Posts by theodorasabigail

Travel Diary: September 2018, Bandung (Part 1)

We drove to Bandung over the weekend of September 8-9th so I could serve as one of the speakers of PADghrs’ “Coming In” workshop. I was honored to be able to listen to so many different styles of writing. I hope my guidance and input helped them in some way.

The event was held at 107 Garage Room, which was actually less of a room and more like a cozy and large and warm multipurpose space. There’s a coffee shop, a small store, lots of small tables, and a rentable event room (which is what we used). We ate lunch at Johnny’s Burgers (or something like that)—they had a food truck on the property and the burgers were amazing.

That was on Saturday. We went exploring a bit on Sunday and visited Bakmie Naripan, which has some absolutely delicious bakmie (babi + ayam ada). Don’t go during regular lunch hours! It’s very crowded. We visited at around 3 pm and didn’t have to wait at all.

 The entrance to Garasi Opa.
The entrance to Garasi Opa.

After Naripan we visited Kineruku, an indie library in [I forget where, but I’ll update this later]. There was a small vintage shop named Garasi Opa right next door. Though we looked around, nothing caught our eye and we left to see the books.

 Kineruku is a small bookstore, library, and cafe. It was a shame that we didn’t get to taste the food!
Kineruku is a small bookstore, library, and cafe. It was a shame that we didn’t get to taste the food!

Kineruku is small—not really a library but a house that’s been dedicated to books. Bandung residents can make a library card for less than Rp. 100.000 a year, and if I lived in Bandung, you can bet I’d be there everyday. Later that night we had dinner with some lovely friends at Le Jardin, a new hip cafe that’d just opened. The ambience was okay-ish, and the cafe itself was definitely Instagrammable. The music playing was typical Pop 40 fare and somehow, it didn’t really mesh with the natural, green style.

I felt a little bit sad about it. But it was beautiful and the food was tasty enough (about 40-70rb per person). So I was glad to be able to go there.

 The #aesthetic bathroom at Le Jardin. Excuse the toilet!
The #aesthetic bathroom at Le Jardin. Excuse the toilet!

Later that night, we decided to drive all the way to Lembang and extend our trip by a day. But I’ll wrap up this diary here—I have more pictures and stories than I expected.

All my love, 

Ebi

Travel Diary: September 2018, Bandung (Part 2)

It’s funny that I’m only updating this blog now, a full month after we went to Bandung. Sorry, everyone!

First stop: Kawah Putih! We left for this tourist destination at around 10 or 11 am from Lembang (later than intended).

This place looks EXACTLY like it does in the photos on Google. So if you plan to go here to adventure, and you hope to discover something magical and wonderful and something more, then… you shouldn’t go.

It’s nice to do a bit of hiking at Kawah Putih, but like many places in Indonesia, there are lots and lots of hawkers waiting to sell you things. It also smells like sulfur. There are plenty of souvenir shops lining some of the roads, and you can ride a horse around for a few minutes (similar to Bromo). I’d definitely recommend Bromo if you’re looking for the mountain-and-horse-riding experience.

That being said, we did have some fun here, and it was interesting to see the crater up close.

You don’t have to stay overnight at the Maribaya Hot Springs Resort to enjoy it. I can’t seem to recall what happened between Kawah Putih and Maribaya, but we arrived here at around 4 pm—which means we only had an hour to explore the place!

We were a bit disappointed to discover that the resort was less of a hiking destination and more of a series of paid photo opportunities—from 15-16 of the Instagrammable places that you could take pictures at, a majority of them were ticketed. It was absolutely beautiful, but considering we were hoping to find some sort of magical forest wonderland here….

well…

:’)

Fairy Land (?) is a whole new attraction built by the same people who built Maribaya. Since it was still under construction, the tickets were given as a bonus to drum up attention for the place. And it worked! Fortunately for us, it closed at 6—we spent an hour wandering around this place. There are so many fun child-friendly activities and attractions here, like a wooden playground, a massive seesaw, and cute-and-slightly-terrifying fairy statues. If you have children, it’s absolutely worth a visit!

We didn’t stop by Kampung Daun this time! Instead, we ate dinner, then drove to Bukit Moko. This is the view from the top of the hill—gorgeous, right? From this point, it looked like the city lights really were stars. I swear that I could see them twinkling in the distance (or maybe my eyes were just broken).

The drive up to Bukit Moko is frightening, mainly because there are very few lights. Make sure to download Waze before you head there! The map point is in the right place; you just have to follow it allllll the way up the hill. We arrived to the hill at 10 or 11 pm, and had to walk 1-2 kilometers since the road up was also under construction.

There were some men hanging around the gate. After charing us Rp. 10.000 to enter, we made our way up and finally found a few ojek who agreed to bring us to the top for Rp. 10.000 each.

We stayed for about 3 hours, then made our way back down and drove to Jakarta that night.

Mengapa Foto “Kolonial” Papua Menjadi Masalah?

Sebenernya, pada dasarnya, cerita hari ini adalah cerita tentang keindahan budaya ditengah-tengah situasi politik buruk.

