Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Running away (Psalm 55)

I did not realised that Psalm 55 reflects my feelings when I feel like running away. (Escapism!)
I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest-
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert; (Psalm 55:6-7)
When I've grumbled and exclaimed that I wish I can just throw down everything, pack and leave. In fact, I've always have this image in my mind to calm myself: imagining I'm finally a butterfly emerging for the cocoon... to fly away free from the confines of the "cocoon" of life.

Psalm 55 actually speaks of the betrayal King David experienced from his counsel/close companion Ahithophel. He speaks of how he can endure enemies but the bitterness felt from the betrayal of a close, trusted friend is heart breaking.

If an enemy were insulting me, 
I could endure it;
if a foe were raising himself against me, 
I could hide from him. (Psalm 55:12) 

However, what caught my attention was this verse:
His speech is smooth as butter, 
yet war is in his heart; 
words are more soothing than oil, 
yet they are drawn swords (Psalm 55:21)

Imagine that - betrayal is clearly illustrated in verse 21. How precise is the description!

In life, when everything comes tumbling down, we feel pressed down, remember even King David shout out to God for respite. He may have fought battles with enemies but he got betrayed too and felt hurt.

How does this apply to me?
Many times we turned to our fellow friends for solace and comfort. Then we get easily hurt and we forgot they themselves are human (tendency to sin). We should seek God in times of need and in good times too, by glorifying His name.

How does this encourage me?
I feel assured that whatever happens to me in life - it's normal. Kings, paupers, peers and basically people will experience ups and downs, one way or another. Whatever obstacles life presents itself, I must always remember there is a way out of it. God makes a way which we only need to take and then life would not seem so stifling that I would always wish to fly away.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shopping Temptation: Loving Minerals' Birthday Promo

Despite my earlier post about sales... I'm tempted to commit Error no. 1.
I suddenly feel like getting more makeup brushes.

Loving Minerals is celebrating their 2nd year anniversary with some promotion for their products.
I've bought some items online before: angled kabuki brush (loving it as a traveling blush brush and contouring brush) and Loving sample kit at RM30. (I've finished the blusher sample and love the miniature containers which is good for traveling). I did not get the baby kabuki then.

My weakness was make up brushes which I've stopped buying for sometime. Mind you, I'm still using the blush brush, powder brush, eyebrow brush and occasionally the eyeliner brush.

Handy Kabuki
Hence, the promotion for Handy Kabuki at RM30 (previously RM39) is tempting me... Should I?? I really love their brushes... soft.. small.. handy! ;) So far - the previous brush I bought has not shed that much hair and is still nice to use!

Baby Kabuki
2nd item would be the baby kabuki at RM18 (previously RM25). I've bought a Maybelline minerals set before which comes with a baby kabuki but the bristle was too loose and it shed a little. Since then, I've managed to give it away and I haven't really tried minerals foundation anymore. Should I get this little cutie to finish up the remaining minerals foundation sample I have? Arghhh..

In fact, as an after thought, I remember buying a kabuki brush from ELF but misplaced it during moving places. Sniff.. Oh well.. 

Or... should I let the promotion lapse and forget about this urge? Hmmmm.... wonder what will the outcome be? Lol...  Somebody tie my little fingers from clicking "add to cart"? Lol

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Money Mistakes?

Saw this headline in yahoo articles "Five money mistakes we all make" (By Neil Faulkner of lovemoney.com)
At first, it looked a little dull to read but this is a summary of what I understood from the article which I think is worth highlighting here and may have been paraphrased by me except those in italics.

ERROR ONE : Unnecessary buying

Psychological pricing to encourage us to buy:
1. Mark prices down from nice round figures like £10 to £9.99
2. Discounts and three-for-two offers

This will encourage people to buy because they think it's a good deal and a bargain.

(My take: Guilty as charge! If I see the original price before the discounted price, sometimes I succumbed to the discounted bargains I think I got instead of off-sale items ... many post on this can be found in my blog!)

ERROR TWO : Influenced by a person's review

Availability heuristic causes us to make terrible decision.

