My 8th Post on Solo Wandergirl: It’s Your Birthday. What Are You Really Celebrating?

And just like that, today wraps up my birth month. August is the best month of the year, simply because I get to bask in a kind of special birthday joy for 31 days straight. But, what if I could experience same celebratory joy every day, every month of the year? Nobody said I couldn’t, so why should I set restrictions? This month, I decided to ride on the birthday vibe and contribute something birthday-ish to Solo Wandergirl. When you blow out the candles atop that red velvet cake with awesome cream cheese frosting, what are you really celebrating?

(PSST! If you’ve won my Hand Chemistry giveaway, you would have received my email by now. Check your inbox! Also, if you haven’t already entered my fabulous birthday giveaway, you have 3 more days to win yourself some CIATÉ GOODIES!!!)

Can any of you identify with my train of thought on birthdays as the years progressed? I feel like it’s been a roller coaster – from exhilaration to cynicism to realisation. 

Ages 3-6: “Birthday parties! Goodie bags for all my friends! Cut Smurf cake! I want the part with my name on it!”

Ages 7-9: “I don’t do birthday parties any more, but that’s OK. I still feel sooooo special every year on this day!”

Ages 10-12: “They’re probably getting me a fruit cake. I don’t like mangoes. But… whatever. And can we not take pictures please, everyone thinks I’m fat.”

Ages 13-16: “Does anyone even remember?”

Ages 17-18: “Birthday date! Oh what do I wear! What do I wear!”

Ages 19-21: “Now that I’m working full-time, I’ve got the means to treat everyone to a nice birthday dinner! Do I get to choose where we eat? Also, cake-cutting in the office! Awesome…”

Ages 22-27: “I love quiet birthday dinners at home.”

Age 28 onwards: “You. Me. Birthday staycation. Nothing else matters.”

My 8th Post on Solo Wandergirl: It's Your Birthday. What Are You Really Celebrating?

Go on, read the article and tell me – what do you feel like you’re celebrating, when you celebrate your birthday? Ohhhh and I know you can’t wait to see pics from my birthday staycation – coming up in the next post! xx J

Sponsored Review: What’s Inside BellaBox August 2014 – Summer Fresh

Sponsored Review

YET ANOTHER glorious Sunday! Too much has happened lately – I TURNED 29, for example. MY BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY is running right now, for example. I also currently have a Hand Chemistry giveaway going on, for example. I just returned from a fabulous birthday staycation in a neat suite at Sentosa, for example. So much going on in my life, so overwhelmed, so….. need a breatherrrrr BUT I know you’re expecting to see what I received in my BellaBox August 2014: Summer Fresh edition. Let’s go!

This month’s edition was delivered to me in a brown paper baggie containing the usual polka dotty blue box and a few items much too large to be stuffed into said box. When that happens it’s usually an indication that you’re getting way more than what you signed up for.

We’re so lucky to have summer with us all year. When I was younger, I liked to imagine the awesomeness of having four seasons. Now I’m just contentedly embracing the heat for what it has to offer. Ohh and look – watermelon sticker! I love watermelon!

Sponsored Review: What's Inside BellaBox August 2014 - Summer Fresh

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So, I’m 29 today. And YOU get to WIN CIATÉ GOODIES.

I’M OFFICIALLY 29 TODAY!!! Somebody throw confetti please. Aww man, it really is the very last of my twenties. I guess life gets better with age, eh? As you read this, I should be frolicking somewhere on Sentosa island. What? The birthday girl deserves a few days off work! And she asks you to join in the celebration. Here’s an awesome BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY just for you sweethearts, my way of saying THANK YOU for your lovely presence. :) YES IT’S OPEN TO EVERYONE, WHEREVER YOU ARE ON EARTH. COME JOIN.

Also, my Hand Chemistry giveaway is still open for local readers – join to win your hands some reverse-ageing miracle yes? 

