Monthly Archives: August 2012

Inspiring Talks

We love meeting people with big passion and even bigger dreams. A shooting session at Tulisan the other day, left me with that tingling feeling I have every time I meet that kind of person. We met ASRI WELAS PRAMAWATI, a wonderful host and extraordinary woman with whom we instantly felt attached.

“NGULIK”, the name of the TV program, means “to dig more for more information”. It is a weekend feature show on one of Indonesia’s national TV channels, Trans TV. The program speaks to a different theme every week. As the crew filmed the show, I could not help but notice how comfortable Melissa was while talking with Asri and SONYA. I loved watching how Melissa interacted with Asri and Sonya as learned more about the many layers of Tulisan.

As for Asri, her deep passion is for traditional dance. She started dancing for Swara Mahardika at 11 years old and is still just as passionate about dance today. She foundedSANGGAR ASRI WELAS (Asri Welas Dancing Club) to help encourage and inspire the next generation to fall in love with Indonesian traditional arts and culture.

By the end of the shoot, I was convinced that the heart is what gives meaning to life. And once it sparks, the flame lives on.

Rassi Narika

UPDATE: Watch Tulisan and Melissa at NGULIK on Trans TV this Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 12.15 pm. We will see you there!

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FJ Rotisserie

One of our favorite places to eat is next door to the shop, FJ Rotisserie. It is warm and intimate and is always at the top of our list when we have friends in town looking for a bite to eat.

If we could, we would probably eat there everyday. That said, you can find Melissa and Tante Didi (Melissa’s mom) there most days – almost everyday.

FJ Rotisserie has a light dishes and generous portions of Indonesian and European food. I always try new dishes when I eat there and am never disappointed in what I order!

In addition, they have great desserts. Our favorite is their selection of crepes: banana, peanut, chocolate, berry and steamed pear, to name a few. We also love the apple crumble for a sweet cinnamon-y home taste or refreshing mixed berries for a change. Their butter-free marble cake and rainbow cake were just recently added to the menu. Yum.

FJ almost feels like an extension of our shop. We know the people there by name and since they are big fans of Tulisan too, the interior is filled with our home collection.

So, next time you drop by our shop in Darmawangsa, take a walk next door to FJ try their heavenly French Vanilla Latte. And a word to the wise, call ahead for a reservation, they are always busy during lunch or dinner!

FJ Rotisserie – 021 72786550

Darmawangsa Square Ground Floor Unit 25


Rassi Narika


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To Work with Love

The one thing I love about working at Tulisan is seeing Nur every morning. To me, she is the living example of our Labor of Love philosophy.

Her little workstation – that stands right next to our little garden – is one of a true artisan. All of her materials are piled in order of work and progress.

She is very modest about the works of art she is creating. Each of the materials she uses is handled with delicate warmth and each step in the process is entered into with extreme care.

Nur’s passion and pride in her work comes in the simplest explanation: to love what you do and do what you love. Really, what more could one ask for in life?

Happy holidays, everyone!

Rassi Narika

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Random Acts of Kindness

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Missing someone is such a drag. Imagine the mild irritation of being sandwiched between lovey-dovey couples at the movies. There you are, alone, eating your popcorn trying hard not to pay attention.  With no one to talk to, you feel a little blue. Not to mention the sleepless nights, oh the sleepless nights. It is just the worst.

But the universe, and a special someone (my landlady) sometimes conspire to make a girl jolly with a simple, random act of kindness.

When I arrived home from work I found this on my bed. Oh my, I am happy as can be. It’s amazing how the little things can make all the difference in the world.

Now tell me, what makes you smile?

Nighty night,

Shalimma Robbiaswaty

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67 Years of Freedom

 To my beloved sister Ani Sunjaya and your heroic grandfather Bung Karno,

“Hanya suatu bangsa cukup berani untuk mengambil nasib ke dalam tangannya sendiri akan dapat berdiri dalam kekuatan.”
– Bung Karno (Pejuang & Presiden bangsa Indonesia) Jakarta, 17 Agustus 1945.

As you spoke these words, you imagined
that one day we would stand tall in unity
on a green soil that would perpetually be ours,
free of fear, sorrow, and ignorance.

You gazed to a sky covered in red and white,
the shade of courage and purity,
in hope that we would be free people –
brave to shine as our true selves.

Your fight for freedom is a priceless inheritance,
that we will guard and carry on with our body and soul,
until every possibilities you once dreamed
become our very being.

