My Zalora Wishlist // Styles To Hunt For In Second-Hand Stores

As 2018 approaches, I have a few styles I’d like to try.

Advertisements

Hello hello! I hope you’re having a great day today. What will you be doing this weekend? I’m sitting in the midst of boxes and luggage bags because I’ll be moving to my brother’s place tomorrow morning. I’m excited for the change, albeit it’ll only be a week long before both of us fly home for the holidays.

Most people prefer to do a wardrobe audit when the season changes or when they realized that they have too many clothes. I tend to do mine when my wardrobe is disorganized or when I’m not wearing all the clothes that I own. Since my parents moved into a new place recently, I feel that this would be a good opportunity to downsize and revamp my wardrobe. My style has changed over the years and my goal is to have a wardrobe filled with clothes that I absolutely love. 

Two days ago, I went on Zalora (Malaysia website) for a quick browse and I found several pieces that I’d like to have in my wardrobe. I usually get brand new clothes but I want to challenge myself and see if I can find styles that I like in second hand stores. It’s easy to thrift shop while in Melbourne but I’m not so sure about Kuala Lumpur. Still, I’m excited to discover good thrift shops around my home city.

Su’s Wishlist

1
1. ZALORA
2
2. Dorothy Perkins
3
3. Vera Moda
4
4. Love, Bonito
5
5. River Island
6
6. ZALORA
7
7. Dorothy Perkins
8
8. Megane
  1. Shell top with ruffles RM99
  2. Square neck pencil dress RM229
  3. Camille dress RM172
  4. Miranna ruffle midi dress RM175
  5. Dark green embroidered flare sleeve mesh top RM312.9
  6. Jacket with flare sleeve RM79
  7. Black velvet bardot dress RM169
  8. Printed wrap top RM107.9

 

If you live in K.L and you know some awesome thrift shops, please do let me know!

108162249561482019434

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) // The Basics & My Experience

PCOS is more common than you think! Learn how to get your period back without relying on birth control pills.

Today I’d like to take a break from all things fashion and write about a topic that has personally affected me. I’ll share my experience before and after the diagnosis as well as how I got my period back naturally. Let me stress that this post isn’t written especially for women who are suffering from PCOS, it’s also for teen girls, brothers, husbands, fathers and boyfriends. If you have knowledge in this area, you can offer help to those who need it.

What is PCOS?

  • The cause remains unknown but it’s considered a hormonal issue.
  • PCOS affects approximately 10 million women in the world and it’s a leading cause of female infertility.
  • There’s no cure for PCOS yet but there are medicines and fertility treatments to help reduce symptoms and get women pregnant.
  • The hormones involved in PCOS are:
    • Androgens: Also referred to as “male hormones”, all females make androgens but higher levels are found in women with PCOS. Excess androgens cause acne, unwanted hair (hirsutism: excess hair growth on the face, arms, back, chest, thumbs, toes, or abdomen), thinning hair and irregular periods.
    • Insulin: Allows the body to absorb glucose into the cells for energy but those with PCOS aren’t responsive to insulin. This can cause elevated blood glucose levels, causing the body to make more insulin, which in turn triggers an increased production of androgens.
    • Progesterone: The lack of progesterone leads to irregular periods.
iStock_000002156478Small-56c9690a5f9b5879cc46acb9

Source: Verywell

Symptoms

According to PCOS Awareness Association, symptoms may begin to show soon after puberty. But for some, it’ll develop during the later teen years and early adulthood. Women with PCOS usually have irregular or missed periods because of the absence of ovulation.

Besides the symptoms caused by excess androgens, women with PCOS may also experience weight gain, fatigue, infertility, mood changes (i.e. mood swings, depression and anxiety), pelvic pain (may occur with periods/heavy bleeding or when a woman isn’t bleeding), headaches and sleep problems.

What is an ovarian cyst?