Sebelum aku mulai, aku mau mengingatkan bahwa di Papua sedang ada konflik militer. Di Nduga, Papua di awal Desember, 4 warga sipil ditemukan tewas akibat konflik senjata antara TNI-Polri dan TPNPB-OPM (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional Papua Barat/Organisasi Papua Merdeka). Selain itu, juga ada sekitar 20 karyawan PT Istaka Karya, pekerja Trans Papua yang ditemukan tewas.

“Ketua DPRD Kabupaten Nduga Anthi Gwijangge menuturkan, ketika dia dan tim evakuasi sampai di Distrik Mbua, ada satu jenazah yang ditemukan di wilayah perkebunan.”

Aktivis HAM internasional Theo Hesenggem menuding TNI yang membunuh empat warga sipil di Nduga. Hal itu berdasarkan hasil temuan tim evakuasi di lapangan.

“Warga mengatakan, pembunuh orang yang ditemukan waktu pencarian itu anggota [TNI-Polri], menggunakan dua helikopter dan menembak warga dari atas. Itu helikopter tentara. Dari helikopter itu melakukan tembakan bertubi-tubi di mana masyarakat berada,” ujarnya.

-Dieqy Hasbi Widhana, Tirto.id

Guberbur Papua, Lukas Enemba, dan Ketua Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Papua, Yunus Wonda, meminta agar TNI mundur pasukan di Nduga, Papua. Namun sampai sekarang anggota TNI masih berada di sana.

Papua mengatakan kemerdekaan mereka di tahun 1961. Namun, setelah dua tahun, pemerintah Indonesia mengambil alih dengan janji akan mengadakan referendum kemerdekaan.

Walau Belanda sudah menegaskan kepentingan kebebasan memilih untuk warga Papua, aksi politik di Amerika Serikat dan di Jakarta membuat situasi semakin buram. Presiden Sukarno membuat kesepakatan dengan dinas Amerika Serikat untuk berusaha mengambil alih Papua.

Di tahun 1969, Papua akhirnya mendapatkan kesempatan untuk memilih kemerdekaan atau pengintegrasian dengan Indonesia. Duta besar dari Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa (UN), Oritiz Sanz meminta agar satu orang dikasih satu “vote”. Namun, permintaannya ditolak dan akhirnya hanya 1,026 ketua yang dipilih secara khusus oleh tentara Indonesia dan diantar untuk mengikuti pemilihannya. Mereka memutuskan untuk bergabung dengan Indonesia. Jumlah pemilih ini (1,026) hanya 0.2% dari populasi Papua, dan pemilihannya sendiri diragukan curang, dari negara lain maupun dari orang Papua sendiri.

Di tahun 2017, juga diberitakan bahwa 1.8 juta warga Papua menandatangani petisi yang dikirim ke Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa. Petisi itu berisi permintaan oleh warga Papua untuk mengadakan pemililhan ulangyang bisa menentukan kemerdekaan Papua, dan juga permintaan untuk menginvestigasikan kekerasan dan pelangagaran hak asasi manusia di area tersebut.

Yang jelas—masalah ini sudah ada sejak lama.


Nah, mengenai masalah hari ini: foto-foto Nicole yang disebut “kolonialis” oleh para warganet.

Sebenarnya, intinya begini: budak yang bahagia tetaplah budak.

Orang yang sudah lama dijajah, entah oleh penjajah beneran (misal, sebelum Indonesia merdeka) atau penjajahan “pikiran” (dimana orang memaksakan naratif, kehendak, atau pikiran kepada orang lain)—biasanya tidak akan sadar bahwa mereka dijajah. Mereka diajarkan bahwa mereka tidak pantes untuk diperhatikan, sehingga ketika ada yang baik sedikitpun sama mereka, mereka merasa bahwa itu suatu kehormatan luar biasa.

Contoh: selama bertahun-tahun, orang native Indonesia dijajah sama Belanda dan diajarkan bahwa “bule is best”—intinya, barang, warna kulit, produk, bahasa, dan segalanya yang berasal dari luar Indonesia lebih bagus, berkualitas, dan terhormat daripada yang berasal dari Indonesia.

Seringkali bule yang sebenarnya mukanya biasa saja disebut “cantik seperti aktris Hollywood”—seringkali ketika orang Indonesia menikah sama bule dari Amerika Serikat atau Eropa, kejadiannya masuk berita nasional. Kenapa? Karena orang Indonesia diajarkan untuk menyembah barang dan orang “luar”. Karena kulit putih dianggep lebih bagus. Kemarin aja saat naik taxi, supirku mengatakan begini: “Saya lebih suka kulit putih, kinclong seperti kamu. Teman wanita saya kulitnya semua gelap, dan kesannya kotor”.

Mentalitas ini—bahwa budaya dan diri kita sendiri lebih jelek dibandingkan orang luar—disebut “internalized racism”.

“Internalized hatred” terjadi kepada orang yang sudah lama menjalani hubungan yang abusive. Karena mereka sudah dicuci otak bahwa mereka tidak layak dipatuti, disayangi, dihormati, didengari—mereka mulai anggep penghargaan terkecil dan terbiasapun sebagai keajaiban dan kebaikkan yang luar biasa.

Respons orang Papua pro atau kontrapun terhadap foto Nicole, satu hal yang jelas: sebagai orang yang punya hak istimewa/privilege, kami harus sadarkan diri dan menghormati orang yang kehilangan haknya (disenfranchised people). Memang kadang-kadang orang rela dimanfaatin atau didiemin, tapi bukan berarti kita boleh meneruskan situasi seperti itu.


