Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Let’s Join The Party: Winter Resolution

I know, I know, it’s not New Year just yet, it's only after Thanksgiving, but I’m not the kind of “New Year Resolution” type of gal. I believe that if you really want to start something new, something good and fresh that will improve you and make you feel good about yourself, you can always start TO-DAY. Yep, today. We live in today, everyday, not tomorrow, not next month, not just on January 1. So let’s live and celebrate!

I decided to write a post about it to share with you, Friends, because I think many of us also have something or things or good habits that we would like to start with, so I’d like to invite you to join in the party of Winter Resolution, TODAY. Also, by sharing it here for all of you to see, I thought it might give me some extra boost to really keep the commitment. As you know, keeping a commitment, any commitment, is not easy, and I need all the helps I can get. So, please help me, Friends!

Anyway, these are my Winter Resolutions.

Eating more fiber, daily

I don’t eat fruits nor vegetables. I just don’t. I know that’s bad, but I’m too lazy to shop and keep produce that don’t last forever, and too lazy to peel and chop the fruit and remember to eat it after each meal.

Plan: Preparing some fruit, just a little bit, not too much, every evening and bring them to work the next day, so at least I eat a little bit of fiber everyday after lunch.

Arriving at work a little bit earlier, everyday

Now, this one is really tough. I’m not a morning person. I always arrive late at the office. Mind you, I never late for any appointments or meetings, but when I don’t have anything specific going on, I wake up late and arrive at work late. Luckily my boss doesn’t mind because I always arrive before he does, but I still think it’s not good that my coworkers see me being late everyday. Also, I always rush every morning because deep down I feel guilty for being late, and it’s not good because I always get very anxious as result!

Plan: Waking up half hour earlier every morning, and not hitting the snooze button!

Keeping up with my daily dose of Bible reading

Over the years I’ve learned that keeping commitment to those who matter most is the most important, yet the most difficult. Why? Because we know that those who love us will always forgive us when we’re slacking off. Therefore we take them for granted. Which is bad, I know.

For example, I strive to keep a work commitment to my boss, because I know that if I fail, he will chop my head off. Many times I found myself trying less hard when it’s something to do with my parents, because I know that they would be much more forgiving to my excuses. The fact is, I can always find another job, but I can never find another set of parents, so the priority is somehow misshapen, don’t you think?
And of course, the one who loves me most, the one whom I should love most, the one who matters most – if I say so myself – is God. And yes, sadly, shamefully, He is the one most easily neglected by me, when in fact He should come first in my life, not second, not third, and definitely not last, as I’ve been doing lately. So uncool, so ungrateful me.

Plan: Reading a short passage of the Bible every night before bed time. No, I don’t plan this huge project of reading Bible cover-to-cover unless I get overwhelmed, just a small passage, or at least one phrase, every night. That’s not asking too much, is it? Not for Him who has been loving me that much!

So, that’s all, Friends. My small project of Winter Resolution. It's nothing big, nothing fancy nor overtly-ambitious. If you have any resolutions too for this colder season, please share and let’s do it together. Should I write an update post sometime in the future on how I would have been doing? Perhaps I should, that will motivate me more to stick with it. What do you think, Friends?

Butterfly top: Roxy Wear by Roxanne Heptner. Avocado green vest: a Japanese vintage, used to be Mom's. Black slacks: office uniform (not shown in the pics, but believe me, I wore pants, hahaha!). Earrings: old collection. Butterfly necklace: bought online. Shoes: Voir (Malaysia). Black blazer: Brooks Brothers Woman (USA). Brown suede bag: Nordstrom (USA).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thus They Call It The Promised Land (Part 7): An Unexpected Blue Ocean Twist

"Life is full of unexpected turns and twists.
That's what makes it so interesting."

LeeAnne, Style N Season

Let me share with you Friends about some odds happened during my Holyland trip a while back.

On the first evening in Cairo we decided to pay an extra USD 35 per person to join this Nile cruise. I was pretty excited and thought it would be very nice, watching the view of historical Nile river at night, but it turned out I didn't really like it and the money was not worth it. I should have been staying at my nice Le Meridien room and rested. That's one.

