SPOILER ALERT: The Apartment: Design Your Destiny - Episode 1



And with that, our journey ended just as it was beginning.

We ain't sad! Of course, it was disappointing (and slightly embarrassing) to be the first ones out. But we had so much fun in the one week we were on the show, and learned SO MUCH. I just know we could've learned more and improved if we could stay longer, but we're completely okay with the way things worked out. As Azaria says, "It was a great experience, and I hope I made my family and friends proud."

Painting was a complete pain in the butt
Lack of a closet aside (hahaha, I still laugh when I think about that!), we are actually very proud of our bedroom. We had a vision that was different (no purple anywhere to be seen) and we put in our personal touches on various items in the room. We also kept to our budget (which seemed to have been both a good and bad thing), so the bargain-hunting side of me was pretty excited about that. Trivia time: The frames that we used on the wall above our bed and on the staggered shelves cost only RM5 each!

The things we would've done differently, if we had a do-over:

Those freakin' curtains. Do not like!
  1. Buy a closet.
  2. Make our own curtains. I hate the curtains we bought with every fiber of my being!
  3. Buy bedside tables.
  4. Buy a closet.

I didn't realize how difficult the show was going to be. I'm no stranger to challenges, obviously. But I completely underestimated how much work had to go into the assignment - especially when it came to painting the walls! If I never paint another wall in my life, I would be quite happy!

Staining the staggered shelves
I also didn't consider the effect that being away from my sons would end up having on my performance. I was not allowed to speak to or see them the entire time that I was gone, which was incredibly difficult for me. Once, Jen made the mistake of asking me if I missed the boys, and I just started bawling, hahaha. Poor girl didn't know what to do.

Look at me just barely containing my excitement
upon seeing Laurence for the first time. No shame, no shame.
One unforgettable thing about the entire experience, however, was meeting the judges. I was completely, unabashedly, star-struck. And let me tell you, that Laurence is a man after my own heart! He gets a lot of flak for appearing unfair or mean, but he's just keeping it real, and I have to say that it's a quality I hugely admire in anyone. And I stand by what I said - he's a sexy male Mary Poppins whom I would gladly have as a "manny" to my boys. Laurence, if you're ever looking for alternate employment, you know who to call!

Photo Credit: The Apartment FB Page
I miss the other contestants, but I am super psyched to see what else they end up doing this season. I have my eye on one or two pairs that I think can definitely make it to the end. How about you? Any favorites so far?

Phil & Iva (last year's winners) totally made me smile with their comments about our room!

Glam Mama will continue writing about each episode this season. Keep checking back if you want the lowdown on The Apartment: Design Your Destiny - this includes backstage goss, reviews, and a bunch of exclusive content!

NTV7 Press Conference for The Apartment

Photo credit: @ntv7 on Instagram
I was kindly invited to the NTV7 Press Conference for The Apartment yesterday, and it turned out to be a fantastic way to spend my Friday evening! I arrived at Sri Pentas too early (as usual), so not many people were actually there. It did, however, allow me to nosily investigate the area...and see the title sequence for the first time! (No, I can't show it here, sorry!)

That's Yennie and I...look at me
all prim and proper, LOL.
Arriving early allowed me to make some new friends and get some interviews done, so that was nice. I even got a nice chat in with Yennie from AkzoNobel, talking about PR and the challenges of practicing PR versus teaching it (I do not really miss practicing it, haha).

I love the "apartment" set up on-stage!

I was glad when the press conference finally did get underway at around 3.30pm, if only because I got to see Jonathan Putra in action ;)

The guests of honor included Riaz Mehta and Nicola McGregor from the Imagine Group (the folks who produce The Apartment); Emilya Abdul Rahim, Brand Manager of Special Projects and Events for NTV7; Dr Tan Kok Heng, Head of Strategic Development and Marketing for Sime Darby Property Berhad; Jeremy Rowe, Managing Director, AkzoNobel Decorative Paints, South East Asia and Pacific; CW Goh, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Malaysia; Teo Lee Ming, Marketing Director of AkzoNobel Malaysia; and of course, The Apartment contestants from Malaysia! (That would be Brian Chen, Azaria, and I).

