Wardrobe Resolutions

Ok ladies, January is over and February always goes by in a flash. How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions for 2018? I’m willing to bet you’ve broken about half of them (yeah, no carbs no sugar…what was I even thinking?), and haven’t even started on the other half.

Well, there’s still 11 months left this year and there’s no time like the present to be a little better than you were yesterday. So I came up with a list of wardrobe resolutions that can help make our lives a bit more interesting and our days a lot more colorful. Here it is—hope you decide do this with me!

  1. I will revamp my work look. That means avoiding the dreary black and gray, ‘safe’, ‘boring’ office outfits. Whoever told you that you can’t or shouldn’t wear vibrant colors in a corporate setting? Imagine how much brighter you’ll look in florals, pastels, a solid purple dress, or even in all white with an eye-catching accessory or silk scarf. Experiment with different styles as well instead of the usual plain Janes of work clothes. If you want to stand out, dress like you mean it baby!

    miranda-kerr-vogue-office-visit-15

    Miranda Kerr looking annoyingly perfect while visiting the Vogue office

  2. I will add ‘oomph’ to my nights out. Yes, the little black dress always works but c’mon…give it a little more effort and range, no matter what your age. Use attractive accessories and a fabulous purse, or a rockin pair of heels. Wear red lipstick even if you’re having a low-key dinner. Be up for anything, and life will reward you with the most amazing adventures.

    meghan

    Take a cue from lady of the moment Meghan Markle!

  3. I will look great in the winter. As in—I will find a way to travel to some cold country just so I can wear my coat, wool scarf, cashmere sweater, leather gloves and glamorous boots. That’s one thing I really look forward to, experiencing 4 seasons and the attire that comes with it.

    Olivia Palermo seen wearing a green coat and white turtleneck dress in Brooklyn,New York

    If only we could all look as fab as Olivia Palermo in the winter

  4. I will look cute at the gym. Even if you’re just going to work out and grit your teeth through those crunches, it doesn’t mean you can’t look good. With the emergence of such fashionable workout clothes from our best-loved brands, it’s almost enough to motivate someone to work out every single day! (Take note I said almost). It’s true though—you’ll look forward to spending more time at the gym, yoga studio or spinning club if you actually dress up for it instead of using ratty old t-shirts and boring leggings.

    kendall

    Yeah if I had Kendall Jenner’s bod I’d go out in my gym clothes too

  5. I will stay true to my personal style. Don’t force on outfits that don’t suit you and the kind of lifestyle you have, just because it’s what you see in the magazines. That way, you’ll always feel comfortable in your own skin and confident in your individuality.
  6. I will know my body type. By now, you know what cuts and styles look good on your frame—what types of necklines, what types of sleeves, the length of the skirt, the cut of the pants, and, for Goodness’ sake, the correct size of clothing to wear! Use all that information and build a wardrobe exclusively meant to make you look only your very best every time you step out of the house!

    body shapes

    Which one are you?

  7. I will not wear too many trends at the same time. It is 2018 and you know what fashion roadkill means. Usually, elegance means simplicity, classic lines and pieces, with a personal twist. What it is not is trying to copy celebrities, TV stars , or passing yourself off as an ‘influencer’ of sorts, wearing all kinds of tacky branded stuff all at once.
  8. I will dress up for the airport. You never know when you’ll be upgraded to first class darling, so be prepared. Do not wear a track suit, slippers, or generally look like you just rolled out bed, unkempt hair and all. Traveling is a privilege—look the part.

    victoria beckham

    Here’s Victoria Beckham at LAX with an actual BABY.  Now that’s #goals!

  9. I will personify resort chic. Yes, the beach is a great place to let loose and wear comfortable clothing, but hey—that doesn’t mean ripped up cut-offs and tacky tie-dyed T-shirts are automatically acceptable. Upgrade your resort chic look into light, breezy dresses, maillots, printed playsuits, silk cover ups, a wide brimmed straw hat, and fabulous sunnies. And don’t forget the sunscreen!

    rosie

    Ushering in the summer with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

  10. I will ‘own it’ this year. Make a declaration that this is the year you are going to put yourself first. No more putting up with negative, toxic people and situations – nothing but good vibes and well-being. Therefore, if it means you need a little more time and effort to take care of yourself, get some pampering, upgrade your wardrobe, give yourself the treats you undoubtedly deserve, then so be it. You are unique, special, irreplaceable–a veritable goddess. Make sure you believe it and own it.

 

If you’re asking me, 2018 with its superblue blood moon is looking superfine already.   Prepare for all the wonderful surprises coming your way!

