Saturday, 20 May 2017

Let's Go Fly A Kite!

So, one of my 24 before 25 goals is to explore more historical sites in Jakarta and I have been doing pretty much zero exploring since I made that list. I've just been waiting around for a friend who would be willing to come with me, but, honestly, it seems like no one else has the same interest. Since I'm working from home now—which means my weekend can be whatever day I want—I've decided that I'd go explore on my own, maybe one museum a week. Last week I started out with this really beautiful Kite Museum around 30 minutes from my house. It houses various kites from across the country and some from abroad—both traditional and modern ones. The ticket costs IDR 15,000,—which is quite expensive for museum tickets in this country—but it includes a guide, a video screening about kites and a simple kite-making workshop. The place itself used to be a kite studio, then another building—a pendopo (traditional Javanese structure)—was deconstructed and transported from Central Java to house the current main building.

Ask by Asky dress // old top // thrifted loafers // hand-me-down purse // outfit photos by museum guide

The first thing that hit me when I arrived was how cozy and green and breezy the place is. It is actually a complex of houses with a bit of lawn and stone-paved roads in the shape of colourful kites. The Javanese-styled houses transported me out of town in an instant. The people who work there were very friendly. The guide assigned to me knew everything he was talking about, showing me all sorts of kites—even the kind I didn't know existed—and telling me the stories behind each kite in correlation to each culture. He was so nice, in fact, to offer to take my pictures for the blog—I'm forever grateful for what he did. I know, I'm shameless, sorry about that. Aside from kites, they also offer workshops in pottery, batik, wayang painting, mask painting, paper umbrella painting and many more—the cost varies, of course. I would suggest calling in first if you want to join one of the workshops, though—the teachers may not be available.

P.S: Apparently, kites are still very relevant. Wish I was more in tuned with that world.

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Monday, 15 May 2017

Brown Sugar Pudding

My stepmom has a small catering business—well, it's not really a business yet, I guess, we're definitely looking for employees to help her out—and a few weeks ago she had an order for an event. Among some of the food she made for it, this was included. And, as she usually does when she cooks for other people, she made sure that there's some batch leftover for the house. At first, I fell in love with the colour and pattern and, though upon tasting it I can't quite put a finger on what flavour it was, I knew I wanted more—then helping myself to 3 more helpings before I clean out. Afterwards, I asked her for the recipe and here it is. I love the fact that it's plant-based and vegan-friendly—scroll down for the vegan option. It's perfect for the warmer weather—a nice dessert for a humid night, right?—so it's perfect for this time of year. To top it all of, all the ingredients are locally produced.

(makes 1 mould ø 30cm)
  • 500 gr brown sugar, melted
  • 1,3 l water
  • 2 agar powder sachets (around 7gr each)
  • 130 ml coconut milk, diluted
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin spice/spekoek seasoning
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  1. First, put the brown sugar and 1 litre of water in a saucepan and let it boil
  2. In a bowl, pour in the agar powder and the rest of the water, mix well
  3. Once the brown sugar boils, add in the agar powder solution into the pan, turn down the heat into low and let it boil
  4. Add in the coconut milk and pumpkin spice, mix well and let it boil
  5. Add the eggs little by little and mix well
  6. Once everything boils, remove from heat but keep mixing
  7. Let the mixture cool down a little and transfer it to the mould
  8. After it sets, stick it in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight)
  9. Cut it up in pieces and enjoy!
Tips:  The brown sugar I use is the block ones, so before boiling them with water, I dilute them by adding enough water (and pandanus leaf for aroma) and boiling them until they dissolve. To dilute the coconut milk, simply add a bit of water to the thick milk and whisk until it becomes runnier. You don't need to do this if your coconut milk is already runny. Agar powder is not too different from jelly powder, it is made out of seaweed—as opposed to animal-based gelatine, so it's vegan-friendly. If you don't have spekoek seasoning—are pumpkin spices even sold as one mixture?—you can add cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger accordingly. If you're vegan and you don't want to use eggs, you can do so, of course, but you might lose texture and pattern—although I reckon the taste wouldn't change much. If you want the pudding to have a distinct pattern—as shown in these photos—pour the mixture into the mould while it's still hot. Lass es euch schmecken!

