Why Travelling Solo Is Better for People in Relationships

Being in a relationship is beautiful, but going solo sometimes reminds you of the things that you tend to forget when you are committed. Travelling alone every once in a while is like looking at yourself in the mirror and broadening your experiences in ways you never thought you can do.

1. There’s no need to compromise.
When you’re in a relationship, you always consider your partner in every decision you make. Travelling solo is the only time in your relationship life when you’re able to decide only for yourself. No need to compromise to meet other people’s wants and needs. You’re free to decide whether to stick to an itinerary or just go with the flow, move at your own pace and go to places whenever you want to. When you’re travelling alone, you just can have it all.

2. You get to know yourself more.
Dating can take away your sense of self, especially in the early stages of the relationship. You may be easily influenced by your partner, and in result lose your individuality unconsciously in the process. However, when you travel alone, you get the chance to just be yourself fully and even discover more things about yourself in ways you cannot do when you’re tied closely with another person.

3. It makes your relationship stronger.
When you survive this, your relationship becomes even stronger. Letting your partner travel alone is the ultimate test of your love, loyalty and trust or each other. The biggest worry people have with travelling solo is that it gives room to temptation and infidelity. Trust is essential, and travelling solo is a great way to cement this in your relationship.

4. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
This isn’t just an old adage; it’s actually supported by researches. In fact, according to the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, couples in long distance relationships have healthier communication, more intimacy and better overall relationship satisfaction. Well, that’s no wonder, though. Missing someone surely fuels up the fire.

5. There’s someone waiting for you to come home.
This one is self-explanatory, and perhaps is the best one in this list. Having someone waiting for you at the airport—ready to welcome you home with hugs and kisses—is something to look forward to at the end of your trip, doesn’t it?

Doing things alone doesn’t mean you no longer want to be with your S.O. In fact, this could mean the opposite: you want to cultivate the love and trust you share with your partner to strengthen and encourage growth in your relationship.

5 Private Islands You Can Actually Afford to Rent

Private islands for rent are exclusive for the rich, right? Wrong! Although most private islands are usually in the range of rich and famous, there are still many less pricey options out there.

If you and your gang are looking for a place to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, consider these affordable yet majestic island destinations.

1. Tahiti Island, Nicaragua
This beautiful island destination features a fully-furnished home, a pool and an amazing terrace that’s perfect for R&R and cocktail nights. You can own this island for $205 (S$291) a night with 10 of your friends. Do the math, and you’ll be surprised how cheap it is if you break it down per person.

2. El Nido, Philippines
Situated near Palawan, Philippines, this small island has the essentials if white sand beaches, a forest, hiking paths and a breathtaking view of the vast turquoise ocean are your idea of a summer getaway. The island includes a house that can accommodate 10 persons, with a nightly rate for as low as $381 (S$540)—that’s around $38 a head!

3. Ilha Grande, Brazil
Live your luxurious dream of owning two islands for the price of one. For just $971 (S$1,376) a night, you can own Ilha Grande islands connected by a bamboo ridge. The four-bedroom house in the first island and the two-bedroom house in the second island surely make plenty of room for your squad of 10. Price seems too steep? Whittle it down by diving it with your party.

4. Petit St. Vincent, Grenadine Islands
For about a thousand dollar (that’s around S$1,400), you can already explore the pristine waters and stroll in the white, sandy shore of the island. Petit St. Vincent is a paradise of greenery, clear blue water and pearly white, sandy beaches. Rent the paradise with nine of your friends, and forget for a while the hustle and bustle of the city.

5. Vesteroy, Norway
This Norwegian private island is perfect for couples who wouldn’t mind living off the grid for a few days. You and your beloved will surely have some quality time with no internet connection in the island. But don’t expect modern amenities with $120 (S$170) a night. The cute home, peaceful view and quiet atmosphere will give you the tranquillity you want.

This summer, you might want to try something new. Instead of going to tourist laden destinations, explore the serene beauty of private islands and give yourself the peaceful R&R it truly deserves.

What Happens During Car Servicing

Car servicing is an essential part in keeping your vehicles in good condition at all times. This practice will extend the life of the car, help avoid accidents and unexpected breakdowns, and protect your investment.

