Saturday, March 25, 2017

Advice for Social Media Influencer Wannabes

This is not a hate post. This is sincere advice as someone who also works on digital strategy behind the scenes, including engaging social media personalities for companies.

Influencer Wannabes: Ordinary people whose sole purpose is to be online famous and freeload with sponsored goods or services. 

protip 1: Don't caption every single post with an ad (giveaways, product listing etc). What is this, an online catalogue? 
protip 2: Don't post about anything under the sun just because it's free. You lose credibility. 
protip 3: Be real–tell us about you! Or be entertaining. Or be informative. Have some substance. 

Because people aren't stupid. You aren't "influencing" anyone with your boring Instagram ad. Smart marketers will eventually know how to differentiate numbers vs actual influence (or sales conversion rate). 
Show or write something real about yourself... Or is being an empty-headed narcissistic greedy fameseeking freeloader all you are? (on second thought, I guess that's still a lot of things to be! )

Thursday, March 23, 2017

[Video] How to Peel Crawfish | with Norman Hartono

I'm a little disturbed how convincing my 'act blur' acting is on camera, haha! I do know how to peel crawfish, but for entertainment's sake... here's what NOT to do when peeling crawfish (me) and how to do it properly (Norman).


Dancing Crab's founder Norman Hartono teaches us how to peel these Louisiana style crawfish! 
Come feast at the Annual Crawfish Boil with Dancing Crab Shack at Timbre+ on 
April 7th and 8th 2017, 6-10pm. 

Indulge in scrumptious fresh crawfish and chilli crab! Craft beers are available as well, along with LIVE music by a New Orleans Brass Band. 
Visit https://goo.gl/Y799q5 to join us!

Psst! There's up to 48%* off Live Crawfish if you purchase by 31 March 2017 through Chope.
*standard terms & conditions apply.

Follow Dancing Crab on

Follow Victoria on


Updated Biography

Trying to update my biography on about.me/victoriacheng but there isn't enough text space!


VICTORIA CHENG (born New York, United States) is a published writer, digital strategist, presenter and producer. Education: Bachelor of Arts degrees in Journalism (Broadcast), German Language & Linguistics, and studies in Comp Science. Currently: Masters in Nutrition
HONG KONG: She began her career in the Food & Beverage industry in 2006, helming the business development and franchising of start-up restaurant group, Concept Italian Company. Quickly over three years, the group saw numerous accolades for each of their restaurant concepts, notably Duke’s Burger and Caffé Vergnano 1882.
SINGAPORE: Victoria combined her passion and curiosity of the city-state’s bursting F&B scene and became an established writer, food critic and social media personality.
JOURNALISM: Awarded for a co-coverage feature article concerning local farms and sustainable practices in Singapore. She was also the project editor for dining books and a food critic for multiple editions of Tatler Best Restaurant Guides. She is currently a judge on several prestigious restaurant award panels.
EDITOR: Victoria expanded her repertoire by joining the digital publishing space as Singtel's editor-in-chief building from the ground up, Singtel’s first online magazine www.notatourist.sg. At its peak, reached more than 20,000 page views a day.
STORYTELLING: Contributing writer for various news and lifestyle publications. Moreover, she consults for a number of the Asia-Pacific region's largest F&B brands on social media marketing, operations, branding and menu development. She directs and produces video content for brands, as well as TV presenting.
BLOG: Originally an outlet for her casual musings, her blog garnered interest amongst the social media community, leading to invitations to conferences alongside Hong Kong’s prominent chefs, journalists and television personalities. Panels include Millennial 20/20Singapore Writer’s Festival.
FITNESS: Victoria maintains an active lifestyle with a 2nd Dan Black Belt with 20+ years of practice in Taekwondo and competition Ballroom Dancesport. Also: snowboarding, diving, horseback riding, tennis, and archery.
Victoria’s formal brand endorsements include: Adidas, Shiseido Professional, SK-II, Cle de Peau Beaute, Nespresso.
[See press coverage here: Press ,
See a sample of published articles here: Articles (most are in print form, sorry!)]

