Saturday, 30 March 2013

Second Star to the Right Straight on 'Til Morning

The grass is cool under the weight of their bodies. Though the day was hot, there are mildews all over the field. The cool summer night wind blows mildly past them. If they were anyone else, they might be able to point out the constellations. They are not. So they just stare at the sky, blown away by how beautiful and humble the night sky is. The moon hangs low just a little over the trees which surround them. Crickets chirp (?) in the distance, lulling them to sleep. It feels so nice to be out here, just enjoying the view, thinks she. They have seen in a film once, of a teenage couple, stargazing all the time with their great telescope, pointing out the lines of stars. But here is the magical thing about stars. Even though you don't really understand them, you can still enjoy and cherish their beauty. She lays her hand on the grass and so does he. Without a sound, they link their hands together. Without a word, their fingers intertwine and their smiles spread, basking in the moonlight.

If On a Winter's Night Young Lovers by Paul Sheaffer


De Sternennacht (The Starry Night) by Vincent van Gogh

We All Shine On by Lisa Barbero


Night Sky and the City by Maximilliano Cabrera

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Au Revoir, Ma Chérie!

“I  wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it  covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, 'Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.'”
- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Lately, I've been more and more convinced that spring is coming. It may take its time but it's coming. The sun has been coming out to play a lot lately and, though it's still -4ºC (and feels like -17ºC), the world has seemed greener as of late - I saw a bunch of snow drops! The greatest change I've noticed is that the man-made rivers at the park have melted completely! That hadn't happened all winter. Can't you see I am dancing in excitement? Most of last week, I locked myself in - figure of speech, of course - to get some work done. Sometimes being hard on yourself is the only way to go. On Friday, I met up with Saku-chan at the art campus. We saw a huge swan approaching the building. It sat so quietly and neatly on the grass, attacking it every now and then. That was as close as we got to a swan. Beautiful but dangerous bunch they are, really. Then she took me to Fingerz, an organic and fair trade clothing store. We both couldn't help but drool all over as all their items go beyond our price range. I am so looking forward to seeing Firu again today - this time I'm going with Saku-chan as well. We are going to revamp his new home. Eep! So excited!

Minimal dress (Sis's) // Geela bolero // Rilakkuma bag (gift from Firu) // hand-me-down jacket // Pieces scarf // online thrifted boots

This is the point where you wonder what the title of this post is actually all about. I'm glad you ask. You see, I've been swapping clothes with my sister all winter. This dress was one of the items she sent my way. Spring is almost here and things have started to chill up where she is. Which means I'll have to return her stuff soon. I feel guilty for only styling this dress once and that's why I feel like I should style it again at least once before it goes back to its owner. A little review: I love the structure of this dress very much, it has an obi of some sort around the waist while the hip is free. It's easy to put on as it has zipper on the back. Though, I think the skirt is a little too long for my taste and it is a couple sizes too small on me - which makes the dress presses on me when I eat. I actually have fear of ripping the zipper apart as I'm wearing it. So au revoir, my sweet! May we see each other again someday. We were going to continue with the outfit swapping deal but I've gone back to being a bookworm as of late so I asked her to send me books instead. I will send her a clothing item, though. I hope it will get featured here. By the way, this is the swan of whom I spoke of. Isn't he/she a real beauty?

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Mix It Up A Notch: Night Sky Skirt

Wow! Is it just me or this feature comes up every month? That's purely accidental, believe me. This skirt was as old as this dress, mainly because I bought it at the exact same place at the exact same time. So yes, this skirt was also from Esprit warehouse in Metzingen. First of all, I fell in love with how much like the night sky during a meteor shower the pattern looks. It has a loose structure, which isn't A-line or pleated but very light and soft. It goes with pretty much anything and gives lives to otherwise dull outfits. The elastic waistband certainly helps me arrange it, weather around my waist or my thigh, or even over my chest - like the last photo there. Plus, it's in navy, which, apparently, I have plenty of in my closet. So there. I have actually thought of getting rid of it but then I looked at it again and I'm once again hooked. So be on the look out for more styling of this skirt in the future.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