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Not Entirely Out of My Control

Lately, I haven't been thinking about much of anything. Life has been going great, although not much seems to happen, so I'm not stewing over anything for the moment. It felt almost exactly like it used to be when I lived by myself in Germany, filling my days with everyday pleasures and explorations. It is wonderful, but that hasn't alway been the case. Ever since I got back home, to be honest, I'd been having a hard time accepting the fact that this is where I am and this is how I live now—away from the world and people I used to know, who seem to get washed over by reality, leaving nothing but indistinguishable smudges in my life. But, lately, it's been rather pleasant—for once in over a year, I feel like the future can be whatever I want it to be.

I'm a huge believer that we are the captain of our own lives, that we should take command of them and all happiness and sorrows in our lives are well within our control. For that reason, I've learnt early on that I need to do what's best for me. Sometimes that means I'm extremely selfish and heartless, but sometimes it just means I'm determined and focused. From the lives of people around me, often I learn that we have to be at least a little bit selfish all the time—so that we won't be taken advantage of by others or being forced to lead a life we hate, because we owe ourselves that much to love and respect ourselves. I mean, if we don't do it, who else can?

Personally, I find it such a huge surprise how many sources of stress that I hold on to—if not on a daily basis, at least frequently in my life—and it's as simple as changing how I see or react to things to make my life easier. For instance, it's inevitable that we will meet frustrating people in our lives—it could be a classmate, a client, a family member, anyone—and we can't control how they behave or what they say, but we can control how we react to them. I used to respond to people when they're being frustrating—to me personally or to people in general. When I was in school, this behaviour made people think I was brave. But now, it's just asking for war—and that would drain a whole lot more out of me. When I realised that my response wasn't doing anyone any favour and I stopped,  the world seemed brighter all of a sudden and I could breathe easier—as opposed to being highly temperamental and easily tired beforehand.

This small realisation on how much power I actually hold to make my life less stressful had a huge impact on me. Taking it a step further, I filter out various aspects of my life. As simple as decluttering my room and social media space—such as getting rid of items I no longer use and unfollowing people I no longer gravitate towards—to something drastic, like cutting off "friends" who keep dragging me down or like leaving the life I used to have. Big or small, these actions definitely create significant impact. Having a clean and organised room brings peace to my mind and losing toxic friends definitely unloads my emotional burden.

But, of course, there is a reason why people don't do this often: it is not always a walk in the park.

There are times when changing our lives, taking control of it, means we have to leave most or all the things we love from the life we previously lead. For better or worse, that is never an easy choice to make—I should know, I made that choice 6 years ago and reversed it 3 years later, only to keep doing so for another 3 years. It takes great courage, they say, but the truth is, I still don't know if I made the right choice—maybe no one does, maybe that's the point.

And sometimes it feels like I've burnt too many bridges to build new ones. In turn, that makes me want to rebuild those bridges, only to find that there was a reason I let them fall away in the first place. Sometimes it definitely feels like I should be more considerate of others or sacrifice more for others—but to do so at the expense of my happiness and dignity is where I draw the line. Maybe that makes me a selfish person, maybe that makes me a heartless person, but at the end of the day, I will know that whatever joy and misery that befalls me are not entirely out of my control—as are yours.

P.S: I don't know what the photos are supposed to be about either...sorry

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Friday, 5 May 2017

Artsy Ladies Sundate

Last Sunday my friend Koletta and I met up for a ladies date at Art Market Jakarta 7. We've never really hung out outside of campus before, but really enjoy each other's company, so this felt like the perfect opportunity to have a ladies date—we both love and pursue the world of art, so it's a given. The event was smaller than I remembered it from last year, but I may have confused it with the KACF event—it looks pretty much the same to me, so what do I know. I think this is Koletta's first time coming here, so we really enjoyed just going through the booths one by one. There were some seriously interesting makers and I find myself getting drawn to an entirely different sorts of artwork than usual. There's even a booth filled with Kuretake products—which Koletta just swooned after. We both walked away with pretty amazing loots—you can see mine here.

old dress (worn as a top) // Book of Deer skirt // Oh My Bows hairbow (now closed) // thrifted loafers // gifted batik outer // hand-me-down bag // outfit photos by Koletta

Let me talk a little bit about Koletta here. If you don't know who she is, you've been missing out—but no, she's never appeared on the blog before, I don't think. She's a fellow illustrator who has an affinity in ink and traditional media in general. She kicks ass in pencil and ink portraits—her attention to detail and values is immaculate! You can always follow her process through her instagram stories, so give her a follow if you haven't already. She motivated me through Inktober last year too—I mean, hers are leagues above mine, but it's all about supporting each other, right? Not everything has to be a competition. Friends with the same passions like this are definitely worth keeping, don't you think?

