Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Good Reads/Podcasts/Video: June 2021

Yes, we're 2/3 through July. June has been a month where my priorities are all over the place. And the lockdown blues have definitely been affecting me. Unintentionally, I've deprioritised documenting my learnings - which really shouldn't be the case. Would still like to make time to properly reflect and document insights I've gotten from articles/podcasts/videos, and also once you stop doing something consistently, it is easy to give up completely.

1. 3 healthier ways to cope with criticism, disappointment and defeat - TED

"When a negative emotion strikes, it’s as if we hurriedly reach into the bucket and grab anything to make ourselves feel better. We don’t pay much attention to the kind of coping strategy we pull out and whether it involves self-deception or not. As long as it makes us feel better and it’s halfway plausible, it’ll do."

This article popped up on my social media timeline at the right time - it appeared when I can't help but feel rather defeated and disappointed and have been reaching into my "feel-good" bucket to help myself feel better.

The article suggests these three ways to cope with criticism/disappointment/defeat: 

1. Make a plan - Come out with some sort of next steps.

2. Notice silver lining - "A silver lining to any mistake is the lesson you’re going to extract from the experience, which you can use to help save you from similar mistakes in the future."

3. Focus on a different goal

2.  Your Insecurities Aren’t What You Think They Are - WorkLife With Adam Grant

We often think that the more experienced we get, the less insecure we become - that may not necessarily be true. If we achieved something in a breeze, it might just be because we didn't set a high enough bar for ourselves.

This podcast served as a good reminder to myself :) To the insecurities I often face. 

3. There are 5 kinds of clutter — which one is filling your life? - TED

The article shared that there are these five types of clutter: 

1. Physical - physical items like books, toys

2. Digital - inbox, large disorganised files

3. Mental - long long to-do lists, your fear, whatever that's in your head  

4. Emotional - negative patterns and beliefs (eg: I can't do this, I'm not good enough)

4. Spiritual - lack of forgiveness & peace

Like the author, I'd always pride myself as someone who is aware and intentional about the first two clutters. Little did I know I was inundated by mental and emotional clutter most of the time - my never-ending worries, thoughts etc often punctuate my dreams. 

Writing down my mental clutter and having lists helps :)

4. Three checklist templates to motivate you based on your mood energy level - The Financial Diet

1. Determine what mood you’re in (and be honest with yoursel
2. Base your set of tasks on step #1
3. Check things off throughout the day (leave room for misses and forgiveness)

The article provided a sample checklist for three different moods which might resonate with you- 

(1) For when you're feeling rather meh

(2) For when you're feeling just OK. where you feel that you can take on some tasks but nothing overly ambitious

(3) For when you feel like you're ready to take on the world!

5. The Importance Of Mourning Losses (Even When They Seem Small) - Life Kit NPR

I absolutely love this podcast! I realised that in the month of June, the uneasy feeling I've been feeling was grief - I was grieving about the change of my routine from FMCO. Grieving about leaving my job. Grieving about the absence of my old colleagues when starting a new job. I was going through different stages of grief without me realising it! 

The podcast suggests having a "ritual" to mourn your loss. Eg: buying myself my favourite food to celebrate the start of a new job. To write a letter to self when I leave my job. Etc etc.


That's it for the month of June. Here's to more learning, reflection and growth. Hoping that everyone is doing well :) 

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Licky Chan & The Poke Guys, KL

Boozy ice cream, anyone? 

Licky Chan & The Poke Guys is located along Jalan Yap Ah Shak, at one of the old pre-war shop lots in downtown KL. Its facade is hard to miss, with the clean white facade splashed with bright orange geometric, Licky Chan definitely stood out from its neighbours (you'll see a tailor shop to the right of it, and an insurance agent shop to the left).

As you can see from the photo above - the outdoor seating area is a popular photo-op spot, like the rest of the shop. Owned by the same company as Botak Liquor, JOLOKO, and you can order drinks from Botak Liquor here too! 

We came here after a lovely meal at JOLOKO, it is just a short ~ 3 minutes walk, and you get 15% off for your ice-cream if you can show them your receipt from JOLOKO! (As of April 2021!)

Upon stepping into Licky Chan, you'll be greeted by the warm orange hue, that may or may not be too electrifying to your eyes

Licky Chan serves both boozy (cleverly named "cone-tails") and non-boozy ice-cream flavours, which you may sample before making your purchase. Prices for boozy ice cream begins from RM14.80, whereas the non-alcoholic selection begins from RM9.80. And as always, the price for a second scoop is much affordable.

