Blog / Page 2

My “KonMari” wardrobe makeover

April 30, 2016 in Useless fashion 22 Cheesed

Sooooo.

Everybody said that without a helper now, I will just have to put up with a messier house in exchange for a more peaceful state of mind and more family privacy. Which sounds like a fair trade off. After all our mental health is more important than a spot-free house! I thought long and hard about it. But there has to be a way that’s better than that. Why can’t I have it all??? I am a firm believer of having all your cakes and eat every single piece of it down to the last drop of fresh cream.

You know what? Screw the messy house. I refuse to let that be my fate just because I don’t have a helper around. I am #Pokemom and I can keep my house even CLEANER AND TIDIER than when I had a helper.

#ChallengeAccepted.

Coincidentally, the nesting instinct has kicked in BIG TIME once I hit my 37th week of pregnancy. It will only be a couple weeks before I meet my new baby and I just thought I wanted to have the best home for her to come home to.

So I begin to seriously study house-keeping. Like for the first time in my life. I have never thought that it is something you need to learn and master (apparently in Japan, there are courses for ladies who want to become housewives. It IS a legit job!!! A hobby even.). One day I retrieved the aired laundry and I was wondering how the hell I should fold the bed sheet nicely (I have never, EVER done it in my life. For the past decades I just anyhow rolled it up into a ball of wrinkled mess and shoved it into the cupboard).

So I googled. And then in about 15 minutes I learnt how to fold the perfect bed sheet. And I thought, hey, if I can fold even the goddamn bed sheet, there really is nothing I cannot learn. So I started watching more and more Youtube videos, and I came across the KonMari method of tidying.

I actually knew about Marie Kondo a couple of years back, and I have always wanted to read her book because it is such a huge hit in Japan, and internationally now. It’s almost like a global phenomenon. The KonMari phenomemon. If you haven’t, you should. Or get your helper to read it, at least lol.

I spent just a couple of hours finishing her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. And it truly was life-changing. For me at least. I probably have never been so inspired by a book (other than “The Secret” a few years ago).

It wasn’t like she revealed otherworldly secrets of tidying, but it was more of her philosophy and attitude towards tidying. I just have so much respect for this young lady after finishing her book. Confident yet humble, and she sounded really genuine and likeable.

She has a fixed method and step-by-step guide to tidying and de-cluttering, but what truly changed me was how she thinks one should treat her belongings. Most of us treat our belongings as… things. Which is totally logical, because they are things. But Marie Kondo sees everything as if it has a soul, and she treats her belongings with love, gratitude and utmost respect.

This concept was not unfamiliar. When I was very very little, I used to feel bad for the ceiling fan in our house in Seremban because it was always working soooo hard and non-stop for our home to provide cool breeze for our family, to the point it became so shabby and wobbly and it looked really tired. Sometimes I would tell my mom to give it a break, but our house had no air-con back then and it was soooo hot! I felt so helpless for it. Everyone thought I was being silly.

Also,  I once was the person who thanked everything I saw, owned or touched. But I only did it because I was in Japan. And then whenever I returned home, I just forgot all about it and take everything for granted. I should truly be ashamed. And I decided to change that once and for all.

No matter where I am, I will learn how to respect and be thankful for everything. Including non-living objects.

And thus began my KonMari Tidying Festival, starting with my clothes (which is according to her tidying order in the book).

The first step is to get rid of stuff. LOTS OF STUFF. If you have read her book, you would have known that her two key methods of discarding are:

  1. Choose what you want to keep, not what you want to discard
  2. Choose by the “Spark Joy” criteria

This was our wardrobe before tidying:

Actually it didn’t look that bad, but it was crammed and messy enough that I had zero motivation to find something nice to wear. I only wore what I could see or whatever I wore a few days ago and just keep rotating them.

Also, I realized we had no space at all to accommodate new baby’s stuff, so it’s time I clear up and make room for the kids!

We even had a separate closet to keep all the things that didn’t fit into the 3-column wardrobe, which included bags, shoes, Junya’s clothes, towels. It totally felt like a creepy squirrel could crawl out of the closet any time.

So I began putting every single piece of clothing on the floor and started touching and hugging each pieces to see if they “spark joy”.

