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.)


   Jun 27

Removing Sticker Residue Properly on Different Surfaces

Do you hate the sight of sticker adhesives left behind by price tags, product stickers, and product labels? Sometimes the glue also attracts dirt and grime if left for some time. Here the proper methods to remove the sticker residue from different surfaces.

Fabrics
Remove the sticker residue on clothes and linen as soon as possible while the stain is still fresh, because leaving them to dry will make them more difficult to remove. Read the care label to determine which wash cycle and type of detergent must be used. Use warm, soapy water to scrub off the adhesive, but do not use any sharp object to scrape it off. If the stain won’t come off, rub alcohol on the stain then wash again. Make sure that all the stains are gone before rinsing and drying the fabric.

Plastic and Wood
You cannot use just about any cleaning agent on these surfaces because you will damage the material. Avoid using sharp objects as well because they will also leave scratch marks, instead, soak the residue in vegetable oil for a few hours to soften it. Then, dry the residue with a hair dryer set in warm temperature (avoid setting it on very hot temperatures) before washing the area with soapy water. This method can also be used on metal surfaces.

Ceramic
To remove the adhesive residue from vases, tiles, and other ceramic items like porcelain, heat white vinegar in a pan but do not let it boil. Next, dip a clean cloth in the warm vinegar and dab at the sticker. Squeeze a few drops on the surface or place the soaked cloth on top of the sticker for 30 minutes. If there are still some stains left, repeat the process. You can also use oil (corn, vegetable, baby, and olive oil) to remove the residue by soaking the adhesive with it for 20 minutes. Then, wash the surface with dish soap and clean water until the oil is removed. You should repeat the process if some residue is left, but you could try a commercial adhesive solvent, turpentine, or acetone as a last resort. Soak the residue for 30 minutes before washing the surface with a mild detergent and water.

Glass
If you want to remove the stickers on glass surfaces like jars, dinnerware, windows, etc., moisten a clean, damp cloth and wipe the surface. Next, use an acetone-based nail polish remover to rub off the glue from the glass surface. Finally, rinse the area with soapy water to remove the residue. Avoid using sharp objects, unless the sticker has been on the surface for a very long time. If this is the case, then use an artist’s palette knife to gently lift the sticker. For jars and mugs, soak the items in warm soapy water for an hour then wipe the remaining stains with a clean cloth soaked in vinegar.


   May 30

12 Romance Manga for the Hopelessly in Love

Tired of the usual teenage romance movies and television series? Maybe some of these titles can change your perspective on young love and romance.

1. Ao Haru Ride or Blue Spring Ride
This 13-volume series introduces Yoshioka Futaba, who feels inferior from her female classmates because she has been accused in the past of stealing the boys in school.

2. Orange
The series ran for five volumes and features Takamiya Naho, who receives a letter from herself ten years from the future. Uninterested at first, she begins to suspect that there’s something important hidden in the letters about a mysterious transfer student.

3. Dengeki Daisy
Written and illustrated by Motomi Kyousuke, this 16-volume manga chronicles Kurebayashi Teru’s life after the death of her brother. She was told to contact a person named DAISY, who is supposed to look after her welfare.

4. Skip Beat!
Mogami Kyouko has always been in love with childhood friend Fuwa Sho, but she discovered one day that he wasn’t serious about her at all and is just using her to pay for his expenses. She decides to join the entertainment business to beat him.

5. Kimi ni Todoke
Kuronuma Sawako is feared by everyone at school because she looks like a character from a horror movie. When a popular schoolmate started befriending her, Sawako started to make new friends and experience a normal teenager’s life.

6. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun or My Little Monster
This 13-volume series tells about the story of hardworking and studious Mizutani Shizuku and the happy-go-lucky Yoshida Haru. Shizuku encourages Haru to come out of his shell, and she in turn, was taught to value the people around her.

7. Kimi no Iru Machi or A Town Where You Live
Kirishima Haruto and Eba Yuzuki were estranged after the latter suddenly cut their ties, but when Haruto learned the whereabouts of Yuzuki, he made up his mind to take her back. However, that wasn’t the first time they will be separated.

8. Lovely Complex or LoveCom
Koizumi Risa is a giant of a girl who falls in love with the short Ootani Atsushi. The latter admits to having no feelings for Risa, but she is determined to make him fall for her.

9. Cat Street
This eight-volume manga features a famous actress, Aoyama Keito, who was unable to perform at a musical play and promptly abandons her job. Full of guilt and shame, she isolates herself from family and friends for years.

10. Kamisama Kiss or Kamisama Hajimemashita
The 25-volume series chronicles the story of an unlikely pair of an average school girl and a yokai who was once an Earth deity.

11. S.A.: Special A
Hanazono Hikari and Takishima Kei are both rivals and childhood friends. Hikari has always competed with Kei even if she always ends up losing to him. She isn’t aware, however, that Kei has fallen for her.

