Friday, 27 March 2015

By the Black Wall

If I were being completely honest, there's nothing of interest that I could write down in this blog right now. Life has been going quite idly by and I'm enjoying it too much. This last week my vacation finally began. I finished my latest commission, shopped a blogger's closet - since it's become my new favourite hobby -, started working out again, embarked on a new novel and ate like there's no tomorrow. See? Nothing interesting. I'm absolutely loving all the food, though. All these regional dishes and cakes and such that I cannot resist! Let me tell you, it's definitely different going to their original places and eating tons of varieties than buying them somewhere in the capital. It's just different. This food is made by taking all the regional factors into account and you can never eat it the right way unless you go where it was made and embrace all the feels of eating it there. We went to the local snacks store the other day and I was overwhelmed by the variety of food we could find. If it were up to me, I would probably buy them all! There is close to zero chance that I will not be reluctant to go back to Jakarta.

Vero Moda dress (thrifted) // thrifted denim jacket + sandals // Koola Stuffa tote bag

When I put together this look I definitely had this outfit in mind. I know it's not exactly the same, the dress is different and I wear sandals while Tieka wears flats in the photos. I actually didn't remember her wearing a heart-print dress - in my memory it was polkadot - but, well, what do you know? The feel of denim jacket over a dress gives this casual feel but still quite dressed up. It would be different, say, with it over a t-shirt and jeans. Also, the hard texture of the denim mixed with the cutesy pattern and light material of the dress is absolutely endearing. It's like a bit like that girl who keeps scolding the guy she secretly likes. This is, however, in no way a confession of my personality. Ahem. The only thing I wish would work is this collar. I wish it wouldn't get all scrunched up due to the denim jacket. But it's hardly noticeable anyway so it's only a small scratch of cloud in the wide expanse that is the sky.


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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

10 Fun Things You Can Do During Earth Hour

Hi, everyone! Are you excited about Earth Hour? Wait, what? You still don't know what it is? Let's start over. Earth Hour is an annual event, starting in Sydney, where people turn off their lights (and electric appliances) for an hour on the last Saturday night in March. I think it first started in 2007 but Indonesia (and myself) first started participating in 2009. If you're not quite sure what it is yet and want to know more about it, you can read this post. Meanwhile, I know some of you might be thinking, "What? Why would I do that? Life would be so boring without electricity!" But, you know what, there are tons of fun things you can do which don't involve electricity. Here are ten activity ideas you can do during Earth Hour:

CANDLE-LIT DINNER
Who says Earth Hour deprives you of a romantic night out with your partner? You can still have a romantic dinner at home. You can cook together (probably before the hour) and light some candles all around the house. Wouldn't that be more romantic? Or, if you're too lazy, you can just pick up some takeout before dinner and eat together in the candle-lit room. If anything, the romantic atmosphere, thanks to the candles, might bring you closer together, make your partner open up better to you and relax both of you for a much needed rest after the hard work of the weekdays.

STARGAZING
"5 Centimetres per Second" by Makoto Shinkai
With all the city lights off, the night sky would be visible to you. And all this time you thought the night sky was always starless? Please. While Earth Hour was designed as an energy-saving movement, there are such beautiful side effects as this, where the light pollution is decreased and nature in its rawest form is opened up to us. If you want to make it exceptionally fun, you can actually bring out the telescope and actually learn astronomy. Or if, you know, you don't have one, you can just point at the stars and make out shapes with your friends. Maybe even make a game of it.

BUILD A CAMPFIRE
via A Beautiful Mess
Why not, say, go back in time and do this in your backyard? You can form a circle, roast some s'mores, bring out the guitar and sing or exchange ghost stories. Well, it doesn't have to be a ghost story but it would be mighty fun if it gives you goosebumps a little. If you don't have a backyard or too lazy to build a bonfire, you can just form a circle and do all those fun activities with candles all over your house. In Japan, people light 100 candles when they tell ghost stories. With each story, a candle will be extinguished. Who knows what happens when the 100th candle is put out?

BE CHILDREN
via Skunkboy Blog
Play a traditional game! Build a fortress! Make a slide on your stairs! Wrestle! Just be children before all the video games and technology comes in. Remember those times when you could have fun without gluing your eyes to a screen? Wasn't that fun? You can read bedtime stories - or make up one with your friends! - or play tag or pretend you're royalty of a made up kingdom. It's really not that hard to have fun when you have the power of imagination within your possession. And, trust me, we all do.

MAKE A PRAYER CIRCLE
via Kemenag Sumatera Selatan
For the religious crowd, what better time is there to be praying to The Almighty than when there is barely any noise from all the electronic appliances and gadgets? Invite your family and friends over, lay out some snacks and drinks, form a circle and start praying. Don't turn it into a séance, please! We don't want a ghost in the house. After you're done praying, you can catch up on each other's lives and bond over the intimate atmosphere.

GAME NIGHT
via A Beautiful Mess
Obviously, we're not talking about video games here. Maybe board games, like monopoly or checker - my favourite is othello! - or team games, like charade or pictionary. It would be good to bond over the game without having to look at each other through a screen. You can do it with your family, with your neighbours, your best friends. Everyone can bring a game and some snacks or the host can provide them for the guests. It's all up to you.

TAKE A WALK
"5 Centimetres per Second" by Makoto Shinkai
There's nothing better than to get out of the house when there's no electricity. You could go to the park or the woods - whichever one's closer - and simply take a walk. Or, if you feel like it, you can just explore the town. But, seeing as it's obviously dark out, please be careful and bring some kind of source of light - like a torch or a lantern, something better than your phone, I'd say. It could be a good way to bond with your partner or your parents or whoever, you can talk about various things and get to know each other, enjoy the sights at night and maybe even make an activity out of it. It's good for the health too.

NIGHTTIME BIKE RIDE
via Mikey Wally on Flickr
The concept is basically the same as the activity above but this one involves a bike and a lot more exercise for your muscles. You can bring your bike up to a mountain top and ride down the slope or just through the woods or the city, wherever you like. You can invite some of your friends and ride the bikes together as a group like Tour de France. You can explore the whole town in one go, stop somewhere for a nighttime picnic or any other outdoor activities you and your friends might enjoy. Again, it would be a real good exercise.

BOOK CLUB
via Thoughtspresso
While book clubs are mainly associated with the daytime, there is nothing wrong to hold a meeting at night. You can trade the tea and biscuits with wine and some cheese - or, if you're a non-drinker like me, you can trade the wine with healthier beverages of your choice. Since you're expected to already read the book anyway, you can totally do this with minimal lighting. But, of course, you can just grab a flashlight if you need to recite something from the book. If you want to make it interesting, you can switch it up and make the book club about macabre-themed or crime books.

JOIN LOCAL EARTH HOUR EVENTS
via WWF UAE
If you live in a town where Earth Hour is a 'thing', you can just swing by the local Earth Hour event and join in on whatever kind of activities they have in store. You can ask a few of your friends to come with and go to the event location. If your area has a landmark, you can visit it without their usual light on. You can get to know new people who might be just as passionate as you are about the environment. Normally, the local WWF staff would hold an event. You can go to them and ask around on new movements they're doing and how you could contribute.

So there you go, ten fun things you can do without any electricity. You don't really have a reason not to partake on Earth Hour now, do you? Seriously, what is an hour compared to all those years we've been actively and consciously damaging the environment? It's nothing. In this day and age, an hour pass by so quickly, I guarantee you'd barely even notice it. So let's vote for Earth once more and help out any way we can to fight climate change. Hey, if it's not us, then who?

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