Things I Love Sundays: A Lot Like Chick Lit

>> Monday, January 31, 2011

Because when your life resembles a bestselling chick lit tome, it's so much more fun to have your best girls by your side.

This weekend seemed like an episode straight out of the books I read {the chick literature ones, at least}. On Saturday afternoon, 4 PM to be exact, I woke up from a 12-hour slumber to one of my bestfriends' SMS, updating me of her latest Basha {yes, of the One More Chance fame}moments. After dilly dallying whilst watching Dead Poets Society, I snapped, turned off the TV and went to the shower and drove off for two hours to see her and Dang. After all, it's kind of perfunctory to snap into action when one of your girl friends are in need of emotional support.

The night went by like scenes from chick lit books: carefully chosen clothes, makeup that cures the soul, singing aloud to U2's With or Without You, boy-sighting and mojitos.

On Sunday morning, I woke up much earlier to meet another girl friend for brunch and spa {totally deserving of a separate post} and eleven hours after, I was a happier girl {am always a happy little girl} for having a reinforced knowledge that I have in me a great friend I can talk to about ... err, the chick lit that is my life and co-authoring it {haha, Sasha, you know it! <3). What started as a brunch session evolved once again into a night of Coronas, lime and pizza.

I love girl friends forever.

But first, here's an FOTD from last Friday:

I sort of really need to go on a diet. My face is so fat.

Revlon PhotoReady Translucent Finisher

In2It Eyebrow Powder
Fanny Serrano eyeshadow quad
NARS Blush in Oasis
Paul and Joe Lipstick

And this is my Friday night, attending an awards dinner because our TVC won again,
this time at the PANATA Awards!

Bestfriend #1 and #2 | Alabang Town Center


Top: Soak Swimwear
Shorts: Cotton On
Belt: Rubi
Flats and Bag: CMG

And this was what Sunday was like:

Happiness is three kinds of dessert.

Happiness is melting the stress away.

Happiness is meaningful conversations about the past, the present and the future with a treasured
friend. Or friends

What makes you happy today?


OOTN: Notes From the Treasure Chest

>> Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The treasure chest here being my closet.

Over the weekend, I was doing my favorite hobby of re-arranging my clothes according to type and color {so therapeutic, this thing.} I was throwing out a bunch of things into a paper bag so I could give them away when I saw an old gown my uncle's friend who happened to be a designer, made for me a couple of years ago, which I never wore anywhere {save for a little presentation, poor dress}. Since we had an upcoming event for work that said Formal, I immediately tried it on if it still fits me and WHOA. It did! {My black and white Barba dress don't anymore, though. *sob*}

I like how I never would have thought of wearing royal blue, which apparently, I thought I did a couple of years ago. It turned out pretty well, too!

 Photo taken using iPhone, edited with Adobe Photoshop Express for iPhone
 Shoes: VNC
Purse: Aranaz {from Ponds' Gold Radiance Line}
Accessories: Mixed

Note: My mother thought this photo was taken some years ago, too when I sent it to her.
And she said, "Why do you look so pretty back then, anak?"

Didn't know whether to scowl or laugh.

On another occasion, but completely from the same closet-rummaging event, I came across a dress I got from Bangkok and wore it to a lazy Serendra Sunday afternoon {complete with Muji/Aldo-racking hours} with my friend Style Manila's Sasha.

Belt: Room 707
Flats: Charles and Keith
Sunnies: Promod
Bag (not in photo): CMG
Accessories: Chick Flick

I can't believe I've only worn this dress once, and en route to Davao, too. At that time, the PAL people at NAIA 2 directed me to the check in counter for Kalibo thinking I was headed to the beach. I wish!

However now, I love how the patchwork lends a fun, fresh vibe to the lazy Sunday afternoon that Sasha and I coursed through with yummy margherita pizza from Balducci, Coronas and lime. Fun times, most definitely.

Did anything from your closet surprise you lately?


Things I Love Sundays: Shoes and Things

>> Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hello there, weekend! How I miss you so.

I know I have no right to be clamoring for weekends, or rest, for that matter. I just came back from a five-day vacation and yet I'm begging for another vacation from a vacation. How selfish can I get?

The week whizzed by me, I have not much recollections of things I have been able to accomplish, or things I loathed with a passion. But here are some things I love today.

Happy weekend!

Cleaning {have I mentioned how therapeutic this is for me?}. Love and Other Drugs.
Not the best chick flick I've seen but was painfully, awfully real. And this girl has a lot to
learn from Maggie Murdoch. Surprises. Pleasant surprises.
The Best Brownie Ever {Three layers of foodgasm.} Long talks over sadness.
Wild Nothing's Summer Holiday. Rediscovered dresses.
Love letters. New Old Friends. Lists. Caramel Gelato.

