May 22, 2010

Surprise Surprise!

Two weeks ago, my little sister and I decided to surprise our mom for her birthday. Being overseas, both of us more than often missed her birthday for years. She's a very simple person, doesn't demand branded materials - we thought hard and so we decided to give her what she loves best: us being home.

I flew AirAsiaX from Perth to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to pick up my sis. The airplane is actually quite good! I had a good fortune of not having anyone to sit on my row at all, so I have three seats all to myself! This happened again on the flight back to Perth. Praise God :-) 

I stopped by at Kuala Lumpur for one day. It felt so good to see my little sister :-) Despite our big age gap, we're actually really close to each other. She went to the hotel where I stayed, which is Park Royal Hotel in the Bukit Bintang area, and we spent the whole day shopping and eating. Thankfully we stayed in the CBD area where it's very close to The Pavilion and Suria KLCC. When she checked on her Pokewalker, I think we walked about 123,000 steps that day. Good exercise for all the eating I did.



We went back to Jakarta the next day, which was mom's birthday. I've already ordered an airport pick-up service with Golden Bird (very professional service, I must say) because I don't want to bother anyone to pick us up, besided, I'm scared that the surprise would be ruined by any slip-ups. The only one who knew about our plan was my dad. 

My sis actually lied to my mom - she said that she won't be coming back home for holiday because she will be going to Melaka with her friends. Mom was very sad when she heard it. Sorry Mom, we had to lie! My dad, who works in Bali, also postponed his trip back home so that he can be together with us when we're back.

Anyway, my sis and I both text messaged mom 'happy birthday' in the morning. We also sent her some Orchids (courtesy of my friend's florist business - Darling Buds of May). She really didn't suspect anything. When we arrived, my dad peeked through the blinds and called my mom to come outside because "her birthday present is here".



She was still in her pyjamas - my sis and I hid so that she couldn't see us. She came out and looked around "What is it? I didn't see anything". That's when my sis and I came out and shout "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!". She literally screamed! She ran to the gates and hugged me and sis. Ah, that was the best part of my holiday trip :-)

Sis and I managed to surprise a few more people during the trip - my aunties, uncles and my grandma. A pretty fruitful one! Hehe. We got to spend the whole holiday trip mostly with mom and dad, which was awesome. Until this moment, I still felt like I left my heart there. Almost cried when I was on the plane back to Perth... but, I'm going home again in October for one of my best friend's wedding :-) Can't wait!

Pictures worth a thousand words - so I let these pictures below do the telling on what we did on our surprise visit :-)


No wonder it's hard for me to lose weight... *sigh*

XoXo, Kezia Anastasia
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April 27, 2010

Obsession: Leather Jackets

Everyone knows that I am not a summer girl. I don't think of flip flops, shorts and t-shirts as my wardrobe staples. I'll take icy cold winter day anytime over summer. Imagine my excitement when Perth is getting cooler by the day (slowly though). That means one thing: I can finally wear my leather jackets, tights and boots. Yeap, I love winter for so many reasons: the freshness it brings, the hibernating, the comfort food and most of all: the fashion.

I am obsessed with winter fashion, especially leather jackets. They are such an essential! Even though they are less bulky than other winter jackets/coats, but they are warmer than most. Because it's leather, the wind doesn't go through the fabric like they do with other jackets; be it tweed, fabric, cotton or even wools.

This winter season, the collarless leather jackets are introduced. It was love at first sight for me. The cut, the way the collar drapes around your shoulders, the distressed-leather material... it's oh-so very biker chic. 


Well, looking at the designer labels, it is most definitely will hurt my bank account. But, fear not! After a long search, I have found the chain store version of the collarless leather jacket (and it's mine now tee-hee)


It's so versatile you can wear it with anything. Be it dress with tights and boots; or stripe long sleeves, black skinny, flats and loop scarves. Now, all I need to do is wait until the weather is cool enough and I shall wear this everytime I'm out and about :-) Oh, I feel like a rockstar!


XoXo, Kezia Anastasia
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April 21, 2010

I Still Call Australia Home





I had a really unpleasant experience on the Transperth bus yesterday afternoon. I was boarding the usual bus home at about 5:10 pm from Perth CBD when an Indigenous lady also went on the bus I am on without paying her fare. If her stop was in CBD, the ride would’ve been free, but her stop is in Victoria Park. The driver let her on the bus and she sat in the disability section on the left side of the bus. I was sitting on the right side, just a row behind her.

Then, I started noticing a smell in the bus. Mind you, the bus is air-conditioned, so the smell travelled faster. It was a smell of glue, and yes, she was glue sniffing. She stuffed the glue inside a transparent plastic bag. A few people (including me) covered their noses with their scarves, tissues and what not. The bus driver didn’t do anything. No one did anything or said anything to this lady.

I had headaches and felt like vomiting on the whole trip (FYI - I still have the headache until now). I was this close of losing my nerves and was in the process of working up a courage to ask this lady (politely, of course) to stop what she’s doing as it had brought a significant amount of disturbance and annoyance to everyone on the bus, when she finally went off the bus. But, as she was standing before she went off, she took a look at everyone who had their noses covered up… and LAUGHED. Real hard.

I’m pretty sure she was doing what she’s doing to push her boundaries. Probably wanting to see whether anyone would do or say anything to stop her. And when she finally figured out no one had the nerve to stop her, she laughed victoriously. She thought she has power to do anything she wants because everyone feared her.

Look, I don’t have anything against the Indigenous race in general. It’s not their skin tone, or physical appearance that annoys me, it’s the attitude. The only time I have seen a well-mannered, well-dressed and educated Aboriginal was in Curtin University. I saw this Aboriginal man who was going to classes and I thought to myself that such person is real (and of course Cathy Freeman and Ernie, but they are public figures. I literally saw this person with my own eyes so it made a bigger impact). I really wonder why there aren’t more of these kind of Indigenous people?

