What Does Your Shirt Say?

click for a super short t-shirt confession.

I’m a fashion blogger and I like t-shirts. That’s really all there is to it.

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P.s., Shortest post EVER.

p.p.s., The shirt you don says a lot about you. From mine you could infer that I either like magazines OR that I work for a magazine, which is more accurate. I’ve also had shirts in French I didn’t understand. They were apparently lewd. Don’t make that same mistake. Read your shirt’s copy.

p.p.p.s., Hey this wasn’t so short after all.

Shirt, MANGO | Boots, ALEXANDER WANG | Hat, PROUDRACE 

Smart Shopping & Going Sale Crazy

Let’s talk about great deals that translate to better wardrobes and better surf-time.

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When you pass by a store that has an insane Buy 1 Get 3 free promo, you check it out at the very least. If you pass by Pacsun, one of your favorite stores, with that kind of promo, you develop a quick strategy (collect then select – genius, I know) and scour the place for every last item. I won’t disclose just how many pieces I ended up getting (keep in mind I went to the store thrice in a span of a couple weeks).

The store is basically an LA girl’s haven meshed with pieces for everyone’s inner boho. Racks upon racks of bell-bottom pants, frills, and an amazing collab with boho queen Erin Wasson herself (and a couple with the Jenners too which turned out really well that I got a bunch). Both the top and bottom in this outfit are from LA Hearts, one of the brands that Pacsun carries alongside House of Harlow, Me To We, Brandy Melville and more.

Been a little too street for a while now with too many monochromes in my closet that it was a freeing change to be able to grab bohemian pieces and re-introduce them to my wardrobe. I shopped at Free People too for even more bohemian dresses that I’m excited to abuse. These pants are a bit long for my 5’2″ frame but they’re the comfiest suede-like pair. Alterations are not a problem and a good shopping secret is if you find something you really like that can be easily altered, just go for it. Especially when it comes with a close to nothing price tag (literally, remember the promo?)

Speaking of promos, here’s one I wanted to share with you guys. My network, Smart, has done it again with a new Big Bytes 50 offer for just Php50 for 3 days with 350MB open access data and 600MB for iFlix, Spinnr and Fox for my best surfing experience so far. Streaming your favorite shows and movies (e.g., House of Cards and Mean Girls), songs (whether your #TeamTaylor or #TeamKaty) and more is now easier and more affordable and is definitely not to be missed – just Dial *121# and text BIG50 to 9999 to avail of the promo.

I’m a pretty practical person. I choose where I spend and make sure to only invest in the ones that give amazing value for money. This is it. The permutations of what you could do are endless like surfing + Snapchat or shopping online and then Insta-sharing your purchased OOTD. So happy streaming AND happy shopping.

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

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.

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.

The Year That Was

It’s that time of the year again when we get to take a good look at the have-beens, should’ve beens, could’ve beens.

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It’s that time of the year again when we get to take a good look at the have-beens, should’ve beens, could’ve beens and get real with ourselves about the direction (or lack thereof) our lives are taking. It’s also the time to declare resolutions of what we need to change and start doing moving forward.

I have always loved the idea of the new year. A fresh start that can be taken independent from the past X years of your life. A blank page to finally be able to write whatever grand story it is you had in mind. And a clean slate devoid of regret, ill feelings and doubt if you so choose to let them go.

I started my blog a long time ago with a different name and a different me. It was called Mon Beau Monde or My Beautiful World because it was meant to be a diary of how I saw my little nook of life and I chose to see it as a magnificent space and blessing. Maybe somewhere along the way I stopped seeing things as beautiful and magnificent and the world a little crippling but I like being able to look back now and see how my life has progressed since.

I thought the past year has been uninteresting but I realized I’ve done a lot of amazing things, gone on amazing trips and have dealt with different kinds of obstacles thrown my way. In terms of actually seeing the world, I have been blessed to have gone to Europe (Germany, France and Italy), Guam and Vietnam for the very first time. I’ve also been able to see more of the Philippines the past year with trips to Boracay, Cebu and Bacolod. I guess in terms of work I’ve been able to work with a lot more people and brands, blessings I will always treasure. I’ve also tried my hand at different things like writing for print and being published for the first time which has always been a dream of mine. (Thank you, Style Weekend for the trust.) I met so many wonderful people and have realized through the year the ones I ought to keep. It sounds terrible, I know, but I’ve also learned to weed out the bad seeds despite it being difficult sometimes. The people I have in my life are such blessings and I want to keep my circle that way – one of love, trust and support.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it here because despite me oversharing embarrassing  memories and childhood stories, I do like to keep things light. But right before I started my blog about 4 years ago, a really close family member passed and it’s been kind of difficult to get past that. To cope, we’ve been spending Christmas and New Year’s elsewhere, mostly back home in Michigan but celebrations there haven’t been so festive the past few years either. Last year I was blessed to have been able to spend Christmas in Bethlehem and end the year on a beautiful, spiritual note. And this year is even better because we’re finally in the Christmas spirit again complete with buying decor and decorating, playing Christmas music (including my non-stop singing of Do You Hear What I Hear), and just being excited again for the holidays. I think it’s such a big and important step and I’m very happy that we’re at this place now.

