Recycling recycling…

I’ve always been a recycling bunny although of lately, I must admit that I’ve been slipping up. I do try to be good and so no to extra plastic bags whenever I buy groceries without my shopping trolley (but people will still shove it in a bag in fear of cross-contamination). But y’know, plastic bags are the least of my concerns since they double as garbage bags as well. Hah.

It’s the bigger stuff like shipping boxes, cartons and cardboard that frazzles me out. While I can easily dispose of paper in the recycling bin, the last thing I want to do is litter the walkway and area around the bin with cartons, boxes and cardboards. We already have all the boxes we’ll ever need in case we move again (*touchwood*) so yeah…any tips on how to get rid of these boxy babies without being a litterbug?

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Lighting your home

When you first rent or buy a unit be it a house or apartment here in Switzerland, you have to take note that lighting is never part of the deal. Yes, it comes completely bare – no bulbs, no fixtures and so forth. When you leave the place, you take all the fixtures with you, unless the next tenant wished to buy over the items.

It was no different for us. We bought over some track lightings from the previous tenant, similar to the ones you see here on ShopWiki’s site. Unlike traditional shopping sites which feature only stores that have paid to be part of the inventory, ShopWiki provides the shopper with over 200,000 stores that carry a certain product, for example, indoor light fixtures.

There are guides available to help you make better purchase options, such as FAQs and even product reviews. There are also video reviews made by shoppers featuring the details, reviews – good or bad – and other necessary information needed by other shoppers to make a good purchase decision.

One of the products available, Progress Lighting (the ones I have in the apartment) features at least 12 different stores with different specs, (naturally) different prices and information. They can both be used as feature or accent lighting and are fully adjustable. And mind you, looking at the info on the page, it has been enlightening!

So if you have been a fan of Wiki, trust me, you’ll be a fan of ShopWiki! 8)

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Morrocan lamps and decor…

Recently, my sister-in-law gifted us with a very simple yet lovely lamp suitable for our buffet top. Nothing outstanding unlike Moroccan lamps but it’s just nice for a simple buffet in a simple apartment for a couple expecting a baby.

I must admit that I didn’t know much about these Moroccan lamps until I got this assignment and boy, are they awesomely beautiful! Apparently, these lamps are made from “sheep or goat skin that is stretched around different shapes of handmade Moroccan wrought iron frames” before being dyeing and drawn by henna artists with a needle. The motifs are often different and intricate andcan take hours to complete – this includes the drying process. Typical colours include red, yellow, orange or blue – a reminder of Arabian nights, if you will.

Now, if I had a really free rein and budget to toy around with the deco of this apartment, this would be it for me in terms of lighting!!!! 8)

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Luxury living at Hilton Head!

A little juicy assignment came along my way a few days ago. Yes, it would seem that I like to take my time churning assignments out. Anyway, the assignment is a cross between real estate and holidays and was juicy in one sense of the word…

…yummy houses!

The location? A rather cosy yet quaint (my personal opinions) island on the East Coast of the US. From its website…

Hilton Head Island is one of South Carolina’s most beautiful barrier islands. It is the second largest barrier island on the East Coast. The overall length of the Island is about 12 miles and the widest point is approximately 5 miles.

Its natural beauty and expansive Atlantic beaches have made it a world-class resort destination for over 1.5 million visitors each year and why over 35,000 people have chosen to call the Island their permanent home.

Thousands of years before the first Spaniards set foot on the shores of the New World, this Sea Island was home to Native Americans dating back to at least 2000 B.C. Yemassee Indians hunted and farmed in this area until the early 18th century.

Today, the Island bears the name of the English explorer Captain William Hilton. In 1663, he was sent to prospect the Carolina region. Subsequent colonization of the area brought an era of cultivation where cotton, rice and indigo were harvested by slave labor on vast plantations. After the Civil War, the Island’s land was divided and bestowed to former slaves who would live quietly on Hilton head for the better part of the next century.

The development of Hilton Head Island began when a young, visionary landscape architect named Charles Fraser laid out the master plan for the Island’s south end community. The vision was to “lay lightly on the land” by building unobtrusive homes to blend into the landscape. Roads would wind around, not through, sensitive areas, and land would be set aside in its pristine state for the enjoyment of generations to come. The rest of the Island followed suit, creating a resort community like no other.