A Posse Ad Esse (from possibilities to being)

With all my heart, Melissa

P. S.
These pictures were taken from Imam Bonjol no. 1 in Menteng, Jakarta – an Art Deco styled mansion built in 1920 by a European architect. It was once a home of young admiral Takashi Maeda during Japanese occupation in Indonesia. Bung Karno and Bung Hatta, along with twenty seven other Indonesian revolutionists met with Lieutenant Maeda in the night of August 16, 1945 to discuss and write the declaration of independence for Indonesia.

Every corner of the house displayed architectural intricacies that reflected the artistic splendor of the Art Deco era.

Today this house has become a museum of the creation of Indonesia’s declaration of independence, open for the public to witness and learn in detail about the history of Indonesia’s fight for freedom.Shown above is a bunker located underneath the back courtyard, reminding us of how much fear people used to face in those days. It was a common feature in many houses, used as a hiding place from the enemy or a protection from any air bombing.
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A Double Celebration

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Last week, we went out to celebrate Melissa’s belated birthday at our favorite spot, FJ. It was also Adit’s birthday, which added to the fun and made it a double celebration!

We had such a great time all together – it’s so rare that we have time to spend an afternoon together as a team. With Lebaran just around the corner, we hope you have a great time with your loved ones this Lebaran time, too. Happy holidays!

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Hearts Poured Out

On Monday night last week, a huge fire occurred in a densely populated area of Bendungan Hilir, Central Jakarta. Flames spread rapidly and soon close to 300 houses were engulfed and destroyed causing the affected families to take refuge in the nearest available open space: the public cemetery. It was devastating.

My friend Irma, who works in high-rise building nearby, passed this information along to our group of friends through our “What’s App” group text. A friend and I had worked in the same office a while back, so this catastrophe really struck close to home. And our girl-gang of five really wanted to do something about it.

In addition to Irma, and myself are our friends Avi and Zaki. We are all university buddies. My sister, Gina has since become very close with us as well. We bonded over our love of food and travel.

Not knowing who we could rely on to help and compounded by the upcoming Jakarta’s Governor election, the disaster area is rife with booths of political parties.

So, we decided to just do the whole thing ourselves.

Using social media and word-of-mouth, we somehow managed to gather a large sum of money and used clothing to help those affected by the fire. The donations were way beyond our expectations, and made us a bit anxious that we would not be able to deliver the help needed.

Based on a survey conducted by Irma, we made a list of things that are essential for the families taking refuge. On Saturday, we went shopping for milk, baby food, diapers, blankets, medicine, canned foods, etc. After we put all of the essentials in the car, we stopped by Irma’s office to pick-up all of the clothing donations and we printed a list of how we used our benefactors’ donations.

We dropped the goods at a post run by locals, and had a brief chat. For now, all the donations coming in are sufficient enough to meet the basic needs of those affected by the fire.

What they need now is school related supplies and school uniforms. If you are interested in helping out, please let us know!

When girls gather, it is not always just gossips and giggles. This has shown us we can do anything and really make a difference, when we really put our heart into it.

– Shalimma Robbiaswaty

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Pure Friendship

My earliest memories of friendship were of giggles, tickles, and pure delight to be in the company of a friend. Back then; we had carefree days of braiding each other’s hair and fixing tea for our stuffed animals. Friendship was naive and unassuming; kids never think about what they get in return from their friends, they are friends because all that matters is that they have fun when they are together. Friendship should always be this simple.

Miya and Caitlin were god sisters that once again reunited after four years. The minute they met, their eyes sparked and connected in a different sphere. They talked through their eyes, smiles, hand holding, and of course through giggles. Miya prepared a Tulisan bag and a Pepe Doll for Caitlin. In return, Caitlin gave Pepe a home.

Pepe’s new home is with Katie – the mouse Caitlin already had. The mouse house is compact but Pepe and Katie did not seem to mind sharing the room.

A new friendship was made. Katie and Pepe are to have the best role model to look up to.

Rassi Narika

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Back to School

It’s that time of year again – getting the kids ready to go back to school. It has always been helpful for me to get few things out of the way before school starts. Here are the things that make my crucial to-do list: dental and health check-ups, organize stationery sets, get new books, take several passport photos for school records, and think about their lunch menu!
Kisses, Melissa
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Taking Mykonos to Canada

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My high school friend Wulan came by our store today and did some last minute shopping before her vacation trip to Canada. The new arrival Mykonos summer dress fits her like a glove.

This is a short poem for your trip to Canada:

She feels the sun rays

penetrating her brilliant colored tunic.

A summer breeze unravels her scarf,

revealing her braided hair.

Her tiny fingers clench the pages

of a letter from a secret friend.

