Saturday, 9 May 2020

Monthly Goal Review: April

Posting this really late because things got busy in April...I know, despite us being home most of the time. Work has been piling up for me, or perhaps because I am new and unfamiliar to the work, yet, hence I am taking much more time than usual to complete a task.

1. Be comfortable on my own
I'm so comfortable on my own now...I'm quite worried about the reverse culture shock I'll feel post-MCO.

I'm actually surprised how I've learned to be comfortable on my own - last year I couldn't stand having a free weekend on my own. I love alone time - there are so many things I could do and learn. Perhaps I should write more about this on a separate blog post.

What really helped me to be comfortable on my own is to have different lists of things to do - I constantly refer to it whenever I have free time, or think I have nothing to do. Turns out there are a lot of things one could do :)

2. Long term planning my wardrobe
The only thing I wear during MCO is my house clothes. I did not buy any clothing so you could say I'm sticking to my goal, as I don't need any new clothes when I stay home.

3. Create experience for myself and others
I tried...to talk to people more during MCO. Initiate conversation.

This is something for me to think about - how to create more experience for others despite being in a lockdown.

4. Read at least two books per month
I try my best to read at least a chapter a day, though recently it's much harder. But I'm quite happy to log in four books for the month of April:

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (Non-Fiction)
Station Eleven by Emily Mendel St John (Fiction)
Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok (Fiction)
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Non-Fiction)

Glad to achieve a balance between fiction and non-fiction. I feel that recently I'm more drawn towards non-fiction, as I strive to improve myself, especially at work.

5. Doing a monthly review of my goals
On it :)

7. Do a monthly/weekly review of my spendings
For the month of April, my spendings were very plant-centric. I've been spending more than usual as well, because of my conscience that businesses need our support more than ever. I know we can't save the world, and my spending to their income, is probably quite insignificant, but I really believe it is something!

Fittonia plant, soil, pebbles, moss and charcoal (RM28.47)
To make terrarium! Have made four of it so far :)

Fertiliser (RM4.13)
It was for free but I had to pay for shipping. Loved it so far!

Pots from Taobao (RM97.55)
Okay...It was for four pots...four pretty pots. I know, it's a lot. Shipping cost almost half of it. But it's really pretty. Do I regret this purchase? I don't know, I can see how pots play a big role in the aesthetic. Ask me again in one month :p

Gifts for friends (RM100)
This month I had a few close friends' birthdays! No regrets for sure.

Roses from Cameron Highland (RM40)
It started off from a news article about the farmer destroying their flowers and crop....
Hence...

However, I have no regrets :) The roses are so pretty! It definitely brightened up my day, and hopefully the people whom I gave the rose plant to :)

More soil and cactus seeds (RM22.5)

Plants from Cameron Highland (RM35)
Ermmm. No regrets :p

Blog renewal (RM200)
To be honest, I'm not too sure why I'm still keeping this domain alive - I could just revert back to a normal Blogspot. This is an expense which I'm not too sure how I feel about.

Car battery voucher RM125
My car battery is due for a change and Lim Tayar is offering a voucher for half the price so why not!

I definitely spent much more than usual this month...but I don't really regret most of it, as it gave me something to do. The questionable ones are the pots and the blog domain renewal.

8. Learn the art of note-taking 
I'm starting to incorporate some Bujo technic with the Cornell method - it's still a #WIP!

I've also learnt new ways to organise to-do list which I sometimes apply to my work. I'll share some of it here:

Kanban Method
I really love this method. The Kanban method is a visual system to manage workflow. Work is broken up into manageable chunks, written on a piece of sticky note. Prepare a board with sections labelled "To-Do", "Doing" and "Done", and stick the sticky note to wherever appropriate. The workflow is visualised by moving the sticky notes acorss the board. Of course, you can be eco-friendly and use Padlet instead! (Which is what I am doing now!)

Here's an article by explaining it. It feels satisfying to move it around, and work is break up into small, doable chunks when I do so.


9. Cook a new dish each week Try out something new each week - it can be cooking a new dish, baking something, or even making something

MCO encouraged most people to cook but I find myself ordering in more often...mainly to support the businesses out there and also, I'm getting bored of staying in. So hence...I've adjusted the goal. Plus, I'm kinda lazy to go grocery shopping for food stuff to cook because the supermarkets are always crowded...(excuses, I know.)

