10 health problems that MIRACULOUSLY DISAPPEARED after I changed my lifestyle.

WASSUP GUYSSSS!!!! I’m back from my SUPER DOPE Sentosa birthday vacation! Can’t wait to tell you all about it. Let me just sort out the photos!

Well, turning 30 meant a lot for me. When I did my pre-dawn half marathon around Sentosa last Friday, it suddenly occurred to me that I used to suffer from so many ailments, none of which I would have EVER imagined I would be free from. However, now at 30, I can list at least 10 health problems that MIRACULOUSLY DISAPPEARED after I changed my lifestyle.

Before I show you the list, I thought you might like to see a small comparison photo of me when I turned 27, versus me now. Neat eh? ;P Growing older doesn’t seem so bad after all, if it means becoming better. For the record, at the point the photo on the left was taken (i.e. on my 27th birthday), I was a month or so into my lifestyle change and had already lost 4kg – so that WASN’T me at my biggest. Still, it serves as a nice reminder of how far I’ve progressed. :)

Life at 27 vs. Life at 30

Life at 27 vs. Life at 30

So, here goes….

(1) “Chicken skin” (a.k.a. keratosis pilaris)

A.k.a. raging ANGRY RED BUMPS all over my arms and thighs, which became even ANGRIER and REDDER when it gets cold. If you’ve never heard of keratosis pilaris, consider yourself VERY lucky. It’s caused me much embarrassment, especially in my teenage years and throughout adulthood.

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On Turning 30: Expectations vs. Reality

GUYS. I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M TURNING OLD THIS THURSDAY, 20 AUGUST 2015. I’m turning old. I’m turning OLD!

Right now, life at 30 (in 2 days’ time!!!!) is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from what I’d imagined, anticipated, and/or predicted. I can’t complain though, cos it’s a blessing life didn’t turn out the way I thought it would.

Let’s just say that, if I’m living according to my imagination, right now I’d have my BlackBerry in one hand, Birkin in the other, and bling all over. I’d be tottering around like an injured critter, feet jammed into torturous patent heels, dressed in a dowdy button-down shirt and a matching ugly A-line skirt. YIKES.  

In REALITY, I’ve got my Kånken on my back, comfy sneakers on my runner’s feet, my prized Fitbit Charge HR strapped around my tanned wrist. So much better.

Since my 30th birthday is the highlight of the week, I felt it apt to title this month’s piece on The Cambelles…. On Turning 30: Expectations vs. Reality. If you’re turning old (or have already turned old), you’ll be chuckling at this piece (so I’ve gathered from the feedback). If you’re still a tender young sapling, I’m super jelly. 

And no, I haven’t the faintest idea what Ming has planned for us. I’m guessing it’s my turn to be sold to a faraway land as a slave.

Now GO. READ IT. You want to.    

"On Turning 30: Expectations vs. Reality"

SO OLD NOW. So old. xx J

No matter what happened yesterday, today you’re BRAND NEW again.

“NO MATTER what happened yesterday, today you’re BRAND NEW again.”

^^^^Agree?

The above appeared to be a recurring theme throughout the month of July…. for me. A heck lot of stuff happened in July, actually:

So it’s been a pretty satisfying month, with me having met a few objectives and celebrated some special moments. Since the beginning of July, I’ve had thoughts about how LUCKY I am to be able to afford the luxury of doing whatever I wanted – I’m aware that this in itself is a sort of FREEDOM that not everyone can enjoy. I can count the number of burdens, worries, and problems (physical, emotional and mental) I DON’T own, versus what other people are facing and struggling with.

Despite knowing it, despite being grateful and seizing each day, there are still so many occasions during which I neglect to notice the things in life that ought to be appreciated. For example, look at the photo I snapped and shared on Facebook on 28 July below, will you? It’s one of Mother Nature – a scene I see every morning on my run, the magic of her presence illuminated in a way that makes you stop and stare. It made ME stop for a while that day.

HOW is it that I let this magic slip by, day after day? During moments like these, I feel extremely fortunate to have received a brand new day. Handed to me, a gift – a PRIVILEGE, not an entitlement. Because so many others weren’t lucky enough to even wake up. Because so many others would trade anything for a chance to live this day.

Even though yesterday, I may have….

  • made a mistake,
  • chosen something I regret,
  • said something I wished I didn’t, or
  • felt I could have done better….

….in the grand scheme of things, all those things don’t matter that much. Because no matter what happened yesterday, as long as you’re lucky enough to have received TODAY – you’re BRAND NEW again. It’s another chance to make things right. 

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THIS is how you know you and your significant other are turning into old people.

2 weeks ago, Ming and I celebrated our 13th anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been THAT long…. I’ve been looking at the same dude for the past 13 years?! WOW. If we had a kid, he’d be REALLY OLD. Like, primary 6 old. 

