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The Benefits of Being A Loner

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Being a loner doesn’t mean you’re weird or socially impaired. It just means you don’t need to put up with other people’s drama. You’re independent and you don’t need a huge circle of friends to get on with life. Here are the other benefits of choosing to be on your own.

You don’t need a lot of people for important events.
That doesn’t mean you don’t want the whole world to know how happy you are. It’s just that you choose to share it only with the people who matter. Loners don’t have a lot of friends but they’re known to form the most enduring of friendships and close family ties. Nothing is wrong with sharing the most important, both happy and sad, moments of your life with your immediate family and a few people who will genuinely share your happiness or grief.

You don’t need shallow friendships.
Meaningful friendship doesn’t come from numbers. Most friendships are based on common interests, delusions and illusions in life. It takes a number of people to sustain the illusion that you’re part of a happy group. Some people use friendship to fill in missing relationships that they cannot experience at home. When the time comes, however, new obligations and opportunities come up and most of these friendships don’t survive.

Your time is your own to enjoy.
Whenever you feel like going out, there is no need to talk and compromise. Even the closest of friends don’t agree on everything or like the same things. If you’re alone, you don’t need to waste time deciding where to eat, where to shop, which movies to watch or which music to listen to. You also have more time to think about life in general. You don’t feel awkward being alone in public places.

You are a good observer and listener.
Observing people can be as insightful as meaningful conversations. Observers can often be good judges of characters. Loners can see a lot of things other less introspective people don’t about themselves. You’re a good listener and can often catch details that others miss. Your powers of observation allows you to see the drama-seeking people you want to stay away from.

You’re not shy, you just take your time.
Being a loner is often equated to being shy as well, but that is not always true. You’re well aware that not everyone can relate to you. It’s not being selfish, but you do admit that some people are unnecessarily making their lives complicated and so you want to stay away as far as possible. That is why most of the great thinkers in history were loners. They were seen as lunatics by some because, but it was during their alone time that they came up with ideas.

You’re independent and strong.
Loners have a tendency to over-think and get lonely sometimes. It’s also difficult to build relationships because you don’t open up easily, but not having to deal with drama means you don’t bring others into your problems too. You don’t depend on anyone for help and if you’re disappointed, you don’t need to bring others down with you.

Reading Fiction: A Way to Happiness and Creativity?

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A lot of people opt to read fiction over other genres of literature. While it is primarily based on the author’s imagination, it allows the readers to be submerged onto the world that was created in between the pages of the book. As a reader, you also somehow become a part of the story that was unfolding with every chapter. You empathize with the characters, and sometimes even view them as friends you never had.

There are reasons why fiction is an appealing read to most audiences. For one, it becomes a creative escape from reality. It can range from mundane to mythical, which involves unicorns, dragon-slaying heroes, and other legendary elements— with the sky as the limit. It allows readers to explore other worlds even if these stories exist only in one’s imagination. Aside from that, there are also other reasons as to why reading fiction can be beneficial for you.

1. It expands our experiences and world view
The thing with fiction is that it allows us to experience adventures and situations which expands beyond the mundane life. Even if it exists only in our minds, we are able to visualize these mythical worlds accordingly. We get to experience other people’s lives (even if they are fictional) and with that, we also enrich the way we view the world.

2. We gain empathy
Since we put ourselves in the shoes of some characters when we read fiction, we grow our capacity for empathy in the process. We begin to understand why these characters have made various decisions in their lives and what pushed them to do so in the first place. A lot of factors come to play in analyzing each character which enables us to understand people better.

3. It makes us appreciate human experiences more
Fiction retells mundane life narratives in such a manner that makes us appreciate them better. Through beautiful, detailed descriptions, it gives depth to the things we usually take for granted and these images intensify the way we experience the world surrounding us.

4. Reading fiction effectively reduces stress
Even if we get carried away by the thrilling events unfolding in fiction books at times, reading fiction is actually an effective way to reduce stress levels. It is on par with other activities such as taking a brisk walk or listening to your favorite playlist. Reading fiction works wonders in easing the body’s stress because it diverts the mind to concentrate on another distraction.

