Sunday, 28 July 2019

A Moment of Peace in the Storm

 Balkoni

Last weekend my sister and I tried out a new place to eat. We stumbled upon it partially by accident, but it was such a quaint corner that we welcomed it. The place was rather small, but big enough to contain at least 20 people. The interior was very cozy and rustic. The light hits the place just right, especially around the time of our visit. They have such a unique selection of food and beverage too. Personally, I love their pasta dish—particularly the Spaghetti Alfredo. The cream is perfectly measured and matched with the chicken very well. I also tried their Yuzu Iced Tea, while my sister ordered their Es Kopi Gula Aren. Love the taste of both! Not to mention the cute can-like glass that they use for the coffee. I'll most likely come again—at least for the pasta alone. Lastly, let me just say a word or two about this t-shirt I'm rocking. It has Ranma and Akane on the front! A former co-worker of mine got it for me from Japan—although he ended up forcing me to pay for it in the end. Finally, a tee with my first love on it! 

Gifted t-shirt // vintage skirt // old hat + purse // thrifted loafers // photos by my Sis

Lately, I feel like I haven't had the time to really unwind and relax. Caught between my full-time job and other commitments—not to mention bouts of melancholia—I often don't feel like I could indulge myself in my leisurely hobbies anymore. When was even the last time I had 30 minutes to bury myself deep in a book? Honestly, it's crazy when you think about it. Yes, it's as stressful as it sounds.  I think it's partly due to the demands my work entails and partly due to my own negligence towards my own mental health. People don't realise sometimes that it can be quite tricky when you're an ambivert—you both want to constantly stay in people's company, but get absolutely drained when you don't get enough me-time too. Luckily, my partner-in-crime at work—and all of my beautiful, sweet interns—are very helpful and kind, so it lifts my mood a lot. They always become the highlight of my day. No matter how tired and stressful you are, when you can laugh with your friends like this, doesn't that make it worth your while somehow?

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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

We Had Our Feet in the Sand, with an Ocean Waiting

I'm a huge believer that all relationships are different, even if they have gone on for the same amount of time or are structurally similar. Which why I also believe that every relationship is unique, especially those long-term, healthy ones. At the start of Firu's and mine, we got to know a few couples who had dated for years. Some became a role model for a relationship that we wanted to cultivate, some became an example of what we should be wary of. Either way, it was hard to imagine what we would be like years afterwards—we were so young, the world was our oyster, anything could happen. And 9 years later, here we are. To say that our relationship has become so different from how we thought it would evolve is a complete understatement.

Every year, as you might have noticed, I write a little something about my relationship with Firu on our anniversary. Depending on my overall mood that year, I could go from being melancholically grateful to just a downright mess. This year I feel a more optimistic gratitude towards our relationship. It has never felt stronger and more certain than now, in a strange way. Firu has always been my number one guy. He's always been the one to know me best—the good, the bad and the ugly—and chosen to be with me nonetheless over and over again. Now, more than ever, am I absolutely sure that there will never come anyone else who could love me the way he does. In that unique way of his that has pushed me to be stronger and made me feel incredibly cherished all the same.

On the other hand, I know I haven't always been the best girlfriend. I often think about myself way too much, not giving him a chance to pour his heart out. There are times when I burden him terribly with my woes and problems—both real and imaginary. Worst of all, there have definitely been times when I do not respect his wishes or mind his feelings towards my actions. Mostly, these actions aren't too damaging, but I cannot say they won't have repercussions in the future. Recently, I've been trying to be more considerate of this by changing the way I behave in regards to him. It's been nine years, but I'm still learning how to become a better person for us both.

All in all, these past nine years definitely didn't just come from nothing. There's a reason we've been together for so long. If for nothing else, at least because I believe Firu is the best person for me and, hopefully, he thinks the same of me. People often ask how we can be together for so long—with years of LDR in between too—and I wish I could tell them there's real magic there. There isn't. We both work and fight hard to stay together, to show each other how much we love them. We don't always succeed at it, but we never give up—and I think that's the most important bit.

