Goodbye 2016. Hello 2017

I am still thinking how 2016 has gone by in the blink of an eye.  Well, 2016 had been fantastic for me and I pray for 2017 to be as good or even better.  I travelled leisurely to Sydney, Bangkok, Tokyo, Kyoto, Hongkong, Bangkok (again), Tokyo and Hokkaido in 2016.  Wow.. That was alot of travelling indeed!  I got a new exciting job where I am reunited with a lot of my excellent ex-colleagues.  Lauren’s school work and piano exam results were good too! There is really nothing much that I would ask for.  Ok, If I can be greedy to ask for 1 more thing; that would be to have a miracle for my mum’s illness. Mum is doing good now with her battle with breast cancer and I pray for her to be strong and be long live.

To hope that 2017 to be better,  I need to make some changes to my life.  As what Albert Einstein said, Insainity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Thus, I have to set new resolutions for 2017 to hope that 2017 would be a bang.  Here are my list:

  1. Patience– Kel requested this to be on the top of the list. I have to admit I am super impatient. So I have to keep this in mind; Patience is not about the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting – “never say or do things that you do not mean it as that may cause hurt to others unintentionally”.
  2. To spend more time with Mum– Mum is battling with stage 4 breast cancer. Although she is optimistic about the situation, I know she is shakened deep down inside her.  So 2017, I will want to have a meal with her at least once a week.  To try my best to put her medical appointments ahead of anything else.  To not have so much expectations on her, I tend to have high expectations for my mum and this has caused some friction between us everytime we argue.
  3. To work out at least twice weekly– I used to work out daily during my cabin crew days.  I would made time to work out even if I had a function.  Then after having Lauren, it became workout once in a while.  Lately I started to be more diligent but definitely there is room for improvement.
  4. To be more mindful of time– Because I am so impressed with the Japanese’s way of being punctual, this has became one of my resolutions for 2017 too.  I think I will start with setting my watch 15 min faster.
  5. To write more– I started this blog last year after quitting my job because I thought I was going to be a SAHM and I wanted to keep myself busy. I ended up joining another company and was busier than before.  My blog posts also dropped  because of this. In 2017 I hope to set aside time to write more often.

I shall not be too adventurous to set too many resolutions. Let me keep to these 5 for now.  To everyone reading this, Happy New Year and let’s have a whopping good 2017!

Happy 2017

Happy New Year from CLAK

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Pokemon Go Fever and its effect on me

Walking around shopping centres and parks now, you would probably be greeted with people of all ages with their eyes fixated and fingers swiping on their phone screens. If you happened to peek into what they were looking at, 85% of the time, you would see Pokemon on their screen.

I was hesitant to download the game because I knew I would be glued to it.  One fine day while waiting for Lauren to be dismissed from her class. I downloaded the game and it has gotten a lot of my attention ever since; I couldn’t explain why the game is so addictive. Probably because you could show others how you managed to get hold of some truly rare pokemons.  Within 2 hours of downloading, I captured 12 different species.  Now 4 weeks into the game, I caught more than 1200 pokemons and have a cool 124 different pokemons. I convinced Kel to play too. Telling him that it is the latest frenzy now – “just get a feel of it and it could be a ice breaker”. Personally I feel Pokemon Go got its pros and cons.

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Lauren and her Pikachu

 

Pros:

  • It makes couples who play together grow closer. Kel and I will discuss what pokemons we had and any new species caught that day and where we caught it.  We gave each other silly ideas of how to catch pokemons and often laughed over it.  It has turned into a common interest of ours now.
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Kel and I catching some pokemons before our dinner date

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Kel catching the Europe exclusive Mr Mime for me

  • Its makes my relationship with Lauren much more interesting and engaging. I often told others that I was very guilty of not giving Lauren enough love. Indeed I gave her a lot of my time but she did not get my patience. More often than not, my time with her were homework time, time practicing piano and time spent on the road when sending her to her enrichment classes. Our conversations were also often about how school was, did she practice piano, etc. Ever since we played Pokemon Go (Lauren plays on my phone or Kel’s phone), I could feel us being closer and more connected “like a friend”. Not the authoritative Mummy asking about school work but fun Mummy asking Lauren to come and see what Mummy had caught for the day. To make her piano practicing fun, I told her that her beautiful music made catching pokemons easier, the music were lures to the Pokemons. Voila.. Lauren played much better with that idea.

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  • Ice breaker to business contacts. I have a difficult customer and guess what? Talking about Pokemons became a door opener for me. Nowadays everytime I see my customers talking about pokemons, I will quickly jumped into the conversation. From strangers, we would become like long lost friends.
  • I become a Geo expert. Tell me anywhere on the Singapore map and I could almost instantly point out where it is; all these were from the help of Pokémon and Go Radar.