  • Cyst is basically a fluid-filled sac that can occur anywhere in the body.
  • The most common ovarian cyst is called a functional cyst and there are two types:
    • Follicular cysts: When an egg doesn’t get released, cysts develop due to the growth of follicle. Usually go away in 1 -3 months.
    • Corpus luteum cysts: Forms when follicle ruptures and releases the egg. When the follicle reseals and fluid starts to buildup, they can enlarge and cause pain, bleeding, or twisting the ovary. Fertility medicines can help promote ovulation but it could increase the chances of developing these type of cysts.
polycystic ovaries
Source: Jamaica Scientific Research Institute

PCOS diagnosis

Your doctor will ask questions to gather information about your health history (your family’s medical history), some of which include if you’ve experienced irregular/skipped periods, weight changes, hair changes and acne. Then a physical examination (weight and vitals), a number of lab tests (blood sugar and androgen levels) and a sonogram will be carried out to confirm the diagnosis.

Ladies, keep track of your menstrual cycle. The data can help you assess your health, plan your pregnancy and even help doctors with the diagnosis.

The Best Free Menstrual App

Which Period Tracker Is Best For You?

PCOS treatments

  • If you’re not trying to get pregnant, the standard treatment would be birth control pills. They help regulate period, improve excess hair growth and acne (by lowering androgen levels).
  • Metformin is not approved by the FDA but it’s commonly prescribed. It helps to lower elevated blood glucose levels, insulin levels and androgen levels. Women who use metformin may lose weight but it won’t help reduce unwanted excess hair.
  • Clomiphene is another commonly prescribed oral medication used to induce ovulation. Letrozole and gonadotropins (hormonal injection) are other options used for the same purpose.
  • Leading a healthy lifestyle can help overweight women regulate ovulation and periods. For some women it can be difficult because their bodies hold on to fat more easily than others, but achieving a weight loss of 5 – 10% is not impossible.
  • If you suffer from excess hair growth (hirsutism), spironolactone is an anti-androgen drug that is most often used.
  • Some women turn to vitamins, supplements and other complementary treatments. Popular ones include cinnamon, myo-inositol, vitamin D, B complex vitamins and acupuncture.
  • Note that what works for others may not work for you. Try one treatment for a substantial amount of time (3 months at least) and move on if it doesn’t work.
  • Don’t accept your doctor’s prescription without fully understanding the pros and cons. Ask your doctor why the prescribed drug is the best for you and what are the long term side effects. Do some research (please use trusted sites) to see what others have to say about the drug.

My Experience

Things started to change as I inch closer to young adulthood. My period was out of whack: sometimes it comes late, other times I have two periods in one month. I didn’t have cramps in the past but I was hit with the worst cramp on the day my family and I were supposed to fly to Europe for vacation. It was the worst day of my life. I couldn’t stand and I was getting cold sweats from the pain. My parents got me some Panadol and a few hours later, I was fine. There was still pain in my lower abdomen, but I got on the plane and made it to Europe.

Despite all of that, I didn’t go to the doctor. For the next few years, I continue to have really irregular periods and I would have really painful cramps once in a blue moon. And then, my period stopped coming in June 2016 and that went on for 6 months. I went to see a gynecologist at the beginning of 2017 and was diagnosed with PCOS. I was prescribed Yaz and was told to be on it for at least three months. Because I don’t want to rely on birth pills, I stopped taking Yaz after three months but my period didn’t come the next month. So I went back on Yaz but I was determined to find an alternative solution.

 

Based on my research, each woman adopt different set of habits to get their period back on track. However, the three main pillars that really helped are having a whole foods diet, incorporating a regular exercise routine and reducing stress on the body. I eat a whole foods diet during the weekdays but I find that I didn’t incorporate enough healthy fats into my diet. I also exercise 4 – 5 times per week, doing a combination of cardio and Pilates but none of those are low impact exercises. After a month on Yaz, I got off the pill again and decided to increase my intake of healthy fats and incorporate yoga into my exercise routine.

