Goodbye Brown Box

I went through my to-do list today and saw “brown box” as one of the things to tick-off today. “brown box” has been in my to-do list for months now. Being rescheduled every time it shows up on the day’s agenda.

The reason?

I don’t know what “brown box” is.

I must have written it during one of the times I woke up fresh at random hours past midnight, unable to sleep again. Or as I refer it here as my 5 AM Thoughts nights.

I have rescheduled “brown box” too many times, hoping to coax my brain into recollecting what was it instead of giving up on it. Like in that one episode of Seinfeld, when Jerry woke in the middle of the night, noted down a joke for his stand-up but couldn’t read nor remember what was it the next day.

I decided to cross off “brown box” of my to-do list today. Hoping that since it has been months, I most probably won’t need a brown box nor brown book nor to borrow a box nor to bury a box anymore.

That’s it. You are released “brown box” —into the unknown.

I am not going to look at it and spend extra few seconds every time I see it to figure out what could it be.

You can relax now brain. I have given you extra space. But it might also mean I have given you extra room to load ten more things for me to try to figure out for months before I give up and delete it again from my to-do list.

Either way, your move, midnight-brain.

My Current Go To Self Care Activities

Today has been tough — for various reasons. I plan to resort to some self-care activities tonight. Here are some of my go-to self-care activities that require minimal effort:

  • Reading paperback books. No Kindle allowed during self-care sesh
  • Taking a hot shower
  • Watching bad food reality shows like Come Dine With Me series
  • Going through a new-to-me or all-time-fave blog’s archive
  • Asking a self-care related question and drawing a tarot card
  • Checking in with the moon
  • Meditating for a short time
  • Me-time
  • Reading illustrated books for adults. Current read: Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home by Nora Krug
  • Wearing face mask sheet
  • Minimum communication and interaction with people
  • Lighting a nice-smelling candle. Current fave: Yankee Candle’s Dried Lavender & Oak
  • Holding Miaw
  • Infinity scroll-ing IG. My feed is filled with influencers I admire and related hashtags
  • Stretching
  • Watching a horror movie
  • Watering or at least talking with the house-plants
  • Keeping a rose quartz crystal close to me. The bigger, the better
  • Journaling
  • Reading and fixing my old blog posts
  • Listening to selected true-crime podcasts (e.g. The Red Handed)
  • Changing to loose but cute PJs
  • Viewing the latest uploads by my fave Youtube commentary channels
  • Putting my phone on flight mode
  • 10 minutes yoga
  • Flipping through the stack of magazines I keep in the apartment
  • Sleeping
  • Munching on cookies
  • Soaking in the bath
  • Drinking a whole pot of warm mulled-wine tea or a cup of hot mulled wine
  • Browsing tarot decks on Kickstarter. Book-marking some of my faves to be added into my yearly fave tarot decks list
  • self foot-massaging with body-oil
  • Pulling a random card from the Oracle deck as a guidance
  • Eating a piece dark sea salt chocolate — or three
  • Removing duplicates from iPhoto (just being a Virgo)
  • Online-window-shopping stationaries, candles and woo-woo stuff
  • Making sure I am not hungry
  • Sage-ing myself
  • Making a list

September 2020

My colleague started a running challenge to be achieved as a team and it has inspired me to run. The last time I ran as a form of exercise was, well, never. I used the app NikeRun and have clocked in 70km this month. I am targeting 100km next month.

I celebrated my first (and hopefully last in this lifetime!) ISO birthday together with Fafa, Jik, and my parents on Zoom. It was a memorable birthday; it reminded me that I have infinity things to be grateful for.

Every Friday evening, I take out the watercolor set I got myself for my birthday and pour a generous amount of of rose to my tea mug, and practice gouache for fun. it has been great work week stress releasing outlet.

New and Loving

ISO September turned out to be my busiest month this year, which means I had to put the cooking on the back burner (pun intended).

In the first couple of weeks, I resorted back between UberEats, sending Fafa to do Indonesian food pick-up, and going to Hecho Mehico to collect my triple order of $5 prawn chorizo tapas. Though I have been eating delicious food (definitely better than my home cooking), I can see the hit on both the weighing machine and ISO-savings acc, so I thought why not try those ready-made meals subscription. I don’t believe the 20s-yo me had envisioned the 30s-yo me standing in front of a microwave waiting for my food to be done daily. But here we are. YouFoodz has been great — except that one time when they rang the doorbell to deliver the food at 3.30 AM.

