Friday, July 27, 2012

Beyond Comfort Zone

Beyond your comfort zone, the possibilities are endless. But sometimes God DOES have to kick me in the butt to get me up and moving, since most of the time, I'm just too lazy to leave the soft, snuzzy cocoon of comfort zone.

For me, the single life is the comfort zone. I'm not the kind of girl who dreamed about her wedding day when she was little. She was not desperately want to get married. She truly enjoyed her single life. And not the wild single life ala Sex And The City, just a casual, cozy, simple single life. She didn't need to prove to anyone or scream from the top of the roof that being single is fun, much more fun than married life. She was just content with her own world, her current state of life, who she was and where she was at. And one more thing: this girl truly enjoys being alone most of the time. Solitude was, is, her friend. She thrives on it, she recharges her battery with it.

Then came marriage. I can honestly say it's like a continuation of my  past life. No, I don't think life only begins once a woman is married. I had a full life being single. I had a good life, a good job, a nice place to live in, nice friends, good family, good social life, good solitary life, and was pretty much financially independent. I didn't mind continue being single if it's not in God's book for me to be married. (Turned out the He DID wanted me to get married, since I am a married woman now!)  Nor did I was against marriage, mind you. I just happen to be the kind of person who is content with whatever stage God puts her life at: living with parents, living alone, living in different country, single, with boyfriend, minus boyfriend, and now married.

Only, I didn't say this out loud when I was still single, or else people would think I wasn't normal, or I was in self denial. Marriage, here in my country, is pretty much expected for women, though I've seen more and more couple wait longer to settle. I don't know whether it's a better or worse trend. Might be both?

But I can sincerely say this to single women friends out there, whether you're 19, 29, or 39:

"Life doesn't begin once you are married.
Life begins everyday when you wake up, alone or with a spouse.
This is not a dress rehearsal. This is now. This is it. Live!"

And what do I have to say to my married friends? I'm not married long enough, in fact I'd be delighted if any of you Friends who have been married would like to share insights and experience with me, and I enjoy reading from fellow bloggers who are married. I have so much to learn! I have pondered several things about marriage that I will share with you Friends in future post, though. So, stay tuned! ^_^

Brocade tunic top: Glitter Glam, Isetan. Pants: office uniform. Bag: Hana. Earrings: Accessorize. Bangle: Egypt. Sandals: Voir.

Linking up to:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Winter Resolution Revisited

Sometime last year in November, I wrote a post about winter resolution. Fast forward to six months later, which is now, let's revisit and see if I have made it or blown it.

Eating more fiber, daily

I read somewhere on the internet that married people are healthier than single people. Now I know why the statistics show that trend. When I was single, I could cheat my diet, eat junk food everyday, sleep at 2 am everyday if I want to, and freewheeling doing any kind of unhealthy habits imaginable, with no witness. Now that I'm married, I have someone to keep a hawk eye on me and scold me and throw away my favorite instant noodle to the trash can. Who is that big bully? My husband. Yeah. He's into healthy living, eating lots of salmon, less carbs, and exercise regularly. I love junk food, I don't exercise, I eat anything deep-fried, and I avoid fiver like a plague. So he takes over by monitoring my daily intake of food by making sure that we always have some fruits on hand, in the refrigerator. Yep, he buys me fruits every week, just to make sure that I eat some fiber. And since he has gone an extra mile to keep his wife healthier, of course I just have to show appreciation and eat the fruit. So, yes, I keep resolution number one. Hurray!!

Arriving at work a little bit earlier, everyday.

Strange. When I live very very close to school or office, I tend to arrive late because I know it would only take me ten minutes. Now I know that it would take me an hour to reach my workplace, sometime one and a half hours, so I force myself to wake up earlier, and as result, arrive at work earlier. So yeah, I have no choice but sticking to resolution number two. Hurrah, indeed.

Ow, another motivation for me to show more seriousness at work. My boss basically said once that he had had many many excellent female subordinates in the past; but once they got married and had children their work performance went downhill by 60%. I don't want to underestimate the juggling and the busyness of wives and mothers or overestimate my own capability, so I made a pact with myself. Even if what he says has some truth, I'd do my best to ensure that the "downhill" performance is minimum. Very very minimum, I hope. My boss has been so kind to me over the three years I worked for him, I'd like to show him that I don't take his kindness for granted.

