28 December 2012

Coxswain

2012 is almost at its finishing line. I'm wishing all of you a very happy holiday. My greetings are kind of late but still, let me have this chance to wish you all happiness, peace, and contentment; the same things that I'm wishing for myself at the moment. You reap what you sow. Clearly, there are a lot of aphorisms that I know of but vaguely understand. Let this Christmas season heal all that has to be healed. Believe in what the coming year has in store for all of us. And for what it's worth, learn from everything that has happened for they happened because they have to make us realize things that we wouldn't have thought of had they not slapped us in the face, figuratively I hope.

But anyway, Happy Holidays everyone! From the bottom of my "small and hardened" heart, thank you for being a part of my 2012. Yes, it isn't one that I'd dream of reliving but it's definitely something that made me stronger and wiser. Thank you!!! :)

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More of this next year!

27 December 2012

A Little Red

There's something off about Christmas 2012 and it's something that I just couldn't shrug off. You know those times when you've reserved a seat for someone special even though you know that s/he's not coming? And then you just find yourself looking at that seat every now and then? That's how it was like for me. One by one, everyone I hold dear is leaving. Just last year, I spent the holidays without my cousins Alissa, MC, and Ram for the first time ever because they moved to Canada. Though that dampened my spirits, I've gotten over it since my family, my Tito Roy, my two Peralta cousins, Nanay, and my three Valle cousins were here. It wasn't a celebration as fun as the previous years but it was nonetheless pleasant. I could even look back to it with a smile. This year, everyone's simply gone. My cousins were back to their different countries and the great party organizer was gone for good as well. No one will ever orchestrate the silliest games of all time again for he has left already. Unlike my cousins, his ticket is good for a one-way journey only. 

I've always had the talent of making myself busy and unmindful of the sad situation but when the ordeal felt as big as an elephant, how can I fully look past it? You know what they say, when in a bad condition, wear nice clothes. I tried. Here's what I wore for Christmas:
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Dress: from Bangkok| Necklace: H&M| Shoes: Topshop| Belt: Mango| Ring: Platinum Mall, Bangkok

Son of the Terrorist

There are a lot of books lined up for me to read this holiday season. Somehow, there seems to be a theme but let it be said that I’m not wishing to ‘alter the face of the world’ in any way that deviates from peace and harmony among all nations nor have I a death wish of some sort even if the books I’m deeply attached to at the moment include a few eyebrow-raising topics, namely: 
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Only a few books have the power to evoke such strong emotion in me that I feel the need to share my newly conceived thoughts with others. When I entered the book store and proceeded to my favorite sections which are History and Politics, and Non-fiction, it caught my attention at once. I’ve never thought that such a book could ever be published. I wanted to buy it and immediately read it but I knew I had to think things over first. There were a lot of things that had to be considered at that moment, on top of which was my tendency to empathize with the writer so much so that sometimes, I overlook what I already know and arrange my concepts in accordance with what I’ve read. I’m an adult yet I am still very malleable. And so I was afraid that after reading it, I might find a way to justify what happened in our history, at least in my mind. But I knew I had to read it, if only for my love of deepening what I know of our rich history. And I did. I’ve finished reading GROWING UP BIN LADEN.
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As what stories have told us, there would always be three points of view: the protagonist’s, the antagonist’s, and that of the truth. The only things I knew of Osama bin Laden were those coming from the vantage point of the Western countries. I’ve never known the side of bin Laden nor the underlying motivations of the actions that came from both the Western countries and the world-known terrorist. I wonder though, in which part would the story of OBL’s wives and children fit? Where would the lives who have witnessed directly his emergence to power fall? The book was written by his first and most important wife Najwa Ghanem bin Laden and his fourth son Omar bin Laden, with the aid of Jean Sasson. I thought I would know the motivations behind OBL’s deep-rooted hatred towards United States and Israel. I thought that the two bin Ladens would, in layman’s term, betray the man of the house by giving away confidential accounts. In a way, I was disappointed for I didn’t find any of these. In another way, I thought both mother and son were honorable. They recounted how difficult their lives have been while they were still in OBL’s guidance. I couldn’t fathom why they had to be free of modern convenience when the bin Ladens are known for being one of the wealthiest families in all of Saudi Arabia. Even more, I couldn’t fathom the unwavering devotion and loyalty Najwa showed to her husband. She gave him 11 children and though OBL had 5 more wives, 1 of which was said to be annulled shortly after the marriage, I think it was Najwa who held his husband’s adoration the most. After all, she was told over and over again before she left Afghanistan “I will never divorce you, Najwa” despite his declaration that he will allow any of his wives divorce him. Anyone, but Najwa. Besides, there were instances in the book where she said that she can’t fully disclose all information about her husband for she believed that they were family matters. She never once said that she was dissatisfied with the life her husband made her live. To think that she was forced to live uncomfortably.  She chose to stay with him in spite of Omar’s pleas for them to leave his father. She loved her husband and she knew that he will always play a part in her life beginning from the moment she was born until her last days for he was her first cousin, then her husband, then the father of her 11 children.  There was more to Osama bin Laden than being the head of the al-Qaeda. “The West knows him as a terrorist. Najwa bin Laden knows the man”.

