Friday, 20 October 2017

retro/bollywood/disco party

It's Friday and what is better on a Friday than some party-party? Well, a lot of things, I guess, but no matter, here are a few photos from last weekend when I went to a big party. 

Every year there are a few "community-events" here where we live, arranged by some of the larger social communities in the area. There's the Highland Games organized by the Scottish community, a fair hosted by the Brunei Brits, the Latino Night (coming up in a few weeks) by the South Americans and now the Bollywood night, organized by the Indian community. Many of the parties have themes and you are encouraged to dress accordingly. I had originally planned to stay home this night, and only bought my ticket the day before, so my costume was a bit hastily assembled. The theme for the night was retro (specified as styles from the 60's-90's) combined with Bollywood, and I decided to just pick one of my vintage pieces from my closet and go from there.

I chose from these four, a pale mint-colored 50's dress with beads, and three dresses from the early 60's, one in floral cotton, an beige wriggle dress and one in luxurious thick fabric and autumn colors. 

I ended up going for the beige one, mostly because the fabric is lightweight and I thought it would look good with a beehive up-do... 

Not my usual silhouette! I styled it with white heels, a vintage bag, my most retro-looking glasses and some pearls. My goal was to look like a 60's housewife and I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

Most other people went for hippie costumes, 60's OP clothing or saris, so I guess I stood out a bit! It was a fun night, even though it started pouring rain at about ten, so we all got pretty soaked while dancing. Luckily it was still warm enough not to bother us too much.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

my creative challenge #9 drawing, drawing, drawing

I've been lazy and slow a lot of the time these paste few weeks, but in one are I've been more productive than in ages! I feel like I finally have gotten in to a nice routine of drawing and sketching a little bit every day. Which is great, because I love doing it! I have a few ongoing projects that I hope will end up becoming something I can add to a potential portfolio at some point, but I have also just been drawing for the sake of fun.

Realistic graphite otter
Every now and then I like to practice realistic drawing. It's challenging and fun. This time I did this little happy otter from a photo I found online.

Portrait with an attitude
I really enjoy drawing portraits, and especially ones of people making not just a normal pretty face. I usually find my inspiration on Instagram or blogs, where some really awesome people post selfies that are just too good to just be lost in the never ending stream of faces. This one is of Kajsa, a favorite motif of mine! I'm going to refine this one a bit... I'll show you when I'm done...

Mab Graves' #drawllooweenclub
For the past few years one of my favorite artists - Mab Graves - have hosted a drawing challenge in October, leading up to Halloween. The theme is - obviously - Halloween inspired and you are supposed to post an illustration/doodle/artwork every day depicting the monster of the day. I started of solidly, and decided to make sort of a monster ABC, but lost momentum after nine days... Still, this was a lot of fun and since the doodles mostly took between 15 and 30 minutes to complete I'm quite happy with how most of them turned out!

Monday, 16 October 2017

hopefully, this week...

... will be filled with a bit more energy than the past two!

I've felt pretty "meh" ever since I came back from my trip to Europe. The first week I could blame jet lag and a cold, but last week's funk was probably more a result of boredom and lack of initiative. I know how to break these patterns - by actually doing stuff - so I plan to do just that this week. I have decided to get a bit more involved in the big refurbishment project I've consulted on a bit here - this will mean more work for me including more scheduled meetings which is always a good way to force more routines in to place.

Anyway, this is what my week will look like as far as I know now!

Work with refurbishment project, mapping user requirements. This means reading notes from meetings and summarize it all in an excel sheet. One of the less glamorous sides of architect life! I'll spend the early evening doing a "boot camp" workout with some friends and hopefully have enough energy to do some sketching later tonight. I have a new motif in mind.

The day begins with yoga. I've planned on going to this particular session every week for months but always found an excuse not to, but damn it, this week is the week! The rest of the day will be spent on course work and rearranging furniture in our gym/guestroom. I hope to have made that drab little space into something a bit more welcoming by the end of this week... In the evening I hope to do some laps in the pool, but this is depending on weather. The pool closes during thunders and as we are in one of the rainy seasons there's thunder and lightening quite often.

Another weather depending activity - riding - is first on my schedule every Wednesday. The rest of this day is fairly unplanned so far, I might go to Kuala Belait to do some errands, or maybe just stay home to study, we'll see. In the evening there's another boot camp workout, we'll see if I'll go to that or not, depends on how sore I am from tonight's session...

