Big things are happening for Glam Mama!

I know I've been very bad about updating this blog (apart from my weekly reviews of The Apartment: Design Your Destiny!) but I promise you I have a good excuse for it:

Guess who has a book deal??!
(Hint: She loves exclamation marks, her sons, and blogging on this very blog)

This whole thing came about really quickly, but when I really think about it, this book has been about 5 years in the making. In recent years, I've met with a lot of buds in the publishing industry, created an outline for the book, thought about the details of my awesome book launch...but never had the guts to actually pitch my book to a publisher. So it took a publisher approaching me to get the ball rolling!

I met Oon Yeoh, an editor at MPH Publishing and sifu of all things new media, at a social media seminar about 3 years ago. Three weeks ago, I responded to one of his Tweets, and a few minutes later I got a DM asking me if I was interested in writing a book. Of course, I said YES! We met not too long after that to knock out some details, and just last week I pitched the idea to the rest of the team at MPH including Sze Mei, Lilian, and Joanne.

I'm super excited about this! I'm about a quarter-way through the writing the book right now, and it's definitely turning out to be tougher than I thought to find time to write. But I did it before for a 30,000-word thesis, so I'm sure I'll be able to do this once I get into the groove! Suffice to say, the blog will be neglected just a little bit while I write this book. I apologize in advance!

So what's this book about, you wonder? Well...the picture above is a huge hint, hahaha. 

That's right, I'll be writing a guidebook on babywearing! It's something I'm passionate about, and a topic that is still surrounded by confusion (I'm not naming names, but several people in the above photo thought that "babywearing" had something to do with baby mittens and clothes, LOL), so I'm glad that I can play a part in introducing it to the larger (read: mainstream) population.

We're trying to get the book out ASAP, but in addition to the actual writing, there are a lot of details that still need to be sorted out. I will need YOUR help, dear reader, in sorting out some of these details, so please check back so you stay updated on opportunities to get involved!

SPOILER ALERT: The Apartment: Design Your Destiny - Episode 4

Finally! This week's challenge is the living room! The living room is one of my favorite spots in any home (apart from the kitchen), simply because a living room is the hub for any family home. It's a place to gather and share joy and laughter, and to binge on your favorite TV shows during weekend marathon screening sessions (our family's poison of choice: Suits. Typical for a family full of lawyers, huh?).
This week's challenge is to create a fabulous living room, one of the most important rooms of the house. We are expecting your designs to be jaw-dropping, so your theme is art. You must embody the style of an iconic artist and draw inspiration from their work, like the painting you see in front of you: 
Pearlyn + Nara: Leonardo Da Vinci
Yvette + Sonia: Andi Warhol
Bryan + Sarah: Pablo Picasso
Deankie + Tiara: Vincent Van Gogh
Adam + Adrian: Claude Monet
Ines + Jennifer: Dali
As collaboration is a big part of interior design it will be part of your criteria this week to work with your next-door neighbours for this challenge. Each team must pair up with another and decide on the work allocation, how you divide time between both homes is completely up to you. You have 15 hours to complete the challenge with a budget of just $10,000, 6 hours of handy man time. 

The choices of artists for each time was interesting, and seemingly deliberate on the judges' part. I mean, Andy Warhol for Yvette and Sonia? And Leonardo Da Vinci for Per and Nara? Y'all really want to challenge the contestants this season, don't you?? And just to make things a little easier (or, more likely, challenging) teams were paired up. This had...interesting results, to say the least ;)

Brian and Sarah paired up with Deankie and Tiara. I love what the Chens said about D & T - they really seem like siblings, even though they're not. That was my first thought when I met them too. I think they even look alike!

Per and Nara paired up with Yvette and Sonia. I don't know if you remember, but they were the shared winners of last week's challenge. I immediately thought that this would be a very interesting mash-up of tastes and talents.