Car servicing in Singapore will be recommended by your car manufacturer or dealer whenever you buy a new unit. Car servicing includes car maintenance, car repair, car workshop and cleaning and inspection.

Benefits of Car Servicing

Car maintenance will help you keep the car in good condition for years until you decide to replace it or sell it. If you do sell it, the car could fetch a higher price by maintaining its value.

There will be fewer instances of breakdowns. Don’t you hate it when you’re about to leave for an important event only to know that your car is having tantrums? You can avoid car breakdowns in the future if you have it serviced as scheduled.

Not only will it be safer to drive, but it’s also fuel-efficient. You might think that having your car checked is an expensive obligation, but in the long run you will realize that you have saved money because the car is running efficiently.

Types of Car Servicing Packages

Car servicing in Singapore is usually done in packages. The type of service at www.merlinmotorworks.com in Singapore you will get depends on how long you have been using the car or the total distance traveled by the vehicle. You can also consult the car’s handbook or ask the dealers about the ideal service for your car.

1. Interim Car Servicing is recommended for high-mileage drivers who drive at least a total of 20,000 miles every year. That means that you have to have your car maintenance twice a year, ideally every 6 months.

During an interim service, the car will be checked for worn out tires, leaks, faulty lights, and then the oil will be changed. The fluids used in the car such as brake, power steering and car coolant will be topped up or filled if necessary. The other services will depend on the packages included in the car servicing, so be sure to ask what is included.

2. Full Car Servicing is needed when you have driven the car for 12 months or for a total of 12,000 miles. For cars that always travel long distances, this should be the best option. Other car workshop, however, will recommend this for cars which have low annual mileages. Confusing? Well, the service shop will know what to do once they expect the car, so don’t worry. Full car servicing in Singapore includes more checks and car maintenance that those listed in an interim service.

Interim Car Servicing

Generally, all car servicing shops in Singapore will do checks on levels of fluids, wash the exterior of the car, check the engines, plugs and filter, test the batteries, and inspect the tires and lights. The following might also be done during an interim car service.
3. Check the exhaust emissions
4. Inspect the level of axel oil and gearbox oil
5. Check the handbrake operation
6. Check the timing belt interval
7. Visual check the bodywork, mirrors and others
8. Ensure that the warning lights are working
9. Inspect all the seatbelts
10. Make sure that the interior and exterior lights are working
11. Check all the windscreen wipers, rear view mirror and washers
12. Make sure the fuel cap is on
13. Check the air filter
14. Check the fan and auxiliary belts
15. Check or clean the air-conditioning system of the car
16. Inspect the power steering
17. Make sure the battery is working
18. Ensure that the clutch works fine
19. Check for corrosion
20. Check the steering and suspension
21. Engine oil is replaced if needed
22. The exhaust system is visually checked
23. Note the leakages
24. Check the tires, fuel lines, hoses, brake pipes, handbrake, and brake pads
25. Check the drums and discs

Full Car Servicing

To ensure that you’re getting all the necessary services the first time you drive into car servicing shops in Singapore, follow the checklist below for a full car service. A full car service includes those listed above as well.
1. Check the engine cooling fan as well as the coolant system
2. Replace the air filter
3. Check the condition of the distributor cap
4. Check the door hinges, locks and catches
5. Note the operation of the throttle
6. Inspect the gearbox mounts and engine
7. Test the security of the starter motor
8. Inspect the coolant pipes and radiator
9. The wheels are checked
10. The rear and front brakes are checked
11. The wheel bearing are inspected to make sure they don’t make noises

First Time in Car Servicing

Some of the names might be new to first time car owners. Here is a more detailed information on common car servicing, car maintenance and car repair procedures.

1. Tire Pressure

The tires should be checked for their pressure to make sure you’re running on a good set of wheels. Why? Correct tire pressure will help make your car run on fuel economically, there is better handling and cornering without having to worry about safety, and it will increase the tire’s lifespan.

2. Air-Conditioning

Making sure that the air-conditioning system is running will ensure that you are using the gases efficiently. There might be leaks that will affect the correct temperature inside the car as well as produce unwanted smells.

