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How to Care for Rose Painted Calathea

One of the most popular tropical house plants, the rose painted calathea is prized for its strikingly beautiful leaves that are tinged with pink or white. This is the perfect indoor plant for those who love colorful leaves and small flowers.

Here are important things to keep in mind when growing a rose painted calathea in your apartment.

Give it a good place indoors. The best way to show off the rose painted calathea is by placing it on a table away from direct sunlight and from drafts. The plant needs a brightly-lit room, so you can also place it in an east-facing window.

Re-pot properly. After you purchase the plant, it is a good idea to re-pot it in a peat-based potting mix with one part perlite and two parts peat. It is also advisable to re-pot the rose painted calathea once every two years into a bigger pot. This can be done at the same time as when propagating the plant by dividing.

Maintain proper temperature. Because the rose painted calathea is a tropical plant, you need to keep the temperature between 18°C to 24°C. This range also makes it ideal to grow the plant indoors than outdoors where it is easier for you to control temperature and humidity. However, in an air-conditioned room, the plant must never be exposed to temperatures below 15°C or it will die.

Keep humidity consistent. You can mist the rose painted calathea to keep the humidity constant or install a humidifier in your home (it is good for you overall).

Keep the soil moist. The soil in the pot must be kept moist all the time, but do not drown the rose painted calathea in water. Check if the top inch of the soil is dry before watering with distilled or tepid rainwater. If you have just propagated the rose painted calathea, take note not to over-water until the newly potted plants have a new growth.

Use a diluted fertilizer. A balanced but diluted fertilizer should be enough for the rose painted calathea. You can feed it once every two weeks especially between April to October to keep the leaves vibrant.

Watch out for common issues. The rose painted calathea may have browned leaves if the air is dry or humidity is lacking. Dropping leaves may be caused by the same issues, while spotted or curling leaves may be due to under-watering. Curling leaves may also indicate very high temperatures.

Soil must be kept moist to keep the plant from drying. You can place the pot on a tray with wet pebbles near a humidifier to adjust humidity around the plant. However, if you notice the stems are limp, avoid watering the calathea too much.

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Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit: What You Need to Know Before Starting

There are actually so many CrossFit gyms around Singapore now! You might even have a co-worker or a friend who’s already going to one. Being one of the most popular fitness regimes today, CrossFit has earned a reputation for being tough yet very rewarding. So, let’s get to know it better!

What exactly is CrossFit?

CrossFit is basically a fitness program that mainly focuses on strength and conditioning. It takes functional movements from many different sports like weightlifting, gymnastics, rowing, and etc. Most of the exercises utilized are in different varieties and are meant to be challenging. Generally, workout routines will change each day testing different parts of strength and conditioning. This is in line with the focus of CrossFit to help an individual create the “fittest” form of himself with a body capable of almost anything.

A CrossFit gym can also look very different from a bodybuilding gym. You’ll see more bars, boxes, and ropes than the usual weight machines and dumbbells!

Is it the right form of exercise for me?

If you’re a complete beginner at weight training or maybe you just lift casually in an ActiveSG gym, you won’t have any problems with CrossFit at all. One of the main advantages you’ll have when starting a fitness journey through CrossFit is that you’ll be trained with the basic and most important lifts to learn. In addition to that, the whole community is very welcoming and everyone helps each other progress one way or another. Many CrossFit athletes are even martial artists, former athletes from different sports, and just fitness fanatics in general.

Is it dangerous?

Looking at it from an audience perspective, CrossFit can look very intimidating. Watching CrossFit athlete squat 465lbs, then move immediately to a 200-pound shoulder press, AND THEN do a 400-pound deadlift can definitely make you doubt if you can even do it. The intensity of the workouts makes people think that CrossFit can cause a lot of injuries. But that’s not really the case at all. Even if CrossFit is all about pushing your body to the limits, it’s doesn’t get to the point of actually destroying your body. The individuals you see that are already doing those extremely high-intensity exercises are already seasoned CrossFit athletes. But they started also started from the bottom like you.

What do I need to start?

CrossFit gyms or ‘boxes’ usually have all the equipment needed for the workouts. Plyometric boxes, barbells, pull-up bars will always be present in CrossFit gyms. If there’s one thing, it would be good to buy a jump rope. Because much of CrossFit is also about endurance, you’ll want to start getting used to conditioning and stamina training before you even start. Having a jump rope can be a good way to start. So aside from the actual things you need like your training attire and extra clothes, all you really need to bring is yourself.

