Saturday, March 25, 2017

10 AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN OAHU & THE BIG ISLAND


I flew 14 hours to Hawaii in May last year. It was my first time to the US and needless to say, I was excited as hell! My partner is from Oahu and he tries to go back every year - this time with me tagging along. We had only about 8 days there, and in between visiting his family and friends and doing all the touristy stuff, time was definitely not on our side! We have a trip coming up in October and I can't wait to explore more of this beautiful island.

Below is a list of some of the amazing things that I have done in Oahu. Luana! 

1) Eat incredibly fresh and delicious Miso Poké at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel – This is the first dish I tried in Oahu, and since then, I had to have it every single day there. We have poke in Singapore, too, but whereas here in Singapore it is served with rice as a meal, it’s usually served as an appetizer in Hawaii. Trust me: if you have a chance to taste the real thing, it is 10x better. You can get it practically anywhere in Oahu - even at supermarkets - which makes it convenient to pack along to the beach or on a hike.



2) Hike down the steep and rocky trail to Makapu'u tide pools – The hike down was definitely no easy feat - especially for someone like me, who has phobia of heights - but I made it down in one piece anyway. While it is amazing to snorkel in crystal clear blue water and get up close to little sea creatures there, it is also extremely dangerous with the high tides and strong waves that could pull you into the ocean anytime. I can’t stress enough how important it is to look out for your safety. Don’t forget to wear proper hiking shoes with good grip; the rocks can get very slippery, especially on a wet day!

Tip: To get there, hike up the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail and at the second Whale Lookout Point, you will see a rocky trail leading down to the tide pools. 







3) Enjoy the breathtaking view at Lanikai Pillboxes - This was my favorite hiking spot in Oahu! It was quick and relatively easy, and ended off with such an awesome view! I highly recommend this hike to everybody - both the young and old can do it!

Tips: Gloves might come in handy as you will definitely be doing some climbing uphill. Use the tree branches and fences along the way to pull you up!






4) Fly above the clouds and fall through the Hawaiian skies tandem skydiving – I can’t believe I survived free-falling 14,000 feet in the sky! It was such an insane experience! I was happy to get my bucket list checked, but once is definitely more than enough for me. I recommend this to anyone looking for some heart-stopping adrenaline rush! I think skydiving rates in Hawaii are lower compared to other countries as well – I paid about 180 USD for my skydiving experience + a photographer to fly along with me + a thumb drive of my photos. My partner did not want to pay for a photographer to shoot his experience, especially since it was his second time there, but I think it was worth it. How else to show off on instagram right?

We did tandem skydiving with http://www.skydivehawaii.com/



5) Shop til you drop at Waikele Premium Outlets – This is the only outlet store in Oahu. They have a good selection of stores with brands like Kate Spade, Calvin Klein and Coach, just to name a few. Kate Spade was having a 70% storewide sale when I was there and I literally went crazy in the shop – it was so hard to decide what to get when everything was so pretty and largely discounted! Calvin Klein is half the price of Singapore’s. Parking is easy and the best part – no crowd. I usually avoid sales because I cannot stand shops that are packed with people, so Waikele was just perfect for me!

6) Take a domestic flight to the island of Hawaii – Commonly called the Big Island, it is also home to the popular Big Island Candies which is one of the top favorite souvenir snacks among tourists. In less than an hour away from Oahu, you will be treated to the lush and green countryside of Hawaii.

7) Indulge in a plate of super rich and savory Loco Moco – This comfort dish invented by Café 100 in Hilo can be found in many restaurants island wide. It consists of steaming white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and lots of brown gravy. Try this when you are looking for a big tasty meal – you won’t be disappointed!


8) Get the best snorkeling experience at Kapoho Tide Pools - The tide pools are located at a very unique location - right at the back of a residential area. To get in the water, you will have to step on slippery and sharp rocks, so take extra care and mind your feet. Once you get in, you will be greeted with more than 50 different species of sea creatures - truly an amazing experience! I have read many reviews commenting on how nice and warm the water is, but the water was freezing cold when I was there. It was quite impossible for me to stay in the water for too long. Also, some parts of the pool are very deep, so if you can’t swim very well, make sure you bring along some floaties like I did! Overall, this is the perfect place to relax and unwind, and definitely a must-go for people who love snorkeling! It might get quite confusing on the drive there - GPS is recommended!

