Monday, March 23, 2015

A Snowy Shoot

Shivering in between takes, our photographer friend Jay kept telling me "tiis-ganda!," a Filipino term which roughly translates to "suffer for the sake of beauty." I had to remind myself through our seemingly long, grueling engagement shoot that I was the one who persuaded Jomar that the snow would look lovely in photos. Looking back though, all the teeth-chattering and silent prayers for warmth were worth it :)

Here are some tips for my fellow brides-to-be when shooting in the snow:

1. It's a given that it will be very cold, especially if you choose to not wear weather-appropriate attire or you're simply not a winter person, so get a photographer that will be patient enough to wait for you to get out of your jacket in between takes and will tolerate your (well, my) whines of "I'm soooo cold, why is it soooo coooold." Jay has been a good friend of ours for years, so thank God he and Jomar were used to me hahaha.

2. Make sure to do your due diligence and check that your venue will be open on the day and time of the shoot! We originally planned on having it in a park in DC, but ended up relocating to a smaller park in Silver Spring, MD. Because of the change of venue, we had to make do with tighter shots since we were also sharing the space with local joggers.

3. Wear color. If you're going for a more muted look, then by all means do that, but if you want to stand out and take advantage of the snowy landscape then you'd want to opt for brighter shades like the red I chose for our shoot. To tie your look with your fiancé's, you can make your own bouquet and a matching boutonniere for him. The bouquet took about 20 minutes to assemble, while the boutonniere took me just minutes to make.

Outfit details: 
Me: Dress from Nordstrom rack / Heattech tights from Uniqlo / Patent bow flats from Nine West
Jomar: Slim necktie from Penguin / Suit from Express / Black slip-on leather shoes from Rockport

4. Practice your poses beforehand. If, like us, you're awkward in front of the camera, look up engagement photos online for inspiration. Browse through,, and I wanted ours to not look too cheesy and I had a general idea of what I wanted our pictures to look like, but we ended up being coached by Jay because "winging it" did not suffice. It's not obvious, but there were a lot of "what do we do?!?", "where do I look" and "my arms feel so weird, I have no idea where to put them!" moments in between takes.

5. Practice your hair and makeup a day or two ahead and take a picture for reference. The two hours leading to the shoot was a blur of hair products and makeup, littered with problems that kept popping up, e.g.: a. my inexperience with fake eyelashes (I had trouble aligning them with my real eyelashes, but they really make your eyes more beautiful in photos, so use them even if they look ridiculous to you in person) b. my hair refused to hold a single curl, so I had to rush online and find an easy yet appropriate updo, and c. my forehead pimples kept trying to rebel against the barrage of concealer, primer and foundation I piled on them (thank goodness I was victorious!).

6. Have your winter jacket within easy reach so you can warm up in between photos. Or you can be sneaky and pretend to want to use your fiancé's suit jacket as a prop for some of the pictures (hehehe).

7. Remember the reason why you're out languishing in the cold (instead of doing the sane thing, which is staying at home, sipping a cup of hot chocolate in your warmest pajamas): it's to commemorate you and your fiancé's love for each other. So relax, have some laughs at the ridiculous situation you've put yourselves in, and patiently wait for the beautiful pictures you'll soon be getting. All will be worth it.

8. Ah, so you thought I was done? Wrong! After the shoot, you're going to be tired and hungry, so you might want to hit up a nearby restaurant for some good, tummy-warming eats. We went to Thai Taste by Kob, which serves your normal Thai fare alongside street-style food.

Obligatory after-shoot pic with Jay at Thai Taste
Wishing you all the best on your engagement!

<3 lots,

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I wish that I could be like the cool kids

This was taken on such a nice day before the temp started to drastically fall, I asked Jomar to walk with me to the train station next to my place for a mini shoot because I was wearing a really cool outfit. Thinking back on my younger years, I was constantly an awkward kid. I was always at the sidelines, and desperately wanted to belong. I always wished that if I were to leave this world, I'd like to leave at least a small stamp on it. I wanted the Hollywood hunk bf, a great job I'll brag about to everyone, and host an annual New Year's Eve party at my penthouse in Manhattan. None of those happened to me, but I know now that happiness does not lie on these temporal things. It's in finding beauty wherever you are at life, and being thankful for the big and small blessings. As I giggled at my bf squatting so awkwardly so he can take a nice shot of me in a soon-to-become fave outfit, I mentally ticked off all the things that were perfect in that moment. I smiled. *click*

<3 and smiles,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In The Spotlight: Jackie Francois

While browsing through my Facebook wall, I came across a post by a young friend of mine about her role model, Jackie Francois. Having never heard of her name before, I did a quick Google search and learned that blogs via her website
A singer/songwriter and speaker, Jackie also blogs about different issues that are connected with her Catholic faith. If you're a young lady as well, I highly recommend her blog as it deals with a lot of issues that I had been blessed to have discussed about in my own church group, Youth For Christ, when I was growing up. Her blog is very insightful, witty and not condescending at all, and is very helpful especially if you're searching for answers to sensitive questions. With the month of November looming near, the topic of overtly sexy Halloween costumes is trending once more, and I find her and Leah Darrow's insight on the topic to be respectful and guided by the much-loved and applauded Theology of the Body teaching by Blessed John Paul II. Check it out here :)
Here's my more secular take on the trend back in 2012:

I don't really celebrate Halloween (except of course if I have a really cool, geeky idea for a costume), but I'm curious as to what you're planning to wear that night! Tell me what it is in the comments section :)


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

All About Blue

I have absolutely no idea when my obsession with cobalt/cerulean blue started, but I just recently added a new item to that collection: the pleather moto jacket from Forever 21 as seen on the model below. I can already tell it will be worn when I'm feeling ecstatic or when I feel blue *hehehe*. What is it about this hue that makes it stand out? Does it evoke images of the seaside, or does it remind one of royalty?  Either way, it is such a lovely color, and goes well with most things. Or maybe that's just a lie I keep telling myself so I have an excuse to wear my blue Warby Parker glasses everyday? ;) How about you, is it a yay or nay for this hue of blue? (yes, I made them rhyme hehehe)

All about Blue


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Upping their game: Ugg Australia

Yes, that beautiful black boot below is from UGG Australia. After shunning their bulky, pricey, hairless Chewbacca feet-shaped boots (known for adorning and warming up the toes of college girls in their matching North Face jackets, skinnies/black tights, and a steaming cup of Starbucks coffee in one hand and iPhone in another; no offense to Chewbacca, and to those said girls because those boots are indeed very warm), I just learned of their newer, sleeker, classier styles like the Ophira shown below. But the price tag is still too high for my median salary, and so I turn to hours of swimming through the Clearance section of my beloved DSW, Nordstrom Rack and Rugged Warehouse in the hopes of finding a similar pair. My wallet stops shivering from fear, and my credit cards are safe. Given a gift card though (the Polyvore creation below is my entry to their contest, which you can join here: Live Your Moment: UGG Contest) I'll happily buy the Elsa, which looks warm, comfy and very much snow-proof (although it looks more like something that Anna would wear hehehe). In the meantime, I'll happily wait for the weather to cool down a bit more until I can finally start wearing the $30 pair of camel brown leather boots by Naturalizer that I scored from Rugged Warehouse (which normally retails at $200).
Live Your Moment in UGG: Contest Entry

Keep warm and cozy!