3. Brakes

Brakes that work in top condition can save lives. Make sure that your brake pads and brake discs get regularly inspected as well.

4. Exhausts

Car mechanics recommend that the exhaust should be checked when the car has traveled for a total of 10,000 km. Regular car servicing will ensure better fuel efficiency and a less noisy engine.

5. Batteries

The car batteries should be tested and replaced if necessary so that you can keep driving safely. A breakdown could potentially be disastrous especially if you have important meetings and work that needs to be finished.

Best Ways to Exfoliate Your Sensitive Skin

Even the most sensitive of skin types need some exfoliation. In fact, pushing your skin to renew and regenerate itself is necessary to make it stronger in the long run – and what’s better news is, you don’t need to use any harsh chemicals or scrubs just to do it. With that in mind, we listed down some of the alternative ways on how you could possibly exfoliate your skin without irritating it.

1. Use Peeling Gels
You might be turned off when you see the word “peeling”, but these cleansers are actually pretty gentle. All you’ve got to do is gently massage the gel on your skin for a few seconds or until your dead skin starts forming small clumps that you can just wash off.

2. Muslin Cloths
There’s no need for you to use harsh scrubs just to exfoliate your skin regularly. If you need to go the gentle route, simply use a warm muslin cloth to wipe away the excess product after cleansing. It is old school, but effective.


3. Konjac Sponges

Sponges aren’t only great for dishwashing or applying makeup, and that’s what konjac sponges will prove to you. Use it to lightly scrub your face while you’re cleansing before rinsing the foam off like usual.

4. Pore Brushes
A much neater alternative to sponges and cloths are pore brushes. Found mostly in Korean beauty stores, pore brushes are known for their soft bristles that gently rubs off the dead skin cells. They also push your facial was into the inner nooks and crannies to enjoy a deeper cleanse.

5. Chemical Exfoliant
Unlike the previous beauty products we mentioned, a chemical exfoliant use exfoliating acids to rub off dead skin cells. For instance, glycolic acid exfoliates the topmost layer of your skin to refine the skin texture and unclog pores – and it does all that without rubbing or tugging the skin. But even if they’re deemed perfect for exfoliating your delicate skin, avoid using them on a regular basis. Your skin needs to build a tolerance for the acid to work.

Exfoliation is crucial even for the most delicate skin type. It’s necessary to get rid of the dead skin cells and give you a glowing complexion. So be sure to try out any of the aforementioned exfoliation tools and chemicals the next time you decide to exfoliate your sensitive skin.

Smart Shopping 101: 4 Techy Ways to Save Time Grocery Shopping

I did not like the amount of time I used to spend on grocery shopping. The long search for certain items, the inability to check the store’s online inventory, and even the stressful parking felt like they were consuming a lot of my energy. Fortunately, there are now new and techy methods that allow consumers to save time grocery shopping. By using the following ways, you can now spend more time doing the things that you love.

1. Check the Store’s Inventory Online
A lot of big-box retailers now have online in-store inventory. You can check the nearby location of these stores through their websites, or use mobile apps like Google Shopping. All you’ve got to do is check the “available nearby” option on the left part in Google Shopping search to only search for local stores. This local-first start-up will search across local and known stores in just a single search.

2. Perform an Item Search on Your Phone
The major pain I have in grocery shopping is walking up and down every aisle just to look for a particular item. Fortunately, a good number of local stores in Singapore are now publishing their product inventories online. Although you might need to install the mobile app of that particular store get its full functionality, these websites provide limited searching of the items you need. Some even provide a map with complete directions to lead you to the right lane and shelf.

3. Keep a Grocery List on Your Phone
There are several mobile apps like Anylist or Out of Milk that help maintain an active grocery list. All you’ve got to do is add an item to your mobile list when it’s about to finish. If you need the same items every week, then all you’ve got to do is copy the same list from your last trip to the grocery store.

4. Avail of Grocery-Delivery Services
Don’t have enough time to go grocery shopping? If so, then make great use of your shop’s grocery-delivery services. A good number of start-up and large stores are already offering this type of services. It often comes with a charge, but some offer free delivery for the first few months. Even with additional charges, opting for home delivery will save you more time if you just purchase everything together using your mobile grocery list.

