Friday, 30 August 2013

Mix It Up a Notch: High Waist Tan Skirt

Is it just me or this month is all about high waist stuff on the blog? This is actually one of the three items I picked up during a Vero Moda haul, along with this shirt, way back when I still lived in Halle - which is more than a year ago, actually. It's become one of my most favourite skirt. Though it is very different from my usual pattern-crazy or really-unique-cut rule for sartorial items, it is very versatile, comfortable and just the perfect length (not too high above the knee but also not knee-length). I remembered it not having all these creases when I first purchased it but in these pictures, it has an eternal messy look, doesn't it? I love how it gives me all this room to move around in and still pretty simple. When I first saw it, I was instantly in love and was so happy it fit me perfectly. It's very compatible for summer and autumn, though I also wore it in winter once. I'm definitely looking forward to more styling of this skirt.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Early Sunsets Over Monroeville

I'm already back home now and it's very peaceful and quiet...also a bit lonely. I miss Coddy and Gundut and also my friends, especially Iva. I miss the simple bliss of having to do nothing at all, sitting at the backyard, taking in the view as the sun sets. The simple joy of being surrounded by your loved ones, playing cards or cooking up a tasty dish. Oh, what a magical time summer truly is. It's at its peak now, slowly going downhill, rolling into autumn. The air is slowly changing and it's gets dark more quickly now, it's also too cool in the morning and evening for a simple summer ensemble. For some reason, I refuse to accept that summer is almost over. That it's almost time for me to go back to my everyday routine. I checked off plenty of things from my summer bucket list this year, though not everything went as planned. It was so nice to accomplish so many things you want to do. Summer, it's been real and it's been fun. I'm letting you go gradually. Until next year, please come again soon!

Dress from Hong Kong (gifted by Iva) // Tracce ballerina flats // photos of me by Iva

I still feel like I haven't worn enough summery outfit this year - either I'm lousy or the weather is. But I should really start transitioning to my fall looks. This could well be my last summer outfit post of the year. Iva went to Hong Kong earlier this summer with her whole family, visiting her relatives there. And, since Hong Kong has so many adorable clothing pieces, I asked her to bring me home a sartorial item. This is the dress she got me. It's very comfortable! I love the polkadot pattern and the faux cardigan cut. I've been in love with navy polkadots forever and maybe she knows because she said, "I think you'll like this one." These photos were taken when she and I took Coddy out for an afternoon walk over the hill at the back of the village, going through a mini-forest, and got to the other side - this barren land. The view was actually very beautiful - as you can see on panoramic view above - but my camera wasn't smart enough to take in that beauty.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Rows of Antique Sunflowers

During our stay at Iva's place, babysitting the pug and cat, we stole one whole day to explore. We went to Esslingen and Stuttgart. Esslingen is a small, antique town. You can practically explore the place on foot. The buildings all over it are very beautiful and old, in various colours and styles. That red building above is actually its city hall, with a bell tower on top which chimes at certain hours - we didn't get to see it in action, though. It also actually has a castle high on one of the mountains, lined with vineyards. We tried so hard to search for a way to get to the vineyards but sadly found none. Instead, we took the bus and arrived at rows and rows of plantations. There were various types of plants, starting from sunflowers and grapes to apples and pears. They were all personally owned so obviously we couldn't pick some of the ripe fruits. Taking pictures in the fields is a different matter, though. Hah! Iva's campus is in this town - but she lives a few towns over - and I am just so jealous! It is truly a beautiful town. Too bad we were on such a hurry there...mostly because we were hungry. We then went off to Stuttgart to eat brunch(-ish) which sent us to the food heaven in a flash.

Motel shirt dress via WishWishWish // thrifted skirt // Görtz purse (thrifted) // Tracce ballerina flats // Photos of me by Iva + Edwin

Can I just say how euphoric I was to stumble upon sunflower fields? Of course, the fields weren't as big as I had hoped but it was better than nothing. Checked on my summer bucket list, no doubt. Please excuse the amount of pictures and the quality of them. My trusty camera's battery was dying and I forgot to bring my charger. Go figure. In a hurry, I asked Iva to take my outfit pictures. Edwin took the group photos and pictures of the town. Well, he likes photography to some extend. Enough for my camera to satisfy his curiosity to play with some shots. Thank you, you guys! There were some cornfields near where we were staying and I was dying with the desire to take pictures in them every time we drove past them. So glad we managed to find other fields of plants - and sunflowers, no less! - and snap some shots there. I love the countryside!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

