Fashion Dream Come True #2: The Boots

>> Monday, May 30, 2011

It's been a little less than three years since I've worn boots, the last time being a cold week in Hong Kong back in '08. I do recall wearing the same pair {which I bought there} sometimes in the office, enveloping my skinny jeans, forgetting jeans on a non-Friday are no-nos in a corporate setting. The HR Manager flashed me a thumb sign as I quickly ducked into an open elevator when this realization sunk in.

 Somewhere in Hong Kong | 2008
{That's me in an awkward pose with some nice car parked awkwardly.}
Inner top: Memo
Jacket: from Hong Kong {which I used again three years after!}
Jeans: Banana Republic
Boots: from Hong Kong
Bag: from The Ramp

What can I say, it was cold. Cold enough to be wearing boots in Manila.

I don't remember wearing them again and I know I just kind of forgot about the pair I got for a really good price in Kowloon somewhere in the back of my shoe closet. I guess I can't really be blamed: who can think of wearing boots in a country with only two seasons: hot and hotter?

I truly was planning on buying a pair suitable for single-digit weather but as expected, there weren't any that I could find here and I was not too keen on buying online for fear of finding something in Toronto which I'd like better and end up with a luggage a pair of boots heavier. And I was right.

Aldo Alberta in 37 with hidden heels <3

I found this pair at an outlet store somewhere in Brampton, Toronto, when my friend's {extra cool, I should say} cousin took us around the shopping haven that city was, in the middle of my entire Canada trip. It was almost the end of the day and I was feeling a bit exhausted {as well as my debit card} when I saw it and felt an immediate connection. 

There were rows upon rows of boots but this one seemed to be the only one
detected by my shoe radar.

I immediately tried it on and as confirmed by my fasyon friends, this one fits the bill. Together with another pair, I lined up at the till {got more discounts, too, yay!} and paid for my purchases. I was a happy girl. I was so happy with my purchase that I declared I could go hungry for the night {of course, I didn't but you already know that}. Too, I needed a pair because my outfits during that vacation was getting too boring for words. Luggage limit made me stick to jeans and do laundry most days or repeat some items. *cry*

What attracted me to this ubiquitous piece of awesomeness was its suede material, a suitable lining and the uncommon closure, which spoke to me from nine meters far. In a country and season which weather ranged from 7 degrees C to 22, I needed a pair. Really.

Besides, no one can go wrong with boots. Be it with jeans or dresses. And so I made the most of it because now that I am back in the city of Manila, I am not quite sure when I will ever be able to wear it again {okay, maybe I can plan a cold-weather city trip or something}.

Exhibit A: At the Union Station, getting off from our very nice rented car.
{My eyes are obviously bagong gising.}

 Bound for Hogwarts {No, not really} at the VIA Rail Station.
{The Hong Kong jacket makes an appearance again!}

 At King Street W, just outside the Sun Life Global Headquarters {of course, love your own!}
Dress: from Singapore
Tights: George
Trench Coat: Promod

At the Lester Pearson International Airport in Toronto
Top: Alexane
Jacket: from Hong Kong
Jeans: Lee
Belt: Room 707

At the Canada Place in Vancouver, BC.

Dress: from Bangkok
Tights: Marks & Spencer
Cardigan: Merona
Belt: Room 707

At the Public Library in downtown Vancouver
Top: from a flea market in Singapore
Skirt: Thrifted
Tights: George

I wish I could wear boots more often, what about you?
Just in case you were wondering, I wrote about my first Fashion Dream
Come True here


If The World Ended Then

>> Saturday, May 28, 2011

I wouldn't change a thing.

Having been not at home or my home country for that matter when news of the rapture and the supposed End of The World on May 21st, I was away from TVs, not paying that much attention to Twitter and having the time of my life shopping and laughing with friends.

My friend C's boyfriend has been whining over Skype that if the world ended then, C was at least lucky {if lucky was even a word to be used at a time when an imminent rapture was to happen} to have been at a first world country while he remained to be in Manila {as if that changes anything, the time zone maybe?}. I laughed and said that we are all at least thinking of him by spending time in Chinatown and that if the world did come to an end, he could key in a few warning texts via BBM so we'll be prepared 12 hours prior.

I was kidding.

