Category Archives: Lifestyle

Amazing Amsterdam – Part 4

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn no time at all, we were bidding farewell to the beautiful canal-city of Amsterdam, with its unique architecture, complicated traffic system and yummylicious food. I really enjoyed our time there. I think it was mostly because it wasn’t infested with tourists – with the exception of the Diamond Museum and luxury stores, where a good proportion of the sales staff was Chinese!

Most of all, I appreciated how their urban landscape still retained much of its old glory and character. Coming from a country where most buildings seem to have been cloned from one another, I was pretty awed at how different each building was from its neighbour.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWithout a doubt, one of my favourites was their waffles, a delicious sweet snack that’s worlds apart from the fluffy pandan flavoured waffles we’re used to in the tropics. Waffles in Amsterdam are dense, slightly crispy and very sweet, with a touch of cinnamon added to the batter. Lightly dusted with icing sugar, I never failed to order this for my daily breakfast from our hotel (Novotel).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was interesting to see how icing sugar seemed to be their solution for everything. The bf and I tried this steaming hot round banana gooey bread thing with icing sugar dusted on top. It was ridiculously delicious in the cold weather.

yep. from the photo you can tell how crazy the wind was that day. What you can’t tell however, was that there were dozens of seagulls overhead, swooping and whizzing past me, attempting to steal my food! In fact, a few of them got too close for comfort and the bf and I were pretty shocked at their blatant boldness. We eventually huddled protectively around this delicious round thing and gobbled it up before the birds could bother us further. Quite a fun experience!

There were many other flavours at this food stall, mostly fruit flavours – such as apples and strawberry. However, they aren’t easy to come by and this was one of the few stalls we saw selling this mysterious gooey balls of awesomeness. Otherwise, I would’ve definitely dragged the bf to sample their other flavours! We paid 2 euros.

Having tried quite a huge variety of street food around Amsterdam, (see what else I sampled here), I think it’s pretty safe to vouch that the quality of street food is good. really good. With the exception of raw herrings, which according to the bf’s colleague – is an acquired taste. Try it if you dare!

Amsterdam is definitely a place where i’d love to return – the people are wonderfully friendly, the street food is yummy, plus there’s lots more to the city that I know I haven’t discovered yet.  On hindsight, I think we would’ve appreciated Amsterdam more had we known about the horrors that were to follow… Hopefully the next time I swing by, it’ll be spring! Then i’ll get to see the beautiful tulips that everyone is talking about (:

In anticipation, I’ve already created a little list of what I’d like to see when I’m in Amsterdam next. I hope that comes soon!

  1. Antiemarkt De Looier – an antiques and curiosa market, specialising in furniture, jewellery, silverware and collectables. Located: Elandsgracht 109, 1016 TT
  2. Art Plein Spui – a market where artists sell original prints and small oil paintings. Located: Spui Plein, 1012 WZ
  3. Rijksmuseum – paintings by Rembrandt and antique objects of Dutch culture.
  4. Dick Bruna Huis – the house with everything Miffy! Dick Bruna is the artist who created the cross-mouthed rabbit of my childhood. Truthfully, I was really disappointed that there was no Miffy mania in Amsterdam at all, with only a tiny corner in the airport selling some tourist-ified Miffy plushies, the most adorable of which had a pen stain so I left empty handed. *sigh*

Any suggestions? I’d love to hear what’s more in Amsterdam that I can discover. Next up, London!

Go Green This Christmas!

The terms “Eco-Friendly” and “Go Green” have been tossed around alot especially since these ideas are now currently in vogue. But what do these terms really mean?

Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution. You can engage in eco-friendly habits or practices by being more conscious of how you use resources.

National Geographic

I’ve been a firm believer in the Go Green movement for quite awhile now not because it is growing in its popularity in recent years but because it is a real and pressing issue. I think we all know that the Earth’s resources are scarce and we are in short supply of natural resources like oil and precious metals. And with a growing population, that only exacerbates the issue, leading to great wastage and even pollution such as accumulation of waste in landfills that take years and years to decompose.

