Born as Ma. (as in Maria) Janelle Halili, I am 3rd of four children, born and raised in Manila, Philippines. As a child, I grew up complaining to my mom that I am not wearing what my two older sisters are wearing or complaining that I get their hand-me-downs. However, being the youngest daughter, I also grew up being the "barbie doll" of the family--braided my hair, dress me up...or down, put make up on, etc. I have to say though, that truly, my love for clothes and dress up came from my mom. She taught me the tricks! Picking out a different pair of shoes for the outfit that my sisters had already worn before, maybe sometimes, she'll fix my hair up in a different way, and on the days that I complained that I did not match with anyone, she brought me to this store that sells children and adult clothes and she'd be so sweet trying to match with me. I grew up playing around with clothes, playing around with her make-up or trying on her shoes.
We migrated in the US in 2002 and moving here I had to alter my plans, alter my goals and alter my lifestyle. At 17, I started my first office job as nursing agency on-call personnel. I earned minimum wage and had to use part of my earnings for some college expenses, but at the same time growing up and getting used to a much grander lifestyle in the Philippines, I still had the need to feed my shopping appetite. That's where my bargain hunting skills blossomed. I got introduced to Marshalls, Tj Maxx, Ross, Walmart and Target. My favorite stores! I was always on the lookout for what's on sale, now whether that's in style or not was the least of my concerns. Since as a child, I got some training on how to update certain looks, I just followed the same instructions with whatever I would find from these stores. I would read fashion magazines, watch the style channel, one of my favorite shows at the time, Look for Less and would attempt to get the same look with the tight budget I had.
It was not until these past couple of years that I had truly mastered that and began taking more risks with the looks that I go for. I started reading more and then these fashion blogs came about and I was just even more inspired. With the help of my sisters and the support of my mom, with the encouragement of my friends, I started doing pictures and blogging myself. I have never truly considered myself as a fashionista but I do love how clothes, shoes and accessories can make someone feel so good about themselves, whether you're the one who gets the hand-me-downs, whether you're the new girl in town or whether you're just the girl trying to make a budget work. Now, being older with a different job, that craving of challenging myself in fashion and bargain hunting never left me...
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