All you need is less

The past week I came across this article that provided some fodder for thought.

Two and a half years ago, I was forced to give up most of the things in my home, which felt like a big part of my flesh has been cut. But it turned out to an extremely effective way to clear the clutter and to kill my hoarding habits.

If I wasn’t forced to downsized my living environment, I would have stayed a hoarder (especially for clothes, crafting and home-learning materials and kitchen items). Hoarding1

Hoarding is a common trait, especially so for females! It is an accepted trait and not considered a problem, until your home looks like a home featured in one of the episodes of ‘Hoarding – Buried Alive’ from the TLC channel. Besides, most of us will think that hoarding isn’t a problem since we still have some space at home to store stuff.

Screen Shot 2014 11 28 at 5 47 52 PMEven a Disney Princess thinks hoarding is neat,

Look at this stuff, Isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete? Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl, The girl who has everything? …But who cares? No big deal, I want more!

I had so many logical reasons to justify my hoarding habits, reasons like ‘I can’t bear to throw it’, ‘this item can be used for some other uses’, ‘or buy more now since it seems more economical, as I will eventually use it’.

In reality, I have never use those things that I hoarded for many years.

Hoarding used to be linked to OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) based disorder. But research have shed further insight to Hoarding to be linked to depression, a need for comfort due to fears and anxiety, insecurity and even attention deficit disorder.

So Hoarding is an issue that is linked to the heart? Sounds like this condition may be a result of the vacuums existing in a heart that need stuff, lots of stuff, to temporary fill.


Hoarders6Hoarding Infographic extracted from here

Need help to deal with hoarding tendencies?

Here are 10 questions to help you with decluttering, and hopefully restrict the tendencies to buy in bulk.

And if you ever get tempted to buy more to hoard, join Pinterest, it is digital hoarding the healthier way without taking up extra space at home.

Anti hoarding

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No Cough or Flu for the next 6 months.

I haven’t been sick with flu or cough for close to 7 months, and I plan to keep it this way as long as I possibly can.

The only time i got sick was a couple of weeks ago with food poisoning (eating food from a cafe), besides that I haven’t felt any ailments of a flu or cough for quite a while.

I don’t take supplements, no vitamin C pills either. My strong immunity is likely due to my diet, since I started having salad for brunches every other day on a weekday.

I still have not-so-healthy lunches at least once-twice a week, but make a point to maintain a salad brunch 3x a week. I eat like a normal person for dinner, with regular carbohydrate-packed, stir fried chinese dishes. On weekends, I eat like any typical Singaporean who love going out to eat.

My salad brunches have been the same the last 6 months, comprising of lettuce and rocket, cherry tomatoes and a sliced apple, topped with Japanese wafu dressing. 

My salad will be paired up with a bread bun, or 2 slices of toast if I need some carbohydrates. For those days when I go for only the salad, I will snack on processed foods like biscuits (not the whole pack! 3-4 pieces) when I get hungry at 3-4pm, other times I just go with more fruit, like a banana or another apple.

The past month, I discovered that putting together a couple of ingredients, which I found to be full of vitamins, minerals and health benefits, tossed together in a non-conventional salad can be a boost to my immunity and long term health.

Ingredients you need; Salad 1

1 Orange 1 Lime (not Calamansi, but the larger ones) 

1 cup of Organic Spinach

3-4 dashes of pepper (or more, if you like your pepper)

4-8 dashes of Tumeric 


Sounds like a strange concoction of ingredients, meshed together in a salad, isn’t it?

When you see what are the benefits of these ingredients, you will understand why;

Step 1 :  Orange and Lime

Slice up the orange into bite sized pieces, quarter the lime and squeeze the lime juice over the oranges. Then let the orange and lime sit for about 3 minutes

Salad 2

These fruits are like natures’ medicine, full of vitamin C. Lime was the first fruit to be used in medicinal uses, it helps with weight loss, skin care, improved digestion, relief from constipation, eye care. And treatment of scurvy, piles, peptic ulcer, respiratory disorders, gout, urinary disorders etc.

While Oranges help prevent cancer, kidney diseases, lower cholesterol, boost heart health, fights against viral infections etc.  However don’t go for the easy option to buy Orange juice from the supermarkets, thinking that the benefits from the juice and the fruit will be similar.

Step 2 : Raw Organic Spinach with a couple of dashes of Tumeric and Black Pepper Salad 5 Spinach : Go for the Organic varieties as leafy greens like Spinach tend to have the most pesticides. Spinach is much more nutritious than lettuce, and it has Vitamin K, A, C, E, B2, B6, iron, calcium, folare,  zinc, dietary fibre. It is a heart healthy food, good for overall healthy cardiovascular system. Has magnesium to lower blood pressure, anti-inflammatory properties, and slows down the age-related decline in brain function and lutein for protection against eye disease. More here to be convinced.

Tumeric : Tumeric is an old Indian spice with a medicinal compound known as Curcumin.

Curcumin is a subtance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is linked to improved brain function and lower risk of brain diseases. It lowers risk of heart diseases and can prevent (maybe even treat) cancer and has benefits against depression.

When taken with black pepper which contains pipeline, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%.

However for this salad, don’t overdo on the Tumeric as it might give the salad a medicinal powdery aftertaste. Adjust accordingly to your taste buds.

Black Pepper :  Black Pepper enhances our ability to taste food. stimulating our salivary glands so we experience flavors more fully.

It is another heart-healthy food, regulates blood pressure and has cancer fighting benefits.

