[Product Review] Getting organized + Panda Planner Review

December came too fast! In a blink of an eye, we’ll be preparing for 2016. Part of my vision for 2016 will be to live intentionally, to work towards my purpose, my goals, and to get outside of my comfort zone. Keeping things as simple and easy will definitely help since my upcoming projects for this website is starting to take more time and requires commitment from my end.

One of the reasons why I started doing product reviews is because I find that this will greatly help other homemakers in building up their home. Our homes come bare, and it is the items and tools that we get help make our lives better, or easier. These product reviews are part and parcel of helping you make the right choice in finding the items that are for you.  I usually list the pros and cons of an item and what it is good for, to help you make a better decision when deciding to purchase something in a similar category.

With everything that I am trying to squeeze in a day, and with all the upcoming ideas that I want to implement, and all the scraps of paper I have jotted stuff down on, I have seriously come to terms with me needing to get my day organized. While I am already using apps to help me plan my days, I still find it hard to focus on things that I need to get done. I always get distracted by social media and all the random things that happen. Yes, the shiny object syndrome. Yup, I’m that girl with 15 to 20 tabs open on her Google Chrome. Sigh.

I’m a lists person, and I make lists for everything I can. I enjoy ticking stuff off my to do list because it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, very much like completing daily quests in games. (Oops! the gamer geek is back!) I have a lot planned for 2016 and it requires me to be organized to follow through. I love challenging myself in all areas of my life, because when I get through that, I always come out a stronger person.

Panda Planner Review

I am so thankful to have this opportunity to review the Panda Planner. It is really simple and is in line with what I am planning for 2016.

I love the different sections in the Panda Planner, which I break down and share in the Panda Planner review on YouTube! Yes, I created a YouTube channel to share reviews of stuff that I receive, as well as to do unboxing videos, and to share my hauls! I am not so comfortable with getting in front of the camera yet, but we’ll see, I’m trying my best!

Here’s the flip through I did for the Panda Planner
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What I loved about it:

  • It is a pen and paper journal/planner which allows you to really pause and think through what you want to focus on for that day/weekly/monthly.
  • I love that it has reviews for daily/weekly/monthly, which makes you sit back to reflect on what you did well and what you would like to improve on.
  • The size is just perfect with enough sections to write stuff down.
  • The flow of how the pages are created. It is a top down approach from monthly reviews, to weekly, and then you go into micro managing your day.
  • The structure is great too because on the daily pages you start with gratitude, followed by what makes you great today. I love quotes & affirmations, and having to write that down and see it through the day just gives me a daily mantra to repeat in my head.
  • The whole flow of the planner is positive, habit forming journal that helps you focus and boost your productivity which is a necessity for success.

What I didn’t like about it:

  • There was only 92 daily pages, 17 weekly pages, and 6 monthly pages. This means that if I were to log into this book every single day, this would only last me 3 months, which is the equivalent of 4 books a year. Each planner cost $24.97. A year’s worth would be almost $100. Not really too cost effective.
  • I like having an entire year in a book because it allows me to put all my schedules in one place. Depending on this planner would mean when I get to week 85 onward, I may have to carry 2 planners out just so that I can jot my notes and schedules that I have planned in advance.

I do think if you lead a busy life or if you are looking to really transform and 10x your productivity in the coming year, a planner is needed. Which planner to use really depends on your objectives and what you want to focus on and how much you you are willing to spend on it. Planners range from the simple buy online and print off your printer, to the beautifully leather bound books. Are you using a planner now? How do you organize your days? Share with us in the comments below.

Check out the Panda Planner


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Hello november

What? It’s November already?

 

Wait…. I can’t believe the months flew by so quickly. Maybe I was enjoying the outdoors too much in the warmer weather. Oh my, the wind blew in so quickly and now we’re already starting to go into freezing temps.

What does that mean for me?

Hibernation. I hate the cold. I’m happy outdoors and by the water. But throw in freezing temps, and I’m hiding.

The good news is, it means I’ll be staying home a whole lot more. Even better, it also means, the HSW (His Savvy Wife) experiments begin.

The lack of outdoors activities makes me stay home and find things to pique my interest, create food that excites my palates, and find new activities to keep me occupied in winter. While the husband is totally looking forward to snowboarding, the only thing for me in November, is Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I love getting deals. I love getting stuff at the best possible deals I can get. That’s what being savvy is all about right?

With the freezing temperatures outside, I’ve come up with a plan to start preparing for my Black Friday. Its supposed to be a themed month thing. But…. it just kind of hit me that we are 4 days into November. Double Oops!

So….. to help you guys plan for your Black Friday & Cyber Monday hauls, I’m coming up with daily reviews of products that I am using now, and what’s good for the Savvy Household that you’re creating in your own home. If you like them, add them to your carts. If you have no need for them, check through the other reviews I’ve made. Most of the products are great for every home, but of course, to each individual’s preferences.

The goal is to help you sort through the vast online marketplaces and focus on items that you need.

22 more days to Thanksgiving. 23 more days to Black Friday. 26 more days to Cyber Monday.

Time to get busy people! Fail to plan, plan to fail.

Product reviews start tomorrow!

Question: What’s on your list to buy to get this Black Friday?


 

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Your mind never really knows something’s (1)

10 lessons to learn from the legend himself – Tribute to Scott Dinsmore

So here’s my little snippets of lessons in the past couple of days. Who says homemakers are not inspired people? For those who know me better, I’m not one that can be easily satisfied with the quality of my life. Quality of life, meaning living to the best you can, making every moment count. I’m not one who chase name brands or high expense salon treatment ( I used to be..)

I chase for a simple, happy life, doing things I love and living off my passion while seeking my dreams. Living costs money, so I have no shame in admitting I do hustle to attain a better life.

