July 23rd, 2010


Sony love

The newly launched Sony Walkman W252

It's heart-shaped!

What's included in the box - the player, USB docking station, spare earbuds, plastic storage holder and the operational guides (not shown)

Some time last year, Sony first introduced the Sony Walkman W series W202 - a wireless music headset optimized for sports activities. In May 2010, Sony Singapore launched the latest addition of the Sony Walkman W series - W252 which is an improved version of the W202. The key feature of the W252 is that it is water-resistant and washable! This means that you can run with it even in rainy conditions and give it a rinse under running water!

I was delighted when the good people at Sony Singapore invited me to be part of a collective brand ambassador group across Asia. I am honored to be a Sony Walkman Runner that will wear-test this cool new product and I will be using it during my various training runs and probably even during the Chicago Marathon.

I am really excited to wear-test this product because Sony has been one of the pioneers in audio innovation - I think everyone remembers how they came out with the Walkman and the wide spectrum of cool products that they have launched over the years. I have just synced over my 'Runnaholic' playlist to the W252 and will be sharing my experience on the product. So watch this space for more insights soon!

Meanwhile, here are some cool techbytes about the Sony Walkman W252 -

... Water-resistant and washable
... Wire-free!
... Music transfers via the included Content Transfer software is a breeze - via iTunes, Windows Explorer or Windows Media Player. Supported audio formats include MP3, WMA, AAC-LC and Linear PCM.
... The ZAPPIN ™ feature allows you to quick browse through your music by playing the main chorus of each song.
... Battery lasts for 11 hours - full charge takes just 90 minutes. 3 minutes of charging gives 90 minutes of battery life!
... Storage capacity is 2GB
... W252 has a magnet that connects the left and right earpiece. Purpose is to facilitate easy wearing and connecting the magnets together shuts the power off.
... Extremely lightweight at a mere 43g
... Retails at SGD$129 (inclusive of GST) and is available in 4 vibrant colors - pink, white, lime green and black. (I was given a choice of color option and I went for the green because it's such a fun and vibrant color!)

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Terry Fox Run

No time isn't an excuse

Article in Cleo magazine May 2010

A few days ago, I was feeling very antsy about the mountain load of stuff that I needed to do. Also, frustrated at not being able to keep to my training schedule as diligently as I aimed to. The harder I train, the more sleep I need, throw in the travels, work and my need to blog as an outlet to de-stress, there isn't enough time in the world to do all of it. As my manager aptly asked (in jest) - do you have a social life? Truth be told, it's almost non-existent right now. I have 2 meet-ups that I definitely want to see through at least within the next month.

I met up with a friend recently and he told me that he started to get back into running, He said, "No time isn't an excuse, sounds familiar?" and he laughed. I realized he was talking about the article that I was in a few months back and I said those exact words.

He said that it made him think and reflect on how he was letting his work take over his life. He kept pushing running aside and even when he did run, he always felt blah about it. It was either the weather that was too hot, the trail too slippery or some other excuse.

After reading the article, he realized that he was just making excuses all the time and being negative about it. He later went out for a run, it was still hot with unfavorable conditions but he decided to heck it and just focused on enjoying the actual run itself and being out there in the trails. He landed up running further then expected and enjoying it a lot. Since then, he's been running regularly. He said, Thank You. I said, thanks for reminding me as well.

The time that I spend whining about something could have been used to do something productive. Or rant if I must but keep it short and get over it. Yesterday, I was stressing at work at not being able to finish on time to head down for track work. I didn't finish all of it but I still went down for training.

I decided to work from home today as I would have less distractions, no one to talk to and would be more productive. I'm glad I did so. My progress is going well and I'm confident of hitting the deadline. Now, as I enjoy my lunch break, yes, and blog :P, I look back on what I've always believed in and remind myself to keep to it.

B.T grumbles about training for a marathon but when he's actually training, he gives his all. I look at the way he does Insanity and get motivated. I look at the way he pushes himself at track work or our runs. I remember how everyone said that he wouldn't be able to complete running the 250km in Vietnam the year before. He did - came in last, but who cares, he completed all 250km of it.