Cons:

  • Dangerous. Ok, I need to admit that when I was very into the game, I would walk and play at the same time.  There were a couple of times when I accidentally knocked into someone. I had also heard about some people even played while driving; I think that is truly dangerous. In other countries, many robberies took place at pokestops which were situated at very secluded areas.
  • Disconnected with your surrounding.  Many times people were so engrossed in what is happening in the virtual world that they forgotten that their loved ones who were right next to them. I had constantly reminded myself to involve those around me.

There are supposed to have more Cons than Pros but because we are all so into the game now. Let’s just focus on the Pros. Just remember to do everything in moderations. 🙂

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Auspicious flowers for Chinese Lunar New Year

Chinese Lunar New Year is just round the corner. As a lover for flowers, visiting the nursery is a must-do every year. There will always be a few flowers or plants that I will pick for a significance purpose in the new year.

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Here are some of auspicious plants that are popular and their meaning.

  • Pussy Willows–  Symbolize growth and prosperity.  It will be good if your pussy willows have new shoots or leaves.image
  • Orchids- Symbolize innocence, luxury and refinment. It also boost family luck. Violet Orchids are consider most auspicious. In China, it is consider as a symbol of abundance and fertility.image
  • Peony- Flower of riches, honour, romance and beauty.
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    image credit: atlanticavenuegarden.com

  • Kumquat Tree/plant–  Symbolize Wealth, abundance and good luck.image
  • Chrysanthemums- A flower of perfection, joy, optimism and longevity.image
  • Jade Plant- Prosperity, wealth, growth and fortune.image
  • Lucky Bamboo- Prosperity, fortune and happiness.image

 

I read on a feng shui magazine on where to place these plants at home this year (2016) to boost our luck.  No harm trying. 🙂

Nowadays most of our smart phones are equipped with a compass. You will need to have the floor plan of your home to know where the different sectors are located.

Southeast– Place red or pink flowered plant to boost marriage luck.  Good for singles.

East– Place red, green or fruit bearing plants here to boost fertility luck.

Southwest– Lucky bamboo placed here will help with promotion or pay raise.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in fengshui thus the above are purely reference from a feng shui magazine that I chanced upon. It worked for me last year so I wish it is somewhat useful to you too. Good luck everyone. 🙂

 

 

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8 places to donate your preloved items this Spring Cleaning


This is the time of the year when everyone is clearing unwanted stuffs at home.  As a mummy of two, I know how cluttered a house with kids will be. Toys, kids’ equipments/ furnitures, books and many more.

When we were clearing all the old toys of Lauren’s, we were so heartached  that we had to forgo the good toys that Lauren is not playing anymore. Most are also not age appropriate for Alexis thus the idea of waiting a few years before she can play was immediately ruled out.

 

After googling and also with information gathered from friends, we found a few options to hand down all Lauren’s preloved items.

 

Here are some of the places you can donate your preloved items to someone who will truly benefit from having them.

1. Sanctuary House

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A non-profit, grassroots organisation whose has been providing foster care to children deprived of family care for various social reasons.

Please arrange for an appointment with them to drop off any items in advance also that they may check if they need those items.

They are located at 159A Thomson Road Singapore 307612

Please see their contact information here

 

2. MINDS Shop

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MINDS runs 5 flagship thrift stores named MINDS Shop, where they provide pre-vocational training to their clients in retail and customer service. Each store carries a unique range of carefully selected furniture, clothes, collectibles and house wares that they think deserve a new lease of life. MINDS strive to create an enjoyable shopping experience for their customers by ensuring that their goods are value-for-money and constantly updated.

MINDS Shop serves as a valuable avenue for their intellectually disabled clients to learn how to interact with customers. It also provides a chance for members of the society to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by their clients. Besides the day-to-day operations of managing the store and sorting through the goods, their clients also learn how to be resourceful such as by making good out of recycled and unwanted items.

By shopping at MINDS Shop, you not only empower their clients through meaningful work engagement, you are also doing your part to save the environment! You can also help them by donating your pre-loved goods at the locations mentioned on their website

3. TOUCH- Thrift Mart

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TOUCH Ubi Hostel offers a stay-in residential programme for adults with mild intellectual disabilities.

The Thrift Mart was set up as a simulated training platform for the intellectually-challenged adult clients to prepare them for open employment and total integration into the society.

The Thrift Mart allows for experiential learning in a simulated retail environment where clients are allowed to make mistakes and learn in the process. Through it, they learn the value of money, appropriate social behaviours, customer service, work together as a team, etc. All of these prepare them for vocational life in the outside world.

