Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My mom as a college student in the 80s: analog photos of her and her housemates

Though fascinated by history in general, I am especially fascinated by history that has something to do with the people that I am close to. My mom (who is currently in Budapest with me) I am particularly close to, and I have always loved her to tell stories about her past, and loved to see how much she resembled me in the old black-and-white photographs that were all put in one blue falling-apart picture album, but unfortunately that album, which content covered the period from her birth to her moving out of the parents' house, was the only one she ever had until she met my dad. Then recently she got hold of a picture album that contained pictures of her time as a college student in the mid-80s. She used to go to college in Nijmegen and major in psychology, just like me now (and my dad around the same time as her), and for most of the time she lived in this one house together with some other college students. So recently she and her housemates got back in touch with each other thanks to Facebook, so they all decided to get together and have a reunion. One of them thought it would be a fun idea to go back to that particular house they all used to live in, and ask if they could come inside to see what it looks like nowadays, and so they did! The pictures above are all taken somewhere in between 1984 and 1990, in or near that particular house, the house that is the set for many great memories that my mom still holds.

One of her housemates happened to be her now-ex-boyfriend, whom she lived together with in that house. And he was the one who brought the picture album that he owns from that period in his life. Naturally, my mom appeared in many of the pictures that it contained. So my mom borrowed it from him to show to us at home, and to me in particular as she knows how fond I am of old photographs. As a result, I got very excited about the photographs that I was shown, and in particular about how they show quite well what college life here looked like about 30 years in the past, and so I asked her if I could share some of these pictures with you, like:
  • Two Christmas dinners (photo #4 and #5), the latter being a gourmet dinner
  • Photo #6: roadtrip to Nice to visit a friend who happened to be an au pair there
  • Last three pictures: a lot of barbecuing on the rooftop of the house
I asked my mom some questions regarding her college time - a time that she likes to describe as "the best of her life".

Tell me about what it was like to live in that house that you lived in during your college years.
I used to live there from around 1984 to 1989, together with around 10 other students. I think we were pretty close for housemates during that time, as we did a lot of things together. I remember there was a piece of paper hanging in our kitchen, where you could put up your name if you were going to cook dinner that day. Everyone else who wanted to join and eat along with you that night, had to sign up on that list before 4pm. 
When the soccer World Cup was being played in '88, we all watched it together in the room of one of us (*dad jumps in: "the year The Netherlands became champions!"*). And when the weather allowed it, we were a lot on our rooftop in those days, to barbecue for example, and we also celebrated Christmas together, as you can see in the pictures. One day two of my housemates got married, so we decorated the house (photo #2) for them. And another day we threw a large house party - with loud music and we played games and stuff, it was really fun.

What did a regular week look like for you as a college student?
Unlike you, I went to all the lectures. Then I did my homework, studied a lot for my exams...I also had a side job 2 to 3 times a week...and every Thursday we went a night out, usually to 'the Swing', a dance cafe where now 'Stretto' is located. In the beginning, I went to my childhood home every Friday to spend the weekend. Me and *name ex-boyfriend* used to have a car, so we went up and down by car every weekend, and usually we had to pick up a lot of others too who wanted to have a ride!

What do you think is different between your college time and mine?
When I was in college, all lectures and classes were scheduled, and we didn't have a say in that schedule unlike you. (Dad jumps in again: "the biggest difference is that all the college students nowadays go study abroad for a semester!"). And of course we had to study at the University 6 years in total, while now it's usually only four. I also think more people went to all the lectures all the time, perhaps because it wasn't being recorded back then. What's more, I also think that activities next to studying have become more important, like fraternities/sororities (in Nijmegen those were not very important in my days) and student associations. 

Do you have some advice for college students today?
Everyone should move out of their parents' house, because it is so much more fun to live in the town where you go to college - otherwise you will miss out on a lot of things! And don't study all the time like I did, but also spend some time on other fun things besides your study, which can also be important, like join a student association for example. And I think Nijmegen is the best town for college students! It is not too large, everything is quite nearby each other (so I think you won't feel as lost as you might in a larger town, especially when it's your first time moving out), but nevertheless there's still a lot to do for college students. And of course Nijmegen has the 'Four Days Marches': back in my day, the walkers would still come through the street that we used to live in, so when they walked by we would all watch the march together in front of our house, or on the balcony! I had a great time as a college student, and I would do it all over again!

Thanks mom for your answers! :-)

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Monday, November 28, 2016

HOTSPOT Eastside [Amsterdam]

Eastside Amsterdam had been on my To Visit-list for a while, so when my friend Michelle and I were looking for a place to go for lunch, Eastside was the first to pop up in my mind. When it turned out that it was located nearly right around the corner, the choice was not hard to make. 