Photo credit: @NTV7 on Instagram
It was fun being on stage and answering questions (and being off-stage, still answering questions). I'm usually organizing press conferences, so I get how much hard work must've been put into this. Shoutout to K and the rest of the NTV/Media Prima folks who worked hard to get this done! The sponsors also deserve a lot of credit - quite a lot of people won stuff, including an entire room makeover worth RM2000 from Dulux.

A familiar face: Budi from budiey.com!
Can't forget to thank the members of the media who attended that day. They were all so nice to us!

View from the stage
She's a natural ;)
 At the end of the day, I was glad to spend a bit of time with Azaria...and get out of my heels!

Pantang nampak cermin k.

Don't forget that The Apartment will begin airing on NTV7 on October 5th at 9.30pm!

#teamMalaysia thanks y'all for your support!

The Apartment: Global premiere tomorrow night, only on Star World!

A little more than 24 hours to go till Season 3 of The Apartment begins!

Azaria and I are (clearly) so psyched!

Don't forget:
Tomorrow night (29 September)
On Star World

Our sexy cast will make this the best season yet - trust me!

Don't forget to set your timers for the rest of the season too:


Currently in MALAYSIA ONLY!

#teamadrianazaria - How did we get here?

Now that we're thisclose to The Apartment's season premiere, I thought I'd share mine and Azaria's journey to get to this point.

A brief history on our friendship: we met in grad school, where we were both doing our Masters in Mass Communication. We weren't exactly instant friends, but we bonded over being betrayed (OMG so dramatic!) by a classmate, and found in each other an intellectual equal and strong team member. By the second semester, we were default teammates and good friends. I can honestly say I would not have done as well as I did in grad school if not for Azaria! And I like to think the feeling is mutual ;)

So, post-graduation, I received a call from her asking what I'll be up to in the next few months. I told her I wasn't entirely sure - I was rethinking my career, and feeling a little bit aimless, TBH. So she asked, "Do you know about a show called The Apartment?" and I replied that I did. We then found out that we were both fangirls, and Azaria mentioned that The Apartment was looking for audition videos...so naturally, we made ours the very next day.

That footage is off the Internet now, I think (thankfully), but we had a lot of fun making it. No expectations, really. But then a couple of days after that, the production team contacted us and asked us to join the stage auditions at the end of April - which we did!
That's me behind Chelsea and Alex, last season's runner up team.
I wish I could say that the audition went really well...but it didn't. We did okay, I guess, but we weren't exactly the crowd favorite. I really have to thank Justin Bratton, the hunkalicious emcee for the day, who did his best to hype us up to the crowd and - most importantly - to Jamie. In the end, we did get shortlisted, although probably only because it was Azaria's birthday, and you can't exactly reject a girl on her birthday, can you? (Note to all: this means you can't say no to me on Dec 6)

Now we're going to be on Season 3 of The Apartment (premiering this Sunday, 29 September, at 9.45pm only on StarWorld!) and we couldn't be more excited about the rest of this journey!

What are you guys looking forward to seeing this season? Drama? Suspense? Romance? Or just plain ol' good design?

Four Sleeps till The Apartment: Design Your Destiny!

OMG, I can't believe it. Just four days to go before the global premiere for Season 3 of The Apartment! Can you spot me?

And check out our sexy judges ;)

So, have you marked your calendars yet? Just in case you haven't:

+++ Sunday September 29, 2013 at 9.45pm on StarWorld +++

You're welcome.

Notes On Single Motherhood: Support System

I can't speak for other single mothers, but I know that for a time, I retreated from social life for a little bit. As I've mentioned before, I did feel a little bit of shame and perceived stigmatization. Looking back, I am guessing it came from really low self-esteem. Clearly, withdrawing myself from social circles was not going to help with that! But it allowed me some time to lick my wounds, I think.

