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.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Different Types and Varieties of Chocolate and What They’re for

Everybody loves chocolate, and ever since we have learned to use it by itself or as a food ingredient, it’s become one of the most loved all over the world, with millions of people consuming it daily.

However, there’s a catch. Chocolate may be one of the most familiar foods all over the world and one of the most common ingredients in different dishes and pastries, but the word itself could mean many different things.

Whether you’re looking to include chocolate as an ingredient in your pastries or you’re a starting aficionado, there are many different types and varieties that you need to keep in mind. Here are a few to get you started:

Cocoa Powder
This versatile ingredient used in pastries, dishes, and even as a drink on its own, is the ground-up version of chocolate liquor with a reduced fat content. Natural powder appears lighter and slightly acidic, while dark cocoa powder tends to be more alkaline and tastes milder.

When it comes to recipes that need baking powder, dark powder is usually preferred over natural because of the relative lack of acid content.

Unsweetened
Otherwise known as “pure” chocolate liquor or plain “baking chocolate”, unsweetened chocolate is not fit to be consumed on its own and is instead used as an ingredient.

Unsweetened chocolate gives baked goods and pastries a much deeper and richer flavor, owing to its composition of equal parts cocoa butter and solids, and is the foundation of all other types of chocolate with the exception of white.

Dark
This type of chocolate contains no milk solids, but instead contains other elements, such as sugar, vanilla, and an emulsifier known as lecithin. Dark chocolate that is sold commercially often contains between thirty to eighty percent cocoa.

This means that certain varieties, such as semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate, fall into this category.

White
The reason why this type of chocolate is called “white” chocolate is because of the relatively high amount of cocoa butter instead of other cocoa products, such as liquor. The end result of the process of making white chocolate makes it taste like vanilla.

While white chocolate can be confused with milk chocolate, the two are in fact very different varieties.

Milk
Milk chocolate is different from white chocolate in that it contains milk products, either condensed or solid, along with cocoa butter and chocolate liquor, compared to white chocolate which consists of mostly cocoa butter.
This type of chocolate has a more noticeable sweetness when compared to dark chocolate, as well as lighter in color and with a lesser taste. It is also overheats more easily and can be hard to temper for use as an ingredient in pastries.

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

Man’s Guide to Wearing a Watch

Now, the visible difference between a boy and a man is his watch. Once you decide to become serious with your appearance, this is when you start to invest in a good watch. Now, we all know that you can tell the time on your phone but why should you wear a watch? Well, a watch doesn’t just tell the time, a watch actually tells more of you. Your personality, status, and so many other factors are very visible when it comes to your accessories. Wearing a watch is very important if you are trying to perfect your image.

Now, why does a watch make you look like a man rather than a boy? Well, because the watch itself looks serious. Which is why when it comes to watches, we strongly suggest that you go for a classical looking watch rather than one of those modern digital watches. A digital watch sometimes just defeats the purpose. But this is not always the case. There are certain occasions when you shouldn’t go for the classical watch. This is when you are doing sports or something casual. The only excuse for you to wear a digital watch is when you are doing sports or something a bit more adventurous which obviously does not pay that much attention to style but rather function.

Going back to style, there are a lot of different watches around and something that only a few can rock but when they do work greatly to their advantage is wearing a leather or wooden watch. You heard us! Leather or wood. Being up to date with style means being a little bit more daring and for you to be able to sport a leather or wooden watch shows that you are not just serious but also very sophisticated and able to adjust to the trends of today. Trust us, sporting a wooden watch is harder than it seems.

Last of all, your watch should never go against your personality. If you aren’t someone who is into something too flashy, look for a watch that does not give that much glamour but still looks serious. There is a wide selection of watches out there just waiting for you to pick from.

Having a watch is one of the best investments a man can make. It speaks a different language making your personality a bit more clearer than when you do not wear a watch. The great part about watches is that if you really invest in a good watch, you can even pass it on to the next generation. There are a lot of people who sport watches that have been with the family for quite a while. This makes their watch priceless and it is a definite honor for someone to sport a watch that has been through their families throughout generations.

