4 Helpful Tips and Tricks to Get the Most out of Your Compost (and Keep it from Smelling Badly)

Composting takes about two to nine months, the process itself doesn’t require too much space or resources to get started on, which makes it easy to get started with. The end result, of course, is a beautiful rich soil that is ideal for plant growth.

However, it can sometimes be a little tricky to get right at first. Be sure to use the following tips and tricks to get the most out of your compost:

1. Balance is key.

The right mix of ingredients – brown materials (carbon-based materials, such as newspaper and shredded cardboard) and green materials (nitrogen-rich waste except meat, fat, and dairy products) – are all it takes to make a huge difference in getting quality compost for your indoor garden in Singapore.

For instance, having too much of the former will take longer to break down, and having too much of the latter will result in a slimy, smelly compost that hasn’t yet broken down completely. This is because bacteria need a balance in terms of nitrogen and oxygen.

In order to keep the bacteria in the compost working at peak efficiency, the ratio of carbon to nitrogen needs to be 30 parts carbon for every 1 part nitrogen.

2. Allow it to heat up.

This means that the process is working. If the pile is balanced, your compost should reach an internal temperature of sixty degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) over the course of seven to ten days. Ideally, the compost’s internal temperature should reach seventy-one degrees Celsius to kill off any pathogens or weed seeds that may have been introduced in the compost.

3. Aerate your compost pile regularly.

Most of the bacteria in your compost will need fresh oxygen in order to effectively convert the biodegradable materials into soil.  Aside from having holes into your sealed, create an air pocket into the pile by sticking a stake or a metal rod and wiggling it around.

4. Don’t make your compost wet and soggy.

Waterlogged compost is bad, and will not only disrupt the natural process, but will also make the compost smell worse. It’s for this reason that you shouldn’t keep adding water to your compost to the point that feels like a wrung sponge.

The key to giving your compost the right level of moisture is by simply giving it a gentle sprinkling of water each morning.

Whether you want to grow edible plants for your vegetable garden or simply add one or two potted plants to give your house a breath of fresh air, having good soil will make sure that they grow beautifully.

Get to Know the Biggest Reasons Why You Should Switch to a Vegetarian Diet

Life in Singapore can get pretty hectic pretty fast, so it’s natural that you would find yourself eating out more often than you would like.

However, you may also find yourself eating a lot of meat with a lot of oil, which along with a stressful lifestyle, can easily lead to a lot of health problems later in life, from higher blood pressure to cardiovascular disease.

While there are some setbacks to a vegetarian diet (it can be more time-consuming to prepare and plan), there are a lot of benefits it can offer you. Here’s why you should make the switch:

Going vegetarian prevents heart disease
Red meat and processed foods are associated with a higher risk of heart disease, but this risk is greatly reduced by switching to a diet that’s higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These are all easily found in a vegetarian diet.

Aside from the different nutrients that more fruits and vegetables can bring to your system, switching to a low-fat, high-fiber vegetarian diet also improves your blood flow and circulation.

It keeps type-2 diabetes at bay
A hectic schedule can easily make anyone reach for food that’s high in saturated fats and processed foods, because they give the quick burst of energy needed to get through the day. However, this can also lead to diabetes later on.

Plant-based alternatives, such as granola bars and trail snacks made from nuts and dried fruits, can also give you the same amount of energy without the health risks.

You’ll live longer
Switching to more fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods can make you live longer and more fully.
This is because plant-based diets are richer in antioxidants which reverse the effects of oxidation in cells, and also have all kinds of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that strengthen the immune system and protect the body against diseases.

Vegetarian diets can even decrease the risk of cancer, as they have less carcinogens compared to red meat.

You’ll save more money
Switching to a meat- and dairy-free diet doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can get a lot of your dietary needs (and more) for cheap at your nearest wet market, where you can be sure that the produce is fresh every time.
Shopping at your nearest wet market also lets you support local businesses and farmers, and your regular patronage can allow you to form better relationships with your favorite vendors. This can give you even more discounts and let you buy fresh produce even more cheaply.

It can even reduce your carbon footprint, and if you’re into indoor gardening, the scraps and trimmings from vegetables are great for composting.

4 Things to Do When You’re Bored during Your Free Time

If you love being productive and always need something on your hands to do, there’s nothing more frustrating than being bored. But the good news is that there’s always something you can do to be productive, even when you think you’ve done practically everything.

In fact, here are a few things you can start doing when you’re bored (and even turn into a regular routine):

Cleaning out your room or your desktop of things that aren’t needed allows you to take a good look at what’s actually been building up in your room, from shelved passion projects and ideas, to hobbies and interests that you’ve never gotten around to doing.

Your wardrobe is also another place that can accumulate things that you don’t use anymore – clearing it out, especially if you have a lot of clothes, is something you’ll definitely want to do.

If you have a junk drawer (or something similar), now is also the time to open it and start clearing it out of what you don’t use or need anymore.

Finishing Small Tasks
You may have finished them already, but there’s a good chance that you have small tasks that aren’t that high on your priority list. If you haven’t, then now is a good time to get them done clear up your list until the next big task comes along.

