The Art of Drinking Vermouth

Vermouth is often used in various cocktails because of its aroma and flavor. It’s also a popular fortified wine because of the roots, herbs, flowers, and bark that are added to it, but what do you really know about vermouth and what it tastes like if drank on its own?

How Vermouth is Made

Vermouth is a type of Moscato wine in Italy that is flavored with tree bark, saffron, anise, cinnamon, chamomile, and even absinthe to make it sweet or semisweet. More accurately though, vermouth is a fortified aperitif wine, which means that its base is either mistelle (white grape juice or brandy and fermented white wine) or white wine. Unlike Moscato wine, however, vermouth contains more alcohol because it’s fortified. Using the base of white wine or mistelle, distilled alcohol is added, usually using brandy, to raise the proof.

This process is what makes up the fortification of vermouth. Next, the base is aromatized using substances made from plants. This could be a mixture of spices, herbs, roots, seeds, flowers, and others. The use of botanicals give vermouth its color and flavor. Most of the vermouth today contain wormwood, from which its name is derived, while the color caramel comes from the sugar.

The Benefits of Vermouth

Whether you prefer the pale, dry and bitter vermouth or the red and sweet vermouth, when consumed in moderation, it is good for you because it promotes food digestion and improves appetite. In some cases, 50 grams of vermouth can even help someone recover from food poisoning or gastroenteritis. Besides being a good antiseptic, too, the herbs and spices it contains can help you relax after a stressful day at work. Some people use a mixture of vermouth and 2 tablespoons of honey to relive cold and sore throat. It can also be mixed with aloe juice and honey to relieve stomach ulcer.

Vermouth Food Pairings

Because of the diverse flavors of vermouth, there are a lot of options for food pairings depending on its characteristic taste. Aromatic French vermouth are best paired with cheeses because they complement the vermouth’s nutty flavors. While dry vermouth like Italian varieties are best paired with smelly cheeses. However, most vermouth will go well with chicken, scallops, shrimp, mushrooms, beef steak, mussels, salmon, and pancetta.

The Best Vermouth Cocktails

Try these vermouth cocktails with your friends:

  • Negroni: 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce gin, and citrus essence
  • Black Dog: ½ ounce dry vermouth and 3 ounces rum
  • Vampire’s Kiss: ½ ounce dry vermouth, 2 ounces vodka, ½ ounce dry gin, 1 tablespoon tequila, 2 ounces tomato juice, and 1 pinch salt
  • Manhattan:1 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 ounces bourbon, 1 dash orange bitters, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, and brandied cherry for garnish
  • Rob Roy: 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 ounces blended scotch whiskey, 2 dashes angostura bitters, and lemon peel for garnish
  • Vermouth Cassis: 1 ½ ounce dry vermouth, ¾ ounce crème de cassis, and club soda
  • Carpano-Rita: ½ ounce sweet vermouth, 1 ½ ounces tequila, ¾ ounces lemon juice, and ¼ ounce agave syrup

Singapore’s Hainanese Chicken Rice

Trust me, one article is not enough to know about one of the most celebrated dish by not just the residents of Singapore but also tourists is the legendary mouth-watering all-Asian experience, the Hainanese Chicken Rice. I know what you are thinking, how is chicken and rice such an attractive dish? Well, for those of you who haven’t tasted Hainanese Chicken Rice, it is acceptable that you cannot fathom the taste of this amazingly tender dish. What better way to describe an Asian dish than with steamed chicken and rice right?

Although very well celebrated in Singapore, this dish does not actually come from Singapore itself. This dish originates all the way from Hong Kong and was brought to Singapore by the Chinese who slowly started to migrate. Chefs from all around the world can be found in Singapore as they have one of the most diverse cuisines around Asia. Although diverse, Singapore never fails to pay attention to the small details in the quality of their servings which makes it hard to say that the food you are eating does not taste authentic.

Finding this dish is no problem at all as almost every hawker center in Singapore has at least three stalls selling this type of dish. Now how about the price? Well, depending on your location and how near it is to the different malls, the price of this dish may vary but to play it safe, this dish may vary from three to twenty Singaporean dollars. The farther away you are from a mall or the smaller and more residential the neighborhood is, the lower the price of this dish may be.

Now, why is Hainanese Chicken Rice one of the best dishes you can find in Singapore? Because of the rice itself! The rice is not just any ordinary rice but is cooked with the broth used to steam the chicken and what makes the taste really sink in is not just the ingredients used but the time dedicated into cooking this meal. The chicken broth is made sure to be treated with utmost priority as it is the main ingredient in the rice. This dish is usually served with cut cucumbers which really give it a luscious and brighter flavor every time you eat the chicken with the rice.

