Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas and Gratitude: Dinner at Watami!

Happy weekend all!!!

Christmas christmas christmas... Favorite time of the year cos it's an excuse to meet all my beautiful friends that I'm blessed with. 

:')))))))

Every time Christmas rolls around, I start to think about how another year has gone past. Reflecting on the year, and how the days have turned into weeks into months. How quickly time passes us by... 

This year, I'm reflecting on gratitude and love.. I'm truly grateful for every good thing that has happened to me and I am extremely thankful because I know I am so loved and in good hands :) Sometimes, I feel amazed with all the blessings in my life. I love my funny family even though they frustrate me at times, I enjoy my work tremendously and find immense pride and satisfaction in it, I have a super loving boyfriend, I am surrounded by so so so many friends I know will always be there for me, I am doing everything I love. I can't think of anything I want to ask for this Christmas, except maybe MORE TIME... So that I can do more things :( I'm so greedy :(

When it comes to friendship.. I'm not someone who goes around making friends easily, which YZ will attest to because he likes to say I'm very anti-social (!!!!) Okay, it can be true sometimes.. :( For those people who don't know me.. many people think I'm standoff-ish and cold, or that I'm an arrogant or proud person. But the truth is, I don't quite know how to talk to people I don't feel comfortable with, and it's easier for me to just not try. Hahahahahaa. 

And well, if you know my personality well enough, you would know that I'm a very candid and straight-forward person, and some people get offended by what I say, without me even trying :( That being said, I can be quite sociable and friendly at times too, especially after I've warmed up to new people! I love spending time with close friends, those that laugh at me, with me, and accept me for who I am :) 

This year, I've grown closer to many wonderful people whom I'm glad have appeared in my life, and that I've gotten the chance to know better, and even more thankful that they have allowed me in theirs, regardless of how insignificant this friendship may be to them.

I'm really a very crap friend.. I don't remember all my friends' birthdays (sometimes i can't even keep track of what date it is today omg) I am often so busy and distracted with work that I don't talk to friends for days or weeks or months! Yet despite all my terrible shortcomings.. I am never short of these God-sent angels around me. Truly truly blessed, I must have accumulated some good karma in my past life :D I sometimes wonder why these people even bother to stick around in my life. But I am so grateful that you all do! Every single one of you. ^^ Thank you...

Been meeting up with so many groups of girlfriends this month, all in the name of merry-making and Christmas! Super love. Gonna try to put up all the photos if possible!

***

Dinner at Watami Raffles City!

With my favourite bunch of gossip girls.. Hahaha! Steph was finally back in town, we haven't seen this girl for ONE ENTIRE YEAR! :( Decided on Watami at Raffles City (no way were we going to Orchard.. just waaaay too crowded during Christmas season!) and managed to get seats for the seven of us!
My favourite part of Watami = super super value for money set meals! We shared a set for FOUR amongst seven people. AND DAMN FULL TOO D: Almost did not finish the food!
 
Wendy and Nancy ♥
Drinks that come together with the set. Special mention to the Pineapple Yakult drink!!! Quite tasty.

Amazing amount of food that came in our set for four pax.. I don't see how 4 normal persons can even finish this amount of food. Seriously.
 

Presenting... my special dish LOL that I "cooked" with the tepanyaki pan and all the left-overs that no one wanted to eat... It turned into a very tasty katsu chicken mixed rice dish.. Hahahaha and we even managed to finish most of it in the end! YAY!!!
Good job!!! :D

Drinks session at TCC Citylink Mall after that!
 
Steph bought us a box of matcha mochi!
Checking out the latest gossip via smart phone, and god knows what else. Hahaha.
Nancy, Wendy, Steph and Joyce!
 
Felicia, myself and Debs!
 
Awww nice shot of these three!
We had to take a Christmas Tree picture. Compulsory! Asked a random passerby for help, and it turned out rather lopsided hahah.
Self-shot to the rescue!!! :D

♥♥♥

Here's my wish for everyone this Christmas.. To love and be loved! Stay thankful for every blessing regardless of how little. Merry merry Christmas and have a wonderful one with your loves!!!

xoxo

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Event: Garden Magic Wedding Showcase at Villa Halia

Hellooooo! ^.^ Wedding bells haven't started ringing for me yet, but I was invited to Villa Halia's Garden Magic Wedding Showcase some time ago and went down with my sissy Gina! And while I'm at it, I guess I might as well help my sissy promote her new blog hehehe. Gina has just started a new blog, so do pay her a visit!

http://zuanqing.blogspot.sg

(SEE SISSY. I am so nice to you)


Back to the wedding showcase: Villa Halia is located in Botanic Gardens and it is an absolutely romantic location for a garden wedding!!!

We were served an assortment of canapes while we looked around the beautiful table set-ups.

One of my favourite wedding table setups with beautiful geraniums!

