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Friday, July 22, 2016

P1 Parenting: Short Pixie Bob for School! ❤

There was a time when Lil Pumpkin's hair reached past her butt line. It was so beautiful, long and luscious. Her little trademark style.

And then she started Primary school so we gave it a good trim to chop off about half her hair length *sobs sobs*

It's just hair I know, which grows back pretty quickly for Lil Pumpkin {lucky her!}, but still, I loved seeing her sashay around with her long hair and it took a bit of time to get used to seeing her with shorter hair.

Since that "massive" cut, we trimmed her hair maybe one or two times to keep it neat and manageable.

Well, as neat and manageable as we can since Lil Pumpkin is an extremely active child and sometimes she returns home from school looking like she ran through a tornado haha.

And sometimes, her teachers have to help her to retie her hair in school because it gets so messy!! #oops

Last Sunday, we went for another "drastic" cut to neaten things up even more. Ok, I might be a bit over-dramatic.. but it was quite an impressive hair makeover and she cut her shortest hairstyle to date!! Well, ever since she was a little toddler anyway!! (*^▽^*)

We brought her back to Berne and as usual, he did such a fantastic job.

Before he started he even reminded me, "eh, do you want to take before photos?" hahaha... That's how well he knows me and I'm glad he cuts Lil Pumpkin's hair as conscientiously as he does mine #thankyou

So chic.

I feel like getting her hairstyle for myself too!!! But no... I must persevere and try not to cut my hair too short as I want to grow it out again ( ◞・౪・)

Always her daddy's girl ~ヾ(^∇^)

The boy looooooooves Lil Pumpkin's new short pixie bob hairstyle. And Lil Pumpkin does too. It is an absolute dream to care for her hair now as it's really fuss-free, easy to wash & dry, plus no need to tie hair at all! And to Lil Pumpkin, the extra free time earned basically means more time for play or sleep in the morning before school hahahaha.

I guess this will be Lil Pumpkin's new trademark look for a while. Until we get bored with it at least heh ੧(❛▿❛✿)à©­

Do you prefer short or long hair for girls?
Done anything wild with your hair lately?

For more of  Lil Pumpkin's Primary 1 journey:

For more tips on P1 preparation:


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Japan 2016 | Our Tokyo SnapChat Diary

I'm sure you've all heard about Snapchat. It's a kind of like Whatsapp, Instagram and Vine rolled all into one as a chat, messaging, and imaging app. The unique thing about the free app is that the videos and pictures taken, aka Snaps, will self destruct after a few seconds of a person viewing them. Or, you can add it to your "story", a 24-hour collection of your photos and videos, which you broadcast to the world or just your followers.

Even though it was created 4 years back, I hopped on the bandwagon pretty late and only started getting really into it this year. It reminds me of the good o' days of Instagram when the things people posted were really "instant", raw and not so pose-y. No using of DSLRs or heavy editing to get the perfect photos that we deem "Instagram-worthy" nowadays. Just plain old snap and post.

With Snapchat you can't usually transfer old photos / videos to post {but there's a new function now called Snapchat Memories that allows you to}. You've to use the in-app camera to take the shots and the available in-app filters, stickers or lenses to edit. Everything seems so raw, so unedited, so amaturish.. and I love it.

I love it for being "less fake" than what can be seen over at Instagram. 

Not saying that I don't like using Instagram anymore {still love the community there!} but I'm sure you get what I mean ( ◞・౪・)

Some of the Snapchat lenses are sooooo hilarious!!! I'm really amazed by how well it works. It basically uses a facial recognition software that’s able to distort your expression and apply various effects to your face.

Lil Pumpkin gets such a kick out of playing with the Snapchat lenses sometimes too haha.

Anyway I don't usually blog during holidays so during our recent Tokyo trip I used Snapchat to capture the places we went to, things we saw, food we ate, and the feelings of the day.

Basically like a visual diary and I combined it all in the videos here.

Have a look and I'll be writing in detail some of the more interesting and new places we visited, like Setagaya Play Park, where kids get to build a bonfire and chop wood.

Yes, you read right. The kids really got to play with fire and chop wood!!

If you're on Snapchat too, add me as @AiSakuraHaruka and if you haven't gotten to playing around with it too, well, go try it out and let me know what you think!

If the videos above aren't playing properly, watch directly on my YouTube channel here:

Read more about our Japan travels here


Friday, July 15, 2016

Home Living | Towards an Industrial Chic Home

About 2 years ago {GOSH can't believe how time just flew by!} I talked about having a kitchen makeover using white and natural woodwork for a Zakka feel. Unfortunately the interior designer {ID} we wanted to work with was such a flake and disappeared without a word after our initial discussions ゜(`Д´)゜ It was pretty frustrating but thank goodness he left before work even began!!

Anyway life got kind of busy and we left it as that and didn't bother to find another ID.

Just before we left for our recent Japan trip, the boy and I got talking about home reno again though. We decided that we probably won't be moving out of our current home in the near future {love the convenient location & amenities} so we might as well invest in renovating it to meet our current needs and make it a more comfortable stay for the next few years. After all, it has been 7+ years since we moved in and it could do with a little sprucing up. Or maybe a lot haha.

