Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Grind Days.

Life has been increasingly different since the last time I wrote on this blog.
So much has changed.

My lifestyle, lately I find myself lucky to be in town for even just half of the work week as I spent the other half touring project sites.
(Exhausting and lonely!! but fun! )
My daily schedule, I am now working on my own firm and dedicating my full attention on private practice as an architect.
(Very exciting, but schedules can be very erratic.)
My opinions, thoughts, preferences, palette, priorities, among others.
But one thing that hasn't changed over a century?
My affinity for effortlessly chic and comfortable dressing.


Picture this. I landed home friday evening, had the whole saturday to do everything I could do in one day because on sunday I had to leave again for an out of town shoot.
I was home for just one day, so I was definitely on vacation mode as I savoured it. But I needed to hustle at the same time otherwise the day would be put to waste.
To me, this is the outfit that translates that.

For days I'd spend without trips and meetings, (aka. personal errand days, days spend working inside coffee shops, light site visits, canvassing and purchasing materials) I basically choose to live in clothes that are made of light breezy fabric (what with the heat lately!) and functional. If I know it will limit me (or even irritate me) sometime in the day, it's a no go. I think it's very important to choose pieces that will compliment your active lifestyle and help you become your most productive self. 25 year old me now believes, more than ever, that comfort should weigh heavily with aesthetics, a balance needs to be met.  If athletes have performance wear, working girls have theirs too. ;)

The key to having a trendy twist is incorporating trends with basic.
I picked these timeless cotton trousers but in gray-white gingham pattern and this v-neck shirt but in a midriff- bearing overlap style.
Simple, but chic.
Casual. But not rugged.
Corporate, had you changed a few elements.
For the ultimate chill factor, mandals. bedhead. 
Very simple formula.

In architecture, we always say "form over function"
In fashion I'd say form with function.. function with form. 
Sure, for special occasions one can make a little compromise but when it's a regular grind day, 
one should never be without the other.  ;)

{ Top: Sabrina | Trousers: Uniqlo | Mandals: Parisian | Shades: Sunnies | Necklace: Forever 21 }


Our work on "Kairos by the Lazy Chef" was on "Sunstar Live!" earlier this month.
I'd like to thank Monica Lopez for featuring Chef Chip Lopez' culinary loft and I'd like to urge everyone to book a reservation and try out this unique food excursion where everything is vegan, always fresh and seasonal, mostly home-grown, and of course, delectable!
More about that on the blog next week! :)


Monday, March 2, 2015

Girlstuff 5-free polish, now in Cebu!

I admit. I am not a girly-girl. The best proof to this would be my nails. It's the one thing Im least proud of. While most girls like to do nail art, french tip or color their nails at the very least, I like keeping mine short and clean. It's half because I'm lazy or busy, and half because I don't like chemicals turning my nails yellow and brittle. A few months back, I met a brand that challenged that.

Girlstuff Nail Polish! :)

Girlstuff Nail Polish is and affordable 5-free polish. 5 free meaning, free from 5 harmful chemicals that are usually found in nail polish such as: Toluene, Formaldehyde, DibutylPhtalate, Camphor, and Formaldehyde- resins. They are so safe even little kids can use them!

It's imported from France and comes in a wide collection of colors and styles such as: The sophisticated collection (gel-type), textured polishes (caviar my favorite), glitter, cream jelly, matte (I just love this idea) and a whole lot more. 

Good news is, just late last year, they have arrived in Cebu! Yay!

Look at all the pretty colors and finishes!!! Drool.
We were given the chance to pick out polishes that day and I went home with 10. It was sooooo hard to choose. Tough, tough choice. I ended up choosing some neutrals because as a working professional I cant afford polishes that are too flashy.

But then again, I couldn't help it, I included a few textured ones like Caviar and Cookies and Cream, and then a metallic gold, glitter, and a matte top coat.
Sorry, dad. Sorry, corporate world. Haha.

They also carry nail art instruments and basic tools like brushes, stripping tape, stamps, decals, and a lot more.

Ranging from Php 100- 200, Girlstuff nail polish is quick-dry! This feat is so convenient especially for girls who just can't sit still like me.  I get so impatient when I sit and wait for my nails to dry, I fidget! :))  It also doesn't have that strong smell that usually emanates from harsh chemicals 

Fellow bloggers gaga over the polishes.

