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Tying the Knot: A Year in the Making

5 Advantages of Having Long Engagements

 

While a long engagement may seem like a tiresome affair, keeping a few years between your engagement and wedding can actually be beneficial. Aside from giving you enough time to perfectly plan out your wedding, it’ll also allow you to understand and know more about your partner. So before you get swayed to tie the knot a few months after your engagement, we’ve listed down a few reasons why you should consider having a long engagement period instead.

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1.       You Have Higher Chances of Following Your Budget

With a long engagement, you’ll have enough time to see everything related to wedding on Instagram and Pinterest, and then plan your budget accordingly. You’ll also have all the time in the world to look for better (and cheaper) alternatives on décors or packages that go over your budget. With this, you won’t have any regrets and last-minute compromises.

2.       You Get to Plan Down to the Smallest Detail

Most bride-to-be’s prefer having long engagements as it allows them to go over even the most intricate detail of their wedding. From the placement of the flowers to the venue and to earrings, you’ll have the control over everything instead of trusting someone else do it for you.

3.       You Can Hire Vendors Early at a Reasonable Price

Since you have the luxury of time to think about what you really want for your wedding, you’ll have the advantage of choosing your vendors accordingly. If the florist your wedding planner suggested doesn’t have the kind of flowers that you want, you have the luxury of time to find and hire someone else. If you plan to have a custom-designed wedding gown and tux, you can browse through hundreds of bridal collections and choose the exact design that you want.

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4.       You Can Ponder Over Who’s Included in Your Guest List

Not being pressed for time allows you to have lengthy discussions with your partner and parents as to who gets invited on your wedding day. Plus, there’s a lower chance of you forgetting to invite someone important, since you can take as many days as you want to finalize your guest list.

5.       You Can Save for Your Dream Honeymoon

Aside from saving up for you actual wedding, having a long engagement also lets you save up for your dream honeymoon destination. Rather than following the advice of the travel agent, you can check on different places online or ask your friends for good recommendations. If you want, you can even scout the place before your wedding to ensure that your honeymoon goes just how you imagined it to be.

Other than allowing you to plan your wedding down to the smallest detail, having a long engagement also prepares you for the married life itself. So enjoy your “engaged” status as much as you can, because as they say, you’ll only be a fiancé once.

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5 Ways to Cut Down Your Gift Giving Costs

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With the holiday season fast approaching, you might already be thinking of ways on how you can cut down your gift giving costs this year. Well, worry not because even if you’re on a tight budget, you can still get your Christmas shopping done with the help of the following tips.

1.       Buy Gifts From Yard Sales

If you just look carefully, you can actually find some unique (and inexpensive) gifts at yard sales. Aside from the usual antiques and old furniture, you’ll also find some brand new cosmetic products and clothing pieces that are sold at reasonable prices. I’ve been shopping gifts from yard sales in our area in Singapore over the years, and I’ve also been saving extra bucks on Christmas gifts in the past years.

2.       Practise Re-Gifting

Received a gift that you didn’t like? Then give it to someone else as a gift. Re-gifting works well with books. If you’re done reading a particular book – and you no longer have any plans of re-reading it – consider giving it to someone else. This won’t only cut down your gift giving costs, it’ll also help you get rid of an unwanted item. Just make sure that the person you’ll be giving the gift to is not the same person who gave it to you.

3.       Opt for Homemade Gifts

Homemade gifts are one of the best gift ideas during Christmas season. Aside from being economical, they’re also special since they’re one of a kind. Homemade gifts, such as baked goodies or handmade keychains and bracelets, are great to give to friends, relatives or your special someone.

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4.       Offer a Gift of Service

If you think that you can’t afford to purchase a gift for a particular person, consider offering a gift of service to them instead. This may include helping them put up their Christmas tree or preparing for their Christmas dinner. If you want, you can also offer a non-holiday related gift of service, such as helping them repair their car or assisting them in remodelling their kitchen. Some people actually prefer receiving a gift of service than any material gifts.

5.       Make Great Use of Rebates and Groupon

There are a lot of online resources available that can save you those extra bucks on your Christmas shopping. Social deal websites like Living Social and Groupon can save you money on any branded items that you’re planning to purchase as a gift. You can also make great use of rebate sites like MrRebates.com and ebates.com, which requires the online retailers to give back a percentage of your total purchase.

Cutting down on your gift giving costs isn’t that difficult. All you need to do is be smart with your purchases, and you’ll certainly be able to cut down your holiday expenses. With that, both you and the person you’ll be giving the gift to will be happy.

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What Factors to Consider When Choosing a Commercia...

