NO

I never appreciated the Versace aesthetic. The prints, the colors are just too much for boring ol’ me. But I have no problem with Versace and with the people who choose to rock the brand’s navel-baring, slit-to-to-THERE dresses. You know, to each his own.

These, though, I cannot and refuse to be open-minded about:

And, no, I don’t think it’s a matter of taste. It’s a fact: these bags from the Versace and H&M collaboration are ugly. Actually, “ugly” doesn’t quite cut it. Gaudy, tacky and they even look cheaper than they are (and since they’re already from H&M, that’s saying something). Some people might say that since I was never a fan of the brand to begin with, I’m automatically predisposed to dislike these. But no, I think these bags are fugly enough for me to be able to objectively say that these bags are just gross.

So gross, that one commenter on The Purse Blog said that the bags look like something you’d see on the Jersey Shore. I beg to differ. I don’t think even Snooki would come near these, even SHE carries a Gucci handbag now.

Photos from The Purse Blog.

Unsolicited Fashion Advice #6

I. Just. Don’t. Understand. This.

20110910-023632.jpg

Open toed shoes. With footsies. Not socks, in that fashion-y socks-with-heels kind of way. Footsies. As in the mini-socks you wear so that they DON’T show outside from your shoes.

Again. I. Don’t. Understand.

I admit, the photo above is an extreme example of the phenomenon that confounds me every time I encounter it. Most of the time, the women are wearing ballet flats with the footsies peeking out. This is the first time I’ve seen the footsies worn with sandals (thank goodness it’s not a more common occurrence). But even in the ballet flats scenario… I. Don’t. Understand.

I don’t understand why it happens. Yes, I get why the footsies are needed, why they are worn. I just don’t understand why they’re peeking out from the shoes. Isn’t the point of getting these special socks is for them not be seen in the first place? If they’re going to show anyway, you might as well have worn regular socks with them. You’d probably look just as ridiculous, maybe even less, since the socks-with-heels look was (is?) a thing. I’ve seen the tiniest, funniest-looking footsies ever, where it’s basically just an inch of fabric covering the toes, a strip for the sole, then a little fabric again for the heel. Why not get those?

If you can’t find those (I’m sure you can, though, at any department store) then why buy the shoes to begin with anyway? Can’t you test them out with the footsies you own and check if they’ll be visible? Can’t you find any other shoe where they won’t be?

To me, it just seems like a lack of… planning. If you’re going to buy new shoes, then test them out with the footsies. If you’re buying footsies to wear with your existing shoes, then bring the shoes with you to check if they show! If you really can’t find the perfect shoe-footsie match, then can’t you at least get skintoned footsies? All this ugliness is all so preventable, so why I don’t understand why I still see lacy black footsies (really, lace?) peeking out from white ballet flats (really, white?). Uggggh.

Or do the ladies who sport this look really INTEND for the polyester lace to show?!?… That… I. Will. Never. Understand.

Handbag-induced self-reflection

Confession: I purchased another designer handbag in Paris. It was a totally unplanned purchase. I wasn’t in the market for a new handbag because: (1) I have more bags than I have time to use them (I only get to use my good bags on the weekends, I can’t use them at work);  (2) I just bought what could be considered an “investment” piece a couple of months back; and (3) I didn’t even like this bag when it first came out. Despite the fact that everyone else was going gaga over this particular bag, it wasn’t really my thing, I actually thought it looked a little funny at first. And it’s not like the design grew on me over time. I was, on the whole, quite indifferent to the bag.

I saw it on the shelf in Galleries Lafayette, tried it on for fun, since it was a notoriously difficult bag to find, so I might as well take it for a spin, right? I liked what I saw on the mirror but I didn’t buy it right then and there. At that point, I was just pleasantly surprised that it looked nicer than I thought it would. But, man, I never should’ve tried it on. I thought about it more and more, and alas, a couple of days later, I was at the brand’s store on Rue François 1er, just trying to see what other colors the bag came in (or so I told myself). They only had display pieces that they were not allowed to sell, and was told to come back the following week, when new pieces were scheduled to come in. I came back. Three times. And on the last day, the day before I left Paris, the SA took pity on me and sold me one of the display pieces.

I was happy. I still am, I love the bag. I don’t have anything like it in shape and in color, the bag itself is very distinct, and the leather is gorgeous. The inside of the bag, entirely in lambskin, is lovely and luscious. And the smell. That wonderful, intoxicating (really, it is) leather smell. It is seriously the best-smelling leather ever.

