August 31, 2012

Pretty Ugly on IFB Links à la Mode


Oh hello there! I joined IFB (Independent Fashion Bloggers), a well known blogger community less than 48 hours ago. I wanted to connect with fellow bloggers from all over the world and perhaps increase my motivation to keep this blog up for longer than 3 months. Some of you know me pretty well: I have the attention span of a peppy squirr----ooooooooooh shiny!

The next thing I know, my entry Bringing Sexy Back made it to the Top 20 posts of the week. Yay! A big thank you  (and bear hugs) to Jess and IFB. The links to the fantabulous 19 are below.




Summer Lovin’ Fades to Fall


Edited by: Jess of Fresh Jess 

 With IFBcon, Fashion’s Night Out and NYFW kicking off next week, it’s clear the first signs of fall in the air. The mornings and nights are a little crisper, and the shelves are stocked with September issues. This week’s Links a la Mode shows a wide range of emotions about the transition to fall. While some are welcoming the season with open arms, others are squeezing every little bit out of their summer wardrobe. The conversation around body image is still strong, as well as that over copyright and content ownership. We have all that and more in this week’s roundup, and next week at IFBcon! Hope to see you all there.


 

LINKS À LA MODE: THE IFB WEEKLY ROUND UP: AUGUST 30TH

 

  SPONSOR: Shopbop : Koral, Ete, Vince, Costume National, Auden, APC, Max Kibardin, Clu, Acquaverde, Smythe & True Royal If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE.  ~ Jennine

August 28, 2012

Bringing Sexy Back




It's been almost 4 weeks since I started pushing food around my plate counting calories and going to the gym religiously. My old clothes are fitting again and those I bought 6-8 weeks ago are becoming relatively loose. I want to kiss myself and treat me for a box of chocolates! Here are my stats:

Start Weight: 55.7 kgs.
Current Weight: 48.5 kgs.

Start Waistline: 27.5"
Current Waistline: 23.5"


To celebrate this progress, I went shopping and camwhored. Well... I'm working hard to get fit. Let me milk this OH-YAY-MY-WAIST-IS-TINYish-AGAIN moment for the time being. What's more, this blog was made to cater to my camwhoring needs while I have a lot of time to spare (READ: babyless). I wanted to take good photos but I was in a hurry to get out of the house so I just snapped away like a maniac. Anyhow, my hair was still wet when these pictures were taken. I often go out with wet hair because it takes forever to blow dry and I'm a punk. 


And looooook. My nose is no longer bulbous! Ah, happiness!


dress: Forever 21
belt: Bershka
necklace: Chameleon
shoes: Aldo

August 23, 2012

Beautiful Bride, Oh My!


They say that a woman is at her most beautiful on her wedding day. Her radiance can light up a room and leave people in awe. No one and nothing can outshine her for she is the fairest of them all on her big day. The way it has been described by many, a bride is nothing short of a goddess walking the earth for a day, leaving mere mortals spellbound and lost for words (some may even weep).



LIES!


I was the bride with  a puffy face, blood shot eyes, bird's nest hair, and nonexistent makeup. So much for being at my most beautiful! It started alright. I loved how my hair & makeup artist did my hair. My face? Not so much. Nobody knows my face as well as I do. I would have done my own makeup were I not too jittery.

The fact that I only had about 3 hours of fitful sleep did not help either. It's a long story. It involved me throwing epic tantrums and threatening to pummel faces the night before my wedding.

What? I was getting married. I had all the right to be difficult! To be fair to myself, I had a valid reason that evening to go ballistic.





I also severely underestimated the onslaught of emotions almost every bride has to face on her wedding day. I was overwhelmed! I started crying when I was on my way to the ceremony/reception venue (Ours was only a civil wedding. No guests, except for immediate family. No music. No walking down the aisle. I wore a wedding dress nevertheless. Heh.). 

The tears would not stop. I did not even know why I was crying! After a while, I started cackling... CACKLING while tears were streaking down my face! I must have looked realllllllly scary.


And then there was silence. 