We all have these preconceived ideas of how we are to spend our last days on earth: I with the thought that I'd fly to US to be with my parents and do goodness knows what. I never really thought of it --- I never really think that too far ahead. But that day, even if I knew it deep in my heart, with all my humble knowledge of the Bible, that the world was not coming to an end when everyone is freaking out over it --- I thought, what if it was my last day to live?

 I was in the North. And there was light.

And you know what, I wasn't going to change a thing. I would still spend it waking up at 4:00 AM, see the magnificent North American sun rise in its larger-than-I've-ever-seen glory, board a train going to a city I've always wanted to see, hear kids speak in adorable French baby talk, adore pink blossoms at the center of the streets, thank the heavens for another week of being with my parents, for having been communicated to by the people who matters the most, have a nice Italian dinner in the middle of a city whose energy inspired me in more ways than one, laugh and toast {I don't even know if this was appropriate} to red wine as we recall our lives, who we have become in the past years and how things have been falling into place for all of us, call it a day and sleep the tightest I have in days.

Lux - Northern Lights | Cafe del Mar Volume 7
I can't think of any other song that would underscore May 21/22 for me.

There is not a thing I'd change. Because to me, if the world does come to an end, there is nothing left to do but live the day as it ought to be: how a NOW should be.


The Accidental Museum Nut

>> Friday, May 27, 2011

It was around 10 AM, our rented Mazda 6 cruised along Jarvis St. and then Bloor St. {the very much hyped and famed high end shopping district of Canada's biggest city, Toronto}. I was gazing outside while the rain steadily poured upon rows and rows of yellow and pink tulips, albeit cutely. When I say 'cute rain,' it's drizzling. And it was okay, I didn't mind it. I was wondering how I could squeeze in the time to go mull over the high end items for sale at Bloor {really, just to ogle them.}

My dad then pulled over at the parking lot across The Royal Ontario Museum and soon we were crossing over to the ROM where there people wearing hip clothes and talking animatedly were milling around. I honestly had no expectations with the whole museum thing because 1) The only museums I've ever been to is the National Museum and Museong Pambata and I don't even remember what I've seen in there. 2) I'd like to think I know a lot and have been to a lot of museums but I haven't. So I won't.

From the outside, one can tell that the museum is fairly new and modern and very, very contemporary. The mirror, or more appropriately, The Crystal, is ROM's new entrance, designed by Daniel Libeskind. It's pretty amazing to see in person and it's hard to contain in a single photo, hence the borrowed photo above.

The first floor was all about Canadian history: complete with how the First People of Canada {the Indians} lived through the early winters of the world: making their own winter coats, their own canoes, their own weapons for hunting food and basically surviving through the snow.

Look at that super long canoe!

An Indian's headpiece's number of feathers was a sign of status. The more
feathers in it, the more important and intellectual the individual is.

The First People's Winter/Hunting Clothes

Right on.

Early Canadian education systems.

And it gets more interesting as I saw some paintings:

Tara: Mama, picture-an mo ako with this painting, please.
Mama: Bakit, sino ba yan? Kilala mo?
Tara: Hindi.
Mama: Eh bakit papapicture ka.
Tara: Parang importante eh. Malay mo.

Another important gold structure.

I'd love to show more pictures of the first floor but there's more in the second and third {which is my favorite}. The second floor introduced me to the world of animals and science --- a side of me which I didn't know existed. In grade school, while I did pay attention to my science subjects, and even now, I can identify every single familiar tropical animal or flower or tree but the museum introduced me to animals I have only seen in books. Yes, even if they are dead and exhibits of taxidermy.

It's a panda!

Overheard as I was taking a photo:

Dad {to his son}: That is a giant panda.
Son: Doesn't look so giant to me.

Don't kids just say the darnedest things? 

I have happy feet.

I was happy with this picture already yet I met a live one later in the trip.

To me, this is the king of the Canadian jungle. It's HUGE!

To see a polar bear was the trip's utmost goals. I saw a live one later, too.

In real life, a grizzly bear would not stare at me like that.

Every specie of bird imaginable in mock flight. It was unbelievable.

The last floor was by far my most favorite part of the entire museum, only because it reinforces by love for Victorian/Edwardian living and furniture. I felt like I was back at Casa Loma yet again and this was the part where I lingered the longest.

