DIY Tales: Repurposed Cabinet

The thing about being a married woman is that you tend to identify yourself with many different roles – superChef, superMom, exceptional wife slash part-time acrobat in bed – all at the same time. All good stuff, if you ask me, but you can also see how it might be challenging to ace all those roles simultaneously when you also have your corporate role and social life (or you know, the vague reality of it) to consider.

Married for two years now, with the same beautiful man I’ve been with for almost seven years to this day, I am still trying to get this wife role down. One thing I – we both – know is that we are truly blessed to have found each other.

On the home front, I have been learning how to cook and bake and Wednesday is usually when I would spend time in the kitchen after work, preparing homecooked meals which we will later on share while we talk about work, current events, finances and whatever plans we may have that beg to be discussed.  These days, our discussions mostly oscillate between having a baby, travel, kids’ education, retirement. There may or may not be some Netflix involved sometimes. And yes, wine – a healthy portion of it.

I don’t know why I’m sharing this when I’m supposed to be talking about an entirely different matter, though somewhat related, I might argue. So anyway, I’ve been going gaga lately about this home improvement type of things. I started with balcony gardening which is a great source of pride for me because I think we have one of the nicest balconies in the compound. Then I tried growing succulents indoors – an area where it seems I am no good at because I have had four of them die on my watch already and it’s truly heartbreaking. And then, there’s this thing called repurposing which I am now rather hooked on – thanks to Pinterest. In the last few days, I have been looking around the house for something I could repurpose.

Which led me to this…tadaaaah!

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From a sombre black, this cabinet is about to get repurposed into something more vibrant.


I was going through Pinterest one day when I saw this really nice repurposed cabinet painted bright red and I thought “Hey, I can do that!” So I immediately whatsapped Hubby and sent him a screen capture of the cabinet and told him I want to do the same with one of our cabinets. I may or may not have threatened him into submission, but it doesn’t matter because he replied with an exuberant “I’m in support!” message. Husbands are just so great, aren’t they?

First step was to get all the paint materials and getting the cabinet prepped for base coating. Meaning, since the original colour was black, I needed to paint it white in order for the ‘fire engine red’ colour to stick.

Step 1: Apply the base coat evenly.

Step 1: Apply the base coat evenly.

I applied three coats of the primer and left it to dry overnight. The following evening, after work, I proceeded to apply the first coat of Nippon ‘fire engine red’ paint and again, left it overnight to dry. On the third night, I applied coat number two and voila, it looked just about as fiery to me as ‘fire engine red’ could ever be. The only thing I was not very happy about was  the visible paint pattern/mark, clearly showing my lack of experience in handling a paint roller/brush. But never mind, I still think I pulled off a decent job repurposing an old cabinet. What do you think?

Imperfectly rouge. perfectly charming.

Imperfectly rouge. perfectly charming.

Now that I’m done with repurposed item number one, I am already thinking two steps ahead planning to buy one of those portable sewing gadgets, so I can rip apart old clothes and try to repurpose them into another piece of clothing or accessory. The operative word being ‘try’…so help me God.:)

‘Til then…



Fermented Foods For Good Health

If 2014 is the year of gluten-free (some may call it ‘fad’) diet, 2015 will be the year of fermented foods, according to an article by Phil Lempert discussing next year’s food trends. Meaning, most fermented foods that we already know such as yogurt and sauerkraut are about to get more attention and most likely appear on our dining tables more often. Fermented foods contain live or active cultures that are considered effective bacteria-boosting agents.

Not to undermine the health benefits of farm-to-table foods, but these fermented foods with their pungent probiotic ingredients have been proven to boost the good bacteria in our digestive tract, which can help correct and prevent digestive issues, promote weight loss, improve skin conditions, and boost overall immune system.

Here are some traditional fermented foods you should incorporate in your daily meals to give the good bacteria in your digestive system a lovely boost. Keep in mind that as in all things good, you must only enjoy these fermented foods in moderation, with one or two meals a day.

