#insideAXIOO: Family Breakfasting

There’s something about breakfastings, especially if we do it with our family. Celebrating Ramadhan, we wear sarongs over our slimmer waists and pashminas over our faces. Even though we don’t recognize every face (as we recently extended our family), we’re glad to get to know everyone of them. 


6 minutes deep into the gathering, we played a game to get to know more about everyone. We learnt everyone’s name, age, last name, and the total of their exes. That was fun. The winner got VIP access to grab the food.


The foods were amazing. We opened with fried banana, then slurped meatball soups, ate nasi liwet with satays out of banana leaves, and tasted coconut ice. 


Then, we picked the best dressed ladies and gents to compete for a one night stay at Alila Ubud through a fashion show game. We couldn’t stop laughing and cheering. It was fun! 


We came home with bigger stomach, bigger smiles, and an even bigger family. 




23 Jun 2017

Dream Jobs, Dream Life

Beauty Portrait by Fen | Written by Natasha

“Your job seemed fun,” said a friend, a hint of wonder and jealousy color her voice. I was taken aback. I expected her to be the last person in the world to say that. She’s that annoying genius friend who didn’t study the exam that much, showed up gorgeous, half-hour late, and still nailed the exam anyway. From her attitude, her flashy instagram pictures, and her happy captions, I assumed that she’s the one who has the perfect life.


“Well. It’s not fun all the time,” I shrugged, recalling the time I casted away my management degree to write full time, which was definitely not on my mother’s top 3 lists of the career she wishes her daughter to have. I had to hear the disappointment in her voice on top of hearing my inner critic second guessing myself. Well, a few weeks later, she saw me earning money from writing, then she started to talk about my work to everyone she met. Still, my mom’s support wasn’t enough. I was so afraid I couldn’t keep up with life that I had nightmares. I even had a stomach problem for a long month, which I suspected rooted from the stress. Not a happy story, right? 


“But you’re doing what you love,” my friend looked at me, puzzled, “I saw from your Instagram.” It’s understandable. How can we’re not convinced that someone else leads a better lives than we do? Thousands of picture proofs are only a click away. Well, I don’t know about you, but I only post the best picture which does not represent my struggles at all.  


Sometimes, we forget that our journeys are not the same. I work in art. My friend work in finance. Our career paths, our problems, and our Instagram feed would not be the same in a million years. Despite appearing to be effortlessly successful, everyone is fighting their own battles. So, it would be fairer if you compare yourself with, well, yourself.


You could start by asking yourself, “what are the things I’m able to do now but I couldn’t do a year ago?” You could observe your work from a year ago. Trust me, you’d be surprised to see how much you’ve grown. 


Don’t forget to give yourself a little reward!





Photo Courtesy of Desi Natalia

05 Jun 2017

The Heart Diet

The moment you said, “Yes!” to his question to spend the rest of your lives together, the first thing you thought of after the euphoria has passed was looking good on your big day. How many here immediately thought of dieting and extra hardcore workouts? We can see a lot of you nodding right about now. Relax, you’re in good company. 


During the months leading towards your wedding day, it’s not uncommon that brides end up trying new diet regiments in order to look their best for the big day. Eat this, not that. Choose this, not that. Do this, don’t do that. Atkins, Keto, South Beach, Mayo, juice fasts, master cleanses. You name it. However, aside from the physical diets that you’ve chosen to do, there’s another non-physical diet, that is often forgotten but equally or even more important, and that’s the emotional one. The diet for the heart, we call it. We believe that the days and months leading to your wedding day can feel like a rollercoaster of emotions and the diet for the heart is what you need to do to look beautiful inside and out. So, in the spirit of “do this, don’t do that” we’ve put together three suggestions that will help you take care of your heart before your big day. 


Do remember why you’re marrying him, don’t be scared. Ever heard of cold feet? That usually comes from the fear of the unknown, like the uncertainties of what lies ahead. There will be questions popping in your head like, “Can I really handle spending the rest of my life with him? Like, the rest of my life? Because that’s a long time!” Don’t brush it off. Instead, use that as a trigger to practice reminding yourself why you’re even doing it at all. Remind yourself why you choose to marry this person. And believe us, when you know why you’re doing this, fear will subside as excitement begins to take over. This will also come handy for you in the long run. 


Do take some time to connect, don’t talk about the wedding planning all the time. Wedding planning can be really overwhelming and it’s going to be really hard not to make it the center of your relationship. But don’t do that. Take some time off from wedding planning to just be a couple. Talk about your day, go on dates, sit down at a coffee shop to just stare at each other and remind yourself about how you’re the luckiest people to have found each other. Talk about the next chapter of your lives - like when this is all over, what are you most excited for? Connect with each other and remember why you fell in love. 