I guess being a nature lover, it just pains me to see the Earth slowly disintegrating and becoming a wasteland. I can’t say that I am an eco-saint but I do what I can to reduce wastage by using eco-bags instead of plastic bags and turning off all electronic devices and light switches when not in use so as to conserve electricity. Also, as far as possible, I would buy/use products that are organic and biodegradable with recyclable paper packaging or no packaging at all. It is heartening to know that skincare brands like Lush and The Body Shop as well as fashion brands like Free Fish JapanMelissa and homegrown brand Zhai  are offering viable eco-friendly products.

So this Christmas, kick start your eco-friendly lifestyle through gifting! We’ve narrowed down 3 local brands that offer eco-friendly products that are perfect for stocking stuffers and presents for friends and loved ones!

1. tango Chocolat

tangoChocolat strives to improve the planet and believes in the mission “people before self”. Our multi-label store serves as a product showcase and has knick-knacks and items that range from gifts, skincare/perfume and reusable eco-friendly tote bags.

tangoChocolat carries several specialised brands of Go Green products like Australia’s SAKitToME’s eco-bags and PAKitToMe’s backpacks. These bags are lightweight, portable because they can be folded into a tiny little square and it is made of durable polyester that can carry up to 20kg worth of goods! So really, there’s no reason to go back to plastic bags anymore! And, they come in all sorts of cute designs with a very affordable price tag!

sakit1

Shop online here or visit their shop:

Parco Millenia Walk #01-60 P101/101 (next to Cortina Watch)

2. Fair and Square artisan gallery

I know this doesn’t exactly fall under the domain of going green but I think ethical, fair trade practices are equally important. After all, the point is to make the world a better place and sometimes, that starts with people and our interaction with others.

Fair trade is a global movement aimed at alleviating poverty, protecting art and craft traditions and promoting the self-sufficiency and sustainability of workers in developing communities.

397140_10150501510212453_58510554_n15768_210973367452_8099909_nPicture Credits: Fair & Square

Fair & Square’s fabulous, funky and fair trade products are designed and produced in partnership with skilled, disadvantaged artisans in developing communities throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

So, every item that you purchase helps to show support for disadvantaged artisans as well as to support the traditional arts and crafts in these developing communities. It is like killing two birds with one stone. And these gifts range from soaps to handcrafted purses which are great gifts for stocking stuffers or even as a corporate gift for official functions or even weddings!

Read more on their website here, visit their Facebook page to see their gallery or make purchases at:

Chinatown SE Shop

80 Eu Tong Sen Street

The Majestic, Singapore

3. Bud Cosmetics

And if you are looking for ethical and organic skincare then look no further because Bud Cosmetics has the answer. Bud Cosmetics is so serious about its mission to bring guilt-free beauty to this world that it offers the following promises:

  • ALL products are made from premium natural, certified organic, bio-dynamic and/or plant derived ingredients only
  • NO harsh synthetic chemicals and detergents
  • NO artificial fragrances, no thickeners, no emulsifiers
  • NO petrochemicals and mineral oils
  • NOthing to hide policy: ALL ingredients are listed on all products and communicated in-store or online so that you know what you are putting on your skin!
  • NO animal testing

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And if you actually look at the product list, the number of offered items is staggering! Anywhere from skincare to a full makeup line to hair, bath and body products. There’s even organic perfumes and if you enjoy being pampered, there’s a spa service available too!

But what I love most of all is that the products look really pretty but its packaging is entirely recyclable and reusable and like I said before, because its organic, no pesticides or herbicides are used so this reduces the amount of chemical pollutants fed into the soil, water and air which upset the ecological balance. Beauty without guilt or destruction? Yes please!

You can shop online here (there’s free shipping with $60 spent) or visit the physical stores:

333 Orchard Road
#03-32 Mandarin Gallery
(Meritus Mandarin Hotel)
Singapore 307506

10 Sinaran Drive
#01-66 Square 2 (Novena Medical Centre)
(above Novena MRT station)
Singapore 307506

So this Christmas, think about taking the first step to going green and commit to making it an integral part of your lifestyle.

