Essential Gardening Tools for Beginners

Gardening is a fun and relaxing way to pass time at home no matter the size or location of your apartment in Singapore. It’s possible to create your own green space by utilizing the porch or by using window boxes to plant herbs and flowers.

To get started, you need some tools to maintain your garden.

For Small Gardens

Porch gardens do not need a lot of tools, instead, you will only need a hand trowel and a hori-hori knife for everything. However, if you have a bigger space and more plant varieties, you will need the following.

  1. Hand pruner will help make cutting easier. Pick a hand pruner that includes crossover blades and a safety catch.
  2. Hori-hori knife can be used for digging, transplanting, cutting, dividing, and many more.
  3. Hand rake is a smaller version of the long-handled rake and can be used as a tiller.
  4. Weeder is used to remove tough weeds, but this is optional since most porch gardens are usually weed-free.
  5. Scissors or shears made for gardening will help you trim hedges, herbs, and grasses.
  6. Hand trowel can be used to dig around corners in the plant boxes.

For Big Gardens

Bigger spaces mean more room for more types of plants, and therefore more gardening work. These are the basic items you will need for a big garden.

  1. Bow rake will help you to easily clean up debris and leaves.
  2. Round-headed shovel will make moving the dirt easier.
  3. Digging fork is used to dig on the earth below the garden surface to loosen and turn over the soil.
  4. Water hose will make watering plants easier without having to carry water from its source to another part of the house.
  5. Pruner will help you cut branches and shrubs in areas that are difficult to reach.
  6. Mattock is useful if you need to dig, loosen, and chop soil.
  7. Transplant spade looks like a shovel and can be used to dig holes for plants or moving dirt from one area to another.
  8. Water wand can be attached to a water hose to water plants.
  9. Digging bar is used to remove stumps and bulky roots easier.

For Your Protection

Don’t forget that you will be spending a lot of time exposing yourself to the elements while gardening, so wear these protective items while you’re outside.

  1. Gloves will keep your hands from thorns, insects, and splinters.
  2. Knee pads will protect your knees from the ground if you need to kneel while gardening.
  3. Gardening hat will protect your head from the heat of the sun. Purchase a hat that has a wide brim that will protect your neck and upper torso as well.
Gardening, Hobbies

A Quick Guide on How to Keep Your Gadgets Smudge-Free

Smudging isn’t the worst thing that can happen to your screen. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a major cause for worry – most of the time, all those smudges are caused by your skin’s natural oils sticking to the screen. However, as much as it’s completely natural, it can still be annoying to deal with especially when you need to look at photos and videos on your screen.

To keep your screens smudge-free, here are a few things you can start doing:

1.  Put it in your pants pocket

Aside from being a lot easier to reach when you need it, placing your phone in your pants pocket also rubs away the smudges every time you put it back in or take it out for any reason. All you need to do is be careful to avoid putting it in your back pocket, since it might break your phone when you sit on it.

2.  Use a screen protector

Another way to keep smudges away from your phone or tablet screen is by adding a screen protector, which is a transparent film in the same shape as the display screen of your phone or tablet. Though the screen protectors themselves can still be smudged, it’s much easier to remove them and replace. Some screens are even washable and can be reused multiple times.

3.  Use a stylus

Many devices today still come with pen-like devices used to press down on the screen of your phone or tablet. If you already have one, you can keep using it to keep the smudge on your screen to a minimum. You can even get one for your phone, or tablet on the cheap, though you might need to be careful since there is a good chance your screen won’t necessarily respond to the stylus.

Take care of your screen

Exercising care can make your gadgets last longer and keep it from smudging. For instance, if you carry your phone inside your bag, make sure to keep it in a separate sealed pocket where it can be free from any lint in the bottom of your bag. Using lint-free microfiber cloths, cotton swabs, and rubbing alcohol is another way to keep your screens clear, especially if other people use your phone or tablet regularly.

To clean your gadgets, you can start by damping the cloth with the rubbing alcohol before wiping your screen gently, and using the cotton swabs for the smaller nooks and crannies in your device. However, keep in mind that some devices like iPhones have an oil-repelling coating that rubbing alcohol can damage. If you do need to clean these types of gadgets, switch out the rubbing alcohol for a small amount of distilled water.