The whole pile obviously sparked a lot of joy for Junya XD.

Sorry but mama’s making the call here. ^^

The selection process took one whole day. There were so many pieces that I hardly ever wore, or even brand new. I’m sure it is true for every girl. Don’t feel guilty or sorry for it when you dispose of it/give it away. Instead, thank it. Thank it for the thrill it has given you when you first purchased it. It has now fulfil its purpose.

Before discarding each piece of clothing that did not bring me any joy, I folded them nicely, told them otsukaresama deshita and that I was thankful for them having served me thus far, and bid goodbye. That is the final respect you can give the clothes you are about to let go of.

All 11 bags of non-joy clothes.

It does sound a bit crazy, but it truly did make parting a pleasant and guilt-free one. For clothes that were too new and nice (but doesn’t bring me joy anymore) to throw away, I am giving them away or selling them, so I too bid them good bye, and wish that they find a better owner whom they will be happier with.

Marie Kondo was right. If you store an item deep, hidden, it is forgotten and as good as dead, no matter how expensive and precious it was for you.

I haven’t worn this pair of EMODA heels for a long time, and it used to be my favorite. But once forgotten, it started peeling as if it has been neglected and slowly dying away. It was sad. On the other hand, shoes that I wear every single day don’t seem to be worn out even with all the walking! How unbelievable is that!

For some of the items that I am not sure if really spark joy and too wasteful to throw away, I keep them and promise to take good care of them from now on. Even if it means I won’t really wear them often.

After selection, I started giving all the joy-giving clothes a home. One would have thought that it is tedious chore, but that, was the best part of it all.

Folding it the Marie Kondo way: Origami style.

She said that we should think of it like a Japanese bento box. Everything is arranged compact, beautiful and colorful to enhance appetite (in this case, joy). And then no matter how boring folding clothes used to be for one, it is now a pleasurable activity to do. And she was right. Just after ONE folding session, I became very obsessed and I don’t think I’ll ever let anyone fold my clothes anymore, because it’s such a personal and intimate thing to do, to touch your own clothes, to express your gratitude to them and put them back nicely back where they belong.

Whenever I fold a new piece of clothing, especially new clothes for soon-to-be-born baby girl, I will say “Yoroshiku onegaishimasu” (please take good care of her/us) in my heart to it. Because it is what will protect her tiny fragile body, and I am counting on it and giving my advance thanks and faith to it that it will do its best.

 

So after two days two nights straight, our wardrobe is finally complete with a grand makeover.

My favorite is of course baby girl’s wardrobe. That’s truly the perks of having girls ^^. Guilt-free unlimited fluffy and pink stuff! 😀 😀 😀

Here are some before and after photos!!

Allocation of wardrobe space:

It was unbelievable how much clothes I got rid of. I maybe really got rid of 60-70% of them!

The danna’s wardrobe still looks cluttered because he wasn’t back from Singapore yet and I couldn’t just simply throw away his stuff without permission.

Anyway I am not fully satisfied with it yet. I think there are room (plenty now lol) for improvements!!! I will not stop until it is perfect!!!

Additional closet. Shoes have all been move to the shoe rack outside.

The bags in the middle rack are what we use everyday: My current favorite backpack from Porter X BAPE, Junya’s schoolbag, his diaper bag and a tray to keep things from the bag’s content which I will need on a daily basis, like car key, wallet, cameras, etc.

I used to keep it in the bag, but Marie Kondo says that since the bag has worked hard the whole day for you without a single complaint, the least you could do is to empty the content and let it relax. It will thank you for it. Another advantage of doing this is that I can now easily pick just what I need and transfer it to another bag.

Off-season (winter) clothing. Suddenly I have so much extra space!

Accessory compartment. Kept only the ones I truly cherish.

Drawer for tops and pajamas. Now I can see everything at one glance. And it is more likely that I will wear different clothes now XD.

Drawer for bottoms. No rummaging upside down inside out anymore.

Danna’s T shirt and shorts drawer.

 

I love the transformation. And I love Marie Kondo’s book so much. (And she is sooooooo cute!)

It is a very Japanese way of thinking. Marie Kondo served as a shrine maiden before, so her approach and practice is very Shinto, which is no wonder why it struck so close to my heart since I really believe in it.

