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Be different. Why? Why not? – Babytopaz

Almost started another brand new blog for this topic. As WP does not has a simple key feature to ADD A BLOG to your already existing email account (or maybe I didn’t try hard enough to look, I took the easy way by Google-ing how to add the second blog for WP. The first search result was titled How to Easily Add Two Blogs to a Single WordPress Site by BobWP which I decided I am just going to do this in separate posts after the video played for 3 minutes (I’m sure the video would be helpful because it is showing motion screenshot to guide you through the process). Then, I quickly think to myself, do I need a second blog to do so?

I’ve moved from another blog engine to WP a few months back. And it took me months to screen all of the previous posts that were part of my growing journey. As much as I am learning to live at the present moment, it doesn’t mean I am deleting everything from the past! The title says I Am Different and the very reason I am, is because I am exactly what I am and where I need to be from the past experiences. Complicated enough? So let’s just stay where I am, and not make things more complicated than it already is, by creating another blog, and start everything all over again. I know this is going to be an interesting journey to look back in the future. =)

So. Why do I suddenly feel so strong that I am different? Strong enough to have the urge to create a whole new blog and write everything about it. Well, the reason is, that I know I am.

Be yourself; everyone else is taken. – Oscar Wilde

So, I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, this year is a self-discovery year for me. I am looking for myself so much (as if I have lost myself for so long) that I am doing 52 weeks of Self-Discovery challenge by Page Flutter. It is a challenge where I ask myself (and I asked my closest family to join me) one question every week to understand about myself more. There are no hard and fuss rules or limiting how much (or how little) my answers should be. It is a homework for me, by myself. And I am aware that there is only one benefactor out of this challenge – me. I get to know myself more by answering them truthfully (almost the first answer that comes to my mind) and I choose to write it down in a beautiful journal (I’ll draft my answer in Evernote if my journal is not with me and put it down in the journal later). The reason I am doing so is to be able to flip back to my answers and review my answers in the future. As truthful as the answers are at that very moment of my life, I am sure it will change as time pass. And reviewing is one important process of learning! By reviewing, I could understand the past me more and see the transformation I’ve made and the person I am becoming. So, that’s the Self-Discovery challenge part. I did not come out with the prompts myself, of course, and if you are interested in getting to know yourself more, you may simply look for inspiration on Pinterest or Google and there will be tons of articles about it. Check out my bullet journal that I’ve pinned!

This is the first time for me to share my answer publicly. I’m on Week 9 and this week’s question is ‘if you had a theme song, what would it be?’.

I thought for a moment and answered I Am, by Hilary Duff. I’m not sure if anyone is familiar with this or even have heard of this song. But it definitely gives the idea of who I am. Every word in the lyric speaks me.

What happened next was, it reminded me of a conversation I had with a senior colleague. He was telling me that he has set up a group chat among the senior colleagues (of his rank) and made information sharing so convenient. And I was telling him we do have group chats among ourselves (the junior colleagues of my rank) but more often than not, half of the member in a chat (in one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, now) are the same people due to the limitation of member we can have in a group. So no one can be in ALL of the groups. And we have such a big group that we have a chance to need information or even work with anyone. Although our company does set up a channel for us to share information, there are some restrictions especially the hassle of logging on to company site with few authentication steps. So basically, it was a good channel but not yet an ideal channel. And he introduced me T apps. He said T apps could hold 10k members in a chat, which is more than we ever need.

I had a thought of it but did not take it too seriously at that point of time because I do not know all (not even 20% maybe) of them, plus I don’t think it is ever my responsibility to do so. And I wasn’t if I could bring anyone into a group because it requires people to download new apps and some might find it too much trouble to do so. And I wasn’t sure how the group is going to be like. I even did a small survey among my colleagues to see if anyone would be keen on the idea. I kinda thought too much, for one simple task.

I drafted a long message and start forwarding to a few friends and see if they’d like to join me in this project. Because people need to download the apps FIRST before anything else could be done. And how do I persuade someone who I’ve not met to do something they aren’t comfortable with? I need to get my friends to reach to their friends, and their friends to reach to their friends (you’ve got the idea), to promote the group. But, why would people care? It’s not a paid job so there’s no obligation and there’s nothing much I could do if the chain just died half way. It might end up being a smaller number that doesn’t require T apps in the first place.