I got to use the bag a few times already. It’s rather heavy, for one thing. For another, I’ve always been a shoulder-bag kind of girl and I haven’t gotten used to carrying a bag on the crook of my arm (what do you do with your hand, anyway?). Take those two factors together… and I’m having second thoughts about the bag.

Old habits die hard: this photo links to the NAP page for handbags. Haha.

But I couldn’t bear parting with it… which brings me to the questions. Why not? If it doesn’t suit my lifestyle, if it has its downsides, why keep it? Do I really love the bag, even I find it such a hassle to carry sometimes? I didn’t use to like it, so what’s with the sudden 180? Did I just hound the SA, Caroline, for the thrill of the chase? Do I really love it, or do I just like the fact that I have a handbag that is reportedly harder to find than an Hermès Birkin?

And all those questions actually boils down to just one: am I really THAT shallow and materialistic already, that I’ve basically been brainwashed by all the bloggers and photos I’ve seen into liking and buying a bag I didn’t like in the first place, will rarely use and had to trek all over Paris like a madwoman to find?  Did I actually buy the bag because of what people will think when they see me carrying it?

Ok, so that was more than one question. I’m afraid to find out the answer to all of them anyway.

PS: I didn’t  realize people would be curious about which bag (honest!) until I saw the comments. I didn’t name the bag , not because I’m being a tease (haha!), but because I don’t feel comfortable advertising my purchases and belongings. If you really want to know, I can let you know privately via email (which would require you to put a valid address on the comment form), or via DM on Twitter if you follow me. I know it seems the same as putting it on the post, but for me it isn’t. I’d rather answer only when asked and privately, at that. 🙂

image from net-a-porter.com

Thanks, but no thanks

I had this conversation with our office administrative assistant:

Admin Assistant: You look pretty today. How old are you?

Me: (First I smiled, then was thrown off by the age question) Oh, thanks. I’m twenty-___ (I’m in my “middle” 20s).

Admin Assistant: Oh, ok. I wanted to set you up with my son, but you’re too old for him.

Me: *polite smile* (In my head: WTF?!?!)

I don’t know what to be more annoyed with: #1: the presumption in setting me up (I’ve never had a conversation with her that lasted more than 60 seconds, and they usually involve office supplies), #2:the fact that I was “rejected” by someone I have no interest in going out with whatsoever in the first place, #3 that it was his MOM who rejected me or #4: that I was rejected on account of my age.

Ugggggh. I’m sure she meant well and didn’t mean to offend me, but that doesn’t make things less irritating. Am I right to be annoyed, or am I starting to get oversensitive about my singlehood?

My very own Complicated Girl Index

If you haven’t yet heard of the Simple Girl Index, I have two questions for you: (1) where the heck have you been? and (2) what are you waiting for? Take it now!

So anyway, that hilarious post by Divasoria has started a mostly amusing, at times annoying (when people so obviously don’t get it) discussion about the “simple” girl and the “complicated” one, and what defines each. Self-proclaimed “complicated girl” and blogger extraordinaire Chuvaness then came up with her own Complicated Girl questionnaire. As much fun as it was to answer, I found that I couldn’t relate to a lot of the items on the list as I was neither married with kids nor could I afford to move my family out of a hotel because I wasn’t satisfied with the rooms. So I felt the need for a relatable index, and here we are.

But, a disclaimer first. This is my index, so naturally, it’s driven mainly by my tastes and perceptions. Feel free to provide your suggestions and disagree in the comment section, but do keep that in mind when you do. And also, this is meant to be good ol’ fun and nothing more, so don’t take anything too seriously.

I also tried not to repeat what’s already in CVS’s index so there’s no duplication of work (complicated girls hate inefficiencies). And so here we go:

You can download the file here: The Complicated Girl Index

As you can see, I “failed” my own Complicated Girl Index. All this time, I’ve been thinking I was complicated, as it turns out, I can’t even pass my own test. Sheeeesh. So what does this mean for me? Nothing much, except that I need to find some other excuse for why I’m still single.

So how’d you do? Where was I spot-on and where was I off-base? Let me know in the comments! I’d really like to know! Plus it would distract me from thinking about why I’m still single. Haha.

PS: It seems like I failed in my objective to create a more general list, because no matter how hard I tried, the list still reeks of my preferences. The more I thought about it, I realized that you can’t really make a definitive index for complicated girls because, well, they’re complicated girls and there are a gazillion versions of them. The simple girl, on the other hand…

The ethics of getting stolen from

If you follow me on Twitter (given my follower count, chances are you’re not, but really, you should. Haha.) you’ll know that I lost my phone. My theory is that it got stolen from me, either at Omakase or at The Coffee Bean in Ayala Triangle Gardens, although my money is on TCB. This is the first time I’ve ever lost a phone in all my years of mobile phone ownership, so I guess I should call myself fortunate. I know some people (in my own household, actually) who’ve lost multiple phones over the years, hence, I probably can’t and shouldn’t complain.