I stuck with the new routine but my period didn’t come for the next two months. So I decided to try herbal supplements. The staff at Green Earth recommended BioCeuticals FemmePlex and I immediately saw results. Although herbal pills aren’t harmful, I wanted to see if I could fix the problem purely through food. My diet is clean (have meat once or twice per week and no dairy) and I’ve increased my intake of healthy fats but the change wasn’t effective, so what am I missing? It turns out that the types of food you eat during your menstrual cycle play a huge role

How I Reversed My PCOS Symptoms With Holistic Practices In 4 Months” by Nicole Granato (Mind Body Green)

Natural Hormone Healing offers a range of recipes that helps balance the hormones.

I found a blogger who wrote a list of foods she ate at different phases of her menstrual cycle and I decided to give it a try. And guess what? I did get my period a month after following her list! Up until this day, my cycle is irregular but at least I got my period back without relying on birth pills or supplements. I couldn’t find the blog that provided me the list but I had it written down in my journal so I’ll share it here.

 

Menstrual Phase (3 – 4 days)

  • Eat low GI foods, foods high in zinc
  • Incorporate sea veggies (i.e. seaweed)
  • Eat more soups and stews, beetroot, mushrooms, kidney beans, black beans
  • Add miso to your diet
  • Have berries and watermelon more often

Follicular Phase (7 – 10 days)

  • Eat more steamed food
  • Load up on broccoli, carrots, zucchini, beans
  • Incorporate oats, rye, whole wheat and nuts into your breakfast
  • Add vinegar, pickles and fermented foods

Ovulatory Phase (3 – 4 days)

  • Load up on high fiber vegetables (have them steamed or raw)
  • Decrease grains
  • Eat more berries and nuts
  • Have some dark chocolate (1 – 2 squares per day is best, not the whole bar)

Luteal Phase (10 – 14 days)

  • Incorporate foods high in Vitamin B, calcium and magnesium
  • High fiber vegetables are still on the menu
  • Add ginger, sweet potatoes, squash and chickpeas to your diet
  • Have apples and dates for snack

In terms of my exercise routine, I still do Pilates, HIIT workouts and yoga but I’ve switched running for more weight lifting sessions. I recently also started meditating and I really enjoy having a calmer mind and body.

I know this is a long post but hopefully some of you will find this useful. Before I go, I’d like to stress that it’s important to educate yourself on PCOS if you have it. Strive for natural remedies and even if it takes a lot of trial and error, it will be worth it. Trust me, your body will thank you. Until then, do your homework, ask questions and be patient.

Take good care of yourself ladies!

108162249561482019434

 

source: http://www.pcosaa.org/pcos-overview/

Lake Studio // Kiev Spring 2018

Lately I’ve been consuming a lot of fashion related content because I want to familiarize myself with the industry even more. After the first few days, I’m already struggling to stay afloat. Instead of trying to explore every designer’s work, I plan to direct my attention to labels from a handful of countries or regions.

04-lake-kiev-ss18
Look 4
05-lake-kiev-ss18
Look 5

Like most brands featured in this blog, I stumbled upon Lake Studio. The label was launched in 2008 and is currently managed by Anastasia Riabokon and Olesya Kononova. Taking inspiration from the sea and water, the duo’s Resort collection is not only aesthetically pleasing but was also created with a woman’s body in mind. What’s interesting is that although the selection of color palette is directly related to the designers’ inspiration, I think there’s more to it. For instance, blue is associated with depth and it symbolizes wisdom, confidence and intelligence while purple is often associated with independence and it symbolizes power and ambition. This, combined with the structure and form of the garments, lead back to the signature style of the brand, which classify it as “relaxed femininity mixed with masculine elegance”.

