Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Simple Gal's Journal: The Slanted Pink Rays

Three small things that I do to save money...
  1. Bring my own water bottle everywhere. No need to buy overpriced drinks when I'm thirsty. Ow, and do you know that restaurants usually take 100% percent margin on food, but 300% or more margin on drinks?
  2. Always bring some snacks in my purse, a sweet one and a salty one - like chocolate chips and salty peanuts, just for variety. Bye-bye, overpriced vending machines!
  3. Bring home hotel toiletries from all my travels - business or personal alike, and really put them to use instead of just letting them piling up. I use the body lotion tubes for my hands at the office and on the go, because they're so small and convenient just to put on my work desk and in my makeup bag. I have various brands from Evelyn and Crabtree, L'occitane, or just cheap unbranded generic hotel lotion. Also, I haven't bought toothbrushes for ages, since I still have about half a dozen extras from various hotels. Friends have been teasing me about this, but I don't care. Note: I only bring home what I need and leave what I don't need, like nail files and shoeshine.
Three big things that I do to save money...
  1. Have a budget and stick to it. A friend once asked me if I used complicated system, and the answer is no. I have it on Excel in my laptop in 12 simple columns that tracks all our family spending.
  2. Ask, and you shall receive. I always ask for discounts, extras, upgrades, customized products or any additional benefits. I have saved a big chunk of money when I bought either big or small ticket items: property, hotel room, insurance, electronics, etc. If I can give more, I'll ask more. For example, I ask for an even further reduction for big ticket item - AFTER bargaining for price - whenever I pay cash. The worst result is they'll say no, and you'll end up just the same before asking. So, nothing to lose, really.
  3. Invest the spare cash, so neither I or my husband won't be tempted to spend it. We only keep three to six months of living expenses plus some emergency funds in our saving, and invest the rest. We invest in precious metal, property, unit link insurance and mutual funds. We are rather conservative and do believe in "not to put all your eggs in one basket" rule. We don't invest in individual stocks, since neither of us have enough expertise nor time to really excell in the art - or luck - of the stock market. And no, a new car or a new electronic gadget is not an investment, or even a saving. *I can hear my husband says "Ouch!"*

Three guilty pleasures of mine...
  1. YouTube beauty videos. My husband and also my Mom hates it when I play the same videos over and over on my laptop. But that's how I can turn off my brain for a little while after a hard day at work to relax and unwind! I also play beauty videos when I'm primping and preparing myself before work every morning. It sets up the mood for my mornings, since I am not a morning person. It does wonders to motivate me to make special attempts to make myself as presentable looking as possible every single morning. I'm sure my husband appreciates the result, as well. See Hubby, that's another reason why you have to put up with my beauty video watching activities! A girl needs constant motivation to dress up! ^__^
  2. Reality shows. They are stupid and artificial, but again, I enjoy them. Well, except when they have become TOO stupid and TOO artificial and teaching you how to yell at your Mom and divorcing your husband after just 70-something days, like Keeping Up With The Whoever. Those make me want to lose my breakfast.
  3. Local celebrity gossip papers. A female colleague has a subscription and she always lets me borrow the papers after she finished reading it. The funny thing is, I don't watch local TV, so I have no idea who those local celebrities on the papers are, and what they do, and I still love reading about them during my lunch hours! 

Three things I do to channel my thoughts and emotions...
  1. Writing. I write in a journal, I write poetry, and I write this blog!
  2. Calling my Mom.
  3. Having a long conversation with God, or praying then reading the Bible afterwards to find His answers to my restlessness.

Three small things that I love about my husband...
  1. His tall, muscular body. ^_^
  2. His chubby cheek. I like chubby men, that's why I always give him a mouthful whenever he goes on a diet. He's a healthy eater, but he gains weight easily, unlike me.
  3. His clean smell after taking a shower.
Three big things that I love about my husband...

All the things he does consistently to show his love. As LOVE in verb, not just sweet words.

Like his jumpstarting my day, everyday, consistently, rain or shine or cloudy, with a glass of fruit and veggie juice, made every evening before bed time by him, with love. He knows I don't eat fruit and veggies, so his willingness to make me healthy juice every evening is so thoughtful and sweet.
His saying "I love you" and "You're beautiful" many times everyday. It always makes me feel warm inside and put a smile on my face, that he thinks I'm beautiful. He even says it first thing in the morning when I just wake up and look like a mess. I mostly feel good about myself, but having a significant other telling me those wonderful things, regularly, everyday, it's like a doze of tonic to my start of the day, every single day.