This corner-set brunch spot is very light and bright inside, which makes it a pleasant place to eat at (and great for photoshooting! - like these pictures that I took of Michelle while we were there). As space inside is lacking, tables are quite close next to each other, which would be slightly uncomfortable when it's fully packed, but thankfully that wasn't the case for us that day. At Eastside you will find "American comfort food", like pancakes, meatballs, hot wings, BBQ pork spare ribs, tacos and chicken & waffles. I ordered some side dishes to create my own pretty basic meal, including toast, fried eggs, bacon, and sausage - but I guess I'm not used to American food anymore, as it was hard for me to finish it all! Overall, the place itself doesn't look particularly American, but it does look cute indeed. I loved the tiled bar near the kitchen, and the light bulbs hanging from the ceiling over the counter, with in the background a rough wooden shelf packed with bottles of liquor.

While you are reading this blog post, I have arrived in Budapest! Me and my mom are here for a city trip that I surprised her with for her birthday last month, as I knew it was her wish to come to this town one day. I have been in Budapest before, one year earlier to be exact, for an exchange trip of the psychology student association, so I have already seen most of the touristic stuff, plus some local things that the psychology students from Budapest showed to me and the other Dutchies. Nevertheless, it is very nice to come back to Budapest and be able to do other things that were not on the program last year. For example, I hope to visit one of Budapest's thermal baths this time, and as a food lover, I have some particular places to eat in mind that I hope to go to. I remember Budapest being one of the best cities I've ever been to so far, so I can't wait to explore more of this city in the upcoming days!

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

On why I have quitted drinking alcohol

Reality is that alcohol is pure poison. We all know that, and we all have always known it. I knew it long before I had my very first sip of alcohol, yet I did have my first sip of alcohol. Thing is, even though we know this fact, perhaps only deep down, we don’t truly realize what this knowledge actually means. We won’t deny that alcohol is unhealthy or bad for you if we are asked, but everyone is drinking it without hesitation, and normally nothing truly bad happens so I guess that even though we won’t deny in words, we do deny in our actions.

Around the age of fourteen, we drank alcohol because it was forbidden, and the kick we got out of that was more important than the effects of alcohol on our bodies and minds. Of course our parents and teachers had told us that alcohol is bad for us young people because our brains were not fully developed yet, and yet many people have drunk alcohol at this age and their brains have developed perfectly well as far as we know and they function just as much as decent adults as people who never drank alcohol at an inappropriate age – I mean, who could tell the difference?

Around the age of eighteen, I began to get a grip on what it means that we’re drinking poison mixed with some other non-toxic fluids. I started throwing up the morning after I had drunk alcohol sometimes, even if it was only a couple of glasses, at least no more than my friends had drunk. And each time my stomach could handle less and less alcoholic drinks. It was as if my body was resisting to the alcohol, and trying to tell me that what I was putting inside me was ruining me from the inside, and somewhere I did believe that I had already ruined my stomach to the point that I would always have to throw up after drinking alcohol. Yet I didn’t think once of quitting on alcohol. Everyone was drinking alcohol so we – stupid herd animals that we are! – don’t have to think for ourselves.

In college I learned more about the human brain. The most important thing that I learned is that literally everything comes down to the brain. Everything we are capable of, everything we feel, think, do – our brain is responsible for all these things, so basically: we are nothing, or at least not human, without our brain. We learn about Dick Swaab, who said that “we ARE our brains”, and we learn how people disagree with him, but even if we are not our brains, we are nothing else either without them, and whatever we are, it’s because of our brain. Also, I learned more about how alcohol interacts with the central nervous system, and how alcohol damages it.

I know a lot of things are bad for the human body. Smoking is bad. Eating McDonalds every day is bad. Sitting on your arse all day is bad. Still, if we choose to do either one of these things, the worst thing that could happen to us is that we die at an earlier age. Some people may find this pretty bad indeed, but I think that there’s something worse than dying early, and that is: living on without being able to function properly. What scared me more than dying, is becoming dumber and less intelligent because of mental slowness and a poor memory. And this is exactly what eventually happens to your brain on the long term when you keep pouring alcohol over it. I vividly remember a picture of a brain of a person with an alcohol problem that I saw in class, and it was hard to distinguish from the brain of an Alzheimer's patient. An “alcohol problem” sounds pretty bad, but we’re all guilty. Binge drinking is a type of problematic drinking behavior. We speak of binge drinking when one drinks 5 or more alcoholic drinks during one single occasion, and this is something many of us college students like to do on a weekly base.

So if I’m going to say some things are bad for you, like alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, or sugar, then it appears to me most logically to cut alcohol out first. I don’t feel like poisoning myself, and my brain in particular, just because it’s so socially accepted, when the hangover isn’t even worth the effects. There are not many people who become more fun to be around when they’ve drunk alcohol, unless that person is in a sober state very insecure or very boring. In addition, the taste of alcohol doesn’t even appear good to me! I would much rather drink coca cola without the bitter taste of vodka ruining it – so of course I could just drink only a little, to avoid getting a hangover, but if I’m not going to have the (illusionary) awesome effects of alcohol, I’m certainly not going to have its bitter taste.

