SHOPPING

8 THINGS TO BUY FROM iHERB.COM

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What's better than grocery shopping? Grocery shopping in the sweet comforts of the cloud nest that is my bed. 

I'm a big fan of iHerb - I get most of the dry groceries and essentials from the site. Shipping is incredibly affordable, from S$4, and it's dependable and incredibly reliable.

Unfortunately, the website doesn't make it easy for people to shop on it - sure there are ratings on the different products available but unless you know exactly what you want to buy, you're going to be spending a lot of time perusing the site.

Lucky for you, I've done the buying and the researching enough to tell you what to buy. So now, you can quit googling "Faz + iHerb" because you can bookmark this page. Remember to use my offer code "ZQL070" for a $5-$10 discount off your first order.

Disclaimer: These products work for meConsult your doctor or medical professional before you take any supplements.

#8 Quinoa Pasta, US$4.27 link

What is it? Sometimes the problem with going gluten-free is that replacement foods like gluten-free bread and pasta taste like crap ran over twice. I've eaten gluten-free bread that feel like it can leave a hole in the wall if I decided to throw a slice against one. This tastes like wheat pasta, but is made of quinoa - which I love because it keeps me full longer. 

How to eat it? As you normally would, with pasta sauces. Be sure to cook this a little longer than traditional pastas, though about 15 minutes. I love using this in casseroles because it doesn't get gummy or loses its shape like wheat pastas do.

#7 Sun Warrior, Raw Organic Ormus Supergreens, Peppermint, US$49.95 link

What is it? We all know greens are good for us, but not all of us eat enough greens everyday. Ormus Supergreens, recommended to me by the good people at Ritual, ingredients such as barley grass, spinach, wheat grass go through a patented cold-drying process and become powder form. The ingredients come from mineral-rich volcanic soil, thus enriching your bod not only with the goodness of greens, but with a range of minerals including platinum, gold and silver.

How to eat it? 1 tablespoon in a glass of water everyday, or throw it in your smoothie.

#6 Solgar, Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate, 240 Softgels, US$17.28 link

What is it? You know this already - Omega-3 fatty acids play important roles in brain function, normal growth and development, and inflammation. Southeast Asians frequently have elevated triglycerides (a form of cholesterol) and a high rate of death from heart attacks, but omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and used in fish oil supplements can help reduce triglycerides and decrease the risk of death from a heart attack. So if you don't eat enough fish and other foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts, soybeans or kidney beans, get these. They don't have a fishy taste, and you don't get fishy burps!

How to eat it? As a dietary supplement for adults, take two softgels three times daily, preferably at mealtimes.

#5 Mrs. Dash, Extra Spicy Seasoning Blend, US$3.67 link

What is it? I know chicken breast is healthy, but I get really tired of it. I mix it up with seasoning chicken differently before I grill it up, and this is one of my favourite seasonings because it's flavourful and it doesn't have salt. 

How to eat it? Season your meat with this baby. I've tried seasoning a tuna steak with this and I loved it too. It's not spicy though, don't believe the label. You can throw in some chilli padi in there and have a ball, if you want.

#4 Simply Organic, Get Crackin, Peppercorn Mix, US$5.81 link

What is it? It's a blend of peppercorns, instead of the usual one-colour that you usually get.

How to eat it? Try this on roasted pineapple chunks. So. Good!

#3 Navitas Naturals, Organic, Acai Powder US$31.98 link

What is it? Acai is loaded with antioxidants, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and while you can grab a bag of acai pulp to make breakfast at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods so easily, it's impossible to find it in Singapore. This brand of acai is sourced directly from farmers, cultivated sustainably and in accordance with fair trade practices.

How to eat it? Throw it in your smoothies or shakes, or sprinkle over your yogurt, chia seed pudding or oats.

#2 PB2 Peanut Butter US$5.31 link

What is it? If you're a fan of peanut butter, this powdered peanut butter is a good alternative. It has 85% less fat calories than traditional peanut butters and it's just as tasty.

