Apr 25

How to Make Your Own Bookmarks in 3 Easy Steps

Do you often have trouble picking up where you left off after putting down a book? Do you hate having to fold the pages or make dog ears to mark your progress? If your answer to either of these questions is “yes”, then making a bookmark is what you should do.

Bookmarks not only make it easier for you to keep track of where you left, but they also make a great opportunity for you to let your creativity loose.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how you can make your very own bookmarks:

1. Choose the right paper

You can’t just choose any old sheet of paper when you’re making your own bookmarks – you need something that draws attention and is sturdy enough for you to use repeatedly without just slipping or tearing.

The best material you can perhaps use for your bookmark is cardstock, which is sturdy and thick enough but can still be cut and drawn on easily.

2. Cut the paper

Once you have the cardstock of your choice, it’s time to cut it according to size. Most bookmark sizes range between 2” x 6” and 2” x 7”, though some bookmarks are 2” x 8.5”.

You can also choose to punch a hole in your bookmark to add the tuft of your choice, which allows you to keep better track of your progress when reading.

3. Add the details

Personalizing your own bookmark is the best thing about making it, and what makes it something different rather than being just another scrap of paper you jam in between pages.

Whether you want to add a certain marker to keep track of your progress to the exact line, or simply add an inspirational quote to look at, this is your chance to go nuts on the colors and drawings!

Alternatively, you can also use other materials as bookmarks, such as plastic paper clips (metal ones have a greater chance of ruining the paper), postcards that you cut to size, or even photographs. 

However, there are some materials in particular that you shouldn’t use as bookmarks for your books, such as the following:

  • Money – It should go without saying that you shouldn’t use money as a bookmark, since there are obviously better uses for it than simply being a marker for your reading progress.
  • Metal objects – Metal paper clips can tear out the page when you’re not careful – if you have to use paper clips, try using ones made of plastic instead.
  • Toilet paper – Not only do these slip out, but they also give the impression that the book has been used in a bathroom.
  • Handwritten letters – These are personally addressed to people, which means they shouldn’t be left lying around.

   Apr 25

How to Test Your Smoke Detectors in 4 Simple Steps

Smoke alarms are an inexpensive way for you to protect yourself and your family from any fire-related hazards and injuries, but it’s important to test them regularly to make sure they function.

You can usually find two kinds of smoke detectors: battery-operated, which can be installed anywhere but require frequent inspection and battery replacement; and AC-powered, which are usually more dependable but need to be installed correctly by an electrician.

Why Test Your Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors and fire alarms are not infallible. For instance, batteries eventually die and need to be replaced, and parts of smoke detectors can eventually wear out over time, which means that they need proper upkeep and maintenance at least once or twice a year.

So if any of the following signs apply, you might want to consider replacing your detectors:

  • Frequent false alarms
  • Short beeps
  • Frequent presence of smoke triggering the smoke detector regularly

When testing your devices, be sure to read and follow the instructions in the box for the proper method. However, if you don’t have them, there are a few ways you can test your smoke detectors to know if they still work:  

1. Let family members know. When testing your alarm, be sure to inform everyone first. Smoke detectors and fire alarms emit a high-pitched sound that can frighten some people, you want everyone to be prepared to avoid surprising or scaring anyone.

2. Do a sound test. You can test this by having a family member stand at the furthest point in your home. This area should be away from your alarms since it can be critical in knowing if the alarm can be heard everywhere in your HDB flat or condo unit.

If your alarms do work but can’t be heard in other areas in your home because they are muffled or weak, you may want to have additional smoke or fire alarms installed in more areas in your home.

3. Press and hold the “test button”. This test button is present in every functioning smoke alarm or fire detector and should be easy to find, and while it takes a few seconds to start, it should emit a loud noise when pressed. This is when you know that the smoke alarm is working.

If your alarms have a weak or muffled sound, try to see if it isn’t blocked by any dust or debris and that the batteries are still working. Try replacing the batteries if the last time you changed them was more than six months.

You should also keep in mind that smoke detectors usually have a ten-year life span, which makes checking their date of installation important.


   Apr 01

How Decluttering Can Improve Your Life

It has been found in a 2016 survey involving 520 Singaporeans that more than 70% still keep items they no longer use. Hoarding can be quite the issue especially if it goes out of control. Now, you can somehow say that decluttering is the counter to this, but it’s really easier said than done. Even so, if you need more convincing, here are the great benefits decluttering can bring to your life.

1. Less stress

Seeing messy surroundings actually has a serious effect on our mood. Not only that, it also subconsciously affects our mind. In simple terms, that basically means seeing clutter also produces “clutter” in our mind and leaves us stressed, sometimes unnecessarily.  It’s a very simple notion, but you’ll find that decluttering is really relaxing.