12. Absolute Boyfriend
Izawa Riiko discovered a website for creating the perfect boyfriend, but was disappointed to learn that its trial edition only lasted for 72 hours.


   May 30

Dos and Don’ts in Oil Painting

When you have finally decided to try oil painting, you need to remember important pointers to make your learning process easier. Oil painting can be a difficult medium, but the experience and the finished product are worth all the trouble.

Dos in Oil Painting

• Learn all the basics. You might want to review your lessons about value and color when you’re mixing colors. If you have had plenty of practice with other painting media, then this will be an easy transition for you. Vary the pressure on the paintbrush and try different strokes, so you can get an idea how the oil paint interacts with the surface before commencing with your first major project.

• Study the reaction of oil to solvent. One of the best qualities of oil paint is that you can control how it behaves on the surface by how you mix it with the solvent. Keep practicing until you master how to use this mixture.

• Study dry brush and wet-on-wet techniques. Try painting on a dry surface and then on a wet surface to see how the effects differ. You can also try mixing colors to see how they interact with dry and wet surfaces.

• Do use your palette knife. It is a useful tool for creating different strokes and textures that cannot be achieved by a paint brush.

• Remember the proportion of oil for each layer. Pay attention to the successive layers of oil paint on a project. The lower layers could crack if the upper layers are thinner.

Don’ts in Oil Painting

• Forgetting to clean the brush when using multiple colors. Make sure to clean your brush in between strokes when using different colors. It is important to keep oil paint colors are pure as possible, because it will be difficult to preserve the color’s intensity if it is contaminated with other colors.

• Using different colors in a mix. As a beginner, you will be told to use only three colors at a time when mixing. Using more than three colors can dull the colors, resulting in a less intense contrast of colors. Experiment with white and two other colors first.

• Don’t hesitate to use more paint. Oil painting supplies can be expensive, but that does not mean you should try to preserve as much paint s possible when working on a project. Use the amount of paint or paint mixture necessary for each stroke.

• Avoid using black. Most painters are advised not to use black on their painting and are instead encouraged to mix different colors to achieve a similar effect. That doesn’t mean black cannot be used at all, it just takes a long time for ivory black in oil paint to dry than most of the colors.

• Do not store your finished paint in the dark. If you are waiting for your painting to dry, do not store it in an area where it isn’t exposed to light.


   Apr 27

Skincare Products for Oily Skin

Taking care of oily skin is such a challenge: aside from it being too sensitive at times, your skin is also picky when it comes to skincare products. You can’t just buy a random facial product from your nearest drugstore. To help you, here are our top picks for skincare products for oily skin.

Facial Cleanser
A good cleanser for oily skin is Clinique Liquid Facial Soap (for Oily Skin). I grew up seeing Clinique products on the mother’s dresser so when I was a teenager struggling with puberty, the mother made me use this cleanser and it worked wonders on the face. Not only is it effective in controlling oil, it’s also gentle on the skin and makes the skin squeaky clean without the sting.

Exfoliator
Once a week our face needs to be thoroughly cleaned after a week of being exposed to different stressors. Back when I was still in uni I started using Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel and it surely does the trick. It has natural alpha hydroxy acids from papaya and grapefruit extracts, making it very safe for oily and sensitive skin. As it’s gel-based, it means that it’s also oil-free. And, if you’re not a big fan of foamy cleansers, this is also for you since this is soap-free. This not only removes dirt and other impurities, but can also be used to remove makeup.

Toner
A skincare routine is not complete without a toner. The DRGL Toner Oil Control is so far the best toner for oily skin as it controls not only oil but also sebum production. It’s super safe on skin since its ingredients include vitamin E, aloe vera, and other natural products.

Moisturizer
If people tell you not to use moisturizers because of your oily skin, don’t listen to them. Even if you may feel that you don’t need to use moisturizers, you actually still need to because the process of cleaning your face would make your skin dry. Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is great for this purpose, as it suits not only oily skin but all skin types. Formulated with algae extracts, vitamin E, glycerin, and botanicals, this makes your face supple and soft like a baby. It’s also surprisingly not sticky for a gel-based moisturizer.

Facial Mask
I’m not a huge fan of facial masks since for me using a moisturizer is already enough, but it doesn’t hurt to try Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores. Its main ingredient is the activated charcoal so it’s safe to say that it would really clear your pores (as the name claims). It’s the only mask that I know of that would reduce excess oil in your skin, remove impurities, and prevents breakouts, thanks to the charcoal ingredient of this product.


   Apr 27

Splurge and Steal: Kat Von D vs NYX Cosmetics

Spending a good amount on high-end makeups once in awhile feels good, especially when it is from a really good brand. But the time comes when you will run out of this product, and it suddenly happens while you are in a tight budget. This is when makeup dupes come in. There are tons of good replacements out there, or maybe in your nearest drugstores!