Sometime in 2012 while I was still working for someone else, a song kept popping in my head. Stacy Orrico’s More to Life. In particular, the lyrics that kept ringing in my head:

There’s gotta be more to life…
Than chasing down every temporary high to satisfy me
Cause the more that I’m…
Tripping out thinking there must be more to life
Well it’s life, but I’m sure… there’s gotta be more
Than wanting more

I’ve got the time and I’m wasting it slowly
Here in this moment I’m half way out the door
Onto the next thing, I’m searching for something that’s missing

I loved the fact that I was doing well in my job. I set my goals to hit a certain amount of salary a month before I went back to Singapore. People laughed at me, told me I didn’t have the education to get that kind of pay. But there I was, sitting in my little office, pocketing that pay, having the mini luxuries of being in that job. Yet everyday, questions kept popping in my head.

Was I doing what I wanted? Am I living my purpose in this world? What could I pass onto my next generation that would allow that to learn something from? I worked crazy hours, and spent more time at the office than in my own home. I had no idea what I wanted to do, neither do I now. I have no idea what the next BIG thing is going to hit me, I wouldn’t know unless I started searching for it, unless I started trying and getting out of my comfort zone.

I was reading alot then to get over my time in transport, on lunch breaks and before meetings. My iPad was a major companion on travels where I could read at the airport and on planes. I read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why. One thing led to another, I then came across Scott Dinsmore’s TedX talk while surfing the net one day.

It spoke to me. I didn’t have a keyboard to slam my head into, but I had a laptop, and a senior in the office that  disrespected me, and made me want to bang my head against the walls. The walls in the office felt like they were closing in on me. I felt suffocated. I had big ideas in a small room. Its almost like selling my time for a price tag. A price tag that wasn’t going any higher. I was doing what I love in the sense that, I was helping people. I was assisting my clients, many who’ve became friends. I helped gave them hope in escaping a 9 to 5 job, while I was getting myself stuck in one.

In December that year, I resigned. 3 months after I watched that video. I made that decision while on a business trip in Hong Kong. His words kept gnawing at me. I made the decision there and then, I want to become un-employable. I didn’t want to get myself STUCK again. I’ve grown tired of being hired to help someone else reach their goals while procrastinating mine.

Since then, I’m getting by on my own, not good enough though, because I know I CAN do better. And this is my journey now. To seek better. To always be better than who I was yesterday. I am competing against who I was yesterday.

I subscribed to Scott Dinsmore’s website, Live Your Legend, and devoured all his content. He was an inspiration. He was my motivation. I wanted to do work that I love. And I started seeking work to get by, while seeking out what was it that I was put on this world to do. Scott recommended starting out a blog, create your own brand and I did. You’re reading it now! I’ve slacked off for quite a bit after a whole slew of happenings in my life, throwing me off journey and becoming the zombie that I was.

A few days ago, I found out that he had passed away while climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. It happened while he was on a round the world trip with his wife. ( One of my life goals too…Travel around the world. Connecting with others.) He did everything in life I wish I could. He is only 2 years older than me, yet what he has achieved in this world is so much more. (Again, making me ask myself, what the heck am I wilting off my life to?)

I haven’t met this guy, nor have I spoke to him before. But I’ve been “cyber-stalking” him and each time I read his articles, I learnt something. Each time I watched his videos, it spoke to me. He encouraged others to live their legends, and boy did he lived his legend. He often spoke about creating a revolution of people who would create a ripple effect to help others do work they love.

In a tribute to the legend himself, the things that he often spoke of that we should apply to our own lives:

What is the work you can’t not do?

        Discover it. Live it. Not just for you but for everybody around you. Because that is what starts to change the world.

moon design studio co. presents

 

2. Your community influences you.

 The fastest way you can learn something is by hanging around the people who are already doing it. Surrounding yourself with passionate people allows you to understand yourself and do the impossible. 

 

quotes (2)

3. You are here to make a difference.

He often talks about finding your strengths and getting what motivates you. Everyone has a purpose. It is up to you to find it.

quotes (3)

 

4. Take a step back. Stepping back is important. The pause is where the magic happens. That gap between stimulus and response is where the real world takes place.

I stole this quote from the last blog he posted on his website. Plenty of us get so much into the “workaholic” mode and being sucked into the digital age, we forget the people around us, the  beauty of what is happening around us. We’ve neglected our family, our spouse, our pets, our friends, and we’ve forgotten the simple beauty of just being in the moment.

The pause is disappearing. That priceless space that allows us to think big, to reflect, to plan, to create – it’s becoming harder and harder to find. Which means our responsibility to save it is greater than ever.

We all know how important it is to spend time with people we love, yet we constantly sacrifice what should be so sacred, out of fear of missing a beat (or tweet). Society trains us to always be on and gives us the tools, technology, apps and devices to fuel the addiction. It’s like asking a recovering alcoholic to live in a dive bar.

It has become almost impossible to escape, unless you decide to take your own stand.

It’s on us to step outside. To play, explore and be with the people standing next to you.

5. Focusing and taking action.

You’re scared of taking action and going all-in because you’re afraid it might not work out. But the only way for it to have a chance at working out, is to go all-in.

He actually wrote about manufacturing your own heart attack here.

What would you do if you knew you were leaving in a week, a month, a year? You would start focusing on stuff that mattered to you.

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6. Doing the impossible. 

Limiting beliefs thrive off inaction. The more you do and try, the more empowering your beliefs will become.

If you routinely challenge yourself, suddenly everything starts getting easier.

Your mind never really knows something’s (1)

7.Find your “tribe”. Create your community.

Finding your people changes everything. Your guard goes down. Your crazy ideas get shared. They’re accepted. They’re encouraged. They’re supported.

quotes (4)

Almost everyone who met him talked about how easy he was to get along with. He made people feel comfortable around him. He showed up, and he created the connections, and then the opportunities that made people want to work with him. He wrote about how to make new friends at events here.

8. You are your own brand.

Your brand is your essence. It is the package that communicates who you are, what you’re best at and how you can most help others in your journey through life. It’s how you will put your dent in the world.

9. Creating your own luck.

Again, he often talks about knowing your stuff, knowing what you want, and showing up in every way that aligns with your purpose.

When you want something

10. Being authentic and being vulnerable.

Because when you show who you really are to someone else, it often encourages them to be themselves as well. And sadly, in a world of false images and representations, many people have never gotten the chance to be uniquely who they actually are.

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Watch these videos to hear from the man himself. I’m thankful for all the content he created and left for us to learn from.