Grocery shopping used to be so tedious, but thanks to the new and techy methods available in the market today, you can already save a lot of time in purchasing the things that you need.

Why Having a Local Bucket List is a Good Idea

Regardless if you call it a bucket list or a to-do list, we all want to keep track of the things we want to do and see at some point in our lives – be it attending a colour fun festival or seeing Mount Fuji in person. Yet, not all worthwhile dreams and pursuits need to be far from home. While international trips are extremely fun, there’s also a lot to be said for touring your own city. If you’re still unconvinced, here are some reasons why having a local bucket list can be a good idea.

1. It Encourages You to Be Adventurous

It’s quite easy to say, “I’ll visit that soon,” if you live near a particular tourist spot, but this kind of mind-set is what actually causes you to never visit that particular sight. If you have a local bucket list, however, you’ll be required to get out and tour your own city – even if you are living in the place indefinitely. If you decide to move out eventually, that list will help you savour your last days in the city instead of forcing to visit the places you’ve put off in the last minute.

2. It Helps in Keeping Things Fresh

Most of us tend to fall into the habit of frequenting a particular coffee shop or restaurant, thus neglecting other potentially great places in the area. While it’s completely okay to support your favourite local shops in Singapore, you should also consider dining or visiting a new place each month. If you drink coffee on a daily basis, visit a new café once a week; if you tend to treat yourself less often, simply adjust your plan according to your schedule.

3. It Prompts You to Be Grateful

The world is a big and beautiful place, and enjoying a culture that’s nothing like your own will certainly be an invaluable experience. However, we often spend a lot of time dreaming about our next destination that we forget to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Creating a local bucket list is one way of correcting that and practising gratitude for all the great things that we have even without boarding a plane.

4. It Trains You to Be an Excellent Host

Creating (and completing) a local bucket list provides you with amazing ideas of the things to do when your family and friends visit you. While it’s fun to show your local favourites to your visitors, you can also use them as an excuse to try out something new. Also, if someone visits you quite often, then he or she would surely want to experience a little novelty every now and then.

Having a local bucket list is one of the best ways to discover new things about the place you’re living in, as well as to appreciate your own culture. So be sure to create and complete one before you start travelling internationally.

How to Choose a Luxury Bag

Unlike jewelry and real estate, expensive bags don’t increase in value over time. But having one good quality designer bag can last for a lifetime, so it’s like an investment too. What are the things to remember when picking your first signature bag?

Budget

Luxury bags are going to be expensive. Unless you’re a millionaire you don’t want to splurge unnecessarily for just one item. Consider how much you’re willing to spend without going broke. Don’t use up your all of your next month’s salary in one go. Check the price range for different styles from established brands so you’ll get an idea. The price will depend on the materials, size, and the name it carries. If you’re buying a bag overseas or online, don’t forget to check the taxes, shipping and other fees.

Brand

Pick brands that are known for their quality and style. Some brands are known for a signature style or pattern on their products. Choose whatever you think best fits your style. Don’t follow current trends because they will lose their relevance after a while. Check and compare the quality and materials. Inspect the stitching, seams, zippers and zip tags, pockets, straps, buckles, magnet buttons or button clips, and hooks and D-rings.

Style

Get a bigger bag if you need to carry a lot of items. Make sure it’s not overstuffed because it could also distort the shape of the item. Don’t pick a size, however, that isn’t appropriate for your height and body type. The size should be relative to your proportions. Petite women should avoid long straps and oversized bags. Tall women shouldn’t pick teeny-weeny bags. When choosing the material, leather never goes out of style. They are low-key, versatile and can last for a long time.

Color

Consider earthy tones or neutral colors if you’re planning to carry a bag for everyday use. They can match any type of outfit and are ideal for any event and venue. Pick the versatile brown, black, gray or white bags. Brightly colored and printed bags could be hard to match with most outfits like office uniforms if you’re particular with matching colors. You don’t have to switch bags often because neutral colors are versatile. Bright bags, however, can add color to your drab outfit. Red and pink are the most ideal colors.

