05 Coming Up Next

That's the lovely Princess Stephanie of Luxembourg in the picture!
I'm really excited to announce an upcoming feature: AAO's in-house magazine!

I've been itching for an art project to do and it seems I've finally landed on one that will keep me happily occupied. Basically, I'll be making use of my big fat photo archives -the files where I save every single image that appeals to me in any sort of way- and editing them into big fat filler posts. Except I'm going to challenge myself to come up with themes and unique layouts each time.  I've already got 4 pages of Issue 1 done: unique twists on forever favourites for the festive season (and beyond)!

Let's see how this one pans out, shall we!

04 Filler: Grey Pullovers

it's raining cats and dogs and owls
Let me introduce you to what I do when I don't have anything in particular to blog about (or, I'm too lazy to write stuff)... I pull out some inspirational shots from the multitude I have saved on my desktop! To save your souls from boredom though, I'll try to arrange these fillers by theme.

Today's been one of another rainy lovely days, and I always have a soft spot for grey pullovers (grey, not gray)... so here's 3 to brighten up your day :) Think of it as 3 different ways to style a pullover! They're everywhere these days, though I always find they're not as practical for the very on-off weather we have here, especially if you're taking public transport.

girly prep

Zooey Deutsch (credit to TeenVogue)

 irreverent hipster prep

Dree Hemingway (credit to Who What Wear)

 glammed up

Credit to malibuminx.tumblr
[/edit] So, this just in: Keira Knightley looking as perfect as she always is, in a grey pullover and blue textured skirt. What makes this is her shoulder-length disheveled hair: the kind I'm always hoping I'll have... 
Credit for rain background in the main pic to RevGalBlogPals

03 Rainy Days and Mondays

Funny, but it seems that I always wind up-a here with you; 
Nice to know somebody loves me. 
Funny, but it seems that it's the only thing to do: 
Run and find the one who loves me. 
-Rainy Days and Mondays (The Carpenters)
What a fitting title for this post! These days 'don't get me down', however; I absolutely love rainy days and Mondays aren't too bad when they're the holidays, because it means the start of another gloriously free week. (To be a student! I'll probably regret this when I'm working.)

These days the weather's been wonderful (to me): it may start off a little sunny, but more often than not by afternoon it's pouring. Sunday's rain was heavier than usual. At its stormiest, I couldn't see anything further than the block opposite me; usually I can see a school in the far background but it was totally white-d out by the downpour! The only thing I wish for these times is for the cool weather to be indoors, but without the wetness. With the windows all closed up, it's quite a waste not to enjoy the weather!

Lunch: Pocket Full of Posies Cafe
This morning I went for a doctor's appointment; it ended quite early (well not really when you factor in the time we started) so my mum and I went for lunch at the Pocket Full of Posies Cafe @ NUH. The service wasn't fantastic, but I think it might've been because we didn't know it was self service and the waitress had to serve our food herself. 

The food and ambience, however, is definitely worth it. The cafe's in the same place as the eponymous florist, so you get nice bunches of flowers around. The decor is a mix of cottage vintage and mirrored mod; what I loved most was the bench we sat at, which was not actually a bench but swing sets! On the gastronomic side, I ordered black pepper chicken with fragrant white rice, which was not bad; the serving's reasonable. I could finish the whole plate and still felt full, so that's good :)

Then, because I had to get a pair of court shoes for an upcoming school programme, we travelled down to Bugis: it was either Bugis or Orchard, and both are rather inconvenient to get to from Kent Ridge, but we figured Bugis was faster, with more and cheaper options. Luckily, BHG was having their usual shoes and bags sale right outside the MRT, and I managed to score a really good find :) It feels good to have a checklist ticked so quickly!

KissJane (KG) Bugis loots!
Neither my mum nor I felt like battling the crowds of Bugis Street, so we decided to wander around Bugis Junction. Of course, I've always wanted to go to KissJane; I've been there a few times but never bought anything because the items are marked up from their online prices and, well, a student's budget isn't very forgiving. But I wanted to bring my mum there to let her see for herself, because she hasn't seen it before :) We both came away really happy: she got the Anisa crochet trim blouson in navy, and I got a fit-and-flare mustard dress from Megagamie that, as far as I know, is unlaunched!

