Thursday, April 12, 2012

How is my art? (The Linchpin)

A friend of mine send me a text today and it said this:
"Hello how have you been? And more importantly how is your art?"
The text is nothing really special but for some reasons I had a hard time answering to him in the 500 letters or less text limit from my mobile phone so I decided to write him this:
" I am fine. I have been busy entertaining the kids and enjoying this weather. But as far as my art is going, I am stuck. I am 32 years old and I am stuck.
I remember being stuck back when I graduated high school. I was not even 18 years old, and I had passed the baccalaureate with honors. Yet I did not receive any letter of acceptance from universities abroad (I did not send any application for I was sure not to be accepted). I was supposed to receive a full scholarship from the government but without an official enrollment, I could not use it. There I was, being a genius (after being so average my entire life) and not even capable of taking advantage of it. My friends who did not even produce better results than I did were leaving me one by one for France, Canada and any other great place. I cried everyday on my fate and thought the world would come to an end. Now that I think about it, it was cute being stuck then, because I was barely 18 and I had all my life ahead of me. Being stuck at 32 is not cute anymore.

But why am I stuck? Why indeed?

I have this dream of doing what I love and getting paid to do it. However, how can I turn my skills into a paycheck? What is available for me in the market?

What I love right now is to write about fashion. I do not claim to be a fashion expert but I know enough to write a decent article or to give advice. I know enough that I spend hours writing about things I love in fashion. Fashion blogging is something that is relatively easy to do. What I need is a computer, an Internet connection and a free space to write. And I already have all that. But becoming a professional fashion blogger is very hard. I do not know what it takes to become one that is getting paid, receives endorsements and gifts from fashion houses, gets featured in fashion magazines, has book deals and ends up creating her own line of clothes. I have no idea. I know that for some bloggers it is all about what they can offer such as advice on style or how to make certain fashionable items (DIY). For some others it is just that their originality appeals to the masses. And there is the rest where I have absolutely no clue why they even have thousands of followers. Whenever a popular blogger gets ask why she is so successful, she tends to answer that she is being true to herself when she blogs. She does her and that is just enough.
I guess then I have a huge problem because I have no idea who am I (even fashionably speaking). I know who I am not. Also I know who I want to become but do I know myself? Then how do I want to get paid for blogging about fashion or my style when I have not even figure out what it was yet?

Designing my own clothing line would be a dream come true. I have been sketching clothes I would like to wear on free time ever since when....I enjoy designers shows and try to get so much out of them. Last Summer I even "designed" some clothes and had a tailor make them for me. I was supposed to sell them but they are still sleeping in my closet. I took pleasure in designing those clothes. My next move would be to do it on a higher scale.
 Yet, what do I really know about design? I have never been to design school? I own a sawing machine but I cannot sew (I plan to learn some day though). I do not know how clothes are made (well I have a vague idea). But more importantly I am not sure I even know how to dress a woman.

Writing is another thing I like to do and think I am pretty good at. I have been writing all my life. I do not remember anything about French literature classes I took when I was in high school because I would write poems and short stories while the teacher would gloat the prose of a Voltaire, Cesaire or Senghor. During the Summer holidays I would buy notes of 500 pages and write an entire book. Even today, there is not a day that passes by when I do not think about a short story or have an idea for a book. My friends who read my stories told me time and time again that I needed to write a book. But what they do not know is that writing a book is the easy part, getting it published is tricky. I know the process: you have to get your manuscript to a publishing company, they will have to read it and decide if they want to publish it or not. Then if even it is not rejected like the millions of other manuscripts they receive every day, you will have to sit and wait to see if the book is going to be a flop (once it is out) or enter a best sellers list. On top of that, you will have to face the critics who will interpret your work in such a far-fetched way. Writing and getting published is terribly complicated that the entire process scares me. Besides, maybe I am not even that good. My friends are nice and all but what do they really know about literature?

I recently discovered that I like event planning. I have been planning small things for friends and other acquaintances and I really enjoyed it. I like to know what is happening around town, where is the best place to shop, eat, rest or have fun. And for some reasons I also like to share that kind of information. I would love for this skill to turn into some kind of revenue like getting paid to organize the perfect date or an unforgettable birthday party. But how do you achieve that when you have never been taught about event planning. I am not even sure they have schools for that kind of thing where am at now. Where does one start with that kind of thing?

And that is why I am stuck. I have the skills - or the art like my friend would say- but how do I get paid for that? Better yet, how do I make a living out of it? I have no clue. Maybe I should go finish the Linchpin then!  "

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bloggers from another place: Indonesia

Don't you just love Pinterest? I find myself spending more time on that site that Facebook or Blogger. I am hooked on it and I just started less than a month. I have more than 5 boards and I find more and more pics that inspire me to create more. It is just a fun place to be.
Thanks to Pinterest I have discovered new bloggers. I am always trying to find different fashion blogs. I know I have been concentrating on American bloggers. But truth be told, I am tired of seeing the same faces and sometimes the same style. I love some of the bloggers on my list (and stalk them on a daily basis) but I need some diversity to be more inspired. We live in a such a diverse world, it would be wrong to concentrate just on one part. And thanks to the Internet, I can get a glimpse of that diverse world without leaving my living room. So here I present you a new series called: Bloggers from another place. The first edition is dedicated to Indonesian bloggers.

What I like about Indonesian bloggers is that most of them are hijabi meaning they respect the Muslim code of covering oneself. They wear headscarves or Hijab and long flowy dresses or skirts. I indentify with them as I am also wearing a hijab (or scarf) even though I take more liberties than they do. These bloggers prove to the world that you can be covered and fashionable at the same time. Their bold use of colors, the different ways they style their hijabs, the way they incorporate trends into their wardrobe is just an explosion of inspiration. Moreover, most of them seem to develop their own clothing line or have a shop. But do not take my word for it, just go over to their blogs and check them out yourselves. And if you know more hijabi fashion bloggers, please let me know about them.

