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Mini Escapism : Post Tg. Sepat Video


And because AF loves cinematography, 
he did the 7th Escapism video from our latest mini escapism :


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PS : If you stalk his Vimeo link, you'll see all the videos he made since early 2013. It's a bit annoying la seeing my own face in most of the videos, tapi I rather have that than seeing other woman's faces in his video kan. Sooo, I'm supportive, boleh laa. Ha. 

Hati2, don't stalk him kalau tanak tgk my faces in the videos :D

PS 2 : Oh, and I forgot to mention. he is a freelance video editor and videographer. If you have any fun projects to collaborate please do contact him : ahmadfarikarim@gmail.com

Work Related : Fancy Dinner


The 'bosses' held a small dinner party at Ben's on the last Monday night. 

There were 8 of us, the members of the new-born start-up company. He said thank you, and "let's us go further to reach higher". If this works, then I hope I help create something useful for people to use. The time is ticking, with God's will, I will have another 22 months to make this company one of the super awesome startup in Southeast-Asia. Amin.

But if it fails, then this still one of the best learning process I've ever been in.


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Ohh, and I ordered for Mac & Cheese. 
Their Nachos Libre was nice too, I should learn to make some for movie nights! :F
Note : Always opt for simplest food at fancy restaurant, it works. *jakun mode*

Little Things 211 : 2015


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It's the final week of 2015 ! My 28th year of living.
I made goals every new year so I'll have a target to achieve through out the year. Some people don't believe in "new year - new goals", but I do. I make new goals to be achieved early each year so I have something to work for throughout the year.

I collected some goals in this post: my successes and failures.

It's not for everyone, mostly for my own keeping.
But if you are curious, you can read it whole lots here :

Work Related : Icon Making for Bfab.my


I love making icons. I'm still finding a style that I want to stick to but for now I'm exploring some different options. In the learning process, there will be a lot of unused/unwanted icons so I put it up on my Behance. 

Some icon designers put a lot of effort in the pre-development stages : they do nice hand-drawn sketches in a book and all. I'm still in the stage where I want to explore my styles and learn how people actually do it. My favorite teacher is Dribbble, that's where I find inspiration and nice colour combos. 

Here is the latest simple icon created for Bfab in 'Benefits' section. The left part is the rough sketches I did to show my boss when I explain to him about what I was planning do. While the right part is the icons.



My mistakes :
  • Didn't stick to the 9x9 box while creating the icons, some icons are a bit long - but suitable to be use next to the longer paragraphs. It is just a bit odd when compiled into a gif.
  • Didn't stick to the branding colours - it is supposed to be black and peach, instead of grey and peach. I just thought it looked nicer this way. But later it seems a bit off in the website.
  • I'm not fully satisfied with the style, but I was the one who gave the initial idea in using one-line-icon for the branding. So I guess I need to stick with this for now.

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A compilation :



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Books : Books I read in 2015


I thought I've been leaving Murakami for awhile, later I noticed that I read 8 of his books this year alone. It's been so long, I miss his writings. I'll pray for his good health, long productive years and more books.

This year I found : Elif Shafak, I think I'll obsess over her for awhile while waiting for more of Murakami and other great writers that I haven't found yet. 

This is the list of books that I read throughout this year :
  1. Stieg & Me by Eva Gabrielsson, 2011
  2. Honor by Elif Shafak , 2011
  3. The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli , 2011
  4. Very Good Lives by J.K.Rowling  , 2015
  5. My Wish List by Gregoire Delacourt , 2012
  6. Wind/Pinball by Haruki Murakami - 1979
  7. Delivering Happines by Tony Hseih , 2010
  8. Hello Sandwich : Tokyo Guide by Ebony Bizys , 2015
  9. Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse - 1927
  10. The Amityville Horror Part 2 by John. G. Jones - 1982
  11. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk - 1996
  12. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - 1953
  13. Adultery by Paulo Coelho - 2014
  14. Songs of the Humpback Whales by Jodi Picoult - 1992
  15. After the Quake, Haruki Murakami - 2000
  16. Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami - 1980
  17. After Dark by Haruki Murakami - 2004
  18. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris - 1988
  19. Damn Good Advice by George Lois - 2012
  20. Rework by Basecamp - 2010
  21. South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami - 1992
  22. Displacement, Travelogue by Lucy Knisley - 2015
  23. Underground by Haruki Murakami -1997
  24. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris - 1980
  25. The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk - 2008
  26. Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami - 1985
  27. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult  - 2014
  28. I'll be Seeing You by Mary - Higgin Clarks - 1993
  29. The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami - 2015
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Work Related : How to Survive Open-plan Office


