WHAT TO BUY FROM IHERB - PART II

So just because I live in LA now and I'm in much closer proximity to supermarkets like Whole Foods & Trader Joe's and heaps of farmers markets doesn't mean I deserted my good ole' iHerb. If anything, I'm shopping on it more frequently because it bloody takes ONE DAY to get to my front door. I mean, sometimes I can't be arsed to leave home for cereal and it shows up on my doorstep the next day? YES PLEASE.

FYI, part one is HERE.

Rishi Tea, Japanese Green Tea, Sweet Matcha link

I'm a sucker for matcha but because of budget constraints, I can't spend too much money on good shit and I'm not going to apologise [or apologize? Which spelling should I use?] for that but what I will tell you is that this is sweetened, so use unsweetened milk when you make it. I make it with cashew milk, if that's available to you. Shit is good, especially when you're PMSing.

Chlorella by NOW Foods link

Since moving to LA, I've added algae to my vitamins to help my immune system and it has definitely helped. While it works for me, there are recognised side effects that you should be wary of in case you want to try it.

Nutrex Hawaii Spirulina Pacific link

Another algae. Omega 3s, inflammatory properties, crazy high in calcium, and most importantly for me, research has suggested that it helps people with allergies, or often experience allergic reactions. Story of my life, which is why I started. One of the reasons, I like to believe, why my eczema has improved so much.

Navitas Naturals, Organic, Sun-Dried Goji Berries, link

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Add goji berries into your acai bowl. It's a vegetarian form of protein, and crazy packed with essential amino acids and rich in vitamin A.

Sea Tangle Noodle Company, Kelp Noodles with Organic Green Tea

I'm torn between Shirataki noodles and these kelp noodles. You can eat these as it is as a cold noodle, or stir fry. I throw in tempeh, tofu, cabbage and whatever vegetables I have in the fridge for an easy vegan meal. Use the recipe on the packaging. It is good.

ThinkThin Protein Bars link

I love ThinkThin bars, and since I travel so much for work these days, it's been so bloody userful to carry these around and devour them on flights when a protein box costs you $20 and your meal allowance is $10 per meal. Pictured is my favourite ThinkThin bar, which I get from Whole Foods but the one I linked is just as delicious. They have a tiny bit of chocolate which help SO much.  

Madre Labs On-the-go Hand Cleanser link

Because you need to keep your hands clean, and sometimes bathrooms are too gross and sinks are too nasty to touch.

Giovanni Mixed Sanitizing Towelettes: Peppermint Surge, Grapefruit Splash link

I'm one of those people who carry towelettes everywhere but I hate when the sticky thing that's supposed to stick back on becomes unsticky and my towelettes dry up. These are essential oil-scented and individually packed. I love the grapefruit ones!

Remember to use my offer code "ZQL070" for a $5-$10 discount off your first order.

ONE POT. TWO HOURS. HEALTHY PULLED CHICKEN!

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One of the things I've always wanted to own is a slow cooker. My mum didn't like the idea of slow cooking - she has a pressure cooker to make it all go by faster. While I understand the appeal of pressure cookers, I wanted pull-apart moist perfection that is not always achievable in a pressure cooker. That, and I'm bloody terrified of getting scalded by the steam from pressure cookers.

After a painful bout of food poisoning over the weekend from a Mexican spot, I got inspired by Natasha's food and decided that I wanted gluten-free chicken wraps for the week. Instead of throwing them chicken breasts in the oven or grilling them over the stove like I usually do, I decided to slow cook them over the stove.

Here's what I used:

  • 5 tablespoons of Chilli paste - I have chilli paste from grounded dry chilli ready for cooking all the time. You can choose not to use chilli paste and just use pepper instead.
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 habanero
  • 200g of baby carrots
  • Half a large onion
  • 500g of chicken breast
  • Water
  • 1 teaspoon of dill

Chop up all the vegetables roughly. I chopped up the chicken too. Put all the ingredients into a pot, and pour water into the pot. Make sure the water covers all the ingredients and set it over a very low flame. 

Check it from time to time to make sure the water doesn't spill over. I honestly thought it would take about three hours, but by two, the chicken was pulling itself apart in the pot, and it was ready. Fish the chicken out from the broth, and pull it apart with a fork, it should come apart really easily.

Don't throw away the broth. It'll make a great noodle soup (which is what my husband is having for dinner tonight!)

MY EPIC SHOPPING FAILURE/ WIN AT IKEA

Depending on which way you see it, my shopping trip at IKEA yesterday was a tragic failure, or an epic win. A couple weeks ago, an IKEA rep contacted me and put me up for a challenge - "We'll give you $100 to get at least seven Christmas gifts in IKEA." I'm never one to say no to a challenge. And so I set off, with Mom in tow, to IKEA on a weekend.

Almost right away, I spotted wicked gift ideas. I love IKEA this time of the year. Candles, lights, bright cheery, festive colours everywhere and.... REAL CHRISTMAS TREES. Let's kick off one hundred dollar gift list at IKEA:

1. For the magpie friend You know, the one attracted to bright lights and sparkly objects? Give her [or him!] a star to remind 'em of what a star he/she is... Heh heh. Only $14.90!

