The Most Common Parasites That Live on House Plants

If you have been watering the plants as instructed and doing everything you can to make them thrive, yet they still look half dead, perhaps it is time to check for signs of parasites that might be living off of them. Most parasites that live on plants are easy to spot, but others not so.

Here are the parasites that you need to watch out for.

  • Aphids. They appear in different colors and cause growth distortion in plants. As sson as you see signs, wash the plant with insecticidal soap, neem oil, pyrethrins, or permethrin.
  • Thrips. You can only see them as threads on the infected plant. They feed on the flowers and leaves which cause splotches and streaks on the leaves and distorted flowers. You can wash them off from the affected plants using permethrin, pyrethrins, or disulfoton.
  • Mealybugs. They look like cotton and feed on the stems and leaves of the plants. You can remove them by washing the plant with pyrethrins, permethrin or disulfoton.
  • Springtails. These grayish insects feed on the roots of plants especially when the soil is damp. To avoid these, make sure to let the plant soil dry thoroughly before the next watering.
  • Scale Insects. An infestation will turn the leaves yellow and result in stunted growth plant. If you look closely at the underside of the leaves, you will notice gray or brown bumps that might move. You can remove scale insects by spraying with permethrin, bifenthrin, plant oil extract, or insecticidal soap. Some gardeners add a drop of liquid detergent soap to remove the waxy covers of the insects.
  • Fungus Gnats. They do not cause a lot of damage but if you see gnats that look like fruit flies, make sure to water your plants properly and let them dry before the next watering.
  • Whiteflies. These are common in greenhouses and are found on the underside of the leaves of plants. They cause the leaves to turn yellow, but not enough to kill the plant. You can get rid of them by washing the infected plant with neem oil, pyrethrin, or permethrin.
  • Cyclamen Mites. These can be very hard to detect because they are small. They cause the leaves, flowers, and buds to turn black and deformed. At first, the injured plant will have brittle and stunted leaves, so remove the infected plants as soon as possible.
  • Spider Mites. If left untreated, an infected plant can die from spider mites. They can cause the most damage out of all the parasites on this list but they are very difficult to see. If you notice mottled and discolored underside of the leaves, wash the plant with plant oil extracts, bifenthrin or insecticidal soap right away.
  • Leafminers. These are worms of the small flies that can cause plants to look as if they are soaked through with water. The effects might not be noticeable, but over time the leaves will appear speckled. The best way to get rid of them is to remove the leaves that show signs of any damage.

When washing and applying pesticides, make sure to read the label and follow the instructions to the letter to avoid killing the plants.

9 Substitutes for Regular Cow’s Milk

If you ask vegans about milk, they will be more than happy to tell you that our bodies are not made to digest animal milk. While it is true that a part of the population has intolerance for milk, most people do not have a problem with its consumption. If you are one of those who are lactose-intolerant, you can still enjoy milk products by looking for other alternatives.

Soy Milk – This is made from soy protein isolate or soybeans. While that might seem unappetizing, companies often add oils and thickeners to make them taste better. Most soy milk nowadays are not that different to cow’s milk when it comes to taste. It also contains the same amount of protein but has less fats, calories, and carbohydrates.

Rice Milk – This milk is made from brown rice and water or milled white rice and water. Companies add other ingredients to create a better flavor and texture. It is the safest type of milk for those with allergies and intolerance as soy, nuts, and gluten content should also be considered when looking for a substitute.

Cashew Milk – This milk is made from cashew butter and water or cashew nuts. The result is a nutty and creamy milk with less calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates than cow’s milk. Look for an unsweetened cashew milk as a substitute if you need to reduce your sugar intake.

Macadamia Milk – It is made from macadamia nuts and water which results in creamy and smooth milk. It has less fat, calories, protein, and carbohydrates than cow’s milk.

Almond Milk – It is made from almond butter and water or whole almonds. Its light and nutty flavor makes it ideal for smoothies and other beverages as well as desserts. Look for an unsweetened almond milk product that contains fewer calories, protein, and carbohydrates than cow’s milk.

Coconut Milk – It’s a favorite in a lot of Asian desserts, so you’ll find no shortage of this in markets in Singapore. It contains less fat, carbohydrates, and protein than cow’s milk. Not only will you have a healthier choice, you will also help coconut farmers.

Hemp Milk – As the name suggests, the milk is made from the hemp plant seeds. It is interesting to note that the cannabis or marijuana drug is also taken from the same plant. Yes, you will experience the same effects that majiruana can give when you consume hemp seeds, but it is not as potent.

Oat Milk – Most oat milk are made from oats and water, but companies add other ingredients for flavor. It has a similar taste to cow’s milk and contains the same amount of calories, but only half the fat and protein. Moreover, it is high in fiber, especially soluble fiber.

Quinoa Milk – It is made from quinoa and water, which means it is high in protein but is gluten-free if you have gluten intolerance. It contains the same amount of carbohydrates but less calories, fat, and protein than cow’s milk.

