How Much Water Should You Be Really Drinking?

Drinking water is something you should be doing every day – you wouldn’t last three days without it – but are you really drinking the right amount that your body needs?

You’ll be surprised to know that the actual amount you need to drink daily isn’t exactly eight glasses. In fact, how much water you should drink all depends on your weight, amount of physical activity, and even the climate.

What’s the Actual Amount?
So, if not eight glasses, how much should you be drinking?

Most healthcare professionals agree on the answer given by the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine), a U.S.-based non-profit healthcare organization: about 3.7 liters for adult men, and about 2.7 for adult women.

While this would sound like a lot to drink every day, it only makes sense since water makes up roughly sixty percent of your whole body.

The Hidden Dangers of Over-hydration
Being dehydrated is straightforward and well-understood enough – you can easily catch the symptoms of being dehydrated and just drink a glass of water or two – which is why you are always told to drink more water.

But while it’s just as important that you drink a lot of water, you also need to make sure that you don’t drink too much water.

Also called hyponatremia, over-hydration can lead to water intoxication, and its early symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, can look a lot like those of exhaustion and heatstroke.

Make sure you don’t drink too much water in a short amount of time, or hurry to gulp it down after taking a break from intense physical activity. Instead, take a few moments to stop and catch your breath, and drink more slowly.

Adjusting Your Water Intake
The good news is that you’re more likely to be dehydrated than over-hydrated, which is easier to solve.

If you feel that you’re not drinking enough water, you can adjust your water intake to get more nutrients with the following tips:

• Add fruits and herbs. Not only will they add to the taste, but they also give your water bottle the extra nutrients that you need to get through the day, whether you’re at work or at the gym.

• Eat more hydrating fruits. Fruits that have a high water content, such as apples, watermelon, and even strawberries, can also help to keep you hydrated.

There is also one indicator your body has that tells you to drink more water. Being thirsty is your body’s way of telling you that a certain amount of water in your body has been used up and needs to be replenished.

If you’re having trouble knowing how much you should drink daily, all you need to do is follow your thirst.

Overseas Weekend Getaway Destinations Just Hours Away from Singapore

There are a lot of perks that come with living in Southeast Asia, and one of them is that the sheer number of gorgeous getaway destinations makes it easy to fill up a bucket list of places to go to.

And when the long weekend is right around the corner, there’s even more reason to pack your bags and book a flight for your quick vacation.

Here are five amazing getaway spots that are just four hours away by plane from Singapore:

1. Bintan Island, Indonesia
The many islands of Singapore’s neighbouring country are easily a go-to if you’re looking for the getaway destination to make your long weekend, and Bintan is only close to an hour away by ferry.

Not only is there an abundance of lush, white sands for you to soak up the sun in, but there are also all kinds of eco-tours that you can book, such as the Bintan Mangrove Discovery Night Tour and the Air Adventures Flying Club.

2. Bangkok, Thailand
In The Land of Smiles, you can easily do a year’s worth of shopping in as little as seventy-two hours, and with the sheer number of cafes to grab a quick bite and a cup before heading back to Platinum Mall, there’s no stopping you from filling up your bags to your heart’s content.

Great street food? Busy nightlife? A vibrant hipster culture on the rise? Sounds like a recipe for a great urban getaway!

3. Ipoh, Malaysia
It’s hard to ignore Ipoh if you’re a foodie looking to excite your taste buds with dishes you’ve never tried before, and this lesser-known food capital is in a league of its own when it comes to Malaysian cuisine.

Aside from old hawker stalls and coffee shops serving traditional heritage dishes, you can also find a lot of cafes selling their own different spins on artisanal baked goods.

4. Yangon, Myanmar
It’s easy to see why the country’s commercial and artistic center is now quickly becoming a hotspot for tourist hordes, and why you should book a flight to Yangon before it gets too crowded.

