Sunday, August 30, 2015

Justice League Run Sg 2015

Another Sunday morning once again spent waking up at 6am to get ready for another organised run. This time it's the Justice League Run. Hubs sprang this run on me a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, hubs forgot that I'm no longer the 50kg woman he met decades ago. He ordered a size 'M' shirt for me which is a little small around the shoulders for this mama of two.

This run is a fun run, at Sentosa, my least favourite place to run. Getting there is a pain. We took a taxi and due to the driver making a few circles, I left the taxi with a bit of vertigo. I rarely have vertigo so the taxi driver must be really terrible.

This is the race route. It's a 5km fun run. You know what that means? Walkers, prams and kids.

I went as Wonder Woman.

By the way, can Wonder Woman fly? I was a little envious of Superman's costume as it came with a cape.

Majority of the participants came dressed in the Justice League tops. (The superman in the middle is a cosplayer)

See the other cosplayers on the platform? Some look quite spectacular. I did see a very puny and short superman.

Hubs went as Green Lantern. I was hoping he would wear the eye mask but he didn't.

Unlike us, some participants made some effort to jazz up their outfits. I didn't understand the tutus though. I saw more than one tutu.

The run was crowded as expected. Everyone jostled for space. But the weather was good (unlike the Hello Kitty run which poured) so that immediately made everything better. I hated the upslopes and there were a few. I stupidly ran up the first slope and on top, my legs nearly died. So I walked up all the slopes after that. Once we were on flat ground, I felt a lot more comfortable.

Hubs ran ahead of me because I'm a much slower runner. He was at the last 1km when he spotted me running in the opposite direction. Why do I look so crazy when I run?

I remembered to take a pic of the FINISH. The end of a race is always anti-climatic. Like you cross the finish line and it's over. There isn't a bigger effort to cheer the participants in the last few metres. Compared to the start of a race, there's so much energy and noise...

My timing according to my app is 42 min which is roughly how long it takes me to run 5km.

We were given some sweets desserts.

I was hoping for a banana but I got this canned fruit in sweet syrup. And no spoon. So I ate the fruits like a superhero. I used my fingers.

Hubs was totally drenched after the run.

I looked like I just got out of the shower.

I hope hubs lets me sleep in next Sunday.

p.s. read hubs' take on the run here.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Weigh In Friday - Worked My Butt Off

Hello people,

My daughter informed me it's depressing to read my blog nowadays because all I talk about is my on-going saga of food sensitivity, bloating and headaches. I'm going to listen to my daughter and avoid any mention of illness, ailment or food related issues on my posts from now on. Except on my Friday's posts. So if you don't want to get depressed, just don't read my Friday posts. Deal?

First up, I want to say I've felt really good this week. I attribute it to 2 things: the probiotics I had been taking and making good food choices. The doctor only gave me 1 week's worth of probiotics so I hope the good effects stay. I still get a small amount of bloating but no headaches. The last time I had a headache was last Saturday. In my demented mind, I decided that Korean Fried Chicken could cure me. So when hubs brought home his Chicken-Up leftovers, I ate two wings.

Because the wings had been kept in the fridge overnight, they no longer tasted good. In fact, I didn't enjoy it at all. But I have abstained from fried chicken for so long, I just ate it. I am a weak person. My stomach informed me that it hated Chicken-Up fried chicken. I got sick as a dog. Huge thundering headache and so much wind I thought I would burst. It took me 6 hours to get rid of the wind and headache.

Apart from fried chicken, I also discovered 2 more items gave me excessive wind. The first one is leek. I have never bought leek in my life but nowadays I'm so garang. It seems, for me at least, leek produces huge amount of wind. So no good. Another thing which is a complete surprise to me is my Sensodyne mouth gargle. wtf? I gargle. I get wind. So weird, right? I've never used this brand of mouth gargle before and I started using this just about the same time I got this condition... Is it possible this is the trigger? Anyway, I'll never know. Whatever, the condition is triggered. Not using the gargle doesn't solve the problem. And yep, I'm never using mouth gargle again.

