Friday, 20 October 2017

24 Before 25 List - RECAP

Hey, guys, guess what? It's my birthday! I know I say this every year, but—seriously—twenty-effin'-five?!? That can't be right! Unlike last year, I honestly didn't feel like this year flew by just like that. Various things happened—exciting things, good things, bad things—and they just make the year feel like it stretches on and on and on. But I still can't believe that I'm literally hitting my mid 20s now. There are various things that I thought I'd have accomplished or done by this point. I thought I would get my master's degree by now; I thought I would be getting married by now. But that hasn't happened—who knows if I would be married by next year, though—and, you know what, I'm completely fine with that actually. Life hasn't worked according to plan for me at all, but it's better than it ought to be, given the circumstances. Anyway, you can see last year's full list here. It's been really great and I'm so excited to share this with all of you.

1. Finish all the YA series I followed

First off and already a disclaimer: I didn't actually finish all the series that I used to follow—or even, necessarily, ones in this video. I didn't get to finish Blue Bloods and S.A.S.S., for example; I'm not even sure how many volumes are still left. But I did finish the two that I've been meaning to finish for a while now—namely Artemis Fowl and The Keys to the Kingdom. Aside from that, I also re-read these two, which you can read all about later on in this list. It kind of feels like I'm saying goodbye to that part of my life, of probably the YA genre altogether. It's not set in stone, definitely, but I do feel like I've been straying away from the genre for a while now—and possibly I'll never sway back into it later on. At least, for now, I feel like I wouldn't have the energy nor interest to start following a new YA series. I'm sorry, I just can't.

3. Create a series of illustrations

This is something I've been meaning to do for a while and I am so glad that I managed to tick it off. It was partially thanks to the Illustration class that I took last semester—which forced me to create a series of greeting card illustrations for its midterm project. Aside from that, I also did some personal projects/art challenges that enabled me to do so as well, Inktober and Mermay. Although some of it—read: the greeting cards—were quite frustrating to do, it was quite a lot of fun to create illustrations based on one theme. I'd love to do more of these, of course. I'm also doing inktober again this year—which you can see in my art instagram—for starters, if you want to see more series.

4. Send my work to a publication

At the beginning, I was so pumped to send to loads of different publications and maybe just maybe one of them will accept my work. Unfortunately, due to various things—mostly work and the blog—I didn't end up sending it to more than one publication, the Fashion Revolution Zine. It didn't get accepted, though—I don't really blame them, I mean look at it! I should really try to put more effort into this kind of things. Now I want to turn it into a sticker series of some sorts. What do you guys think?

5. Try the traditional cuisine to a new country

Honestly, I didn't know what country whose traditional cuisine I'd like to try with this challenge. But I did try a few dishes from various countries that I've never properly eaten before. The first country I tried was Mexico—I've had nachos here and there but never proper Mexican food—and had my first experience with a burrito. It was so delicious! I didn't expect it to be so good, but oh my God I need to eat it again. The second one was Mali with their juicy and scrumptious sheep satay. The meat is tougher than cow or goat, but the seasoning is so good! I hear it's actually supposed to be eaten with fried plantains but I was starving at the time and had it with rice instead. I still want to try Filipino, Brazilian and Peruvian—if only I can find authentic restaurants from there out here.

6. Meet up with a (new) blogger friend

This year has been filled with meet-ups with blogger/online friends—well, at least more so than ever before—although, sadly, no one new. I met up with Tasha twice this year—once in February, once in August—and Amel twice too—once in Jakarta, once in Semarang. It feels a little bit insane that it happened. I almost met up with Artha too, but unfortunately our lives got in the way and I missed my chance ;-; Hopefully, we'll actually see each other soon. It should only be appropriate that so many meet-ups have happened this year, because it resonates so well with the lesson I learnt this year: people are so much better in person. Often, I feel misunderstandings frequently occur online—on social media or in chats—but in person it is easily clarified. And I'm so glad to be able to meet up with these people and actually get to know them in real life—because we never know who they are from what we see on their feed. Hopefully, more of such friends to come soon!

7. Try taking analog photos

Early last month I was ready to strike this one off the list. It had been 11 months and I hadn't managed to secure an analog camera—or get the one we have fixed. But last month I visited Low Light Bazaar 11, which is an analog photography flea market. I got myself a simple pocket film camera that requires no focus or changing of lens—and any of those tedious need of care. I was determined to snap as many shots as possible every single day and immortalise my days in its rawest form. There are various things I learn from the experience. First of all, I realise how used to instant process I am—being so impatient to see what the photos I took look like. Thankfully, I put no pressure on these photos, not wanting to use them for any particular purpose. Second of all, there is a finite number of films you can use in a roll—and taking it out to get developed and buying a new one might not be as quick and simple as I would like. I ended up using up my roll before I get to all the—let's say—good stuff. But it's definitely something I want to keep doing from now on. Also, these photos are obviously not from said roll.

