Jun 29

Simple Packing Tips for the Inexperienced Traveler

So, you decide that this year you want to start exploring the world and traveling more. After your first trip, you realize that your baggage is holding you back and that there might be more effective ways to pack! Well, you’ve come to the right place! Here are some simple packing tips for when you have to travel both in and out of Singapore!

1. Do your packing early

It’s not exactly a big deal if you cram your packing at the last minute but it definitely is more stressful. You can save yourself the hassle by simply packing early! The biggest reason you should is that you won’t forget anything. When you pack early, you have time to add or remove any items in your bags. This also means you won’t just throw in whatever items you think you need as a result of packing late. Of course, you also won’t bring anything else by accident and add unnecessary weight to your luggage.

2. Roll Your Clothes to save some space

There are a lot of people who fold their clothes before putting them in the bags. Actually, a more effective method is to roll your clothes! Try it out and you’ll see just how much space you can save. You’ll also have an easier time finding the shirt you want to wear for that day without leaving a whole mess in your luggage. Once you store those rolled clothes, you’ll notice that you will still have space for smaller items like your underwear, socks, toiletries, etc.

3. Take advantage of your shoes

If you’re bringing a shoe bag, for example, you’ll be able to bring more socks by stuffing them in your shoes. You can also put smaller items like earphones in them to save space. Just make sure you keep them in a plastic or paper bag to keep everything hygienic. Just like before, you also won’t risk disarranging everything in your bag just to get these smaller items.

4. Consider not bringing smaller pouches anymore

If you really want to save space, avoid bringing smaller pouches. Think about it, if you put a toiletry bag and a makeup bag in one backpack, you will notice that they would occupy more space. You’ll have a lot of wasted space! If you really have to, just have one pouch where you can keep all these essentials without also leaving a mess.

5. Choose the right bag

Choose the right bag depending on the trip. If you’re not going to be gone for long, of course, you won’t need to bring a large suitcase. Actually, if possible, stick to smaller ones so that you can keep everything light. This will be plenty times more convenient not only for your finances (if there is a baggage fare) but your trip as a whole.

Jun 29

Here’s Why You Should Try to Maintain a Good Posture

There are many factors that can lead to bad posture. One of the most common, though, is sitting for long hours. Whether you have an office job in or outside of Singapore, you’re bound to sit for almost the whole day. We usually don’t even notice that we slouch already. But then again, having good posture is actually more important than we consider it to be. Here are some reasons why.

It keeps our bones and muscles healthy

Naturally, when you have bad posture, your bones and muscles are not positioned as they are supposed to be. This gives constant tension and unnecessary stress to your skeletal system, your muscles, and some joints as well.

If you stick to a bad posture in the long-term, you’ll definitely see its effects as you grow older. That’s why good posture is important if you don’t want your bones and muscles to deteriorate quickly over time.

Helps one avoid or relieve back pain

Lower back pain is already a very common problem nowadays. One of the main reasons we get back pain is simply because we have bad posture. Again, this is because our bones and muscles are not positioned correctly when we neglect our posture too much.

That, in turn, causes stiffness and eventually pain. When you have good posture, it will be very unlikely that you’ll get back pain as you get older. Unless, of course, other factors come into play.

Improved breathing and lung capacity

Because we don’t see what’s happening inside our bodies, we tend not to pay attention to our organs. But having good posture can actually help your lungs. You’ll hardly notice it but when you slouch, your lungs are being compressed. Of course, that means you’re breathing will be limited. So maintaining good posture can at least help you inhale and exhale air more effectively.

Increased energy

If your muscles and bones are in the right position, they take less energy to do certain movements. This is because the muscles are positioned as they should be, so they can move as naturally as possible. Because your muscles won’t have to work as hard as they are supposed to, you’ll feel more energetic and less fatigued.

It can give one confidence

For one, having a good posture can make you appear taller. For some, that can already be a great confidence booster. Just try to observe how different it is when you walk around slouching and when you’re standing upright.

Not only does it also help one’s self-confidence, it also makes one appear more confident to others. This, of course, will help you in many aspects of life from your health, to your career, and even your relationships.

