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You meet with your financial adviser, got a mortgage and bought your very first investment—your own house. The next thing is making it look and feel the way you want it. Whether you need it to be overhauled or just to be redecorated, there is a lot more to designing a property than you might think. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea of new kitchen countertop and sleek lighting fixtures, but it’s important to be smart at making decisions for your home improvement to avoid wasting precious time and money.

  1. Doing Things Yourself

Watching a few YouTube tutorials on rewiring home electrical lines does not make you an electrician; the same thing should apply on general contractor jobs. Accepting a cheap bid can mean working with unlicensed contractor who aren’t able to obtain proper building permit. Plus, you aren’t covered for the cost of damage or further repair if the work is botched or does not meet the building code.

  • Going for Trendy Designs

That open shelving and farmhouse sink might look great now, but are you sure it’ll withstand the test of time and—most importantly—improve the value of your home? Remodeling your kitchen can be the most expensive renovation you can do to your home, so it makes sense to go only for one or two trendy elements, instead of making that entire part of your home trendy and bold.

  • Falling in Love with Expensive Designs

According to interior designers, this is one of the most common mistakes of both old and new homeowners. If the design entails a lot lines—herringbone floors, wainscoting, moldings, etc.—it is expensive. The same goes with the opposite: a modern-looking space with no lines at all (no base molding, everything looks sleek and straight) is also equally expensive. Even if you get the less-expensive version of materials used, you still need to invest on quality installation.

  • Buying Cheap Materials

The old saying “you get what you pay for” holds especially true to home renovation. Sure, your home flowing only cost you five dollars less per square foot, but are you sure it’ll last you long enough? After a year, it may start to crack and need to be replaced, and you’d wish you had just invested in quality materials from the beginning.

  • Skipping the List

It’s easy to want this and that for your new home. To avoid getting carried away on the renovation and the unnecessary expenses that often comes along with it, create a list of things you need to be done to your home. When everything has been ticked off the list, it’s time to let your contractor go. Otherwise, you could end up paying for a bigger lump sum for the “few other little things.”

If you are planning of remodeling your home, it’s smart learn from the mistakes of the past. Knowing what to do and most importantly what NOT to do will help you make the most of your resources.

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  • 6 Ways to Beat the Heat

    The hot and humid climate of Singapore is already a given. But knowing how to beat the heat is essential to getting comfortable. Here, then, are 6 ways you can keep the cool.

    1. Draw the curtains

    Close the windows and draw the blinds and curtains earlier in the day or before it gets too hot. Close the ones that come in direct contact with the sunlight so as to prevent more heat from going inside your home. Only allow air in the house in the evening and early in the morning to avoid bringing warm air inside.

    • “Promote” cold air

    Sometimes it just can’t be avoided that the weather is too hot and humid. Even when the blinds and curtains are drawn, there just always seems to be hot air blowing. Fortunately there are ways to counter this and let the cool air out. One simply way is to hang a damp towel on a place where air generally flows, like windows. You could also try to make a DIY Air Conditioner using a fan and a box f ice.

    • Dress for the heat

    Obviously, you would want to avoid clothes that don’t allow breathing space for your body, skinny jeans, thick jackets and long-sleeved shirts. You should also avoid wearing darker clothes as they absorb more heat. More than that, material also helps against the heat. Clothes made of cotton and linen allow cool air to flow easily making them a fit choice to wear.

    • Avoid water that’s too cold

    Contrary to popular belief, you should actually avoid drinking cold water when the weather is hot. Drinking cold water gives the illusion that we’re quenching our thirst and “cooling” our body. But by doing so, our cells will have to keep using more energy to balance out the body’s temperature and maintain a constant level of heat.

    •  Avoid tea, coffee, and alcohol

    Tea, coffee, and alcohol are drinks that have a diuretic effect, which means they increase the amount of water and salt expelled from the body through urine. This leaves us dehydrated and feeling more irritated and exhausted from the heat. Our body needs as many and as much water as possible. So not having these drinks can help our bodies cope with the heat.

    • Avoid exercising when it’s too hot

     If you ever feel like jogging or you just can’t go a day without exercising outdoors, do it early in the morning when its not too hot yet. If you do so when the sun is out already, chances are you’ll get tired easily as you exhaust your muscles and rid your body of water via sweating. Although there are many who say they thrive in exercising when its hot, its simply best to take it slow and make sure you’re not pushing your body too much.

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  • There are now quite a number of climbing gyms in Singapore and because of this more and more people are getting into the sport. Gym climbing is a good alternative to other physical activities that get our adrenaline pumping. It is also fun, it gives your body and mind a good workout, and it gives you opportunities to get to know others.

    1. Anyone can try it

    Now, gym climbing is no longer observed as a sport just for extreme athletes and adrenaline junkies. It can appeal to kids, teens, and even adults as a cool sport There are even schools that promote the sport as an extracurricular activity and have climbing walls installed already. Young or old, thin or buff, short or tall, gym climbing can be tried by pretty much anyone.  

    2. Full-body workout

    It is said that an hour of the activity can help you burn 500 to 900 calories. Climbing considerably involves almost every other muscle in the body. You use your hands, arms, shoulders, back, core, legs, pretty much everything. You’ll even feel sore in muscles around your body you didn’t even know existed. In addition, you could also improve your strength, coordination, flexibility and endurance.

