The first time I ever received a bouquet was during graduation. The sunflowers instantly boosted my mood and made the day extra special, especially since it came from some of my closest friends. Right then I thought about the powerful effect of flowers. They can heal, bring joy and inspire. I wasn’t a big flower giver, but after that event I became an instant fan.
So far I have ordered get well soon flowers from them, fruit basket delivery for my parents and a few other hampers in their online shop. They also have grand opening flowers, wreaths and hypoallergenic flowers for babies if you’re interested.
Though I have to say, I’m partial to sunflowers, so I often order The Ayla which is like a burst of sunshine. I love the burlap packaging of this bouquet because it just gives it a hip and trendy appeal. I’ve given it to friends and relatives, and they’ve all raved about the freshness and fragrance of the flowers. I got to say, one of the best things about A Better Florist is their lightning-fast flower delivery in Singapore. Within 90 minutes, your order goes from shop to doorstep! This is what makes them the best florist in Singapore.
Situated in a suburb just along the outskirts of town, a stone thrown away from the historical housing estate of Dakota Crescent, lies one of the most secluded cafes in Singapore.
It took a while for Huiqi and I to locate the inconspicuous cafe. We walked through the Old Airport Road Market, the public housings along Pine Lane and Cassia Crescent before reaching coming face to face with a rather run down building facing Guillemard Road.
Although the exterior is not fancy enough to attract any attention from anyone walking past the building, the interior is exquisite. The combination of white, black and brown gives the cafe a touch of minimalism, accentuating the feel of serenity.
Although there are only 6 items available on the weekday menu (yes, we went there on a weekday), it took me a while before I could finally decide on what I wanted to eat that afternoon.
I like how they offer wheat toast because I prefer whole wheat or whole-grain bread over white bread or any kind of bread. More manganese (to build bones), more fibre and higher antioxidant content.
Eventually, I ordered a Smoked Salmon and Avocado on Whole Wheat Toast (15.50 SGD) and a cup of Long Black (4.80 SGD).
On the other hand, Huiqi ordered Grilled Chicken and Avocado on Whole Wheat Toast (14.90 SGD) and a cup of Iced Mocha (6.60 SGD).
I like how they added in chips as a side which I could snack a little while chatting with Huiqi. The bread was a little crispy and the salmon was nicely done – just like how I wanted it to be done.
We took our time chatting about her life in the Home Team and what I’ve been doing so far. It was nice catching up after so long and with the sunlight shimmering through the large window panels in front of us.
Warm-up is considered as one of the important aspects of exercising and probably the most important routine to get your workout started. Despite repeated reminder to warm up before embarking on your exercises or any physical activities, many of us will either choose to take it lightly or not to do it at all.
For someone who just started out on exercising not long ago, I understand the reason behind our reluctance towards warming-up. We either find warm-up a waste of time (I know we are all too eager to sweat it out) or think that the calories burnt during the course of warm-up can be seen as negligible.
I am a very injury-prone person, at least that is the case for the past half of the year. I’ve been doing cardio, gymming and training for half-marathon to the point that there was a period this year when I felt a sharp pain in the ankle of my left leg. The pain came every time I exert a force on it. I continued with my routine nevertheless, telling myself to forgo all the pain.
As many should have guessed it by now, an injury means that my form would be off and every workout that I was doing was not as effective as it ought to be. I eventually had to take a long break to recuperate. It was a month or so before I resumed training.
Now, everyone will say that injury is part-and-parcel of an active person. It’s like the more you drive on the highway, the higher the chances that you might be involved in an accident. *Touchwood*
Warming-up is the answer to injury prevention.
I know that you might have heard a lot about the relations between doing your warm-ups and injury prevention but let me just share with you the science part of it:
1. Increase Flexibility and Injury Prevention
Effective warm-ups can help to increase your body temperature and as well as that of the muscles. A ‘hotter’ muscle would represent a higher blood saturation. High blood saturation plays a part in increasing the elasticity of your muscles, which in turn, beneficial in enhancing the joint range of motion. This will hence prepare the muscles to counter sudden movements in the performance of technical training.