How to eat it? Mix 1 tablespoon of water with 2 tablespoons of PB2. However, I love using the powder in cookies, waffles and pancakes with gluten free flour. For an easy peasy pancake recipe, throw:

  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1 Medium Banana
  • 1/2 Cup Blueberries
  • 1 Serving PB2

...into a bowl, mix it up and dump it on a pan and cook till brown like you would pancakes. This makes two and is about 98 Calories per pancake.

#1 Sriracha, US$3.74 link

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JUST SLATHER ON EVERYTHING. NO HOLDS BARRED.

Remember to use my offer code "ZQL070" for a $5-$10 discount off your first order.

PERSONAL SHOPPER IN THE UK, AT YOUR SERVICE

I know I’m the Shopping Editor at inSing.com, but I have to admit the retail scene in Singapore is pretty bleak. The last time I bought a piece of clothing here, was in September when I was desperate for a black dress. While stores are aplenty, selections are mediocre and the worst part is how heavily marked up everything is. I know retail is no easy business with sky-high rents, the almost-impossible task of looking for good service staff, amongst other things but as a customer, you can’t help but want to blow your moolah outside the +65.

If you’re globetrotting and going for European sojourns quite so often, lucky you! The mere mortals amongst us who salivate over designer stashes and latest fashion covetables don’t have to twiddle our thumbs anymore - introducing Sins of Lust, a personal shopper service in Europe that caters to Singaporeans, and Asians who want designer bags [or anything at all] minus the ridiculous prices in Singapore.

Prices of the designer goods you purchase will definitely be lower than the stores in SG, and they include the cost of the service, plus first class registered postage and taxes. Whether it’s something that’s too expensive to buy in Singapore, or a collection that won’t reach our shores, Sins of Lust is there to help. Here’s how

  1. Get in touch with the good people at Sins of Lust, and tell them what you’re looking for. Give them the full 411, with specifics. They will get back to you with a quote in about 24 hours.
  2. If agreeable, they’ll send you an invoice via Paypal. You can also make payment via their Singapore-based account via iBanking.
  3. Once payment is received, you’ll get your baby within 10 working days.

WHAT?! Totes easy peasy.

Here are the prices that Sins of Lust's customers enjoy, and you definitely know that they are unbeatable in the boutiques of Singapore!

Goyard petite St. Louis is $1280 Goyard grande St. Louis is $1720 Celine Nano $2,750 Celine Trapeze $3,400 Celine Luggage $3,800 Boy Chanel $5,600

In case you haven't heard, the British Sterling Pound exchange rate has dropped to SGD1.88, and Sins of Lust is based there, there's no better time to purchase!

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING WITH AMERICAN EXPRESS

I don't usually buy a lot of Christmas gifts. I get them for some close friends, and colleagues with whom I exchange gifts. This year, I added a couple more people to my list, so with my Amex in hand, I went a'shoppin'. I hit the latest H&M store in ION, especially since you get two chances to win for every $10 spent in ION, Singapore Airlines and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands with American Express. Of course, I got distracted and tried some stuff on:

Kinokuniya was next. 1Q84 for Murakami fans, anyone?

I went to Lovisa in Wisma Atria next. I love Lovisa. It's my favourite new accessories store - a notch above Diva [that's being pulled out of Singapore as we speak], affordable and they've got wicked, ultra fashion-forward pieces you can throw on and not think twice about. J's sister got a couple of pieces from here from me. ;o)

Sephora was next. I always get lost in Sephora. In between being gobsmacked by all the pretty colours, I usually have no clue what to buy. These super cute ducks [that double up as vibrators] could be useful for the girlfriend who's always complaining about her single status...

As for me, I didn't get myself anything with the moolah American Express. I have almost everything in the world I want and who could actually say that?! I did, however, get J a lil' something something for the holidays. You just have to watch this space to find out what it is!

HOLIDAY SHOPPING WITH AMERICAN EXPRESS

I like to think I give good gifts. I think about what the person enjoys, I like to pick out little details, and I scour the web - sometimes months in advance for the birthdays of people I love. Sometimes, I'd be bouncing off the walls to present someone with a gift! As you already know, American Express is sending me on a shopping spree for Xmas gifts in conjunction with their wicked Round the World campaign this festive season!

