Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do You Remember The Days Before Internet?

I don't.

At the beginning of my Yoga class today, I remembered about the itchy feeling that new wool knit cardigan that I bought yesterday (for a mere $7.5!!!) gives me. I quickly made a mental note to Google the solution for that. This thought brings another one, what would I do if I couldn't Google it. As in, what did people do at the time before the Internet become so widely available? Another mental note, blog about this. Yup - an excellent example of how to not do Bikram Yoga properly! (It's meant to be moving meditation!! Unfortunately, my brain just wouldn't stop at times.

Anyways - back to the main topic. Seriously. Stop and think about it. Think about how much the Internet has changed our lives. What has it allow us to do? Emails, Chatrooms, and Web Search!

Web search alone has pretty massive impact. Instead of having to go through the library and try to find the right books for a piece of information; we can simply now type it in Google and find them in a split second. Sure, the information might not always be accurate, but equipped with the right amount of experience and patience, we could generally easily get the right information. I use this ALL THE TIME. Seriously. All the time! Not sure how to spell a word? Type it in Google search bar. Not sure what a word means? Google search bar. Wondering how to clean oil stain from clothing? Google. Need to know what is the equivalent of replacing fresh herbs in a recipe with dried herbs? Ditto.

Recently I was made aware that the Australian Government is trying to push through Internet Censorship policy. Read Slashdot | Australian Government Censorship 'Worse Than Iran'. I think the plan to censor 'illegal material' is a VERY silly idea. The best thing about the Internet is its completeness! It's this MASSIVE & COMPREHENSIVE encyclopedia of the earth that is freely and widely available, full off all sorts of useful information, and not to forget, UP TO DATE!

So... blocking certain information from being made available is like trying to stick together some pages in an encyclopedia because "someone" deem the knowledge to be dangerous for us. Totally doesn't make sense, right? Why on earth would someone do that? Tsk! To top it, who's to say what topics are off limits and what's not? Plus, as many parents I'm sure will testify, shielding a child from knowledge of bad things that are happening is NOT the way to stop a child from engaging in those activities. If anything, it just makes them more likely to be blindly dragged into those activities by their peer OR prompting them to rebel and do those things anyway. That's the case with children. Surely, as adults, we deserve to be made aware of the bad things that are happening all around the world.

Remember, knowledge is power. Whether it is off bad or good things!

Ok - gotta go! Good nite.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday Wisdom: The Importance of Gratitude

I came across "8 Tremendously Important Ways That Gratitude Can Change Your Life | Zen Habits" today.

What a great post!

Here's some of my personal notes...

"3. Instead of getting mad at someone, show gratitude."
I accidentally conform to this point yesterday and I couldn't be happier with the result. Just as I was starting to get angry at a friend, I stumble across this thing that she had bought for me a while ago. The anger stopped and instead I was reminded of the good things we've had. How miniscule and silly this argument is in comparison to the wonderful friendship and good times we've shared.
This totally cut the problem short. Instead of us taking turns being angry at each other. (Psst.. It is much harder for someone to stay angry when you're responding with kindness and understanding! This is one of my latest findings! Believe me - try and apply this as much as you can with your close ones - you'll see your relationships improving big time.)

"4. Instead of criticising your significant other, show gratitude."
This is something that I couldn't agree more with. Seriously. I feel extremely lucky that my relationship with Shanon has introduced me to this concept and taught me to do this naturally.
Try it out and find out for yourself.

"8. Instead of looking at what you don’t have, look at what you do have."
This, is one advice that I'm working on and keep reminding myself about. :)

Thanks Leo!


Wow! 26 days to go to the wedding day!

