Thursday, December 26, 2013

Resolution

Every year, I come up with new resolutions - sometimes just to get a kick out of it, sometimes I really mean it - but this year, I'm going to do something different.

I'm currently inspired by Leo Babauta's Month of Living Without - where every month he chooses to live without something (Internet / sweets / coffee, you get the drift).

2013 has been an amazing year for me. It's been a year that has been very trying, and very rewarding in both of personal and professional life.

I've also seen a shift in myself in 2013 - I've become a different person, and a person I never thought I would become. I've embraced a more minimalist lifestyle, and I'm happier with experiences rather than possessions (something, if you had suggested to me 2 years ago, I would have laughed heartily in your face). I still have a long way to go before becoming or declaring myself as a real minimalist, but I'm pleased with the progress I've made.

So, for 2014, here is my list of resolutions. One resolution for every month to work on, to hone and to perfect, till it becomes second nature to me.

January
Eat more fruits. I've been living a very unhealthy lifestyle for the past few years, and it's catching up. I'm only 27. I'm too young for health problems!

February
Give. I have not been going to any charity homes and spending time there. It's easy for us to donate clothes we don't want, but it's not so easy to give our time to others. Also, it's a good way to reflect after the excesses of the Chinese New Year.

March
Drink more water. I've wanted to do this for the past 20 years, but never ever really put in the effort of doing this. My body is dehydrated and I'm paying the price of it.

April

Have a social media detox month. I'm not such an addict anymore as I've done a few social media blackouts, but it's always good to get out of the digital world, and smell physical roses.


May
Complete a book draft. I have always wanted to write a book - but I am all talk, no action. Time to change!



June
Review where I am in life. Figure out what my next step is.

July
Take up a sport. And stick to it.

August
Read up something new and totally foreign! Open your eyes to new things.

September
Be extremely patient this month. Stop flying off the handle no matter how trying people are!

October
Give up junk food and sweets. (This is totally Leo Babauta inspired).

November
Complete the book from my book draft! (I should have been writing it since May, at least)

December
Rest properly - not to be distracted by emails, social media, whatever. Take time to properly unplug.

So there you have it. What's your resolution? :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Narcissist

When did it become okay to be so self absorbed and narcissistic?
Don't you think the world is becoming a little bit of a shallow and vain place - to the point where we've accepted selfies as a norm, don't blink an eyelid at a girl snapping away at herself - and, for some of us, encourage this kind of behaviour?

Hey, I'm not totally innocent too. I've done my fair share of selfies. And, to be honest, I expect a selfie to be something that a younger person is more into, as opposed to an older one. (Don't you grow out of it?)

But here's the thing - social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it - these are all portals for you to unleash your inner narcissist. It's the time for you to post the best aspects of your life, to show how good looking you are, how many parties you attend, how much alcohol you're guzzling, how much travelling you're doing.

And...why?

Isn't it a privilege, your life? Isn't your life something a little special and precious, that deserves a modicum of mystery, at the very least least? You share the most important things about yourself with your closest friends and family - not to the 700 people on your Facebook list, 500 of them which you haven't seen in the last 10 years. (At least, for my Facebook anyway).

It's not just about selfies. It's about snapping a picture of everything you eat. After the 40th latte art, I don't care anymore. And, PS, you're drinking too much coffee.

Why do we need so much validation? What is it about us that craves other people clicking on the 'Like' button. And, when did it become okay for us to feel like this?

i once went off Facebook for about 3 months. Those were 3 good months, I was more productive, I didn't care what other people were doing, and I didn't care to share either what I was doing. What I learnt, during those 3 months, is that I felt a little more comfortable knowing I was doing my own thing, and not advertising it on Facebook. I don't need a 'Like' to tell me what I'm doing is right. If I like it, I damn well can 'Like' it myself - and physically, not only in a digital sphere of things. A colleague of mine thought I was crazy. She's much older than me and thought I was going through a midlife crisis. Getting off Facebook is by no means going through a midlife crisis. It's actually freeing large chunks of time for yourself, and it enables you to focus on what's really important in life and what you want to do.