And then, I changed my approach. I edited my first draft, instead of talking to my friends in a ‘friend way’, I made it sound more official and listed the benefits of doing so. I created a separated group with the initial 6 friends who bought my idea, with a clean history, copied the link, and shared the draft with 3 (so little) different chat groups shamelessly (I am more of a sleeping member) and waited for the response.

And then, magic happened.

7, 8, 9, 10… 20… 30… 55… 79… 88… 102…

What? It’s already 102?

And the number kept growing.

In less than 3 hours, the number of members in the group exceeded the number of members in a chat group.

What made me happier was people actually appreciate that the group was being created.

Some said, “it’s finally here”.

I wouldn’t expect people to say that but apparently, people did want something to happen and I am not sure why it didn’t. I’m sure most of my colleagues have more contacts of other colleagues but why didn’t anyone initiate it? I still don’t understand why. Maybe because it’s unrewarding (monetary)? Maybe because they didn’t know the key features? Or maybe, just maybe, they are comfortable with what they have and find it unnecessary to change? But it doesn’t bother me much now because I have done what I need to do. To be different. Why? Why not?

Rewards don’t always come in monetary form. It could a sense of satisfaction, or it could be just a simple thank you. Understanding the intention of an action always brings the biggest sense of accomplishment once you have achieved your goal. Goals don’t have to be big but if it does add value to your life (feeling positive by accomplishing things that you thought you couldn’t do), and to others, then that’s all the reasons you need to act.

People have different ways to find satisfaction and mine happened to be keeping my environment organized, which includes my phone. So, again, why not?

 

The total number of members in the group has exceeded the total numbers of members in the 3 groups I was in previously. Which is a good news because it means I have achieved my goal.

This maybe a random story to share, creating a group chat? Really? But I think it goes beyond that. It is me telling myself that do not be afraid to be different, even if people around you might not agree with it. The biggest success always begins with the craziest idea that NO ONE feels comfortable doing it, and ideas will remain ideas if no action is being taken. First steps are always the hardest. Even second steps. Then the third. But do not stop until you’ve reached your goal. And you will thank yourself later.

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Another weekend. Current location: Milan.

Woke up this morning to a sunny morning. Flipped left and right on the bed, mind wandered. Just recently downloaded a game called Cryptogram and played for a good 30 minutes. Crawled out of bed lazily because I don’t have much planned for myself today. Did some yoga, listened to some music, and ready to go lake union from lunch.

And then, one of my colleagues told us that a colleague’s dad just passed on and she’s on her way back home.

Hmm.

Then I’m on my way to grab lunch. Trying out a new place, all by myself. It requires a little of walking and I’m not sure if it’s gonna be good, or even if it’s gonna be opened (learned my lesson yesterday, not only Italian restaurants have ciesta, they have summer break, so have a few backups restaurants to try because it might be closed during summer). And then, got me to think about life, a question that I constantly ask myself, though I know there’s never a certain answer for it.

Life is so general and personal. Everyone has one, but everyone’s different.

Life is so tough and fragile. It likes to throw so many challenges to us, yet it could be all gone the next moment.

Life is such that, we know we will never get out of it alive, and we take it for granted.

Life, you could totally live your life the way you want, simply because it is yours.

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Life is more than material.

Ever since I am introduced to the capsule wardrobe idea, I’ve decided I’m going minimal.

Because life is so much more than material.

I mean, the idea of having everything in life is fantastic, like you could have anything within your reach, not worrying about any other thing in the world. The general idea is having a lot of money, where you do not need to worry about the price tag. While money is something, the environmentalist would say the resources that we extract from our environment is another major issue to be concerned. We are being exposed to so much information nowadays. With the Internet, we could always find out what and how a product is being produced. It is no longer some business secret that only the very top few would know. Yet, because it is so easily accessible, it is being taken for granted. We all know we need to take care of our environment because some resources are not renewable or it will take centuries to be renewed, yet we often leave the responsibility to the others as if we owe mother nature no responsibility.

Because the pace of life is so fast, we want everything to be convenient. For example, bottled water. Because it’s more convenient to buy a bottle of water at the store when we are thirsty instead of bringing a bottle from home and carry the weight throughout the day, we created a plastic bottle. Another example, because it’s easier to throw away something than to fix it, we will just consider buying a brand new one. Because somehow our concept of living taught us quality is more important than quantity.