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In With The New

We talked about ‘Out with the Old’—or what not to wear in 2018—in last week’s Kikay. It’s tough to prune things out of your life, right? But just like spring cleaning, it is ultimately for the best. Look on the bright side! Since all that space has now been cleared out in your closet, there’s room for the wonderful things coming your way.  I’ve checked out the spring fashion shows and here are the trends that we can expect (and start hunting for) very soon.   Prepare to fall in love with these 2018 Spring must-haves:

  1. All White and Lavender. When the rest of the world finally thaws out after this bitter winter, the colors we’ll see a lot of are all white errthing, and lavender, which has replaced last year’s millennium pink. I couldn’t be happier at this turn of events, because wearing all white from head to toe always makes people look crisp, chic and fresh, and lavender (or lilac) is one of the most flattering of all the pastels. Check out styles from Zimmerman, Michael Kors, Proenza Schouler or Roland Mouret from NYFW Spring 2018.

    allwhite

    Love this look from Zimmerman 2018

  2. lavender

    Luscious lavender from the Roland Mouret runway

    Bold florals, Black and White Polka Dots, Plaid, Art. Florals always show up in the spring, but this year we’re expecting bigger and bolder versions. As in huge red cabbage roses level of floral. Google the images from Marni, Fendi and Dolce and Gabbana Spring 2018 shows and you’ll see what I mean. Polka dots are back too, especially in black and white. Plaid continues to be popular, and pop art/cartoon prints are all the rage as well.

    marni

    Flower power from Marni

    fendi

    And here’s another from Fendi

  3. Ruching and Fringe. Goodbye ruffles, hello ruching! This is good news for us because the ruching can be used like a more comfortable corset to conceal problematic tummies, bellies, and hips, and still look ultra feminine. Examples abound from Tory Burch and Tom Ford Spring 2018. Fringe is going to be big as well, from bags to tshirts to hemlines—and you gotta admit it’s fun to twirl around like a roaring 20s girl and watch the fringes add a swing to your step.

    ruching

    Gigi Hadid rockin the ruching at Tom Ford

  4. Square Neckline. Let’s try something different from the usual V or scoop neck and go for square necklines this time. It’s especially flattering for rounder faces because it creates a contrast, and is equally seductive as its more common peers, in a Renaissance, Reign series sort of way.   This neckline was spotted at Rodarte, Christian Dior and Carolina Herrera.

    dior

    It’s hip to be square at Carolina Herrera

  5. Dark Denim. Thank Goodness! We can bid adieu to the light acid wash and vintage distressed denims, and go back to being classy and fabulous in dark denims. This applies to jeans, denim dresses, and skirts.

    info@imaxtree.com

    Super fab dark denim at Mugler

  6. Extras- Transparency, Feathers. They’re called ‘extras’ for a reason, because you’re not supposed to go overboard on these trends. We’re seeing a lot of transparency—sheer skirts and palazzos showcasing toned legs a la Fendi, clear plastic Jimmy Choos, etc. A sprinkling of feathers too, just to add life to drab outfits.

    fendi2

    The Sheerness of You at Fendi

  7. 90’s Oblong Eyewear. So those round shades from the early 90s are about to be replaced by the sleek oblong X-girl styles that were so popular in the late 90s and early 2000s. My advice? Get cheap ones since the trends keep changing every few months, but keep your classic aviators and Hollywood shades classy. The advantage of using cheap ones—you can wear them to the beach, in the pool, and wherever the heck you want all spring and summer long.

    Xgirl

    From Elle.com- a rundown of the best X-girl shades (though these are NOT the cheap kind)

  8. Tailoring- Double breasted. This cut first blew up all over the place in the fall but is still super chic for spring. Go for plaid or all white double-breasted pantsuits or suit dresses to bring the power back to power dressing!

    D&G

    What spring looks like at Dolce and Gabbana

  9. The Fanny pack. I never, ever thought this would happen…but yes, the fanny pack, otherwise known as the belt bag, is sooo back. And check out the designer twist to them! This is definitely the ‘it’ accessory of the year.  My drool-worthy favorites are from Balenciaga, Gucci and Rochas.

    gucci

    Only Gucci can make a fanny pack look this good!

  10. Fabulous Footwear.  Hello again to the strappy, sexy stilettos and marabou slides!  It’s time to celebrate spring with festive feet, in the most eye-catching colors imaginable.  Check out these choices from Harper’s Bazaar:
    shoes

    Eenie, meenie, minee…

    Here’s to lots more amazing things (besides fashion) coming our way in 2018!

Out With The Old

Fashion trends, when they’re hot off the runways of New York, Paris or Milan, are awesome. It’s fun to see either something totally new and different, or a genius, fresh twist on something we’ve seen before. Suddenly it’s all we can think of wearing or getting our paws on.  No night out, fancy date, or social event seems as fabulous unless you can appear in whatever Kendall/Kylie/Gigi/Kaia was wearing on IG.

