How to Recover From All Your Holiday Expenditures

With the spirit of giving filling the air during holiday season, it’s quite easy to lose track of your expenses. But now that the excitement of the yuletide season has worn off, you’re now left recovering from all your holiday expenses. We’ve all been there – I’ve been there too many times myself. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it just because the damage on your savings account has been done. Here, we listed down some useful tips on how you can easily nurse your back to a better financial health.

1. Get a Clear Idea of Your Expenditures

As much as you’d want to hide from your overspending, you need to step up and assess the damage you’ve done to your savings account. Sure, you might not want to log into your bank and credit card accounts after all the spending you’ve done, but you won’t be able to fix the problem if you’re at a lost at what the problem really is. You can do this by going through all your accounts and listing down all of your expenses in a notebook. With this, you’ll get a clearer picture of all your expenses and create a plan that will help you undo your spending mistake.

2. Come Up With a Plan to Fix the Damage

While it’s easy to just use your savings account to undo your spending mistake, it still won’t leave you in a good place. A better and more realistic plan is to cut down on your monthly spending budget and put away a certain amount of it for several months to make up for your holiday overspending. You could also set a goal to not only spend less, but also to make more by taking on a part-time job. Whatever plan you use, ensure that you do it within a specific timeline, and keep it posted in a place where you can easily see.

3. Get Rid of Any Short-Term Expenses

Given the situation, you know that you need to cut your spending for the next few months, but doing it can be quite difficult as it’ll feel like a punishment. Don’t let your negative thinking stop you though. Instead, consider it as a challenge to think of fun and free ways to fill the upcoming weeks. Also, ensure that you transfer the money you’re saving on a regular basis so you won’t be tempted to spend it when an exciting activity comes your way.

4. Determine the Cause of Your Overspending

If possible, get to the root cause of your overspending and determine what needs to be done so it won’t happen again. Know how often this happens and see if you can discover any pattern for when and why you overspend. Once you find a recurring reason, think of what you can to ensure that it’ll no longer become a cycle that’ll plague you.

Recovering from your holiday expenditures might seem difficult at first, but putting these tips will certainly help in making the recovery process a lot easier for both you and your savings.

4 Reasons Why You Should Always Keep Garlic in Your Food Pantry

We all know garlic as a food ingredient, but it’s more versatile than that. There are more ways that can help you out other than improving your food’s taste and adding a pleasant aroma to your kitchen while you do so.

In fact, here are the biggest reasons why you should always keep a few bulbs of garlic in your food pantry:

1. It improves skin conditions

Garlic is packed with antioxidants that soothe skin irritation, such as rashes and even psoriasis outbreaks. To get smooth skin, rub a small amount of garlic oil on the affected area/s.

Garlic cloves are also great for splinters, cold sores, and athlete’s foot because of its anti-inflammatory properties, so you can apply them directly on the affected area or toss them in warm water for a garlic foot bath.

2. It helps with acne

You’d be surprised to know that having a few cloves of garlic can help with zit breakouts that have gone really bad, especially with kids who are just entering puberty. This is because the antioxidants in it can kill the bacteria that cause the breakouts.

To minimize acne, rub cut cloves directly on the pimples, or use garlic supplements you can find in a lot of health food stores.

3. You can kill pests with it

Are insect pests annoying you and you want a cheap way to deal with them? Use garlic!

Finely chop a whole head of cloves or process them using a food processor or blender. Once it’s finely chopped, place it in a container and fill it with hot water. Be sure to let it steep for a few hours, if not overnight.

This gives you a powerful spray you can use to kill annoying insects that keep getting in your home or indoor garden – just be sure to strain the garlic away from your container before pouring it into a spray bottle.

4. It prevents the common cold (and flu)

It’s especially important that you boost your garlic intake now that your health has become an even more important resource, and with cold and flu viruses striking from anywhere, it’s best to be prepared.

Incorporating garlic in your meals is the easiest way you can do this, and there are a lot of ways to add it to meals, from sautéing to adding it in garlic bread.

A quick batch of roasted garlic soup will not only keep the sniffles at bay, but thanks to its natural richness in antioxidants, it can even fight free radicals in your body and slow down the aging process, giving you a more youthful glow in the process!

How to Make Your House Feel More Like a Home (in 6 Easy Steps)

Whether you’ve just moved in or cleaned out your home, keep in mind that it’s more than just a place to live in – it should be a place that makes you feel welcome when you come back after a long day.

While it’s not necessary to go all-out on your interior decorating, it does help to add a few pieces to spruce up your own place.

Here’s how you can make your HDB flat feel more like home (and give it a personal touch):

1. Hang art.

Hanging art may not seem like your first choice, but coming home to look at bare walls will still feel disheartening, no matter how great you think your paint job is.

The simplest solution is to hang work of art on your walls to give it a little more personality. No need to go for masterpieces – mass-produced art pieces you can find in department stores can serve this purpose just fine.