5 DIY Room Dividers You Can Build on a Budget

The best way to put you carpentry skills to the test is by sprucing up your HDB flat or condo unit in Singapore, and the first step to doing that is to make a simple room divider.

You can use all kinds of tools when doing this, from staple guns to glue guns and hammers and nails. Depending on how you make it, room dividers can either be made as inner partition walls, or as simple as a rope curtain that you can part and take down at any time.

So if it’s your first time sprucing up your HDB flat or condo unit, here are five DIY room dividers you can start building right now:

            1. Tapestry dividers

You can give your room a stunning look by using your tapestry as a way to section off certain areas, especially when it comes to dedicated reading areas.

All you need is a wooden frame in whatever length you need with the appropriate tripod foot for each side, and you can attach the tapestry to the frame using Velcro. Depending on how big the frame is, you may need a center leg to reinforce it.

            2. Jute rope

This is a simple DIY divider that uses jute rope fastened from wooden shoe plates that are mounted on both the floor and the ceiling, which results in a divider that sections areas while still letting a lot of light through.

While it’s simple and cheap, you can really use it to add a more rustic appearance to your home, and it’s even better if you can get a thinner jute rope for this project.

            3. Hanging divider

Similar to standing dividers, you can make your dividers out of canvas cloth and wooden frames and hang them with screw hooks instead of adding tripod feet for support.

After drilling holes in the ceiling, be sure to test out how your divider will hang before stretching out the fabric, and if you need to add additional support, you can always use anchors to support the hooks.

            4. Shelves

The classic, and arguably, the easiest way to divide a room into sections is by using bookshelves mounted perpendicularly to the walls.

However, it’s important to secure the unit to keep it from tipping over accidentally. Your best bet to keep your shelf firmly attached to your wall is by using solid restraints, such as L-shaped brackets fastened to wall studs and at the top of the shelf itself.  

            5. Portable dividers

Portable dividers are really easy to make and place anywhere space is needed from one area in your home to another. All you really need to make these are wooden or MDF boards, or even wooden frames stretched over with fabric, fastened together with rivet joints to make an extended wall.

3 Amazing Alternatives to Tile Flooring in Your HDB Flat

Tiles are so common in nearly every building, HDB flat, or condo unit in Singapore that it’s the first choice you might even think of when choosing the flooring.

However, ceramic tiles do have their downsides: for high impact, areas they can be prone to cracking, scratching or chipping, and they can be quite expensive the more square feet you pay for.

If you don’t like to use ceramic tiles for your flooring, there are a few other amazing alternatives you can get for your HDB flat:

            1. Laminate

Laminate is easily the best budget flooring option that snaps into place easily. Not only can it imitate the appearance of more expensive flooring materials, such as marble and wood, but it does so at half the cost of vinyl.

The biggest difference between laminate and vinyl is that while vinyl is made of mostly PVC, laminate flooring is usually made from high-density fiberboard, which combines both wood fiber, chips, and plastic into one durable material.

Perhaps the only drawback to laminate flooring is that it can’t be used in wet areas, and can warp depending on moisture and humidity. It’s also prone to staining, and needs to be applied on a smooth surface because of its relative lack of flexibility.

            2. Vinyl

One of the most affordable materials you can get for your floor is vinyl, a type of flooring made up of several sheets stacked three- to five-millimeters thick.

Aside from being economical, vinyl also comes in a wide selection of colors and designs, and is really easy to install. In fact, a room – or even a whole home – can be fully furnished with vinyl in less than four hours.

And to top it all off, vinyl is much more flexible compared to laminate or engineered wood, making it great for homes with uneven surfaces.

But while vinyl is cheap, it does come with its own downsides. For instance, it’s just as prone to scratching as certain types of tiles, and poorly manufactured vinyl flooring can have high levels of volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

            3. Engineered wood

Engineered wood is a great budget option if you absolutely love both the look and feel of solid wood in your home but can’t afford enough square feet of it for your renovation.

Besides having the look of real wood at half the cost, you not only have more choices with engineered wood, but it’s also less likely to swell or shrink from differences in temperature and humidity.

However, just like other types of flooring, it’s not great for high-traffic areas or ones that get wet often, since it can both warp and stain.

3 Simple Exercises You Can Do to Attain a More Defined Jawline

If you were previously skinny but have started to gain weight, you may start to notice that the clearly defined chin in your photos is now replaced with a more blurry line where the face ends and the neck begins.

This is known as the double chin, and while it can be disheartening at first, knowing what causes the double chin will let you know what you can do to improve it.

Why the Double Chin?

The double chin is simply a layer of fat deposit around your neck, and can become more noticeable as you gain more weight. Aside from fat, other factors can also be responsible for causing a double chin, such as excess water and aging.

While it’s harmless on its own, a double chin can be unflattering to look at if you’re trying to get into shape to get the body you want.