2. Decluttering can boost your productivity

When you have a clean and organized workplace, you get more things done. It’s that simple! Having too many things can negatively affect the brain’s processing of information and your overall focus. Nothing is more annoying than looking for something in a pile of papers and not getting anything done. When you declutter, try and compare how different your productivity is with a messy desk and a clean desk.

3. It’s quite the exercise

Decluttering involves a lot of physical activity, especially if you’re doing a whole room or office. Moving heavy objects and going back-and-forth all around the room, for example. Now we’re not saying that you should treat decluttering like another form of exercise like cycling, it’s just that it can help break out the sweat a bit. Not only that, you can also have a little bit of fun while cleaning with your family. You might even find some lost treasures or things you’ve forgotten you had long ago.

4. You’ll sleep better

Surely, you’ve had the experience of going home after a tiring day at work only to find that your house is a mess. You try to go to bed but you just got have to clean the place up. Sometimes you even just leave the place like that. A cluttered home that’s stressing you out will only make it harder for you to settle down in bed and get better sleep.

5. You’ll have fewer things to worry about

For one, you will do less cleaning. Having less clutter basically means less cleaning. You also won’t have to worry about looking for the TV remote, your keys, your favorite shirts, and a lot more once you’ve decluttered and organized your place. Don’t forget that you can also declutter your phone. Get rid of apps, messages, or emails that may otherwise cause distract you or cause worry.


   Apr 01

Good Study Habits You Should Try to Develop

For many years, Singapore’s education system has been one of the best around the world. Of course, this is all due to the government support, the teachers, and most especially the students. Additionally, many students earn success by having good study habits. Of course, developing and using efficient methods of studying can translate to more accomplishments in school.

Avoid cramming

Many students fall victim to the temptation of putting off their projects and assignments until the last days before the deadline. There are also those who study just a day before their exams saying that the pressure helps them focus better. Even so, it’s not really advisable to do this. You’ll only find yourself struggling to stay awake while studying or waking up feeling exhausted. 

Don’t do too much at one time

Studying too much at one time, even when you’re not exactly cramming, is also not an ideal study habit. When you do too much at once, you’ll end up tiring easily and your studying will not be as effective. So, try to space out your studies or at least take short breaks in between your study sessions. This will help keep your mind stay fresh and sharp.

Try to study daily

To some, studying every day may sound tiring and even intimidating. But this is not really the case if you plan it out well. Plus, this doesn’t really mean you have to study like there’s an exam coming every day. Sometimes reviewing your lessons for the day can be enough. When you study consistently, at the same time each day, it will be easier for you to retain information and keep you mentally prepared always. All the same, it is also good to take a day’s rest from studying too.

Find your own study place

There are people who choose to study in complete silence, while there are also others who like to study with some music in the background. Choosing a place to study where you are most comfortable can easily boost focus and productivity. Also, try to have another one or two back-up study places just in case you can’t go to your main one.

Remove distractions

In relation to choosing a good study place, you should also get rid of the things that might distract you. Avoid studying near the TV when it is on or going to a place that’s crowded. You should also try to keep your smartphone away from you if you don’t really need it. Because of social media, it is very easy to get tempted to check our phones every now and then. That is why it is important to keep your phone away and to refrain from using the internet if you can when you are studying.


   Feb 28

4 Things to Consider When Buying a New Refrigerator

Refrigerators are not just a major purchase, but a crucial investment for your home that keeps food fresh for longer – and it’s the reason why so many people aren’t as inclined on replacing it even if it’s an eyesore or it racks up the utility bill for your condo unit or humble HDB flat.

Here’s what you should be looking out for when buying a refrigerator:

  1. Special features

Different refrigerator models have different features as their selling points, from ice-makers, through-the-door ice, or even a hot water option.

But while they may have features that can make preparing or storing food easier and more convenient, they do come with the drawback of adding more to your utility bill, so be sure to only choose the ones with features you really need.

  • Size

Be sure to pick one that’s appropriately sized for your home. As an investment, a fridge can’t simply be too big or too small – it must fit the area you have in mind perfectly.

However, keep in mind that size doesn’t always mean storage capacity. If one unit has thicker walls than the other, then it will most likely be able to store less than the unit with thinner walls.

As much as possible, try not to throw out your old refrigerator if you can still get it to work. By keeping the old refrigerant and preventing it from getting into the environment, you can prevent extra greenhouse gas emissions.  

  • Freezer space

If you plan on storing a large amount of frozen foods, or simply making ice for future refreshments, having a sizeable freezer space will be important.

Top freezer models tend to use the least amount of energy and are more affordable, so they’re usually the safer bet when you want a refrigerator that will save you more money in the long run.  

Bottom freezers are also a good option, but they tend to have more issues than simply finding food. Not only will the food be stacked on top of one another, adding to the weight, but they will also be more difficult to pull out of the drawer as a result.