Directions: From Pahoa, take Highway 132 east. Where Highway 137 intersects Highway 132, make a right turn. Right before mile marker 9, make a left turn onto Kapoho Kai Road. Continue driving straight ahead through this neighborhood until you reach a T in the road. Turn left and follow the sign that says "Reef Parking." There is a small parking lot (unpaved and rocky) fronting the Wai'opae Tidepools Marine Life Conservation District, a public access snorkeling area. Parking is $3 (this is not a park and the community maintains this parking area).
Source - www.to-hawaii.com/ 




9) Walk along the endless stretch of cooled lava to Kaimu Black Sand Beach - Kalapana used to be a fishing village before it was destroyed by the Kilauea volcano, which buried everything under 80 feet of lava. 20 years later, a small beach with fine, jet black sand was created by a lava flow - Mother Nature is amazing isn’t it?! In the recent years, locals and visitors have been bringing sprouted coconuts and planting them in an effort to restore the lost trees. I wish I had more time to explore this hidden gem, but the rain came pouring in and we had to make a dash for the shelter!

Tip: While on the lava rock, follow a path made of red rocks that will lead you right to the beach.

Directions: Drive Highway 130 or Highway 137 all the way to the end at Kalapana. Park at the parking lot near the Kalapana Village Café.
 Source - www.to-hawaii.com/ 






10) Watch the sunset at 14,000 ft above sea level - Mauna Kea is one of the only places in the world where you can drive from sea level to 14,000 feet in about 2 hours. Once you reach the information center, there’s a couple of hills that you can climb up to get a better view. The walk up to the top of these hills is not very difficult, but due to the thin air, you might have some difficulty in breathing. Take your time and walk up slowly. It will get quite crowded once the sun is about to set, so go earlier and pick a good viewing spot. It was a very cool experience seeing the clouds below me, and the view of the sunset was spectacular. Stop by the information center after the sun has set as there will be a free star gazing light show.

Tips: Bring warm clothes as it is very cold at the summit, and even colder as night falls. It is advisable to drive with a 4x4 vehicle - like a jeep - as you will be driving on a gravel road, and it can get really steep. 





Ps: Public transport is not very connected in Hawaii, so you should definitely rent a car to get around!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN MELBOURNE


It's no wonder why everyone describes Melbourne as a city with four seasons in a day. I was there during Summer, but it felt like Winter most of the days. My number one advice to anyone who is traveling to Melbourne is to always pack clothes that can be layered - you’ll never know when the weather might change.

With so many activities to do and so many spots to hit, here are my top 10 things to do in Melbourne and its surrounding areas:

1) Watch a movie at an open air cinema – Unlike Singapore, where outdoor screenings are either rare or expensive, I was spoilt for choices in Melbourne! Nothing beats the experience of getting cozy and watching a great movie under the stars. You could pack a picnic basket, a bottle of wine and bring along your picnic rug (and lots of cushions for extra comfort!), or opt for an outdoor cinema that serves yummy food and provides lawn chairs.

Tip: Bring along inflatable pillows on your trip - you can stack them up and lean on them while watching the movie! They are super lightweight and can be easily packed into your little tote bag.

Visit http://themoderncon.com/open-air-cinemas/ for a list of outdoor cinemas in Melbourne.

2) BBQ for free at the park – Public BBQs can be found everywhere in Australia. It is extremely user-friendly because they use electric hot plates that can be switched on within seconds just by pressing a button. Don't worry about cleanliness because most public BBQs are cleaned daily by the local council.

Meat in a Park is a great website for locating the nearest public BBQ near you!

Tip: Avoid BBQ-ing during Summer, unless you don’t mind flies buzzing around you and your food ALL THE TIME. 




3) Grab a beer and chill at Chuckle Park Bar and Cafe – a charming and cozy café hidden away in one of Melbourne’s city laneways.



4) Catch a Jazz show at Lido Jazz Room – Live music every Friday and Saturday in an intimate setting. This place is a great example of how you don’t have to pay a lot just to enjoy good music. Plus, there is a theatre and a roof top cinema in the building - you can easily spend half the day there! 

5) Take an instagrammable picture at Brighton Beach – it isn’t exactly the cleanest and finest beach you can find in Melbourne, but the cute and colorful bath boxes make a long bus journey to Brighton almost worth it. Expect a huge crowd having “photoshoots” there though!




6) Get out of the city and get drunk in Yarra Valley – I am not the biggest fan of wine, but I am a fan of alcohol, and when a winery tour promises you more than 15 glasses of wine to taste for a small fee, JUST DO IT! I won’t recommend anyone to drive in Yarra Valley, unless you have designated your poor friend to stay sober and drive you around. Drink driving is a SERIOUS offense in Yarra Valley (or anywhere else), so don’t do it! You can also rent a driver for the day, but the driver doesn’t come cheap. The best way to do it? Go on a wine tour like what I did!

Tip: Check out Groupon for good deals on wine tours! 