The worst thing about alcohol is NOT that people are drinking it – the worst thing is that people are drinking it just because it’s socially acceptable, no, expected, to drink alcohol. Like herd animals, we tend to follow the crowd and do things simply because everyone else is doing it, and we forget to think for ourselves. What’s even worse about the latter: we do have the knowledge about alcohol and its effects, it’s literally right there to think about, but we simply ignore it! Well, isn’t that stupidity, - and I’m guilty myself.

Please don’t say most drugs are worse than alcohol. This may be true, but not if you look at the way alcohol is normally consumed. If you drink that much alcohol on a weekly base, as a lot of people - mostly late teens, college students and early adults – do, you are not even a single bit better off than someone who does drugs every few months. That would be a lie. (Also: don’t tell me there are more people dying from pills and heroin. This may be true in a direct way, but certainly not in an indirect way. Drunk-driving, homicide by abuse, anyone?). And this is what I think is especially messed up: alcohol is widely accepted, while other drugs are taboo: when you do drugs, you are not supposed to talk about it openly, because a lot of people will judge you for it, but for drinking, you can tell the world how f-u-cking wasted you got last weekend, and people will be cheering for it! How extraordinary!

For example, and this surprised me a lot: our very Halina Reijn got in the freaking newspapers because she temporarily had to quit alcohol for a play that she was going to do. And you know why? Because Halina was slightly panicked about this, because she now realized how important alcohol had become in her life – so she threw an alcohol farewell party! That’s fun. Now look at this: what if Halina wasn’t addicted to alcohol (basically addicted, especially since later news reports told me that Halina wasn’t able to quit drinking yet, even after the farewell party), what if she was addicted to heroin. What if she threw a farewell party for her heroin! I’m sure headlines would have looked quite different!

Another example: LINDAnieuws recently published an article, which title said: “An alcohol-free wedding: good or bad idea?” Comments were outrageous. Most people thought this was a particularly bad idea. One even said: “if I know there won’t be alcohol available at the wedding, I wouldn’t even bother to come.” Wow - if alcohol is more important than the actual purpose of a wedding, namely, to celebrate two people’s commitment to each other, and if alcohol is a condition for a fun wedding, than I’m afraid that alcohol has done more harm to this society than I’d initially thought!

I know that it is hard to stop drinking alcohol in these times and especially if you belong to that age group where drinking alcohol is the norm, but please don’t drink alcohol just because other people are pushing you to do it. Don’t be a herd animal. For alcohol consumers it’s almost an automatic thing to say “Why don’t you drink? Do drink some!” whenever you tell them you are not drinking, but they don’t realize that “Why DO you drink?” would be a better question. Trust me: I don’t mind that people still drink alcohol these days (I mean even the ancient Greeks used to drink, why isn’t this old-fashioned yet?) but I DO think that we shouldn’t regard drinking alcohol as normal when it isn’t. Drinking alcohol is just as much doing drugs as popping pills or injecting heroin is, and we should treat alcohol in the same way that we do treat other types of drugs. So basically, what I’m trying to say: I’m not saying we should prohibit alcohol, I’m only saying it should go either of two ways: we’re going to accept doing heroin like twice a year equally as we’re accepting getting drunk every month once or twice, or we’re going to stop to pretend that alcohol is any better than these other types of drugs.

I’ve quitted drinking alcohol for almost three months now and I haven’t regretted it for a single second yet. I didn’t have a single sip, not even to “just try it!”, because maybe, this is – in part – a principle-thing: if you quit, you might as well want to quit a 100%, because if not, you may feel bad for drinking just a little because it is against your principle – that is, alcohol is poisonous, even if it’s just a little (and as soon as you realize alcohol is poison, you will avoid it a lot more easily). Also, it will be a lot harder to stick to it: when drinking just a little every once in a while, little sips may become 'just a few drinks' in no-time. Plus, when you tell people you don’t drink, and people see you drink anyways, even if it’s just a little, they will think they’re able to push you to drink more, and you will be more prone to be pushed. When you stick to your words, people will know that you mean what you say, and not even try to push you. What’s more: It is so much more satisfying to be able to say “I don’t drink” when this is actually true!

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

In love! My new wintercoat: tartan + candy pink ♥

I know right away if a piece of clothing will be worth my money, which is, if I will wear it often. It happens when I see a product that instantly gives me a certain feeling inside, one that makes me put the item in my shopping cart in a reflex-kind-of way. It can happen when I am in a store physically, walking past the shelves and racks, when my eye catches something so extraordinary and pleasant, that I know I must take it home immediately, if my wallet lets me. It can happen when I am shopping online, scrolling down the endless rows of clothing and accessories, until something passes by that makes my finger moves the hoover to the buy-button without hesitation.

So it happened for my brand new winter coat. I was on, looking for a men's trench coat that would possibly please Mitchell (unsuccessful, but we found his winter coat somewhere else. Click here to see what he ended up with!), when I suddenly noticed this red tartan coat with its candy pink faux fur collar, glowing in the middle of all the other kaki, blue and black coats. It only took me three clicks to put it in my online shopping basket. My mom happened to be at our place that day, so I hastily said to her: "I am going to buy this coat for winter, do you agree?"

