Get 15% discount vouchers from H&M while doing some good for the world!

I was shopping in H&M recently and noticed these green boxes by the counter. I didn't know what they were about until I checked their website and found out that it was part of an awesome initiative by H&M where you get to give away old clothes in exchange for discount vouchers! H&M is doing this as part of their effort to reduce the amount of clothes that ends up in landfills, which is just fantastic.

Ok so this is how it works:

  1. Collect clothes you want to give away.
  2. Bring a maximum of TWO shopping bags full of clothes of to H&M.
  3. Look for the big green box by the counter. Make sure you see someone at the counter with your bags.
  4. You will be given a 15% discount voucher for one item for each bag that you give. 
  5. You will then likely go a little crazy wanting to try on at least a dozen outfits and will be told that you can only bring in 7 items into the changing room, and have intense arguments in your head about the virtues of distressed high-waisted shorts and its appropriateness for a woman your age. Or maybe that's just me, I don't know.

Coincidentally, I've been spring-cleaning, so I had a bunch of clothes to give away. I've collected (and used! LOL) three vouchers already. And I have at least one more bag to send off sometime this week (one of the downsides of losing a lot of weight is that your clothes won't fit anymore. Hahaha look at me lying like it's a downside!).

I've been giving my clothes away to be recycled in those ubiquitous recycling bins around my neighborhood, which is great too. But H&M is offering 15% discounts, and that's too awesome to pass up. Since I'm kiasu, I bought big-ticket items so the 15% had more value :p Ya la, RM20 discount VS RM0.50 discount, you tell me which one more worth it? #kiasu #asian

How many of you are running off to your closets right now? LOL. Make sure to check out the H&M website for more details!

Update on the book!

First draft of my manuscript: DONE!

It was way harder than I thought it would be. Between the kids and I getting sick, and them being home for school holidays, it was a struggle to find time to write. But I did it! Now I'm waiting for my editor and project manager to read through it (hopefully it's not too much of a mess...), and we'll see where it goes from there!

One of the things I enjoyed most about writing the book has been finding out that there are like a gazillion new babywearing vendors popping up all the time. I haven't bought a carrier in ages, because quite honestly I have quite a stash already. This is despite the fact that back when I was buying slings and wraps, there really weren't that many brands to choose from. But goshdarnit, thanks to all these new vendors, I now have a wishlist a mile long and all that's missing is a baby to wear these carriers in (a baby is yeeeears away from happening, for anyone waiting to ask!):

This gorgeous wrap, and really ALL the wraps, made by Woven Wings.
Photo credit: Sarah Condry Photography for Woven Wings.
The Barraco Napoletano by Diva Milano

And of course, the iconic Twilight Khadi by BebeSachi which Rita
so kindly let me borrow on my trip to Guangzhou!
Sigh...the more that I window shop and ogle these carriers, the more I find myself justifying the thought of getting myself a little baby somehow. Let's see how badly my partner panics when he reads this! Muahahaha! (I'm just kidding, hun...or AM I?).

Oh, and on a related note: the photoshoot has been pushed back because of the Chinese New Year holidays and stuff. I have more than enough models (thanks for all the submissions!), so now all I'm waiting for is the go-ahead from the awesome MPH folks and we'll set a date for the shoot. Exciting stuff!

We're also still actively looking for potential sponsors. If you want your company and your product to appear in the book, get in touch with me ASAP so we can get you in there!

The over-use of exclamation points in this post has not escaped me! I am not sorry!!

Down 1 size, up 100 points in confidence :D

Here it is! The result of 3 months of hard work! I wish I could give you the actual measurements, but I haven't bothered to weigh or measure myself (don't hate me!). I do know, however, that I've gone down from a UK10/12 to a UK8, and since my goal was to look better in clothes, I'm quite happy! Here's to me keeping with the simple lifestyle changes I've made:

