How to return your Smart Parka jacket

I am writing this because there have been a lot of comments on my post about how they could return their jacket.

It’s bloody annoying how they make it so difficult for buyers to return and so much easier to buy so here are my tips and hopefully they help you:

1. E-mail info@northaware.com & brendan@northaware.com

Include this in your email:

a. Your email that was used to place the order
b. Your backer number or order number
c. The list of products you are returning (here’s mine as an example):

1 Classic (Women) XS / Black
SKU: SPW10402021
1 T-Shirt (Female – S- Charcoal)
SKU: TSW990307

1 Smart Parka Gloves (2XS – Black)

SKU: GSW9990101

2. Facebook message them that you are waiting for their confirmation to ship the items.
MESSAGE them constantly. I know it sucks and we sound like those annoying and demanding customers but THIS IS COMPLETELY REASONABLY IMO because replying a customer is their job especially if the items are below expectations. Don’t feel bad for being annoying. Also, not all companies are like them so at least for once, you get to be demanding.
If they are still ignoring you, message them and tell them you are going to lodge a report against them. This is not a threat as they would be under serious lawsuit if they do not abide by your request to process the order.

3. Once they confirmed that they’ve received your request, ship your jacket and everything you want to return.
Process the package ASAP and remember to request for a tracking number from the post office. It is heartbreaking and downright irritating yes because we have to pay for the shipping fee. Take it as a lesson learnt and an unwilling act of charity. No other way to comfort your soul besides that.
Take a picture of the tracking number and your shipping fee payment receipt.
Have one for safekeeping and send the other receipt to them.
4. Track your shipment constantly and once you’ve been notified that they’ve been received, TAKE A SCREENSHOT of what you see.
Why? Because this way, North Aware has no reason to say that they did not receive your jacket at all. You have proof that the jacket has been in their warehouse and you have been adhering to all their return guideline which is so much more steps than buying the jacket itself.
5. Facebook Message and Tweet Constantly to them until you receive your refund.
6. Worse come to worse, really lodge a complaint.
7. If this is too troublesome for you, take it as a $350 CAD sunk cost. But seriously, I rather you donate them to a charity organization.
Hope this helps!

Finding Certainty in Uncertainty

I am not much of a planner but in all my life, I have always visualized / created a simple life plan to myself to assure my existence on Earth means something.

I will graduate.

Get a job.

Earn money.

Meet my significant other.

Get married.

Travel.

Have two kids.

Monitor my kids.

Trick my kids into thinking vegetables are chocolates.

Plan other kind of tricks.

Journal those tricks.

Get old.

Etc. etc.

It was a simple plan that I thought will go pretty smoothly. After all, I have like years to accomplish the plan. Little did I know, life is actually much more than raising a family and getting a job – at least not for me. I recently realized I am a self-professed workaholic who sees no meaning in life if I were to be stuck at an 8 – 5 desk job with no results and continuous repetitive work (God forbids).

People say that sounds like an entrepreneur. But I disagree. It is more than being a businesswoman.

It is about finding meaning.

I just want my work to mean something. To achieve something.

Reflecting on this, I panicked. Because my life is in fact the total opposite. It is filled with uncertainties, risk and the unknown.

I panicked like a sweaty old hag who woke up late and ran for his life to catch a bus. Panicked because here I am reaching quarter years old and I thought by then I’d already have some sort of career, know what I want to be or achieve and most importantly, I thought I’d be very stable.

But I am not. I am still floating like a puffy white cloud in the sky. And I still act like a childish kid who gawks at chocolate and laughs at stupid jokes.

I have no idea when I am going to get married (I can’t even think of myself and marriage just yet). I am still trying to make sense of my love for marketing, content creation, coding and graphic design…and music. Like who on Earth touches everything beautiful and fell in love with everything? Me. Fml.

Then, I realized, what the heck.

It is actually okay. It is okay to be uncertain about myself.

I slowly embrace the fact that I know nothing about my life or in fact anything of my skills but guess what, vaguity is perfectly fine and it is OK.

It works much better than trying too hard into tricking my brain to think that I do have a plan and I do know what I want in life and all (Sorry brain). It works much better because I am finally honest, and the feeling is incredible.

For the first time ever, I feel like a free bird because hey you know what,

I don’t know where my life is taking me. Maybe I have two kids. Maybe I’ll have twins. And maybe, I will in near future work too much. I don’t know. I really don’t know. I am uncertain and I accept the fact that I am uncertain – and at least that’s one thing I know for sure. I have uncertainties and I accept them.

With that in mind, I stop being too harsh on myself for not adhering to “the life plan”. I fell in love with myself all over again.