Photographers who truly make an effort in sharing their knowledge to fans:

Introducing the guest photographer speaker. {and yes, I look so haggard in here}

Chika mode.

THE Raymund Isaac

Top Philippine photographer Raymund Isaac with the Sunshot Photography Club.
All photos are from Arren Lateo

And my new favorite shoe {one of the many carted things from a recent trip}.

White Polka Dots on Pink.

 And BOWS.

What are you loving today?


Women, Work and The Art of Savoir Faire

>> Tuesday, January 18, 2011

There are books that you wish were your life --- albeit, these are almost always applicable to fiction. I haven't yet found a story that makes me want to jump into its pages because it's a life I want to take over in real life, though I've read so many stories that resemble half the instances, bits and pieces of my life --- some of which I don't want to experience again. And then there are those books that make you wish: Hey, I want to have been the one who have written this. That book for me, is Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire by Mireille Guiliano.

My favorite book of the moment with my bills and day cream. I'm such a girl.

I admit that I have not much experience reading up on management books. In fact, I am hardly found in the management nor the self help section of any bookstore. I find it too intimidating and pretentious, seeing books with the authors' photos emblazoned on the covers like real estate agents. Nothing against that, it's just not me. So I stay away from it.

I received this book from my very good friend T for my 25th birthday. I only realized, halfway through the book that it belonged to the management section, despite reading the words "Business Sense and Sensibility" somewhere in the cover. However, prior to receiving this, I already chanced upon it on Mariel's blog and was thoughtfully interested. And Guiliano, author of bestselling French Women Don't Get Fat, and French Women For All Seasons taking up on business?

 "...I believe that life is lived in episodes and stages, and it is clear that some passions can fade while new ones emerge over time. Indeed, our first loves and passions can be overrated and it would be unwise to pursue them. Others are pursued earnestly for a time, then discarded. C'est la vie."

Whoa, I have to read this. And so I did.

Friends from work can attest to it: I could not shut up about the book. It was all I could talk about during breaks, during dinners and after lunch chats. Never have I read a book that talked about making it in the corporate world that didn't feel like it was an unreachable, let's-save-the-world MI:3-impossible mission. What I loved the most about Guiliano's WWTASF was that it felt extremely like its overarching message of mentoring women that we may be elevated from our current situation of not being at par with men when it comes to business leadership {I know a lot of great women leaders but statistics prove that we are still way underpaid than our male counterparts.}

One amazing thing this book made me realize is how much I love where I am now and what I do. I used to feel sad that I wasn't the only one starting a family, or building a business, or cultivating a meaningful relationship with a partner. And then, quarter life crisis happened and suddenly, I knew I was on the path that I have wanted to tread. And as what wise people say: Make the most of what you have and be the best version of what you can be. And so I try. During Christmas break, I toted this book everywhere and it prompted me to set realistic goals, acknowledge my passions and make them work to my advantage. I realized that I didn't have to pin my goals on other people's goals or dreams and that being different from the rest {most of the time I always feel like a square peg in a round hole}, would work best for me. As someone starting out in the corporate ladder {been in it only for about five years}, I need all the mentoring that I can get.

 Author, Mireille Guiliano

Mireille Guiliano, former CEO of Veuve Clicquot Inc., champagne label of the prestigious LVMH group, wrote about her experiences of how she came about to conquer a man's world and how she used her striking difference to work for her {She was a French woman handling the American operations.} In the chapter Paint Yourself Orange {I loved how Guiliano titled her chapters wittily and femininely at the same time}, the author talked about absorbing the brand  and incorporating the brand values into oneself. This is not necessarily to dilute oneself or to get drowned into the company that you work for. I interpret it as a marriage of personal attributes and brand assets, so much so that you become the brand's face. In one of the anecdotes she peppered all over the book, one LVMH executive gave her the compliment of her life, her "measure" of success as she defines it by telling her "he thought he was Madame Clicquot," founder of Veuve Clicquot. In another instance, while creating a peg for a radio commercial for the champagne brand, the radio executives couldn't find an apt voice talent because she did such a great job of encapsulating Veuve Clicquot in 30 seconds, that she too, became the voice {in all that French accent} of the brand.

What's your message?

Guiliano recalls two important lessons she's learned early on, but not to be confused, because Guiliano shares many of her own learning in this book, it's quite easy to read it again and again.

Perception is reality. Second lesson I learned is that you are judged by whom you hang around with. That is, when Veuve Clicquot is sometimes called the Armani of Champagne, that works for me. If you work for a luxury goods company where perception is reality and image is all-important, you just can't stay in second-class hotels {I know, that's tough work.} If you are Cartier, your stores must have extremely prestigious addresses. It's all about messaging, in all things. I am not suggesting that you present yourself as something you are not, because a brand is a promise and you'll have to deliver on your distinguishing characteristics.

