Recently, Indonesia's been struck by 3 different natural disasters: flooding in Wasior (Papua), a tsunami in Mentawai Islands and the explosion of the Merapi volcano near Yogyakarta. It's a bit much in a period of just 3 days and it must be difficult for the Indonesian Red Cross, along with the other volunteer organizations, to try and organize themselves and help all 3 locations. That's why, it's important for us who aren't able to go there ourselves to help support these organizations through our donations:

If you'd like to donate, here are the bank accounts of the Indonesian Red Cross which I found on their website:

1. Bank BCA, KCU Thamrin Jakarta, Nomor Rekening 206.300668.8, atas nama Kantor Pusat PMI.
2. Bank Mandiri, KCP JKT Krakatau Steel, Nomor Rekening: 070-00-0011601-7, atas nama Palang Merah Indonesia
3. BRI, KC Pancoran, Jakarta, Nomor Rekening: 0390-01-000030-30-3, atas nama Palang Merah Indonesia.

Another big story was the fact that Pak Marzuki Alie, a House of Representatives speaker, issued several statements about the recent disasters that angered the public, notably one saying how Mentawai people had put themselves in the risk of tsunami by living nearby the sea and another one where he said that legislators had more important foreign trips to conduct than to visit disaster victims. And he's supposed to represent the people... wow....

[thanks to the blog Watatita for making the pictures above]



Yayasan Usaha Mulia, the NGO I work in, was recently invited to join a Farmer's Market at the Jakarta International School. I've seen examples of Farmer's Market, like the one in Cape Town featured in Monocle, and it would be a dream to have one here in Jakarta. Why? Because we would be able to buy fresh, local products which means helping our fellow farmers and handicrafters. Here's a sneak preview of our booth during the event:

The YUM booth at the Middle School

The YUM booth in the High School

These bags were made especially for the event. They are tote bags, for either personal use or if you go shopping so you don't need to use plastic bags. These bags were made by disadvantaged youths who come to our Community Center in Cipanas to learn to sew (for free!).
These bags are sold for the price of Rp. 50,000 and all profits go to YUM's projects.

And here is the beautiful bag that I bought during the event. These bags are part of a program which helps the local women near our Community Center in Cipanas by providing them work and at the same time, clean the environment of all these plastic pouches.
This bag also costs Rp. 50,000 and all profits go to YUM's projects.

If you're interested in buying a tote bag or a recycled bag, please contact me at vanecha@yahoo.com or contact YUM directly at jakarta@yumindonesia.org



It's always weird to have to explain about reproduction to a small child but every parent will definitely get asked this question: "How are babies born?" or "Where do I come from?". I guess depending on the age, we have different ways to answer this question. I remember when my son was 4 years old and he asked me this, I basically just said that his mommy and daddy loved each other so much that they prayed to God to give them a baby and God answered their prayers.... Unfortunately, a year later, when my son was asking for a little brother or sister, he started praying to God and it didn't quite work out for him :)
Since then, we've sort of had the talk, through a book I've had since I was little called "Where Do I Come From?"... It does help to have some sort of visualization when you talk about this...
Anyway, here's a funny talk I found amongst the great TED Talks about a mother explaining reproduction to her 8 year-old daughter:



I don't know about you but this little cottage here is just calling my name :) I can see myself on that beautiful bed reading a book, sipping on orange juice... Isn't this every little girl's dream? I'm not usually a girly girl but this teeny tiny cottage made me dream of having one one day... More photos here...

[seen via the wonderful blog Design Mom]



During our stay in Singapore a couple of months ago, I bought a book called "The Berenstain Bears and The Golden Rule". I was really happy to have found it because I'm a big fan of the talk by Karen Armstrong called "Let's Revive The Golden Rule". So what IS the Golden Rule?

I believe this is the single most important rule to teach your children. If your child understands the concept of treating others fairly, respecting others and being empathic, then I believe everything else is secondary. For me, being a good person comes before being a smart person or a successful person.

