— Valerie Lim

This green goop in the glass tastes better than it looks, I promise. Still, you must be wondering what is in there?! Well, here is the story of how my green smoothie came about.

Green Smoothie Health Receipe

I was hungry and foraging about my fridge looking for something to eat. I would have made an omelette but was out of eggs that day, so decided to throw the random bits of frozen spinach, almost overly ripe bananas into a blender with some organic almond milk and a handful of unsalted almonds, cashews and walnuts.

Now, keep in mind before this, I had no inkling of what actually went into a green smoothie. I have done juice cleanses before, but this was entirely different.

After ensuring everything was well blended together, I poured the mixture into a glass and had my first sip.

IT WAS DELICIOUS! I. Was. Sold.

Not only did this random smoothie curb my hunger, it was also filled with all sorts of nutritious foods. I did some Googling later only to find out that I was unknowingly made a green smoothie!

Simple Green Smoothie Recipe

According to Simple Green Smoothies, a green smoothie recipe traditionally uses
– 2 cups leafy green
– 2 cups liquid base
– 3 cups ripe fruit

To be honest, I never really measure my ingredients. I usually grab a handful of baby spinach, 2 almost-too-ripe bananas, pour in just enough organic almond milk to cover the fruit and veggies before adding in a handful of nuts – unsalted almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts for extra flavour and a shot of protein and carbohydrate. The final step is to blend until smooth.

The above recipe usually makes enough for one. But when I am feeling generous, I do make an extra serving just for me. I never complain about having second servings of a green smoothie. Yum!

Green Smoothie Benefits

If the ease of making a green smoothie and great taste isn’t enough to convince you to regularly include a green smoothie into your diet, here are 5 other reasons why you should GO GREEN… Smoothie:

1. It retains more fiber and nutrients.

Unless you are drinking juice from a slow juicer (aka masticating juicer), it is highly likely that the juice has lost most of its fiber and nutrients. Centrifugal juicers push fruits and vegetables through the juicer using a high-speed blade. Not only does this high-speed create heat, which can destroy valuable nutrients in the fruits, a lot of the fiber is removed when you use a regular juicer.

2. It is more fun!

Yes, while making a smoothie you get to be as creative as you want. You can include cool fruits and veggies into your green smoothie that you could not otherwise juice. For example, you would need a whole lotta blueberries to get one glass of blueberry juice. But if you are including it in your smoothie, a handful will go a long way in giving you great taste.

3. It is cheap and convenient to make.

I promise 5 minutes is all you need to prepare a glass or two of this power smoothie.
Buy loads of veggies and fruits over the weekend and store them in your fridge. When you are ready to make your smoothie, simply grab all your ingredients and throw them into the blender. Turn the power on and voila, a nutritious meal in a cup.

The secret to keeping fresh fruit for long periods of time is this: wash and dry your fruits before putting them in re-sealable bags and storing them in the freezer. I do this for my blueberries and strawberries. You can even opt for frozen vegetables instead of worrying that your leafy greens will go bad.

Not only is a green smoothie easy to make, it is convenient to consume. Most people find it hard to eat their vegetables. When it comes to the leafy greens, the thought of eating them raw or stir-fried can be quite hard to swallow (literally!). I tried eating raw kale once and had to chew non-stop until the leaves were small enough to swallow. I felt like a cow.

Since these tough greens are blended and suspended in a liquid, you will gulp them down without even noticing. Need one more reason why green smoothies are awesome? Your green meal is easily digested because your food items have already been chopped into tiny pieces, and hence does not stress your digestive system.

Green Smoothie Benefits

4. A great balance of good sugar, vegetables and protein.

You get a lasting source of energy from the mix of fruits, veggie and protein in your green smoothie. Fruits are great for breakfast but because of their high sugar content, can spike your energy very quickly and then cause a crash afterwards. With the high content of veggies in a green smoothie, your sugar is balanced out with high fiber and protein from the milk.
I normally have my green smoothie in the morning so I kick-start my energy level and amp up my productivity afterwards.