I've also started hating people who take pictures nonstop at social gatherings. Sure, you take a couple of snaps to remember the moment. But when the entire evening is spent with you photographing the food, the plates, the chairs, the deco, people together in various permutations - it ruins the evening. You might argue you're doing all the work and therefore I shouldn't complain - but it bugs me. It annoys me. You can't have a conversation with a person who is glued to a camera (or Iphone, pick your weapon). And unless it's a freaking wedding, you don't need to have so many goddamn pictures just when you're out having a meal together.

Also, I noticed something on my Facebook. There are lots of large gatherings with 20 people or so, and everyone crams together for a group photo. Honestly...there isn't a story to this photo anymore. It just becomes a whole bunch of random people in a house to commemorate the meet up. They are all posed and staged photos - no real photos with people candidly laughing or enjoying themselves. What I'm trying to say, is that the essence of the photo is now lost.

That being said, am I being a hypocrite? I take a lot of selfies to send to my boyfriend, who lives in a different freaking continent. Sure, I don't post them up, but does the avenue of you doing it really matter?

Food for thought.


Unhealthy

Hello from Germany everybody!

It has been a great few days here so far - I had the best birthday ever! The boyfriend really surpassed himself and I was really not expecting such an amazing birthday, but it was just - perfect!
I'm not going to write about the details because I think some things are very special and should be kept close to my heart - but, it was just the most perfect birthday ever.

On another note, I have been having an incredibly growly stomach! I was speaking to the boyfie about my diet in Singapore, and I realize that probably all my problems are stemming from my lifestyle, stress and food.

When I get home, I'm intending on starting either a juice cleanse (probably not going to be as extreme as only drinking fresh juices for 3 days straight), but really I want to start being healthier, eating more fruits and generally not being so unhealthy.

Here's what a typical day is for me :

Have a coffee first thing in the morning. Not with water, not with anything else, just coffee. Call me dehydrated.

Lunchtime is normal - going out with my colleagues to eat stuff.

Teatime is snacks - more coffee or sweet drinks, chocolates, biscuits (whatever's around the office).

Dinner - sometimes I finish work late, at around 10pm. When that happens, I normally go home and sleep without dinner.

Man.

This really seems pretty unhealthy.

I never realized how unhealthy my diet was until I told my boyfriend about it. The next step is really to fix it and do something about it.

Cabbage soup anyone?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Airport

As I write this, I'm sitting in Abu Dhabi, squashed somewhat in a chair and my feet up on my trolley luggage. 

First off, what I want to say is that I am so, so, so proud of myself because of my packing!
This time along, I didn't bring as much stuff as I normally did, and in fact half of my suitcase is filled with presents, so I'm going to have a lot more space when I come home!

My trolley hand carry only has my two laptops, tablet, Kindle, my winter jacket and shoes. While this doesn't sound like much, it's heavy. It's so heavy that an air stewardess was glaring at me earlier when she tried shifting the bag - "It's heavier than 7kgs, you should have checked this in - *glare*". 

Pooh! No need to glare like that! To be honest, 3 kgs are probably from the shoes and the winter jacket.

Anyway, week round up!

It's been a very good week actually! I don't remember having such a good week in such a long time. I haven't felt this happy, or light, in a long time. 

One of the main contributing factors, I think, is really my team at work. It's nice to go out for lunch and have just..a really good time laughing about stuff. It's cathartic.

On a bad note, my stomach is growling all the time, especially during meetings. Talk about embarrassing! 

I'm really looking forward to seeing boyfriend again. Boyfriend! I'm coming!! Prepare yourself! I've brought some stuff for his parents - bak kua (I don't know how to translate this), mooncake, pineapple tarts, and kaya! (Just to give them a bit of a feel of South East Asia :) But i really hope the mooncake survives the journey...)

Okay, it's boarding time now! Bye bye everyone!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Double

Double standards.

Everyone knows them. We post articles on double standards on Facebook. Pantene Phillipines recently released a new ad - this one - that addresses double standards. Everyone acts as if this is revolutionary and great and as if they've never heard it before.

I like the ad. I agree with it, and I have no problem with it, and I think it's great that they're releasing something other than your stereotypical girl with shiny hair who's main aim in life is to get a guy. What i don't get, and what annoys me, however, are the reactions I get from the ad.

People act as if they've never thought about this before. If they haven't, I'm sorry, hello? These double standards have been existing for the past decades, and in the past 20 years, people sure haven't been silent about double standards.

But that's still not what really peeves me. What peeves me is people acting like this ad is great, and then going back to their daily lives of practising double standards.

