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Movies : Worth-watching 2014's movies


These are some 2014's movies worth watching :


I Origins by Mike Cahill
pk by Rajkumar Hirani 
Gone Girl by David Fincher
Nightcrawler by Dan Gilroy
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It works the best when you don't know what the story is about, never read any reviews or seen any of those movie trailer. *because it will totally spoil the mystery. I didn't know much about those movies when I watch it and I didn't expect it to be that good. Well, for me it was really good compared to everything else I watched last year. 

So I had to restrain myself from writing any reviews or spoilers or long-wild-discussion-in-my-head and I ended up taking too many pages in my journal for my over-excited ramblings.

YOU should watch these movies.

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Other than Case Study : DirectorsSofia Coppola and Wes Anderson, I'm looking forward to finishing up the list of movies from David Fincher (*haven't watched The Game & Zodiac yet) and Mike Cahill *because I really love I Origins ,  and to share some findings that I found interesting :D

PS :
I'm in love with I Origins's soundtrack :

DIY : Body & Lips Scrub


I have a bad skin, easily irritated by :
  • sweat
  • commercial stuffs eg: make-ups, soap, detergent
  • hormonal season - acne

My skin can vary between being too oily on some part of my face and too dry on some part of my body. I tried drinking juice every morning, also drink 2-3 bottles of water every day, take vitamin C supplement, being picky on what I put on my face and what I eat, I also own oil-blotter all the time. Name it, I can be considered taking care too much or too little, but nothing really help much. 

It's genetic, really. Some people are born with good skin, some people are not born with good and healthy skin, it's not that we don't really care on beauty regime. What I can do is control some things, so the effect won't be too bad. 

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So I always have to find ways to make some organic things on my own. Internet is the best place to learn almost anything. This time, I tried making my own body & lips scrub because boy, the price of one small bottle of commercial body scrubs in Guardian and Watson are between RM10- RM30. Plus, there are too much of weird chemical names in the ingredient that make me feel uncomfortable :F

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Note :
I use everything that I can have from my kitchen, except for lemon, that's RM 1 each. After few drops used to be added in the body scrub, I put the remaining lemon into a bottle of water for detox. Most of the western people claim that the best oil are olive and coconut oil, it's almost true, but our country produces palm oil that is almost as good as other vegetable oils in market. 

Mix everything in a bowl and pour it in a bottle. You can keep it in the fridge and take it out 1/2 hour before you take shower - so it won't be too cold. Use body scrub once or twice every week, to exfoliate your skin. Perhaps you can reduce your bills on these items that you can do yourself. 

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This is how it looks :


I love the light smell of honey and rosemary.

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Ingredients in one of commercial brand's body scrub - example :
Aqua, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Acrylates Copolymer, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-39, Parfum, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Seed Powder, Benzophenone-4, Tocopheryl Acetate, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, CI 17200, CI 42090, CI 19140.

Kan, it's just too much of big names for such a simple thing O.o
So maybe you can try make one yourself.

Run : Running Tracks & Parks near KL area


Other than running tracks in your own home area, you can try going out to some parks or running tracks. I've tried some over these past few years and I have my favorites (Taman Tasik Titiwangsa at night, Taman Rekreasi Bukit Jalil on weekdays and Taman Tasik Perdana - all the time). 

Here is a list of running trails that you can try:

1. Taman Rekreasi Bukit Jalil
Crowd : Crowded on weekend and 5-7pm on weekdays
Distance : 3 - 8km 
Level : Vary - it got normal track for beginner, and hard ones for bigger tracks and hilly
Public transportation : None
Night : Closed

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2. Bukit Komenwel Bukit Jalil
Crowd : Crowded on weekend and 5-7pm on weekdays
Distance : Vary, 2 - 5km
Level : Vary, flat and hilly
Public transportation : LRT Sri Petaling & Bukit Jalil
Night : Closed

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3. KLCC Park
Crowd : Very crowded - all the time
Distance : 1.3km per loop, marking tracks for every 100m
Level : Easy, synthetic rubber pavement
Public transportation : LRT KLCC
Night : Open until 10pm, well-lit, security guards

