Tips for a Better Shopping Experience in the Busy Markets of Asia

From India to Singapore to Brunei, the many open markets in Asia are buzzing with life and frantic activities. Even if there’s nothing you need to buy, the market offers a lot you can enjoy while you’re in there.

However, these tourist-targeted markets are places often teeming with fake and overpriced products. Plus, the noise of haggling customers and the number of unfamiliar items can be overwhelming. But there is no better place to experience the authenticity of a country than these open markets. As long as you know the tricks, you’ll surely score great finds and unforgettable experiences in these avenues

1. Arrive Early
By arriving early, not only will you have fewer people to compete with, the early vendors will also have better mood and more patience, giving you more chances to do a good haggle. Also, you have the opportunity to take a pick from the newer and fresher items, too.

2. Learn to Haggle
While this can be an uncomfortable thing for Westerners, haggling has been a big part in the day-to-day lives of people in most Asian countries. Approach haggling as if it’s a fun game, rather than an embarrassment. Anyway, most items in open markets are priced in a way that allows room for good haggling, so might as well take advantage of it. There’s no reason to feel bad. A vendor will not agree on a price if it causes them to lose money.

3. Beware of Fake Items
In these places you will find replicas and cheap knock offs of branded items. Sometimes, these are impeccable copies that you cannot even distinguish from the original, while other times, you’ll find “abibas” shoes or “Oaokley” sunglasses. But don’t be surprised if that cheap iPhone you got breaks after a week or the Rolex logo comes off from your watch. If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is, especially when it is something digital.

4. Keep Your Things Attended
Busy markets also attract people who may see tourists as targets. Be mindful with your wallet, purchases and your bag (if possible, don’t wear backpacks) to ensure you don’t become potential prey for pickpockets. Beggars and street children frequent in these markets to target tourists, so be watchful of them.

5. Don’t Expect Clean Toilets
…if you’re lucky enough to find one. If there is, it will likely be a filthy squat toilet. When you feel like you need to pee, allow plenty of time to find one. And once you find one, you will likely have to pay a few coins to use them.

Shopping at Asian night markets surely is a lot of fun, so go ahead and dive head first into the chaos—and keep these tips in mind.

5 Beauty Products You’re Wasting Your Money On

Nowadays, we come across new beauty products almost every day, but not all of them are worth spending your money on. You worked hard for every dollar you have, and you deserve something that will give you the most benefits.
To help save your money and use them on more useful and effective products, here are some beauty items to avoid and forget about.

1. Expensive Facial Wash and Cleansers
Cleansers stay on your skin for a short time, so they rarely have much beautifying effects other than removing makeup, dirt and oil—something that any cheap cleanser can do. A more useful investment: an electronic cleansing brush. This battery-operated device has rotating brush heads to provide gentle, yet deeper skin cleansing, getting rid of dirt and oil from seated deep down the pores.

2. Facial Toner
We’ve all heard from beauty gurus to use facial toner to truly cleanse the face. However, according to dermatologists, this is quite unnecessary. That’s because the facial cleanser you washed your face with is especially formulated to not leave any product residue on your facial skin. As a result, buying a toner is something you can completely forget about.

3. Foot Mask
A mask for your feet is another unnecessary beauty expense. There is no reason why your feet would need to be masked. To keep them soft and smooth, all you need to do is to remove dead skin cells by using a scrub and regularly applying any foot cream you can find in the drugstore. Other than that, buying foot masks, especially the expensive ones, is just a waste of money

4. Body-Firming Lotion
How many times have you heard of products promising you to get firmer skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite? The sad truth is, these products will not provide you that magical solution. Even if they contain ingredients that help hydrate the skin and improves its elasticity, they will only provide temporary and minimal results. Save your money from these items and enroll for a gym membership instead.

5. Pore-Shrinking Products
Many product brands and manufacturers honestly advertise what they can do for your face—that is to temporarily minimize the appearance of pores. However, there are also some that go overboard and claim to actually reduce the size of your pores. If you hear this, do not buy it! the size of the pores depends on the genes of an individual, and nothing can change that permanently. While retinoids and AHA are dermatologist-recommended products to unclog and thoroughly cleanse the pores, they cannot shrink them nor make your skin look like that of a newborn.

Are any of these products part of your everyday beauty regimen? If so, try to gauge whether the effects justify the amount of money you’ve spent to buy them. If it tells you otherwise, you might want to save your dollars and spend them on more effective beauty items instead.

