dress has proven otherwise.) I ended up wearing my Teena Sabrina dress, a favorite of mine since I wore it in Vietnam last May. I’ll probably try to steer clear of black and all things backless for the next nuptial but I kind of like how this debuted minus the hiding from the priest part.

Catholic weddings are pretty rigid when it comes to the romance element but it was full of love nonetheless. So happy to have witnessed this with amazing people. Cheers to Ferdie and Sasa!

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Giving Pieces A Shot

Joined the bandwagon, unintentionally. Blogged about it, intentionally.

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It’s interesting how there are certain things you never thought you’d wear but when forced unto you (mostly via a stylist as I honestly don’t know who nor how else people can force clothes and accessories on you), you realize that they deserve a shot.

This look was styled by two of my favorite girls Nico Aquino and Potch Yambao aka the Girls of Nima for the Ann Marie lookbook shoot we did a couple months back. Never really considered donning a floppy hat prior to this especially since everyone seems to be wearing one nowadays. (I just bought a hunter hat so that’s my way of swimming in a different direction.)

But, the point of this post (if there is a point to all this rambling) is that certain pieces we overlook or flat-out shun should maybe be given at least one try. So, if you’re averse to prints/blacks/pants/heels/flats/etc., maybe you should take one quick go at it before deciding you don’t like it. You might.

Let’s both be more reasonable than “everyone is wearing it therefore it’s not for me.” Gave the floppy hat and lacy, crochet shorts a go. I like it enough to blog it, but now that I’ve tried it, I’ll probably retreat to my old favorites. Old habits die hard and old aversions are not easily overcome.

Still, I conquered something new and that’s totally bloggable.

Clothes by ANN MARIE 

Photos by BER GARCIA 

Skirting The Issue

Wearing my new Eunice Sason skirt just about everywhere – including a favorite taco joint.

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Have you ever worn outfits that don’t let you eat? Maybe belly-baring pieces or those cinched at the waist. Or maybe you’ve thrown your jacket over your shoulders instead of actually wearing them allowing for very limited arm movement that does not include pushing one’s fork to one’s mouth. I bet we all have. But there’s nothing I like more than clothes that allow unrestricted pig-out sessions.

What I wore to eat some tacos and a sizzling platter of sisig definitely gave ample tummy room but that’s not why I wore it and not how I’ll continue to describe the look. Although honestly any piece that I can comfortably take anywhere (especially my favorite taco joint) is a keeper in my closet. I’m continuing my #InstaxStyleSeries – a new series I’m doing to change the humdrum of normal and trite OOTD posts – featuring this skirt by designer Eunice Sason. It deceptively looks like denim but is actually really soft and roomy. It’s circular but with higher side hems that not only show off a little leg but also equate for an interesting detail.

Eunice also has these leather collared chiffon crop tops that I probably should’ve gotten and worn with this skirt but regrettably didn’t. You still can though here. There are also some cool short suits up for grabs in her Pre-Holiday ’14 collection so you best be clicking.

Probably going to wear this skirt in 20 more different permutations so don’t call me out on it. Some pieces are made for just that – repeating.

Cropped Sweater, PROUDRACE | Skirt, EUNICE SASON (Facebook:Facebook.com/EuniceSasonCollections Instagram: @eunicesasonclothingph) | Sandals, BIRKENSTOCK | Bag, Louis Vuitton | Sunglasses, FLY SHADES 

Rainy Day Fashion

Rainy days always leave me inappropriately dressed. Not today, not today.

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Rainy days always leave me inappropriately dressed. Or maybe more of immensely uncomfortable and sometimes immobile. Puddles of water are fought with the supposed grace of a ballerina but I fall short every time and succumb to its splashes instead. (Should’ve taken ballet seriously back when I was five.) Even worse are the actual thick and constant raindrops that seem to find its way to the very middle of my head and down to the laptop in my always open tote. Unwise, I agree, but somehow I always feel like my gentle hug is enough to envelope what shouldn’t get wet. Again, I’m proven wrong.

This time though, armed with new shoes from Native, I got over my faux-ballet jumps (and consequent fails.) I didn’t necessarily mean to wear it out in bad weather, bad weather just so happened to descend upon us. Still, I was worry-free with no fear of suede getting wet or other materials getting damaged.

Wore a tunic for a lazy day that proved to be comfortable though otherwise cold come precipitation. Interestingly, it was Hawaiian inspired and didn’t necessarily match the weather but reminders of sunnier days are always welcome. I did have a jacket that I grabbed on the way out the door that wasn’t photographed because it made no sense outfit-wise other than it was practical.

You see, we bloggers (or hey, maybe it’s just me), also look uncoordinated sometimes. I’ll leave you with that.

