How to Take Care of Your DSLR Camera in 5 Easy Steps

The most important thing you can do with your camera is to make it last as long as you can. It may be easy to learn how to start taking amazing pictures, but not everyone can keep their camera working through proper care and maintenance.

To get the most out of your DSLR camera – and to keep it working for a long time – be sure to follow these steps:

1. Turn it off before doing anything to it.
Whether you want to swap lenses, change memory cards, or even attach or disconnect cables, switch off your camera first!

Not only is it useful for conserving batteries, but it also minimizes the risk of you accidentally ruining its circuits and lenses when you open it up.

So while it seems simple enough, it’s easy to forget when you’re really busy or accidentally stumble onto a perfect scene that you need to capture. Getting into the habit of turning your camera off will help you remember early on.

2. Invest in a cleaning kit!
DSLR cameras are expensive, but what’s more expensive is having to buy another camera because you didn’t take care of the first one properly. You can avoid this by investing in a quality cleaning kit that includes microfiber clothes, liquid solutions, and brushes.

You should also be especially careful around the LCD screen and camera lens when cleaning, since you want to avoid scratching them at all costs.

3. Don’t keep the batteries in for too long.
Old camera batteries used to leak acid. Today, this is no longer the case, but can still be corrosive to your DSLR’s circuits especially when they’re empty.

To avoid this when you plan on shelving your camera for a long time, it’s best to take out the batteries when you’re not using them. This minimizes acid leaks and keeps your batteries’ shelf life for longer.

4. Camera bags are essential.
Most people tend to stuff cameras in backpacks, suitcases, and fanny packs, but these actually make them more prone to damage since they bounce around a lot.

Cameras also scratch easily and are magnets for dust and lint, which is why there are special bags for them that address these problems. When you’re not using your DSLR, it’s best to keep it in the camera bag.

5. Take care of your memory card.
Your memory card is just as important as your camera – without them, you won’t be able to enjoy taking great photos and capturing beautiful memories.

Not only should you keep it dust-free at all times by placing it in a protective case, but you should also only remove them indoors and store them in cool places away from any magnets and electronics such as speakers and monitors.

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.

How to Restore Old Wooden Furniture in 5 Easy Steps

While it’s true that a build-up of dirt and grime can make furniture lose their former appearance over time, you can still save them with the right tools and materials.

Here’s how you can do it:

1. Observe proper safety!
Thick gloves, a dust mask, and a work apron (along with long sleeves and proper protective eyewear) will be your best friends for all things related to woodworking, especially since you’re using varnish that will produce noxious fumes.

You should also do this in a place with good ventilation. If you can, re-finish all pieces of old furniture outside so that the fumes will disperse instead of lingering in your home.

2. Know the type of finish used for the furniture.
The next step to restoring old furniture is knowing what kind of finish was used for it.

While natural finishes, such as varnish or lacquer, are hard to identify with sight alone, you can usually get a good idea on what it is by applying a small amount of denatured alcohol to a small area.

If it comes off, the coating is shellac. If it takes lacquer thinner, the finish is probably lacquer. If neither of these work, there’s a good chance you’re looking at a varnish.

3. Clean and re-amalgam.
After identifying the type of finish used, it’s time to start cleaning and re-amalgamating.

Scrub wood, rattan, and wicker surfaces with an oil-based wood cleaner to get through any dirt and wax on the surface, which should bring back some of the finish’s original luster. If this doesn’t work, use a solution of warm water and liquid detergent.

Because finishes can develop scratches over the years (which dulls wood surfaces), you need to re-amalgam them using a solvent to even out the imperfections. Next, buff it with steel wool along the wood grain.
Keep in mind that re-amalgamation only works for shellac or lacquer finishes and not varnish.

4. Strip off the old finish.
Strip away old finish by using a stripping formula – the more layers, the tougher the formula you will need – and applying it from top to bottom. Wait for twenty minutes before scraping with a scraping tool.

Switch to a liquid stripping formula for the last bit, and use a steel wool for carvings and corners.

5. Apply a new finishing coat.
Before proceeding to the last step, it’s important to make the much-needed repairs, such as filling in cracks or fixing any broken areas in the upholstery. But if there are no needed repairs to make, you can proceed to the re-finishing.

Do this by sanding the piece first with a rough grit sandpaper. Clean up any remaining dust on the surface before applying your finish with a natural-bristle brush, and then leave overnight before sanding it down again with finer-grit sandpaper.

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

The Frequent Traveler’s Guide to Electric Razors

Every man who is a regular traveler or is constantly on-the-go can certainly use one of these because of the convenience they provide. They can last for as many uses as possible, and can be used even without shaving cream or a bathroom sink and mirror.

Electric razors have a few advantages over traditional blade razors, the first one being that they are much easier and safer to use. Another reason why these razors are great is because they can be used almost anywhere as long as the batteries are charged or as long as there is an electrical outlet.

Trimming is also an advantage that electric razors have that traditional razors don’t – if you’re simply looking to trim your facial hair instead of shaving it entirely, an electric razor allows you to do this with ease.

Types of Electric Razors
There are at least two types of electric razors – foil and rotary. There are a few notable differences about them that you should keep in mind when choosing between the two.

