Sunday, 28 December 2014

Event Review #2: Markets Fourteen @The School, Jaya One

Markets Fourteen was back once more last Saturday with 69 vendors consisting of boutiques, food trucks, accessories, handmade products, heels and more.

It was my first time attending Markets and was amazed by how organised the booths were. What I observe matched what the vendors say.

Goodies bags were given from 11am onwards for the first 1500 visitors. I arrived at 11:30am and got a goodie bag for myself. 

The awesome food stalls caught my eye at the first instant. I did some research earlier on the food stalls available, so I was all for it!!

Food Trucks
1) Crazy Potato
2) Otea
3) Wheeloaf
4) Spagme
5) Babaritos

6) Oh My Fruit Juice
7) Cowboys Food truck

Checking out each food truck and what they sell, the prices etc, I happen to meet a few friends who came to shop during the college / university break. Already entering all promotions for the day such as Free Waffles, Special Sales Hours etc into my brain, I stopped by Vvaffle operated by Vvaffle Trading Sdn Bhd. As expected there was a long queue for the Mini Waffles they will give. 200 portions were the capacity. Upon furthur inquiry, I found out that they have a shop at P1.041, The School, Jaya One, right in the building and also the Waffles that they give FOC are actually selling in bigger size at RM 10.00 per piece. 

Near the goodie bag collection area / registration counter, one will not miss the big shark mascot going around informing passerby about the coming extinction of sharks due to high demand of shark-fin to make the delicious Chinese delicacy - Shark fin soup which is usually served in special occasions such as weddings, CNY celebration and banquets. 

There is also this brand called bisou, it was opened by Dr Shelby, a artificier and blogger. Her booth had this really lively and positive vibe that I feel all the people around her booth feel the same as well. Bisou products are really cute. I always believe excellent product design will bring the company forward faster as it gives the customers the ultimate first impression. It is a make it or break it moment. Design wise, pleasant to the eye, makes you feel you are valued as a potential user. Dr Shelby was kind enough to introduce to me the different products they have including lip gloss, bath scrub, bath salt, body scrub, mosquito repellent, natural bar soap and many more. 

As I stop by Peanut Butter Factory KL which sells artisan peanut butter, I decided to take a sample from them. Being a total newbie in FMCG products and their value in the market, I did not know how to judge whether or not the product is expensive or cheap. 

Peanut Butter Factory KL booth set up by a pair of sisters, Rachel and Alina, both young and daring.

They have two (2) ranges: Artisan Peanut Butter and Premium. Under Artisan there are Smooth (RM15), Chunky (RM15),  Kaya & Peanut Butter (RM18), Cranberry (RM20), Omega 3 (RM25), Chocolate Chip (RM22) and Peanut Butter & Jelly (RM 23). On the other hand, Premium range consist of Cashew Butter (RM28), Almond Butter (RM25), Hazelnul Choc (RM23) and Granola. 

As you can see above, I bought two jars of peanut butter, both are their bestsellers, namely Chocolate Chip and Omega 3. In conjunction with the Christmas season, they gave a small container of Chunky peanut butter. 

A review on this product is done here. Feel free to have a look, share your thoughts and share it with your friends. 

Claire Organics was also one of the highlighted booths of the day as they have a Special Sales hour whereby all products are selling at 50 PERCENT discount. What a worthwhile offer!

Louise, the founder created and launched Claire Organics in 2012 as she realised that the market was saturated with products with chemicals that are detrimental to our health. Claire products include skincare, lipcare, haircare, and uses natural ingredients and are chemical-free. 

Lavender Oatmeal Sea Salt Scrub. I love calming and soothing products so I chose this Lavender one. Read the review here 

Lavender Bar Soap. All natural with lavender fragrance. RM 19.90
Read my review here. 

I was so happy to see Juize By Five at Markets as they came to Monash, my university to sell their product in our bazaar in the middle of the year. I bought a blue iPad bag, customised it with anchor and love charms and also my name embrossed on dark blue material which I think cost around RM50. 

On the sideline, I am currently in a Copybook craze where I collect pretty books for note-taking purposes (in University lectures), ideas brainstorming, blogging posts hence I dropped by at Notbook Notbuk operated by Notbook Notbuk Ventures. An interesting name, isn't it? They sell personalised notebooks, custom made paper goods, provide printing service, graphic design, wedding & party favors and bulk / wholesale purchases. Some include journals, organiser, blank notebooks, books with lines etc. Multi-colour, a wide range of choices and reasonable prices. 

Overall, the event was very well done, although many vendors say that the crowd is lesser and slower compared to Markets 13 and previous Markets. 

Benefits gained: Fashion brands awareness, know how to converse with different vendors, analytical skills

Things I could have improved: Do not wear heels. Lesson learnt as I was there from 11:30am to 3:30pm, resulted in my ankles having blisters due to friction. 