Did it stop me from working hard? No. But it stops me from feeling like a complete shit.

Did it stop me from thinking that having no goals is okay? No. But I now learn that it is okay to have uncertainties. One day things will make sense. Uncertainties are part of life and I shouldn’t be too brutal with myself.

Sharing this because it feels like I’ve just found a gold hidden beneath dirts and soil so there is this urge to announce it.

And also because I want to share this with you who are perhaps experiencing the same thing.

Maybe you are feeling like wtf is wrong with your life. Maybe life hasn’t made sense to you but it makes sense to your peers. Maybe you are not sure what to be certain of anymore…

It’s okay. It’s okay to be uncertain and not have your future all planned out. We can be happy without having the answers to everything. No doubt we crave absolute certainties. But when they don’t come as easy and uncertainties overwhelm our safety net, we have to accept that because we can’t change it and that’s okay. Maybe this will one day teach us something and help us find the path that is destined for us. Maybe not. We don’t know but again, that’s okay. We have to learn to accept the shaky journey to our destined path.

Here’s a quote from Shivam to end all this wordy text:

The best way to live your life is by falling in love with it. All you need to do is savor every moment and trust the flow in your life. Be happy about uncertainty and unresolvedness for it could bring unexpected happiness. Get out of the story in your head and breathe where life happens. Right now. – Shivam.

 

Here’s to becoming a fearless life explorer!

Cafe Hunt: The Coffee Academics

Funny how life works.

I used to hate coffee. Like.Seriously.hate.coffee. I couldn’t appreciate its icky bitter taste and never really experienced the aftermath – awakening sensation and alertness one claimed to experience.

I was a coffee avoider until I started working. When I started working, coffee suddenly became my best friend. I started enjoying its bitter sweet taste. Plus an espresso shot (ok maybe 3) tastes really good with piping hot steamed, foamy milk. Also, I was awake. Like literally awake at least for the first couple hours. I used to be a sleepy head with or without coffee! It’s like a miracle.

Now I enjoy the taste of well roasted coffee beans plus its smell… coffee smells so good…divine.

Ok, seriously. I didn’t know adult bad habits would come naturally and easily. It’s like envying those adults sitting in a cafe chit chatting or working when you were younger and wondering what was so enjoyable about that?! And then reaching adulthood and doing the friggin’ same thing without being taught…at.all. Great.

Anyhow, yesterday while hunting for a cafe to complete a few design projects that I’ve been neglecting because procrastination is my best friend tyvm, a friend introduced me to the Coffee Academics – a coffee place located in Scotts Square, Singapore. Oh yes. I am currently resting on the sunny island, basking under the sun, enjoying Singapore’s toasty 35-degree Celsius weather. Just kidding. It was actually raining cats and dogs when I touched down.


The Coffee Academics

The cafe is for the coffee enthusiast but also serves meals. It is beautifully adorned with modern ceiling lights and inviting with its spacious and cozy layout.

What I ordered:

Lavender Cake – $8 – $9

Strong taste of lavender combined with layers of chocolate cake and chocolate cream on a crispy and bittersweet chocolate crust. So chocolatey yet nowhere guilty because gulp, IT IS CHOCOLATE FOR GOODNESS SAKE.

Great Manuka Honey Latte – $7 

Extremely well-brewed espresso beans. I opted for soy milk (no charge) as I have strong aversion to milk. Sweetened with Manuka Honey the latte tasted purrfect. I initially thought the cup was pretty tiny but it turned out to be just nice. Well worth my 7 bucks.

 

Is there wifi: Yes.

Is this a good place to study/work? Yes unless it’s the weekend.

Are there power sockets? No.

Will you visit again? Yes

Price range: $15 – $30

My thoughts on Stephen King’s Finders Keepers

On January 1st, I sternly decided to start my day right by spending 10 – 15 minutes  either watching an inspiring TedTalk video or reading a motivational book. A week ago, I broke my vow and started my day delving into King’s thriller story, Finders Keepers. He is such an intrinsic storyteller so much so that it was really hard to keep myself off the book. Since the story is still fresh on my mind (just finished reading it two hours ago), I am compelled to share it because yayayaya, I am a nerd who dwell in theories.

Spoiler Alert! Stop here and close the page if you are intending to read the novel. Otherwise, if you are equally intrigued with my take on the book or if you are just bored…you may continue.