Week 1 (Technically this was made on the last day of March..but let me count this in ya :p, since I did not record this last month)

Week 2: Coconut planter


Week 3: Chocolate Chips Cookies


10. Write more at least 100 words per day (not including what I write at work)
This failed - somehow I find it hard to push myself to write in April. Also part of the reason why this post wasn't published on time.

New Goals
11. Log down news article I've read and jot down my thoughts about it, ie reading with purpose
This became inconsistent after 18 April, when work suddenly got very busy. I'm still trying to do this at the best of my capacity :)


12. Keep a daily log of how I spend my time
Yes did this for the whole of April

A nasty side effect came out from this - I feel pressured to make sure that time is well spent in a day. It is not a bad thing, I am conscious about how I spend my time, but sometimes I feel the overwhelming need to push myself to be productive, which can feel suffocating at times, and it sometimes lead to me being counterproductive.

I am worried too that I will feel bitter after MCO is lifted and I realise how much time I can waste when commuting.

Intervention method: to set "budget" for mindless hours/downtime for myself. To give me some leeway to rest and you know, be unproductive, within the allocated budget.


Saturday, 18 April 2020

Things I've Learnt/Gained during MCO

As you all know, we're now entering the third stage of Movement Control Order (MCO), with the announcement of the extension of MCO to 28 April 2020 (& possibly even longer, who knows?). Time and again we've been told to adapt and accept this "new normal",  as things might not return back to "normal" after this - however you define "normal". Even with the MCO lifted, there might be some restrictions in place as preventive measures to curb the virus. Who knows.

Like most people out there, I've had my fair share of cabin fever, of feeling down. Feeling out of control of my own life.

There are many days that I yearn to get out. Yearn to be with my friends. Yearn to do things outside. Yearn to go for a hike.

But of course, those have to wait. And it is not up to me when these can be fulfilled. This left me feeling suffocated. Helpless. *insert negative adjectives*.

I guess rather than feeling suffocated over things I can't control, I want to try to control what I can. Change what I can to make myself feel at ease, to do things that make me feel...fulfilled.


Hence, this post. To remind me to savage the time and opportunity I have now. Because on a normal day I'd be too busy going out doing god knows what. To remind myself that there are so many things I could do and gain, even when I'm stuck at home. And to remind myself to continuously enrich (I don't really like this word, sounds kinda cliche) myself and not let time slip and pass.

Things I Learnt/Gained during MCO:

1. How to do my taxes
I now know what to do to file my tax...eventhough I should've done this TWO YEARS AGO when I started working. I knew that I didn't have to pay tax in my first two years of career (because I was earning below the tax bracket) and I sort of heard from someone that I was supposed to file my taxes anyway. Bottom line is, I employed the "ignorance is bliss" mindset and did not make time to understandit properly.

Thanks to MCO, I now know the differences between tax relief and tax exemptions :p and I know which tax relief and tax exemptions I am eligible for.
Source: iMoney https://www.imoney.my/articles/income-tax-guide-malaysia/what-is-a-tax-exemption
I'm too lazy to explain the process here, since there are many articles out there that explains the process really well (plus, they contain colourful infographics too!). iMoney and Ringgitplus's articles about filing taxes for the first time are comprehensive and easy to understand - highly recommend you give them a read if you haven't done so. Plus, they've been publishing practical & useful articles about things that...as an adult, you should've known, but yet, brushed it aside (Like taxes).

Also, you can now obtain your LHDN pin online too!

My first attempt failed as I've forgotten to attach the one of the file & a copy of my IC so I had to redo the whole process...so take note people (who haven't obtained their LHDN pin...like me)

2. How to shop on Taobao
I don't think this is something I should be proud of, because this translates into more money being spent on stuff! But hey, I've made my first purchase from Taobao :p And maybe one day, when I start my own business I could potentially source for products from Taobao :p

I'm pretty impressed with Taobao though, you can search for a product you want by uploading a photo of it and their search engine will scout for products that are similar! There's also real-time tracking for your parcel on the map. I'm absolutely impressed!
Look at this! Impressive, right!

