Beauty on a Budget: Freeman Golden Grain Brightening Mask

freeman-golden-gran-brightening-mask-product-review

Who says you can’t find good beauty products within a tight budget?
I haven’t tried using a face mask purchased at a pharmacy before; my previous face masks were from specialty stores or brands, like Sephora, Glam Glow and Skin Food. I do like to try different brands once in a while. My favorite so far is still Glam Glow Thirsty Mud.
I came across this Freeman mask at a Guardian store. The name was quite catchy with its “Golden Grain” phrase and I was surprised to see the price at only RM24. It claims to hydrate and brighten, and suitable for dry skin. I doubt that any wash-off mask can really brighten the skin progressively but I decided to give this a try.
Golden Grain Brightening Mask
  • Price: RM24 / 175ml
  • Available at Guardian Pharmacy stores
  • No Parabens
  • Contains Vitamin C
  • Made in USA
  • Life after opening: 36 months

Packaging
  • Simple, easy squeeze tube with flip-top cap
  • Not ideal for hand-carry luggage as it exceeds 100ml – either check it in or transfer the amount you need into a travel container

Price
  • Very affordable at only RM24 for 175ml, that’s RM0.14 per 1ml

freeman-golden-gran-brightening-mask-face-gel


The Product itself
  • Face gel texture, light and easy to apply
  • Can be applied easily using your fingertips or with a face mask brush if you prefer
  • Bright, clear color with tiny gold grains, which you won’t feel at all on the face
  • Has light floral scent that I like, a bit odd considering that most of the ingredients are fruit extracts

The Result
  • Right after washing off, skin feels soft, smooth and refreshed
  • Hard to see brightening results but I didn’t expect it to brighten my skin just after 4 times of use

Overall, I like this product as a regular face mask to use. Not bad at all for this kind of price!
What the product packaging says:
  • Glowing skin is worth its weight in gold! This illuminating gel mask with natural Golden Grain helps to lift moisture levels for a dewy-smooth look and feel. Get triple skin benefits from Vitamin C, known to help control the formation of dark spots, firm and brighten. Perfect for dry skin.

How to use:
  • After cleansing, apply generously to the face and neck, avoiding contact with the eyes.
  • Leave on skin for 5-10 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Personal recommendation – Apply your routine skincare after washing off. Don’t skip eye cream, especially if you’re in your 30s and beyond.
  • Use two times a week or as often as needed.


freeman-golden-gran-brightening-mask-product-review

Ingredients:
Water, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Amaranths Caudatus Seed Extract, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Niacinamide, Allantoin, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Maranta Arundinacea Root Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Nasturtium Officinale Extract, Aleurites Moluccana Extract, Propylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Carbomer, Panthenol, Sodium Hydroxide, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance, Limonene, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide.
If you want to find out more about this brand, visit

Say Goodbye to Irritating Tummy Pains and Bowel Syndrome

Ever felt that sudden stomach pain and you just have to rush to the washroom? 


Not an easy experience, is it? You are not alone. Over 800 million people suffer as you do, from a condition known as IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome. IBS can affect anyone, and up to as high as 21% of adults are affected in certain regions. More women (70%) than men (30%) suffer IBS and all ages are affected, from teenagers to the elderly. However IBS is most commonly found in the age groups 30 – 50 years old. Many people don’t even realise that this is a condition, with only 30% of sufferers consulting their doctors about this condition. There are many different remedies on the market, but only 8% of patients are satisfied with their particular remedy. The syndrome affects patients both physically and psychologically, impairing the patient’s ability to function emotionally, socially and professionally.  

RM66.80 for 30 capsules / RM111.80 for 60 capsules

Fret not. Now, there’s Prime ProGIGuard. The Prime ProGIGuard is a yeast probiotic formulation scientifically proven to relieve abdominal pain and discomfort.

The Prime ProGIGuard recently hosted an event where scientific and clinically sound results supported the use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-3856 in abdominal symptomatic relief such as pain and generalised discomfort. Members of the public and media were made aware of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, a common gastrointestinal disorder often unreported and under-diagnosed, and other associated conditions in IBD, or inflammatory bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, thanks to Professor Pierre Desreumaux, an international gastroenterological expert based in France.


You are happily living your life as an active member of society, and can be aged anywhere from 15 – 65 years old. Sure, life can be stressful every now and then, but then who isn’t stressed in today’s fast paced lifestyle? So imagine waking up with abdominal pain, bloating, distension, flatulence, with constipation and/or diarrhoea. This goes on not just the whole day, but continues to the next day, and the next, with no sign of letting up. It is socially embarrassing and you feel self-conscious, anxious and depressed. The constant bloating leaves you developing a bad body image and alters your entire lifestyle. You don’t go to school or work and miss important academic or work developments that leave you behind and struggling to catch up. You cannot enjoy your food as you used to, fearing that a particular type of food will add to the bloating, distension and flatulence as well as the alteration in stool. Examples include not being able to eat ice cream, milk, spices or French fries.

