Asian Food Channel’s Amazing Food Challenge – our TV show trailer is finally released!

Our Amazing Food Challenge trailer on Asian Food Channel FB page and TV channel is out. Are you as excited to see the show as I am? If you check out the thrilling trailer, you’ll see what I mean!

The Amazing Food Challenge was commissioned by the Philippines Tourism Board, and was orchestrated by some of the most brilliant minds in scripting and production from Singaporeans, Malaysians, to Filipinos and even Americans – one of the consulting producers on this show helped with casting and producing on the hit US series ‘Survivor’, so you can only imagine the kind of magic that went into the Amazing Food Challenge! I applied for this show not even expecting to get a reply! What an honour that they ended up choosing little adventurous me, one of 10 total Challengers, out of 5000 other applicants.

Big ups to the epic excitement that they created and put us through for this incredible series. Here are some of my favourite moments from the trailer and Asian Food Channel’s first travel reality show:

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I’ll update more on my blog in the upcoming weeks on my thoughts and stories from this experience, you know how I love to do that… Plus I really miss my dearest buddies here!

Expect only the best in food, travel and adventures – catch the debut of AMAZING FOOD CHALLENGE, 9PM SG Time on Asia Food Channel! Also showing in Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

You should be able to view the full trailer on AFC’s Facebook page HERE.

Can’t guess from the trailer what’s going to happen in this show? Trust me, none of us had a clue…!!!

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CNY Freebie Giveaway! And BEST Moments From My Chinese New Year 2014

TOP 4 MOMENTS OF MY CHINESE NEW YEAR 2014:

1) Getting my pet Jack Russell Terrier, Cookie, to fetch me some Kumquats.

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Good girl! Stay!

2) Spending time chasing my darling niece Emma Grace around for a photo, but not before she tries to show everyone her bellybutton.

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3) Assisting my Dad as he made delicious suckling pig aka Lechon for Chinese New Year.

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Not so delicious looking BEFORE cooking, eh?! I don’t know if I will EVER be able to cook confidently like the men in my life, because I will NEVER want to hold a dead animal in my arms before having it for dinner. How am I going to eat CNY dinner after seeing it?!?!?! :0

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Ugh, think of this little piglet who never got to go home before you eat your CNY dinner! I think I’ll skip Bak Kwa too and go straight to dessert. (So impressed that my Mom made Pavlova this year, it’s a first!)

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3) For our customary DVD family time, one of my favourite uncles suggested watching Twilight part 2. The shocking part is – he is not joking. Even more shocking – this is because he already watched Twilight part 1!
No one else wanted to watch it, not even me (not that I don’t like it, I’ve watched it 5 times already!). So, I convinced him to watch Cloud Atlas instead… I don’t think he liked it much. Haha.

Last year to celebrate CNY, we watched Ah Boys to Men and all the older men in my family mused how much harder NS (National Service) was back in the old days. You young boys nowadays, very lucky!

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I got so many compliments online and from my relatives this year on my super red lace number – can you believe it’s only SGD$38 from my favourite fashion blogshop, Lexi Lyla!? There are so many other dresses I really want to get soon. I look like a tiny happy ang pow!

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As you can see, Chinese New Year is good for many things – overload of oranges, pineapple tarts, Kuih Pie Tee… but also excessive questions from all your aunties. Like that how?

Heaven and Earth® has launched #CalmComebacksan interactive Facebook app – armed with practical comebacks and instant responses to help you deal with all the questions that will be asked. And trust me, you will definitely have to answer them smartly, so your relatives won’t dare to bully you with other stupid questions!

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I love how the app categorizes different calm comebacks ranging from looks, salary to relationship status.

“Eh girl, why skirt so short?”

“Why not married yet eh?”

“How come don’t have baby yet?”

Ahah! You can answer it all now!

I think my frequent follower-friends here know which categories apply to me right? I very quickly clicked on “relationships” and “marriage” – I need some good answers for those questions. Right now!

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Since you have bothered to spend your precious Chinese New Year week reading my blog instead of collecting Ang Paos, thank you ah! I would like to give 1 box of exclusive Heaven and Earth® Chinese New Year Variety Packs to FIVE of you!

Each pack contains a mix of 4 flavours – Jasmine Green Tea, Honey Chamomile Green Tea, Ice Passionfruit Tea, Ice Lemon Tea, and comes in a 24-can pack. Yum!