But other than fried chicken and leek, I made very good food choices. Most of the time I cook my own food because I find that's easier than looking for safe food outside. This week I ate out a number of times and to my delight, I got away without headaches.

I thought I might have some issues with this chicken soup (Tokyo Stew from Soup Spoon) as it looked oily but I had no problems. I did exercise some self-control and only drank 1/3 of the soup.

The doctor said I wasn't supposed to take spicy food but I ignored her advice and ate curry chicken at Curry Times. I love curry chicken but most places cook it with coconut milk which I am not allowed to eat because coconut milk kills me. Curry Times is the only restaurant that I know of that does not use coconut milk. And I had no problems after eating. In fact, I think my stomach loves curry. Don't worry, I'm a changed person now. I won't eat curry chicken every day.

This salmon meal from Lena's is a safe choice because my stomach loves fish. I did avoid the cream.

By the way, I can eat potatoes! I can eat potatoes! In my past life, I seldom eat potatoes other than french fries and sometimes mashed potatoes. I was more of a rice/noodles/bread kind of person. Now suddenly potatoes look very attractive to me. Being able to eat potatoes has opened up more food choices for me when I go out to eat. One of the things hubs and I used to do a lot before my food issues was go out and eat at different restaurants. Now that I can venture out and eat at a selected number of places, I'm starting to feel like a human being again.

Oh, you know what I did once I knew I could eat potatoes? I went out and looked for potato chips. I found this organic, lactose free, gluten free hand cooked potato chips which cost just under $3. I haven't tried it yet but I know it's going to taste delicious.

This week I tried a new oat drink. There's an organic store 5 min from my home and it stocks Oat-ly. For breakfast, I like to rotate a few safe food so I don't get sick of them. I have oatmeal porridge, rye crispbread with jam and oat milk with kamut cereal. Oat-ly doesn't seem to go well with my kamut cereal. It's almost like eating cereal with water. However, on its own, Oatly tastes fantastic. There is a chocolate version which I will definitely buy on my next trip.

With all that tasty food going into my stomach, I knew I couldn't lose any more weight without working for it. So this week I worked my butt off. I walked and walked. Especially after dinner. Where I live, there aren't many places to walk to. So it's been quite boring but I kept up my walk. I went for my run 3 times. I did my Pilates and I made sure I didn't overeat.
This morning I weighed myself and was rewarded with my new weight. 58kg.

Last Friday, I weighed 58.8kg. This means I have lost 800 grams this week and a grand total of 5kg since 21st July 2015.

28th Aug 2015 - 58kg
21st Aug 2015 - 58.8kg
14th Aug 2015 - 58.9kg
7th Aug 2015 - 59.9kg
21st July 2015 - 63kg

This 800g loss was hard earned. I need to lose 1 more kg to reach my target weight. I predict it's going to take a while to lose that last 1 kg. Next week I hope to maintain my weight. I won't lose any sleep if I put on a few hundred grams. It's bound to happen. I shall keep up my exercises, eat a normal healthy diet, indulge in one or two treats and absolutely stay away from Korean Fried Chicken.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pattern Shop Updates

Hi guys,

If you buy my bag patterns, I have a few updates for you.

Firstly, I've decided to lower the price for my Messenger Bag. I designed this pattern as a learning bag for a beginner transitioning to a larger and more complex bag. This pattern was published in 2012. Unfortunately sales has never been good and it's been almost 3 years. I've thought about it and decided I will slash the price permanently from US$10 to US$6. I have updated my Etsy, Craftsy and other stores with the new price.

This news affects you only if you reside in a EU country. Etsy now collects EU VAT for digital sales if the buyer resides in a EU country. This means that on top of the selling price of my pattern, you have to pay the prevailing EU VAT rate of your country. This VAT doesn't go to Etsy or me. It eventually makes its way to the EU VAT tax collector of the customer's country. I get customers from EU countries once in a while. Most of my customers are from US, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

Even though I don't have a large EU customer base, I would like to encourage them to buy from me. I have thought about how I can get EU customers to pay the same price as my other customers from US, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

Anyway, my solution is this. I have set up my Payhip store such that I pay all EU VAT out of my own pocket. The catch? My Payhip store is very slow to load. However it is a low maintenance site for me. I only pay a fee when I sell anything. So I think I can afford to sponsor the EU VAT. The shop has a shopping cart so you can buy more than one pattern at a time.