I've no pictures of the Anisa blouson, but it's really good quality. Unlined, but non-sheer; the balloon sleeves are elasticated, which can be a little tight but ultimately flattering :) What's also flattering is the cut of the blouse itself; it's nipped in a little at the waist, not so it's tight but creates a nice enough silhouette so you can wear the blouse untucked. Which is good for me, seeing as I tuck in my blouses 99% of the time.

Megagamie (MGG) unlaunched dress review
I'm really excited about my dress! It's my first MGG purchase. Priced at $36.90 at KissJane, which is quite steep for a dress, but even my mum was convinced it was worth it, because the quality's there. What sold me was the pockets: they're not obvious, I didn't even know it was there until the last minute when I was about to put it back on the rack. The two pockets are cut at the side and reasonably deep :) I love dresses with pockets! 

I'd hazard a guess to say the dress is about 34" to 35" inches at size M: I haven't measured mine yet, but I'm 1.57m tall and it comes to just over my knees. May be too long for most, but personally I really love my dresses at this length because I don't have to worry about unnecessary flashes while bending over or anything :) Another plus is that fit-and-flare dresses are most flattering for my bordering-on-pear-shaped body, and because my other similarly cut dresses are all between 32" and 33" in length, this longer dress is more appropriate for more formal occasions... or occasions when I have to sit on the floor!

I'm a UK 8/10 and this dress fits me to a tee :)

my first Megagamie purchase!
not a full-length picture :(
The skirt is quite flared but falls very nicely, promise :)

full lining :)
I feel like I'm selling the dress, haha :) but seriously, it's really worth it, especially if you can score it online! I wasn't sure if it was still retailing even, so that was another consideration when I bought it at KJ. The dress is fully lined with good quality, soft material- a little like sports shorts or FBT lining! The outside itself is a stiffer linen cotton, rougher than usual cotton but not uncomfortably so.

colour true to this pic :)
The dress was also available in white and black on the rack.

/Verbal and visual diarrhea, whoops! Hope this helps :)

02 The Making Of

So, the making of the AWOL Owl! I decided that if I really wanted this blog to go further than my previous blogs, I had to do everything -or nearly everything- from scratch, using minimal resources from other websites. And as we all know, it all starts with a good mascot :)

Hooting for Inspiration

I actually have no idea how to hand-draw owls, honestly. So I had to Google and sift through info overload (and the resulting inferior feelings from really really good illustrations). Below are four favourites!


Photoshop time!

 Thank goodness for the myriad of basic shapes available. Go to 'Custom Shape Tool'. There're animal silhouettes (which I must start using immediately), cartoon faces (which I've used previously in blogskins), patterns, etc etc.

I looked at the attributes I liked most from my favourite illustrations and pulled them together. I also knew I wanted my owls to wear shades, because, you know, they're suspiciously AWOL and all that. PLUS... I really like pastels. And seafoam. So the main colour palette was already pretty much decided (can I further convince you that seafoam + light orange are a really good mix?).

To add some texture, I looked up corrugated texture to get that uneven, 3D lined feel for the main body. (Oddly enough, inspiration for this came from a visual error: the Photoshop page showed the owl as being striped when it actually wasn't, and I thought it looked better that way, so I added it in). I also used the brush tool to add some strange splotchy fur (experimented with this for a while; it might've been flowers, haha!).

The final products are the result of feedback from my parents: to add shading for the shades so it wasn't too one-note; to make the eyes open so it wasn't sleeping, and make the pupils bright and visible; and, most importantly, limit myself to 2-3 shades so it was "easier to remember" (thanks, Dad!).

Lessons from the maestros indeed.

01 How It Begins

On a side note, let me first express how very strange it is that I had been very very averse to the font Garamond before now. I always shied away from it because I thought its proportions were very strange (just look at that italic 'g'!). Then, lo and behold, when I'm looking for fonts to use in the AAO merch shebangs, it hits me that Garamond in italic is pretty cool! That said, I'm not going to start using it a lot outside of here anytime soon.

ANYHOO, how did this blog begin?? Where on earth did I get the very strange title? It was all because my classmate was texting me about this school event, and, because she was very sleepy, she wrote "absence of leave" instead of "leave of absence". And that got me thinking about acronyms about absence in particular. Then I realized AWOL (absent without leave) is an anagram of A OWL (which is grammatically incorrect).

Then, because I love confusing URLs that are very long and look very grammatically incorrect but are actually a coherent phrase, I came up with the mishmashed tongue twister 'An AWOL Owl'. A story demands to be written about this character, but in the meantime, that's the story of how this blog began!