5. Dark leafy greens are full of chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is obviously found in all vegetables (it is what gives vegetables their green coloring) but the highest concentrations are present in dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli. We all know that eating your veggies is good for you but did you know that chlorophyll has great anti-oxidant properties and can promote healthy iron levels in the blood. These are just two of many benefits of consuming chlorophyll!

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Sponsored Post

GSK Physiogel Cream Lotion Singapore

My schedule has been incredibly busy. In between work’s fashion shows, styling events and most recently traveling in cold weather, I have to really make time to take care of myself. It’s highly important I do so especially if I am meeting people all the time.

When I do get some down time, swimming is a great way to relax and keep fit. The full body workout stretches my tense muscles and is a great cardio exercise. However, I do find that the chlorine in the water strips the moisture from my hair and my skin. Add to that, the fact that I have spent the half of December in the Californian cold weather, my skin is now very dry and irritated. Pimples have appeared out of nowhere (damn you pimples!).

Because my skin is subjected to such mechanical stresses, I need to protect my skin and keep it well hydrated. I actively look for hydrating body washes and body lotions, and thankfully have discovered one that repairs, rehydrates and revitalizes my skin with each use.

The 3Rs of Physiogel

When the bloggers went to see the dermatologist the other day, he explained that Physiogel is often recommended as a solution for dry skin because it helps to
1) Repair
2) Rehydrate
3) Revitalize

Physiogel comes with DMS (Derma Membrance Structure) technology

The reason Physiogel works so well lies in the fact that Physiogel contains ingredients similar to lipids found in the skin. Formulated by the global leaders in the field of dermatology, Physiogel’s technology is supported by parent company Stiefel, which has 165 years of experience in dermatology! Physiogel’s unique DMS (Derma Membrane Structure) technology solves all skin’s problems because it works in the deeper layers of the skin.

Physiogel DMS Structure

You can see in the image how the DMS helps to fix and re-structure the broken matrix of dry skin.

For instance, read the ingredient list and you will find that Physiogel’s ingredient list has Capric Triglycerides, Glycerin and Squalene, which is very similar to the same three lipids that are found naturally in your skin.

And because there is a full range of products that cater to all your skin’s needs, your skin will be well taken care of from top to toe… literally!

My Physiogel Routine

GSK Physiogel Cream Lotion Singapore

After my swims, I use the Physiogel Cleanser. This Cleanser is suitable for both the body AND the face making it suitable to bring on my trips. This soap-free and non-comedogenic Cleanser is light on the skin leaves my skin feeling refreshed and hydrated. So mild that it is even suitable for use on babies, the Cleanser is definitely suitable for daily use on sensitive skin – both the face and your body!

When you are showering with your Physigel Cleanser, this is my one tip for getting the most out of your showers:

Use lukewater to cold water when you shower or rinse. Hot water strips all the oil from your body and hair and this includes some of the oils you need to keep your skin smooth.

Aside from taking care of my body with the Physiogel Cleanser, the other most obvious problem areas for me include my legs and my hands. On top of them being stripped of moisture from the pool’s chlorine, my hands and legs are exposed the most to the sun on a daily basis. Furthermore, and I am sure, like me, you subject your hands to a lot of mechanical stresses. You use them all the time – on the computer, while eating, while gesturing and talking to people. What dries the skin on my hands the most, in particular is my hand-washing. Unfortunately, no thanks to my obsessive compulsion hand-washing, my hands have very clear signs of dry skin. I am embarrassed to say that the fine lines on my hands are very obvious! You have to take good care of your hands too, because they can really reveal your true age.

GSK Physiogel Cleanser Lotion

What I do to combat aging and dry hands is include to the Physiogel Lotion into my after-shower routine. After showering with the Cleanser, I apply the lightweight Physiogel Lotion with DMS and ceramide all over my hands and legs. Especially after a long dip in the pool, this step is a MUST.

Review

This non-comedogenic moisturizing cream contains physiological lipids similar to natural skin, thus allowing my skin to get the boost of hydration it needs. I judge the efficacy of the product by the look of the fine lines on top of my hands. And it is true… After one use, the skin on my hands are smoother and the fine lines are visibly less obvious. The skin looks plumper!

