Overview of the Dry-Cleaning Process

How is dry cleaning different from the handwashing and machine-washing? Let’s look at the process used in most commercial laundry services in Singapore that uses dry cleaning.

Fabrics for Dry Cleaning
If you’re an employee or a student living in an apartment in Singapore with no space for your own washing machine, you might want to opt for uniform laundry from a laundry delivery shop with dry cleaning services. What makes dry cleaning better than washing with detergent and water is that it works for a variety of fabrics, especially those that are not supposed to be exposed to water. Fabrics that can be dry-cleaned include cotton, linen, acetate, silk, wool, velvet, taffeta, cashmere, polyester, and nylon. This means that dry cleaning can be a better option for cleaning expensive dresses, suits, uniform laundry, and towel washing.

Commercial laundry services sometimes use warm or hot water to remove stains, but dry cleaning can effectively remove stain from almost any fabric without resorting to that and consequently damaging the clothing. This make dry cleaning a perfect option for cleaning hotel laundry, laundry for spa, and restaurant laundry. If you’re worried about the colors coming off from the fabric, ask the commercial quick wash and iron service personnel in Singapore about a colorfastness test on some of the delicate fabrics. Don’t worry though, because the laundry service staff will be able to tell you which items safely dry cleaned and which ones can be might be suited for other cleaning methods

Dry Cleaning Solvent
Most laundry delivery shops that wash and fold your items for you use the perchloroethylene or perc dry cleaning solvent. This is the most common solvent in most laundry service shops in Singapore, but there are also other alternatives such as petroleum spirits and trichloroethane. The use of these chemicals is precisely why it’s better to choose a laundry pick up service such as www.laundryfirst.sg than do dry cleaning at home. Perc is a toxic chemical that has specific disposal methods which can only be handled by commercial businesses like laundry pick up services and 24 hour laundry shops.

Out of nine known dry cleaning solvents, perc is still the most effective choice for removing various stains and can cause minimal damage on the fabrics and accessories. It also is the most stable, less toxic, and recyclable of all the solvents.

Dry Cleaning Process
The dry cleaning machine used in most commercial laundry services have four basic parts; base tank, pump, filter, and cylinder.

When the clothes are pre-treated and then loaded in the cylinder, the pump circulates the solvent so that the filters can trap all the solid debris from the fabrics. The filtered solvent is then drained once it has trapped the dirt from the clothes and then sent to the base tank. After cleaning, the extraction of excess solvent begins before the clothes are dried in the same machine or transferred to a drier. Excess solvent is removed using heat and when in liquid form, pumped back to the base tank.

Laundry Care

7 Ways You’re Cooking Your Pasta the Wrong Way

Cooking pasta is easy—just dump heaps of hard noodles into boiling water and wait until they are soft, right? Wrong! Surprisingly, there are many common ways people are ruining their pasta dishes, and we referred to a number of chefs to debunk them all.

1. You do not salt the water
You need to add salt into the water in order for the pasta to have its own taste once it is combined with the sauce. But if the person you are cooking for is in low-sodium diet, you can skip salting the pasta and let each person sprinkle some salt on their own plate. Ideally, however, you should salt the water as soon as it starts to tremble before putting in the noodles.

2. You are putting oil in the water
According to most chefs we’ve asked, oil isn’t necessary when cooking the pasta. Even if you completely drain the water out, the pasta is still left with a coat of oil, preventing the sauce from sticking to it later on.

3. You rinse the pasta
People rinse their pasta with cold water in order to stop the cooking. However, when you do the rinsing, you are also washing the starch off the pasta. Like putting oil in boiling water, rinsing off the starch will only make the sauce to slip and slide off the pasta, also causing the flavors to not combine very well.

4. You mix a bit of pasta water with the sauce
If you think the sauce needs more thinning, then go mix in a bit of pasta water. But remember that the drained pasta will still retain a bit of water on it, which should be enough to dilute the sauce.