My mom did agree, and the other day I realized that she must like it very well, as the other day, when I was at the hairdresser's (my new hair won't be up on the blog until later, so unfortunately you'll have to deal with my straw-like, irregular colored hair for a little while longer) and she paid me a visit, she told me: "I was gonna say: what a nice coat is hanging there on the coat rack, but then I realized it is yours!"

I am so happy that I found this coat, as I grew very fond of it already! (As I recall) I've been wearing boring colored coats for my entire life (except for a very ugly neon green copy when I was nine years old, and an equally ugly neon pink one at age eleven), which meant that I always looked quite dull when outside, even though my clothes underneath it often weren't dull at all. How times will change from now on, now I can take on winter in style!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Els, 2016

This is Els, and for the attentive reader, you may have noticed her in my previous post. Els is indeed a member of the 2016-2017 board of the student association for psychology students in Nijmegen, and these photos above were taken at the same day as the formal photos of the board that could be viewed in my previous post. I really like these photos of Els, but I didn't think they would fit in with the other, more formal photos very well. Thanks to the VSCO app, these photos are a lot more "artsy" than the other ones (in my opinion), but nevertheless did I want to share these photos with you, because just look at that smile! Isn't it utterly beautiful? I think Els is very photogenic, and her cheerful, outgoing personality makes her very fun to shoot with - I also think this beautiful inner being of hers really shows in these pictures. Her modeling skills (that she is most likely unaware of) are obsessive. She slightly reminds me of Dutch model Marjan Jonkman - they have the same shape of face, the same angelic blonde hair, and the same tough girl appearance. But I haven't yet seen Marjan's smile even once, so I suspect that it must be not half as beautiful as Els's.

Els, it was a pleasure to photograph you, girl! I'm your fan!

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Formal photos of the 2016-2017 board of my major's students association

Hey girls & dudes who read this blog! Today I'm sharing with you the result of a photoshoot that I did for the current board (the IXth, to be exact) of my major's students association (note: this is very different from a fraternity/sorority as it's only for students from one specific major, there are no hazing rituals, and activities are in part focused on the major's field of study). As you may know I'm currently majoring in Psychology, and SPiN (Studievereniging Psychologie in Nijmegen) is the student association for psychology students in my University town (Nijmegen). Last year I was an active member of SPiN, as a member of the committee that arranged a 10-days study trip to Hong Kong last May (The Hong Kong trip has been featured at this blog many times. Missed it? Read here about my first impressions, my favorite things to do, what else to do, and about food in Hong Kong)! This year I decided not to be involved in another committee, as now other obligations tend to dominate my schedule, but I may get involved again next year as being an active member is a great way to meet new fellow students!

At the start of every academic year, a new board for SPiN (consisting of senior psychology students) is installed to be in charge of the association for one year. The current board asked me to take their formal photos (both group and individual) at the beginning of their board year, and I agreed, pleased to be asked. The photos were taken near city park Valkhof, where the Waalbrug (Nijmegen's trademark bridge) could be seen in the background. I took photos of the board in both their royal blue formal suits and their casual everyday white T's. Although their official installment was already a month ago, I still wish them the very best for their board year - I know you will do great guys!

To the reader: What are your thoughts on these photos & what are you majoring in/want to major in & are you involved in your major's student association? This nosy parker would like to know :-))

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Friday, November 18, 2016

I went to the ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’ midnight premiere!

It’s been over 48 hours since I went to the movie premiere of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and I’m STILL thrilled and excited about it – this movie hasn’t left my mind ever since two nights ago. Partly because I hadn’t written down my thoughts on the movie yet, and I was afraid that I would forget important aspects of the movie before I had. So here I am, trying to recall all 134 minutes of amazingness, and writing down all that's been bustling inside me ever since I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

It was literally amazing.
Let’s start with my first reaction to the movie that is still echoing inside me today: THIS IS LITERALLY AMAZING!!! I was so hyper-excited prior to the onset of the movie, and I didn’t get disappointed afterwards. I'm not just saying this because I'm a huge Potterhead - though I might be slightly biased, I'm not into everything that's Harry Potter-related - for example, I don't want to know anything about the Harry Potter and The Cursed Child play script, as many aspects of this non-J.K. Rowling-material are inconsistent with the actual Harry Potter canon - and I was actually kind of scared that Fantastic Beasts would be just as disappointed as The Cursed Child script (I am not judging the actual play), but it wasn't, and I can confirm that this movie will delight every Harry Potter fan and every movie fanatic, and probably a lot of other people too - like, even Mitchell liked the movie, and he's usually not into that kind of stuff at all. I'm not saying Fantastic Beasts is flawless, but it is amazing indeed.

