Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Wish List

I know I'm not going to be receiving any of these for Christmas, because I've already asked for completely different things (that's always the way isn't it?). But I've come up with more things that I want and will probably end up purchasing for myself in the New Year! Let the wishing begin!

Written in the Stars from Beauty Bay 
Stila Written in the Stars Palette at $21.80 
How gorgeous is it! I just don't need any more neutral palettes at this stage, but once I do, this will be all mine!
Asics Gel Volt 33

A new pair of runners approximately $150-200
I'm thinking of going to a shoe store and get it all professionally sorted. Something like the Asics Gel Volt 33 (above). I think that looks trendy, as well as does its job.
Garmin Forerunner 10 
One of the Garmin Forerunner GPS watches from $200
I'd be happy even with a basic one like the Forerunner 10. The higher end models though look so good! Why do they have to be so expensive :( 

Codex costume from Halloweencostumes
Codex costume, whole set approximately $80
Because I love The Guild. And I love Felicia Day. And err... why wouldn't anyone want a Codex outfit in their wardrobe? It should be a wardrobe staple.

Toofaced Shadow Bon Bons from Beautybay

Toofaced Shadow Bon Bons $48 
Because I need more eyeshadow palettes!

Mice and Mystics from Boardgamegeek
Mice and Mystics game $80.50 
Available at Milsims, I just want this boardgame because it has rodents, and I like rodents. Nothing else is relevant, just my love for all things rodent.

Phillips Lumea
Phillips Lumea $600 
I've been wanting this so much for awhile. If it was cheaper, I would definitely purchase this in a heartbeat.

I think nothing sums up my personality and interests more than this wishlist... I'm sure it's helped no one with their Christmas shopping. I have a feeling I'll need to create another wishlist soon, browsing around for items for this list has put more on a future list!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Focus on: Backbends

Reaching for that third cup of coffee? Maybe try something else to boost your energy levels. Backbends are a great way to energize (they squeeze your adrenal glands). They strengthen your back in the process, and some believe it opens the heart chakra. I've read accounts of people bursting into tears in the middle of wheel pose, although I have yet to experience this myself. 

Here are some of my favourite backbends (click on the names for how-tos). Please don't try this if you have a bad back and never force yourself into any position. I apologize for how sweaty and red-faced I look, it's an eff-ing hot day (I know, not very yogic of me) at 38 degrees Celcius, and I had just finished my flow yoga sequence of the day. 

Camel pose




Upward dog

Enjoy backbending and stay cool, Melbourne. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Moving onto a better you

I used to be, and occasionally still am, a person who holds onto the past and lets it define me. When I was 14, I entered a national piano competition, experienced stage fright for the first time in my life, and then decided that I hated public performances and never performed publicly on a piano ever since. Funny thing that, considering I performed on violin numerous times after. I even performed at the Hamer Hall.

I also had a friend that I held dear as a sister. When we were younger, we envisioned that we would do many things together, but when we hit our twenties, some issues arose in our friendship, and it fell apart. For the longest time, I held a lot of hate and resentment towards her, and myself. All this happened when I wasn't mentally well either, so I did not deal with it in a healthy way.

What happens when you no longer see eye to eye?

Louise Hay points out very wisely in her bestseller, "You Can Heal Your Life" that the past doesn't care if it hurts you. Often, the people in the past aren't even aware of the pain they have caused. I think she's definitely hit the nail on the head... I think I am more responsible than my past is, at prolonging this pain.

It has been an ongoing process, but I used Louise's exercises to help deal with this and to let go.

Exercise: Dissolving Resentment 
One of her exercises involved visualizing the person who has caused you pain, and to think about all these amazing things happening to them, and to see them happy. And then to let that image fade, and to see you having all these amazing things happen, and that you leave, smiling and happy.

I did this. I imagined that she had all these amazing things happen in her life. I do sincerely want to wish her well. I took dissolving this resentment beyond these exercises, into my meditation and yoga practice. I am yet to reach that stage where I can visualize good things happening to me. I think I'm just too scared and/or believe that I'm undeserving of such things... but we all have hidden demons to work on.

Exercise: Forgiveness
I also worked on forgiving her and myself. This involved repeating a visualization of forgiving her and hearing her response, and then forgiving myself.

We all have chains that bind us. We have a choice of whether we would like to severe or keep these chains. There was a time when I would actively seek to maintain a bind or a grudge, but life is so much easier when we just choose to let go and focus on the present and what really matters.

