And... I'm back!!! I realized the jet black hair was wearing me out or overpowering my features too much and well, I just had about enough. So I went to the salon for a hair color change which was magical since my stylist over at Franck Provost is seriously a genius. I have always heard of that saying that whenever a woman is going through some kind of ordeal (ie. a break-up, a family problem, a falling out with a friend or a grave loss), the first thing they change and tinker with is their hair. This has been a popular belief and common talk among salons and beauty parlors (not that I am eavesdropping or anything... I just happen to hear the incessant chatter when I'm sitting in a chair doing nothing). Though I think that it was absolutely silly- "we are women, come on, there has got to be a better way of dealing with things than a new hairstyle', I found myself reflecting on the ghosts of haircuts past courtesy of my Chictopia.com page and realizing that the trims, the out of whim, the crops, the chops and the lightening and darkening of my hair was actually in sync with my timeline of ups and downs. Subconsciously, perhaps, I was doing it... but it's strange when things you take as taboo, turn out to be actually true and the best example of such- turns out to be... you.
Feb 27, 2014
One of the by-products of living and working in a crazy situation is that my tolerance for insanity increases exponentially. I must admit that my ability to discern what makes sense and what doesn't becomes significantly impaired. For instance, when those around me continually exhibit bizarre behavior, I begin to question my sanity... and that coming from one who graduated with a degree in Psychology is pretty alarming, even for me. I know I am not insane.(although a morally and literally bankrupt tree hugger claims I have 'psychological instability' when she has no right to diagnose me since she never assessed me. Add that to the fact that she's one to talk- given her major depressive episodes, her never ending issues, her delusions of grandeur and emotionally instability... as relived and relayed to me by more than 5 people.) Okay, my situation is insane, and we become progressively crazy as we try to adjust to it. Robyn Davidson said, "If, as someone had said, '...to be truly civilized is to embrace disease." If this is true and to be truly civilized is to embrace disease, maybe we need to take a look at what we have defined as "civilized". More and more, drama after drama and issue after issue, I have come to the conclusion: I am not crazy - it's just that my situation seems to require a crazy person.
Feb 25, 2014
This was what I wore for the first time (ever) that I celebrated Valentines Day...ever. I was so against the holiday because I always thought that love should be celebrated 365 days, and not just on one day but granted I am in this phase where I am trying to see the beautiful in anything, it was quite nice, I have to say to see red roses being delivered everywhere. It was practically International Rose Giving day. Still on to veer away from the conventional (not because I am indie or a hippie tree hugger) because I am allergic to the pollen of certain flowers (roses are included), my boyfriend, Andrew gave me a bouquet of my favorite flowers: hydrangeas... and with one special detail in the middle: a cactus, as I have always joked I preferred if he gave me a cactus instead of a bouquet to avoid the sneezing and wheezing. Despite being a non-believer, I have to say, I am now playing for the other side... I think it was really nice to see all the lovey dovey people everywhere on one special day. It was so amazing and delicious to the eye. Also, this special day gave me the opportunity to wear my lovely rose print midi full skirt that I got online which was absolute perfection for the wedding. To spice things up a bit, I decided to pair it with a cropped lace bustier under a red jacket. I of course accessorized it with equally decadent Swarovski heels and Chanel sling bag. My mother and Dominique were saying I looked like a Spanish senyorita... that wasn't exactly the peg I was going for but if it works for me, then who am I to question that? This was the perfect outfit for the first Valentines Day I ever celebrated and I am glad my boyfriend convinced me to get up from my laziness and be with him for a special dinner he had arranged for us. Isn't he the sweetest?
Feb 24, 2014
Everyday is a beginning and I recognize that now. I consider each day as a gift despite the fact that I am facing a day I have been dreading. And with the gift of having another day to hustle, comes along my ability to make the most out of it. I take nothing for granted and no matter how hum-drum the day will be or how hectic it is... I represent. (Now that sounds like some hip-hop statement...) But to make it clear: I love to present myself well since I never know who I might meet or come across. The day I wore this outfit was a particularly hectic one. It's Prom/ Graduation Ball season and along with that comes my second busiest time of the year, catering to clients, sourcing fabric and making dresses... all while preparing for my busiest season- SUMMER.