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Travelogue: Urban Retreat in Singapore | Pan Pacific

SINGAPORE TRAVELOGUE: Things to do during a vacation-staycation in the Marina Bay area. We tried the Urban Retreat Staycation at the newly renovated Pan Pacific Singapore. It's made for the food lovin' Singaporeans or visitors, who want to spend a whole weekend noshing with easy access to the best sights in the city.
Special thanks to Pan Pacific for hosting, and Victoria Tay for spending the weekend with me!



List of Destinations in the area:
Pan Pacific Singapore: Keyaki, Pacific Club, Poolside Bar, Pacific Marketplace, St. Gregory Spa
Marina Bay Sands
Gardens by the Bay
Singapore Flyer
Art Science Museum
National Gallery
Suntec City: Adidas Flagship Store, Pasarbella
Marina Square: Kai Garden

Pan Pacific Singapore
7 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039595 Tel (65) 6336 8111 singapore@panpacific.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Funny Thing... About Eating with Girls

Ordering lunch yesterday with very sweet but health conscious girlfriends:


Friend 1: I'll have the Thai Brunch Bowl.
Me: I'll have the Superfood Salad, full sized.
Friend 2: I'll have the Superfood Semi-fried Rice
Friend 1: Can I get the coconut shreds not be toasted?  No? Okay, then just on the side. No? Okay, just no coconut at all.
Friend 2: Excuse me, for my semi-fried rice, can the rice be on the side?
Me: ....
Waiter: Anything else?
Me: ...Can I have my greens put on the side?
Me: --kidding!


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Guide to Scottish Whisky Flavor Profiles

Scotch whisky is my drink of choice. Here's an infographic I came across that breaks down 86 different brands into 12 flavor categories.  Click for full size.
[src: http://www.rsvlts.com/2014/09/26/scotch-flavor-infographic]



Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Funny Thing... In The Elevator

That moment when a random person recognizes you in a public elevator.

Guy: Excuse me, are you chubby...
Me: 😨 ...
Guy: –chubby...?
Me: 😨 ...
Guy: ... The Chubby Ninja.. Are you?
Me: ooooooh. I thought you were calling me fat.
Guy: (sputters awkwardly)

I really need to change my Instagram name. :)


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December Ideas to Spoil Yourself and Friends

The past year, I've got to experiment with a lot of new products and services.  Some, I've grown to love and have since incorporated it into my latest routine.  I'd like to share these with you, so you can spoil yourself too.  Extra bonus: I've been fortunate to have been given promo codes for most of them, so you can get a discount off this December!
Categories: Kitchen, Pantry, Skincare, Beauty, Health/Fitness, Haircare, Weightloss

For the Kitchen & Home Entertaining

SALT GRAMMAR 
by Indiana Supply Company http://store.indianasupplyco.com
They have a fascinating range of edible whole salts, unrefined salts, and macrobiotic salts.  For both the health conscious foodie or gourmand friend who seems to have everything already, this is a great addition for him or her to experiment with.


NESPRESSO
or Nespresso Boutique
Nespresso needs very little introduction as the other coveted Gift Registry item after the Kitchen Aid mixer.  They've just released a Christmas inspired range, with tasting notes based on three traditional German and Austrian treats: Apfelstrudel, Linzer Torte, and the Sachertorte. While I like to eat Apfelstrudel the most, I highly recommend the Linzer Torte Nespresso capsules; they're a delight with hints of redcurrant and raspberries.




Another option for the Nespresso fiend, is the Versilo Capsule Dispenser.  It can stand on its own (depicted below), or can be hung on the wall. It's also magnetic if you want to stick it to your refrigerator.  This dispenser makes my whole Nespresso corner that much spiffier.