Ketika kamu lihat anjing disiksa, apakah kamu akan diem saja?

Ketika kamu lihat temanmu dengan mulut yang tertutup lakban, apakah kamu akan membiarkan dia seperti itu?

Tentu tidak. Tapi dengan pergi ke Papua (atau lokasi manapun, sebenarnya), memotret orang pribuminya, mengunggah fotonya ke Instagram,

  • tanpa menceritakan situasi mereka

  • tanpa berbagi konteks

  • tanpa menanyakan keadaan mereka, dan

  • tanpa tulus membantu mereka,

itulah yang kamu lakukan. Apalagi kalo kamu memanfaatkan keadaan dan penampilan mereka sebagai prop di foto-fotonya, dengan tambah-menambah hashtag biar akunmu semakin rame.


Siapa dalam hubungan ini yang benar-benar beruntung? Tentu bukan mereka—dengan keadaanmu atau tidak, situasi mereka tetap sama. Tetap ditindas oleh pemerintahan kita, tetap diasingkan, tetap dicuekin. Orang-orang di beda pulau tetap menganggap “Papua” sebagai tempat primitif, dimana orang-orang masih pakai tombak, dimana mereka sehari-harian masih berburu hewan lihar. Persepsi orang terhadap Papua tetap kuno dan tidak akurat, dan iya—dengan fotomu, kamu bantu melestarikan persepsi itu.

Di hubungan seperti ini, orang yang mendapatkan untung terbesar adalah kamu. Kenapa? Karena kamu dapat model gratis, dan mendapatkan konten yang bisa kamu menambahkan ke portfoliomu. Kamu dapat peluang, dan juga mendapatkan nama dan reputasi sebagai fotografer ahli.

Tapi kalo misalnya seperti ini: kamu datang ke sana, dan melakukan wawancara pendek sama orang native yang hadir di sana—tidak susah, kok:

  • Namamu siapa?

  • Apa arti festival ini bagi kamu?

  • Apa arti dari tarian ini?

  • Apa arti cat di muka?

  • Seperti apa kehidupan sehari-hari kamu?

Pertanyaan yang sederhana ini bisa ditanyakan dalam percakapan singkat kok. Tidak butuh waktu wawancara khusus, kan? Namun walaupun pertanyaannya sederhana, kamu dapat mempejalari begitu banyak hal dan mendengarkan begitu banyak cerita dari orang yang kamu tanyain.


Lalu kamu minta memotret mereka, dan kamu pulang ke rumah nyamanmu di tengah kota. Satu per satu, kamu mulai mengunggah foto-foto yang sudah kamu edit, dan cerita sejarah dan konteks dibelakang fotonya.

Karena platformmu sangat besar, banyak orang belajar tentang orang Papua dan budaya Papua. Ternyata, persepsi mereka salah! Dan mereka, berkat kamu, mulai terbuka kepada budaya-budaya lain, tarian-tarian lain. Mereka mulai menghormati muka-muka yang selama ini asing. “Oh,” berkata mereka. “Ternyata saudara di Papua tak beda jauh sama aku.” Mereka mulai ber-empati untuk situasi mereka.

Hanya karena kamu menanyakan pertanyaan singkat, pengikut Instagrammu bisa merasakan keindahan NKRI. Tak hanya dari penampilan saja, tapi dari cerita yang kamu berbagi mengenai orang—ya, orang, dan sesungguhnya manusia seperti kita.

Dan beberapa pengikut IG-mu mulai berubah pikiran—mereka berhenti memandang mereka sebagai “orang lain” tapi sebagai “saudara”. Sebagai teman, walau belum pernah ketemu. Sebagai sesama manusia.


Oh, tapi aku lupa. Tindakanmu tidak seperti itu, kan? Kamu ngakunya mau mengingkat kesadaran akan Papua dan keindahannya, namun cerita yang di feedmu tetap tentang dirimu. Kalo memang hanya untuk feed, bilanglah. Kalo memang mau menginkat kesadaran, buktikanlah.

Nggak. Kamu hanya ambil foto mereka dan curi wajahnya supaya bisa lebih populer di sosial media. Tanpa memikirkan cerita mereka, kamu ceritakan tentang perasaanmu. Di fotomu, mereka berdiri disampingmu, dan iya, memang keliatan indah kok, tapi hanya itu: indah. Di fotomu, mereka bukan manusia tapi barang tanpa cerita. Karakter pendamping di naratifmu. Kita sudah tahu bahwa mereka indah, kok. Tapi kemana makna dibelakangnya?

Tidak masalah kok, bahwa banyak pengikutmu pengen ke Papua, belajar, dan lihat Festival Baliem, namun tidak sanggup.

Tidak masalah kok, bahwa persepsi pengikutmu tetap kuno, atau bahkan semakin kuno.

Tidak masalah kok, bahwa suara orang Papua sering diabaikan demi berita yang terjadi di pulau yang lebih kaya dan berpendidikan.

Tidak masalah kok, bahwa mereka kehilangan sekali lagi kesempatan untuk bercerita dan bersuara—padahal platform-mu sudah tepat dan rame. Padahal influence-mu besar dan kuat.

