Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2 0 1 3 Highlights

2013 was slowly bidding a sweet farewell as we loudly counted down the last 30 seconds to welcome 2014, competing with the DJ's blasting music. "3.. 2.. 1.." the crowd shouted, fire works started rising from the far beach front as we rushed to sqaut by the poolside to see a much better view. The speakers stopped roaring and a beautiful, solemn but triumphant Auld Lang Syne took over to serenade the fireworks show. We raised our heads in awe, raised our phones high to capture every bit of it hoping to replay this in our heads someday when we need it. "It's beautiful"... I kept repeating to myself. "the fireworks.. the celebration.. the year that was... the feeling of being able to begin again.. the thought of having more time to make things right".
Welcome, 2014.

 Join me as I take a trip down memory lane to some of the best memories of my 2013. Do pardon the photos, my life has been best captured via phone lately so.. :))


1. Survived living away from home

Mixed feelings at day 00 :)

Feeling local at the LRT

Ava's fave and mine: The 5th floor. Our floor.

Room 516. Where it all happened.
I have always wanted to experience living on my own. I got to do this for 2 months during reviews for the architecture licensure exams. I, along with 2 friends rented out a 25 sqm unit but with a huge common pool and a huge lawn. We'd cook/ buy our own food, take turns in the chores, do our own groceries, go down for coffee/shake study dates, budget our own time and dough, make new friends, and go out to de-stress without anyone setting us a curfew. I visit Manila yearly but I've never experienced or memorized it that way. LRT/MRT's were our best friends and I've never felt my tagalog sharper. Lol. It wass one of my best memories. It taught me independence, how to root for myself, and it was very enriching. Honestly, the journey and hurdle was as precious of a memory to me as the actual victory. I always smile when I recall it, without fail. Man, I miss it again. 

2. Took the board exams

Refresher class at SM Cinema. 
Yup, SM Cinema. 0.0

Transferred to a dorm a week before the exam to be with my fellow Cebu takers.
Our lunch breaks looked like this.

Post-board chill: Team 516 with Daryl and Lloyd <3

Cebu team on the way back to the home town after the exams

"Part 1&2 down. Adrenaline up. Good Vibes. This is faith, right? Not complacency? Faith! i have a good feeling about this but I'm scared of that feeling and where it will take me but then again, faith. Meanwhile, I'll miss this.. Manila.. San Lorenzo Dorm... Mezza Residences.. Living across a mall.. JPT.. LRT.. UAPSA.. SM Cinema classroom... I will treasure this experience, I actually like this. I'm learning to like working hard for something.. for one thing, for a change. I like doing one thing and pouring all my efforts to it instead of juggling too much.

I like talking to people I'm comfortable with and not having to socialize/ interact/ go online when I don't feel like it. I like going home to a small place with a big pool I can't find time to swim in.. and go home at the time I want and work twice as hard the next day to compensate. I like crossing the street to feed myself and Nescafe Latte in can and this 4000 ml Wilkins bottled water on my study desk. 

Manila's a noisy city but my life seems more quiet and personal here. "

--Journal Entry, Jan 25, 2013 10:24 Pm, Post- Board Exam Day 1. 
Guess that sums it all up.


4. Started doing furniture design for a Japanese company
As per a contract I signed before leaving for Manila, I started working with a Japanese company immediately when I got back to Cebu. It helped take my mind off the anticipation for results. Never got to appreciate the art and discipline of furniture design till then.

5. Passed the board exams!!!

The exam was literally crazy due to the changing of the chairman of the board. People were angry and disheartened and it took weeks of internal deliberating at PRC for the results to come out but it did. We passed somehow and it was the best feeling in the world!
These are the USC passers went back to our beloved almamater, USC CAFA, to celebrate with our mentors. No topnohcers sadly, but with a high passing rate.

6. Island hopping with Jamsesh.
If you've been away from home and away from most of your friends to study, how would you feel about the idea of seeing all of them in complete attendance (there are about 20 of us, get the picture) in one awesome bangka to island hop, enjoy good music and food? It. was. priceless. Let's do this again, please!!



7. Officially became a licensed architect.
Oath-taking at The Manila Hotel
The day when we swore to the profession and officially became registered, licensed architects after 5 years of school and almost 2 years of internship and 5 months of review. Hell yeah.

With the supportive parents <3

EPEA big 4 ;)
(Espina, Perez-Espina and Associates Jan 2013)

Team USC with the board and deans \m/

Cebu peeops with cebuana topnotcher and JPT review mate, Grace. :)

8. Manila Fame 2013: my first business trip
Back in MNL again.
Got sent to Manila Fame for a study and exploration trip.
It was my first time to get paid to travel and I was wide-eyed as hell. haha.
It was a great experience seeing all the famous designers in both furniture and fashion come together in one grand show.


