29 August 2014

Comfort Meets Class

It's no secret how my style is as random as a jar of M&M's (who knows where I got that simile). I guess that comes with the fact that I am not afraid to try out other things when it comes to fashion.

It is to that attitude of mine do I credit my win in Stores Specialists, Inc. (SSI)'s #SSILifestyle contest on Instagram. Around a month ago, SSI held an OOTD contest. The rules were simple: wear at least three (3) items from their family of brands, tag them, and use the hashtag. In case you didn't know, SSI is a branch of the Rustan's Group of Companies, and is the one to thank for bringing to our country brands such as Aeropostale, Bershka, Lacoste, Lush, Zara, etc.

With the price being a P5,000 gift card which can be spent on any of their brands, I had to jump at the chance. This was my winning entry:

(click photo to view on Instagram)

Ms. Sarah Meier, one of the local fashion industry's greats, served as the judge. She included a testimony with her decision, which totally floored me. Here were the words of Ms. Meier, grabbed from SSI's Facebook page:
“I've always believed that the true essence of being stylish is the ability to wear clothes, and not let them wear you. There is nothing more chic to me than an individual that can put on the simplest of pieces, and look like a star. Ekaa's monochromatic outfit had equal parts class, comfort, and timelessness. I wouldn't think twice about plopping her in a Business Class seat to fly to any fashion capital in the world, because she'd fit right in. Effortless and well-executed, Erika also does what any fashion baby does best - put together an ensemble from brands with different price points to create a look that adds up to, well, looking like you're worth a million bucks. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to wear something just like this tomorrow. “ 
I'll have you know that this outfit was not put together on a whim. It was well-thought of, perhaps as much as how badly I wanted to win the contest. In line with that, I would like to share some tips that you might find helpful in joining an OOTD contest:

Tip #1: Know the host and/or the judge(s)
You have to know their style, their vibe, and everything in between. In SSI's case, it's evident how trendy and high-class they are; so of course, it is important to dress up accordingly. I also admit that I may have stalked Ms. Meier's Instagram page to have a feel of her personal style. From what I gathered, she was more of the laidback type, so I worked around that, too. Let's be honest, a judge's own preferences will have a huge bearing on his/her decision.

Tip #2: Be different
Naturally, there will be other contestants. Given that, it is important that you stand out. There were nearly a hundred entries in the #SSILifestyle contest. A lot were minimalist, while some were more on the edgy side. I could dress up like that too, but I did not. I decided to try something new and dabble a bit on androgyny with cropped suit pants. Actually, I was choosing between wearing a skirt for a preppier look, and the slightly-boyish one. I went with the latter because I figured being girly and preppy was a bit too typical, and therefore won't make me stand out as much.

Tip #3: Be technical.
By this, I mean-- followthe rules. This quite speaks for itself. For this contest, the rule was to wear 3 items from 3 different SSI brands. Tagging was also necessary. You wouldn't want your entry to be void just because you didn't follow all the rules, right? Also related to this tip is knowing the criteria for judging. Lastly, you must pay good attention to your photo itself. Make sure that it's taken in good quality in a presentable venue and edited just as well. For the editing, you might want to consider the vibe of the host and/or judge again, too; that way, you can tell if you should go for cutesy stickers or slightly-hipster filters.

I followed these pointers myself, so I can guarantee that these are tried and tested *winks*. Now, here are other photos of my outfit.

As you can see, I'm wearing a middle part. What do you think? 

Sweater: Zara*
Buttondown (worn underneath): Cotton On
Cropped trousers: Uniqlo
Flats: Lower East Side (Payless ShoeSource)*
Bag: Prada*

Those marked with an asterisk (*) are the qualifying brands. I actually just borrowed the beautiful bag and incredibly comfortable shoes from my mother! I have other SSI brand items, but these pieces just matched perfectly with the rest of my outfit. The Zara sweater I'm wearing here has got to be my favorite; I love how slouchy it is! Also, I'm planning to buy more of these cropped trousers from Uniqlo haha.

