4 Effective Tips to Stay Productive Even If You Didn’t Get Enough Sleep Last Night

Jul 12

Sleep is an important part of our body’s routine – not only do we function less effectively when we don’t get enough of it, but it’s also a key period of time that allows our body to clear its own build-up of waste from cells and recuperate from the stresses of day-to-day activities.

However, there are times when we need to stay up late or even all night. Whether it’s to work a late shift or to finish a project in a hurry, we’ve all experienced this at least once in our lives, only to make us feel really groggy and sluggish when daylight finally comes.

To keep the “zombie mode” at bay until you get the chance to catch up on your now-interrupted sleep schedule, here are four effective tips you can follow:

1. Ease up on the caffeine.
You may think that drinking enough caffeine or loading up on energy drinks will keep the sleepiness on hold until you’ve done what you need to do – but only up to a certain point. In fact, many studies have shown that coffee can actually make the energy crash even worse.

While caffeine still holds up to its promise of a quick energy boost (and you should totally drink it), limit yourself to two or three cups at different intervals throughout the day. After three in the afternoon, you shouldn’t drink any at all.

2. Keep your meals small.
The stress of staying awake for more than twelve hours straight is almost guaranteed for you to want to binge-eat to replenish that lost energy. But in fact, it will only make you feel sleepier.

A large meal will make you more likely to fall asleep, partly because of a food coma. To combat this, keep your portions smaller to give your body enough time to process the food and keep going. As much as possible, stick to salads and leafy greens instead of fat- and protein-rich meals.

3. Drink more water.
The lack of sleep will make you feel dehydrated. Drinking more water, however, solves the “lack-of-energy” problem in two ways: the first way is that it will make you feel more awake and alert throughout the day.

The second way that it solves the sleeplessness issue is that all that water will make you use the restroom more, which is a simple way to get your blood moving and avoid falling asleep at your desk or in class.

4. Move around.
A workout or even a few stretching exercises is a great way to wake your sleeping cells up. A moderate amount of physical activity will boost energy and adrenaline levels, which will not only keep you awake throughout the day, but will help you sleep better when you finally get home at night.

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

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6 Hacks to Ace Christmas Cookie Baking

Jul 12

Between Christmas shopping and entertaining family and relatives, the holiday season can get easily stressful. Save time and energy on your cookie baking during this time of the year with these smart hacks, so you can focus all your energy on enjoying events and spending more time with your loved ones.

1. Marshmallows as quick frostings
Ran out of meringue? No need to run to the store for more sugar and eggs. Marshmallows will do the trick for you. Dip one side of mini marshmallow in water so they don’t slide off, and then plop two to three pieces on each cookie when they have about three minutes left to get fully baked. Once you see signs of melting (but are not runny), take the cookies out and spread the marshmallow frosting using a spoon.

2. Liquor bottles as rolling pins
Empty bottles of liquor are great substitute for rolling pins. Wash them clean and wipe them completely dry. Cover the exterior of the bottle with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. If any sticker residue from the bottle label bothers you, you can wrap the bottle with parchment paper before rolling them onto the dough.

3. Store-bought dough over home-made cookie dough
Using pre-made cookie dough for your holiday cookies isn’t cheating, if you add your own personal touch to it. Take your store-bought dough and let it soften in room temperature. Then, add in your desired flavoring, such as orange zest, almond extract, cinnamon, nuts, chocolate chips, caramel and peppermint extract. Your guests will never notice the difference.

4. Non-Stick spray on measuring cups
Baking Christmas cooking requires a lot of measuring of wet, sticky ingredients, like molasses, syrup and honey. To make cleaning of your measuring cups and spoons easier, use non-stick sprays on these utensils first. You will get more accurate measurement if you need to use them in other liquids afterwards, and cleaning up will be much easier.

5. Chocolate as universal dip
The easiest and tastiest way to make ordinary cookies extraordinary? Dip them in chocolate. This trick works perfectly with any cookie because, well, it’s chocolate. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Add a drop of peppermint extract into your melted chocolate to give your dip a taste of Christmas.

6. Room temp butter makes chewy cookies
Here’s a quick baking hack: room temperature butter will make cookies beautifully chewy. Leave enough amount of butter on a plate for 30 minutes before mixing it in with other ingredients. It mixes better with dry ingredients and helps the dough hold its shape while baking in the oven.

Homemade cookies are one of the most favorite treats and gifts during Christmas time. Make Christmas cookie baking faster and easier without sacrificing the taste with these genius baking hacks.

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4 Essential Condiments You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen

Jun 21

What’s a dish without the flavoring? While a common question in the kitchen is about which pots and pans you should always have, you rarely hear the one about which condiments you should always keep in your pantry or fridge at all times.

Whether they are store-bought or home-made, condiments are a great thing to have as they add a lot of flavor to the dishes that you cook, but knowing which ones to have and on which dishes they should be used makes all the difference.

1. Soy Sauce
This is perhaps the most versatile condiment that you can get your hands on, and almost all Asian households have a bottle of this dark sauce in their pantry. Some would even have two or three different types.

Aside from being added to food that’s already cooked, soy sauce also makes for an excellent ingredient in bringing out the flavors in many different recipes, and is also used as a sauce or marinade.

What you need to know about soy sauce is that it’s a broad category that includes both Japanese and Chinese soy sauce. The former is made with an even ration of soybeans and wheat, while the latter is made almost entirely from fermented soy.

