Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

To celebrate mothers all around the world, the Australian Women's Weekly published a wonderful article (among many other wonderful articles) on 'the silliest advice she gave to you'.

As five local celebrities recount the silliest advice their mothers have given them (such as how Vegemite can cure a cold sore, toothpaste heals pimples, rubbing Vicks on your feet to rid colds), I just had to smile as I recall the silliest advice my mom has given me!

Silly advice no.1: If you want a sharp, pretty nose, pull it!
Everyday, as often as you can. I never was a believer of this, but looking at my younger sister's nose and remembering how often she would pinch at the bridge I think I'm beginning to see the effects. Japanese devices that claim to 'sharpen' the nose by gently squeezing it between two pads may have stemmed from this Asian belief. Whatever it is, I regret not trying this out because I've got my nose from my dad and let's just say I would have pulled and pinched if I thought it would make a difference!

Silly advice no.2: All you really need is one moisturiser.
Well, she doesn't explicitly say this but one dinner my elder sister and I were just examining her face, talking amongst ourselves how Mom never seems to age. At 54, she's got amazingly young skin while at 23 (in two weeks' time!) I'm using anti-aging facial wash, toner and moisturiser but still bemoaning the fine lines that seem to have cosily settled around my eyes. We ask her what's her secret and she shrugs and says 'Hazeline Snow!' I swear, it is the only product she ever uses! And even though she uses regular soap to wash her face (harsh effects and all!) her skin is tighter, fairer, and more smooth than either of my sisters! Well then, who needs Olay when you can achieve the same results with this cheap and simple product?

Silly advice no.3: Eat more ice-cream to get your calcium!
I have never liked milk except when it is used in desserts, or with my morning Coco Pops. So ever since I've started working in an ice-cream shop, my mom has told me to eat more ice-cream since it's got milk in it. While I readily took to this advice, it was my younger sister who rolled her eyes at Mom and highlighted that yes, it's got calcium but along with it are probably ten other things I don't need in my body! Two years on, I'm still eating an ice-cream every shift but I try to be more wary of other things I consume, too.

What's the weirdest advice your mom has given you?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Making the transition from long to short

I'm talking about hair length of course. :)

Whenever I look at ladies sporting short, funky hairstyles, I always thought 'Hmm I could be one of them too!'  And after years of deliberating and imagining what I would look like in a short 'do, I finally decided to snip off my long locks for a much shorter and lighter style. It wasn't easy, this transition. In fact, it was actually really quite daunting. You see, I have always worn my hair long and straight. Bad experience with shorter styles when I was younger had me avoid short hair like a plague. And you know what they say about your hair being your crowning glory and all.

My transition from long to short hair took about six months and six haircuts - my most recent hair cut being two weeks ago. And while I am still trying to accept looking like a prepubescent boy, I quite like my hair short because it's just so much easier to deal with and not to mention easier on the wallet as I don't have to keep restocking my shampoo anymore!

One of my university mates actually asked me when we all met in class after our summer breaks, 'Weren't you scared?' I just looked at her, laughed and answered 'As hell!'

Let me just paint a clearer picture for you - of ten years back when I had a big, fluffy bush for hair. Before I discovered the magical hair-tamer that is rebonding (a hair straightening technique that breaks up the bonds in the hair follicle and then iron them out to smooth each strand), my hair was constantly tied tightly in a (very messy) ponytail. I never let it down for fear of looking like a lion. Combing my hair was a painful task - literally - as the bristles in my brush get constantly tangled in my mane. 

This all changed when I finally decided to spend my savings on a much needed salon visit. My hair is so thick that right up till now, I would need two hair stylists to deal with each half of my head. My first rebonding session took about five hours and a very sore butt. I was amazed at what the iron can do! For the very first time I could run my fingers through my hair without getting caught in a tangled mess!

Since then it became an annual routine to get my hair straightened as I didn't want to have to deal with having a mop head anymore.

Last year, I finally got bored of having long, straight hair. I desperately wanted a drastic change. The decision was either to have it permed or to have it cut real short. No prize for guessing which I decided to go for.