No. I did not calm down. I did not faint either. My mind simply went blank. I could not remember what happened next. I didn't know emotions can cause short term memory loss a.k.a. Bridezillamnesia. I've been told that:

1. I did not stop crying. 

2. I was speaking fast in high, squeaky voice. My original voice is throaty... and utterly sexy, just so you know. Haha!

3. My hairdo was ruined because the venue was almost 200 meters high and it was very windy.

4. The setting sun was breathtaking. (A positive one for a change)

5. The flowers were beautiful. (Ha! And another)

6. When I saw my husband, I removed my shoes...

7. ... and ran to his waiting arms. Ooooh romantic!

8.  And then I rubbed my face on his coat... like a cat marking its territory, meow! How graceful!

9. Needless to say my makeup was a goner.

10. I walked barefoot the entire evening. Classy!

 

Before I get misjudged, I would like to restate that I have no memory whatsoever of my wedding. I remember a few instances during dinner but that's all I could ever recall (e.g. me downing glasses after glasses of water, me removing my contact lenses at the dinner table because I noticed I wore them inside out, the glorious food mmmm). It's a good thing we have close to a thousand photos to retell the story. 

 For all that, it's still the most wonderful wedding I have ever attended. I also believe it's the best day of my life. Too bad I missed most of it. 



***credit goes to my wedding photographers.

August 21, 2012

Faking Tallness 101

Taken in 2009, at 94 lbs.

If you are a vertically challenged lady like me, and would like to look tall in pictures, you must keep on reading. I'm going to keep it simple and concise so that you won't get bored (also because I'm lazy and cannot, for the love of all things holy, write a single middling paragraph).

If you are tall, however, and you just happened to stumble upon my blog, I would like you to know that I hate, hate, hate you! I hate you with passion!  May you become a garden gnome in your next life! There, I said it. I feel so much better now. :)

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Of course I didn't mean it (much). I'm not that bitter. I love being pint-sized. People usually think I'm much younger than I truly am (and boy do I revel in it!), and my height makes me look somewhat cute, like a gerbil.

On to the tips:

1. Zoom. Zooming in is way flattering than shooting up close (READ: if done right, it can make you appear thinner in pictures). Shoot a few feet away from the subject (you) and zoom in to fill the frame. This is possible even with compact point and shoot cameras. I used standard zoom lens for the shot above which somehow flattened me and made me look slimmer. The tripod was approximately a dozen feet away. I'm going to skip the technicalities since it can get confusing and I never really discussed distortion, focal length and whatnots even on my photo blog (perhaps I will when I have about 40 years of experience under my belt.)

2. Shoot from below. This will give your legs that almost abnormally-long, spidery effect ---- if you're into that sort of thing. I know I am. I normally shoot myself from hip level. Any higher and my legs will be their old, stumpy selves again. Low angle shots make me look much taller than I actually am in real life. I cheat, so what? The word cheating has a very negative connotation, you know? I'd rather call it resourcefulness. The first photo was taken from knee-level, by the way. That's how far I go sometimes. Desperate state requires desperate measures.  

NOTE: When shooting from below,  tip your head down a little to avoid showing your nostrils to the whole world.

Taken on my birthday last year.



3. Choose your wardrobe carefully. I'm pretty sure you know it by now. The shorter the dress, the longer your legs will look. My dress in the first photo is remarkably short. So short that I seldom wore it. Hemlines up the mid thigh (or above) are the most flattering. Avoid knee-length skirts. Dresses with waistline that ends below the bust give the impression of tallness too.

When we moved to the Middle East last year, I knew I no longer had the prerogative to wear anything I want out of respect for their culture. I often wear maxi dresses now but I make sure they are almost floor-length. Anything ankle-length or calf-length will not go well with my short frame.


4. High Heels. High Hopes. This is the oldest trick I know. I frequently opt for nude/sand/champagne colored heels if I want to feign tallness . They are the closest shades to my skin tone and they never fail to elongate my legs. Avoid ankle booties, lace up sandals, and any pair that cut your ankles or calves. Ballerina flats can be worn only if you are wearing mini skirt/short shorts/mini dress (the shorter, the better). I once paired flats with a not-so-short dress and my legs ended up resembling overstuffed sausages.


5. Crowning glory. Hats and headbands (especially those feathery ones that make you look like a peacock unfurling its tail for sexual display)and poofy hairdos can add a few centimeters to your height too.


6. Still not happy? Crop it (refer to the second photo, right side). Follow step 1, make sure you fill the frame, then crop it. Mid-thigh crop is ideal. Mid-calf will also do. Cutting it off right at the knees or ankles can make the subject look... disturbing. Very disturbing. So don't do it.