Their ice-cream menu for your reference - had so much trouble picking out which flavour I'd like to try because they all seem so interesting!

We came on a Sunday night and the place was busy, seatings might seem limited but fret not, the shop actually stretches in quite deep, and there are also plenty of seats upstairs. 
The little staircase that leads upstairs

View from upstairs - on the right side, there is a weird TV room that looked as though it came out from a movie (you'll have to see it yourself :p), and to the left, there is a room filled with playpens balls, which seemingly is a popular Instagram spot. Decided to stay put downstairs because it was seemingly more crowded upstairs, with the Instagram crowds :P #penjarakansocial yo!
The random blobs of blocks at the seating area downstairs.
Rum Rhapsody (+ RM2 from base price) & Lickin' on Gin & Juice (+ RM1.50 from base price). RM27.50
A little pricier than your usual ice cream but it was good! My favourite would be Rum Rhapsody, with the nutty taste of pistachio and ice cream laced with rum. Jia Qi approves. The only qualm is that their ice cream was seemingly melting rather fast!
Each ice cream comes with a fortune cookie...which, I'm not sure if all the content would be this random :p 

In case you're wondering why it's called "The Poke Guys"...it's because "The Poke Guys" is the tattoo shop nestled in the same shop lot as Licky Chan! And silly me thought that it is because they serve poke bowl as well :P

Licky Chan & The Poke Guy
24, Jalan Yap Ah Shak, 
Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, 
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Instagram: @lickychan
Website: https://www.lickychan.com/

Business Hours:
11am-8pm, Tuesdays-Sundays
Closed on Mondays

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Monthly Goals Review: June 2021

What day is it already? 

We're more than halfway through 2021, and the realisation that we have been in strict lockdown for the most part of 2021 has been hitting me hard. 

June has been...a roller coaster. I left my job and felt the emptiness of it. I thought I'd be "jobless" and "aimless" but the opposite was true - I was fortunate to have gotten various freelancing projects. I went full-on with my home bakery business, Batter Together. I started teaching part-time. I did a few programmatic works for a social enterprise. I was having lots of fun and found a lot of fulfilment in doing all these - but burnt-out crept upon me, without me realising it. I was feeling really tired by the end of June, and some of the sparks that I initially had in me sort of died off. Thank goodness I have a really good friend helping me out for my side business, who has been keeping me accountable and my spirits going.

Similar to the month of May, I am feeling frustrated from the extended lockdown as well. I am missing my friends. Missing being able to go out. Missing being able to go jogging (I'm in a EMCO zone so jogging is a no-go)

Perhaps my burnt-out was further fuelled by the frustration from the extended lockdown. The string of not-so-great news that flood our social media timeline recently. I decided to take things easy and slow in the first week of July, which explains this very late post. 

Financial Goals 

1) Save at least 40% of my income every month 

Took a huge pay cut in the month of June as I:

- left my full-time role

- ventured into a side business, where it's still in the infancy stage where I have not fully maximised my efficiency, and hence, low-profit margin

Despite the huge pay cut, I felt as though I was working much longer hours. I realised when you're running your own business/freelancing, you really have got to up your negotiation game, be confident and know your worth/rate. I have learnt and gained so much in the month of June on how to negotiate. 

Salute and respect to all the entrepreneurs, business owners and freelancers out there. It really isn't easy :")

I have also incurred some unexpected large-ticket expenses in June, such as my motor insurance renewal and car servicing, which I thought I had prepared using my bucket system BUT, the car servicing bill came up to twice the amount I was expecting :")

Despite so, I'm grateful that I have still side projects that provided me with some income. Grateful that I still have a roof above my head, and do not need to starve. 

Personal Growth / Learnings

1) Read at least one paragraph of non-fiction/fiction every day

For the month of June 2021, I've read two fiction and one non-fiction book.

I realised that once you forgo a habit, it becomes really easy to continue forgoing it. Felt rather disappointed in me for not writing reviews of the books I've read. It felt easy to forgo writing a review as well. 

Definitely, something to work on. Better late than never.

2) Participate in at least one online event and/or online course every month

Similar to (1), I lost my momentum for online courses since end-April and now it's really hard for me to swing back. Thought that I could invest more time in my own learning and development this month, but nope D: I'm trying my best not to beat myself up too much, since the month of June was really a packed one. 