What I want to talk about is what happened when I came back out of the cave.

I didn't really know what to expect, but the light was brighter than I remember it (chehhh, so metaphorical right??). Seriously...all those friends that I thought were awesome before my self-imposed social exile, were like 10,000 times more awesome when I "came back"! It was the most bizarre thing...I had spent years feeling unloved and unworthy...and these beautiful people just flipped that in a few short months.

I can't stress enough the importance of a strong social support system. Family, friends, my children - without them, I wouldn't be in the emotional and mental state that I am in today (which is fairly stable with just a touch of crazy thrown in, let's just be honest). Divorce destroys you. It destroys your past, your present, and the future that you will now never have. Depression is a natural reaction to that destruction. Even as a generally positive and upbeat person, there were some dark moments where I wouldn't have minded not waking up the next day.

This goes beyond giving credit or validation - the people who helped me in those troubled times know how much they mean to me - this is to stress the importance of having strong people around you to help you up when you've fallen and you feel you could never get up. If you're going through divorce, or difficult times, PLEASE REACH OUT. Have faith in the people who love you - they will be there. All you need to do is ask.

A support system goes beyond the emotional and mental support. Some of the support is very much physical. I had an amazing network of secondary caregivers for my children when I was working two jobs and going to grad school - my parents, aunt & uncle, and amazing babysitters made it a lot easier for me to focus on my career in those years. I literally could not be where I am now without them!

It's really important to set up some kind of system...it may not be ideal, but trust that it's a temporary arrangement while you get back up on your feet. I have one amazing friend (and single mama) that is now in grad school doing her MBA and had to leave her children with her parents...on the other side of the country. Was it hard? Yes! Many a tearful messages were sent between us in those first few months. But now she's got a system down, where she goes and visits the moment she has a few free days, and they take vacations together on school holidays and term breaks.

Eventually, we all find our groove. Mine took about half a year. In that time, I re-connected with old friends, and made plenty of new ones. I had family members - cousins, aunts, nieces - that I realized I never got to know as people, until I went through this and they held my hand throughout, just to let me know I'm not alone. I also met men that I never would have even bothered getting to know when I was younger! (We all know y'all are looking forward to THAT blog post, hahahaha).

Mostly, the takeaway from this is: when you've fallen into that deep, dark hole, reach out your hand. You'll be surprised by how many hands will reach in to pull you back up into the world.

Review: Juvanex Cleanse

I got done with the Juvanex cleanse a week ago, and I promised to share my experience with you, but I kept forgetting! Sorry! So, finally, here it is:

Day 1:
Weight – 57kg / 125.6lbs
A quarter slice of pear, and two scoops of Juvanex for breakfast. Needed to poop about 20 mins after breakfast. This is to be expected, or so I’m told by my fellow Detoxistas (we find ways to make things like this fun…naming ourselves is one of those ways). Snacked on fruits, sunflower seeds and almonds the whole day.

Day 2:
Being a vegetarian is not bad at all. Did pretty well today.

Day 3:
Still a vegetarian. Hating it a bit.

Day 4:
Birthday party. Ate the best rainbow cake in the world. No regrets!

Day 5:
Ate lots of fruits and veges…but accidentally ate 2 slices of pepperoni pizza for dinner. Oops.

Day 6:
Ate lots of fruits and veges…but accidentally ate a plate of white rice with chicken adobo for dinner. Oops again.

Day 7:
Weight – 54kg! / 119lbs
Capatti for breakfast, lots of veges and nuts

I CANNOT believe I lost weight! I am willing to bet it was all poop weight, coz I had to…err…expel every morning. Gotta remember to keep stuffing myself with lots of fiber from now on. If being regular means being slim, I'm in!

I didn't follow the recommended diet religiously, and apparently I didn't have to anyway, but now that I see the weight loss, I kind of regret not following it all the way through. Oh well. I snacked on sunflower seeds and almonds each day, which meant that even the bad meals I had were usually not in large servings because I was partially filled up by the bird food nuts.