May 31

Most Popular Kitchen Gift Items for Newlyweds

Ready to decorate your new apartment in Singapore? While it’s great to invest in essential decorative pieces, you should not forget to shop for important items for the most important part of your home—the kitchen. But first, you need to ask yourself the following questions: Do you or your spouse love to cook? What kind of specialties do you prepare? Does your kitchen have enough storage for the type of cooking you require? And what kitchen items do you already have?

Here is a list of kitchen essentials that every home must have.

Pots and Pans

Every kitchen should have the basic pots and pans for very type of cuisine. If you love cooking, you should not forget to shop for the following items: skillet or frying pan (preferably a cast-iron skillet), sauté pan, saucepans (one 2-quart and one 3-quart), roasting pan for poultry, stew pot (preferably cast-iron), baking dish or casserole (look for a product that comes with a lid), stockpot, and wok.

Knives

A set of quality knives will serve your kitchen for years, that is why you should not hesitate to invest in the most affordable but high-quality set that you can afford.

All kitchens should have the following knives: serrated bread knife for any type of bread, santoku knife for its sharpness, eight- or nine-inch chef’s knife, cleaver for meat and bones, paring knife for trimming and peeling, carving knife for thin slices of food, fillet knife, and kitchen shears. Complete the set with a quality wooden chopping board, knife stand or case, and a knife sharpener.

Utensils

Besides the flatware, plates, and bowls for dining, you should not forget the following kitchen utensils that will help make food preparation easier: tongs, ladle, spatula, slotted spoon, whisk, wooden spoons, grater, can opener, cork screw, measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls, colander, baster, chinois, fish scaler, funnel, garlic press, mortar and pestle, salt shaker, scoop, sieve, and spoon sieve. Don’t forget to include aprons and pot or pan holders in your kitchen items.

Bakeware

If you love baking, you should keep the following items in your kitchen: hand mixer, oven thermometer, sifter, cookie scoops, cooling racks, rolling pin, an assortment of baking pans, baking sheets, pastry blender, spatulas and whisks in different sizes, mixing bowls, icing smoother, pastry brush, sieve, skewer, food scales, baking parchment, dough hook, and rubber spatula.

Spices and Condiments

The kitchen would be incomplete without the following: salt, pepper, chili, barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, oils, soy sauce, salsa, teriyaki sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, curry powder, paprika, red pepper, and more.

Equipment

Lastly, you should get all the essential kitchen equipment for easier food preparation such as the range, oven, rice cooker, blender, microwave oven, food processor, stand mixer, griddle, deep fryer, slow cooker, and coffee maker.

Others

Don’t forget to include kitchen cleaning and maintenance tools to keep your new kitchen spotless. Cleaning tools should include the following: dish cloth, scrubbing pads, scrub brush, steel wool, paper or cloth towels, rubber gloves, plastic scraper for the pots and pans, dish soap, dish drainer, and a multi-purpose cleaner.

May 31

The Art of Drinking Cachaca

If you’ve tried Caipirinhas at one of the bars in Singapore, you’ve already drunk Cachaca at least once in your life. So, what’s the deal with this distilled and fermented sugarcane juice and why is it different from other sugarcane-based beverages?

The Spirit of Cachaca

Cachaca is primarily associated with Brazil and is the country’s most popular spirit. The distillers are required by law to produce a cachaca with at least 38% alcohol by volume . It is made from sugarcane juice with is fermented, a process that was described as early as the 1500s. Today, it has two varieties, unaged or white or silver and the aged or yellow or gold, similar to most types of rum.

The unaged cachaca is bottled after it is distilled, while the aged cachaca is storred in wood barrels for up to 3 years. Some are as old as 15 years and the type of wood barrel used can have an effect on its taste, that is why aged cachaca is much more expensive. Some of the common native Brazilian woods used for aging include balm, peanut, amburana, arauva, and jequitiba.

Cachaca versus Rum and Rhum Agricole

All three come from distilled sugarcane juice, but the process that happens after distillation are slightly different. Specifically, cachaca is juiced, fermented and single-distilled and can only be labeled as such if it is made in Brazil.

Rum is usually made from molasses, which is a byproduct of processed sugar, and is required to have a higher alcohol by volume than cachaca. Rhum Agricole on the other hand is made from sugarcane harvested in 23 regions in Martinique. Its taste is similar to cachaca, unlike rum which is spicier.

Cachaca Cocktails to Make

Enjoy your parties more with these cachaca cocktails.

