Saturday, November 19, 2016

Just trying out the new emojis!! / Also, being adult these days

12 years later on blogger, finally I've got emojis to play with!

😂😂

I've been a loyal user of this platform, not because there are no other better platforms to use... but rather because I'm too lazy to change the entire thing. It has gone through numerous breakups, facelifts, templates, enhancement .. from a fun thing, to "I have now gone to not being able to live without" this space thing.

See, I talk a lot.
I think a lot too.

Sometimes I need to contain myself from talking so much about what I think.
So I learn to describe things better in words, I write, throughout the years, throughout the lives.

And when everything changes, this space hasn't.

I still bear a lot of honesty, a lot of truth, a lot of me in this space. *hugs my blog*

And I work a lot. Monday - Sunday, sometimes even up to 18 hours a day 😔 Writing is my past time, that no one can PAY me. I mean yes, you can pay me for brand write ups and content marketing *hint*, but my life and all its honesty that I share here have no price to it 💖

These days, I'm still busy traveling mostly for work, keeping my job to heart, and my past times closer. My social life has gone down the drain, because all I ever do is work, go home, watch SATC (which has saved my mental health), sometimes listen to music depending on what savage or emo mood I'm in and play with my cats 👇👇. AT BEST - eat dinner / chill with some friends, but even that once in a very, very blue moon.

Which is far more valuable really 💓


BUT GUYS. 

Even my cats are getting more action................................ 😒😒😒😒

I like to be by myself these days. Or rather I have no choice since everyone (I like to hangout with) is also so busy 😂 And I'm always on the move 😏😏

The gang that have always loved me.


That night Jessy and I decide to spend RM 150 for a night run, which really we thought was mostly for the concert after - featuring a few Korean megastars (wasn't sure how to feel about these, I did danced 💃💃 and walao they had lots of fans), Sonaone !!! 💓💓💓 and Taboo. My initial objective was to catch Yuna for the concert, the run though was a decoy for us to exercise which was excellent I get to bond with my sister too, but Yuna only came for the pre-run (which I missed, went to Swee's wedding) so Sonaone came.

Just aint the same no more. Just aint the same no more 💃💃


And if I'm not in KK, I'm in my second home taken care by the LOVELIEST, SWEETEST Kee. She makes Sandakan my second home, treating me to the best places for lunch, dinner, and most importantly, giving me the company she thought I'd always needed 😙

But I'm always fine eating by myself 😂 I love the peace I have with my own thoughts.
And the no judgement on my choices of breakfast.

Like eating cheese with my chocolate croissant.


Otherwise, I'm busy helping with the flowers.

Which really harnesses my creative side 😉😜😵




Okaylah I didn't use much emojis also la hehehehe . Words still > emojis  🙌🙌

Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Free half day tour in return for English sessions in Hanoi!

A week before actually travelling to Hanoi I spent my days, nights, hours and seconds Googling about everythhingggg. It was like a crash course of Hanoi. Where to stay? Where to eat? What to do?! Rush, rush, rush, type, type, type. 

It was the fastest itinerary I've ever done!


Even though I had saved enough, I was still very thrifty at that time after having to travel to Shanghai, to KL and then to Hanoi. I was stubborn so I tried to push the envelope of travelling for my birthday as well while keeping it minimum. Always travel within your means guys or you'll have to swallow your own saliva.

While I was busy looking out for the best deals possible online - I read tons of blogs, I even found my dear Tho and was immediately attracted to how she wrote and spoke about food! Please follow her at tholovesfood.wordpress.com :) While getting lost in all of the blogs, which I diligently read line by line, I saw people talking about HanoiKids.org which offered free half day or full day tours around Hanoi.

FREE TOURS?!

What's the catch?!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Making our own cement bags with a local!

When we decided to visit Siem Reap, I was adamant about doing sustainable tourism. I wanted to do something for the local community or with the local community but I simply just didn't know how to go about it. All I had in mind was it to be something to do with art and community.

