The Most Expensive Cities to Live in Today

The recent listings of the most expensive cities to live in are dominated by Asian countries. The ranking is based on the comparison of the prices of commodities such as food, housing, utilities, home services, personal care, alcohol and tobacco, domestic supplies, transportation, and recreation and entertainment.

Hong Kong (SAR)

Despite the recent upheavals in the special administrative region, Hong Kong retains the top spot as the most expensive city in the world for a second year. An expat should expect a mid-range monthly rent of HK$30,000, a full lunch meal for HK$93, and a pair of sneakers for HK$799.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is the 14th most popular tourist destinations in the world in 2019. If an expat moved into Tokyo in 2019, expect an average monthly rent of ¥45,000, ¥4,000 for transportation, and ¥20,000 to ¥30,000 for food.

Singapore

Singapore ranked fourth in the most popular cities in the world and the third most expensive city to live in. If an expat decides to move into Singapore, a single person should have a minimum budget of SGD$3,000 for monthly rental, SGD$12 for a full lunch meal, and SGD$95 for public transportation tickets.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul ranked 24th in the most visited cities in 2019. If an expat decides to move into the city, expect an average monthly rental of ₩1,450,000, a full lunch meal for ₩9,608, and ₩67,000 for public transportation tickets.

Zurich, Switzerland

As the only European country to break into the top ten, Zurich is an ideal destination for those who want to enjoy a high cost of living and political stability. If an expat decides to move into Zurich, expect a monthly rent average of about CHF2,300, a complete lunch meal in the business district for about CHF26, CHF14 for fast food, and CHF142 for a pair of sneakers.

Shanghai, China

In Shanghai, renting a fully furnished mid-range housing can cost an average of 9,400元 per month, a mid-range studio for 5,700元 a month, 192元 for monthly public transportation tickets, and 60元 for a full lunch meal.

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Ashgabat is a surprising entry to the top ten but not if you consider the Turkmenistan’s recent currency struggles. A person moving into Ashgabat should expect a mid-range housing rental of 2,130 Manat per month, a full meal for 44 Manat, and 249 Manat for a pair of sneakers.

Beijing, China

In Beijing, a fully furnished average house may be rented for 7,700元 a month while a more expensive rental can run up to 13,400元. For a full meal in business districts, you pay for an average of 50元 and 32元 for fast food.

New York City, United States

As the only entry from the Americas in the top ten, rental in New York City averages $3,100 per month, $16 for a full lunch, and $124 for public transportation tickets.

Shenzhen, China

In Shenzhen, rental can go for as high as 11,500元 for high-end homes, a total of 169元 for monthly public transportation tickets, and 44元 for a full lunch.

How to Rock a Neck Tie or Bow Tie

Neck ties and bow ties are often associated with formal events, but you can still rock them for a casual trip to the mall or a get-together with friends. But first, you need to learn the basics of balance, layering, and tying.

Here are tips on how to rick a neck tie or a bow tie for any occasion.

Bow and neck ties are statement pieces. By keeping this in mind, you will remember that using too many other accessories will make you outfit look disorganized. A statement piece means that it is the focal point by which you decide the theme and the elements that go with it. Wear it like you would a necklace.

A balanced look is the key. Like with any statement piece, the background must be less flashy and more basic. That is why if you pick an extravagant neck tie or bow tie with eye-catching colors or designs, your shirt and trousers must have muted colors and patterns. For example, if you’re wearing a brightly-colored neck or bow tie, wear neutral-colored shirts and trousers to avoid looking like a clown.

Know when you can’t wear it. You can wear a neck tie or bow tie at formal events and at the office, but you can pair it with casual outfits as long as it fits the occasion. For example, if you’re going to spend most of the day under the sun, you will look out of place with your bow tie. General rule of thumb: if you can wear a neck tie for that location or event, then you can also wear a bow tie.

Experiment with different fabrics, colors, and patterns. The type of fabric also determines how casual or formal the look can be. More expensive fabrics such as silk and wool are more suited to formal events like weddings, while cotton or linen can be worn casually. Don’t be afraid to try various bow tie shapes and neck tie colors and patterns. There are also some styles that are already pre-tied which are perfect for casual outfits.

Know how to tie them properly. Keep practicing the different ways to tie knots. Some of the most commonly used styles for the neck tie are the classic knot if you’re wearing a spread collar, four in hand if you want a more informal look, and the simple knot for skinny neck ties.

Take note of the length and width. When purchasing a neck tie, make sure to measure the length. You will know that the length is right for you if the tip of the tie ends just about the beltline, not above or below it. There is also a basic rule when it comes to the width of the neck tie. For casual looks or for shirts with narrow collars, always pick narrow ties. If you have a bulkier body, however, pick wider ties and avoid the skinny ones.

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.

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.

Get to Know the Best Things You Can Do for Your Home This Year

The first step to living and relaxing better is making improvements to your home in order to make it a much more suitable place to live both for your practicality and for your tastes, and because nothing you do for your home is a wasted effort, it’s time to go all-out to give your home the sprucing up that it desperately needs.

To start, here are the best things you can do for your home this year:

1. Get that piece of furniture you always wanted
It might be hard to get rid of something that has sentimental value, but if you’re only keeping something because you can’t replace it, then you have every reason to splurge on something that will last you longer.

The same can be said about furniture. If you’re holding onto pieces of furniture at home just because you can’t afford to replace them, now is the time to splurge and finally switch it out for the one piece that you’ve always wanted.

You also don’t need to ditch everything in your living room, either. Even having a single high-quality piece at home, like a sofa or a shelf, everything else will simply fall into place around it.

2. Add more art
People hang things on the wall not just as a sign that they have really moved into a space, but because it makes them happy whenever they look at it – it gives their home a soul and sets it apart from other places, especially their work office.

The way you can make your own home distinct is by adding not just any painting, but a particular painting that speaks to you and moves you every time you look at it.

There’s also no need to go out and buy the expensive stuff from famous artists. Even vintage wall paintings from thrift stores or your photos from your last holiday or vacation can work well for this effect.

3. Share your space with a furry friend
If you’re living alone, one of the things you will miss is sharing the space with your loved ones, and this means that it might get lonely at times.

One remedy for this is that you have the option of having people stay over, or avoid being alone most of the time by moving in with roommates that you know well. Another option is adopting a furry friend.

So while pets aren’t for everyone, you should definitely get one if you are really inclined to love them. However, keep in mind that having pets can be a bit more work, which can take more energy from you especially when you already work full-time.