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Five Important Things You Need to Know About Sunscreen

Sunny days in Singapore may come and go, but UV damage can stick around and leave its mark on your skin for a long time, and that’s why picking the right sunscreen matters a lot. However, you don’t always get the sun protection you wanted even if you do apply it, and there are many reasons why: it could be that you’re not applying enough, or that it’s not actually good sunscreen.

Here are five things you need to know before choosing one for the next time you need or want to spend time outdoors:

Expired sunscreen does nothing

You might still believe that that bottle might still be good even though you haven’t used it in a long time, but that’s really not the case. In fact, keeping it in your car or in areas with high temperatures can make it clump faster, which makes it less effective.

Watch out for Vitamin A

Some sunscreens have added vitamin A, which does have its benefits – it’s a moisturizing antioxidant with great anti-aging properties – but it increases the risk of skin lesions when it interacts with sunlight.

Another think you should be looking out for is the SPF rating. While higher numbers give better coverage, keep in mind that the best rating is actually 50, which is all that anyone could ever need. SPF ratings higher than 50 do nothing against sunburn.

Not all sunscreen is water-resistant

Swimmers are especially prone to getting a bad case of sunburn, so if you love to take a dip to cool down in the summer heat, be warned that there is a limit to how long sunscreen can stay “water-resistant”. To be safe, be sure to re-apply your sunscreen as soon you get out of the water and dry off, or after every two hours.

Good sunscreen protects you from TWO types of radiation

Ultraviolet light from the sun comes in two types: UVA, which penetrates even the thickest layer of your skin, and UVB, which only stops at the skin. The latter is responsible for sunburns, but it’s the former that can do much more damage.

And because most sunscreen only protects against UVB, you want to look for sunscreens that contain ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which help protect againt UVA.

Sunscreen can’t prevent skin cancer

There’s simply no proof that sunscreen is guaranteed protection against sunscreen, so it wouldn’t be a smart move to count on that alone. Taking other steps like staying in the shade, and wearing a wide-brimmed hat along with applying sunscreen is the best way to stay protected against the sun.

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How to Care for Peace Lily Plant

Whether grown outdoors or indoors, the peace lily is a popular houseplant because of its simple but elegant blooms. They are also a popular ornament in minimalist-themed homes because of the white lily and green foliage. If you are planning to grow a peace lily, here are important things to keep in mind.

Choose the right size for your home. Indoor peace lily should be about 16 inches tall, but if you want to grow one outdoors you can find a variety that can grow up to 6 feet. They are perfect for the tropics and require minimal care, so you only need to worry about the moisture and how much sunlight it gets.

Use a peat-based mix. You need to re-pot the peace lily after you purchase it to a peat mixed with perlite. Alternatively, you can use other peat-based mixes. You can also divide the plant to grow several peace lilies.

Fertilize every two weeks. If the plant looks like it is thriving, it will not need regular fertilizing. But if you just re-potted it, fertilize the peace lily once every two weeks with a diluted liquid plant food. Then, fertilize only after every six weeks if it looks healthy.

Do not place in a cold room. Keep the temperature above 16°C all the time because they are not cold tolerant. Do not place directly in front of the air conditioner or sources of draught.

Avoid direct sunlight. Although the peace lily plant needs sunlight, remember that in its natural habitat it grows on the forest floor where it is exposed only to dappled sunlight. Direct sunlight can damage the leaves causing it to turn yellow, so place it near a window where it can still get some sunlight but is shaded from intense heat especially during the hottest times of the day.

Water frequently. The peace lily plant needs a lot of moisture but do not drown it in water. Wait for the top inch of the soil to dry slightly before watering again to keep the moisture. You can also keep the leaves moist by misting regularly to improve the humidity. Use filtered water if possible because the chemicals in tap water can cause browned leaves.

Peace lily does not need pruning. Pruning is only necessary if you want to reduce the size of the plant. Just cut the flowers and leaves that do not look healthy, but you should probably just leave it as it is.

Watch out for pests. The peace lily might have brown leaf tips if you are over-watering or over-fertilizing it. Yellowed leaves can be caused by either under-watering or overwatering. It is also prone to mealybugs and scale infestation if not cared for. Use insecticidal soap or soapy water if you see signs of pests.

Do not handle the plant unnecessarily. All the parts of the peace lily are poisonous so do not handle them when unnecessary. Keep them away from children and pets, too.

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Popular Materials for Cosplay Armor

Cosplaying is a serious business to a lot of hobbyists nowadays, and creating an outfit from scratch is no joking matter. In fact, you can become an instant celebrity if you’re good at the craft. These are the most common materials used by cosplayers for creating armor.