Lastly, the beauty queens Ines and Jennifer were paired with the only all-boy team in the competition - Adam and Adrian. This proved to be a very good thing for at least two people involved ;) I think it's about time that sparks fly on the show! Way to go, Adrian and Ines (although Adrian, you are SUCH a cheeseball, I could not stop simultaneously cringing and laughing at your pick-up lines, lol).

This week, the Color Reader by Dulux really helped the contestants. The app allows you to upload your favorite art, and gets you the exact colors from the uploaded image. So cool! You can get it here by clicking on "Tips and Tools" and downloading the Color Reader Application.

Some of the contestants did pretty amazing stuff this week - Brian's bookshelf and Yvette and Sonia's Kim K art were standout pieces for sure. I would totally buy that bookshelf, Brian! (Although it appears I'd have to fight with Jamie and Laurence for it).

Brian's bookshelf was AMAZING.

Very clever Warhol-esque art
This week's design court has got to be the most intense one to date. The winners for this week were pretty clear - Deankie and Tiara totally deserved to win! They demonstrated incredible sophistication, and stayed true to the design brief without being too literal about it. Coincidentally, The Starry Night by Van Gogh is my favorite painting :) So this room really spoke to me on a personal level as well.

LOVE that cloud shaped decoration. I MUST HAVE IT.

The bottom two were Ines & Jennifer, and Adam & Adrian. I was boo-ing at the TV screen because, come ooooonnnnnn, we're just about to see a romance bloom, and now you're gonna tear the happy couple apart? WHY??

Adam and Adrian's room, inspired by Monet

Ines and Jennifer's room, inspired by Dali

Also, I love Laurence, but gosh he seemed extra mean this week. Sure, their rooms weren't great, but they weren't that bad. My dad was laughing and saying, "See what happens when you're distracted??". Ish, no sense of romance at all. Also, Adam's expression actually made me cry (ya, ya I know...I cry every week one, no surprise there), and what happened next made me cry even harder.

Laurence announced that Adam and Adrian were going home this week, but just as they were about to hang up their keys, Jamie went rushing out to them to tell them they were going to be saved, so they'll be staying another week. Hooray! WHY SO DRAMATIC THOUGH. Jeez. Poor Adam, I just wanted to pat him, his expression was so heartbreaking.

The boys caught a lucky break this week.
Will they be as lucky next week?
So that rounds up Glam Mama's review of Episode 4 of The Apartment. No one's going home this week, but I feel like something big is gonna happen next week...after all, the judges did mention that Deankie and Tiara will also get another reward that will make itself known in the future. I wonder what that is? Well I guess I'll just have to tune in to Star World this Sunday at 9.45pm to find out!


I wasn't really planning on going to ChurpOut 2013, but my SIL Aidah mentioned that she wanted to go, so I figured we make it a family day out. Best decision ever!

Yeah, Afraz wasn't in the best mood.
I'm familiar with Setia Park because I'm always at Setia City Mall (say hi if you ever see me there!), so I knew that it'd be really really hot...and I was right. According to my iPhone, it was 31°C. According to the sweat dripping down my back, and my children's red faces, it was about a million °C.

I wish we could've checked out every booth in detail, but between the heat and the kids' crankiness, it really just wasn't do-able. I was very glad to bump into a familiar face, though!
Forgot to take pic from my phone!
Photo credit:
Bobo and I studied in the US together, and I swear she hasn't aged a day since then. So jelly la! (Note to self: stalk Bobo's blog and follow her entire beauty regime).

Some highlights of the day include my awesome bazaar buys (which includes a 90s skirt and awesome camo pants); playing charades with Aidah so we could get discount coupons from FashionValet (I'm great at charades, seriously you need me on your team if you're playing charades); awesome vouchers in the ChurpOut gift bags; hanging out on the Doof bean bags strewn across the field; and checking out the awesome selection of the latest fashions by vendors like Street Fashion by Sazzy Falak.

