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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Why we Travel

I want to swim with the whales in Tonga, I want to see the great white shark in Cape Town, I want to sleep in an igloo & catch an aurora in Lapland. I want to tiptoe into North Korea, I want to trek Tibet, I want to be imprisoned in Sweden. Finally, I want to search for happiness in Bhutan.

When I travel, I find the world so vast. Will I ever finish it all? Every journey begins with a step. I long to learn and understand the world.

I don't know of anyone who dislikes travelling (maybe one or two). I think it's in our blood, to wanderlust. I'm desperate to break the routine of familiarity. I crave escapism, indulgence and excitement.

It isn't just going on holiday a week or two, but for the travel to be effective on the mind, you have to stay for a longer period of time. I remember asking someone over lunch "where've you been to & what've you experienced?" They rattled off their travel destinations, recalling memories of the good food and beautiful scenery. I probed deeper, wanting to know about honour killings and homosexuality in that region they travelled. They stared back blankly at me and then someone deftly switched the topic. I? I went back to staring down at my hummus, thinking "damn, now i have to go read online myself."

People who have lived abroad are more likely to solve classic psychological tasks, indicating greater open-minded ness. Those who live abroad can identify multiple uses for individual objects while those with little experience of other cultures struggle to do so. Like using shower caps to hold your shoes to save space!

Ok, i lied. I'm well-read.

To bring about this open minded ness and enhanced creative thinking requires a cultural shift to a destination with different ways of life and thinking.

Being in a comfortable city like Singapore makes me lazy.

I'm leaving Singapore for 8 months and i'm already receiving leaflets on information if i need counselling after my move. They were afraid i couldn't cope with the relocation. Perhaps, i'll break down because of loneliness and i can only cry out to the Alps. My echo will be my only solace. I think i'll need counselling when i return. A bad reaction to crowds.

I'm ready for my hobbit adventure, fly to far-off lands and return with creativity and greater knowledge. Physically putting distance between myself and home, making me a more effective thinker.

Not without taking along comfort food like Milo, Nong Shim and roti prata.

Distance gives an intellectual release, familiar people, environment and routine restrict our thoughts.

I am ready.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I'm pretty Asian.

People often say i'm a Westerner trapped in an Asian body because i am quite of a wild child. I've never once wished i'm something else other than Asian. 

Reasons i Love being Asian
1. Elixir of Youth
We may be slit eyed and single lid, but life is fair, we age more gracefully than our western counterparts. As much as we protect ourselves from the sun with skincare and brollies, we are also naturally more resistant to the sun.

2. Masters of the Household
My mum is a traditional conservative Asian woman, which made me grow up with the belief that it's a woman's duty to keep the house in order and fill the man's tummy with healthy food.

3. No balding
I used to treat my puffy mushroom hair head with disdain. It was wavy and wouldn't be straight. Every hairdresser would also comment how thick and unmanageable it is. However, i've grown to embrace my wavy bangs.

4. Rich Sense of Culture and Heritage

I love regaling my western friends the superstitions as well as the quirks and culture of the Chinese. Chinese New Year is my favourite time of the year, despite it being filled with boring sitting in relatives-i-see-once-a-year's living rooms and staring at the TV which probably isn't playing anything good.

5. The Air of Mystery

They may never have visited our part of the world but both female and male Caucasians put tattoos of Chinese characters on their bodies. I haven't seen an Asian with a singular English word tattooed. Our features are also less expressive, anatomically our face is constructed that way, making us mysterious sex symbols.

Yet at the same time, there ARE things i dislike about being Chinese too, but they are mindsets that can be changed, giving us the best of both worlds.