OMAKASE BOX
by Chitose Agriculture Initiative http://www.cai-sg.com
Fresh seasonal produce delivered weekly from Japan and Cameron Highlands.  Most of the vegetables and fruits in Singapore are cultivated using large amounts of pesticides, which destroys the ecosystem in the fields; and chemical fertilizers that force harvest to grow drastically in a short amount of time. Chitose Agriculture Initiative works with artisan farmers and seeks to give our households access to their produce.
I've found it interesting using their services, since each week is a surprise depending on what produce is freshest and in season.  I've also been introduced to new vegetables I haven't cooked with before, so it forced me to get out of my comfort zone and learn how to prepare something new.  It's been very rewarding so far–I'm currently cooking and eating through an Omakase box full of Japanese winter vegetables: sweet potato, broccoli, mizuna leaves, San Fuji apples, oranges, and more.


SUNDAY PUNCH
Small batch bottle cocktails. Had a few of these babies at house parties and barbeques. It was always a complete hit, having great quality cocktails and zero of the work needed (mostly because the small team behind Sunday Punch slaved away to make our lives easier!). They've just released a Christmas edition, just in time for .. well, Christmas.

The Old Fashioned Christmas features spiced whisky, a velvety mouthfeel of cocoa and deep sweetness of blackcurrant, with a subtle coffee after-note.


MONOGRAM Collection
by Gryphon Tea Company http://www.gryphontea.com
Contact bespoke@monogramtea.com for bespoke services
Promocode (10% off your first order): "SHOPNOW"

In conjunction with its 10th anniversary, tea experts Gryphon Tea Company is the first to offer bespoke services, where you can customize your own teas. Consumers can create their own blends of teas and tisanes, making for a personal touch in your pantry or as a gift.  
The quality of the teas are one of the finest as far as tea sachet brands go. Gryphon Tea Company is a homegrown brand that Singaporeans can be proud of. Having personally met Lim Tian Wee, the man behind Gryphon, it's been quite an experience to witness the sincerity and knowledge he has for his teas.  Many of the Gryphon Tea sachet recipes were personally created by him; and now tea lovers can create their own with the Monogram collection.
They have a pop-up stall set up at TANGS at Tang Plaza until 24 December. You can also purchase Gryphon Teas on their site, or Monogram teas at www.monogramtea.com after 16 December.


DELIVEROO
http://deliveroo.com.sg
Promocode ($10 off your first order, valid until 6 Feb 2017): "CHUBBYNINJAROO"

While compiling this list, I JUST realized that you can also use Deliveroo from your browser, the app isn't always necessary. Woohoo! 
As a heavy Seamless Web user back in NYC, I was pretty upset by the dismal food delivery options in Hong Kong and Singapore. Then, Deliveroo came to our shores and made the world right again. The app user experience is very smooth, and customer service is very quick to remedy any errors if it happens – errors of which have become more rare as time goes on (hooray!). I'm impressed by their restaurant selection, having been able to bring onboard mostly top notch restaurants, so food is hardly a disappointment. 

My regular fixes are roast Irish duck from Tunglok, Motorino pizza, Hyangtogol, Crystal Jade Korean Ginseng Chicken, Park Bench Deli sandwiches, and Saladstop.  I'm waiting for the burger crave to hit before I tap into Market Grill's burgers or Burnt End's pulled pork sanger.  It will come.

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SKINCARE


Look at my skin!!!! (also, cookie) Thanks to the products I use below.

I'm annoyingly particular about my skincare routine, and once I find something I like, I'm reluctant to keep experimenting. I have sensitive skin and I don't want to risk a bad reaction when I use something that already works. I used SK-II for a very long time, and eventually (with some coaxing) I was persuaded to give Cle de Peau de Beaute a try.  Likewise with Dr.Leaders, I responded to a friend with it that I won't endorse a product I don't like, and I hate experimenting with my face! P.S. I also don't like whitening products (see more below under SK-II for more on that). She persisted, and so I tried.