She closes her eyes

and dreams of a far away place.

kisses, Melissa


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The Little Next Door

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West Third Street in West Los Angeles is crowded with cute boutiques, unique galleries and delightful cafes. You will not find ordinary shops or merchants on this walk. My favorite place to stop for coffee in the area is The Little Next Door, owned by two eccentric Frenchmen, Fredo and Nico.

It is hard to miss this place. Their charming outdoor patio is colored in a brilliant ‘Frida Kahlo’ blue, and it reminds me of certain corners in Côte d’Azur and some scenes from Hemingway.

Its name makes you curious about going in, but once you step into this place there is absolutely no chance for one to refuse any of their gorgeous desserts and baked goods. They also offer a wide selection of homemade jam. Everything is ultra delicious!

We met the owner Nico and the manager Sue when we were there. These lovely people invited us for deserts and would not allow us to pay for any of our indulgence. Thank you, Sue and Nico! We will be back.

Kisses, Melissa

PS: Follow them on Twitter via @littlenextdoor and Facebook Page for your dose of daily treats!

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The Market on Holly

My lunches are usually quite productive. I spend most bouncing around from place to place, running errands, making phone calls and perusing local shops in search of the perfect [fill in the blank]. But none of this can be done without first grabbing a bite to eat – food first, shopping second.

On this particular occasion, I decided to go up the street to one of my favorite lunch places, The Market on Holly, to grab one of their delicious sandwiches. They have a bevvy of fresh fare and a quaint little bodega attached that carries artisan dry goods, oils, pastas, sauces and spreads.

It was a delightful surprise to run into Melissa and her family! We sat and chatted while I waited for my sandwich and then I was off to explore the local boutiques, but not before getting a good look at the bodega items at The Market.

The packaging of the artisan foods is sometimes the best part. I’m sure they’re delicious but these almost look too good to eat!

Kaitlin McIntyre

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On the Road: India

As a kid I once asked my mother why ‘going there’ always feels longer than ‘coming home,’ even if we are passing the exact same roads. She said in reply, “It’s because the trees, the buildings, the stones, and everything want to get to know you first, they are saying their hellos.”

From that moment on, ‘the road’ became a very special place for me. The notion of moving in an accelerated motion, the ever newness of scenery that gives glimpses of stories hidden on an old and well-trodden road, excites me even further. Even as a grown up, I would burst with overwhelming feelings and say my hellos (yes, to the buildings, and trees, and animals, and such) out loud.

My recent outbursts happened on a landscape painted with the shades of sands where giants rule.

Trucks, brimming with goods and supplies to be delivered across the country, dominate the highways of Rajashtan, India. And what a sight to be seen they are. Decorated with intricate patterns and bright colored paints these massive machines paraded along the miles and miles of scrub thorn savannahs, desolate deserts, and the cragged stone cliffs of the Aravalli Range.

Hello you graphically gorgeous goliaths! It’s very nice to meet you!


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The Bigger Deal

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My co-work Myra had made a hand-made greeting card embellished with Tulisan’s monogram seal for her cousin who was graduating in July, it was so personal that I was whisked away to my past. It brought me back when I graduated from high school in Maine. The family that I stayed with wrote me the same message to congratulate me on my achievement.

I had a love-hate relationship with my schooldays. The glorious hours of classes, stressful time of comprehending calculus and getting swayed in Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace for Lit class, were indeed priceless.

I have always thought that education should be one of the basic human rights. Be it in a formal institution or the knowledge gleaned from life in general, education is about learning something that you have not known – which leads to self-exploration and a thirst to know more.

So, for those who have just graduated and are entering a new phase of life, congratulations! Keep your curiosity going.

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A Night of Vaudeville

Last Wednesday, we spent a balmy evening outdoors with the girls at a concert for an old friend of mine, Janet Klein. The concert was just up the street from us at the Levitt Pavilion Pasadena where they host free evening concerts in the park.

Janet’s sound is vintage South Pacific, early 1900s with a touch of Vaudeville (her Parlor Boys.) Her style is feminine with her auburn 1920s bob neatly pined with large daisy clips, pale skin and cherry red lips.

She is an artist in the truest sense, from her musical talent – playing the ukulele to her design work – designing the covers of her now, 7 albums – Janet is a Renaissance woman.

We were thrilled to have a chance to visit with Janet following her show – Miya was delighted.

Clio was ecstatic, holding on to one of Janet’s albums.

Janet gave me an illustrated poster and her one-of-a-kind sheet music that I will use for practicing my violin!

In return, we gave Janet our “Club Tote” in the Celosia Cristata print which like Janet is classically feminine with a pop of flirt and flair.

Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys tour the Los Angeles area frequently. Find out more about them and their music here at



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