Sunday, August 28, 2011

One Day

"Live each day as if it's your last', that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn't practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at...something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.
I’m not a great fan of overtly-romantic novels but in saying that, give me an unfortunate love story and I'll listen... It's a good distraction from my non-existent one. Haha. I first came across this book when I was in Singapore earlier this year. I wandered into a local bookstore after work one evening; I needed something to read on my train journeys and listening to the same songs repetitively on my iPod became insufferable. I scanned the bookshelves and as fate would have it, my eyes were drawn to One Day. Long story short, it will be one of the few novels I will read over and over again. (A lovely elderly man on the train noticed the book in my hand, and we ended up talking for the rest of the journey!)

My affinity for this book stems from an unfortunate truth for many people: some of us may never find our true significant other. Even worse, finding that person and not realising that they were in our lives for a long time. Emma and Dexter go on to lead seperate lives after their short stint together but, nonetheless, keep in touch over 20 years. The author, David Nicholls, doesn't follow the typical cliche love story between boy and girl. They don't spend the 'rest of their lives together'. No one's fighting terribly for the other's love and affection. No one is standing outside the other's window, throwing stones. No one is making big affirmations of their love to the other. The characters simply move on with their lives, unaware of the potential between them. To me it feels... realistic. Sad, but real. Hence why I loved reading it.

One Day is released in Australian cinemas on September 1st.  

I will be on hiatus for the next week - uni commitments are always looming in my world. I hope to be in contact with you all soon!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Way To... Beautiful Skin

I've decided to include my personal beauty routines as part of my blog entries. I think it's nice to take a break from all my usual 'philosophical writings' and splurge my writing prowess onto something that requires lesser focus - although is just as important, substance-wise. Haha. Glowing healthy-looking skin is something I pride myself in and for years, I have invested a fair amount of money looking for the near-perfect products. So far, the following have been well-worth the expenditure and wait.

From L - R:
  • The Body Shop Chamomile Eye Make-Up Remover - The first thing I do before I take an evening shower is to remove my eye make up, if I have any on. The chamomile has an amazing soothing effect on my weary eyes. Also, no one likes looking like a panda in the morning... Use: Everynight
  • The Body Shop Aloe Calming Facial Cleanser - The amount of brands I have gone through since I started using cleansers is plentiful. I tend to kick myself for not knowing of the wonderful benefits of Aloe Vera in my teenage years. Knowing that this plant works well for my skin, I'm staying put for a very long time. Use: Everyday/Everynight
  • The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner - To tone or not to tone. That is the question. The answer is To Tone. Always. Use: Everyday/Everynight
  • Malin + Goetz Detox Face Mask - If ever I choose to go back to a product twice, it means I have excess cash to spend or the product does wonders for my skin. The latter of the two is the most plausible scenario. I don't dabble in face masks very often, so to have one that comes in a pump container is very convenient for those late nights when I can't be bothered going through my whole Cleanser-Toner routine. Use: 2 times a week
  • Khiel's Epidermal Microdermabrasion - When I first used this product, I was worried about how harsh the small beads were. But when used sparingly and in a gentle manner, this product exfoliates dead skin cells effectively. Use: 1-2 times a week
  • The Face Shop Post-Acne Brightening Serum - Oh... the post-acne years are quite a b****. This product is probably the most coveted of my skin care essentials. I have terrible scarring on my cheeks (and only my cheeks!) so investing in a good product is quintessential for my self-esteem. I've been using this serum for 5 months now and have noticed decent results. I'm still not 100% satisfied with it, but so far it's doing its best. Haha. Use: Everynight
  • The Face Shop Post-Acne Night Time Spot Eraser -  Something to assist the brightening serum in carrying out its work... Use: Everynight
  • The Body Shop Tea Tree Blemish Fade Night Lotion - Moisturise, moisturise. People should moisturise. How else do you get soft, supple, youthful-looking skin? Use: Everynight
  • The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream - To be honest, I'm looking to invest in an all-in-one eye cream in the near future. But this pink tube has been serving me well, for now. Use: Everynight

I have bombarded you with enough information on my daily/nightly skin routine that I'm going to take a nice relaxing shower and dabble in my products until the next post... Aurevoir.

P.S. Keep an eye out for very exciting news in the near future that involves... travel, food, culture and possible work opportunities. In other words, good things!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Clouds, Dark Skies and the Occasional Storm

Picture found on: janecolleen
The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.
 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In a strange bout of uncanniness, today's weather seems to have mirrored my emotions over the past few days. One moment, the day brings about a pristine, clear, blue sky; the next... an abysmal torrent of wind, water and frizzy hair. (Actually, not so much the frizzy hair. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones who is unaffected by it. Haha.)

