[SANTORINI] oo3. LIVING ON THE EDGE

Sitting on the edge of Santorini’s peak, the dormant volcanoes that we can see are silent with power. The calm blue sea emanates with trillions of years of being. This sense of awe in the face of earth’s grandeur captures what each of us essentially are in the grand scheme of our universe – mere specks of inconsequential dust in space and time.

SANTORINI HEAVEN SANTORINI OIA

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Whilst we’re living on the edge of a fast-paced world, it’s a refreshing change to stop and admire beauty in the tranquil. I think I’ve learnt to appreciate life a whole lot more.

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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“I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that’s where they begin. “

I love this book even as I’m sucked into the throes of its deepest tragedies. Even as I’d watched the movie midway through the book, I was unprepared for its ending. Nazism, constant bombings, war-torn countries and broken families set the backdrop amidst the seemingly detached, occasionally soulful, narration by a nameless, hooded Death – a collector of souls whom have left their earthly bodies. Markus Zusak’s book is a lingering remnant of World War II – Deah narrates the chance encounters between himself and Liesel Meminger, a foster child on 33 Himmel Street, Germany.

“He was waving. “Saukerl,” she laughed, and as she held up her hand, she knew completely that he was simultaneously calling her a Saumensch. I think that’s as close to love as eleven-year-olds can get.” 

I loved Rudy Steiner in this book – the movie couldn’t give him half the heroic credit he deserved. Rudy Steiner was: Three times Hitler Youth Athletics medallist; a bread-giver to starving Jews even as his own stomach was growling; a straight A student even though all he ever did was rebel – and all he ever wanted was Liesel’s kiss. Liesel and Rudy’s subtle puppy love breaks my heart all the time, especially towards the end.

“Often I wish this would all be over, Liesel, but then somehow you do something like walk down the basement steps with a snowman in your hands.” – Max Vandenburg

Max Vandenburg is a master of words. He is the Jew in the basement whom Liesel and her family hides. He is saved by words, Liesel’s words to be exact, when each night he laid unconscious in bed he was fed with a multitude of words. With determination to thank the girl he weaves and leaves behind stories of a lifetime and more. Like Rudy, Max wishes to beat the crap out of the Führer and hence his story is that of the Jewish fist-fighter.

“His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do – the best ones. The ones who rise up and say “I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come.” Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out. More of them have already found their way to other places.” (On Hans Hubermann)

Liesel’s foster father, Hans Hubermann, is the reason why I still believe in good people. He loves Liesel like his own, teaches her to write and read, receives a beating for feeding a Jew, and is deeply indebted to the man who first taught him to play the accordion (and died on his behalf), so much so that he was willing to hide a Jew in the basement to return the favour. In much of the book, he is the doting father. A saint.

Liesel’s foster mother Rosa Hubermann rules with an iron fist but is the epitome of a hard shell with the softest core. Her unappreciated pea soup shows up a lot, and the hardship of Germans in the 1940s were best illustrated by how much food Rosa puts on the table each night. As loud as she gets, her soft-heartedness beams through whenever Liesel has her back turned because that’s when Rosa shows how much she actually loves her foster child.

“The consequence of this is that I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both. (Death)” 

Death’s cryptic final words: I am haunted by humans.
The book will break your heart from its sheer brutality (all masked by the predominant story until the concluding chapter where it all comes too close for comfort).

“At first, she could not talk. Perhaps it was the sudden bumpiness of love she felt for him. Or had she always loved him?” 

And the happy ending is left to your own imagination. Who exactly was the husband Liesel spends a lifetime with before Death comes to her?

“A SMALL PIECE OF TRUTH
I do not carry a sickle or scythe.
I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold.
And I don’t have those skull-like facial features you seem to enjoy pinning on me from a distance. You want to know what I truly look like? I’ll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while I continue.” -DEATH

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Shut Up and Dance

Remember this? My favourite NUS Dance Blast Shut Up and Dance (SUAD) Concert 2011 choreography by Xuzi, Erwin and Kevin. This video was taken (by Ulrica!!) during one of our last few vetting sessions with April Rodriguez, Joesar Alvar and Pat.

It was a flurry of costume changes (twice during the 5-minute item), and running left right centre to get to our positions, but nonetheless we had awesome choreographers who guided us along and gave us the best tips and advice we could ever get from our seniors.