Time has definitely zoomed by! There are still a few things to sort out but the day is looking bright and shiny from here. :)

I went shopping during the weekend. I swiped $130.00 on my credit card for 3 pretty new tops and a pair of shorts. It still wasn't enough. So I went shopping again today at lunch time and bought 2 new basics tops, another pair of shorts and a long cardigan for a mere $25.00! [Psst.. If you're a budget clothing type of girl from Melbourne; go and check out Glassons in Spencer St DFO! They're having buy 1 get 1 free on ALL SALE items! It's crazy!!! So if a top is priced at $15.00 (on sale) you can get another item of the same price or less for free!!! CRAZY DEAL!]

These new items will get me all set for the Sydney trip this coming weekend. So excited about it! Should be awesome going with my recently-gotten-so-much-lovelier sister (:P) and one of my dearest pal, Lia! It's been a while! :)

By the time I come back from Sydney, it will be a mere 16 days till my parents arrive in Melbourne for the wedding. Followed by my 4 gorgeous bridesmaids who I love so much 2 days after that!
Gosh! It's all happening. Tick tock tick tock tick tock!
*Giggles* Hihihi... I hope I won't go crazy from this the excitement and nervousness! Especially cause I need my brain to function properly so that I can sort out the final details properly. :)

La la la la!

By the way - can somebody please do something about the USD? Pretty please. Get it back down! Or, just get the AUD to go back up! Somehow! Please! :P

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Importance of Relationships

For me, the people I have around me are the most important thing in my life.
"Without friends no one would choose to live,
though he had all other goods."
-- Artistotle

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same."
-- Flavia Weedn

It doesn't matter if I have all the money in the world, all the knowledge, or whatever other thing. I need my dearest ones to share it with because without them, all those things are just taste bland. Don't you think?

Up to today - nothing ever beats the feeling of being loved and loving my family, partner, and close friends. Seriously. NOTHING!

I'm a greedy person though. My happiest time is when I feel loved or being loving across all those relationships - and my lowest points are when there are problems in any of those relationships.

Unfortunately, it's rather challenging to keep every one of the relationships at the highest point at all time. After all we are humans, with flaws.

But I was recently reminded how very lucky and blessed I am to have these relationships.

While having to fix one problematic relationship, I was shown the love and strength from another one. After I was brought down to tears by a thing that someone said, I was then lifted back up to clouds number nine with watery eyes by a thing that another person said... (Yes - I already know I am a cry baby! :P)

For now, I'm just glad to have the bliss and balance restored...

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Assumptions are the termites of relationships."
--Henry Winkler

"People change and forget to tell each other."
-- Lillian Hellman

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Magic of Digital Editing....

. . . Before & After . . .

45 Days to go... ^.^

Current local time in Melbourne, Australia is ...

Current local time in New York City, U.S.A. is ...

-- from

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vue de Monde (updated)

After reading the Steph's Food Journey: Vue de Monde, Little Collins St, Melbourne [August 18, 2006] post, I emailed Vue de Monde to get the names of the food that we were served during our visit.

They've replied with full outline of the courses and the wine that Shanon had! It reminds me how speechlessly impressed I was of the food and the service.

I've updated my post, "a chatterbox's pensieve: Vue de Monde: The Love Affair, with pretty names for those spectacularly scrumptious dishes. Calling them food feels unfair and very degrading. Because they are definitely NOT just food. They were.... mmmmm.. heavenly! *I'm practically drooling when I looked at the pictures again*

Oh - what are they called anyway? Surely there is a better word for that heavenly thing than food! :P

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 08: Poverty

Today is Blog Action Day 08 - the day where "thousands of bloggers will unite to discuss a single issue - poverty." I was made aware by the "17 Images of Poverty" post at Digital Photography School Blog. Pictures definitely say a thousand word.

I grew up in Indonesia where poverty remains a problem for the majority of the people. Those pictures might as well be photos from my day-to-day life. Yet, I feel that I have been very well shielded from it (as most others middle/upper class families' kids have).

Only since I've moved to Australia that I realised that there are lots of people in Indonesia who is living way below the standard (in terms of food, clothes and housing). I'm not saying I've never seen beggars/homeless people in Jakarta. I definitely have. But, in my head, it was a normal thing to have beggars and that it didn't need to change and that there was nothing to be done. I'm not sure if it was what we were taught to do, or it is just me. I grew up thinking it's normal to only care about our own survival, focusing on getting the best of the best for ourselves and our family.

