Monday, 30 January 2017

Mix It Up a Notch: Graphic Tees

Bringing you a doozy of a remix post this month, featuring the most beloved—and abundant items—in my wardrobe: graphic t-shirts. Since before I even knew what fashion was, I've been collecting graphic t-shirts like crazy. The more relatable the graphic—be them illustrations, paintings or typography—the more I like them. Before, though, I used to buy them in much too large sizes, so they never make it to the blog. The ones that make it to the blog are mostly acquired through Threadless—although I'm not sure they're ethical. The only ethical t-shirt I own comes from armedangels—it was a welcoming gift from WWF Jugend, although there's also an organic one from DeviantWEAR (now closed) that I ordered during Earth Day. There are also some that I thrifted here and there—although a select few. Otherwise, I really just purchase ones I can see myself gravitating towards for very, very long.

When I first started blogging, I didn't really see a lot of bloggers wearing t-shirts—and I still don't. I guess unless it's a plain white T, tees are not regarded as fashion (?), so I've always had my doubts about sporting them on the blog—and I still very rarely do, apparently. I think the problem lies in the fact that most people only think of jeans/shorts when they think of t-shirts. But, as you can see above, there are countless of ways to rock a t-shirt—particularly graphic ones. Not only are they a treat for the eyes—with statement graphics and words—but they are extremely versatile. They can even be sported in various weathers and seasons, easily paired with jackets and shorts. Because they are practical and extremely easy to wear, they are also extremely easy to match and mix with other clothing items. The best part is they can be an incredible lifesaver during lazy days, to make us still look effortlessly presentable.

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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Hi, My Name Is Bivi!

Today marks the 5th birthday of Alive as Always. There seems to be so many new people since the first time I wrote this post and published it on this blog. So I thought it would be a tremendous idea to re-introduce myself—and ultimately the blog—to everyone. Let's start!

My name is Bivi and I am (now) 24 years old. I was born and raised in Indonesia. In 2011 I moved to Germany and lived there for over 3 years. It was my second year there that I started this blog. Now I am a freelance illustrator living back home in South Tangerang, Indonesia—yep, not Jakarta, but close enough. My interests consist of art & design, literature, culture (particularly Japanese culture), language (speaking 4 in total so far) and a little bit of science. Indie everything is basically my life now, so if you have any recommendations, feel free to leave them anywhere. Also, I'm currently in a long-distance relationship with a guy named Firu (for around 6 1/2 years now). He's literally the sweetest guy I've ever met and I love him very, very much.

About the Blog
As mentioned above, Alive as Always started in 2012—in January 2012, to be exact. It started out as a fashion/personal style blog but later on developed into something more. It became a space for me to share my latest adventures, admired artists, favourite literary pieces, culinary explorations, provocative thoughts and many, many more. At first I didn't know what I was doing, but later on decided that it should be a positive space—note that I didn't say "happy"—for me and all my loved ones. Yep, I really, REALLY love talking about my loved ones. Sometimes it gets superficial, sometimes it gets personal and sometimes it gets thought-provoking, but it's all from the heart.

In May 2013, I started thinking and researching about ethical fashion. Thus, my journey to become a conscious consumer began. For a girl who bought, in average, two clothing items per month, it wasn't easy to cut down and reconsider my sources, but it was definitely a journey worth taking. Needless to say, that small epiphany of sorts manoeuvred the whole direction of this blog—and lifestyle, for that matter. Don't get me wrong: there is still a whole length of progress to go, but I can now look back at that consumption-driven lifestyle of mine and see the difference.