I think I’ve been tremendously blessed to have met someone like him. We’ve been through a lot – the shitty stuff, the good times – and whilst it may not have been the easiest ride, I think we’ve gotten the hang of it. We’ve both changed. I know I’ve changed, and it’s certainly for the better.

Not many couples last this long, married or not. We’ve definitely gotten very comfortable with each other. We old people now! Whenever others talk to me about marriage, my honest answer would be: “It doesn’t matter.” Because marriage, to me, is nothing but a formality. A ceremony. A piece of paper. A title. It doesn’t further “validate” the relationship nor does it add any “value” to it. We’re perfectly happy, and that’s all that matters, no? :)       

Anyways. Last year on our 12th anniversary, I packed us a surprise picnic at Gardens by the Bay. Can’t recycle old tricks – NO CHEATING!!!! So this year, I booked us a surprise lunch at a nice, hipster-ish place located within our National Museum. It’s popped up all over Instagram and I thought it looked pretty interesting! :) We had an awesome time lunching there, just talking and chilling.

With this whole anniversary thing happening in July, I thought it appropriate to write a piece for The Cambelles entitled, “THIS is how you know you and your significant other are turning into old people.” Check it out and let me know if you agree! :) 

"THIS is how you know you and your significant other are turning into old people."

With some effort, Ming and I, we’ll grow old together. We’ll be two old people holding hands, visiting hipster cafes, hanging out and enjoying each other’s company, talking about everything under the sun, forever and ever and ever…. What about you? Are you and your significant other “old people” now? :) xx J 

Ming’s surprise birthday staycation at Village Hotel Katong and other shenanigans

I am SO RELIEVED my surprise plans for Ming’s birthday went smoothly! ((((PHEW)))) He had absolutely NO IDEA WHATSOEVER as to where we were headed or how we were gonna spend those 3 days. 

I basically told him to “pack light” and “follow me”. He did as I asked. I could have sold him off somewhere to be a slave and he wouldn’t even know it, hah! 

Weeks before, I secretly booked us a staycation at a quaint little Peranakan-themed hotel I’ve had my eye on for a while, located in an estate I adore SO MUCH, I practically grew up there!

It’s…..
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VILLAGE HOTEL KATONG.

My failed attempt at a pano shot of our room. Isn’t it beautiful? :)

My failed attempt at a pano shot of our room. Isn't it beautiful? :)

And this is a collage of our room! Looking at it makes me miss the place all over again.

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Am I really supposed to use this SKIN CLEANSER on my FITBIT?

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Have I told you about the time when I went on law internship, the time when my skin threw a MAJOR FIT? Like, full on ICKY BUMPY SKIN, RED RASHES kind of fit. 

That being my first step into “the real world”, I naturally felt stressed out – I couldn’t sleep well and didn’t poop for 2 weeks straight (no, you can’t unread this, bahahahaha!!!!). It certainly didn’t help that my office was located in an industrial park (read: air pollution level = INSANE).

I was so upset. Started to frantically research on skin care products I could use to help save my skin. They say you should begin with using the right type of cleanser, and one name kept popping up – CETAPHIL. Their Gentle Skin Cleanser was so highly-recommended throughout beauty forums and review sites, I picked one up pronto! 

I used a few other products alongside Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser to restore my skin to its original, unblemished state. Having had a positive experience with Cetaphil since then, I can confidently tell you it’s defo a brand I trust my skin with. :)

NOW let me also tell you that my beloved Fitbit Flex DIED recently, during one of my half marathon trainings (THANK THE UNIVERSE I also track my runs on the Nike app!). I was DEVASTATED. :'( Ming gave it to me on Valentine’s Day last year, and it was one of the things that made me a runner. But life goes on…. and move on I did – Ming got me a SUPER DOPE FITBIT CHARGE HR!

When I checked Fitbit’s site for care tips, I found THIS little nugget: Fitbit recommends Cetaphil for cleaning! I was like, whoa, this came at the right moment, cos I was about to write a proper review on Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser. 

Apparently, Fitbit recommends Cetaphil!   So, back to the cleanser. You’ve probably seen it before, many times.
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Am I really supposed to use THIS to clean my FITBIT?

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Why are you so unhappy?

“Why are you so unhappy?”

^^^^Found myself asking this question pretty often.

What IS it that makes us so unhappy?

Is it cos there’s something lacking in our lives? Are we facing too many problems? Or…. are we simply taking things for granted, and in the process of doing so, failing to see just how LUCKY we are?

I’ve thoroughly considered the above propositions, and I’m most inclined to believe those last bits in bold. I would know, I’m completely guilty. I’m a creature of routine. Day in, day out, I repeat the same pattern of living.

“OF COURSE I’ll get to workout tomorrow morning.”
“OF COURSE I’ll go to work after that.”
“OF COURSE I’ll return home safely after work.”

“Of course.” <– THIS makes everything seem like an entitlement, no?

