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The last chapter in Savannah

It’s been a long time since I was a model for a photo shoot.

Used to do it here and there for fun and for extra cash when I was younger and slimmer but eventually grew tired of the whole thing…. Nevertheless, it was really cool for me to be in front of the lens once again. I’m constantly in front of the camera thanks to my blogging life and vain friends, but to be a so-called “model” again for a day was extremely exciting! And tiring. I forgot that it was a tough job to do too. Waking up at 7am for godforsaken morning shoots, slapping on tons of make up on your face and forcing contact lenses into half closed eyes when you’re not even awake, rushing down to stupid isolated locations, trying to think of different unique poses that looks good on camera while balancing in heels and crossing difficult terrain…. Trying to breathe in tight outfits… Having to deal with perverted / condescending photographers (some times, but most of them were nice) and the list goes on! I think my least favorite part about doing photo shoots was letting other people do my make up. I really hate the amount of foundation they pile on and I always question if their brushes and products are clean enough. I don’t break out often but the worst break out I’ve had in my life was after a make up session with a terrible make up artist!!! Whole forehead covered in zits omg D:
Anyway today’s post is not a ranty, negative one but in fact a picture intensive, happy one. It was a real pleasure for me to have a photoshoot done with the amazingly talented Bobby Kiran Yeo. You might’ve already heard of Bobby before, or seen his pictures around somewhere because he’s a pretty popular photographer in Singapore!!! Especially his couple photo shoots, which are some of the best perspectives and angles I’ve ever seen. I wanted to do a shoot to take pretty pictures for my Youtube channel, Twitter & blog backgrounds… and we planned on doing it at Botanical Gardens at first, but eventually settled to shooting at my condo, much to my delight.
I thought it was a great idea because I’m leaving this place so soon, and these snaps would probably be the last pictures ever taken of me in this home. Like I said I’m super attached to this place so these pictures mean the world to me. They remind me of all the laughter and tears I’ve had around here and all the memories I’ve shared with friends & family. 
Enjoy the picture gallery! 
This is probably my most favorite one!! :) I like this so much I cropped it this way too:
Thank you Bobby for capturing these moments of me at home, and for being so comfortable & professional to work with! He’s funny, not overly pushy or too demanding as a photographer, and comes up with fantastic creative ideas. He was the genius who persuaded me to use Tilikum (my giant killer whale which I lugged back from Orlando, Florida, USA) as a shoot prop! It’s rather unfortunate that the pics had to be resized to fit my blog layout, what a shame. They’re incredibly high res and look so different when magnified full sized on a big computer screen in its full glory!!! O_O  Wish I could let you guys see the original versions. I have this urge to frame some of the best looking ones up in my new place LOL… But that would be too narcissistic, even for me.
Please show Bobby Kiran Yeo some support by following him on Instagram at @BobbyKiranYeo to get regular updates of his recent snaps on your mobile, or follow / “Like” him on Facebook here!!!
If you’re looking for a ROM / wedding / pre-wedding photographer, romantic couple shoot, or other photography services…. drop Bobby a message and let him know I referred you! :) Quote my name & “Like” his Facebook page for 10% off the total package. He is also available for surprise proposals, overseas shoots, birthday parties, blogshop shoots. You’ll love his work. He really does find the best angles and moments of each individual to bring out in his photography. Having shot with many different photographers before, Bobby stands out from the rest by letting you be yourself and letting your true essence shine through the photo. All pictures were taken in the beautiful holiday resort-like condo that I’ve had the privilege of staying in. Maybe now you can sorta understand why I’m so reluctant to leave.

..And with that, the last chapter of my life in the Savannah is finally coming to an end.
xoxo,
Jess

Begin Again

There is a big surprise at the end of this lengthy post!!! If you are impatient you can skip it, but it would be nice if you read what I have to say first :)

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So…. sorry for the lack of updates recently, I’ve been working on something pretty exciting.

I’m quite emotional while writing this because I can’t believe it is actually happening. I really can’t believe I actually managed to get it done. Not without the help of some incredibly talented people who were generous enough to lend their awesomeness to me, of course. I don’t know where to start or how to tell you guys what I’m doing or what is on my mind. Let me try to phrase this into proper sentences.

Here goes.

I’ve always liked singing since I was a kid. My mum would tell funny stories to people during dinner time of how when I was 3 years old, I would walk up to strangers and start singing Michael Learns To Rock unabashedly. Obviously I’ve lost that flair along the way, because I am actually quite reserved in real life as an adult now. But the point is, I’ve loved music ever since I could remember. Growing up, whenever I felt neglected, alone, rejected, angry, sad, disappointed, confused… I would turn to music to console myself. Humans have never been there every step of the way with me, but music has. Soothing tunes would fill my ears and soul and I’d instantly feel my mood lift and the world seemed to make sense once again. When I got bullied in school, I dreaded waking up and having to go to school every single day. Then I joined the choir, and realized that whenever I sang my heart out, life was better. There wasn’t a bad day that a good song couldn’t fix. My relationship with music hasn’t faltered since.. and till today it is a huge part of my every day life.

