Mar 28, 2014

Dancing In The Sun

I never know in advance what will be an important gift for me. Hence it behooves me to be open to possibilities and not ever waste time worrying. Isak Dinesen was once  quoted saying, "I think these difficult times have helped me understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way and that so many things one goes around worrying about are of no importance whatsoever." I don't know if having to experience my life with so much suffering and grief has made me realize this to be true... which is probably why I do not know whether to refer to the conditions I have been forced to live with as a gift or as a burden. I realized, too little, too late, that it's not that we need to seek pain and suffering to glean the rich learnings of life. When they happen, however, we learn so much more if we choose to see these situations as rich opportunities for learning. Unavoidably, we spend so much time worrying, and worrying is more than an attempt at remote control... which trust me, as a control freak, I once made an integral part of life that it was almost as natural as breathing. Unfortunately, we may be so preoccupied with worry that we miss the gifts our life is presenting to us at the moment.

 You see, until the very moment when I first broke down ate age twenty-one, I was a golden girl in spite of everything. Sure, my circumstances were far from being perfect but I had more than compensated for that by being adorable and charming in the way of precocious little girls by doing so well in school. I had it all worked out (in my head anyway) and if I just stuck by the rules, things will work themselves out. As with most things in life, apparently, sticking and adhering strictly to the program does not in any way guarantee that things will go as planned. Most often, quite the opposite usually happens. It started when I felt that something was really wrong with me physically and I ended up passing out in the mall, only to wake up at the Emergency Room, gasping for air as epinephrine was injected to me (in an almost Uma Thurman kind of way as depicted in Pulp Fiction, but in a less heroin-chic kind of way.) I had to take a term off in school as I was routinely tested for all the things that might lead to my throat and airways being blocked. I lost a whopping 35 lbs. and was almost skeletal as I was too traumatized to eat or drink anything that might lead to another "episode" as I called it. It was a great defeat of epic proportions but I gained access to the remote control to my life by carefully planning out my next strategy: I was going to graduate Summa Cum Laude and continue furthering my studies while working at the same time at the Neuropsychology Center of a hospital. That was the program and I was determined to stick to it...and I almost did until I was diagnosed with a Congenital Heart defect that prevented me from having any semblance of control in my life. Suddenly, I felt like I was being sucked into this whole world of blood tests, lab tests, holter monitors, ECGs, ______ -blockers and in an almost tragic way, I felt that life screwed me over in a major way since instead of being the doctor treating a patient, I ended up as the patient... and seriously, wasn't I suffering enough already? Thankfully I had a stable group of friends who could relate to what I was going through as they were sick as well and we shared to each other how we all felt like defective models, like we came off the assembly line already messed up and that we should've been taken back to sender to be replaced before the warranty ran out. 

On the bright side of things, some catastrophic situations invite clarity and I think having not to worry whether my life was going through as planned was one of them... since everything was already taken away from me... what was there left to worry about but the "now"? I suddenly realized how foolish I was, having all these grandiose plans, and being too busy worrying about these plans that I think I missed out on the most significant moments of childhood... all before all this never ending hospital trips started to become my lifestyle. Now I see people: worry-warts scrambling about and it feels so weird to be on the other side... of only living in the right now. If all this didn't happen to me I probably would be like all of them and I probably would not have realized it. When will we realize that the unfolding process of our lives is so much richer and varied than we could ever have planned? Ultimately, the unplanned and uncontrollable gifts we receive add color to the tapestry of living.

I then remembered a particular saying that goes something like, "When nothing is sure, everything is possible." I am sure that these words strike fear and terror in the heart of any woman who prides herself to be in total control of everything (or so she thinks)... I happen to know this because I was one of them. Even the prospect of admitting nothing is sure stimulates our minds to get very busy listing the things in life that we are sure about. If we are honest, the list is very small: death perhaps is the only really sure thing. Everything else is merely a possibility. But this doesn't mean you have to stop dreaming. I am just saying it might be healthy to accept that in life, we really don't have control of everything and that if things don't go as we have planned, we should not resort to blaming other people... (ie. This is all your fault. I am going to ruin your life. You ruined mine.) One of the exciting wonders of recognizing our need for control and beginning to let go is the weightlessness of anticipation...that everything is possible. And when we realize that we don't know, we are open to accepting what we don't know. 