Do feed your heart with good “food”, don’t play with fire. The short time you have leading towards your big day is not a good time to be talking to ex-boyfriends or other guys you may have found attractive in the past. It’s not the time to start answering the “what if?” questions. Even if you think that this might not be a big deal at all because nothing has happened or is happening, this may still impact your relationship. Instead, feed your heart and soul with good food. Use this short time you have to surround yourself with people who supports your relationship and are looking forward to your union. Spend your time pampering your parents and your siblings or hanging out with your girlfriends. Meditate on the word of God and pray to Him to calm your soul and to give you the courage to step into your new life boldly.


Do you have other suggestions to take care of your heart before the big day? Share with us in the comments below.




29 May 2017

Turning 17

Steffi Beauty portrait by Winson

Since my first birthday, my family always throw me a birthday party every year. It's been a family tradition to celebrate my birthday in a larger scale than any kid's. I was always against the idea of throwing a big party for myself. I had always wanted only a small barbecue party at home. It would be a nice change of scenery for once. On my 17th birthday, although the party remained big, but a lot of things change. 


Turning 17 feels like a dream. I've been waiting for this year from a long time ago. Normally, I don't really like my birthday, because as I get older, I have a lot of new responsibilities. I felt like I’m stuck in between childhood and adulthood. They gave me more responsibilities, but they still treat me like a child. Well, turning 17 means that I'm already an adult. I can legally drive and vote. I finally have my own ID card! That's a big deal for me. 


Thinking back, I'm very grateful that my family throw a big birthday party every year, especially this year. Even though it isn't cheap, my family doesn't mind. Sometimes, it feels like they notice my growth more than I do. I mean, they watch me grow from a little baby. It’s a big deal for them. No wonder they want me to go all out on celebrating my milestone/ birthday. They literally do everything to make me the happiest girl on Earth, especially on my birthday. 


I’m thankful from the love i have received over the years from them, they are my mood boosters and my vitamins everyday. I'm also thankful to God who's always blessed me since I was born. I hope to become someone who can make others happy, and be the positive change in the world.





26 May 2017

Dear Awie and Fen

David & Fen Anniversary 2017

Dear Awie and Fen, 


You’ve probably received countless wishes and love and expressions of gratitude for being you by now. From those who are close to you and those who have loved you from afar. It seems as though the whole world celebrates this milestone with you. “Happy anniversary to the sweetest and most inspiring couple,” they say. “You are our #relationshipgoals / #couplegoals.” Everything they say is true. Each and everyone reflects the constant awe of your hearts and the work you have put in to make your relationship not only work, but worldly inspiring. However, everything they say is only bits and pieces of what we have in our hearts for you, for in all honesty, there’s a difference between those who love you from a distance and us, who are privileged to do life with you, day in and day out. Because the greatest honor is to actually witness the things that are not big enough to make it to the social media pages.


The adoring look Awie gives Fen when you’re deep in your thoughts, with a pencil and paper in your hand. 


The “I love you” at the end of every phone call every time you’re apart, even if you’re just in the room next to each other at the office. And, our personal favorite, “What do you want to eat tonight, Fen?” knowing for certain that Awie will cook up whatever you wished for. 


The quick dash Awie makes as you gather your things on the way out to meet Fen. 


The starstruck heart-eyes Fen has when you’re watching Awie talk in front of a group of people. 


You are his biggest cheerleader. And you are hers.

You’re his visor through every blaze of glory that life brings you. And you are hers. 

You are his inspiration. And you are hers. 

Every single day. Every single time. Day in. Day out.


People may swoon over how cute Bunny and Panda are, but we know that this inspiring relationship didn’t just magically appear, despite what many believe. We know just how much effort you put in to make this work, because a relationship like yours requires faith, hope, love and a lot of falling in love with each other over ad over and over again. 


It’s by seeing you that we have learned about what love really is. It’s by being around you that we know the feeling of love. It’s by watching you love each other that we have come to understand how relationships work. And in a world where many have easily given up on each other, we look to you, and see that love is indeed worth fighting for. 


Many great things in our lives have happened because you happened. We are the lucky few who have been given the chance to witness love first hand. And that is a privilege we never take for granted.


Happy anniversary, Awie and Fen. May God continue to bless your marriage and may he allow you to continue to do what you have done, and that is to inspire the world with true love. 


We love you, from the depth of our hearts. 




Credit Photos by Sweet Escape

23 May 2017

Mom. I Miss You.

Mother's Day Portraits by Winson

Gadgets aside, when was the last time you talk with your mom or maybe just listen to her day through a quick call? Do you miss her? The things I miss about my mom inspired me to create this portraiture series. So, let me share you a little bit about the woman who inspired me.

