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When it comes to work, I try very hard to stick to a 9-to-5 mentality (although, do we ever shut off completely?), but am rarely able to actually take advantage of the freedom it offers.  This past week, however, has reminded me just how fortunate I am to be able to control my own schedule, and for that, I am grateful.  Here’s to never forgetting.

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Say hello to Pocket, the app previously known as Read It Later.  You know how it is.  Multiple tabs open for reading when we have a quiet moment to spare.  Post Its on every conceivable bare space.  Pocket is God’s gift to journalists, bloggers and just about everyone who utilises the Internet as the treasure trove of research it is.  It’s a smooth download, and an even smoother user experience.  All the stuff you want to check out tonight, tomorrow or over the weekend, gets saved in one location, easily accessible from the Pocket icon on your Sidebar.  Go on, download it.  You won’t be sorry.

Virginia Woolf_www.lylybye.blogspot.comI’ve finally gotten around to reading Virgina Woolf’s Diary, Volume 1 and I’m spellbound.

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Instagram continues to be a wondrous source of inspiration for me.  So much talent to be unearthed, and in this case, TS Chang.  He takes amazing, poignant pictures with the humble iPhone.  Perfectly composed and beautifully captured, each frame appears to pulsate with life.  And it truly does my heart proud to see life through his eyes because the young man is Malaysian.  Viva Malaysia.

What brave women.  And to think that I can call one of them my high school classmate, my friend. Such an honour.  Perhaps one day, I shall be just as courageous and share my own story.

We love our boyfriend jeans, don’t we, but how do men actually feel about them?  Here’s what 17 guys said.

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And on that note, Happy Thursday, everyone, I hope your coming weekend is awesome!!  Love, Sheela

 

This post marks Day 01 (24 hours late) of a 30-day initiative created by The Daily Post.  These geniuses came up with Writing 101: Building A Blogging Habit.  For our initiation piece, we were commanded to loosen up, and write for 20 minutes.  To freely write without planned thought or reservation for 1200 seconds.  Here’s what I came up with.  And I only checked for spelling.  Pinkie swear.

 

What do I write?  This is a timed piece, 20 minutes to be precise.

Step one, poise fingers above keyboard.  Step two, start typing.  And step three, pray most fervently that something appears.  I don’t think I have much to say though.  Spontaneous writing isn’t the issue, it’s the timed element which feels like a noose around my neck.  My mind is blank.  I have Chopped on the tv screen and the chefs have been tasked with transforming Root Beer Schnapps , Squash Blossoms and Ostrich Steak.  And some Lap Cheong which is Chinese sausage, I believe it’s a concoction of Pig’s Blood with Pork, deliciously fat and rich and flavourful.

Speaking of Lap Cheong, I do so love it.  When I lived in Singapore (which was for well over a decade), one of my favourite weekend meals was a plate of Crab Meat Fried Rice which came with generous dollops of sliced Lap Cheong.  And Black Pepper a-plenty.  The stall which sold the fried rice was considered one of the top 10 Hawker Stalls on the island at the time.

I’m fast running out of ideas.  I suppose I could talk more about Lap Cheong and how else you could cook it but that seems really retarded and I really don’t want to appear retarded.

I was supposed to make Chicken Ramen for dinner tonight but I didn’t have time to dash to the grocery store to purchase a bottle of Sake so I’m going to have to wing something to put on the table in about 1.5 hours.  There’s always Kim Son but we try so hard to not eat food from outside because it simply isn’t very healthy.  Furthermore, I just had a bowl of sliced ripe banana with Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream so no more indulgences for me for the day.  Damn it.  Incidentally I typed the word “damn” around seven times because apparently I can’t spell very well when writing under (timed) pressure.  Grr face.

I am stumped yet again.  Chopped is still on and the last two chefs standing are now facing it off in the dessert round.  I love the concept behind Chopped although if I were standing there as a competitor, I’d probably pee in my pants.  And that’s 20 minutes.  Of course I had to end it on a pee note.  Oy.

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Two years ago, I started this blog with grandiose plans of being one of those enviable commercially-successful blogs (you know which ones I’m referring to) but oh my, those castles, how quickly they crumble to dust. I very quickly discovered a new-found respect for those who blogged on a regular basis.  It was also around this time that the Independent Fashion Bloggers Conference was scheduled and I had to have a blog in order to register as a participant (which, incidentally, proved to be the very best thing I could’ve done).

And the third catalyst? In the “real world”, I develop branding strategies and, yes, I write for a living.  Blogging was, theoretically, a way for me to let my hair down and write whatever I wanted without censure.

Everything came tumbling down fairly quickly though.  I had a job.  I had a husband and three teenage children.  Work got in the way.  Running a household got in the way.  Simply making it through the day got in the way, and, as you can clearly see from the Archives, blogging took a seat all the way at the very back.

It was never meant to be like that.