City Girl Turned Village Flower

So I'm currently staying over at Iva's friends' place while Iva's babysitting their cat and dog. I've never had a pet like those before - throughout my childhood, there were only a number of fish and two hamsters - so it was kind of strange for me to have animals roaming the house like they own it. Haha. This family has the cutest pets and I love them almost immediately. The cat (named Gundut) is very, very arrogant. He goes all over the place like he's the boss, lies around the house or garden all day and only takes notice of us when he's hungry. Plus, he weighs 9kg already! You big fat, fatty you! Umm...I'm not sure what breed this cat is but it should actually look not too different from your run-of-the-mill alley cat...except that he's clean and fat. The dog (named Cody - though I usually just call him Kodi) is an adorable, ugly little pug! It's so spoilt, obedient (for the most part) and stupid. Haha. He snores all the time, even when he's not sleeping. We took him walking the other day. He was so excited to be out and about but was easily exhausted afterwards. His tongue hung out and he sounded like a pig. Oh, Cody, you simply must get out more!

Theory X dress (worn as top) // Motel Rocks high-waist jeans via TK Maxx // Tracce ballerina flats // vintage hat // photos of me by Edwin + Iva

The house is located on the outskirts of a village near to Iva's town - which is already pretty small. It took around an hour to reach from Stuttgart and the bus only comes every one hour on a weekday and every two hours on weekends. I love places like this! Though it's very far away from everything necessary, I love being around nature and pretty settings for a photoshoot. It would probably be better if we did a whole unplugging action but, then again, this post would probably not be up by now. Iva said, I looked like a village girl with this hat, though I think she resembles that silhouette even more. And yeah, I got myself a pair of beautiful high-waisted jeans. Though they are virtually too small for me - and highlight my bottom like crazy -, I love their texture, pattern and cut. They are also very comfortable...except after a feast, maybe. We're going to enjoy our time together here so you guys have fun, okay?

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Please and Thank You!

Let me ask you a question: how many times in a day do you actually say 'please' or 'thank you' or both? Honestly, society these days seem to lack grace in a lot of ways. I've never even noticed how rare those two phrases are until I read Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix, where one of the characters said that the main character was so polite and gracious because he still said please and thank you a lot. What people don't realise is how big of a difference a simple "please and thank you" can make. Seriously. Firu and I make a habit of saying 'please' and 'thank you' when need be. We both say as much please whenever we make a request (in a polite tone, of course) and say thank you after it was granted. We both try as much not to say thank you before our request was granted, because it seems to pressurise the recipient of the request to grant it - which, to us, seems like the opposite of politeness. I suppose, please and thank you are two simple ways to acknowledge the equality of other people. I love seeing the smile on people's faces when I say thank you after their acts of kindness. I love the response people give me when I say please at the end of a request. It makes all the difference. On that note, I've just added a few more items to the shop - some of them autumn appropriate, some of them perfect for late summer - so please do come check it out!

Simplicity gingham dress // Atmosphere blazer // hand-me-down bag // unbranded sandals // drugstore bandana // photos by Galuh

Can we just talk about these photos for 5 minutes? Just five minutes. I've been loving having Galuh around. She is just a super friend, wonderful photographer and incredible sister. I'm so glad she ended up staying at my place and really not looking forward to her moving away. I've never been so comfortable in front of a camera before - except maybe when I use self-timer by myself. She never even tells me to relax and be myself. She snaps away and I don't even have to cue her, I can just move naturally. It's so great! I think she's got some of the traits that Firu lacks and vice versa. Firu doesn't like taking my pictures (almost at all, really!) or having his photos taken. Galuh likes both! Which is awesome. We always end up taking at least a picture together and put it on instagram (follow mine here, if you want). I don't have a younger sister so it's been really great hanging out with her. God, I wish she doesn't have to move out (though it would be better for her if she does). I just hope my sister won't be jealous. Haha. Here's a picture of Galuh killing me with probably an anime-like psychic move for the road - I look electrified! We took these pictures, jumping multiple times like some crazy girls. Thank God nobody called the police. Haha.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Books Are Windows to the Outside World