This month I also drank a copious amount of tea from Tea Tonic, shifted to oat milk, have been using Neutrogena body oil excessively,


I published three posts. I must say, for someone who almost retires the blog, it feels like a mini accomplishment. I wrote about food, obviously – stroopwafel and Tahu Gejrot and interviewed Neera, a blogger who I met at a blogging conference last year.

I also resurrected my KodakKween IG account, so I can post my side passion for film photography all willy nilly without making it culture-y or artsy.


My read numbers have been running behind on Goodreads 2020 List, so I tried to catch up this month.

At the start of the month, I read and loved a thriller His and Hers by Alice Feeney.

I also finished my first ever fiction audiobook, The Secret She Keeps (free to download) by an Australian author, Michael Robotham. It’s the Avid Reader online book club choice for October. “It started good but finish off meh“, will be my feedback during the zoom sesh.

On nonfiction section I read: Don’t Be a B*tch, Be an Alpha by Seo Kelleher (read and loved), I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron (currently reading), The New Diary (presently reading, loving and kicking myself for not reading it earlier – the book was published in 1978), The Power of Tarot by Liz Worth (currently reading), You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero (reading this almost immediately after You Are a Badass), Reading the Leaves (currently reading and savoring), Pilgrimage in Japan by Lauren Hines (read and mega loved because it was published in diary/blog format).


TV – I watched a few horror movies this month. Starting with The Boy II, The Grudge, The Wretched The Pyramid (really liked this one), As Above So Below, and Room for Rent (the best!). These movies sent me into a rabbit hole of the horror-movies-explained rabbit hole on Youtube. There, I discovered FoundFlix. It’s a horror movie commentary channel. I also watched and loved Away, #Alive, Criminal UK season 2, and American Murder on Netflix.

Podcast – my current favourite, which might surprise you since it’s not another true crime, the Wildy Tarot Podcast. The girls in it recommended the Power of Tarot book above.

Alice Feeney – I have been playing On brulera by Pomme on repeat on Spotify. I accidentally heard and immediately loved it when it’s played on an ending scene on one of the episodes in AWAY.

Last Time

Last year this time, I was living my best life traveling around Scandanavia with my best friend. During which I wrote about Rijsttafel-ing Indonesian Food in Amsterdam and said Hi from Bergen.

Thank You, Next!

The seven million Victorians are looking forward to being freed from lockdown in October. That is if the 14-day average for the new cases continues to drop etcetera.

Meanwhile, Fafa and are also going to celebrate our wedding anniversary with dinner-date at Yagiz and a staycation in Meletos.

There are more than a few good things to look forward to, I guess.

On the opposite side, I am sitting for CPA exam mid next month. All I can say about that is GAH!!!! But I am going to try to stay positive while still operating with a come-what-way attitude, which has been serving me well this month. I am also worried that I might experience the case of lockdown nostalgia.

But that’s for me to be worried about, next month.

Ronny Chieng: The International Student

Adopting yet another TV show into the Netflix watch list is a daunting task for many. We already have a backlog, do we need another one? The answer is YES if it’s Ronny Chieng: The International Student.

Delivered with smart comedy, it’s about campus lives of students with multi-dimensional characteristics (read: each weird in their own way) who come from a potluck of culture.

Packed with degree dreams and dorm-living dramas, the show is downright relatable.The beginning of the show transported me back to my first day in university when I was the excited girl standing in front of the class door ready to make friends with the strangers staring back at me.

These people on TV were me and my dysfunctional friends circle back then, navigating through early adulthood with such carelessness.The show made me nostalgic. No, not to go back to school, just enough to binge watch it in one sitting and call in sick to work the next day.

Elvin Tay

I thought I was enough of an adult not to fall in love with a fictional character on the screen (I mean no more after Dwight Schrute and Ron Swanson), boy I was wrong! Enter Elvin Tay, the Vietnamese student who unwillingly became Ronny’s friend. Elvin is smart, sarcastic, unapologetically ambitious and cooks amazing egg-tart.  I wish I had an Elvin during my Uni time. Heck, I wish I was Elvin back then!

