Monday, July 18, 2016

Melbourne 2016 - Dandenong Ranges

Is it me or Melbourne is all about healthy living? Food is great and healthy, and places that you go to mostly requires to to walk or hike. Unless you are in the city with the accessibility to trams, walking is pretty much a breeze especially at Dandenong Ranges. It is windy, and you get to see the city centre from afar. Great vantage and the cold front made hiking more fun and less sweaty!

Lots of crazy photos and here are a few for you to feast on! I am not narcissistic but I felt that it was well taken!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Looking Forward to JewelFest 2016!

Bedazzled. That is how I would describe Singapore JewelFest (SJF) and this year it will get better! I am excited for so many things lined up in this coming 14th edition. Last week, I got the chance to visit Action Hair Salon at Paragon where they hosted an exclusive preview for patrons and partners on what is coming up in the 14th edition of SJF.

We were not only shown the few impressive jewelries (yes, we got to touch that million dollar pieces!) but also got to see first hand how the models for the upcoming fashion shows will have their hair professionally done by SJF's official hairdresser Action Hair Salon.

Then on we were given a demonstration on how jewelry pieces could be donned with high-street fashion by no other that G-Star RAW. SJF in collaboration with high-street fashion label, G-Star RAW will manifest Raw-Luxe in fashion – to be among the first in fine jewellery world in juxtaposing super blings with high-street fashion.

Being a regular supporter of Singapore JewelFest (SJF), I was thrilled to see several exclusive pieces that were not only stunning but distinct in its own ways. Mouawad's Poseidon's Power jewelry set is one of the many that will be showcased this coming October!

It has been a tradition to see runway shows of renowned and emerging designers at SJF!

The festival kicks-off with a private curtain-raiser on 6th October with an unprecedented showcase of Balmain Hair Couture styled with rare gems and jewels by Singapore’s renowned coiffeur, Vinn Wong from Action Hair Salon. With the theme Glory, this is the first time that SJF showcases the versatility of fine jewels that can be transformed into beautiful headwear.

The festival officially opens to the public the following day with Asia’s fast emerging designer label, FIZIWOO. They will be premiering their latest haute couture line showcasing impeccable artistry and craft in fashion paired with million-dollar and investable jewels.

The finale runway show features Singapore’s most celebrated designer, Thomas Wee, who will be creating an exclusive couture collection of two his signature strong and structured style for the SJF to be presented with powerful jewel statement pieces.

Speaking of investable jewels, this year is special if you have vested interest in investable gems to diversify your investment portfolio.

Güeblin, a leading international gemological laboratory and academy will be revealing the top ten rare gemstones in the world that have seen hikes in their value over the last decade. SJF will present The Connoisseur Series, a by-invitation showcase on 10th October to provide insights into these rare gems.

As SJF over the years has firmly positioned itself as one of the few in the region that has the ability to attract jewellers with million dollar and investable jewels, these investment pieces for the collectors will remain an attraction in SJF16!

In commemoration of fifty years of diplomacy between Singapore and Japan, SJF too has partnered with Ikebana Society International to showcase the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement through masterpieces inspired by works of artistry, craft and innovation from jewellers and designers. They will be displayed throughout make new air for the festival!

An impressive 13.73-carat Afghan Emerald valued at USD1.3 million from Caratell (Singapore) and an extremely rare and notable 4.90-carat Fancy Intense Green heart-shaped diamond ring (valued at USD2.7 million) from Vihari (Singapore) are amongst some of the million dollar pieces to be showcased at SJF16.

Diamond is the hardest object in the world but it does not necessarily be the hardest on your savings. Standing by to the festival's DNA, Singapore JewelFest promises quality, craftsmanship and great value for money!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

EPN's Women's Special: Truth About Workout for Women

"You will get as bulky as Arnold Schwarzenegger." is a fallacy.

I do not know where it came from. The funny thing is, I am already petite and when I workout, I do look like I shed some fats and my girl friends all asked, what did I do? I told them I workout and they said, are you not suppose to be gaining? Which is true, that's because I personally have failed to carry heavy weights - which I really need to start doing so! Really.