Hilton Head rentals includes both oceanfront and plantation views and range from bungalows to apartments. The one that I took a fancy to was a 2-bedroom apartment-style home overlooking the ocean for a rather fancy price of USD800 to USD1,600 a week. Yes, they don’t come cheap but at least one can take comfort that the apartments are fully furnished and well, it’s luxury living.

Yes, I can always dream, can’t I?

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Rehab creativity?

Sometimes it’s terribly hard to be creative. I had this assignment once, a few weeks ago, and thought I tackled it well. Maybe too well…

What do you write when you know absolutely nothing about alcohol rehab or drug rehab centers? Sure, the place looks great, exactly like a spa and relaxation centre that anyone of us would go to if we had the cash. The horseback riding, hiking, surfing, yoga classes, massage and even acupuncture…they all sound tempting.

If you want to be an alcoholic and fly over to this great alcohol rehab place…

Y’know, despite my babbling about how difficult it was to tackle this assignment, I still managed it – ranting all the way throughout. *sigh*

I think I’ll go get a drink now…

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Cover letters – do you write them?

When I was about 18, working as a part-time HR assistant, I came across a rather unique letter on top a stack of faxed cover letters. Unlike the rest, this letter was handwritten, and its penmanship impeccable and very old-schooled. It instantly made an impression; I wouldn’t know if the HR manager felt the same but it was at that very moment that I knew cover letters were one of those things that were the epitome of “first impressions count”.

Over the years, I have encountered less sterling ones – there was this one peppered with very obvious grammatical and spelling errors written by an English graduate; another blunt and rather arrogant sounding “I am good at this job so I want it” one written by a sound engineering graduate; and there was also the one where the writer just goes on and on about their life and beyond.

It was later that I discovered that many people just don’t know how to write cover letters or sell themselves modestly via the written word. I remember my first cover letter – it was too modest and well, Dad thought it was a factory-type letter; y’know, the one that is generic and written the same way by thousands of other graduates.

What about you? Do you remember your first cover letter?

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CPM vs people?

Being out of work means a few things – loss of income, not having to put up with crappy bosses and sub par work performance and corporate technical terms like CPM* or CRM.

Honestly, I don’t really know much about corporate performance management except that it helps organize and arrange business processes. The exact term – courtesy of Wikipedia – could be this:

It is a framework for organizing, automating and analyzing business methodologies, metrics, processes and systems that drive business performance.

Personally, I hope companies don’t forget that the first thing that drives a business are its employees. I have seen managers get all worked up over the numbers and percentages yet completely forget about the motivation and drive of their employees and team mates.

Maybe it’s because I’m not manager material…that’s why I can’t seem to understand the theories behind CPM. O’well…

* Please don’t mistake Corporate Performance Management (CPM) for Cost per Thousand.

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Granddad and his glasses…

My first memories of the magnifying glass was watching my wrinkled grandfather attempt to read a newspaper with something that looked as old as he was. Since he passed away, the magnifying glass he often used is left hidden away in one of the drawers at home. I never thought much about it…or him until I got this assignment.

Magnifying glasses have come a long way since my grandfather’s death. They have them on watches and in all sorts of sizes and shapes. If he was alive, my grandfather would have been the most stylish old gent around…at least in my eyes.

Truth be told, I don’t really know him that well. He passed away when I was around ten and before then, I didn’t speak much Hokkien (a Chinese dialect) so we weren’t exactly conversation buddies. I did remember my dad talking of his carefree personality and how he loved all his grandchildren, especially my brother and myself. We were the only ones in the family that carried names he personally gave…my other cousin’s names were bestowed by my grandmother.

I like to think that he was a gentle-hearted man who gave his children little material things but many important qualities like diligence, hard-work and appreciation for life itself. It was a pity that he died bedridden, after suffering from two strokes…but come to think of it, God must have loved him well enough.

Sometimes I think despite the fact that he used glasses to read, he could see clearer than any one of us. I wish I got to know him way better than I did.

Maybe in the future…

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