I loved the story line.
I wasn’t sure what the movie exactly would be about. I’ve read the Fantastic Beast and Where To Find Them schoolbook long ago, though that is only an encyclopedia based on the textbook Harry and his classmates used for their Care for Magical Creatures class at Hogwarts – it’s not a story. Fantastic Beast and Where To Find Them, the movie, is about Newt Scamander, writer of the textbook mentioned in the previous sentence. But we know nothing about this man from the Harry Potter series, so it was hard to tell what we could expect. From the movie trailer we know he’s a British man who arrives in New York for the first time, along with his magical suitcase in which he carries magical creatures, and some happen to escape, so naturally I expected that the movie would be about Newt getting in trouble for setting loose his magical creatures and him having to get them back – and to a point, this was the case, but surprisingly, not the most important event in the movie. What I try to say is: this movie is more than a man hunting for his magical beasts. I’m not going to spoil it for you – but what I can say about the story line, is that you will LOVE it, even if you are strangely enough not so much into Harry Potter.

It was a lot different from the Harry Potter series.
I do believe that the story is entertaining for everyone, more than the Harry Potter story – perhaps because the Fantastic Beasts story is more for adults, while the first Harry Potter was more for kids, and the later Harry Potter movies were hard to understand without having seen the previous ones. But nevertheless Harry Potter fans will be very pleased with this movie, as there were a lot of aspects that we already know from the Harry Potter series (I had a hard time to restrain myself from explaining every little spell or creature to my non-Potterhead movie date Mitchell) AND we got to know much more about the wizarding world that Harry Potter is a part of as well (though like 200 years later), specifically in America, and as it appears, the wizarding communities of two different countries do differ as much as different muggle cultures – or rather, different no-maj cultures.
In Fantastic Beasts I sometimes missed the details – but maybe that is only because I’m used to Harry Potter and I’ve read all those books, so of course I know more details for those movies, but even so I felt that we didn’t get to know some characters very well even though they were important for the movie (Credance, in particular).  Sure, it’s a movie, so they can’t fit in all the details that JKR probably would have wanted in it, but the movie really got me curious for some background details that we never learned.

The movie itself was very different from the Harry Potter movies as well.
When it comes to the movies itself, Fantastic Beasts is a lot different from the Harry Potter ones as well. At first it’s a lot more modern, especially compared to the first Harry Potter movies (especially the Sorcerer’s Stone, which was released 15 years earlier!) so I was very impressed by the spectacular special effects, and I think these largely contributed to the amazingness of the movie. I saw the movie in an IMAX theatre so the movie screen was gigantic, and perhaps this was also part of why my Fantastic Beasts experience was so great.
For some beasts though, I thought they still looked less realistic and very computer-animated, but perhaps that is partly because of the 3D effects. I loved the 3D in this movie though, sometimes it was as if things in the movie were actually touching you – and it was not overdone at all!

Predictable but surprising
I feel that sometimes I could easily predict what would happen next in the movie, though there were at least two major surprises in the movie that made up for the other predictions – not that I care much for being able to predict what will happen next in a movie, as I usually enjoy a movie just as much, if not even more, when I already know exactly what will happen throughout the entire movie. I got excited to go see Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them for a second time as soon as I walked out of the movie theatre – so I will go for a second time soon, this time with my parents, who raised two Harry Potter obsessed daughters so of course they could no else than become interested in it (but not as much that they would want to go to a midnight premiere of a Harry Potter spin-off, so then Mitchell was the (un)fortunate to go with me).

Eddie Redmayne is super cute.
I’m glad they casted Eddie Redmayne to play Newt Scamander – he’s perfect for the role! At first I had my doubts about the casting, but that was before I learned that Newt Scamander is a pretty adorable character himself! I love Eddie Redmayne ever since Les Misérables, but I’m even more into him now I’ve seen him in Fantastic Beasts. He makes all these cute faces and has all these cute lines, so even if you are this unique person that feels nothing for this movie, you still want to go just to see Eddie Redmayne’s moving image.

I’m excited for the next four movies!
When I first heard Fantastic Beasts would have four sequels, I felt slightly uncomfortable because I thought that maybe the Harry Potter industry just wanted to make much more money by making so many Fantastic Beasts movies, because obviously they know that we will go see it anyways, and I was afraid that – as is often the case for sequels – the next four movies would become worse each time, and the whole thing would become milked, but now I think this cannot be the case for something that is created by J.K. Rowling – I mean if she could do 8 movies for Harry Potter, she can do 5 for Fantastic Beasts – and now I’ve heard what the next four movies will probably be about (the era from Newt Scamander’s arrival in NYC to the rise of Lord Voldemort, including a lot about Grindelwald and Dumbledore) and now I’ve seen the first part of Fantastic Beasts, I can no else but be excited about the other parts to come. Critics are afraid that the following movies won’t be as great as the first one, but I don’t believe this could ever be the case for a story line invented by mastermind Rowling.