Gadgets, Tech Discussion

Myths and Facts About Skin Care

With so many choices of skin care products nowadays, it’s easy to get lost in it all. But most people forget that one skin care routine is not guaranteed to work for everyone.

Here are common myths about skin care that you should do away with.

Myth: Very clean skin is healthy

While daily washing is necessary to remove dirt and bacteria on your face, you should be careful not to scrub too much and use strong cosmetics just to make sure your face is squeaky clean. Harsh treatments will only make your skin dry. Moreover, if you have oily skin, the damage to your skin will cause it to produce more oil to compensate for the dryness.

Myth: A clean face and healthy diet prevents acne

Acne is not caused by poor hygiene nor does your choice of food affect oil production. Oily skin is oily regardless of what you eat or how much you wash. Your genes determine if you are going to get acne and oily skin, but improper use of skin care products can aggravate the inflammation and clog your pores.

Myth: Use the same skin products

Your skin care routine in the evening should be different from your routine in the morning. That’s because you have two different goals; in the morning, you need to protect your skin from UV rays, dirt, and harsh chemicals, while at night, you want to focus on removing your makeup and dirt to allow skin to breathe and regenerate. It’s better if you hydrate and protect your skin in the morning, then clean and regenerate at night.

Myth: Natural products are the best for you

Not necessarily true, because the effectivity of the product depends on your skin type. You must pick based on the following categories: normal, oily, dry, sensitive, and combination types. If you have no idea what your skin type is, try to place a blotting paper on the T-area of your face and observe how much oil is visible. Pick products that have the label for your specific skin type. Besides, some natural or organic products are not properly regulated and more expensive than mainstream brands.

Myth: I have dark skin so I don’t need sunblock

Prolonged exposure to sunlight will cause sunburns, premature aging, and cancer regardless of your skin color. Even prolonged exposure to tanning beds increase the risk of cancer. If you are unsure which type of sunblock to use, look for broad spectrum sunblock that has at least an SPF of 15.

Myth: Antioxidants reverse aging If you already have wrinkles and sun damage, using more products with antioxidants will not make a difference. The best way to avoid obvious signs of aging is to protect it from sunlight, dirt, and harmful chemicals. Stay hydrated and use skin care products wisely.

Beauty Tips, Uncategorized

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4 Basic Items that Any First Aid Kit Should Always Have

Minor scrapes, burns, grazes, and cuts are only a small part of the whole package of being alive. However, nothing is perhaps more frustrating than having to dress a wound or bandage a burn only to find out that you don’t have the proper items to do so.

Whether or not you have kids, having a first-aid kit is a must-have in any home anywhere in the world, Singapore or otherwise. And because first-aid kits often make a huge difference in keeping otherwise minor scrapes from becoming bigger problems, here are the items that any kit should always have:

1. Band-Aids/bandages/gauze – Cuts, burns, and scrapes will need to be treated and dressed properly to avoid being exposed and possibly infected. Topical antibiotics are also a welcome addition for sterilizing, and hand sanitizer and gloves can come in handy in treating wounds.  

In the off-chance that you need to make an emergency splint for a broken limb, having bandages would really come in handy.

2. Scissors, tweezers – Different situations would require different things to handle them. For some wounds that have debris stuck in them (e.g. broken glass, gravel), not only will you be needing scissors to cut off clothing and pieces of dressing, but also tweezers to remove debris.

You can also use tweezers to remove splinters and insect stings (but special splinter extractors can do the trick just as nicely – be sure to ask your pharmacist!).

3. Thermometer/Cold Pack – These two items should come together, and are really useful for helping someone who has a fever in the house. Depending on the case of fever, over-the-counter fever medication, lots of rest, and water could help decrease the body temperature.

Cold packs also come in handy for insect bites, minor burns, and sprains as it reduces the swelling.  

4. Splint – Even though accidents rarely happen, they still do. Broken or sprained limbs can be the result of strenuous physical activity, and may need immediate medical attention. Already having a splint that you can use to immobilize a limb is more convenient than having to make one yourself.

Splints immobilize sprained or broken limbs or even a person’s spine in certain instances. The difference between a splint a cast is that a splint is “non-circumferential” (it doesn’t go all the way around the limb), where the cast goes all the way and encases the limb.

