How to Deal With Allergies in 6 Simple Steps

Allergies can occur at any time in a person’s life. And because a lot of things can trigger it, with food, dust, and pollen being only some of the biggest factors, you don’t really know when it will hit you.

But the good news is that it’s quite common, and that means that in many cases, it’s easy to treat with both natural and over-the-counter medications at home when they happen. Here’s how:

1. Wear a face mask
Allergens that keep getting in your airways can be dealt with using a face mask that blocks as much as ninety-five percent of these particles.

2. Use a saline rinse
For allergic reactions that cause sinus problems, try clearing your airways with a mixture of three tablespoons salt (non-iodized) to one teaspoon baking soda. Add this to eight ounces of boiled water and use to remove any traces of allergens and mucus in your nose.

3. Drink more fluids
Stay hydrated during your post-nasal drip! The extra liquid thins the mucus in your nasal passages, and with hot fluids such as tea, broth, or even soup, you have the benefit of steam.

Using steam can also help you clear your nose by expanding your airways, which makes it easier to breathe. The trick is to hold your head over a bowl of warm water and place a towel over your head to trap the steam and raise the temperature.

4. Keep your home clean
Dust and dirt are two of the biggest allergens out there, so it’s important to keep your home dust-free when you or a family member starts coming down with the sniffles.

You can do this with regular cleaning, but if you happen to have an allergic reaction yourself, ask someone else to do it for you.

If you have a vacuum cleaner at home, make sure it has a HEPA filter in order to trap any allergens.

5. Avoid cigarette smoke
When you’re coming down with a bad case of the allergies, it’s best to avoid anything that makes it longer for your nose to clear, and that includes cigarette smoke. If you’re a smoker yourself, stop smoking for a few days if you can’t bring yourself to quit.

You should also avoid fumes and aerosol sprays as well, since they can be just as bad.

6. Take OTC medications
There are different medications you can get over the counter, such as antihistamines for sneezing, and corticosteroid creams for skin symptoms, such as rashes. However, be careful when taking them.

If regular doses of antihistamines won’t work, you might be better seeing a doctor who can prescribe stronger doses.

How to Be a Morning Person in 5 Easy Steps

It’s easy to love being the night owl, the only one left to revel in the late nights when everyone else is asleep. But things aren’t so easy when you need to wake up in the morning, only to find that you don’t have the energy.

The good news is that you can wake up in the morning feeling with more gusto and ready to take on the day – here’s how you can do it in five easy steps:

1. Sleep in early
The best way to wake up early while getting in the most hours of sleep is by going to bed early. And yes, that means no distractions, no late-night binges of your favorite shows, and certainly no staring at your smartphone and computer screen.

This reason for this is because the blue light emitted from these devices actually interferes with your body’s circadian rhythm.

2. Actually wake up
Don’t hit snooze and give yourself “five more minutes” – this only makes you more likely to wake up past your schedule and run late for work or school.

However, if you really can’t resist sleeping for longer, you can get around that by having multiple alarms on your phone to ring at different times. Have four and five of them, so even if you hit “snooze” on the first alarm, you have to do so repeatedly.

3. Develop a personal ritual
Having a personal ritual before sleeping and after waking up helps to give you a cue for different times of the day.

Whether it’s taking a few minutes to stretch, some deep breathing exercises, or even something as simple as sitting on your bed doing nothing at all, giving yourself this small time frame lets your mind and body adjust in time.

4. Drink coffee
Perhaps the most important part of any morning for a coffee lover is their favorite drink, and there’s nothing like a cup to start your day!

However, if you’ve been drinking coffee during the late hours, you should probably stay away from it until the caffeine leaves your system. This can usually take a few hours at best, so drink water instead to replace any lost fluids.

5. Exercise
No need to drag yourself to the gym – get your blood going in the morning by doing a few exercises at home after waking up! This will improve your wakefulness and make you feel alert when you’re feeling groggy right after you forced yourself to get out of bed.

You can even incorporate your short exercise routine into your daily personal ritual to give yourself something to automatically start doing at the start of the day.

