Best Ways to Give Yourself a Mini-Makeover

Woke up with just a few minutes to spare before leaving for work? Need to look your best for a sudden photo op? Running late for your date? Worry not though, for we listed down some tips that could help you perform mini-makeovers on yourself in less than five minutes.

1. Hair

If you wake up without enough time to take a shower or you’re stuck sweating in the summer humidity, then using dry shampoo is your best option. It can be easily applied on unwashed hair so it could immediately absorb the grease. Also, dry shampoo comes in spray or powder form that you can carry in your bag or keep at work in the event that a beauty emergency occurs.

2. Eyebrows

Don’t have the time to do a cat-eye? Then ditch it entirely and just focus on grooming your eyebrows. It only takes 10 seconds to apply some brow liner or wax to shape and fill in your eyebrows and make your peepers look great even without any eye makeup.

3. Lips

Keep a good lipstick for times when you want to make a statement with your look in just about three seconds. With this, you can easily swipe some colour on your lips that’ll have your friends and co-workers showering you with compliments. So be sure to get a gorgeous lippie that you can rely on for all occasions.

4. Nails

Whether you’re holding your morning coffee or waving at a colleague, your nails are always there ready to make a statement. So if you need to spruce them up but don’t have enough time to visit a nail salon, simply file them and practise proper cuticle care. You’ll be amazed at how much difference it can make on your nails.

5. Clothes

You might be tempted to dress down on days when you don’t have enough time to perform your usual makeup and hair routine, but that shouldn’t really be case. Instead, wear that cute new skirt or your dazzling dress to cover up for lack of makeup and hair styling. Doing so won’t only make you look better, it’s also proven to help in improving your mood.

On moments when you need to look good but is pressed for time, focus on working on one or two features in your body and do them right. The people around you will certainly notice your lovely blouse and how on fleek your brows are, and will completely overlook anything amiss.

How to Read Comics, Graphic Novels and Manga

Comics is still one of the most popular platforms of storytelling. The uninitiated mistake them for children’s books because of the drawings, but comics have inspired a lot of movies and television series not made for kids.

Parts of a Comics

Comics is reading with pictures. Unlike picture books, however, the creation process is more complicated. Picture books have illustrations to enhance reading, but comics need the illustrations to tell the story. Comics is composed of graphics, panels and text. The text are enclosed in shapes called speech bubbles. The panels or frames are like individual scenes or shots. Think of them as camera shots in a film. Sometimes, instead of a speech bubble, the comic artist will provide a narrative box for a narration or voice-over. It’s also not unusual to see bleed pages or a spread. Bleed is the term used for an image the runs off the page on all sides. There are no visible borders or gutters (the space between panels). A spread on the other hand is composed of two pages facing each other. One scene is depicted on the two pages.

What are Comics?

Comics eliminate the need for describing details. Instead they can be shown in drawings. It gives the comic artist more freedom to place a lot of details in the illustration as well as focus on the dialogue. Some argue that comics can pack more information than the text in novels. Comics are like serialized short stories. The stories are told in several volumes and will take years to complete. Comics are read from top to bottom starting at the leftmost panel.

What is a Graphic Novel?

Sometimes you’ll hear people say graphic novels instead of comics. Although the basic elements are the same, graphic novels tend to have longer and more complex stories. Graphic novels don’t take several volumes to finish one story. Unlike comics, you don’t need to go through several story arcs to complete it. Like comics, Western graphic novels are read from top to bottom starting at the leftmost panel. Graphic novels are not to be confused with visual novels which are interactive video games composed of static graphics. Visual novels are comics-style video games.

What are Manga?

Manga is the Japanese name for comics. Some comics artists (mangaka in Japanese) consider manga as graphic novels. They have a distinct artwork from the Western superhero comics and graphic novels. Manga is divided into 5 types based on the age bracket and gender of the target audience. Some argue that manga has more diverse genres compared to Western comics. Genres range from slice of life to science fiction. Manga are often adapted into animated television series called anime. You might be confused the first time you read a manga. You read manga from top to bottom like regular comics, but you begin at the rightmost panel. English translations, however, can sometimes be read from left to right.

