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When In Bangkok, Muay Thai: Chakrit Muay Thai School

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While on a company trip, my colleagues (whom I also do Muay Thai with) and I took the opportunity to take a Muay Thai lesson in the country of this great sport. We began lessons in Singapore a few months ago and our instructor recommended this gym when we told him we wanted to try Muay Thai in Bangkok.

It wasn’t hard to find. We dropped off at Phrom Phong station and walked about 5 minutes to Sukhumvit Soi 39.

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I felt SUPER NERVOUS when we arrived. Haha. Nervous and excited!! :D

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These were taken at the end of the lesson, when our clothes were all SOAKED in perspiration and our hair looked crazy. LOL.

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I know the instructors didn’t train us hard because we’re amateurs, but it felt more exhausting than a typical lesson at our Muay Thai studio in Singapore. It was non-stop execution of various drills. The 2-minute break in between each set was barely enough for me to catch my breath. The CRAZY HOT weather contributed to my slight dizziness at some point.

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For Beauty & Health: New Moon Collagen Powder + Bircher Muesli

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I’m a huge fan of Bircher Muesli. Every time I stay in a hotel with breakfast, I’ll look forward to having that. You can serve me the fanciest of international breakfast, but I’d like to have my Bircher Muesli first, thank you. Simple things make me happy. I also make it at home because it is super simple to make! =)

Fun fact: Bircher Muesli was developed around 1900 by Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Brenner as part of a healing therapy for his patients. It has remained a popular meal or snack till this day because it is easy to make and is nutrient-packed. You can add anything you desire but popular ingredients include rolled oats, milk, lemon juice, honey, grated apples, cinnamon, dried nuts, dried fruits, toasted coconut, yogurt. This delicious mixture of muesli is packed with flavor and essential nutrients and super healthy!

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How To Make Bircher Muesli

For my own Bircher Muesli, I added:

  • Traditional rolled oats (the oatmeal grains concoction is soaked overnight with juice or milk to give that mushy texture. Instant oats just lack that somethin’-somethin’)
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Honey (you can use condensed milk, maple syrup)
  • Unsweetened soy milk (or almond milk)
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • New Moon Inner Radiance Collagen Powder << secret ingredient!  :D

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Simply throw all your favorite fruits/nuts into a mixing bowl with the oats and milk. Mix well and refrigerate overnight. In the morning you’ll have delicious overnight oats (alternative name for Bircher Muesli) ready for breakfast!

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Secret Ingredient

The Bircher Muesli can be kept up to 5 days (but usually I make just enough for 2 days), so after apportioning my breakfast I’ll put the rest back into the fridge.

After that, I’ll add my SECRET INGREDIENT. Heeheehee.

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Oh Ebates, You Have No Idea How Long I’ve Been Waiting For You To Come To Singapore!

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Why the post title?

Well, I first got to know about Ebates many years ago through U.S beauty bloggers who frequently mentioned about saving money from making their purchases on Sephora.com through Ebates. Say what?? Saving something through something? That was the first time I heard anything like that.

Since I was spending hundreds of dollars on international online purchases a year, I was intrigued by this money-saving (or earning, depending on how you look at it) program. I was interested but unnerved when I realized that even though Ebates was available to users outside of the U.S, it predominantly served the U.S market. Coz…….. in the event that something goes wrong, who do I look for help?

So I’m SOOOOPER EXCITED to tell you guys that Ebates has finally arrived on our shores! What took you so long, Ebates Singapore? *pinch* Nonetheless, I’m glad I can start now!

 

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What Is Ebates?

Ebates is a rewards website where you can sign up for free and earn up to 26% cash back on online purchases at over 2,600 online stores.

If you plan to make a purchase on Sephora, you would go to Ebates first and click through Ebates to get to Sephora. This simple act will earn you a percentage cash back on your purchase.

How To Use Ebates in 3 Easy Steps:

1. You sign up on eBates.sg here. All you need are an email address and a password.

2.  Search the site for your favorite store. With over 500 online stores to choose from, you can find practically ANYTHING – from apparel to cosmetics to toilet paper to vintage bicycles. Give Ebates Singapore more time and it will expand its store base to the thousands!

