Thursday, November 20, 2014

Exploring Spain: A Photo Collective + Getting Wifi Service in Spain


Hola amigos!

I am back from Spain and missing my holiday terribly right now! It was an amazing 2.5 weeks in Spain, and I experienced and saw so much, first singing with the SYC Ensemble Singers, and then travelling with my wonderful girlfriends. If you've been following me on Instagram and Dayre, I've been updating regularly on those platforms even while I was abroad! In the eighteen days that we were in Spain, I got to visit and explore so many different cities: Bilbao, Tolosa, Hondarribia, Pamplona, Barcelona and Granada!

I fully intend to do up a few posts on my travelogues in Spain, especially the tourist hotspots like Barcelona and Granada. Some readers have emailed me to ask for recommendations and advice, and I'd be happy to share if you have any inquiries! But first, let me share some of my favourite photos that I posted on Instagram, as well as why I was able to stay connected to social media during my entire trip! 

(Note: This is not an ad! I thought it would be good to share because not many people may know of this service!)

Woon, Fish and I on our first day in Bilbao!

Off-shoulder Striped Top and Brittany Trench Skirt both from The Velvet Dolls!

Amazing view from Old Town, Casco Viejo in Bilbao

Pintxos are like tapas, but only found mostly in the Basque Country.
Cobbled pavements of narrow streets with quaint colorful buildings. Dressed in The Velvet Dolls upcoming lattice top!

The main portal of Catedral de Santiago, one of the most beautiful churches across Spain constructed in Neo-Gothic style dating back to the 12th century, and the oldest building in Bilbao.

Dressed in The Velvet Dolls upcoming striped cropped top and skater skirt

One of the beautiful churches the SYC Ensemble Singers performed in. We sang in five different towns on different nights!

In the Castle of Olite. Beautiful fall colours in the Queen's Garden.

Another shot of Old Town, Casco Viejo in Bilbao.

Loving my pretty BONIA bag!

The first taste of paella during our trip and it was just AMAZING! I miss it so much.

Enjoying a cuppa in the pretty city of Pamplona, where the bullfights and bull run are held every year.

The famous La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.

We stayed in a cave house in Sacramonte, Granada!

Beautiful view of Granada from La Alhambra.

CHURROS!

We found a pretty good churreria in Barcelona! Share soon!


Inside the magnificent Sagrada Familia

On the streets of Barcelona. My coat is from Dorothy Perkins and it was so good to have on this trip!

Antonio Gaudi's master piece, I love these columns in the Sagrada Familia

We took a hike on the Sierra Nevada and the view was INCREDIBLE!

As well as stayed in a cosy little wooden lodge on the mountains..

That overlooked THIS view.

A picturesque sunset on the mountains


That left me in awe.

We also took a day trip out to Montserrat from Barcelona!

More upcoming The Velvet Dolls pieces, and I carried this bag from BONIA so much because it was so handy!

We even spent some time in Frankfurt, Germany, on our stop-over. What a beautiful place!
I posted all these photos on Instagram and Dayre thanks to Wifivox, that offers rental of a portable 3G mobile device that allows you to have wireless internet access practically anywhere in Spain! (The only areas I didn't get wifi was while hiking on the mountains in Sierra Nevada, and in places without reception like inside my cave apartment)

It allows connectivity of up to 5 devices if I'm not mistaken, and if you're sharing the cost amongst a few people, it is SO much cheaper than data roaming ($15 a day for M1, and I'm not even sure if data-roaming service is available in Spain). The wifi was really quick and I used it with ease. It was such a great idea to rent this!

Wifivox device rental costs just 6.99 euros a day, which is less than $12 in SGD! 

The Wifivox device looks like this and is chargeable with a micro-USB cable. Battery lifespan is around 8-10 hours, so I highly recommend carrying out a fully charged battery juice pack cos you might need to revive this on days that you're out and running for more than 8 hours, which was almost everyday for us.

Best part for me is that you can rent this from Wifivox online, and it is delivered to your accommodation in Spain, and provided with a return envelope that allows you to drop it off at any mailbox or designated drop-off points (We dropped it off at the airport before we left). Super convenient!! This was really a life-saver for me hahaha.

Remember to rent your Wifivox device a few days before your trip so that you can just pick it up from the reception or concierge! 