That's it. I hope this will help you in the future. Have fun making love to the camera!  :)



August 19, 2012

Cupcakes Made Me Fat!


NOTE: I have the emotional capability of a candy wrapper (hey, at least it's colorful... more often than not) and this is as personal as it can ever get. 


For a person determined to lose weight, I sure do take gazillions of food photos. They're pretty to look at, methinks.

The title is not entirely true. Cupcakes did make me fat but so did donuts, chocolates, cookies, chips, pizza, and chicken nuggets! I gained 10 kgs. within a couple of months because, well, I developed an eating disorder. Binge eating disorder, that is. However, I don't want to make it sound too tragic. I mean no disrespect to those who suffered/are suffering from eating disorder. I am well aware of its gravity but I really would like my blog to remain light and frivolous, just like me. My drama queen days have long been over.

There were times when I would eat a dozen of donuts in less than 15 minutes. I would simply stuff my face until the box was empty. After that, I would raid our fridge and eat anything sweet I could find inside. I would only stop until  I was feeling really ill. I would consume bags after bags of chips, finish a tub of ice cream, order food (good for 2-3 people) and eat everything. I was gorging myself until I was full to bursting. I was very surprised myself. If I had known I were that talented, I would have pursued a career in competitive eating. I'd have been famous by now!

The bingeing made me feel good. Yes, I admit I felt guilt too but it didn't dampen the rush I felt after eating so much goodies. I finally noticed something was wrong with me when my husband took me out one night for dinner (Yep. Believe it or not, a rather beautiful man had a lapse of reason and married me. ). I ate decently. I didn't even order dessert. On our way home, though, we passed by a Cinnabon stall. I bought 6 pieces of their big, fat Classic Cinnamon Roll (880 calories each!). When we got home, the cinnamon rolls were gone within 10 minutes. Impressive, huh? My husband looked like he was about to faint when he saw me gobbling everything up without batting an eyelash.

What triggered it? Frustrations, perhaps. I'm not very fond of this city (I have nothing against it but I simply don't belong here. I miss the tropics!) and my job was making me see red. I thought I could deal with these things, but apparently I overestimated myself. Hubris can be a pain in the neck! So to stop this destructive bingeing pattern, I did two things:

1. I became a hermit.  (I'm socially inept anyway, so there's nothing to lose.)
2. I quit working.  (Sometimes, I appreciate the beauty of being my own boss. I can rehire me anytime.)

Things have taken a turn for the better since then and there had been no desire whatsoever to wolf down everything edible at home. No cupcakes will be harmed, for now. My energy is currently focused on slaughtering kiwis (fruit not bird) and apples. 

August 17, 2012

I Dream Of Cakes!



This marks the end of Week 2 and I am very pleased with the results. I have lost a total of 4 kgs. so far and managed to trim 3 inches off my waist.

Here are my stats:

WEIGHT:

Start:      55.7 kgs.
Week 1:  53 kgs.
Week 2:  51.5 kgs.

WAISTLINE:

Start:      27.5"
Week 1:  26.75"
Week 2:  24.5"


Week 2 consisted of:

--- low calorie intake
--- 40 minutes of intensive cardio, 4 times a week
--- 20-30 minutes of strength training/weight lifting, 4 times a week


I feel so much better about myself now. I no longer look pregnant and I even fit in some of my (non-baggy) clothes. My torso starts to have a distinct shape again, rather than being a jiggly, distended blob.

But you know what the best part is, aside from shedding the lbs. and inches?


I dream of cakes! Luscious, buttery, rich, scrumptious cakes!

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No. Not really. I'm not a cake person. I'd rather dream of fluffy kittens. They're not fattening, even in dreams.

The best part about the first two weeks of my fitness plan is: I indulged in not-so-healthy foods yet still managed to lose weight and shave inches. I had a cheeseburger, a huge serving of onion rings, Doritos, giant double chocolate chip cookie, and low fat ice cream. There is no magic trick here, however. I also would NEVER dare stick a toothbrush down my throat (I don't want to ruin my voice. It can bewitch people, you know?). The key is moderation. As long as you stay within your calorie limit, I don't see why you cannot give in to temptation every now and then. The road to fitness does not need to be all about rabbit food, running like a hamster in a wheel and deprivation. Treating yourself from time to time is perfectly fine. Just don't overdo it. ;)

August 14, 2012

A Very Hairy History

Once upon a time, a pretty young woman was pregnant with her first (and only) child. She would always go to the church to pray for her and her unborn child's health. One day while praying, she  implored God to bless her with a beautiful daughter so she can dress her up like a doll. 