  • Working out at least 5 days a week (mix of cardio and weight training). When I can't go to the gym, I have enough equipment to kick my butt at home too. I had to take a break for a couple of weeks because I injured my knee in China (it was not a cool injury from working out or saving someone's life...I just knelt extra hard on my right knee), but this week I've slowly eased back into my usual fitness routine. 
  • Eating more vegetables, fruit, and protein. Limiting my carb intake, and eating mostly complex carbs. This was really difficult because I LOVE PASTA. I don't merely like it or enjoy eating it from time to time - pasta results in #foodgasms for me. We have a sick and twisted love story, pasta and I. But I have now begun to let it go. It helps that whole-wheat pasta tastes like cardboard, of course. Also, I try to do at least one Vegetarian Day a week. It's not easy, but I've made a point of doing my own groceries and meal plans so I can make it work.
  • Eating in smaller portion sizes. I'm not in the US anymore, so there's no need for me to eat huge American portions! I remember coming back and ordering two of everything because portion sizes seemed so small here, LOL. Must remember that I am but a tiny Asian girl with a (somewhat) tiny Asian tummy.
  • Hydrating mostly with plain water. This is a big deal for me! Up until three months ago, I never drank plain water. That's not an exaggeration. No matter how dehydrated I was, I'd always find something sweet to drink. Now, the only thing that can quench my thirst is water. I read this mantra when I first started eating better, and it is something I tell myself all the time: Don't drink your calories!
  • Sharing my struggles and progress, and seeking support from, my awesome friends who are health-conscious and...well, HOT. It was so important for me to have friends doing the same thing I was. Some have been doing it for years, others have just started like me. But all of them were serious about getting and remaining healthier for their own reasons, and it really helped to have that kind of motivation at my fingertips.

And to think it all started with this photo:

Again, I reiterate that I was NOT pregnant!
I was so mortified that I realized something had to be done. So I went and joined the gym, started quizzing my fitness junkie friends, and just kept at it. I've never been active - my family just doesn't do active, LOL - but now I can't fathom not being active. More than looking good, I feel better about myself and I have more energy for all the crap life throws at me. It's wonderful!

In no way am I the all-knowing resource for healthy living right now, but I'm glad I've started learning. Hitting the 3-month mark means a lot to me personally, because I've never really stuck to a fitness and health routine this long. It was always something I did a month before going on a beach vacation :p Post-vacation, I usually went back my pasta-eating, couch-sitting ways.

What's next for me: losing a few more inches here and there, tightening up my bod (read: that lower ab pooch that is taking ages to shrink!), re-growing my derriere the healthy way (it has vanished somewhat now, much to my chagrin), eating even better (those darn carbs and their evil deliciousness), and making sure my knee doesn't get screwed up again. Wish me luck!

Happy New Year! announcement!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope y'all ushered it in with a bang (not that kind! Well maybe even that kind, you lucky person you). I, for one, spent NYE trying not to fall asleep before midnight. I just barely succeeded, and fell asleep 5 minutes after midnight. Then, I spent the first day of the new year with my loved ones, at an awesome family picnic celebrating my nephew's first birthday (which was back in October) and my parents' 31st anniversary (which falls on the first day of each year).

Happy Birthday, NAIT!
(Those are his initials, not his actual name,
just in case you thought my brother and sister-in-law
can't even spell Nate correctly)
Happy 31st Anniversary to Mom and Dad!

Our extended family - we're small but loyal.
That's what counts.

Our first family photo of the year, pre-Afraz' nosebleed, thank goodness.
Another thing that happened on the first day of the year was this: I got my own domain name! This was a long, loooong time coming. In fact, I'd been dealing with this since 2010, but the previous company I was dealing with just never delivered.

Fast forward to the last few days of 2013, and I was having a chat with my friend Faten, and she asked if I was planning to get my own domain name. Turns out she was able to sort it out for me, and on the first day of 2014, I got my own domain name! A lot of good things in my life come about rather spontaneously, I find. I love that.

Anyway, when she brought up the idea, I'd been tossing the idea around of glam mama dot com, but I dunno...I feel like using my real name feels "right". The decision to use my name was deliberate. No hiding behind a nickname! This blog is about me, the real me (oh, the narcissism!).

Real talk, though - I get so many questions about my personal life, and I happily answer them in person, but my years as a lecturer has taught me this very important fact: if one person asks a question, there are 10 people who are glad she did. SO, that being said, I aim to write more about things that matter to my readers, like how to go back into dating after a divorce, and how to deal with your ex's new girlfriend, and, most importantly, how to buy my new book. yo - that's where it's at.

I see you, 2014. You can try to squish me all you want, but if I can handle this, I can handle anything: