How to Buy Home Essentials Even on a Tight Budget

Even with a limitless budget, decorating your home can be quite challenging; but even more so if you’re on a tight budget. Fortunately, there several ways on how you can stretch your budget and buy the perfect decorations for your home. Here, we listed down five easy ways to buy home essentials even on a small budget.

1. Shop in Bulk

One of the best ways to purchase home essentials on a tight budget is through shopping in bulk. Through shopping wholesale, you get to stock up on things that you need to decorate your space. All the while saving a great deal from what you’d pay as a regular-priced item at a retail store.

2. Read Product Reviews

With the help of internet, it’s now possible to learn everything that you need to know about a certain product even before purchasing it. By reading online reviews from previous buyers, you get to discover the pros and cons of any item. If you want, you can even ask the buyer as to whether or not purchasing a particular item was worth it. This will give you the confidence that you’ll be satisfied with your purchase once the item is delivered to your home.

3. Look Into the Classified Ads

Although print media is slowly fading away, it’s not completely gone yet. That means there’s still a chance to find good product deals in the classified section. Since there are fewer people reading the paper, there’s also less competition when it comes to purchasing these items.

4. Attend Estate Sales

Estate sales often occur when a service liquidates the belongings of a certain estate or family. With numerous items for sale, you’ll definitely be able to get some good bargains. Plus, you can tag any item that you want if you arrive earlier than the other customers. What’s more amazing is auction rules also apply for each item, which means you have the power to name the price on your items you’ll be purchasing.

Garage sales are also a good option. So if you’ll go bargain-hunting on garage sales, try finding other neighbourhood sales. Multiple garage sales in a single area create competition, and that’ll help you find items that are sold at even lower prices.

Purchasing decorations for your home will definitely cost you some bucks, but putting the aforementioned tips to work will surely help in stretching your budget. So make sure that you look into these options the next time you think of purchasing new décors and essentials for your home.

12 Recommended Classical Pieces to Inspire Beginners

Overwhelmed with the titles that don’t make sense to you? What does concerto and symphony even mean? Why do some pieces have single letters and numbers in their titles?

The best way to start appreciating classical music is to listen to them. Worry about the forms later. You will be able to make sense of the musical terms once you have heard the best examples from the genre too.

Here are some pieces that might inspire you.

1. Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op.67: I. Allegro con brio by Ludwig van Beethoven

The opening might seem familiar to you. This piece has been used so many times in television and film.

2. The Four Seasons, Concerto No. 1 ‘Spring’ (Op.8 No. 1): I. Allegro by Antonio Vivaldi
This one will sound familiar to you too. Its bouncy tune will remind you of fresh flowers. You might want to listen to all of his Four Seasons compositions as well.

3. Piano Concerto No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff

This piece has also been used in films. Rachmaninoff is known for his dramatic works. Try listening to the first movement of this piece and be moved.

4. Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven

Moonlight Sonata is one of the most popular pieces for piano, especially for beginners. You may have also heard this song played many times.

5. Toccata: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 by Johann Sebastian Bach

The song will certainly remind you of those old vampire movies. This was also featured in Walt Disney’s film Fantasia.

6. Ave verum corpus, K.618 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

One of the only two entries in this list with vocals. Classical music also had lyrics like this one. This was written just months before Mozart’s death.

7. Triumphal Chorus & Grand March from Aida by Giuseppe Verdi

This is probably one of the most recognizable classical music pieces. It lives up to its title. That’s why it’s often used in graduation marches.

8. 1812 Overture, Op.49 (conclusion) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Listening to this one will remind you of the battle scenes in countless war movies or maybe a triumphant march of victorious soldiers. You decide.

9. Cello Suite No.1 in G by Johann Sebastian Bach

Close your eyes while listening to this and imagine yourself wearing a fancy dress at a fine dining restaurant.

10. Also sprach Zarathustra, Op.30 by Richard Strauss

This piece was used in the film adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you listen to it, then you will understand why. The title is inspired by the eponymous work of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

11. Canon In D Major by Johann Pachelbel

This is mostly used in weddings. Listening to it, you’ll know it’s the perfect piece for a garden wedding on a beautiful sunny day.

12. Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber

This 20th century piece is known as the saddest classical music ever written. Why? Well, you’d have to listen to it yourself.

5 Must-Have Houseplants to Purify the Air in Your Home

Houseplants are known as great all-natural humidifiers. Not only do they give your space a unique and invigorating vibe, they also help in getting rid of the volatile organic compounds and decontaminating the air in your home. With that in mind, we listed down some of the best houseplants that can help reduce the airborne microbes in your home.

1. Bamboo Palm

Whether you’re placing the plant indoors or in your veranda, you can count on it to rid the air of formaldehyde. Bamboo palms are believed to be an amazing contributor in keeping the atmosphere clean, allowing it to rank third in NASA’s latest Clean Air Study. If you’re thinking of getting one for your home, do place it near the window so it’ll have enough room to grow.

2. Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreens are known for emitting high oxygen levels, making it a great houseplant choice for individuals who suffer from allergies and asthma. It’s also believed to sweep the air of benzene and other radical toxins. Just avoid being exposed to its sap though, as it is considered poisonous and a strong skin-irritant.

3. Devil’s Ivy

Also known as the Golden Photos, Devil’s Ivy is among the most popular houseplant options as it’s very easy to maintain. Other than that, the plant is considered to be quite efficient at ridding the air of xylene and trichloroethylene, which are chemical substances linked to eye irritations and headaches. Like Chinese evergreen, however, this plant can be poisonous to pets when ingested. So keep them off your pet’s or child’s radar by placing them on windowsills or high shelves.

4. Dwarf Date Palm

Although it doesn’t rank as high as its other palm cousins on NASA’s Clean Air Study, dwarf date palms are still considered as effective and strong purifiers that can lower the chemical toxin concentration in an enclosed area. Aside from keeping your air clean, the plant could even double as an accent piece in your living or dining area.

5. Weeping Fig

Weeping figs filter indoor air toxins anytime despite being sensitive to the changing weather conditions. A lot homeowners also prefer this plant as their houseplant décor, as it only requires minimal care. To achieve a more topiary look, have a professional plant grower braid its trunks.

Using some potted greens as your home is definitely one of the best ways to add a refreshing vibe to your space, while ensuring a clean indoor air. Keeping any of these plants in your home is one way of doing it, so ensure that you get your hands on any of these houseplants next time.

Sure Signs You’re Stuck in a Workout Rut

Staying committed to a workout routine is never an easy task, especially when new dilemmas start to arise – your body enters the plateau stage, and in effect, it partially keeps you from reaching your fitness goals. But how exactly will you know if you’ve reached this stage? Well, here are a few signs you should take note of.
 

  1. You Find Reasons to Skip the Gym

When the excitement you felt after purchasing your first pair of workout shoes is gone, and if you start seeing exercising as a routine more than a form of release, then it’s time you find ways to shake things up. You don’t need to completely ditch your usual activity, but consider signing up in a new fitness class to see how switching things up could bring back your motivation.

  1. You Get Easily Bored With Your Routine

Once you start getting bored doing a particular activity that other people have a hard time learning, then it’s a sure sign that you should start learning something new, like a new sport maybe. You’ll know that you’ve hit the workout rut phase when you no longer feel challenged with what you’re doing, and you start feeling like you can do your routine even with your eyes closed.

  1. Your Workout is No Longer Producing Results

Do you exercise so hard to sweat out the calories you ate for lunch, but feel like nothing’s happening? If so, then you’ve likely hit the workout rut. If you’ve been working out regularly, there will certainly come a time when your body becomes used to doing the same routine over and over again that it’ll stop giving you the results you want. But instead of letting the frustration get to you, go and research on new training programs that could possibly help you get back on the groove and give you the results you want.

  1. You Feel Lethargic After Every Session

Working out should give you more energy and not make you feel rundown. Remember, you’re aiming to achieve a healthy post-workout glow and not a completely burnt-out look.

Religiously hitting the gym is easy to some, but a challenge for most – especially when new issues, such as hitting a workout plateau, arises. By knowing when you’ve already reached that stage, however, you’ll certainly be able to work your way out of that rut and accomplish your fitness goals.
 

10 Essential World Mythology Books for Beginners

Myths have inspired writers, artists and scholars for centuries, serving as inspirations for great artists from Shakespeare and Tolkien to J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman. Even after the deities and heroes of the mythical past have faded into the background, becoming naught but mere fictional characters, their stories continue to charm generations of readers and viewers. And in practically all media today—from books to films to computer games—they remain alive.

