The Art of Drinking Champagne

Jul 17

Champagne is a popular drink in parties and special events probably because of its carbonation. But have you ever wondered why it’s the preferred sparkling wine by a lot of people over other types of wine?

The name champagne is taken from the Champagne region in France where a lot of approved grape varieties are grown.

How Champagne is Made

First, the grape juice is fermented to create a base wine. Next, blending of different grapes and vintages takes place to produce the desired flavors and aroma before it undergoes a second fermentation. In some companies, the still wine, sugar, and yeast is added to the wine. The second fermentation process can take up to 8 weeks.

Lees aging is essential to vintage wines, which means that a minimum of three years is a requirement after the second fermentation. For non-vintage wines, a 15-month ageing is required. Then, riddling is done to push the dead yeast cells to the neck of the bottle. This is them removed by dipping the bottle neck into a solution. Whatever is lost in the disgorgement is replaced with a sugar mixture which can affect the sweetness.

Champagne and Food Pairings

Champagne is versatile that is why you will never have a shortage of food to go with it, but to get the most of its acidity and fruity flavors, it is best paired with fruity, meaty, savory, and gamy-flavored food. Champagne goes well with fatty and rich food such as linguini, clams, roasted seeds, garlic chicken, mascarpone, scallops, crab ceviche, duck, pea soup, vegetable salads, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, rabbit ragu, blue cheese, short ribs, fried mushrooms, macaroni and cheese, chicken sandwich, fish tacos, red bean chili, fresh spring rolls, and many more.

When it comes to dessert, champagne can be paired with lemon shortcakes, nut tarts, pumpkin flan, strawberry souffle, French macaroons, beet and burrata toasts, toasted almonds, cheesecake, raspberries, peach cobbler, and chocolate.

Champagne Cocktails to Try

Most alcoholic drinks are best enjoyed in cocktails during special events. Next time you run out of ideas, try these champagne cocktails instead.

  • Classic Champagne: champagne, 1 sugar cube, angostura bitters, and lemon twist/orange twist for garnish
  • B2C2: 6 ounces brut champagne, 1 ½ ounces brandy, 1 ½ ounces Benedictine, and 1 ½ ounce cointreau
  • Aristocrat Sparkling Punch: 2 bottles brut champagne, ½ cup sugar, 1 bottle burgundy, 4 ounces brandy, 1 quart sparkling water, 1 block of ice, and strawberries and oranges for garnish
  • French 75: 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar syrup, 50 mL gin, champagne, and lemon zest for garnish
  • Kir Royale: 1 tablespoon crème de cassis, champagne, and frozen blackberry for garnish
  • Ernest Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon: 4 ounces brut champagne, 1 ½ ounces absinthe, and ice
  • Grand Royal: 4 parts champagne, ¾ part Grand Marnier, and orange twirl for garnish
  • Mimosa: 4 ounces brut champagne and 2 ounces orange juice
  • Air Mail: 5 ounces brut champagne, 2 ounces golden rum, 1 teaspoon honey, ½ ounce lime juice, and cracked ice
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The Definitive Guide to Reducing Dust in Your Home for Good

Mar 14

Dust is a problem in every household, but when no amount of sweeping could get rid of the bunnies and cobwebs, it’s time to know why exactly they keep coming to every corner of your small abode so you can finally get rid of them better and for longer, and see your home dust-free.

Where Dust Comes From

Most of the dust you see in your home actually comes from outside, such as soil, plants, and animals. Tiny debris and hairs can stick from your clothes or your shoes, and can be deposited in different corners around your house.

But dust can also come from your skin. Because you replace skin cells every day, the dead cells in your epidermis eventually surface to the top and flake off. This is especially true for the ones at your scalp.

Because dust particles are so small, they tend to float around in the air for a while before settling on the ground or on any surface.

Sweeping and Dusting

Surprisingly, while it’s important that you do so when you can, sweeping the floor doesn’t actually remove the dust but shifts it in different places that can be easier or harder to access.

With feather dusters, this is made even worse since the dust simply sticks instead of being brushed away, which makes them not viable for cleaning at all.

The best way to get rid of dust is to use your broom from your ceiling, to the higher spots on your furniture, and then working your way down. Once all the dust and cobwebs are settled on the floor, you can use a vacuum cleaner to gather the dust more easily.

It also helps if you wipe down dusty areas in your house with a clean, damp rag (this is also where you can use floor cleaner to get rid of tough stains) after sweeping and vacuuming. 

Your Fabrics, Welcome Mats, and Carpeting

As much as they make your house or room look pretty, your fabrics and textiles can also be the biggest reason why your humble abode is still dusty no matter how much you clean it.