Security Threats in VoIP

During the early days of voice over IP, there was still no major concern about security issues; businesses here in Singapore were primarily concerned with the system’s reliability, functionality and cost. Now that voice over IP has become more popular among Singapore establishments, security has now become a major concern.

Let us take a look at the threats that VoIP users face today.

Identity Theft

Theft of personal information is done to commit fraud. This can happen through responding to an e-mail whereby you are directed to a website and requested to provide personal information in order to correct issues pertaining to your bank account, credit card, online purchase, etc. Another related concern is identity spoofing, wherein a person is impersonated on social networking sites like Facebook. The purpose of identity spoofing can range from doing simple pranks to more criminal offences like online scamming.

Eavesdropping

Eavesdropping is one way hackers steal credentials and personal information. Through listening to conversations, a hacker can obtain usernames, passwords and phone numbers of employees, allowing these criminals to gain access to voicemails, call plans, administrative portals and billing information. Attackers can eavesdrop on systems in order to execute corporate sabotage, identity theft or VoIP service theft.

Viruses and Malware

Since voice over IP utilizes softphones and software, the Singapore hosted voip company system is therefore at risk to viruses and malwares. These viruses hijack computer systems and take control over it. They can send spam messages and malicious data, permanently destroy files and trace data entry to access information remotely. Financial information and credit card data are commonly targeted by this type of attack.

Denial of Service (DoS)

DoS is an attack targeted on a device or network in order to deny it of service or connectivity. It is done either by consuming the bandwidth or overloading the device or the network’s internal resources. This prevents outgoing and incoming VoIP calls and allows hackers to gain remote access and control of admin servers. They can conveniently steal confidential business and client information and abuse IP servers to make costly calls under your business’ account.

Call Tampering

Call tampering involves transmission of noise packets to interrupt communication over a line and cause dropped calls, reduce voice call quality and delay voice signal. A third party can change the encryption key of your call’s digital signature, making it vulnerable to interception. IP servers are tricked into believing that the original parties are still in the line and the hacker now has the opportunity to collect data and cause serious damage on your IP system.

Man-in-the-Middle Attack

This is a sophisticated system attack, where the attacker uses software tools to fool your customer into believing that it is a server and vice versa. By sitting between a client and a genuine server, the man in the middle can interrupt the traffic flowing between them, manipulate the data and replay messages. This type of system attack is essentially effective in capturing sensitive data in wireless connection.

Spam in VoIP Sessions (SPIT)

SPIT, also known as VoIP spam, comes as a phone call. While it is not very common yet, the biggest problem of this threat is that voice messages are 10 times larger than e-mails, therefore consuming much more bandwidth. This can lead to poor voice call clarity and quality. The prevalence of this issue is expected to rise as the same sources that produce e-mail spam can easily modify their e-mails into voice over IP spam calls.

The Solutions

You can protect your business from these high-tech system attacks by using the following techniques.

• Authentication Protocols

Authentication protocols in VoIP differ based on the type of data being transported. It can be as simple as password authentication procedure to something as complex as a three-way authentication process. However, password authentication is susceptible to attack and can be easily exploited by system hackers. Many times, usernames and passwords are not sufficiently protected or disguised before traversing the link. Using a VPN rather than an open internet helps reduce this issue significantly.

• Encryption

Web communication service providers in Singapore offer authentication and encryption protocols, and many of them offer encryption as an additional IP service. Along with ensuring customer satisfaction, businesses especially those in the retail and financial industries should take extra measures to ensure safety of consumer data.

• Anti-Virus Software

Because softphones are part of VoIP systems, protecting them from malware and viruses is critical to securing your IP network. Malicious third-party programs can enter your system through emails and downloaded files to interrupt or suspend your network services entirely. Installing anti-virus applications and firewalls is important. Often, VoIP in Singapore offer anti-virus protection as part of their services.