DR.LEADERS 

I love this product. Thank you for insisting I give it a shot, Elaine and Joan! I've used the cleanser, toner, serum and gel cream from the Hydrophilic Expert series. The brand is from Korea, touting itself as luxury plant powered skin care. It's particularly made for Asian skin and the humidity.


After using Dr.Leaders for a week or so, my skin balance has improved a lot, and my skin tone has evened out after a month – so, unless I need to be on camera, I don't wear foundation when I go out anymore! My skin's bouncier, "juicier" feeling from the plant stem cell power. Even during hormonal weeks (PMS), my skin condition doesn't change. 


However, I did use this product also when I started going to The Wellness Suite for facials, so it's hard to say if it's a combination of both or if the skin improvement is solely from the product.

SK-II
I grew up as an SK-II loyalist, since my father (who has amazing skin) uses the product. I used to use almost all of their products, except whitening, until I discovered Cle de Peau and Dr. Leaders.  However, here are the SK-II products I still use regularly.

1/ SK-II Color Clear Beauty Artisan Brush Foundation retail info here
The coverage is fantastic, and the applicator brush is better than any brushes I have! The foundation has HD-camera worthy coverage, along with 4x concentrated Pitera (SK-II's signature formula) and SPF 40/PA+++.  I usually use Chanel Vitaluminère Aqua (Teint Parfait) if I only want to even out my skin tone, but I use this SK-II foundation for special nights out or if I know I'm going to be filming that day.
 2/ Mid-Day Miracle Essence retail info here
This is SK-II's signature Facial Treatment Essence in a portable to-go bottle. I like to spritz this if I've been sitting in a dry environment for a few hours (air conditioned rooms, airplanes, or cold cities in the winter). If I get back home really late and am way too tired to shower (ew, I know, but rarely), I'll wash my face and spritz this on then crash.


3/ Facial Treatment Essence (Limited Edition Bottles) and Facial Treatment Essence masks
The Facial Treatment Essence works, period. There's a certain dewy glow that results from using this daily. Likewise, the FTE masks are a real treat for the skin. 
If you're gifting this for someone else this holiday season, may I recommend the latest Limited Edition bottles; inspired by Sumanigashi, the Japanese art of ink on water.



4/ Genoptics Aura Essence
Removes and prevents sunspot formations.
I mentioned before that I don't like whitening products, because generally, it's some form of skin bleaching. Plus, I don't like the unnatural creepy doll-like effect it has overtime. Perhaps the American in me also appreciates a touch of the healthy golden glow from being active outdoors.

However, I noticed my suntanned freckles take longer to fade as I get older. SK-II's Genoptics Aura Essence penetrates through the layers of skin to work from within, rather than simply bleaching spots off your face. The team behind SK-II reassured me that it doesn't whiten; rather, it prevents spot formations from under the surface of your skin.  I use this product when I know I will be outdoors a lot that day.


Skincare Travel essentials and tips for tropical weather: 
With so many different products out there, I ask SK-II USA Ambassador Steve Jan what actually works and what's just a marketing gimmick.  He also explains that whitening products can be very drying, so avoid using them before or right after airplane travel.


Cle de Peau Beauté 
Cle de Peau is my new favorite travel skincare products, and for a time it became my entire morning and night skincare routine. I take it everywhere I go, particularly in temperate climates (Japan, United States, Hong Kong during cooler weather, Australia).


In Singapore and Hong Kong, during the day, I use Hydro-softening Lotion and Protective Fortifying Emulsion (which has SPF). I carry the Hand Cream in my bag wherever I go, whichever country I'm in.

In the evening, as I mentioned I now use Dr.Leaders. However, every 3 nights, I'll switch back to my Cle de Peau routine with (1) Hydro-softening Lotion, (2) Intensive Fortifying Cream, and especially (3) Intensive Eye Contour Cream and (4) the ultra-luxurious La Creme.  La Creme is a miracle cream, I use it the night before anything important, in order to look my very best the next day. 

It's a ritual I've grown to love. I have a special little set up on my vanity table for my Cle de Peau products, for those nights I have time to take a few extra minutes to luxuriate and pamper myself. The packing is especially beautiful, which quite frankly, enhances the whole ritual experience for me.

The Hydrafacial
Location: Paragon Shopping Centre, Level 13
Promo discount, quote this during reservation: "Victoria Cheng"
for 1st trial Hydrafacial at $125 or All Skin Laser+IPL Combo at $70

For the ultimate medical grade facial (non invasive) using the 4-in-1 Vortex Technology – to cleanse, exfoliate, extract, hydrate and nourish. The first thing the therapist warned me was that this wasn't your average spa-like pampering facial, where most of the time is spent on massages. Initially, I was worried about leaving with blotchy red patches on my skin, or worse, serious burns from uncertified clinics.
Turns out, this facial is by far the most effective I've ever had and a doctor who could answer all of my questions (Dr. Jonathan Yong). Clearer skin with every visit, lessening of fine lines, and noticeably brighter and younger looking skin. Highly recommend.

Sun Protection Mist
by DrGL
Ultra light and can be applied over makeup too. There's no white oily residue, and I haven't had any clogged pore problems using this. It's become part of my travel necessities kit, especially this past year having spent most of my overseas time in sunny cities. It's meant for Hair/Face/Body, and I do spritz a fair amount over my hair, scalp, and shoulders as well.


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HAIRCARE

LUMINOGENIC HAIR PROTECTOR
by Shiseido Professional
Speaking of hair protection, in addition to a spritz of DrGL over my roots, I use this lightweight protector over the rest of my hair (starting from the ends and working my way up on towel dried hair). I find this particularly crucial when I'm spending a lot of time in the sun. I brought the whole bottle with me on my recent trip to Bali.


LUMINOGENIC SHAMPOO, CONDITIONER, MASK
by Shiseido Professional http://www.pro.shiseido.com/haircare
I prefer the Luminogenic series since it preserves my hair color best, and seems to leave my hair condition the softest. Also, it smells so good... a wonderful floral perfume. I use the whole series, including the Caviar Essence, of which you can learn more about in this overly dramatic video:



If you don't have colored hair, then I would also recommend the Aqua Intensive series.

HAIR COLORING, TREATMENT, STYLING
by HairCube (Novena)
Promo discount, quote this during reservation (until December 31): "Victoria Cheng"

The stylists here are great. Personable, warm and friendly, and I've always left with perfect hair.  See examples below:





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BEAUTY

LASH EXTENSIONS & MANICURES
by Flutters Lash Salon http://www.flutters.com.sg
Promocode (for 10% off ala carte services and trials, 5% off regular packages): "VICTORIA" 
The quality of their services speaks for itself. My lashes and nails alway look gorgeous after I visit this cute salon tucked in Duxton Hill.





DESIGNER DRESS RENTALS
by Covetella
Promocode ($20 off all rentals over the holidays): "VICHOLIDAYS20"
Covetella has been my go-to dress rental the since F1 in September. I've gone to them even as late as the day before to pick up gowns for events, weddings, cocktails, parties... Here are some of the outfits I got to wear.







RADIANT LIQUID ROGUE & EXTRA RICH LIPSTICK
by Cle de Peau Beauté http://www.cledepeau-beaute.com
I use the Extra Rich Lipstick in Dusty Red (103) almost daily for a natural tinge of pink, and the Radiant Liquid Rogue in Light Rose (13) for evenings I go out.  I'm actually wearing it in most of the photos above in the Covetella section.

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HEALTH/FITNESS

(photography by David Yeow)

PurelyB's FRESSKO FLASK
Promo code (5% discount off all orders): "VICTORIACHENG"
Founded by an entrepreneurial team of women from Malaysia, PurelyB focuses on fitness, wellness, and healthy living. The past year, I've experimented with their meal plans–I lost 2 kg after 2 weeks on their SaladStop plan, and have shopped from their Marketplace. 
One of my favorite items is the beautiful glass Fressko Flask. It can store hot or cold liquids, and has a "brew as you go" concept. Infuse berries, honey, herbs, into teas or water; or store smoothies and yogurts in a gorgeous on-the-go container.