  • Caipirinha: 2 ounce silver cachaca, 1 ¼ tablespoons sugar, ice, and ½ lime
  • Strawberry-Banana Caipirinha: 2 ounces silver cachaca, ¼ ounce simple syrup, ½ ounce banana liqueur, 3 strawberries, and half lime slice
  • Sun Ra: 1 ½ ounces silver cachaca, 1 ounce lemon juice, ½ rosemary simple syrup, and black strap rum
  • Coco Batida: 2 ounces cachaca, 1 cup cracked ice, 2 ounces condensed milk, ½ ounce simple syrup, 2 ounces coconut cream, and shredded toasted coconut for garnish
  • Cacharetto Sour: 1 ½ ounces aged cachaca, ½ ounce simple syrup, ½ ounce lemon juice, and ¾ ounce amaretto
  • Brazilian Buck: 1 ½ ounces cachaca, 2 dashes aromatic bitter2s, 4 ounces ginger beer, 1 lime juice, and lime slice for garnish
  • Umbabarauma: 2 ounces cachaca, ¾ ounce lime juice, ½ ounce maraschino cherry liqueur, ½ ounce orange liqueur, and 2 slices jalapeno
  • Blushing Yakima: 2 ounces aged cachaa, 3 muddled cherries, 1 ½ ounces brown ale, ½ ounce amaretto, ½ ounce simple syrup, and 1 ounce lime juice
  • Antiquado: 2 ounces barrel-aged cachaca, 2 dashes chocolate bitter, ½ ounce cinnamon syrup, and 1 orange peel for garnish
  • Cachaca Calabaza: 1 ½ ounces aged cachaca, ½ ounce simple syrup, ½ ounce allspice, ¼ ounce falernum, and 2 bar spoons bourbon pumpkin puree

May 18

Girl’s Guide to Online Swimsuit Shopping

We don’t want to alarm you, but the swimsuit season is just around the corner. But while we’re all excited for the arrival of summer, there’s one thing that most of us are not so keen with – swimsuit shopping, and on the internet. Unlike buying a new cocktail dress online, purchasing swimwear has its own set of challenges. To help you get over these challenges, we listed down some top tips for purchasing swimsuit online this season.

Make Great Use of Instagram

Instagram is an endless source of inspiration – a go-to place if you want to check how various people are rocking a particular trend. Swimwear designers recommend using social networking apps, such as Instagram and Pinterest to check what a certain style looks like on different body shapes. If possible, visit the label’s Instagram page and see which photos that particular brand has been tagged in. This way, you’ll get a good mix of real women sharing their thoughts on the swimwear, instead of just the photos that the brand chose to post.

Purchase Separates

Most women are not perfectly proportioned, which means you might be size 10 bikini top, but a size 12 bottom. For that reason, we suggest purchasing bikinis that are sold in separates so you could tailor its size to your body. Choose brands that sell their products as separates, as they tend to encourage their customers to mix and match their swimwear and make it their own.

Search for Online Promotions

Swimwear brands often offer discounts and free shipping for their products. A key time to look for such promotions is during the holidays. All you’ve got to do is Google search the brand name along with words like “offer” or “discount code” to find available offers that are not publicized on the homepage of the shopping site.

Study the Sizing Chart

Most designers recommend to always check the sizing chart to cross reference your size, since each brand provide a different size run. Look for a sizing chart to ensure that you’re dealing with the right sizing. If you’re unsure about the measurements that you see online, simply contact the customer care and request for the measurements to ensure that you know exactly what you’re getting. After all, you wouldn’t want to wear an ill-fitting swimwear.

Check the Shop’s Return Policy

When purchasing swimwear online, it’s crucial that you check the return policy being implemented by the shop. Not every shop offers exchanges or returns, so ensure that you’re 100 percent set on what you’re choosing before making any necessary purchases. Most online stores won’t accept returns on swimsuits, while others require that the hygiene strip be left intact along with the tags for it to be valid for a refund or an exchange.

Purchasing a swimwear in person can be challenging, but buying one online is much trickier. To ensure that you purchased the right piece, be sure to follow these tips in making online swimwear purchases.