All you have to do is SHARE THIS FACEBOOK APP on your own Facebook profile, along with a link to this blogpost and a status of one of your favourite calm comebacks listed in the app.

Do tag my Facebook profile (ESTELLE KIORA) or message me on Facebook when you’ve done so!

FIVE LUCKY READERS who have shared the app on their Facebook page will each receive the 24-CAN HEAVEN AND EARTH ® CHINESE NEW YEAR VARIETY PACK.

To see the calm comebacks in live action, check out this Chinese New Year instructional video. A lot of my favourite Singaporean YouTubers and friends are starring in it too. Gong xi gong xi!

WINNERS WILL BE PICKED BY WEDNESDAY 5 FEB, 5PM.

Tradition, love, family and all sorts of goodies with our tea. Stay calm and keep enjoying Chinese New Year!
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Do you want a great family? Solid friendships? Unlimited travel? Career happiness? High net-worth networks? You can have what I have, right here.

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Once in awhile, I get messages from friends and internet peeps, asking me how I have so many friends, influential contacts, free holidays and travel, cool experiences, vip access, awesome loved ones, and usually why I’m always so positive and deliriously happy…

Thank you for living vicariously through me – I worry that I’m not a good role-model at times to people who may dislike or misunderstand certain parts of my life. Of course, I’m not perfect so be prepared for my mistakes as well. I don’t want to inspire your envy, but instead, I want you to know that you can actually have what I have (seriously).

Let me start from the beginning.

On Christmas Day, sometime long ago and far away, a baby was born from a virgin. Say what? Yes you heard it, born from a virgin, not from lust. This baby was a pure and perfect man – different from any of us. He was holy, sent into this earth to walk among the evil, the sick, and the broken. We all know how f-ed up the world can be. If you have a horrible boss or deal with awful people, you know this already.

GOD almighty in all his glaring glory is too great for any of us earthlings to ever reach, there is no bridge – but His Son Jesus actually came right here, to walk among us sinners. He made HISTORY healing people, I see miracles everyday in the PRESENT, and the bible has proven and clearly documented the events of the FUTURE – some have already happened, other things will.

Jesus died with nails in his bloody hands, pierced by the same people who knew of his eternal glory and power – but were too scared of the selfish consequences from admitting it. He came back to life after death, because after all, He was God’s Son. Life is created from God’s breath.

“Oh this is all just a story,” Some people tell me. And I ask them, “then why is God so real to me?”

Once a year, the world looks for a joyful father figure that gives gifts freely and generously. You’re looking at the wrong man – it’s not Santa. Jesus Christ is this meaning of Christmas, but His love overflows in my life not just on this day, but everyday. It’s such an amazing gift I would even wish it on my worst enemy. It’s life-changing, hey look at me. There was always something missing in my life, until God found me. (I will never forget January 2013, the day I encountered God for the first time.)

Life is basically just incomplete without God (in fact it can even be awful), because HE is the one who breathed life into you. How can you doubt all the awesome things that he wants to do?

He knows the differences between what you want and what you need, the thoughts in your head, and the secrets in your heart. He also knows better than you, because He created you.

I’m not promising things will be perfect, but God promised good things to those who truly love and follow Him. Do I get stressed? Sure. Do I worry about things sometimes? I guess I do. Do I have challenges that stumble me? Wa lau eh of course lah. But I’m quite possibly, living the happiest and fulfilling life – I may not be the richest kid around, but I know I have riches far beyond (and better than) money.

“ALL, GOOD things come from The Lord” – This means, nothing bad is from God. Everything good is from God. It’s totally none of my business if you don’t believe, but hey it just means that you’re blocking yourself from the blessings that he wants to pour on your life. Why refuse something good that someone wants to give you?

Life is good not because I was good enough to deserve it, but because God is great. I’m just an ordinary girl living an extraordinary life.

Ask me or a Christian friend about Jesus. I’m not hard to find online, visit New Creation Church sometime, or you can even just Google “Jesus”. Give some meaning to your Christmas. Give God a chance to show you His love today. The sooner you realize it, you actually receive it.

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Merry Christmas everyone. What an incredible 2013 I’ve had since I decided to pursue God first and all other good things have started to chase me. Thanks to everyone who has brought joy to my life. May you all have a blessed 2014!