TEABIOTIC
by We Are Cultured http://www.wearecultured.com
Promocode (15% off everything): "VICTORIA15WAC"
There are a few different varieties depending on your needs, but I've been using their PURE MA-CHA, a ceremonial grade matcha (green tea) + probiotics in one.  80% of the immune system is located in the digestive system, so the gals behind Teabiotic focus on your gut health to heal you from the inside out.  Claims say it helps with focus, energy, detoxing, and skin health.  It can be drank as a tea (hot or cold), or used as a sprinkle ontop of desserts or dishes.  Check out their site for some ideas.

VIBROGYM
by Alvin Tan, Owner Lifestyle Fitness
(related article: How F&B Tycoons Stay Trim)
I've written about my training at the boutique gym on the 5th floor of Sheraton Towers a number of times. I've even mentioned it in articles that ask about my fitness routine (see Straits Times article below).  There has been a direct correlation with my weight loss and training with Alvin Tan.  My training with the vibrogym has also helped with increasing flexibility, endurance and muscle tone.  
Mr. Tan caters his training depending on his client's goals, age, and body type.  He also assists with injury rehabilitation. He's the only trainer I've had so far who's been able to get me to lean out rather than bulk up (my body type is prone to getting bulky & muscular looking rather than limber).


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WEIGHTLOSS


SLIM SUPPORT
by Vermilion 
Promo code at checkout (buy 2 boxes, get 1 free): "VCSLIM"
*3 boxes need to be in the cart before entering the promocode. I've written a few testimonials about this product over the last few months. I've used a lot of different methods to try to lose weight to supplement my exercise. In particular, I've found that diet pills or supplements are terrible–they gave me bad mood swings; fullness meant feeling bloated; faster metabolism was just caffeine kicking in, or worse some made me hungrier.  Best case scenario was no effect at all.

So I started taking Vermilion's latest Slim Support with low expectations. Vermilion's other supplements worked well enough for me and I like their natural approach to the product, so I trusted that it wouldn't be harmful at least.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my appetite did decrease, and I continued to lose weight even when I had to go on a 1 month break from exercising.  Also, no side effects!
Check the link above for more details on the product.

My body type is naturally curvy. There are pros and cons to this, depending what your preferences are. I gained 14kg in a year, then lost 12kg in 6 months. I plateued for a bit here and there. One thing that helped get over those humps was @vermilion_sg's Slimming jelly supplements. Tried and tested! Usually diet pills/teas etc are all bullshit (I know I'm not the only one who's tried and failed). These Vermilion jellies (all natural using a combo of TCM and western science, developed by two doctors) effectively reduced my appetite and sped up my metabolism, and no addition of caffeine. This is NOT a sponsored or paid post - I'll explain how I came across this product in a YouTube video later. ☃️❄️❄️❄️But they've offered a special promo code until Christmas: Buy 2 boxes, get 1 free. Use code: VCSLIM at checkout on their website🦄 . . Yes, I realize this photo is flanked by delicious food photos. That's the problem! Hahah. Thank goodness for these jellies.
A photo posted by the chubby ninja (@victoriacheng) on

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RETREATS

REMINDER BANDS
These make for great gifts. They're attractive cuff bracelets with words meant to inspire you everyday you wear it. These are the two I chose: "Believe" and "Fearless". I'm planning to order a bunch for Christmas for each of my 4 brothers.


W Sentosa Detox Retreat, Singapore


Alaya Ubud, Bali
More about that soon.

Katamama Boutique Hotel, Bali
More about that soon.

Westin Singapore - Makantrail with Misstamchiak
More about that soon.

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