May 18

Wedding Colour Combinations You Need to Consider

Along with your chosen theme, the colour palette you’ll choose will set the tone of your wedding. But aside from the fact that there are a lot of colours to choose from, adding one or two more hues could make choosing your colour palette trickier.

You definitely wouldn’t want a palette that clashes with each other or looks boring, right? For that reason, we rounded up five colour combinations that doesn’t just look good together, but are also poised to be on trend this year.

Gold and French Blue

Easy on the eyes, there’s just something about the shade of sea and sky that gives you that cool, calm and collected feeling. Just add in a hint of gold and you’re well on your way to enjoying and elegant and romantic wedding.

Orange and Burgundy

If you fancy a bold and warm celebration, then this colour duo is perfect for you. Use the shade of burgundy to add some depth, and orange to brighten up your wedding.

Natural Green and White

Go au naturel by opting for the colour combo of green and white. This combination will remind you of an elegant yet fresh theme. When strategically used, it could work for any vintage- and minimalist-loving bride.

Peach and Blush

You can’t get any more sweet and delicate with peach and blush. It’s a romantic pairing perfect for brides-to-be who want to keep things timeless, simple and chic using the neutral shades of the two colours.

Sage, Peach and Merlot

This colour palette is all about being shabby chic and down-to-earth. So if possible, work as much natural wood into your décor but balance out your natural surroundings with dramatic elements, such as chandeliers and a luxe lounge space.

Shades of Grey

You may think grey is a gloomy colour for a wedding, but make no mistake. It’s actually a versatile colour that works especially well with blue, mauve and pink. Just add in a silvery accent and you’ve got yourself one glamourous and opulent wedding.

Aside from setting the tone of your wedding, choosing the right colour palette will also help in showcasing a glimpse of your personality on your big day. So be sure to opt for any of the aforementioned colour combinations to ensure that your colour palette won’t end clashing with each other or looking to plain and boring.

May 11

Simple Things to Do to Keep Your Kitchen Clean

Perhaps you have just moved into your own apartment in Singapore and now you need to learn how to keep it is pristine condition. One area of the house that you need to pay attention to is the kitchen. After all, it is the heart of the home and where the most important events take place: cooking your meals.

Here are tips to make sure everything clean and working in your kitchen.

Wipe up the spills immediately

Dried food can be difficult to remove and may even leave a stain. Wipe up any spills as soon as possible to save you the effort of scrubbing it off. Practice the habit of cleaning as you go when preparing food.

Don’t leave the dishes in the sink

The best way to get things done in the kitchen is to multitask. While you’re preparing a meal, you should keep busy by washing the dishes. Do this while waiting for something to finish baking or boiling. This is better than scheduling chores later when you will most likely feel too lazy to do it.

Wipe the sink after washing

Do not wait for grime and oil to build up in the sink before you decide to clean it. Make it a habit to clean the sink after doing the dishes. You will only need less than three minutes to do this because the dirt and food aren’t stuck to the surface.

Put things away as soon as you’re done using them

Like washing the dishes, you can also clean up the materials you used while waiting for food to cook. Wash and put away the items when you no longer need them instead of leaving them in the sink so you can wash them later. You will save more time by cleaning up immediately.

Use a separate container for leftovers or biodegradable materials

Excess ingredients should be separated from other trash. You should have two garbage bins in the kitchen that are accessible so that you can easily dispose of materials while preparing food.

Don’t’ forget to clean the floor

When you are nearly done preparing the food, do not forget to sweep or wipe the floor as soon as you are done with the counters. This will save you time because you’re cleaning up while waiting for the food.

Schedule your tasks

If you practice everything listed above, you will only need preventive maintenance in your kitchen once a month. This means you still need t schedule a thorough cleaning and inspection such as mopping the floor, washing the windows, cleaning the appliances, and changing linen and aprons.

You can include your general kitchen cleaning while waiting for laundry to get done or when you’re cleaning the rest of the house. However, you can also break up the tasks so you can focus on one for each day. Perhaps you need a separate day for mopping and another day for organizing the items.

May 11

Common Reasons Why You Feel Dizzy or Lightheaded

Dizziness is the feeling that weakness, unsteadiness or wooziness. Sometimes you feel as if you are about to pass out and it can sometimes be associated with vertigo or the feeling that your surroundings are spinning.

While dizziness is not something you should worry about if it happens once, you need to pay better attention to other signs if it happens more often than usual.

