family, Happy thoughts, home, inspirational, powerful

Rediscover yourself by doing nothing at all

Last weekend was my first non-working one in three weeks. Although I made sure I have more than six hours of sleep every night, I fell ill last week – with flu and fever. Staying in bed was no an option so I took some medicine and stocked up on tissues and forged ahead.

Although I was feeling much better last weekend, I wasn’t really up for doing much. I wasn’t mentally and physically exhausted but I wasn’t motivated either.

So I threw cautions to the wind and did nothing for 48 hours.

Well, when I say nothing, I mean nothing work related.

I stayed at home as my husband was away on business. I helped in the kitchen on Saturday, watched an old film on television with the family -– just basically spending time with them.

On Sunday, my fever returned for a bit and I whiled away my time watching a reality tv programme featuring members of SHINee, a Korean pop group, on YouTube and learning one of their old hit songs in Japanese (because the pronunciation is much simpler than Korean). I also put away the laundry and cleared up the living area of my room.

Doing absolutely nothing (work related) -– on a weekend, mind you – is absolutely difficult for me. It consumes me with guilt.

I always have this idea that spending a few hours on work in the weekend will help me strike off more items on my to-do list quickly.

But focusing on work on a weekend doesn’t give me “peace of mind” either. I would also have a nagging feeling that I shouldn’t have to work on my days off.

I try to complete my tasks during the work week but it’s not always possible. There will always be new deadlines, phone calls, interruptions, meetings, training etc

It’s tempting for me to work on the weekends because there are less distractions. More often than not, I do get a lot done.

But there is a danger in this too. For one thing, your mind never gets a break from work which will lead to burn out, no matter how much rest/sleep you get.

It’s tough to be creative – and a lot of jobs require creativity – when you’re constantly “producing”. When you don’t let your mind have a proper break, you will no doubt produce results but they might start to look the same.

When you’re constantly “producing” seven days a week, your product will be as creative as something churned out of a production line.

I felt better about “wasting away” my weekend after reading this post titled The power of doing absolutely nothing.

Although I feel a little guilty for indulging in 48 hours of “me” time, I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel good. Frankly, I feel refreshed, inspired, brand new. I’m not completely well physically – I’m still coughing from the flu and fever earlier last week – but I feel mentally clear.

The fact that I’m blogging again after MONTHS(!) means I’m inspired to go back to doing things that I love doing but “felt like a waste of time”.

I’m glad the last 48 hours of “doing nothing” has allowed me to reconnect with my true self.

I might not have another full 48 hours to spend “doing nothing” in the future but I will remember to “lose myself in the moment” more without feeling guilty of the endless to-do list.

Try it! Who knows, you might rediscover yourself again.


blogs, books, Happy thoughts, me

Nail biting experience

I HAVE never been one to paint my nails. My idea of grooming my finger nails is by biting them off. And no, I don’t bite my nails out of nervousness. And yes, if I somehow have the ability to bite my toe nails off, I probably would. The idea kind of grosses me out but not enough!

But last weekend, I suddenly had this urge to “do” my nails. I even researched into good nail salons in town.

I’ve been really inspired by this idea of spending money on experience. Research and anecdotal evidence suggest that people feel much happier and enriched when they invest in activities: a holiday, education, dinner with family etc. The thing about experiences is that they last forever in your mind. Material things have a life shelf and you have a tendency to grow bored with them. So even though a manicure might sound indulgent to some, for a mani/pedi newbie like me, it’s an experience that I’ll remember forever.

So I finally settled on Colour Culture at Empire because it’s one of the more established places and it’s close enough to home. So on Sunday, I hopped on the commuter train and popped by the shop without an appointment.

I don’t know why I was shocked that the small nail salon was busy considering it was the weekend. Empire is one of THE hottest hang out place at this moment. The nail artist almost turned me away but thanks to a cancelled appointment, she let me in.