5. Fiction improves our vocabulary and language
Because of the creative nature of fiction, it is not a surprise to find flowery expressions, literary devices, and metaphors embedded in these stories. The more we read them, the more we adapt a vocabulary and form of language which can help us express ourselves better. Learning a greater variety of words also allows us to connect with others more.

Tips on How to Develop a Regular Reading Habit

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Reading can be a very worthwhile activity to spend your off-days and free time with. Setting aside the required book reports we have to submit for school, a good book can actually teach us in ways we could never fathom possible. It can offer us lifelong lessons along with a glimpse beyond our daily mundane lives. While we are swamped with paper works, we can always find a quick escape in reading.

However, reading can be a habit which is hard to get into — especially if you’re not that interested in the book you’re reading or if you are basically forcing yourself through it. The good news is: there are a number of ways to cultivate a regular reading habit. This article will present a few practical tips which can help you become a bibliophile.

1. Allot time in the day for reading
It is understandable how our tight schedule leaves us little to no room for recreational activities. But even if we are swamped with tasks, projects, and other commitments, spending as brief as 15 minutes each day for reading can already pave the way. It is ideal to put it in your schedule so you won’t forget. You can read even on the commute on your way to work, too.

2. Find your quiet, reading place
A quiet place can be very conducive for reading. Find a corner in your house where you can sit comfortably and enjoy reading without any interruptions. To minimize distractions, stay away from the television or computer. Keep distance from your noisy roommates or family members, as well. It is important that you find yourself comfortably in your reading place, hence if you can’t find one peaceful corner in your house then you may create one.

3. Create a reading list
If you don’t know where to start, it is best to conduct a little research on authors or genres you are interested in. Figuring out what you like will increase your chances at devoting time to read. Start by making a list filled with interesting books and short stories, but don’t pressure yourself as you work your way through it. Read at your own preferred pace.

4. Turn it into a pleasurable experience
Reading can turn to be your favorite time of the day especially if you turn it into something pleasurable. For one, you can always accompany yourself with tea or coffee while you read. You can also indulge on sweet treats. Envelope yourself with a blanket while reading to make the experience cozy. Or better yet, read while enjoying a quick stroll at the park or at the beach.

5. Minimize distractions
Sometimes, we are all too busy watching TV or browsing the internet to even read. While cutting back on these activities may seem hard to most people, doing so will give you more time for reading. You can even gain additional hours of reading time from refraining to do these distractions!

3 Movies for Melancholic Days

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Movies are truly a wonderful thing. They paint pictures and help us live different lives as either a participant or an observer of another world, life, and story. It is only fair that we have different movies for different moods. Sometimes, we just feel a little melancholic. We can’t help it. Sometimes we just want to watch a gloomy movie. Now, what do we mean when we say gloomy movies? Well, we focus on the perplexed, melancholic, and almost confusing emotions strung out by the film which beg us to sit down to process the actual emotions which we are feeling.

Here are a few good movies you can watch when you’re in a plaintive mood:

1. The Graduate
The Graduate is a brilliant story about a newly-turned man who has just graduated college and finds himself rather clueless as to what to do next. Out of boredom and desperation, he then slowly finds himself in bed with an unusual affair which may not seem that complicated at first, but then his recklessness slowly catches up on him. From the confusing emotions to the almost perfect but slightly distorted perspectives, this movie is a great digest.

2. 500 Days of Summer
500 Days of Summer is a modern movie that hasn’t done so well during it’s launching but over the years has turned into a cult classic. The film makes brilliant use of foreshadowing and time to cause confusion as to who is wrong and who is right. The movie makes such a brilliant use of comparison which allows you to see both the bright side and the gloomy side of the story. Even the final words of the film are ironic but play beautifully as the film screams out that things aren’t what they seem.

3. Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society is a rather classic movie with a very linear but beautifully written plot. The climactic lines and somewhat dark but radiant settings beg you to unlock the inner artist or at least the part of you which sought beauty within every word. This movie is truly a classic and will be remembered throughout time.

These three movies are but a few of movies you could watch on a rather gloomy mood. Not only do these movies feed your melancholic cravings, these movies may keep you entertained for days as the perplexed situation might leave a sting of interest at the back of your mind. Sometimes happiness isn’t the only reason why we are moving forward. Sometimes it is through curiosity and appreciation that we take our next couple steps in life. These movies may beg you to sit down and think, but once you’ve stood up again, you’ll see the world in a totally different perspective.

The State of Modern Rap and Hip-Hop

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Rap has been a part of our culture worldwide as the youth listen to songs from all around the world connecting to one another through generational music. It’s safe to say that a certain trend of music usually defines the entire generation and rap and hip-hop have played a huge role in today’s music. Although there have been a lot of trends that have come and gone, hip-hop is still widely appreciated and respected.

Even in Singapore, the youth are very involved in hip-hop music. The older generations on the other hand still have a hard time getting into the modern style of music as they haven’t been used to the genre. Hip-hop and pop music has been going hand-in-hand throughout the 2000s as most of the popular songs turn out to be hip-hop. Amazingly, hip-hop has even managed to top over alternative music which is a common favorite of pop chart ratings.

Among the pop chart ratings, it’s easy to spot a couple of hip-hop tracks along with the mainstream pop songs. Even in hip-hop, there has been a lot of change and arguments as to the modern day hip-hop which we experience nowadays. There’s been a lot of debate going on as to if the new style of rapping which is known as “mumble rap” is actually acceptable.

Well, this debate has been going on and new rappers usually get disrespected because of their unorthodox way of mumbling the lyrics instead of actually verbalizing them. Sometimes as a listener, it becomes a bit hard to differentiate the two because of how music continuously changes and evolves. From one specific structure to another, music is constantly changing even to the point that we aren’t able to differentiate the original genre of our music anymore.

The modern rappers have started a trend of simplifying their lyrics. Instead of a complicated long verse or chorus, they would just talk about things that may seem light and then add a line or two about things that are really deep. Basically the new school rappers do not like talking as much and would rather focus on the things they want to focus on.

Rap is a means of communication and the way the new school rappers rap sort of reflects how our generation talks to each other. Instead of depth, we focus on highlight. Instead of getting connected, we fall into intimacy really quick. Maybe with this analogy, you’ll appreciate modern rappers more. Give it a shot, who knows, you might actually like them. Music is music no matter what language you are speaking. Sometimes you don’t need to understand music, sometimes you just need to appreciate it.

5 Tricks to Nailing That No-Makeup Makeup Look


Although its name suggests pulling off an au naturel look, it’s no secret that achieving this effortless look actually requires the actual use of makeup. In fact, it’s even more difficult to keep the coverage to a minimum while aiming to achieve that flawless finish. To help you master the art of barely-there makeup, we asked a group of professional makeup artists to share the tricks of the trade – and some of those tricks are as follows:

1. Powder and Conceal Only Where Needed
Opting for a heavy-coverage foundation will only ruin your chances of achieving this look before you even begin. Your goal is to keep things to a minimum – especially the coverage – so you can make your beauty look appear as natural as possible.

2. Highlight the High Points of Your Face
Achieve that healthy-looking skin by getting your highlighting game on point. Ideally, you should apply your highlighter where the light naturally hits your face, such as the centre part of your lids, the high points of your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, the inner corner of your eyes, and on your cupids bow. With this, you’ll achieve that healthy glow you’ve always wanted.

3. Apply Bronzer on Your Lids
Use your bronzer as an alternative to your usual eyeshadow. To pull off the au naturel look, simply ditch your usual greys and pinks for a more neutral palette to give your peepers just enough tinge of colour.