However, when trends hit the mainstream, they become accessible to literally Everybody, so much so that knock-offs from China are flooding market stalls everywhere from Greenhills to Quiapo (trust me, I’ve seen them). Then these knock-offs are purchased by online sellers and boutique owners, and pretty soon you’ll see the designer duds you busted your behind to pay for parading down the street, worn by everyone and their mothers. That means you need to do yourself a favor and try not to be caught dead still wearing these things. Take a deep breath, thank the item for the good times it brought you, and safely tuck it away, or donate it somewhere coz you’ve moved on, baby girl.  Just like your last relationship, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care if an item is from last season, last year or last decade- as long as it is original and uncommon, and something that enhances your appearance and personality. Never go for run of the mill fads–let’s leave them along with the last of the dwindling fireworks of 2017 and look forward to better things.

Here are the top items of the things that have got to go this 2017:

  1. Cold shoulder and off shoulder blouses– Ok, it’s been 3 years. Can we perhaps try wearing something else now? Something sleeker, simpler, less poufy, less ruffly? I’m all for femininity, but you gotta admit the Chiquita Banana look just isn’t cutting it anymore.

    coldshoulder

    Jourdan Dunn looking as ‘meh’ as her blouse

  2. Ruffle skirts– Same goes for these. Striped, gingham or plain cloth draped into these ridiculous ruffle skirts. It was fun for a while, especially when worn with a plain white T-shirt and white sneakers, but yeah we’re over these too.

    ruffle

    This look has got to go

  3. Tassel and over the top dangling earrings– Once again with the Caribbean feels. Fresh, tropical, colorful, and so totally dated to Summer 2017. Look around you—everyone is still wearing them (and that’s not a good thing)! Give your poor earlobes a break and switch back to real jewels, por favor.

    tassel

    If I see another pair of tassel earrings I’m going to scream

  4. Super ripped jeans– Cringe cringe and triple cringe. I must admit I gave this trend a real whirl, I practically lived in my ripped-on-the-knee distressed jeans for a few months. They’re comfy and casual. But it’s time to stop pretending I’m part of Zoolander’s ‘Derelicte’ squad and start wearing my classic, dark rinse pair of skinny jeans that can go from day to night again.

    distressed

    What were we thinking?

  5. Fake logo tees– Have you seen those white T-shirts with the Dolce and Gabbana logo and embroidered sequin flowers and stuff on them? Yeah?   Or the black tee with the Gucci logo and graffiti? Darling, the original ones cost over Php 20K. So unless you really have the moolah to splurge that amount of money on a trendy white T-shirt, don’t ever consider wearing the fake version. In fact, the sad part is, even if you DO have the original, it’s been copied so extensively that everyone’s going to think you bought it in some back alley in Shenzen.

    DG

    Yes I’m referring to this  shirt and other logo tees

  6. Scarf used as headband– Yes, I know we island people love to say that summer lasts forever. But uhmm… it doesn’t. And neither does the appeal of these little scarves that we’ve been tying on our heads all year. Functional and fun, but once again- very seasonal. Remember the headband trend that Blair Waldorf made popular on Gossip Girl seasons 1 and 2? And how ridiculous she looked still wearing them when she went to university? Yup, it’s exactly like that. Certain things, we must outgrow.

    rosie

    Eeek!  Get that thing away!

  7. Chokers– Black leather or lace chokers were all the rage in the 90s, and along with the whole 90s comeback these past couple of years they were an interesting wardrobe addition, but that’s enough. We can’t relive the glory days of Liv Tyler and Winona Ryder any longer.

    choker

    Fun while it lasted

  8. Bomber Jackets– I did love this, especially the satin and embroidered version, but it’s just been made in every conceivable material and print that it’s become so common. I don’t think this trend will last much longer. Hang on to your jacket for a literal rainy day, but don’t count on it as a fashion statement.

    bomber

    Yeah, that was a good run…

  9. Denim Overalls– Not sure I understand how this piece wormed its way back into our closets as it does not really look good on anyone.   If you actually bought one (bless your optimistic soul), keep it for wearing around the house when there’s home improvement work to do, or maybe when you’re walking your dog down the street, but nothing else.

    overalls

    Whyyyy

  10. The Valentino Rockstud and the YSL Tribute- Yes, I really said that. And it does kinda hurt to utter these words, because I loved both these shoe styles so very, very much. But they’ve both had their run for yearssss, and sometimes, things we love just have to die—especially when there are horrible look-alike versions being sold in department stores and ‘tiangges’ everywhere. They’ve lost their appeal completely and make you look so basic that it won’t even matter what you wear them with. Time for a cool change, chicas.  rockstud

YSL

So that rounds out my list of the Top 10 Trends that we can’t take with us to 2018. But the memories? For sure.  Here’s to an even more amazing year, in fashion and in everything else.  Happy New Year, kikays!

