Oct 22

9 Foods That Help Boost Your Brain

Do you know that it’s not just our muscles and our bones that need sustenance? Our brains do too, and very much so in order for us to perform with optimum cognition. To keep your brain in peak condition, make sure to have these in your diet.

1. Fish. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published a study showing that diet with ample amount of fish could lower your chances of getting dementia by 20%. (And of course, fish is also good for the heart.)

2. Yoghurt. Along with other fermented dairy products, this food contains Lactobacilus acidophilus, which are the good bacteria in our gut improve our immune system. With less energy being used to boost immunity, there’s more for the brain to use.

3. Broccoli. This vegetable contains choline, a substance that’s been found to enhance memory, as well as vitamin K, which optimizes our cognitive functions. Broccoli can also help ward off depression due to the folic acid it also contains.

4. Veggy and protein combo. A “power meal” that’s good for the brain as well as the body has two vegetables in decent amounts and about four ounces of meat (hummus can be a substitute).

5. Oatmeal. Trying to beat the Singapore morning rush hour by skipping breakfast? Don’t. Even if you’re in a hurry, you can still squeeze five minutes to eat a bowl of oatmeal, which has enough energy to sustain your brain until noontime.

6. Berries dipped in chocolate. This is a delicious snack that is also good for the brain. In one study published in Neurology, cocoa was shown to improve memory and blood flow in the brain, while berries contain tannins, a substance that protects brain cells.

7. Water. Keeping yourself well hydrated is essential in recalling information and maintaining focus. Is it true that you should drink 8 glasses a day? Not necessarily. Just check your urine: once it’s become clear, that means your body already has enough H2O.

8. Avocadoes. This fruit contains unsaturated fats (or “good fats”) that improve the flexibility of cell membranes in our brains, as well as provide protection to surrounding nerve cells. Like fish, avocadoes also have the added benefit of being good for the heart.

9. Trail mix. It’s already proven that going on nature hikes improves cognition and the body’s overall state. Make that activity even better by munching on trail mix full of nuts, which gives your brain a steady source of energy, allowing it optimal function for a longer time.


   Oct 22

8 Ways to Control Oily Skin

Oily skin is caused by the overproduction of sebum, a fatty substance that our skin uses to moisturize itself. However, too much of it gives us a bad look and may even result to clogged pores and acne. The following are eight ways to control you sebum production and avoid oily skin.

1. Use a weekly facial mask. Apply a deep-cleansing facial mask on your face once a week. Make sure it contains clay, to better absorb the excess oil on your skin, as well as shea butter and honey, as these ingredients soothe the skin and prevent it from drying.

2. Be careful with using foundations. Some foundations can clog pores, causing sebum to build up inside until it breaks out on your skin. Choose light-texture foundations that have mattifying or oil-controlling properties; if possible, just use powder instead. Always remove your makeup before you sleep.

3. Choose the right cleanser. It’s recommended that you use a cleanser only twice a day. Ideally, your first cleanser should contains salicylic acid, another element that soak up oil; and then use a milder cleanser later on. Avoid overusing cleansers as this may remove all the oils that are actually necessary to keep your skin healthy.

4. Exfoliate moderately. Exfoliating speeds up the regeneration of your skin, sloughing off dead skin cells to give way to new ones. However, do it too often and your skin may become sensitive and prone to irritation. If your facial scrub leaves your face feeling parched or tight, it’s either too harsh or you’re overusing it.

5. Watch your diet. Aside from your genes and environment (read: irritants), the oil on your skin is controlled by the food and drinks you take in. Spicy foods and alcohol causes you to perspire and your blood vessels to dilate, thus giving you an oily look. Eat more vitamin A-rich foods instead, as these can slow down sebum production.

6. Keep your skin hydrated. Oil on your skin doesn’t immediately mean it’s properly hydrated, so don’t skip using moisturizers—just make sure to use oil-free gels and lotions instead of heavy cream to avoid clogged pores. Of course, you can always drink more water to hydrate your skin.

7. Don’t overuse toners. Toners are not intended for daily use; in fact, you should only use them once or twice a week as overuse can result to skin sensitivity, making your skin prone to acne breakout. Do not use toners with menthol, camphor, drying alcohols or peppermint.

8. Always use sunscreen. Sunscreen may feel oily on your hands, but it will actually help you control oil and shine on your face. Choose ones with oil-absorbing properties or those with denatured alcohol (for a matte effect). Apply about a teaspoon mineral-based sunblock before you go out.


   Sep 25

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Essential Oils for Healing and For Leisure

Essential oils have been around and used for all kinds of purposes for a long time, but while the means to extract them from plants have changed (which resulted in better concentrations with a higher purity), how they are used is still the same.

