Shopping Fast: Month One

I will preface this by saying that it was definitely not a resounding success. But I would like to think it's not a complete failure either.

For starters, it wasn't the smartest decision to begin a shopping fast right smack in the middle of the Great Singapore Sale season, and the amount of crazy discounts I had to walk away from was immense. So I guess even if I did buy more than one item this month, I at least still showed some semblance of self-control, and I just have to build on that in the months to come. I have also managed to refocus all my window shopping energy into working out, which is nothing but a win-win situation for me - a little bit healthier, a wee bit skinnier, maybe even a tiny bit richer.

So this was supposed to be my one purchase this month.
I'm trying to move towards sturdier, better-quality jewelry, and after my last fifty-peso pearl studs fell apart getting a new pair seemed like a good idea. These are Elsa Peretti teardrop hoops, and I got them secondhand from Style Tribute. It was my first time, buying used, and I was a bit anxious as first, especially since there was a bit of a screw-up with my order that took more than a couple of follow-ups to resolve. Apart from that, I was worried that the silver would arrive tarnished beyond recognition and my newfangled jewelry-cleaning skills wouldn't be able to save them. But I am happy to report that they arrived in very good condition, and after a bit of polishing looked good as new. Very pleased.

I wasn't supposed to get anything else, and honestly I had no plans to until Abe the Enabler came to visit me for a weekend. Tsk tsk.
It wasn't too bad at first. Just a slim belt, which brings the number of belts I own to a grand total of two and would probably save the belt loops of a couple of my pants from overstretching, and a black +J blazer from Uniqlo, which is something I am going to be needing soon.

And then Abe suddenly decides that he wants to "get me something" and so this happened.
It's technically a gift, I guess, but ultimately I was the one who picked it out. I really love it, though, and it's been getting a lot of use, so there has been absolutely no regrets on my end.

There are also a couple of skincare stuff, but these all fall within the parameters of the shopping fast exceptions (i.e. they're all replacements):
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. I'm perpetually paranoid of my skincare stuff going rancid, so I always get the smallest bottles to ensure that I periodically get a fresh batch. A 75mL bottle lasts about five months for me with daily use.
Curel Intensive Moisture Cream. Bought to replace my MAC Serum, which I love but is unfortunately not hydrating enough for the current state of my skin. Liking it so far (fingers crossed).
Kiehl's Deodorant. While not exactly superbly efficient, I find that this layers nicely with my normal deodorant and together they give better results. It's a bit pricey, but that huge tube seemed to last forever (more than a year, I think!). I have, quite predictably, decided to go with the smaller size this time.
Nuxe Reve de Miel. Alternating this with Carmex, just so my lips don't get used to just one type of lipbalm.

Last but not least, I also bought a crapton of sports things - tops and yoga pants and face towels and stuff - which are technically allowed, but now I think I have enough so no more additional purchases from this point forward unless I increase my workout frequency to more than three times a week (in which case I would need to buy extra sets).

So it's not too bad, yes?  But with so much room for improvement, of course. Let's see how well I do next month.

Juice Ko Lord!

Or, how I went on a one-day juice cleanse on a whim, and lived to tell the tale.

It all started with a passport photo.
I am, without question, incapable of taking a decent ID picture - flipping through my passport pages is like a lesson on how to look like an absolute tool. Sometimes I wonder how I even get granted visas at all (I suspect it's out of pity). And I've watched all cycles of ANTM, y'all. I smize, and I smize, but at the end of the day it's either a blank stare (read: lutang) or an awkward smirk a la Chandler Bing.

So I get my picture taken (twice, and when I asked the auntie photographer if she can please take another shot her face was like "girl, no amount of retakes can fix your face"), and the universe decides that today was an awkward smirk photo kind of day. K. The last time it happened was when I had my picture taken for my employment pass, so I took it out to compare, and OH MY LORD. Apparently every single order of chicken rice I've consumed over the last four years has made itself manifest - it's like I grew an extra layer of face. Gah.

And so when I came across a store selling cold-pressed juice cleanse kits that evening it was all a matter of handing over my credit card. My poor, battered, abused credit card.

Now I'm not so big on the whole "detoxification" aspect of juice cleanses, nor did I expect any major improvements in my well-being. I simply wanted to jumpstart my way into creating at a caloric deficit, and hopefully run along with it. A temporal milestone, if you will; the idea being that if I could will myself to not eat anything solid for an entire day, eating smaller portions of food and avoiding Tapa King shouldn't be all that hard.

And so here we are.


It's called the 1-day reboot cleanse for beginners from HICJuice, geared towards "a healthier and happier you."

0915h
Skipped coffee, and had a mug of hot lemon water instead, as advised. In hindsight, I should have stuck to the cup of joe, knowing fully well I am incapable of functioning without it.

1100h
Here we go!
Popeye Smoothie: red dragonfruit + pineapple + banana + spinach
First impressions: This is the exact shade of burgundy I want for my entourage.
Abe: I wonder what color your poop will be aftewards (This is the man I am going to marry, ladies and gents).

