Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Lemongrass Ginger "Tea"

Just once this summer—at least for my friends in the northern hemisphere—I want to post a recipe that is refreshing to fight off the heat. At the same time, I want to really accommodate local ingredients and local taste. There is a recipe—albeit not exactly local, but using ingredients quite easily acquired here—that I've been wanting to try out for years. I feel like it's refreshing, especially served chilled, and I find very tasty and healthy. It's the Vietnamese lemongrass tea. But, me being me, I feel like adding a twist into the recipe and turning into something that might become my future comfort drink. In the title I call it "tea," because it's not actually using tea leaves—as is what we Asians normally feel qualify as tea—but I've been told that in certain parts of the world drinks are called tea nonetheless—pure sacrilegious for me, to be honest. It's also sugar-free, with vegan alternatives listed down below. Hope this would refresh your summer!

Ingredients
(original recipe via The Wanderlust Kitchen)
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
  • 1 cm ginger, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • sliced lemon/lime for garnish (optional)
  1. Boil the water in a medium sauce pan on high heat
  2. Add the lemongrass and ginger and boil rapidly for 5 minutes
  3. Let it simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes
  4. Strain the stalks and ginger
  5. Add honey and stir well to let it dissolve
  6. Serve warm or chill in refrigerator and serve with ice
  7. Enjoy!
Tips:  Be careful with cutting those lemongrass stalks, they are tricky to chop! It's okay to just shell and dump them in the boiling water, if that's easier for you. Obviously, peel the ginger before you chop them—but be careful. Grated gingers are also all right. The water might reduce significantly in the process, so add more than what you think you need. Add the honey little by little to make sure it suits your taste. If you're vegan or don't like honey, you can use maple or fruit syrup of choice. You can obviously also use sugar, but I would advise against it. You can also add in the sliced lemon/lime into the concoction at the end—it adds a subtle zest! If you want to make it into an actual tea, you can also add tea leaves during boiling. Feel free to reduce or add the ingredients to suit your taste—personally, I feel like I'd use less ginger next time. Lass es euch schmecken!

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Saturday, 12 August 2017

Un-Thawed by Time

Hey, guys, guess what? Iva is in town! So, naturally, Edwin, Wilson and I just had to get together and come up with a hangout plan with her. We like to come up with different plans each time a friend of ours come home from Germany—a Returnee committee, if you will. So, in addition to the karaoke, hotpot party and museum-hopping we did before, we decided to hit the bowling alley this time. First, we assembled at Iva's house, because it was the centre point of all our houses. We met up around lunch time and went straight to Warung MJS for a good ol' traditional buffet. It was such a gorgeous place to eat, with a great selection of food and drinks and wonderful service—also incredibly affordable too! Unfortunately, I didn't take a lot of pictures there, except this really awesome photo of the massive amount of food we ordered. Afterwards, it was bowling time! None of us really knew how to bowl—despite the fact that I've done it before—so it was all up to luck for us (lol). Edwin got the highest score the first set and then Iva got the lead. It was too much fun, there was no time for photos! Lastly, we ended up sitting at a local cafĂ© for hours just catching up and reminiscing and talking about various topics. 

old top + dress + socks // American Apparel (R.I.P) hair bow // hand-me-down purse // MKS shoes // photos by Edwin

There is a certain comfort that comes with those friends that have been with you for years, despite being geographically apart and may not even keep in contact on a daily basis. Our circumstances have definitely changed since we first met, our personalities may have grown over the years, and yet we still have pretty much the same dynamics. With these guys, it almost doesn't matter where we are, I am instantly transported back to Karlsruhe or Paris or Hannover or wherever we once ventured together. At the same time, we've all definitely changed in various ways. For instance, I now blog openly in front of them, but their support is so surreal to me. In fact, when Edwin and I were taking these photos, Iva commented on one of my poses, "That pose is so Bivi!"—and then to the others—"seriously, if you go to her blog, you'd see her posing like that all the time!" Edwin also often likes my outfit photos on instagram. Those are seriously touching. The only thing I wish was here is Firu—it would've been awesome to have the full team.


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Thursday, 10 August 2017

Homecoming: Three Years Later...