As a business owner, you understand the calamity that plumbing system issues can bring to your commercial property. A plumbing emergency could either disrupt a business’s service or bring it to a complete stop. This is when you will need the services of an expert commercial plumbing contractor. Yes, finding one will be challenging but knowing what factors to consider will surely help you in choosing and hiring the right plumber for your business.

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1. Insured and Licensed
Just like with other plumbing contractors, your prospective commercial plumber should also have all the important credentials like certifications and licenses. Although not all plumbers with such credentials are capable of providing the best plumbing services, they do give clients the assurance that they are good enough to perform a repair job. A good way of ensuring that the plumbing contractor you are planning to hire is licensed and insured is to check with the recognized plumbing organizations in Singapore, or to simply ask the plumber to show you his certifications.

2. Experience in Commercial Plumbing
It is crucial to find a plumbing contractor who specializes in providing commercial plumbing services. Understand that not every plumbing company in Singapore are capable of providing the type of services that you need, and you might end up hiring a plumber who has little to no experience in handling issues of commercial plumbing systems. Such contractors could be unfamiliar with the plumbing standards and local codes of commercial establishments. So be sure to avoid causing more serious damages to your plumbing system by hiring someone with enough experience in offering commercial plumbing services.

3. Pricing for Plumbing Services
Other than plumbing licenses and experience, finding a commercial plumber who can give a detailed and written estimate of the fees that you will be paying them after inspecting your plumbing system is also crucial. Hiring a quick plumbing service in Singapore will help you work within your allotted budget instead of getting surprised of the amount you need to pay once the repair job is done. Agreeing to pay the repair job by the hour can have a huge impact on your budget, especially if you do not have any idea as to how long it will take to complete the job.

4. Guarantees and Warranties
Another important factor to consider when choosing a commercial plumbing contractor is the job guarantee or warranty that he offers. This warranty allows you to request a follow-up inspection in the event an installation problem occurs, or your plumbing issue recurs. As much as possible, opt for a commercial plumbing contractor who will reimburse your money, or redo the repair job in case you are dissatisfied with the result of the repair job that they performed.

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5. 24-Hour Plumbing Services
Plumbing emergencies occur at any given moment, which is why it is crucial that you hire a plumber capable of providing round-the-clock services. Having a 24 hours plumber ready is often seen as a valuable asset to any business, since they can be easily contacted in case a plumbing emergency occurs during wee hours. Your chosen plumber should be reliable enough to promptly respond and offer his plumbing services when such misfortunes occur.

6. Customer Feedback
Naturally, the plumbing contractors that you shortlisted will claim that they are the best at what they do, but you should never just take their word for it. Instead, verify their claims by asking about the past repair jobs that they performed with their previous clients. Perhaps you can have him provide a list of referrals and find out whether or not his clients were satisfied with the services that he provided.

Getting some feedback from local businesses that hired him in the past would be also be a good idea. This will help in making the decision process easier, and you will also be able to rest easy knowing that the plumber has previously worked on business establishments similar as yours.

7. Knowledge About the Commercial Plumbing Codes and Regulations
If the commercial plumber you are planning to hire is involved in all sorts of plumbing services, then he be familiar and knowledgeable about the codes and regulations related with it. A well-informed plumbing contractor handles all the paperwork involved, thus relieving all the stress off their client.

Aside from being familiar with the plumbing codes and regulations, your prospective plumber should also be aware of the unique needs of a commercial plumbing system. For instance, the public restroom of a restaurant will likely require regular maintenance work as it is always used by both the customers and staff. As a commercial plumbing contractor, he should understand that the plumbing needs of a commercial establishment are different from that of a regular home.

8. Quality Conformity
Another important factor that you should consider before hiring a plumber is the quality of the materials they are using. Failing to put this factor into consideration might cause you to be victimized by fraudulent plumbing companies that use low quality plumbing materials to increase their job earnings. So before hiring a particular commercial plumbing contractor, be sure to ask about the type of installations, fixtures and materials they usually use for their plumbing works.

Research about the cost and quality of their preferred materials to gauge the quality of the plumbing services they are offering. Also, check the warranty period on various plumbing products so you will have an idea about their durability and quality.

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At some point, your business will the plumbing services of a reliable plumber. So as you decide on which one to hire, be sure to consider their experience, competence, availability and pricing to save you from the stress of needing to put your business to a stop.

How to Make a Time Map

If you are one of those Singaporeans who always say “where did my day go?” it is time that you consider changing. Change is upsetting sometimes especially if you are so used to the things around you. However, getting used to such things can be counterproductive. This is the reason why you should always challenge status quo and continuously seek for improvement. This is concept is called kaizen.

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Kaizen is a Japanese concept for “continuous improvement”. Many corporations embrace this philosophy to improve business systems and processes. Small businesses can also consider it. More importantly, on a more personal note, you can use it to improve your life.

