Whatever happened to Truth Thursdays? That was fun for a while though now it seems like it's just gathering dust in the web. Still I figured this old meme was good enough a push for me to write something, in an attempt to get my creative mojo back.


My original plan this evening was to create a bracelet, but a lot of things (including LAZINESS, YES) got in the way. I'm tempted to complain, for the nth time, but I'm tired of saying that I'm stressed; it makes me sound ungrateful, and I'm sure the people I live and interact with are tired of me bringing such a foul cloud with me into the room. I don't want them to think and resent that they're getting in the way of my work; it should be the other way around.

So in honor of all things new, I'm ready to claim my lively, grateful, yes-woman self back – despite the fluff and stuff I have to overcome – because a happy me means more love to give and more love to take make room for.

No sarcasm in here when I say I am #blessed! On that note, let's make this a Thankful Thursdays post too, why not?

A list:

- My dear girlfriend D – who is ready and game and open-minded with some of my antics, your heart so full – thank you for so many things, two of them being your capacity to understand me and your patience to listen to me.

- Ehrmehgehrd, I am not making anything fashion-related, but I sure have been quite active in the kitchen. Cook-offs with D, that time I MADE CHEESE (super bland, but I still made cheese, hey!), those easy mornings and afternoons when I cook crispy fried eggs and smother them in pepper. Iced Kopiko Brown.

- Gloriously cool mornings when you don't have to get out of bed early

- You know, having a job that pays well and a boss who doesn't devalue me (plus a coworker who never fails to make you smile and laugh) – that is a combination that seldom happens and for that I am thankful

- Spending time with friends you used to be so close to but lost in touch with, like nothing ever changed

- Sometimes my parents and siblings can be a bit narrow-minded about some things (how vague), but they are loving, they don't shame me in public and that matters

- I miss hugging dogs, and I have a dog named Milo. Gonna hug him brb

- Finally got the energy to edit my closet and other things from last year. It took a while, and I'm still not finished, but paring down my stuff has given me a huge relief.

So many things to be grateful for, y'all. My heart now feels lighter. I guess the most important thing I am grateful for is the awareness that this sadness, this stressful moment no matter how prolonged, is one day going to be replaced with much better emotions and memories. And every day there is something to be thankful for, heavy traffic and angry cabbies be damned.

“Make it hurt. Then move on.”

It's said that any kind of pain or worry or negative emotion you should only wallow in for about two minutes; any longer and you're just torturing yourself.

I'm pretty good at shaking things off, especially feelings that try to eat away my self-love. I often wonder if I'm good at it because I'm just zen like that...or because I'm dismissive of my emotions. Either way, I think it's my secret to self-preservation, a defense mechanism. Better feel nothing at all than be hurt. (Which kind of makes me less human, but at least I'm blissfully rid of any sort of negativity, amirite?)

But right now, I'm exhausted. My weekly dance classes are physically taxing, given that I haven't rigorously moved a muscle in years – but even though my legs and my arms and my back hurt from training, that kind of pain still feels welcome. As Elle Woods had famously said, "Endorphins make you happy," and besides, any pain I feel in my body can easily be soothed by a warm rubdown of lola-smelling ointment or a long sleep on a slow weekend.

Mental and emotional exhaustion are, however, a completely different monster.

Every day my head's filled with worry, about work and about love and about family and about myself and my well-being... I want to be human enough to feel a whole spectrum of emotions, but it's inevitable that these things screw you over, slowly. And they don't just go away like the darkness come sunrise.

I'm exhausted. I want to sleep. I want to be taken someplace else where the signal's so bad, I'll have an excuse not to answer calls and texts and emails. I don't want to worry about somebody else's job, save somebody else's ass; don't want to worry if my heart's in the right place or if all I'm working on is worth my time and effort.

This has taken more than two minutes to write, yet I'm still filled with anxiety. Maybe I like to torture myself, like to feel after all. Do I make sense?

I'm exhausted feeling anxious and worried and sad. For someone who's used to brushing off emotions, I'm exhausted feeling anything at all.

Yes, Please!

A little more than two years ago, a magazine stylist (who I recently realized was actually a coursemate back in college) contacted me for my accessories. Her friend gave her a bracelet that she had bought from me in 98B, a weekend market in Escolta for all things handmade. She was looking for "bold, fun, easy mix and match travel wear for 2014", and she thought my necklaces would be a nice addition.

I was so excited!!! A magazine feature, I wouldn't have thunk! I rummaged through the stock I had remaining, and as luck would have it, I discovered that much of the hardware had been corroded by one of the adhesives I used. Dun dun dun. Dun.

My heart sank as I typed in my reply, declining her offer. I did, however, politely request that maybe she could keep me in mind come summer when I've sorted things out.

She did get back to me two months later for a safari photoshoot they were planning.

But this girl right here checked her e-mail a whole mucking month too late.