It could be a symptom of any of the following conditions:

Motion sickness – This condition is caused by a mix-up of the messages to the brain. Unfortunately, there is no permanent solution to motion sickness except to stay away from the triggers.

Heart diseases – Any change in the blood circulation can cause dizziness because it can lead to poor blood flow to the brain or the ear. If you have conditions such as arrhythmia, ischemia, and others you will most likely have several episodes of dizziness if the condition is not controlled.

Anemia – If you have low iron levels in your blood, you will have episodes of lightheadedness. Other symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia include fatigue, pale skin, and weakness.

Anxiety disorder – If you have anxiety disorder, you might experience lightheadedness especially during attacks. However, you should not panic because this is not a life-threatening symptom.

Low blood pressure – A drop in the blood pressure can result in dizziness. People who have a condition called orthostatic hypotension experience lightheadedness when they stand or sit up suddenly.

Heat stroke and dehydration – These are two life-threatening conditions that are considered an emergency. Avoid dehydration and heat stroke especially during the hottest months of the year.

Vertigo – A condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo afflicts a lot of people, but this is usually caused by sudden movement and not a life-threatening condition. However, if you have recent suffered a head injury, you should contact your doctor if the dizziness is accompanied by other symptoms.

Ear infection or other problems – Healthy hearing is a key to the body’s sense of balance because it is a combination of different inputs, which is why if you have ear problems, it will most likely result in dizziness. After all, it is in the inner ear sensors that the detection of gravity and motion takes place.

Hypoglycemia – If you have diabetes, you should take care to monitor your blood sugar levels because even have low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is bad. This is usually accompanied by excessive sweating.

Multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders – Loss of balance especially if the disease is progressive can lead to spells of dizziness.

Migraine – Some migraineurs feel dizzy during an attack. In rare cases, they do not even feel a headache but they feel lightheaded. If you feel a migraine attack incoming, take steps to stay away from possible triggers and to rest in a quiet corner until you feel better.

Apr 14

Dos and Don’ts During an Earthquake

Most accidents during emergency natural disasters such as earthquakes happen because people panic and do not know what to do.

Although Singapore is not part of the Pacific ring of fire region because it sits on an old rock to the north of Indonesia, it still gets a few tremors if there are quakes in the nearby countries.

What are the things you should and should not do during an earthquake?

  • Don’t run around screaming during the earthquake. Stay calm until the earthquake has stopped.
  • Calmly move away from glass windows or walls that can potentially break if you are indoors. Watch out for falling objects on shelves as well as those hanging from the walls.
  • Do not stand near a doorway during the earthquake as it can collapse.
  • If you are outdoors, slowly move away from utility wires, streetlights, trees, and tall buildings that could potentially collapse.
  • Do look out for ceiling fixtures such as lights and fans which might fall and break. Calmly walk to and stay near solid walls or columns. If there is a desk or a sturdy table, calmly duck and get under it to protect your head.
  • Unplug appliances or gadgets if you are able to do so. If you are in the kitchen and using an open flame, turn off the stove or oven before evacuating. Do not leave your appliances still running.
  • Do not run outside if you are already inside a building or your home. Likewise, do not run into a building or into your home if you are already outside. Stay where you are but walk calmly to a safer area. If the earthquake is strong, you might not be able to move far anyway.
  • If you have caged pets, free them so they can run to safety.
  • If you are in a high-rise building, do not take the elevators. Take the stairs down instead. However, if you are already in the elevator, get off the next floor immediately.
  • Remember the emergency evacuation plans so you will know where to go after the earthquake. If you are inside a building, it is standard practice to evacuate to avoid injuries in case of aftershocks.
  • If you are at an apartment complex, you should also evacuate following the emergency guidelines. Wait for further instructions to avoid injuries.
  • If you are driving, slow down and stop on the side of the road away from large trees or utility wires or under a bridge. Get out of your car and stay calm until the earthquake stops.
  • Avoid bridges or flyovers during the earthquake, but if you are traveling on one, calmly get to a safer place until the earthquake stops.
  • Do not contact your loved ones right away after the earthquake. Give it some time to avoid adding communication jams. A message is better than a phone call.

