Monday, 30 November 2015

Kopling Arts & Coffee Festival

Yesterday Uli, her friend Marsha and I went to KCAF 2015 held by Kopi Keliling. It was an art convention of sorts, complete with artist alleys, exhibitions, workshops and live shows. The signature move being their free cup of coffee with every ticket. I've never been to one of these before so I didn't really know what to expect. At first, I was afraid it was going to be crowded with pretentious artsy people who wouldn't even give you the time of day, but it's actually filled with so many friendly, talented people from all over the country. Many foreigners seemed to have come to check it out as well - and I even saw one girl being scouted - how lucky! It covers all ranges of art form, although the most commonly found was illustration - which is just my turf. The workshops also looked like a whole lot of fun, although, sadly we didn't join. It was an incredible experience for me, and it's always nice to meet new illustrators. Hope we'll see them on the blog sometime soon!

N.y.L.a top (Sis's) // H&M dress (worn as a skirt) // Céline bag // Sis's socks // MKS ankle boots // outfit photos by Uli

This outfit was put together in a hurry, as I was determined to finish a book before I went to the event. So, I'm sorry if you think this is kind of crappy. I didn't even manage to do my hair. The whole point was to accommodate this dress into a skirt, as I'd never done that before. But it surprised me to find a fitting top for it. But I'm quite satisfied with the choice that I made. Just wish I had more time to do my hair or even think about doing my hair. The artsy top seems fitting for the occasion, though. Also, sorry for the lack of makeup, though I rarely wear one anyway. I sported a nude lipstick in this one but I guess it was too nude to tell. By the way, there's an artsy event on my campus as well next week, so I hope you'll look forward to that. I'm a committee member so I'm not sure how much time I'd have to get some content for the blog. Well, I guess we'll have to wait and see ;)

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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Mix It Up a Notch: Black Heart Print Dress

I'm pretty sure I've told you the story behind this dress before. It all started out with me seeing Alexa Chung wearing this very dress with a heart-print cardigan in one of Vero Moda's stores, which is where this dress came from. However, when I went to the store, this dress was long discontinued - it was from seasons past. So I searched high and low on Kleider Kreisel for it - and actually the matching cardigan as well - and was so thrilled when I finally purchased one. It has a baby-doll cut, with elastic upper waistband and zipper on the left side, below the sleeves. The material is rather breezy, even though it has two layers of chiffon. The collar is the strong, defining feature for me - and what initially sold me to the dress. It is incredibly versatile as well as perfect for all seasons. Honestly, cannot wait to wear this more creatively in the future ;) (Click each photo to go to their respective posts!)

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Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Last Struggle

Currently reading: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

As I'm writing this right now, I am suffering from sleep deprivation. If this post fails to make sense, please forgive me. Two nights ago from when this post goes live - which is last night for me right now - I didn't sleep a wink. It was on the pursuit to finish my last midterm project of the semester. Although, actually, I did catch some z's in the car on the way to campus. It baffled me to find myself still so full of energy after the lack of sleep the previous night. However, after taking these outfit photos - running back and forth in the process - I found myself very, very fatigued. Seriously, I just want to collapse right now. But, hey, I love you guys, so I'm not going to turn in before I finish writing this. After this, we technically have 4 days off, which will most likely be used to do more (less pressing) assignments and prepare for the next class. I've actually planned to go to an art market/convention with Uli this weekend. So look forward to that!

Vero Moda dress (thrifted, old) // swapped cardigan // Primark socks (gifted) // Koola Stuffa tote bag // Mollinic loafers

As I've mentioned above, these photos were taken after not sleeping for over 30 hours. With the stress of midterm and the lack of slumber, it was almost impossible for me to think about what to wear. So I opted for something simple yet adorable, something easy to put on yet enticing. Then this dress popped into my head, as it is incredibly comfy, cute and hassle-free. Again, sleep deprivation kicked in, I didn't have time or energy to check whether or not this outfit has appeared on the blog before. If it has, please bear with me. I really wanted to just go for the casual look, which is both cozy and non-restricting, so I kept it simple. Also, yes, I finally got to bring just a tote bag to class today. On a different note, because I've been counting on other people to take my photos lately, sometimes I forget how fun and relieving doing it myself. Turns out, that's where most of my work out came from when I used to live by myself.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

When Your Heart is Somewhere Else

Oftentimes I find myself transported back. I’m almost sure that I’m dreaming, that one of these days I’d open my eyes and find myself in bed in Kassel or in Firu’s arms, still in Germany. Maybe everything that’s happened to me in the past year didn’t really happen.

