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    Affordorable.com

    is a virtual space where Liyana Aris documents her evolving modest personal style, which is based on the art of looking casually stylish while still remaining modest and doing it all on a budget; about 93% of her closet are filled with affordable things. (PS: The remaining 7% has a lot to do with her secret addiction to Adidas shoes and her occasional splurges on discounted high-end bags and clutches, shhh.) [+]
    26.11.14 .

    Paris has her fair share of gardens, all of which I found unbelievably beautiful. But if you ever get the chance to visit Tokyo, you need to see Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, which is unlike the Paris gardens but is equallyif not morebreathtaking. 

    It might possibly be the greenest garden I've ever been toperhaps it is appropriate to say the park is groomed nature at its best. There are creeks, little lakes and all these incredible bonsai-like trees... The autumnal colours of leaves just enhanced the beauty of the park even more.

    Words like 'calm' and 'serenity' keep creeping into my head as I walk wonderingly around Shinjuku Gyoen. Shah and I had to a list of activities to do on this day and had allocated only a few hours for this place but I found myself wishing badly that we could spend our whole day under the sun in this garden...

    Head over to my previous post by clicking here to know why I took a sneaky photo of this lady

    Have any of you been to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden? If you have, did you love it as much as I did?

    If any of you are planning to visit it, maybe bring along a classically little picnic with you, because if there is one thing that Shah and I regret, it's not being able to sit down, take a breather and munch and drink while enjoying the sunset...

    *some photos in this photos were taken using iPhone 5s

    follow @theliyanaaris on Instagram

    26.11.14 .

    Paris has her fair share of gardens, all of which I found unbelievably beautiful. But if you ever get the chance to visit Tokyo, you need to see Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, which is unlike the Paris gardens but is equallyif not morebreathtaking. 

    It might possibly be the greenest garden I've ever been toperhaps it is appropriate to say the park is groomed nature at its best. There are creeks, little lakes and all these incredible bonsai-like trees... The autumnal colours of leaves just enhanced the beauty of the park even more.

    Words like 'calm' and 'serenity' keep creeping into my head as I walk wonderingly around Shinjuku Gyoen. Shah and I had to a list of activities to do on this day and had allocated only a few hours for this place but I found myself wishing badly that we could spend our whole day under the sun in this garden...

    Head over to my previous post by clicking here to know why I took a sneaky photo of this lady

    Have any of you been to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden? If you have, did you love it as much as I did?

    If any of you are planning to visit it, maybe bring along a classically little picnic with you, because if there is one thing that Shah and I regret, it's not being able to sit down, take a breather and munch and drink while enjoying the sunset...

    *some photos in this photos were taken using iPhone 5s
    25.11.14 .


    In retrospect, if I had known the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden was this beautifuljust serene and so dreamyI probably would have dressed a little bit differently. I would have dressed less casually, probably, and maybe not have my varsity jacket and patch jeans on. I definitely felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb amongst all the green and atmosphere of serenity of the garden. 

    20.11.14 .


    Gotemba Premium Outlets is honestly the most beautiful outlet branch I've ever been to, with all its green surroundings and the Mount Fuji as its majestic backdrop.

    It was a sunny, sunny day but the cold—girl, let me tell you, the cold was no joke. Especially for me, who would take a hot and humid 33-degree-Celcius day over a cold, dry day of 7 degrees any day. Thankfully I had my fuzzy zebra cardigan to keep me warm and cosy!

    Gotemba Premium Outlets (GPO) is the sister to Johor Premium Outlets (JPO) in Malaysia. The deals in JPO weren't all that impressive, so all I bought on my trip there were some Levi's. I thought GPO might be similar to JPO in terms of deals but then again the store listings at Gotemba is so much more impressive. I was excited but still didn't get my hopes up.

    I would advice you get on the direct service bus travel to GPO as opposed to switching trains and taking the shuttle bus. Direct journey is always more convenient; plus, you're given some discount coupons as well. The only downside might be the schedule you have to adhere to. 
    For more details on the ticket for direct service, you can visit this page.

    Traffic in Tokyo can get pretty bad so we arrived half an hour later than the ETA, but we still had about 5-6 hours of shopping time. I had asked Shah before going, "How are we supposed to shop for six long hours?" Obviously I was majorly kidding myself, though I didn't realise it at the time; we actually didn't have enough time to visit all the "priority stores" we had circled on the outlet's map. And that's only the "priority stores"! 