Thankfully, I found BackStreetAcademy.com while I was heavily browsing online searching for "sustainable tourism in Siem Reap". I was hesitant about booking a tour supposedly hosted by the locals and coordinated by an online channel. But after going through it's impeccable website with all the information I needed to know and the 5* reviews on Tripadvisor... I was convinced that this was the next best thing. After all, how else do we make decisions these days!

Why

I wanted to choose a family bonding activity with mummy and sister, one can never get enough family time, and decided that getting our hands on, picking up a skill and essentially connecting with Cambodian local ladies would be the choice.

I kept the entire activity a secret right up till our local host came and started laying down all our materials on the floor. Jessy and mum were guessing all sorts of things. Nothing they could ever imagined of course hehe.

WE'RE SEWING OUR OWN BAGS!
*shifty eyes*

CEMENT BAGS!
*jaws dropped*

What

"Personalized Cement Bags with a Local Seamstress". 

I chose this activity because it is just SO unique and the fact that it is in collaboration with Angkor Handicraft Association (AHA) which serves as a platform for local Cambodians to craft their art / pieces for living is an obvious choice my thing! After Chris telling me about the cement bags, I couldn't stop thinking about it. There were two sessions, we chose the one in the morning because knew we would be energized in the morning... and to avoid the afternoon heat.

None of us ever learned how to make bags, handle a sewing machine, let alone sewing cement bags with a sewing machine! It was so indie, hipster altogether. But that was the whole idea of picking up a completely random and localised activity to connect us three ladies. And it's SO empowering to be hosted by two of the most amazing, most beautiful, most talented and most hilarious Cambodian ladies, Sreyren and Sreymom! They really lit up our day. Even mum was warmed by Sreyren! (and it's difficult to warm mum up :P)

Everytime I meet amazing ladies like them I get even more convinced at how different, how beautiful each and every woman is in this world.

How

I registered with the website for free, and proceeded to communicate with the hosts / team about the activity via the website. The initial communication between BSA and me in the website itself were swift, smooth and very helpful. I get notifications when they replied, so that really helped. I asked them about the place, the directions, which you can opt for Tuk Tuk.

Location

Bear in mind some of the locations of these local tours are remote, and odd so always communicate that in your messages. One of the reason why I decided on this association was because it wasn't very far from where we stayed, proximity is key when it comes to deciding an activity for me. We took the Tuk Tuk and it was only about 20 mins ride from where we stayed.

Cost 

For the three of us, it cost USD 26 / RM 104 which include the activity, learning how to sew and of course the bags we made ourselves! I thought it was really reasonable, especially if it could turn as a souvenir!

But learning how to sew, meet a local and help the community?
PRICELESS. 



I had so much laughs while learning, I loved every bit of the session. Sreyren and Sreymom each had their stories of leaving their village / homes and having their own aspirations and dreams to become an accountant and earning more for their families.

It's so humbling and rewarding to be speaking to these amazing ladies about their dreams. It's always so inspiring to speak to anyone about their dreams! It's like a break from reality.

My only hope is that I get to cross paths with them again in future, and if you ever have to choose a tour, always great to do it this way, and meet the locals!

Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Ladies fashion around the world

Now that I’m older, and presumably wiser, I have built my own opinions on a lot of things and another, style. Most times I am either clad in a simple top with dark pants, pearl earrings and my famous string bag pack. Other times you’ll see me donning something sweeter, mostly in white, I like the clean, crisp and casual feel of a white shirt / top.

Perks of traveling around the world is seeing a lot of interesting things, learning new stuff and eventually exploring new ideas. Food, architecture, people and fashion to name a few are the things that I truly love to observe. I picked up so many new ways of fashioning myself throughout my travels; scarves, bracelets, anklets and a little bit of everything else to mix and match. My style is a cross of bohemian, sweet (pearls, braided long hair) and just chilled.

(unless I'm in the office 9 -6, then, I am in my monkey suit)

This is a rare post of me talking about the ladies fashion around the world that I’ve come across with, but rare is a good thing! I am not always particularly on the lookout when it comes to fashion, but something about some destinations that scream attention and fascination.

From Bali, to Paris, to Venice to Burma. Style and fashion transcends all borders, all ages, all religions and definitely all races. These are some of the interesting things that caught my eye (and that I manage to take photos of!)