Dan tidak masalah kok, bahwa saudara-saudaramu di Papua sedang terlibat dalam konflik kemerdekaan.

Mengapa itu semua perlu menjadi perhatianmu? Kan kamu sudah mengunggah foto mereka. Bukannya itu sudah cukup baik? Bukannya kamu sudah murah hati sekali, memberi mereka berada di feed Instagrammu?

Tidak perlu, kan, memikirkan itu semua. Yang penting bagimu?

Hashtagmu sudah lengkap, promosimu berhasil, dan ketenaranmu terus mengingkat.



The truth of all of this is that today’s story is one about how a culture can be rich and beautiful, even in the midst of a difficult political situation.

Before we begin, I want to remind you that there is an ongoing military conflict in Papua. In Nduga, Papua, in mid-December, 4 civilians were reported dead as a result of an armed conflict between Papuan liberation forces and the Indonesian army. Aside from that, about 20 employees of PT Istaka Karya, the company handling the development of Trans Papua, were also reported dead.

The head of District Nduga’s DPRD, Anthi Gwijangge, stated that when he and the evacuation team arrived at District Mbua, a body was found in the plantation area.

Based on the findings of the evacuation team in the field, international human rights activist Theo Hesenggem accused the National Army of Indonesia of the killings.

“Residents stated, the killers of the people found dead during that search were members of [TNI-Polri”], using two helicopters that shot the civilans from above. These helicopters were military-owned, and from them the members of the army shot continuously towards the people.

-Dieqy Hasbi Widhana, Tirto.id

The Governor of Papua, Lukas Enemba, and the Chairman of the Papuan House of Representatives, Yunus Wonda, requested that the army remove their troops from the area. However, to this date, members of the TNI are still there.

Papua (also known as West Papua, or Papua New Guinea) declared independence in 1961. However, after two years, the Indonesian government took over administration of the former Dutch colony with a promise to hold a referendum later on should they desire independence.

Even though the Netherlands already reinforced the importance of Papuan freedom to determine their own country’s fate, political issues and actions in the USA and Jakarta made the situation unclear. Sukarno, who was president of Indonesia at the time, asked for the help of USA officials to lobby President JFK for permission to annex Papua.

In 1969, Papua finally received their “chance” to vote for freedom or integration. The ambassador of the UN, Oritiz Sanz, requested a one man, one vote system. However, this request was rejected; instead, 1,026 elders were hand-chosen by the army and escorted to voting booths. The result of this decision was integration; however, the number of voters totalled only 0.2% of the total Papuan population. The “referendum” itself is widely considered to be fraudulent, both by native Papuans and outsiders.

In 2017, it was also reported that 1.8 million Papuan natives signed a banned petition sent to the UN that requested another vote be held to determine independence. They also requested that the UN send a special representative to investigate possible human rights violations in the area.

One thing is clear: this has been an issue for decades.


And now, for today’s issue: the “colonial” photo(s) taken by Indonesian photographer Nicole which have been the topic of heated debate by Indonesian netizens.

To be entirely honest, there’s only one point that needs to be made: happy slaves are still slaves.

People who have been colonized or oppressed for long periods of time, whether through literal colonizers (such as the Dutch in Indonesia before 1945) or oppressive thinking (where people push narratives, personal wills, or perspectives onto others)—often do not realize that they have been oppressed. They have, after all, been taught that they do not deserve to be paid attention to, to the point where any single, minuscule show of kindness is interpreted as a great honor.

Example: for years, native Indonesians were colonized by the Dutch, who taught them that “foreign is best”—basically, that imported or foreign products, skin color, languages, and everything else are more valuable and of higher quality than anything from Indonesia.

The Indonesian media often refers to ordinary-looking white women as great beauties with faces like Hollywood actresses; marriages between native Indonesians and white Europeans or Americans are reported on in national news. Why? Because Indonesians have been taught to worship white products and people. Because white skin is considered “better”. Yesterday, I rode a taxi and the (admittedly disgusting) driver stated, “I prefer women with light skin, clear and pretty like yours. The skin of my female friends are very dark, and it gives the impression of dirtiness.”

This mentality—that a person’s own culture and appearance are somehow “lesser” than those of foreigners or those of other races—is what we call “internalized racism”.

Internalized hatred can also be seen in victims of relationship abuse. Because they’ve been brainwashed into believing that they are not worthy of being listened to, loved, respected, or heard—they begin to view even the smallest, most mediocre show of respect as a miracle and out-of-this-world kindness.

The response of Papuan natives, for or against the photo, does not change the fact that as people with privilege, we have to know our place and history, and respect those who have been disenfranchised. Yes, it’s true that many people have been taught to want to be manipulated or ignored—but that does not mean we should perpetuate these kinds of situations.


When you see a dog being tortured, would you be quiet?

When you see a friend with duct tape over their mouth, will you leave them that way?

Of course not. But by going to Papua (or any ‘exotic’ place, really), photographing the natives, uploading the photos to Instagram,

  • without telling people about their situation

  • without sharing the context

  • without asking how they’re doing

  • without a sincere wish to help them,

that is what you’re effectively doing. Especially if you use the situation and their appearance as props in your photos, then add twenty or thirty hashtags so that your account gets discovered.