"I have learnt everything I consider to be worth knowing from novels. So I have spent my life wanting to be part of that fictional world." - Clare Morrall

Books are one of life's greatest pleasures, according to me. Ever since I was a little kid, I've been such a bookworm. I thought I hated novels. Turned out I'd been reading them all along. Kids and what they think about, huh? To this day I love reading books on a daily basis. For the most part, I read only fictions though I don't shy away from nonfictions - I'm just a bad judge of characters for nonfiction books. I'm such a bookworm that I actually keep the books I've read listed, review them after reading and check out new titles I might like online. My favourite websites being Shelfari and Goodreads. Here I want to share a few titles I've enjoyed in the past - some have actually been reread.

All-Time Favourite Book

It is so true that you can find gems only by pure chance. Natural Flights of the Human Mind quickly became my all-time favourite book (one of those rare books I've read more than once from cover to cover) after I happened to stumble upon it at the discounted section at my favourite bookstore. It tells the story of a man who lives in a lighthouse, hiding away from a scandal he caused 25 years ago. Harbouring a tremendous guilt for the seventy-eight victims of his crimes, he has constant conversations with them in his head. That all changes when he meets a woman, who has had a tragic loss - either by fate or betrayal. The story is incredible! Clare Morrall wrote it ever so beautifully and the serene atmosphere of the story captures me. It is set somewhere in Scotland, adding a more magical feel to the whole story. My favourite part is the unique relationship between Straker (the man) and Imogen (the woman), where you guess whether or not there's love there but you know they're meant to be. It's not by any definition cheesy. The lighthouse and vintage airplanes also captivate my heart.

Classic Literature

One of those books that make me feel many things upon reading them. The Little Women series by Miss Luisa May Alcott is one of those series, though short, take you through the life journeys of the characters. Like some of you might have known, this book mainly talks about the story of four sisters living together in the absence of their father during the war. They live next door to a rich man and his grandson, Laurie, who is a good friend of the girls and will later on be a great part of their lives. The story continues to three more books though the last two books concentrates on new little characters while the girls have grown up and the second book is the time after their father returns and they lead their way to adulthood. Having a sister, I know that the story won't always be smooth. Sisters fight, make up, take care of each other and cry together. They share and help each other up. Though the characters for the first two books are mostly girls/women, the story isn't as girly as chick flicks. It's actually pretty wise and I feel for each and every one of the characters. It is very realistic, though fabricated in a formation of inexplicable words.

Young Adult Series

How many of you thought I was going to list Harry Potter for this category? Sorry to disappoint but I never once read that series. This, however, is probably the longest series I've ever finished and it got me really melancholic toward the end - the ending was good, FYI. Just that I had to say goodbye to the characters, who, by the end of it, became like friends to me. I first heard of Percy Jackson and the Olympians when the movie came out, though I've been eyeing the books forever. It tells the story mainly of Percy, who turns out to be the son of Poseidon. He is sent to Camp Half-Blood, where a bunch of kids like him - parents of god/goddess and human - train to become stronger to face godknowswhat kind of challenges in the world - for they will surely face them. There are five books in total and all of them involve awesome adventures - unlike the movie, sad to say because I love Logan Lerman! Many compare this series to Harry Potter. But they are totally different! The story is definitely less complex (Poseidon is wearing Hawaiian shirts!) and there are greek gods. Greek gods! The twists and turns of the adventures and the mythological knowledge definitely got me hooked! The series actually continue on to the Heroes of Olympus series (also by Rick Riordan) but I don't read it. Mostly, because Percy isn't the hero anymore.

Teenage Romance

As opposed to chick flicks, which can seem positively stupid, young adult romance is mostly very sweet and contains all this hopes and dreams of how love should be like when we were younger. You know, it's almost like all those Taylor Swift songs turned into literature. I'm a fan of realistic views and that's how Judy Blume's Forever... fits perfectly into my taste, with an ironic title at that. The story is actually pretty simple, put in such beautiful words, one you might actually use as teenagers, blinded by love. A girl falls in love with a boy, thinks he is her only one and they are inseparable. They know they are meant to be and all that jazz. For hopeless romantics out there, you might want to skip the rest of this paragraph. The twist ending is what I like the most. It's definitely real life, a story where one love ends and you be sad about it for a while or - after it's been so bad - you really don't. You say goodbye and move on and you know, though it's over, it doesn't mean it was wasted time. A story set in a summer, almost seem like a mistaken summer fling, doubted by the parents. Who, in the end, turn out to be right.