Take home message: Observing the age group of the vendors, truly building a business has no boundaries unless mentally you construct a cage and lock yourself inside. Numerous people have started business at a young age, mostly around 24 - 28 years old. So, I will remind myself daily my goals in life, take it step-by-step and always believe that riding through problems like waves in sea will strengthen myself and push myself to greater heights. 

Upcoming event will be the Chinese New Year festival from 19th January to 17 February organised by Markets at The School, Jaya One. 

Nail Polish Review: Ciate Caviar Mini Bar Volume 2

Being on summer break (as they call it in Monash Australia), I had much time to spare. Plus, with my Christmas present from my aunt, you can read about it here, I am so into manicure now, with all the fantastic ways to create unique nail art, colour combination and the fact that mani and pedi will be my platform to show off my creativity..... oh gosh (taking a deep breath), excites me, fuels me and inspires me.

I got my hands on them several days after I received it, AND just to let you know, I am a total newbie in doing manicure, hence I am taking every opportunity to practise and try out new looks.

A brief intro:

Ciate London

Founder: Charlotte
Product: Ciate Caviar Mini Bar Volume 2
Retail Price: RM 89.00
Imported to Malaysia by: Beauty In Motion Sdn Bhd
4 Paint pots (White, Pink, Light Blue and Red)
4 Caviar pearls

Let's get the photos rolling...

Fun Fair with Fatal Attraction caviar pearls on thumb and pinky. 
Source of inspiration: Desire for combination look rather than the same design for each nail; Love for PINK
Done on: 20 December 2014

Blue x White
Snow Virgin with Front Row caviar pearls on index, middle and ring fingers and ferris wheel on thumb and pinky.
Meaning: Purify, peaceful and relaxing

Left hand: Nails Inc.
This is a little special, I went to Sephora at Paradigm Mall and tried this colour. It's a gel manicure and it really did wonders for my nails. I am frankly an amateur in manicures and I could make it PERFECT!! And when I say that, I am not exaggerating. 

Why this colour? New year is just round the corner, I thought of boosting the new year atmosphere with a fierce, auspicious and striking look.

Right hand: Mistress on all fingers with Wild Fire caviar pearls on the ring finger. 

What's so good about Ciate Caviar Mini Bar?
  • Easy application
  • Excellent quality
  • Interesting concept of Caviars
  • Attractive and sweet packaging
What's bad about Ciate Caviar Mini Bar?
  • Price is not very affordable for students like me when the price is RM 11 per mini nail polish.

  • Definitely in my To-Buy list and will recommend to friends. 

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Skincare Review: Claire Organics Lavender Oatmeal Sea Salt Scrub

TIPS: When you are stressed or going through a tough time, treat yourself a relaxing scrub! You deserve it. 

So, I got this sea salt scrub from Claire Organics' booth at Markets @ The School, Jaya One on the 20th which is exactly a week ago. I decided to only try it a few days ago since I only do exfoliating once every week or two.

Brand: Claire Organics
Type: Scrub / Exfoliator
Product: Lavender Oatmeal Sea Salt Scrub

An aspect important when choosing skincare products is the nature of the product. Descriptions like organic, natural, fragrance free, non-acetone (for nail polish remover), made with herbs are the ones you should look up for. 

For Claire Organics, it is a brand worth considering when you shop for skincare products. I try my best to get natural, well-researched, evidence-based and organic products even when it costs a little bit more. 

I chose this Lavender scrub as it says at the back of the bottle, that 

Lavender calms your senses while Oatmeal gently exfoliate and moisturise for even the most sensitive skin. Helps treating acne, eczema, rosacea, rashes and even relieve symptoms of aging skin.

My skin is usually dry and I have mild eczema on my foot. So, check! Worth a shot.


My legs were incredibly clean and smooth after the scrub. Love the scent as well, it gives the calming effect that you will need if you are just back from a stressful day at work. Being ORGANIC is just so awesome too!


Unfortunately, it didn't do much for my ezcema, maybe the salt is a bit rough on my skin. Well, everyone is different. It may not work for me but for you it may be effective. I always believe in trying out different products until you find one that works for you.


I will give it a 8/10, definitely want to try more of their other products. Will continue using it and be more gentle next time around. 

Don't know where to find Claire Organics?
Fret not! Follow them to get their latest updates here:

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Amy's 2014 Cosmetics, Skincare and Haircare Products Overview + Review

As the year 2014 is coming to a close, I want to share with you what are the products I use throughout the year. This article will be divided into three sections: Make-up / Cosmetics, Skincare and Haircare. In those sections, I will provide the name of products used, the duration used and the reason I changed to another product.

The reviews will be slowly updated here with links to the individual review post. I will first provide company, its contact and product information, ingredients, followed by price (if I remember), some background on how I bought / got it and finally my opinions on the product. 

