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Today’s learn

So I’ve just found out I have about 20minutes to write before I reach Milan Malpensa Airport.

The initial plan was to do it like a self conscious streamline on my Moleskine limited edition Beauty A5 lined notebook, but the bus ride is a little too bumpy to do so, so here I am.

I always say I don’t know how to begin but I always end up with long winded introduction.

I was suppose to finish my Girls’ trip to Milan day 3 and final draft this morning. Then I felt like I was just telling stories of what happened on day 3. It was a good trip, a good day 3, but do I need to tell a story on what happened? What do I get from it? Will I come back and read that someday to remind me what happened? How does that improve my life quality? I know I wasn’t writing for my readers, which I don’t think there’s any, honestly, I was writing it for myself. But, why was I writing it when I couldn’t answer the above questions? Was I writing for the sake of writing? Or was I writing so I could mark of the task on my to-do list? I’m confused.

I went thru some photos of that trip, reminded me I should plan another trip to bring mom and sister. We should have more girls time together. Photos or not, blog post or not, I guess is the memories of spending quality time that matters. The memories will be ours, no one else. That is what matters.

With that, I’ll still complete my post, well, just in case I want to have something to look back. But I will constantly remind myself the purpose of me writing, a memory for myself (and mom and sis if they would like to read), and that’s it.

I used to write more spontaneously, what changed?

Is the idea of being presentable (so-called) that looks good on instagram and facebook, try to make things as ‘perfect’ as possible, then I saw this video called Done is better than perfect. Start before you are ready! by Aileen Xu, or her YouTube name Lavendaire. So it reminds me why am I being inconsistent in getting things done. Being a (occasional) perfectionist, sometimes I like to make things perfect and sometimes I just don’t. And when I don’t, probably I’ll get things done quicker. The result might not be the one I’ll be proud of, but I’ve got things done, rather than keep thinking I must make sure everything is perfect. And what I could do is to review my result and learn how to make things better (just like when I’m experimenting with my bullet journal). But that doesn’t mean I’m not giving out my best, that is actually the best I could do at that point of time, with the limited resources I have at the moment.

So yeah, that’s my learn for today. My 20 minutes is up. I’m gonna label this post as another today’s learn. After all, life is a learning process. We learn from everyone and we learn everyday. Keep an open mind and keep learning!

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Let me begin this post with, I am writing the girls’ trip to Milan (Day 3) tomorrow.

I’ve learned this from a book called Eat the Frog or Eat the Frog first, something like that. It’s a book about overcoming procrastination, by tackling the most difficult task FIRST. So here I am, tackling this once-was-the-easiest-task-but-it’s-now-totally-not task — posting on time and committed to complete by far the most re-scheduled tasks in my journal.

I’m supposed to do the girls’ trip today. But I didn’t. I could have used the time now to draft that instead of this, but I choose to do this. Which made me realized, I’m more motivated to post inspirational/ motivational/ lesson-learned kind of posts compared to travelogue or reviews. Maybe it’s for me to narrow down to a few topic that truly inspires me, rather than juggling too many balls at the same time.

I’d like to dedicate this post to a friend of mine. Technically, she was more known to me as my friend’s girlfriend. Although I have met her a few times, we didn’t have the opportunity to talk to each other on a more personal level. She was several years younger than me, but she passed away due to dengue recently. I didn’t know dengue could be so deadly and it happened so fast and so unexpectedly.

Needless to say, the incident leaves my friend an unimaginable impact. Who would have guessed this? A little girl passed away at her twenties just like that. Life is so fragile. Was my first thought.

I met up with this friend yesterday, slightly a month after the incident. My intention was to check on him, see how’re things going on his side. Obviously, I wouldn’t expect to see him happy, but as a friend, I want to show support. I tried to be extra careful with my choice of word, I rehearse at least 2 times everytime before I say something. I know any kind of question or word will trigger his sadness. I mean, there really isn’t anything I could do to help someone feel better in this kind of situation.

After the conversation with my friend, here are my thoughts:

  1. Be the supportive friend and family, especially at times like that.
  2. Sometimes less is more. It’s applicable to words too.
  3. Memories could either heal or kill a person.
  4. We need to tell ourselves we don’t need to experience to learn.
  5. Quality is always more important than quantity.
  6. Live life to the fullest and don’t give yourself any chance to regret.

