Organic Hair Care: Hype or Not?

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I MUST be the worst-groomed beauty blogger you know.

Cos I take pride in looking like a, for the lack of a better word, VAGABOND. Ideally, I should live in my ripped denim cutoffs, rucksack on my back, tatty sneakers on my feet, wind in my hair, not a care in the world.

Ohh yes, my messy hair. I do own a grand total of TWO hair brushes – one a gift from Goody, the other from when I stayed in Tokyo. I use neither.

Now and then, I receive hair products for review. However, shampoos and conditioners don’t excite me very much. The way I see it, they only have one job each – to cleanse and soften, respectively. Bounce, shine, “vitality”, anti-frizz, blah blah blah…. I have grown to care less.

IF there’s anything that COULD possibly make me give two hoots, it’s gotta SMELL DANG GOOD. Or be friendly towards Mother Nature, whom I adore. Or even better, both.

Enter VINES AND ROOTS (they’re on Facebook too), a distributor of “natural and organic beauty products” of South African botanical heritage.

I interject – I’ve become EXTREMELY SKEPTICAL about the words “natural” and “organic”. Whilst I don’t study every ingredient on the list and am not an expert in this field, I’m of the impression that these words have been blatantly abused and plastered all over marketing materials and product packaging to represent superiority over other non-natural, non-organic products.

So. Organic hair care: hype or not? This brand I’m reviewing today, AFRICA ORGANICS, claim that their hair care range contains NONE of those artificial stuff, but instead relies on the potency of wild African plants (supposedly more powerful than carefully-cultivated plants, since the wild ones have been forced to become adaptable to harsh weather elements).

Vines and Roots sent me these – BAOBAB SHAMPOO and CONDITIONER for dry, treated hair. They go for SGD23 each (the shampoo at 210ml and the conditioner at 200ml) BUT from now until 28 February 2015, you get to enjoy a 10% storewide discount with promotion code “STARBLOGGER”. Also, FREE SHIPPING ISLANDWIDE for orders above SGD79. Good deal?

Organic Hair Care: Hype or Not?

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New year, new (beauty) slate, right?

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BARELY 3 full weeks into 2015, and how many of us have long chucked our New Year’s resolutions out the window? Hah. Well, if your resolutions were anything beauty-related, then you’re in luck because our team at BellaBox has decided to lend some help to get you back on track.

This month’s edition is about hitting all the right (beauty) spots, refreshing your beauty slate so you can regain your title of Miss Spick-and-Span, how’s that sound?

The dotty infocard made me smile, yellow being one of my favourite colours. Speaking of yellow, I do have a certain ochre Fjällräven Kånken on my mind! Ming recently got me another one in Forest Green, would you look at that little STUNNER – I love it very much! :)

What's Inside BellaBox January 2015: The Beauty Spot

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The act of RUNNING is LIFE. Haruki Murakami says so.

RUNNING is an important part of my life. So are reading and writing. Imagine the amount of pleasure I derive from reading and writing ABOUT running, hah! I must have come across this book whilst searching for running-related reads. I promptly got on the library’s waiting list for an electronic copy (I’ve long stopped purchasing books due to lack of storage space) and devoured it with the same aggressiveness that drives me to run every morning. If movement of the legs is running for the body, then reading of this book is running for the mind. The act of RUNNING is LIFE. Haruki Murakami says so.

Haruki Murakami’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”

Haruki Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" (official book cover)

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I’ve lost enthusiasm for life.

I’ve lost enthusiasm for life. Or at least I THINK I’ve lost it.

If I had to use just one word to describe the last month of 2014, I’d go with “MEH”. I don’t really know what’s happening. Does Seasonal Affective Disorder happen to people who live in a supposed eternal summer? I guess the harsh cold and relentless wet weather affected (and continues to affect) me pretty bad. First thing every morning, I run in the unpleasant cold. I miss the warm air so much. In an attempt to bring some cheer, I currently still have Christmas carols playing on my iPod.     

I continued to chase work deadlines in the first part of December. Right after that, I thought the bulk of the worst was over, and I actually felt relieved. Only to receive bad news, which brought on new waves of disappointment and anger. Still chasing deadlines now. 

It seems to me like I was simply living each day without much aim. I just kept telling myself to keep on keepin’ on, that the Universe knows what it’s doing, that it’s all a matter of perspective, that amongst my daily struggles, I simply need to FIND THAT SPARK FOR LIFE AGAIN. And be grateful for what I have. 

I guess things have a way of balancing themselves out, for there were parts of December that went by uneventfully. Even then, those days were meh, too, because I wasn’t able to identify a purpose. MY purpose. Right now I’m still trying to figure things out, and I wonder if the Universe would be kind enough to reveal what’s up any time soon.

