What 2018 taught me

HAPPY NEW YEAR Lovelies!!

2018 was a crazy year of ups and downs for me. From putting my idea of starting my own curvy fashion line to play to losing a major work contract due to negligence from my part, 2018 was indeed a mind-blowing adventure. I must say, I learnt so much about myself and my surroundings last year. I’m sharing what I learnt with hopes to inspire you to have the best year ahead!

Things don’t always happen when I want them to

One of the biggest lessons I learnt in 2018 was that despite careful plans put in motion, sometimes things just don’t happen when you most expect it to. I learnt this lesson the hard way. For instance, my husband and I worked so hard to get a few work contracts but because of the recent change of ruling government, all our hard work was thrown out the window in a flash. We didn’t get the contracts, we cried, we were bitter but we knew that life had to move on. And that is just one instance. So, I believe now that patience is an effing virtue. You work hard, be patient and things will happen for you, somehow.

Step outside my comfort zone

Trust me when I tell you this. I am in the initial stages of planning for my curvy fashion line and I honestly have no clue what I am doing. But I am doing things slowly, learning what different fabrics are for, how one piece of cloth looks different on various body shapes. It is never easy and quite frankly, sometimes annoying when I don’t understand something. But, I learnt that everything happens just outside your comfort zone.  This project I am working on challenges me, and I am starting easy and building on that. So, slightly push yourself on a regular basis so you don’t become stagnant.  When you do, build your character and inch closer to what you want to achieve.

Be grateful for everything that I have

Even though 2018 was a little difficult, it could always be a lot worse. I have to be grateful for all the wonderful things I do have in my life because, in the past, I used to hope and dream for these very things. Sometimes we can get caught in this trap of always wanting more or wanting what we don’t have and this can really destroy our happiness. I’m very lucky in so many ways, for being married to an incredible guy and blessed with good friends and family. We can afford to live a comfortable life and get our Latte fixes and Sephora hauls whenever we want to. I’m healthy, I am happy being in business with my husband that we get to work on my own terms. Man, I can go on because there is just so much to be grateful for. So guys and girls, it is so easy to be envious looking at what others have and you don’t, but just stop for a second and alter your train of thought to all the good that’s happening in your life. You will change the way you think, trust me.

Be money savvy

I was taught to value money from a young age. My mother used to only give me enough to buy a meal at the school canteen. I grew up learning that saving is a priority and that I must save even as little as 50 cents a day just to see it grow. Of course, when I grew older, things weren’t as easy anymore with all the mortgages and bill payments. Money is an extremely stressful concept. But it doesn’t always have to be. Budget your money and watch how you are spending it. Make sure your priorities are in line and only splurge on that Gucci bag if you have already allocated enough for the necessary stuff! True story: a few years ago, I made a blunder when I bought a slightly expensive item without thinking about my pending payments. Urgh, that shit was harsh when I had to return it to the store! So my advice, be smart enough to decide between saving your money or spending it on a material you don’t need.

Celebrate YOU

I have struggled for God-knows how long with my self-confidence. Ever since I started becoming more active on Instagram with the whole #bodypositive posts, I am not only helping other curvy girls with their self confidence, but I am helping ME get over this whole body-shaming rubbish that I have been struggling with. Putting yourself down and negative self-talk comes easy, and you forget all the small wins you have under your belt. If you set a goal of not eating junk food and kept up with it for a week, give yourself a treat for that! If you finished your assignment before time, reward yourself with that dress you’ve been eyeing! This practice focuses your mind on the positive things you’ve done and reframes your thinking. When you focus on the small wins you build momentum which carries over in all areas of life.

My path will change and it’s OK

I have a degree in Psychology and I thought I would be working in a hospital and talk people out of their depression. Instead, I went into business with my husband. And now, I’m working on starting my own business! I mean, how the hell did I just wake up one day and think of a bright idea like building a curvy fashion brand when I run to my Mom for help to sew a loose button?!! It sounds insane, it’s probably insane but I’m doing it nonetheless! If you have a job that you hate or are stuck in a shitty relationship, get out of it and find a better one! Don’t stick to it just to be consistent. You have the right to leave the path you’re on and go toward a new direction, darling.

It’s not my job to take action for other people

This year, I had a rude awakening of how some family members can turn out to be the most toxic people in my life. My husband and I helped as much as we could but in the end, we became the bad guys. What I learnt from this whole Bollywood drama is that even if you only want good for someone, only they can take action to improve their lives (or in the Bollywood drama that we starred in, destroy their lives). Even if it is painful to be treated this way, i am (still) learning to not take people’s mean actions to me personally. So, just focus on building yourself and don’t force relationships that are one-sided cause it will only end up hurting you. We don’t want that now, do we?

