Friday, August 26, 2011

Creative Uses of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly


I have long been searching for a makeup remover which is both cheap and efficient. I have watched 20 over YouTube videos on how to remove makeup through the use of natural ingredients, such as extra virgin coconut oil, olive oil, etc. I didn't want to follow them because I was afraid to get oil residues on my face and grow pimples afterwards. So I have researched some more, and I felt happy to have unearthed this great discovery: Vaseline petroleum jelly.

Before, I just knew that this product is used as a body pomade for dry and chapped skin, particularly the lips. When I saw the video testimonials, I thought I wanted to give it a try. Immediately the next day, I bought one medium-sized jar of Vaseline petroleum jelly. I applied an ample amount onto my eyeliner and mascara and scraped with a soft tissue. Voila! All makeup was gone!
Note: I'm not paid by Vaseline/Unilever in promoting their product. I just find that it's really awesome and worthy to share.
Here are some more of its healing properties and application for quick remedies:

1. For beautiful hands, soft fingers and healthy-looking nails

As hand cream or nail cream
Simply apply Vaseline all over your hand and massage for about two minutes until the jelly is completely rubbed in. You might want to put on a pair of mittens or cotton gloves. Do this overnight, so that while you sleep the product can work undisturbed on the skin.

No more messy manicures
During home manicures, it's hard to keep the nail polish from running over on your cuticles. Petroleum jelly can help your manicures look more professional. Dab some along the base of your nails and the sides. If polish seeps off the nail during the manicure, all you do is wipe off the petroleum jelly and the sloppy nail polish is gone.

No more stuck rings
You can also put some on your ring fingers to help you put your rings on and off easily, especially if you have added some pounds on and your rings won't fit.

As a skin exfoliator
Vaseline aids in exfoliating rough and dry, flaky skin. Just add a little granulated sugar plus an equal portion of Vaseline and scrub your chapped hands with the mixture for at least a minute. Then wash off with a mild soap and water to get the sugar off. You would be dumbfounded at the wonderful result!

2. For dry and tired legs

As feet moisturizer
After your daily bath, give your feet a gentle massage with Vaseline. The massage will certainly help to better your blood circulation, while the Vaseline petroleum jelly will add moisture to your dry and tired legs.

Tip: Vaseline also helps to prevent shaving bumps on legs.

3. For makeup emergencies

As makeup
If you have run out of your favorite shade of eyeshadow, add a bit of food coloring to petroleum jelly and apply as usual. This is a quick way to make blush, lipstick, or eye shadow.

As a makeup enhancer
Some eyeshadows just don't stay for long and you have to apply and re-apply all the time. If this is the case with yours, rub a little Vaseline on the spot before applying the eyeshadow, but be careful not to apply too much.

As a makeup remover
Like mentioned, pat a small amount of petroleum jelly and wipe off with cotton balls of soft tissue.

What more can I say? Vaseline definitely works wonders for the skin and doesn't break the bank.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Is Hair Perm For Me?


Gone are those days of tight, poodle, "auntie-type" curls. Now you can choose from a variety of curlers and rollers to form soft, glorious curls or messy, naturally wind-blown-looking spirals.

Key words entered: hair perm.

Based on a regional ranking by Google Trends, Singapore tops the list. Oh, now I don't no longer wonder why many of the teens and young adult women I see here have had their hair permed (with soft curls). Obviously, it's the new recurring trend [from the 1980s]. What's classic is that everyone wants to look beautiful and stylish. But achieving bouncy and wavy locks has risks of hair breakage and damage. What's more, these styling services come with a hefty price tag nowadays.

Still, if you're as interested as me (or more than me), you have to know if hair perm is for you, before committing to actually have it done.

If you feel your hair needs more body, getting "permanent waves" (Japanese or Korean digital perms) which lasts for three to six months might just be one good option. However, according to many forums and hair stylists I have consulted, not everyone is suitable to undergo this treatment. To elaborate concisely, here are some things you need to consider:

  1. The chemicals that will be applied to previously rebonded/straightened/relaxed hair for permanent waves will not take effect as much as to natural hair.
  2. A suitable type of haircut is a prerequisite to attain best results of hair perm. (One with short layers of hair is not a good candidate.) So do consult your hairdresser first to cut your hair before the procedure.
  3. If your hair is dry or frizzy, hair perm is not for you--as the chemicals tend to dry your hair more. But if you shall insist, you must regularly (daily) apply good and healthy amount of hair conditioner to moisturize, keep your hair in right shape and keep it off from breakage. This is what we call high maintenance.
  4. If you have recently applied hair color (dye or highlights) to your hair, allow about two to three weeks before the conduct of hair perm. It's also worth to note that perming will likely lighten your hair color.
  5. If you're the type who always brushes or combs your hair, forget about this habit when you have your hair permed "as this will slowly ruin the perm," stylist said.

Here are great articles I suggest you to read as homework: Different Types of Perms, The Complete Curl Guide to Perming Hair and Everything You Wanted to Know About Perms.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grab a Banana for Breakfast and Lose Weight!


Have you ever heard of the Banana Diet? I have not, until now.

Akin to my previous article, which was about drinking milk for breakfast as a way of losing pounds, here is another treasure I've digged into which I'm happy to share.

Once upon a time in Japan, the Morning Banana Diet have conquered many homes. It gained great popularity so much so that at one point it caused a shortage of banana supply in the country. The Banana Diet advises us to take one or two bananas for breakfast (only) and drink a full-glass of warm water. What you eat for the rest of the day (and night) does not matter. The "morning banana" will accelerate fat-burning in the body, contributing to a lost of three pounds a week. Whoa. How true can this be? Let's examine some points.

To quote Adelle Davis (1904 - 1974), we should "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper." Breakfast is the first meal of the day, breaking the "fasting" which happened while we were sleeping. What we eat for breakfast holds importance in "waking up" our metabolism for the entire day.

