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4 Things You Need to Keep in Mind When Buying Wine

Thursday, February 28th, 2019 | Permalink

When you’re finally at the wine shop ready to make your purchase, the choice of quality wines is still quite stressful, but it doesn’t have to be as crushing as buying a new pair of pants that turns out to look terrible on you or not be in your size.

So what do you need to know about wine? Here are a few things you need to keep in mind before buying that fancy-looking bottle:

1. Price doesn’t always mean quality

Talking money can get a little weird, especially when you’re on a rather tight. However, you don’t need to stick out with something low-quality and end up regretting your purchase – there’s good wine in every price range.

What you should do is be upfront about your budget, and when you’re in a wine shop, asking for your preference in a specific price range is much safer and easier than simply picking one at random and hoping for the best.

2. What’s “new”

Keep in mind that “new” can mean a lot of things in a wine shop, from the newest released vintages to the new blends. But if you have a knack for trying out things you haven’t before – and you should, when it comes to wine – be sure to ask the staff on the new arrivals in their shop.

Not only will this help you satisfy your curiosity and your knack for novelty, but the new arrivals are also what tend to stay the freshest on their minds.

3. Think occasions

Small format bottles are great for casual nights, fancy dinner dates, or even as gifts, while large format bottles are great for social gatherings and holidays with friends and family, or with a lot of people in general.

While these big bottles age the wine a lot more slowly, they also work great for pleasing crowds, and having ten people open up a large bottle can add to the celebration.

4. The most important purchase factor: enjoyment

The most important part about getting started in your enjoyment of wines is asking questions. While this can be something scary, you can think or if instead as a quicker and much cheaper alternative to taking classes and reading wine books.

When it comes to wines and personal taste, there’s no such thing as a “dumb question”.

So if you’re buying for yourself, don’t be afraid to stand your ground on your choices. After all, you’re paying for it, so you might as well stick out with something that really goes along with your taste buds.

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

6 Commonly Overlooked Signs of Autism in Children

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 | Permalink

Early warning signs of autism usually emerge before a child turns three. These symptoms can start as early as 12 to 18 months for some, while other kids may not show signs until they are in second or third grade. However, many of these signs are so subtle that parents often overlook them or mistaken them as normal phase of child development.

So, what are these symptoms that parents should be aware of? Here are five signs to look out for to help with early diagnosis and treatment of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

  1. Poor Eye Contact

Poor eye contact is said to be one of the hallmarks of ASD. It is common among younger kids to lock eyes with people, but children with autism usually avoid eye contact—or do not look at people directly or doing so fleetingly or inconsistently. However, do not rely on this sign alone as some kids could just be shy.

  • Repetitive Gestures

Repetitive gestures or motions, such as flapping hands, rocking back and forth or flicking fingers, are also warning signs of autism that many parents commonly overlook. Especially if your child does these actions when he’s excited or worked up, that is something to look into.

  • Heightened Sensory Sensitivity

ASD can also cause a child to be extra sensitive. He may enjoy touching soft or smooth surfaces, but doesn’t like to be cuddled. Also, everyday noises and sounds can be annoying for them. Noises from the vacuum cleaner or toilet flush can be irritating to them. You will know this if you see them holding their hands to their ears. 

  • Lack of Interest in Pretend Play

Kids with ASD may also lack in pretend skills. They do not use objects to pretend—such as picking up a remote to use as microphone or a comb to use as phone. If such pretend play does not happen by 18 months, see it as an ASD warning sign.

  • Unresponsive When Being Called by His Name

When a child turns one, they can often respond when someone calls them by name. If they can’t, that can be a sign of ASD. Kids with autism may not hear people or may struggle to follow or understand simple instructions and commands.

  • Stereotype Behavior

This is probably the most obvious sign, but may take some time before you realize the possibility of ASD. If you see signs of a child wanting to play with the same toy and playing with it in the same manner for hours or spend a lot of time arranging his toys in a specific order, it’s a red flag.

If you see a combination of these signs to your child, let your child’s doctor know about it. If your child really has ASD, know that early diagnosis leads to more effective treatment.

Do These 4 Things to Love Yourself Better

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 | Permalink

We all heard the advice “love yourself more,” but what does that actually mean?