• Authorization Policies and Call Restrictions

A simple method for your organization to secure your VoIP lines is to regulate policies in your premises. Perform call audits and set call restrictions to keep track of your system’s activities. You can secure configuration of your IP application by creating a list of approved country codes for your employees’ usage.

Network security threats are on the rise, making it more important to integrate and update network security measures. Safeguarding business information and confidential client data should remain a top priority of any system and establishment. An effective VoIP in Singapore as your security partner in your business will significantly help in detecting, analyzing and responding to cyber threats before they can cause damage to your productivity and reputation. A reputable VoIP in Singapore can work with you and harness your knowledge in protecting your business from the increasingly hostile environment of technology.

Remembering Warning Signs of Stroke

 

Singapore is on the move now to a happier and healthier life. With many programs on its way, leading a happy and healthy life is possible. But despite this, there are still illness lurking everywhere. For sure you are aware that stroke is one of them. Stroke is actually one of the leading causes of death in the world. With this scale, it is difficult to fight it.

It is crucial that you know things about stroke especially its warning signs. Stroke happens when the blood’s supply to the brain is compromised – either reduced or interrupted. Because of this, the brain won’t get enough nutrients or oxygen which causes the cells to regress or worse, die. There are three kinds of stroke – ischemic, haemorrhagic and Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA).

There are different causes of stroke depending on the kind. For ischemic stroke, which is the most common kind, is caused by narrowing or blockages of the arteries leading to the brain. Haemorrhagic stroke is caused by bursting of blood in the brain’s arteries. TIA is less serious than previous kinds but it is still a medical emergency since it can be a sign for future strokes. TIA is caused by a blockage of the artery but is temporary.

Now that you know the stroke and its different kinds, the next thing that you should know is to know the warning signs and remember it. It is a possible stroke if:

  • Face: When you observe that the person’s face droops on one side.

 

  • Arms: If the face does not droop, you should check the arms. Try to raise both arms. Ideally it should be equal but if you notice the one arm is lower than the other, it can be a sign of stroke.

  • Speech: This is another sign that can indicate a person is suffering from stroke. If you notice that the speech is slurred or strange, you should be alarmed.

 

  • Time: Stroke is a serious one regardless of the kind so as soon as you notice the signs, you have to call an ambulance or emergency responders right away. Every minute counts.

To help you remember these signs easy, try to think of it as FAST. But there are also other signs that you have to consider like numbness or weakness on one side of his/her body, blurring or vision, severe headache and unexplained dizziness or unsteadiness.

Your risk of developing stroke increases as you grow old. It is therefore critical that you live a healthy lifestyle now. Do not delay it.

French Frenzy: Beauty Products Made Popular By French People

 

Although France is located halfway across the world from us, they never fail to pull us into their trendy lifestyle. Aside from their café culture and macaroons, the Parisians also have a strong hold on us in the beauty department. After all, who wouldn’t want to imitate the effortless beauty of a French lady? So to give credit where it is due, we listed down six products that French people popularized and is now well-loved by most Singaporean beauty junkies.

  1. Beauty Elixir

Beauty elixirs is a serum-mist hybrid used to tighten the pores and provide you with a youthful radiance. And while its seems like an unnecessary step to include in your beauty routine, getting yourself one of this will surely give your skin health some good boost.

  1. Cream Moisturizer

If Embryolisse Concentrated Lait-Crème seems familiar to you, then that’s because it’s a beauty cult favourite. Beauty editors, makeup artists and celebrities alike swear by this simple yet powerful cream moisturizer that appears to do it all.

  1. Dry Oil

Nothing says French beauty better than an all-purpose beauty product like a dry oil. This product is loaded with the essential oils necessary to nourish your hair, nails and skin. But what’s more amazing about this product is it comes in a handy spray container, which easily dispenses the non-sticky product.

