Thursday, 31 May 2012

Illustrator Crush: Valerie Chua

Recently, I have been checking out tumblr more and more. It is seriously a good place to look for inspiration and to archive all my beautiful findings. Really handy. Once upon a day, I stumbled upon a post from someone regarding these lovely illustrations from Valerie Chua. She also has tumblr and I started following hers for only a few days now. Even so, I have fallen deeply in love with her style.

A little about the illustrator: Valerie Chua lives in Manila, Philipines. She mostly works with traditional media, such as watercolour, gouache and acrylic paint. She first started painting in college and haven't stopped since. On the update, she will be attending Bloggers United 3 in Manila so if you live there or nearby, be sure to check out her artworks. She will be selling the items shown off above. For international fans, don't worry, there's a chance she will sell these items online after the event so be sure to keep yourself posted through her tumblr page or her blog. If you'd like her to draw something by request, you can commission her to do so too. If you need to see more her artworks, don't hesitate to stop by her deviantART gallery and see lots more of her wonderful masterpieces.
Personal opinion: Her artworks are charming beyond belief. They are so natural and close to nature -- you will find many floras and faunas in her pieces -- which is very fresh. They are simple but significant. The traces of the watercolour strokes look very much dreamlike and I feel like diving into her paintings as soon as I see them. I'm sorry, but I had my fair share of cocky "artists" and at first I thought she was one of them. But she wasn't. She was friendly when I asked her about the MOMOKO products of hers and her friend's. Well, anyway, that's about all I can say about her for the time being. Hope you all will check her out. Have a nice Thursday! Cheerio!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Best Pals Ever

You know, sometimes I look at this blog and I feel unsatisfied. I try changing the layouts, the designs, but something just seems to be missing. Something. Once upon a fortnight, it hit me: this blog is missing these guys. If you've read my blog posts attentively, you would've noticed that I've mentioned these guys many times before but let me give you an official introduction. Now, then from left to right: Gina Fitria Adita, Aulia Adila and Cindy Novita. You may ask, "Who are these people?" Well, my dear readers, these are my best friends. And, since they've been of great joy and support to me, I'd like to dedicate a post to them and here it is.

If there is such a thing as destiny, which I do believe, I think it's what's brought us together. Like any relationships, there was also a first meeting for all of us. There was a school called Labschool Kebayoran Junior and Senior High School. There was where I went to middle school. Funny enough, I didn't plan to go there and was discouraged that I could get in at all, since it was a popular private school. But I did and I met these guys fully by destiny. Gina and Uli were both classmates of mine when I was in the 7th grade. It got better when they both joined the Japanese Extracurricular Club and that's where we met Sindi. I guess since then on we've become the best of friends. Truthfully, the term 'best friends' has been overused these days that it makes me feel reluctant to use it. You need to know that we're not like other friends who claim to be best friends out there. We probably don't talk all the time or kiss kiss hug hug...okay, that's just not our style. But we rely on each other and can be reliable for one another. Aside from that, we have our own world that no one else can understand. You know, with all its inside jokes and private terms. And I think those are the important things.

Let's see. If we first became friends in 2004, it means it's been almost 8 years. We've been friends for almost 8 years! Wow! Can you believe it? This is the longest relationship I've had without waver with someone -- or some...more -- other than my family. Funny how being in a friendship with someone for so long doesn't give you that much pressure but being in a romantic relationship? Well, why should it be any different? This friendship rocks. We've had our ups and downs, of course, just like any other functional relationships. But we still stay friends somehow and that's what matters. 

Before I left for Germany, they gave me this sketchbook that they made themselves. It has become one of my most prized possessions. The cover is covered with their Thank You sentences -- each so unique,  hilarious and typical them -- that I like to read when I'm down. There are four Thank Yous here because one of them was from another one of us, Mimin -- Siti Almira Nurina Siregar. (She lives in Malaysia and has been so since high school.) The first page was decorated with my most embarrassing and hysterical faces. And no, I'm not going to show you. Then they each took a few pages, filled them with their drawings and words they wanted me to keep and a picture and signature of them. They told me not to miss them -- which is impossible, to be myself out here -- which I try to do -- and other inside jokes. The rest of the book was blank, free for me to use. My most favourite sketchbook of all time.