I'm currently working in a new-born start-up company. 
They are great, flexible and full of high hopes. I have new space to explore and need to be ready with everything design-oriented from simple things like social media posts to complicated stuffs like full company branding and UI design. I love the challenge !

But there's a perk in working with a group of startupper; we are currently working in an open-plan office. We don't have our own permanent table and we sit together : from the bosses to the calling center people or admin or even designer *that's me! . They are great people, all of the founders are like-minded enthusiasts, and the team members are friendly and nice. And that's great, I can't deny that. 

But the thing is, I am an introvert.
Being an introvert, I work efficiently in an environment with minimal attention and distraction. I love silence and less people to talk to during my 'focus' time. I am not making excuses, I'm trying to find balance in adapting to my new working environment and feeling good at work.

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Here's what I try to do and maybe you can try it too :

1. Go lunch by yourself :
For several times a week, try to go out for lunch  + short tea time by yourself. You can bring books to read or bring your notebook to doodle stuffs or you can just try to enjoy your lunch doing nothing but eating. That's what I do most of the days, I sometimes go out with them to socialize a bit. But most of the time, I spend my lunch hour reading and eating alone. I have my favorite hiding spots and take the lunch hour break quite seriously.

2. Earphone + Spotify are your bestfriends :
You are easily distracted, I understand. You need to bring your earphone/headphone to work everyday, and download Spotify on your workstation so it's easier for you to choose playlist *youtube uses to much time and ads. You'll have unlimited music libraries for you to listen to. I know it is hard to listen to everyone all at once and having auras accumulated from many peoples around you while you are focusing on your work. So use your music well.

3. Recharge during the weekend :
Stay at home during weekends. You need it, especially if you feel slightly depressed and annoyed with everyone. Maaaybe you don't know it yet, recharging at home doing little things by yourself or with your favorite person will definitely help you recharge. Avoid crowds, avoid malls, avoid events. After 2 days of silent therapy on weekend, you'll be ready for work on Monday.

4. Try to find your spot a bit farther from the 'group' :
In an open-plan office, everyone can sit anywhere. Avoid tables with group of colleagues, and try to find one spot farther than any groups. If you notice, there are people who will sit in with groups all the time, and there will be people who will sit alone. Note that most of the time, people in groups are extroverts - they need people, and people who keep on choosing to sit alone far from groups are usually introverts. Some might be ambiverts, they are naturally adaptable to anything so I won't focus much on them. Remember to respect each other's space.

5. Choose your participation
I understand that most of us are a bit off from the track and we keep to ourselves most of the time. You are in a growing community, choose activities to participate with your colleagues. So it will balance out, the extroverts will feel the joy of people every now and then, and the introverts will get their space as well.


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By far, people know I go out for lunch, bringing my book most of the afternoons and I go down to places without asking anyone during tea break - they haven't asked me anything yet other than mentioning "you go MIA with your book". I hope they will understand :)

Here is an illustrated guide I found online :
An Illustrated Guide to Introverts in a Start-up by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West

Here is the list that wrote everything about me (hah hah hah!):
22 Signs You're Actually An Introvert

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Mini Escapism : Raub + Tanjung Sepat, Selangor

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First mini road-trip : Raub, Pahang

Well, it wasn't entirely a mini escapism because we actually went back to AF's hometown. But it was definitely our first official road-trip because we finally bought a car and we are both married ! :D I guess no more public transport to go back to his kampung for now, and we'll do road-trips all over Semenanjung.

We planned early that week because we haven't went back for almost 3 months - if I'm not mistaken, and no one in his family knew about the car. It was supposed to be a surprise. 

So on that Friday, Selangor was having a public holiday - AF spent his off day at home while I went to work because I work in KL, boohoo. He waited for me until I finished my work. Our start-off point was in Wangsa Maju where we had our dinner. 

AF brought my mini blanket and pillow, we bought some biscuits and everything was ready. I guess we were both too excited. It was almost 9pm when we started our journey. It rained hard on and off the whole way. I was also too nervous to sleep so I chatted with AF the whole way. We arrived several hours later around 11pm-ish.

It was such a short eskapi, so we managed to stopped by at both Raub's towns, the newly built Uitm Raub, and Sungai Chekas. I was so excited to visit the place I went for my home-stay program with Tourism Pahang several years back - *in this post, I haven't even know Af personally :D Interesting to see how comments from my blogs lead to our friendships and marriage. If I didn't go to the home-stay, we might not even know about each other today.


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We actually planned to have a picnic and mandi2 at the river. But Af's parents mentioned about how the place wasn't really suitable for swimming during current rainy season. Even the water looked reddish and muddy from all the rain for the whole month :


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Second mini road-trip : Tanjung Sepat, Selangor

We took that half day from the extra long weekend due to Christmas & Maulidurasul's public holiday to go to Tanjung Sepat, again :D

We both love the place so we just decided to make a second visit, this time only both of us. On second visit, we will usually notice all those things we missed in the first visit : just this time I noticed how dirty the beach was :( Plastics, bottles, dirty foams, everything you don't want to see in such a beautiful place. It is too dirty to even dip your feet in, in case there will be unwanted rashes.

But indah khabar dari rupa, I did take nice photos out of it - the place isn't as clean as it looks in these pictures. I hid it from the eye of my lens :




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We waited for 2 hours for the sunset.
There weren't as many people as in Pantai Morib and I am so glad for that. I think this spot is not commercialized yet, maybe in another year seeing how they are building concrete paths alongside of the beach yesterday. There were several little hand-made wooden chairs and tables so we can just pick a place and rest. Not so many places to eat though. I hope they will do something to clean up the beach.  



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I'm hoping for more random mini road-trips in the future.

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Little Stories 215 : Small Talks 2


I'm really bad with small talks. 
My mind will usually process conversation straight-forwardly, and I'll give honest opinions/answer according to what's being asked. It is safe if you don't ask me the obvious, rather, ask me like you really want to know the answer of your intended question. 

This is some of the awkward situations happened at the office :

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I was in the pantry at the office and I was pouring a big pack of sugar that I just bought for coffee/tea in the sugar container when she greeted me with :

S : Eh, Azreen beli gula?
A : Tak, garam.
S : ... 
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I was cleaning up my table, getting ready to go home, putting my laptop in my bag  when she said :

S : Azreen tak balik lagi?
A : Tak lah, da balik da.
S : ... *awkward

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That one time I went out to lunch with the girls.

One of the girl was eating chicken tandoori with cheese naan, and on the plate were raw onion and cucumber slices. In my mind, I was struggling to stop myself from discussing about why there were those onion and cucumber slices added alongside of the roasted chicken. 

Because : those raw slices of onion and cucumber can detoxify carcinogens on the roasted chicken - those black burned stuffs. It helps neautralize the food, ditto what happened on satay and that's the reason why they added onion and cucumber slices in the first place. How great our ancestors were, kan !

But I didn't. I know which face will they show if I explain those unwanted random fun facts to them. Because I have no idea how to make small talks so I keep on throwing random things that no one wants to know. Ha. This is why this blog exist in the first place, so I can be the geekiest part of me.

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Previous post on Small Talks

PS : Are you bad with small talks?
Or do you know someone that is really bad in making small talks?