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7 Best Benefits of Getting a Massage Regularly

There’s every kind of massage spa around Singapore. Whether it’s for the stressed office worker or just couples wanting to have a massage together, you’ll always be able to find a good massage place. Aside from it being very relaxing, there are also many benefits to get a massage. Here are only some of them!

1. It helps reduce anxiety

Obviously, a massage therapist employs the sense of touch when doing his/her job. In that situation, human touch is used in a safe, professional, and almost intimate environment. That’s why massages can be therapeutic to many people. This means that when you get a massage from time to time, you can reduce your anxiety and stress significantly.

2. Lower blood pressure

Aside from the therapeutic effect mentioned above, massages help lower our blood pressure because they improve our circulation. No matter what part of your body is getting massaged, your blood will circulate a lot better not only on that specific part but also throughout the body.

3. It can help improve sleep

Again, this owes to the fact that massages promote relaxation. But getting a massage also boosts the production of serotonin in the brain. Not only will this help you sleep better, but you’ll also get a deeper, better quality sleep. And the best thing is, it’s natural and you don’t have to take medications to force yourself to sleep!

4. Massages can help reduce muscle pain

When we get sore muscles, most of the time the first thing we think about is getting a massage, and for good reason! As said earlier, massages help improve blood flow and overall circulation. Usually, muscle pain comes as a result of restricted blood flow. So having a massage will definitely help.

5. It also helps soothe headaches

Firstly, when you get time to relax and ease tension in the body, your mind will also stay loose and feel at ease. Massages also help a lot when you get a migraine or maybe other chronic headaches. Aside from the head, it will also help to massage the neck and shoulders when experiencing headaches.

6. It might help you fix your posture

Because of all the prolonged sitting we do each and every day, our posture will definitely be affected negatively. All this stress on our posture will lead to a lot of problems such as the neck, shoulder, and lower back pain. Getting regular massages, though, can at least help you lower the risk of getting such issues.

7. It helps improve physical performance

The reason why massage therapy is always used in sports is already pretty obvious. Athletes or even just those who like to exercise constantly put tension on their bones and muscles. Having massages can help them get rid of stiffness and other kinds of tension in the muscle. This, in turn, will help them maximize the use of these muscles for a better performance.

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How to Learn a New Language Faster

Because of the diversity of cultures and races in Singapore, you’re bound to learn a word or two from a language aside from your own native tongue. Though English is commonly spoken, sometimes you can come across Mandarin or Malay words and phrases just as well. Anyway, you must already know that learning how to speak another language can have many advantages. Whether you’re learning one to improve your career opportunities or you simply enjoy learning languages, here are some things to help you!

Take advantage of the internet

Nowadays, it’s very easy to reach out to a native speaker of your target language. There’s already an abundance of language learning websites and applications you can use to learn and practice. If you want to learn a language faster, finding someone online to teach you can be a great idea. More than anything, you should use as many resources as you can, and the internet is probably the best to have.

Set goals for yourself

One of the primary things you should really do is to set goals for yourself. At first, your goal can be as simple as learning how to say “Hi, my name is _” fluently in your target language. Setting goals is really more important than you think because they can be constant motivators. Think of it this way, if you don’t have goals, how will you know what you want to achieve and how will you track your progress?

Try to use the language as much as you can

If you have a friend who’s a native speaker of your target language, then ask him/her if you can practice together. Maybe you can speak to him/her in that language every time you’re together. If you don’t have someone to speak to as of the moment, you can still practice in your mind. Language learning is really all about repetition. If you want to learn one faster, you have to use and practice it constantly.

Don’t worry about mistakes

Sometimes, people become afraid of practicing their target language because they’re afraid of making mistakes. But, it’s actually way better if you do since you’ll at least learn to correct is as early as possible. Plus, the native speakers will surely understand that you’re still learning the language and will usually be willing to correct you and help you out.

Learn conversational words first

One common reason why language learning is delayed for many people is because they learn the wrong words first. A lot of people learn the word for “spoon”, “dog”, “brother”, etc. which aren’t necessarily important at first. This is why people recommend learning the 100 most common words of a language first. Usually, those consist of conversational terms like, “hello”, “where is the _?”, “I like _” and etc.

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6 Healthy Desserts for Kids

Worried that your kids are eating too much food with simple sugars? Here are healthy dessert recipes you can make at home that are not only full of nutrients but are yummy, too.

