How to Spice Up Your Cup of Tea

Green tea combines the best of both worlds – it’s good for your health and it tastes great. But even the healthiest and tastiest of beverages can get a little boring when consumed regularly. To keep that from happening, here are some ingredients that you can use to spruce up your cup of tea.

1. Ginger
Ginger offers a calming effect on the digestive system. If you have an upset or sour stomach, simply adding some fresh ginger will help in settling it. Moreover, it’ll also add a slightly spicy and fresh flavour to your usual cup of green tea.

2. Agave
Agave is an excellent alternative to sugar. It’s very sweet though – in fact, it’s sweeter than sugar – so be careful to not put too much on your drink.

3. Bourbon
Although we wouldn’t recommend adding it to your morning tea, it can be a great addition to your night-time adult tea. Apart from giving your cup of tea its much needed kick, bourbon can also work as a good cough suppressant when you’ll feel congested in the upcoming months.

4. Cinnamon
Thinking of heating up your tea even more? If so, then add some cinnamon to your favourite drink. It’ll turn the drink’s bitter taste into a palatable, spicy taste that will certainly help in getting your blood flowing.

5. Honey
Honey is one of the classic tea additive. Its sweetness transforms its bitter taste into something tasty – and it’s also perfect for soothing your itchy throat.

6. Lemon
Lemon is loaded with flavour. All you’ve got to do is squeeze a bit of lemon juice on your tea to freshen up its flavour with some major citrus spikes. Plus, it also has vitamin C for that extra burst you need every morning.

7. Milk
Black tea without any milk is just unfathomable to me. A bit of milk will make any tea silkier, smoother, tastier and much more enjoyable.

8. Peppermint
Into simple yet strong flavours? Then get your hands on some peppermint leaves, squeeze them using your fingers to release its fresh scent, and drop them in your mug to enjoy a mug of steaming green tea.

Spicing up your cup of tea isn’t as difficult as you think. Simply adding any of the aforementioned ingredients to your drink will already help in making your tea much healthier and tastier.

Digital Detox: 4 Lessons You Will Learn After a Social Media Detox

Undergoing a social media detox has benefits to it, as well as a few hiccups. Yet, there are certainly lessons to be learned when you do something this drastic (in the 21st century, of course). Here are a few insights that you’ll possibly gain after a year of living without Instagram or Facebook. Do note though, that some of them are best gained truly disconnecting yourself.

1. You discover the need to be more proactive about your happiness.
For some of us, repeating to ourselves that we’re happy with our life isn’t enough. Most of us know that we’re only convincing ourselves to think that way, which often leads us to feel much worse. It becomes crucial for us to do what we can for our own sanity and happiness – even if it means logging off your Facebook account for weeks to avoid photos and toxic posts that may trigger negativity. Don’t think that you’re weak just because you’re affected by these things. In fact, doing something about it only means you’re strong and capable enough to take charge of your own happiness.

2. Comparing yourself with someone can be a bad and good thing.
As what Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This is why deactivating our social media accounts helps us to be happier. Through this, we get to avoid comparing ourselves since we’re no longer keeping track of our peers’ accomplishments. However, it is argued that comparisons aren’t entirely a bad thing. It’s not something that we should completely stop doing since it also pushes us to do better and achieve more. Plus, it also makes us knowledgeable and interested in things that are not in our immediate circle.

3. You have so much time to improve yourself.
All the time you spend stalking and feeling bad about yourself is the time you could’ve spent doing something to improve yourself. That said, if you already figured out your goals and just got distracted by spending time on social media, then you are more likely to become more productive and get things done when you deactivate your accounts over a period of time.

4. There are a lot of people who actually care for you.
After detoxing from social media, you’ll realize that there are actually a lot of people who care about you. Since it’s more difficult to reach you without a Facebook account, they’ll ask you how you are and what you’ve been up to. You may also find yourself genuinely interested about what other people are up to and how they’re doing, which some no longer feel often since social media presents everything out for us online.
Disconnecting from social media certainly offers a lot of benefits. So be sure to do a digital and social media detox every once in a while, so you get to live the moment and enjoy your life more.

