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…



TOTAL FITNESS: Why LOVE is good for your health

NOTE: Published in this month’s TOTAL FITNESS Magazine. Grab a copy today!


Love, it seems, has immense therapeutic potential that inspires professionals to continue exploring ways in which to channel its benefits in promoting good health, longevity, and a fulfilled life. Where there is love, intimacy cannot be too far behind. And these two, put together, often bring healing, joy, and meaning to human lives.

1.  Being in a healthy relationship keeps you fit. Literally.

But before that, a caveat: Just because you consider yourself (finally) off-the-market on account of a relationship, it doesn’t mean that you have earned the right to let go as some men/women tend to do. Being in a healthy relationship means looking after each other’s needs and in doses that are non-detrimental. Keeping it to the physical aspect of romantic relationship: Did you know that the simple act of kissing can burn up to 28 calories, while up to 30 minutes of sexual activity can burn 85 calories – the equivalent of a small glass of red wine. This might not sound like much but a vigorous session can burn up to 200 calories, which is about the same as running for 15 minutes. Sex also works the core muscles in your legs, pelvis, bottom and abdomen and can boost levels of testosterone, which leads to stronger bones and muscles. So, next time you feel like opening that bag of Cheetos, grab your beau instead.

2.  Love is a potent stress-buster

Relationships – and especially marriages – might traditionally be seen as sources of stress but supportive, long-term relationship brings mental health and physical health benefits to both the man and the woman.  To prove this point, a study published recently by researchers at the University of Chicago found that men and women in happy relationships or marriage had lower levels of stress hormone cortisol in their bodies, indicating they had reacted less to the stress. In addition, happy and fulfilling relationships have also been linked to improvements in mental and physical health and longer life expectancy.

3.  Healthy relationships promote better immune system and can help reduce pain

It has been found that optimism and positive attitude boost immunity and people who are in love and cared for in return are naturally optimistic. Going further, some studies indicate that having (safe) sex once or twice a week lead to higher levels of an infection-fighting antibody called immunoglobulin A, or IgA. Having physical contact with another person, whether kissing, cuddling or having sex, promotes the release of the hormone called oxytocin – dubbed the “love hormone”. Aside from its relaxing effect on the body, oxytocin can also reduce anxiety and help numb pain by releasing endorphins.  To demonstrate this, scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine, launched a trial whereby patients suffering from chronic headaches were given a dose of oxytocin in the form of a nasal spray. Around half of the patients administered oxytocin said their headache pain had been reduced by half and a further 27% reported no pain after four hours.

4.  Healthy sexual relationships promote longevity

On the subject of longevity, many scientists believe that good sex and orgasm may be linked to higher life expectancy. In 1997 British Medical Journal, there was a study published which reported that men who had at least two orgasms a week had less than half the risk of dying from various causes over 10 years of follow-up than those with a lower frequency of orgasm. Meanwhile, other studies have suggested that sexual dissatisfaction is a predictor of the onset of cardiovascular disease.

5.  Love and marriage alleviate depression

It’s quite common to hear people complain about their significant others driving them crazy on many occasions, but what most people don’t know is that companionship actually tends to be good for mental health—especially for women. This is particularly true when it comes to depression, which is roughly twice as common in women. According to experts, depression is a very female expression of psychological distress and the benefit of marriage shows up in women in lower levels of depression. Marriage also appears to be a stabilizing force in women with bipolar disorder. Married bipolar women have fewer and milder depressive episodes than their never-married counterparts, but the same trend is somehow absent in bipolar men.

6. Financial Stability and insurance

Believe it or not, married people are more financially stable than their single counterparts.  By recognizing the fact that they now form part of a partnership, couples tend to become more conscious of their expenses, savings, and the pursuit of a comprehensive insurance for their family in the future. While worrying less about money certainly helps reduce stress and anxiety, financial stability also impacts health in a more concrete way, via access to health care. Marriage is associated with a hearty increase in the likelihood of having health insurance for both parties.

So, are love, relationship, and marriage good for your health? In general, as research and studies suggest, YES. People who are in happy and fulfilling relationships tend to live longer, have better access to insurance and health care, enjoy a more satisfying and exciting sex life, experience less stress, live a healthier lifestyle, and have lower rates of serious illnesses and depression compared to their single counterparts. Now, if you happen to be in a relationship and you don’t see or feel any of these, then it’s time to evaluate the situation and work on changing the course.


Be Dateable.

Note: As published in this month’s (April 2012) issue of Total Fitness Magazine. Grab a copy today!


Dating is a tricky business. Yes, it can be fun – which can also translate into a lot of calories ingested in the process, so remember to keep the fork off that chocolate lava pie, dinner date after dinner date – but for some people, it can also be the single source of epic frustration that can potentially render the heart scarred for a long period of time.