The sad thing is, though, my Blackberry Bold is the first phone I’ve ever bought fully with my own money. And I’ve only had it for ten months, too, so that’s another blow. I also know that I could’ve prevented it from happening, as I was a little careless that night (I think I was slightly too tired to be my usual, careful self).

I called the phone company and had my SIM disconnected and asked if there was a way to disable the Blackberry remotely. It’s not like I had top secret information on my phone, but in case they cracked my PIN, I didn’t want them accessing my phone book (see, I’m a careful friend!). Plus there was that whole feeling of not wanting the person who stole it from me to benefit from my phone. So I promptly had my phone blacklisted using the IMEI number.

But one of the things that my friend told me to comfort me about the loss was that I should just think that the person who stole it needed it more than I did, and that it could help his/her family. And against all logic, I started to feel guilty about having my phone blacklisted and rendered useless. Obviously, it can’t be resold, so there’s no helping the family. Did I just deprive a family of eight of their meals? School-aged children of their books and school uniforms? An infant of its milk? Geeez. I’m evil.

Kidding aside, though, what is the right thing to do here? Do you just let the thief enjoy the fruits of his/her “labor” and hope and pray that the money isn’t used for booze or drugs? Or do you do as I did and promptly have your phone blacklisted, so that, hungry children or not, the phone is rendered unsaleable?

Let me know in the comments what you’d do. I’d really like to know.

To rebound or not to rebound

Have you ever obsessed about a decision, thought about it really hard, weighed the pros and cons. You finally make your choice, and then you find, all that thinking was for naught, as the decision was made for you already.

The exact thing happened to me over these:

Renegade Folk's "Bold as Love"

The first time I saw them my reaction was, “Aaacck. Leopard again?” but I think I haven’t even finished saying those words when they changed to “Ooooooh, leopard.” Fashion forward (ehem!) people should know, leopard has been such a big trend the past two or three seasons, and has been interpreted into shoes numerous ways. Mostly, though, I have found leopard print shoes to be too much like something a Kardashian or Paris Hilton would wear. Even the surprisingly understated Elizabeth & James version, though beautiful, is still something I’m not sure I would wear (booties in this weather? And silk shoes in dusty Manila? Nightmare). Then I saw Renegade Folk’s Bold as Love on their Facebook page and I fell in love. For one thing, they were flats, so +100 on that alone. They were also in that classic driving-shoe shape that would make it easy to wear with anything. Plus, leopard print on the pony hair was well done, but not real-looking enough that I would get leopard-infested nightmares. What more could I ask for?

That they still had it in my size, of course. After agonizing over it (do I really need another pair of flats? Will this go with stuff I already own? Can I really pull off leopard?) for about five minutes, I sent an email to the lovely folks at RF and even filled out the order form in their Multiply page for good measure. I was so impatient, I sent a text message to them the next morning and got the devastating news. They no longer have Bold as Love in leopard in my size.

All that obsessing for nothing. Ugggggh.

I mulled over getting the zebra or the size 9 but snapped myself out it. I can’t rebound with a print I would never wear or on shoes two sizes bigger than my feet. That would be stupid. Not so stupid, though, would be to rebound with these:

Renegade Folk's "Driving"

Cute, no? But I’m still thinking about it as most rebound relationships are doomed for failure. And I already have a navy pair of flats. And partly because I’m still hoping against hope that the girls behind Renegade Fold will reissue Bold as Love. Sigh.

So what do you guys think? Will the Driving and I end up as most rebound relationships do (i.e. I will wish it never happened) or will we buck the trend and live happily ever after?

Photos from Renegade Folk’s Facebook page

Unsolicited Fashion Advice #5

When did this all start, anyway? One day, we were living in a world where handbag straps were unburdened. The next, they were everywhere.

I’m talking about those hand sanitizers that come with a rubber strap so you can hang them from… anywhere. And it seems that every single woman who purchased one decided to hang theirs from their handbag straps.

It seems like I can’t go anywhere without seeing this hanging from every other woman’s handbag. Speaking as someone who can’t live without my trusty bottle of Alcogel I understand the need to have it handy all the time but I. JUST. DON’T. GET. IT.