I’ve been writing since I was 7 years old, fiction, non fiction, plays, poetry.  Writing is all I’ve known for the most part of my life and yet blogging consistently was so very hard.  I’d start and stop loads of posts, each with a promising beginning but without an end.  Honestly?  I’ve been lost for a very long time now because writing is such a part of me that to feel like I’ve failed in this aspect of my life is nothing short of a heartbreaking sense of defeat.

Someone once told me that I was afraid of success.  That I often place roadblocks in my path to achieving any measure of success because I feared being successful.  I think that’s the craziest piece of truth I’ve ever heard.  Success scares the shit out of me.  I fear the change that success brings.  I fear the fame (or infamy) that success brings.  I find comfort in the status quo and I know that will no longer be the case with success.

That’s why I decided to take on the Blogging 101: Zero to Hero Challenge.  I’m not sure where this new journey will take me.  I don’t know with any measure of certainty if I’ll achieve success through this process but I’m truly praying that in fulfilling the daily assignments; in having to blog every single day; I’ll stop being so frightened of externalising how I feel, how I think, why I do what I do, who I am.  And maybe along the way, should success stop by, I won’t shy away like a deer caught in the headlights.

 

Love, Sheela

p/s this is Day 01 of a month-long project put together by the people at The Daily Post, homework of sorts :)

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Sunday, oh Sunday, how quickly you arrive!!

Many of us use this day not merely to relax and rejuvenate but also to plan.  I know I do. Sunday is when I try to infuse some order into the coming week (at this point, I must confess that most bits usually only last up to end of Monday, at best, but hey, I take what I can get).

A typical plan involves:-

Breakfast for the children the next morning – weekday fare alternates between toast (with scrambled eggs and Pesto spread for her, with Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jelly for him alongside a cup of Greek Yoghurt), French Toast, and sausages, bacon and mini bread rolls.  The man and I make do with either Cereal + Lactose Free Milk or scrambled egg whites with diced tomatoes, and some fruit.

School Lunch – I take it easier in the beginning of the week and prepare something like Agnolotti or Tortellini.  In our bid to eat cleanly, the adults have Poached Chicken Breast or some fish or turkey with sides like avocado, brown rice and/or salad.  Some defrosting required.

Dinner – since we leave for the gym at 5.45pm, I make sure dinner is cooked and ready for when we get back (dinner is around 8pm in the Stella residence) so I decide what I want to prepare, defrost the relevant raw ingredients the night before, that sort of thing.

Work – jot down the key things I have to complete on Monday which, in the instance of tomorrow, is to write/review content for our to-be-revamped website, and edit two articles as well as a blog post in conjunction with the National Health IT Security Week.

Blog – make a mad dash to see what I’m supposed to be posting on Monday and Tuesday, and make fairly futile attempts to start. This bit here is relatively new, I must tell you.  In the past, I’ve always flown by the seat of my pants where blogging was concerned, and since that hasn’t worked very well for me at all (read: averaging a blog post every 6 months), I’m trying to go all fancy and organised.

Oh oh and Gym – this is when I plan my workouts for the week.

There you have it.  Let’s see how closely I follow this as the days progress.  So, what’s in your plan?

 

Love, Sheela

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I suppose I could start this post by examining the historical origins of Chocolate. Where it came from. Or how the word “chocolate” is derived from the Classical Nahuatl word xocolātl (which means “bitter water”). Perhaps investigate why, despite knowing it entered the English language from Spanish, we have absolutely no idea how or when it came into Spanish at all. But I’m not going to.  Instead, I’d like to talk about how we eat chocolate.  Isn’t that a much more delicious topic?

Does a word exists which accurately describes the way we eat chocolate?

I’ve personally witnessed chocolate-consuming acts involving an initial sniff, tentative licks, a gingerly executed bite followed by a complete devouring.  A process yielding grunts, groans and sighs in abundance.  Indeed, we’ve all been there at least once in our exploration of that creamy delight.  And then, there are those who partake of chocolates with mechanical precision – bar by bar, cube by cube, with little or no emotion whatsoever.  I find that odd but perhaps they prefer to compartmentalise their feelings, saving them for private moments later.  Who am I to judge a fellow fan of the cocoa treat?

Generally speaking, we crunch. We chew (sacrilegious). We suck.  Some of us marry a few styles into a single gulp. I know, I live with a man who does just that.  Yet no one of those terms accurately describes what transpires once we pop these confections into our mouths, no matter if our poison lies in dark or white or liqueur-infused. Personally, I begin by carefully nibbling a teeny morsel then slowly swirling it around my mouth as it melts, enjoying each short-lived moment. I suppose you could say I enjoy my chocolates like a sommelier would introduce a new year to his taste memory.

Would I describe it as savouring?  Or tongue-feeling?  Or mouth-rolling?  I don’t know, I don’t know. I do know that I’m curious to find out how you eat your chocolates.  How would you describe the entire endeavour?

I also know with dead certainty that eating more chocolates won’t bring me any closer to describing just how I eat them, but that’s not about to stop me from popping a little white bonbon into my mouth.  Right.  Now.

 

Love, Sheela

p/s Happy International Chocolate Day!!

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