5. You freeze and defrost the leftover pasta
Fresh pasta freezes well, but do not thaw it to cook it. You can cook it directly even if it’s still frozen; you won’t really notice the difference. But if you thaw it after it is frozen, might as well throw it away. The water crystals will cause the dough to get soggy when cooked.

6. Leaving the pasta in the colander for too long
Once the pasta is done cooking, you should add them to the sauce immediately after draining. The longer it is left in the colander, the more it will stick together and the more likely that the sauce won’t get evenly distributed on the pasta.

7. You’re not stirring the pasta as soon as it gets into the water
The first two to three minutes of cooking is the most crucial part to ensure that the pasta won’t stick together. So, completely submerge your hard pasta into the boiling water as quickly as you can and get stirring right away.

Correctly cooked pasta can serve as a beautiful base to many different dishes. Hopefully, these tips will help you make your next pasta recipe an unforgettable meal… for good reasons.

Cooking Tips

4 Common Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

Solo travelling has become more prevalent in today’s generation. With our hectic day-to-day lives and having to deal with different people on a regular basis, solo travel could be the antidote to how busy we are every day.
To make the most of your alone time, get acquainted with the most common solo travellers’ mistakes and make sure not to fall into these traps.

1. Expecting to save a lot by staying at hostels
Backpackers know very well that hostels offer a good selection of affordable private rooms in a well-located area of the city. However, many hostels usually quote nightly rates per person, instead of per room. If the room can hold two customer s, you will be billed for two persons.

Some tourists find this pricing structure opportunistic, but try to view it in the business owner’s perspective, who only wants to maximize limited space for the business to survive. There are times though that paying double will still save you money. Just do not expect to get the same amount of savings a couple can achieve.

2. Ignoring danger warning signs
The area of your prospect accommodation may look perfectly safe in broad daylight, but may become dodgy at night. Are you sure you want to book a night in that location?

Danger warnings are sometimes inaccurate. It could be that the warning is outdated. But just to make sure, err on the safe side. These safety warnings are even more important for solo travellers. Criminals prey on someone who is alone, and tend to ignore those who appear to travel in groups. Therefore, it is best to avoid spots with warning signs and blend in the crowd as much as possible.

3. Scheduling a flight early in the morning or late at night
Flights scheduled during inconvenient times of the day are usually priced cheaper. Since you are looking for a budget flight, you will likely get one of these flights and find yourself landing at night in an unfamiliar place. Similarly, you would be out in the streets three in the morning to catch your 5 a.m. flight.

You can be a target when wandering around with a luggage. Avoid these flight schedules or at least make an arrangement with a reliable person to escort you to the airport. Everybody wants extra savings, but being robbed will only negate the benefit of your airfare savings.

4. Skimping on planning the activities to do alone
It is your only time to enjoy your own company. Even if you have met new friends, there are still activities better done alone. These might be activities that relate to your interests than not everyone appreciates, such as an extended time in an art museum, or physically demanding activities like surfing lessons.

Enjoy the rare times of being alone. It is not every day that you get to spend a lot of your time for yourself. If given the chance, make the most of it and make sure not to waste any on these common solo-travel mistakes.


How Modern Clocks Work

Timekeeping has been practiced since the dawn of civilization. We needed it to keep track of the seasons and to record important events. People employed many ways to do that such as sundials, observatories and ancient calendars. Today, we use wristwatches, wall clocks and electronic clocks on our gadgets to keep time.

When you buy watches in Singapore for your collection, you will notice that clocks are classified in different ways. Let’s look at the different clocks based on the mechanism used.

Mechanical Clocks
The mechanical clock has a pendulum or a balance wheel that is in constant motion to help move the the hands on the clock. It’s not the pendulum that is counting the hours for you, but its motion regulates the turning of the gears and these gears in turn display the number of minutes and hours that it counted according to the consistent movement of the pendulum.

Atomic Clocks
The atomic clock is considered the most accurate type of clock today. It measures the interval of the change of the caesium -133 atom. The oscillations in the atoms replace the movement of the pendulum in a mechanical clock. It was designed to precisely measure the length of a second. There are three types of atomic clocks including the caesium clock as well as the hydrogen and rubidium atomic clocks.