I did the winery tour with Dancing Kangaroo Tours – great host, great company.


7) Take a scenic road trip down Great Ocean Road – My trip to Melbourne wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The 12 Apostles. I am so glad my bf and I decided to do a 3-day road trip to explore the little towns along the way, instead of rushing everything in just one day. Each town has so much to offer, so take your time to explore them.

Tip: For the best view of The 12 Apostles – stop at the visitor centre and walk along the boardwalk. It is best to head down before sunrise to avoid the tour groups. There was just a handful of people when I was there at 5am. Remember to dress warmly, it is very chilly even during Summer time. 



Loch Ard Gorge 
The Loch Ard Gorge is part of Port Campbell National Park, Victoria, Australia, about three minutes drive west of The 12 Apostles.




8) Practice Yoga by the beach – During a stopover at Torquay, we chanced upon a yoga class by the beach by Yoke and decided to join them.  I don’t usually enjoy doing yoga as I prefer higher intensity workouts, but there is something especially appealing about doing yoga outdoors - by the sea and with the breeze in your hair. Or maybe, being overseas just made me want to be more spontaneous! It was so much fun! Even though everyone around me was obviously regular Yogi and I was just an amateur, it felt good doing yoga along with them. The point is -  when you are traveling, be spontaneous and do things you usually won’t do! Who knows, you might pick up a new interest or skill along the way.

You can check out https://www.meetup.com/topics/outdoor-yoga/au/melbourne/ for outdoor yoga events in Melbourne.


9) Explore Geelong and take a dip in Eastern Beach Swimming Enclosure – trust me, this public pool by the beach is unlike any public pool in Singapore. If you only have time for one stopover on the route to The 12 Apostles, make this town your stop. Geelong is such a vibrant city with a diverse range of activities perfect for the whole family.






10) Try the best pizza in the world at Nico’s Pizza & Pasta – It was past 6pm in Port Campbell. Restaurants and shops were closed, if not, starting to close for the day. We decided to order takeaway pizzas from Nico’s since they were one of the few restaurants still open. Not expecting much from the pizzas, I was blown away from the first bite. It was THAT good. If you are dropping by Port Campbell, they are well worth a visit!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

NON-INCISIONAL DOUBLE EYELID SURGERY IN SINGAPORE

** This post has been updated on March 2017

Please note that this is not a sponsored post.

Disclaimer: All information taken from my blog is at your own risk. I am not providing medical, legal or other professional advice. 


I have done Non-Incisional (DST) method of Double Eyelid Surgery recently, and would like to share about my experience.

Having gone through the trouble of spending a lot of time and effort researching on this procedure, I hope this post will be able to give you a better idea of what the surgery is like.

MY NATURAL EYELIDS  
I was born with tapered eyelids. As you may know, the crease in tapered eyelids are usually very small. The crease starts from the tip of the corner of the eye and extends gradually to the end of the eye. Most of the time with eyeliner on, I look like I have mono lids. I used to wear double eyelid stickers, but the brand I was using was discontinued (I was very, very loyal to that brand). Therefore, I started looking at undergoing surgery to get to the root of the problem once and for all!

Image source - http://plastytalk.com/double-eyelid-surgery/ 




HOW I LOOK WITH EYELID STICKERS 
The double eyelid stickers were very effective. In fact, I couldn’t leave the house without them at all! However, because of the creases created by the stickers in addition to my natural double eyelid creases, it resulted in multiple creases on my eyelids, which I felt, made me look tired all the time.



CONSULTATION 

It is advisable to make an appointment with Dr Shen (my doctor) beforehand.

Avoid putting any eyelid stickers or eyelid glue for a few days before the consultation. Do not put on any eye makeup, as well. When your eyes are in their natural state, it will help Dr Shen to assess your eyes better. After Dr Shen has checked your eyes, he will let you know if you are suitable for doing DST surgery. He will also show you the different crease levels that you can do. As long as you don’t have saggy or droopy eyelids, you should have nothing to worry about!

I went for a parallel crease at medium height. Keep in mind that the creases will decrease in height over time as they become more and more natural looking. However, if you do your creases too high, it might look very unnatural without any eye makeup on.

DAY OF SURGERY 

I was advised to avoid wearing eyelid stickers two weeks prior to my surgery. However, I feel that it is best to avoid for a month, as one of my eyelids was still parallel on the day of the surgery itself; due to the years that I have been putting stickers, sometimes my eyelids take a while to revert back to tapered. I was afraid that it might affect the surgery, but thankfully, it didn’t. It is always good to be on the safe side, though.