 

– CHRISTMAS 2013 –

Christmas has always been undisputedly my favourite time of the year. I countdown the months to this very day, but this year’s Christmas celebrations has been the stuff of sweet dreams. Maybe I’m just in high(er) spirits. It was a month filled with family, good friends, excellent food, lots of catch ups and the obligatory hugs and laughs.

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2013 has significantly been the first year that I’ve ever been officially unemployed and ventured out into starting my own business. It’s really bewildering that this has also been the first year where I’ve been able to afford brand name gifts for loved ones, and have also likewise received some really incredible, undeservedly amazing gifts. (Most of the time, I’m already happy to receive gifts like iPhone pouches and coffee mugs.)

I’m not very brand-conscious and wouldn’t care less, but for a new and struggling entrepreneur, this is really quite ironical?! I feel blessed to bless, I guess.

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I’m very thankful to my Mom and Dad who always give me a Christmas with a meaning – we went to St Andrews Community Hospital this year on Christmas Eve with their church group, spreading some joy to the sick, young, and elderly.

I hope the patients liked our red-themed team love, as I try to croon out some rusty Christmas carols!

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What a heartbreaking but amazing day, don’t think I will forget this Christmas Eve for a while. Sometimes, Singapore gets so comfortable that it’s easy to forget how many under privileged and less fortunate people there are around us. Everyone could do with a bit of love and a whole lot of Jesus. Grateful to my parents who continually remind me of compassion, especially this Christmas. Where do we start? With the elderly and sick who were so thrilled to see us, that they couldn’t stop clapping? The young girl in pink who followed us in her wheelchair all around the wards, squealing with excitement everytime we sing? The 5 year old who spasmed or couldn’t look at me straight, and yet she’s so beautiful?

Loving people is tiring, but I’m glad we did it. Thanks to Mom and her amazing church peeps.

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That’s a wrap! Couldn’t wait to unwrap presents with some of my dearest friends, and some much needed turkey time to total up my Christmas celebration coma.

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Thank you, Christmas 2013. Looking forward to the next.

My Acne Skin Journey: eMatrix Treatment for Acne Scars – Give the Gift of Good Skin this Christmas!

Time might heal the scars of our heart, but unfortunately it won’t heal the scars on our face. I used to have really bad acne growing up, and as much as you probably have not got a chance to see them (I didn’t show them off in photos and covered them in thick foundation), they were very much still there.

“Lucky” me – I grew up with acne and even though I’m not in my teens anymore, I still have to fight this war – Most of the time, I’m also left with the battle scars.

(With bad skin, don’t you feel like you’re always fighting?)
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It’s time to remind my fellow skin-warriors and most of all, myself, about the never-ending improvement I’m seeking with my acne-prone and scarred skin.

My first EMATRIX Fractional RF session with YUME Clinic and BEAUTI5ME.COM was in March 2013 (first blog post HERE), and since then, my skin improvement journey has gathered tens of thousands of views, lots of questions in real life and online, and so many of you fellow skin-soldiers are asking me about the progress. Sorry this update is super late, but I know I need to spill the secrets to better skin! Christmas is a time of giving, right? 🙂

There is nothing worse than having Acne scar-ridden skin – anyone who struggles in this battle of bad skin can relate with me. My horrible skin was definitely a sensitive topic in my life before trying out this treatment, and I’m sure there are several friends or family members around you who fight with skin problems as well. I’m thrilled that these treatment effects on my acne scars was as noticeable to you as it was to me! Thank you for being with me through this skin victory.

Here’s a pictorial progress report of my second eMatrix session with BEAUTI5ME. The results really speak for themselves, and I can’t wait for my third and last session! Will I see perfection? Perhaps.

(All photos below have no colour enhancements, no liquify, no photoshop etc. Eek alert ahead!)

*ATTENDING MY 2ND (OUT OF 3) EMATRIX TREATMENTS*

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I stepped into YUME Aesthetics Clinic for my second session, already knowing that I was in Dr Wong’s good hands and anticipating the expected. As numbing cream was steadily smoothed all over my face, Dr Wong asked if I wanted to up the ante and increase intensity of the eMatrix treatment today. “Bring it on,” I responded quickly. I wanted to look as good as possible in as quick a time as possible. Can you blame me?