Y-egg tart-ilicious

As the saying: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I fell completely in love with Ronny Chieng: The International Student TV Show after watching an entire episode dedicated to the egg-tarts. If you haven’t watched it yet, do yourself a favor, watch it now and watch it at least until the egg-tart episode before you continue adult-ing for the day.

The Lovers Moon Void Tarot

The Couch Potato Lovers

Interestingly, I draw this card today only after I looked for and wondered when will I get it. At first, I was planning a date night out with Fafa, but we ended up being couch potatoes from 6 PM onwards. But I ordered food for him, rubbed his feet, let him choose the TV show,  his TV choice and cut some cheese and bread for him. All in all, we had a loving Saturday night, as depicted by the tarot card, even though it doesn’t involve a romantic candlelight dinner.

May 2017

The highlights of this month would be going to my Indian colleague’s house half-drunk for an Indian Dinner & Drinks Part 2; going to comic-Con with Fafa and Newman, dressed as Kamala Khan, just Fafa, and Luke Skywalker; and girls only hot-pot session at Liz’s.

I took a day off work last Monday because I wasn’t feeling well, both physically and mentally (needed to recharge). I also went to hardware Societe (still can’t pronounce it) and had the best salmon dish in Melbourne. The hype is real, people! If you don’t mind waiting in line for some time, do give it a visit.

The best friends and I have reinstatedFace-Mask-Thursday routine. I am in the progress of collection 100 pictures of us to display it ala Andy Warhol.

New and Loving

Let’s start with the big news. I moved to a cross-functional job a few weeks ago. Working on a new project in the company. I have a significant imposter syndrome! I zero knowledge on how to manage a project. And the accountant in me is cringing at the idea of working with a big group of people. I am worried that I am not contributing or understanding enough. I am careful about not stepping on other people’s toe, something I never had to worry about in the previous function. What should I do? I welcome any suggestion, you guys!

I filled up my weekends with workshops, including the healing power of herbs. The best part about it was meeting and making new friends.

I also tried the famous Anzaccookie for the first time, which I bought from IGA. It was terrible. Ugh! Why are we celebrating a holiday with this horrible tasting cookie??!

Autumn is here, baby! And it brought a ton of gorgeousness into the air.

My colleagues in the new project are fantastic! The female-only team does meetings over chai-latte, where the words like “family”, “tree of trust” and “circle of sisterhood” are being thrown around.

We tried Mukka, an Indian restaurant in Fitzroy, suggested by a colleague. Oh, my lord, it was so good! It finally manages to replace my year-long good Indian food craving. We are going there again for lunch next weekend.

I donated eight bags of clothes to theRed Crossover the weekend, special thanks to Uber free-pick up service. It felt good to give away clothes which don’t bring me joy to others. Bonus: no more mini-anxiety attacks when I open the cupboard.


Books bought this month: Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism, Healing Magic The Guidebook to Conscious Living and Kitchen Table Tarot. I am halfway through the first one and dabbed here and there on the last one.

We loved and highly recommended Train To Busan, a Korean zombie movie. It’s on Netflix, add it to your list for the weekend!

I also finished and had plenty of discussion with various groups about13 Reasons Why? Which resulted in more than a few arguments. Side note, how cool was the Skye reading Clay tarot scene.

There is no new-to-me blog this month, just glad that Y, the blogger behind I Live In Japan start writing again after being hiatus the first half of 2017. I enjoy reading and slightly jealous of her daily life in Japan.

I started listening to the Lunar Abundance podcast by Ezzie Spencer, whose book I purchased a few months ago. I have been studying about the moon phase, including woman cycle, and it has been fascinating. Check out Emgoddess in Perfect Potion.


I wrote about five reasons why you should take a gap year. If you are currently in Japan, check out the Charming Journey exhibition in Tokyo. Well, if you are in Japan, do visit Mt FujiFushimi Inari in KyotoKoyasan, and Takayama.

Thank You, Next!