In the same year we did April and Joesar’s collabo piece as a 10th anniversary special item.

And also the killer finale item by our blast father Pat, which required even more hurried costume changes and running everywhere.

This year, for our Blast EMCC we’ll be putting up the alumni item, where some of us graduated (Blast-eds) are coming back with a piece. Reliving the good ol’days of dancing as a team and slogging it out at the arts campus’s AS7. Really looking forward to EMCC 2014, not entirely because I miss performing and the stage… I really miss those days where we could dance without a care in the world, and spend all our after-school hours training for a concert.

Thank you for the good memories ^^

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] oo2.Island Lovin’

Headed for Thailand’s Koh Samui with my favourite travel pals in exactly 3 days’!! ❤
So stoked about scuba-diving, and living the island life in my friends’ resort. Also can’t wait to start partying at the local hotspots on Chaweng Beach.

Koh Samet Thailand

On our last trip to Koh Samet, another offshore party island in the Gulf of Thailand, we spent our afternoons snorkelling, swimming, speed-boating, tanning, scuba-diving, Thai-massaging, getting our asses bruised from bumpy rides on the island lorry and eating the freshest seafood the island has to offer.

Though we won’t be in time for Koh Samui’s famous full-moon parties, my local Thai friends insist that the island’s year round nightlife is insane. I’ll believe when I see it!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Boho-Chic Week: The K. Kollection

Fringe tassels, paisley prints and velveteen: I have uncovered the epitome of boho-chic.

The none-can-have-it look – fashion statements adorned by exclusive, one-of-a-kind handcrafted accessories. What else speaks louder of individualism than the 100% hand-made?

The Kkollection was created by an Atlanta based artist & writer K.J.Wright. She specializes in unique, hand crafted art and accessories fueled by her love for fashion and unconventional ideas. When you visit Kkollection.net, you will find many one of kind pieces that will hopefully meet your accessory or design needs! The Kkollection’s ultimate goal is to bring style and art together in one harmonious fashion.

What I Love:

Pink Tide Wraparound
Pink Tide Wraparound
Kkollection Scarf Bohemian
One of The Kkollection’s signature scarves (in black). Wraps at
least 7-8 times around and up the neck; a fashion forward piece

 

Kkollection bamboo necklace
Bamboo and fabric necklace: a one-of-a-kind piece
that is geared more towards Spring
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Wooden hand painted and
sprayed, blue and silver chevron earrings
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The Kkollection’s beautiful bottle art: custom-made
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The Kkollection’s painting that is also a jewelry board to hang earrings and necklaces. Functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Where to get: http://www.kkollection.net/
Payment: Paypal
Shipping: The United States
International Shipping: Only through contacting via email

Was honored to get in touch with the very talented artist herself!
This is her style advice for readers!

” When it comes to fashion and styling, I think accessories should always be
over the top! Often times a simple outfit with solids can be pumped up
with the right piece(s). Even when color blocking or sporting patterns,
you can bet, the right addition can take your outfit to the next level. At
Kkollection.net, you will find a multitude of pieces to accent your
wardrobe. “

Stay tuned for more Boho-Chic Week fashion house features!

Boho-Chic Week: Khalid & Bridges

bohochic
Auguste Abeliunaite by Luis Monteiro

Tired of wearing a dress that’s ‘so last season’?
Fashion pieces that never go out of style – oh, if only.

Now let’s think, which fashion fad never seems to die? Boho-chic, it seems, has its influences lurking in all the sneakiest ways.

Drawing on bohemian & hippie influences, Boho-Chic began in the 1960s. Its popularity boomed after Sienna Miller strutted her stuff at the Glastonbury Festival, 2004. Constantly re-emerging on the latest catwalks are signature slouchy cardigans, grungy dresses, heavily embroidered belts and cowboy boots.

Less conventional are its alternative titles ‘”hobo-grunge” and “heroin chic”. It’s definitely not easy to nail the style. You can’t just dress like a hobo!

Getting in touch with a dozen online fashion houses and having perused their Boho-Chic collections, I learnt a whole lot. What can these fashion houses share with us about Boho-Chic?


