Saturday, 26 January 2019

7 Years of Alive as Always

Today marks the 7th anniversary of this blog. It was on this day 7 years ago that I finally published my first post on this space. I've told the story many times—and you can always read it on my about page—so I'm going to refrain from telling it again. Every year on this day—if I remember to—I do something different to celebrate. In 2013, I shared my favourite posts from the previous year. In 2016, I talked about the lessons I learnt about blogging the past 4 years. In 2017, I re-introduced myself to new readers—and since the blog has changed so much since I started. Now, though, I'm clean out of ideas of what different thing I can do here. I wish I had a tradition like Damaris and Dani, with their year in review, but I don't—so, instead, I'm going to copy their idea and take you on a walk down memory lane. Be warned, I'm never the kind of person who'd cut a long story short—I'd cut a longer story long—so you may be in for a long ride. Feel free to click away, if this doesn't interest you.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

A Matter of Perspective

You know, ever since I started blogging, I've come to realise that there are so many amazing places for photos hiding in plain sight. One of my favourite everyday locations would have to be the emergency fire stairs of New York City apartments. Whenever I see any New York fashion bloggers taking photos on their emergency stairs—like my girl Jenn has done at least twice—not going to lie, I feel a tad jealous. Sure, the stairs are not practical at all—what with them being outside and not even reaching all the way down—but I can't deny there's just a certain aesthetics about it that I absolutely swoon over. It has that old, decaying industrial look that seems to encompass the working class of the city. Often paired with worn-down brick buildings, it creates the perfect revolutionary vibe. However, of course, Indonesia doesn't actually have them. We mostly live in houses and the apartments are all rather new—nothing nostalgic or historical about them. However, when I found this semi-outdoor stairs, I dragged my sister along to take photos here. Sure, it's not as gorgeous, but with a little change of perspective, everything can look beautiful. Just ask my sister—she wasn't convinced at first, but soon asked me to do the same for her.

Hand-me-down batik top + jeans + purse // thrifted loafers // old boater hat // photos by Sis

I knew we were going to go here—I already scouted the location beforehand—so I put on an outfit that I thought would look good and fit the theme of the location. I wanted something casual but put together enough to know what I mean? Dainty skirts and dresses were probably a bad idea, so I thought I'd go for pants. This pair, by the way, as you might've noticed has been a favourite of mine lately. With my, ahem, ever growing thighs, at the moment I can only fit into two pairs of pants of mine—could've been three, but one of them just disappeared into thin air. Fun fact: these pants, the top and the purse are all hand-me-downs from my Grandma. I absolutely love the collar on the batik top, it looks adorably '60s! On its own, it actually resembles a shirtdress, but with far too high partings, that I don't think I can wear it on its own. I feel like hand-me-downs got such a bad rep, but—again—with a change of perspective, everything can look beautiful and downright desirable. Don't you think?

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Saturday, 12 January 2019

Habits I Wish to Keep in 2019

The start of a new year always inspires me to change my life somehow. Usually, it comes in the form of looking for ways I could move back to Germany. This year, however, with the changing of my life being a definite promise, I don't feel the pull to do that again. Instead, I'm starting to really look at the here and now—and what I can do about it. These aren't one of those resolution posts—I did that one already, remember?—and it's certainly not a miraculous happy-go-lucky transformation of my daily life. It is a bit of wishful thinking combined with enough self-reflection. It is meant to remind myself to keep to these habits—and why—as well as to hopefully inspire some of you to make small changes to your life, without waiting for the grand gestures to do so. It's true what they say: it's the small things that count.

Pre- and Post-Facial Care

I'm going to say something that a lot of you would probably hate me for: my skin is pretty low maintenance. That means all my life I've never had to do much to take care of it. Minimal care, like facial wash—could go a long way. However, as I grow older, I start to notice that it is—inevitably—starting to fall apart. Pimples show up more frequently—and bigger than ever—and the texture dries up quite easily these days. I think, aside from aging, a major factor is my lack of care for it. Often I would ride motorcycle and come home without washing my face—leaving soots and pollution to suffocate it. It's really simple, but I neglect it. That's why I want to make it a habit to wash my face straight away as soon as I get home. For extra care, I'd like to also apply aloe vera gel to soothe and moisturise my skin before I leave. A little care here and there, you know.