7 Simple Ways to Update the Look of Your Kitchen W...

Whether you’re planning to invest in a total kitchen renovation or just hope to make some quick and simple changes, make sure every penny counts when choosing a project that will create an impact to your home kitchen. Stay focused on your goals and get ready to get your hands splattered with paint to achieve beautiful results for a fraction of a price (and time).

1. Replace the hardware
You’ll be surprised how this quick and simple change can make your old kitchen space look like new again. Warm up the look of your kitchen with brass materials in sleek shapes. This can instantly make your kitchen look trendy without costing you a fortune.

2. Add a few open shelves
If you have a big blank wall to fill, consider installing a few open shelves on it. The space is great for showing off fabulous collection of glassware, silverware or even cookbooks—plus they give the room additional storage space. Use sculptural brackets for a touch of sophistication.

3. Repaint the cabinets
Although painting entails a bit of effort, it is incredible cheap! It is just a cost of a can or two of paint and a bit of elbow grease if you are doing in yourself. Whether you go for a dramatic color or a combination of pastel hues, a few coats of paint can totally transform the look of the space.

4. Install under-cabinet lights
Give your kitchen space some drama while also showing off some of your pretty pieces. You can find a lot of under lighting options, including stick-on battery-operated LED lights. These lights have softer glow than overhead lighting, and looks especially stunning at night.

5. Rearrange your cabinet space
If the reason you are wishing to renovate your kitchen is to have more storage, reconsider your existing cabinets. Double up your storage space by getting graduated shelving dividers, inserts or a lazy Susan. But assess first your current storage and see what you really need, or else you’ll end up buying too much and then occupying more space for unused materials.

6. Splurge on a new appliance
This may not be cheap, but it certainly is a quick way to spruce up a kitchen. Financially, also, it is a little less costly to make major purchases like buying appliances one at a time. Replace the one with the most issues or the one you use the most. Even just this will make your kitchen look and feel new.

7. Paint an accent wall
Not so sure whether you should repaint all the walls or just don’ have the time to repaint the cabinets? Quickly paint one wall instead. Go bold for an accent wall. If the entire wall kitchen is in cream, go for a muted red or gray for that single wall for a pop of color.

Sprucing up kitchen (or home) doesn’t mean an entire renovation. Get creative and let these tips inspire your imagination.

5 Steps to De-Germ Your Hotel Room

Travelling, and everything stressful associated with it, makes us susceptible to illnesses. From sitting in close proximity to sick people to exposure to airplane’s filthy areas, travelers are exposed to different bugs and disease-causing bacteria. Of course, the transmission doesn’t only happen in plane or in the airport. The risk of infection can follow you to the hotel.

Since you wouldn’t want to cover your face in mask the whole trip, here are a few ways to sanitize your hotel room and everything you will most likely get in contact with.

1. Avoid using the complimentary hotel items
The coffee maker, ice bucket, TV remote, telephone and doorknobs are expected to be the dirtiest objects in a hotel room since they are touched more frequently by hotel tenants. It is safe to assume that the housekeeping do not wipe off the ice bucket, coffee maker, telephone and everything else very often. Even when they do, you can’t be sure whether they are using a clean, brand new towel every time.

2. Wash your hands—more often!
This should go without saying, but always make sure that you wash your hands more frequently with soap and warm water. Wet wipes are also great alternatives for wiping down door knobs, cleaning your hands and all those objects that are germ-infested.

3. Wash the glassware
Inspectors have proved that not all hotels wash the glasses after every guest’s stay in their hotel room. If the glassware and silverware aren’t touched in their placements, the staff simply wipes the dust off. So, make sure not to use them until you have had the chance to wash every utensil in hot, soapy water. In addition to that, you always have the option to bring your own cup and even utensils if needed.

4. Toss the bedspread
It is a common knowledge that bed covers are not washed frequently. But have you tried checking closely the mattresses and sheets for bedbugs and stains? Of course, you don’t want to clean those, but you have the option to bring your own lightweight bedsheets and replace the bedspread of the hotel to the side. However, if you find bedbugs, you’re better off moving to another room.

5. Always Wear Your Shoes
Do not even attempt to walk around your hotel room with your bare feet. Since you know that you would be taking off your shoes during your stay in the hotel, bring a pair of flip flops or slippers and even shower shoes or slippers to use inside the bathroom.

