Preparing for the hotel’s anniversary party

Here we are, just 2 weeks away from the Hotel’s third anniversary!

If you have been following my snapchat or instagram, you would know that I have been working on the concept for this upcoming anniversary party since January. It’s been such a fun and creative process, definitely something I enjoy doing. It reminds me of the days when I was convinced I wanted to be an event planner. But hey, maybe it’s not too late?

For the past few anniversaries, I have been involved on the design side and mostly just for collaterals. This year, I get to be in the driver’s seat and obviously I took this opportunity to make it our best celebration yet. At first we were going to hire an event planner to help us organize the event but after meeting with three, I realized it would be much cheaper if we were to do it ourselves and we can also control the quality of the entertainment we provide too! So from there, we started researching entertainers that would help bring this party to life.

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I spent hours sitting by the pool side one day and it just hit me.. I want mermaids to be there. I had no idea where I would hire mermaids or how cheesy it would be, but much to my surprise, mermaiding is actually on the rise in Bali. I had no idea! Once I have confirmed the mermaids, it really set the tone for everything else. Then came the strings players, the acro dancers, the fashion show.. Everything just flow.

There is so many things I learned along the way. For example, Indonesians are just so creative and responsive. It was so easy to find anything I needed, whether it was through Instagram, Tokopedia, or just good ol’ Google. They pretty much everything and do it so inexpensively. We pretty much found our goody bag supplier, mermaid, swimwear designer, models from Instagram.

Now two weeks before the event, I just finished the design for the invitation and currently working on the photo backdrop.

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The goody bag has been ordered, the decorations have been discussed, the sponsors are happy, the media have been identified. Now we just have to make sure we forward the invitation to as many people as possible!

More about the event soon..

 

MBA Candidate!

I couldn’t sleep that night. I just kept tossing and turning. It was as if I was waiting for something to happen. Then something did.

My phone buzzed.

Any other night, I would just ignore it and force myself to sleep. But that night I picked it up and I’m glad I did! It was a nicely written email from the SFU MBA Admissions team letting me know that I have been accepted to their program!

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I jumped out of bed right away and called my mom (she was in Vancouver, so it was her morning). I then texted EP and a few of my other friends. We were all celebrating the fact that I will be coming home to Vancouver, not as much the fact I got accepted to MBA. Haha! The responses I got from Facebook was immense though. I don’t want to sound cocky or anything but I am so very thankful to have such supportive group of friends that want me to be successful.

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It truly is an incredible feeling to have that much support from others. But.. yes, there’s a but.

I am a little sad and concerned that I would have to leave the hotel for 1.5 years. Life is so funny isn’t it? Just a few months ago, I wanted to have a way out. Now that I have my “way out”, I don’t really want to leave. I am getting used to the hotel life and to the work that I’m scared that if I leave, I would have to start from the beginning again when I come back. Maybe I am just chickening out thinking about the amount of homework I would have to do. I was never a good student. I procrastinated often when I was in school. But I know this time it would be different.

I know I would come out from the MBA program a better, a more skilled leader. I look forward to enhancing my business and analytical skills. I want to make better decisions. I want to lead my staff with empathy and wisdom.

Yours sincerely,

MBA Candidate (Can I call myself that already? Is it too early? It just sounds so cool!)

Behind the scenes of the opening of the first sports bar in Jimbaran

“What about sports bar?” asked one of the bartenders at the hotel.

For the last 1+ year, we have a venue at the hotel that we’re not using. It’s just left empty because we didn’t have a strong concept for it. It’s such a waste of space but we just didn’t know what to do with it.

Until one night I had a chat with two of the bartenders at the hotel and they brought up the idea of a sports bar.

But it was in August. We were too busy with everything else that was going on and we didn’t have a budget for it. But we’ve got everyone’s approval for it so we started planning and in January 2016, we really put all those planning into action.

On January 7th, I posted on Facebook, hoping there will be 3-4 replies to help us get started.

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I obviously underestimated the power of Facebook and my friends’ interest of sports bar. 36 people liked the post and over 40 comments were shared. Each of them are so valuable. Some weren’t even considered by our team previously. We really took the comments seriously and we discussed them over and over again to make sure we hit all the right marks.

When I got to Bali, I made sure all the preparation for the opening is ready. There were still a few important things missing, like the pool table, foosball, and decor. I’m a GSD (get sh*t done) type of person so I took my Purchasing guy out and made sure we got everything we needed.

A week later, things looked better.