Caroline will be away from the 16th to the 23rd of December. In the meantime, let Ruth enthrall you with her adventures in Amsterdam and Italy. 

Amazing Amsterdam Part 2

Albert Cuypmarkt

the Albert Cuypmarkt

There are a few things that I always like to tick off my checklist when travelling.

  1. Visit a local supermarket
  2. Visit a flea market / festival of some sorts
  3. Try lots of different food!

I think that visiting the local supermarket and an open market are really the best ways to soak into a foreign land’s atmosphere. You get to see what locals buy, what locals consume and try out their local specialities!

Albert Cuypmarkt

The Albert Cuypmarkt is, in my opinion, a must-see! It’s the largest, busiest market in Amsterdam and stores there sell everything you can think of! From apparels to their famous Gouda Cheese and local favourites like raw herring (which the bf and I refused to eat because the fishy smell alone repulsed us…); but of course when it came to more delectable, appetizing items like roasted chicken drumlets (OMG DROOOLZZ), Stroopwaffles (the large round thing with a soft gooey caramel center) and poffertjes (tiny pancakes generously dusted with icing sugar). We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves that afternoon and it was truly an eye opening experience! Plus we were entertained by some buskers too, who played pretty nice music :)

Seasonal fruits in particular, are really cheap. However, they often come in little baskets that have no means of closure. It was rather heart breaking when I saw all these adorable small little strawberries but couldn’t think of a way to lug them around because we didn’t have anything to put them in. Note to self, bring a plastic bag to the market next time. hahaha.

The Albert Cuypmarkt is
Located: Albert Cuypstraat/Ferdinand Bolstraat, 1072 LL
Tram: Albert Cuypstraat: tram 16, 20, 24 & 25
Open: Monday – Saturday 9.30 am – 5.00 pm

Amsterdam frites

The people in Amsterdam don’t eat a lot of carbohydrates. Much of their food is mostly white meat (i.e. fish or various birds), but frites (fries) are a huge part of their eating culture. Everywhere, you see stalls that have made MOUNTAINS of frites, all ready for serving. The bf and I were pretty stunned. However, given the ubiquitousness of these frites stalls, we eventually decided to give it a try. Imagine our shock when we ordered the smallest size and got such a huge serving.

I noted that the potato was more powdery and soft, compared to fries in Singapore. Perhaps it’s a different type of potato? One can pick from a variety of sauces – the most popular one is a yellow sauce known as frites sauce. It’s pretty good. Pictured above is chilli sauce because we missed it.

 

sights sounds amsterdam street food flower market

Hot chocolate is THE BEST DRINK for winter. ’nuff said.

Besides the Albert Cuypmarket, we also visited the Floating Flower Market (bottom left). Unfortunately, as it was winter, there were no tulips in bloom. We did however, see loads and loads of tulip bulbs for sale. but oh well, we live in a tropical country and the climate would kill the bulb before it took root. So not much for us to see there. One of the main reasons why the flower market is famous is because the whole thing floats on water. I had in mind the idea that I would be hopping from boat to boat to view their wares but the market was actually very well anchored to the street next to it and each store was on top of a barge. In fact, it was so steady that I didn’t feel any difference from being on land at all. I would love to visit it in Spring though, just to see the flowers!

Bloemenmarkt – Flower Market
The only floating flower market in the world
Speciality: Flowers, seeds, bulbs and rare flowers such as black tulips Located: Singel, 1071 AZ
Tram: Muntplein: tram 4, 9, 14, 16, 24 & 25
Open: Monday – Saturday 9.30 am – 5.00 pm

We also visited a supermarket and my jaw dropped when I saw this humungous pizza. Look at the size in contrast to my hand! The bf and I were standing there wondering how people carted such a huge thing home when we realised that oh, they would cut it up and sell it in standard rectangular-sized pieces. There are quite a few supermarkets in Amsterdam, but the one we visited the most was Albert Heijn, for its reasonable prices and wide variety of goods. Water (1.5 or 2 L) was about 34cents!

Next up… the museums we visited in Amsterdam.