Funny story, my neighbours commented about my gains and tan but I am quite doubtful about the former and worried about the latter. Haha!

For you ladies, let's put 'me' aside. Let's talk about you. This post is solely dedicated to you!

You will be glad to know, first hand from the women who works out, that gymming does not necessarily get you bulky. I took the liberty to touch base with EPN's female bodybuilding athlete, Nadia AJ to share with you girls how you can achieve you goals healthily! Our girl here was a former judo competitor since 13 till she was 21 and started lifting weights at 23 and competed in her first physique competition at 25.

We know that you girls have concerns like being scrutinized about how you might not measure or feeling incompetent among others who are considerably 'there'. As Nadia puts it, you are not alone and this is not just the ladies problem. Coming from me, I am supposing we have it too only that our approach is different.

Worry not! There are many fitness advocates out there that can help you break this psychological discomfort with encouragement, motivation and addressing fitness and nutrition misconceptions.

Women should not be afraid to do strength training. Strength training helps to build muscles and burns fat simultaneously. So here goes your most common problems and Nadia has taken the liberty to share with us how this could be addressed!

Despite the many health benefits of weight lifting that has been backed by Sport Science research, many women are still less likely than men to lift weights. Why?

The most common reason that is becoming passe is this: Using weights will make them "bulky".

It is time to upgrade yourselves with new information!

More women need to understand it takes months and even years of weight lifting and proper nutrition to put on significant muscle mass. Ironically, I am struggling to make gains but thanks to EPN products, it is progressing! If it is toning up instead of hypertrophy (increasing the size of you skeletal muscle) you are looking for, your exercises can include lighter weights but at higher repetitions ranging from 12 - 20 per set.

When it comes to food, eating less does not necessarily help in losing weight! On the contrary, crash diets results in decreased metabolic rate as well as weight gain in a following diet program. It also results in nutritional deficiency and might encourage eating disorders. Eat healthier food instead! Less oil, more fruits and vegetables, and the list goes on.

While it is great to have a body goal in mind however the main driving factor to staying fit is that we keep our body healthy as well as to help deter diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Food is good!

You should try to have natural foods as often as you can. Sometimes tight work schedules limits us to obtain healthy food options. Hence, supplements such as whey protein like EPN's NutriForce's NutriWhey are great alternatives to help meet our daily protein intake and also to promote better recovery. For Nadia, she uses Omega-3 and Joint Support tablets from NutriForce Sports to help keep her joints healthy as an addition to her diet.

There is also a misconception about injuries which puts off some of you from exercising. Muscle aches being the most common "injury". Muscle aches are caused by micro-tears in the muscle after exercise. Having muscle aches only mean that you had a great workout session! Personally, I feel like I have not done anything if I do not feel those aches on the muscles I work on.

Unless it is a sharp pain or an isolated pain that has been lingering for a long time, there should not be a cause for concern. If you are unsure, a doctor's opinion will be best!

Schedule wise, try to exercise three times per week. For busy working individuals, quick workout routines at the desk is better than getting no workout done. Squats, desk supported push-ups, crunches while seated on the chair and stretches are some ideas you can do on your desk. Your imagination is your only boundary! Go ahead, do your weighted squats with your laptop. ;)

Hope this does not only benefits but enlighten most of you women out there who are worried about working out!

To find out more about EPN, log on to Use discount code ZY 10 for 10% discount on all regular price items!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

In Recovery and Detox for my Body and Soul

I am grateful for this blissful month and I am thankful for so many reasons!

This month is all about giving love and reminder of how fortunate we are to be living a life where food is abundant, your loved ones are most of them alive, and a shelter on your head and a bed that is not made out of rubble. This month allows for a deeper introspection and reflection on how comfortable life have been.