 

 

The No Impact Project

It’s easy to think you’re going to save the world when you’re young…nothing is too big nor too impossible to dream up. But then, sooner or later, real life gets in the way and suddenly you’re inundated with chores, work, children and everything else. By then, ‘saving the world’ sounds like a farfetched battlecry, something best left to government officials, lawmakers, environment groups or large corporations. We feel the effects of climate change, we get alarmed, we pray for safety and deliverance, but in the same breath we shrug our shoulders and tell ourselves there’s really nothing we can do about it.

There are now 7.5 billion people on the planet as of August 2017, and while individually, we probably wouldn’t be able to make a dent—anything done collectively can make a difference.   It’s funny how, as a society, we can get totally caught up with something for the sake of entertainment (like, say, Game of Thrones), and yet be totally blasé about matters affecting our own survival. And speaking of Game of Thrones, you know how the premise is they’re all so busy scheming against each other and waging wars to realize that the real war is with the Whitewalkers threatening humankind? Well, it’s exactly the same here—we are so busy with politics, business, entertainment and mush that we’re completely ignoring environmental issues that could mean our complete annihilation.

I’ve recently learned about the No Impact Project (http://noimpactproject.org/experiment/) from my friend and colleague Dave Devilles of Aboitiz.  It’s a lifestyle change initiative that results in decreasing your carbon consumption, which in turn lessens the greenhouse effect that causes global warming. Patterned after this, corporations (like Aboitiz, in this example), has taken its cue to run this program inside the organization to compound its effect. Here’s what it looks like:

 

Week 1: Wellness

  1. Substitute one meal a day for a vegetarian meal. I know what you’re thinking- how is eating vegetarian better for the environment? Well, raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. Aside from the methane from the belching, farting cattle, there’s also the gases released from the manure that they produce, the oil burned taking their carcasses to markets thousands of miles away, the electricity needed to keep the meat cool, the gas used to cook it, the energy needed to plough and harvest the fields that grow the crops that the animals eat, even pumping the water that the cattle need…all of that adds up. So if we can all collectively consume less meat (or no meat, for others), then that’s a form of helping save the planet.

    salad

    Yummers

  2. Go for a 20 minute walk (instead of driving or commuting). Traffic is so bad these days it’s almost mind blowing. So instead of hopping into your car or cab for pretty short distances, why don’t we walk there instead? Not only is it good for you to get some exercise from this sedentary office chair-dinner chair-couch-bed kind of lifestyle, it also reduces your gasoline consumption and the carbon monoxide emissions from these vehicles.
  3. Avoid carbonated drinks. Guess what- even drinking your favorite soda has environmental ramifications. There’s the genetically modified sweetener it uses, the plastic bottles, glass bottles or aluminum cans that gets accumulated as waste (because they don’t decompose), and the energy cost of the manufacturing, distribution and even refrigeration of the drink. So the next time you get thirsty, just drink water. Your skin and general health will improve too!

    cans

    Where do you think these go?

 

Week 2: Energy (added on to Week 1)

  1. Share a ride or take a bike to work. Aside from walking to short distances (#2), if you are going somewhere that’s not accessible by foot, then at least devise a means to do a carpool instead or use a non-fuel mode of transportation like a bicycle. Car pooling to work (or school) is a great way to make friends while lessening the number of vehicles on the road. And biking, aside from conserving space, is another way to get fit and incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

    bikes

    Spot the difference:  60 bikes vs 60 cars vs 1 bus

  2. Go off-grid: These days a charging outlet is like an oasis in the desert—we’re either charging our phones, computers, tablets, cameras or whatever else. All of this is using up so much energy, not to mention polluting our brains and affecting our relationships. So try, once a day, to turn off all your devices for at least an hour. That doesn’t count the time you spend sleeping! And with this digital break, take the time to have real conversations with people and spend quality time with those who matter.  zombie
  3. Keep the AC at 25C: Are you aware that every time you turn on your AC and for every adjustment you make to lower the thermostat, the world outside gets a little warmer because of increased use of nonrenewable energy? So try to make do without airconditioning, especially during cool rainy days. And if you can’t live without it, then at least set the temperature to 25 degrees celsius—that will mean decreased energy use, and a lower electricity bill (therefore more money for makeup), while fighting global warming!