Now that you are confident in your hotel room’s cleanliness, take your luggage and place it on a luggage rack, so it won’t touch anything that you have just cleaned and disinfected.

Why It Can Be Good to Talk to Strangers

Most of our childhood, we’ve been told to never talk to people we don’t know, and surely for good reason. But as we grow older, all the “security” from that sentence will slowly not matter anymore. As we grow older, talking to strangers is more of a pro than a con. Here’s why:

You will improve your confidence
First of all, most of us have a general fear of talking to others we barely know. Whether this is an effect of that “don’t talk to strangers” line we always hear from our parents or just a result of anxiety, we rarely talk to strangers without hesitating. Talking to stranger, though, can actually be good practice for learning to be more confident. Even just getting rid of your initial anxiety to talk to them is a start!

You’ll have better social skills
As a result of being more confident, you will also improve your social skills. When you start talking to strangers, you will learn which lines can make the conversation going and which ones make it awkward. So, you will learn what to say and what not to say even with people you already know. Whether the conversations go deep or you’re just doing small talk, you’ll be able to avoid those awkward silences.

You will learn new things
Considering that the stranger you approached is a good sport and begins to have a good conversation with you, rest assured you’ll have new things to learn. Everyone knows a little bit that you don’t. It can be hard to know if they’re saying the truth, but if it is, consider it a great blessing. They might give valuable advice that can take you places you would not have imagined going.

You might be able to help someone
This is what’s amazing about striking up a conversation. In Singapore and all around the world, depression is becoming more and more apparent. There are people who are desperate to tell others about their suffering. You might be able to talk to a stranger and he/she will eventually open up to you. You don’t have to give advice, you just have to listen. They might be thankful to you for that.

You make new friends
Ultimately, talking to strangers can help you make new friends. You might find that this person has the same interests or hobbies as you. Then, you’ll get to know his/her friends and vice versa. You’ll have different connections with people you previously never knew. Of course, you obviously won’t get a new friend all the time, but still, you get all of the benefits listed above!

Although this highlights the benefits of talking to strangers, always remember not to compromise your safety. Don’t go to dangerous and shady places just to talk to a stranger! Additionally, if the person doesn’t want to talk, just don’t push it, that will do more harm than good.

Best Agatha Christie Books to Inspire the Detectiv...

Although the crime rate in Singapore is really low, you may be itching to read about crime and detective fiction just to feed that imaginary detective in you. And, there are no better works to read than those of the queen of mystery herself, Agatha Christie.

For the Newbie: Who is Agatha Christie?
Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie is an English writer famously known for her detective fiction novels, short stories and the world’s longest running play entitled “The Mouse Trap”. Next only to the Bible and Shakespeare, she is the bestselling novelist of all time having sold 2 billion copies of her works.

She wrote from the 1920s to the 1970s with works mainly on crime fiction. Most of her novels and short stories revolve around two fictional detectives, Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. Although Christie is not known for having diverse characters in every story, she is acknowledged for writing masterful plots and dialogues.

Some of her Best Books:

And Then There Were None
Ten people are invited to an island and are killed off one by one. The story and dialogue are masterfully written to induce panic, leaving you to feel just as confused as the characters in the story! Neither Poirot nor Miss Marple is in the story, but it is still one of Christie’s best-known works.

Murder on the Orient Express
Poirot is traveling back to London by train and, “by fate” gets involved in a murder mystery. The Orient Express, the luxury train Poirot has boarded, is stuck on the track due to heavy snow. Sure enough, a man has been murdered in the first-class car. This novel has a good twist in the end, although there may be some who might get it before it is explained.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
This is another novel that features Poirot and his skill in finding the right clues. You, as the reader, will speculate many characters as suspects, but the ending will leave you amazed and awe-struck. That is why you should read this one spoiler-free. This book has also been ranked by the British Crime Writer’s Association as one of the best.

A Murder is Announced
In most Miss Marple novels, she remains a secondary character, here she is the focus. This has quite the distinct set-up from most of Christie’s novels because there are so many people involved. Just like Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, Miss Marple becomes involved in this story by a stroke of luck.