Homemade Yoghurt with strawberries (from Pinterest)

Homemade Yoghurt with strawberries (from Pinterest)

Yoghurt. Greek and regular yogurt are the most common fermented yogurt, but you can also make your own. Try this delicious home-made coconut yoghurt and get all the beneficial bacteria your body needs to strengthen your gut health and improve your immunity.


Sauerkraut. Also known as fermented cabbage, sauerkraut is said to have positive impact on good digestion as well as, brain health. According to Dr. Drew Ramsey, M.D., author of The Happiness Diet and 50 Shades of Kale, there “exists a correlation between gut and brain health”. You can either buy sauerkraut from the supermarket or make your own. Here’s an easy home-made sauerkraut recipe.

Miso Soup goodness

Miso. Here’s something that miso soup lovers probably already know: The paste made from fermented soybeans and grains is packed with essential minerals including potassium and also microorganisms that promote good health and stamina. And it’s also pretty easy to make! Simply add a small portion of miso paste to boiling water together with spring onions and bok choy.


Kimchi. Considered a staple in Korea, kimchi is a spicy dish that is made typically from fermented cabbage and is regarded as a beauty food and an energy-booster. Why? Because as you improve your digestion, you will notice a significant improvement in your skin as well.

Wine and Beer

Wine & Beer. Now this is probably where most of us are getting our fermented food quota. Go ahead, no one’s judging. Just keep in mind that the ideal quantity is just a glass and anything beyond that may bring your body more harm than good.

Five Things to Consider When Going On a Holiday

Wouldn't you want to just lose yourself in THIS magnificence?

Wouldn’t you want to just lose yourself in THIS magnificence?

Going away on a holiday is a necessity for most of us who are deeply entrenched in the brutal corporate and (even) domestic jungles, primarily to relax and recharge our batteries, to get lost in the moment and rediscover our fun self (remember that time when you used to be fun?), meet new romantic partners or recapture excitement with current beau, or perhaps to disengage ourselves away from the maddening demands of our daily lives. Also, going on a holiday takes us to that state of natural mindfulness, where we pay complete attention to our life experiences and evaluate them with a fresh pair of eyes as we try to look to the future.

But now that we are bombarded by travel options, it becomes increasingly important to make wise travel decisions without having to kill the thrill of spontaneity and intoxicating randomness, in order for us to fully maximize the perks of our trip. Consider these tips when planning your next travel adventure:

  1. Traveling on a budget is NOT (always) synonymous to bad travel experience, and it shouldn’t be. What it does is simply help you manage your resources efficiently and encourage you to experience some aspects of traveling without having to go expensive all the time.
  2. Be an explorer! Now is your chance to absorb all the colors, sights, sounds, tastes and emotions your body can contain, so don’t waste it by being cooped-up in your hotel room the whole day. If in a safe neighborhood, you can take a walk, rent a bike, or run at your own pace. This is also a good way for you to keep fit while on vacation. Go out there and live life like you mean it!
  3. Direct your own travel documentary. Capture moments and places as much and as often as you can. These will give you enough materials to create your own travel videos which you can revisit each time you feel the need to escape but just can’t.
  4. Make one or two friends for each day of your trip and by that I mean, make it your mission to know more than just their name and what sort of work they do. Have engaging conversations on books, movies, sports and of course, your travel adventures.
  5. Be a student – learn. Discover more about the place, its history and culture, and the people, by watching, observing, listening, and asking questions. Make each travel an enriching experience for you and you will be surprised by the great number of things you will soon learn about yourself.

REVIEW: Singapore School of Meditation and Yoga (SSMY)

But first, something we all need to know from the get-go: Yoga is NOT a religion.

What it does is to promote certain steps for guidance in leading a meaningful life here on earth. Stuff like moral discipline, self-discipline and meditation are taught and practised in traditional yoga, but there are no religious obligations (like attending services) attached to it. Some even do it purely out of fitness pursuit and that’s okay, nobody’s hating on anybody, because that is simply un-yoga-like.