Proper Storage of DSLR Camera and Accessories

As a general rule, your camera and its accessories should have a separate storage space. It must be kept away from extreme heat or cold, moisture and flammable items.

Here are more tips on how to store your camera and its other accessories.

Camera Body

When not in use, remove the lens from the camera and place it in a bag or storage box to keep it away from dirt, dust, moisture and other elements. Remove other accessories as well like the batteries and memory card. Replace the cap after your remove the lens.

Take special care when storing the items for long. Make sure that it is not near computer monitors or any other appliance and gadget with strong electromagnetic field. It can damage the LCD. The storage should have a tight cover and must be kept away from children and pets. Place a desiccant in the storage to keep it from moisture which can cause mildew to grow on the screen.

Lenses

Always remove the lenses and place the lens caps (one at the back and one at the front) back on before storing them. Check for dirt or damages before placing them in a bag or storage box. Never place them lens down. If you have multiple compartments in your bag, place one lens in each section to avoid friction with other lenses.

Besides dirt and scratches, you have to take special care not to expose your lenses to moisture. As already mentioned, they can cause mildew to grow and are very difficult to remove. You must also have a camera cleaning kit ready. You can buy these at stores. Cleaning kits usually come with a small bulb blower, spray formula, lint-free cloth and a brush.

Filters add extra protection to your lenses so use them often. They use the same cleaning process as the lenses.

Others

If you love to travel and take your camera with you all the time, it’s important to have a camera bag or case. A hard case is recommended if you have to travel long distances. Pick one that is padded and has compartments so that you can organize the accessories. Filters can be placed in the pouches or boxes they came with when you purchased them or you can arrange them in one compartment in your bag.

Always carry the battery, charger, memory card and flash. Remove them after using and place them in one of the compartments. If you need to take landscape photos, you should also bring a tripod. They come in various sizes and are portable. Some sizes can fit in a drawstring bag.

It’s also recommended to check the equipment from time to time to make sure it’s working properly especially if they have to stay in the storage for a long time.

6 Psychological Hacks to Make Interacting Easier

For some, communicating and dealing with people is quite challenging. Whether it is work-related or for pleasure, it’s important to know a few psychological hacks to make interactions run smoother. These tricks aren’t intended to be used as ways to manipulate people to work in your terms, but simply for improving your relationship with the people around you.

1. Remember names to easily make friends

If you want to make friends and be a more likeable person, make an effort to remember names people’s first names. A person instantly feels special when someone calls them by their first name.

2. Look into a person’s eyes when getting an unsure answer

Sometimes, we find answers unconvincing or non-understandable. Rather than repeating the question and still getting the same answer, look into the person’s eyes for a little while after hearing his answer. It will make them feel cornered, and will force them to explain further their answer.

3. Scribble your thoughts when feeling anxious or stressed

At some point, we feel mentally anxious and stress. To ease your thoughts, write down what makes you anxious in a notebook or journal. You’ll be able to get back on track easily because it feels like you’ve shared your worries with someone else.


4. Proper posture will boost your confidence

This may just be psychological, but it can significantly improve your personal life and even your career. You’re asking how to feel and look more confident? Start with your posture. If you let yourself take more space, you’ll likely feel more confident.

5. Sit closer to the aggressor when you know you’ll be attacked

If you are headed towards a meeting and you know there’s a possibility of a heated discussion, or you expect to be negatively criticized, make it a point to sit next to the aggressor. While this may make you feel awkward and uncomfortable, you are not the only one feeling such way. Close proximity will naturally make a person feel uncomfortable, which lessens the level of aggressiveness they plan to do.

6. Make people feel like they’re badly needed when asking for help

When asking for help, start off by saying, ‘I need your help…’ It makes the person feel you really need his or her help. Human as we are, we like feeling needed and hate feeling guilty. By sounding like you seriously need help, you’ll likely receive the help you need.

These are just little things you can do to make interacting easier. Although we often link ‘hacks’ with things we do to make day-to-day activities easier, there is no reason we can’t apply the same concept to our mental well-being.