With a Little Help From My Friend(s)

Fate has a way of jumping on you when you least expect it. It's so wondrous and can sometimes get on my nerves but I believe in it either way. Firstly, because it's stated in my belief. But also because it flabbergasts me time and time again. For instance, the time when I finally let go of a guy I once liked so much before Firu, when I realised I wanted something bigger than him, Firu came into my life. When I stopped searching for someone, someone came, catching me off guard. Timing plays a huge role in fate, though. Had I met Firu a little earlier or a little later, we might not have led the life we lead right now. Had we stayed in Jakarta, never left our parents' houses and become a couple like any others, who knew if we would have lasted this long. But that's fate, I guess. Though it meant having to go through a series of different circumstances in a relationship, if that shapes up the present we are living now and the future we hope to accomplish, then bring it on.

Fate works. It doesn't have to always be the big things, like life-changing experiences or choices. It can sometimes be the smallest actions. It might later on change your lives but, at the moment, you probably don't realise it. For instance, the day after Firu left me last week, the sun was shining bright and Saku-chan asked to meet up. At first, I was reluctant, I was still down in the dump and felt like being alone. But I knew myself pretty well to push myself into social situations. If I had been my normal self, I would have liked hanging out with her anyway so we met up. It turned out to be a really great day and I got Firu out of my mind for the rest of the day. I introduced her to Rawon, baked her Banana Muffins and we watched 「おおかみこどもの雨と雪」("Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki"). I loved that movie and felt all warm and fuzzy inside upon watching it. Highly recommended, you guys! All in all, it was a good day and whatever sadness I would have embraced was out of my mind. That's fate, right there.

Unbranded batik dress // Atmosphere blazer // Pieces scarf // Primark coat + brogues // H&M tights // Rilakkuma bag

Personally, I believe that God orchestrates life a certain way to obtain the perfect outcome. Even the littlest things we, with our human eyes, would have missed. Even all the bad things might be a strategy to get to the good stuff. I truly believe that. That's why, though I strongly believe that my days in high school are 3 years I'll never get back, I dare not wish them away if that means I'm never going to get where I am now otherwise. Sure, there are times I would have wished a different storyline to some parts of my life. But, like Aslan said, "To know what would have happened? No. Nobody is ever told that." But there is the here and now where we can fix the mistakes of our past and cross our fingers we won't make the same one again. Because the second mistake isn't a mistake anymore, it's a choice.

I'm pretty sure the rest of the world is sick of winter already and want spring to come already. I feel them, really. This winter seems to draw long and I have no more energy for it. Little by little, I rebel. First of all, I kicked off my boots, wearing brogues instead. Surprisingly, it wasn't all that cold wearing these in the snow. Granted, the snow wasn't very thick. Then I started putting on colours not fit for winter, i.e. this dress and these tights. They fit the sunny day, though, so it wasn't really like rebellion. If this goes on, I'm pretty sure I'll wear summery outfits though snow keeps piling up. By the way, I think Saku-chan's outfits are very adorable. Too bad I never asked her about her outfit details. Rest assured, all of them are bought in Japan. Have a (sunny) Sunday!

P.S: Today Firu's sister is getting married! Too bad we're hundreds of miles away to come and wish her a happy and blessed new life. Congratulations!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Ghosts of Spring Past 2013

According to my journal, today marks the beginning of Spring! Yaay! That means the end of all the snow and chill and the much-needed layering. It also marks the blooming of colourful flowers and just perfect temperatures. At least, that's what it's supposed to mark. Now that the snow keeps falling and the sun barely ever shows up, I don't even know if spring's coming at all. Anyway...although I know I've just been blogging for a year, here are eight outfits from last spring which I like so much. I tend not to dress up according to the season. Can you blame me? I've been living in a two-seasonal country my whole life! Also, those seasons can barely be distinguished one from the other. Anyway, I'd like to change that starting this year.