Like me, for example. I have been practicing yoga on and off for about a year or so and to be honest, I do it mostly for the asanas. I have not fully embraced the yoga way of life because my self-discipline is still far from the level that it’s supposed to be at, for me to be able to truly live the yogi life. But I know one day it will come.

I like yoga because each practice gives me a more positive outlook on life and if you know me, you would know that I sometimes have the predilection to be too pessimistic about certain situations, people included. It also allows me to be stronger and more flexible, not just physically but also mentally. In fact, I like yoga so much that I am planning on taking a yoga teaching course sometime next year. Hopefully, after I pop one out.:)

Fast forward to Saturday night, when Hubs and I attended the opening of Singapore School of Meditation and Yoga located at Tras Street in Singapore. At the event, invited guests were treated to a one-hour session of group meditation, followed by another hour of Vinyasa. Both sessions were led by SSMY Founder Japadas Bismark, whose entire life is a living testimony to the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga.

Embrace yoga beyond the asanas.

Embrace yoga beyond the asanas.

The Singapore School of Meditation & Yoga is dedicated to improving the well-being of every individuals through its teaching of Bhakti yoga. Like most people who are not as knowledgeable about yoga and its origins and teachings, I turned to Google and this is what I found: (
Yoga is actually represented as four “ways.” The way of harmony, or Raja Yoga (of which hatha is one), is the physical component. The way of unity is known as Jnana Yoga (the intellectual approach to yoga). Bhakti Yoga is the way of devotion (the religious orientation). Karma Yoga is the journey of works (the path of cause and effect). They each fit different yoga practitioner’s temperaments and form much of the comprehensiveness of yoga.
According to Japadas, SSMY’s purpose is to reinstitute the real meaning and purpose of yoga and mantra meditation by imparting to the community the true ancient knowledge and practices of yoga and mantra meditation that have been handed down through generations of bonafide gurus. So for people who are looking to deepen their appreciation and practice of yoga, beyond the asanas, SSMY is where you will find solace after a gruelling day at work or at home.
SSMY, from an aesthetic point of view, has been designed to really showcase the serenity and peace of the senses that one hopes to achieve during practice. It may be small in space but it does pack a lot of positive energy, clearly evident in the pristine white walls, the cushions on the floor of the small receiving area before it opens to the asana room with a floor-to-ceiling mirror on one side and big beautiful windows typical of traditional shophouses, and the custom-made yoga mats and yoga blocks for the students’ use. The asana area can accommodate up to 12 people.
The SSMY asana room

The SSMY asana room

Hubs and I practicing yoga together.

Hubs and I practicing yoga together.

Meanwhile, the meditation room located upstairs was designed differently from the asana area. Up here, the mood is more soothing and tranquil with less noise piercing through the walls and windows. The meditation room can accommodate a maximum of 15 people, all seating comfortably on plush cushions placed on the carpeted floor.
The SSMY meditation room

The SSMY meditation room

The studio also comes equipped with lockers and changing rooms and a nice clean toilet for everyone’s convenience.
The Singapore School of Meditation is offering free meditation classes on Mondays at 7pm beginning on the 17th of November. Meanwhile, the asana classes are available every morning for now but will accommodate evening classes soon enough. Founder Japadas’ vision is for SSMY to launch yoga retreats outside of Singapore beginning 2015. For the full schedule and other queries, you may visit SSMY’s Facebook fanpage.


Australia consistently ranks high on the list of countries offering the quality of life many countries can only dream about. And why not? With its massive land area (sixth in the world), amazing beaches and reefs, forests, fantastic four-season weather, diverse wildlife, multicultural melting pot cities populated with beautiful people, there’s very little that this country can possibly want.