And these are my choices! I love my choices! :)

                    Thank you so much, Girlstuff, for having me and for my loot! :)

Check out the Girlstuff kiosk at Paseo Ciudad, at the 2nd level of Ayala Center Cebu. Like them on facebook or follow them on instagram @girlstuffforever for promos, announcements, even nail art ideas! I hope you have fun choosing them as much as we did.

On to what I wore:

As usual, my dilemma was *schedule* , I find it very hard to attend launchings and events because the work I juggle is always demanding. My day is either packed or erratic, but I just had to make time for Girlstuff-- they were so gracious in taking time to send me both e-vite and deliver an actual invite. I missed the chit-chat and merienda but made it to the actual launch somehow yay!

I came in something practical for the office but chic enough for a casual afternoon event.
Every working girl needs light-colored soft pants or trousers they can be mobile and comfortable in while looking tres- chic. I like beiges, whites and light colored-ones because it is a breath of fresh air to the normal office palette is always black, gray, and navy blue.
   Creamy neutrals and some metallics are my favorite things to pile on because they glam up a look with very little effort. A little goes a long way if you put in some balance.

Strike a balance. Find an outfit that is neat, well put-together, and doesn't beg for attention.

Lovely afternoon with my new fave polish brand and some blogger friends. Cheers to a good day!
Thanks to my twin, Issa, for taking my photos! :)

Top: StyleStaple** Pants: Stylista's Closet**Sandals: Charles and Keith

This post has been in my draft for awhile now, like monthss! It's been so hard balancing blogging with my clothing business and private architectural practice especially because things have been transitioning and going full speed lately, I long gave up on my list of backlogs. But will definitely try to make more time to write here, not for anything, just because I miss it. 

Have a good week, everyone! :)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Welcome to Cebu, Kiehl's!

Special thanks to Marco Paulo Diala of Philippine Street Fashion for lending me his photos! <3
L to R Marco, Joanna, Doyzkie, Vanessa and Karlo

Bagels, hotdogs, booze, good music, and good company. Last night it poured hard at the metro but at the gallery of the Ayala Center Cebu.. it poured, well, something else. 
It was a fun and quirky downtown NYC-themed party last night at the gallery as Cebuanos Celebrated the opening of KIEHL's, the forefront in providing the world's finest skincare . Yep, they have finally arrived at the Queen City of the South, and Zee Lifestyle did nothing short of a good job in organizing a kick ass party! Unfortunately, I got stuck in the crazy rain and traffic missed the party but this was just too fun to not share with all of you guys. What's more is that today, they officially open their doors to everyone. In fact since 1pm earlier, they've been giving out free tote + travel kits to the first 100 shoppers! Isn't that a treat? I'm personally excited to try their much talked-about rejuvenating night serum! I'm a personal believer of investing on skin care over make-up! :)

 What began as an old world apothecary, 3rd avenue and 13th street, NYC, are now the purveyors of the finest skin care formulated using one-of-a-kind ingredients. Check out Kiehl's at the G/F of the Ayala Center Cebu New Wing and be part of Kiehl's timeless stories to getting beautiful skin, hair and body. No rules, just skin care that works. Join them as they celebrate old & new stories from this new-york born and bred brand that's well-loved all over the world! What you waiting for? Headddd. Onnnnn. Nowwww. :)

Congratulations again, Zee Lifestyle and Kiehls Philippines. And thanks to the beautiful Paula G of Zee for inviting me over!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Everything Online! (Weekend Bazaaar)

Everything Online Weekend Bazaar.
When your favorite online shops go offline for the weekend
When meet up schedules will be from 12 noon to 12 midnight 
When the clothes you want are hung right in front of you at your convenience ready for fitting
When your taste buds enjoy what they can't always do on a regular.

Cebu shoppers, if youre tired of the normal shopping scene,  get ready for Everything Online Weekend Bazaar on July 26-27, 2014 at One Paseo, Ma Luisa Rd Banilad Cebu City (Where the Henry Hotel and The Spa at Cebu are located, the road going to Maria Luisa, see map for your convenience). I don't know about you but I like going to events like this because I like shopping and I like new experiences and this is exactly a combination of that, a unique shopping experience, like a pop-up mall, one weekend its there and the next it's gone. 