Recently I was made well-aware of the fact that something can be done to help those people. Something should be done. I could help. I could contribute. Instead of just watching, or even worse, ignoring, the growth of this issue. I want to help.
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." -- The Dalai Lama

"What goes around, comes around." -- Unknown Author

"Conscious Evolution & [read my older post, The Meaning of Life]"

And last but not least, helping others provides a much better rewards than accumulating wealth or personal experience. I mean, I can only eat/buy/travel so much. Yet, all the materials in the world will never be enough - I'm sure I'll continue to want more and more and more. Hence, it's much better to focus on contributing to make the world a better place for everyone.

Now that I've established the fact that I could, should and want to help, what I am doing about it? Well, for a start, I'm going through the 88 Ways to DO Something About Poverty Right Now - Blog Action Day 2008 list and will work on applying a few of them.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Big Mystery: "Larger Than Life" by Adele Parks

(Image Credit: Trashionista: Larger Than Life)

I'm currently at page 73 and I'm still curiously wondering - Have I read this book before? Certain paragraphs seem familiar but at the same time, I can't remember what happen in the book (at all!).

Hmmm... I might need to get my head checked by a specialist cause if I have read this book, it couldn't have been more than 3 years ago cause I've only started reading Adele Parks then.

Have you ever had the same experience?

Updated on the same day:
I've decided to give up reading this book. The leading character is going through a not-so-good pregnancy and really low self-esteem because of it. It's affecting my mind too much. Plus, the more I read, the more I am sure that I have read them, but still can't be certain and even when I try to flick to the back, can't quite relate to the story. Hmmm... Oh well! I'm still not going to read this book anymore. :P

Friday, October 10, 2008

Post #499: Friday Afternoon Wisdom on Relationships

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
-- The Dalai Lama
Yesterday I was reminded of how nice it feels to make someone else's day. Even a few hours after my friend told me I've given her "highlight of the week", I was still smiling and I remember thinking... "Hmm.. why do I feel that warm tingly feeling inside of me? Oh yes, it was because of what Lia said..".
I love and try to help out and be nice to people as much as I can... With especially rewarding appreciation like that, how can you not? They are definitely the best encouragement, don't you think? ;P (Note to self: It pays to practice being appreciative and grateful!)

"Success isn't how far you got,
but the distance you traveled from where you started."
-- Proverb
This year has been funny for me. I've changed a lot, mainly internally, yet I don't feel that I've changed that much (or maybe I do?).

I'm certain that I've changed for the better though. Why? Because these days, when I come across posts like these:
- "Create a Richer Life in 24 Hours or Less"
- "How to Make the Time for Your Personal Goals"
- "13 Things to Avoid When Changing Habits"
- "6 Tips for Finding Balance"
- "The Seven Deadly Sins of a Relationship";
I find myself ticking a few of the tips off cause I'm already doing that. Or cause I am already happy with my current situation in that area. It feels amazing.

I have always been lucky (and smart - quality over quantity!) with relationships and I am VERY grateful for it. I love the people close to me (well - most of the time :P), each of them are special with their own unique personality, mind and habits. But, in the past year or so, my views and appreciations of these relationships have definitely matured a lot (special thanks to my awesome mentor/partner, plus the blogs that I've been referencing here and there). My eyes are opened and I'm beginning to see and understand myself (and my itty bitty); which then allows me to think/reflect on those relationships and do things as I see fit.

This is definitely the change that I'm most grateful for, especially since for me, "Life is all about relationships". (It's not just me, check out Uplifting Your Soul!: Life is all about relationships.)

"Try not. Do... or do not. There is no 'try'."
-- Jedi Master Yoda
That's not to say that I'm not going to improve my life further. After all, there is no better life goal than to become a better person. Which reminds me, I still need to apply the tips from this post, "How To: Keep Your Home Clean Without a Maid" *LOL*.