So when we visited Australia for the first time last July, we came with expectations set so high and came back with the satisfaction that they were all met, surpassed even. I love Australia – SO MUCH that I sometimes still dream about our trip and how we could have stayed a while longer and visited more places. I’m pretty certain there will be more time for that in the near offing, and most likely with the little tyke in tow. However, for now, here’s a list of our Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sydney travel highlights:

  1. Took the Brisbane River Cruise – From our hotel in downtown Brissy, we walked towards Brisbane River and hopped on one of the river cruise boats. It’s a fun way of discovering the history of the river and admiring some of Brisbane’s most iconic sights (Kangaroo Point Cliffs, City Centre, Brisbane Wheel, etc) for only AUD 25 per person.

    The Brisbane Eye, one of Brisbane's iconic landmarks

    The Brisbane Eye, one of Brisbane’s iconic landmarks

  2. Visited Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – If I can only have one Aussie travel highlight – but we all know that’s impossible because, hey, it’s Australia! – this would be it. Only one of the very few places now where you can still cuddle a koala (for a fee, of course), Lone Pine Koala Sactuary is located about 13kms from Brisbane CDB. The zoo is quite company so it’s very easy to move around and they don’t only have koalas here but also other animals such as kangaroos, Tasmanian devil, few bird species, fish, and reptiles. 

    Cuddled a koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane

    Cuddled a koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane

  3. Breakfast at Coolangatta Beach – Located at the Gold Coast side of Australia, Coolangatta is a beautiful stretch of white sand beach and gorgeous blue water that retains its precious charm even during winter. We had a typical Aussie breakfast of bacon, eggs, bread and coffee by the beach, which was made more fun by the frequent sighting of hot surfers about to hit the waves. After breakfast, we took a nice, long walk along the beach and took some very nice photos as well.

    Coolangatta Beach, pretty even during winter

    Coolangatta Beach, pretty even during winter

  4. Climbed the Gold Coast Skypoint and marvelled at the precious 360-degree view of Gold Coast below. You can’t make up a sight like this. 

    Gorgeous 360-degree view of Gold Coast from the Skypoint in Broadbeach

    Gorgeous 360-degree view of Gold Coast from the Skypoint in Broadbeach

  5. Explored Surfers Paradise – Another one of Australia’s amazing beaches and a lot more crowded than Coolangatta. It was a sunny winter day so there were plenty of people milling around. Took a stroll down Soul Boardwalk and dined at Vapiano, a great Italian restaurant.  Watch out for the hot cops patrolling the area and snap photos with them if you can.

    Welcome to Surfer's Paradise!

    Welcome to Surfer’s Paradise!

  6. Ran the Gold Coast Airport (Half) Marathon…on a cold winter day and nearly paid for it with dear life. First a disclaimer: I am a tropical baby through and through, and by that I mean I cannot stand cold weather temperature. I was pretty sure I would collapse during the run but I managed to pull myself together and complete the half-marathon, though off-mark by several minutes.

    I survived, yey!

    I survived, yey!

  7. Took a stroll up and down Darling Harbour – Officially one of my favourite places in Sydney, Darling Harbour is lined with restaurants and cafés, including the famous Lindt Café. It’s gorgeous at daytime with all the boats, ferries and water taxis docked along the wharf and even prettier at night with the cacophony of lights and sounds emanating from the fancy establishments.

    Darling Harbour, Sydney

    Darling Harbour, Sydney

  8. Got lost in Manly and Bondi Beach – Thanks to lovely friends who took me around Sydney while Hubby was working, I was able to visit the iconic Bondi and Manly beaches. And because it was winter, we have enough space to walk around and get some suntan mesh going. Love, love, love Bondi and I wish to be back there on summertime. Special mention to Inez, Johanna, Zoe and Liza – thank you so much for the lovely company during my short stay in Sydney. Hope to see you all again soon!