Electric Clocks
Some electric clocks use electricity as its primary source or the electricity is used as an oscillator. There are 7 types of electric clocks that have different mechanisms such as electric remontoire, electromechanical, synchronous, electromagnetic, quartz, tuning fork, and radio-controlled clocks. As long as the power supply is constant, the clock can keep an accurate time.

Radio Clocks
Radio clocks, sometimes called radio-controlled clocks, keep time by receiving information from a transmitter. It’s essentially a radio with a display. Radio clocks function with the help of an atomic clock from which the signal is transmitted. The radio clock automatically synchronizes with the information it receives. That doesn’t mean it will stop showing the time when it doesn’t receive a signal. It still has a base oscillator to keep track of time.

Crystal Clocks
The crystal clocks use a crystal oscillator instead of a pendulum. It utilizes the mechanical resonance of the crystal which in turn creates an electrical signal. By that definition, crystal clocks can be considered a type of electric clock. The electrical signal has a frequency which is the measurement used to tell the time. The crystals must be a type of piezoelectric material such as the quartz and polycrystalline ceramics. Quartz is the ideal choice, however, because its resonance is constant.

Interior Design

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body dysmorphic disorder is not a well-known disease, but it does exist. Most of the people affected by this might also be suffering from eating disorders. So how does it differ from insecurity, low confidence and the lack of satisfaction of one’s appearance?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Called BDD, body dysmorphic disorder is characterized by the persistent feeling and thoughts of an imagined or real but slight physical defect. BDD is a type of body-image disorder in which a person dislikes one or more parts of his or her body. When other people tell them that there is nothing wrong with them, the person finds it difficult to believe because he or she sees a significant defect. It will impair the person’s social skills and daily routine because of the feeling of distress. There is no clear cause of BDD, but psychologists point to genetic predisposition, environment and life experiences as triggering factors.

Symptoms of BDD
People suffering from BDD cannot control their emotions. No matter what people tell them, they will not believe that the flaw they see is insignificant or doesn’t exist. They tend to isolate themselves and even opt for cosmetic surgery to correct the defects. Others suffer from a form of compulsive behavior to hide their imperfections. Those who are affected may have had a history of OCD, anxiety, social phobia and eating disorders. The following are often observed in people with BDD:

1. Feeling of anxiety when they are with people
2. Secretive and doesn’t want to ask for help
3. Excessive grooming to conceal the defect
4. Feeling distressed about a particular part of their body
5. Excessive workouts or exercise
6. Obsessed with picking the right clothes
7. Frequently checks the mirror or avoids it altogether
8. Often compares his or her body to others
9. He or she is open to or is actively seeking cosmetic surgery
10. Camouflages the imagined or slight flaws with makeup, clothing, and body positions

Treatment of BDD
It’s important to seek help for the person affected by BDD. Often, they are ashamed of asking for help themselves because they don’t want other people to think that they are vain. Yet they will go to such lengths as changing their appearance by constantly dieting, exercising and even paying for cosmetic surgery. In extreme cases, people ask for a body part to be removed.

Before a person is treated, the psychiatrist will ask several questions to determine how the condition has affected the life of the patient. The severity of the condition will determine the course of action that needs to be taken. Treatment of BDD may involve cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT sometimes alongside medication for severe cases. The primary type of medication that will be prescribed is an antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI.

Health and Wellness

How to Increase Your Work Productivity Any Day of the Week

A 5-day workweek is bound to get employees restless by Friday. In 2012, The Comprehensive Labor Force Survey found out that Singapore had a standard 44-hour working week, with the maximum being 48 hours. These long work hours are notorious for causing us fatigue and stress, and sometimes it also decreases our productivity levels.

Not that we do not get work done, though. While we all have our productive days at the office, the breather we get over weekends cannot really do as much. If anything, it makes our Monday mornings more difficult as we prepare ourselves for work both physically and mentally.