Anyways, before you go, please spend a little bit of time reading these great tips on life in one of Leo's best post, "A Letter to My Son, on Starting Out In Life", @ Zen Habits. The "Life isn't a competition" is definitely an awesome reminder for me.

To close off, here's another really good reminder quote on relationships...
"Before you try to change others,
remember how hard it is to change yourself."
-- Bill Bluestein

Have an AWESOME weekend, people! :)

Plan Your Holiday Online!

I recently utilise the Internet to the max for planning my honeymoon trip to the States. Thought I should properly document some of the awesome links for future reference.

First, I visit Trip Advisor to work out the activities that I'd like to do at the destination; then read up on Hotels recommendations, reviews and work out their locations!

I've also used the following sites when I want to find out even more about the destination and things to do and places to visit there:
* Google Maps & Google
* Frommer's Travel Guide
* Fodors Travel Guide
* Lonely Planet
* Wiki Travel
* Wikipedia
* All Experts Travel || All Experts Cities/Towns
* Travel Buddies
* MSN Travel
* Real Travel
* Travel Channel

Package/Day Tour...
* Viator

Then, to find the best rate for the accommodation... Try the following sites:
* Hotels Combined
* Hotel Price Bot
* Kayak
* Skoosh
* ||
* ||
* Splendia
* Travelocity
* Venere
* Travel Buddies Hotels
* Quik Book
* HotWire
* Side Step
* Only for when your travel date is coming up soon... Wotif || Last Minute Au

Plus, here's some randomly useful articles:
* How To Choose A Hotel & Save Money - MSN Travel Articles
* Budget Airlines of the United States - ExtremeTourist Magazine
* Money-Saving Tips for Your San Francisco Visit


NYC & Company’s website, , is a useful research tool. As for guidebooks, Time Out ( ), Lonely Planet ( ), Rough Guides ( and Eyewitness Guides ( all offer good, solid New York titles. The style-conscious might be better off with the Luxe guide ( ) or the Hedonist’s Guide ( ).

Once you’re in the Big Apple, pick up a copy of Time Out’s weekly listings magazine ( ) or City Guide ( ).

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Bunch of Places Around Melbourne That I Want to Visit

My dad got me hooked on to traveling since I was a kiddie. He arranged to take us for yearly family trips to ...
- XXXX China (Beijing, Xia Men, Gui Lin, Hong Kong, Guang Zhou);
- XXXX Bali;
- 1998/1999: Australia & New Zealand (Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Queenstown and Christchurch);
- 1999/2000: United States (San Diego, Anaheim, LA, SF, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon);
- 2000/2001: Europe (England, Netherlands, Switzerland, Romania, France, Germany);
- 2001/2002: South Africa & Mauritius (Cape Town, Sun City, Johannesburg, Mauritius);
- 2002/2003: Australia (Sydney, Gold Coast);
- 2005/2006: Japan (Kyoto, Osaka, Mt Fuji, Tokyo).
Sorry, I didn't mean to list them all out, this is just to test my memory and remind myself to be grateful to have such loving parents!

I love the feeling of just being there, enjoying the surrounding, with no expectation from anyone; the stepping out of the routine feeling; the not having to plan (or think... :P); seeing and experiencing new things; the not giving a d*mn what people think; the peacefulness of being un-contact-able :P...

Now, I've found an even stronger motivation... Photography!

Last weekend, a couple friends of mine came down from Sydney, Nicko & Tasha. Nicko brought along this big and heavy SLR to our catch ups in Pancake Parlour. When I saw some of his pictures (which are now published on to his Facebook Photo Albums), I remember thinking, "Wow - where is that?" and yet, they're all taken around Melbourne!