When Firu and I enrolled into university, I thought we would finally settle down. I thought our lives would go on like this for at least another 4-5 years to come. Then people we know started returning to Indonesia for good. Some of them have accomplished what they set out to do, while some others have given up and wanted to start over back home. I didn’t know that I would join the latter in less than two years. What’s more, that I would do it so willingly.

Sometimes snippets of my life back then pop into my head. The sentimental values take over and I’d long for those lonely days. Funny thing memories are; they seem to cover only the happy moments and throw away the crappy ones. It’s easy for me to disregard my misery all those years ago and ache for the tiniest bits of joy I held on to. But if I had to remember correctly, and as objectively as I possibly could, I’d know that I made the right decision.

But I wish it didn’t have to be one way or the other. I wish it could be both. I wish I could have all my friends, my family, Firu, all my hopes and dreams; all of them in one life. That I didn’t have to choose: my friends or my family, my dreams or my love. Who could make a decision like that?

I used to think that I would throw it all away for Firu, if he only asks. But he did, in his own way. And I didn’t budge. In some ways, it comforts me to know that not even men can stop me from reaching  my dreams, from living the life that I want. I guess I should’ve known; I’ve always been like that. At this very moment, though, I cannot tell if that is a blessing or a curse.

These are feelings I cannot tell anyone. Nobody understands it, at least nobody I know. Maybe my sister, but it’s a different place for her, different memories. I cannot talk to her about Kassel, about our European adventures, about my life there. Knowing that this is a notion I cannot share with anyone - other than Firu, perhaps - makes me feel lonely. Sure, I’ll go to class, I’ll laugh with my new friends, but at the back of my mind is that never ending carousells of pictures from Germany, reminding me of an entirely different life I was accustomed to.

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Sunday, 22 November 2015

One Step at a Time

In case you were wondering, my midterm has yet to subside. It's still going on and I'm still going nuts over it. As per anything else in life, not everything goes according to plan. If anything, it just seems like everything went wrong at the last minute. But let's not dwell on that for now. November is coming to an end and I almost can't believe it. Did I blink and November pass by? Because it sure as hell feels like it. December is almost here and, with it, the end of the year. For goodness' sake, didn't 2015 just arrive? I swear New Year's was yesterday - heck, I swear 2014's New Year's was just now. This makes me think about my goals and life choices and the changes that have happened in my life, in the past year. I can't believe how different my life has turned out, it's almost crazy to believe. But, well, at least for now, I'm going to take it one step at a time. These pictures were taken during an art supply run - as you do - with my sister. Also, this is the day I bought that one comic book I've been waiting for longer than I've been with Firu.

Primark shirt (thrifted) // Esprit skirt (old) // hand-me-down purse // Mollinic loafers // photos by Akita

You would think that a top and a bottom that you like to pair with other items would have met all this time that you've had them; and yet, these two have never been worn as a combo before. It is surprising for me, as I thought I'd worn this shirt over and over again with all the bottom clothing pieces that I own. Do you have an item like that in your wardrobe? Although, really, it's quite understandable since I feel like I haven't worn this skirt on the blog in forever. I feel like it gives me a teacher-like feel - ironic, since my sister's the actual teacher here - and it makes people think I'm more mature than I am. Well, it's about time, I guess. The shirt only intensifies that impression, although with a bit of quirk about it too. It's always nice to know that even when you thought you got your wardrobe's all figured out, they surprise you all over again. It feels like a relationship, and when you can fall in love with it all over again, you know you're okay.

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Friday, 20 November 2015

Discovering Womanhood

Recently, a thought has dominated my mind; about puberty, sexuality and womanhood. For a long time, it occurred to me how easy it seems for a boy to turn into a man, as opposed to a girl turning into a woman. For boys, there is no in-between; a boy turns directly into a man. Girls, however, turn first into young ladies and then full-fledged women - in Indonesian, we call this transition between perempuan (little girl), gadis (young lady) and wanita (woman). Sure, you can call a man, "young man" but it doesn't have nearly the same effect. This could all be my own misguided perception, of course, but the way I see it, boys cope better than girls with the changes going on in their bodies and, eventually, their environment.

Let me tell you a little story: when I started to approach the age of puberty, I got excited about finally having my period. However, the first time around, it turned out to be false alarm. I wouldn't've known if my mother hadn't inspected my body to see if the blood really was coming from the right hole - it didn't, it was a mild case of haemorrhoid. At the time, I didn't know how she could tell it was false, but the blood came out only once. I'm embarrassed to say, that I didn't know my own reproductive organs well until the end of high school, when I accidentally touched it. This could be due to the lack of sex education in schools in Indonesia - outside of biology class, of course - but it could also be because "the talk" is barely a tradition in our culture.

