New moon, new beginnings

  • by 100 Good Things
  • June 1st, 2016
  • 2016, June
Yoga Phnom Penh
“These days, my practice is teaching me to embrace imperfection: to have compassion for all the ways things haven’t turned out as I planned, in my body and in my life – for the ways things keep falling apart, and failing, and breaking down. It’s less about fixing things, and more about learning to be present for exactly what is.”
Anne Cushman

So many things have unfolded since our last e-newsletter. We did not expect the velocity – and ferocity – of the river we were traveling on. The good news is we went with the flow.

You bet it’s been a hell of a ride.

We let go of our physical store and are transiting online. We expect to open for business again next month or so. Or. So. Because despite the best planning, life happens and we get sidetracked. Doors close and open. We shift accordingly.

Life kind of fell apart and in place simultaneously. Everything clicked, as they were meant to be.

The incredible spinal twist Marichyasana C does not happen from sheer brute force. It requires one to soften considerably so shift can happen.

We actually have not been able to access the computer for over a week now. Just call it incredible tech trouble. This blog has to be done on another machine from a bygone dinosaur age.

All universe asks of us is to surrender and not resist change. We did not fancy feeling stuck and we wished the answer – and change – would come swiftly. Yet in our yoga practice, we know life’s myriad challenges require us to dig into the well of placidity within. To step back instead of bulldozing ahead. To tune into the teacher within. To trust that voice, however radical it may appear to be, despite being intimidated by the deafening noise outside. To have faith that there is a power bigger than us that is in control and has just the perfect plan for those whose hearts and minds are ready to receive.

A big heartfelt thank you for making a point to visit our Balestier Hill store. We appreciate your support for our work toward more equality.

Every single conscious purchase goes to empower the artisan, farmer, another sentient being. Ultimately everything comes around because our lives are interconnected.

Our work is far from done. See you online again, very soon, and we still want to chat in person. Please visit us this Saturday at Artisan & Farmers Market.

Kitchen by Food Rebel

 

The merchandise at 100 Good Things are sourced with care, consciousness and understanding. For full content, subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Don’t miss this Artisan & Farmers Market

  • by 100 Good Things
  • May 16th, 2016
  • 2016, May

We are a little obsessed with agriculture. Where our food hails from. How it’s farmed, nurtured and processed. We have a lot of respect for the love and care that go into tending something that eventually nourishes us. Only because we understand food is medicine and we understand the impact of food on the body.

Being in this business, championing sustainability, we have become all too aware of all aspects of the business and its impact on everything that lives and breathes.

We have become hyper aware of our interconnectivity.

Sustainability is crucial to optimal health and getting that right in agriculture is the first step to ensure it will happen everywhere else. Agricultural sustainability alone addresses climate change, pollution, and social and economic issues.

The day will happen when we can walk into a store and afford to buy all the organically grown produce available, instead of limiting to less expensive items in the Dirty Dozen list.  My dear, we cannot afford to buy organic berries daily.

One day, “organic” is the natural and only option, and is afforable because there is equal demand and supply. We do not have to worry about our children growing up ingesting endocrine-disrupting chemicals and unsavory byproducts that are processed and sneakily turning up in our personal care products.

Meanwhile, we buy from progressive businesses who care about the things that get us all fired up. Trust us, we can ramble on when it comes to what sustains us: Food (and yoga).

Guess what? We find more and more likeminded souls and businesses out there who understand that the green movement is beyond chucking our crap to Third World countries and recycling something to death.

Mark your calendar. We are all going to be at Kitchen by Food Rebel.

Artisan & Farmers Market-Saturday 4th June11am - 4pm (2)

There will be fresh farm produce (or farm-fresh produce?), lovingly crafted healthy treats, green lifestyle products and of course, we will be there peddling our raw forest honey and Kampot peppercorn.

It’s also an opportunity to sample more food at Kitchen by Food Rebel in smaller portions. Don’t miss their popular Zoodle Bolognese, quinoa salad and avocado on toast.


