Preparing for a week in Mindanao!

 

Say hello to a new day! I have brought along almost all shortsleeves polo with me but I don’t remember wearing one since bringing them. As it is almost raining the whole week, the prospect of sweating profusely has significantly reduced. Another colorblind moment, though, as I thought this was a white polo with gray stripes, but apparently, it was pink in some other color. Oh well. I would never know about it not until I commented that Mon and I were both wearing white polos and looked like high school students. I was evidently wrong.A shirt I thought as white, black skinny pants, Red Wing  2913 boots

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Today is World Refugee Day!

My colleagues, especially Robyn, have been working very hard for the past few weeks for the event organized with UNHCR and the Department of Justice. June 20 marks “World Refugee Day” and our NGO has put up an exhibit of artworks done by refugees near the fountain in Shangri-la Mall . It was my first event and I even had to borrow Mon’s blazer because I realized I had none. LOL I have a barong from my graduation rites two months ago, but that would have been too formal for something that requires smart casual.

1 family torn apart by conflict is too many

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My blog turns one!

I never thought I would be able to keep an online account with substantial detail for this long, but time flies so fast and my blog has been running for a year already! A quick scan of of the things I’ve been blabbing about, I think there was a progressive change over the theme of the things I’ve posted. In a month or so, however, I have to pay Faye for the annual fee of having removing that ‘.wordpress.com’ from here.

At the same time, I also have to say goodbye to a bag I’ve used only for a couple of times. This bag is definitely large that it took Mon one “Hindi ba masyadong malaki ‘yan bag mo?” (Don’t you think your bag’s a bit too large?) to make me stop using it… for good. And it has been sitting in the closet for a long time, that it smells a bit, well, like the closet. I decided to finally let it go because it deserves a better owner, who will make full use of it. I think this is a healthy development and a big step to the right direction of downsizing the ridiculous number of bags I have. There. I called a spade a spade. =D It was difficult to let go because it has a sentimental value, but it also has no everyday utilitarian value (well, for me), so bye, bag, bye!

Bye, bye bag! - Gucci large tote

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Not to be dissuaded by a problematic buyer

One of the first things I have brought inside the apartment was a full-length mirror — something I did not have in our house in Marikina. As we still do not have a closet, all of our clothes are still to be taken out of  our luggages and bags. We also do not have a flat iron, so we just resorted to the old ‘pagpag-and-hagod’ method to sort out wrinkles.

Our nice mirror - PLAY by Comme des Garçons shirt,  brick pants, Red Wing 2913 boots and green Prada tessuto robot tote

Last Friday, I was shocked to see that an item sent via Registered Mail, which I thought to have been lost in transit to a buyer in Netherlands, suddenly showed up as “Item Delivered” in PhilPost’s online tracking. It has been almost a month since I sent the item and as the online tracking was under maintenance for weeks already, I was left with no choice but to refund the buyer. My mistake because I was too quick to refund her without waiting for Ebay to do so. Maybe I just wanted the whole thing to be over, and I was counting on the buyer’s honesty that she would return my funds back to my PayPal account once she gets the bag. Of course, I was wrong and naïve.

PhilPost tracking showing delivery to NetherlandsMy initial reaction was to dispute the case, but as it was already past the 45-day period to open an appeal, I was left with no other choice but to contact the buyer directly. In my email, I have informed her about the online tracking showing delivery, and if it was okay, she could send my money back OR return my item because I cannot NOT have both the funds and the bag. I gave her 24 hours to reply because we live in different time zones, and maybe she was busy with something. Then when I received her reply, she mentioned that she was preoccupied (for three weeks, huh?), that was why she was unable to give a feedback about the bag. The catch was, she did not like the bag because it was too small, has several scratches and the leather was stiff. Hmmm… I have disclosed all information in the auction description so I did not get why she was just telling me that when I already contacted her. As a buyer myself, my initial reaction would be to immediately contact the seller and inform her my dissatisfaction. So why wait for 20 days to react? I guess somebody wanted a free bag.

The worst thing about her reply was she was short of asking money from me so that she can send my item back. The auction description clearly mentioned that in cases of return, the buyer has to pay for return shipping. It was fair enough, considering that as Ebay and PayPal have a 21-day hold on my received funds, I have taken the shipping fee to Netherlands out of my own pocket. Therefor, it was unjust tht I shell out money just to get my bag back.

