Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Fashion Watch: Joey Samson

In Living a Life Off-Center on June 30, 2011 at 6:23 am

I have had had the pleasure of being dressed by Joey Samson, who is not only brilliant in his tailoring but also someone who is generous and open-hearted. I do hope you enjoy looking at the photos from his show as much as I enjoyed attending 🙂 Reposting once more from the blog of Luis Espiritu. For the full story and photos click on Style Narratives-Joey Samson for Fashion Watch

A new take on the skirt suit 🙂


Fashion Watch: Ivarluski Aseron

In Living a Life Off-Center on June 29, 2011 at 3:37 am

Just wanted to share with you some of the fabulous creations of dear friend Ivarluski Aseron at last week’s Fashion Watch. Reposting pics and a review from  the blog of Mr. Tongue In Chic, Luis Espiritu: Style Narratives Congratulations Ivar!

One of Aseron's more desired pieces during his Fashion Watch show

A home for the four legged

In Philippine Star Column on June 24, 2011 at 2:02 am

Love animals? Read on…having a pet is definitely good for the heart and soul 🙂 But please practice responsible ownership!

William suffered severe mange and lost his eye due to infection but is now healthy and ready to go home

Weekends are normally a time for me to kick back, relax and watch mindless episode upon episode of “stupid” TV shows. Last Sunday was very different as I was invited by good friend and fashion designer Louis Claparols to go to the Philippine Animal and Welfare Society (PAWS) Rehabilitation Center to spend the afternoon. He informed me that the shelter was in need of supplies so we collectively brought dog and cat food as well as medicine to be donated that day. It was an eye-opening trip to say the least. The PAWS facility is on a hill nestled by trees and, as of this article, houses approximately 256 cats and 53 dogs. There have been many articles already written by animal lovers about this place but there is always something new that can be done in order to help out PAWS and its abused and abandoned wards who are all in need of good homes and much love. I’m not really a cat person but my heart went out to the felinecommunity in the cattery area, where these purr-poseful beings strutted around or lazily came up for a belly rub when I entered. “You don’t really choose a cat,” remarked PAWS program director Anna Cabrera, “the cat chooses you.” True enough, a contented looking tri-color kitty took the time to pick itself up and head over to me for some ear-scratching. The others watched and milled around nonchalantly as cats are wont to do.

Nalan was bottlefed and hand reared by volunteers, she is also playful and loves ear scratches

Still, this is far from the state that most of these furry friends were found in. There are many heartbreaking stories which range from a dog that was beaten repeatedly whenever its drunken owner came home: its wails of pain were so loud they could be heard several houses down. There was also a puppy that was left chained to the steering wheel of an abandoned car and was found drinking its own urine, so emaciated that it looked like its bones were slowly going to tear free from its body. There are kittens that were found en masse in trash bags ready to be thrown off the side of a truck… The stories go on, and who knows how many animals are still left out there, victims of irresponsible ownership and plain old human cruelty. Those that have found their way to PAWS by rescue from volunteers undergo a lot of medical supervision and lots of TLC. It is the PAWS group that works their hardest in the hope that these animals can soon find their “forever” homes with new owners that will erase their past memories of abuse. “The misconception about PAWS is that we are an orphanage,” says Cabrera. “That is not so. We try to house animals that are victims of ‘criminal cases’ based on the Animal Welfare Act.” There have been too many times that they have found pets just left at their doorstep, a product perhaps of owners who thought having a pet was akin to a “toy.” Once it dawned on them that raising an animal was work, they would rather just “throw it away.” Humans.

Lucius-a jeepney ran over him as a pup, but even with just 3 working legs, he is still very active and playful

So what can one do? Firstly, have a long hard think with your family, with your partner, with yourself about buying and raising a pet. Remember (especially if it’s a dog), it will need to be fed, exercised, bathed and require veterinarycheck-ups regularly. If you’ve decided you are ready to take all this on then look into reputable breeders over pet shops, or better yet, look into adopting. There is a high success rate of rehabilitated dogs and rescued cats that are just waiting for a new home and a brand new start. If having a pet right now is not an option but you still wish to help animals in need there are several things you can do.

Leslie sports a scar on her belly due to burns from boiling oil, but she is just as loving and pretty as any other cat

First, donate: Cash is always helpful. A new spay and neuter mobile van has been acquired which helps PAWS go around more remote parts of the country helping in animal population control and P50,000 is what is needed now to make it fully operational inside and out. To run the entire center each month costs about P160,000 so any additional monetary donation is always welcome. They also now have a debit option, where you can fill up a form and have a specific amount (as low as P100) charged to your credit card every month.