Disclaimer: Even though some of the products may be sponsored (will be stated), I did not receive any monetary benefits from the company and my reviews will always be my honest opinions. 

Make-up / Cosmetics

Brand: Maybelline New York
Name: Compact two-way cake foundation
Duration of use: January - March 

Brand: L'oreal Paris 
Name: le teint True Match Super-Blendable Foundation
Specification: R2 Apricot Ivory (liquid foundation)
Volume: 30ml
Shelf-life: 12 months
Duration of use: 3-4 months (still in use)
Price: Approx RM45 / RM50

Brand: Silkygirl
Name: Perfect Cover Concealer
Specification: 01 Light
Duration of use: 3-4 months (still in use)

Brand: Silkygirl
Name: Shimmer Duo Blusher
Specification: Blushing Pink
Weight: 4g
Duration of use 3-4 months (still in use)

Brand: Silkygirl
Specification: 29 Diva Moisture Rich
Duration of use: 3-4 months 

Brand: NYX
Range: Butter gloss
Volume / Capacity: 8ml / 0.27 fl. oz.
Specification: BLG01 Strawberry Parfait
Duration of use: Since May 2014

Eye Shadow
Brand: Silkygirl
Name: Blockbuster Color Palette
Specification: Classic Chic
Weight: 5g
Duration of use: 3-4 months (still in use)

Eye pencil / Eyeliner
Brand: Daiso Japan
Name: ElleFar Eye
Specification: Black and Brown
Duration of use: occassionally
Price: RM 5

Brand: Silkygirl
Name: Hi-Definition Gel Eyeliner Pen
Specification: 01 Intense Black 
-waterproof, smudge-proof, fragrance-free
Duration of use: occasionally 

Brand: Elianto
Name: Curvee Eyeliner Pen
Specification: Black & For Beginners
Volume / Capacity: 0.4ml / 0.014 fl. oz.
Duration of use: Since 25 December
Price: Retail - RM33; Bought: RM

Eyelash Curler
Brand: Daiso Japan
Duration of use: Rarely
Price: RM 5

Double eye-lid stickers
Brand: Daiso Japan
Amount: 20 pairs
Duration of use: Rarely
Price: RM 5

Brand: Maybelline New York
Name: Volum' Express the FALSiES
Specification: Waterproof Black
Duration of use: occasionally

Make-up Brushes
Brand: MEGAGA Professional
Recommended by: My make-up artist teacher, Piper Chuah
Amount: 10 brushes 

Brush Cleanser
Brand: Daiso Japan
Price: RM 5

Make-up Remover
Lip and Eye makeup remover
Brand: L'oreal Paris Dermo-Expertise
Name: Gentle Lip and eye make-up remover 
Specification: For waterproof make-up
Volume: 125ml

Makeup Remover
Brand: Silkygirl
Name: Hydra Clean Makeup Remover 
Specification: For all skin types, Vitamin E & Aloe Vera Extract
Volume: 165ml

Brand: Bifesta
Name: Moist Cleansing Lotion
Specification: Dry & Normal Skin
Volume: 300ml
Duration of use: Since December 
Price: RM 31.80

Nail Polish
Brand: Ciate
Name: Ciate Caviar Mini Bar Volume 2
Volume / Capacity: 4X 5ml / 0.16 Fl. Oz.; 4x Net Weight 10g / 0.35 Oz
Content: 4 colors, 4 caviars, 1 funnel
Duration of use: Since December
Shelf Life: 24 months


Body cleanser
Brand: The Aromatherapy Co. (New Zealand)
Name: Lavender & Chamomile Bath & Shower Gel
Volume / Capacity: 200ml / 6.8 Fl. Oz
Shelf Life: 24 months
Duration of use: First half of the year

Brand: The Body Shop
Name: Mango Soap
Volume / Capacity: 100ml / 3.5 Oz.
Duration of use: Middle part of the year
Price: RM11.90

Brand: Claire organics
Name: Lavender soap
Duration of use: Unused
Price: Sponsored

Face cleanser
Brand: Clean & Clear
Name: Daily soft cleanser
Weight: 100g
Duration of use: January - November
Brand: Cetaphil (Gladerma)
Name: Gentle Skin Cleanser
Volume: 1 L
Duration of use: Since December
Price: RM 64.80

Brand: Hada Labo
Name: Super Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Lotion
Volume: 170ml
Duration of use: Since December
Price: RM 41.60

Hand wash
Brand: Fruiser
Name: Moisturizing Hand wash
Specification: Aloe Vera
Volume: 500ml
Shelf Life: 36 months (Till 2016)

Hand and Body Lotion
Brand: The Aromatherapy Co.
Name: Lavender&Chamomile Hand&Body Lotion
Volume / Capacity: 200ml / 6.8 Fl. Oz.
Shelf Life: 24 months
Duration of use: January to November

