Styling Just Got Sunnier


Orange for positivity

Miss Helen Mary Labao, raw photo taken by: Ms. Alexis Escarrilla

I like casually waking up, then later going outdoors in the city with a simple dress and a hint of orange lipstick on a sunny morning. But rarely do I find myself fancying bright-colored clothes at this time.I think I have gotten used to wearing dark colors to hide my love handles last year, and it was only recently that I learned to embrace the other colors in the rainbow and the color wheel.

On the rare occasion that I wear something bright, I make sure to record and share the overall outcome of wearing the outfit. Here is my orange OOTD: an orange dress bought only for 50 pesos at a flea market. I wore peach espadrilles for my feet (Unlisted, Php 1,200). Just that and my trusty orange lipstick and long hair. Still a fan of bargains that rock. I don’t even get to wear cheekbone color. I suck at balancing colors in the eye shadow and I risk looking like a clown. I just always wanted to look natural and fresh.

These days, it has been raining intermittently and it’s quite hard to find the sun. I conserve these few precious days where the sun’s rays graciously showered the ground with just the right amount of heat and light. Even the wind was blowing in the right direction when I had this photo taken.

I wish I can dictate certain events and days to have this picture perfect weather. But even in the storm, there is always the challenge to look as bright and sunny as humanely possible. You cannot always dictate the weather to agree with you, but you can always choose to wear your smile anyway.

I am perfectly comfortable with how I look now. I feel light, much lighter than I had been a year ago and I feel like I can wear bright colors again without looking like a ball or an oversized candy.  When I find it hard to think or construct a thought, I look at items that I can wear in my minimalist wardrobe and create something out of it. These days, I have a heightened respect for women who know how to carry themselves. Somehow, they are the silent inspirations I have for whatever efforts I make to improve myself or make myself look more presentable. And I am not even talking about waistline sizes or the latest trends in the Philippine or international fashion week.

Sometimes, you just encounter women who just have the je ne sais quoi factor. They can be wearing their grandma’s bacon panties and still rock it.

I do realize the thing that explains why they rock. It’s the confidence of the person who carries the thing that completes a look and not the accessories. I do read some fashion books now, a great leap compared to my monkey-like approach to my sense of style since I was young. But even if I genuinely enjoy reading about latest trends now (admittedly, this was a belated girl gene that got activated sometime last year), I am not afraid to create my own thing even if it is not something that others will call high fashion or worth noting in a fashion book. I just genuinely don’t care; I have my own thing and if I think that it suits me, I’ll wear it.

I am not sure if there are going to be brighter colors in my wardrobe in the coming days. Just for this glimmer or instant of time, styling for Helena just got a little bit sunny. 🙂


Day 54: #100HappyDays
Coolitan sa Cool Beans

homer helen machele I discovered Cool Beans Maginhawa with my two close friends Homer and Machele. Just take a look at our very happy faces and you will get the idea that we had a very satisfying time. In fact, we spent around 5 hours in that place after we ordered coffee and pasta. It was just so nice to relax with Machele and Homer. It’s been a while since we last saw each other and it’s nice to catch up with them minus all the talking shop that other people are horribly fond of doing. Some from our group just cannot stop talking about their jobs and other professional prospects and it’s refreshing to be with the friends who are still the same fun and awesome people they were before we got our licenses.

We did not talk about math or surveying or programming this evening. We talked about our personal lives, our romantic interests, our investments, our future ventures together, our dreams, and how things turned out after we took our board exam in 2010. This is slowly but surely becoming a rare thing for me. If you wanted an intimate winding down dinner with a friend or your circle of close pals, you should try going to this place.

The food is not the most sumptuous or unique I have tasted, but just about right for its price range (Php 200 per head would do). I must say though that I got quite intrigued with the coffee beans from Apayao up North. I had to order that, even though it was too strong to drink on a Monday night. My drink was the smallest one on the far left of this photo:

Cool Beans Coffee

Cool Beans Coffee

Apart from the good food and the good company of my close friends, I enjoyed the bookshelves. 🙂


And I was not the only one who cozied up to the substantial variety of reading materials:


We had around 100 photos during this dinner date because of excessive camwhoring but it was well worth the time. I felt at home on the outside and on the inside. I went home late, but really happy with how my evening went. <3

Anagrams, Change of Name in RP and the Expensive Mary in My Name

Whenever people refer to my name, I like it when they include my second name “Mary.” Because I paid the local government around 7k just to have it affixed in my birth certificate before I took the board exam. That’s much cheaper compared to the original 50k for two court hearing sessions in addition to lawyer’s fees and whatnots. Thanks to Republic Act 9048, you can now change your name without having to go to Court. It’s now an administrative procedure that you can do in any municipality or city.

