Kamis, 30 April 2009

0 How To Be Frugal Without Being Miserable

With the recession biting deep, most of us are taking a long hard look at our spending. We’re staying in, buying fewer luxuries, and avoiding “treating ourselves” to things that, a couple of years ago, we wouldn’t have thought twice about.

Many people believe that being frugal equates to being miserable. But cutting down your spending doesn’t need to be painful. It’s simply a case of figuring out where you can make changes that don’t impact (much) on the fun that you’re having.

Here are four steps to being frugal without being miserable:

Figure Out What Matters To You...
Some things might be an expense you could cut, but if they’re giving you a lot of enjoyment, don’t be too quick to cut them out completely.

For example, if you really enjoy a few drinks after work on a Friday night, don’t force yourself to stick to soda all evening. If you end up feeling resentful about saving money, you’re more likely to blow it on an unnecessary purchase.

Or if your buy a couple of magazines every week, and enjoy the “me time” spent reading them cover to cover, decide whether you really want to give up that pleasure for a few dollars extra in your pocket.

Note this is what matters to you ... not what your partner, parents or colleagues think is worth your money. If you couldn’t care less about an expensive haircut, don’t get one just because everyone else at work does.

...And What Doesn’t Matter

Once you’ve figured out where your spending really does improve your quality of life, figure out where it doesn’t. Maybe you always buy brand-name groceries out of habit ... can you actually tell the difference if you switch to generic ones? (You could save about a third of your grocery bill each week.)

If you always grab a coffee and muffin on the way to work, is it really a treat or just a habit? Try eating breakfast at home instead, and making the coffee-and-muffin trip a once-a-week event. You might be surprised to find that you get a lot more enjoyment out of it.

About two mornings a month, I take my laptop to a local coffee shop that I adore, pick up a tasty morning treat and a cup of coffee, and sit here in this pleasant environment writing for a few hours. I enjoy it. It feels like a real perk to me and I leave feeling as though my time and money were well spent.

Several years ago, I made a daily stop at a coffee shop for breakfast. I’d sit in there each and every morning, drop $7 on a breakfast sandwich, a cup of coffee, and a paper, and read it without much real joy. It was my routine. It wasn’t joyful - it was just the way I started my day.

Trent, “Splurges, Habits and Projection”, on The Simple Dollar

Find Money-Free Ways to Have Fun
Socializing doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Instead of going out for a meal or to a club with friends, why not have them round for an evening in? If you ask everyone to bring snacks and drinks, it won’t cost you anything.

Instead of taking the kids to an expensive theme park at the weekend, why not grab a ball or a kite and head to the local park? Younger children in particular are often thrilled with very simple activities. Don’t buy into the commercial hype that suggests you need to spend a lot in order to bring up your kids well: your time, attention and love is much more valuable to them than your money.

Don’t Let Frugality Become An Obsession

A bit like people who get obsessed with life-hackery, some people can become obsessed with being frugal. Be careful that you don’t end up going to a huge amount of inconvenience and spending a lot of time just to save a couple of dollars. Sometimes, you may need to settle for the not-so-great deal at your local store, rather than heading miles to somewhere that has better offers on.

A good way to assess whether an action is “worth it” to you is to work out how long it takes and what your effective hourly rate of savings would be. For example, if it takes you two hours to go through all the coupons, vouchers and other offers that you’ve found – and you end up saving a grand total of $10 – that’s $5/hour. At that rate, you’d be better off ditching the coupons and vouchers, and taking up a McJob instead!

Are you trying to be more frugal? Do you feel that it’s making your life better, or worse? What tips do you have for being frugal without being miserable?

Written on 4/30/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali is a professional writer and blogger, and a part-time postgraduate student of creative writing. If you need a hand with any sort of written project, drop her a line (ali) or check out her website at Aliventures.Photo Credit: beltzner

Selasa, 28 April 2009

0 BE A SUPERSTAR!

Advertorial




What's this?!




It's a close-up of a Chipster potato chip!