For more activities like these and words of wisdom, you can check out Louise Hay's website here. I also strongly recommend subscribing to Abraham-Hicks daily quotes for inspiration.

I am also giving away Louise Hay's book, You Can Heal Your Life. This giveaway closes next week, so don't miss out! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blackmores Personal Health Assessment

Blackmores has this free service where it assesses your current lifestyle and then give you a mark. Because you know... everyone knows you can give your lifestyle a grade by answering multiple choice questions... wait a second...

Despite its shortcomings, it's still a great (and free!) way to evaluate how your lifestyle is going, and to get some suggestions on which areas need work. Here's my report. I found it quite interesting, considering I thought I was a little healthier than that!

All the screen grabs are taken from the Blackmores Personal Health Assessment results page.

My life in a nutshell... Looks like I need to work on my diet! 

Apparently, I just wasn't bunny enough. 

My health does not even reach the "Good" benchmark! Horror of horrors!!! 

And there you have it. Some pretty good suggestions I thought. 

If you would like your own report, you can check it out here. It takes about 15 minutes to complete the survey. In the mean time, I'm going to start chomping on some orange sticks. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Challenge: Sexy Legs

Summer's here! So it's time to ditch those jeans and put on some short shorts/bikini/Speedos/*insert choice wear here.

I've always been slightly envious of leggy people. Hell, even Tim Curry is leggier than me.

Yep, definitely leggier...

I'm still up for some leg twnage (it's like... pwning, only it's toning... I know, I'm the lamest fit nerd out there...) so I'm putting the following challenge on my list of challenges to conquer.

Check it out on Tribesports

It's called the sexy leg workout, so it has to give you sexy legs right? :P By the way, those squats and lunges can also work your bum and core, which doesn't hurt. Not sure if I can do it all in 15 mins, but I'll try it tonight and update.

I'm going to need to invest in some thigh-high fishnets to showcase my legs after a week of this!

Challenge completed in 12 mins 48 seconds. My verdict? This challenge was SO FUN! Particularly the jumping jacks. I haven't done those since I was a child. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

5 years ago I...


... thought I would be working as a Secondary School classroom music teacher a la Glee. Little did I know how glad I would be not to go down that path.

... only bought luxe beauty products. And high street designer clothes. Now, I love my Priceline steals and I shop at Jayjays.

... was depressed and suicidal. I never thought I'd ever be normal again, but I am.

... ate KFC and Maccas a few times a week. Now, I make breakfast, lunch and dinner.

... had only one interest - music. Now, I have so many hobbies and interests and dreams, it's so hard to keep up.

... was filled with hate. I think the years have mellowed me out.

... loved the Backstreet Boys. Now, I *secretly* love the Backstreet Boys. Shh..

... learnt how to date all the wrong guys. That only made me appreciate the right guy when he came along.

... hadn't yet discovered the joy of yoga.

... never thought I would be a semi-vegetarian slightly New Age hippie...

I think if 5-years-ago me had met today me, we would not be friends. I don't even think we'll like each other. :P

How has your life changed in 5 years?

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway

Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: Love, Peace and Stillness Meditation Retreat

I signed up to this Udemy course at half price as it was on special, and never regretted a moment of it. Created by Teagan Fea of the Bodhi Connection, these meditation exercises provide an easy, accessible introduction to meditation itself. And no, it does not cost $1500, unlike some other types of meditation courses.

Find this retreat here on Udemy 

What's great about this course?
The meditation audios can be downloaded to your computer as mp3s, which means they can be loaded onto a portable device, so you can meditate anywhere and anytime you desire! 

The content of the accompanying notes is great. I discovered that I have a blocked root chakra, and now am more mindful of this. These notes are concise, and full of good information. 

All of the audios last between 14-19 minutes, which means you do not have to sit for very long. Great for a meditation newbie! 

What's in the course? 
Without giving away too much, this course takes you through the basics of meditation, and then walks you through different types of meditation focuses, including chakra exploration, and connecting with the divine feminine and masculine. 

What could be better? 
Teagan speaks a little too slowly in the first few audios, which makes my mind wander sometimes, but the pace does pick up towards the end. A small thing really, and it helps me sharpen up my concentration skills.

All in all 
I really, really enjoyed this course. I've tried very hard to get into meditation and have had a difficult time, until I found this. It's not expensive, and you can listen to it as many times as you need. I still have much to improve on, so will be repeating this retreat a few more times. Every meditation session has made me feel calmer, clearer and more open. You should try it! 

Till Nov 23, Udemy is having a sale on ALL its courses. Use the redemption code BLACKFRIDAY. Savings drop 3% every day until Nov 23. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Weight lifting... a man sport?

