Items for Your New Canine Companion

Getting a new puppy or planning to adopt a rescued dog? Here are items – aside from food, water and love – that you’ll need for the newest family member.

Food Bowl. You’ll be surprised at the variety of dog bowls available besides ceramic and stainless steel. There’s a bowl for avoiding spills, interactive dog feeders that have mazes which require the pet to push the treat to an exit, raised bowls for old dogs with joint problems, and slow feed bowl for dogs (it has lumps in the center) prone to bloating. Automatic feeders are also great but be careful of overeating.

Water Bowl. There are bowls with filters or fountains for dogs who like moving water. The most common are made of ceramic, stainless steel or plastic. Some bowls have rubbers at the bottom to keep them in place. Collapsible dog bowls are great for outdoors.

Collar and Leash. The first technique to training your dog to walk with a leash is to let it get used to wearing a collar. Don’t forget to place an identification card on the collar. Slip and pack leader collars are good for training while a harness is good for dogs with breathing problems or as a tool for pulling during exercise.

Grooming and Cleaning Supplies. Grooming items should include dog shampoo, towel, comb or brush, nail clippers, dental cleaning products (soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs), and ear and eye drops. Also keep cleaning supplies like poop scoop and bags for when you’re going out with your dog.

Toys, Chews and Treats. Puppies especially need these when they’re teething, and even older dogs need to exercise their jaws. Chews and toys are good distractions for hyperactive or anxious pets.

Dog Bed. Dogs need their own space for sleeping. Consider the size of the dog and the thickness of the fur when choosing a bed. Cot style beds are for warmer temperatures. Older dogs or those with arthritis need beds with supports and memory foam. Some are made with waterproof or odor-free materials, but avoid beds with fillers if your dog has allergies.

Safety Gates and Exercise Pen. Safety gates or baby gates are great for keeping energetic pets from destroying parts of your home. If you have small kids, you can use the gates to keep pets out of their bedroom. Exercise pens are ideal for smaller dog breeds.

Crate or Travel Harness. The crate takes advantage of the dog’s natural denning instinct, but it shouldn’t be used as a form of punishment or a containment for long periods. Puppies can’t be kept for more than four hours. Crates are a good substitute for dog beds and can be used for traveling. A travel harness in your car works like a seatbelt, but is designed to give dogs a bit more room to move their legs. Bigger dog breeds however will need a larger area, perhaps at the back of your car.

5 Vocal Exercises That You Can Do at Home

Working on your vocal training exercises is one of the best ways that you can do to improve your singing technique and tone. These exercises usually range from vocal warm-ups to simple and advanced drills, which can help in fine-tuning your sound, promoting good health for your vocal chords, and in improving your projection and enunciation as well. Luckily, you no longer need to attend a music school in Singapore just to perform these exercises. Most of these exercises can already be performed even just at the comforts of your home and still give you a healthy and strong sounding voice, and some of these exercises are as follows.

1. Humming. The best way to kick-off your vocal lessons is to start it by warming up your voice for 10 to 20 minutes. Then, sing your warm-up exercise softly then gradually increase the volume of your voice. After that, gradually increase your scales until you’re humming – singing each note with your teeth open, but your lips closed. Feel free to perform this exercise any way you want, and incorporate this routine in your singing lessons to help in warming up your entire voice.

2. Sirens. Another good at-home vocal training exercise is to perform sirens. Start this routine by singing a low pitch then gradually increasing it until you’re at a fairly high pitch. After that, return to a lower pitch and increase it to a higher pitch again until you feel that you’re using your entire voice range. Take some deep, quick breaths and only breathe when necessary using all your breath before you take another one. Start performing sirens at a rather quiet pitch, but try to do it louder as your voice starts to warm up. Play with speed in performing it, but do it as slow as possible at the start.

3. Yawn Exercises. One good exercise that you can incorporate in your vocal lessons to improve your vowel articulation when singing is yawn exercises. Start this exercise by yawning and making an “ah” sound as you exhale after each yawn. Hold the “ah” sound that you produced and keep it steady for as long as possible. You can start quiet at first, but continue performing the “ah” sound at a louder and increased dynamic. Repeat this routine using different sounds, such as “ee,” “oo,” “eh,” “oh,” “uh,” and “ay”. Once you’re done performing the yawning sounds, transition your routine into a hum and turn it into an “ah” sound. They even teach these at a best vocal teaching school in Singapore. Hold your hum as long as possible, keep it steady and play with your dynamics. Repeat doing this exercise using other vowel sounds.