5 Ways to Brighten Your Dull Skin

When confronted with dry and dull skin, conventional wisdom recommends scrubbing yourself shiny. However, abrading your face only dries your skin further and irritates your already-sensitive follicles, leading to breakouts and dermatitis. Fortunately, there are some easy and simple tricks that you can do to get your skin’s youthful glow back with no exfoliation required.

1. Minimize Your Alcohol Intake

Although alcohol can be healthy for your body when taken in moderation, it can also dehydrate and dull your complexion. It also increases the blood flow on the skin’s surface, resulting to a flushed appearance that could become permanent over time. To keep this from happening, as well as to achieve healthy-looking skin, ensure that you keep your alcohol intake at a minimum.

2. Consume the Right Foods

While the idea that certain foods cause acne is considered untrue, the quality of the food that you eat does affect your skin’s health. For that reason, health experts recommend incorporating fatty acid-rich foods into your diet, such as flax seed, salmon and walnuts. Fatty acids aid in boosting cell and collagen production, which in turn slows down or counteracts the aging process of your skin.



3. Practise the Steam-and-Hydrate Technique

If you have a few minutes to spare, then consider performing the steam-and-hydrate technique. Simply soak a washcloth in a warm water and place it over your face for several minutes. When the cloth starts to cool, remove it and immediately apply your moisturizer to rehydrate your skin better.

4. Apply a Good Amount of Liquid Illuminator

The liquid illuminator that you only use as a highlighter is actually a product that you can use to fake glowing skin. Simply mix a dot of the product into your moisturizer to give your complexion that subtle pearlescent sheen that you’ve always wanted.

5. Get a Good Dose of Vitamin C

When applied topically, vitamin C can actually help in lightening the existing hyperpigmentation in your skin, while giving it that youthful glow. Opt for a BB cream or a foundation loaded with radiance boosting ingredients or a vitamin C-rich serum to give your skin the subtle glow and moisturizing benefits that it needs.

Having a clear, radiant skin is one of the best ways to boost one’s self-esteem. So make sure that you regain your skin’s youthful glow – along with your confidence – by putting the aforementioned tips to work.

Benefits of Using Sunscreen

 

Do you skip using sunscreen whenever you go out? Do you hate the sticky, greasy feeling it leaves on your skin?

Sunscreen is not just for those who want to achieve fair, even skin tone. It’s not only for sunbathing and avoiding bikini lines from showing up. It is vital that you take care of your skin whenever you go out. Even when you’re under a shade, there’s still a chance that harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays could damage your skin. It also prevents you from developing skin cancer, stop skin discolorations like dark or brown spots from appearing, and having wrinkled, sun-burnt skin.

Singapore is hot and humid most of the year. Given its location, it gets plenty of sunshine and the weather is consistent unless there are thunderstorms. If you live an active lifestyle and love to go outdoors, the brutal Singapore weather could do a lot of harm. Sunscreen lotions will help protect your skin whether you have a daily routine from home to work or school and back and especially when you’re always on the go. So how does a sunscreen lotion differ from an ordinary lotion?

Ordinary lotions are applied to the skin for various purposes. Not all lotions however protect your skin from sunlight. Sunscreen lotions and spray-ons usually have SPF or sun protection factor level. The number that comes after SPF that you read on the labels is the length of time the protection is working against the sun’s UV rays. SPF 20 therefore means that your skin is protected for 20 minutes. SPF can go as high as 100. SPF 15 and above are recommended for those with light to very fair skin when required to stay outdoors for a longer time. You don’t need to apply a lotion with higher SPF if you’re mostly indoors.

That greasy feeling it leaves on your skin will tell you that it’s working. If you don’t need to go to the beach, you only need to apply sunscreen lotions with lower SPF 20 values. The higher the SPF, the thicker the sunscreen formula. It’s the sunscreen additive that leaves that film on your skin.

There are different types of sunscreen lotions available in the market today for every skin type and need. Some lotions pack other benefits like moisturizers, skin lightening, water-proof additive, anti-inflammatory components, healing for damaged skin, anti-aging, non-comedogenic (this means it won’t clog your pores), and even water-proof.