Physiogel Singapore GSK Review

I have tried various hands creams, deep intensive hand treatments but none come close to what Physiogel can do. Regular hand creams keep your skin moist for a couple of hours and that is great. But the effects of the Physiogel Lotion and Physiogel Cream lasts FOR DAYS! 2 days in fact. Incredible! Even after washing with soap or showering, I found that my hands were not as dry as before! The ceramide and physiological lipids lock in the moisture and form a barrier around my skin, giving me smoother skin especially on my problem areas.

After continuous use of about a week or so, the effect of hydration lasts even longer, and my skin is less wrinkly!

But it isn’t just me who says Physiogel works. The product has undergone rigorous testing and has been clinically proven to strengthen and repair the skin’s moisture barrier. Physiogel is recommended and dispensed as the moisturizing product for sensitive and irritated skin.

Now, thanks to Physiogel, I have got the complete set that is perfect for taking care of my dry skin problems – Physiogel Cleanser, Cream and Lotion. My skin is rejuvenated and I can swim worry-free. I am ready for anything.

WIN A WHOLE BOX OF PHYSIOGEL SAMPLES!

Physiogel Beauty Box

This year I will be doing loads of giveaways and I am starting with Physiogel. Stand a chance to win a Physiogel Hamper worth over S$100! 14 winners will walk away with Physiogel products and an exclusive Physiogel Beauty Box. Each Physiogel Beauty Box contains A TONNE of trial size packs of Physiogel Cleanser, Cream and Lotion. You can give them to your friends, family or keep them all for yourself. I am sharing the Physiogel love with you!

To win, EMAIL your answer to msvalerielim@gmail.com and tell me why you feel good skin is essential for you to embrace your Singapore lifestyle! Remember to include your working emailname and I will select my favourite answer from the submissions!

DEADLINE EXTENDED!

Contest closes 30th January 2015 and is limited to Singaporean addresses.

Good luck!

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There is nothing like Californian weather – cool and temperate in the day with brilliant sunlight.

California San Diego

The sun was shining as we drove down to San Diego. En route, we hit up Carlsbad (and the premium outlets) before arriving in San Diego and chowing down on some authentic Mexican food.

Outfit of the Day Ksubi Jeans

Before this LA trip, I went shopping and picked up a poufy windbreaker from Korean brand, Miss Mars. Soft and squishy, hugging this windbreaker was like holding onto a cuddly teddy bear. More importantly, it also doubled up as a shield from the Pacific breeze.

IMG_4364.JPG

Pairing it with a big oversized jersey from Dream Factory and leather leggings to keep me warm in the beautiful weather.

Outfit of the day Breakdown
Grey Basketball jersey top – Imperial from Dream Factory by Ines Ligron
Cracked Black Windbreaker – Miss Mars (Korea)
Over the knee high boots – Steve Madden
Silver square sunglasses – Ksubi Sunglasses

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Need some last minute ideas on what to gift for Christmas? I love gifting beauty products to my friends because it says, “I want to take care of you and I hope this helps you.”

Here are 5 beauty gift ideas for the holidays.

1. Room scents or fragrance candles

Gifting someone a fragrance candle or a room scent says you not only care about their well-being, but also about the well-being of the people around them.

Our brains are wired such that it associates scents with memories, places and people. For instance, the smell of cinnamon can remind someone of mom’s freshly baked cookies. And so coming home to a house scented with that very same smell is not only comforting but also heart-warming.

Diptyque Holiday Candles

The best part about buying a candle as a gift is that it can be gender neutral. Choose a scent like forest that will appeal to both and you will be safe. On top of that, soft candlelight is great for setting a relaxing ambiance in the house.

Diptyque scents candles are available at Escentials TANGS Orchard, Escentials Paragon and Robinsons Orchard.

2. Body Lotions/Body Creams

Asian Potions

Continuing in the same vein, body lotions and hand creams can also change a person’s mood for the better. My grandparents are usually on the receiving end of my body lotion hunts. As they age, their skin needs more moisture and I can tell that it makes a difference to their skins.