So I should stop making excuses for myself, like the video that I posted before. There's not a lot of time in the world but if I keep lamenting, well, I'm just wasting it. If I can't change something, I should learn to adapt and accept it.

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Learn to age proof your body

Courtesy of Clarins

This is one of my favorite ads that shows a healthy toned sexy bod!

Everyone strives for a toned bod and for those like me that torture themselves with physical exercises, we sometimes land up neglecting the skin that covers the toned bod and land up with premature signs of the skin aging especially on the skin below the neck! It's true! We might remember to put on sunblock on our face and moisturize our face and neck but not elsewhere!

I got these tips from the June issue of Women's Health p44-45 and here goes (in my own words)-

1) Chest skin is nearly as fragile as face skin so treat it that way. Exfoliate to promote healthy cell regeneration, reduce fine lines and boost suppleness. Slather on moisturizer at night to help plump and hydrate the skin while you sleep.

2) Sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen! Not only whilst doing outdoors sports but you NEED to wear sunscreen/sunblock daily even if you are sitting in indoors in the office or just out shopping as it's inevitable to get incidental exposure!

3) Don't neglect the hands. Now, I started using hand moisturizers since I was 16 or so. I remembered a guy friend was commenting on how he was attracted to a pretty girl but turned off by her wrinkly 'old' hands. LOL.

4) Don't forget the feet! Give your toenails (and fingernails) a break from nail varnish to prevent discoloration and fungal infection. Bunions, corns, hammertoes and calluses are often a result of years of trotting around in high heels and cramming feet into too-tight shoes! Pointy shoes are baad!

Finally, one good piece of advice - don't buy shoes that feel tight, even if they're sexy and on sale! LOL. Indeed. Most of us would rather sacrifice comfort for the sake of vanity :P

Now guess who is lavishly slathering Jergens all over her chest? :P

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Going around solo

At the Metro Du Pont station

I love the dome shaped ceiling

The trip to Washington D.C wasn't exactly planned for. It was a last minute decision. I couldn't think of any reason why I wouldn't go especially when D.C has been on my 'places to visit' list. I like to think that if you visit the U.S, there are 3 must-go places - New York City, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

As TS had described, D.C is indeed a very 'stately' place to visit. Everything seems so distinguished and proper yet somewhat welcoming and interesting with a very rich history. It was actually my first time going around in a foreign city on my very own!

My closer friends would know that I am an obsessive detailed planner. Each time I travel, I draw up an agenda in a spreadsheet and I spend time researching on what I would like to visit, see and eat. I believe it saves time if you know where what you want to visit is located at so that you can plan to visit them all in an organized manner. Some cities are sprawled out and you definitely do not want to waste time commuting to and fro haphazardly. But just as compulsive as I am, I am also flexible when it comes to the actual travel itself. Most of the time, I land up following my agenda but going with the flow and moving things around. This D.C trip was no exception.

I had a decent 4 full days of sightseeing and I knew what were the must-visits. When I reached D.C, I explored the options of getting around. I was tempted to sign up for the Segway tour but it proved to be way too expensive (in my opinion). For a 3 hour tour, it costs USD$70. I opted for the Old Trolley Tours and it was great that there was an on-going promotion. I paid just USD$35 for two full days where I could hop on and off the tour bus at the various designated stops from 9am-530pm. Also, the trolley runs on propane gas and is environmentally friendly!

I was staying at a central and convenient location - near the Du Pont Circle. An excellent location although expensive! I am glad that I didn't have to pay for the USD$300 per night hotel accomodation! -_- Whenever I travel, I try to ensure that I am staying near the public transport where trains and buses are easily available. This was right smack in the heart of town and if I wanted to, I could even walk down to town. I actually walked to and fro to Georgetown.

If you opt to go on a Trolley Tour, this is what I would suggest. Get on the bus and sit for one loop. You'll be able to see where it goes - you have a map that marks out the trolley route, but it's good to see where it stops for you to get on and off and also, to decide if you eventually want to visit that place. Another great thing is that the driver gives a live commentary as he drives and you get to learn very exciting facts and history about the various spots. For example the Hilton hotel that Reagan was shot in, or the theatre where Lincoln was assassinated in etc.