His always trying to improve himself.

Sure, we are all human with many flaws. There are many times I want to strangle him and kick him senseless because he can be super annoying. But he's always trying to make himself better and make our life better either in baby steps or giant steps. And despite everything, he is a man who has all intention to work hard and always attempt to provide a better life for our little family.
Sure, sometimes he moves ahead 10 steps, then goes back down 15 steps, then he unfairly lashed out on me, but then he moves ahead again 16 steps, so at the end he keeps making progress after all.
Honestly, it's so tempting to be bitter and judgemental and keeping score every time we have a fight. But in many ways, every difficulty we have faced in our marriage is also God's way to refine me and make me a better wife for him. A loving and repectful wife, who supports him instead of kicking him when he's down. 
A note about this, the Bible itself is full with stories of great men and women who, over and over again, made poor judgements and decisions. Wives, if you hold yourself bitter against your husbands when he's wrong, think about this. You are a human. You have done wrongs and you will, again. Don't you want your husband to stay with you and love you and support you despite all that? Don't you want him to give you yet another chance to prove that despite your mistakes, you can still be trusted?
I do. And that leads me to another thing I love about him.

He loves me for who I am, with all my positive and negative qualities.

Even when I'm being a difficult woman. When I'm not being the good wife that God wants me to be. When I'm being indifferent. When I make stupid mistakes. And as much as he has difficulty to understand (and remember) my great need of solitude, he always tries to give me my much needed space and me time. He accepts my flaws - which encourages me to better myself, and is proud of my achievements - which encourages me to fly even higher. Some men in my previous relationships - strangely enough - could accept my flaws, but tried to drag me down when they thought I had higher achievements than them, either in terms of financial, career, academic achievements, or even popularity among friends!

Three things I don't need in quantities, but I collect them anyway...
  1. Lip gloss and eye shadow palletes. Especially pink glosses and colorful shadows. Though I really use them and love to experiment with them, I have more than I need. Luckily they're cheap. *self justification*
  2. Hello Kitty sparkling jewelries and accessories. I have several, very much alike looking, rhinestone Hello Kitty jewelries. People might say I'm years too old for Hello Kitty, but they make me happy. So what.
  3. Beauty supply and toiletries. I have a drawer full of them: body lotion, soap, toothpaste, face cream, powder, puff, razor, . I don't know why. It just soothes me to see all of those supplies, all my own, sitting so neat and pretty in my drawer. I know, I'm weird. My Mom has a similar tendency, but with pretty fabric collection. She just enjoys opening her cupboard and see all those piles of beautiful fabrics. Well, at least beauty supplies are ot very expensive AND they are can be used up. *more self justification*

Three things I try not to share with others...
  1. Negative emotions. I'd rather deal with it alone than lashing out to the people around me. Well, I do crack the whips at my subordinates and vendors at the office, but it's because of their lack of performance at work, not to make myself feel better about myself! I especially make an extra effort to be nice and sweet to my loved ones, no matter how bad I was feeling. I don't want my husband and children always tip toe around me since they don't know when one of Mom's bad mood and tantrums would strike again. I want my family to find me dependable ALL THE TIME, not just when I'm in the mood to be nice and loving.
  2. Secrets. I am good at keeping secrets, either about myself, my family, or my friend's secrets entrusted to me.
  3. Chocolate. When it's about chocolates, it's all every man/woman for him/herself. Haha!

Three natural "beauty" products I regularly use...
  1. Yogurt, honey and egg white facial mask.
  2. Oatmeal, to wash my face during evening shower.
  3. Green tea or rice water, to wash my face during morning shower.

These are other ways I have carried this bag...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mother of Pearl(escent)

Today's post is dedicated a single friend who is dear to me, and also to all single women out there. This is not a gathering of my own thoughts, actually. I gathered information from six men and mixed them into my writing.

One day, a single female friend came over to visit me at home and told me about her relationship with this particular man who she's head-over-heel lovey-dovey with. They've been together for a year, and though she asked several times, he still refused to introduce her to his parents. My friend said that she wants to be married to him, but this man "has a problem with commitment." Mind you, both of them are in their thirties, so in terms of age and financial situation and things like that, they are more than ready to jump into a more serious commitment. Like marriage.

So here she is, trying harder and harder to please this man, wondering what was wrong with her that the man refused to commit, getting more and more confused and frustrated.