This year, I discovered Asian Potions. Using only the purest essential oils, Asian Potions has created a luxurious line of body lotions and creams that does not contain parabens, SLS or petrochemicals. Because body lotions and creams hit very close to home (literally), you want to make sure that you are feeding your skin the right ingredients.

If you are reading this list and looking for a lotion for a man, and he does not like scents or hand cream, a bottle of sanitising alcohol could also be a good option.

Asian Potions are available online at www.asianpotions.com or in Kuala Lumpur Publika Mall, G2 – Lot, 39 Block b4. No.1, Solaris Dutamas 1, off Jalan Duta, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

3. Makeup eyeshadow palettes

With all the beautiful colours that are packed into an eyeshadow palette, I always feel like I am gifting a rainbow to my girlfriend. This Christmas, Urban Decay has enchanted me with the Urban Decay VICE 3 Eyeshadow Palette, and I cannot help but want to pick up a palette for myself too. Best friends always have matchy things don’t they? :P

Urban Decay Vice 3 Palette

With 20 new never seen before shades, the Urban Decay VICE 3 eyeshadows are velvety soft as they are pigmented, and you will be able to create all sorts of fashion-forward looks with this versatile palette. The shadows range from neutral to shimmery to smokey and will satisfy just about any desire.

Urban Decay Vice 3 Eyeshadow Palette

Packaging wise, the Urban Decay VICE 3 Palette is also a gift that needs no gift-wrapping. I saw the palette sitting on the shelves at Sephora and they could not help but capture my attention. The extra slim case is silvery with an abstract stripe design. On top of that, the palette comes with a matching bag that you can use to either protect your palette or keep accompanying make up brushes.

Urban Decay NAKED Basics 2

If your girlfriend loves to stick to neutrals and plays it safe with her eyeshadow colours, the Urban Decay NAKED Basics 2 Palette is the perfect gift for her (if she doesn’t already have it).

This outstanding palette is a sequel to the highly popular Urban Decay NAKED Basics palette with some never seen before colours. Plus, the set of 6 eyeshadows is packaged in a compact case that fits even the smallest of clutches.

I am in LOVE with this palette because it fits my travel heavy schedule. It is small enough that I can put it in my hand-carry and when I head overseas for events, it sees me through both day and night.

The Urban Decay NAKED Basics 2 Palette (S$and Urban Decay Vice 3 Palette is available at all Sephora Singapore outlets – Sephora Singapore Ngee Ann City, Sephora Singapore Great World City, Sephora Singapore Plaza Singapura, Sephora Singapore Marina Bay Sands.

4. Eumora Bar Soap

Eumora Bar Soap Singapore

My mom was the one who introduced this Eumora Bar Soap to me after using discovering that it helped with reducing the age spots on her skin. I never thought that you could reverse age spots and skin growths but it did.

This soap is a dense bar of nutrients made from plants, herbs, flowers and organic substances. What is most unique is the hydrating MicroAlgae factor (HmA) which is a concentration of natural active ingredients – which is the reason why you pay so much for it. Each little bar of soap is no bigger than a piece of chocolate and is pricier than the average gift. But I can tell you for a fact that the Eumora Bar Soap is very powerful and can deliver great benefits to your skin.

Eumora Bar Soap Texture
Image by agirlsgottaspa

There was period when my skin went through a very oily phase. (I normally have normal skin to combination skin, but this oily phase was particularly bad.) By mid-day, my T-zone would be shiny and my pores were highly enlarged. Very atypical of my skin. So, I decided to use the Eumora bar soap to see if it would reduce my large unsightly pores.

I cannot emphasise how just a tiny bit did so much to improve my skin condition. Within a week, my pores were smaller, less oily (no more shiny mid-day face). It even reduced the oil bumps on my skin. Eumora bar soap is especially effective for acne skin too, though the benefits are not limited to just your face. You can even use Eumora for your hair, scalp, skin growths and on your body.

Because of the active Moor and hydrating MicroAlgae factor that is rich in Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B12 – rich energy sources that protect and energise the skin from all sorts of pressures, people with skin rash, sun spots, eczema can use it to boost their skin’s immunity.