Yep, that’s our pool table before they got put together. Here’s a little secret for you… it’s a refurbished pool table. The price is half of the new and I was super picky about the quality.

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For example, this leg right here, needed more bronzing. They had to do it three times ’til I was satisfied with the result. But once we put the pool table and 6 TV’s in, it started to look a lot like a sports bar. The next thing we worried about was the food and beverage.

I was wrong. Nothing to worry about here. The team has got it under control.

Thankfully, everything ran as scheduled and we were able to open the sports bar to our in-house guests as per our original schedule. It was a huge success! We received great feedback from our guests and we fixed our mistakes right away. It’s far from perfect still and there’s still lots of training to be done for our staff, but it’s definitely off to a good start.

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Never in my life I thought I would ever help open a sports bar, but I did and I had so much fun doing it. I could have never done it without the support of the team here and the friends I have on Facebook. So thank you, for your hard work and for your ongoing support for Smoqee Sports Bar and Lounge, the first and only sports bar in Jimbaran, Bali!

Mandapa Reserve Resort, Ubud

Life is good at Mandapa Reserve, the only hard thing is the damage on my wallet.

When I was looking for a place to check out this weekend, I was recommended over and over again to check out Mandapa Reserve by Ritz-Carlton in Ubud. It just opened a few months ago and is supposed to be the new luxury.

We were sure in for a treat. At $700 a night for their 100 sqm suite, this place doesn’t disappoint. I love their interior – luxurious but not pretentious. With only 35 suites and 15 villas, the place feels pretty homey and personal.

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The breakfast restaurant offers a very standard buffet but the view of the Ayung River and the tasteful decor made up for it.

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Rose gold cutleries? Genius.

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After breakfast, we joined in the rice planting activity. This is one of the complimentary activities they have and it sure was fun! I’ve walked and biked on rice paddies before, but never actually planted them… until today!

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Mud bath is the best kind of bath!

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Afterwards we chilled by the rice paddy, just enjoying the brisk wind and taking in the view. When it got dark, we went down to the restaurant lounge by the river.

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What’s so nice about the restaurant lounge is that it’s situated right by the river and they put spotlights on some trees too. So not only you get the sound of the Ayung River, but you also get to enjoy the view at night in your private little “cocoons”.

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Mandapa Reserve, thank you for the inspiration and the experience.

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#AussieDay & #CNY2016 at Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran

We love celebrations.

Just a few days ago, we celebrated #AussieDay because most of our in house guests on that day were Australians.

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Looking a week ahead, we will have a large number of Chinese travelers and so it just makes sense to decorate the hotel accordingly.

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Who’s behind these stellar decorations? Our Housekeeping team. I love how vibrant these decorations are and how they create such a different mood to the hotel.

Pasar Lama, Kota Tua Tangerang

The more I visit Tangerang, the more I see its charm. Unlike Jakarta, Tangerang feels like it still has a visible community touch to it. The roads are just as big and busy as Jakarta, but the buildings are more animated and the bridges are colourful.

Today we visited Pasar Lama in Kota Tua part of Tangerang. We weren’t looking for anything specific and so we wandered around with our cameras out like tourists.

We found some heritage homes, a busy local Vihara, street food vendors, and vegetable market.

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What surprised me the most was the long river by it. It’s clear of garbage, which unfortunately is a huge shocker for rivers in Indonesia. We’re notoriously known for our inability to keep our natural beauty clean but this river didn’t fall under that category.

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Overall it was a lovely area to be on a Sunday morning and I’m glad we went to check it out instead of going to the mall. If you are in Jakarta and want to enjoy a simpler life, even just for an hour or two, do check out Pasar Lama in Tangerang. I suggest bringing some cash to buy their fresh fruits and vegetable too.

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2016

Welp, it’s 2016 already. In fact, it’s already 20 days in to 2016.

To be completely honest, I dreaded the coming of 2016. 2015 was a confusing year for me, with a lot of up and downs. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many amazing things that happened in 2015 but my transition from Vancouver to Jakarta didn’t go as smoothly (emotionally) as I have expected. So when I saw 2016 was just around the corner, I panicked. I thought I haven’t even figured out 2015 yet, how was I supposed to greet 2016?

Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. I welcomed 2016 with my family in Taipei and for the first two weeks of 2016, I spent it with my closest friends and it felt amazing. So now, 3 weeks in to 2016, I have nothing but good feelings about this year.

Every year I pick a theme for that year. 2013 was the year to be recognized, 2014 was to be in the present. I didn’t pick any for 2015 and I think that’s what left me astray too. I won’t let that happen in 2016.