To encourage you guys to give this slow tortoise Payhip shop a try, I have created a special coupon for you - ILOVEU25 which gives you a 25% discount storewide valid till 31st August 2015. Apply coupon code only at Checkout. Click here:
If the site takes too long to load, just click refresh. And yes, in case you're wondering, anyone can use this coupon, whichever country you live in!

This is a small rant as a Etsy seller. When Etsy announced that it would collect and remit EU VAT for EU customers, I was one happy bird because it meant I didn't have to do the work. However, since implementation, I have noticed that Etsy is doing it in a way that makes me shortchanged.
Say I sell my lunchtime pouch pattern to a UK customer.
Price : $6
VAT at 20% for UK: $1.20
Total: $7.20

Rightfully, I should only receive $6. However, Etsy has chosen to do it this way instead. It treats the transaction as $7.20 instead of $6. Because of that Paypal charges me 62 cents fee instead of 56 cents fee. So I end up forking over an additional 6 cents to Paypal. At the end of the month, Etsy collects from me my fees plus the EU VAT I have received.

You may think 6 cents is nothing but it adds up. Plus it's wrong that I should be penalised because my customer resides in a EU country. Hopefully this problem gets rectified.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Weigh In Friday - Eyes Wide Open

I'm into my 6th week since my gastritis happened. My doctor has "upgraded" my condition to IBS - irritable bowel syndrome. It means nothing. It just shows she still doesn't have a clue how to treat me. It also says that we have wasted the last 4 weeks having me on gastritis medication which could have potentially made me worse.

Sigh. I'm now on a potent dose of good bacteria to restore my gut and flatugas gel to tackle the wind. The flatugas gel tastes horrible. So far these new medical experimentation (on me) hasn't worked. I read that for good bacteria, it takes a while to build up so I'm going to give it time. My doctor doesn't sound very competent. So why do I still continue seeing her? I do ask myself the same question. Especially when the clinic staff lost my medical records on my last visit. It's like POOF - my entire stack of history disappeared. Not one word of apology. Just the same insistence : It's there. It's there. I put it THERE. Yet no one can find it.

But I don't want to start from scratch with another doctor and be another doctor's guinnea pig. At least with Dr TingTing, she has already experimented with me and knows what don't work. I'm determined to stay with her while she works her way from one organ to another. Plus she sees me as a human being and at this point, I feel I need a little humanity. I know that when she finally surrenders on my case, she will find me someone smarter and very likely much much more expensive to treat me.

Meanwhile I alternate between feeling hopeful and hopeless. When will this torture end? Is this going to be my life from now on? Is this my new normal? When I think about it, I feel so upset yet what's the point of getting upset. It doesn't help the situation. Somewhere this week while wallowing in some self-pity, I had a change of mindset. I decided to see my shitty bowel/gut/gastritis situation as a "when one door closes, another opens" kind of situation.

Firstly, I should enjoy my weight loss - a fortunate side-effect of my gastritis/ibs. After all, I tried many times and I couldn't even lose a single kg. I have plenty of clothes I haven't been able to wear due to an expanding waistline. I should dig them out and wear them while I can squeeze into them. You never know, one of these days I'm going to mysteriously recover and I'm going to gain back all my weight. Secondly, I have the opportunity to eat healthy. My stomach absolutely hates oily food and punishes me immediately if I don't listen. I have to take small meals as well. So no more eating till I want to burst. My stomach also hates rice, noodles and bread. Bread has always been my biggest weakness in the past. In a way, it's great that I can't eat all the bread in the world. For someone like me with little self control, maybe this is the only way to get me to cut down on carbs. I eat fruits and vegetables every day. In the past I wasn't as vigilant. Some fruits and vegetables give me a little problem so I have to constantly try to see what my stomach likes. That gets me to eat a variety of fruits. This experience with my food sensitivity might just end up helping me make better food choices.

