The Road to Happy

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust

I only have a week left in my trip and had little expectation of anything else that would make it more special than it already is. However, my sister had one last trick up her sleeve. Spoiler.

The Road to Happy

The Road to Happy, Scrapbook, Made by Shai Coggins of Sasha Manuel | The Parody by Sasha Manuel
The Road to Happy – Scrapbook made by Shai Coggins esp for me

My heart. Big sis had taken time and effort to make me one of her awesome scrapbooks as a farewell gift. MELT. I go cry nao.

I’ve always admired her artistic skills and enjoyed looking at scrapbooks she’d make for her kids. We’d talk about the how’s and the why’s, sharing bits about my own foray in the arts, i.e. recent penchant for doodling, but, unlike her, I’ve never taken it seriously.

Then the other night, when I saw her working on her mix-media art journal (IRL, I might add — seeing that I’ve also been following stuff she’d share on her Instagram (@shaicoggins) or Facebook or her blog), I teased her by asking if I can have her art journal because I want to have one but can’t make it myself the way she can, haha. I knew she won’t give in to my request so I added that I’d settle for her making me a scrapbook.

Lo — “You jumped the gun,” she laughingly said as she handed me their farewell gift a week early.

When I turned to the first page, I was greeted by a 5-year old me. Oh, hai!

Sasha Manuel, 5 years old, Manila, Philippines | The Parody by Sasha Manuel
“a pocket full of happiness”

Inserted in the page pocket, my sister photocopied the handwritten message at the back of the photo which was from me (but twas my mom, really — hey, it IS her handwriting and it’d look weird that a 5-year old would address herself in the 3rd person and in cursives no less, haha) addressed to my dad, telling (showing) him that this is “[Sasha] in her Montessori uniform.” Photo dates 21.09.1982. <3 Let's pause a bit to commemorate a historical moment: first time to post a very old photo of myself on my 8-year old blog, haha. I believe I can even call it vintage knowing how old the photo is! AND I reckon it can actually be christened as my first sartorial. Lulz.

“Life’s aspirations come in the guise of children.”
– Rabindranath Tagore

The Road to Happy, Scrapbook, Made by Shai Coggins of Sasha Manuel, Scrapping details, quotes | The Parody by Sasha Manuel
“Buckle up… Life’s a trip. Enjoy the ride. Celebrate Memories. Remember.”

Speaking of sartorials — I was so moved by the gift that it inspired a blog post (hint: this is it — surprise, surprise) which will be accompanied by a recent hobby of mine: pairing experiments and outfit photos. Old news, I know. Ha.

After 3 decades mucking about this world, the 5-year old grew up to look like this crazed woman in her mid-thirties wearing an outfit inspired by the “Montessori uniform,” styled out of a suitcase. Lucky.

Sasha Manuel, Australia | The Parody by Sasha Manuel

What can I say? I matured rather late, if at all, since I still play dress-up and would prance around in mommy shoes.

UPDATE: Outfit breakdown – Montessori over at

Sasha Manuel, Australia | The Parody by Sasha Manuel

Hold on. Those are my shoes and I ain’t no mommy yet, haha. Must find me one of those husbands first — hoping he comes packaged in intelligent geekiness with a ribbon of romantic bad-assery around glittery wrappings. /wink

Can’t help it. Like most little girls, sparkle is a key ingredient to the recipe of life’s appeal.

Older version of the 5-year old me has this uncanny ability to crack me up ALL. THE. TIME.

“Whenever you wish to change yourself, but find it difficult, start as children do by pretending that you already are.”

Dear sis, Thank you. But words can never really express the very feeling I had felt when I held the scrapbook in my hands the first time. I reckon ’twas one of the rare times I had felt visible and thought of and loved. And yes, I will fill it up with other things chronicling my time on The Road to Happy.

I love you, sis! /bear hug

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

― Alfred Tennyson

Sasha <3

P.S. Let’s play catch up by reading this post: HAPPY for 2013.

P.P.S. Breakdown for the outfit will be posted on, so if you’re interested, you can go and have a visit. Will update this post with a link shortly!


  1. says

    1. Always loved that pic of you. Reminds me of you being that little happy girl who’ll befriend everybody and anybody. Including street kids and the workers at the burger joint. Always admired that about you back then, even if it seemed naive at the time. :) I do wish that happiness and naïveté to be something that you can enjoy and embrace again.

    2. The Montessori-inspired styling looks cute. :)

    3. Find it funny that you said all that about my art-making, as I’ve thought that you’ve been the artistically-gifted one. After all, you did win that drawing contest before. I’ve never won an art contest. :)

    Glad you like the “life art book” (as I like to call them, rather than the more traditional scrapbook -hehe)… I hope you enjoy filling up the pages with your words and memories.
    Shai Coggins´s last blog post ..“Style” Art Journal Page: Layer-by-Layer

    • says

      In some ways, I sort of am still like her but I know what you mean. Being around people who didn’t understand it coupled with my innate need to please those around me then getting rejected kinda’ bogged me down. Suppressed her. Ah well, I’ll try to work on bringing her back, haha.

      About the art thing, I guess I just really didn’t know what to do with it. Brain’s wired to control and the ever-changing nature of it sort of frustrates me. Besides, never did get around to honing it; never put in the work to develop it, haha. BUT I’ll try to see if I can get around to exploring that bit more!

      AND, yes, I LOVE the life art book (hey, I like how you call it that!) and I’m sure I’ll have a blast filling it in — after getting over the fear of ruining it, hahaha. Thanks again! :mrgreen:

    • says

      It is? Brilliant! It’s the only place I can be most affectionate towards my sister, haha! (Sorry, inside joke).

      Don’t you agree that the hand-made stuff are the most precious of gifts? Thanks, Connie! I hope you’re doing well! 😀

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