Quality Chicked: Tampons

In our new series, Quality Chick-ed, QuirkyChic is touching on a mildly embarrassing topics with regards to personal care every month. In November, well, let’s just say we are concerned with our time of the month…

Judging by the lack of tampon brands in the market, it is clear that Singaporean women have yet to embrace the use of the tampon. But after trying it out recently (you know it’s one of those unfortunate circumstances where your period arrives and you have no pads on you and have to borrow from someone? Well, that person gave me a tampon instead) I have to admit that I kind of like it!

First of all, it is much less messy than a pad because it begins absorption in your cervix instead of allowing it to drip unceremoniously everywhere on the pad. There are no more horrible run-ins with ‘nappy rash’ no thanks to the uncomfortable abrasion from pads and it is breathable and much more comfortable (instead of being hot and itchy) because the tampon acts as a stopper which means you can just don your undies. No panty liners required.

The only thing to take note of? You have to remember to change your tampon else it could lead to infections or something called Toxic Shock Syndrome. So tampons aren’t recommended for night use because you have to change them between 4-6 hours. But if you are careful, then tampons are safe to use.

Let’s move on to our reviews. First up, Tampax!

Tampax

Tampax Cardboard has an absorbent core designed to fit your unique shape, along with a LeakGuard® skirt to help stop leaks before they happen. Each tampon comes in a strong durable wrapper and has a biodegradable applicator with Anti-Slip Grip™.

Tampons cost alot more than pads in Watsons and Guardian primarily because they aren’t as popular (I think this box costs $17?) but for a box of 20 that promises up to 8 hours of no leakage absorption, it seems like a pretty good deal. On average, I use about 6-8 tampons on a heavy flow day of my menstrual cycle. Sadly, I think this spiked number is a result of me having to change the tampon once every 4 hours instead of their advertised 8 hour duration. It is virtually impossible in my experience to be able to withstand 8 hours without spotting or leaking. In terms of pad usage, I would say that it seems like a decreased amount but not significantly, perhaps only a pad or two more as compared to tampon usage.

But it isn’t all bad, my experience with tampax was pretty pleasant because of their cardboard tube applicator that allows you to insert the tampon more accurately with little fuss. Also, while the ends do start to fray, I didn’t experience back flow which is great for extended periods of time where you are working at your desk or taking a short nap and it does save you the hassle and discomfort (which is the main reason I run to the toilet to have my pad changed so often). My only gripe is that because it starts to fray, this might leave some residue on your panties so as an added precautionary measure, I applied a pantyliner as well which is some ways, kind of defeats the purpose of a tampon in the first place. As such, my rating for Tampax tampons are…

o.b

2012-10-30 17.37.24

o.b.® tampon’s FLUID-LOCK® grooves pull fluid into the core for locked-in leak protection you can wear for up to 8 hours*. So you can keep your cool and get out there with confidence.

The main difference between o.b and Tampax is really the packaging. As you can see, because Tampax comes with an applicator, the packaging tends to be abit bulkier compared to o.b. that fits 32 tampons in a sleek compact little box. Also, o.b. doesn’t believe in an applicator. It markets itself as the ‘smarter tampon’ that creates a “protective pocket that surrounds your finger with soft fibers while you insert, to help you stay clean and protected”. As such, this minimises waste and is actually better for the environment (smart marketing angle imo).

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But what I really liked about this tampon is the material which isn’t exactly cotton but made from polyester/polyethylene non-woven material which I feel has greater absorbency. I actually didn’t have to change my tampons as many times as I did compared to Tampax and I felt that thanks to the grooves, it actually provided much better protection. I didn’t experience spotting or leakage at all which is quite amazing. So there was no need for that extra precautionary panty liner barrier. I also felt that this was more comfortable in terms of fit so I think o.b has a good overall solution to my menstrual woes. I much prefer this brand to Tampax.

For more information on tampons and its use, o.b. has a very helpful FAQ page here but for more professional advice, do seek a doctor’s opinion especially if you are concerned about Toxic Shock Syndrome and whether or not tampons are really for you.

The opinions here are strictly my own. The content of this web site is provided for informational purposes. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice. As previously mentioned, it is not advisable to wear a tampon over extended periods of time or to wear one in certain situations that may heighten your risk of infection so please use at your own discretion. Of course, consult your GP or health care provider immediately with any problem or health concern you may have.