In fact, the only difference is that today, there are now even more ways that you can use essential oils to get both the fragrance and health benefits you need.

There are also a lot of ways you can use essential oils, whether it’s for your bath, as a chest rub, a compress, diffuser, massage, or even applied directly.

Bath Oils
Adding oils to your bath is a great way to unwind after having quite the busy day, and doing that is really simple with a box of simple Epsom bath salts before adding your very own essential oils into the mix.

To fully enjoy the experience, allow yourself to get used to warmer bath water temperatures by building a slightly hotter bath each time over the course of a week. With a scented hot bath completed with lighted candles, you can be sure to carve out the best of your “me”-time.

Diffusing
Essential oils can be quite volatile, meaning that they can evaporate quickly and break down at a molecular level when exposed to heat. This makes candle-burning unnecessary, and using an electronic diffuser to do the job is more effective and more versatile.

All you need to do is plug in the diffuser anywhere without the need to watch the flame carefully or have an open window at home or in your office, and you can fully transform your room or office into a more refreshing and relaxing environment.

Direct Inhalation
Sometimes, you can also choose to simply forgo everything and just enjoy your essential oils straight out of the bottle. All you need to do is open your bottle and place a drop or two on a tissue before taking a slow, deep breath of the fragrance.

When doing this, be sure to pay attention to your breath and keep it relaxed as you inhale and exhale.

What You Need to Know About Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been used for a long time, and with the right methods, there’s no need for you to shell out too much of your budget just to get its benefits – with the number of ways you can use it, all you need is the right amount of oil.

You should also keep in mind that more doesn’t always mean better with essential oils because they are highly concentrated extracts of the plant oil. For instance, one drop of peppermint oil is just as strong as twenty-eight cups of peppermint tea.


   Sep 25

The Best Way to Take the Most Refreshing Shower in 5 Simple Steps

Taking a shower in the morning or in the evening is especially important in Singapore because of the hot climate, but there’s a good chance you’re probably taking too long or doing it wrong.

Here’s how to take the best shower that will leave you feeling refreshed in five easy steps:

1. Keep the showers short.
Staying too long in the shower can actually dry out your skin and hair, and can make any cleansers more damaging to your skin than they need to be.

This is especially true for people with really dry skin or patients who have eczema, a condition that leaves the skin red and itchy and can often accompany other symptoms such as hay fever.

2. Start at the top.
Starting from the top and working your way to the bottom allows the soap to work its way down. Ideally, you should be washing your face, chest, and back only after conditioning your hair.

If you have sensitive skin, your routine should be as follows: shampoo, conditioner, shave while the conditioner sets on your hair, and then skin cleansing.

3. Don’t wash your hair too much (or too little).
Because hair is made of dead skin cells, they don’t need to be washed too much compared to the rest of your skin. But while washing too often can cause the hair to dry out faster, not washing your hair often enough can cause scalp layers to build up.

The best way to take care of your hair depends on what kind of hair you have: thick and curly hair could definitely see the benefits from going a day or two without washing, while thinner hair that’s either straight or wavy needs to be washed more regularly.

4. Focus on the areas that get the most dirt.
Areas such as your arms and legs may not always need soap. To keep your showers quick but refreshing, focus on areas such as your underarms, groin, and feet, as these are the most likely places where sweat can accumulate.

5. Wash your face.
Arguably, the best way to wash your face is by just using mild soap and water. As for what makes “good” soap, you want a particular bar that makes a lather of small bubbles.

After washing your face and skin, you should not feel any lingering after-effects from your soap, such as the following:

• See any grayness or flaky, dried-out skin
• See any redness or irritation
• Feel tightness

If you have acne, don’t try to scrub it away as much as possible. Instead, let the soap and water do their job.


   Aug 28

Why Your 30s are the Best Time to Start a Business

Of course, there is no right age to start a business. However, the key to know when to launch one is to match your experience, talent and skills with the current situation of the industry you’re going to be a part of.

If you are in your 30s and thinking of putting up your own business, here are some reasons to support that smart decision.

1. You are more mature when it comes to decision-making.
Although you are well in touch of your emotions, you have learned through experiences how to take control and not let it dictate your actions and decisions. You know what to do when something frustrating happens, you give criticisms constructively even when you’re angry and you don’t forget about your responsibilities when you find a new happiness. At this point in your life, you have the ability to take control of your life.

2. You’ve had enough experience…
Also, by this time, you already have established a network that can be helpful to your start-up business. We know that a business is less likely to succeed if you just believe in your ideas. You need years of experience to look back on during instances of decision-making. Regardless of how unrelated your fields are, there will always be something that you can use to help you find solutions to future problems.