Not only is the local cuisine amazing, but you’ll also find the trifecta of tradition, culture, and history something that’s definitely worth checking out – and that’s not including the Shwedagon Pagoda!

5. Luang Prabang, Laos
Trails of preserved temples, detailed wall carvings, and magnificent natural wonders all await you at the heart of Laoatian culture, and when you get to a place awarded with the UNESCO World Heritage Stamp, you know that it’s the real deal.

And once you’ve seen the temples on your first day, don’t forget to head on over to the Elephant Village Sanctuary to get up close and personal with elephants.

The Basics of Fragrances

Most of us wear perfumes almost everyday, but do you know where the scent comes from and how it was made?

How Fragrances are Made
A lot of fragrances today have synthetic ingredients, but flowers are the most essential on the list. You can liken the importance of flowers in creating fragrances to the importance of grapes in making different types of wine. The species of the flower, season, climate and soil, and the amount used will decide the outcome of the scent. Two of the most important flowers used are rose and jasmine, and there are techniques in harvesting the flowers at the right season and at the right time of the day.

Once the flowers are harvested, the extraction of the oils begins right after the flowers are picked so that they don’t lose the oil. The flowers are placed in trays and immersed in solvent so that floral wax can be obtained. The fatty oils are separated from the essential oils to create an absolute, which is the main ingredient needed to make perfume. Another way to extract oils is through the distillation process, but this method leaves some of the aroma of the flowers.

Not all flowers can produce essential oils, that is why synthetic products are required as replacement for the intended scent. Some fragrances also contain animal products for fixatives so that the scent does not evaporate too quickly once the bottle is opened and to make the scent last longer. Two other important ingredients are water and alcohol, which are used to dilute the ingredients. The ratio of the essential oils to alcohol determines the type of fragrance. It could be parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and eau fraiche.

Types of Fragrances
All scents can be classified into four major families, regardless if it’s a designer or a niche fragrance. Floral notes consist of floral, fruity, soft floral, and floral oriental. Oriental notes are made up of woody oriental, soft oriental, oriental, and woods. Woody notes consist of woods, mossy woods, dry woods, and aromatic. While fresh notes are made up of citrus, water, green, and fruity.

When you spray the fragrance on your skin, it goes through a three-part life cycle. The cycle determines the scent that will come out once the perfume starts to evaporate or interact with your body. The top note lasts for up to 2 hours and has a light smell right after the application. The medium note, sometimes called heart note, is the main scent of the fragrance that lasts for about 5 hours. The base note is a bold scent that you will detect after 5 hours and determines how long the fragrance will last on your skin.

When choosing fragrances, you can pick either from designer fragrances, which are commonly sold in stores and are mass produced, or niche fragrances on the other hand, which are more expensive than designer fragrances and are created by independent artists. The latter are usually made from higher quality ingredients are have bolder scents.

How to Apply First Aid on Fractured Bones

Unlike wounds, administering first aid on broken bones can be complicated and can affect the treatment and healing process. What do you need to remember during this type of emergency and how do you administer first aid on different types of fractures?

Things to Look For
How will you know if it’s a dislocation or fracture? Check the person for any signs of fracture, which can be closed, open, or complicated. It can be difficult sometimes to tell if it’s a fracture, but doctors advise to treat injuries as such. Look for the following signs and symptoms before deciding what kind of first aid treatment is needed: difficulty of movement, pain at the injured area, swelling and tenderness, bruising or discoloration of the injured part, abnormal movement or deformity, and loss of power.

Make sure that the person stays calm and as still as possible, because any sudden movement might aggravate the injury. Tell the person not to move the injured part or to look for the broken bones himself/herself. Control any bleeding in the wounds and make sure that there is no loss of blood circulation in the hands and feet.

First Aid Don’ts
• Don’t reposition or straighten the injured limb when you’re applying the splint or stopping the bleeding. Move the area as gently as possible.
• The splint or bandages must be secure, but should not be too tight to prevent blood circulation.
• Don’t attempt to massage the injured areas or move the parts above and below the broken bone.
• Don’t wash the wounds, if there are any.
• Don’t try to move the injured area if there is no support on the broken bone.
• Don’t give the patient any food or liquid.

