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Nice list of rules for when I get a smart phone for Zack. Don’t agree completely with all of them but they are good guidelines to form my own. Original page here.

2012: Year in Review

I’ve been writing my year end reviews for 3 years now so I guess it has become customary of sorts. In addition to being an easy way of recording all the things I didn’t manage to write about this past year, it’s also a great opportunity to pause and reflect. This year I began my year in review by reading my 2009, 2010 and 2011 reviews.

God has been gracious and continued to bless me, so 2012 was another great year. I feel like I’ve successfully built a foundation in life and have now hit my stride for the next several years (or decades). That being said there are a few things I need to watch out for so that I don’t trip up and allow what has been built up to become undone.

I’m mixing the format up this year so let’s just jump into the highlights, in no particular order.

Vacation time again

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Finally Zack is at an age where we can travel more again! 2012 began with a vacation to Langkawi. It was our first experience on vacation with Zack alone. He enjoyed splashing around in the pool but was afraid of the beach (sand and sound of the waves).

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The Langkawi vacation prepared us for our longer, overseas vacation to Melbourne. Pei Chyi had to work a few days in Melbourne, and we took the opportunity to extend the trip and stayed with our good pals Joanie and Gavin. That was a fun trip! I had to watch Zack all by myself for several days which was pretty challenging but they gave me some great memories with Zack.

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We also travelled to Bangkok in August, this time with my parents and sister. Oh gosh how grandpa doted over Zack. We also met up with some old friends whom we haven’t seen for 10 years and are now firmly re-connected via Facebook

There was also a short trip to Singapore in June and Zack travelled even more than me when he tagged along with Pei Chyi to her cousin’s wedding in Hong Kong.

Pei Chyi says goodbye to The Man

In May, Pei Chyi left her job of 5 years to join her parents’ business. The plan is that she takes the reigns when my in-laws retire, but in the meantime the company workforce grew by 50% (there’s just the 3 Leongs).

Transitioning to a self-employed career has been exciting, challenging, frustrating and rewarding for Pei Chyi. And working with your own parents is a whole other can of worms too. I try to offer advice wherever I can but there are lots of things that she needs to simply experience and learn herself.

The upshot is that Pei Chyi and I have even more in common. I always felt there was a small but distinct gap between my self-employed career and her own employment. Now that gap is gone. And we can now both go out on weekdays at a whim, no need to wait for the weekend Read More »

Nike+ FuelBand Review: A Mind Control Device That Motivates You To Stay Fit

Nike+ FuelBand

Nike+ FuelBand

I decided after my birthday in July that I needed to get into better shape. I knew from the start that it wasn’t going to be an easy journey – I only began to take the first steps 2 months after making the decision!

After some research, I purchased a Nike+ FuelBand to help me stay motivated on my fitness journey. It was one of the best decisions I made in 2012, and now fitness is something I actually look forward to instead of being a boring, unexciting chore.

From observation and experience, staying motivated long enough to get into the groove is probably the biggest hurdle to becoming fitter and healthier. Once you see results it’s a lot easier to stay motivated. That was definitely the case with me, and that was the problem that my Nike+ FuelBand helped to solve.

How does it work?

The Nike+ FuelBand is a wristband with a bunch of electronics inside that automatically tracks your movement (activity) and translates it to a score called NikeFuel. You set a daily goal for the amount of NikeFuel you want to achieve and the FuelBand keeps track of it.

In addition to the Fuel score, the Nike+ system rewards you with awards. Win trophies by scoring a certain number of points. Get on a streak by meeting your daily Fuel goal multiple days in a row. It’s the principle of gamification where your activity is automatically scored, so you compete with others (or just yourself).

The FuelBand is just one of the many devices within the Nike+ ecosystem. Each product tracks different activities better and the FuelBand is the best one for tracking all-day activity.

Therefore, the Nike+ system is the platform that turns fitness into a game. And to play the game, you need a toy device like the Nike+ FuelBand.

It’s a simple idea, and it’s just the thing that fitness newbies need to keep motivated. Even if the activity of exercising is not fun, the achievements, visualizing your progress and comparing it with others gives newbies the sense of achievement and engagement that they need to stick with their fitness journey and begin seeing results.

Read More »

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Bill Erickson shares a few thoughts about the benefits of running a consulting / service-based business. His post is in response to the notion that product-based business models are more scalable and therefore profitable.

Bill covers the pros and cons of the consulting business model, and what people frequently forget when thinking about product-based business models. One thing resonated with me:

As a service provider, find the more scalable aspects of your business and focus on them. Likewise, find the aspects that are less scalable and decrease your focus on them.

This is something that I’ve been working on at ClickWP. In service-based business models, decreasing focus on the less scalable aspects are usually handled by automation. However it’s important to remember not to automate too much because your business will become cold and your relationship becomes transactional, when customers frequently choose you over other vendors because of that high-touch relationship.

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Thumbs up

Zack is quickly developing his own personality and style. Look at the cheeky fella here at Sunday school. *Heart melt*

Have Yourself An IKEA Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” sings Andy Williams. And I have to agree.

People seem more cheerful, everything is on sale and homes are dressed up to the nines in Christmas decorations.

Christmas is also a time where many reflect on the year and be grateful for their blessings, and I have to count IKEA as one of them. I was invited to be an IKEA ambassador earlier this year and that was a fantastic experience. IKEA is also a lifesaver for busy people like me during the Christmas season.

Pei Chyi and I are both business owners, and life doesn’t stop during the Christmas season. I’ve been racing to complete projects in December, so that I can have a peaceful year end break. Throw a hyperactive 2-year old in the mix and you have a recipe for mental meltdown!

So with limited time and opportunity to shop, I need someplace that has everything I need to decorate my home for Christmas, and to grab a few gift items too. And not to curry favor with IKEA, I honestly say that I am thankful to them for solving this problem for me.

For our Christmas decor this year, we bought a FEJKA Christmas tree and JULMYS decoration baubles in assorted colors. What I liked about the FEJKA tree is that it looks more realistic than your run-of-the-mill artificial trees. I bought one from Jusco 2 years ago but didn’t like the wire-brush style pine needles. The FEJKA tree is realistic enough that some people thought it was real when they saw my Instagram ;)

Conveniently, IKEA sells tree decorations too. Zack had a fun time helping with decorations, and we personalized the tree further with handmade ribbons. Read More »

At the beginning of 2011, I began hosting my websites on Site5. I have been singing their praises and recommending everyone I know to them. Today iThemes publicly announced their endorsement of Site5 hosting (and how terrible Hostgator is too). I’m really excited about the development because iThemes is a major WordPress plugins and themes vendor, so their endorsement confirms my feelings about Site5. Also, the CEOs of both companies have been communicating directly which will hopefully result in even better WordPress compatibility with Site5. Check out the announcement post, Site5 has a 6-month free trial (!) for the iThemes community.

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Ben Brooks writes about a problem that many blogs and news sites have – too many things that distract the site visitor from reading. I share a similar opinion which is why I have removed all the ads from my site and reduced the design as much as possible. It’s a good read if you are considering a new design for your blog.