So now you know how it all started. The second part of my story is to tell you guys why I decided to record a Youtube video of myself singing. This next part is going to be a little shameless. So bear with me. When I was in the school choir, my choir teacher called me the Reigning Queen of all the kids she has taught. Hahahahah I kid you not. To be fair, I was only 11 years old and I think she just liked me extra because I was the teacher’s pet and was happy to sing for her whenever she asked. M primary school friends didn’t understand what the word Reigning meant, and always made fun of me for being Raining Queen instead…. -_- Anyways, that was the first time in my life anybody told me I could sing. Since then, my choir teacher gave me the confidence to embrace singing as a hobby. I went karaoke-ing with my mother every other weekend, singing The Beatles, Carpenters, Eagles, and I loved every second of it. I thought to myself, “how nice would it be if I could do what I love for a living, and sing as my job? I want to grow up to be a singer.”

That’s my childhood ambition. To be a singer. To sing on a stage and hear people applauding me and singing along with me and all that jazz….. I feel a little bit embarrassed typing this because, whose childhood ambition was NOT to be a superstar?! Everyone wanted to be rich and famous. Everyone wants to be a superstar. I grew up wanting to be the next Avril Lavigne. She was my hero. (my new hero is Taylor Swift but that’s for another post) Much to my own disappointment, after leaving the school choir, I somehow never bothered pursuing my music hobby / ambition any further. I just left it as it is. The older I got, the less I believed in myself and it just seemed like a silly dream. When I grew older and reality sank in… I understood that being good at singing just isn’t good enough. Being just decent at karaoke will not make you a superstar. I realize that now. I pursued cake making instead which I realize a lot lesser people have the talent for (yay) so I felt a bit more special. I know a lot of people who can sing who never really got anywhere even though they tried, so I was worried I’d end up like them. I told myself, “Aiya, don’t embarrass yourself please. You think you really superstar meh? Your singing just okay only lor. Don’t be naive. Grow up, get a real job, live life like everybody else.”

But no matter what I did, the thought of singing never left my head. I would always be searching for Youtube covers online and admire people who had the courage to post their singing online. It seemed like so much fun. When you love music as much as I do, you would want to share it with other people, and have them share it with you. Even some videos that got less than a hundred views, I would still enjoy watching them sing and knew I liked watching them for their individuality and unique cover, not because they were the best singer in the world. I knew I would die with regrets if I didn’t get off my ass and record my own cover some day. To do what I’ve wanted to do, when I dared to dream. When dreams weren’t considered ridiculous and out of reach. What would life be worth if you never tried to achieve the impossible? It’s okay if I don’t become a superstar (LOL). It’s okay if my videos don’t get a lot of views, if people don’t think I’m that special, or if I never got that singing career I’ve wanted so bad. I can always have a normal working job, but sing as my hobby, sing because it makes me happy. I will do the things I like doing BECAUSE I LIKE doing them, I shouldn’t expect anything else to come out of it. I started my cakes at Shiberty’s Sweets (http://shibertys.blogspot.com) the exact same way. It exploded and snowballed into something bigger than I’ve ever expected, but I never intended to turn out that way. It just did, and I’m happy it did. If it didn’t, that’s fine with me as well. You guys have been so kind to me all this while, supporting my cakes since the very beginning, and some of you have been reading my blog for years, I know. I appreciate your encouragement and being here with me, watching me grow. I hope you like this new side of me (I’m actually moving and on video now!! Strange huh?) and that you welcome it with open arms because I’m going to be doing  many more covers after this, I reckon. You’re going to have to get used to it :P

I don’t know how people will react to my video, or if they will even give a damn at all. But I’ll tell you what. I am darn happy I actually managed to get it done, and watching it makes me SO excited for myself. Definitely made the right move here!!!! My friends and loved ones have been so supportive, it makes me want to cry. My best friend was literally bursting with excitement and it was so heartwarming to see how proud he was of me. My mother just kept smiling while she was listening, and insisted that I downloaded the song into her phone immediately. I didn’t think they would be even more excited than me. Thank you to everyone who has ever asked me to pursue singing and for making me believe it’s important to do what you love. Life is too short to live being practical every single day.

Some day you just gotta let all your reservations go, and sing.
Enjoy the music.

This is my cover of Begin Again, by Taylor Swift, with Sky Ong. A track on her new album Red which will be releasing 22nd October 2012.

I would LOVE YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK if you posted it on Twitter / Facebook / anywhere you want to, or shared it with your friends!! If you don’t like it, I promise I will try harder the next video, and even harder the next. And diet a bit more so my arms don’t look so flabby lol… The camera being lower than my face is not a good angle… We finished recording the main voice audio and filming the video in less than 5 hours! Not bad huh? How long Sky took to record the instrumental and mix everything else is a different story altogether, of course…

If any musicians, music producers or videographers would like to work with me for future Youtube videos, please email me at Shiberty@hotmail.com because I’m going to need all the help I can get! :) For those who are doing this professionally and are for hire, feel free to email me your rates as well.

Big big big shout out to Sky Ong who you also saw in the video!!!!!!! ♥ He came up with the kick ass instrumental track, and is the genius / master mind behind this whole video. He plays the drums, guitar, sings a bit, and does everything else in between omg. We did the filming at East Coast Park, and mixed the song in his home studio!! How crazy TALENTED is he?! You don’t know how much this all means to me Sky. Love you big time! He’s also in a local band called Black Forest, do check their music out here!

Special thanks to super sweet Xin Ang as well, who provided the lovely backing vocals and the harmonizing bits, which helped me in the parts I struggled in. You sound like an angel girl! She also played the bass in the instrumental track and was a huge help for filming. All these people, so multi talented! Love!!! And thank you to Huiwen for hooking me up with Sky in the first place! You guys are srsly da best.