First Aid Steps
• The injured person should stay as still as possible while you examine the possibly fractured area. Use your hands to gently feel for swelling, deformities and tenderness, but do not force any examination if touching causes pain.
• If the person is unconscious, start a CPR.
• If the person is conscious, ask questions about the accident and the possible location of the injury, so that when the medical team arrives, treatment is done right away.

• Stop the bleeding, if any, by applying pressure on the wound with a clean cloth without aggravating the injury.
• Use a broad bandage to secure the area above and below the fracture, but the bandage must not be too tight.
• Apply a splint using a long, firm object to immobilize the affected area as gently as possible, then apply cold compress on the swollen parts.
• If the injured feels like he/she is about to faint or has difficulty breathing, let him/her lie down with the head lower than the trunk and elevate the legs if those are not injured.
• Then check for pulse above or below the injured area. If there is no pulse or if the victim claims that there is no sensation in the area, do not attempt to move him/her while waiting for the medics.

5 Ways to Increase Your English Vocabulary

Needless to say, English is indeed the universal language. Regardless of your place of origin, it is a must to learn and speak the language to stay competitive globally. The world is changing, not only in languages, trading and economics. There are new words in the dictionary that were originally slang but are now accepted in the dictionary.

Here are five tips to increase your vocabulary and to keep up with conversations with people from all over the world:

1. Be a Bookworm
No matter how busy you seem to be, it won’t hurt to squeeze in a good read. Most people find reading relaxing and this might even do well for your vocabulary growth. Whether you’re in line waiting for your turn to pay or in the few minutes before a meeting starts, it may be a productive form of leisure and entertainment good for your comprehension and vocabulary.

2. Keep a Handy Dictionary
If by chance in your reading you encounter a new word, it’s best to keep a handy dictionary. Most phones cater to a dictionary app, so it’s convenient for us who live in this day and age. You can check as soon as possible any foreign word you may encounter, as well as its pronunciation.

3. Keep a Diary
Writing in a diary or a journal relieves you of anxieties, keeps tracks of your activities and schedules as well as makes records of people, places and events in your life. With this, you can play with words, chance to express your predicaments and make statements that would emphasize how you felt during said events or activities. Not to mention improving your choice of words as well.

4. Use a new word a day
With each new word you come to learn each day, try to look for chances where you can correctly and appropriately use such word. You may write emails to far distanced friends even for people at work as long as it’s appropriate. As they say, write as you would say it. So use big words sparingly.

5. Be Sociable
Talk to people. Both introverts and extroverts can use some handy new words. Whether you’re conversing on a variety of topics such as current events, economy, academe, politics and the others, you’ll find your vocabulary fully utilized as you go about in your socialization. Not only did you gain more connections in your network, you also exercised our valuable universal language.

No matter what profession we may be in, the medium with which we communicate plays a vital role in its success. A small breach in the communication process can be costly if not detrimental. How we relay the message is just as important as the message itself.

Lunch Box Ideas for Office Workers

We are often told that we have to be thankful if we have three square meals a day, for seven days a week. Yes, we are already grateful as it is, but you also have to relish every meal, with as much gusto every dish actually deserves. However if you have chicken sandwich every day straight for a week, the next time the clock ticks twelve you’re like Cinderella running the other direction as far away from your chicken sandwich laden lunch box.

Here are five lunch box ideas for every employee who deserves more than just the same menu every day:

1. Avocado Shrimp Salad
Not only is this recipe pleasing to the eyes with all the vibrant colors it radiates, it also is a healthy go-to dish for employees looking forward to a long day at work. To prepare, place red onion, celery salt, salt and pepper, lime juice and olive oil in a mixing bowl.