    3. Healthy mind

    Gym climbing, just like any other physical exercise, boosts serotonin and dopamine in our brain and leaving us with a better mood. It also exercises our mind because it involves problem solving and analysis while climbing the wall. The whole wall is a puzzle in itself. You will have to think about the routes and the most efficient moves you can do to get to the top.

    4. Mind-body coordination

    Climbing can be a physically and mentally challenging activity. You use your mind to think about proper patterns and sequences and create strategies that you can do to get yourself higher. You are always thinking, all the while using your body to carry out the strategies you come up with. You’re basically doing a puzzle, but moving with your entire body.

    5. A sense of accomplishment

    If you think about it, climbing can be philosophical in the way that it gives you something to work towards. We basically live our lives with objectives and goals we want to accomplish. And in climbing you also get a feel for that. Making it all the way to the top can be extremely satisfying. Even if you don’t make it to the top but see how high you’ve come can be quite the experience. 

    6. Great way to interact with others

    Climbing can be particularly social. When you’re stuck on thinking about your next move, there are other climbers who offer words of advice and encouragement. There is also much time for you to rest between climbs, so there will always be chances to talk to others. You’ll be surprised to get to know people from all walks of life while climbing.

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  • The weekend is finally here! It’s the perfect time to relax, unwind, and charge up out batteries for the coming week.

    But do you order take-out or go out to eat?

    As much as it’s easy and tempting (with so many options, restaurants, and even fast food places to choose from), the prevalence of home-cooked food is slowly fading in favor of eating out.

    But this isn’t just because of being lazy – we really don’t have the time to do so. For many Singaporeans, it’s become a hassle, with hectic work schedules leaving people too tired or hungry to take the time and cook.

    However, this doesn’t mean that the kitchen should be counted out just yet. Here are three key reasons why you should cook your meals at home instead of eating out too much:

    1. Going out to eat has become a global trend (and it’s still more expensive).

    This isn’t in itself a bad thing. There are a lot of reasons in life to celebrate, and that celebration often comes in the form of having a good meal in a nice restaurant. However, doing this often can have consequences, not just on your waistline, but also on your wallet.

    One advantage that cooking at home has in particular is that it saves you a significant amount of your budget. You don’t have to pay for a single meal every night – any leftovers on hand can easily be stored for extra portions you can reheat later on, or cook as ingredients for other meals.

    2. Home cooking has some direct benefits.

    You’ll be able to control your portions, you’ll know exactly what goes into your food and how it was prepared and cooked, you can add all kinds of lean protein and healthy fats and oils, and all you need to do is take the time to buy the ingredients and learn how to cook them properly.

    You’ll also be able to learn a valuable skill that you can practice over time to be good at. What more could you get out of it?

    3. It strengthens relationships.

    If you still happen to live with your parents, it will be no surprise that learning to cook will definitely help to ease up on some of the responsibilities at home. If you plan on moving out, having this invaluable life skill will make anyone want to be your roommate.

    Cooking can also be a good hobby you can get into to de-stress, pick up and master new culinary skills, and be a way to meet new people over something you enjoy doing.

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  • In order to be prepared for any emergency, one of the first things you need to do is to keep your medicine cabinet (this will be your home pharmacy) well-stocked.

    However, this can be confusing. There are countless types of medications being manufactured, and most medical providers can’t give you working knowledge on every single one in circulation. This means that certain medicines that are available in certain countries may not be readily available in Singapore, and vice versa.

    But the good news is that by following some guidelines, you don’t have to worry. Here’s what you can do to get started:

    1. Make a list of the different medications your medicine cabinet will need.

    Most of the time, this will consist of over-the-counter medicines, such as the following:

    • Pain and fever medication – For reducing symptoms of high fever and providing relief from mild headaches or migraine, paracetamol should be a staple in any medicine cabinet.
    • Topical Antibiotics – Ointments that reduce minor skin infections come in different kinds, all of which are just as effective.
    • Antifungal – Athlete’s feet, fungal rashes, or even yeast infections can be easily treated with over-the-counter antifungal medication. 
    • Mild Laxative – Constipation and low bowel movement are things that can be alleviated with a mild laxative, such as docusate sodium.
    • Antihistamine –You can control non-stop itchy nasal allergies or dry up a watery nose using over-the-counter antihistamines.
    • Decongestant – Congested noses in the house will be sure to thank the existence of decongestants after a hard rain. Be sure to take them during the day so that you can blow your nose.
    • Cough Medicine – Be sure to know the difference between the two types: expectorants (which makes you cough by loosening up mucus), and suppressants (which control or reduce coughing).

    Don’t forget the other non-medicines that need to be in your cabinet! Items such as antiseptics (rubbing alcohol, Betadine, etc.), Band-Aids, bandages, gauze, medical tape, or anything that you would see in a first-aid kit are also needed.

    You should also keep in mind that your medicine cabinet should be far away from any sources of heat and moisture. This allows them to keep for longer.

    Tip: Don’t buy hydrogen peroxide – it has no effect on wounds and only makes them take longer to heal.

    2. Keep an inventory of how often you’re using them.

    While you think this shouldn’t matter (people don’t often get sick), it’s easy to rush to your medicine cabinet only to find that either you ran out of one particular type of medicine or that the medicine is already expired.

    Throw out medicines that are past their expiry date and restock with ones that aren’t expired. Always be sure to check the label.

    3. Know when to see a doctor.

    If certain symptoms persist after a few days despite taking the over-the-counter medications, consider seeing a doctor immediately for early diagnosis and treatment.

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