Sunday, November 27, 2011

four years later ...

it's not like i know anyone from leyte. except imelda marcos, i suppose. but everyone knows imelda, right?

so when i first went there in 2007 for a leaders' training for my catholic community, i never thought i'd utter the words, "i shall return," general douglas macarthur style.

{leyte landing! finally}

but somehow, four years after my first ever domestic flight (i've flown international before but never domestic so it was such a big deal for me then!) to leyte, i came back.

the plane left at 4:20 a.m. which meant that just about the time the sun started to light up the world, the plane was landing on tacloban, leyte.

{tacloban runway}

it was a full day. left tacloban at 6-ish (bag took forever to come out of the plane!), slept the entire two-hour drive to ormoc, ate a quick breakfast and changed from wee-hours-of-the-morning traveler self to i-am-so-competent-i-can-do-this-in-my-sleep labor lawyer self, did an 8-hour lecture to the businessmen of ormoc, so 12 hours later, my feet were killing me, the smile had melted off my face, and all i could do was gaze out into the beautiful hotel-scape that holds so many memories for me from four years ago.

{sunset at ormoc villa hotel}

just like macarthur, i did return. and as all the memories came flooding back, i've realized that it's not only good to be back, it's great to realize how far i've gone since the last time i was here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

harbat time!

allow me to spill a secret.

my bag collection is half-fueled by tita celia. and when i say half-fueled by tita celia, what i mean is that i go home to cabanatuan, try to borrow as many pretty bags as i can, and hope that she forgets all about them.

it's been known to work in the past. don't tell her but i still have her gucci bag with a bamboo handle and a dkny bag from long ago. then again, i don't think she. really forgets. after all, when i was trying to make harbat another wallet last weekend, she did remind me that i got her ferragamo wallet and claimed it as my own. so much for that.

in any case, when i was in cabanatuan for the all saints' day weekend, tita celia probably felt extra generous when i told her about my quest to fabulousity. i guess she didn't want me to look too dukha amidst the fabulousity in makati. or she probably just loves me for being the only grandchild who went home. in any case, she offered me this bag to take home.

a gorgeous black kate spade bag. it was the perfect size (especially if you're just like me who brings a book with her everywhere) and the perfect color (remember - i don't have a decent black bag) and the perfect brand (sigh, kate spade is ♥).

and you know what was more perfect about it? the fact that it had a polka-dotted hot pink lining. not only am i in love with hot pink, polka dots happen to be one of my favorite patterns on earth. put them together and it's awesome sauce. put them together in a kate spade bag, well that's awesome some times 2.

*sigh* if heaven was this place where all your materialistic dreams come true (of course i know it isn't, so i'm saying if it were, you know, for the sake of literary license), there'd be pretty kate spade bags with pretty linings floating about for the taking. yes, that would be niiiiiiice.

what's even more awesome was that she first offered this lovely stabilo yellow kate spade bag to me. it's the bigger, even more gorgeous version of the black bag, except that it came with specific "return on 8 november 2011" instructions. uhm, that would be tough, i thought, so i simply deferred borrowing that for now.

be warned, stabilo yellow kate spade bag, that one day, i'd have you in my grubby hands and i'd get to pretend your mine until tita celia remembers ☺ mwahahaha.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


{miniature chinese terracotta warriors}

If there's one thing that I learned from working with my Justice, it's that travel will never be a waste of one's time and resources. And if there's one place that piqued my interest from her many stories, it'll be Xi'an's terracotta warriors.

My new company's personnel policy won't vest me with any vacation days until 2013 when I'll hopefully be able to finally visit my parents in the US. Then there's still Cambodia on my travel bucket list. I do know that a visit to China, whether sooner or later, is in order, and that one day, I'll be face-to-face with the full sized terracotta warriors.

Until then, these miniature ones will have to do.

*Thanks to Tin for bringing home these miniature versions for me. Your friendship is too precious for words.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Fino is ♥

Long before I attempted to achieve the “too expensive”, my high school self longed for something from Fino. I think it was the checkered lining that did me in, but for some reason, the simple, clean, and classic lines of the exterior matched with the pretty inside lining made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Warm, fuzzy, and in major want.

The first Fino product I owned was a wallet, and I think I was already in college when I bought it. I can’t remember now if it was the fruit of a summer job, Christmas money, or saved up allowance. But I do know that when I finally toted home that brown and white paper bag carrying a beautifully crafted brown leather wallet inside, my heart was singing wonderful symphonies.

Over the years, I’ve amassed various Fino products. Ironically, I’ve only ever bought small leather goods, the biggest being this beautiful red planner that I used to bring with me everywhere. The rest – thank goodness, said my wallet – were presents. Some items (like my favorite red key chain that I bought for spike and the first ever Fino wallet) were retired or given away. Some items – especially the bags – just grew prettier with age.

Like that first wallet, each Fino item comes with a memory. My first bag was given by the Martian, went with me to countless classes in the UP College of Law and hearings in the QC Hall of Justice. My second bag was a Christmas gift from Tita Celia, most likely over-generous cause it was bought on her first date with Sir. My pencil case was a gift from one of my brother's longest relationships ever and my matching coin purse and key chain were from students who thought my birthday was in February. And the toiletry case ... sigh ... that was from the pilot.