Foam

There are two popular types of beginner materials commonly used to create armor; craft foam and floormat foam. Each one requires different techniques and your preference will depend on the size, function, and design of the armor you’re cosplaying.

Craft Foam can be bought cheaply in rolls or sheets and is common in most hobby shops in Singapore. What makes them ideal for most cosplayers who need a full armor is that they are easy to carry around because they’re light. They’re also easy to shape and manipulate using heat, but they are not ideal for creating round pieces. It’s a flimsy material and needs resin or glue and fabric to make it last longer and to seal its porous surface.

Floormat Foam, also called EVA foam, is also cheap and is much lighter than craft foam. However, it might be challenging for beginner cosplayers because it’s more difficult to work with. It can be sanded, but you will need a respirator. It will also leave a lot of mess and it needs to be sealed before it can be painted. You’ll also need a lot of practice when cutting the floormat foam because it’s thick. Most of the seasoned cosplayers will opt for thermoplastic and PVC foam once they are more confident with their crafting skills.

Cardboard

Cardboard is used for papier mache and paper clay armor. Some cosplayers find these materials much easier to work with than the others, although they need the same level of skills to create a cosplay-worthy piece. For a cardboard armor, you will need the following additional items: newspaper, glue, papier mache paste or mix, paper tape or masking tape, gesso, and sand paper.

Casting and Molding

Casting and molding is an advanced armor-creation technique that will require knowledge of how to work with materials such as, plastic, resin, and rubber compounds. The most common resins used by cosplayers are polyester, urethane, and epoxy. The molds are usually made from scratch using either a putty or a paste, but the material will also depend on the type of resin you’re going to use to hold it in.

Advanced armor cosplayers go the extra mile by learning how to craft leather, chainmail, fiberglass, and other advanced materials. Even your skills at other crafts, such as dressmaking and sculpting, will also be a bonus when creating armor.

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Get to Know the Good Bacteria in Your Food

You might have heard of the name good bacteria in advertisements of probiotic or super food, but do you know which microorganisms are considered beneficial and what they can do for our health?

Not all the germs we come in contact with or live in our body can cause diseases. In fact, a lot of bacteria help keep our bodies function properly, particularly by breaking down our food.

Probiotics

The word probiotic refers to both the method of preparation of a food or ingredient and the act of introducing good microorganisms into the body. Probiotic food often comes from fermented food, but fermentation has been overtaken by other methods of food preparation, that is why most of us don’t get the good bacteria in our food.

By adding probiotic food in your diet, you will improve not just your digestion, but your overall health because of the efficiency in nutrient absorption and conversion. The best probiotic food are yogurt, fermented milk like kefir, fermented soy like miso, fermented tea like kombucha, green pickle, and pickled sauerkraut like kimchi.

The Good Bacteria

These are the good bacteria you might find in your probiotic food.

Bacillus coagulans

This good bacterium is used to treat various gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease. It’s even useful while recovering from respiratory diseases and immune response diseases. Bacillus coagulans is recommended as a dietary supplement besides the medication for treatment of these diseases.

Lactobacillus acidophilus

The most well-known good bacterium is the Lactobacillus acidophilus, but other lactobacilli (more than 80 species to date are considered probiotic) are also used in probiotic food and supplements to help in the digestion of food. L. acidophilus is naturally found in our intestines and is responsible for the production of hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid, which can create an unsafe environment for possibly harmful bacteria in our body. It’s not that hard to repopulate your L. acidophilus because they’re quite common in yogurt.

Streptoccocus thermophilus and S. salivarius

S. thermophilus is also used to treat diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, other digestion problems, and most importantly, lactose intolerance problems. They’re quite common in probiotic products such as mozzarella cheese, yogurt, and other fermented dairy food. Meanwhile, S. salivarius has been found to help improve the symptoms of bad breath, which is probably why its genus refers to the saliva.

Bifidobacterium bifidum and B. breve

Bifidobacterium bifidum is known to help people with stomach ulcers, because they can repair the damage caused by a harmful bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. On the other hand, Bifidobacterium breve is known to help improve the symptoms of childhood constipation according to several studies.

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12 Best Western-Themed Video Games

With Red Dead Redemption 2 already out, you might be wondering what other Western-themed titles you can play when you have finally exhausted all the possible activities in the game. Here are some of the best in the genre.

