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The Fab 40s In Leather & Lace

Hard versus soft.

Delicate versus not so delicate.

 

When I wrote this post, my initial thought was to develop something along the lines of contrasts.  You know, the juxtaposition between hard and soft.  Between leather and lace.  That beautiful attraction of opposing textures.  But the more I started reading the headline, the more I began seeing how this could also be interpreted as a gender issue.

LET ME EXPLAIN

Some time back, I shared my views on Belle’s Emma Watson’s inspiring speech.  My takeaway from her words was a new perspective on how men too are treated.  With bias.  And I’ve maintained that same thought process to this day.  How both genders need to rethink the way they view each other and perhaps, just perhaps, we might get along a little better.

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Think of it this way.

Men are expected to be in possession of their emotions.

AT ALL TIMES

Generally brought up in the falsehood that showing empathy or vulnerability is a sign of weakness.  That “real” men are tough beasts who never ever display anything but the facial expression of a seasoned juggernaut.

Ever heard of the expression, “Real men don’t cry??

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Women understand all about bias and prejudice.  And being judged.

If we’re successful, we must have slept our way to the top.  If we’re strong, confident, empowered, we’re bossy and bitchy.  Oh and most definitely butch.  It’s inconceivable that we might have attained all those accomplishments on our own merit.  We are visually assessed, mentally labelled, and deftly compartmentalised based on how we dress, how we look.

I admit.  I’m often guilty of doing just that myself.

Looking, assessing, judging.

Sentencing and passing down verdict without evidence.

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If she’s pretty, there’s no way she’s smart too.  Or god gave her an amazing supermodel body because, c’mon, let’s face it, there’s really nothing but vacant space between the left and the right ears.  And her face isn’t precisely Miss Universe material.  I know.  I’m fully aware of how fucked up all that sounds.  Trust me, I’ve kicked myself in the ass enough times, and I doubt I’d be stopping the self-berating anytime soon. I am very ashamed of myself.  It’s taken me a long time to recognise that I too was doing unto others the very thing I’ve written publicly to fight against.

The same mentality of generalisation applies to men.  It wasn’t too long ago that pastel shirts were a definite “no no” for the male species (it only took me 6 years to get my man in a lavender button-down), and heaven forbid if they showed any interest in grooming.  Oh no, taking care of oneself was effeminate and reserved exclusively for sissies.

If a man were to actually get his hair cut and styled, wiggle wiggle go the brows.  Imagine the gasps of horror, sorry, snorts of disdain should he invest in something as unmanly as a tailored suit or adopt a skincare regime.

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So in all this, the point I’ve been trying to make is – no matter your gender, stereotyping exists.  It abounds.  It torments.  It.  Is.  Out.  There.  And it’s up to us to change it.  Sweeping generalisation of both the male and female species.  It has to stop.  It needs to stop.

Men need to be able to let their vulnerability show.  To understand it’s part of being human, you know, letting the world see your softer side.  That it doesn’t take anything away from your masculinity or your manhood.  Women, on the other hand, need to be able to present their fierce and driven sides without immediately being branded as intimidating, scary, bitchy.  I’ve had all three words shoved in my face and stabbed in my back throughout my career far more times than I’d like to count, to be honest (and yet I still think those thoughts of other women, right?).

As I said, it needs to stop.  And from here, from today, I’m going to work on it stopping with me.  With my fast-to-judge thoughts.  It stops right here, right now.  I’m actually going to try to be that champion of women (and men) that I’ve been portraying through my blog posts.  Make it real.

Here is also where I apologise from the very bottom of my heart to my fellow Fab 40 friends.  For being SO stupid late with this post (this was scheduled for January) due to technical issues and then brand commitments and just an overall lack of organisational skills.  I’m working on that too, my friends, forgive me?

PRESENTING THE FAB 40S IN LEATHER & LACE

Ann, Kremb de la Kremb

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Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor

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Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

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Mary, Curly Byrdie Chirps

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Sam, Fake Fabulous

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Veronica, CID Style File

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Please join me in welcoming Kim of The Haute Life Now, our guest blogger for January.

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Beautiful and exquisite are the two words that come to mind when I look at Alison’s outfit.  The details contained within that airy fairy, ethereal confection of a top contrasting wonderfully against that tailored high waisted pant.  Delicate meets hard personified.

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Blush Leather Jacket (DKNY) | Black Lace Skirt, worn as dress (c/o StyleWe) | Necklace (Mirina Collections) | Black Combat Booties (Bakers) | Spiked Rose Gold Bangle & Ring (c/o Happiness Boutique) | Sunnies (Poshmark) 

And then, there’s me.

By the by, this marks precisely one year since I (a) worked with a professional photographer (b) ventured outside of my backyard to do shoots (c) posed awkwardly in the presence of others.  My first location shoot had me in a sunny side up and creepers, remember?

Don’t forget to link-up now!!!

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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Third Wheel & A Link-Up

Odd (wo)man out.

An extra person or element.

 

This entire week, my lady friends Jodie, Nancy, Charlotte, and baby girl Eve, have been showcasing our interpretations of combining red with gold, plus a little somethin’, somethin’.  For instance, on Monday, we kicked things off to a glam start with, well, a touch of opulence to our red with gold garments.  This was promptly followed up with introducing print to the pairing.  Yes, red with gold and a touch of pattern on Wednesday.  And today?  Well, this day, the fifth day of the week (can I get a YAY??), we’re showcasing red and gold with a certain odd fella.  You know.  The odd man (or woman) out.  That third wheel, otherwise also known as the third colour into the mix.

THIS IS GOING TO BE A SUCCINCT POST

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IT'S BEEN VERY HECTIC IN NEW YORK

Whilst I won’t be attending shows until Friday (wait, that’s today), since I arrived on Wednesday night, I’ve spent 3 hours with the Zotos team (working on a very special collaboration coming soon), experienced a blizzard and being snowed in, attended two meetings with separate agencies to review the possibility of being represented (so thrilled and hoping for only good juju), and met up in real life with someone I greatly admire on Instagram (Creative Director of The New York Times up until 6 weeks ago when he retired).