I once requested if I could have a wallet which the danna did not use anymore, of which he said he bought it yearrrrs ago, and I was surprised at how new it is!! I asked how come he never use it much since it is a beautiful wallet, and he replied, “it isn’t because it is rarely used, it is because I used it with care.”

It is true. If you love and respect something, it will love you back and serve you faithfully. It will have this shine and aura, and it lasts a long time. I am still using the wallet now and I have decided to use it with utmost care and respect.

A wallet is also where you keep your money, so it is something super important and should be treated with extra respect. The danna said if your wallet is messy and full of receipts, new money will never come. So I make it a point to clear all receipts every day, re-arrange the notes, and say thank you to it for providing me yet another beautiful day paying for meals and goods and keeping me content and happy.

It is really quite a surprise to see that I am only inspired to keep my house tidy and clean after the helper is gone. I guess it really was a sign from the universe to tell me that I am really better than what I thought I could do. I am now thankful for her for letting me discover this new found strength. It was the best blessing from her.

Besides, Marie Kondo said that before you commit to this grand tidying campaign, ask yourself, why do you want to tidy up? Obviously you want a neat and clean house, but why?

For me, I want to live in a house that makes me and my family happy. And it took me one whole year to realize how my house did not “spark joy” with an extra human in it, but now that I have bid goodbye to that person, the house suddenly feels so much more loving and peaceful. I want to be surrounded by all the things I love and will love me back.

And I also want to truly learn to be someone who is good at tidying up, so that my kids will learn the same. If their own mother cannot even keep a house tidy and clean (or fold a goddamn bed sheet), it is impossible that they will learn to do so. I refuse to let them grow up in a house where a maid will always clean up after whatever mess they make. They will learn to take care of themselves from young age and be responsible.

So once Junya turns 3 he will have to learn how to fold his own clothes, the KonMari way lolol. And it will be a fun thing to do, not a chore.

 

So this is what I’ve been busy with.

April 24, 2016 in Cheesellaneous 8 Cheesed

Sorry for the lack of update on whatever you are following me on.

Basically I am occupied with having a real life and deal with real problems. And what’s more important?

I am busy learning new skills.

Latest achievement is this:

BEFORE (for the past 20 years or so)

I mean, who on earth cares about folding bedsheets?! How do you fold that damn thing anyway?

It’s sounds more plausible that I could probably learn how to knit a fluffy alpaca with one toe given enough time, than to think that one day in my life, I would be bothered to actually learn how to fold a freshly-laundered piece of sheet (no pun intended). Properly.

AFTER (after many, many minutes spent on Youtube)

using my newly unlocked superhero Origami skill.

For someone like me, that’s quite an accomplishment, honestly.

Moral of the story: There’s nothing a #pokemom cannot do. Including folding bedsheets. And yes, it’s more important than posting edited selfies on IG.

 

 

 

CNP Laboratory Propolis

Introducing a new range of skin care from CNP today!

Propolis, the life source of honeycomb has been quite a popular health and beauty ingredient lately, I am using a Propolis-infused toothpaste! And now I’m adding this ingredient into my skincare routine.

Propolis has a long history of medicinal use as far back as 350B.C., where Greeks have used it for skin disease to heal wounds and tumors, and the Egyptians have used it for mummification. The ancient wisdom for centuries!

CNP launches their latest Propolis range featuring 3 brand new products, focusing on the 3 keys: Renewing, Restoring and Revitalizing.

 

Propolis Energy Ampule (Renew)

There’s a 10% of propolis extract in the product, which helps to maintain moisture, repairing and brighten your skin.

How to use:

After cleansing morning and night, you can apply a moderate amount after your toner and massage gently over your entire face.

Did you know that there are also other ways to use the ampule?

You can mix it with your cream to boost its effects, or add it to foundation, BB cream as well! It makes the texture more spreadable, and also prevent your foundation from becoming cakey through the day.

Apply the cream/sunblock/foundation on your face. It definitely feels more moisturizing with an added instant radiance!

Other than that, you can also use it as a lip serum, which is good in nourishing your lips. Just dispense a drop and spread it over lips as a balm.