Elika Mather is one of the brains behind Kitchen by Food Rebel in the heart of the business district. She, a human resource executive-turned-health coach-turned-restaurateur, calls herself a Food Rebel.

What or who is a food rebel? He is not the kid who refuses to eat his broccoli. Mather says he is somebody who demands to know how his food produced. He believes in the power of good food choices that impact his body positively.

Kitchen by Food Rebel was born in the recent January, out of a need for clean eating options in the business district. Beyond salad bars, Mather’s clients struggled to find meals in the CBD that met her recommendations.

Zoodle Bolognese

Zoodle Bolognese

“An entry level health-conscious person eating the typical Standard American Diet (SAD) will be happy that none of the foods are deep fried and we only use extra virgin olive oil or organic virgin coconut oil, as well as Himalayan rock salt which is extremely high in minerals. The next level up will be used to boring salads, with hidden sugars in the dressings, so we ensure all our dressings are homemade, utilizing fresh local herbs and fragrances like lemongrass and lime leaves. We do daily tummy warmers that, like everything in our café, have no added white sugars, preservatives or monosodium glutamate and are made fresh daily. We soak our grain and nuts which are also dehydrated to ensure they are easier to digest.”

The focus is on clean, nutrient-dense eating. There are meat-free Mondays, and plenty of gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan dining options. Her café addresses common health issues that she, as an accredited health coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, tackles. Through functional nutrition, Mather’s clients, mostly time-pressed professionals and executives, eat their way out of insomnia, fatigue, sugar craving and weight issues, on top of a physical activity regime.

These are some tricks the lean and energetic Mather subscribes to:

Staying in shape
I do three weightlifting sessions a week. I try to do 10 minutes of yoga in the morning on the days I don’t train and especially if I have a busy mind. If I’m looking to be in “bikini shape” then I add a big intensity sprint workout to my session.

One superfood to eat daily
Avocado. It’s a great source of good fats to teach our body to utilize its preferred energy source. It’s versatile for creamy sauces, smoothies or just sliced with eggs and it’s brilliant for nutrients to help clear the skin.

One underrated food to consume daily
Maca powder. It’s a brilliant tool for women to balance their hormones naturally. It’s used in South America to give strength to the body and has a caramel taste so I love to add it to smoothies on tough training days.

One health tip for the busy urban warrior that will make a difference to his wellbeing
Sleep! It’s the foundation of our health. Ensure you average eight hours every night.

Three must-dos daily for optimal health
Sleep, drink plenty of water and take in as many greens as possible to help your body to remove toxins.

Happy Mother’s Day

  • by 100 Good Things
  • May 8th, 2016
  • 2016, May

Mother's Day

When you are a mother,
you are never really alone in your thoughts.
A mother always has to think twice,
once for herself
and once for her child.
– Sophia Loren

Mother’s Day is as much about honoring our own as it is about shining the light on all mothers and especially our producers who tirelessly pour themselves into work, including unpaid domestic hours that stretch far longer than their husband’s, to pave the way for a future for their children.

While First World mothers fret and lose precious sleep over extra curricular activities and optimal nutrition for their children, the less privileged women we work with are content to have food on the table and money for medical and school fees. The work they do, in a safe environment that honors their individuality, goes a long way in keeping alive a motherly wish of watching her children flourish.

And thank YOU for buying fairly traded merchandise so the women 100 Good Things works with can continue dignified hours of work.

The social enterprises and progressive businesses we source from are focused on empowerment and economic stability. Lending women financial independence ultimately gives them a voice that is still a cultural anomaly in less developed nations and certainly former conflict zones.

Mother’s Day celebrates the mother who so naturally places the needs of her child above her own, even in the most challenging circumstances.

The light in us honors the light in you.