3. Click on the store’s name and start shopping! That’s it – as long as you entered the online store from Ebates, Ebates will track your purchase and you will earn cash back!

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See that ‘Sign-up Bonus $5′?

My readers get $10!

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I’ll elaborate in a while! :D

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You can find out more about how Ebates works at www.ebates.sg/static/how-it-works, but I have here real-life examples of me doing the shopping so read on! :D

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This is what you will see on the Ebates Singapore home page. The TOP BRANDS for the 4th July promotional period that will run from today until 6 July 2015 are shown here.

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Step-By-Step Guide On Making Your First Purchase Via Ebates

Even though one of the biggest handbag trends for the past several seasons has been the drawstring handbag, I didn’t own one. Probably because I hadn’t found one that really appealed to me!

But when I saw the Elliott Lucca ‘Gigi Bon Bon’ Perforated Leather Drawstring Bag on Nordstrom, I HAD TO HAVE IT IN LINEN.

With that in mind, I hopped over to Ebates.sg to earn some cash back. MUAHAHA.

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5 Reasons To Declutter Your Home With Gumtree

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I don’t know anyone who hasn’t accumulated unnecessary clutter or isn’t disorganized in some way in his or her life. If you are an extremely organized person, please tell me how you became so good at it.

I am such a hoarder, you know, on top of being a shopaholic. With age, I have become more sensible with my purchases and possess more will to walk away from what I think is a good deal but really isn’t on second thought.

But sometimes I still succumb to impulse! I buy backups of things I love for fear of them being eternally out of stock; I buy clothes I know I won’t wear; I buy things I don’t even have time to use.

I will – hopefully – be moving into our new house soon, and don’t want to bring my whole life over. Of course, I’m not going to let my parents live with my clutter so I need to start decluttering, cleaning, and organizing! And just in case you’re wondering, decluttering IS NOT organizing. Decluttering comes first!

The benefits of decluttering are actually far more profound than just having more space to walk about – did you know that getting your stuff organized can actually do good for your body, your mind, and the world at large?

Let me share with you 5 benefits to motivate and get you started! :D

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(Trying to look happy under the scorching Penang sun. Flat hair and everything. LOL.)

 

1. Decluttering Clears Your Mind

Unless you are Magneto who has the ability to manipulate minds and magnetic force fields, chaos restricts our ability to focus. In the same way, clutter limits our brain’s ability to process information. Simply put, clutter COMPETES for our attention!

I definitely suffer from attention-seeking clutter. I feel frustrated and anxious looking at the clutter made up of stuff that is either junk, unfinished projects, or things I don’t know where else to place.

My table mess flows to my chair which flows to my floor which flows to the walkway which flows to the door which flows………….. =_=

I recently started listing some personal items on Gumtree and the process of packing things away already made me feel more liberated and lifted! Like there’s a sudden positive flow of energy surrounding me.

Besides, the ease of which I can sell my items on Gumtree makes me want to put up even MORE things to sell.

Check out my chio profile with all my listings - I love this interface!

 

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6 Activities Newlyweds Do Together For The First Time

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Newlyweds are in a cocoon of post-wedding bliss where everything feels fabulous. But besides passion and intimacy, you also need to develop friendship to sustain your marriage. That’s why they always say that after the wedding comes the real marriage!

As newlyweds, Mr Mode and I are experiencing plenty of first-times together. Living together with another person, who is both a lover and friend, has its ups and downs, and it is certainly a whole lot different than regular dating even though we’ve been together for… OMG 15 years before we got married.

Here I want to share with you 6 activities you can look forward to engaging in with your new spouse!

1. Planning The Angbao Budget

Finances have a way of wreaking havoc on even the closest bonds and good financial planning is essential for a happy family, but if you’re looking to find answers on money matters, please go elsewhere. Hahaha! There are plenty of articles online and offline that will do a better a job at explaining couple finances.

