Thursday, January 29, 2015

EXIST OR LIVE

Came across this article when I was surfing the Internet the other day and I'm glad I took some time to finish reading it. Sharing it here as I feel that everyone of us needs a reminder like this once in a while. 

This was a speech by Pulitzer Prize-Winning author, Anna Quindlen at the graduation ceremony of an American university where she was awarded an Honorary PhD. 

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I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree: there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank accounts but also your soul. 

People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter's night, or when you're sad, or broke or lonely, or when you've received your test results and they're not so good. 

Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let me work stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my friends and they to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cut out. But I call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, at best mediocre at my job if those other things were not true. 

You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are. So here's what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger pay cheque, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm on afternoon, or found a lump in your breast?

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze at the seaside, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water, or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick a up sweet with her thumb and first finger.

Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love in not leisure, it is work. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beer and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good too, then doing well will never be enough. 

It's so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours and our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color our kids' eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of to live. 

I learned to live many years ago. 

I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on baby's ear. Read in the back yard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. and think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion as it ought to be lived. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

15 BEFORE 16

"Every New Year allows you to start a new phase of life's journey with optimism and confidence. 
Take the wheel as the captain of your own ship, chart your course and get on your way. 
There may be rough seas ahead, but there will also be enough achievement, growth, reconciliation and true joy to make the journey worth it."
~ Michael Josephson

Hello everyone,

I hope you had a great start to 2015!

While the rest of the world reflected about the last year and wrote their resolution(s) at the start of the year, I've only managed to start doing so recently.

It had been a whirlwind of activities and celebrations ever since I returned from San Francisco, so much that I barely had time to rest. It didn't help that I came down with flu, sore throat and the works. Not once but twice. Still, it's better late than never.

Last year I created a list 14 resolution/tasks/challenges/goals which I'd hope to achieve before 2015.  That list served as a constant reminder and helped me work towards my goals and I'm happy that I crossed out 11 out of 14. Some areas needed improvement and then there are some which has become a daily habit, so don't be surprised if you see something familiar pops up in this year's list.

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1. BE GRATEFUL

I put this at the top of my list again because I believe that we should express gratitude everyday. Doesn't matter whether it's for something big or small. You will be surprise how it affects you. This year, rather than just giving thanks in my heart, I got myself a Gratitude Journal and have been writing in it every night before bedtime.

2. A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE

Started running again after 10 years and I almost died the first time I ran. Now I can at least run 2.4km without feeling like my lungs are going to collapse. It might not be a long distance but it's a huge improvement for me. Aside from running, I've also been swimming at least once a week. Trying to swim twice a week this year. A healthier lifestyle also means sleeping before the clock strikes twelve, eating more vegetables and drinking more water.

3. CREATE

The second half of last year saw my passion for design took a backseat due to the hectic work schedule. This year I want to make more time to create and design. Be it nail art, flower arrangements, or crafting.

4. LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE

I've always been interested in learning Spanish but have been putting it off. No more excuses this year.

5. LEARN TO PLAY THE KEYBOARD

One of my childhood dream was to learn to play the piano; I love the soothing melody that a piano can create and piano music never fails to calm me down. Due to space constraints, I won't be able to get a piano so the alternative is the keyboard. I've been thinking about it for years and I'm going to make sure that it happens this year.

6. SING MORE

I love to sing and used to sing often. Over the years I sang less, and I realised how much I miss singing. So this year, I'm going to sing as often as I can. In the shower, at the KTV, in my room, whenever I can.

7. TRY EVERYTHING AT LEAST ONCE

I'm a creature of habit and I want to break away from that. Having done this a couple of times recently, I must say I'm surprised by the results of some of it.

8. START SAYING NO

Ever been in a situation where you are tired after a long day at work and all you do is to stay at home but your co-workers want you to join them for some after work activities? Say no and you will probably get labelled as anti-social. Say yes and you end up feeling all tired and grouchy. I had caught in similar situations so many times and this year, I decide that I'm going to take a stand and say NO. My well-being is more important, period.

9. GET OUT MORE

Instead of staying home all weekend, I figured it's time for me to go out more. Check out the places or cafes which I've been meaning to do but just did not get down to doing it. Watch the movies that i want to. Or simply going for a walk around the neighbourhood.

10. MORE SOLO ADVENTURES

I only realised how much I miss going on solo trips after the trip to San Francisco. Those were the days when I would travelled alone, visiting places I want to, when I want to. Meeting people and making new friends. Creating treasured memories.