I am going to Jakarta next month! Can’t wait to bear-hug Amma, awkward-hug Appa, kiss Kiwi, my cousins, and Che. And food! I have made a list: nasi campur, nasi Padang, bakwan, KOI bubble tea, sweet pancake, chilli noodle and chicken porridge.

The Emerging Writers Festival is also happening in June. I got the weekend ticket. See you there?!

Lastly, I am planning to squeeze in Ayer Rocks into the calendar for either next month or July. I am trying to convince Jik to come with me. She is stalling. Jik come on, C’mon, C’mon! Let’s go!!

You guys, it’s not easy to rewind the whole month, I only remember last week clearly, but the first three weeks? Not so much. I need to do something about it. Either I start bullet-journaling my weeks’ happenings or break the expat’s diary into two parts in a month, on the new moon and full moon—end of the rant.

30 Things About 30 Rock

I just finished re-watching the season finale and still feeling overwhelmed by the ending.

I grew up watching 30 Rock, peeking into the world of Rockefeller Center and learned many words to live by from it. I was sad when it’s over, felt like parting with a friend who is moving to another country.

While watching it for the second fifth time, I noticed that Liz was wearing a beanie and I thought “hey, I also like to wear a beanie, we have a similarity!!“. That thought made me come up with this list because I think we can all relate to Liz Lemon in one way or another. 30 things about 30 Rock:

1. Elizabeth Miervaldis Lemon.

A writer-boss-lady who enjoys life’s simple things, witty, loves food, a good friend (most of the time), geeky, and smart. I like to be like her.

2. Lemonism.

“I support women. I’m like a human bra.” – Liz.

These days I get my words to live by from Dr. Mindy Lahiri, but long before it was Lemonism. It’s a semi feminism move based on Liz’s words of wisdom and I, for one, support it. Every woman should have a dash of feminism in her soul. Self-respect ladies!

3. Snuggie.

It is a sleeved blanket that doubles as an awesome invention. If you don’t have one, please open another tab, google Snuggie, and get yourself one now. You can thank me and Liz later.

I got it as a birthday present from Fafa. He gave me a clue, “It is worn by your favorite TV character” before giving it to me. I have been wearing it (and occasionally showing it off) ever since.

4. Megan Mullally as the adoption lady.

She is my favorite guest star. I love her as Karen Walker in Will & Grace, I love her as Tammy 2 in Parks and Recreation. I love her.

5. Liz’s “work hair”.

She affirms my refusal to comb hair often. It’s in a ponytail. It’s in a bun. Leave it be people, I am busy working.

6. Sleep eating.

I don’t sleep eat, at least not that I know of, but I have slept off while holding food in my hand on various occasions. The last one is a cup of coffee that I spilled all over my jeans when I woke up.

7. High-fiving a million angels.

8. Undersexed.

“Okay, here’s a little bedroom tip. Put a bag of popcorn in the microwave beforehand. That way when you’re done, you have a treat.” – Liz Lemon.

A woman who doesn’t emphasize much on sex! She thought that guy, who has phobias preventing him from leaving the house or being intimate with women, so he just wants to sit around, watch TV, eat, read celebrity gossip, and the nap is perfect for her. After a long day at work? I am with you on this Liz.

9. “What the What?!?” Coffee churches. I’d love to 30 Rock my morning.

10. Having a mentor.

I envy Liz for having Jack Donaghy as a boss and a mentor. It would be so awesome to have a boss like him and to have my own version of “Good God Lemon”. And I would totally follow his path to print a business cards with my new job title even before it’s official.

11. “Those shoes are definitely bi-curious” – Jack.

To be honest, I don’t have bi-curious shoes. I like mine to be cat-faced and or glittery, but I do wear a man shirt and or pants without feeling self-conscious. It’s just clothes, people, let’s Liz a little! On the contrary…

12. My favorite 30 Rock conversation:

Liz: “Why are you wearing a tux?”

Jack: “It’s after six. What am I, a farmer?”

It is also my most used 30 rock quote. I have said that to my mom, my boss, my ex, and a number of strangers. However, no-one knew that it’s from 30 Rock and they found me weird or most of the time, just plain stupid.

13. Being single.

“Lemon, women your age are more likely to get mauled at the zoo than get married.” — Jack.