I remembered once I read in the newspaper about this Aboriginal man who complained about his living situation. He literally lives in the kitchen, and it was filthy. Probably the filthies kitchen I’ve ever seen. There are dog feces on the floor. He was looking for sympathy, obviously. I read one of the reader’s comments and it goes kind of like ‘roll up your sleeves and clean it then!’. I have noticed that some of these people lived off Government support and Centrelink. They don’t even work. Why should they expect us to hear their complaints and sympathize if they don’t even do anything about it? And if they had been given help, why didn’t they be grateful instead of thinking ‘I deserve this help’?

I was talking about my experience with a colleague this morning, and she mentioned to me that she was once verbally abused by an Indigenous lady (who was drunk of course). My colleague was just in a news agency wanted to buy some magazines, when suddenly this lady came up to her and called her names like white -c*nt and sl*t. She was so angry but was too scared to do anything. When the Indigenous lady left, the news agency owner came up to her and asked whether she’s okay. She was very shakened up by that experience.

She told me that one of her neighbours one day was also verbally abused by Aboriginals in his own yard. The Aboriginals were playing in his yard and yelled to him to get off of their land. He called the police on them.

They think this is they are the only Australians. Let me just say, I pay my taxes (that goes to subsidising them, I believe) and even if I wasn’t born or raised in Australia, that doesn’t make me less Australian than them. That goes the same to everyone.

Here in Australia, we have a ‘National Sorry Day’ on May 26th. Basically, it was the ‘healing’ day of those Indigenous people who have been removed from their parents/children with force (you can wiki it for more info – I’m not that knowledgeable). So, we say ‘sorry’ to them. Okay fine, that is legit – we made mistake, we said sorry and we try to make it better. But shouldn’t that go both ways? They should also be sorry for harrassing others – verbally, physically, actionally (is there such a word?) – you get what I mean. If they are more educated and civilized, Australia will be a much better place to live, yes?

If you feel uneasy and offended by my post about this issue, then I am sorry. It wasn’t my intention to disrespect anyone, I was just simply expressing my thoughts. FYI – I filed a complaint to Transperth in regards to the incident happened yesterday. I mentioned as well it was part the driver’s fault of letting this woman on the bus without paying her fare. See, I was being fair.


XoXo, Kezia Anastasia
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April 19, 2010

Sneak Peeks :-)

As promised, a sneak peek of something I have been working on these past couple of weeks.

This project is a collaboration with a very good friend of mine; the talented photographer - Mr Indra Pratama from Photo4Life. I've known Indra almost about 8 years now and he is married to one of my closest girlfriends, Fang-Fang; a very talented lady in arts and crafts herself.

Indra has that magic touch when it comes to art and design. Just these past two years he began to launch his photography business - Photo4Life which specialised in wedding and pre-wedding photography. I have to say I'm always speechless when it comes to seeing one of the photos he took. It was breathtakingly beautiful, simple, pure and magical. He seems to always able to caught the simplest moments yet overflows with pure love and longing. 

When Indra asked me whether I want to help him with designing the happy couples' wedding albums, I jumped at the chance. Not only I got to explore the world of art and design closer (and getting free lessons on Photoshop and Illustrator from the master himself hehehe), I got to work with my friends. How cool is that! I really want to help Indra and Fang-Fang to expand their wedding photography business further because I really think they deserve it. They are very talented and the world needs to see it :-)

I can't reveal much on the whole design of the albums (I'm still a beginner, so bear with me!) but I can give you sneak peeks as below pictures. These are the two albums I have been working on; one's concept is very different than the other. One of them is actually my two good friends wedding - so I'm very honoured to have been trusted with this. I really do hope I can deliver! Will post photos once final products have been printed and delivered :-)




As for now, if you are one of the happily engaged couples - feel free to browse around Indra Pratama's portfolio in Photo4Life. I assure you, you will be amazed by his talent :-) I, myself, am reserving him for my pre-wedding and wedding photoshoots (now all I have to do is find the groom!)



XoXo, Kezia Anastasia

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April 18, 2010

Hello Hello :-)

I don’t know why you said goodbye, I said hello!

Iknow, I know. It’s been almost two months since I last post something on this blog. I don't know why, I just lost the urge all of the sudden. Even if I want to write something, I wouldn't know what to write. If there’s some sort of Blogging University and I have a blog-valuation exam, I think one of the questions would be like this:

What is the main reasons of you not blogging again?

a)     (a) My life isn’t interesting enough to blog about
b)     (b) Doesn’t have the time to blog
c)     (c) Too lazy to blog
d)     (d) Twittering > blogging
e)     (e) All of the above

I’d definitely choose option E.

In my defense, I’ve been quite busy these days (exagerrate much?). We had a couple of big events at Church which I’m helping out with, such as our annual Food Festival and Kids Festival. But the real reasons on why I didn’t blog were these:




I think pictures worth a thousand words :-)

Yep. I am officially a couch potato. There are about four major series that I’m following at the moment – and I never missed any of it. Some I’ve already watched since they first went on air, some I just recently caught up with. The most recent one will be ‘Glee’ :-) Oh yeah, I’m a proud Gleek! You are too if you notice my first line in this post was taken from the song they did on episode 14 *LOL*

Seriously, these days, there’s nothing else I wanted more except for watching series/movies in my pyjamas after a long day at work and with my macbook attached to my 24” LCD monitor which right at the opposite of my bed, things are looking pretty nifty (iMac on a budget :-P)





Oh, that and a wicked leather jacket for winter which I can't wait to wear!!! 

On a more serious note: I am working on a collaboration project with Photo4Life which I am very excited about! Will reveal more soon. Stay tuned!




XoXo, Kezia Anastasia
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February 25, 2010

Precious



"I learned to love myself. Because I sleep with myself every night and I wake up with myself every morning. And if I don't like myself, there's no reason to even live the life."
(Gabourey Sidibe, 2010)

http://nymag.com/movies/profiles/59419/

XoXo, Kezia Anastasia
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February 23, 2010

A Thousand Layers

A s you might have noticed that I changed the header to my blog, and also the title of it to 'Mille Feuiles'. For the longest time I have been naming my blog the 'Pretty Little Corner' and it's not that I don't like the name, I guess I want my blog title to a reflection of the state of mind that I have right now (does this make sense? no? nevermind hehe).. So after considerations, I decided to go ahead and change the blog title.

