The Reluctant Stylista is a fashion and lifestyle blog written by Alex Lapa--the tomboy who suddenly discovered the joys and perks of dressing up. Original illustrations by Paolo Lazatin.
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I know it’s past the popular month for making resolutions, and I have been working on these for a while now. But reading other beauty bloggers’ resolutions made me realize that it’s never too late to share something sensible. Possibly even educational. So without further ado, here’s my personal list of resolutions (which I think is a first).
1) Be at peace with what I am and what I have. I have never really thought I was plagued with insecurities, but I do have my moments (yes, this from a girl who shaved almost half her head). Sometimes I think I’m too bony. Or my nose is too large. I almost never wear shorts because I have a multitude of scars. I inherited my dad’s side of the family’s muscly build and I was constantly teased about it since high school (where they called me Jackie Lou Blanco, back when the famous actress was starting to get known for body building).
Portrait by Adrian Teng. When I was posing for this shot, I didn’t realize my arms looked that way, which I usually try to avoid in photographs. It wasn’t until a couple of friends saw it in Adrian’s FB timeline and commented that it looked gorgeous that I realized it was only bothering me. Of course, those arms couldn’t be missed, but apart from a few jokes and a couple of compliments, everyone else was seeing a great photo. It’s currently my FB profile pic.
Most days, I like the way I look, but there are times when offhand remarks referring to any of the above make me wince a little bit inside. On my best days, these insecurities seem so trivial. I have to remember that I’m pretty lucky with what I have (people assume that I work out, and shouldn’t that be a good thing?) and there are plenty of workarounds for things that I think I lack. Like high heels to make up for the missing inches. Leg make-up for my alkansya legs (scars will always be there because I seem destined to battle ingrown hair forever). Moxie for that air of devil-may-care because most people only notice the odd things when you’re self-conscious. And a sharper sense of humor to quip right back against potential insults because–
“Never forget who you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.”
Yes, a little too deep, maybe, for a beauty resolutions list, but I find it’s very good advice for all aspects of life. So it’s definitely worth quoting.
2) Simplify. Go back to basics. I am getting older now, and I find myself being drawn to simpler looks. I’ve noticed it for some time now, and I think it’s a good change. I don’t wear much make-up to begin with, nor am I trend-conscious. Sure, I still dress outrageously every now and then; it’s part of my work and lifestyle. But I’m also referring to the fact that with all the clutter I tend to accumulate, and those savings I need to recover, I need to make smarter choices. My closet is bursting with clothes, but it always seems like I have nothing to wear. I need to go for investment pieces when shopping. Or be more creative with my old clothes. Thankfully, I am the same size with my sister and my mom, so now that I’m also back to living with the ‘rents, I’m sure I can pick something to mix and match. I’ve also adopted Kira’s de-cluttering rule of “one in, two out”–when you bring home one item, you have to throw out two.
As for beauty products, I don’t really need so much. Like my closet, I find that I don’t even use most of the items in my kikay kit. As long as I have SPF, lip balm and a well-drawn pair of eyebrows, I’m usually ready to go. If I need lipstick, I can live with a brown/nude one and a red (MAC’s Mocha and Russian Red). Wearing less junk on my face will save me plenty of time in the morning, too. I think I need to time my routine and perfect it under 5 minutes. (I think my average is 5 minutes on my eyebrows and 5 minutes on everything else).
3) Use products with less chemicals. I really want to do a vanity table sweep. While I obviously cannot live without moisturizer, SPF and I’m starting to look at anti-wrinkle stuff, I need to keep it more basic. It’s either I use multi-tasking products combining SPF, moisturizer and anti-wrinkle properties, or I start using organic, mineral and naturally-made products. I normally do not research the ingredients on my skin care products very well, but I need to go back and review what could potentially be harmful in them. I don’t have problematic skin, and that’s definitely what I want to preserve, but I am worried that all these chemicals might take their toll on my skin. I’ve probably mentioned this a dozen times before: I don’t want to be that kind of old lady with cakey gook on her face in attempt to hide her wrinkles. I want to have nice skin that can go au naturelle in the future, never mind a few folds here and there.
A recent discovery and now officially my favorite soap from Droplets of Nature. Review soon!