He often quoted Warren Buffet in many of his interviews. ” Taking up jobs to fill up your resume, is like saving sex for old age. ”

Funny, but true. How many of us are working and clocking those hours, months and years just so that we can progress to another job? And is that really what you WANT? How can it be anyone’s life goals to work for someone else?

He mentioned on his blog, one of his favorite songs was Beyonce’s I was here. His favorite line:

scott dinsmore quote beyonce

He definitely lived his legend.  Almost 3 million people have viewed his Tedx talk and all the 300 communities around the world, he’ll definitely be remembered.

Thank you Scott Dinsmore for inspiring me. For giving me the strength and motivation to find “me” and not feel crazy or alone in this world.

Thank you for reminding me to chase my own rainbows and pursue my own dreams.

My friends, its time now, to go forth, and live YOUR legend!


 

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20150326_214707

7 days

30/03/2015. Its another day in Singapore. Bouquets of flowers in boxes lay beside the community center. Everything has been packed away and everyone was continuing their daily routines. Yesterday marked the end of our 7 days of mourning for the founding father of Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew passed away on 23rd March 2015 at 3:18am. He was 91.

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I was never fond of history or politics. I could never get the dates or even the years right. Heck, I can’t even remember the year that my parents are born in, I usually recount by finding out through their Chinese zodiac. I don’t really know the history of Singapore or how we came about. (I’ve never really paid attention in class anyway.)

In the last 7 days, I’ve learnt more about the history of Singapore than I’ve had in all my entire lifetime of learning.

Yes, I’m one of those ignorant Singaporeans. Because of websites like STOMP, I felt ashamed of being a Singaporean. They constantly highlight the negative sides of Singaporeans. We often see articles shared online, about intimate couples, about someone not giving up their seats or some random shit that people do, and the rest go all out to shame. We also read & experience on a daily basis, the ugly side of Singaporeans. The selfishness, kiasu-ism, “chope” places, cutting & fighting over queues. We’re probably never known as a gracious society, despite being a well educated city.

My husband and I love traveling, we’ve been to various parts around Asia and USA, and you can definitely notice the differences in the cities where there’s an “Asian invasion”.  Its not surprising why we have such as bad reputation, since on the exterior, we look like any other Chinese.

For someone who hasn’t really given 2 hoots on politics but enjoy reading articles on business & entrepreneurship, I was curious why one after the other, all the leaders I’ve read and admired, came down to our little red dot to pay their respects. Who was Lee Kuan Yew to them? Why did these guys fly all the way to Singapore? Articles and videos came out one after the other, as did my questions on what did Lee Kuan Yew did to get so much respect from well known leaders from all over the world? Presidents, vice presidents, kings, Forbes richest men…

Steve_Jobs_Headshot_2010-CROP

“Steve Jobs Headshot 2010-CROP” by Matthew Yohe. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Steve_Jobs_Headshot_2010-CROP.jpg#/media/File:Steve_Jobs_Headshot_2010-CROP.jpg

I compared this to Steve Jobs. A guy which most millennials know. Till today, his speeches and quotes are widely shared.  An inspiration to many, whether you’re in the Silicon Valley business or not. Everyone loved Steve Jobs and felt sad when he left, because we knew what he did. He developed products that defined the status quo. He created a brand that sold more expensive than many in the market, but still had throngs of people queuing in line for it. Why? Because we knew his vision & what he did (Sounds like Simon Sinek?).

Back to LKY. I’ve literally ignored politics all my life, apart from listening to one or 2 of the opposition speeches during elections. I knew the names of some of the more senior ministers, or those who have been everywhere in the news because of some controversies. Over the past week, articles and videos of his life was shared, I watched one after the other. It seemed like the entire Singapore was divided into 2 camps. Love or Hate. Those who hated him, hated the policies that were enforced to this day. Those who loved him, appreciated him for what he has done to this country that started out as a mudflat.

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I do not agree to certain policies, but in my recent travels around the region, getting to know the lifestyle of other countries, I have no complaints. I’m happy and thankful to have what I own now. Of course, I’ll always be wanting more, always be wanting something better, that’s the greed in the every person. But to see how he converted Singapore in the past 50 years, its something that many places will probably not have achieved at all. He enforced many rules that many did not agree with, but had to follow because of the consequences. As a millenial myself, while I was born in the kampong days, I do not have any memory of the kampong areas.

My dad shared with me a few photos of our home in the early times, when I was just 1 or 2 years old. In the Kampong areas of Sembawang. Multiple families squeezed in a house. There was no privacy since everyone was everywhere, and all shared a toilet used by the entire household. Strays roamed the streets. Kids played in the front porch, amidst sand and dust from the roads and construction sites. It was no different from third world areas now. That was how our parents & ancestors used to live. Our pioneer generation & our parents are the ones who saw Singapore going through most of the transformation, whereas, us, as the Generation X/Y, lived in comforts most of our lives. Its almost understandable why the ones who are most affected by the passing of LKY are mostly in the pioneer generation. They are also the ones who uphold the most traditions and values passed down. Most of which, are are lost as each generation took over.

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For someone who was completely ignorant of what was going on in Singapore (me), someone who had many conversations discussing where would be the best place to escape and get out of this country where I felt no love or patriotism. I saw the difference. I saw that Singaporeans could be a great bunch of people, people who were polite and respectful to each other, people who cared for others well being. Out in the fields of Padang, we saw people looking out for one another. The whole nation, sort of became a large team working with one another with a common goal: To say goodbye to a man that gave us the comfortable life we are experiencing today.

The last 7 days changed my perspective on many things. The view of this man whom we call the founding father of our tiny dot, Singapore. I read stories of him as a husband, father, grandfather, boss, Prime Minister, and all the sacrifices he did to get us to where we are now. His pragmatism, frugality, and humility are just a few of the values he carry through his life. Tears fell uncontrollably.  We can live in harmony if we wanted to. In the last 1 week, I’ve queued with locals and foreigners alike, and they all viewed and respected our people as they did their own. They were all sincere and polite. There was no division of language, race, nationality or religion. Everyone went in, had their 10 to 30 seconds and went out red eyed.