    Beautiful Bondi Beach

    Beautiful Bondi Beach

  9. Took a photo in front of the famous Harry’s Pies – I’ve been told that Hollywood stars and Australian celebrities frequent this little roadside café on wheels, which is now considered an institution in Sydney. It’s a pity that we were still full from all the fish and chips that we’ve eaten the whole day so I didn’t get to try the famous pies. Next time!

    Hello from Harry's Pies!

    Hello from Harry’s Pies!

  10. Went up the Sydney Eye Tower  Just before we took our flight back to Singapore, we crammed a visit to the tower and Madame Tussaud’s in about 4 hours. The Sydney Eye Tower offers an unobstructed view of Sydney and its iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

    Spectacular view of Sydney from the Sydney Eye Tower

    Spectacular view of Sydney from the Sydney Eye Tower

  11. Took a photo of the Sydney Opera House – Because I’m a tourist and this is what tourists do!

    THE Sydney Opera House

    THE Sydney Opera House

  12. Visited Madame Tussaud’s – Another great first-time experience for me. If you’ve ever been to one, then you would know that they make them almost real-looking, it’s beyond amazing!

    You have reached the White House...

    You have reached the White House…

What are your favourite things about Australia?

TRAVEL: Nine Things To Do In ABU DHABI

Everything I thought I knew about Abu Dhabi turned out to be completely wrong. Well, not entirely everything. Abu Dhabi is scorching hot (weather/temperature-wise) and extremely wealthy (money-wise). Apart from those two things, I didn’t really know any better until I set foot in the city itself and stayed for all of three days with our very gracious hosts, Mamoun and Chemsih.

But let’s back up a little. I was in the UAE sometime in September for a company event in Dubai, followed by a junket trip to this luxurious resort spa called Anantara Desert Islands Resort at Sir Bani Yas island. It being my first trip to the UAE (there were two travels to certain parts of Africa years ago that had me staying at the Dubai Airport for a few hours’ worth of layover, that was it, which hardly qualifies as visit) and knowing for certain that a second visit is probably not going to happen so soon, we planned for Hubby to travel to Abu Dhabi so we can explore the city together, even for just a few days.

Abu Dhabi is ahhh-may-zing! Forget that it’s often referred to as the shy and conservative, plain Jane sister of the more flamboyant Dubai, Abu Dhabi is finally coming to its own and the city is beginning to show more of its innate beauty – and is making no apologies for it! Though we only had two full days, we count ourselves lucky to have been in the great company of our hosts who really took time out of their own schedule to show us around. Merci beaucoup les amis!

And what makes Abu Dhabi special? Here are nine wildly fantastic experiences I will not soon forget:

  1. Anantara Desert Islands Resort — Anantara Resort and Spa at Sir Bani Yas Island is one of those places that, once experienced, will tease and taunt you for the rest of your life. Knowing that this luxurious resort sits on top of an arid desert makes it even more impressive. Everything about this place is luxurious, beautiful and elegant. I was lucky to have been assigned a room overlooking the gorgeous  infinity pool and the incredible turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf. Anantara offers a ton of activities for their guests to choose from and my favourite was the early morning wildlife safari ride where you get to see animals roaming freely on this section of the island. Arabian oryxes, giraffes, cheetahs, different bird species, and horses are only some of the animals we’ve seen during our two-hour safari drive.

    Fantastic view of the Arabian Gulf at the luxurious Anantara Desert Island Resort

    Fantastic view of the Arabian Gulf at the luxurious Anantara Desert Island Resort

  2. Make a pitstop at Ferrari World — A dream destination for petrolheads and especially, the rabid fans of the prancing horse, Ferrari World is the biggest indoor theme park in the world. Visitors can take their pick from rides, restaurants, shops, and some sort of Ferrari museum which this large establishment houses. Formula Rossa, said to be the world’s fastest roller coaster, is their most popular ride, which sadly, I did not get to experience because I just hate, hate, HATE roller coasters. And I’m pretty sure they hate me right back.

    Welcome to the world's biggest indoor theme park!