Photo series by good friend

Best Moisturizer for Asian Skin

I used to dislike slathering on face moisturizer because i have oily skin and they make me break out. Yet a woman's skin cannot do without moisturizer as this is what keeps our skin youthful. I found Porcelain Face Spa's PURE botanical soothing gel the right moisturizer for my oily skin, especially in Singapore's humid weather.
Most moisturizers are creams. I was advised by my facial therapist to switch to moisturizers that are water-based. I searched and despite some creams claiming to be water-based, i still worry a break-out. PURE is a clear light liquid moisturizer and one pump is enough to cover my pixie face. Without much of a fragrance (more natural?) , my skin is matte after it is absorbed.
The best part is i don't look greasy after a long day out! It is also hydrating enough to last throughout. Porcelain Face Spa's skincare is carefully researched and developed by mother and daughter who have been in the beauty industry for ages.
Not only do i use their products, it is where i get my regular facial treatment too. For clear skin, to go make-up free.

Face Yoga, a fad?

If you don't already know, i'm pretty sporty.
I'm game to try anything new.

Most recent was aerial dance, and then drums alive.
I've yet to try laughing yoga, but late 2012, ABCnews reported that Face Yoga is the new, natural anti-aging trend.

I used to have 2 colleagues in their mid 30s who are the best of friends, sitting side by side. They make each other laugh a lot, yet they also fear of getting crow's feet from all that laughter. I observed a strange habit of theirs whenever they laughed. They would use their second finger and pull back at the sides of their eyes as they laugh.

Like this
This move can sometimes be judged as racist.

Little did this two simple-minded, happy-go-lucky ex-colleagues of mine know that they were sitting (or rather practicing) on a business potential.

Facial yoga was developed by Annelise Hagen, of New York Yoga. By making the "fish face", the "lion face" or the "satchmo", it been scientifically proven that the muscular activity helps to prolong the production of collagen and elastin, which makes your face firm and springy.

This new fad is all the rage now in America, i chanced upon a SUPER HILARIOUS face yoga series by KFC SA.

Didn't they say laughter is the best medicine?

They even did a commercial for face yoga mat!
Is Face Yoga for Real?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Naked Food Review

First, there was Kinki, where you find orgasmic $15 sushi pieces topped with foie gras, caviar and the likes.

Just opened is The Naked Finn. The adage old theory of "sex sells" still works. It made me curious. Despite the website boasting of "procuring the best quality seafood, cooked simply, and most importantly, priced reasonably." The word "Naked" was what whet my appetite.

Arriving last night at 41 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, it reminds me of Klee that has since closed down at Portsdown Road. Rumour says that The Naked Finn is an reincarnation of Klee, however the food at Klee wasn't memorable. Yuppies frequent that place for bespoke cocktails. I remember my customised passionfruit cocktail at Klee made my head swim, in a good way (or maybe it was the lack of food).

The Naked Finn sits no more than 20 indoors and about 10 more outdoors. You ought to make reservations to avoid disappointments (+65 6694 0807). If you like sitting at the bar & seeing hands at work, the kitchen behind the bar is see-through. Naked is certainly not a brick-and-motar place, with the walls "made of plastic sheets", you could look up and see the aluminium roof outside. It gave a glasshouse effect, with the twinkling of warm orange lights.

Feeling very exclusive, Monday night saw 4 couples dining.

I ordered a Korean pear with Hendricks Gin to cool down upon arrival but i preferred his choice, which was honeydew paired with sake and another alcohol i can't remember ($20 each). The signature cocktails came shaken, not stirred, like a potent slurpee. The drink lasted me through dinner at -12 degrees.

The menu looked European with pretentious names. Grilled Indian octupus with salt & olive oil, Flambe live Japanese little necks in home-made barramudi broth. Clams are clams, maybe i'm not chi-chi enough. At least i learned some seafood names and a great treath to have the breadth of seafood choices.

However, nothing needs to be consumed through a straw. No foam, no gold flakes. It was a pleasant surprise there was an Asian twist to Naked! As we ordered a single serve ($8) of the octupus, the clams ($18) & a pan-fried lemon sole whole ($35) to share, the vivacious waiter asked if we would like some cold vermicilli to go along ($4). The vermicilli is boiled, lightly tossed with perhaps sesame oil & soya sauce then garnished with finely chopped chives. We were also presented with 4 sauces as dips: lemongrass, belachan, sea salt and dark soya sauce.