2. Ketchup
Next to soy sauce, ketchup ranks number two in the condiment versatility scale. It can be combined with either soy sauce (which yields a barbecue sauce, provided that you balance it with other ingredients) or mayonnaise (great for oily finger foods, like fries, for an afternoon snack.

You can even make this yourself at home. While soy sauce is difficult to make, ketchup is much easier – there are a lot of recipes that you can look up online and tinker with to see what works for you.

3. Mayonnaise
This condiment made of oil, vinegar, and eggs actually has a fairly long history, but has made its way into a beloved condiment for deep-fried foods, or as a dressing for some salads. Unlike other condiments, this one in particular is easy to make on your own – no cooking required.

The three mentioned ingredients are all that you need to start making your own at home. However, do keep in mind that home-made mayonnaise tends to use the egg yolks, while store-bought mayonnaise gets away with egg whites by using powerful machines to mix the emulsion together.

4. Hot Sauce
For the ones who are always down for a little spice in their palate, a bottle of hot sauce will help to ramp up the flavor in every bite. There many different types of hot sauce, each with their own different textures and levels of spiciness – all you need to do is choose which one your taste buds like the most.

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

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5 Beginner Plants You Could Grow in Your HDB Flat

Jun 21

With a growing interest in homegrown food, more and more people are trying their luck at creating their own indoor gardens. Creating your own garden doesn’t just save you money; with indoor gardening, you can make sure that your food is safe and healthy. While there are a large number of plants to choose from, here are five plants that can start you off on your new indoor HDB garden.

1. Air Plants
Air Plants don’t need a lot of water, as they get their water from absorbing moisture in the air. Despite this, however, they still need to be lightly misted at least once a week (which you can do using a spray bottle). You would also need to occasionally soak your plants in water, especially for plants that are in airconditioned environments; for those who live in air-conditioned flats, soak your plants for two hours every two weeks.

2. Basil
Even if basil is more commonly grown outdoors, it could also thrive potted indoors. To grow them successfully, make sure that your plant has adequate drainage so that water doesn’t pool at the bottom of the pot. Make sure to add fertilizer to your pot, and use half the recommended fertilizer strength; if you’re going to use your basil mainly for flavoring, you’ll need to use an organic fertilizer. In terms of lighting, make sure that your basil plant receives six hours of direct sunlight daily or about ten hours under artificial lighting.

3. Thyme
Growing thyme indoors can be invaluable, as it a versatile herb that can be used in a large variety of dishes. It’s easy to grow thyme, as they can be hardy plants that could still thrive despite a lack of attention. To grow thyme, you will need direct sunlight at least six hours a day. You could use many different pots for planting thyme, but the best kind would be clay pots, as they allow the soil to drain in between watering. Whatever pot you use, make sure to create drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

4. Mint
To the surprise of many beginner gardeners, mint can easily thrive indoors. All you’ll need is a container with the right amount of drainage, filled with good potting mix (which means that it has equal amounts of sand, peat, and perlite). To make sure that your plant grows well, try to look for a spot that has a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius in the day and around 14 degrees at night.

5. Lemongrass
Lemongrass is one of the many plants that you can propagate using grocery produce. It’s also pretty easy to grow indoors, and in fact, should be harvested frequently to encourage new growth. Make sure that it receives at least six hours of natural lighting or at least 14 hours of artificial lighting. For the soil, use a potting soil mix with good amounts of perlite.

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Advantages of Outsourcing Your Laundry

May 30

Housekeeping and laundry are two of the most important and most common functions of hotels and spas here in Singapore, yet they are often left at the bottom of the priority list. Today, we’ll look at how outsourcing your laundry and dry cleaning can benefit your business.

When deciding to outsource laundry service, the quality of work and the cost is often the most important factors to keep in mind. Whether you have a 50-storey hotel with over 500 staff or a five-room inn with no more than 20 personnel, linen and towel washing and uniform laundry are among the most repetitive and time-consuming tasks you need to face every single day. Keeping your staff—and even yourself—motivated in doing this job can be difficult, especially if there are a lot of other tasks demanding for your attention.

To lessen the burden, entrust your laundry works to a good shirt and pants cleaning firm or a commercial laundry services company. These professionals can do dry cleaning, wash and fold, laundry for spa, laundry pick up and laundry delivery all for your convenience, as well as provide you these advantages that your business will surely benefit from.

• Reduction in operational costs
Savings on capital expenses eases the financial pressure during off-peak seasons. It also makes your business look attractive to the eyes of the investors, opening the doors to further business expansion of hotel facilities.

• Focus on running your business
Whether you are a manager or an owner of a business, it’s easy to overload yourself with tasks across the different departments of the establishment. Partnering with a 24 hour laundry in Singapore gives you and your staff more time to take care of other more important tasks.

• Save on utilities
Taking advantage of laundry service companies here in Singapore will get the laundry task off of the untrained staff for the job, which can otherwise result to inefficient use of water and electricity.

• Guaranteed quality
Dry cleaning and doing the linen and uniform laundry may seem basic, but due to the task’s monotony, it’s hard to retain in-house staff to do the job. And if you really want to maintain an in-house laundry team, you need to invest some time to train them; unfortunately, you do not have the luxury of time to do that. Instead of having to return from scratch every single time, why not work with commercial laundry services that can do laundry pick up and laundry delivery for you? No more training needed, and you can always guarantee superior quality of work.

Commercial laundry services may seem like an additional cost for businesses, but really it is the other way around. Especially if you are in the hospitality industry, nothing beats superior laundry quality when it comes to providing optimum cleanliness for your hotel’s facilities.

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