5 Tips for Adapting to a New Environment

Whether for work or for school or just merely getting some new perspective, moving to a new place can really be a possibility. Getting away from all that’s familiar can be both an adventure and an anxiety. When you’re on your own, it can get both exciting and scary. And it’s just more than choosing how to feel. It’s reality speaking to you, and there’s no denying its tangibility.

So before your anxiety eats you all up, here are a few tips to get you going as you start a new chapter of your life in a new place:

1. Research as much as you can. Since we have online access to most things nowadays, getting ahold of all vital information for your move is a click of a button away. List down important details of the neighborhood you plan to reside in, the basic directions, the nearest grocery and the like. We have apps to help us get through all logistic-related hassle so you’re halfway to adjusting to your new home. List down important phone numbers you might need in your new place. Take note of the schedules you might need such as last trips of buses, operating hours of establishments near you, etc.

2. Be polite to those around you. One step important to letting you adjust to the new environment is to mingle with the people around you. Whether in the neighborhood, school or work, making yourself familiar with and to the people milling around these areas can be a great advantage. It assures them you aren’t a threat to their safety, and vice versa. It allows you to establish networks as early as you can. Who knows, the person you’ve been smiling politely to may be the President of the company you work for or the owner of the building where you reside at.

3. Stay healthy. Since you’re new to the place, you could always be busy with something else other than yourself. You might want to check yourself in the mirror every now and then and ask yourself whether you look more tired and thinner than you usually did. If yes, make time to take care of yourself. Make food a priority, as well as sleep. You can have all the time adjusting once you’ve gotten your health down pat.

4. Go out and explore. One way get to know unchartered territory is by doing ocular visits yourself. Navigate your way throughout the radius of your neighborhood and familiarize yourself with the route. Again, it’s handy to use map apps for this task as you may get lost at one point or another. It’s also a wise move to have someone with you, for safety and navigation purposes. But it’s sometimes good to go see the world in your own pace; it’s always great to tackle a complex task such as navigation all by yourself.

5. Don’t take things personally. Whether in the neighborhood, at school or at work, don’t take things too personally when practices don’t meet your expectations. Remember, you just came into the system, one that’s been established for a number of years before you even set foot in that place. So forgive easily and blend with the norm. Unless the fault is a hazard to your well-being and safety, it’s best to let things slide. Besides, you can always inform them if you can’t take it anymore; nothing can’t be settled over a decent conversation.

5 simple oral hygiene tips

People want whiter teeth but it isn’t always a good indication of oral health. Your mouth isn’t just composed of teeth, so there’s a lot more to consider to keep it healthy. Besides, healthy teeth has nothing to do with color. A sentiment experts don’t tire to emphasize.

So here’s a few tips to keep your oral hygiene in check:

1. Clean your mouth properly
Toothbrushes are our oral health’s bestfriends. They are the go-to cleaning tool and is a basic for anyone regardless of culture. But the catch is, your teeth aren’t the only ones needing good brushing. Along with your teeth, your gums, tongue and roof of the mouth need a good brushing from all the food particles lodging on them. Brush along these surfaces in a 45-degree angle to ensure good cleaning. Don’t attack your mouth with your toothbrush either; good brushing has nothing to do with force. Don’t try to bleed your mouth clean, as this only damages it. Twice a day brushing is good for your oral health.

2. Floss regularly
As regular and proper brushing keeps surfaces of your teeth clean, the spaces in between them sometimes get neglected. This is where floss conveniently comes in. They target those areas brushes can’t reach. Once a day flossing could do wonders to prevent cavity build up.

3. Refrain from sodas, alcohol and tobacco
Tobacco makes your gums unhealthy and it shows with its darker tinge. So stay well away from those and not only is your mouth happy, but your lungs as well. Sodas and alcohol don’t sit well with your oral health either. Even though phosphorous is somehow beneficial for your teeth, too much of anything is bad. Both sodas and alcohol contain too high levels of this substance, and may cause tooth decay and gum disease. If you must drink them, do it with a straw to lessen its contact with your teeth.

4. Stick to the good-for-the-teeth diet
If you aren’t aware yet, nuts, cheese, vegetables, fruits (such as apples) and chicken are good for the teeth. If you don’t have allergies for either of those, taking in a generous amount in your diet might do good for your teeth.

5. Regular check up
Even if you follow all the preceding tips religiously to the dot, nothing beats a regular check up with your dentist. Experts know what to look out for depending on your condition so keeping a regular check up with them could do you loads of good and will save you from a lot of pain in the future. They can detect problems way before you even feel them so make sure you have a trusted dentist to do the monitoring for you.

The State of Healthcare in Singapore

The quality of Singapore’s healthcare is among the most modern and secure. By international standards, it is considered as a leading example: according to The World Bank in 2009, Singapore’s life expectancy is at 79 years for men and 84 for women. The country’s population boasts of 4.7 million working citizens out of its entire population of 5.6 million.

For what has been called the most expensive city in the world, many countries look to Singapore with envy with regards to its efficient healthcare system. But how does it work?

