Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The best things in life are (almost) free

Jacket: Zara, Shoes: Customized converse, Shorts: American Apparel, Bra-top: H&M, Rings: Wanderlust + Co

The best things in life are simple (but not always free). A great jacket with a million zips and the perfect shade of pale pink. The same H&M bra-top that does nothing for my lack of a chest but works with every single high-waisted piece of clothing I own. The joy of getting over my 16 year old conscious nagging at me that wearing high-top sneakers makes my legs look short/stubby. 

I'm finding that as I'm getting sloooooowly older, I'm learning to appreciate the simpler things. A random friend on Facebook posted a status the other day from Australia, where he lamented the downpour that Sydney was experiencing, and that the whole day was just torrential rain and wetness - but that it was also bookended by rainbows and his ability to narrowly avoid stepping on a snail. "You make your own happiness."

I'm a big believer in making your own happiness, and I definitely haven't yet mastered this skill. I'll still swear internally when a girl backs her ass up (in the worst possible way) into my face on the subway in her way of bullying me out of a seat, or when a guy spins the revolving turnstile door too hard and it smacks you in the face on your way out of the subway (it turns out that all my #firstworldproblems are rooted in taking the subway). Even if I'm having a bout of heavier stress from work or life in general, it's alarmingly easy to forget that I'm in New York, this is the best time of my life, and the best things in life are as simple as buying some green tea mochi and getting over it.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Photo from my Instagram

I woke up dreading Tone House. The first time I went was at 7AM on a Monday morning, bleary-eyed and stumbling my way through Union Square - not really ready for life or the homeless man yelling at me "OOO IT'S A JAPANESE GIRL - SHE BUILT LIKE A BLACK SISTER", let alone an hour of what would be one of the toughest workouts I've gone through. I figured that if a workout had taken me hostage and made me giddy with fear, I should definitely go back - and so I rescheduled on Classpass.

But as the day went by, and the clock inched closer and closer to my 7.30PM class, my anxiety grew. Walking through the door and waiting for the class to start is an experience all on its own - the Midtown studio greets you with "CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR. IT'S GAME TIME", the room is tinged red and barely has any light, and something akin to the Inception soundtrack is humming in the background - casting a very Hunger Games esque vibe to the whole experience.

Photo from Tone House NYC

After glancing around at the insanely high amount of fit people per square metre in the room, it was time to warm up. Fifteen minutes of hurdle drills, facing each way, and then burpees between each hurdle, multiple times. This is not cross country warm-up at your Primary School. The warm-up ALONE grabs you by the neck and grunts in your ear that you are not ready, and you are not worthy.

I've trained with Alonzo, the founder of ToneHouse NYC and also Yusuf, the head coach. Both had an unwavering disposition of ex-athletes who are UNBELIEVABLY BUFF, and each have their own styles. Both were tough - Yusuf yelled more.

After regrouping from mini workout #1 (the warm-up), everyone gets into a circle and jumps and yells and puts their hands in the middle. What then follows is a blur of harness sprints, normal sprints, and circuits of exercises dependent on what body parts they're targeting - I've been to both lower body and upper body days, and both have a variety of exercises that are half fun and half (mostly) excruciating, including jumping on an ab dolly and scooting around the room using your legs, box jumps, TRX rows and bicep curls and a lot of harness sprinting. The hour goes by quickly though, and each circuit or stage is split up with high fives all around.

One of the stages that was particularly fun/terrifying was circle drills - essentially standing in a circle and reacting as quickly as you can to the instructions of the trainer - whether that be to drop to the ground and do a burpee, hold a squat, jump high in the air, jump around or squat-press with a sandbag. When someone is yelling at you to do something before you've finished the previous movement, shit gets real.

Another portion I had never come across was wearing a harness attached to a long stringy bungee rope, that applies resistance when you run beyond the length of the rope - we were told to sprint, do bear crawls and get on a table top position and walk like a crab. My lack of coordination proved to be too strong, and I was dragged back by the rope multiple times. Another star example of my lack of coordination is during a sprint drill, when a portion was running backwards - I decided to run backwards at a completely random time, confusing everyone and myself in the process.

Tone House is challenging. And if you are ever in the situation where you can work out to cinematic theme music, have war cries and incredibly confused muscles, it probably works and you should definitely go back. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

On Being an Adult and Having Nice Hair

Images by Shirley Cai, Wonderland Styler from ghd

I've never been the best with being polished. Especially since I cut my hair, the days where I could roll out of bed with a rat's nest and pretend that it was "casual cool" are OVER. Long over. 

I think that as you grow older and move into a professional setting, being 'polished' becomes increasingly important. Not by wearing a twinset with kitten hills, but the little things - nail polish, hair, making sure there isn't spinach in your teeth, or soy sauce on your white blouse (which seems to happen to me far to often). As time goes by, I'm slowly mastering the art of looking like I'm not intentionally trying to look homeless.

I never actually knew that I could do my own hair until carefully observing the hairdresser and seeing that it was as simple as dragging a straightener through my hair. ghd sent me their Wonderland Styler, which comes complete in a groovy kick-ass iridescent shade. This is not the $12 straightener my mum bought from Target when I was 11 - it heats up in a few seconds and makes straightening my hair a dream. Now I just need to learn how to make curls and I'll start my own beauty Youtube channel (jokes).

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rooftop Whites

Panelled silk organza top: Al et ClarShorts: Hunt & Gather Store; Heels: Senso; Necklace: Vintage;

I used to be obsessed with magic hour - the hour of sunset or sunrise where everything has this golden glow to it, like the world is about to be set on fire by fairies. Ashka and I climbed onto my rooftop and took a few shots in the fading afternoon light - everything seems so much clearer and fuzzier during magic hour. Rediscovering things you used to like is such an amazing joy - listening to old bands and certain songs that bring back specific memories, finding that the lyrics come scarily easy to your lips despite hearing it for the first time in years. Reading is another big one for me - finding books that are so good that I end up reading them WHILE I'm walking, on the train, at work, in bed, basically during every waking moment. It's so easy for me to forget how much I actually love reading when I force myself through books that are slower or not as well written. Two that have put me on a reading bender have been Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (I know I'm late to the party) and Susannah Cahalan's Brain On Fire.

Being terribly coordinated in clothing choices is something else that's a little guilty pleasure of mine - the whole handbag to shoe match isn't something I would be ashamed of. When my bra matches my top, which matches my shorts, and my shoes match my jewellery? That's a winner.