  • Anastasia Riabokon graduated with a degree in political science and economics. She was a former ballerina and a trained architect and interior designer before she joined Lake Studio in 2014.
  • Olesya Kononova is responsible for construction and production of clothes.
18-lake-kiev-ss18
Look 18
20-lake-kiev-ss18
Look 20
22-lake-kiev-ss18
Look 22

The off-the-shoulder dresses, deep v-necklines and ankle-length pants, just to name a few, will flatter women with narrow shoulders, beautiful décolletage or a proportional body type (ladies with short torso and long legs will look great in ankle-length pants too).

26-lake-kiev-ss18
Look 26

Some of Lake Studio’s best sellers include the wrap dresses and embroidered coats. In this Resort collection, the silks were sourced in Como, the prints were crafted in collaboration with Ukrainian artists and the embroideries were done by hand by the in-house team.

28-lake-kiev-ss18
Look 28
31-lake-kiev-ss18
Look 31

The designs are currently stocked in an online luxury fashion retailer called Moda Operandi.

 

108162249561482019434

Source: Vogue.com, Modi Operandi

Planning To Be A Personal Stylist? This One’s For You!

It’s not all glamour and fun but it sure is rewarding.

If you’re reading this, I assume that you’re either a student thinking about a future career in the fashion industry, you’re looking for a career change or you’re just plain curious. Whatever your reason, this comprehensive post will inform you on things you need to be aware of before you commit yourself to becoming a personal stylist.

What Is A Personal Stylist?

Once you’ve gained knowledge in styling, you can work in different areas (i.e. fashion retailers, motivational speakers, public relation specialist and human resource professional). You may choose to also get clued up on hair, beauty and lifestyle if you like but it depends on your personal and professional goals. Personal stylists assist individuals from all walks of life with their fashion choices. They help their clients build self-esteem, confidence, body image and develop their personal style. You’ll need a good understanding on how to dress individuals with different body shapes, color theory, fashion trends and fabric types to help your clients discover their personal style.

JOHN HONG STUDIO
Source: Write and Ramble

Who Will Invest In A Personal Stylist?

  • Those looking for career advancement or improve their confidence in the workplace.
  • Those who want a fun makeover session.
  • Those who are time poor.
  • Those who feel overwhelmed or intimidated when they’re out shopping.
  • Those looking to find a partner.
  • Those who lost their sense of self or style.
  • Organizations who provide professional development for their employees.

Decisions You Need To Make

The first question that you may encounter is whether or not you should take a short course or enroll in a university degree. I’m the type of person who needs to gain exposure before I decide if the job is for me. For that reason, I wouldn’t spend money on a university diploma. Weigh the pros and cons (as we’re all in different stages of our lives) and choose the one that would bring you the most value.

andrew-neel-308138
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

What Will I Learn In A Typical Styling Course?

Please keep in mind that each university and private institution will offer something different (this goes for teaching methods as well). That said, the general curriculum would look something like this:

  • An outline of services you may offer.
  • How to conduct a professional style consultation.
  • How to build client/retail/alliance relationships and create a memorable client experience.
  • How to set up your own styling business (how to price your service).
  • How to conduct wardrobe audit.
  • How to create a seamless shopping experience for the client.

I’m not sure about universities but private institutions tend to offer online support after the course. Graduates can access online conferences and the institution’s private social media forum, where you’ll have unlimited access to advises and a supportive community of past graduates. Australian Style Institute offers a good range of styling courses depending on your career goals. Check them out!

The Realities Of The Job [Top 5]

In my opinion, we won’t know what a particular job is like until we personally experienced it. This is when reading about what stylists deal with on a daily basis becomes helpful.