There are those who are blessed with excellent gene pool and seem to have a natural knack with charming men and women off their socks with a mere smile or fluttering of the eyelids; there are those who evoke the same response with smart quips and perfectly-timed compliments and punch line; and then there are those whose dating life seems to be a never ending reel of horror and disaster films. Whichever category you fall under, remember that dating is an art and a skill and we will all have our share of bad eggs – but with a little work, our dating life can easily undergo an upgrade.

Try these tips and see how your dating life eventually takes on a more positive spin.

1. Give yourself a makeover. Dating is as much about you as it is about the other party. You cannot demand for good looks, social graces, witty repartee, and all that jazz if you yourself are not willing to make an effort. It doesn’t mean you have to alter yourself and become someone unrecognizable, but at least work on your flaws and don’t fall into this trap of ‘what you see is what you get’ claptrap because believe me, doll, if he sees a lot of bad things, the last thing you would see is his back as he runs away from you – fast.

2. Open yourself to possibilities, date outside your usual type. Did you ever stop to think that perhaps one of the reasons why your dating life always has the same bad ending is because you are stuck with the same type all the time? Monotony breeds dissatisfaction which, in turn, can open up to a whole tub of worms. So shake it up, invite the world to see your versatility, and claim exctement as your middle name.

3. Take your time, take it slow. Remember, it is ONLY dating for now so don’t go jumping the gun and planning your wedding just as they are serving dessert. The purpose of dating is to open yourself up to a great deal of wondrous possibilities of friendship, which can potebtially blossom into love, and perhaps later on, a lasting commitment. These things take time to grow, just as you, as an adult need time to grow up.

4. Get mentored. Let’s face it, we’re not all blessed with an active flirting gene and sometimes, we do tend to get signals all mixed up. In dating, body language is important. We may be saying something verbally but our body language is screaming something else altogether. Enlist the help of a friend or acquaintance whom you know has a berth of dating experience and knowledge under his/her belt. At the beginning, it will seem unnatural but after a few dates, you will find your own style and revel in it.

5. Be sincerely curious about people. Dating is an exercise in getting to know the other person, and for this reason it’s important that you’re able to communicate your interest. Sometimes two people are just right for each other, but they never get to realize it because both are holding back or too focused on themselves to show true interest in their mate. Try not to hog the limelight too much. Ask him/her questions; be curious about the person sitting in front of you. Disclose a little about yourself, something that can pique and intrigue your date. Sometimes even if a date doesn’t lead to romance, the good conversation can be worth the evening’s entertainment. At least this way, if you two don’t work out you could gain a friend for life.

And lastly, be the person you yourself would want to date. Show the world that you are worthy of being loved and cared for. Even if it’s casual for now, don’t make it a habit to casually sleep with every single man or woman you go out with. Think of the damage this can do to your self-esteem both in the short and long term. If your ultimate goal is to have a nurturing relationship, by all means have fun but don’t sacrifice your values for it.

Men’s Health: Bedroom Confidential August 2010

Q:  My girlfriend doesn’t like me doing oral sex on her. Is this fine? Should I pursue it? And what process should I follow to make her comfortable with it?

A:  Two things: Your GF may have issues with her genitalia (the look, the smell, what-not) so you must reassure her that she is beautiful and her beauty extends all the way down to her nether parts. Second, chances are, you may not be doing it right. Think of it as a gentle breeze at the beginning and work up a little bit of pressure to get her on the brink of madness, instead of jackhammering her with your tongue at the onset and all throughout. Imagine giving her a good Frenchie between the legs, that’s how cunnilingus must be performed. Sloppy lapping is a big no-no. Take time to appreciate every little part of her down south by licking around, above, or below the clit, applying some gentle pressure and pushing with your tongue rather than lapping in weak, flaccid strokes. However, don’t feel that you have to completely depend on tongue power. If you find yourself getting tired, needing a bit of break, or maybe you want to visually appreciate the part you’re licking, pulling away for a bit and suing your finger(s) is perfectly okay. Lastly, be there with her. Keep a keen eye on your girlfriend’s reactions to your oral maneuvering. By this time, you should already know when she’s enjoying it – or not.

