Thursday, January 30, 2014

Only the marvelous

“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls."
Anaïs Nin

Anais as a Spanish dancer in Paris, under the name Anita Guilera ( taken from the photographic supplement to the diary of Anais Nin)

Friday, December 27, 2013

The season's sense of urgency

Yuletide is my favorite season—it brings about a certain sense of urgency in terms of meet ups. It is, in a way, the last hurrah. This is the final call for reaching out to people you've ignored the entire year. It's the only time you can compel people to go home earlier than usual to get together for drinks or dinner. When there is no other excuse except: "I already have something planned for the night." When it would be absurd to claim you need to work (even if you really do).

It's my favorite season because all my foreign city-based friends like to come home during this time to experience what we've touted as the unique Pinoy Christmas (one that begins in September and ends in January, one where everyone celebrates from the start of Simbang Gabi until New Year.

It's been a good season for me—my sister, Giselle took a few days off (mostly to watch KBS and Red channel) from her work as Doctor to the Barrios in Abra; Bianca is back from NYC after 2 1/2 years, at least until January; Belle is visiting from Singapore; likewise, Ken is visiting from Dubai.

While Bianca and I have had a chance to catch up, I don't think I'll still be able to meet up with Belle. Blame it on Third World Telecom, I lost signal for a bit, so when I finally managed to drive to the place she was in, I seem to have missed her.

In any case, I still have a chance to bond with Doc Giselle, as with Kenneth, in the coming days. As it is, indeed my busiest season (a party every night, gift shopping, deadline surfing), I appreciate it in its entirety. Until next year then, when I can schedule more reunions and despedidas!

Holiday list: Loving this pair of Dolce & Gabbana Golden Cage wedges with flowers and straps.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Little Christmas Accident

A curious thing happened earlier today. I'm usually very graceful but today has been off for some reason. Not only did I spill black nail polish on my plaid cotton dress, I also dropped a different colored polish on the floor, which shattered into a hundred pieces! This happened all while we were out with our cousins for Christmas lunch. Boy, it was awkward! Some of glass cover shattered and hurt my sister Giselle, while also staining her foot with dark purple (bruise-looking) polish. We had to get my cousin to buy acetone and alcohol to remove the stains as well as treat her wound. Plus we had to free the floor from a horrible splash polish on the floor. Yikes!

Meanwhile, uncomfortable silence filled the room. The kids didn't know how to react. 

I decided to take matters into my own hands by creating an impromptu Christmas program. I started it off by singing a Christmas carol with my sisters, and then somehow convinced my nephews and nieces to sing, rap, and dance. Somehow, I pulled it off. My dad even gave out rewards for those who performed. Hopefully, this will be a traditional we can repeat in the coming years.

In the end, I turned a bad situaion into a happy moment. I'm glad, for the most part, although I swear never to bring nail polish to a Christmas party ever again.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A Life in Color

People I work with know that I hardly sleep, for me, four to six hours are enough on normal days. Yet this doesn't mean I don't like sleeping—I often get fantastic ideas when I sleep—these include feature stories, ideas for novels, and even design solutions. My subconscious guides me when I sleep, which is why I always try to keep track of my dreams. Looking for clues as to what the day would hold, or what kind of problem I am yet to solve. Often though, my dreams tire me out. It's always about some grand adventure, or some great debate, or one epic fight. Yes, my dreams are always epic in scale, much like how I live my life. 

In my mind, everything needs to be extraordinary and fantastic, and out-of-this-world. Yet all these things can only be achieved with temperance—knowing how to subtly color the unimportant parts so that the highlights will seem vibrant, brighter than ever. Like my clothes, I like wearing neutrals so that I can fully embrace color as I receive it. These are also the colors of my life: the mundane events are happily shaded in heather gray or silver-hued stone, but the highlights are in fire engine red, eggplant, saffron, amber, cobalt blue, and fuchsia.

I was reminded of my multi-colored existence today when I attended the exclusive tea party at The Peninsula for Lola Casademunt, the newest accessory and RTW brand of Rustan's Department Store. The Casademunt ladies came in prints and bright colors that brought cheer to my dreary day. Having grown up in Rustan's (I was a mall rat in college and the girls on the first floor of Rustan's Makati knew all of my preferences), the first thing I asked was where they'll put up the display for the brand. Apparently, it'll be in the ladies resort wear section, between the bikinis and the shoes!

Lola Casademunt
The brand was created in Barcelona in 1981, where Lola Casademunt's family lives. Lola or Dolores, is not just the owner and founder, she also designs the accessories and fashion jewelry that the brand is known for. They make everything from necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches and watches, and even shirts, dresses, scarves, bags, hats and gloves (whew!).