Everyone has their "bad" days - those days where the task of climbing out of bed in the morning is equivalent to running a 10km marathon. Where simple everyday tasks seem burdensome to the emotionally and physically drained. Lately, those moments seem more often than not. I wish I could say that there is a strong desire to overcome those feelings... but sadly, there isn't. And despite my efforts to try and instill hopefulness to each day and approach it with an eager mind, a girl has got to take a break and just accept that some things are simply beyond my control. Not all situations can be turned around for the better. And to fight (or in some cases, ignore) what is basically the universe at work, is foolish.

So what are we to do about the stress, exhaustion (physical and emotional) of our everyday lives or whatever else it is that impacts negatively on our well-being to the point of negating it? It is acceptable to feel helpless and tired once in a while. In fact, I'd like to think it is healthy to acknowledge the vulnerability. After all, the clouds and storms aren't permanent. The skies will clear, the sun will warm its rays on our (tanned) skin, and bring with it a new array of wonderful possibilities. But for now, the best thing to do is to sigh and just... let it rain.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Inner Balance

Source of picture: healthyisthenewsexy
Yoga is evenness of mind”: detachment from the dualities of pain and pleasure, success and failure. Therefore “yoga is skill in action,” because this kind of detachment is required if one is to act in freedom, rather than merely react to events compelled by conditioning.” - Eknath Easwaran  
For those who are 'avid' readers of my blog, it may come as no surprise that I do enjoy dabbling in my meditative ways... in particular, my fondness for Yoga. To be frank, I had never given yoga or meditative exercises much attention over the past couple of years. While everyone has been lapping up the bikram fads, I've apparently been sitting on the couch exercising and stretching my jaw with potato chips. However, I have decided to take Yoga/Pilates/Contortionism quite seriously this year. I suppose my goal is to be able fit in a suitcase so I can become a street performer if ever my career in the legal profession should fall through. 

Sure, I've taken classes every now and again to give my muscles a break but ever since I've found myself thrown into a chaotic lifestyle, I needed to find a permanent outlet to channel my anger and stress. You know, so I don't go around murdering people after 8pm... And, oddly enough, my Body Combat classes weren't going to be enough. (Ironically, they may have encouraged me to become more violent. Haha.)

In all seriousness, I never realised how much I needed to stretch my body into awkward positions. Although my body is bending in ways it shouldn't, my mind seems to be at complete ease, focusing only on my meditating ways. Every Friday at 6pm, after a tough working/studying week, I make my way down to my local gym and sun-salutate, upward dog my body to its fullest potential. The endorphin rush afterwards is bliss.

And who doesn't want to start/end the day off with inner happiness? It's a full-proof plan, I say.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Move, Learn, Eat

Vimeo is my latest internet addiction. For those who aren't familiar with Vimeo, put simply, it is a video hosting website quite similar to YouTube. However, the difference between Vimeo and YouTube is that Vimeo users are predominantly unique, talented film-makers and artists showcasting their various projects... whilst YouTube users are 15 year old teenagers filming themselves in the middle of degrading acts which quite often ends in humiliating ways.

For me, this is the most inspirational travel footage I've seen this year. Compiled by STA Travel Australia, these video clips are stories of three guys (Rick Mereki, Andrew Lees and Tim White) who travel around the world for 6 weeks and experience all the world has to offer... by the simple acts of moving, learning, and of course, eating.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Commit Thyself

Source of picture: becoming sarah
"I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simplistic as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams from those who live in regret." - Anthony Robbins
Commitment - A word that has been bookmarked in my life dictionary. There have been many proud moments where I have been dedicated to a certain project for the long haul, and the results have been overwhelmingly joyful. Unfortunately, there have been times where I've given up quite too easily or I've completed a project but the results have been disappointingly bitter. In those cases, I do feel like burying my face in my pillow, or punching my pillow, or throwing my pillow... Basically, I have a blatant disregard for the sanctity of the fluffy ball of wool I rest my head on every night. Later, I would come to regret giving up and come across the realisation of letting go too soon.