Summary 

The story is about a man named Morris Bellamy who is an avid fan of a character, Jimmy Gold, created by an iconic author in the 1970s, John Rothstein. Rothstein has stopped publishing Jimmy Gold but still continues to write for himself. Morris kills his idol because Gold eventually becomes a sellout. After the kill, Morris and his accomplices empty his safe of cash and a collection of Rothstein’s unpublished work. However, before Morris even has a chance to read them, he was jailed for another crime. 35 years later, Morris discovers teenager Pete Saubers has already found the stolen treasure. Morris’s hunger and desperation for Rothstein’s unpublished work of Jimmy Gold eventually leads to his thirst for vengeance against Pete and his family.

Somewhat the Gist of the story… (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT. I warned you twice btw)

Pete discovers the treasure and uses the cash for his parents who are cash-strapped. He is equally into Jimmy Gold just as Morris. But he loves his sister, Tina more than Rothstein’s Jimmy Gold which is equivalent to Morris’s love for Jimmy Gold.

Morris kills his accomplices and eventually a bookseller, Andrew who he considers as his only friend.

Pete tries to sell the stories written in Moleskin books to this bookseller, Andrew and finds himself in a bargaining conflict with Andrew. Andrew blackmails Pete as he knows how and where Pete has found those books.

Morris hunts for Pete, kidnaps his sister and tries to kill Pete.

Pete and Morris meet in a rec room in their neighbourhood where Pete threatens to set Rothstein’s written work on fire.

Morris tries to shoot Pete and Pete, out of shock, let go of his lighter and eventually burns the books.

Hysteric Morris kneels and watches the books he’s been waiting for gone into ashes and burns himself to death.

Even after 35 years, Morris never gets to find out how the story of Jimmy Gold ends.

My thoughts:

Is Rothstein a hint for Stephen King’s fans? 

Finders Keepers is the second of his trilogy that began with Mr Mercedes and ends with End of Watch. I haven’t read End of Watch but similarly, Jimmy Gold is also a trilogy by Rothstein. Rothstein has stopped publishing but still continues to write. I wonder if this is a hint to his readers that one day he might just stop publishing but fret not, I will not stop writing… but wait… here’s the best thing you won’t get to read it because no matter how you badly want to, they are mine…Haha.

Morris’s attempt to read Rothstein’s unpublished book fails terribly despite him taking three lives.

Could it be that Jimmy Gold’s famous quote in the book,

SHIT DON’T MEAN SHIT? (As Jimmy Gold would say it)

is away for Stephen King to tell us that shit is just shit so let it go (whatever this shit is)?

What isn’t yours will never be yours no matter how hard you try

I don’t consider Pete lucky to have found the treasure of cash and “ancient” literature. Rather, I think the stolen treasure is meant to be discovered by and is for Pete. Morris has stolen the treasure but ends up spending 35 years in jail for a crime he can never remember committing (a woman has accused him of rape) and then eventually, he watches his books on fire. On the other hand, Pete has never had to try that hard to read Rothstein’s unpublished book. I mean Pete doesn’t have to kill to read.

The message: Don’t chase for things. Work hard, do your shit and let them come to you. When you want something badly, create positive thoughts and desire them with love. Morris’s hatred towards Rothstein eventually leads to his own downfall.

Morris and Pete are similar beings who take on a different path of life

Pete admires the writer for his writing. Morris on the other hand, is sucked into the man-made character Jimmy Gold who Morris believes is a lot like him.

You and Jimmy Gold will get along. He’s a sarcastic, self-hating little shit. A lot like you,” says Morris’s teacher.

Despite their differences, both Pete and Morris prefer the books to cash and both see immense value in these books. Pete is able to relate to Morris’s desire for Jimmy Gold. I actually think Morris might have grown up to be Pete if he actually learns to let go of his dissatisfaction towards Jimmy Gold’s life.

 

Life isn’t just about you

Life is about the people surround you. Eighteen year old Pete knows this very well, allowing him to read the unpublished book of Jimmy Gold. Morris however, is a negative old man with selfish goals that eventually leads him to an unhappy route to death.

Is the story more important that its writer?

Here’s my favourite quote from the book:

Tears actually came to his eyes. Such tears, Pete realizes – yes, even now, especially now, because their lives hang upon it – mark the core power of make-believe. It’s what caused thousands to weep when they learned that Charles Dickens had died of a stroke. It’s why, for years, a stranger put a rose on Edgar Allan Poe’s grave every January 19th, Poe’s Birthday.

A few years back, I was into an Irish Author, Maeve Binchy. Her book, “Circle of Friends” and “Glass Lake” were (still are) my ultimate favourites. Back in Singapore, she wasn’t as popular and I had to scour online to find her books. I’d plastic wrap these books and read a few chapters here and there repeatedly. Her books were books I find extremely hard to lend to. (It’s as if I’d never get it back).  Often, I felt like one of the characters in her book. But most of the time, it was her writing that I admire.