Let the onions stay for at least five minutes, and ten minutes at tops. Prepare ahead chopped shrimp, cucumbers, cilantro, tomato and avocado. Mix together with dressing and make sure to gently toss your salad contents for even flavor. Let your salad cool for 30 minutes in the fridge and voila it’s ready for packing.

2. Mixed Green Salad with Cilantro Dressing
The key to this salad is nailing that distinct flavor of the dressing. Just mix in your light mayo, Greek yogurt, milk, olive oil, lime juice, roughly chopped chives, chopped cilantro, salt, pepper and garlic. A blender easily gives you a smooth and creamy touch to your dressing, so just keep mixing until you reach that texture. You can store this up to two weeks in your fridge.

3. Stuffed bagel sandwiches
Gone are plain bagels we’ve always been accustomed to; bagel sandwiches are the next trend. You will need 1 large bagel, just large enough that you could slice the bagel in half (top from bottom). Remove an ample amount of breading so you can free up space for your stuffing. Mix your whip cream cheese, diced salami, dill relish, diced carrots, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place your stuffing in between the halves.

4. Pizza Dip
Place oregano, cream cheese, parsley, basil, onion powder, shredded cheese, minced garlic cloves, pizza sauce and pepperoni pieces in a Crockpot. Blend in the ingredients. Keep the fire on high until the dip is cooked. Once melted, keep the fire low before serving. This dip is perfect for light lunches in the office, coupled with tortillas or any chip of your choice.

These are only a few suggestions to break the monotony of your everyday usual lunch. So before savoring in your morning route to work, make sure to pack your lunch that’s sure to energize you and keep you healthy.

Some Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Photography for Beginners

Wedding photography is perhaps one of the toughest assignments that you can get as an amateur photographer. And with the toughest assignments come the many pitfalls and perils that most beginners fall into. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts to get you started:

Do’s:
Keep calm. While you have to keep up with the wedding day’s really fast pace, it’s important to stay level-headed, especially since communicating with the groom’s and bride’s families can be stressful. You can’t take good pictures when you’re having a breakdown on the big day.

Get pictures of everyone. No, you don’t have to go out of your way to get individual portraits of every single wedding guest, but you have to have at least one picture where everyone is in it. You might want a ladder or a place with a high vantage point for this.

Watch out for the little things. Little displays of affection, like a parent holding a child’s hand, can go a long way. Everybody loves a good unexpected photo.

Shoot from different perspectives. You should already know by now that eye level is boring – that’s the camera equivalent of shooting from the hip. Instead, why not literally shoot from the hip level?

Keep the family photos stress-free. Let the couple know how the photos will go, or better yet, ask them how they want the photos to go. If everyone knows what’s going on, the whole process of taking family photos will be much less stressful.

Don’ts:
Don’t nap. This is perhaps the worst thing you can do as a wedding photographer. However, you should seize the moment to relax a little whenever the opportunity presents itself, such as when the food is being served (no one wants to see a picture of them stuffing their face during the reception). A little breather goes a long way for your photos.

Don’t miss out on the food, either. After all, how could you miss up an opportunity to take some rare photos of the delicious catering? Just be sure to take pictures of the food before the guests actually start eating.

Don’t shoot with a messy background. Crowded and cluttered backgrounds are a big no-no in wedding photography. Unless you’re going for an effect, keep your shots of the bride and groom to a clean, simple backdrop to bring out the best in your pictures.

Don’t work alone. If you’re new (and especially if you’re new!), working alone can take its toll on you both physically and mentally. You might want to bring along a back-up photographer, preferably a friend with some experience in wedding photography, to switch around with you and help share the load. More cameras mean more chances of good shots taken.

Don’t rush. By running around too much, there’s a chance that you’ll missing some good shots. There’s no point in taking a million photos if only two or three of them are worth keeping.

A Quick Beginner’s Guide to Wedding Photography

Chances are, if you have a DSLR camera, it’s only a matter of time until your relatives start asking you to photograph their wedding, so be sure to follow this guide and you’ll be well on your way to taking some great photographs to make any wedding memorable.

