Sunday, December 20, 2015

LIFE: New Beginnings



I can explain.

Over the last 6 months or so, some of you may have noticed that I had been taking a break from blogging. There's really no excuse to this because it was something that I intentionally did just to take my mind off things. Obviously with school, and just life in general, it just wasn't possible for me to still hold my blog.

Lately I've been feeling that maybe it's time for a fresh new start. I started to miss blogging, a lot, but I knew that simply picking up where I left off wouldn't be enough. I needed to start again. I needed a new beginning.

Which is why I finally decided to completely re-brand my blog and change the name into Life in Blue Skies (previously Thoughts in Tiffany Blue). I feel that this time, I'm going to make content that's truly going to inspire me and hopefully inspire others as well. I've gone a few steps and made a few changes in my life ever since I left and I feel like now, I'm ready to get back into blogging and start sharing with you all little bits and pieces of how things have been so far.

I couldn't really put into words how the last 6 months had been for me. Let's just say that it's easy to look all happy and cheerful on the outside, but the truth is, I spent a lot of the time thinking and thinking and thinking. About everything, my past, present, and future. I went through several stages of anxiety and, how do I say this, self-deprecation. But also in the past year, I've definitely taken a different approach towards life and happiness and self-love. I feel like now, after much contemplating, I can start living again. I hope reading this gives you the reminder to be strong, and to know that it's okay to start over. It's okay not to have it all figured out. It's okay if life has been going in circles, and it's okay if you're unsure about a lot of things. It doesn't make you stupid, it just makes you human. Everyone needs some new beginning in their lives, and that's understandable. 

So basically, for the blog, I'll be posting more photography, more stories, more updates, more art, basically more of the things I love, and less meaningless rants. I'll also be utilising my social media accounts even more and I'll be networking as much as I can. I'm also hoping to be able to get to know you, who's reading this right now. I know that as this continues, it will give me room to grow and to evolve, both as a blogger and as a human being. I can't wait to begin again, and I hope you all stick around. :)


Monday, July 20, 2015

SUNDAY INSPIRATION 007: Marchesa


Marchesa Resort 2016. Technically speaking, this isn't a very new Marchesa collection, but the absolute beauty of it seems too impossible to miss out. This has to be one of the most stunning, underrated collections I've ever seen. Surprisingly, people have been so caught up in the newest Versace show that they kind of missed out on this one. But after my research at Style.com, I think this one deserves just as much applause.

As a fashion enthusiast, I've always been quite a huge fan of Marchesa. Their play with details and colour is something that never ceases to amaze me and motivate me to push even harder to pursue my dreams of getting into the fashion industry. There's a certain way of how Marchesa portrays elegance and art in their pieces that I find absolutely breathtaking. They always carry the inspiration and incorporate it into their collections in a spot on manner.

According to Style.com, the designers of Marchesa, Chapman and Craig, found inspiration from the art of Islamic tiles to the colours of Morocco. The variety found in this collection shows a little bit of everything. You have this terrific floor-length dress showing great rose-inspired detail on the upper torso, falling just perfectly beneath the collarbone, continued with this made-of-silk bottom part of the dress running down beautifully and effortlessly. 

It's intriguing to see a collection with such a fresh yet bold palette, ranging from soft solid pastels to rich and shimmering textures. I also especially love the white cocktail dress, wrapped around with lace and a couple of delicate rose-inspired embroidery decorating the sides of it.



This final piece has also left me blown away. While the other pieces sit ever so elegantly on the body and swim around in pastels and lace, showcasing technique and creativity, this one shows it off. I couldn't even find the words to express this truly magnificent gown, not to mention the colour it comes in.

And that's all for this quick little inspiration post! There is not much left to say about this collection, other than how much I absolutely adore it. Marchesa has done it again and I cannot wait to see what they come up with next. I think their work perfectly symbolises what fashion should be like, and this collection is simply proof of it.

What did you think of this collection? Are you a fan of Marchesa as well? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think!



Thursday, July 16, 2015

BOOKS: "The Book of Tomorrow" by Cecelia Ahern



A few days ago, I have finally finished the book I was determined to finish this summer which was "The Book of Tomorrow" written by Cecelia Ahern. For some reason yes, I feel this way about nearly every book I read, but I really adored how this book turned out!