Brand: Deoproce
Name: Snail Recovery Moisture Hand & Foot Moisturizer
Volume: 100mg
Shelf Life: 3 years (Till 2017)
Duration of Use: Since December

Body scrubs
Brand: The Body Shop
Name: Strawberry Body Polish
Volume / Capacity: 200ml / 6.75 Fl. Oz.
Shelf Life: 12 months
Duration of Use: Middle part of the year

Brand: Claire Organics
Name: Lavender Oatmeal sea salt scrub
Duration of use: Since December
Price: Sponsored

Brand: Rexona
Specification: Shower clean - all day freshness; 48 hour Anti-Perspirant Deodrant
Shelf Life: 24 months
Duration of use: First few months of the year

Brand: Smelly-No-More
Name: Natural Crystal Roll On Deodorant Stick
Specification: 24 hour anti-bacteria
Weight: 60g
Duration of use: 8 months (Still in use)
Price: RM6.90

Brand: Ciel Bijou
Name: Caviar
Volume: 25ml
Duration of use: Unused
Price: RM 4.70 (After discount - 20%)

Brand: Deoproce
Name: Color Synergy Effect Sheet Mask
Specification White, Moist Anti-oxident Radiant Shea Butter & Rice
Weight: 20g
Price: RM 3.60 (After discount - 20%)


Brand: TRESemme
Name: Deep Cleansing shampoo
Specification: Cleanse & Replenish
Volume: 900ml
Duration of use: Several months
Price: Approx. RM 23

Brand: Himalaya Herbals
Name: Anti Dandruff Shampoo
Specification: Normal Hair
Volume: 400ml + 200ml (extra)
Duration of use: Since December
Price: RM 19.70

Brand: Dove
Name: Nourishing old care - nutri-oil serum
Specification: Advanced care and repair
Volume: 40ml
Duration of use: Whole year

Hair removal
Brand: Veet
Name: In shower Hair Removal Cream - Lotus Milk and Jasmine Fragrance
Specification: Normal skin
Volume: 150ml

That's all people, hope you gain some insights on some basic types of cosmetics, skincare and haircare products. The reviews will be posted very soon and this will be my Christmas gift for you!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Christmas present!! Ciate Caviar Mini Bar Volume 2 Nail Polish Gift Set

Last week, I planned with my aunt to go shopping together on Monday (15 Dec) as I don't really have proper nail polish or beauty products. But because I took up an internship which starts on that day, we couldn't carry out with the plan.

To my surprise, yesterday when I came back from my work at 9pm due to overtime, there was this pretty Sephora bag on my table in my room!! I knew instantly it was from my aunt. Already excited, I grabbed it and opened the bag. And another small gift bag appeared. Oh god the suspense! Then, I found the Ciate gift set.

Inside, there are four mini nail polishes (white, light blue, light pink and red) in the first row and another four glitters for their respective colours. With this, you can create 16 combinations of nail polish. How amazing is that!!

Tadaa! There will be lots of reviews on the nail polishes when I paint my nails with these cute little colours. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Event Review #1: Giftmas Carnival @ SStwo Mall

Christmas is always a annual celebration held on the 25th December to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. You will never miss Christmas trees with the stunning decorations in shopping malls and homes.

I was invited by my vocal teacher to join this carnival as part of a choir (consisting of our choir as well as my teacher's cell group members) to sing some Christmas carols. Giftmas Carnival was held in SStwo Mall on the 6th December, from 10am to 2pm and we had two sessions of performance, 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. With many other live performances, the crowd can drop by over 20 booths selling food, books, clothing and other household items at VERY LOW prices.

For example, there was this booth selling books at only RM4 per book!!! As an avid reader, I went into my crazy mode searching for books that I am interested in. Although they are second hand books, I didn't mind because the whole main point of books is the content. So, the books that I bought were Betrayed by Lyndsey Harris with Andrew Crofts, A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks, Reading the Bible Book by Book.

I will update this post later with photos.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How to Ace Piano Exam's Scales, Aural and Sight Reading sections

Grade 8 Piano, ABRSM, 2009
Grade 8 Theory, ABRSM, 2012
Diploma in Piano Performance (DipLCM), London College of Music, 2011
Associate in Piano Performance (ALCM), London College of Music, 2014
Grade 5 Piano, Yamaha, 2012
Grade 5 Fundamentals, Yamaha, 2010

As listed above, these are my achievements in Piano playing in my music learning journey since age four. 

In this post, I am only going to talk about ABRSM Scales, Aural and Sight Reading sections, which you will find similar to other boards as well.

Marks Allocation:
1) Scales/Broken Chords/Arpeggios/Thirds/Sixths/Octaves/Dom & Dim 7th - 21 marks
2) Sight Reading - 21 marks
3) Aural Tests - 18 marks

The most important element to succeed in these sections are NOT hours long practices, but

(I) Attitude
In all things that students do, having the right mindset / internal self-talk (what you tell yourself when doing the activity) is very important. 