Bananas are rich in potassium, a naturally occurring chemical that boosts our metabolism and regulates our body’s water balance. What's more, bananas contain a type of starch called "resistance starch," which improves the burning of fat fat-burning throughout the day by about 25-30 percent. During digestion of this fruit, our body feels full and so partially blocks the absorption of carbohydrates.

As for the warm water suggestion: per Japanese traditional medicine, it is recommended that water should always be drank as warm or hot as this heals/cures our body system. So, are you sold?

Well, there's nothing wrong if we try. ; )

For related posts, see: Morning Banana Diet Rules and The Morning Banana Diet.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Milk Cuts Fats: Myth or Fact?


What do you drink in the morning for breakfast? For most people I know it's a cup of hot coffee or tea, or a big glass of orange juice. I for one take cereals, oatmeal, milk or milk tea.

Recently I've searched through an interesting study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last July 2011, which states that "milk for breakfast does more than build strong bones." It may also keep you from overeating at lunch therefore helping you trim your waistline.

In their conduct of analysis, Australian researchers gave healthy but overweight men and women 20 ounces of fruit juice for the first batch and 20 ounces of fat-free milk for the second batch along with their breakfast. Both beverages had the same number of calories. Both batches had a plate of sandwiches for lunch four hours later until they were full.

The results? The adults who drank fat-free milk for breakfast ate an average of 50 fewer calories at their noon meal compared to the fruit-juice drinkers. The milk-drinkers also reported less hunger after chugging their milk at breakfast.

Some research linked food with dairy sources to weightloss, but the results of these studies have been inconsistent. Low-fat milk is a good source of calcium, which according to some research, helps boost metabolism and promote fat breakdown. It’s also high in protein, which increases satiety more than high-carb drinks such as orange juice.

Milk is also rich and thick in texture, which boosts satiety and decrease calorie consumption later in the day. It’s a natural source of conjugated-linoleic-acid (CLA), a fatty-acid found in meat and dairy products. Some, but not all, studies show CLA helps lower body fat while preserving lean body mass. On the other hand, non-fat milk contains relatively little conjugated-linoleic-acid relative to whole milk.

The bottom line is that you'll save 50 calories daily if you'll have low-fat milk for breakfast. This equates to a pound of weight lose every two months, not bad for switching what you drink in the morning. Plus you'll have an awesome benefit of consuming a healthy dose of calcium and protein to start your day right!

To find out more, see these related articles:
New Study Finds Milk Drinkers May Have a Healthy Weight Advantage
Milk for breakfast cuts lunch!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Just For Fun: 5 Ways to Irritate a Telemarketer


Quick check: You're busy working with your deadline at work and your mobile phone rings. You're getting the plates and calling everyone for dinner and your home phone rings. You're driving in a fast highway, about to take a shower or about to leave the house, and your phone rings. You say "Hello?" It's the telemarketer, offering some insurance deal, credit card promotion, high-return loan rate, real estate investment, etc. Annoying, right?

If your answer is yes, rejoice! You're normal! You belong to the majority. (Just curious, if you're the telemarketer and a telemarketer bothers to call you in every moment you don't feel like being disturbed by a stranger offering offers you don't need, will you also be annoyed? If you're one, drop me a note. I'm highly interested.)

Now that I'm in Singapore working for just six months now (as a foreigner with an employment pass), I thought that these telemarketers won't have the information to track me down. But I was wrong. Banks and other investment companies have called me more than five times. And they kept on calling me even if I say no each time. My teammate was funny in sharing that her husband asks "How did you get my number? Can I speak with your manager?" in an angry voice. He has proven this method effective. The end result is that the telemarketer hangs up the phone by himself/herself.

With this example, I have just thought of other ways which you can use to annoy and cheese these callers right back off:

1. Get personal.
Ask for their names, who gave them the names, their meaning. Ask how to spell it. Repeat. Ask how many kids they have, their marital status, which school they graduated from. Don't forget to ask for their home and billing addresses, personal phone number and credit card numbers!

2. Turn into them.
Be a telemarketer yourself. Ask them what special interests they have and the products they normally use. Then try to sell them your product! "Thank you for calling. Actually, I'm selling..."

3. Flirt.
Wait to hear the telemarketer's opening spiel, then ask them out on a date. Or better yet, ask them to marry you. This will work best if they are the same sex as you.

4. Let them wait.
Tell the telemarketers that you are in the middle of something and ask if they can just wait a few seconds as you hold the line. Once they agree, set the phone down. Go on your merry way and continue what you were doing before the call. Check the phone in an hour and see if they kept the line. They won't.

5. Fake your voice.
Act like a retard. Act like you're drunk. Call the telemarketer by another name, any name, just not the one they gave you. Slur your words. Whisper inaudible words. Talk to yourself. You can also try to TALK IN A VERY LOUD VOICE! "HELLO? Can you hear me now? Echo..." If they ask you to speak lower, tell the telemarketer that you can't hear a word that they're saying and ask them to speak louder.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

15 Fastest, Easiest and Most Absurd Ways of Losing Weight


Time and again, people have been looking for easy and effective ways to lose weight. They concentrate on quick fixes which don't linger for long. Some of these methods are just senseless; they just instigate the thought and hope[-lessness] of losing those unwanted fats. Here are some of most-tried and tested absurd ways which are present in the commonplace:


Note: If you've tried one or more yourself and proved its effectiveness, drop me a note. Else, share the word: Friend, they don't work so don't bother trying. If you really want to drop down weight, read this article.

The "Boo-boo" methods of losing weight:

WEIRD DIETS

Some diets are extremely unhealthy and are unlikely to promote weight loss in the longer term. Worse, they might result to: severe nutritional deficiencies and wrong balance of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. These diets which do not teach you about good longer term eating habits are poor. When you come off the diet and start to eat "normally," your weight will creep back on.

1. Crash dieting - Consume less calories than your body needs just to survive (your resting metabolic rate) and your metabolism can slow right down. The negative effect? Your body hold onto more fat. Eating less than 1000 calories a day definitely constitutes crash dieting.

