Monday, 15 January 2018

happy monday, week 3

Hellooo internet,

After a weekend spent mostly across the border in Malaysia - we went there to attend a farewell party for a friend at the Japanese bar/restaurant he has opened - I'm now back in Brunei, hoping for a productive week, free from jet lag. I finally started sleeping normally this weekend and I'm so grateful for that. 

Last week was deadline week, that is, my two fall semester courses finished on Friday, so for me today is the official start of the year. Which feels good! Today I begin a new online course - Graphic Design for Print. My second course for this semester doesn't begin until mid February, and I'm pretty sure this course will start nice and slow - they usually do - so I'm looking forward to a week where I can focus quite a lot on my own projects. I haven't been drawing a lot lately, outside of my illustration course and now I want to get back in to the habit of drawing for myself a little bit every day. I have a few meetings for my more official commitments as well, but that's all good since it means I'll have to leave the house and meet some people. 

Another thing that is happening this week, in true New Years spirit, is that me and Andreas will go to "crossfit foundations". This means going to the crossfit gym (or box as it is apparently called) and getting introductions in to all the exercises and movements you will face during a workout, basically to get permitted to join crossfit classes. We are going three nights this week and three nights next week and then we can start doing crossfit for real. I both look forward to this and very much don't look forward to it, at the same time.

This weekend will be mostly revolving around an event we are attending on Saturday night, something called Burns Supper, which is supposed to be a black tie event celebrating the writings of Scottish bard Robert Burns, if I have understood correctly. Might be fun!

I hope your week is starting of nice and calm, and that you have fun things on your schedule!

Friday, 12 January 2018

making the most out of life in the tropics

As I said a few days ago, one of my two big goals for 2018 is to take better advantage of the fact that I live in a tropical country. But what does that even mean? As I know that most of you who are reading this live in the northern parts of Europe I think you all have very much the same thoughts about living in the tropics as I had, before I moved here. I was thinking it would be such a relief not having to wear (or at least bring) a coat every time I left the house, that not having to wear tights would be awesome and that I would go swim in the ocean aaaall the time and be sooo tan and pretty. Well, half of those things turned out to be accurate. It's pretty awesome not having to wear a coat, ever, and I don't miss tights, but I also don't go out much. I drink coffee on the porch most days and I go for short walks in the neighborhood in the evenings but - don't kill me now Scandinavians - I have swam in the ocean here only once... and that's the 30 degrees Celsius ocean, 5 minutes walk from my home I'm talking about here... It's a shame. And also results in the fact that people are surprised of how not tanned I am when I go back to Sweden. Which isn't really a problem, but just slightly annoying.

I also haven't really seen that much of Brunei as a country, nor have I discovered much of Borneo, except for Kota Kinabalu, Miri and Lambir national park in the Malaysian part. Last year me and Andreas traveled a lot, but mostly to destinations a little further away, that we wanted to make sure we got to see while living in this South East Asia.

So. What am I planning to do about this embarrassing situation? Well, here are my plans so far!

The small, everyday things: 
  • work to make the garden more inviting and spend more time in it
  • eat out at restaurants more often. It's almost cheaper than eating at home...
  • going on longer walks, also during the days when it's hot, like to the beach
  • clean up our barbecue and start using it, finally
  • go swim in the ocean with Andreas on the weekends. At least five times this year!

Discovering Brunei and Borneo:
  • go on day trips within Brunei, to the beach in Tutong, for example
  • stay for a weekend at Empire Hotel in the capital
  • hike to the Mulu caves in Sarawak, Malaysia
  • visit the city Kuchin and Baku National park, Malaysia
  • explore the rain-forest in Sabah, Malaysia

Thursday, 11 January 2018

second thoughts

I just handed in my final assignment for a course I'v been taking the past semester. The course is called Visual Identities from a Sustainable Perspective and well, the name says it all I guess. We've been studying the basics of branding, how to communicate sustainability through profiles and how companies can present themselves as more sustainable, maybe more than they actually are. I chose this course because I want to continue learn more about graphic design and branding, but also because I think sustainability is an highly relevant topic.

So, today I delivered my project for final assessment. And literary five minuyes after I'd hit the "submit" button I came up for a better concept than the one I just handed in.