I now know how to make my Taobao shipment worth it too, as I understand how their shipping mechanism works :p

And again, here's an article by iMoney that was extremely helpful in helping me navigate through the uncharted ground of Taobao. Happy shopping :p


3. How to make my own terrarium
Again, many tutorials available with just a simple Google search :p But here's the article I referred to for my terrarium project.
Tip: Using a chopstick was really helpful! IF you don't have a pair of tweezers

4. Time saved =/= Productive time
Because we are forced to stay home, we spend less time commuting, being stuck in jam, finding parking...and so on.

But was the time saved spent elsewhere productively? Or wasted in some other ways?

It's like the smoking/drinking example people always bring up - If I were to stop drinking I might say that I will save RM200 per months on drink. But was the money really saved, or spent elsewhere to compensate you not drinking?

Which is one of the reasons why I started tracking every hour and minutes of my day. To identify

5. How to take better photograph
Disclaimer: not a good photographer. Just that I now am more conscious on taking photos :p

This is for my own self-satisfaction la. Don't think I'll ever get too serious in this hobby :p The furthest I've ever gotten was back in the "golden days" of my blogging era where I used a DSLR - my knowledge of photography is pretty limited though - use natural lighting, rule of third, how to use artificial light for food :p
Cheese cake by my brother and his gf
Been trying to play around with lighting by taking photos of...anything around me
Not really sure what I'm trying to achieve here, but I really like the soft morning light :)


No, I did not learn how to cook/bake anything. Mainly because...everyone's cooking/crowding the grocery shop and I'm too lazy to crowd with everyone...

6. Redecorated my room
Been wanting to do this forever but I gave myself 1000 excuses not to do it. And I finally did :)
My favourite corner of my room - plants and books corner :)

7. Formed new habit & routines
Thanks to MCO and in conjunction with adapting to the the "new normal", I've managed to form a few new habits and routines which I am happy of, as listed below:

#1 Tracking my time 
As explained above.

#2 Using the Pomodoro Technique to focus at work..or to do anything at all

I was motivated and productive at the start of the MCO because it was a fresh change of environment - working at home worked really well for me but...After two weeks the novelty of working from home was gone.

This prompted me to Google for different productivity techniques, I've tried a few and I find that the Pomodoro technique works best for me :)

You basically focus for 25 minutes and take a break for five minutes after each focus session. At the end of four cycles, you've done 2 hours of productive work and you can take a longer break (sat 10-20 minutes :))

Found this Youtube channel for study music by this person named Dennis Kuo. He coupled the Pomodoro timer with his music playlist which is really helpful! Been listening to his playlist while I work :)

Also, what really helped me is to start my workday at 6pm, just to finish my work earlier before my "lethargic hour" hits (typically feel it around 3/4pm, where my producitiy hit rock bottom!)
Tend to do work in the morning -  tire out in the evening
Watching the morning skies & sunrise is my reward after working for at least a full hour in the morning :)

#3 Practising power hour and time blocking on weekends
Power hour is basically time you block out at a certain period of the week/month to complete whatever you've been procrastinating.

I now block out at least 30 minutes on weekend mornings to do some basic cleaning of my room, which includes wiping down the shelf, changing my bedsheets & curtain (once a month), dusting some soft toy etc.

Because of the consistent cleaning I've been doing, I'm also more conscious now with whatever I am buying to reduce the clutter and dust accumulated!

I am adamant that these will continue even after MCO - have already blocked out time for these tasks on my Google Calendar.


#4 Changing out of my pyjamas and washing up straight after I wake up
I never change out of my pyjamas during the weekend before this...until I have to go out, that is :p Glad to say this is now an automated process :p


#5 Working out
If you know me well, you'd know that I hate working out. Working out is boring :p I can't stand working out, or exercising in the gym because it feels repetitive.

But thanks to the daily exercise challenge initiated by my boss at work...I've..picked up working up. Just a bit though :p But a bit is better than nothing!

--

8. Started to plan for my future dream
You need to start somewhere. So...I'm starting to properly backward plan my future plan. I'm admittedly just at the brainstorm and collecting inspiration phrase :) But it's a start to slowly start working towards my dream of owning a B&B :)

But what I've been doing has been really basic - looking at prices of land and property, gaining inspiration for deco, trying to understand how to start a business and to find out what people want etc. etc.

Ah well you've got to start somewhere!