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Saturday, 13 July 2019

5 Self-Care Zero Waste Essentials

How has your Plastic-Free July been so far? If this is your first try, it might not be so easy. But, as they tell us over and over again, there is no such thing as a failure in this movement. The goal isn't to do it perfectly, but to get as many people as possible to make an effort to cut down on plastic. In other words, if you're joining this challenge at all, you're already winning in life. Now, if you missed it, last week I shared some zero-waste essentials for when you're out and about. I believe it is when we're constantly on-the-go, that we use the most plastic. That being said, sometimes our enemy lurks within our home too. So, today let's talk about switching our self-care items for plastic-free, eco-friendlier options. Here are my personal essentials and where you, too, can find them.



Bamboo Toothbrush

This is probably the first zero waste item I've ever bought. The thing about toothbrushes is that you need to exchange it for a new one every few months or so. Unfortunately, if it's made out of plastic, all those old toothbrushes will either pile up in your house or wash up on a beach somewhere. I think switching to a compostable bamboo toothbrush is one of the biggest favours you could do for mother earth. The bristles can be made out of various materials too—I've tried the charcoal and wheat ones—although some cannot be composted. Because it's made out of natural material, it can change colour over time. You can buy one for yourself from Cleanomic, Zero Waste Indonesia, Warung 1000 Kebun, Green Mommy Shop and Ekko Store.


Bar Soap (+ Shampoo)

Even before I started switching to a zero waste lifestyle, I've switched to a bar soap for years. The initial reason, for me, was financial. You see, I believe bar soap is so much friendlier to my wallet, as it lasts longer than liquid ones. Environmentally speaking, it has a smaller carbon footprint as it usually comes with paper packaging—or none at all. It wasn't until I looked into the zero waste lifestyle did I realise that there's a bar that works as both soap and shampoo. Although I have bought one of those 2-in-1 bars before, I've never actually used them as shampoo. I've heard great reviews from those who have, though. You can get one of those from Cleanomic, Zero Waste Indonesia, Warung 1000 Kebun and Green Mommy Shop.


Bamboo Cotton Buds

One of the things I keep reading on zero waste support groups is that cotton buds are basically the devil's work. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people on earth who uses them frequently. Not to get too TMI, but my earwax is of the more liquid kind, which requires cotton buds. When my ears get itchy, I find comfort in sticking one of those buds in there. It's a controversial practice and I honestly don't give a damn. All I know is that I need cotton buds in my life. Luckily, I have found a compostable alternative made out of bamboo. One of my friends reckon I could even DIY them, but, personally, I just don't have the time. Feel free to get them for yourself from Ekko Store, Cleanomic, Warung 1000 Kebun and Green Mommy Shop.


Menstrual Cup

A controversial purchase, perhaps, but hear me out. Switching from disposable menstrual pads to one menstrual cup has been incredibly life-changing for me. Do you know that menstrual pads—as well as tampons—are almost impossible to recycle? They're made out of various synthetic materials and laden with numerous bacteria, that it's near impossible to recycle them. Menstrual cups, for me, are so practical and it helps me calm down about my period. You can read all about my experience and thoughts here. But, if you're still not convinced, there are also such things as reusable menstrual pads. You can get them both from Ekko Store and Zero Waste Indonesia, and menstrual pads from Green Mommy Shop.



Organic Deodorant

Okay, time for a confession: for years I've never used deodorant until December 2018. That was around the time I started my internship at my current office. It was pointed out to me, kindly, that I might have been emanating a less-than-pleasant odour. Just like that, I realised that I need to buy zero waste deodorant. I've seen a recipe on how to DIY my own deodorant, but since the materials felt either quite expensive or hard to place, I've never gotten around to actually making it. In need of a hasty solution, I decided to just buy one. Mine is more of a paste, but there are the solid and liquid variety too. You can buy one from Cleanomic, Green Mommy Shop and Dimanja Bumi.

Sometimes we are so fixated on taking care of ourselves that we would do so at a cost to the environment. But, you know what, you can do both at the same time too! These are, obviously, only a small portion to all the changes and alternatives you can use that are free of plastics. You can take a look at all the products and tools that you tend to use around the house, and perhaps come up with a plastic-free solution yourself. God knows I still need to work on that. Again, feel free to check out my Instagram story highlight to find out more stores where you can get zero waste products.

Let me know how you've been taking care of yourselves without plastics!