I know, we've been having a lot of bazaars lately but I just can't get enough. Am I the only one? The combination of food and merchandise stalls plus the feel is always different. And honestly, I like the rarity of what I find in weekend bazaars,  the feeling of not knowing when I'd find a particular store live and in the flesh ever  again. Or the thrill of seeing an item I've been coveting on my instagram in the flesh finally. Everyone likes a little tease, yeah? :)) Tell me I'm not crazy!

What's more, Blind Clothing, your fave indie online brand, purveyor of classy and cool, elegance and effortlessness, will be there. (Ahahaha so biased right now). Just look for this tarp! We're at booth # 6! Also joining us are some of my personal favorites Minted Jewelry, Cesa Ph, Lord of the Ribs and a lot more so I'm excited to shop and eat myself. Also, hang with me and my fellow Cebu Fashion Bloggers loves sell our pre-loved closet favorites at a real, real bargain. All at the convenience of your 5 senses, not just your eyes, for once. 

Tell me I'd see you there! 

**Everything Online Weekend Bazaar is the brain-child of Mint Concepts and Events**

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

House Rennovation Project


Who's up for some serious design talk? When you see that header, you'll know it's coming. Haha. I've always hesitated to blog about this area of my life because I thought it quite hard to explain architecture in a less astute, more relatable, and entertaining manner that will interest a lot of people as much as fashion does. But hey, this is after all a design and fashion blog that's an extension of me. So deal with it. :)) Here goes!

They say that when you get your architect's license, your first few clients will be your relatives, and your relatives' relatives. I had an early taste of this during my internship days when our family friend (my godmother) commissioned me to remodel their home. It was a two- storey residence in a subdivision in Punta Princessa, Cebu. Further details to be kept private in keeping with client- architect confidentiality.

It was my first actual design project. During my apprenticeship days, Buddy and I used to work as a full-time intern in an architectural firm on weekdays and made outsourced drawings/ small design works for other architects on weekends. But this, was my first personal design undertaking. It was scary and intimidating at first, but with God's grace I pulled it off with a some help from Bud and of course the support and openness of my trusting clients. :)

The first phase of the project was completed while I was doing reviews for ALE. Yep, this post has been sitting in my drafts more than a year. Haha.

There are a lot of challenges when rennovating a house. There's:

1. Existing structural frame (Beams, Columns)
2. Existing Utility Lines (Water lines, Electrical lines)
3. It was going to be inhabited while construction is ongoing so proper planning and temporary "relocation" should be considered (e.g. where they temporarily cook, where they temporarily watch TV, access, how to keep the house safe and enclosed even whilst demolishing a few walls, etc)

Aside from these, the client wanted to:
1. Create a more contemporary look for their old house
2. Make it more spacious
3. Add an additional bedroom at the ground floor to prepare for old age and mobility issues.
4. Do something about the extreme heat and humidity inside the home esp in the afternoons.
5. Incorporate more natural light into the home to minimize the use of artificial lighting during the 
    day. It had a lot of dark pocket spaces.
6. Convert the husband's office/ shop into a kitchen.
7. Move the water tank
8. Correct the use of perimeter fence as firewall.

And then of course, as in almost all projects.. honest, inevitable design issues like:
1. Budget Constraints
2. Clients' Preference VS Designer's Preference. This is real. 

 Let me give you a quick tour! :)

1.) PORCH.
The house had a huge porch, almost equal to the size of their living room. We divided this porch into half by moving the walls and entrance door forward, and used the second half as a transition foyer to add more space to the interiors instead. We recycled some of their old glass blocks and placed these overhead, chose a more modern and solid door for an opening statement, then placed wall lamps to give the entrance an instant makeover and give it more character. This especially looks charming at night.
2.) FOYER.
Instead of completely demolishing the original wall (see upper left photo), we only demolished the upper half of it, preserved the structural column, and topped it with a console table with a wooden top  to serve as a element of transition and visual obsruction from foyer to living room. It will divide the space but by not completely blocking the view, we allow visual continuity to make the space feel bigger. We also added a spotlight for the artwork they will soon mount on the consul table.

