Hey guys, how was your weekend? I’ve been trying to balance working on the computer and resting my eyes since I got LASIK done several weeks ago. I guess my sensitivity is taking longer to clear up :/. So, in efforts to get away from the screen we spent a lot of time out and about in KL enjoying new-to-us cafes and shops. I was thrilled to find a vintage furniture shop since I’ve been aching for the thrill of the hunt lately. We didn’t leave with anything but just getting the heart flutter of excitement was plenty for the day. God I miss flea markets and vintage shops! For now, I’m just happy that we continue to find new nuggets of things and places to enjoy until one day we may be back somewhere where I can get my treasure hunting fix.
Hi guys, how was your weekend? We had a good mix of fun and taking care of business on the home front. The main event was dining in the dark with some new friends. Have you ever done it before? It was our first time and we loved it.
Before entering the blacked out room we had to surrender our phones and watches (anything that could glow). We were then guided by our server, who is blind, to our seats. Plate by plate, our food was brought out with each item having different textures and smells. I quickly abandoned my utensils and just ate with my hands. It was like I couldn’t get passed sticking my fork around and then seeing what went into my mouth – I needed to feel what I was about to eat since I couldn’t see it! I ate a lot faster than I thought I would. I had hypothesized that I’d eat slower because of my other heightened senses but nope, I was on a mission to taste and explore and for some reason it all happened really fast. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have anything or anyone to look at in between bites but it was definitely interesting be so incognito while sitting and chatting with a table of eight. Anyone could be doing anything and no one would know the difference! There were a few couples so we did joke about playing footsie beneath the table and not really knowing who’s foot it was.
Post dinner we had a few drinks at The Establishment and enjoyed the new vibrant scene emerging on Jalan Mesui with it’s recent openings of unique bars and restaurants. KL nightlife definitely just got more exciting and that makes me really happy :)
Did I mention that I was getting LASIK eye surgery? Well yes, I had my eyes did on Thursday and wow, I can’t believe what technology is capable of. Not yet 24 hours after staring into bright laser lights and smelling my burning eye balls (the brochure forgot to mention that pleasant part) I could see perfectly clear through distances that used to be a big blurry haze. I was a bit scared to go under but with rave reviews from others who have had it done and logical statistics provided by Joe on the higher risks of simply wearing contacts, I was sold.
I’ve never had any type of surgery done let alone really considered anything cosmetic (aside from a boob job but I can’t bear the thought of something foreign in my body!). In this case, getting LASIK was purely a lifestyle choice. I was so sick of pushing my glasses up on my sweaty nose while working out and having to swap out my prescription sunnies to my regular ones whenever I walked indoors – or worse, keeping the sunnies on and straining my vision through the dark lenses while inside. Had my eyes been more receptive to contacts I might be fine but after three hours of having them suctioned onto my eyes I would inevitably take them out and reach for my trusty glasses. And as for maintenance, is it just me or is it nearly impossible to keep glasses clean? I feel like I had a phantom toddler with sticky fingers just smudging up my glasses all day long. I could never keep them clean enough. So yeah, I’m thrilled that I took the leap and went for the surgery!
I’ve spent the past five days resting my eyes and going a bit stir crazy. Can’t really go outside when it’s sunny, have to keep the apartment kinda dark, can’t watch much TV, and especially can’t be on the computer for too long. I never realize how much I look at a screen all day between my laptop, phone, iPad, and TV…it’s a bit sad really but I guess it’s also a reality of working from home.
Since I couldn’t do much with my eyes, I let the ears have it with podcasts by Monocole’s The Entrepreneurs, Here’s The Thing, Studio 360, and TED Talks. As anxious as I felt at times to get back to working smart, it was nice to just lay there and listen to interesting conversations and discussions. Not listening while cooking dinner or writing emails…just laying there and doing nothing else. I highly recommend it. Speaking of, I should get off of the computer and give these new old peepers a rest ;)
I’m sure you’ve already noticed but ever since the New Year my posts have been a bit irregular. 2013 has brought a total different focus for me and it unfortunately takes time away from blogging like I did before. I love blogging but I think that instead of creating daily/weekly content, I want to go back to simply sharing thoughts and experiences as I go along. It may not be the best for readership consistency but I’ve realized that it’s what needs to happen in order to keep enjoying the blog while enjoying my work and free time.