Before me going too far, I do want to say that I am guilty as charged for not being responsible to the environment. I do have a lot of things, material stuff, way more than what I need in my life. Well, probably these things couldn’t last me for life, but you got the idea. And after watching so many videos about a minimalist lifestyle, I have decided I’m becoming one. I have yet to throw away everything I have or stop buying anything, but every time I go shopping I’ll ask myself a few questions like:

  1. Do I already have this?
  2. Do I want or do I need this?
  3. How many times could I use this?
  4. Is it a quality piece?
  5. Is the material friendly to the environment?

I’ll evaluate my answers and if I am not satisfied with them, most likely the item will go back to its rack. Why get something you already have or you don’t need? And if an item is not going to last you for a few uses, you will end up spending more (time looking for a replacement and money for purchasing). And the last question pretty much answered for itself.

So today, I went shopping. I had to get shoe glue and some cotton pad. Shoe glue is obvious, a strap from my sandals came off and I need to glue it back. It is not some fancy sandals but I only used it a few times. It is still in good condition except for the strap. So instead of replacing it with another pair, I chose to repair the strap. In that way, not only do I saved (both time and money), I created less waste. And when I eventually need to replace my sandals, I’ll make sure to remind myself to get a quality pair that could last me longer.

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Now cotton pad. As a regular makeup user, I use cotton pads to remove makeup and nail polish. They are something that cannot be recycled. However, I came across this video called Minimalist beauty: tips to make less & better waste by Signe Hansen (YouTube channel Use Less. She shared some of the beauty tools that she has recently discovered and one of it is a reusable cotton pad. So I thought instead of getting disposable cotton pads, I went with a facial sponge.

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I’ll check in again after I’ve tested it out.

As for removing nail polish, this is not something new in the beauty world.

 

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Sally Hansen Kwik Off

It’s a nail polish remover that comes with a foam in the tub. Just dip fingers into pre-cut foam, twist and the nail polish should be removed. Quick and easy, and more importantly, no cotton pad required. I’ve tried this with a different brand and it’s pretty convenient. However, my nails break pretty easily using that remover which I’m not sure if it’s the dipping part or the formula itself that makes my nails break. Sally Hansen nail polish remover has been pretty good to me so I’m giving this a try. Ultimately, my main purpose of trying this is to create less cotton pad waste.

That’s the three things I’ve got today. Going minimal is a process and I’m still learning to become one. What I’ve learned from this process so far is, we really don’t need so much material in our lives and we could as well use our resources (time, money, space, effort in looking more material to satisfy our desire for material) on things that could improve our life quality, which material is definitely not all. And I know one of the qualities of going minimal is speaking less. I’ve spoken enough for today. I strongly encourage you to look into this concept and probably review some areas of your life where you could cut out things that you don’t really need. Apparently having lesser material stuff could create a happier life too!

 

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Girls’ Trip to Milan (Day 3 and 4)

Without further delay, let’s get this started.

Girls’ trip to Milan. Ops! Is it 25th of August already? Lolz. I remember when I wrote day 1, it was 14th of July! =D Read Day 1 here.

And within two months, I’m back in Milan for the second time. It’s a hint for me to finish this post, I guess.

Anyway, day 3. We did a tour: day tour to Lake Como and Bellagio. It was pretty straight forward because there’s not much planning needed on our side. We just need to be present at the meeting place, which was right in front of the visitor center before 8 am.

There were a few other tour buses around that area, we just looked for the one that said our destination. We arrived slightly before 8 am and there was already a line of people waiting to board the bus. The tour lady gave each of us a radio and an earpiece as we boarded so we could tune into the channel and hear her as we walked around. We had to stay within a certain radius, of course, but it made the tour a lot easier as we could spread out a little while she was doing her explanation. It was not the old-school-tour-guide-with-a-megaphone kind of tour, which I appreciate.

It was about an hour drive from Milan to Lecco (where the Lake Como cruise is). We were given about an hour to walk around Lecco town, so we found a cafe to grab a bite. Mom and sister ordered some sandwich to share and I had a cup of cafe latte. I guess Italian really take pride in their coffee because even a simple cafe served a good cup of coffee! Hah! I was impressed. Haha. I’m impressed.