Daily Sit-Ups

As a girl who wants to get fit and lose weight, I am exceedingly unwilling to actually exercise—as some of you probably are too. I hate the idea of going to the gym. I'd rather be involved in a sports game—something like baseball or basketball. Swimming is as close as it gets to me actually having a regular workout. However, the time—and money—aren't always readily available. What I believe very heartily is that small things, done frequently, can create a difference. So, instead of having a full on workout session—that will eventually fall to the wayside, I've decided to do small things like doing sit-ups everyday. It can be as small as 20 times or as big as 100 times, but if I do it regularly enough, I'll get used to the load. Why sit-ups? Because I want to focus on my abs and sit-ups come in various styles.

Keep a Budget

Money has been strict for me in the past few years. Being a freelancer, it is hard to tell when money will come in abundance and when it will be barely enough. Unfortunately, I am not yet in a position where I can count on financial stability just yet. Maybe, if I have an office job, it would be better, but it would at least be another year before I could even qualify—bachelor's degree and whatnot. So far, all I can do is make the most with what I have and manage it well. Budget-ing is something that I've been doing for a while, but it hasn't always worked for me—mostly, because I'm being way too generous on it. A friend of mine uses a weekly budget, so when she's spent too much in the weekday, she just stays home on the weekend. That seems to have worked out well for her, so I'd like to try that too.

Deodorise and 'Fume

Here's a little gross fact of yours truly: I haven't worn deodorant in around 10 years. Okay, yeah, there was the occasional body spray when I lived in Germany—and some other means of fighting body odour henceforth—but not actual deodorant. It's just that I know deodorants are potentially carcinogens—the anti-perspirant types—and I'm not going to willingly put that substance on my body. What I've been trying to do for years is to find the all-natural alternative for it. Now, with my determination to go low-impact, the stakes have gotten higher. Fortunately, there are stores like Cleanomic, Dimanja Bumi and Green Mommy Shop, who provide all-natural, plastic-free options in Indonesia. If you're looking for one too, I'd recommend checking them out. Also, I've been using an old perfume of my sister's lately (lol).

Bring My Reusables

As you know, I've been reducing my single-use plastic and waste emission. There are so many really easy ways to do this, just FYI. So yeah, one of the first things I did was use as many reusable items as possible. From straws, to cutlery and bags, I've become used to lugging those things around. Sometimes I would go so far as to bring empty lunch boxes for the main purpose of becoming the container to a snack I'd buy later on. What I haven't been really good at, to be honest, is being a visionary about this. Meaning, if I don't feel like I'd need my cutlery or straws or bags, I almost never bring them. The problem is that, more often than not, I'd need them by the end of the day/trip. These days I'd really like to be more prepared and bring at least those three things, because I'll always need them.

How about you? What small habits you'd like to keep or cultivate in 2019?

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Saturday, 5 January 2019

...But First Coffee


Happy New Year, guys! Here's to the first outfit post of the year. Woohoo! Entirely unplanned, this first post also took place in a local coffee shop—quite close to my house—just like the previous one. This one is a place I've been wanting to visit for a while—and, apparently, so has my sister. We decided to stop by after running some errands—and, ahem, getting a haircut. The place was really minimalistic, with affordable food and drinks available and a lovely place for photos. To be honest, I kind of regret not using the interior more for photos, but I just wanted to have more of a quality time chatting with my sister. We ordered the Es Kopi Omni (their signature Iced Coffee) and Iced Green Tea Latte along with Nasi Gila Mozzaru and Nasi Ayam Mozzaru (basically, cheesy rice menus). They all taste great, especially the Nasi Ayam Mozzaru—because it's so cheese-tastic!—although the coffee taste more chocolate-y. What I love the most about this place is that...they provide stainless steel straws! If you want to have an eco-friendly sip here, it is entirely possible. We've brought our own this time, but you can see the provided ones above. Props to you, Omnikopi!