The effectiveness of muscular contractions also depends greatly on your body temperature. An increase in temperature will promote blood flow, increase blood saturation and hence, improve the contractility of your muscles and its capacity for work.
To achieve the full benefits of your warm-up, it is advised to do your stretching exercises immediately after you have warmed up. There is always a misconception to start right away with stretching because you have a higher chance of straining your muscles and damaging your connective tissues when your muscle temperature is relatively low.
2. Reduce Stress on the Heart
If being injury-prone and becoming more flexible do not give you enough reasons to start putting efforts into your warm-ups, this reason alone probably will.
You might have heard how people suffer from heart attacks during their exercises. One reason is due to the fact that they did not warm up enough.
Warming up helps to increase your heart beat slowly, giving your heart enough time to get used to the changes in the heart rate. A sudden increase of heart rate will result in an increase in the stress experienced by the heart, which will result in a heart attack.
When you warm-up gradually, you will also help your blood vessels to dilate and giving more space for blood circulation to occur. A dilated blood vessel will increase the efficiency for blood circulation and therefore decreasing the resistance the heart experienced to push the blood around the body.
Personally, I’ve experienced the wonder warm-ups can do to your routine. Every time after a warm-up, I felt extremely pumped up and that gave me the motivation to go for an extra rep during gym or an additional kilometre for my runs.
Of course, any element that involves psychology has a different effect on different people. Some people, like me, tend to perform better with a warm-up, while others can just do as well without it. A review by Bill and Geoff Tancred stated that this could be due to some individuals ‘feeling hesitant or even afraid to perform maximally without warming-up’.
There could have been some truth in there, yet there is more to that.
When you embark on an exercise, your brain will release two kinds of hormones: adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine. These two hormones will increase your heart rate and, at the same time, allow more blood to flow into your muscles.
Together with the increase in the muscle temperature, which acts as a catalyst in lowering the activation energy for essential metabolic chemical reactions to occur in the body, will help your muscle to perform at an elevated level, enhancing your performance as a whole.
In addition, if you are involved in a competition or race, a warm-up prior to the actual event will be beneficial. You can make use of the duration of the warm-up to concentrate, which can help to discharge or increase aggression.
It is important to take note that the benefits of warm-up will be reduced and lost once the body returns to its resting states of heart rate, respiration and, body temperature.
I will share more about the different kinds of warm-up you can do in my subsequent article!
This is one of the most bizarre stories I would be writing this year, probably in the history of my life as well.
This could also be one of the most successful surprises ever pulled off on me since people started celebrating my birthday half a decade ago.
Saturday, 2 September 2017.
Junwei, my ever so trusted confidant, managed to get me out of my shambles. I haven’t had a chance to head out to town with a friend ever since I was mentally plagued by some personal issues.
The only times when I was out of my house were when I had errands to run or I had a run to go. I didn’t feel like going anywhere else or meeting anyone else apart from the usual few.
Junwei wasn’t being a usual self. I didn’t realise the abnormalities even when he reminded me about our meet-up 5 days before.
“Eh reminder, sept 2 go out.” “Scared later like last time you forget.” “LOL.”
“Ok hahaha.” “Why do you sound like Elyssa?”
He had never reminded me about any meet-up over the course of our friendship.
To add on to the list of atypical behaviour he possessed, he never tried securing my schedule weeks in advance. Our meet-up are mostly impromptu. It was more of like asking each other out for dinner an hour before and praying that the other party is available.
Probably I was a little too occupied to even surmise any aberrations.
He said he wanted to go to the Kinokuniya outlet at Ngee Ann City. We browsed through some books before making dropping by Bras Basah Complex to browse through more books.
Nearing sunset, we hopped onto the train which transported us down to Chinatown.
“Actually, why do you want to go Chinatown?” I was a little caught by surprise when he initially suggested on going to the ethnic enclave.
“To get clothes.”