As if that bag wasn't bugly enough to begin with

Why hang it from the outside of your handbag? It cheapens even the most expensive/expensive-looking bag (yes, even if it’s a Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM strap that it’s hanging from). Why would you want to do that to your handbag? And while I get that hanging it from outside your bag makes it easier to get to, there are tons of things we’d love to be easier to get to, but you don’t see hairbrushes, coin purses, lip balms or lighters hanging on rubber straps from ladies’ handbags.

And is it really THAT MORE convenient? Does it really take soooooo much effort to stick your hand into your bag to retrieve that bottle of hand sanitizer? Are you really THAT busy/lazy that you can’t spare the additional 3 seconds it takes to rummage through your bag? My guess is no. And even if it did save you a little bit of time, is that time worth uglifying your handbag? Again, my guess is no. As someone with an unhealthy affection for handbags, I daresay NOTHING is worth making your bag look ugly/uglier.

No, no, no, no, nooooooooooo...

In my opinion, there are only two acceptable situations to have hand sanitizer hanging from your bag strap: (1) if you’re younger than 10 years old and have to be constantly reminded to wash your hands before eating via the visual of having the hand sanitizer in your face, all the time and (2) if it’s hanging from a diaper bag because, well, moms dealing with infants get a free pass for almost everything.

So unless you’re in one of the two minorities above then, please, for the love of the handbag gods, pull out that rubber thingy and put that bottle of hand sanitizer INSIDE your bag where it belongs. If you don’t, then I apologize in advance for any dirty looks I might throw your way.

A Call to A(u)ction

I’ve been thinking about writing a post related to this for a while, but I was having second thoughts for a couple of reasons. I think charitable giving is a deeply personal thing, and it’s easy to rub people the wrong way when talking about it. I also didn’t want to seem too preachy. But I’m writing about it now in line with a huge event for UNICEF.

I’ve always known that there was a UNICEF Philippines, but, in the last year or so, their work has been brought to my attention on a regular basis through Daphne Oseña-Paez’s blog. She has been appointed a UNICEF Special Advocate for Children about a year ago and her regular posts and tweets about her work with the organization and ways to contribute stuck with me. And UNICEF has been my go-to recipient in times of crisis (Ondoy, the Haitian earthquake) and personal offering (like when I prayed for this to happen) since.

This month, UNICEF Philippines is holding its first major public fundraising auction entitled Auction for Action. Organized by Daphne Oseña-Paez, it features furniture, sculpture, paintings, jewelry and experience packages for the public to bid on on eBay. The auction goes live on May 25, with all proceeds benefitting UNICEF Philippines.

The items you could bid on include pieces by sculptor Ramon Orlina and painters Juvenal Sanso and Dominic Rubio. Kenneth Cobonpue, the Cebu-based furniture designer to the stars is donating two pieces. Brad Pitt famously purchased his Voyage bed for himself and Angelina Jolie, the same bed featured in the video for Maroon 5’s aptly titled “Never Gonna Leave this Bed.”

You can claim that you and Brad Pitt share a furniture designer!

Also up for auction is an armchair from Daphne’s namesake line of furniture.

Event founder, host and contributor, too!

If furniture and art is not your thing, though, there are experience packages you can bid on. A foodie would definitely jump at the chance to have a meal specially created for him/her and three other friends by Chef Tonyboy Escalante of Antonio’s in Tagaytay. Antonio’s was ranked 5th in Miele Guide’s Asia’s Top 20 Restaurants, so obviously, its regular menu is already outstanding as it is. I can only imagine how wonderful a customized meal will be.

Bid your way to foodie heaven..

If I had the moolah for it, it would be a tossup between that or the Azkals experience package, where the winning bidder would get to sit in the dugout with the Philippine National Football Team at their upcoming World Cup qualifying match against Sri Lanka. Y’all know how boy football crazy I am, so you can imagine how envious I will be of the people who will not only get to watch the match live but also sit with the team on the actual bench.

A chance to be right in the thick of it! And by "it" I mean the match action, not the Younghusband brothers.

But unless the package involves actually sitting on a wooden bench and having to act as a water boy/girl and equipment manager for the team (although, you know, thinking about it I wouldn’t mi…), in all likelihood, I won’t be able to afford even the minimum bid for the Azkals package, or any of the items for that matter. That doesn’t mean I can’t help UNICEF, though.

If you’re loaded enough to be able to bid on any of the items then please invite me to join you watch the Azkals good for you and I hope you win the item you bid on. But if you’re like me (i.e. poor not wealthy enough to afford any of the items up for auction), there are still ways to do our part for the children of our country. You can make your donations for any amount at the UNICEF Philippines website. You can choose to make a one-time donation or, better yet, you can sign-up to make monthly donations and be a UNICEF Champion for Children. Any monthly amount will be accepted, and can be directly charged to your credit card. Here’s an idea of what your contributions can do:

This is what your money can do.