A problem with commitment? Hmmm... that sounds familiar. That was my own problem for years, when my parents and close friends have witnessed my turbulent and unhealthy love lives, when I changed boyfriends every three months or so, and walked away whenever the relationship had became "too serious". Because "I have a problem with commitment." And as someone who used to have that "I have a problem commitment" problem, I know full well that stringing along anyone in a relationship that's not going anywhere will not make me an inch closer to make a commitment. The motive is plain and simple: plain selfishness. It's like: "You're not good enough to really have me and my love, but you're OK enough until someone better comes along."

But I'm a woman. Perhaps it's different with the other sex? I think it would be interesting to find out from the men's perspective. So I asked five men whom I knew of what they think about this particular case.

The first is a married man in his thirties who have been in three other serious relationships in the past. What I mean serious was both set of parents had known of each other and they had talked about marriage, though no engagement or anything like that.

The second is married man in his seventies who had a string of ex girlfriends when he was young and now have been married to one woman for many many years.

The third is another thirty-something married man who left a long-time serious girlfriend - approved by his parents - to be with this woman  - whom his parents disapproved at first - who is now his wife.

The fourth is a re-married man in his forties who had a very disastrous divorce several years ago (His wife left him for another man and walked away with their only child and most of his money and assets. He was too numb and heartbroken to contest anything at that time.). He lived a sort of wild boy's life for several years before he met the woman who is now his wife.

The fifth is another forty-something man who also had a divorce and now has been re-married for many years.

The sixth is a single man in his late thirties who, after a year of reflecting and deep thinking, decided that he "had a problem with commitment" and announced to the family that he would never marry. Less than a year after that, he met this woman and within months he was dead set on marrying her, much to his family's surprise.

Their answers varied in terms of words, but overall, they came up with two themes of similar opinions.

"There is no such thing as 'I have problem with commitment'. There is only 'I have problem with commitment, with YOU' "

"When a man really wants to be with a woman, he will move heaven and earth to be with her. And when a man doesn't really want to be with a women, he will find any excuse in heaven and earth NOT to be with her."

"After my first wife's betrayal I was too badly wounded I thought I would never trust or commit to any woman until the day I die. When I met the woman who is now my wife, all those doubts and fears just flew out of the window."

"When I was with my ex, though we have talked about marriage and both our parents have approved, I have these annoying doubts in my mind 'Am I doing the right thing? Am I right for her? Is she right for me?' With my wife whom I'm married to now, I never, not once, had those doubts. I didn't even care that she had doubts about me. After she said yes, I just charged on like a bull with the wedding plan, with all the consequences should she changed her mind later and left me right in front of the altar. Thankfully, she didn't. And until now, I still think that pursuing her relentlessly then marrying her was the rightest and best decision I ever made in my entire life."

"When I was with my ex, whenever we had problems that eventually led to our breaking up, I didn't try hard enough to solve the problems because maybe, deep down, unconciously, I knew that we were not really meant to be. But with the woman who is now my wife, whenever we have a problem, no matter how prideful or huge my male ego is, I will walk on my head if necessary to make it right again."

"When a man says he has problem with commitment with a particular woman, basically he was saying that he thinks the woman is not right for her or frankly beneath his 'qualifications' for a wife."

Well? I won't say much, dear Friend of mine. I think what I wrote had already spoken for themselves, and loudly, came out directly from the mouth of the mysterious opposite sex. Yes? ^__^ 

Last but not least: 

"Never make a priority of someone who treats you as a convenient alternative,"

These pictures were taken when I was 27 weeks pregnant.  The frilly chiffon top was not meant to be maternity wear. I bought the top in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, during a vacation, and found out that the baby doll style was just perfect for pregnant ladies. I had no interest to spend much money on clothing that I would only wear for a couple of months, so I was always looking for creative ways to make do with whatever I already had in my wardrobe during my pregnancy. As the tummy got bigger it became more complicated, but I managed to buy only three maternity outfits to be worn at the end of the pregnancy when I knew I'd become huge. That saved a lot of money, since nice maternity clothes are pretty expensive. The cheap ones won't do, since most ot them are very uncomfortable to wear, and when you are swelling and big, and tired and hot, you'd want all the help you can get to feel more comfortable!

I always wondered what I'd do this grey and silver eyeshadow that I'd already had in one of my eyeshadow palette. With the grey-ish accessories, today I decided to give it a try. Not bad!

When all you can wear is flats, you'd want to wear the cutest and most fashionable ones possible! Bling bling!

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