Saturday, 30 December 2017

new years resolutions audit

OK dudes, I know this is a lot. I had in total 23 new years resolutions this year... or maybe goals is a better word. I've looked back on these nine times over the year so this might feel a bit repetetive for you but... sorry, not sorry! This is the final one! And even though I plan to have (maybe not as) many goals for next year, I will aim to check in on them once every three months... Anyway. So this is how disciplined I've been 2017.



  • Paint my toenails often. Because looking down on brightly colored toes makes me happy.
    My toenails are almost always painted. My favorite is to paint them rainbow-colored, but today they are red.
  • Run 10K, once. Like without stopping for a rest
    Yep! I did that in February. Yay for me!
  • Take an online photo course and start to use my camera on "manual" setting
    Nope. Honestly this feels less and less like a priority. I really want to be able to take better photos and understand my camera better, but I have so many other creative tings going on right now that there is no room for exploring photography too at this point. 
  • Bake my own bread, at least once
    Haha no! I never did! But I baked cookies and a few cakes, which is unusual for me, so still progress, I'd say.
  • Find one really good friend in Brunei
    Yes! I can confidently say that I've made a bunch of friends. I still miss my old friends in Sweden and Norway, but there are good people here too.
  • Take 60 kg in bench press
    Uh, no. My max was 52,5 kg. 
  • Make one new proper friend via Instagram or a blog
    No, this hasn't happened. But I use Instagram and this place to keep up to date with my IRL friends.
  • Start an online portfolio
    Nope. This goal will be transferred to next year. And I have to extend it to two separate portfolios, one for illustration and one for architecture. Although in a way, my new Instagram account for drawings is kind of a portfolio...
  • Grow my hair long and learn how to make a Dutch braid.
    My hair is quite long and wait, I have to try... Weeeell. it's not pretty, but almost. Need to practice more.
  • Read 20 books, 5 of them non-fictional
    Hah, you know, I though I would be way over this goal! But now as I count them, turns out I've read 17 fictional books, and 5 non-fictional (although with very little text...) books this year. And I've listened to 14 audio-books. Which is way less than usual, as this year is the year I started listening to podcasts more than audio-book.  
  • Be nicer to my skin: use lotion on my dry hands and legs on a daily basis and develop some kind of skin-care routine for my little face. Plus use at least SPF20 on my face, every day
    Eh, no. I haven't been exactly unkind either, my skin doesn't really need much attention, and as I rarely go outside when it's sunny - too hot - I rarely use SPF either. Or makeup, for that matter. 
  • Only eat good candy, not boring candy. And enjoy it.
    I've eaten a lot of candy this year, as every year, and most of it has been good. Sadly some of it has been boring too. Too many Mentos.... I'll try to improve that for next year. I have certainly enjoyed it!
  • Try to reduce my screen time a little bit.
    haha! No. 
  • Start scuba diving again
    Sadly no, but me and Andreas have promised each other we'll do this next year.
  • Become a person that runs
    Yeah, I'd say so! According to my Runtastic app I've run 35 times during 2017. So, I've run 0,67 times every week... not bad for a person who hates running!
  • Paint my fingernails with fun designs more often
    again, my fingernails are almost always painted, but not always in fun designs. 
  • Try galloping at least once
    Yes! More than once!
  • "Read" five of my architect-books
    Yep, done!
  • Go 90 days straight without shopping clothes
    Nope. And I am a bit ashamed for this.
  • Eat vegetarian at least two days per week
    I actually keep track of this in my "Way of Life" app, and according to that I've eaten only vegetarian food for 80 out of 365 days. That's 1,5 times per week, so I'm not there yet, but on my way.
  • Post three blog posts per week
    Well, another one where I didn't reach all the way, but I've posted about 2,7 posts per week, with August as my best month. I'm content with this!
  • Complete at least one project for my portfolio
    Alas, no. Everything architecture related has been down prioritized this year, something that I regret. This will have to be improved for 2018. It's so easy to prioritize what is urgent rather than what is important, and I thing doing the opposite will have to be my theme for next year.
  • Take 90 kg in dead-lift and 60 kg in deep squats
    Nope. Halfway through this year I started doing a lot of other types of workouts and my gym sessions became quite sparse. I'm now at 80 kg in dead-lifts and  55 kg in deep squats.
All in all, I'm quite happy with what I achieved this year, with some exceptions. Now it's time to relfects on what my goals for 2018 should be...