4) Practice better skin care (and no, it doesn’t necessarily mean shopping for newly hyped products). Here are some examples: Going to bed early (or earlier) and going for at least 6 hours of undisturbed sleep. Religiously taking off my make-up as soon as I’m home. Washing my face gently (do you know that the right way to wash your face is by lathering the wash in your hands first and gliding it upwards with the smallest pressure you can manage so as not to pull on your face unnecessarily?). Dab or pat, not wipe (with moisturizer, make-up remover or liquid foundation). Use cotton buds to clean eye make-up so I don’t have to keep pulling the skin around it. I guess better skin care also means I need more patience, and not constantly hurrying with my routine.
And always, always moisturize my hands and feet! I’ve always had a feeling since I was a teenager that I probably have hands that were destined to look way older than my age. It’s in my genes! And now it has come true. Well, it’s probably too late and now I curse the days when I was too lazy to slather on lotion because I keep washing my hands anyway and buttering them after seemed like a waste of effort.
5) Eat vegetables, lessen the refined sugar. I used to be a THE ultimate carnivore. Everyday, since I was old enough to refuse vegetables my mom/nanny/guardian would unceremoniously plop on my plate, my diet has consisted mostly of meat. Red meat. And I love my steak. I rarely even ate fish. And vegetables? Almost never. But this year, I’ve taken that huge step into being a real adult about my diet. The detox from Edgy Veggy helped enormously because I realized that veggies can also be delicious and secondly, they just frickin’ make my tummy flatter even after going back to eating carbs. And it’s really a state of mind. I’ve tried infusing veggies in my diet before, but I never got too serious about it. When I decided to really go for it this year, I stuck to it. It doesn’t mean I’m going full vegetarian nor vegan. I don’t think I can do it. And it’s definitely not about eating less, because I honestly don’t think I should be losing weight. But if I crowd my diet with proper food, I find that I have less room in my stomach for the bad food craving. So far, I’m also trying to lessen my sugar intake by replacing my extra rice and chocolates for a whole lot of vegetables, fruits and water. I figure if I’m too full, I won’t need to look for other food. Because I know that cutting these yummies off completely is a tad too ambitious and I might just end up having withdrawals haha.
Wish we all had his willpower.
6) Exercise. I know I can be athletic. I used to always win in track-and-field and I even used to play flag football in college. But the former was something I fell into because I just happened to be very fast and being an athlete in high school has its perks, while the latter was a fun, competitive sport that my friends and I got into because we were bored. These activities had nothing to do with the desire to be physically active. The truth is, I am lazy and I don’t even like walking (unless there’s really good scenery or it’s something like competitive walking har har). But I don’t want to feel like an old lady and I don’t want to be so easily tired because I am outdoorsy and where’s the fun in being tired all the time when you’re roaming places? I definitely need cardio, and if I can’t nix sugar entirely from my daily diet, then I also have to find a way to burn it. Plus, I’m sure my metabolism will be slowing down soon. I need to get used to moving, for when my vanity will need it. I’ve bravely started swimming in a pool every weekend. Hey, it’s cheap (at P100, it’s just sacrificing one Starbucks trip), I love going to beaches anyway, and it’s the perfect full body workout that won’t cause joint friction nor knee problems.
A friend recently asked if I were interested in doing yoga. I asked right back if there was anything like competitive yoga.
7) Be more practical. This is an off-shoot of number #2 (Simplify). I was the kind of person who could wear heels all day and almost every day of the week, so long as I was out. I only started keeping foldable flats in later years, but even then I almost never used them. I’ve been known to run, jump and heck, even pose atop tall boulders and architectural ruins in high heels. But just because I can wear heels all day doesn’t mean I should. There are several reasons why they should be avoided, and some of them are even for vanity. Like sugar, I can’t nix them completely from my life as of the moment, but now I carefully assess my activities for the day and dress accordingly. I try to wear them only if I need to look impressive (because let’s be real, there are a lot of perks when you manage to look your best) or to special events. I switch to flats when I get to the car or I’m home. Likewise, I only slip on the heels when I’m absolutely ready to be out of the house.
Wear only when necessary and remove right away once it has served its purpose. The same thing applies to make-up. And underwired bras.
And that’s it!
I know it’s only the second month of the year, but considering how I never make resolutions (or if I did and can’t remember, I probably thought jumping into the bandwagon made me cool), I think I’m doing a pretty good job so far with all 7 of these. What about your resolutions for 2013? Do share.