The 1800s' dessert plates are just too intricate! I wish I'd have lived then!

The Entertaining Room

Now, who wouldn't want to learn the harp in these surroundings?

I spent about 10 minutes ogling the Milady's Dressing table hoping to
see 18th century make up. No bueno.

And there was the Romantic Age ...

... which featured items such as Frederyk Francois Chopin's piano!

Hanging out for three quarters of the day at the Royal Ontario Museum made me want to learn more about history. Too, it made me realize how few museums we have {if there were any, they weren't as well maintained} and it made me wish we had more museums than malls. It was only my third day at Toronto when we visited ROM but already, it changed me in a way that I have wanted to pursue studies on science and the history of art {Now that I'm back home, I still feel the same so I guess it isn't a whim}.  It made me think what a good economy can do to the pursuit of education. Hopefully, I can do something to help this sometime in the future.

On a lighter note, like my dream and life mission to visit more castles, I am making it a goal to visit the museums in the cities I will be traveling to in the future. 

Do you like museums, too? Which ones are your favorites?


Fashion Dream Come True: The Scarf

>> Thursday, May 26, 2011

I can't say how much I'd want to wear scarves every single day. It's crazy.

To me, putting on a scarf ups one's fashion quotient {weather-permitting} without having to add crazy items or if one wants to spruce up a simple outfit {a shirt, jeans and flats}.

But Manila weather will never be scarf-worthy. Or rarely will it be.

Once some two years ago, I wore a scarf to work, during December. I woke up to colder than usual weather so I grabbed my white pullover and my pink scarf and some jeans and sped off to work. I was in heaven.

By noon, the weather decided to rear its normal self and it was back to being hot, not so, but not enough for me to keep the scarf on my neck. Since then, I have foregone wearing scarves unless it was less than 20 degrees, which never happened in Manila.

Blake Lively as Serena Van Der Woodsen is my inspiration for scarves,
here in this photo in a snow leopard print scarf.

Screencapped from Gossip Girl by CW

When the Canadian trip was booked, sealed and set in stone, the first thing I bought was a new scarf.

When Tin and I walked into Zara that day, I immediately saw a hot pink and black striped scarf with a material impeccably suited for winter. I put it on and mused, "I look like a student from Hogwarts," and laughed. It wasn't until we got into the bigger scarf shelves that Tin spotted this zebra-ish printed scarf in brown and black. It screamed my name.

And while I fell in like with the Hogwart-ish scarf I encountered at the entrance of the store, I couldn't resist the neutral classiness of the scarf pictured above. While I tend to splurge on rather trendier items once in a while, I couldn't help but lean towards the scarf that would go together with the items on my outfit flowchart {yes, I make one for trips!} which were mostly in the neutral family. A pop of color would've been nice but I wouldn't want the same pop of color every single day. Besides, I had another pink scarf to bring.

And as I would have it, {and to quote a new friend, M, Scarf ang magdadala sayo sa tugatog ng pictures}, I have thrown the scarf into combo with my neutral outfits in my recent trip to Montreal. If anything, because traveling limits your choices and options to stay fasyon, your scarf is best bet.

 At Rue Sainte Catherine, Montreal, Montreal's shopping district.

Scarf: Zara Accessories
Shirt: Victoria's Secret {my scarf helped accessorize a rather plain shirt}
Jeans: Promod
Bag: CMG

At the Biodome of Montreal
Turtleneck: Marks and Spencer
Flats: CMG

What's your fashion wish? Anything that came true recently?


Things I Love: Canada Edition

>> Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's been almost two weeks that I've been here and if you ask me, it feels like forever that I am so used at this lifestyle that I don't mind staying on two weeks more: I don't get up too early, I take leisurely baths, my first thought in the morning is where to shop, I take pictures of everything I see, I can pause to write my thoughts, I spend time with my parents, I have nonstop laughs with my friends and the weather is such an absolute delight {never higher than 22 C}.

I really can get used to this.

But as I have been thinking the other day as I struggled to fold every piece of clothing that I own into my suitcase, in preparation for the last leg of my Canadian trip was that I would be home soon. By then I would be so caught up {or maybe the right phrase would be 'attempting to catch up'} with the things I left that I would soon put all these into the back of my mind.