This morning I weighed myself and my weight is 58.8kg.

Last Friday I weighed 58.9kg. This means I have lost 100g since last Friday and a grand total of 4kg 200g since 21st July this year.

21st Aug 2015 - 58.8kg
14th Aug 2015 - 58.9kg
7th Aug 2015 - 59.9kg
21st July 2015 - 63kg

I expected my weight to stay the same this week although secretly I had hoped to lose a lot more weight. But I knew it wasn't going to happen because this week I managed to increase my food intake successfully. Also I ate more sweet stuff so I need to watch out. If I hope to lose any more weight, I need to exercise more and cut down the sweets.

Speaking of exercise, this week I was able to achieve at least 8,000 steps continuously from Monday to Thursday. Today I will try my darnest to keep the streak going. I managed to go for one 5km run but I don't see myself running regularly as the stupid haze is back.

I'm constantly on the search for alternative food. This time I tried quinoa milk with kamut cereal. Quinoa milk tastes like crap. It's like drinking detergent, I imagine. I don't think I can ever get used to the taste so this doesn't work for me.

I bought this rye crispbread at the organic section of a supermarket. It looks horrible, doesn't it? The taste is quite lovely especially when you eat it with jam. I can see myself eating this even after I've recovered.

I've noticed my stomach likes food I buy at the organic section. They cost way more than regular food so that's a bit of a concern. Since I could tolerate rye crispbread, I thought I could try freshly made rye bread. See how I'm still trying to find a bread I can eat? I never give up huh? I tried looking for rye bread where I live and it seems every bakery here only sells white bread, multigrain bread or wholemeal bread. Rye doesn't exist. Where are you, rye bread?

Being constantly on the search for food I could eat has opened my eyes to the kind of food that's available here. At supermarkets, I noticed most food are laden with sugar or salt. A lot of flavouring aren't even from natural products. Is that acceptable? Like if you see an image of grapes on a carton of juice, you expect real grapes? I've been reading the labels and most times, it's an artificial flavour. At food courts, try and get a meal without rice or noodles. That's almost impossible. The only healthy food I can find so far is yong tau foo or sliced fish soup and that's because you're allowed to opt out of the carbo.

Next week, my goal is to lose a few more grams, like 800grams. That or at least an amount that's more that what my poop weighs. If I can do that while eating a regular amount of food, that will be great. Plus toning exercises for my tummy.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Beadweaving bug

For the past 2 weeks, I've been bitten by the beadweaving bug. Lately I've found it quite hard to think. I know it sounds funny to say I can't think but I can't get into any projects that require me to calculate, plan, strategize, organize or require critical analysis. That's why I've (temporarily) abandoned my bag pattern. I'll be honest with you. It's getting really hard handling my food sensitivity issues. I don't know what I can eat anymore and the hunger really gets to me. How do I keep staying positive and lead a normal life? To keep myself sane (and also to stop myself from thinking), I worked on a few beading projects. Beadweaving is very repetitive and it's only harder the first few rounds.

I started with my favourite spiral stitch necklace and bracelets. Spiral stitch projects are really easy. Check out this tute if you're interested in trying it out.

These are the supplies I used. I bought these beads either last year or the year before but they were misplaced in a brown envelope. My core (the inner beads) are the black beads. They aren't really black, I just don't know how to describe the colour. The spirals are made using 2 red beads with a drop bead in between.

I find the drop beads incredibly sexy. Yes, sexy. Have I been hanging around beads way too much?

I managed to use up all my red beads! It's quite a feat. I hardly ever use up all my beads. The necklace is a nice average length.

I love the colour combo. I can see myself wearing the bracelet and necklace many times.

Sadly for my next project I had to do a little bit of thinking. This bracelet was made using a technique called RAW - right angle weave. This technique is new to me and as you know I'm always interested to improve my knowledge of beadweaving techniques. I read up on it a little and it's not really difficult. This video gives you an idea how to do a basic RAW necklace.

Overall for a first effort, I'm quite happy with the result. However, I will never use seed beads to make another RAW bracelet. I read that bicones work much better. I made the bracelet too short and had to use an extension chain. Luckily Tiba had given me a bunch of extension chains.