My greatest commitment to date has been the way I look after my body. Losing weight wasn't my primary goal at the beginning of my 'new look' (although, no one could argue it wasn't a bonus!). But rather, my goals were to feel healthy, to look healthy and to have an active lifestyle. I signed up to my local gym 5 years ago and now, I have reached a place of which I am more than happy with. I've achieved what I set out to do and pushed myself through tough moments. But, in saying that, I shouldn't stop looking after my body simply because I've obtained my goal. In fact, I don't want to stop; it is an ongoing endeavour. I've established a love/hate relationship with the exercise classes that are offered at my gym and if it weren't for my persistence and continued 'commitment' to waking up early on Sunday mornings, I wouldn't have found a new love - Yoga!

It saddens me to hear stories of friends who never 'followed through' on a project, and, after, feel bitter with regret. And consequently, I've only come across a few people who truly know the meaning of 'hard work'. After all, commitment and hard work go hand-in-hand. Commitment must be constant and consistent- not sporadic or intermittent.  Although it has taken me years to fully comprehend it, I now understand that it isn't simply about gaining the expected results. There's more to it than that. Being committed can open doors to experiences and activities that you would not find yourself in, had you not taken the first steps. Achieving your set goal(s) is only, really, the beginning of great things to come.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saturday Night Lights

Source of picture: worldofthoughts
"There was a sky somewhere above the tops of the buildings, with stars and a moon and all the things there are in a sky, but they were content to think of the distant street lights as planets and stars. If the lights prevented you from seeing the heavens, then perform a little magic and change reality to fit the need. The street lights were now planets and stars and moon."  - Hubert Selby Jr., Requiem for a Dream
So maybe our view wasn't exactly as beautiful or as mesmerising as the one above. Nonetheless, it was still a picturesque setting for a lovely dinner in the sky. To be able to look over the sun setting over Perth city was amazing. And the addition of a discounted 3 course meal was the cherry on top of a heavily-covered chocolate sundae.

I've always had a fascination with city lights at night, as well as the skyline that scatters across large bodies of water. For me, there's something about glinting lights that captures my undivided attention. I recall standing outside my friend's house late at night, and from his front porch, we could see a glimmer of street lights lined parallel alongside a hill off in the far distance. I found myself staring at the lights for a good 5 minutes or so. There was something hypnotising about the way in which they flickered and glowed amongst the darkness. My friend explained how, when he used to smoke, he would stand in his driveway and stare off into the lights... I can very much understand the fascination created from an act as tiny as flicking on a switch.

The street and city lights are my version of planets and stars and moon. It brings about the feeling that there is life other than my own. As my friend simply puts, "It's a sign that life exists...". And in a comforting way, the lights make me feel as though I am not alone.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

High Tides Ahead

Source of picture: dustier

After an eight month hiatus, I have returned to university for my final year of law school. The first 15 minutes of my first class of 2011 was spent reviewing the ever exciting unit guide, as well as learning the definition of a 'ship'. Riveting material on both accounts. Thankfully the class picked up after that and I'm sure I will establish a mutually respectable relationship with Shipping/Maritime/Admiralty Law over the semester.*

My friend asked me whether it felt weird to be back on campus. Indeed, it was a weird feeling! Sitting through a 3 hour lecture definitely made me realise how not used to studying I was. And how thoroughly exhausted I became after hearing someone talk non-stop for 3 hours. How did I ever get through it? Oh, that's right... with abnormal amounts of junk food and coffee. And so this semester will see a decline in my 'healthy living' standards- if there were any to begin with. Fantastic. Haha.

After affirming that my eating habits will inevitably lead to obesity, came the realisation of the amount of work I have to put in this coming semester. My motivation and self-confidence will most likely be pushed to the limits for the next couple of months. It was only during this week where I received 4 rejection emails for jobs in law firms - and I'm sure there will be plenty more to come. Yes, a very bleak and pessimistic outlook on the situation but the real world is, unfortunately, a dark and unfair place. Success doesn't come easy and will require some sacrifices of one's own well-being. This is my last year to dimly glow shine. And all in all, it looks like I'll be returning to my hazelnut latte's, late nights with my study group and eating chocolate muffins for lunch.

*Fun Shipping Fact: Did you know that "empty ships" (cargo ships that are not carrying any goods/materials) are filled with sea water to reduce the likelihood of them "tipping over" when sailing from port to port? (Think of a small, squeaky toy boat floating in a bath tub.) They need to be able to sink in the water deep enough to be able to sail in oceans. The consequence of this is that when the ships are ready to be loaded with cargo, the water (carrying all sorts of marine life and bacteria) has to be dumped out in the waters of the port they have arrived at. As a result, a sensitive environment which may not be able to handle these bacteria and organisms, may find themselves under a bit of a pickle with damages to local sea life. Quite sad, right?