2. Starvation - True, avoiding all food will make you lose weight fast. This is because you'll lose water and muscle weight in the process, which is impractical. In this sense, like in crash dieting, your body will hold onto more fat as it registers nutritional stress later on. A lighter version of this is eating only one meal a day (usually the evening meal) or skipping meals. This is a common misconception; the reality is that people will tend to be fatter than people who eat at least three meals a day. These people will consume more calories at their one meal than others eat all day. Their metabolism will become slower, as their bodies switch to fat storage mode.

3. Eating only "diet food" - Low Fat. Low Calorie. Sound familiar? If you've been looking for these on the labels of the food you put into your grocery cart, stop now. These fat-free or calorie-light food which include diet yoghurts, Diet Coke and Weight-watchers meals enhance the taste of the food. Hence they got artificial flavorings, refined sugar and artificial sweeteners in abundance. This means they can end up unhealthier than the regular full-fat version.

Under this category is the act of avoiding all fat. What most people don't realize is that fat is essential to our bodies and we need fat in our diet. Fat is essential to the brain, as it builds cell membranes and keeps the heart beating regularly. It slows down digestion, absorbs nutrients and protects our vital organs. Fat can help weight loss by keeping you feel fuller longer and more satisfied. By consuming some fat with your meals, you won't tend to crave for sweets or be hungry for a second helping.

WEIRD LIQUID INTAKE

4. Dehydration - Our body is composed of approximate 65% water. Dehydration will reduce your weight but not your body fat as you lose water weight only. Water is the main component of the blood in your body. It transports oxygen to all your muscles and organs. water leads regulation of body temperature and lubrication of joints to cushion your vital organs.

5. Too much coffee consumption - Think coffee increases metabolism? Think again. The truth is that caffeine in coffee contributes to insulin resistance which can lead to increased appetite and food cravings.

6. Taking herbal slimming coffee/tea - These herbal stuff make outrageous claims about how much weight you will lose by drinking them. However, the main ingredient in these is likely to be caffeine which acts as a diuretic and leads to water loss.

WEIRD PRACTICES

7. Drug ingestion - One example is laxative abuse. By the time laxatives inch their way into the large intestine, most food calories have been absorbed by the small intestines. This causes loss of water, minerals, fiber and waste. The water weight returns as soon as you drink the next drink. Another popular drugs are the various kinds of slimming pills, "the ultimate miracle cure," a pill you take which will lead to weight loss. These pills include fat blockers, carbohydrate blockers and appetite suppressants. However, none of the pills will work if you are eating poorly.Side effects of these drugs can be significant and may lead to serious health implications.

8. Mineral body-wrap treatments - This treatment or a mask applied to your body can make you lose inches, but the loss is short-lived as the inch loss is merely water weight.

9. Training with cellophane - This might sound incredibly stupid, but I have seen people in the gym training with a layer of cellophane wrapped round their bodies. They believe that exercising with the cellophane encourages their body to burn more calories as they sweat more. What they don't know is: the additional sweat leads to loss of water, not fat.

10. Extremely rigorous workouts (e.g. long runs, boot camps and triathlons) - Too much exercise can be counterproductive as it can raise stress hormones until your body starts to hold onto body fat.

11. Frequenting saunas - (My mom is a certified victim.) Staying in saunas will make you lose weight immediately after, but this weight consists only of water weight. so after drinking a few glasses of water, their weight will be back to normal.

12. Smoking - Smoking decreases the appetite, they say. so some people smoke with a view to losing or maintaining their weight. However, smokers can be more malnourished as smoking acts an anti-nutrient. This means your body needs to consume more nutrients from the food you eat. In addition, health implications are serious; it's not worth to lose a few pounds of weight over.

13. Making yourself sick - Some people make themselves sick when they feel they have eaten too much food. However, after making themselves sick they can be hungry, leading to cravings for sweets (chocolates, chips, biscuits) and other high calorie snacks. their body weight can increase because of the constant snacking of high-calorie food.

14. Applying slimming body cream - This sounds a very nice idea: by simply rubbing the cream on your body your fat will instantly melt away, but there is no evidence to suggest these creams/ointments work.

15. Undergoing medical procedures - Liposuction can work but is very risky. what's more, if you don't better your diet and lifestyle, the weight can be back on post surgery. Another medical procedure is the insertion of gastric bands which restricts the size of the stomach, hence limiting the amount of food that you can eat at once. The gastric band does help you to eat smaller amounts, but it does not stop you from eating high-calorie foods or snacking constantly.


Side Note: To know more about the proper How's of Eating, click here.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Most Effective Solutions to Snoring Problems Finally Revealed


For more in depth information about effective solutions to snoring problems, please visit the Silent Sleep Method by Jeff Roth .

Are you having sleep problems because your roommate is snoring? Or maybe you’re the one snoring and your partner is complaining about it? Hey, I know that a snoring isn’t a joke; in fact, it's a very serious problem because it can lead to sleep deprivation or insomnia, which may result to loss of focus, fatigue and a bad temper. Oftentimes, these problems are being neglected. Hence, people like you are affected by the snoring problem.

I suffered with the same scenario once when I went to Thailand with my brother-in-law. At first, I thought it was a good idea to be roommates with him… but that’s UNTIL night came. To my surprise, the guy sounded like a broken generator. I couldn’t take the noise coming from his snoring, so I went outside, closed all the doors and slept on the couch with half my body lying on the floor. From this very day, I never shared a room with my brother-in-law. I’m surprised that my sister could live with it every night!

Now, most doctors and books say that the only solution to this awful condition is nothing but surgery. But that costs a lot of cash, but if you don’t have a few bucks to spare, you can always get a pillow to cover the face of your snoring enemy. I’m just kidding!

A few alternatives I found was that you can place a device like mouth guards or nasal dilators to hinder the air flow into the lungs to stop the snore. Others solutions offer exercises to resolve the problem. But these methods honestly aren’t very effective.

NEVER FEAR because I was able to grab a copy of the The Silent Sleep Method, a book by Jeff Roth. If you don’t know who the author is, Jeff spent the last 10 years of his career to study sensible solutions that can eliminate snoring problem with effective methods, thus finding the perfect solution to a sound sleep.

