Sara Goes Shopping: Useful and Useless things I love - Lifestyle Asia

What makes lockdown bearable? My Gcash account, and the thrill of buying things I don’t need.

READ ALSO: Home Front: The Little Things I Did To Lift My Spirits Up While In Lockdown

Last year, I wrote an article on everything I had bought, a few months into the lockdown. It was, admittedly, a lot. This year, not much has changed. I’m still buying post-pandemic dream outfits, despite the “post” part of “post-pandemic” becoming ever farther away (this will never end).

Money doesn’t make you happy but it does temporarily brighten your life, especially when the only thing you can look forward to is a notification that your Shopee delivery is waiting outside.


Just before the start of the first lockdown last year, I read an article on the pitfalls of the millennial design aesthetic. Boob cups, millennial pink, succulents, you know the like. To my paranoia, I realized I liked all those things. I am this person described in the article: “If you simultaneously can’t afford any frills and can’t afford any failure, you end up with a millennial design: crowd-pleasing, risk-averse, calling just enough attention to itself to make it clear that you tried.”

So it stands to reason that I should have stopped then and there. Except I found myself one Saturday morning refreshing @sirena_modern for something called “Iridescent Pink Kurata handmade Vase With White Drip.” How could I not! It now takes pride of place on my bedside table, next to a boob vase (from @bondistudios) and too much perfume. Does it offer any function in my bedroom? No. But it adds “something that looks a little like bourgeois stability, at least.”

Usefulness rating: not very, but at least it’s beautiful!

Scented Candles

Next to the Kurata and the boob vase are scented candles. I can only light one candle at a time which means I should be only buying once at a time, except whenever I see the words “limited edition” I go nuts with FOMO. Right now my favorite candle is Maison Louis Marie’s No.4 Bois de Balincourt from This smells exactly like Santal 33 by Le Labo, which is my favorite fragrance. The dream is to smell exactly like my room. The next one up is @rare___earth’s Still Life candle, which smells like fig. If I could smell like anything, all the time (other than Le Labo) it would be any fig scent. Heavenly.

Usefulness rating: again, not really. But my room smells good!

Printed Sets

Nowadays, I am exclusively wearing a printed top and short sets with whimsical safari, floral, or leaf prints (either from @cariloo_ph or @abodelaloo). So much so that my parents and brothers have asked me if I have any other clothes…but they’re comfortable and cute, and it looks more like I made an effort than usual.

Usefulness rating: I have too much clothes but I always need more.

Tote bags and a tiny bag

Since the pandemic started, during the rare times I have left the house I usually carry a tote bag. They’re easy to carry, and easy to wash, which was my number one concern when we didn’t know the air-borne specificity of this virus (I didn’t want to have to worry about disinfecting any of my nice leather bags).

Nowadays I carry around the Vestido Market Tote from @vestido.manila, which makes me look a lot more fashion-forward than I usually am. I think totes have a way to confer whatever status you feel like showing off: other totes I have are from @bondistudios’ tennis line which says “look at me, I’m so sporty,” and the @outdoorvoices ones which say “I spent $104 on workout gear and got a free tote for it” (at least before they started offering it for $18 on the website).

It is no surprise that I am now digging around e-bay for the Sally Rooney tote bag her publicists have been sending to reviewers in anticipation of the release of her latest, Beautiful World, Where Are You (pre-ordered by moi the minute I saw it was available). I want to look like Sally Rooney and I are friends.

From JW Pei

The other bag I recently bought is one slightly in the realm of uselessness. Noted anti-tiny bag enthusiast Ingrid Chua (@thebaghag) said don’t waste money on tiny bags, but, as we say in Filipino, “na budol ako” on a ivory-colored JW Pei Gabbi bag. “I can use this for an event,” I told myself when I put it on my cart, knowing full well that in-person events are out of the question possibly forever.

What status does a tiny bag confirm? Pre-pandemic days it was to look like all you needed in life was a phone (and a phone charger), your credit card, keys and lipstick. The very height of privilege. Nowadays I suppose it’s to carry a mask.

Usefulness rating: The totes are very useful..the tiny bag is useless.

Pie and natural wine

Pie. Pie! Recently I have been obsessed with pie. Particularly the offerings from @hey.pie.people, a one-woman baking operation by Raeanne Sagan. What makes her pies so good? It’s a combination of the crust made with French butter, the interesting flavor combinations, and the blink and you’ll miss it a sign-up sheet that makes ordering feel like an Olympic sport. (I was finally able to order the calamari and caramel pie and felt like Sunisa Lee winning the Olympic All-Around gold medal after Simone Biles dropped out).

The other thing I’ve been into is natural wines. In my hankering for something different (and to feel alive again), I’ve been into perusing the offerings on @bombvinos, which as of now happens to be the only natural wine provider in the Philippines. I’ve enjoyed the 280 slm from Costadila, a sparkling orange wine commonly used for prosecco, and am waiting for a special occasion (usually on Zoom) to crack open a bottle of Yetti & the Kokonut’s Red Muscat.

Usefulness rating: it’s sustenance! I need provisions to live.

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