I think I’d do it again, maybe like after a week-long visit to my hometown or something (for the record, that's Kelantan, where they have the best food in Malaysia and I am guaranteed ample weight gain at every visit). My one beef (lol) with this program is that I didn’t have enough energy to work out. I get that it’s a cleanse, and its not meant to be long-term, but I hated feeling so lethargic. I don't work out all the time, but I really wanted to get fit now that Raya season is over, and I had to put that off the whole week because I was just so damn tired the whole time.

I am glad, however, for my new tolerance acceptance of vegetables! I used to only eat salads drenched in Caesar dressing, but now I happily eat them on their own. I still prefer fruits, though, so I'm gonna keep up with that. I am not really a junk food fan, so I'm not sure a detox program like this would have much of an effect for me personally, but I really appreciated the side effect of no longer being constipated! (There is no semblance of glamour in this post at all, I am aware).

Verdict: 4/5

Didn't like the lack of energy, but loved the weight loss!

Review: Eyelash extensions!

So the other day, I was getting my eyebrows threaded (the only way to get your eyebrows shaped perfectly, in my opinion) and the lady - upon seeing my sad, barely-there lashes, mentioned that they do eyelash extensions.

I've been wanting to get my lashes done for about a year now, but was always really scared. I don't know why exactly. I think I was worried about the pain, and I also figured it'd all drop off the next day or something (I was right about one of these assumptions, btw).

Anyway, I finally decided to take the plunge!

Cost: RM150
Duration: About an hour
Sheela's Beauty Studio
No. 49-1, Jalan Telawi 3,
Bangsar Baru, 59100
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+603-22820204 / +6010-2476779

Step 1: Taping off the bottom lashes
This felt really weird. Already my eyes were tearing up! Also, I'm aware this isn't the most flattering picture ever, hahaha.

Step 2: Putting the lashes on
There was no pain at all. I've used falsies before, so it felt just like that, except with tiny clusters of lashes instead of one entire strip of eyelash. I thought that they'd apply lashes one at a time, and not in clusters, so I was disappointed by that. I probably should have asked to see the lashes ahead of time.

Step 3: Wait for it to dry
Ok, so this is where the drama begins. I started the process at 4pm, and when I asked, they said it'd be done in half an hour. And they were right, it only took half an hour. What they didn't tell me was that I'd need to shut my eyes for a good half hour AFTER they were all done!

This is me, in my car, eyes burning. Ugh.
You can see how red my eyes, nose, and lips were.
That's how painful it was!
Well, I had to leave at 4.30pm because I did not want to be stuck in rush hour traffic heading home. So I left right after they were done putting the lashes on. And guess what? My eyes were f*cking BURNING! Seriously, I've done LASIK, I've had a corneal scratch...and none of these came close to the pain I was experiencing. I absolutely could not handle the sunlight, and I may or may not have started sobbing. Seriously, it was that bad. Then I realized that maybe the glue needed to dry up, so I put the air-conditioning at full blast and aimed it at my eyes...ahhhh, bliss! I couldn't believe it worked. Twenty minutes later, I was totally fine (and still in traffic. Typical.)

So, the tip I have for you is: Allocate an extra half hour AFTER the procedure to keep your eyes closed and let the glue dry. You're welcome. For the record, your eyes will still feel a little uncomfortable for a few hours, but that discomfort goes away, and you're left with fabulous lashes.

Now, onto the results:
Left: Before
Right: After

I actually really like it. I've always been happy with the length of my lashes, but I've never had thick lashes ala Kim K, and so I am really enjoying this! I do feel that it opens up my eyes. I haven't had to do much with eye makeup, in fact. So that's really fun :) The effect is particularly obvious when my eyes are closed, apparently:

One complaint: there are goops of glue on my lashes that look like polka dots. I don't know if this is normal, but I really don't like it. It's hard to capture on my iPhone, but you can kinda see it here:

It is easily camouflaged by eyeliner, which is what I've been doing, but there are days when I just don't want to put makeup on. Sigh. These lashes will last around 3-4 weeks according to the ladies at the salon. So far (four days later), two of the lash clusters have come off (I really should go in for a touch-up), but the rest seem to be holding on.