Don’t misunderstand, please.  I am incredibly happy and blessed to be presented with these opportunities which, a year or two ago, I’d never in my wildest dreams ever even thought possible.  I’m just a tired old lady ranting.

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Also, up until now, I’ve always been fascinated by snow and loved the cold.  I love low temperatures and cool winds but let’s be real.  When you’re trudging through a foot of snow (and trying to not do an Atkins in the process), with snowflakes falling all around and over you, blustery winds doing their damn best to recreate a Mary Poppins scene, and you’re doing all you can to stay upright, it gets challenging.

And wet.

Very, very wet.

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Snow doesn’t look quite as appealing when it’s an icky shade of sludge gray.  And if I’m being completely honest, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to look stylish when warmth is a key consideration.  Respect goes out to those women who make it look so incredibly effortless.  Bundled up and toasty without appearing in the least bit bulky and clumsy like a travelling wanton.

Like how I’m convinced I look on a New York Winter’s day.

G R I N

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And now, behold before your eyes, the concluding part of our adventures in pairing red and gold with different elements.  As mentioned in the beginnings of this post, today, we’re bringing in a third party.  A third colour into the mix.  Had I seen this prior to shooting the outfits for this collaboration, I would most certainly have attempted to infuse some measure of hot pink.  You can be quite certain the palette of red + gold (or animal print in gold hues) + fuchsia will be making its debut on my blog and soon.

Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)

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A classic composition of red with gold and some good ole rock n roll denim.  This pair is pretty edgy and different, with the darker denim patch and top-stitching mimicking that of a Tim Burton raggedy doll.  And I love how the sequins on Eve’s high tops come together to create a snakeskin pattern.  So brilliant.

Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)

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In the shoe department, it’s a like daughter like mother situation 🙂 my metallic gold snakeskin booties proffer the gilded element to this ensemble of red meets grey meets a Titanic scene.  I was truly despairing when this photo was taken because I’d come to the harsh realisation that I have, in my possession, very few items of clothing in red and gold.  A situation I must rectify and promptly.

Jodie, 50s (jodie’s touch of style)

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Look at Jodie go.  Not only has she introduced the third wheel colour into her outfit, there’s not one but two elements of seemingly clashing prints.  The shoes.  The bag.  Clever Jodie.  And beautifully played too the textural contrast of that duster cardigan.  I heart, Jodie, I heart.  I do think this is my fave outfit from you for this particular project.  Wait.  I did also adore the one you wore for Monday’s post.  It’s a very close tie.

Nancy, 60s (jodie’s touch of style)

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Opting for a more casual, subtly athleisure look is Nancy in her red hoodie and darker gold top (look the texture of that) paired with the crispness of sleek white pants.  And those adorable flats, with the embellished toes.  I have a thing for embellished toes.  They get to me each time.  I really like how she’s kept everything clean and simple yet this is an outfit with immense potential for versatility.  Do you see that too?

Charlotte, 70s (jodie’s touch of style)

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What a stunning blazer, Charlotte, with its Chinoiserie vibe and riotous explosion of colours.  I hadn’t noticed this before but are those sleeves lace?  How cool is that?  And the subtle hints of gold arising from her top (or is that a dress?) echo the glint of the necklace as well as those earrings.  Perfectly complementary.

And there you have it.  Five women taking red with gold by the horns.  Which part of this collaboration has been your personal fave?  With a touch of glam?  Or a print?  Or today’s as we each introduced a third colour into the story?

Which would you do?

And don’t forget to join the Project Sister Act Link-Up.

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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Love Thyself

Self care, self love.

You seriously owe it to yourself.

 

Valentine’s Day happens next Tuesday.  A day for couples and singles alike.  For best friends.  Or just good friends.  A day to celebrate that crazy little thing called love and the act of loving.  Why is it then that we always forget one very vital thing?

To love ourselves?

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Self care, self love.

It’s a divine responsibility.

It’s what you owe yourself, regardless of whether you’re a child of God.  Global citizen.  Wife of John.  Husband to Lily.  Mother of Samuel.  Brother to Kate.  You have a divine responsibility to take care of yourself.  I’d even go so far as to say that you’re honour bound to love yourself.

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?

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Granted, those weekly massages or monthly manicure are wonderful treats but that’s not the sort of self-indulging I’m talking about here.

It’s about knowing when to say “no“.  And not feeling guilty as sin for uttering that word.  Taking the time to recover, recharge, reboot.  Allowing yourself that moment to step away, inhale, exhale.  Investing in wee sabbaticals to clear your mind, to set the course, to forge forwards.  It’s also about leaving.  Staying.

Saying “thank you”  as well as “no, thank you“.

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Self love is about asking for more without being apologetic for it.

Rooting for yourself (no, that’s neither bitchy nor selfish).  It’s about listening and investing in yourself.  It’s about being protective and tender and compassionate with yourself.

A L W A Y S

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Does it not make sense that in allowing yourself to love yourself, it only serves to increase the capacity within you to love those you hold dear, even more?  Even better?  Self love is indeed a divine responsibility and you do yourself a grave injustice if you elect to decline that option.

On a far less sombre note, please do visit the blogs of these individual ladies to see how they’re intending to dress up for Valentine’s Day.

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SHEELA from Sheela Writes

“Love must be celebrated on a daily basis. And not just for your other person but expressed towards everyone you love.  Corny, I know, but really really true.  It just makes life all that much better.”

MONICA from Jersey Girl, Texan Heart

Hey Everyone!  I’m Monica from Jersey Girl, Texan Heart.  First and foremost, thank you Ada for this awesome collab!  I decided to keep it a little simple and mysterious for Valentine’s Day.  Of course I love dressing up, but sometimes I want to be a little more casual.  OTK boots, a whole black outfit with a pop of red is my way to go this year!

LINDA from A Labour of Life

Valentine’s Day in the North calls for innovation in the outfit.  Luckily my New Chic skirt arrived in time to inspire a winter ballerina look.”

