Wednesday, January 7, 2015

More than just a design

My blog has been an artifact of how I grow as a person. I started blogging in late 2009 right after the big earthquake hit the city where I studied, Padang, an event that led me to start covering my body and wearing hijab. Wearing hijab for the first time is not easy even though I was 100% certain of my decision, especially with my background born and grew up in a big(ger) city, Bandar Lampung,  where religion doesn’t really matter. With the turbulence of decreasing self-confidence and raising doubts, I knew that I needed to do and learn other things rather than focusing on my unnecessary stress.

Blogosphere is where I found it. At that time, hijab was not as popular as hijab today. There were not much hijab inspiration, Dian Pelangi and friends hadn’t come to fame when I landed on their blogs years ago. I felt inspired by them and what interested me more at that time was learning about blog design. I don’t understand any HTML or other coding, but I know how to make use of and manipulate widgets, colors, and stuffs, supported with my spurious photoshop knowledge.

There are many free blog design templates in the internet but I always choose to make and use my own design, no matter how cheesy or ugly it is compared to other blog templates made by professionals. I feel proud of what I make and it reflects me at that time, it’s a phase of growing up. Nobody was born awesome, aite? Well, maybe Angelina Jolie is. The point is, not only my writing is my journey, but also my blog lay-out.

When I first blogged, the whole lay-out was strong pink and purple, very flashy that it could turn you blind. To make it worse, there were too many my self-portraits in the lay-out, my pics were everywhere; in the header, blog profile, blog content (of course) and in the bottom of the page. If the Today-Me visited my old blog layout, she would throw up and get the old me a mirror. No wonder I was so garish, I was a big fan of Lolita sub-culture at that time. #OMGalaybangetgwmoment!

After I realized my hyper-self-centered tendency, I changed my blog design from time to time, especially my header. Since then, I have been more modest and less narcissistic, I (try to) believe so. Well I am still narcissistic, but at least now I know how to control to not point it out. D’oh!

For me, header is important because it’s the first thing people see (and sometimes judge) when they first land on your blog. It has to briefly and accurately describe who you are, what you like and what the blog is about.

And like I’ve said before, changes in blog lay-outs are a reflection of growing-up phase. You will see my point by looking at the pics of some of my headers that I still keep.


**January 2012
**Early 2013
**my latest blog header, January 2015
My current header is much simpler, this is the first time after three years I put my pic again in the header, and also the first time I put my real name without my alias and blog name tagged along. Because I realize, nothing describes me more than my name itself. My full name is Citra Ayu Wardani, “Citra” means “Image”, “Ayu” means “beautiful” and “Wardani” is the combination of my parent’s names. I put the letter “R” reversely because there’s “art” in “Citra” because I am fond of art. The word “Art” is written with a pink galaxy to show that I am still a pink-believer. I put my monochromatic pic to replace the letter “A” in “Ayu” because... it looks catchy, that’s it.

The photo was taken by a talented young photografer that I met on Instagram, Bang Tian. One day he asked me to be his model for his project and I was free to pick the theme. The results of the photoshoot were sooo me, with the big bow and polkadot touch! Too many photos that are my favorites and I guess this one is which I like most.

My current blog header and the old one are using almost similar photoshop tricks, tutorials can be found here.

Penguins of Madagascar: Lean, Loud and Laugh-Filled!

I didn’t watch movies a lot in 2014, I don’t know if this is the funniest movie nominee in 2014 or not, but for me it’s one of the funniest movies I watched in 2014, and 22 Jumpstreet in the second rank. It gives me a non-stop laughter for 1,5 hours! I’ve watched it several times and still laugh like nuts.

The phrase that can describe this movie is “brilliantly funny”. From every aspect, I’d give it 9 out of 10; the story line, scenes, script, voice, soundtrack, and animation. Unlike most animation movies which always have boring crazy twist in the climax, Pinguins of Madagascar is wrapped briefly yet still funny.

The Mission-Imposssible-like penguin version consists of Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. If you look at their faces, they actually have the same faces, only different in body shapes. Skipper is the leader, Rico doesn’t talk much but he can throw useful items when needed, Kowalski is the brain who knows most of the basic knowledge the team needs to know and Private is the cute cuddly caring youngest of all.