Things that we have been told over and over again, by the wise, by the experienced, yet, they don’t hit us until the very moment things occur. Let’s not take anything or anyone for granted. Biggest lesson learned today. And that is the lesson to be remembered for life.

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Fashion mistakes and tips by Miss Louie

Ever since I’ve started my capsule wardrobe, I had been looking up for articles and videos about how to choose the ‘perfect‘ pieces for my wardrobe. As far as fashion is concerned, there’s no ‘perfect’ pieces because, well, trend comes and goes and it might still come back a few years later.

Instead of shopping blindly, or rather having only the very basics in my wardrobe, I needed guidance on finding my style and how to shop for my wardrobe. Then I came across Miss Louie, a fashion blogger/ YouTuber’s channel. I like her fashion style the moment I saw her and started to pick up tips and tricks on fashion. She does videos like fashion hauls, ideas for capsule wardrobes, seasonal lookbooks and bullet journal (something I’m very into as well).

Here are some tips she shared.

Fashion Mistakes and Tips by Miss Louie

  • DON’T go sales crazy
    • Evaluate your closet and create a wishlist before shopping to get only stuff that you really need.

“Even though it’s on sales, it doesn’t worth anything if you don’t actually need it” – Miss Louie

  • Don’t buy things that DON’T FIT you
    • Know your body (and style) and know what makes you feel best/ comfortable.
  • Don’t buy into every trend
    • Hanger test: everytime you wear a piece, put the hanger backwards, it represents the style that you are gravitate to and things that you are going to wear. It helps when you review your style.
    • Get one or two pieces of trendy pieces if you do want to try out a certain trend, and see how often you’d go to those pieces. Decide if you really do like the style and how to incorporate them into your closet.
  • Know your POWER COLORS
    • Observe the color you tend to wear MOST OFTEN (colors that have almost never appeared in your closet probably means they aren’t your favorite colors to wear and most likely you won’t be wearing even if you have them)
    • Harmonize the color scheme in your closet and allow them to mix and  match better.
  • Buy things that are VERSATILE
    • Go for item that can be integrated into 3 or 4 different outfits or looks that you ALREADY have in your closet.
    • Ask yourself if that piece can be worn in different ways.


Do check out Miss Louie on YouTube if you find the tips useful! That’s all I have for today, till them!
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First learning point from Capsule Wardrobe

While proofreading my previous post on Capsule Wardrobe, I went to my closet and re-analyse my wardrobe.

As I have mentioned in my previous post, I have three instead of one capsule wardrobe. One being the smaller version of a capsule wardrobe at my parents’ place, and the other two is kind of a combo of summer and winter wears due to the nature of my job. I thought I could make the summer wears work for winter weather as well by layering up but I totally forgot about the extreme cold or warm weather. So I decide to separate the two for real. For example, instead of having 3 pairs of bottoms for both winter and summer, I have 2 pairs of bottoms for winter and 2 pairs for summer.

I thought the multi seasonal-combo closet is a good idea because it had been working for the past few weeks until I realized the only reason it worked was because I haven’t really been to places that are extremely cold in the past few weeks. So I made the change. Hah!

The initial idea was to try that closet for 3 months and see how things go before making any changes, but the more I look at it, the more I feel the need to change. So that’s my first learning point: when trying out something new, be it a concept or a product, it should fit into our lifestyle instead of changing our lifestyle to fit into it. A good concept should improve our lives rather than making it more difficult. Experiment a few more times by switching things up to rather than adjusting yourself to them will maximise the benefit and create your own style.

After the small change I’ve made to my capsule wardrobe, I find myself enjoying the wardrobe more now! I adjusted from the initial idea of 3 pieces from 12 categories (tank, blouse, long sleeves, button up, shorts, pants, skirt, dress, coats, flats, covered shoes and heels) by changing the categories into just 5 categories (tops, bottoms, dress, outerwear and footwear). In that way, I could introduce more tank and blouse into the spring and summer closet, or more long sleeves and pants into the autumn and winter closet, if that make sense.