I’ve never gone for a manicure/pedicure but I know how French manicure looks like so I decided to go for that. I have read that the process is tedious because of the many layers applied to the nails. But I had time to kill and was fully prepared to spend two hours there.

The salon had two flat screens and when I sat down, Love Happens starring Jennifer Aniston was playing. It helped to have a movie to distract me because some of the process of nail grooming scares the hell out of me. I’ve read that rough nail artists can accidentally cut your cuticle and I really didn’t want that to happen.

For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the girl who tended to me. But she’s probably senior as the two other girls consulted her a lot. I was comforted knowing that this girl knows what she’s doing.

She wasn’t very gentle at times. The buffing part felt rough but I liked the fact that she was fast yet meticulous. I’ve read about nail artists who can’t paint a straight line for the white parts but she did a good job. Her hand didn’t even shake as she concentrated on painting the thin white lines. I bet she’s one of those who can put on their liquid eyeliner with a single stroke (or something).

Getting my nails done made me realise how I take them for granted. It was so hard to do things while my nails dried. Whatever I do, I would somehow accidentally touch/scratch them. It’s amazing how I don’t realise all this when there’s no polish on my nails waiting to dry!

Anyway, I am happy with my nails and am considering going there again around my birthday. Now that I am a member — I signed up for the mini package — I get to do my nails for half the price on my birthday month! Am looking forward to that!

The question is: should I go French again or should I be more adventurous and try some mossy colour or something? I have a few more weeks to decide, so I’ll take my time.

A manicure might sound indulgent to some but for a newbie like me, it's an experience that I'll remember forever.
great assignment, Happy thoughts, husband, job, lucky, music, office, songs

How was your day?

There are days when you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. You leave your bed with little motivation and enthusiasm to go about your day that although nothing bad happens, (your day) just lacks that umph.

Other days, you wake up the moment that alarm clock rings and you immediately hop off the bed, sing or dance in the shower and proceed to have a mini-adventure of your own later that day.

I think I just had one of those days where I felt alive and chatty.

I had all reasons to be grouchy because I had to wake up at 5am just to make sure that I finish my work before 7am and have it ready for the boss to go over at 10am.

Plus, I had to rush all the way to Bandar Baru Sg Buloh to meet a class or Fifth formers who published a book, which is now in its second print. I’ll blog more about that some other day.

And then, I had to take the komuter to go back to the office and finish another piece of writing to be submitted before my sub leaves the office and takes the day off tomorrow.

But today, I also have a lot to be thankful for.

I work up at 5am and managed to finish my work within two hours  —  just like how I had planned. Normally, I would set the alarm at 5am and would hit the alarm and go back to sleep.

Then, my husband was free to send me to Bdr Baru Sg Buloh, so I didn’t have to take the train because I was running late anyway. We got to the school without any problems because I could find the school in the GPS and it took us right to it, right on time.

I had a blast talking to the students and some of the teachers who treated me to lunch. And then, one teacher — who was on the way home — was very kind to give me a lift to the komuter station.

I had to wait for only 15 minutes for the train to arrive and had a good chat with a Sixth former who was going back to her boarding school in Seremban. Before I alighted the train at KL Sentral, she actually salam-cium my hand as a sign of respect because earlier I had told her I was older than she thought. She thought I was a college student. Haha! That made my day 🙂

I got back to the office just in time to write the piece and still managed to leave the office at 6pm.

And when I got home, my mom-in-law had cooked yummilicious nasi ayam and I had that for dinner.

My day couldn’t be any better, really!

So I wonder what kind of day is in store for me tomorrow? Whatever tomorrow lies for me, I’ll start the day with a prayer and a rock-out session with my Disney princesses Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez.

I love my manufactured pop and rock songs 🙂

Happy thoughts, music, songs

My new obsession: little Nate

When I was growing up, my family had this blue Olympus camera that served us well. As a family we liked taking pictures and developing them. We had tons of photo albums of all sorts of family events.

While some families moved on to camcorders, that fad never latched on to my family. A camcorder isn’t very affordable. Although we now have digital cameras, we haven’t got into the habit of taping ourselves doing the most mundane things.

But I’m glad this couple decided back in 2006 to tape their children’s daily activities and post them on YouTube. It’s an absolute joy to watch little Nate and Mia grow up before my very eyes.

I love watching spunky little Mia but I have a soft spot for Nate, the music lover. He is one cool babe. When he was about 15 month old or so, he was already grooving to Justin Timberlake’s My Love and later, when he was slightly older, Sexy Back

It’s obvious from this video that his favourite American Idol 7 contestant was David Cook.

And he wanted so badly for Adam Lambert to win American Idol 8 in this video that he almost cried when Adam didn’t!

I hope his mom will post a new video of the two of them soon. I wonder what they’ll be up to next…

career, cool website, fashion, Happy thoughts, karaoke, me

Hooked on you

I’m seriously hooked on online shopping. It’s so weird. These days, I actually find clothes and bags on the pages of an online boutique more appealing than the ones on the racks of actual stores!

I used to think that I need to touch and feel the items that I buy BEFORE I purchase them. But, I’ve been converted. I love the ease of paying via fund transfers. If you have a question about the product, assistance is just an email/phone call/IM away. No sales assistants tailing you while you browse the store. Ahhh… bliss!

So far, I have bought two tops online. I’m looking forward to the first top I bought from here which will be delivered to me right around my birthday. I’ve paid for it eons ago. It’s taking a while to be delivered because apparently, all the items sold on the website will be made upon receiving the order. I thought that was interesting. Can’t say I like the wait but never mind lah. The top I’m getting is worth the wait. (Unfortunately, I can’t find a picture of it on the website anymore. So I’ll just take a picture of it once I receive it).

Another top bought from here will be delivered to me early February (I hope). I just paid for it this morning, a few days past the deadline set for ordering. But the girls running the store were kind enough to pay for me first when I couldn’t meet the payment deadline. Now that is what I call good customer service! I had bought my first item from there — my green bag – offline (at a bazaar) and that entitled me to a 10 per cent discount on my next purchase (the top).

My third purchase will be a Chanel-inspired quilted bag from here. It will be a birthday gift to myself. I haven’t placed an order yet because I feel guilty buying the bag too early. If it’s going to be a birthday gift, it should arrive near my birthday. Otherwise, the excitement would be lost!

So yes, those are my past and future purchases via the world wide web. If you haven’t tried online shopping, you don’t know what you’re missing!

If you’re still hesitant, start with baby steps (something small, practical, that you won’t regret buying). I forgot to mention that my first online purchase was actually a bag organiser (something like this). I get frustrated when I change bags and discover that I had left certain things behind. So the organiser has these little pockets that can fit all my essentials (especially my girly kit for that time of the month). So when I next change my bag, I just transfer the organiser and not have to worry about anything. Now, I can’t live without it. It’s an affordable product that I really recommend.

On another note, I have been quite busy of late. Monday to Wednesday are going to be crazy from now on because I have two deadlines. Some of you may already know that I’m wearing two hats right now. Juggling two deadlines is tough especially when the two deal with different subjects. It’s like trying to cope with a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde persona. You’re already used to one personality and still getting a hang of the other. Yet it’s difficult to handle both because getting used to the new persona is consuming too much of your time and energy that the original one gets a little neglected. I don’t know if I’m making sense but that’s how I can describe my current situation is.

But life wouldn’t be interesting without curve balls thrown at you once in a while, right?

So I will take it in stride.

On that note, I shall wrap up this entry and go freshen up. Before I forget, I should let you know that I lost my perfect organiser (read two entries ago) but I shamelessly asked for a replacement and got it this morning. My life is perfect again!

Also, I took part in a treasure hunt, my team came in 17th out of 20th spot, won Rm50 and Rm200 in !kea vouchers (for coming out first in a karaoke contest after the hunt). I have a charmed life, I know 😛

business trips, child, cosmetics, dinner, food, friends, great assignment, Happy thoughts, inspirational, job, lucky, me, technology

Post Hong Kong

I’m back people!!!