Mille Feuilles is french, and it means many layers. It's actually a name of one of my favorite patisserie which I have yet learn to make (I will someday!). You can practically use anything in this Mille Feuilles. If you opt for sweet and pretty you can make it using strawberries and cream, or if you prefer a bittersweet symphony in your tastebuds, go with mocca. Some restaurants make savoury ones as well.



And of course, Mille Feuilles is the name of the Versace couture dress 'Dress of A Thousand Layers' that Carrie Bradshaw wears in Sex And The City Season 6, where she waited for Aleksandr Petrovsky in their posh Paris hotel suite for dinner - and he showed up really late. That dress is retailed for $79,000 *gasp*. It's so pretty, fluffy and I love the colour - I wonder how she managed to bring it to Paris?



I do think that life has a thousand layers yet to unfold. Every person has many layers to discover too, by ourselves and by others. As I looked back to my previous posts, I often write about the discoveries I made about myself, about life and about others. So, I think Mille Feuilles is the perfect fit for this blog's name (or am I just bored to death with the old title? hmmmmm... rocket science!)

Just a lil bit of wisdom from Shrek and Donkey before I log out...

Shrek: Ogres are like onions.
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes. No.
Donkey: Oh, they make you cry.
Shrek: No.
Donkey: Oh, you leave em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin' little white hairs.
Shrek: NO. Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.
[sighs]
Donkey: Oh, you both have layers. Oh. You know, not everybody like onions.

Stay beautiful, friends :-)


XoXo, Kezia Anastasia
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February 18, 2010

Happy Belated Everything!

T he second Sunday of February was the one day that probably mostly everyone anticipated. On 14th February this year, both Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year are celebrated at the same time. I know, I know, this post is overdue by almost a week - but I've been busy and thanks to micro-blogging trends now (follow me @misstazh) I felt like I've already blogged. So, without further a do, 'Happy Belated Valenchine (Valentine & Chinese NY)' altogether, friends! I hope you get to spent it with your loved ones and made them feel special too!

Well, I couldn't say that I'm celebrating both festivities in a big way this year. With Chinese NY, my family never really followed the tradition since I was young anyway. Even though I'm a mix of Chinese - Indonesian, my big family never celebrated CNY like what other families would do. I guess, the Chinese tradition is never big on the family, especially since my grandparents from my mom's side of the family were more Dutch than Chinese. So yeah, I probably had a few red envelopes when I grew up, but it was never extravagant. I remembered the day after CNY in school, where all my friends would talk about how much they 'harvested' yesterday (and the numbers were quite high!) and also what they did with their big families on the day, I would just listened intently with wonderment on my facial expression. 

Sure, at that time I was a bit jealous; after all, I was just a kid! I wish I knew how it felt to have lots and lots of red envelopes on CNY - but I don't. As I grew older and none the wiser, what I missed most in CNY is having to have gathered with my loved ones and having family dinners. Usually we had dinners at my parents' crib (because it's too expensive to dine outside on CNY - restaurants usually put high price tags and you have to have a special CNY menu set) and we would just relax and enjoy each other presence.

I think that's when I feel the happiest - being with my loved ones. That's why this year's Valentine's Day is a bit gloom for me because I was just overwhelmed by the feeling of not having my loved ones around me. No, I'm not talking about the one that comes in the shape of a boyfriend - I normally celebrates Valentine's Day with my single pals anyway - but I really miss my family this year. I guess I've been away from them too long now. 

Home is where the heart is - and truly, that's where my heart resides. It's funny how after not going back home for holidays in two years, once I stepped inside the house I grew up in, I left a huge sigh of relief and thought to myself "I'm home...". My parents, lil sister and myself have a ritual before going to bed where we all cramped and huddled in my parents bed, joked around or talked about the day that we had. My dad usually took the ownership of the TV remote control, my sis and I would perform some slapstick comedy for them, my mom would nod herself to sleep even though she was watching her favorite show - and we would intentionally annoy her to wake up. That moment right there, is where I feel most loved.

My mom always said that she felt the happiest when she has her two daughters around and we both feel the same way as her. Nothing beats the feeling of being around people you love the most and who loved you the most. I know that my parents and my sister love me no matter what, and I love them come what may. Sure, we have our arguments, but which family doesn't? You're bound to have frictions in your relationships. The key is not to love them because of such and such, but to love them in spite of our failures and weakness. My mom is the true example of this. 

She had her share of heartaches; a lot of them really. To cut the story short (or I'll be going on and on about it for pages) let's just say that my dad had been disloyal to her a few times since I was 11 years old (I think) - even thought she was hurting and angry, she always said to me and my sister that we are his children too and we should always give him the respect and love he deserves. After many trials, she always forgave him (to our dismay at that moment) because she felt such compassion towards him. Then, my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer, and I remembered crying and begging my dad on the phone to step up and be there when she needs him, for a change. I think I even threatened him a bit (to hate him for life if he ever left her again); I regretted saying those words to him since my emotion got the best of me. But he did step up. He never left my mom's side when she was in chemotherapy. 

Today, I can truly said that their relationship is getting better and better. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them last holiday. Sometimes they are so lovey dovey to each other, I secretly rolled my eyes. But seriously, I've never been happier and at peace with them. Sure, we all have things to work on to improve our family bond - but looking back at the past, I am truly grateful and thankful to God that our relationship improved greatly. 

Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13)

I'm taking a lesson from my favorite bible verse above, and from my mom, to love people in spite of. After all, love never fails. I really do believe that love is the center of everything. Jesus came down and died for us on the cross for love. Our parents gave birth to us because of love. Our dreams and passion comes from love. Faith and hope comes from love. We should celebrate love daily - not only on Valentine's Day.

As a guilty token from not blogging on time love token this month and as we celebrated love in all its glory, I've designed this wallpaper a while ago for my twitter background. I hope you like it :-) It's in 1024 x 768 resolution at the moment, but let me know if you want it in other resolutions that matches your screen :-)



And now these three remain:
Faith, Hope and Love
But the greatest of these is love
(1 Corinthians 13:13)


Carry love wherever you go, friends :-)


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February 10, 2010

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

Do you still remember that moment when your age is less than that two digit binary code number (1 and 0 – the geeks will get me on this *LOL*) and you can’t wait to be an adult? I do.