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Half an hour later, I was in the treatment room feeling less like a patient and more like a princess. Assistants fussed over my blanket, hair, eye goggles, and the instruments that will soon be on my face. Oh, the instruments are already on my face? I can’t see through these protective goggles and I can barely feel any prodding through the numbing cream (phew) for the first 5 minutes, but what I do notice is the charred smell of my own skin burning.

“How are you feeling?” Dr Wong paused to check in on me. He adjusts the small scented piece of cloth that was placed on top of my nose – it helps but did not block off the odour completely.

“It’s a strange smell, but as long as this is getting rid of all the bad acne scars, please don’t stop”, I mumbled. Dr Wong could smoke up the whole room for all I care, my only despair was for acne scars to be gone.

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For the next half an hour, every inch of my face (with the exception of eyes and lips) was meticulously treated. And then, the whole face was covered once again with Dr Wong’s trusty machine – but this time at higher intensity. It feels like ant bites, or like I’m getting big blackheads extracted during a facial. It’s not painless, but it’s nothing compared to the emotional pain of growing up with acne – nor the excitement of knowing that I can almost erase it!

After the treatment, I was gently helped up and ushered into a separate room for rest and recovery. Cold masks and serums were layered over my face for another 30-50 minutes, calming down the hotness of my hopefully scar-free skin. After my post-treatment care, I mumbled thanks and goodbye, ready to rush home for dinner and sleepy time.

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*AFTER TREATMENT*

1. My skin feels like it’s slightly sunburnt, but a light application of BB cream completely concealed the rollercoaster ride that my skin had gone through just the day before.

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2. A few days pass and the tiny scabby dots have fully fallen off my face. I was a good girl and didn’t scratch or pick at them during the healing process – now I’m fairly rewarded with fresh, bouncy skin underneath.

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The usual sunscreen is a must, and plus a touch of light eye makeup, no one even knows that I have/had acne skin. For the first time, no more foundation needed on my skin! Incredible joy and excitement does not even begin to describe the liberation of having decent skin. Can I please dance around the house singing, “If you got acne scar problems, I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems, but my scars ain’t one!”
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3. My skin looks the best the week right after treatment, initially plumped up with collagen and as close to a newborn baby’s bottom as it would ever resemble.

Lots of time has passed, and I’ve gone halfway around the globe, learnt many lessons, done a lot of work, prayed in church, and probably eaten too much as well (can you tell?). Admittedly, I haven’t stayed out of the sun as much as I should have, but I’m relieved that I haven’t undone the repair that eMatrix did the 2nd time round.

Months after the treatment, the perfect plumping effect has faded, but my scars are significantly reduced and my naked skin is still looking pretty presentable.

I believe I’m also getting better at taking care of myself, which greatly helps acne to stop flaring up, slow down new scars, and speed up the skin-perfecting process. If you are taking measures to get rid of your acne scars, you should also likewise try to reduce your outbreak of acne too. What a bloody battle we are fighting, I know!

Thanks to this eMatrix treatment at YUME Clinic, deep etches on my skin are now but faint marks, and I don’t see the places where old pimples used to live. My scars are seriously so much less than they used to be.

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*ACNE SCAR AFTERTHOUGHTS*
As explained in my first detailed blogpost with YUME Aesthetics and Beaut5me, eMatrix is presently one of the best solutions for getting rid of acne scars – superficial creams can’t heal these scars much, and laser treatments drag some down with more pain and a longer downtime for recovery.

I’m so thankful to Beaut5me for the opportunity and challenging me to improve my skin. I have done 2 out of 3 eMatrix treatments and so far, the downtime is minimal (a few days indoors to rest and recover is more than enough), the results are awesome and you should watch this short video clip that sums up the treatment journey –

Contact my go-to skin warriors Deals@BEAUTI5ME.COM for special deals, and ask for more details about “Estelle Kiora’s Journey to better skin”.
Why not give the gift of scar-free and better skin this Christmas? Do let them know if my skin journey and this video touched your heart, or motivates you to soldiering on for better skin!

Thanks for being with me through my ugly skin journey. I hope you will find happier and clearer skin days soon, too. *Beauty starts from within, and I am so joyful for scar-free skin!*

This is a sponsored post for BEAUTI5ME.COM.

