Middle of Nowhere

I can't believe I almost forgot to blog about this look!!! Stumbled upon an album containing these photos while cleaning my laptop files. Ugh #LolaArnie #BestInLate Anyway, hope it's not yet too late to post my NYE outfit! Something very homey, relaxed but still stylish to welcome the year. :)

Please disregard my midlength hair and Christmas decors everywhere... hahaha!

On me: top courtesy of Perfect Fit Shop | jogger pants from H&M | watch from Aldo | mandals courtesy of Quina

Since these photos can already pass #TBT, I suddenly thought of my situation this time last year (or even 2 years back). Lost girl, stuck in the middle of nowhere. Stuck. Hating the situation, wanting to try everything. Impulsive. Confused, scared of the unknown but not letting anyone get a hint. It finally hit me - I'm in a bigger world now. Crazy.

Can't actually believe I dealt with that scary phase. Major life transitions would demand more understanding, focus and clarity. If you ever experience this, give yourself time and space to be still. Never do on-the-dot decisions, don't let the darkness eat you. It's all a matter of perception.

"You can find yourself in the middle of nowhere 
- or in the middle of nowhere you can find yourself."

Photos by Joed Collo

John Robert Powers Manila

In a few days, I'm turning 1 as a full-time social media babe! Yahoooo!!! I can't believe it's been a year since I started working with Get Hooked 360. It's been a happy, busy and truly awesome ride, I never got to notice the time! :) I'm thankful that my job allows me to explore big things work-wise, and continue to live my passion (blogging) on the side. That's why Raid My Closet is still alive, plus more exciting things will come your way! :)

Big things entail client-facing slash endless meetings and seeing new people (both in the corporate world and not), so that means I've to appear more prim and presentable everyday. Because of my crazy schedule and lack of makeup skills, I'd sometimes skip getting all dolled up and leave the house wearing barely my moisturizer and compact powder. While it's okay to strut with off-duty and low key look, given the kind of lifestyle that I have, I need to learn proper application. Renowned and leading personality development provider John Robert Powers can certainly help you improve not only your image, but a whole lot more with the courses they offer! I'm officially back to school! :)

In a nutshell, John Robert Powers has been in the industry for long (marking its 92nd year), with curricula on executive skills, modeling, acting and social skills. These courses are offered worldwide to empower people and help unleash their full potential.

First subject: Image Makeover

Even way back, I've always loved Science classes. I enjoyed the first couple of minutes because we had to subtly discuss about the different layers and parts of the body! Very TBT! :) Of course, we had to dig deeper about the BEST makeup base aka clear skin. We're 8 in a class, by the way, and each of us were assessed and the mentors provided us tips and the right practices to achieve our best skin possible.

Shortly after, we were instructed to bring out our vanity kits. Sir Geno explained to us the right shades, "hacks" and applications for whichever occasion. I badly needed this because I only rely on my powder and lipstick power! The boys, on the other hand, were taught about grooming and other important details about their image.

My everyday superpowers: lipstick! Not even half of my collection! Lol

The 2-hr Image Makeover session was packed with so much useful information. I appreciate how they corrected our current habits without changing or dictating how our identity should be. I immediately followed the things I've learned (it's been 5 days from now since the class) and confidence is tailed with it. I'm EXCITED for the next one! :)

Be it! Live it! 
Visit John Robert Powers in their Makati (892-9511) and Quezon City (927-0465) branches.

Know more about John Robert Powers at johnrobertpowers.ph and get the latest updates by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Welcome to the Philippines, Pope Francis!

Unbelievable. Moving. Indescribable. Crazily beautiful. I don't even know how to start explaining the emotions I felt during our close encounter with Pope Francis. The moment I saw his mobile from afar, I started shaking and crying. I acutally thought I won't be able to record this video sa sobrang intense ng emotions. And then we saw him upclose, mas lalong hindi ma-describe the feeling. But for sure, it's something I'm bringing with me forever. BEST FEELING, BEST DAY EVER!

A video posted by Arnie Villanueva (@listentoarnie) on

The Lord knew how much I wanted to see Pope Francis. I've plotted my January 18 camp out plans with my friends for Pope's mass at Quirino Grandstand, taking chances to get a good view despite the million pilgrims. Tuesday before his arrival, Joed brought the BEST SURPRISE EVER to me - tickets to Pope Francis' Encounter with the Families at the Mall of Asia Arena. ❤❤❤ My heart was leaping with joy, hindi ako makapaniwala until we actually got to the venue yesterday (January 16).

In all fairness, you'll notice how organized and well-planned the event was. Strict security measures (we went through 3 inspection areas and policemen were scattered around our quadrants) and people's discipline were a good combo. Kaya naman pala talagang ma-achieve! :)

Photo from Joed's sister

There were huge screens at the grounds, and when they projected the gate of Pope's of Apostolic Nunciature, everyone shouted for excitement to see him exit. Sign that he's on his way to us! Nun ko na lang ulit naramdaman the butterflies in my stomach! Kilig, tuwa, kaba, halo-halong emotions while eagerly waiting for him! Everyone waved their small flags with full smiles! Papa Francisco fever!

And then he finally arrived. Up to now I still can't get over the feeling. And kahit kailan hindi ko yun malilimutan. Malayo pa lang nanginginig na ako for some reason, and when he was about 0.5m away from me, I just found myself crying. Mapapaluha ka rin while he was delivering his message about Mercy and Compassion for families. One of the most memorable lessons from the encounter was how Pope Francis deals with problems. He said while cutely laughing, "When I have a problem, I put it in a piece of paper and place it under the image of St. Joseph so he may dream of it". We may take it literally or not, but Pope's reminding us to rest in the Lord, lift up to Him all our worries and doubts, and pray for our families. To quote, "Prayer is resting in God. If we do not pray, we will not know the most important thing of all, God's will for us."

His reminders were meaningful and on point. Until we sang the Lord's Prayer, with closed eyes singing and praying, I was drowning na talaga with tears. Believe it or not, iba yung hangin. I felt like God was hugging me. I truly felt the Lord's presence. Ibang klase.

And then I remembered what we always say in masses, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed". I only got to fully embrace and understand this after what happened. I'm far from being worthy, malayong malayo, but the good Lord has been showering me with so much blessings. If you feel the same, we have all the reasons to be thankful to God everyday.

What happened was life changing. Pope Francis brought my faith to a whole new and different level. Thank You, Pope Francis! Thank You, Dearest Lord! ❤

Works of Mercy

After months of preparation and excitement, today marks another milestone for the Philippines. Welcome to our country, Pope Francis! We are more than grateful for your presence! Hoping that many lives will be touched and people will draw closer to Christ even more with this Papal Visit. May we all be reminded of God's boundless love for us. :)

Most of the homilies and parish teachings during Simbang Gabi were more focused on Pope Francis' acts of mercy and compassion. Simple deeds but refreshing reminders that we can do everyday. :) I understand that not all my readers are Catholics, but this list of 7 Corporal Works of Mercy might be good for everyone to ponder on so we become better individuals. :)

On me: floral buttondown ruffled hem dress courtesy of Paradise Treats | SM Parisian bag | Aldo watch | sandals from Mom

7 Corporal Works of Mercy

1. Feed the hungry.
2. Give drink to the thirsty.
3. Clothe the naked.
4. Shelter the homeless.
5. Visit the sick.
6. Visit the imprisoned.
7. Bury the dead.

Photos by King delos Reyes

Keeping this post short but sweet! Have a blessed week ahead, loves! xx