Peranakan Museum and then some.

As you guys are reading this, I’ve probably just got off my plane to embrace beautiful Italy but a couple of days before my trip, I met up with a really good friend that I haven’t seen in ages and we decided to head to East Coast to play mini golf at Liliput but unfortunately, it was closed. So despite being all golf chic in loafers and chinos, we decided to have a great time anyway.

Now, Abu just came back from a one month Hajj and he bought me a little present- an abaya! And so to humour him alittle, I decided to change into it and walked around the Peranakan Museum like a pseudo tourist. It was interesting being the ‘outsider’ for the day and have people look at you funny. I think I even scared some people off. Muahaha.

I have to say that the abaya is actually really comfortable and roomy and the sole purpose of donning an abaya is to remain incognito or as Abu puts it, to conceal the woman’s form so as not to tempt the men. Apparently, in Saudi, they believe that the only person who should have access to whatever is hidden inside the abaya is the husband. So in having every woman concealed, this supposedly reduces the amount of rape cases there (though I beg to differ. We had a long long debate about this. I mean, if every woman is concealed, does that not lead to repression of sexual desire? And if so, wouldn’t an exposed ankle be enough to drive a man crazy? Much less an arm or butt or boob… Well, apparently if that unfortunate transgression takes place, the man gets stoned to death. Hurrah.) As you can see, I had alot of problems with the head scarf. I think I need more practice wrapping it round and pinning it correctly.

Now the Peranakan Museum is a quaint little building off Armenian Street and ALL women from ages 1-100 enter for free! How cool is that? And because Abu was accompanied by a woman i.e. me, he gets 50% off his entry ticket! The museum is split into various sections: Food, Religion, Daily Life, Death, Weddings and Fashion and it was very interesting to see how these aspects evolved over time. My mum being a Malaccan Peranakan, it was very interesting to see how the dressing differed from the Java and Penang kinds. Also, I always thought Peranakan was a term used to describe people from intermarriages between Malays and Hokkien Chinese folk. But I soon learnt that it can also apply to Teochew, Eurasians and Indians too. Basically anyone who came from the Straits and married the local women and set up families here, their children would be Peranakans.

It was quite a comprehensive gallery that showcased wood works, ceremonial garb (the headdress was insanely elaborate) and different kinds of cutlery used for different purposes like the kam cheng that could be used for soups or desserts.

I particularly admired the beadwork on the shoes and the little purses. It was so intricate and detailed! Definitely something that would cost a bomb to produce today.

My favourite gallery has got to be the kabaya showcase though. It really shows you how the modest garb has evolved over time from when the British and Dutch came all the way to the 1950s! These early kebayas for example, have a distinct European style and in some ways, this becomes integral to the kebaya since the lace and material is imported from Europe but sewed and tailored in Indonesia. It is the perfect union of two different worlds.

These are some of the modern pieces. The intricacy of the lace is just amazing. And it’s not just about the delicate detailing of the top, but also the kebaya itself and how it takes a true expert to pair both designs together to create something absolutely seamless. Some kebayas even tell a story!

These kebayas are obviously from the modern era where there’s more experimentation with colour and designs. But with modernity, also comes mechanisation and some of the lace and embroidery detail is now done by machines (much to my mom’s chagrin) but these days, it is hard to find an authentic, hand stitched kebaya in Singapore and even if you do, it is very very expensive. I think the whole idea of tailoring clothing is becoming a lost art. Sad.

All in all, the Peranakan museum was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. To immerse myself in a culture that I am acquainted with but would love to know more about.

And of course, the day has to end on a high with a long car ride to nowhere, singing songs of old and the big finish? A bridge near Fort Road. Seriously, a wonderful place to bring your date to. It’s kinda nice especially if it is a cool day.

A picture of my elusive, camera-shy friend in his signature peach pants.

Caroline will be away till the 20th of Dec so till then, Ruth will enthrall and entertain you. Stay tuned. 

7 Stages to falling in love with an author

A friend introduced me to a website called Unshelved  that features comic strips by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes. While I love my perennial favourites like Simon’s Cat and Baby Blues, I’m always in search for good comics to read (although I have to say that I’m not as hardcore as Mark.)

This one’s a good one. It aptly describes my infatuation with David Nicholls.

There’s also little plot summaries of various stories. This one coincides with my recent trip to the Art Science Museum…

But while I enjoy reading the plot summaries and the individual stories between the characters, my favs have got to be the Library Tip series mainly because it reminds me of NUS Central Library and the awesome experience of getting lost in a winding labyrinth of books. It’s like my real life version of Never Ending Story. Either that or I have a nerdy sense of humour.

For more quirky comics, check out Unshelved.

Tastefully Offensive

I just recently discovered this hilarious site called Tastefully Offensive and it is downright hilarious and a wonderful time waster. You are warned! Read only if you have a huge amount of time on your hands.

Given the iPhone 4S craze, some people have been speculating what Siri would be like a couple of years from now…

And with Halloween just around the corner, have you thought about what you will go as? How bout an Ewok? Cuteness max!!

Want to lash out at someone without losing composure? (expletives are so passe!) Then perhaps you should infuse some atas-ness into your speech. Take a leaf out of the Shakespeare Insult Kit. It’s easy!

I would totally use impertinent idle-headed giglet but if you wanted to use something alliterative, then try weedy weather-bitten wagtail! (that sounds like a Harry Potter spell!)

And this is so true. Why was F6 created? I don’t use it. Ever. *pushes F6 tab so it won’t feel redundant*

This is just scraping the surface though. They have loads more premium funny stuff. Videos, photos, captions… What a great way to kickstart the weekend!

Office Essential: The Lunch Tote

With a job that requires me to be mobile and work away from my desk for lengthy periods in a day, having a lunch tote (or “baby-sized bag) is really essential. With it, I can just dump in my purse & peripherals (think umbrella if it’s rainy, a pack of tissues/wet wipes, my phone & some random stationary etc) & be ready to go. It’s convenient, quick and efficient!

Like with anything that one purchases, even a simple lunch tote can be a fashion/personality statement. I admire my colleagues who seem to be completely comfortable with how they express their personalities through their purchases. Not only are they focused and sure as to what they want, it really creates a very coherent continuity for everything they own.

I think that’s what Tyra Banks calls personal branding, which believe me, might not seem to matter as much if you’re not a celebrity, but you’d be surprised at how much more memorable it’ll make you to your colleagues & superiors alike. Being remembered is better than being blah, or worse…forgotten.

Personal branding is unavoidable. As others interact with you, they’ll automatically form mental associations that connect you with certain labels, often within the first few seconds. You can’t avoid being labeled, and other people can’t avoid labeling you. It happens automatically because our brains are wired to recognize patterns and form associations. The labels people attach to you become part of your personal brand.

If you type an email, you’re branding yourself. If you have a conversation with a friend or family member, you’re branding yourself. How you dress, what you eat, and how you talk all contribute to your brand. Think of your brand as the summation of all the associations about you that are stored in people’s minds.

– Steve Pavlina

I don’t know how I’ve moved on from lunch totes to personal branding exactly, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. If people are going to begin labelling me with mental associations at our first interaction, then why not exert my own control over what they think of me, instead of hoping that circumstances will eventually speak for me?

In a fast paced world where one can barely spare the time to linger over leisurely luncheons, making a visual impact through the little things could be really essential to one’s success.

Superficially of course, cute things could just make you happy. X) So indulge in it! Let that be your personal brand. Because being comfortable & happy in your own skin at work, could be the greatest motivating & attractive factor about you. No one wants a worker who drags his/her feet around the workplace. Being able to be the source of your motivation could do wonders for your work performance and overall work happiness

heh. pretty thought provoking stuff huh. Kinda puts the pressure on my next purchase. hahaha. But in the meantime, here’s my tote. A tote that makes me smile, a tote that’s of a neat size that’s just right to hold my stuff, a tote I’m not afraid to carry but merrily flaunt in front of my colleagues and bosses – because it’s something that to some extent, represents part of me.

whoa, quite abit of thinking for a tiny little bag, huh?