After breakfast, we walked around the town and learned that in Italy open market, only the owner is allowed to touch the produce. Unlike back in KL or most of the Asian open market I believe, you choose and pick your own produce. So one thing to take note of if we are to visit any Italy open market again.

If my memory serves me well, our meeting time was around 11 am and our cruise was about 15 minutes later. I remember the tour lady kept on reminding us to go to the right-hand side of the cruise as there’s more to see there, like beautiful houses, castle (was there like any castle?) and others. We found 3 seats on the right-hand side but we did not stay there for very long because we started to walk around and take pictures. I mean, there were so much more to explore, why stationary at one place right? We walked from deck to deck, front to back.

We cruised for 2 hours before we reached Bellagio.

We walked around Bellagio after we had an amazing lunch at a restaurant, which I tried very hard to get the name but I’m assuming it’s the restaurant next to Hotel Du Lac (I couldn’t recall the name) but they serve one of the best seafood. Do check out this restaurant if you do visit Bellagio. It’s recommended by our tour lady and we have enjoyed our lunch. And of course, what made things even better than what it already was the company and the conversation. It was one of the best meal the three of us had together for a very long time.

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Just Sis and the cruise.

We walked around Bellagio after we had an amazing lunch at a restaurant, which I tried very hard to get the name but I’m assuming it’s the restaurant next to Hotel Du Lac (I couldn’t recall the name) but they serve one of the best seafood. Do check out this restaurant if you do visit Bellagio. It’s recommended by our tour lady and we have enjoyed our lunch. And of course, what made things even better than what it already was the company and the conversation. It was one of the best meal the three of us had together for a very long time.

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Walking around Bellagio

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Sis from different angle

After 30 minutes of walking around and window shopping, we went back to the meeting point where we were supposed to board another cruise to go back to Lake Como, where our tour bus was parked to go back to Milan. And before that, we have granted ourselves the local favorite dessert – gelato!

See how happy we were with a gelato in our hands. Lol. Notice mama at the background with gelato in her hand too! Hehehe! And we were all smile before leaving Bellagio.

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One more picture of the lake.

We reached Milan Visitor Centre around 6 pm, where the day was still bright as though the day had not passed. Though we were quite exhausted from the bus ride and the very little walking we had, I suggested we went back to the hotel and unload some of the tiredness. But there was a mission not yet completed, the canal. I think the food tour lady from Day 2 was telling us about Naviglio Grande and we thought we could go yesterday but we didn’t. So despite the tiredness, our final decision was to still go back to our hotel, rest for a bit and then continue our journey to the famous Naviglio.

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Us.

Just this photo itself makes the whole trip worthwhile. Tired and satisfied. Us at Naviglio. Mother and daughters time. 🙂

We walked up and down along the canal trying to decide what to eat for dinner. Officina 12 was our dinner place because we didn’t want to eat at the White Rabbit. Lolz. There’s something about our family that, well, my family don’t eat rabbit. Haha. And I must say it was another pretty decent dinner and the portion was just nice and the taste was good to our likings. We left the restaurant with great satisfaction.


We had nothing much on day 4. No tour or places of interest to visit, just need to reach Orio Al Serio Airport by 4 pm (I think so) because sister was flying back to U.K. around 5 pm. And since it’s in another city, Bergamo, so we left the hotel around 2 pm so that we have a little time to play around. And that pretty much concluded our girls trip to Milan. We have got just-mama-and-me time after sister left. Coffee, sandwich, shopping, you know, just girls stuff.


Milan has ever become a special place to me. This is my second time here after the girls trip and I can’t believe it has been 3 months. It was the first time I brought my mom, just mom, on a trip and I am grateful that the set of crew was nice and everyone was taking care of us. I am even more grateful that sister managed to reschedule her timetable to accommodate to our trip and made it a memorable one for us. She hadn’t been spending her birthday with family for few years and even though she didn’t always spend her birthday home with the family she was always home. I’m glad that it was something for her as well. As for mom, it was a breakthrough for her to travel so far apart from dad since they got married and I’m glad that she took that step (whether it was being forced or she just let things flowed). Only if the both of them knew how much it meant to me. I hope I have made that trip as meaningful to them as to how they have made it so meaningful to me. =)

Ling’s Facebook album Mum’s Milan Trip – One step out of comfort zone

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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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