Here are all the things you need to know about healthcare in the Lion City:

1. In the country, there are 10 public hospitals, 13 private, and a few other specialized clinics. Each facility has its own specialties and pricings. Public hospitals are open 24/7 and offer emergency services. Most Singaporean doctors are trained abroad in world-class medical facilities.

You can either choose to see a junior doctor or a senior doctor. Of course, rates are more expensive for the latter.

According to the Singapore Medical Council, more than 900 doctors are practicing in the city-state. This gives a ratio of 18 medical practitioners for every 10,000 citizens, which is more than most Asian countries.

2. Most Singaporeans buy medical insurance provided by the state-run National Health Plan. Singapore’s National Health Plan was set up in 1983 based on the 3M’s: Medisave, Medishield, and Medifund.

While Medisave is a personal health fund that levies 8-10% of a person’s salary to be deposited per month, and Medishield works as the state’s medical insurance for its citizens, Medifund serves as a form of social protection for citizens who cannot afford to pay their own medical expenses.

However, the 3M’s are only available to Singaporean citizens. Expatriates or foreigners usually purchase private insurance. This is why some healthcare facilities in Singapore have different rates for citizens and foreigners, with the latter’s of course being higher.

3. Singapore’s government emphasizes cleanliness and health awareness towards its citizens. Cultural notions of individual responsibility drive citizens not just to get healthcare, but also to keep their environment clean. This means that outbreaks of potentially life-threatening diseases such as influenza are minimized.

Singapore also benefits from strict laws and health codes with an emphasis on hygiene, and families are encouraged to follow precautions as well as to take vaccines.

Recently, Singapore’s Public Hygiene Council initiated the Keep Singapore Clean Movement, which aims to keep the general environment free from littering.

Top 4 Places Tourists Should Avoid While in Singapore

You land in Singapore, the multicultural financial hub of Southeast Asia and one of the most expensive cities in the world. As an attractive travel destination, it’s no surprise that it has hit a record of 15 million visitors as of 2013.

Tourists come year round to experience its magic, and many places have now become so packed with them that the magic has worn off. You want to avoid the tourist traps and have a true experience of being in Singapore.

Don’t worry – we’ve got you. Here are the top 4 places in Singapore to steer clear from:

1.) Newton Hawker Center/Newton Circus Food Center
Newton Circus was once a go-to to sample a plethora of cuisines, from barbecue, seafood, to satays (skewer meats), until there were too many stalls selling the same kind of food and drinks. This made competition stiff by stall owners where they are often criticized for overpricing food and compromising food quality.

Instead, consider going to Chinatown Food Center for a sample of local ethnic cuisine, or head over to Central Mall in Clarke Quay if you’re looking for eating on the cheap. You could even opt for the ice cream carts around the city instead of the more expensive ice cream parlors.

2.) Boat Quay
The boat cruise down Singapore River may seem pleasant until you realize that the whole trip is simply a haze of night lights.

Stroll down the riverside instead – not only will you get to marvel at the lights of Clarke Quay at your own pace and without the engine noise (or maybe the noise of a hundred other tourists), but the long walk and the cool evening air is guaranteed to make it romantic for you and your date.

3.) Sim Lim Square, People’s Park Complex, Lucky Plaza
Tourists should be careful when shopping in these places. While you are allowed to haggle for your electronics here, some vendors might use one-off tactics to scam customers. Some scams include charging extra for the warranty or leaving out price tags.

When shopping here, ensure that your items come with what it needs, such as power cords or batteries, before settling on a price.

Alternatively, you could shop at well-established stores, such as Funan IT Mall or Challenger, to get legitimate deals on your electronics.

4.) The Singapore Flyer
For a panorama of the glistening Singaporean city lights beneath your feet, you don’t have to shell out fifty odd dollars and share a gondola with other couples or families over a slow ride via the Singapore Flyer.
Instead, climb up to the roof of good old Esplanade. With your picnic basket and your loved one, and lay down alone under the night sky for hours.

Singapore is a beautiful place, with tourists flocking all year round. Use this guide to help you avoid the tourist traps and have a full experience of what the country has to offer.

3 Last Minute DIY Gift Ideas

The holiday season is a season of giving—but sometimes it can get a bit too hectic. With all the things that you need to keep track of, chances are you’re going to forget a gift for a friend of a friend. But don’t get your tinsel in a twist; here are four DIY gift ideas for your last-minute needs.

1. Personalized Mugs
Give your loved ones something that they can (and will) actually use, with the bonus of a creative, personal touch. Not only are personalized mugs cheap– requiring just an oven, a sharpie and, a mug– they are also very flexible.
To make your own personalized mugs, simply take an oil-based sharpie to a plain ceramic mug, and let sit for a few hours. Then place the mug in an oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.

To make your mugs extra special, draw things that are special to the person you are giving the mugs to. If you’re not very confident with your illustration skills, you could write out a few lines of songs or poetry. You could even use their favorite book quotes, or lines from their favorite movies.

2. Teacup candles
Teacup candles are a bit more hands-on, but they’re cute and quite cheap. While they take a few hours to make, most of this is spent waiting for the wax to dry (which you can use to do other holiday stuff).