The boy and I are on the same page and want something industrial chic and kind of minimalistic. I say "kind of" because if you have ever been to our home, you'll know that we are anything but :P So the key takeaway for my brother-in-law {BIL} is basically "storage, storage and more storage". As much hidden storage as possible. He has his own architecture / interior design firm so we will be working with him on this. My BIL is a very dependable and meticulous guy, so I know we can trust him with our home renovation project.

I'm very excited for it {not so much for the packing up though!!} and have a whole Pinterest board of ideas!!

I even made a Powerpoint presentation for my BIL to make sure that he understood what we had in mind (*^▽^*)

There will definitely be rearranging of our rooms and living spaces. I think what's most exciting for the boy {ok fine, me too!} is that we will be building our own home gym!! ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

Woohoo! Not like a super big one.. but one big enough for us to hold our Air dyne, a bench, our dumb-bells, a wall squat rack, chin-up bar etc. A place that we can work out together at home with Lil Pumpkin. She can practice her gymnastics moves there too hopefully. 

We will probably be changing most of our furniture and Lil Pumpkin's Princess bed with slide will probably have to go. Not too sure yet. If anybody is interested in it {or any of our other furniture} do holler out. We can work something out haha ( ◞・౪・)

Fingers crossed that we'll start our home renovation project next month and have it all done by end November / early December so that we can celebrate Christmas there!! I'll be updating this project on the blog when it happens so keep a look out for it xox

Any home reno tips for us?
Where's your fave places to shop for furniture, lights, tiles etc.?


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Fitness Diary :: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certificate Course Experience

Last weekend the boy and I had quite an adrenaline-packed weekend as we attended our CrossFit Level 1 {CFL1} Trainer Certificate Course. We were pretty excited since it was our first fitness-related course! There was a lot of hands-on learning such as performing 13 exercise movements and completing a work-out each day... not really your typical sit-down-fall-asleep-boring-lecture kind of seminar haha.

CFL1 Trainer Certificate Course is a 2-day weekend course {9am - 5pm, 1hr lunch break} held all over the world throughout the year. If you feel like it, you can of course fly overseas to take the course {like what my friend Jed did} and go for a holiday while you're at it, or you can take the course in your own country if it is organised there.

Lucky for us in Singapore, we have the course organised locally and this time round it was at Innervate CrossFit. Even then, we had attendees fly in from Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia etc to attend the course so there was a nice mix of nationalities to see how CrossFit is in other countries too.

There were 3 trainers for the course seminar - Brett from Australia, Juria from South Africa {but owner of local box, CrossFit Enduro} and Liang from China.

They were all so knowledgeable, patient and friendly.. and omg their exercise techniques and movements are spot-on!!! It's a real treat to watch them perform the movements and I can only aspire to reach their level of artful techniques.

This is what we covered over the 2 days:

Day 1: Saturday
  • What is CrossFit
  • What is Fitness
  • 4 Fitness Models of CrossFit
  • Squat, Front Squat and Overhead Press {lecture & practical}
  • Shoulder Press, Push Press, Push Jerk {lecture & practical}
  • Movement Technique
  • Kipping Pull-Ups and Thrusters {lecture & practical}
  • "Not Fran" WOD {hah!}
Day 2: Sunday
  • Responsible Training & Legal
  • Deadlift, Sumo Deadlift High Pull and Medicine Ball Clean {lecture & practical}
  • Nutrition
  • Midline Stabilisation
  • Glute Ham Developer
  • Muscle-Ups and Snatch {lecture & practical}
  • Workout Programming
  • Scaling Workouts
  • Med Ball & AbMat Sit-Ups WOD
  • Exam
If you speak to anybody who took this course before, the one most important tip they will give you is to go with an open mind, and pay attention during the course seminar. And that's what we did... or try to do anyway haha.

It is good that we studied the course notes before the course seminar {wish I started earlier though as there was heaps to cover!!} so that we had a better understanding of what was being said, and could ask any questions about the notes during the lectures too. However, during the seminar, the trainers will actually highlight the important points about each section and kinda hint what is going to come up in the exam... so it really is good listen attentively to all parts of the course, and yes, that includes the practical sessions (^▽^)v

During the practical the trainers checked our own movements, as well as taught us how to spot common faults and use cues to correct them. This was very valuable and helped me to understand further why my own PTs used those cues to correct me when I'm training at Genesis Gym too.

From my time at Genesis and experience with CrossFit the past year or so, I've done most of the movements but not all of them were taught in detail to me, especially if I had to do it in a CrossFit WOD, so it was extremely beneficial to be able to learn how to do the Overhead Press, Push Jerk and Snatch properly.

I've never done Kipping Pull-Ups or Muscle-Ups before so it was excellent that I got to try and learn these movements under the guidance of the experienced trainers. Oh goodness, they really aren't easy to do but I definitely want to master them eventually... hopefully in a year or 2? Haha.. seems like a long time but these movements are complex and require lots of strength, agility and body co-ordination, all of which I'm sorely lacking in now.