Step 3 : Add the Orange (with lime juice), and pour the remaining orange and lime juice mix in with the Spinach.

If you like your flavor of Tumeric and Black Pepper to be more intense, add some dashes of Tumeric and Black Pepper on the sliced oranges. Salad 6 Still think that it will taste strange? You will be surprised how appetizing this salad is.

The greens pair perfectly with the burst of sweet and sour citrusy flavors. When coupled with the earthier notes of mustard and horseradish taste of Tumeric, and the heat and sharp bite of black pepper creates a salad bursting with flavor and character.

For someone who doesn’t eat salads, but love food with black pepper, K finds the taste of this salad intriguing. Salad 8 I can eat this salad 3x in a week, without getting sick of its taste. As each time, the taste varies with the sweetness of the orange that I select for the salad.

Besides, the concoction of orange, lime, turmeric and black pepper also makes a great alternative for a salad dressing. So consider skipping the unhealthy bottle of Thousand Island dressing when you are planning to buy salad dressing at the Supermarket.

Give the Orange Salad a try, and you will surely see the rewards on your overall immunity and long term health!


Other Food Ideas on this blog :

A Healthy Breakfast Challenge

So take that, Wild Honey

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Bitten by the Art Bug from HeART Studio

After acquiring some finer tips on skin-care and make-up and then learning to bake hokkaido cupcakes. The next SMB is 1 activity brought us to a place where the SMBs can cultivate their creativity with an art workshop at HeART Studio.

Two separate sessions were held at the studio. The weekday session provided the opportunity to create our own versions of Van Gogh ‘Sunflowers’ with acrylic paints on canvas. While the weekend session took Claude Pissarro’s ‘Harbour Scene’ or ‘Le chateau des seigneurs d’estaing a bort-les-orgues’ as an inspiration to create our own art pieces with pastels on canvas.

HeartST1 1

HeartSt2 2

If you were to compare the Van Gogh vs Claude Pissarro pictures visually, the latter looks relatively simple compared to the former, isn’t it? At a glance, it may look simpler to create, but it isn’t. Acrylics and Pastels are very different mediums, and from a freshie’s perspective, I can tell you both mediums are tough to manage.

I was rather nervous to have to deal with acrylic paints for the second-time round, despite being given much better quality acrylic paints from HeART studio. The previous experience I had with acrylics (which dried up too quickly on the paint palette) was with a separate group of ladies from SMB at an ‘art jamming’ session at Arteastique. The only ‘jam’ that I experienced was with my art piece, which turned out to be a mash of colors and lines on canvas.

So it helped that the teacher Gaz, from HeART Studio provided clear guidance as we slowly worked our way in creating our art pieces in 2 hours. What was really uncharacteristic during that 2 hours, was that in a room of chatty ladies, we were so silent and focused while we worked on our individual pieces.

HeartST1 20

HeartST1 23Spot the one who is the ‘expert’ amongst the amateurs…can you see graduated colors on her artwork, while the rest of us were only good with creating 2D vases

While, in the other room, all hard at work…after being a little distracted at the beginning of the session.

HeartST1 21

Then on Sunday. Everyone in the room quickly got to work on their ‘oil pastel on canvas Claude Pissaro’ pieces as we only had 1.5 hours for the class.

HeartSt2 3All looking like they were on their test papers with their serious and focused expressions

So the educators have said, that in art, the process matters more than the product. All I can remember during the process are tired hands and stiff shoulders, it didn’t feel very therapeutic at both times. And for any, almost every adult, the product still matters at the end, no matter what they say about the process. So what is the product after both sessions at HeART Studio?

1. Mutant Sunflowers with no stems, over-fed on Fertilizers

HeartST1 25My overgrown sunflowers and Teacher Gaz

2. Collapsing Sails in Harbour with Strange Reflection (not Jen’s! Referring to my art piece.)

HeartSt2 6Jen’s beautiful piece next to my haphazard harbor piece

After both sessions this week at HeART Studio, I walk away with renewed respect for my little boy who is way better at managing both mediums with his art pieces.

HeartSt 1Weekday Acrylic Paint on Canvas session : Evelyn, Lyndis, Justina, Irene, Dominique, Adeline, Regina, Me, Alicia, Pamela and Donna

HeartSt2 7Sunday Pastels on Canvas session : Delphine, Serene, Jolin, Wai Wai, Angeline Ng, Madeline, Me, Jennifer, Cherie, Ling Siew and Angeline Sim

HeART Studio offers Adult Canvas classes, over 6 lessons to complete a large canvas piece. All u need is to find a friend to join you at an Adult Canvas class and HeART will start a new class. Or you could sign up your kids for HeART if they are between 3-12 years of age, especially if they show some interest in Art. I can assure your child will not be getting ‘I-cannot-figure-what-this-is’ type of open-ended outcomes from the classes, rather, fine art pieces that will impress you + extremely apt to be gifted to relatives. Do visit HeART Studio’s website for more information on the classes available for kids.

So what other outcome have resulted after my 2 sessions the past week?

HeartSt2 8Top – My art piece, Bottom – K’s art piece. I think my kid’s art is way better than mine

I think I badly need art lessons.

So I will be signing up for an adult canvas class with HeART Studio and work towards creating my first more decent-looking piece of art. So while K has his art lesson, this sucker-for-punishment will plan to have her art class in the other room.

I think art can only be therapeutic for me when I have a certain level of mastery with the basic techniques. So art lessons here I come!


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