ADA from Elegance and Mommyhood

“My Valentine’s day will consist of a half day of work – enter this Rose Quartz (or blush) Midi Dress for a subtle festive pink, which I paired with some fierce black pumps – and spending the rest of the day with my daughter, since my husband is currently not in town. Vivian and I will probably go for a play-date at Chuck E. Cheese, which for that I will be dressed festively comfortable. Happy Valentine’s Day to you! It is a day to celebrate love and not just with your significant other.”

LEE from Wine & Couture

Wine and Couture is a Life and Style Blog that I started over 4 years ago.  It has grown and changed over the years into a fun and amazing place to style and restyle your clothing as well as investing in classic pieces.  Today I am sharing some ideas on what to do for Valentine’s day that is low key.  Some of these are things my husband and I have done in the past.  Stop by my blog to read more and please leave a comment.”

 

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I’ll be honest.  This dress I’m wearing?  It was styled specifically for this collaboration (thank you, Ada, for having me!!).  My man and I are fully intending to stay home on the 14th, and call for takeout.  For reals.  We feel very strongly about celebrating love and the one you love every single day.  And firmly believe that expressions of the heart ought not to be restricted to a mere 24 hours every 52 weeks, dependent upon the flights and fancies of giant marketing machines 🙂

Don’t forget to link-up too now!!!

Project Sister Act Friday Link-Up will be back this week too.

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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The Radness Of Red Continues


Red is the colour of my heart.

And the shirt I’ve got on my back.

 

I promise.  I really was trying to come up with something fancy for the header but that’s all I could manage, forgive me.  It’s been a long week.  Planning for Fashion Week in New York.  Getting things together.  Packing at the 11th hour, but of course (I mean, were you really expecting anything different?).  Desperately trying to juggle work and home and blog commitments.  And failing quite dramatically, to be honest GRIN.  If you’ve seen my recent Instastories, organisational skills aren’t really my superpowers.

In support of this claim, I offer up as proof the fact that I’m currently typing this at Gate 19, Terminal E.  Yes, the airport.  Yes, I realise this post was meant to have been completed way before now and gone live this morning.  But as I stated, being organised and staying ahead of the game are simply not quite prevalent in my life skills vocabulary.

END OF CONFESSION

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Wait.

Another bit to confess.  I’m absolutely petrified thinking of what lies ahead.  Honestly.  I’m currently experiencing an odd state of outwardly-calm-inwardly-full-blown-panic.  If you look at me now, it’s all chill as I wait for a plane that does not appear to want to appear.  But really, the prospect of 13 shows in 3 days, 5 production meetings with brands and agencies, 2 photo shoots, and meeting friends in between all that.  Let’s hope these shoulders (and the banged-up knees) can carry the load (without too much fuss, I mean, there’s always anti-inflammatories but still).

The aim is to appear cool and calm and collected as I strut around, in my finery, determined to make a statement and stand apart.  The reality is a frenzied bundle of nerves desperately hoping for zero wardrobe malfunctions, minimal blisters, and sufficient gym pre-conditioning to make it through the upcoming sartorial marathon.  That was a mouthful.

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Today is the 12th day of Chinese New Year. 

Wow. 

I didn’t even feel those 11 days pass zoom by.

I’d like to share a few cultural things my family subscribes to, when Chinese New Year comes along.  Now, I don’t know if these are specific to Sarawak or something a particular dialect group practices, or they’re merely superstition-based, and passed down through generations, evolving into customs, traditions over time.  Some are going to sound really ridiculous.  Others interesting and quirky.  At least I think so.

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There’s this thing about sweeping the floor.  Or rather, not sweeping the floor.  My maternal grandmother believed this to be bad luck.  Seriously bad luck.  As in sweeping away the good fortune of the new year.   Which, during this time, is challenging because floors get oily and dusty from all that cooking and merry-making. And front porches are literally drowning in a sea of red.  No, not blood, but rather, paper remnants of firecrackers.  A generous sea of red.

My mother would promptly ignore my grandmother and just proceed to sweep all the stuff away HAHAHA the former turning a blind eye to fumigating stares and a deaf ear to mutterings of impending doom and gloom from the latter.  It was hilarious.

In retrospect, there was absolutely no truth in this superstition so you go, Mum.

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LAUGHING WITH ME YET?

Yes?  Good.

Showering.  Let’s talk about that now.  I had an ex-boyfriend whose mother insisted showers be taken at the stroke of midnight on the eve of Chinese New Year.

Wash away bad luck and ill omen of the previous year, allowing for just the opposite to happen on this new year.  And precisely at the stroke of midnight, which was a physical impossibility given that there was 5 of them in the family, with just one bathroom.  Naturally, this particular circumstance never unfolded quite to his mother’s liking and she would always work herself up to a tantrum.  Suffice to say that after several years of this madness, we broke up GRIN

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I have several more “incidents” to share but I’m going to leave them for Friday’s post, the culminating edition of our red endeavours.

But for now, thank you for joining us in this second of a tri-part project between Jodie and her ladies, Eve, and myself.  Today, we decided to push the status quo a smidge and work in a print into the already statement pairing of red with gold.  Go big or go home, yes?  Tell me what you think.

Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)

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A satin tuxedo blazer in a pretty print works wonderfully with that bold red tee and jeans.  Throw in some glitzy gold sneaker wedges and kickass sunnies, and baby girl’s poised to, well, kick ass.

Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)

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Open toed heels in Winter. Only in Houston, baby, with floral Tropicana pants, engine red shirt and a fave Gold Leather jacket.  I think this is my fave outfit in the collaboration. 

Jodie, 50s (jodie’s touch of style)

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The epitome of fresh and fun and flirty, Jodie is.  Those ear muffs are especially tugging at my heartstrings, as are her superheroine boots.  Quite loving the subtle print of her skirt, those little nuances that Jodie’s very much a master of.