So this juice is kind of... chunky. It tastes predominantly of bananas, thank goodness, but with a bit of a savory note, most probably from the spinach. I can taste a hint of dragonfruit, but the pineapple is completely lost on me. I do not doubt that this would be disgusting if it goes warm, so I hurriedly slurp down to the last green bits (ick).

Already my instinct is to open a packet of crackers, but I busy myself with laundry. I also stopped watching Masterchef, or any food-related YouTube channel, for that matter.

1228h
Reading an online recipe for Cebu steamed rice, which I haven't tried but it sound glorious. I found it on Facebook, which I should stay away from because it's Sunday and brunch pictures are flooding in. Oh God, brunch.

1312h
Time for bottle number two. I'm dreading this one the most. Of all the vegetables that sprout forth from the earth I hate carrots the most. I just never understood what they are about.
As I was getting the bottle from the fridge, I caught a glimpse of leftover Tocino-flavored Spam. I died a little inside.
4 carats: carrot + cucumber + apple + celery
Abe: You should take a video of all of your first sips.
Me: Yeah... NO.

Unfortunately for me this is an onion short of a mirepoix - it tastes like carrots and celery and little else. There is that sort of cool cucumber taste, but I am struggling to find the apple (and how I would love to find it!). The good thing is there are no pulpy bits this time. But there is that very distinct carrot-y aftertaste. Blech.
Carrots. Never again. I do feel oddly full, though.

1421h
I am watching Better Off Ted. It's such a good series. Sucks that it got cancelled. In this episode Linda got dosed with something and she starts baking cookies and I am now about to cry.

1511h
Doc Green: cucumber + apple + fennel + romaine lettuce + lime
Abe: Ewwwwwwww

I can't really blame him, because the color of this juice is what a would call a magnificent sewer green. But it's actually not bad (and by that I mean it is better than the one with the carrot).

When I was a kid we would snack on cucumbers by dipping them in a sugar and vinegar mixture. This is like a liquid version of that.

It's kinda hard to finish an entire bottle now, because my tummy is getting bloated with all the liquids.  I'm supposed to be drinking some water in between juice bottles, but that's proving to be near impossible.

1615h
Decided to be productive and clean the pantry. When I opened the door, three packs of junk food came tumbling out. Gah. And then when I opened the window to hang my laundry I saw people eating at the cafe across the street. I mean, geez, people, it's four in the afternoon. Stop having brunch already and go home. WILL THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD PLEASE STOP EATING DAMMIT.

I think I should take a nap now. And dream of luncheon meat fries. Hmnmnmnmnm.

1930h
Well that was a long nap. Time for bottle number four.
Lemon n' Spice: apple + lemon + cayenne pepper + himalayan salt

This is the least intimidating juice of the bunch. Who isn't familiar with the Beyonce diet?

It's a bit heavy on the cayenne though, and I am a huge cayenne pepper fan. It actually tastes like something I would marinate chicken in. I had to drink very slowly (took me an hour to finish!) because my throat keeps getting irritated. Upset my tummy a bit, too, and around this time I've also been developing a migraine thanks to caffeine deprivation. Suddenly this doesn't seem so fun anymore, and I nearly threw up a couple of times.

Abe: Itigil mo na yang kalokohan mo (You should stop this nonsense). 

2157h
Final stretch!
Kale Tales: cucumber + apple + coconut water + kale

That previous drink really threw me off-kilter, and for a brief period of time I considered eating some crackers to placate my stomach. But I am so, so very close! And so I soldiered on. Thankfully this one is quite refreshing. I think it's the coconut water; it goes very well with the cucumber. The apple adds a nice sour note, and the kale is virtually undetectable except in the aftertaste (blech).

As much as I would like to finish it, though, I was honestly too full.

2310h
The light at the end of the tunnel.
Nut milk: almond + cashew + medjool date + vanilla + cinnamon + himalayan salt

Last one! I was looking forward to this the most, and what drew me to this juice cleanse business in the first place (which kinda makes this whole thing more stupid, no? I could've just bought this one bottle). If I'm being honest it's probably what kept me going - the promise of a bottle of sweet creamy nut milk at the end of it all. And it didn't disappoint. Not too much, anyway. It's not as creamy as I would have liked, which is understandable as that's how most nut milks are. It's also really really gritty, but I guess if you're on a juice cleanse any opportunity to chew on something is well-appreciated. This would probably even be yummier (and so very comforting) if it was warm, but I happily drank it all up anyway.

And that was it! I cannot believe I actually managed to do it, and even more so, that I'm not feeling ravenous at all. It has been an entire day since and I haven't noticed any adverse effects (although I do have a case of the sniffles, which I have been battling for days now).

I doubt if I'd do it all over again, to be honest. I'm just not a big fan of drinking my vegetables, especially since I have no problem actually eating them. I also didn't appreciate the effects of the lemon and cayenne pepper on my digestive tract. But I am glad I tried it out, and mighty pleased to discover that I actually have enough fortitude to see it through. I might have a bit of EQ in me, after all. ^^