Crumpy was rescued from the highway,very playful and loves belly rubs

You may also opt to give dog and cat food and medicine. More ideas? Most of the cages in the quarantine area use newspaper that is changed three times a day, so supplies can run low and there are also lots of litter boxes to fill, which is done with shaved wood since it is a cheaper and still effective alternative to kitty litter. What you may no longer need at your home, school or office may now be recycled and put to good use.

If you are a true animal lover then you may want to extend a loving “paw” out to PAWS.

* * *

Check out their website

Ronaldo Arnaldo enters the RTW Realm

In Philippine Star Column on June 17, 2011 at 2:21 am

Midnight blue crepe jacket with chartreuse silk cut out sleeves

Every girl needs a good designer, a no-fail fashion-y friend she can run to during any style emergency. If you are trying your best to work on your inner self, then it’s always good to know you have someone to go to when you need to pamper your outer self. I have had the good fortune of coming into contact with several designers who have generously dressed me for the bajillion events that I have to attend (both for work and for pleasure) and it does relieve a lot of the dress-stress. I had the pleasure of meeting Ronaldo Arnaldo when I was in the midst of preparing the production of a big fashion show (100 designers/one venue) about two years ago. I liked his calm, quiet manner and his creation was one of my favorites among the 100 presented; his lines were strong yet feminine (in other words, curve-friendly) and he had an eye for color. Fast forward to a fitting with him and I was amazed: he took my measurements once. The second time I went in for another fitting, the dress was practically perfect, and I took it home the next day after some final touches.

Over the years, I have seen Arnaldo’s star continue to rise with favorable review after favorable review of his collections both on the runway and in editorial spreads. Although he is still a favorite for bespoke creations, he has now decided to expand into the land of retail, with his first collection, “The New Filipiniana,” available at L Manila in Greenbelt 3.

After more than 13 years in the industry, what made him decide to expand? “Ready to wear is the future of fashion,” shares Arnaldo. “I’m not saying couture is dying but nowadays, it is limited to weddings and formal dresses. And I wanted to reach out to a wider audience in retail.”

Taupe cotton knit jacket with moss green silk damask swirls on the bodice


Taupe cotton knit jacket with moss green silk damask swirls on the bodice

Arnaldo’s work is known for its wearability and comfort and this remains true for his initial pieces that consist of dresses and tops in neutral shades. “I wanted to do something that was modern and Filipino, using indigenous and organic fabrics such as piña, Philippine dupione, linens and Philippine silks,” remarks the designer. “For this first collection, I’m starting with natural colors of the fabrics such as ecru and beige but in the near future, I will be infusing colors. I’m going to be experimenting with dyes.” Variations from his runway collection will also be available soon, and will have a lot more hues and tones to choose from. The dresses are perfect for a day in the office and, when paired with bright accessories, can make the intelligent shift from work to play. The silhouettes are female-friendly, giving the figure a flattering look, and also allowing the body to move without constriction. Versatility is further exemplified with a Philippine dupione ecru overblouse trimmed with French Alencon lace, perfect for evenings when a touch of elegance is required without going too over-the-top formal. Perfect for people like me who sometimes get the lazy bug when getting ready for a big night out. Think about it: you have something you can throw over a LBD or even a tank and dark jeans, and off you go.

Arnaldo’s background is an interesting one. He actually graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technolgy but ended up taking a crash course in fashion design at the now-defunct Premiere Fashion Arts Center. For five years, he assisted senior designer Mike de La Rosa and pursued his craft by taking up basic, advanced and couture pattern-making at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines. His interest in fashion, though, came much earlier. “My grandmother was a seamstress and at a very young age. I found myself playing with threads and needles on scrap fabrics with dolls and handicrafts,” he chuckles. Nowadays, Arnaldo looks to international designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Lacroix, Doori Chung, Alexander Wang, Narciso Rodriguez and Proenza Schouler for inspiration. He also plans further studies in 3D pattern making at the Central St. Martins in London to upgrade his knowledge in cutting and construction.

Philippine dupione ecru overblouse trimmed with French Alencon lace

Having a go-to designer is a godsend, especially when you find one who has figured out your figure, your style and, best of all, is within your budget. It’s also an extra perk if said designer has a line that you can just grab off the rack when you’re in a fashion pinch. To those who like to dress up, dress down or would rather have someone dress them, I wish you all find a fall-back fashion designer. In the meantime, check out what’s on the RTW menu of Ronaldo Arnaldo.

