Friday, November 13, 2015

Time to De-Clutter Your Home, Maybe?

I am not a hoarder but I can sometimes be a 'saver' which means I try to save things that maybe should have found their way out my door. On their own hopefully (because have you ever tried to get rid of bulky items like washing machine and sofa sets? I mean, like really).

Well, over time, you may have also accumulated some things yourself and find your home littered with what-the-heck-was-I-thinking stuff. I found some of these tips pretty useful and great reminders, especially the paper clutter thing. I don't print things much these days, preferring to invest in thumb drives and hard disk drives to save things digitally but gosh....there are books, documents, bills, bills, bills, reminders, leaflets, business cards, bills, bills, bills, bills, bills, bills and bills. And they are piled up nicely on the table, on the floor and anywhere where there is a surface area to pile them up on.

I know, I know. So, here are 13 strategies to de-clutter your home and eventually, your life.


Source: Freeimages

Monday, November 9, 2015

10 Reasons Why I Love Diwali / Deepavali

Diwali is one of my favorite celebrations of all times. 

Credit: "The Rangoli of Lights" by Subharnab Majumdar - originally posted to Flickr as The Rangoli of Lights. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons -

  1.  It is about light over darkness.
  2. I love candles
  3. It is the largest and brightest celebrations in India and around the world (with the exception of lantern festival)
  4. It also celebrates parts of the sun, the giver of light and life
  5. It is about right over wrong
  6. There are ancient stories of good winning over evil
  7. It is also about hope over despair and knowledge over ignorance
  8. It is the happiest festival in India and Nepal
  9. The festival is also marked with celebration of peace, goodwill, charitable causes, kindness and patience
  10. Everything is so pretty and brightly colored!
Happy Diwali/Deepavali!


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Social Media Used for Self and Product Promotion is Not Real

You know you have at least one friend on Twitter or one relative on Facebook who is overly obsessed with their looks or are paid to promote something they have absolutely no faith in. And you also perhaps know of people who are continually told that they look young, beautiful, gorgeous, inspiring, skinny, bla bla bla...

Well, I was the last one.

Not that I am gorgeous or anything (puh-leeeeezzzze) but when you post a nicely EDITED picture of yourself, people will give you compliments, right? While I appreciate the compliments, it makes me feel awfully fake. Yeah, I put on that top in order to look thinner. Yeah, I put on some makeup so that I look like I DON'T have makeup on. lol.

We have apps for that, folks.

Anyway, I am not Essena Oneill and she is done with looking pretty for everyone else. She is, a little like me, (although I grew up without the pressure of social media) a very sensitive being with lots of good intentions. She wants to move mountains, make changes, go vegan, promote good lifestyles and stuff and yet, she found herself sucked into Instagram perfection. She wants to be true to herself and promote things that she cares for and is passionate about....not just because she is paid to.

Understandable. I still follow some friends who consistently post those Instagram pictures and I KNOW that they are paid posts. lol. Who are they kidding but it's fine. It's their life, not mine. I am not into paid posts unless I SAY it's a paid post which in any case, you can skip by all means because if it is paid, it means I have to say nice things about it, not exactly what I think.

I can't get past myself. And if you ask my friends, they will tell you this 'Marsha lies like a little girl'.

So, good for Essena! She's finally moving onto something she is passionate about instead of obsessing over how many praises she gets, how many likes, how many thumbs up, how many followers and all that stuff that shouldn't matter.

She is quitting 'social media', she's still using it but differently now.

Happy to see happy tears here instead. (Related video on Youtube : Essena explaining why she's quitting Social Media)


Good for you, girl. Go Essena!!!


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Stay Fluid

It's Saturday and my favorite day of the week!!! I try not to do too many things on this day as I take a break from the norm and just hang out with a good book (still not done with The Fault with our Stars - I am procrastinating because 'someone's about to die' - damn my own curiosity about the ending) or just a good Korean or TVB drama.

It is Veg Out day.