    Welcome to the world’s biggest indoor theme park!

  3. Go sky-high at Ray’s Bar — Whether or not you consider yourself a party animal, a visit to Ray’s Bar should be on your list when visiting Abu Dhabi. Located at the 62nd floor of the towering Etihad Tower, Ray’s Bar is so stylish and chic that it’s so easy to see why all the beautiful and loaded people love to converge here. With its prime location, Ray’s Bar gives you the best view in Abu Dhabi.  Looking down on The Corniche and the Emirates Palace was an exceedingly breathtaking experience for me. I was mesmerised by the pretty lights pulsating from the establishments below, while having a sip of Cabernet.
  4. Get seriously carnivorous at Chamas — Chamas is not for the fainthearted. For someone like me who only eats fish, chicken, and occasionally pork, the whole experience was both daunting and provocative at the same time. But  for those with an insatiable appetite for meat of all types, cuts, and manner of cooking, Chamas will definitely hold a massive appeal. After our big carnivorous meal, accompanied by live salsa band, we headed across to the Yacht Club for our cocktail fix.
  5. Sun-worshipping at Saadiyat Public Beach — Now ranking high on my list of favourite beaches in the world, Saadiyat captivated me with its beautiful white sand and gorgeous blue water that is almost similar in hue and temperature with Maldives. Despite being a public beach, Saadiyat is kept very clean and you only pay a small fee, if you want to use the umbrella and beach chair. Don’t forget to bring and coat yourself with the strongest sunblock in your arsenal as the sun can get pretty nasty here – and pretty much anywhere in the region.
    Cocktails for lunch at Park Hyatt  Saadiyat. Thank you Mamoun and Chemsih for the wonderful Abu Dhabi experience!

    Cocktails for lunch at Park Hyatt Saadiyat. Thank you Mamoun and Chemsih for the wonderful Abu Dhabi experience!

    Just gorgeous.

    Just gorgeous.

  6. High Tea at Shakespeare and Co. — Located at The Collection, right across the luxurious St. Regis Hotel in Saadiyat, Shakespeare & Co. is a great place to hangout at, especially if you are looking to cool-off a bit, after a day spent suntanning at the nearby beach. The restaurant itself has been designed beautifully with very colourful interior and exterior decor; food is great and they come in bigger-than-average portion.

    Happy place in Saadiyat.

    Happy place in Saadiyat.

    7.  Take a stroll at The Corniche — If it weren’t extremely hot outside, I would’ve loved to walk the whole stretch of The                  Corniche and back. I did, however, manage to walk close to 2kms – just long enough to see a nice section of the beach              and some cafés dotting a portion of the shoreline. I saw some runners and cyclists plying the Corniche in the late                        afternoon on our way back from the Saadiyat Beach, and I‘ve been told that they have some yoga sessions on certain                days, so there’s definitely something for every fit Tom, Dick and Harriett.

8.  Visit Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque — The first thing that struck me as we were walking along the elegant hallways of the            Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque was the sheer serenity of the place. There is so much beauty and peace inside and outside              of the mosque that one can’t help but fall in love with it, regardless of religion. While everything is pristine white outside,            the interior of the mosque shows a stark contrast with the cacophony of bright and glittering colours of the gigantic                    chandeliers incorporating millions of Swarovski crystals. The columns inside the main prayer hall with mother or pearl                inlays also look very beautiful. Truly, it’s not called the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque for nothing.

C'est magnifique!

C’est magnifique!

      9.  Shisha at the Souk — Any trip to the Middle East is incomplete without the shisha experience and we had our fix a few              times in Abu Dhabi and Dubai as well. On our last night in Abu Dhabi, our hosts took us to the shisha bar on the rooftop            of the downtown souk. Don’t expect much from the view because there isn’t any, save for the buildings surrounding the            area, but it’s still a worthwhile experience especially when shared with good people.

What are your best memories of Abu Dhabi?