• Rotary Shaver – They are best used if your facial skin is regular or tough. For instance, if you’re already a bit older or have been shaving for a while, rotary shavers should suit you just fine. They are also good for reaching areas such as your chin or neck, which can often be difficult.

Essentially, they are ideal for men with thick or long facial hair and don’t plan on shaving every day.

• Foil – Foil shavers are what give you a close shave, which makes it ideal for men who need that clean-shaven appearance in the office setting every day.

Foil electric razors should also be a must-have if your skin is sensitive and you have finer hair. This is because they are designed with a thinner layer of metal that covers the actual blades themselves, which results in a gentle shave.

How to Use Them
Using electric razors can be really easy and can actually give you a closer shave than you would using a regular cartridge or disposable razor – all you need is to plug it in or insert the necessary batteries, and you’re good to start shaving.

Washing your face before using the razor may not be necessary, but it does help to smoothen your facial hair and your beard, which in turn helps to give you a closer, cleaner, and smoother shave. Depending on where your facial hair is growing, you may have to shave along or against the grain.

Once you’re done, clean your electric razor regularly (though you may need to remove the batteries or unplug the razor before running water through the blades to get the hairs out) and keep the metal pieces between the cutter and the screen lubricated.

How to Keep Your Straight Razor Sharp in 4 Easy Steps

Using a straight razor is equally as daring as it is rewarding, and keeping it sharp not only keeps it safe (as dull blades can often result in a more dangerous and painful shave for your face), but it also ensures that it will last you for a long time.

To keep your straight razor in its peak condition, all you need to do is follow these simple steps:

Step 1. Invest in a quality razor. This is the first step to making sure that your razor will last you a long time. Flimsy blades that aren’t made well are likely to have burrs after a few shaves that may end up injuring you if you’re not careful.

Step 2. Dry the razor after each use. Even carbon steel will eventually rust when left over time, and this process can be made faster when exposed to water. Be sure to dry the razor with a clean cloth after use before folding it back on itself.

Step 3. Remember to strop your blade. While you don’t have to strop your blade every time you shave, it does help to keep the edge sharp and safe to use. The strop often has two sides: a leather side and a canvas side, and is used to help smooth out the edges and keep the shaving process comfortable.

Step 4. Hone your blade. You can choose to invest in a quality four-thousand/eight-thousand grit whetstone from your nearest hardware store. Ceramic stones are also a viable way to hone your blade and keep the edge from developing burrs that could be damaging on the next shave.

Parts of a Straight Razor
There are two main parts to a straight razor that you should keep in mind: the blade and the handle. They are connected to each other by a pivot pin.

The blade itself is composed of the following parts: head, point, edge, back, shoulder, heel, shank, tang, and tail/toe. All these define how the blade should be held in your hand that you can adjust your grip on.

Types of Straight Razor Points
Blades are categorized according to point, type, or nose, such as the following:

• Square – Used for precise shaving in small areas
• Round – The point profile is semicircular; more forgiving and is recommended for new users
• French point – The point profile resembles a quarter circle but ends in a point with a sharp angled curve, and is often used to help shave spots
• Spanish point – The point profile has a rounded tip that is connected to its spine via a concave arch
• Barber’s notch – Similar to the Spanish point, but has a larger rounded tip and a smaller concave arch

5 Things You Should Clean Once a Week at Home

Perhaps, you already knew what you should clean everyday at home. Fortunately, there are a few things that require less of your attention. Here are seven things you can do on a weekly basis when it comes to keeping your home clean.

Kitchen Appliances
Your fridge, stove and other kitchen appliances may not look obviously dirty, but it’s likely covered in things that aren’t very visible from a distance. Your microwave and stove are likely covered in food bits and fingerprints that may slowly build up into grime if not regularly cleaned. To avoid that annoying build up, wipe them clean with disinfectant wipes or a clean sponge at least once a week.

Laundry
Yes, we know. It is everybody’s least favourite household chore—but it needs to get done. To make the chore easier (and faster!), get the family to pitch in. Keep separate baskets for light light-colored and dark-colored clothing, and ask everyone to place their laundry in the appropriate bins every time. That way, one step is already off the list before you even actually start tackling them.

Shower and Tub
These constantly warm and wet places are breeding grounds for scum and mildew when not cleaned regularly. So, make sure to make some time every week to help your shower and tub resist stains. After washing, we recommend running a squeegee over the surfaces to keep it dry while it’s not yet in use.

Bathroom Surfaces
This includes the counters, mirrors and the sink. Why? Let’s just say, all thanks to your toilet, your bathroom is constantly nasty. If you leave your toilet lid up, germs and bacteria can spray up to six feet every time you flush the toilet. So, keep the toilet lid down after every use, then clean and disinfect surfaces at least once a week to keep your bathroom sanitary.

Dusty Furniture
Dust build-up does not only look bad, it can also be potentially damaging to your furniture. Dust can cause fine scratches to surfaces if something rubs against it. When cleaning, do not just use dry cloth since it only moves the dust around. Use a furniture polish, spray cleaner or water to dampen your duster or cloth.

Whether you choose to tackle all these things on a Sunday or assign one for each day of the week, these chores are totally manageable for you and your family.