 

Propolis Deep Moisture Pack (Restore)

The second product is a sleeping mask, which helps deliver nutrients and moisture deep into the skin to enhance elasticity during sleeping hours!

 

How to use:

Use it as the final step of your skincare regimen! Apply a moderate amount evenly and… just go to bed and let it work its magic to restore and strengthen your skin while you rest! Wash off the following morning with lukewarm water.

The texture is gel-like and a little cooling, so it’s quite soothing to calm you down before bedtime.

 

Propolis Energy Ampule Mask (Revitalize)

This is a unique 2-step ampule mask with powerful and high concentration of propolis. With added hyaluronic acid, it also creates a protective coat for your skin to maintain smoothness and protects against irritation.

How to use:

Firstly apply the Step 1 ampule all over your face.

And then place the mask on your face, and remove it after 15-20 minutes and let the remaining essence absorb into your skin. It’s definitely quite an intense mask that delivers deep moisture, especially when you have a big day ahead and need to look extra good!

You can find CNP Laboratory products in selected 44 Watson stores in Malaysia!

Visit http://cnpcosmetics.com.my/ for more info!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huis Ten Bosch with Junya

April 19, 2016 in Japan 5 Cheesed

Photo post on Nagasaki!

The danna (then kareshi) and I went to Huis Ten Bosch 4 years ago in spring 2012, this time we brought Junya back to the same theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture.

There was a super romantic Rose Festival back then (they are gonna have it this year too in May), and this time around it was the Tulips Festival.

Huis Ten Bosch’s website here!

I have been to Holland before and I must say this is quite a beautiful replica of little Dutch towns!

Didn’t know tulips come in soooo many pretty colors!

There’s an Owl Forest for Harry Potter fans XD

Cutest garbage bins!

Lunch at one of the seafood canteen, live seafood BBQ!

BBQ oysters and scallops, so goood!

The danna insisted I try the Cheese Ramen. It was not bad!

Hahah LINE Bear Papa totally not ready for the self-timer.

One more!^^

Tulip garden.

I really love Huis Ten Bosch! It is so well maintained, and very relaxing because the crowd is nowhere near as crazy as Tokyo Disneyland or Universal Studio in Osaka. It’s just nice to take slow, long strolls without having to line up for anything at all.

Lots of pretty colors everywhere! Very carnival-like!

The prettiest train!!

Would love to visit the attractions in Thriller City next time, when the kids are bigger!

A popular Nagasaki Castella sampling counter at one of the gift shops!

Erm… Chocolate X Curry? D: #OnlyInJapan

We then spent a long time at the Retro arcade where the whole family had lots of fun!

Hahah Chun Li with her baby and a huge belly XD

All the super nostalgic retro games! Papa showing his son how to fight like a badass lol.

There are also JunJun-friendly games.

Junya’s first fight!

Look mama’s on TV!

This picture is taken at the trick art museum! JPY10,000 on the floor…… Cheat One™.

Drawing for the aquarium (where your fish picture will turn up live swimming on the screen!). JunJun and Mama colored the seahorse while papa did the… mutated whale fish.

Snack time!!!

Do try the Amao Ichigo Dorayaki!!

At Teddy Bear Kingdom, where Teddy Bears from all around the world are collected here!

I especially love the Japanese version because it’s so rare to see teddies in traditional Japanese costumes.

Family Portrait.

Okuizome is a traditional ceremony where a baby celebrates her first meal at 100 day old.

Omiyamairi is the baby’s first shrine visit when he/she is 1 month old.

Family having fun.^^

Gift shops with lots and lots of cute pink stuff!!!

 

It’s recommended to get a Full Day Pass for Huis Ten Bosch because you don’t wanna miss the night illumination!!

Dutch town in the night.

Tulip Light-up Festival

Also must go on the Ferris wheel!!! Because these are the views from above:

Rainbow waterfall and tower!!!

You canalso take a romantic cruise through the musical lit-up river.

And lastly, dinner with JunJun and papa.

That’s all for today! ^^

 

You can check out Huis Ten Bosch‘s website if you are heading to Nagasaki/Kyushu area.