In 2016, I want to love.

Yes, it is as simple and complicated as that. I want to love life, I want to love my job, I want to love my friends and family more, I want to love myself (no, no Bieber reference here). Sometimes when we get busy with life, we forget to love. We choose to be mad, or tired, or whine instead. But life is too short for all those. This is the year to love.

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There are countless reasons why I am thankful for the life that I have but I was reminded of one that I haven’t really thought about in a long time.

With economy slowing down in almost all part of the world, many companies are forced to lay off some of their employees. Thankfully, our company is doing well enough to keep ours. But the office just down the stairs from ours is not as lucky. Three of their employees came upstairs today asking if there is any opportunity within our company. We sat down with them, one by one.

The last candidate was the youngest out of the three. I could tell right away she was nervous. I know how it feels. I have been on the other side of the table and it’s not fun, especially when you’re desperate for a job. Despite being anxious, she was able to answer most of our questions with ease.

I flipped through her resume and saw her education only went as far as high school. So I asked her if she is planning on continuing to a post secondary institution soon. She said, “I would love to. It really is my dream to continue my study. To take administration management, to go to a good school.” “So, what’s stopping you?” I asked. She took a second to answer, “I’m currently responsible for my two younger siblings. I need to pay for their education first. When my sister graduate high school next year, then I would be able to save more money for myself and hopefully go to a post secondary school. But for now, I need to save all my money for my siblings’ education and well being.”

I was stunned.

I was so lucky that my parents could pay for my education, in full. It was nothing I had to worry about. Even now that I am considering going back to school, all I had to do was tell them. I did not even have to ask.

Mom, Dad, you probably won’t ever read this. But I want you to know how grateful I am for my education and for giving me such a comfortable life, one where I have very little things to worry about. I hope I can work to give such life to my kids later on too and to all the kids out there needing an extra hand.

Bali – Labuan Bajo – Kawah Ijen – Sukamade – Jogjakarta – Jakarta

12 days of epic adventures. That’s what I’ll forever remember my trip with Greg, Danielle, Crystal, and Vicky as.

When I told Greg and Danielle I’m moving to Indonesia back in February, they told they would come visit me one day. I didn’t know then that it would come true just months after I left. We spent months talking about it, weeks planning it, and I know this would be one trip we’ll continue to tell others about for years.

What exactly made this trip particularly memorable? Well here’s what we did:

Some of the activities were so special that I would even consider it a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m thankful for the friends that shared them with me.

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The total trip costs us around CAD$1500 per person (excluding the round trip flight from Vancouver).

If you are interested in going to any of these places, here’s the list of people that made this trip possible for us:

Labuan Bajo
Organizer/Driver Rizki
Contact # 081237722937
Price Rp. 7.5jt ++
What’s included Private boat + accomodation
Custom itinerary
3 meals a day
Pick up from airport
Kawah Ijen
Organizer/Driver Ervin
Contact # 081233156656
Price Rp. 3.8jt ++
What’s included Car rental
Driver
Ferry Ticket
Guide Kawah Ijen
Jeep Sukamade
Guide Sukamade
Baby turtle release
Jogjakarta
Organizer/Driver Bahai Tour Organizer
Contact # 085643330708
Price Rp. 4.2jt
What’s included Car rental
Cave Tubing
Food
Driver/guide
Entrance fee
Transportation from/to airport

Here’s our detailed schedule as well! I’ve researched each place and their proximity with each other.

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I’m not a travel blogger by any means but I do love travelling and I take great pleasure in planning my trips. But I know how overwhelming it could be if you don’t even know what to look for, so I hope this would help you get some ideas of what you can do in Indonesia. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to do even more!

3 Things I Realized In the Shower Today

A few days ago I wrote a long piece about me getting sick, yeah yeah, I’m over it now. And I even found some more wisdom when I finally took shower for the first time in days.

  1. Man, I stink. Seriously, I stink so much! It must be all the sweats.
  2. Damn my abs are looking good! I didn’t eat much the last few days and whatever I ate, I threw it up anyways so my abs have never been this flat in the last 2 months. Woop. I did not have to fire my personal trainer the moment I go back. I can now tell him I’ve been on a diet😉
  3. I finally understand what they mean by “self-tan”. I’ve got so tanned over the last few days! I mean I was so hot that I burned my own skin! Ha.

Ah yes, I might have taken an extra funny pill today. But hey, can a girl joke about her own sickness?