If you are a big fan of Kat Von D’s high quality, cruelty-free, and vegan makeup products but want to replace or just get a cheaper alternative, NYX Professional Makeup is the one. Both can be bought from Sephora and you can also find NYX Professional Makeup products from your local department store.

Eyeliners: Tattoo Liner ($32.00) vs The Curve Liner ($24.00)
Both these eyeliners are highly pigmented, and stays for a long time. The advantage with NYX’s The Curve Liner is that it has an ergonomic design that fits snugly to your hand to make eyeliner application easier.

Eyeshadow, Contour: Shade + Light Glimmer Eye Contour Palette ($73.00), and Shade + Light Contour Palette ($73.00) vs Love Contours All Palette ($38.00)

I have to merge Kat Von D’s eyeshadow and contour palettes with this one because for $38.00, you can get eyeshadows, contour swatches, and highlights in one palette! NYX’s Love Contours All Palette is an all-around beauty gem. It’s not only for contouring, but you can also use its colors for eyeshadows and highlights. It’s even convenient for travelling because you do not need to bring around two palettes (in this case, Kat Von D’s eye contour and contour palette). Love Contours All Palette is also highly pigmented as with Kat Von D’s. You can really say that it’s worth it!

Foundation: Lock-It Liquid Foundation ($56.00) vs Total Control Drop Foundation ($26.00)
For half the price, you can get the mattifying effect of KVD’s Lock-It Liquid Foundation through NYX’s Total Control Drop Foundation. It’s blendable and could adapt to Singapore’s humid weather. It is creamy so it is good for oily and combination skin. Its glass packaging is also ritzy for a drugstore makeup brand.

Powder: Lock-It Blotting Powder Compact ($45.00) vs No Filter Finishing Powder ($28.00)
NYX’s No Filter Finishing Powder can also deliver the matte, flawless finish you get from Kat Von D’s Lock-It Blotting Powder Compact. It makes your face so flawless that you wouldn’t need to edit your selfies. The good thing is, if you are too lazy to use foundation on some days, you can just use this as is and you are good to go!

Lips: Studded Kiss Creme Lipstick ($30.00) vs Soft Matte Lip Creme ($14.00), Cosmic Metals Lip Creme ($20.00), Butter Lipstick ($13.00)
KVD’s Studded Kiss Creme Lipstick is a collection of satin-matte, metallic, and shimmering lipsticks. If you are looking for a matte alternative, NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Creme is a favourite since it is non-drying and it would not transfer to glasses or to anything. If you want for a metallic lip creme, the Cosmic Metals Lip Creme can be a good alternative. For a creamy alternative for KVD’s glimmer, NYX’s Butter Lipstick is the go-to type.

NYX Professional Makeup has boutiques in Bugis Junction (#01-111), Plaza Singapura (#B1-36), and Westgate (#02-21).


   Mar 22

The Many Benefits of Reading Regularly

You may be part of the population who detests reading. We get it, sometimes reading can be really demanding and exhausting – but picking up the habit of reading every day contributes a lot to your overall well-being and state of mind. Think of it this way: whatever regular exercise does to the muscles, reading does to your mind.

The habit of reading doesn’t have to stop after you’ve earned your college degree. If anything, you must strive hard to be able to read at least some new piece of information on the daily. Here are some significant benefits of reading regularly:

Improved vocabulary
Who isn’t impressed by an eloquent person? The more you read on the daily, the more words you will be exposed to (some of which you may not even be familiar with). Sooner or later, they make their way into your daily vocabulary and there may be instances when you’d apply them in a real-life setting. Now that’s one way to impress your colleagues, and even your boss! Keep in mind that being well-spoken and articulate is an advantage in any profession.

Reduced Stress
Whatever issue you are facing now, in work or in your personal life, you just tend to lose the sense of worry once you immerse yourself in a great story. Reading takes your mind off your earthly woes even just for a moment. It gives you a break from all the stress that is surrounding you. Fiction and fantasy genres, particularly, can even transport you from one world to another. It drains away your pent-up frustrations and helps you relax.

Knowledge
As the adage goes, knowledge is power. If you pick up the habit of reading regularly, you somehow fill your mind with new pieces of information. You learn new things, which is handy especially in situations you least expect of. Learning doesn’t stop after you finish your formal education. There are different instances in life where you learn, and reading is only one of them. The more knowledgeable you are, the better you will be at tackling any challenges in the long run.

Improved concentration and focus
It is easy to get side-tracked nowadays with a mere Facebook notification or a newly released video game. However, if you read more often, you will learn how to focus on the story. You immerse yourself in every fine detail and even visualize the characters in your head. This improves your ability to focus. As a matter of fact, reading for at least 20 minutes before you head to work yields higher concentration as you get work-related tasks done.