Through Hijab Style, I discovered Ghaida a while back. This girl is so cute and her style is out of this world. She also designs and sells her own clothes through a boutique. I cannot get over her bold use of color. She could easily have 5 colors in one outfit and yet it matches. I have been reading her blog for over a year now and it seems she has matured into a very gracious and stylish lady. Maybe it is due to the fact that she is a mother now.

Dian Pelangi is a famous designer (at least in the Hijab world). Her blog is also another great inspirational place. That woman knows how to dress. And like she says herself, she is a rainbow avalanche. You will find only crazy colors in her outfit posts. I have not yet came across any of her products but I will be sure to check what all the fuss is about them particularly this wrapped pants you can wear different ways (have you ever heard of different ways to wear pants?)

Dian Pelangi of

Through Pinterest I saw this below pic of Annisa rocking this maxi skirt and I knew I had to check her out. I like the simplicity of her outfits. She is stylish but you can see that she is not trying too hard. As a matter of fact, her blog is not polluted with pics of herself and it seems that she does not blog on a daily basis. Nevertheless I like her and will check her out for outfit inspirations.

Indah (from Sketches of mind) is a model from what I gathered from her blog. She is a different from other covered blogers because she is a bit edgy. She rocks skinny jeans and scarves with zippers. She is just a a bit darker where everyone else is peachy and colorful.

Mimi is another one of those mellow peachy bloggers that make me sigh every time I check her pics. She often gives tutorial on how to wrap scarves a certain way. Moreover she designs and sells scarves. The cutest thing is that she sometimes wear matching outfits with her daughter. She is so adorable and stylish.

Obviously not all Indonesian fashion bloggers are covered. The most famous uncovered one is called Diana and owns a blog that inspires a mass of 12000 people and counting. I find her interesting even though her style is way too much for myself.

That's it. I did my part and pay tribute to these ladies. Do yours and share this. And if you know a special blogger that is not around this part, please let me know. I would love to check them out!

Monday, April 2, 2012

My style (or why did I buy green pants?)

I went and got myself some Irish green pants yesterday. They were on sale at H&M for 1000Y. I have been craving for some green pants ever since I saw this pic online. It made me crave dotted blouses ( I still have to get that) and green pants.
I do own two pairs of green pants, one in military that I wear every other week (part of my Mom outfit), and another pair in olive green that is sleeping in my suitcase because it is way too long (may have to try to roll the hem for a casual look on that one). However when it comes to Irish green, I looked everywhere in my closet with no sign of that color. Therefore, purchasing a pants in that color was a no brainer yesterday.

H&M Green leggings with zippers on sale for 1000Y

Yet after the purchase, I kept thinking about how I was going to wear those pants. The problem I have with them is that they are leggings style tight (actually they are leggings). I will never wear them with a short top. I am very conscious of my butt area. Moreover, I try to dress modest, reasons why you will never see tight fitted dresses or skirts in this blog.  I finally decided that I was going to wear the pants over long denim or white dress shirt (that goes all the way down to my knees). Yet I do not own dress shirts in those colors. Does it mean that these pants will sleep in my closet until I find something to pair them with...? So sad!
All that made me think about my style. If you ask me to describe my style, I will say this: " I like flowy things: blouse, men's shirt, oversized cardi, maxi skirts and maxi dresses. I would rather be comfortable than fashionable, which means that you would see me wear flats more than heels. I enjoy color and rarely wears black from head to toe. I try to incorporate trends into my style but I know what I can wear and what is too much for me".
That is what I consider to be the truth. Yet, lately I have noticed a change in me. More and more I try trends that I am not sure are for me (hence the green pants). What happened to me?
My signature style has always been jeans with tops and flats. I would wear different version of this outfit almost everyday. As I grew older, I added more items in my wardrobe. I had a blue phase (I would buy only items in that color), I had a hoochie phase (I would buy only tight and sexy things), I had a dress and skirt phase (I was tired of always wearing jeans), I had a tunic phase....Even going through those phases, I knew what I liked and stayed away from trends and even advices from friends (except my best friend). I did not need inspiration to get dressed.
Now, I am inspired by everything I see on TV, on magazines, on Facebook, on the blogoshpere, on the streets. Back in the days I would laugh at how Japanese ladies dress. Now I find it so edgy, I even find myself trying to dress like them. It is a bit scary. Moreover, I read the fashion blogosphere every single day. As a result, I steal some styles that I would have never wore in the past. I guess that I am a victim of the social media.
Is this a good or bad thing? It depends on how you see it.
I think it is great to find inspiration for dressing up as long as you know who you are and what is your style. I often drool at the sky high heels my blogger idols wear. However, I have not bought any pair of high heels in a while (since 2010).  Why you ask? Well because I know myself well enough to see that high heels are not for me.  I may not be to the point when I call myself stylish; I have not yet reach the sophistication I so long for (a la Mrs Obama). But I know who I am and I refused to be influenced any further. It is sad that when I read the fashion blogosphere, many ladies wear the same shoes, have the same bag or the same floral pants. It is true that they probably share the same taste, or shop at the same place. However what would be the point of blogging about one's style if it is a copy of another's.
As for myself, I got the pants hoping to reproduce a look I like. But I am afraid that a) that look may never be reproduced for I have not find the perfect dotted blouse yet, b) the pants will be worn with something else from my closet, what though I have no idea, c) green pants will have to be returned for I am not sure they are even my color....
So tell me about you, your style and your influence? Do you think like me that the blogosphere has been polluted with copycats?


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