If you already have a negative attitude towards your ability to play smooth scales, achieve perfect score for Aural test and get high marks for sight reading, you have pre-planned to perform below the standard.

Let me set this straight for you. 

1) There is no ''magic". Don't expect to do well in any of these sections if you only start hardcore practising one week before exam. 

2) Work hard and work smart - Being determind to work hard and having the skills to know what to emphasise on is key.

(II) Consistency
Consistency is also crucial in ensuring your success. I would recommend short but frequent practice sessions.

Strategies for the Sections:

Scales (Aimed at higher grades - Gd 6, 7, 8)

1) Master your Circle of 4ths and 5ths
Know your Keys and key signatures inside out and upside down. Test yourself regularly by either writing on the left side of a paper (Key), and on the right side, test yourself and write the key signatures without referring to the charts.

2) Break it down
That book of scales may seem overwhelming, yes, undeniably so. This simple principle will solve the problem of (i) Unable to take it so much at a time and (ii) lack of motivation to push on during practice sessions

3) Accelerando
You have already learned this in Grade 1, start slow first, then you increase your tempo. 
I encourage trying a few notches up on your metronome / reducing the speed. For instance, in Grade 8 scales, you are required to play at 88 crotchet beats in a minute. Slow it down. Try it at 72, 76, 80, 84. Then when you can play let's say 9/10 marks for the scale, play a little faster, yet maintaining the even tone.

4) Practice session
I remember when I used to practice my scales during the lower grades, I hated it so much. It's just boring and I did not know what were scales for then. Only now, I realised its importance. 

Learning stage
During this stage, do the simple Separate hands first. This is to lay down the crucial foundation to ensure you really know your notes for the scales before proceeding to Hands together.

It includes randomising the scales, asking someone to test you and follow your teacher's instructions on the homework for every class.

Approaching your exams,

Grade 8: 30 minutes to 1 hour, randomly by sections (Similar motion, Contrary motion, Arpeggios, Third apart, Sixth apart, Dominant/Diminished 7th)

Play only selected sections during each session, don't overload, it will get pretty boring as you repeatedly move your fingers up and down the piano.

Play variations of the scales. Sometimes, you can play just solid staccatos for the scales (for lower grades) and add rhythm to it such as syncopating / long-short long-short, feels like bouncing. 

I would recommend Schmitt - Preparatory Exercises Op16 for the Piano for drills on proper articulation, lifting the notes, producing a solid clear sound. 

Sight Reading

Rule 1: Don't STOP !!!

When your heart stop beating, you die correct? Think as if Sight Reading is your heart beating. If you stop, you will die, as your marks for fluency will be cut so low that you will never see another day. Set this mindset. For example, you are playing the piece as a performance, the first bad impression the audience get is when you stop.

When you stop = You don't know your stuff.
So when you play fluently without breaking down, it gives an impression that the awkward tunes are minor slips. Master this technique and you have already won half the battle!

Rule 2: Note similar patterns throughout the piece

Many students asked me, "What do I do during the 30 seconds?" 
The 30 seconds preview can be used in so many ways. Methods differ depends on your teacher.

Combining what my teachers (yes, I have more than five piano teachers (Yamaha and ABRSM) over the years) and my own experience dissecting the art of sight reading

1) Key, key signatures, any modulation / key changes, time signature
2) Similar parts of the piece
Structure of a piece can be Ternary form (A-B-A) or Binary form (A-B). Motives, repeated sequences/phrases should be identified when you read the piece.

Rule 3: Use the Sight Reading book (ABRSM) only as a guide
Aim to surpass the level of the sight reading tested in exam. If you always aim for something higher than the required standard, you will likely perform much better and even if you don't, you fall on the clouds. 

Rule 4: Use a variety of material such as Czerny pieces (Op. 299 or 599), simply anything a few grades lower than the one you're sitting for.

I use Improve your Sight Reading by Paul Harris for my students. But personally I prefer just picking up any piece (Beethoven, Chopin, Lizst, or even Richard Clayderman) and just try 5-6 lines or 1-2 pages if you can. 

Back when I studied music, I did not have the luxury to buy really good books (mostly properly written and structured to enhance learning and absorption - from USA or the UK). So, I used the rote-learning a.k.a. Asian way of learning, emphasising on variety and consistency.

Nowadays, many books are available, so teachers explore them, and students, please be thankful you have much more resources now compared to what we have a decade ago.

Aural test

I always did exceptionally well in my Aural test (I'm not boasting) for the grades that I sat (2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). How did I do it? 

1) Know the questions right from the start of your preparation for Grade (insert) exam.

2) Build up your listening skills
Secondly, I have to give credit to Yamaha as I learned solfege (sight singing) and hearing from young so it makes it a lot easier to master the parts where you say "la, la, la" or listening then identifying cadences, major/minor keys, intervals etc.

