Travel: Cameron Lavender (Cameron Highlands)

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During my family’s vacation here in KL, we all went to Cameron Highlands for a quick getaway from the city and to catch a cool breeze. My mom and her boyfriend drove up first and we followed during the weekend when Alvin had no work.

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For those who aren’t familiar with Cameron Highlands, it’s Malaysia’s version of the Philippines’ Baguio. It’s a district of the state of Pahang which is high up in the mountains.

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Since it’s in the mountains, Cameron Highlands is pretty cold and can be a great escape from the rotisserie that is Kuala Lumpur. Seriously. What is it with the heat these days? I feel like I’m one of those Kenny Rogers’ chickens every time I’m out in the city streets. And if you start telling me that it’s already summer, I’ve got a comeback for you: Heavy. Afternoon. Rains! Climate Change right there, everybody.

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Random Thoughts and Happenings 2

Things that have been happening lately compiled into one blog post. Get ready for the word vomit! ;)

Home Alone

The husband is off to another work trip and this time, he’s going to Davao, in the Philippines for a couple of days. I’ve always been an independent person but I don’t think I will ever be used to him going on work trips and being gone for days. Knowing that he won’t be coming home for lunch and at around 7pm (yes, the people at the Philippine Embassy in KL work long hours) feels weird for me.

Also, I do tend to worry and I’m not that used to sleeping alone anymore. The teddy bears on our bed are actually there for a reason, you guys. ;)

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Fitness: Healthy Post-Gym Snacks/Food (How I Curb My Cravings! Eat This Instead of That!)

Eat This Not That, Eat This Instead of That, Healthy Food, Healthy Food Alternatives, Raisins, Banana, Orange, Nuts, Yogurt, Healthy Snacks, Workout Snacks, Post Gym Snacks, Fitness, Impulse Studio, EMS, EMS Training, Kuala Lumpur

After battling a really bad case of allergies (which later turned into an infection), I am back to blogging! Yay! It’s kind of hard to write when your brows and eyes are swollen. But I look like my normal self now so I’ll just tell you guys more about that later. Today, I want to talk about FOOD and cravings!

As you might know by now, I’ve been doing EMS training regularly as my workout at Impulse Studio the past few months and the results have been ah-mazing! (Check them out here!)

I love EMS! In fact, my husband will even go as far as saying that I’m addicted to it.

(RELATED POST: Fitness: 9 Things I Love About Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) Training at Impulse Studio in Bangsar)

The next thing I should be telling you is how I’ve been eating more and more healthy food to aid my training. But alas, if you’ve been following my Instagram, you’d know that going on a healthy diet is a huge challenge for me and I’ve been eating some carb-rich, oily, dishes that has “A million calories!” written all over them. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been on a diet longer than 24 hours for my whole life. I even failed on juice cleansing so bad. I ended up just drinking the juice with my usual meals.

Impulse Studio is located in Bangsar. And that location is both a blessing and a curse. I love going to Bangsar as that neighbourhood is super fun with quirky shops. I never get bored walking around the area after training. However, there are also a lot of restaurants in that place. Crepes, steaks, Thai food, sushi! You name it, it’s just a stone’s throw away from where I workout!

I dunno if it’s just me or what – but during those last few minutes of my workout, just when I know it’s about to end, I start imagining what I’ll be eating after! I start craving for burgers and sweets. I even think of all the restaurants in the area that I can just walk to after my shower! The McDonald’s that’s like a block away from Impulse isn’t helping my cravings either!

After a really intense workout like EMS Training, you’ll definitely be hungry. And in fact, you should eat! But the question is, will your food actually work with the training you just did to help your body be healthier or take you a few steps back when it comes to your progress?

So, to help myself instil a bit of discipline to my cravings and my tummy, I did a bit of research and asked people who know better than me when it comes to nutrition, about healthier (but still great tasting) substitutes to my usual cravings. And because cutting down my food intake is just near to impossible, I decided that if I’m going to be eating more, then I might as well opt for nutrient-filled food that will help me recover from intense workouts rather than junk, right?

I’ve tried them all and so far, they’ve been working pretty well for me. And don’t worry – I won’t be waxing poetic over kale and other greens. Not really the biggest fan of greens, to be honest. And I did promise great tasting alternatives, didn’t I?