Red Dead Redemption (2010)

If you haven’t played this game, you do not need to catch up on the story to understand RRDR2. The new game is a prequel to this title which follows a former outlaw who is hunting for the people responsible for the murder of his wife and his son.

Gun (2005)

This open world game follows Colton White, an Apache marksman. It is set in 1880 and includes areas in New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas, and Colorado.

Sunset Riders (1991)

This side-scrolling game introduces Billy, Bob, Cormano, and Steve who are bounty hunters looking for the most wanted criminals in the American Old West. The game is divided into several stages each ending with the primary target outlaw.

Outlaws (1997)

One of the first-person shooters in the Western genre, it was also the first game to introduce the sniper zoom detail. The player follows the story of a retired marshal who is looking for his kidnapped daughter.

Westerado: Double Barreled (2015)

This open world game has the similar storyline for most of the Western games on this list: you control a character looking for criminals responsible for the murder of your family.

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (2009)

If you enjoyed the first game in this series, this sequel focuses on the events two decades after the first. It is set in the American Civil War and follows the adventures of Ray and Thomas McCall, deserters who fled to save their home.

Wild Arms (1996)

Although set on an alien planet and has several fantasy elements, it takes all the important points in the Western genre for an interesting merging of concepts.

Darkwatch: Curse of the West (2005)

This one combines the elements of Western with steampunk and horror. Players control a vampire and gunfighter named Jericho Cross who is out to defeat a secret organization.

Hard West (2015)

Set in a fictionalized American Old West, players get to fight not just outlaws but metaphysical enemies such as ghosts and demons as well. It also has a turn-based tactical mode besides the strategic exploration.

Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive (2001)

This real-time tactics game allows for control of six characters, with the leader taking the role of John Cooper. The goal is to find and defeat El Diablo with the help of his friends.

Red Dead Revolver (2004)

This is actually the first game in the Red Dead series and follows the story of two friends Nate and Griff.

The Oregon Trail (1985)

One of the most iconic video games ever, you should at least have played this game if you are a fan of the western genre. Players control a wagon of settlers on their way to Willamette Valley in Oregon.

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Sleepless Singapore

They say the more money you make, the less you sleep. Well, with that analogy, poverty in Singapore is hardly critical, which might make it safe to say that Singaporeans sleep less. At three in the morning, you will find healthy and active Singaporean citizens going for a run in the park or around the condos. Does the city ever sleep?

Sleep vs. productivity

There are two major questions we can ask concerning this topic: Namely, what keeps us awake and is our lack of sleep destructive for them? The usual working hours for everyone in the world is around eight to five but normally for Singaporeans, this could go up to nine or ten. How do they survive with limited sleep and what do you think keeps them awake at night?

One of the laws in Singapore is that you cannot drink in public places from 10:30pm-7am in the morning. Unless you want to spend hour nights in a bar that usually closes around 2 AM, you won’t be able to use alcohol and going out at night as an excuse for you lacking sleep. Well, the real problem here is actually not concerning the locations in which Singaporeans spend their time on but rather the hobbies that Singaporeans spend their time with.

Are we using our time correctly?

Social media in Singapore is very strong and eats up approximately 3 hours of every Singaporeans day just to scroll down or communicate with others. This is usually the reason why most people are not able to sleep very well very often. Now, is lacking sleep usually a bad thing? Well, this answer totally depends, if you are over stressed and not taking care of your fitness, then the lack of sleep is definitely bad for you.

But as most Singaporeans tend to take care of their health by keeping up a regular cardio, watching what they eat, handling stress, or train themselves to function efficiently, the results of getting the minimum amount of sleep isn’t so bad. Singapore may be a land of opportunity but does that mean sleep has to be sacrificed?

Finding the right balance

Well, it all depends on the lifestyle you live and how you balance it. Too much of anything isn’t good and you have to know yourself well enough to resist the things that aren’t good for you. Self-discipline may be a dreadful word for most but once you learn more about self-discipline and time management, you’ll realize that it’s definitely possible to fit more amazing three things into your life.

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A Beautiful Vulnerability: Why it’s Worth the Try

Wearing your heart on your sleeves, especially if you’re not used to doing so is never an easy process. How many times did you feel dreadful to tell a partner or parent how much you needed their support? Or maybe you avoided an issue with your S.O because you didn’t like to appear unlovable. Perhaps you bounced on a friend when their emotions felt too overwhelming. Either this fear or shame constitute core vulnerability, an emotional state that is terrifying to you in reaction to which you’ve developed strong defenses Steven Stosny, Ph.D., explains.