The Indian octupus is my favourite, the clams were big and juicy but i found it abit too fishy. The seaweed flakes that came with the pan-fried virgin oil lemon sole was a nice combination. You hardly need the sauces to taint the taste of the fresh seafood but the belachan does go very well with the bee hoon.

The Naked Finn is alot healthier than chilli crab, and as their website boasts, you do pay for what it’s worth. Like how a lady should dress and keep some mystery, “less is only more, where more is no good”.

Virgin, unspoiled, Naked could just be the next Newton Circus to get seafood.

P.S a genuine foodie eats undisturbed , which means no food pictures were taken.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kitchen Ingredients to Skincare Products

How many times have you envied the glowing skin of celebrities? Perhaps you have wished, countless times, to flaunt radiant skin like those style icons. Skin, the largest organ of our body, is one of the first things that attract the attention of others. While some are genetically blessed with great skin, there is a vast majority who is prone to a range of problems like acne, pimples, scars, blemishes and the like.
While buying any kind of skin care products, it’s necessary to first know your skin type. Skin care products will work best only if they are matched with their own skin type. Simple kitchen ingredients can be used with great effect to prevent the outbreak of wrinkles, pimples, acnes and other skin disorders. Scroll down the article to learn more about the skin care at home ideas, home beauty secrets and natural beauty recipes for home skin care.
Skin Care At Home Ideas
  • In a bowl, mash a ripened banana along with milk and apply it on the face. Leave it for twenty minutes to set and then rinse off with water.
  • Combine one teaspoon of walnut powder with lemon juice and honey. Mix well to form a thick paste. Scrub the entire body with the paste and let it sit for at least twenty minutes. Finally, wash with cold water.
  • Add a dash of turmeric powder to orange juice. Now, scrub this on the area that is most often exposed to the sun or cold. After twenty minutes, rinse it with cold water.
  • Prepare a face mask by mixing equal proportions of curd and cucumber juice. You can also mash a ripened papaya and apply it on the face to get radiant skin.
  • Make a paste by mixing one tablespoon of mango peels powder and one teaspoon of milk powder. Scrub the gooey mixture on the skin. Do this at least once a week to achieve the desired results.

A repost from Porcelain's Face Spa's blog. These home remedies may come in handy when i move to Europe! I bet skincare is going to be expensive there and perhaps too rich for my Asian skin!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Blog for Money

For the people who came last week to the auditorium of SPH, i felt i may have short changed you. Many bloggers came wanting to know how to make money from blogging, but 3 out of the 4 panelists are not self-employed. In unison, we insist (or maybe we are not brave enough to admit) that we blog for leisure than for profit.
Wasn't talking about making money, so i fell asleep on stage (2nd from the right)
Blogging started as a hobby and still is but I DO love the freebies, the occasional extra cash AND THE FREE HOLIDAYS! However, i also prefer to eat my food hot than to be preoccupied with photography. If it is indeed (food) porn, shouldn't you shut your eyes, savor and smile with satisfaction in private?

In Singapore, reading blogs is popular. Myself found ideas of things to do, products to use, places to go via blogs. Also, i think we read famous bloggers' blogs because we secretly envy them. Gossip is addictive.

Thus, bloggers serve a purpose for brands. They create awareness and they influence readers.When do you start charging then? When you become a CURATOR OF AWESOMENESS.

How to become a curator of awesomeness?

Be Curious
Be the first to try out new social media platforms, keep on top of trends and read a lot. Reading not only improves your writing skills, it also inspires you with blogging topics. Being an early adopter of social media platforms also gives you a head start in amassing followers, figures that gives you the negotiating power later.

I spend many dateless nights just surfing the internet. Most of the time, i end up in the weird sections of Youtube that inspires me to write what-the-hell topics.

Movies inspire me too, i wrote my own rendition after watching Apple of my Eye. Reviewing unique experiences also make good content, like visiting a strip club.