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4. Taman Tasik Titiwangsa
Crowd : Crowded on weekend and 5-7pm on weekdays
Distance : 2.5km per loop
Level : Easy, flat track
Public transportation : None
Night : Open, people start running around 8.30pm, avoid running alone

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5. Taman Tasik Perdana ( Botanical Garden )
Crowd : Normal, crowded on weekends
Distance : Vary, the park is huge
Level : Vary - Stairs, hills, flats
Public transportation : LRT KL Sentral
Night : Closed

How to walk to the park from KL Sentral (click on the image to make it bigger) :

I used to walk from KL Sentral to the park, it is not quite far if I use the pathway leads to the small park entrance right next to our National Museum. I'm not quite sure the status of current MRT construction next to the museum (whether they blocked the small road or not), but I used to use the stairs and the pathway all the time before this :








You need to cross the small road, towards the museum. There is a pathway in between of MRT construction side and the museum that lead to the small entrance to the park :


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6. Putrajaya - not in KL
Crowd : Not so crowded except on event days
Distance : Putrajaya is huge, less car, you can try new routes every time
Level : Vary, open road, mostly flat sometimes hilly
Public Transportation : No trains, just bus
Night : It's an open road, never tried it except on events, quite calm & silent - preferably in big group


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7. Taman Pemaisuri, Cheras
Crowd : Normal, crowded on weekends 
Distance : Vary, the park is huge
Level : Vary - Stairs, hills, flats
Public transportation : LRT Cheras, but you need to walk 15 mins more
Night : Not quite sure

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Note : Running at night after work is quite new to me, but I found it quite satisfying. Less people, cold and calm, no hot sunlight, silent paths so that I can focus solely on the running. The best part is I can run 3-4 times a week after work :D If you have running partner or running group, I suggest you to try this.

Doodle : Little Girl


Other than being bullied at work for posting images not so worth the likes on Instagram and ate 3 slices of Classified Chicken pizza with with a couple of chicken wings from Dominos, nothing much happened. Work starting to line-up again now the boss is back, and there's also a rumour of good news from the company soon - *like soon-soon. 

I sketched with Intuos again last weekend at work, random image taken from Pinterest :

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Can't stay-up for movie, I need my beauty sleep. 
Good night 

Run : Goals 2015 & 3km - V2


*First written on 10th Jan,
and updated throughout the 3km-challenge.

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This year, I'm avoiding running events.

It's time to improvise my goals. I've joined 3km - 12km runs over these couple of years, managed to achieve my yearly total distance goals, and received now too many running shirts. *I actually have 13 running shirts now but less than 8 working shirts that I repeatedly use daily! I CAN'T afford to spend too much money on things that I can actually do freely anymore =.=  

So I choose to improve my fitness chart instead :

First Challenge :
Run 3 km under 15 minutes. Based on this chart, a healthy 28 years old female should at least achieve 13:55 for a 3 km run. So I'm aiming for below 15 minutes to reach a 3km run :

  • 7 Jan - Duration 20 : 32 - Pace 6:51 min/km - Calories 155
  • 9 Jan - Duration 19 : 23 - Pace 6:28  min/km - Calories 157
  • 12 Jan - Duration 19 : 17 - Pace 6:26  min/km - Calories 154 
  • 16 Jan - Duration 18 : 44 - Pace 6:15  min/km - Calories 159
  • 21 Jan - Duration 18 : 41 - Pace 6:14 min/km - Calories 159
  • 31 Jan - Duration 20 : 39 - Pace 6:54 min/km - Calories 155
  • 2 Feb - Duration 18 : 55 - Pace 6:18 min/km - Calories 160
Note : By this time, I think I need to change certain strategies like try the 3 weeks running cycle, vary the tracks and daily routines, because the pace improved only tiny bit. Or maybe I'm being too annoyingly impatient for a result ? So I'm going to add second challenge :

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Second Challenge :
Run 5k under 30 minutes. Based on the same chart, I should manage to achieve 24:40 for a 5km run. So I'm going to aim for below 30 minutes to reach 5km in a run :