I've managed to complete a Coursera Guided Project Course: Google Ads For Beginners which was helpful for me to understand how Google Ads work and will come into handy for the expansion of Batter Together :) 

I've attended a simple leathercraft workshop hosted by @tamanhatijz & @little.great.things. I won this workshop experience from their giveaway contest. I've got to say this was such a fun workshop! We made a simple leather cardholder and were taught the basics of leather care. I'm actually looking forward to join more virtual workshop like this, which would be a fresh respite from our lockdown routine.

3) Cook/Bake at least one dish per week

Similar to my other self-development topics...June was a month where I did not explore much on the culinary side (less my cookies R&D). My body is physically tired during the weekends from cooking baking :") trying to build up my stamina and strength and not lose my momentum!

Week 1 - Sourdough Tortillas and jerk pulled pork
Week 2: Korean Garlic Cheese Bread, Persian Love Cake
Week 3: Brownie Chips, pumpkin hummus, and pumpkin bread roll
Week 3
Week 4: Houjicha Cookies

That's it for June - a busy, yet fulfilling month, and a month where I felt drained, both mentally and physically. 

Things to look forward to in July

1. A new job

I received a job offer and am actually really excited about it! Will have to learn to manage my time and energy better in order to juggle between my full-time work life, my side business and also my personal life. 

2. Getting my second dose of the vaccine!

Definitely the highlight of the month, or maybe this year.

I don't think I have anything more to add for now :") But I've been curating "post-lockdown lists" with friends, which gives me something to lock forward to.

That's it folks :") Do stay safe and take care. And hope that things will get better. 

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Florescene Cafe @ World of Phalaenopsis, Hulu Yam Baru

Side blurb: it's lockdown again and I know we won't be able to visit here anytime soon, but it's good to build up our....post-MCO bucket list now and visit them when MCO is lifted, or find ways we can support businesses during this trying time :) 
World of Phalaenopsis is one of the largest orchid growers/supplier in Malaysia. They have been around since 2006, and you might have walked past their shops, Orchid Culture at Bangsar Shopping Centre and The Gardens Mall :D. 

Their farm in Hulu Yam is open for all to visit and there's even a little cafe there! I've been intending to blog about this place since my first visit in 2019 (& subsequent visit in 2020), but somehow I've successfully procrastinated till 2021. Oh well better late than never. The part in which I procrastinate is selecting and uploading photos of this place because during every single visit, I'd have taken one too many photos at this place :p You'd have understood why as you read along! 

I made my third visit to World of Phalaenopsis in April. Again, really? I enjoy visiting this place - it is a lovely place to have a cup of coffee and feast my eyes on the lush plants and myriad flowers. Different plants on are put on display during every visit, which makes every visit refreshing :) 

Located about an hour's drive from KL, World of Phalaenopsis is tucked in Hulu Yam. Chances are you probably think you're on the wrong track while navigating to World of Phalaenopsis, as you'll turn into a sort of residential area, but fret not, keep going on and you'll eventually reach World of Phalaenopsis! Parking is available, albeit limited, and it is shaded! 

Upon entering, you'll be greeted by overhanging ferns that forms an arc-like shape.

There's a cute little cafe, Florescene Cafe, tucked in the middle of World of Phalaenopsis. The cafe is located on the right side from the entrance, you'd see the red/fuchsia coloured circles leading your way into the cafe.
The cafe - I'll just let the pictures do the talking :) 

Beautiful isn't it :) You'd be spoilt for choices choosing where to seat too, as every seat provides a different view/backdrop :p 

I went there on a Monday morning and it was empty-ish. However, on weekends, be prepared to have people photobombing your photoshoots :P

The cafe operates on self-service basis, head to the counter to place your orders once you're ready. They serve the usual cafe staples like English breakfast and a selection of desserts, as well as some local dishes such as Nasi Lemak, Yam Cake etc. Prices are surprisingly quite okay given the environment you're in! 
Long Black RM9
Served with a Roti Kok
Apple Crumble RM12
Served with a scoop of ice cream. 
Yes, you may purchase orchids there too :D Their orchid comes in a range of prices, from as low as RM10, all the way to triple-digit, depending on the type of orchid and the maturity level (I believe). There are a few orchid conservatories there too but photographs are not allowed there. 

 Besides orchid, they also sell other common houseplants at their farm :) 
Can't wait to visit them again when lockdown is lifted :) Do prepare to spend at least an hour, or more if you're someone who really appreciates plants :) 

Do pay attention to their social media page as they offer plants for sale occasionally, and sometimes they'd throw in some offers too :D 

World of Phalaenopsis
1017, Jalan Batang Kali - Hulu Yam Bharu, 
Kampung Sungai Kamin, 
44300 Batang Kali, Selangor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/worldofphalaenopsis/

Thursday, 3 June 2021

[Life's Update]: I Started Batter Together - My Home-Based Bakery!