9. DIY plant projects - my own coconut planter & a macrame planter!
Making a macrame planter is actually really easy! Don't need to spend so much buying one :p Here's the Youtube video I referred to :)

This...on the other hand..is actually much harder than I thought hahah. But nevertheless fun :p And I save RM10 lol!

10. Propagating plants like crazy

I call them my MCO baby :p

11. Checking the expiry date for my licenses/passport...and coming out with a list of things I need to prepare to renew it
This includes my driving license which will be expiring next week D:

Once MCO ends, there might be a mad rush to renew licenses...so I just want to get myself prepared so that I will not be caught off guard after this!

12. Reading ferociously 
Hehe

--
That being said, there are days where I struggle to do anything at all. Sometimes, all I want to do is just binge watch videos on Youtube, or waste my time away scrolling Pinterest - I've been making list of things I could do to try my best to stay productive. Or to try to get something out of this situation. Because that's what we can control.

Here is a list of things that I want to do, but have not started doing/halfway through:

1. Thorough research on listed companies in the stock market
I think I am just too lazy and tired, after most of my five workdays researching about companies too...but I really want to get started on this.

2. Comparing motor insurance 
Since my road tax and motor insurance is due in June...good to start now because things will get busy in the future and I will not have time for this.

3. Upcycling water bottle for a pothos stand
Check this out!

4. Learn more new skills, take an online class and actually complete it
I'm the type of person..who start online class that looks interesting but rarely complete them.

I'm taking an online course on Power Searching on Google. Now self-discipline, please ensure you finish this course! Anyway, I actually picked up a thing or two from there :) Who knew there are better ways to Google search things? :p

5. Write a business plan
This is tad ambitious...but I really want to try :)

6. Make a succulent garden

7. Write more blog posts
Especially about places I've been that has been sitting in my draft folder since forever

Two more weeks before. MCO ends (if it doesn't extend further). Let's try to make the most out of it. But if you feel that you need a break, please do not beat yourself up. We all have our days and times where we need a break to recover from the stress we're going through.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Sibu Kan-Pua Mee and Sarawak Laksa, SS19 Subang Jaya

I'll be writing about some eateries in Subang Jaya that are open for takeaway during this period of Movement Control Act (MCO), with emphasis on places that are not on any delivery platforms :)
I love Sarawak Laksa. It's hard to find an affordable and decent bowl of Sarawak Laksa here in KL. MCO got me started Googling for places that are near me and I found this place!

Upon digging their FB page, I found out that they were originally operating a stall in Sunway Mentari, before moving to their own shoplot at SS19 in 2019
There were only a few things on the menu - Sarawak Laksa, Kan Pua (basically, Sibu version of kolok mee!) in both dry and soup version :)

I love places that serve only a few selected items - it is a strong indicator that they specialise in what they are doing (Not always true though!)

I found their phone number on their Facebook page and place my order in advance so that I could just grab and go.
Kolok Mee (Small) RM6.50 and Sarawak Laksa (Small). RM7.50

My verdict? Not bad, for KL standard. Though I think for Sarawak Laksa, I'd prefer the one at USJ 14 because the soup taste richer. But this one is pretty decent too :) 

They are open every day throughout the MCO period. 

Sibu Kan-Pua Mee and Sarawak Laksa
40, Jalan SS19/6, 
47500 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Business Hours: 7am-2pm (Though it might differ because of MCO, best to call them to ask!)

Contact Number: 016-211 5111

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Monthly Goals Review: March


1. Be comfortable on my own
I've recently started this list of free things I could do at home instead of spending money outside. I think I'm pretty good for this :P I'm also getting rather comfortable during this MCO - so comfortable to the extend I started forcing myself to join online social events so I won't face a reverse culture shock after this MCO ends.

2. Long term planning my wardrobe
Trying this thing where I will wear a clothing article I have not worn before on a day of a week! So far I've been sticking to my LTP shopping list...except for a t-shirt I bought from Oxwhite cause it was on sale...#impulse

Also, trying to make a list of my closet essential. It is a #WIP that will take some time :)

3. Create experience for myself and others
Now that I am working a 9-6 job, admittedly, weekends are more precious to me now.

What I'll do instead is to be intentional with sustaining relationships.
- remember people's birthday and wish them a happy birthday during their birthday
- acknowledging people's messages

4. Save double of what I've saved last year
I've started to set up sinking funds to anticipate my upcoming insurance and road tax renewal in June!