2. For your green colleague who doesn't have a green thumb He recycles, he reminds you to switch off your computer before you leave the office and he gives you the evil eye when you want to dump a magazine into the bin instead of recycling it, but he can't freakin' grow a plant. Get him a fake one. ;o) $4.90

3. For your lady boss who eats leaves at lunch Salad spinners are so useful for anybody who loves fresh greens. This baby is only $7.90.

4. For the budding, but clumsy little soccer player You know your little niece or nephew who's kicking everything in sight that's in the shape of a sphere but falling flat on his or her little face soon after? Yeah, get this soft toy instead. $5.90

4. For the marketing girl you can't stand in the office, but you drew her name in the office's Secret Santa If you can't stand how she speaks, and how she looks, at least make sure her desk smells good when you have to walk over. $3.90 a bag, an optional glass vase for $8.90

5. For your girlfriend who has so many stuffed toys, she could open a stuffed toy zoo Get her another from IKEA's amazing array of stuffed toy, that make me, a non-fan want to get one. Plus, IKEA donates €1 for every stuffed toy you buy to UNICEF's Save the Children foundation! Starts at $3.90

6. For your friend whose New Year resolution was to drink less Get 'em these little cups and smash their wine glasses into smithereens. Maybe this will help their alcoholism. Plus, these little glass mugs are adorable! $9.90 for four.

I was so close... one more to go and I'd win this challenge. Until, I spotted a bed and a mattress which would cost me under $350. $350! And I've actually gone to IKEA twice bed-hunting. I would only would have spent $35.50 from the $100 budget IKEA gave me... but what did I do next? I put everything down, bought a bed frame, a mattress, a mattress pad, a quilt, a quilt cover set, a fitted mattress cover.

So instead of $100, I blew $600 [with assembly, and delivery] for a spanking new bed that has already been delivered! I failed the challenge, but I'm getting a totally rockin' night sleep thanks to IKEA! ;o)

Now... I need a new wardrobe.

SHOES, SHOES, SHOES.

This post is written in partnership with the IKEA Singapore e-influencers programme. It's no secret that I love my shoes; the higher the heels, the closer to God, no? ;o)

Before we start delving deep into the world of shoe storage, otherwise known as the biggest mysteries in life, let me introduce my latest pair of shoes, these super cute kueh lapis acrylic heels by Jeffrey Campbell:

Now that that's settled, one of my favourite things to do when I'm procrastinating on Pinterest is pinning shoe storage ideas. When it comes to my shoes, I'm in a permanent state of disarray. It's not that my shoes are in disarray, they aren't; but I feel like it isn't organised to its fullest potential. Or in my terms, it means that my obsessive compulsive neat freakness hasn't been exploited to the point of no return. And so I started pinning.

There are so many wonderful, neat [in multiple sense of the word!] ideas, but the problem is I haven't got any space. It's so annoying trying to fit in new furniture, or ideas in the midst of what I already have. It honestly easier to move out, or dump everything out and start from scratch.

But in the mean time, I'll make do with what I have. Here's how I currently store my shoes:

In translucent drawers stacked one set on top of the other. As you can tell, my wardrobe next to it is worn to death [it might be older than some of you reading this], and as you can also tell by the shoe boxes stacked right on top, I've run out of space.

What do you do when you're posed with a storage-related conundrum? Head to IKEA, of course!

Within five minutes of walking in, I thought this might work as individual shoe storage that's stackable at the same time:

It's wide enough and deep enough to store crazy high heels, and multiple flats if need be. It might pose a bit of hassle if you have a lot of shoes stacked one on top of the other but if it's just a row of threes stacked at the bottom of your closet, it'll be perfect. Plus, it'll keep dust and mould away. Just to be safe, stash some Thirsty Hippo sachets in there!

And then, there are shoe cabinets of course. I'm not a big fan of shoe cabinets, because they're just blah, but for those people who need a shoe storage space to act as a shoe storage space, this will do the trick:

Of course, there's the wonderful IKEA shoe storage boxes that come in a variety of colours that I will probably get for my boyfriend because I want to cry every time I look at how he stashes his shoes:

But my favourite of it all, is using a bookcase, just like this one, as shoe storage. I take care of my shoes very well, and I love them just as much, so this makes perfect sense! Having limited space will also [hopefully] curb my shoe obsession. The best part is, because it's white, you can decorate it any way you like!

How are you shoes stored?

SUMMER CLEANIN'

I've been really frustrated with my room. I don't want to spend money to make it over, because I don't know what plans I will have in the near future. Honestly, it'll be easier for me to move out than give this room a makeover, but for now, I've just thrown out a lot of crap and reorganised a lot of shit. What I'm most pleased about is my jewellery. I've sorted out the mountain of rings, bracelets, earrings, whathaveyous and scaled it down to the most important, most valuable and most necessary.

It's almost like I could tape it up, bubble wrap it, and dump it into a suitcase, can't I? ;o)