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You’d make my day if you hit the play button… and let the music Begin Again! :)

xoxo,
Jess

Happy 3rd Year Anniversary!

Here’s to my longest relationship yet!

 

Thank you for the past 3 years we have spent together.

 It has been the maddest, wildest roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on. We had our ups, then we had our downs… But the end of the day, they are all part of this crazy game we call l-o-v-e. We met each other in an online game. We talked our hearts out, every single day, for months.

You flew down from Australia to see me once, then you decided you’d like to visit every month from then on. Eventually you moved to Singapore altogether, having to leave behind your job as a medical scientist, friends, family, and life in Melbourne. That is undoubtedly the sweetest thing anyone in this world has ever done for me. We moved in together, and started a cake business, totally out of the blue. Built a new profession from ground up with nothing but a cheap $30 hand held mixer, some flour, and a whole lot of determination. Imagine that & where it has gotten us today. Now we’re embarking on a different journey as you’re starting on a new full time job…

Whatever happens, wherever this road takes us – As long as you’re squeezing my hand tightly in yours, we can overcome anything together. Just promise you will never ever let go.

Happy 3 years anniversary DaNang cupcakes and tea!!! luv u long time.

xoxo,
Jess

Eu Yan Sang – Weight Management Program

Weight gain.

Something that I don’t talk much about, that some others seem to love to.

Well, now it’s my turn to talk about it. This is not just going to be a robotic & commercialized sponsored post, this is a teenage girl (have to use this term as much as I can before I turn 20 in September!!) who has been struggling with weight issues opening up about her first hand experiences.. and I know a lot of females out there will be able to relate with me when I talk about these problems. Look, I know I’ve gained weight. Some people seem to think I’m in complete denial just because I don’t go “OMG I hate my love handles, I hate my thunder thighs and hulk arms, I hate my muffin top, I hate myself, I hate being fat!!! Must slim down!!!” and because I say “I still like being myself.” I do. That does not mean I like, or approve of being overweight. Don’t be so narrow minded. I have huge full length mirrors in replacements as walls in my living room (not kidding.) I can clearly see the difference in my body mass and width since I first started blogging 5 years ago. That’s the thing about having a blog… it’s easy to keep track of what has happened, because you have photographic proof in a chronological timeline.

From years ago, when I was slimmer… and used to wear bikinis. You don’t need me to post a side-by-side-before-and-after-photo to notice the difference. No photoshop or tweaking here, just sucking in of belly. Ahah! Some of you Singaporean girls must be thinking, “WHAT?! This was you when you were slimmer? Still fat leh!”

I *have* been skinnier since I’ve started blogging, but didn’t use to take a lot of full length shots back then, so these are the only ones that show enough skin. I have never really been skinny, just ranging from healthy weight / normal sized to larger frames. I know a lot of people use big bones as an excuse but I REALLY do have big bones FML.. from wide hip bones to wide shoulders to a broad back to large wrists. So it’s impossible for me to look skinny anyway.

I have openly made jokes about my weight on my blog, and always publicly discuss the reasoning and effects of it on my Formspring, when people ask. I acknowledge it silently, and understand the health & social effects.. I’m not stupid. I’ve just never really done anything about it because I couldn’t be arsed, and I was comfortable being complacent. There’s no nicer or simpler way to say it. I knew I was gaining weight, but I didn’t do anything about it. I consciously chose not to. Partly because food helped me cope with my emotions, so I knew if I stopped eating so much, I’d feel worse emotionally, although I’d look better.

Despite my expanding width of late, I didn’t see a need to hate myself for it, I mean what’s there to be so upset about? I knew perfectly all the solutions to fix my problems, I just didn’t have the willpower to do it. It’s not like I had cancer. I’m the sort of person who doesn’t worry about my problems as long as I knew how to fix it. And deep down inside, I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d fix my eating and lifestyle habits, but the time was not now (back then). I needed to focus my energy, efforts and time on other things instead. Call me melodramatic, but I believe a lot of people who gain weight rapidly in a short period of time must be going through something difficult. Nobody in their right mind just wakes up one day and decides to self-destruct by eating their own weight in food. If you’re a real glutton, you’re born a glutton, and these people are usually obese since childhood. I’ve actually been expanding and shrinking since I was a kid… Fat when I was in kindergarten, slimmed down by the time I was Primary 4, gained some weight after that but lost it again after I entered Secondary School. Then as I was leaving high school, I gained the weight right back. So you could say my weight fluctuates a lot.


“How did you gain weight recently?”.. some people ask.

I eat my feelings. When I’m happy, I eat. When I’m upset, I eat more. When I’m stressed out, I eat the most. (Explains the weight gain after Primary 4 and nearing my O’levels, damn stressful. Haha) Last year was probably one of the most stressful years of my life, because I’d just gotten my cake business up and running, there were so many obstacles to overcome, and just so much work to do. I worked so hard last year, that all too often during a working day, I’d skip breakfast & lunch, then binge on a huge dinner after all my work was done coz I’d be so damn hungry. On weekends especially, I would work until 1am in the morning, and then feel famished afterwards. Believe it or not, my job makes me hungry all the time, because 1) I was working with food. Even though I didn’t necessarily want to eat cupcakes, being constantly surrounded by food makes you think about food. and 2) My job was a lot of manual labor. I don’t lounge on a computer chair and reply emails all day (I do that at night) a lot about cake making is scrambling around, cake decorating is not serene and peaceful like an artist drawing a painting. It’s chaotic, stressful, and hunger-inducing. Please don’t laugh at me, I’m telling the truth, lol. I was legitimately hungry all the time… or so I thought. I’d recently discovered your stomach is like a muscle you can train, if you eat less for a week, by the 2nd week you’ll find you don’t need as much to get full. The fact that I didn’t go out often because of my work, and didn’t need to leave the house to travel to school / work like any other normal person also meant that my physical activity was limited. Think of it as being a housewife… how many housewives do you know put on weight after being assigned to a full time job contained in the house? There just isn’t enough physically stimulating activities. If you ask a housewife to go to the gym, she would most likely say, “Siao ah! Where got time? So tired la.” 