A great product with multi-purpose use. Buy the Eumora Bar Soap at www.eumorabaronline.com. FREE shipping on all orders for Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

Just beware of the fakes that are retailing in the market.

5. Bio-Oil

Bio-Oil

Don’t dismiss this pastel nondescript bottle. Bio-Oil is a specialist skincare oil that helps improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. It is also effective for aging and dehydrated skin.

When I first heard about Bio-Oil, I was not too sure what the fuss was. But after hearing how my friends were raving about it and searching for reviews online, it is a combination of plant extracts and vitamins suspended in an oil base. Especially for stretch marks, it works particularly well. I use it especially in cold weather or on the airplane because my hands get very dry from constant washing (I think I have an OCD with hand-washing). I am particularly fond of using it on my legs too. These days I much prefer using oils instead of lotions. Bio-Oil also doubles up as a great massage oil on your aching feet.

Shop for Bio-Oil at major department stores.

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After today, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) will forever hold a very special place in my heart.

First of all, it is the first airport I have slept in, twice. Back in 2010 on our first trip to New York, Alexa Lae Michelle and I arrived bleary eyed in the wee hours of the night and got to know HKIA and each other pretty well. We stayed in the airport for 9 whole hours waiting for our connecting flight to JFK and during this time, struggled to stay up by attempting to make whatever small talk our sleep-deprived brains could handle. We also wandered around the HKIA terminals peering through closed shutters but no shops were open at the time. You can image our relief when we finally found a Starbucks near our gate where we could nourish our weary souls with caffeine and bust out our laptops to plan for the upcoming trip ahead. HKIA is a great airport to be stuck in because the airport offers unlimited wifi access.

This year in February, while traveling to Gaoshiung/Tainan for a wedding, I had to transit in HK. (Please don’t ask me why I didn’t simply fly to Taipei and take the train down to Tainan. SOMEBUDDIE booked the flight SG – HK – Gaoshiung and a train from Gaoshiung to Tainan for me. *looks at Henry C)

There was only one flight from HK to Gaoshiung and it was the first one out at 830 in the morning. Whether it was eagerness to get me to my destination or simply bad flight planning, I arrived the same morning at 0030hr. With time on my hands, I contemplated a visit to Lan Kuai Fong for a couple of solo drinks for the night but decided that the row of airport chairs where other sleeping passengers had set up camp was a much better idea.

So after strategizing the best sleeping position with my rigid travel companions (they are not exactly the most cuddle-able), I found that luggage straps around my two legs, hand carry under my head as a pillow – you gotta make sure you sleep exactly on top of the zippers! -worked best for comfort. I then attempted to catch forty winks without being hookwinked in the process. This left me with 6 fragmented hours sleep while clutching my bags like my life depended on it. And I suppose it actually did, because if someone jacked my passport, I’d be like Tom Hanks in that airport movie – Terminal. Thankfully, I don’t think my situation was as terminal as his.

Today, the adventure continues. Our 1230pm flight from HK to San Francisco got delayed until 6pm. But that’s not even the best part. The best part was after clearing immigration easily, getting our luggages from the carousel without a hitch and re-packing during a pit stop at the restroom JUST BEFORE exiting the restricted area and then finding out that I had left my phone IN THE AIRPLANE SEAT POCKET. 😡😒😔😱😱😱😭

WHY? Because I had used my phone to take photos of us cruising through absolute white-ness in the sky. It seriously looked like we were flying through snow and/or someone photography studio. Infinite whiteness. My mind must have been in exactly the same blank state as I disembarked the plane. This nothing-ness.

Hong Kong International Airport

 

Hong Kong International Airport

People lose their phones in taxis. I take it to the next level and leave it in an airplane.

Marching straight to the lost-and-found counter and trying to calmly explain that I had just disembarked the airplane and absent-mindedly left my phone in the front pocket was the hardest thing to do. All I wanted to do is run back into the airplane screaming for my phone and then dramatically tear the place apart looking for my phone like I was looking for a lost puppy.

No, I kid. I obviously have watched one too many movies.