“Who the hell go to Chinatown for clothes?” That was the first time I heard anyone shopping for clothes in the cultural suburb. It makes more sense if it was during the Chinese New Year’s festive season when a bazaar was going on.
I continued to complain about how full I was from my lunch and how my stomach felt more bloated as the time went past. I don’t know what’s wrong with my stomach but all I recalled was that I didn’t have a heavy meal that afternoon.
On the other hand, Junwei was on the other side of the hunger spectrum. He was already hungry by the time we arrived at Chinatown.
I had asked him earlier on while we were at Orchard about what we would be having for dinner. He proposed on settling it over at a KBBQ outlet in Chinatown.
I am ready for a feast of meat. That’s what I was thinking the moment he voiced out his cravings.
Looks like I was a little wrong about how my appetite would be when he said that we are going for dinner once we stepped out of the station. Nevertheless, I complied. We went circles around Chinatown in search for a KBBQ restaurant that his friends had recommended. We got lost, turned on the navigator from Google Maps and got to our destination eventually.
We should be glad that Singapore does not have a large plot of land mass to begin with. If not it would have been a good workout before a scrumptious meal.
We arrived at Wang Dae Bak restaurant.
“Room 3.” Junwei told the waiter as he was being approached.
“Since when did you make a reservation,” I followed closely behind him, feeling kind of puzzled. We never have the habit of making a reservation at a restaurant. Besides, we only decided on having dinner just an hour before we met up.
“My friend said it’ll be crowded,” he convinced me.
I didn’t ponder much and followed him and the waiter in.
We walked past a row of private rooms which caught my eye. It looks like a scene out of an epic Korean War movie.
I was engrossed with the old-school interior that I almost didn’t realise that I was so close to losing the sight of those two ahead. I quickened my steps and we came face-to-face with a sliding door that looks like it is made of hanji material.
Someone slided the door open, revealing some familiar faces in there.
The first two persons I saw were Justinn and Sheri. It was not long before I realised the presence of Elyssa, Stefanie and Ashley.
Before I could process what was happening, a chorus erupted in what was supposed to be a serene dining place.
Anyone could see how shellshocked I was. People were singing birthday song as Junwei and I made our entrances into the room. There was no reason for them to be celebrating any birthday at this point of the year. At least from what I know, neither of our birthdays lie during the late Aug/September period.
Everything felt so preposterous.
Everyone looked at my direction whilst Junwei rushed to the nearest seat, as if sending the message to the rest that his job was finally done.
That was the earliest birthday celebration I’ve ever had in my life. And if you are wondering how early this celebration was, I was only 20 years 10 months and 10 days old on that day.
The video showed how stunned I was – and I remained that way throughout the rest of the night. In fact, I still felt how everything was so surreal at this point of writing. I didn’t see it coming but as I pieced all the abnormalities in Junwei’s behaviour up to the point, it makes sense after all.
I was presented with a cute panda, which I felt it kinds of resembles me because of the dark eye circles, and a present which I shall not unveil just yet.
Once we settled down (okay, not really the case for me because I was still recovering from the shock that they had given me), we turned our attention to the food that was being laid out so nicely on the dining table.
Photos & More Photos
After we finished our food, Elyssa suggested that we take some kind of burst mode photos. She wanted to duplicate those neo-print/polaroids-like photos tourists took when they visit some sort of carnival.
The quality of the photos came out to be nothing less than perfect. It looked as if we’ve just gone for a day out to Seoul.
Stef and I ran out of pose before Justinn prompted from the side to do a ‘throwback’ pose. I was immediately reminded of the photo we took when we were helping our school’s Red Cross unit with their skit performance in 2009.
One conclusion: We all grew up well.
I just realised I had forgotten to take a photo with Stef and Ashley together. It’s okay, there were be more chances for us three to take photo together(although I might feel as bright as a light bulb but well…)
We looked like we are about to release an ‘album of the year’.
Because it was the first two times that I was surprised on my birthday, I remembered those moments very clearly.
Two years ago, Pedoro almost made my heart stopped while I was ‘attacked’ on the way home after a shoot. That was the third time I felt the surprise element for my birthday.