Chocolate and Kiwi Pops

  • Ingredients: 4 peeled and sliced kiwis, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 12 ounces chocolate chips, white nonpareils and rainbow nonpareils
  • Preparation: Place the kiwis in popsicle sticks then place in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for at least 2 hours. In a separate bowl, heat the chocolate chips in a microwave until melted then stir in coconut oil. Dunk the kiwi slices in the chocolate and place them back on the baking sheet, then top with the nonpareils. Freeze for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Apple Slices

  • Ingredients: 3 cored and sliced apples, 1 cup coconut flakes, 1 cup caramel, 3 tablespoons butter, and ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Preparation: In a bowl, mix the coconut flakes and caramel then spoon the mixture on each apple slice. In a separate bowl, melt the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave. Drizzle this mixture on the apple slices.

Apple Donuts

  • Ingredients: 3 cored and sliced apples shaped into donuts, 12 ounces softened cream cheese, ½ cup melted chocolate, 2 teaspoons honey, 2 drops pink food coloring, and assorted sprinkles
  • Preparation: Divide the cream cheese in three bowls. Add a teaspoon of honey in the first bowl, melted chocolate in the second bowl, and the food coloring in the third. Stir all mixtures. Spread the mixtures on one side of the apple slices and sprinkle with toppings.

Watermelon Pizza

  • Ingredients: 1 watermelon sliced into 1-inch rounds, Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries, and sliced blueberries and white chocolate chips for toppings
  • Preparation: Create a pizza base using the sliced watermelons. Spread the yogurt on top of the watermelon leaving out the edges. Place the strawberries on top of the yogurt then sprinkle with blueberries and chocolate chips.

Banana Sushi

  • Ingredients: 3 bananas, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 3.5 ounces dark chocolate, 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, and 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Preparation: Coat the bananas with peanut butter. Melt the chocolate in a microwave then coat the banana with it. Sprinkle with the pistachios and seeds. Wait for 10 minutes for chocolate to set or freeze the bananas before cutting them into bite-size shapes.

Blueberry and Quinoa Muffins

  • Ingredients: ½ cup frozen blueberries, ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ cup quinoa flakes, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and natural sweeteners
  • Preparation: In a bowl, mix milk, vanilla, and blueberries. In a separate bowl, whisk quinoa, flaxseed, salt, and sweetener. Combine all the ingredients from the two bowls. Prepare two ramekins and scoop in the batter. Microwave for at least 4 minutes.
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How to Choose the Right Ironing Board for Your Clothes

Ironing boards don’t always get plenty of attention, but they’re actually just as important as your iron when keeping your clothes wrinkle-free. This means you can’t just buy any old ironing board, since not only do cheap boards tend to wobble, but they also need to be replaced more frequently. To make the best choices when buying an ironing board, here’s what you need to be looking for:

Size

Different types of ironing boards come in different sizes, and this is to accommodate different clothes of varying sizes. Ideally, you will be ironing clothes that are your size, so be sure to look for an ironing board that matches yours. This is why it’s important to look at the ironing board’s length and width when choosing which one you should buy.

Height

The best ironing board you can get is one with an adjustable height, which you will need if you won’t be the only one using it at home. But the good news is you don’t have to look too hard for this category, since most of them can be adjusted, ranging from twenty-eight to thirty-six inches in terms of height.

Weight

Weight is another issue that you need to think of when getting an ironing board. If you’re always moving it around, you want to make sure it’s light enough for you to do so, especially if different people are using it. But while lightweight boards are available, keep in mind that they won’t always be sturdy. In fact, many boards happen to be lightweight but don’t have stable support, which makes them less stable than others.

Sturdiness

Ironing boards are mostly priced based on how sturdy they are, which all comes down to what materials were used to make it and how they were made or assembled together. For instance, the T-leg structure in many boards is perhaps the most common one, but is often less stable compared to other boards that use four legs for support. In fact, professional ironing boards often use the four-leg support system for that added stability, preventing the board and your clothes from toppling over.

Cover

All ironing boards come with their own covers and padding, but not all covers and padding are made equal. For instance, some covers could be too thin, which makes them unable to reflect heat, while others have a thick padding that lets them handle and reflect the heat more effectively. But the good news is you don’t always have to buy an ironing board with good padding right away. You can start off with separate ironing board and add it later on, with the drawback of costing you an additional amount.

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Xeroderma versus Xeroderma Pigmentosum

Xeroderma is the name for the condition characterized by dry skin or xerosis. It’s a term for ordinary dry skin usually caused by old age, dry or cold weather, or atopic dermatitis. It is quite different from another condition called xeroderma pigmentosum.

Xeroderma

Xerosis is not a life-threatening condition but it could be a result of the use of harsh skin products which dry out the skin. It’s also a symptom of eczema or atopic dermatitis, which is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and itchiness. If that is the case, then you should consult a dermatologist to get proper treatment. Otherwise, ordinary dry skin can be avoided by applying moisturizers that contain glycerin, mineral oil, petroleum jelly, salicylic acid, or lactic acid.