With so many compilations to choose from, it’s difficult to pick the ones that are ideal for beginners in the genre. Well, here are ten mythology books from around the world that should be in the reading list of any reader who wants to know about mythologies.

1. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton

Edith Hamilton retells tales of the Greek gods, goddesses and heroes using sources from various writers. The book also contains ample stories from Roman and Norse mythology.

2. Bulfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch

This is a collection of European and Oriental myths and legends including Classical, Norse, Celtic, Arthurian, Hindu, and Egyptian.

3. Popol Vuh, translated by Dennis Tedlock

Popol Vuh is a compilation of stories from the creation of the world according to the Maya to the exploits of the first four men who fathered the human race.

4. The Literature of the Ancient Egyptians by E.A. Wallis Budge

A collection of the translated works of the ancients found mostly in tombs, E.A. Wallis Budge tried to provide an exhaustive account of the life of ancient Egyptians and how religion has influenced them in so many ways.

5. The Edda Volumes 1 and 2 by Winifred Faraday

This is an account of the study and history of the Eddas, the primary source for Norse myths and heroic tales. It includes an account of the gods and goddesses of Asgard until their defeat in Ragnarok and the tales of heroes of the North.

6. Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race by T.W. Rolleston

Celtic myths are divided into cycles. This book is a great introduction to all these cycles because it gives a nearly complete account of everything from the Mabinogion to the Ossian cycle.

7. National Epics by Kate Milner Rabb

National Epics is a collection of 17 of the world’s most loved tales of gods, heroes and villains. It serves as an introduction to the epics like the Ramayana to John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

8. Myths and Legends of the North American Indians by Lewis Spence

The book covers most of the major myths of the various North American Indian tribes. Lewis Spence also provides possible interpretation of these myths.

9. Japanese Mythology A to Z by Jeremy Roberts

No book has covered Japanese mythology comprehensively. This anthology, however, is the closest to have achieved that because it was able to differentiate the influences by ancient Japanese religion, Ainu, Shinto and Buddhist beliefs.

10. Myths of Babylonia and Assyria by Donald A. MacKenzie

The author provided an exhaustive account of the history of Mesopotamia and tried to connect the myths as shaped by the rich and often tumultuous history of the region.

Heart Screening Tests You Should Consider Taking

You have probably undergone hundreds of screening tests over the course of your life, yet nothing compares to those screening tests used to monitor one’s heart health. If one of the major parts of your heart stops working properly, your Singapore cardiologist uses a variety of screening tests to determine the problem. These tests use technology that shows how your heart works and measures its activity. So if you’re showing symptoms of heart problems, then your specialist might recommend undergoing one or more of the following tests.

1. Hs-CRP

This is a powerful test that can greatly help heart specialists identify inflammatory processes going on inside your body, especially those internal activities affecting your cardiovascular system. Cholesterol plaque is what injures the blood vessels, triggers inflammation and raises the CRP levels in your blood. People with high levels of CRP are four times more prone to stroke or heart attack.

Having a high CRP is most dangerous when you also have a waist circumference of over 35 inches, which indicates an alarming amount of belly fat. It’s an important health screening that heart specialists in Singapore recommend for anyone with a family history of heart disease and is at a high risk of developing the said disease.

2. Cardiac Calcium Scoring

A cardiac calcium scoring test works as a predictor of future heart attacks by finding calcified plaques in your arteries. This plaque that can be detected by a cardiologist from Singapore shows up a few years before a heart attack or stroke hits. Detecting it early is what will help in treating the build-up and thus preventing future occurrences of heart attacks.

Health experts recommend having this test when you’re over 50 years old and is at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Younger people are also advised to get this test if they have several risk factors and a family history of the said disease. However, pregnant women should avoid this test as the procedure involves usage of x-ray machines.

3. Fibrinogen Blood Test

Another important test to take to monitor your heart health is the fibrinogen blood test. Although fibrinogen is a good element in the blood, which helps blood clot, having too much of it may cause clot formation in the arteries and cause a heart attack to happen. It can also worsen the existing injury on your artery walls and indicate that you have an atherosclerosis. So next time you visit your Singapore cardiologist, ask him to check your fibrinogen level, especially if you’re at risk to developing a heart disease.