  • You need to be business savvy. As a personal stylist, you are your own brand. You need to find ways to reach those who need your help and that means you’ll need to spend a considerable amount of time developing your website, engage with others on social media, network and more.
  • You need to be prepared to work with clients from all walks of life and body shapes. And I mean people with all sorts of personalities and values. If you know that you can’t work with certain types of people, try scheduling a get-to-know-you session (in person or through video call) before you decide to take them on. Keep in mind that learning how to deal with others is a good skill to have and being too picky won’t get you far. You may also need to work with clients who suffer from body deformation or disability, which can make styling a huge challenge. Do it anyway and treat it as another learning experience. The more people you can help, the better.
  • You need to learn how to make your clients open up and be at ease around you. Everyone has insecurities and baggage. Be considerate, take your time getting to know them and respect that they won’t share everything with you during the first few sessions.
  • Shopping for others isn’t always fun and easy. If you imagined all shopping sessions with your clients to be fun and filled with laughter, this job may not be for you. Unexpected scenarios can happen whereby clients can be very indecisive, they could end up hating every piece of clothing you pulled for them or they could turn up 30 minutes late and expect that you finish your job in less time. If you can deal with frustrating and tricky situations like these in a calm and professional way, you’ll do great. If you find that you can’t, you’ll learn!
  • You need to build good relationships with retail brands and salespeople. Once you have that it’s going to make your job a lot easier. They’ll accommodate you when you’re styling your clients. The best part? They’ll give your clients discounts.
amber sceats
Source: Amber Sceats

Will There Be A Demand for Personal Stylists?

Algorithms can now choose clothes for you and make you look as stylish as the Duchess of Cambridge. On top of that, customers can interact with human stylists online when they want to. It’s convenient, efficient and high tech. That’s the future of fashion right?

It’s undeniable that new innovative services are popping up, but remember, not everyone prefers to use online services when it comes to buying clothes. They’d rather get out of the house and spend time in the mall when they can. They prefer to head in store to touch and feel the fabrics. After spending so much time with technology on a daily basis, human interaction is seen as essential for some. Think about this: can algorithms help you declutter and organize your wardrobe (perhaps a robot can but that’s way beyond our time)? Do you think online human stylists could boost your confidence and inspire you to dress well the same way as when you’re having a face to face interaction with a stylist of your choice?

Facial expressions, tone of voice, body language and hearing someone say “you look good in that” are things the internet can’t replace. In fact, in an attempt to attract customers to shop in-store, brick-and-mortar retailers are starting to hire stylists to give their customers a better shopping experience. So yes, there’ll be demand for stylists in the future!

I hope this is useful for those of you who are looking to pursue a career in personal styling. If you need more insight or advice, network with personal stylists on meetup groups or LinkedIn. Remember, you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

**

IMG_20170626_090450_HDR
At the PSA course

My Story

After I’ve graduated from university, I decided I want to start a career in the fashion industry (I have a degree in psychology). I thought about combining my knowledge in psychology/marketing with fashion and with that in mind, I did internships with a PR company and a footwear wholesaler and retailer in Melbourne. I did find out what I like and dislike as well as the roles that I’m interested in exploring in the future (VM assistant, buying assistant or PR account executive in the Fashion, Retail and Consumer team). But I realized I was craving for a job that would allow me to work directly with clothes and jewelry. That was when I started thinking about a career in styling. I spent the next few weeks reading up on articles and blog posts about the different aspects of styling and I have to say, I think I’d actually enjoy this.

I enrolled into the personal stylist certification course at the Professional Styling Academy in mid-2017 and I enjoyed it. Although my plan was to gain basic knowledge in styling so that I can work with fashion magazines, I’m actually planning to make personal styling my side job. As I’m leaving Melbourne for my home country in December, I have a few ideas lined up. I’ll write more about my journey soon!

IMG_20170626_101213_HDR

Featured image by Vydia Rishie

Have a nice day (and smile).

108162249561482019434

Capturing Style On The Go // The Sartorialist

Scott Schuman, the photographer behind The Sartorialist, has a keen eye for individual style. Nothing too trendy, just plain unique.

I was in a bookshop located along Elizabeth St. when I saw the book. It’s about street style photography and it was on sale. I flipped through the thick but small book and matt page after matt page, I was greeted with a blend of individual styles.