After Dr Shen was done perfecting my ideal crease with his assistant, he checked my eyes once more to make sure both of the creases were balanced. I was then sent to the Operation Room. His assistant proceeded to apply eye drops to both of my eyes to numb them, similar to the kind of eye drops they put in your eyes if you have done Lasik surgery before.

I was on the operation bed for about 10 minutes or so before they started injecting my outer eyelids to numb them, as well. It felt like 5 jabs - could be more or less. I am not going to lie, it was really painful - like red ants constantly biting your eyelids. The jabs were over in a few seconds, which made the pain quite bearable.

You’d think the worst part was over, but then his assistant started injecting my inner eyelids too. It felt like 3 jabs altogether. It was done really swiftly, so it’s hard to gauge how many times they actually injected.

The sewing process, though, was painless since my eyelids were numbed from the injection. There was some discomfort on my right eye because the skin was tighter, but that was all. Dr Shen spent only about 10 minutes or less on each eye. After the surgery, I was sent to another room where an ice pack was placed on my eyelids for a few minutes to reduce the swelling. I was free to leave the clinic after that.

Tip: Remember to bring your shades along because your eyes will be very swollen after the surgery – don’t even think of going shopping after that! 

RECOVERY PROCESS 

For six days:
1) I had to ice my eyes with ice packs for five minutes every hour,
2) apply the antibiotics cream that they had provided for twice a day, and
3) eat the herbal pills which are not included in the package, for faster recovery - twice a day as well.

I could wash my face on the night of the surgery itself, but being a very “safe” person, I only used a wet towel to wipe my face for 6 days straight. This is one time I was thankful for my dry skin - I don’t think my face felt oily at any point. To avoid having water touch your wounds, you can go to the salon to wash your hair. I just washed my hair with my head tilted backwards.




DAY 2 




On the night of Day 1, I was out and about - night walks, movies, breakfast, etc. - but by Day 3, my eyes were very swollen. However, from Day 4 onwards, the swelling went down pretty fast. Huge shades and glasses are a big help during the recovery stage! Try to avoid seafood just in case it makes the wound itch.

I was back to work on Day 7. My eyes were looking just a little puffy by then - like I cried the night before. You should take at least a one week leave at the minimum, or two weeks preferably. By the second week, my double eyelids were looking very natural.

DAY 7



On Day 9, I went back to the clinic for a review. I bought a gel cream (not included in the package cost) for the scars. It was supposed to help in smoothening the eyelid area and to heal the scars faster. The gel cream is quite costly, but if that was what helped my scars to disappear, it was worth it! 

MAKEUP 
On Day 10, I could finally put on eye makeup. Look at how balanced and proportionate my double eyelids are now - I could never get that kind of effect with eyelid stickers!


WHERE 
I did my double eyelid surgery via the DST (Double Sulture & Twisting) / non-incisional method at Cambridge Medical Group by Dr Shenthilkumar Naidu. He has since left the clinic to open on his own – details of his clinic below.

DST is a sophisticated version of the traditional stitching method, meaning it is more secure. Instead of double twisting, Dr Shen does triple twisting so that it is extra tight and secure.

I trust Dr Shen’s skills as he was trained in Korea - everyone knows that Korea has the best and most advanced plastic surgery techniques. I have also found a few blogs recommending Dr Shen for double eyelid surgery, which prompted me to book a consultation with him in the first place.


Shens Clinic 
3 Killiney Road, #09-08 
Winsland House, Singapore 239519 
Tel: 65 9641 6744 
Email: enquiry@shensclinic.com 
Website: www.shensclinic.com 

COST
I paid 3k+ for the whole surgery. This price includes medicine and consultation fees. I could have chosen to do it in Taiwan for less than half the price, but Dr Shen told me that his surgery can be permanent as long as I take extra care of my eyes, which means no rubbing or tugging of the eyelids at all. From what I know, the stitching method of double eyelid surgery in Taiwan can only last for a few years.

CURRENT  

It has been more than a month now; my double eyelids are looking very natural. I am extremely pleased with the results! Most people, even my friends, couldn’t tell that I had surgery done. Tiny scars are visible if you look very closely, but they will heal in no time. I am most pleased that my natural double eyelid creases have disappeared after the surgery, and have been replaced with the new ones. Now that I don’t have multiple creases on my eyelids, I no longer look tired all the time!

It is a little troublesome when it comes to taking care of my eyes now - I have to be extra gentle with my eye area all the time, especially when I am removing my eye makeup. I don’t do facials anymore, and I avoid any treatment that requires touching of my eyelids.

At the end of it, though, I still feel that it was worth the hassle if I can wake up to these parallel double eyelids every day. I hope I have been very detailed in my post, so feel free to post a comment below if you have any doubts that you would like to clear! Good luck!