Notice the little things

I know I probably sound like a wannabe guru but I like taking notice of my surroundings. Notice how people smile at you, notice the waiter’s new haircut, notice how happy or sad someone feels, notice how your friend progressed on her weight loss journey, notice how your Mom prepares dinner, notice how a stranger opens up a door for another stranger, notice how a father will quietly put the good chicken pieces on his daughter’s plate. Just take notice all these little acts of kindness. It’s everywhere, it’s beautiful and it’s good for the soul.

Make time for myself

Living in KL or any city in the world can be super busy and stressful. You have work, a family to look after, a spouse to please, friends to see, people to meet and traffic to be stuck in. All these commitments can leave you with an emotional/mental strain. My life is not too crazy but I do have moments when everything happens all at once and that just drives me insane! I came up with a solution to my problem of constantly feeling overwhelmed – I schedule time-outs for myself to do something I enjoy.  I usually randomly cook a meal, giving myself just that 1-2 hours of peace without speaking to anyone, to work my mind to build the recipe, to try new dishes (and the food usually turns out bloody good!). I also use the “Headspace” app to meditate and just be in my zone for a few minutes. These are just my ways of de-stressing and enjoying my me-time. So, think of something that you will enjoy as a me-time activity and do it! I’m sure you will come back fresh as a mug!

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I could go on, but I think these few lessons can help me (and hopefully my readers) enough to brave this new year. 

Please feel free to list some of your life lessons in the comments section as it would be great to learn what others have learnt from their 2018. I hope you all have an amazing 2019 and keep that positivity going people!

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Steps to build self confidence

Imagine what life would be if we could stand before the mirror and focus on what we cherish about ourselves rather than what we wish we could change

It seems that a lot of times, most of us turn to negative thinking, paying attention to our so- called flaws. We are not only bombarded with pictures of famous people and “perfect” models on TV, magazines and billboards, even the app we refresh every possible chance we get – Instagram – can be a major culprit. Constantly feeding us with aesthetically-pleasing pictures of “perfect” people living their “perfect” lives, who have most likely gone through layers of filter to curate that perfection. And the result? A never ending supply of edited images and a load of viewers feeling inadequate and self-conscious in their own skin.

And just like that, you have endless unrealistic expectations you have to fulfill. What we should look like, the latest designer items we have to own, the tiny bikinis we have to start fitting into, the lavish lifestyles we have to start living! As technology advances and we’re more connected to the world wide web than ever, it seems that our self esteem is rapidly declining. My nerdy self has read a few articles on this topic and what I found is that there is a definite link between social media usage and low self esteem. It literally takes a person seconds on Instagram to feel rubbish about themselves. For instance, you can be on your feed and next thing you know you’re on your ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s best friend’s page wishing you had abs as solid as hers. (true story bro!)

To top it all, many of us have internalised negative comments from our past that has stuck like glue in our heads. We’re more likely to remember one negative comment from a first-class asshole than we are to remember all the wonderful compliments. In my case, I’ll always remember when this moron told me I need to “make” a thigh gap, but I don’t remember when someone told me I have the nicest hair she has seen!

Building your self esteem takes work. If you have very poor body image, it can take years to repair. Why not start now? There are so many things you can do to build yourself up and undo a lifetime of low self esteem. So, here are a few tips I learnt to slowly come out of that bad phase and start my #selflove journey, and I hope I can help someone out there too!

Nobody is 100% perfect

What is the meaning of “flawless”? How does one measure “flawlessness”? When you ask yourself these questions, chances are, you won’t be able to think of a definite answer because “flawless” does not exist in the human race. It is merely an misogynistic idea than it is a reality!
Aiming for perfection will only let a person down because when you don’t achieve that perfect goal, you will be left feeling miserable. So, the next time you flip through a Cosmopolitan mag or click on the “explore” tab on Instagram, please do yourself a favour and take everything with a pinch of salt. Try not to get too caught up in it. If you’re feeling low about yourself, it might be a good idea to have a social media detox/cleanse! 

Appreciate You

I know this part takes time and effort, but I guarantee you, it works! When you have some free time, take note of everything you like about yourself and write it down. When you’re feeling rubbish about yourself, revisit the list to remind yourself of all your wonderful and positive attributes. As your self esteem improves, you might find more of yourself that you have started to notice and love. See the correlation here? 

Confidence stems from you

Nothing bad happens when people compliment others. do allow yourself to accept compliments from people but don’t let this be your main source of confidence. Ultimately, confidence is going to come from within you. Sure, it’s nice to have reassurance from others that you look good, but you want to look and feel good from within and that means you have to do certain things to make yourself feel that way! The one thing that I have been doing is to set standards for myself and to catch myself when I think I’m not good enough, I can’t have, won’t get or aren’t good enough to get what I want. When that happens, I tell myself that my mindset is everything and so, gotta stay positive and dynamic!It’s not easy, but it is do-able!

Take Care of You

I know I have been slacking in this department lately, but this tip here is so effective in making you feel good about yourself. Move your body regularly and eat healthily. Working out and setting goals can help you feel great both physically and mentally. A balanced diet is key, as well. That being said, you shouldn’t compulsively over-exercise or obsessively count calories. Even though my PCOS and Hypothyroidism limit me from eating all that yummy carbs by the loads, I still occasionally indulge because what’s life without greasy fries and chocolate brownies! It’s tough to balance, but try to focus on the internal benefits of a healthy lifestyle rather than the external ones.

Conclusion: I learned to love myself, and in turn, developed a better body image than I’ve ever had before just by trying and executing these few steps. There’s no reason why you can’t too!

Anniversary getaway

3 years married

We still can’t believe we have been married for 3 years! 3 YEARS! This feels like a dream!

I mean, it has been mostly great and “adventurous” as some might say, but there have been times we want to rip out each others’ heads! So we pretty much have a “well-balanced” marriage LOL!

Anyhoo, I know I have been quiet lately due to a bloody hectic schedule, I thought I’d share some pictures we took on this wonderful trip and of course, some travel tips!

Hoi An, Vietnam

We stayed in Hoi An for a total of 5 nights and 6 days, and this what went down:

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Let’s start off with some cheesy #twinning shots, shall we?

 

  The beautiful and magnificent structures in the Ancient City of Hoi An.

The town comprises a well-preserved complex of 1,107 timber frame buildings, with brick or wooden walls, which include architectural monuments, commercial and domestic vernacular structures, notably an open market and a ferry quay, and religious buildings such as pagodas and family cult houses. The houses are tiled and the wooden components are carved with traditional motifs.  They are arranged side-by-side in tight, unbroken rows along narrow pedestrian streets.

 

Our little boutique villa – the Hoi An Silk Village Resort & Spa – was (we think) the best choice we made for our 6 day stay. This lovely resort is set in a tranquil garden surroundings and has a peaceful ambience.  The rooms are spacious, clean, comfortable and tastefully decorated.

 

 

 

 

Your trip is incomplete without taking a million pictures at these mustardy yellow walls that are everywhere inside and outside the Ancient city!

 

It will amaze you that when you search for the “best Banh Mi in Vietnam” or the “best Banh Mi in the world, Google will direct you to this place – Banh Mi Phuong – Made famous by the late Anthony Bourdain, who claimed that the Banh Mi served here is a symphony in a sandwich, we had to give this place a try!

Tender, caramelised pork and slices of creamy pate, sandwiched in a crusty baguette with the crunch of salad, a spicy sauce and a sweet-salty mix of Vietnamese flavours I’d never experienced before, it really was a taste sensation!

 

We had dinner at all of the 3 Morning Glory restaurant branches because we loved it so much!! Just look at that yummy goodness!! The Lemongrass chicken skewers were to die for! As usual, we had to ask for extra spiciness, and to our surprise, they had a very tasty shrimp-y “sambal” that gave that kick! Guess who asked for an extra bowl of Vietnamese “sambal”?

 

 

It’s such a pity that we only discovered the best place for Com Ga – Vietnamese version of chicken rice – on the second last day! Such a plain-looking dish, but don’t let it fool you. This dish is packed with flavors and we loved every single bite we took!

 

Took us a while to get adjusted, but we got the hang of riding these bikes very quickly. BUT since we already rented a bike, we ditched the idea of riding the bicycles around!

 

We also visited the Marble Mountain in Da Nang, about 45 minutes bike ride from Hoi An. The mountains are comprised of five limestone hills from the surrounding village, each riddled with caves and grottos, with some made into pagodas and shrines. The top offers spectacular views of Da Nang and the surrounding mountains. A better vantage point is reached through a small hole at the top Heaven’s cave, with the views including Non Nuoc beach, the Son Tra Peninsula and Cham Islands. But we were sooooo tired that day after a dauntingly long journey to and back from the Hai Van Pass that we gave up halfway. Off we went back to the hotel.

 

 

 

Hair care tips for gorgeous hair!

Hello my lovely friends!

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Most of my friends and followers know that I have PCOS and hypothyroidism, which causes my hair to act up, misbehave and occasionally go wild when my hormones kick in (or out). Ever since I started blogging on CurvyKaur, many of you had asked me how I look after the crazy mane I have on my head. One day (possibly the day the crazy hormones kicked in, yet again), it hit me – I should write a blog post on hair care!

So here it is, a more detailed version of the steps I take to ensure I keep my hair tame, frizz-free and beaut!

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I know, I know, this is a tough one to avoid for all you styling queens! Unfortunately for those who love a good blow dry and glam feels, I have bad news for ya! Blow-drying not only fries your hair by damaging the hair cuticles, it also causes breakage that leads to ugly split ends. However, if you absolutely HAVE to use a curling iron, hair straightener or any other heat tools, I suggest using a good heat protector to prevent as much damage as possible. I invested in the Schwarzkopf Guardian Angel 220°C Heat Protection Spray, used it a few times, kept it away, and forgot all about it – because I hardly ever use any styling tools on my hair. Bottom line is – Air-drying is the best!!!

Hair Serum

All of us can’t avoid using styling tools forever, but we can keep our hair as healthy as possible. An important step is to always apply serum after each hair wash, blow drying, curling, or straightening your hair. These nutrient-packed serums come in many different brands and they can be found at any pharmacy or drug store. The hair serum that was recommended to me by a dear friend and also the serum that I absolutely love is the Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Omega Nourishing Hair Oil.

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Colour chemicals 

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I recently got my hair coloured after 3 years of dye-detox. I think I regret it a little now that my hair is a little dry and not as healthy looking as it was before. Truth is, hair dye has tons of harsh chemicals that can damage your hair (as it did mine), and if done too often it’s nearly impossible to repair that damage. If you are willing, stick to your natural hair colour. But if you insist on revamping your hair colour, don’t go crazy like the Kardashian sisters changing their hair colour to suit their OOTDs! Another important note, you should practice colour care and treatment after dyeing your hair, or you will end up with hair that looks like dried grass on your head, and we don’t want that, do we? Just consult your hairstylist on the various types of hair treatment and they will advice you to do the one that suits the nature of your hair. 

Wash when necessary

God knows how many times I have gotten the look of dismay from people when I tell them my standard hair wash protocol is twice a week, thrice when I work out and sweat like a mofo. Unless you have a naturally oily scalp or you sweat profusely after exercise, you only need to wash your hair every other day or a few times a week. Washing your hair everyday strips the natural oils that make our hair healthy and beautiful. Of course, if your hair feels like it’s greasy and needs a wash, give it a wash. You don’t need to stick to a strict schedule, just play by how your hair reacts to the weather, physical activity, hair products applied and your gross level of laziness (me) LOL! 

No hot water!

I cannot stress this point enough! Ever since I was a teenager, my mother nagged me countless times to never wash my hair using hot water. I guess this advice grew on me after all those years! See, hot water can actually strip your hair of protective oils that serve as a natural conditioner. I’ll tell you the 3 main reasons why I only wash my hair with cool or lukewarm water (on colder days): 

  • Locks in moisture and smooths out my hair – Bye-bye dull hair!
  • Shinier and softer hair – Who doesn’t love a good dose of healthy shine?
  • Reduced frizz, fly-aways, and breakage
  • Cools my head in this hot weather, kind of like a ‘de-stress’ of some sort. 

Condition the right way

A huge mistake I made for the longest time was applying conditioner all over my hair from root to tip, until I learnt that doing so creates a lot of residue buildup on your scalp, which is not very good for your hair, obviously. So, just apply conditioner from the mid-length to the ends of your hair, leave it on while you do other things like shave and sing in the shower, and then wash the conditioner off after 2-3 minutes. 

Trim away the fly-aways

Ok, I don’t have the time to trim my hair every other month. I only drag myself to the hair salon when my hair starts to drag down my face and look dead. (Please do not follow my footsteps). In humid Asian countries like Malaysia, our hair is very prone to split ends, so going long periods of time without trimming your hair can cause the hair to look damaged, out of shape and unhealthy. Try to get your hair trimmed every 2 months or so, and if you are really prone to split ends and unruly hair, trim your hair every 5-6 weeks.

Go natural!

There are a ton of hair products you can buy to improve the quality of your hair. But it is always better to use natural ingredients, and some of the best things for your hair can be found in your pantry. Personally, I oil my hair once a month and it has proven to be the best way to keep my hair healthy. Some of the oils I use are:

  • Olive oil: Great moisturiser for dry hair – Apply to your hair overnight, then shampoo as usual.
  • Coconut oil: An amazing natural conditioner – Apply to your hair overnight, then shampoo as usual.
  • Castor oil: Overall, the best remedy for beautiful hair in my opinion -Apply to your hair overnight, then shampoo as usual.

 

So, there you have it, my hair care tips! Do share with me your hair care routine and tips. I would love to know what you guys do to keep your hair healthy and beautiful! Happy rest of the week, beautiful people!! 

Much Love,

NB