I still remember how I used to dress up in my mom’s dresses, putting on her lipstick (only I pronounced it lisptick hehe), spritzing her perfume, drained myself with her necklaces, trying on her high heels and what not. I also still remember that one time when my mom didn’t let me borrow her lipstick, I coloured my lips with… red marker. I was scolded real bad :-P

My mom used to tell me stories on how I would cried and threw tantrums (notice the plural? Uh-huh) at clothing stores just because I wanted that fairy-princess dresses. True enough, she didn’t buy it for me. Back then, I knew I will be a fairy princess fashion designer so I can make all the dresses I wanted.

Then come the stage of japanese mangas. The first ever manga that I bought was Mari-Chan – it told the story of a girl who’s pursuing her dreams of becoming a ballerina. I wanted to be that girl. Because of my endless nagging and crying and screaming seeing her daughter’s potential, my mom finally enrolled me to a ballet class, which I absolutely loved. I was there for about three years I think, but then she pulled me out because it was getting too expensive. Funnily enough, when Mari-Chan manga series ended, so did my ‘dream’ of becoming a ballerina.

And then I started drawing japanese mangas. I love to copy drawings from my favorite mangas back then, but then started to develop my very own manga (which I didn’t finish due to boredom). Me and my little sister used to spend so many books just for drawing. It drove our teachers mad of course, because we didn’t really pay attention in class except if it was art class.

When I was in freshman year of high-school, I still do a little bit of japanese manga drawings. My favorite class was art class, and I usually got a pretty high mark in it. Come to Year 11, the time when we needed to choose which majors we are going to be in (be it Art, Physics or Economics). Based on the EQ and Talent Quiz the school held, my best major would be in Art & Design. I wanted to be an artist/designer/architect. But due to my parents being typical Indo-Chinese parents, they wanted me to do Economics instead. I didn’t really argue with them, so I just voluntarily agreed – and that goes on until college and graduation. Today, I’m just one of those corporate workers trying to climb the ‘corporate ladder’.

Okay, I’m going off the tangents here. Back to it!

Lately, there are so many of my friends doing their own small business (and not so small business). Pursuing their dreams slowly but sure. I can’t help to think on what my dreams are. There were so many of it. Fashion designer, Artist, Illustrator, Writer (thanks to Carrie Bradshaw), Editor-in-Chief for a prestigious fashion magazine (thanks to Devil Wears Prada) and the most recent: an event organizer of some sort. But, which one, really? I’m a natural born dreamer, and I tend to get a little carried away in my “imagination”.

I admire those people who got a clear vision on who they want to be and what they will be doing when they grow up. They will do practically anything (legal) to get their dreams – and usually they have already learn the basics on the field they’re pursuing. To be honest, I can’t believe I’m doing 9-5 desk work. I always pictured myself as someone who just couldn’t be chained to a desk. I always imagined myself doing something creative and exciting. Something in Art & Design.

When I told my mom I wanted to take Art & Design major in college, she told me “you don’t need to learn it when you got the talent. Just go and learn something in a business major so you can be a successful businesswoman…” It doesn’t work that way unfortunately. You still kinda need your ‘talents’ to be backed up by official certificates and qualifications.

I don’t know what got to me lately; I was so unsure of myself and of what I wanted to do. Some people called it the ‘quarter-life-crisis’. It felt like I hit my second puberty when self-identity crisis is all that was happening in your life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful and feel absolutely blessed with my job at the moment and the learning opportunities it gave me; but I just wanted something… more. I really don’t want to sound ungrateful and snobbish. Forgive me if I seem to sound like one.

But again, I don’t know what I wanted. It feels like I’ve been walking into this long neverending tunnel, and I can’t barely see the light at the end of it. I tested all the water in various pools, but I didn’t dive into one. How can I be so indecisive? What is my ultimate dream? Did I not fight for it hard enough? How did I lose sight of that little girl who was so sure on what she wanted to do in life?

I remembered the parable about talents that Jesus told in Matthew 25: 14-30; how the master gave his three servants talents, each according to their ability, before the master went on his journey. When the master came back, he was pleased with the two servants that multiplied the talents given to them. However, he was furious with that one servant who just buried his portion of the talents because he was scared. The master depicted him as an evil and lazy servant. The master took the one talent he gave to that servant, and gave it to the other faithful servant.

Sometimes I can’t help but to feel like that evil and lazy servant. Maybe because I didn’t pursue it hard enough, my dreams have yet to be granted; or worse, taken away from him and given to someone else. I haven’t been delighting myself in the Lord enough (Psalm 37:4) that’s why the desires of my heart have been ‘delayed’. What I need to do is pretty clear, isn’t it? There are so many passages in the bible that discuss this area – I should’ve get the hint (okay, I ignored the hints).

Maybe this entry sounded selfish – because I wanted things for myself not for others. I’m just trying to be really honest with how I feel right now. Trying to be an open book for a change. I don’t want to only write about my triumphs and victories but I really do want to write about my struggles and weakness. No, I’m not throwing a pity party for myself – I am over that part of my life. No one shows up to my pity party hehehe even though I threw one hell of a party.

I know that God’s plan for me is a plan to prosper me. I do think that He knows I’m not ready as I haven’t been faithful in small things. How can I be trusted with bigger things when I haven’t been faithful in small ones? My time has yet to come. The best has yet to come. But I believe and I have faith that it will come. This too shall pass. These experiences are all learning curves for me; I learned it the hard way.

One thing for sure though: I will never stop dreaming. And try to actually make it come true this time. It will take time for me to figure it out, but I’ll get there. I just need you to believe in me and I promise you, I’ll get there. And I will look back to this day and say “gosh, the flight has been bumpy but my God always promised a safe landing”.