9. Worked out without a trainer.
My mom sent me to Fitness First early 2012 help me gain more weight and condition me for board exams, I've always worked with a trainer. But I stopped when I left for Manila and when I got back, I moved to Gold's. Exercising was a great discovery for me because it really helped be happier, more positive, more confident because I was more aware of my body. But it's a different thing when you stop working with a trainer and become responsible for your own routine and your own diet. 

10. Saw Lakhi and Sai again after 15 years
Meet my childhood friends. The first clique I've probably made in my life. Haha.
I got to see the girls a lot in college but it was only this year when all 4 of us (1 is with God now. We miss you, Grace.) would get together after 15 long years. It was every bit wonderful. It brought back all sort of nostalgia and raised the positive vibes in my life exponentially :))

Before and After. Awwwe <3
The breakfast with Lakhi the balikbayan (HAHA HI LAKH) that later turned into...
a mini reunion!! :D
Teacher Padma, Lakhi's really sweet mom.
She was principal in my preschool. <3
Angeli and I. <3 

Lakh's despedida. :(

A Little Piece of Sky Cafe, A travel-inspired cafe owned by my good friend Patty, one that I did design consultation for together with Buddy finally opened last May. It was the first time I got to do design consultancy. So happy about how it turned out and so proud of the Zosa Family! To those who haven't been there, you should definitely check this one out! :)

With Patty at the soft opening. :)

12. Changed the look of my blog
Thanks to Buddy for helping me out with this. Do you like this clean layout better?
It kind of grew with me too, don't you think?
From a fashion blog I developed into a design and personal style blog. :)

13. First personal project completed.
I was doing a rennovation project for a dear family friend last 2012 (my first real commissioned project). It got completed while I was in Manila so it wasn't until I came home with the license when I got to see it fully completed (Phase 1 at least--phase 2 to follow soon hopefully).  It was, well, again, the best feeling in the world. I have a write up about this and it's been in my drafts since forever, I couldn't quite finalize it cos I feel that I can't explain the process well enough . It was very challenging--with so many to consider like budget, retirement-ready design, existing structures, existing utility lines, heat and humidity, varying preferences between the clients (which is common and expected, by the way) but we're really happy about how it turned out. Thanks to the Enrile couple for the trust and patience :) 


14. First time at baguio with my girls
The best place to take refuge in for the summer with some of my favorite people who are all first timers. It was our first trip outside Cebu together.
The trip included freezing while walking, getting lost countless times, hunting for a place to stay on the spot, looking for a bus to ride on the spot, night markets, food trip, visiting parks and museums, horse-riding in the heat and biking in the rain. It was one extremely memorable adventure. <3

15. Drove again :)
Well, I don't need to explain why I have a really really bad driving trauma that involves me, a 3 yr old kid, a hospital, and a police station. But it was this year when I sent my self to driving school for the second time and did not stop 'till the fear went away. I did manual. As we speak, I'm still not driving independently lol but I don't think I'm afraid anymore.


      Tried white water rafting for the first time.
With my college girlies and some guy friends, we went to CDO to surprise my boyfret Zhen for his birthday. You should've seen the look on his face when he saw us at a table in a cafe where they usually grab breakfast after church. Hahaha. Epic. Needless to say, we toured CDO and Camiguin and had a super fun weekend adventure. Rafting included.


Victim. Lol.

Raft 1 vs Raft 2!! Such rush, adrenaline and high!!

17. Got an Iphone!
It's very shallow of me but if you were living off free-phones from your Sun Plan for almost 6 years you will totally sympathize with me. Lol. Whaaat I'm just being real here! Hahaha!


18. Atelier de Aurora
So I finally came up with a business name for my private practice as a sole practitioner. A name that I would, God-wiling, grow into an architectural firm someday. Atelier de Aurora is french for"Aurora (or Dawn's) Design Studio"..  not architectural studio bec I also want it to cater to fashion and furniture/ home accessories. Also got my business permit and receipts, PTR and etc. Filed for SSS and Philhealth like a real grown adult. Haha.

19. Launched our 3rd and most successful collection yet 
Those who have been followers of this blog know that last year we went through a dark time at Blind Clothing when our hard-earned earnings from a bazaar we joined got stolen while I was busy reviewing outside Cebu. But with pain in our hearts came fire, and that fire lead us to releasing our most successful collection yet: The A-List. 
We feel very blessed and grateful for the team that helped us launch this, and that up to now (6 months after it was launched) it would still get weekly orders from all over the Philippines and queries from abroad.. overwhelming positive feedbacks that are just beyond me. Thank you, Lord.