I know that this guy must be pretty crazy for spending 10 years of his life on ‘snore research’ but 9 out of 10 people really recommended the Silent Sleep Method because it’s a solution that works!

I copied a few lines from their product page to hopefully show you what Jeff’s Silent Sleep Method is all about. Here’s what you would find:
• 3 ways to find out why you snore
• 5 common food that can cause snoring and ones that help eliminate it
• 6 time-tested and proven strategies for using over-the-counter treatments to eliminate snoring
• 7 everyday but often overlooked tips and tricks for relieving snoring naturally
• 10 readily available short-term solutions to snoring that work

I hope that you finally have a good night's sleep.

For more in depth information about effective solutions to snoring problems, please visit the Silent Sleep Method by Jeff Roth.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

3 Top Things You Want to Know About Kissing


Try this. In Google Adword's Keyword Tool, enter "how to" to see what the most searched how-to is--both globally and locally. Through this, you can view the keywords people use to search to land web pages and the degree of competition they have versus other keywords. This is helpful especially for online writers to build traffic in their websites.

Interestingly, "how to kiss" is listed as top five how-to without much competition (as shown through the white, empty bar).


This means that a large number of people worldwide (shocking number of 37 million++) wants to know how to kiss! Ahem. How romantic.

Sorry, Friend. I don't know how to describe the steps on how to kiss, so I'm not writing about that. In parallel to the famous topic, this article is about the benefits of kissing.

Did you know that kissing can help you trim down weight, prevent tooth decay and maintain a healthy heart? If you want a healthier and happier life and don’t want to spend a dime, you don't have to look anywhere. By now, you should know the answer: kissing. Aside from the mentioned advantages, here are other interesting pluses people get from kissing:

For Females: Kissing can relieve menstrual cramps.

For some women, whenever the red flag is raised, menstrual pain can be so unbearable. Thanks to a French team of researchers that conducted a test in human saliva in 2006, we know now that our saliva is a "natural painkiller more powerful than morphine." What happens while kissing is that the brain releases endorphins (pain relief agent) which calm and relax the mind and makes people happy.

For Those Who Have Sleeping Problems: Kissing can solve insomnia.

The act of brushing lips and tongues together can release adrenaline and make you feel at ease. Similarly, neurons are completely at peace, hence reducing tension and distress. Kissing also releases oxytocin, the so-called hormone of love, which can calm you down and bring you on cloud nine (euphoria of happiness) which helps the body, mind and soul to be extremely relaxed. Then, you could sleep easily.

For Those Who Are Aging: Kissing can help you look younger. (an add-in to my previous article)

Kissing works like botox. While kissing, there are 37 facial muscles that are stretched (and exercised). This elevates saggy or "curtain-like" cheeks and tightens facial features such as the jaws. Also, kissing improves blood circulation and causes your heart to pump more blood through your body, preventing cardiovascular problems.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

5 Burning Pointers to Look Years Younger


Often we are reminded to not "judge a book according to its cover." However, our first glimpse at something is more likely the one impression that lasts. And often it is the person or the thing's appearance that we remember, when meeting someone or encountering something new.

Given this, we all want to look pleasing. However, as we grow older, there will be unavoidable age spots that may look displeasing as the physical body starts to let us down. The good news is that there are a number of things we can do to turn back the clock, figuratively.

Here are five tips to make you look younger:

1. Have enough sleep

Having refreshing sleeps at least 7 to 8 hours a night will make you feel healthier and younger. Sleep helps our body cells repair and our minds think better.

2. Keep a proper posture

Standing up straight is one of the best ways to look younger and more confident. The rule is: shoulders back and tummy in. We don't want to look like the Hunchback of Notredame, do we? Also, it is for a fact that as we become more aged, our bones in the spine shrink. So it will be beneficial if you'd invest in taking up calcium while you're younger.

3. Maintain good skin care

Look after your skin, especially your facial skin. Use a facial cleanser and not ordinary soap to keep a hydrated and moisturized skin. You can apply certain amount of make-up, such as a light foundation that doesn't sink much into your pores or wrinkles. Just make sure that you remove your make-up every night, as one night of leaving it on can age your skin eight days.

4. Color your hair

This is a great way to hide the taletell gray hair. It is best to choose a color that is close to your original hair color so that it naturally compliments your facial skin tone.

5. "Smile...

though your heart is aching," sings Nat King Cole. Smiling sparks radiance and changes your whole face. This also prevents more wrinkles to form in your face, especially around the eye area. And "you'll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile." :D

Unless you totally don't care about your looks (then you must be someone living under a rock), don't hesitate to implement these few aids if you sense the good impact that they will bring onto you. Just do it and give yourself a pat on the back as congratulations--because despite what people say about liking personality and brains, the truth is physical appearance still count a lot.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

For Non-US Residents: Why Buying a Verizon iPhone is Not Recommended


First of all, what is a Verizon iPhone and what is the difference between the Verizon iPhone and non-Verizon iPhone (e.g. AT&T, your local mobile providers)?

Verizon is one of the largest mobile carriers in the US. Verizon iPhone 4 means that the phone is powered by Verizon. Basically, the main diff between the two iPhone 4 brothers is the network technology. For more technical rationale and explanation, you can refer to this site.

If you're not living in the US, it's not really recomended to get this phone. To make the Verizon iPhone international it would have to have a GSM chip and a CDMA chip. The rest of the world runs on GSM, while Verizon uses CDMA. The CDMA version of iPhone 4 is configured to work only with the wireless services of Verizon Wireless. Therefore, you can only use the phone in selected countries (now 40) which support CDMA technology and Verizon Wireless as it can only run on Verizon Wireless’ 3G network and not in any other 3G or 4G LTE networks.

