Saturday, 23 September 2017

what's my brand again?

We live in a world where brands and labels are strangely important. Products and companies need to stand out in the giant flow of information we are bombarded with everyday. But the same goes, in a way, for people. We are in contact with so many people everyday, both "live" and online: we follow them on social media and meet them at the coffee machine at work, it feels like it's even more important these days to know who you are and what you stand for, so that people will remember you. Maybe I'm exaggerating. Maybe I'm right. But maybe this comes from my experience from this past year when one of the labels I used to have on myself has become more vague. It the simple question of: "what do you do for a living?"

To be honest? Nothing.

Which is completely normal where I live now. Most partners here are supported by their spouse, be it the husband or (in fewer of the cases) the wife. I'm here in Brunei on a dependent visa, and I'm not allowed to have an income of my own, unless I manage to get a work permit - which is hard unless you already have a job lined up for you. So if I can't really define myself by what I work with - as is quite common these days - at least I should be able to say something about what I do, you know, on a normal day. And here it becomes complex for other reasons, because as I see it, I can choose between a few different labels.

Am I a housewife? Well, I am a wife (this still feels weird to say, haha!). I stay at home most of the day. I spend some of my time doing laundry and working in the garden - but no more than I did when I had a full time employment. To be honest I think Andreas still cooks more than me. I don't have any kids to look after. Nah, that label doesn't really fit.

So, am I a student? This feels more correct. Although this semester I only study half time, and the little I've seen of the courses it wont even take up fifty percent of a normal work week. So I am a part time student. Sort of. But in a way I feel that label suits better someone who is on the way of becoming something rather than someone that already has a degree and a career and is basically just studying for fun, as I do. Pretty much.

Am I unemployed? Yes for sure I am. No-one is employing me and as of yet I don't have my own business, or make any money to provide for myself. So yes. But it is also completely voluntary and not in any way a problem, and the label unemployed has definitely a negative connotation, which I can't identify with at all right now. Huh.

A normal week for me consists of a quite even mix of studies, working on my own creative projects and work that I do on a volunteer basis. This work is either creating the monthly newsletter I'm editor for - actually a proper part-time position albeit non paid, or providing consultant services as a client-architect liaison and gathering user input for an ongoing rejuvenation project here. I also do some work helping out friends and family with architectural drawings and creating logos and visual profiles - although so far I've done this without payment. All of these things are more or less connected with stuff I used to get paid for, as an architect and designer. So, after some consideration I think I have reached a conclusion about my label. I'm a freelancer. So yes, I don't get paid - yet - but maybe that is something I can solve further down the line. But I do spend quite a large part of my time on relevant projects within the fields of architecture and graphic design. I feel pretty content with this label. At least for now.

As a side note: this morning I dreamed that I went to a job interview at an architects firm in Sweden. And I was completely relaxed and confident. Even though I - as I was sitting down in the interview room - realized that I had forgotten to bring my portfolio. I don't believe in interpreting dreams but I've decided this means that I'm cool with whatever will happen, even if I don't have any proper projects to show off right now.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

hair and there

Before I left for my trip I spent an hour or so cleaning out our bathroom cabinet. I did this partly because it felt like a mess but also because I wanted to have a look at all of the hair stuff I had in preparation for my trip - when I go on dance events I like to bring a bunch of fun accessories and this time was no exception.

Should I show up in this pale pink fascinatior?

Or just tone it down with a classic black hairband?

A black polkadotty fluff ball is always fun...

...or maybe this Greek godess look?

Or another polkadotted creation? In pink tulle?
Actually none of these made the cut this time. But I do look forward to doll myself up a bit for the evening parties at the castle. It's been a while! I'll ask my friend Alison to document my best look of the week so I can show you later...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

pre-travel jitters

Hello there!

In just 45 minutes a taxi will pick me up and drive me to the airport. The follows a more then 24 hour trip until I'm back home in Sweden. I look forward to being there, but for the first time in a long while I feel a bit nervous about the trip. I'm not really sure why, maybe because I've had longer time than normal to think about it and prepare. I've been packing, unpacking and repacking for three days now. And I have started missing Andreas before I've even left!

I have loads of fun stuff lined up for this trip, like a weekend with some of my oldest friends, a day trip with my dad to visit my grandmother, some quality time with my mom and a few dates with some of my closest friends. And then, after  six days in Sweden I'm off to Germany, to hang out with three really good friends and just dance dance dance.

I should focus on this, not the trip there. Oh well. Time to sort out the final details with my carry on luggage and to get dressed.

The blog will probably be a bit quiet for the next two weeks, although I have presets a few posts so you don's miss me to much... eeeehum.


Monday, 11 September 2017

this week

Another Monday, people!

Today I feel productive. Or at least, I have to be productive, because suddenly it came over me that I only have three whole days until I'm off on Thursday. I'm going to Sweden for almost a week, before spending yet another week in an old castle in Germany, dancing, just like last year. Crazy. I am of course looking forward to it, but it also stresses me out a bit. I still don't feel I have my courses under control, not because there's too much to do, not at all, but because neither of the courses have posted an actual schedule for the semester, making it quite hard to plan. As per usual when things feel a bit too much "up in the air" I make lists. This is what the upcoming fours days will look like for me:

  • check in on my course webpages, what needs to be done before I leave? Can I do anything while I'ma away?
  • make sure everything is in control with the building rejuvenation project I'm involved with 
  • print all travel documents, make sure everything is ok with flights and hotels and check baggage allowances for the flights

  • work on sustainable branding exercise
  • check if a new illustration assignment has come up
  • starts packing, wash and iron everything I want to bring
  • maybe go to a yoga class?
  • book a taxi for the airport

  • Riding lesson in then morning - if it hasn't rained too much. Let my instructor know I will be away for the next two weeks
  • finish the branding exercise
  • eat lunch with some friends
  • finish potential illustration assignment
  • finish packing, weigh the luggage and then consider removing stuff...

  • begin the day with a long walk or a short run, there will be a lot of sitting down later...
  • make sure I have my passport and phone packed! the rest is replaceable... 
  • cuddle a LOT with the cats 

Saturday, 9 September 2017

I've read: thew minimalist

by Jessie Burton

I'm still not sure about this book. For some reason I had quite high expectations on it, and it ended up being a lot different from what I thought. 

I think what I liked best with this story was the setting, in the mid 1600 in Amsterdam. That's not exactly the usual scene for the books I read! Stories that takes place in an historical setting is interesting since you feel you get a sense of that time, and even though the story in itself might be fictional, it feels like you've learned something. 

There were definitely interesting and dramatic parts in this book that I liked, and reading it went pretty quickly, but it's just wasn't weird enough, I guess. Well written, for sure, but I don't know. I felt there were a certain aspect - the Minimalist  - that could have been weirder and more interesting.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

what I want to wear right now

As the new season begins - at least in some parts of the world - I see more and more fashion on blogs and Instagram accounts that I follow. And my shopping nerve is twinging. You might think it's strange that this can influence me even as I live in a really really hot place with no autumn at all, but it does. I also want to renew myself, dress in cool "back to school" outfits and layers... I have promised myself to cut back on shopping so instead I decided to put my (online) shopping habit to use in making a few mood boards of what I like right now. I'm thinking it might help me rediscover things in my closet and if I end up shopping when i go back to Sweden next week at least I'll be better prepared to only buy what I really want.

The moodboards are made from items from only three shops, H&M, Lindex and Zara. For the only reasons that I can usually fins things I like there and because I'm lazy. I'm not sponsored and I'm sure these styles are quite common in other stores as well..

work wardrobe

plain, light and airy but with elegant details
dusty pink, navy, cream camel and emerald

hang out at home wardrobe

loose, light and comfortable, layers
pale green and pink, emerald and floral patterns

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

oh well then

I'm in a foul mood. I woke up with a cold, and now everything seems boring. Yesterday I was so content and felt happy with my productive plans for the week and then this... my eyes are boiling and I can just feel how my nose will explode into a leaking mess any minute now. Meh. I know it's nothing really. But I do feel a bit upset with my body -  I think I have treated it so well recently, exercising it, giving it plenty of sleep and good food, candy and even a massage on Sunday! And now it betrays me like this? Rude!

I've spent half of this day in meetings - yeah I know, like a proper grown up! and the rest in the couch with a cat under each arm, watching Doctor Who. Now I'm just waiting for Andreas to come home from the pool so we can have dinner. Although I'm not really hungry. Not so much because of my sore throat or lack of appetite, but because I just ate a ton of chocolate to see if that would help. It didn't.

Anyway. Now I'm off to have a serious talk with my body about gratefulness and see if we can agree on making tomorrow a better day. I'm going to see if I can bribe it with a huge glass of orange juice and an early night.

Monday, 4 September 2017

my creative challenge #8 macramé and monsters

Here's the next summary of what creative stuff I've been up to for the past two weeks, besides my normal course work and architecture related stuff.

The next thing on my list of techniques to try was macramé. I've always been quite skeptical to this, it just seems a bit... frumpy. But then, on the other hand, I've seen plenty of pretty wall hangings and plant hangers lately so I was actually quite anxious to give this a go. And I'm glad I did. Even though I ended up spending very little time on it - I didn't have enough suitable yarn at home for more then one project - the result was I felt this is something I can play around with more in the future, as it was pretty easy and feels more versatile than I thought. My ambition with these "play-sessions" isn't to end up with a pretty result, but this time at least I created something useful!

super easy macramé plant hangers
what you'll need:
yarn or string of some suitable kind
some kind of container or pot. (I orginatlly planned to used the bottom half of water bottles as seen in the photo)

I'm actually not going to explain how I did this, but instead just link to this youtube tutorial. I pretty much followed this exactly, except for the length of the pieces or yarn. In my case I made the four pieces ca 1,5m long, but it would have been better if they were at least 10 or 20 cm longer. 

Anyway, this is the finished result. I made two plant hangers to hang on the patio. In the end I switched the cut-in-half plastic bottles to a pair of glass jars (I have so many from my addiction to sun-dried tomatoes and pesto). It worked better since they have more weight and were a bit smaller.

my little monsters!
The last week I ended up spending more time "creating" than I have in a very long time. I had this idea - I mentioned it briefly in my last creative challenge post - that I wanted to explore, so instead of spending time on any of the techniques I've been planing to try out I've just been sketching.... monsters!

The first part of the week I just keep drawing, trying to portrait all of these little figures I had in my head. I really felt quite warmly for these little guys, freaky and a bit scary as they might be. Then I scanned the drawings, adjusted the contrast a bit and printed the out to color them. This part was equally fun. 

I still have a few ideas on new monsters to introduce, and some ideas on other additions I want to make to these drawings. As this week will be a bit busy I'm not sure how much work I'll get done though. But I feel good about this, I haven't had this much fun drawing in ages!

Friday, 1 September 2017

august resolution audit

August is over and it's time to once again have a look at if I'm keeping up with my New Year's Resolutions - this time the updated ones!

  • Start scuba diving again
    not yet. And no set plans on when this will happen either. But I haven't given up
  • Become a person that runs
    Well, in August I have gone out for a run at least once a week, every week! Think this is a pretty good start.
  • Paint my fingernails with fun designs more often
    Not super often, but yes, I've had some fun with this - see photos for proof!
  • Try galloping at least once
    I was supposed to, this Wednesday, but my lesson got cancelled because of heavy rain... :(
  • "Read" five of my architect-books
    I've started, I've picked out the once I want to read and started with one of them, however that one was so boring I will not be able to finish it.
  • Go 90 days straight without shopping clothes
    So far so good, yes
  • Eat vegetarian at least two days per week
    In August I've eaten all vegetarian 12 out of 31 day, so it's looking good.
  • Post three blog posts per week
    Looking good so far, in August I posted 19 posts, which equals more than four per week, yay!
  • Complete at least one project for my portfolio
    This seems to be the hardest one... haven't even started
  • Take 90 kg in dead lift and 60 kg in deep squats
    Phew, this is a goal that will be hard to complete. Right now I'm at 60 kg on deadlifts, 40 kg in squats and 45 kg in bench. Although that is with reps, haven't tried what PB I have with just one rep yet.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

I've read: cloud atlas

by David Mitchell

I've come across the name of this book many times, but I guess mostly because it is also a movie. I had no idea it was by the same author as Slade House that i read pretty much exactly a year ago. I picked up this book when me and Andreas were in Japan in July, along with another book by him, actually.

So, I would say that it's good to have a little bit of an idea of what you are getting yourself into before you start reading this book, otherwise you might get really dissuaded by the first part. Especially if English isn't your first language. This book consists of several stories that takes places in different periods in time, over several hundred years, all told by different people. The stories span from being historical to futuristic and are very much a comment on human nature and behavior. 

The stories all tie together although I wont go into how  - however they way they do is in my opinion the weakest part of this book. They are all written in very different styles and a few of them takes a lot of concentration to follow. But that's also the fascinating thing about this book - and a thing that I was impressed of in Slade House as well - how Mitchell can come up with so completely different "languages" depending on who the narrator is. 

Although it took me a while to start liking this book I ended up really doing so. It's impressive. And now I'm curious to watch the movie based on it. 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

tropical bouquet

last Saturday me and Andreas were invited to a party to celebrate the engagement of two of our friends. They had specifically let us know that they didn't want any gifts, so I decided that I'll instead bring a card and a bunch of flowers. After some scavenging in the garden I found a few potentials to make up what I had hoped to be a pretty bouquet.

Turns out it was easier said than done to compose something pretty out of all of these pieces, and even harder to catch a photo of this in a flattering image. But although the 20 min bicycle ride in 30 degrees heat and headwind made both the bouquet and me look a bit worse for wear the hosts were happy with the result.

Monday, 28 August 2017

this week's plans

Good morning friends! Today didn't begin as I had planned at all, as I for some reason lay awake until 2 am last night, so I decided to sleep in a bit this morning. That meant my early start got delayed and the whole feel of the day has been quite... tired. Oh well. This Monday marks the beginning of the new school semester, during which I'll be taking two courses: one simply named illustration and the other one called visual identity from a sustainable perspective. Anyway.  Besides my courses I have a few other things on my schedule this week, and I thought it might be fun to share!

I had planned on  spending some time familiarizing myself with the courses and their schedules for the semester, but so far there's nothing on the course-webpages...
In the evening I'm going with two of my friends to a Piloxing class, always a certain way to work up a sweat...

I'll have to do some work preparing for a meeting on Wednesday. Plus I'm working on a logo for a friend of mine, depending on how much time the meeting preparation will take I hope to get some work on that done too. If there's already some work that can be done with the courses I'll try to get an overview of that as well.
In the evening Andreas and I'll go to the pool to do some laps.

Unless it has rained a lot my Wednesdays begin with a riding lesson! Directly after I have a meeting for a project I'm working on here, helping out collecting input for the rejuvenation/refurbishment of the local social club. I'll probably spend the rest of the day summarizing and preparing for other upcoming meetings in this project.
In the evening a gym-session with Andreas is on the schedule.

I'm not sure yet, but both Thursday and Friday might be dedicated to meeting for the above mentioned project. Otherwise I'll try to get some actual course work done during these days.
Thursday evenings have become my most eventful ones! After an intensive Piloxing session I just have time for a quick dinner before heading to my Salsa Rueda class.

Most likely a copy of the Thursday, depending on the status of the rejuvenation project... Except for the evening that most likely will consist of a gym session and then relaxing on the patio with Andreas, a book and a beer before dinner.

This weekend will be extra special, since me and Andreas will be driving over the border to Malaysia to stay for a night in Miri. We don't have any other plans than to buy a barbecue and relax at the hotel. It will be nice with some change of scenery, though.

Do you have any fun plan for this week?

Sunday, 27 August 2017

things I feel good about today

  • having gone through my monthly budget, being able to get rid of a few fixed costs and started automatic transfers to savings accounts
  • a friend sent an invitation to a fancy event in Malaysia in November, I'm already getting excited about going
  • randomly coming across a song from the Doctor Who season 5 soundtrack and deciding I'm going to re-watch the whole (modern) series. Makes me feel all giddy! I'm crazy about that series. 
  • Having time to just relax most of the day, deciding to skip going to the pool and just spending time with Andreas and the cats
  • a short call with my mom that reminded me I'll be going back to Sweden again in just a few weeks
  • planning this week and getting excited about my new classes that starts tomorrow

a glimpse from the garden

It's been a while since I showed you anything of the garden! Here are a few of my favorites right now, and two newly started projects:

We found an already germinated coconut on the side of the road and I decided to see if it would continue growing in a big pot on our driveway. I followed some instructions I found online and now we just have to wait and see what happens. I'm honestly a bit confused about the look of this thing that is spouting, it doesn't look coconutty to me. Oh well.

Next is my newly started little flowerbed. This is where I had planned to grow vegetables, but after realizing how crafty the monkeys are I think I will have to go for something non edible here. I've replaced the sandy earth with something that comes at least closer to planting soil and planted a bunch of seeds. I will just have to remember to water often... Hopefully we'll get loads of pretty flowers here that will steal the attention from the not so sexy AC units... 

We do have some flowering plants already in the garden though! I keep forgetting about these ones, the spider lilies, mostly because we have so many and they grow like weeds. But up close they are stunning. 

The bougainvilleas are blooming again. The bushes has grown like crazy, and for a while I kept pruning because I wanted more tight little tree-like bushes but now I've decided to just let them grow. The bushes we bought had different kinds grafted on to the main stem so it flowers in both orange, pink and yellow. Very kitschy.

Another flowering plant in out garden is the passion fruit plant! I need to tie this one up a bit better as it keeps growing with long, snaky vines. I'm also considering trying to help this one pollinate, to see if we'll get any fruit.

And while on the topic of fruit. We bought this little citrus plant - maybe a Calamondin? - and kept it outside on the patio until the monkeys took notice of the orange fruits and started demolishing the mosquito netting to reach it. Then it moved inside for a while, but it just grew so sad, I though it had died. So I removed the now dried up fruits and moved it out, to the backside of our house. After a few months of sunshine and rain it's back to its former glory and bearing fruit! So now I'll have to hide it again...

Friday, 25 August 2017

what I'm wearing

I haven't been posting an outfit in forever! I've had some problems finding a bright enough place to take the photos, plus getting dressed hasn't felt as much fun lately. But now, to motivate myself to wear "proper" clothes during the days (and not just sweats and pajamas) I'm going to try and document av few outfits every now and then. These posts are actually some of the more fun ones for me to look back on!

When I'd just moved here I wrote a post on how difficult I thought it was to figure out what to wear here. I think I have that pretty much sorted out now, and even though I'm a bit sad the greater part of my wardrobe (most of my dresses) goes mostly unused I have a few "uniforms" I return to:


Wide and thin black culottes from Indiska
Top from Lindex
Black knitted jacket from Vero Moda


Navy culottes bought in South Korea
T-short from H&M
Jersey jacket from Indiska


Shirt from Monki
Trousers from Mango
Shoes gift from Andreas

Light and airy fabrics, loose fitting and surprisingly covered in spite of the heat here. And I'm suddenly a person that wears trousers almost every day! I rarely go in shorts or skirts here. It might sound a bit strange but it's mostly because the climate here not so much the culture. If I wear a skirt I'll get thigh-rashes because of the heat and sweat and since it's usually quite chilly indoors it's nice to be covered. That's also the reason why I almost always wear a cardigan inside. I guess it looks odd that I mostly wear dark colors even though it's perpetual summer here, but that simply because I like darker colors better.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

#tbt my little black book

A few years in to my architects studies I realized it didn't do to just go around taking notes in any random notebook. Nope, you needed something to go with the architect look, of course. And, as I also was the kind of person not too ashamed to walk around in a black turtle neck and thick, black rimmed glasses ( a really good look btw, I long to wear it again!) I bought this small, black textile covered notebook. I carried it around in my bag most of the time and even though I had other bigger ones for most of my lecture notes this one had to function as a backup for when I forgot the others as well as serve as sketch book for random ideas and memories. 

I found it the other day and have been enjoying myself looking through it. I started using it 2004 and haven't written in it since 2006, even though there are a few blank pages left. Let's have a look at a few memories from those years:

during one particularly boring lecture ( about concrete and the construction of tunnels I believe) I apparently decided to draw the lecturers instead of taking note on what they were saying. 

Short notes and sketches from a lecture of project that I liked and wanted to remember.
I should look up these now.

Sketches fro a project in my third year, a church, plus some lecture notes

a more than ten year old four-leaf-clover!
I'm sure it means luck finding it a second time too, right?

More random sketches. The left one is a sketch for a house I've had in my mind ever since.
It's nothing special, just a layout I like. I think it's time I actually draw it for real.
It's fun looking back in time and remembering what life was like then. I wonder if I had continued study to become an architect if I'd known what it would be to work as one. Probably yes.