 

Week 3: Water (added on to Weeks 1 and 2)

  1. Bring your own tumbler to work. Stop using up paper or plastic cups, or buying individual bottles of mineral water! Bring a cute tumbler instead and take it around with you to make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day, while minimizing container waste. You can take the same tumbler when you go to coffee shops like Starbucks or Coffee Bean and also save on the paper cups you would’ve used.

    starbucks

    Good job, Starbucks!  And they’re so pretty too. ❤

  2. Shorten your shower to 5 minutes. Take shorter, more efficient showers. There really is no reason to keep the water running while you’re shampooing your hair or soaping up, so please think of all the drought-stricken places in the world and how lucky we are in comparison next time you turn on the faucet . Same goes for brushing your teeth—use a glass instead of keeping the tap on.

    rachel

    She reportedly takes 5-minute military style showers.  Way to go, Jennifer!

  3. Recycle water at home. Since it’s the rainy season, keep containers out to catch rainfall, which you can use for chores like washing the car, cleaning out dirty aircon filters, or watering plants during dry days.

 

Week 4: Anti – Waste (added on to Weeks 1, 2 and 3)

  1. Do batch printing. First of all ask yourself if you really need a printout of that file. Meetings and presentations can be done with digital files instead of printouts that people are just going to toss out anyway afterwards. Now, if you really must print stuff, try to cluster all the printing so that you’ll only use the printer at most once in a day.   Then if you have any misprints, save the paper for notes. Pretty soon you’ll have enough scratch paper to create an entire notepad, instead of using up fresh sheets of paper or another notebook.
  2. Don’t waste food. Only order what you can completely consume, and be conservative with our intake. For instance, ask restaurants to give you a half serving of rice instead of the full cup. It is the saddest thing to watch them throw away extra food and unfinished rice when there are so many people out there starving. If you do have leftovers, take it home with you to consume another time—I don’t care if it’s considered baduy to be carrying a takeout bag, at least you aren’t wasting precious food.  food
  3. Use an eco bag. Make it a habit to carry a small foldable eco bag in case you end up purchasing something within the day, so you won’t need any of the shop’s plastic bags or paper bags. You’d be surprised how much you can accumulate just by buying knickknacks for your place, basic groceries or toiletries.  ecobag

 

All of these are small, simple things to for anyone to do, but considering a scale of thousands of employees, or hundreds of members of an organization, or even just a smaller bunch of people in villages, families or circles of friends, this is a lot.   We can promote wellness, reduce carbon footprint, improve resource efficiency, minimize the greenhouse effect—and guess what, we can even save the world.

High School Throwback

My high school batch in St. Theresa’s recently celebrated a milestone reunion/ anniversary—I won’t say how many years it’s been since we graduated because you will then be able to deduce my age, but suffice it to say it was a big deal. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join my friends and visit our dear old campus because of other pressing commitments, but seeing everyone’s photos on Facebook made me feel sentimental all of a sudden. It all came flooding back—memories of high school friendships, notes we used to pass around in class, barkada beach trips, crushes and cheesy swoon-worthy moments, prom night drama, cheering at Intramurals and all that great stuff.   It was the best of times, when the world lay right in front of us, waiting to be explored and discovered. Those were the days when we could literally become anybody we wanted to be moving forward, when we had endless choices and countless possibilities. Then the choices started, and with every choice we took, certain doors closed, and others opened. To all my batchmates—I hope you are all happy, healthy and content. I hope you’ve all been able to squeeze the juice out of life, and continue to do so with every day we’ve been blessed with. I hope you’ve been able to make some of your most treasured dreams come true, and I hope many more wonderful surprises are waiting just around the corner for you.  Because to me, you will always be the same fresh-faced, bright eyed girls who could do anything they put their minds to.

Anyway, so being kikay as I am, while walking down memory lane I also started to remember all my favorite outfits from those days that are now making a huge comeback. Oh if only high school could last forever! Well girls– even if we can’t be sweet sixteen for life, we can at least take bits of our awesome teenage years by incorporating elements of it in our wardrobes today. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. High waist jeans and shorts- The good news here is, if you’re slim and you know it you can wear your high waist bottoms with a cropped or fitted top, while if you want to conceal certain problem areas, this trend looks great with oversize tops as well. So yes, high waisted bottoms can be universally flattering as long as you pick out the right style and size for you. Make sure the waistband isn’t too tight, or you’ll have an awful muffin top.

    emily

    Emily Ratajkowski rockin high waist jeans

  2. Mules and kitten heels– These were the definitive footwear of the late 90s and early 2000s, and are apparently all the rage again. Mules look great with either wide leg or cigarette pants, and kitten heels are especially flattering worn with knee length pencil skirts and slip dresses. And both are way more comfy than stilettos, so indulge away!

    gucci mules

    Embroidered Gucci mules

  3. Small shades– Those glamorous oversize shades you love so much have to hibernate for a while because smaller lenses are the edgy way to go– whether round or oval ones, colored or metallic ones. Cat shaped lenses are super chic as well.

    colored sunnies

    Remember these????