“Do you know the consequences of being overweight?”

I can honestly tell you the heaviest consequence of being overweight is being relentlessly taunted and teased by people. You can be stupid, ugly, poor, or promiscuous. But if you’re fat, the only insult people will ever bother using on you first is Fat. Diabetes, high blood pressure, lethargy, heart failure… Yes, those are very common health risks with obesity, but the FIRST thing that’s going to hit you real hard is the way people react to it. Especially when you’re a teenage girl living in Singapore. People in Singapore seem to be allergic to fatness. They look at fat people like they’re ogres. In Singapore, quite simply, if you’re not thin, you’re fat. There is no in between in their opinion. Even when I WASN’T fat (see: earlier years in blogging), the word “Fat” was still constantly being used on me. Moral of the story? If you’re fat, either lose the weight and stay in Singapore, or migrate to another country where people of varying sizes are actually socially accepted. Since I have to stay in Singapore because of my business, I’ve decided to shed the pounds. Lol, just kidding, I’m also actually really concerned about my health. Now that business is good, work flow is easier to handle and I’m (slightly) less stressed out, I finally have the time and enough mental energy to channel that into living healthier. Being healthy isn’t a past time, it’s a full time commitment.

Now, thank goodness I have a reliable friend to help me along in this arduous journey, because God knows I couldn’t do this all by myself. Maybe this was the miracle I’ve been waiting for all this while.

To give me that push I really needed.

So you’re probably thinking… “Eu Yan Sang? Isn’t that the place my mum always gets her Bird’s Nest from that sells Traditional Chinese Medicine – they have weight loss programs?”

Yep. You’ll find out all about that later on, but first, let me introduce Eu Yan Sang to those who haven’t heard of it before. Besides selling awesome tasting quality bird’s nest that is good for you, they also have clinics practising Traditional Chinese Medicine!

Eu Yan Sang first opened Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinics in Singapore in 2002. They are now 10 years old, woopie! 10 years of providing good health to Singaporeans. They have some celebration plans which you can partake in, which will be elaborated more at the end of this post. ***

Since their opening, they’ve gained a steady reputation and popularity with Singaporeans who seek to treat acute and chronic conditions, as TCM has always been viewed by Asian people as a more “holistic” approach to health care than Western Medicine. At Eu Yan Sang’s TCM clinics, their practitioners are meticulously selected and licensed by the TCM Practitioners’ Board. Treatments are customized to the individuals’ body with the aim of bringing one’s internal system back to a balanced state. (Like balancing the yin and yang… what chinese movies always talk about!!)

Here I am, excitedly and nervously signing up for my first treatment session & consultation with them, at their outlet in Hougang Mall. Honestly, stepping into the clinic… I had NO idea what to expect. I have never tried TCM before. Could this be the answer to my flabby woes? I, for one, used to be very skeptical about TCM. “Sure or not?”, with raised eyebrows, would be my tone if someone had told me that a TCM treatment worked for them. The first thing that struck me was how immaculately clean the clinic was, and the friendly receptionist and physician made me feel more at ease. I filled out a form containing all my particulars, and was led into the consultation room to meet my physician for the first time.

I sat down, and thus began my first consultation with Eu Yan Sang. My physician, Ms Yang Wei, greeted me with a smile, then began the standard procedure of asking a whole bunch of questions so that she may gain more insight about my general health. Unlike Western clinics, TCM physicians will not just ask you, “So, what’s wrong with you today?” and then prescribe you some antibiotics to battle the virus. TCM is about understanding your body’s condition and achieving a full body kinda zen. It is not just about that particular bout of flu that you’re dealing with, but rather, what is wrong with the rest of your body so that your body is not able to fight the virus on it’s own? To fix the overall problem will bring overall wellness and help keep future illnesses at bay, instead of only offering a temporary situation. That is the best I could phrase it.

Physician Yang asked me a lot of varying questions about my health that made me question myself for a bit. For example, she asks, “How many times do you exercise a week?” I look at her and go, “none.” Then she says, “How about in a month?”

And I say… “maybe once?”

To listen to yourself address these problems is sort of a wakening experience. No wonder I keep falling sick! Exercise and a healthy diet keeps you well.

This… Was probably when she asked me to do a urine test and to collect my own urine sample in the nearest bathroom. Not the most fun thing to do, but necessary. I believe this is standard procedure and all patients have to do so! See what I mean by they really wanna find out what’s going on with your WHOLE body?

This was probably when she asked me whether I had constipation probems and what type of craps I take.. whether they were big, small, long or short. Blank face. LOL.

Afterwards, my height and weight was taken, BMI calculated, then we addressed my weight problems, and my targeted goals. She asked me what my ideal weight was. I truthfully told her I have no ideal weight, which I think sort of confused my physician. I don’t wish to be skinny per se. I honestly just want to be healthier in general, which weight loss will contribute to.