There are so many amazing blogs out there constantly sharing DIYs, style collages, quotes of the week, pinterest picks, etc., and I don’t need to be one of them…just need to be me. So, while I had fun creating the Words Worth Repeating series and other creative plays like Let’s, Friday Pic & Pin, and Monthly Mixtapes, I will no longer do them on a regular basis or at all. I guess I’m still figuring out what I will do outside of just writing and sharing my photographs but even if the answer is “that’s it, just write and share photographs” that will be alright by me.
With this new change will come a new direction and possibly a new voice for the blog. Travels and personal stories will still be at center stage but I’m sure plenty of entrepreneur related thoughts and shares will come about. I expect to lose some readers and gain some because of it. It happened when we moved to London and again when we moved to Kuala Lumpur. Some people want to hear all about English and European charm while others are drawn to what’s going on in jungle town way South East. If you dig both and everything in between, then you are my kind of people. I understand that every chapter of my life can’t be interesting to everyone, including starting a new business, but if you hang around you’ll see that this book is only gonna get better ;) And hey, I’m still all over Pinterest andInstagram for your visual pleasure.
The photo above was taken in LA during my trip in January when everything with Ring Cozy became real. I was going for it and there was no turning back…
Happy Friday, guys! Wow am I excited for the weekend. Even though I’m planning on getting some work done, I just love the fact that we’ll be home. For all of the traveling we do I’m really quite the homebody. That’s why I’m so excited to finally have framed all of the photo prints from my shop so we can enjoy them in our living room! I also had a little graphic fun with a photo I took of the Sydney Opera House. Looks kinda like a fan, doesn’t it? The color is just the pop that we needed in here.
All perfect timing too since I just received a copy of our home feature in IKEA Malaysia’s Live magazine (!!!). We had practically just moved in so it’s nice to see what we’ve done to make it even more homey since then.
Enjoy your weekend!
Growing up all I ever heard people say was “work hard, play hard” and it was usually in the context of working crazy hours and then raging on the weekends to let off some steam. I’ve never jived with that philosophy. I don’t like working crazy hours and I certainly don’t like bottling up my free time and energy for an explosive few days. In fact, when I did work at a job that consumed too much of my life I left it and got another one that gave me the freedom to have lunch with my family and leave work at a decent hour to meet Joe and friends for happy hour. It was life changing…like, ohhh so THIS is what happy hour is?!? And to top it all off, I got paid more.
I’m constantly seeking ways to meet my ideal lifestyle balance and leaving my first job (which was awesome so it wasn’t easy) was the biggest lesson in learning that I have full control over my life. Now that I’m working on launching a new product and business, I want to be mindful of how I spend my time and energy so that I can stay excited about my new venture and not get burnt out. There’s a lot to do and a A LOT to learn but I’m doing it all step by step, day by day, all while doing my best to work SMART versus HARD.
The concept of working smart is fairly new to me so this made me really happy to read. Things can get done just as well or better when there’s focus rather than more time, there’s no need to slave away for the sake of “working hard”. For that reason I’m trying to be very conscious of how I organize and schedule my action items every day so that I know I can accomplish them within a few hours instead of being overwhelmed by a loooooong list that looks impossible to tackle. You know that feeling of crossing off to-do lists? I live for that. So, if you’re like me and have an evolving lists of things that need your attention, here’s what’s been working really well for me lately.
I’ve started to keep my long lists in two separate notebooks (one for work, one for personal) and whenever I think of something that belongs in either, I write it down in their respective notebooks. Every morning I look at both and pick at least three things from those long lists. Then I write the selected items onto a smaller piece of paper (a short list) and post it above my laptop to reference throughout the day. That gives me my day’s action items that I am 100% sure I can complete and feel good about. I pick them based on urgency and relevance. Some days it’s strictly work and others I mix in more personal things like doing laundry, paying bills, etc. As the day goes on, I cross completed items off of the short list and at the end of the day (or next morning) I cross those same items off of my long lists. Little by little the long lists become MUCH easier to swallow!