2. Change your curtains.

Curtains add more to your home’s atmosphere than you think, and the best way to improve your home is by ditching that tacky window dressing and replacing it with ones that better suit the atmosphere of the room.

With the right curtains, not only will your home look nicer, but you can also control the temperature with them.

3. Fill it with plants!

House plants are easy to maintain and improve your air quality. They also make any area – especially your living room – look nicer and more welcoming when you come back after work or school.

This can also be a way for you to get started on indoor gardening as a hobby, and could even be a great way to reduce waste at home by turning it into compost.

4. Add aromas.

Home isn’t home unless it smells like it, and there a lot of ways you can make it smell more inviting after a long day. These options include scented candles, air fresheners, and essential oils. Baking at home is also a great way to introduce a nice aroma to your living room or kitchen.

5. Display childhood memorabilia.

Even though you will never fully recreate your childhood home, you can display a few items that remind you of the days when you felt safe and loved when you were younger. For instance, it might be a certain drawer or cabinet, an old music box, or even a few board games on display.

6. Add more lights!

Perhaps the biggest turn-off in any home is the lack of lighting, natural or otherwise. If you don’t have a lot of windows, be sure to add a few warm shades of white or yellow. Even a few well-placed lamps can add a lot to your home’s atmosphere.

The Ultimate Summer Camp Packing Checklist

Preparing a packing list when you send your child off to a summer camp is an important part of the preparation. For parents who are sending their kids for the first time to a summer camp, packing can get a little overwhelming. Fortunately, you have a packing checklist to keep you on track. Let this list be your guide the next time you’ll be sending your kids to a summer boot camp.

First Things First…

Before a complete list of the things to pack, be sure to include any packing list that your child’s camp might have supplied. Double check to ensure you don’t overlook items like towels and beddings, which in most cases may not be provided by the camp.

Additionally, calculate how much clothing items your child needs. In general, pack your child enough clothing that will last him one and a half times the number of camping days.

The Packing List

Here are the important things you need to pack your child for a typical summer camp:

  • Hat
  • Scarf
  • Prescription medicine
  • Sunglasses
  • Goggles for swimming
  • Light jacket
  • Dress clothes with belts
  • Umbrella and rain coat
  • Jeans
  • Shorts
  • Swimsuit
  • Tank Tops
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear
  • Sweatshirt and pants
  • Pajamas
  • Bras (for girls)
  • Athletic support underwear (for boys)
  • Slippers
  • Boots
  • Socks
  • Hand towels
  • Comb
  • Deodorant
  • Bug repellant
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Bathing soap
  • Sunblock
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste placed in a container
  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • Disposable camera
  • Entertainment (like pocket books and magazines)
  • Wet wipes or tissues
  • Laundry bag
  • Water Tumbler
  • Plate with spoon and fork
  • Small backpack or tote bag for day trips
  • Paper and pen
  • Extra money (check with the camp for policies)

The most important thing to remember when packing for any trip is simple: Give your self ample time. This ensures that you do not rush and forget important things last-minute.

A Team Effort

When packing, involve your child as much as possible. When you pack together, you’ll share the excitement about summer camp with your child, while ensuring that everything important is packed and that nothing your child needs is forgotten. It will give you peace of mind knowing that he has everything he will need and ready to go to camping worry-free and ready to focus on the fun.

Most parents feel a little overwhelmed by the number of items needed to pack for their child when going away on a summer camp, especially knowing that these summer camps usually last an entire week. While your child’s camping organizer will suggest items to bring, it is always better to pack more than discovering later on that they needed something you were not able to pack.

Tips for Dressing Up in Your 30s

For people in their 30s, having a good sense of style is crucial. For many of us, this is the time of our lives when our career starts to take off, we have more purchasing power, and we are flirting with the idea of settling down. With all these things around, life naturally leads us to becoming smarter and more sophisticated with our fashion choices. Embrace this new phase of your life by stepping into the zone of grown-up style.

  1. Get a quality camisole

Your 30s is no longer the time to pack five cotton camisoles in your shopping cart for a deal of 5 for $20. Now is the time to go for quality over quantity. Get a silky and slinky cami, and make sure to take care of it and wash it the right way like a mature woman does.

  • Own a suit that isn’t solid

For the gents, dress according to age. In your 30s, you are significantly more established career-wise. Wear something more sophisticated and interesting than plain old navy coats. To give an impression of professionalism, get yourself a patterned suit for making sure you have something for all occasions—from weddings to job interviews.

  • Buy blouses instead of shirts

We’re not saying to trash your favorite Nirvana concert shirt. All we’re saying is that you should keep it nicely tucked at the back of your closet or wear it to bed ONLY. When shopping for outfits, exclusively look for sweaters and blouses—skip the t-shirt section.

  • Know the rules of buttoning

Gentlemen, as soon as you hit 30, there are only two buttoning numbers you need to know: zero and two. That is how many buttons you should keep undone when wearing button down shirts. Leaving only one button undone is great if you’re aiming for a 90s business-casual look. More than three? Just no. Two buttons is just perfect to give a smart yet casual vibe to your look.