Always be sure to choose a brightly-colored container or plastic bag that can be easily identified. Place it somewhere in the house where only adults can access it and small children can’t (preferably, placing it on the top shelf on a central location in the house).


The Key Benefits of Eating More Spicy Foods (You Never Knew Existed)

Many people from different cultures and backgrounds from all around the world, especially in Singapore, for different reasons. The biggest reason for this is because of the thrill that comes with eating something spicy.

However, there’s even all the more reason to indulge in spicy food (if you haven’t already). It may not be an elixir of immortality, but eating spicy food at least once a day can certainly help you live longer overall. Here are some of the reasons why:  

1. They may reduce your risk of cancer.

Capsaicin, the chemical naturally found in peppers that triggers spiciness, has been found to activate certain cell receptors in your intestinal lining, which could reduce the risk of developing tumors later in life.

Other types of spices can help fight cancer as well: for instance, turmeric can actively help your body fight leukemic cells, and black pepper can increase your body’s resistance to forming tumors.

2. They can help you lose weight.

Capsaicin is a fat- and alcohol-soluble chemical, which is likely to be the reason why it has been observed to help burn stored calories. It has also been found to increase metabolism and counter the process known as metabolic decline.

Another health benefit related to losing weight is that capsaicin lowers blood pressure. This is because it signals the release of neuropeptides in the brain, which have two different effects: they induce the burning sensation, but also; they signal a reduction in blood pressure.

3. Spicy food boosts your mood in general.

Eating spicy foods has been found to make the brain release more neurochemicals (e.g. endorphins, serotonin) that make you feel happier. It has even been found to increase activity in your cerebral opioid system, which is responsible for bringing out a feeling of euphoria.

These in turn can help fight depression and anxiety in the long run, which can greatly improve your mental health. 

4. Capsaicin does wonders to relieve pain.

Eating spicy foods may cause temporary pain in your taste buds. However, when applied topically, it can make the pain go away instead. Capsaicin is in fact an important component in topical creams and patches that ironically numbs the pain by producing an intense burning sensation.

Chili peppers are not the only spicy food available that has amazing health benefits – in fact, almost every spice you find in dishes has their own health benefits.

For instance, ginseng has been linked to weight loss and lowering your risk of diabetes, and cinnamon, black pepper, and mustard speed up your metabolism by lowering your blood sugar and burning calories.


Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with These Simple Tips

Whether you’re poring over spreadsheets, typing out a word document, or even using tools, it’s almost guaranteed that you will spend a lot of time moving your hands and wrists repetitively.

By exerting too much force on your hands and wrists, you may end up straining them and start feeling numbness or a tingling sensation. These symptoms can develop over time and cause pain in your wrists.

This is known as carpal tunnel syndrome, and when left untreated, this pain can progress and cause permanent damage to your hands.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you can avoid it with these simple tips:

1. Take a break
Relax your wrists every two to three hours and stretch them out. If you’re performing activities where you move your hands repetitively for long periods of time, make sure you bend them both forwards and backwards.

You should also try switching hands when doing intensive and repetitive tasks. Alternating them between tasks will help take off the strain from prolonged periods of use.

2. Adjust your hands
There’s a good chance that you’re using more force with your hands than what’s needed, especially when you’re doing tasks repetitively. Try to spread out the pressure evenly throughout your whole arm.

You also want to keep your wrist straight or slightly bent. Bending them too much while doing tasks increases the strain in your wrist, which also makes you more likely to strain your wrist’s carpal tunnel.

3. Watch your posture
While you want to keep an eye on how your hands and wrists are positioned, it’s also important that you pay attention to your posture. This is because your shoulders’ positioning will affect how you position your hands.

If you sit in front of a computer for long periods of time, be sure to sit straight and keep your shoulders back.
This is because when your shoulders are rolled forward, your neck muscles shorten, which compresses your neck nerves. This in turn affects everything down your arms, from your wrists to your fingers.

4. Do some hand exercises
Exercise helps strengthens your wrist muscles and prevents the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, and five minutes a day doing hand and wrist exercises makes a big difference in curbing your chances of getting it.

5. Wear a splint
When you’re at rest, a splint keeps your hands neutral and minimizes any additional strain throughout the whole day.

Wrist splints come in different types and are designed to suit different wrist conditions and different types of hands. The extra support and stability also makes it wearable during the day while still allowing normal functions, such as typing.

General Health