Hainanese Chicken Rice is just one of the many different dishes to fall in love with. Never be too shy to try out something new.

Why Do I Have Falling Hair?

It’s normal to see a few hair strands everyday on your brush or comb, but how do you know if you’re losing too much hair and what’s causing the hair loss?

100 Strands a Day

Most individuals normally lose 100 hair strands each day regardless of how healthy the scalp is and the hairstyling practices. To understand why it’s okay to lose hair, you need to know what makes up the hair and the hair growth cycle. A person’s scalp density reduces as he/she grows, although the number of hair follicles will remain the same, because the scalp expands as well. Each strand is made up of two major features, the follicle and the shaft. Two sheaths surround the former, which protects and conditions the hair. The shaft on the other hand, is made up of a protein with three layers which give your hair its color. These will weaken as you age and cause hair fall.

Hair Growth Cycle

The shedding of your hair can be random, but it is based on the hair growth cycle, which is made up of three stages. Anagen is the formation of the hair and the time when your scalp is at its most active for a few years. The catagen phase is the transitional period when the growth stops and the formation of a club hair, when the outer root sheath will shrink and stick to the hair root. The telogen phase is the time when the follicle is at rest and you could lose up to 100 strands per day. If you’re losing more hair than usual, it could be an indication of a scalp or other medical condition.

Reasons for Hair Loss

The following are the causes for rapid hair loss or telogen effluvium:

  1. Excessive hairstyling
  2. Hereditary hair loss
  3. Alopecia areata (autoimmune hair loss)
  4. Physical stress or trauma (from an accident, surgery, or illness)
  5. Pregnancy or hormonal change and imbalance
  6. Scalp conditions (such as psoriasis, dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, fungal infections, and more)
  7. Too much vitamin A
  8. Vitamin B or B12 deficiency
  9. Protein deficiency
  10. Iron deficiency or anemia

  1. Aging
  2. Sudden weight loss or changes in the diet
  3. Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
  4. Lupus
  5. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  6. Chemotherapy
  7. Side effect of medications such as antidepressants, blood thinners, NSAIDs, birth control, and more

How to Reduce Hair Loss

Sometimes it’s possible to grow back lost hair once the underlying cause is treated and changes are made in the diet and hairstyling habits. Here are some of the things you can do.

  1. Consult a dermatologist to determine the cause of the problem
  2. Change your diet by getting more protein and complex carbohydrates
  3. Take vitamin supplements as recommended by the doctor
  4. Exercise regularly and drink lots of water
  5. Reduce hairstyling and minimize the use of hairstyling products and heating tools
  6. Use mild shampoo and conditioner

How to Start a Stationery Collection

Do you have a relative or a friend who loves to collect notebooks, writing sets, pens and pencils, envelopes, and even Post-its? That person could be a stationery collector. Even with the popularity of electronic gadgets, a lot of people still find collecting stationeries a therapeutic and rewarding activity.

Stationery is a catch-all name for writing, typing, and printing materials. The name probably comes from the name of the vendor, a stationer, who has a store, such as a book shop, in a fixed spot.

Here are the things you need to remember if you want to start your own collection.

Seven Basic Types. If you are overwhelmed with the choices in hobby shops and bookstores in Singapore, you can start by building up your collection using the seven basic types of stationeries. These are memo pads, flat cards, folded notes, stamps and embossers, labels, contact cards, and non-personalized notes and cards. This list, however, still lacks other stationeries, so don’t limit yourself to these.

Build Your Collection. Like any type of collection, the stationeries you will select will be based on your taste and style. There are no rules that say you should collect only certain types of items, but if you’re planning to use some of your stationeries, you should stock up on the basic pieces. These include personalized stationery, memo pads for lists, formal stationery for correspondences, and stationeries for special occasions, holidays, and celebrations.

Enjoy the Hunt. One of the most relaxing activities that stationery collectors will tell you is shopping for new items. What makes the hobby more addictive is the satisfaction of finding a rare-looking piece with a different scent, color scheme, shape, text or illustration, and other details. If the activity is relaxing or therapeutic to you, go ahead and enjoy it, because that’s what hobbies are for.