Jeans: old GAP. Green top: Tommy Hilfiger. Nude cropped cardigan: Tommy Hilfiger. Pink belt: unbranded. Dangling earrings: Claire (USA). Blue striped bag: just bought it in Cairo. Sneakers: Nike (gift).

And second, on the last day in Egypt we supposed to go to Sinai where Moses received The Ten Commandment. Lo and behold! There was a local Bedouin conflict going on, so the road was closed and we were stranded in the desert in the middle of nowhere. Worst yet, our bus got hit in a slight accident in the morning and the AC didn't work properly, so there's no way we could go back to Cairo because it will take four-hour drive and it was already 8 pm. So we took turn and stayed at this beach front hotel cottages instead of the one we already booked at Sinai.
It was almost midnite when we reached the hotel and we were very exhausted so I didn't pay much attention to the surroundings.
Then morning came and I felt like I went to bed in a black and white world the night before and woke up in a multicolor one the next day! Look at these pictures! Who would ever thought we would  end up staying at a beach front hotel in Egypt!

Turquoise earrings: from Sydney. Straw hat: Mom got it for me from Jogja, Indonesia, especially for this trip. Thanks, Mom! Sunnies: Oakley. Colorful beaded necklace: DIY project. Red bag: from Philippines.

After breakfast we continued our journey on the bus across the desert. Our destination was Taba, the border crossing between Egypt and Israel. It was sand, sand, sand, everywhere, and we drove for hours so it was really boring after a while, as you can see.

So imagine my delight when the bus made a turn and suddenly we saw this unbelievable spectacle right in front of our tired eyes. It's the Red Sea near Taba. I saw pictures of deep blue sea like this before, and I always thought they were photoshopped. When I saw this I knew that it really exists! I think it's because there's no corals or rocks or anything on the sea bed, so the waters really reflects the pure blue color of the sky. Or maybe it's the planktons, I'm not sure.
But hey, I never thought that at the end of looooooong journey across the desert, we would ended up seeing this gorgeous blues. That's the third twist.

And, after looooong hours spent in the border crossing, our first stop in Israel was at this cooperative shop where they sold the most delicious ice cream you could imagine after a long, hot, and tiring day. Hmmmmm... what a treat! That's the fourth surprise of the day, because I expected a religious experience one I stepped on the land of Israel, not the tingling, cold, delicious sensation of eating ice cream! Not that I complained, of course!
Chambray shirt: Nautica.

So, yeah, when life seems odd or challenging or confusing or whatever, do not despair, dear Friends. You'll never know what God has for you in store, and it might just be something wonderful right there after that unexpected turn!

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cherry, Ham N Grapes With No Turkey

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Dear God,
For this wonderful life I live everyday
For tiny things and big things
Small packages of blessings and all the extra toppings on top
That you send in your daily love mail
Sent with love by the first ray of morning sunshine everyday
For the people that you have placed in my journey
The loved ones, the nice ones, the wicked ones, the annoying ones,
All who teach me something along the way
For the world and this lovely planet that I live in
With all the comings and goings and the good and the bad
All of those and even more
I thank you.

But most of all,
I thank you for being You
For being the loving, wonderful, magnificent God that You are
For being my God
For seeing me as worthy to make you my God
For seeing me in that much regard
And for loving me that much
I thank you

With lots and lots of love and gratitude

Your daughter

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Magenta top: Banana Republic. Black wrap skirt and jacket: tailor made. Red obi belt with nautical clasp: Mango. Lace black tank top: unbranded. Gold shoes: Voir (Malaysia). Red earrings: old. Bangles: from Shanghai. Black necklace: vintage, used to be Mom's. Brown suede purse: Nordstrom (USA).
A box of chocolates from some Japanese guests we received at the office today. Aren't they pretty! I've never had Japanese chocolates before, so I'm really excited to try them! No, it's not a holiday here in Indonesia on Thanksigiving day. Business as usual...
Went to this Italian place called Trattoria for Thanksgiving dinner, with no turkey!
The appetizer consists of various slices of delicious cold hams, and they taste just grrrreat! So I'm not sad anymore for not having any turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, haha!
Such a nice ending for such a hectic day!
What about you? Wha menu do you have for Thanksgiving?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Flower Weapon

This is what I wore on the day I had flu shot. 