Book : Post BBW 2015


I'm going to update this post until I finish all the books I bought from the BBW2015. So I won't have to tell myself that I've been spending a lot of money to buy books that I don't have time to read :p

Current Read : Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

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Previous Read :


Stieg and Me by Eva Gabrielsson and Marie-Francoise Colombani

I first read the book from the Millennium trilogy in 2011, soon afterwards I finished all three books and been reading/researching about the writer, Stieg Larrson. Here are the things that trapped me in the Stieg's fever :
  1. The books were good, really good, captivating and undeniably surprising. When I think about Sweden, I'll imagine a civilized cold-weathered country. Little did I know about anything more than that; the hidden crimes, the mysteries, the unspoken truths. In this trilogy, it gave me those possibilities of the different stories of Sweden. It might be fictitious, it might be based on true story - no one will know. But, God, the story was good ! 
  2. Stieg Larrson didn't even see his success. After he sent all 3 of his manuscripts, he died of heart attack. I can't fathom the idea of having to work on something so hard and didn't have enough time to see the result T^T He got no idea how big it will become.
  3. His 30 years life partner didn't get anything out of it, just because they are not legally married. All the book's rights, money, and all went to his father and half-brother. Their law is so flawed, I feel so angry. It's unfair, it is morally wrong. 
  4. I wish there are more, more to the 3 books. He planned on writing 7 books - but he managed 3, and the 4th one was in the early writing phase when he died. 
This book told a story from Eva's side, what become of the trilogy's rights after the death of Stieg Larsson, how she was coping, what Stieg's father and half-brother did to her. The book was written in 2011, there might be more to what she wrote in the book after it was published. But the latest news I got was - the 4th book is currently on the bookshelves all over the world, despite everyone's disagreement. I wanted to know what had happened, so I bought this book. I'm glad I did.


I learned from this book that the world can be unfair, and everything that you are fighting for might not even worth all the efforts because you might fall, and keep on falling again. You might not even see the good in it and lose all hopes in humanity. Stieg spent all his live fighting for the rights of people, women, the unheard ones, but in the end, his own family betrayed him. People might use you and it is hard to keep on searching for the good in everyone. Money and power, the pure essence of greed in human kind. Be grateful of what you have, nothing is yours to keep.

I decided to not read the forth book : The Girl in the Spider's Web.
As it was fully written and created by someone else, paid only for money and fame. 
If you have enough respect for him, don't buy the book ! It is just a fan-fiction, go download it illegally if you are curious - we steal back what they stole from Stieg Larsson. 

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Book : Big Bad Wolf Dec 2015


Last week on Tuesday we stopped by at Big Bad Wolf after work :D
There were a lot of plans throughout the whole week - and we didn't even have time to run or workout, but we managed to spend around 1 hour at BBW, Mines Convention Center :


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Compared to the previous years, I think I found more familiar books than I expected. There were Nick Hornby, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Orhan Pamuk, Stephen King, Salman Rushdie, Stieg Larsson, Audrey Niffeneggar, Kim Edwards, Khaled Hosseini and so many more. Even though I read almost all of those books, I'm still glad because at least many people can have the chance to buy those affordable books this time :D

For me, I managed to buy :
  • Chronicle of Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, RM 8
  • Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, RM 8
  • Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, RM 8
  • The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak, RM 8
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, RM 8
  • The Little Prince by Antoine Exupery - the special edition with CD read by Viggo Mortensen!, RM 12


I also bought several children books for Af's niece and little siblings ( 2 sticker books + 1 bookset with a panda + squeaky bath book ). They were all so cheap T^T 

I spent around RM 100 for all those books.
Worth the money spent ! 

I spent the night later to plastic-wrapped all the books and reorganize my bookshelves. It's not quite ready for new books but I managed to find some extra space to put them in for now :( I can't wait for a new huge book case for my expanding book family. 