Thrifted top + loafers // swapped cardigan // hand-me-down skirt // Kaboki macramé bag // photos by Akita

New year, new hair seems to be the theme with me lately, but I've been itching for a change and was good enough to wait until the end of 2018. My sister and I tried out this relatively new salon in the area, Mirror Me. It was quite affordable, the scalp massage was really pleasant and the ambience was top notch. I love how my hair turns out! To be honest, I feel like it was too long for my liking, but my parents convinced me that it's already the perfect length. These photos were taken straight out of the salon—I mean, after hours of going round and round in circles, looking for another branch of this local coffee place. I wanted to wear a remotely feminine outfit for the first post with this hair, so I decided on a skirt—this one is my favourite of the moment. This whole ensemble has been worn before, to be honest, so I didn't have to think long and hard on it.  I really love the contrast between the girly outfit and the edgy, tomboy hairstyle. How has your 2019 been so far?

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Tuesday, 1 January 2019

The Wheel Starts Turning

How can life change so profoundly in a year? How can everything just shift in the span of 365 days? It's strange, when you look back on it, because so many things happened in 2018 that I never imagined would happen to me—at least not for a few more years. Some of them may seem minuscule and minor, but actually create a huge ripple effect and, thus, leave a huge impact on me. It can be something as simple as a few reassuring words or as big as a grand gesture. So long as I know the true intentions behind them are pure and loving, I'll always hold on to them so tightly. It's also so, so strange how I've decided to do so much and change my life so dramatically, once I no longer have my silver spoons anymore. Strange, isn't it, how life works out that way? But, let's start at the beginning and make our way down!


January has always looked rather bleak. The year started with me getting a new haircut and announcing that I will be blogging a lot less. It touched my heart to see a lot more people responding to this (barely) news than I had expected. It was a really hard month for me, mostly due to my finances, but I did get some good times too. One of my best friends Uli had a birthday get-together and it was really nice catching up with everyone—whilst stuffing our faces with food. Crossed off the first thing on my yearly goals: I finished the Harry Potter series! It took a lot less time than I thought and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Around the same time, by the end of the month, I received an incredibly, mind-blowingly, unexpectedly beautiful and miraculous surprise: FIRU CAME HOME!


Needless to say, February was marvellous! I mean, no, not really. In reality, there was a lot of crying, a lot of laughter and a lot of questions. Firu only stayed for a month, so he had to divide his time between me, his family and his friends, so we didn't get 24/7 together, obviously. We hung out with Edwin and Wilson—who you might recognise from my previous posts—and Iqbal and Gita who just arrived home for good. We went on our first date in over 3 years and the best date of our lives. We talked about everything we couldn't say over the internet. Our relationship was blown wide open and we dove more deeply into it like we've never done before. It's so surreal and amazing how, even after over 7 years, there were still things we could learn from one another. Illustration-wise, this month I officially opened my Tictail store and joined a fun artistic challenge—which I won! Also, I started working for Joko's World too. This was also the month I took the first trip of the year. It was quite low-key but really, really pleasant. I enjoyed it so much! It was the best month of the past few years and this is how I felt by the end of it.


March taught me that I'm stronger than I think I am. Crying over Firu only lasted a few nights and we got used to our previous lives again. How weird is that? I'm very grateful for my friends, though, because they helped me through whatever storm brewing in my mind. My friend Vivi came back from Malaysia and together with Jess we spent a playful day at IKEA. It was so much fun! Jess was kind enough to share her Netflix trial period with me and I didn't waste time tasting as many exclusive series and movies as I possibly could. My friend Divina also came to town this month and asked me to join her meet-and-greet session with a few of her viewers—she's a Youtuber, FYI. We had such a barrel of laughter—and I got to know new people. Also, Vina was kind enough to give me some of her old clothes. So excited to style them in all the ways to Sunday! Book-wise, I finished yet another magical series that I loved as a teenager: The Chronicles of Narnia! Too many levels of meaning between the lines with this one. 


April was a book-themed month, it seems. At the start of it, my sister and I managed to go to Big Bad Wolf Book Sale and grab a couple books. On another weekend, we also had the chance to drop by Ruang Buku by Book for Good. Towards the end of the month, the Kickstarter project's reward that I backed finally arrived on my doorstep. It's the two art books by Lois van Baarle! Got through both of them in a day, 'cause they're just so inspiring! I'm basically happily drowning in books by now. Of course, April means Fashion Revolution Week. This year I tried to post daily too, although with less structure than I did last year. You can go here to check out all my FRW posts so far, including the love affair I have with my penny loafers. Professionally, I got my first ever Tictail client this month and I had so much fun doing their commission. I still had a some flaws needing of work, but I'm eager to learn from my mistakes.