Overall, I had an awesome night! I arrived wearing my Harry Potter scarf to the theatre, and (although this was quite expectable) soon I noticed all other Harry Potter fans wearing their Harry Potter scarves – and instead of feeling awkward about this, I was excited and felt very much part of something large and important, while at the same time I felt miserable as I was wearing a Gryffindor scarf (it’s the only one I own) even though I’m a Ravenclaw, so now people would think I’m a Gryffindor even though I’m not. Then, when in the movie theatre (we were having extraordinary good seats in the very middle of the second row, a love seat though, even though it was so freaking wide, nothing cozy about that) the movie trailers were over, the very well-known Harry Potter tune could be heard, and my heart skipped a beat – it was the most amazing thing!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

L00K: street style gal

Hi there! What's up? Lately I've been loving my black transparent top that magically turns every outfit into a much more dynamic one. Great to give a boring look a boost - I do consider it a must-have. I like to wear it with my short white T, black wedges, cap (souvenir from Lowlands festival, 2014), DW watch, and big trashy earrings (my friend Michelle: "I thought you were joking when I saw you wearing those on Snapchat!") I must admit - those earrings could go horribly wrong, but I actually like them in this look for a change. 

My black jeans look horrible - just like all my other black jeans actually. They've all gone grey! I hate buying new ones though, I'd rather spend my money on something less boring than jeans...they all look the same to me, so I don't know which one to buy anyways. But now that I'm looking at these pictures I think it's quite necessary that I get myself a new pair, because this looks terrible! I might just wait until Mitchell forces me to, because he is about to anyways - he hate my ugly black pants!

Past few days have been quite stressful to me (matter of 'I love to do more things than there is time for') so I am glad that in two weeks, my mom and I are leaving for Budapest for a couple of days! My mom was continuously saying how she would love to go to Budapest one day, so I booked the trip as a surprise for her birthday. I can't wait to spend some quality time with my mom and get my mind off other things for a while! Then soon after we come back, me and Janne are going on a mini cruise to New Castle - so exciting! But first, let's get through the upcoming days! 

Thanks mom for picture-taking!

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Inspiration from the runway: my Fall 2016 RTW favorites

I love looking at runway shows for fashion inspiration! I can get all excited about some shows because sometimes they are so freaking BEAU-TI-FUL! To me, fashion design is a dynamic form of art that can easily be made one's own: fashion shows are not just for aesthetic appreciation, but for your own style inspiration as well! Sometimes I wish people would dress a little more like mannequins, because I consider it a shame that catwalk looks are often limited to the catwalk only. Clothing in mainstream stores that are based on runway trends, are only a pale shadow of the actual runway trends - but high fashion should not only be for the famous and rich, it should be for everyone!

You may notice, that my favorite runway pieces are often the most outstanding or extraordinary ones, though they're still very wearable. After looking over a lot of Fall 2016 ready-to-wear fashion shows, I picked my favorite shows and pieces, and put them together below (together with some commentary). 

Gucci's show is my absolute favorite this season. And I think Gucci was one of my favorites for Spring 2016 too. I could do no else than conclude that Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele is pretty much a fashion genius. His show was the most exciting one of all to me this season, as every other look was everything I expect from a sophisticated fashion show look. There are interesting combinations, many accessories, and striking prints and fabrics. I love the one-color looks, the huge (sun)glasses, the hats, the fur, the baroque prints, the bows, the pearl necklaces, the midi skirts, the layering, the purses. These looks are extraordinary but not unrealistic nor messy, so they must be thought-through and clever overall. My favorites here? It's hard to choose, but number 4, 7 and 20 are making a good chance.

Anna Sui
Many of Anna Sui's looks are focused on one color, yet they're not boring at all: by combining different shades of a color into an interesting print, doing a lot of layering and combining different fabrics (velvet, fur, lace), Anna Sui has created the most beautiful looks! I like how all these different prints and fabrics, yet with a focus on a single color, are not overwhelming or too messy, nor are they boring together. In the first row we see a focus on red, with a lot of flower details, while in the second the focus shifts to blue. My favorite looks are less focused on one color, as can be seen in the last row. Those looks remind me of past ages and other cultures and ethnicities, something I can much appreciate in fashion design. And: who else was reminded of Luna Lovegood when looking at look #14?!

Alexander McQueen
Sarah Burton's collection for Alexander McQueen was very dreamy, very feminine, very romantic. I love the transparent fabrics, the lace, the embroidered and shiny details, the gold and the silver, the soft pink, the white, the black. Some looks reminded me of a Greek goddess or a Roman empress, classically both beautiful and fierce. This collection brought women back to basic: as pure but powerful creatures, independent but influential. Even though this is beautiful and amazing to look at, I must say that this collection may be not so very ready-to-wear, but even so we are very much reminded that transparent fabric should not be under appreciated, and also of the power of details. What's even more beautiful than Alexander McQueen's runway show, is the Fall 2016 campaign - you want to see this.

Much love for Rochas' colorful high-socks-in-platform-heels here! And who new gold and glittery/flowery sequin would look so good on a button-down shirt? Rochas did. To the question: "What would geeks in the 70s look like if they went to a party?", the second row would be very much your answer. The first row, on the other hand, made me think of a "big city movie theater night out" somehow, reminding me that even a casual event like going to the movies can be easily done in style. This collection is a mix of peach, greens, silk, sequin, gold, glitter, velvet, flowers, collars and tiny sunglasses - elements that could go horribly wrong together, but here it was done beautifully right.