  4. Sling bag– Nearly every bag being sold these days have a sling attached to them, and I can’t see how we survived without them before. So pratical to keep your arms and hands free to move and scroll your phone with! Pick a ‘just right’ size that’s large enough to stuff your things in, but small enough to still be considered stylish.

    prada 2017

    Prada sling bags, I love!

  5. Heavy fringe– Let’s take a page from our European gal pals and try out a heavy fringe for once. It immediately draws attention to your eyes (so get ready to amp up the eye makeup), and somehow just adds 1000 sophistication points to your look.   What’s even more fun is if you created a sexy new persona to go with the bangs and ask yourself—what would a sassy, sophisticated version of me do today?

    selena

    Selena Gomez with full bangs

  6. Fitted top– Yes, those ribbed tops that show off every carb you consumed in the last 2 days aren’t going anywhere for now. So suck it in and enjoy. These look good with wide leg pants and A-line skirts- very Liv Tyler.

    liv tyler

    Eternal muse Liv Tyler

  7. Logo/Statement tee– You know those classic logo tees (like the Guess triangle) that were so popular back then? Yeah, they’re back. And so are statement T-shirts. If you want to look young(er), find one and wear them with millennial white sneakers.

    guess

    That unmistakable Guess triangle…

  8. Jumpers– Who knew overalls would make a comeback? And spaghetti strap or apron style dresses worn over fitted shirts? Well, I’m loving it because the look reminds me of my favorite Friends character—Rachel. Just counting the days till her famous hairstyle comes back in full force as well.

    Jumper

    Rachel in her element

  9. Leather sandals– Whether flat or platform style, these comfy leather sandals are having a moment, and are perfect weekend wear (as alternative to above mentioned sneakers, of course). They look great with the rest of the 90s/2000s ensemble, and are especially cute in white or camel shades.

    white sandals

    What about these??  Looks familar, eh?

  10. A line skirts– One of my favorite styles from high school are these button down A line skirts or the swirl variety. They’re flattering for pear shapes because they accentuate the waist and hide the hips, and are a bit more forgiving on the thighs as well. Just please make sure you wear boyleg underwear for this, ok?

    A line

    Alexa Chung in an A line mini

  11. Slip dresses– Kate Moss, is that you? I can’t think of anything more versatile than the spaghetti strap, knee length slip dress. Wear with a denim jacket or over a fitted tee for a more casual look, or on its own for date night. Do you remember how this looked on us back then, with hair slicked back or up in a clamp, and kitten heels?

    kate moss

    Signature Kate Moss style

  12. Denim or Varsity jacket– Perfect for the rainy weather in town these last few months. Both jackets look great with black leggings and sneakers (for a youthful, athleisure outfit), or over a dress for a campus crush throwback. Hmm, now where did I put my ex-boyfriend’s varsity jacket…

    coach

    Coach Autumn Winter Collection.  Gorge!!!

 

So there’s my top dozen, write me at muskwie@yahoo.com or tag me on FB or IG for your picks!

 

To my lovely Theresian batchmates, see you again in 5 years (and hopefully a lot more before then), and to all you 90s and Y2K babies out there, a toast to the good times.

Drugstore Beauty Loot

In recent years, we’ve seen such a dramatic shift in interest in all things related to beauty. From what seemed to be just a frivolous ‘hobby’ for women worldwide, makeup artistry is now a serious (and much sought after) profession– and we’ve got beauty vloggers like Michelle Phan, who has millions of YouTube followers, and blogs like Beauty Lookbook, I Covet Thee and Cult of Pretty—to prove it.

Being a beauty junkie can be an expensive thing. It is all too easy to blow wads of cash in makeup stores, but it is also possible to find great stuff that doesn’t break the bank. My favorite source of amazing and cheap finds? Watson’s! Considering it’s technically still a drug store, you would be surprised at the products you’ll find in here. Thus far, I have never entered any branch this store without buying something. Here are some of the best things you can score there:

