2017 & Books

Sometime late last year I had an overwhelming urge to pick up reading as a hobby again. I have been reading books here and there these past years, but never as often as I used to. This urge, combined with the large amount of additional readings  for school (damn you philosophical thinkers and your abundance of books). I have decided to go ahead and buy a kindle paperwhite.

I have signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2017 with a goal of reading 12 books by the end of the year. If you’re reading this post and is interested/is already involved with this challenge, please add me 😦 Somehow Goodreads isn’t very known in Singapore and none of the friends I know are avid readers either.

Either way, I have finished my first book of the year! It is Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and the TV adaptation is releasing this year, starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley. Shailene wasn’t the Jane I pictured in my mind but I guess I shall wait and see when the series is out.

Till then,

Amanda

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Do Diets Really Work?

How to lose weight fast? How to lose weight in a week? Do diets really work? These are the common questions we often search in Google whenever summer is coming up. The mad rush to lose weight, get toned and fit into our newly bought bikinis. There are so many dieting fads that come and go in the past decades, the latest being the resurgence of Atkins diet popularized by Kim Kardashian in her bid to lose her baby fats. Of course, there are also another group of people who took up various diets in order to lead a cleaner, guilt free and healthier lifestyle.

You lose weight in the kitchen, not in the gym.

One of the most common (and supposedly most effective) method to lose weight basically consists of watching what you eat (dieting) and your exercise regime. This common method can be known as the Check in Check Out (CICO) method. Apps like MyFitnessPal uses the CICO method where it allows you to keep track of your daily food intake.

The definition of diet is described as “special course of food in which a person restricts him or herself to”. There are many diets out there with celebrities advocating and swearing by them. Celebrities like Beyonce went through a 22 days vegan diet plan by Marco Borges. While Miley Cyrus tweeted that everyone should try out the gluten-free diet for a week. Miranda Kerr supposedly followed the blood type diet (a diet based on your blood type).

Back to the topic at hand, the question should not be asking whether dieting works but rather how well dieting works. Certain diets work well for some people, others? Not so much. The key to dieting, especially when you aim to lose weight, is to find one that suits you. A diet that you can adapt easily to and keep up for a long time.

 

Till then,

Amanda

 


This article was written for a project that me and my friend were working on, the project which since has been taken down. I figured it was a waste to not post it up here (And I spent a considerable amount of time on it). so here it is!

 

 

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice,
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

 

The life changing magic of not giving a fuck

I cannot remember what compelled me to pick up this book. But I’m glad because this book is great, and by great I mean that it really did change my perspective towards life and made it better. I gave this book a read many months ago, but the content still remains as clear as day in my mind — which only serves to prove just how memorable this book was (apart from the title of course).

This book, by Sarah Knight, asked the readers to question themselves in the first chapter; “Am I stressed out, over-booked, and/or underwhelmed by life?” In reply to my resounding yes (and by most of us I’m sure), she says “Because you give too many fucks. Or, more specifically because you think you have to give those fucks.”

One paragraph in particular spoke out to me; “So stop saying yes right away to please others and, instead, take a moment to question not only whether you give a fuck (i.e., care) about the matter at hand but whether it deserves a fuck (i.e., your time, energy, and/or money) given to it as a line item on your Fuck Budget.” It was as if some huge rock lifted off my shoulders (and mind) and suddenly I begin to ask myself, “Exactly why do I care?”

For example, I used to mind what others say very much (if you read my previous posts) and if they don’t have a very nice opinion of me…well I get hurt. But now? I don’t care for them very much. I’d ask myself, “Are they my boss?” “Do they happen to control my salary?” “Do they happen to affect my grades?” If the answer is no, then exactly why would I care? They are not the ones contributing to my life, merely rubbish obstructing my path to happiness. As expected of rubbish, they have $0 value and they dirty up the streets. Now, you can pick it up and dump them in the dustbin where they belong or leave them on the streets, making you feel bad about the dirty sight that befalls you on the streets. I personally like to kick them to the grass so they can help fertilize the soil but you do what makes you happy.

Or how about let’s think of ourselves as the main character in our very own stories instead. Our family and friends make up the rest of our ensemble cast. Ex-friends (and ex-boyfriends) become the guest stars and of course, which story doesn’t have villains in them? The villains in your story causes destruction, creates bleak moments that seep in your life every now and then. But these villains don’t have any superpower except one, the power to control your darkest thoughts. They feed on your emotions, energy and time. Now, don’t get me wrong. Despite me using the terms “rubbish” and “villains” to describe those that have perhaps tainted the colors in my life, I am open enough to understand that they too are the main characters of their own stories.In fact, I may even be the villains in  their stories.  Or for all I know, the villain or rubbish in your life could be you yourself, the greatest critic in your life  but I digress.

This book goes way beyond of whether you should give a fuck on what people think (the answer is no if you’re asking) but the various issues (or fucks you have to give) you face in your workplace, with your friends, family or even acquaintances. This book may not be #1 on my list of being my favorite book but it is definitely in my top 20 memorable reads. Much thumbs up for Sarah Knight!