The example cited is as follows:
For example, when you hear or read about one bad experience someone has with a company, and from that you leap to the conclusion that it is more untrustworthy than its competitors, or that all its products are rubbish. Conversely, you may read about one good experience and presume that the company is all nice and fluffy.

It's why, despite the occasional appeal from readers, I single out one financial company as 'bad' only with caution, because to do so could easily be misleading; they're all, pretty much, as foul and incompetent as each other.

In other words, someone gave a bad review of a company, it does not mean  all the products by the company is bad.

(My take: I am also influenced by reviews of others. In fact, take the example of dining out, I would try my best to get a few food reviews to get an average opinion. Sometimes it works, sometimes food just sucks.. and you waste your money)

ERROR THREE: Overreacting

Overreacting / 'It's all about the principle' effect: After having one bad experience with a company, sometimes people refuse to deal with them again based on an emotional reaction, which they justify in their heads as 'the principle'.

However, it's usually just the mistake of one employee, whom you'll never have contact with again. Or, you found out the company ripped you off with poor terms and conditions, so you refuse to take out a different, market-leading product from them, even though you know the conditions are better. This is to the detriment of your finances.

(My take: GUILTY as charge! I usually do this error in terms of principle. I've encountered a sleezy property loan officer which give me horrible service and had the nerve to even falsify signature to fulfill their quota of loans... gosh.. that I forgo the loan packages offered by the specific bank. I've also encountered horrible rude waiters which made me ban the whole chain of that particular food outlet altogether.)

ERROR FOUR: Self-consoling after a purchase

Post-purchase rationalisation: It's common for people to make an emotional purchase and then to try to rationalise and justify it afterwards. 

(My take: Guilty here! This usually happens when I decide to splurge and shop for clothes that I think look nice on me in the dressing room and then look so-so back home)

ERROR FIVE: Lazy to decide

Sticking to default choices: Research has found that people disproportionately stick with any default choices when making decisions, for example, in retirement planning. When given the choice to select low, medium or high-risk fund, people tend to follow the advice of the agent. Studies have shown only 40% switch to the medium-risk fund when suggested to use high-risk fund. This might be caused by the status quo bias, where people perceive a greater risk if they make changes. Of course, you could also call this laziness.

(My take: I rather say laziness to decide or indecisiveness is the main reason for this error. Why? Well, personally, when I can't decide, I would also take the average approach or the default approach. )

Hence, being guilty to most of the errors above, I need to learn to change for the better!! Especially to my pocket! ;)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Birthdays are meant to be special...

Piggilot goes to Port Dickson...

Waking up to the fact that I'm about to reach another decade/chapter in my life, recently, I've decided to celebrate it by going away from the rat race lifestyle. Taking a baby step, I took the path to visit Port Dickson for a getaway of 3 days 2 nights.

*caution: Author decided to take many goofy pictures. Please contain laughter and ignore silly poses.. Lol And this post is more descriptive and elaborate than usual*

Seremban Beef Noodles

Hearing negative remarks about nothing much to eat in PD, we decided to drop by Seremban for some beef noodles. No... I didn't dine at the famous one in the market; instead we dropped by the one nearest to the Seremban Highway. It's a corner shop called "Quinn". Check out this blog for more pictures.

Piggilot eats beef noodles

Quinn Seremban Beef Noodle
108, Jalan Toman 6,

Kemayan Square,
70200 Seremban.

Food was average and not memorable. (you can see how I simply took a picture of the dish... haha) Instead, I really missed the Tangkak beef noodles I used to eat on the way back from hometown. What's the difference?

This Seremban beef noodles taste better in dry style with its dark sauce. What's disappointing is very little ingredients despite paying RM6/bowl! The noodles didn't taste all that wonderful with the sauce.

What I missed about Tangkak beef noodles? Ooohhh the beefy clear soup and the internal cow organs!! Lol. They will serve a nice portion of beef, stomach, tendons, mmm... Pardon me for being so "chinese" for having a penchant for guts. Currently, I'm salivating at this picture below!! Yummy!

Picture borrowed from http://choopaulo.blogspot.com/2006/11/tangkak-beef-noodles.html as I have not been there in years!
Armed with a list of places to visit, we dropped by the tourist spots to check out the historical significance of these places.