The book's length goes for around 320 pages. I've owned it for quite some time now and many years ago, I actually have started reading it, only I did it in, let's say, a bad timing so I ended up abandoning the book when I was only halfway through. At the start of this summer, I finally picked it up and decided that I should read it again because I really do want to know how this book goes, so I read it from the beginning until the end and I am certainly not disappointed.

Compared to other books that I have read, this one has quite a long storyline. The big picture is there lived a rich, spoiled girl named Tamara Goodwin, whose father had committed suicide. She and her mother later find out that they had been swimming in very large amounts of debt, and so the bank had to take away their home, and they were forced to move away from Dublin to a small area called Kilsaney to live with Tamara's aunt Rosaleen and uncle Arthur.



In this new suburban, isolated life, her mother began to completely shut down and fall into something like depression, and Tamara had no choice but to struggle herself. She started exploring the area, discovering new things about the history of not only the town, but also of her own family. What makes it more interesting is how Tamara found a book in a traveling library, and later realised that it was a diary that would tell her everything that was about to come the day after. I should stop. You should read the book.

Frankly, I didn't think "The Book of Tomorrow" was a very nice nor fascinating book title, and I don't think it represented the actual story very well. In my opinion, the actual diary that Tamara found wasn't actually the main thing about the storyline. (Mild spoiler alert) I also don't appreciate how there was no definite explanation about the diary Tamara found. I get if you want to make it magical, but there's simply no background said about the diary. 

However, it's still an amazing book. The events that occurred were very realistic and thrilling, not to mention how the characters were portrayed in such a complex manner. At some parts, it became pretty dull, but the little details keep it from being completely boring. This book has it all: A little bit of magic, a fair amount of sin, and a quite rebellious teenager.


I think Cecelia Ahern, as a very well-known author, really succeeded in making the readers immerse into the storyline and the background, and making this small town seem so alive. I found the book amusing, exciting, and reading it just felt like a metaphorical roller coaster. The fact that this was the Cecelia Ahern book that didn't get a movie (and they chose Love, Rosie instead) is actually pretty disappointing, and proves just how underrated this great read actually is. And yes, I'm obviously planning on purchasing more books by Cecelia Ahern some time soon.

Have you read this book before? What did you think of it? What book are you reading this summer? Leave a comment below and tell me all about it!

From the girl who always loves a good story,

Saturday, July 11, 2015

LIFE: Advantages and Disadvantages to Blogging

Source: Pinterest
Blogging comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I only started out on a whim. It wasn't a calling or a big life project or a quest to seek something bigger than life. It was simply I wanted to start doing because of how I always have so much to say and no one to say it to.

As you might have noticed, I had decided to take a long break from blogging (I practically went a whole month without it) and frankly, these were very refreshing weeks. It was nice to live life as it is, without letting the pressure of blogging about everything shadow over it. I've done so many things this summer break and today, I'm ready to come back.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how this activity has added to and diminished a lot of things inside my life as it is. I've been blogging for about 6 months now and I can tell you that sometimes, it's not easy, yet it has felt so wonderful at the same time. To just clear things out, I wanted to make a post that has the list of pros and cons when it comes to blogging.


Advantages:

