Most Fascinating Things of 2016

Year rewind 2016 post is an annual blogging tradition to record the things that capture my naturally short attention for more than two episodes of TV shows.

#1 The Minimalist Podcast

The things you own end up owning you.

– Joshua Fields Millburn.

Ever since I moved to Melbourne I have been subconsciously replacing the sound of Amma at home, Che’s at work, and Kiwi’s over the weekend with podcasts. Somehow, these highly entertaining random strangers’ voices make Melbourne expat life feel less lonely. After some time, the regular ones were not enough to keep me company, so I subscribed to more random stranger’s voices such as My Dad Wrote a Porno and Burn Your Passport. It’s then, I stumbled on The Minimalist.

Minimalism is not a new concept for me. I have dabbed into it along with vegetarianism during MySpace are, right before I turned into a Goth Chick, which lasted longer than the brief stint of the above-mentioned vegetarianism.

Minimalism has come and go, through Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, Leo Babatoa’s Zen Habits, and Xandra’s Heroine in Training, but it’s The Minimalist that rooted this concept in my mind.

I really loved their approach. They practice what they preach, they don’t take themselves too seriously, they share a lot of their lives that makes me feel I have shared it with them.

Ever since I subscribed to the minimalist podcast I have been practicing more positive behavior, including being a little less materialistic, a little calmer, and selfless. I also removed unnecessary things from life as much as possible, including donating two boxes (with two more to go this week) to the Salvation Army which made me feel really good.

If you are going to dip your toe into minimalism, may I suggest to start their eye-opening film called Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things.

#2 Spark Joy

Packing and giving away the four bags mentioned above was made easier by Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy method. I bought and neglected to read the book only to pick it up back again after the guys in the Minimalist podcast mentioned it in the passing. The Marie Kondo organizing method teaches us to keep only the items that spark joy in our lives and to let go of all other items which are no longer serve us.

Such a basic but profound concept, don’t you agree? And I think we can extend her method not only for things but all aspects of our life, including our social circles, relationships, belief system, and work-life balance.

Keep it simple, keep it joyful. For me, it feels like the next level of minimalism.

Another life-changing point taken from the book is to treat each item as if it has a soul. To greet the house, to thank the clothes, to feel the books. I was flabbergasted when I read this, because other than hanging out with Miaw, naming the Christmas tree, and talking to the TV, I didn’t treat my other possessions with respect 😦 These days I keep reminding myself to appreciate and love each of my belongings (otherwise I should give it away). One way is by greeting our home, which I proudly named Hogwarts, whenever I am leaving or coming back. In the first week, this gesture flabbergasted Fafa. Now he is used to it.


I am sure you too have been hearing the Danish word Hygge all over the internet recently.  It’s definitely it word of the season. I think the concept behind Hygge, the celebration of the cozy feeling, makes it so much easier to be loved and cherished. Even Oxford Dictionary shortlisted it as one of the words of 2016.

It took me just one article, actually only the first half if I am being honest, to adapt Hygge as if it’s my birthright, ignoring the fact that I am not a Danish nor do I live in Denmark. Heck, I grew up in a tropical country, for god sake but man, all the coziness campaign? That’s me. That’s how I want to feel, how I want to be. All the time. Inside out.

That’s what I kept yelling at Fafa “I want to be Koko!” all this while. Koko is my own invented word which represents my version of cozy, be it a blanket, warm shower, or an extra spoon of tea leaves.

In pursuit of Danish’s Hygge (aka my Koko) I have bought and burned a copious amount of candles, agreed to get an uber cozy but completely unnecessary armchair (which goes against my minimalism pursuing self), and constantly checking my own comfort level in various situations (at least the last one is a positive habit).

If you are not familiar with Hygge, check out the millions of articles on the internet or The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well by Meik Wiking.

#4 T2Tea’s Gone Surfing Tea

I am a fan of tea. That’s barely news, I have mentioned it here many times before. But do you know that I am a little obsessed with the Melbourne born, fancypants tea store, called T2Tea?

You guys, this place is a tea lover’s heaven! It has everything I have ever wanted as a tea enthusiast (hey, I am allowed to refer to myself as a tea enthusiast because I have attended a tea festival, ha!).

Going to the T2Tea store is a treat. A treat for all the senses. The clinking sound of the cups, the smell of tea leaves, the vibrant colors all around, the taste of free cups of tea… Oh, man, I could stay there for hours!

I have tried plenty of tea brands here in Australia from the hipster kind to the ones sold in a Chinese fine dining restaurant, but nothing is comparable to T2Tea’s quality. And among the seasonal and the ones I bought based on my mood or current need, our house always stoked with Gone Surfing. That, my friends, is the best thing $22 can buy. Gone Surfing has a phenomenal calming and lullabying effect.

So far, I have converted Appa and Jik to the power of Gone Surfing. If you ever bump into the T2Tea store, promise me you will do at least two things: 1) Go inside the store and feel the buzz 2) get yourself a box of Gone Surfing.

Hey, did you notice that my most fascinating things in 2016 started in B&W and starting to show more and more colors? Well, the last one (for this first part, at least) will seal the deal with its honk if you love color sign.

#5 UncostuMARY

Last year it was Twinkie Chan and this year my one-sided internet bestie is.. Mary from UncostuMARY. Once upon a time, needing a short break from the mundane work, I googled fun office stationeries and landed on her website. After bookmarking 50 ways to improve your office article and reading a few more of her posts on the same day, I officially become a fan.

I have been visiting Uncustomary daily with more hours spent combing through the fifteen hundred blog posts during bad or stressful days.  Her writing, attitude, and super fun pictures never fail to cheer me up. It also serves as a reminder to celebrate the little things and inspires me to enjoy life more. Much more by if we go by Mary’s standard.

If you ever need a quick but lasting pick me up or a happiness-inducing inspiration, type Uncustomary on your google search. Or better yet, just open another tab now and check it out. So far, I have signed Miaw up for a sleepover party (BEST IDEA EVER!!!) and got her book, This Is About You, as a Christmas gift. The next step would be to BFF Mary. Oh well, what’s the harm in asking her, right?

You guys, Imma make myself some Gone Surfing tea and drop her a “hey internet friend, let’s be IRL friend?!” message.

One thought on “Most Fascinating Things of 2016

  1. Pingback: Flights, Chariot, Action! | New Normal Notes

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