Christmas was nice and quiet. I ran a half marathon on the morning of Christmas Day, which made me very happy. Ran to the city to admire the pretty Christmas lights! On Boxing Day, I received a special edition “Save the Arctic Fox” Fjällräven Kånken from Ming. I’ve got a Forest Green one on my mind, too…. :)      

Remarkably, I survived 2014 with ZERO medical claims. #doesthatmakemetheemployeeoftheyear I can’t recall the last time I managed to steer clear of the doctor’s for a whole freakin’ YEAR. I believe exercise played a part in keeping me free from general ailments. I absolutely abhor the smell of clinics and hospitals – medicine, hand sanitisers and, depending on luck, vomit; I dislike having to describe my discomfort to the doctor; I hate being examined; I detest the feeling of laying in bed, unable to do what I want. Having avoided a whole year of that, I’m thankful. My doctor must think I’m dead, bahahahaha! 

I wish I could say that when December came to an end, so did changes, struggles, hard work and abuse. Nope. They continue in 2015. Looking back, I truly wonder how I survived it all. 

The warrior within me believes that no one should live their lives sad and without a purpose. It’s like half-assing a run without a mileage goal. I NEED TO REKINDLE THAT FIRE IN MY BELLY. January, will you light my fire? Hah.               

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It’s time for the “New Year, New Me” bullshit again.

ERRMAHGERD GUYS, IT’S 2015. Now I’m checkin’ in with you folks – those of you who jumped on the “NEW YEAR, NEW ME” bandwagon 12 MONTHS AGO – you know who you are! Soooo…. DID you keep to your 2014 New Year’s resolutions?

Exactly a year ago, I declared 2014 a year of SELF-LOVE. With that declaration came my resolution to do 5 things.

I have so much to tell you, but I don’t even KNOW how to begin. DANG. 

It's time for the "New Year, New Me" bullshit again.

In a nutshell, I wanna shout out A FREAKIN’ RESOUNDING YES. I did all that I resolved to do in 2014. To recap, I SAID:

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Goodbye 2014, you abusive mofo.

I HATE to let a year slip by without having achieved anything. Every December, I like to recollect what I’ve done with my 12 months. However, OLD AGE. Good thing I’ve got this blog to help refresh my memory!

So…. 2014. I can’t think up a more appropriate description for our friendship save to say that you have been most abusive. I have lost count of the number of times I thought I was going to die in your hands; I’m proud to stand here today and bid you goodbye with relief and (some unbelievable) sadness. Your cruel hand literally forced the warrior within me to emerge. GEEZ.

J A N U A R Y
 
It being 2014, I noted 14 FIRSTS. At the height of my manicure obsession I wrote a leopard print nail art tutorial. Began contributing to Solo Wandergirl, a small community of female writers, where I publish a piece every month. Decided to reflect a bit on what I learnt in my 20s. Thought you’d be curious about my style essentials. Started The Daily Strength, a project chronicling what goes on in my inner sanctuary. 

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A Runner’s Prayer

WHAT goes through the minds of other runners when they lace up their running shoes in the morning (or evening, or whenever)? Do we all think of the same thing? This month, for my contribution to Solo Wandergirl, I wrote a piece entitled “A Runner’s Prayer” - one enunciating my thoughts and hopes, not just as a runner, but as a girl struggling hard through this game called LIFE. 

Can you identify with me when I say….   

“MAY I have the strength
to run this race today
to win against all odds
to welcome a better day.

May I have the courage
to take just one more step
to focus not on the distance ahead
but three yards in front instead.”

My 12th post on Solo Wandergirl: A Runner's PrayerMERRY CHRIST-FREAKIN-MAS, by the way! Whatever plans you’ve got, have a good time. Aww man…. I just want to hide in my room all day long, tucked in bed, fluffy comforter and all, with my Kindle and a huge mug of hot coffee, or tea. A candy cane would be nice. :) xx J 

P.S. If you haven’t already liked us on Facebook…. WHY?!

It’s time to ring in the Christmas belles.

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YUP, you read right. I said it’s time to RING IN THE CHRISTMAS BELLES, because that’s what BellaBox December is all about. I am in denial, actually. About the year coming to a close. OH GAWD. If I had things my way, Lunar New Year probably still hasn’t happened yet.

Since I was a child, I get depressed every December. I hated bidding goodbye to the holidays, and I hated new school years. In fact, I spent most of my time after Christmas in tears. As an adult-child now, I STILL feel blue – I guess it’s due to the remnants of my childhood. Also, the cold makes me sad. I don’t cry any more though.

Anyways. Let me move on before I dampen your spirits, hah. The team certainly nailed the festive look this month – LOOOOK at that pretty printed tissue paper neatly sealed with a cute lil sticker, complete with a “Christmas card”!