  • 19 Jan - Duration 37 : 47 - Pace 7:33 min/km - Calories 249
  • 22 Jan - Duration 33 : 11 - Pace 6:38 min/km - Calories 255
  • 26 Jan - Duration 35 : 16 - Pace 7:03 min/km - Calories 256
  • 4 Feb - Duration 34 : 34 - Pace 6:55 min/km - Calories 259
  • 6 Feb - Duration 35 : 15 - Pace 7:02 min/km - Calories 254
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Plus point : Use runkeeper app, it's free and easy to use. You can track your distance and pace. Or you can just use timer - set up a timer using your phone/watch and reach the distance, most running parks in KL have distance indicator. 

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Why do we run?

We run from our demons and race to discover our potential. We combat middle age, forget ex-partners and escape the nine-to-five melancholy. We desire to find purpose in pain. We seek strength in solitude. We long for fraternity forged in the wilds. We believe in the power of one foot in front of the other. We love to move, for the joy of exploration knows no bounds. We seek to be humbled by nature’s surreal splendor. We honor our ancestors and our God. We aim to find our limits and push past them.

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Plant Project : Succulents


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By now, I should have around 7 succulents, but 2 died because I over-watered them in the earlier part  of the project when I was learning them. I usually water them once/twice a week or when I see the upper part of the soil is too dried. Not knowing much about planting, some plants weren't properly equipped with proper drainage - that leave them with damp soil in the deeper part causing their roots to rot and die. Hm. 

But, I'm not giving up over some failures, I'm still going to learn as much as I can. I bought another succulents siblings of 4 for RM 3.50 yesterday at a little nursery near Ampang Point : 


I just transferred these 4 into a ceramic bowl with zeolites instead of normal soil so I can avoid over-watering them after this : 


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Propagating :

Several weeks ago I started collecting accidentally fallen leaves from these succulents for propagation. I was a bit skeptic - I didn't feel like this could actually work but I saw people were doing it over Pinterest. So I took 2 leaves from my mom's succulent and put them on a soil, left it next to the window where it can receive sunlights. I sprayed water every morning and sometimes at night if the soil is too dry.

One completely withered and died, another one started rooting. 
This is after around 2 weeks, with new tiny roots! :


So it actually might work ! Although it is a very super-slow process, I'm excited to see this improvement. I'll keep this post updated for any news. These are other accidentally fallen leaves that I collected :



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Minka killed :
2 batches of Okra/Bendi - around 14 seedlings
3 persimmon seedlings
5 pomegranate seedlings
1 little chili plant

=.= 
So I bought 1 rounded-chili plant and rosemary. Pegaga is too cute to be eaten just yet, but I started using rosemary in my cooking now. I'm still considering to use these plants for cooking - it feels a bit barbaric to pick some leaves and throw it in my cooking. Hm. Is it possible for plants to actually feel pain?

I also make use of fallen leaf from Aloe Vera - and put it on my dried heels. From 1 tiny dying Aloe Vera that I rescued from my mom's home, now I have 6 more little babies from the same plant. See? I can also do right with some of the plants.

Doodle : Fennec


I found images of baby fennec fox from pinterest, and fell in love right away. They look like both dog and cat, which I both adore. But they are categorized as wild animal and even considered as exotic, definitely not suitable for a pet. I don't think they can be as loving as other domestic animals.


They came from a small member of canine family eg : dog, fox, wolf, jackal. Not commonly kept as pets though. They behave more-or-less like dog, but probably much wilder. *like the 2 weeks I kept Minka, a ferret, it wasn't all awww-cute and flowery. Let wild animals stay wild in the wilderness. 


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Here is an illustration of baby fennecs :

I imagine living near the wilderness, having my own garden for plantations and breeding my own livestocks. Every morning I can listen to the sweet wild birds and insects singing the nature's song. And I'll have a huge collection of books, and a small little family. With some cats, that maybe grew up with tamed foxes and a huge dog to guard the house. Ohh, and a river. 