Not any Chipster potato chip...




It's the new Chipster flavour - TOMATO TORNADO!

AND... It's only one of the TWO new Chipster flavours!

The other one is Flaming BBQ, which I completely didn't manage to buy despite going to two different places to look for it. It's like sold out everywhere!


Anyway, I love new products!!



BECAUSE WITH NEW PRODUCTS
ARE ALWAYS CONTESTS!!!



Just open your new packet of Chipster and you will find a little red card inside that allows you to join the all new CHIPSTER SUPERSTAR contest!!


I'm excited about this contest because it actually gives you a chance to go on TV with a movie you create!!

The "movie" is actually already created by Chipster lah... All you have to do is to paste faces in and come up with some witty lines!!!

The movie I chose is called "James Blog" and it's like a spoof of James Bond.


So now it's time for me to cast my handsome lead... AND I CHOSE............


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PUMPKIN!!


Mad funny can!??!?! So ridiculous and fluffy!! And the body is like wearing a men's suit and holding a gun!!

My movie clip is supposed to be called "Pie. Pumpkin Pie."

YOU KNOW, like BOND, JAMES BOND!! Because Pumpkin Pie is Pumpkin's full name!! WAHAHAHA!


And as for the damsel in distress...





ME!!!!!!!!!!

And I put Godzilla as the nemesis!!

You can watch my creation here:







I AM GOING TO WIN BECAUSE
MY ENTRY IS MAD CUTE!!!


Think you can do better than me?! Then go buy a packet of Chipster and join the contest too!! The prizes are.........


Grand prize: MACBOOK AIR


1st prize: 2 X IPOD TOUCH


Consolation Prize: 8 X IPOD NANO!



Can't say I am a big fan of the Apple products but if I won the Macbook Air I might change my mind!!

Anyway just go join!!









p/s: Wanted to put Plastizilla's face as the enemy but decided on Godzilla instead - look more pleasant.

Senin, 27 April 2009

0 The Parallax View

If you happen to be in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend, I will be speaking at Parallax, the Australian National Architecture Conference.

My subject will be architectural media, broadly speaking, in a dual session co-hosted with Aaron Betsky:
    The role of the media in disseminating architectural theory and practice has been debated as long as media has engaged with architectural practice and production. These debates – pitting access to information against authenticity of mediated versus real experience – have become even more complex in the contemporary environment where magazines are joined by blogs, YouTube, Facebook and web alerts.
    We are interested in the veracity of these various forms of media and in the types of architectural activity and architects they promote. Will architectural tendencies change as modes of media evolve? How are the two related?
In addition to myself and Betsky, the conference also features Tatiana Bilbao, Sou Fujimoto, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Veronika Valk, Winka Dubbeldam, Bijoy Jain from Studio Mumbai, Edwin Chan, Peter Wilson, and, last but not least, Slavoj Žižek.
This is in addition to a number of other speakers who will be leading workshops throughout the conference. For instance, I'm also scheduled for a workshop – again, on "Architectural publishing: The future" – with Winka Dubbeldam and Andrew MacKenzie, editor-in-chief of Architectural Review Australia.
Finally, I'll also get to meet, after nearly five years of emails, the legendary Mr. Marcus Trimble from Super Colossal. This will be at a live design critique hosted in a Melbourne pub Friday night; other judges include Slavoj Žižek, Aaron Betsky, Edwin Chan, Bijoy Jain (Studio Mumbai), Veronika Valk, and Peter Wilson, and it will all be moderated by Leon van Schaik.
While I'm at it, let me add that I'm also excited to meet architect Andrew Maynard, as well as Simon Sellars from Ballardian.
So while my time in Melbourne will be short, unfortunately – and hopefully swine flu-free – if you happen to be around this week, it'd be nice to meet.
Regular posts will resume shortly...

Minggu, 26 April 2009

0 A day before my quarter-life crisis!!

I am doomed lor I am starting to blog this picture post at 7am (haven't slept) and there are 156 pictures!