I need something bright and cheery to wear on this particular, err, supposed-to-be-lovely day, because I'm having a flu shot. Brrrrr! My previous office provided free flu shot for employees and families once, and my friends swore that they have not been sick for a day in a whole year. I was not allowed to take the shot, because at that time I was having a cold. You're supposed to be in tip top condition to have the shot, because your body needs to create some immune system in order for the substance to work. So. I'm going to try it today and hopefully in the next upcoming year, no more colds!

I have a little problem, though. I'm quite afraid of needle... and doctors... Oh my...

Blue top: Zara. Black jacket: Brooks Brothers Woman (USA). Pants: The Limited. Earrings: old. Necklace: Plaza Semanggi. Bracelets: Debenhams. White low wedges: Voir (Malaysia). Bag: Esprit (gift).

This is what the serum looks like. Let's pray that it works!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tis Is The Season To Be Jolly (Minus The Flu)

Note: I'm not a registered nurse nor physician, everything in this post is based on personal experience. Also, this is not a sponsored post. All the products I mention here are what I personally use and have been working for me.

Indonesia is a tropical country. Therefore, we don’t have fall nor winter season. However, we do have transition period from dry to rainy season when many children and adults alike can get ill, get down with the flu, and other ailments!

Here are several things I do to avoid those nasty colds and coughs and runny nose for colder season.

Take daily dose of vitamin C. Double or triple your intake when neccessary.

Nowadays, unless you live on an organic farm like some do, not many of us are lucky enough to get enough dose of vitamins and minerals from our food. In contrast, there never have been time when we need more protection against all the bad elements around: pollution, chemical ingredients in food, cosmetics, toiletries, computer and gadget radiation. So, thank God for food supplements!
Usually I take one capsule of multivitamin or one capsule of 500mg vitamin C per day. However, when people around me start sneezing or coughing, or I feel a cold coming, I double or even triple my intake, taking one capsule after each meal, until I’m back to tiptop condition. It’s much better to divide your dose on different times during the day, instead of taking 1000mg all at once. Your body will naturally absorb whatever it needs and dissolve the rest, so taking vitamin C after each meal guarantees that your body will always have the dose it needs at all times.

Layer, layer, layer

Wearing layers is much warmer than just one thick outfit. And you can get creative with layers, which can be really fun! Play with different colors, textures and materials to create a unique look all your own.

You can try color blocking by mixing pink and mint green like I did here.

Or go monochromatic by combining different shades of pink, like in this post.

What about throwing on some knitted long cardi like this?

Winter accessories can really jazz up your whole outfit. Wear that orange hat with flower pin, the purple mitten hidden in your drawer, the red scarf you knitted last year, those cute blue and green socks. The possibilities are endless!

Drink plenty of water.

This will flush out toxin and cleanse your system.

Wash your hands.

We get in contact with people all the time, and when people around us are sick, they can easily transfer the germs through the stuff they touch. So, remember what your Mom taught you when you were little: wash you hands thoroughly! Use sanitizer if needed, especially after using public facilities. You never know who have used the same facility, and you cannot be sure they’re all clean! On the side note, soap and sanitizer make our hands dry, so don’t forget to use your favorite hand lotion afterwards to keep your skin silky smooth.

If needed, take echinacea.

I swear that this herb miraculously empowers immune system, and used to take it during ail season in the US. It’s pretty expensive in Indonesia, so I save them for times when my immune system is in great need for an extra boost. My favorite is Blackmores Echinacea Citrus candy, which I order from Australia in boxed strips. When I start having sore throat, I take one or two, and the symptom is usually gone by the next day.
Change your sheets and toothbrush (many forget about this one) after an illness.

Disinfect your bathroom, doorknobs, phone and cell phone by giving them a good swipe with rubbing alcohol

Last but not least: have enough hours of sleep!

