Saturday, 19 May 2018

Glassy Hour

Currently Reading: Astray - Emma Donoghue

Earlier this month was the time for Europe on Screen, which is a great opportunity to catch tons of European films at various venues in a selection of Indonesian cities, including, of course, Jakarta. I was so excited to check out as many screenings as I could—and it was for free too! However, in the end I only managed to catch two documentaries, Yohji Yamamoto: The Dressmaker and De kinderen van juf Kiet. The previous is a one-hour story of a Japanese fashion designer through his eyes—and those around him. It really made me understand his mindset and history, especially in terms of fashion design. It really feels quintessentially Japanese. The latter is a 2-hour story of a teacher's class in primary school, which is filled with migrant children—some of them from war zones, i.e. Syria—set in a small town in Holland. I love that it's completely focused on the children, showing the funny and adorable way they interact with one another. Such a fresh portrayal of refugee children!

Sis's top (borrowed) // drsv batik pants // thrifted loafers // photos by my sis

The last screening my sister and I caught—which is the Dutch documentary—was held at Goethehaus in Menteng. This place is a German language institute where I also once learnt German. It feels so good to be back! However, the place has a small parking lot and by the time we got there it was full already, so we decided to park at Menteng Park—and take a 10-minute walk back to the institute. The area was such a pleasant place, that walking from one spot to another isn't such a bother. There were also a lot of places to eat nearby, so we just kept walking for the rest of the day. After lunch, it was already around golden hour, which gave the park a very cozy feel—if it wasn't for the plethora of people taking photos all over the park. It's an epidemic, I'm telling you. Well, can I really complain, when I'm basically part of the problem?

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Saturday, 12 May 2018

5 Ways to Go Green with Printed Books

As I'm sure some of you are, I am also one of those people who care about the environment, whilst having a penchant for printed books. While I want to contribute to the fight against climate change, I am unwilling to give up hard copy—e-books just don't offer that wonderful smell and texture that comes with the experience of reading paper books. A lot of people like to say that you have to read electronically to do the planet a favour, while enriching yourself with knowledge and entertainment—amongst other things. But, I'd like to beg to differ, because I just can't enjoy the experience as much and I do believe some traditions are worth keeping. It might seem quite selfish, not wanting to give up something you really like for the sake of the greater good. But why should we have to, when we can find a better alternative that works for both? So here are some ways that you, too, can root for both teams, without giving up either one—and do your wallet a favour.

Join a library!

Library is a truly magical place, where, for either a small fee at the start or no charge at all, you can gain access to hundreds and thousands of books and other media. You can read various titles that you've always wanted to read, exemplars that are no longer available in stores and audio/videos that are exclusive for the library. If you're in school/university, this is usually included with your enrolment, so you can always just check out any title that you want straight away—granted you return them on time, of course. If you're an adult or not in school, you might want to look up the town library and apply to become a member—it usually takes no time at all. You can also join institutional or private libraries, of course, according to your taste and what you're looking for. Not only will you help reduce paper waste, you'll also save a lot of money and teach yourself discipline at the same time.

Swap with friends!

Probably one of the easiest thing to do, if your local library is too far away. Most people read, even if they don't particularly love doing it on a daily basis. Chances are, so do your friends. You might have seen them read something you've been meaning to buy yourself or you notice a book you fancy on their bookshelf. Why don't you swap with each other? This can be a permanent or temporary situation—I've done both and they've been very beneficial to me. If you have a book you don't like anymore, and your friend has something you've been eyeing—and vice versa—you can just both keep each other's books. If it's just for a short period of time, that's okay too. Both books will not go to waste, you'll be doing your wallet a favour and less trees would have to be cut down. Sure, you can just borrow a book from a friend the old-fashioned way too, if you don't have mutual interests.

Collective purchasing!

If you live in a house with siblings/roommates, this will most likely come naturally to you. It would seem almost silly or pointless to purchase the same book for each individual, when you live in the same household, right? My brother, sister and I often buy one book that everyone can enjoy—although I'm mostly the only one doing the reading. It often falls into the ownership of one person, though. But, if you feel like saving money as well as contributing to the fight against climate change, you can suggest to a friend/roommate/sibling to actually buy a book together, splitting the cost between the two (or more) of you. It might seem rather confusing, if and when you guys separate house, but you can always work out a system—the keeper paying the other half of the cost, for instance.

Buy secondhand!