In order to address this, we must learn how to improve our productivity regardless of what day is it in the week. The key here is to have a mindset which disregards slacking off on Fridays (TGIF, anyone?) or get too distracted by your hatred over Mondays instead of using the time to start working on your summary report.

Productivity Patterns
Understanding productivity patterns during your entire work week enables you to plan your work more accordingly. Each of us has different work routines, and if you begin to be aware more of yours you are likely to get more work done at specific times conducive for your personal work efficiency.

The thing is, Fridays aren’t meant for slacking off in the office. Regardless of how tempting it is, take it as another workday for you to give it your all. It isn’t too long until the weekend, anyway. Wednesday is also regarded as the best day for work productivity — but that doesn’t mean you should save all your projects and get started only on Wednesdays.

So how can you improve your work productivity?
• Begin on challenging tasks before lunch
Sometimes, we are far too inclined to put off our most challenging tasks only to forget doing them in the end and disregard their urgency. Remember that putting it off any longer will only make the task more difficult to do. It is encouraged you begin working on them before lunch because this is the ideal time you’re not fatigued from all the activities of the day.

• Prioritize your urgent tasks
If your boss asks you to do an urgent task, prioritize doing it as soon as possible. Even if it falls on a Friday, you can still get work done even if it is not the best day for starting on new projects. Important projects must be done earlier in the week, when you are still on your best mental capacity without pent-up workweek fatigue. Save your general administrative to-dos and other quick tasks at the end of the week.

• Work on a project strategically
With that in mind, working on a new project on a Friday is unlikely to yield the most productive results. Take into account the mental bandwidth starting something new requires. You and your colleagues are likely to be drained before the weekend. It is still best to work on it at the beginning of the week, where everyone in the team is expected to collaborate better.

Work Tips

5 Great TV Shows to Binge-Watch for Your Next Stay-at-Home Weekend

Being stuck home for the weekend doesn’t have to be that much of a bad thing. Aside from the freedom to sleep in and wake up whenever you want, this gives you the perfect time to binge-watch some great television shows lately on various streaming services. (Netflix and chill at home?)

Don’t worry about the time you’ll spend over finishing each of the seasons. There are some TV shows you can easily finish in a matter of days. Best prepare tons of popcorn at home and buckle up for your next cinematic adventure!

1. Stranger Things
This horror series takes you back to 1980’s, which is a great trip down memory lane. The first season is composed of eight episodes you can easily binge-watch the whole day long. With its brilliant storytelling combined with mystical elements such as monsters like the Demogorgon and an alternate universe called as the upside down, it is inevitable to get hooked after the first season.

2. A Series of Unfortunate Events
Lemony Snicket’s book series has about 13 volumes, but thanks to its television adaptation you can get through the first four parts in a single binge-watching session. Dig into the plight of the Baudelaire children and join them as they embark on an amazing investigative journey and face setbacks in the process. This particular adaptation is composed of a renowned ensemble cast and is suitable for kids and adult audiences alike.

3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Set in the New York Police Department’s 99th precinct, follow the adventures and misadventures of peculiar yet talented detective Jake Peralta together with this team. This show is guaranteed to make you laugh with its witty screenplay and amazing delivery. Some of the characters are relatable, and you might find some scenes familiar and close to heart because of its mundane day-to-day work setting. Perfect for your next binge-watch plans over the weekend!

4. Riverdale
If you were fond of reading the Archie comics while growing up, this TV show is perfect for you! Riverdale is a crime-mystery drama which takes a subversive and dark interpretation on Archie and the rest of his gang. Each episode unfolds crucial information and events relating to the crime of Jason Blossom’s death, of which also explores the reality of small town life and reveals the eerie darkness lurking beneath the series’ wholesome facade.

SKAM has gotten fans across the globe hooked because of its realistic and truly relatable content. It follows the lives of teenagers in Norway with each season focusing on a particular character’s life. With each of their stories, different life lessons are conveyed to the audience which makes you pause and reflect. The format is original and refreshing, the acting of the cast is commendable, and the soundtrack just perfectly fits. See it for yourself and let us know what you think.