Xeroderma Pigmentosum

Xeroderma pigmentosum runs in families and it is a dangerous condition which makes a person vulnerable to the effects of the ultraviolet rays from the sun. This means that when a person is exposed to sun, he/she does not have the ability to repair the damage to the DNA. It is also not uncommon for people with XP to experience problems in hearing, vision, coordination, and intellectual function.

If not properly diagnosed and treated, they are prone to a lot of complications including cancer and cataracts. The name xeroderma pigmentosum comes from the first symptoms of the illness which are dry skin and pigmentation or changes in skin color after being exposed to sunlight.

Causes and Risk Factors of XP

Because xeroderma pigmentosum is an inherited disorder, this means it can be passed down to the next generation. Based on ongoing research, at least 8 genes are associated with the condition. It is more likely that a child who inherits the mutation from both parents will suffer from the symptoms. If only one copy of the mutation is inherited, the person will not necessarily experience the symptoms. Although it’s a rare condition, it’s not uncommon in some parts of Asia.

Signs of XP usually appear during infancy especially after being exposed to sunlight even just for a few minutes. The severe sunburn and blistering is the first sign of an abnormality, and by the time the child is a toddler, he/she will have freckles in areas of the skin that are often exposed to sunlight. Besides a photosensitive skin, the child will also have joint pain or arthralgia, cognitive impairment, and conjunctival telangiectasia.

Complications and Treatment of XP

This extreme sensitivity to sunlight makes them vulnerable to skin cancer, especially around the face and scalp. It’s not unusual for children to go through multiple skin cancers even before they reach adulthood. They are also at risk of developing other types of cancer like eye cancer. It’s not clear why a lot of children with XP also develop neurological abnormalities that worsen over time.

The child may suffer from seizures, loss of intellectual function, difficulty talking, poor coordination, difficulty swallowing, and others. Treatment therefore is aimed at protecting the child from the complications. Regular examinations are required to monitor and stop progress of cancerous tissue and skin lesions as well as constant protection from UV light. Neurological examination and psychosocial treatment will help the person cope with daily life.

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What is Legionnaires’ disease?

The name legion is usually associated with something sinister because its association with demons. This reputation makes the name all the more appropriate for this lethal form of pneumonia.

Causes and Risk Factors

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by an infection of the bacterium Legionella. The name was taken when an outbreak of pneumonia affected people who attention the American Legion convention in July 1976. The bacterium Legionella was unknown prior to that discovery. It is usually found in bodies of freshwater and are not harmful but only if it affects water systems built for human consumption.

This means that the bacterium may be found in plumbing systems, water tanks, heaters, cooling towers, hot tubs, fountains, showerheads, and sink faucets. When the bacterium grows and multiplies in a water system, it has to be inhaled by people through small droplets for it to infect.

Some people may have already been exposed to the bacterium, but they are not affected because they are healthy. Most of those affected usually have weaker immune systems especially those who are smokers (even after you quit), older than 50 years, have cancer and other diseases, or those that have a chronic lung disease.

Symptoms and Complications

It takes at least two days after the infection for the symptoms to show up. The first symptoms, including chills, fever, muscle pain and headache, might be mistaken for flu, but the fever can go as high as 104°F which is similar to that of pneumonia. Then in the next several days, the person will experience chest pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, cough that is sometimes accompanied by mucus and/or blood, shortness of breath, and confusion. The symptoms can also be confused with Pontiac fever because it’s caused by the same bacterium but is milder and will usually go away even without treatment.

Legionnaires’ diseases, however, can be fatal when not treated. It affects the lungs, but it can affect other organs by wounding them. Untreated, it can lead to respiratory failure, acute kidney failure, and septic shock. It’s not a contagious disease, however, so if there is an outbreak, the common source of water is most likely the culprit and not the people who have Legionnaires’ disease.

Treatment of Legionnaires’ disease

Even after treatment, some people will experience long-term health effects of the condition or a persistence of problems if there is an outbreak. For proper treatment, the doctor must distinguish it from pneumonia by testing for the presence of Legionella antigens in the urine. Additionally, the severity is assessed through blood tests, chest X-ray, brain CT scan, and a sample of the lung tissue or sputum.

Most antibiotics such as macrolides and quinolones work well against Legionella, but the effects are better if the person is treated as soon as possible. Antibiotics may be administered directly into a vein and the person ahs to be admitted to the hospital in case he/she needs oxygen or a machine for breathing. The antibiotics are taken continuously 1 to 3 weeks, but recovery can take a long time.