I was really supposed to have the Mary in my name. But when my mom gave birth to me at MCU, she was too groggy and it was my Tita Bongs who answered the doctor’s questions. She forgot to mention Mary. I actually did not like that omission of hers, but she was able to more than compensate this year when she gave me three pairs of Italian leather shoes, 5 dresses, 4 mini-skirts and a pair of jeans for Christmas. That was worth more than the 7k I spent for fixing my name, so I love her heaps. LOL.

My mom, in a state of denial, affixed the Mary in my baptismal certificate. I don’t know why she failed to correct the Civil Registry department that time. And since I studied in a Catholic school, they followed my baptismal certificate, and all my records in school and ID’s had “Helen Mary” on it. My college diploma used Helen Mary Labao. My PRC ID now has Engr. Helen Mary Labao written on it. And I had to fix it quickly in time for me to take the board exam. I almost failed to take the board exam this year because of this name glitch.

First, you just need to prepare at least 7k for the requirements. I am not sure if this varies depending on location, but as per Caloocan City Hall’s Registry Department’s instructions, mine was a package which cost 5k+. The 1500 (which made it total to 7k) was used for the requirements. The 5k was comprised of the processing fee and publication fee (these legal stuff require publication still, even when they are settled out of court already).

The requirements is summarized in a checklist and they require two or three copies of most of the documents you need to send, to wit:

1. NBI Clearance AND Police Clearance (By the way, the NBI clearance for change of name is expensive by around 200 pesos than the average NBI clearance).

2. Baptismal Certificate

3. 2 Valid ID’s

4. Affidavit

5. Original Birth Certificate

6. School Records/Diploma

7. Cedula

So far, that’s what I remember. I am not sure if you need some 2×2 pictures, but I practically got prepared for subsequent employment requirements because of this Change of Name procedure. I thank them for putting me to all those documentation trouble in advance because my present company did not have any more trouble getting my employment requirements after the board exam. The good thing about having to deal with a longer checklist in advance is that you can sail through the other checklists later on without hassle.

Then the Civil Registrar will get all those requirements and the cash, and will have you wait for a month or two for the documents to travel from the registrar to NSO for approval. They will also contact a newspaper for publication purposes.

Then you will have to come back to sign a document and wait for another month for finality or decision. And you give a window of an additional two weeks to 3 months for the NSO to edit your birth certificate.

I did not take any chances with PRC. Some people tell me that they cheat and just sandwich the problematic requirements in between the papers of the other applicants. My good friends did not want me to spend and they were telling me of schemes to outsmart the PRC inspector, but I did not want to take that risk as far as getting my license is concerned.

And I was right to be thorough. They were VERY strict with the name of licensure exam applicants. It had to be spelled in your transcript exactly as it was spelled in your birth certificate. One misspelled letter and it’s see you next year from some people. Can you imagine that the stupidity of a clerk in mis-encoding your name can cause you a year’s delay in getting your license? It’s these little legal things you cannot afford to miss double checking, really.

My friends were also worried that I won’t make it in time for the board exam application deadline, given the very slow administrative processes my country is known for. If it may encourage some people who are planning to have their name glitches polished in time for your licensure exam, I got my name fixed in two months, which is pretty fast. Some people take 6 months to a year. I practically pestered my connection in NSO just to have it prepared in time for my board exam deadlines. Sad reality: it’s the connections that helped speed up these slow processes. I actually hope these bureaucratic things could change. It was just in a moment of desperation that I resorted to bugging a connection to speed up the snail’s pace.

So even when people tease me for this name of mine (which sounds like a famous Catholic vocal prayer), I LOVE IT! 🙂

While we’re at the subject of names, you might find it very interesting to know that there is a free anagram making website. I got this from Professional Heckler’s links and we had fun with it at the office some days back. Here are some interesting combinations:

Helen Mary Labao anagrams to A MANLY, ABLE HERO.

But my favorite was this anagram of my officemate: Resty Nuegas anagrams to TRUE GAYNESS. (LOL)

Happy Nativity Day! 😀

The Early BookWorms Get the Empire Macaron

One day in the first week of December, I decided to check on my favorite blogger, Kikay Runner. She had this contest, a partnership with her high school friend Georgia. They were giving away MACARONS (single O, not misspelled!) for the winner who gives the best answer to this question:

What will you do with a dozen Empire Macarons?

I really did not think I’d win, but the pictures looked luscious so I decided to post in a comment (my contest entry, consequently). The limit was 50-75 words only, so you can count it and I’m within the limits haha.

This was the winning answer:

The macarons shall serve as an embodiment of building sweet and different-flavored relationships. =) I will give 11 of the macarons to 11 interesting people I hardly know (tough on the outside) and want to get to know more by 2011 (chewy on the inside). The last macaron, I shall save for myself as a symbol of realigning the crusty parts of me that needs to be made chewy.

Alright! So I did my end of the bargain! Of course, I knew my sister and the rest of my family will not let the box of Empire Macarons unscathed. So I decided to order an extra box. And it arrived last night! Voila, les macarons!! Oh lala!

And here are the eleven interesting people I’d want to get to know more for 2011. They are my officemates (I had wanted to give some to my fellow bloggers too but due to the geographic constraints, I decided to reward the early bookworms in the office instead. I have a full year to build new and wonderful relationships with a lot of online people and the people at work.)

Whenever I enter the office, the first person I see is Miss Roda. She is the earliest of the bookworms! She’s pretty and she’s good with SPED kids, aside from editing books.

Next, I gave a macaron to Sir Ayer, who I see to be one of the coolest people in the office! And yeah, Palanca awardee. Hahaha. I was actually afraid to tell him the link of my blog site. But good thing I did, because we learned something interesting about him today.

I also gave one to Kuya Henry, our underground source of sandwiches in our hungriest moments in the office. But I am not supposed to say that right?

Miss Agot is also one of the people I wanted to give my macarons to because she emanates a lot of positive and industrious vibes in the office… And we usually share the same table during lunch. I have such high respect for her.

And then there’s Katt. I am getting to know her already and I will always remember her as the girl in the Korean black stocking. LOL. Let’s keep blogging together and visiting each other’s websites like mutually chronic fanatics! hahaha.

One of the things that make office life so much fun is when you “chat” with techie peeps like Resty, who knows how to maximize the office bandwidth and is the king of multitasking. I actually have a lot of things to say, but I’ll save it for my other posts.

I also gave a macaron to my “sugar and spice and everything nice” boss, Miss Lovelle. Words are not enough to say how grateful I am for her guidance.

And my fashionista editor slash freelance photo model friend, Daphne, chose the peanut flavored macaron. She temporarily traded in her photography poise for this photo opp with the macaron of her choice.

Mark (aside from being Resty’s “bestfriend”) is a very smart person who can imitate the voice of Doraemon’s Nobita at will. LOL. He is also a fan of many news sites.

Here’s Shalani Soledad, er, Pamela (LOL Pam, sorry ’cause I bullied you back here! haha). She is my nearest desk neighbor and also my favorite bully of all time. LOL.

And I gave a macaron to one of the most skilled and highly respected editors of our country, our Editor in Chief, Mr. Alain Padilla. I’m quite scared of him but I decided that Christmas is one of the few and the best times to break the ice and give a macaron:

Chewy 2011 for my chosen 11 indeed!

Harvey (my sister) and I absolutely loved the macarons, too. I said in my answer that I’d only eat one. But since we had two boxes at home, I got to eat THREE! LOL. THREE stands for I LOVE MACARON. Also, I LOVE GEORGIA (the one who owns the Macaron business). It was super yummy; it did not disappoint my taste buds. It’s the type of dessert that lingers in your head even days after you have tasted it.

Thanks Kikay Runner! I am your fan! And now, I am also Georgia’s Empire Macaron fan!

XOXO! Yummy Christmas! :mrgreen: