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, family, home, husband, me

Where do you live?

In an interview with one of my favourite bloggers Gretchen Rubin, economic development expert Richard Florida said that: “As I explained in my book Who’s Your City?, the place we choose to live in is the single most important decision we make. It has a profound impact on the jobs we have access to, our career path, our social networks, the people we date, family and lifestyle choices and ultimately the wealth we accumulate as well as our overall happiness”.

I absolutely agree with him. Living in Shah Alam (in Selangor, Malaysia) has indeed had a profound impact on various aspects of my life.

I landed (and accepted) my current job when I was living in Shah Alam because, as a non-driver, I was confident that I would make it to work on time as I needed to take only one bus to work.

I don’t think my early courtship with my husband would have lasted very long if we had lived in different towns (I know Shah Alam is a city but to me it feels more like a town).

I have lived in Shah Alam since my late teens — first as a student, then as a working adult and later as a married woman. Naturally, I have developed an attachment to this quiet town.

Sure Shah Alam can be buzzing with activities if it wants to. It’s unbelievably jammed up during football/soccer matches, Sunday mornings due to the farmer’s market, Friday prayers because of the beautiful mosque that we have and also during Ramadhan because people from other towns know that they can do great Raya shopping at PKNS Shopping Complex and the other malls in the vicinity. Besides that, TV3 still tapes its entertainment reality shows at Plaza Alam Sentral. That’s a crowd puller too.

The shopping malls here may not have a lot to offer in terms of high street fashion and entertainment — we don’t have any cinemas — but it is still crowded on weekends.

And we have beautiful parks here for picnics with the family, for exercising, for cosy dinners dates, weddings and indie music showcase.

80 per cent of the time, the traffic here is bearable. I don’t know about the industrial areas of Shah Alam but the (noise and air) pollution levels at the residential areas here are pretty low.

The rent here is not cheap, though. As a small town with at least three major tertiary institutions, houses and rooms to let are snapped up like hot pisang goreng (banana fritters). I was really amused to see this room to let advert (that I saw in UiTM Shah Alam a few months back) which listed washing machines and wifi Internet connections among its basic amenities to attract new tenants. Back when I was a student in the late 90s and early 2000, we would be very lucky to even have a tv or phone line at our rented flats. Heck, we would be blessed to have our own personal computer at the time, let alone a laptop!

Times have changed, and so have lifestyles.

Shah Alam today is filled with middle-class families with money to spare — maybe more so than before. Although I had lived in Shah Alam longer than my husband has, I have only started mingling with born and bred Shah Alam residents through him.

Through them, I get to see a different side of the town. The youth of the town can be very liberal in their outlook and lifestyle. This is an affluent suburban where the kids go to the nearest town to have fun because they have the allowance and the car to get there. A majority of them don’t attend the public universities in town either because they don’t have the grades to qualify or they feel like an outcast and fit better in the private colleges. Their parents earn enough to make it possible for them to switch colleges “in case things don’t work out”.

But people from other towns have a lot of misconceived notions about this town and its people. When people tell me that they feel the people here are country bumpkins, I just laugh because it could not be farther from the truth.

I think it’s a great place to live in but I do worry about raising teenagers here. Bored suburban kids can get into a lot of trouble. Having said that, I think that generally, the 21st century has become a complicated time to raise a family, no matter where you live. Kids get abducted, purses get snatched, new born babies abandoned on a daily basis.

So I guess what’s more important is not where you live but how you live (your life). As the lyrics to that Dionne Warwick song goes:

And a house is not a home
When there’s no one there to hold you tight,
And no one there you can kiss good night.

home, me

What I do when my husband’s not around

Clean up.

That’s basically what I do when he’s not around. (Right now he is in Phuket on a holiday with his department). I take the chance to clean up – organise the DVDs, sweep the floor, dust off the shelves, fans etc. After that, I fold the laundry while watching THS: Keanu Reeves.

I think I took a good three hours or so to tidy up the “living area” part of my room and maybe 2 hours to clean up the “bedroom” part. It’s a hot day so I sweat like nobody’s business. I wonder if I’m also burning any calories?

The hardest part of the cleaning up is the dusting. My husband’s a smoker and he smokes in the room so it can be dusty as hell (because of the ash). The fact that “the others'” can only  smoke freely in our living area makes it a smokers’ room so-to-speak. So you can imagine how dusty the room can get.

Of course, I only ever do a major clean up like every three months or so.That makes it worse.

I know I should take the time to do it more often, like more often than once a month. Sure, I sweep every weekend but that’s not often enough.  I have to do it more regularly that that. Like at least every other day. My room is so dusty, I’m amazed I haven’t develop some kind of respiratory problem. But I’m trying my best to keep the room tidy and clean without spending too much time on it.

I mean, you don’t want to be cooped up every weekend cleaning your house. Sometimes, you just feel like going out or vegging out in front of the television.

If you’ve got a tip to keep the house tidy and clean in the least amount of time, I’d like to hear from you. How often do you clean your room/house? If you’re not a smoker, how do you tackle dust (short of keeping the windows and doors closed at all times)?

Share with me people! Btw, I’m cleaning the bathroom tonight and tackling the closet tomorrow morning.My husband’s gonna be in for a surprise when he comes home Monday night!

business trips, cool website, cosmetics, exercise, home, husband, makeup, me, office, pictures, US

Guess who’s back in the mack

After spending hours in the office staring at the computer screen and pages for this weekend’s issue, the last thing I need right now is spending another 30 minutes or so staring at the screen writing this blog entry.

I got a shock (a pleasant one) looking at my dashboard. I knew that the layout for the page where I post my entries has changed but I had ZERO idea that the new dashboard has been pimped as well. Now I can tell who had recently linked me from their blogs/websites, how many blogposts I have so far — fyi it’s 542 (incl. this one), how many people read my blog on certain dates and my most popular post, which happens to be my review of Everyday Minerals makeup.

So, mineral makeup fans out there are gonna love this entry because *drum roll* I just got my package all the way from Austin, TX a couple of days ago. Actually, I could have picked it up on the 8th if I had wanted to but I was away in Hanoi. So, as soon as I had some free time on Wednesday, I laced up my walking shoes and speed-walked all the way to the post office (about a 10-minute walk). I swear I was back at my desk in less 20 minutes – the day was threatening to rain, so I HAD to walk fast.

After thoroughly enjoying my free samples kit last year, I decided to make my first purchase from Everyday Minerals website. I chose the personal custom kit (mini) where I get to pick 6 items from the categories below:

* Foundations
* Blushes and Face Colours
* Concealers
* Eye Colors
* Finishing Powders
* Lip Colors

and pay only US$18 (plus US$9 shipping and handling charges). For those living in Malaysia, that translates to around RM88. Not bad, huh?

Anyway, this time around, the products come in purple-lided containers weighing 4 grams each. They are the size of your average lip pots (lipgloss in pots) (see picture below which I lifted off Thank you for the picture!)

Everyday Minerals

The colours I picked were:

  • Medium Beige Summer and Sandy Medium for foundation in intensive (intensive refers to the formula and it’s suppose to be the best for oily skin like mine. Other formulas include matte, semi-matte and original glo)
  • Intensive Medium for concealer
  • Weekend Getaway and Apple for blushers
  • Cherry Fizz for lip colour

The morning after I picked up the package, I mixed both foundation and chose Weekend Getaway to complete my makeup. But mixing the foundations — which I thought would produce the perfect match for my skintone. Nope, not exactly, as I found out later. I looked too done up. But I loved my blusher which looked quite natural.

So this morning, I just went with Sandy Medium and what do you know, it’s quite close to my skin. I’m sure Medium Beige Summer isn’t too dark for me. It’ll be suitable for certain days when I need a little tan. I’m sure I’ll have one of those days 😛

I haven’t tried Apple because, frankly, it looks a little dark. Maybe it’s more suitable for night.

If you want to know how EM looks on my skin, just check out my current Facebook profile picture. In that photo, you’ll also notice that I am sporting a new hairdo. So far, I’ve got positive comments from people. I suppose if they have nothing nice to say about my hair, they probably won’t say anything *lol*. But I like my hair. If I had it my way, I would prefer a bob better but this cut is suited for my curly/wavy hair type. At least I don’t have to tie my hair when I run/walk on the treadmill. When I wash my hair, I use less shampoo and it takes less time to dry as well. I don’t need to use pomade to flick the ends of my hair because my natural curl does it for me FOC in my sleep 😛 I wake up and voila… instant swingy, bouncy curls.

Speaking of curls, today a colleague asked me if I had permed my hair? Hahaha. It’s all natural, baby!

I think I look boyish with this cut. Someone in the office says it makes me look younger than I already do. And my husband swears it makes me look taller(?!). Whatever!

I actually love long hair but I think I needed a makeover. Seven years is too long to have the same haircut, don’t you think?

Anyway, I do mean to post pictures from Hanoi soon. I still had long hair then. Right now though, I am too exhausted to even finish this entry and go grab a glass of cold water to drink. I promise, promise to do it before the end of the weekend. The Internet has been really good here in the new house so that’s a motivation to get it out of the way.

Ok, I’m so tired that the speaking voice in my head (which is narrating this entry) is slurring 😛 Night night then!

exercise, food, home

Too much fast food ain’t good for ya

I’ve been eating a lot of fast food of late. I had Big Mac for dinner Thursday night and then Quarter Pounder for lunch yesterday after my assignment because McD’s was just next to the college I went to. Today for lunch, my husband wanted KFC. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, no I don’t want another fast food lunch, because it’s not often that we have KFC anyway.

I think I wouldn’t mind so much if I had been strict with my exercise regime but my hectic schedule this past week made it near impossible to slot in even 20 mins of exercise. I woke up early two days in a row but both occasions were to make time for work. I was thinking that I could start again this morning but I woke up at 11am. By then, I had to start with the packing (we’re shifting house some time end of this month). Now is my one hour break from packing.

It shocked me that I may need to do something equivalent to mowing the lawn for an hour to burn off the calories from the Quarter Pounder I ate yesterday. I read that here.
Guess, I should really start finding a full 30-minute today to fit in some cardio *lol*.

Well, as long as I get my butt off the chair or bed, I’m good right? Better get cracking now.

books, family, home, husband

Home is where the heart is

Damn it, I couldn’t wake up early this morning! Oh well….

Today, I’ll be blogging about the new house, particularly our room 🙂

Located in Sect 2 in S.A, the house is currently under renovation. It’s quite massive because 90% of the windows are being changed – the old ones had arches on top of the windows which were too big and heavily tinted but not covered by curtains. I assume it can be quite scary at night because you can see outside from those arches.

One bedroom is being split into two because it’s too big and one kitchen wall which separates it from another room in the house is being torn down so as to join the dry kitchen and would-be dining area. My parents-in-law’s room will have a quite large walk-in wardrobe. Our room will have a very beautiful view of UiTM wtf. But seriously, the view is nice. And because the house behind is lower than ours, the second floor is very breezy. This is not confirmed yet but my husband and I may get our own walk-in wardrobe too. The room which was to be our toilet will be the walk-in wardrobe. Our toilet will be built somewhere else in the room.

That may mean that the lounge/tv/study area will be smaller. But because all other junks will be in the walk-in wardrobe, I suppose it won’t be so bad. I’m a little concerned about my magazine and book collection but guess they will be in the library – somewhere close to the kitchen or the family room. Not sure where yet. Could be placed in the lounge area upstairs too.

My guestimate is that the house will be ready in Feb 08. I’m looking forward to decorating the room, particularly but am dreading the packing up! Well, we’ll cross the bridge when we get there.

Here are some pictures of my room undergoing renovation:

View from balcony

Another view of the room from the balcony

Construction guy hard at work. He is standing where our bed will be

This is where the study/tv/lounge area will be

Raff in the toilet or walk-in wardrobe 😛

This is the view which will greet us every morning, noon and night

holiday, home

Holidays come and holidays go.

My nine-day break is coming to an end. *Sigh*. Bestnya kalau boleh extend lagi leave.

But I don’t regret anything about my semi-long break. I did a little bit of everything.

First things first, I snuck in some work. Well, I just did transcribing to get the necessary evil out of the way. Then I caught up with some of the TV shows that I have been missing, including 0prah – I haven’t seen this in six months or something – , Heroes on HB0 and Amer1can 1dol. I saw two episodes of Gr3y’s Anat0my and loved them. Funny because I didn’t really like the show before. Maybe I was put off by Grac3 when she was really into that doctor – McDreamy or something. But the episode I saw, about Grac3 giving her pet dog to that doctor, was quite alright.

I still like N1p/Tuck better, though. N1p/Tuck reminds me a lot of CS1: Cr1me Scene 1nvestigations. The patients that make an appearance in the show make you go “wow!” Like the episode about the male model who was sodomised and had his face cut by his attacker who went to the plastic surgeons for reconstructive surgery today. Yikes! but wow!

I’m beginning to like Her0es, too. I’ve only seen one episode [last week’s where the Japanese guy flies to NY to stop the city that never sleeps from being blown to smithereens]. I can’t wait to see the next one tomorrow night. I also want to catch the previous episodes.

I’m not too sure which episode that I saw last week – my hunch says it’s the fourth – so I just downloaded the pilot and the two subsequent shows from Ar3s (episode 3 is ready, the rest is still downloading). I refuse to download episode four and so on because, where’s the thrill in that? Besides, I don’t want to download too many videos on my laptop. The only episodes of Heroes that I’m downloading in the future are the ones that I missed.

Anyway, I finished Shopaholic and Baby. As always, it was another brilliant creation of Sophie Kinsella. I must have been PMS-ing when I read the book because I swear I was extra sensitive/emotional when I was reading it 😛

It did make me think about whether I was ready for motherhood. I’m still in two minds about that. Kamm asked me if I found out that I was pregnant tomorrow, how would I react? I told her that no one can ever plan these things. Like, how do you plan for a freak accident – involving a wet pair of slippers – that causes you to fracture our shin/ankle bone? *It happened to Faridz’s friend this afternoon. It was rainy and she rushed out to pick up her slippers, not wanting them to be wet. She then actually stepped on a wet slipper, slipped, fell and fractured some bones which requires a surgery and her walking with a crutch for the next three weeks*

So, anyway, if it happened tomorrow, I’ll be happy. Really. If it doesn’t, maybe some other day.

What else did I do during my break? Of course, I went back to my hometown and spent some time with my family. My parents are fine and keeping busy with everyday life. Life in a small town is quite alright actually. Wake up, do some house chores, cook, eat, watch TV, have afternoon tea, dinner, Tv and sleep again. I could get used to that 🙂

Also, I went to Aquaria on CNY eve. Do not miss the ride on the walkalator and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over gigantic sharks, stingrays, blow fish and more that swim over your head. It was the coolest experience. We were there during feeding time and one of the divers/workers wore a Prosperity God costume over his diving suit. Haha. Funny he didn’t scare the fishes away 🙂

Well, that was my holiday. I’ve got a lot to look forward to this week. There’s the next episode of Heroes, American Idol Top 12 Girls night (performance) and my 29th birthday this weekend. Can’t wait!