Feb 20, 2014
If you have been following me and my outfit posts since 2007, you would definitely know the following things: (1) I am rarely seen wearing flats (2) It is close to impossible for me to wear sneakers with an outfit and (3) I always want to project this image of being always dressed to the nines (in simpler words: I am rarely seen to be slumming it)... that is until recently , when I decided not to dress up for anyone else but myself. It's all so empowering really, that I no longer want to project a certain image or try to wear clothing that will please other people because they fit me well. Ultimately, I determine what fits me well now which somehow explains this ensemble. Here are the statistics: I am 5 feet, 3 inches without heels, which basically makes me fall into the classification of petite. I have a very small frame and bone structure and have no curves at all so when I pack on a few lbs. I look like a meaty ruler and when I lose weight, I look like a thin and sickly ruler. There was never a middle ground for me. I am not blessed with the societal concept of "sexy" as I am neither busty or curvaceous.
Feb 19, 2014
Zora Neale Hurtson was once quoted saying, "Don't you realize that the sea is the home of water? All water is off on a journey unless it's in the sea, and it's homesick, and bound to make it's way home someday." You see, I took this photo on my most recent vacation for some time alone for peace and quiet... or whatever it is people go away for (I was quite hesitant to leave the city then as I had so much work to do and I felt I was not in shape for the beach...) But then in one peaceful moment, I realized that we are all like water. We are off to a journey to return to ourselves. Some journeys have taken us far afield, and many of our days have been absorbed by the sandy riverbanks that contain us. Yet we continue to flow- heavy and swollen in the spring of our lives and then often reduced to a trickle as we approach the fall of our years. "Return, return, return," we murmur as we tumble over the stones in our paths, ever cognizant that although we may wander through new and strange lands, our destination is a return. I realized that- water has to return to the sea, just as I have return to me.
Feb 18, 2014
I turned 27 last week and this was what I wore. I know, I know...one would think that at 27, I would be over the poufy and fluffy princess dresses...but who gave that rule out anyway? My philosophy is: wear what you want to wear and make absolutely no excuses about it. Besides, what is a birthday celebration without some sparkle and shine,right? So here I am, dressed in pink, tulle and bejeweled accents with absolutely no regrets. I will continue to wear absolutely anything I want to, no matter what age I am. No apologies, no explanations and no regrets. Isn't life more fun if you see things in that point of view?
Feb 15, 2014
Here is another one for my series of beach posts which I shall keep coming, if you do not mind. I have always had a deep connection with warm weather, a tropical atmosphere and sunshine... lots and lots of sunshine. I never liked the cold weather and developed quite an aversion to it (I try to avoid Tagaytay as much as possible except if it is a stop over for a beach trip and have not been to Baguio since I was 7, my first and last time.) The last time I was exposed to a cold climate was when I was caught in the middle of a sandstorm in -3 Degree temperature and I was basically clinging on to an umbrella in the town square which had turned out due to the severe winds. It was a traumatic experience, since the town seemed to shut down and here I was with only my brother, lost. Basically to sum it up: bring me in a cold situation and I am not a happy girl. Some people prefer going to the mountains or somewhere cold to reflect and re-energize and that is fine with me. Personally though, my place for solace and serenity has and always will be the beach. Luckily, I live in a country where a beach is about a 2-hour drive away and I am also blessed to have convinced my parents to invest in beach properties which I shall definitely use, as I go to the beach at least 10x a year.
Confession: I am an extremely fearful person. My fears, I realize are part of my stressors and trigger my anxiety and neurosis and when it does, I tend to have a panic attack. There are so many things I am fearful of that most of the time, I prefer to "play it safe". I am definitely not the person who would come into mind when you ask anyone to name a "daredevil." But then again, playing it safe never did anything for anyone... did it? Part of the consistent fears that linger on is my fear of not pleasing everyone. I have already admitted that I am pretty self-deprecating, which is why criticism no longer surprises me as I have probably thought of such and put it into consideration (and more) way before anyone points it out. It is not that I am insecure as I find myself not really competitive with other people. It is more of a case of that I am always in competition with myself that I always need to be more, do more, look better. I am quite tough on myself and am my own harshest critic because I am afraid of spiraling down and not always being at my best. This of course reflects on how I chose to look and present myself. There are times, I prefer to go through the classic and boring route because that is what is fail-safe and tried and tested. Naturally, after some time, being "safe" with how you look becomes passe and boring. In my fear of putting myself, down... I end up doing more damage to myself, I have learned and this is why...as much as possible I try to conquer my fears in my physique and appearance.
Feb 14, 2014
This is Part Two.
You see, most people, I realized, love to welcome their birthday with a bang--- usually via a celebration/party of epic proportions wherein one can rarely hear another without having to scream. I don't hold contempt or disdain over celebrating one's birthday like this because I used to be one of them... but I guess I grew up and decided to veer away from it. So this year was all about zen and self-reflection. Inevitably, when you start at 18, you've got a lot to work out of your system... so here I am, more mellow than ever. I find that solitude is such a blessing! Everyone needs time alone, and I am glad I got to spend time alone on my birthday over at the beach, which I will always consider my escape. Often, I find, we are fearful of time alone, because there is no one for us to encounter but ourselves! How much like returning home to an old friend or one's beloved after having been away too long visiting places that felt foreign and unfamiliar. Our solitude is one of the pleasures that only we can arrange. It is up to us to see that we regenerate through our time with ourselves. We have the right, We have the power. And if we do not model respect for our own need for solitude, others will never learn that they too deserve their time alone.