That's something I don't like doing, so indulge me as I share with you some of the highlights of my trip --- things that made me giggle and laugh boisterously over the last two weeks:

Train rides. Boot-shopping. Outlet stores.
Tim Hortons {God, I love that Iced Capp!} Polar bears.

The Royal Ontario Museum {I can live in that museum}, French. French baby talk.
Jaw-dropping cute strangers. Napolitana pizza. The Niagara Falls.

 The Royal Ontario Museum

Spotting artsy fartsy offices. Miles Davis quotes and posters. Career inspirations.
Wifi everywhere. The kindness of strangers. Talking to Canadian/Filipinos in Filipino.

Not getting charged for overweight luggage. Pink Nouveau.
Tulips everywhere. Poutine. The World's Biggest Bookstore.
Weeds that are so pretty in pictures. The best Eggs Benedict EVER.

I am smiling like a kid on Christmas Day. Can you tell I'm so happy?
What's making you happy today?


The Case of the Twenty Five Year Old Me

>> Friday, May 20, 2011

If there is one big difference between my twenty year old self and all the ones that preceded it was that the former seemed to weigh things more. It’s not that I did not bother thinking before. As any of my friends, my parents, my brother and probably even my neighbors can attest to: I have always been the spontaneous kind.

This statement applied to virtually every decision I have made in my life. I seem to have fully lived Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of “Blink” where he values a human being’s ability to judge in a snap. All my life, my choices on what to study, what book to read, what course to take, who to make friends with, and many more were based on how I felt about certain things in the span of two seconds. I don’t regret any of those. In fact, I am proud to have made those decisions and turned out the way I am now. Adding another year into my calendar seemed to change all of that, though.

One of the best lessons I’ve learned since turning 25 has been about thinking things through. I do not act upon gut feel now {though needless to say, it’s still a big consideration}. My shopping habits have changed drastically since: I have been thinking twice about every single purchase --- an imaginary pros and cons column appear in time every time I’m at the till. I have outlined a spending plan for myself at the beginning of the year so it wouldn’t come as a shock when there are inevitable expenses. Every new acquisition {a term I lovingly call my newly bought shoes, clothes and books} has a detailed ROI behind it, especially big ticket items that go into the debit column of my checkbook.

The same principle has been applied to my personal life: I am now keeping knee jerk reactions at bay. Doing this has done me a whole world of good since I no longer offend people unintentionally with my I-thought-they-were-witty quips. Before, I had a mouth that was quicker than my mind, as my friend R would say. Most of those little accidents have been funnier than annoying but embarrassing enough as I catch myself every time, foot in mouth.

Now that I am two quarters into my quarter of a lifetime, thinking twice has proven to be of immense benefit. When I think twice about a purchase I might regret the morning after, more money goes into my mutual fund account. When I think {twice, if I may add} if I’d rather read a book or throw my time away lounging around Facebook, I learn something new instead of just playing games that I have nothing to show for after. When I am down and contemplating on understanding my “feelings” and letting it take over for two hours, I think again and decide that it’s not doing any good for my well-being so I just do something productive like write blog posts. When there are ultimate, life-changing decisions that need to be made, I think again and many times, I thank heavens that I did, having saved myself from preconceived hurt and frustrations.

Of late, one of the minor but quite important changes I have made in my slew of products is switching to Charmee feminine pads for my red days and pantyliners for more frequent use. Aside from the fact that this brand is rather more economical {a girl’s gotta save wherever she can!}, I like it that it has the Lavender, and Green Tea scents of which I am a huge fan of. The Unscented variant works for me when I’m feeling less girly, but is nevertheless fun. The breathable cover makes it a fresh pad to use, so I don’t have to worry about it feeling icky because of this unbearable weather. One would think that a change in pads is not exactly life altering but hey, if there’s one thing, it’s the little things that count.

It’s only been a few months that I’ve embraced this whole thinking twice strategy but already, I’ve been reaping colossal benefits!

I used to be scared silly of growing old but hey, if growing old means making more mature choices and getting fringe benefits at the same time, then I’d say: Bring it on!

How about you? Are you a think-twice girl? Tell me!!/CharmeeFemPro

*This is a sponsored post.