I'm gonna try not to put too many words in.




Eh.....................


















As promised, red and yellow pic. Horribly sunburnt.




My arm's skin actually crackling before it could be peeled off.



Almost recovered from my third-degree burns.

Can still see my arm peeling!



********************************





KK and her bf wanted a puppy so she took me to the Seletar puppy mill... The living conditions for both humans (humans there sleep in same room as dogs on thin mattresses - can you say stinky?!) and dogs there is really horrible! It's like not a part of Singapore man!

The stud is from the mill and it's mad dirty-looking lah. The old man works there and he isn't too clean either.

But overall, I'd say the mill is not as bad as people often describe lah. You can drive there and see if you want! Seletar farmway.

Anyway... The photo is of two malteses fucking, obviously. The bottom is someone's pet. As you can see it's much better groomed.

I'm becoming one of those annoying animal lover people because I'm quite irritated that the owner would want his dog to give birth.

Doesn't he know that birth could have serious consequences and could possibly even KILL his dog? Why would anyone who love their pets knowingly make their pets die younger?!

But well... His dog.


****************************


Jon and KK's new puppy!!




It doesn't like you



2 months old only and it's yorkie/shih tzu mix!!

It's mad floppy and it's super weird coz it's apricot in colour...

Something both parents are not.

And that's why it's called Peaches!!!



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Last batch of Ixus shots




The irony. My old Canon Ixus taking a photo of my new Lumix.

And doing a shit job of it too.

Well goodbye! I'm never gonna have problems with macro shots again.

It's like poetic justice that the last batch of photos the Ixus takes will be that of the great Lumix.



Without flash - dark plus blur.



Before blinging, I apply white nail polish to the black leather strip to make the background colour even.




In between the big gems are tiny pink pearl gems.

=)



Base done













It's not completely done yet!!!

Side rims are gonna get blinged too!


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New camera's photos!!!




Test shot - PK as excited as I am



Pin-hole mode



No photoshop: Shot by Lumix



No photoshop: Shot by Ixus. Bleah.



More test shots in Pin-hole mode







Naughty Pk... Loves to bite my hair clips!

She loves breaking the claws. -_-













Somebody needs a hair-cut. Looks mad awful.


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Supper with Kaykay and Michelle!!




Michelle smiling for the cam



Kaykay wanting to buy a new dustbin in Mustafa.

I was bored so I took pics.






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Lazy day tanning with Sheng Rong




View from balcony



Bringing Pumpkin downstairs with us to the pool.





Blowing bubbles and seeing Pumpkin chase them!



Good sun and good fun!


Dinner afterwards!!





Wongsie, my favourite lawyer



Lewis doesn't like my spanking new cam



Yums steak with a tub of sauce that Eekean said is soy sauce mixed with wine. Nonetheless, it's great! Nicer than brown sauce anyway.


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Peaches and Pumpkin
go to the Vet







Peaches always has this "I am so poor thing" look!





Pumps looking jealous





The mysterious headless humans are KK and Jon btw.








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Thai Express with Mich and KK














**********************




Random: My chio gel nails


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Blinged hairclip for PK!!













Pretty isn't it?!

I can't stand her ear's hairs being long though.

Look like imitation papillion.


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Random: Kitchen window


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My ear wax from ear candling!! HAHAHA!


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Pumpkin after Grooming!!







MUCH cuter!!




Random: KK and Shuyin in a spectacle shop
waiting for KK to get her eyesight tested.



(OK I couldn't take it and fell asleep at this point so I'm continuing this blog entry at 7.19pm, 27th April)


Mich's Mom's Shop's Opening!

They opened a dance clothing shop at Far East Plaza



Mich posing again!!



Us girls









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Had dinner with Shuyin and her relatives.

That's her little sister taking a pic of our food.

These pro photographers are always like taking photos of other photographers wielding SLRs lah!! Now I'm like a pro photographer too MUAHAHAHA!



Shuyin in ridiculous feather headband


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Random: Baby getting hair cut


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BFF'S Birthday!!