I just can't wait to get my hands on my P5,000 gift card! I'm planning on buying a stunning pair of Zara shoes (it's been a long-time wish of mine!) with it. As for the remaining amount, we'll see!

x Erika Rosales

PS: I'm on break from school now; so here's to regular updates! Also, I just finished revamping my blog's layout (the buttons below are one of the new additions!). Any thoughts? :)


16 August 2014

Something Green, Something Gold

Something new, something bold.

Have I mentioned my love for rhymes and other forms of wordplay? (That one, the title, is my jab at the wedding classic: "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue".) No? Well, there you go. I like rhymes, puns, and the like.

Despite the reference to a wedding tradition, this is not about an outfit to a wedding; however, it's one to an event nearly as much-- if not just as-- important to a lady: her debut. (Well, for the Filipinos, at least, a girl turning 18 is a big deal.) In truth, the "debut season" for our batch was long over last year (I celebrated my own last October-- considering to post about that one as a major throwback!); however, there are some '96ers, one of which is the celebrant whose party I attended last July.

Seeing as it was probably going to be my last time attending a debut and, therefore, having the chance to dress up for a semi-formal event, I decided to make the most out of it. I've always wanted to try wearing a jumpsuit. I love how they can look dressy and/or casual, depending on the material.

Jumpsuit: Details (available at The Ramp Crossings) || Pumps: Call It Spring
Lace bralet & ear cuff: Forever 21 || Rings: Infinitine* || Belt: The Landmark
Nails: ELF (in Cherry Bomb) || Hair: Blo || Brow wax & makeup: Benefit

Searching for the perfect jumpsuit was a hard task. You know how people say that when girls shop, they have no plans whatsoever and just buy stuff on impulse? That's not always true; in my case, I had an image in my head of the exact kind that I wanted (that's usually why it takes me ages to shop, because sometimes I don't find them, haha). What I had in mind originally was: a spaghetti strap jumpsuit not made of cotton (so it will be more dressy) in a lively color (since black was not allowed). I actually found one at Topshop, in emerald green. However, the length of the pants and the straps were pretty off (and, let's be honest, the price was pretty high lol). However, I found something at The Ramp, and in the same color, too (kinda like my school color too)! While it was made of spandex and cotton and was in a different style, I fell in love with it anyway.

Since the neckline was d e e p, I wore something inside. I could have gone for a plain black tube/bandeau, but I decided against it because I felt like it would make the look less classy and put it more on the casual side; so I wore a lace bralet instead. I've always wanted to own one! Believe me, finding the perfect one wasn't easy either lol. But yay for trying something new!

Now, the color of the jumpsuit was already lively on its own, however, I still felt the need to accessorize. I was so excited to finally wear my lovely rings from Infinitine, a Korean jewelry store! I was so ecstatic when they contacted me, because they sent me my first blogger mail ever! ♥ I got to choose from all their products--- rings, earrings, bracelets, and anklets. I've always wanted gold midi/knuckle rings, so I went with a set of thin ones, a double ball ring, and my favorite of them all-- the stretch/cross ring! The last one's my favorite because you can wear it two (2) ways: you can wear it with its X side in front, or the loop side. I was so happy when I received them. They were so lovely in person, and they came in cute boxes too!

The problem with gold fashion jewelry is: they fade in time. It's worse with me because I'm pretty acidic, I guess; when I wear rings, usually they leave green marks on my fingers. However, the double ball ring and stretch/cross rings are still gold! I've worn them quite a lot of times now, and they still keep their color. Awesome, right? The thin ones though have faded to silver; but that's alright because they're still pretty!

If you want to view the items I got on their website, you can click these links for the set of 5 gold knuckle rings, double ball ring (in 3 colors-- gold, silver, rose gold), and stretch/cross ring (also in 3 colors).

Me wearing a jumpsuit wasn't the only "new" thing about my outfit; there was also me actually doing something my hair-- or rather, having something done with my hair. I couldn't be bothered to style my hair differently most of the time for parties because I'm pretty much the embodiment of the phrase "fashionably late" (not that I'm proud of it or anything). But I was coming from MOA before the party, so I decided to try out Blo. They're a blow dry bar, so they don't do haircuts or colors, just pure styling for P500, regardless of the style and hair length (if you choose from their menu, that is; but you can give them a different hair peg, but the price will be higher). I chose the Pillow Talk, which are soft S-like curls, and asked to put them on the side.