Kota Lukut

There was a museum at the foot of the hill and the fortress (Kota Lukut) was a drive-up in a winding small off-beat road. In fact, we didn't realised there were steps up to the fort from the museum, that we drove all the way up to the fort before we went to the museum. I was a little worried we will end up to no where.

Piggilot tries to climb Kota Lukut

Some pessimistic people might say, "Hah? Kota Lukut is just a pile of rocks. What is there to see?".

However, I beg to differ ... look at the lovely red rocks they used to build the fortress. Look at the workmanship and most importantly, imagined how it functioned as a sturdy strong fort against the attack of enemies. There's a 2-3 metres deep moat around the fortress. There's even a well at another corner; not sure if it's the poisoned well as mentioned in the description at the signboard.

Piggilot loves red rocks

There's the Lukut Museum which is open to public and free admission. It's a 2-storey building made of concrete and bricks at the lower floor with wooden structures on 1st floor. You can see local traditional attire, music instruments and some historical events of the town. (Off-hand I can only remember these items)

Piggilot visits Lukut Museum

Avillian Admiral Cove, Port Dickson
What's a holiday without nice accomodation? We chose this place because it was within our budget and had quite reasonable comments from Tripadvisor.

In fact, the sad thing I personally feel about hotels in Malaysia is the bad upkeep despite exorbitant prices. We can get nicer hotels for half the prices in Bangkok (after conversion). In fact, I'm not that particular about the cost - if the hotels were decent, clean, tastefully decorated with good service from the staff, I wouldn't mind paying more. Somehow, you can't find a nice affordable boutique hotel to runaway from urban life once a while.

Avillion Admiral Cove PD's rooms were about half the price of their sister-hotel Avillion. I suspect because of this, they provided very basic facilities. The lobby itself was small, cozy and not overbearingly grand like most lobby. It overlooks into the cove beside. Staff were quite efficient although they kept asking for print-outs of our booking particulars when we checked in. We've booked online and paid with our credit cards... Why do we still need print-outs when we have showed the credit card? Hmmm...

Recognise the hotel by the colour of the buildings. Looks and feels more like a serviced apartment.

Our deluxe room in the vista wing (the newer wing) was decorated in a modern style with a black dark feature wall at the back of the bed. At the corner was a feature pendant lighting above a table and chair for business men to do some paper work or have some light meals. Next to the window, was a daybed which was bigger than a twin sized bed. It's enough for another adult. However, it might be hard to sleep there as the access door to the air-con ledge is just next to the daybed. There is no insulation to buffer out the noise of the air-con's compressor.

Other items found in the room was the LCD tv with limited Astro channels, a pantry in the bedroom with a sink and mini bar, a wardrobe with ironing board and iron too. Oh yes, there is even internet connection in the room through cabling and not wi-fi.

spacious bedroom with nice little touches

small pantry style incorporated in the room

The bathroom looks spacious as there is only shower and no bathtub. I noticed most modern designs are heading to this direction. The circular shaped iron-wrought towel railing is different from the traditional stainless steel circular hollow rods.

don't know why the picture autorotates itself.

The toiletries provided were very minimal and feels quite dismal; small soap, a small bottle of conditioning shampoo, shower cap and cotton buds.

More pictures of the hotel can be found in this review.

We strolled along the beach before dinner. Oh yeah, technically, Avillion Admiral Cove do not have a beach but they share a small portion of the beach next to the hotel. You can see in this picture that they placed potted plants to demarcate the boundary for the beach.

Birthday dinner
After googling for places to eat in PD, the name "El-cactus Mexican Restaurant" popped up and we decided to check it out since we passed by it on the way to our hotel. The restaurant is just along the road and has a large signboard which you cannot miss. Beetrice reviewed here about the food there.

piggilot dines in the sunset

I had a lovely large portion of lamb shank and a strawberry frozen margarita. Not all the drinks on the menu was available. The price is equalavent to Chilli's but the meal was of a larger portion. I just love the smooth meat of the lamb with its gravy. I know - I'm not good at describing food in detail. Lol. But I enjoyed my meal immensely. :)

Caution: If it just rained, try to avoid sitting next to the shrubs. The mosquito had a nice feast sucking my blood too. Lol.