So. Over the weekend, I popped by Sephora and hand-picked some amaaaaazing CIATÉ MANICURE KITS for this giveaway. You’re gonna love ‘em… I just know it. THREE OF YOU LUCKY, LUCKY ONES! What you’re winning:

  • my favourite of the lot – the über adorable CIATÉ BEACH HOUSE COLLECTION,
  • I’m helping you fulfil your mermaid dreams with CIATÉ SHELL MANICURE IN SHE SELLS SEASHELLS, and
  • limited edition junkies rejoice with the exclusive and limited edition CIATÉ VERY COLOURFOIL MANICURE IN KALEIDOSCOPIC KLASH!

Can’t wait to get your paws on them already, right. Told ya! ;P

So, I'm 29 today. And YOU get to WIN CIATÉ GOODIES.

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On Turning 29: 29 Things You Should Know By Age 29

I KNOW, I KNOW. You adore my birthday posts. When I turned 26, I wrote about life lessons. At 27, I drew up my bucket list. Last year, I wrote about how weight loss changed my life. Who’s kept to their New Year resolutions so far? In January, I resolved to make 2014 a year of self-love. My year has been about showing me some love and care, and eliminating toxic people and behaviour from my life. With that, I give you On Turning 29: 29 Things You Should Know By Age 29. To the last of my twenties! 

(Psst! Have you joined my Hand Chemistry giveaway yet? Closes next Tuesday, 26 August 2014. And WATCH THIS SPACE ON MY BIRTHDAY cos I’ve got a surprise for you!) 

“WEDNESDAY, 20 AUGUST 2014 is the day.” 

If there was 4 of me... would that make me 116 years old? If so then this list has to have 116 things...

#1. Your worst facial feature may turn out to be your best.

Growing up, apart from being bashed for my height (rather, the lack of it) and chubbiness, I was teased mercilessly for my small, mono-lidded eyes. Oh, how I hated them! So minuscule they are, I barely look awake half the time. Some years ago, I did something that changed my life – I started lining my eyes in a bid to enhance their shape and possibly give the illusion of larger peepers. My monolids were surprisingly advantageous – they allowed me to perfect the sultry cat eye look. No double lids folding over and smudging the liner. Just a plain, simple canvas for that kitty flick now known to be my signature look. In fact, I even wrote a tutorial for BellaBox on mastering the cat eyeliner. #winning

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Sponsored Review and Giveaway: Hand Chemistry Intense Youth Complex Hand Cream

Sponsored Review and Giveaway

Can I tell you, I’m super stoked. Cos it’s my birthday next Wednesday, 20 August 2014, and I. HAVE. A. BIRTHDAY. SURPRISE. COMING. UP. FOR. YOU. YESSS. So watch the Blog next week! Until then, I have a fabulous giveaway in THIS post sponsored by the looooovely Glamogirl who recently sent me a tube of Hand Chemistry Intense Youth Complex, a hand cream boldly promising, in exchange for 10 days of your time, to “give you up to 10 years”.

Well, I’ve tried it, and I’ve got comparison pics to show for it. And I want YOU to try it, too. In fact, I HAZ 5 TUBES OF HAND CHEMISTRY FOR YOU TO WIN. Deets further down the post! 

On a completely unrelated note, if your name is Vanessa Ng and you’ve got We Built This City stuck in your head, CONGRATULATIONS cos you don’t have to nua at home this Friday night after all. You’re going to see Rock of Ages The Musical at 8PM with your sweetheart! Enjoy the show. You’re welcome. x         

“GIVE US 10 DAYS WE WILL GIVE YOU UP TO 10 YEARS.” Bold claim, yes, but sounds like a good bargain if you ask me. Then again, some things are too good to be true. So is THIS too good to be true?

Sponsored Review and Giveaway: Hand Chemistry Intense Youth Complex Hand Cream

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3 Reasons to Watch Rock of Ages The Musical… And I’m Giving You FREE TICKETS.

On Wednesday evening, I attended the gala premiere of Rock of Ages The Musical at Resorts World Theatre on the kind invitation of MediaCorp Vizpro International and Resorts World Sentosa. AND! I’ve got a pair of Category 2 tickets (worth SGD290) to next Friday’s show – that’s 15 August 2014 at 8PM – to give away. Am I awesome, or am I awesome. They’re only here for 3 short weeks, so you’re in luck. Deets below!

“We built this city! We built this city on rock and roll!” Should you find yourself jiving along to this song in reminiscence, congratulations. Because. The 80s. Were the best. Era. Ever.