4. Lip Buzz. This is one of the simplest exercise that you can include in your singing lessons to get your voice warmed up. Start this exercise by simply vibrating your lips together, but without the pitch first. While it may take some time to get used to it, this exercise will help in building up your stamina and breathe support for singing. Once you’ve already gotten used to it, add some pitch to your lip buss and hold it for three to five seconds. You can do your pitch lower, higher or any scale you’re comfortable to practice with. While doing this exercise, you should feel some tickling sensation on the area of your nose, forehead and cheeks. If you didn’t feel any sensation at all, do the exercise all over again and a bit harder this time.

5. Tongue Twisters. If you’re looking into improving your vocal control and enunciation, then practicing tongue twisters is the exercise that you should include in your vocal lessons Singapore. Start your tongue twister routine slow at first, clearly articulating each consonant and vowel sound. Repeat it out loud about five times, while increasing your speed on each try. The following tongue twister is great one to use for your vocal warm-ups: “A proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee pot.” Practice on similar tongue twisters to warm-up your voice since it involves most of the sounds.

Performing vocal exercises is important if you’re planning to improve your singing skills. So, incorporate any of the aforementioned vocal exercises in your singing lessons Singapore to improve not just your singing skills, but your vocal health as well.

The Best Visual Novels for Beginners

Visual novels are interactive video games that borrow elements from comics and stop motion animation. These games rely heavily on text and the outcome is affected by the choices you make. It’s complete with voice acting, background music, and sound effects. It’s not unusual for a visual novel to have more than two resolutions to the stories called routes. You interact with other characters and participate in creating the story by choosing among the possible paths.

Visual novels can easily take up hours of gameplay and more especially if you want to unlock all the possible endings. The following games are good entry points into the genre.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

The player controls the character Makoto Naegi. He and several others are trapped in a string of killings at Peak Academy with the other students. The player has to investigate the events to find the killer.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Rookie defense lawyer Phoenix Wright has to defend his clients accused of crimes. He has to beat the prosecution lawyer Miles Edgeworth. The player has to win a total of five different cases.

Steins;Gate

Love time travel? The game features the students who developed new technology so that they can change the past. The characters attempt to change the future by making multiple trips. The player will take on the role of the mad Rintarou Okabe.

Katawa Shoujo

The game tells the story of five disabled characters. The player takes on the role of Hisao Nakai. The player will help Hisao to try to cope with his condition as he meets the students of Yamaku High School for the disabled.

Rewrite

Kotarou Tennouji has powers and he uses this to unlock the mystery behind his five supernatural schoolmates. His meddling placed him in the middle of a fight between summoners and their familiars.

Kara no Shoujo
In the game, the player controls Reiji who investigates a string of mysterious crimes that the police cannot solve. He has to make sense of all the evidences he has collected in the crime scenes.

Umineko no Naru Koro ni

Eighteen people trapped in a remote island try to survive for two days by avoiding the mysterious murderer. The player has to figure out who is the culprit and if it’s even human at all.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
Part of the Zero Escape series, this game features student Junpei who was taken by unknown people and then forced to play against eight other individuals. The Nonary Game placed the participants in a sinking ship where they have to complete puzzles to survive.

The Best Mini Games in Video Games

Oftentimes, it’s not the main story mode that makes a game addictive. It’s those side quests and mini games that come with the package. These pleasant distractions could take hours of your playing time if you’re tired of chasing villains or when you’re stuck with a boss fight.

Here are the 9 best mini games in video games.

Blitzball in Final Fantasy X

This mini game is introduced when you reach Luca. You can play the game by accessing the save sphere. Blitzball is a combination of like basketball and soccer. The attributes of each player will determine if you can successfully pass, shoot, and block.

Desmond’s Journey in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

You can access this mini game on Animus Island and by collecting at least 5 animus fragments to enter the first pillar. It is divided into 5 levels where Desmond Miles has to go through rooms by manipulating blocks. It’s like a big puzzle game.

Liar’s Dice in Red Dead Redemption

One of the gambling activities in Red Dead Redemption is Liar’s Dice. This can be accessed after you complete the “Man is Born Unto Trouble” mission. The goal is to best other players using a cup and 5 six-sided dice. To start the game, all the participants will choose who should bid first.