When you have awesomeness in your life, you start accumulating followers. There's this blog, as well as
  • Twitter — 1,093 followers
  • Facebook — 1, 184 friends(join 224 followers if i do not know you personally, you will still be able to view my updates)
  • Instagram — 695 followers
  • Brand ambassador for Porcelain Face Spa
  • Social media consultant for an MNC
  • Speaker at PANASONIC "how to be a great blogger"
  • Speaker at CNA BlogTV
  • Panel speaker at OMY networking session
  • Co-host on CH 8's Share Something with Bryan Wong
  • Media trip to Gold Coast with Scoot
  • Media trip to Hong Kong with Canon
  • Media trip to climbing Kota Kinabalu
  • Winning Super Blogger 2012
I'm not a well-known blogger like Straits Times wrote me as, but still, i am blessed to have these opportunities. However, if you want to be a blogger, you need to handle the heat. Had a mini seizure when i heard from a friend i am being talked about on EDMW, a very popular site with Singaporeans. Not the most positive comments were already made in the forums, but now, on a Facebook page?!? I then read what the hype was about. While taking a sarcastic dig at me, i do found the article well written and pretty damn funny that i'm actually proud to be mentioned.

In an ending note, the real secret to my little success? It is the OMG effect.

You can find the videos from the panel session on Youtube.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

PAssionArts Month 2013 at Moulmein Kallang and Whampoa - Immerse yourself in the local Art scene!

PAssionArts Month 2013 is all about bringing together people, creating the spark to ignite their passions for the Arts. May it be musical performances, circus arts, ceramic art making or Jazz bands performances?

Immerse yourself in the local Art scene and take a well deserved break!

I gravitate towards art because i'm bad at Science. I'm not superbly good, but i like fooling around, creating art and making love!
I wish there can be more street art like this in Singapore though!
“Everyone can make a difference (M.A.D), and be an artist, or musician in their own way, as long as they have a PAssion for the arts”.
I performing magic!

Life is a journey, take a break and let Arts take the centre stage this 13th & 14th April at Whampoa  & Jalan Besar!

Passion Arts Musical @ Whampoa

Date:   Saturday, 13 April 2013
Time:  6.30pm – 9.30pm
Venue:  Whampoa Makan Place (Block 92, Whampoa Drive)
Former Mediacorp Personality engaging the audience 
Interaction with community artist/ performers

Former Mediacorp personalities performing a saxophone serenade

Whampoa Presents “Art with a Heart” For the Needy
In line with the PAssion Arts Month festivities, Whampoa is doing their part to reach out to the needy within the community. On Saturday, 13 April 2013, from 6.30pm to 9.30pm at Block 91, Whampoa Drive (Beside Whampoa Makan Place), a series of ceramic and visual art demonstrations, and a fusion heartland musical performed by professional, and community artist would take place in Whampoa.
Along with the stellar musical performances, there will also be a ceramic and visual art charity flea market. All proceeds will be donated back to the community through various VWOs, and needy households. This event is indeed a treat for the eyes, as well as a way to give something back to the community. Do join this event fit for the whole family! 

Artsy Fartsy @ Jalan Besar
Date:  14th April 2013
Time:  9am – 2pm
9am-9.30am (Geylang West CC) pavement in front of Blk 16à
10am-10.30am (Jalan Besar CC) Lavendar MRT Exit B in front of Wendy’s à
11am- 2pm (Kallang CC) Boon Keng MRT Exit B open Space (Event final stop and highpoint)

Follow Jalan Besar’s unique Arts journey, starting at 9am at Block 16 Upper Boon Keng Road. Be entertained and have a drumming good time by home grown performing groups featuring Samba, African and Chinese drums. Residents can enjoy the event when they are doing their marketing and breakfast at this time.

At 10am, see the open space in front of Wendy’s (Lavender MRT exit B) come alive by Line Dancers. Discover the various hidden talents within Jalan Besar that you never knew existed!

The final stop of this Arts journey takes place at Boon Keng MRT station open space at 11am. Evergreen Choir and Kallang Jazz Band will be belting out evergreen hits to warm us up for 3 hours of Arts attack!  All participating groups will gather here at Jalan Besar’s Arts Village. 

I think i'm going to crash the line dance. I don't want to watch from the sidelines.