In the spotlight today:

Khalid & Bridges

Based in London, it is an exciting new blend of femininity and elegance founded by two friends. Their unique, constantly growing collection of jewellery is inspired by travels around the world. Best of all, they come with great prices!
Their strong bohemian pieces really caught my eye; I love these 2 necklaces in particular!




Traditional Rectangle Loom Necklace

Loom Necklace
Beautiful jewellery pieces make any outfit stand out, whether worn with a pair of skinny jeans, a top or a gorgeous dress. Our three piece necklace has been made using three different sized rectangles, wrapped individually with metallic wire to produce a loom like effect before being assembled as a necklace. Make a statement this Christmas with this unique piece that will embellish any outfit.

Price: £15.00
Size: 59cm in chain length
Weight(grams): 179g
Color: Silver and multi-coloured



Deep Mocha and Gold Woven Necklace

Deep Mocha Necklace
Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. Stand out from the crowd this winter with this unique piece. The woven rows in this necklace are intricately balanced with chained links, golden cord and deep mocha stones. A great style accessory to the perfect outfit.


Price: £12.00
Size: 48cm in chain length
Weight(grams): 126g
Color: Gold and Mocha



View More Here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/KhalidandBridges
Payment: Paypal and ETSY
International shipping: YES!



Bonus Style Advice: (from Rabia Khalid and Fredericka Lathbridge of Khalid&Bridges):

Staying in trend this fall with Boho chic should be a breeze: there are many choices available to indulge your style appetite. The great thing about Boho chic is that it’s all about creating an individual style.
The winter season provides a great opportunity to play around with colours as well as layers. Folk-inspired pieces are on trend with all sorts of colour combinations available and patterns inspired by Native American looks and Asian influences.

When it comes to shoes, a great pair of boots can compliment either trousers or jeans with a white blouse or a baggy cardigan/jumper. Slouchy pants are hot off the catwalk from New York and are a fantastic choice to add a little oomph to your outfit this winter. To finish the look off, dress your neck with some statement jewellery. Necklaces are the perfect the accessory to complete your Boho chic look, check out our collection at Khalid and Bridges’s (https://www.etsy.com/shop/KhalidandBridges?ref=si_shop) to find the perfect statement accessory.




Stay tuned for more Boho-Chic Week fashion house features:
Tipsy Gipsy, ZZROX, ShopGysan and various up-and-coming online stores!



Book Review: Selling Scarlett

I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and here it is!
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Published April 13th 2013 by Barkley’s Books

SYNOPSIS:
Elizabeth DeVille doesn’t belong at a party like this–one where the gowns cost more than her Camry and cigars run higher than her grad school utility bills. Dragged out of seclusion by her best friend Suri, Elizabeth is merely playing dress-up, rubbing elbows with a crowd that banished her troubled family years ago.

Hunter West is tired. Tired of parties, tired of pretending, and tired of trying to right a wrong that haunts him every day. Bourbon heir and professional poker player by day, by night Hunter is gambling with his life in a high-stakes game of crime and blackmail.

When Elizabeth stumbles into Hunter’s den of vices, she’s a light in the darkness, a flame in the void. And, just like everything he touches, Hunter mars her in a record time. To rectify the damage done, Elizabeth needs money she doesn’t have, and she’s come up with a foolproof way to get it.

Follow Elizabeth–code-named Scarlett–to the lush Nevada brothel where she’ll auction her virginity and risk the only thing that’s not for sale: her heart. The highest bidder is a familiar face, with wicked hands and the devil’s mouth. And a secret so dark that it could cost her life.

MY REVIEW:
Ella James’ brilliant stand-alone is just the right kind of provocative. Hunter West charms you off your feet and in many parts leave you swooning. Scarlett, or Elizabeth DeVille, knows fully well how to play her trump card of innocence. Volleying between the point-of-views of the different characters keeps up the fast pace where the plot thickens

“I’d gotten my first glimpse of Elizabeth DeVille. She’d had her hair in a pony-tail that stuck up off the side of her head, and she’d been wearing short red shorts and a light blue tank top with a whale on it. “You like whales?” I’d asked her when I finished with the car. Her face had gone all soft and pretty, making me feel more like one-hundred-and-three than the twenty-three I was, and she’d shrugged. “Yeah, but not a lot more than any other animal. I just like saving things.”