{ Don't Press Repeat! // Mr Harriman's Nursery Rhymes }

{ Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah! Zip-A-Dee-Day! }

{ Mad Hatter's Tea Party // High School Sweethearts }

{ Monochromatic }

{ Where the Wild Things Are // Lucy in the Sky with Flowers }

Enjoy the season, if it ever comes, guys! 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down

There is truth in the song that bears the same title as this post. A spoonful of sugar does make the medicine go down. If, when you're doing something, you bring at least a spoonful of excitement or positive feeling to the activity, it will seem lighter than it probably really is. The contrary also applies, though, in which if you put even a pinch of bad mood into the concoction, there's no telling how heavy the whole task might be. This has been an idea that rang so true in my life in the last couple of weeks. Most people call it the winter blues. The lack of sun has been bringing me down. But now that the season is slowly transitioning, I feel really cheerful and productive. And I've been on nesting mode as of late. I rearranged my room, got new furniture and am looking for a bed. I'm actually thinking of making some paintings or getting some prints to be displayed on the wall. So excited to share with you when I'm done decorating it into a space that I like. Little heads up, I'm not a decorating wizard. So beware.

Primark peter pan dress // Yumi coat c/o Sis // Gelugu Accessories heart necklace // thrifted skirt // vintage loafers + leather bag

There is just something exquisitely charming about post-war England. At least, to me there is. I love the whole romantic notion created by the nannies and midwives of Old England. In fact, lately, I've started to follow a new series set in the '50s, Call the Midwife. It is so dangerously charming, although set in a very dirty and poor corner of London. I can't help but to take notice of their fashion and settings. By the by, their accents and choice of words fascinate me every minute. Ever since I was little, I've always admired the fashion style of a nanny. I'm a huge fan of Mary Poppins as I've mentioned before and this outfit reminds me of nannies, probably closer to the late '50s, especially the bag. The guy who sold it to me at the flea market said that it was a teacher's bag back in the late '60s/'70s and it's real leather too. Score! What about you? What kind of style do you admire the most and inspires you the most?

Monday, 18 March 2013

5 Simple Tips to Go Green

Hey, guys! Saturday is the annual Earth Hour! If you don't know what it is, you should check out last year's post of mine. Although, again, this year I'm not planning anything for earth hour, I'm partially excited about it. I've been trying to be an environmentally conscious person and so should you! Over the years I have tried to get used to a more environmental-friendly lifestyle. And, you'll be surprised, this lifestyle isn't all that difficult to lead. All you have to do is make some minor changes in your life. Here are five simple steps to start out:

This is my favourite habit. That being said, I forget it most often too. The thing about tote bags is you can always collect as many as you want in whichever design that you like. Or, even better, create your own. They're also not a drag to carry around, you know. Why do you have to ALWAYS bring a tote bag? It definitely saves plastic or any kind of waste when going grocery shopping. Actually, not just GROCERY shopping but also any kinds of shopping. Although you're probably not going out to shop, you can never be too prepared. When you forget a tote bag, at least make sure that you have a big enough bag with you to fit whatever you're buying or postpone the whole shopping process until you have a tote in hand. It's definitely a better solution than paper or plastic.

This one isn't like it sounds. It doesn't literally mean that you have to walk everywhere. Take public transport instead of driving your own car everywhere. It would save a lot on gas and give out less emission. Or, if your destination is within walking distance, don't hesitate to walk the miles. Aside from it being environmentally friendly, it's also good for your health and finance. Plus, you never know what you could discover on foot rather than by car. In some countries, public transport might be a bit problematic. But there's also the alternative of bikes. Biking is definitely healthier than being cooped up in an (air-conditioned) car. Plus, you might be able to rock some bike styles in the process.

The hardest part about going green is thinking that everything isn't that bad, that we still have enough fossil fuel to last hundreds of generations or clean water won't run out or there are enough trees to make papers forever. That isn't true and you need to start accepting that. That's why, until further scientific breakthrough, all we can do right now is save. Save water, save paper, save energy. Remember, less is more! So make sure you turn off the faucet every chance you got. For instance, when washing your hand and you want to apply soap on it, make sure you turn off the water whilst doing so. Or when you brush your teeth, only turn it on when  you're ready to rinse. Also, make sure you don't waste paper. EVER. When it's still useable, use it. When not, recycle it. You don't have to do it yourself, just bring it to the nearest recycling center in your area. Piece of cake. The same goes for plastic. In Germany, when you buy plastic bottles, you need to pay a quarter buck. Then, when you have no use for it anymore, you can return the bottles and get your money back. Some companies actually recycle their bottles so you can just send the bottles to them when you're done.