Lifestyle

Look at the different styles of bags, but you’ll have to decide the type of bag you’re going to use based on your needs and lifestyle. Don’t choose a clutch bag if you’re planning to take it everyday to the office because it’s impractical. Think about why you want to buy a designer’s bag and how often you’re gonna use it. For daily use, choose a style that can carry important items you will need at the office. Lastly, you have to try on the bag in front of a mirror to see if it feels comfortable and if the size and shape looks good on you.

5 Vitamins You Should Start Taking Now

 

Perhaps your mom always told you that beauty starts from within. Well, guess what? She couldn’t be more accurate, since what you put in your body will actually show up on the surface. Consuming too much fried food, for instance, causes the appearance of a pesky a zit. Now that you know the facts, be sure to work them to your advantage by eating healthy and incorporating the following vitamins into your diet to ensure a healthier, more beautiful you.

  1. Iron

Fun fact: Women lose iron every time they’re on their periods, so you know just why iron deficiency is the primary cause of thinning hair even in healthy women. To keep your strands healthy and strong, be sure to eat the green leafy veggies that you usually leave untouched on your plate.

  1. Lycopene

Aside from giving you a rosy complexion, eating tomatoes can actually help you fight sunburn and sun damage. This fleshy, red fruit is loaded with lycopene antioxidants that promote sun protection. Still, that doesn’t mean that you can already skip on slathering a good amount of sunscreen. The sun’s UV rays are more dangerous that you think, so layer up your protection.

  1. Biotin

Taking biotin as early as now is ideal for achieving that healthy hair and killer complexion combination. This vitamin is touted for its ability to regulate the body’s fatty acids, which helps in repairing brittle nails, dry hair and flaky skin. To get a good amount of this water-soluble vitamin, be sure to include almonds, romaine lettuce and walnuts in your meals.

  1. Vitamin K

Fragile capillaries that let blood leak into the skin is what causes those dreaded under-eye circles every morning. Fortunately, a study revealed that ample application of vitamin K is already enough to control blood clotting and block the seepage. So be sure to swipe a vitamin K-rich cream every night before hitting the sack.

  1. Vitamin A

Also known as retinoids, vitamin A derivatives are known for its ability to fade acne marks, reduce fine lines and smooth skin roughness. So make sure that you apply your retinoids regularly at night (sunlight inactivates vitamin A) and consume a good amount of cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and green, leafy veggies.

Nurturing one’s beauty starts from within, so ensure that you eat all the right food and take all the necessary supplements to get that natural glow from within.

A Guide to Gracefully Grow Out Your Bangs

 

Having bangs is like a cycle – you commit and feel excited about getting one, then you start feeling tired grooming it. However, cutting a fringe is way easier than growing it out, as anyone who’s done it know all too well. Fortunately, you no longer have to go through those awkward hair stages as we listed down some of the best tips on how you can easily, gracefully and quickly grow out your fringe.

  1. Regularly Trim Your Bangs

While it may seem counterproductive, trimming your bangs every four to six weeks will actually help in growing it out faster. Not only will it allow your hair to absorb vitamins better, it’ll also make your fringe blend with the rest of your hair easily and more naturally.

  1. Part Them Sideways

One of the easiest style of fringe to grow out is the side-swept bangs. Not only does this style blend with the rest of your hair beautifully, it’s also keeps your strands from growing down straight into your eyes. All you’ve got to do is part your bangs either to the right or to the left, then comb them straight forward from the crown, and swoop them to one side.

  1. Use Hair Pins

Not a fan of side-swept bangs? Then use hair pins to stylishly grow them out and keep them away from your face. If you have thick bangs, apply a bit of clay to easily tame them. Another great idea is incorporating your fringe into a French braid so you can hide them in a non-boring way.

  1. Condition Them Regularly

Showing your bangs the TLC it needs is one sure way of growing them out in record time – and you can do it by just treating your strands with regular deep-conditioning treatments. With this, you’ll have healthy and well-moisturized hair.

  1. Make Great Use of Dry Shampoo

Aside from keeping your strands grease-free, using dry shampoo also adds hold and texture to your hair – which is what you’d want when you’re growing out your bangs. Simply spray a little dry shampoo through the lengths of your fringe, the style as you please. You’ll be amazed at how obedient your strands have become.