She did not bother replying until I gave her an implied warning about her school hearing from me, and discussing in full details about her fraudulent online activities. I managed to contact another seller from Slovenia, who received a negative feedback from her on May 5, 2013. I found it too hard to believe that she was busy to inform me of her dissatisfaction, yet she managed to give that poor seller a negative feedback three days after receiving my bag. I think her school administrator would not be too pleased to hear that they are employing a teacher with questionable morals in their school.

I think she got scared after that stern warning, as I flat out told her that all that hassle was not worth it — all of that for a bag. So in the end, she ended up shouldering the return shipping and eventually sent the item back to me. However, she did not mark the item as a “Returned Merchandise” and I have a feeling I will end up paying custom fees for a returned item. In my return policy, I have specified to send the item with the original packaging, but apparently, this seller was intent in keeping a bag and thought she got away after not hearing from me since May 2. What a devious buyer.

A 500g parcel to be sent to US via Philpost's IEMSMoral of the story? Do not use Registered Mail because it takes forever. I am now using International Express Mail Service (IEMS) from PhilPost, and even if it was slightly more expensive, the 3-5 working days delivery time would surely be more favorable against impatient overseas buyer. For instance, a 500g parcel sent to US via Registered Mail cost Php 885 (and Php 1,770 once it passes the 500g mark), while a similar weight via IEMS cost me Php 1,409 (and Php 1,853 if more than 500g). PhilPost’s website is also updated with the fee, and they have the rates printed and inside a clear book so they are definitely accurate. (See link: http://philpost.gov.ph/web/international-mail-rates/) Well, the new batch of items I have sent via IEMS should be received by early next week, but my first experience of IEMS years ago was pleasant. I do hope that my funds get released earlier than the expected 21-day holding period because shipping via IEMS was no dime a dozen!

P.S.

Mama, Kuya and Ate Ja visited our apartment today, and I was so happy they thought our unit was fair enough! ^_^

Another pair of wings

It just finished raining

I do not know if it is safe to say that summer has officially ended. For several days, we’ve been getting a lot of rain and wind, that Marcos Highway and that main road in SSS Village got their first flood of the year. With the effects of climate change, I think at least the dry and rainy season had all moved at least a month earlier. It is boots season again (not that I follow it) and I managed to score another one online. =)

Half a size bigger than what I usually wear but I will manage - Red Wing 2913 boots

The toebox looked quite scuffed but I like it anyway - Red Wing 2913 bootsI still love my Doc Martens but I’ve been lately using the pair of Red Wing 8875s because the white crepe soles are very sneaker-y and looks very casual. We still have a dress code in the office but that pair is not technically a sneaker so it is still not a restricted footwear. However, as I do not feel confident wearing chestnut boots with black pants, I have been wanting another pair of Red Wing in black. And along came these 2913s.

I’m not that familiar with Red Wing and whenever I see one for sale online, I have second thoughts. Back in March, I got an interesting comment on my blog from a person accusing me that I have a fake 875. Well, thank God for the internet because an extensive search led me to answers, and I did the exact thing for this black pair of boots.

Red Wing 2913 boots from the Red Wing Singapore website

Red Wing 2913 boots from the Red Wing Singapore website

One thing I’ve learned was that certain styles are not available on other locations, such as 8875s being a Japan exclusive. Then 2913s are not available in the US, but they appear in Red Wing Singapore’s website. I also loved the small history about this style, as it was based on boots worn by electric line workers. According to their website, one out of three linemen was killed by accident while working due to faulty shoes. The design first appeared in the 1940’s on their catalogue and the 2913 adapted it. I expect to try on climbing lamp posts in the coming days, granted this pair has the power to prevent me from falling. Just kidding.

Interior design fantasy: a framed silk scarf

As I’ve realized last week, I was never adept with interior design or anything similar to that, but it did not prevent me from having an ultimate design fantasy if ever I get to have my own place — I wanted a framed Hermès scarf. A boy can always dream, right? So when I have acquired a Philippe Ledoux in early 2009 from Ebay, and quickly accepted that it was impractical and ridiculous to use a silk scarf in my everyday life (though I actually used it once), I have safely kept it in my closet for the prospect of framing and hanging it in my future living room or bedroom. But again, it was ruined and damaged beyond repair because of the flood and I no longer have any scarf to frame.