This was the part where I have noticed myself nodding in agreement. In my job as a member of the Creative and Digital Marketing team for one of the top financial services companies in the Philippines, I learned the intricate process of establishing a company's brand and consequently applied it to myself and the people I have worked with and associated myself with {I can count a number of people whom I have had the pleasure of 'branding'}. It's true. There's a message in everything that one does. On both personal and professional levels, one's style, choice of scent, behavior, the walk, matters and sends a message. Each of these factors contribute to who you are in and out of work. It is basically your overall package. Not one less. Guiliano proceeds to break down in mini chapters aspects such as Clothing Maketh the Woman, Artificial Sweeteners {Ergo, choice of scents, which I wrote on extensively at work}, Manners and Training, all of which I have enjoyed reading tremendously even if I feel confident enough with how I dress and conduct myself in business.

And then there were those nuggets of wisdom in which I found myself enveloped in wide eyed wonder, that feeling of knowing you're in the midst of learning something valuable, that my toes tingled inside my socks.

Setting and managing your own expectations defines success and a path to balance and happiness. My advice is, don't get too caught up in long-term definitions; chew on manageable short term goals and benchmarks or you will only get frustrated, depressed, or worse. Be realistic. If you are the kind of person who worries in your twenties about how much you should be investing for your retirement, you need to think harder about living your life in phases and resetting your measures for success along the way.

I will always be a Carrie at heart but Samantha Jones is my career icon, even if she's fictional.

Taking into consideration Mireille's nuggets of wisdom, I remember taking a break from reading and proceeded to sit on my chair, face my desk, analyze my goals, both short term and long term. I realized that for me to make use of these things that I glean from books, I need to incorporate them onto my own system, marrying both branding and setting my success measures amongst other things. I have recently made amendments to my short term goals, but more on that in the future. This book just does that to me and more. I noticed that I have been happier executing my tasks, garnering more favorable results and my relationships have improved extensively. Now more than ever, I realized that I can see what I want clearer than I ever have and I have identified the steps that I need to undertake to be able to achieve them.

Being comfortable with ourselves is a better indicator of success than the handbag we carry, but that bag or our ability to own it is often tied to our self-actualization and identity. Therein lies the recurrent challenge of managing our expectations and psychological head games. One thing I know, mediocrity is the enemy of success, and we should not fool ourselves into thinking good is great.

I realize that this post is getting too long for a blog post--- I guess that's how much influential this book has become to me. If I would ever write a book, it would be something like this --- an Asian take, perhaps?

Effective leaders possess a self confidence that is contagious. And they are not afraid to hire highly talented people. They are not threatened by them. Who doesn't want to believe in their boss and their boss' ability to do what they say and achieve what they say the will? Effective leaders are not afraid to take risks. That's why they're paid the big bucks. Business cowards do not earn respect, and hypocrites when discovered are mentally written off.
The Not Always So Gentle Art of Coping

What separates men from women is our ability to care for ourselves and for others --- like it's the most natural thing in the world. Guiliano reiterates the importance of caring for oneself even if caught up in a sea of stress. She reminds her readers not to forget eating breakfast, dodging common stress causes such as check in bags {if an airline has lost your luggage, you'd be sympathizing to this}, lack of sleep, and not eating well, among others. I know the feeling of having to stay up late and lose sleep because we all have deadlines and deadlines are dead lines. But we aren't robots and our productivity will just go down the more we feel sleepy.


I recommend this to someone like me, who's been in the corporate world for a couple of years. There is much to learn {I cringe at the thought of Makati girls who show up at meetings in flip flops, unkempt feet and too sheer dresses.} Sometimes, we think we know everything but there's much too much left in this world to learn.

This is a great career guide, girls. I have learned so much from this and I will not hesitate to share the lessons I've gotten. I cannot say how much it has helped me, and affirmed me of the things I've been doing right, and the things I need to improve on. Grab it on the chance that you can.


Things I Love: Singapore

>> Monday, January 17, 2011

As I type this, I still have not unpacked. Vacations tend to do that to you: stump you in your movements and be trapped in a seemingly hangover, one which Berocca cannot cure.

I'm pretty stoked to go back to work though. But I don't want to move. Yes, I had fun. Yes, I wore myself out. Yes, I went shopping. Yes, I think it's a sign of another fabulous year to come, this trip.

I have seen a bajillion blog posts about SG trips and being the late SG-bloomer that I am, I wouldn't blog about the things I saw and did --- they weren't very touristy anyway. We basically got lost in the city, injected a couple of semi-tourist things into the mix, discovered the best martini/margarita in town and partied until our legs begged off. It was a very fun chick trip after all.