Coming back to reality, the lady at the lost and found counter was very helpful and was immediately on her walkie-talkie, mobile phone and office phone – no, not all at the same time – trying to contact whoever it was that helped people like me.

She spoke rapidly on the phone in Cantonese and because I don’t speak Cantonese fluently so I tune in and out of the conversation she’s having. Nice counter lady eventually puts the phone down and looks up at me, face expression same as when I first told her that I had misplaced my phone, and said, “They found your phone. But you will only be able to collect it 45 minutes later. My colleague is on duty now and will only be able to drop it at the office after he is done. Can you wait?”

Wait? Why, YES. I WANTED TO DANCE WHILE WAITING. I could dance for 45 minutes if you wanted me to! THEY FOUND MY PHONE!

The anxiety of whether someone had taken my phone quickly melted away but was replaced with other worries. 45 minutes before I see my baby again. What if he gets hungry and needs some juice? I hope they treat him well.

Thankfully, 45 minutes passed by in a blink of an eye as we walked from one end of the terminal to the other where the airline offices are. Come to think of it, if 45 minutes flew by so rapidly, perhaps 9 hours walking about the massive HKIA was not that long.

Room 6T100 was where he had been taken to. The offices were located at the back of the airport away from the hustle and bustle of the departure and arrival areas. I walk down long, lonely corridors and finally spot 6T100.

I pop my head into a small office packed with suitcases of all sorts and say to the bespectacled lady at the front, “I am here to pick up my phone.”

“Oh yes, come in please. Can I have your passport and boarding pass?”

I rummage through my bag looking for the said boarding pass, but it was clear to her I was having trouble locating it. Instead, I decide to offer her something that no one else could have – my fingerprint. Good thinking, Apple.

She hands me the phone and I hold the phone in my left hand, thumb poised to prove my identity, and the both of us stare at the home screen as my thumb comes into contact with the fingerprint reader.

‘Tis a dramatic moment.

A beat later, the screen wobbles as if shaking its head.

Try again, my phone says.

Right, I take it back, Apple. C’mon left thumb, one more time. You are no less better than Mr Right (hand).

Second time. Nada. Not happening.

I quickly change hands lest she thinks I was an spy posing as Valerie Lim; trying to break into this seemingly innocuous phone.

All right. This is it. I can do this.

It was the moment of truth. Again, we peer intently at the home screen waiting for the answer of who I really was. This time, the Empire State on my phone dissolves and reveals my application home screen.

YES! I cracked the code!

She looks at my passport and my unlocked phone screen and says, “Don’t worry about the boarding pass. Merry Christmas!”

Yes, all this for a photo of white nothing-ness.

And so here I am sitting at Starbucks using the HKIA’s free internet writing this from my phone, heaving a huge sigh of relief.

Cheers to many more travel adventures, everyone. And it’s off to LA I go!

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport

Happy holidays and if you are traveling, safe travels! 😝

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After back to back travels to Bangkok for Digital Fashion Week, Manila for the Masters and Millennials show by the Philippine Daily Inquirer and most recently, Shenzhen for the Elite Model Look World Finals 2014, it is good to be back on home ground for some down time.

Here is a re-cap of the Elite Model Look World Finals through a video montage.

Watch the highlights of the show and see the top 15.

Winners of the Elite Model were BARBORA from CZECH REPUBLIC and JAMES from ITALY.

The top-rated 10 girls and the top-rated 5 boys were awarded a 3- year contract with Elite. The Womenʼs Winner received a guaranteed contract of €150,000, and €50,000 for the nine other finalists. The Male Winner also received a guaranteed contract of €50,000 and €20,000 for the four other finalists.

Elite Model Look World Finals 2014

Elite Model Look World Finals 2014

Elite Model Look World Finals 2014

Chinese supermodel, Liu Wen and Mariacarla Boscono was also there with Richard Biedul, the current faces of La Perla, made a surprise visit for the finalists at the venue.

Elite Model Look World Finals 2014

Elite Model Look World Finals 2014

Elite Model Look World Finals 2014

Elite Model Look World Finals 2014

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