Regular cleaning is your solution if this is your problem. The best way you can go about this is by doing so on a schedule. For mats, you can clean them every other week (depending on how heavily they are used), while carpets and curtains can be cleaned once a month.

At the end of the day, dust will still keep coming into your home, but regular cleaning allows you and your family to take a deep breath and truly enjoy living in a dust-free environment.

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A Quick Guide to Choosing Furniture for Your Living Room (or any Room in Your Home)

Mar 14

Whether you plan on living alone or moving to another place with your family, furnishing your home is an important task that could make or break your experience living there.

Not only will it be the first thing you notice when you arrive after a long day, but the living room will also be a place everyone will spend time in, whether they’re guests or family members. So when you choose what furniture to get, it’s important that it works for everyone.

Here’s how you can start choosing the right furniture for your home (no matter how big or small):

Making Plans

Start by draw up a rough sketch of your living room and measuring its dimensions using a tape measure. This will help you visualize the type of furniture you want for your living room.

This should also be the part where you start checking and measuring your doorways – the last thing you want to happen is when your shelves or tables can’t even fit through the door.

Know the Basics

You’ll find that the following pieces of furniture are standard and coordinated in practically every household in Singapore:

  • Sofa – This is perhaps the biggest piece in your living room that seats multiple people, but if your space is rather small for a large sofa (or if a sofa can’t fit through your door), you can go for a loveseat instead.
  • Armchair – Armchairs are the smaller sofas. They can seat one, but have the same comfort.
  • Tables (coffee and side) – Tables do more than just keep the food off the floor – they can also be centerpieces that will draw anyone’s attention.

Other side pieces you can include in your living room include ottomans and additional tables, which can last you a long time if you choose to put in the extra cash for a high quality investment.

Furniture, Stains, and You

No matter how old or well-coordinated you are, it’s only a matter of time until you spill or make a stain on the furniture – and the same can be said for everyone sitting on your chairs or ottomans.

But the good news is that cleaning them doesn’t have to be so difficult. High-quality materials make you feel more comfortable and are far more durable than regular fabrics. Even if you’re not living with young children or pets, a high-quality investment can last you a long time.

Style vs. Function

Perhaps the most important question you will ask yourself is whether you should go for aesthetics or practicality when you’re choosing furniture for your home. When your budget is tight, this question becomes even more important.

But the good news is that you don’t have to compromise one for the other. As long as you’re willing to take the time to look (or buy them piecemeal instead of buying them all at once), you can work your way towards making your home look the way you’ve always wanted.

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Decoding a Travel Brochure

Feb 20

If you rely on brochures for booking hotels and exploring never-been-to cities, nearly everything sounds favorably for you. Phrases like “a couple of minutes away from the heart of the city,” “just within the area,” “conveniently located,” “sea side view,” etc. are like magnets for establishments, attracting as many travelers as possible. But how do you really make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of these notorious advertisement lines? Do they really mean convenience for tourists and travelers alike?

In the hopes to help every traveler out there, here are some insider tips on going through the clutter of travel brochures and how you should be reading them to avoid misconceptions.

  1. Be Skeptical

When reading travel brochures, do not immediately believe what’s written in it. Keep in mind that they are designed in a way to encourage people spend their money on a certain company. They are paid advertisement for an establishment.

  • Look for Straight-Forward Prices

While straight-forward prices often show higher figures, you know that everything is already included and that you won’t have to worry about last-minute surprises. Higher upfront process is much better than having a company prying money out of you over the course of your tour.

  • Be Careful with the Word “Area”

If the brochure says, “the hotel is located within the area,” treat this as a warning sign. Most of the time, travel advertisements downplay distances, especially when it’s about promoting accommodation facility, like hotels and inns. A hotel could be located in the outskirts of town, but still being within the area of the city.

Other terms to look out for:

Near the airport. This fact is usually true, but do you really want to stay in such facility near the airport? The short travel time from your hotel to the airport doesn’t compensate for the constant noise you have to endure every time you’re trying to take a nap.

Central Location. If you don’t mind the honking of car horns and the noise of the busy streets, then you’ll like a location that’s within the heart of the city—most likely in a marketplace, at a busy road or at a much frequented riverwalk.

Possibility to Swim. As the phrase implies, it is only a possibility to swim. In most cases, this could mean that the nearest beach is a few minutes’ drive away, could be government owned or an independent facility and does not belong to the hotel.

For the young travelers. This could be a simple accommodation without much comfort. A pub nearby, which could be fun but also very loud every single night.

Travel brochures are always handy to have, and it is smart to carry one around every time you visit a place you’ve never been to before. However, learn to filter the information you read to ensure a fun and money-smart adventure.

