Are we ever ready?

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

Must-Try Face Mask: LUSH

I don’t know what goes inside a LUSH Face Mask (gold? diamonds? pearls?) but it really works for my skin.

Here, just take my money already.

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(Credits)

I have a combination skin, and what it means is essentially that my skin is in puberty. (Existential crisis: am I dry? Or oily? GAH, I can’t decide!)

And besides, LUSH masks are totally natural and they smell wonderful. After applying and rinsing it off, my skin really feels smooth and supple!

What magic is this?!

It’s not the cheapest in the world and it’s only good for 2-3 weeks’ time. I myself had to throw a few because I couldn’t finish it in time, and my heart (and my pocket) was crying. But I guess that means you’re really getting the best quality of the product.

My favorite is the Peppermint Mask and The Sacred Truth.

I’m currently trying out Innisfree Clay Mask, so will post a review once I form an opinion. Meanwhile, stay pretty!

Coping mechanism.

I initially wanted this space to just be all positive and colorful and funny (err, debatable – more like attempt to be funny – you get the gist) and leave the negative thoughts behind.

But then – it won’t really be the fullest expression of me right?

I, too, have those down moments when I question myself, my capabilities, and even my self-worth. And when it happens, sometimes I don’t know what to do.

Well, I would usually write. Letting it out seems to help.

But mostly, I usually think a bit too much – and that’s not good. My mind is super jumbled with different emotions and all I could do to stop myself from worrying too much about it is watch a good tv, or play piano, or just distract myself from being completely still.

How can people’s opinion affect how I feel about myself so much? How can I let it? Why do we live in a world where one could think that one side of a person is equal to that person’s worth?

What about ‘the heck with what people think of you’ and those self-reassuring mantra that I often advise other people and why yet, I can’t seem to apply it myself.

Anyway, I guess we all go through moments like these every once in a while, and what can you do? All you can do is, take the time to dwell and write and do whatever you need to, to recharge and get back into it.

And realize that in the grand scheme of things, what I’m worrying about right now, is so insignificant. So what if people think a certain way? So what if I fail?

What’s the worst that could happen?

I doubt that it’s as bad as our mind makes it up to be. Most times, we are really our own worst enemies.

Why are we always the toughest on ourselves, when we should be our own biggest cheerleader? Enough people around you are already doing the job without you having to make it worse.

So what I’m gonna do now, is listen to more sad music, watch a new series, probably let myself feel down for a while more, and pick myself up and get back to whatever life has in store for me.

And if all else fails… well, there’s always a farm of sheep in New Zealand.

Manchester Bound 2012

Now this will be a recount of experience of our trip to Manchester circa 2012.

I thought this will be a fun way to share some of my travel logs, sorry it’s a bit jumbled. That’s just how I am. Jumbled. A lot going on up here. (points to brain)

I promise I will get into the ‘frat house party by a police car’ story soon! *laughs*

Anyway, back to Manchester. This was the first time Dearie and I stepped foot to UK and we were beyond excited! Being a Manchester United’s biggest fan, it has been his lifelong dream to watch his favorite team in the one and only Theatre of Dreams, and I was more than happy to oblige!

He has bought us tickets to the United – Arsenal match and it cost us both our arms and legs (ah! We’re limping! Get me a cane – Dr. House’s style!)

However, I have to say that our accommodation history throughout our stay in the UK has been really pleasant. The hotel we stayed at in Manchester was Travelodge, and it was much bigger than Stanley House Hotel in London. But even in London we were pretty happy with our place since we didn’t spend much time inside the room anyway, and they provided decent daily breakfast. The most important thing to us was the location – it had to be convenient and near to the metro station.

Anyway, back to Manchester again! (duh, the short attention-span-me.)

So, we made our way to Manchester by train from London. The train ride itself was uneventful but really nice (uneventful in this way means we didn’t get robbed, or took the wrong train, so yeah, uneventful is a good adjective here). Our seats were pre-allocated so it was relatively easy finding out way.

Fast forward to a few hours later…

Hello Manchester! You’so pretty!

We arrived in the late afternoon so the sun was shining brightly and the wind was blowing and I was freezing and my luggage was heavy.. Oops, okay, I’m not painting a very good picture here, am I?

Seriously though! We managed to drag our luggage and we initially decided to take a bus to the city near our hotel since we saw there was a free shuttle from the train station. We hopped in, but I wasn’t very certain because I couldn’t see the stop name where our hotel was at in the bus route. Luckily we asked the driver and turned out the bus didn’t go to the place that we wanted to go! So we quickly hopped out and after deliberation, decided to just opt for train!

The train there was nice because it wasn’t underground and we could admire the view along the way! The ride wasn’t long, in no time we arrived in our stop! It was a beautiful place near the river and our hotel was perched nicely in the side of the bridge that connected this side of the road with the one where Old Trafford was.

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After checking in at our hotel, it was probably around 4 or 5pm, and Dearie couldn’t wait to go to the stadium! The match happened the next day, so we still had that evening to go check out the place first before the big mayhem the following day. What was memorable about it too was the weather!

The moment we stepped out of the hotel, it was hailing! Real ice falling down from the sky!

What a welcome, Manchester.

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The walk to Old Trafford itself probably took 15-20 minutes. And there we were, at the Sir Matt Busby Way! Throughout our 3-days stay in Manchester, we probably went to Old Trafford like 5 times. Well, that’s the main purpose we were there! Anyway, that evening we just walked around the stadium, took obligatory pictures and checked out the United store. This was when Dearie bought the thick black jacket that would survive him throughout the rest of the journey.