Melbourne

Melbourne... is an interesting place.

It's a city truly best described as "melting pot". It's a blend of Pan Asia and Europe and is always upping the notch in its fashion, cafes, restaurants arts and more. I remember a street filled with Greek food, row after row, another with English and another with Asian. It's also one of the place that I discovered world's best Eggs Benedict, that no other could. *salivating

Melbourne's Hosier Lane is famous for its graffiti. I saw one wall that truly reflect the women of today, and I couldn't help but capture the strength but gentleness of women in this photo.

This probably had other layers of meaning, what do you think this meant?



I was walking around the streets of Melbourne with Yuen, after a visit of one of the flea market around the corner when we stumbled upon this interesting shop selling all kinds of knick knacks. They had antiques, thrift clothes, vintage furniture and these interesting glasses.

It's so funky and hip, I don't think you'd see me wearing these anywhere around the street where I live at home, but Coachella and in some other free spirited concerts maybe lol.

Ladies, if sun rays are no issue, and fashion is a statement.
Then do it!




Sunday, October 30, 2016

Eating street in Hanoi

I will be honest. 

My influence to visit Hanoi was inspired by Mr Bourdain (again), not from the legendary visit that the world knew so much, on stools with Mr Obama over Bun Ca. But from No Reservations, after a whole day of crazy at work with a bowl of ice cream thinking how blegh the world could get. That episode, he was in Hoi An, cruising through the buzzing streets enjoying the good things in life; good food.

That looks so good I said.

There are so many good things in life. Like great new friends, new hair, new clothes, a good dinner, some good movies, and GOOD FOOD. This is a terrible introduction, but the food photos are coming, so please bear with me.

I wanted to be more impromptu and spontaneous in life, and this was that trip that I was. I decided on a few days before the actual date, and had very little research. Which is quite unlike me, I usually spend months ahead researching for the places I'm visiting, learning a thing or two about their culture (except for Shanghai of course, this span of a few weeks were the busiest I've been), their food and their language. SO - because I only had one goal in mind; food, and I had no knowledge about it, I decided I was going to ask for help. For the sake of food, I asked for help.

I met Tho online while I was researching for Hanoi street food. I emailed her about my intentions to write about eating street in Hanoi, or just eating in Hanoi in general and she wholeheartedly helped me out. From outlining the places to eat, down right to its location and photos of the places to some history about it. She was an angel.

In ALL of my trips, FOOD has always been one of the main underlying theme. I usually jot down notes on some of the things to try, and where I can try and get them, but in any case that I don't get to experience it, I would be fine with it and move on.

Until, this Hanoi trip. 

I decided, food would be my focus. I weighed in the idea that I would look like a balloon after this trip, but it didn't matter, I wanted to explore this very idea, and this very idea, I explored.

These were some off the food I've tried in Hanoi within the span of a few days. Some things have pork, please take note.

I arrived Hanoi approximately 12pm, just in time for LUNCH. So after check ins, and numerous messages with Tho, I finally met up with Tho, and there was no greater introduction to Vietnam food than the legendary Bun Cha. Never underestimate the connection of food two can make :p We walked towards the streets of Hanoi, zig zagged through the hundreds of bikes and back alleys. I will not remember this place, I told myself. 

Bun Ca at Old Quarter 

That setting, the insides of an alley, by the road on Vietnam's famous stool and small table, was a remarkable intro. This was Bun Ca [(Bun - round rice noodle and Ca (fish) with Ca Cuon (roll) Thit (meat)]. Tho carefully explained to me that the most important thing, "lies in the broth" - and this broth was magical alright. Freshly made and served while hot, it's a stew of fresh Vietnamese herbs, veggies, fried fish, pineapple and tomatoes. With a side of pork wrapped in freshly fried fish dipped into the famous fish sauce enjoyed best with slurps of this soup in between.

Fk, I made myself hungry.

We went to the one around the Old Quarter.

Lo and behold; freshly made bun ca, with cold Vietnam tea and fish sauce. 



^Ca Cuon Tit, pork wrapped in fish