How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions this 2018

Now that 2017 is drawing to a close and New Year is just around the corner, you’ve most likely decided to make the New Year a new you.

Though keeping track of progress in certain aspects in your life can be hard, your year will be a much better one if your promises stick all year. Here are a few tips to get you started on your resolutions:

1. Keep your resolutions reasonable
All progress starts with one small step with the determination to make it go a long way, and the surest way for your resolution to fail is to have one that’s really hard to keep in the first place.

Start with a more reasonable resolution that’s easy to keep. For instance, if your resolution is to get healthy by avoiding your favorite food, you can keep it by switching to a new favorite food that’s much healthier instead of having to resist the urge to eat it every time.

2. Make your resolutions a habit
Habits can be difficult to change, especially if they happen to be bad habits, and they don’t often change overnight.

The trick to making your resolutions stick is by treating your resolutions as if they are habits that you intend to make. Over time, make it a point to overshadow these old habits with the new ones. For example, instead of eating out, you can make your favorite dishes at home.

3. Keep a “pros” and “cons” list
Another way to keep track of your new year’s resolutions is by writing them down. You can start with a few items on paper that you can regularly consult to stay motivated in your resolution.

From these few items, you can expand your list into a time-frame, which will be a great physical reminder. A detailed outline of your resolutions could even become a scrapbook, complete with motivational pictures that you can be sure will spur you into action.

4. Keep a schedule
As early as now, start making a timeline of the changes you want in your lifestyle. Deadlines should be set in regular intervals that you can easily keep, and take the steps to meet the deadlines for those changes.

Rewarding your progress is an important part of keeping your resolutions, and each small accomplishment should be a stepping stone for bigger achievements in your planner. Treating yourself for every milestone will help you stay motivated and stay on track.

If you veer off schedule, don’t beat yourself up over it. Perfection is unattainable – at least, on the first try. Minor missteps will inevitably happen, but the important thing is that you’re able to pick yourself up again.


5 Important Things You Should Have in Your Carry-on Bag at All Times

Having only your carry-on luggage bag with you on your journey makes the whole experience much easier in a lot of ways. Not only is it because the airline or airport terminal can get your luggage lost at any time, but it also gives you the benefit of not being weighed down with additional luggage.

Apart from your IDs, passport, money, and anything else of monetary value that you should always have with you on your person, here are a few more things you should always have in your carry-on at all times:

1. Lightweight Clothing
Apart from the towel and underwear (enough to last you the whole trip), a few extra changes of clothes should always be given room. Put them in your bag in the following order: pants, shirts, jacket.

You can skip the shoes unless you really need to dress a certain way where you’re headed. As much as possible, stick with just the one you’re wearing and bring clothes that will match it.

2. Toiletries
All your personal hygiene products, from your toothbrush, soap, shampoo, and deodorant, to your facial and hair care products should go in a separate bag for easy access. If you have to carry these in your luggage, have a mini-toiletry bag in your carry-on just in case.

3. Umbrella
Weather forecasts can either be your best friend or your worst enemy, and being unprepared (and soaking wet from the rain) will get you into a lot of problems in your trip later on. Remember to check the weather and be hopeful that you’ll never have to use it.

4. First-Aid Kit
You’ll never know if you will graze yourself by accident or feel a little under the weather in the middle of your trip, so it’s best to be prepared.

This mini first-aid kit should not just bandages, gauze, and adhesives, but also pain and fever relievers, cold and laxative medicines, antibacterial ointments, sunburn cream or moisturizer, insect repellant lotion, eye drops, and multivitamins.

Hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol is another thing that you should always remember to pack, though the amount you can bring in your carry-on may be limited depending on airport security guidelines.

5. Adapters (And Things to Make You Feel Comfortable)
If you think it’s going to be a long trip, have your electronics and gadgets fully charged in advance. It also doesn’t hurt to spare some room in your bag for your travel journal (pen included!) or anything that you think would help you kill the time.