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The tears we shed, the moments of huddles and sharing of food, drinks and umbrellas. The days after, Singaporeans seem more polite, more open to conversations. More helpful to one another. Can this be the start of a new era? Can we start “caring” in this population that will grow into a country where we can all love and protect? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Ending this with a quote he said in response to one of his Q&A sessions I watched off Youtube:

Mr Lee Kuan Yew on the meaning of life:

Life is what you make of it. You’re dealt a pack of cards, your DNA is fixed by your mother and your father, and you may have siblings but you will get different parts of the DNA. Your job is to make the best of the cards that have been handed out to you. What can you do well, what can you not do well, what are you worse at. Well, if you ask me, to make my living as an artist, I will starve. Because I just can’t draw. It wasn’t in my father or in my mother or my great grandfathers or mothers. But if you ask me, to  argue or point out, I get by. That was the cards I was handed out, and I make use of it. Don’t try to do something, you were not favored by nature to do.

She said I'm a good boy!

5 things I learnt from my Chihuahua

I’ve always loved animals & Mother Nature, hence the name, Natx. Notice the similarity there?

We’ve probably kept all kinds of pets that I’ve brought home. From those injured kittens downstairs, to breeding hamsters and mice, to the weirdest exotics.

When we started working and traveling, we avoided keeping any pets since we were unable to commit the time and care.

In March last year, a friend of mine needed help to care for a little Chihuahua. I hesitated because we were fishing alot at that time, which meant, being out for long hours.

However, he came at a very appropriate time. It was like the 3rd week of my husband’s detachment, and I was starting to feel lonely.

Cutting the long story short, I had the pup in my house that very night.

When the husband came back 3 weeks later, Cupid accepted him instantly. We decided we wanted Cupid in our lives. We adopted him in March 2014.

We’ve had him for almost a year now, and while he’s so little in size, he’s really big in personality! We’ve grown really attached to him over the year, and being the “pawrents” that we are, we only want to give him the best.

1) Live in the present.

Despite his history of not living in the best conditions. He came to me with ear infections, teeth & gum problems, and a fear of everything. I left his cage in the toilet the first night because it was filthy.

He barked the whole night out of fear. We took him to the vet to clear up all the health issues and gave him vacinations.

It took us awhile to open him up, to win his trust and to bring him up. He finally opened up and now he’s such an awesome little boy.

We named him Cupid, because he is just the perfect little angel of love. He’s always bouncing around, enjoying the sun, and chasing the other dogs in the park…. and… pawing at our legs for belly rubs.

 

Leave ur past behind.
Enjoy the present.

Lesson learnt: Live in the present. Whatever happened before, leave it behind and live in the now. Appreciate the moment and love those that love you!

2) Confront your fears.

This is really funny, whenever we see a bigger dog, he would strain to reach out to them. If he was leashed, he would bark first and be in a really aggressive position.

It doesn’t matter what the size of the dog was, his reaction was always the same. Sometimes when there are other familiar dogs in the park, we would unleash him so he could run and play with the others.

If he saw a bigger and unfamiliar dog, his first reaction would be to run up to their face and sniff them. Nose to nose. Then use his body to block them.

He’s done this to practically most of the dogs bigger than him. Only to sometimes run back in fear if they started chasing after him. He’s lucky most of the time, they welcome him in to the play, and he’s had plenty of fun with bigger dogs.

No more fear!
No more fear!

Lesson learnt: Confront the fear, you never know what the outcome may be.

3) Give Compliments.

I think most dog owners would understand this. When a dog first comes to your house, and you try to teach him the rules of the home, and any new tricks. We had the same frustrations in the beginning. Cupid peed in the room sometimes because he’s small and couldn’t hold his pee that long. I reached out to my fellow dog owner friends, and asked them what I should do. The response?

-Shove his face in the pee, he wont like getting dirty, and he will not do it again.

-Beat him with newspapers.

Erm… seriously? Firstly, why would I want to get his face in pee? He gets dirty and I wouldn’t want to hug him anymore! That’s just plain gross.

2ndly, he’s a chihuahua, would I injure him if I beat him? He’s so much smaller, and it would really hurt. Will he listen after that?

I know I didn’t listen when my dad beat me. How many of us listened when our Pops hit us? How many of us changed instantly on the first beating? I rebelled every time I got hit.

That was for years!

She said I'm a good boy!
She said I’m a good boy!

Lesson Learnt: We swapped our training to reward based training. Every time he did something right, we praised him. It doesn’t matter if he already knew that trick, we still praised him and gave him good belly rubs. The next time he does it again, we praised him even more and sometimes offer him a treat. This way he’s proud whenever he does something correctly, and tries to get us to see him in action.

I think this works with humans too. When people thank me for my work, or show appreciation, I actually feel good, and want to do more for them next time.

Try complimenting someone else for a change. Its amazing how much change compliments, and gratitude can do to human relationships.

A simple word of thanks, or a lunch treat can work wonders.

4) Socialize.

Usually when the husband goes for detachments, I shut myself in for days and just focus on things I want to get done. It gets me moody and a little grumpy.

However, after Cupid joined us, we started bringing him out for walks almost daily, whenever we can.

We love to see how much he enjoys the outdoors and also, walking does good for us too. When the husband had to go away again, I made it a routine to bring Cupid out everyday at 8am, and both of us enjoyed it so much.

I get a little sweat in, and Cupid gets to run in the grass for abit. Win-win! We both go home in a good mood.

You've got a friend..
You’ve got a friend..

Lesson learnt: We’re born social animals. Getting out and just talking to others, meeting friends over a meal. All these provide the human touch that we seek. Shutting yourself in, does no good to you, your mood, or your health. Go out & get some fresh air!

5) Persistence. 

Cupid is really good at this. Whether its getting us to carry him up the sofa, to feed him dinner, or to get us to play. He knows it all.

He would paw, and pester us, giving us the pitiful eyes. Whining, crying for 5 mins. If we continue to ignore him, he would walk away, lie on his bed for 30 seconds, and come back to ask for it again.

He would keep on doing this, until we give him what he wants.

Where's my food?
Where’s my food?

Lesson learnt: If you want something, ask for it and don’t stop until you get it.