A few years ago, I made a simple flat even count peyote bracelet. (bottom bracelet above) I made it mainly as a exercise to understand peyote stitch. It is a very sweet and simple bracelet. As it turned out, I wore the bracelet many times. It seems to go with everything I wore. I had been thinking of making another similar bracelet but this time using odd count peyote technique. Some people find odd count peyote hard because they don't know how to weave the thread. Here's a pretty good video explaining 3 different ways to do it. But know that there are other ways to do it as well.

I have these blue and mixed colours delicas I've been dying to get rid of. I made this bracelet the lazy way. I did not make a chart and plan it all out properly. (remember, no thinking) I just figured it out as I went along. The pattern is really simple so it wasn't hard. If I had made the effort to chart it out, I would have put a red delica in between each hexagon. I didn't manage to use up all my blue delicas but I came very close. I still have a million of the mixed colours delicas.

Hey, they look good together! I'm taking a break from beadweaving as I don't want to overwork the same muscles. What should I do next to stop thinking about food? Maybe bead embroidery.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Weigh In Friday - Which part of me has lost the fats?

Yep, I still have gastristis and still have to avoid most food humans eat. This week, I tried to vary my diet a little as I got totally sick of eating very bland food. John West's tuna and Kallo rice cakes seem to agree with my stomach so I've had them twice this week. The rice cakes taste like cardboard! When will my stomach allow me to eat rice, noodles and bread again?

I missed having cereal for breakfast so I had puffed kamut with oatmilk. I got a little bloating afterwards but it was worth it. I used to snack on puffed kamuts in my previous life!

This week I also tried eating more for lunch but it hasn't been smooth sailing. My stomach still likes small meals and every time I eat more, the excessive bloating feels too overwhelming. The good news is I don't get as many headaches. Outside food is still a big problem. Yesterday I ventured out to eat. All I had was a bowl of chicken soup and I only had 1/4 of the soup and some of the chicken. Maybe it was too oily. Whatever. It's always a mystery to me. I suffered from bloating and a big fat headache for hours. It wasn't even delicious.

Enough about my food struggles. Remember in this post I threatened to weigh myself every Friday and announce it to the whole world? Well I'm carrying out that threat.

This morning I weighed myself and I weigh 58.9kg.

Last Friday I weighed 59.9kg. This means I have lost 1kg since last Friday and a grand total of 4kg 100g since 21st July this year.

14th Aug 2015 - 58.9kg
7th Aug 2015 -   59.9kg
21st July 2015 -  63kg

I've decided to use this bottle instead of a jar to keep the marbles representing my weight loss because it's just the right size to fill up to the total amount of weight I want to lose. 10 more marbles go in today. Hopefully I never have to take out any of the marbles.

I've been busy examining myself to find out where my weight loss is most noticeable.
1. My wrists. Of all places! I already have thin wrists so I would appreciate if they don't get thinner.
2. My shoulders. Again, this is an area I don't wish to lose weight.
3. My chest. Here I have a dilemma. I want to keep the boobs but lose the fats especially at the side. When I wear my bra, I don't like to see fats bulging out of my bra straps. This is why I avoid wearing thin t-shirts. I'm happy to report that the fats at the side has decreased a little. I may have sacrificed a bit of boobs too.
4. My tummy. I have a huge tummy. I think most women do! It's like I'm carrying a layer of fats around. I have lost a little in this area but it's not enough. I think some toning exercises is required.
5. My butt. I kinda "feel" there's some fats lost. I'm actually happy with my butt and don't want them to be too thin as I think a fleshy butt looks nicer in jeans and shorts.
6. My thighs don't seem to have lost any weight at all. I've always had fat thighs even when I was thin.

By the way, hubs don't seem to have noticed my weight loss. He said I look the same!!!!!!!

My fitness this week was low. I only attempted to run once and after getting all dressed, I went downstairs and it started raining. But I made up for it with a lot of walking. I wasn't very consistent with my Pilates either so I need to keep to a routine.