Instead, I will talk about something more interesting and that happens only once a year. 2015 is our first year giving out angbaos, having graduated from ‘Single’ to ‘Married’ status. The first form that required a tick on my marital status after I got married had me squealing in delight (in my head). Finally, ‘Married’ – tick!

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According to some traditions, newlyweds are exempted from giving out Chinese New Year angbaos during their first year of marriage. But to most people, there is sadly no such exemption. Lol.

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So this is one new thing that Mr & Mrs Mode did together for the first time! Read my Dayre for CNY 2015 highlights. Dayre is where I microblog, follow me if you haven’t already! I am super fun to read HAHAHA. (You can read it from browser, but it’s easier to download the app and read from your phone)

2. Exploring More Places Together

We haven’t found time to plan for our honeymoon, but we’ve gone on a short trip to Bangkok this year and Mr Mode has promised to bring us to two new places every month.

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‘Two’ might seem like nothing to most people, but it is a mighty feat to a person who would rather spend all his free time at a fish pond or at home.

I usually plan where to go, but recently wanted to get the husband involved in the planning of our activities. So far we’ve been tourists in our own country and some places include Punggol Stables, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Gardens by the Bay.

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Knowing that he makes the effort to do some planning makes me a very happy Mrs Mode. :)

3. Shopping For Groceries

I am living with my in-laws now and while I feel very loved and well taken care of, we do want to have a place to call our own. House renovations will start after Chinese New Year! Can’t wait to share them with you guys on my Dayre (@bunbunmakeuptips)!

Mr Mode and I have gone on a few grocery-shopping trips after we got married and it is such a wonderful feeling to ‘lose’ the other person in some aisle and then suddenly find him! Hehehe.

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First Chinese New Year As #MrMrsMode – Gardens By The Bay Flower Dome

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The number one question I get asked is “How’s married life?”.

Oh well, there are other (annoying) questions like “When are you going to have kids?” and “Have you started on family planning?”, but that’s a story for another time.

So, how’s married life?

I always thought Mr Mode made a not-too-shabby boyfriend, and despite the risk of him getting an inflated ego, I’d go ahead and declare that he makes pretty good husband material. He takes good care of me, washes the clothes, tidies the room, mops the floor… Hahaha. We still have our arguments but I think being able to see each more often than before allows us to clear any misunderstandings more quickly. Being married also makes us more accepting of each other’s shortcomings. Like, BO BIAN ALREADY. LOL!

2015 is our first year celebrating Chinese New Year together, and besides being first time angbao givers, there are so many new things to do together – one of them being visiting Gardens By The Bay! We didn’t know until we bought our tickets that there was an Asian Tales Garden Trail at the Flower Dome that runs till 8 March 2015.

It’s the Year of the Goat!

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Reminds me of the Three Billy Goats Gruff story.

Anti-Photography Husband

Mr Mode doesn’t like having his photos taken and would avoid it all costs. However, having had our pre-wedding photos (one in Taiwan, one in Singapore) and wedding day photos taken, I think he’s slightly more comfortable now. He still doesn’t like it, but he’d oblige for my sake. :)

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6 Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing Your Bridesmaids

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There are so many things to plan for a wedding, choosing your bridesmaids should be the least of your worries and a no-brainer, right? Wrong. Wait till it really happens, and you’ll understand just how not-simple it is.

Here are 6 questions you might want to ask yourself when deciding who to include in your wedding party:

1. Is she bridesmaids material?

Planning a wedding is stressful, and even with a good wedding planner, there is still a lot of pressure to make your big day as perfect as you want it to be. This is where you need all the support you can get. If you’re surrounded by a good support system within your bridal party, it can make all the difference.

One week before the wedding, I had a mental and emotional meltdown. There was still SO MUCH to be done, and due to my husband’s insane working hours and workload, I was basically handling everything myself. The stress was too much to take and I sat down on the balcony floor and started crying. More like wailing, to be honest.

Somehow, one of my bridesmaids sensed something amiss from my Whatsapp messages and called me. It was the right time coz I was done with my self-pity episode and needed some coaxing and encouragement. And who else better than one who has gone through it.