  1. Micellar Water

French women are known for their simple beauty routines and their use of the cult favourite micellar water. This facial cleanser was originally made to prevent skin contact with tap water grime when removing one’s makeup. Now, it’s become a perfect solution for ladies who are too lazy to cleanse their face at night-time.

  1. Shea Butter Hand Cream

Got dry hands? Then thank the French for introducing shea butter hand cream to us. This hand cream gained popularity throughout the world for being a non-sticky hand cream. It’s so good it’d make an amazing gift idea for a loved one this holiday season.

  1. Thermal Water

Thermal water is basically a supercharged facial mist. The water used in the product is loaded with minerals that help soothe the skin and give it the nutrients it lacks. So what other motivation do you need to do a quick spritz?

These are just some of the products that the Parisians contributed in the beauty product industry. So make sure that you get your hands on these beauties so you can cop that effortless French girl look.

10 Romance Novels You Should Read

 

Confused where to begin with so many romance books available? Here are some books to get you started with the genre.
A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught

Jennifer Merrick and her stepsister Brenna were kidnapped by Stefan Westmoreland. Being daughters of a Scottish laird, they were brought to the Black Wolf, Royce Westmoreland. Jennifer has to marry Royce as ordered by the kings of Scotland and England, but her family tried to send her to a convent first.

 

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Set in the Russian Revolution of 1905, the novel is about the life of Yuri Zhivago who has to choose between two women. He met Tonya while studying medicine and Lara while serving as a medical officer.

 

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

The novel tells the stories of four people at an Italian villa during World War II. These are army nurse Hana, Hana’s patient Almasy, volunteer sapper Kip and thief David Caravaggio.

 

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Set in the Civil War and Reconstruction Era, the book is about Scarlett O’Hara’s coming of age. Initially she wanted to marry Ashley Wilkes but he was engaged to her cousin. She decided to marry the girl’s brother to spite Wilkes, but she was widowed soon after.

 

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

This is the third book of the Debauches Series. It tells how the notorious bad boy 3rd Marquess of Dain, Sebastian Ballister, fell in love with Jessica Trent. Jessica was trying to spare her brother from the influences of the Marquess.

Love Story by Erich Segal

Two college students, Oliver Barrett and Jennifer Cavilleri, found that they needed to be together despite their differences and the objections of Oliver’s father. The couple struggles during marriage after Oliver was disowned by his father.

 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

When Frank and Claire Randall take a vacation at Inverness, Scotland, Claire time-travelled to the past where he met the Clan MacKenzie. There she was told marry Jamie Fraser and fell in love with him.

 

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

Clare Ann Abshire was married to Henry DeTamble who has a disorder that causes him to time travel. He can’t control this disease and so Clare has to be patient with her husband’s condition.

 

The Sheik by E.M. Hull

Diana Mayo goes on a trip to the Algerian desert with an Arab guide. That guide however had been bribed and she was kidnapped by Shiek Ahmed Ben Hassan. She later learns that she has fallen in love with her captor but was afraid she would be sent away when he learns of her feelings.

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Lockwood rents the Thrushcross Range manor, owned by Heathcliff. Lockwood stays over at Heathcliff’s house where he found items from a previous inhabitant named Catherine. The housekeeper Nelly Dean tells him about the stories she has witnessed in Wuthering Heights, particularly about the affairs of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw.

10 Epic Fantasy Books You Should Read

 

Epic fantasy often involves complex world-building and many different characters. Most of epic fantasy need at least three books to tell a story.

Here are the best examples of the first novels from finished high fantasy franchises.

Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy) by Robin Hobb

Keppet, later known as FitzChivalry, is training to become an assassin. He is the bastard son of Chivalry and was sent to live at Buckkeep Castle.

 

The Blade Itself (The First Law Trilogy) by Joe Abercrombie

The novel follows the tale of six characters. It is set in The Union, an empire assaulted by various factions on all sides.