It's time to ring in the Christmas belles.

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I hope you haven’t bought into all that teatox bullshit.

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I HOPE you haven’t bought into all that TEATOX bullshit. No, seriously. If you believe those “I lost 7 KG in a week just by drinking this miracle slimming tea!” claims, please STOP. If you asked me to write a post to debunk the teatox hype, I’d have SO MUCH to say, oh trust me I do. I’m NOT sorry to be the bad guy here and say it to your face: IT’S JUST WATER WEIGHT LOSS. AND YOU’LL PUT ALL THE WEIGHT BACK ON AFTER YOU STOP YOUR TEATOX PROGRAM.

There. When it comes to weight loss, it has always been, and will always be, Calories In versus Calories Out.

Now that we are absolutely clear on my position as regards gimmicky slimming tea scams masquerading as wholesome detox programs, I should tell you that I am very much a TEA LOVER. I MUST have tea every day. Every day! I acquired a taste for tea when I embarked on my weight loss journey and needed a low-calorie, preferably natural and flavourful beverage replacement – you know I quit soda, right? – so I started to explore the MIND-BLOWING world of tea. SO MANY varieties to choose from. Dandelion, peppermint, ginger, rosehip, green. AMAZING stuff, I tell you.

When I received some Tealy samples in my BellaBox a few months ago, I was quite thrilled BUT it was really when I tried them out that I started to pay attention to Tealy. Those were some of the YUMMIEST teas I’ve ever had and I am NOT exaggerating.

In fact, when they wrote to me recently to thank me for the mention and asked if I would like to share with you their Christmas promotion, I agreed cos (1) THEY AREN’T SCAMMY, (2) I love their teas very much, (3) I’d been wanting to buy some for myself, (4) there’s an EXTRA DISCOUNT CODE FOR YOU in this post.

So the folks at Tealy sent these over to my office – a box containing 20 bags of Peach Berry Jasmine Sutra Rooibos and a packet containing 7 bags of Rose Oolong. Heaven!           

Some tea love from Tealy!

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What you allow is what will continue.

What you ALLOW is what will CONTINUE. Agree?

The aforesaid notion proposes that, to a great extent, YOU have the power of controlling what goes on in your life.

Remember when I went through hell in October? Things took a turn for the better in the beginning of November, in the form of some much-needed peace and relief. In fact, it started with a BANG cos I ran another half marathon on the first day of November (and in fact, EVERY weekend in November), and EARNED MY FIRST RACE MEDAL on the second. BOOYAH!

Still on the fitness front, I tweaked my training schedule by increasing my minimum week day mileage from 8K to 10K, and slating a half marathon every weekend. So all’s good there. If anything, November made me realise that I’m so much stronger and more stubborn (alternatively, “determined”, as interpreted by the rest) than I ever knew. Despite all that has happened, I skipped ZERO training sessions. It’s all about COMMITMENT, really.   

On the adult life front, though, the final weeks of November SUCKED SO BAD. Flung me right back into darkness. As I type this, I’m still trapped. It’s like a FREAKIN’ ROLLER COASTER RIDE. Yup, life is a roller coaster.

In the midst of my struggles, I’ve had some pretty nasty, recurring feelings. Although I’m somewhat past the “WHY ME?!” stage, bits of resentment still linger. Like I shouldn’t have to suffer injustice, unfair treatment, unnecessary extensive use and abuse, all of which robbed me of TIME. Precious time I’ll never get back – hours I would have liked to spend by myself, healing, and with those who matter most to me.

I FEEL MENTALLY WORN OUT. It’s like having October happen. ALL. OVER. AGAIN.

So, back to the first line of this post. I ALLOWED it all to happen. There, there. I’m claiming responsibility.

Whilst fighting to survive, pursuing self-betterment, and juggling other bits of my life, I repeatedly remind myself that all this suffering is life’s training. Life beats you up and puts you through shit. It builds walls to stop you from reaching your goals just to see how bad you want to succeed. Only the really strong ones continue to fight and emerge STRONGER. The weak ones give up, beaten. It’s all about battling and WINNING.

I allow things to happen. What I allow is what will continue.

It all boils down to CHOICE, no? I could’ve chosen to run away, retreat to my comfort zone, forget about everything else. Get warm fuzzy comfy hiding in a secret world of rainbows and unicorns, eating marshmallows all day long. Nice.

BUT I CHOSE to ALLOW.

I chose to allow life to throw me punches. And I choose to continue fighting. If I stopped, I wouldn’t have TRULY LIVED. If it doesn’t challenge me, it doesn’t change me. To remain stagnant is to lead a purposeless life. OH GAWD SO BORING.

NAW. What can I say, I like a challenge. ;)  

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