4. Wear a Thin Coat of Mascara
Let your pretty doe eyes take the centre stage, but don’t overdo it by wearing a set of bold falsies. If you’re blessed with lashes that are long enough, simply applying a coat or two of your favourite mascara will do the trick; if you want to look a bit dolled up, however, then opt for individual lashes that you may customize as you see fit.

5. Use the Right Lipstick Shade
Most celebrity makeup artists use lipstick as a blush to maintain the skin texture, as well as to make the beauty look appear uniform. The key here is to choose and use a lipstick shade that’s closest to your natural lip colour, and use it on your cheeks and lips to achieve a consistent soft wash of colour.

Mastering the no-makeup beauty look isn’t that difficult and tricky if you just know the basic do’s and don’ts of the said makeup look. So be sure to keep these tricks in mind, and you’ll be able to nail that barely-there look with so much ease.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Hormonal Acne


Getting acne breakouts during that time of the month can be a real drag, especially if you’re experiencing menstrual cramps along with it. But while it seems inevitable, there are actually a lot of ways on how you can help yourself in lessening the severity of your monthly breakouts. Here, we listed down some of the best ways on how you could possibly keep your hormonal spots at bay.

1. Switch Up Your Diet
One way of dealing with your hormonal acne is to tweak your diet. You can start by eliminating dairy milk – especially skim milk – from your diet, as it contains pimple-producing hormones. If you need to continue drinking milk, opt for a healthier and tastier alternative like almond milk. Aside from milk, you should also limit your consumption of high glycaemic index foods like pasta, rice and white bread.

2. Augment With Supplements
While going on a healthy diet can make a major difference in your health and skin, remember that you can always use some extra help. Supplements like chlorophyll, spirulina, zinc and fish oils are known to help control oil, replenish lipids and detoxify the skin. So be sure to take these supplements consistently to achieve a healthier and more resilient skin.

3. Drink Green Tea
Drinking green tea offers a lot of health benefits, and improving your skin’s condition is another reason to just guzzle a cup of this drink. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants that help fight off inflammation, unstable insulin level, and increased hormonal levels – all of which contribute to the appearance of hormonal acne. To get the best results, ensure that you drink three cups of green tea a day.

4. Consume Good Bacteria
Eat a yogurt with live and active cultures or take a probiotic supplement once a day. Probiotics work by helping your gut in easing inflammation that triggers a myriad of skin problems, including acne.

5. Prevention is the Key
The best way to treat acne is to prevent it before it even appears – and with hormonal acne, you can pretty much guess when and where the zits will pop. So use this knowledge to your advantage and start applying acne-fighting products several days before your period starts. Opt for cleansers that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to spot treat your zits.

Bad habits are definitely challenging to break, but making small lifestyle changes such as eating healthier and supplementing your diet will certainly help in doing wonders both for your skin and your overall health.

5 Factors to Consider Before Moving Out


As you start your journey to adulthood, you might already be considering the idea of moving out. Perhaps you’re also considering it because of your desire to be independent or things like heavy traffic. But before spending your savings to rent your own place, ensure that you first consider all the adjustments and changes you need to deal with independent. Here are five things you should consider before you get your own space.

1. Expenditures

Paying your rent isn’t the only thing you need to consider when you decide to move out of your home. There are bills, groceries, association dues and other expenses that you might not have thought about. For that reason, ensure that you list down everything you need to start spending on before deciding to leave your family home. Doing this will certainly give you an idea about what your expenses will be and prepare you financially for when you move out.

2. Location of Your Space

Other than the extra expenses, the location of your potential condo is another important factor to consider before deciding to move out. Are there any convenience stores or supermarkets that are close to the place? Is your office close enough? Do you see some sketchy people hanging out across the street? Answer these questions by exploring the area and deciding whether or not you’ll feel comfortable living in it.

