What is the secret? (Lara Ong)

September 29th, 2015, 9pm

It was 23°C with broken clouds.

I was in Hong Kong two weeks ago to spend my long overdue holiday which was desperately needed. As much as I love my city, its hustling and bustling lifestyle can sometimes be too much, and eventually wear me out. I am that sort of person that needs a refreshing holiday once in a while to retrieve the source of imagination and creativity – to get the excitement in life! Then I decided, on a sudden whim, to have a weekend away in Hong Kong.

You might be thinking - it is just escaping from one crazy city to another. Yes, you are right. But, it’s still unique in its very own way, even the slightest unfamiliarity would rekindle the fire of my inspiration for life. Or, simply put, I didn’t think I deserve a long beach holiday just yet.

Over the holiday, I met Lara Ong that I met through a mutual friend of mine. I got introduced to her back in 2010 when she was interning at an investment bank. My first impression on her was quite the opposite of the woman she is today. She was quiet and a little bit geeky, which is quite in keeping with the stereotypical image of an investment banker who speaks with numbers and excels. Even though I was studying Finance back then, I still couldn’t picture myself working in that kind of working environment at all!

The second time I met her was at our mutual friend’s wedding, she seemed a little thinner and even quieter. However, when I met her again this time in Hong Kong, she has completely transformed. Lara looked very happy, healthy and her skin was glowing. I couldn’t help to ask about the secret of her delightful transition. And it turned out to be this lifestyle blog – Lara’s Kitchen – she created, which I hope might inspire you in someway and help you to have a better and healthier lifestyle in Shanghai or other likewise metropolitan cities. I am a big fan of Instagram and food, Lara has the perfect IG account to fulfill what I like to see!

How Laras Kitchen started

“I’ve found a real interest in and passion for cooking – I just enjoy doing it. I don’t think I’m very good at it, but it’s something I find fun and kind of therapeutic / relaxing

It started when I was in Sydney. I had friends come over for dinner sometimes. I had found that people always tend to want what they can’t have… so dining at home became more special to me (we ate almost all meals at / beside the office)

I started buying cooking books, watching shows, reading recipes online. Before that my cooking repertoire consisted of only 2 minute noodles and those Mrs. Fields cookies that you microwave because they go all gooeeey in the centre… they’re still sooooo good

I really love food and its presentation –it’s always nice to find ways to be creative outside of work.”

Balancing life in Hongkong

“The best advice given to me from a mentor was to always book in my next holiday… as soon as you come back make sure you have something booked in… that way you will always have something to look forward to even on tough days!

Think it’s also important that you like what you do at work – all jobs have aspects you do / don’t like about them, but all-in-all I think you genuinely have to be interested in what you’re doing otherwise you won’t be happy / it would be quite hard to stick to it

BUT more importantly… I believe you should have things outside of work that make you happy. What makes me most happy is seeing friends and just catching up with important people in my life– for me cooking is a fun way to do this and de-stress at the same time”

JT’s takeway

My takeaway advice from her is that no matter how busy you are, you need to have a hobby that you are passionate about and with which you can spend some alone time.

Me-time is extremely important. When you are busy with work, family or other matters, always remember to spare some time out for yourself, have a date with yourself in a way you enjoy the most. Once you find the inner peace within yourself, then everything and everyone surround you will seem all even more positive and happier as well.

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Jill Tang

Life Enthusiast.Global Citizen.Time Obssesser

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