There are a lot of restrictions when it comes to taking care of your extensions: No hot water, no vigorous rubbing, no mascara. So I've been following all that because I am very kiasu and I want my lashes to stay on for as long as possible.

Since this is a review, I'll have to give my verdict...so here goes...

Verdict: 3/5

They should have told me the procedure would take an hour, inclusive of the glue-drying period. I would have scheduled it for another day if they had informed me. I'm also not very happy with the gloopy dots on my eyelashes :( I won't be going back there to get my lashes done, BUT I definitely want to get eyelash extensions again! Any recommendations? I'm thinking Glitters at Empire Subang, because that's the only other place I can think of. But I can't find any reviews, so I'd really appreciate some recommendations from my lovely readers ;)

Update: At 2.5weeks, the lashes are all gone :( I feel so...bald!

Are these parenting habits really annoying?

A good friend just sent me this article by the Daily Mail UK about annoying parenting habits. While slightly insulted (ehhem), this did make me chuckle.The findings are for the UK, but aren’t we all guilty of these to some degree?

I know that #2 is something I'm particularly guilty of - as is every new parent on my FB news feed. I actually look forward to those! A friend of mine just had twins, so I rely on her pictures and status updates of her boys for my daily dose of squee ;p

Honestly, most of the points made here are pretty harmless. I mean, if you don't like baby-related status updates, don't follow that person's updates. And what harm does it do for parents to co-ordinate their outfits with their kids? (Totally guilty of this, btw). As for using cutesy voices - I dunno...isn't it human nature to do that? I could have sworn that I read somewhere about it being a biological thing for our voices become high-pitched when addressing babies. Better look that up.

There are some there that are more than annoying, though - swearing in front of children, and criticizing other parents' kids are downright antisocial. Can't stand that! And I've already mentioned before how much I hate mom-petitors who are guilty of #7.

Now, #6 and #10 are the same thing, so I guess it's so annoying for others that there's a need to mention in twice. Frankly, these two I am very much guilty of...and I am not ashamed! I use my kids as an excuse all the time. Sometimes I just don’t want to go out or I don’t particularly like the people that’ll be there. It’d be rude to say that, so I just say my kids aren’t feeling well or have some activity lined up. It works a charm – no one questions it! (Although I now know they probably found it annoying).

So what do you think? Are these that annoying? Is there a particular point (or two...or three) you're guilty of? 

Benefits of Babywearing while out and about

The reason I started babywearing was because Aqil, in his infancy, was incredibly high-needs. I remember pretty much NEVER putting him down without a boob in his mouth for the first few months of his life. So babywearing initially was something to save my sanity.

But as he got older, and I really got into babywearing, a really great bonus appeared - babywearing made going out with him really easy! It wasn't something I thought about much - I figured, I'd never leave the house till he was a year old or growing a mustache or something (that's how hopeless I thought life with baby was...welcome to the world of post-partum depression, huh?). But with babywearing I saw the light *spotlight shining on me, choir singing an uplifting tune*

I began going out a lot. Sometimes for walks around the neighborhood. Sometimes for a walk in the park. Sometimes Most times for a quick jaunt awesome day out at the mall. Babywearing really proved its worth on one memorable occasion though: the epic more-than-24-hour journey from Kalamazoo to Kuala Lumpur when we returned here for good. The trip involved a plane that caught on fire, and running through Detroit airport to catch a flight to HK. So believe me when I say it was epic.