The first cut I had, I decided to stay safe and went for a medium length. It was hilarious when my stylist held up my long ponytail. Hilarious and a bit frightening. I remember holding my breath as he made the first snip and then praying that it would turn out Okay. I kept that length for about three days and then I decided to go even shorter - this time my hair barely grazed my shoulders.

Going short is addictive, someone once told me. I can only be a testimonial to this statement. Six haircuts later, here I am. Hair shorter than that of the boyfriend, head light as a feather. Right now though, I'm looking to grow my hair out. Having short hair has been quite an experience and I have gotten so many compliments and also not-so-nice comments, but I'm glad to have gathered courage to go as short as this. All I can say is if you're thinking of getting your hair cut, make sure you go to a trusted salon. One with a stylist who knows what s/he's doing and listens to what you want. Oh, and bring lots of pictures of your preferred hair style, too. Otherwise you might step out of the salon wishing it's all just a painful nightmare.

Friday, April 13, 2012

In Search of Dreams

"Every second of the search is an encounter with God," the boy told his heart. "When I have been truly searching for my treasure, every day has been luminous, because I've known that every hour was a part of the dream that I would find it. When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I've discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve." - The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

Monday, March 26, 2012

A little bit about women and PMS

From the U.S National Library of Medicine,

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a wide range of physical or emotional symptoms that typically occur about 5 to 11 days before a woman starts her monthly menstrual cycle.

The list of symptoms is about 20 point forms long and includes bloating, food cravings, headache, forgetfulness, mood swings, hostile or aggressive behaviour and even clumsiness. I am guilty as charged on all accounts and more. You might think it's unfair for a woman to use PMS as an excuse for every wrong that she makes during this time, but you know what PMS isn't exactly the excuse we want to use either.

So, the question is: How to deal with a woman during this tender time of the month?

Women at this point of time can be high-strung and worst of all, unreasonable. When she is in one of her moods, trying to reason with her is a bad idea - possibly one of the worst things you can think about doing. It might bruise your ego a bit (actually, it's best not to have such a big one anyway, for your own sake), but just admitting that she's right for awhile can make all the difference, especially towards how the rest of your day goes.

For me, I turn into quite a hungry cow and will have to be regularly fed, preferably at 1-hour intervals. This incessant hunger goes hand-in-hand with intense food cravings. My diet for the ten days leading up to my period consists of ridiculously high amounts of sugar and fat. When this happens, don't judge her as she reaches for her third chocolate bar. Instead, tell her she looks pretty even though she's put on period weight (YES there is such a thing! Or it could be water retention, either way who cares about technicalities! /fumes). In the past few days, I have craved for Skittles, carbonara, Nutella, orange juice, fried eggs, green tea, banana bread, vegetarian Peking duck etc., just to give you a vague idea of what to expect.

You will notice her getting bouts of self-doubt right around this time too. It's very unexplainable as to why this occurs, and most of the times this is uncalled for, but so is everything else about PMS. Medicine blames it on the level of hormones that changes as her body prepares to have a baby (basically) but this is yet to be proven as a fact. She will question the existence of her whole being but hopefully not to the morbid extent (If so, the Lifeline number to call is 13 11 14). She'll ask if you really love her or question why everyone else is happier than her etc. All you can do is to give her a big bear hug and let her know that she's the most important person in your life and that you'll do anything to make her happy. Also, she will constantly ask you if she looks fat in everything she wears. Correct answer: No.

Really, this is far from being an extensive list of PMS symptoms that a woman goes through each month. And even after this duration, the torture extends to when she's having her period. Cramps, backaches, lethargy... The best you can do is try to sympathise and be there for as much as she needs. The good news? After these two weeks, you get two weeks of chirpiness, do-anything-you-want-and-your-head-won't-get-bitten-off and you'll start to remember what she's like the first time you met her.

