zondag 7 september 2014

Little Black Dress

The 'little black dress' is one of my favorite wardrobe items. It can be classy, mysterious, easy to match and it helps to hide the extra pounds. I used to dress in a mild gothic style (going 'all the way' only during festivals, concerts or photoshoots), but since a year or so I have started wearing more color. My style evolves all the time though and I will most likely be drawn to the darker aesthetic from time to time, like I have always been before. This is why black dresses are ever a welcome addition to my closet! 

As usual, the romantic style brand 'Vive Maria' has caught my interest with their new 2014/2015 winter collection. It has some great black dresses to drool over:

donderdag 28 augustus 2014

Long hair shoot

A while back, during the winter sales (huge discounts!), I purchased the red Vive Maria dress that I liked so much. Most clothes of this particular brand can be worn during both summer and winter, since the texture of the fabric is usually the same. It's rather soft and not very thick, which makes all the winter clothes suitable for summer as well, especially when you love wearing darker shades like I do. When it's cold, it's easy to apply some extra layers. I no reason not to wear particular clothes all year round! 

So I wore my red winter dress in summer, while posing with my hair down to have some nice shots of its current length:

vrijdag 22 augustus 2014

Try a new hairstyle each month: high ponytail

The high ponytail is a style I wore a lot as a child. It was comfortable and probably looked quite adorable too. Once I got older, I thought the style was too childish and I never really went back to it again. But when I wore a high ponytail to my work a couple of months ago, some of my colleagues told me they liked it a lot. And so did my boyfriend. I decided it was worth another try, especially since it was so comfortable and probably the hairstyle that takes me the littlest effort at all. 
Just make a ponytail high on your head...it doesn't get any easier than that! Be sure to use a firm hair band that can hold very long hair and carry an extra one with you (in fact, always take hair bands with you, no matter what hairstyle you wear, in case your clip, pin or fork falls breaks and you still need to tie back your hair!). 

I love the casual appearance of this hairstyle and the best thing is that it shows off my length without bothering me the slightest!

woensdag 13 augustus 2014

Instagram - some personal favorites

Since I signed up on Instagram in November 2013, I have posted a bunch of every-day life pictures that probably don't hold much interest to anyone but a few friends and family. I do love photography though and especially when it is atmospheric. Instagram really helped to make some of the photographs that I took and liked, into photographs I love. I am a sucker for things dark and romantic, so here we go....some of my better snapshots of the last couple of months:

Nature (the Netherlands):


Madrid, Spain
Vlissingen, the Netherlands
Antwerp, Belgium
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Bad Bentheim, Germany
Milan, Italy 


woensdag 23 juli 2014

Try a new hairstyle each month: Top Knot Bun

To challenge myself and to practise a new hairstyle really well for a change to see if it works for me, I have decided to try one new hairstyle a month. This will give me enough time to figure out how exactly it is done and how I can wear it so it looks its best on me personally. The first hairstyle I have tried is the popular 'top knot bun'. 
Source: hairstylepedia.com
I often think it looks amazing on women, but somehow I was a little hesitant to try it myself. My face shape - in my opinion anyway - is a bit too narrow and long for this style. On women with round faces it looks less severe and rather cute. So how could I make this work for me and make it look more casual instead of severe? My first attempt was not to me liking at all....I felt rather embarassed even, walking around with that tight bun on top my head. 
Failed first attempt. 

Then, after some advice from a colleague who always wears this bun with stylee, I decided to make it look a bit messy. With my long hair without layers, this wasn't an easy task! I had to jump up and down, roll around the couch and pull at my bun before it even remotely resembled a messy hairdo. :) But at last, I was contend with the result. 

The 'messy version' worked a lot better for me.

I don't think this style is going to be amongst my top favorites, but it's extremely comfortable at work and stays put all day long and therefore I will definately wear it more often in the future. 

How I made this style? There are several options, but I used a firm elastic band to make a ponytail on top of my head (the higher, the better the result!). Then I wrapped up the tail in circles, fastening it with two more elastic bands. The hair that popped out, was secured with bobby pins...lots of them! 

woensdag 16 juli 2014

Board game review: Kemet

Kemet is a board game that I have not yet played during my monthly Game Night with friends. It is high on the list though! My boyfriend and I have played it several times and we are eager to introduce it to the others soon, when we are off to a cottage in Zandvoort to play board games for an entire weekend. 