Hoping to share more about some of my favourite sights in Spain very soon, so please stay tuned!

xoxo


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Monday, November 10, 2014

Don't let Menstrual Cramps steal your days!


I love being a girl! Dressing up, makeup, all things girly and feminine included.

But like all the other ladies, I dread that time of the month and I particularly detest it when my period coincides with important dates, events or worse, travel dates. Apart from the inconvenience and trouble, bad menstrual cramps are seriously the worst :(

I'm sure most ladies have experienced them before, cramps that are so painful that you feel horrible and just want to curl up in bed and cry. It can be so debilitating that your school, work or social life is affected, and worst of all, this cycle happens every single month, for the rest of your life! Just to think about the pain and suffering every 28 days of your life.. It's a pretty bleak thought.

I was privileged to attend a very informative workshop a couple weeks ago and I learned a lot of tricks to dealing with menstrual cramps, which I'm gonna share with you girls too!

Don't Let Menstrual Cramps Steal Your Days!
When it comes to menstrual cramps, you don't have to suffer in silence, really! There's a ton of tips/remedies to help with easing bad cramps, so read on!

Heat
This never fails to make me feel better. Applying a little bit of heat to the stomach can actually help ease menstrual pain.Try a heat patch or resting a hot water bottle on the stomach!

Exercise
I did a bit of research and it seems that light exercise, especially stretching exercises such as Yoga is actually helpful towards easing menstrual cramps! And it's even better too if you exercise regularly all the time and stay active!

A warm shower
Similar to applying heat on the tummy, I always take a comforting warm shower which helps to relax my body and takes away some of the discomfort.

Over-the-counter pain relievers
There's over-the-counter medication available for pain relief, which may help with mild menstrual cramps.

See your doctor
If you have very severe menstrual cramps which aren't helped by the above, the most effective thing to do is to consult your doctor for more options! A doctor can prescribe you stronger medication to help pain relief, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). However, these drugs may be associated with gastric side effects and have to be taken 2-3 times a day for effective pain relief.

Not sure if you've heard of Arcoxia, but I have had recommendations to try this particular pain relief medication which works just like NSAIDS but with lower risk of gastric side effects! It only has to be taken once a day but Dr Fong mentioned that you will need to see your doctor for this medication.

I also know of people who take birth control pills because they regulate your hormones and thus help to reduce period cramps.


Most importantly, do know that you don't have to suffer every month! You can be empowered to take control of your menstrual cramps with the above tips and information. 


During our session, we were given a talk by Dr Fong Yoke Fai, who's a Senior Consultant and Head of Benign Gynecology at National University Hospital, Singapore.

It's scary, but we learnt that painful menstrual cramps can be caused by a condition called Endometriosis, which occurs in ONE in every TEN women!

Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrium (inner membrane of the uterus) is found in areas outside the uterus, usually within the pelvis.

It is not a cancer or STD, but may be genetically linked. Some common symptoms are:
-Painful and/or heavy periods
-Painful intercourse
-Infertility
-Pelvic pain not related to menses

However, you could even be totally symptom-free because symptoms and disease severity do not go hand in hand. Which makes Endometriosis even more scary :(

The great news is that the earlier this condition is detected, the better it can be treated. There's many different ways to treat Endometriosis, ranging from medicines to implants/injections and lastly surgery for more serious cases. Treatment can help to relieve your symptoms and improve fertility, as well as improve your quality of life!

If you are experiencing severe menstrual cramps, I strongly urge you to see a doctor and get checked out, instead of just suffering in silence and brushing it off by thinking that this is something that's perfectly normal. It could very well be Endometriosis that's affecting you and keeping you from enjoying a higher quality of life.



Here's the lovely ladies who attended this informative talk with me! We really learned a lot from Dr Fong, who was very helpful and willing to share.

Dr Fong is also heading an initiative at NUH: EndometriosisAwareness Campaign, Singapore which is dedicated to growing a community of support and hope for women who suffer from Endometriosis and also to spread the word about this condition so that more women can be detected for this condition earlier and allow a better quality of life!

I'm all for supporting the EndometriosisAwareness Campaign because I think everyone should be better educated in our current age of information and technology. Noone should be suffering in silence due to ignorance, especially when this condition affects one in every ten women of reproductive age. 

You should follow EndometriosisAwareness Campaign's Facebook page too to learn more about the condition and to help awareness!


