Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pins and needles, nice to know you

A plan 10 years in the making finally materialized this day. Instead of ink, it's a purdy little sparkly gem implanted right smack dab in the middle of my midsection. I'm in love.

#NovemberPAIN #ShitJustGotReal 

I reckoned an observation period would make perfect sense before publishing an entry about my belly button piercing. Trust me honey, I've turned the worldwideweb inside out, upside down for any information I could extract about getting a belly button piercing in Manila. Statistic turnout isn't exactly helpful -- whether it's about where to get it done, or the type of jewellery you can wear immediately after. Consider this an honest, unadulterated opinion on this subject matter and I won't give you a statement I have not personally experienced.

Pre piercing points to ponder. 

1. Listen to yourself. Don't go about asking your friends if you should get a belly button piercing, it's your body, not theirs. Chances are, you can never solicit a collective, favorable advice. It took me roughly 10 years to make up my mind and quite frankly you can't grow balls over night! Having overly conservative parents is another issue I don't want to touch.

2. Are you in in a good state both mentally and physically? If it took you more than 5 seconds to answer that, then maybe you shouldn't. If you just hit a rough patch or simply preparing for one-time beach getaway, maybe it's too sudden a decision to be making. You may want to reconsider, it's not your head doing the talking, it's spontaneity. Remember, the jewellery you can take out but not for the first 6 MONTHS at least and risk of scar formation is relatively high even after the piercing closes.

3. Piercing prejudice. So what's it gonna be, slut or saint? They say everything comes with a price, I say piercing comes with bad prejudice, and so do tattoos! I know I know, we couldn't care less, but expect to hear some side comments about your piercing (should you decide to have one). You should be mentally and emotionally ready to deflect such nonsense. (i.e. bellybutton piercing is the tramp stamp of tattoos. I know, right?)

4. It's a long term commitment with petty sacrifices here and there-- and I'm not talkin' about your boyfriend since high school. The belly button area is sensitive (and I mean life and death-kinda sensitive) and the piercing takes forever to heal. If you have the patience follow the precise aftercare procedure, then by all means! I'm warning you, it ain't for the lazy daisy!

Still convinced you should get one? Read along then!

Piercing Pandemonium 

This is my first real piercing experience (Thanks mom, for getting my ears pierced at age 0!) so there is no other way than to have it professionally done. I went to P&P in Makati, which is a well-know establishment for tattoo and body art; and is allegedly the go-to place for celebrities. My first concern was the design of the jewellery because I don't want to get the typical silver stud and was aiming for one with a gem stone. P&P has a really good selection and I was able to get a gem encrusted one!

The piercing process

Stop saying you want it and set a damn date! Setting a deadline or appointment is the first step.

1. It is normal for your stomach to meet more butterflies once you get to THE place. Your palms will get sweaty.. knees weak arms are heavy there's v--- okay I'm getting ahead of myself. My anxiety momentarily faded when I finally had to choose the jewellery. So many cute jewels to choose from BUT your piercer will only allow you to get a simple curved barbell type with stud because it is the safest to put on while the piercing heals. (Those dangly bellybutton rings can wait.)

2. 60% of your conscience will tell you to walk away, but the remaining 40% should overpower. I'm telling you, I was standing outside P&P for about 10mins, demanding my best friend for a pep talk. I just did it anyway. (not so save face, mind you)

3. You will be in an uncomfortable spot for a good 10 minutes. I was expecting a contraption similar to that of an electronic dental chair which should recline me to a sleeping position, instead, there was only a black office chair and a makeshift divider separating me from the other clients. Lying on your back would have been the ideal for the client --  but definitely not for the piercer. I felt uneasy seated down and was advised to just stand up to hasten the piercing process, which I gladly obliged to. The piercer started disinfecting the disposable needle, clamp and the jewellery. Ready for what's coming? Okay!

4. I finally lifted the hem of my top and the piercer started marking my midsection. A clamp was used to gather the skin and hold it in place which felt like a tight pinch. I finally felt the needle puncturing the entry point then I felt the needle going out the same direction. My skin did not break the first puncture so it went in again then BAM! It was over.