Oh - how much fun would it be to be wondering around taking these pictures. Especially in a place as attractive as Melbourne. So here I am - putting together yet another list - this time it's for the places I want to visit around Melbourne (to take pictures or just to try it out) when I have the time...
* Brighton Beach Houses!
* Tuki Trout Farm [website]
* Daylesford [website]
* The Age Harvest Picnic At Werribee Park [website] - 30th November 2008
* The Age Harvest Picnic at Hanging Rock [website] - 22 February 2009
* Werribee Open Range Zoo [website] + I would like to take more pictures of the Werribee Mansion & the Rose Garden.. :P
* Mitchelton Winery [website]
* Peninsula Hot Springs [website]
* Dandenong Ranges (Puffing Billy...) [Visit Victoria link]
* Murray River [website]
* and one day... Sky Dive @ Lake Nagambie [website]

Here's some places I've been too and would like to visit again...
* Wilson's Prom [website] - I can never seem to get enough of this versatile and scenic place!
Pssst... I was told that there is this very cosy place with awesome view - highly recommended for a romantic weekend getaway... Coastal View Cabins, Yanakie, Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, Australia
* Grampians [website] - It seems like people recommend this place a lot more than I enjoyed it - so there must be something I'm missing - hmmmm...
Psst here too! I was advised to try Dulc holiday cabins the next time I visit Grampians. The TREE HOUSE definitely looks Super Cool! Not cheap though...
* Sorrento [website] - "Just Fine Foods" Vanilla Slice, enough said, photos here!
* Great Ocean Road [website] - The walks, the waterfalls, the drive and the view... What's there not to like?

Bento Oh Bento!

Check this out..

Aaaaaawww... I'm so going to make lunch boxes like this sometime in the near future (well - I hope)!

The above images are taken from The Food Pornographer Loves Bento posts. Aren't they super cute??? I love the little sticky love note in the bento box. It would totally make anyone's work day so much better and I'd be soooo looking forward to opening my lunch box to find out what it holds! :P

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Today's Word Lesson

"Food for thought" - This noun was used in the book that I'm reading at the moment, "Girl Meets Ape" by Chris Manby. I was intrigued to find out the actual definition of it. According to The Free Dictionary, it means...
1. anything that provides mental stimulus for thinking

"Excuse the pun" - This, I've heard many times and I think I know what it means, but this time I thought I'll find out properly what it means, once and for all.. It's a little tricky to find an actual legit reference to this saying, but this Yahoo! Answer helps...
... A pun is play on words; so when people say "excuse the pun" they mean, excuse the bad joke or the bad play on words.
You could say “I keep falling off my bike, but I just get right back on it and ride. I'm a firm believer in re-cycling.” This pun is just used as a bad joke. ...

Plan to Try: Dolls at the Mount [Heidelberg]

So far, having read as much as I can dig around (not much) about this place (see below links), I'm very keen on planning a visit!

Perhaps with my sister and/or with Lia, Agnes, Jennifer, etc; sometimes during the next weekend... (It's gladly located near the train station, so it shouldn't be too difficult to arrange a visit!)

- Mietta's Australian Restaurants, Food & Wine - Dolls At The Mount Tea House, Northern Melbourne
- Missy Allets: Dolls on the Mount [20080828]
- Missy Allets: Princesses at the Mount [20080924]
- P O N I K U T A: Dolls On the Mount [20080902]
- P O N I K U T A: We Declare our Eternal love for Scones [20080915]
- Best Devonshire Scones in Melbourne - Thrifter
- The Kitchen Playground » Blog Archive » Dolls at the Mount

The 2 blogged visits in less than a month time by Missy Allets (and the scrumptious looking scones pictured in the posts) definitely got me convinced that it is worth the 1-hour train ride!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why Do I Blog?

This question was bluntly presented to me recently, and the answer is... I have no idea why.

Hmm.. I guess there is a combination of things that started me on blogging and keep me going.

I enjoy practising my writing skills. I like to share the things that I've learned. It's a good way to keep far-away friend informed on what I'm up to. Plus, it is very useful as a reference tool for myself, as my memory often fails me. I also used it as a tool to reflect and review my personal growth (by looking it what I wrote X month ago..)