Adapted to Movie

One of the best movie adaptations from a book is The Time Traveler's Wife, written by the talented Audrey Niffenegger. I've read many books, which have been made into film, and many have disappointed - even one of my favourite books, My Sister's Keeper. But the motion picture version of this book didn't. Not only does it star the beautiful Rachel McAdams and the rugged Eric Bana, it captures the true essence of the whole story. Though, of course, the movie isn't as captivating as the book. The story is about a girl/woman, Clare, who fell in love with a man when she was six, he was forty. Henry, the man, was dumbfounded when she approached him - she was twenty, he was twenty-eight. Henry can travel through time, with nothing else, not even the clothes on his body - and he cannot control when or where he goes or ends up. It's so scary, isn't it? To know that your loved one can disappear to a different time at any minute, knowing you cannot do anything to help him but keep the clothes he leaves behind and pick him up when he comes back. Love bending the rules of time and the fact that Clare is an artist, I love them! Her patience must be immense if she doesn't just break down every time Henry disappears.

Translated Asian Story

Asian literature, especially set during the war time, always touches my heart. They always reflect the hardship of life for the people back then, which makes their amazing comeback all the more admirable. Japan is my favourite east Asian country and it should make this a no-brainer. The story actually reminds me of Laskar Pelangi, a remarkable Indonesian literature - which was later turned into a movie. Twenty-four eyes tells a heartwrenching story of twelve children from the same class, who just drove away their last teacher. Koishi-sensei was the new teacher, being called to try to teach and discipline these kids. The book then moves forward with the story of how these children grow up, having their future wrecked apart by war - the boys join the army, the girls marrying young. Some even die. Not only is the book in itself, with its tearjerking story, remarkable but matching the whole story with the book cover of twelve children, being happy. Oh, you just can't imagine where they went wrong. Tsuboi-sensei definitely wrote it remarkably well. She also portrays the heartbreak of the teacher, seeing how her students turn out, very incredibly. I dare you to read this book and not feel even a little bit for each and every character in it.

Hilarious Read

This is definitely the funniest story I've ever read. And, as per usual with Neil Gaiman, very original! I don't read Terry Pratchett's works much but I think he's a funny, funny author. Basically, this book turns The Apocalypse into something that is quite hilarious! Who would've thought of it that way? Good Omens tells the story of several parties, preparing for The End of the World, including a fussy angel, a fast-living demon, the Antichrist (Adam Young) and the four apocalyptic horsepersons (Death, Famine, War and Pollution). It's so hard to describe how insanely funny this book is since the story hops on from one party to another, each attending to their own businesses and roles awaiting The Apocalypse. It's not a series, by the way, there're just two versions for the cover (from this publisher at least), portraying Aziraphale (the angel) and Crowley (the demon). Plus, the descriptions of the characters might be very, very unconventional. For one thing, Azi and Crow get along quite well, the Antichrist is a kid and leader to his gang of boys and a girl, Death wears a helmet and no scythe and none of the horseperson actually rides a horse (War rides a motorcycle, though). A total must read!

Recently Finished

When I say 'Recently Finished,' I wasn't kidding. This was probably the last novel I finished - not the last book, though. I was first attracted to the book thanks to the beautiful cover, which is why I am also interested in reading this book as well. When God Was a Rabbit is a story I find very different from most. First off, despite what it looks like, the book doesn't tell the story of lovers. It's about a brother and a sister, who stand out from the rest of the world. When they were little, the sister got a rabbit as a Christmas present, who they both named god, much to everyone else's dismay. They are the kind of siblings who look out for one another and stick together through thick and thin. Like when the sister share a life-altering secret, when the brother gets his heart broken by another boy, when they move away from their childhood home, when god dies. Even after all these years too, they become such great friends. The whole lesson from this book being: "You are here, but you are not mine." Which rings as close to "If you love someone, let them go." A compromise for the happiness and well-being of your loved ones. Such is life. No doubt Sarah Winman wrote the whole thing beautifully.

How about you? Any books you really like and want to share? Just leave a comment down here, please.