Pipe Hacking in BioShock

You can interact with machines found in the game to open locks and safes or hack security devices. To complete the hacking, you have to clear a mini-game involving pipes. You can also buy out or use auto-hack if you don’t wanna play, but where’s the fun in that?

Fishing in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

This mini game is accessed at the hut near a fishing pond in Lake Hylia. You have to rent a fishing rod to start catching. There are rewards waiting for the best catcher.

Gwent in The Witcher III

This card game can stand on its own. To begin, you will be given 37 cards in your inventory. There are four deck types available. Each three-round game begins with a coin flip and 10 random cards.

Space Harrier in Shenmue

Space Harrier is one of the several mini games in Shenmue. The mini arcade game lets you control Harrier in a 3D shooter setting. Use Harrier’s cannon to defeat other creatures and avoid obstacles at the same time. Each level is complete with a boss fight.

QUB3D in GTA 4

This arcade mini game can be accessed in 4 locations throughout Liberty City. The goal is to move blocks to form a group of four or more blocks. The blocks will move faster as you progress through higher levels.

Nine and Six Men’s Morris in Assassin’s Creed 3

These board games are slightly more difficult than Checkers and Fanorona, both found in the game too. The objective is to remove your opponent’s pieces by forming a column or row of 3 of your own pieces.

Weight Loss Guide Using Aloe Vera

We all know that aloe vera works wonders in treating cuts and wounds, but did you know that the said miracle plant could also be an effective tool for weight loss? People looking for quick weight loss remedies often turn to herbal products such as those with aloe extract. Although it’s often bitter in taste, using aloe vera is an all-natural weight loss option that you can easily try even at home.

How Aloe vera Works on Weight Loss

If you want to look slim and stay in shape, then aloe vera can do miracles for you. Aloe vera gel Singapore and juice works as a natural antioxidant, and therefore hinders the growth of free radicals in the body. Listed below are the ways on how aloe vera aids in weight loss.

    Laxative Effect – Aloe vera aids in weight loss with its laxative effect. Consuming aloe vera regularly treats constipation and keeps the stomach healthy. However, you should first consult a health expert before taking this miracle plant since it can result to inflammation if consumed in large quantities. Also, long-term use of laxatives to lose weight could interfere with your bowel function and cause dependence on laxatives in order to have bowel movements.

    Increased Metabolism – As per the reports of Singapore health experts, drinking aloe vera juice increases one’s metabolism. Consuming it regularly aids in achieving higher metabolism rate, thereby contributing to weight loss.

    Detoxification – Aside from losing weight, taking aloe vera gel from Singapore or juice also helps in detoxifying the body. The aloe extract positively affects the digestive system and cleanses the body, which in turn results to weight loss.

Aloe Vera Extract and Body Fat

An animal study conducted by researchers and health experts showed a potential for the plant sterols found in aloe vera to enhance body composition. The study showed obese rats that were injected with sterols had lower abdominal fat levels after 35 days compared to those who were not given plant sterols. Scientists believed that this effect may also occur in people.

A preliminary research conducted last September 2013 then found that people with diabetes who took aloe vera gel Singapore complex for eight weeks lost more body fat and weight than those who were not given the supplement. However, larger long-term studies are still needed to verify these results.

Aloe Vera Weight Loss Benefits

    Increases Energy. Aloe vera is a great drink and supplement to take every morning as it cleanses the digestive system and gives infinite amounts of energy to the body. Its collagen and protein content is what makes the body work harder to burn fats, thus making it a great muscle development and weight loss solution. This is what also makes aloe vera juice an excellent pre-workout beverage to help you keep going all day long.

    Better Weight Management. Since aloe vera is known to help decrease blood sugar levels, it helps sugar in slowly entering the cells without being stored as fat. Other than that, the miracle plant also aids in keeping your blood sugar level balanced, thereby keeping you fuller longer.

    Promotes Weight Loss. Aloe vera is loaded with B vitamins that support the metabolism and supress appetite and fat storage. With the amount of energy the miracle plant gives our body, some Singapore health experts believe that simply ingesting it is equivalent to doing a number of workouts each week.