Purikura from New Year's 2010
From this point on, it'll get a little gooey so, guys, if you're reading this, you may want to brace yourself. Or just don't read coz I'm just going to get embarrassed later and we don't need to go through that. Here's what I know: we don't keep in touch everyday. We don't spare a few minutes or hours per day to contact one another. And that's okay, amazing even. We know we're friends, we've got no one to prove it to. These people are some of the sweetest people that I know and I am glad to have met them. They're not sweet in a gooey kind of way but in a way that you know it's genuine and not at all fake. They've been with me through thick and thin. We all go our separate ways, decide our own futures. It doesn't matter. Distance doesn't mean farewell. Distance can't keep us apart. Even though they're in Indonesia and I'm in Germany or they go somewhere else and I don't know, well...love or friendship is no distance, correct? Oh! I have an entrance exam to pass in 5 hours! Wish me luck, all! Enjoy your day, amigos! Adios, muchacha!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Lucy in the Sky With Flowers

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! June is almost here! I can't believe that next week is June already. June? June? Really? This is probably the moment I've waited for this whole year. I can't believe almost half a year has passed and summer is almost here. June is the month of promises, I believe. Of birthdays. Of events. Of trips. Of freedom. Oh my, oh my. The first week of June I will be greeted by three birthdays of my beloved: my stepmother, my sister, Akitamy brother and my high school friend, Maya. There has always been something about June that renders me lovable. June weddings, for example, have been a wishful dream of, at least, american girls. In Indonesia June is the month of exams which then lead to vacations and lots and lots and lots of fun. Which is my case since, in the first week of June, I will be greeted with my first row of finals. Like we say here in Germany, ich drücke dir die Daumen  when we wish other people luck. It's like saying, "Break a leg!" but in a less negative way -- since breaking a leg wouldn't be lucky at all. I feel like, nearing all the tests that I'm supposed to pass, I'm confident. There are less and less things to worry about. Oh, please, June, come faster already. I can no longer wait.

A few days back, I read Smoozy. In case none of you has heard of this blog before, it is a german photography blog from a vietnamese woman. I love the pictures she takes and how down to earth her posts seem to be. In one of her latest posts, she made a feature of armedangels. Apparently, they are making an offer. For every "like" of their facebook page, a book will be donated to their donation partner. Now, if you read this outfit post of mine, you'll know what armedangels is all about. I do hope you will like their facebook page for the sake of charity. Don't forget to purchase something of theirs as well. Yes, it's a little pricier than one would like but it's all about fairtrade. And yes, I haven't exactly purchased anything from them myself. I do find this dress of theirs rather adorable, don't you? Now for a moment of narcissism. I really adore the third picture, the one where I stood in tall grass. It looks faraway and dreamlike, in a way. And I especially like my hairstyle in the first photograph.

Today's outfit is inspired by Elsie's Fashion Mixology. I have seen many times of styling a maxi skirt as a dress. It suits me perfectly! This floral maxi skirt of mine apparently goes well as a dress. I never thought maxi skirts can still be quite long a dress. People kept staring at me while I was wearing this outfit. Is it because they knew it was meant to be a maxi skirt instead of a dress? It felt surprisingly comfortable on me, though. I feel like I was wearing the sky what with the clear sky and cloudy motifs on it. The belt proves to be quite essential seeing as how bad it looks if I lose the belt. The gingham bolero also gives quite a spring-y look. Casually femininely peaceful somehow. This hairstyle also plays perfectly nicely with the dress and the gingham. This pair of sandals has been quite suitable to me. I think I won't let go of it at all this month...or at least this following week.

Inside the Bremen Art University


 So I did a bit of traveling this past midweek. Since I was turned down by the art university in Bremen, I needed to pick up my portfolio again -- cheap bastards. So I had to go ALL THE WAY down there -- no expenses paid -- and retrieve the damn things myself. Since it was in the middle of the week, asking anyone else to come with was out of the question. It was kind of nice to be on my own. During the trip, I was on the train for a total of 9 hours! (Not counting transits and the likes) It was really exhausting when I got home and I was all sticky that I had to take a bath at 11.00 PM. I spent 12 hours being away from Halle, apparently. As I arrived in Bremen, I went straight to the school -- which was, of course, in the middle of nowhere and was located only in a small part of a long building. I was going to take a look around town but decided against it and went straight to Hannover -- which was where I needed to transit anyway. Oh, Hannover. Last summer I spent a month working here with my beloved, Firu, and my closest friends in Germany -- the guys from this trip. It was very, very nostalgic being there. I made a point on going to Primark -- as it was my first time ever being there -- and purchased 7 items for a total of 21€! One of them being a peter pan collared-blouse. Well, that's how my week went. Cherish the Sunday, all! I know, tomorrow's Pentecost and you still have a day off. But afterwards...I have a test to pass. Please do wish me luck. Cheerio!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Movie Date: School of Life