The fruit never falls far from the tree, they say. But what happened between Osama bin Laden and his multitude of children is a direct contradiction to this adage. It was bravery on the part of Omar bin Laden for having the guts to leave his father and voice out his non-acceptance of the life his well-revered father forced upon him, especially in a culture that puts fathers on a high pedestal. Omar epitomizes the existence of choice in every situation. He grew up having high respect for his father, had diligently obeyed his father’s orders, never questioned his father’s decision, and yet his mindset took a different path. He opted for peace rather than violence. He chose to be his own man rather than an extension of his father, which was unusual for a son in his culture. He eventually left his father and fled to Jeddah where he assumed a normal life, the life he had been craving for since his troubled childhood. He, along with his brothers, might have suffered because of his father but he never lost faith in him. Though he was groomed to succeed his father’s position in al-Qaeda, he was never a part of the organization for he never shared the same violent beliefs. “My father’s proclamation had been given: His love for his sons did not sink further than the outer layer of his flesh. At least I knew exactly where I stood. My father hated his enemies more than he loved his sons”. Yet he didn’t believe that it was his father who was behind the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. He waited for his father to clean his name but all hopes had vanished when he heard OBL took credit for what is considered the worst terrorist attack USA has ever experienced. The way I see it though, despite their differences Omar would forever be the young boy who did all the tricks just to get his father’s attention. 
I am not ashamed to admit that I loved my father with the usual passion of a young boy for his father.

I don’t mean to offend anyone with my outright opinions. The book has been published in 2009 and as we all know, the world’s No. 1 terrorist was killed by the CIA in 2011. Who knew what happened with the bin Laden sons during that time gap? I didn’t make further researches so I am not claiming that the sons nor anyone belonging in the big bin Laden family is whether purely good or bad.  Again, my intention is not to offend other people’s sensibilities, especially those who have been directly affected by his terrorist attacks. I am merely responding to the messages of one of the books I consider highly emotive. I have nothing good to say about Osama bin Laden for up to this day, I know only little of what shaped him into becoming the Public Enemy that he was. But I have high regard towards Najwa Ghanem bin Laden and Omar bin Laden. They may be carrying the name bin Laden but it does not mean that they are representation of the ideologies of Osama bin Laden.
“My father was not always a man who hated. My father was not always a man hated by others. History shows that he was once loved by many people”.
As the son of Osama bin Laden, I am truly sorry for all the terrible things that have happened, the innocent lives that have been destroyed, the grief that still lingers in many hearts.

All quoted sentences were directly copied from Growing Up Bin Laden.
All the books can be found in Fully Booked.
All the pictures were via Google

23 December 2012

My Happiness Project

I thought I could make do without blogging in the entire length of December because I'm so lazy to attend to some technical problems such as: my photo server (Photobucket) seems to have crashed without giving me any prior notice, leaving me in panic as I have uploaded a lot of pictures there that are yet to be published here; my photos have to be sorted out first but since the hard drive where I saved them is infected with virus, I can't use them; and lastly, I am absolutely at a loss for things to say. I reckon it's the Christmas spirit that has convinced me to do otherwise.

I've been to Fully Booked plenty of times this month and in all those times, I found myself looking at this blue book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Instead of buying it though, I put it back on the shelf and look for another read. The way I see it, the book came into fruition because people are actually in desperate search of happiness. I bought the book yesterday, finally giving in to curiosity. It's a good book, I found out. But really, since when did happiness become so elusive? I'm not saying I'm always happy nor am I always in a good mood. It's far from it. I'm mostly indifferent and uncaring. Every now and then, I fall into manic depression. What can I say, wallowing in self-pity is addictive. But the thing is, I know when I have to snap out of it. I know when to regain control of the situation. Happiness, for me, is not a part of the journey but rather, the destination. Like others, I seek for it. Unlike others, I know where to find it - within me. After all, what stops all of us from truly being happy is ourselves. All the boundaries we set, the walls we build, and the reservations we limit ourselves with, they hinder us from doing things that could make us happy. It's always just a matter of acceptance.

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Top: Espada| Necklace: H&M| Skirt: from my Lala Ester| Shoes: Topshop

22 December 2012

Famous and Dumb at an Early Age

If I'd have to speak my thoughts through different songs, it would have to be from those of Lana del Ray's. 

Darling, darling, doesn't have a problem 
Lying to herself cause her liquor's top shelf 
It's alarming honestly how charming she can be 
Fooling everyone, telling them she's having fun 

She says, "You don't want to be like me 
Don't wanna see all the things I've seen 
I'm dying, I'm dying 
She says, "You don't want to get this way 
Famous, and dumb at an early age 
Lying, I'm lying 

Or maybe it's just because I've been playing her songs on repeat for quite a few months already that I'm slowly imbibing all of them in my system, and eventually making them the songs of my life. Either that, or I'm a slightly confused girl. Haha!