Find your teacher

  • by 100 Good Things
  • April 25th, 2016
  • 2016, April

Yoga Loft

Till this day, I remember my first yoga class. It was in the mid ‘90s at Shambhala (now named Como Shambhala Urban Escape). One stretch after another, I was bored out of my wits. So I returned to pounding the pavement. At one point I was even a gym rat. The endorphin and adrenalin rush was hard to beat.

The stars and planets aligned more than two decades later when one teacher walked into my life and took my breath away with Ashtanga yoga. I was like an ingénue. One awakened by the intensity of the practice and the worldliness of her teacher. But my teacher left as swiftly as she came. So my yoga journey began, finding that perfect teacher, and along the way, experimenting with various yoga genres.

I suspect it was not so much finding another teacher, but somebody who was exactly like her.

I hopped from one yoga studio to another like a lovelorn woman on a rebound, determined to find the same lover. In my head, there was a list I constantly checked.

There were all sorts out there. Those who vehemently frown upon props and modified poses to the extremely permissive where anything goes. Mostly, the universe relished sending me teachers who reflected everything I did not want to see in myself.

Facing a mirror of your imperfect self was not very good for the ego. My self-loathe was as incredible as it was heartbreaking. But I had a high threshold for pain (try going through childbirth without epidural!) and plodded on.

My practice took a different turn one day. Exhausted and rather disillusioned from my fruitless search, I decided to stop looking for that perfect teacher. I stopped going on dates with trepidation and expectations. I went to classes with an open mind and no labels and judgement.

Miraculously, every class became a joy. When there were elements I did not like, they did not bother me as much. The inspiring, the ho hum, I took them all in and let them go.

I have since met so many teachers who have taken my breath away. They all left eventually. Life is transient that way. And I continue to meet new ones and allow myself to be inspired.

Almost simultaneously, I stopped agonizing and berating myself for poses I deemed imperfect. Every moment on the mat was simply an opportunity to breathe and center myself.

The sense of ease and peace I was looking for when I first stepped into a yoga studio 20 years ago, and which I never stopped searching for, was finally within reach. The relentless search for that perfect teacher brought me home to myself. Truly, every teacher I met on the path had something to teach me, even if I never want to practice with some of them again. The best one resides in my heart.

The practice of yoga has become an integral part of my life. It is so meaningful that 100 Good Things can be part of the yoga community. Our raw forest honey and ethically made, minimal-ingredient body balms are now stocked at the retail section of The Yoga Loft, a pop-up yoga studio in Little India with a life of three months, till the middle of July.

Yoga Loft retail

There are other cool brands, too. The Sweet Stuff is all about, well, wholesome sweet stuff handcrafted by vivacious baking yogi Nicole Chung (don’t miss her Activated Nut Clusters). New Revolution Coconut has made-in-Singapore virgin coconut oil (vco), a light-as-air vco body spray and superfood-based mixes that allow you to effortlessly create delicious and healthy fudge, for those days you want to reach for something sweet. On weekends, you can buy cold-pressed juices from Ajuicery – you will love The Real Cool Aid that has a blend of pear, lotus root, water chestnut and coconut water.

Of course, browse through the yoga wear, pick up non-toxic nail colors, have a matching boho necklace and mantra bangle, and certainly book a yoga class and well-being workshop. Co-founder Edrea Hong says, “My vision was mainly to create a space for all things yoga. The space would be all about sharing great vibes, being authentic and frills-free would be key.”

Hong was inspired by a summer spent in New York City where minimalist yoga studios with warm, convivial vibes were the norm. “They do have free yoga sessions at the park during summer and a huge annual yoga event in the heart of Times Square. I volunteered and was amazed how many yogis turned up! People passing by also joined in the fun, despite wearing denims or skirts!”

She adds, “Besides creating a communal shared space, I also want to help bring yoga studios and related vendors together and to foster a bond in the community. The previous sudden closure of some studios have created some uncertainty. I am very lucky for my partners, Jac and Sandy, who believe in the concept and they have expanded on it to provide an affordable rental space for new teachers who often face difficulties when starting out.”