There were also some showcases by different companies. Wedding gowns, wedding photography, wedding invites and the likes. Honestly though, nothing really caught my eye.

The below information is extracted from Villa Halia's website here:

Villa Halia was constructed such that wedding couples can select differently styled spaces based on the size of their wedding banquet. For larger weddings, the entire Villa Halia may be reserved. Each venue in the Villa Halia -Wine Bar, Courtyard and Gallery Room, provides a unique feel and look, yet all three are connected in a natural seamless manner. 

This enables the couple to house different groups, such as in-laws and business associates, in a separate private space whilst still ensuring that all guests are able to participate in the celebration. Wedding packages include a set menu or buffet for lunch or dinner, with complimentary solemnisation and reception tables, audio-visual playback system, champagne tower, sparkling wine, personalised guest placecards, invitation postcards and wedding favours.


We then proceeded for dinner inside the Wine Bar. Loving the elegant table setup with vases of baby's breath and candles!

Lovely, isn't it?

The food at Villa Halia is prepared by the kitchen at Halia Restaurant, and I really enjoyed the selection of food we got to taste! I've only been to Halia Restaurant once, but I was really blown away by the quality of the food there, and it's a pleasant discovery to know that the food at Villa Halia comes from the same kitchen!

Corn-fed Chicken Breast with Pistachio and Truffle Stuffing, Cinnamon Confit Carrot, Asparagus, Mash Potato and Port Jus

Pan-fried Barramundi Fish Fillet, Horseradish Mash Potato, Brocolini and Creamed Leek

We were seranaded by a lovely jazz quartet headed by the talented Tama from Tamagoh Productions! The lead singer sounded so much like Louis Armstrong, it was uncanny! Enjoyed the live band tremendously!

And my very favourite part of the evening was definitely the desserts showcase! Haha. So sorry for spamming so many pictures, but all the desserts were amazingly delectable and I was reaching for seconds despite being on a diet :X

Huuuuge spread!

Ginger Parfait

Strawberry Shortcake and Chocolate Mousse Cake in the background

Cream Caramel

Assorted Macarons

Bread and Butter Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

The Halia’s signature Ginger Jive and Heavenly Halia!

With my "partner" of the evening, Gina. Haha.

Leroy, Jacelyn, Estelle, Michelle, myself and Gina :) Thank you Leroy and Michelle for being such wonderful hosts!

Villa Halia is one gorgeous location and I can imagine that a solemnisation ceremony or intimate wedding dinner held at Villa Halia would be so beautiful! Plus the food would be amazing too! From what I know though, prices are rather steep, so I guess I can only dream for now, hehe.

Check out Villa Halia's website here!
http://www.halia.com.sg/singapore/html/villa_halia.html

***


Outfit:
Upcoming maxi dress on TheVelvetDolls (I haven't thought of a name for it yet hehe) which is super super elegant and classy.. It bares a little skin just above the tummy and has a cross-back design too! Looooove it so much.

Matched it with my Prada Saffiano Lux tote in Lilac, so pastel and love! Accessorries (earrings and bracelets) are from Sort And Pepper as well :)


***

Also, a couple of the mad pretty pieces I kept from tonight's collection!
Miranda Leather Shorts in Oxblood (size M) paired with my favourite denim shirt I bought from Zara Italy! With my vintage Chanel 2.55, and the necklace is from House of Harlow 1960. Handmade bracelet from Sensibar too!

Super adore this Adrienne Peplum Blazer. Someone send me to a cold country (Autumn good enough, doesnt have to be freezing cold hehe) so that I can wear this blazer there!!! I looove the peplum flare bottom and the double breasted buttons! Super chic!! Yes I also kept the leather shorts in Black. I am terrible....

It's gonna be a super busy day today and I hope I manage to get all my work finished in time!!! Wish me luckkkkkkk.

xoxo

Monday, December 17, 2012

On Weight Loss: My Experience at Amore Fitness

Everyone always stares at me in disbelief whenever I mention that I used to be REALLY F-A-T. They all give me this incredulous "Are You Sure?" look, until I whip out my phone and search out photographic evidence as proof. Hahahaha.

And it's not a lie, I really used to be plus-sized (which is a very nice way of being called fat), all the way til I was 20! At my heaviest, I was probably somewhere in the mid 60s (kilograms) and wore UK12-14. Shopping was a horror which I avoided, because it was so extremely difficult to find clothes that looked good on me, or even fit me :( I absolutely dreaded photo-taking, and always tried my best to be the one holding the camera instead of being in the picture, whenever possible. I guess I knew I was "big-sized", but simply didn't want to face up to the reality of being FAT.