3. …but you’re still adaptable.
As you age, your ability to adopt slowly reduces as well. You may find it hard to keep up with the trends and to learn a lot of new methods and processes. But if you start managing your own business in your 30, when you are mature enough but not too old, you are in a favourable place to learn and integrate new techniques and technology.

4. You have enough time to start over, if you ever need to.
Not all businesses succeed, and very few get it right on first try. Starting a business is like shifting career; there will be a lot of trials and errors. Starting in your 30s gives you a good balance of time should you ever have to re-do your entire business plan.

5. You have enough time to save for your future.
It is never too late to start saving up for your future, isn’t it? If you have been financially stable over the years, you probably have enough in the bank to get you by while you’re taking financial risks with your new venture. Keep in mind: being passionate with something does not mean putting all your eggs in one basket. Make sure you have a fall back before making any drastic decision.

Starting a business is always a challenge, no matter your age. However, the best time is when you have had enough experience and developed the relevant skills to dabble in the world of business, while at the same time having enough time to start over again, if the situation calls for it.


   Aug 28

6 Tips to Wearing White When It’s Hot Outside

When it’s hot and humid outside, the last thing you want to wear are dark-colored clothes. To keep your cool under the sun, wear something white—a white shirt, dress or an all-white outfit from head to toe.

However, not all of us are confident to wear whites because it can be high-maintenance—not to mention the potential see-through factor and highlights of areas of the body you wish to hide.

For when you just can’t bother wearing anything colored under the scorching temperature, here’s how you to wear your cool and clean white outfit.

1. Wear whites in heavy fabrics
Does the potential see-through scenario make you feel scared to wear anything white? If so, make sure to wear items with underlining or are made of thicker fabrics like denim.

2. Mix and match different textures
For an interesting look, try to pair different types of textures, but make sure that the shades of white match well. There are many shades of white, like eggshell, cream, frost and linen, and they do not always look good together.

3. Accessorize tastefully
If you want to sport a monochromatic look, pick metallic, neutral or nude accessories. If you wish to add interest to your all-white outfit, wear statement pieces in fun colors.

4. Wear the right fit
Remember that whites can accentuate certain parts of the body. Therefore, it pays to get the right size and fitting of clothing when you opt to have it in white.

5. But avoid wearing whites in weddings
White may look clean, elegant and chic, but wearing white to a wedding wouldn’t give a good impression to people. Nobody should wear an all-white ensemble to a wedding except the bride. Doing so will give the impression that you are trying to upstage the star of the occasion.

6. Always have an emergency kit ready
To ensure you’re all-white attire stays white and clean all day, keep an emergency kit with you that contains a pack of wet wipes, baby powder and a stain-remover stick. Whenever, wherever you may encounter stain, you know you have something to remedy the stain.

White may be plain and boring, but it’s a great colour to wear for all types of occasions—well, except for weddings unless you’re the bride. White exudes sophistication, catches attention and encourages sensibility and optimism when done right.


   Jul 26

How Can Self-Distraction be a Mood-Booster?

In an hour, you are about to make the most important client presentation, this business deal can make or break your promotion. Instead of reviewing your report, all you can think of is “What if I make a mistake and I suddenly think blankly?” but if someone is there beside you that you can talk to, you probably won’t have to be in a panic state of mind.

Loading your mind with stuff that makes you worry and the inability to self-distract can make the situation worse. Imagine yourself sitting and waiting in an area where you await your own operation to begin. You are alone and there is nothing to distract you away from your worries and doubts.

Distractions can be a curse or a blessing in certain situations. When we can’t give our undivided attention to what we are supposed to be doing, it makes us miss out on deadlines or fail to deliver expectations. Although they seem to take us away from our priorities, what other purpose do they serve in our lives? How do we use them to our advantage and make sure they serve us well?

Distractions can pull us out of doing far more important things to do but it also shifts our attention away from the pains of daily life. When you are in the hype of frustration but you decide to turn the music on, you shift your negative energy to focus on a situation that feels better and that uplifts your mood that is through listening to your favorite songs.

Through a research led by Harvard University Researcher in Psychology, Shelly Carson, revealed that when someone is under the influence of distraction, their mood can develop from depression to normal and continues to move upwardly. According to Carson, an individual has the power to purposefully better his mood by inviting distractive activities. Simplest exercise suggestion would be noticing and feeling the fabric you are wearing or noticing the noise in the environment outside. According to psywellness.com.sg, low mood deserves wellness, any distractive activities can help alleviate the heightened emotions.

Notice the new things that surround you and these distractions will open your mind and attention. While some distractive approaches are individualistic, social engagement is also a helpful material for an individual to shift his focus unto others. The most common social method is ventilation. Venting for an individual who is filled with negativities allows him to release his clogging tension and gives him the chance to seek a second opinion from a listener’s point of view.