3. Furniture or Appliances

Perhaps you think that you can get away by bringing furniture from your family home and moving them to your new place – but do understand that you can’t take everything with you. Your best option is to browse through buy-and-sell websites to purchase new or pre-loved furniture at a fraction of the cost. You can work on your interior over time, since the first thing you need to ensure when you’re moving out is that you feel comfortable and at-home in your new nook.

4. Things You’ll Give Up

If you’re planning to live away from your family, then there’s a good chance that you won’t be eating home-cooked meals on a regular basis. You might end up missing your mom’s cooking after bingeing on fast food meals for a week. This means you’ll need to invest in some good cooking tools if you want to copy your favourite homemade dishes.

5. Things You Need to Start Doing

Other than letting go of some things or activities you used to do in your family, getting your own space also allows you to start doing the things you’ve always wanted to do. Having your own place means you have every right do whatever hobby you like, so better start shopping all the things you need to pursue your passion.

Gaining independence may seem intimidating, but it does have its own perks. You might need to give up some of your comfort you used to enjoy, but your efforts will certainly be worth it later on.

A Guide to Efficiently Use Pinterest for Your Business


You created a Pinterest page for your business. That’s a good move, but are you really using it to its full advantage? Knowing the right Pinterest strategy will help you in gathering followers and reaching your business goals faster. But how can you ensure that you’re making the most out of your Pinterest boards? Simply put the following tips to work.

1. Fill Out Everything in Your Profile

This may sound basic, but a good number of people actually skip this step. To get the most benefit out of Pinterest, ensure that your profile is completely filled with the information about your business, along with the links to your Facebook page or any other networking site that you prefer. It’d also be a good idea to set your company logo as the primary photo if you’re working with a team. If you’re running your business on your own, however, then it’d be better to use your own photo. Clients would normally want to see the face behind the brand, especially with small businesses.

2. Show Variety in Your Pins

Although it’s crucial that you promote your business, it’s also important that you post ideas, resources and other websites that your followers might find useful. Consider it as stitching the best resources together to help establish a better social media following.

3. Develop Unique and Specific Boards

A lot of businesses in Pinterest create boards with general topics. This may appeal to the general audience at first, but they’ll likely turn into something generic later on. So instead of following this trend, choose to be specific and unique with your boards so you could create more buzz. A good example is, instead of a generic recipe board, create a marshmallow recipe board.

4. Personalize Your Account

Instead of sticking with topics that fall within your business’s niche, consider showing a little of your personality in your Pinterest account. Aside from creating boards that might interest your potential clients, develop a board that enables your followers to know who you really are. Create boards about your dream travel destinations, your travel plans, or the moments when you’re having a good time with your family.

5. Use It as a Collaborative Tool

Pinterest is now considered as a great way for people working on the same project to share ideas, images and other resources – especially now that the networking site already allows its users to develop private boards. So if you’re planning to hold a conference or an event, make the most out of this site by getting ideas from all over the web.

Using Pinterest to full advantage is actually quite easy. All you’ve got to do is be creative with your boards and your pins, and you’ll surely be able to reach your business goals in no time.

How to Look Great in Patterned Suits



It’s pretty easy to get dressed in plain suits. Patterned or printed suits are much trickier to pull off, but keep in mind these fashion tips and you’ll surely turn heads—for good reasons—anywhere you go.



Pinstripe is the perfect business suit. It’s a style that’s very popular in the 1920s, but today it’s a little more refined. The key to finding the perfect pinstriped suit is in the stripes. Look for pencil-thin stripes as this gives you a more laidback yet stylish look. There are many different colours to choose from, but navy blue is the most recommended as its versatile, which you can wear from day to night. To complete the look, pair your pinstripe suit with crisp white button-down shirt and dark brown suede monk-strap shoes.


This is perhaps the most flamboyant suit pattern because of its boldness. This type of pattern can be worn as sports and casual jacket or as a whole suit. If you’re brave and feeling bolder, team your windowpane patterned suit with a gingham small chequered button down shirt. Paired with black loafers, a gray windowpane suit would be perfect for any meeting.