I like this article written by the blog Zen Habits called "18 Practical Tips for Living The Golden Rule". Some of the tips include:
* Practice compassion
* Be helpful
* Stop criticism
* Don't control others
* Be friendly

If you want to see Karen Armstrong's talk about the Golden Rule, you can go to TED.com or view it below:



Blackboards, flowers and black-and-white postcards are individually inspiring

I love blue doors and windows (these photos were taken on an island called "Belle-Ile-en-Mer") - photos by La Tartine Gourmande

Love the design but especially love the words

[I'm so bad, I forgot where I got images 1 & 3. So if anyone knows, please let me know]



Oh what I wouldn't do to be 8 again! I would definitely want this party made for me... I can't stop staring at the rainbow cake, it's so beautiful! The One Charming Party blog is a new blog I just found and boy, am I glad to have found it. They have all sorts of parties and they explain step-by-step the different activities, decorations, food that they would make or do for the party :)

Do you like this? Well guess what, you can download the Art Gallery Party step-by-step guide (complete with recipes, templates, etc) right here. Enjoy!



Brussels was my life from age 11 to age 17... You can imagine what that means: your adolescent years is what molds you into who you are. Brussels is a very peaceful, laid-back city. It feels like Paris, without the stress :)

Like Paris, Brussels has coffee shops, well actually more like beer shops because most people drink beer there. It's a nice place to socialize and hang out. Here's one in the center of town, near the Grand Place. I love the red walls :)

Brussels is known for the birth town of the great comic, Tintin. All over town we can see murals with cartoon-like drawings, influenced by the adventures of Tintin.

Can you see the beauty in this city? I love rooftops, I love seeing cities from a higher ground. I feel very lucky to have spent 6 years in this beautiful city :)



I like to capture moments, especially when these moments involve family. You can never have too much documentation :)
I've always dreamed of having a Polaroid camera, but these days it's not that easy. The production of these cameras have stopped, so I have to make do with an awesome application on my iPhone called Polarized, which instantly makes your pictures appear as if they were taken by a Polaroid camera.



In today's society where divorce is everywhere, it's easy to be cynical and not believe in true love. That's why this movie needs to be seen by many.
StoryCorps is a non-profit that records stories of anyone who wants to talk. This particular movie is the story of Danny & Annie Perasa, an elderly couple from Brooklyn who had been married for 27 years. They recall how they met, how he proposed, how he’s a prolific love-letter writer and eventually how he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This story will show you what true love is (and will probably also make you cry)...



Today the Parents' Association of my son's school invited all parents to attend a batik class.... I've always wanted to do this but never found the time. I'm so glad I took the time to go today :)

First lesson today was to wax paint a simple small pattern on a cloth so we could get the hang of it.

Then we trace a pattern on our choice of media (bag, wooden mask, wooden sculpture, etc) and I chose a bag.

After we've traced the pattern, we get to work on wax painting it so as to cover the pattern we don't want to have colored/dyed.

The bag then has to be put in a dye bath (I chose the color of my bag to be blue) for approximately 30 minutes. It was then put into boiling water before being dried in the sun.

Et voila.... This is how it looks like after being dried in the sun! :)



Women In Art from Philip Scott Johnson on Vimeo.

This is a beautiful video about the many faces of women in art. Some are just gorgeous! I long for museums in Jakarta featuring these sorts of paintings... I sometimes imagine myself in the Musee d'Orsay or the Musee du Louvre, wandering around in the corridors... If only Indonesia and it's government realize how important it is for one's spirit to be surrounded by art.





walang kekek vs. keong racun

Now here's a blog we Indonesians should all pay attention to: Watatita - Wayang Tentang Tingkah Laku Kita.
I really like seeing the images of wayang in everyday life, talking about current issues. The images capture our behavior in a funny yet cynical manner. Honestly there are some behavior in this country that are mind blowing to me and I agree that these issues should be discussed.

Thumbs up for Alexia, creator of the Watatia blog! Check it out!



Ancol: Jakarta's largest recreational park. Turns out, it's actually a really cool place :)

We slept at Putri Duyung where the cottages are really authentic. You'd think they're ancient because they haven't changed in more than 10 years, but they're actually well maintained. It's a bit expensive but compared to paying a return flight to Bali, this place is worth the money.

This is a cottage that looks like a boat... I wanna sleep here next time :)

It was good to be by the sea, bicycling, playing in the sand and watching the dolphin show.

Last day there, the mandatory visit to the Art Market (or Pasar Seni) where Amal got his silhouette portrait done.

P.S: Thank you Sandri & Didit for inviting me and the kid ;p



I feel so inspired by these photos... Oh, what I wouldn't do to have a house with a white fence, lots of flowers and an interior with splashes of color :)
I'll keep these images in my head because they say if you imagine and want it hard enough, it might come true..

[images seen via House Beautiful]