My crumply dress for the day



Make up done!



Alvin and Zheng Chang



Seafood risotto



Hamburger steak + bacon



Boys





Girls



Everybody!!

(In case you noticed, this is indeed the same place as the one I went to with Eekean a few days ago. Some economic Italian restaurant at Liang Court. It's Shuyin who wanted to eat there!!)

Proceed upstairs to KTV!!





Swanky and new!



Alyssa joins us



Horrible





I LOVE THIS PHOTO MY LEGS LOOK MAD SKINNY!!







Door says 19!
Which is her birthday's date.
So we had to make a big fuss out of this.



Juicy slippers



Bdae cake



Aly diligently lighting it


And we surprise Shuyin with it when she comes back from the toilet!! (She went for mad long... All the candles melted and we believe she must have lao-sai-ed. OK lah to be fair the toilet is damn far away. But still!)









Group pic!






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Random: Mike


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More Pumpkin pics






Weeeeeeeee! I'm flying!!



One of my favourite pictures of her...

So niapish... And best of all can see Nanolove in the background!!







Naughty girl keeps licking me when she's on my lap.

These are before her hair cut:










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Dinner with RV friends at Crystal Jade/
Huifen's bdae celebration



Mad can I got a lot of friends whose birthdays are in April!!



(From left) Xiaofeng, Ripple, Jason, Huifen

(on table) My new MAC lipstick




Wishing for world peace





I love this!

Spinach cooked with

salted eggs,

century eggs and

normal eggs!









Lao niang was delegated to cut the cake because Huifen said that superstition dictates whoever's birthday is next must cut the cake for luck.







Sheng Rong: Defier of the saying that no humans can lick their elbows.



I can too!



Almost, I swear!!



Eekean failing miserably.
Her tongue was like 1 inch away from the target.


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Dinner with KK and
Rykiel at Far East




Graffiti cafe allows graffti

And a picture of said "Chanel" bag in a bit





Rykiel and I






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Ming's Bdae





In car



New Juicy dog bag bought from Ebay!

And guess who's inside?





Estee with Pumpkin!

PK was an instant hit with all the girls there man. Now everyone wants a yorkie and they all think that all yorkies are this size and won't bark. Hahahaha!




Bdae boy with his family in front of swimming pool.

I hate people with their own pools!! I want one too!


Ming and Estee





For his birthday Ming's parents gave him a little model of a VW Golf GTI.

He looked quizzically at them until he saw the papers inside. That's just a tiny model of the real thing he is getting!!

Sigh... Why isn't anyone giving me the Copen I want??



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I bought a mad chio
Chanel-inspired bag!!




I don't even like Chanel's designs very much but this one is like purplish-pink and super shiny!!!







I love how it has so many compartments and matches my nails :D

(It is INSPIRED and not FAKE - there are no Chanel logos on the bag)


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My birthday started yesterday!!

(26th that is, 2 days before my actual birthday)


I woke up with this on the bed:



Awwwwwwwwwww!

A Bangawan Solo birthday cake may not seem very romantic to most but it feels extra special to me because the brand feels so Singaporean and it reminds me of how Mike gave up his life in USA to come live here with me.

That day I asked him if he knew what Prima Deli is and he said no, so I told him they make pies and pastries. Then he replied, "Oh, is it like Polar?"

Very cute right!!

Then dinner at our favourite restaurant:











I'm gonna be really annoying and not tell you where it is because I am terrified that the place would be flooded with customers and the standard will then drop. If you already know good for you!!



Parma ham covering sweet melon and salad







Baked Eggplant



Mike's chicken tomato-cream pasta



My crabmeat linguine. OMG I love this dish so much!

Everytime I order it, I do this:
















Extract the chunks of crab meat to the side
and very very slowly savour them.



They are mad generous with the crab!!


And then back home....




My baby sings the Happy Birthday song to me way too early





Doggie is happy to get some cake



And so am I!


Tomorrow is my birthday so

wish me happy birthday ya all!!!



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