photo courtesy of
I’m 10,000 years behind this scoop as I’m sure by now everyone already knows about Arnel Pineda, the new vocalist of the iconic 80’s rock band, Journey. His story is truly inspiring: having been orphaned at 13, living off of the streets collecting metal scraps, empty bottles, and old newspapers for eight pesos a day (that’s roughly 20 cents), and later on finding local success as a cover band vocalist, then finally being discovered by Journey’s founder and guitarist, Neal Schon. 25 years of hard work all in all. Watching clips of him and reading about the story makes me so proud to be Filipino. (And it’s also a great reminder of how stupid it would be to give up my multimedia dreams here in the States so quickly.)

I guess it’s fair to say at this point that I’ve had a tough 2008. Right now, I’m not in the jolliest of moods when it comes to determining what direction to steer my career next. New York City is an unbelievably challenging place, but it doesn’t mean I’m giving up on it, nor will I discourage friends and former colleagues to give life in the Big Apple a shot. True, I’ve met people who look at you if you’re Asian like you’re there to do their laundry or are applying to be the nanny (yep, I’ve had my own Mrs. Van der Woodsen moments), but it doesn’t mean that America is awful, despite the current state of its economy. Like I used to say back at the Tower, “There’s lots to be happy about.”

Somewhere between packing up my apartment and lugging boxes to the post office to prepare for this long (working) vacation, I turned a year older. After more box-stuffing and package-lugging, I decided to spend my birthday at Bergdorf’sโ€”and later on, ending up at Zara on Fifth Avenue. I guess in both hard and happy times, I’m all for high street. My conclusion about Bergdorf is that I love it from afar, especially as a literary reference, but in real life and inside, I’m not that fond of it. I did enjoy the fragrance section, which was like a trip back memory lane as each bottle represented certain times and people in my life. (A hard-to-find Lanvin cologne: of one of my closest female friends, the original Bulgari Omnia: of a dreadful man I dated, the Annick Goutal line: of that day back at Cosmo wherein we spent an afternoon sniffing all sorts of fragrances for the Beauty Awards…)

Fashion-career-wise, despite having lost the chance to shop beautiful Italian-made pieces at 30 percent off, I’ve emerged a new and improved copy editor: better at spotting extra spaces, determining the proper direction of single quotation marks and apostrophes, and knowing the difference between real ellipsis and three periods.

I know this is a cheesy thing to say, especially since a city like NYC strips you of off sentimentality as you’re always busy chasing trains or convincing taxicabs to let you swipe your card, I like the message of “Don’t Stop Believing.” I’m officially hibernating for the next few months, but I know one day I’ll wake up and be ready to take on new career challenges once again.

Happy 2009 everyone!