Starring: Tara

>> Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I have always thought I was meant to star at something. After all, my mother did name me after one: Tara.
In Hindu, Tara means ‘star.’ If I have then led a painfully dull life, it would have been a tragedy and a shame to the Hindu lexicon. Yes, I wouldn’t dare be humble about it. Too, Tara comes from an Irish Hill name {yes, indeed the origin of my Foursquare handle for my house: Tara Hills}, also known as, surprise, Hill of Tara {which means Hill of the Kings}.

Lately, I have been dwelling on the things I wasn’t good at: sports. I am a huge klutz and last time I had been in the presence of a ball and a net, I had cowered down and chalked it all up to nonchalance and refusal to be competitive.

It’s all a show.

For some reason, I have a natural genetic indisposition towards anything of physical activity, things that require agility and focus {I believe I am afflicted with ADD} and anything that results to sweating.

It pains me, really. I have never admitted it out loud, for I believe in not verbalizing things you don’t want to stick around or carry on. So I didn’t.

And better than that, I have come to take a look at the things that I CAN actually do great at. For a moment, I realized that while I probably will never be a Michael Phelps or a Maria Sharapova {though I used to have a mean backhand}, I am great at arts {again, not even going to be humble about it.} Throw me into a stage and I can act, I can do a mean dance number, I can carry a tune take over the mic and belt out ala Dolores O’Riordan. Best of all, I write pretty well, make a living and a life out of it and get paid for it, too.

Oh and I star at making myself seem right even if I am wrong {that my professor back in college told me he would've been convinced for a minute every single time I raised my hand.}

I didn’t say no to dancing and got an award for it.

So do I still feel bad about being bad at sports? Sometimes. But I think of the things I star at and I feel much, much better. And it makes me think that if I can be great in the arts, then I could be great with sports, too!

What about you? What things do you star at?
Care to share your starring moments at


Life Goal #56: Be a Princess

>> Tuesday, May 17, 2011

... or maybe, just see as much castles as I can.

Truth be told, I wasn't much of the 'princess' type --- have always abhorred the stereotype that princesses fell into: ladylike, submissive to their respective princes and expected to uphold the old, traditional traits of womanity also known as being conservative. If you know me in real life, you'd know  wouldn't fall under any of the categories above ever.

Exactly why I was not one of the girls who wanted to be princesses when they grow up. However, all that changed when I stepped into a true to life castle.

Casa Loma (Spanish for Hill House) is a Gothic Revival style house in midtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, that is now a museum and landmark. It was originally a residence for financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. Casa Loma was constructed over a three-year period from 1911–1914. The architect of the mansion was E. J. Lennox, who was responsible for the designs of several other city landmarks.
- Wikipedia
Just outside the castle is a bounty of gardens with cherry and apple blossoms and a lot of tulips!

I couldn't get over the tulips!

Got in through Toronto City Pass, too.

And because the castle is too big to blog about, am going to share pictures of
my favorite rooms in the castle:

The Oak Room | This is the room where the Pellat family entertains important guests
and conducts business and socio-civic matters. I breathed a deep breath as I entered this room
because of the Edwardian furniture. Everything had intricate carvings, amazing details and
lush textures.

My absolute favorite of all though would have to be Lady Mary Pellat's suite:

In the early 1900s, it was tradition for husbands and wives of affluent families to keep individual suites.
Lady Pellat had hers {darn bigger than Sir Pellat's!} in powder blue and exquisite Victorian furniture,
with accents in pink. I had a mad craving for tea and crumpets at the sight of the suite.

This is actually part of her bathroom. Isn't this just lovely?

The Pellats' Guest Suite was done in hues of burnt orange with chinoiserie and intricate
Asian touches. 

Another room that took my breath away: The Windsor Room, so called because Sir Henry Pellat
built this room just in case the royal family came to visit, they'd be staying here.

Look at that headboard!

The Windsor Room parlor area. The intricate prints remind me of Cath Kidston ca. 1800s.

And just beside the Windsor Room is the Round Room, so called because the room,
including the door, was made to be round inside:

Yet another room to drink tea in.

The Pellat Library can house 10,000 books but were self-confessed non-voracious readers.

And the outdoor patio. I just had to. 

And everywhere in the castle, the flowers are in bloom:

Who wants to be a princess like me?

Casa Loma is located at:
1 Austin Terrace
Toronto, ON M5R 1X8
(416) 923-1171



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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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