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On the final day of the BBW event on Monday, we went there for the 2nd time :D I promised Af that it would be a quick-scan-thing, but I think we spent almost an hour, again :



This time, I found :
  • Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, RM 10
  • Silent House by Orhan Pamuk, RM 10
  • Stieg & Me by Eva Gabrielson, RM 8
  • In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut, RM 8

I spent  almost RM 40 this time.
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I was so happy when I found this book. I've been wanting this since it came out but I didn't buy it because it was too pricy *even if I buy it online. But I bought this for only RM 10 at BBW ! I started reading this blog that compiles all the daily habits of awesome people in the world - architects, musicians, filmmaker, writers, philosophers, etc. But the guy stopped writing and published the book instead :(


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If you are into the Millennium trilogy aka "The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo", about the sudden death of Stieg Larsson after he sent his manuscript to be published and never knew how popular it will be, about his 32 years life partner - Eva and how she got nothing out of it because they weren't married, and all the book's rights were given to his not-even-close father and step brother - that they later paid other writer to co-write the 4th book that just came out several months back *whathehell.. 

Then this is your type of book, because it tells the story from Eva's side.

My current read :


I can't thank you BBW enough for all the awesome books for this event. 

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Oh, I also got 2 RM 10 vouchers for Unity ASEAN Lantern & Music Show in Mines. I can't wait ! The event started on the 11th Dec 2015 until 22nd Feb 2016, 7.30 - 12pm and it opens on public holidays, Fridays and weekends :D


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Little Stories 214 : Nani


My current best friend every time I went back to Af's hometown in Raub is his 9 years old cousin, Nani. I first met her 2 years ago when she was 7-ish and she's still in her innocent age when every thing she says are cute and innocent. We will hang-out together most of the time, it's like having a young sister all over again :D 

I usually bring back new activity books and my younger sister's old novels for her to read because I wanted her to start her reading habit. Ha. I know that I started to read extensively when I first started to read by myself so I'm just trying my luck here.

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Last weekend when we were both in the car, we had a conversation about school and math :
Me : Kg..
Nani : Kg tu kilogram kan?
Me : ml ?
Nani : ml tu mililiter.
Me : km ?
Nani : kilometer !
Me : cm ?
Nani : Centigram
:D
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While we were waiting in the car and she was reading a neon signboard along the shoplots :

Nani : U..R..U..T, URUT.. T..A..H..I, TAHI. "URUT TAHI" ! 
The whole car laughed when we heard this.
It was supposed to be "URUT THAI".

Now everytime I saw a Thai Massage signboard, it will remind me of URUT TAHI.

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Book : Honor by Elif Shafak


1.  Back in Popular Book Fair at Viva Mall two months ago, I bought Elif Shafak's book : Honor for RM 5. I've been seeing one of her book : The Bastard of Istanbul for quite some time and remember it because of its peculiar title written by a Middle Eastern writer. The name got stuck in my mind without I noticed. So when I saw "Honor" by Elif Shafak for only RM 5, I just picked it up and bought it.

2. On my random TEDtalk class while I was working, I found Elif Shafak's video listed in one of the playlist for aspiring writers. That's when I found out that she is a woman, she came from the Middle-East and she grew up in many European countries. I fell in love with her talk and found it inspiring enough to start reading the book right-away - to see whether she's really good. 

Here's the video :

 

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3. I just finished the book last weekend after a month (alternate reading with : The Art of Thinking Clearly). I read several final chapters in one shot - I was hooked with the story and been waiting for the ending. I was also totally shocked by the unpredictable ending ! I've been reading so many books in my life and I usually know what to expect but this was different. It was a bit confusing at first because there was so many characters in each individual story but those stories were interesting enough for me to make an effort in remembering who's who. And she crafted all the stories beautifully.

4. I'm inspired, I fell in love. So I bought : The Architect's Apprentice at Big Bad Wolf last week for RM 8. I was searching for other books from her as well : The Forty Rules of Love or The Bastard of Istanbul but I did't find it - yet. I will definitely try those books as well. I found new love before the year ends  


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Note : It's my 28th book from my 28 books goal for 2015 ! 
Another 17 days left before new year, I hope you reached your reading goal :D 
I'm getting ready for my 29 books for next year. 