In this relationship, who’s really benefitting? Clearly not them—with your presence or without it, their situation stays the same. They are still oppressed by our government, still treated as outsiders, and still ignored by the majority of the population. People from other islands, like Java, will still perceive “Papua” to be a primitive place, one where people still use spears and hunt for wild animals. This idea and image of Papua is outdated and inaccurate, and yes—with your photos, you continue to perpetuate it.

No, in a relationship like this one, the one receiving the most benefits is you. Why? Because you’re getting free models, and nice content for your photography portfolio. You get more opportunities, and more praise for your name as a professional photographer.

But if, say, just say—you did this: you went there, you held quick interviews with the natives you met there (it’s not hard, I promise):

  • What’s your name?

  • What does this festival mean to you?

  • What do these dances mean?

  • What does the face paint mean?

  • What is your daily life like?

These are simple questions that can be asked at any time. You don’t need to have a formal interview, right? But despite the simplicity of these conversation starters, you can learn so much and hear so many stories from those you ask.


And then you ask to photo them, and you go home to your beautiful home in the middle of the city. One by one, you begin to upload the photos that you’ve already edited, and you leave captions that explain the context and history behind them.

Because your platform is so large, people begin to learn about the Papuan people and Papuan culture. They begin to realize that their perceptions are wrong! And they, because of you, begin to open their minds to the idea of other cultures, other dances. They begin to respect faces that, for so long, have been unfamiliar.

“Oh,” they say. “It turns out that our brothers in Papua are not so different from us.” And they begin to feel for their plight.

Just by asking a few questions to the people you meet, your Instagram followers begin to truly understand the beauty of their country. Not just from superficial appearances, but from the stories you share about those people—yes, people, and humans just like us.

And some of your followers, they begin changing their minds. They stop considering the Papuan people as “other” but as “brothers”. As friends, even though they’ve never met. As humans.



Oh, but I’ve forgotten. That’s not what you did, is it? You claim to want to raise awareness for Papua’s beauty, but the story you’re telling is still about you. If it’s purely for your pretty feed, say so. If you really want to raise awareness, prove it.

No, you just took their photos and stole their faces so that you could become even more popular on social media. Without thinking about their stories, you told your own, about your feelings and reactions to their culture and beauty. In your photos, they stand beside you, and yes, they are beautiful. But that’s it: beautiful. In your photos, they don’t stand as people but as things without stories; side characters in your own grand story. We already know they’re beautiful. But where is the meaning behind all of that beauty?

It doesn’t matter that your followers will continue to have the same outdated perception of Papua—perhaps even more backwards, now.

And it doesn’t matter that the actual voice of Papuan natives has been ignored for decades for news that is more relevant to the richer, more educated islands.

It doesn’t matter that they, once again, have lost a possible change to tell their story—not necessarily political, no, just human—this despite the fact that your platform is a wonderful, popular place. This despite the fact that your influence is strong and large.

And of course, it doesn’t matter that your friends and brothers in Papua are struggling, or that they are dealing with a fight for independence.

Why in the world would any of that possibly cross your mind? After all, you’ve already uploaded their photos. Isn’t that kind enough? Haven’t you already been so generous, letting them share your Instagram feed?

And there’s no need, right, to think about any of that at all. What matters to you?

Your hashtags are perfect, your promotions are successful, and your popularity continues to increase.

Liz Lisa Makeup Review (with swatches) ♡

 Hello everyone! I received an edition of Popteen magazine a few weeks ago. Popteen (and a lot of other Japanese mooks/magazines) gives readers free gifts with every issue. Sometimes they’ll be makeup, sometimes they’ll be small bags… sometimes the gift is a cute accessory that you can wear.

Popteen likes to partner a lot with Liz Lisa, so the monthly gift can sometimes be Liz Lisa makeup. That’s what I’ll be reviewing today!

This is what’s inside the box–an eyeshadow quad and a Liz Lisa sheer lip gloss.

Here’s a closer look at the eyeshadows! Now, I’m still just a beginner on my makeup journey, but I did like these colors. I don’t know how to compare different makeup formulas yet but I would say that these fade easily when applied, even over my Canmake eyeshadow base. 

Shade 1 all over the brow, Shade 2 on the corners, and shade 3 as a slight dusting near the eyeliner line (I’m a total newbie, so please forgive my…terrible explanation skills). I don’t use the lip gloss from Liz Lisa much, I’m actually wearing a Canmake lip balm in this photo.

Alright! That wraps up my Liz Lisa makeup review for today. Have any of you gotten your hands on this makeup set from Popteen x Liz Lisa? If so, what are your thoughts on it? I’d love to hear them! ♡ 

Poesie Perfume Reviews Master List

Hi everyone! To make this a little bit easier for y’all, I’ve placed all of my reviews in an Airtable. You can filter and sort by collection, by type of perfume.. so I hope you’ll enjoy this masterlist of Poesie Perfume reviews.

Overall, as a perfume house, I find that Poesie excels in creating light, whistle-like fragrances. They don’t always have the best throw or longevity, but while they’re around, they’re so bright, lovely, and simple. To solve the longevity problem, I usually dab the perfume into my hair, and then it lasts for the whole day.

My favorites from Poesie include Innocence, Madar, and Tiny Phantom—all delicate fragrances that boast strong sweetness. Others to try include County Line and Madchenland.