  1. Nichido Eyebrow pencil– If you by now have memorized the strokes to perfect your eyebrows, there is no reason you can’t work with eyebrow pencils that cost less than Php 100. They get the job done, last for months and cost less than your morning skinny latte! Get the ones from Nichido—they have a dark brown and light brown variety.     eyebrow pencil
  2. Nichido Eyeliner– Ditto above! Nichido also has a great array of eyeliner pencils, from white or beige (to make your eyes look bigger), black (for that edgy kohl liner look), greens and blues (for a pop of color), and brown (for everyday use). Enjoy, girls!  eyeliner
  3. BYS contouring sticks– This thing is a dream! A retractable contouring stick you can easily use to draw in cheekbones, a sleeker jawline, a narrower nose, and a more balanced forehead. You won’t believe how easy it is. Just don’t overdo it ok, or you’ll look like one of those RuPaul drag queens. Think enhancement, not complete alteration of face.  BYS
  4. BYS foundation stick– This brand also has a foundation stick that’s super handy to keep in your purse. All you have to do is dab a few spots on your forehead, cheeks and nose, and blend with a sponge, and you’re done in 2 minutes. The coverage is great and it lasts all day. The only catch is, it doesn’t come in a wide range of colors so there’s a change your skin will not match the shade. A tip—no matter how good the purchase, do not force it if it’s not meant to be. There’s nothing more horrific than a face that’s waaay whiter than the neck/rest of the body, no matter how much blending you attempt to do!  bys-foundation-stick-cool-ivory
  5. Maybelline mascara– As far as mascara goes, Maybelline’s Great Lash can go head to head with any of the luxury brands in terms of performance, and costs less than half of the price of the others. I’ve roadtested it and have remained loyal for years—there’s a reason why this is still the world’s most popular mascara. lash
  6. Gatsby oil blotting sheets– If you have oily skin, the worst thing to do is layering on face powder every time you get shiny. That clogs your pores and causes blackheads and breakouts! A better idea is to blot your skin with these lifesaving little sheets, then spritz with face mist. If your makeup has faded, that’s the time you need to pat on a little face powder. That way you’ll look fresh all day—because oiliness is next to ugliness!  Gatsby
  7. Garnier Brightening Eye Roll On– Of all the products this brand carries, this one is my favorite. Say goodbye to puffy eyebags with just a swipe! It drains the swelling and works like magic, even after long, harrowing nights of watching Game of Thrones episodes.   So yes, I hardly slept for a month—and I consider it a personal triumph that nobody could tell! You need it, I’m telling you. garnier
  8. Petroleum Jelly– Pop quiz. What product can you use to moisturize your elbows, and knees, serves as cuticle cream, removes makeup, does the job of an eyeshadow primer, can be blended to create a gel blush, doubles up as shaving cream, eyebrow gel, thickens eyelashes, and whitens teeth in photos? Oh you didn’t know? Yes baby, that inconspicuous little jar of petroleum jelly is the answer.  vaseline
  9. Ever Bilena Lip and Cheek stain- I’ve always been a fan of a natural flushed look, like you’ve just come from a run or spotted a crush. Compared with blusher, a cheek stain, when applied correctly, looks more natural and less ‘made up’. So I was thrilled to find this product, it creates exactly that effect, and lasts all day too (unless you deliberately wipe it off). I prefer using it only for the cheeks, but it can function as a lip stain too. At less than 200 pesos, that’s a really good deal.  ever bilena
  10. Argan Oil- I’ve been using Argan Oil on my skin and the tips of my hair for the last 7 years and so far not a single wrinkle nor split end has appeared. That, my friends, considering my high stress-high gimmick lifestyle, is an amazing feat—not by me, but by this Godsend of a multipurpose oil. It’s called Instant Glow Moroccan Argan oil, and if you like it as much as I do, you’ll get the bar of soap as well.  argan
  11. Vitresse Hair Cuticle Coat- With this heat and humidity, I am not surprised people are walking around looking like poofed up Persian cats with frizzy hair. To keep your crowning glory sleek and smooth no matter what happens during the day, it is necessary to follow up your blow out with a light hair cuticle coat. So everything can blow up for all you care, but you’ll at least look like you’ve got things under control.  vitresse
  12. GT Carrot Lotion- My friends are going to kill me for publishing this, because we wanted to keep it our secret and hoard the stocks ourselves. But since I’m feeling generous today—ok, yes, this is our favorite lotion. At SPF 60, it doubles up as a strong sunblock, plus gives the skin a pinkish white glow, and it smells great too. Try it for yourself.  carrot

 

I know where you’re headed right now, girls! Enjoy shopping and tell me if you have some other great beauty finds from drugstores to add to our list!

Of Goodness

I know what you’re thinking—this is going to be one of those preachy articles about charity. Probably written by a person who wants praise for it, to feel better about herself. That’s not entirely false, actually, but give me a chance and keep reading.

Let’s start by establishing the fact that I grew up pretty self-involved. I am an only child of two people who waited a long time to have a baby, so I was doted on and cared for every minute of every day. Sharing was not really in my vocabulary, as you can imagine. I floated through school being responsible, studious and obedient, and it pleased me to often be referred to as ‘good’. Life, as far as I knew, was also always ‘good’. I did not see or experience anything to show me otherwise.