I can easily recall my first ever session with a Personal Trainer. It was my first year of uni, I was ready to make a new start, and was just about to realize my New Year's resolution by getting my first ever gym membership. That question though, still hung in the air.

"Are you really sure you don't want any weights in your fitness program?" his eyebrow raised in slight disbelief.

Let's see. I grew up in a Malaysian semi-rural town, where an adult female could easily (and quite normally) weigh below 40kg. I was raised in a family where Mum would tell me not to do pushups because it would "make my shoulders too broad". I grew up through the 90s, when waif-life Kate Moss was the pin-up girl for beauty everywhere, when it was the age of the supermodels, all delicate, reed-like, gentle ladies. I studied in an all-girls school, where being too physically strong gave you the lesbian label.

So, was I sure then? Hell yeah. 

Nearly eight years down the track, I still haven't really incorporated weight lifting/strength training into my routine. While I no longer aspire to be Kate Moss, I still had my reservations until I read Nia Shanks' enlightening blog post on Tribesports about women and strength training. And it really hit home... I've never really done it because I was simply too afraid that one day I would look like a man.

Like this. Only... some people wouldn't call Johnny Bravo a man... 

Maybe it was the circumstances of my upbringing. But, believe it or not, it wasn't too long ago that I said that Katee Sackhoff looked like a man (calm yourselves, BSG Starbuck groupies)... very recently though, I've come to the realization that there is no way in hell Katee looks remotely manly, in fact, if she looked like a man, I'd be more than happy to look like a man too.

If Katee Sackhoff looked like a man, she would be a very attractive, feminine man. 

What does looking like a man mean anyway? Broad shoulders, toned, built arms? These are all gender archetypes that we've assigned and given meaning to. Just like sports. There are "male" activities, and then there are "female" activities. Quick activity: Assign a gender to the following sports: Skateboarding, snowboarding, yoga, weight-lifting, football, skiing, figure skating, gymnastics. See my point?

There's hope yet though. Think about it, there was once a time when women didn't do pushups, unless of course you were Nancy Wake (the badass Australian female spy). Sooner or later, there will be more women lifting weights as well. Times are changing, after all.

Interested in testing the waters? Nia has created a strength building guide  to help with strength training.

Click here for the full guide

And, in case you were wondering if lifting heavy weights does make you look like Johnny Bravo, why not read Nia's blog post to see for yourself?

Me? I'm taking baby steps... starting with those pushups (sorry Mum!).

Monday, November 12, 2012

Challenge: Tribesports Abs and Legs Mini Circuit

Too busy to exercise? Here's a mini-circuit that requires no equipment that you can do in your own home. It takes only 15 minutes! And you can even do them in your PJs! I should know... I've done all the above... including the PJs bit. 

Check out the circuit on Tribesports

1. Sit-ups 
I don't have enough core strength (yet) to do this unassisted, so I anchor my feet beneath my lounge sofa. If you cross your arms in front of your chest, you'll use more core strength and protect your neck. Pilates tip: Slow down as you lower, this will engage your core a little more. 

2. Mountain Climbers 
Hold yourself in raised plank, and then kick your knees into your chest. In my circuit, I did this quick, but you can opt to do it slowly and use more core strength. 

3. Leg Raises 
To engage your core, side waist and legs more, flex your feet. Put your outer hand on either your abs or your side waist to ensure that they are engaged. Keep the movement controlled (not too fast). It's easy to let your legs flail wildly around, which makes this incredibly easy but does nothing for you :P 

4. Plank 
Self-explanatory. Want more of a challenge? Raise one leg. 

Have 20 minutes or more? Try adding these into your circuit. 
- 15 pushups per circuit 
- 1 min side plank 
- 1 min bridge 
- 25 squats 

My current record time is 15 mins including 15 pushups per circuit. Give it a go! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Foundation Anonymous Report

In July, which is 4 months ago now (hooray math skills!), I decided to stop using foundation, after being a 9-year junkie.

Here is a recent photo of me now, still with no foundation - I'm only wearing some minimal eye makeup, and a tinted lip balm.

Yes you can even click on it for a larger image, because I know you want a close-up of my pores

Having my 4-month chip has taught me a lot of things.

1. My foundation was actually a few shades too light for my skin tone 
On the few occasions I decided to wear foundation (eg. to parties etc), I realized that I looked like I had a kabuki mask on. NOT a good look. It's weird how I never noticed this before.. I guess living in foundation, I  must have thought the kabuki mask was how my face naturally looked.