This system has really helped me focus so that I can enjoy my free time and not think about all of the things that need to be done at home/work. There’s a master list, after all, no need to have them swimming around in my head! Now even if we go off to play and I still have some work to do, it’s all good. For example, last Friday when we went to KK I woke up at 5am to correspond with my USA contacts for two hours before leaving for the airport and then got back online for three hours that night at the hotel while Joe slept. I got work done and still had fun in between…no stress at all. I wonder if this will come in handy if/when we start a family? The kids part definitely seems like hard work!
So what do you think about working smart vs. hard? Have you found something that works for you? Would love to hear how you maximize your work and personal life or the steps that you’re taking to get there!
Hi guys, I hope you had a great weekend.
Things got so hectic that I wasn’t able to do a Friday post but if you follow me on Instagram, you know that we snuck away to Kota Kinabalu, in Sabah, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo.
We’re on a mission to take advantage of living in Southeast Asia before we wake up from this dream and realize that it’s too late to explore it all. So, we’re trying to do and see as much as we can during the weekends while still enjoying our home in KL. Not the worst challenge in the world, right? Game on!
Kota Kinabalu, or KK as locals call it, is the capital city of Sabah. Because of that I expected a big city like KL but to my delight, the downtown area where we stayed was really small, walkable, and best of all, right by the ocean. We’ve heard amazing things about hiking Mount Kinabalu but since we only had two full days there we decided that we’d save the jungle trekking for another trip and enjoy the islands.
And enjoy we did! There are five islands just off of the mainland and with one main jetty to book a water taxi from, it was super easy to get to and from any of them. A fifteen minute ride on a speed boat took us to Pulau Sapi, or Sapi Island. Most of the people there were part of package deals that include a catered BBQ so with all of them crowded by the main beach, Joe and I set off to find a place of solitude elsewhere on the tiny Island.
Our first attempt at following a designated trail was a miss so we decided to try something different. Instead of walking through the jungle we made our way through the rocky shores around the southwestern part of the island. It was easy to do but we were definitely thankful to have our Ring Cozies on since we had to climb up and over some really rough rocks (yes – had to plug Ring Cozy since it works SO well!).
All was good until Joe pointed out a cool prickly aloe-type plant growing out of a rock wall. I looked, said “wow”, and then my eyes instantly went to a GIANT lizard right underneath it! I’m talking 6ft long, prehistoric, big bodied, long-tongue looking lizard. I flipped out and ran into the water. It took Joe about ten seconds to see it because when I screamed “lizard!” he thought that I meant a small one like we’re used to seeing – that’s how well camouflaged that thing was. Once Joe saw it too, we were both outta there and he said that I should have yelled “GODZILLA!” instead.
Godzilla was immediately forgotten as soon as we walked a few more feet and found a slice of heaven. Aside from a woman who swam up from her privately chartered boat for a bit, we had a little stretch of sand all to ourselves. We joked about all the suckers we left behind on the crowded main beach. But, it wasn’t total perfection. There were jellyfish particles in the water that stung like a really bad case of razor burn when I swam for too long, so I stuck to beach-side lounging.
When it was time to leave I was on high lizard-alert and while we didn’t see the big one we first saw, we saw another one in the water just beneath the rocks we were climbing (eeekkk!!!). Joe took some photos as I pleaded “okay hunny, I think you got the shot. Let’s gooooo!”. It was only after that, on our return back to the main beach, that we saw an old rusted sign on the ground that read “AWAS” which means “BEWARE” in Bahasa Malay. Whomever put that sign there probably knows about the Godzilla family that stalks the shores…
At the end of the day were lucky that we got to enjoy that gorgeous little private beach without any real problems. Otherwise, we could have ended up being the suckers who left the main beach! Totally worth it. During lunch at another island, Pulau Mamutik, we Googled ‘the lizards of Sapi’ and learned that the ones we saw were Monitor Lizards. I think we’ll stick with calling them Godzilla.
Uniqubrow is exhibit A. Not content with having to buy different glasses for different styles and moods, my buddy Andrew and his team in Barcelona set off to change how we rock our shades with one single pair of lens and multiple frames.