I've always been "dieting" my entire life, but it never worked, because I love food so much! My appetite is pretty much insatiable, hahaha. I'd tell myself that my "diet starts again tomorrow" and indulge in that McSpicy Double Meal Upsized, or munch my way through an entire pack of Lays' Salt and Vinegar chips. I was resigned to being fat and unattractive. Let's not start talking about all the potential health issues that comes along with the extra weight and unhealthy eating.

It was only until I reached the ripe old age of 20, that I committed myself to a serious exercise routine, and lost 10kg, from hitting the treadmill 5 times a week before work every morning. It took three months to see the results, and I almost couldn't believe that I was FINALLY successfully losing weight! For someone who's been fat for most of her life, you can't imagine how it feels like to be able to look in the mirror and feel good about yourself.

Blogged a little about weight loss some time back and how I managed to shed off the weight previously, (10 things you want to know about weight loss) and if you haven't seen them before.. here are the horror photos.... Please be mentally prepared!

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CNY of 2003 (17 years old) and looking like a GIANT BEACHED WHALE IN PINK next to my mom and sisters
I can't believe how I ever thought it was okay to be this size. Where is my waist? Erm, can't find it. Nothing but lard there.
Family vacation in 2006. I swear I wanted to burn all the photos of myself looking like a fugly fat lump.
These photos really make me want to murder school photographers. Taken when I was in polytechnic, around 19 years old?
Nuff said. Except that I had really giant boobs too. Hahahaha. Even my nose looks fatter somehow.

Back to the present, I have to admit that keeping the weight off is definitely just as difficult as losing weight in the first place, and somehow my willpower and determination doesn't seem to be the same anymore, especially when you're surrounded by friends who love to eat! I'm always conscious of my food intake, and I even run quite regularly (On and off, haha. There are times I run thrice a week for a few months, and times when I don't even run once a month.. Eeks.) I do my best to stay away from unhealthy food but I am a constant snacker who's always reaching out for something to munch on :(

I felt like I needed to do something that would discipline my lifestyle and change me for the better! And here's one of the best things you can do for yourself: Get a gym buddy, and get your butt to the gym!

Evonne roped me into joining Amore Fitness together with her, and we were put on a 3-month Personal Training programme, with full access to the gym and classes! What I love about Amore Fitness is that it is a ladies only gym, thus I feel so much more at ease working out at Amore Fitness, as compared to other unisex gyms.

"Amore Fitness is the leading fitness gym in Singapore providing unique state-of-the art gym equipments specially designed for women. 

Amore Fitness and Boutique Spa, with over 2 decades of experience and strength as a holistic fitness and wellness provider, strongly emphasizes on its unique dual business approach to provide a complete wellness experience for its patrons, upholding their promise to women all around, the ladies exclusive arm of Amore Fitness."


Personal Training at Amore Fitness

Personal training has always been something that I've wanted to try. Although I used to go to the gym regularly when I was trying to lose weight, I've never touched any of the weight machines or equipment as I didn't know what kind of exercises would be ideal for me, and I didn't want to end up bulking up instead of losing weight! Thus, I only stuck to the cardio machines like the treadmill, which is great for burning off the calories, but does little for overall fitness, or muscle building/toning.

With a dedicated personal trainer, we would be able to discuss our goals and concerns, so as to achieve the best results. I was really excited about finally getting to do personal training, and the first thing we did was to head down to Amore Fitness at Bugis Junction for a fitness assessment!


We were introduced to our Personal Trainer, Nani, who sat down with us and discussed about what end-results we wanted, and how to incorporate exercise and personal training into a healthier lifestyle.


Doing the BCA (Body Composition Analysis) to get a better idea of what we needed to work on!


The BCA helps to calculate your fat percentage, muscle mass, BMI and all that! Yikes... My results were pretty horrendous! (Will reveal at the end of the post!)


Fitness assessment also included some tests like flexibility (FAIL) and stamina (poor too, despite my running)


After analyzing the results from our BCA and fitness assessment, Nani told us what we needed to work on and achieve: i.e. more muscle mass, lower fat percentage! Weight isn't such a big factor, as compared to the percentage of fat/muscle, and by the way, if you put 5 pounds of muscle versus 5 pounds of fat side by side, this is what you get:

Fat takes up waaaaayy more space/volume than muscle, for the same weight! So even if your weight is within acceptable range, it wouldn't be healthy at all if it were all fats!

We've been having personal training sessions together twice a week, and every week is a challenge! No two sessions are ever the same, and sometimes I just feel like giving up during the workout because it's damn torturous! Thank goodness for my gym buddy Evonne who's always there to cheer me on!


Psst, stretching is extremely important and you must always stretch properly before/after workouts to avoid injuries!

Me doing leg extensions! Never dared to tried all these machines on my own previously, so I'm really thankful for the guidance of Nani, our personal trainer!

Nani is always there to guide us through every exercise, and to ensure that we're doing it correctly for maximum efficiency!

