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4 Crucial Tips and Tricks to Make Your First Date Incredible

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In a world that’s more inter-connected than ever, there’s one thing that stays the same: first impressions count more than you want to admit. And when it comes to dating, what with the rise of online dating platforms, Instagram pictures, and Tinder profiles, this is particularly true.

Aside from the basics (dressing well, proper hygiene, putting on a smile, etc.), here are a few ways you can make your first date go really well:

  1. Plan out your date beforehand so you have time to talk while doing something

The last thing you want to do with your date is to have to sit at a table and talk (things can get boring and awkward really quick if you run out of things to say) – find something to do!

You can always go with the time-tested formula of dinner-and-a-movie, but there are other variations, such as taking a long walk, or trying out a new bar or restaurant, or even getting tickets to a sporting event or a concert.

  • It’ okay to admit that you’re nervous

Chances are that your date is also nervous, and a moment of shared laughter can break the ice when you time it right. What’s important is that the two of you have something in common, and once you have that, the conversation can flow much more smoothly.

If you’re really concerned about being nervous to the point of being tongue-tied, focus your attention on him/her. It helps to take away just a little of the self-consciousness.

  • Prepare a list of conversation-starters

No, you don’t need to know all the right things to say. Nor do you need to write them down on paper. What you should keep in mind, however, is that your conversation-starters have to be ones that will spark interest for both you and your date.

It could basically be any question, from choice of inspiring films, to influences, to even the greatest risks they’ve taken in their lives. As long as it will have the two of you talking about your interests and opening up for hours on end, ask away!

  • Have a good time

Don’t think of the date as an obligation or as a way to get something you want. Because the first date can easily be nerve-wracking, you don’t want to add any more reasons to feel pressured and make it strained.

Instead, focus on having fun and don’t take the occasion too seriously. If the two of you feel awkward over your dinner date, don’t hesitate to pay the check and switch it up – you may simply be in need of a change of scenery.

Get to Know the Different Types of Yoga for Beginners

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There are a lot of ways you can get started into yoga, as well as different reasons for getting into it. However, there’s no need to be intimidated by the sheer number of styles – you can switch from one to another easily depending on what you’re looking for.

Yoga as Gateway and Relaxation

If you’re looking for a less rigorous style to get familiar with (or simply as a way to unwind and relax your mind and body after a long day), here are a few that you can try out:

  • Hatha Yoga – Hatha yoga classes are ideal for beginners since they offer a classic approach to breathing exercises and give you an overview of a lot of the basic poses used in the more intense yoga styles.
  • Restorative Yoga – If you’re looking to unwind and relax after a long day of work and before you go to bed, restorative yoga helps you sink deeper into relaxation and even cleanse your mind.
  • Iyengar Yoga – This particular style is known for using props to help students align their poses more safely, and is great for people who happen to be recovering from injuries and need to exercise slowly.

Yoga: High-Intensity Training

Yoga is extremely versatile as both a relaxation method and an exercise routine. If you’re looking for something that’s more intense and will make you sweat, there are also different styles of yoga that you should certainly try out:

  • Vinyasa Yoga – If you love testing your physical limits, vinyasa (which roughly translates to “place in a particular way”) is a kind of high-intensity yoga where you do a sequence of poses that link your breath to each movement.
  • Ashtanga Yoga – For this style, you will be doing a nonstop series of poses while practicing a certain breathing technique that focuses the mind and gives you better control of your breath.  
  • Bikram Yoga – This style involves doing a series of twenty-six poses in a room heated to 37 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit), so it may not be appealing to those with high blood pressure or diabetes, who are more prone to
  • Power Yoga – Being one of the most athletic styles out there, power yoga builds upper body strength as well as both flexibility and balance. It also goes by different names, such as flow or vinyasa flow.
  • Kundalini Yoga – For those looking for a more spiritual aspect of yoga, Kundalini is all about fast-moving postures and breath exercises complete with chanting, meditation, and even mantras.

Aside from the different styles of yoga, you can also find different variations of the styles depending on the teacher you sign up to.

And if you prefer to simply do these poses in the comfort of your own home, you can even look them up online – all you really need to get started are some comfortable clothes and an exercise mat, and you’re good to go!

4 Must-Know Reasons Why It’s Probably Time to Replace Your Toilet

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The bathroom might not seem like much at first and is easy enough to ignore, but quickly becomes the most important – as well as the most appreciated – whenever problems start to occur.

When it comes to your toilet, taking precautions is the best action you can take. The key is to know when to have your toilet repaired, and when to have it replaced with a new one entirely.

Here are five signs that say it’s time to do the latter:

1. It starts clogging frequently

Does your toilet need too much plunging? Is it plagued with random stoppages? Does it require maintenance too often?

If your answer to these questions is “yes”, then it’s definitely time to start looking for a new one, and there’s no need to worry – you don’t even have to give up on your water savings, since many toilets are low-flush and are more efficient in using water.

2. There’s a crack/scratch in the porcelain

There are times when even tiny cracks start to develop in the tank or bowl of a toilet, and you can barely see them. But if you do see any hairline cracks or scratches, ditch the toilet right away and get a new one.