You can help feed and educate the children of the Philippines

And while ₱500 a month can seem like a substantial amount, I find that it helps to think of it in terms of days or purchases. ₱500 a month is only about ₱17 per day. That’s also around the cost of three Starbucks Venti Frappuccinos or four McDonald’s Quarter Pounder Value Meals. Or you can think of it this way: not only do you help children in need by forgoing a delicious but calorific blended coffee drink or a juicy but greasy hamburger, you’re also preventing the expansion of your waistline. And, as already mentioned, you can choose to donate as little as you can afford, even if it is just ₱10 a day. That’s still ₱3,600 a year which will go a long way to helping many children in need (it’s sure to send good karma along your way, too).

I hope all that didn’t sound too preachy. But if I convinced even just one person to donate even the smallest amount to the cause, then being called preachy would all be worth it. Spread the word and who knows, maybe YOU can inspire other to help this worthy cause.

Photos from Daphne’s Diary’s Auction for Action posts and screengrabs from the UNICEF Philippines donation page. Visit Daphne’s Diary for updates and details on other items up for auction.

My Beach Essentials, part 2

In part two of my beach essentials series (natch!), I’m listing down the things that keep me occupied/hydrated/not looking like I have a stomachache in pictures. No, but seriously, I would be very bored and very dehydrated (and very cranky!) without these things in my beach bag in Boracay:

A book – As some of you already know, I love to read. And a trip to the beach is not complete for me without a morning stroll along the shore with the waves splashing just at my ankles, my nose buried in a book. I get so caught up in my book that by the time I remember to take my eyes off my book, I’m a long, long way from my hotel. I just LOVE that. This time around, the book I brought with me is another Elizabeth I biography.

A balance of the serious and the fluff

Magazines – Reading only Anne Somerset’s biography of QE I over a beach holiday is like only watching movies like Inception or Black Swan all the time. As much as I love the serious and heavy stuff, I need the light stuff every now and then. And TIME Magazine’s Royal Wedding and 100 Most Influential People special editions are the literary equivalent of When In Rome. Just like the movie, you can start watching/reading it at any point of the movie/magazine, skip through scenes/pages, leave it and get back to it later and still know what will happen in the end: Kristen Bell ends up with Josh Duhamel (their characters anyway), William kisses Kate Catherine and Blake Lively’s inclusion in the TIME 100 still befuddles you as much as it did before you read her write-up. Perfect non-committal reading for the hungover lazy beach bum.

A girl needs options, even on the beach

Sunglasses – Not only is the sun bright, but as I mentioned earlier, the white sand and the water reflects A LOT of light back. In my photos where I wasn’t wearing sunglasses, I was squinting. And smiling + squinting = not a good look for me.  So shades are a must for me if I don’t want to look like I’m wincing in pain in all of my pictures. I brought both my Ray Bans with me (no, I didn’t buy them from the beach vendors) because I couldn’t decide which would be better for the beach. Yeah, laugh all you want at me for thinking of things like this. But I figure, if there’s one place where you can justify bringing two pairs of sunglasses for a four-day trip, it’s Boracay.

Water – It’s always important to stay hydrated, all the more so when you spend your hours baking under the sun. My cousins and I always had drinking water around with us on the beach, at some point we had a 4 gallon bottle in our cabana. The annoying thing, though, is that it’s so hot out that even ice melts and becomes lukewarm water in a span of minutes. I resorted to leaving my water bottle in the hotel room fridge and hauling my ass up two flights of stairs to drink from it whenever I was thirsty. Although the cold water was worth it, I found it tough to peel myself off my lounge chair at times, so I would resort to the next item on my list…

Cold, light, refreshing, cold, sweet and did I mention cold?

Popsicles – Okay, so I don’t really carry this around in my bag. Although I would if I could, as I can’t think of a better thing to cool me down in Boracay’s heat. Water is just, well, water. Ice cream actually makes me thirstier. Same with soft drinks and most fruit shakes (although I do love Jonah’s). A popsicle is cold, light and really refreshing. They aren’t so sweet that you’ll need to wash it down with water right away. I had at least one every day and probably would’ve had more if the vendors came around the hotel more often. If only there was a way to be able to actually carry them around in my bag…

So there you go, the things I would be very cranky without on a trip to the beach. What are the things you can’t live without on a beach trip? Let me know in the comments!