A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
The dream that you wish will come true
(A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes - Ost Disney's Cinderella)


Stay beautiful, friends

PS: Just want to say congratulations to a friend who just launched her label for deeply fabulous baby girl fashion "Mischka Aoki" and to another friend who finally took her first step on her pursuit of Make Up Artistry dream :-) you know who you are! I am extremely proud of you both and I will support you guys 150% - wait for my turn yah, who knows we can turn this to a beautiful partnership mwahahahaha.

XoXo, Kezia Anastasia
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February 04, 2010

Book Review: The Lovely Bones




Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Published: Back Bay Books, 2002

Synopsis (warning: spoilers ahead!)

'The Lovely Bones' was written through the eyes of Susie Salmon - a 14 year old girl  from Philadelphia who was brutally murdered in an underground pit on a cornfield in one very unfortunate day by her quiet and awkward neighbour, George Harvey (referred as 'Mr Harvey' throughout the book). Her body was dismembered, put into a safe and was buried in a sinkhole. At first, the police only found a part of Susie's elbow, which didn't convince her family that she was murdered. Detective Len Fenerman scooped the area and later found Susie's biology notes, a copy of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' belonging to Susie, a love note addressed to her from Ray Singh; whom she was in love with; and her winter hat. The discoveries convinced the Salmons that Susie was indeed murdered.  

After being murdered, Susie's soul went to her own personal heaven. She met a girl, Holly in heaven - who soon became her best friend; and Franny, her heaven 'guidance counsellor'. As this is her own personal heaven, she can basically have anything she wanted in there. Susie continues to watch over her family (Father - Jack, Mother - Abigail, Sister - Lindsey, Brother - Buckley, Grandma Lynn and her beloved dog, Holiday) struggling to overcome their grief of losing Susie and trying to cope in their own ways.

Jack, Susie's father, suspected Mr Harvey of the murder - however he doesn't have enough evidence to convict him. He became stressed and obsessed with solving her daughter's murder case. Susie's mother, Abigail, became distant from her family and eventually started a short affair with Detective Len Fenerman; she left home shortly after. Grandma Lynn moved into the Salmons household to help Jack raise Lindsey and Buckley. Lindsey - Susie's younger sister - doesn't want to talk about her sister's death and Buckley - the youngest brother - still doesn't understand what had happened to Susie.

Also in the story - Ruth Connors; a friend of Susie's in school whose soul sometimes connected to Susie's. She actually felt Susie's presence in the parking lot the night Susie was murdered. Ruth became best friend with Ray Singh - the boy whom Susie love - and in times, Ray felt that Ruth is Susie. He was first suspected as Susie's murdered, however later proved his innocence with an airtight alibi.

Due to the growing suspicion around Mr Harvey, Lindsey Salmon sneaked into his house when he was gone. She managed to find a sketch drawing of the underground pit and stole it. However, Mr Harvey returned to the house unexpected that cause Lindsey to flee. Sensing danger, Mr Harvey left town and becomes a drifter. Because of Lindsey's discovery, the police bulldozed the cornfield and found a can of coke with Mr Harvey and Susie's fingerprints on it - making him an official suspect.

Later that year, a detective in Connecticut found a woman murdered by Mr Harvey and found Susie's charm bracelet on the murder scene. He called Fenerman and linked the murder with Susie. As they uncover unsolved murder cases and more evidence, Mr Harvey is discovered to be a serial killer who preys on young girls.

The story goes on as Susie watches her mother and father reconcile after years of separation, Lindsey grows up and got married, the love of his life - Ray Singh's friendship with Ruth; basically all the things she couldn't do anymore. While in a diner in wintery New Hampshire, Susie was watching Mr Harvey sees a young woman and approaches her but she rejects him. After the woman left, an icicle that was hanging above Mr Harvey fell and hits him on the head, causing him to die.

Verdict

I came across 'The Lovely Bones' by watching the official trailer of the blockbuster movie adaption of the book (watch it here). I'm always intrigued if a movie is made based on a best-selling book; always compelled me to read the book first before I actually watch the movie since the book is ALWAYS a lot better than the movie. But nevertheless, I wanna watch this movie. Anyone wants to watch it with me? :-)

The idea of a personal heaven is magnificent and very surreal. I kept on having imagination on what it looks like in my head as I read through the book. I finished this book in two days; literally couldn't put it down! However, I don't really like the ending because Mr Harvey died by getting hit on the head with an icicle (natural causes); I'm like 'what?!' - I really wanted the police to catch him and putting him in prison - providing the Salmons with some sort of closure. But overall, I really enjoyed this book - highly recommended as I heard the movie is somewhat disappointing compared to the book itself.

Alice Sebold's story telling was so beautiful, vulnerable and moving at the same time. This is not a crime/thriller investigation novel even thought the backdrop of the story was murder. It's more like a drama, especially seeing the characters unfold in every chapter and the relationship between them. The struggles that every character has in dealing with Susie's death felt so real, especially how the father was obsessed with Susie's murder and how Lindsey sort of detached herself from everything. I especially like the quote on the last page of the book (shown below); which kind of state that Susie has finally able to let go of the world she once knew and realised that her death was only a dark chapter in the lovely journey set out for her loved ones that made them who they are now.

“These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections - sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent - that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.” (p. 320)


 
XoXo, Kezia Anastasia

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February 03, 2010

It Ain't Easy Being Grey

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we have a manual book in life, where everything is either black or white? Well, some things in life are black or white (black here means ‘bad’ and white means ‘good’). For example, cheating is obviously black and charity is white. Lying was considered black all the way, but then the term ‘white lies’ came up – when you are lying for a good purpose (or so you think). It doesn’t really considered as ‘black’ anymore because there’s an element of ‘white’ in it. That way it becomes a mixture of black and white, known as the grey area.

It’s really uncomfortable for me being in a situation where things are considered being in a ‘grey’ area – where you don’t really know whether it is wrong or right – and there are debates going on about it constantly.

One of the most common grey areas these days is body art; whether it’s piercing or tattoos. Maybe not for some, but if you’re holding certain beliefs/religion – it can be such a big grey spot. Some see it as a sin, some see it as an art.