May doesn't particularly have a theme, but it does revolve a little bit around culture and the environment. The month started with a wonderful surprise from WWF Indonesia. You see, a couple months previously, when I was just hanging out with some friends, they approached me and I joined their supporter program. They sent me this awesome t-shirt in thank you and I love it! This is the second t-shirt I got from them. Aside from that, I've been preoccupied by Europe on Screen for the first two weeks of May, while only catching two documentaries in the end. They were rather interesting and not too heavy. Lastly, Prof. Shinichi Ito from Musashino Art UniversitySaku-chan's almamater!—came to my campus and gave an intriguing lecture on Explore and Experiment, showing us his previous projects combining local knowledge and innovative ideas in Ghana and The Philippines. So honoured to have attended! Somewhere along the line, Ramadan rolled out just like that.


June was hard! Well, Ramadan was hard and I got so stressed out that my period came very, very late this month. My loved ones' birthdays just flew right by, amidst all my frustration. There were so many assignments and jobs from work that I almost never had time to just pause and breathe. Until I visited my Grandparents', of course. My sister and I explored the town as usual, starting with Tugu Pahlawan, then strolling through Tunjungan Street and trying a new burger joint in town. To be honest, though, it also wasn't the best family holiday we've ever experienced. My mind was still partially stuck in school too, because piles of assignments loomed over me still. Give me a bloody break, for eff's sake! By the end of it, though, I managed to slow down a bit and listen to various podcasts, including Halbe Katoffl—my favourite!—Armchair Expert, Being Boss and Ctrl Alt Delete.


July was already immensely better. I could see light at the end of the tunnel—with the semester break falling mid-month—so it was easier to power through. This month has allowed me more time to work on my personal illustrations, starting with Firu's birthday illustration. I also joined a couple #drawthisinyourstyle challenges, such as those by Stephanie Priscilla and Loish. Then our 8th anniversary rolled around, for which I did a quick illustration. And I managed to finally finish my Gym Leadersona. So fun to make! Offline, it was quite a good month, because Iva is home again! We hung out with Edwin and Wilson once and had a ladies date once—both of which were filled with pleasant catch-ups and TMI convos (lol). Also, I had the chance to catch up with Jess and Vivi again, as well as visit my old uni friends' portfolio exhibition. So proud to have such talented friends! This was actually the month I stopped eating out, but it turns out to still be rather eventful in the end.


Starting the month right, August opened up with a post on Zero Waste in Indonesia. I finally kicked it off with this lifestyle this year and I'm so, so happy to head in the right direction. Please check it out if you're interested in starting a kinder lifestyle on this earth! You can also find more of my experience in this transition on my instagram story highlights. More on the blog, obviously, sticking to my tradition of the past four years, there's an Indonesian-only post on Independence Day. Meanwhile, real life just kicked off into full gear of preparing for Comifuro XI, where I opened a booth with a few friends. It wasn't wildly successful, but it was leagues better than my first experience and I enjoyed it very, very much! The next day, my friend Gina asked me to help out with a late-night fashion photoshoot with a couple of her Japanese friends. It was so much fun and I felt very inspired for future outfit posts. What a great month before going back to class!


In comparison to the previous month, September is pretty tame. It started out right with me borrowing a pile of books from my friend Maya. They have been such great, stimulating and educating reads—I'd expect no less from Maya. Aside from books, September has been signified by two defining subjects. The first one is Japanese films and series—which I obsessively consumed in the span of around two weeks. The second one is waste-sorting. Although it's been part of my life since the end of August, I kept on exploring and finding out more about it throughout the rest of this month. Stainless steel became my life and I tried out menstrual cup for the first time. Mid-September dragged me, kicking and screaming, back to uni—but it turns out to be a lot more fun than before. Socially, I rarely spent time outside of the house, although I managed to hang out with my best friends and made new friends who I found online. It was pretty low key and chill, just what I need.