The case that we were to work with for the past few weeks was to make fashion giant Calvin Klein in into a sustainable brand. Which included redesigning their logo, pick a new color scheme and create a brand manual and examples of a look book, an ad, clothes tag and webpage. It was an extensive and pretty fun task, and I was quite happy with the way I decided to interpret it. My concept was to work with the existing positive qualities of the brand, like timeless design and good quality, and basically argue that these things represent sustainability and should be emphasized. I had a bunch of other, more clear arguments as well, but that the basic point. The result was a more organic looking feeling, a logo including mr Kleins signature, beige and rusty red color palette and imagery including models looking friendlier and more relaxed than the classic, sexy CK ads. It was coherent and logical. And my final thought when I saw all of the pieces I made put together was that it was a bit boring, looking more like a catalog for h&m... But there would have been no time to change it.

So what was the better concept I came up with just now then? Instead of downplaying their usual provocative aesthetics I should have exaggerated it. Made a more radical and gutsy change to their products and saying everything is now made of natural, recyclable materials and made an ad with models dressed in leaves, grass and mud only. I should have used a bolder color scheme with higher contrast and shown that sustainable doesn't have to be bland and neutral.

So what have I learned from this? That feedback is important, but it doesn't help if the feedback you get is only from your own peers (in this case a fellow student) who might be afraid to criticize you. And that you should spend more time trying out different concepts before settling on one. Sometimes you might want to go in the complete opposite to what seems like the right direction.

And no, non of this is news to me. Having worked in a creative profession for eight years these are all well know and established facts. But the truth is, in my experience, in the real world you rarely have time to experiment that long with different ideas and concepts, and it's more effective and less costly to just go for the first good one you find. Even if you might have come up with an even better one if you spent a bit more time on it.

I will still try to learn from this and spend just a little bit more time on reflection and conceptual design. Crossing my fingers I will remember to do so.

Monday, 8 January 2018

week 2: starting up

Hello guys, how's your Monday? I woke up early today, in spite of my 4 hours and 45 minutes of sleep. I just have to get over this jet lag soon... anyway, I wanted to get back to normal routines this week and that means waking up at 6:30 or so. But man, I was tired...

I began my day on the balcony with a giant cup of coffee, planning out this week and writing in my bullet journal. Then I made the final polish on an illustration I had to deliver for my illustration course today. The rest of the day I have spent pretty much focusing on the same project - the visual identity of my own brand. More on that another day, I have much to say about this topic.

The rest of my week will look like this:

Tuesday and Wednesday
On Friday I have two deadlines, my two courses from last semester finises and the final assignments are due. Tuesday and Wednesday will be dedicated to re-branding Calvin Klein for my Visual Identities from a Sustainable Perspective - course. On Wednesday morning, if it hasn't been raining to hard - soaking the arena - I hope to go on my first riding lesson for the year. Since I'm still not feeling completely over my cold I'll take it easy for the rest of the week, maybe going to I'll go to salsa class on Wednesday evening If I'm not too tired .

In the morning I'm going to a meeting for the project I'm consulting on. The rest of the day I'll spend on my other deadline, finishing up a few illustrations for the illustration course. If I feel up for it, I'll go swimming with Andreas in the evening.

On Friday I'll just finish up if I have any more work to do on my deadlines, otherwise I'll work on my own project. I also hope to get back to drawing just fir fun again soon.

Saturday and Sunday
One of our friends are leaving Brunei for Norway (!) and we are going over the border to Malaysia to join his farewell party in Miri. We'll stay the night at a hotel and make a weekend out of it!

Is something fun happening for you this week?

Sunday, 7 January 2018

hello 2018! this is what I want to do with you

Another new year is here. Can you believe the 2nd millennium is actually an adult now? It's a big deal, really. Also, I really, really like the feeling of a new year...

As a big friend and supporter of lists I have obviously spent a large part of my holiday back home in Sweden compiling a bunch of them, trying to figure out what I want to achieve with the new year. I spent some time reflecting over what I liked about 2017 and what I want to change during 2018, which was a really good exercise. Besides several smaller and more specific goals within different areas in my life I understood that there are two major things I want to change this year:

I need to prioritize differently and
focus on what is important rather than on what is urgent


I want to take better advantage of the fact that I live in the tropics

What these two goals mean more specifically I will get back to in future posts, but I seriously - having formulated them for myself have helped a lot when I'm trying to make plans and decide what I want to do this year.