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The next day passed by like a blur! We woke up early and quick to dress in our Manchester United’s attire – Dearie in his red jersey, topped with Cantona scarf that he bought the day before, and moi in the blue one. The atmosphere was so lively on our way to the stadium as we saw fellow fans going there as well. The surroundings of the stadium now resembled a flea market, with booths and people selling match scarves, shirts and all sorts of memorabilia!

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Oh! Another awesome experience I must share here is the pre-match lunch in the Red Café! People who bought the VIP package were entitled this lunch before the match and it was amazing! We sat with 6 other people in the table, two from Ireland, two from Malaysia, the other two from the States and then there were us. What’s fun was during the meal itself, they actually distributed a quiz that we could fill in as a table, and the table with the best score would win some prize! The questions in the quiz itself mostly circled around sports, although I remember there was one question of:

“What is the name of Jamie’s Cullum’s wife?” to which we answered, “Mrs. Cullum.”

Well, that certainly isn’t wrong!

Next, the match! All I remembered was walking and trying to find our seats, and all I could see was people, people and more people! We had really good seats at Sir Alex Ferguson stand and wow, the view from up there was simply sensational! I think these pictures can describe better than any words. I could see Rooney, Van Persie, Ferdinand and all those players I usually could only watch from the television screen at home.

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The game was fantastic and we won! The energy was contagious, people were cheering and shouting and singing along, and it seemed like everyone was in pure sync. We were like droids army, systematically standing in line and following orders. (Weird metaphor, but you get the drift, don’t you? Don’t you? Don’t YOU?)

The match ended with a 2-1 victory! Woo-hoo! I nearly had to drag Dearie outta there, cos he was kept asking me for pictures with his Cantona scarf. Going out after the match was a pandemonium again! We made a stop at the store again to buy even more stuffs and we both bought the table-cloth jerseys and other souvenirs like coasters, mugs, and figures.

The next time we were at Old Trafford again was the following day when we went for the stadium tour and museum tour, checking out the football field up close and personal, hanging out in the players’ dressing room (no biggie..) and getting too much info on the club and its history that I cared to know. Haha, kidding! It was really fun!

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One evening in Manchester, we went out to the city and had quite fancy Italian dinner with a friend of mine who was living there. I think otherwise we wouldn’t have figured out a way to go to the city beyond our hotel and Old Trafford so it was pretty special. Oh! Near to our hotel, there was this shopping center that has Nike’s factory outlet and I’m sure Dearie loved it because he bought tons of cheap football jerseys for his friends back home!

Thank you Manchester for the awesome experience!

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Road Trip Series: Getting lost in LA circa 2009.

It was right on Christmas Day. We were excited to go to Disneyland, and we were paranoid since we’ve been hearing (although I had no idea from whom) that one wouldn’t have enough time in a day to explore the whole Disneyland, so being typical tourists, we already went out at 9 from the hotel, hoping we might get there way before noon.

I had everything planned, I had maps and bus guides, I knew which stops we must alight to transfer to another bus to get there. It didn’t take long for the universe to mess it up. Soon enough, we found ourselves lost, in the middle of nowhere, right in the side of the street with no inkling clue of what to do. There was a bus stop, but what LA people called ‘bus stop’ was nothing more than a stick showing the bus number, and a rusty looking chair without shelter.

My watch said it was already 11 am, jeeze louise. Three of us were sitting in this unknown bus stop, shivering in cold, feeling completely defeated and desperate as the seconds went by.

“Let’s just hitch-hike,” we suggested.

Well, hitch-hiking is supposed to be common in the US, right? I see that on the movie like, all the time.

Yeah, there are also numbers of cases in which people were murdered because of it!

Hello? See previous paragraph, we were desperate. Our desire for Disneyland way surpassed our common sense.

Bonnie stood up, straightened up her skirt and strolled with her 5-cm heels down to the side of the street, giving the thumb.

Farah and I were laughing, half in amusement, half in disbelief. Our first attempt at hitch-hiking! It was too exciting, documentary needed! Unfortunately, we were too busy turning into ice-cubes to remember the camera.

On the corner of our eye, we saw a police car on the traffic jam on the right. We started galloping and Bonnie was provoked. At this point, she was jumping up and down, waving her hand in the air, signalling to the police that there might have been a robbery or something extremely important.

The policeman, alerted, turned on the siren! The car accelerated, then made a fast steer towards our direction, completely ignoring the red traffic jam!

It turned so fast, the kind of action you would normally see in The Fast and The Furious! As it turned, the tire made a loud noise, and once it reached us, he pressed the brake so hard it stopped with another loud halting sound.

The officer quickly got down from the car, looked at Bonnie with a serious look on his face, ready for the worst news she might throw at him, possibly including abduction or slavery.

Still in her five-cm heels, Bonnie approached the officer, her Miu Miu bag dangling on her arm, her freshly manicured fingernails were clasped together.

“Officer….We’re lost…We wanna go to Disneyland……”

Time seemed to stop. The officer was stoned for a few seconds, unable to believe his ear. He then looked sideways as if looking for a candid crews, or probably Ashton Kutcher. He looked at Bonnie again, and then at us, and he blinked a few times.

By this point, I was laughing so hard I was close to tears.

The kind officer finally regained his composure. He stopped a shuttle bus, told the driver to take and drop us at the LAX airport, and we were to take another shuttle from there to Disneyland. In the end, the heroic policeman saved our life. Eh, at least, saved our day.

But this same heroic officer probably went back to the station and warned his fellow friends about some certain three Asian girls harassing police officers on a Christmas day.