Stored in Japan | 5 Cheesed

Nagasaki 2016

April 14, 2016 in Japan 7 Cheesed

Previous blog posts on Nagasaki:

Nagasaki 2012

Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki 2012

Nagasaki 2013

Eat Nagasaki

Nagasaki with Junya 2015 (1)

Nagasaki with Junya 2015 (2)

Nagasaki with Junya 2015 (3)

Nagasaki Mt Unzen 2015

 

The danna and I made it a point to go back to Nagasaki for our trip back to Japan despite the super tight schedule this time because we haven’t been back since Junya was 6 months old, and for sure Jiji missed his grandson a lot.

We decided to fly to Nagasaki directly on the first day we landed in Tokyo. We took JAL from Kuala Lumpur so once we landed in Narita, we transferred to Haneda for our domestic flight from Tokyo to Nagasaki.

Junya was fascinated by the planes.

Our first meal in Japan!!!  Immediately I went straight for hardcore luxurious seafood lol.

Mentaiko Gyutan Don. LOOK AT THE MENTAIKO WILL YOU. Soooooooo huge!

Anpanman vending machine selling all sort of kids drinks.

JunJun chose vegetable and apple juice.

Arrived at Nagasaki! We rented a car and drove straight to Jiji’s house.

Spent the evening together catching up with Jiji ^^

Compared to a cluless immobile 6-month-old baby, Junya can now call “Ojiichan”, make simple greetings, and of course… run around in the house. Time really flies! The next time we come back there will be one BIG baby and one small baby!!

Supper at our compulsory stop: Shianbashi Ramen that is made famous by Fukuyama Masaharu’s visits as he is from Nagasaki!

Trivia time: Fukuyama Masaharu is the danna’s Senpai in primary school!!!!!!! And he said he knows exactly where he stays in Nagasaki XD.

Happy that he recently got married. Faster make babies!!!!!!!!!!

Legendary oden.

Bakudan (Bomb) ramen. Forever tastes soooo good.

Our hotel of the night was right on top of the hill overlooking one of the 3 best night views in the world!

Makes me just love Nagasaki so much.

And the local Nagasaki Ichigo at only 380 yen!!!!!! Can you count how many there are in a pack!!! 😀

These are very round and cute and tiny Ichigo called Sagahonoka (originated from Saga prefecture), not as famous and premium as other branded Ichigo but this was soooo soft (which you can’t keep long) it’s almost like eating cotton T___T.

So happened the TV channel was showing a special feature on Ichigo too lol.

Woke up to this view.

Maybe one day I will really retire in Nagasaki. <3

Healthy buffet breakfast the next morning! The standard natto, white rice, miso soup, curry.

Side salad and juice!

JunJun loves his cherry tomato!

Preggo coordinate haha. There are only a grand total of two pairs of pants I can manage to fit in now XD.

Mama and bb getting ready for Huis Ten Bosch (next blog post!)

Snack in the car!

We love ichigo!!!!

Also!!!! We bought the sakura mochi version of Gari Gari Kun!

Speaking of Gari Gari Kun, they recently made a huge public apology for a 10 yen price hike in 25 years. 10 yen!!!!!!!! Gari Gari Kun is a brand of ice cream that has been around in Japan for decades and their prices had remain 6o yen (!!!! That’s like SGD0.70, cheaper than the Orchard Road ice cream sandwich lolol) until this April.

The company’s CEO himself appeared in the video along with many of the employees, giving a deep bow for the inevitable price hike. T_T

#ThisIsJapan #OnlyinJapan

 

In the night time we went for family dinner!!!

JunJun meets his only cousin again!

I don’t know if it runs in the family but both of them were super shy although they like each other. XD

Nagasaki boys are just very subtle and act cool hahahha. They were playing very gently and a bit awkwardly lolol.

Jiji also very cool. The danna also very cool. Ok now I confirm it runs in the family.

 

On the second night we changed hotel and stayed in Dormy Inn near China Town, the danna picked this hotel because he remembered how I was crazy with the soft water in that hotel (mentioned about it in my previous blog entry too!)

Basically the hotel has a “softener device” to process their water in the hotel room, which means all the water you drink, wash, bathe are all “soft water”. Super yummy and makes your skin and hair super super awesome soft and smooth!!

Only people who understand Japanese will get the hilarious pun lolol.