What does yoga mean to the founders of The Yoga Loft:

Edrea

EDREA HONG

I believe Yoga is a holistic practice in general, but the intention of why everyone does yoga differs. I started yoga solely as a physical practice, but it has since evolved to something way more. It’s been my constant in life thus far and has since tide me through the ups and downs I have encountered.

I used to practice only Hot yoga but have since expanded to being open to all styles ranging from Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar and even floating yoga!

My favorite pose is Savasana. It’s the absolute best few minutes where you get to soak into the practice you’ve just done! Oh and my mind finally gets to blank out during those moments which is kind of rare for my crazy monkey mind!

I loathe backbends and Hanumanasana; backbends because I have a back that’s 60 years of age, plus the extreme curvature in my tail bone limits my mobility in heart-opening poses at times. Hanumanasana, because as much as my hips are quite flexible, it’s the very pose I tend to take for granted.

Jac

JACQUELINE SOON

Yoga started out as a practice to strengthen my body and to control my mind. However as I started exploring deeper, yoga became part of my lifestyle and I apply its teaching to all aspects of my life.

I started out doing Hot Yoga, just like Edrea, but eventually exploring more into deeper Hatha Yoga practice.
My favorite pose is Savasana!

I have very, very tight hamstrings. It restricts me from doing many advanced poses. Over time, I learn to acknowledge my body and be patient with it.

Sandy

SANDY LIKITDACHAVONGS

I struggled with body image issues during my school days, putting unnecessary mental stress on myself. Through yoga, I have learnt to love my body and to accept myself for who I am, eventually finding peace between my mind and my body. Yoga to me is like sun to plants. Without it, I would not be able to grow into what I am now. From here on, I can only continue to grow in the light of yoga.

I like to keep a balance between the static and dynamic styles of yoga, so I do a little bit of everything – Bikram, Hot and non-Hot Vinyasa, Hot and non-Hot Hatha and of course Yin!

Currently I am loving backbends! I tend to think a lot, causing unnecessary stress to the mind and definitely to the heart. Doing backbends helps me to open the heart. It releases a lot of this stress and I feel so light after.

As I love backbends, I naturally dislike the opposite action. I absolutely do not look forward to any poses that require me to round my spine (think forehead to knee, rabbit pose). When I round my back, I feel like all my stress consolidates at my chest. But I will still do the poses anyway because my upper back is tight. These are the poses that will stretch me out the best. You gotta give and take in life!


 

The Yoga Loft is open Tue – Fri noon- 7pm, Sat-Sun 9am – 4pm. Visit their Facebook page for class and workshop updates.

 

We can revolutionize fashion

  • by 100 Good Things
  • April 17th, 2016
  • 2016, April

SueLicious 5

Fashion Revolution Day on April 24th was born out of the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in 2013 where over 1,100 people were killed and more than 2,500 injured during the morning rush hour. Most were garment workers toiling to manufacture to-die-for fashion, pun intended. The price was paid by the impoverished who labor to satisfy First World’s insatiable appetite for cheap clothing.

Everybody relishes a good (euphemism for “cheap”) deal. On the superficial level, one should not be faulted for being careful with hard-earned money. Cheap, however, has become synonymous with disposable. There is nary a thought being put into a purchase decision when the product is cheap and most likely shoddily made. It falls apart quickly and has to be replaced just as swiftly. It is cheap hence can be chucked into the bin without breaking a heart or two.

According to the National Environment Agency (NEA) in Singapore, “In tandem with Singapore growing population and affluence, the amount of solid waste generated in 2015 increased to 7.67 million tons, up by 159,000 tons from 7.51 million tons in 2014.” Of this, textile and leather waste contributed 144,200 tons, or about 120 T-shirts per person. Recycling rate for this waste type is only 8%, compared to wood (79%) and paper (51%).

In the UK, the 30 billion clothes discarded in a year can fill Wembley Stadium. The fashion industry produces 80 billion articles of clothing.