Before the curling though, I went for their hair treatment (forgot how much it was), hence the fabulous hair cap. It felt really cool to the head, somehow minty. I haven't had a haircut in a long time, so I figured I should get my hair treated at least. Wasn't quite sure if it really had an effect though lol. Anyway, I really love how the curls ended up! Unfortunately, my hair is naturally straight and silky, so the curls were gone sometime near the end of the party, sigh.

Blo Blow Dry Bar
2/F Main Mall (near Too Cool for School)
SM Mall of Asia
Pasay City

I then went for a brow wax at Benefit, which was actually the point of us being at MOA. I always got my brows groomed there because they know me well! Unfortunately, I found out that my favorite people have been rotated to different branches (hence the past tense), but that's okay because one of them got relocated to a branch that's more convenient for me yay. Anyway, I really love their brow waxing services because they doll you up afterwards with their products! It's already  included in the P500 fee. I asked them to make it extra special though, since I was attending a party. I totally love the finished look which you can see below!

2/F Main Mall (near Uniqlo)
SM Mall of Asia
Pasay City

(click photo to view on Instagram)

(Just to clarify, none of the services I got were sponsored; I'm just giving credits to where they are due! But if you'd like to contact me for sponsorships or collaborations of any sort, feel free to send me an email over at: e.rsls@yahoo.com)

Oh by the way! A few days after I bought the jumpsuit, Kryz Uy of Thirstythought posted a photo wearing the same jumpsuit on Instagram! She styled it differently, as you can see below:

Photo from Kryz Uy's Instagram (click to view)

(click photo to view on Instagram)

Who do you think wore it better? Don't worry, I won't get offended if you pick her; after all, she's one of the top bloggers in the country! Just lemme know below, and feed my curiosity hihi.

Speaking of Instagram, this is my second most popular OOTD post as of now! I'll be posting the third most popular OOTD up next. But for now, feel free to follow me on Instagram (@ekdoublea)-- I post a lot more often there! Follow me too on GFC and Bloglovin, I'll follow back for sure! Just give me time to get back to you, it will take a while sorry. Don't forget to comment below and leave a link to your blog too so I can check yours out! Thanks for enduring my TL;DR post (as always), if you did, haha!

x Erika Rosales

09 August 2014

Mixing Prints

Last July 2, my mother celebrated her birthday (exact age to remain a secret, hehe). I know, that's more than a month ago... talk about backlogs *sigh*! But what can I do, school's been getting the best (and worst) of me. But I'm happy that I'm just around two weeks away from the term break! I have a lot of things planned out already (hint: one of them is catching up on my backlogs, and another is finishing my blog's new layout heh)! Well anyway, here's an account of what transpired on my mom's birthday!

Since my classes are only halfday (but the workload is h e a v y), my family went out for lunch. We make it a point to take advantage of every holiday/special day to head on over to the Fort, for some reason. Of course, I made sure to shoot my outfit! So here's what I wore:

Top: Forever 21 || Skirt: Mango || Watch: Casio
Denim jacket: Guess || Cut-out boots: Topshop

Honestly, I may have underestimated the weather (in terms of temperature, particularly in degrees) with wearing the jacket. But hey, it was cold in class so it worked out at some point! The denim jacket has actually been in my possession ever since I was a kid! No kidding. I'm really happy we kept it though, and I rediscovered it. It feels pretty good to fit again in something that you had when you were a lot younger and tinier. 

From the old and vintage, we go to the new. I wore two new things in this outfit: the skirt, and the boots. The skirt was one of the pieces that I bought as a means of taking advantage of the sale season. I really love the print: I like how it's floral, but not the big-flowers kind of floral. I want more floral and/or flowy skirts; I feel like one can never have enough skirts!