11. SPEND TIME WITH THOSE I CARE

If you know me well enough, you'll know I'm one who treasured relationships/friendships. Sad to say I have not been spending enough time with the people I hold close to my heart in the last year due to work commitments. So this year, I want to make more effort and take more time of schedule for those who truly cares and have always been by side. Moreover, it's been proven that spending time with those you care makes you happier!

12. GIVE MORE

Giving here does not simply mean giving money. I want to give my time, to help those in need.

13. ROOM MAKEOVER

This has been long overdue. There are all these ideas I have in my head but somehow I never got down to planning it. Time to put the ideas and thoughts in action this year!

14. MAKE TIME

Make time to do what I want, what I love. Basically all that are listed in this list.

15. FALL IN LOVE

Contrary to belief, I didn't choose to remain single by choice. With a huge chunk of time taken up by my full-time job and the rest split between whatever commitments I have, I barely have time to rest less date. Moreover I rarely meet any new people. Which is why this is at the bottom of the list. It's something which I hope will happen, but if it doesn't, life still goes on.

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So this is my list for this year. It might look daunting but I'm confident that I'll be able to achieve all if not 90% of them. 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

HAPPY 2015!

"Today is the first blank page of a 365 pages book. Write a good one."

Here's to an amazing year filled with new adventures, beautiful moments, treasured memories
and all the blessings a heart can know. 

Happy 2015 everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A PRAYER

"Loving someone is holding them close when they are down, drying the tears streaming down their face,
feeling your heart skip a beat when they smile, telling them to take care and to be careful,
forgetting the world when you just hold their hand, and loving the sparks in their eyes,
even though you might be the only one who notice them."
To say that 2014 has been a bad year for the aviation industry would be an understatement. First, the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines MH370 which remains a mystery till now, then second air tragedy when MH17 was shot down near the Ukraine-Russia border. Just when we thought that it couldn't get any worse, we woke up to the devastating news of AirAsia flight QZ8501 last Sunday. 

In short, flight QZ8501, carrying 162 people bound for Singapore from Surabaya lost contact with air traffic controllers about an hour after take-off. Minutes later, it disappeared from the radar. Search operation started immediately with some false alarms. Today, the third day of the operation, the missing QZ8501 has been found. Debris of the from QZ8501 was sighted off Pangkalan Bun near West Kalimantan and a suspected "shadow" of what could be the missing jet had been spotted as well. As of 8.30pm, 3 bodies (instead of 40 which had been reported earlier) had been recovered from the debris site. 

The tragedy of flight QZ8501 hit me hard; the route is too close to home, Surabaya was a destination that I flew to on a weekly, at times a daily basis back when I was still an air stewardess and also I had just flown on an AirAsia flight earlier this month to Kuala Lumpur. 

It's been many years since I left the airline but a part of me has been and always will be with SilkAir. And each time I read the news of an air tragedy, it never fails to break my heart. 

So, as we start preparing for the new year, let us take a moment and pray for each and every one of those who has lost a family member, a loved one to an air tragedy. May each of them have the strength and fortitude in this time of grief. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

JOLLY, MERRY CHRISTMAS

Simple joys, little pleasures, laughter and smiles in big measures. 
Family, friends, togetherness, love.
The choicest blessings from above. 
Peace, prosperity and happiness too. 
All these and many more are my wishes for everyone of you. 
May your Christmas sparkle with joy and goodwill.
Wishing you a beautiful and divine Christmas. 
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST

"Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl.
But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart. 
Filled it too with melody that would last forever."

It's Christmas Eve! One more sleep to my favourite time of the year!

I hope everyone's done with their Christmas shopping. If not, there's still some time for that last minute shopping. 

Getting ready for the Christmas party with the folks at work in a bit. And what's Christmas without some Christmas songs to get into the mood? 

Have curated a playlist with my favourite Christmas tracks that I start listening to as early as November. Hope you guys like it!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

NAILS TALK: A ENGLAND ELIZABETH AND MARY COLLECTION

REVIEW
*These products were  provided to me for my honest opinion and review.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Today I'm excited to share the new A England Elizabeth and Mary collection with you. Inspired by "2 iconic Queens in British history", this collection consists of 5 new beautiful shades created by the talented Adina, creator of A England. 

It's no secret that the formula of A England's polishes are flawless and the formula for these 5 polishes are no exception. Application was a breeze and 1 coat was required to reach opacity but I went with 2 coats out of habit. 