As we juggle career, personal life and family, we oftentimes forget to take some time off for ourselves, but it is very important that you do. A little “alone time” can help you gain new perspective, develop a stronger sense of self-worth and improve relationships.

Don’t waste time. Here are a few ways to strengthen your bond with the very important person in your life—YOU.

  1. Get Moving

We’re not saying go to the gym regularly (although that would be good!). But try not to be a couch potato or spend too much time in front of the computer. Laziness traps your emotional, creative and sexual energies in your body, which can turn into sadness and anxiety. So instead of binge-watching your favorite series with chips in hand, get up and get moving. Whether that’s taking an early morning walk, a two-minute dance party during your coffee break or going hiking with friends, find some form of movement that’s compelling to you and make it a habit.

  • Do a Closet Purge

Cleaning out your closet is a satisfying and therapeutic activity. It is a metaphor for making space for newer and better things in life: that new pair of killer heels, a brand-new designer bag, a new relationship or an exciting career prospect seem to have ample room to fit into your life.

  • Write a Letter to Younger Self

This is an effective exercise for a genuine self-love. Writing a letter to the 15-year old you lets your present self reflect on your current life and everything you have accomplished. It can also pave way for self-forgiveness for the things you have done when you were younger that may have affected you on a negative way. Unloading to your younger self allows you to let go and move on, to be less harsh on yourself and accept that you are not perfect.

  • Escape Your Routine

Go somewhere you have never been to—alone. Initially, this can be scary, but going on a solo trip to an unfamiliar place is a great way to get a fresher perspective in life and hopefully discover new things about yourself. Keep in mind, though, that vacations are the time to forget about your worries but not of yourself, so consider going fancy and comfortable by staying in a nice hotel and indulging in soul-searching activities.

As always, start with whichever of the aforementioned tips seem either the most challenging or the easiest for you, depending on what you want to work on in your life. Try to start with one, focus on it, and when you feel like you already have a solid foundation on incorporating that habit, then it’s time to work on another one.

The Benefits of Learning A New Language

Thursday, January 10th, 2019 | Permalink

Because of the diversity in Singapore, a lot of languages are being spoken. English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil are the four languages recognized by the government. With that, it may come as no surprise that a local may speak a certain language and still know terms from a different language. But, there is a difference between knowing some terms and being able to speak the language itself. And learning a new language actually gives us a lot more benefits than we think!

You become smarter

Learning or speaking a new language prompts our brain to recognize words, associate their meanings, and communicate these words correctly. Learning a language can be hard, especially at an older age. But this is exactly the kind of workout our brains need for it to stay sharp. When we are presented with a new language, we have to look into the complicated patterns and structures of that language. This challenges us to concentrate on applying these structures properly and helps us improve our cognitive thinking and problem-solving skills.

Improves your memory

Learning new words and their meanings is an exercise for the brain that can help enhance memory. When you go on further, familiarizing yourself with the sentence structures, grammar, and even expressions of that foreign language will help improve overall memory. This is because your brain is already juggling the proper structures and patterns between the different languages that you already know.

You get better in your first language

As you learn a new language, you’ll take more notice of its grammatical rules, vocabulary, comprehension, and other mechanics. Hence, when you use your first language, you will also learn to pay more attention to the mechanics that apply to it. Again, languages have a lot of similarities and differences in their mechanics and rules and being able to distinguish between them and applying them appropriately can make you a better communicator overall. 

It increases career opportunities

Being a multilingual means that you are capable of communicating and interacting with more communities. Having this asset will present you with more opportunities because connecting with a broad network of people is a valuable skillset that companies or employers looks for. In addition, having this ability shows that you are intelligent, driven to learn new things, and have an openness towards diversity.

You get to meet new people

Learning a new language not only helps you communicate with the native speakers of this language but also gives you a better understanding of the culture and race that speak it. This then allows you to meet and interact with new people without having any issues with communication. Sometimes, the native speakers will also teach you a thing or two about the language, if for example your still making mistakes.

Ideal Breakfast Food You Should Consider Having

Thursday, January 10th, 2019 | Permalink

In our time today, many people rush out to work or school and skip breakfast. Many would argue that breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day. But even if that’s the case, eating breakfast is definitely helpful when trying to keep a healthy diet. It can give us a lot of added benefits compared to just having two meals a day.