To tell a story, I think it's best to start from the beginning. So let's start from the top! If you've been around here for too long, you might know that I used to live in Germany. I made the move in 2011, around a year before this blog came to be. This ended three years ago eleven days from now, when I decided to pack my bags and head homewards. I dabbed on the subject a little bit here and there, but I don't think I ever really went over it in great detail, so now—three years on—I feel like I'm finally at a place where I can talk about it without breaking down into pathetic sobs. Now, this will most likely be a terribly long post, so if you're not particularly interested, this might be a great time to click away. Don't worry, better and more cheerful content will be back soon.

Monday, 7 August 2017

And It Was All Yellow

 Twin House

Woohoo! It's another outfit photo session with Tasha! Earlier this month, we met up again for one of our OOTD outing, as I once called it, to this cute little restaurant hidden behind the busy streets of Cipete: Twin House. Whenever we do this, Tasha is always the one who chooses the location and they almost always end up looking really, really instagrammable—and bloggable too! Not only is the location so adorable, but the food and drinks are actually not bad—I would recommend their Wild Mushroom Angel Hair, it is divine! The place is divided into two small house-like structures, with quite a wide backyard—in the middle of which sits a long table over a picnic blanket, surrounded by colourful beanbag chairs—located at the end of a small road leading away from the main street. So, it's no surprise that the place was a hotspot for outfit shots—everyone who went there that day took turns snapping shots of their friends one way or another. It was somehow a real busy day when we went; there was a lookbook shoot, a bridal shower, a social gathering and a multitude of social media indulgence. But we made sure to get out of everyone's way—the staff's, most of all.

Hand-me-down shirt + purse // old hat + boots + socks // Book of Deer dress // photos by Tasha

When Tasha dropped me a line and asked me to go on this outing, my mind quickly raced to the outfit I should wear. Then I remember that I haven't shown the other item from Book of Deer that I purchased two months ago on the blog, so here it is.  At first, I wanted to wear it on its own the first time, but since I was too lazy to go wax my pits, I decided to just wear this shirt underneath. In my head, I feel like that outfit would go so well with twin plaits and boots—topped off with some sort of hat. When I look in the mirror, it suddenly dawned on me that I look almost exactly like Laura Ingalls or Anne of Green Gables—but I've only ever read the Little House series, so I feel like I was channeling my inner Laura. These plaits, by the way, took such a long time for me to pull off, because I'm suck tremendously at girly things like hairstyling—and, guess what, they're still super messy. Lastly, it was only after I got home did I realise that I was wearing a dress adorned in vinyl prints and Tasha was wearing a The Who t-shirt. Funny, eh? As if it's not already obvious, it's only natural that I should take the title from a (famous) song lyric.

P.S: I feel like I need to say that I'm so happy to get to know Tasha. Every time we see each other, I'm very, very sure that she's one of the most beautiful people I've ever known in my whole life and—as is the case with the rest of them—her physical beauty is the least interesting part of her whole self. Check out her Instagram for outfit deets!


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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Testing the Waters

Hey ho! It's summer—in the northern hemisphere, same old tropical around here—and beach-themed posts ensue in the blogosphere. Seeing other people's swimsuit posts, I've always felt inspired to post my own, but for some reason I haven't gotten around to it until today—finally, after 5 years of blogging! One of the reasons is that I haven't gone swimming in around 2 years, since this pool across the street from my house has been quite gross until recently. The other reason is that I have a pet peeve about putting half-naked photos of myself online. It's not an insecurity thing—recently I've noticed how little I care about what my body looks like to onlookers—but I just don't want it to come back to haunt me someday. In fact, it took me a considerable amount of deliberation—asking a few of my friends in the process—before I decided to just hit publish. I mean, I'm okay with wearing this in public—this isn't my private pool—and it's not like I'm doing anything lewd in it, so why not? But this might just be the only time I'll ever post a swimsuit post. Keep in mind that I actually swam laps that day, so no makeup on my face at all. I'm so happy I can indulge in my favourite sports regularly again!

old tankini (from 2011!) + wired headband

One other thing that crossed my mind, in regards to these photos, is how many people in the world would do anything to live near such a scenery. I've gotten so used to it, it doesn't even feel special anymore—that's what happens when you've lived here since you were six—but often when I post pictures from my neighbourhood or when people drive me home, they remark on how wonderful my environment is. Once someone even replied to a comment of mine, after finding out that I live in Indonesia, with the remark: "You must live in paradise, huh?" Funny, isn't it? While I envy my friends and other bloggers who live on cobble stone streets, being fed everyday view of mid-century buildings and being able to stroll down to medieval castles, they might look at my view of palm trees and my easy access to tropical fruits and natural landmarks with a degree of jealousy too. Isn't the grass on the other side always greener? But this is only a small portion of my surroundings. The truth is both fields have their downfalls too, it's not always sunshine and rainbows wherever we live. Remember that the next time you want someone else's life.