Nancy, 60s (jodie’s touch of style)

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A slightly more subdued interpretation of the theme this time from Nancy.  Subdued but still impactful.  That animal print twinset is no wallflower and red pants aren’t fading into the background any time soon. Love.

Charlotte, 70s (jodie’s touch of style)

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Interesting that Charlotte chose wide-legged pants for this look.  An unusual pairing.  I’m really appreciating the varying shades of gold in her outfit, the gradience making for a delightful vision.  But if I’m to be completely honest, those boots.

Come see us on Friday when we add a third Colour to the already explosive pairing of red with gold.  I do hope you’ll also join the discussion and leave me a comment too, because many of my posts are inspired by what you say, how you feel.

Oh and visit tomorrow too?  I have a very special Valentine’s Day collaboration with the lovely Ada.

So, do you do red with gold and print?

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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Rooster Red Glam | Sheela Writes

Rooster Red Glam

Popping of firecrackers.

And the giving out of red packets.

 

For the vast majority of Asian Chinese, those two preceding lines immediately tell of celebrating Chinese New Year (Guo Nian which means, loosely translated, welcoming a brand new year and ridding oneself of yesteryear evil spirits).  I know, it’s quite mouthful contained within two seemingly succinct, monosyllabic words.  And the phrase “Asian Chinese” was intentional, friend, by way of explaining that all who hail from the continent are indeed Asian but not all are Chinese in ethnicity.

For instance, in Singapore, you have Singaporean Chinese and Singaporean Malay as well as Singaporean Indian.  As is the same in Malaysia (where I ‘m from) wherein we have Malaysian Malay, Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indian and Malaysian Native (indigenous tribes such as Iban, Bidayuh, Penan, Kelabit, Murut, and loads more).  Out of all the different races, only the Chinese community celebrates Chinese New Year, whilst every other ethnicity celebrates its own interpretation of a new year.

BRIEF CULTURAL LESSON OVER

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To soak up some fun trivia surrounding the origins of Chinese New Year, this is a quick read, and so too here, although do take them with a pinch of salt?  Many pertain specifically to legends from the mainland.  For the purpose of today’s post, I’m going to share some memories of how my family celebrates what’s also known as the Spring Festival.

It typically begins the evening before.

And the merry-making goes on for a full 15 days.

Diets go bust fly out the window.

Which you already knew.

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So the evening before is always reserved for what’s affectionately termed as the “reunion dinner”.  As the name implies, the meal is meant to bring together all immediate members of one’s family which, in many instances, happens just that one time each year.  As a child, the importance of this left no mark upon me because, hello, we lived together under one roof.  My father, my mother, my brother and I.  However, as I grew up, I began to understand the significance of this dinner for it was then that I lived in one country, my brother in another, and my parents, yes, in yet another.

Chinese New Year as well as Christmas were the times we made it home to our parents.  Come hell or waters high.  Plane tickets were booked well in advance, oftentimes a full year ahead of time to ensure (a) availability; and (b) lower fares (you know how it is, prices tend to be on the upswing when in demand).

My mother would also cook the entire meal.  And it was (almost) always the same dishes (as we weren’t well off, this was the one time we could indulge on a culinary level, Christmas was more about presents, we had our priorities).  I can still remember them vividly.  Braised 5-Spice Cinnamon Duck, Lemongrass Chicken, Mixed Vegetables (Chive Buds, Shiitake Mushrooms, Prawns, Egg Tofu, Snow Peas, Bell Peppers), Steamed Sultan Fish (Fresh Water Carp), and Soup (Corn, Fish Maw, Pork Ribs).

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Cynthia Rowley Red Lace Dress  (Rent The Runway) | Jewellery (gifted) | Gold Mesh Ankle Booties (Urbanog.com) | Lipstick (c/o of Palladio Beauty)

DESSERT, YOU ASK?

Why, red packets but of course.

Or, to be politically accurate, Ang Baos.  They were the highlight of my life during Chinese New Year as a child (ang baos are given to children of all ages up, including unwed adults, and are also presented by working grown-up children to their elderly parents).  The amount would vary but generally, close relatives received the most (anywhere from $50 to $500), distant relatives second (usually between $10 to $50), and others the least (us grandchildren would help my grandmother prepare hundreds of ang baos containing $1.80 for this purpose, she was an elementary school principal, you see).  It used to be that all ang baos would contain some value of 8, i.e., $8 or $88 or $0.80 but over time, this doesn’t appear to matter as much as the actual amount received.

Rooster Red Glam | Sheela WritesRooster Red Glam | Sheela Writes

The tradition of family-visiting was is vital, with the first day of Chinese New Year reserved for one’s parents.  In my family’s case, for my paternal Grandmother followed by my maternal grandparents.  Note the hierarchy system?  It downstreams to the children meaning after visiting Pho-Pho (how one calls the paternal grandmother), Amah (maternal grandmother) and Kung-Kung (we called both grandfathers this), we’d go home because my father’s siblings (he’s the eldest) and my mother’s (she was the oldest still living in Malaysia) would come a-calling.

One is expected to have goodies and treats ready for visitors.  The F&B line-up at my house then was comprised of both traditional Chinese New Year cookies and pastries as well as savoury dishes which my mother would prepare the days before.  I have some serious respect for my mother.  I mean, the woman had a full-time job as Editor of the Borneo Literature Bureau, she took care of us and cooked all our meals, worked out three times a week (fond recollection of Jane Fonda here), and wrote several books each year #goals #slay #originalgirlboss

Ahh.  Such memories.  Pigging out.  Collecting receiving ang baos.  Drinking Fanta Orange (I was only allowed this once a year so you can imagine how much I had).  Staying up late.  Listening to the grown-ups talking about things that made absolutely no sense.  Not having to go to school since it was closed for three days.  Good times.  Good times.

Rooster Red Glam | Sheela WritesRooster Red Glam | Sheela Writes

As you can imagine, this year, when we realised we had the opportunity to invite some friends over to join us for Chinese New Year first day dinner, I took full advantage of my memories and replicated the menu handed down by my mother.  Well, as closely as I could given that certain ingredients are unavailable here.