It also helps if your bridal party is super fun and creative since they will be planning your bachelorette party! :)

 

2. What are her roles & responsibilities?

She could be the most joyful and fun person to have in a party, but is she willing to work her ass off for your big day?

My girl friends are go-getters, planners, creative thinkers, doers. Together, we have achieved the most difficult of tasks with astounding results. I knew they would be capable of handling the entire wedding, but because I had a wedding planner, most of the planning was left to her. I didn’t want to make my girl friends work too hard haha. I wanted them to be more of my support system than my laborers, even though I know they’re the 赴汤蹈火在所不辞 kind of girl friends.

So if you don’t intend to get a wedding planner, will your bridesmaids be willing to take time out to help you with the planning? I have heard of bridesmaids not contributing to the planning, and even MIA on the big day. You wouldn’t want someone irresponsible to be given responsibilities, do you?

To agree to be a bridesmaids conveys a commitment to expectations of duties.

What roles do you have for your bridesmaids? Do you need them to dress shop with you? Are you decisive enough to make decisions by yourself or do you constantly need the opinions of others? What are each of them going to do on the big day, who to go where at which point in time?

For me, I didn’t need an entourage for dress-shopping, and for most things I made the decisions with the help of my planner. I really only needed a support group, and to know that if sh*t happens, they will always be there for me.

 

3. Do you REALLY want her to be your bridesmaid?

I initially thought of having 6 bridesmaids, 4 were confirmed while the other 2… I was on the fence and took a couple of MONTHS contemplating whether to include them or not.

Then I rationalized with the fact that if I even need to consider, it meant… X

Follow your heart and desires. Keep in mind that this is your day and everyone will eventually understand. Choose who you’re closest to and not out of obligation or reciprocity, but do consider the repercussions of leaving someone out especially if family is involved.

 

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Cooking With My Mother-In-Law: Steamed Herbal Chicken With Huiji Waist Tonic

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They say too many cooks spoil the broth so with me behaving like a bulldozer in a China shop in the kitchen, I stood out of the way and enthusiastically watched whatever my new mother-in-law was doing.

My sole contribution to this cooking fest was using eye power and documenting the recipe so that I may one day cook this dish on my own when Mr Mode and I have our own home.

Nothing beats home-cooked food, really. That feeling of coming home from work, and being told “dinner’s ready” is the best thing one can hear, every day. So while I am still living with my parents-in-law, let me learn all I can! :D

This Steamed Herbal Chicken with Huiji Tonic is surprisingly easy to make!

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • Half chicken
  • Sesame oil
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Ginger slices
  • Black fungus
  • Lily buds)
  • Huiji Waist Tonic

As you can see, there are absolutely no measurements for the spices and condiments coz when mothers cook and you ask them how much to put, they say ‘agak-agak’.

I tried to press it out of my mother-in-law and she finally said ‘maybe about half teaspoon for the sesame oil and pepper, one teaspoon of ginger slices’. (How to measure ginger slices in teaspoon?)

You also need to soak the dried black fungus and dried lily buds in water to soften and rehydrate them before use.

ike dried mushrooms and black fungus, you will have to soak them in water to soften and rehydrate them before use – See more at: http://www.pigpigscorner.com/2011/11/steamed-chicken-with-black-fungus-and.html#sthash.NEKpfqUW.dpuf
ike dried mushrooms and black fungus, you will have to soak them in water to soften and rehydrate them before use – See more at: http://www.pigpigscorner.com/2011/11/steamed-chicken-with-black-fungus-and.html#sthash.NEKpfqUW.dpuf

Method:

Go to the market and buy half a chicken, request to have it chopped into smaller pieces (it’s only at markets that you can do personalized requests). I learnt that if you want to cook curry chicken, you need larger pieces. For this dish, use smaller pieces.

Wash and marinate the pieces with sesame oil, pepper, salt, ginger slices, and Huiji Tonic. My mother-in-law left it for 15 minutes. Actually I think the longer the better, maybe next time I’ll try 1 hour, or even overnight as shown by some recipes online.