This is an iconic suit pattern and is usually seen on blazers and sports jackets. Glencheck is very popular in colder months as it is often seen on woollen fabrics. When dressing up a glencheck suit, it’s ideal to match it with a plain button down shirt instead of a printed or patterned one to avoid overdoing the look. If wearing a navy glencheck, a plain white shirt and black derbys would look exquisite. If going for a grey glencheck, a light blue under shirt and brown oxfords would be an ideal match.


These patterns are often found on jackets and coats and on wool or tweed fabrics to give the material a luxurious and thick feel. A charcoal houndstooth suit looks just appropriate for the office. To complete your look, go match your houndstooth suit with a white button down and a pair of black brogues.

Tips to Wear It Right

  • Your printed suit is already the focal point of your look. So, avoid wearing more eye-catching pieces if you don’t want to look sloppy.
  • Always keep your inner shirt simple. You can never go wrong with a crisp, white dress shirt.
  • If you want to pull off a patterned-on-patterned look, pair a small-patterned suit (like thin stripes) with large-patterned shirt (like larger chequered). If the suit is in larger patterns, balance it with small-patterned shirt.
  • Wear it with confidence. Being stylish isn’t just about the clothes you wear, but also about how you carry yourself.

Patterned suits may be intimidating, but with the right know-how, you’ll realize that pulling it off is no rocket science. The next time you need to attend an event or a meeting, get out of your comfort zone and try this updated and sophisticated look.

Foods to Avoid During Lactation


You are serious about breastfeeding your baby so you researched about the food that can ensure steady supply of breast milk. However, it is equally important that you are aware of the foods to avoid so you won’t commit the mistake of consuming it. Yes, there are foods that you should avoid. Just think that it is best for the baby and avoiding it for a certain period of time won’t hurt you so bad.

Here are the foods to avoid during lactation:

  • Fish with high mercury content: Your baby ingests mercury through you. It is therefore important that you examine your diet. Mercury can have an effect on the development of the baby. Fishes with high mercury content include shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tile fish. Instead of eating these fishes, you can consider healthy ones like shrimp, tuna, salmon, cod, catfish and tilapia. Do not worry because these fishes are readily available here in Singapore.
  • Alcohol: It is fine to have an occasional glass or beer or wine. There is a study that two units of wine or beer once or twice a week will not harm the baby but if you consume more than that, it will lead to abnormal weight gain, drowsiness and impeding of supply of breast milk. If you want to be sure, do not think about alcohol at least for a few years while the baby is still breastfeeding.
  • Caffeine: It is understandable that you want that jolt because of the late night sleep but consuming caffeine is not the solution. The good news is that it is safe to drink your cup of coffee or tea but limit it to only two to three cups every day. More than three cups can lessen haemoglobin levels as well as iron levels in the breast milk.


  • Chocolate: Chocolate holds theobromine – a substance that has similar effect of caffeine. It is okay to consume small quantities but if it is more than 750 mg of theobromine, the baby will surely exhibit fussy and erratic behaviour. This will result to sleeping problems.
  • Sage: if you do not want your lactation to be reduced, do not think about consuming safe. Sage is famous to reduce lactation and it is known to help mothers with weaning. You should be careful consuming high amounts of this herb as it can affect your milk supply.
  • Peanuts: If you are aware that your family has this peanut allergy, you have to avoid it as the baby will ingest it resulting to complications. If you want to eat peanuts, at least wait until you wean.

7 European-Inspired Restaurants to Visit in Singapore



Known for its world-class restaurants, Singapore has a lot to offer for food enthusiasts looking to try something different. But food trips can be hard on your wallet. Why can’t we have good food at reasonable prices? We list down seven that specialize in European cuisine at prices you can afford.

  1. Binomio

Binomio is ideal for family or group gatherings. It has a fine-dining area perfect for group meals and the tapas bar for those looking to try a little bit of everything the restaurant has to offer. Binomio lets its diners experience authentic Spanish dining as it uses only traditional ingredients and cooking methods.