Time to tweak things around a little perhaps? How about….
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“I’m thankful I managed a run this morning despite the rain!”
“I’m grateful I’m still employed!”
“I’m so lucky the train didn’t break down on my way home from work!” (Haha!!!! Sorry, I had to.)   

I’ve been thinking…. there are so many others out there struggling, trying to make ends meet, juggling work and personal problems, hoping for the best, DREAMING of living the kind of life that some of us are ALREADY LEADING…. yet, here we are complaining about trivial stuff, allowing ourselves to get upset over petty issues, dwelling on things that don’t matter…. when what we should really be doing is to APPRECIATE everything we are fortunate enough to be blessed with. 

I find myself needing the constant reminder that, not so long ago, the life I have right now is something I could only dream of.

Are there others leading better lives? Yes.
Are there others who are blessed with so much more? For sure!
But…. would I want to trade places with anybody? No, I don’t think so.
Cos happiness is not about having the MOST or the BEST of everything.

–> HAPPINESS IS A STATE OF MIND. <–
The best part? YOU get to choose it. You wake up and decide to be happy.

This reminds me…. over the weekend I made a remark to Ming, I said….

“In a world where we can choose to be anything, I wonder why, in the past, I chose to be miserable all the time!”

^^^^Makes you think, eh? ;)

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When you’re a bad employee and don’t even know it

“The clock at the check-in reads 9:10AM but my watch says 8:59AM so I’m right on time.”

^^^^Sound familiar?

What about this?
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“Shall make a trip to the bathroom and start packing my bag at 5:45PM so I’ll be ready to make a mad dash for the front door at 5:59PM.”

Then perhaps you can relate to my piece on The Cambelles, entitled, “When you’re a bad employee and don’t even know it”.

Go on, have a read – don’t pretend to be an angel please. I feel like we must have all committed AT LEAST a handful of these “bad employee” crimes before, LOL!!!!

Aaaand…. as you read this, I’m in fact out of the office. Taking a few days off work to celebrate Ming’s birthday! :) Will be writing about that soon…ish.  

"When you're a bad employee and don't even know it"

For now, let’s just all be thankful that we are still employed. xx J 

Something sounded too good to be true. So I tried it out for you.

Fact #1: I am an ardent fan of Fjällräven Kånken bags.

Fact #2: Cos Fjällräven Kånken bags are EXTREMELY POPULAR and SELL SO FAST, they almost NEVER go on sale.

Fact #3: Some weeks ago, when I discovered an online discount code of 18% OFF Zalora purchases, I JUMPED at the chance to snag my VERY DOPE Fjällräven Kånken for CHEAP! I ended up paying S$105.78 for my bag…. which originally costs S$129. SAVED S$23.22!

Fact #4: On top of the 18% discount, I also received an additional awesome Zalora cashback of S$11.35 from ShopBack, which means I saved a total of S$34.57 on my bag.

S$94.43 for a Kånken? WHY NOT?
About that CASHBACK though…. I know what you’re thinking.
It sounds TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.
RIGHT?

Just a bit of a background info here:
ShopBack is a site that pays you cash for shopping through them. That’s all.

See…. I did a little “EXPERIMENT” on behalf of all of us prudent shoppers.

I logged in to my Zalora account separately and applied the 18% discount code of “AMAZINGJUNE18” on my shopping cart – IT WORKED.

Soooo…. I thought since I was receiving the 18% discount EVEN IF I were to check out my shopping cart instantly WITHOUT going through ShopBack, there’s really no harm giving ShopBack a whirl to see if I’d really receive a cashback on top of my savings.

In the spirit of sharing good deals, perhaps I’ll just briefly take you through the system to show you how it worked for me, so you can enjoy some of these perks too.

FIRST, you sign up with ShopBack.

I’m SO SICK AND TIRED of long sign-up processes where they make you fill in about 542076207 forms, so here’s some good news – you can even sign up with your Facebook account. Dope.

First, you sign up with ShopBack.

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Who wants to look like a wrinkly prune?!

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I’ve got CARAMEL PUDDING LEGS >>>>> PROOF.

I don’t mind though; that uneven tan serves as a constant reminder of my evolution into a runner. See, on week days I train pre-dawn, before the sun rises, before the rest of the world awakes. On weekends, I choose to train under the hot sun; I CRAVE that warmth. 2 out of 7 days in broad daylight? That’s how I earned my tan.

Whilst I’m quite happy for the sun to leave marks on my limbs, I wear sun protection on my face and décolletage daily cos I don’t exactly enjoy having my freckles and neck wrinkles expand their territories. 

BECAUSE
WHO WANTS TO LOOK LIKE A WRINKLY PRUNE?!

Better take steps to prevent THAT^^^^, mmhmm?
So lately, I’ve been using this in place of my usual sunblock
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CETAPHIL UVA/UVB DEFENSE SPF 50+/UVA 28

Cetaphil UVA/UVB Defense SPF 50+/UVA 28

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