No - this is not a post where I hard sell my own baked goods, but just wanted to document the events and emotions I've experienced that lead to where I am today :)  

This was (& still is) a nerve-wracking journey, but I started my own cookie side business :))) It took me a lot of coaxing and encouragement from my friends, and I'm really glad I've started it :) 


It's always been something that I've always enjoyed. During my uni days, baking was my number 1 stress buster. I'd often go on a jog and somehow ended up in the TESCO nearby, and going home with lots of butter. 

(Butter was cheap in the UK, and my electricity was covered in my rental so I went all out with baking) 
Another reason why I baked often - I kept getting extra lemons when I order online

I went on a long baking hiatus after I started my first job. Thanks to MCO, I started picking up baking again. Baking kept me sanity in check during MCO, as it gave me a strong drive & sense of purpose - I wanted to improve my baking. To find out why certain baked goods of mine failed miserably. To learn how to troubleshoot my cookies that are overly flattish. 

I bought a brand new Kenwood stand mixer and it was one of my best purchases for the year 2020.  I wrote a blog post on how to choose a stand mixer, as well as created an unboxing video if you're interested!

I enjoy sharing my baked goods with my friends and family, simply because food is best when shared. Besides, I can't finish one whole cake/a whole batch of cookies on my own :p It always brings me joy to see friends and family enjoying my baked good :) Whenever my friends are down, I'd love to send some baked goods to cheer them up. 

However, I was consumed by insecurities. I've always felt that my baked good isn't "good enough". And I was always doubting if feedback from my friends are true feedback or just compliments they pay because, well they're my friends.

Starting a side business is one of my goals for 2021, and starting a business to sell my baked goods is TOP on the list. Obviously, it was Insecurities 1 and Side Business 0 at the start of the year. I couldn't get myself to overcome my insecurities.

So what happened? Did my insecurities just go, poof! into thin air? Nah. Trust me it's still there, looming large, all over my head. 
It all started on a random Saturday morning back in March 2021, when I went for a jog with my dear friend, Nadiah. We were talking about life in general, and I shared my goals for the year. I shared a Biscoff NY cookie I made with her and she asked me, "Jia, why aren't you selling this? You should be selling it!". 

This is something that many of my friends told me, but I've never taken any actions, simply because of the insecurities I mentioned above. She proceeded to give me a deadline to start my business, became my very first customer just to boost my confidence, dropped me reminders to start working on it (because I kept procrastinating, out of fear & insecurity!) 

And after lots of prompting, and support from my friends -- I finally posted my first cookie sale post on my personal Instagram account. (A friend had to be next to me --- making sure I press "post" and not procrastinate, because I was THIS close to not posting it)

I've gotten a lot of support and love from friends, families and acquaintances during that nerve-wracking first few days :'). After two weeks of selling on my personal account, I've gained the confidence to register for a business and started my online bakery, Batter Together.

NY-style cookies, anyone? :D

I've been running Batter Together for 2 weeks at the time of writing (and selling my cookies through my personal account for 2 weeks), and I've been getting a lot of support, compliments, repeat orders from friends, families and even strangers (achievement unlocked!!)

My insecurities are still there - definitely it is not something you'd overcome overnight. And I believe it'll stick with me for a long long time. Everyone has their own favourites & preference - this is something I've always believed in strongly, but yet it is very hard for me to accept. Whenever a customer gives me feedback (eg: cookie too sweet, they want more chocolate here, etc. etc.), I'd have this strong urge of modifying my recipe. (so far, I think I'm doing pretty well in resisting this urge though!) We all have our preferences and favourite, and there wouldn't be one perfect food item that'd please everyone. I need to learn to let go of trying to bake that perfect cookie that would please every single one. 

(but also make sure that my cookies please MOST people, ofc, else...my cookies must be really bad)


I'm very excited to be working on Batter Together and am definitely planning to further expand my offering :) (R&D more cookie flavour, and potentially selling other baked goods too!)
My latest cookie flavour R&D - orange & chocolate!

Taking things one step at a time :) And now it's time for some shameless side plug :p 

If you love chonky NY-style cookie (or if you wonder how they taste like!), do check out my little side business, @Battertogether_my hehe :D Currently accepting orders on pre-order basis, and accepting orders around the Klang Valley only for now. But stay tuned as I work on my expansion plan :))) 

Exciting times ahead :)))

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