My working trip to HK was — in short — successful, inspiring and memorable. I met really nice people there, was wowed by the efforts of the teachers who attended the forum and amazed by the sights and sounds of Hong Kong.

There were nine of us from Msia — 3 media reps, 3 moe reps, 2 ms reps and 1 teacher/quarter-finalist. Most of us had only met for the first time at the airport. Having gone for the regional event in Hanoi in April, I was already familiar with the 2 MS reps and teacher. It turned out that one of the media reps was formerly from BH in JB (hansolo, I’m sure you know who she is because she left the company a few months ago to work in KL). We had met each other perhaps a couple of years back but both of us couldn’t remember what assignment or occasion it was. We became fast friends anyway.

We left Msia at about 9.30am. That meant leaving the house at about 6.15am to check in by 7.30am. I had omellette and watched Baby Mama on the plane. I really recommend this movie because it is funny as h3ll!! I laughed and cried watching this movie — the guy sitting next to me probably thought I was crazy. If you’re into spoilers, read all about Baby Mama here.

I could relate to the movie because I’m trying for a baby myself. It hasn’t been particularly easy for me so this movie, about a successful business woman who’s trying to have a baby alone at 37, hits a chord with me. Tina Fey and Amy Pohler were both hilarious and excellent actors. I knew that they were funny from the Saturday Night Live days but I never knew that they could do drama as well. Believe it or not, the movie was categorised under Drama under the Movie on Demand list. The script is brilliant at mixing hilarious moments and touching ones all in one scene.

I loved the film so much that I recommended it to the former BH girl but too bad the movie was removed from the play list on our flight back to Msia. I wanted to watch it again but because it was no longer available, I decided to watch Wall-E. The missing narration makes it a bit boring but I still think it’s a sweet movie. I must be really hormonal then because not only did I cry watching Baby Mama, watching Wall-E go about his work all alone on Earth too almost moved me to tears 😛 I loved the movie. Well at least I didn’t fall asleep watching it as I did while watching The X-Files right after Wall-E. Not that it was incredibly boring or anything. I think I was just tired by then.

My stay in Hong Kong was wonderful. I would have loved to do more shopping but I find HK to be rather expensive. I mean, a bottle of Evian costs RM5 there. A bottle of regular mineral water costs RM3. So you can pretty much tell how expensive other things can be. It didn’t help that our hotel, The Langham in Tsim Sha Tsui is right across a Louis Vitton boutique. It was an exclusive area, so shopping around the jotel area was limited.

But Ladies Market was just four MTR stations away. I didn’t really like it there because I found the bargaining process really tiring. Some of the proprieters are rude — they just shoo you away. But I managed to get the usual souvenir stuff — fridge magnets, t-shirts etc — for not-too-bad prices. The t-shirts were of good quality so I’m happy with that. I wanted to buy a bag for myself but I ended up with a pair of flat shoes instead. It was for RM32. I’m happy with that because it looks good with my jeans.

I loved watching the young women in HK. They dress really well, very trendy with their calf or knee-length boots. HK this time of the year is slightly cooler than in Malaysia and less humid too. You don’t need a coat or anything. You’l be fine with your t-shirt. But if you were to wear your jeans and t-shirt, you’ll look slightly out of place in Tsim Sha Tsui area where the girls were shorts, dresses or pretty blouses with skirts and boots. Sure, there will be people in just t-shirt and jeans but they’re mostly guys 😛

Books in HK are pretty expensive too. If you think your RM34 paperback is pricey, wait till you have to fork out RM45 for the same paperback in HK! I’m never taking book prices in KL for granted anymore. Of course, I’ll buy them online so I’ll get a 30 per cent discount.