Pre-game your Saturday tomorrow with some FREE pampering at Blow Plus Bar

Hey ladies, listen up!

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My favourite go-to salon for fabulous hair, nails, free wine and a good time – BLOW PLUS BAR – is giving back to Singapore’s society by making girls gorgeous! Visit them TOMORROW for FREE express makeovers (hair styling, express manicures, make up re-touching) and free booze. Donate as you wish and 100% of the proceeds on this day goes to the Breast Cancer Foundation.

Blow+Bar first anniversary x Breast Cancer Foundation

All day tomorrow, 7 Rodyk Street @ Robertson Quay.

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Such a lovely way for Blow Plus Bar to celebrate their first birthday! Respect and admiration to the talented team.

Perfect to kick-start your Saturday, or to glam up with your best girlfriends before dinner and drinks!

What would you do if you could be DROPPED – somewhere, anywhere – in the world?

All who wander may not be lost, but alas, they lust – ah, wanderlust.

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If wanderlust is a sin, I think my feet are in too deep – my soul aches for eye-opening spirited adventure, maybe even a bit more than my heart longs for an amazing man. Sad but true! It makes me the happiest person when I voyage by bus, boat or foot – planes and trains will take me further, but it doesn’t matter as long as I get to see something new.

I’ve still got miles to go, but here’s sharing with you some legendary memories from my travels:

Trying Haggis (lamb innards) for the first time in Edinburgh, Scotland. Hated it, but I made new friends with 2 sisters who didn’t like it all that much too.
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Photobombed two Japanese girls as they were walking along a bamboo forest! Just a normal day in Osaka Japan.
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Karma bites back… It’s my turn to get harrassed, and I’ve never met more aggressive guys than the Italians. Random nightclub in Rome, Italy.
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Found some Ukes and formed a girl band in Cebu, Philippines!
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Was in for a rude and nasty ending at Spain’s famed celebratory bullfights – considered turning vegetarian post San Fermin 2013, in Pamplona Spain.
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Woke up at 4am to chase the magical sunrise and cheeky monkeys – conquering Cambodia, Siem Reap with my Dad.
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I was doing my usual work on the laptop the other day (FACEBOOK) when I got a message from a dear friend David, living in the US. He sent me a new reality web series where Heineken has been picking and dropping all sorts of individuals in completely, utterly random places. David thought I might like it, and he was wrong – I loved it.

I watched all the other videos on the site and this ad campaign consumed me… why? Because this is such an epic way to live life.

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Clint Jacobs from South Africa was blindfolded by Heineken, dropped in Poland by skydiving clowns, and given a tandem two-person bike to find his way to Berlin. He also needs to find people along the way, not only to help ride the bike – but to create a circus show within the week.

Number 1, This must be some serious character building. I’m actually going to Berlin next week and it is not even within biking distance to Poland – at all!

Number 2, where is his clothes, or underwear at least?! I know I’ll be asking for my makeup if this happened to me, it’s a little crazy. But I would still do it! #dropped

The 2nd part of this crazy circus search:
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LEGENDS ARE NOT BORN – THEY’RE DROPPED. There’s nothing like learning to swim when you’re being thrown into an ocean. Or learning how to form a circus until you’re forced to do so!

—–>>> THINK IT COULD NEVER HAPPEN TO YOU? OH NO, IT COULD.

Heineken has been trawling the bottom of the internet and playing “departure roulette” at major airports too, searching for social media users and jetsetters, instantly changing their plans and sending them somewhere far away.

Does this sound like a dream or a nightmare to you? Normal people – like you and me – all around the world who have shared this video with their friends, claiming that they would do this in a heartbeat, have been dug out from their comfortable comment boxes on Facebook and physically DROPPED, anywhere from Ridjk to Romania.

The 3rd and last video of this new flying freakshow legend:
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So share these adventures with your crazy friends, my fellow wildchild! Oh please, please won’t someone pick me up and drop me somewhere, anywhere!

Beauty inspiration: K-Pop girls and Marie France Bodyline’s Angela Tong

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I realized recently that being single isn’t just about waiting – it’s what I do while I wait. And so, instead of using my God-given precious time to whine, I’ve decided to work hard and play as hard as I can. Spending time with family and loved ones, travelling and soul searching are currently top of my list, but most of my internet friends who have been following my INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK updates have hopefully noticed that I have also gone on a frantic health kick!