Employing distractive emotional activity to aid unwanted moods can make a person achieve a sense of calmness and stress reduction. So the next time your mood needs some lifting, make sure you are not distraction-proof!


   Jul 26

A Piece of Advice on Who to Trust at Work

You shared how frustrated you are about your job and how much you hate your boss to your most trusted co-worker. The next day, it just came to your surprise that all of your colleagues knew about it even your boss and now, you’re the newest subject of local gossip. Then the reality slap you in the face, you have just been betrayed. Trust is dead. It is now being replaced by a more relatable word: Distrust.

When we become victims of trust in bad faith, we turn into careful mode than relationship oriented behavior. How careful should I be in working with these people becomes more of a concern than how can I build a meaningful and satisfying working relationship? Such shifting of conceptual behavior impacts the way we do business with the people around us in the company.

A person’s position or role doesn’t indicate their trustworthiness. A top executive is not automatically worthy of more or less trust compared to someone in a rank-and-file position. Same thing goes with family and friends; trust has something to do about individuals.

But how easily can you get a hint on which individuals to trust? Should you trust or distrust this person? Here are some guidelines to help you determine those you should never put your guards down for:

People who share stories that aren’t theirs to tell:
Be mindful of those who reveal statements, stories or conversations which they are not the right person to do so. This behavior reflects how they manage the trust that was given to them by the other person they’re talking about with you, right now. If they can do it to others, what can keep them from doing it to you?

People whose words and actions don’t match:
This are those who seem to take your side, affirm your sentiments and agree with every single word you say and yet, when you are not with them, they do and say otherwise. It can be a little strange and worth considering for.

People who are strongly against issues but never do anything at all:
People who fall under this category are quite similar to the previous one, the only difference is they never do anything about it. It is worth taking into account that if a person is truly concerned against a certain matter, he is going to take an action to correct it and make it more suitable for him. Underlying reasons for being unable to put words into actions could be due to many reasons but for what it’s worth, there’s still inconsistency right there.

Whether it’s an era of trust or not, choosing to trust or distrust a person calls for a good judgement and time. At the end of the day, it’s about why, when and to whom it is individually and rightfully given that identifies its negative or positive outcome. As Chris Chew wrote on his article on stjobs.sg, trust is considered an important currency as it is the medium that connects our relationship with others.


   Jun 27

The Different Kinds and Types of Paintbrushes and How They Are Used

The paintbrush is one of the artist’s most important tools in getting paint from the palette to the canvas. However, while they might look the same at first glance, there are many different types designed for different applications. Knowing the right kind of paintbrush to use for your project will allow you to apply the paint much more quickly and smoothly.

Flagged and Sized Brushes
Paint brushes come in different shapes and sizes, and can be clumped together as well as spread out. These types of brushes that have their bristles spread out are called “flagged” brushes, which used mostly for latex work, and rarely for anything else.

Types of Paintbrushes
Paintbrush bristles come in different shapes to achieve different purposes in spreading paint, whether it’s sketching, adding fine details, broad strokes, or even texturing:
• Round brush – Used primarily for sketching, outlining, and detailing. Best used with thinned or reduced paint.

• Pointed round – Slightly narrower than the round brush, but with a sharply pointed tip. Primarily used in adding finer details, lines, and other delicate areas as well as retouching.

• Detail round – Round, hairs shorter in length than other round brushes. While best used for details and short strokes, the bristles can hold a good amount of color for their length.

• Flat – Square end, with medium to long hairs. Good for bold strokes and wide spaces, but can also be used for straight edges, stripes, and fine straight lines.

• Angular flat – Also called a shader brush, this flat brush has hairs angled at one end to allow for curved strokes, painting corners, and covering a lot of space.

• Bright – Short, flat hairs with edges curved inward at the tip. This brush is ideal for quick strokes that are short and controlled and working up close rather than at a distance from the canvas.

• Filbert – Flat, oval-shaped with bristle length ranging from medium to long. Best for blending and creating soft, round edges.

• Fan – Brush with flat, spread out hairs good for smoothing, combining paint on the canvas, and texturing, but can easily clump if the bristles aren’t strong enough.

Natural vs Synthetic
Aside from having different shapes and bristle sizes, these brushes can also either be made of natural hair or synthetic.

Natural brushes have bristles cut from Chinese hogs or badgers, as well as sable or camel hair. These make them more expensive, and they are mostly used in fine arts projects or in highly specialized jobs. In paintings, they are usually reserved for oils.

Meanwhile, synthetic brushes are usually made from polyester or nylon, which are much rougher than natural hair brushes, and are often used best with water-based emulsion paints, such as acrylic and watercolor.

(Disclaimer: This list is compiled in no particular order.)