2. The difference between hormonal and environment caused pimples 
I can spot them now! I only get hormonal pimples now, and I know when I will get them. Recently, I trialled a few new beauty products and got different looking breakouts... they were more clustered, and were smaller.

3. All those little bumps on my skin were foundation caused 
I used to have tiny little bumps on my skin. They were not obvious, and always seemed to be there, so I just thought my skin was rough. They are now gone!

4. My face goes red when I drink alcohol 
This never used to happen. I guess the foundation masked it somewhat.

5. My face flushes/blushes easily 
When it's hot, my face goes bright pink. Also never used to happen.

6. I'm noticing more signs of aging now 
I guess I just never cared about signs of aging because I'd just slap some foundation on. I'm now noticing a difference in my skin texture... it's bugging me a little, but hey, we all have to grow old right?

7. I'm taking better care of my skin 
No foundation means the skin you wear is well... the skin you wear.

8. It was a huge self-journey
Part of the reason why I wore foundation everyday was self-esteem issues. Having to not wear it meant combatting these issues, and now, I'm quite comfortable going barefaced.

/end report

If you've already tried going foundation-free, I would love to read about your experience. And if not, would you?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


In the spirit of Christmas, I am hosting my first giveaway, which is Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life. This is an amazing book, full of positive affirmation activities. It helped me to get through some really tough times in life, and I can't think of anything better than to have it help someone else in their hour of need.

For reviews and testimonials about this amazing book, have a look at the Amazon site. This giveaway is currently only open to Australian residents, and closes 7 December. A winner will be drawn, and the winner will have 48 hours to contact me, after which a new winner will be drawn. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yoga Journal 21-Day Fitness Challenge completed

I finally finished the 21-Day Challenge. Not in 21 days though, my excuse is that I was mixing it up with other kinds of fitness activity.

I didn't end up making all the recipes... I live alone, and meal-planning is hard work. Whatever I make for lunch I generally have to bring to work for dinner (and then have it for lunch and dinner the next day), and I usually have no access to a fridge, and we have no microwave. So, everything has to fit into a little thermos food jar. But, I did attempt some, most were edible, some were extremely delicious, and some were... of interesting flavour...

Read through my account and sign up for the challenge! For a free yoga resource, it's pretty great.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Body Fat vs BMI

I only just discovered this thing called a Body Fat Calculator.

I'm not really quite sure how it works, but I measured myself and did the calculation, (you can click on images for a bigger, clearer image)
Screen grab from

and it says I have 24.94% body fat, which just gets me into the fit category.

Screen grab from

Only just. Apparently, the body fat calculator works on some formula used by the US Navy. I've always just been using the BMI calculator, and have always been within the normal BMI zone. Using the above stats, plus my height of 160cm, my BMI is 19.9. The healthy zone is 18.5-24.9 using the regular BMI stats, and and 18.5-23.9 for Asians.

In both BMI calculations, my weight falls into the healthy category, but I am carrying more body fat than what I originally thought. I'm sure it is possible for some people to be in a normal BMI range, and yet be obese in the body fat calculator, or just in the essential fat zone.

My current goal is to keep it within the 21-24%, perhaps... I'm barely scraping the margins of that category. I've never been too hung up on weight before, because I've always been fairly light but body fat... now that's another issue! Ultimately though, my belief is that no matter what your body percentage or your weight is, as long as you are fit, and you are exercising regularly, numbers don't matter in the end.

If you do work out your body fat, do share your reactions to your result. Was it what you expected?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What moves you?

I love listening to music as I do my cardio (not so much for yoga, I prefer peace and tranquillity and focussing on my breath). Music provides a great distraction, keeps me going right through my goal time, and can help me keep my energy levels up.

Just wanted to share my current Top 10 tracks for the gym. And no, there's no Oppa Gangnam Style :P

#10. David Guetta ft Akon - Sexy b!tc# 

#9. Pendulum - Mutiny 

#8 Foster the People - Color on the Wall (Don't Stop)

#7 Architecture in Helsinki - That Beep


#5 Battles - Atlas

#4 Jim Jones Revue - Rock and Roll Psychosis

#3 Hadouken! - Get Smashed, Gate Crash 

#2 Karnivool - Set Fire to the Hive 

#1 Matt and Kim - Daylight

It was hard trying to decide who would get to #1 once I got to my Top 5. Hope you enjoyed my top 10, and hopefully some of the songs will make it onto your playlist too.

What do you enjoy moving to?