I relate to how Liz navigates the world of being single. She is OKAY with being single and that’s an awesome lesson.

14. “Hey nerds! Guess who’s got two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn’t cried once today? This moi!” – Liz.

Hey Liz, do you know who else speaks limited French? This moi.

15. “Donuts and bed? What are you depressed about, or celebrating?” – Pete.

I am having this quote framed and hanged in my living room.

16. “I pretty much do whatever Oprah tells me to” Liz. (I channel Oprah too!)

Pouring her heart out to Oprah in the plane <– Best scene ever.

17. “This better is important Jack, I was in the middle of buying a bag of bras on eBay” – Liz.

We shared an understanding of the importance of online shopping. I love eBay, though I have yet to buy underwear from it.

18. And we played the SIMS.

I have always imagined a red diamond on top of my head whenever I needed to do overtime at work, which happens a lot in the financial world and that makes me envious of her job.

“If I have learned anything from my SIMS family: When a child doesn’t see his father enough he starts to jump up and down, then his mood level with drop until he pees himself.” – Liz Lemon.

19. Her eternal love for food.

20. Tracy Jordan’s Video Game: Goregasm: The Legend of the Dong-Slayer. It generated US$3 billion in sales. Now we know, how can he affords all those pet sharks.

21. My Muffin Top Is All That by Jenna Maroney. I am oddly hooked to this song.

My muffin top is all that. Whole-grain, low-fat.

I know you wanna piece of that, But I just wanna dance.

Ch-checkin’ out my sweet hips, My sugar-coated berry lips.

I know you wanna get with this, But I’m just here to dance.

So back up off of me, You’re weirding me out.

I’m an independent lady. So do not try to play me.

I run a tidy bakery. The boys all want my cake for free.

But if you can’t shake your fakery Then kiss my muffin top.

22. Andromakennethamblesorten “Kenneth” Ellen Parcell.

 “I don’t drink coffee, sir, I don’t drink hot liquids of any kind. That’s the devil’s temperature.” – Kenneth.

The NBC page. An optimistic, cheerful, and happy person, he is my initial reason to watch 30 Rock and he still is my favorite character.

23. Dennis Duffy the Beeper King.

“Prenatal vitamins. Yeah, I know what ‘prenatal’ means. ‘Pre-‘, before; ‘-natal’, ruined.” – Dennis.

The worst boyfriend of Liz. He is worth a number because, well, don’t we all have had the worst boyfriend? Our own Dennis? Whose awfulness only became clear to us after we broke up. ! I am glad that Liz and I had broken up with our Dennises, although it took a list of pros and cons for her to do so.

24. Dr. Leo Spaceman who attended the Ho-Chi-Men School of Medicine.

Tracy Jordan: “Doctor Spaceman, when they check my DNA, will they tell me what diseases I might get, or help me to remember my ATM pin code?”

Dr. Leo Spaceman: “Absolutely. Science is whatever we want it to be.”

He reminds of Dr. Nick “Hi, everybody” from The Simpsons.

25. Blurgh.

Thanks to 30 rock I have been creating my own made-up words. One of them is Miu, which means you feel like a withered flower because of tiredness or sickness. It’s catching on.

26. Liz Lemon’s Apartment.

I have been dreaming of an apartment of my own and Liz’s is my second living space crush, first, of course, is Carrie’s. When she (Liz) finally bought hers and the next door one, I cheered!

27. Frank’s caps.

28. While googling about 30 Rock a while ago (okay, I admit, looking for memorabilia..) I stumbled upon Liz Lemon Lemon Sour Cream and Cookies recipe. It looks yummy! Now that the TV show ended, eating this cookie can help to console our longing for some Lemon but if you are still missing 30 Rock.

29. Please give Parks and Recreation a try. It has similarities with 30 Rock: Work environment, strong (and witty and awesome) lead female character, interesting co-workers, and absolutely FUNNY. If you enjoy 30 Rock, I bet you will like this TV show too.

And lastly 30. Liz Lemon’s words of wisdom to live by: “All of humankind has one thing in common: The Sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.” 

Which TV character do you relate to or look up to? Thank you for reading. Stay subscribed for similar version posts on The Mindy Project and Parks and Rec.