I can’t get over this rabbit thing. It makes me feel like I’m a dreamer all over again, gazing far & beyond…

 

Keeping Fit

I’m not exactly a fitness girl but recently, I’ve been making a concerted effort to keep fit, not so much to lose weight but really, to keep my heart healthy. Recently, a friend of mine who is younger than I am and weighs much lighter started cholesterol medication and that totally freaked me out. I think I’ve been resting on my laurels abit too much thinking that my high metabolism will take care of all the fatty foods that I’ve been consuming. And so I decided that I would start a fitness regime. Nothing too intensive, just a once a week thing where I run and do alittle bit of cardio. If you are a beginner just like I am, here’s some tips to get over the initial inertia and keep going at it.

Having the Right Attitude

Truth be told, I’ve tried this exercise routine thing with limited success because my interest would wane and I would get lazy and eventually stop and I think part of the reason is because I didn’t see a true need or purpose in what I was doing. But now that I know that my health is on the line and I’m only going to get older year by year, I’m taking this much more seriously. It helps that I’ve got Mark as a running buddy and he keeps me in check, making sure that I’m keeping up with him every step of the way. This whole idea of accountability is definitely going to help me keep up with the programme not to mention that this is a wonderful time for us to spend quality time together.

Getting the Right Equipment

I dunno about you, but one of the things that got me all initially hyped up about exercising is getting new running shoes. I think for me, pairing up fashion with functionality is such a brilliant idea so picking a pair of comfortable and pretty shoes is the definitely the first step in the right direction. What’s more, knowing that I’ve invested $89 on a pair of Adidas runners will motivate me to use them more often so that the money spent will not go to waste.

Pacing Yourself

I was overly ambitious my first time out running. I thought that I could run really fast and cover long distances but seriously, who am I kidding. I ran maybe 800m before I died? That’s when I learnt the simple truth. That Rome wasn’t built in a day and that I really needed to build up my stamina little by little. So I would start off really slow with tiny little steps and just jog continuously and I set realistic expectations increasing my distance/pace each time I ran and gradually I got better and better. It’s quite a rewarding feeling especially when you see muscles firm up, your legs become more toned and you don’t run out of breath after climbing 4 flights of stairs in school.

During and After the Run

But of course if you ever feel dizzy or the world is spinning around and your heart is beating really really fast then stop, take a rest and drink some water because over-exertion could be very dangerous. Given our extreme heat, it’s best to run in the early mornings or evenings but even so, stay hydrated! If it helps, take isotonic drinks like 100 plus or H20.  And while Vitamin D is good for you, too much sun exposure can cause sunspots and pigmentation so don’t forget sunblock and if needed, use a spritz to cool your face down. And afterwards, don’t forget to stretch else you will have hell to pay the next day!

Still thinking about exercising and getting fit? Well, procrastinate no more!

Exceptionally Useful

Lately I’ve really been into practical things. A sign of adulthood? I’m inclined to say yes, as I begin to discard my impulsive spending habit. That said, practical things need not be boring, or ugly, or have absolutely no design to speak of. Here’s a peek of what I’ve been lusting for lately!

This cute portable cutlery set has been perfect for office use! It’s made of plastic that’s easy to wash and the parts are detachable and simple to assemble together, even for a klutz like me (: I’ve got the set in pink! yay

This anti-shoe pad is great for those pretty cheap shoes that have absolutely no friction whatsoever, especially on rainy days. Trust me, it isn’t so glamourous when one is slipping and sliding on smooth tiles. haha. These pads don’t even fall off in the rain! They last for up to 6 months for me, but hey, I don’t walk alot in my heels, not really.

If you’re the type who takes many short trips and you want to travel light, these portable contact lens cases are the perfect solution. Containing a contacts lens case with a tiny bottle to carry 1-2 days worth of solution, it’s a far lighter and more convenient than looking for those small-sized contact lens solution bottles :)

So these were my practical shopping indulgences over the past weekend! What practical things have you added to your life lately?

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