**Advice given is based on 10 years of experience in the PMS field, collected data and personal observations.

**Disclaimer: Not all of this will work on every woman. If you think your woman is the same, you better keep it to yourself because she'll ask you why you think she's not unique. If you find yourself in this sorry predicament, you're on your own, buddy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

10 things I've learnt working in an ice-creamery

Having worked in an ice-cream store that allows customers to mix crushed nuts, Mars Bars, gummy bears and a whole list of other lollies and chocolates for a little over two years now, I’d say I’ve become quite the ice-cream-mixing connoisseur. And with the surprising amount of strength you need to serve each customer – what with all the scooping and bashing and smashing and mixing we do – I will never again look down on an ice-cream scooper!

Here are 10 things I’ve learnt working in an ice-cream store:

1. There is never such a thing as too hot or too cold or too wet Sydney weather to have a triple scoop sundae with a generous serve of whipped cream, chocolate sauce and nuts.

2. Kids, however tiny, can eat surprisingly large amounts of ice-cream that sends them bouncing off the walls after. Hah, good luck with that, Mom and Dad!

3. If you want to go on a diet, STAY AWAY FROM THE SORBETS. Crazy high amounts of sugar to make up for the low fat content. Let’s just say you’ve been warned.

4. Nice old women often like telling their stories to anyone who’s willing to listen.

5. On the other hand, cranky old women (who buy ice-cream for their dogs ‘in a bigger cup please! And no, he doesn’t need a spoon!’) are the absolute worst. They will complain about everything in your store. Well, how’s about you send a complaint straight to the owner as I don’t have the power to change the prices. Or the cup sizes. Or how many Maltesers that goes into a serving, for the millionth time!

6. Babies’ reactions to their first ice-creams are the best! Think scrunched up, wrinkled noses and frowny faces as they attempt to understand the cold explosion that is going on in their itty-bitty mouths.

7. It doesn’t matter that the doors are closed and the ‘Open’ sign is switched over. Or if the rock is being cleaned and the ice-cream cabinet lights have been switched off. These things don’t necessarily mean that we’re closed, oh no. To some, it means banging on the windows and begging us to let them in for ‘just one more ice-cream!’ while offering $50 if we open the doors for them.

8. Ice-cream addiction doesn’t just stop even after 2 years. Oh no, it doesn’t.

9. There isn’t a maximum amount of mix-ins that a customer can get in an ice-cream. Kiddies with 8 different things? Why not. All you have to do is be able to cough up the $20 for your tub of ice-cream and you’re good to go.

10. Young Australian boys are very amusing. They’ll practice pick-up lines like ‘Are you a butterfly? ‘cos you sure look like one!’ on you that you just HAVE to laugh and put in a few extra gummy bears for trying. Gasp, maybe I’ve just been cheated into giving the sneaky twit extra mix-ins! Why, that little…!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Write, write, write

It feels as if I have finally run out of things to say here!

School has been getting the better of me I swear! But it's also very exciting in that this year, I'm not only aiming high (as with previous years) but I'm pulling out all stops to actually achieve these goals. One of these goals is to write more and better and what better way to do that than to enrol in a course which forces you to read and write every week!

My Creative Writing tutor told the class one day that it is very important to write, write, write. Even if it's only for a few minutes a day, about something as mundane as the weather. And I think I'm going to try it! She suggests carrying a writing journal too, that you never know when you're going to come across an interesting character on the bus or see something that will go into your #AwesomeThings folder. I can testify that it's so true when it comes to finding random inspirations! You just never know when it's going to hit you!

So, here I am again! I'm building up a story for my creative writing workshop and I'm thinking that this blog will help me move it along. I'm so nervous about the workshop because this is when everyone reads your work and critiques your writing. My class had its first workshop just two days ago and I have to say, my classmates' got talent! Amazing writing and highly technical: Omniscient narrators and character developments and such!

2012 is about getting out of my comfort zone and doing things that will scare the heck out of me. I guess this workshop is one of them but it's going to be interesting because hopefully by the end of it, I will develop my skills as a writer and know where I stand in my writing! :)

I'll let you know if I come out alive.