3) Boost your confidence
Ensure that you are confident to speak up, answer the questions in audible voice (please.... It's not worth losing marks if you are just shy and speaking softly). Positive affirmations help. You can do it mentally before exam or consistently every morning if you are shy / introvert / anxious.

If your teacher tests you regularly on Aural, then you should do fine as he/she would have a plan for you. 


Additional Readings:

There are more quality advice out there, do explore them and I hope my two-cents can help you or your students / children in their performance in exams.

Do drop me a line below for comments and share it with your friends so that others can benefit too!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

FX Primus Sharing Session with Kevin

It's been quite a while since I attended an inspirational talk of some sort LIVE. Today is a great day because of a sharing session that Mr Kevin from FXPrimus has conducted in Taylor's Subang Jaya, a college that I graduated from last year. It is an event of RM10 as donations to fund Angels Warriors Initiative 's community project for the unprivileged. 

No point beating around the bush, what you are reading here would be a short and concise reflection of the talk and what I have learnt from it.

With his confidence and humility, he shared down-to-earth experiences with us, willing to spend his precious time which could have been utilised for making deals, increase revenue etc. One thing I felt was sincerity and focus on the now

Many of us tend to occupy our mind with either thinking back on yesterdays and yester-years OR worrying about tomorrow. The fact is that we cannot predict tomorrow or even the next minute. 

The gist of the talk / take-home message is as follows (added with some of my own experiences and understanding):

1. Setting goals
It has already been said too much about setting not just goals, but clearly defined goals: in some self-help books known as S.M.A.R.T.  
There are many variations to these but they mean similar things. 

If your goal is too big in the now, break it down into smaller, more achievable goals. So you can have several goals at the same time. BUT, this is a big but, you can only do one thing at a time. Personally, I also agree with the speaker, multi-tasking is bullshit, to be frank. 

2. Information ≠ Knowledge
In this modern, sophisticated, technology-driven society, gaining information is no longer an issue, I learnt so much online, even degrees can be obtained by online learning and distance learning. Now, they even have blended learning with Edmodo, Moodle, Blackboard and many other learning platforms. 

Indeed, we know a lot, but if these information don't translate into practical knowledge and application. They are useless. 

3. Visualise
Visualisation has proven effective in helping athletes achieve greater heights. They need to visualise how they will counteract the opponent's tactics and strategies. Hence, visualising your dreams and goals daily can help tremendously in your personal growth. 

Personal thoughts:
I strongly feel that the intelligence that our ancestors have and what we have now is identical. It's just that the environment in which Gen X, Gen Y and the Gen Z live in has had a paradigm shift. So, there is no question of the ability of one person to achieve his or her goals, it's a matter of a conscious choice

You can be poor and depressed and your environment and surrounding may go against you, but it is still a choice if you stay (insert your condition)  for the next 2-3 years. Internal change is always possible

That's all people. Overall, an amazing sharing from Kevin. And I express my heartfelt gratitude to those who invited me to the event. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Post-Exams thoughts and Reflections

I was done with my exams last week, on the 11th. I heaved a sigh of relief after my last paper despite performing less than average. 

Being able to study in Monash is really a blessing. Never did I knew and thought that I would make it. With HELP University being the pioneer for Psychology among private universities in Malaysia, I actually had some regrets for entering Monash. Firstly, the expensive fees, Secondly, the uncertainty of getting my Psychology major preferred by employers or graduate programs alike and Thirdly, worry of lack of peers with similar interests. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

"活得精彩" 简介

大家好. 欢迎来到我的 "活得精彩" 部落格.

我是望绮, 今年十九. 因觉得写个实实在在的中文全译是真的比使用 Google Translate 来得好许多. 这个网页将会是英文版内容的翻译. 此页未必有所有英文的文章及记录, 但是我将会尽力让喜爱华文文章的读者享饱眼福.

我在马来西亚接受华文教育, 因此写作文笔未免与祖国中国的有插入, 希望你们能够明白我写的东西及多多体谅.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Exams time!!

Studying in the social sciences isn't an easy task. My first paper, "Communications Technologies and Practices" is in 2 days time. Here sits a procrastinator and super stressed girl who just got a panic attack a couple of days back upon realising the amount of readings and knowledge to be consumed and absorbed for the exams.

I am blessed to have only 3 papers to sit, excluding the General Studies paper I just did last Thursday. Next week, or as a matter of fact, in 2 days time, final exams will officially begin. I was worried these few days, constantly reminding myself that I have to study, yet my mind would throw me lots of excuses such as "I am lazy", "I feel like eating some food" (and there I go, 'flying' myself to 7-Eleven or my University's cafe to catch some snacks... and there goes 20 minutes of loitering around), "I feel like sleeping" etc. Subconsciously I know that I did not want to start as I felt overwhelmed by the workload. Recently I have also been oversleeping. As far as I can recall, these two days I slept over 10 hours. And I still felt like sleeping. Physically I also felt really tired. It means my body is signalling that I have to exercise regularly.