At the Mart, they sell items such as clothes, books, electrical appliances, CDs, CD-roms, toys, household items, clothes, bags, ladies’ accessories, computers & peripherals – donated by kind sponsors. The  Thrift Mart’s operating hours are as follows:

Wednesdays & Fridays: 11.00am to 3.30pm
Thursdays: 11.00am to 2.30pm.
They are also in need of items that are still in good and working condition to fill their shelves at the Thrift Mart. If you have useable items to donate to them, you may drop them off at Blk 301, Ubi Avenue 1, #01-295 during these hours (except public holidays and during the hostel’s term break) –

Mondays to Thursdays: 9.00am to 7.30pm.
Fridays: 9.00am to 5.00pm.
Sundays: 6.00pm to 8.00pm.
You could also call them at 6744 9712 or email Kwok Li Mui at limui.kwok@touch.org.sg  or visit their website if you have any queries..

 

4. Toys From The Heart

Every year, corporations, schools and individuals pitch in by holding toy drives, assisting at special events, and helping with gift preparation and distribution. In 2014, Food from the Heart collected close to 8,000 toys that went to new homes, staying out of landfills and bringing smiles to young faces.

Toys donated by schools and corporations are given to needy pupils in neighbourhood schools during the annual Toys Buffet.

Visit their website for more information on how to donate your preloved toys.

5. Pass It On

A non-profit project started by Central Singapore CDC and managed by The Helping Hand. The project connects the general public to the needy via Voluntary Welfare Organizations VWOs. Anyone within Singapore can donate as long as the items are useful and of good working condition.

Kindly note that Pass It On do not take in your donations and give them to the needy on behalf of you.  Please find out how to liase with the organization from their website below.

Pass It On

The Helping hand

819 Upp Serangoon Road Singapore 534678

Mobile: 85119160 (Ms Gina Ang)

website

 

6. Salvation Army

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This needs no further introduction. Drop the items you intend to donate at one of their doantion booths location on this page

 

7. New2U

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In May 2000, the New2U Thrift Shop opened its doors. The Shop is managed entirely by volunteers, some of whom have been volunteering with New2U for many years. The shop sells pre-loved clothing, accessories, household items, ornaments, books and etc. All goods are donated, and prices start from as low as S$1.00.

Proceeds from the store go towards Star Shelter and the various SCWO Initiatives.
If you would like to donate your pre-loved items* (in good, clean, resalable condition), they welcome:
Clothes – Men, Women and Children
Books & Toys
Bags and Accessories
Shoes
Crockery & Utensils

Visit their site here for more information

 

8. Willing Hearts Orphanage

Willing Hearts Orphanage INC. is a 100% volunteer-based non-profit organization. They are a non-political and non-religious.

Your good old things that you clear from your closets will be well appreciated by them; clothes, shoes, bags, toys, books, kitchen-ware, household-ware, appliances, electrical. All the earnings of their sales go towards financing the operation of the Orphanages.

 

Among the places in the list above, we selected and donated the toys to Willing Hearts Orphanage. The collection centre is located at Serangoon North’s First Centre.  The reason we chose Willing Hearts was because it is located right next to Lauren’s school and also it is very near to our place. We intend to donate to the other centres the next round.  Willing Hearts Orphanage is run by Thomas and his wife, Alice.  We went there twice; the 1st time we were there, we passed the opening hours of the centre but we were told that we could leave the items outside the centre.

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I called again a few days later and managed to speak to Alice.  I went down and was greeted by a very humble lady probably in her late 50s.  I found out that Willing Hearts Orphanage was started because the couple’s previous domestic helper who went back to the Philippines kind of suggested the idea and from then they started this orphanage. Willing Hearts takes in everything (but please QC ok,  don’t take them like garang guni or a place to dump your unwanted stuffs), the centre will sort out the stuffs and send the non-bulky items to the “Thrift Shop” in the Phillipines. Of course those that are of use to the orphanage will be kept for the orphans while the rest will be left at the Thrift Shop for sale. All the proceeds will then be used for the daily neccessities of the orphanange. The revenue generated from the Thrift Shop in Singapore is to help fund their rental and some overheads cost. Alice told me that most of them time, the rental would have to come out from their own pockets.

 

Here are some of the items on sale at the Thrift Shop in Singapore

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Thomas also hoped that there would be good samaritans that can help to donate the shipping cost of the donated items to the Philippines. Each box costs S$175 to reach the orphanage. I could see from the centre that there were many boxes waiting to be sent but were sitting at the centre waiting for donors.

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Another way to help the orphans are to sponsor their education;

Primary students at S$250/year

Secondary student at $750/year

 

The orphanage is currently taking care of 26 children. Anyone who is keen to visit the orphanage to offer physical help can make a trip there at S$380 for a 5D4N stay inclusive of meals and homestay.