    Cleanses the Body. The gel found in the plant is known as a natural laxative that allows the body to use lesser energy from food since it’s quickly eliminated. By preventing build-ups in colon and expelling waste, you’re able to prevent potential weight gain.

    Fills Body with Nutrients. When you’re in a diet, it’s quite easy to not receive all the vitamins your body needs. By drinking or ingesting aloe vera, however, you’ll be feeding your system with niacin, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B6 and B12. Of course, you can’t forget the energy it gives to help you burn those fats away.

Potential Side Effects

Aloe vera is often termed as a miracle plant, as it helps our body in various ways. However, the said miracle plant also has its fair share of side effects and some of it are as follows:

    • Increased aloe vera juice or gel intake could result to dehydration, stomach cramps, and even diarrhoea.
    • If you have a low blood pressure, it’s best to avoid or stop consuming the plant’s extract as it further brings down the blood pressure.
    • Kids, pregnant women, and breastfeeding moms should also avoid consuming aloe vera juice and gel.
    • Itching, rashes and allergic reaction can also be experienced after consuming aloe vera
    People who are allergic to garlic, onions and tulip may also experience allergic reactions when drinking or taking aloe vera juice and gel.

Other Contraindications and Risks

While aloe vera helps in losing weight, some reports show that long-term use of oral aloe results to hepatitis or increases one’s cancer risk. Aloe juice and gel might also interact with other medications and increase bleeding risk during surgery. Other than that, ingesting the plant’s extract is also believed to cause thyroid problems. Because of these potential risks, health experts recommend avoiding oral aloe vera most especially for pregnant women.

Drinking aloe vera juice, or taking its gel form, is an effective weight loss option. However, you should first consult your doctor to know if there any recommended dosages, or if taking the said miracle plant poses any threat on your health.

Squeaky Clean: How to Keep Sneakers in Tiptop Shape

 

Even the most careful of us still get stains on those sneakers. Keeping them clean is part of your overall look. Dirty sneakers could ruin your outfit. If cleaning your sneakers seem like a load of work or you don’t have enough time, there are shoe cleaning shops all over Singapore. For those who prefer to hand wash their sneakers, here’s a step by step guide on how to remove those stains and dirt.

  1. Follow instructions as indicated. Check instructions on how to clean your shoes. It is not recommended to machine wash your sneakers unless indicated by the label. Hand-washing your sneakers is your safest bet. Take note of what chemicals, especially soaps, you should avoid. Some sneakers are made from rubber, leather or canvas. Each of these materials can be cleaned in different ways.

 

  1. Gather the materials for cleaning. To hand-wash your sneakers you will need water, brush, rags, paper towels, detergent or soap, and a basin or bucket. You might need a leather cream for leather sneakers. Check the market for soaps or detergents designed for cleaning sneakers. Make sure to keep in mind the material your sneakers are made of

 

  1. Remove the shoelaces and insoles. The shoelaces and insoles can be cleaned separately. The most recommended is to use warm water, soap and soft brush to scrub the dirt off. There are different opinions on what soap to use. Just avoid using bleach and use mild detergent instead. You can machine wash the shoelaces as long as you separate the white from colored shoelaces.

  1. Remove dirt and stains with brush. Mix mild soap with water. You may use an old toothbrush, sponge, soft-bristled brush or cloth to scrub off the dirt on the surface of your sneakers. A circular motion of the brush is recommended. Apply more pressure for stains that are hard to remove. Clean the insides of the sneakers using the same method.

 

  1. Rinse with clean water then air dry. Rinse your sneakers thoroughly by taking care to remove excess water or moisture. Do not place your sneakers in the dryer. Open out the sneakers to let the insides dry faster, but don’t place them under the direct heat of the sun. To help keep their shape, some people recommend stuffing paper towels inside. This will also help in drying them faster. Shoelaces and insoles should also be air-dried.

 

  1. Replace shoelaces and insoles when dry. Make sure that everything is dry before replacing the shoelaces and insoles. It usually takes a day or more for your sneakers to dry. If not dried properly, your sneakers will leave a bad odor. There are touch-ups you can do if there are still stains visible on your sneakers, especially white sneakers.

 

  1. Apply cream on leather sneakers. If your sneakers are mostly made of leather, use leather cream to polish them. Make sure you’re using the right cream color that matches the material. Use cloth to polish the leather in a circular motion. If your sneakers are made of suede, there are also products specifically made for cleaning the fabric.