A Fashion Post

I haven’t been shopping in, like, forever, so last weekend I decided to make a trip down to Megamall to take a look at the new Fashion Hall wing’s offerings. I almost went home without even setting foot inside the mall because of the horrendous traffic and parking situation there, but thankfully I found a spot in the Fashion Hall’s basement parking.

Because I was there to shop more for clothes for dance and yoga, I turned up some great finds from Forever 21 (one of my favorite stores to browse around in), Old Navy, and the newly-opened H&M.

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Forever 21’s activewear section

But once I was done with that, I trawled the other shops around. Window-shopping is lovely and I can’t wait for when these brands go on sale at some point. Because I. Am. So There.

H&M only opened a month or two months ago and the hype around it was so huge that I actually avoided going in there because I didn’t want to fight for elbow space with the hundreds of other shoppers also in there. Last weekend, I couldn’t believe that even with three floors of retail space, there were still long lines for fitting rooms and cashiers. I found the women’s section a bit… grey.

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Maybe because it’s autumn/winter?

One of the shops I really liked being in was American Eagle Outfitters. Despite the fact that I could probably find some of their surplus items in the Surplus Shop in Megamall’s A wing, the store is quite hip. On that day, there was even a DJ (I later found out it was DJ Jujiin). Even better, he was actually playing music I knew — and I don’t listen to pop radio anymore, so that can be quite a challenge! But it was nice to browse inside AEO listening to “Rather Be” and then heading out the door singing along to “Call Your Girlfriend”.

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Am I your target market, AEO?

I tumbled across the expansive Fashion Hall atrium to Pull & Bear, which is a really large store that also has an entrance from the main mall.

I loved the selection of clothing for both men and women, but even more than that I was impressed with the way items were displayed. For instance, footwear:

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I feel a very strong pull towards this…

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stuff for him and her

The pricing I feel is a bit higher than at AEO and the strange thing is they were carrying a lot of heavy quilted jackets, thick sweaters, and the like. Unless you live in a freezer in the Philippines (or maybe work in an office with the AC turned up way high), those are impractical for our mild cool season.

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Pull & Bear storefront

I shop on a budget and I probably won’t be getting basic stuff like plain tank tops from these stores. But there are some really great pieces that can make your chosen outfit pop — or at least give you a peg to hunt for at thrift stores, bazaars, and local brands.

Oh dear, I think I awoke my inner shopaholic again…

Eight Hours in Changi

A few months ago I was heading home on a Tiger Airways ticket from Phuket to Manila. However there are no direct flights from Phuket to Manila especially on a Sunday, so I was on the next best thing: a connecting flight through Singapore with an eight-hour layover. My luggage would be checked through, so I wouldn’t need to pick it up in Singapore and re-check it on the SIN-MNL flight.

I had actually planned to leave the airport during the layover, because I would arrive at 4:30pm and fly out at 12:55am. This is doable; with a Philippine passport I don’t need a transit visa and can enter and leave the airport after going through immigration and security. Additionally, Singapore’s MRT system connects directly with the airport and you could very well get all the way into the city to meet up with friends for a nice early dinner and some shopping.

However, I was traveling by myself and my mom, ever protective, requested I stay inside instead. So, what do you do by yourself for eight hours in Changi Airport?

8 Hours in Changi

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Destination: Races

I’ve been stamping my passport quite a bit the past year or so, but for this girl addicted to beaches and travel, the purpose of my trips hasn’t been to bum on a beach somewhere! Instead, my foray into triathlon has taken me to some pretty unexpected places to race.

I’ve been flipping through my photos and realized I’ve missed out on a whole lot because I was focused on competing in those triathlons. I never made enough time to go about exploring, and so when I enter a conversation with someone who isn’t into triathlon and we start talking about a place I’ve been, I’m at a loss for words on what else you can do there aside from the races.  Read more

1 Little, 2 Little… 12 Monkeys

(or the time a famous musician bought me a drink)

I’ve not been one to go for nightlife or the local music scene lately simply because I’m a morning person, a somewhat serious athlete, and there’s something about going to a dingy smoky bar late at night just to watch a band perform that makes my asthmatic throat constrict.

12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub at Century City Mall, Makati aims to change that attitude, and from my visit there last Friday I think it might actually work. 🙂

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12 Monkeys is on the 5th Level

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fully-stocked bar

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for the live acts

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for the DJs

This music hall and pub was set up by the who’s who of Manila’s music, social, and F&B scene. Read more

Hi, I’m Noelle and I write for a living.

Today, someone told me I had no right to call that someone out for writing something that may or may not be factual but had no official statement to back it up, just because I don’t write for anything more professional than my blog. (That someone also sent a few ad hominem attacks my way, but let’s stick to the merits of the argument.)

Whenever I receive any sort of criticism, I try to see if it has merit. Is there anything in my words or deeds that deserve such censure? It’s very much part of my personality to self-analyze and so I take comments to heart.

What is the definition of professional? According to Merriam-Webster:

  1. relating to a job that requires special education, training, or skill
  2. done or given by a person who works in a particular profession
  3. paid to participate in a sport or activity

Anyone can set up a blog with all the publishing tools now available — you don’t even need to go into the source code of your pages these days. So you don’t really need any special education, training, or skill to start a blog…

…Ah, but to write a blog that helps you make a living is a different matter entirely. What if your blog is a showcase of your skill in creating that turn of phrase that is just so, that pulls on the heartstrings, that calls to action? That is something someone somewhere is willing to pay for. I know I have that because I have been paid to write in the past. I stopped writing for magazines because I was writing mechanically — you know how magazines are: they cover the same topics year after year with just a tiny change in spin. With other jobs occupying my time I decided I only wanted to write about what I was passionate about and truly interested me. Instead of chasing the freelance writing jobs, I began creating content for my own blog.

And you know what? People visit my blog because what they find there is compelling and takes them on a journey they could not otherwise have gone on. They read my blog to get informed about our shared passion, and they know if I tout something it’s not because I was paid to say so, but because I have used it or tried it out and believe in it. That’s a reputation I have worked hard at building and sustaining. (It’s really up to them if they trust what I write and pull the trigger on a purchase.)

And now the writing jobs — which pay money! — come to me. Because of my blog I have been able to travel, clothe myself, participate in an expensive sport. I get paid to write. You know what I write on my travel documents as an occupation or profession? WRITER.

I do not consider myself a journalist; most of what I write opinionated and based on personal experience. But I do pride myself in the training I received while earning my graduate degree in Media Studies (Journalism), which taught me how to write the difference between statements of fact and statements based on assumption. And that’s what I called that someone out on.

Really, at this point when print magazines are losing readership and circulation (and they are all coming out with online editions to get people to read them again), someone wants to say I’m less of a professional because I self-publish on a blog?

The reason I’m writing this is because I have to let all this word vomit out before it causes me writer’s block. Now that it’s off my chest, I’m going to go back to writing some commissioned work and earn my keep doing it.