Don’t Feel Guilty. If you feel like you have too many unused notebooks and your desk is cluttered with colorful pens and pencils, you don’t need to feel guilty about it. Unlike most hobbies, collecting stationeries will not eat up most of your income, because paper and office supplies are usually cheap. They don’t take up a lot of space, too, unless your collection already consists of overflowing shelves.

They’re Useful. While most collectors would feel horrified at the idea of writing on their collection, they can be useful for special occasions, like sending cards or letters to people on special occasions. They are also useful for other art-related hobbies such as drawing, calligraphy, and painting. You can give them away to friends and family instead of buying pre-made cards.

Simple Tips on How to Start a Food Blog

It is already known that food is a great part of Singapore’s culture. That being said, if you’re a foodie who wants to share Singapore’s wonderful cuisine to the world, you might consider food blogging. But, if you’re having difficulty picking up ideas on how to start, here are some tips for you!

1. Your blog name and content
Many of those starting out with a food blog sometimes find it hard to come up with a name. One easy solution to this is to know what type of content you’re trying to put out first. Either you’re going for restaurant reviews or food recipes, figuring out your niche is important not just for the name of your blog but also your identity as a whole. You’re blog name, then, should be short yet unique and memorable while tying into your niche.

2. Your website
If you know how to make a website yourself or you know a web designer, that can be good. But for blogs, it will be ideal to have a web host. A web host basically provides the necessary technologies needed by your website for it to be viewed on the internet. Also, if you do not yet have a domain name, a web host can help you purchase one. You’ll also want to create your website with a content management system. WordPress is one that is commonly recommended because it is efficient and easy to learn.

3. Dabble with themes
Once you have WordPress, it will be relatively easy to design your website. There are a lot of themes in WordPress to choose from, both free and paid. The paid ones are also cheaper compared to hiring a web designer to create your website from scratch. Having a theme that suits your niche is also essential to provide the overall aesthetic of your blog. Try to find a theme that matches your content well and complements the photos you put up as well.

4. Start creating content
Start writing and posting your blog articles, and do it consistently. Initially, you should have about 10 or more articles ready to publish from the get-go so that your first visitors at least have a lot to look into. It would also be a good idea for you to incorporate some food photography in your blog. The one thing that attracts site visitors, aside from a good read, is the sight of good food. You can even add videos if you want.

5. Promote your blog
Because of the internet and social media, it will be very easy to promote your blog. That is why it is important to have social media accounts for your blog. Facebook and Instagram are the better ones to have in Singapore because they are more commonly used by people. If you can, you can also try networking or collaborating with other food bloggers, especially those who are already “big”.

Why Keep a Fitness Journal?

You made a promise to yourself that you’re going to go to the gym and take it seriously. You go around Singapore and find a gym that you like and you begin exercising there. After a while, you find that you’re wandering around the gym not knowing which exercises you should do next. That’s where a fitness journal can come in handy. Here are also other reasons why you should keep a fitness journal:

To set up your workouts
If you have a fitness journal, you will be able to write down what your workout is for the day ahead of time. That way you won’t have to wander around the gym thinking about what you should do next. For example, let’s say you’re hitting biceps, chest, and back. Before you even go to the gym, take a page in your journal and write down the workouts you want to do for each body part. As you’re working out, you can easily check what you plan to do next.

So that you hold yourself accountable
A fitness journal will help you see exactly how you’ve been performing. You may say to yourself that you’ve hit a plateau and you’re not losing weight/gaining muscle. But if someone were to look at your fitness journal and saw that you were having low-intensity workouts and have not been exhausting yourself enough, then there is the reason why you’ve hit a plateau. Having a fitness journal prompts you to be honest and helps keep you accountable.

To see your progress
You’ll be able to keep track of your progress very easily with a journal. You can see how much you’re getting better at lifts and other exercises. You can see how intense your workouts are getting. You can see how much you can already carry. And you can see how much weight you’ve lost or how much muscle you’ve gained. In addition, seeing how much you’ve progressed can be a great source of motivation that can help you continue towards your goals.

You can write about how you feel
Another great reason why you should keep a fitness journal is that you can take down notes on how you feel that day. You’ll be able to find out which days you feel tired and less motivated, and which days you feel strong and energized. This is important because your mood will generally determine your attitude in your workouts. Plus, you will be able to understand which exercises you enjoy the most and which ones you need to work more on.

You’ll know your weaknesses
Much like how you can see your progress, you’ll also be able to see your weak points. You might notice that you can squat significantly more weight compared to your deadlifts. Or that you lack cardio and abdominal exercises. Having a fitness journal helps you map out which of your body parts need more improvement.