Life Through A Lens #9- New Zealand

Early last month, I was lucky enough to get to visit beautiful New Zealand on a school trip. We spent 4 days hiking around Lake Waikaremoana, and spent the rest of the time soaking in the beautiful culture of New Zealand. While the hiking was fun (ish:/), I absolutely fell in love with the kindness of the local people, and how laid-back and down to earth the vibe was. Here are some photos that try to capture and recreate the amazing feel of New Zealand.

Downtown Rotorua- 10am
Downtown Rotorua- 10am
And we sailed away on our last night. NZ, you were incredible!
And we sailed away on our last night. NZ, you were incredible!
Traditional Maori Mirai- we were extremely lucky to get to stay here for 2 nights
Traditional Maori Mirai- we were extremely lucky to get to stay here for 2 nights
On our last evening, we took a yacht ride on Lake Rotoiti to the natural hot springs
On our last evening, we took a yacht ride on Lake Rotoiti to the natural hot springs
ROTOVEGAS! We spent our last day luging and white water rafting
ROTOVEGAS! We spent our last day luging and white water rafting
Traditional Maori Hangi- they cook their food underground
Traditional Maori Hangi- they cook their food underground
We were able to visit a Maori Village where they put on a water show for us
We were able to visit a Maori Village where they put on a water show for us
The cutest little lake in the middle of the mountains
The cutest little lake in the middle of the mountains
Lake Waikaremoana from 1,000m high!
Lake Waikaremoana from 1,000m high!
Lake Waikaremoana from a higher angle
Lake Waikaremoana from a higher angle
Lake Waikaremoana right before the sun began to set
Lake Waikaremoana right before the sun began to set
Caught this beauty of a sight during a quick lunch stop on our way to the lake
Caught this beauty of a sight during a quick lunch stop on our way to the lake

Bacon-Ranch Meatballs- Recipe

This recipe may not be the healthiest, but it’s awesome if you’re looking for hearty comfort food!

Ingredients (Serves 4):

400 grams ground lean beef

4 slices of bacon, grilled and cut into bits

1 stalk spring onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg

1 packet ranch seasoning

3 tbs. ketchup

2 tbs. hot sauce (I like Frank’s)

1 tbs. soy sauce

pepper, to taste

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Mix the ground beef, bacon bits, spring onions, and garlic in a bowl.
  2. Add the egg, ranch seasoning, ketchup, hot sauce, soy sauce and pepper and mix well until combined.
  3. Make into balls and line on a lightly sprayed tray.
  4. Put pan onto medium heat and start to cook the meatballs. Once you flip them over, add the tomato sauce and cheese and cover for 5 minutes to finish cooking.
  5. Recommended: Serve hot with good bread:)

Feminism: A Deeper Look

I have always been very hesitant to call myself a feminist, even though I felt like one. So why? Because over the past years there has been this stigma attached to the word. To some people, a feminist is someone who believes that women should have more rights than men. That women are better than men. However after everything that’s happened this past weekend, I am no longer afraid to speak out as a feminist.

But first I had to take a step back. I had conformed to societies view of a feminist. But what does being a feminist really mean? The dictionary definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” And that’s exactly what I believe in. I believe that women deserve the voice and power that men have. I believe that women are not seen the same way as men and that people use the female gender to put us down. I believe that we have made progress. I mean just take a look at history, there’s no denying that we are nowhere close to where we were 100 years ago. But I also believe that we are nowhere close to where we should be.

As a feminist, I believe that women should be treated exactly the same as men; no better, no worse. There are some ‘feminists’ that believe that women should be superior to men. And that if a man holds a door open for them or pulls out a chair for them, that they are showing off their superiority. That is not what I believe. I believe that there are certain things that a man can do for a woman simply to show their respect without looking like they are showing off. The reason I was ever afraid to call myself a feminist is because of the toxic and over-powering stigma society has attached to it. But as long as I realize that I call myself a feminist because I stand up for the equality of women and women’s rights in a powerful yet graceful way, I know that I am not conforming to society’s idea of a feminist.

I stand here today declaring myself a feminist, promising to always stand up for equality for all and what I believe in.