Do you know what genre never dies -- and I hope never will? School life. Generation through generation, since school has been available to both male and female students, school life has been a popular genre in the literature world. If you look back, the most popular teen TV series have a school backgrounds, such as Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, Kenan & Kel and That's So Raven. What I listed above are all my favourite TV series in my teen years, not that it's left me -- or I'm just in a dangerously HUGE denial toward that fact. Aside from TV series, school life has been quite an interesting genre for films as well. Various films have been inspired by the daily life that happens in school. It's quite obvious really, given that hundreds of people gather in schools, leading different lives, sharing alternate stories and yet, they all gather there one time or another in their lives. Then they meet with one another and integrate with each other and react to both their lives and their stories. More often than not, school becomes the epicenter of the world students live in. They create, subconsciously, alternate universes within the supposedly educational environment, in which things that are considered important varies. If in real life getting amazing results is important, in school it's being the top of the food chain: the cheerleaders or the jocks or the prom queen and so on. It's silly, yet one time or another we all contributed to this.

Shocked by this realization, I'd like to introduce to you a different version of school life. One that tells the story of how it influences the educator, not the educated -- meaning: the teacher, School of Life. Just like most films in the world based on school life, this film takes place in an american school. Such a simple story, actually but made rather unique in changing the point of view of the viewer. We have been made familiar with the school life stories, in which students were the main characters and told of their highly overratedly dramatic life where the boys they like wouldn't see them and the cheerleaders bully them. No. This film tells a story about the struggle of a teacher in a hilarious and childish way, as if he himself was a student. The film was released in 2005 and included Ryan Reynolds and David Paymer

The Warner family held a reputation. Their sons always became 'Teacher of the Year' at the school they taught. This year, after Norman Warner became elected as 'Teacher of the Year,' he dropped dead to a heart attack, leaving a deathbed message to his son, Matt Warner, that was unclear to him but which he translated into getting the same title as his father. Being a teacher himself, he was set on continuing that tradition. He told his son, Dylan, about this tradition. Dylan goes to the school where he taught too. Under such a huge load on his shoulders, Matt was more pressurized with the arrival of a new history teacher, replacing his father, Mr. D. He was quickly beloved by his students thanks to his creative way on teaching history, on bringing it to life. Matt felt threatened by this. Even his own son agreed that Mr. D rocked. He became so obsessed that he went to school one night in his pajamas to investigate Mr. D's secrets. Funny enough, his investigation only led to Mr. D getting compliments from the principal and him bringing embarrassment to his family. Later on, Mr. D revealed his own secrets, ones which did not have anything to do with his teachings.

The most interesting keypoint to this film is the fact that it's narrated by Dylan Warner while watching his father's behaviour. He knew just how obsessed and upset he was about Mr. D yet he couldn't help but to love his teaching methods. This was a TV movie so it wasn't shown on huge screen. I first watched it on Disney channel -- back before it became crappy. And the storyline stuck to my mind since then. For once, it wasn't about love. But it was a story to learn from...if we remember that inside all of us, there's a child. We would all remember that we still need to learn a lot. In the mean time, enjoy your Friday, everybody! And have a blast of a weekend! Cheerio!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Where the Wild Things Are

Enlightenment can come in many different ways. Some people say through meditating, praying or seeking for it through nature. For me, the best way to find it is to spend some time with some old friends, which is what I did last weekend. It made me forget what I love so much about posting outfit posts. I know I love taking pictures -- especially with an SLR camera. I know I love writing things along with the post. I love putting on the outfit and showing it off to the world. But I hate listing it. Listing where the outfit comes from, branding it. Who cares from which brand it comes from, right? Why does it matter so much which designers design it? Okay, yeah, they should be given credit for it. But they're not. Not so much. Only the brands are given credit for it. So who cares? Okay, sorry, I'm rambling here. But I just seriously think that brands don't matter. Not all widely-known brands have the quality it supposedly promises. Sometimes people need to worry less about the brands they're shopping and more about the comfort level of the clothing.

Before I start off with anything else, I'd just like to thank my friend, Rezy for these SLR-quality photos that he took on my weekend in Kassel. It was really enjoyable so thank you. Kassel was a city that is close to nature. Wherever I went when I was there, it was also so close to greeneries. It boosted my mood. Like I've mentioned in my previous post, I've climbed hills, looking for sights to see, walked at the park for a breath of fresh air and went on a picnic. Everything around me was green. There were dandelions everywhere. I couldn't help but to grab one and have my springtime moment: blowing on a dandelion bud. There were rivers and wells and mazes. Oh, mazes. My favourite kind of yard. Rezy suggested that I make a maze in my yard when I have my own house. Well, can't hurt to run it by Firu.