This day will be a bit more exciting! There's a team meeting for the refurbishment project before lunch and in the afternoon I'm attending a Brunei cultural awareness workshop! I have no idea what that'll be like, but I'm sure it'll be informative. In the evening I have a Salsa rueda class.

I have decided to dedicate my Fridays to architecture related work. This week I'll continue to work on the drawings for my brother's summer house (I'm just making the as-is drawings for now, in preparation for future remodeling) and maybe start reading another of my architecture books. I should also research online Revit courses...

On Saturday I'll sleep late and cuddle with the cats! In the evening I'm going to a bachelorette party for my friend Jenni, and I also have to prepare something for the potluck dinner...

No big plans. I might be lounging in front of Netflix with Andreas and the cats, decorating the guestroom, doing some ironing... that sort of things.

Well, I already feel way more productive and energized now that I have an overview of this week! Isn't it funny how these things work...

Tuesday, 10 October 2017


I don't really have that much to say today, I just wanted to drop in and say hello and ramble on for a bit.

I'm finally getting over my jet lag, nine days after I came home! It's weird... I've had one good night followed by a night with only a few hours sleep, followed by a good night, followed by a bad night... Anyway, I hope it's back to normal now.

This week will hopefully be a bit more productive than last week. I have a few meetings, some course work to do, plus a few project of my own I want to get started on. Tomorrow I'm eating lunch with my friend Fina, and then I might go to a boot-camp workout at this crossfit gym I consider joining. 

Anyway. This is what my hair looks like these days! Quite shiny! A few centimeters of my roots are showing, but this is as close to my real hair-color that I've had since I was a kid so I don't think it that obvious. Still, I do dream of coloring it and cutting blunt bangs and stuff, but that will all have to wait until I move away from Brunei, I think...

Have a good day, lovely people!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

being attached to a wall color

so, as you might know we are renting out our house in Stavanger. Recently our old tenant decided to move out, but we got a new one pretty soon. So what about that? Well, a few days ago we got an email from the agent dealing with all of the tenant relating stuff for us locally in Norway that the new tenants had asked if they could repaint out blue walls. White. And I don't want them to! Because I love that color, and I remember how much hard work it was to get it just right and that we had to return to the shop because they had mixed the wrong shade and... all of those hours I spent painting!

But of course they are allowed to paint. I know how important it is to be able to feel at home where you live. And maybe my beautiful blue just doesn't go with they sofa or whatever. And maybe I wont even live in that pretty little cottage ever again... And... *insert crying emoji here*

Anyway. To commemorate the blue walls, here are a few photos of how cute they are/were.

That long dark hair + blunt bangs... I miss it...

Friday, 6 October 2017

my courses, one month in

Earlier this year I decided to only study halftime this fall semester, since I felt there was some many other things I wanted to spend my time on as well as studies. I chose two 25% courses from the Linneaus University, Visual Identity from a Sustainable Perspective and Illustration 1. It is a bit unfair to review these courses already, as it still feels like I'm only getting started, plus I've been eater sick or traveling since the semester began so the studies have had to take a bit of a back seat. But still. Here's my thoughts so far:

Visual Identity from a Sustainable Perspective
I'm slowly getting an idea of what this course will be about, and it seems interesting. I bought one of the books as a e-book and the other I ordered to my moms house so I could pick it up when I was back home now. So I'm not all caught up in the literature yet. But the content seems relevant and I feel good about adding another perspective to the graphic design track I've been exploring now for the past year.
The only bad thing about this course is that I'm not completely happy with the interaction with the teachers. When doing an online course you rely on getting fast feedback and replies to your questions, otherwise it's really hard to get started. I still haven't received an answer to my question on whether we'll ever get a schedule for the semester. Not knowing when there will be deadlines makes it hard to plan ahead, and as this is only a part time course I expect I'm not the only one juggling other projects, courses or even work together with this course.

Illustration 1
In one way I am super thrilled about this course. I haven't felt this excited about a topic in a long while, and I have started dreaming of changing career and becoming an illustrator! Perhaps not the most realistic dream - I mean there are sooo many talented artists out there with an actual art background trying to survive as illustrators, it feels pretty arrogant to just believe this is something I could just jump in to as well, but...
Then, on the other hand, the course feels very basic. My excitement for it relates more to the fact that it inspires me to draw more myself and begin play around more with techniques, but the content of the lectures feels a bit meh. Again, I only just got one of the books from when I picked it up in Sweden so maybe this will all feel more substantial when I get caught up with the reading.
On the positive side - in this course the schedule is very clear - we have one video lecture and one assignment every week, and we can chose to hand them in weekly or by the end of the course. Simple and flexible.