8. Read more German books

As you might have read in this post, I've also accomplished this one. Unfortunately, I read less than I'd like to. Reading in German is surprisingly very enjoyable for me—I don't really know why it didn't appeal to me earlier. Maybe because I had to struggle with the language everyday of my life back then, and it was just unthinkable for me to consume it for leisure. But, thanks to some kind-hearted friends, I managed to score some books in this language and have an entirely different reading experience. In fact, I'm currently reading another one as we speak—or type, actually. Maybe next I'll get a library card to the local Goethe Institut and borrow some books from there—Kafka, anyone?

10. Try doing something spontaneous

I think I wrote this down just to give myself one goal that is quite flexible and I can tick—done! But I don't know if the spontaneous things I've done are particularly interesting, to say the least. One of the most impromptu things I did was visiting this little patisserie, after I passed by it, and joining this watercolour competition—though I didn't win. Less interesting spontaneous occurrences also happened, like taking outfit photos in this museum, exhibition-hopping with some friends and second Book of Deer purchase. Less spontaneous but still out-of-the-blue events also happened, like visiting Madura with the family, my first ever ethical purchase and a last-minute sponsored post of the year. I almost did a seriously spontaneous tropical getaway with a couple girlfriends but it all fell through, due to some issues. Such a shame, would've been a wonderful story to tell.

11. #MeatlessMonday

Definitely one of those goals that got me pumped the first few months, but then...got abandoned somewhere along the way—but then picked up again. I've learnt a few things about this movement. As I've mentioned, I took it a step further and became a vegan once a week. It made me realise that we consume more animal by-products than we realise—I was so sad not to able to eat cheese on Monday—but also that without consuming animals, we can still have a healthy, fulfilling and delicious diet. I try to create more vegan-friendly recipes, focusing on the whole dairy-free situation. Throughout the time I was doing this, I stumble upon various threads and comments on it online and a lot of people seem to think it changes nothing—it is just one day of the week—so I think it would actually be better for me to cut down on meat and such altogether. I'm doing good so far with drinking soy milk, instead of cow milk, everyday and we as a family want to shift into sustainable and local seafood instead—as per the instruction of our Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

12. Work on my blog design (seriously!)

After having the last blog design for, what, two years? I thought it was time for a change—plus, the leaning-on-the-left orientation is getting me a bit dizzy. I want to go back to orange, which is what this blog is initially built on. It's my favourite colour, it's the colour of autumn which is my favourite season. And it feels so me, in a way—vibrant and unpredictable. I want a cleaner and neater look this time, with less ornaments. The drop-down menu on top has been a dream of mine for years and I can finally implement it on my blog—now you can find the countless various topics I write about easily. I also have a proper mini-profile section on the right bar, complete with my social media—including Youtube!—and a proper contact page for people to see. Also—partly because I don't know where they fit, partly because there are too many topics on top already—there are some more highlighted post topics on the right bar as well. My favourite part is the "currently reading" bit, which I often like to update straight away. Let me know what you guys think!

13. Explore more historical sites in Jakarta

Since I wrote this goal down on my birthday, I actually didn't act on it for months. Months! One day I realised that and decided to list all the historical sites in Jakarta that I had yet to visit and make plans each week to visit each one. Like all other plans, though, it got abandoned somewhere along the way, but I did visit various places that I would otherwise not even have thought about. I even took the bus all the way to Mangga Besar—which took me 6 hours, back and forth! Some sites I also visited with a friend—we tackled three places at once—and it was marvellous. But it's definitely still a tiny portion to all Jakarta has to offer. I should like to explore more still in the coming years. The places I visited include Museum Layang-Layang, Museum Basoeki AbdullahMuseum Keramik and Gedung Arsip Nasional.