I read once in someone's blog -- I think it was Elsie's -- that when you travel, it would be wise to pack outfits that you can mix and match. Given that I only went away for four days, it was fairly simple for me. I decided this lacey black dress to be the base while I let the other pieces do the work. In my previous outfit post, I made the dress look like a skirt. Now I'm wearing it as a top, layering it with this vintage polka dotted skirt. Since the dress is sleeveless, I layered it with the batik bolero, giving it a nice pattern. There's a new item in this outfit and that is these sandals from Kaufland, my favourite supermarket. They were cheap but very comfortable. See what I mean about brands? I just hope they won't break that easily. Oh yeah, I went to Bremen and Hanover yesterday. I'll tell you all about it this weekend. Cheerio!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Healthy Kassel Long Weekend

Last Thursday was the Ascension. Here in Germany, it's a holiday. Since I was just about done with my midterm week, Friday was also off. The perfect chance to travel again! This time I decided to visit my friend, Rezy, who lives in Kassel, Hessen, a little bit south-west from Halle. I spent four days, three nights there and it was the most relaxing vacation I've had in this country but not boring at all. I went home at noon on Sunday so I only had three days to explore the town. I love the intricate details of it. So here we go!

Thursday: All The Way to Hercules

Hothouse
Apollo Temple
Wilhelmshöhe Castle
Teufelsbrücke (Devil's Bridge)
Onion-cream Chicken with a side Salad and Pasta
It was a perfect weather to travel that day. I went by carpool there and arrived at around 1.30 PM. The carpool driver looked like Ewan McGregor but he was from Kazakhstan. Anyway, Rezy picked me up at the main train station and we went to his home to put all my bags and catch up a little. Afterward, before I even had a proper lunch, we went to the Wilhemshöhe Park to climb our way up to the Hercules Building. The carpool driver said it was 2000-ish steps, more than the steps at the Köln Dom -- remember Köln Dom? That was one hell of a torment. This was not all that different but at least I didn't have to go down the same way I got up. We got to see the Wilhelmshöhe Castle -- although there weren't much to see. It was also Rezy's first time getting all the way up to Hercules. And, trust me, it was a worthy accomplishment. You would not believe how tiring it was to get all the way up there...only to find that, at the top, behind the Hercules building, there was a bus stop leading to a tram stop that we could've as easily taken to get there. Meh, but it was worth our while. Just so you know, we were beat when we arrived home.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Monochromatic

This year I haven't felt much of spring. Mostly, it's because the weather keeps changing its mind between winter and summer and none of spring whatsoever. Sure, the flowers bloom, the world's colourful again. But the wind blows a typhoon and the sun is frying the ground. The unstable weather gives me the blues all through the season. But when it's sunny, I'd like to think it's such a shame to stay at home, which doesn't help since I need to finish a lot of things indoor. Summer is almost here, apparently. May is almost up. It gives me the jitters. I want it to be over as soon as possible so that I don't need to worry about portfolios anymore, so that I can start on new things. Oh, summer, I can't wait. The smell of freedom is faint but still traceable. I want summer. I want to fly kites, to blow on mini windmills and to swim somewhere. It would probably be a different summer from the one I experienced last year. But I hope it will be a lot more fun. A whole lot more. What's most amazing about summer is the fact that most of my loved ones were born in this season, including my sister, my brother, my stepmother and Firu.

What's new in life? Let's see. I went to Kassel just this weekend to visit my friend, Rezy. And that also means traveling! And I can't say no to traveling. I will tell you all about it in another post. On Wednesday I have to go to Bremen, through Hanover, and honestly, I'm somewhat excited. Finally, Hanover again. I would love to visit my favourite ice cream parlour there and probably check out Primark as well. Zahra has been talking about it since forever and I wonder what's so good about it. The finals are in around 2 weeks and I'm somewhere between impatient and scared. I so want to pass so quickly and get everything over with. June is in two weeks. My heart is thumping. Bismillah.

When I put on this outfit and saw how it made perfect sense in the mirror, I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it before. I mean, what else makes perfect sense with peter pan collars aside from lace dresses? It creates a perfect black and white/creme subdue that makes it look more vintage, directly proportional to black and white films. What I love most is the fact that, aside from the shoes and the hooded jacket, everything else I got on sale. This whole trend of putting on dresses under tops or bottoms is really inspiring. It gives me a whole new idea of how to wear my clothes. The jacket and shoes contradict the feminine look the blouse and dress give. Exactly how I would portray myself. I would like to say that the jacket is a boyfriend hoodie but...no. It belongs to me when I bought it off the guys' section of Tendencies -- how I used to shop in the past. I've mentioned that I was a hoodie freak back in the days. This jacket is one of the artifacts from those days. It fit me better back then since I was fat then I forgot I had it for some time and put it on again after months. Suddenly, it was a few sizes too big and felt like it belongs to my boyfriend or something. I'd just like to think it belongs to a guardian of mine, the past me. It's a sunny Sunday out here, folks. Hope you enjoy it! Cheerio!