I personally need 7-8 hours of sleep per day (I don’t take naps), while some people can get by with 5-6 hours of sleep. Know the amount of sleep your body needs, and stick with it. From experience, I found that fighting this basic need and trying to lessen my amount of sleep on the name of “disciplining one self” or “more waking hours = doing more, living more”, give me negative effect in the long run. I become crankier, disoriented, moodier, have slower response, think less clearly, and overall my body does function on longer hours but becomes less effective.

Additional precaution: you can opt to have a flu shot. I cannot yet tell you whether or not this is effective, because I just got one myself. I’ll keep you updated later on.

Now you can enjoy the colder season with festive holiday decoration, hot cocoa and happy laughs with your loved ones instead of bad coughs and runny nose!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Keeping Up With The Glamorous (Yet Hideous)

I have to admit, I love reality shows. Almost all kinds of reality shows. It's my guilty pleasure. I take delight in watching how other people live, even if many of today's "reality" shows are not real anymore. One favorite is Kimora Life In The Fab Lane. Another one are the Kardashian series (they have so many).

For the latter, I loved watching the female casts. They are gorgeous, vivacious, witty, sexy. Never boring. Yet sorry to say, from what I've seen, I have no respect for the characteristics being shown there. I admire what they're wearing, not the people wearing it. I laugh at their craziness, but not with them. Will I copy their look? Well, I took some inspirations, yes, not blindly though, since most of them are a bit too skimpy for my taste.

And no, I don't think yelling at your Mom, getting pregnant out of wedlock, getting drunk, cursing incessantly, getting married then getting a divorce after 72 (or 76?) days are cool. They are not.

And I'm saying a lil' prayer in my heart that any Mom with teenage daughter(s) who watch the shows will be guided by His grace to explain that those acts are indeed, not cool. Not at all. And yeah, Moms, you can ban the shows from the house, but your daughters can easily sneak off to watch at their friends'. Better teach them to differentiate good role models from the bad ones.

The makeup and clothing are glamorous.

The acts are just plain hideous.

The real people I don't know so it's not my place to judge.

Just my personal opinion...

Yellow top: bYSI (Singapore). White silk chiffon polkadot ruffle shirt: Carolina Herrera. Black slacks: office uniform by Invio. Sandals: Yongki Komaladi. Bag: Aigner (vintage hand-me-down from Mom's closet). Earrings: from Korea. Bracelets: from Shanghai and Jerusalem.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall 2011 Haul: Just Some Pretty Little Things

I don’t know about you, but I just love to know about good deals that other blogger friends find, or what products they like to use. Therefore I like to read haul posts and favorite posts. I also love to watch haul and favorite videos on YouTube. It’s one of my cheap guilty pleasures, besides TV reality shows.

So I decided to create my first haul post just to showcase what I’ve been getting in the fall season 2011. I don’t buy much, because I keep a strict budget and only do my big shopping twice a year during sale season, but I have got myself some cute, girlie, pretty little things that we girls just love to have and make us happy. I hope you enjoy reading this post since I really enjoy creating it!

Holyland Haul

There wasn’t much to buy in my trip, most items I saw were religious themed items. I did buy some pretty cloth bags for my friends as souvenirs, but I have given all away so I have no pictures of them.

I collect fridge magnets, so I got these lovely ones from Cairo, Jerusalem, and Petra. My favorite is the Nefertiti head figure, so charming!

I didn’t buy these bangles. I’ve got a lot of similar ones already from Shanghai and I bought some in Indonesia as well; but my auntie purchased like two dozens of them from some street vendors in Jerusalem and some of them were identical, so she gave me these ones. They are pretty cheap, only a dollar each (in Indonesia it costs about USD 5), and the quality is definitely less than the heavy, thick ones I got from Shanghai, but I like them anyway since they’re free and add a nice addition to my collection. I love layering my bracelets, wearing 2,3,4 of them together on my wrist.

Wine is so cheap in Cana, so I bought bottles of Cana wedding wine for my married or going-to-be married friends, as well as for my single friends. It’s really a hassle though to bring them back to Indonesia because the glass bottles are breakable. Ow, the long-stemmed rose didn’t come with the wine purchase. My Mom received one from the tour leader when my parents had a marital vow renewal ceremony at Cana Wedding Chapel.

