by Valerie on Monday, April 5, 2010

This weekend I celebrated my birthday with some of my favorite people, wahoo! Friday morning at 4a.m., we kicked it off with a refreshing climb up Mt. Lamlam. Guam has a predominantly Roman Catholic population. Every year, for the past idk-how-many years, people gather on Good Friday to the top as a form of penance. Some also do it for the sake of tradition. Others still, do it just for funzies. You’d see everyone from Dads carrying their infants, to emo tattooed teenagers, to old people who could hardly walk let alone climb, but because of their determination they survive the trip anyway.

It was about a 2 hour hike to the peak and back and we wanted to catch the sunrise from above. Not too many obstacles, but the real challenge lay in trying not to fall flat on your butt with every step. It was so terribly slippery from the overnight dew buildup and scattered showers. I didn’t mind the mud though—you just can’t go hiking without getting your feet dirty! Plus Gerlie says it’s particularly good for building up our antibodies.

Afterward, we had an impromptu little picnic at Ritidian beach. We packed sandwiches, cheap beer, chocolate milk, eggs and rice—of course, because all my friends are Filipino, hahaha—and picked up lots of finger snacks at a local mom and pop store. Which reminds me btw, Southerners sure can make a mean empanada! I basically squared out an entire 2 hour workout by scarfing down that crispy, creamy, greasy, orange goodness in just under 2 minutes… Jesus. A lot of sun and a little fooling around later, it was time to head home and crash the heck out.


They are special:

A good portion of the next day was spent cooking—one of my favorite things to do aside from making stuff and talking about feelings. (Please note: there was no hint of sarcasm as I typed that last sentence.) Times have changed, but growing up in a partly Chamorro household left little room for directly expressed affection. Not once have I ever heard my grandparents say I love you to each other. Nor have I ever seen any of my aunties and uncles holding hands. However, one way we do show our affection is by cooking. The first questions I’m asked when I enter a relative’s house is always: 1.) “Where’s your mom?” and 2.) “Did you you eat?” And I know it might sound weird, but that’s on a par with saying “I missed you,” and “I care.” But I digress. Saturday night we feasted, toasted, and got kicks off the adorable Pancakes (~Andre) doing “beautiful eyes”:

Sunday was recovery day from three too many kampais and inuman nas. Gone are the days when I would drink to get wasted, a little buzz usually does the trick. But it’s hard to pace yourself when green apple vodka and club soda (with 2 lemon wedges, not 1) tastes so sprite! Also try: orange vodka and mango juice, yum 🙂

Birthday prezzies:

I was surprised and equally grateful for everything (after you’re legal, you kinda stop expecting any gifts on your birthday). They are all so wonderfully thoughtful! A coffee table set from my mom (I think I can attribute half of my furniture to her xD), book and awesome bookmark from Gabby and Red (now I will think of Gabby every night before bed), and Bath and Body Works goodies (Rio remembered how much I love vanilla-scented anything). The geek in Francis gave me a neat Sony wifi radio thingamajiggy for streaming music into my sewing room (’cause my poor macbook speakers are blown) and my absolute favorite, a new Lee Oskar harmonica complete-with-its-own-holder-just-like-Bob-Dylan’s-oh-em-gee! I won’t go into detail about other parts of his letter because it was enough to make me blush, but it did end with, Now you’re another step closer to becoming a sexy folk singer. Gosh you guys, I feel so very loved.

Well, that’s all from my eventful weekend. It was indeed a good Friday, and delicious Saturday, and lazy Sunday, but now it’s time for me to shack up like a mad scientist and get some work done!

MAC Attack!

by Valerie on Monday, March 29, 2010

Overdone make-up has always been something I’ve tried to avoid. In between my decidedly experimental outfits and often wackadoodle hairstyles, a made-up face might be pushing it. But when Aileen—the manager for MAC and Bobbi Brown DFS—called to ask if I can model for their MAC colourview event, I thought, why not? It might be a fun experience. And so it was.

The workshop took place over the course of 3 days. Mieko—the trainer for MAC Guam, Saipan, and Hawaii—flew in from Japan specifically to teach these courses. In it, she basically covered step by step procedures on how to accomplish a natural-looking, flawless finish.


Interesting Tips I’ve Learned

1.) Glowing, silky skin (as opposed to the dry, matte look) is considered more on trend

2.) It’s important to use quality brushes made of natural hairs. Using your fingers or sponge will create a caked appearance. The right brushes allow you to achieve an even blend and control the amount of product on your face. At around $70 a set, their brushes may seem like much, but it’s a mild investment considering how long they will last provided that you take care of them (Mieko says she’s used hers for over 10 years).

3.) Secret weapon for longer looking lashes: brow set gel. It acts as a primer for curling and mascara. Even the most fine baby lashes (e.g. mine) will look full and long and stay curled!