Keeping up with my daily does of Bible reading.

I read in a book about single women several years ago. It said that single women should use their time well, because once they are married, most of their time will be occupied by the needs of others. Now, I know that I should put God first before everything else, but in reality I tend to forget, sadly. Yes, I still read the Bible regularly, but I haven't succeeded to make it a daily habit yet. Instead, I even read anything less. Much much less. I used to read a lot. Now most of my spare time is spent for my husband. My husband is not needy or anything like that, but he does need attention. So I have less time to read. I'm trying to balance that, so wish me luck. So, I guess resolution number three goes buzz. Boohoo.

Well, that's the recap of my meager list of resolutions, Friends. I think making resolutions and publish it online for all the world to see is good. It gave me extra boost to keep them. So I think I'll come up with summer resolution sometime in the future. Or should I share my monthly goals and projects with you, Friends?

Blue top: Zara. Skirt: unbranded. Jacket: DKNY. Shoes: Yongki Komaladi. Suede purse: Nordstrom. Accessories: old collection.

Linking up to:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Feed Your Mind

On my wedding, a friend gave me a Sogo gift card, which I can use in many MAP retail stores: Sogo, Starbucks, and most delightful of all: Kinokuniya bookstore.

Now, at first I didn't realize that I could spend it in any other store than Sogo itself. Until one Sunday I went to Plaza Senayan, visited the bookstore, and saw a sign on the cashier: "Sogo/MAP gift card is accepted." I almost shrieked with joy. I haven't bought new books in such a long time. For a year, or more. And not only I'm an avid reader, but a book collector, as well. And yes, I read my collection. I may have less time now that I have to share my down time with my husband, but I still love reading.

In Indonesia, when you get married, people will not give you presents, unless they are close friends who know what you need or want. People will give you money, with which you can buy things suitable to your needs. However, I'm so glad to receive this gift card, because I fully realize that if I was given money, my frugal side will kick in and only spend it on things that I need, not what I want. Like books.

Now thanks to this thoughtful gift, I could indulge and buy things for pure enjoyment, totally guilt free.

Aaaaand, I came home with these two heavy loads of Kinokuniya plastic bags, full of books.

You might think I went nuts, but actually I still have plenty of credit left on my gift card. Guilt free!

Besides Maeve Binchy, Debbie Macomber is another of my favorite "feel-good" author. Reading her books make me feel like wanting to be a better woman. I'm not really into romance novels where the story revolves only about two people finding each other. Well, maybe except Barbara Cartland's romance novels - I love historical stories.
Debbie's novels spin much more tales than romance, which I immensely enjoy. Debbie, like Maeve, writes about daily lives or ordinary people: family, friends, travels, money, food, motherhood, girlie things, cooking, homemaking. She writes about young people, old people, children, teenagers.

Mind you, writing styles matter, too. I don't enjoy just any "feel-food" novels. Sometimes I read some works from an author, and without knowing why, after maybe a second book, I'd skip all works by that particular author altogether, since it's not my cup of tea. Even if he/she is a best-selling or putlizer-winning authors. Same thing goes for more serious literature. In choosing my readings, I follow my own rules. What I think is a swell book might be cheesy according to my Mom - who is also an avid reader - , and vice versa, which is totally fine.

I'm also a sucker for Little Black Book chick lit stories. It's more about thirty-year-old women instead of twenty-year-olds, so I can relate much better. I've finished reading Bittersweet, and it doesn't disappoint. I don't really dig Heartless, though. It claims to be a thriller romance, but it's more thriller, I guess. Though I enjoy light mystery novels like those of Susan Wittig Albert's, this one is far too graphic in its description of murder and cruelty. I think I'll just sell it to used book store, with another one of a LBD book disappointment: a story about Hollywood celebrity or something like that. I'm glad to say that other LBD books are good read and entertaining, if not perfectly educating.
Now, what have we got here. Whenever I see a Peter Mayle's which is not yet in my book collection, my hand automatically grab it from the shelf. Peter Mayle writes about two of the joys of life: food and travel. I also like his writing style. I love food. And I love travel. I'm not a big eater, as you can see from my skinny frame, but I do enjoy food. I love reading about food and cooking and wine. Which is weird since I don't cook nor drink wine. And I've always wanted to go to the South of France, especially Provence, but haven't got the chance - or the fund - yet. Reading his novels is the next best thing. Well, maybe on the same rank as watching cooking and travel chanel on TV. And I don't often watch TV. Hmmmmm... can't wait to get lost in Peter Mayle's yummy stories of Provence once - or twice - again!
Again, since I enjoy reading about food, I also enjoy knowing how they were prepared. Hence, I love to read about farm lives. I used to read the Little House series when I was little. Well, I still do, from time to time. I was with Ma and Pa and Laura and Mary during harvesting time and butchering season, how they made sausage and cheese and bread from sratch. A Year of Food Life tells a story about a modern family who choose to leave their suburban life to live on a farm and grow their own food. I'd never want to do that, but I think it would be a fun (and educating) story to read!