Look who's rockin' 'n' rollin' on gala night! \m/

If you don’t already agree with me, you will.

But first, imagine. It’s the year 1987 (which isn’t that long ago, right, so this should be easy). At Sunset Strip (Los Angeles, baby!). In a bar called The Bourbon Room. Sherrie Christian, a wannabe actress – blonde, flippy curls just like Farrah Fawcett’s. Drew Boley, a busboy, hoping to make it big some day as a rock star. Girl meets boy, they fall in love, but! As fate would have it – enter Stacee Jaxx, sexay frontman of THE Arsenal. Ohh… how Drew aspires to be him, and how Sherrie wants him! When Stacee decides to give Sherrie a wee bit of attention… WELL, WHO GON GET THE CHICK? Don’t take half a brain to figure that out eh.  

“Just a small town girl
Livin’ in a lonely world
She took the midnight train
Goin’ anywhere
Just a city boy
Born and raised in South Detroit
He took the midnight train
Goin’ anywhere”

Rock of Ages The Musical - Now on at Resorts World Theatre!

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Baring My Soul: The Daily Strength – A Facebook Status A Day: July 2014

Happy Hump Day, errbadeh!!! The sweet weekend’s juuuust in sight. Here comes the July installment of The Daily Strength – A Facebook Status A Day! These days I’m just taking it one day at a time and giving each day my best shot. Nobody knows what’s gonna happen tomorrow – which, by the way, ain’t promised to anybody.

July for me was a month of glorious celebrations:

Between these splendid times, I felt bursts of anger and bitterness surfacing from the recesses of my mind… for reasons I wish I could bury forever. These feelings belong to the past yet returned to haunt me over the past weeks.

I found great difficulty going even a day without thinking of people whom I should have let go of – those who had hurt and disappointed me so greatly, I don’t wish to ever see them again. Those whom I had trusted, whom I thought loved me as much as I loved them, whose conducts have been most unbecoming. At times, I wonder if I’m angry not at them, but at myself, for having allowed them to treat me badly… if you know what I mean. 

I’ve since sorted out my thoughts and reminded myself repeatedly that: 

  • forgiveness is for the strong – only the weak cling on to hatred;
  • happiness is found within ME – no amount of external validation can give me the true satisfaction of self-acceptance; 
  • I am the boss – nobody else gets to have the final say in anything I choose to do;
  • it is mandatory to be thankful for the blessings in life – I don’t know how ridiculously easy things are for me; 
  • I should leave the past where it belongs - it has nothing new to tell me; and
  • I know what I want and I’m not afraid to work for it.  

Baring My Soul: The Daily Strength - A Facebook Status A Day: July 2014

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5 Mad Delish Recipes for No-Cook Overnight Oats Under 400 Calories!

TODAY YOUR EYES ARE IN FOR A FEAST. A couple of years ago when I embarked on my weight loss journey, I started to explore easy, nutritious, time-saving, no-cook recipes… and I actually found an answer. Overnight oats! ZERO cooking involved and it only takes you 5 minutes to prepare. In fact, the first recipe I wrote has taken me through countless yummy meals. Now, I share with you 5 mad delish recipes for no-cook overnight oats – all UNDER 400 CALORIES!

My first recipe was published in 2012, but remains one of the most popular posts on the Blog. It even got featured on Skinny Mom as a “sensational breakfast” recipe! I’m flattered, really. :)

Although I’ve been enjoying overnight oats for over 2 years, I recently decided to highlight their goodness again by sharing photos of my concoctions via Instagram and Facebook. I’ve been receiving an increasing number of queries from those of you who are trying to lose weight and don’t know what to eat. I’m super thrilled that, after seeing my jars of overnight oats, more of you asked for the recipe. Some of you even sent photos of your amazing creations! Bravo.

Overnight oats are simply underrated and certainly deserve more exposure! Oatmeal may be generally perceived as breakfast food, but trust me – these are so good, I can have them any time.