Rather than "saving whatever I've left" and fork out a huge sum of money, leaving a dent on my savings on a certain month, I'll plan ahead and put money aside every month so that I won't have a shock :)

Here's a helpful video to help you set up your sinking fund!


5. Read at least two books per month
I'm a little slow this month compared to last month as life & work got in the way. Books I've read this month:
- ROAR by Cecilia Ahern
- The New Plant Parent by Darryl Cheng (Check out his Instagram, @houseplantjournal)
- Urban Jungle: Living & Styling with plants (Not sure if this can be counted - more like a coffee table book)
- Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

Would like to update this goal to read at least one fiction and one non-fiction, just to challenge myself, starting next month :)

6. Doing a monthly review of my goals
On it :)

7. Do a monthly/weekly review of my spendings
This month's spending has been rather plant-centric, and the spending stopped right when our country went into Movement Control Order (because I have no other avenue to buy things, other than online shopping)

- Sanseveria Starfish (RM28.40, including the two small pots I purchased to house the two babies) and a Hoya Keri (RM10)
- Footsies from Muji (RM32.90)
I have six pairs of footsies from Uniqlo prior to this purchase, but because I do my laundry on a 1.5 weekly basis, there are days where I find myself not having a clean pair of footsies to wear. I've only gotten the habit to wear footsies this year, and I definitely feel that its benefits justified my spendings - I can keep my shoes clean, and free from odour. My feet are protected from Blisters too :)
 - Pot RM10
- Pot RM6
- Pot...RM4.60
- Soil (RM10) 
- T-shirt and innerwear from Oxwhite (RM46.90)
Because it was on sale...quality was absolutely superb though. Got to learn how to fight temptations! 
- Beer (RM10.40)
I got bored during MCO....

Overall, am quite satisfied with my spending this month!

8. Learn the art of note-taking
I'm starting to incorporate some Bujo technic with the Cornell method - it's still a #WIP!


9. Cook a new dish each week`
Week 1
I was away in Johor so it was cheat week!

Week 2: Bacon pizza
Week 3: Bacon and Egg pizza & banana bread

Week 4: Bacon & Egg pizza again..
Would like to add in more variety of food I cook next month...

10. Write more at least 100 words per day (not including what I write at work)
It's a hit and miss - sometimes I get writer's block for days and I do not write even a single word in a day :( But I'm trying to be consistent, incorporating new words/phrases/things I've learnt into my blog posts

New Goals
11. Log down news article I've read and jot down my thoughts about it, ie reading with purpose
I read a lot of articles in a day - thought it'd be helpful for me to comprehend and understand better what I've read by logging it down :)

Here's an article about reading with purpose.

Just realized that this might be the reason why our government introduced Nilam program in school... (it's a program where students are required to log down the books they've read, providing basic details about the book and a short summary)

12. Keep a daily log of how I spend my time
And observe my pattern on how I spend time. Inspired by this article on Harvard Business Review.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Free things I could do at home instead of going out & spending money

Inspired by Suraya from Ringgit Oh Ringgit and it is also part of my resolution to try to enjoy staying home more :). I started compiling this list at the start of this year and it now comes in handy during this period of MCO (Movement Control Order). It's been helpful for me and I hope it'll be helpful for you too! :)

1. Read
Especially those books I've bought a while ago and have not touch it!

2. Clean my room/house/car!
Wipe up that dusty shelf. Declutter. Throw away expired/empty bottles of makeup. Wash that tote bag. Or that rucksack. Or that curtain.

And this is the best time to get into that neglected crevice in your car!

3. List things to sell on Carousell
Kill two birds with one stone by reducing your clutter and possibly make some money out of it!

4. Giveaway things at Buy Nothing Group
One man's trash is another man's treasure!

5. Upcycle things I already have
I save ideas on my Pinterest accounts and revisit them when opportunities arise :)

6. Execute DIY Projects
On my list right now:
- Coconut flower pot (I have a coconut tree outside my house)
- Wired headband (even though I don't really wear hair accessories...would really love to try this DIY project out!)
- Make more pen holders/whatever holders using empty glass bottles
Tried making a macrame hanging planter hehe...no spare nursery pot lying around so I used a plastic container...which I poked holes at the bottom

7. Write blog posts
I have so many drafts sitting in my draft folder. I would love to write about places I've traveled to, food places I've tried and love and perhaps about my gardening experiences!