Best Mecha Anime Series for Beginners

Do you like robots and anime? If you’re a fan of both, then you need to check out these nine mecha anime series. Mecha comes from the words mechanism and mechanical which describe the nature of armored, human-controlled robots that characterize most of these series.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007)
In this alternate universe, the world is dominated by Lordgenome who forced humanity to live in subterranean towns. In the villages, a group called diggers are hired to create more underground spaces where people can live. But Simon and Kamina decided to go up to the surface using Lagann to fight Lordgenome.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (2006)
Inspired by the events of the colonial period, the story focuses on prince Lelouch vi Britannia, who was sent to Japan as a political pawn. Despite being part of the family of the Holy Britannian Empire, Lelouch decided to go against his family after being granted the Geass.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (1995)
If you’re planning to watch all of the Gundam series, you should start with this classic. The story focuses on the war between the Earth and the colonies, after the former oppressed the rights of the colonies. After the pacifist leader was assassinated, scientists from the colonies decided to build mobile suits. In this series, five boys led the assault against the Organization of the Zodiac.

Macross Frontier (2008)
Fans of the space odyssey genre might enjoy this series which focuses on a space colony fleet trying to find a habitable planet in another part of the galaxy. However, the fleet was attacked by an unknown alien mecha and they were forced to deploy a fighter.

Gasaraki (1998)
The US is fighting against a country called Belgistan, prompting one affluent family to create a weapon called Tactical Armor. However, they discovered that Belgistan also had its own TA equivalent. The series is told from the point of view of the rival pilots Gouwa Yuushirou and Miharu.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the story focuses on the events in one particular city called Tokyo-3, the location of the organization Nerv which employs pilots for its Evangelion biomechas. The Evangelion will be used to oppose the Angels or aliens from destroying the world completely.

Voltes V (1977)
When the Boazanians invaded the world, only the Super Electromagnetic Machine Voltes V was able to repel their beast fighters. The mecha was piloted by five young individuals, Kenichi, Daijiro, Hiyoshi, Megumi, and Ippei Mine.

Knights of Sidonia (2014)
When the Earth was finally destroyed by an alien force, the survivors fled in spaceships created from the leftover materials of the planet. Not knowing what the motivation of the Gauna aliens were, the humans prepare for another threat by training pilots for the mecha Gardes.

Valvrave the Liberator (2013)
The new world that humans are inhabiting is divided into two factions and one neutral nation called JIOR. But when JIOR was invaded by the Dorssians, a student was forced to use a newly discovered mecha, Valvrave, to defend Module 77.

Things to Remember When Moving Out

Moving out of your home can be exciting especially if it’s your first time. In the midst of the excitement, however, there is a tendency to overlook a lot of things. Here are some tips to make moving out hassle-free.

Find the Right Place First
Don’t move out yet if you haven’t found the right apartment for you. Don’t decide right away on the first attractive leasing contract you see. Consider the location, cost, amenities, and neighbors first. Ask for recommendations and don’t forget to schedule an inspection of the place. Ask the neighbors about their experience and check if all the amenities are working.

Consider Your Finances
Your rent should not make you a beggar just because you wanted to find the best place to live in. Can you afford an huge apartment? Are you planning to move into a new home with another person and share the payment? Can you still pay the bills for water, electricity, phone, transportation and others? Do you have to spend money for renovations and connections for utility?

Think About the Chores
If you’re going to live alone in your apartment, consider the chores you need to do to live responsibly. If you’re single, a smaller apartment is easier to maintain. Cleaning, cooking, and doing the laundry are all important. Opting for professional services all the time or eating at restaurants everyday can carve out a huge chunk out of your finances. This is the time you should learn to look after yourself.

Plan for Companions and Pets
If you’re moving out with your family, make sure everyone knows what to do on that day. Explain to the children why you’re moving to a new house. Tell them to help pack up the things. You could also ask for help from other family members or friends to help you organize. If you have pets, you should have a comfortable carrier for transportation.

Avoid Moving Out During Holidays
If you think you will need the services of a removal company to move out, don’t schedule it on a holiday. Plan weeks ahead so you can set a date. Give clear directions and provide a map. Instruct the removal company about what type of items they will be handling.

Make a List and Notify Others
Make a list of all the things you need to do. A separate item is also needed for all your furniture and belongings. Inform your school or boss, co-workers, subscriptions, bank and insurances, and friends and relatives about your new contact information.

Keep in Touch with Your Family
Just because you’re now independent doesn’t mean you should stop talking to your family. Ask them to come over from time to time so they can try your home-cooking. Or give them a call if you need advice. Your parents will be more than happy to guide you about the problems of being alone. You will learn to appreciate how difficult it is to budget money for daily needs as well as doing the housework.