    It was almost chaotic. My number one and two priorities were Chloé and Prada, two stores that happened to be on opposing ends so we were walking up and down and left and right in GPO instead of strolling casually from store to the next-door store like how we usually do when we're in outlets. I didn't have the time to visit Alexander Wang, Barneys New York, Puma, Levi's and so many other brands! 
    It is worth noting that most of the things being sold, if not all, are not from recent seasons.

    We came away with lots of goodies, to my surprise; I got myself two handbags and five (seriously, 5) pairs of shoes, and Shah got a bunch of shoes as well.

    Fuzzy sweaters are THE BEST
     What I wore: Zebra cardigan: H&M   |   Sweater: Zara   |   Jeans: Pimkie   |   Pointed sneakers: Puma

    Even though I think La Vallee Vilage and Bicester Village are superior to GPO, I really, really, REALLY want to go back there and take the time not only to peruse through everything in every store, but to also enjoy the beauty that surrounded usand maybe sip on hot chocolate while facing Mt Fuji. Gotemba is really just the prettiest outlet ever!
    We did manage to snap some photos in between the speed-walking but I felt like there is so much more to be done and to be enjoyed in Gotemba (OK, that's just code for 'so much more shopping to do').

    A ferris wheel in view amongst the gorgeous autumn greens and reds
    The gorgeous Mount Fuji peeking through
    Like I mentioned, even though the direct bus journey to GPO is the most convenient way of travelling there, you might also miss out on the chance to absorb the experience fully what with the time constraint. I myself can't decide how to travel there the next time I get the chance.
    That is, if I ever get that chance again...

     Have any of you been to Gotemba Premium Outlets? If you have, tell me about your best buy there!
    18.11.14 .


    There's a part of me that's still going, "Wait. A. Minute. I'm in Japan? Really? Really?". It's a very familiar sentiment because I had experienced the exact same thing when I arrived in Paris in October 2012. 

    I felt out of place at first, seeing the local people walking around and thinking how I look nothing like them, with me in my hijab and in the way I dress. But then I'm six days in in Tokyo and I have the same feeling as I had a week after settling in Paris: I already feel at home.

    It's truly a privilege, to be able to visit different parts of the world. Trust me, we had no idea that Shah's job would take him to places like it has; travelling for his work is the icing on the cake, and for him to be able to bring me along is the chocolate-covered cherry on top of the icing of the cake. This is something that we're incredibly grateful for, and we try to remember to be thankful each and every day.

    First Paris + Europe, and now I'm in one of the most fashionable cities in Asiaif not the most fashionable city (is that the wrath of K-Pop enthusiasts I feel? Scarily chilly...).

    Shah and I took a train to Shibuya, walked around aimlessly for the fun of it and strolled into these brightly-lit streets. We can't read or speak Japanese so it is entirely possible for us to walk into a dodgy part of Tokyo, but I'm guessing it's always OK to trust where the crowd goes (right? Um , is it OK, right?).

    Trench coat: Pull & Bear   |   Maroon sweater: Zara   |   Jeans: Mango   |   Red polka dot sneakers: Cotton On   |   Handbag: Michael Kors Selma Mandarin Red

    These pachinko stores are EVERYWHERE. Did you learn about Pachinko from Long Vacation as well? Can't say I don't daydream about bumping into Takuya Kimura on the streets...

    14.11.14 .


    I have a love-hate relationship with this top. When I saw it on the rack in Pull & Bear, I was like, "OMG must-have!".

    But I think that's exactly it: this top looks good on the rack, and it looks at home in my closet. But when I put it on, I think, "Why in the world did I even buy this top?".

    13.11.14 .

    How did that happen? I'm wondering the same thing myself, to be honestit was all a hasty blur.

    I was just chilling and relaxing as usual on late Friday afternoon (a homemaker's privilege) when Shah called me to announce, "We're going to Japan next week. OK?".

    And now here I am, in my teeny tiny Japanese apartment, blogging.

    Is this photo "Japanese" enough?

    10.11.14 .

    I think I'll forever be in love with kimono cardigans, like this tulips print piece from H&M Conscious Collection.

    6.11.14 .