Kemet is from the same publishers as Cyclades, which is set in ancient Greece. Although I have never played that game, Kemet is usually considered the more combat-driven of the two. The setting is ancient Egypt and 'Kemet' refers to 'keh-met' [km.t], which was the name the Egyptians gave to their land. It translates as 'black land', which according to most Egyptologists describes the fertile soil at the flooded banks of the river Nile, although nowadays this is debated by others who claim it to be a referance to people with dark skin. 
'K.mt' or Kemet in hieroglyphic writing

Kemet is not a historical game however, like Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, but a fantasy version of ancient Egypt that reminds me somewhat of the Stargate series. One can use pyramids and obelisks to teleport ones armies and use impressive creatures such as a gigantic royal scarab or a powerful mummy - in the shape of beautifully executed minis - as extra support. The aim of the game is to gain the most victory points by controlling temples, conquering pyramids and especially by winning fights! 
The fast action and frequent battles is what makes this game exciting and lots of fun. There's never a dull moment! The power tiles that can be bought by prayer points, earned by frequently praying to the gods to keep them at peace, are of three different categories and are aimed at different strategies (defensive, aggressive or resource based). Pretty much all of them are attractive to obtain, which makes choosing a luxury problem. 
It is wise to plan ahead your strategy early in the game, since these power tiles reach their maximum effect when combined effectively. The use of battle cards reminded me of the house cards from the Game of Thrones board game. Both add a bidding aspect to the game, which adds bluff and even more excitement. 

A great extra of this game is the two-sided board for different player combinations, which makes the game very versatile. This is another reason why I cannot wait to intrudoce the game to our friends!

Sometime in 2014, the expansion Kemet: Ta-Seti is due ('Ta-Seti' referring to ancient Nubia). 

vrijdag 11 juli 2014

Stress-free month

After six exhausting months of working five days a week and travelling two hours a day on average, I am overjoyed to have the intire month off! From one of my two jobs, anyway. That's all I could afford, but I'm thrilled. I am finally sleeping well and I have time to clean my appartment, answer e-mails, reorganize things and plan ahead for September, when I'll be going back to college. No travel for me this month - it would cost too much energy. 

Working five days a week and having to perform tough psysical tasks all the time put too much pressure on my neck and back. It has been very painful for me to work the last couple of weeks and especially my neck was completely cramped. I had trouble sleeping and moving my head from left to right had become almost impossible. Fortunately the company doctor decided that I should be put to different tasks until my vacation would arrive, which helped a great deal. Now that I'm home for a week, the pain has almost completely vanished and I feel so much better. I wouldn't have worked so much if I had had a different choice. But I need to save as much money as I can to be able to execute my new plans for studying how to restore and conserve artifacts. Studying in the Netherlands has become insanely expensive, espcially when one already has an MA degree. 

I have decided to focus on a couple of things I have been neglecting somewhat:

- My health: I still aim to loose a considerable amount of weight and to get in better shape altogether. With Irritable Bowel Syndrome, this is not an easy task. But I am determined to work harder this time. I am even working out every day now, if only for 15 or 30 minutes, at home. This way, 'having no time' will not be an excuse anymore!
- Writing: Not just blogging, but keeping a private diary as well. It's therapeutic and just like reading, it is a way for me to relief stress. 
- Being involved again in archaeology and cultural heritage, both as a warming-up to my new study trajectory as well as to keep my mind active and my CV interesting to have more chances of finding a job that suits me. This however also includes experiencing the 'fun' aspect of those fiels of interest again, like I used to do naturally, before facing the difficulties of the economic crisis and not being able to find a job in the field. 
- De-cluttering: My boyfriend and I already improved our tiny living space a lot by buying lots of storage furniture at Ikea a couple of months ago, creating so much more space. But I still feel that we own too much stuff. So many things aren't used and just take up space. Of course it's never easy to part with one's belongings, but it would be a relief to have a decent set of basic things to own and not all of the time and space consuming 'extras'. For me, the main problem must be clothes and accessories. I have much more than I need and some things I never wear because I don't feel comfortable in them. 
- Practicing my arts and crafts skills: I need to compose a portfolio of personal projects, so I can prove next year that I am able to work well with my hands and with different materials, in order to get admitted to the MA trajectory I would like to follow.
- Practising different hair styles for long hair. When I'm working, I tend to always wear my hair the same way for practical reasons (usually a side braid). Although I like it, I would love to be a bit more creative once in a while. So I intend to look for practical, fast but fun hairstyles that look good on me. It would be a pity not to make use of my long hair, while there are such amazing hairstyles around to choose from! 
My go-to hairstyle
- Relaxing! Taking my time to do nothing at all for a change...or just reading a book, watching a movie, playing a game or reading magazines.
     Panda bear at Pairi Daiza zoo, Belgium, 2014