And we go down to the boots. I think this pair may just be the best bargain ever!! Another steal from the oh-so wonderful sale season, I got these Topshop boots for only P600!! YES, you read that right. Have I mentioned how much I love Topshop sales, particularly their markdowns on shoes?! This lovely pair of booties is actually my 3rd pair of Topshop shoes, and all of them were on sale when I got them. (Fun fact: they're all suede too!) The best thing is, I've been wanting a pair of cut-out booties for so long, and I've been eyeing these in particular! So when my I saw them on sale, my jaw literally dropped; and I knew I had to snag it at once. Talk about 'meant to be' hahaha!

As can be seen, I wore two prints together. Some say that mixing prints is a no-no, but I believe there are exceptions. I feel like one of the fool-proof pattern combinations are stripes and florals. It would work especially better too if at least one of them are "minimal" in nature. 

For example, the thin stripes of my top works well the small flowers of my skirt; but even if the print of my skirt was an explosion big floral patterns, it would still look nice. But if both of then were big, meaning the flowers are big and the stipes are thick, it might be a bit too much. That's just me and how I see it though; what do you think? :)

Moving on, we ate lunch somewhere we've never tried before: Mamou. My parents heard word of how delectable their steak is, so we figured to try it out for ourselves.

We decided to get a salad for a starter. We originally wanted the one with soft shell crab, but unfortunately crabs weren't in season that time. So instead. we got the Harvest salad instead. It's got lettuce (duh), tomatoes, cheese, pecans, and cranberries. It was pretty delicious and reminiscent of  one of Project Pie's salads (which costs a lot more less, by the way).

We also decided to get the Truffle Cream pasta. It was perfect. To be honest, I'm not a fan of pasta-- well, Italian food, in general; so I'm really picky when it comes to them. But this one's really good! And if it's coming from me, one who's not exactly a fan of pasta, then that should say something, right?

And here comes the star of the meal-- the Angus Rib-eye USDA Prime Grade Steak Twin. We got the Twin size, which is good for sharing. We got it in medium well, our usual preference when it comes to steak. The photo below may not do it justice, but I tell you: it's h e a v e n l y. It's so tender, it almost melts in your mouth. It's juicy too which, ironically, makes it sinful. But it really is good! I didn't even bother leaving out the fat of the beef because its got so much flavor. But at least we all shared on it; at least the guilt is shared too hehe. Aside from sea salt, the steak is also served with a gravy. But as it is usual in most steaks, the gravy should be left untouched in order to taste the pure goodness of the steak. However, I did sprinkle some sea salt on my portion because I'm kind of fond of salty food on times that I don't worry about water retention, that is, lol. I suggest you add some salt too! It makes it even more flavorful.

An order of the steak also comes with two free side dishes. We got creamy spinach and mountain rice. The creamy spinach kind of reminded me of laing, while the latter was something new for my taste buds. It was rice left unpolished, so it had this earthy kind of taste. It served well to balance out the slight saltiness of the steak.

Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

We then did some walking around Bonifacio High Street, and eventually ended up at Toys R' Us, where we found these cute walls! Of course, I decided to pose for some photos.

We then decided to eat dessert at Magnum Cafe (again-- read about my first visit there on a previous post of mine). But this time, instead of making our own ice cream bars, we decided to dine in and try their gourmet creations. We got the Death By Chocolate, which is a pan of brownie served with Magnum and cream. It smelled good, like chocolate, the same as the rest of the restaurant. In my opinion though, it was just so-so. The whole thing was too sweet. Also, I would have preferred if the brownie was chewy, instead of gooey. But then, maybe that's just me. (Wasn't able to take any photo, sorry.)

So that was my day! I didn't post a photo of my mom here because she's pretty shy; but if you're curious, feel free to check out my Instagram. I posted a photo with her during her birthday.It'd be great if you followed me there; I'm a lot more active there than here. Follow me also on GFC and/or Bloglovin! I've also just joined Chictopia, so join me there too! I'm sorry it's taking me a while to get back to your comments and/or follow back, but I promise I'll do them all in time. :)

x Erika Rosales