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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Inspirational Quotes For The Much Needed Pick-Me-Up

I was housekeeping my computer and found a word document that I used to keep as my ‘database’ of inspirational quotes. Whenever I come across something meaningful and inspiring, I would type it into the document. Looking at the last saved date, the last entry was at least 3 years old!

I remember it was a happy hobby or ritual of mine. Reading, finding something meaningful, then keying into the database. And, every so often, whenever I am feeling a bit down and need some boost, I read through those quotes and it always provided an uplifting effect without fail.

Anyway, I am definitely reviving this ‘ritual’. For a start, here are the best 5 of my many favourite quotes:

1. "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." - Robert Frost

2. "Usually we figure out what we think would make us happy, and then try to make those things happen. But happiness isn't circumstance-dependent. There are people who have every reason in the world to be happy who aren't. There are people with genuine problems who are. The key to happiness is the decision to be happy." - Marianne Williamson

3. "One of the tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today." - Dale Carnegie

4. "Persistence is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely and the likely definite." - Robert Half

5. "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcomed." - Anne Bradstreet

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Paid Online Survey Sites That Earns You Cash

Another interesting thing I found on the internet – paid online survey sites. In fact, there are many of such survey sites and they are seeking for people to participate in the thousands of online surveys that go on in the cyberworld everyday.

These sites are free for sign up. You don’t pay a cent to put your name as part of the survey panel. There are cash rewards and payment is typically through check or PayPal. You can do your part for charity if you don’t wish to take the cash as some sites allow for direct charity donation for your survey rewards. The sites also have referral system which helps you accumulate your cash rewards faster. Last but not least, your voice gets heard through your contribution in the surveys, helping to the world in your own way!

Anyway, below are a few sites that I am currently signed up with. The rewards are accumulating slowly and I am also trying to find more bona-fide ones (there are many who are just hoax) to add to the list. Here are those that I am currently signed up with:

1. GlobalTestMarket
2. Clear Voice Survey
3. SpiderMetrix
4. SurveyHead
5. SurveySavvy
6. OpinionWorld

A point to note! Beware of survey sites that require a sign-up fee to gain access. These sites are only selling a list of other survey sites, which could be easily found via google without having to pay. So beware!

Look out for additions to this list…

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bali and All Its Wonders

Following my last post about my interesting observations about Bali, here is a list of the places I visited during the week (there are also the beaches, which bears little need for explanation). We covered mostly South and Central Bali during this trip. This would be good reference for first timers who are planning their trip:

Day 1 (Took us from 0930hrs to about 1830hrs)

1. Barong Dance This is approx. 1 hour long religious dance representing the eternal fight between the good - Barong and the evil symbolized by a horrible looking witch called Rangda. The costumes and set are elaborate and nice. The trick is to get there early, so that you get front seats and be close enough to see the facial expressions of the dancers.

2. Celuk (Gold & silver smith), Mas (wood carving) and Stone carving villages - You would drive past these 3 villages and see the array of shops selling the gold, wood and stone. As you get into Celuk, all the gold and silver smith shops flank the roads, you can also drop by their factory to take a look at the production process. The same goes for the wood carving and stone carving

3. Mount Batur (Kintamani) This is the second largest active volcano in Bali. It is 1,717 meters from sea level, and bears the remains of the black lava from it's eruption in 1917 and 1927. There is a nice scenic crater lake there. You can do buffet lunch at one of the restaurant and admire the breath-taking view as you eat. The buffet lunch cost about S$10 and has reasonable spread

4. Trita Empul - Tirta Empul means " bubbling water " and is a holy water temple built in 960 AD. The temple is beautiful temple and has holy water fountains for different purposes of purification and blessing. There were people in the fountains doing their purification when I was there. Further inside the temple area, you can see the source of the water – a spring where water is bubbling up through the black sand. A totally make of nature. Legend has it that one of the gods shot an arrow from heaven to look for water, and the spot where the water is bubbling up now is the exact spot where the arrow hit

5. Goa Gajah – Means " elephant cave ". Found in 11th century, this cave was dug in the peaceful riverside valley in a hard sand stone. Entering the inside T-Shape cave, there are some niches used by Buddhist Monks for meditation. Among the many historical remains found around this cave is the holy Ganesh Statue (a human body with elephant head) which is believed as the God of Purification and Evil Controller. The cave can be quite claustrophobic for some people but is well worth a quick look inside

6. Sebatu Holy Spring Temple - Is named " Gunung Kawi " in Balinese. It is a very beautiful village temple located in a peaceful valley with its holy spring. Somewhat similar to Trita Empul, there are large fountains outside the temple area, where villagers use to take a bath. However, my driver told me that this place is not as ‘holy’ as Trita Empul.