 

 

 

 

 

A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow

And I water’d it with fears,
Night and morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles,

And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew it was mine.

And into my garden stole.
when the night had veil’d the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
my foe outstretched beneath the tree.

The Open Letter

Hey,

When the doctor suggested a procedure to “improve your life” as he so aptly called it. You thought to yourself that this is it. This procedure was, you believed, going to give you your tabula rasa in life.

Following the years, perhaps even till now, you had looked forward to this moment –believing that this procedure was going to change your life. Now, if anyone happens to be reading this expecting that you, somehow along these 9 arduous years, figured that you don’t need the procedure or that you no longer want it- they are mistaken.

You would like to make it clear that though your problems are obviously not the best, it isn’t the worst either. You won’t die if you don’t go through with the procedure, you will just end up living up like you’ve been doing for the past twenty years.

It’s true that the 11 year old you had a different perspective in life back then. The 11 year old you wanted acceptance from society, parents and friends. But as you grew up, made amazing friends, gained more knowledge of the world. You gradually found out that society standards aren’t everything. You grew to realize that no, you don’t need to have surgery to be accepted by those around you. However, there is someone out there that won’t accept you and your flaws.

You.

You know you know, the whole “love yourself” shtick. Blah blah you’ve heard it all. You have had 9 years to do it. Nope, doesn’t work. Now, this is not about self-esteem. It is not that you don’t love yourself. You’re sure you love yourself like what every normal girl/guy out there. But you’re not John Legend and you sure as hell don’t love all of you and your edges.  You’ll just skip over this entire chunk of your sob story to remind yourself that you don’t appreciate missing out certain finer things in life and neither do you want to cater your life around an inconvenience. Because screw you life, you don’t want to have to live that way.

You want to pick up Muay Thai, take equestrian classes and hell, enjoy the damn wind underneath the hot sun instead of facing down to the ground hoping the wind would stop. You’re done living your life catering around your problems. You don’t actually hate the sun or sports, you just hate the fact that you can’t tie your hair up. And then whenever you find a way to tie your hair, you get questioned about the weird way you tie your hair almost every time. You never got the chance to join a sports (or least participate 100% of you without fearing your hair) CCA. For 10 years, you had to have your hair short because of school regulations. The 11 year old you had to deal with living a life bending around the problems.

Most of all, you’re tired of having to have your hair down whenever someone is over at your own house. Why am you still hiding your problems despite being in the comforts of your house? Whenever you have sleepovers with your friends, there are times where the first thing you did in the morning is to touch your hair – just to see if you didn’t expose your flaw in front of everyone else.

But you’re a coward. You can’t live a life with complete honesty. To your friends who always said they understood, don’t mind and that you can be yourself when you’re with them. The problem doesn’t lie with them, it lies with you. You’re the one that is uncomfortable. You’re the one that, ironically, cannot accept yourself and your flaws.

You don’t have a thick enough skin and you mind what others say. You have had met people in your life that made fun of you and your problems. But what killed you the most are people who gave you sympathy. It implied that you lack something which causes them to feel bad for you. It bothered you to no end and you’ll admit that catching a glimpse of sympathy from your peers and family has brought you more tears compared to the assholes that made fun of you for it. But deep down, you know that it is true that you lack something. The truth hurts and that’s why you cried harder at night. But as time goes by, you will eventually know that everyone has flaws, yours are just a tad more obvious.

What the doctors call it an improvement to your life, you call it a brand new start for you to live a life without fear. But know that whatever pain you go through as you start this painful procedure, you fully deserve it because you are not strong enough to accept all of yourself. You had many roads laid out in front of you and yet you picked this one.

Don’t regret it.

Twenty

I’m turning twenty soon.

I know many things happened in this short life of mine yet I felt like I’ve never start living my life at all. When I was much younger, I had this image of what I’d be like when I’m 18…20…25. Yet now as I look myself, I don’t see the person my 13 year old self to expected to see.

I don’t deny it. I’ve been held back by things I cannot control, things which are my fault and many other reasons that I definitely hold responsibility for. I’ve been trying a lot lately. To think positively, to be that amazing 20 year old that my 13 year old self would be happy to see. It’s a learning process, a to be seen model which I cannot guarantee to continue upholding.

I have a lot of flaws that I see in myself everyday. On good days, I don’t seem to mind them. But on the bad days, my flaws defined me. I’ve been trying. Really. On those bad days, I’d look at the mirror and point out what is it that I don’t like about myself. Can I fix it? Can I not fix it? I am actively trying to fix the things (which can be fixed) I don’t like about myself. Yet it is hard to do so as well because the flaws that are not fixable are the very things that weights me down like an anchor. And then I’d think oh then what’s the point of trying if I know I won’t feel better anyway? 

But one day, I had a realization. Dealing with one’s insecurities is a daily battle. There are many days where you will win and then are those days where you lose. But the important thing is, don’t let your insecurities define you and your character. In which case, you’d already lose the battle forever.

Well okay I already digressed but anyway cheers to my twenty!