Putting this up here for posterity’s sake and so I can look back at it whenever I finish working out. But don’t judge me when I post gelato photos on Instagram. I’m allowed cheat days, aren’t I? I’m still doing baby steps here. ;)

Without further word vomit from me, here’s my no-diet, crave-curbing cheat sheet! I hope it helps you out too! ;)

1. Instead of ice cream, go for yogurt.

Yes, you’ve heard of this one before. But some say that a lot of yogurt brands are actually not as healthy as you might think. Sugars, calories, etc. But at the end of the day, yogurt still has less of those than ice cream. I also opt for Greek yogurt these days or the low-fat, high calcium ones that Anlene has. Just so my brittle bones and teeth get some extra love.

2. Instead of candy or chocolate, go for raisins.

It’s the snack my grandma used to give to me after school and I still love it up to this day. Raisins make me forget about candy in an instant. They’re chewy too which is a plus!

Raisins do have calories. But they’re the good kind that’s filled with nutrients! They also contain protein, fibre, potassium, and iron.

3. Instead of French Fries, go for nuts

This one is hard to curb. Fries are so effing good! And I’ll admit, to me, nuts are not entirely God’s gift to human kind. They’re hard to bite on which can be a nightmare for my brittle teeth (they sometimes crack while eating really crunchy food) and nuts get in between them too which can make flossing a tedious task. But the health benefits make the hassle and extra care worth it. Whenever I feel like taking a short stroll to McDonald’s to order a large pack of fries, I force myself into a cab so I can go home straight to where my stash of nuts are.

Almonds, cashews, and walnuts have been linked to lower cholesterol levels. Walnuts are also rich in omega-3 which is good for your heart while almonds are packed with fibre and Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant. Cashews, meanwhile, carry iron and zinc which are good for your brain and eyes.

4. Instead of milkshakes, go for granola smoothies

I’m lucky that Impulse Studio in Bangsar is right next to LA/PA, a restaurant that makes awesome granola smoothies so I usually get mine from there. But they’re also quite easy to make at home (if you’re not lazy like me). Just mix milk (almond, coconut, or hazelnut milk would be better), frozen fruits, and granola into a blender and voila! A sweet, nutritious, and very filling drink. ;)

Oh, and add a bit of dark chocolate, if you must. ;)

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Beauty + Review: The Balm Cosmetics’ Mary Lou Manizer Highlighter

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I often relate makeup milestones to Pringles and chocolate. The moment you start eating/doing it, it becomes quite hard to stop yourself.

I remember back when I was in college. I never shaded my brows. I just let them be as they had this normal, natural shape. But once I got around to using a brow pencil, a spoolie brush, and some brow gel, the rest was history. Damn, that 1950s eye brow arch. I just gotta have it on all the time! In fact, I can never go out or be seen by actual human beings without my brows on fleek (as one of my favourite Youtubers would say).

Back then, I wasn’t into concealer as well since I’ve always had skin that’s on the clearer side. But after I saw a makeup artist use concealer under my eyes and to put some shade on some areas of my face which looked perfectly fine before, I knew I was never going to live without concealer anymore. It’s like, you never know something wrong is going on until someone else actually points it out! However, this drives my husband nuts when I tell him I have to cover up some stuff on my face and he’s always like – ‘What are you talking about? There’s nothing there!’

But alas, my eyes have become very critical even to the minutest of details. And here I go again, going off point. What was I supposed to talk about? Ah, highlighter. Like my brow and concealer story, I was also late to the party when it comes to contouring and highlighting. In fact, there was a time when I would contour my face and totally forego the highlighter. YES. UGH. Weird times.

But then, Benefit Cosmetics popped my highlighter cherry by giving me a sample of Watt’s Up as a gift with purchase (GWP) and it totally changed my life! I’m exaggerating. But it did drastically change my makeup routine!

I’ve been pretty loyal to Watt’s Up and cream highlighters but with all the peer pressure (and by peer, I mean Youtube beauty vloggers) I’ve been getting, I decided to try out The Balm’s Mary Lou Manizer. Everyone’s talking about it so I might as see what the fuss is all about.

The first time I picked it up in Sasa, my first thought was: ‘Damn, this packaging is seriously cute!’ I love vintage fashion and I love pin-up girls so The Balm totally got their packaging right in my opinion. ;)

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The compact is round and quite big but it fits perfectly on one’s hand. It’s packed with 8.5 grams of the product so it will practically last you forever.