Reports show that activities are restricted up to 139 days of the year, and up to 40 days of absenteeism are recorded. Life goes on a downward spiral as you lose control of your once ordered life, and you are prescribed strong medicine such as antidepressants with potential side effects.

This gastrointestinal syndrome is a collection of symptoms as listed above, and is diagnosed according to the Rome III criteria as recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort (an uncomfortable sensation not described as pain) for at least 3 days in a month in the last 3 months associated with 2 or more of the following: improvement with defecation, onset associated with a change in the frequency of stool, and the onset associated with a change in the appearance of stool according to the Bristol stool chart. 3 different types of IBS exist: IBS-C (IBS with constipation), IBS-D (IBS with diarrhoea), and IBS-M (IBS with mixed constipation and diarrhoea). Other symptoms of IBS include nausea, loss of bowel control, sudden urges to go to the bathroom and soiling.
IBS happens all over the world, and an average of 15.6% of Malaysians suffer from IBS, with the highest number of sufferers at greater than 20% in its respective country (the USA for example). The global cost incurred for sufferers of IBS is estimated at over USD$21 billion, including both the direct medical costs (physician visits, investigative tests, drugs, etc.) and indirect costs (loss of productivity, work absenteeism).

Professor Pierre Desreumaux, International Gastroenterological Expert

According to Professor Pierre Desreumaux, Head of the Inflammatory Digestive Diseases Research Unit at Lille University in France, one way to combat Irritable Bowel Syndrome is to consume probiotics, a product readily available on the market. However, The Prime ProGIGuard is the only yeast probiotic available on the market, so that it can get rid of bad bacteria AND bad yeast, especially harmful candida yeast that can enter the bloodstream.

(L-R) Canmy Ang, Managing Director of Taiping Poly (M) Sdn Bhd, Maria Tunku Sabri, TV Host, Teo Tze Seng, Product Manager of Cambert (M) Sdn Bhd for The Prime ProGIGuard, S.L. Ho, General Manager of Cambert (M) Sdn Bhd, Professor Pierre Desreumaux, International Gastroenterological Expert, Isadora Chai, Celebrity Chef, Owner of Antara & Bistro à Table and Food Stylist


The Prime ProGIGuard is safe and fast acting, and has strong scientific support and clinically proven efficacy. Anyone from children aged two years and above can consume it, and it is a breakthrough in gastrointestinal pain management.

The Prime ProGIGuard has been clinically proven to relieve gastrointestinal symptoms, and is suitable for anyone suffering from indigestion, food poisoning, food allergies and/or food intolerance, constipation, diarrhoea, trapped wind and bloating, overeating, anxiety, depression, stomach flu or even menstrual pain.

Studies have shown that sufferers of gastrointestinal pain and discomfort experienced a significant reduction in symptoms from the first week onwards of consumption and especially within the first two weeks/15 days of consumption.

Bakers Yeast – a Natural Probiotic Proven to Settle the Stomach
Saccharomyces cerevisiae in The Prime ProGIGuard works in IBS by several ways. One of the ways is that Saccharomyces cervisiae CNCM I-3856 secretes saccharolytic enzymes and assisting intestinal flora in generating short chain fatty acids that accelerates the bowel movements. It also acts as a visceral analgesic, increasing resistance to pain by up to 40%. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory to combat intestinal inflammation. It helps rebalance the bacteria in the gut, being shown to reduce the harmful bacteria Enterococcus, E. coli and C. albicans. The result is decreased inflammation, bloating, pain, discomfort, constipation among relief of the other symptoms of IBS. It is indeed a wonder probiotic (good yeast)!

The Prime ProGiGuard costs RM66.80 for a bottle of 30 capsules and RM111.80 for a bottle of 60 capsules and is available at Guardian, Caring, AA and other leading pharmacies nationwide.

Say goodbye to tummy pains. Live life to the fullest. Be happy. Be IBS-worry-free 🙂

For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/theprimecambert/

Good oral health for good life and good food!

We love good food and we love delicious drinks. But do we practice good oral hygiene?

how-to-take-care-of-your-teeth

When I first came to Malaysia, I was amazed at how people would go out of their way, travel the distance and even wait on long queues just to eat. I can’t imagine myself waiting for 30 minutes or more just to sit down and have a bite. Well, that was 8 years ago. I’ve now been accustomed to how much Malaysians love food. And I’ve grown to love different types of food, cuisine and other pleasurable delights in this country. 

My son is growing up fast and he’s learning to enjoy new dishes, drinks and desserts. He’s also enjoying a little bit of spice in his food now (ah, Malaysians and your undying love for spicy food). It’s nice to see him appreciate and ask for Japanese food, Filipino food, Chinese food, Western and, of course, cakes and ice cream!