Statistics aside, we were personally mortified by what we saw when we were working with socially conscious businesses in Cambodia to transform offcuts into cushion covers. Standing in front of piles and rows of surplus fabric cast aside by garment factories, we came face to face with a reality: We have far too many stuff.

Offcuts

At the rate careless conspicuous consumption is going, no amount of landfill is going to suffice.

It could be the unbearable lure of retail therapy as an antidote to overbearing stress at work. It could a disorganized closet that somehow blinded one into buying another outfit because the existing 50 same-ish pieces are lost in the incredible clutter.

Sir Bob Geldof said it best at a recent Invest Asean 2016 conference at the Ritz-Carlton Singapore. He told a roomful of finance executives their economic data is irrelevant. He explained, “We need to have different models. We can still make money, that’s not a problem, but having reduced the idea of human progress to the economic model of growth, we are now just using growth as a euphemism for more of everything.

“You see, more is just a euphemism for greed. That’s because what we don’t understand about ourselves is that we are insatiable. The more we have, the more we seem to want.”

The collapse of Rana Plaza was a wake-up call. Our purchase decision can impact lives hundreds of miles away.

Fashion Revolution, in its third year now, was born on the belief that we can use our purchasing power to transform the fashion industry. The campaign spearheaded by sustainable fashion advocate and fair trade accessory brand Pachacuti founder Carry Somers has gone from being just one day in April recognized by 79 countries around the world to a movement calling for transparency and sustainability across the fashion supply chain.

Raye Padit who is behind Singapore-based Connected Threads Asia, a for-purpose outfit with values rooted in sustainability, says “Personally, I only shop when I really need clothes and would wear them as often as I can. Whenever I shop for a particular item I would look for better alternatives that I know that it is not someone from somewhere is paying the high price of that particular item. It means that the products are sourced ethically or is fair trade, workers are treated and paid well, and it has lesser carbon footprints. We need to be a responsible consumer and not just thinking of what benefit shall we get from that particular item and someone is paying the price for it.”

The Eurasian who grew up watching a fashion-loving mom getting her outfits tailored found Connected Threads Asia on the belief that we are not here to exist but to do a greater good. “For me, life is not about just getting the most out of it but rather what you can give to the world, society, to your community to make this a better place to live in.”

The six-month-old outfit Padit cofound with NEA executive-turned-avid upcycler and environmental educator Agatha Lee recently hosted a talk session with Kate Black, founder of New York-based ethical and sustainable living outfit Magnifeco.

To commemorate Fashion Revolution Day, The True Cost, a 90-minute film on the little-known and unseen cost of fashion will be screened at Impact Hub (see sidebar below). Clothes Swap, where you can swap one preloved outfit for another instead of buying a brand new piece, is scheduled for September.

Admirably, Padit, a spa chain executive by day who has neither formal fashion training nor background, is also the brains behind PeyaR, a new bespoke sustainable fashion label devoted equally to aesthetics and sustainability. The self-taught fashion designer recently created a series of evening dresses from surplus fabric sourced from Singapore fashion houses. Prices start from $250 for a short dress and $380 for a long piece.

He says about his creating process, “Going through the whole process of designing and making dresses is a spiritual experience for me. You can get inspiration from anything and everywhere you just need to open your mind and eyes. My style is about simplicity, minimalism, boldness and the appreciation of the unadulterated integrity of using pre-consumed surplus fabrics. I am inspired by a woman who makes responsible and conscious choices, as she wishes to be clothed in ways that reflect her style as much as her sentiments about sustainability.”

 

The merchandise at 100 Good Things are sourced with care, consciousness and understanding. Our consciously upcycled cushion covers and totes are limited in quantity and variety by available fabric. Every piece is limited in edition because we are working with existing finite resources.


 

FASHION REVOLUTION DAY, SINGAPORE
Day: April 24th
Time: 4 – 7 pm
Place: Impact Hub, 128 Prinsep Street
Event: Screening of The True Cost (90 minutes)
Live music by deejay Nickey and acoustic singer Cory Wright

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