Unlike boys, who seem to mature overnight, girls do it gradually. They aren't eager to reach their grown-up phase, where sex is part of their daily lives - if not in practice, then in thoughts. Partly, I believe, is due to the sudden change in their environment as well as their bodies. Boys, who they used to trust and treat as friends, suddenly become someone they need to be wary of as well as suspect. The body they once knew as being just a physique, suddenly turns into something of a sexual object. The other reason is probably more political and societal. When a girl turns into a woman, they are expected to do certain things; marry, get pregnant, take care of the children and husband, which are not easy tasks to handle. No matter what their goals in life are, girls might feel pressured to achieve all that society expects of them.

Women are also expected to embrace less of their sexuality than men do. It is somehow perfectly normal for a man to watch porn, demand sex and be forward in a relationship. But, when women do the same, especially out in the open, they will most likely be judged and frowned upon. Yet, at the same time, they are expected to know how to bring pleasure to their men and bear children. How can one be good at something they've never been supported to learn about before? It is not uncommon for women to know very little about their own productive systems, let alone men's. Men talk about penises all the time, even inappropriately, and yet women cannot seem to talk about their vaginas, even innocently. Of course, the kind of men who talk like that might not be decent men to begin with, but it still shows how patriarchal our society still is.

Luckily, there have been several support groups, websites and apps as of recently, which connect women around the world with one another to share their experiences on puberty, sexuality and other gender-based topics. These platforms are perfect for people who feel uncomfortable about opening up to the older women in their lives. They help you learn from real experiences and talk to real people, without having to feel awkward about exposing yourself in mature subject matter. Men don't seem to have the same system - although I'm not sure if it's because they don't need them or they haven't got an outlet - and sometimes look down on ours. Why would you need a group to tell you how to breastfeed? Don't you already know how to take care of your vagina? Little do they know, it has always been about housewife tales and mixed signals.

Lastly, I want to say: I haven't got my womanhood figured out yet. What does womanhood even mean? Exploiting your physical features to feel good about yourself? Knowing exactly how to become a tremendous homemaker and satisfy a husband? Owning your dreams and see to it that they come true? I'm not sure, exactly. To me, though, it means to own myself physically, mentally and emotionally without having to apologise for being a girl, for appreciating who I am and for taking care of myself. It means to be able to seek knowledge on my lady parts without judgmental eyes following me. It also means to know that men have their own issues and not have it easier than us - just different. It's not always easy being a girl, turning into a young lady and slowly becoming a woman; but I can finally say I am glad to have been born a female, which hasn't always been the case throughout my teens.

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Little Black Dress

It has been a while since I finished one book in one day. The other day, I managed to devour I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amélie Sarn. I didn't realise how much of a quick read it would be but it went by in a flash. At first, I bought it only because it seems to talk about two sisters and their mixed feelings towards each other. And, if you have a sister and are ridiculously close to her, you will understand how you can love and hate your sister at the same time. But, it turns out, the book deals with religious and cultural matters as well - specifically that of the Islamic and French nature, which has become quite a friction in the past couple decades. It wasn't planned that I should read this book not too long after the terrorist attacks in Paris, but it seems fitting. I wish more people would read this book and really consider the terms 'freedom of speech' as well as 'religious belief' afterwards. What good is 'freedom' if we force others to see it the way we do and give no room for them to create their own meaning of the word? How are we supposed to believe in religions when all they do is oppress and judge us every step of the way?

Marks & Spencer dress (old) // Sis's tights // MKS ankle boots // "Black Pearl" bow from Oh My Bows (giveaway!)

On a brighter note, this is the dress I wore when my friend Koletta asked me to help her on her ad midterm project. I wasn't the main cast, mind you, just an extra at the back. In fact, you probably won't be able to tell which one I am once you see the ad. But, hey, I always come prepared. She asked for a cocktail dress look, so I opt for this reliable piece. As Coco Chanel puts it, every girl needs a little black dress, a saying which has more of an impact in the 1920s than I realised. It has been in my closet for 6 years and I'm still loving it. The bow is something I won from Oh My Bows's giveaway on Instagram a while back. It has incredible quality and intriguing design, very elegant this one. There will still be more to come so please look forward to those as well. Since we were only shot from the waist up - and not the face - I wore a not-so-formal pair of shoes with this look. What do you think?

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