Of course, if I lose 10 kilos, hurrah! But even if I only lose a couple of kilos through this treatment, I’d be happy. Knowing that I am putting in effort and making a change in my lifestyle to live better is already good enough for me, instant flash results are not what I am after. I didn’t put on the weight in only a few months, I cannot expect to lose it all & more within a few months.. that wouldn’t be good for my body either. I don’t wanna set highly optimistic targets for myself and then get all upset if I don’t hit them. I’m just doing to do the best I can, and whatever happens, happens. I like how this Weight Management Program by Eu Yan Sang does not promise over optimistic results, which can appear very gimmicky when other slimming centers do it. “Lose 10kg in X months!!! Guaranteed or your money back!” …and then you don’t get your money back.

You can’t guarantee anything when it comes to the human body. Every body reacts to treatments differently.

I was thoroughly briefed about the treatment that I was about to start on before being led to the procedure room.

I will be going through a total of 20 treatments, over a course of three months. Acupuncture Treatment and Chinese Herbal Medicine will be used to help me target my problem areas and increase metabolism rate, under the guidance of Physician Yang.


“What is Acupuncture, how does it work for weight management?” 

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves the insertion of thin needles into the skin at different points in the body. It is thought that acupuncture works by balancing the flow of energy—called qi or chi—that moves through the body’s pathways. Acupuncture is believed to treat many ailments in the body, including addiction, depression, immune dysfunction, digestive disorders and pains such as migraine headaches. Acupuncture can also be used to tackle weight loss by treating multiple areas of the body that, if out of balance, could contribute to weight gain.

Acupuncture needles inserted into certain points on the body can aid weight-loss efforts by boosting metabolism, improving digestion, reducing cravings, curbing appetite, improving the way nutrients are used within the body and regulating hormones related to obesity, says Oz. Acupuncture can also aid a person in recognizing when he is full and improve his liver function, which aids in digestion, nutrient processing and fat breakdown. (source of information)


(not my hand modeling this)

The needles are extremely thin, and completely sterile. Here’s a pack of the needles on a hand, so you can roughly gauge the size. They don’t insert it all the way in – just partially! If you visit shabby & unlicensed clinics, they may use needles that aren’t sterile, and who knows what sort of nasty infections that might carry… Or even worse, poke you in places that would cause severe pain. I wouldn’t consider doing this treatment anywhere else, because I trust Eu Yan Sang. In fact, I have never considered doing weight loss programs ANYWHERE else, because I don’t trust their gimmicky methods. I am also not willing to consume slimming pills, every time you try to take the short cut and easy way out by cutting corners, you will pay in another way. TCM, I believe, is as natural and non-invasive as it gets for weight management.

Non-invasive? When there are needles going through my skin? Am I for real?

Yes. Acupuncture is also effective in aiding muscle aches, stiff back problems, etc… If it works for all of that, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for slimming. And instead of laboratory-produced chemicals jam packed in slimming pills that might cause you brain & liver damage or other health problems, acupuncture done properly, is pretty much risk-free.

I know you have a burning question.

“JESSSS!!! Does it hurt? That looks sooo painful! OMG needles!”

Yeah, to tell you the truth, I’m no fan of needles either. I *almost* backed out of this, until I read all the positive reviews online by people who have successfully lost weight through acupuncture. I was breaking out in cold sweat and mildly shivering before the acupuncture treatment started. I was advised by Physician Yang to relax my muscles, because if my muscles are tensed and stiff, it’s going to hurt even more.

So…. Does it hurt? Of course it does. Why wouldn’t it? It’s a needle going through your flesh.

But is it bearable pain? It is. Every one’s pain threshold differs, so for me, it’s bearable although I do wince and cringe when needles are being inserted into my sensitive areas (mainly my stomach) but for other areas such as my arms and leg, some times I don’t feel anything at all. The sensation is always different with each treatment session, sometimes you will feel pain in this area, sometimes close to zero…  It’s not as painful as an injection, because the needles are so much finer. Although you do get poked much more times than a single injection, lol.

IS IT WORTH IT??? I’d confidently say yessss with a *FIST PUMP*. You can pay the price of some pain and slimming down or you can pay the price of remaining overweight or being flabby in areas you don’t wanna be. You choose your path.

It’s not as bad as you think. The pain only lasts for a few seconds when it’s being inserted, then after that, it doesn’t hurt any more. Since you’re meant to leave the needles in for approximately 50 minutes, I did manage to fall asleep in this awkward position, amazingly enough.

They have different sized needles for varying positions – I had super long needles inserted into my hips because I have serious love handles!!! It doesn’t mean that the longer the needle, the more it hurts. Normally I don’t even feel the needles being inserted into my hips, I’m guessing because it’s mostly fat content.

A heating lamp with infrared rays was placed over my tummy area, to cook my fats. Just kidding, I’m not entirely sure of what it does or the science behind it, but it is to aid the acupuncture treatment to be more effective. And it keeps my belly warm as I fall asleep.

These clips are attached to the needles, which is connected to a machine that sends electrical currents to my tummy stimulate the acupuncture treatment even more! It’s a rather tingling sensation. It’s not painful as long as the current is not too strong.

With each electrical shock wave it sends to my tummy, I feel like my flesh is “jumping / twitching” just the slightest. It takes some getting used to, but you’ll be so distracted by the needles poking out of your body, I doubt you’ll think of this much.