Personally, living by faith is flying by the seat of my pants. I am really living that way anyway, but back then, I guess I have denied it as long as I could. At this point, my experiences have provided clarity and insight to life as it unfolds before me. This same philosophy I must say, I can apply to how I choose to dress up. If you took time to notice, when it comes to dressing up, I've decided to abandon all control and just let things be. This is why I say I am fashion-bipolar because with me, like in life, you never know what you're going to get and what you're going to see me wear next. All too often, I hear women say that "I hate having chosen such a useless day to wear this! What a complete waste of an outfit!" Unfortunately for these women, I have to say, the aspect of control manifests even in something as mundane and simple as dressing up. Freedom means choosing your own burden and I refuse to make something I am passionate about as a burden. Suffice to say, I am just really winging it. If it ends up raining on a day I have decided to wear something summery and inappropriate, I'll just smile and dance in the rain. And when a day comes that it is too hot (the weather in the Philippines is so unpredictable, I swear!), you won't see me complaining... trying to control things by staying indoors with air-conditioning put up to the max... I refuse to be cool... (and I do not consider myself cool in anyway to begin with.) No, that's just not my style, look outside and you'll see me, dancing in the sun. 

Lace Leotard: Topshop | Acid Wash Distressed Denim Jeans: Vanilla Breeze Clothing | Plastic Mirrorized Aviator Sunglasses with Pink Detail: High Five Brands | Multi-Color Statement Necklace: Ever New | Neon Cuff: Jhajing Fashion | Ankle Strap Chartreuse Heels: H&M

I think the title to this post is quite appropriate as I wore this outfit to the second day I visited the Manila Sundance Bazaar, a bazaar that I have decided to become a blogger partner/ambassador. I did not have qualms of joining to begin with because I always liked the concept of this event and when I believe in something, I go all out for support. Unlike other people, I do not find the need to charge just to make an appearance to something as awesome and well-planned as this. I will go and I definitely of charge. That's the wonderful thing about abandoning control- you also end up not controlling other people by endless rates and appearance fees... you just go...because you want to. The experience was marvelous and it took me two days to fully grasp all the wonderful things I was seeing. It was a great chance to mingle and get to learn more about local brands and show my support for them by being extremely interested in what they have to offer or how they started off.  I have to say that I have nothing but praises for this event and I guess she deserves a special mention in this post for a job well done: Congratulations to Marika Callangan, who pretty much took care of us and of all concessionaires despite the fact that I would often sense her tired, she refused to let it show. She was like an energizer bunny and I believe this experience (the first I got to attend because I was sick but agreed to promote the event during the first round) would not have been possible with her awesomeness!

xx, JL

Here are some photos of how I immensely enjoyed the bazaar.
Photo Credit: Some photos here are from my own camera, some I had to borrow from Dominique and others I got from the bazaar organizers, the concessionaires and from my lovely readers and fans. Thank  you for making this an unforgettable two days!

This was our booth where we sold pre-loved items from our closets! Thank you so much to everyone who bought! It meant so much to us!!!

A new up and coming brand which I sincerely believe will go far is Bora Bound. I love their items- the quality, the production and even the labeling was just superb! I was so surprised to hear that this was the first time they ever joined a bazaar because everything seemed so well-made!

Knowing me, what color do you think I got?

This brand has clothes that perfectly fit a person...need I say more?

I really love the bag styles and designs by Oh So Phine... I am so obsessed with their tiny bucket bags that I couldn't resist getting one!