When she passed, I realized her stories did not matter as much as the news about her death. When Binchy died, I was sad not because she would no longer write. Rather because Binchy has touched my heart and it was hard to let that go.

So I guess it is the writer is more important than the story – and seeing the happy ending of Pete, King perhaps feels equally the same.

 

***

 

Last quote that I really like from this book…really long but worth the read and I think I’ll be dwelling on this quote for quite some time…

“At some point in this course, perhaps even tonight, you will read something difficult, something you only partially understand, and your verdict will be this is stupid. Will I argue when you advance that opinion in class the next day? Why would I do such a useless ting? My time with you in short, only thirty-four weeks of classes, and I will not waste it arguing about the merits of this short story or that poem. Why would I, when all such opinions are subjective, and no final resolution can ever be reached?’

Some of the kids – Gloria was one of them – now looked lost, but Pete understood exactly what Mr. Ricker, aka Ricky the Hippie, was talking about…

‘Time is the answer,” Mr Ricker said on the first day of Pete’s sophomore year. He strode back and forth, antique bellbottoms swishing, occasionally waving his arms. “Yes! Time mercilessly culls away the is-stupid from the not-stupid.”

“It will occur for you, young ladies and gentlemen, although I will be in your rear-view mirror by the time it happens. Shall I tell you how it happens? You will read something – perhaps ‘Dulce et Decorum Est,’ by Wilfred Owen. Shall we use that as an example? Why not?’

Then, in a deeper voice that sent chills up Pete’s back and tightened his throat, Mr. Ricker cried, ” ‘Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge…’ And son on. Cetra-cetra. Some of you will say, This is stupid.”

….
‘And yet!” Up went the finger.

“Time will pass! Tempus will fugit! Owen’s poem may fall away from your mind, in which case your verdict of is-stupid will have turned out to be correct. For you, at least. But for some of you, it will recur. And recur. Each time it does, the steady march of your maturity will deepen its resonance. Each time that poem sneaks back into your mind, it will seem a little less stupid and a little more vital. A little more important. Until it shines, young ladies and gentlemen. Until it shines.”

 

 

How to be happy when you’re unhappy

We have to deal with a lot of annoying people (including ourselves) in our daily life so here are my personal tips to stay all happy! After all, laughter is the best medicine right.

1. Watch funny shows

Like Ellen Degeneres. She cracks me up so much.

2. Find 10 things you are grateful for

There’s power  in being grateful. Start being grateful for the simplest thing, like the fact that you’re alive, or the many good friends you have whom you can always count on (even if it feels like you only have a friend… just be thankful).

3. Exercise


Your mood improves significantly just after 20 minutes of exercise. Did you know, exercise actually has the most powerful benefit when you are in a foul mood…! Additionally, it helps keep you fit which in turn makes you more confident and happier.

4. Discover what makes you happy and do it

Is it being out with your friends? Is it exercising or maybe, painting…or making music? Personally for me, I am the happiest when I have nothing to do at ALL. Yes. Those days when I have no plan and I am just lazying around at home…

5. Complain

Admit it that the situation wasn’t nice. Admit it that there are unfriendly, cunning and selfish people in this world. Bitch it to your best friends and move on. I never bottle things up because I know if I burst, the consequences will be even more terrifying. It’s totally OKAY to feel angry and mad. After all, we are human beings with emotions and we can never be 100% happy all the time. Having a diary to just rage on is also another way to let your anger and stress go.

6. Munch on Dark Chocolate

 

A little happy trick: Munch on dark chocolate daily to boost your mood and stay emotionally stable! Dark Chocolate has so many benefits and it is a healthier option than refined sugar.

7. Lastly…

.

.

.

.


LET GO.

I know it is easier said than done but honestly, it is the ONLY WAY to be happy. Let Go. So you are feeling upset, you feel wronged and everything is unfair and against you. You wish people could behave a certain way but know that you can’t change them but you have the power to LET GO and change you.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of letting go.

Don’t look back and let it go.

Yes you over there… Don’t try or question the situation anymore. LET GO.

Why do you have to LET GO? Of all the reasons I want to write in here, the most important reason why you should let go is because your problems and people who have hurt you are PLAIN GARBAGE… and garbage stinks so you have to trash them out.

They don’t deserve to occupy your mind moreover stink your daily life.

How to let go? Simple. Create boundaries and give up trying.

I hope this helps.

Do share with me some of your ways to stay happy in the comment below please please please.