1. Be honest with the couple about your experience and capabilities
Shooting a wedding is delicate work and is perhaps one of the toughest assignments for a photographer. Ideally, you should have two decent cameras, a handful of lenses to choose from, and a couple of flashguns, as well as the absolute confidence that you know about your equipment both inside and out.

A safer option is to take on the duty of the secondary photographer. Be sure to study the expert/s closely and take shots from different angles, as well as some background shots here and there. Not only will you get paid, but you’ll also gain valuable experience from it.

2. Make a “Shot List” and stick to it
Get the couple to think ahead about the shots that they want you to take the next day so you can compile a list that they can check off once the ceremony and reception are over. Be sure to review this list and keep it in mind to make sure everyone is included in the pictures.

3. Eyes on the bride
One of the most important highlights of the wedding will always be the bride’s wedding gown, so be sure to use an exposure that allows you to get consistent details and avoid turning the bride into a uniform white mass.

This is where digital cameras have an edge over traditional film cameras (fortunately, you have the former), which means you can use auto-exposure breaking facility or adjust the histogram view to take a series of shots and choose the one with the right exposure.

4. Prepare for anything (and everything)
Anything can go wrong at any time in any place, so be sure to always have a backup plan. Scout the location. Look at the weather forecast. Charge your batteries (yes, always have more than one!). Think routes and the time it takes to get from one place to another. And more importantly, ask for the wedding itinerary.

It’s also a good idea to attend rehearsals so you’ll know in advance about things such as lighting, possible angles, and the order of the ceremony.

The Different Types of Coffee Beans, Roasts, and How to Store Them

Before the beans end up as that familiar drink that you enjoy, they start off as berries on plants grown in different altitudes, soil acidity, and climates, depending on their variety. The berries don’t mature at the same time and are picked by hand.

Once the berries are harvested, they are often left to dry under the sun and raked regularly to prevent mold and mildew. Machines are then used to remove the beans’ husks before the beans are sent to another machine to remove any remaining skin.

Once only the beans remain, they are sorted and graded by size and weight before checked for imperfections. The beans that pass inspection are then marked and exported.

Common Coffee Bean Varieties
Though there are many different varieties grown all over the world, the two most common varieties that make up most of international demand in both industries and businesses are the following:

• Arabica – Sometimes called “gourmet coffee,” Arabica contains half the amount of caffeine found in Robusta and has a more pronounced flavor and aroma. Its name differs depending on the region it is grown.

• Robusta – Typically grown at elevations lower than those required by Arabica, Robusta earned its name for being less demanding when it comes to growing and maintaining, and has a higher amount of caffeine than the former.

While Arabica is used for more high-end consumption, it is the most common type of coffee sold all over the world, while Robusta is often used in instant coffee packets because of its relatively high caffeine content.

Types of Coffee Roasts
Before a bean is ground into powder and mixed with hot water to yield the caffeine boost everyone needs, it needs to be roasted with dry heat and constant airing. There are at least three major categories when it comes to roasts, varying in color from golden brown to almost black:

• Light – The original flavor of the bean is allowed to shine through when it is lightly roasted, thus giving it the lightest and most delicate flavor with the downside of being more acidic.
• Medium – While light roasts will appear more dry, medium-roasted beans will appear more chocolate brown in terms of appearance, and is characterized by a slightly sweeter flavor with much less acidity.
• Dark – When beans are roasted until their internal sugars start to caramelize and their oils appear to surface, the result is a flavor that is really strong, smoky, and in some cases, even spicy.

Storing Coffee
Aside from roasting, storage also has an impact on the flavor of coffee beans and the cup as a whole. Many external factors can destroy the bean’s flavor, such as oxygen, heat, and even light and moisture. This is why the ideal storage condition for beans is a cool, dry environment away from light and preferably airtight, as coffee can oxidize easily.