We had the duck and the chicken and the fish.  No soup.  And I made two versions of mixed greens.  Added egg noodles (playing the longevity card here).  Baked pineapple tarts (Sarawak is famous for those).  And we ate and talked and had fun until the wee hours of the morning.  Quite literally.  Beautiful evening in fabulously wonderful company.  A beautiful memory of our own.  That would’ve been perfect if only my parents and brother were there.  It is what it is.

Now, before you (completely) tire of my prose, welcome!!  To the first of a tri-part project between Jodie and her ladies, Eve, and myself.  Regular readers will be no strangers to these beautiful, strong women, with whom I’ve had the pleasure and honour of collaborating with on numerous occasions.  For this particular joint venture, I (clearly) came up with the chinoiserie-inspired theme.  We’re upping the ante with red and gold, my friends, not the easiest pairing in the colour world.  A duo that can oh so easily go wrong, oh so quickly.  That said, I do feel that we’ve all been able to achieve appear easy, effortless, relatable looks.  Tell me what you think.

Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)

The World According To Eve

Stunning.  Just stunning.  The playful contrast of evening dress against bomber jacket is pure genius.  Anyone else loving how the sunlight is playing footsie with the liquid gold satin of her jacket?  And catching fire on that magnificent dress?

Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)

Rooster Red Glam | Sheela Writes

A departure from my usual style.  I’m not sure I like the dress or how it’s giving me a baby bump.  What I do know is I should’ve checked my wardrobe before proposing this theme GRIN as it turns out, I have red lipsticks and shoes in abundance but red clothes?  And gold pieces?  Not so much.  By the by, the cuff was a gift from my stepson.  Boy got taste.

Jodie, 50s (jodie’s touch of style)

Jodie

Two words.  Adorable.  Peppy.  Jodie looks amazing here.  There’s an air of joy and fun that’s palpable.  Tangible.  I love the addition of the fur cape especially, introduces a wonderfully plush element to the overall mix.  And hello, those boots.  I’m thinking you’re definitely Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader material, my friend.

Nancy, 60s (jodie’s touch of style)

Nancy

Hey hey.  What sass.  What spirit.  Nancy is really working it in this beautiful dress with the delicate scallop details on bodice as well as hemline, with a nifty bolero to boot.  I like that Nancy’s interpretation of the theme is subtle.  Playing up the glam gold bit with jewellery as versus items of clothing, and we all know how I feel about animal print anything.

Charlotte, 70s (jodie’s touch of style)

Charlotte

It never ceases to amaze me how strikingly composed and poised Charlotte looks.  Nary a dull nor stuffy vibe to every outfit she composes.  And how masterful she is with accessories.  Note the speckled scarf.  And the print element on her bag (floral?).  And the delicate touch of gold on the front of her jacket.

Come back and see us on Wednesday (we’re doing red and gold with print, you knew we had to) as well as Friday (it’ll be red and gold with another colour).  I do hope you’ll also join the discussion and leave me a comment too, because many of my posts are inspired by what you say, how you feel, your thoughts.

Do you do red with gold too?

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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SOS & A Link-Up

Peekaboo.

I see you, world.

Do you perhaps see me too?

 

As always, I’m in a hurry.

A mad dash.

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January has seen very few posts from me, I  know.

Few and far between.

And whilst the reason for that is a good one, infrequent posting, as we are all fully aware, marks the beginning of a downward spiral for any blog.  Wouldn’t it be wondrous if cloning were an available (and affordable) option?  Imagine the myriad of things we could undertake.  Simultaneously.  And with great efficiency.

What’s been transpiring, you ask?

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Well, I say “good” because I’ve been blessed to have connected with many new partners over the last few weeks, since before Christmas, actually.  Which, in turn, has led to numerous conversations and discussions and planning.  All heavenly, beautiful events that will help me grow as a writer and brand.

And all of which have taken my time away from the main reason those partners chose to seek me out in the first instance.

IRONIC, YES?

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How do they do it?

Those who have their posts written ahead of time (you know who you are, you super organised lot).  And are never running in a frenzied, frazzled panic.  Or if they are, they never appear to be on the outside.  I know, plan your editorial line-up and write those posts in advance.  That’s easy to say when you’re already on a roll, wheels oiled and primed, schedule in place.  It’s not quite as smooth sailing when you’re starting from ground zero.

Tell me.  Please.  Does one stay up all weekend long and churn out post after post after post?  And, in my instance, how on earth do I condense my thoughts into a sufficiently succinct format to produce the required quantity?  Honestly?  I’m already hyperventilating at the thought.

H E L P

My distress call aside, welcome, friend, welcome to the very first edition of Project Sister Act for this brand new year of 2017 (guess what? Project Sister Act turns 2 next month!!!).

For January, the story revolves around five six women (spanning single digits, teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s) and their unique, very personal style interpretations of that glorious, heavenly fabric known as Velvet.  Take a look at how we’ve crafted our individual outfits.

Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)

The World According To Eve

How epic does my baby look?  I realise I say that practically all the time but truly, I covet everything Eve wears and, perhaps even more, her attitude.  Despite it being the prettiest of frocks, Eve has successfully achieved an edgy vibe with the inclusion of those ah-mazing shoes and that lovely suede choker/lariat confection.  I wish I was that cool at her age.

Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)

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Twinning with my baby in a velvet dress, mine being of a cheetah print and (despite the fact that it’s completely hidden), with an asymmetrical shoulder.  Confession:  I’ve never worn a mini dress in my entire life, nope, never, so this is a major step forward for me.  In embracing my body and (finally) having the confidence to bare my knees.

Emily, 20s (baily lamb)

Baily Lamb

I have decided that Emily is the IT woman who I aspired to be in my 20s.  I mean, c’mon, she’s wearing a black velvet romper, for heaven’s sake, and looking SO badass I can’t even compute in my brain.  The sartorial side of me is squealing in full tilt groupie mode though, I can assure you, and completely considering adding something similar to my own wardrobe.