So if you find iPhones cheaper from the US in eBay or other similar sites, just consider buying an AT&T phone even if it's locked. You can insert your local SIM to an AT&T iPhone and jailbreak the device to unlock, whereas this is not possible using a Verizon iPhone because it doesn't cover a SIM-card slot. Or better yet...iPhone 5, anyone? :D

Monday, August 15, 2011

7 Essential Body Nutrients We Must Be Equipped With


Do you know the seven colors in the rainbow? Yes, I bet you can probably even recite them while asleep. Exaggeration aside, similar to knowing these basic things, we should more importantly keep in mind the essential nutrients our body should have. There are only seven items, which normally are missing in most people's diet.

Let's go through the following list. For everyone's benefit, I have placed symbols after each and arranged them in an order that is helpful to be easily remembered:FACE Cak Mg. Easy right? You bet.

Here we go:

1. Fiber (F)
Benefits; helps lower cholesterol and improve bowel regularity; lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers
Found in: Green leafy vegetables, grains, beans and produce

2. Vitamin A (A)
Benefits: Promotes good vision, healthy immunity and tissue growth (Beta-carotene)
Found in: Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, winter squash and fortified cereals

3. Vitamin C (C)
Benefits: Shortens the duration of colds symptoms, boosts the growth of bones and tissues and as an antioxidant, helps protect cells from damage (boosts immune system)
Found in: Common fruits and vegetables

4. Vitamin E (E)
Benefits: Keeps good immunity, healthy skin and good vision and also reduces plaque buildup in blood vessels
Found in: High-fat healthy food such as almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and oils (e.g. safflower and sunflower oil)

5. Calcium (Ca)
Benefits: Strengthens bones, maintains muscle function and heart rhythm and prevents high blood pressure
Found in: Dairy products, salmon and tofu
Tip: Make sure you have enough Vitamin D, else your body can't absorb calcium no matter how much you take in.

6. Potassium (K)
Benefits: Lowers blood pressure and supports fertility, muscle and nerve functions
Found in: Banana, potatoes, sweet potatoes

7. Magnesium (Mg)
Benefits: Prevents osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, muscle cramps and heart disease
Found in: Spinach beans, peas, and nuts (almonds)

So head now to a grocery store or market nearest you. Fill your cupboard and fridge with these valuable substances and let's altogether live a healthier diet and lifestyle!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Project Management 101: How to Have a Shot of Success

Many project managers face situations where they are asked to meet fixed dates with very little, if any, margin for slippage. As a project manager, you have a big challenge already trying to hit a fixed date from the customer. Then the customer introduces additional challenges–for instance, not being able to define their requirements fully. This can lead to inevitable delays and changing requirements. (This is the part I hate most!)

From a project management perspective, the key is to proactively utilize risk management, issues management, scope management, and proactive communication to your best advantage.

Manage Risks

Planning is first on the list in starting a project. This includes risk identification and mitigation. If you do not think you can hit the imposed end-date, now is the time to discuss this to the management and project team. It's better to work together risk resolutions. This process also helps from a communication standpoint to better manage expectations.

Manage Communication

Proactive communication can help your team members understand their role and impact of changes. This gives you a strong foundation for the follow-up communications that may be required if the user requirements start to slip.

Manage Issues and Scope

As the project progresses, some project members might end up not meeting their deadlines in spite of risk management plans settled. In this case, you have an issue that needs to be addressed. Issues management (problem identification and resolution) needs to be performed. Get more accountability from your management and the client managers to help resolve project resource problems. They are the ones in a better position to think through these priorities and get the work done.

If the users add more requirements, invoke scope change management and make sure everyone knows the costs to budget and schedule. Don't proceed with the changes unless the sponsor has approved the extra time and budget necessary.

Summary

Although it appears that you are being held accountable for events and circumstances that are not within your control, you do have control over the processes you use to manage the project. You also have the ability to manage expectations through proactive communication. You should especially point out cause-and-effect relationships.

When all are said and done, you may in fact not be able to hit your imposed deadlines and budget. However, by utilizing disciplined and proactive project management processes, you will at least have the confidence that you're in the right track. As well, you do a much better job of managing expectations and getting management to be a part of the solution--not just the problem.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Online Writing For Novice Writers


I have a secret to tell you.
Come closer.
You don’t have to be a talented writer to make money writing online.

I began writing online in 2007. My initial intentions were to affirm certain things for myself, to track my schedules, to realize the worthiness of things, to reflect more, to share, to help myself remember past events and feelings and to relieve myself from anxiety attacks. None of the mentioned was to make money. Writing took my mind off stress. Later I thought I can make a little money throughout my casual writing journey.

I joined Triond and also wrote for other printed magazine, at the start. I also started to build my personal image and (hopefully inventive) writing style in my other site, DiceInTheBoard. I don't have a degree in journalism or whatever liberal arts course. I graduated with a degree in information and communications management, a highly technical/business course. But because I love to write, I became an active contributor of our university paper in my college years. And now, all the more I can practice this passion with blogs and online sites.

So if you have a journalism/literature degree and/or experience, don't fret. You have more chances in succeeding in most online writing sites and your own hosted website. However, if you are a beginner, you will have to choose the sites where you can tone your writing while writing. For instance, you can begin with Triond just like I did. This is what I call real on-the-job-training.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a ton of hits you dream of when you write. I've learned it is important to try to write articles that have the possibility of getting hits every day. Write in categories you have some knowledge, with relevant and fun titles you can come up with (see: trending hot topics).

Don't worry if at first you just get 20 hits or less than 100. Your older articles will eventually outhit your newer articles; therefore, write for longevity.

You may not receive awards from writing online, but you will make money in the long run. You should make goals--this is important. You need to improve your writing skills and learn everything you can from some of the more experienced online writers or friends. If you follow these, you can and will make money writing online.

The most important things you need are the ability to learn, the desire to succeed and guts not to give up. Happy writing!

Monday, August 8, 2011

How to Define the Starting Point of a Project


In whatever project, there are start and end points. Determining these points is essential in many respects. However, to some certain extent, you might think that it doesn’t really matter when the project starts or ends. Having a somewhat undefined period does not take away from the fact that the work is a project or if it's successful.