Inactivity, smoking, drinking too much alcohol and taking oestrogen supplements – whether for hormone therapy or as a birth control pill – may increase your fibrinogen level. The considered normal level of a fibrinogen is between 200 and 400 mg/L.

4. Advance Lipoprotein and Lipid Profile Test

Unlike the traditional cholesterol blood test used to measure HDL, LDL and triglycerides, this test is used to look into cholesterol’s particle size. Heart specialists in Singapore use this test to monitor small and big particles that can get into the artery lining and form plaques. In addition, it also analyses certain types of cholesterol that may triple your heart disease risk.

Sizing up the cholesterol particles in your blood is what will give your doctor a clearer picture of your heart disease risk – having a lot of small cholesterol particles raises your risk, while the larger ones cuts it. If small cholesterol particles are found in your blood, then your specialist may recommend taking drugs, such as niacin or fenofibrate to increase their size. Along with exercise and a healthy diet, niacin is also considered a best treatment option for a high Lp(a). So make sure that you get this test, especially if you have a family history of heart disease.

5. Hb-A1C

If you’re interested in reducing your chronic disease risk and in aging well, then add this screening test on list. This test is used to determine how your body handles the sugar you consume. An elevated HbA1C level indicates a long-term inability to handle sugars, essentially coating your inner tissues and organs. This is what increases one’s risk for diabetic complications, while also posing a five-times increased risk for developing heart disease.

6. Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Test

Unlike the previous tests, this test is often done around the neck area to check the carotid arteries that supply blood to your head and brain. A lot of cardiologist in Singapore use this test to measure the thickness of the artery lining of their patients.

Once it’s done, he or she will provide you with two numbers: your arterial age (thickness of your artery lining compared to that of a healthy person your age) and the thickness of your carotid lining. If your results show that your arteries are a few years older than your actual age, then your specialist will immediately tailor a treatment that will reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Plus, since the test doesn’t use an x-ray machine, pregnant women with a family history of heart disease will be able to undergo this test.

Prioritizing your heart health is the best favour that you could give yourself. So take the initiative to schedule regular screening tests with your cardiologist in Singapore to monitor your heart health. If possible, encourage those around you to do the same thing so you can work together in preventing heart disease and in achieving optimal heart health.

Top Game Creators in Singapore

 

Singapore’s location makes it an ideal travel hub between east and west. Visitors can attest to its rich culture with stories about its array of international cuisine. Besides food, however, Singapore has so much more to offer such as its flourishing art industry, particularly in animation and graphics.

Several gaming and animation studios have divisions based in Singapore. It is not a secret that the Asia Pacific region is still in its infancy stage when it comes to the gaming industry. Singapore already has several studios. With so many animation and gaming companies, we narrow down a list of some of the biggest in the international gaming scene.

  • Ubisoft Singapore, which opened in July 2008, began only as a studio supporting the development of other game titles. Its first full game was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled. The success of the Assassin’s Creed series made Ubisoft Singapore a big contributor. They were given their biggest project yet in the development of all naval battles in Assassin’s Creed III. Now it is the biggest studio in Southeast Asia with a team of multicultural talents.

 

  • KOEI TECMO Singapore (KTS) was established in August 2004. Their first hit was Romance of the Three Kingdoms Online. Since then, they have created games for mobile or handheld platforms.

  • Electronic Arts was founded in April 2008 as a regional center of EA in the Asia Pacific. Its main function is the localization of English games in Asian languages for distribution in the region.

 

  • Lucasfilm Animation Singapore is part of LucasArts. This Singapore hub specializes in mobile, handheld and console games such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Jedi Alliance.

 

  • Razer (Asia-Pacific) Pte Ltd is the regional headquarters of the US-based company. It serves as a research, development and logistics office in the Asia Pacific. It was established in December 2003.

While it might be enticing to start a career in the gaming industry, the current conditions might not meet expectations. The gaming industry in Singapore is fairly young even when there are over 40 companies to date. The work opportunities and compensation might be scarce.

However, its reputation as an economic force in Asia makes it an ideal place to start expanding in the Asia Pacific region. Despite that, outside of Japan, the Singapore studios have to overcome a small market for games in Asia.

There is still hope if you wish to pursue a career in the gaming industry. In Singapore, DigiPen’s first international campus was opened. DigiPen was the first to open a degree in game development. Singapore shows a lot of promise with its pool of local and international talents.

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