Ppbrtttt, who actually need a wifi? :p

Book : Murakami San no Tokoro Website


If there is even a tiny chance for me to talk directly to one of my favorite author, Haruki Murakami, I'm going to make use of it. There's this project called : Murakami san no tokoro or (Mr. Murakami's place) started 2 days ago where people can write to him 1. asking him a question, 2. tell him something, 3. ask him his places or 4. talk about cats.  

He will accept submissions until this 31st January and will try to answer questions up the following 2 months. He will also read all emails and answer it himself. Although all in Japanese, I tried using Google Translate for the whole website to read some replies *not much can I get from direct translation, but oh well.

I wrote to him something personal, not expecting any reply - because it was not even a question, but it was something I want to tell him personally :D Never thought this chance would come. 

I received a generic reply to my email for the submission :


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This feels ah-mazing 

Doodle : Flowered Skin


“I realized that the longing for art,
 like the longing for love, 
is a malady that blinds us, 
and makes us forget the things we already know, 
obscuring reality.” 
 by Orhan Pamuk

Current read : The Museum of Innocence

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Original image from unknown pinner, 
doodled on intuos by me.

Books : Jodi Picoult


I started reading Jodi Picoult in the year 2004, right after I finished my SPM exam. I remember wanting to step to another level, from Young Adult books to Adult's Fiction. At that age, it was a huge deal because adult's fiction was a whole new world for me. That's why I remember my very first fiction that I bought more than 10 years ago. It was at Popular's, in South City Plaza - the one that was closed several years back by now. 

I remember slowly walking at different bookshelves than before, trying to find one book that wouldn't be too hard for me. Next thing I know, I was holding "My Sister's Keeper". The next 2 weeks, I was hooked. I didn't know it was possible for all complicated things to be merged into one book. There were topics about relationship - between husband and wife, between children and parents, between siblings, between judges and society, also topic about ethics in medical choices and law. So I learned difficult medical terms and possible law cases - but all in a fiction. 
  
The rest is history. 

I collect almost all of her books, except for her first three*. She publishes a book every year, usually the hard cover version will be available in the middle of every year, so I'll wait for a paperback version for another 9 months or the year after it was published, when my sister give me the latest book as my birthday present. Other than that, I prefer a normal cheaper paperbacks.

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Like all authors, there are good books, and there are not-so-good books. 


List of all her books :

Songs of the Humpback Whale (1992) | Harvesting the Heart (1994) | Picture Perfect (1995)*
Mercy (1996)
The Pact (1998)
Keeping Faith (1999)
Plain Truth (2000)
Salem Falls (2001)
Perfect Match (2002)
Second Glance (2003)
My Sister's Keeper (2004)
Vanishing Acts (2005)
The Tenth Circle (2006)
Nineteen Minutes (2007)
Change of Heart (2008)
Handle With Care (2009)
House Rules (2010)
Sing You Home (2011)
Lone Wolf (2012)
The Storyteller (2013)
Leaving Time (2014)

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My least favorite would be :
Keeping Faith | Second Glance | Sing You Home | Lone Wolf

*My favorite are* :
My Sister's Keeper
Mercy
The Pact
19 Minutes
House Rules
Handle with Care
Leaving Time

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By far I think I've been the longest with her and I learned her ways of making stories throughout all the readings I've done. Although some of her fictions are predictable after awhile, most of the time I was hooked by how well can she finds ways to make readers feel connected to the story. Some were deeply moving, I cried reading some of the books like Mercy and the latest, Leaving Time. The best part is I can cry over a book and they are not sappy love stories.

She makes me feel like I can relate with so many things that I never thought of. Only some good authors managed to do that. She played with her words and feelings, and might as well be a great psychologist for understanding various types of people's feelings because she mostly uses first-person narrative in all her books. *for me, first-person narration is one of the hardest, but also the strongest way to connect the reader with the character - because you grow to know the character directly from them, how else can you learn to know a person if not by knowing them?

PS :
I just finished her latest : Leaving Time last night, good twist, Jodi.
Now let's move to other new books for 2015.