8. Learn how to apply eyeliner
My biggest fear in makeup is to apply eyeliner. Practice makes perfect!

9. Clean my white shirts
Try out all the home remedy/life hacks using baking soda, perhaps it can give a new life to my white shirts which ages quickly! Click on the above link to find out how!

10. Sort out my scrapbook/photo album
Notes and cards from various friends and family and photos...they're all locked up in a box now...waiting to be sorted out.

11. Gardening - Propagating my plants, pruning leaves, pulling out weeds
Admittedly, propagating will lead to me buying more flower pots so not sure if this should be on the list...
Sooner or later these babies need new pots...

12. Collecting inspiration for future home
I've been doing it on Pinterest :p It motivates me and reminds me not to spend unnecessarily!

13. Rearrange furniture
Give your room a fresh change! Sometimes the way you arrange your books on the bookshelf can really change the way your room looks!

14. Make lists! (Other than DIY projects)
It can be anything. For me, I would want to make/update lists for the following:
- List of DIY/upcycling projects (for item 5 & 6 above!)
- Checklist of documents needed to obtain my LHDN pin
- Checklist of things you've been putting off but need to do (for my case...obtaining LHDN pin ahem)
- Checklist of things to take note of while purchasing my first property
- List of books to read (Here's mine on Goodreads!)
- List of good food in different areas (so that you can easily share with friends, and to solve your problem of makan apa? makan mana?)
- List of blog posts I want to write
- List of things that require cleaning (to aid #2)
- List of things to do when I'm down
- List of lists I want to make (lol)
- List of clothes I have not worn

The list goes on and on :) I find having a list as a reference point helpful. Whenever an idea sparks, I'd quickly put it on my list. And whenever the stipulated situation arises, I'd just look back at the list :)

This is my favourite thing to do among all these. However, all talk and no action leads to nowhere :p remember to execute some items on your list (if it requires actions!)

15. Create trackers
I love data and Excel. I love tracking things because the results usually will surprise you! Here are some of the tracker I'd like to create/update:
- Investment tracker (I have an Excel file tracking all investment I have made)
- Time tracker
- Plant growth tracker
- Mealtime tracker (always interested to see how this will correlate to my daily performance!)

16. Cook/Bake something with ingredients you already have
my mum's attempt on this

17. Look through my closet, and mix and match clothes differently
I'm the type who always goes back to the same few looks, mixing and matching the same old clothes. With free time on hand, I'd like to try out different combination of clothes, colour and texture :P

18. Fix things
It could be as simple as sewing back that loose button on your shirt.

19. Learn something
You can take up a free online course, or if you prefer something short term, go on Youtube. There are countless possibilities. Learn how to use certain functions on Excel, learn how to edit photos, learn how to bake a cake, learn how to propagate a plant...it's amazing that we live in an era now where information is on your fingertip - so go out there and learn something!

20. Carry out important errands you were supposed to do but just never had the time/was never aware of 
Eg: Check for expiring licenses/credit cards/Passport etc
And make a checklist of what to prepare for the renewal of the following items!

Eg: Update your details on your banks/insurances company website
These are little things you're meant to do but often put off (admittedly, I put it off all the time too!). It'll save you a lot of hassle in the future, say one day you apply for another credit card from your bank but they mailed it to your old billing address because you just forgot to update it.

I hope this list would be helpful for you, or perhaps inspired to start something :P What's on your list?

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Things I will not buy anymore

Country is under Movement Control Order (MCO), everyone is urged to stay home. With lots of time at home in hand, it is time to declutter! When I was younger, I loved buying stuff. I always thought by owning something, I could be happier. This slowly changed as I grew older but it was too late by then - stuff has been accumulating and I already have a mountain load of stuff...but still, better late than never! I now hold on to the "less is better" principal - less things = less decluttering + less dust = happy!

Whenever I perform my yearly decluttering session, I reflected a lot about my purchase and hence, it got me inspired to write this post! Buying less means producing less waste, and saving more (if you don't spend the money elsewhere). By putting down my thoughts into this post, I'd be more self-conscious, and hopefully also inspires you to do the same, and make more conscious purchase of what you really need :P Here is a list of items I will not buy any more!