  • The blogging community and great networking! - Blogging has given me the opportunity to look into the lives of other bloggers I follow located all around the world. The working lady from Australia, the creative stay-at-home in New York, or the college graduate from Ireland, it's always interesting to be updated about how other bloggers are doing in their own lives. I adore how, in this community, we share our ideas and thoughts and build each other up, showing interest in one another and what the other has been up to lately. It's a very lovely bond to be in.
  • It's a space suitable for both professional and personal matters. - Professionally, blogging is a space where we're exposed to things like collaborations, guest posts, sponsors, etc. The whole process where brands visit and take notice of your blog, then contact you and decide to sponsor you, has to be one of the newest things to experience out of blogging. It serves as a wonderful bonus to blogging. But at the same time, since your blog belongs to you only, you're also free to talk about the things from your heart that matters to you, or the things in your life that has been going through your mind. 
  • It helps increase productivity. - Creating content for your blog doesn't always come from the items you purchase, because simply buying things is not enough for you to post on your blog. Hauls are great, but can be dull. What blogging does is it pushes you to go out and do some serious thinking or doing. You think of a new recipe to post, you feel a stronger urge to finish that book so you can talk about it, or you start a brand new DIY project for you to write about. You take your own pictures, and start doing more things in your life that can basically keep your blog interesting. It comes naturally and is a great way not to waste your time on just being lazy.
  • It serves as a great source for inspiration. - When you think about it, blogging is literally the expanded version of Pinterest. It's always good to have a niche, but I'm sure that none of us like to follow the exact same type of blogs as we go. From all the different blogs we do follow, we pick up on how to make new, different things. From beauty, fashion, health, lifestyle, any category of blogs can provide us with fresh ideas that we can apply into our own lives and from there, it keeps things from being boring.
  • You're free to post about anything you desire. - And lastly, the most obvious thing of all is how we are not limited to only post about certain things. Your blog is yours to handle, to keep, and to take care of. You can create anything you want, talk about anything you want, and share about anything you want. You're not obligated to follow any rules. It's a space where you can be free to share about any type of experience, or discovery.
Disadvantages:

  • You still have to cope with the bad days. - Blogging is wonderful, but at times, it really doesn't help how you still do need to endure days where you're not feeling like yourself. There are days where you won't feel like doing a new DIY or going outside to take pictures, there are days where you'll just be tired and worn out, not ready to do anything. I'm sure many bloggers relate to how blogging does create the illusion of a constantly perfect, smooth-sailing life, but the fact is, there are some things that blogging can't fix.
  • It does require a lot of purchasing things. - I would personally categorise this as an unpopular opinion, but when you're running a blog, let's be honest, you do have to keep buying things. I'm not saying purchasing things that make us happy is bad, but blogging does encourage us to keep coming back to that book store for new books we can review, or to try out those new arrivals we saw at Sephora. You get the idea.
  • It's a whole other thing you need to arrange a schedule for. - Just like school or college or something like going to the gym, blogging is something that takes a whole lot of effort and time-managing. It's not a good idea to simply go out on a whim for each of your posts. In blogging, you do need to take a portion of your time everyday to work on the content of your blog, which isn't always easy. You need to prepare topics, and then schedule when you'll publish each post you've come up with. A blog always needs to be constant and reliable.
  • It's easy to be discouraged. - Of course, when it comes to blogging, gaining followers is crucial. Having a steady, growing audience is mostly what bloggers need to be motivated to maintain their blog so that it may reach new levels and evolve to bigger blogs. But the truth is, gathering an audience like so is anything but easy. Blogging takes time to master, even the famous bloggers took 5 years at least to reach where they are right now.
And that's all I have to say on this subject. I do hope that this has turned out to be informative and helpful to those who are thinking of starting a blog, or just relatable to those out there who already have a blog, like me! But overall, I am proud of what I've achieved so far and how I've completely turned myself into a blogger with a growing and developing blog despite how I still have to struggle through high school.

Have you thought of other disadvantages or advantages when it comes to blogging? Leave a comment below and tell me what they are! I'd be glad to hear what you have to say.



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Let's Talk Jewellery


Are you ready for my first ever jewellery post? I sure hope so! I guess it's obvious that I don't always talk about jewellery. When I think of jewellery, I do adore them. I'm always intrigued by little or big pieces of jewellery, wherever I see them, and I do wish I'd owned more of them. (Jewellery? Jewelry? The longer you stare at this word, the stranger it looks)

There are plenty of things to love about jewellery. I think aside from fashion and clothes, the pieces of jewellery that a person decides to wear speaks a lot of who they are. Do they wear more metallic, silver, or gold pieces? Do they wear only a few at a time, or like to pile on tons of necklaces and bracelets on an everyday basis? I like to think that accessorising with jewellery is a more delicate way of how people could express themselves. Sometimes they carry memories, stories, but sometimes they simply wrap around you and makes you feel nice about yourself.

Today, I'll be talking about my favourite pieces of jewellery out of the ones I own in this brief post, as well as introduce you to a website I had recently come across called Invaluable. So, let's talk jewellery.