So once all of this is set up, I am left alone to lie down and wait for 50 minutes for the treatment session to be over. Bring an iPod so it’s not terribly boring and so you don’t keep looking at the needles…. When the 50 minutes was up, Physician Yang came back into the room to remove the needles and surprisingly, there wasn’t any blood or significantly visible marks where the needle was inserted. It’s not like an injection where your muscle feels sore for the next few days. In a matter of ten minutes, I was up and about continuing with the rest of my day without any inconveniences.

After my treatment, I was given a mini tour of the medicine room to show me how my medicine was being prepared! Look at all those different jars of Chinese herbs!!!

A special concoction of herbs is prepared specially according to each patient’s unique needs, and weighed to precision. It’s not like Western Medicine, where anyone can use anyone else’s paracetamol tablets. This medicine is unique to yourself! The medicine is supposed to help me curb my appetite, etc.

This next part is pretty cool. The powdered, ground up herbs are then sifted into this machine, and in a few seconds, it comes out in accurately packeted individual sachets – so quick & concise.

I was given a week’s supply of medicine, which costs $7.50 a day. I am meant to take two sachets daily, one in the noon and one at night. It tastes like what Chinese medicine usually tastes like…. All kinds of bitter. @_@ But hey, no pain no gain right?

And that, was my first experience of Acupuncture Slimming with Eu Yan Sang. Did it went well? I think so. I actually went home with a smile on my face, despite being poked all over with sharp needles and zapped with electricity. I was so pleased because I was finally doing something about my weight, I saw this as a gateway to wellness. Has my appetite been decreased? Honestly, not really. I don’t think anything will suppress this monster appetite of mine. I still feel hungry all the time. BUT, I have noticed it takes lesser food for me to become full. Perhaps it’s a mental effect, I don’t know. Needles are a pretty good way of restricting yourself from eating. Here’s how I think: “If I eat this chocolate cake, that means 20 more needles will have to be inserted into me. I don’t think it’s worth it.”

And that, is a fantastic deterrent, my friends. Anyway, how are the results like? I’m still in relatively early stages of my treatment, so I can’t tell you for sure. You will find out in my next blog post though, for I will be doing 3 posts in total – documenting the beginning process, the mid process and the end results!!!!! Wish me lots of luck, yes? My next update should be in a few weeks. Actually I can already see some results but I can’t reveal exactly everything in one blog post, plus it’s fun to keep you guys in suspense.

I will be happy to answer any questions regarding Eu Yan Sang’s Weight Loss Program in my blog comments section, or on Formspring. I know a lot of girls out there are desperately looking for “safe and quick” ways to slim down… After having tried this treatment myself, I genuinely believe it works, otherwise I wouldn’t have written such a lengthy and detailed post about it. How much and well it’d work for you, that is a different question altogether. Perhaps even better than it will for me? :) Of course, you can’t still eat like a pig and then expect Acupuncture Slimming to work wonders. It’s a treatment, not a cheat code. You still have to watch your diet, exercise more often, do your part as well.

I’ll keep you guys updated on my progress in my next post. I’m so excited for what is to come…. Hopefully only good things!!!!!!

Btw, if you’re too excited by this idea and cannot wait for me to show you my end results before trying it yourself, you can visit the Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic that I went to here:

90 Hougang Ave 10
#04-19 Hougang Mall
Singapore 538766)
Tel: 6385 5969

- 10 sessions: $533.60 (includes consultation and acupuncture)
- 20 sessions: $1,044 (includes consultation and acupuncture)

They have a lot of outlets all over Singapore, in the east, west, central etc. To view a list of outlets visit this link.

Call their clinic hotline: 6225 1887 for enquires / email enquiry@ihealth.com.sg OR contact the respective clinics to fix appointments for first consultation.

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*** As I was telling you guys before, Eu Yan Sang turns 10 this year!!!

Their first clinic opened in South Bridge Road in 2002. To celebrate 10 years of quality TCM healthcare, Eu Yan Sang has appointed THK as their beneficiary. Some background information: Since 1978, THK, a non-profit voluntary welfare organization, provided both institutional and community-based services in social, health, emotional, educational, disabled, financial support and aid to all people. ♥

From now till the end of the year, THK donation boxes will be placed in Eu Yan Sang clinics, all donations will go to THK. Eu Yan Sang Clinics has also pledged to donate an additional 10% of the total sum collected to THK – how about that!!! So please, if you see these donation boxes at their clinics, it’d be nice if you could drop some loose change into it, you don’t need to give a big amount to make a big difference.

This month (July 2012), you can also do your part to Go Green by bringing your own bag to Eu Yan Sang clinics! The bags in their clinics used to contain medication are earth-friendly, biodegradable ones, but less is more, so the lesser, the merrier. If patients request for bags, they can get one by donating $1 for each bag used. All proceeds will go towards THK. Everybody wins in the end ;)

P.S - Eu Yan Sang is having some mini contests weekly on their website! Head on over to this link to answer a new question (most likely regarding Traditional Chinese Medicine or Eu Yan Sang itself) every week, and stand a chance to win a goodie pack worth more than $32 – which includes ginseng, a voucher to get a complimentary consultation at their clinics… What are you waiting for?!

xoxo,
Jess

My love for cooking. ♥

Dear everyone,

I have an announcement to make. Today, I woke up feeling terribly excited about one thing – cooking lunch.