    There's a famous adage in eyebrow makeup that goes something like this: "Eyebrows are sisters, not twins."

    And then there's the lesser known: "Sisters? Mine are more like distant cousins."

    When I started to seriously dabble in makeup about four years ago, I didn't pay much attention to the brow department. But then the big, bold eyebrows phenomenon made a grand entrance and "natural eyebrows" became fashionable, which made me go, "Dang, I need to learn to do my eyebrows now."

    That was when I fully realised that my eyebrows are like two separate entities.

    Dramatic exaggerations aside, my eyebrows are definitely not twins. My right eyebrow used to be my favourite (is it weird to have a favourite brow?) but somehow, throughout the course of my makeup-awareness years that were filled with eyebrow-grooming sessions, my left eyebrow has become the better-looking eyebrow. No matter how many hours I clocked in for my eyebrows, I can't make my them grow the way I want to—that is, for the hairs to grow in the same spot and in the same direction. They just don't want to play twinsies.

    The best solution, therefore, is to draw them in. Sure, I could just comb them up a little and leave them be but there's no satisfaction like catching your reflection in a mirror or a reflective glass and seeing your eyebrows behaving beautifully, is there?

    What I do: I would line the shape of the "inferior" brow (in my case, the right one) using MAC eyebrow pencil in Spiked, all the while trying my best to mimic the shape of the better eyebrow (the left one); I find that the arch on my left eyebrow is higher and is in a better position than the right's arch (I'm getting serious, guys) so I try to copy that arch onto my right eyebrow. Then all that's left to do is to fill it in. 

    Right eyebrow, drawn!

    When I'm satisfied, I'd just move on to my better brow.

    The whole point of my post is actually this: since my left eyebrow is more willing to compromise than the right one, I always draw the right one first - deal with the difficult side first!

    It's like doing cat-eye liners; say you've drawn a perfect flicked line on the right lid. You're like, "OK, one done, one to go!", so you start drawing the left liner. OK, you're donebut wait a minute, is the left one thicker than the right one? Oh, right, now let's just make the right one a liiiiitle bit thicker... OK. Oh no, is the right one now more flicked than the left? Now you have to fix your left flick.

    And then it becomes a cycle, and the next thing you know, you have two black caterpillars on your lids and you're like "I can't go out of the house looking like that" so you wipe them off with a makeup wipe (effectively wiping off some foundation and undereye concealer) and you have to start the process all over again.

    How. Very. Annoying. Am I right or am I right?

    I'm so much better at drawing a line on my right lid, so starting with my left lid - the more difficult side - would save time and energy; I'd just copy the shape of the left liner onto my right lid.

    I apply this cat-eye liner concept to my eyebrows and so far it's going well. Eyebrows for me are like cat-eye liners: time-consuming and never perfectly done. 
    But I try. I TRY.


    4.11.14 .

    I used to love waking up for breakfast but ever since I became a homemaker, a brunch feels more suitable somehow; the two-in-one meal just works better for me. My brunch usually resembles a breakfast more than a lunch but I can't be skipping my portion of vegetables too often either (reeeaaally not a fan of veggie for brekkie).

    So when I find a precious recipe like this hash that's made of sautéed button mushrooms and brussels sprout, topped with a sunny side up egg, I intend to stick with it as long as I can and hope I never ever ever get bored of it.


    1.11.14 .

    The Picnic Table by Simple Sandwiches has officially launched!

    I'm going to give you a rundown of who Simply Sandwiches is and what The Picnic Table cafe is all about, but first, here's a picture of me in front of the cafe:


    OK, I was really just helping out with the registration, so I'll show you who the real stars of the event were:


    Simply Sandwiches' famous sandwiches, of course!

    Simply Sandwiches is the brainchild of Shaheera Djafar and Sharin Sharif, who met back in Sydney in 2007. They bonded over their love for food and started to roam around the city together with their friends, visiting the many amazing cafes and restaurants there.
    Upon coming back to Malaysia, they realised that healthy wholesome food isn't as widely available and reachable as back in Australia (the easiest food here is always the greasiest and the unhealthiest, isn't it?). So, by vowing to make some much needed changescombined with lots of hard, earnest work and some serious dedicationSimply Sandwiches was then birthed.