October is, as you know, my birthday month—and it just so happens to be the month when all the stars were aligned. It started out with great news on the career front. First off, there's the two-part sponsored posts with Emma and Campaign Monitor. Then there's a new job from a recurring client—which, unfortunately, is still kept behind curtains this far. This year I also don't hate my birthday so much, because I felt absolutely loved by my friends and family. It could be that I was finally growing up—or it could also be thanks to Bintaro Design District. At 26, I've finally decided to put an end to the X Before Y Goals, and start with the 30 Before 30 List. It'll keep me a lot more focused and finally moving in the right direction, as far as life goals go. It also happens to be the month I was forced to learn about taxes—on the day I just posted it as one of my goals—and thought about money in relation to my friends. Lastly, because I'm lazy, I dressed up as modern Snow White on Halloween—despite the fact that she's my least favourite Disney princess—and didn't go anywhere (lol).


November was exciting at best and frustrating at worst. It opened up with a lucky draw—that I won!—from Sadhu. Finally, my first ever statement earrings—and it's ethical too! Being left home alone the second weekend this month, I decided to hit two fashion events at the same time. The first one being the Louis Vuitton Time Capsule exhibition—which is said to be a once-in-a-lifetime event in Indonesia—and the second one is the Timun Mas installation by Sejauh Mata Memandang—which I visited again with my friend Jess. A balance, y'know, of the ludicrous, high-end and the ethical, locally-made. Speaking of balance, the week after that lonesome weekend I went to the movies twice with my Dad and Sis—first to cry over Freddie Mercury and second to not be impressed by Dumbledore and Grindelwald. On to the frustrating side, this was a month of midterm exams and internship-hunting. I was pretty sleep-deprived and down for the count by the end of it.


December this time makes me feel somewhat hopeful. The month started with yet another film festival—this time it's Japan Cinema Week. Just like all the other times I went to a festival, I only managed to catch two films this time too. First, my sister and I went to see Mary and the Witch's Flower and, second, I went with my friends Jess and Vivi to see 8-Year Engagement. They were very different movies, but both really good and riveting. Aside from that, I also started my internship this month! It was my first ever experience working in an office and I was so excited. Check out the blog post I wrote for them—Indonesian only, sorry! Two great things about this: I get to work together with one of my best friends Gina and it's a pretty chill, open-space office, so hopefully I'll be able to fit in. Lastly, this is finally the year I managed to read 50 books. In fact, I finished 60 books! How 'bout that?

This year was hard to place. It was a jumble of things, a flurry of feelings and a collection of memories. When it was high, it was really high, but when it was low, it broke me to pieces. It was the year when time feels to move and my life is set into motion again. If I had to describe this year—just like I did with all the previous ones—I guess I have to say: in motion. This was the year I finally started working long-term with people from abroad; the year I successfully sold my artwork; the year I started transitioning towards low-impact lifestyle and the year I started an office job—although still an intern. Mentally, this was the year I became financially wiser; the year I could almost let go of Germany completely; the year I was finally okay with my birthday being what it is and the year I could make peace with not having as many friends as I would've liked. Ultimately, this year was changed forever early on, when Firu decided to come home for a month. It changed how I see our relationship and how I would feel about the whole year—maybe even beyond that. It gave me freedom and security and everything else in between. Let us now go to the scoreboard:
  1. Make an illustration for every important date/holiday 
  2. Get a second income source/job 
  3. Create monthly goals (and accomplish them)
  4. Have a healthy and supportive relationship with Firu ♥ 
  5. Take care of myself physically and mentally 
Okay, the first item on this list: I did manage to do it for at least 2 months before giving up altogether. It took way too much time and effort, so if I'd stuck with this goal, I don't think I would have much time for other goals of mine—particularly in the career and self-development front. Now, about the second source of income, it comes in the form of another long-term client, but also other additions. For example, events like Comic Frontier or my Tictail store really helped me financially. Towards the end of the year, however, that comes in the form of an internship. Still far from being financially stable, unfortunately, but I was rather fine for a while—although, such is usually the case with freelance, it's very shaky. However, I had pretty much no time to create monthly goals, so I scrapped that. With Firu's brief homecoming, we managed to talk a lot about our relationship and our goals as a couple. It has changed our relationship like nothing before—it could only get better. Taking care of myself is an on and off situation—sometimes I do it, sometimes I don't. For the most part, I think I'm doing a pretty good job at it.
  1. Be proactive in my internship
  2. Make headway on my 30 Before 30 goals
  3. Read more quality over quantity
  4. Support and always improve communication with Firu ♥ 
  5. Always remember to rest when needed

2019 holds a lot of promise, hopefully it'll be able to keep it. What do YOU want to achieve in the next 365 days?

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