A really obvious one, isn't it? I feel like this is most likely one of my absolute favourite things to do. Buying secondhand/antique books really gives a whole other feel to both the reading experience and the book itself. You can do it online, offline, local or abroad—you name it! Don't listen to naysayers, by the way, since I've bought quite a number of secondhand books myself, and they all have pretty good quality—some even look like they're relatively new. You can always raid a local secondhand bookstore or flea market. Or you can go to eBay or Amazon—they have a great selection of used books—or, you know, Tokopedia and Shopee, for my fellow Indonesian readers. They're usually more than half the price of a new one with less than half a decline in quality. Plus, you can probably ask the previous owner if it's a recommended book before buying.

Allow imperfections!

Sometimes, when I pass through bookstores, they happen to be having some drastic book sales. And, upon closer inspection, it turns out that these books are actually rejects. These are books that look less than perfect—a minor dent on the edge, a tiny scratch on the cover, a wet look but dry pages. They're also sometimes books that have been on the shelf for far too long, that the publisher and bookstore just want to get rid of them quickly. For that purpose, these books tend to be marked very, very low—in Indonesia imported books could go for as low as Rp 5.000,- (equaling to around US$ 0.37). Of course, be wary of the condition of the books, so as not to affect your reading experience, but this way you're saving these books from being discarded wastefully, without contributing to a new edition of the same title.

That's about all the tips I can give on this topic. If anyone knows any other way to go green with printed books, please leave it in the comments!


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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Current Favourites: Online Finds

If you've been following my blog since at least last year, you would probably remember that I used to have this—shall we say—segment every month, where I compile my favourite reads, watch and listen of said month. But, since I've decided to stop being too structured, serious and planned about this whole blogging thing, I have stopped posting this segment anymore. As much as I love having the free time to do whatever else I prefer, I'm also sometimes close to bursting out with all the stuff I'm dying to share with people. It always feels kind of sloppy and/or out of place to post about them on my social media. Hence this post. These are just a few bits and bobs that I've been really digging on the interweb and I feel like everyone would benefit from having a taste of them.


The Off Camera Show

I love listening to people talk about things they are passionate about, especially public figures. Unfortunately, when it comes to celebrities, interviews with them often become one of those opportunities used by the media to really dig up dirt on their personal life. Sam Jones's conversations with various actors and actresses—be them big award-winning names or ones with subtle fame—offer a different approach and always end up making me feel closer to each and every one of these figures. You can really learn about their back story, their mindset and how they work their craft, without a stint of judgment. It's brilliantly shot in black and white and have seemingly no audience, really completing that sense of intimacy.

Yatzer

It was through an assignment, I think, that I stumbled upon this art blog. Yatzer offers news in the artistic world and introducing numerous creative and unique projects from across the globe. It often dives into the large-scale artwork, including architecture, installations and exhibitions. There are so many incredible, mind-blowing ideas that almost never make it to mainstream media, and here is a place where you can find them. These are some of the best ideas I've ever seen and it's quite unbelievable to know that someone out there has done it. Some of my favourite articles include The Spring Whispers Book Club, Gestural Sculptures of Paint and Algorithmic Portraits.

The Discoverer

Around a year ago, I got a little treat on my inbox when Nicholas, an editor of The Discoverer, emailed to tell me about this idea they were developing. That was how I started subscribing to their amazing newsletter—which I love! A little back story, The Discoverer is a community-based guide for travellers of the world. Every week they send out emails, containing all the information you'd ever need, want or ask for when visiting the week's destination—starting from the best time to go, recommended places to visit, to an experience from one of the community members. They cover a great variety of places around the world, from the most-hyped places to the less well-known ones. Honestly, I've never seen better travel guides.

The Sustainability Project

As someone who has been trying—very lazily—to transition to the zero-waste lifestyle, I've been looking for items I can switch to. So far, I've ever seemed to only find such items in the west—the US or Europe—until I stumbled upon The Sustainability Project. It is a Singapore-based zero-waste shop, filled with amazing, gorgeous products that are plastic-free and aesthetically pleasing. They have items, like bamboo toothbrush, beeswax wrapper and stainless steel bento box. My favourite, to be honest, is the rose gold boba-sized stainless steel straw. Unfortunately, they don't really ship overseas. They tried to give me an exception once, but the shipping turns out to be way too expensive for me. In the end, I managed to find a similar store in Indonesia, but that boba-sized straw can't seem to be found anywhere else. Wish I could go to Singapore just to collect it!

Conception

A web series by New York Times, looking at motherhood through the eyes of 7 women with various backgrounds, various experiences and various feelings about it. I think motherhood is something that is still taboo to talk about, unless you have nothing but joy and elation about the experience. However, in truth, there is definitely so much more to it than that. I mean, sure, we could be happy with the arrival of a little baby, but it can't be the only thing we're feeling—especially if we have to be on its beck and call 24/7. Also, how we see motherhood in general is greatly influenced by our childhood and the people around us. These stories are truly fascinating, unpredictable and greatly touching.