Shirt, UNIQLO | Sneakers, NATIVE SHOES | Bag, LOUIS VUITTON

This post is in collaboration with Native Shoes. You may purchase their pairs at Native Kiosk Trinoma & Robinsons Manila, Bratpack Greenbelt 5, Res | Toe | Run doors, Shoe Salon, ROX BHS, Rustan’s Makati & ATC and online via www.pormada.com

Sea-Horsing Around

Because sea creatures on anything are enough to make you think twice. Or not think. Either way, with sea creatures, you win.

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sperry-watches-alyssa-lapid5I think I’ve snubbed a lot of watch brands throughout the years because I’ve found little things about myself I nitpick. One in particular being my extra-tiny wrists – which to be honest are so disproportional to the rest of my body and so deceiving of both my actual food intake and corresponding waist line. Don’t be fooled, there’s a lot of inhaling involved to get a semi-decent photo. Although why I keep wearing midriff-baring tops is something I don’t understand myself. Maybe the confidence fools people. Skin is cunning that way.

You know, I’ve always self-diagnosed myself, be it medical or something completely rooted in the subjective. For instance, I mandated that my wrists can only be adorned by thin, dainty, bracelet-like watches so chunky timepieces were always out of the question. I even hesitated to attend the Sperry Topsider’s launch of timepieces mostly because I didn’t think I’d find anything I actually liked or, more importantly, that would suit my tiny frames.

But certain things are my drugs and sea creatures top the list of my weaknesses. A little seahorse graced the face of one of the new watches and I was smitten. Smitten enough to wear it ceaselessly even at home, trying to gauge if, in fact, my wrist can bear something as big. And, if one asks one’s mom, one will almost always get a positive, oftentimes exaggerated, nudge in the right direction. So, like the obedient daughter that I am, I took her “it suits you!” to heart.

If you also have small wrists, I say give thick watches a go, preferably those with seahorses to always rebut your argument that said timepiece is masculine. Because admit it, that enters your head too.

Or better yet, ask your mother if it looks good on you. Now, that always works.

Top, ASOS | Skirt, GLORIA VANDERBILT by MURJANI | Sandals, BIRKENSTOCK | Watch, SPERRY TOPSIDER 

Sperry Topsider watches are now available at the SM Accessories department of any SM Department Store nationwide*

In the Kitchen: Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Because, domestication. Also, chocolate.

When I was younger, the kitchen used to be child’s play, literally. I had cooking lessons throughout high school and I used to bake back in grade school so the kitchen served as an extension of my play room.

You name it, I probably made it. My kitchen experiments (and lesson plans) encompassed cakes, jams and jelly, longganisa (though solely in school), even bagoong! There was a particular French soup – Vichyssoise – that I considered my specialty made of puréed potatoes with cream, traditionally served cold but Alyssa-served hot.

Now that I’m older I rarely ever visit the kitchen – except when rummaging the pantry and ref for anything available for throwing in my mouth. With a lack of edible things to grab – I decided to attempt to make something and dug through photographs to remember recipes I was once bequeathed with. Although I don’t have any of the necessary ingredients to make this particular dessert, I decided to blog it instead in the hope that sharing the recipe with you would in turn result to you sharing the products with me. So here’s a quick recipe of a favorite of mine: chocolate covered strawberries. Here’s to hoping they magically land on my lap via your kitchen (and that my cousin, owner of this recipe, never sees this post lest she stop sharing her kitchen secrets.)

chocolate-covered-strawberries-recipe3Step 1: Gather your ingredients. The chocolate is interchangeable depending on your preference.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Milk chocolate chunks/chips (as base)
  3. White & dark chocolate chunks/chips (for drizzling)

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Step 2: Melt the milk chocolate chips in a bowl for dipping. Set microwave temperature to low and check every 20 seconds stirring the chocolate after each 20 second interval. Make sure all the chips are completely melted. Once done, hand dip each washed strawberry just until under the stem. Place dipped strawberry on a baking pan lined with waxed paper. (I tried it once without and the chocolate stuck to the pan leaving my gorgeous strawberries blotched.) Refrigerate strawberries.

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Step 3: This is the part I personally find tricky. What we did was place the dark and white chocolate chips in a squeeze bottle each. Then we placed each bottle (make sure it’s microwavable) in the microwave at low temperature for about 10-15 seconds each interval. My cousin, I think mostly because she makes this often, just kind of squeezed the bottle at each interval to mix the chocolate and make sure all the chips are melting. Repeat until completely melted. Make sure you use a glove as the bottle gets really hot. Using the squeeze bottle, drizzle over the strawberries in a zigzag manner (or whichever artistic direction you deem fit.) Repeat with the white chocolate squeeze bottle. Refrigerate for a few minutes.

Step 4: Enjoy! (Although this should’ve gone without saying. I just wanted cheesy, cliché emphasis.)

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So, anyone wanna send me some?

reblogged from wecreativenatives.com