20 Blogger Confessions of Mine

Blogging has made me more neurotic about what I wear and when to wear it.
Outfit photo-taking has put a strain on some of my friendships.
My friends are such angels, but I know they're very reluctant to take the photos.
Outfit photo-taking has definitely put some strains on my relationship with Firu.
Sometimes I wear an outfit for 2-3 days in a row until I have time to capture it.
Sometimes I post just for the sake of posting...and I'd hate it afterwards.
I felt self-conscious about promoting my blog until 2014.
Narcissism is one of the perceptions I fear the most to receive from the blog.
When it comes to engagement, comments are always better than likes in my book.
Whenever people ask me for fashion advice, I feel like such an imposter.
I don't actually dress up if it's not for the blog.
I thought if I started blogging, I will start hanging out with strictly bloggers (but nope).
At least once every year I think of quitting the blog.
Blogging is mostly a very lonely ordeal, especially in Indonesia.
One of the reasons I started the blog was Firu's Mom.
I prefer blogs that are thoughtful and reveal something about the writer.
Friendly, deep conversations with strangers often happen during outfit photoshoots.
Very rarely is my blog shared on my personal Facebook account for fear that my family can see it.
Trespassing is a recurring crime that I do for the blog.
I'm always pleasantly surprised to find new comments on and/or about the blog, so thank you.

Now I'd like to know more about YOU! Please leave a comment down below with your name, your blog (if you have one) and three facts about you. I'd love to read them all! Thank you for sticking around and I'll see you in the next post!

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Friday, 20 January 2017

Batik Ballistic

It has been a great while since the last time I took outfit photos by myself and for the sake of solely taking them. Lately, it has been done while doing something special with my friends and/or family and talking more about the activity than the clothes. It's been fun, of course, but nothing beats making my own decisions and being fully responsible for the images produced. That being said, these weren't really taken "alone"—a couple neighbourhood kids were hovering over me the whole time, amazed and curious about the process. I ignored them, but they didn't get the hint. It was the last thing I needed when I was struggling for the perfect shot, without a tripod, sweating and being drizzled on. To top it off, I actually took these in front of a neighbour's house—which looked pretty deserted, maybe they were out of town?—so I was careful not to let anyone else see me, lest they should report me to the authorities. Gulp, I hope my Dad isn't reading this :')

Hand-me-down batik top + purse // batik ribbon (from this dress that I lost) // old skirt // thrifted loafers

One of my goals for this year is to wear more stuff that I rarely do. Okay, not really, but I'd really love to start doing that. Aside from the fact that I'm running out of remix posts to share with you guys, I think it's a great way to reconnect with these items that I once must have loved. Plus, I usually find myself surprised in the process. For instance, this top—which I don't even remember how it ended up in my wardrobe. I cannot believe that it has never been worn with this skirt before. It feels like it should've been an obvious pair! Also, it's only been featured on the blog, like, twice before. I've been wearing it so much off camera that I never realised this before. This happens to a lot of my clothes too! Do you guys have items like that? If yes, why don't you wear them on the blog? If no, how do you circulate your clothes so well? Let me know!

P.S: That blurry thing at the end was not an artistic choice. Nope.

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Pumpkin Spice + Apple Sticky Balls

It's probably a little too late in the season for this, but I have a sudden hankering for pumpkin spice and apples lately. Since it's rainy season out here and winter in the northern hemisphere at the moment, I think it's perfect to create a warm dish out of those ingredients. Being a girl who doesn't really like fuss, I thought of making something quite simple and fuss-free, with ingredients that are mostly easily attainable locally. So I thought why not put a twist on a traditional local dish? The initial recipe for this dish is from Bubur Candil, a warm traditional Javanese dessert. The twist here is to give the balls apple sauce filling and pumpkin spice in the porridge. Fancy a try at this recipe?