Reasons to Try Street Food

 

Most countries across Southeast Asia have a selection of street food. When you visit any of the countries, it is almost a sin to not try one of these. But visitors often shy away from eating food don’t look properly prepared and cooked. Not only that, some of the displays look unfamiliar. Bugs hanged at a stall and some smelly fruits offered by a vendor seem frightening if you’re not the adventurous type.

Why try something that looks unsanitary and intimidating? Street food has so much more color and history than restaurant-cooked food. It is better than fast food because it’s affordable, available almost everywhere and are usually freshly cooked and hot when you order. You can even watch while your food is prepared! If you’re not up for a full meal yet, you can pick and choose among different varieties. Some hawkers sell snacks and drinks.

When you’re backpacking or just sightseeing, you do not need to spend a fortune to get a meal. It is also the best way to experience the local flavor. Some foreign visitors attest to having a better tasting meal at cramped and crowded makeshift diners than in restaurants.

The best part of it is that you get to help those tiny stalls and vendors. Most of the vendors who sell street food feed their family off their earnings. Not only will you promote local popular cuisine, but help the locals as well.

Make sure to pick where you eat. This is easy to do if you observe how the food is prepared. There is a tendency for some food to be exposed to dirt and smog. Don’t be afraid to look around with friends. Take note of the busy hours, some food are available at specific times. Find the best spots and ask the locals where to buy excellent street food.

Interacting with them will also acquaint you with the common food names. Make sure you also know the local terms for spicy, hot or cold, and vegetable and meat. The last is for those who are diet conscious. It also helps if you ask the vendor what ingredients are in the food if you’re allergic to or not allowed to consume specific foodstuffs.

Singapore, like its neighbors, has more than enough to offer for that adventurous palate. They’re scattered all over the country. Some of the best you should try are seafood like crabs, sambal stingray, and fish head curry. There are also a variety of stir-fried vegetables with rice, noodles and barbecue. One of the most recommended spots is the Hawkes Centres.

Words to Watch Out For When Buying Skin Care Products

 

Every time you apply skin care products, remember that the skin is not a barrier that protects you from those chemicals. The skin is a sponge. That means whatever you apply, whether it is safe or not, the skin will absorb and who knows what will happen overtime. According to a study made by United States’  Food and Drugs Administration, the average person uses ten different products on his/her body.

Knowing this and that the chemicals are absorbed by the skin, you have to be careful from now on of the things that you apply on your skin. You might think that the chemicals are in small doses and that cosmetic companies swore that it is safe but you do not know how it can affect your health overtime. It would be good if you become an informed consumer.

By this it means you have to know what to consider and what to reject. Yes your skin needs care but it doesn’t mean you have to overdo it. Simplify your regimen and limit it to only a cleanser, toner, moisturizer and sunscreen with high SPF. If that is not enough for you, some products will do but watch out for red flag words. What are these words? Check the label or ingredients and then watch out for these words:

  1. Formaldehyde: If you found out that the product you are using has formaldehyde, you have to dispose it or find another one. Formaldehyde is a preservative at the same time a disinfectant. It is classified as a possible carcinogen. It is usually infused in eye shadows and mascara.

  1. Ammonia: If you are into dyeing and bleaching, ammonia is an important ingredient or compound. It emits a pungent gas that can irritate the eyes as well as the respiratory tract.

 

  1. Mercury: You might not find this word on the label but it is otherwise known as “thimersoal”. Mercury is proven to damage the brain even at its lowest level. It can be found on your usual mascara, lightening cream and eye drops.

 

  1. Lead acetate: Lead acetate is banned in the European Union because it is known to be a neurotoxin which is toxic to the health. It can be found in cleaners and hair dyes.

 

  1. Dibutyl phthalate: Phthalate is used to avoid cracking. It is a common ingredient infused in mascara and nail polish. Studies prove that this chemical can cause birth defects. It can also be found in cleaning detergents, air fresheners and cleaning detergents.