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Foodie Adventures: JEQ in the House (Seksyen 17, Petaling Jaya)

JEQ in the House, Restaurant, Cafe, Review, Petaling Jaya, Seksyen 17, Restaurant Review, Cafe Review, Food Review, Comfort Food, Pasta, Coffee, Coffee Art, Malaysia

Living in KLCC is like being inside your own bubble. Sometimes, you don’t really think of venturing out since everything you need seems to be a stone’s throw away. Great restaurants, malls, supermarkets – everything.

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However, after making friends with expats who have been here for a while as well as with locals, I found out that there’s more to Kuala Lumpur and its neighbouring city Petaling Jaya when it comes to shopping and food choices.

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In fact, the more you move away from the city centre, the more realise that when it comes to choices, things can get quite overwhelming (and budget friendly too!). That’s why I’m so thankful for my friends’ recommendations! ;)

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Situated in a quiet, residential area in Seksyen (Section) 17 of Petaling Jaya is a cafe that serves food that will really make me forget about dieting. Not that I have problems with that. ;)

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There’s nothing like comfort food and good coffee on a hot, humid weekend and JEQ in the House was able to provide both while I enjoyed the cafe’s ambiance.

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Events: Domino’s Pizza Launches the New Golden Chicken Plus No GST Price Increase (#PaySameOrLess)

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A little over a week ago, I was invited with some of my blogger friends to a Domino’s Pizza event. I wasn’t going to say no as it’s common knowledge that I’m a huge fan of the pizza place – I practically abuse their online delivery service on days when I feel lazy to cook. (Yes, there are days like that. Shh!)

We usually order the Meatasaurus pizza with an ‘Extreme Edge’ which translates to an all-meat pizza with cheese inside the crust! Ah. So sinful but so good!

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Golden Italian Chicken

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Fitness + Photos: Major Improvements Just After 12 EMS Training/Workout Sessions (20 mins each) Later!

Doesn’t time fly so fast? In just a few days’ time, we’ll be welcoming the 4th month of the year! Crazy, isn’t it? I’ve been checking up on my New Year’s Resolutions and so far, I’m doing quite well with keeping most of them –  some, I’m already fulfilling while other’s are already on the pipeline. ;)

The one thing I’m most definitely proud of is becoming dedicated when it comes to working out – regularly! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really a health buff. I never exercised and I ate anything I want when I wanted to. Discipline was not in my vocabulary. So when I told my friends that I was going to be doing Electric Muscular Stimulation (EMS) training regularly, a lot of them thought that this was going to be one of those times where I try something new and get tired of it after just a few sessions.

Boy, did I prove them wrong! ;)

‘Before’

You see, I was definitely committed this time. After noticing how weak I am compared to my peers and seeing minor signs of being skinny-fat, I knew I had to do something – fast and effective.

(READ: Fitness: 9 Things I Love About Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) Training at Impulse Studio in Bangsar)

After much researching over gyms in our area, fate practically brought me to the steps of Impulse Studio where I started working out regularly in late January. I was addicted to it by the time we finished our third session. I’ve already finished my 10th session and after seeing the results – not just in the mirror but in the numbers as well – there’s really no reason for me to stop now.

For context, here’s how I looked like prior to moving to Malaysia in June 2014:

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Those shorts were a size ‘S’ and still did not look flattering! I was skinny but not toned at all! (Thanks to my former colleague Krista for the photo!)

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Taken in Boracay. May, 2014. Notice that my legs are not toned at all!

I’ve always gotten comments from people about why I would ever think of subjecting myself to a workout when I actually look like I don’t need it. If you look closely, I was merely skin, bones, and bad-fat. If I had a bit of muscle in me at that time, they wouldn’t have been too useful as they were all too weak. I also got tired and sick easily.

Of course my ‘situation’ got worse when we moved to KL. I was 25 years old with a metabolism that was slowing down. But that didn’t stop me from eating Nasi Lemak left and right. I started gaining weight. Not in an overly dramatic sense but I was starting to feel like my arms are bigger and I was noticing fat rolls on my sides.

I was in utter disbelief at first! That can’t be, right? I’ve always been skinny! I was also feeling sluggish all the time and would suffer from shortness of breath just for carrying two grocery bags for a couple of minutes.

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