God must have been exceptionally busy the day the pretty pregnant young woman made her most earnest wish because when she gave birth, there was no beautiful bundle of joy --- only a hairless creature that resembles a gremlin with head twice as big as its body. Nevertheless, she happily took the baby home. It didn't take long for her friends to visit, excited as they were to see the new mother and her baby. When they did finally have a look at the newborn, they all said the same thing: "Oh my, but your baby looks like a freak."

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Seriously?!? 

Who says that to a mother?! If I were in the poor woman's shoes, I would punch their indelicate mouths and make their noses bleed. So tactless and ignorant considering the fact that most freshly born babies are not exactly very cute! Oh well,  back to the story...

Few years passed and the young mother was delighted to see that the once hairless, ugly infant has started to look somewhat human. The child's head was ginormous no more. She even has thick exquisite curly hair that would be the envy of all. It would inspire poems and blind mere mortals by its sheer beauty. A few of its lovely silken strands would cure all sickness, alleviate poverty and bring about world peace. Heh. Just being a little grandiose. 

All kidding aside, I do find my curly hair pretty. It has been my greatest physical asset, methinks. It's not perfect but it makes me ME. I've always been the girl (okay, I'm too old to be called a girl now) with the big, curly hair. Looking back, I don't really have a dramatic hair history. I sometimes wish I were a tad spunky. I would love to have Little Mermaid-red hair or rainbow highlights. 


The Natural Hair a.k.a Telephone Cord Hair (childhood-2004,  2011-present)


You know those colored contact lenses that make your eyes big and your irises Exorcist-ish? I often wear them. I find pleasure in creeping people out, but I digress. This is my twirly-whirly hair. They're quite springy when not combed. My 'do in the photo above was achieved by applying rich conditioner, avoiding the comb, and twirling the strands with my fingers while air drying. Diffuser does a good job too.  If I want sexy beach curls, I use a wide tooth comb. If I want to look like a poodle, I use a brush  (but I rarely do it because people give me this WTF look and I don't think that's good). 


Long Straight Black Hair a.k.a Morticia Adams Hair  




I eventually got bored with my curly hair. I wanted the shiny, sleek look. I had it rebonded and dyed it jet black few months later. It was cumbersome because I had to spend hours blow drying/ironing it poker straight. It was all the more problematic when my roots started to grow. 



Page Boy Cut a.k.a  Cougar Hair or Old Man Magnet



I went for a drastic short cut just because. Little did I know that it would be hellish to style. It was so unpredictable and high maintenance. It also made me look like a lollipop if I didn't gel it properly. I also received not-so-decent proposals from men old enough to be my grandpa. It was aaaaawkward.


Medium Straight Hair a.k.a.  Cookie Cutter 


 I decided to grow it out come eventually. I looked like the average girly Southeast Asian. At least it was not as complicated as my short crop.


The Fringe a.k.a  Mooncake Face Hair  



I wanted an almost inconspicuous change and decided to get a blunt fringe. I was told it made me look like a mooncake. People also started to talk to me in Japanese, so I played along and started bowing to everyone I met. I also ate practically everything with chopsticks. 

That's my mom, by the way. Isn't she purrty? :)


Wavy Hair (medium to long to medium again)



It was an uneventful, albeit expensive phase. I kept getting my hair straightened, then I would buy hot rollers and curling tongs (I believe I bought about 5. I was on a curling tongs hoarding fever) to make my hair wavy. I knew I was frying my hair but I didn't really mind. Torturing inanimate things is a hobby of mine. I'm cold-blooded like that. 

 Around 2009, I started to grow my natural hair out and constantly wore a bun or pony tail. Mid 2011, I had the bottom thirds of my locks permed to match the rest. I've never been happier. It's good to be back to my roots after all this time. I learned that my wild hair is a part of who I am.


How about you? What is your hair history? Care to share?  I'd love to know. 






August 13, 2012

Is That... a Muffin?!



NOTE: I won't be posting revolting pot-bellied photos of me every week. Only Week 1 and End Results pictures will be published here for comparison.