Buddha Bowl: Garlic-Soy Chicken and Grilled Veggies

One of this year’s hottest food trends is the Buddha Bowl. It’s basically like an Acai Bowl, but for dinner. The idea is to pack a bowl full of complex carbs, healthy fats, proteins, and tons of veggies. Last night I made this Asian inspired Buddha Bowl, and I have to say it was quite a hit!

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked

4 chicken breasts

miso paste

spring onions

sesame oil

garlic

soy sauce

ginger

1 green pepper, cut into chunks

1 red pepper, cut into chunks

1 onion, cut into chunks

1 cup green beans, cut into thirds

8 cloves of garlic, halved

salt and pepper, to taste

garlic powder, to taste

herbs, to taste

spring onion, to garnish

sesame seeds, to garnish

For the sauce:

1 tbsp. miso paste

1 tbsp. peanut butter

1 tbsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. dashi

1 tbsp. water

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 200 celsius and boil water to cook your brown rice.
  2. With a mortar and pestle, grind the miso paste, spring onions, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce and ginger to make a paste. Spread on top of chicken breasts and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut up all of your veggies and put in on a lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and herbs. Cook in oven for 20-25 minutes
  4. For the sauce, put the peanut butter and miso paste in a heat-proof bowl and microwave for 40 seconds. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, dashi and water and mix thoroughly.
  5. Grill the chicken over medium heat until cooked, then cut into chunks.
  6. Now it’s time to prepare your bowl. Start by putting the rice on the bottom. Then top one half with the grilled chicken and the other half with the veggies. Use the spring onion, sesame seeds and halved garlic as garnish. Drizzle with the sauce and it’s ready to serve.

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe! Don’t forget to comment a picture of your own Buddha Bowl:)

Together We Stand

Today, more than ever, I have never been prouder to be an American. I have never been prouder to call myself a women. And I have never been prouder to stand up for what I believe in. After what was a quite heavy day yesterday, I woke up this morning to find my Facebook feed full of power, strength and hope. All around the world, people (women and men) came together to not only march against sexism, racism and misogyny, but to prove that the people still hold power. And that within the people who stand up for what they believe in, we find the good of the world. So while I would have loved nothing more than to be in DC, New York City, LA, London, Melbourne or any of the many many cities around the world that marched for our rights, I stand together with those citizens of the world to show my values and my power as another citizen. I remember listening to one of President Obama’s many speeches where he said that the most powerful word we have is “we”. And he couldn’t have been more accurate. Today WE proved that if WE stand together and bind our differences to become one, WE can overcome anything. WE can work through the hardest of times. And through those hardest of times WE will find hope in each other. The answers to our questions and the pathways to our dreams lie in the way we come together as one nation. Let’s push beyond our differences, allow ourselves to see others not as what they look like but as who they are, and open our hearts to see the good of the people and of the world. Together, We stand to make a difference in our world.

Thank you, President Obama

It was all in moments, everything happened in moments. The moment Barrack Obama announced that he was running for President of the United States Of America. The moment he accepted his nomination at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. The moment he walked on to that stage in Chicago right after winning the 2008 Presidential election, putting hope and light in the eyes of all Americans. The moment he won the election for his second term in 2012. The moments that he walked out on stage or in front of cameras to address a crowd. Every moment that he stood there in front of America establishing his role in the bright future he believed for the nation. And finally, the last moment, that happened only a short 85 minutes ago; I, a 17 year old American living in Singapore, woke up to find my Facebook feed filled “farewell Obama” posts and pictures. Obama’s twitter line no longer said “POTUS”, but “POTUS44”. His last moment as President.

All those moments, the little tiny moments that together culminates into one 8-year life changing moment. It was never fake, it was never for show, it was always for the good of others, for the good of the country. He took the power he earned and used it to prove that the American Dream was still alive. He showed his fellow Americans, not through words but through actions, that with hard work and hope, things will always get better. And that if you want things to get better, you have to keep moving forward. He not only changed the minds of many Americans, but also their hearts. From passing the Affordable Care Act in 2010 to ending the war in Iraq, making gay marriage legal for all in the nation to leading the country out of the worst recession in the past century, he impacted the lives of so many.

And with him came his wife, Michelle Obama, who was just impactful in her actions as he was. She advocated for women all around the world who couldn’t speak out for themselves. She strived to improve nutrition and health in schools all around the country for the better of the children, through her Let’s Move! campaign. She, along with her husband, opened their iconic home to make it a home for all Americans. She inspired people all over the world to join her in making the world a better place by making each person feel like they mattered and that they had a voice.