I’m so excited for their new venture. It’s a big task to take on the eye wear industry but they’re definitely on to something great. They have just FOUR DAYS to go to reach their funding goal on IndieGoGo so head on over there, give them some love for being so ingenious, and get a nice reward or two in return.
And if you know any shade lovers who might be interested in their own Uniqubrows then please, do pass it along!
I’m so excited to finally share some photos of my shoot for KAYU – gorgeous bags with a mission.
I met KAYU’s founder, Jamie Lim, via Twitter and as luck would have it she’s originally from Malaysia. She was in town over the holidays to visit family and take care of business (her clutches are hand made in South East Asia) so we were able to meet in person and collaborate for her Spring look book photos and graphic design. We hit it off immediately and I was in total awe of her designs. She has somehow accomplished making the traditional artistry of weaving look completely modern and sexy. And as if good looks weren’t enough, a portion of sales is donated to perform sight-restoring surgeries in India and to purchase backpacks and school supplies for children in Cambodia. Win-win.
I had a blast walking around KL together with only a bag full of clutches and a determination to “get the shot” despite the hot day and hungry mosquitoes. Felt like quite the urban-jungle warriors at the end of the day!
I can’t finish writing this post without mentioning the stall owners at Chow Kit Market. They thought we were nuts every time we asked “can I put this bag here and take a photo?”. Sure, crazy ladies…go right ahead. The strange looks were totally worth it as my fave shot is the trio of clutches on the Durian scale. It doesn’t get any more Malaysian than that.
What’s a trip without bringing home a few souvenirs?
These treasures from Colombia – a beautiful representation of the weaving done by indigenous women of the country – are adding so much life to our home … and my wardrobe.
The blue cross-body bag’s leather was stitched in Bogota but the colorful strap was woven by the Wayuu women who are known for their large bucket-style purses and skillful hamacas. The home accessories were made by women of the Waounan tribe in the department of Choco. The palm fibers used to create these beauties are woven so tightly that the vase piece we bought could hold water without leaking! Amazing.
The one store we loved unfortunately doesn’t have a website. Such a shame since their products were all so modern leaning and tastefully done and displayed. But, if you find yourself in Cartagena, their address and phone is below. If you’d like to shop for a vase of your own online, here are some shops that carry an assortment: one, two, three.
Centro, Callejon De Los Estribos
No. 2-40, Cartagena
Hi guys, how was your weekend?
We had a great little getaway … down the street. Literally, we could see our apartment from our hotel room!
Have you ever done a stay-cation? This was our first one and we loved it. One bag for the both of us, a five minute cab ride door to door, and plenty of time to enjoy the hotel without having to be anywhere else – it was the easiest trip ever.
We stayed at the new Grand Hyatt here in KL, a place that we’ve grown very fond of. We find ourselves dining at one of their restaurants at least once per week (the Malaysian restaurant, JP Teres, is ridiculously good and affordable) and we’re big fans of the spa. The only thing left to try was staying there as hotel guests so we figured, why not! The service there has always been great and the photos of the rooms looked really inviting.
And also, a main motivation to go for it was a deep desire to make up for our experience at the Sofitel Santa Clara in Cartagena, Colombia. That place was so overrated. Between the underwhelming rooms and the lackluster customer service, the value was simply not on par with what we paid for it (and I felt awful that our friends also stayed there with us). I’ll give them the nice big pool but otherwise we’ve never been so disappointed. Please don’t ever waste your money there.
Perhaps we’re spoiled now by South East Asian hospitality but regardless, we were left feeling like we needed to have a good experience elsewhere ASAP. Thank god that the Grand Hyatt delivered because otherwise I would have been shattered. I’m seriously so in love with that hotel that it’s creepy! I guess that sort of thing is bound to happen when you live in a city-center like KLCC where most services and dining options are either in a shopping mall, a business/residential tower, or in a hotel. When in Rome right? In this case, when in KL – home of the cheapest 5-star hotels in the world.
Where have you stay-cationed before? Or, Where would you want to go and what would you do in your city?