  • Energy Certification

Because it uses electricity 24/7 to keep food fresh for a long time, your fridge will be the biggest energy user in your home next to your air conditioning or your television.

With recent improvements in insulation and compressors, refrigerator models released today are guaranteed to be much more efficient and use much less energy than older models released years before.

Though initially expensive, having the right energy-efficient refrigerator will not only last you a long time, but also save you on added energy costs in the long run.


   Feb 28

Get to Know the Four Crucial Secrets Your Plumber Knows (But Won’t Tell You)

Every trade has its own secrets, and when it comes to plumbing, there are just as many secrets that can save you a lot of time and money by allowing you to do any needed repairs by yourself.

In fact, to make the most out of your home plumbing repair on your own, here are the five things you should know about (before calling in a professional to do the job for you):

Educating Your Family about the Toilet

The best way to make sure you don’t get a toilet bowl choke at home is to make sure that everyone knows what should and what shouldn’t be flushed down there – and the way you do this is by making a list.

Installing a lid lock is especially important if you have little children or pets who might get curious about the toilet, as it prevents them from flushing the wrong things at the wrong time.

The Main Water Supply

Asking about where it’s located first when you move to your HDB flat or condo can be a great help especially if you plan on going on vacation for a long time.

Shutting off your main water supply is a great safety measure that not only keeps your water bill from getting too high, but also minimizes the chance of an accident happening in your home, such as when pipes could burst from too much pressure.

Doing this also saves you a lot of time later on. For instance, before proceeding to do any home repairs yourself, you need to know where the main water supply is and shut it off.

Do-it-Yourself Home Repair

There’s a good chance that you can save a lot of money by doing your home repairs yourself – in fact, most plumbing problems you encounter at home are things you can easily fix.

Even though you don’t always get to use a toolbox for problems in your condo or HDB flat, it certainly never hurts to have one stashed away in good condition, either, and you can fix most of your home’s problems without having to spend too much money on a professional plumber.

Knowing When to Hire a Plumber

But as much as you want to fix your plumbing problems on your own, there are others that should be best left to a licensed plumber because of the danger they may pose.

As much as possible, look for plumbing services in Singapore that offer the longest warranty. Quality plumbing is what will last the longest, and though expensive at first, investing in an experienced plumber will definitely save you time and money in the long run.


   Feb 06

8 Spices You Should Have in Your Kitchen

Spices could be the only difference between a bland recipe and a gourmet dish. But most of them sound intimidating (saffron, anyone?) and aren’t cheap, only to disappear in the abyss inside the kitchen cupboard. 

So, we gathered the most beneficial and health-boosting spices recommended by cooks and nutritionists that are worth keeping on hand. 

  1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a versatile seasoning that works great for breakfast, sprinkled on top of oatmeal and fruits. Ground cinnamon is a rich source of antioxidants and can help regulate blood sugar levels in the body.

  • Curry Powder

The most vital ingredient of curry powder is turmeric, which can be expensive when bought alone. Not only does turmeric lend a unique flavor to any dish, but also contains anti-inflammatory properties—perfect for easing pains and aches after a workout. Add this to your curry dish or simply sprinkle some on your salad for a dash of flavor.

  • Red Pepper Flakes

For spice lovers, red pepper flakes are a great addition to your must-have spices. They are your quick solution to add a little spice to your dish without the hassle of chopping up fresh peppers. Use a bit to add some spice to your pasta sauce, veggie salad or on your pizza. Plus, the spiciness will help suppress your appetite and boost your metabolism, too.

  • Ginger

Ginger has this positive effect on the digestive health, protecting you from gastric problems like bloating and constipation. Moreover, it works perfectly with many dishes and baked goods, and even in beverages, too.

  • Kosher Salt

Salt is the ultimate seasoning of all seasonings, and kosher salt gives you the benefit of richer flavor without going nuts for it. Plus, a teaspoon full of kosher salt contains less sodium than the same amount of standard table salt. Just a pinch of kosher salt is enough for a homemade dish, and try to keep the shaker off the table to avoid going overboard with it.

  • Chili Powder

A good variety of chili powder feature a fantastic combination of dried peppers, garlic, onion and even cocoa to give a rich depth of flavor to any dish you add it on. However, not all chili powders are created equal, so make sure to read the label before buying one.

  • Cumin

A combination of salt and chili powder will give you an instant taco mix (say goodbye to sodium-rich taco mix packets). It is also a great seasoning for your enchiladas, chili dishes and almost any tomato-based Mexican recipes.

  • Black Pepper

Go for freshly ground pepper for better taste. As much as possible, do not buy the pre-ground stuff. Grind pepper when you’re about to use it. Get one in packaging that has built-in grinder, which can be refilled repeatedly.