There is no universally recommended standard for either date; it depends on what the implication of the decision is. But I just think that it's harder to pinpoint where, how and when to start rather than to end. So I've thought it hard and came up with a list. Here, then, are options which you can consider in defining the project's start date:

1. When the Initial Idea is Crafted

Some organizations focus on the time between when an idea is generated. Unfortunately, tracking exactly when the project's original idea was created is very difficult. Likewise, many variables might have came in after already which might have delayed the "beginning stage."

2. When a Budget is Approved

This definition is a little more concrete than the prior idea. In this mark, an idea has been generated and has made it far enough along that a cost/benefit statement has been prepared. The project has also made it through the prioritization process and an actual budget has been approved. Keep in mind that the budget may have been approved during the prior year’s business planning process. The actual work may not start until the following year. Hence, this again might seem to start the clock too early.

3. When a Project Manager is Assigned

This one is more common. It’s hard to say that a project has started before a project manager is assigned. When the project manager is assigned, the project planning and definition begins and the meat of the project starts.

4. When the Project Charter is Fulfilled

In some cases, the project officially starts when the customer approves the Project Charter document. Some companies require an approved Project Charter and schedule before the project team can be allocated. They do this to ensure that the upfront agreement is in place before project work begins.

5. When the Kickoff Meeting is Held

This means that the planning and definition work is considered to be “pre-project” work. All projects start with a formal kickoff meeting between the client and project team. When this is held, the planning has been completed, the client has approved starting the work and the project team has been allocated. Then it's the time to tell everyone that the project is set to begin.

Why is the Start Date Important?

This is because there may be consequences and incentives based on how long it takes to complete a project. I'll take project team accountability as an example.

It is hard to hold people accountable for things that are not within their control, right? For this reason, it makes sense that a project manager is held accountable for the project no earlier than when he or she is assigned. If the project clock starts before the assignment of people resources, they may have no control of some decisions that were previously expended. Thus, it is hard to hold them accountable for work and decisions that take place before they are assigned.

Another example is measurement of process improvement. Many companies keep track of the total duration of projects and attempt to shorten the average project duration over time. It is important that everyone within the company use a common starting and ending point. Otherwise, the project duration numbers will not be meaningful. Think efficiency and productivity! :D

Sunday, August 7, 2011

For Starters: How to Go Vegan


As Phil Collins says "we can't hurry love," we also can't hurry changing our diets. One good example is eradicating meat cold turkey. Slap dashing to diet can lead to serious ailments and you may end up just quitting. By taking it gradually, the effectiveness of changing your diet to the better can be yours. In this article, we will talk more on how we shift to a vegan diet.

A vegan diet plan consists of zero consumption of meat, poultry and seafood. Shifting to this diet may seem to be quite scary at the start. If you don't know where and how to begin, an easy tip would be to buy a vegan diet plan cookbook. The guide contents will give you an idea what the food tastes, how the food are prepared and they will look like. Some more comprehensive cookbooks display health benefits and the nutrition facts of the meal.

On your first week, you may want to consider mastering just one to three vegan dishes. You don’t have to change all your diet completely on your first day. You can begin adjusting food by altering your breakfast, for example with vegetable dish subsequently, and then change your lunch, your dinner and your snack. In this method, your body and your taste buds can adjust appropriately and then you will realize that you are getting used to the vegan diet plan.

Some people don’t even desire to get into a vegan diet plan, thinking that this type of diet are so one-of-a-kind that it won’t fit on their food budget. You will be surprised to learn that that is not the case; you do not have to go organic foods completely. Organic food is way too expensive compared to the regular one. Anything that has peel or shell for you to be able to eat it then can get just the regular one. If you take a closer look at your grocery list, meat, eggs, milk or any animal products are the products that add up too much on your grocery bills! You will be shocked to know that your grocery bill will reduce into half if you go into a vegan diet plan.

Fresh fruits and vegetables can make into various meals if you learn the method to make them efficiently. Getting involved on online forums or websites are great ways to learn about preparing and storing food. As a newbie vegetarian, it is crucial to keep learning about all the food products around you.

Always keep in mind that you must intake the particular vitamin that you lost when you switched into vegetarian diet. Additionally, remember if you do not consume the required vegetable and fruits (or nuts) that your body need, you will end up having sick or weak, since your body necessitates complete vitamins and nutrients in order for it to function well.

As repeatedly advised, do remember to take your time to plan when or where to start your vegan diet plan. Everything without plan will just fall into a pit of failure.

Friday, August 5, 2011

About the Author

I wear huge-framed glasses and many laughs. I love caramel, vanilla, hazelnut and mocha. I cry in movies. Good books and music make me weep. I love helping people. I look calmer than usual. I'm poker-faced. My thoughts are bilingual, or even polylingual. (I can read, speak and write in English, Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese, and Filipino.) I talk to myself out loud, when I'm stressed and not sure of some complexities. I close my eyes and surrender to the breeze. Happiness. I care about relationships. Milk tea. I love artsy layouts and designs. I like high heels but can't walk in them. I am not an effective multi-tasker. Simple. I want to learn Japanese, Thai and Korean more. Health and fitness reign supreme. I like everything organized. I love the moon. I gave up on the thought that I can please everybody. Sweet > sour. I hate racists and extremists. I'm a keen listener and an avid observer. Every day matters. I can change the world. BIG dreams, HIGH hopes, low expectations. Realistic. I believe in strange paranormal. My other wisdom tooth did not erupt till now. Punctuality is king. Boo latecomers. I've been to only five countries in Asia. I love to collect experiences. I cut my own hair. I'm excited for new challenges and changes. I get hung up on details. I loathe the sun, but I'm an avid fan of heat. I wish people would stop smoking. I look like I know what I'm doing but I am always kind of winging it. I wish I had a good singing voice. My most commonly used words are "because" and "that's why." Prayers. I'm making peace with my head. Dice in the Board. I rode a motorcycle three times. Scary. A Gemini. "Family first." I don't have lot of secrets. I don't have lots of fears (or I just haven't met them yet). I like food and dislike getting fat. I'm short (or average) but self dependable. I like using metaphors. My clothes are neat and organized, arranged according to type, shade and color. I hate pets. I want to hug the world. Dance! Very patient. I'm allergic to chicken. I seek to learn and discover interesting things continuously. My faith in God is limitless. I always project the image of success. (That actually rhymed.) Reality is a fragment of my imagination.