While shopping in person will give you more chances to win a Round the World trip  [Every $10 spent at ION Orchard, Singapore Airlines or The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands for 2 chances to win!], I like to suss out what there is in the world starting with the web.

1. A subscription to Frankie Magazine. The only magazine I've bought since issue #3, and the only magazine I've probably bought for leisure for the past year or so since we've propelled into digital magazines. Frankie manages to put out beautiful works of art - perfect stock, stunning printing and writing that I just love to delve deep into. If your girlfriend appreciate beautiful things, this is a wicked gift that will last a whole year!

2. NARS Pure Matte lipstick. I've been looking for a matte pink lipstick for a while, and I was delighted when NARS finally opened here. Unfortunately, when I was there a few days ago, heaps of the lipstick shades were sold out. I specifically asked the salesgirl to show me a lipstick shade that was in stock, and she put Carthage on for me, only to tell me after that the girl who came in just before me bought the last one. This tops my list, and I'm sure it'll top many of your girlfriends' too.

3. Ciate Nail Polishes make the perfect stocking stuffers. Always in vivid colours and in such cute packaging, what's not to love?

4. Fortune Cookie purse. For those girls who always have change lying around everywhere, this cute purse will make a wicked stocking stuffer. And you can remind her about the purse you got her every time she jingles when she fishes for something in her bag.

1. Lanvin Silver-plated Onyx cufflinks These are so sexy. They're so understated, yet so perfect. I wish I wore shirts that need cufflinks so I have an excuse to get them for myself...

2. Prescription glasses. J has been hunting for prescription glasses for the longest time, but he's yet to find a pair he likes. You usually have to try on glasses to see how they suit your face, but Lookmatic lets you virtually try it on! Upload a photo of your man, and you're good to go!

3. Homemade milano cookies. Who doesn't love milano cookies? Even better if they're handmade and fresh from the oven!

4. Plane tickets... ;o)

5. iPad Mini. If your man works on an iMac, watches Apple TV, listens to music on his iPod Touch, it's time you splurge and get him the new iPad Mini. It's not so big like the iPad such that it can be a pain to carry, and it's not super tiny like the iPod Touch where he'd be straining his eyes trying to watch his favourite sitcom. And you get to steal it occasionally to shop online! Win-win!

6. Victoria's Secret giftcard. This is a little cheeky, but it can be a cute stocking stuffer [oh, the puns!]. Get him to pick out what he wants you to wear. Gift for him, gift for you. I'm a bloody genius!

Watch this space to find out where I went shopping, and what I got for the favourite people in my life. Myself included of course! Remember to start spendin' with your American Express for a Round the World getaway!

BACK FROM BLUEPRINT EMPORIUM

If there are three things that will sure to lift my dampened spirits, it's travel, shopping or food. And it's also these three things that will see me up too early on a Saturday morning bouncing off the walls in excitement. My brother, my colleague Kerryn and I, hit Blueprint Emporium bright and early while people were still setting up. I love the cozier set up this year, as compared to the one at Marina Bay Sands last year. More importantly, here was what we got:

1. Desti Saint Handbags, from a few seasons ago for our mum. SGD$20 down from USD$169! The current season pieces are on 10% just for these two days!

2. Purple python purse by Emblem, from the good people at Asia Fashion Inc who gave me a wicked discount! Thanks so much, and thanks for reading thedramadiaries! ;o) I'm also obsessed with this clutch that has a miniature version of a door knocker.

My brother paid for the purse for me as an early birthday gift! Thanks, Feiztaples! [His Twitter username is my nickname for him]

3. The coolest purchase of all, was my brother's. A gold ceramic bow tie by Italian label Cor Sine Labe Doli. He's experiencing a bit of cognitive dissonance because it's the most expensive fashion item he's owned to date, but seriously, this bow tie is so bloody brilliant, it's totally worth it. $248, from Curated Editions booth. Also comes in silver, gunmetal, white and matte black!

Other deals:

  • United Nude shoes up to 70% off.
  • Carrie K up to 35% off.
  • ELOHIM By SabrinaGoh at 50% off.

I'll probably be making another trip with J in tow after our virgin yoga class at Yoga Movement tomorrow!