Dr Seuss’s shoes

“You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

You’re on your own.

And you know what you know.

You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

-Dr Seuss

I first heard this quote in a speech by the valedictorian at my graduation, (to the point I missed her saying the ‘f’ word which she later became ‘famous’ in the media for) and I became so entranced by it that I’m making it one of my mantras in my quest for financial freedom.

And if it doesn’t, maybe I’ll get one of these to ‘kick’ me back into action.                                                       

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I shop therefore I am?

The family and I headed to JB for iftar last night and it was seriously a feast for the eyes. (Sorry my phone pretty much died after the pic above) Not just the wide array of food at the bazaars but everything hawked from clothes to kuihs to carpets and every other decorative item promising a brand new look to your home this coming Eid.

Need something from the Middle East? In the store on the left. Need Islamic Calligraphy from China? You’ve come to the right place.

On the drive home after terawih prayers, my sister who’s just turned 20 this year, seemed to have an epiphany and started asking my parents about their experience preparing for Eid when they were younger.

Of course, it brought on stories about how they had many siblings and one parents on a fixed income didn’t bring them the luxury we ‘kids’ have today. Even a wedding where briyani was served was considered a novelty, not to mention the chicken they slaughtered only on special occasions.

I mean we’ve all heard about how globalization has made life “easier, cheaper, faster“ but I think its interesting to find out exactly when everything suddenly became within our reach. Is it the availability of easy credit? Is it the promise of enhanced status with every new purchase? Is it the feeling of how you deserve to spend after working so darn hard? Is it that debt is very much acceptable in our society? Or is it really that things have become so cheap that you might as well buy it rather than to spend time and effort making it yourself?

I don’t have the answer, in fact I know that I was / still am one of the problem. ( As materialistic as it seems,  well, excuse me, it makes me happy!)
The bank account is not as healthy as I’d like it to be and although I’m not in credit card debt, I do still have a loan on my house and a debt to my retired in-laws who thankfully insisted on paying first for renovation due to their aversion to interest payments.

Googling fashion bloggers who have experienced debt also painted a bleak but hopefully rosier- in- the-future picture.

Mischiefmydear (I’m a little behind, she wrote this in 2010) wrote about spiraling, something I admit I have done on more than once ocassion ( I mean when you get a great top at an affordable price, Im sure there are cheap accessories to accompany it at the store next door, right?  Betsey J of thatbloggergirl shared about her credit card debt at age 18 and how despite being comfortably well off now, still prefers creative fashion bloggers rather than those who flash labels. This interview with Smart Money Fashion shows a path that Im sure all of us would love to walk down.

I’m still searching for my yellow brick road to financial freedom utopia but I hope I’ll be in pretty ruby slippers when I get there!

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Wassup Hijup?

I was mindlessly surfing through pennolsen.com (who knew technopreneurship could be interesting!) when an photo caught my eye.

And ooh, shopaholic tendencies kicked in almost immediately.

Can you blame me?

Featuring a collection of clothes and accessories from various designers in Indonesia, the variety would definitely cater to every fashionista.

More importantly, in the spirit of entrepreneurship, they’re also inviting aspiring designers to promote their collections.

Only downside is that the portal is in Bahasa and payment is only via Indonesian inter-bank transfer.

I’m on board as soon as they get paypal!

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License to be free?

A few years back, while on holiday in Syria, I met a really nice couple from Australia who have been traveling the globe for the past, get this, 18 months.

I know by backpackers standards, I’m sure that’s like * roll eyes for emphasis* the norm, but for a career newbie with only 18 days of vacation leave a year, I was awestruck, and admittedly, very very very envious.

And so I got to thinking, these people must be millionaires ( or maybe just rich brats) to be able to leave behind a typical life of responsibilities and just take off and wander around the world.

Would they need to jumpstart their savings with a CPR machine when they get back? I mean I don’t take holidays very often, and I often come back to a bank account that’s bruised and battered worse than an amateur boxer in a muay thai match.

Yeah, ouch.

That was pretty much when I started my search for ‘ the truth’.  What was it that they knew that I don’t? How exactly do they survive in this world when there are forever bills to be paid and an employer who dictates most of your waking hours?

There has to be some sort of secret to the key of success … right?

Then I came across a revelation…Passive income.

*Warning* The next few paragraphs might make you start to think (and roll your eyes for added emphasis), OMG, not  another materialistic blogger who thinks that money is the only important thing in life!

On the contrary my dear readers.

Frankly speaking, I would consider being rich a bonus. All I want ( for now) is to be able to do WHATEVER I want to do with my time, and for now, it’s to reclaim my 8-6 pm daylight hours (7.30 to 7.30pm if you include commuting).

I’m sure you’re familiar with work hard and you’ll be rewarded, but I think I missed the memo that being successful at work involves, a lot more, like maybe kissing some ass and (despite the call for worklife balance), making yourself available 24/7 ala the movie, The Devil Wears Prada.

On a side note: Im sure someone intelligent in the government purposely left this out of the compulsory curriculum to keep the economy running smoothly with everyone contributing.(Let’s save the why, for another post, why don’t we? )

So lets get to the point. What is passive income?

The whole idea of passive income involves putting in a lot of effort in making a smart decision once, and reaping the rewards over a lifetime.

Think along the lines of putting in effort to look for the perfect property, and making an income off the rent. Money would be coming in whether or not you keep an eye on the property 24/7.  The effort would be in picking the one that still gives you a profit after deducting all costs. Other sources might be to write a book, invest in dividend stocks etc etc.

Unfortunately, there is no magic pill that gives you all the knowledge you need to succeed financially. Just like there is no one financial adviser who can claim to know everything (if they claim they can, please oh please check to see if they’re related to Bernie Maddoff)

But I have faith that, effort, bit by bit, would one day get me where I want to go.

And to do that, I need to increase my financial knowledge and aim towards financial freedom.

It maybe hard, but I know it’ll be worthwhile in the end.  Now girls, who’s with me?

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Sweets for my sweet

When I was younger, it used to be a masochistic habit of mine to read Charlie and the chocolate factory while I was fasting. As if the thirst and hunger wasn’t obvious enough, I had to tempt myself with the chocolate river, a full meal in a bubble gum and fantasy candy that can blow my mind away.

Somewhere along the way, I found out that thinking about sinful food can actually make you fat, and Charlie has remained at the back of the bookshelf since.

But the collection below, I really cant resist sharing. Christian Dior really knows how to appeal to a girl’s sweet tooth, don’t you think?

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Ramadan’s here

Here’s wishing you a blessed Ramadan.

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Chasing the blues

At the risk of sounding like a bimbo, OMG, how long has it been since i last updated this blog?

I’d like to blame the new job, the steep learning curve, and the energy sapping 8.30 -6pm working hours but i do realize that procrastination plays a big part in this web called life.

But one new thing that I’ve learned from switching jobs is that in this department, looks does matter. So its the challenge to update the wardrobe, mould the long pampered feet into heels and pile on the make up for this new role, whilst ensuring that the wallet and bank account do not suffer from short term shocks.

Inspiration, however, is free. And the next few pieces from Bouchra Jarrar chased my blues away.

Did it chase yours?

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