Let us now take a look of the beauties!
First up, Virgin Queen, described as an antique white/silver/bronze holographic shade. This is the most interesting shade out of the 5; it's hard to describe the colour. Shades of antique gold, bronze and silvery brown can be seen with a dash of subtle holographic powder infused. A finish that's metallic yet not really metallic. A unique and shade that's suitable for Autumn and Winter.
Next, Crown of Thistles, a gorgeous vibrant purple holo polish. The colour matches that of Scotland's national flower as described by Adina. A fantastic colour that's suitable for the year-end parties!
Next we have Queen of Scots, a rich, vampy royal blue. What I like about this is the deep blue shade and shimmer, it's so different from the usual royal blue shade. Another perfect shade for Autumn and Winter. 
Next is Gloriana, a metallic rusty red foil polish with gold flecks. This beauty has a luxurious and warm feel to it and is one polish that's perfect for Christmas!
Last but not least, we have Fotheringhay Castle, a mossy green shade with scattered holo. This was a surprise winner for me. I did not expect myself to fall in love with it when I first laid eyes on it, but I was sold after the I painted the first coat. If you are tired of always wearing red polish for Christmas, then I highly recommend wearing this for a change. This is one polish that every polish lover ought to have. 
As a bonus, I decided to create 2 different looks using 4 polishes from this collection. First a dotticure with Crown of Thistles as the base colour and Virgin Queen for the dots. 
And then it was simple fish tail design using Gloriana and Fotheringhay Castle. Doesn't colour combination reminds you of Christmas? 

This is one collection that totally blew me off. Unique colours, flawless formulas, and easy application, it's really difficult to not love them. 

A England polishes are available here and are also stock at Mei Mei's Signatures here. Do also follow them on their respective social media accounts for the latest dips on upcoming collections and new colours. 

A England on Facebook | A England on Instagram
Mei Mei's Signatures on Facebook | Mei Mei's Signatures on Instagram

Friday, November 14, 2014

LIVE, LOVE AND HOARD

TGIF! It always feels good when Friday comes around; it's when I can unwind after a busy week. On a typical Friday evening, I'm either out with my friends else you will find me at home in the company of my books or going on movie marathon (too many books to read and movies to watch but too little time). 

Today however, it's not books or movies. Feeling a sense of accomplishment as I'd just done up the Christmas presents shopping list! 40 more days to Christmas and I figured I'd get started early.

As much as I enjoyed presents shopping for my loved ones, there are times when I would have a hard time cracking my brain for gift ideas. When it comes to presents, I prefer something personalised or unique, and definitely something which the recipient will use. I'm sure no one likes to receive a present which they have no use for.
So, the other day I was cracking my head and having a hard time what to get for my crafter friends who have almost every craft equipments/supplies. Just when I was able to give up, Live Love Hoard came to the rescue!

Live Love Hoard stocks exclusive and limited edition mt tapes that are only sold during mt Expos around the world. Looking for cute stationery products to decorate your scrapbooking pages, Filofax or cards? Look no further for Live Love Hoard stocks them too!

My mind went crazy when I saw the exquisite mt tapes and before I knew it, I had purchased four rolls of tapes! If I had my way, I would have purchased one of each design but thankfully, I managed to control myself and resist the temptation.

Let's take a closer look at my choice of tapes.
Top: mt Online Cardboard
Center: mt Osaka Expo - English
Bottom: mt Online Barcode
mt Christmas 2013 - Snow Scene
What impressed me was the personalised touches which Trisha, owner of Live Love Hoard added to the packaging. Personalised name tag with a hand-written thank you note (not shown here). Honestly, in today's world, not many people would make the effort to write a thank you note, so double brownie points for that!

New arrivals for November are up on Live Love Hoard, with exclusive and limited edition mt tapes from the recent mt Expo in Taiwan, check them out here. 

For updates and information on new arrivals/launches, follow @livelovehoard on Instagram and/or sign up for  the newsletter here.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

URBAN DECAY 2014 HOLIDAY COLLECTION

Hello everyone! Hope you guys are having an awesome Saturday so far. 

Can't believe I'm back for a week. It's been a crazy week, clearing backlogs, spending time with friends and unpacking. Though I'm still missing San Francisco, it certainly feels good to be back home, in the company of my loved ones. Now that I'm done with the unpacking, it's time to start preparing for Christmas, which is a month away!