For the rest of the days, I got around using the Metro and public bus. It wasn't difficult at all. Also, I tried to cover the places that the trolley stopped at especially those that were out of the way like the Arlington cemetery. One tip if you travel to DC - try to pre-book tickets for the major attractions like the Washington Monument, the Pentagon etc. I wasn't able to visit the Pentagon because you need to book tickets and they were all sold out. I was able to visit most places but didn't have a chance to go into places like the Washington Monument itself, the White House, Capitol Building tour etc.

I'll write about the places that I visited in more detail in separate posts but here is a brief summary of what I did -

Day 1 - Visited B.T's relatives then shopped around in Georgetown and tried the fantastic cupcakes.

Day 2 - Bought the trolley bus ticket, hopped on, stayed a loop then visited the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, FDR memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, WWII Memorial and Reflecting pool, Washington Monument, the White House and the National Museum of American History.

Day 3 - Visited the National Cathedral, Union Station, Capitol Building, US Supreme Court, Georgetown for a second round of cupcakes and found a nice organic cafe to have dinner at.

Day 4 - Went over to the Basilica of National Shrine of Immaculate (a must-visit for me as it's the largest Catholic church in North America), Air and Space museum and went back to Georgetown for shopping! Had dinner at the Art and Soul restaurant which is opened by Oprah Winfrey's ex-chef! Excellent food.

I didn't cover as many museums as expected as I didn't really feel like it. Perhaps I was museum-ed out from my last trip to NYC and Europe! The Holocaust Memorial was on my to-go list but I backed out after we drove past it and it looked so sombre and I was told that you would feel quite depressed after visiting it!

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Ally cupcake

Georgetown Cupcakes

Peanut butter fudge, chocolate ganache, strawberry, lava fudge, vanilla birthday and red velvet

Most should already know by now that I LOVE cupcakes and each time I travel, I'll try to check out a cupcake place. My favorite so far is Magnolia in NYC. Right now, I think Georgetown Cupcake might have won over my heart!

A reader told me that I had to check it out. I made sure I did and went back twice! B.T and I shared 10 cupcakes within a week -_- The frosting on these cupcakes are extremely light and fluffy and the cake is moist. Every single flavor that we tried was amazing. It was hard to pick a favorite! If I absolutely have to choose, it would probably be the red velvet and lemon blossom.

I think I'll visit D.C again just for these cupcakes. I still dream of them and now the ones at Toast, unfortunately pale in comparison. I think Magnolia cupcakes are still great and one of the top, but these ones are perfect in size, taste, texture, lightness and strangely, we didn't feel too sick after eating that many in the short span of time! Oh. They cost about USD$2.95 each depending on how many you buy.

I'll just leave you to view the photos and the descriptions (courtesy of Georgetown Cupcake menu)

... Chocolate 2 - valrhona chocolate cupcake with a whipped callebaut chocolate frosting topped with a fondant flower

... Vanilla 2 - classic madagascar bourbon vanilla

... Red velvet - georgetown cupcake's signature cupcake classic red velvet cupcake with a vanilla cream cheese frosting topped with a red fondant heart

... Lemon blossom - light lemon cupcake with a lemon cream cheese frosting topped with a candied lemon

... Chocolate ganache - valrhona chocolate cupcake with a thin layer of callebaut chocolate ganache icing topped with a fondant flower

... Vanilla birthday - classic madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake topped with a traditional sweet vanilla buttercream frosting and rainbow sparkles

... Peanut butter fudge - valrhona chocolate cupcake with a fudge core topped with a peanut butter frosting and fudge star drizzle

... Strawberry - classic madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake baked with fresh strawberries topped with a fresh strawberry frosting and fondant heart

... Lava fudge - valrhona chocolate cupcake with a rich fudge core topped with a vanilla icing with a fudge star drizzle

With those description above, you'll understand why we had a really hard time deciding what to buy!
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