Those were the three times when my friends successfully surprised me.
This time round, as I head towards my 21st year, I was given another shock of the lifetime. The difference between this and the previous few times was on the timing. You won’t get many chances to celebrate your birthday two months in advance.
“Do you feel touched?” Elyssa asked me after the celebration.
I was lost for words. My mind was blank and I had no idea how I should react. That remained the case for the entire night. Eventually, I start to get hold of what had happened to me.
Yes, I felt touched. And it will take a while before the feeling subside.
Thank you guys for making sure that I get to celebrate my 21st birthday with you guys before I enlist into the military.
Thank you – especially Elyssa, Stef and Sheri – for planning this since July. That’s like 3-4 months ahead of my actual birthday.
Thank you Junwei for coordinating with the girls and making sure I fell for the plan.
Thank you Ashley and Justinn for being there for the celebration.
I know I can’t thank you guys enough with just these few words, but I am deeply moved by the efforts you guys had put in to ensure this was a success. I think judging by my reaction, it showed how well your plans had been executed.
PS: I would also want to thank the staffs over at Wang Dae Bak’s China Square Centre outlet for almost getting your crews to come in with the birthday cake and singing the birthday song together with us. Thank you for your patience when we requested for photo taking and helping us with the taking of photos. Absolute class in customer service from Wang Dae Bak.
I have been immersing into the world of design and brand marketing over the past few months. Looking through sites like Behance, Awwwards and Pinterest, I came out with the eventual idea that brand marketing plays a very significant role in a brand.
Not say that my blog is very well-received or that my previous few rebrandings of the site have an up-to-expectation effect. Those who knew me from my earliest try at blogging might remember XMY, EdBlog.sg, EdBlog III: Voices of Hearts and @EddyChua (actually I’ve forgotten most of it until I dig the archive out from blogger and Webs.com). The sad thing is none of these blogs survived the test of time. Apart from branding and packaging of the entire site, content is equally important as well.
The sad thing is none of these blogs survived the test of time. I’ve either stopped writing or did some sort of rebranding before abandoning it one last time for good.
This time, it is different.
I did not change the domain, neither did I change the name of the blog (I am still shamelessly using my name for the blog). What I did this time is to ditch Blogger for WordPress. You will understand why after reading this article.
For those who have been visiting my blog since June will realise that its interface has been changing. I’ve been trying out different kinds of design in order to find out which style and graphical design suits my blog the most.
After months of experiment, I am proud of officially unveil the brand new identity of this blog:
Apart from branding and packaging of the entire site, content is equally important as well. It took me time to realise that I need to have a niche for my blog if I want to go far with it.
Ever since I started my fitness journey since the start of the year, I’ve found an interest talking about health, nutrition and fitness. Hence I decided, this blog will be about health and fitness.
However, I still will not forget about the reason why I started out blogging. I wanted to jot down all the beautiful memories of my life through words, photos and videos. Having a niche doesn’t mean I have to compromise on all these memories. I will still continue to blog about my personal life under a brand new category I set aside within this blog: the personal category.
To enhance the content a little, I also included the lifestyle category where from time to time, I’ll be writing about those very lifestyle things like Life Hacks and even reviews on movies, events or food.
Health and fitness topics will still form the main part of this site that means recipes and fitness hacks are coming your way!
Well, I ain’t fitness guru but I am also starting out on this journey together with most of you so let’s share our knowledge with each other! If you would like to submit your article, you can do so via this medium I’ve set up! And if you would like to discuss about what I’ve wrote, do feel free to comment on the Facebook comment section below every article.
Since I will be posting links to my blogs to social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, I find it would be nice if I have a template. The template will contain a relevant photo, scaled to the correct size according to the respective dimensions different social media sites possessed.
To give it a more aesthetical and informative look, the template will also contain the title of the post. This will, and I hope, interest potential readers to click on the link because they would have an idea of what to expect.
Watermark is important, especially to photographers.
Although my photos ain’t fantastic, I am still proud of my own work and want to protect my creative rights.