From the beginning of the movie, they are already described as no ordinary penguins, they go out of line while all other penguins in the pole are in line for something they dont even understand what they’re lining up for. Along with the new-born cute Private, the team chooses to wander rather than stay in the pole and be regular penguins.

All the characters in the movie are funny, even the cricket cameo! The villain, an octopus named Dave, is also one of the major humor contributors to the story. One of the memorable scenes I like is how Skipper always forgets the villain’s name. He confuses “Dave” with “Deby”, “Daryl”, “Dylan”, “Debbie” etc. and the worst is “Ramires”, that’s totally an LOL moment!

The story line revolves the team effort to save Private that’s kidnapped by Dave the octopus. Honestly, this reminds me of Saving Private Ryan because there’s a team trying to save someone named Private. Haha!

Its imitation of real life phenomenon is asskickin’ funny! For example is when Dave videochats with the team, he doesn’t know where the voice button is, so the beginning of the video chat, it’s mute. The ally team who helps the penguins in the mission shout telling Dave where the unmute button is, and one of the ally said, “Ugh... it’s like videochatting with my parents...”. That tickles me so hardddd...!

Pinguins of Madagascar is frantic and amusing. This is a kids’ movie that remains a kids’ movie ‘till the end but is also enjoyable for grownups. Very recommended to be watched during a warm family gathering!

Monday, January 5, 2015

What I promise myself for 2015

Making a resolution has been an annual tradition in almost everyone’s life every new year starts, mine too. I’ve never been a big resolution maker all this time, but I know and always set my goals every year. It’s a promise that I give to myself, so that I live the year with purposes, and if in the middle of the year I get out of track, I’ll re-check the resolution promise and get back in track.

After a moment of contemplation, I found that I have to reach and improve these three things this year: self-actualization, relationships and performance.

  • ·         Self-actualization

I don’t live to prove to nor to satisfy anyone but myself. Then, to make me feel good about my self, I have to upgrade constantly, I have to have more skills, knowledge and personal achievements. In order to have achievements, I gotta improve skills and knowledge first. I have tons of plans and ideas on what I want to see me several years in the future, and that’s not me as an employee. I was born to create, sell (Minang gitu lhoo..) and be the boss of my self. But I can’t start without a sturdy foundation. Therefore, what I need to do first is capacity building. I promise my self that in 2015, I will take the course(s) that I’ve always delayed taking, like sewing, claying and baking. I can not always be dependent on other people’s ability forever because the results are  always different from what I want to make. The three skills are my foundation of what I am going to make in 2015, what they are is still a surprise :D

Since I started working, I don’t have time as much as I used to have in college. I have too many movies and books list I need to finish. I am a type of person that learn and analyze thing from movies, songs, books and popular culture products. This year I will dedicate my time for learning. I don’t like studying, but I like learning. Because there’s “died” in “studied” and “earned” in “learned”. I like learning because it makes me feel stupid and always hungry.

One thing I also absolutely need to learn is COOKING. I can cook, BUT  only the fried type of food with inconsistent taste (sometimes delicious, sometimes... you can’t tell). I am going to be a wife and mother someday, I can’t let my family suffer from high colesterol just because I dont know how to cook healthy food. Ouch!

I also want to learn more about photography. I already got the artistic gift in my soul, but I gotta learn the technique to make it bigger.

  • ·         Relationships

What I mean by relationship is not the relationship with the opposite sex since the previous year/s have taught me that I can’t hurry love. I need a break from that kinda thing untill I am finally ready.

The relationships that I want to strengthen is my relationship with Allah and the close people I already have who care about me and love me back. You can’t keep all people you know in your pocket, some people were meant to not be forever. Family always come first, because they’ll never leave. Showing love and care is much more important rather than imposing ego and pride.

  • ·         Performance

I know beauty comes from within but I won’t say outer beauty is not important because for me it still is. It’s probably because I am a lil’ bit perfectionist, I have my own standard, but not for other people’s acknowledgement. I feel good when I look good and I look good when I feel good. It’s a balance I gotta maintain. In 2014 I succeeded to reach my targetted weight, now in 2015 I promise my self to get in shape, start working out and eat healthy food. I like to see woman with toned arms, tight flat tummies and honey-brown skin, that’s the sexiest! It’s of course for my own satisfaction.

If in the end I still can’t reach what I aim, then it’s okay, at least I’ve tried and worked for it. To not trying is not an option.