It's very simple. If you don't want to live in a world of double standards, then don't.

If you want to be treated like an equal, then act like one.

This means relationships, and bills should be equal. (This is debatable - one partner could be much richer, both could genuinely enjoy not having to equally split everything, etc, but you get the idea).

Girls used to giggle in my school, joking about how when they get married - 'My money is mine, but my husband's money is mine too!'

Jokes like these, no matter how small and petty, contribute to this society of double standards. If we're equal, we're equal. We don't have to be princesses. We don't have to expect more just because we're female. Having this sort of expectation, this need for affirmative action, only reaffirms that we're weak, and we deserve less.

People then always say 'Yes, there is totally a huge double standard in society! Guys who have lots of sex are studs, and girls who have lots of sex are sluts! Yay to female equality, let's all go out and bang everyone and be proud!"

I think this is now being very selective and just looking for an excuse to be sexually promiscous. Personally, I think its equally gross. BUT, that's just my opinion. And I think if people want to go out there and be sexually promiscuous (or active, since that sounds better), then it is really their right to do so and I have absolutely no right to judge. But using this as a double standard, is just a weak and lame excuse to want to go and take off your clothes everywhere you go. Ew. If you want to go out there and multiply, go forth! Procreate! But don't come and use this double standard as an excuse.

I think that we're conditioned from young to be trained as the weaker sex. Expectations are less. We're put in pink frilly dresses (to be honest, even as an adult I still quite like pink frilly dresses, hee hee! :D) This is fine, this is not something we can control, but what we can control, is believing ourselves that we're weaker.

The Pantene ad shows how if a male is strong and aggressive he is depicted as a strong leader, but if a woman is one she's depicted as a bitch. But who's the one contributing to this? We, girls. We're the ones calling the women bosses the bitches for being tough. If we don't stop the way we think, if we don't change our perceptions, nothing is going to change. Pantene can come up with a new ad every five years, and we would be nodding our heads in agreement, then going back and doing exactly what we shouldn't.

So, girls. It's us. It's you and me, that's contributing to this double standard. Every time a female is in a bad mood and we joke about her having her period, that's a double standard.
(on a side note, people constantly say that to me. I would like to point out that I am just a genuinely cranky person all year round and my period has nothing to do with it.)

Every time we make an judgment based on someone's gender, that's a double standard. Every time we say things like 'I hate having a female boss, I'd rather have a male boss,' we are contributing to this. Then, be the female boss you want to me.

Personally, I've never really worked with a male boss so I can't tell the difference and I have no issue working with women. The boss I admire most and has been very instrumental in my growth is a really strong and dynamic lady - she's aggressive and demanding, but in no way is she a bitch. People need to understand the difference between being demanding and being bitchy is - bitchy is just personal, and a lot of men are equally, sometimes if not more, bitchy then some women I know.

So, let's stop this double standard. Let's be the people, the society that we want to be.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Respect

It's very difficult for me to have respect for fake people.

See, here's the thing. You and I might not get along, but I would have a lot more respect for you if you just were genuine, and behaved to me in a civil manner (or non-civil, if you wish) rather than being fake!

There is this person I know, who shall rename nameless.

I discovered, a few months back, that all along, while she promised to help me with something, she was pretty much doing the opposite. I'll give you an analogy to what she was doing. Imagine I have a crush on a guy, and she's being my wingman, analysing texts with me from this boy, etc. But secretly, she's going to this guy, and trying to hit on him herself! But all the while, she acts concerned in front of me.

(I repeat, this is an analogy).

So I found this out, and I was pretty disgusted. But no matter.

Then I discover that she's been going around saying a lot of things about me. Mean things, nasty things, trying to destroy my credibility, etc.

That's still fine. I mean, we all have opinions about people. I certainly have not been quiet about my dislike towards her.

But! The part I absolutely loathe, and find repulsive is that when she sees me she tries to cosy up to me. "Babe! Let's hang out! Let's catch up!"

First of all, I hope you get this through your brain, but my name is not Babe.

Second, I do not want to hang out with you. You, who are a horrible person, and who has been saying horrible things about me behind my back. But how can you be so fake? And how can you be so stupid? Don't you realize people tell me the things you say?