That’s all I have for today. Leave me comments on what do you think about capsule wardrobe! Till then!

 

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Building My Capsule Wardrobe

I came across the concept of capsule wardrobe recently and decided I would create one. Or maybe three, for a few reasons. First is the nature of my job. I travel all the time (from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere) where the season changes almost every subsequent day, and I need to get outfits for all seasons ready. I can’t rotate my clothes once every 3 months hence I created the second closet.

Secondly, I have more than one closet, literally more than one physical closet. I am currently not staying with my parents. So instead of moving my clothes here and there all the time (I do visit them few days monthly, sometimes it could be up to a week), I decide that I will just create another one so I have something to wear whenever I am visiting. And that was the birth of my third closet.

To create these closets, the first step was to clear things that I’m no longer wearing. I do clean up my closet every year and this is by far the biggest cleanup I have ever done. I started by watching a video on how to build a capsule wardrobe by the YouTuber called Use Less. Use Less provides a step-by-step guide on how she created her own wardrobe. She describes her channel as “to inspire women to buy less, choose more carefully and have fun with a systematic and more minimal approach to their wardrobe“, which I totally agreed. I emptied up my closets and divided them into piles. No surprise, even though I have a lot in my NO pile, I still have way too many in my YES pile.

So, I looked for more articles about capsule wardrobe. I referred to The Every Girl and Unfancy, both are fashion and lifestyle bloggers, on choosing the pieces that will go into my closet (Unfancy created a free printable wardrobe planner which I find it very useful in wardrobe planning and understanding your fashion style).

After a final selection, I hung up all the pieces and decided that I would only wear those for the next 3 months (or probably more than 3 months). The first two closets are kind of like a combo of summer and winter wear – I’ll choose pieces that I thought would be suitable for both summer and winter, and expand the category to outerwear and thick outerwear, so I would only need to add layers or thermal underneath my summer wear. add a few categories like I try to make the summer closet suitable for winter as well, by choosing pieces that I could wear layers and thermal underneath and added a few thick jackets), and divided those that weren’t selected into two categories. The first category is clothes that are not being selected but they are still my all time favorite or carry sentimental values. I could go back and rotate my closet if I find myself missing a certain outfit and even choose to replace the one that’s already in the closet once it gets old. The second category is simple – clothes that I’m ready to give away.

Then left my maybe and occasional/ seasonal piles. I divided them into two categories: the first category is pieces that hold sentimental values or pieces that I still see myself wearing. They are now nicely kept in a vacuum sealed bag and sitting in the drawer. I could go back and rotate my closet if I find myself missing a certain outfit and even choose to replace the one that’s already in the closet once it gets old. The second category is simple – clothes that I’m ready to give away.

My current closet is mostly things that I’ve already owned because I’m still finding my style and I do not want to waste more money on purchasing things that I might end up giving away. So yeah, I do not have any picture of the current closet to share now. Maybe someday in the future, when I’ve figured out my style, then I might consider sharing them here.

Yeah, that’s all I have for today. Thank you once again for dropping by! I’ll be sharing more on this topic in the future like why makes me go minimal, things that I’ve learned from going minimal, mistakes I’ve done in the past etc. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts! Till then!

 

Xoxo.

 

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Girls’ Trip to Milan (Day 2)

After a well rested night, we started day 2 with a food tour. Booked the Milan Food Tour online just two days before our departure to Milan. It was highly recommended by my cousin, who just visited Milan few weeks before us. It’s a 3-hours Food Tour in Brera, which is the oldest neighborhood in Milan, and the size of the group varies depending on how many people book the tour. There was about 9 of us that day which I’d thought it was a pretty good size.

The meeting point was in front of a pastry shop called Panificio Pattini. We arrived around 10 am and apparently that pastry shop was our first stop. After the headcount, we went in and were served with a cup of coffee of our choice (the tour lady recommended cappuccino) and a pastry, I think it was the pasticiotti (mini pastries or pies with a tender crust and rich ricotta or custard filling). The tour lady also explained how Italian loves to stand by the counter and talk to the barista while they prepare their coffee and newspapers that local reads. It was a quick coffee fix before we headed to our second stop – Parma & Co.