Luvmilk: Massive Haul + Review (2018)

Hiya! I’m back with yet another review of my beloved indie skincare + makeup products. Today we’ll be talking about Luvmilk, a gorgeous skincare brand that got its start on etsy, before moving to its own standalone site. Customs screwed me over with a Rp. 700.000 tax (why? WHY? that’s USD $50, btw) because the value was over $100 (total was $157). Though she kindly understated the value, Customs opened the box and found the actual invoice inside. I’m not sure why they taxed me 30% of the value, because that’s a huge amount, but fortunately, the order was worth it. WORTH IT.

I’d always been planning to order from Luvmilk (since about a year ago), but for some reason I never got around to it. When I saw that they’d released a Halloween collection in their EDP, I decided to finally check out (I had about 20 things in my cart). Here’s everything I received—I also ordered a $25 mystery box.

These lip balms cost $2.50. They are the creamiest and lightest that I’ve ever tried, so much so that it sometimes feels I’m not wearing anything. They’re not amazingly moisturizing (I’d rate them a 6 on a 1 to 10 scale), but they smell amazing. AMAZING. My one complaint is that if you lick your lips, they taste nothing like they smell >_<

Luvmilk’s body sprays come in 4 sizes: 1 oz is $4, 2 oz is $6, 4 oz is $12, and 8 oz is $24. These smell amazing as well and have crazy throw and longevity. I sprayed once—ONCE—on myself and it lasted the entire day. I actually received a 1 oz prior to this in one of my Hello Waffles subscription boxes (that scent was Summer Surprise) and that’s part of what made me even more interested in this brand. I’d definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a low-cost alternative to Bath&Bodyworks.

Welcome to all of my new conditioners. The 8 oz size is $12, the 4 oz is $7, and the 2 oz is $4. I got a bunch (a BUNCH) and let me tell you, these work great on my hair. I have severely damaged hair that gets tangled very, very easily. It can be hard to brush and more often than not, it’s just a frazzled mess. Many of the conditioners I’ve tried from the store have done nothing for my hair, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that after trying them out, my hair felt lighter and was much easier to brush. You can see in the center on the top row—that’s how much I used for one wash. I have long hair that stretches past my neck and to my back.

Note: I’ve only tried ‘Goblin Lover’, but I think there might be a spice in the conditioner because when I used it to condition my hair, some of it got into my scalp and it began feeling a bit tingly D: It was a very uncomfortable feeling..

The conditioners’ scents last over a day—they’re faint by the second day of wearing, but it’s so nice to go to sleep in a cloud of sweet-smelling perfume.

You can see how much more conditioner I use vs. shampoo.. Oh my gosh. These shampoos aren’t anything mindblowing, but I love how wonderfully they smell. They clean my hair well—my hair gets very oily after 2-3 days, and with just a few pumps I was able to work the shampoo into a medium lather and wash my hair. It’s very gentle compared to the Chinese shampoos my husband likes to use. These come in three sizes: 2 oz = $4, 4 oz = $7, and 8 oz = $12.

So what you’re seeing here is a mix of 3 products. First, the Goat’s Milk Lotion, which is literally the nicest lotion I have ever tried. It’s so creamy, it feels like you’re wearing nothing, and the fragrances SMELL. AMAZING. I’m not sure how many times I can repeat that but OMG THEY SMELL GREAT. I’ve tried Aphrodite’s Temple; wore it at around 7 pm after my shower, and it lasted until bed time (which, shamefully, is around 1 am). Despite its light texture, it truly feels so, so soft on my skin. I have severe dryness issues and I feel like I’ve found my holy grail.

I have not tried the dusting powder or the sugar scrub yet, so I will get back to you on that <3

As you can see, these little beauties are still unopened. I’m planning on using them today, and when I do, I’ll come back and update this post!

Overall, I’m very happy with my Luvmilk order, so much so that I’m planning on making another one as soon as I use up one of these products. I can’t express how much I love every single thing I’ve gotten—the smells are great and so complex and rich and LONGLASTING, the conditioner actually works, the body sprays double as room sprays and leave my house smelling fantastic.. SERIOUSLY worth the money. Okay! I’m going to say bye now and smother myself in lotion again. I hope this review was a bit helpful!

Everything Full of Light and Love, + Short Story!

Hi! It’s 1 in the morning, which means I have time to write my blog. It’s funny, because back in high school I used to use my blog as a silly place to rant and talk about life and boy problems. I think a lot of people did–hence why Livejournal and poorly designed Blogger websites were so popular.

Now, though, everything is about content and SEO and ranking high and getting pageviews and monetizing. The Internet isn’t personal anymore; it’s a money-making machine. And that has felt very lonely at times.

What have I been up to? Well, aside from my awesome day job as the Community Facilitator over at SEA Founders, I’ve been preparing for Ubud. Because yes, I’ll be at Ubud Writers + Readers Festival alongside some of the most talented writers in the world. It still feels like an absolute dream. These past few weeks have been a mess, what with moving to the new house and going to Singapore (twice!) and everything else. Life is busy. I’m sure you know that well.

Like always, I’ve been struggling with doubt and confusion about who I am and what I’m doing and whether or not I should continue what I’ve been doing this whole time. Confession: I’ve been dealing with a lot of pent-up frustration recently, which I think stems from this internalized idea that I shouldn’t complain about what I’m going through because I’m so lucky to have what I do. As a result, I’ve been lashing out passive-aggressively quite a lot recently. 