 

The Color of Magic (Discworld) by Terry Pratchett

This novel introduces the readers to Discworld. From the name itself, it is a flat disc carried by four elephants on their backs. The elephants in turn are carried by a sea turtle. The story follows the adventures of the wizard Rincewind.

 

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time) by Robert Jordan

Five friends from Emond’s Field become the center of attention when their humble village was attacked. Rand al’Thor, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara were the targets of the Trollocs and a Myrddraal.

 

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erikson

This novel is set in Darujhistan where various forces are converging. The Malazan Empire eyes the city even as Empress Laseen is beset by problems. There is more at stake however as gods and former gods try to interfere.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard) by Scott Lynch

Young Locke was bought by the priest Father Chains, the leader of the Gentleman Bastards. The group defies the Secret Peace between underground criminal groups and the government.

 

Lord Foul’s Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant) by Stephen R. Donaldson

Author Thomas Covenant was diagnosed with leprosy. Even after he underwent treatment, he was deserted by loved ones and the community. After an accident, he finds himself in the Land where he was summoned by Cavewight Drool Rockworm. Covenant was told to deliver a message.

 

Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad) by David Eddings

The novel tells of the creation of the world by the seven gods, one of whom was Aldur. He is in a conflict with brother Torak when the former created a living soul in an orb. It later introduces Garion and Belgarath who pursue a thief.

 

Redwall (Redwall) by Brian Jacques

This novel is set in Redwood, a refuge for animals in the forest. When Cluny the Scourge arrives to take the Abbey, Matthias sets out to find a legendary sword to help defend the inhabitants.

 

Wizard’s First Rule (The Sword of Truth) by Terry Goodkind

Richard Cypher investigates the murder of his father. During the search, he runs into Kahlan Amnell who was looking for the First Wizard. He helps Kahlan and takes her to Zedd, later revealed to be the First Wizard. Kahlan begs Zedd to find the Seeker of Truth to defeat the ruler Darken Rahl.

Ramen Recipes Everyone Can Do

 

Ramen is famous here in Singapore. You love it but sometimes you miss out the good ones because you prefer the easy way of cooking it. Work is exhausting already and preparing ramen on your own can be a tedious task from making stocks to preparing vegetables and noodles.

If you always go for instant ramen, you sacrifice the nutrients. It is time that you learn some DIY ramen. You will soon realize that making ramen is easy and healthy plus it can be cheaper. Here are some vegetarian ramen recipes worth trying:

Miso ramen topped with roasted potatoes

This kind of ramen is bringing the best of vegetable and noodle worlds. The good thing is that it is gluten free plus filled with healthy ingredients like sweet potato and shiitake mushrooms. The best thing about miso is that it can relieve hangover.

You already know how to prepare the broth that you will use as the soup. The sweet potatoes should be roasted using the oven. If everything is ready, mixing is easy. In a pan, put oil first and then add the mushrooms until cooked then you add the broth and season to taste using the soy sauce. After that, you can now whisk the miso then top it with roasted potatoes.

Kimchi ramen

Kimchi is a famous food in Korea and it is time to bring it here in Singapore. Kimchi is good enough on its own but it can be better if you mix it in a bowl of ramen. Here’s how you can make a kimchi ramen: in a pan, heat three cups of water, kimchi, red chilli flakes, bean sprouts, white rice wine, sesame oil, rice vinegar, paprika and ramen then season to taste using the soy sauce.

Vegan ramen

A vegan ramen is doable just give it a chance. Since it is vegan, the broth should be a combination of onion, ginger, garlic and shiitake mushrooms. To add more flavour, you can just add soy and miso paste. Let the broth simmer. While waiting, prepare your desired vegetable topping and tofu. You may want to consider carrots, green onions, chilli garlic sauce and some baby bok choy.

For sure the family will like this along with some visitors. These ramen are easy to prepare. Good food should take time so do not rush things or be lazy to prepare it. Your body needs all the nourishment you can give so start with a healthy and hearty ramen meal.