I've always wanted to add a third Fino bag to my collection except that the first time I attempted to, my friend prevailed over me and told me to save the money instead, so I used it to open a savings account. My second attempt was foiled by another well-meaning friend and, sad to say, lack of immediately available funds.

The third time, I contemplated between something short-term (hence, non-Fino) and long term. And while the call of the short-term (a long weekend was coming up and there was this bag and shoe that I wanted like crazy) was screaming inside my head incessantly, in the end logic (not everyone might agree though, haha!) prevailed and once more, I went home with that white-and-brown paper bag.

{happiness guaranteed}

When I first resigned from my last job, I knew I wanted to be like my former boss who got something major from her last paycheck. Since my last paycheck wasn't going to be that major, I owed it to myself to be realistic. A Chanel 2.55 or a Celine Luggage Tote, while horribly desired, would most definitely be out of the question. So I picked the next best thing, and something that has eluded me for years: my third Fino bag.

{to quote Barney Stinson, It's going to be legen ... wait for it}

I must admit though that the thought of spending that much on a bag scared me. And while i'd done it before, that was (1) a long-term loan from Tita Mayu and (2) an LV. In the end, though, it was the childhood dream coupled with the proven quality that won me over. My first Fino bag is roughly 8 years old and is still as fabulous as the day it first appeared on my doorstep. Who was I to doubt that whatever bag I purchase from Fino wouldn't enjoy the same longevity?

{DARY! yep, it's pink. what else did you expect?}

Okay, not everyone would agree that a hot pink would be the best color for a forever bag. Then again, my first Fino is red and the second is baby blue. Both have been used more time than I care to count. Black bags are boring, and black bags are typical forever bags. I want this forever bag to be all about me, and when it's all about me, well, we know it's going to be pink.

{the standard Fino metal plate}

Well, pink and Fino. Fino is ♥.

Okay, I'll admit that spending my hard-earned money on pink bag did scare me a bit. And I'll admit that I also wanted the black version as I do not have a decent black bag in my closet. I knew that if I were to get my money's worth, it would have to be in a color (or non-color, if you want to be technical about it) that basically goes with everything. The black bag did have the most exquisite red lining ...

... Then I opened this bag and found that it was lined in orange. Ooooohhhhlaaaaalaaaaa! My absolute favorite combination. It doesn't get any better than this.

{the deciding factor: orange lining!}


Sunday, November 06, 2011

the look of things to come

You know what all the fashion books say – a person shouldn’t necessarily follow trends; rather, a person should find her personal style and go with it. So, for the most part, I’ve tried. Even if that means a lot of hot pinks, blacks, and white tops in my closet.

But notwithstanding my own attempts to stick to a look that I admittedly love, at the end of the day, I can’t help but pick on the vibe that comes from my bosses. So, there was the preppy look when I was at the Court of Appeals, the laid-back lawyer look when I worked for a firm (seriously – one time I came to work in a dress – admittedly to go to an interview with another job – one of the partners had to ask if I had a hearing that morning. Clearly, dressing up wasn’t the norm), and the serious love for bling, shoes, and bags at my last job. You know what this chameleon-like tendency amounts to? An inordinate amount of shopping on the first few weeks on the job.

Or months … I’m a girl. You know how it’s like.

In any case, the utter lack of suits and formal shoes that should have dominate my work wardrobe from the get go has finally caught up with me. Where I work now, it seems that all the male lawyers are in a barong everyday and the female ones are in suits. Except for Fridays, I don’t think I’ve ever seen my immediate boss not wearing a suit. Come to think of it, even the intermediate boss wears either a suit or a barong on any given day. And let’s not even begin to discuss super big boss. I don’t even think she owns a pair of jeans.

So, in the spirit of blending in (okay, fine, also in the spirit of having an excuse to shop for pretty things), I got myself a few wardrobe essentials.

{from l to r: old navy, folded and hung, and an unbranded coat}

Yes, those are three black coats. Yes, I know that they’re redundant. No, I don’t think it’s dumb to get redundant things. They’re made from different fabrics, and they’re all different cuts, and they’re all pretty. So no, you don’t get to judge me spending money on three black coats.

{from l to r: charles and keith, dexter, janylin}

Yes, I already have shoes, maybe even more shoes that I can wear in a month. But when (1) shoes are on sale or (2) they have skid proof soles and are pillows on your feet or (3) sport a style that you absolutely cannot resist, I am absolutely helpless. To my defense, the rightmost pair cost me Php299 only. It would’ve been a crime not to have bought it.

Before I left my last job, my boss had specific instructions that in order to finally bait the man of my dreams, I should step up my game. And, if that means learning how to curl my lashes in the morning, teetering around in heels, and making sure that I more than just comb my hair in the morning, then bring it on. After all, to my spending-oriented mind, it only means that I am being given the perfect excuse to shop.

{beribboned green matthews flats and sparkly wool juan flats}

P.S. Before you think i've gone all black and boring on you (what can I say? Black goes well with my favorite hot pink color and makes me look thin), I've got me some sparkly shoes as well. Staid and formal as my new office may be, there's such a thing known as casual fridays where my motto is bring on the bling ... albeit in the form of shoes which can be hidden beneath the desk and will allow me to appear all business-like notwithstanding the party on my feet.
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