The Land of Painted Caves is the last installment in the Jane Auel's Earth Children series. Now, it's not very often I follow series in which I have no loves for the characters. And I don't really like Ayla - the main character -, nor her husband Jondalar. But, how Jean described in mesmerizing detail about how human live in pre-ice age is just too hard to resist! And of course, a lot to read about how these ancient people hunted for and prepared their food and and made their clothing from scratch, which is my weak point in choosing books, if you don't know it by now!
This one is not mine. My husband asked if I would buy it for him. "It looks interesting," he said. Well, my husband doesn't read very often, except comic books, he was more into gadget than books, reading e-books from his iPad and news from his iPhone, so I was kind of surprised at his request. But considering that I bought myself 12 books, it's just fair that I bought him this one book he desired, rite! Ow, and a cup of his favorite caramel latte, too! ^_^

I can't wait to start reading all these books!o:

Linking up t

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Breath of Fresh Mint, Warm Loaves N Hot Rolls

Hapiness is...

Going inside a bakery and inhaling that delicious newly fresh-from-the-oven baked-goods aroma. I always say that bread and cakes are not just feast to the stomach but also feast to the eye as well as for the nose. With or without icing, a cake can always put a smile on a girl's face.

An another thing. Surrounded with so much delicious food always give me such a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It's a feeling of abundance. It's like God's way of saying: "You are fine. I'm taking a good care of you. Look at all the bounty I've provided you through your fellow human. Just keep doing the work you have been doing, and I will take care of the rest. You are not in need of anything."

Sometimes I think it's silly. Sometimes, I think it's not.

I went to Bread Talk today and got a loaf of coffee bun for afternoon snack in the office, a cup of tiramisu for my husband, and two pieces of tuna croissants for our breakfast tomorrow. I don't cook, but no one can accuse me for not taking a good care of my husband, haha!

Do you think it's a pathetic thing or a great thing that such simple pleasure can give one such joy?

Black dress: Papaya. Black tank: unbranded. Shoes: Yongki Komaladi. Mint cardi: Marks & Spencer. Nekclace: F21. Earrings & bracelets: old collection. Mint purse: Les Catino.

Linking up to:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Simple Gal Journal: Hello World...

Dear all of my American Friends...

Happy Independence Day! I hope you're having fun with family and friends and loved ones on this holiday! Anyone want to invite me for a BBQ? I usually had tons of BBQ invitations from my American friends back when I still lived in Texas. Yum!

Dear all Friends who have read and commented on my posts...

Thank you, thank you so much! I love reading your comments and learn from them and know what you think or your opinions on the subjects that I wrote. Especially on my last post about peanut who forgets its shell, I didn't think anyone would even bother to read it since it was such a lengthy post and basically just described what I thought. The fact that you do read really means a lot to me!

Dear F21 mint teardrop necklace...

You are soooo beautiful!! And even more so because you're a birthday gift from my husband on my first birthday after our getting married. I had been seeing you being worn by various fashion blogger and it was love at the first sight, but I didn't know where to get you since Indonesian F21 stores don't have you. So, thanks to Ebay, now I finally can wear these gorgeous strand of teardrop mints around my neck. Ow, you didn't look pretty when you arrived enclosed in that bubble wrap, but once worn, you do not disappoint!

Dear Dark Chocolate Toblerone...

Why do you have to taste sooooo good? Once I open your aluminium foil wrap, I cannot stop eating! My mouth is watering just writing about your deliciousness! Well, at least dark chocolate is healthy...

Dear Starbucks...