And then I have the more specific goals for the year. Some of them are continuations of ones I had for 2017 and others are new:
  • I want to get back in to good morning routines and wake up earlier. My workday needs to start at 8 on weekdays.
  • Continue with my good workout routines from 2017, generally, and more specific, begin with crossfit. I also have concrete goals for what I want to achieve in my various activities, like jumping over a 50cm fence on horseback and manage a proper pull up, but most of these I just keep to myself in my bullet journal
  • Update my LinkedIn profile and start working on CV's and portfolios, both aiming at architecture work and graphic design/illustration. 
  • Save more money. I have now set up specific numbers that I want to have reached by the end of the year, on my savings account and in funds.
  • Figure out and become more comfortable in my own style again, plus get dressed as if I were to meet people every weekday
  • Settle on a graphic profile for my own projects. This includes updating the design of this blog - and potentially move it to another platform, but also trying to achieve a more cohesive look of my Instagram accounts and other work I do.
  • Pamper my body more. Go get massage at least once a month and spoil myself by actually using all of the face masks, scrubs and cremes I already have. 
  • Go on date nights with Andreas once a month. Either outside the house or just at home. 
Do you have any goals for this year?

Saturday, 30 December 2017

new years resolutions audit

OK dudes, I know this is a lot. I had in total 23 new years resolutions this year... or maybe goals is a better word. I've looked back on these nine times over the year so this might feel a bit repetetive for you but... sorry, not sorry! This is the final one! And even though I plan to have (maybe not as) many goals for next year, I will aim to check in on them once every three months... Anyway. So this is how disciplined I've been 2017.

  • Paint my toenails often. Because looking down on brightly colored toes makes me happy.
    My toenails are almost always painted. My favorite is to paint them rainbow-colored, but today they are red.
  • Run 10K, once. Like without stopping for a rest
    Yep! I did that in February. Yay for me!
  • Take an online photo course and start to use my camera on "manual" setting
    Nope. Honestly this feels less and less like a priority. I really want to be able to take better photos and understand my camera better, but I have so many other creative tings going on right now that there is no room for exploring photography too at this point. 
  • Bake my own bread, at least once
    Haha no! I never did! But I baked cookies and a few cakes, which is unusual for me, so still progress, I'd say.
  • Find one really good friend in Brunei
    Yes! I can confidently say that I've made a bunch of friends. I still miss my old friends in Sweden and Norway, but there are good people here too.
  • Take 60 kg in bench press
    Uh, no. My max was 52,5 kg. 
  • Make one new proper friend via Instagram or a blog
    No, this hasn't happened. But I use Instagram and this place to keep up to date with my IRL friends.
  • Start an online portfolio
    Nope. This goal will be transferred to next year. And I have to extend it to two separate portfolios, one for illustration and one for architecture. Although in a way, my new Instagram account for drawings is kind of a portfolio...
  • Grow my hair long and learn how to make a Dutch braid.
    My hair is quite long and wait, I have to try... Weeeell. it's not pretty, but almost. Need to practice more.
  • Read 20 books, 5 of them non-fictional
    Hah, you know, I though I would be way over this goal! But now as I count them, turns out I've read 17 fictional books, and 5 non-fictional (although with very little text...) books this year. And I've listened to 14 audio-books. Which is way less than usual, as this year is the year I started listening to podcasts more than audio-book.  
  • Be nicer to my skin: use lotion on my dry hands and legs on a daily basis and develop some kind of skin-care routine for my little face. Plus use at least SPF20 on my face, every day
    Eh, no. I haven't been exactly unkind either, my skin doesn't really need much attention, and as I rarely go outside when it's sunny - too hot - I rarely use SPF either. Or makeup, for that matter. 
  • Only eat good candy, not boring candy. And enjoy it.
    I've eaten a lot of candy this year, as every year, and most of it has been good. Sadly some of it has been boring too. Too many Mentos.... I'll try to improve that for next year. I have certainly enjoyed it!
  • Try to reduce my screen time a little bit.
    haha! No. 
  • Start scuba diving again
    Sadly no, but me and Andreas have promised each other we'll do this next year.
  • Become a person that runs
    Yeah, I'd say so! According to my Runtastic app I've run 35 times during 2017. So, I've run 0,67 times every week... not bad for a person who hates running!
  • Paint my fingernails with fun designs more often
    again, my fingernails are almost always painted, but not always in fun designs. 
  • Try galloping at least once
    Yes! More than once!
  • "Read" five of my architect-books
    Yep, done!
  • Go 90 days straight without shopping clothes
    Nope. And I am a bit ashamed for this.
  • Eat vegetarian at least two days per week
    I actually keep track of this in my "Way of Life" app, and according to that I've eaten only vegetarian food for 80 out of 365 days. That's 1,5 times per week, so I'm not there yet, but on my way.
  • Post three blog posts per week
    Well, another one where I didn't reach all the way, but I've posted about 2,7 posts per week, with August as my best month. I'm content with this!
  • Complete at least one project for my portfolio
    Alas, no. Everything architecture related has been down prioritized this year, something that I regret. This will have to be improved for 2018. It's so easy to prioritize what is urgent rather than what is important, and I thing doing the opposite will have to be my theme for next year.
  • Take 90 kg in dead-lift and 60 kg in deep squats
    Nope. Halfway through this year I started doing a lot of other types of workouts and my gym sessions became quite sparse. I'm now at 80 kg in dead-lifts and  55 kg in deep squats.
All in all, I'm quite happy with what I achieved this year, with some exceptions. Now it's time to relfects on what my goals for 2018 should be...