* * *

For more info on Ronaldo Arnaldo, contact tel. 403-0507 / 252-4369

A few moments of complete calm-repost

In Living a Life Off-Center on June 10, 2011 at 5:47 am

Found this and wanted to share with everyone.

The energies of June are turning out to be rather manic and energy filled. I hope this short video helps you find some bliss in order to recharge with grace.:-)

you can see everything on this link


A Few Moments of Complete Calm (Video)

by Jessica Ashley, Shine staff

Between the crazy storms and sticky-hot extremes of weather, it feels like we’ve skipped spring altogether. There were barely 48 hours to enjoy the magnolia trees in bloom before high winds and rain washed the delicate pink petals away. The flowers in my neighbors’ yards seem to droop under the weight of the humidity or pause for some sign that it really is the right time to emerge completely. And isn’t this what we wait for all winter, what we negotiate in our heads as we shovel snow and pile on layers of down, wool, and fleece — that it will all be worth it once spring arrives?

Until the weather evens out or we just admit it’s never coming, perhaps these beautiful time-lapse videos will bring you the the same ahhhh it did for me. I love that all of the fragility of a flower opening is captured, helping us appreciate what goes in to one little bud opening to the world. It’s simple, it’s sweet, and I do believe this morning meditation is a wonderful start to the day, no matter what the weather outside the window.

If you are lucky enough to have a perfectly sunshiney spring day where you are, watch anyway. These stunning videos can only make it even better.
See the vids:

Have a Happy Hour: The Natasha Goulbourn Foundation launches a new campaign

In Philippine Star Column on June 3, 2011 at 2:46 am

How do you beat the blues? It isn’t uncommon to have your down days, especially with the bipolar weather conditions we’ve been experiencing. We complain of the heat, we blame our mood on the traffic caused by the rain, or we just seem to find excuses to easily put us in a state of looking at the not-too-bright side of things. It’s okay to have your bad moods, your emotional ups and downs, just be aware of them and know that it is up to you to switch your state of mind. What is it that you do or can do to go from sad to happy? This is the core mission of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF)’s new campaign called “Be Happy.” I took a look at their Facebook page (, which encourages everyone to commit to doing something either at a certain hour, or even for an hour to find their bliss. I thought the concept to be delightful, with fans of the page sharing their stories about what they did that day to invest in their “joy.” It reminded me of another website I follow, author Cami Walker’s 29 Days Of Giving (, wherein people are encouraged to open their hearts to giving something every day for 29 days. The energy behind these two websites is similar in essence: when you make a conscious effort to take yourself to a better place, then the emotional hiccups we encounter in life became fewer and fewer. Or at least, we find a way to deal with our “life bumps” with more positivity.

Be Happy Hour!

Psychiatrist Dr. Lou Casimiro-Querubin, who was present during the launch, believes the “Be Happy!” initiative can succeed in espousing a “circle of connectedness” at various levels. “First, a connectedness to one’s inner self, which is crucial in being able to help a person identify what he feels and thus be able to do something about it. Second, a connectedness to others, in the context of a universal need of people to feel affirmed and appreciated,” he says, adding that, “To consciously practice moments of random acts of kindness means to reach out on those two trajectories — to the self (which is the inward trajectory) and to others (which is the outward trajectory).”

It’s true, isn’t it? Even if we may not admit it openly, we do want to be needed, we feel better when we know that we “matter” to someone else. In finding ways (during your own “happy hour”) to experience appreciation for what is around you, especially the wonderful individual that you are, you have taken one small, simple step towards lightening your emotional load. Depression can take on many forms, and it can take root from something seemingly trivial, but our personal dramas are relative to us, and it hurts when we’re going through something and someone else scoffs and says it’s “no big deal.”

The NGF Group

Top row: Toni Gregory (NGF), Mely Nicolas (chairperson for Commission of Overseas Filipinos), Jean Goulbourn (president of NGF), Frances Lim (NGF board member) Bottom row: David Drilon, Ambassador Isabel Wilson (chairperson of NGF), Katrina Goulbourn Feist

Jean Goulbourn, founder of NGF explains, “We are trying everything to catch people who may be on the road to depression. NGF has developed partnerships with depression advocacy groups like the Department of Health, UGAT Foundation, In Touch Community Services, Dial a Friend, San Antonio Parish Health Ministry, among others to bring to fruition our mission of reaching out to the general public, the young, especially students at all levels, OFWs in Hong Kong and the families they leave behind and letting them know as much as possible about depression.”

With its “Be Happy!” program the foundation hopes to further reach people so that they can be proactive in bringing happiness to themselves and to others by one very easy means so that depression cannot progress. Having a “happy hour” is essential to keeping each person balanced and healthy in body, mind and spirit.