Keep in mind that doing them regularly, even by piecemeal, will keep them from piling up into something huge later on.

This also includes backing up these small tasks so you wouldn’t have to repeat them again, which can be frustrating when they become crucial at the time you least expect these tasks to be.

Doing Regular Maintenance
Whether it’s your health (every aspect, including mental, and emotional), your passion project, or even just your hobby, doing something small to improve yourself will eventually get you to do something that will take up your time and keep you busy.

This is also the time to clear any personal issues that have been bugging you lately. And if you’ve been itching for physical exercise to clear your mind, a short walk, a light jog, or even biking can free you from boredom.

Meal Planning
This will particularly interest you if you’re on a vegetarian diet and you want to prepare your own meals for the next few days or for the whole week. If you’re finding yourself out of things to do this Sunday, meal planning would be a great thing to start.

Preparing your meals takes not just planning and grocery shopping, but also cooking and storage, and varying the menu alone is sure to be something that will keep you busy.

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

According to the Psoriasis Association of Singapore, at least 40,000 people are affected by the disease in the country. While most cases of psoriasis take on the form of chronic plaque psoriasis, there is one type of the disease that affect the joints in the ankles, knees, and fingers.

Causes and Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of chronic inflammatory arthritis and occurs mostly in people with psoriasis which also affects the large joints in the distal joints (joints closest to the nail) of the toes and fingers, lower extremities, the back, and the sacroiliac joints in the pelvis.

According to studies, nearly 30% of patients with skin psoriasis are likely to develop psoriatic arthritis, and 85% of these have symptoms of arthritis can appear before the skin disease manifests. The symptoms will vary among the affected persons and will typically manifest between 30 to 50 years of age. There are children, however, who also develop this condition and are even at risk of having an inflamed middle eye layer called uveitis.

The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include the following: tenderness, swelling, and pain on the tendons; pain, throbbing, and stiffness in the joints; fatigue; reduced motion; morning stiffness; nail problems; and pain and redness in the eyes.

Treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis
Treatment must be given immediately if the symptoms show, because it can result to permanent damage in the joints. To determine whether you have psoriatic arthritis, a number of tests such as physical examination, MRI, X-ray, and blood tests are done. The symptoms, however, mimic those of other types of arthritic diseases and must be ruled out before any treatment can be recommended. Once the doctor has made sure that you have psoriatic arthritis, he/she will then have to examine how many joints are affected and the severity of the condition assessed.

Symmetric psoriatic arthritis targets joints found on both sides of your body, while asymmetric affects only one side of the body. Oligoarticular is the term for mild psoriatic arthritis and usually affects less than four joints, while spondylitis affects the spinal column. Enthesitis affects the entheses or the part where the tendons and ligaments are connected to your bones, while dactylitis is the inflammation of the toe or finger and distal psoriatic arthritis stiffens the ends of the toes and fingers and changes the nails.

The symptoms are treated with NSAIDs, DMARDs, and steroid injections for inflammation. Biologic types are also infused or injected, while anti-rheumatic drugs are recommended for cases that don’t respond to the usual medication. For the skin, you will be prescribed tar-based ointments, steroid-based creams, retinoid tablets, and light therapies. If there is a need for a repair to a damaged tendon, you might also need surgery.

The Best of VR Gaming So Far

Virtual reality has opened new possibilities in gaming even if not all gamers welcome this new technology. Even with just a handful of titles available for now, VR gaming has shown that it has a bright future ahead.

Here are some of the games you should try.

The Lab
If you’re a fan of the Portal series, The Lab might interest you with its eight different games, namely; Slingshot, Longbow, Xortex, Postcards, Human Medical Scan, Solar System, Robot Repair, and Secret Shop.

The Climb
The objective of The Climb is quite simple: reach the top of each stage by climbing the stone walls. Who needs to go out mountain climbing when you have this, right?

Robinson: The Journey
In this game, a character named Robin is trapped in a planet populated by dinosaurs. The objective is for the player to help him escape with the aid of an artificial intelligence that came with the ship.

Wayward Sky
Bess is attempting to rescue his father who landed on a fortress and was later kidnapped. The game features puzzles that the player must solve in order to move the story forward.

Play an arcade game in virtual reality with Chronos, a world ruled by the Seven Lords who are the fathers of the seven different races.

Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives
If your job is boring, try virtual simulations of real-life jobs on your spare time. Now that’s dedication to becoming better in your craft.

Elite: Dangerous
This game will allow you to pilot a spaceship by picking from one of the three factions, but if that’s not impressive, try driving through the realistic scaled version of the Milky Way.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
The title of the game pretty much sums up its objective; you will listen to vocal instructions while disarming different types of bombs. For this game, therefore, you will need another player who will provide the instructions for manual defusal, while the other will defuse it.

Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality
This game might seem familiar because it’s based on the animated series Rick and Morty. In the game, Rick clones his grandson Morty so that someone can do the laundry for him.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
The title is the 11th installment of the series and follows Ethan Winters’s search for his wife in a plantation. The game is played in first-person view and can be played in PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Eagle Flight
In this post-apocalyptic world, you are an eagle that is trying to survive by defeating rival animals and building nests in different locations. VR games are made for this kind of experience.

Everest VR
Although it’s not the perfect substitute for climbing the highest peak in the world, Everest VR can at least give you that once-in-a-lifetime experience without the risk of freezing to death.

5 homemade chips for healthy snacking

Who ever said chips are unhealthy? Coach potatoes can now redeem their sedentary lifestyle. Here are few suggestions to give in to those guilty pleasures we just can’t seem to get enough of. But this time, let’s side on the healthier corner by preparing a bunch of homemade chips that’s not only good for our palates but also for our bodies.

1. Taro chips
For this one you will need peeled taro, kosher salt and olive oil. Slice the taro lengthwise through using a mandolin. To do this, set it to the lowest, either 1 or 2. This step should be done carefully. Prepare baking sheets then place the slices neatly. Using olive oil, brush each slice lightly. Bake under 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes until crispy.

2. Baked chili cheese fritos
For those looking for flavor in their chips, this will surely satisfy your craving. For this one you will need corn tortillas, olive or canola oil, salt, chili powder, nutritional yeast, cumin, onion powder and garlic powder. While preparing, preheat oven to 380 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, add all spices and toss until mixed, then set aside. Cut the tortillas into equal strips. Place tortillas into the baking sheet and coat with canola or olive oil. For 12-15 minutes, bake tortillas until golden brown or crispy. After that, immediately add tortilla chips to the mix prepared earlier and coat well. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with chili, soup or dips.

3. Root Veggie Chips with Sea Salt
For this one you will need peeled sweet potatoes, blue potatoes, beets, parsnips, carrots, rutabagas, celery root and fine sea salt. Boil a large pot of salted water. Add the vegetable slices mentioned earlier and cook for about thirty seconds. Drain the water and rinse with cold water. Repeat for about two to three times. Using paper towels, gently dry the vegetable slices. Season vegetables slices by placing them in a bowl and coat well. Prepare them in a mesh-lined dehydrator tray. Dehydrate chips for about 8 to 10 hours at 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Shift trays accordingly to dry them evenly.

4. Peppered Kale Chips
For this one you will need fresh kale, olive oil, coarse ground black pepper and salt. While preparing other ingredients, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare baking sheets with lines of parchment paper then set aside. Prepare the kale by removing and discarding thick stems. Rip the leaves into small sizes or bit-size ones. Rinse the leaves and dry with paper towels. Combine the kale, oil, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Massage and thoroughly coat. Prepare the baking sheets and line them neatly. Bake for about twenty minutes, stir if necessary or until crispy.

How to Keep Your Bags in Mint Condition

What girl wouldn’t splurge on a handbag or two every month? Or even more?

Girls everywhere are suckers for handbags, slings, backpacks or shoulder bags, just so they could switch from one bag to another almost every day. Matching outfits or moods, bags are indeed every girl’s best friend. Efficient and stylish top our priorities in finding our next purchase.

But as our appetite for more handbags increases, our storage techniques must also keep up. We must be very diligent in storing them properly so as to keep them longer. We get the most of our purchase and more importantly keep our options for handbags in good numbers.

Here are a few tips to help you maintain your handbags’ newly-purchased glint:

1. Keep your hands clean. When handling your bags, make sure your hands are clean. Some stains stick on some materials used in our bags. Also, if your hands are damp or wet, the color might run or cause stain on your bags. Make sure your hands are clean and dry when choosing your next companion.

2. Wrap up. Bags can also bear accessories and can therefore get tangled up with other bags when stored. So to keep those crystals and other beads, make sure to wrap those pieces with a bit of tissue paper before stowing them away.

3. Clean regularly. No matter what material your bag may be made of, it’s always a must to keep them clean. Grab a soft washcloth and wipe your bag on a weekly basis to keep them from insects or dust that may destroy the material.

4. Suede to suede. For bags with suede material, clean it with a suede brush to revive it. They code is simple: like to like.

5. Chill on the use. When using your bags, make sure not to overstuff them as this can distort the bag’s shape. Also, keep cosmetics, pens and other materials which may stain the lining in pouches so as to minimize chances of ruining your bag’s interior. If possible, avoid putting your bag on the floor when you’re out. And watch out for those corners as they are the first signs of a bag’s age.

6. Switch regularly. Since you already have options of bags, make sure to switch from one bag to another regularly. This isn’t to show off your collection, but more importantly, you get to preserve to tip-top condition of your bags. They don’t wear out easily if you don’t use them as a default bag every day.

7. Store bags out of direct sunlight. When you keep your handbags, whether in racks or any other storage you prefer, make sure to place them out of direct sunlight. Leather handbags shrink with long exposures under direct sunlight. Other materials used in handbags also fade if under prolonged exposure. They also get worn out quickly.

8. Moisturize leather. For bags made of leather, use leather moisturizers to keep the material free of cracks and keep its elastic touch.