Fortunately, I finished the general overview of 4 chapters of Management, which is on next Wednesday. But I have yet to continue my comm. Then I thought, maybe I should read my Bible. However, I don't have the time to find what verse I want to read. So, I pulled out Max Lucado's Inspirational Reader. I read through the chapter on Encouragement. Here was what I got:

The Bible says that "in everything God works for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8:28 NCV).... Do this simple exercise. Remove the work everything, and replace it with the symbol of your tragedy. 
              In hospital stays God works for the good.
              In divorce papers God works for the good.
              In a prison term God works for the good.

What you and I might rate as an absolute disaster, God may rate as a pimple-level problem that will pass. He views your life the way you view a movie after you've read the book. When something bad happens, you feel the air sucked out of the theatre. Everyone else gasps at the crisis on the screen. Not you. Why? You've read the book. You know how the good guy gets out of the tight spot. God view your life with the same confidence. He's not only read your story... he wrote it.
-Come Thirsty

In my case, I would insert the words "exams preparation", "studies", "difficulties", "disappointments", "frustrations", "fear", "anxiety". 
I am reminded that God is with me, always.

Now, I suffer from weakness (physical) and lack of perseverance. When only a small wave hits, I fall to the ground, too tired to stand back up again. I need strength to carry on. And I know with faith in God, I will. 

Recently in a Women's event on depression, I learned that we cannot say 'I can't', because God says we can.

From Max Lucado's book I also discovered this passage, its meaning is similar to Matthew 6:34. 

Meet today's problems with today's strength. Don't start tackling tomorrow's problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow's strength yet. You simply have enough for today.
-Travelling Light

Below are another two verses which I find helpful in reminding me to persevere on despite fear. 
Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Finally, I have finished my post. I am still exhausted from the day. But I will stand firm in my faith and push through these seasons of studying and doing exams. :)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Battle with assignments continues

Hi all,

How quick time flies.. Before I come to realise it, it's already close to the end of my second semester, Week 11. I have to say, this semester is quite a good one for me! As of now, I still have a couple of assessments left to be completed by this week and next week:

1) Communications essay 40%
2) Psychology research proposal 25%
3) Online news story 15%
4) Online news story presentation 5%
5) Reflective statement 10%

I am so excited to see myself completing my assignments. I had always fear doing assignments as I set high expectations for myself and am a perfectionist. Being in Monash for close to 2 semesters already, I realise being perfectionistic will not bring me far. I just got to trust myself and start writing, allow no doubts in my mind, and JUST DO IT.

Goal-setting will also be one of my priorities from now onwards. Taking life one day at a time and staying in the moment really helps me ruminate less and enjoy more.

Just yesterday, I got to chat with my English tuition teacher from high school days. Really glad to see her and talk to her.

So now I have 1500 words of Psych to do and another 2000 words for Comm. I hope I can do this!!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

a new semester, a new START (Part 1 - Mindfulness)

Not long ago after a 1.5 months break, I entered my Second semester in university.

Embracing a new start is indeed a great experience for me! Imagine the joy of getting acquainted with new people -- especially those from far and wide, from all walks of life, joining clubs and societies and simply enjoying it!

I love people, and their stories.

Sometimes, it's comforting to not judge a person on surface value and truly being open to new experiences.

This semester, I decided to join more activities (as if I haven't already done so last Sem.. Hehe). Well, some may think I get too involved in too many things, including juggling a full load for the semester and also a part-time job. I agree as well, if I were to look at myself from an outsider point of view. But still, I know myself best, and I will manage effectively as much as possible, and cut down if needed.

Some things that I REALISED and LEARNED slightly prior to this semester..

1) Importance of Mindfulness

A personal reflection:
I used to think that Mindfulness, as it stems from Buddhism, it would not be good to use as I am a still-learning Christian. Certainly, this may raise questions as to saying Yes / No to the concept just as it may be for Yoga. But, think of it this way, it can be used as a skill for living a better life, wouldn't it?

So, what is mindfulness?

"Mindfulness, paying precise, nonjudgmental attention to the details of our experience as it arises and subsides, doesn't reject anything. Instead of struggling to get away from experiences we find difficult, we practice being able to be with them. Equally, we bring mindfulness to pleasant experiences as well." (Source: Psychology Today)   
I started practise basic mindfulness when I realised the fact that I get anxious easily, like the usual anxiety, previously written in Understanding Anxiety. Although it was rather mild and did not affect too much of my ability to study and go through daily life, I felt it was important to use a strategy / coping skill to better manage it.

What can you try?