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Dress and shoes: Topshop| Accessories: from Platinum Mall, Bangkok

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With Lala Delia (who's rocking her BCBG Max Azria pink faux fur! Hindi talaga ako ma-over sa jacket. Very bagets), Lala Letty, and Lala Ester
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I got to spend an entire afternoon two weeks ago with my Lala Delia and Lala Letty before they had to go back to their respective homes. This has only been the second time that I've talked to them in person and yet it's funny how easily I've felt at ease with them. Gotta love my Lalas :) 

07 December 2012

Mermaid

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Knit cover up: from Bacolod| Dress: from Greenhills| Shoes: Topshop
Pictures taken in Isdaan, Laguna as we were heading back to Manila from our weekend getaway in Quezon province.

Don't push it. She has her limits.

Thanks to Lala Ester for the pictures

05 December 2012

December Inspirations

1) Designer Clothes for Kids
 Indulging the children with designer clothes has been a buzz in the fashion industry. Some said they liked it since it's generally sweet, others said they don't because it promotes superficiality. For me, I like it. I mean, training should start at a very young age and what better way to do that but to expose kids while their visions and perceptions can still mend. There was a time when I dropped by the House of Laurel in Makati to pick up a gown I purchased and while waiting for it, there were mom and daughter duos coming inside the store. The moms were looking at the designer's clothes on the rack while the little girls proceeded to where the Rajito line, clothes designed for kids, was. I bet those girls didn't even have a clue as to how much their dresses cost. Cute! To each his own, remember? To each his own.
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oliviapalermo.com

2) Les Miserables
 Generally, I love musicals. I add a few good points to this particular show since Lea Salonga has played both the roles of Eponine and Fantine in different productions all over the world so I really exerted an effort to familiarize myself with the story and the songs. Besides, did you know that the songs in this movie were sung live as they were being taped? Wonderful cast.
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vogue.com

3) Karlie Kloss editorial as a Mom
If I become a mom in the future, I'd definitely try my best to be as beautiful as this supermodel. No matter how impossible that could be.
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vogue.com

4) Wedding of Mary Charteris
 It's truly all in the details, isn't?
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5) Nicole Warne's trip to Iceland
 take me there! Please, I've to be there someday. I've always known Iceland is a beautiful and mysterious country. I just didn't know how much. Blogger Nicole Warne knows how to whet her viewer's wanderlust.
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fellt.com/garypepper

03 December 2012

Connection is Stronger at Home

I strongly believe that a person is greatly shaped by the environment she is exposed most to. Her thoughts, in one way or another, mirror her response to what she receives from the people who influence her the most. It might not be true in all situations but I personally believe that a person is an extension of the kind of parents she have. I don't mean to offend but since I was raised by parents who give great importance to the family, I stand firm for the same belief. But hey it's just me. It's only an opinion and at the end of the day, it only comes second to my life's motto: To each his own. Believe in whatever works best for you :) Now, let me segue to where we can all meet at the same level - isn't finding a satellite outside your house just plain cool? Or is it just me and my tendency to appreciate things that are weird? Hahaha. I'm having a proud Filipino moment once again because Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to box against his arch-nemesis (would it be so bad to liken their relationship to Perry the platypus and Doofenshmirtz?) Manuel Marquez on the 8th of December (9th in the Philippines) for the 4th time. My country would have another zero-crime rate day. Awesome, right? 
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When you step out of our house and look sideways, you'd see a 6-ft satellite dish planted on the vacant lot beside ours. My dad set it up so that I can have a good background for my pictures. Or at least, that's what I made myself think. Harhar. He set it up so that he can monitor how strong the signal is (and also for us to have free live viewing of the fight). Pacqiao fans talaga kasi kami.
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with my 4 year old cousin Rayne
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Top: from Hong Kong| Bow tie: H&M| Shorts: from Bangkok| Shoes: Parisian| Belt: Topshop
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01 December 2012

My World is Changing

It's Christmas time again, yahoooo! I can't help singing along my Christmas playlist.
Where are you Christmas
 Do you remember
The one you used to know
And to start my December posts, I'll upload a few backlog pictures. Coincidentally, I was wearing red here! It seems that 2012 won't make it to my best years list but this doesn't mean that I won't look forward to Christmas. Nothing can ever dampen my Holiday spirit :) These pictures were taken last 17 November but I've only gotten my hands on these earlier this week. Let it be said that I'm a Twilight fan! I'm not denying it anymore. I don't just like the story. I love it! I've read the books before they began showing in the movies and this saga has been one of those few book to movie translations that I approved of. On top of which is Harry Potter but let's not delve into so much of that, for now. Here's what I wore for that night:

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Fishtail top and bodycon skirt: Topshop| Blazer: from my Lala Ester| Belt: H&M| Shoes: Charles and Keith| Bag: Nine West (squint your eyes more and you might be lucky to see it HAHA)
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Hahaha, I can't let the opportunity of posing with Cinderella on Podium's makeshift castle pass, can I? I'm a Disney Princess - wannabe.
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Thanks to Lala Ester for the pictures
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