I’ve been reading through Christian sites that discusses tattoos, just because I’m really really curious about this matter. This one article I found while I was googling away (yes, I’ve read that before you gave me the link) is pretty informative. However, rather than googling away for info, I decided to ask people that I actually know via twitter and facebook on their thoughts on the subject matter.

Let me clarify: my intention is not to divide people or to stir up arguments and stuff. I’m just curious, but I understand that curiosity can kill the cat. So, I’m very sorry if it sort of looked like I’m trying to ‘divide and conquer’ – I just think that twitter and facebook are the two most common public medias nowadays and a good platform to get information (people asked their friends opinions about what camera to get via twitter and facebook, why can’t I ask to get people’s opinions on tattoos on Christians? ^_^)

Anyway…

It’s interesting on the many different answers (and reactions) that I got. Some people (and most of them are Christians) think that it’s not a problem to have a tattoo; that it’s kinda cool – however considering it due to health reasons (unsteril needles can lead to skin diseases and worse, AIDS) and the fact that you are ‘marked’ forever with your tattoo (won’t look good when you’re all wrinkly and stuff). I’ve known some Christian friends who actually got tattoo-ed recently, and there are many Christian music artists out there that has a tattoo. So far, their tattoos are done at the intent of honoring God. I remembered one of my good friends took a pic of a member of a Christian band who was visiting their church. He’s got a tattoo of his favorite bible verse circling his arm.

I’ve also found via google that there are quite a few Christian tattoo shops in USA. Their policy is to just do tattoos that’s honoring to God – which means no satanic/demonic symbols, no pagan worship symbol, no nudity, etc.

Some other friends felt so strongly about this issue and opposed the idea of Christians (in general) having tattoos but I totally respect their opinions (we are allowed to have opinions, are we not?). Some friends forwarded me the link of the article I just posted above too for reference.

So far, I’m quite agreeing with the article; instead of asking whether Christians in general are allowed to get tattoos, we should ask whether it is okay for ME (as in, individually) to get a tattoo. I think what makes it harder to be okay with tattoo-ing is that the image of people with tattoos are somewhat ain’t good. And being Christians, we get judged more by both believers and non-believers. But, are we judging too much? Again, it remains in the grey area. I guess God gave us conscience and free will; so ultimately you have to make the decision for yourself and include God in it.

This is an excerpt from the article I’ve mentioned earlier:

“Self Exam - To Tattoo or Not To?



Here is a self-exam based on the ideas put forth in Romans 14. These questions will help you decide whether or not getting a tattoo is a sin for you:


1. How does my heart and my conscience convict me? Do I have freedom in Christ and a clear conscience before the Lord regarding the decision to get a tattoo?
2. Am I passing judgment on a brother or sister because I don't have freedom in Christ to receive a tattoo?
3. Will I still want this tattoo years from now?
4. Will my parents and family approve, and/or will my future spouse want me to have this tattoo?
5. Will I cause a weaker brother to stumble if I receive a tattoo?
6. Is my decision based on faith and will the result be glorifying to God?

Ultimately, the decision is between you and God. Though it may not be a black and white issue, there is a right choice for each individual. Take some time to honestly answer these questions and the Lord will show you what to do.

Do I want to get a tattoo?

Well, to be frankly honest with you, I’ve always wanted one. I have some ideas in my head on what to get IF I ever get tattooed one day. I only wanted a small one, and it sure will be hidden; am not going to parade it around. No, it’s not going to be a picture – I like the idea of having a word as a tattoo; something that has meaning for you so you don’t mind of having it for a lifetime. But yeah, I don’t know when I’ll be getting it – it’ll still be a while. If I’m getting one, I want to be sure of it and I want my loved ones to be okay about it, and I want it to reflect my faith in God. There are some of that self-exam questions that I am still thinking about, so yeah, not in the near future or maybe not ever. Who knows? :-)

As Dr Seuss would say, "Sometimes the question is complicated and the answer is simple".

Stay beautiful, friends!


XoXo, Kezia Anastasia

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January 29, 2010

Insanity

Most of people who knows me in real life know for a fact that I spent most of my days in front of my computer. I remembered during my college years I've been dubbed by a few friends as the 'Queen of MSN' since I'm always online 24/7 (well, still until today thanks to a piece of technology called Blackberry even though I don't chat as much anymore).

I really enjoyed browsing through the internet. Mostly browsing through Facebook (don't we all?), Twitter-ing, iTunes store, Apple Store, Deviantart (for cool and unique desktop wallpapers - highly recommended) and random sites which I found interesting. I probably spend a good 4 hours in front of my macbook everyday (apart from office hours of course). 

You see, my 'workstation' at home is a coffee table. It stands probably 40 cm in height, so I used a cushion as a 'chair' and slouch in front of my macbook. This has been going on for YEARS. Everyone knows that this isn't a good idea, especially for your posture. Thanks to my ignorant-self, I finally feel the result of too much slouching. Guess what, I'm still slouching now as I type this entry!
I have been having back pains now and then, and I've always been able to ignore it. Usually the pain stays for a few days, and then it was 'back to normal' (or so I thought). But my back pain took its toll last week, when I've been asked to help with archiving 28 boxes worth of documents in my office. I literally sat on the carpet for about 3 days; compiling, selecting, recording and what-nots; and also lifting up heavy boxes full of documents. All these I did while slouching.

I have never feel that much pain on my lower back before the 28 boxes happened. I felt like I pulled a muscle. My shoulders are very tense, my neck is really tight too. Also, I feel like my feet are dead, due to many hours sitting on the carpet. Not to mention, I feel my bottom slept for 3 whole days.  The fact that I'm a side-sleeper doesn't help also, it actually made the pain worse. So today, I finally went to the chiropractor to get it checked out.

This is my first visit to the chiropractor. My little sister said that the word 'chiropractor' sounded like a dinosaur species (to think of it, it kinda does sound like 'velociraptor'). The doctor was really friendly and attentive. He examined my backbone and then he asked me whether I have ever been to a chiropractor before. I shook my head, and then he let a sigh and said "You've got back pains for years, young lady. You just chose to ignore it, didn't you?". Guilty as charged.