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Saturday, 6 July 2019

5 On-the-Go Zero Waste Essentials

It's Plastic-Free July, guys! If you're not familiar with what it is, Plastic-Free July is basically an international movement garnered by the consciousness of our ever-growing waste problem. In July every year people make it a mission to refuse single-use plastic and reduce their waste emission. This movement is what inspired me to start a zero-waste (or low-impact) lifestyle last year. Are you guys joining in on the movement? This month I thought I'd share some tips and tricks on how to cut down on plastic (or eliminate them completely from your life). If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my daily stories, in which I suggest switching out an otherwise-plastic object in your life for a reusable, eco-friendly alternative. Whenever I post this kind of post, I get asked where I get an item or two, so today I'll be sharing what my essentials are and where you, too, can get them.


Tiffin Box

Everyone at my office always notices this about me—if for nothing else: I'm the girl who brings her own lunch in a little tiffin box. I've always brought my own lunch since my school days. But, if before I would use a tupperware or essentially-plastic lunch boxes, these days I've switched for a tiffin box. The one I have is small enough to fit into my bag, pretty air-tight, so much easier to wash and doesn't really affect the taste of the food contained inside. To be honest, I'm not sure where this box came from—I found it somewhere at home and quickly claimed it. If you want a stainless steel lunch box, however, you can get one for yourself at Zero Waste Indonesia or Green Mommy Shop


Pouches

One of the things I always make sure to never go without when grocery shopping is pouches. They're really handy, easy-to-use and can be really cute. When it comes to buying fruit, vegetable and eggs, my sister and I use these babies to get them weighed and bring them home. Aside from produce bags, I also have pouches for my other zero-waste needs, i.e. straw pouch and cutlery pouch. There's also the menstrual cup pouch that comes with the cup. For all my pouch needs, I've always gone to Kaavya. They have the cutest and most unique selections of fabric, with a great quality of seams to boot. Otherwise, I also adore ssewn, Zero Waste Indonesia, Warung 1000 Kebun and Cleanomic.


Reusable Straws

Although not as often used, this is an item I tend to bring everywhere—you just never know! There are at least three kinds of reusable straws that I know of: stainless steel, bamboo and glass. While I'm sure they all have their own benefits and drawbacks, I've never had anything other than stainless steel straws, so I can't really tell you about the other ones. Technically, I only have one straw for boba, while borrowing my sister's rose-gold regular one all the time. I used to have a different regular straw, but left it at a restaurant and it was forever lost. My sister got these straws—and the brush—from No Space Canteen, but you can easily find other such straws at Kaavya, Warung 1000 Kebunkembali.jkt and Ekko Store.


Cutlery

Yet another item that I didn't actually purchase myself. When I started switching to a low-impact lifestyle, I wanted to bring my own cutlery but didn't feel like I should buy new ones, because we have a house full of them. Fortunately, I managed to find a whole set of stainless steel cutlery—spoon, fork and chopsticks, complete with the pouch—at home. Unfortunately, I can't tell you where to buy them, because it seems to have been a wedding souvenir—and a splendid idea at that. You can, however, simply use your own cutlery at home or, if you don't already have one, purchase compact, reusable cutlery at Cleanomic, Zero Waste Indonesia,  Warung 1000 Kebun or Ekko Store.

Glass Jar

Last, but certainly not least—in fact, this is the most asked about item on this list—is my favourite go-to container for all sorts of beverages. I've always been into mason jars and wanted to own one for so long. I didn't know they were available for quite cheap—and in various sizes too!—here in Indonesia. When I first saw one on someone else's IG story, it was being used to contain boba drinks and I quickly asked where the person got it from. It turns out she got it from ACE Hardware—which is where I got mine too, fyi. Mine can contain up to 500ml of liquid—perhaps more, but the indicator only goes as far. I love using it to buy boba or any other cold beverages. Yum!

The truth is often the single-use plastic we resort to are easily substituted. It only takes very little preparation for us to actually avoid having to use plastic at all. These are are just a few of the things you can substitute plastic with, of course. I'm also not perfect—I haven't got all the kinks figured out. There are still some tools I could definitely start adding to my collection. If you're thinking of the same thing, feel free to check out my Instagram story highlight for a complete list of stores to buy them from.

I'd love to hear about the plastic alternatives you've been using in your life!


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