Apr 14

Home Library Maintenance Tips

Now that you finally have your own home library, there is a problem that a lot of other collectors you will eventually have to face: maintenance. With books, especially if you have brittle old volumes, you need to pay attention not only to temperature but also the moisture levels, insects, sunlight, and proper handling.

Here are tips to keep your dream library in good condition for years to come.

Do not bring food and drinks to the library. Even if you think you’re careful when handling liquid and food, you should not take chances, even with a cup of tea. If you need to have a snack while reding, do it somewhere else at home away from the shelves.

Maintain 35% relative humidity. A cool room temperature is the best for a library, which is why you need to invest in ventilation and cooling as well. Avoid extremes, however, as a cold room can also damage your collection. Install a thermometer to monitor temperature and humidity in the library.

Store books lying flat or straight upright. Do not store your books by leaning them diagonally next to each other. This can damage the spine and cover over time. To maintain balance on the shelves, you should separate books of the same size and thickness so that they are all supported equally by their weights.

Keep the library clean. Regular maintenance is a must to keep your collection in good condition, but for a library you need to go the extra mile by including inspection and maintenance routine of other facilities such as ventilation, cooling, plumbing, etc. You will need to schedule the cleaning by professionals at least once a year.

Install screens and curtains on windows. One way to maintain a stable temperature in the library is to block out excess sunlight coming from the windows. Add drapes or curtains to keep out sunlight. Moreover, you can also protect the library from insects by installing screens on the windows.

Avoid overcleaning. Dusting the books frequently can also be bad because the friction can wear the covers. Older books that look fragile will need to be handled more carefully than newer volumes. To reduce the need for cleaning, you can store some of the books in quality containers or muslin dust covers.

Keep children and pets away from the library. It is best to discourage the little ones to stay away from your collection especially if they do not know yet how to handle a book. Sometimes dropping a book can cause the spine to come apart.

Keep away from moisture and sunlight. Do not place the bookshelves in areas where the library is getting direct sunlight. Do not place it either near windows, air conditioners, heaters, or any source of moisture or heat. Prolonged and repeated exposure to the elements can cause crumbling and mold growths.

Apr 02

The Most Common Excuses We Make to Not Exercise

Research has time and time again proven the many benefits of exercising. Even so, there are still a lot of people who don’t do it or at least don’t do it enough. Many are thinking about starting their fitness journey but they always come up with excuses at first. Here are some common excuses you’ll hear and even you might say, and how you can power through them.

“I can’t find any time to work out”

Actually, there are many exercises you can do that don’t require much time. You can already have a good workout for as good as 10 minutes. Plus, instead of thinking that you can’t find the time, why not actually make time for it. Surely, you won’t be so busy that on a whole 24-hour day you won’t be able to spare just 10 minutes.

“I’m too stressed at work”

Let me tell you, exercising can be a great way to relieve stress from work. You can go boxing and release some pent-up energy by punching it out. You can go for a jog in some park around Singapore if you want a more peaceful way to relieve stress. Once you begin exercising, you’ll see that you will be less stressed at work as well!

“I don’t have enough money to go to a gym”

People seem to think that exercising means you’ll have to go to the gym. Well, obviously, that’s not the case at all. For one, you can jog and do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and squats without spending any money at all. If you do have some money to spare, you can also purchase dumbbells. Those are pretty good investments if you want to start exercising but still don’t have enough to go to a gym.

“I don’t want to do it alone”

People can have different reasons why they don’t want to do workouts alone. Some may say it’s because they’re embarrassed by their appearance and others say it’s just boring to do it alone. Either way, you’ll have to grow and move on from that mindset. It’s not always possible that your friend is going to be there with you. If you really don’t want to do it alone, schedule meet-ups. You’re sure to find one or two interested persons.

“I have kids to take care of”

Actually, that will be a good time for you to introduce your children to the importance of physical fitness. Kids are also usually willing to try new things. Maybe you can go jogging with them or do some small hike trails for fun. After all, in this case, it’s not only you who’s benefiting from the exercise but your kids as well.

Apr 02

Psychological Tricks You Can Use to Encourage Customers to Buy

If you’re planning a start-up in Singapore, you need to come up with ways to attract more customers. Even companies that have already been established for a long time still need certain psychological tricks to influence customer behavior.