As for favourites, this anklet has to be on the top of my list. I bought it when I was in the Netherlands in one of their large department stores. I've started wearing it a lot more now, and I am so intrigued by its gorgeous colour and ambiance. I bought my friends identical ones, and my sister a purple one. 

It's really a pretty piece of jewellery, and wearing it reminds me of my lovely time in the Netherlands, so bonus points for that. This piece is perfect for summer, specifically because of the colours. I'm so in love with how the soft colours flow along the golden chain, it actually makes it look very classic and simple. (It also happens to reflect light beautifully.)



An edgier item of jewellery that I have is this very special necklace I've owned since I was 13. At that time, I went to Forever 21 with my mom and I remember coming across this beautiful thing and I instantly wanted it. This might sound silly but I'm obsessed with this cross arrow detail because I can wear it with practically every outfit I put together. The length of the chain is also great because the arrows rest perfectly on the collarbone.

I think dainty and little jewellery is always gorgeous, but it's good to go for something a little darker and different. It reminds me of a sense of purpose, and how life is like an arrow: Sometimes we have to be pulled back before being thrown forward in our direction.


This Audrey Hepburn necklace is an item I've kept for a long time as well. Personally, I am head over heels in love with the lovely, iconic lady Hepburn, and I feel like this vintage, classic piece is absolutely perfect. From where I am, it's rare to actually come across something like this so I've been treasuring this timeless piece ever since.


Last but definitely not least on the list (tongue twister alert) would be this gorgeous gold H&M necklace with a doe charm. No words can describe how much I adore this piece. My lovely stepsister gave it to me as a gift, and I love wearing it on special occasions because I'm such a huge fan of nice gold jewellery. The charm is very dainty and pretty, and it also goes well with my mostly neutral outfits like white or nude colours. This item reminds me of pure innocence and grace, and I find it quite lovely.

So basically if, like me, you have a soft spot for nice jewellery, Invaluable is the place to go. This website is actually quite revolutionary because they provide this space of an online auction marketplace. They have a great variety of not only jewellery, but also antiques, collectibles, art pieces, and more which you can bid on, gathered from various auction houses all over the world.

The type of lovely jewellery you could find on this website also varies from pendants, rings, earrings, and more. They even feature pocket watches! The very idea of how you can bid for these gorgeous items is quite wonderful for me. Basically, it gives you wide access and a great opportunity to make brilliant deals on very high quality, stunning items from various designers and brands (even Rolexes are available.)



Seen above is a compilation of my favourite pieces found on the website, so if you are looking to add a little more sparkle to your collection, do check them out!

And that's all I have for this post! I'll be going away on an all-girls camp with one of my good friends, Nikki, for the weekend which I'm looking forward to, and surely enough, I'll be home and up with a brand new post, much likely regarding this event. I'm so excited because it happens to be a motivational, spiritually uplifting camp specifically for girls, so we're fairly thrilled. But anyway, I'll talk to you soon!

Have you heard of Invaluable before? Do you have any favourite pieces of jewellery? Leave a comment below, I'd love to know all about it!


Monday, June 15, 2015

SUNDAY INSPIRATION 006: Culottes



The unquestionable comeback of the culottes are already floating upon us and so I thought it was only appropriate to turn it into a Sunday Inspiration post! Culottes are actually a fashion trend that was blossoming around springtime of this year, but I think that they carry such an awesome fashion statement that it should be considered acceptable for casual everyday fashion, regardless of what season it is.

Okay technically, they should probably be stashed away for winter, but other than that, I think culottes can be worn very easily and do have a way of making your outfit look very expensive. You can wear it with a good halter top, or a simple shirt, blouse, or whatever way works. It's quite easy to pull off, not to mention how awesome it is that it gives you the freedom of wearing pants, but the silhouette play of wearing a skirt.





I love this trend, and as I'm still on the quest of finding a good pair to purchase, it's no question that they create a very well-structured, put-together look. Effortless, yet very chic. Laidback, but stylish. Loose, but sophisticated. Old-fashioned (for it actually started way back in the 80s), but modern and sleek.