This is something most people just wave off or simply forget. But this is probably the most important. Preserving energy is the whole point of going green. By preserving energy, you can minimalise the gas emission of the process of making the electricity. That's why, when you're done recharging, not using an appliance or not in a room, unplug! This goes for everything, including lights and TV. Do you know that even when it's off, an appliance still uses up electricity? That's why you need to plug it out right.  If you think that's too bothersome, go and buy plugs or sockets with switches on it. You need only to turn it off when you're not using it. Not just electrical appliances though, you should also turn off the heater in your room when you're going out. It's all about preserving energy.

In Germany, separating your trash is pretty much the law. It's the same as saving water in Australia. But in some countries, this might not be the case. Though so, it's not to say that separating your trash such a waste of effort. It makes it easier for the garbage men to categorise them later. Plus, if you pile all the organic garbage in the same place, you might be able to use it as fertilizer for your garden later on. The dividing of garbage varies in different countries. In Singapore, it's paper, plastic and can. In Germany, it's paper, plastic or synthetic materials, organic and the rest. Back home, my mom just distinguishes between the wet and the dry garbage. Whichever way you do it, it's definitely easier than just piling them up at the same place.

Aside from all those tips - this is probably a little putting it out there -, try watching An Inconvenient Truth. When I did, it was like a wake up call. I applaud Australia for having so many rules and campaigns on being more environmentally friendly. Germany also deserve a thumbs-up for having so many solar panels and wind energy for their public transport plus the unlimited choices of organic products. You don't have to start big. First of all, start small, like turning off your light for Earth Hour and go from there. It's not that hard.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Ain't No Sunshine When You're Gone

Visya's wearing: Scalloped top via Kleider Kreisel // thrifted skirt // C&A coat // H&M tights // Pieces scarf // Rilakkuma bag // 

Deichmann boots // Photos by Firu

For more than the first half of this week, Firu stayed over at my place. It was an impromptu idea we both had when we met up with each other in Bonn last weekend. I'm sure you've heard a lot about this "March Snow" already. It's no joke. It actually snows out in March! And here we thought spring was ready to come out and play. And it's not just your run-of-the-mill flurry of snow either, it's actual mild snow storms. Thank God the sun came out and play in between the snow. Firu and I used this opportunity to actually leave the house, have a bit of a lunch date and go grocery shopping as well as venture the snow-covered park and take some pictures. It was really healthy too. We walked it all off! We didn't even take the trams or anything. Aside from this day, though, we spent most of the time at home, cooking or just being total mattress potatoes. It was only four days - if you don't count the weekend - but I was already overwhelmed by the amount of new memories he left behind. We'll probably see each other again for easter, though, so I just can't wait.

Firu's wearing: Jack Wolfskin winter jacket // Superdry jeans // Asics sneakers

Firu has a strict "no shedding outside" rule, where he prohibits me almost exclusively from taking off my coats/layers outside of the house, especially when there's snow. It's perfectly sane, actually, and, if I were someone other than me, I would've seen sense in it and played along. But I'm not someone else so I rebelled. Compromise was reached when he offered to take pictures sans coat inside so I'm content. I just can't help it, I love this top so much. It's so pretty and makes me dress up in a low-key kind of way, which is so uncharacteristic of me. I added the ribbon myself, by the way. Despite our disagreements and opposing personalities, I love that dude. Sometimes I feel like this (long) distance relationship is being dragged on and on. Can't we just fast forward to the day when, finally, I can wake up to his face every single morning? I just can't wait already. On a blogging note, I hear that Google Reader will be eliminated as of July 1st. That's very troubling. But don't worry, you can still follow Alive as Always on bloglovin or Facebook. Enjoy the weekend, guys!