The next morning we visited Jiji’s shop for breakfast!! He has probably run this shop for… over 40 years? And every day without  fail he wakes up 4am to prepare and cook the dishes for bento.

The danna said this is what he grew up with. Just plain onigiri, and also his family’s specialty – Tororo Konbu onigiri.

Everything is super simple. The simplest Goto Udon which was so so so so so good. Dashi is of course home made. Jiji soaked the mushrooms, konbu, katsuobushi and boiled overnight.

It was just such bliss to let Junya try his Jiji’s homecooked food!

Bento for the road trip!!

That’s all!! Update again when I have time ^^

 

 

 

 

Stored in Japan | 7 Cheesed

Tokyo Dome City: Asobono

April 13, 2016 in Japan / Shoutouts 1 Person Cheesed

Tokyo update!

On one of the danna’s off days we decided to visit an indoor theme park since it was a full day rainy day and we couldn’t go for any outdoor activities.

I have blogged about Inzai Fantasy Kids Resort before in Chiba, it’s too far to travel there so we looked for a them park nearer to us in Tokyo, and decided to go to Tokyo Dome City’s ASObono, one of the largest indoor kids theme parks in Tokyo.

It’s huuuuge! This is the baby area (below 2 years old).

I’m really glad we chose to come here because then the danna can sit down and do some work and I can just chill and relax while Junya and play alllllllll he wants! It’s really the perfect place for tired parents and active children XD.

Junya’s favorite Daikon.

The bestestest section in ASObono is the “Town” area, where there’s a huuuuge kitchen/canteen/market place with allllll the kitchen and food stuff, which Junya loves!

Even I got excited just looking at this!

Heaven!

 

Mama I want to cook this

Rice

Adding Furikake on rice XD

Someone threw a whole bunch of stuff on the floor here in the Marketplace. It’s quite a nightmare cuz there were soooo many kinds and everyone was making a mess (and all the Japanese mothers were busy cleaning up after all the mess).

But it’s ridiculous how fast everything gets tidied up, there were staff walking around just to pick things up and put things into place again, on like a constant basis @.@

All the food got sorted out and placed back to their original place (before they were gone again in like 5 minutes). I really cannot imagine how tiring it is to work at this place XD.

Pasta, curry rice, ramen…

Junya’s favorite chore was cutting. He was holding that knife just cutting all sort of things for like a good 30 minutes.

Fish monger

Fruit vendor

Baking a cake… i guess? XD

He still loves his Hello Kitty haha.

Lots of Hello Kitty stuff!

There’s also a huge play area dedicated to Lego and…

Tomica @.@

Play alllllll the cars and buses and helicopters and trains and everything else!!! With train tracks and parking lots all from Tomica!

A library, which was super unpopular lolol.

Lastly the Ocean huge ball pit!

We spent about 3-4 hours inside and Junya was super tired and tahan-ed waaaay past his nap time.

Quick lunch at Tokyo Dome City food court!

Junya’s Okosama Udon Lunch Set

Mama’s Wagyu Toro Flake Ochazuke.

That’s all!! An idea for you if you are looking for a relaxing day with your kids or if you can’t go anywhere outdoor in Tokyo! ^^

.

.

.

Parenting Shoutout:

Wyeth Nutrition

They always say that it takes a village to raise a child. Everyone who is a parent know that parenting is no easy job, and sometimes there are simply either too little or too much conflicting info on how to raise a child.

Last week, Wyeth Nutrition celebrated children’s multiple intelligence through the ‘Misson Sandcastle’ roadshow where a castle is built out of growing-up milk products.

There were also lots of mini games that aims to stimulate Body Smart, Brain Smart and People Smart. This is one for IQ Build, ie Brain Smart.

And a fun Body Smart game that focuses on speed jumping.

Most importantly, Wyeth Nutrition launched its debut on social messaging platform, WeChat.

Mothers can now enjoy a free digital tool via Wyeth Nutrition’s WeChat platform on the latest updates and useful information for the whole family, i.e. health tips, parenting advice, club information, upcoming events, etc.

Just join their platform on WeChat using the handle “WyethNutritionMy” on WeChat and receive instant updates! There are topics from nutrition, pregnancy, and if you are in the S-
MAMA Club, you can also receive info on points updates, rewards and redemptions.