As the 15th of October is rapidly approaching (last date for applying to courses in Sweden) I've already stared to ponder what I will do next semester. Unfortunately it seems like I have already taken most of the online design courses available from regular universities right now. I don't want to keep repeating me too much by taking similar courses to the ones I already done. At the moment I'm looking at taking a course through a private school, like Berghs or Forgsbergs. These courses costs money though, so I will have to be sure I really want/need can benefit from them.... tough choice.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

resolution check - september edition

A few days late, but still... October is here and it's time to once again have a look at if I'm keeping up with my New Year's Resolutions. This is my status per September!

  • Start scuba diving again
    still no news here. I'm secretly blaming Andreas... 
  • Become a person that runs
    Hah, well, I didn't run for the past few weeks but I have good reasons so I'm not giving up on this yet!
  • Paint my fingernails with fun designs more often
    Bad month for expressive nails, was September! I need to shape up
  • Try galloping at least once
    I had one lesson where my trainer (mr Eri) made the horse (Rocky) canter for a few steps. Not my doing and I was quite surprised when it happened, but i didn't freak out. I would count this items as checked just yet though. I'll get back to you.
  • "Read" five of my architect-books
    Nothing to update here. 
  • Go 90 days straight without shopping clothes
    Eh. I went about 30 days without shopping. Then I failed. I might fail again later today. I feel slightly ashamed about this. I am a weak, weak creature.
  • Eat vegetarian at least two days per week
    I chose the "vegetarian meal package" for my week long dance camp in September, and did fairly well the other weeks too, so I think I'm good.
  • Post three blog posts per week
    September was a bit slow here on the blog. I started strong with 4 posts the first week, but then only followed up with 2, 2 and 1. Not surprising considering the traveling, but still. :(
  • Complete at least one project for my portfolio
    Maaaan! I just never seem to be able to get started! Maybe I should clarify that these are supposed to be architectural projects though. I feel I have been pretty productive creating various illustrations for a potential illustrator/graphic design portfolio.
  • Take 90 kg in dead lift and 60 kg in deep squats
    No news. Have hardy been to the gym at all in September.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

back in biznzz

Greetings from a jet lag zombie. Man. I thought I had fared better this time as I slept pretty good the first two days back. But tonight I didn't fall asleep until four am and forced myself to leave bed at 8:40. Good times. I also have a cold, but that's just to be expected.

Anyway. It is obviously worth it. Late Saturday night I came back home from spending one week hanging out with friends and family in Sweden, and then another week dancing in Germany. I'll post a little something about my trip later this week, but for now I just need to spend some time in the here an now. 

I began my week back home more businesslike than I usually do, with a 2,5 hour long meeting with the expat organization I'm involved in. Then I came back home just in time to have lunch with Andreas and after that (plus a nap) I spent some time trying to get an overview of what I need to get done this week. I do this every Monday, with my beloved "bullet journal" which isn't anything as fancy as a Moleskin notebook or anything like that, but my old Filofax from high school. Love it though. I keep allllll my lists in there.
I have so. many. lists. 

Today it's Tuesday and according to my BuJo I'm going to spend most of it studying and finishing the newsletter I'm editing. It's good to be back. Just wish my brain will come back here to me soon too.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

I've read: Ghost Fleet

by P.W Singer and August Cole

When I bought this book in Hongkonga few months ago, Andreas read the back and was really surprised that I wanted to read it. I think the main reason for him thinking so was because this is a book that is set in the real world (only a few years in the future) and that it's about war. Not usually my cup of tea. But something about it had intrigued me, so I though - why not?

In this book we get an insight in what the Third World War might look like. It's scary. It's realistic. It's quite fascinating and thought-provoking. I will not tell you too much about who the "bad guys" is in this book, but since the authors are american I'll let slip that it's not the USA. Russia and China are involved, but Europe plays only a minor part.

Most of the story takes place on a warship, in Silicone Valley and on Hawaii. We get to follow a few people, a marine, a girl whose fiance is killed and a genius engineer among others. The story shift perspective very often and it is fast paced and although not always action filled. 

A few pages in I started to think that Andreas might have been right, and that this book was nothing for me. But I didn't give up. I though it focused a little too much on military strategy and technologies - which isn't very strange since that's basically the themes of this book. But a bit too much for my taste. On the other hand, once I was familiar enough with the characters it got more interesting and even a bit thrilling at times. I'm pretty sure this would make a very nice action movie!

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!