It is a really good question though, cause it definitely got me thinking... What am I trying to achieve with my blog?

That's when the familiar thought bubble up again... I should declutter it, and try to be more specific with the direction of the blog instead of just dumping all my scattered thoughts and findings in it.

Then again, that particular thought has quite often come and go within me... But for some reason, the action has not been taken yet. Well, I guess now that the question has provided me a little extra motivation to begin the decluttering, I should start to do something...

Will try to keep posting updates on this.

Friday, October 03, 2008

October 2008's First Friday Wisdom Nibblets

Here's two really really well written posts from Leo at Zen Habits with some wise word to think about before the weekend starts...

* 6 Questions to Ask Yourself to Get the Most Out of Life

The article begins with a quote from Abraham Lincoln,
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
, and after it gets us to think about what really matters, it finishes with a gentle reminder...
“We are always getting ready to live but never living.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

* 7 Little Habits That Can Change Your Life, and How to Form Them

I genuinely think that once you fully understand and apply the habit #1 "Positive Thinking", you'll start to see your life differently. However, it's not to say that the other six Leo's recommended habits are any less life changing.

I have personally tested and approved of the #7 Daily Routine, #2 Exercise, and most recently, #4 Focus on one goal. Plus, I'm currently working on #5 Eliminate the non-essential, and #6 Kindness. For some weird reason the #3 Single-tasking isn't as appealing as the rest to me. :P

Hope everyone have a great weekend ahead of you!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hello, October! [Take 2...]

G'morning October...

I'm putting all the bad thoughts and feelings behind. It's all in the past. Today is a brand new day. It's the 2nd of October. I'm starting the day with a bright new happy face and excitement!

I am happy... I am happy... I am very happy! *LOL*
(OK - That might come across a little crazy.)

Anyway - I'm grand! I'm going to change the things that I don't like where I can and for those I can't change, I'll stop worrying about them. Because worrying about them won't do me any good (read See How Easily You Can Overcome Your Worries at Ririan Project)! That's the best way to live! :)

I've spend too much time thinking, planning, organizing, worrying, and it's not good!!! I'm going to stick with doing and living! Yay!! I want to take even more photos, cook and bake even more, and try to get absorbed more into work. Stop agonizing about future uncontrolled things.

And, you know what? I've got quite a few holidays lined up in front of me... Sydney, US, Indonesia! I can't believe I'll be in New York City in December with Shanon!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! La la la la....

At the same time, I won't wait till the holiday arrive to live my life to the fullest. I'm going to start now. No more putting things on hold. It's back on the 4th gear (5th might be a bit much to handle and to fast to enjoy). :P

I'm back. My eyes are opened wide and my brain is functioning well. What a relief!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hello, October!

*Bleh* I have overwhelming amount of bad thoughts and feelings in my body that I feel I would soon explode from it.
Those constant good and happy feelings that I've had for quite some time *poof* have all vanished.
I'm left behind with negative thoughts and wrongly nagging desire to change the people that I love.

But thankfully, I know better than that.
I have learned from past experience that the desire to change someone will only result in frustration & disappointment (sometimes plus resentment too) to both party.
No good thing will ever come out of it.

Gosh - I wish I have a reset button.

I just want to go back to the accepting feeling of the people that I love. (Ignorance IS bliss in this instance!)
I just want to go back to actually wanting to eat properly. (Nope, ignorance IS NOT bliss here.)
I just want to go back to those good and happy days. It wasn't that long ago!

Watching my food intake is not my concern at the moment, it is just a distraction from my main concern.

I need to learn to let go of things that are out of my control (e.g. the shape of relationships, loved ones' feelings or decisions).
Otherwise, it's going to be long hard windy road ahead.

*Sigh* I wrote this post hoping that it would make me feel better.
But, ranting in discreet mode doesn't give you the same satisfaction, does it? *Bleh*