Little Things 210 : Having You



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That's the thing, I never thought I would reach this phase.
The phase where everywhere is home when I'm with you.

I no longer feel the need to run. To leave. All those places I longed to explore are now meaningless if I can't have you next to me. I used to be so independent. So certain. I could go everywhere, leave everything and start a new. I guess not anymore. It feels like there's no point of leaving everything on my own.

That's what love makes me feel.

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This is yet the best thing that God sent to me for my short stay in this life,
And I can't thank You enough.

Mini Escapism : Tanjong Sepat, Selangor

It was Shazni's aka Nerdless Art's wedding. 
I'm not quite fond of weddings but he came to my wedding last May with his friends - all the way from KL to Pekan *there were only a few friends that came, him included. So I felt the need to show up to his big day, I didn't even argue with Ma :D 

So all of us readied ourselves that Sunday morning. The wedding was held in Tanjong Sepat, around 40+km from our house. We wore our specially-made Batik from ma, the one that she made for my wedding event - *for her and my siblings. The mixture of red, purple and black, it was custom-hademade sewn into a kurung modern. We actually even got a small sling bag matched with the clothes as well.
Food was good, the event was nice.

On our way back, we stopped by at Kampung Batu Laut to take some pictures. We randomly stopped the car when we saw reachable nice view, it wasn't even the place to hangout kot because no one was there compared to Pantai Morib not quite far from the location. And air tengah surut! Even better. There were a lot of tiny crabs, the wind blown so strong and we took a LOT of pictures. Because it was such a beautiful-beautiful place :



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Definitely a place for us to do road-trips in the near future  



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Here is a picture of us :



We also stopped by at Pantai Morib afterwards for cendol and fresh coconut drink. It was packed with people spending time with families. Food stalls were everywhere, people playing roller blades and scooter, flying kites and bubbles. The view wasn't even half as good as the place that we stopped by. Too bad, they kinda missed out this :
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Little Stories 213 : Yess and No


I'm illustrating for the second travelogue project *after this one. So I've been super ridiculously busy. Busy as in either I stayed up until 3 am or I woke up at 4.30 am in the morning, after or before work, every day. Depends on how exhausted I was after the whole day of working, commuting and exercising.

The new full-time job is also taking up my time at the office, I hardly lazying off doing nothing because there's always things to do. Another new born in process ! I hope it will be launched soon. I miss my old lunch session with the girls, but works up here is a bit overwhelming lately. I managed to have my silent lunch staring at food alone after trying to mix-around with my new colleagues for the last 2 weeks *wohoo!. What's hard about working in a small team is we know each other no matter what - and there's no reason for me to avoid lunches together. Kan. So having my first lunch with myself is a liberating achievement.

Here's to my 256kl rice set that includes gohan, miso soup and chawamushi for RM 7+.


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And my Etsy shop is picking up the crowds again, I guess due to the upcoming Christmas celebration and people starting to find things in Etsy and stumbled on my little shop. I feel sorry for all my sticker buyers, because they keep on receiving it later than it should. It's slow snail season - and I'm pretty occupied T^T

Plus we just bought our first petite car, decent enough for our use. So to re-balance my financial backup plan, I need to work things up with another project or two. >,<

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After that we'll be planning on our monthly road-trips ! 
We didn't know where to explore in KL or near our area, and to feed our exploration cravings before our next trip in April, local road-trips it is. I'll make sure we will explore throughout the whole Semenanjung so AF won't have any excuses to plan on bigger exploration with me more often. Hah hah hah. Genius.


On my worst side *because I'm far from perfect :

  • I still don't like cars and driving. It stresses me out.
  • I missed all my series and movie session because I don't have time =.=
  • I'm hungry all the time, it's ridiculous.
  • I still can't wake up in the morning after staying up late working - like seriously.