But no matter how much we love food, it’s very important to practise healthy eating habits. I know, I know, not easy. It’s important to try to have a balanced diet. We can’t have a diet that’s all-carbs or all-protein or no veggie. Kids generally love fried, oily food, chips and junk (I do, too!) and we have to be strict, set an example and make healthy eating a habit for them.  

delicious-macaroni-and-cheese
He loves mac and cheese (yummy kid’s meal at Chili’s).

boy-eating-fried-chicken-and-rice
He loves fried chicken and rice meal, which comes with side dish vegetables (from Pancake House).


Another important habit to develop among our families is practising good oral hygiene. Again, I admit this is not easy to do. Some kids find brushing an unusual or weird thing to do and some of them might not even like the taste of any toothpaste. While my son was growing up, it did take a while for him to get used to brushing. But it’s necessary to start them young. As soon as he had his first two teeth, I already started brushing. Now, at seven years old, he has fully developed a habit to brush in the morning after breakfast, after lunch and right before going to bed. 

how-to-make-kids-brush-their-teeth
Here’s the naughty boy about to brush his teeth. 

My son likes Jordan brushes mainly because of the fun design he sees on it. He’s comfortable holding it and brushing with it. I personally like it, too, because this type comes with a cap that is very useful when travelling. 

brushing-teeth

toothbrush-with-travel-friendly-cap


If you’re having trouble getting your kids to brush teeth, check out some tips from this mom!

As for myself, I brush teeth every after meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although some might say that 2x a day is enough, I just cannot stand the feel of my teeth and tongue after a meal without brushing. 

how-to-take-care-of-your-teeth
No matter how busy we are during the day, it’s important to spend a few minutes to take care of our teeth and freshen our breath as well. 

How to brush teeth properly:
  • Brush your teeth for 2 minutes, spending an equal amount of time (30 seconds) in each area of your mouth.
  • Hold your brush at a 45 degree angle pointed towards the gums.
  • Brush your tongue to help freshen your breath and clean your mouth by removing bacteria.
  • Brush all the surfaces of your teeth including the sides and the chewing surface above your tongue.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day: at least once during the day and once before going to bed.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or as soon as you see that the bristles are out of shape or discoloured. 


Aside from food, Malaysians also love various drinks. Teh tarik, teh o ais, teh o ais limau, Milo ais, kopi tarik…wow, there are so many choices for drinks here. I enjoy fruit shakes, occasional coffee from Starbucks and milo ais kosong. 

delicious-banana-milkshake
Rich banana milkshake (from The Narra Filipino restaurant)

If you love to drink coffee, tea or fruit juices, you might want to try using whitening dental floss. A whitening dental floss like this one can effectively lift off plaque and surface stains between teeth and around the gum-line. Stains are caused by daily consumption of different foods and beverages. This Jordan floss is available in 25m and coated with mint flavour, fluoride, xylitol and ingredients proven effective against discolouration and tartar.  

how to floss teeth properly

how to floss your teeth properly


How to floss your teeth properly:
  • Floss your teeth once a day.
  • Make sure to floss the teeth at the back of your mouth.
  • Use 45 cm of floss—wrap each end around your fingers and gently lower it in between your teeth.
  • Follow the curve of your teeth to avoid damaging your gums.
  • Repeat this for every tooth, as you move to the next tooth take the dirty floss with one finger and unwind the clean floss from the other finger.


Not convinced to floss or to start to? Flossing does about 40% of the work required to remove sticky bacteria, or plaque, from your teeth. Plaque generates acid, which can cause cavities, irritate the gums, and lead to gum disease. 

How do you know if you have good oral health?
  • It’s best to visit your dentist regularly for a checkup. But here are some basic factors that help you identify good oral health:
  • Your gums are pink.
  • Your gums do not get sore or bleed when you brush or floss your teeth.
  • Your teeth feel clean and not “fuzzy”.
  • You don’t constantly have bad breath.
  • You don’t have toothache.


Why should you bother to have good oral health?
  • First of all, you must understand the importance of healthy teeth. Good teeth means you can eat well and continue to enjoy what you like to eat.
  • To prevent tooth decay, tooth aches and gum disease. Bacteria buildup can severely damage your teeth and gums.
  • To avoid bad breath because…well, who likes to be close to anyone with bad breath? It’s not good for your personal relationships, whether family, friends or colleagues. And if you’re going for an interview, bad breath is a definite turn off. Consider it as part of your personal presentation. 
  • To maintain a complete set of teeth and be confident to flash that beautiful smile, haha! 