20. First time to style a Pre-Nup shoot
I have done fashion editorials and lookbooks, I've done debuts but this was my first to style for an engagement session. It was a totally different experience. Thanks to Ate Luch, and the lovely couple Ms Grace and Mr Ron for trusting me! :)


21. Blind Clothing's first feature
Blind Clothing's first press feature thanks to Ms Kara Noveda for this generous spread and great article. :) 

22. OOTD Feature on Sunstar

My first OOTD feat special thanks to Chyrel Gomez and Ms Joanna Cuenco! :)

23. Bohol with Buddy and friends
      Tried superman zipline for the first time, over Loboc river.
Been to Bohol with family, with friends and schoolmates for a congress, for cultural mapping, and each of it has been extremely fun. But I've never gone to Bohol for the ultimate hair-down weekend with my boyfriend's friends. Thank you, Chardy and Lakeside View! :P 


24. First time at an international business trip : Tokyo
Probably the best thing that happened to me other than passing the board was being invited to an all-expense paid trip to Japan with some pocket money that was all used up on buying stuff for pasalubong. Hahaha. It was a business trip hosted by one of our clients. We went and checked out the furniture pieces our team has designed up in shops/ restos there and met the rest of our Japan counterparts. It was also a learning trip to experience first hand the standards of Japanese quality and familiarize ourselves with their taste and sense of aesthetics which to me, is highly chic. 0.0 I especially loved living in my own room for daysss and eating all sorts of genuine Jap food (what with grating wasabe out of a plant).. It's a bit overdue but will definitely post a photo diary on that soon! I'm still giddy whenever I think about it :)

25. Birthday <3

As usual, I was a girl without a plan. But thanks to my wonderful friends and family for taking time to surprise me, my 24th birthday was made special. 
So blessed to have you, guys :)


26. First two personal projects as an architect
This would be the first with the license. Cannot spill details yet but to the clients if you're reading this, thank you for trusting me. :)

27. Yolanda relief with Arki batch mates
We all know how ruthless typhoon Yolanda was and the damage it left the Visayas physically and emotionally.
Along sides other relief work, Bud and I got our batch mates together and as a team we were able to pool in resources and extend help to over 200 families in Tacloban and a couple more hygiene bags to Palompon, Leyte where one of our batch mates is from.
This was the first time our batch got together and did a "project" after graduation. I'm so proud of them, their generosity, and enthusiasm.


28. First local client as a furniture/ accessory designer
I've only been doing furniture and accessory design and product dev for international clients, but one of the local factory owners who built the items I developed sought my assistance to design for them for Manila Fame 2014. Yay! Hope it goes well!

29. SNAP LTD's comeback collection

It wasn't enough for me that Blind Clothing got back in track. I wanted the boyfriend to revive his shirt line too, because it's always been his passion since college. After much pushing encouaging and an epiphany, Bud finally found a way to create a comeback collection and we were determined to make it the best collection yet, too. Having had more experiences with photo shoots since 2011 I helped him organize his first real shoot and I styled it. Thanks to Goombah, Archell, Tats, Ninz, Ava, Jcarl and Issa for making this all possible. I felt so warm inside seeing Buddy do what he's always loved doing (designing tees and such) and seeing it come together for him and our fingers are crossed that this is just the beginning.

Post about it soon but in the mean time,

Watch the awesome launch video here.


30. Blind Clothing at the Chillage
And finally, to cap off the year, Blind Clothing finally made it to the Chillage Store.
We were scheduled to start displaying last October but we got really busy with production for online orders (plus operations got held up cos of the earth quake and Yolanda) but finally, last December, we were able to drop off our first set of on-hand stocks and it felt sooo good! Big big thanks to Eden and thanks to the entire Chillage Family for having us. <3 

So there's a rundown of my 2013. I have always wanted to do a summary since I started this blog but they never went passed my journal, so this is a first. Haha. It was a long, roller coaster year where I learned the value of hard work.. of rooting for my own self and pressing on joyfully. It was sprinkled with victories, little achievements, travels, hearty moments, challenges, and tough lessons I will always cherish equally. 

While I was at it, I always thought last year was one filled with inner struggles with my best enemy... myself. But now, looking back, I realized it has been a blessed year. A big thank you to everyone who became a part of it in one way or another. Ever-grateful to the Almighty for this full life. 

Here's to an even better, strongger, happier us this 2014!
Belated Happy Holidays, friends.



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