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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

July in Overview

Fun Fact: there's actually a smuggled-in bubble tea in my tote bag

July has always been Firu's month. His birthday was early, our anniversary was somewhere in the middle—so I've been thinking a lot about him lately. Earlier this month, I also visited his family to give them souvenirs from the holiday—but ended up receiving so much more from them. It's been a roller coaster of a month: had to transition back to the daily routine, forced to accept that the pen tablet Firu gave me 6 years ago died, still preparing for a not-so-new chapter of my life, went back to swimming after 2 or so years, and, ultimately, missing Firu every single day. There were some awfully terrible parts, there were some ecstatically amazing parts, but either way life goes on. I'm very happy with the response I got from people regarding our LDR and, knowing that I'm not alone, makes me want to give strength to others on the same boat. The greatest lesson of this month: people are better when you meet them in the flesh—because perceptions and personas can scare you.

Currently Reading

In sharp contrast to the previous month, in July I read almost religiously—back to normal, I guess you could say. During the holiday, I bought a couple Indonesian books, because I only brought one that I finished reading almost straight away. And so, I started the month with the Hari Anjing-Anjing Menghilang (a compilation of short stories taking the theme of the '98 Riots) followed shortly after by Bajak Laut & Purnama Terakhir by Adhitya Mulya (a hilarious historical fiction of pirates and Indonesian myths), which reminds me a great deal of Pirates of the Carribean. Afterwards, I continued on with my Artemis Fowl run, diving into the second—and personally my least favourite—book, The Arctic Incident. Lastly, I finally joined in on Goodreads Indonesia challenge and dived into a memoir, The Devil that Danced on the Water by Aminatta Forna—you might recognise the name from my Reading Diversely video. After this, I think I'll dive into the prematurely borrowed Dilan series from one of my cousins.

Currently Watching

Film-wise, I seem to have been in the mood for comedy, because—although I don't watch strictly comedy this month—those are the ones I remember, mostly caught on live TV. Earlier this month, I saw Love & Friendship—a period comedy based on Jane Austen's "Lady Susan"—and found the main character to be insufferable, yet for some reason cherished and loved by those around her. There was also Election—a '90s comedy about a high school class president election that changes everyone's lives—that I find to be painfully hilarious. And to see Reese Witherspoon so young! Sitcom-wise, I've been addicted to family comedy Kevin Can Wait and The Mick—well, the latter might not be family-friendly. I've always been charmed by Kevin James's comedy and only recently found Kaitlin Olson's performance to be something I would enjoy. Lately, it feels like not many comedy sitcoms are family-friendly anymore, so to watch something like Kevin Can Wait is quite nostalgic yet refreshing. It's somewhere along the line of According to Jim and My Wife and Kids, which I'd loved in the past.

Currently Listening

Again, music-wise, I haven't been exploring much. I've just been going back to old favourites, mainly The Lumineer's album Cleopatra. I was first intrigued by the namesake song, but later found that all the other songs in that album comprised a whole picture. I'm absolutely in love with the full music video! Aside from the song I've already mentioned, I also adore Sleep on the Floor—I find the story in the video to be painfully sweet—and I just love the American road trip feel of the whole rhythm. There is a degree of loneliness and content that comes with the figure Cleopatra—and after listening to the story behind the album, I can't seem to look away. Otherwise, I've also been playing Marion Raven's At the End of the Day on repeat. It's a bittersweet love song that, to me, makes a whole lot sense.

Highlight of the Month

Exploring Madura with the family // last night of holiday with the cousins :'( // second purchase from Book of Deer // lovely drinks at Asagao Coffee House + chocolate pralines from The Brownhare // R.I.P. my dearest Wacom! // the most adorable packaging from The Hoppers Drink // going back to swimming again after 2 years // participating in this month's #TantanganBacaGRI // exhibition-hopping with some uni-mates

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