Getting information on the place that you’re going is important, which makes travel guides another thing that should be in your carry-on if asking people around for directions isn’t exactly your cup of tea.


Trademarking Principles Every Start-Up Should Know

Having a unique trademark is important for any business, but securing your own name or brand can be tricky and challenging. With multiple companies fighting over common words, it is no surprise start-up businesses in Singapore are very much eager to snag their own name.

However, if you are just starting out, trademark registration is probably not on your priority list. Keeping the following principles in mind will lead you to the right path.

1. Active use of brand name is essential

If you are new to trademark registration, you may be thinking that you need to register trademark before you’re allowed to use it and that the obtained registration law will protect your brand while you are building your name in the industry.

While this sounds more practical, it actually works backwards. You should use your name in commerce to establish your rights to claim it afterwards. If you are the first one to use the name and your business uses it actively, you get a ‘common law’ trademarking rights for your name—logo or mark—even if it is not your registered mark yet.

If you have unique trademark for your products that does not break anyone else’s trademark rights, use it as early as possible to establish your rights to your chosen brand with brand mark from Singapore to help you register it. Widespread and active use will protect your business against infringement even before you are able to register your trademark. In fact, active use of name is an imperative part of getting your register TM approved. Basically, you need to use the mark first, before it will be approved for registration.

2. Competitors do not need to register their name

Just like not needing to register your mark, your competitor also does not need to do the same if you happen to have the same mark, regardless of whether it is already registered by another company or not. If a bigger company has already register trademark, it would be best to move on to another option.

3. Stay within the same industry

If you’re just starting up, the only competitors you have to think about are those in the same industry. It is very unlikely that consumers confuse a food product with a laptop, so there’s no need to worry about infringement of intellectual property from a food company if you are using a tech term as your brand name or mark.

4. Research is key

Assuming you have already picked a name for your business, the next step to do is to research whether it is taken or not. A simple search on Google will give you an idea of the active companies using the same name.

Afterwards, depending on where you plan to expand in the future—whether you want to stay in Singapore or go international—you need to ensure that you are covered. So, search for the name you want to register in regional and international databases. Go for a subjective name or mark rather than going for a descriptive one, as it tends to give more value to your business.

5. Expired trademarks are not ideal

Have you ever wondered how businesses like Layer and Nest were able to register one-word trademarks? All you need to do is to look through expired trademarks or trademarks that were not registered in your category. However, be careful when picking a name from expired trademarks. Business owners did not renew them for a reason; perhaps, because of bad reputation or unwanted associations. To make sure you are getting a good name, again, research is the key.

6. Your trademark should be unique

You cannot trademark every product name, even if you have established every name. A generic name or a common descriptive trademark may work for some smaller business, but you should understand that you cannot register a generic term. “The Computer Repair Shop” is not original enough to be registered as a company trademark. As a start-up company that aims to expand, this is an especially important consideration when picking a name for trademark registration.

While a local repair shop operates just fine with such common name without official trademark, bigger companies would take the extra steps to protecting their intellectual property.

7. Your lawyer is your best friend

If you think you can handle everything about trademark registration on your own, think again. You need to be legally knowledgeable to protect your name.

Having a lawyer do a thorough research nationally and/or internationally will help you determine if you can gain the rights to use your mark, and more importantly, proceed on making the steps to secure it.

8. It’s your job to keep it protected

Do not tolerate copycats, and make the extra effort to find them. As the owner of the registered mark, it is your responsibility to keep your rights protected and take the necessary actions to prevent others from destroying your name and reputation.

The counter actions you can do against the person or business are stated in the law. If you believe that the consumers are misled by an infringer, there are certain actions you can take. If you believe your rights are breached, seek for the advice of your lawyer for the necessary counter actions to make.

Keeping in mind these tips will help any start-up protect their name against theft, copying and illegal use of their brand name or mark. Additionally, your business will be protected from infringement lawsuit from other companies for both intentional and unintentional use of their names.

Business Talk in Singapore