To make teacup candles, all you need to do is to melt candle wax in a pan over medium to high stove heat. Then add a bit of water, candle scent and dye. After the wax has melted, add a candle scent and color.

While the wax is melting, put a barbeque stick on top of the teacup. Tie a wick to the barbeque sticks, making sure that its end is flush with the bottom of the cup. When the wax dries, simply cut off the wax. Simply put your teacup in a box, and voila! You have the perfect holiday gift.

3. Potpourri
For particularly crafty givers, chances are you already have the materials you need to make potpourri. All you need are some dried flowers, an essential oil of your choice, herbs, and spices. Simply add all the dry materials inside a glass container, then add a few drops of essential oil.

For those who want to be extra crafty, try to create a theme to your container. You could make a rose-scented potpourri by using dried rose petals and rose essential oils. You could even make a lavender potpourri of lavender flowers and lavender oil. If it’s looking a little sparse, you could add other trinkets like stones or twine.

4 DIY Holiday Decors on a Budget

There’s nothing like putting up decorations to get into the holiday spirit. But the holidays mean a lot of spending; from gifts to dinners to parties, it’s sometimes hard to make sure that you have money left for decorations. However, with a bit of time and creativity, you could make your own decorations yourself. Here are a few ideas to help you create your own decors on a budget.

1. Use you’re the holiday cards you received as a décor
Putting holiday cards on display doesn’t just make for quick and easy festive decorations, they could also put a smile on the faces of the people who sent them to you. There are many ways for you to put holiday cards on display. One idea is to hang them on a chain, and displaying them on a wall or a door. You could also create a tree design and hang them on faux branches. Chances are, you don’t have to look far to find somewhere to hang them from; use your Christmas lights as a line and clip your cards on them.

2. Use your gifts as decors, too.
Using your gifts as decors can be a great idea as well. Arrange your gifts properly, so that it doesn’t look like they were just thrown under your tree. You could include festive items to display with your gifts. Small figurines like snowmen, deer, or cottages, can be placed on top or beside your gifts. You could even create your own tree skirt, to create a creatively decorative space for your gifts.

3. Create homemade luminaries.
While luminaries are festive and elegant, they can be very expensive and can put a hole in your pocket. Thankfully, it’s not hard to make your own. As long as you have a candle and something festive to put it in, you’re good to go. A few ideas include filling vases or glasses with water then putting candles in them. Another idea is decorating mason jars and putting votives inside. Another idea is to nail holes in a coffee can, forming festive patterns where candlelight can shine through.

If you’re scared about the risk of creating a fire, good alternatives to candles include battery-powered votive lights or bunched-up Christmas lights.

4. Create your own Christmas wreaths.
Wreathes can easily spark the holiday spirit, and with a bit of creativity, you can decorate them with pretty much anything. You can add ribbons, paint them gold, or add glitters. You could even create your own wreaths. You could bunch twigs together and form it into a circle. You could even use faux fur, leaves, or ribbons tied around a circular rod. If you want, you can add baubles or other festive details.

Furniture and Home Accessory Shops in Singapore

While IKEA’s presence here in Singapore is admittedly heaven-sent, sometimes we just want something different to spruce up our home and workspaces. If you’re in the mood for something different, and if your budget allows it, shopping at some of Singapore’s furniture stores can score you your next centerpiece; all you need to have is the right know-how and a keen eye for style. Here are some of the shops that can help you find the next perfect piece for your space.

1. HipVan
HipVan’s selection of laid-back contemporary styles is perfect for those who would like to imbue their home with a casual, easy-going atmosphere. At HipVan, you can choose from a variety of categories to find the perfect piece of your home; their categories include furniture, homeware, and lighting. HipVan even lists all their products online so that you could browse their extensive list of furniture and home accessories from the comfort of your home, which can also help you visualize how an object can fit in your space. They even have an app available for download on both the App Store and on Google Play, so that you can browse their selection on your phone.

2. Artful House
Artful House is the place to go for home accessories with interesting personality. At Artful House, individuality is given high regard; its founders believe that individuality is what makes a piece beautiful and important. Using recycled wood and stained in vibrant colors, you could find breath-taking vintage-style pieces, as well as various contemporary furniture. Artful House also does custom-made furniture, so that you could find the perfect piece completely tailored to your needs.

3. Crate and Barrel
From 1999, Crate and Barrel had been creating home furniture and accessories in the US. They eventually opened international outposts, with an impressive, five-storey outlet at Orchard Gateway. With so much experience behind them, including opening outlets in Canada and Dubai, Crate and Barrel promises great quality woodwork and home accessories. Because of their international presence, you could order their items online and have them shipped to your home if you don’t want to shop at their physical store. With their large collection, they’re bound to have something that will suit your style, from vases to pillowcases, rugs and indoor and outdoor furniture.

4. Departures & Arrivals
For those who like to travel to far-off lands, Departures & Arrivals is the shop for you. This shop sells items that aim to bring the spirit of wanderlust into your home. Departures & Arrivals sources from places all over the world, and is specially curated with a keen eye for detail. Items like the Pagode Lantern and Trivet Sika Tray Tables remind us of far-off places and satiate our wanderlust just until we can hit the road again.

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