And then, in my junior year of college, I happened to be in a Theology class that required a semester of community immersion. Our group was assigned to go to the Cribs Foundation in Marikina every Saturday for the duration of that sem. We were tasked to help out with the orphaned babies there, feed them, play with them, put them to sleep, etc. I remember my first thought was that we were lucky—we would get to hang with a bunch of cute babies instead of living in the slums or visiting prisoners, which would have been umm, uncomfortable to say the least.

So we went to the orphanage that first day and it was fun, everyone loves babies after all. The hours flew by, and before I knew it the immersion was over. On our last visit, one of the babies was crying and clinging onto me before I put her in her crib, as though she knew that would be the last time we would see each other.

Then it hit me—how many more goodbyes would this child have to say in her lifetime? The babies could only stay in this orphanage for a few years. If they were not adopted within that time, they would have to be placed in different shelters. How many volunteers, caretakers, foster families and adoptive parents might she go through? Who would care to cherish and celebrate any of her milestones, her first steps, her first words, or when she started to read and write? Who would hug her in the middle of the night when there’s thunder and lightning and bad dreams? Who would defend her from bullies? Who would encourage her to pursue her dreams—or worse, would she even have the luxury to dream?

I cried that day because it became all too real to me that the world isn’t fair. Here I was, brought up with the very best my parents could offer. While there were 25 other children in that center, and a multitude more around the world, who may never experience that kind of love, that kind of care and support. And I cried too because of how shallow and insignificant I felt, to not be able to do anything much except offer a few hours of my time that semester, in the midst of partying with my friends, studying for exams, having crushes on boys and planning my future career in the corporate world.

In my mid twenties, I realized my life felt quite empty, like something was missing. I wanted to give back somehow, so I sought to join a group of girls called the Zugbuana Jaycees, who were known for community efforts around Cebu. In the seven or eight years that I was an active member, and eventually leader, of that group, my friends and I managed to complete a lot of projects, from huge fashion show fundraisers for the benefit of sexually abused women and children, to granting scholarships to children from impoverished families, to livelihood or hygiene workshops at children’s centers, medical missions, activities for the handicapped, and so on. After every event I would give myself a little pat on the back and tell myself—‘you did good today.’ But you see, that wasn’t all. Because at the back of my mind, I wasn’t sure if I was doing all that because I really wanted to help, or because I wanted to feel good about myself, to tell myself I’m doing my part, I’m doing what a good person is supposed to do, or perhaps I wanted people to think that I was a good person. Maybe it was all of it, and somehow it just never felt like it was enough. I let that thought simmer for some time and moved along.

Today, at thirty plus years old (ha!), I have finally come to realize there is nothing to prove to anyone, nothing to prove to myself. I know whatever I do will never be enough to make a real dent in the world. And you know what? That is ok. For as long as I can make things just a little better, just a little easier for someone, it is good enough. For as long as small acts of kindness might inspire others to do a little more for others as well, it is good enough. As a wise friend of mine told me, the concept of depth is relative to everyone—what might have been a random thing for me, like smiling at a stranger, might have meant the world to that person on a really bad day.  So for as long as you accept whatever shortcomings you have, start each day with an earnest heart, and do whatever you can, yes it is good enough.

And so, about 15 years after that first visit to Cribs Foundation, I found myself back there again, with some of my close friends, this time bringing things to help the orphanage. It still breaks my heart to see babies as young as 13 days brought there because they were abandoned at the hospital, to think of what happens when they get sick, or scared, to know that we cannot really shelter them from the evils in this world. But to see how many people were so eager to help and give, to spend time on a weekend, to hold a child and make her smile, hoping that she will find her way to a loving family and grow up to be a fine young lady someday, hoping she will think of all the volunteers, caretakers and donors at that center, and somehow feel there is still some kindness and goodness left here—that is not just good enough. That is everything. Because in as much as we were helping these babies, they were helping us too: they were teaching us hope, they were strengthening our faith.

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So the point I’m making is that we all need to believe that everyone can make a difference. Whether it’s for a cause like these orphans, or for the sick and elderly, the soldiers fighting to protect our country, animal welfare, prisoners, farmers, victims of abuse and human trafficking, the environment, or even for causes closer to home like taking care of our household help, extending more patience and understanding to family members, being sincere to people at work—we can all spare a little kindness, a little charity. J.K. Rowling says it perfectly: ‘We do not need magic to change the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.’

 

*In case you want to know more about the Cribs Foundation and wish to help out as well, check out their website at www.cribsfoundation.com.