Mom and I got these stripy bags at a random store at Cairo because the bags that we carried from Indonesia for the trip suddenly got the zippers broken, both of them, so we had to get new ones. We’ve been warned about pickpockets and stuff from our tour guide, so carrying a bag with broken zipper is out of option! Finally we bought this matching pair of emergency purses: red for me and blue for Mom. There’s nothing special about them, they have plain cloth lining and I can get similar ones in Indonesia, but the craftsmanship is quite good. I love how the stripes align pretty neatly and that they have these pretty scarf-like embellishments at the front in cheerful colors and patterns.

Yayy!! Mother and daughter matchy-matchy! (Funny, just several years ago, I would have avoided wearing anything matching to my Mom's at all cost, hahaha!)

At a shop in Old Jerusalem I stumbled upon this super-cute pink and gold owl bangle that I immediately fell in love with I just had to get it! Owl is all the rage in accessories nowadays, and this one costs only ten bucks, I think. They had it in other colors too, but pink is my favorite color, so naturally I chose this one.

It’s a bit too big for me so it lands above my wrist, but I love it so much I don’t really care.

Gandaria City Haul

These I got about a month or so ago when I went to a big mall in South Jakarta called Gandaria City for a movie with some friends. While waiting for the movie to start, the girls went to Warna and Missy 7. They are those “bubblegum” stores for teenagers where they sell all kinds of girlie accessories and knick knacks (similar to Claire’ store in the US). I noticed that many ladies and moms aged 20s, 30s and 40s like to shop there too, because they have really cute stuffs on budget prices. It’s really nice because you can get many lovely things without breaking a bank. You just need to make sure that you only buy things that you really like and will actually wear, not just because they're inexpensive!

I got these bangles with rose petal design from Missy 7 (pardon the Warna plastic bag). They have many bangles like these, some are in bow-like shaped, but I stuck with these two since these are the only two that don’t look too plastic-ky. Plastic accessories can look very tacky on adults, so you’ve got to be very careful when choosing them!

At Warna store, I got these two lovelies. I love charm bracelets. There's something so dainty and sweet and feminine about them, which fascinates me. I like this kind of closure because it's very easy to put on by myself without any help compared to lobster clasp.

This one has three dimentional charms, so it doesn't matter how I move and shake my wrist, they'll always show from every angle. I love!

I really love this one especially the lipstick charm, so girlie and feminine! I'm very excited to wear it!

Naughty Store Haul

These are some of the things that I got at my favorite store, called Naughty Store, about two weeks ago. It's also a typical girlie knick-knack store, just like Warna, Missy 7 and Claire. And the prices are inexpensive I can get many things without spending too much!

Let's start with this make-up brush kit. I don't have any make-up brushes. Usually I just use my clean fingers to apply makeup. But I think it's about time I have at least a basic set of makeup brushes, so I got this kit of a cloth purse with gorgeous zebra print. I don't really care to spend much on professional brush set like Sigma brush, since I just want to give them a try and I'm not sure if I'd really use all of them anyway. I've used the lip brush, though.
Inside it looks like this, divided into little compartments (or dividers?) with seven different make-up brushes. Perfect for everyday or for travelling because it's very compact and neat.