This numinous month is simply about being spiritual and getting close to higher power. Be it fasting, giving alms, donation, cutting out clutters and other activities just to devote time kneeling and incessantly supplicate. I am loving the process because it makes me feel emotionally calm, stronger, and clears my mind of worldly worries, and physiologically heals through detox and maybe fat loss for some.

In this divine month too that our repairs and renovation works are 95% completed. I am feeling satisfied to see my cabinet in the kitchen and toilet fixed with quartz top which I am utterly happy about because it saves the worry of being worn out or warped like our previous wooden counter.

See, this renovation and repair works all began last year and while I hated it, it was actually a blessing in disguise. Last year, I had my bedroom painted for and a few weeks later, the air-conditioner was beyond repair. As a result, we had to replace the entire system and to do so, it involves breaking the ceiling as the piping goes through it. The next thing we know, we had to replace the false ceiling too.

We had the wiring fixed after the air-conditioner replacement. While we were at it, we decided to fix new lightings in our rooms. As the property matures, the old lightings looked stale and we wanted something fresh and brighter. So there you go, another phase, which we have to slowly move our things here and there in our house as we do not wish to face the hassle of moving out to a temporary home and then moving in again and cause major logistic trouble. Time effective, but not so much on the cost.

The project closely associates with the project management triangle. So we decided to take it very, very slow. Hence, taking approximately more than six months for all these to complete.

As the kitchen and wardrobe has faded and worn out, we have them replaced too. Kitchen is not really my place but I am liking the fact the oven has a rotisserie which gives me some sort of motivation to cook. Then again, it is always good when it is new!

Now, we are left with the paint job which is really unavoidable because with all the hacking going on, there's bound to be markings that need to be removed. Consequently, I am busy this week to have it completed before next week.

So while we spiritually recover, so does our home!

While it is not me who paid for these, I am thankful this is coming to an end so that we could focus on something else. All I want is for everything to be functional for this home and that is all. While the upside of this lies at the end of this process, I am actually happier to clear my old items along the way. It includes my used books, clothes, accessories and bags.

Relating back to this month, it makes me feel extremely blessed to be surrounded with so many things. So much so, it makes me wonder how much I would have accumulated if I had not spent my money on them! I mean, I have old clothes that does not suit my lifestyle anymore, but I could really imagine how it could be fashioned by someone suitable really. What I am giving away are classics and some are branded and I really, really hope, my donation items - although non-monetary, benefits those who aspire to dress in style. In times of joyous occasion, celebration and festivity, every single one of us deserve to look good and colourful. All I ask from you is to take care of them as much as I did!

Training wise, it was hampered by externalities but as the relationship between my team and I matures, I am feeling a little bit more driven now. It has only been my first season and some things are just unavoidable this year. Honestly, I would give myself a round of applause for at least staying really. I thought I would probably put my paddle down after six months or so. Back then, I did not even have the drive nor guts to commit especially with my inferiority among alpha males. Something must have went right when I went through conscription! It is the semester break and if it had not been for fasting, I would have been updating this space from the gym.

If any of you ever cared to read my personal segment here, thank you so much! This space thrived from being a personal avenue to channel my deepest thoughts, feelings and my high and lows. In any way this space has helped you, I can only be happy that it did!

Have a wonderful week everyone, wherever you are!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Beijing 2016 - The Forbidden City

I arrived at Beijing early in the morning, greeted by smog but cold weather. It was hard to ignore the smog when it dried and irritated my eyes and nose. Thankfully I was prepared with eye drops and nasal spray because I was just afraid the smog would last throughout the trip and affect my mood.

The first place I visited after breakfast was Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City.

The Forbidden City to some may seem to be just another historical palace but this UNESCO Heritage Site plays an important role in the evolution of ancient Chinese history.

It was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty between 1420 to 1912 and now houses the Palace Museum. It served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government for almost 500 years.

Located adjacent to modern political centre of China - Tiananmen Square, The Palace Museum is the most visited museum in the world!

Be prepared for a long walk, make sure that your shoes are well tied, comfortable and that you have a bottle of water with you.

Photo contributors: Lim Amira & Farhan Junid