Some benefits of babywearing when out and about:

  • I’ve nothing against strollers, but there are benefits of babywearing that a stroller could NEVER replace. Seeing backs of people’s knees and the clouds in the sky just doesn't give the baby the same learning opportunities that seeing (and touching!) trees at eye-level can give.
  • It's surprisingly more convenient for parents - I say surprisingly, because I really thought my back would be killing me or something, but babywearing with a wrap made the baby weightless, and I didn't have to deal with pushing a stroller into the back of people's ankles and having to apologize profusely (we've all been there, right? Right??).
  • It has a calming effect on babies and toddlers - many babywearers say their carriers have "sleepy dust". I can't tell you how awesome it was when Aqil slept in the wrap for most of a 6-hour shopping trip at a factory outlet mall. Honestly, apart from my boob being sucked on about half the time, it was like he wasn't even there.
  • Easy to move around - babywearers take the escalator. 'Nuff said.
  • Great teaching opportunity - newborns and young infants have more quiet alert moments when they are worn, which is when they absorb the most amount of information, whereas older children build their vocabulary and are “humanized” easily by learning social cues and facial expressions during social situations. 
  • The last, but most important, benefit of babywearing while out and about has to do with safety. I have an unhealthy obsession with Law & Order: SVU so I'm really paranoid about people taking my kids. I'm probably what you'd call hypervigilant, but what I call A Loving Mom. Anyway, babywearing keeps baby close to me and damn near impossible to grab (particularly when breastfeeding - nursing mamas know what I mean when I say "The Chewing Gum Effect", amirite?)
Those are just some of the perks of babywearing when I'm out of the house. I'd probably have even more to write about if we start talking about the benefits of babywearing while traveling! Or babywearing while teaching! Or babywearing while singing my heart out in the finale of The Voice! (Just kidding. That one's but a dream...for now). 

So what benefits of babywearing while out and about have you found? Leave a comment!

Adventures in KL: Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

Adventures in KL are posts where I share my experience and suggestions of things to do with kids in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding areas. Suggestions are very much welcome!

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
920 Jalan Lembah Taman Tasik Perdana,
Kuala Lumpur 50480,

GPS Coordinates: 
N3 08.581 E101 41.294

Opening Hours:
9.00am - 6.00pm


Go early - aim to arrive around 10.30am. Before you enter the bird park, buy bird food at the “bird food dispenser” at the entrance. I use quotation marks because this machine is rickety and old, and 50% of the time, it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. Many a time I’ve had to ask for assistance from the security guards to make it dispense bird food. FYI, you can also get bird food inside, but no one will be around to help you with the stupid thing when it will (almost certainly) refuse to give you the food you’ve paid 20 sen for.

Map of KL Bird Park
Credit: KL Bird Park Official Website

Feeding the peacocks is one the
main things the kids enjoy doing here
What we usually do as we walk in, is to take the route to the left. You’ll see all kinds of birds, with several species (including peacocks!) which are allowed to roam free and be fed with the bird food you bought earlier.

You’ll be able to take photos at the photo booth with several macaws, owls, and cockatoos (or whatever birds they have that day). You can opt for an official photographer, or take photos yourself. I believe it costs between RM10-RM30.

Aqil with the magnificent macaws
Eventually you end up at a little kiosk where you can buy ice cream and snacks. We stop over here for a few minutes to eat ice cream and chill, then we move on to the small building nearby, where you can feed these birds, who will almost certainly try to cling onto you.

The birds' claws do bother
 the kids, and some kids
 (like Afraz) refuse to go
near the birds. But if your
kid is a fan, like Aqil, it'll be
a fun, hands-on experience.
Then we head off towards the bird show at the Amphitheater. The show begins at 12 noon and lasts about half an hour. It’s pretty cute, and small kids love it. The area is small and really hot, so on weekends it can get really really crowded and unpleasant. Grab a seat early, and somewhere near the (somewhat ineffective) fans. There are opportunities for kids to volunteer to help with tricks, and Aqil (who is a big fan of birds, and animals in general) has done those a few times. They generally go for older and taller kids, though, so little toddlers might not get picked. Also, the show is in English.

After the show, we play at the playground for a little bit, then we go to the air-conditioned nursery slash discovery center, where you can coo at the adorable chicks and ducklings whilst taking a break from the heat outside. After that, we walk around and either check out the flamingoes towards the right of the main exit, or go straight home via the gift shop and restaurant (this exit is only stairs-only, and thus not stroller-accessible).