I had to get it.

I went home, made myself comfortable and savoured each page. There’s just so much to look at; not because Schuman decided to squeeze ten photos into one page but every individual (from all walks of life) was wearing or had something eccentric with them.

I’m happy to have discovered Schuman’s blog, The Sartorialist, because from there one gets a glimpse of what personal style means and would close the tab feeling inspired to wear whatever you want, whenever you want. Nothing trendy, just plain you.

Here are a couple of my favorites.

west broadway ny
West Broadway, New York
via manzoni
Via Manzoni, Milan
lower east side ny
Lower East Side, New York
wardour st london
Wardour St., London
paris
Paris
charing cross rd
Charing Cross Road, London
ada paris
Ada, Paris
corso monforte
Corso Monforte, Milan

 

(the featured image was taken in Washington St. New York)

Do you have a favorite?

108162249561482019434

A Shy Introvert In An Extroverted World // My Ice Breaker Speech

I put myself on a scary journey but I know it’s going to pay off in the end.

I’ve always wanted to be a better communicator. Throughout my life, I struggled to speak up because I was afraid of what others think of me and I have low self-confidence.

To stand out in this era, you need to be able to clearly express your thoughts, to think on your feet, and most importantly to be able to engage and influence others. Without these skills, you’ll face difficulties at networking events, job interviews or getting a promotion.

I first heard about Toastmasters at a dinner party 2 years ago. The guy I was talking to had great confidence and he never used “like”, “ah” or “uhm”. On most occasions, I’d start comparing myself to the stranger and think negatively about my ability to socialize (or give presentations). And what usually happens is I get overwhelmed with the negative thoughts and I start to stumble all over my sentences. I become the poor communicator that I wish to avoid.

820

It’s rare that I feel at ease with a stranger but for some reason, I opened up to him. I told him my desire to get better at presenting and telling stories and he suggested that I join Toastmasters at the University of Melbourne. I asked him what a typical session at Toastmasters is like and he explained with enthusiasm:

  1. You’ll be called upon to speak about a random topic for 60-90 seconds without any preparation. [If you’re a guest, you can pass but if you’re a member you must do it]
  2. Experienced members will evaluate your performance and give you feedback. [In front of everyone]

and the list goes on.  I felt fear creeping into my brain and my interest gradually waned.

The thought of standing in front of a huge group of students (He said the club is VERY popular) talking about a random topic without any preparation is enough to make my brain go NO! NO! NO! NO! I not only have serious fear of public speaking but I’m also terrible at thinking on my feet. To sum things up, I’ll have a very unpleasant time at Toastmasters. So I took the easy way out. I listened to Fear, didn’t join the club and kept wishing I was a better speaker while I was an undergraduate.

Then something changed in me as 2017 comes to an end. I realized that nothing will change if I let Fear dictate me. I will never grow.

Plus the world doesn’t give a f**k if I’m an introvert or if I’m shy. If I can’t perform in this extroverted world, I lose.

toastmasters-2

In September, I decided to challenge my good ol’ friend Fear. I went to a couple of Toastmasters meetings to gauge the atmosphere and it surprised me. The people there are so encouraging and helpful; it just feels like a safe place for me to fail. The other thing that motivated me to come back was the fact that most guests share my insecurities and I finally found myself saying thinking: “I’m not alone anymore“.

I’ve given two impromptu speeches (as a guest) so far and I did my first ice breaker speech (as an official Toastmasters member) last week. After the meeting, a few guests came up and told me they could really relate to my story and I was happy to hear that. When I wrote my speech, I didn’t want it to just be an introduction of myself but also to encourage other shy introverts to step up and take control of Fear.

Because why the hell not? Public speaking is scary but it didn’t kill me. Trust me, you’ll survive. 