With calorie and portion control in mind, I’ve formulated these recipes to be under 400 calories – to help you, I even stated the calorie breakdown! Feel free to adapt them according to your dietary preferences. Intolerant of cow’s milk? Use soy or almond milk. Don’t fancy a particular fruit? Change it. Got a larger calorie allowance? Upsize reasonably. Just work within your calorie limits; track and log everything in your diary accordingly. :)

2 things:

(1) In my recipes, I only use wholegrain rolled oats. I dislike instant oats for their fine texture (versus thick, chewy rolled oats) and sugar and sodium additives. I don’t recommend super calorific muesli either. When purchasing rolled oats, check the ingredients list – the only ingredient should simply be rolled oats. Having said that, I’d like to try steel cut oats one day; and

(2) Read my step-by-step guide on how to make your overnight oats. For all of the below recipes, I layered the contents in the order you see, sealed the jars, and stored them overnight in the fridge.

Now let me entice you with the first jar - BLACK FOREST OVERNIGHT OATS - doesn’t the name sound super yummy already! You don’t have to restrict your recipes to plain milk. You can use flavoured milk in moderation, too. Chocolate and cherry go so well together, they should be married! Defo one of my favourite jars so far. 

Black Forest Overnight Oats (Nail this at: 375 calories)

50g rolled oats (185 calories);
75ml low-fat chocolate milk (56 calories);
100g Greek yoghurt (59 calories); and
15 cherries (75 calories).

Black Forest Overnight Oats

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This Is Not a Diet. And 10 Hard Truths About Weight Loss.

I’d be hard-pressed to name people whom I’ve met who are completely satisfied with their weight or the way their bodies look. I regularly receive emails and messages seeking weight loss tips and advice. “Oh come on, you can tell me your secret. What diet are you on? What diet pills are you taking and where can I buy them?” - ridiculous. Despite having published a weight loss FAQ page, I still receive the same queries over and over, and so many of them mention “diet”. Yes, I’m here to help. Yes, I’d be happy to offer what little I know for your benefit. But no, this is not a diet.

It is not a diet. Never was, never will be. The word “diet” is overused, abused and taken out of context. “Diet” is possibly one of the most misunderstood words, ever. Also, forget the diet pills because they don’t work. There, I just saved you a truckload of money and heartache.  

“Want sweets? Eat sweets. Have 2, not 10.”

Want sweets? Eat sweets.

Nobody likes to be told that they need to put in hard work to succeed. I, for sure, wasn’t about to lift a finger to work for the body I wanted. Which was why I hadn’t been successful before. Hard Truth #1: You have to want it bad enough.

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My 7th Post on Solo Wandergirl: Diary of a Fat Girl

I spent most of my childhood, teenagehood, and early adulthood with the labels “plump”, “fat”, “unworthy” and “disgusting” plastered all over me. When I was trying to decide on a topic for my July contribution to Solo Wandergirl, I was inspired to write precisely about that. The way I structured the post, I thought it would be appropriate to title it Diary of a Fat Girl- which, by the way, is meant to offend no one. I’m merely using “fat” in this context synonymously with the way I was labelled.

Obesity is a serious issue. Childhood obesity, even more so. Our children should be taught to fuel their bodies appropriately. They should be encouraged to move to improve fitness and strength. They should be properly educated on the basics of making good food choices and the components of a balanced diet. Yet, when I was a child, I was never taught calories in versus calories out”, a fundamental concept bearing paramount importance in weight management.

In this “diary”, you’ll see me speak from my 10-year-old perspective, move along my teenage years and finally, enter adulthood.

(I’d just like to sneak in a small note here – I’ve picked the winners of the Blog’s 4th Anniversary giveaway! Check if you’ve won here!)    

My 7th Post on Solo Wandergirl: Diary of a Fat GirlI don’t know how many of you can relate to what I’ve written, but, as with all of my other posts, I hope it helps at least one other person out there feel less alone. 

I’d love to hear from you if:

  • this article (or any of my other posts) touched your heart;
  • you have experienced a similar situation or share the same thoughts;
  • you feel like my writing encouraged you to make a change; 
  • you have some suggestions on future topics;
  • you just want to say hi!

Because it’s always nice to get in touch with you – you, who lend me support from the other side of the screen. :)

xx J

P.S. In case you wonder about the rainbow donut featured in the article, that was actually a surprise I got for Ming a couple of weeks ago. Eat everything in moderation!