Tuesday, 31 March 2015

It's Always Sunny in Surabaya

♫ Sunshiner - Lacrosse ♪

Although, actually, it's not. In fact, it rains almost every night I've been here. But, for the sake of these photos and this post (also, this pair of sunglasses), let's say it is. Today is my last day in Surabaya. Tomorrow in the early morn, I'll be on the train headed back home to Jakarta. As I've said, I am reluctant to go but also very excited for my plans for April. Both in real life and also on the blog. There are things that are still in the hush-hush and there are things I have yet to decide. But I'm so itchy to share everything with you guys. All in due time. This month was great. I can't really remember what else I was doing before my two-week vacation with the Grandparents, though, but it must have been something worthwhile. The truth is, in Surabaya we didn't do anything much other than the same old routine. I hardly explored the town - and was surprised to find out how little I know even though I've been coming here almost every year since I was born! - but it was a much-needed quality time with my Titi and Kakung. I feel like right now we have a pre-adult relationship, where we can talk like responsible parts of the society as well as grandparents-and-grandchild. It's a refreshing idea but also a little unsettling; I still need to adjust and find out how to contribute to this change. For starters, I feel like I'm an adult who could take pictures by myself at the front gate when my Grandpa came to stand guard in case anyone snatched my camera away - because, apparently, this is a common area for theft. Now I'm a child again.

Vero Moda dress (thrifted) // thrifted skirt + sandals // Polette sunglasses (giveaway!)

It wasn't until I was done with this photoshoot and went to change my clothes that I realised: hello, maternity look! Yep, I probably looked positively pregnant. But no, I have nothing in the oven but probably some rolls I devoured earlier that day - actually I had no rolls or baked goods but, you know. Also, you might notice that I wore this not too long ago - both the skirt and the dress. Yes, I packed VERY light this time. Because, in the past, I packed with outfit posts in mind and ended up not having too many practical clothes - which are necessary, obviously, for a trip. So I decided to keep the practicality in mind. This means "pack clothes which can be turned into a few outfits then some t-shirts and a pair of shorts for bed." Because that is exactly what I did. Umm...so yeah. I was quite in a hurry when I packed so I didn't think it through. But, oh well. My only regret is that I didn't get to show off too many cute and fun outfits on the blog during my stay out here and blatantly recycling some items I've already worn - which is still in keeping with the eco-month, to be honest. You can probably tell I'm already itching for another trip out of town.

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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Mix It Up a Notch: Maroon Paisley Pants

If this post doesn't prove how much I love this pair of pants, I don't know what will. They've been in my closet for over 3 years now and they've been my favourite go-to jeans since the cut suit my legs very much and the pattern is to-die-for. These stylings are just a few of the many more stylings of this pair. Actually, there was a phase in my life when I went out wearing only these pants for a few months. A little disgusting, I know, but they weren't dirty so what the hell, I thought. I first got them from my trusty local retailer C&A and I snagged them on sale (10€!). I can say for certain that I've worn them in all weather: hot, rain, summer, spring, winter, autumn, snow, wind - and therefore have collected quite a few backdrops for them. However, I've never noticed how much I love wearing boots with them. Huh, go figure. (Click on the photos to go to the posts!)

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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:

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.

"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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

"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.

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.

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.

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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Monday, 23 March 2015

Come to Find Out He Was Just Chasing Sweets

Gone - The Show Ponies

As you can probably tell, I'm completely enjoying the slow lifestyle right now. When you're as old as my grandparents and you're well-provided, there's nothing like a life of taking things slow and no rushing. Despite my lack of job for the past several months, life has been spinning out of control in my head and I feel like I don't deserve a chance to rest. But then I came here and it feels so good, like life is worth taking things slow every now and then, especially surrounded by this amount of nature all around. Did I tell you that my Grandpa collects birds? Yes, he even has this huge bird house for all his birds - and there are still some more cages to add to that. I'm just a bit torn that they replaced their mango trees with banana trees instead, thanks to some pest problem a few years ago. God, I used to look forward to the mangoes they sent to us throughout the years. But at least I get to use these banana trees as a legitimate tropical backdrop, so who am I to complain? Before you ask any questions, I am not enjoying this book but still trying to get through the last few chapters. But you can read all about it in my monthly recap soon.

Urban Outfitters hat // vintage shirt via Etsy (the actual store is closed!) // hand-me-down pants // thrifted sandals

Quite recently, I just realised how I never wore this shirt with a pair of pants. It wasn't all that odd since the shirt is quite baggy and it wouldn't look good with something other than a pair of high-waisted pants. Which would be fine if any of my high-waisted pairs don't clash with this quirky pattern. But I thought this pair would also look suitable with this shirt, since it's from the same colour palette. Now I feel quite like Huckleberry Finn, though, for some reason. Maybe it's the hat. It's definitely the hat. By pure coincidence, as I was wearing this moth-patterned shirt, a butterfly swooped in and caught my eye during this photoshoot. If you know me, you would have guessed that I was keen on giving a moth-or-butterfly title to this post but I couldn't think of a suitable one so here's a line from my current favourite song. Something about the patterns on butterflies' wings simply remind me of batik.

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