Oh did I mention I went shopping? =P

Here are some of my photos from a recent holiday at Singapore, the things I loved from it, in no particular order.

 At Orchard Road Station | Rubi Shoe Store
Echoing my thoughts? Yes!

Ion, Orchard Road
This time, I limited myself to window shopping lest I blow my shopping budget
in just one bag.

Artsy Fartsy Exhibits | Esplanade

SG's version of Beauty and the Beast.
For a minute, I thought I was in Japan

Dress: From Bangkok
Flats: CMG

Makansutra Hawker Centre 
Orgasmic Food. I kid you not.

 Grilled Stingray. Nom.
Thanks to Sophia's suggestion.

Because I can wear short shorts and not give a hoot.
Striped Chambray Shirt: Cotton On
Denim Shorts: Cotton On
Belt: Rubi
Flats: Mimosa
Shades: Promod
Bag: CMG

Despite the various "scents," I love SG's transportation system.
Marina Bay Train Station

And random cute, adorable babies that appear out of nowhere.
Marina Bay Sky Park

 Lycheetini at Keyaki Bar | Pan Pacific Hotel

The best view of Singapore from Orgo

Dumplings, Hor Fun, Lemon Prawns and Sugarcane Juice. Nom.
Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre

 Dressed up ever so casually at Singapore's financial district: Raffles Place
Top: Gift from Nikki
Denim Shorts: Cotton On
Belt: Room 707
Flats: Mimosa

Hmft. But points for the sense of humor.
Merlion Park | One Fullerton Place

The Makings of a Girly Night Out.
Purses. Makeup. A Neck Massager. Heels.

Margaritas. Girlfriends. Makeup. Purses. Heels.
Cafe Iguana | Clarke Quay

Dress: Room 707
Heels: Pill Shoes
Purse: Liz's

Speaking of which <3.

Dressing up. Dancing. Champagne. Wine. More dancing.
Stereo Lounge | Pan Pacific Hotel

An Adorable Take on History.
Chinatown Station

More FOOD.
Food Street | Chinatown

Pseudo Cherry Blossom trees.
Some street on Chinatown.

Dress: Chilli
Belt: Room 707
Flats: Mimosa

Instagramming on the Street.
Because there's wi fi. How random.

Sephora. Need I say more? {thank you Liz, for bringing me!}
Ion | Orchard Road

Changi Airport. So beautiful and deserving of Conde Nast Traveler's 2010
Best Airport Award!

Airports are my happiest and saddest places.

I can't help but quote a BMW ad I've seen on the train:
Every decision you've made has led you to this moment. 

What's your favorite moment so far?


Open Your Eyes To Me

>> Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Madonna superfan in me just had to meld the lyrics into the post. :P

Is it just me or is having Oriental eyes such a pain sometimes? 

Back in the day when I thought that eyelids can only be made up in single colors, I have usually stuck with the darker colors in the belief that I could create the illusion of bigger eyes. Of course, back in those days, there were no beauty blogs, no Youtube gurus and no books that taught us little girls with little eyes that make up was a lot like drawing {or Adobe Photoshop, in my case}. So I always ended up looking like a little Chinese raccoon because I had so wanted to look like those Japanese dolls with the biggest eyes EVAR. True story.

When I finally discovered the awesomeness that the beauty blogs are, I finally understood how to make my eyes seem bigger, though these days, it doesn't remain to be my goal. More importantly, through my makeup/kaartehan blogging, I learned to accept what I have and to just play it up rather than attempt to hide it under a ton of gray and coal eyeshadow.

When I received gifts from our friends from L'oreal, though, all these memories came rushing back and immediately, I had to play with the lovely colors in the Plum Harmony palette of the Open Eyes Pro line.

The small mirror is a nice touch, IMO.

Here's a bit of swatching I did:

It's kinda weird the darkest shade is more brown than plum :{
And the lightest shade seems too glittery, too.

But I think it does its job of opening the eyes so I'm all good.

Skincare: Obagi Condition and Enhance Toner
Obagi Condition and Enhance Sunblock

Face: L'oreal True Match Concealer in Light Medium
L'oreal True Match Powder in Sand Beige
Revlon Photoready Translucent Finisher

Eyes: L'oreal Open Eyes Pro Palette in Plum Harmony
Eyeliner: MAC Eye Kohl in I Get No Kick
Maybelline Cat Eyes Mascara

Lipstick: The Body Shop Colourglide #07

What about you, what's your eye makeup frustrations?



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All I Want to Do

1. Go to NYC. 2.Create and not touch an emergency fund. 3. Tell someone I love him. 4.Cook a five-course meal and serve it to someone I love. 5. Love my imperfections but improve them, too. Read the rest here. Read the the 30th version here.
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