  1. Ola Cocina del Mar

Another excellent Spanish-inspired restaurant. Ola Cocina del Mar is located at Marina Bay Financial Centre. Don’t let its location in the heart of the banking and financial center stop you. It is a must-see place for its paella and tapas and is known for its friendly crew.

  1. Blu Kouzina

Blu Kouzina is an authentic Greek restaurant known for its Taramosalata. Its menu boasts of affordable and fair servings ranging from appetizers to main courses that can be enjoyed by a lone foodie or a group. Blu Kouzina serves only authentic Greek dips and sauces. Not only will Bluu Kouzina satisfy your craving for a Mediterranean adventure. The restaurant is also visually satisfying with its modern Greek ambiance.

  1. Etna

The list would not be complete without at least one Italian restaurant. Etna specializes in contemporary Italian dishes and select wines for that complete experience. With a wide range of authentic pizzas to choose from, the trip is worth it. They serve dishes with imported ingredients from Italy. Not only that, the great service will make you want to some back for more.

  1. Tatsuya

Tatsuya has been around for some time. Its success come from premium servings of excellent Japanese food. One of its best is the Bara Chirashi don set. Visit Tatsuya for its menu sets at half the prices.

  1. Esquina

Known as one of the restaurants to first serve ‘small plates,’ Esquina boasts of its modern Spanish tapa dishes. It is located near post-war buildings, creating an ambiance that goes well with the food. Esquina also changes its menu regularly, offering more choices for the diners with every visit.

  1. Le Bistrot du Sommelier

What better way to enjoy French cuisine than with wine? In fact, Le Bistrot du Sommelier’s philosophy is for the customers to enjoy good food and excellent wine at a friendly price. They even have wine-tasting events for the oenophiles (wine lovers).

You need not go somewhere. You can find the best of the world in Singapore.

5 Book Series for the Jaded Fantasy Fan



The success of the television adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series – a.k.a. HBO’s Game of Thrones – has placed the high fantasy sub-genre in a spotlight. High fantasy is just one of the many specialized fantasy genres that exists. Other successful screen adaptations like The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series have inspired others like them over the last decade.

Because of its popularity, it has become a tendency for some fantasy series to use the same themes and character tropes over and over again. With so many books to choose from, how do you pick those that have something new to offer? This list will guide you to some of the hidden gems in fantasy.

  1. Malazan Book of the Fallen series

Tired of the usual humans, dwarves, elves and orcs that have saturated the genre? This 10-book series by Steven Erikson, with a 6-book complementary series by Ian C. Esslemont, is a breath of fresh air. However, a word of caution: this is perhaps the most complex and ambitious series by far. But with huge battle scenes, a complicated world building and shape-shifting dragons, the reward will surely be worth the journey.

  1. A Land Fit for Heroes by Richard Morgan

This trilogy is unique for its lead character Ringil. Not your usual macho hero who embodies the chivalric, ideal warrior, Riingil has many enemies and always finds himself in trouble. The book also features an alien race and is an alternate world of another science fiction trilogy by the same author.

  1. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Looking for a story that isn’t science fiction but includes an entire planet? Sanderson’s Mistborn will satisfy your needs for a post-apocalyptic empire filled with strange magic. The action scenes are a treat, the characters unforgettable, and the events leading to the ending are an emotional ride.

  1. The Black Company by Glen Cook

What makes this series so special is the limited point of view of the lead character and narrator. Cook managed to describe a complex society ravaged by wars and magic through a veteran soldier’s eyes. Unlike A Song of Ice and Fire, The Black Company is told from the POV not of a nobly-born character, but of an ordinary soldier with neither magical nor special physical abilities. He’s not even some destined hero like Harry Potter.

  1. The Bas-Lag novels by China Mieville

In the world of Bas-Lag, steampunk technology and magic co-exist. The three books, Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council, do not necessarily make one series, but are three different stories in the same world. While it may be considered more as science fiction with elements of horror than fantasy, the reader will find the same familiar elements in its magic and world building. Readers will enjoy the political and geographical complexity of Bas-Lag. It is unlike any reading experience.