My brother said they should have named you Fourbucks, not Starbucks. How could you be so cruel stealing so much of my hard-earned money away! And I'm not even a coffee drinker, but that choc frappucino of yours is soooo difficult to resist! And more so, your cozy, homey, and warm environment is just so apt to hang with my girlfriends. I will avoid you from now on, as much as my will power will allow! And no more of your tempting pastries and cakes! No more of your hot beef and cheese quiche. No more espresso brownie. No more chicken and tuna puff. I'll just buy them at the local bakery for much cheaper price, thank you!

Dear money...

You're such cunning creatures! When I don't have any, just a little bit of you will keep me happy and thankful that I'm able to buy food and do not starve. But then, when I start to have a little bit more, then I want more and more of you to buy more clothes, more outings to fancy restaurants, better things to decorate the house, more and better of everything! I have to be careful to know when enough is enough. You are a possession that could buy many nice things and help other people and pay for good things like education and healthcare and gifts for loved ones. But I won't be possessed by something that should only be a possession! Anyway, don't feel bad. Many people badmouth about you when the fact is, you're just a tool. It's your owner who can either do good or bad thing with you!

Dear Little Black Dress chick lit series...

You are one of my guilty pleasures! Thank you for accompanying me during countless boring time waiting at the doctor's office, waiting for the food to arrive at the restaurant when I dine alone, when the flight was delayed for two hours at the airport, for light reading before bedtime... I'm glad that you came in pretty paperback, colorful covers with lovely illustration and that you're lightweight so I can easily carry you around in my purse. And thank God that you are light but not cheesy and weepy and silly like some of those romance novels!

Dear Mom and Dad...

Thank you for that sophisticated Madato juicer that you bought for us! My husband especially loves it, he keeps trying out making various juice from fruits and veggies. However, I think it's just a matter of time before he gets bored of experimenting with it, haha!

Dear all farmers and ranchers and manufacting and logistics people in the world...

Thank you for working so hard to provide us city folks with food and fresh produce. If not because of you, we city folks would have been starved! I always get this feeling of gratitude and awe and abundance each time I stroll along the full - almost overflowing - aisles of the grocery stores, seeing all those cereal boxes, cookies, colorful fruits and vegetables, bread, cheeses, milk, soaps, laundry detergent, all those colors and textures and rich smells that support our daily life - and many of them are in such lovely packaging - , seeing all those bounty, and I said to myself: "No matter what the news say, we are doing fine. Life is good. God provides."

Dear Boss...

I thank God that my CV somehow got into your hands three years ago. We didn't start off very well, it was so difficult to understand what you expect out of me! But over time I've learned to get to know you better, appreciate your generosity, like your quirky character, understand your elusive statements, try to catch up with your high standard and demanding nature, and respect your integrity. In you I've found a boss, a mentor, a friend, and sometime even a father figure, too. I've learned so much from you in the past three years. I hope I can be the best support I could ever be to you. Thank you!

Dear Husband...

Thank you for all your work in providing for our little family, and for striving to provide an even better and better life for us. I want you to know that I appreciate everything you have done and are doing, and I will continue to do so. Thank you for your trust in me to handle our family budget and finances, despite mockingly moaning and complaining that you have such a tightwad wife! Afterall, you said there's no way you would give all your income to your wife to manage should you married a spendthrift woman! ^_^

Dear Marks & Spencer Cocoa Butter Body Lotion...

I love the soothing feeling and the extra silky feeling after putting you on my skin. Your sweet scent always reminds me of a lazy, hazy, long summer spent by the beach, doing nothing but enjoying life and maybe some lemonade. Too bad you cost quite a lot for lotion with the currency and everything!

Dear Broadway musicals...

I miss watching you!!!! Enough said. Perhaps one of these days I can watch one of your great shows in the nearby country Singapore's Marina Sands. How I wish I could watch you in Jakarta. Well, if not I'd just console myself by watching Disney On Ice, which also is super awesome! I watched the ice skating shows when I was little, then again in college in the US, and I won't mind watching it again!

Jacket: DKNY. Skirt: cropped from Mom's old long skirt. Striped top: Phenomenal. Necklace: F21 (birthday gift from Hubby). Earrings and bracelets: old collection. Shoes: Yongki Komaladi. Purse: Les Catino.
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