He explained to me on why he came to that conclusion. He poked around my shoulder, my neck and my lower back. And truly enough, every spot he poked feel sore. He asked me whether I want him to help me fix this problem. However he mentioned that this won't work like magic, where you can be fixed by just one visit. I have to do an x-ray for him, and then come back twice a week for a few months to get my back sorted out.

And then he said this "But, I can only help you by teaching you how to fix it. YOU have to be the one who fix it. Basically, your whole posture contributes to your back pain. How you do things, exercise you took, how you stand and sit, how you sleep, in short: you have to change everything on the way you do things." I told him on how I have a coffee table for years as my 'workstation'. He laughed and said "Well, that's it. You have to have a proper workstation. If you keep doing the same things you are doing now, guess what, you'll be having the same results."

As soon as he said that, I remembered a famous quote by Albert Einstein:
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results"
If Thomas Alva Edison didn't try 10000 different ways on creating light bulbs, we might still rely on candles to provide lights for us. As he famously said about all his experiments in creating the light bulbs: I haven't fail. I've just found 10000 ways that won't work. Heck, if all inventors of everything that we conveniently have today, didn't pursue and keep on trying to invent things, we might as well still be living in a cave (on a totally different note, thank you Steve Job for Apple! One of the most wonderful inventions ever created!).

I pondered to myself the whole day after the chiropractor session: have I been doing things the same way over and over again - and still expects the outcome to be different? Sadly, the answer is a big yes. Gosh, I am insane. No wonder I still have this back pain, I have been slouching for years. No wonder I still experience this, I have been doing that forever! Can anyone be more stubborn and crazier than me? I've been living in groundhog day, where every events seemed to repeat itself.

A good friend once told me that our problems in life basically is linked to ONE root. Either it is your past, your grudges to people, your ego, your dreams, your broken relationships, etc. That root will branch out and turn to our problems like: insecurities, revenge,  arrogance, selfishness, hatred, negativity, infidelity, and many more. Just like how my chiropractor told me to fix my back pain with my posture and how I do things, we need to fix our problems by dissecting the root. 

"Do you think you have been doing things the right way?" my chiropractor asked me. I said no and he said "Well, at least you're admitting that you've been wrong. That's a start." I learned today (what people have been trying to tell me all these years) that the first step to recovery is to admit that we have that 'root' - admitting that we have been wrong.

Once we do, we'll (hopefully) be doing things differently. Now, I don't expect myself or you to get things right the first time - but hey, the point is: we're learning. If it takes me 1000 different takes to get it right, I'll do it. There will be a time when I will finally have my 'Eureka!' moments. Life is a perpetual learning process. Most of the time it's about the journey, not the destination. Yada-yada-yada.

Easier said that done? You betcha. To cure this back pain, I have to start taking Yoga and Pilates for proper stretching. I have to buy a proper workstation, with proper chair. I have to go the the chiro twice a week. I have to remember not to slouch ever again (and actually do it). There's always a price to pay. But if those things are what it take to cure my back pain for good, I can't not do it, before the pain worsened.
I know I might seem like talking in circles now. I don't really know how to put this. I know I have to deal with some issues in my life - I haven't been dealing with them quite well these past years. Acted like an insane person because I kept doing the same thing, and expect that the outcome will be magically different. Yeah, keep on wishing like how I wish that we'll have a white Christmas here in Australia: NOT GONNA HAPPEN. 

So yeah, I will do those things to fix my back pain definitely, but I will also do things to fix the mental and spiritual pain. Talk differently, think differently, act differently. Bear with me, friends, as I'm sure I will make mistakes (and probably frustrates you as well). And I probably will need to read my own note to remind myself over and over again that it's okay to have 'trial and error' session in my life. After all, God's grace is sufficient for us - no matter how many times we messed up. Thank God for that, really. 

I hope this makes sense! I seemed to have blabber a lot whenever I got so many things in mind :-) Thanks for being patient, this is one of the things I'm working on (amongst the 1001 other things!)

Stay beautiful, friends!

XoXo, Kezia Anastasia
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January 25, 2010

The Beauty In Ugly


Just this year, I’ve been introduced to this TV series called ‘Ugly Betty’. It’s been around for a while (I think it’s up to Season 4 now?) and I have watched it on and off over the telly, but I just really got into it during my recent trip to Indo. Thanks to my baby sister who are totally addicted to this series.

Basically, it told us the life of a girl named Betty Suarez. The latina girl who aspires to be a great writer someday. She scored a job in a prestigious fashion magazine ‘MODE’ as the Assistant to the Editor in Chief, Daniel Meade from Meade Publications. Just one tiny problem: she doesn’t look like what a girl supposed to look like if they are working in such a high-end fashion magazine. Betty endured humiliations from her ‘narcississtic’ colleagues – due to her lack of colour coordination, her you-can’t-miss-it braces, her glasses, her hairstyle, her upbringing in Queens, and of course, her body shape which probably isn’t ideal in the ‘MODE Fashion World’.

Betty proved herself to be a strong-minded, smart, more-than-able young lady and earned respect from her colleagues (who didn’t really want to admit that they admired her) and from her boss. She became one of the key people in MODE, and one of the few people that Daniel Meade can totally trust. And she did all that by still dressing like only Betty Suarez can.

I enjoyed watching TV series like Gossip Girl or Sex And The City, where the girls are slim, gorgeous, with impeccable fashion sense (and unlimited budget), but ‘Ugly Betty’ is different. Betty isn’t ‘pretty’ by most people’s standard. She definitely needs a whole new wardrobe and a haircut. And she most definitely needs to get her braces off asap (been there, done that). In the series she didn’t go through a ‘makeover’ stage ala ‘She’s All That’ (or maybe not yet?) – however, her strong characters shine through and made people to see her beyond her outlook appearance.

I don’t know about you readers, but I can totally relate myself to Betty sometimes.

I have always been a plus size girl my whole life – no matter on how hard I tried to lose weight, I could never be skinny like most Asian girls you know. I’m big boned and thanks to my ‘4-days-a-week-swimming’ during my teens, I have really broad shoulders as well. My skin isn’t fair, I’m not tall, I have big feet and so on and so forth. I think the only thing that I truly like about myself physically is my hair *LOL*.