14. Re-read my books

Clearly, this is the challenge that I've been the hardest at completing. Too hard, you can say. As you can see, I re-read quite a lot of book—and, for some reason, all of them series. Re-reading books have always felt rather redundant to me, but a lot of people actually do it and I'm intrigued to try it this time. A few things I learnt: First, when you've changed as a person, your perception of everything around you will undoubtedly change too. And, of course, it includes how you feel about certain books—especially one you haven't read in ages, like Tintin for me. Second of all, it's a way to self-reflect, because it shows what you used to like and how it compares to what you like now. Some of these books don't really appeal to me anymore, but some remain interesting in an entirely different light too. Also, some of these were read when I was much, much younger, being oblivious to various adult topics—although none of these is adult books—so it kind of adds up a sense of the stories.

15. Join a Goodreads Indonesia challenge

Only recently—I mean, prior to writing this goal—I found out that Goodreads is good not only to record what you have read or want to read. It has all sorts of book clubs, one of which being Goodreads Indonesia. And, it turns out, they have an instagram account (@bacaituseru), which is more up-to-date than their page on Goodreads, actually. I haven't been able to join in for the most part of the year, to be honest, but managed to join in twice—in July and September. I've never joined a monthly book challenge before, so this was rather interesting. It was like someone chose a theme for me to read and I choose my own title, limited to that theme. It gave me an excuse to read the books I bought in April, before reading books for the other challenges—or books that I bought prior to them. It's also a great way to widen my bookish horizon and realise how many themes I don't actually have a lot of on my bookshelf. You can read the reviews on the above books here and here, if you're interested.

16. Start buying organic/recyclable products

So proud of myself for being able to keep at this one. It all started when I discovered Organic Care shampoo and conditioner. This brand is really awesome for being cruelty-free, free of parabens, SLS and ALS and packaged in recycled plastic. I've tried their normal balance, dry nourish and—I think—colour shield shampoo and conditioner, and am happy to tell you that they've all agreed with my hair. No itchiness, no dandruff and excessive hair fall—more so than usual, at least. Afterwards, I'm so happy when I found Mineral Botanica. Okay, so they may not be organic, but pretty much toxic-free—especially the moisturising lipsticks, which I love!—and nature-oriented. The cushion foundation also comes in refills, which cuts down plastic usage by about half. Lastly, I've been on the hunt for organic/non-toxic bar soaps for my showers. Currently I'm using one from Bali Alus, which is quite okay. Their shampoo didn't sit well on my head, though, so I'm still rather cautious with their products. Recently, I've also just bought three more bars from Sedapur Salam. Both these brands are toxic-free and, I think, cruelty-free. Let's see how they fare!

17. Attend a talk/workshop

I actually forgot about this one when I was writing down this recap, but, apparently, I incidentally ticked it off earlier this year. It was kind of sweet that the opportunity was presented to me several months back, when I was asked to join a story-telling workshop. It was kind of a cute little workshop—that to some of the participants was crucial to their line of work, but to me and some others was really just a great way to let loose and get in touch to our inner child. I had the opportunity to watch professional storytellers from the USA—one of them from Hawaii—strut their stuff and show us their unique and different ways to practice the art. It was really interesting, eye-opening and absolutely spellbinding! We also got to practice our own way of storytelling using the various stories that they gave us—some are fairy tale-like, some are folktales or actual experiences from other people. Sorry the photo's terrible, but I actually didn't take any and tried to screenshot a video from my phone :')

19. Take the public transportation

Although for the majority of the year I really just stayed at home, whenever I go out I try to utilise the public transportation as much as I can. Taking the public transportation has opened my eyes to what Jakarta looks like—geographically and anthropologically. The commuter line in particular is my favourite—when it's not entirely laden with passengers—since it travels a great distance at such a short amount of time. But it's brutal when crowded, especially the ladies-only train car. Etiquette-wise, the Transjakarta bus is much better. I used to think not many people want to use the public transport in Jakarta/Indonesia, but that is not exactly true. A lot of people do use the public transport, but the rich tend not to—and usually each person takes their own car, leaving the road crowded and causing traffic jams—and the number of buses/trains being used isn't enough. Also, the condition of the transportation system in Jakarta isn't as bad as people think—quite good, actually—although it could definitely use some improvement.


20. Join and complete an artistic challenge (at least once!)

Totally tried to cheat when I wrote this goal down! At the time, I was already halfway through my Inktober contributions, with the theme date ideas. So that's quite a given. Aside from that, I also joined Mermay this year—although more on a weekly basis, as I just cannot be bothered to draw mermaids everyday, especially if they were going to be colourful. Along the way, I have found some other artistic challenges on instagram that I thought would be interesting to follow, although they never seem to come when I have some time to spare. Who knows? Maybe I'll do one of them in the future. You can still find my complete works for these challenges on my tumblr.