Forget about the fancy sounding ones. These essential spices are more than enough have you cooking your favorite meals and even try new flavor combinations.


   Feb 06

6 Exercise Ways to Get Flatter Stomach

The waistline is everybody’s top priority and most self-conscious about. Here are 10 simple ways to lose belly fat and achieve smaller waist line without depriving yourself of the treats.

  1. Go to Bed Early

Tucking yourself to bed a little earlier does not only help you avoid late night snacking, it also helps with your body’s metabolism. Missing out on a full night’s sleep can cause slower metabolism. So, if you want to boost your body’s calorie-burning capabilities, get a complete seven hours or more of sleep.

  • Perfect Your Posture

Straightening up your body posture can instantly make you look better. When you practice good body posture, you are automatically engaging your core muscles. To keep you reminded at work to sit straight or stand tall, a few sticky notes on your desk can do the trick.

  • Drink More Water

Always stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day. being dehydrated can lead to premature hunger, causing unhealthy cravings and more frequent snacking. If you think you’re feeling hungry, try drinking a glass of water to see if the hunger goes away. If it does, you’re just thirsty; but if it doesn’t, that’s the time you need something to munch on.

  • Load Up with Powerful Breakfast

Other that your usual cereal mix, use a low-fat milk to amp up a nutritious breakfast. Loading up with calcium can help control your body weight. Plus, nutrients and minerals found in dairy good—potassium, magnesium and calcium—help counterbalance the bloating effects caused by sodium.

  • Reward Your Sugar Cravings “Mindfully”

It’s okay to give in to your cravings sometimes. Depriving yourself of sweet treats or any treat that you love can only lead to overeating when you get the chance to reunite with it. How often the treat should be? Try by using it as a reward whenever you reach short-term fitness goals. No fast food for a week? Reward yourself with a small bar of chocolate. Lost 10 pounds in one month? Get yourself a slice of your favorite cheesecake.

  • Set a Fruit Bowl on Your Countertop

Fruits such as apples, oranges, berries and cherries are rich in quercetin, a compound that helps reduce stomach inflammation. And if you make healthy snacks easily accessible at home or in the office, you are more likely to reach for it whenever you feel hungry. Other than snacking on it, make sweet treats out of fruits, such as having mixed berries smoothies for breakfast and mango or avocado slices on your chicken salad for lunch.

If you hate breaking a sweat in the gym or you’re just not fond of jogging, you can still trim down your waistline with mindful and healthier eating habits. So, give these tips a fair shot!


   Jan 10

What Is A Hangover and How Do You Get Rid of It?

So, you’ve been drinking too much at Tippling Club or have been partying hard at The Pump Room. And now you wake up the next morning with an awful headache, a rolling stomach, and a lot more torment than you can explain. Well, you’ve just got a hangover!

Alcohol

First and foremost, let’s discuss alcohol. You know what it is, you just had some! But a little more knowledge won’t hurt. Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it slows the signals sent between the brain and the body. It causes low blood sugar. It’s also a diuretic, it increases the amount of water expelled from our bodies through urine. We’ll go into those later.

Hangovers

Headaches, vertigo, muscle aches, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea are only a few of the many symptoms of a hangover. A hangover is basically a set of symptoms that you get as a result of excessive alcohol intake. Among the many reasons, hangovers occur possibly because of alcohol being a depressant (messes up your hormones), being a diuretic (you get dehydrated from excess urine production), and so on and so forth.

How do you get rid of it?

Ah, the all-important question. Well, you can’t get rid of it completely in one go but luckily, there are ways to help ease the symptoms.

Drink water

This is the obvious one. Like what was said earlier, alcohol accelerates urine production making us dehydrated. So, it’s important to drink plenty of water before or while drinking. Drink water when you wake up the morning after as well. This helps you rehydrate and flush out toxins still left in your body.

Take breakfast

Don’t skip breakfast if you have a hangover. Again, alcohol can lower blood sugar, meaning your system is running on low fuel. Taking some protein and carbohydrates can give your brain and body more energy. Plus, the electrolytes you get from the food you eat can bring calories back to your body.

Keep sleeping (considering it’s not a workday)

You wake up, its already late in the morning, but your head hurts and you still feel very drowsy from a hangover. The answer to that is to listen to your body and go back to sleep. It’s the best way for your body to recover. Lack of sleep will only make hangover symptoms worse.

Take some sugar while drinking

Having some sugar while drinking can speed the breakdown of alcohol in our bodies, hence reducing the likelihood of hangovers. This is simply because sugar contains fructose. But remember not to take it before, rather while drinking as fructose is absorbed by our body pretty quickly.

The magic solution

You would think this is a cliché or simply corny, but it’s the obvious truth! If you don’t want to suffer a hangover, just watch yourself and don’t drink too much alcohol, better yet don’t drink at all. Mind over matter everyone!