Yep. I literally woke up with a huge grin on my face because I knew I was gonna get down, dirty and gritty in my tiny kitchen, slaving over the stove and chopping onions and having them make me tear and having the garlic stink up my hands when I touch em. It’s a joyous activity. I can’t decide if I have no life or I choose to be excited about the simplest things in life, lol. But one thing’s for sure, I realized my love for cooking cannot go unnoticed. It has to be acknowledged, it’s too passionate, too strong. It’s positively consuming me. (see what I did there?)



All pictures in this post are of my most recent home-cooked meals. Here we have linguine with sun-dried tomatoes, pan fried scallops & prawns! Pasta is one of my favorite foods. 

Almost every day, I will crack my brains just thinking about which culinary I should attempt to conquer next… what should I cook for lunch later? What should I cook for dinner tomorrow? I think I can almost safely say that I enjoy cooking more than I do eating, which is a bold statement. We all love food, but I don’t know a lot of people who like to cook the way I do. Most people in other countries cook because they have to, because dining out is expensive, but in Singapore you can dine out everyday and still get by. Hawker fare is cheap, available everywhere, and delicious. Don’t get me wrong, I love digging into my food once I’m done beautifying it in the kitchen. That is half the reward. But the true beauty about cooking is knowing that your food is appreciated by other people. Food has a very special kind of effect on people. It makes people of all ages, languages, races & backgrounds speak the same language… Hunger. And a well fed-person, is a happy person. I like making people happy in my own little ways.


Roasted red capsicums stuffed with cherry tomatoes, basil, sun-dried tomatoes (as you can tell I am obsessed with tomatoes) along with other random goodness, topped off with cheese and breadcrumbs! Look ma, no meat.

And here, I’ll just admit it – I like the attention. I love getting reactions out of people when I cook. Most people don’t expect it from me, which makes it extra fun and dramatic. It’s like when a fat guy finishes first in a marathon.. They’re happy that you tried, but they’re over the moon and completely dumbfounded that you actually succeeded. Do I really look that prissy? I guess so. Less than 3 years ago I could barely cook anything, you could leave me with a kitchen full of raw supplies in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and I’d still starve to death. I couldn’t even fry an egg, or prepare instant noodles myself. My idea of cooking maggi mee is dumping the entire contents of the packet into a large bowl filled with water and popping it into the microwave for 3 minutes to “cook”. Before I discovered the microwave technique, I never even dreamed of touching the stove. Microwave-food alone was an achievement for me. I’ve always had an innate fear of stoves, microwaves.. anything fire or electricity related that could possibly explode, I’d stay far, far away from. So I don’t know exactly when it was, or what inspired me to get my ass involved into the kitchen, but one day I decided I would stop being such a pussy princess, and that I’d man the fuck up and finally learn how to cook, like a woman should. (Don’t mean to sound sexist, but let’s admit it girls, the way to a man’s heart is his stomach) I have an inkling it might have been when I toyed with the idea of moving to Australia to live. People kept drilling it into my head that living alone in your own apartment and fending for yourself is hard, and that cooking was a necessary skill. Sam, and my very own mother would subtly rub it into my face that I couldn’t survive by myself.. I recall hearing this sentence in a slight taunting and challenging tone, “Who is going to cook and clean up after you???” And in my head a small proud voice screamed, “I’ll cook for myself dammit!!!”...  Sam’s mum also did not particularly like me very much back then when I visited his family in Melbourne, and I was told by Sam it’s because I was “too spoilt.” As a result of indignation, a new hobby and skill was born.

Here’s my list of reasons why cooking is awesome!

1) It’s cheaper than eating at most restaurants, while being equally or even yummier, if you do it right. Singapore has a serious lack of individual, unique restaurants… I’m sick of dining at the same old franchised outlets!!! Perhaps cooking is not cheaper than hawker fare, but you can’t eat hawker food your whole life.

2) It ups your “future amazing wife potential” (Yay for me, take that Sam’s mum! Hah just kidding.)

3) You can do your food exactly the way you want it to be done! If you’re a fussy eater and control freak like me, it works out perfectly.

4) While Singapore lacks new & exciting restaurants to try, they do exist but they’re all terribly far away and tucked into strange little obscure corners, and easily accessible. Cooking at home saves me taxi fares!

5) It’s an awesome way to kill time. Not sure what to do on a mundane Sunday? Attempt to cook your favorite food or dessert! Even if you fail, you’ll have fun trying.

Learning how to cook was not an easy thing to do. But it is undoubtedly one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

It is messy, a lot of trial-and-errors, is a big time investment, difficult to grasp at first and most of all, pure hard work. There’s a lot of physical exertion involved. Being a non-sporty person, the only time I ever perspire or get covered in sweat in my air-conditioned house is when I have to babysit my food sitting in a stove-crib. When I first started out experimenting with different cooking styles, I had to put up with the awkward looks on people’s faces when they were asked to try my cooking and they didn’t like it, but didn’t know how to tell me. It was quite a difficult blow to stomach considering I always try to give my best. At least I know they weren’t lying, and they will only give compliments when they’re real.

Speaking of compliments, if someone tells me I’m pretty, I’d curtly respond, “Thank you. ^.^”
On the other hand, if the same person said, “I LOVE your cooking / baking!!!” I’d be all like, “Really? Why thank you!! I’m glad you liked it!!!! :D”

A compliment has so much more meaning when you know you earned it!