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas

I hope you’re all having a great holiday and that you over indulge in all things great about this time of year, and manage to avoid stress and anxiety. 




I celebrated Christmas Eve with my mother and brother, we had a calm, food heavy and gift abundant day. Today, on Christmas Day, I’ve visited one of my best friends, Lotten, s d her family and soon I’ll be off to Gothenburg to go to the movies with mum and my brother. Tomorrow my dad will come here and we’ll celebrate again!

As per usual when I’m back in Sweden, I have something scheduled every day, but I think this year won’t be particularly stressful anyway, mostly just nice and social. 

I hope to get some time to just sit down at some point this week and reflect a bit on what I want for 2018... maybe on the train to Stockholm on Friday! 

Thursday, 21 December 2017

what I look forward to doing in Sweden over the holidays


  • dressing in layers! Wearing scarves coats and gloves!
  • buying art supplies
  • celebrating Christmas eve, giving/receiving gifts
  • eat Swedish pizza... I always order Capricciosa and eat tons of Swedish pizza salad. Nom!
  • planning our trip to Vietnam with my dad
  • eating my moms food and Christmas candy...
  • waking up on the 24th to the same Christmas music I woken up for the last 33 years or so
  • maybe having time to catch up with a friend or two over a cup of coffee
  • go browsing in all the normal shops, looking for bargains and Christmas gifts
  • meet my friends Richard and Steve and go dancing at Snowball in Stockholm
  • having lunch with one of our favorite couples and meeting their new baby
  • hanging out with my brother and Salomon
  • celebrating new years eve with Andreas with a fancy dinner at Sheraton hotel in Stockholm

Monday, 18 December 2017

the last normal Monday of the year


Hey peeps.

This week feels unnecessary somehow. I mean, I'm traveling home on Thursday afternoon and only have like a day's worth of stuff I need do to before that, so what's the point with all of these extra days in-between?

Anyway. I've had an extremely relaxed weekend but today I'm back being in a bit of a grumpy mood, without really knowing why. I've had this useless feeling now for a month or so, which makes me want to shut myself in the office, just drawing and listening to my new podcast infatuation - My Favorite Murder. Or, like today, binge-watching the latest season of the Crown. So, maybe it's lucky I have these extra days until I have to do something actively? Or maybe my bad mood is just homesickness.

On another note, today I applied for another online course in illustration. This one, however, seem much more professional than the beginner one I just took this semester. It is also sort of expensive and I had to send examples of my works with the application. I am nervous, but also quite glad to actually do something more focused on this illustration thing... we'll see... I'll know if I got accepted in February.

I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas-y week!

xoxo

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

tuesday tunes - five songs I listen to on repeat right now

This is how I listen to music: I hear a song I like somewhere, search for it on Spotify, or use Soundhound to figure out what song it is, then I add it to my "favorites" playlist on Spotify. I don't really create different playlists with different themes - only a few, but I rarely listen to the - I just keep adding to this one, long, ongoing playlist, and then every time I listen to music I just start from the top, with the latest added song. This means I listen to the same music A LOT, especially if I haven't added anything new for a while. It also means that I listen to a lot of very varied stuff, from vastly different artists, never in any real or logical order. Here are five songs that I've added lately, which means they are what I listen to most right now:




Monday, 11 December 2017

a back-on-the-horse monday

I'm not literary on a horse today - that will have to wait until Wednesday - but I have this feeling of retribution today. Last week was very meh. Veeerrry meh. I felt low, sensitive and useless most of the time. I did all of the important things I had on my to-do list, but stayed far away from physical and "extra curricular" activities and instead spent a lot of time in the couch eating candy. I'm not saying this is bad, no, for some reason that what was I needed last week, and I'm pretty good at allowing myself things I need, but now I just want to get back on track and find my energy again.



I'm doing that by means of coffee and another weekly to-do list!

Monday
Nothing big today, just sorting out some bank stuff, buying some Christmas gifts, going through a video lecture, doing some drawing... I'm joining some friends for this years final Piloxing session tonight, other than that I have nothing in my calendar.

Tuesday
It's cardio day! Running in the morning - I still can't do yoga because my bad knee (only hurts when I touch it, not when I run) - and swimming in the evening. I also have a lunch meeting with the club refurbishment project and  need to start working on the final assignment in one of my courses: re-branding of Calvin Klein! Strange assignment...

Wednesday
I begin the day as usual with a riding lesson. The rest of this day is dedicated to writing an application to a course and assembling illustrations that will accompany the application. 

Thursday
Coffee morning with Outpost - to do some socializing before the holidays, and then another project meeting, plus a financial planning meeting with Outpost in the late afternoon. Will probably not get much of my own work done that day. But on...

Friday
... I'll get back in to my own little bubble and can continue working on the branding assignment. Plus do some online lectures.

Saturday
No plans. Maybe bake gingerbread?

Sunday
No plans! But probably start packing and preparing for our trip back home to Sweden. 

One thing that I actually did last week was to finally start a separate Instagram account for illustrations and graphic design-stuff. So I don't flood my private account with that. It is a part of my plan to slowly but surely try to professionalize all of the creative work I do, and if you are interested in checking out what I'm up to, follow me! Search for Naikas_Sketchbook and you'll find most of my little monsters, portraits and general doodles. 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

a weekend in the jungle

Last weekend Andreas and I explored "the other part" of Brunei, the part that is divided from the main part by a small strip of Malaysia. This part consists mostly of rain forest and especially of the Temburong national park. To get there we first had to go to the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, where we were picked up, taken to a jetty where a speed boat "bus" took us to the small town Bangar. There the next mode of transportation waited for us - a van - that drove of for about half an hour to the Temburong river. Here we got in to a traditional long-boat (but with a motor) and driven for half an hour to the Ulu Ulu resort where we were staying.



We had a pretty good weekend, I must say. The rain forest is a weird, beautiful and terrifying place. The whole experience where colored by the fact that we - on our very first nature walk - ran in to a 6 meter python, while walking in a river. If we had had a more experienced guide this encounter might not have turned into so much of an ordeal, but as we pretty much stumbled in to mr Snake (it as two meters away from us, slithering over a rock in the small waterfall we were walking up) our guide stopped, yelled "snake" and "go" and I panicked. Pretty much. So I turned, slid down the little waterfall on my but, dragging Andreas with me and hit my knee when landing. And then I was pretty shaky and just wanted to get out of there. So, well, that put a bit of a damper on the trip. 




The rest of the weekend was way calmer, and we had some real fun, going tubing along the river, kayaing and hiking up a smaller river to a little waterfall where fish nibbled on our feet. We saw hornbills, butterflies and fruitbats and mostly just enjoyed ourselves being in the jungle. I still feel a bit stressed when walking in the jungle, but at least now I have my first snake encounter...



Friday, 8 December 2017

my christmas wishlist

People! Its only 16 days left until Christmas! High time for me to publish this years wishlist, to make sure that I'll get any gifts this year... And maybe to inspire someone else?

Here goes:


  1. bed-set from h&m home
  2. another bed-set from h&m home
  3. Wonder Woman on DVD
  4. any of Simon Stålenhags art books
  5. nail polish, pinks and neutrals, please
  6. new wristband for my watch
  7. headphones, these are pretty
  8. light pad for tracing sketches
  9. season 1 of Westworld on dvd
  10. wall planter from Lagerhaus
  11. big, sparkly and pink earrings
  12. wide, green trousers from h&m
  13. overnight-bag from Ted Baker
  14. wall hung candle holder



Wednesday, 6 December 2017

looking for new glasses

I need new glasses. Not so much because I don't like the ones I have, but because they are losing the protective coating, leaving them scratched and cloudy. It's caused by a fault in the production, so it's not me being reckless, btw! Very annoying. I need a new pair, ASAP, and just to make things simple I'm buying a pair from extraoptical.se (not sponsored) where I've bough glasses before. It really is a gamble when it comes to fit - and in some ways also function - but as the glasses comes pretty cheap I'm willing to gamble every now and again. I will probably try to find an optician here in Brunei soon, but until then this will have to suffice. 

Here are the ones I've been looking at this time.


  1. Maccles, retro style, similar to a pair I already have, but with an old prescription
  2. Barnsley, I've never had a pair as round and speckled as these, might be fun
  3. Artesia, classic black ones, feels like a safe bet, but might feel too dark for summer climate
  4. Barnsley, same as 2 but black. Safer, but again, maybe too dark
  5. Scarbor, rounded and two-colored, I've never had anything like this
  6. Kerman, more square, similar to ones I've had before
  7. Sweetn, big, black and square. I'm used to this. But dark...

I've seen a lot of pretty ladies wearing very big, round frames, but I'm guessing it's not really the glasses but the faces they are placed on that results in the prettiness... I'm currently very bored with the lack of contrast in my face, which becomes even more apparent as I so rarely put makeup on, this might be why I'm drawn to bigger, darker frames again. Even though I know it might not feel right for the climate and how I dress for it here... While I'm waiting to decide which pair to actually buy, let's have a look at my previous eye-wear-styles. Nostalgic...






these are actually not mine, but Alison's, but I wonder if I could ever pull off a cat-eyed style...

Monday, 4 December 2017

a monday in december

Good morning! I've been out of sync with blogging lately. Every time I've sat down in front of the computer I've had other more pressing things to do, and the updates I do on Instagram (my name there is holly_hawkeyes just fyi) feel like they cover most of what goes on in my life anyway. And as I  think most of you who read this follows me on Insta too, I don't want to repeat too much. But. Now I've had two large cups of coffee and am riding the lovely vibrating energy that comes with it, so why not use that for a blog post!



The best way to start a new week is to get an overview of what's to come, so here's my schedule for the next 7 days (just writing this list makes me feel so productive!):

Monday
Due to a little ...eh ...accident over the weekend I wont be doing any physical activities today, but let my blue knee rest another day. But that's all well and good as I have plenty to do anyway. I have a course assignment due tomorrow - further developing a brand profile that I began with a few weeks ago, this time with a color scheme, typography and patterns. Fun! I'm also working on a logotype for my friend Tuulikki, and I have to find a suitable script-font for her. Other than that I'm going to try to finish this years photo-book so I can send it off to be printed ASAP. I'm also planning to buy some Christmas gifts (online) and a new pair of glasses for me (also online, always a gamble).

Tuesday
I'll spend this day mostly on course work and handing in the above mentioned assignment. I also want to try out my new watercolor pencils that I bought last week, hopefully I have an hour or two to just sit and sketch with them. I'll try swimming tomorrow evening, I'm pretty sure me knee will like that.

Wednesday
The big meeting day! And the big "I'm an expat housewife"-day, too... The morning starts with the final monthly meeting of the year with my team from Outpost, the expat organization I'm part of. After that I have another meeting, with the Arts & Craft section of the local social club, I'm pitching an idea that involves me hosting a couple of workshops together with them next year. We'll see what they think. I hope to spend the afternoon working on an application letter for a course I want to take next year.

Thursday
Another meeting in the morning, this time with the architects that will hopefully do the work in the remodeling project I've mentioned before. After that I have a year-end-lunch with Outpost and then I'm done with all of the activities involving other people for the week. So nice... I know it's important and good for me to meet people, practice being a grown up and work in the real world for a bit, but how I just love hanging out in my own office just working on my own stuff... Anyway. Hopefully my knee is back to its normal shape and color by today so I can go work out with my friends Rachel and Morgane.

Friday
I set aside Fridays for architecture related work, and I have a few things on my list - like finding a Revit course for next year and updating the drawings for my brothers summer house, so I guess I'll be doing that, if nothing else comes up. In the evening I'll either go to the gym with Andreas, or we'll go to the boot camp workout at the crossfit box.

Saturday
No plans. Maybe go to the movies with Andreas and eat dinner out.

Sunday
My new friend Valerie is hosing a watercolor workshop at the Arts & Craft section I mentioned above, and I'm taking part in it! I'm really looking forward to this, as watercolor is my weakest media and I'd love some useful tips and inspiration.