There were people inside the deli preparing for business around 11.15 am but it only opens to the public after 12 pm. Our tour group was allowed to go in and was served 3 different types of Parma ham and assorted cheese. The tour lady shared some history of the deli, different cuts and parts of a pig and how the selection of cow milk affect the taste of the cheese. So much input for a morning! Haha!

After that, we continued our tour with more walking, which was good for digestion since we have another 4 more stops to go. We walked about 500 meters and arrived at Grassi e Rossi. It is a gourmet grocery store and has 4.8 out of 5 stars rating on Google based on 5 reviews. It’s like a one-stop-for-all-your-pasta-needs and they do have some outdoor seating in case you are interested in having a quick bite before continuing your day. We were given one risotto alla Milanese each to taste. Basically, it’s a fried rice ball with melted cheese inside. That’s my understanding of this Milanese style risotto.

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And we finally arrived the 4th stop of our tour, Jamaica dal 1911 Ristorante bar. It’s a hundred and six years old bar, as you may have guessed from the name itself. Everything interior including furniture, tiles, bar setup and even the toilet is from more than a century ago! A bar that witnessed history. Haha! It is also a popular place for students to chill out especially it’s located near the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. And the bar printed its business card into a postcard! I love that idea so much because not only we could send the postcard home, we would have the name and address of the place we’ve been to printed on it! Who knows we might want to go back there again and we do not have to search everywhere to look for their name and address. Brilliant idea!

After finishing our drinks, we walked another 800 meters for some meatballs at Antico Pastificio Moscova. It’s an old pasta shop where they sell traditional Italian home-cook food supplies. We got to try two different types of meatballs: beef and veal, which I personally prefer the beef ones. One fun fact about this place is they can cook in your cookware. If you bring your own cookware, they will do the cooking for you, in your cookware. I’m guessing this is to reduce waste, like bring-your-own-tumbler-when-you-buy-coffee kind of idea, but it also makes it looks like you are the one who did the cooking! Hah! Another brilliant idea especially for those busy housewives who need a me-day once in a while.

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Could you guess what’s next?

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YES! You guessed right. DESSERT! Hahaha! How could we complete a food tour in Milan without some gelato? So the next station, Tasta.

 

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Tasta

 

 

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Can you tell mom is pretty excited about the ice cream?

 

 

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My choice of gelato: Chocolate and cheese something. =D

They offer a variety of flavors, as most of the ice cream shops do, and I have yet to try all of them, but I do like my choice of chocolate and cheese. But according to mom and sister, they prefer the one they had the day before, which is located near Duomo. I did not get to try that (because I did not join them for the rest of Day 1) but this was not bad for my enjoyment.

By the time we finished our food tour, it was already 1.30 pm. We had been eating non-stop for the past 3 hours and it’s time for shopping. We walked around Brera and Sempione park for an hour or two, and then took a bus to Via Monte Napoleone and sat down at Pasticceria Cova, located along via Montenapoleone, the upscale shopping street in Milan, for some afternoon tea. It has a beautiful interior and offers a great selection of handcraft pastries, an ideal place to relax and chat after the long 3-hours walking.

We decided we can’t do much later that evening because we have booked our tour to Bellagio and Lake Como the day after. So we headed to Don Raffaele for some pizza and pasta before calling it a day.

Hah! The second half of the day was pretty free and easy considering we did not have anything planned specifically, except for enjoying the mother and daughters time. It was also sister’s birthday so we got her a slice of cake from Don Raffaele (Cova has a good selection of pastries but not so much on cakes) and had our small celebration back in the hotel. There was nothing big but I think she had enjoyed the day! Lolz!

 


Day 3 and 4 will be out somewhere in the week. Stay tuned!

 

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Girls’ Trip to Milan (Day 1)

This is a long due post. I’ve already known how to begin this post but I just couldn’t get myself to sit down to do it. But I’ve decided, today is the day. I will not postpone it anymore.

It was something impromptu. It only took less than two days to decide, a few days to plan and execute (well, it was just a short trip).

When I knew I was going to Milan, I asked mom if she’d like to join me on that trip. Mom, who does not travel very often and had never traveled without my dad, hesitated a little when I asked. I booked her ticket either way and left the final decision to her. There was so much uncertainty.