As part of our fitness programme, we also have to work in a good amount of cardio: running on the treadmill 2-3 times a week at least! I've been clocking in about 5km every run, and it feels great after a good sweaty run! (Though I've had to take a break from running lately because I hurt my knee.. Please remember to warm up properly before exercising!!!)

Doing lunges! Each exercise is personalized to Evonne and myself, which is why I'm carrying the medicine ball while Evonne isn't. We sometimes do different amount of weights and also different number of repetitions too, for the same exercise.

Working with the rope extension machine
I have no idea what this is called but it's certainly a killer for my hamstrings and thighs! :((((

I strongly recommend Nani, our personal trainer, because I think she's really awesome! Other than torturing us to the brink of death every session, hahaha. She's extremely disciplined when it comes to training us, and definitely doesn't cut us any slack. Nani's great at motivating us to finish that last set of reps, and also offers us alot of guidance and assistance for every exercise that we do. Our hardworking personal trainer even started a special Whatsapp group chat for us, in order to keep track of our food intake, and also motivate us to eat well and work out hard! Thank you SO much Nani! We love you!!!


Fitness Classes at Amore Fitness

Other than personal training, Evonne and I also attend quite a few of the fitness classes offered at Amore Fitness, there are so so so many different classes available, you'll definitely not get bored at all! There are classes of different difficulty levels, ranging from beginner to advanced classes, so there's something for everyone.

Amore Fitness Classes consists of:
 Amore Signature Blitz classes 
Cardiovascular and toning classes 
Dance classes Body.Mind.Soul classes 
Introductory classes

My favourite classes are: Pilates, BodBlitz, CardioBlitz and StretchFit! These classes never fail to give me a good workout! The instructors are all very experienced

Amore has even got really fun special themed classes, such as the 27th Anniversary Retro Classes that incorporated groovy dance moves into the signature CardioBlitz class! I attended one of the classes at Hougang Mall and it was super fun, and an extremely tiring workout as well! Heh.

Spot me in my retro neon green shorts! That's about as retro as I could find from my wardrobe hahaha.




One hour of CardioBlitz is a killer! It's super exhausting but feels really shiok!

Happy 27th Anniversary to Amore Fitness, and the class was such a blast!!!

With the PR/Marketing Team at Amore Fitness after an hour of retrolicious fun!

***

You must be wondering, after all the hard work I've been putting into personal training and working out and exercising for the past few months, whether or not I've actually seen any results... So here's a comparison of my BCA (Body Composition Analysis) before and after ONE month's hard work!

Weight Before/After: 55kg / 54kg (1kg decrease)
Muscle Mass Before/After: 19.9kg / 20.7kg (0.8kg increase)
Fat Mass Before/After: 17.6kg / 15.3kg (2.3kg decrease)
Fat Percentage Before/After: 32.1% / 28.3% (3.8% decrease)

The results after one month were better than I expected, honestly! Although my weight didn't drop much, my muscle mass increased by 0.8kg, and my fat mass went down by 2.3kg, which is really amazing! WOOHOOOO! My fat percentage went from 32.1% (which is in an unhealthy range) to 28% (barely within the normal/healthy range!) Quite a few friends/readers have also commented that I look like I've lost weight too, recently.

However, I can't emphasize enough about how important your DIET is to lose weight/fat successfully! Diet plays a major role, and even if you workout and exercise away but eat junk/overeat, you're not going to see much results. In the past couple of months, I've been trying to eat as healthily as possible, and making adjustments in my diet. Wholemeal bread instead of white bread, healthy snacks like nuts and fruits instead of chips or deep fried food. It's definitely not easy and requires an entire lifestyle change, not just dedicating a few hours to working out every week!

I have got to say, I've never felt this toned or fit in my life before hahaha. My arms and shoulders actually have muscle definition to them which is a first! :X And it feels greeeaaaaaat!!! I know Evonne agrees with me too, we'll be going for my last Body Composition Analysis soon after 3 months of working out, and I'll be back to update on the results again, with more pictures maybe! :) Do stay tuned for my update soon!

Last but not least, Amore Fitness is having a special promotion just for you readers!

Mention ‘Amore Yina’ at any of Amore Fitness's fitness outlets to enjoy a 1 week unlimited fitness pass! Terms and conditions apply. Promotion is valid from 20th Dec 2012 to 10th Jan 2013. Valid for first time customers only.


Do grab this opportunity to try out what Amore Fitness has got to offer, by signing up for the 1 week pass! You can also go for the free Body Composition Analysis too, which is very useful to find out if your muscle/fat percentages are within healthy levels. The staff at Amore Fitness are all very helpful and friendly, so don't worry about feeling awkward or shy! :)

Find out more about Amore Fitness here: http://amorefitness.com

I leave you with this awesome quote.
Til the next update! :)

xoxo