1. Soft toys
When I was younger, I was a huge sucker for soft toys. I hug them to sleep, they were all over my shelves. My heart melts at the sight of them.

Being the youngest in the family, including amongst my extended family, I grew up very fortunate to be constantly showered by gifts. My close friends and family, knowing how much I love soft toys, bought me soft toys for every special occasion like my birthdays. Or as souvenirs when they travel overseas. The number of soft toys increased perpetually with my age...

As I grew older, like any other toy, I eventually grew out of it. Yet, I have been holding on to all my soft toys because of the sentimental values they hold. And occasionally, I still receive soft toys as gifts, which I find rather sweet but often conflicted and troubled inside...because I have no space to keep them. And soft toys unfortunately, accumulate dusts. Lots of dust

Being someone who is extremely sentimental, it was hard for me to give my soft toys away - I declutter my stuff about once a year and every time I declutter, I try to pack away some soft toys that are beyond keeping condition. My effort to try to reduce the number of soft toys usually ends up in vain - my heart can't bear to give them away so most of the time, only one or two get packed away out of my....god knows how many collections whenever I declutter. I was running out of space and it made cleaning hard because of the dust accumulation.

Until today (21 March 2020), I've finally chosen a few (ok fine, it's still more than 10, but less than 15) to keep and packed away the rest.

A rather worn-out toy puppy, given to me by my late grandfather 20+ years ago. Hurts a little to chuck it away but looking at the condition...
It hurts a lot to give these away - I know Marie Kondo says to keep things that "sparks joy" but if I really do follow her method, I'll probably be still keeping 90% of my things.

So to save myself from future heartache, I've decided to not get a soft toy anymore. I love them dearly, but I have no space for more. Thank you all for your kind gifts though.

I hope all my soft toys will find new homes that love them!

PSA to my loved ones reading this, please don't get me any more soft toys! <3

PS soft toy manufacturer, you spark a lot of joy to people. Just that...it's so heartbreaking to dispose of a soft toy :'(

2. Notebooks

I'm not picky with the types of notebook I use. And I enjoy taking down notes on devices more. You get free notebooks easily too, from banks, insurance companies etc. When I was teaching in school, I often receive notebooks as gift from students too.

I have plenty of unused or half-used notebooks sitting around my house now. Will only buy one if and only if I've used up all the notebooks at home.

3. Hair accessories (other than my telephone cord hair tie!)
How often do you see me wearing hair accessories? I've always preferred to let my hair be as it is. Sometimes, I'd find hair accessories that catch my eye in bazaar or boutique. So here's a personal reminder to not buy them.

4. Accessories (necklace, rings etc)
Same as (3) above. I don't really wear accessories. And I'm glad I don't wear earrings :P

5. Pen holders
Because you can easily use a pretty can or box (or you could DIY and jazz up a box) as a pen holder!
Using a tea leaves tin from Harrods as my pen holder!

6. Hats and caps
I just don't wear them. And if I do want to wear them...my family has a stash of free caps/caps we bought during our travel which I could use

7. Bookmarks
Because there are so many things that can be used as a bookmark!

8. Knick-knacks/Decorations
I used to love collecting knick-knacks when I travel, as a little memento of places I've been before. It's a habit I've gotten from my mum - she loves buying little decoration pieces and collecting magnet.

However, I feel like once these items are placed aside it's forgotten. And it starts collecting dust.

Unless it's something functional (ie a flower pot where I can put my flowers, a clock), I'd get it.

9. Postcards
Similar to (8), I used to collect postcards as memento. Now, I have a huge stack of them sitting in a box, collecting dust.

10. Tote bag
I always feel tempted to buy those pretty tote bags featured in shops and social media. But honestly...my house is sprawling with tote bags, gotten for free from events like marathon, buying a product and so on. It isn't going green if you continue to purchase tote bag and not use the ones you already have because it isn't "fashionable".
Jia and one of her free tote bag from Amazin' Graze 

You don't need another tote bag, Jia Qi. You have a lot of functional tote bag.

11. Exercise top
Whenever I go for a jog at my neighbourhood park or go climbing at the climbing gym, I always envy those who are donned in stylish & fitting exercise clothes.