How can you improve your life or encourage kaizen? Well, you can start by making a time map. Maps are vital because it guides you (and sometimes nudges you) to the right direction. It is more like a plan of your goals. Time map is also the same. Though you do not need to draw the continents and identify cities, time map can also be as helpful as that.

Time map will help you align your activities and personal goals. It is a simple chart of the hours you are awake. It should show how much time you dedicate to different areas of your life. The first thing that you should do is to write down your activities. Make sure that the list is ideal and balanced. Here are some important points on making your ideal time map:

  • Decide on how you want to fill the available space of your day. Assuming you have decided to spend half of your time on your work, the other half is divided on your family and the time for yourself.

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  • Put it together. Now that you have decided on how you want to fill the available space of your day, it is time that you put it together. You can consider calendar software or make an excel time map according to your specifications. If you want it to be more customized, you can personally make it. The map should have codes (for example A for work, B for family and C for self). Make sure to put the ideal hours and its ratio.

 

  • Do not schedule every minute. Remember that this is only a guide. This is not your accounting planner or something. You do not have to schedule every minute.

Now that you have determined how you will spend your time based on your priorities, it is time that you make it a reality. This is where the real challenge begins. The key here is to be consistent.

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Must-Have Games For Your PlayStation VR

Life is hectic here in Singapore and if you do not decide to relax even for a wee bit, you will surely burn out in no time. When you are given time to relax, grab it and do not think about work for hours. If given a chance, what will you do with that time? You sleep, bond with family, read or play games but most of the time, you prefer playing games. If you are kind of an indoor-games kind of person, you would probably go for Sony’s PlayStation VR.

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Sony’s PlayStation VR will surely give you a different immersive experience and that makes it worthwhile to buy. This looks like a head-mounted gear capable to render 3D images or projections of the environment. In other words, it is a virtual reality piece of gear. Sony’s PlayStation VR was just launched last October 2016 and there had been many reviews saying it is pretty good.

Many gamers or players consider it because it is comfortable plus soundly priced. Some say it lacks “killer” applications but it is filled with myriad of interesting ones. In a sea of game choices, which should you purchase? Here are some must-have games for your PlayStation VR:

Rez Infinite

Rez Infinite costs $30. In this game, you need to shoot the enemies but since it is in VR setting, it will make the experience more immersive. The best part is it gets better as you go along. You have to be persistent to unlock Area X and before you know it, you will find yourself shooting, flying and bobbing.

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

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Until Dawn: Rush of Blood costs $20. If you are into horror, this is your kind of game. This is derived from the hit PS4 game last year. The interactive drama will surely affect you – it is kind of a roller coaster ride from the depths of hell. Expect carnival of terror that features freak clowns and hideous monsters.

Thumper

Thumper costs $20. VR or not, you can play this game. The designers boast of bringing a marvellous experience to the players because of its easy yet captivating controls not to mention its unsettling violent rhythm.

Batman Arkham VR

Batman Arkham VR costs $20. You can finally say that you are Batmas as you wear the cloak and mask – virtually. Though this game is kind of short (and that is disappointing), it never fails to give you a high-quality experience. This is because of Batman’s impressive character rendered.

There are many games/applications but make sure that it is compatible with your PlayStation VR.

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5 Reasons to Get Pet Insurance

If you are a pet owner, you probably love your pet like a family and treat them like one as well. If you are like most responsible pet owners in Singapore, you know the value of a health insurance for your furry friend.

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Many pet owners though, make the mistake of thinking they will never need coverage for their pets until something goes wrong. But here’s why pet insurance should be viewed as a necessity rather than a luxury.

1.       You’ll never have to choose between your pet and your wallet

This problem often arises when you have older pets. Deciding whether or not to have a surgery is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll ever make as a pet owner. By getting a pet insurance, you can take the financial aspect out of the picture and be able to focus more on the welfare of your pet.

2.       Veterinary costs are getting more expensive

With the new technology becoming more and more accessible for pets, costs of treatments, operations and even general check-ups are constantly increasing. If you secure a pet insurance, you allow yourself to afford any course of treatment best for your pet’s condition.

3.       You can pick a plan that fits your pet’s needs

Pet insurances can be personalized to fit your pet’s needs and your budget. If you get one while your pet is still young, you have more insurance plans to choose from. These insurance plans range from major operations to general check-ups. Check with your veterinarian to see the options available for your pet.

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4.       Every breed is unique

Just like humans, every cat and dog is unique. Every breed is distinctive from the other and comes with its own unique health condition that might threaten the life of the animal at some point in its life. Consider the health condition and the possible risks of your pet, and you might find that the health benefits will outweigh the monthly fee of getting a pet’s insurance.