 I actually don't have photos of muffins, so cupcakes will do.

What you see is a good example of muffin top. My leggings used to fit me perfectly but now... well, you can see for yourself. My gym pants are even worse! They squeeze my fats until my love handles cry for mercy!

I frequently get  "You don't need to lose weight/go to the gym/watch what you eat, you look okay!"  remarks from friends and family (especially family!). Well, these photos speak for themselves. I may not be dangerously overweight but that doesn't mean I should continue abusing my body. I am not getting any younger. My body fat percentage is remarkably high for my size and I don't have enough muscles to help me burn off the excess calories. For a person who never really did any strength training before, I am not very surprised.
 
I started at 55.7 kilograms (I knooow. I lied when I said 55 kgs. I just couldn't accept the fact that I got that heavy without a bun in the oven) and when I weighed myself seven days later, I was 53 kgs. I don't know if I can lose weight as fast as I did on Week 1 but I intend to work hard for it. Perhaps I'll add a couple of extra hours in the gym.







When I was 45 kgs., I looked great. I had a nice petite hourglass figure but that's all there ever was to it. I had the appearance of being trim but I lacked the leanness. Although I didn't wobble or jiggle, I was still quite soft. Only my arms were toned thanks to lugging heavy cameras and makeup traincases around.

So why lose weight instead of trying to gain muscles?

Weight is my priority at the moment. Once I have achieved my target weight, or at least have gotten close to it, that's when I will focus on building muscles (Noooo, I'm not going to be the female dwarfy version of Hulk).


I have every intention of doing it right this time. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.




source: cupcake

August 10, 2012

Battling the Bulge



I started my OMG-I-NEED-TO-GET-MY-OLD-BODY-BACK-ELSE-I'D-GO-PSYCHO fitness plan last week. I must say that Week 1 results are very motivating. I already lost 5 lbs! Yay! And my arms! My arms look somewhat decent now. *happy dance*  I still have pork legs, though. I'm well aware that I won't lose the wobble overnight.

 Most people would say that I'm losing weight too quickly and that it is dangerous --- well, that's me. I shed weight as easily as I gain it, thank goodness. I'm quite certain that a good percentage of the 5 lbs I bade farewell to was just water, but that's a part of it.

Week 1 consisted of:

- counting calories  (I try not to exceed 900 calories, especially when I'm not working out. I would not suggest it, however. What works for me might not work for you. Each and everyone of us is different. )

- measuring/weighing food portions

- 40 minutes of intense interval cardio, 3 times a week

- 20 minutes of weight training, 3 times a week


For the record, I'm not starving myself. You can check out the food diary I posted above. Small servings but healthy. I don't feel hungry despite the limited calorie intake. As I've mentioned in my previous post, I'm a midget tiny. I don't need much food to fuel me. I was built to eat like a hamster (and I did --- for the first 2 ¾ decades of my life at least. I seem to have developed emotional eating habits not too long ago).


I can now look at myself in the mirror without wanting to break everything in sight recoiling in horror (well, not much). ^_^



August 08, 2012

At My Heaviest!


These photos are dated August 2, 2012. I honestly am a little embarrassed to post these --- but I have to so that I can chronicle my weight loss journey. I even pixelated my face because it looks like a very plump chinese pork bun. I don't really feel good about myself these days. 10 kilograms is a lot of weight especially for my frame. Aside from not fitting into my clothes, I look way shorter and stubbier. My nose looks swollen and my cheeks are puffy. I easily run out of breath, my knees often hurt after walking a little, and I sweat profusely. Not pretty, I tell you.

My tiny waist that I have always loved is gone. It went from 22" to 27.5". No wonder I can only wear empire waist dresses these days ( fitted bodice ending just below the bust - wiki). My arms that were always toned are quite lumpy and shapeless now. And my legs! Don't even get me started about my legs!


These pictures were taken July 31st and December 1st last year. Can you see the difference from those I posted above? I looked confident here, didn't I? My recent photos simply ooze awkwardness and discomfort.

On a brighter note, I decided to take action as soon as I realized how much the excess weight disturbed me. I started working out and limited my calorie intake. After almost one week of exertion and counting calories, I'm happy to announce that I managed to lose a few lbs and shaved 2/3 of an inch off my waistline! It's a good start and I'm determined to keep this up. I will definitely post my progress here. :)