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Then mix in the black fungus and lily buds.

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I must confess this funny fact. I asked her what is the name of this (holding up lily bud) and she said something in Hokkien. Lol. So I wrote down ‘vegetable that is tied in a knot’. Then I Googled this whole term ‘vegetable that is tied in a knot’ and discovered that it’s called ‘lily bud’. Lily buds are also known as golden needles, which is called ‘gim zam’ (金针) in Hokkien.

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Bachelorette Party And Watermelon Soju

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While I love parties and social events, I stay away from extremities. So I only had one condition for my Bacholorette party: NOT TOO WILD. Hahaha!

I’ve never had a liking for clubs and never understood the joy people derived from drowning themselves in liquor, having to shout at the top of their voices, not being able to have meaningful and memorable conversations, dancing aimlessly and risk getting frisked by weird strangers.

I’m not judging anyone, I’m just averse to a wild night life.

Okie la, you can call me GEEK lor. LOL.

I prefer to engage in little silly games, having great conversations with people I love, and I ADORE WATERMELON SOJU. =DDD

Night @ Crowne Hotel

Crowne Hotel Changi Airport very generously invited me to hold my Bachelorette party at their hotel and gave us 2 large rooms for me and my 4 bridesmaids.

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3 of them checked in with me. OMG the lighting in this room was super awesome for photography! This room was facing the pool.

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Bizzare Dreams: Snakes, Exams, Crazy Boss

There are two types of dreams – the aspiration/ambition kind, and those you have during sleep.

I love daydreaming and believe it’s the doorway to creativity. Letting my mind wander, imagining myself to be in another time and space, it’s therapeutic escapism.

But I’d like to keep dreaming to just my waking life, that’s why it’s called DAYdream. I don’t like to NIGHTdream. I feel that dreaming is a waste of time and discounts the quality of my sleep.

Recently, I’ve been having dreams I NEVER had in my life.

Dream #1: Squeezed By A Python

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(A poorly photoshopped image of me as python prey which makes zero sense because it means I have nothing below my torso. HAHAHAHA!!!)

This post was in draft mode all these while until this crazy dream I had this morning. I saw in my dream a PYTHON in the sink of my parents’ home and it RESPONDED to the name ‘Mango’. ‘Mango’ is the name of Mr Mode’s toy poodle. =_=

Maybe I am a descendent of Slytherin and can speak Parseltongue.

We have a blue basin back home, which made the sickening colors of the python even more contrasting and intimidating.

I called it, and its slit eyes on a little menacing head popped up from within the basin.

Then I dreamt that I dreamt that the snake slid toward and wrapped itself around me in a life-threatening embrace.

(That wasn’t a typo, it’s Inception.)

My mum went to get a chopper and….. *HATAAAK!!!* suddenly I awoke.

Dream #2: Exam Stress

The last time I had an exam was 5 years ago, in 2009. At the end of the paper, I took a moment to soak in the momentary liberation, in knowing I never have to take an exam again. (Of course, there are other tests in life, but you know what I mean – the school kind of exam.)

Just 2 weeks ago, I started to have exam dreams.

One time I dreamt that I was late for an exam, another time I dreamt I had completely forgotten I had an exam, and yet another time I dreamt I could not finish my paper.

My heart was pounding, I could feel my brows furrowing, and suddenly my eyes flew open in shock.

Even though it’s a huge relief upon realization that it’s nothing (or is it?) but a fleeting dream, horrifying was the reality of my heart racing and mind under immense stress.

I woke up feeling like I didn’t sleep at all. Spent the whole night in an exam dream and woke up to reality with a head the weight of a boulder.

Dream #3: Lost My Job

One day before my encounter with the snake, I lost my job. Both dreams.

I was in an unfamiliar environment, about to enter a meeting room, and this faceless lady who supposedly was my new boss, told me in her shrill voice “Sometimes I work until 1.30AM”. She wasn’t very friendly.

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