Stosny points out that there are two types of core vulnerability 1.) Fear of harm, deprivation or isolation 2.) Shame of failure or loss. People whose core vulnerability is fear will most likely risk shame if they have to, in order to prevent themselves from experiencing their fears; while those whose core vulnerability is shame, will risk harm, deprivation and isolation to at least avoid feeling like a failure.

No matter what your core vulnerability is, the fear of opening up is common and highly influenced by the early connections we had in our lives. Research published on International Journal of Psychological studies suggest that the more stable, predictable and loving relationships one had growing up, the lesser the concerns there will be in letting others in upon reaching adulthood.

Refusal to reveal your authentic self makes you put up a persona of likeability or even selfishness. Hiding what feelings underneath this façade may lead to walking a dark alley alone. As an article in singhealth.com.sg points out, keeping a tight lid on feelings will intensify such and may drive one to deep levels of depression. Here are realistic thoughts why vulnerability is worth the risk:

No one can emotionally hurt you without your consent

Say you always wanted to wear red swimsuit that feels like so you with that Baywatch babe feels, but you never had the nerve to pull it off until now. Then while you’re out soaking at the beach, someone approaches you and comments you look fat.

Even if we assume this is a rude person, she did not harm you. If she approached and told you your hair was on fire, you’d possibly laugh at it. But when she said you look fat, you feel hurt. Why? Because you have your own belief about the idea of fat and you associate it with feelings of unworthiness. But this gal was just holding up a mirror that reflects your system of beliefs.

She gave you a reminder that you equate “fat” with “unworthiness” and you hurt yourself by thinking just that. You wound your feelings by believing that fat means you don’t deserve to wear that red swimsuit. Ever.

Vulnerability is a key to connect with yourself and your relationships

When you allow and accept yourself to be vulnerable, fail, make mistakes and have imperfections, you connect with yourself. It opens the way for you to grow, transform and heal for the better.

The people in your closest relationships exist because you allowed them to see the real you. When you hide or pretend to be likeable, you cut people off from the authentic you. You become invisible to your own tribe.

You reject yourself before anyone has

When you avoid being vulnerable to avoid rejection in the end, remember that you have rejected yourself first before anyone did. And this sound like “I would really love to audition for that singing contest, but I think others are better singers than me so I’ll just pass at it.”

That thing right there is the rejection you hand to yourself. You seek to protect yourself from the idea of rejection and yet you pull the trigger to your own.

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How to Do a Good Job Despite Having a Bad Boss

If you never had an arrogant, authoritative, backstabbing and nagging bad boss, consider yourself lucky. Most people have had at least one that made their working life a living hell.

Resigning from your job might be the best escape plan but in reality, not everyone has the luxury of leaving especially those with pressing financial and familial obligations. Until you find a more suitable opportunity, the only option left at this point is survival. As blogger Jeff Cuellar of Moneysmart.sg would put it, “Don’t quit when things get hard – elevate your “game” to meet challenges.”

But how do we elevate our game? Here are a few good ways to deal with a bad boss:

  1. Be indispensable

If you can (and willing to), master the aspects of your job and make yourself a key employee, then it can work to your advantage. It may lead your boss to see you in a new perspective that can lead to a more agreeable behavior towards you. It can also get you promoted and take you out of your boss’s supervision. Being indispensable at work can present various positive outcomes but most importantly, you will feel the self-satisfaction knowing that you did your very best despite a tough situation.

  1. Stick to who you are and your values

Having a bad boss at work can manifest feelings of powerlessness and resentment, don’t let these change who you are. It’s normal to work on reports to perfection to impress your boss but if you believe what you are asked to do is in conflict with your values and what is right, never buy in.

  1. See things through your boss’s eyes

Putting yourself in your boss’s shoes may not be the best advice you need when you are clouded with his unfavorable behavior towards you, but understanding the place of others can actually change your perspective. Go into the factors of what fears, motivators and hopes that drive their behavior. Your boss’s boss may have brought a multitude of pressures from many sources. The more you understand the reason that your boss is experiencing, the more you’ll be able to get the bigger picture. Empathy can be a powerful tool than merely focusing on our own emotions.

  1. Never fight alone

When battling a tough situation, we always go back to the good old saying that “no man is an island.” Many life survivors triumph over life because they have strong bond with the people around them and that is no exception to demoralized employees. Connecting to your colleagues inside and outside the office is scientifically proven by experts to help you reduce boss-induced stress. Other ways of building social relationships with colleagues can also be in the form of appreciating them and celebrating small/big victories—this positive karma will surely find its way back to you.