I have a flawed, great life, that I'm not ashamed of.

I heart spills. :)

Hi. I am Roch.

Thanks for dropping by. You're welcome.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to Retire in a Bed of Roses


What is it that will make our lives comfortable during the golden years? Besides the obvious answer-good health-what we really need is to be financially independent.

To do that, however, we need to have a game plan--one that is not only realistic but also one that needs a bit of discipline to implement. Here are a few steps you can take to realize your retirement dreams:

1. Define retirement goals

Goal definition is like planning ahead and deciding whether you would still be doing some work on a part-time or consultant basis, doing voluntary work, traveling around the world or taking care of your grandchildren.

It is only after you have a rough idea of what you want to do that you can figure out how much money you will need to achieve the lifestyle you desire. This can be easily done with the help of a financial adviser, who will assist you with the aid of computer software to map out a detailed financial roadmap. This person is one that will take into account your estimated expenses, savings, risk tolerance for investments and the effects of inflation in order to build up your nest egg.

2. Start planning early

The sooner you start making plans, the better. This will give you more time to let your money grow by letting the magic of compound interest take its course.

The advantage of starting early is that you will need a smaller monthly or annual outlay to achieve the monetary goals that you have set out to achieve. For example, if you put aside $100 every month. Based on a 10 percent interest per annum, you would be able to see a nest egg of $226,000 by the time you are 55. But if you start saving only at 35, you will need to save $300 a month or three times as much to achieve the same figure.

3. Create a savings plan and stick to it

If you are one of those who is tempted to say "I can't afford to save because of all those household and family expenses, not to mention the money set aside for an annual holiday," well, try this: pay yourself first, every month, before you settle all other bills.

In other words, put aside a fixed amount of money every month, just for yourself. Bank it in first and do not touch it ever! Unless, you are withdrawing it to put the money into a long-term investment for retirement.

If you still think you do not have that discipline, use an automatic savings plan. You can also put a fixed sum into a unit trust investment on such an automatic savings scheme.

4. Educate yourself on investments

Do not just rely on a simple bank savings or fixed deposit accounts to grow your nest eggs for retirement. This is because your "gains" can be easily eroded by inflation over time. You will need to rely on other investments as time goes forward. Studies have also shown that you can get better returns on the stock markets if you invest for the long haul.

5. Find out your risk tolerance

It is important to know how much risk you can tolerate as it will help you decide which investments you want to place your extra funds in.

Risk tolerance may vary with the age group you are in. For example, if you are just starting out or are in your late 20s or 30s, you may be more amenable to putting your money into more aggressive equity funds. But if you are close to retirement, you may want to shift some of your assets into more conservative investment vehicles such as balance or bond funds.

Knowing your risk levels can also help you weather volatility in the stock markets, and rest easy even if the markets are going through a bad patch. This is because when it comes to investing for retirement, it has to be viewed with a long-term perspective.

6. Diversify your portfolio

One of the key tenets of investing is that you spread your risks among different asset classes. This is so that your investments will not suffer because of a particular sector taking a hit or declining because of a cyclical downturn.

If you are not sure of which unit trust to invest, one way of natural diversification is to invest in an index fund, which often mirrors a wide cross-section of a market.

7. Use time, not market timing

Use a buy and hold strategy when you are investing for the long term for your retirement. Do not try to beat the market by getting in and out of the market too frequently. Many studies have shown that this is often an exercise in futility.

While it may be difficult for one to stay calm when the stock market dips and eats into your investments, selling your stock funds out of despair and buying into the safety of money market funds could also be detrimental to returns over the long haul.

8. Adopt a long-term perspective

As a retirement plan is a long-term strategy, do not expect to see results immediately. Historically, despite the fluctuations of the markets, stock market investments (which include funds that invest in stocks) tend to provide returns of 10 per cent to 15 per cent over the long run.

9. Consider insurance

Do not overlook the importance of insurance plans as a means of accumulating funds for your retirement. There are many types of plans available in the market. Annuities, too, are another way to invest for retirement as they pay you a fixed monthly income as long as you live after you retire.

It would also be prudent to purchase some health insurance schemes such as critical illnesses and hospitalization plans, in case you succumb to some form of illnesses that may affect your regular income or worse, incur huge hospitalization bills. That way, you will at least alleviate the need to sell your investments at inopportune times just to settle those bills.
10. Stick to your plan

Bear in mind that your retirement plan is a long-term goal. So once you have built up your investment portfolio according to an asset allocation plan devised with the help of your financial planner or investment adviser, do not let your long-term plans be distracted by short-term returns.

11. Avoid borrowing from your accounts

From time to time, you may be tempted to dip into your nest eggs to fork out the down payment for the new car or house you have always dreamed of. The general advice is that you should not siphon off the funds you have been putting aside for your retirement.

Always invest with the "extra" money that you have, and not on borrowed funds. This is because with borrowed money, you will lose your long-term perspectives.

12. Monitor and review your investment plan regularly

With easy access to the Internet as well as other technology, it is easy and tempting to fall into the trap of checking your investments on a day-to-day or even an hour-to-hour basis. But just remember that unit trusts, unlike stocks, do not experience as much changes in their daily prices. So do not get too obsessive over the tracking of your investments, especially if they are long-term ones.

However, you should review your portfolio from time to time--once every six months or annually--either to fine-tune your portfolio because of changes in market environments; or because of a job switch and a change in your income level, thereby changing your risk tolerance.

Good luck!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Internet Marketing & Social Media for Business Owners


FACT 1: It is a must for businesses and organizations to continuously market and publicize their products and/or services in order to attract new leads while sustaining the current.