Anyway – I’ve had a hard time growing up as a lot of people ‘teased’ me about how I look (my weight, especially). I remembered my first boyfriend in Junior High (which I found later that he only dated me because he pitied me) broke up with me because I was, er, fat (again, found out from his friend). My parent pestered me constantly about how I look (sometimes more than 3 times a day). Don’t even get me started on the nicknames that people gave me. It didn’t really help my self-esteem when a member of my big family dated a girl who’s a model and that my auntie stated that ‘I should lose weight because in my age I supposed to look pretty’ in front of the model girl and the boys, who only smiled vaguely in discomfort. I seriously wanted to bury myself in a hole and never come out.

Look, I understand totally from my parents point-of-view that they just wanted to have beautiful daughters that they can ‘parade’ around (come on, everyone knew this). Believe me, I totally get it. Especially in the community I grew up in, most girls wear size 6 and 8 clothes. Sometimes I feel like such a disgrace because I don’t look like them. It hurts especially when even my family members kind of ‘teased’ me and told me that I should look like this girl and that girl. My mom at some point even ‘announced’ to every friends and family members that we met that I’m fat. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate them. I love my family to death. However, these things hurt, like, a lot.

This made me think: what’s the point of having brains if you don’t have beauty? Do people still cherish inner-beauty? What about winning people with your personality? Is this all that matter to people in my community? How shallow are we really?

Let’s set aside the people who are for obvious health reasons need to lose weight. I’m talking more about those girls who have curves. Funnily enough, people in Australia celebrates those women who are slightly bigger than average. They don’t discriminate or make fun of them, which I totally dig. We have clothes here for girls with curves, for heaven’s sake! I’m just a bit sad that my community can’t see that. No wonder some girls are addicted to plastic surgery (hello, Heidi Montag!) and aimed to make themselves look like Barbie dolls. Their community most probably didn’t embrace them for ‘who they are’.

Don’t get me wrong… by all means: lose weight and do make over. But remember this: do it for yourself. Don’t do it to get approval from others. You might lost weight and look great, but are you truly happy with yourself? You might strutted down the street like in a catwalk and donned the newest ‘it’ bag, but is that who you really are? Believe me, I tried – and I have never been so miserable in my whole life.

I admire those people who are able to look past the physical outlook and be truly content with themselves. To name a few famous people: America Ferrera (Betty Suarez herself), Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, and Ricki Lee. They are big, bold and beautiful. Our role models should be those people who really are beautiful inside (and out) and not just for their looks.

I have to admit, sometimes I judged people by their looks as well, thanks to my upbringing. I kinda have this ‘evil’ on commenting on what people wear and whether it suits them or not (silently behind their backs of course) – I think I have an inner Perez Hilton or the GFY ladies in me. But I want to stop doing that. I admire their confidence and not caring about what other people think. Seriously, I salute them – I wish I have much of self-confidence in me. We have to love ourselves more, don’t you think? (not in a narcissistic way of course).

I promised myself this year that I will stop trying to live up to the world’s standard of being ‘beautiful’. After all, I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God – God thinks I’m perfect, so I should adopt that way of thinking as well and be content. If I’m losing weight – I want to do it for myself. Not for my parents, my aunties, my other family member, not to prove that I can be as beautiful as that model girl, and to make sure that I am truly truly happy. I want to be Betty Suarez, whose personality shine beyond what other people think of how she looks. To be free of that bondage of worldly possessions and outlook is my goal for 2010~!

Let me leave you with this video clip of Jason Mraz’s song ‘The Beauty in Ugly’. It’s one of the soundtracks for ‘Ugly Betty’ – I think we all should really listen to the words and apply it to ourselves, and make all the fashion statements just by dressing up our minds. Have you heard - positive thinking is so hot right now :-)



The Beauty in Ugly - Jason Mraz

She's so big hearted,
But not so remarkable
Just an ordinary humble girl
Expecting nothing as we're made to think
It's a pretty person's world


But you are beautiful and you better go show it
Go look again, you gotta be true to your own
If you really wanna go to the top
Do you really wanna win?
Don't believe in living normal, just to satisfy demand


Well if you wanna get free
And if you wanna do the passionate thing
And if you wanna get smart for the sake of your heart
You should own your name and stand up tall
And get real and see the beauty in ugly


Well you are fresh, you're face is fabulous
Don't forget you're one of a kind
When nobody is checking the deeds you've done
And nobody is hearing your cries
You make all of the fashion statements
Just by dressing up your mind


Well if you wanna get free
And if you wanna do the passionate thing
And if you wanna get smart for the sake of your heart
You should own your name and stand up tall
And get real and see the beauty in ugly
And see the beauty in ulgy


Well if you wanna get free
And if you wanna do the passionate thing
And if you wanna get smart for the sake of your heart and oh
You should own your name and stand up tall
And get real and see the beauty in ugly
See the beauty in a ugly


Keep being beautiful, my friends :-)

XoXo, Kezia Anastasia

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January 18, 2010

My New Groove




Hello, you!

Welcome to my humble little blog! I'm so excited to finally blog again. There are so many things that I want to share with you, I don't know where to start!


I have been blogging for about five years now, but the past two years have been a dry spell in my blogging-life. You can say that I kinda lost the will to write. I used to be able to express myself in writing, but that didn't happen this past couple of years. I seriously didn't know what happened! Maybe life got a little too complicated, and I felt confused about it, so I stopped doing the things that used to make me feel better.


I tried to find excuses, like, having no time to write, too busy with life, too many responsibilities, too tired - but I know those are just excuses - not reasons (I just realized recently that they're different haha) but now stop with the excuses! People have been asking me why did I abandon my blog and I couldn't answer them. I guess with the new year just started, I turned a new leaf and wanted to do things that I love (like writing and stuff) to help me remember on what my passion really is and hopefully, finding out the true purpose of my life.


Well, that's all I can think of right now. Having a little bit of a writer's block >_< Hopefully this won't happen often!


Thank you again for visiting and I really hope you enjoy my writings :-) please come back often for new posts!

XoXo, Kezia Anastasia

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