They Smell of Moss in Your Hand

by Valerie on Thursday, May 6, 2010

braided headband – eBay
charcoal knit cardigan – Forever 21
jabot blouse – Zara
black velvet bow – diy
rock bracelet – gift from Michelle
brown leather belt – Polo
kelly green shorts – gift from Lydia
lace oxfords – cool, casual by Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Lydia, my internet pal over at Style is Style sent these shaweet shorts for a clothes swap we did last month. After going through her box of goodies, I knew it was the first of the bunch that I wanted to wear. But as with most vintage pieces, it needed a couple of modern alterations before making its debut—taking in at the waist with some pleats and permanent cuffs at the hem.

Fit is so crucial to me. You can have a great fit in the grossest fabric and still look fantastic, but hardly ever vice versa. The truth is, I’ve been living in my jammies. mostly holed up sewing custom orders for the past month—with intermittent snack breaks over Breaking Bad reruns so as not to go completely bonkers. Sometimes I’m so preoccupied trying to dress other girls up nice and spiffy; it hardly affords any opportunities to dress myself up.

But over the weekend I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy and it kinda broke my heart and left me with an increasing need to ditch home and appreciate the outside world a little more. Well, that, and also we were down to our last slice of Roman Meal and last cup of Egg Beaters. And like the man and the boy, I was forced out of hibernation to make a quick food run.

So thankies Lydia for allowing me to do it in KELLY GREEN SHORTS! For sure, you’ll be seeing some of her other awesome picks in future style diary entries. But for now, look how cute she is in the cupcake skirt I made as a part of her care package:

You are not your soap dish

by Valerie on Thursday, April 15, 2010

I feel the same way about interior decor as I do about web design. That is, I’d rather strip it down to only the most essential. No flash (or flashy stuff) and if it doesn’t have some sort of utilitarian or sentimental value, then there’s no need keep it lying around.

This has something to do with an impressionable freshman year in high school and the first time I ever watched Fight Club. I remember entering my bedroom with a twenty gallon Rubbermaid bin for squeezing all useless crap into—all the Spawn collector’s action figures perched on top of my computer desk, all the fuzzy stuffed animals perfectly arranged on my perfect little twin-sized bed (save for a teddy bear from my nephew and gorilla from my big brother), all the hand-carved geometric scented candles that I never actually lit because its fancy form would melt into gunk. The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to maintain, the more stuff you have to lose. It was a relief to stuff that burden into a giant plastic container and send it off to the goodwill.

But I mean, that’s not to say the practical stuff can’t also be awesome. Suramics offers these tiny tea bag rests in her etsy shop. But they also make nifty soap dishes—just the right size for those leftover bars of soap that are enough to build up a decent lather for your hands, but not on your entire body. I always feel guilty about letting those dry up in the shower rack and go to waste.

The dishes feature little hand drawn animals on them. Here’s one with a fox in our master bathroom:

And a bulldog for our guest bathroom:

Naturally, my favorites have to be the canids 😉 I’m considering this cute Dashchund for our kitchen, but hoping she’ll add more to her collection in the future. Maybe a Blue Dane or Chocolate Lab, or even a Jack Russel Terrier—I love their little eye patches! Especially when they extend to only one ear, it’s like a beautiful fault.


by Valerie on Monday, April 12, 2010

A while back one of my customers, Molly, asked if I’d be able to make a custom moon unitard for her show. It’s pretty safe to assume that anyone who has the strength of character to sport a unitard in front of hundereds of strangers is awesome (see: David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, that cute girl in the American Apparel ads). Molly is no exception; she is also very sweet. But what I really wanted to share with you guys is how talented she is. Check out some of her amazing tunes here. My faves include The Pillars of Modern Convention and Drugged Inter-invention.

If you noticed the album cover for Interjection from the Sad Violins, there’s a miniature violin resting on the palm of a hand. Do you remember that conversation about tipping with Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs? How he rubs his pointer and thumb together and says, “You know what this is? It’s the world’s smallest violin playing a tune for the waitresses.” You guyzzz, that is totally the violin he was playing!

You can download Poppet’s first release here for free. It’s an EP with songs about birds.

Molly’s adorable sketch complete with little notes and a smiley made it super easy for me to figure out how she wanted it to look:

Molly performing in said show (and said unitard):


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

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