Make A Difference, be part of the art movement!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Credit Card with the Best Cash Rebates

Any Singaporean would own at least 5 credit cards. Unheard of in other countries, but fortunately (for those who pay their bills on time), the credit card landscape here is awesome because it is very competitive and lots of freebies and discounts given across our small nation. Unfortunate for those who never pay their bills on time because temptation to swipe is great (there is an alarming amount of Singaporeans below 30 who are in debt).

Therefore, how do you make your money work?
By working out which card offers the BEST cash rebate.

I own 7-8 cards and like cleaning up my Facebook friends list, i want to clean up my wallet. I hate long wallets so mine is a small Gucci folio wallet with a riding boot charm from Tokyo. It can only hold 6 cards and 4 already holds my driving license, IC, ATM and Ez-link.
I was carrying an extra pouch just to hold extra cards but i want to be a MINIMALIST now!
So i've been collecting the bills of my 3 most used credit cards to make a comparison.

I signed up for CIMB Bank because they said it would give me a good cash rebate for overseas spends. Overseas spends usually have a 0.5% charge + conversion depending on the bank, thus CIMB said by giving me a 1.5% rebate, i could still earn 1%.

And 1% it is that i got. $1.12 rebate from a $111.03 spend.
CITIBANK Dividend card has been my default card, also one that i used the longest. Only because my dad uses it, so naturally i follow his footsteps.

However, i didn't like that the rebate comes in the form of a cheque once it accumulates to $50. It's a hassle having to bank it in. However, the hassle will be worthwhile if the rebate is good!

I never really did check how much rebate am i really getting from the Citibank Dividend until lately, there've been very attractive contenders.

A cash-back of $1.47 from a $82.60 = 1.7%. Better than CMIB! Although the spend isn't on overseas expenditure, so not a fair comparison.
I found myself shopping more and more online. Air tickets, Groupon and blog shops! I was delighted to know the new FRANK Credit Card is designed to help me get the best and most unique deals anywhere around the world (via the Internet)!

Frank by OCBC gives Card-members 6% rebates for online purchases. Currently the highest rate offered in the market, receive 6% rebates (capped at S$60) with an unlimited 0.5% rebates on all other spends. However, you must spending S$500 or more per month in order to enjoy the rebates. Easily accumulated if you're a travel bug like me.

Sounded too good to be true when i heard it, so i tested it. 

In Feb, i spent $730.76. However, rebates are given back in the next month. Thus, the rebate reflected in your March's bill is Feb's.

Checking March's bill, my heart pounded as i did the calculations. Cheap thrill, i know.

$22.20 from $730.76, it is INDEED 6%!!

So that's how i make my spending work :P
Hitting jackpot.

An Introduction to Kiehl's


I've always thought that Kiehl's is a male skincare brand. After all, there's ulzzang blogger Yutaki touting it.

I found out from George on how to be Young.
With George Young.
I thought aging starts at 25, i was wrong. With some wit, some say aging starts since birth but skincare analysts say again starts at 20.
Young bulldog.
Old bulldog.
To test if your skin is still youthful, you poke your check with a finger. It should feel QQ, like fish-balls. Thankfully, i started monthly facials since i'm 17. I only diligently start a disciplined skincare regime in my early 20s.
There's a new product in town!
Do you read labels?

I do.

I read the labels on what i eat, i read the labels on what i use. I'm heavily influenced by my parents to care about what goes onto my skin and into my body. I want the purest, the best quality and i'm pleased to know Khiel's is another brand who uses the finest naturally derived ingredients. 

Look at its Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol Free toner! It has reminiscence of the marigold flower petals. I feel like drinking it, it looks like 茶.
Apparently, copper and calcium is the latest thing in skincare now. Khiel's uses it's latest lab technology and expertise since 160 years ago to produce a new range of anti-aging products.
It is SPF 30 too! 2 in 1, reduces vanity table space!!

If you haven't got a skincare regime, the good news is that because Kiehl's is gaining quick popularity across the world, they have decided to REDUCE their prices so that more can remain youthful. This is unheard of! With inflation and increasing costs on EVERYTHING, how can this be? But it's fortunately true, prices are reduced up to 30%.