Afraz' hair is meant to show you how
hot it is at the amphitheatre
I should mention that the Hornbill Restaurant here serves really great food. In fact, I know people who go there just for the food! It is accessible from the parking lot,  so really it is a standalone restaurant that just happens to be linked to the bird park. Definitely a great way to end a day out!

There are many other things you can do in the park, including feeding different species of birds, but this is the typical day we spend at the KL Bird Park when we go there. Please visit the KL Bird Park Website to learn more about what else they have to offer.

The Belly on The Apartment

There's a picture that I've been thinking about a lot lately. Frankly, I've been obsessing about it. This picture is publicly available, and yet something that I wish were buried deep deep underground, never to be seen again. I'd also like the MIB to delete any memory of this picture from the minds of those who were unlucky enough to see it (for their sake, not mine).

The picture I'm talking about is this one:

People will be forgiven for seeing this picture and happily congratulating me on my pregnancy.

A part of me wants to say:
"Normal lah, I've been pregnant twice what! I'm a single mother who doesn't have time to visit the gym! I used to have a concave belly, I swear!"
But the truth is more like this:
"My name is Adriana and I am addicted to pasta."
I don't know what it is. Is my belly really that f*cking big? Is this just a really REALLY bad angle? Should I blame the photographer? What about the person who decided this was the picture going on the Internet for whole damn world to see?

The weird thing is, check out this photo:

The Belly doesn't seem too bad there. So maybe it's the outfit? I don't know. This should probably make me want to insaf and do crunches or something...but nope, it's not *she says while munching on mac & cheese...with extra cheese of course*

Aside from me being a hot mess, I'm pretty excited about The Apartment. So y'all better set your reminders to 9.30pm on September 29, and tune into StarWorld (not HD unless you want to me blinded by The Belly, apparently).

For those of you wondering why the heck I'd publish that awful picture, well, I figure that if you stare at something long enough, it stops making sense and thus The Belly won't be that big of a deal (pun entirely intended).

(Sigh...just leave me and The Belly be).

Product Review: Flake Away by Soap and Glory

I’ve been using Flake Away for about 3 years now. My mom bought it as a gift, and now it’s the only body scrub I’ll use! It has shea butter, sweet almond oil, peach seed powder, sea salt and sugar in it, and I usually use it in the shower about twice a week. However, I’m careful about using it only on rough areas of my skin, mainly because…
Texture: Very rough. This is NOT a gentle scrub! This is something that you use when you want your skin to look really polished (like, reflecting light k). In fact, it is not called a scrub. It's called a body polish. I avoid using it on sensitive areas like my chest or hands because I’ve rubbed them almost raw before with this scrub. Not cute. Also, because it contains sea salt, do NOT use it on broken skin! If you have cuts, it will burn. Trust me on this.
Effect: There’s a layer sweet almond oil that leaves your skin really soft right after scrubbing. I don’t need to put lotion on my skin after using this scrub, which is a great bonus for when I’m rushing (which is always). That's a big plus for all glam mamas, I'm sure.
Scent: It smells sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. I think it’s Soap & Glory’s signature scent, because it’s the same smell as some of their other products. I love that my bathroom smells delicious after scrubbing away! To be honest, sometimes that's the real reason I use this scrub. Let's call it aromatherapy. Plus, even after rinsing, the sweet smell stays on my skin all day. 
 Packaging: I love all of Soap and Glory's cheeky copy and visuals, and this scrub is no different. On this jar, it says, "Shhhh...now he'll never know that all this time you've been flaking it!" LOL! I love me some puns, man.
You can find this scrub locally, at your nearest Sephora store

Verdict: 5/5 (I seriously love this product la)

Notes On Single Motherhood: An Introduction

I became a single mother about 3 years ago. December 27, 2010, was a life-changing day for me. In the months preceding the divorce, everything felt like a fog. Things didn’t become clear until I walked out of that courtroom a new divorcee. Janda. Single mother with two babies.