Semi-professional poker player, and full-time playboy, Hunter West doesn’t commit to relationships. At Love Incorporated, the brothel in Vegas owned by his best friend, Marchant Radcliffe, Hunter pays for love as he prefers “no strings attached”.

“I think of him as part tiger. He’s languid to the point of appearing almost lazy, and yellow or green, those eyes are framed by ridiculous lashes, set in a strong face with prominent cheekbones, full lips, and a sensuous smile.”

Elizabeth finds him intriguing despite his reputation and like the preyed in the cat-and-mouse, she can’t stay away. Entangled in the suspenseful web of lies, she is victim to the scandalous politics surrounding the brothel. In Hunter, she begins to find a surprisingly sexy appeal.

“It’s kind of surprising, considering he spends most of his time in Vegas, playing poker (professionally, of all things), man-whoring, and tossing back his family’s infamous Louisiana bourbon.”

Sexual tension, laced with the deceitful plot that kept me at the edge of my seat, makes this novel a winner. Elizabeth’s retention of innocence in the face of a new kind of awakening strikes me as comedic…except the training she receives at Love Incorporated takes her to a whole new level.

“With the exception of Hunter West, who’s been my own personal porn since that fateful night Mom’s Porsche broke down, I don’t find that many men attractive. Maybe I am a lesbian, but I don’t think so.”

Whilst agreeing with many readers that due to the myriad of sub-plots and other characters I found this book confusing, it has nevertheless been an enjoyable read. Definitely looking forward to her sequels in the Love, Inc series!

Lace & Leather: a Vogue Compilation

Black Lace & Leather never goes out of style, and it’s basically my personal favourite get-up. Here’s a few Vogue clippings I’ve been saving for a while now!

Salma Hayek in Vogue Germany, September 2012
Salma Hayek in Vogue Germany, September 2012
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Ming Xi by Lachlan Bailey for Vogue China, December 2010
Lara Stone in “La Belle Maitresse” by Mario Sorrenti, for Vogue Japan, 2011
Lara Stone in “La Belle Maitresse” by Mario Sorrenti, for Vogue Japan, 2011
Rihanna in Valentino, Vogue US, November 2012
Rihanna in Valentino, Vogue US, November 2012
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Katie Holmes for Vogue Spain, August 2011
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Katie Holmes for Vogue Spain, August 2011
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Katie Holmes for Vogue Spain, August 2011
Shanina Shaik for Vogue India, December 2012
Shanina Shaik for Vogue India, December 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Crystal Renn by Miguel Reveriego, for Vogue Russia, August 2012
Kristen Stewart in Vogue Italia, 2011
Kristen Stewart in Vogue Italia, 2011

Also, this compilation is in commemoration of the title change to my blog as advised. Kudos to the lovely combination and to a lovelier month ahead!

5 Things I Learnt about Dubai

This weekend, I’m in Dubai, feeling so lost about the city’s roads, culture, everything.

With Harper’s Bazaar World of Fashion, Fashion Forward Season 2, Global Village 2013 – 2014 and all those exciting events going on, no doubt Dubai deserves being hailed as the regional fashion hub. There are just soooo many things I can’t get used to.

It’s a lovely lovely city, especially Downtown Dubai! People actually offer to hold your bags while you fish for your wallet at small local delis. The grocer at Robinsons hands you your change on a dish like in Japan and waves you goodbye. And everyone holds doors for everybody else.

Fascinated by this city, really. Here are 5 things that sprung to my mind.

1. There are no Cafès. Period.
Gosh. What’s their secret? How do people get their daily cuppa?

2. You get stared at, if you’re female and alone.
Then they start walking backwards with their eyes still trained on you.

3. You get stared at, if your skin colour is different.
Yes I know I’m pasty and practically translucent

4. Barricades in (some very rare) Starbucks are meant to separate  men and women
That being said, I’m darn impressed by Starbucks’ Dubai interior designers. Omg SO PRETTY
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5. Everyone walks > an arm’s distance apart.
I thought it was just me. Until I observed and realised they just don’t walk close to anyone else. Like a habit.

Also, girls can bear their skin. It’s not a sin.
Contrary to my misguided belief, it’s alright for tank tops in the sweltering heat! It is just very uncommon. The girls here are also very very pretty.
Well, seems like I’ve learnt something new!