So as we move forward into the next moment, I would like to take a moment to thank President Obama for all he’s done. For inspiring a young 17 year old like me to work towards making changes I want to see. We are a better nation because of him, and for that we should all be forever grateful. To be able to witness a leader like him at this time in my life has been impactful, to say the least. President Obama, we thank you for your service to our country over the past 8 years. But it’s not goodbye, because knowing you and Michelle Obama, your work isn’t over. And I, along with the rest of the nation, look forward to your moments to come.

Obama out!

Life Through A Lens #8- iPhone

a little pre-christmas festivities (crying that it’s over)
dark, stormy evenings in singapore- 7:06pm
those days that singapore just gets it right (p.s. this is the view from my room– how lucky am I?!)
my favorite quote from my new favorite brunch place– Haakon Superfoods
a tropical christmas includes many, many pool days!
winter vibes from singapore:)) (also peep the snapchat filter)
sunday morning walks with my favorite pups
sunday morning walks with my favorite pups
that christmas morning feeling will never ever change<3

2017, Make It Count!

New year, new you, but what does that really mean? The most common new years resolution is to work out more/eat better and everything else along those lines. The most common thing to happen after about a week into the new year is for that resolution to be broken. People usually set expectations that are too high for themselves, “I’m gonna cut out all carbs and sugar” “I’m gonna work out everyday for an hour”. If you are someone who never worried about your diet or never worked out consistently before, chances are those aren’t going to go too well for you. But I have good news! If your resolution has anything to do with the one’s I mentioned about, just tweak it a little to make your life a lot easier. Your new resolution is: to live a healthier life. Now that you’ve changed it just a little, here are my tips to get your resolution to stick throughout the whole year!

  1. Get moving. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout everyday, but figure out some way to make moving fun for you. Take your dog for a longer walk/jog, join a group fitness class at your local gym, go hiking or turn a beach trip into a workout by paddle boarding. If you struggle to find motivation to get moving at the end of the day, try waking up just a little bit earlier and do it in the morning. It will give you an extra boost throughout the day. Make moving fun!
  2. Don’t diet, but make simple switches in your diet. Switch out white flour with quinoa or chickpea flour. Replace sugary soda’s with soda water and frozen fruit. Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, and NEVER skip breakfast. Diets never last, but these smaller changes you make will last you a lifetime.
  3. Drink a lot of water. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to let yourself get dehydrated. When you’re thirsty, it’s too late. You need to keep drinking constantly throughout the day. If you think you’re hungry, your probably thirsty to try drinking a full glass of water first. And if you’re the kind of person who struggles to drink water because you think it’s boring, mix it up with some fruit, vegetables and/or herbs.
  4. Sleep! I cannot stress this enough. Not sleeping enough will un-do all the other things you’ve done to try to be healthy. Personally, I put sleep before almost everything. If I have to skip my homework for that night to get to sleep, I’ll do it. If I can’t make the next morning’s practice because I need to get my minimum amount of sleep, I’ll skip it. And trust me, it pays off. Prioritize sleep before everything else.

These 4 easy switches will help you keep you on track with your new year’s resolution!

Election Night 2016- to post or not to post?

Pre-set: I wrote this post on the night of the election, but wasn’t sure if I should post it or not. I decided, now about a month and a half post-election, that I wanted and needed to post it.

I’m sitting here on November 9th, 2016 at 8:12pm in Singapore, 7:12am in New York. It’s been an exhausting day. It’s been an exhausting month. It’s been an exhausting year. It has been a historic 12 hours, and I know I will never forget a single minute of it. While I would love to sit here and turn this situation into a light, fun, witty piece of writing, I know that that’s simply impossible. It was 2:48pm, just four and a half hours ago, when Pennsylvania locked in as a red state; Trump was at 264, and we all knew it was over.