Another bazaar favorite of mine, IndieGo PH is such an amazing store for those who need one of a kind awesome resort and beach wear! This brand had a pretty awesome booth and I absolutely loved my unique finds!

Domz' and my cap obsession had to go on and I just knew I had to get myself one of these floral printed caps from Shortcuts

And of course, my current obsession took on a whole new level when I visited the booth of Shopaholic Hubby. If you noticed I have this thing for stacking beaded bracelets together and this brand allows you to custom make your own...and get this... with a cute watch included!

Here are the steps:

And of course in my wonderful world of DIY, I abandoned all control and got myself a pair of Ingga Sandals which are basically scarf sandals that you can style in practically infinite ways. They also have wedged shoes that you can customize to your liking but the flat ones are my personal fave. You can even change the print and design of the scarves to match your wardrobe. This is an all-for-one kind of sandal, so I guess I have to bid farewell to bringing so many sandals to the beach!

The organizers knew that shopping is cardio (it really is) and so they partnered with Metro Manila Food Trucks and had a wide selection of booths that I am sure all foodies will enjoy!

Confession: Domz and I have this cheap thrill called boxer shorts for women. It's like our staple for sleeping and we always look for THIS booth in particular to purchase our own sleeping shorts!


Kimonos that double up as a cover-up or just something you want to throw in to add color to a basic outfit was also available in all designs, prints and styles!

I love Before Twelve ever since I saw their items at the Supersale Bazaar. I was always coming back to the booth because I found their designs one of a kind. Domz got the blue, white and red skirt and wore it to the office and got so many rave reviews for it! So we knew we had to go nack and look at their products. Before we knew it, the owner, Say Alonzo (yes Say Alonzo from PBB fame) came up to us and inquired about our blog and all the common friends we had. She was such a sweetheart and she was absolutely nice. I couldn't wait to wear what I got from this brand... hopefully an occasion comes up soon because I am reserving my great finds for something that worthy of the pieces.

For those of you who want a beauty regimen made up of Natural and Organic Ingredients (even for whitening or bleaching), a store I would recommend is LESS IS MORE 101 Store! They have a wide arrange of products for beauty and skincare... and what's better is you can buy all as a set!

Urban Hour is and always will be a booth that Dominique and I will always visit in every bazaar we go to and the reason for that, aside from the fact that the owner is so nice...They always have new stocks of awesome sets and street wear. This particular sports-bra style stood out for me!

The lovely staff and the amazing owner of MUMI bags were all so nice that Domz and I could not refuse not getting our pickings from the brand. Domz, being the indie hipster girl that chose the  white laser cut bucket bag with a sling. As for me, who is all about what's cute, I couldn't resist this pale yellow messenger bag (seem at the farthest left.) It took me such a long time to choose and tried to remember which shade to get. After sometime I finally chose the yellow one and so far, I have no regrets.

P.S. Check out their neon and glittery clutches as well!!!

This is the final product of my designed by me set from Shopaholic Hubby

This girl I love and is a common fixture from SuperSale Bazaar. I got these bags from the brand Queen Street which is owned by my friend, Audrey. She has amazing designs and patterns! Definitely love this brand!
..and then some more arm candy...

The people from Mumi as I mentioned are so pleasant and here's a photo of me posing with my goodies! The fact that most of the bags are made locally is a plus and I especially am obsessed with the color palette chosen for each design.

Cropped tops are apparently still a hit...

Now this brand Route 17 is a brand I am absolutely obsessed with! I have a habit of collecting sunnies (I do not know why!) But these were the perfect way to celebrate summer and to soak up the sun. They have a variety of shades, tint and sizes, that Domz and I almost spent 45 minutes trying on our selections!!!

Now here are some photos of me and Domz shopping and lurking around...

This sweet girl was so sweet and I loved her so much for approaching us!!!

More on my fab finds in the next posts!!!

Congratulations to The Manila Sundance Bazaar crew and organizers for a job well done!
I for one, cannot wait for the next!!!

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