Sandy, 30s & Vivian, 2 (sandy a la mode)

Sandy A La Mode

Please put your hands together and welcome our youngest ever Project Sister Act woman, Vivian, and her equally fabulous mother, Sandy.  I am beyond happy to have these ladies join us, beautifully proving that style truly knows neither age nor rules.  That fashion is what you make of it, and that anyone of every age bracket can indeed wear the one same theme, or in their case, pieces.  LOVE.

Carrie, 50s (a stylish fit)

A Stylish Fit

Carrie is a vision in that black velvet top with its sleek lines and contrasting full sleeves.  And then there’s the flirty skirt with it’s “petals” and tiers, (damn, you’ve got some pins) adding healthy doses of sass and spirit to the overall look.  And when you think it couldn’t get any better, check out Carrie’s ankle boots.  Perfect measure of rock n roll superstar.  She looks fresh, fine and fancy.  And yes, the back of her top is F-A-B.

And there’s me.  So absolutely joyous at (finally) being able to wear this fur number which I purchased three years ago, just before I was diagnosed with Lupus, and transformed into a bloated human pin-cushion in the name of Science.  Sigh.

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And that, my friends, is Project Sister Act for January 2017.  My sincere appreciation and love to every woman in this month’s line-up, and also to every woman who has ever joined me in propagating the message that style cannot be dictated by neither societal expectations nor “rules“.  That fashion is very personal, very individual, and must always be approached with a spirit of adventure and a healthy dose of fun.

And that, above all, we are female and we are proud of it.

Don’t forget to link-up.

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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Is It Black, White Or Grey?

A simple question.

How do you set your standards?

 

How do you define your ethics?  Determine whether something is black or white?  And when does grey come into play?  Let me briefly explain.

SOMEONE TRIED TO SCREW ME OVER

Yeah. 

It had to do with that unholy triad.

You know, trademark, money, and, well, blatant stupidity.

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Anyway, that unpleasant incident led to a series of conversations between me, myself and I, as we extensively dissected ways and means in which we would could handle the protagonist whom I shall call PITA (pain in the ass).

The following thoughts were raised:-

>  PITA started out as a groupie.  A major fan.  So that means she must have a good heart underneath all that, well, nasty back-stabbing bitchiness.  Right?

>  Maybe she truly doesn’t know what she’s doing is illegal?

>  Yes, PITA acted in very poor taste.  She was unethical, to say the least, but perhaps, just perhaps it was unintentional?

>  Or, dare I say, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery?

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On and on went my internal debate.  I discussed at length, with myself, those things we coin as grey zones.  Loopholes.  Legalities.  Ethics.

I mean, perhaps what seemed to me as being an act of dishonesty may very well have simply been a misunderstanding?  Perhaps I misconstrued the intent?  Made much ado about nothing?  And, in the process, created a mountain out of naught but a molehill?

HAD I OVERREACTED?

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I thought the easiest way to put an end to this debate was to pose this question to myself, “Would I ever do to someone else what PITA tried to do to me?

And the answer was a resounding, “NO!

“Never!!  No way!!  Not!!”

Well then, I said declared to myself, this is truly unethical behaviour.

What PITA did.

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Black Lace Gown (Monique Lhuillier) | Colour Block Fur Coat (vintage) | Velvet Peep Toe Booties (Bakers) | Spiked Lip Clutch (Lulu Guinness) | Choker (Manic Panic NYC)

Listen.  Forget what society terms as the legal “grey area“.  Don’t be swayed for formalities or policies.  By the wide expanse of cultural or moral codes.  I say look behind the manoeuvre to decipher the intent.  And then call it out for what it is.  Tacky, nasty, greedy, desperate, vengeful, parasitic, shady, immoral, or just plain wrong.  According to who?  According to you.  And that’s the only voice that matters.

When you are in a position wherein you must question the motive behind someone’s actions, ask yourself, “Is this something I would do?

The answer will guide you forward.

And yes, this is what I wore to the debutante ball I talked about last week.

And now, on a far more lighthearted note, I am SO thrilled to be co-hosting Thursday Fashion Files with Jill at Doused in Pink and Carrie at Curly Crafty Mom.  I’ve long been fans of both ladies, and couldn’t wait to sign up to be a co-host.

 

Welcome to Thursday Fashion Files!

Welcome to Thursday Fashion Files with Jill at Doused in Pink and Carrie at Curly Crafty Mom! We are excited to have you here and would love to have you link up one of your latest outfits with us.

We are always looking for Co-Hosts for Thursday Fashion Files. If you haven’t signed up to Co-Host, but are interested, sign up by clicking HERE.

We now have a Thursday Fashion Files Pinterest board. We will be pinning our top two picks along with our own outfits for that week. Be sure to click HERE to join our new Pinterest board!

Thursday-Fashion-Files-650-graphic_Spring2016Follow Jill:

 

Follow Carrie:

Bloglovin’FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+, Pinterest, SnapChat: @curlycraftymom

Link Up Guidelines:

1. Feel free to grab our button to display on your blog sidebar. Help spread the word and share about our link up community.
 
2. Follow your hosts. Leave a comment letting us know you are a new follower and we will be sure to follow back.
 

3. Share the love by visiting and commenting to at least three other blogs in the link up.


Guest Co-Host:

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Sheela from Sheela Writes is our co-host this week. 

 

Now let’s get linking!

An InLinkz Link-up

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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A Week In My Life 3 & A Link-Up

Peekaboo.

I see you, world.

 

So, after a brief hiatus (ish, my last life post was dated 18th November), I’m back again with a wee peak into the happenings going on in my tiny, not so eventful world.  That said, quite a few things have occurred since my update of 6 weeks ago, friend.

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First of all, remember Elliot?  My massage therapist?

Well, he resigned from the practice a few weeks ago.  Apparently, he had been paying off his ex-wife’s IRS debt (I don’t understand it either), and concluded he simply wasn’t earning enough with his current employer to be able to do that as well as afford a new sports car (huh?).  So he decided to leave and find work with The Joint (a chain of “fast food style” chiropractic outlets).  I don’t know about you but this guy has me shaking my head in bewilderment quite a few times.