21. Talk more about being a conscious consumer on the blog (and social media)

Aside from adding the conscious consumer hashtag on instagram posts, the biggest thing I did for this goal is posting everyday on Fashion Revolution Week. Not only did it inform people on what ethical fashion is and how to become a conscious consumer, it also educated me on local ethical brands, 8 ways to wear 8 pieces from my closet and ethically conscious bloggers I didn't know about before. Still in the same month, I also shared about what I learnt (and possibly how) I stopped shopping for clothes for a little over a year. I also wrote a piece on feminism and ethical fashion on International Women's Day—which Rae loved, so chuffed! Aside from that, I also talk about it here and there from time to time. It was easier to talk about it after I made my first ever ethical purchase—and local too!—earlier this year. I hope you guys aren't sick of me talking about this yet—and may actually get inspired by the info I share!

22. Invest on zero-waste appliances/tools (NO PLASTIC!)

I haven't actually bought a lot of appliances/tools that are zero waste, but I did save some glass bottles from some organic beverages I bought several months ago. After hoarding them for months, I decided to give them a wash and use them as a container for my favourite homemade honey lemon recipe—2 lemons fit into three bottles. One of them turned out to have cracks on them though, so I couldn't use it anymore—the water would leak everywhere. Making my own drinks and putting them in containers for days to come has seriously helped me not to buy plastic-packaged drinks in the supermarket, when I fancy something other than water to drink. It's helped me reduce my personal waste and have a healthy drink too.

24. Manage money better (and save up for the future!)

As you might know, if you've read this post—mission accomplished! Well, sort of. I'm not an expert on money yet, and I do still live with quite low to standard wage, but I've become much better at not spending every last penny I've got. It's also opened my eyes to the financial situation in this country—how little we actually earn compared to how much things cost. Although, unfortunately, I haven't been able—or, more like, haven't made extra effort—to save up for the future, apart from the savings account I already have since 2014. But, hey, progress is progress and it's always an ongoing journey until the day money becomes obsolete—I may have been watching a little too many dystopian series.

Oh my, oh my! I can't believe how good I've been doing this past year. I've accomplished more goals this year than ever. It's actually 20! What? That is insane! Well, granted, I made these goals in keeping with my current life situation—or, more like, any life situation. It definitely supported a lot of self-growth in various aspects, artistically, financially, soft skills-wise—you name it! What I've noticed is that I have to potentially spend money for most of these goals, which, although my finances have improved, is a bit limiting. I think next year's list will be less money-oriented. Thank you so much, if you've been reading this far. You are my hero! And thank you for all your support every year, you guys make me want to become a better version of myself. Watch this space for the next list!

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Grainy Season

It's been quite a while since the last black-and-white outfit post on this blog, so since these photos don't have the best of lighting—and the outfit is almost devoid of colours—I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do this again. I love the intimacy the lack of colour and a bit of film grains can add to a photo—it creates this romantic vibe to the whole atmosphere—which is just absolutely perfect for this set of photos, since they were taken when I was hanging out with my best friends around a week ago. I'm so happy to be able to do this and be myself in front of them now—they rarely ever see me in this kind of settings, so it could feel somewhat awkward for me, to be honest. Something else I find awkward is whether or not to post photos of my friends at times like this. Would they expect me to post photos of them? Would they prefer if I don't? If it were me, I think I'd want them to—but that's because I'm a blogger and it's good for networking. Personally, I would love to post as many photos of them on my blog as possible—what better way to show someone you love them, no?—but since they tend to be quite private, I think it's better to stick to just our selfies together from now on.

Hand-me-down shirt // swapped dress // old hat + boots + tights // Exsport bag (really old!) // photos by Uli

As for the outfit, it was actually an after-class-hangout kind of outfit, so the clothes might be quite chic but the bag is, well, my usual uni bag (lol). I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before, but this bag and I went way back—I mean, way back from middle school—so it's definitely become an item of nostalgia between me and my friends. It's also a bit of a rebellious outfit, because on my campus—I don't know if this applies across the country—people will scold you if you wear clothes even slightly above the knee. I did it on my first day and people stared at me and the security guard told me off—even though it was this dress, which is not revealing in any way. But with a pair of tights, nobody even bat an eyelash—okay, not really, but still—so I think it should shut them up a little. I don't know why it still matters what we wear to school, if we respect the lecturers, do our assignments and get good grades anyway. Typical Indonesian to make mountains out of molehills—and vice versa—so different from Germany, where people could wear tank tops and shorts to class in the summer, nichts schlimmes!


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