And that, my dear brothers and sisters, is why I'm still in this creative rut. I'd like to think I'm a Yes Person, but a Yes Person Who Gets There Early I am struggling to be. If only I had checked my mail earlier, if only I had tested my adhesives and materials sooner, if only I had made more accessories as buffer for these kinds of situations...

I am remembering all these because my college friends and I were reminiscing yesterday and Ms. Magazine Stylist, two batches ahead of us, came to mind. As we were talking about my missed opportunity, I still kept kicking myself in my head even though it's been two years. Rather, I'm still kicking myself in my head because why haven't I gotten back to her AGAIN? It's been two years! Ugh.

Anyway, I came across Amy Poehler's book here on A Beautiful Mess, one of my favorite blogs. I'm inspired all of a sudden (to buy that book and) to move forward and make sure I'm not making the same mistakes and losing all these incredible things that I'm being offered. I made this today to set as wallpaper. Use it if you're feeling grabby (for opportunities, that is). Happy weekend!

2 0 1 5

Two years ago this month, I was sitting on our living room floor, funemployed and greatly pressured by the New Year's resolutions every one else was making. I had just made a buttload of money baking cookies during the holidays, an apparently lucrative hobby that began only as a way to take some of the stress off making clothes and accessories. Tyler Florence's Chefography was on TV, and for a good minute I had my life planned out – start small at a pastry shop, make my salary pay my culinary degree, and be a pastry chef from there. So romantic, that life.

These cookies didn't make my thighs wider then; but they fattened up my wallet nicely.
Here's the thing, though: I am too self-aware for my own good, but in most cases, such as this one, it becomes handy. I realized soon after (like, a few seconds after) that I really wanted to be a chef because I wanted to escape being a designer. Everyone had been asking when I'd be making their clothes and when I'd be setting up shop; when people pressure me like that, I go on the defense and start making choices opposite their expectations.

Facing the coward in me, these then became my resolutions: to try, to try with intention, and to try not for anyone's approval but for my own integrity.

Rituals by Patrick Rosas

Mang, I've missed talking to myself here. I took a break from working last night by ~redesigning~* this space, and now that it feels like a shiny new thing, I'm excited to babble on more than ever.

Not that I have a lot to say... or, actually, I do have a lot to say but right now I can see all the words in my head just swirling into a blurry soup.

Life lately has consisted of continuous all-nighters; countless mugs of iced coffee; endless hours of staring at the ceiling (or blank wall) deciding which big task to attack first and what big meal to eat afterward; and hurried good-nights and good-mornings, which is a sad thing because life shouldn't get in the way of work – it should be the other way around.

Nicdao shooting Ugne in Bea Valdes for the book
We have a book exhibit tomorrow, and it's a big deal. Not only because of the people involved in it – from the bigwigs behind the project to the guests attending it and buying the book – but also because of the amount of pressure we put on ourselves to make this happen. It's been a year since this began (I have a photo with Popoy to prove it lol), and it does not make sense to waste all that hard work by not ensuring the event is the significant moment it should be.

The book celebrates Patrick Rosas' 20th year as a legendary makeup artist, and it is a collaboration of talented photographers, artists, writers, stylists, craftsmen, designers, geniuses, and marketing mavens. O, 'di ba?

Most importantly, this whole thing was put together so that the H Ward of San Lazaro Hospital will benefit. A portion of the proceeds from the book sales (as well as the sale of Carlo Calma's sculpture) will be donated to this facility. We're also launching the book on December 1, World AIDS Day.

My talikodgenic photobomb during the shoot + dinner at W/17, November last year [image from Inquirer]
Initially, I was the one coordinating with the photographers, studios and the rest of the team for shoot schedules, but my partner in crime Kevin really grabbed hold of this project. From the shoot, to the book printing up until the execution for the day. He's so dedicated to it that he knows every detail by heart, and I'm not even exaggerating. A toast is in order for you, friend! 'Yung pinayat mo dahil sa project na ito, napunta naman sa hita at braso ko. 

Kevin and Popoy, a week after Anne Curtis's slapping spree last year
Tomorrow will have culminated more than a year's hard work and serendipitous events that led everyone to start this project. We're already missing the photoshoots (and the binge-eating of pizza, fried chicken, barbecue, pancit and – believe it or not – salad! Thanks, Juju!), and Sir Patrick's early morning phone calls. Despite all the stress, though, it greatly helped that our boss and the book's producer/project manager, Ms. Carmina, was and is always grounded, always on top of things. There were of course moments we felt like headless chickens running around, but the stress seldom ever felt like it was draining the soul out of us. It's a good kind of stress, I'd like to think.

I'm grateful to have met talented people I wouldn't have otherwise. The legendary Neal Oshima, Patrick Rosas himself, and even the staff and assistants of everyone involved in the production. It makes me feel small but in a way that makes me appreciate there's so many and so much more to meet and learn and make and do.

Neal Oshima and Ria Bolivar on our (very first) trial shoot, where my communicating skills were tested
There is still so much to do (currently they're setting up at White Space for the event), but Kevin, Ms. Carmina and I are only so harassed by this one huge problem now: What are we going to wear?