FACT 2: However, worldwide economies are really bad in present times; consequently, big and small businesses alike need to save money wherever and whenever they can.

FACT 3: Business owners know how the traditional marketing methods they have been using for years. As well, the cost of these marketing methods has been climbing up, up and up to "sky-is-the-limit."

So, is it just good money thrown after bad?

Time and again, business owners (you may be one) know how it feels to have to keep paying good money for bad advertising because they don't know what and how else to promote their goods. The newspapers and yellow pages are not new news, but they refuse to let go of these traditions even though they also know their ROI is p o o r.

In every situation though, there is hope. And as hope has it, it tells you it's not your fault. The newspaper salesmen does not want you to know this: Internet Marketing is the key.

Interestingly, more and more consumers are now becoming Internet users to do online research before they make a decision for their purchases. Some are doing online shopping. This shift and their active participation in social media groups are significant reasons why traditional marketing ways are less effective nowadays.

If your business is not taking advantage of Social Media Marketing to connect with your new and old customers you will drop further behind your competition, this is because your customers are already active in these circles.

Yet they will not find your business and they will not talk about your business but most importantly they will not be able to buy from your business. However with social media marketing it's quite easy to get into and you don't need to have a web site of your own or be selling anything online to get started.

The possibilities with social media marketing are almost endless. Your business could double; your exposure will grow like you would never get with the traditional methods and you can completely dominate your local market to become the authority and expert that people go to first.

Whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other relevant sites, your potential customers are out there spending considerable time searching the world of Social Media marketing. This is where you should be.

So get started. Get out and get found. Engage and follow up with them!

Tip: At the least, create your business' / company's official Facebook page, Twitter account, Youtube channel and of course--website with your own registered domain name NOW!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How Do You Get HIV AIDS?


How do people get this deadly disease? First, what exactly is it? What are possible cures? What are the ways of preventing its occurrence and protecting ourselves from having stricken?

AIDS 101

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a killer disease without a cure. It is spread by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and destroys the body’s immune system. As a result, the body cannot protect itself against infections and some cancers.

How do I protect myself against HIV and AIDS?

Most get the disease through casual sex with prostitutes, strangers and acquaintances. It takes just one sexual encounter with an HIV-positive person to be infected by HIV. Besides a laboratory HIV test, there is no way of telling who has HIV since an infected person looks normal and shows no symptoms for several years after infection. Thus, if you are infected, you might unknowingly spread it to your spouse.

How do I set up my defenses against AIDS?

To protect yourself and your loved ones from this devastating "virus," do take note of the following:
  • Say no to casual sex
Avoid casual sex with prostitutes, strangers and acquaintances.
  • Stay faithful to your spouse
Have sex only with your spouse. This will protect yourself, your spouse and your family from AIDS and the needless suffering that comes with it.
  • Always use a condom
A condom (the latex/polyurethane type only) acts as a barrier to reduce the chances of HIV transmission. However, condoms do not offer 100% protection. They may leak and break due to defects or improper use. Hence the best way to protect yourself is still to avoid casual sex.
  • Stay away from drug abuse and needle-sharing
Drug abuse is harmful to the body and by sharing a needle tainted with blood containing HIV, you can be infected.
  • Ensure that surgical and skin-piercing instruments used are sterilised
When using services that involve piercing the skin such as tattoo-piercing, and ear- or body-piercing, check that sterile needles are used every time. If in doubt, stay away.

You definitely need to protect yourself, but there is no need to be paranoid. HIV is not spread through:
  • kissing an HIV-infected person (unless there are open sores or wounds through which HIV-tainted blood can be transferred);
  • sharing food, utensils, towels or bedding, a swimming pool, the telephone or the toilet seat with someone who has HIV; nor
  • coming into contact with the sweat or tears of someone with HIV or AIDS.
If you think you might be HIV-positive or have a high risk of infection, see a doctor or go for HIV testing. Where AIDS is concerned, ignorance is not bliss. Continuing high-risk behaviour only increases the chances of you being infected with HIV and spreading it to others. HIV testing is important to safeguard your health and to prevent transmitting the virus to others including your loved ones.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Online Fitness Programs: Effective or Not?


As the cliché goes, "To see is to believe." But sometimes, it's better for us to be physically present and activate our other senses to actually believe.

This is the problem with the online world in this Internet era. As we cannot prove anything just as we see them in our screens, we wouldn't know if they're worthy of gaining our trust. This statement can be applied to online shopping, chatting with netizens we don't know in real life, following advices from forums and the like.

So what about online fitness programs? Would you want to participate in them just by looking at the before-and-after pictures and snippets of testimonies from people we're not sure are real? Or better yet, can online fitness program make a good substitute for the real thing?

If you have weight problems and you are serious about getting in shape, you’d most likely resort to fitness programs. Looking for one online trainer or reliable on-screen material is not easy. Although there are many available fitness programs out there in the virtual space, choosing the right one for you can be difficult. You’ll need to take a lot of things into consideration. Will you be able to stick to the schedule suggested? Is the recommended diet tolerable? Can you handle the physical activities posted through videos?

Fitness programs are not cheap and some of them can be very extensively costly. So, when you join one, you are to expect highly positive results. But before you join one, make sure to be equipped with both the pros and the cons.

If you see yourself interested in one, before signing up for membership, get an in-depth review of the site and their program. Read through what others think about the group and know if you can easily fit your workouts onto your schedule. One of the main advantages of online fitness programs is that you can do it anytime. You can do it at the comfort of your own home. There's no need to rush to the gym.

However, for any activity that you perform, there will be no instructor to check if you are doing your workout the right way. Some more, you are on your own on your diet program. Although every fitness program always includes diet plans in their package, there won't be no one to "police" you if you are losing track.

Advantages and disadvantages of these programs will depend on your own preference and self-discipline. So choose one that you know you can follow. There are programs that are too strict with their food choices and there are programs that are easier to follow. Being able to stick with your program for a long time is the best program that you can choose for yourself. Developing a good diet and exercise habit will give you long term health benefits.

Friend, this is called lifestyle.