Day 2 (Took us from 0930hrs to about 1830hrs)

1. Taman Ayun - Is the largest Royal Family Temple Complex built in 1934 in the village of Mengwi, Badung Regency. The area of this temple is surrounded by moat with some water lilies and lotuses. The place is still used during prayer sessions and important ceremonial events.

2. Tanah Lot One of the most famed temple in Bali. Tanah Lot means " the land of ocean" is a fascinating Hindu Temple built on a piece of cliff in Indian Ocean shore. This temple is dedicated to the God of Ocean "Baruna" built by a high Hindu Priest name Dang Hyang Dwijendra in the 16th century. During high tide, the cliff is surrounded by water and the temple looks like it is floating. In the bottom part of the cliff there is a fresh water holy spring while on the beach cave there are some holy snakes that guard the temple. In the South and North part of the temple is absolutely beautiful view and best for watching sunset.

3. Uluwatu temple - Also built by the same Hindu Priest who built Tanah Lot, Uluwatu temple is also another magnificent temple built perched on a cliff. The whole temple stretches across a large area and it is flanked by the fabulous India Ocean. Here, you also see large numbers of monkeys, mostly mischievous ones, who snatches food from visitors

4. Lake Beratan & Pura Ulun Danu - Beratan is a name of the Lake and Village. There is a spectacular floating temple called "Ulun Danu Temple" and is an absolutely interesting sight. The weather at the lake is cool, which is a nice break from the mostly hot sun during my trip. There were people who hired a traditional paddle boat or speed boat to go around the lake, although my driver said there really is nothing much to see around the lake

5. Jatiluweh – A place where you see lots of terraced rice paddy fields. The sights are breathtaking as you see the green terrace, meandering around you. This place is supposed to one of the few in the world that has such nice terraced paddies. Those terraces are probably cut decades ago, and now resulting in the fascinating view today

Bali and Its Interesting Facts

Just got back from a week long vacation in Bali. Bali is a fascinating place, with lots of intriguing architecture, beautify sceneries and of course, gorgeous beaches. There are some really interesting things I gathered about Bali over this week long trip. Here’s some to share:

1. Bali actually has 80% of its population in the Hinduism religion. In fact, it is considered one of the largest outpost of Hindus outside of India!

2. Temples permeate Bali island! Everywhere I turn, I see a temple – big or small. Balinese are rather pious people and every temple is seen as a solemn place that should be treated with respect. In all areas, houses should not be taller than the temples there!

3. Balinese has a god for almost every purpose. My driver, Teddy told me they have god for education, god for the economy, god for the rice paddy fields, god for looking after the shops, god for looking after the roads and even god for looking after the cars on the roads! I really feel very protected while I am there!

4. Besides temples, the next most common sights are the rice paddy fields. As you meander through the countryside, or even the slight outskirts of the city, you see rice paddy fields intersperse amongst houses. As long as there is land, it would be a paddy field of some sort. Well, Bali is self-sufficient in its rice production, you see!

5. Balinese are a happy lot of people. You see smiles wherever you go, you see people at the villages just gathering around to sing and chit chat.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Great Online Sites For Perfume, Skincare, Makeup and Cosmetic Products

I had been doing my research for cosmetic/beauty sites that are trustworthy and sells a good range of perfume, skincare, makeup and cosmetic products.

Here are the 2 high on my recommendation list:

1. Strawberrynet.com
This company and its site originate from Hong Kong and offers free shipping to any parts of the world. I just made my first purchase from the website on a Thursday, and it arrived at my doorstep on Mon - truly living up to their shipping promise of 4-6 days delivery. What's more, there is a fantastic range of stuff at the website, and you get discounts if you buy more or if you are repeat customer. The prices are considerably lower than if I get it from the shopping malls (I did my research as well).

2. Best Buy Comestics
Another company whose presence is in Hong Kong and has a warehouse in Singapore. It only ships to Singapore and gives free delivery for order of S$50 and above. Below that, a S$10 delivery charge levied. The interesting part about this website is that they sell bite sized samples and when you do the maths, it is actually much cheaper than getting the normal size. They also sell the normal size at a slightly lower price than in the market too. The samples are good to have if you are travelling, as it saves on the bulk. Also, I feel that the product would be fresher as you are exposing a smaller amount of the product to the open conditions!