Sasa in HK is cheaper (certain items) and bigger. I almost bought a Sasa-brand lengthening/volumising mascara for HK$98 (98xRM0.46= about RM45) but decided against it. I didn’t really need it. I already have my Maybelline mascara that does the job for less than RM40. Never mind that I still think about it now (I think I’m in love), enough to make me want to go to a Sasa store and see if they sell it here too. But I bought 3 miniature perfumes — Eternity (15ml) and two Burberry Weekend (5ml) — for RM50 from there. Not bad eh?

All this talk about shopping makes you wonder whether I did any work at all in HK. Of course I did 🙂

I was there to cover an international forum for innovative teachers and met teachers from 60 countries who are not short of inspirational. If all these teachers were to work in one school, that would be one heck of a brilliant school. These are teachers who worked outside of office hours to create games, movies etc to enhance their teachings. You will be amazed by what these teachers can do. Some of these schools are rural ones that have no Internet access at all. Yet the students learn with the aid of technology everyday.

I really want to do justice to the article which I will prepare in the coming days. I hope I will do a great job at it.

Anyway, after spending four solid days in Hong Kong, staying at a 5-star hotel with great breakfast and company, it still feels good to be back in the comfort of my own messy room and table writing this entry.

Oh, that just reminds me of something. I need to register the free MS Office One Note 2007 software I got from the forum online and also check out Piggley’s blog. Piggley is the mascot of a school in rural Nothern Ireland. From his blog, I could see that he had a whale of a time in Hong Kong. Read all about him here and also notice how Piggley asks the students to look up some information on Hong Kong and its culture. This is the kind of learning that these teachers are promoting. Fun, isn’t it?

Well, I’m signing off too. I wish I could have done a day-to-day blog like Piggley but to tell you the truth, the Internet charge was too expensive and I frankly didn’t have the energy to even switch my laptop on at the end of the day.

Anyway, see you soon!

P/S: No pictures yet. I’ll probably transfer some photos tomorrow and I’m also waiting for some REALLY good pictures from MS representatives. More of that next week I guess. I’l probably upload them on FB. Later!

American Idol, dinner, Happy thoughts, husband, me, movies, music, relationships

Yay, happy 2nd anniversary to me!

Two years ago today, today was a Saturday. On that hot Saturday morning, my husband and I were married.

So, yeah, happy 2nd anniversary to me and my husband!

We haven’t planned anything special tonight. Truth be told, I completely forgot the significance of today until I was keying something into my Outlook calender and saw the date. These days, I operate by days, not dates. I can tell you today is a Tuesday but don’t ask me what date it is. So yeah, that’s the story of my life.

Anyway, my husband incidentally got two tickets for the premier of Ironman tonight. So, we’re watching that as a way of celebrating our union. These days, I’m up for just about anything. Because it is normally the last minute plans that end up being the most enjoyable.

Since the cinema is near The Curve, we may just have dinner at Marche, where we normally go to treat ourselves. See how it goes.

I know anniversaries should be big deals but not to me. I’ve never been one to celebrate, not even my own birthday. So not surprisingly, I didn’t get any gifts for my husband and neither did he for me. We’re broke this month anyway.

If I have the money, I’ll probably surprise him with an Ipod or something. But we’re the type of couple who splurge on each other for no real reason. I would have made some effort if I weren’t so freakking busy this month.

Whatever it is, I’m glad that I’m able to get one story out of the way. It’s not mine but I’ve been tasked to rejig it. So rejig it I did. I can’t say I enjoyed it. How can you enjoy ripping apart someone else’s work and changing it beyond recognition. On second thought, it sounds like utter pleasure, esp if the story belongs to your enemy.

But I have no enemies (at least I’d like to think so), so I was doing the (re)jiggy like I was treading on eggshells. I hope I made a decent job.

Oklah. Tomorrow is American Idol day for me. Whatever Jason decides to sing, please, please, please make it so good that Simon says its BRILLIANT and ON THE MONEY, Paula starts bawling her eyes out and Randy gives a standing ovation and urges the audience to do the same. Coz I just want to see this boy in the Top Three. That’s not too much to ask, right?