The folks at the FashionValet booth were kind enough
to give the kids balloons. Amazing folks there!
It got ridiculously hot after about an hour, though, and the bubble tea I had gotten the kids as a bribe was just not cutting it anymore. Luckily on the way back to the mall, a very clever Pakcik Aiskrim had set up his business, so I got the kids ice cream and it was all good.

Post-ice cream glee.

My one suggestion is for future events to have more kid-related activities (think about it: parents will have more time and peace to shop around when their kids are happy) and please please please have an ice cream or ais kacang booth or something. Notes for #churpout2014 ;p

SPOILER ALERT: The Apartment: Design Your Destiny - Episode 3


This week, contestants were asked to design the Entertainment Room - it's a pretty small room which has a door leading to the backyard, so the lack of space itself is a challenge. Adding to the challenge is the design brief: contestants needed to base their designs off of StarWorld's characteristics. Each team had their own take on it, and some were actually very literal about it.
Challenge/Design Brief: This week you will be designing the entertainment room. Your challenge is to create a space that incorporates the latest entertainment technologies and make it StarWorld worthy. 
You must now choose one of the StarWorld trademark characteristics from the list below to incorporate into your design: 
  • Vibrant summer colours
  • Sophisticated
  • Chic
  • Fun
  • Attitude
  • Aspirational
These trademarks, with bold and bright colours embody what StarWorld is all about… so don't hold anything back!
I don't know his name, but
I'm calling him Mr. Distraction from now on
Now that they're three weeks in, the remaining teams are starting to get a lot more handy. Nara was very pleased with her drilling skills (as she should be!) and Deankie created an amazing film-strip wall installation all by himself (with some help from the hunky Australian consultant that Jamie has so generously invited to the show...much to Nara's delight, apparently).

Speaking of Nara, it seems that cracks are beginning to show between Nara and her teammate Pearlyn. While their point of contention may not be that serious of an issue to the general public, I can tell you right now that the pressures of the competition can pretty easily cause you to overreact to things you'd normally be pretty cool with. I totally felt for Per and Nara this week, but I hope they can kiss and make up before next week! We need more hilarious one-liners, girls.

Now let's get into the nitty-gritty - who won, who lost? Well, it turns out that this week, the answers aren't that easily explained!

First of all, we have TWO challenge winners! Yvette and Sonia were chosen as the winners (their second challenge win), but then Laurence interjected and announced that Per and Nara were also winners this week. Yay! For the first time this season, I truly agree with the judges' decision.

Pearlyn and Nara did a fantastic job with their room. The color was sexy, the vinyl records on the wall were sexy, the huge blow up poster of them was sexy...the entire thing was just so incredibly sexy. I LOVED it! More than anything though, this room is so...them. 

Yvette and Sonia did their usual classy thing, but this time they really went literal with the theme. They used American Idol (my favorite show!) as an inspiration for the room. Between the blue and white, as well as the awesome karaoke system, I think that the win was definitely well-deserved.

However, every week we have to say goodbye to one team, and this week two of my favorites were in the bottom two: Brian & Sarah, and April & Jen. I honestly think that their designs were good, but as the judges said, the standards are getting higher, and I guess these two teams just did not do as well as the others.

Brian & Sarah's entertainment room
When Brian and Sarah started bawling, though, I cried right with them. I agree with the judges - these two have heart. A lot of it. I really liked their room, there were some awesome details that I'd definitely incorporate into my own home someday. Which is why it's hard for me to fathom why they were in the bottom two!

April & Jen's entertainment room
In the end, it was April and Jen who had to hang up their keys and go home. I can totally relate to what they said about joining the competition in the spirit of something new. We'll miss you, girls!

The 4th Trimester Bodies Project

I came across this project through Upworthy, and the images moved me so much that I just had to share.

This project is the brainchild of Chicago-based photographer, Ashlee Wells Jackson. Being a mother of three, she knows how pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, can affect our bodies. These changes are inherent, and often unavoidable...and yet we're taught to be ashamed of them. How many times have you witnessed mothers being congratulated and applauded when they "get back into shape in record time" or admonished for "letting themselves go"?