Birthday cake
Call me traditional but I think all birthdays should be celebrated by blowing a candle and making a wish. Since the hotel was very basic, we couldn't get any cake from the hotel. (Don't get me started on the very basic minimal choices of the breakfast spread the next day. But it's edible - just very minimal choices)

Anyway, we went round PD town looking for a cakeshop with a decent piece of cake to fullfill my birthday requirement. ;)

After driving for almost half and hour, we spotted a corner shop which sold cakes and western-cum-asian dining. Guess how much does a piece of cake cost me? RM7/slice! Gosh.. the prices sure have gone up.

piggilot is satisfied that she finally found her slice of birthday cake

I'm glad despite everything... I had a nice birthday. Thank you Lord for allowing such an opportunity to arise.  :)  Will continue to blog more about the rest of my visit and food reviews! :)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Fainting Spells

When I read the historical novels, you tend to find it hard to believe women of those days can easily faint and need to be awaken with smelling salts. This kind of portrayal always made me feel that "women" were perceived as weak.

However, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I had experienced it myself twice this year. It made me wonder if I needed to go for medical check-up or perhaps take better care of myself.

First time it happened, I was gung-ho about bringing my bro's dog for a walk-cum-run in the morning. I was always looking at his sad-puppy-eyes and forlorn look when he lies on the floor looking bored.

Hence, one Saturday morning after sleeping in, I decided to bring all the dogs separately for a walk-cum-run. With the last dog, suddenly I started breathing very heavily and felt tired. I quickly headed home and when I reached the gate, my vision started to blur and my legs buckled. I grabbed hold of the post/gate and called my mum. She didn't even take me seriously when I told her I was going to faint (because it never happened before).

Sighh... maybe I should have eaten breakfast first? lol Especially the bak kut teh that my parents packed for me that morning.... *smack on the forehead*

Second time....

Last weekend, I needed to go to a particular site in Kuala Lumpur to take some pictures. After a nice lunch of roast goose (RM40 for half a goose!! Pricey!!) near Pudu market..  we headed to the site. I walked for hardly 10-15 mins and reached an overhead bridge. I was taking pictures in the shade when suddenly my vision became blurry and I felt a deja vu; I felt that I might faint. Quickly, I crouched down to rest my head on the railing. Phew...

Again, I stood up and continued taking pictures as I thought it was one-off. But it felt like the blood was draining away that I couldn't stand up for long. I'm not sure how long this went on but it was a walk-squat-walk-squat journey back to the car. I tried my best to stand still but my vision was off - like how you play with contrast or some setting in Adobe Photoshop. Creepy!!

Alas, I'm safe and healthy back home. I think it must have been the hot weather? Shrug.. Need to drink more 100plus and water in general.

Anyway, please, do not equate me like these fainting goats!! :P  I did not faint... but nearly?
New mantra: Health first!!

Images taken from http://webecoist.com

I miss shopping

I found the secret to cure shopaholics. It's called replacing with "work". Lol

I'm not a workaholic!! It's just a combination of work need to be done with lack of manpower and sense of responsibility. Hence, work, work work...

I've missed shopping. Since working late for this year, I've not really enjoyed shopping as I used to. I can't find nice clothings for myself and even shoes that makes me go ga-ga.

Sighh.. in fact, the latest shopping spree I did was on toiletries. Lol

Guardian is having a promotion on selected items.
I bought a few bottles of their body scrub (Guardian SPA Bath Scrub 750ml) with 2 scents: Green Tea or Lavender at RM8.88 from RM16.80. What a bargain! ;)

Initially, I've bought body scrub separately but I find them too oily. Hence, I've decided the lazy way of getting a bath scrub (body scrub cum shower gel) I prefer lavender for a relaxing feel at the end of the day but the smell of green tea is quite refreshing.

Next item worth considering is the Dove shampoo and conditioner range. Since they are trying to sell off their old packaging, grab a few of these items while stock lasts.

Hence, that's the end of my toiletries shopping spree. hahaha .. sad.. :P