At the right side of the original porch was Mr. E's shop/ office (he's a practicing electrical engineer by profession). We converted the space into a kitchen and dining area. Again, to maximize space we moved the walls forward, retained the jailousie window and grills and added a little plant box with topiary plants to make the exterior more welcoming. Plants are my best friends! See the old zoccalo (low wall, like a seat) at the rightmost of the porch?  1/3 of it becomes a full wall for the porch, 2/3 will then belong to the new foyer-- to which we added a glass as a not so solid divider from foyer to kitchen. (See graphics below)

The family's old kitchen was a long and narrow space around 1meter by 6meters wide at the very back portion of the house resting against the perimeter wall was so there was hardly any light, just the little skylights on the roof. (you'll see this later) We made sure that in this new layout, the 3-part-kitchen triangle was complete. Cook--Wash--Store. And that there would be some sun shining through.
We made new cabinet shelves using plywood and MDF cabinet doors, and added some cove lighting under them, and used granite tiles instead of slab to save on cost. ;)
                                              That's the glass partition I was talking about. 
This is the new kitchen and dining, Mr E's old office/ shop. We demolished the wall dividing his office from the living room and made it fully open to make their interior space bigger, and boy did it work wonders. We didn't want any obstruction so the only thing we used to subtly divide the living from the dining was elevation. ;) We raised the living room by one step. Behind the dining, there were existing jalousie windows, we merely lowered the windows to make it longger--inviting more and more day light. We also utilized the same windows for the front of the kitchen.

The soon-to-be replaced dining table. Can't wait to see how the new dining table and mats we spotted will look on their new dining area. :) Thats Mr and Mrs E with Buddy.

Everyone knows that if this was a play, the living room is the main character. It's also one of the most fun to "direct. :) We didn't move the mirror because mirrors are expensive and this one's a huge. So what we did was cover parts of it with plywood and veneer and placed another console table infront of it so they have a space to place jars and other accents. We used a semi-glossy neutral cream-off white color consistent with the whole house to aid the mirror make the space look bigger and reflect light. Dark brown accents and monochromatic hues add drama to the space whilst keeping it clean. For small spaces, its impt to keep furniture to a bare minimum (no fuss couch, table, 2 stools) and keep an organized and clean look through out.


Pillowcases always add a cheap but interesting touch to a living room. They're super easy to play with!
Behind the couch is a big bare wall which we wall with a floral board backdrop. we took this down and made it a clean finish. We'll mount a painting here as soon as the owners find the perfect one. We're relying on this artwork to bring accent colors to the house (Thinking shades of blue reminiscent of the shades of the sea, a little dull green, and some yellow) which we'll later use a basis for additional pillow-cases and other accents for consistency.

We moved the masters bedroom downstair, to where their old dining area was (behind that mirror) since we already have  new dining space. So we covered it with a wall and then accentuated with an existing piece of furniture. 
Bedroom photos not posted in respect to the privacy of the clients.

Remember the long strip of kitchen space I told you about above? 
Well, we removed half of its ceiling and turned it into a pocket garden with a full skylight and pergola so they have a space to maybe have coffee in.  It is separated from the interior by a sliding door with a screen so only the screen will be closed in the morning. Its main purpose is to funnel in much needed natural light and air unto the dining and living spaces.

... The other half remains a dirty kitchen, because they need one really bad for "ugly cooking". ;)

The Second floor renovations will be phase 2 of the project.
I would like to thank the couple client for the patience and trust. Seriously, it wasn't an easy transaction but they were alway open to new ideas with just the right amount of skepticism to challenge us. Haha. And they always have snacks for us every time we do site visits. Thanks also to Buddy of Think Factory DS for partnering with me and being my technical arm the whole time.

Also, don't wonder if I don't talk about the water and electrical and structural changes in this post, because I'm quite sure it will bore the hell out of most of my readers. :))
So there! What do you think?
Here's a quick summary of the whole project in photos. It's not perfect, but I'm happy with the turn-out, it was also a great learning curve and a rich experience.

And just like fashion magazines, here's the cover, I mean the preliminary schemes, that didn't make it:

**SCHEME 1**

ground floor

second floor

**SCHEME 2**

ground floor

2nd floor


Hope you enjoyed this post.
Later, guys!

For design inquiries, consultations, projects, collaborations, and whatnot,
please feel free to email atelierdeaurora@gmail.com
Click here for list of services.
**This project is in collaboration with Think Factory DS**