Using the power of anecdote

Simply put, people look at stories first instead of statistics. This is because stories tell of individual experiences and it’s easier for people to relate to them than looking at numbers. This is why you always see businesses feature customer reviews and testimonials. If you have a website, for example, you can share your comments of customer’s that have been satisfied with your service. This is sure to invite more potential customers since they’ve already read positive things about you. 

Social proof or the bandwagon effect

This basically means a person is more likely to go with what other people are doing or in this case, buying. Today, this is easier to do because of the internet. Some businesses even use bots, for example, to gain followers in social media. Or maybe you’re an influencer and your planning to start your business. You can easily sell your products because a lot of people know you already.

Scarcity Illusion

This psychological trick takes advantage of the fact that people are more likely to buy things if they are limited. If you notice, a lot of Singaporeans line up for a product knowing that it’s limited edition no matter how long they have to wait. Airlines also use this trick when selling tickets by saying that there’s only a few left for that price. It’s quite effective especially if the products are mainly used for convenience.

Frequency illusion

Do you remember that time when you see a certain product just once, and then suddenly you’re seeing it all the time? This is called the frequency illusion or the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. More than anything, it’s not the business that does this but the customer’s mind itself. Once you see something, you’re twice as likely to notice it again. That’s called the mind’s selective attention. Once a company introduces a product, they just leave it at that and let your mind do all the noticing.

Loss Aversion

Loss aversion is basically centered around a consumer feeling good about gaining something while also feeling bad about losing it. This is exactly why companies do free trials! Because you get a taste of their service or product, it will be harder for you to let it go once the free trial ends. That’s why you’ll be tempted to just go for the purchase. This is actually one of the most effective and widely-used tricks to influence customer behavior.

Mar 30

Reasons Why a Baby Keeps Crying

Infants cannot talk to you and tell you if they are in pain or are uncomfortable unlike older children. If you think your baby is crying for no reason despite having recently fed or finished changing the diapers, there might be other reasons this.

Hunger

This is the most common cause for crying among babies, especially a newborn. Younger babies tend to go hungry more often than slightly older babies. That is because they have tiny tummies that will not hold enough food, so you might have to start nursing every two hours. You will know if the baby has enough if he/she stops feeding.

Wants Physical Contact

Some babies just want to be held. In fact, physical contact with babies is therapeutic for them and for you. If you are too tired to provide baby with enough stimulation, you can schedule activities days ahead with other parents and their babies. You can also visit the playground, park, and museum with your family.

Lacks Stimulation

Has baby had enough socialization for the day? Most infants have a hard time processing all the stimulation around them, so let him/her take a break sometimes. Newborns who are over-stimulated tend to want to be swaddled to feel comfortable and safe.

Fatigue

Maybe the baby does not want to be held and is tired. If they fuss at the slightest thing, then maybe the baby is tired and needs some sleep. Most babies get tired from over-stimulation, too, just like adults. You can either let baby lie down or rock her to sleep, so watch out for cues.

Feeling Cold or Hot

You can tell if your baby is cold or hot by touching the back of the neck or the tummy. Touching the feet or hands alone will not tell you if the baby is overdressed or is freezing. To be safe, always make sure the baby has at least two layers of clothing.

Needs to Burp

Although this is not mandatory after every feeding, it is safer to let baby burp to avoid discomfort. If baby keeps crying every time you feed him/her, then schedule a checkup with the pediatrician to determine if baby has stomach flu, reflux, lactose intolerance, allergy, or intestinal blockage.

Diaper Change

Have you checked his/her nappies recently? If you have just changed the diapers, maybe the baby does not like the texture of the material on the skin or it is irritated. Try looking for signs of a rash.

Colic or Stomach Problems

If the baby has been crying for hours, he/she may have colic. The cause for this is still unclear but it may be connected to the development of baby’s digestive system. Rule out possibilities of allergies and GERD if conditions do not improve.

Not Feeling Well

If you have done everything and checked all the possible causes above, then your baby is probably not feeling well. Check his/her temperature and look for signs of an infection before going to a pediatrician for a checkup.

Mar 30

5 Things You Should Never Do in Your Hotel Room

Travelling gives you the opportunity to stay in luxurious hotels, and we all love the experience—somebody makes the bed for you, brings you food when you call for it and lets you use its amenities anytime you want (e.g. the pool, gym, spa and massage, etc.).

However, being a guest doesn’t mean you can do everything you want to do. Other than the obvious “don’t yell at the hallway,” here are the biggest hotel no-no’s that can easily turn your dream vacation into a travel nightmare.

Cook without proper kitchen area

It’s understandable that we want to save money when travelling. If you are the type who brings portable cooking appliances when you travel, be aware that it may be a source of problem for some hotels, especially if the room you’re getting has no kitchenette. These appliances can set off fire alarms or worse may cause fire. Instead, stick to no-cook meals or prep your own meals that you can keep in the fridge and reheat in the oven.

Restock the mini-bar

Mini-bars are there for you to enjoy. But if you’re planning to take that bottle of beer out of that fridge, just accept the fact that you will be paying for it. Don’t try sneaking in a fresh new bottle to replace what you’ve got. While you probably think you have replaced it, you’d still be charged for taking that bottle of spirit.

Do sensitive transactions over the hotel Wi-Fi

You should never, ever perform any sensitive transaction using the hotel’s free Wi-Fi. Given how easy it is to hack Wi-Fi hotspots, you might as well yell your bank details and passwords down the hall. Use your own mobile data if you must use the internet for sensitive businesses.

Sneak in your pet

Many of us bring our furry friends on vacations, but make sure to check with your hotel before booking your room. If the hotel won’t allow, do not try to sneak it in—animals leave evidences, from smells, to hairs to paw prints—if you wouldn’t want to be charged with extra fee.

Leave valuable items in your suitcase

Even the most expensive hotels cannot always stop thieves from breaking into their premises, so never leave your jewelry, purses, cash or wallet in your suitcase or anywhere in your room, unless your hotel provides your room with a safe.

Whether you are having a staycation or going out of town, your hotel stay should be a relaxing and fun experience. Do not put yourself in a sticky situation by doing any of these aforementioned things. Since we all want to be able to return to our favorite hotels anytime, abide to the house rules and be a courteous guest at all times.

Mar 24

What You Need to Know About Measles

Most infants in Singapore are given a vaccination against measles that is why getting the infection is unusual nowadays. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about measles and the complications can still be fatal for children because of such myths.

To understand what measles are, let’s dispel some misconceptions about it.

How the Infection Occurs

Measles is a highly-contagious disease, but you don’t see outbreaks anymore since the vaccine was introduced in 1963. Before the vaccine, the most affected were children younger than 5 years. The virus can be passed through air as well as direct contact with an infected person. It primarily affects the respiratory tract and will spread throughout the body.

When a person is infected, an incubation period between 10 to 14 days happens. No symptoms will show up during the incubation period. One common misconception is that chicken pox and measles are caused by the same virus, but they are not despite having the nearly the same symptoms.

Symptoms of Infection

The first symptom is a high fever which can last for up to 7 days and is often accompanied by sore throat, inflamed eyes, cough, and runny nose. Some parents might mistake these signs for flu, but small red spots or rashes will also show up. Fever can run as high as 105°F in some patients. Four days after the rash appears, the infected person has the highest chance of passing on the virus to other family members.

Complications of Measles

Parents should worry about complications in children younger than 5 years or family members who have weak immune systems or are malnourished. Complications include dehydration, diarrhea, encephalitis, ear infections, respiratory infections, and blindness. Unvaccinated children have higher risk of developing complications, and if there are other children in the family, there is also a high risk of transmission.

Avoiding Transmission

Another member of the family can be infected through sneezing, coughing, personal contact, or contact with the nasal or throat sections. The virus is most active 4 days before the rashes erupt. Some people who have been vaccinated against measles but have not developed the immunity for it can still get measles, but routine vaccinations give everyone a better chance of avoiding complications.

The vaccine is usually given with the mumps and or rubella vaccines and is usually given before the first birthday of the child. In total, two doses of the measles vaccine are given to give a higher chance of protection against the virus. Family members who love to travel and have not been vaccinated should be encouraged to update their vaccinations to prevent transmission of infections to other family members.

Treatment of Measles

Measles cannot be treated you are already infected, but the best that can be done is to try to avoid complications from the infection. This means preventing dehydration, using antibiotics to treat eye/ear/respiratory infections, and maintaining good nutrition. Some children are given vitamin A supplements to reduce the chances of blindness or damage to the eyes.