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The Truth About Glutathione

Feb 20

Glutathione is one of the most popular antioxidants in the modern times of medicine. Unfortunately, there is so many confusions about it. Does it really work? Is it just overhyped? Does it have more bad side effects than good effects? Below, we’ll share with you the facts that made glutathione the best antioxidant of today’s generation. Trust us, after reading this, you’d want to rush to the nearest pharmacy and get yourself a bottle of glutathione supplement.

  1. It is meant to prevent diseases

Glutathione, also scientifically know as GSH, is a natural nutrient that is produced by our body’s cells. What most people don’t know is that it was not associated with skin whitening. In 1920s, doctors used Glutathione to restore and repair enzymes. Incidentally, they have also discovered that with the use of Glutathione, the patient’s complexion has become noticeably lighter.

  • Glutathione and vitamin C is magical skin combo

Vitamin C has always been an immunity booster, but what some people do not know is that it is also great for the skin. What happens when vitamin C is combined with glutathione? Younger, lighter and healthier skin. Glutathione boosts the antioxidant properties of vitamin C, while vitamin C promotes the Glutathione levels in your body. This powerful combo helps speed up whitening of the skin.

  • Detoxifies the liver

As mentioned, glutathione is not just beneficial for the skin, but also for the liver. In medical studies, glutathione has shown to improve enzyme, protein and bilirubin levels in the bloodstream of people with non-alcoholic and alcoholic chronic fatty liver disease. Taking glutathione supplement (with the advice of a healthcare professional) can help improve the state of a fatty liver.

  • Strengthens the immune system

Glutathione helps boost the immune system by promoting the production of white blood cells in the body, since production of white blood requires the use of glutathione.

  • Reduces stress

Above all, glutathione is known to be a powerful antioxidant. This antioxidant fights the free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules in the body. With the presence of glutathione in your system, you can avoid the consequences of having unhealthy levels of free radicals, such as premature aging, fatigue, gut diseases and neurodegenerative issues.

  • It comes in many forms

The most popular forms of glutathione that people use are the pills and topical glutathione. Topical glutathione are the ones that are applied directly on the skin, such as lotions, creams, soaps, scrub, serums and deodorant.

Glutathione is one of the most powerful natural antioxidants that our body can produce. However, with stress and unhealthy diet, the body may not produce as much glutathione as needed. Fortunately, we now have supplements to help improve the GSH levels in our body. As long as you seek professional advice from your doctor, taking glutathione could be the solution for an improved overall health.

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8 Benefits of Cycling

Jan 23

Because of how easy it is to get to places and with all the scenery you can enjoy, cycling in Singapore can be quiet a pleasing experience. But cycling should be considered not just for transportation, but also the many benefits that it can give.  

1. Weight loss

It really isn’t a surprise that you lose fat from cycling. Depending on your weight and intensity of your workout, cycling for an hour can burn from about four hundred calories up to about a thousand. In addition, cycling might also be better because all our weight is supported by the saddle, as compared to jogging where all our weight falls on our lower body.

2. May protect our lungs  

It may come as a surprise but cyclists are actually less exposed to fumes or polluted air compared to drivers and passengers. It is thought that this is because cyclists are always at the side of the road, hence not directly breathing the smoke from vehicles.

3. Strengthens the heart

Cycling is a good cardio exercise as it strengthens the muscles of the heart and improves blood circulation. Doing this also helps improve our resting heart rate, which means we won’t get tired from physical activity. Cycling for even just a week already has an impact in reducing risk for heart problems.

4. Improves navigation skills

These days, it’s easy to not get lost because of GPS devices and internet. But in some places, there are times that you won’t get internet connection. This prompts you to explore and figure things out for yourself. Cycling can help us gain more knowledge on our surroundings and enhance our sense of direction.

5. Eco-friendly

One of the biggest problems of the world today is pollution. Cars, motorcycles, buses, trains, in one way or another, obviously contribute to air pollution. But a bicycle does not emit any gases as it does not need any fuel. Hence, even though just a little, you are helping to save the environment.

6. Get us places faster

If you compare them, obviously cars are faster. But there’s one crucial thing to consider- traffic. A bike will help you weave through traffic a lot easier. What about motorcycles? If you think about it, bikes are smaller than motorcycles too. There are even some bikes that are light enough to carry.

7. Promotes social interaction

There are many cycling clubs and cycling meets that happen all around Singapore. ANZA Cycling Club and Joyriders, to name a few. This provides an avenue for building friendships with other cyclists and can even guarantee a secure and safe experience when cycling around the city.

8. Helps save money

Compared to cars, bicycles are relatively inexpensive to maintain. The farther you go in a car, the more the parts wear down, hence more repairs. Bikes, of course, also need maintenance but they’re much simpler and cheaper. You also don’t need to use any money for gas when you take a bicycle.

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