Anyway, I saw a truly beautiful picture posted by Buddhist Bootcamp and thought I would save it and share it on a beautiful Saturday!


p.s. - Buddhist Bootcamp Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Empowering Young Women and Safe Sex Issues in Malaysia

Reading the news of girls (especially teenagers) getting pregnant unintentionally (as with most teens) saddens me. It hits a deep chord. Why, at such a young age, are they left without recourse and brought to a place where they don't understand the options they have, the people who will help them and what to do about their future?

Having a baby changes everything in your life. It SHOULD change everything in your life; if it doesn't, you're not doing life right.

It's been reported that 50 teenage girls get pregnant every day in Malaysia. 50 x 365 = 18,250 potential human beings on the planet. If they were born to these teens, what would become of these 18,250 girls and their babies and their future? Assuming each of these girls gave birth to one child each (as opposed to twins or triplets), that would make 36,500 people with dubious futures. And let's assume out of the 18,250 'men', 40% of the men took responsibility for their actions, that's an additional 7,300 boys/men with dubious futures.

So, 36,500 moms and kids +7,300 dads = 43,800 with uncertain futures. That's looking at the worst case scenario, of course.

But wait....what happens if the rate is the same (not better, not worse) the next year? And the next next year?

And then we lament woefully about women dumping their babies into various places including, recently, a washing machine. Most of the time, these actions are done out of fear, not knowing what else to do with a helpless, tiny human beings and the repercussions they would face when their loved ones find out.

Without throwing a blanket over the entire issue, I can only assume that most of these cases (dumping of babies) happen in rural areas or that these girls are not aware of contraception or safety precautions.

Fine, sex is a very natural part of life. It is not dirty, it is not stupid, it is not a sin. Well, when done properly (age, consent, place, etc) and with the right people, that is. But I think we need to properly educate people about planning a family and safe sex. Safe not just from disease but safe from pregnancy.

I, perhaps, am guilty of viewing parenthood with very stern stance. The same way I would view taking on a pet. I either take on a pet and give it everything I've got or I don't adopt a pet at all. The same, I either don't have kids or I have kids and give them everything I've got. Everything...until I bleed death.

Image Source: Girls Read Books

Most of these pregnancies can be prevented so, why not reach out and educate these people about safe sex, about the concept of having sex with the right people and also how to take care of yourself and sometimes, say 'no' when you don't want to do it because you are scared.

Most of these teenagers felt that, even when they feel that sex is not important to them, they do it because they want to be accepted. Or their friends are doing it, anyway, kinda thing.

We have to help them put their priorities together, bring them resources and teach them about enriching themselves and about how important they are to their own future. Most of these teens perhaps, I speculate, (correct me if I am wrong) grew up thinking that the most important thing for them is to get a man, marry and have children. Hence, the priority of enriching themselves and securing a good future takes the backseat. The important thing is to find a man and what do you do when your priority is a man? Yes. And the man will take care of your future? And your job is to have babies and take care of the family? Maybe, and maybe not. What happens when the answer is a NOT?

Someone please break their bubbles.

Do I sound cynical and jaded? Maybe I am. But hey, is Malala Yousafzai fighting a lost cause then?

TGIF, people,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Discovering Resilience: 3 Tips on How Teens Can Cope With Challenges in Their Journey

