Sometimes, things happen in our lives that temporarily suspend our ability to think straight. Intoxicated upon impact, we find ourselves making unhealthy choices, moving away from who we are, compromising the values we grew up with. We end up acting on our heightened emotions with little inhibition.
And then in time, the dust settles. The shock, pain and anger dissipate. We sober up, and as our head clears, so does our perspective. We become acutely aware of the things we shouldn’t have said and done. By then, it’s too late to take back or undo them.
So the lessons come in. We look back at every move we made and lament on what we should’ve-would’ve-could’ve done instead. We think of the people we unwittingly involved. People we hurt simply because they were in the way of our tornado of feelings. People we took for granted while we were so focused on ourselves.
With those lessons come realizations. We begin to see the situation for what it is—so much less complicated and worrisome than we imagined. As our flaws and vulnerabilities get exposed, we also begin to see people for who they are—the ones merely waiting in the wings for us to fall, the ones only in it for entertainment, and the ones who love, forgive and stand by us through everything.
The sad reality is, lessons come with pain and difficulty. The beautiful truth is, they also come with hope and choice. Apart from seeking forgiveness, there are two things we can do when we make mistakes. We can wallow in self-pity, blame and regret, think ourselves small and allow ourselves to be hindered and ridiculed by fellow human beings who forget that all of us are fallible, that all of us have done things we’re not proud of.
Or we can make the choice to forgive ourselves, rise above it all and move forward. To acknowledge our mistakes, then do things differently so we don’t repeat them. To embrace the hope each day brings, wipe our slate clean and get ourselves a brand new start.
And then, when we can honestly tell ourselves that we are at peace with our past, gratitude sets in. Not just for the happy times or the people who have been good to us. Ultimately, we begin as well to appreciate the pain we once rejected, along with the persons who caused it. We realize that they have actually given us a gift: that of getting us out of our comfort zone, of leaving us forced to fight our monsters, of helping us realize great things within ourselves that we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. We come out of it with newfound courage and wisdom, ready to once again begin.
Nothing is ever stationary or static. Even for a tree planted firmly on the ground, seasons give way to seasons. Everything has a definite time: from being abloom, its leaves shed and its flowers wilt and just when it seems resigned to staying barren for good, the time comes when its bloom is renewed—each full circle a transition from stagnation to growth. The same holds true for all of us. Each “death” we experience is a mere “passing on” to a new and more fulfilling life, if only we embrace it. :)
Outfit details: Dress from Bangkok, maxi skirt from The Catwalk
Freshlook Illuminate one-day contact lenses from Sarabia Optical Rockwell
Hype this: Lookbook // Chictopia
Mango: Style Lessons from Mom
I am so uncreative. A tribute blog entry as a Mothers day gift? It was bound to happen anyway! I’ve already written a ton of thanks to my mom for tremendously influencing my taste in fashion, but here’s something that a teeny bit more put-together.
Contrary to what most people think, I didn’t grow up in an family that prioritized fashion or anything related to what I’m doing now. The closest thing I can think of is my older brothers’ contagious geekiness when it came to anything computer-related (this totes merits its own separate entry), driving me to eventually dabble into graphic and web design as early as 2003, and soon after, blogging and photography. (Okay, I’ll stop here. This isn’t supposed to be about me!)
While it wasn’t exactly top priority for most of my family members to buy the latest trends or even regularly buy clothes at all (prolly has something to do with having 4 boys in the family versus just me and my mom), my mom made sure to instill in us a certain kind of aesthetic once we reached a certain age. She would let us choose what we liked on the racks, then she would give her honest opinion about it, as some sort of style lesson. Back then, I threw inner tantrums (cue bratty “only girl” image) when she didn’t approve of a certain item that I liked, but now that I think about it, I should’ve gladly listened to her without complaining!
She has always had a safe but classic sense of style, which can be proved by the kind of fashion she made us wear when my siblings and I were still young. Early on, my brothers were already seen wearing tasteful button-downs!
My own most vivid memory of my mom’s impeccable taste? At 8 or 9, I often wore printed leggings, Doc Martens-ish black boots, and oversized denim jackets with embellishments. You could say that this was inevitable as I grew up in the 90s, but these are still pretty much the same stuff you can find in my closet. And it’s 2013.
I grew up with clothes that never totally went out of fashion, all thanks to her. I could see that the choices she made for herself (not just fashion-related) worked wonderfully, and I could only wish to emulate her genius thinking process.
Looking back, I don’t think I ever had any embarrassing clothes that deserved to be burned or buried forever. This being said, I’m proud of the fact that I can look back at my Lookbook pictures from 2009 and not cringe at all! The only difference you can ever see is a few trendy pieces being injected to my personal style here and there, but thanks to my mom, I’ve learned to choose trends wisely.
I recently went to Mango to create 3 different looks based on the 3 most important and influential style lessons that I got from her. She probably won’t wear these at her age now, but I’m incredibly confident that she’d pick the same items if she were my age. :D
(Mango top and pants) Hype this look on Lookbook here.
Simplicity is beauty.
Nothing beats a plain white top and denim pants for that fresh and clean look that will keep you looking like you just got out of the shower. My mom exudes this exact vibe all the time! I’ve never seen her looking haggard in my entire life, and she always smells so good. I don’t know how she does it. Is it a mom thing?! :)
Anyhow, she was the one responsible for influencing me to invest in a lot of plain clothes with classic cuts that can not only pair easily with everything else in my closet but can also withstand (and even complement) all the fast fashion trends that come and go.
Mango has always been known for timeless basics, and it wasn’t a surprise when I found these in the store.
Her no-fail way to spice it all up? Accessories! My mom has always had short hair and a fondness for dangling earrings.
(And I’m also wearing wedges because they are like, her default shoes, lol, as with a lot of mommies!)
(Mango top, skirt, shoes and bag)
When in doubt, go for black.
My love for black goes a long way back. Whenever I accompany my mom to go to shopping, she goes straight to the section where all the blacks and dark colors are! Through the years I also found myself doing the same thing (albeit unconsciously), and it’s one of habits I never want to unlearn.
I own a ton of black bags simply because they are versatile and because, well, they don’t stain easily! A very low maintenance color that doesn’t try so hard to be a statement. (And that is, interestingly, its very statement)
Sometimes when I am faced with difficult color choies, black always wins in the end.
(Mango dress and bag) Hype this look on Lookbook here.
In terms of dress style choices, I think I’m the most conservative one among all the fashion/style bloggers out there! But it’s all because I grew up with my mom always raving about dresses from the late 50s to 60s. True enough, mod is like my most fundamental style peg, if you take all the Japanese fashion and high street fashion influence away from me.
This being said, I was never comfortable wearing too-fitted and too-revealing clothes. There’s a certain modesty to dated dresses that I think is generally acceptable in all situations, making the dresses better investments in the long run. My mom had a printed black knee-length shift dress that she was able to keep in her closet for more than 10 years, and she used it everywhere - to the mall, at church, to work, etc. She just changed how she styled it with different accessories and shoes.
This is the dream! I witnessed this creativity as a kid and I wish I could be just as wise in the future!
This printed dress has the perfect cut, color, pattern and length! In love. Not so short but not too long. The design can be worn regardless of season - the floral prints are definitely spring/summer and the black flower silhouettes are quite fall/winter. Throw in a cardigan for chilly nights, or cinch it at the waist with a thin belt for a more polished look.
Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there! Don’t forget to thank your mom this Sunday, with a kiss and a hug, a song, a written letter, or a public blog entry like this one! :D
Thanks to RG Gabunada for the photos.