    It started out as a food-delivery business back in 2011 with them delivering their healthy yet super delicious sandwiches to the lucky people of Klang Valley, and when I said "healthy yet super delicious", it honestly isn't false advertising; Simply Sandwiches pretty much has a cult following already.

    My personal favourites are their Garlic Butter Prawn Sandwich and Beef Salami Sandwich (note to self: Never again blog about succulent food on an empty stomach).

    Say hello to the co-founders!
    Simply Sandwiches really does use the best of the best; their wholemeal seeded bread is the cream of the bread crop, their salads and tomatoes are always fresh and crunchy, and their sauce? Well, it's a secret sauce, and the fact that they use this secret sauce makes the sandwiches taste even better, somehow (tip: It tastes like an elevated version of mayo, so at least we all know there's mayo in it...I think).


    Fast forward three years later and they've finally made another one of their dreams come true: to open their very own cafe. It's not just any cafe, too; it's probably the first cafe in Malaysia to have an indoor picnic concept. I love how cosy the cafe feels, with their pretty wooden tables and chairs, with its bright cerulean wall (I'm a sucker for strong rich colours) and their seriously comfy "grass". You can choose to lounge at one of the tables or make yourself at home on a picnic mat.
    To sum up, everything about the cafe is Instagrammable.

    It's entirely possible to cross into napping territory when hanging out there, especially when you've filled up your tummy with all the scrumptious offerings of The Picnic Table.

    Feel free to salivate over the menu

    The Picnic Table is really not just a feast for the eyes; the food really is the best part about the cafe, because that's what a proper cafe is all about, innit?

    Aside from their selection of sandwiches (they have a total of 12 flavours, including a sweet one, Banana Peanut Butter with salted caramel—seriously, getting hungrier by the second), you can also get your hands on pasta dishes such as Spaghetti & Meatballs (I devoured this during the launch, mmmmm) and Grilled Shrimp Pesto Pasta. Look out for their Wild Mushroom Bruschetta and Mushroom Soup with Garlic bread as well.

    I rarely end a meal without dessert and thankfully, The Picnic Table have sourced the best desserts into their cafe (salted caramel brownies, anyone?).

    Salted caramel brownies and red velvet cake and cream puffs ohmyGod DECISIONS DECISIONS (final decision: I ate them all)
    The Picnic Table had a successful launch—it was such a party! The cafe was packed with media reps, food bloggers and close family and friends of Simply Sandwiches' team.

    I must mention that all of the sandwiches were finished and all gobbled up by the time I was done with registration; that's really how much of a hit their sandwiches were
    LOVE the stylish Waldo-inspired paper cup! Just enjoying their healthy infused water here (or more like gulping the water, it really was hot outside at the registration table)
    Emceed by Innanie Ariffin
    What's a party without some entertainment?
    Shaheera and Sharin being interviewed outside The Picnic Table
    Me handing over a goodie bag to a guest (p/s: OK, OK, that's Fatin, another best friend of mine, that's all)
    Fatin, Me, Shaheera <3 <3 <3
    The driving forces behind Simply Sandwiches: Shaheera, Sharin and Shazlin. Simply Sandwiches is all about the S!

    Simply Sandwiches still does delivery every weekday around Klang Valley; you can find their delivery schedule on their Facebook page. They can cater for parties and meetings on any day of the week; they have in fact cater to many huge companies around Kuala Lumpur and PJ, and even to celebrities! (Trying to remain classy by not mentioning names, that is all)
    You could even rent out The Picnic Table for private parties or events, with special packages and services by them.

    For more info, Whatsapp or call them at these numbers: 017-6862076 or 017-2070407, or shoot them an email at simplysandwiches4u@gmail.com.

    You guys really really REALLY have to come over to The Picnic Table and experience the fun and tasty goodness yourself!

    The Picnic Table's address:
    62A-G, Jalan PJU 5/21,
    The Strand Kota Damansara,
    47810 Petaling Jaya,
    Selangor
    Look for the bright blue-green shop (or the shade I call cerulean) behind Loudspeaker!

    Opening Hours:
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8am - 8pm
    Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 8am - 11pm
    Monday: Closed

    Find Simply Sandwiches on the web at these places and follow them on social media:
    Simply Sandwiches Facebook
    Simply Sandwiches Instagram

    We might just meet there, who knows?

    Special thanks to Hazrina Aris, my photographer of the day!