365 Guide New York City: Drink. Eat. $ave. Every Day of the Year. A Guide to New York City Restaurants and Bars.

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I received this book from Hugo House Publishers Ltd in exchange for a review, and here it is!

Monica DiNatale is no doubt an expert on dining out in NYC. This guide will make life for first-time NYC travelers a hell lot easier. Swishing through the pages, you’ll find the name of the bar/restaurant, its location, opening hours, contact details as well as why it has been a selected feature.

All selections are numbered #1 – #365, lettered from A-Z, so theres literally a year’s worth of dining options to try. There’s no lack of variety, because most of the featured are bar/restaurant fusion where you can stay on after supper for chilling out with your buddies.

I would love to try #133 George Keeley Fine Ales and Lagers, an Irish Pub on Amsterdam Avenue in the Upper West Side. Free popcorn for all! Plus burgers with sweet potato fries. It’s a New York dream come true.

Smorgas Chef (#273) also sounds like an interesting deal. Swedish meatballs on Hanover Square? It’s Scandinavian date-night-tastic with the upscale bistro ambience.

All in all DiNatale does know how to have fun, and her picks are truly perfect for a complete NYC night-out.

Publisher: Hugo House Publishers
Date Published: August 14, 2013
My Ratings: 4 / 5

SYNOPSIS:
I know restaurants and bars in New York City can be expensive and intimidating. I wanted 365 Guide to include advice that I would give to close family and friends but share it with the world! Inside 365 Guide there are 365 restaurant and bar deals in the Big Apple. This is the only New York City guide book that tells you where you can find: free, yes, FREE food specials throughout the city, $2-$3 drinks any day of the week, the best happy hours where you can nosh to your stomach’s content and more deals than any other guide on the planet! From five-star restaurants to the best dive bars, I will be your savings guru. Whether you live here, hope to live here, or are visiting, if you want to know all about New York City’s restaurants and bars-at a discount-then 365 Guide is the book for you!

we lived through a lifetime and the aftermath

For someone who’s a firm believer in New Year Resolutions,
I’m not entirely convinced of its life-changing capabilities.
Once in a while I look back upon my annual mandate,
written with fervent excitement over the promise of a brand new year…

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“2011….I will make more friends, smile too often, take too many bad polaroids, go selfishly individualistic and yet be open-minded and positive. I want to be able to wear ripped jeans, lace and leather, and printed leggings with calve-length boots, strutting down the streets with my fellow girlfriends, and be optimistic even when that’s not possible. Because what you think will affect who you are and the people around you.

And who cares about what insults others might throw at me. This year, I’ve had many. After the initial anger, hurt, and mulling over the words that were chanted, it doesn’t matter anymore. Who are you to make me care about your opinions? Won’t think of trading myself to avoid that split second of hurt or anger. So here goes. I DON’T CARE. If they have so much time to gossip about me, your life must suck balls. I have no time to process your silly gossips and it doesn’t interest me.

True friends will tell me when I suck, or that I have horrible hair, my shirt stinks etc, but I’ll listen and love them anyway.

Am also staying away from some people.The movie I watched today, Tron, is something about blind idealism when an isolated colony is led to think and behave in a certain, irrational way, by their leader, whether as enforced rules, simply an established social construct, or the people are slowly brainwashed to think alike. Oh well, no point. People in the Grid can’t see beyond their Grid World. Wanting to go over to earth is just a wishful thinking on their leader’s part. Quite a thought. Thus they should be left alone to manifest.

Well 2012 might spell the end (omg just saw this book in Times today about the apocalypse. very intriguing but also SCARY) of all of us. So quick do what we can! Live the moment and don’t die with regrets. We’re young and very much alive.”

xoxo
A younger version of me (2011)

[THAILAND] oo1. ISLAND AND THE CITY (Bangkok – Ko Samet)

The minute our home-bound aircraft took off, I missed Bangkok already.
Even with my infected tummy hurting so badly from seafood poisoning,
the land of a thousand smiles can’t shake me off.
Thailand, I will be back!!

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The amount of insane things we did on this trip was kept to a minimal
We capped it at scuba-diving, really.
Continue reading “[THAILAND] oo1. ISLAND AND THE CITY (Bangkok – Ko Samet)”