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More information about Willing Hearts Orphanage can be found at their website here

*Sources of images of Organizations’ logo: Courtesy of Organizations’ website.

 

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Graceous Lash and Dreamlash

Eyes are often known as the window to our souls. If I needed to do a 3 min eye make up, I would go with just my eyebrows and eyeliner. That would have the immediate perk-me-up effect.

 

Many years ago, I did my eyelash extension at one of the smaller scale beauty salons in town. After 3 cycles of eyelash extensions, majority of my eyelashes dropped and I was left with 7 pathetic lashes. You didn’t read wrongly. Yes! 7 eyelashes! I was left with no choice but to use falsies daily. I recalled Kelvin telling me that I was the Singapore version of “Sadako” (The ghost from the movie, The Ring) as “Sadako” also had no eyelashes. With that horrifying experience, I swore to steer clear from eyelash extension.

Lately, I noticed that the trend for eyelash extension is back again. Many of my friends would battle their eyes at me with those super natural eyelashes. To be honest, I could hardly tell that they were extensions. That was how natural it looked. I told myself I am not going to repeat the same old mistake I made 8 years ago. But knowing how vain I am, I gave in and made an appointment with Graceous Lash at Mohamed Sultan.

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Graceous lash is located on the 3rd level

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It is just next to The Pattisier, my favourite bakery. 🙂 I was given a reminder 2 days before my appointment to be on time and to go without eye makeup. Graceous is on the 3rd level of the shop house. More like a 3M, 3rd level Mezzanine. It is a very small salon with 2 lash stylists. The stylists are Japanese and they were very polite. My stylist, Sara, apologized profusely to me as I had to wait for 20min. She took a longer time than expected on the customer before mine.   She explained the types of lash design, the different kinds of curl and also the length of the lash. I chose the Sexy, Ends longer design type with C curl lashes, and length ranged from 8mm to 10mm.

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Graceous Lash menu

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Types of lashes from Graceous Lash

I was then led to a bed, where Sara cleaned my eye area and applied glue before sticking the lashes one at a time. I requested Sara to also style my lower lash. It took about 90 minutes for the session to complete. I walked out feeling very pretty. I have to say the extension felt really light and natural. The effect was like having nice lashes with mascara applied on.

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With pretty Sara from Graceous Lash after my session

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How my lashes looked after I returned home

After completing 2 cycles of lash extension with Graceous Lash, I removed the extension and rested my lashes for 2 months before heading to try Dreamlash.

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Dreamlsh is recommeded by a friend of mine who swears by it.  I booked an appointment through their sms service. They were very prompt in replying the SMS and was also given a reminder a day prior to the appointment date.

 

My therapist Eunice walked my through the entire process; explaining the different types of lashes and styles. I chose the Elegant style with Diamond Mink eyelashes.  Eunice did a range of 9mm- 12mm on me.

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Types of lashes from Dreamlash

Eunice took about an hour to apply 60 -70 strands of eyelashes for me. It was a shorter timing compared to Graceous Lash because I did only the upper lash.

 

Here is the before and after of the eyelash extension.

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Before extension from Dreamlash

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After extension from Dreamlash

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How my Dreamlash extension looked after the session.

Overall I found both Graceous and Dreamlash to be very similar. Both were comfy and light, very natural looking and would last around 3 to 4 weeks.

Price wise, I think Graceous is slightly lower in terms of the unlimited lashes option.  Both shops offer a 20% discount for first time customers.

In terms of location, Dreamlash is convenient for those who are not driving as they are conveniently located at Citylink Mall where it is near Esplanade/ City Hall MRT. For Graceous, I went to the one at Md Sultan, which was not as accessible but I understood they do have another outlet at Bugis.

Fixing an early appointment at Dreamlash also seemed easier than Graceous; probably because Dreamlash has more staffs.

 

With so many eyelash extension salons popping up. We know we are definitely spoilt for choices.

 

Graceous Lash

River valley Outlet
10AM to 8PM (last reception time: 630PM)
Bugis Outlet
10AM to 8PM(last reception time: 630PM)

Close
Tuesday

Address
River Valley Outlet
9 Mohamed Sultan Road #03-02 (Attic level) 238959
Nearest MRT station: Somerset or Clark Quay

Bugis Outlet
26A Purvis Street Singapore 188603

Call
River valley Outlet
+65-6235-6935
Bugis Outlet
+65-6837-0552

Graceous Website

 

Dreamlash

Citylink Mall, 1 Raffles Link #B1-09A Singapore 039393
Tel 6884 8019
Dreamlash Website

 

 

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