I'm a big fan of the term "4th trimester" - it is a term used quite often in breastfeeding and babywearing advocacy - but often it is used in the context of the baby's needs to replicate their experiences in the womb. I forget sometimes that the 4th trimester is a dyad (or triad). Moms experience the 4th trimester along with their babies. Part of a healthy body image is knowing that the scars and stripes and bits of flesh are a normal part of that fourth trimester.

There are so many more beautiful photos on the 4th Trimester Bodies Project Website - I wish I could share them all on here, but I'd really just like to direct your attention to the work they're doing there. So please check out the website and FB page!

I wish I could join in, but I'm all the way in Malaysia, so this is the very least I can do to support such a fantastic and much-needed project. 

SPOILER ALERT: The Apartment: Design Your Destiny - Episode 2


When the episode began with all the contestants finding that week's brief in the bathroom, I knew it was going to be an interesting week! And how right I was.

Designing a bathroom is a pain in the butt. Painting tiles are a pain in the butt. But, the biggest pain in the butt of all: a design brief that requires you to decorate based on different eras!
As if this wasn't difficult enough, the teams needed to complete their rooms in 12 hours (making it a rapid challenge!), with a budget of just $4000. That shiz be cray cray, y'all.
The Bathroom:
One of the most frequently visited rooms in the house. You must choose your theme based on one of the following period styles:
The Roaring 20's
1950's Hollywood Heydey
1960's Groovy Era
1970's High Camp Kitsch
There were some really interesting designs this week. I love how we're starting to see some signature styles among the contestants, such as Brian and Sarah's fondness for Malaysian trinkets, and Deankie and Thiara's sleek and minimalist aesthetics. Another thing that stood out to me? All the RED! Warm colors everywhere! I seem to remember a team being bashed quite a bit for that last week...*cough cough*

Speaking of getting bashed, let's talk design court! 
One of the comments that really stood out for me this week was by Laurence about Yvette and Sonia being "soulless". While I think that was a little bit harsh, my mother said it best: their bathroom was a little bit "show-homey" and (I quote) "Pinterest copy paste". I appreciate their design aesthetics though. Their bedroom that made them winners last week had that kind of slick modern look about it as well. But I do agree that it's about time that they need to up the ante and inject their own personal charm into their designs.

Per and Nara's bathroom
To me, there was one standout room this week - Per and Nara's bathroom. Absolutely stunning! They were in the bottom two with us last week, and for them to show up after that with this gorgeous 20s-themed bathroom the week after being in the bottom two almost makes me feel okay that they got to stay in the competition ;) I thought the finished design was fun, spunky, sexy, and very Great Gatsby-ish. Also, no stripper poles anywhere to be seen! LOL. Jokes aside, I honestly think they should have won this week.

However, the winners were Ines and Jennifer, who went above and beyond in their execution - they took a great big risk in creating those custom stickers with their initials on it, and it paid off. The chandeliers and gold-framed mirrors added to a funky luxe feel, and while I loved Per and Nara's design, I can't fault the judges for giving them the win this week. They worked damn hard on that bathroom, and it shows.

Love that Audrey Hepburn portrait, ladies!
Look at those stickers. Excellently done.
Those chandeliers are to die for!
Ultimately, Priyanka and Vineet's 20s Hollywood theme and April and Jen's 60s groovy theme landed them in the bottom two. I could see why the judges did that - I think that while these teams set out with great ideas, the execution just wasn't on point. In the girls' case, particularly, I could feel their frustration when they realized their vision was just not coming into fruition. 

Priyanka and Vineet's bathroom
April and Jen's bathroom
In the end, Priyanka and Vineet were eliminated for their bathroom which was "a series of bits and pieces that have been rather thrown in the space", according to Laurence. I legit cried when Priyanka cried. This sweet couple were our neighbors in the competition and were always so so sweet to each other and everyone around them. Welcome to the eliminated club, neighbors! 