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Then on Christmas Eve, we had our traditional family dinner at the nearby McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood and Steaks Restaurant (pictures here).  On a macro level, the food wasn’t too shabby but I think the taste of anything pales when one has to wait a long time for it to arrive, yes?  It was, in essence, an agonising waiting game for food.  I believe two appetisers appeared 40 minutes after our order was placed, the remainder another 15 minutes later. Entres showed up roughly half an hour after the last appetiser was served.  Our glasses were not refilled until about 90 minutes later (and by that I mean with water) which was is unacceptable.  And from a culinary standpoint, the appetisers were very good (perhaps they seemed tastier because, at that point, we were ravenous, and about to gnaw on the table), so too the desserts. The entres themselves, however, failed not impress.  They were bland, nothing spectacular.  Thankfully, the company was good (albeit a smidge cranky when tummies are rumbly).

After which, we headed home and eviscerated days of wrapping in mere minutes.

Why did we even bother to wrap them?

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Christmas morning dawned bright and beautiful (and warm, damnit).  And we found ourselves without food.  I am so serious.  I’d decided to take the weekend off, to not cook, and as such, there were no leftovers.  In addition, I was rather banking on making full use of Door Dash.  Alas, that was not to be since, it would seem, most restaurants decided it was (most erroneously) alright for them to take Christmas off.

Sheesh.

I don’t really remember all the details but I believe we ended up eating cold cuts and loads of Christmas candies (nougats and chocolates my mother-in-law had sent from Italy), and fried spam with steamed Jasmine rice.  I am truly not joking.

VIVA LA CHRISTMAS

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Fast forward to the 30th of December.

To my very first debutante ball.

You see, my second son, Gabriel’s girlfriend is from a very traditional Southern family.  Well, her mother’s side is, which comes with it, the customary coming out party aka debutante ball.  It was a really interesting experience as I’d never been to one before.  And living in Houston, I haven’t had many opportunities to dress up formally.  As in Black Tie Formal.  So I was quite pleased to be able do just that.  I’ll be posting more photos but here’s a sneak of the Monique Lhuillier gown I wore.

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New Year’s Day came, and this time, we were ready, I tell you.  We had a simple home dinner of Filet Mignon with Grilled Lobster Tail as well as Shrimp.  Sides included Grilled Broccollini, Scalloped Potatoes and Risotto.

We neither starved nor had to eat out of cans.

Like we did on Christmas Day.

Yay.

And that’s it.  For now.  But before you go, I have the most exciting thing to share.  I’m co-hosting with my Fab 40 friend, Jennie, in her first ever shared Fabulous Friday Link-Up.  I doubt it’s any secret just how much I adore Jennie, and the way she dresses.  And how her outfits are always the perfect blends of femininity with bohemian and/or preppy, with touches of edge.  I mean, I’ve never tried to hide my admiration for her sartorial choices.  If you’ve never before been, I highly recommend that you mouse over to Jennie’s blog right this moment.  It’s called A Pocketful Of Polka Dots (like how positively charming is that), and trust me when I say you shan’t regret it.

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Meet your host for Fabulous Friday, Jennie of A Pocketful of Polka Dots. Jennie is a 40+ frugal fashionista who enjoys trying new trends, loves All the shoes, believes life is too short for boring hair, and never met a polka dot she didn’t like. You can follow Jennie here ∼

Bloglovin| Facebook| Instagram| Pinterest| Twitter

And, as part of this collaboration with Jennie, I am picking, for the first time ever, my absolute fave look from last week’s Fabulous Friday Link-Up.  I spy you, Oby Grace!!  With that gorgeous poncho in rich, jewel tones.  And that flirty wide-brimmed hat.  And them kickass boots.

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Don’t forget to link up now.

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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Self Love Is Effed Up

I’m not joking.

It can be seriously effed up.

 

Here’s a very important note to remember.  Loving yourself doesn’t guarantee that you will be loved right back.  How’s that for a curveball?

Indeed.  Self love?

IT'S A TRICKY TERRAIN, MY FRIEND

We can shout it out from the mountain tops.  I Love my curves!  I Love my crazy!  I Love my attitude!  I love everything unique and different about me that makes me, me!!  All the while, we’re looking out of the corner of our eye to see if everyone else is loving us for our curves, crazy, and attitude.

It’s as though if I love me, then maybe YOU will love me too, right?

Not necessarily.

And why?

Because humans are really screwed up when it comes to love.  BEAUTIFULLY, irresistibly, and understandably so utterly messed up about it.

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You can attempt to love yourself in spite of not being loved the way you want (note use of the word “spite”, not precisely the most empowering, positive phrase, right, and we’re already off to a bad start).

Or, “You don’t like me? Well, I’ll show you how awesome I am!

That’s somewhat effective.  But only just somewhat, because you still need to dig deep, to get past those rock solid layers of self disdain, before you even come close to the warm centre of true adoration.

What I like to call the Self Love Layer Cake.

It’s in there.

Somewhere.

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Thing is, eventually, you must love yourself just because of yourself.  Your beautiful, luminous, powerful, magnificent, unique self.  And not because you want crave others to love you.

You need to work on loving yourself because, let’s face it, the flipside of things is simply unbearable.  Hating yourself is utter and total hell.  I know.  I’ve practiced that art for a very long time, something I’m certain many reading this now, can empathise.

Extract yourself out of that hell hole, with tenderness and acknowledgment, and acceptance and respect, in full awareness.  And when you find your feet firmly planted on solid ground, throw yourself a good life party.  Every single day.  For the rest of your life.

You know, sometimes, we “act” as though we love ourselves so we don’t have to go through the painful process known as “change“.  Saying, “I love myself just as I am, completely, and no changes are required“.  And that’s often bullshit (albeit on varying levels).  Except, and this is the important bit, our soul so very much wants to change what’s not working.  But we’re afraid (and this is often misdiagnosed as being lazy or arrogant or complacent) to do what it takes to effect change.