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas

I hope you’re all having a great holiday and that you over indulge in all things great about this time of year, and manage to avoid stress and anxiety. 

I celebrated Christmas Eve with my mother and brother, we had a calm, food heavy and gift abundant day. Today, on Christmas Day, I’ve visited one of my best friends, Lotten, s d her family and soon I’ll be off to Gothenburg to go to the movies with mum and my brother. Tomorrow my dad will come here and we’ll celebrate again!

As per usual when I’m back in Sweden, I have something scheduled every day, but I think this year won’t be particularly stressful anyway, mostly just nice and social. 

I hope to get some time to just sit down at some point this week and reflect a bit on what I want for 2018... maybe on the train to Stockholm on Friday! 

Thursday, 21 December 2017

what I look forward to doing in Sweden over the holidays

  • dressing in layers! Wearing scarves coats and gloves!
  • buying art supplies
  • celebrating Christmas eve, giving/receiving gifts
  • eat Swedish pizza... I always order Capricciosa and eat tons of Swedish pizza salad. Nom!
  • planning our trip to Vietnam with my dad
  • eating my moms food and Christmas candy...
  • waking up on the 24th to the same Christmas music I woken up for the last 33 years or so
  • maybe having time to catch up with a friend or two over a cup of coffee
  • go browsing in all the normal shops, looking for bargains and Christmas gifts
  • meet my friends Richard and Steve and go dancing at Snowball in Stockholm
  • having lunch with one of our favorite couples and meeting their new baby
  • hanging out with my brother and Salomon
  • celebrating new years eve with Andreas with a fancy dinner at Sheraton hotel in Stockholm

Monday, 18 December 2017

the last normal Monday of the year

Hey peeps.

This week feels unnecessary somehow. I mean, I'm traveling home on Thursday afternoon and only have like a day's worth of stuff I need do to before that, so what's the point with all of these extra days in-between?

Anyway. I've had an extremely relaxed weekend but today I'm back being in a bit of a grumpy mood, without really knowing why. I've had this useless feeling now for a month or so, which makes me want to shut myself in the office, just drawing and listening to my new podcast infatuation - My Favorite Murder. Or, like today, binge-watching the latest season of the Crown. So, maybe it's lucky I have these extra days until I have to do something actively? Or maybe my bad mood is just homesickness.

On another note, today I applied for another online course in illustration. This one, however, seem much more professional than the beginner one I just took this semester. It is also sort of expensive and I had to send examples of my works with the application. I am nervous, but also quite glad to actually do something more focused on this illustration thing... we'll see... I'll know if I got accepted in February.

I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas-y week!


Thursday, 14 December 2017