Who needs pants when all you need is a pair of thigh-high boots to cover up your legs? Not Fendi! Fendi's Fall RTW collection is fluffy, girly, and a whole lot of fun. A peach ruffled (or rather "waves", according to Karl Lagerfeld himself) T-shirt tucked away in puffy pants, a loosely fitting dress printed with horizontal stripes, a furry big turquoise bag - they're just a few of my favorite picks. Overall, this collection by Fendi gave me some new color combi inspiration: purple and green/orange, anyone?

Dolce & Gabbana
Once upon a time, there was the Fall 2016 RTW collection by Dolce & Gabbana.....D&G takes you right back to Wonderland this season. And that is exactly the purpose of Mr. Dolce and Mr. Gabbana: fashion as a way to dream, to escape from reality. If that concept of fashion brings them to design a collection like theirs, that's fine by me! Look how much fun this collection is! And fun is something that is much appreciated by me in fashion design - because fun is all that fashion should be. This collection, as could be expected from any fairytale-inspired collection, is very girly and glittery, yet not too childish. Even though colorful and outstanding, these looks are quite simplistic, and it seems as if they have focused mostly on the accessories when it comes to details - especially shoes, bags and head pieces. A well-needed finishing touch.

Michael Kors
Michael Kors' Fall 2016 collection is just gorgeous. These looks reminded me of a typical rich fashion victim, whom all are impressed by when she walks by: big fur coat, matching coat and skirt, huge sunglasses, loafers, Peter Pan collar, and slightly preppy perhaps - but it's all done the right way. Almost too perfect, one might say. Maybe it is, and maybe these mannequins represent women that we view as perfect, successful, influential and powerful - a girlboss on top of her career. A woman wearing these clothes may be far from this imagined representation, but maybe Dolce and Gabbana were right: fashion is meant to make people dream - something that Michael Kors achieved with his collection at least.

Compared to other fashion designers, Vetements is something else. Not only when it comes to Demna Gvasalia's designs, but also to the way he launches his designs: for one, he does mixed collections, two, he does in-season shows to avoid "product fatigue" and copycats, and three, this show took place in a church while there were T-shirt with very un-church-ish words printed on them in the collection. No wonder all eyes are on Vetements. In the Fall 2016 collection we see thigh-high socks and boots, velvet suits, plaid, mini skirts and oversized striped shirts. Street-style inspired, this collection is tough, grunge, stylish, refreshing, rebellious and pretty much just cool. I'm not so fond of the sportswear trend that we're seeing a lot lately, and even though I left those looks out here, I want to note that Vetements embraced it - and it does suit the brand perfectly well.

Jeremy Scott
Jeremy Scott's collection is pretty much exactly what one would expect from a collection by Jeremy Scott - and let's be thankful that there's someone like Jeremy Scott in the fashion world! Even though his designs are usually the most colorful, most fun, most playful of all, they may also be the most wearable! Rain boots under a mini skirt? I'd wear it. Fishnet tights in a pair of rain boots? Sure, why not? Cow printed denim? Love it! Woolen off-shoulder jumper on a halter neck top, together with a mini skirt and a big belt? Hell, yes!! And the last look showed above: fantastic!! Jeremy Scott's designs are simplistic, yet they come closest to what I had imagined what fashion was like when I was little. It may be not as complicated as some other fashion designers' work, but does fashion always have to be? Jeremy Scott proves...complicatedness is no guarantee for amazing results.

Could Chanel ever disappoint? Not in this collection at least. What's to be said about this collection then? It was all very Chanel-ish: many tweed suits, many pearl necklaces, and camellia flower print. But also the boater-bucket hats, the riding boots, wide-leg trousers, lovely gloves. Gold, black, white, red and pink. Leather and denim. Chanel is and will remain classic and timeless forever. And this collection speaks for itself.

While D&G takes you to Wonderland, Marchesa brings Wonderland to you. These dream dresses are the real fairytale. These dresses were made for women who are powerful, intelligent, independent, and pure. They are made for queens, not for princesses who only dwell on their dreams. I find these dresses so utterly beautiful, that I feel that it costs more than just money to be worth a dress like these, while at the same time I do believe that to wear one of these dresses would be enough to make you worthy for it. Look at those dresses! The details! The craftsmanship! The elegance! They are so perfect that I can't think of a proper occasion in which these dresses would be appropriate, while at the same time I wish that these dresses wouldn't be considered evening gowns only.

Saint Laurent
Saint Laurent's collection is completely different from what we've seen so far this season, and although it is quite simplistic, I must say: it works! It was a lot of 80s style - glamorous rock 'n roll. We see leather jackets, shimmery stiletto pumps, puffed skirts, big belts around the middle, heavy make-up, a tulle collar, perfectly fitting clothes, and of course the huge fur coat. Saint Laurent showed what the most popular girl looks like (and what everyone wants to look like) at a high class night club party. 

Heavily printed, tapestry-ish maxi skirts, together with a woolen cardigan, huge waist belt and lace collar: this is the fashion-goes-housewife look, and it's way better than imagined! And why not add some denim in there too? These looks look like a combination of clothes-found-in-the-attic - and I love it! MiuMiu shows us what fashion is really about: putting random pieces together into your  own and most favorite combination, making your own creation by layering, trying out new combinations, DARING, and feeling confident with the result. A friendly reminder by MiuMiu. 