 

Backtrack about 24 hours. I was hopeful and optimistic that Hillary’s voters and supporters would pull through. I was envisioning a Hillary-run country, and it felt so good. I remembered the first political opinion I ever had and I ever voiced. It was early 2008 and I was little 8-year-old girl watching news on the election. I saw Hillary standing up on stage with a mic in one hand and as poised and graceful as ever. As a naïve young girl, I wasn’t able to understand why we had never had a woman as president. It simply didn’t make sense. But I saw her standing there and knew what a big deal it was. I thought ‘if she can be president, I can be anything I want to be’. It was life changing. And while, yes, my views did change and I found myself swayed by Barrack Obama, the inspiration Hillary gave me would affect me forever. I saw President Obama run our country as best as I think possible. I followed and supported him every step of the way. Laughed when he laughed, cried when he cried, and stood up to make change every time he did. And he did it all with Hillary Clinton by his side.

 

I was scrolling through my Facebook about an hour after the election was called this afternoon and was not shocked to find a feed full of election posts. People in shock and disbelief about what had just happened to our home. Some even said that it was the first day they were not proud to be American.

 

I have always been very patriotic. I’ve always been extremely proud to call myself American, and that is still true today. Am I disappointed? Am I angry? Am I sad? Am I confused? Have I lost some hope? Yes. The answer to all of those questions is yes. I am a girl who has a strong sense of independence and who fights for women to be treated equally and fairly. I am the older sister of a girl who I want to see grow up to be strong and independent. I am a student about to go to college who wants the comfort of knowing that the country she is living in is safe and growing stronger. I am a woman who dreams of having a big family of boys and girls and who wants to see her children succeed in what ever way they define success. But most of all, I am a human being who puts strong morals and values before everything else. I do not tolerate bigotry and the objectification of women one bit, and I never will. I am angry, sad and disappointed that the American people have used their voice to support a man who exemplifies everything I fight against. I am confused as to how this man gained the supports he did. I have begun to lost hope in what the American people are capable of. I have beamed every minute of the last 8 years with pride as I saw a nation that I love greatly move towards fairness, equality and justice for all, and it breaks my heart to think that we could possibly be reversing all of the impact the last 8 years has had on our country. But while I feel all these things, one thing has not changed: I am proud to be American. I can say that without any hesitation. I am hanging on to the little bit of hope and optimism I have left, mixing that with my pride, and using that to move forward. An adult in my life came up to me today and said that we have just been handed a big bowl of lemons, and now it’s up to us to make lemonade. We have made so much progress and it’s not the end. It may be the end of the election, but there is so much more work that can be done. #imwithher is not over. I’m still with her and will be with her forever, changing the way women are seen in our country and in our world. It’s going to be a hard fight, but I’m willing to put in everything I have. I will forever and always bleed red, white and blue.

Haakon Superfoods- SG Cafes

Last weekend, I ventured out to a new, funky brunch place with one of my friends. Haakon Superfoods was a place I had heard about before and had been dying to try. Known for their Acai bowls and smoothies using superfoods, this seemed right up my alley. We walked in to this tiny, yet vibrant little corner of a shop and immediately gushed about how cute it was. With only about 6-7 wooden tables, it had a super cozy feel. We sat down at a table and spent about 10 minutes looking at the menu trying to figure out what we wanted to order (it was hard!!). I finally decided on the Sunrise Magic smoothie and the waffles with coconut ice cream. My friend ordered one of their Christmas drinks, the gingerbread latte, and the avocado on toast. Everything was amazing! The smoothie was light and healthy. It only had fruit and a little bit of yoghurt which was just what I wanted. And my waffles were so light and fluffy, yet perfectly crispy. And my favorite, duh!, was the coconut ice cream. I love love love coconut ice cream, so when I saw this on the menu, I knew I had to order it. It was super light but also amazingly creamy. Highly highly recommend Haakon Superfoods if you’re looking for a healthier brunch option!

Check them out!

Address: 118 Holland Ave, #01-03 Raffles Holland V, 278997

Phone number: +65 8399 2450

Website: http://www.haakon.com.sg/

haakon superfoods menu
haakon superfoods menu
smashed avocado & feta on toast ($14.90)
smashed avocado & feta on toast ($14.90)
plus, they're environmentally friendly!
plus, they’re environmentally friendly!

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nordic vafler (waffles) with coconut ice cream ($7.90)
nordic vafler (waffles) with coconut ice cream ($7.90)

gingerbread latte ($6.90) and the sunrise magic smoothie ($6.90 for large)
gingerbread latte ($6.90) and the sunrise magic smoothie ($6.90 for large)