Even with these techniques to grow your fringe out, it’ll still take time for them to be at the same length as the rest of your hair. So as you wait for your bangs to grow out, consider sporting different hairstyles to keep them from looking boring.

6 Essential Tips for Custom-Made Engagement Ring

While browsing through jewellery store displays, do you think that all rings seem to look the same? If you crave for something you can never find on racks and that’s embellished and designed nothing like others—or perhaps you have a stone of your own but no setting and band—consider having your engagement ring custom-made. If you wish to don a ring that’s designed only for you, here are some essential pointers to keep in mind.

1. Sketch It Out

It takes serious amount of time to find out how you really want your proposal ring to look like. To get the planning started, determine the design you want. Note which colour of stones and metals you find yourself attracted to. Are there eras of style that most of your jewelleries take after (i.e. Victorian, art deco, modern minimalism, etc.)? What design of this era does appeal to you the most?

Also, notice what elements you like on other people’s rings. Check out several jewellery stores and try on different ring styles. Spend some time browsing through Pinterest to find inspiration for your custom-ring. After you have identified the elements you want to have on your ring, try sketching the ring as detailed as you possibly can, and don’t forget to take note of the details you don’t like as well.

2. Consider Your Lifestyle and the Wedding Band

Your lifestyle will also help determine the style of your jewellery. Depending on your day to day activities, you may want something that’s less protruded and clunky. If you are a more active person—say you’re an athlete or you go to the gym more often—a bezel setting would be a more ideal and secure setting than the common prong setting.

Also, consider the wedding ring. Work with a jewellery designer to create an engagement ring that looks spectacular when complemented by a wedding ring but also looks just as stunning when worn alone. A piece of advice: if you want your engagement ring to look complementary with your wedding band, purchase the rings together from the same jeweller.

3. Create a Budget

Do your homework and research on the type of stones and metals that fit your budget. Look into the different types of precious metals for a customized wedding ring in Singapore such as platinum, silver, white gold, titanium and tungsten. For the diamond consider the 4Cs (cut, colour, clarity and carat) and the substitutes like cubic zirconia, white sapphires and other gemstones.

As you learn more about the options available for you, discuss this with your jeweller. Work together to come up with a combination of precious metals and stones that will fit your budget while also considering the design you desire.

4. Think Outside the Box

The sky is the limit when it comes to designing your own engagement ring, although a few requirements have to be met. As mentioned, diamond is not the only stone you can use on your ring. You can use pearl, your birthstone or other gemstone—or nothing at all. The same goes with the band. Silver and gold are not the only metals you can use for your ring’s band. Tungsten, for instance, is a much more durable substitute for a fraction of a price.

Also, if you’re planning on customizing your wedding bands but you and your fiance can’t seem to agree on the same design, you can always go for different styles of wedding rings. But try to agree on at least one element to somehow tie the look of the rings together.

5. Look for a Reputable Designer

You would want to work with a reputable and trusted designer—someone who can provide excellent customer service and quality product. Start by asking around family and friends for recommendations. When contacting a jeweller in Singapore, ask about their affiliations, how long they have been in the business and if you can view their recent works.

Ultimately, you want to work with a professional who will not only listen and provide your needs and wants, but also can give suggestions in order to come up with quality product. A skilled jeweller has good sense of logistics and can provide you with relevant suggestions for creating a practical ring setting.

6. Give the Process Some Time

This is not something that can be rushed. It takes significant amount of time to come up with a design, find a good jeweller to work with and actually start the creation process—not to mention the additional time needed for modifications.

Once you have decided on a design, your jeweller will create a mock-up of your engagement ring—either made of wax, metal cast or by CAD (computer-aided design). If the first mock-up needs more tweaks, expect that it will take another week—or more—to create a new one. After approving a design, it will take some more time to create the actual ring. Over all, the back-and-forth process of making modifications and agreeing on a design could take months to complete.

A custom-made proposal ring is a great opportunity for you to incorporate your individuality into the most significant piece you own in your life. It is the perfect way to incorporate designs that represent you, as well as stones that were passed down through generations in your family. With creative mind and the right jeweller, it’s not impossible to bring your dream ring to life.

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