For the filling
  • 4 medium-sized apples (456 gr)
  • 8 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 cm cinnamon
  1. Cut up the apples into 4 pieces each and grate them
  2. Transfer the grated apples (and all its liquid) into a frying pan and heat it up on a stove
  3. Add in the cinnamon and cloves
  4. When all the water has evaporated from the mixture, add in the sugar and mix well
  5. Leave it to simmer while stirring occasionally, until the mixture stiffens into a paste
  6. Let it cool while you prepare the balls
For the balls and porridge
  • 100 gr glutinous rice flour
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 pandan leaf, knotted
  • 150 gr palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice powder (for the porridge)
  • 50 gr glutinous rice flour (for the porridge)
  • 50 ml water (for the porridge)
  • salt, to taste
  • coconut milk, to taste
  1. Fill half of a sauce pan with water and palm sugar, add in the pandan leaf and heat it up on maximum heat
  2. In a bowl pour in the rice flour and add the water little by little
  3. Fold and knead the rice flour while keep adding the water until the dough is rubbery and not sticking to the bowl
  4. Take a pinch of the dough, spread it out wide on your palm and add the 1/2 tea spoon of filling in the middle of the dough
  5. Enclose the filling by folding the dough and roll the mixture up into a ball
  6. When the palm sugar has melted and dissolved into the water, put the balls into the sauce pan
  7. Once the balls have floated on the surface, it is ready to be transferred into a separate bowl filled with water
  8. In a separate container, mix the glutinous rice flour and water for the porridge until the flour dissolve
  9. Add that to the palm sugar mixture along with the pumpkin spice, mix well
  10. You may add the salt to compliment the taste of the sugar
  11. Once the mixture has mixed well, return the balls back into the sauce pan
  12. Bring the mixture to a boil then remove from heat
  13. Serve with diluted coconut milk and enjoy!
Tips: As there are various types and sizes of apples, I put in the weight of the apples that I used. The type that I used was Apel Malang, which is a local selection—you can see how it looks like in the photo above. You can also simply blend the apples but they will lose their texture. Alternatively, you can use store-bought apple jam or sauce. The recipe for the filling here is way too much for the recipe of the balls, so if you want to use it again, keep it refrigerated. For the balls, please be very careful when adding the water to the flour, lest the mixture should get too moist and liquidated. I'm not sure if "pumpkin spice powder" is even a thing, but here I used "spekoek seasonings," which consists of pretty much the same thing. Otherwise, just add 1/4 tea spoon of grated cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon.  Lass es euch schmecken!

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Whatever Happened to Sincerity

Feels like it's been forever since the last time I wrote a post on my current musings and thoughts. But this is something I've been observing and experiencing for a while now, so I thought it was due time that I talk about it. If you're part of the online community—which your presence here says you probably are—this might be something you've stumbled upon now and then. I mean, have you ever received a one-syllabic, vaguely positive comment on your social media? Maybe a like or a follower, who never makes a second appearance? Or have you perhaps even been guilty of both these accounts yourself? Now, is that what you want to accomplish on social media: superficial connections—if any—and generically "positive" comments?

The way I understand it is that there is a social movement that ripples throughout the online community that stems as a response to cyber bullying. Being called names and even threatened on the internet, netizens started to encourage each other to love themselves in order to raise self-esteem as well as consideration of other people's feelings among the online community. Terms like "self-love," "body positive" and "haters gonna hate" are being thrown around more casually throughout social media. Such movements try to paint the picture of a whole person with hearts behind the handle names and digitally filtered/edited contents of their pages. In effect, people are starting to become more supportive of one another on the internet. People who, in real life, might actually be treated cruelly, are constantly finding empowerment through their followers and online friends.

However, although I don't support cyber bullying, all this "niceness" creates a side effect of its own. In the hopes of spreading "kindness," people start to say and do only "nice" things to one another, throwing sincerity out the window. Okay, maybe not all of them insincere, but as Dale Carnegie once said, "(Appreciation) comes from the heart out; (Flattery) comes from the teeth out." And it is fairly easy to distinguish between the two. "Niceness" and "Kindness" have been used interchangeably for so long, that people forget the distinction between them. Niceness is rooted in the aim to please, while kindness is rooted in love—sometimes being kind doesn't look nice at all. This quote really puts my point across: "Niceness is fine and dandy, but kindness is what would make the world a better place." It is unkind to praise someone for his/her looks one too many times. It is unkind to give support for someone's bad behaviour. It may be kind to remind someone had he/she made a mistake. It may be kind to remind others that there are far more important things in this world besides oneself.