You can walk into any Khiel's store to discover.

Let the human race not age.

Things that irks me about Bloggers

Just this afternoon, i overheard a lady in her late 30s telling her friends "there're soooo many bloggers these days..."

Back in those Orchard Road days where anyone who took some studio shots, never mind if they never made it to cover page or a runway, they call themselves a model.

Today, everyone is a blogger. Well, almost. Worldwide, there is an estimated 10 million blogs, growing at a rate of 38,000 a day with a new one reportedly created every 2.2 seconds.

In Singapore, Technorati estimates 15,000 blogs with 220,000 blog entries mentioning Singapore. These are figures from 2005 so we can bet the numbers have grown.

Back in those days where bad customer service is faced with a "I'll write to the media!" create trembling fear, today it's social media brands fear.

Bloggers are celebrities, and like celebrities, there are the A-listers, B-listers and so on. The A-listers win the popularity contest, the B-listers work hard trying to climb the ladder, the rest exist as a speck in the blogosphere (the wannabes). It is very much like high school.

The huge difference between blogging for leisure VS blogging for profit is that the latter makes you an ugly person.

I understand we're all in Sales. Each day millions of people earn their keep by convincing someone else to make a purchase. There's car insurance, life insurance, newborn insurance, yet-to-be-born insurance and also pet insurance! In fact, each and every one of us spends time trying to persuade others to part with resources - money, time, attention - though most of the time we don't realise we're doing it. Like parents selling their kids to bed, us selling ourselves to bosses for a promotion. In astonishing numbers, today we go online to sell ourselves on Facebook, Twitter and in Instagram.

So yes, i can understand. Still, the Type of Bloggers i Detest are:

1. The Self Centered
There are bloggers who do anything and everything to be famous. That includes making use of "friends" to get invitations, being chummy but never returning favours and/or participating in dating activities that has media coverage despite being attached or engaged.

2. The Narcisstic
To the Instagram pictures announcing said self have no make-up; Nude is used by the cosmetics industry USING make-up to create the barely-there look. If you want to be au naturel, it really means naked. So, strip!

3. The Name Dropper
There're bloggers who are overly eager to befriend the A-listers, hoping some of their stardust will fall. Stop trying so hard.

4. The Shameless
I've heard conversations between bloggers like "you should start a blog so you can get advertisers," "let's go email xxx, i'm sure we can get free holidays," "they're bound to sponsor us because we're bloggers."

Kudos to those who at least try to be discreet, "oh you know, if you want me to heeeeelp you advertise, JUST let meeee know."

5. The Diva
Then, there are those who asks to be paid to go on a sponsored holiday. ER, HELLO ARE YOU BEYONCE?

Controversial post but before you post a judgmental comment, I'll say it myself first. Maybe i am a pot calling the kettle black.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Learning Aerial Dance

When in Phuket, i went to the clubs. My Israeli friend made a passing comment that Asians can't dance. I held back my tongue but demonstrated my undulating hips when i hit Tiger Club (don't ask).

The next morning, i asked him, "SO, can Asians dance?"
He pondered and replied, "you surely did lit the dance floor on fire."

I used to suck at dancing. I'm ACTUALLY shy.
I'm gonna faaaaall.
I think i still suck at dancing, but trying my hand at pole and exotic dancing out of curiousity have built my confidence on the dance floor. It was an eye opener just to see the types of women streaming through the studio's doors anyway.

I was expecting sex pots signing up for such classes, but boy am i surprised. All women of shapes and sizes, looking fugly or like geeks came to learn. Men's cruel comment would be "well, they're the ones who have to try harder."

Exotic and lap dancing is where i found my hips. Pole dancing and aerial dancing is where i found my biceps and abs. Pole dancing is no easy feat and they should be a category in Olympics, rather than seen as a sleazy thing. Damn to those raised judgemental eyebrows.

I'm a jack of all trades, master of none.The latest i've caught on is aerial dance!
My instructor, a mixed beauty.

OMY caught one of the training sessions here.
Video embedded at the end of post.
"Strength is when you try"


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