At the end of it all, it is you who is in control of your own career and it can be in many forms—that includes dealing with a bad boss. And it doesn’t have to be a painful one.

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7 Essential Mobile Apps for Productive College Students

College life can take a while to get used to. With new environment and new people around you, it can take a while to adjust and be comfortable again. It can even be challenging to divide your time, complete a project or even organize your notes at some point.

However, with technology, everything becomes so much easier. From managing your time to purchasing school necessities, we’ve listed five essential mobile apps you would want to have on your device for easier and better college life.

1. Mint
Worried about getting out of budget? Download Mint for free to help you with your money matters. View your accounts—savings, credit cards and checking—and automatically add and categorize your expenses all in one mobile application.

2. Amazon
Whether you lack retail options or just classic form of laziness, it is not always convenient to shop near the school pampus. Use Amazon to browse and shop for your necessities in a convenient and quick way.

3. Quizlet
This is an amazing mobile app for everything, from flashcards to image- or audio-based reviewers. Even better, it allows you to access a database of flashcard sets that cover whatever you may be studying; or do your classmates a favour by sharing a set of reviewers with them.

4. iStudiez Pro
Having trouble remembering deadlines of projects or schedule of your next quiz? This application allows you to input all your activities in the calendar, so you will not miss another deadline again. Moreover, the app can track your school performance by allowing you to enter your grades in every class.

5. Calculator++
Perhaps, you don’t have the budget to get yourself a new scientific calculator, or maybe you just left it at home. This application comes in handy with graphing capabilities and trigonometry functions.

6. NoRedInk
This app is extremely helpful for students and even teachers who want to improve their English language skills. The third-party app allows you to improve your grammar by taking quizzes. Unlike other kinds of tests that usually come in multiple choice formats, NoRedInk will require you to manually edit and write down words and sentence, so your grammar, spelling, punctuation and other grammatical aspects will be improved.

7. Notability
If you want to skip the pen-and-paper route for taking down notes, try Notability app for your iPad. This app is perfect for taking down notes, recording, typing and PDF annotation. You can customize the look of your notes with a variety of paper styles and pen colours, as well as add links and photos to it.

College can be rough, expensive and stressful, but it can be the other way around if you have everything you need with you all the time. Load up your mobile device with these apps to help you stay on track.

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7 Bizarre Food-and-Drink Laws Around the World

Most food and drink laws are understandable. However, there’s still a few that draw attention because of their oddness. Here, we’ve compiled some of the world’s strangest food-drink laws, from ultra-specific to straight-up non-sense regulations.

1. Be Careful How You Crush Your Beer Cans
Next time you’re in Australia, keep in mind that crushing a can of beer with your breasts, should you wish to do so, can put you behind bars. This is not a joke. In fact, a female bartender in Australia was arrested and fined for exhibiting her crushing talent with her cleavage.

2. Don’t Feed the Birds
Sitting at the park and tossing bread crumbs to the birds gathered at your feet seem like a pleasurable pastime when in the city. Try this in San Francisco and you’ll likely be fined. Yes, you heard that right. It’s illegal to feed the pigeons in the park, along the sidewalks or on the streets of the city.

3. You Have to Eat Your Fried Chicken Only With Your Hands
Want to ask for a fork and a knife for your fried chicken in Gainesville, Georgia? Hold up for a minute. Do you know that the city ordinance forbids diners to eat their fried chicken with the use of anything, except their hands? Now you know.

4. No Ketchup For Kids
In 2011, France banned the use of ketchup in schools. They give so much importance to their French recipes that they want to ensure that the kids will be able to master them and pass them down to the next generation.

5. Watermelons are Banned
There’s just no better way to refresh from the hot summer weather than biting into a juicy slice of watermelon, but don’t expect that kind of refreshing experience in Rio Claro, Brazil. Watermelons are banned in the city, and it’s seem difficult to figure out the official reason of this local regulation.

6. Snack In the Right Place
Planning to get some gelato to cool you off while strolling around town? Well, you’re about to break the laws with that plan. It is against Florentine laws to eat and drink nearby churches and public buildings. Better think twice before taking photos with a cone of stracciatella in front of Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.

7. No Surprise Deliveries Allowed
Surprising a friend with a pizza delivery may seem like a fun idea, but Louisiana bans unauthorized ordering and delivery of goods and services to somebody else’s home without the homeowner’s permission.

Although these laws may be weird, it’s critical that you follow them at all times if you don’t want to end a supposedly fun and relaxing trip in jail.

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