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THINK ABOUT IT

Fake self love can turn into a cop-out for really growing.  Evolving.  Becoming.

I’m thinking that we feel if we love ourselves the way we are now, then we’ll become better, more loveable.  Now this is particularly mind-boggling because we’ll go do something tomorrow that’s an act of insecurity or less than awesome (often misconstrued as selfish or stupid or inconsiderate), and we’ll be thinking, “If only I were better at loving myself, I wouldn’t have f***** up so badly“.

The truth is we’re all (mostly) a bit twisted up about love.  Loving ourselves.  Loving each other.  Illusions, attachments, detachments.  Past experiences.  Soul contracts (which aren’t permanently binding, incidentally).  It’s incredibly complex and complicated.  Acknowledge and accept that,  and then move on.

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Imagine this (and I know this would be hard, because our practical side will rebel against it), imagine that YOU ARE LOVE.  Your soul, cells, the very fibre of your being.  It’s the stuff of LOVE.  You are original, you are you, you are LOVE.  Today.  Yesterday.  And all the tomorrows you have.

So, go easy on yourself (that includes you, Sheela).  Really and truly easy.  Celebrate yourself, no matter what.  Even if someone thinks you’re loud or tacky or terrible, too much of this, too little of that.  That’s their prerogative.  And you have the prerogative to disagree.  Make how you move through the world an homage to your beautiful, powerful, magnificent, loved self.

That same self who may very well still f*** up tomorrow but will continue to be made of love.

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SELF LOVE

And now, a super duper cool link-up with someone I’ve long been a fan of.  In this online world we call blogosphere, fakeness and plastic fantastic personalities abound.  So when you come upon a soul who is genuine and authentic and kind and nice, you definitely feel blessed.  That’s how I felt when I got to know Ada (thank you so much for having me).

In the past, I’ve been fortunate to have Ada as part of Project Sister Act, which is a clear indication of just how big a fan I am of her style, her colour choices, of her personality.  Do investigate her blog, if you haven’t yet, I promise you’ll be enchanted by all sartorial options you’ll discover.

Do join us in today’s link-up as we present our individual interpretations of outerwear.

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And remember this.

Self love can be a tough road but it’s one worth travelling.

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Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

 

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I Resolve To

Not make resolutions.

It’s a recipe for immediate disaster.

 

I’m fully aware that this is all psychological.

And that calling a rose by any other name doesn’t make it any less than what it actually is, a rose.  That said, over countless years of drawing up list upon list of resolutions (and failing dismally to fulfill any), this MO seems to work better for me.  This renaming of resolutions as intentions.  Or desires.  Or to dos.  When I peg them as resolutions, my mind instantly conjures up the first day of a new year.  And that’s precisely how long those resolutions are remembered.  24 hours (if I’m lucky).  It’s as though if they’re called resolutions (or goals), they become more like, well, wishes.  And hopes.  Not focused, determined commitments to achieve or acquire (or rid oneself of) things that are of immense value, tangible as well as non tangible.

AM I MAKING ANY SENSE?

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Is it the very same with you? 

Or am I essentially writing a truckload of poppycock?

At times, I wonder, you know.

If anyone’s reading what I write at all.

Or am I regurgitating my thoughts to none but myself.

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Regardless, however you may call them, here are my intentions for the new year (and hopefully beyond).

Wellness

In my peak, two years ago, I was able to go from an hour of boxing or Muay Thai to an hour of intense Zumba and finish off with an hour of crossfit.  I want 2017 to be the year when I can reclaim that fitness level.

Lower my BMI by another 10 to 12%.

Shed those last 20lbs.

Add up to 35% lean muscle mass.

Go back to boxing and Muay Thai.  I’d been doing those for a steady three years before I had knee surgery in October 2014.

Stop seeing an elephant each time I look in the mirror, and celebrate that I’ve lost 55lbs in the last eight months, and acknowledge what a major accomplishment that was.

Recognise (and accept) that (the occasional) indulging in wheat and gluten and dairy and eggs is simply out of the question.  Having a wee bit of a sweet treat now then paying for it with a 9-day course of Prednisone is truly not worth it.

Cease griping about my food intolerances (gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, most greens, many spices and condiments, several fruits, anything containing cow’s milk, nuts), and just deal.  And be thankful that I can still eat meat and seafood and spuds and rice.

Acknowledge that it’s quite alright to make myself a priority at times.

Learn to love myself because I am more than what I think I am.

I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH

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Family

Stop nagging them so much.  Stop nagging, period.  It makes life unpleasant for all.

Don’t just show them I love them.  Tell them I love them, and frequently.

Be a better stepmother to my two sons.  Work harder at being their friend.

Resist the urge to implode into a frenzied panic attack should the kitchen not be sparkling clean and/or dinner isn’t the sumptuous spread I’d envisioned.  Shit happens.  Life (and work) get in the way, and plans change.  It’s not the end of the world.  And it certainly doesn’t make me less of a parent/wife if I use Door Dash once in a while.

Resist also the urge to try and be what I think is the perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect person.  That doesn’t exist.  It isn’t real.  And it isn’t healthy.

Spend as much time with Eve as possible before she goes away to university in the Fall (sob).

Spend as much time with my husband as possible because tomorrow is not promised.

Appreciate him for the amazing man he is (snores, grunts, klutziness et al) who, for some unfathomable reason, loves me for what I am (faults, grumpiness, bitching et al).

Let loose a little.  Chill.  Relax.  It’s all good.

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Work (Blog/Day Job)

Stop being afraid of success.

Enough of the self-sabotage.

Embrace my strengths and use them.

Appreciate the independence my daytime job has given me to pursue my love of writing and the freedom to grow this blog.

Get better at working with others.

Learn to plan better so I don’t always have to fly by the seat of my pants.

Understand that deadlines are meant to be met, not missed.

And stop being my own worse critic.

And that’s it.

For now.

What’s on your list of “must accomplish” this year?

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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