Do you own a dog? What has your little furkid taught you?

Yes, I’m quite obsessed with him, he’s got such a cute little face!

We’re always sharing our photos on our social media. Cupid makes a regular appearance over there too!

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Goal setting 2015

Plans for 2015..

Goal setting 2015

Its almost insane how time flies for me. It has been a busy start to the year, had a few good assignments to keep me busy. I love setting some goals and resolutions for the year because it gives me something to focus on. I usually set them with a deadline to get done within that year, and while I have an idea of what I want in the beginning of the year,  I tend to add to it throughout the year as I start working on them.

I usually set goals in in career/financial goals but then I start neglecting other parts of my life, eg. family, husband, personal etc..

So this year, I decided to do things a little differently. I covered the basic aspects of my life, so to ensure balance in terms of health, wealth and relationships.

my concerns 2015

Also, within each area I included a few points I would like to focus on. These are things that I wish to achieve this year, whether to build it into a habit, or a goal I would like to achieve.

If there’s one lesson that I learnt last year, it will be that failures are part and parcel of everything. There were ideas I acted upon that did not grow to completion.

There were things I tried pulling together that had so many hiccups, I decided to let go and restart again from scratch.

But these are great lessons. These are lessons that will carry me forward. Plenty of things can be done, just from trying, or asking for help.

And this year, I will do that again, I will try 10x harder to get to my goals. Because, I said it before, and I will say it again, the more people try to pull me down, the more I try to go against them.

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Personal 

Grooming – Get a salon session at least once a month. Can be hair, nails, massage, or all 3!

Family – Spend more time with them, talk to them, listen & appreciate them.

Meet more people. I shut myself out for most of 2014 since I starting staying home. Its a good time to change that and start meeting and connecting with more people.

Continue with traveling at least 3 times a year for holiday.

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Marriage

A daily dose of hugs & kisses, and to tell him how much I appreciate him everyday.

Go on a date with my husband at least twice a month.

Go on walks with the husband & Cupid without our mobile phones at least 3 times a week.

 

Cupid – our little Chihuahua

All natural food & grooming products. He’s free to roam at home, and sometimes licks surfaces or eats stuff off the floor. Having a chemical free home benefits him as much as it benefits us.

To try home baked doggy treats for Little Cupid.

Bring him out to socialize with other pups more… eg. trips to dog parks and doggy cafes.

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Financial

Set aside 10% income every month for savings.

Only buy stuff we really need.

Plan my purchases/shopping. Have a grocery list & stick to it. Always check the best deals and read reviews before making my purchases.

 

Health & fitness

Main focus: To recover from my lung infection and regulate my heart and breath.

Workout at least 3x a week. OR at least have active days. Work on cardio, strength and stretching.

Put myself FIRST.

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Home

Work towards a minimalist home. Buy only what is essential and sell or giveaway whatever I don’t need or will not use.

Clean out the chemicals. A green home can still be a clean home! Stick to cleaning with all natural products and kick out the chemicals.

Plan a cleaning routine and stick with it!

 

Hobbies

Work on Dairy & Gluten free baking!

Play with the camera more. Now that I actually have a platform (website & social pages) to share my pics on, why not take more?

Learn to cook food from all over the world. We often travel in person, its time to travel with our taste buds too!

Read more. This shall come into play when I convert all my reading to via the library or the tablet. Hope to cover 1 book a week & post a review.

 

Learning

Be multi-lingual. I’m working on Cantonese & Bahasa at the moment. I enjoy blending into the culture when we travel to a country, so learning the languages of the places we enjoy traveling to definitely helps a lot.

Learn how to work with different media to deliver my ideas.

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Business

Grow my websites and social accounts. Yes I’m working on multiple of them now, but not ready for launch just yet. They will be out this year!

This includes increasing on my posts! I plan to start sharing our travel pictures and itinerary to help others plan their travels.

Get myself registered.

My previous goal was to hit $1k as a stay home wife, and when I started hitting it consistently, I got bored. It was no longer a challenge for me. So this year, I want to 10x it.

I’m no where near it yet, but I will try my hardest to achieve this in 2015. To develop multiple income streams to grow to a total of $10k income per month.

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Diet

Eat a nourishing diet. Learn to cook paleo + vegan meals. I don’t think we can quit on meat just yet, but I’m sure we can work on preparing better food!

Get creative on fermentation. 2014 I set out to try out new foods. And I did! We worked on sourdough, yogurts, and played with lots of 2F recipes. 2015 will have me putting aside more time to ‘play’ with my recipes and sharing my knowledge.

 


That’s it for now….. I’ll update this list as I achieve each goal and increase where needed!

Do you believe in goal setting? What are your plans for 2015?

Share with us on the comments below.

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2014 recap..

Its a brand new year, finally!

2014 has been a crazy year for me… Lots of up & downs.

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I left my job end of 2013, and some time in the middle of 2014, I decided to seriously work on developing my ideas to get my own income. My only goal was to never ever need to work for someone else ever again. The pushing factor was when I lost our very close buddy, the husband’s colleague, and a fellow wanderlust… We traveled alot together, and had so many plans. Yet their separate detachments pulled us apart to 2 different states in the USA. He got diagnosed with blood cancer on his last trip.

The thoughts of him not being able to fulfill the so many places he wanted to go to, and all the travels we planned to do together, pushed me to work insanely hard. When my time is up on this Earth, I want to be proud that I maximized every living moment I had. Because there were plenty who didn’t have the chance to.

So for 2015, I’ll probably have the craziest goals, and launch a few insane ideas, but that’s me. I’d rather try & fail, then not try anything at all.

Here’s a quick recap for 2014, and my next post will be the goals for 2015! A wee bit late I know, but December was the rest & recovery month for me.

January 2014:

We started 2014 with a countdown in Hong Kong! Always wanted to bring my husband there because I wanted to let him experience the sights and food that I’ve been enjoying during my travels for work in Hong Kong.

Finally had a chance to bring him to eat dim sum at the famed Tim Ho Wan, followed by our daily mango dessert at Hui Lau Shan.

Wonderful trip and the winter weather in Hong Kong was perfect too!