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So, everyone, let’s all please practice good dental hygiene and habits. Use good quality toothbrush and floss for healthy gums and teeth. 

flossing and brushing teeth

jordan toothbrush for adults and kids

Choosing the Ideal Contact Lens

how-to-choose-the-right-contact-lens

When I first started using contact lens years back, it was tough for me to pick which one to use. There are so many types and brands! At that time, my main concern was I wanted to shift to contact lens instead of using eyeglasses. Contact lens is just less obtrusive with various daily work activities and has less chances of being misplaced somewhere during the day. Now, although I wear eyeglasses most of the time, I still use daily contact lens when I have to or when I feel like it so I still keep a stack of dailies.

It helps to consult a specialist at an eye care centre. A lot of people ask what makes an ideal contact lens, which one is suitable, comfortable and safe to use (remember the story that spread across social media years back about a girl who used bad quality contact lens?). I’ve always been cautious about what I put on my eyes. And it always doesn’t hurt to ask professionals. From what I’ve learned from Alice Tan, Professional Service Manager of Vision Care, Bausch and Lomb Malaysia, the ideal contact lens is one that provides satisfactory visual performance, acceptable comfort, adequate corneal physiology, and ease of handling. On top of that, factors to be put into consideration when selecting a suitable contact lens are comfort, convenience plus the user’s needs and lifestyle.

My first set of contact lens can be used for 2 weeks but I shifted to daily contact lens after a year or so. I eventually got tired of cleaning the lens every time. A good brand to try is the Bausch and Lomb Biotrue® ONEday daily contact lens . This features the material called Hypergel and this contact lens has been considered ideal by many professionals and users alike.

what-contact-lens-to-use

Biotrue ONEday lenses: RM125 per box of 30 pieces

If you’re a contact lens user and have tried various types or brands, you might have experienced instances when the lens get dry and cause discomfort. This is a no-no for me because I work using laptops at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week or more.

“Hypergel, a high-moisture next-generation material, was designed to work like the eye, matching the cornea’s 78 per cent water content and mimicking the tear film’s lipid layer to retain moisture. Inspired by the biology of the eye, the material combines the lens polymer with Surface Active Macromers which mimic the lipid layer of tear film to resist dehydration and maintain water within the lens for up to 16 hours. The material which combines the best features of conventional hydrogels and silicone hydrogels retains 98 per cent of moisture throughout the day, ending the day with more moisture than many lenses begin with, meets the oxygen levels an open eye needs without the use of silicone to maintain healthy, white eyes and it matches the cornea water content, which provides exceptional vision and comfort throughout the day”, said Alice Tan when asked about what was so unique about Hypergel.

one-day-contact-lens-and-price


When choosing a suitable contact lens, many would put the water content of the lenses into consideration. While a higher water content provides good initial comfort, it does not necessary translate into all day comfort, as this generally cause dryness at the end of the day. Biotrue® ONEday Daily contact lens is unique because it mimics the lipid layer of tear film to prevent dehydration thus provides moisture up to 16 hours, surpassing all major contact lens brand in the market today.

Alice Tan stresses the importance of good oxygen flow for the eyes. “The cornea, the outermost layer of our eyes has no blood supply of its own. Therefore, under the open eye condition, atmospheric oxygen is dissolved in tears and absorbed by the cornea. When one wears contact lenses with poor oxygen transmissibility, the oxygen supply to the cornea can be disrupted. This can lead to corneal swelling and if the condition persists, blood vessels can grow into the cornea and cause new blood vessel formation. Such complications are common when one wear contacts to sleep, particularly with lenses that are not designed for overnight wear. And in general, overnight wear of lenses is more prone to eye infection and that is why sleeping in contacts are generally not recommended”, said Alice Tan, Professional Service Manager, Vision Care Bausch and Lomb Malaysia. To maintain healthy, white eyes, Tan recommends that users choose a lens that can provide the amount of oxygen that the open eye needs. 

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Above all benefits, Bausch and Lomb Biotrue® ONEday Daily’s Hypergel is the first soft contact lens material that provides UV protection. It can block 70% of UVA and 95% of UVB radiation. However, Alice Tan advised against forgoing the regular UV-absorbing eyewear such as UV-absorbing goggles and sunglasses for a complete protection. 

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Biotrue® ONEday Daily lens is a premium daily disposable contact lens. Inspired by none other than the human eye itself, Biotrue® ONEday lens is made from HyperGel™, an innovation that combines the best of conventional hydrogels and silicone hydrogels and is set to be the next generation of Daily Disposable material. Biotrue® ONEday lens, priced at RM125 per box of 30 pieces is available at all leading optical outlets nationwide. Biotrue® Multi-Purpose Solution is available in Twin pack (355ml x 2) priced at RM61.50. 




Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate and Fitness Tracker Review

What’s your daily exercise companion?  

