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The Mean Reds and Friends as Tiffany’s

9 Aug

Growing up, I had my fair share of advice from adults and self-help books to be judicious in finding company. “Be careful choosing your friends,” a particular book said, “you become who they are.”

With time I came to realize that friendship, as with any relationship worth its while, becomes less about enabling circumstances and more about the choices we make to stay connected. This becomes especially true when circumstances – for reasons geographical, professional, spatial, or if you want to go all Bradbury or Spielberg about it, dimensional – make togetherness anywhere from a notch to an eon more difficult. Ultimately, the desire to connect — or re-connect — is a commitment.

Nineteen years ago, I was born on the last week of July in the midst of a thunderstorm. Every birthday since, it had been a challenge to invite people to celebrate with. Varying degrees of rain were constant gatecrashers at my parties, after all. But this July 29 was a different story, with some of those I hold dearest conspiring for a surprise get-together.

The tapestries of each friendship are as diverse as the people themselves, but a single thread binds them together. They are among the first people I could, would and do turn to when I get a bad case of what Audrey Hepburn (as Holly Golightly) called the “mean reds”.

My birthday outfit was inspired by the iconic “wild thing” Miss Golightly.

The Taylor black brocade dress (P250) is from Red Tomato. Black leather platforms are by Gibi. Layered teardrops choker (P150) is a tiangge find, and the necklace used as a hair accessory is a birthday gift.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where Holly explains the mean reds to her writer-neighbor Paul Varjak:

Holly: Poor cat! Poor slob! Poor slob without a name! The way I see it I haven’t got the right to give him one. We don’t belong to each other. We just took up one day by the river. I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It’s like Tiffany’s. 

Paul: Tiffany’s? You mean the jewelry store. 

Holly: That’s right. I’m just CRAZY about Tiffany’s! Listen, you know those days when you get the mean reds? 

Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues? 

Holly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? 

Paul: Sure. 

Holly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name! 

In another scene, Holly said, “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” I may not see these lovelies all the time, but everyday I’m grateful for the likes of them, who make me feel like Tiffany’s — and eons, eons better.

via Tumblr http://bargainmuse.tumblr.com/post/29045759294

Bargain musings

25 Jul

In a matter of days, I’ll be blowing 19 candles on what would hopefully be a dark chocolate and cherry cake. In a matter of months, I’ll be among the latest sunflower children of UP Diliman, shifting the sablay from the left to the right shoulder in parting with my alma mater, and in anticipation for what awaits outside it.

The past few weeks marked the last of many firsts, and the first of many lasts. This Bargain Muse venture is among my firsts, and I hope to make it last for as long as I can.

The idea for this blog came to me one day on a trip to my favorite wonderland, an ukay-ukay. My browser has seen its fair share of fashion blogs, most of which feature branded clothes or accessories equivalent to anywhere from 1 to 15 unit/s of my tuition. Not that there’s anything inherently bad about that. Everyone’s free to spend their resources the way they want to, after all.

For my own part, I believe spending isn’t a pre-requisite to a diverse wardrobe. Each article of clothing is an investment – just as there are costly options, there are also those to be had at a much cheaper price. And as I’ve discovered time and time again, relatively lower prices do not have to equate to tacky designs or poor quality.

Bargain Muse celebrates this affordable ingenuity. There is value (and unparalleled thrill!) in getting not just more, but the mostest bang for your buck. This blog is an account of the little treasures I find amid yard sales, stuffy thrift stores and unkempt cardboard boxes – clothes and trinkets that lay still on their racks, begging to be rescued from their neon plastic hangers.

At the very most, I hope to encourage others to explore the infinite possibilities of bargain shopping. At the very least, I hope to meet others who share similar interests, particularly the idea that one need not shell out too much to dress presentably.

Cheers!

Hook the book: A guide to bargain bookhunting (Part 1)

28 Dec

For many bookworms, reading is relaxing – but the search for cheap, high-quality books can be anything else but. This coming New Year, bibliophiles all over the metro (and the world!) will be wishing for more time and resources to indulge in their favorite pastime. Until then, here are some tips to glean more books for your buck:

  1. Have a mental list of books you want to own. However, don’t expect to find everything in one go, or even at all. The key – and the fun! – is in scouring the shelves thoroughly. The best bargains are often in the lowest shelves, so be ready to rough it if you’re in for a steal. You wouldn’t want to be in heels and a mini skirt when you balance on a stool or sit on the floor as you flip your way through piles of books. Book hunting wouldn’t be as rewarding if you miss out on the literary gems just waiting to be found.
  2. Keep an eye out for hole-in-the-wall booksellers. For instance, the UP Diliman campus alone houses various bargain book havens: Antas along AS Walk, the bookstall within Damitan ni Antonia fronting the Post Office, and the recently-opened Booksale at the Shopping Center (SC). The stall above Zagu, also in SC, sells classics and contemporary titles, magazines and DVDs, among others. Take an adventure in Cubao X and Bookay Ukay in Maginhawa St., and make sure to check out book stands in holiday bazaars.
  3. Frequent bookstores near your area and acquaint yourself with the sales staff. Be inquisitive, but not demanding. Ask the clerks when the expected “pullout” or delivery of new stocks will be, since the prices of old stocks are likely to decrease at that same time.
  4. Unlike their high-end counterparts, bargain bookstores do not offer membership cards or privileges for regular customers. But this is where number 3 comes in handy. Once you have established yourself as a suki, you are more likely to get first dibs on their latest stocks, events, or promos. Booksale, for instance, offers a 5% discount for single receipt purchases worth P1000, and 10% for those worth P2000 or higher.
  5. It’s very tempting to buy on impulse when everything seems so affordable. Sometimes though, what we think is a good bargain is still not the best deal. When in doubt, observe the three R’s: reserve, research and reflect.  The standard two-day reservation gives you ample time to read reviews online (try shelfari.com), and evaluate whether the book(s) in your hands are really hard to find, or can be bought for less somewhere else. If, after scrutiny, you realize the book is worth your while and cash, return for it as soon as possible.
  6. Keep your finds close at all times. This is to prevent other buyers, however good their intentions may be, from eyeing your soon-to-be possessions. If you think you have too much on your hands, leave them at the counter until you’re ready to pay. Should your spirit be willing but your wallet weak, have your potential purchase reserved. Most bookstores allow reservations renewable every two days (duration negotiable if you’re a recognized suki).
  7. If you see a coveted book in the hands of another shopper, resist the urge to claw it out of their reach. Give them time and space to reach a decision, all the while keeping the book in your peripheral vision. If he/she leaves the store without it, pounce immediately. If he/she buys the book, respect that and do not, by all means, follow him/her around.
  8. Most bargain book stores have fixed prices, so haggling is usually out of the question.
  9. Not everything you can buy in a bookstore is of value, and you won’t value everything you buy. If your collection is stuck in a rut, consider engaging in a book swap. This allows you to let go of one or more books in exchange for the title(s) you really want.  Powerbooks recently held their first Power Barter, but such trading has since been practiced in the Philippines through networking sites like bookmooch.com.
  10. A book collection is a sight to behold, but books lose their purpose if they remain untouched. It’s natural to be attached to one’s collection – after all, it grows with and grows on you – but be open to sharing them with family and friends. Not everyone is a bookworm by birth, but the right book recommendation can plant a passion for reading on even the most reluctant reader. If you’re confident in your resources and skills for storage, consider investing on books and preserving your own for your future children.