Her story is pretty impressive: She was discovered by an agent working in fashion, and was urged to start commercializing her designs. Taking this suggestion to heart, Lola then distributed her pieces in retail shops. In less than two years, her products were made widely available in Spain, and soon after, all over the world—in countries like Italy, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Japan, China, Dubai, and finally, Manila.

During the tea party, I had the chance to get practice my limited Spanish vocabulary (just enough to exchange pleasantries and get a photo with the family) with the matriarch, Dolores "Lola" Casademunt and her daughters Maite Gasso and Maria Mar Gasso. Maite and Maria Mar takes care of company management, but the presence (and essence) of Lola still remains.

Maita explained how their market is trendy, and always on the lookout for new things. The woman Maita had in mind already has everything she needs. And so she wants to create a new kind of experience for her: " I want her to go to our corner and say: Wow, lovely! I must take it with me." More than creating products set get the shopper's pulse racing, she enjoys the idea of being able to transmit something and create that 'moment' of bliss when one comes across an item they love.

F/W '13 Lookbook via

Even so, trends are just one of their inspirations for designs. "We follow the trends but we always think of other things. We are a very competitive company," says Maita. "When the iPad was in the market, we immediately had the Swarovski case. But I always like to have something new—in technology, adapt to the woman's capricciosa. I like capricious things. I look for this [quality]. People go to the Lola corner to find something different," she adds.

As to where they get their idea, she's quite lucky to find it on the road. "We travel a lot, we are always on the road because our business is like this. [While traveling] you get creative when you see many things, many things, many things, (I love this girl, she likes repetition!). After you have a mind full of ideas, then you develop it."

Here are some of my photos from the fun afternoon. Enjoy!
S/S '13 collection tableau
"Great minds think alike—that's how trends are made."
My good friend Mia Borromeo of Tatler and THE Susan Joven of Visions and Expressions 
I'm the only one in black! L-R Maria Mar Gasso, Lola Casademunt, and Maite Gasso
This chain mail cuff speaks to me
Yum. I had too much canapes. 
But this is the killer piece! They deconstructed the rosary as an accessory.

The Rustan's touch: Handwritten thank you notes. 

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Sunrise over QC

One of the things I dislike most about where I currently live is how Eastern the location is—which means when I come home from partying or working (it's only one of the other) in the wee hours of the morning, the sun seems to creep up behind me, trying to overtake me. My rule has always been to make sure that I'm tucked in bed before the sun shows up so that I can sleep for a few hours before I get up again.

The same is true today—I just got back from the office and I'm relieved that I made it just in time. Good morning!



A pretty test

Just trying it out :-)


Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Great Crash

As far as I'm concerned, this is probably one of the most difficult weeks of my life. In plain words, it sucked. No it wasn't the worst, I've probably had more horrible days, like when my grandmother died and our publisher was asking me when I'd be finishing the magazine (that wasn't due yet, mind you). Nope, this isn't it—not the worst, not by a mile. But it was trying, it was difficult, and I'm glad it's (almost over).

Virginia Woolf’s writing table at Monk’s House, Sussex, England, 1967.  Photo by Gisele Freund.
Last week I was coming to terms with what they call writing stamina—how does one write a career piece in less than 2,500 words? Simple, you don't write with 2,500 words, you write with 6,000. And so I did write 6,000 words. I wrote it continuously with almost no sleep in a span of 12 hours. Making it necessitated many hours of research, interview, pre-writing, and fact checking, transcribing, and even watching films from the '60s. As to who the subject is—you'll find out soon enough. Probably in a few days. I'm quite excited about it.

I also had to finish most of my stories for Metro last week. Now anyone who know me well enough and have worked with me many times in the past would attest that I am simply unable to comply with deadlines. Which is why I have to trick myself into believing the deadlines are much much earlier. Otherwise, I won't be able to finish anything. I need that extra kick from deadline danger to get my into a sort of creative overdrive. Sadly, the idea of a looming deadline gives me extraordinary focus, one thing that's difficult for me to achieve without.

The thing is, after every writing marathon is the Great Crash. I am unable to function normally. I sleep poorly. I cannot spell ordinary words. I run out of ideas. I dislike anything bright. I avoid people. 

This was a trying week because I still had a lot to do despite this rollercoaster of emotions. Things to do, people to meet, stories to write, subjects to interview, people to shoot, events to attend (although I skipped out on most, sorry guys).

In any case, I'm glad this week is over, just 30 minutes and it'll be done. Monday will present another battle.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Girl Crush: Simone de Beauvoir // I want everything //

“I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger.” - Simone de Beauvoir

At times I feel like this—greedy, wanting to be everything and do everything all at once, getting overwhelmed with the emotion of wanting to swallow the universe whole—the urgency passes after a while, but the yearning remains. It keeps burning. Today, I try to flame the fires. Oh Simone, how to deal?

Girl crush Simone de Beauvoir in my favorite cafe in Paris, Café les Deux Magots