Sitting together in circle within a dimly lit room I facilitated a mindfulness group for teens. A light scent of lavender lingers in the air providing aromatherapy to promote relaxation. There is a quiet calmness in the room as many teens in this group have shared they have never practiced mindfulness before. The group they are sitting in isn't the typical group therapy as its purpose calls upon them to practice deep breathing while acknowledging any thoughts they have and letting them go in order to remain being centered and in the moment.
Being centered and calm in the middle of a stressful is a challenge that a lot of adolescents experience on a day to day basis. Many teens look for ways to cope with heavy feelings that come up for them in life. Unfortunately many teens find themselves using unhealthy habits that their peers use such as smoking, drinking, and in some instances self-harming by cutting or burning themselves to numb that overwhelming feeling that sits in the pit of their stomach. What I've heard often from teens is that they are unhappy with judging themselves, tired of being judged by others, and being told what to do by adults at school and their parents. What I hear from parents is that they just want their child to be healthy and do well in school so that they can be successful and happy, but that they can't seem to reach them.
Practicing mindfulness is a useful coping skill for teens that can empower them to create a period calmness. Research on meditation is showing that it can be an effective is an effective way for young people to increase their focus, reduce stress, and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Mindfulness experts promote meditation as a way to help us people to be in touch with their own emotions through awareness, acceptance, and reflection of their experience. Many of the teens report of the group share that while thoughts kept popping into their heads, they were able to bring their attention back to their breathing and begin to feel calm, relaxed, or "chill-axed". We then opened the group to them sharing their experience with trying to maintain a natural balance with all things that really matter to them. My approach in working with teens in therapy is acknowledging that life can feel pretty crappy at times, and it's okay for them to feel upset by it. Acceptance of what they're experiencing without judging it or rejecting it is the first step in coping with changes in life that can be unexpected or stressful. The focus then turns to learning how to use their own natural abilities to work through difficult times and staying in the moment rather than trying to escape it by drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, or cutting themselves to relieve their pain. What many teens, and even young adults, find surprising is how practicing mindfulness, self-reflection, and practicing healthy lifestyle habits such as eating healthy and being active can make a big difference not only in how they manage hard times, but also in their overall outlook in life. Some things I encourage teens to do includes:

Source: Freeimages

1. Take Time.
Setting aside time in the day where you can sit, reflect, and practice deep breathing. It's okay to have thoughts running through your mind. The point of meditation is to acknowledge those thoughts and let them pass by and bring your focus back to the natural act of breathing. Practicing deep breathing can help slow us down when our mind begins to run away with racing thoughts that feel overwhelming.
2. Get Moving!
Being outside and active has an overall positive effect not only in our physical health, but the act of moving can also help us not sit and dwell on things that bother us.
3. Finding someone who can listen.
Everyone needs to be heard, and especially teens who value being able to open up to someone without being given advice or being told what the "should" do. When teens can't share what they are feeling they hold onto it.
Adolescence is a time in life lives that is always remembered not only by what is experienced for the first time, but also in the emotional journey of finding their way in handling things, and having the support from people around them as they come into their own. Some of the greatest stories in literature are filled with young heroes on an adventure in which they learn about themselves, and while along their journey they find comfort in companions or mentor figures, what they often find is that what they needed to complete their quest or mission was something they had within all along. Mindfulness skills and inner reflection in therapy for teens is about nurturing that journey of inner discovery.
About The Author
Joshua Soto, MA is a Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern (639) in private practice in Irvine, CA. Josh specializes in working with pre-teens, teens, and young adults. He is employed and supervised by Dr. Renee Miller, LMFT (43207) in Irvine, CA. Josh is accepting new clients and can be reached at (714) 422-0396 or at

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Monday, October 12, 2015

A Look at Gratefulness

Some days, you sigh at the number of cups in the sink, no matter how many times you think you've cleared them, they appear and appear seemingly out of nowhere. The moment you think you've done all the laundry there is to be done, there's more. There are crumbs under the table after you've vacuumed the floor as thoroughly as you could.

There's clutter where you previously cleaned out, there's dust on the fan, dinner to think about. The cycle is endless.

We can't help but complain about it, can we? I don't do it online much or to friends because I prefer to look at things on the bright side (on most days and when I catch myself frowning at dirty carpets and tables). Think about it, maybe you've complained about it in your head instead?

Anyway, whoever came out with this list is brilliant and it can serve as a good reminder to all of us who are caught in the daily conundrum and complaining about things.

Have a splendid and productive Monday,

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Comparison Should We Be Making

Sometimes, things are overwhelming on social media sites. The news feed is often filled with stuff like...

1. People's vacations

2. Cute kids or pets

3. Politics

4. Delicious food

5. News of catastrophes from all around the world

You get it...sometimes, it is overwhelming and sometimes it makes you hate the timeline altogether're not vacationing, your kids are throwing tantrums, your dinner turned out a disaster, you don't understand head or tail of what is happening in the political scene or you know someone affected by a catastrophe.