The workout for each day is related to what is covered in the course. In most CFL1 courses, Day 1's workout is notorious for what CrossFitters call "Fran" {21-15-9 reps of barbell thrusters & pull-ups each, for time} but Brett was very kind and gave us a "Not Fran" workout haha. My arms are still aching from training so I was very thankful that we didn't have to do any pull-ups! I finished my WOD in 5 mins 10 sec.

Day 2's workout was 10 reps each of Medicine Ball Cleans, AbMat Sit-Ups & Medicine Ball Overhead Press, AMRAP. My Overhead Press needed a lot of work as I've trouble extending my hips before pressing under the bar, so I could only manage 2+ rounds in 10 mins #oops For this WOD, it was an opportunity for us to "train" our partners, motivate and coach them in their faults too.

The exam is at the end of Day 2 and there really is no time to revise as the lectures will end just about 10 minutes before the exam starts to give you time to set-up the sitting arrangement, grab some water, go to the toilets etc. It is a closed book, no-notes test and sorry Singaporeans, other than the sample questions in the CFL1 Handbook, there's no 10-year series exam questions available for practice σ(≧ε≦o)

It consists of 55 MCQs to complete in 1 hour. 50 MCQs are scored, while the other 5 are not scored and don't affect our marks. The unscored questions are scattered throughout the test so
participants will answer them with the same effort that they give to the actual scored questions. They are used for "pretesting", so basically we are like "guinea pigs" of these questions which may come out in future papers haha

I thought I wouldn't have much time to check but actually I finished the paper in about half an hour and had enough time to go through it another time. There definitely were some tricky questions and I changed my answers a few times when I was checking but overall, I think I should pass?? I know I definitely got at least 2 wrong and you need at least 34/50 {68%} to pass. The results will be out by the end of this week eeks!

Overall I'm glad that I completed the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certificate Course. Yes the course cost is rather steep and I may not actually coach anybody in the future {actually most of those who attended weren't thinking of being CrossFit trainers yet haha} but I at least cleared some misconceptions/ gained a better understanding of the foundations of CrossFit & fitness in general, learnt more about workout programming, how to do some fundamental exercise movements properly and how we should help others to achieve their fitness goals.

That's really valuable knowledge gained I reckon. And best part is, I did it with the boy.

A couple that stays fit together, grows old together I love that fitness is tying the both of us even tighter together and we are both pursuing this with passion. We have much more to talk about with each other now, and I know that with both of us being active, it will keep us healthy so that we may be able to live longer and spend more time with each other in our old age.

Not to mention, it does have a positive effect on Lil Pumpkin when she sees both her Mummy and Daddy making health and fitness a priority in our lives. We want her to see fitness as fun and watch her grow up associating working out and eating healthy as natural and a "normal choice". It is something enjoyable and clearly beneficial to her health, body, and mind.

She is definitely one of the reasons why we took this course too. In CrossFit, kids as young 3 years old are following the program and of course it is scaled to their young age and physical capacity. The boy and I took this course as it is a prerequisite to taking the CrossFit Kids Trainer course, which we want to take up in the future too. With that, we can understand CrossFit Kids better and hopefully teach that to Lil Pumpkin {and other children} too... and therefore include her even more in our workout routines and healthy lifestyle! (ノ´ãƒ®´)ノ*:・゚✧

  • Try to go through the course notes and handbook at least once before the course seminar.
  • Arrive about 30mins earlier on Day 1 to register, get your name tags and collect your free CFL1 course t-shirt from Reebok.
  • I'm not sure if it's this batch, but the course t-shirts were about a size smaller than usual. I usually wear size S for Reebok tees, but when the boy registered for me he ordered a M. Thank goodness he did because it fitted me just nicely! So you might want to go a size up when ordering the tees if you do the course in Singapore. The boy took a size L which fits him nicely too {he usually wears male size M}.
  • As the course lectures are held in CrossFit boxes, most likely there will not be desks for you to write on. Be prepared to bring your own clipboard {I brought my own laptop desk haha} for easy writing comfort. Clipboards will be provided during the exam though.
  • I hope you won't need to but IF you don't feel confident enough to take the exam after the course, you may opt out of the exam onsite. Your original registration allows you one free exam attempt within one year from the date of the course. If you don't pass the exam within one year of original course attendance, you will have to pay to retake the course {and pass the exam} to earn the Trainer Certificate.  
  • Water is provided but bring your own lunch as you only have 1 hour to go out to eat. I packed salad and pita bread for us on both days so that we could eat leisurely at the Box, and give us some time to revise notes while eating too. It also gave us the opportunity to watch our trainers complete their lunch WODs! #respect 
  • Day 2's workout is before lunch. You might want to bring a change of outfit to be more comfortable {and less stinky haha} when taking the exam at the end of Day 2. 
  • You can take photos during the course {useful if you don't want to write notes}, but you are not allowed to take videos.  

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certificate Course
Cost: US​$1,​000 ​​if registered 14 ​days ​or more​ prior to the course date or ​US$1,​200 ​if register​ed​ within 14 ​days of the course ​start date​.
Details: http://training.crossfit.com/level-one