Fitbit charge 2 heart rate and fitness tracker box

With fitness and health becoming a priority now in our lives, it’s not surprising that more people are jumping into the “wearables” segment to monitor health data, including me. I’ve been thinking about it since last year; it took me a while to finally make a decision in buying a fitness tracker/watch. (But why?) Because it meant I will make my other watches useless. Not that I have too many, not that they’re expensive. But do you know the feeling of having a few little things that you like or love and find it hard to let them go…
Back of Fitbit Charge 2 box

However, I knew that I need to be more aware and conscious about my mobility, how much I move everyday and reduce my “stagnant” hours or minutes. This is not just about losing weight but about being fit and avoiding bodily pains, which could be signs of aging as well (aaaaarrrrrr!). My job involves long hours sitting on a chair in front of computers. I could be stuck on that chair for 4-6 hours in a day without getting up unless I need to go to the restroom or get some water to drink. Yes, I know I know, it’s terrible. 

The bad thing with our time of advanced technology where we rarely need to walk or move to talk to someone is that it’s bad for health. We’ve all been pampered by chat apps, emails and phones so much that some people may find it a “burden” to need to walk. During my days at my first job, employees have to walk a lot and even travel to get an approval, get a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from a boss, take photo of a set-up or check competitor prices. But now, everything can be done via chat apps. In a few seconds or minutes, you can get an answer for important matters. While this is great for a lot of things, it diminishes our urge to move. 

Fitbit charge 2 heart rate and fitness tracker

But the awesome thing in this decade is that we now have wearable technology and apps to help us get moving and hopefully healthier and more fit! I did some research on different fitness trackers and decided to get the Fitbit Charge 2. 

Why I chose Fitbit Charge 2 (Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband)
1. Appearance – I was looking for a clean, sleek look, not too masculine like Garmin Fenix, and must look pretty enough to wear to work everyday. The appearance of Fitbit Charge 2 is great for me and it comes in purple band too.
2. Size – I wanted a fitness tracker that will not be bulky on my wrist specially when running. I don’t like the feel of normal watch on my wrist while sweating so my fitness tracker has to be slim enough to wear.  
3. Weight – I’m not sure if professional runners like heavy trackers but I, a beginner/amateur, definitely prefer a light one while running and sweating. This Fitbit is light at only 1.23 oz or 35 grams. 
4. Data display – I want a tracker that serves as a normal watch, too. This is why I didn’t go for the Fitbit Flex even if it was slimmer and sexier. Fitbit Charge 2 also displays multiple data in various screens. You can choose to display time, date, number of steps taken and heart rate in first screen; this is great for me. By tapping the screen, you can switch into different data displays like distance walked/ran, stairs climbed, active minutes and more. 
5. Auto-detection of running – This is my core exercise during the weekends and it’s great that Fitbit Charge 2 can auto-detect this activity. 
6. Sleep tracking and other exciting metrics – I’m not a big fan of sleeping (yes, I’m weird) but I know I have to sleep better and longer. I’m used to sleeping late and getting up early to send my son to school then go to work. Fitbit Charge 2 shows sleep data and can help me aim for better habits.  
7. Battery life – Product info online says it can last up to 5 days. But in actual use, my Fitbit lasts for 7 days, I only charge once a week and it even has around 15-20% battery life left when I do. 
8. Price – At RM730 and with all the features packed in, I think it’s reasonably-priced. If you’re seriously looking for a device to help you get more fit, save up for this one instead of replacing a phone that still works fine. Of course, if you’re a serious runner or if you do multiple activities that need more detailed tracking, you might want to consider other Fitbit models or even Garmin. 

After 1 month of use, I realise that Fitbit Charge 2 may not be perfect but I love this device. It serves everything I need, my purpose for buying a fitness tracker. I’ve been moving a lot more than I did before. Fitbit Charge 2 has notifications that remind me to walk based on the goals I set. 

Fitbit app for fitness and health tracking
(left to right) Fitbit app dashboard, Hourly activity summary, Sleep Data

Fitbit charge 2 heart rate and fitness data
(left to right) Heart Rate view showing Cardio Fitness, Summary of Heart rate zones, Heart rate zones based on my running exercise

I can’t say enough about how much I love the Fitbit app dashboard. It’s got everything I need to get moving and get closer to my goals. This dashboard can be on your mobile phone, tablet and notebook at the same time, giving you access to your Fitbit account everywhere. After all, what’s the point of tracking a lot of information if you can’t see them, make use of them and crush them? From what I’ve learned, the app is just as important as the fitness tracker itself. 

track fitness and health data on fitbit app
View of Fitbit dashboard on desktop 
It marks milestones with confetti on the dashboard, which I find really cool. It helps me to see accomplishments and track progress better. Small, progressive developments help me to continue pushing myself harder. I believe that a key to achieving fitness goals is consistency in whatever small steps I do while setting the bar a bit higher each time, even if it’s just an additional 0.5km or additional 2 flights of stairs. 

Fitbit also automatically sends emails for milestones achieved and when the battery is around 25% or less. 

Key fitness details are accessible on the Fitbit device such as the number of steps taken, heartbeat, distance, number of flights climbed – all these can be set using the mobile device to which you pair it. 

I have very bad sleeping habits. I’m someone who doesn’t like to sleep. I do it because I have to, not because I want to. Fitbit Charge 2 automatically tracks the time/number of hours I sleep and even how many minutes I was awake or restless in between! It’s a bit creepy but I find it accurate and it helps me be more aware. I now make a conscious effort to (try to) sleep earlier and longer. I previously sleep maybe 4-5 hours and now I’m between 5-6. It’s still not good enough but it’s a progress.


best fitness tracker to wear


how to charge a fitbit charge 2

box Fitbit charge 2 heart rate and fitness wristband

SUMMARY
Pros – things I adore in Fitbit charge 2
  • Long-lasting battery life – lasts 5-7 days without charging (this varies on personal use but with me, it lasts up to 7 days)
  • Fast charging – plugged to a MacBook, it can easily charge from 25% to 100% in an hour
  • Replaceable/changeable straps in various options of colours available
  • Lightweight, does not bother me while running and sweating
  • Detailed and customisable dashboard
  • Useful notifications – SMS and calls are notified on the wristband
  • Reminders to move (oh, man, I’m actually this “lazy”?)
  • Multiple clock face options – you can choose between analog and digital styles, and the level of info you want to be quickly accessible on the tracker/wristband
  • Calorie counter is comprehensive with measurement, amount of calories, when taken


Cons
  • Over-counts while driving, ironing or mopping the floor (yes, I do mopping!)
  • Occasionally under-counts stairs climbed
  • Tracker face sometimes does not auto-display based on motion: when wrist is lifted towards the face/body, it should automatically turn on display
  • Plugging the charger takes a bit more effort than it should
  • Calorie database only allows 1 country; you cannot pick 2-3 database and Malaysia is not listed (yet) – I don’t count my calories religiously but if you do, you can choose to key-in calories manually for nasi lemak, roti canai, chutney and other yummy Malaysian dishes
  • Not waterproof so this model is not ideal for swimmers. I take it off before bathing, which is not so bad since I don’t need to track walking or running in the bathroom anyway.


how to charge fitbit charge 2
The charger takes a bit more effort than necessary to place on the right spot, lucky I only need to do this once a week.

Fitbit charge 2 heart rate and fitness tracker box
The Fitbit box comes with safety instructions booklet

purple fitbit charge 2
Protective seal for screen and heart rate sensor at the back



Getting started with the Fitbit Charge 2:
  • You need to sync your fitness tracker to your preferred device at first use. Fitbit works with Android, Apple and Microsoft devices. 
  • More likely, the fitness tracker needs to be charged. Check the battery percentage left by pressing the button several times.

Tips on charging your Fitbit:
1. Plug the charging cable into a USB port.
2. Clip the other end into the port on the back of the Fitbit Charge 2.
3. The pins on the charging cable must be lined up with the charging port on your tracker and securely locked into place.
4. When your tracker is correctly plugged into the charging cable, the battery icon appears.
5. While charging, the battery icon appears to be less than full.
6. When fully charged, the battery icon is full and solid.


There’s so much more to know and discover about Fitbit Charge 2, functions that I haven’t tried checking, such as Challenges, Adventures, Guided Breathing or adding more friends. Another great thing with Fitbit app is it’s helpful for people like me who exercise alone. I don’t join marathons or group activities but the Fitbit app has various actions to motivate individuals in its own way. It marks achievements and even sends emails about milestones and badges. It helps me recognize my accomplishments, even if they’re small and helps to keep me going. I also receive weekly progress via email, which is really helpful in continuing with my health and fitness goals. 

fitbit_weekly_statistics_and_badges



If you want to find out more about different brands of wearables, below are great articles I’ve read. It helped me decide on which one is suitable for me. If you are interested with Fitbit Charge 2, you can also check out Garmin Vivo Smart HR.  


I wish you a great journey to a fit and healthier you!

Fitbit charge 2 heart rate tracker and swarovski bracelet
My Fitbit Charge 2 is wearable with a fashion bracelet too!


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Mickey and the Roadster Racers Carnival in Mid Valley

School holidays are here! Do you and/or your kids love Mickey?

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers

After more than 80 years since he was first introduced on screen, Mickey Mouse is still well-loved by children and grown-ups around the world. Even my young son grew up watching Disney shows, loved Mickey Mouse clubhouse and his friends. I find it amazing that Mickey Mouse continues to reach different generations and to teach kids good values. 
And Mickey Mouse has a new upcoming TV series: Mickey and the Roadster Racers. Disney Junior’s animated “Mickey and the Roadster Racers” is a madcap racing series that showcases Mickey and his pals – Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto – and their unique transforming vehicles as they take on humorous high-spirited races and worldwide capers. The stories are designed to impart social and emotional lessons about friendship, teamwork, optimism and good sportsmanship. 