It doesn't make me feel better about myself but whenever I look at pictures like THESE, it grounds and humbles me. When I compare my life and timeline to this, I know I am working this whole 'life' thing pretty Okay.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Single Parent All The Way?

This is one of the most honest parenting article that I have read in a long time....and I follow quite a few similar sites with similar articles. Maybe it just struck a chord with me.

Maybe, just maybe, I will also become a single mother forever. (read this article from

While some of my friends are in hot pursuit for their other half, actively hitting everywhere in search of their significant soul mate, I just don't feel the urgency. I am sure my stance have been criticized or laughed and joked about (to their credit, they did it to my face, I don't want to know what people say behind my back, anyway) because I have not utilized my 'tools' (you are allowed to think dirty here) for some time.

Is THAT the priority, my question is? You're going to look for a man so that you can.....what? LOL

Believing in an unbelievable love?
It's not that I do not want love or believe in love anymore. I do, oh boy, you don't know how much love I am capable of throwing out...but you will just have to spend some time tearing down my walls. But once you are through those walls, come here, baybee...

This terrifies my mother in particular, wondering who will be taking care of me when my children leave the nest. Am I going to be all alone, crying in the corner of the house, never eating at the right time, never doing my work or become a social defunct?

I don't think so, is all I can say. I am going to stalk my children, wherever they are going to be, that's the plan. LOL

Independent and selfish
People who don't know me or don't take the time to get to know me will easily think that I am overly independent and selfish. Maybe, maybe not.

I am happily parenting my teen boys 
Listen, I have been doing this for more than a decade and have never really gotten any help (except during the kids' early years) running this whole thing. Just have to do a million things at the same time. And some ignorant bloke will think 'you disappeared from the face of the earth 'read: party scene' after the birth of your kids'.


Even to this very day, my kids are not welcomed at dinners where there are singletons. Give me a solution to THAT and I will come out to your party. Oh, wait. It's too late.

Issues? Sure!
Yes, I have trust issues too simply because...well, think about it for a second. Through the years that I have dated and married, I always pick the guy I gelled with the least with the notion that I can fix them. Then I find out I can't fix anyone if there's nothing to fix so, I don't have a stellar record of picking the guy who treats me like a Princess over the guy who is brooding in the corner like James Dean. LOL

Winner: Always the bad guy.

Lackadaisical attitude
I clean up OK but I don't do the whole makeup, off-shoulder dresses, diamond studded high heels, concealers and fake eyelashes kind of thing anymore. I just don't anymore and if I do, it means SOMETHING BIG's about to go down. Or my mom set me up.

I think if someone's out there and looking for a soul to connect with, connect with my soul first. Thereafter, I can dress up as Cat Woman, Ella from Frozen, Black Widow, nurse, policewoman or President Obama all you want.

OK, the President Obama thing...maybe not. It's a joke, OK?

I just don't want to do so many things to hide the real me from everyone anymore. I feel good when I dress up, of course, and a layer of makeup can boost my confidence level by quite a bit and I feel like having a little fun.

The thing is that I learned how to be confident without them and now, they seem trivial to me. I've been out of the house in XXL men's pants, vomit in my hair and smelt like leaking breastmilk before, remember that.

So, I don't know. Maybe one day but not today.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Creative Kitchen - Chicken Char Siew, Modify, They Say

Ate a darn late lunch in the afternoon and it wasn't the healthy kind either....had Subway. Well, it IS one of the healthiest and freshest fast-food there is out there. =)

Was a little out of ideas so, decided to bend the rules a little. Had a little bit of char siew marinade in the fridge but did not have pork. Originally, we are supposed to have 'char siew' pork right who no one ever said that you can't use other types of meats so....

So, used chicken breasts for the char siew and it was delicious but had to add a mix of oyster sauce and soya sauce because there wasn't enough marinade and it, in itself, is rather bland.

Stir fried some baby bok choi (I think lah, I am never very good with the names for vegetables) with garlic and there you have it, done, dinner.

Anyway, it's been a really haze day over here in Malaysia so, I hope you have a better (breathing) time than us over here wherever you are.