Pain meter? It felt a lot less painful than my overall pain expectation and it was over before I even knew it!


The piercer told me it will be more painful after. True to his words, my piercing started feeling tingly shortly after. Expect sporadic surges of sharp pains every time the piercing rubs against the shirt. I wore a pair of denim shorts which made sitting down really painful even if my shorts fall below my hips.

First 6 hours - I felt sharp pains (in and around my piercing) with movement and felt most comfortable standing up.

First night - I tend to sleep on my stomach a lot so I barely slept the first night because I was very conscious of my sleeping position. The weight of the duvet/comforter caused pain so I had to use a light blanket instead. There is no other sleeping position but sleeping on your back.

The next day - Nothing. It felt perfectly normal as if I never had one (piercing).

First 48 hours - On the 2nd night I accidentally rubbed my duvet against my stomach so it stung for a few seconds.

The next day - My entire midsection felt sore -- as in post ab-workout sore which lasted for the entire day.

First week - The piercing only hurt whenever it would rub against clothing or my company ID, in my case.

First 2 weeks - Expect the formation of "crusts" around the upper barbel. This is perfectly normal and indicates that the piercing is healing.


I cannot further emphasise how critical after care procedure is for bellybutton piercings (or for any other piercing). I immediately showered after I got home but refrained from using soap because the piercing is still fresh. The next day I started cleaning my piercing with warm salt solution every 12 hours by inverting the cup of salt solution on to my piercing (done by lying on your back, of course). Also, avoid any contact by all means - and this includes touching! NEVER touch your piercing, especially near the entry/exit hole.

And if you like it then you shoulda put a riiing on it!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

24 candles and them some

Thats why my hair is so big it's full of secrets

Topshop sleeveless flower flippy dress | Michael Kors Gwen cage booties | Overused Balenciaga City
The year of the snake has been far too kind. Spent my 24th exactly how it should be: one major recoup weekend. Bracing myself with the opening of school this week!

24 shots
  • I have a tendency to blank out when asked about celebrity crushes. I will most likely answer Brandon Boyd by impulse. Still true. 
  • My advocacy? Social graces. Bring them, know them by heart. What's yours?
  • Classic (as in black and white) movies have a calming effect on me. You can find me holed in my room, with pin lights on and Grace Kelly on the screen.
  • I watch beauty pageants for the slip ups. Oops
  • The Kardashians is my ultimate guilty pleasure, hence the never ending references.
  • One of these days I'm getting a belly button ring. 
  • One of these days I'll probably get kicked out of the house for getting a belly button ring.
  • I am madly obsessed with Topshop and Sabo Skirt. Once you shop, you can't stop! And yes I made that one up. 
  • I easily feel socially-saturated so I unplug myself from the internet every so often..for a couple of for work/school related matters.
  • I cannot sleep at night without my trusty airline eye mask. I have to constantly remind my dad to spare me the eye masks when he goes on trips. See, business class eye masks are the works
  • It's 2013 and I still cannot get over Brooke and Lucas. That chemistry! Fuel and fire. *Sighs* 
  • I easily get carried away with on-screen lovers and would fervently wish their romance would extend off-screen. Hello Leighton Meester and Chace Crawford! WAKE. UP. 
  • Living life vicariously through Carrie SATC not in the Diaries
  • When stuck in a rut, I run a few episodes of 16 and Pregnant as a constant reminder of how blessed I am no matter the circumstances. And no, I don't mean to berate these kids. In fact I admire the strength.
  • I shop like how an anaconda eats. 
  • I have a mental list of outfits planned.
  • Ask me a question and I will answer back with a question. Read: Don't we all? Aren't we all? -- somehow I manage to make it coherent. 
  • Any top or dress with a cut-out design will end up in my closet. Within reason of course. There's just something so exciting about cut outs. 
  • Im a sartorial extremist - either I'm all dolled up or totally dulled-out. There are nice outfits that deserve to be complemented with make up, then there are outshits to go with bare-face days. 
  • Kamille Villamor is my bestfriend and I'd like to keep her forever. Girl knows me too well
  • I'm so boring I can't make this reach 24! Adios!

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm Ana and I'm a shopaholic

Yes Bangkok, can I please have my sanity back? For a moment, I lost it. There I was cinched between fellow shoppers, running like a chicken with its head cut off in the densely populated aisles of THE Platinum Fashion Mall.  Let me show you a year’s difference:

Last year:

Me: How much?
Seller: 150 baht

This time:

Me: How much?
Seller: 150 baht
Me: Thank you.

You might want to spit that hate-o-rade, my sisters don’t call me ‘bargain queen’ for nothing. Last year’s list is all about understated tackiness when viewed vis-à-vis with the one I came up with this time. I have to say though; I think I did a pretty good job last year with all the deals I snagged under 200 baht. Overall, 3 items from last year’s loot are about to be tossed into the what-was-I-thinking pile.

This time, my ultimate goal is to run a tight shopping ship and a strict mental shopping list was thrown into the broilers to keep it smooth sailing. Last time felt as if I was blindly shopping for rock bottom priced garments, without due consideration of the overall construction and functionality. It all boils down to one important thing: quality trumps quantity any day! A trait I have imbibed from home.

If last year was all about hoarding cheap items acquire more stuff, this time was about making smarter choices to make sure the items will last me longer than the actual trend.

Bangkok shopping myths debunked:

1.     You need  at least 10,000 to 20,000 Php (or 400-500 USD) to fully enjoy the Bangkok shopping trip experience.

This is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. No offense to person who said this, she probably doesn’t remember this anyway. Have you ever had too much to drink that a single sight of a glass triggers your gag reflex? Trust me when I say this is also applicable to clothes, or shopping per se. Yup, there is such a feeling as shopping saturation.

Considering other expenses that await (i.e. Graduate School tuition fee, Christmas season and incidentals) I had limited cash to dispense for this trip. Clothes in Bangkok are relatively dirt cheap. Nice dresses can go up to 350 Baht and structured, nicely-tailored blazers can run up to 500 Baht (price premium). Above and beyond are considered expensive in wholesale and night markets, in my opinion. As for branded retail groups, price premium is a tad more expensive compared to prices in Manila, but do ransack the SALE rack for one-of-a-kind pieces. (I recently bought a pantsuit from Topshop in Greenbelt and found the exact item in Bangkok which is more expensive by about 300 Php!) 

2. If you find something you like, buy it. Don't even think of letting it go otherwise, you won't find it again!

If it's Chatuchak we're talking about, then this can be partly true - partly, because if you have an impeccable sense of direction, I guess we don't have a problem after all. This shopping myth is rather subjective; if say, you and I fall under the category of extreme bargain hunters, then you and I well know a complete environmental scan is a must before dole-out. I would like to see the entire offering before I make a choice. I like the guarantee of an authentic bargain piece and I like to validate the rarity of a particular design. Platinum Fashion mall is a minefield, with duplicates detonating here and there. It's no shock that even the design of a mass-produced piece is pirated. 

The layout of Platinum is very easy to navigate and the stalls/kiosks are quite small so it's possible to scan the entire place just by walking along the aisles. Unless you struck gold (design and price taken into account) with a can't-get-out-of-my-head piece , then it's okay to walk away. You will never run out of things to buy, trust me! 

3. Bangkok clothes are tailored for petite ladies.

Sadly, this has some inkling of truth to it. Most markets carry free-size (or "one size") clothes that typically range between small-medium in standard sizing.  But before you start pouting, I observed more stalls carrying bigger sizes for full-figured women in Platinum. Also, clothes are not marked free-size for nothing, most garments are garterized to fit up to large frames! I'm telling you, Platinum has something for everyone. You just gotta ransack those stalls for awesome finds! 

4. Bangkok clothes are poorly made and can easily fall apart.

Not if you know how to take good care of your clothes they're not! See, you get what you pay for. Manage your expectations for clothes scored at bargain prices. Make sure you triple check the fabric, stitches and the overall garment for defects and stains even if you ask for a new stock. Ask your helper to hand-wash the clothes to save them from the churns of the washing machine. I have no experience with clothes falling apart, at least not yet. I'd like to think my clothes are well-rested. If you know what I mean. 

I am in no way a professional bargain hunter but I would like to acknowledge all those years of training. HAH