I’ve been trying to take a “break” of sorts and kind of return to a schedule; the recent commotion has left me scrambling for time and struggling to make sense of everything that’s been going on. I’ve been thinking more and more about that Australian travel blogger who went nuclear and deleted her Instagram page; I wonder how she’s doing and if she’s living her best life. The more time I spend on Instagram and Facebook, the more I get sucked into pretty pictures and this idea that I’m not “flawless” enough or not “aesthetic” enough or not this enough or that enough, that I’m not “engaging” enough with my followers, etc., etc.

The truth is that I’m tired and burnt out, more than slightly so, and I have too little energy for social media except as a silent consumer of all these gorgeous images and curated everythings. So if you’re reading this and you’re a follower, then I’m sorry. 

Anyways, my short story was published a week or two in the Jakarta Post! It’s an excerpt; I cut a lot out to make room for the word count limit. Maybe one day I’ll share the full version with everyone! It was originally titled “Mania”; they tacked on the “Painting” part.

I hope, as always, that you have a wonderful day.

Kawaii/Jfashion Fukubukuro 2019

Hi everyone, I rarely do this type of post (admittedly, I haven’t blogged much at all in the past year or so..) but I wanted to share this as a 1) reminder for myself and 2) resource for any of you who may be looking for the Lucky Bags/Fukubukuro from our favorite Japanese brands.

In case you didn’t know, fukubukuro are a tradition in Japan. Initially, they were created to move old stock and make room for new things—it’s generally considered bad luck to have things from the previous year. In the past, many fashion fukubukuro would include things that hadn’t been popular and sold at discounted prices.

Now, though, many of the popular Japanese kawaii fashion companies will manufacture and design fukubukuro-only clothes. Preorders generally open mid-end November and early December, so hopefully this post is right on time.

Anyways, in case you want to buy any of these, you can try zenmarket.com/Buyee/Tenso (shipping forwarder companies, who will place the order in Japan, have it mailed to their warehouse, re-packed, then sent to you) or Tenshi, an independent shopping agent who I’ve heard many wonderful things about.

Brand: one spo
Options: Caramel Latte or White Mocha
Price: 10,800 yen (tax included)
Items: 8 (including bag)
Link: https://onespo-store.net/s/181109OSP/?link=top_bnr_01
Contents: Fur Neck Warmer, Jacket, Beret, One Piece, Hoodie, Skirt, Bag Belt, Bag
Comments: I didn’t like these at first, but the more I look at them the more they’re growing on me. The bag is really cute. I’m not 100% sure about the hoodie but I think everything else is adorable!

Brand: Anmille
Options: Sweet or Girly
Price:
8,000 yen (tax excluded)
Items:
5 (including bag)
Link:
https://evelyn.tokyo.jp/item/detail/1_2_ANMF-002_90/23
Contents: Tank Top, Jacket/Sweater, Skirt, Blouse, Bag
Comments: Anmille is a sister brand of evelyn, which we’ll see below. I like this set. With tax and shipping, though, it ends up being around 9,500 yen—and I wasn’t able to justify this purchase since most of the items seem fairly standard. You could get the tank top and long skirt pretty much anywhere.

Brand: Evelyn
Options: Black Mix or Off White
Price:
8,000 yen (tax excluded)
Items:
5 (including bag)
Link:
https://evelyn.tokyo.jp/item/detail/1_1_EVMF-002_90/70
Contents: One Piece, 2 x Blouse, Skirt, Bag
Comments: I think I’m going to be getting this fukubukuro. I fell in love with it at first sight! I appreciate how easy the set is to coord, especially because I’m a big lazy butt. The neckline on the blouse is just so sweet and doll-like, and I love the frills on the other top-sweater-thing.

Brand: Honey Cinnamon
Options: Unisex or Girly
Price:
10,800 yen (tax excluded?)
Items:
5 (including bag)
Link:
not yet available (?), launching on December 1st
Contents: Outer, Blouse, One Piece, Skirt, Bag
Comments: I was waiting on Honey Cinnamon and a few other brands to make my decision about fukubukuro this year, since it’s my first time, but I’m not really feeling the contents of this happy bag! In a sense it was a relief because there are so many other happy bags I want, but still.. The bag is really cute but the blouse looks thin (and it’s one that I could get anywhere). The pockets on the skirt are just so bafflingly huge that I don’t know if they’d look good on me. And the dress is also one that we’ve seen in plenty of other lineups this year.

Brand: Ank Rouge
Options: Black or Pink (?)
Price:
16,200 yen (including tax)
Items:
7 (including bag)
Link:
https://www.shibuya109.jp/ap/item/i/A0AL0000EUDP
Contents: Outer (Jacket), 3 x One Piece, 2 Surprise, Bag
Comments: This fukubukuro is a little bit on the expensive side, but they’ve definitely released some adorable sh*t for this year’s lucky bag. THAT HOODIE IS SO CUTE! I’m also really really drooling over the coquettish one piece. I think the deciding factor that might sway me is knowing whether those 2 secret items might be accessories or clothes. Last year’s bag was only 10,800 yen so I’m curious as to what could justify that steep 5,000 yen price jump.

Brand: Cecil McBee
Options: Type A (fluffy poofy coat) or Type B (breasted coat)
Price:
10,000 yen (excluding tax)
Items:
9 (including bag)
Link:
https://www.shibuya109.jp/ap/item/i/A0AL0000EUDN
Contents: Jacket, Skirt x 2, One Piece, Sweater (Sweater Dress?), Sweater,Hoodie, Blouse
Comments: I’m a sucker for bargains, which means I’m really on the verge about this lucky bag. Considering I live in Indonesia, I probably won’t put the jacket or sweater (sweater-dress?) to much use. But you could probably make a whole week of coords with this bag, and that means there’s VALUE!!! AHHHHHH. But at the same time, “conceit is much fine, life is only once”? Come on Cecil, you can do better than that..

This brand actually has several other lucky bags, but those are geared more towards workout gear/merch.

Brand: Cherite by Prime Pattern
Options: Just one type!
Price:
10,800 yen (including tax)
Items:
7 (including bag)
Link:
https://fashionwalker.com/brand/primepattern/item/PPA0119H0001?areaid=ebPPA01&link=BRAND_PPA01_RANKING
Contents: Blouse, Sweater, Skirt, Sweater Dress, Bag, Cardigan
Comments: This is definitely a surprise stunner because I have paid essentially zero attention to this brand, and then all of a sudden they come out with this incredible lucky bag. It’s sold out on their site, so if you like this, definitely go snag one on fashionwalker! You can do a lot with these six items since they all work so pleasantly together. The fact that there’s no jacket here is probably one of the reasons why I like it so much.

Brand: Swankiss
Options: Just one infamous angel bag
Price:
19,440 yen (including tax)
Items:
6 (including bag)
Link:
https://fashionwalker.com/brand/primepattern/item/PPA0119H0001?areaid=ebPPA01&link=BRAND_PPA01_RANKING
Contents: Blouse x 2, Dress, Outer (Jacket), Beret
Comments: The Swankiss Angel Bag is pretty famous. It just launched today (Nov 27) and was sold out on the site in like, less than an hour. Personally I don’t like it as much as I want to, and I definitely can’t justify the 19,400 yen price tag. I found the length of the dress and the coat to be a bit short. On top of that, one of the 5 clothing items you get is a beret—in my humble opinion, there are better options to get this year. The lace on the blouse is also really… OUT THERE..

Brand: EATME
Options: Black or Pink
Price:
16,200 yen (including tax)
Items:
6 (including bag)
Link:
https://runway-webstore.com/ap/item/i/m/3418679001?aid3=rcmenu_NA_list
Contents: Outer (Jacket), One Piece, Bag, 3 x Mystery
Comments: If it were up to me and I had to choose between Ank Rouge or this, I’d most likely go with Ank Rouge. Their one piece is very similar, and I prefer how Ank Rouge has designed theirs.

Brand: merry jenny
Options: White or Pink, but can’t choose
Price:
10,000 yen (excluding tax)
Items:
5 (including bag)
Link:
https://fashionwalker.com/brand/merryjenny/item/MYJ0119H0001?areaid=ebMYJ01&link=BRAND_MYJ01_NEWARRIVAL
Contents: One Piece, Cap, Outer (Coat), Blouse, Bag
Comments: The dress is very cute, but everything else is meh. Nothing spectacular about this one, so I’m going to skip.

Brand: mercuryduo
Options: Pink Beige or Light Grey, but can’t choose
Price:
12,960 yen (including tax)
Items:
5 (including bag)
Link:
https://runway-webstore.com/ap/item/i/m/0018679001?colvar=M84&aid3=md_official_store
Contents: Bag, Coat, Knit Dress, Skirt, Lace Top (“Bustier”)
Comments: I am very torn about this bag because I’m not sure what I’m going to get! I don’t love the previews enough to say, “Oh my god, I NEED this”. I like the outfits the models are wearing (see the photos below) but.. will I actually be getting anything even remotely similar to that? I was almost going to get this, but ultimately decided against it 🙁

Brand: dazzlin
Options: Beige or Grey, but can’t choose
Price:
10,800 yen (including tax)
Items:
6 (including bag)
Link:
https://runway-webstore.com/ap/item/i/m/0218679001?pi=p_sp_dz_2019happybag&aid3=2019_fukubukuro_dz
Contents: Bag, Coat, Basic Skirt, Knit, Dress, ?
Comments: I love the dazzlin brand but I also can’t justify this purchase. I really hate blind buying, and I don’t want to spend that much money on things I may totally hate.

Okay! Phew, thanks for sticking around. Anyways, I really like the dominant color themes this year—grey, pinkish beige, white, black..

We can also see a shift in these brands to a more larme-esque style, which I love. Glen check is also featuring incredibly prominently, which is nice because we can see how different brands have interpreted the trend and choose which we like best.

Some other brands whose lucky bags I’m waiting on:

Rosemarie seoir (the Holy Grail)
and of course, Liz Lisa.

I’m actually a bit apprehensive about Liz Lisa because they’ve been doing so many patterned fukubukuro (I wasn’t a fan of the My Melody print from last year). I’m curious to see whether they’ll jump on the glen check trend as well. I hope that this post helped you out a bit, and thanks for stopping by <3