How to Subdue Your Gag Reflex

 

When you brush your tongue and it gets way too far, you notice there is an urge to vomit. That natural urge is called gag reflex. It is also called laryngeal spasm or pharyngeal reflex. This is actually one of the most uncomfortable feelings you can endure. If it is left unchecked, it will lead to laryngitis. If you have a sensitive case of involuntary gagging, you will have trouble swallowing food and visiting the dentist.

Gag reflex is actually the body’s defense against swallowing or choking large and foreign objects. Many Singaporean do not have this but there are some who have to ensure it. The good news is that there are ways on how to ease your gag reflex. Here are some tips on subduing your gag reflex:

  1. Numb the soft palate: Soft palate is also called muscular palate. It is a soft tissue found in the back of the mouth’s roof. Soft palate is distinguished from hard palate because it does not contain any bone. If touched, the soft palate can trigger your gag reflex. The best way to numb it is to maximize numbing throat spray. This spray will desensitize the palate. If spray is unavailable, you can use gel that relieves tooth pain. The effect will last about an hour.

  1. Completely desensitize soft palate: If your soft palate is accustomed to touching, it will be numb. To do this, you have to gradually minimize your gag reflex. It will take time, effort and patience but everything will pay off one of these days. The basic thing that you can do is maximize your toothbrush. Brush as far as you can and when you reach the point where you gag, that is where you should concentrate. Yes, you will gag but not for long. Spend maybe 10 seconds brushing the area then call it a day. Do the same on succeeding days and you will subdue your gag reflex.

 

  1. Put dab of salt on your tongue: One way to help you ease gag reflex is to put dab of table salt on your tongue. You have to moisten the tip of your finger first before actually putting the salt. Make sure that it is on the tip of the tongue. Do not forget to spit it.

These may look easy but it is not. With the right tool and attitude, you can subdue it. Do not forget to relax too as it can trigger gag reflex. Breathe and concentrate on the task. Good luck!

5 Beauty Habits That Might Be Making You Look Older

 

Have you ever experienced being mistaken as the eldest child in the family when you’re actually the youngest among the siblings? Well, it sucks, right? So to help you avoid experiencing such stressful moments in the future, we listed down some of the beauty habits you should stop doing to get your youthful glow back in no time.

  1. Applying Beauty Products Downward

While applying your facial products in a downward manner may seem like a harmless habit, doing so actually promotes wrinkles and skin sagging. So instead of doing the downward product application, apply your beauty products starting from your chin up to your forehead. In addition, make sure that you take the right dose of vitamin C to keep any signs of aging at bay.

  1. Tugging Your Skin When Applying Makeup

Pulling your eyelids when applying eyeliner and raising your eyebrows when putting on some eye makeup are some of the beauty habits that cause wrinkles around the eye and forehead area. As much as possible, avoid doing these habits – but if you really must stretch your area, ensure that you do it as gently as possible.

  1. Cleaning Your Face Too Often

Washing your face more than needed will cause your skin to dry out, as it strips the natural oils off your skin. Over-exfoliation, on the other hand, may severely damage your skin. So ensure that you avoid overdoing your cleansing routine, and be sure to get enough vitamin E every day to keep your skin feeling supple and smooth.

  1. Failing to Get Enough Sleep

Apart from using the right type of beauty products, getting enough sleep is one of the simplest ways to get your youthful glow back. Your body is able to repair itself as you sleep, which is why having enough rest aids in improving your looks.

  1. Letting Stress Affect Your Health

One of the common factors that could make you look tired and haggard is stress. Being stressed out contributes to making you look older than you really are, which is why it’s essential that you replenish the nutrients that stress takes away from your skin. If possible, take some multivitamins to help fight the effects of stress on your body. Also, ensure that you get enough vitamin C and E to repair skin damage and keep your skin cells healthy.

Maintaining a younger-looking skin is actually easy. Aside from eating a proper diet, exercising and getting enough rest, avoiding the aforementioned beauty habits will surely help in keeping both your skin and overall health in good condition.