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February 2014:

Chinese New Year came and went. We kept it simple this year. Mum was in Australia so I had much less visiting to do.

I did our yearly gathering for Chinese New Year with all our buddies to eat steamboat and Yu Sheng at my place.

March 2014:

Cupid joined our little household! He was almost 1 year old when we took him in and he has been the best little boy that anyone can ask for. The most amazing transformation ever! Love u always little puppy boy.

Cupid's first day at home
Cupid’s first day at home

April 2014

My sister’s family popped by for a visit and I brought the 2 little ones out while Nana was resting at home. Fun bonding time.

2 little boys
2 naughty boys

Also, first time seeing a life size poster of myself when my dad printed our photo on a poster size..

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Landing my first fish in Singapore & getting my personal fishing rod as birthday gift from the husband!

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First fish caught on my birthday gift from the husband… my own personal rod and a smooth shimano reel! :)

May 2014

Went on a last minute getaway to Phuket.. We didn’t plan for any activities except to spend time with each other.

But after we found a taxi driver that was willing to drive us out.. Things changed!

Watched a live Muay Thai match…

Heart pumping action from live muay thai!
Heart pumping action from live muay thai!

Reeled in the biggest fish I’ve had on the other end of my line… A Mekong Catfish!

Reeled in Mekong Catfish in Phuket!
Reeled in Mekong Catfish in Phuket!

 

The hubby also caught a first…. Pacu!

Up till then in May… my life was all fun and games, I was hardly serious in anything..

On May 18, while coming home from a friend’s wedding, I received news that a very close buddy of ours passed away.. He was battling blood cancer for almost half a year.

I was lost for words for days… I couldn’t stop crying. There were so many dreams we discussed. He was a fellow wanderlust and we used to travel together for quite a bit..

We bunked together in hotel rooms and he was always helping me carry my stuff or walking behind me to be sure I am safe.

He was always looking after us, sending us home after clubbing sessions, and even let us sleep in his room in the USA when he was back in Singapore on a home trip.

Our last meeting before he went back to the states, we planned to visit Japan together on his next home trip. Who knew his next trip home would be for his illness.

I told myself then, I shouldn’t be wasting any more time. Life is really far too short. This buddy of ours, his age and lifestyle was very similar with us.. Yet his life was taken away so quickly.

There’s so many more things I have yet to accomplish, and I need to hurry and get as much done as possible in this little life left of me.

June 2014: The Turning Point

I refocused my energy and time into expanding on the ideas I had but never took action on.

This blog being one of them and a few others that I’m working on and the are slowly taking shape.

Yep, I had MANY ideas which I hesitated because I was afraid to take ACTION. But now its different, I totally put everything out there.

I am constantly busy and rushing for time. My main concern was to create multiple opportunities of income so that I could grow each of them over time.

Don’t put your eggs all in one basket right? I created a flow of income to support my day to day living, when that was stable enough, I’m now able to spend some time working on my ideas.

July 2014:

hissavvywife.com was created!

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I spent most of July working on work assignments and creating this site.

I did not hire any designer or IT specialist so far, so most of the photo editing and the blog layout, everything is done by me!

Yes, that took a lot of time because I had to learn how to do everything from scratch…

August 2014

Met up with a fermenting friend from Sydney! One of the members in the Worldwide Cultures group and she brought me a little goodie bag of cultures and recipes! So nice of her! Thanks G!

We shared alot of our ideas and experiences with fermenting.. It was almost like a quick “Mastermind” session for fermenters. I’m really hoping to organize more of this!

We quit smoking in August too! Finally got rid of our vices!!! Yes to a happier life and so much more money in the pocket! :)

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Met up with the other wives that I met in USA, and their furkids… :)

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September 2014

A month of crazy fermentation, baking and kitchen experiments!

We did the 30 day kombucha challenge for this blog and our Facebook Group.

30 days of kombucha challenge

Celebrated our 5th year wedding anniversary apart. Yes.. He was in Australia while I was in Singapore. :(

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Brought Cupid to the Dog park and ate our first vegan meal.

Vegan Soba noodles with seaweed!
Vegan Soba noodles with seaweed!

 

October 2014

Tried growing a sourdough starter from scratch and it worked!

Bubbly whole wheat sourdough starter!
Bubbly whole wheat sourdough starter!

I was desperately craving pumpkin treats that we used to have in USA, but I couldn’t find Libby’s pumpkin puree in Singapore. So….. I made my own pumpkin puree from scratch! 

make at home pumpkin puree

And here’s another recipe you can make with the seeds that you scoop out from the pumpkins.

In October we also spent time (and money) to make up our guest room for my in law’s to bunk over. Spends weekends in Ikea shopping and fixing furniture!

November 2014

Baked my first artisanal loaf of Sourdough bread. It was absolutely delicious! Thanks to my poly mate, Xuan Yi for sharing with me his recipe.. It was tedious making it.. took me 10 hours. But the end result, finally a first loaf of artisan bread!

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30th November 2014 – My first ride on the ambulance due to my breathlessness and dehydration. I actually lost consciousness twice and the nurses had to force oxygen up my nose to keep me awake.

My blood pressure dropped to 80/50 and the machine was constantly beeping. I had 5 doctors examine me as my heartbeat went on a roller coaster ride.

I haven’t been feeling well for sometime. But to add on to it, my home’s air circulation wasn’t very good.

So when FIL moved into our home, whenever he smoked, I hid in my room and close all my doors and windows, which made air circulation worse. And the smoke still came in through the gaps in the doors & toilet’s window.

The smell of it caused me to cough. I know, weird right? But doctors explained that  its because of quitting, my lungs become more sensitive to the smell.

I could not say a word about it because he was my elder and I was supposed to respect him.

I started coughing out blood and decided to call for ambulance because I really couldn’t hold on any longer.

Doctors eventually diagnosed me with lung infection and I had to take 2 strong antibiotics for 1 week. Apparently the antibiotics were strong enough to kill bacteria from TB.

My kidneys hurt from taking the medicine, I felt sore and even pee-ing hurts!

Trust me, I’ll never let this happen again to me. This is my home, and I will look out for myself if no one else can.