8 Reasons to Keep a Journal

Some people think that keeping a journal is unnecessary and the time that you write on it is time wasted. If you do keep a journal, you’ll know that it’s cheap and worthwhile to have one. Plus, there are a whole lot of benefits in journaling. So go and just do it!

For daily reflection
Having a journal helps promote self-awareness. The ability to examine our own conscious thoughts and feelings allow us to become more compassionate towards others. Writing on a journal can help you reflect on what kind of person throughout the day, thereby helping you become a person each day.

Idea bank
Keeping a journal can also help you remember old ideas and list new ones. From everyday activities, to hobbies you want to try out, writing your ideas in a journal prompts you to be reminded of them or at least have you plan them out.

To list goals and dreams
You can write both you short-term and long-term goals in your journal. Because you put your goals on paper, there is a greater chance that you will work hard to achieve them. You can also write your dreams for the future. Just think, “if money wasn’t a problem, what would I be doing now?” Heck, you could even write being the next prime minister of Singapore.

For safety and emergency situations
Keeping a legal document but you’re scared you might forget where you place it? Your journal is your best friend. Sometimes you may otherwise find yourself in a desperate situation and keeping a record of your experiences may be very helpful.

To make better decisions
If you’re having a hard time making decisions, you can use your journal. If it’s a decision that can significantly affect your life, you can take note of its positive and negative effects on you. You will get a clearer picture of the advantages and disadvantages of a certain action, leading you to decide whether it’s good or not.

Keep track of your progress
Because it’s so easy to take notice of our mistakes and failures, we tend to miss our everyday triumphs and victories. Writing down your accomplishments can help you celebrate them and see how much you’ve grown and how far you are now from where you started.

Recognize problems
Of course, to get rid of problems, sometimes we have to take action. But you’ll be surprised at how therapeutic it can be to write your problems down, like taking a heavy burden off your shoulders and releasing it all on paper. After that you could even choose to tear off and burn that paper as a metaphor of getting rid of your problems.

Spark creativity
A journal isn’t necessarily made only with words. A journal can contain pictures, drawings, whatever you can think of really. You could just be scribbling and doodling on your journal, and later on notice you actually already have a piece of art on paper.

What Men Should Do on a First Date

With popular dating apps in Singapore like Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel, it’s becoming very easy to get a date. But in those apps, you won’t get to know the person physically. So, you arrange to meet and then comes the all-important, yet nerve-wracking ‘first date’. Here then are some things you should do to leave a good impression with your date.

Dress comfortably
Of course, the preparation before the date is essential. Wear clothes you’re comfortable with and you know look good on you so that you won’t have unnecessary concerns. For instance, don’t do a hairstyle just because its trendy. You’ll face a huge problem if it doesn’t look good on you. Considering it’s the first date, there should be no problem dressing casually and being yourself.

Pick a comfortable place
When planning for a date, try to pick a place that provides a comfortable atmosphere, both for you and your date. Go take a stroll at the Henderson Waves, or maybe even listen to some music at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre. Make sure it’s a place where she can also feel safe.

Don’t be late
Being on time is already a given, not just in dating. When you get there early, you’ll be able to prepare yourself and shake off any feelings of nervousness. Plus, it’s not very ideal to get someone waiting, they might eventually think that they’re wasting their time expecting you.

Be honest
Be honest with yourself and don’t try to pretend just so your date will like you. If you’re faking things, it will most likely come out unnatural, hence you’re only playing yourself. Likewise, if you’re having a lot of fun, don’t hesitate to say it. Your date will appreciate it since you’re being truthful enjoying their company.

Manners maketh man
When its pouring, hold an umbrella up for her, open doors for her, maybe even pick her up from her place if you can. Doing small acts of chivalry will definitely impress your date, even if you’d think its corny and old school. To put it simply, be a gentleman.

Avoid using your phone
Using your phone is a big no-no when having a date. If the girl is talking and you’re on your phone, it only shows that you don’t pay attention to her. Not only does it show that you’re uninterested, it also gives her the impression that you won’t take things seriously. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should ignore a call from your mother or boss. Simply remember to be courteous.

End the date properly
At the end of the date, make sure to say you’ve had a good time. But, pointing back to being honest, you don’t necessarily have to say this. If you didn’t really get to click with your date, don’t immediately say it negatively. Instead, be polite and still thank her for meeting you.