This is because these even hairline cracks can be the source of active leaks or bathroom flooding at the worst possible time, while scratches can make your toilet even more difficult to clean.

3. Your toilet is really old

Some plumbers might say that toilets can last up to fifty years, but you should still have yours replaced if you just moved in to your new home and that the one your bathroom has is older than you.

By doing this, you not only avoid any potential problems with your old toilet, but you also get to switch out with a model that’s more efficient in using water.

The same should also be done if your toilet wobbles. While it may be due to a loose screw or two, it may also be because of water damage or rot.

4. Inefficient flushing

The last thing you want to happen, whether you live in an HDB flat or a condo unit in Singapore, is for your toilet to stop flushing properly when you need it the most.

There are different reasons why your toilet won’t flush, whether it’s clogged, there’s not enough water in the tank, or it’s because of a broken lift chain – and these issues are ones that you can take care of on your own.

However, if your toilet doesn’t flush properly no matter what you do, it may be time to replace it with a new one.

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

How to Install Hardwired Smoke Detectors for Your Home

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Smoke detectors do a great job when it comes to protecting your family from smoke and fires. However, they are usually limited only to one area. They also don’t go off in time since they tend to run out of batteries after a while, and they need to be replaced.

The best way to get the most protection from your smoke detectors is to hardwire them into a central system. Hardwiring them not only gives them a main electrical connection to function 24/7, but also gives them a back-up option in case the power fails.

Here’s how you can install hardwired smoke detectors in your home:

1. Find the best places for your smoke detectors

Start by finding the best location in your home for installing smoke detectors. Ideally, they should be placed in areas where they won’t be obstructed, such as high walls or ceiling.

These areas in your home will best benefit from having a smoke alarm installed:

  • Kitchen (away from the stove)
  • Bedroom
  • Living room

Mark these areas down using a pencil and install the boxes for the smoke detectors. You may need to use a hand drill to drill holes when working with concrete walls.

2. Install the electrical wires

Proceed to add in the electrical wires from the circuit breaker panel to the smoke detectors.

One of these wires in the box will be the live wire carrying the current from your main power source to the smoke detectors, and another will serve as the neutral or ground wire. When you’re done, keep in mind that no box should have more than two wires in them.

3. Make the connections

Install electrical wires from your circuit breaker panel or fuse box to your smoke detectors. Be sure to mark each connection using a wire nut that’s big enough to cover the exposed wires.

Before connecting the wires to each other, make sure that your circuit breakers are switched off to minimize the risk of an electric shock.

4. Install the bracket

Add the mounting brackets to the box opening and align them with the screw holes. Check to see if the wire connection goes through the bracket’s center before screwing the bracket in place.

5. Plug the feed

At the back of your smoke detector, you will find a three-pronged connection where you can attach the plug. This is especially configured so you can only plug it one way.

Once done, insert the smoke detector’s battery and connect the device to its base. Check to see if it’s snug and secure before switching on the main circuit breaker or fuse box switch.

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

Table Etiquettes in Spanish, Japanese and Italian Restaurants

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A country’s cuisine is an extension of its native culture, so it naturally follows that eating their food also means practicing the same dining etiquette and traditions.

On your next dine out, whether in a Spanish, Japanese or Italian restaurant, make sure to practice these following customs for more indulging dining experience.

Spanish

  • It’s necessary to talk

For people in Spain, meals are social events; and therefore, should be the time to socialize and chit-chat as much as possible. In fact, when there’s sudden silence over the table, expect someone to say that an angel must have passed by them.

  • It’s okay to tell white lies

it is considered impolite to refuse the food you have been served. But if you really have to, make sure you do it in a way that the host or the chef won’t get offended. The proper way to say it is to just tell them that you have already eaten or that you are already full, even if you are not.

  • Avoid talking about business

Although conversation is encouraged during meal times, talking about business is deemed inappropriate. It runs the risks of raising issues and tensions, which can ruin a good meal.

Japanese

  • Make noise while sipping the soup

The thought of making noise while sipping liquids at the table is dreadful for some, Japanese find it pleasing to hear people slurping on their food. The slurping sound signifies that the diner loves his food and is believe that the air from slurping adds flavor to the broth.

  • Avoid adding wasabi

At authentic sushi restaurants, food items that should be paired with wasabi are already added onto the dish. But if you really need an extra kick of spiciness to your sushi, brush just a tiny amount directly onto the fish.

  • It’s a no-no to pour your own drink

Japanese table etiquette is built around showing respect to your fellow diners, and one way to do this is to pour someone else’s beverage for them. Pouring your own drink prevents others from giving back the same courtesy you show them.

Italian

  • Go easy with the condiments

Italian chefs are very serious about food quality, so much that too much use of on-table condiments can be an insult to the restaurant’s chef. Instead of adding more salt and pepper to your dish, drizzle a little bit of olive oil to enhance the flavor.

  • Leave the sweet drinks for snacks

The Italians believe that sweet drinks, like sodas and fruit juices, have the tendency to mask the taste of meticulously prepared food. Water and wine are the preferred drink to accompany any dish during any meal.

Now that you’re equipped with the right table manners on each culture, you are all set to enjoy your next gastronomic adventure to some of the many international restaurants here in Singapore.

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