  • Separate your formal heels from work heels

Thirties is no longer the time to own double-duty heels. Your formal heels should be of different style from your work heels. If work doesn’t require you to wear five-inch heels, then stick to kitten level. And if you have anything leopard, now is the time to let go of them. Stick to solid colors of black, beige, tan and red.

  • Get Your Clothes Tailored

It’s among the common mistakes that people in their 20s make, but it’s totally fine then. However, this is non-negotiable when you’re in your 30s. By this time, you should wear clothes that fits you well. Having an ill-fitting suit of a poorly contoured dress fixed by a tailor can instantly take the item’s stylishness to the next level.

A good rule of thumb here is: invest on quality. Ditch the cheap, trendy pieces and go for classic styling and clothing items.

The Different Ways Music Can Affect Us

Whether you want to sing to Stefanie Sun’s ballads, rock it out to Ronin and A Vacant Affair, or simply listen to classical pieces, music has a great effect on us as humans. There are songs that we can sing to when we are sad, while we are studying, when we are in love or heartbroken, even songs to dance to. Music can affect our mind, mood, and emotions in a lot of ways.

Memory

It has been found that many parts of the brain are involved when it comes to musical, also those that can specifically link music to memories. How music affects memory, though, comes from the state of relaxation we get from it, especially in classical music or just any music we like for that matter. One of the main causes of memory loss is stress. When we are stressed out, our brain carries an unnecessary burden. Listening to music can help to counter that because it keeps us calm and prompts the brain to let go of unwanted stress. Music that people are familiar with or those they particularly like can help reconnect people with their memories of the past.

Mood

Music has a vivid structure that engages the mind and arouses our emotions and mood, either for the better or for worse.  This simply means that music can affect our mood in a lot of different ways. Sometimes we can even feel more than one emotion in a song. When we listen to music, there is an increase in the amount of dopamine in our brain, which triggers both our reward and pleasure centers and leaving us in a better mood. Furthermore, music does not only affect how we will feel, but we also tend to choose to listen to music that fits with the mood we are already in. Whether it is being played or listened to by someone, music can always affect a person’s mood in some way.

Learning

A central idea in learning is that any kind of distraction can interfere with memory formation. When lyrics are present, the brain is dragged into to hear the words and thinking about their meaning. These thought processes will interfere with trying to memorize new information or recall previously learned. That is why it is not recommended to listen to songs with lyrics, even though many would say they feel okay with it. Classical music like that of Bach’s and Mozart’s have been observed to work particularly well with focus and concentration. Even upbeat popular music can motivate learning, especially the ones that encourage positive thinking. All in all, slower music can promote calmness and focus, while fast-paced music can help keep you alert.

7 Ways to Protect Your Eyes and Maintain Good Vision

Protecting our eyesight is one of the most important things to do for us to live well, especially as we age. But sometimes it is easily taken for granted, causing some problems and complications. But there are many things we can do protect our eyes. And here are only a few of those ways.

  1. Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is important to keep our eyes protected from too much strain. It is even said that our eyes need at least five hours of sleep to rest and replenish. With too much strain, the blood vessels in our eyes could reach its limit, resulting to more complicated eye problems. That is why we should try to get a lot of sleep and look for times to rest our eyes throughout the day.

  • Exercise

Aside from keeping our physical being healthy and strong, regular exercise can also give benefits to our eyes. Although it doesn’t really affect our eyesight directly, it may address other issues that can be connected to our eyes. We can get eye problems, for example, if we have high blood pressure and cholesterol which can be lowered with exercise.

  • Drink enough water

As we all know, having enough water is essential for our organs to function well. And our eyes, quite simply, is also an organ. If we don’t have enough fluid in our body, our eyes will be deprived of its ability to blink comfortably and see without straining. Basically, water keeps our eyes clean and functioning properly.

  • Stop smoking

In relation to our eyes, smoking damages the optic nerve, increase the risk of developing cataracts, and many other problems and diseases. In addition, being directly exposed to cigarette smoke can also cause eye irritation. Although frequent smokers may have difficulty kicking the habit, to completely stop smoking can greatly benefit overall health.

  • Take a break from your devices

Computers, smartphones, and other mobile devices are all typically essential in our life today, but don’t really do our eyes any good. Staring at a phone or computer screen for long periods of time can cause headaches, blurry vision, eye strain, and also dry eyes.

  • Maintain the appropriate brightness

When using your gadgets, try to adjust the screen’s brightness so that it doesn’t beam out on the eyes too brightly. Especially in the dark, turn down the brightness so as to avoid getting eye strain or other eye diseases later on.

  • Keep a good distance

Keeping our eyes and gadget screens at a fair distance can help reduce too much exposure to blue light.  The closer we put our eyes to the screen, the more the light can damage our eyes. It is recommended then, to keep our eyes about 40 to 70 centimeters away from computer and smartphone screens.