I think culottes are best worn with a widening silhouette towards the bottom, meaning that it would be best to choose a top that's quite simple, maybe form-fitting, a crop, or just loose with a normal length. Culottes should be the highlight of the outfit, because it takes up most of the room for attention. It shows off your ankles so you can wear it with any flexible type of footwear (although perhaps boots won't be such a great idea.) Sandals and heels would work best.



To wear this great fashion piece, you don't have to conform to a certain body type. It can hang perfectly from the waist of any body figure and flatters the legs quite nicely. Unlike flare jeans or pants, you don't have to be 6'1" to wear them.

Here are some links as references for the trend:

So this year, if you are trying to upgrade your wardrobe and step up your game with the everyday outfits, culottes are definitely a must-try trend. Frankly, this one simple item could actually make you look like one of those rich fashion bloggers on Pinterest. No, seriously, try one on.



*All pictures were taken from Pinterest

Thursday, June 11, 2015

TRAVEL: Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées



This is another throwback post of my time in Europe last year. Paris was obviously a dream, and a while ago I already did a short little post of the Eiffel Tower. There were so many places that we got to visit in Paris so this time, I decided to do a post on the lovely Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées.

I absolutely adore Arc de Triomphe. I don't know if it's just because my name happens to be Joanne and my mind kind of associates it with the Joan of Arc (my mind works in mysterious, complex ways sometimes) but I've always really loved the architecture of this great tourist attraction. Sometimes I like to imagine what it's like to just live in Paris where you could just casually drive past the Eiffel and the Arc de Triomphe everyday or something (although I highly doubt it since they are quite distant from each other.)



We were incredibly lucky because just like our day at the Eiffel, our day at the Champs-Élysées was beautiful as well. Blue skies, sunny day, making the whole thing quite picturesque! For a little while, we enjoyed catching a late lunch at one of the restaurants by the street (which was fairly crowded too), and we actually spent most of our time there shopping!

There were huge clearance sales happening in places like H&M, etc, that I felt like it was so heavenly. (We even managed to purchase two pairs of H&M pants for only 5 euros each!) Aside from spending a lot of time inside the stores, we also walked a bit more before finally heading back to the hotel. The whole romanticisation and idea of "shopping in Paris" kind of just made me love it even more.




Champs-Élysées was beautiful. It felt very Paris to me, although I do wish it wasn't so packed with tons of people while we were there, although obviously you can't expect anything much different while you're in Paris. And so, if you ever find yourself in Paris, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you to "stop by" this area because I'm sure you'll visit it nonetheless, but it would be a lot more glorious during sales season. I'm just saying.



The pictures I took really convinced me about how I felt about Paris: How I wish it never changes at all. The trees, the buildings, the streets, the people. As the lovely Audrey Hepburn once said, the city is always a good idea.

Many things to love about Paris, and many more to come on my blog, so be sure to stay tuned!



Monday, June 8, 2015

LIFE: Turning Sixteen







Disclaimer: Beautiful typography above done by my cousin.

It was my birthday last Wednesday and I just realised that I haven't actually written about it in a blog post so here it is: Ta-daaa. Birthday post.

So on June 3rd, I turned 16, in which I suffered a slight case of emotional attachment issues (which involved me being attached to being 15.) A lot has happened in my 15th year as a grown individual. Here's the recap:
  • I entered high school and realised that there are a lot of things to love, but also a lot of things not to love about it, and soon after realised that it was okay.
  • I went to Europe and traveled to 4 different cities, all of which I loved.
  • I created quite a lot of things, and made a few good stuff for my portfolio. Like this painting  that I'm quite proud of (which I actually finished the night before my birthday):