Cheers to a better quality of life every single day, and remember not to let menstrual cramps steal your days!

xoxo


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Friday, November 7, 2014

My Perfect Duo: Estée Lauder Micro Essence and Advanced Night Repair

Time has been flying by, and in just two months time, I am going to be no longer a single woman, but will be leaving my life as a singleton behind me, and cleaving to the most important man in my life, my husband.

Now that we're in the final lap of wedding preparation, I have never more fully appreciated what it means to be half of a duo, but that's what YZ and I are, two individual people who have come together to be joined as one. How did we even end up together? Let me share with you my modest love story in this video below.



The past seven years has been an amazing journey of growth and exploration together, and even til today, it never fails to amaze me how it seems that this man is just meant for me. We first discovered this synergy in our interaction: I was the reserved one, but he was the one to take the initiative, and allowed me to open up to him and to cast aside all of my insecurities and fears of being in a relationship. 

Music is something that is so close to my heart, and it is just incredible how we discovered that each other's voices melded together so well in song, and I can say with conviction that I know that there will never be another voice that complements mine so well, and vice versa. Some people call us "the singing couple", hahaha. I can't imagine my life now without a partner that loves singing together with me! For the two of us, singing together is a joy and pleasure we share with no one else. It's like making magic out of two separate ingredients, combining to create a greater whole. 

People say that we look alike too!
We might not be perfect individuals, but together, we're like the Perfect Duo.

I've been trying to be as religious as I can about keeping my skin healthy in preparation for our big day, and I'm so glad to have discovered the Perfect Duo that's been doing wonders for me!

Introducing the Perfect Duo: Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair and Micro Essence!
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I've always been a huge fan of Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair because it is one of the best repair serums that I've used, and it's a must-have, especially in my travel kit, because it keeps my skin healthy and youthful even in dry foreign climates that tend to wreck havoc on my skin.

Now, I've discovered yet another star product that perfectly complements the Advanced Night Repair for faster and better synergistic repair, and that's the Estee Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion!

I thought that the Advanced Night Repair was fantastic on its own, but when used in conjunction with the Micro Essence, the results are even better! These two complementary formulas work together to deliver moisture and exceptional results to repair our skin, penetrating the skin faster and deeper and leading to increased moisture and faster moisture barrier recovery than using either one alone.

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Estee Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion is actually a high-performance "essence-in-lotion" that can go deeper to repair and strength skin, to repair micro damages before it turns into future skin problems. It transforms skin layer by layer from within that can easily visualise the beautiful skin as strengthened/hydrated/translucent.

It helps to preempt skin vulnerability through a 3-pronged Micro Repair power to repair, rejuvenate and strengthen.

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Micro Essence is developed, tested and proven for Asian skin to give you a youthful, angelic glow!

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How to use Estee Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion:  It should be applied as the first step right after cleansing every morning and evening! Application can be done with a cotton pad, or with your hands. I personally prefer using my hands because I find that there's less product wastage and better absorption!

With a cotton pad: Gently glide saturated cotton pad over face, from the center out. Start at chin and move upwards to cheeks and forehead. Do not apply pressure during application.

With your hands: Pour 5 or 6 drops of Micro Essence in hand and rub hands together. Gently press the Micro Essence into skin from the center out. Start at chin and move upwards to cheeks and forehead.Rub hands together to warm, and then gently wrap face using warm hands to complete application.

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Texture-wise, Estee Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion is watery and light-weight, which I love! It gets absorbed quickly into my skin and leaves my skin feeling supple, hydrated and soothed. For my combination/dry skin, it does wonders!

Of course, I follow up with my favourite Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair at night, and together, the duo is just amazing!

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I love how Advanced Night Repair feels on my skin too! The texture's slightly viscous, but feels extremely comfortable on the skin and absorbs well. My skin always feels plump and hydrated after application.

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The combination of these two products really help so much to keep my skin youthful and rejuvenated!

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Right after touch-down at Bilbao airport when I arrived in Spain. I even used Micro Essence and Advanced Night Repair on the plane, and I swear it helped so much to keep my skin soothed and moisturised even through fourteen hours of flight time!

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Love this Perfect Duo!

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And I can't wait for the big day to finally arrive! I'm so looking forward to life together with my other half, creating a lifetime of happiness as a duo. One song, one voice.

xoxo


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