I hope your year has been filled with steps forward and the resilience of spirit to power through despite whatever it is life has thrown at you. I’ve very recently been reminded of how short life is and I hope that all of you are blessed this year with the grace to follow your happiness, wherever it may lie. Love, light, hope and an endless stream of positivity for all of you. May your 2015 be so much better than the past years of your life.

Thank you so much, dear readers, for being such a huge part of my life. This blog has been so therapeutic and such a positive force on my life and it wouldn’t exist without all of you. Let’s continue to have an ongoing dialogue this coming year. I love nothing more than hearing what you have to say and knowing that something resonates with you, on any level. To those I’ve met, via Bloggers United, via Twitter or Instagram, thank you. Please know I really do appreciate each one of you.

And to end this post on a good note, here are some resolutions of mine this coming year. Share yours? Are resolutions still a thing?

My Resolutions

1. Start waking up early. And sleeping early. And doing whatever it takes to get that done. (Like popping an allergy pill. Kids, don’t try this at home.)

2. Start living a healthy lifestyle. Even if Chia Seeds are somewhat pretentious and really expensive.

3. Saying what I mean and meaning what I say. This is usually done but I want to reinforce it especially when it comes to work. If it’s a No in my mind, it should be a No out my mouth.

4. Weeding out the negative people in my life. Again, this has been done rather effectively the past year. But I need to stop being affected by those I’ve already cut off. It’s hard to see your friendship fall apart especially knowing you’re letting it, but sometimes, people that affect your life negatively need to be let go.

5. Be on time. Or early, whenever possible. I am always late. Maybe it’s because growing up I’ve learned the hard way that call times are never what they are. This notion has been severely and constantly reinforced by fashion events that never start on time (mostly after an hour or two of waiting.) It’s stressful constantly looking at the time while I drive and I don’t need to be even more on edge than I already am.

6. Be better and do better at whatever task is at hand. Especially when it comes to work.

7. Keep learning. Youtube videos, looks like we’ll be spending a lot of time together. For those who want to take free online courses, I recommend Coursera.org.

8. Take bigger risks. High risk, high rewards they say. I need to not be crippled by a fear of failing that I am rendered immobile and stagnant.

9. Go out of the house and socialize a little more. Even if it’s just an added night each month.

10. Exercise. Do yoga? Wii Sports?

11. Be kinder, nicer and sweeter to everyone.

Retro Snaps

An Instax outfit post as a virtual reminder to de-clutter, but not really. (It’ll make sense if you read the post.)

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Continuing my Instax Style Series with a quick post on this retro inspired look. Although its being retro was mostly a result versus a conscious influence. Threw on my favorite new Forever 21 leatherette midi skirt and paired it with a top revived from I don’t know when. I may have issues with letting go of items and while it’s seen as a negative most of time, unexpected twists in outfits prove my hoarding addiction can be benefited from. By me, mostly.

Speaking of hoarding, I’m basically surrounded by boxes and cartons and even more stuff to put stuff in. I seriously need some time to clean and cleanse but that time maybe equates to a week and I don’t really have the luxury of taking a week off my life just to de-clutter. Or is that a valid get-out-of-work card? “I’m cleaning”?

Anyway, if you have any tips on where and how to start, what to do, and other things you think can help my seeming constant attraction of clutter,  leave me a message. I’d be forever grateful.

I did start by buying masks and gloves (#allergictodust). The intent is there, guys. The willpower to push through, just not as much.

And when push comes to shove, I will stand by my decision to keep certain pieces of clothing that I should, under the tenets of logic, let go of and will go back to this post as virtual proof that saving and rekindling pieces may lead to cool outfits. Evidentiary support by way of blog posts? Totally on board this digital age.