Me? I often wear marathon tees. Or free cotton tees I've gotten from joining events.

Yes, I am tempted to get myself some stylish exercise clothing. But will getting a new set of clothes improve my performance? I don't do sports competitively, so getting that spanky new exercise top really wouldn't affect me...

12. Marathon
Okay, this isn't an item. But this falls under this list because when you join a marathon, you are essentially buying a marathon t-shirt and medal.

I used to be active in marathons and hence, I have too many marathon tees to count.

I've recently just gotten rid of my marathon medals too. Yes, it's nice to take a photo and upload it onto social media after your run. But what's after that? What purpose does the medal serve? Maybe to some, it is a precious proof that one has achieved something. But to me...it's a dust collector. How I wish if I could join a run while opting out for the medal! :(

--

Things I try not to buy...but probably will. Sometimes.

1. Books
I loveeee physical books. But like soft toys, books take up a lot of space and collect dust. I've been switching to reading e-books online using Scribd, but essentially, I find more joy in reading a physical book.

I think twice, no thrice, no maybe quadruple times before I make a book purchase. I'm more inclined to make a book purchase if the author is Malaysian, just to show support to our local writers.

2. Clothes
If you've been following my monthly goals reflection post, you'd noticed that I changed my goal from "not buying any clothes at all" to "long-term planning my wardrobe and only buying clothes that are on my shopping list".

Like most girls out there...I have a lot of clothes. I enjoy dressing up for different occasions and styling my looks. I want to dress better. However, one doesn't have to buy a lot of clothes to achieve this. I just need to be very mindful of what I want to buy and plan it properly...and have a lot of discipline.

3. Photos
Printed photos are great. They brighten up my day and reminds me of good times. But what do we do with them afterward...? When you replace your photo on the desk with some other photo...what do you do with the original photo? Keep it aside and never look at them for 20+ years?

Is it socially acceptable to throw away photos...? What do we do with them really?

This has been an ongoing debate in my head for years. I've always been trying to NOT print photos because of the above conflict. Most of the time, photos are kept in albums, and never look at for years. *dust collector trigger*. But they do look nice as decoration...

Hence, this ongoing conflict. Right now I have no firm stance on this...

--
Shall update this list as time past! I wonder if one day, plants and pots will be on this list too?

What's on your list of things not to buy? :)

Note: this list serves as a personal reference to remind me not to make unnecessary purchases, and hopefully inspire you to do the same! However, what works for me might not work for you. And similarly, what works for you might not work for me. So 


Sunday, 15 March 2020

Yew Swee - my favourite curry laksa place!

If you ask me what's my favourite curry laksa place in Malaysia, it'd definitely be in Yew Swee at Taman Abad, Johor.
Located at Taman Abad, which is just about 10 minutes drive from CIQ, Yew Swee is well-known kopitiam among the locals & also Singaporeans for its curry laksa.
Besides curry laksa, they also serve clear soup noodles, dry dark sauce noodles, lor mee and mein hoon kuih.
I find that the prices for Yew Swee is a little high for Johor (I typically pay RM4-6 for a bowl of noodle in Johor) - a small bowl of curry laksa costs RM8, and the medium and large costs RM9 and RM10 respectively. Despite so, I feel that the price is justified by the quality and quantity of ingredients served though!
Curry Laksa (Small) RM8
Another big plus point of Yew Swee to me is the ability to customize your noodles. You might argue that almost all curry laksa places allow customers to customize their noodles but...
YOU CAN ORDER MEN HOON KUIH WITH YOUR CURRY LAKSA. +++ Brownie points. :D
A small bowl of laksa was definitely more than enough for me - look at how generous the toppings are! Fishball, fired tofu skin, tofu, cockles, bean sprout...simmering in a rich curry laksa broth with a strong hint of coconut milk. Simply divine. The laksa here is more towards the lemak-y side (read: rich in coconut milk!), I tend to steer clear from food that is rich in coconut milk but Yew Swee curry laksa is a huge exception!

You can adjust the spiciness level by adding lime and sambal paste which is provided on each table.
Also, don't forget to give their cucur udang (prawn fritters) a try! It usually gets sold out pretty early, so do go there before 11am to get your hands on them!

Yew Swee
64, Jalan Harimau Tarum,
Taman Century,
80300 Johor Bahru, Johor
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