Next week I hope to maintain this weight. My focus though is on having a healthier diet without bloating and headaches. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I'm taking my phone for a walk

One of my strategies for keeping fit is walking 8,000 steps a day. I'm a pretty lazy person and could spend the whole day lazing around. Apart from walking to the supermarket, I don't go anywhere else. Having a way to keep track of the number of steps I take a day is really useful to a lazy bum like me. I use this free Runtastic app and it calculates the number of steps I take on a daily basis.

Here is my stats for today. As you can see, it's evening and I haven't achieved my 8,000 steps. A trip to the supermarket only chalks up 1,500 steps or so. Today I went to the library, the supermarket and walked around my estate 3 times and I only managed to reach 3,729 steps. Later after dinner, I will make sure I walk some more to get my 8,000 steps.

I don't beat myself up when I don't achieve 8,000 steps. But I try very hard to reach the goal every day. So far I haven't succeeded every day. But I keep trying.

What do you do to keep fit?

 Update: Woo hoo! I went for a walk after dinner and I exceeded my goal for today.

A good song to listen to while you walk? I'm Gonna Be (500 miles) by The Proclaimers. (here)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Birthday Gals

Guess whose birthday it is?

Do you know that Singapore used to be part of Malaysia? It was only for a short period from 16 Sep 1963. On 9 August 1965, Singapore was booted out of Malaysia.

And that was how August 9 became Singapore's National Day. Oh, Singapore turns 50 today. I am 51 so that means I'm 1 year older than Singapore. I've always wished my mother had given birth to me 1 year later so I could say I'm as old as Singapore. But my mother didn't have the foresight.

It being 50 years of independence, for most of the year, Singapore has been in a state of semi-celebration celebrating anything remotely connected to 50 years of Singapore. The President even gave us 1 extra day of public holiday on Friday so that this weekend is a long one for everyone. Every year on August 9, there is a National Day Parade and the audience attending the live show are given a fun pack of goodies. This year, it being SG50, the organisers wanted every Singaporean and PR household to get a funpack except there are fewer contents.

I got my funpack in July. You don't get to pick and what you get is based on your luck. There are 50 different designs of totebags and this was mine. It's not too bad. Some of the others were pretty hideous.

Here are the contents. You know what? I really appreciate the gesture and the effort of the volunteers packing the funpack for everyone. But I was really disappointed with what I got - 3 flags, a balloon in a plastic thingy, stickers, some vouchers, snacks, games, erasers, water and some sponsored items. After all the hype, it was a letdown.

These are the snacks we got.

New Water - no surprise.

Pick up stitcks.

Detergent and coffee? So random.

Singa figurine. Singapore means Lion City in case you don't know. This is the only item I like.

Every year my mother celebrates her birthday close to National Day. I don't know when's her exact birthdate since she uses the Chinese calendar so it doesn't tally with our calendar. Yesterday my extended family went out for dinner to celebrate her special day.

Here's me and mom. My mother has this standard thing she says whenever someone takes a pic of her: "My hair isn't nice."

We didn't take many photos but here's one of me and my sisters with mom and my little grand niece. I think I have a total of 8 grand nieces and nephews.

Want to know what we ate?

Birthday buns. Inside is lotus paste. I didn't eat these because I avoid anything made from rice.

Duck skin wrapped in crepe. I only ate the duck skin and gave the crepe to hubs.

Soup. I don't know what kind it is but there's crab meat, some yolk and other stuff inside. Quite good.

Prawns with asparagus. I love this dish, especially the asparagus.

Steamed fish with garlic. This was awesome. I eat a lot of fish nowadays and I wish I can make my fish as tasty.

Pork belly. I only have a small amount because I'm not a fan of pork. Hubs ate a ton.

Beancurd with mushrooms and vegetables. I only ate the mushrooms and vegetables. I don't eat beancurd. My mother probably forced me to eat a lot of beancurd when I was young.

Dessert - something sweet and sour. I only ate the non-sour stuff.

There was the obligatory noodles with duck meat too but I had to skip that on account of the noodles. No noodles for Jane!

It was really nice to see my family again and I didn't get any headaches at all!
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