Third, you don't like me, and I don't like you. So let's just be civil to each other. There is no need for this mockery of .. I don't even know how to describe this! But it's absolutely disgusting and it shows me exactly what kind of a person you are.

So, no. I don't have any respect for you.

Consider yourself decluttered from my life.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

#minimalist

I am excited!

#minsgame time!

Now, as I write this, it's Day 1 of the challenge, and I will be documenting the stuff I'm getting rid of.
Of course, my definition of decluttering is going to be stretched a little bit - as long as this leaves my house and isn't clutter in my house, this means that it's going to be counted. Leaving my house means that it's leaving it either as

a) donations
b) trash
c) presents

Also, I have a lot of things I keep in boxes that I never use. What I'm doing this week is also taking out all the things I don't use, and actually start using them. Once finished using, these things are counted as decluttered. I don't care if you think this is cheating. I don't think the point of the game is to have a hard and fast rule of decluttering, but it's really to have less things (and not just to blindly throw things away because you've become so obsessed with winning a game) but because you're actually using things or finding new homes for them.

Before I begin, I would like to share with you what I have been getting rid off this past month.





So, day 1.

I've gotten rid of 10 items of clothing - scarf, pants, shirts. Now, 10 doesn't seem like a big deal, but bear in mind over the past 4 months, I've gotten rid of about 150 items of clothing and I haven't bought much new stuff, so actually finding 10 things that I don't like was a bit of a challenge.



The good thing of having less clothes? Your wardrobe is more utilized, more efficient.

Now, my friends all tell me that it's harder to declutter because I'm a girl and I work in a beauty company, so I'll want to be all fashionable and come to work in a different outfit every day. True, I have to say that girls do have more things than guys, but I don't think this is an excuse to be a pack rat. Anyway, my dream cupboard is to have a wardrobe that looks like JFM's - look at it here - which everyone tells me is impossible, because I am a girl, I have a shopping addiction, blah blah blah. I know I probably will never ever have something so clean and minimalistic (and how does he keep his white shirts so clean??) but by aiming to have something like that, I've already managed to pare down a lot of unnecessary stuff in my wardrobe.

Then I went through my box of candles, incense and matches. I used to have a real big thing for burning candles and incense - so I got rid of another 10 useless things from that box. It's amazing how clutter creeps up on you, how there are little boxes here and there to kind of add distraction into space.


My bathroom. Now, you might again say I'm cheating by saying I'm decluttering my shampoos, because doesn't everyone declutter shampoos naturally anyway? But, I'm the type of girl that has a great love for shampoos (I used to use 7 different shampoos at a time) so I have this habit of never finishing products. Everything in here is half - three quarters gone. By the time 19th of December rolls around, all these things will be finished using and sent for recycling, hence I consider this another 10 decluttered.
(Also, I'm restraining myself from opening new bottles of shampoos. Bear in mind, I have a giant box of nothing but shampoos and hair masks in there waiting to be opened! Hoarder, hoarder, I know!)
And, don't tell me to give away the shampoos and masks, because those things are really things that I will eventually be using, and I love using! Everyone needs to have their little pleasures in life, and one of mine is washing my hair, so there!



Face masks. I went through a phase in my life where I used a face mask every day, and my face was never smoother or brighter! (And not a pore in sight!)
I've abandoned that practise lately though (and my face is showing signs of neglect!) so I have decided to go back to that regime, and by that, I will be decluttering 30 masks in the month of December, easy peasy. (Often, I use two masks a day when my face really needs it).

Now you think I sound like a pampered beauty queen, but the point of doing this is, is really
a) decluttering stuff that's just staying in boxes
b) having a smooth face. Who says decluttering cannot contribute to your face??



Makeup.
I'd previously given 50 lipsticks away - now, bear in mind again, I work in a beauty company and for some reason, I've never learnt to be immune at a warehouse sale, or to stop going to one - and that's why I end up with so many products! I took a look at my makeup bag again, and got rid of 20 old products that are too old and I can't use anymore.



So there are 90 things down, another 410 items to go. Honestly, at this stage I really feel it's going to be super tough to get rid of 410 items when I estimate it took me about 4 months to get rid of about 300 items previously, but we will see how far this goes.

Day 2

I'm willing to admit I was way too ambitious, because I've been so busy at work I didn't have time to get rid of anything over the past three days.

Anyway! Salvation Army is coming over today, so I went scrounging around for more things I could get rid off.

3 pairs of shoes.



The flats, I bought six years ago (how time has flown!)
The gray heels, four years ago in Japan. If anyone wants to be minimalist, do not go shopping in Japan. You will come back with so much stuff!!! LOVE Japan!
I digress.
And the black pair of espadrilles, I got from Asos earlier, but they're about one size too small for me.

50 hangers.
When I moved, I brought all my hangers with me. Unfortunately, the hanging space I had at home is about 4 times the space I have here, so bye-bye hangers!

Presents - 10
I went to the L'Oreal the other day, and came back with a whole set of giftboxes. Some I had an idea of who I wanted to give, but some, I honestly only bought because I thought they were very pretty.



Nail polish / miscellanous - 10
Went through my bag of nail polishes, and got rid of those that I can't use anymore, have hardened, or i have no idea what they are.



Pouches and travel sets - 10
I seem to be a magnet for free pouches - i'm always getting pouches here and there, so I'm putting away all these pouches away to the Salvation Army. Some are brand new and I always thought I would get around to using them, but four years later, they're still wrapped in plastic. So, bye bye bags!



50 kabuki brushes.
For those of you who don't know what kabuki brushes are (i'm rolling my eyes at you, men!) they are the most awesome makeup brushes ever! They're soft and don't irritate your face and your makeup gets applied really evenly!
However, I don't need 50 of them. So, farewell kabuki brushes!
(in the past year, I've been only using 2 kabuki brushes. As I wash them daily, there's really no need to switch to new ones).



So far, only 220 items in total have been gotten rid off, and this is falling short of my ideal of 500.

I'm not too bugged about not winning this #minsgame (because I've been decluttering so much over the past months there's not too much to declutter anyway) but what I have learnt is that this idea of minimalism, or decluttering, is something that is constant and not something that you only do once a year.

I never would have thought, that after getting rid of so much stuff, I still would have 200 things to get rid off. Yes, a lot of them are very small, but these things are very insidious, and well, every little bit adds up.

Decluttering isn't something you do one off. Somehow, you're always going to have little bits of clutter every day, whether it's something as basic as receiving flyers, or a nail polish you don't use anymore. It really is incredibly freeing, when you get rid of things.

I'm very proud of myself! One year ago, I was a huge packrat. I hoard, hoard, hoard (there is still some hoarding going on, if you take a peek at all the shampoos I stow away) but it's so much better. I've found that I save so much more money and time. Money, because I realize I don't buy so much anymore, and time, because I don't spend so much time rooting through stuff to look for them.

I used to have 50 pairs of shoes, I now have 15. (Please don't ask me to go down to 5. Please.)
I used to have 4 large makeup bags, I now have 1.
I used to have so many clothes (I'm not sure how to estimate this) but now I have a quarter of what I used to have.

So, you try it!!
I'm sure you'll discover lots of things about yourself whilst doing it - discovering what you need, what you don't, and what you thought you wanted but ended up never using.

Bye from me for now!

Monday, December 2, 2013

#minsgame

I have this plan for the week.

My plan is to play the #minsgame (which is a month-long game) but I'm squashing it in a week.

For those still wondering what a #minsgame is - look here. 

Ok, now that you know what it is, I'm going to run into a few problems here.

First of all, I'm not too much of a packrat anymore. Heck, I have two giant bags of clutter that I've already gotten out to donate to the Salvation Army. No, I'm not going to cheat and take stuff out of there to contribute to the #minsgame.

(...though I am very tempted).

But no. I'm going to attempt to minsgame myself out of stuff, while living in a relatively empty 40sqm apartment. (The only things that I have A LOT of, are makeup and products).

And, instead of doing it over a month, I'm doing it in a week because :

a) I'm heading to Europe mid December, where the game will really start to heat up :D

b) I have already arranged for Salvation Army to come to my house this Saturday to collect donated stuff. I might as well give them stuff then.

Holy crap, I just did a calculation on my Excel sheet. This means that in 5 days, I have to get rid of 496 items.

....I don't think I have 496 items in my house to get rid off.

Anyway, I will update on Saturday, to see how far along I have come with this :)

And I might cheat a bit. I might start decluttering my office if I run out of stuff to declutter in my home.

To declutter and beyondddd!!!