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Working out for me isn’t only about losing weight, but should be about eating better and getting in shape. Beauty should be part of being fit, and being fit is beautiful.

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The last 3 weeks of working out is now starting to pay off, and although I was secretly hoping to look like Hyori Lee, I am admittedly happy that I am fast looking more and more like a better, shapelier, and stronger version of me. Estelle 2.0 is coming soon.

Along with blogger sweethearts Renzze and Regina, I was invited for a special introduction event for Marie France Bodyline’s new ambassador this week – and this couldn’t be more appropriate for my new shape-conscious lifestyle.

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Along with her newfound, post-natal figure, Hong Kong actress and first-time mother, Angela Tong explained how the customised body treatments at Marie France Bodyline helped her to understand what worked for HER body shape. Karen, and Regina sipped on sweet blue-themed slushy drinks but I couldn’t stop fidgeting in my seat and poke-shifting my slight tummy – I am doing what I can, but it would be nice to get professional advice on what works best for me too.

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Angela Tong stands on stage in the Luxe Art museum, dolled up in a short bright pink dress, as she excitedly shares with us her weight-shape journey. I have lately started considering vegetarianism, and was fascinated with her stories as they revealed her attempt at the Atkins diet, the “apple” diet (where you eat nothing but apples all day every day!), and a few others. Not so surprisingly, nothing worked so well for her. I don’t think I could function or smile if I ate only apples as well.

After realizing that there was no need to torture herself, she enrolled in one of the programmes that Marie France Bodyline has. Post-baby, actress Angela Tong lost 11kg and 42.25 inches within 3 months, of which, 12 inches was off her waist! I guess the impossible can be possible. The best thing about Angela was not only how well-spoken she was, but how genuine she was about sharing her personal experience. It felt real, tracing the footsteps of a busy actress-mother as she juggled a busy schedule between filming and having a newborn baby. If she can do it, I’m sure all of us can too.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist my inquisitiveness and asked the first question during the Q&A session. She chirpily replied to my question, explaining that in addition to her customised Marie France Bodyline treatments, she ate what she liked according to their nutritionist’s advice, and practiced brisk walking and yoga 3 times a week.

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Host for the day, beautiful Anita Kapoor, ooh-ed and aah-ed almost as much as we did. The room seeped with the scent of girl power, as Anita and Angela continued to make great conversation and competed in a diaper-changing race against time. Anita and Angela’s bubbly exchange of beauty and weight loss advice was also sweetened with the launch of revolutionary slimming treatment, PRO-FREEZE.

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A Non-invasive freeze technology that targets hard-to-lose areas, this fat-reducing treatment that used to only be available at doctor’s offices. With PRO-FREEZE, when fat cells are exposed to an extreme cold temperature, they will be ‘frozen’. These ‘frozen’ fat cells will be degenerated and eventually ‘die’. These degenerated fat cells will be eliminated from the body via the body’s own metabolism system, and a Marie France Bodyline representative explained to me that this is done in the treatments through lymphatic drainage.

I bet you’re not surprised that the first thing I blurted out to one of the staff is, “how cold is cold?”! She patiently explained that she tried the treatment and because the coldness is targeted on a small area, it feels cool at first but then this is quickly forgotten. She even fell asleep – what bliss! PRO-FREEZE can apparently permanently remove up to 25% of the unwanted fat in a single treatment session, reducing the thickness of the fat layer. I’m thinking of all those late-night prata-weight.

The whole thing only takes 45-60 minutes per session, and although we did not try out this treatment, I’m always fascinated how technology can help make beauty so much easier to achieve! Maybe in addition to my eating healthy and sporty habits, it wouldn’t hurt to have this freeze-cheat technique. Check out Marie France Bodyline’s website for current updates and Pro-Freeze trial/promotions.

“You need to fully love yourself before loving others,” Angela remarked, and I don’t think anyone disagreed.

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Even if I’m nowhere close to looking like a K-Pop girl, I’m a step closer to looking like a better me.

Thanks Angela and Marie France Bodyline for teaching me a little bit more about my body, beauty technology and for continuing to empower women!

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This is an advertorial post for Marie France Bodyline.