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Doodle : Wacom Tablet


I think it's time to upgrade my almost 6 years old - Wacom Bamboo. It's impressive how the device actually work with me all these years without so much drama. I've been eyeing the office's Intuos since my boss bought us one for the work's use and maybe I'll buy one? :F

And here are some illustrations that I've made for fun on ceramic images from Pinterest :

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Image from Dana Bechert's ceramic :


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image from Mushimegane's Book :



Hello !

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Little Things 165 : Hatred & Pain


There are certain types of pain that I haven't been able to control yet: 
  1. Human hatred among each other for any reasons : ethnicity, religion, skin colour, political preferences and such. 
  2. People attacking, killing and hurting one another through words, attitudes, behaviors, actions, whether indirectly or directyly. 
  3. Those fear and mistrust among us. 

Why we keep on putting so much energy on hatred when we can all love each other? This world will be a lot safer and nicer. We might even go throughout this life with peace at heart. I'm not sure whether I'm questioning the entire human race or I'm questioning God? If we are here for unknown reasons, continuing all things that were written from the start, then what's the point of having these questions at all? Mere questions to keep my mind in inner battle? Is this, a test that I need to learn to solve? 

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The problem is I can feel the pain of others, it's pounding in my heart. And I can feel hatred, or jealousy, or even fear among people. I feel. It is one thing that I'm not sure whether to feel gifted or cursed. 

Emotion and feelings can take me whole. They feel like something that aren't yours entirely, and you know they come from other people around you. You feel them, and you don't know what to do with it. Sometimes, you know that they are in so much pain, and you wish you can help them ease the pain but you have nothing in your power to do much. You have to close your eyes and pretend that nothing is happening because you can't help everyone.

There was this one time, when I'm about to make a big decision in my life that will effect other beings. I didn't tell people how much pain I felt from those that I was hurting. I didn't tell people how their feelings consumed my heart, but I listened, and I felt. So I decided to let go. The aftermath was bad, but not as bad as if I decided to choose that path. That was when I've heard too much and I felt too much energy being thrown to me at once. That was the last of it, I stone-heartedly learned to block of all the connections afterwards. 

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But this hatred among human race is huge. It's accumulated throughout the entire population. It feels like they are chanting, slowly at first, and it is beginning to sounded like shouts. I don't know how to make them stop. 

They are hurting each other. 
Can't they see?



Quotes : Thorin Oakenshield


As Thorin said to Bilbo :
Go back to your books, your fireplace. Plant your trees, watch them grow. If more of us valued home above gold, it would be a merrier world.

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Put love in your heart.

Little Things 164 : Weekend Birthday


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I'm officially 28 last weekend, while my younger sister turned 23.
So we celebrated together like we always did. Saturday with ma, and Sunday with my dad & close family members. 2 days of presents, feast and love. 

A day spent with my mom & siblings on Saturday, with my yearly favorite food ie: Johnny's - *my sister complained that I keep on requesting the same thing every year :D We ate, opened some presents, and ate some more and watched the final Hobbit at the cinema. Honestly, I watched the movie several days before, so I dozed for more than half of the movie.

While on Sunday, my dad planned for a small BBQ party like the 'old days'. I remember I used to enjoy 'hari bakar2' and 'hari rebus2' while I was small because we'll have a reason to seat together merrily while we cook and eat foods. We hardly have that these days. 

Delicious chicken and lamb marinated with salt, pepper and yogurt. There was also the famous spagetthi, fruit & potato salad, and we baked some chocolate moist cakes. 

It was the time for my tokmak, aunts, uncle, and cousins to meet 'the fiance' :F 

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It was a good birthday party among my family members. Too bad my brother isn't around, usually he'd be the most excited one in any big events. I'm planning to meet him soon. 
Please, please, please, make this happen. 

These are little mulberries :


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I bet he'll regret for agreeing to let me post pictures of him online. 
Can't be so mysterious anymore, ah? 

Plant Project : Zeolites & Present


Planting Journal :

All my bendi seedlings are dead. I blame it all on Minka. I don't like her as much as before now and I can't wait to give her back to my boss today =.= Anyhow, I planted another 6 of new bendi seeds and another batch of white alyssum. 

