NOT AGAINST THE STREAM, JUST NOT FOLLOWING IT



I have this thing for stirring clear of the mainstream. I'm attracted to things most people ignore, and I avoid things most people crave. It is predominantly because of my introversion. I constantly feel like I need to get away from where the crowd flocks and find my own little space where I don't have to compare myself to others all the time. So when there's a new coffee shop in the neighborhood with Instagrammable interior and gangs of girls fill up the reservations every brunch time for at least the first three months, that coffee shop would be the last place I'd want to be. Thankfully, my husband gets me and is happy to "isolate" together.

This applies to the fashion part of my world. I fancy all the pretty little trends as featured in the most recent month of Vogue, but as soon as I go shopping and find a piece of such trend, the first thought that comes to mind is: how many girls are wearing the same thing these days. It will only end up in my purchase cart if I can comfortably say that not that many girls, if not none, wear it. Rest assured, you won't see me in Zara more than twice a year.

It does make shopping a tad more difficult though, because no fashion stores want to sell something most girls won't buy. Consequently, I often have to look extra hard to find my treasure. 

If you're reading this and saying "that's so me!", here's how I manage:

1. Shop at the non-ladies department. This includes men, unisex, and kids department. You may frown upon that last one, but here in Indonesia, the size range of the kids department at most stores reaches the size of petite adults. Seriously. The largest size at H&M Kids and Zara Kids is designated for "kids" with 170cm of height. I'm only 164cm! (So Zara Kids would be the only section in a Zara store you'd probably find me twice a year).

2. If you have to shop at the ladies department, buy something that's NOT your size. More often than not this means several sizes larger than your actual size. This way, although you'll probably be purchasing an item that many other girls have purchased, you'll have the upper hand of styling it differently.

3. Avoid the "last piece" rack. It simply means ALL of the other pieces have gone to the wardrobe of most girls in the city, and besides, the discounts on these pieces, if any, are usually unattractive.

4. Spend some time at pop-up stores or flea markets. Especially, when they feature indie designers or vintage collection. And have an open mind while you're at it. Some pieces look undesirable at first sight, but that's probably because you're unconsciously thinking of whether and how other girls have rocked it. When you stop and think of how YOU and your wanderlust soul would style it, you might change your mind. 

I would love to hear a tip from you too! If you have any, please give yours truly some love and drop them in the comment box. Thanks, and have a wonderful week, everyone!



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MISFIT



I'm a social misfit. I don't come up with fun topics to throw to the crowd, I don't have hilarious stories to entice my dinner pals, at least I don't know how to tell them in a crowd-pleasing way. It does not mean I hate people. I just can only handle social scenes for so long before I get mentally exhausted. I like observing people for a while and then going back to not caring about them so much. I like dwelling alone in my own private space. I used to think that's not cool, but I've grown to understand that it is. I try to be as lively and bright so that I always emit positive energy to my surrounding. And it does give me a certain pleasure to be able to affect people that way. Much like my heart-mind-and-soul finds bliss in quietness, some people find happiness in connecting with people and sharing energy and I find comfort in knowing I can contribute to other people's joy the way I do myself.



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MORE THAN BLESSED


In two days it'll be exactly a month since my last entry. In such short time, at least three major milestones were achieved. One, I married my everyday man crush. In the words of Savage Garden, I think I dreamt him into life (NOW I get it).   Except for the rain in the evening, the whole day was everything we planned and everything I had imagined my big day would be. But above the celebrations, the excitement of knowing that it's only the start of our journey as a unity is what the day is all about. 


Two, since you only get married once, you also only get on your honeymoon once. Of course we have all the time in the world to travel now that we're going to be spending the rest of our lives together, but the first trip together as a married is conservatively what constitutes honeymoon. We chose Wakatobi as our destination. It was frowned upon by our families (mostly mine) because it was typical to honeymoon abroad, but our newfound love for exploring underwater beauty made it clear that a diving trip is what we needed.. and oh who said Indonesia is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world? Everyone on planet earth? Right. So why honeymoon abroad?

Three, we finally moved in to our new house. The renovation took a while longer than originally planned, and even now that we're in, there are still some stuffs that need fixing and perfecting. But given the stress that came from juggling work, wedding preparation, AND house renovation for a good part of the year, moving in was and still is like the gift that keeps on giving. 

I won't post photos from the honeymoon or of the house on the blog because I do not foresee a reasonable spare time in the near future to "screen" the photos to produce a few blog-worthy ones. When I do have time though, I will publish them on Facebook and my other social medias, so do keep in touch. 

Now you! What's cookin'? 


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D MINUS FOUR


It's D-4, baby! Sorry for blurry pics, both bridal showers were a surprise on the days that I did not bring my camera with me. I have the sweetest friends in the world. 

On that note, the wedding prep makes me realise that I do not have many friends. I'm not sad, quite the contrary actually. I'm at a point where I feel guilt-free for keeping a mini size of company, not too little for me to feel super loved and not too many to feel overwhelmed. 

As we near the big day, here are a couple of things I learned and would like to share on the world wide web, just so I remember all the moments and the feelings that occurred throughout the journey.