5.       It brings peace of mind

Just like any other insurance, pet insurance provides peace of mind to the owner. Securing an insurance plan for your furry friend allows you to choose the right treatment based on your pet’s condition rather than on how much you can afford. Most pet insurance plans here in Singapore reimburse as much as 80 percent of medical costs.

Getting a pet insurance plan is a worthy decision to consider for those pet owners who do not always have the money every month for unexpected expenses associated with pet illnesses. Pet insurance can help a catastrophic diseases or health condition from becoming a financial burden for you and your family.

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Ways to Bring Zen Into Your Home

During these stressful and erratic times, finding tranquillity and comfort in our lives can be difficult. This is the reason why Zen principles have increased in popularity and become a modern trend in interior design. Fancy a minimalist and simplistic design in your home that brings calmness and peacefulness in your space? Want to come home to a place where you know you can relax and feel refreshed? Consider these simple steps to turn your home into a totally Zen place.

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1.       Design Symmetrically

Symmetry gives that feeling of orderliness, which for many people invokes calmness. One classic technique to balance a large sofa in a living room is to place two accent chairs on both sides of the coffee table.

2.       Add Floor Pillows

Comfortable floor pillows are timeless Zen accessory, which invites you to unwind and relax. Unfortunately, they tend to look as if they are from a college dorm. The trick here is to get the pillows in a more tailored look. Search through the internet for tailored floor cushions, and you will be directed to plenty of ready-made options.

3.       Go Neutral With the Flooring

When it comes to making homes look calming and relaxing, nothing beats the simplistic beauty of wood floors, though this isn’t the only flooring material that makes spaces look tranquil. They key here is to choose a material that won’t visually collide with the furniture and decor. If you are stuck with a busy looking floor, you can cover it up with a giant rug in neutral colour.

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4.       Swap Out Bright Lights

For a truly relaxing space, replace harsh fluorescents with calming and nature-inspired lighting. Place different dim-light fixtures in different places of the house to control the light intensity and the areas of your home to be lighter. Avoid strong, direct light from the ceiling and take advantage of mixing floor lamps, lamp sets and indirect light.

5.       Organize Your Nightstand

Books, glass of water, your phone charger and a couple of receipts add up to the mess on your nightstand. This clutter should not be the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning (and the last thing you see when you go to sleep). Instead of a clutter of random stuff, keep a photo of a loved one, a good bedside book and something alive on your nightstand.

Keeping your place looking relaxed is just a matter of eliminating clutter, making more space and choosing the right colours that emanate tranquillity and peacefulness.

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5 Proven Ways to Boost Your Happiness

With all the frustrations and problems that we face at work and at home, it can be really difficult to keep everything from weighing us down. It might even cause some of us to feel that our lives are only made of unfortunate events – which is really not the case though. The truth is you can take charge of your own happiness by doing activities that give you much delight. With that in mind, we listed down some tips on how you can boost your happiness in an instant.

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1.       Enjoy a Good Sleep

One of the best ways to boost your mood is to take a good sleep, regardless if it’s a two-hour snooze or just a twenty-minute nap. A study conducted by a group of researchers in Singapore revealed that the amount of sleep you get directly affects your mood – which proves that getting a perfect nap will likely increase your happiness. So whenever you’re feeling down, use it as an excuse to take a good shut-eye.

2.       Explore Nature

Whether you’re trekking on a nature trail or hiking through a forest, being around nature will surely help in improving your mood. A change in environment allows your mind to focus on the pleasantness of the moment and temporarily forget the negative things happening in your life. Remember that life is about living the moment, and people who live in the now are more likely to be happier with their lives.

3.       Smile More

When you smile, there’s a biological process that tricks your mind into thinking that you’re happy – thus it lifts your mood reflexively. Still, this is just a brief intervention that can’t permanently make you a happier person. But if doing something as simple as smiling can help you feel a bit better about your life, then we don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t do it more often.

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4.       Keep a Gratitude Journal

Having a gratitude journal is one of the best ways to remind you of all the things that you have. Even if you think that you don’t have a lot to be thankful for, you’ll definitely be able to find a reason to be grateful and happy with your life through keeping a gratitude journal.

5.       Get a Pet

Pet owners will surely agree that their pets have brought them so much joy and good memories. In fact, one study claimed the social support offered by pets is similar to that of a fellow family member. It even showed that individuals who owned a pet became happier and developed greater self-esteem. Don’t go rushing to purchase one from the nearest pet store in your place though. Remember that keeping a pet entails some responsibilities, so make sure that you’re prepared to take on the duties of being a pet owner.

Being happy is actually easy, even with all the bad things happening in our lives. Taking charge of your own happiness and doing things that gives you much pleasure will definitely help in turning you into a happier person.

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