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I've also started training my bonsai under wires. Not much of things that I can do other than pulling it up several centimeters more to make the root floats. Maybe need to hunt for another fresh looking moss for the base. 

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Ma collected unused bowls and glass bottles for my mini garden. After several months of try-and-error gardening, now I understand the importance of proper drainage for plants. That is, to have proper pots with tiny holes so that soils won't be too dampened by water and to find alternative for soil. My dad sell zeolites so I'm making used of his products. I'm using zeolites for all the bottles and bowls and cups without proper drainage system. Not sure about the scientific explanation, but somehow zeolites will absorb water and nutrients, plants will absorb only what's needed - so the best part are :
1. I only need to water them 2-3 times a week
2. No more over-watering



I agree, all plants in the zeolites are healthy looking now and growing up fast. While all plants in the soil, some died because of overwatering, some looking a bit slump or yellow - it's a daily battle. 
Here, this is how they look like in zeolites :


If you are interested to know more about zeolites or pet plants, send me an email. Should really consider to put extra goodness in the things that you care about. 

Wiki :
In agriculture, zeolite is used as a soil treatment. It provides a source of slowly released. If previously loaded with ammonium, the zeolite can serve a similar function in the slow release of nitrogen. Zeolites can also act as water moderators, in which they will absorb up to 55% of their weight in water and slowly release it under the plant's demand. This property can prevent root rot and moderate drought cycles. 

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And for another birthday present from my little sister, she gave me a mini DIY terranium. I received a glass jar, several types of pebbles and stones, wood bits, cactus soil and 2 little succulents *one with a sign of under-watering. Tiny cactuses/succulents can actually cost around RM3-5 if you buy at local nursery, not sure how much she spent for a DIY terranium, I'm guessing it wasn't so cheap. 

But, the thought matters. I love that rare looking succulents on the left. And I had fun playing it yesterday. Can't wait for future succulent babies. 



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Books : The Strange Library


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Early present came from my person 
I actually begged him since we saw the book in the bookstore weeks ago. Never thought the latest Murakami came out so soon in Malaysia - *Dec 2014. Last year I bought the latest "Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of Pilgrimage" - the Japanese version actually came out in 2013 and it was being translated to English and later published afterwards in 2014. So for me, 2 books by the same author is like a double bonus - *even though I've never experience double bonus in my life - yet.

It is another one of his short story, not his famous lengthy fiction. But at least I can slow down my craving for his works for awhile. Take note : obsession. 


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The book is quite pricey than other paperback due to all the graphics in it : I think it is more like a children story book than an adult fiction. And I only saw 2 versions - I personally prefer this version. This is the one that has been published by Harvill Secker. 

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I don't see anything hipstery in reading Murakami, maybe it is widely known and overly talk-about these days, maybe he wrote things that are too deep to understand or too simple? I'm not sure how it came across one another - as one of the bookaholics, I stand to defend that reading books is far from seeing as someone cool or hipstery. Especially Murakami's. Book nerds and hipsters don't stand next to each other, so I think people should stop calling book nerds with another new label : I don't know what other bookaholics think, but I don't like it. 

I'm a book nerds, I breathe written words, I love authors, I spend money and time with books, I'm not cool or trying to be one. A down-right pure book nerd, not cool - period. 

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Review will be posted later after I ate it.
Thank you 

Hello 2015 : New Website


I'm compiling random things for a new blog or we can call it a mini website.
Just for a fun little project. There are several main categories : Books, Plants, Design, Technology, Places, Fitness and Things. And I'm recruiting anyone who loves listing things and curating beautiful stuffs or if you even want to try for one guest post.

Ps : No money involved, only to spend my extra free time to learn the process of making website, design stuffs super-slowly and create beautiful things at the same time. 

Anyone interested, please email me at : azreen_31@hotmail.com or comment below.

I promise you, it would be awesome and beautiful.

Little House 3 : Colourful Popcorn Shower


Another beautiful thing;
cold new year's eve, Kodaline, and colourful popcorn shower of fireworks with a clear view of the KL city from my huge window. A beautiful start for a brand new year. Happy 2015.