Eating breakfast is one thing, but choosing the right food to start your day is another. Here are some ideal breakfast food that you can get.

Rice

Having some rice is already a given when it comes to meals not just in Singapore, but in most Asian countries as well. Rice, specifically brown rice, is rich in carbohydrates which is a good source of energy and fuel for the body. This will keep you energized throughout the day, as you will have extra reserves just in case you get tired physically and/or mentally. Of course, you shouldn’t eat only rice!

Eggs

Eggs are a great choice for breakfast. They contain almost every nutrient that our bodies need to keep going for a day. It is a fine source of protein, which is an important component for every cell in our body. Having enough protein can promote muscle growth and development, keep our bones strong, and lower our blood pressure.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is great for breakfast because it’s easy to make and may contain balanced amounts of fiber and protein. Oatmeal can contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fibers help balance blood sugar levels and keep bad cholesterol at bay while insoluble fibers help with our digestion. For one, cereal lovers will love to have oatmeal for breakfast. It is recommended, then, to have oatmeal instead of breakfast cereals.

Fruits

Fruits are probably the most flexible food you can have for breakfast. Having fruits can be very convenient if you are rushing to work or school and you’re looking for a quick, healthy breakfast. But in no way are we encouraged to eat only fruits for breakfast. Relying only on fruits for breakfast will not give you enough nutrients and energy. The most beneficial and nutritious fruits are avocados, watermelons, strawberries and raspberries, papaya, and guava; while those that will help you stay full are apples, cherries, bananas, and grapes.

Coffee

It is not ideal to have only coffee for breakfast, but having it as a beverage to a good hearty meal can give many benefits. Drinking coffee can give a boost in mood and concentration for you to have a great start your day. However, the topic of coffee can be pretty complicated. Although it still has many benefits, constantly taking caffeine in our body might also present some health issues. So, it would be best to have some coffee but only in moderation, or at least not every day.

Everything You Need to Know About Backpacks

Friday, December 7th, 2018 | Permalink

There are two words that are reason enough why many people such as campers, hikers, and adventurers choose to go with a backpack: hands free.

Even if you’re carrying a month’s worth of luggage, the weight is evenly distributed on your back that you won’t be bothered too much when you’re carrying it. Most backpacks these days are durable and can be easily cleaned when exposed to dirt or mud.

Anatomy of a Backpack

Even though backpacks are quite straightforward, there’s actually a little more to them than what it looks like at first. Here are the specifics that you might need to look into when buying a new one that will last you a long time:

  • Shape/Lay-out– The shape of your backpack will resemble the contents that are supposed to beplaced in the bag. While hiking bags are often round, office backpacks aresquare-shaped to accommodate laptops or folders.  
  • Pockets/Compartments – While external pockets are great for items that you need to take out and put back in when you’re on the go, internal pockets and compartments are for items that may need to be kept safely.
  • Straps – Your backpack’s shoulder straps are what supports and evenly distributes the weight of the bag on your back. However, even if the straps are strong enough, they can still buckle or snap if the bag itself is too heavy.

Types of Backpacks

Different types of backpacks are suited for different purposes, and they are designed and manufactured depending on the surroundings and setting they are supposed to be used in. Here they are for your consideration:

  • Hiking – Hiking bags are specifically built to carry heavy loads over long periods of time, and are designed to resist wear and tear. While they are the most durable, they also appear quite bulky and should
  • BikeBag – Bike bags are designed to be flat in shape with a roll topto keep the contents of your bag dry.
  • Office/Urban/School – These types of backpacks are often square or rectangular in shape in order to accommodate rectangular-shaped objects, such as laptops or books. Some backpacks even have a separate sleeve or compartment for this purpose.
  • Fashion – Backpacks in this category only have a front pocket and a main compartment, and are designed more to look good than to be practical. If you have this type of backpack, try to keep it clean and avoid packing it with heavy things.  

When choosing a backpack, be sure to choose one that’s especially suited for your purpose – for instance, having a hiking backpack in the office will definitely look out of place. Checking on the backpack’s quality and characteristics will help you do this easily.