1.  All wedding preparations have their ups and downs, but going through all that strengthens your bond with your partner. You share the good parts and the bad parts. You confide in each other for every little dilemma. It's a taste of what marriage life will be for the rest of your life. And I'm happy that F and I will be passing the test really soon now.

2.  You will know who are actually for you and who are really for themselves. It's true what they say, the people closest to you will surprise you the most.

3.  Ironically, weddings in Indonesia are predominantly your parents' event. Enough said. It's very rarely yours. But it's a matter of perspective. As long as you and your partner keeps it close to the heart, no matter how many unrecognised faces there are at the party, all the love in the air is yours.

4.  One of the biggest concerns of ours is the weather. Garden party is normally a nay for most people planning a wedding towards the end of a year, but we went with it anyway. We hire a weather man (in Indonesia some people are known for their ability to "control" the weather), but that does not rule out the chance of rain pouring. Above all, I believe that even a thousand weather men have nothing on God Almighty. If God wants it to rain, it will. If God wants otherwise, it will happen. Whatever He wants, it's the best for the praying hearts. So we're leaving it up to the Man Himself. Nevertheless, we're not gonna let the rain, rain on our parade.

5.  When the big day ends, it's going to be the start of a whole new journey for F and I. Things that happened up to today, good and bad, happened for a reason and we're here to learn. Whatever happens today, tomorrow we'd be better because we'd know better. 

F and I are very happy, but right now we have a lot on our plates for the wedding and the house renovation. We have been falling sick every now and then, which I think is triggered by the stress. This happened to most of my friends shortly prior to their weddings as well, so I suppose it's somewhat normal. We are taking vitamins and hoping that the stress will ease as we approach the big day. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, daily updates are on Twitter and Snapchat so follow along if you fancy!


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FUNNY HOW CLOTHES MAKE ME FEEL


I am big on keeping my clothes in my wardrobe for years just to re-discover it one day and fall in love all over again with it. Half of my closet are over 5 years old. I like re-styling my old stuffs; perhaps because wearing them bring back memories of how I felt and how things were back then when I bought or wore them for the first time. 

This top was one of my first purchases as a teenager, who just managed to save up a little and one day decided to splurge. Well, as much 'splurge' as I could at that time. It has lost a button now. Still, I wore it again and again and never really got over it.

The clutch was also memorable in that I bought it when I was making and saving more money in college and just wanted to get something that was not from the oh-so-common labels like Zara.. so I went hunting for indie designers and decided to get this. I remember feeling so cool after I got it, hahaha. I loved its color, but honestly it did not fit all of my stuffs and it was not very practical to carry around. But I still keep it in my wardrobe and liked to wear it every now and then, just to reminisce the moments and the feelings of hating it but loving it in the same time when I wore it for a hang out. 

This is likely why I love styling. It's not so much that I love fashion, I mean I do, but I don't really follow fashion. I don't keep up with fashion trends or news. It's more about the personal touch, about how the clothes and styling the clothes make me feel. After all, fashion is art and it is supposed to make you feel something.


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8 WEEKS!


Been a while since I last blogged.. So unless you follow my other social accounts, you are missing out on my bridezilla and house-renovation-zilla moments! It's 8 weeks to the big day now. Below I share some of the most important updates:

1.  Wedding favour is finalised and ready for mass production. The dummy was impressively cute and I can't wait for our guests to enjoy them. Invitation is a little bit more challenging because my parents and I have very different styles and expectation so both sides have to settle on meeting in the middle. It's close to finalisation and hopefully will be ready for mass production soon! 

2.  My dress fitting went super. *big smile* I knew I chose the right designer from the very start. The dummy did not completely reflect what the dress would eventually look like because he used a different fabric for dummy purposes, but the volume that he created was majorly gushable. Next fitting will be with the fabric that he will actually use for the end-product, which both I and F think is going to be a-mah-zing. I can feel my heart thumping right now. My man's fitting also went great. He looks so good in a suit you're gonna cry.

3. Pre-wedding photo session, sangjit (a Chinese engagement event), mother's and sisters' dresses, and cake design are the major things on the top of my head now that we have not yet touched to date, and don't get me started on the trivial things to do. So much to do, so little time!

4.  The house renovation started two weeks ago and it's looking good. The construction guys are still tearing things apart here and there, but I feel like it's going towards the exact direction we want the house to be, so all is well. We hope to move in the night after our wedding, so every day is crunch time!

5. We now spend our weekends shopping for furniture and homeware. We are almost finished with the master bathroom now, still a lot more to go!

6. We initially arranged our honeymoon to start the day after our wedding and to last until the middle of the following week. But it turns out that our office is having an unmissable outing the weekend after our wedding, so we had to either choose between our honeymoon and the office outing or to reschedule the honeymoon altogether. Believe it or not, we decided on the latter. So honeymoon is not going to be until the third week of October.

From now on, there will be no more slacking off because we are going to be busy every weekend (we better be). But everyone says that when it's all said and done, we are going to miss these crazy moments. Well, maybe. I kind of already feel like despite the stress and exhaustion, running errands and brainstorming and making decisions with F are so much fun. 