*If you’re interested, read on to find out what my speech was about*

Mr Toastmaster, fellow members and guests, today I’d like to share my story on what is it like growing up as a shy introvert. First, you’ll get to a glimpse of my background, followed by short snippets of my life experiences as a shy introvert and finally I’ll end with techniques I use to cope in an extroverted world.

My name is Su Min Chan and I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The first two languages I was exposed to were English and Cantonese and once I started kindergarten, I became familiar with Mandarin and Malay as well. For some reason, my Mandarin skills never go beyond a 10 year old but my older brother and I could still speak the language if we want to discuss something we don’t want our parents to know. I spent my secondary school years in an all-girls government school and at 18, I pursued my International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma at the International School of KL before moving to Australia for my Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Melbourne. Even though I majored in Psychology, I’ve decided to pursue a career in the fashion industry and I aim to become a part of the ethical fashion movement in the future.

For most of my life, I’ve been known as the shy and quiet one but that’s not always the case. When I was a young girl, I wouldn’t be the one to start a conversation during social outings or family gatherings. I prefer to sit in the corner and observe. Once things get boring, I’d start day-dreaming or make up random stories in my head. In middle school, I became less awkward at parties but I still wouldn’t speak in class. Due to my quiet and reserved nature, I tend to have a small but close group of friends. Much to their surprise, I can be pretty crazy and outgoing during our meetups. Our personalities occur on a spectrum. I’d say I belong somewhere between introversion and extroversion but I definitely show more characteristics of an introvert. 

I can get away with being a shy introvert when I was younger, but things started to change once I enter university. I was horrified when to find that tutorial are graded based on how much I contribute and presentations as well as group work are common throughout the semester. As an introvert, thinking on my feet is not my forte and I tend to focus and perform better on individual assignments. On top of all that, good leadership skills are highly regarded when applying for internships or a job. To fulfill society’s criteria for the best candidate, I volunteered to be the secretary of Melbourne University’s Tae Kwon Do club and a mentor to five international students for the student union. I may great at organizing events and providing guidance to a small group of people, but I’m not the best in convincing others to get involved in club competitions or events. Unfortunately for me, the ideal leader in today’s society is someone who is energetic, approachable and is able to influence a group of more than five. The situation may be more challenging for me but I want to work on being a better introverted leader so that I could guide those with similar difficulties.

Pushing myself out of my comfort zone on most days means I experience more anxiety and stress but the following methods have helped me strive. When I’m socializing I make sure to take quick “breaks” in the bathroom. Stepping away from the crowd helps me recharge and gives me time to think about topics to talk about during the get-to-know-you-sessions. I also try to be gentle to myself when things don’t go smoothly. Setbacks and the feeling of incompetence are common but giving myself plenty of positive self-talk has helped me stay motivated. Finally, and perhaps the most crucial, I try to stop worrying about what others think of me. Once you’ve learned to let go of that, you start growing and all you feel is empowerment. These three countermeasures have not only helped me reduce stress and anxiety but they also gave me motivation to seek challenges.

I hope I’ve used this time well to introduce myself. For the shy introverts in this room, know that it’s never too late to start challenging yourself. I urge you to find ways to help you cope and you’d be surprised at who you can become!

108162249561482019434

Make Your Home A Better Place Now

This weekend’s post is about reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in the landfill. Discover organizations such as TerraCycle and the RED Group as well as learn how you could recycle the “non-recyclables”.

 

I learned how to protect the environment through school and my parents. We recycle newspapers, magazines and we limit our use of plastic bags by storing reusable bags in the car. Our actions demonstrate that we care for the environment but I don’t think we’re doing much to save the environment at all.