Speaking of Christmas, Urban Decay recently launched the 2014 Holiday Collection. It was a bummer that I had to give the Urban Decay 2014 Holiday showcase at Sephora Ion a miss as I was in Brazil then. But, but, a pleasant surprise awaited me when I returned home from my trip. This was what I found waiting for me when I got home.
URBAN DECAY VICE3 PALETTE
For the uninitiated, the Urban Decay Vice Palette is released every year and the Vice3 is the third palette to be released. What I love about this year's palette is the sleek design and how it comes with a complimentary pouch. The size is big enough to fit an iPad mini too. How cool is that?
The Urban Decay Vice3 palette contains 20 stunning, velvety, never-seen-before eyeshadow shades; matt and metallic, warm and cool colours; all you need to satisfy your eyeshadow cravings. The Vice3 is also a limited edition palette with only 2,000 pieces available in Singapore.

I love how there's a good mixture of colours, how you can play and mix around with the different colours. This is one palette that I will be bringing along for my trips future. Not more lugging around different cases of eyeshadows. 

Coming right up, swatches of the eyeshadows (top to bottom, by columns). This is my first time doing swatches like these, and I definitely need to practise more, so my apologies if it isn't up to your standard. 
URBAN DECAY NAKED ILLUMINATED SHIMMERING POWDER FOR FACE AND BODY (AURA)
The Naked Illuminated Shimmering Powder for Face and Body is a lightweight baked, smooth, silky powder with a sophisticated microfine shimmer. It contains light-reflecting particles that creates a luminous and radiant look, something which I'm pretty sure everyone loves. 
I'm a sucker for beautiful packaging and the Naked Illuminated Shimmering Powder for Face and Body won me over with its gorgeous packaging, with a warm, abstract marbled effect. 

It comes also with a generous size mirror, and a brush housed in a separate compartment, just underneath the powder. This is like the perfect gift for any Urban Decay fan!
Aura is tad rosier than the original shade and it creates this beautiful warm glow. 

Personally I feel that the soft pink shimmer with gold iridescent sparkle is too much for the cheekbones, but it's fantastic on the shoulders and collarbones. 
Urban Decay's entire 2014 Holiday line-up is now available at all Sephora stores. It includes the following beauty weapons:

1. Vice3 Palette, RP: S$88
2. Naked2 Basics, RP: S$45
3. Shadow Box, RP: S$52
4. Naked Illuminated Shimmering Powder for Face & Body, RP: S$43
5. Black Magic 24/7 Pencil Eyeliner Set, RP: S$
6. Naked Basics Double-Ended Brush  

If you are fretting over what to get for your girl friends this Christmas, you may consider the Vice3. It definitely makes a great gift and is sure to bring a smile to the recipient's face. So, hurry down to the nearest Sephora store and shop away!

Till the next, stay gold!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

NAILS TALK: POLISHED BY KPT OPHELIA'S LOVE

Happy Movember everyone!

Can't believe I'm back here on this sunny island after being away for two and a half weeks. They say time often flies past when you are having fun and I couldn't agree more. I'm gonna save my thoughts about the trip for another post, all I can say now is that the decision to go on the trip was one of the best choices I made this year. 

All right, let's get back to talking about one of my favourite topic, nail polish! 

This particular brand I'm sharing today is no stranger to Nails Talk or on my Instagram account. Her thermal polishes are one of the best and so far, I'd not have any problems with her polishes, especially the thermals. And this particular brand is...Polished by KPT, one of the best indie polish brand around with a lovely and sweet creator, Katherine.
Ophelia's Love, a purple thermal polish is one half of "The Unrequited" duo set. To quote Katherine, "Ophelia's Love represents a delicate, yet passionate soul.
Ophelia's Love, a black-gray base thermal filled with violet shifting flakes transforms to a sheer pinkish violet with gold and green hues when it's warm.
The contrast between the deep purple and fair lilac is absolutely stunning. Photos do them no justice, they looked way better in real life.
When cold, it transforms from the sheer pinkish violet into a stunning deep purple.

I can go on and on about how much I love Polished by KPT's thermal polishes but the best is for you to try one yourself. If you have never tried any of her thermal polishes, I say, don't wait anymore. Polished by KPT's polishes are available on her web store here. For local polish lovers, Polished by KPT is stocked at Beauty So Fly.

And don't forget you can be updated on new collections launches and colours by following Polished by KPT and Beauty So Fly at their respective Facebook Page and Instagram accounts.