In my personal experience, I’ve found that regular physical activity is a great way to get one to a happy place. Your body was made to move; sitting for long hours and mulling about what went wrong or what’s not happening will make things fester even more if you just keep focusing on it. Get up and go out, join a gym, a yoga class, learn to run, bike, dance: the options are endless. Already active but sometimes feel, once all the movement stops, that you go back to ruminating on regret? Learn how to meditate, quiet the mind, buy a candle or room scent that ignites happy memories or just add some sweetness to your living or workspace. Want to amp this effort up? Then give something. As stated in the 29 Gifts website it doesn’t have to something material; it can be something as simple as giving your time to someone, a kind word or a (sincere) compliment to a family member, a friend, or a work colleague. It’s time to be kinder to others and especially, kinder to ourselves. Make your own happy hour, share your story and inspire others.

Turning 30 Doesn’t Have to be the End of the World ( a Guest Post)

In Living a Life Off-Center on June 2, 2011 at 3:05 am

My good friend, and creator of the The 30 Before 30 Project, Celine Novenario has been generous enough to do a guest post for me. I hope it helps all of you who are turning the big 3-0, and if you’ve already seen the 3s come and go, this may inspire reflection and motivation for the lifetime that is still left ahead for you. It will be a wonderful one if you allow it! 🙂

Turning 30 Doesn’t Have to be the End of the World

by Celine Novenario

For most people, the thought of turning 30 brings about such panic and despair that it might as well be the end of the world. For me, it almost literally was.

The end?

My 30th birthday fell on May 21, 2011, the day designated by infamous evangelist Harold Camping as Judgment Day. To me, it seemed oddly serendipitous that the Rapture fell on the day of my big 3-0. There’s nothing quite like the impending end of the world to make people stop and take stock of their lives. Though I never did believe that the world would come to an end once the clock struck 6, I did find myself thinking at that moment: If it all ended right here and right now, I would be fine with that.

It was amazing to me that I could think that when it wasn’t so long ago that I was drifting through life, aimless after the relationship I had anchored the past three years of my life on disintegrated. When you spend that much time in a serious relationship, you map your life out in terms of where the relationship is going: Should I go to graduate school? If I really want to, I should do it now since we’ll probably get married within the next two years … and if I get pregnant right away, good luck getting any studying done! What should I do this summer? I’d really love to experience summer in Ibiza but we haven’t done summer in his country yet so maybe it’s best to go there and get to know his family and friends more. Wait, is he even free to travel this summer?

I had gotten so accustomed to planning my life around our relationship that our eventual break-up was not just devastating; it also caused me to lose my bearings. What was I supposed to do now?

A horizon of possibilities ahead

Thankfully, I found the beautiful answer to this question relatively quickly: Whatever the hell I want! For once in my life, I wasn’t tied down by my father’s rules or a boyfriend’s plans. So I gave myself permission to be selfish and pursue my heart’s desires, no matter how frivolous or outlandish. I wrote a list of 30 things I wanted to do and slapped on my 30th birthday as a deadline to make it stick.

Coachella cheer!

What followed was an unforgettable 15 months of no-holds-barred living. I pursued and overcame challenges with a single-mindedness I was both surprised and proud to find out I possessed. I spent an entire month on a vegetarian diet and practicing Bikram yoga every single day, which both restored my health and belief that my body still had some tricks up its sleeve. I went from running zero to 26.2 miles in 8 months and accomplished something that seemed impossible years ago when I crossed the finish line of the New York Marathon. I got over my insecurities in the kitchen by successfully banging out a five-course gourmet dinner for my friends. I discovered the fearless adrenaline junkie within when I skydived from a plane at 14,000 feet, bungee-jumped off the Macau Tower, learned how to surf in the waters of Portugal, swam with whalesharks and spelunked for over four hours through the underground caves of Sagada. I got rid of that nagging “Did I miss out?” feeling that hits most people as they approach their 30s with some unapologetic partying: dancing my ass off in Ibiza, whooping it up at Mardi Gras in New Orleans and rocking out in the three-day music festival, Coachella. I learned to be comfortable in my own skin and to celebrate womanhood: I took lessons in burlesque, tried my hand at pole-dancing, and joined the denizens of Ibiza in baring bosoms to the Mediterranean sun.

Believe you can fly....

By the time I blew out those candles brandishing the big 3-0, I didn’t feel an ounce of sadness at bidding my 20s adieu. There were no more what-ifs and would’ve, could’ve, should’ves. If it all had to end that day, it would have been fine because I know I’ve lived.

Life is not a's a....