As time went by, I knew mom was mentally preparing herself for the trip, though I told myself there might a slight chance of mom decided not to go in the end. To mom, traveling is a challenge. People might not, and will not understand why, but traveling without my dad made things even more challenging for her. I went on planning our stay and itinerary, on the other hand, hoping she could get over the obstacles, and will finally decide to come along.

Long story short, two days before the trip, I went home and saw mom took out their fuschia medium-sized cargo bag. She was excitedly waiting for me to go back and pack with her! I was excited too because it was finally happening! I was going to Milan with mom! Yay! =D

On the departure day itself, the entire family sent us to KLIA and we had breakfast after checked-in. We had about 10 hours of transit time in Singapore.

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Me and Mom at holding room. Can you see there’s some color code going on here? =D

We had a quick lunch after we reached Singapore and got ourselves some snacks for the 12 hours flight.

Fast forward to 20-hours later, we had finally arrived in Milan! There was suppose to be a surprise for mom at Malpensa Airport but it did not happen until we checked in to the hotel and it became another form of surprise.

 

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Waiting at the bus stop. Can you see it?

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Ta-da! The surprise was here! How many of you actually spotted her in the first photo? Hah! =D

Sister was supposed to hold a Welcome to Milan paperboard at the arrival hall, but she missed the earlier coach and arrived an hour after we left the airport, so she came to the hotel instead, pretending to deliver room service. Mom was resting while she heard someone knocked on the door. Confused but she went to answer the door anyway because I wasn’t moving. She literally took 2 seconds realize what just happened. =D Good job sister! And then, we officially started our girls’ trip in Milan!

First thing first, breakfast! We were starving because it was almost 11 am and we had not had breakfast. We took the bus to town and started looking for restaurants that are recommended by TripAdvisor. Unfortunately, I forgot to check the opening hour and most of the restaurants do not open until noon. Starved and left with little choice, we walked into the first cafe called Di Viole Di Liquirizia to get the hunger fixed.

It was a small but crowded cafe, we sat down after ordering. The cafe only offers Italian menu, but the owner, who is also the one who baked everything in the cafe, explained the menu to us in English. We ordered two cakes and a scone, and I say definitely go for the cakes! They were so good and the owner was friendly too! If you walk passed the cafe, check it out!

After the sweet treats, we weren’t that hungry anymore, but we still need something substantial to last us for the rest of our day, so we went to another restaurant, Mo Puglia Bistrot, which is about 5 minutes walk from the cafe.

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I remember we ordered another two dishes but I must have forgotten to take a photo so I could only share these two, which I do not recall the name. The one on the left was some sort of salad and the one on the right was some chef recommended pasta. I would say they weren’t bad but we couldn’t finish them probably because of the cakes we had earlier on. So yeah, maybe I’ll go back again someday and try their food to have a better thought about them.

After lunch, we walked around the area before went to Zani Viaggi to book the Lake Como and Bellagio day trip. You could totally visit Lake Como and Bellagio on your own, which is more cost saving and flexible in terms of how much time you get in Lake Como and Bellagio respectively, but we did the tour instead, which cost us €89 per person, because I thought it would be easier for us since we do not speak Italian. The experience with the information counter in Zani Viaggi wasn’t pleasant which was quite disappointing. Being a visitor center of the city, the staffs were not even close to friendly. Maybe next time I should just get everything booked online instead.

After booking the tickets, we decided to go to the supermarket near our hotel and load up our food supply. Mom and sister rested a little before heading out again while I stayed in for the remaining of day one, to have proper rest before the beginning of day two.

 


I didn’t intend to break this into a few posts but I guess I have to. My style is normally put everything together because I thought it would be more organized and I prefer to tell a story at one go. I’ve known I will take hours to complete this post because it is about a trip that happened 2 months ago and I will need more time to recall what happened and I’m still trying to get the momentum. But this is taking much longer than I’ve expected so I have no choice but to take a break at Day 1 and continue with Day 2 hopefully tomorrow if not the day after. I will try to complete this trip as soon as possible because as I’ve mentioned in the beginning of the post, this is way overdue. Thank you for your patience and thanks for dropping by! Till then!

 

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