A Simple Guide in Choosing Safe Skin Products



You will be surprised to know that every day the average person rubs, sprays and lathers at least ten different skin care products on his/her body. Remember that the skin is not barrier from these products instead it acts like a sponge – it absorbs the chemicals you apply. Cosmetics manufacturers claim that these chemicals are harmless because of small doses.

But when you think about it, you accumulate such chemicals every day. When it piles up to your body, what happens then? The truth is, no one really knows what these chemicals can do over time. There are no studies that explored its effects. There are many cosmetic companies here in Singapore and it is important that they explore the effects of such chemicals over time.

You haven’t heard someone getting sick because of using a mascara or body wash but the point here is to make sure that the chemicals do not harm you and the environment in the long run. Knowing this, you have to know how to choose the safest skin products. Here is a simple guide:

  • Do not overdo it: Being simple will make your life less stressful. There are many people who are easily enticed to buy products. That is the work of marketers but you have to be aware that sometimes, the results will vary. Do not be fooled by marketers. You need to simplify your regimen. All you need is a cleanser, toner, moisturizer and sunscreen. Other things like creams, potions and lotions are just costs you can do away with.

  • Do not consider fragrance: You opt for products with fragrance because it smells good leaving you feeling good. You have to be aware though that fragrance can contain toxic chemicals that can enter to the body. Artificial fragrances contain phthalates that can cause allergies. Always choose products that are fragrance-free.


  • Do not fall for trends: Again, do not fall for crazy trends and advertising because most of the time, it won’t do you any good. Remember that there is no easy solution on your skin problems and that skin care is a matter of consistency not the products.


  • Make your own skin care treatments: What is the best way to regulate the things that you skin absorbs? You have to make your own skin care treatments. Skin care treatments are just around you if you know what or where to look. This will save you more money plus the feeling of safety. For example, in making face mask, you can combine coconut oil and honey. For your acne, green tea toner can make a difference. You just have to look closely.

Training Healthy and Active Kids



It is crucial that you raise healthy and active kids because it can help them in the conduct of their everyday lives. Parents here in Singapore are encouraged to spend time caring for their kids and move toward a healthier and active lifestyle. There are many ways that you can do to raise fit kids.

Speaking of fit kids, there is an international research conducted by Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in collaboration with University of North Dakota that identified the fittest kids in the world. The study’s respondents were 1,142,026 kids aged 9 to 17 from 50 countries. To measure the fitness of the kids, the team placed them in a 20 meter shuttle run test or also called Beep Test.

The Beep Test is the most common test to gauge the aerobic fitness of children and teens. The results will amaze you. The fittest kids in the world (in order) are Tanzania, Iceland, Estonia, Norway and Japan. Canada on the other hand is at number 19 while America is at 47. The least fit is Mexico.

With this in mind, it is important that you keep your children healthy and active. Here are the trainings that you can consider for your kids:

  • Aerobic training: Whether your kids are interested in sports or not, it is crucial that you make them do aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises include running, walking and swimming. Ideally, children (including adults) should at least do a 30-minute aerobic activity every day. Aerobic training is good kind of exercise because it can increase the endurance of the muscles thereby making the circulation of oxygen by the heart effective.

  • Strength training: You think that your kids do not need this and that is where you are wrong, Strength training like pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups should be encouraged as a part of strength training because it can make the muscles strong. If the muscles are strong, it will protect your kids from having serious injuries. You need to consider exercise that will contract the muscles through resistance. Do not ever leave your kids without your supervision.


  • Flexibility training: You have to train your kids that if they do strenuous activities, they need to stretch first. Stretching is actually part of flexibility training.


That is everything you need to make your kids fit. There will come a day that Singapore will be the number one fittest children in the world. There are many benefits of getting fit so let your kids fully understand it.

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