It's simpler than what many thought it would be, as they think of it as an abstract concept. Basically, conscious awareness of what you feel and think and sometimes behave. You strive to live in the present, being conscious and aware and enjoy what you do daily, whether it's spending time with friends / colleagues, studying, working, running errands or even doing the (sometimes) mundane and boring house chores

Deep breathing or abdominal breathing (a part of meditation) helps a lot, I do mean a lot in calming our minds down. Practise a number of times, eg: 10 times of breathing in slowly, counting 1, 2, 3, 4; then release your breath slowly, counting 1, 2, 3, 4.  A friend suggested to me to do it in the morning right after you wake up and one more time at night before you sleep. It's very logical as the practice in the morning prepares you to face the day's activities in a more calm state whereas the one at before bedtime helps you unwind all the stresses of the day, become fully relaxed for a deep, good sleep.

How can you benefit from it?

  • Reduce anxiety, worries (as they're of things in the past or future)
  • Lower stress levels
  • Being in the present moment, enjoying every bit of treasure life experiences, good or bad
  • Happiness, notice that when you're able to be truly be there for every moment, low mood lifts and a happy person becomes happier. 
  • Be at Peace 
That's all for now. To all readers, happy meditating / practising to be mindful. 

More to come when I learn some new stuff from a Mindfulness workshop. Do check out the post!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Different Forms of Psychology-related Therapeutic Modalities

Being a frequent thinker who actively thinks, ponders and analyse a variety of things from general health and wellbeing to why things are the way -- generally LIFE itself.

Something kept me pondering these days, in psychological therapy -- usually aimed to help people with cognitive, emotional and behavioural difficulties or struggles --, there are 500 over approaches, such as: Sigmund Freud's famous psychoanalysis, Albert Ellis' Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the conventional CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), hypnotherapy and also the fun and exciting stuff like drama, sandtray, dance and music therapy.

What makes one approach more appropriate than the others?
How does one choose when deciding to go for therapy?
How to know which is effective?
Why do clinicians prefer to work based on one form of therapy instead of the other?

Keep the above questions at the back of your mind, we shall pull them into our discussion later.
In our current society, a field called Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was developed. It is based on Neuro (neurology - study of the nervous system), Linguistic (language) and Programming (behavioural patterns learned through experience), in attempt to help people to achieve their goals, most of the time NLP don't see the need to discover underlying thoughts and intention.

I would say it's an optimistic approach towards life. Personally, I am fortunate to cross paths with three coaches thus far who were trained in NLP. It makes me wonder what led these practitioners who decided to choose their therapeutic approach / way of working choose what they choose?

Peak performance / experience (hereinafter PP / PE) is a concept whereby one felt that he / she has achieved his / her highest potential, similar to achieving self actualisation (SA).

According to Abraham Maslow (quoted from Wikipedia)

Peak experience is "especially joyous and exciting moments in life, involving sudden feelings of intense happiness and well-being, wonder and awe, and possibly also involving an awareness of transcendental unity or knowledge of higher truth (as though perceiving the world from an altered, and often vastly profound and awe-inspiring perspective)."

One exemplary example of a peak performance coach is Anthony Robbins.

Personally, having gone through several adversities when things seemed to be falling apart and I have rode my horse so fast that I reach the edge of a cliff, a kind friend suggested me to try hypnosis, as she had been able to control her anxiety.

So, coaching (NLP), therapy, hypnosis, holistic wellness, so many ways but which is the right one?

The equilibrium point
There are so many methods in helping one solve problems, turn things around, how to choose then? Rather than comparing which way is the best, I tell myself that there is a possibility that ALL these do work! Just not all of them suits everyone.

It's a good conclusion for now, since we all may not have the resources to try several approaches during our difficult times. And there're most likely not enough such professionals in Malaysia to provide for those in need as well.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Movie Review #1: The Internship (2013)

While many things in life are complicated, I like to keep some things in mine simple.

I watched The Internship yesterday in my comfortable home. I pre-recorded it as I missed it last year when it was aired in cinemas.

Movie reviews are one of those things I like to keep it simple.

General overview of THE INTERNSHIP:
It talks about two middle-aged men who lost their jobs as salesmen of watches, due to the technological age where everyone uses handphones to check the time, and that includes me too!  They then proceeded to find other jobs, and they landed an internship with Techno company, GOOGLE. In the internship, there were many young 21-year-old kids competing with Nick and Billy's team to earn permanent positions in Google at the end of the summer internship.

On the scale of 1 to 10, 

Overall Impression: 4/10
This movie is rather boring. Considering it as a comedy as it intended to be, it was certainly not to my taste.

Plot: 4/10
Many parts of the movie were very predictable, nothing especially special to attract an audience. I simple watched it because I heard it was a great movie. Although it gave a rather good after-effect, there was no message to be taken home. No impact, no particular impression other than the importance of teamwork maybe?

Originality / Something new: 3/10

Would you recommend it? 
I wouldn't do so. Not my taste. 

Just to let you know, I am new in this reviewing movies thing, so bear with my newbie-ness.