Skirt, FOREVER 21 | Glasses, FOUR EYES PH 

photos by Paul Mendoza 

Rags And Bows

Get it? The play on Rag & Bone? No? NVM. Just click to read instead.

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Rags 2 Riches is one of my all-time favorite local brands. I’ve been working with independent local brands for a few years now for events, etc., and when I get the chance to chat with them, Rags 2 Riches almost always comes up as one of their local inspirations not just because of the products but because of the social purpose that drives the brand.

True enough, I too think that when it comes to creating a sustainable community, Rags 2 Riches is leading the pack and is not only making helping fashionable but also paving the way for socio-entreprenuers in the country. The newest collection called Ampersand is modeled by their newest ambassador, Kim Jones, who is absolutely adorable and perfect for the brand. The collection, designed by Chris Cera, is a convertible collection – each bag transforms to about 3 or 4 different styles by zipping/unzipping/folding/buttoning.

And because I need to talk about my outfit – I planned on just wearing a loose button down ’til I saw a thick ribbon lying around. Threw it on, tied it into a bow and called it a day. Button-downs and bows are becoming a new favorite although just how many button-downs I feel I can invest in is still a little blurry to me. I’ll take it a polo at a time. Wore my Rags 2 Riches X Aranaz Nudos bag (where I was a muse – won’t forget that!) because the launch was held at the same place with the same brand after 2 years and it felt good to kind of look back and reminisce and see how far R2R has gone since.

Check out the new collection with Kim Jones over at http://ampersand.rags2riches.ph. I’m pretty sure you’ll find a style that resonates with you. Sneak peek below.

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Easy, Breezy, Beautiful

Covergirl had it right: easy breezy is the way to go.

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If you remember the days of tiis ganda (a term coined to refer to suffering in the name of fashion), then you’re probably wincing along with me as memories resurface: blistered soles, coerced graceful movements for fear of flashing, and the overall feeling of discomfort brought about by un-walkable shoes, heavy accessories, suffocating corsets and spanx-like fabrics.

To be fair, I still wear the occasional heel and am still tempted once in a while to buy them for a good price (I’m not immune to the sirens of sales.) But 95% of the time now, I’m in flats. Not going against my downward (comfort) spiral, I’ve also come to fully embrace an everyday uniform – one that consists of these jeans and a loose, easy top. Okay, maybe not everyday ‘coz that’s just gross but I do wear these jeans about once a week. So functional, so easy. Add to that my new, no-fuss hairdo that entails a nondescript headband – an idea lifted from Marc Jacobs’ F/W 2014 collection. (Remember Kendall Jenner’s see-through MJ look? Yup, that headband look.)

I remember wearing so many rings on my fingers to work I had to remove them all after 5 minutes just to type. Or how I would cross the street tremendously slow for fear of falling and scratching my bare legs. Or feeling extra uncomfortable walking as construction workers along the way catcall (but that’s probably a different sexist issue altogether.) My point is, unless I’m otherwise required to glam up, wear heels and make sure my hair strands are perfectly in place, I won’t. Now, as long as I can manage, I’ll let easy outfits lead the way. My clothes shouldn’t be added stressors. They should be stress-relievers (holler if you agree!)

While I’m on the topic of making my life a little easier – at least sartorially – let me share something I’m really excited about in terms of service. I talk a lot about new Smart promos for my phone in the hopes of sharing with you promos I find most abusable – kidding – most budget-friendly with the best value for money I think you would like to take advantage of too (because in my head you and I think alike and it is, therefore, up to me to be the bearer of good news.) But I do know that it gets difficult to keep track of promo options or even balances and everything else you need to know about your phone (which we don’t think is a lot but actually is and Siri can only do so much). So here’s the new *121# menu that is the all-in-one menu for everything Smart Prepaid.

Memorize it, screen cap it, make Siri take note of it, write it on a sharpie on your forearm, whatever – just don’t forget it. This number will let you access your balance, browse and subscribe to the latest promos and offers, redeem loyalty points and so much more – all to help us simplify our phone experience. Admit it, as happy as we are with unlimited Facebook (and twitter (and instagram)), sometimes, the actual subscription gets pretty tough to manage. So you can now refresh your memory, delete all the promo keywords you previously memorized and just remember this.

Don’t forget the * and the #, okay?  For more information, check this out.

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photography by Happy Fingers

Fringe sweater, BILLABONG | Pants, UNIQLO | Sandals, BIRKENSTOCK