  • I moved into my own personal bedroom (finally not having to share one with my sister.)
  • I changed glasses (which made a huge transformation, actually, and changed my look entirely.)
  • I actually also bought contacts and learned how to use them without feeling so vulnerable.
  • I became a bridesmaid at my sister's wedding.
  • I welcomed into the world an adorable baby nephew.
  • I gained weight, then lost weight.
  • I started wearing makeup (and I actually enjoy it, ha!)
  • I learned that life is greater than relationships and your ambitions should revolve around greater things than just a boy who can make you laugh.
  • I gained a lot of confidence, learned a lot about how important it is to love and respect yourself. I also developed a much thicker skin, and I think became a lot better in interacting with people (despite my little social anxiety.)
  • I kind of figured out that I was a total, hardcore feminist?
  • I cried a lot, and laughed a lot too.
  • And now, I do not regret a single moment.
There are obviously also plenty of other things that came up among the time I was fifteen, but I guess that's all I could mention for now. Turning sixteen, obviously nothing has changed. My life is still pretty much going on at its progressive, rough, awkward phase. But I do feel the need to take responsibility over some things, and to start doing and looking at things differently. It's like a slight personality shift, like a brand new self-consciousness to just take it differently from here on out.

This year, my birthday went really nicely. I woke up in the morning, and I don't know if anyone else feels the same on their birthday morning, but I always feel that it's like Christmas morning except you don't want to look like you're too excited. (Is it just me?)

After waking up, I stepped outside my room and my mom hugged me and wished me a happy birthday, as usual, and so did my stepdad. After that, there was the long stream of messages and notifications coming from friends and relatives saying "happy birthday". Some of them had very long, sweet, thoughtful messages, some are actually pretty simple, but all of them really meant a lot to me. Ahh, very delighting.

I went to school that day to run some errands, and that's where one of my good friends, Jen, gave me this gorgeous bottle of moringa-scented body mist from the Body Shop. Have I been using it everyday now? Um, yes. It smells so good and it made me so happy. (Jen, if you're reading this, I love you.)



When I was home from school and chilling at home with my mom, my sister, and my baby nephew, one of my friends told me she was going to drop off a book she borrowed. I initially found that hard to believe but I went with it anyway. She asked me to come down and to come outside (which obviously left my senses tingling) and when I stepped outside my garage, all of my best friends were there forming this single row, singing Happy Birthday.

The whole thing was actually so thoughtful and sweet of them that I feel like it certainly made my life. They were holding a tray with some nice cronuts (croissant donuts, eh?) with candles poking out of it, and held letters forming my name. They yelled the letters one by one like cheerleaders and I have never felt so loved and special like how I felt in that moment.

And of course, after that, by the old tradition we have in our country, they showered me with eggs, soda, and other ingredients, leaving me cold and looking completely, completely pathetic. But hey,  those are just perks of being the birthday girl.



That night, my mom decided to take all of us out for dinner celebrating the special occasion. After a lot of consideration, we decided to go to the Shangri-La hotel, and eat dinner at Portofino, which is basically the Italian restaurant that they had in the Shangri-La.

It was such a stunning night. Not only was the food amazing (I got the Australian tenderloin steak  topped with BBQ sauce served with mashed potatoes and veggies on the side, and we also ordered margarita pizza which I didn't get to take a photo of, sadly) but it also felt really special because I had the whole family with me. That obviously meant a lot more to me than anything. 

My brother, who's still in college out of town, also managed to call and we got to have a little chat. He's coming home this Monday which I'm so thrilled about.

So overall, it was a very, very special birthday. I had so much fun and felt the love of those around me, and I am so incredibly blessed to have gotten the privilege to celebrate such a delightful birthday. I have a few plans for the time I'm 16, here are some that I can name:
  • Learning how to drive (the drivers' license is coming in next year, after all)
  • Planning out what to do on my 17th birthday (so here, the tradition is that we celebrate a sweet 17 instead of a sweet 16, so there are a lot of things we do differently. Although, I'm  still considering between celebrating a sweet 17 with a simple garden party, or just making travel plans to a nice destination with my friends.)
  • Getting better at my cello and piano, and at my art. Definitely my art.
  • Starting sewing lessons! Which is crucial for me to complete my portfolio for university.
  • Doing plenty of traveling.
  • Do a lot better in school. I don't do bad, but let's just say that it's been quite a tough semester.


And that's all for my super long birthday post! I hope you guys enjoyed reading about this and about how it all went. Overall, it was immensely special to me, and I thank God for the many things in my life right now, and also for the many things that are about to come.

Lastly, I hope you find that the life you're living now is a life that you're proud of, and if you find that it is not, I hope you find the courage to start over again.

From the girl who's now, apparently, sixteen,