I love a slight obsession with earrings! They're my ultimate, favorite accessories!
Whenever I really like something and my financial situation allows, I like to get my favorite things in different colors like these rose earrings in white and another one in blue...
... these are also identical but just with different colors (I just love the cute lady bag on them! I have worn the lilac pair and got a lot of compliments!)...
... a pair of heart shape with blue butterfly and also this red one...
.. and this bronze-color key-like pair with the inscription: "I'm fall in love with you". Yeah, I know, wrong grammar, but they still look nice and make me smile.
I'm a busy girl. I cannot hold a manicure and retouch everyday, but I always use nail polish on my toes. Not crazy colors, mind you, just red, silver, or pink shades. And I've got these Naughty nail polishes in pinky pearl, rose blush, and fuschia pink. They are all the metallic-color kinds. I prefer a little bit of metallic-looking colors for nail polish, instead of muted ones, because they look more finished.
I also got this tiny, pink spray bottle in star shape. Spray bottles are good for just about everything. I carry one in my make up bag, and in the afternoon, when it's really hot, I just fill it with cold mineral drinking water and spray a cold mist to my face. Also, when I'm in the office and the AC makes my skin feels dry, I just spritz some water onto my face to hydrate it a bit. So fresh. I used to carry an Evian spritzer, but using a spray bottle is a much cheaper alternative because it's refillable. Not to mention that this bottle is so darn cute!
These are what I got during my monthly grocery shopping trip at Carrefour (it's like a French version of Walmart). Some store brand hand sanitizers in strawberry, fresh and lemon scent. I always carry a bottle of them in my makeup bag, so I like to stock up! And I'm quite a frugal gal, so whenever I could I opt for store brands instead of name brands for eveyday basic neccesities like tissues and stuff, because, well, store brands are (usually) just cheaper and the quality is not bad at all!
Ow, and I got these Cussons baby oil in 200 ml. My skin is extremely dry, and especially in colder season, though Indonesia is a tropical country, the AC in my office is freezing cold and very drying to the skin. HenceI usually mix my body lotion with some baby oil to add richness and moisturizing power. In the US I used cocoa butter and baby oil, and during winter months my skin just drank it all up!
Btw, do you see the yellow "Hemat 100%" written on the label? It means the container contains twice as much content than usual, which means I only pay the price of two bottles for the content of four! Haha! Lucky!!
And I found a new body lotion that I really like. During lunch hour I went with some colleagues to LotteMart - which is a Walmart-like retail chain store that sells everything - and I stumbled upon this brand called Vienna. I never saw them before, and I don't know whether other stores carry them, since this was the first time I went to LotteMart. I do most of my grocery shopping at either Carrefour or Diamond retail chain stores since they're located so conveniently close to where I live. I like the scent, so I decided to give the product a try, and I bought the rose scent and green tea scent. They come in this big 750 ml container, which is great because I'm a sucker for body lotion, I wear it everyday.
I just love how sweet the product description is on the back of the bottle. So convincing, rite! Those marketing people really know how to entice a girl to try out their products. Haha! However, I've already tried the rose one, and I had to admit, I love it. The lotion really has good quality. Rich and moisturizing, leaving my skin feels supple, soft and subtly but delightfully scented. The formulation is so thick it feels more like body cream or body butter instead of a lotion. I'll definitely get more of this!

I also got the aromateraphy in lavender one, but I think it smells more like milk body lotion instead of lavender. Nevertheless, I like it.

Just in case you don't know, I love reading. I love books. That's my number one hobby. No, not a hobby. A neccessity. A book to me is like a friend. I'm the kind of girl who can go to a restaurant and dine all by herself, with just a good book for company, and thoroughly enjoy it. I read everything: encyclopedia, women magazines, business journals, comic books, self-improvement books, literature works, poetry, chicklits, fairy tales, whatever that strikes my fancy. I prefer to read hardcopy than on-line version or on an iPad, because it's easier for my eyes, so naturally I buy lots and lots of books.

These are my latest purchase, which I got from Kinokuniya. They are from Little Black Books series, published in UK, sort of a chicklit series, so they're definitely light reading which I can enjoy in my leisure down time. I'm really fascinated with the delicious pink and blue covers. So cute! I've finished reading Sugar and Spice, and love it very much. I always love a good story that's sprinkled with food and recipes in between the pages, and this pink little paperback doesn't disappoint.

And last but not least, I got these treats! My favorite Hi Tempura spicy seaweed crackers, a box of Pocky chocolate sticks, and a Chic Choc chocolate covered balls! I usually do not buy them, since I snack a lot and these products are a little bit on the high price for everyday munchies, but I like to give myself a special treat once in a while. Last month I had been a good girl and spent well below my budget, so this month I can afford to buy myself a little something extra. I only allow one package of each, because if not, well, it's not a special treat anymore! Yum, yum, yum!

So that’s all I’ve got during this fall season, Friends! I hope you enjoy this post, and if you have haul posts as well, please let me know! I’d love to see what you’ve got!
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