We made much progress lately on the wedding and the house renovation plans, and hopefully there will be much more as the big day approaches! Accordingly, my outfits for the next few weeks will predominantly be comfortable pants and anything but stilettos. This girl's gotta run!

OH I've gone non-stop about myself, how self-centered! How have you guys been? 




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2016 CHINA TRIP: OUTFITS DIARY



I'd give this trip a 9 out of 10 for the breathtaking landscape and scenery, and a 4 out of 10 for comfort. We went to the smaller province in China called Hunan, to this area named Zhang Jia Jie, which is apparently famous because Avatar (the blue creatures one, not the last airbender (a fact only made known to me last minute)) filmed there. Not bad choice at all, the mountains are that beautiful. Photos are available on my Facebook, but they honestly do not do the place justice. WOW.

But being a sensitive and mushy person that I am, I am constantly bothered by how locals talk, which sounds like they're always mad about something all the time. Such annoyance was partly my fault because I don't speak their languages and had no way to understand by myself that while I was staring at the lady in the restaurant who was yelling at a group of people in the other table, it turned out she was just telling them what the menus were. In addition, most of the public toilets are in such poor condition, they make me refrain from boosting my water intake - which is a huge mistake given the physical requirements to explore the places in our itinerary. Plus, I don't know how to say this nicely, but let's just say locals and I have very different standards as to how public one can go when one takes a dump. 

Anyway, glad that I am now home with good memories of such wonderful mother nature. I pray for the opportunity to visit more natural beauties in the future. 



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I AM MY OWN GEM


Most people get together and talk about other people. Not necessarily gossiping them for what that person just did, how they broke up with their lovers, how that girl secretly picks up a socially stared at side job, or other negative happenings as you may name - sometimes people talk about someone in the government or a celebrity. Their career, their achievements, their luck. Somehow people, like amused audience, are fond of gushing about those things. This is a fact, this is why biography books are often sold out. In contrast, I do not have the slightest attraction for that topic. Like literally when people start talking about other people, I'm turned off and want nothing but to return to my introversion bubble and recharge. 

When information comes to me on how people achieve what they did or was born into all the luck and the good things the world has to offer, I value them as knowledge. There's something new to learn every day. Keeping it positive, those stories can inspire you to live your life in a better way. But I frown upon people who talk about it with envy, or any damn-i-wish-my-life-is-as-sparkly-as-yours attitude. Why would you want to be anything other than yourself? We all have our own blessings and curses. Those people, as lucky as they seem, could always find someone else more superior than themselves and adopt the same attitude. But they don't. (Or I genuinely hope they don't because otherwise all the more reason to stop looking up to them). That's what distinguishes a great person from the rest of the commoners. A great person, appreciative as he is of other people's co-existence, is thankful for his own life, his own journey, his own glitters and his own defects. 

That, I think, is what brings happiness to one's soul. I know it does mine.



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HE PUT A RING ON IT



You know you've been a blogger for a while when you just can't ignore the cute looking chair with good lighting in the corner, lol.

Today has been  particularly memorable. F and I have been engaged for sometime now since he privately proposed during our diving trip to Manado. But today our families got together to officiate it at dinner. It wasn't perfect, but it was sufficiently lovely. We achieved another milestone today, that's gravely important for me and I'm glad the people who are important to me were there to support as well.

Here's a bummer. Regardless of the title of this post, I am not posting any photo from the engagement dinner because we didn't really take many, except just one closing photo before everyone parted (which I shared on my social medias, link below). Hahaha, sorry guys!

As I'm writing this I'm still catching my breath from the short yoga session I did to wrap up the evening and let go of all the negativity. Tomorrow's a new day, a new 24 hours to conquer, a new pile of opportunity to be a blessing for other people around! Stay positive and keep that inner peace, y'all!
_

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SELF LOVE


I read this quote a while back at Dylana Suarez's blog: "Be your best lover. Someone might see you loving yourself and be jealous."

We've all experienced our own challenges in our own journey called life, but there was a certain period of time in my entering adulthood where I really felt, like almost literally, like all of the hardships I went through around that time were shaping me into something new. With the aim and hope to be transfigured, I mustered every courage to patiently practice the art of inhaling and exhaling my problems away. And it worked. I really felt that with every set of inhale and exhale, my heart grew a little bigger and my soul a little stronger. 

I found that learning to continuously train myself to be open to adversities and to keep my eyes on the prize at the end of the tunnel is a form of loving myself in all possible ways. Even through hardships we don't anchor ourselves down with negativity and hopelessness, but we seize the moment and learn as much as we can as we face whatever the problem throws at us. If we maintain this attitude, problems can only make us grow stronger. And if problems cannot take you down, what else can?

Now I live my life everyday loving myself to the best possible extent. This does not mean I become selfish and consider myself above others, it's simply eliminating self-pity completely and well... being my best lover. It is incredibly fulfilling. You should give it a try.

By the way, I've been drawn to all shades of grey lately and I think the fascination is here to stay!



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