Men’s Health: Bedroom Confidential September 2010

Q:  My wife isn’t complaining but I feel a little uncomfortable being a houseband. How can I get past the feeling? — Raymundo via email

A:  By houseband I presume you are raising the kids and doing household chores while your wife brings home the bacon. I would like to think there’s a reason for the role reversal. Although this is an unconventional setup especially in a highly patriarchal society like ours, if this system works for you and your wife, take solace from the fact that raising kids and making sure they grow up to be productive members of society is as daunting a task as putting food on the table. Modern women have evolved a lot from the days of old when they were merely kept at home and expected only to perform wifely and motherly duties. Most of us who have reached some level of self-actualization thrive in the corporate environment and certainly don’t mind to be playing key roles in the cutthroat corporate world. That may be the reason why your wife is not complaining about the role reversal. But in the event that the roles are re-reversed and your wofe now wnats to be the one left at home to care for the kids, that should be equally-acceptable to both of you and hopefully, you’d be ready to man up and fulfill your end of the bargain. After all, marriage is supposed to be a partnership with both partners sharing responsibilities.

Total Fitness: The Rise Of The Alpha-Female

By definition, an Alpha-Female can be a lot of things. She is a quintessential woman who is fearless in the use of, and sometimes, in the exploitation of her feminine wiles in order to get her way or seal a business deal. Some say she is someone who has complete control of her destiny and has zero tolerance for traits that may be perceived at weakness or liability. Others say she is full of contradictions, often keeping her male partner in a suspended state, not sure exactly what to do with her. And still quite a few, especially those who cannot grasp her Alpha-ness, simply dismiss her as a bitch. But if you even know half of what she’s all about, an Alpha-Female is neither Satan’s mistress or a bitch and she doesn’t fall into the category of a saint either – she just loves to win.

They say it is from the ideals of feminism that the Alpha-Females’ roots can be traced. If you are strongly supportive of feminist views and admire smart, talented women who can fearlessly grab the bull by its horns and take a commanding lead, you are one step closer to becoming the alpha female. Appearance is not the only measuring tool, contrary to popular belief, simply because the root of the alpha female is much deeper than that. In fact, you’ll be surprised to see for yourself that the Alpha-Female is NOT always the most beautiful or the one who has the best personality. She stands out because she has created a niche for her kind and suddenly all the other women either want to be like her so badly – or to have a piece of her.

Unlike the Alpha-Male, whom extensive studies have been done on his conduct and behavior, the research on the Alpha-Female is still quite limited in comparison. But that is not to say that there is very little interest shown in this peculiar female specie. On the contary, Alpha-Females are on the rise and in such overwhelming but always very stylish and awe-inspiring fashion.

So you want to be an Alpha-Female? Here’s how you can start:

  • Elan is the word you should add to your vocabulary – and personify! Make an effort to look good by making sure your wardrobe not only has varied styles and accessories for every occasion but you also gotta wear them with elegance, flair and style. But it doesn’t mean that you have to blow your money and max out your plastic cards hoarding designer stuff. Remember that you can always look very well put together even on a budget. The key is to know your body and how to dress it up in a such a way that you only highlight your assets and draw attention away from the deal-breakers.
  • Be extraordinarily confident, but never in a such a way that you alienate people. Your confidence must be genuine and must come from within. That way, you do not always have to assert your presence on people – they will know just by looking at your glow and radiance that you are a  force to be reckoned with.
  • Show great leadership by developing a group of genuine friends and never letting that friendship fall apart. You may even appoint a Beta-Female, one who can be your stand-in when you are not physically there to assume your role as Alpha-Female. Now this may have despotic written all over it, but you must understand pack beahavior forms part of the Alpha-Female phenomenon – and you, as the AF, must have a pack to lead.

Those are just the basics and as you go on your journey to becoming an Alpha-Female, you will learn a few more tricks of the trade which you can exploit to dominate and win in varying situations. The important thing to remember as well is that you should be happy with your life and let it manifest by being optimistic about everything and knowing how to keep your cool even in the most exasperating situations.

Now while Alpha-Females are viewed as awesome successes in everything they do, they are unfortunately perceived as something else in committed relationships as a growing number of them are reportedly turning their backs on their equals – the Alpha-Males – and going for the beta versions. Yes, the laid-back and domesticated types who can live with the thought of being in the shadows of the Alpha-Females.

An interesting research done by Catherin Gray for Eve Magazine showed that the alpha female intimidates even the traditional alpha male and her success is a passion killer for him. Supposedly, a man’s chances of marriage goes up with his IQ, but for each 16 point rise in a woman’s IQ, her prospects of getting hitched decline by 40%. Therefore, women are only admitting to half their salaries and dumbing themselves down in a bid to attract men. Because, well,  let’s face it, nobody wants to be alone and unloved.

But clearly, this is not the kind of relationship an Alpha-Female who has worked so hard to become the powerful  person that she is, deserves. So how can she find the right relationship for her? First, know that the kind of people we attract says a lot about who we are, about the relationship we have with ourselves and it speaks volumes about our beliefs about relationships. By being clear about your core values, purpose and expectations, not only do you attract the type who can live up to them, you also gain some semblance of control over the relationship because you are in your element – your own environment and there is no misrepresentation involved.