Sleeping Murder
You could say that Sleeping Murder is fitting as Miss Marple’s last case. A chilling story of how she investigates, along with a couple, a murder that happens many years ago. What’s really interesting is that this revolves around a cold case, basically showing Miss Marple at her best.

4 Things You Can Do to Add More Breathing Room for...

Your HDB flat in Singapore may be a little too cozy for your taste, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take the right steps to make it just a little bit bigger – or make it look that way. Here’s what you can do to make your HDB unit’s cramped kitchen look more spacious:

1. Replace solid cabinet doors with glass ones
You need enough light to make up for the lack of space in your flat, so to make the illusion of space, your best option is to switch out your solid cabinet doors with ones that have glass panes.

Glass fronts allow for light to filter through, which in turn makes your cabinets appear lighter than they really are.

If you really want to allow for a more spacious appearance in your kitchen, ditch the cabinets entirely and go for floating shelves and mounted racks instead. These are the most streamlined and give you the easiest access to your kitchenware while still appearing spacious.

2. Use a single color scheme
Pale colors tend to reflect light and makes any space feel bigger, but even though you don’t like using white as your color scheme, what’s important is that you stick to one definite color scheme and apply it consistently throughout your whole kitchen.

This is because having multiple colors will only take up more space or compete for your attention, which can only make your space feel more cramped.

A few examples of colors that also work great on a small kitchen space include deep tones, such as chocolate, charcoal, and navy, which not only recede visually, but also make the walls appear much farther back, giving the illusion of room.

3. Choose smaller furniture
Space is a premium in a home that doesn’t have a lot of it, but when you choose your furniture pieces right, you make your cozy kitchen space feel as wide as possible.

Think of small-footprint-furniture pieces like slim chairs, streamlined stools, and narrow tables, and avoid getting furniture with thick bases or chunky legs, as these tend to add visual bulk.

4. Use clean lines for your design
If you have to make a design for your kitchen, keep its visual elements streamlined as much as possible. Having ornate cabinets and details in your kitchen pieces may work for large spaces, but not for a small kitchen space.
Your best option is to keep your different elements smooth and tailored, going for neat, simple lines that allow for a roomier feel by minimizing visual clutter.

Ideally, your kitchen should have a lot of vertical lines, and your kitchen’s design should allow the eye to move up and down.

4 Cooldown Rituals to Start Doing After a Long Run

As much as running can be an enjoyable way to stay in shape, you can tire yourself out and even cause potential injuries if you’re not careful – and to prevent that, you need to make sure that your body is able to recover from this kind of strenuous activity.

Start doing these cooldown rituals right now to cool down and catch your breath more quickly after a long run:

1. Stretch
A long run should be ended by a few minutes of easy walking to allow your body to cool down.

Doing a brief stretching exercise post-run will not only keep your muscles from cramping up after a long run, but it also helps you lower your temperature and catch your breath more quickly.

When stretching, pay attention to your whole body rather than just your legs as you’re using every muscle when you run, and you want to make sure that you didn’t leave anything out.

2. Rehydrate
Long-distance running can make the body lose a lot of water through sweat, so it’s important to stay hydrated.

It’s also not just enough to drink water after a long run – it’s important to refuel afterwards, which is why you need to be extra careful about what you eat in order to replace the glycogen stores in your muscles.

3. Take a shower
Taking a shower is not only a great way to relax and feel more refreshed after a long run, but it also gets keeps the dirt and dust from sticking too long to your skin.

However, be sure to take a shower only about thirty minutes after running to ensure that your body’s temperature stabilizes gradually, since not doing this can easily mess with your internal body heat and make you feel under the weather.

4. Make rest a priority
Don’t try to over-exert yourself – listen to your body! Prolonged strain can result in injuries that will leave you out of the action for longer than what you would expect.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not adding more days of exercise that are better, but having days of exercise that are planned and following through them consistently. By alternating between rest and exercise, you allow your body to recover steadily while increasing your endurance and metabolism.

Running can be exhausting as an intense physical activity, so make sure to keep these following steps in mind while gradually setting up new goals and achievements for continued improvement.

One last thing you need to keep in mind when committing to your running routine is to keep track of it. When you think you’ve made a significant amount of progress, celebrate your progress with friends or other fellow running enthusiasts over a meal or two.