This school holiday (if you’re around KL and not out-of-town) from 15th to 26th March 2017, have fun with the kids and visit Mickey and the Roadster Racers Carnival at Mid Valley Mega Mall, Centre Court, between 10am to 7pm

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers carnival activities
Different activities are lined up for the kids (and, okay, okay, don’t panic, for grown-ups, too). Kids can gear up to ride and race their own Roadsters through the Hot Dog Hills race course, receive their personalized Roadster’s Racers license, make their own Roadster helmets and take part in Mickey themed arts and crafts activities. 

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers

When is the TV series “Mickey and the Roadster Racers” coming out? 
Premiere – Friday, March 24, 2017 (2:30 p.m) Disney Junior (Astro Ch 613) and Disney Channel (Astro Ch 637)
How often? Every day at 2:30 p.m on Disney Junior and every day at 8:00 a.m on Disney Channel

Geared toward kids 2-7, each episode features two 11-minute stories as Mickey and his friends gear up for racing and other exciting adventures in the mini-metropolis of Hot Dog Hills and around the world. At the push of a button, the gang’s daily cars transform into personalized roadster racers: Mickey’s Hot Doggin’ Hot Rod, Donald’s Cabin Cruiser, Goofy’s Turbo Tubster, Daisy’s Snapdragon and Minnie’s Pink Lightning, which also converts into the Happy Helpers Van.

chipmunks and mickey mouse

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers daisy and minnie

Who are the characters in the TV series “Mickey and the Roadster Racers”? 

MICKEY – He’s roadster-ready to go! 
Hot rod diggity dog! Mickey is everybody’s best friend. He’s super-friendly, optimistic, helpful, curious, adventurous, and loyal to the core. Of course, his state-of-the-art service station is just like him – it’s AWESOME! And so are his wheels! 
Mickey’s classic Toon Car is his sporty daily driver. But when it’s time for a race, the push of a button transforms his ride into… the fast-movin’ Hot Doggin’ Hot Rod! 
No matter what kind of sticky road bumps he finds along the way – during a race or around the garage – Mickey always manages to pull out of every problem. Even on the track, roadster-racing Mickey is cool and easy-going – but he’s no pushover. When the goin’ gets tough, our hero gets tougher and more determined. 
But for Mickey, the race isn’t always about the win – it’s about having fun, it’s about accomplishing something important and reaching a personal goal, and it’s about the thrill of having an adventure with the ones you care most about – your pals! 

DONALD – First in everything… that’s ME! 
Look out for the Duck! When it comes to, well, everything, Donald is determined to do the best he can do – despite all the things that get in his way…like Goofy or Pete or any of the million things that can go wrong in a single day in or out of the Garage! 
On the track, Donald’s daily ride transforms into the smooth-sailin’, wave-makin’ Cabin Cruiser. When Donald’s on the move, you’d better move it, too. Here comes the Duck! Sometimes it seems like the world is against Donald – and Donald reacts just like you expect him to – he explodes! His temper tantrums are legendary – but the Duck can’t help it. It’s the way he’s wired. And speaking of wired… 

GOOFY – Just call him “Greasy Wheels” Goof! 
He might be a goof and some road hogs might think he’s a “tool”, but Goofy loves toolin’ around in his sporty daily driver. Never too far from a wrench or tire jack, Goofy is eager to jump in and help anybody who needs his help – whether they want it or not. 
When it’s time to roadster-roll, Goofy’s ride transforms into the Turbo-
Tubster! Putt-puttin’ with the best of ‘em, the Tubster is a mean machine, and it’s clean, too, thanks to the handy shower attached on the back! Whenever the Goof works up a sweat on the track, one quick pull on the chain and it’s a goofy bath- time on the go! H’yuck! 

MINNIE – Always in first place with whatever she does! 
Warm, loving, kind to all, super-helpful, enthusiastic, extremely creative…Minnie has it all! At Mickey’s Service Station, she and Daisy run the Motor Makeover Salon, designing, painting and pin-striping everyone’s ride. 
Of course, pink is her favorite color, Minnie’s classic Bow-Car transforms into a sweet ride called Pink Lightning. On the track, it’s a blur of pink when the race is on! But don’t let the color fool you – Minnie handles her racin’ roadster like a pro, zigzagging around the competition and outdistancing everyone whenever she sees an opening. 
When Minnie’s not roadster racing, she runs a side business – Happy Helpers. If anyone from Hot Dog Hills to around the world needs help with a problem, Minnie and her partner Daisy zoooooom off to make things right again! The gals might be pet sitters one day, pet catchers the next day, or international spies, tough-talkin’ detectives, even astronauts. There’s no job too big for happy helpin’ Minnie! 