December 2014: 

Mostly rest & recovery from my lung infection. I moved back to my Dad’s place for 3 days because I actually developed a phobia of staying in my own home.

After the incident, I felt like staying at my own home was hurting my health more than doing me good.

The stay with my Dad allowed me to reflect on many things and gave me time to rearrange my priorities in life.

Previously I had given in to many things and provided  more “care” to others than my own family. This incident showed me otherwise.

When I was in the dumps, and had no strength and energy to look after myself, I saw who would be there for me.

Forgive me if it seems my blood ran cold to certain people, I believe in truth and actions.

I opened up my heart and home with well intentions. However I did not see the same intentions in others.

2014 ended this chapter, and I hope 2015 will bring better health for my family, and our relationship!

We ended 2014 with a trip to the Kelong in Batam, Indonesia with the husband’s colleague and his family.

The condition of the Kelong was bad, but the company and the family that hosted us was awesome!

We had loads of fun!

I have yet to load up the photos of our kelong trip, will do so once I’ve gone through all the memory cards and picked out the best shots.

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With everything that has happened, I have even bigger goals for 2015… Because the more people try to hurt me, the stronger I’ll come back.

So I’m gonna hit it all out this year and hustle hard!

Next post will me my 2015 goals and a sneak peak of whats to come….


 

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How did your 2014 go? Let us know in the comments below.

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5 things in November

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Oh wait, its almost GOODBYE, November now!

Here’s a good summary of what I’ve been doing in November, “excuses” so as to why I’m not updating.

1) Took away all the ads for this website.

They just weren’t working for me, so taking them away cleared up the pages and less clutter on my posts.

2) We finally converted our guest room!

We got around to buying a double bed and packed the room slightly to make space for my in laws to sleep in.

Of course, this makes the rest of my home cluttered. I’m working on clearing the clutter!!

It has been an insane week before that, going all over to buy stuff to make up the room to convert it into sleep-able conditions.

Most of it is cleared now, and my in laws are staying over.

3) Bread making.

I’m convinced that sourdough is good for people who are avoiding gluten. I made a few simple muffins and did not feel the bloat or gas from other breads I’ve eaten.

I created my own starter from flour and water and it worked out really well. Let’s call it the Singapore wildcaught sourdough starter. Sounds exotic eh?? The imitation of the San Francisco Sourdough bread. 😉

Copyright. His Savvy Wife.
Bubbly starter

I’ve gone through multiple packets of flour now, and threw out plenty of breads because they were just not edible. Some were too gummy in the center, or the flavors just wouldn’t match. I’ve tossed plenty into the bin and 2 starters died on me. When this one started bubbling and rising multiple times, I got excited. I did the water test to make sure it was floating. Then I got to working the dough. After 10 hours of interval stretching and folding, followed by another 2 hours of baking in the oven, I finally got myself 2 wonderful loaves of bread.

Copyright. His Savvy Wife
Sourdough bread

I was prepared to toss this batch out. I knew it would take me many attempts to make my first edible loaf. Bread making is an art. And sourdough, is more advanced. When activating with dry yeast, its almost a sure success. But sourdough, need to understand the characteristics well. More on that in a future post. I would like to compare it with other breads I have made.

4) Iherb page.

I did up an iHerb page which you can access on the top row of the site just below the banner. It will be where I add my hauls and reviews of new products I tried. Have had plenty of people always asking me what I’m buying from Amazon & iHerb, so that’s where I’ll be putting up my hauls.

5) Launching another site!

I have multiple sites under my name now, and I’m so excited to “venture” in to each new field. I’ve been toying with the idea of it wondering how viable it is to make something like that.

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Yes, in each and every thing I’ve created, its something I’ve developed an interest in, and would like it to be part of my journey that I want to expand into. It will probably be some time before they take off, but I’m happy to invest in them now. Its still building, and I’ll make a short announcement when we’re ready for launch.

There’s so much tweaking to do with every new site I make. Frustrating but completely satisfying when I see the complete work.

Now you see why I’ve been so crazily busy that we’re having a lack of updates here?

Don’t worry, I still have plans on this site.

I’m a busy housewife.

Online shopping hauls, travel photos, shopping guides, and recipes….

What do you want to see more of?

 

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The Bus Stop.

 

Its been crazy weeks for me. I sometimes think if I’m just about ready to crash from the insanely amount of things going through my head. The paranoia as if I don’t seem to have enough time to complete my stuff and the paranoia of not having enough money to live and provide for a better future. I’ve been working on multiple projects and tasks and its always never ending. The fact is, we do have enough, but I can’t stop when I still have the energy to work harder, and build something for my own.

When I resigned from my JOB and started become a Stay Home Wife. I knew life would be slightly harder and I need to keep at it if I wanted to get away the crazy corporate routine with a price tag to my name. I also wanted to make more time for my family and husband since we are all working on irregular schedules.

Last week was my Dad’s birthday and I popped over to have lunch with him. Through lunch, I sat down and had a good long talk/chat with him. After lunch, I wanted to rush home to focus on my projects and work and get some stuff done off my to-do list. Yes it is a long list. Also I wanted to get on the bus before 5pm to avoid the peak hour ride home. I had only spent 3 hours with him and made my way to the bus stop.

While waiting for my bus to arrive, an old lady sat beside me. About 75 to 80 years old. She had 2 teeth left. Her face wrinkled and her cheeks sunk in. Her eyes weary. She sat there watching the cars go by. I smiled to her.

 

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I asked her what bus is she taking. I was afraid she couldn’t see well and might miss her bus. I wanted to make sure she was on her bus and on her way home before I left.

She said is not waiting for the bus now, she wanted to take a break because she had nothing to do at home.

We conversed in my broken Hokkien mixed with Mandarin while she went all out dialect. My limited understanding did not stop her from trying to describe what she was thinking. She was patient with me, talking and explaining when I didn’t understand.

She stayed in Ang Mo Kio, one of her kids stayed in the same block as her, a couple of floors down. She got married in China and came over here with her family. 5 siblings. Her brothers had looked after her as they came over, as she was just a little girl then. She’s mostly alone and home and her eyes were tired from watching T.V everyday. She wanted to “come out and walk around, at least some movement and exercise was better than staying at home. ” She enjoyed walking the nearby estates just to see how much these places have changed since her time. In her time, there wasn’t that many buildings.