It’s still kind of absurd to me that I became a divorcee in my 20s. In some ways it is amusing – I’ve always done everything right. Always the over-achiever. Two kids, a degree, and a loving husband, all before most of my peers had even thought about getting married. And yet the one thing that I felt I had completely failed at was the one thing that I treasured the most – my perfect family.

My story is not unique. If anything, I’ve found that single motherhood has become all too common among my peers. I get at least one message a week from friends, acquaintances and, sometimes, total strangers who are going through divorce, who ask me: “How will I survive this? Will it ever get better?”

3 years ago, I would not have been able to give you any answers. There were days I was completely crippled by fear. There were days where I had to pretend that nothing bad was happening, because living in fantasy land was the only way I could survive the day. I felt ashamed, stigmatized, misunderstood…and with time, I realized that it was mostly all in my head.

The third most searched term when you type my name into Google is “Adriana Thani divorce”. So I am well aware that people are curious about the circumstances surrounding my divorce. It’s no secret (anyone who meets me and asks me about it will receive a brief but honest answer) but it’s not something I think I’d share in such a public forum.

I am, however, prepared to share my experiences on how I coped. Notes On Single Motherhood will answer those questions that new single mothers, or those contemplating separation, have asked me time and again. The past three years have offered me so many life lessons, and I think it’s time I pass it on!

Breastfeeding Made Easy: Latching On

The “Breastfeeding Made Easy” series are aimed helping you breastfeed successfully by allowing you to understand the fundamentals of breastfeeding in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

Latching on is, without a doubt, the most important thing to learn when it comes to breastfeeding. After a natural birth, newborns are known to be able to do the breast crawl, which is a fascinating example of how babies are much more capable than we give them credit for!

However, for many women, latching on remains the most challenging part of early motherhood, and does not feel natural to them at all. I know moms who have to bite their lip and fight the urge to bawl whenever their infants latch on – in fact, I was one of them. A less-than-perfect latch can result in painful, sore, or even bleeding nipples. So here are the tips and resources that I’ve found that really helped me get a perfect latch (along with my favorite instructional video for latching on!).

Easy tips to ensure a good latch:
  • Make sure baby is calm, alert, and starting to get hungry - do NOT wait till baby cries! A great time to feed your newborn is just as they begin to wake up from sleep.
  • Keep baby swaddled - this calms them, and also keeps their flailing hands away from your tender breasts and nipples. OR,
  • Wear your newborn - babies who are worn are much calmer, and thus easier to feed.
  • Get comfortable - have all your pillows, water, and other stuff ready at your "breastfeeding station". Unless you wear your baby and nurse them in a carrier, you will be tied down to that sofa or chair for 40 minutes at a time...you'd better make sure you're comfortable! My biggest tip to all new moms: learn how to nurse while lying down ASAP.
  • Relax. Breathe. Remember the steps below, look into baby's eyes, and be confident that you are both made to do this. Trust in yourself, trust in your baby...everything will fall into place.

Steps for a good latch:
  1. Make sure you choose a position that is comfortable for both you and baby - baby needs to be facing you, and his body should not be twisted (an example of a bad position is: baby's head and chest facing you, feet facing away from you. I challenge you to try to drink in that position!)
  2. Tickle your baby's nose to get baby to open his mouth
  3. Aim your nipple towards the soft part of the roof of baby's mouth
  4. Make sure baby latches onto all or most of your areola
  5. If there is no pain, and baby is making swallowing sounds after 10-15 seconds, then you're all set! If there is pain, gently unlatch baby and try again.
Further reading:
"Latching on Checklist" by Breast Baby Products

Disclaimer: I am a Certified Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, and my advice above comes from my training and personal experience. However, any assistance that you receive on this blog is not meant as a substitute for professional guidance from your local health care professional. Please seek help from your local health care professional or Lactation Consultant (visit the International Lactation Consultant Association to search for an LC in your area) if you are experiencing problems with breastfeeding or if you have continuing concerns.