My mom was not only pretty, but she was blessed with a lot of talents too. Back when she was young, she was in a beauty pageant in the 70’s. Just by looking at the trophy case, I see she won other competitions too. 


My mom was the most easy-going person that I've ever know. When we went to supermarket, she put on her friendly face and greeted everyone--yes, from the security, the butcher, to the cashier. I was like, “You don’t have to do that mom.” I was shy, but deep down I'm amazed by her positive vibe. After spending time with her, everyone feels better about themselves.

In the pursuit of becoming a good mother, she grew to be a tough mom for me. When I was a little boy, just like any other typical boy, I could be very naughty. My mom twisted my ears or sometimes hit me with feather duster (I think most of the 90’s kids will understand this feeling. LOL.) The most annoying thing she did was when she woke me up by pulling my leg out of bed every morning, and, not to forget, when she lectured me with her high-pitch Manado accent that you could hear from 2 blocks away: “Don’t come home late!” “Don’t be lazy!” “Don’t shower too late!” “GO EAT!” “Don’t do this!” “Don’t do that!”

We used to do a couple things together. Just the two of us. We both loves music, so we played the guitar and sang together. She wanted me to be a singer. (Sorry to disappoint you mom.. haha). Other times, we just dined and spent quality times together.

Cancer latched on her for 3 years before it took her away. Passing every single day without her is not easy. I miss everything about her. I miss her silly jokes and her laughter. The thing I miss the most is those annoying high-pitch lectures. Every time I’m home, I’m dying to hear that again, but I can’t. I really wish I could just hear her voice once again.

On her last years, she always had the urge to have her picture taken in every occasion. But I didn’t feel like doing it, as it will be her way of saying goodbye. Deep down, I still wish God will give a healing miracle for her. I really wish I did capture her more often. If I could just turn back time, I would collect more memories of you, mom.

Realizing that our time with our loved ones is limited, I feel honored that I'm able to  captured unique “mother and child” moments. In order to do so, we have gathered some families. I’m really glad, despite their busy lives, they made the time to do this with their mothers.

However, after all, this is for you, mom. Thank you for a lifetime of love you have poured into me. I always will remember your love. I miss you so bad. Until we meet again someday. We will.

With love,

16 May 2017

I Love You Furry Much

Coco & Lulu feat. Richard & Shalvynne by Fen

Coco and Lulu are the jealous types. When one of them thinks I love one of them more, the other one gets mad. One time, I was so tired that I slept on a sofa, coincidentally near Coco. Lulu ran from the farthest corner of the room, jumped, and landed on Coco’s body, possessively asking Coco to leave me alone with her. Being the good bigger sister, Coco gave her spot up. 


Well, my love for them is equal. Unfortunately, sometimes, they don’t know what. They need reassurance. So, I have to show them both by that I care for them equally or one of them will get mad, usually by pretending by not hearing me when I call her. When I get home and they run to greet me, I have to call and pet them both at the same time.  


Coco and Lulu are also the understanding types. On normal days, they play and run around the house. When I don’t feel well, they would accompany me all day. They would stay so close to me that I can feel their fur and their tiny heartbeats on my skin. It feels like Lulu and Coco can feel my pain and they would be willing sacrifice their fun activities to take care of me. That’s so sweet of them. 


Everyday with Coco and Lulu is memorable!




15 May 2017

Before You Say “I Do”

Stephanie Beauty Portraits by Winson

Only a few days left before you say “I do”? Only moments before you become someone’s wife and your whole life will change forever? We’re pretty sure that you’ve settled everything and there’s nothing much left to do but wait. We can also imagine that the wedding preparation process was hard on you. It has probably left you physically and mentally exhausted. However, the prospect of being married is still exciting and so you don’t think about being tired at all. Instead you look forward to it and you’re increasingly agitated as you wait for that one big day to arrive. 

Don’t spend it watching the clock tick. This is, after all, your last few days of being a single lady! (And girl, this moment ain’t ever coming back!) You should revel in these moments, savor it to the fullest. And we’ve got some pretty good ideas about how you can spend it.


You can spoil your parents. Go shopping with your mom. Have tea with your Dad. Take them out for dinner so you can bond and you can show them just how blessed you are to be raised by them. By the time you’re someone’s Mrs, you might not have enough time to spend with them.


You can go for a sleepover with your best girlfriends. Spend some quality time with your girls before you step into marriage. Host it at a place you won’t be able to share with them later on: your bedroom! Reminisce the good old days, watch romantic comedies, eat lots of comfort food, and have lots of fun! 