4.) Try to stay within the eye socket area when applying shadows. To find out where that is, you can feel a dip if you press along your lids. Eyes closed, of course 😉

5.) For shadows and liners, instead of sticking to one color, complementary colors yield nicer results (i.e. orange & blue, purple & green, etc.)

6.) Unless you’re going for the dramatic stage make-up look, avoid highlighting the brow bone. Otherwise it might end up looking too classic.

7.) For eyebrows, you wanna choose 1 or 2 shades lighter than your actual brow color. Brows done too dark will make you look like a meanie.

8.) Never ever skip moisturizing. I was so guilty of doing this. With Guam’s heat and humidity, I figured moisturizing would just give me fried chicken face. Boy was I wrong! I learned that if your brain recognizes that your face is too dry, it sends a signal to double up on oil secretion. When these oils are released, your pores get bigger and your chances of breaking out increase.

There were all sorts of other neat tricks and techniques throughout the entire workshop, but those were the most memorable to me.


Mieko, who is just as kind as she is beautiful, was my designated make-up artist miracle worker.

McCriss was Clarissa’s make-up artist. She and two ladies in the front row kept making funny asides. It was hard to refrain from laughing during the whole demonstration. During her introduction, she says, “Hi everyone, I’m McCriss. Im the shy one.” That made us all lol.

Aileen, my boyfriend’s sis, was responsible for putting together the entire event. (Hi, Aileen! *waves*)

So now you know why I’ve been overdoing the black outfit posts these past couple of days. Hope this one was a little helpful to you all. I’m looking forward to going back to expressing my love of colors, be it in clothes or—now with new found knowledge—in make-up.

Obligatory wardrobe remix shot:

racerback tank – Forever 21
tiered lace top – gift from Reena (from Thailand)
Dr. Treves necklace & studded bangle – handmade by me
black rose ring – gift from Julia
beaded Navajo bracelet – Gallop USA
woven friendship bracelets – thrifted deadstock (Second Chance)
zipper skinnies – Papaya
fringe sandals – Sam Edelman


by Valerie on Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day two of my black love affair. I reconstructed this romper from a secondhand dress. I’m really happy with how the overall silhouette turned out, but it’s just a little too tight for me around the pant openings. So it’ll probably end up in the shop.

Salvaging old materials is good for the conscience and creativity. It forces me to be more innovative when I have only so little to work with. The down side is if I know I won’t be able to recreate the same piece, I’m more reluctant to let it go.

romper – Neneee
braided sash belt – thrifted
necklace – gift from Francis
studded bangle – handmade by me
onyx ring – heirloom from Mom
platforms – Pierre Hardy for Gap


by Valerie on Friday, March 26, 2010

Just when I start to get over wearing black, it becomes a requirement. Mieko says I look like a bohemian. Francis says I look like a bourgeois old lady. I say their viewpoints completely contradict each other. For the most part, I mean, I kinda just wanna look like me.

wide brim hat – vintage
cardigan – Forever 21
feather fringe necklace & studded bangle – handmade
rock bracelet – gift from my friend, Michelle
navajo beaded bracelet – Gallop USA
smocked maxi dress – Ross
clogs – Miu Miu


Rebecca’s Hair

by Valerie on Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When Rebecca of The Clothes Horse contacted me about creating a special commission for her, I was pretty excited to see what would come of it. I love working on collaborations with nice people; it breaks the monotony of having to work independently all the time. It’s also really cool to see what someone else can bring to the table. With a fresh and different perspective, she might choose a fabric I wouldn’t normally go with or a challenging silhouette.

She wanted to base it on this whole “court jester” motif I made in some of my previous shop items. The idea would be to construct a dress that would be made from two separate fabrics on either side. It could either be the same pattern in contrasting colors or two different patterns with a similar color palette. We both decided to go with the latter after narrowing it down to about a dozen combinations.

She said she preferred an overall bell silhouette, 3/4 sleeves, pockets (a must!), and maybe even a little V dip at the back. I took note of everything and got to work.

My boyfriend always pokes fun of how kindergarten my sketches look. Apparently, I am not the arteest that he is; but that’s okay because he can’t flip a perfect miniature grilled cheese sandwich. We have our strengths, I suppose.

After drafting and cutting, it’s time for some actual sewing. (Yep, those are coasters I use as weights for the pattern!)

The final product (on Rebbeca)

The rate at which I point out Rebecca’s hair is borderline creepy. Like Crispin Glover in Charlie’s Angels kind of creepy. On her blog, I leave comments like, “I can’t decide whether I love your dress more, or your hair!” and “I just want to braid it!” Rebecca looks like how Joanie from Mad Men would look if she had been 10 years younger, 25 pounds lighter, and was admitted to law school instead of the secretarial work force. So can you really blame me?

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