In the blogging community, I've read one too many tips on how to get ahead in the business, consisting of commenting/liking on other people's posts—irrelevant on how you probably really feel about them, create contents that will relate to others—despite the fact that you may not relate to them at all—and promote yourself almost incessantly. Rarely do I see tips that say something about being sincere of what you write and do—on the blog and otherwise. And, after a while, it does get old. Devinne of Mox and Socks once admitted that without sincerity, all this self-promotion thing just wear her out. To be honest, I can see how sincere she is now and how much easier it feels to talk about things with her. Personally, I, too, find it easier to connect with people who really like what I post—and, hopefully, my personality—than with people who come to my page once in a blue moon to leave comments like: "Nice!" "Great!" "Cool feed!"

Not going to lie, I have gotten into trouble before because I was being honest. From my point-of-view, I didn't think I was being brutally honest or incredibly cruel, but I did try—and fail—to introduce a new perspective to the person in question. The topic was "body positivity"—which I might talk about in greater detail on a later date—and he/she was offended by what I said. In my comment, I did mention that, although what I said could be thought of as bad, I think we should stop thinking of it as a bad thing. But he/she—along with his/her relative—refused to acknowledge the perspective I presented. The matter was never really settled and I did apologise profusely, but I suppose something other than "niceness" wouldn't do.

The case like the one I experienced above has also happened to many people on the internet. People are getting so easily offended nowadays, that we are too afraid to voice controversial thoughts—especially online. It is also the reason why it's taking me this long to write this post. I can already imagine being hated by some—if not all—of you guys. But isn't diversity—not just in race, but in ideas—what makes the world so beautiful? Without different perspectives and mindsets, where would science even stand now? Would innovation even be a possibility? Again, I must stress that I do not support cyber bullying, but I do believe it's high time we acknowledge the difference between "niceness" and "kindness." It's worth bearing in mind, that sometimes being nice isn't kind at all.

As always, if you've read this, you're my hero and THANK YOU!

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

The World Starts With You

Just like last year, the outfit posting starts with a sibling quality time this 2k17 too! Last year I talked about enjoying more quality time with my loved ones without the distraction of having my outfit photos taken. I think that is quite evident in the 2016 yearly review—and I do feel like it's been a great separation between me and my outfits. Hey, every healthy relationship can survive distance now and then, right? Setting my clothes apart from the blog has really given me fresh eyes to look at them. It's brought me back to the basic function of clothing: to protect us from natural harm—like wind, mosquitoes and the sun, to name a few. It becomes less like a show and more like second skin. This year my vow is to blog more personally and less 'relatably,' if that makes sense. I want to relate back to my blog again, to blog from the heart and less from the mind. I hope you won't get sick of it, though.

Hand-me-down purse + boyfriend shirt (literally!) // thrifted skirt // Oh My Bows! hairbow (giveaway!) // old socks // MKS shoes // photos by Akita

This sibling outing comes with a special guest, namely Firu—who tagged along in the form of his old shirt. Ever since I got interested in personal style, I'd been eyeing this shirt of Firu's, which eventually became too short for him. That being said, since the moment he gave it to me, I try not to wear it too often because I wanted his scent to still linger on. For a while, I could still smell him from this shirt, but—after this styling—it disappeared into thin air. Not going to pretend I didn't feel like shedding a tear at the fact. After letting it hang around for over a year, I decided I wanted to style it again. Hopefully, this will be taken out more often this year—fingers crossed there will actually be a remix post of this piece sometime this year. By the way, this was the day my brother, sister and I decided to splurge on food and drive around in search of, well, food—as well as a good place for outfit photos. I ended up paying for everything and going broke, so yeah. What have you guys been up to since the new year?

P.S: Can you guess the video game that inspires this post title? It's one of my all-time favourites!

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