You can be alone and get lost by yourself. You don’t even have to go far away because getting lost in your own city can be quite fun too. Reconnect with yourself. You may be surprised how being "lost" really opens the door to being "found" and it can reinvigorate you and remind you of what is really valuable.


Whatever you do, take your mind off of your wedding and focus on you.





Photos are courtesy of Stephanie, photographed by Winson

05 May 2017

Inspiration: Outdoor Wedding: Choosing Dates & Decors

There’s something romantic about outdoor weddings; bright blue sky as your limitless ceiling, freshly mowed grass as your carpet, the birds chirping (and the waves crashing, if your wedding will be near the beach) as the melody, the sun shining as bright as your faces. Really. Nature is the most beautiful scene to speak your vows. 


However, preparing a wedding with mother nature is a bit tricky. We have to work around the weather. Nonetheless, when we see our clients pull this off, we know those weddings are going to be the ones to remember. 


We asked a couple of our friends who set outdoor decorations on a couple tips on making it happen. 


Everyone agreed: you have to be sure your D-date would sit in the right season. 


“June, July, and August are the perfect months to have a Bali outdoor wedding. Since it’s winter in Australia, the wind blow coldly, which is a relief from the hot tropical sun,” said Yu Cien from Lotus Decor.


Since it’s Indonesia, we can’t predict the exact weather. One hour, the clouds would rain buckets. The other hour, the sky would part, letting the hot sun strikes. “I suggest you to choose the vendor who provides an alternative room or a tent. If the weather goes bad, we would move to that room,” added Yu Cien.


“If you really wish to have an outdoor wedding on rainy season, you should really prepare a tent,” advised Steve from Steve Decor. He doesn’t trust shaman to chase away the rain, “Let’s be logical. Let’s be exact. I mean, you’ve dreamed this wedding since you’re a kid. It would be very unfortunate to not see it come true because of the weather.” 


After considering the season and choosing the date, let’s think about the style. 


“Before you look for reference, remember be true to yourself. Your wedding shall reflect your personality as a couple, so it will be memorable for you and the guest as well. These questions can usually be a starter point to decode your wedding theme: what you love, what you don’t like, what’s memorable in your life, what elements you find amusing, what object are meaningful. ” suggested Emil from Designmill


The style should go with nature. Steve said, “Nature is already amazing. Pastel colors fits so well. Also, using natural props works too! You know, props like candles and torches. They would create romantic ambience. If you wanted something a little grand, you would love French garden style.”  


“After you decide on style, budget, and vendor. You should work on improving the ideas rather than comparing and starting all over again when you find other concept,” Emil added. 


To give you more inspiration, we also would love to share some of the pictures of our clients’ amazing outdoor wedding decors. They are so wonderful! Please enjoy.



Happy prepping!




02 May 2017

#axiookartini: To settle down or to chase a career?

Ladies, our fairytale is evolving. Back then, society expected us to be like Sleeping Beauty: have flawless hair and settle down early with a handsome prince. They said, “Girls are like Christmas trees. By 23 and 24, people would be racing to buy. After 25, we would be putting on our neon SALE sign.”


Now, on top of getting married and giving birth, some of them added being successful into the equation. At every high school reunion or family gathering, they keep asking, “Where do you work? How’s your business? When are you getting married?” or sometimes, “Who do the best eyebrow embroidery?” The questions kept playing on repeat like that new Ed Sheeran song. 


We’re not complaining. We are very, very, very grateful for the opportunity to reach for our dreams;  no matter what they are, whether it is opening bakery in France, building a fashion empire in Milan, or making business deals in Wall Street, making it come true is only a matter of our learning pace and our growing guts. Having this new privilege, we can’t even imagine what it’s like to live in the past, in which we don’t have any opportunity to reach our dream.


On the other hand, it feels great to dedicate 100% of our time to take care of our home, the people that matters the most to us. Even though we don’t need a prince to make our lives, deep down inside, we also want to be somebody’s princess. I mean, isn’t it wonderful to have someone to come home to and talk about our days with, and perhaps, a daughter and a son to watch cartoons with? 


However, in some situations, we have to choose between sacrificing our career or our relationship. “Let me know when your entire life goes up in smoke, then it’s time for a promotion,” this The Devil Wears Prada quote is sad but true.


Well, whatever you decide, you’re right. Don’t worry. You have an entire generation of women standing behind you. We know how hard it is to make such decision. We are proud of you. Nevermind about the things they judge behind our backs. Let their whispers sleep in a forgotten tower. Besides, we are the Belle of this generation. We are smart, brave, and someday somehow we’ll meet a prince. He might not understand us at first, but later, he’ll love our quirks. 


Happy Kartini’s Day, ladies! 




21 Apr 2017
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