We also saw some drama start brewing this week. Yvette and Sonya were a little annoyed when Ines and Jennifer showed up unannounced (and uninvited) to check out their winning bedroom. Then, to make things worse, Ines and Jennifer were given a chance to take $1000 out of another team's budget to use next week - and they chose to take $1000 away from Yvette and Sonya. Uh-oh. Dramarama! 

The bromance between Adam and Adrian seems to be cooling off as well. My dad's favorite team (he loves their frat boy antics) get along well generally it seems, but this week Adrian's aloofness seemed to really frustrate Adam. Let's hope they can find a way to work together in the coming weeks so we can see more awesome six packs interior designs.

Which was your favorite room this week? Do you think the Bollywood dream couple should have been eliminated?

Notes On Single Motherhood: Time Management

One of the questions that I get asked most often by new single parents is how I manage my time.

I’ve already written previously about the importance of a support system. One of the main reasons you need to manage your time well is so that your support system can be kept in the loop, and thus manage their time as well. I always try my very best to inform my parents or hired babysitters that I need them wayyyy ahead of time (we’re talking at least a week ahead here). There’s nothing I hate more than last-minute arrangements…which is why I generally decline invitations that are too last-minute. Just not practical.

In some ways, as a single parent, you’ll have more “me time” than those with partners/spouses. But there’s only one of you, and only one pair of hands, to juggle what is usually divided between two people and two pairs of hands. So, how did I do it? Here is an example of my routine back when I was working two jobs and studying, about two years ago:

7:00am: Wake up, get ready for work
7:30am: Wake the boys up for preschool
8:30am: Depending on what time work starts that day (office job starts early, teaching job starts later), I’ll either send the boys to school or head to work while my mother sends them to school.
5:00pm: Get out of work, change, head to campus
7:00pm: In class till…
10:00pm: Arrive home. If the boys aren’t asleep yet, I get about half an hour with them before I put them to bed.
11:00pm: Boys are usually asleep, so I stay up to study or complete assignments till around…
2:00am: Go to sleep
Ok, it doesn’t seem that bad when I look at it like this. LOL. Obviously there are some variations to my schedule depending on whether I have an exam or major assignment due that week (more time spent at the library), or there’s an event at my office job that requires me to be there more often.

The key thing here is that this schedule worked for me. I can’t really focus on assignments in the hustle and bustle of daytime with two young children climbing all over me. So sometimes I would head to the library nearby if there are people around to watch my kids. Otherwise (actually, usually) I do my assignments in the middle of the night, from around 11pm to 2am. I find I’m most productive and focused in those hours anyway, so the lack of sleep was completely worth it for me. You need to figure out what works for you, and the only way to know is to try.

My schedule is MUCH more relaxed now. The kids are older, I’m on sabbatical, and I’m no longer struggling with deadlines. I’ve also started carpooling with my aunt down the road, so I’m not constantly on school runs. But sometimes, I do miss that hectic time in my life ;) It’s hard not to feel really triumphant at the end of the day when I’ve been super-productive!

Are there any tips you’d like to share about managing your time?

What do you think the world needs more of?

This video really made me think. It's such a simple question, and like one of the people they interviewed, usually I would say "love". But things have been happening in the last few months, and I've had some interesting debates with people, and now I'd say:

I think the world needs more...understanding.

Ignorance is the bane of civil society. When people refuse to even try to understand things or people that are different from them, they are wasting an opportunity to learn, and thus, they are wasting the opportunity to live.

I think that making the conscious decision to understand "the other" will not only be better for those who are misunderstood, but also the person who will have learned something they wouldn't have known before. 

So many of us live in fear of things and people we don't understand - isn't the solution here clear? Make an effort to understand that which we fear - talk to that transgendered classmate, ask the woman in niqab how here day is going, and have a chat with that homeless guy you pass by every day when you go to lunch. You will be surprised by how much that will improve your day, and your life.
Well, that's my opinion. What do you think? What does the world need more of?