 

I asked her about her kids. They were all grown ups and working or running their own businesses. None of them had time for her. She was afraid to bother them as well, since most of them were busy making money. She said her eyesight was good, and how she can see the buses very clearly. We started to play a number game where she would tell me the buses that were coming and I would tell her if she was correct or wrong.

Her eyesight were really good! She was right most of the time. We sat there talking, playing, chatting. Her stories intrigued me. The history, her emotions. Her eyes were like windows to her soul. She went through a lot. I felt my own eyes water as I sat beside her.

After about 45 mins, and multiple buses passing, she turned around and asked me, why I’m not getting up on the buses. I avoided her question and just smiled. The truth is, I wanted to spend more time with her. To help her pass her time with a bit more joy. She asked me what bus I was waiting for and started looking out for me. Like a mother would, she hustled me up the bus when it arrived. I gave her a big hug and wished her all the best as I turned to board the bus with tears rolling off my cheeks.

The 1 hour with her… taught me so much… And if there’s something to take away from it…
Spend time with your family. Talk to them. Sometimes its not so much about how much money we have or how much we spend on them.

They want our companionship. They want someone to talk to. They want a purpose to live instead of being at home waiting for each day to go by.

This came to me at such a timely moment. On my dad’s birthday, where I only spent a couple of hours with him, and left him to rush home for work.

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It didn’t give meaning to why I chose to be a stay home wife.

The time with her definitely left me something to think about.

How I’m spending my time & who I’m spending it with.

I did managed to get a seat on the bus even though it was peak hour.

Reached home at 7pm, with a priority shift, and alot to think about.

 

Have a glass of Kopi-bucha (1)

This is the 26th post to the 30 ways with kombucha in 30 days that I have decided to take up for the month of September. You may read more about the ‘challenge’ I gave myself here. 

After the experiment on day 23 of cleaning that coffee machine, why not put it to use now and make the coffee connoisseur in you proud?

Yes! Its another coffee blog post! I want coffee flavored everything.

Its the only thing that keeps me going these days. While everyone else who thinks that being the ‘housewife’ means I’m very free to sleep and do whatever I please, I’m actually busier than ever. Experimenting with different recipes, preparing to blog and taking and editing photos. My to-do, to-read, and to-cook lists can officially be written into books. Not forgetting physical meetings, cyber meetings, and all the ‘work’ I have going on for me in the real world to bring some ‘dough’ home.

Its very different working for yourself & working for others. You bootstrap and work twice as hard as you strive to hit your goals. I work round the clock as long as my eyes can stay open. I’m usually up till 4am and awake by 9am to feed Cupid and start my day with housework. But the flexibility in my life now is exactly what I wanted and I will not change any bit of it. Everything is progressing the way I planned for, and I’m very thankful for the opportunities that come.

This ‘stay home’ wife only sleeps 5 hours a day. COFFEE is always on the top of my grocery list. Every.single.week.

coffee-wine

Of course when I first saw Coffee Kombucha, I got very excited.

Kopi, also known as Coffee in Malay can also be used to make Coffee Kombucha.

Why it works? 

Kombucha is known mostly for being a form of fermented tea, with a SCOBY.  Kombucha tea is made from sweet tea, to which a starter (fermented tea) and a SCOBY, is added and allowed to sit and ferment at room temperature for the following 7 to 14 days.

The beneficial bacteria and yeast in the culture convert the sugar, tannins, and caffeine in the tea to beneficial substances for your body. Since coffee also has the tannins and caffeine that is needed for the kombucha to grow, it only makes sense if the coffee addict in me gave it a go.

How?

There’s a few ways to make this.

1) Cold brew coffee – Refer to this recipe I made using grounded coffee, and brew enough for 7 cups of cold brew coffee

2) Using coffee machine – Prepare 4 capsules to make 4 espressos, after brew, add 5 cups of cool water to it and add to jar.

– Make sure the capsules you are using are not flavored coffees, this is to prevent any oils from the added flavors from affecting the growth of the beneficial                                                            bacteria.

3) Instant coffee – I will be demonstrating today’s experiment with instant coffee since this is more widely available compared to the above 2.

After the fermenting period, the Kopi-bucha comes out more beneficial and easier to drink. Its less acidic due to the fermentation. And it comes with double energy boost. And a delicious fizz.

WHAT?!?!?!

Yes you heard me right, 1) because our brain is used to ‘energy boosts’ from coffee, and it tends to give us a ‘pick-me-up’ feeling. and now with the additional benefits from the regular kombucha, that is also known to be a energizer. Throw that 5 hour energy drink to the bin now, will you?

Have a glass of Kopi-bucha (1)

Take note that:

This will not work with decaf coffee as the scoby needs caffeine to grow.

You can add milk to it to make it a latte-bucha, but dairy milk will curdle. Nut milks or coconut milk will work better.

Its not recommended to use the same scoby for regular kombucha again. So use a spare SCOBY from regular kombucha.

If you enjoyed the first batch of kopi-bucha, you can consider converting it into a continuous brew.

 


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Previous articles in the challenge: 

Day 1: All Purpose Spray

Day 2: Soak Produce to Remove Dirt & Bugs

Day 3: Kombucha Coleslaw

Day 4: Hair Rinse

Day 5: Facial Toner 

Day 6: Fermenter’s Overnight Oats

Day 7: All Natural Shower Cleaner

Day 8: Kombucha Vinaigrette

Day 9: Remove the smell our of food jars

Day 10: Using Kombucha to Marinate meats

Day 11: Clean your shower head

Day 12: Make the fluffiest cake

Day 13: Laundry refresher

Day 14 & 15: Kombucha Soap & Carpet Cleaner

Day 16: Kombucha Drain cleaner

Day 17: Kombucha as Antiseptic 

Day 18: Kombucha Cotton Pads

Day 19: Kombucha smoothie

Day 22: Kombucha Fly Trap

Day 23: Cleaning the coffee machine

Day 24: Making Kombucha Tonic

Day 25: Cleaning the stove top