What's most prominent in almost every look in this collection, are the Harlequin tights. While I still associated those with my kindergarten years, it appears, according to Mrs. Prada, that those tights go literally with everything. Baroque printed dresses, large leather coats with fur edges, pastel yellow and mint colored see-through dresses with puff sleeves and a Medieval-style waist belt, a velvet dress with matching Harlequin gloves. These are surely extraordinary combinations, but interesting ones as well, and sometimes interesting combinations are pleasant ones without knowing for sure why. This may well be the case here: these women look tough but knowledgeable, and yet peculiar, all in once.

These pieces from Kenzo's collection are modern, futuristic almost, and yet they sneak in as if we never knew anything else (except for the hairdo's - those could be well from the 80s). Kenzo knows how to make neon tiger striped boots and funky purple velvet pants look surprisingly casual - and they make it seem as if making perfect color combinations, and mixing up different patterns and fabrics, is so easily done. The looks above have a certain coolness, in a fresh-young-people-next-generation kind of way - it's much different from what I'm usually into, but in a right way. 

These looks by Balmain are what I'd want to wear if I feel like "I can take on the world today!" The metallic suits look like costumes from your typical space-movie - only more feminine, more ladylike, and more fashionable. These suits are ready-to-go suits for power-business-women, the kind that you can slip on in the morning and all skills you need that day come with it. A suit that will inject your daily dose of confidence. Besides these metallic suits, we see large waist belts, thigh-high suede boots, rococo details, ruffles and statement chokers: details that are responsible for the feminine touch.

A loosely fitting ochre yellow velvet turtleneck maxi dress - a transparent turtleneck dress printed with shimmery clouds, tight at the top and loose at the bottom - a nude colored tightly fitting turtleneck with a yellow golden velvet spaghetti strapped dress slipped over it........and in the end, a beautiful gypsy-style transparent dress........I could no else but love the Valentino Fall 2016 show. These looks are so incredibly elegant, yet so simple, and therefore, they are brilliant. Sometimes the combination of color, fabric, and the way it moves when it's being worn, is enough for a piece of clothing to be great all on its own. And Valentino has mastered this.

Alberta Ferretti
Alberta Ferretti makes the elves of the Efteling's "Droomvlucht" come to life - or would these women be what the Greek water nymphs would look like if they would ever wear clothes? Either way, these looks portray women as beautiful, surreal, innocent creatures, created from the soil of Mother Earth herself - and it's a beautiful way to look at women, no matter if it's only a fairytale. I would love to wear a dress by Alberta Ferretti, one that is so beautifully covered with flowers and lace......or the cloak in look #4, and feel like a elf from Middle-Earth - if fashion is meant to make people dream, Alberta Ferretti makes those dreams come true.

Roberto Cavalli
Roberto Cavalli's collection is pretty much early 70s meet Medieval witches, with a touch of grungy least that's all that I could think of - but I love it! Maybe I'm biased because there's a lot of purple over here and purple is my favorite color, but anyhow: look at the beautiful velvet cape with detailed embroidery, the small but long scarves, the ankle long coat and cardigan, the matching golden jacket and pants....the longer I look at it, the better it gets! We usually see 70s style during the Spring season, but if it's up to Peter Dundas it's 70s style all year long - and why not? Here's the proof 70s does great in autumn, too!

Gareth Pugh & Oscar de la Renta
Last two designers: a couple of pieces from Gareth Pugh and some from Oscar de la Renta, that I could not leave out of this post. Oscar de la Renta's pieces (last three) sum up some of the most prominent trends this season in three casual looks: baroque, fur, silk, turtlenecks, a waist belt, long gloves - while at the same time, it is kept simple and classy. Great examples of how the trends go together perfectly well. But more exciting is Gareth Pugh's collection (first three): WOW! Gareth Pugh didn't just subtly refer to the 80s with his collection, but his collection is straight-up 80s power dressing overall - and it's amazing. These looks are fierce, dramatic, and flawless. The proof that not much color is needed to hugely impress!

In the past couple of days not many posts were published by me, and there's one phrase that will cover all that could be explained to it: I would rather not post than post something that I do not fully support. And this may be the case when I don't have enough time to put into writing new content - so then I will not publish it, rather than writing it in a hurry to get it finished in time.
Sometimes I take a terribly long time to get a post finished - like this post, for example. I'm a perfectionist, and although I do not over-think the literal words that I write too much, for a post like this I like to do my research well, because I don't like to write about anything that I do not know anything about. You may imagine that this is a time-consuming characteristic. Thank god I eliminated many fashion shows that I liked only slightly less than the ones featured in this post! I will certainly put on my "good intentions"-list for 2017 that I should try to be more efficient in writing blog posts, but again: I would rather not post than post something that I do not fully support......which might well be the case when I work faster, though producing less convenient results.

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