DAISY – She puts the power in Flower Power! 
Minnie’s best gal-pal is as energetic and as enthusiastic as ever! Always on the go- go-go, Daisy loves to help out her friends, on and off the track. She’s fearless and impulsive. Sometimes her enthusiasm and her desire to please goes overboard, getting her and others in trouble. Luckily, she always manages to get back on her feet. 
She also has a soft spot for flowers – and her distinctive Flower Car transforms into Snapdragon, a rip-roarin’, piston-poppin’, thunderin’ dragster! She truly puts the “petal” to the metal! When Daisy’s on the move, flowers and feathers fly! 

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers


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Public Speaking Workshop for Kids

Have you planned activities for your kids for March school break? What about something that helps them improve confidence?

confidence-through-public-speaking-for-kids

Speaking in front of a group of people is probably one of the fears of, not just adults, but children as well. Some of us, grown-ups, get nervous, jittery, scared and sweaty when we’re about to speak in public, like on a stage, in front of colleagues or classmates, or going for a job panel interview. 

But what if there’s something we can do to help our kids be better than us? Help them build their confidence at an early age? I believe that public speaking need not be a scary experience. It should be something natural for kids, just like how speaking to friends feels like. Children should be confident and not develop any fear from speaking, whether it’s in front of 1 person or 10 or 100. 

Good thing nowadays is that there are workshops and trainings for kids to develop and practice public speaking. Some of us may not have the skills to train our children (well, if some of us are nervous about this task ourselves…haha!) but there are good trainers out there who can help your child or children. 

This coming school holidays in March, a public speaking workshop for kids will be held at Mont Kiara by Kian Tan, founder of Kids Public Speaking Mont Kiara Academy to help kids develop confidence and clarity through public speaking and real-life activities. 

Kids Public Speaking School Holiday Workshop 
       Dates: 20 & 21 March 2017 (Mon & Tues) 

       Ages: 7 – 12 years old 
       Price per ticket: RM350
  • March 20th (Day 1) 930am-330pm
  • March 21st (Day 2) 930am-1pm / Parents session on Day 2 at 11:30am
  • Snack and lunch provided on Day 1. Snack provided on Day 2. 

Venue: Level 1, Block B, Plaza Mont Kiara, No. 2, Jalan Mont’ Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur. 


Please be advised that seats are limited to 15 participants per workshop to allow time for one-on-one coaching each child.


7 benefits of public speaking development for children:
  1. Be more confident – as a child becomes more comfortable and confident in speaking, this also helps in making them confident in what they do or say
  2. Increase self-esteem – becoming more confident helps a child boost their self-awareness
  3. Be more expressive and communicative – public speaking helps a child develop stronger skills to express himself and communicate openly
  4. Have more effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills – whether it’s talking out loud, speaking to peers or writing their thoughts, children develop better communication skills when trained to speak in public
  5. Be better at planning – because public speaking requires organized thinking before speaking, children will learn how to plan a speech before they carry it out
  6. Be more persuasive – speaking in public helps children develop skills to persuade or convince an audience with what they’re saying
  7. Be better prepared for their future – once a child develops the skills to speak with confidence, persuasion and impact, this will stay with him until he grows up and help him on his way to success, whether it’s for a job or own business. Being a powerful speaker makes a big difference. 


Related articles about benefits of public speaking:

Let’s help our kids develop their confidence and skills! Public speaking should be fun and enjoyable for children! Who knows, maybe our child will be as good as (or better) than the great public speakers of our time!

Trainer’s Profile – get to know your child’s trainer:

The trainer, KIAN TAN (on the left)
Kian Tan started Kids Public Speaking Mont Kiara Academy to help kids develop confidence and clarity through public speaking so that they can achieve their highest potential and early start of success. 

Graduated with Bachelor of Business Degree from University Technology, Sydney (Australia) majoring in Accounting & Finance, Kian started off as professional working in Big Four accounting firm. In 2004, he is the only Malaysian candidate selected to participate in the Global Development Exchange program where he was seconded to San Francisco, USA for 1 1⁄2 years together with 100 high-performing professionals from 30 different countries. 

Kian’s passion for training started since 2003 when he joined Toastmasters International. In his 2nd public speech addressing a small group of audience, he was totally blank and began sweating on stage. He realized he couldn’t continue to let the fear of public speaking consumed him. He studied, researched and watched over 10-years of World Champion Speeches’ videos (over 500 hours) to learn everything about public speaking. Since then, he was able to breakthrough his fear and won runner-ups and champions in various speech competitions including humorous, evaluation and international speech contests. Kian is also member of D’Utama Advanced Toastmasters Club, Past President of DKCTM Club, Past Area B1 Governor and was voted Division B Toastmaster of the Year for District 51. 

He followed his passion and became trainer for various workshops including Youth Leadership Program, Speechcraft workshop, TLI training and Train-The-Trainer (Advanced) program. 

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He shared the same KPS’s mission to provide platform where children will have real-life experiences to speak up and share their message to the world, One Child At A Time.