4 Skincare Products Every Guy Should Have

There’s every reason for guys to start worrying about their face – not only does proper and regular skin care help to maintain your appearance, but it could also delay a lot of skin conditions that can be brought about by constant exposure to UV rays and aging, such as premature wrinkles, dryness, dark spots, and dark circles and eye bags.

If you’re a guy who happens to just be starting outinto skin care, here are four products that you should have in your skincarekit at all times:

1. Facial Cleanser

Unlike the rest of your body’s skin, your facial skin is extra sensitive and needs special care for it to stay glowing. Washing with a bar of soap, even if the soap is hypo-allergenic, can have a negative impact on your facial epidermis and leave it dry.

Using a facial cleanser to clean your face is much better as it’s specifically formulated to suit the purpose of whisking away dead skin cells without stripping your upper skin’s layers of much-needed moisture.

As much as possible, avoid facial cleaners thatcontain alcohol as they will only strip away the moisture from your skin.

2. Moisturizer

Moisturizers are a must-have for any guy with dry skin, but keep in mind that not all are made equal. In fact, many are filled with all kinds of toxic and skin damaging chemical agents that only end up making your skin worse than what you intend it to be.

To make sure you get the best deal on yourmoisturizers, look for bottles that are “non-comedogenic” (this means that theydon’t cause acne and zit breakouts) and don’t have a lot of chemicals listed intheir ingredients.  

3. Facial Scrubs

Exfoliating scrubs allow you to get the good skin cells out into the open and gives you a deeper clean to get rid of any dirt and dead skin cells that could block your pores and cause pimple or acne breakouts.

As with the other products, make sure to use a particular facial scrub that cleans without stripping away your facial skin of all the essential moisture, oils, and nutrients that keep it healthy.

4. Facial Mask

While this may seem excessive (or even silly) at first, more and more facial masks have started appearing in the market that are specifically designed for men’s skin to achieve the same effects as women’s face masks.

Make sure to get a face mask that has both bentonite and kaolin clay, which evens out your skin tone while at the same time removes any excess oils. Other ingredients that you should look for in a facial mask include aloe vera, chamomile, green tea, and vitamin E, to name a few.

(Disclaimer: This list is compiled in no particular order.)

Everything You Need to Know About Cats

Cats are becoming a more popular breed in Singapore, and more people are opting to getting one. There are as many as forty recognized cat breeds in Singapore that are recognized internationally, and many more are a genetic mix of any two or more of the forty.  

When considering a cat to add some company to your home, it’s important as a future owner to know everything to know about your future pet.

Choosing a Cat

It’s highly important that you do extensive research when looking to get a pedigree or purebred cat. Avoid buying purebreds unless the breeder has years of experience in using ethical methods, and is extremely careful when it comes to choosing breeding stock.

Street cats, meanwhile, are plentiful in Singapore, and are likely to be mix of different types of genes. They are less susceptible to certain genetic diseases and have a more robust immune system because of their genetic diversity, which in turn makes them much better companions.  

Consider adopting more than one cat only if you havethe time and energy to take care of all of them.  

Introducing Your Cat to Your New Home

If you recently adopted a street cat, you might have to employ measures to make sure that your pet doesn’t leave the house for a while. Eventually, your cat will grow used to his/her new home and stop trying to leave.

Your New Cat’s Habits

Cats like to sleep during the day, and they can sleep pretty much anywhere (though they often like to sleep on high, hard-to-reach areas). This is because they are crepuscular predators by nature, meaning that they prefer to do their hunting early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when their prey is often asleep or just about to.

While there is little difference between sterilized maleand female cats, the former are more likely to be territorial.

Feeding Your Cat

Cats are carnivores, which means that their diet should be mostly meat.

However, you can’t just dump anything onto your pet’s plate – cats are surprisingly picky when it comes to food. If you have to purchase cat food for your cat, be sure to focus on the nutrients themselves, which is why reading the label is often really important.  

How much you’re feeding your cat is also a thing to consider, as overfeeding can be a thing. The average amount of calories cats should consume per day falls roughly around two hundred calories, but the exact amount really depends on your cat’s type, size, age, and how active your cat is.

Most cats often hunt their prey early in the morning or late in the afternoon, which would make these times the best time to feed them.

(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)