These days, even when I have become comfortable with cooking, I still face new problems and questions everyday – what is affordable to cook, that I haven’t cooked recently, that everyone home will find suited to their taste buds, that I already have the ingredients for in the fridge because I do not have time to go out and buy groceries? …Sheesh, it’s like the problems never stop coming. But that is also part of the reason why I find cooking fun, because it is a challenge. If something is too easy, it’s probably not worth doing. I am always learning.



To digress, I solved that problem last night by doing a fried cauliflower dish coated in seasoned batter, I also prepared a garlic aioli sauce to dip with. Do not be deceived by it’s plain looks! It is crispy and full of flavor, normally I wouldn’t even take a glance at cauliflower. Everyone raved about it and the cauliflower costed me only $1.30. Hoo-rah!

Just today, I decided to make hamburgers for lunch, at the request of my boyfriend. I thought to myself, “Hey, McDee’s can serve up a hamburger within minutes. How difficult can it be? No problem-o!”  but I ended up spending over an hour wreaking havoc in the kitchen, and by the time I was done, I was almost too tired and hot and bothered to enjoy my meal properly. (But I did, anyway, because it was good. I fell asleep after that though)

Was the pain worth it? You bet. Toasted buttered bun.. Cheddar cheese.. Creamy portobello mushrooms.. Fresh lettuce & tomatoes.. Home made fatass juicy beef patty.. Fried bacon.. White onions.. Accompanied by deviled eggs. Food comas are made of these.

Most people would look at the picture above and go, “Oh, yum, a burger!” but to me, it is a work of art. (Don’t laugh!)

I look beneath the exterior to see what lines beneath. I think about frying the bacon that made the hot oil splatter and how it hurt when it landed on my bare skin, about how it took 20 whole minutes to cook that monster of a beef patty, about how my eyes still sting just a little from cutting the onions and let’s not even get started on how messy my whole kitchen was after the fiasco. Since picking up cooking, I have been extremely aware of what I am putting into my mouth. I feel like most people don’t know what they are putting into their bodies when they dine outside. Did you know that your tasty McDonald chicken nuggets are actually made from this disgusting laboratory-produced piece of inedible looking thing?! At least when I make my own burgers, I can make sure real minced beef goes into my beef patties! (well I know supermarkets are full of preservatives and other random shit but it’s still an improvement to cook yourself) Perhaps it’s just easier not to know the harsh reality, but I say, it is a damn good thing to know as much as you can, ignorance is never bliss. These days, I am better at telling real food apart from fake food, from what are genuine flavors & aromas and what is just laden with unhealthy MSG. I don’t eat as much junk food as I used to, and have become more health conscious, because I always think twice before I buy food outside.

How much nutritional value is this going to give me? Am I really going to pay $8 for a McDonalds meal when I can cook a nicer, healthier burger and with the same amount of money I could double the portions? I don’t know about you, but I always feel sickly after eating McDees. I like McDees, and I am not discriminating against anyone else who does, but surely I am not the only one who feels like my throat gets all dry and congested when I finish their burgers, and the slight nauseating feeling when you’ve finished your whole meal, downed with those oily fries (that aren’t even made of mostly potatoes?!) and diluted, watered-down soda. (P.S I am very proud to tell you guys I have given up my soft drink addiction!!!! Big milestone in my life.)

Another sense of awareness that cooking has brought to my attention is eating meat. I roasted this whole chicken for dinner last night. (Of course I didn’t finish it alone, it was shared among 6 people) Here it looks like a tasty roasted chicken, fresh out of my oven, ready to eat. 2 hours before this, however, before the marinating and roasting in the oven, all I saw was a dead, cold chicken carcass sitting on my table waiting for it’s head to get chopped off, and for it’s guts to be de-gutted so that I could have it for dinner. I hate touching uncooked raw meat, but it is a solemn reminder that another animal had to die, so that I could live (better). Not just one, but many, many animals. Now you could say “You can live without meat!” but I’ve enjoyed eating meat for all my life and will not (or can not) stop now. I am not interested in preaching about animal cruelty or being vegan because I have nothing to do with that, however, I just wanted to highlight how this prompts me to waste food less often, I try to finish everything I have on my plate. If an animal had to die, at least I’d make it’s death worth their while. It makes me appreciate food this much more, gluttony aside, I realize I am privileged to be at the top of the food chain and how lucky I am to have food always readily available, and that I never have to go hungry. Many other people in this world suffer from starvation, a depressing problem that shouldn’t exist in this era considering our abundance of food.

In a lot of ways, cooking is like baking to me. It’s a valuable and convenient skill to have, it impresses people, and I am always guaranteed some sort of a reward. I’m fussy with my hobbies and interests, if I feel like they don’t provide me an instant sense of worthwhile-ness, I will drop it almost immediately. With cooking or baking, even if people somehow don’t like it, at least it fulfills the human being’s most basic need – having something to put in your stomach. No food is ever wasted when it satiates your hungry. Watching people dig into my food gives me a similar sensation as to when I see people gawk and squeal at the sight of my decorated cupcakes.. At the end of the day, it’s not so much of smugness, or self-gratification, but mostly I am humbled that something so simple can evoke a response like that from another human being. Please continue to make orgasmic noises and pull funny expressions while wolfing down the food I made you, it puts a smile on my face.

And that, briefly, is why I love cooking… Other than how it tastes so good.

Now I don’t even have to worry about what to cook for lunch the next day, because my best friend is cooking and bringing lunch to my place for me tomorrow. The only cooking I like better than my own cooking is meals that are cooked by other people, with utmost sincerity, just for me!!!

xoxo,
Jess
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