Although my parents use recycling bags when running errands, they often come back from the wet market with more plastic bags. My mom collects glass jars and plastic containers and recycle them in the city but she throws away plastic packaging when she unpacks the groceries. Now do you think I’d do better than my parents? Unfortunately, no. Sometimes I accept plastic bags from vendors because I use them to line my trash bin. I also throw away plastic packaging when I unpack my groceries.

medium_photo
My mom uses a tiffin carrier to store me and my brother’s breakfast. Source: Project Bly

A few months ago, I finally decided to do what I can to change my current habits in order to make my home a better place. The three categories I need to work on is recycling beauty products, oral care products and soft plastics the right way.

Think about how you’d normally dispose beauty, body care and oral care products? Do you put them into the regular recycling bin? If so, you need to stop doing that! According to the Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority (NAWMA), we can only put the following items into the yellow recycling bin:

  • newspapers, paper, magazines
  • cardboard
  • glass bottles and jars
  • plastic containers (soft drinks, milk, ice cream, margarine and yogurt)
  • aluminium
  • steel cans

Why is that you say? Because the type of plastic used to create the tubes and containers for beauty, body care and oral care products are different. Hence, you need to recycle them through a different channel. If you live in Australia, you could do that through TerraCycle. TerraCycle collaborates with major consumer product companies, retailers, manufacturers and small business in 20 different countries to recycle coffee capsules, pens, plastic gloves and more. TerraCycle offers free recycling programs and solutions to make recycling a part of our lifestyle. All you have to do is sign up (it’s free), start collecting (from home, office or school), download the free shipping labels and send your waste to be recycled (you can opt to drop them off). Members are rewarded with TerraCycle points which they can redeem for cash and donate to a non-profit organization or school of their choice. I signed up for the Beauty Products Recycling Program a few months ago and I’ve collected up to 10 products to date. TerraCycle can expect a huge box of goodies once I’m ready to move out!

TomSzaky_m_0801.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smart

 

Tom Szaky was 19 years old when he first got the idea for TerraCycle. The Princeton freshman wanted to eliminate waste by making quality fertilizer from food waste. Szaky went through a hard time and was close to giving up until he met Suman Sinha, TerraCycle’s first investor. Read the rest of the story here.

If you’re not sure what to do with the plastic packaging you get from the supermarkets, don’t fret. You can recycle them through the REDcycle program. RED Group is a Melbourne based consulting and recycling organisation that developed and implemented the program that allows consumers to recycle soft plastic such as bread bag, pasta and rice bags, old green bags, cereal box liners, just to name a few. Over the years, RED Group has teamed up with Coles, Woolworths and other Australia’s well-loved brands to make recycling easier for consumers.

Although major supermarkets in Australia do take part in this green initiative, I feel that they could’ve done a better job. We know that consumers and manufacturers use a stupid amount of plastic everyday (if you don’t, look it up) so I assume major supermarkets would have a REDcycle bin in all of their outlets. But it turns out that I have to go to specific places to drop off the soft plastics I’ve collected. What’s even more frustrating is that the Woolworths I shop at is located in one of the busiest areas in the city and yet there’s not a single REDcycle bin in sight. If they don’t make recycling convenient for consumers, how are we supposed to reduce the amount of plastic packaging that goes out to the landfill?

MainOfficeSpace
TerraCycle’s main office: the desks are separated with items like old records and cork boards. Source: Dishmag.com
Lobby
Office Lobby: the furniture, chairs and table are made from secondhand materials. Source: Dishmag.com
Garden
The upcycled “carden”. Source: Dishmag.com

Usually I’d vent about it and then move on. But this time I decided to write to Woolworths. I explained the situation and noted down the benefits of having a REDcycle bin at QV centre. They wrote back saying that they’re aware of the situation and is in the process of rolling out the REDcycle program to the rest of the outlets. I’m so glad to hear that.

Take a moment to reflect on your current lifestyle habits. Do you consider yourself an environmentally friendly person or you don’t really care? If you’re in the latter category, why do you think that? Consuming is a big part of our lives and it’s worth taking the initiative to reduce unnecessary waste. Make your home a better place now and be mindful when you consume.

 

You can make a difference.

108162249561482019434