I’ve been always enthralled by the artwork and effort put on silk scarves and I was so amazed to read a post from another blogsite, chronicling how an Hermès scarf is made. It awakened my curiosity over framed silk scarves and Google-ing brought me to Griffin Trading‘s website where I saw a framed La Promenade de Longchamps in the exact colorway I have (albeit undamaged).

A framed 'Promenade de Longchamps' scarf from Griffin Trading

A framed ‘Promenade de Longchamps’ scarf from Griffin Trading

This foray into another design project territory pulled me again into searching local auction sites to see if maybe, just maybe, it would be my lucky day. And fortunately, it was. I was very quick to jump the gun on a red and orange silk scarf for sale by a man from Alabang, that I pleaded if I can meet up with him in Makati just to get the item. I think he had no idea that he just sold a brand new scarf, with unflattened hems, at a significantly low price that he practically gave it away.

That orange Hermès scarf envelope

Hermès 'Astres et Soleils' scarf in red and orange colorway

I normally do not put watermark on my photos but I just don’t want these stolen by crooks and use them to sell a non-existent scarf to potential victims. Anyway, it was an ‘Astres et Soleils‘ scarf by Annie Faivre in red and orange, and according to an online scarf catalogue, this particular colorway was produced in 1994. Imagine, it still looks immaculate even after almost two decades! Well, what do I expect, it has been kept inside its envelope all these years and only the tattered paper showed wear and tear.

Details of Annie Faivre's artwork 'Astres et Soleils' scarf in red and orange colorway for HermèsIt’s interesting that I got to end up with this scarf, whose name translates to ‘Stars and Suns‘. I love astronomy, mythology and world history a lot, and I was just watching documentaries yesterday on YouTube about the Mayan and Aztec civilizations. The former, most especially, is most (in)famous for the December 21, 2012 Doomsday prediction, due to their extensive knowledge of the movements of celestial bodies. In this whimsical artwork, Annie Faivre was inspired by the Mayan civilization before its collapse, with the people engaging in burial, agricultural and other religious rites. Among its various colorways, I’m very pleased to get this red and orange one that highlights the vibrancy of the Mayan life in a tropical rainforest climate.

More than the “where to have it framed?” question, I think I should be focusing more on “how” because I’ve read that they need special UV/museum glass to preserve the color and prevent fading, as well as sewing the scarf on a fabric covered matte. I don’t even know if I can find that special glass here, and who knows how much they will cost! Maybe I can scour vintage and thrift shops to see if I can find an existing frame large enough to hold the scarf, then I will do the framing myself! =)

Measuring up!

Black is beautiful, but too much black is charcoal” — that was the tongue-in-cheek saying I immediately thought of upon receiving the Porter by Yoshida Company bag on the mail yesterday. I already have eight black bags but it did not prevent me from getting this briefcase/messenger bag. I was really happy because the bag was lightweight and both the straps and rolled handles are comfortable on my shoulders. The coated canvas gives off a leathery finish on pictures, but I guess it will hold up really well under the heavy rains.

Porter by Yoshida Company briefcase messenger bag

Porter by Yoshida Company briefcase messenger bag and Red Wing 8875 boots

Anyway, on my way to work today, I dropped by the Handyman store in Farmers Plaza to buy locks and bolts for the apartment we will be renting starting in June. I found the aisle dedicated to these items and I had a great time choosing what should be used to secure our apartment. At first, I was just looking for a traditional door knob but I remember Mon describing an alternative. He was not able to give its exact name but when I saw the ‘deadbolt lock’, I immediately sent him a photo to ask if it was what he had described.  I subsequently bought approximately Php 900-worth of items, which we would be giving to the landlady so that they will be installed during the repainting of the unit.

Locks and bolts from the Handyman storeSpeaking of repainting, I wanted to have the unit’s paint changed from yellow to at least off-white, just like what I’ve mentioned in my previous post. The unit is due to be repaired/renovated for occupation this weekend, so I also asked the landlady if she could have it repainted and I will just pay for the extra cost. I wanted off-white because that is the color of our walls in our house, so the color scheme is a piece of home away from home. Our extremely yellow roomSo during dinner break, Faye accompanied Mon and me to the apartment . We needed to give out the locks to the landlady, and I also had to measure the floor area so we can proceed in deciding what pieces of furniture to purchase/bring. I know that I should have brought a retractable measuring tape, instead of the one made for human/fabric measurements because my hands were a bit dirty as the place was still quite dusty. It was an oddly-shaped studio apartment (well, at least the area excluding the bathroom), so I have drawn a rough sketch on paper of the floor area to facilitate measurement.

Floor plan of the studio apartmentWhen I got there, my immediate decision was to use inches instead of centimeter. I normally use inch-foot when measuring bags and clothing, but I usually resort to centimeter-meter when measuring space or floor area. SO I had no idea why I immediately jumped the gun on inches, when centimeters could have given me a more accurate measurement, especially I needed every single space I could measure. Well, no good crying over spilled milk so I would just have to live with the measurement I have made.

From the sketch, I have generated this floor plan of the unit with approximate measurements of every single side of the polygon. The total floor area is 115.50 ft²! It was not much but I see it as a challenge.  I’m not big in interior decoration as I never had the chance to foray into tinkering whatever it is that we have in our house. But honestly, I see the limited as an opportunity and I was greatly inspired by this “IKEA Small Spaces – Small ideas” video.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQjBrt9LriY]

I love the idea of maximizing every bit of space available, and having items with multiple functions. What worries me the most is the amount of clothing, shoes and bag I have. I’ve been doing a mental inventory and selection of what items I will be bringing with me; and as much as I have pared down that list, I still could not think of how I will manage to properly fit them in the unit. We will be going to the Makati malls on weekend, and I look forward to seeing possible options for the bed and closet (if we will be getting one). I think our work would be easier because we have the floor plan with us. I just  hope we’ll find a decently-price sofa bed because that is the whole point of moving from Marikina to Makati —to have a decent sleep!

DIY alteration project on a rainy Saturday

Two weeks ago, Faye sent a Reddit link to me about a guy who became quite adept in altering his old and/or thrifted clothes. I’ve been wanting to try this project out, given that I have recently bought a sewing machine for my mother, but the busy graduation week last week prevented me from doing so. But as it rained so hard this Saturday afternoon and as I had no plans to go out, I had all the time I needed to experiment on some of my clothes that needed some revamping. The first two things I thought of working on was this retro-looking longsleeves and a pair of navy blue pants.

A 'before' shot of the MEXX longsleeves shirt

Before the drastic chop and alteration

The longsleeves was in a stretchable fabric, and I was quite worried over what kind of stitch to use. It  would only be the second time to sit in front of my mother’s sewing machine and I only used the basic, running stitch over a minor alteration on that previous occasion. Should I use the zigzag stitch or just stick to the running one? I have also tried using the tailor’s chalk to mark where I needed to cut and stitch the new seams together, but the fabric did not seem to have the slightest orange stain on it. I resorted to using a black ballpen and good thing that the marks were placed inside because I had mistakenly drawn a lot of stray ones.

The first cut was difficult. The length of the shirt was about five inches longer than what I would normally want it to be, so I had to cut it. From the tutorial, he went straight away sewing the marks, without putting on pins. However, I wasn’t that comfortable in doing the same thing, so I had to put on a lot of pins before sewing. I started with the armpit to the sleeves, then back to the armpit all the way to the newly-unfinished hem. I had a hard time sewing the sleeves, though, because I can barely fit the hole beneath the machine’s feet. I eventually got there somehow, and after several runs with the acting-up bobbin, I was able to hem the sleeves.
Holding the fabric with pins before sewingAs for the pants, I only got to wear the pair once on a Valentine’s night since buying it, but it stayed inside the closet since then. The fit was just weird, and even if it has been already altered by my beloved tailor, I still did not like how it sits on my behind. Frankly, I had no idea what to do with it while altering, but I just ran a half-inch adjustment from the crotch up to the hem. The sewing machine is not a heavy-duty/industrial type, so I was careful not to push it too hard and break a needle. Most of the time, I just manually move the wheel just to lock the stitches.I even altered this pair of L.O.G.G. pants for a better fitEt voilà! I think I have made a fairly good job with the alteration of this longsleeves to a short sleeves,  and changing a straight cut pants to a slim fit one. It was not as tasking nor difficult than I had expected. What was first a guinea pig garment for experimentation, actually turned out to be something I will definitely wear in the coming days. As for the pants, I am very sure that they will look nice with every pair of boots that I have. I might try altering two longsleeves tomorrow, that is if Mama will not use the sewing machine, as she was so inspired by my DIY work and will most probably alter a few garments of her own.

Altered MEXX Shortsleeves polo and altered L.O.G.G. by H&M navy blue pants