What have you been loving from the internet lately? I'd love to know!

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Saturday, 5 May 2018

New In: Latest Book Haul

March and April were a flurry of book sale after book sale. By the end of it, I realise I've hoarded more books than I was planning to get. It's been such a long time since I bought books, especially this many, so I thought it would be nice to round them up into one haul. I'm very proud of myself for sticking to the books that are on my to-read list at the moment. It's helped me stay in focus. There aren't too many, mind you, since I still have plenty to read from last year. But I'm very, very intrigued to get into them soon.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Bought at a local book store during their imported books sale, this is a title I've been eyeing for a few years now. To be honest, I've already finished it by now, but thought I'd include it in this list. The story isn't at all what I had expected, but it is so raw and oddly beautiful. The book is rather thin, so I could finish it less than 2 days—would've been able to do it in one, if I didn't have other obligations. It is comprised of three connected stories, revolving around a woman who one day decides to become a vegetarian, as a way to suppress the violence she feels within and around herself. How the story develops is quite eerie, no doubt with a mystery that comes with not knowing how other people think.

Hana to Yume vol. 13 (June 2017)

Spied at Kinokuniya's Japanese magazine bargain section, I decided to bring this home for the handsome face alone. Out of all Japanese manga magazine, Hana to Yume happens to be my favourite, having published several of my most loved manga titles and authors. Although I haven't been keeping up to date for some time, after buying this one, I know I still love the magazine. It's in full Japanese, so I've only read a small portion of it. Even so, it's managed to send butterflies in my stomach fluttering from all the sweet, sweet romantic moments encased within.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

As I've mentioned earlier, I visited the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale early last month and this is one of the loots that I got. Shonda Rhimes is a TV hero for me, having created beautiful, heart-wrenching series like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal—plus my new favourite, The Catch. Her stories are so true-to-life, with characters coming and going throughout the series and various tearjerking moments that the audience will never forget. She's gone so far since her series debut started and I'm intrigued to find out how she has become one of the most respected writers and producers of TV history.

A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif 

If you watched my Books on Islam video, you might have seen me mention this book before. To be frank, when I saw it at Big Bad Wolf, I was hesitant to get it because—let's be honest!—I'm not sure I was entirely financially able to sustain this purchase. However, my sister encouraged me to just get it, and I haven't looked back since. At this point, I honestly can't remember what the story is about—will have to re-watch my own video, I guess—but the title and cover alone have attracted me to this book. Plus, I know it's got something to do with my religion, so I'm very exciting to dive into it.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Part of a local charity event, I paid for this book as much as I wished—although still tried to be fair about it. First saw it on A Beautiful Mess, I was quickly drawn to the cover. It really doesn't help that everyone and their mother seem to have read this book and it's won a Pulitzer Prize. When I saw its physical form, I didn't realise that it would be that thick—thicker than even Order of the Phoenix! But it's quite flimsy, so it'll be easy to carry around and whip out in public. It'll be my longest read yet, please do wish me luck!

Also, just to update you on the last pile of books in my TBR, I've actually read 7 out 14 already! It's been really good to just read books I already have rather than keep adding new stuff to my shelf, leaving them untouched. In terms of my reading challenge, I've read 21 books out of 45, which puts me 7 books ahead of schedule. And now I have so many more to devour—and appease me for the next several months, hopefully. How about you? Have you bought any books lately? Are you setting a reading challenge for yourself at the moment? Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post? Let us have a discussion, I'd love to hear what you think!

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Sunday, 29 April 2018

Mix It Up a Notch: Bright Orange Maxi

Do you have an item that everyone tells you would be a crazy purchase, but turns out to look absolutely amazing on you? This skirt is one of them for me. When I brought it home from the local boutique—only less than a 5-minute walk from my Grandparents' house—my Grandma and Grandpa couldn't understand why I decided to get it. My sister downright called it ugly. But I love orange, and I thought it was reason enough to have it. When I uploaded it online, though, the internet basically lost their mind—in a good way. A lot people said it looked really good on me or that it suited me really well, etc.—thanks, you guys! At first, I didn't know how to style it, as it's very bold and bright, but I started to become accustomed to it. Everyone's positive feedback gives me courage and confidence to rock it more often—even more so offline than online, actually. Now I can't imagine my wardrobe without it. This skirt feels like the embodiment of my personality as a whole at the moment and it's become an essential part of my outfits. Do you have a clothing item like this? Would you mind sharing that story with me?

For more love stories from my wardrobe, click here!


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