P.S: Typical of me to wear something on one side of the head and not showing it off at all...damn!

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Monday, 1 May 2017

April in Overview

April was really...something. Outwardly, it was filled with long weekends—meaning so many plans to chill and relax—but, inwardly, it was...not very pleasant. I kept...feeling or maybe not feeling so many things, and it bothered me so much. It's definitely not content but just shy of messed up and I have no idea how to deal with it. So I didn't. I just shoved it away and distract myself in so many ways. On the bright side, I fell in love with blogging again. It's been so long since I've blogged so much—did you guys enjoy my FRW posts?—and it was exhilarating. Also, the blog designed is improving, what do you think?

Putting a hold on comics/graphic novels, this month I'm only reading three books—well, two and a bit of the third. The first one is the one I mentioned last week, Archie Greene und die Bibliothek der Magie. It turns out to be quite a pleasant YA novel—though wouldn't crack my top 100, to be honest. After that I directly dived into The Indonesian Language: Its History and Role in Modern Society that I borrowed from a middle school friend. It was very, very interesting—especially because history of the Indonesian language is very rarely discussed, if at all. And now I'm leafing through The Girl with All the Gifts. Only a dozen chapters in and I'm already hooked. It's so gripping! Aside from that, I've been book shopping like a mad woman all month and quite fairly broke the bank, so I'll definitely be getting to read plenty more exemplars soon.

If last month was about catching up with my to-watch list in terms of movies, this month was about catching up with my series. Aside from rekindling my love for series I've been following for a while like The Big Bang Theory and Scandal, I also started up following other series. Big Little Lies ended earlier this month and I kept on missing it on TV so I caught up with it online—it's just so gripping! I also caught up with The Catch—another Shonda Rhimes masterpiece—and started watching Veep—never knew I was into political humour! The jackpot of the month, though, was Snatch—starring Rupert Grint. I thought he'd stopped acting and lived off his ice cream truck. The story is gangster-centred and the costume design is immaculate—also love that opening theme! Charlie is obviously my favourite character. Can't wait for the next season!

There hasn't been much music in my life this month—unless you count the background music and insert songs in the series I've been watching nonstop. That being said, Firu is always eager to shove his current favourite songs to my face. Most of the time it's annoying and not at all in tune with my taste, but this month he got me listening to fhana, a Japanese pop band formed in 2012. I first listened to their songs when they did some of the theme songs for 天体のメソッド (Celestial Method) that I watched a few years ago—星屑のインターリュード (Stardust Interlude) is by far my favourite. The song that Firu quite recently forced me to listen to was 青空のラプソディー (Blue Sky Rhapsody), which is the theme for Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid—which I also happen to watch a couple months back but didn't recognise the voice in the opening theme. I love both songs and their sound in general, do give them a listen!

I think there's not much point in having movements, such as Fashion Revolution Week, without reassessing what we have achieved and accomplished throughout, so here I'd like to also summarise the things that I have learnt from all the information I've acquired and the actions I've taken in the past 7 days:
  • This is how the Rana Plaza incident changed the lives of three families in Bangladesh.
  • According to the Fashion Transparency Index 2017, Adidas, H&M and Marks & Spencer are among the most transparent retail brands with 41-50% transparency.
  • Speaking of which, H&M shared with us their working conditions, which aims to become wholly sustainable by 2040.
  • Fashion Revolution spoke at European Parliament and this is what happened.
  • If you want to know what garment workers do on the daily, this is where you get to find out.
  • As a whole, fashion brands are starting to change, consumers are demanding more transparency and fair trade, so they want to provide them for us. The power is real, we can vote with our money and use it to support positive impact. Be the change we want to see in the world!

Highlight of the month

Slow Fashion exhibition by Goethe Institut Indonesia // deciding between travel and books, what would you choose? // a little BTS of a recipe post for the blog // clothing swap party this month at Dia.Lo.Gue // book launching by my client TigaGenerasi // first book haul of the month at Gramedia World // second book haul of the month at Big Bad Wolf Book Fair // #whomademyclothes // ladies date with Koletta at Art Market 7

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