Feb 12, 2014
Here is a quick photo diary of my last beach trip which was needed (extremely) because I needed to just get away from it all... It was the perfect way to kick off my birthday... Because there is nothing a little bit of sun, sand and sea can't fix.
This is Part One.
Feb 10, 2014
This outfit is a little trip back to the dark side and while "sweater weather" is officially over and the season changes, I am still quite glad that I was able to wear it on what I will perhaps remember as the last of the cold nights in Manila. I absolutely love the sweater and was drawn to the watercolor flower print it had which, personally, I am crazy for as of the moment. As for the rest of the ensemble, I challenged myself to pull off a somewhat "sporty" or "athletic chic" attire. I hope the quilted cheerleader style skirt and the white shoes helped somehow in achieving that look. The thing about being a fashion blogger is that every outfit you wear should project yourself in some way...To be quite frank, I really don't know what this outfit projects... Personally, I just found it comfortable and perfect to wear on said day and that is all I have to say... How others might perceive it hasn't always been an issue for me since I've learned a long time ago to stop thinking of what other people think because it is a hindrance from expressing myself truly. I may not always be the crowd favorite nor the people pleaser...and that is fine with me. To put it in a more elaborate way: I stopped giving a damn about that a time ago. I have so much respect for what I am doing and where I am at this point that I realized that I want to be as raw and real as possible. If this were an album, I would probably call this phase I am currently in as Joanna Ladrido: The Greatest Hits, Unplugged. It just does not get more real than this.
Feb 4, 2014
I am not an American citizen nor do I reside in the U.S. More importantly, I am not a sporty girl. I am all into health and fitness and going to the gym but anything that involves balls bouncing and flying in the air terrifies me. I always tend to run the other direction and avoid the ball as it has a tendency of always hitting me in any body part so I would rather do that than catch a ball passed to me and when I play badminton or tennis, it always seems like the net of the tennis racket has a hole since the ball always seems to fall on the floor. The only sport I think I am engaged in is running around and being able to jump about and do sprints in my 6-inch heels, which I must say is a skill most people don't get to master. The reason for this is probably because I am such a frail and fragile and dainty girl and I find myself silly whenever I run around and play sports. More so, my mom always discouraged aggressive playing and sports in general for fear that it might give us scars so she enrolled me and my sister in ballet classes (how much more girly and graceful can you be?) and more educational activities when it was summer time. I am however happy with how obsessed I am and challenged by going to the gym and lifting weights. I also love practicing Barre3 and am thinking of enrolling in individual pilates classes and Gyrotonic/Gyrokinesis classes. That pretty sums up my knowledge of sports: gym and fitness and training... Other than that, I have no knowledge at all. I do not know statistics, I never learned the rules of games and whenever my boyfriend (who is a sports fanatic) starts talking to my brother (another sports fanatic) about random players and games teams win, I seem to block whatever they are talking about and wander in my own world. I theorized that the extent of the their knowledge on teams and who is playing for them, the scores of games etc. might be similar to how fashion-obsessed girls like me know about designers, their most recent runway shows and looks and what the latest designer bag is and what brand it is. That probably applies to me, anyway as those are my interests.
Feb 3, 2014
I wore this very interesting dress for Chinese New Year celebration with my family which was absolutely a delight because I have so much fun bonding with my family and our new additional members (Paige, Domz' younger sister and of course, Andrew). We are quite the Brady Bunch and we have so much love for each other that I love it when we are all together and just being ourselves. We can talk about absolutely everything... from current events, updates on our lives to random stuff like aliens (a topic Andrew and my dad had fun discussing), exorcisms, Chernobyl, insects as a protein food source and basically practically any topic we could come up with. I think it's nice to have an intact and close-knit family that we consider ourselves "the core group." I have to say that at the end of the day, everyone can leave you behind but family is family and while I do not come from a 100% Chinese family (my dad is 75% Chinese, which makes me about 40% Chinese if you combine it with my mom's lineage...basically a crossbreed), having so many Chinese friends has made me familiar with the many traditions, one of which is common knowledge: that red is worn to celebrate special occasions. This is why I chose this predominantly red dress which I bought from SheInside.com, an online store that I absolutely love.