Here are a few exercises you can start doing to bring back your jawline:

1. Neck Rolls

Move your chin to your right shoulder and slowly move it from the center to the left. Repeat fifteen times until you start to feel a tension between your neck and chin. Be sure to keep a straight back during this exercise.

2. Sky Pouting

While keeping your back and your spine straight, tilt back your head until you’re looking at the sky. Pout and hold for five seconds before releasing, and then repeat this exercise ten to fifteen times.

3. Platysma Workout

The platysma muscle connects from your jawline to your shoulder and can easily expand in size. It’s also the muscle that should be used best when it comes to attaining a more clearly defined jawline.

To exercise this muscle, start by opening your mouth as if you were yawning. Next, cover your bottom teeth using your bottom lip and proceed to open and close your mouth this way for fifteen repetitions.

What You Need to Know About Long-Term Prevention

Keeping a clearly defined jawline can take some work, but there are daily habits that you can start doing to get rid of the double chin, such as proper diet and exercise to burn through fat deposits in your body.

Additionally, you can also add up to your current intake of vitamin E, a type of antioxidant helps to retain skin elasticity and prevent sagging by bonding with free radicals in the body. Vitamin E can easily be found in a lot of fruits and nuts, as well as olive oil and dairy products.

Non-sugar chewing gum can also give your jaw the exercise to keep it in shape, and works well especially if you feel the need to be constantly munching on something.

How to Resolve Conflicts in Your Relationship Without Hurting

Even though you think that you and your partner are in sync and agree on basically everything, it’s a known fact that every couple will argue at some point in time, and the list of causes for these potential conflicts is endless.

When this does happen, it’s important to know how to be able to discuss your feelings and ideas openly and honestly, without belittling or demeaning your partner, and most importantly, respect needs to come from both parties.  

Resolving Disagreements the Right Way

Here’s what you need to do to start smoothing out any rough patches in your relationship, and resolve an argument with your partner in a way that strengthens your bond:

  1. Control your response. It’s easy to simply fly off the handles and lay it onto your partner or spouse – and it’s an easy way to strain your relationship.

Feelings change and fluctuate. While it’s a lot harder to gather your thoughts at first, you’ll find that you can resolve conflicts a lot easier when you simply take a break and calm yourself down. Once you do, understand what you truly feel and why you feel that way, and only then can you start discussing with your partner.

  • Don’t run away. Even if you say you don’t like conflict, you’re bound to encounter it, and when you do, the most important thing you need to keep in mind is that running away from the problem or trying to ignore it doesn’t do anything.

At the end of the day, making your partner feel valued and loved is more important than the issue at hand, and it keeps your relationship strong even if you can’t resolve your conflict.

  • Accept your differences. You won’t always see eye-to-eye with your partner on certain things, and that’s perfectly okay. What you do need to do is to make sure that you hear each other out and that you and your partner’s opinions are both worth considering.

Choosing Your Confidant

Having a trusted party to discuss this issue with can give you a different perspective. If you decide to tell someone, be sure that you know each other well, has your best interest at heart, and will tell you the truth you need to hear instead of simply comfort you.

With good advice and a new perspective on your issue with your partner, you will be able to go face the problem and address it calmly, openly, and honestly.

Fighting to Improve

At the end of the day, it’s not the conflicts and arguments that jeopardize the relationship, but rather how you respond to it. Instead of attacking the person, focus on what the two of you can do to resolve the issue. When you do finally agree on a compromise, you will be able to improve yourselves and your relationship.

How to Fix Peeling Paint in 5 Easy Steps

Before painting or re-painting your home’s interior or exterior, you may need to deal with the existing coats that are already there, and more so if the paint has already started to chip and flake.

While you may think that it’s easy to paint over old paint, you can still recognize the telltale edges and chips once it’s dried. This can make the end result appear sloppy, and may even flake again after a while.

To fix peeling paint from walls and other surfaces at home, follow these steps:

  1. Scrape away the loose chips

Start with a paint scraper to scrape away the loose chips of paint from your wall. Be sure to move from the top and work your way to the bottom to make cleaning easier.

If it starts becoming difficult to pry away the paint, stop and proceed to the next step.

  • Sand the chipped area

Start with a wire brush and sweep vigorously any remaining loose flakes and debris around the area. If the paint peels again, break out your paint scraper and remove them from the wall.

After using the wire brush and the paint scraper, take a fine-grit sandpaper and lightly scrape away the last of the flaking paint to ensure a smoother surface for your paint job.

  • Apply the filler (optional)

There’s a good chance that the paint surface will be relatively uneven if you’re working with older wooden surfaces. This is where the filler comes in to smoothen depressions and make the paint job appear more uniform.  

You can also use filler when you’re working with uneven work surfaces on concrete walls, and plaster when it comes to drywall.

  • Apply the primer

Once the filler has set, applying the primer is your next step. This will let your paint adhere better to the surface and give a more even coat.

Primer is also important when you’re using lighter hues of paint, since they are usually less opaque and would not completely cover the work surface you happen to be painting on. You should especially put emphasis on the primer when you’re using yellow paint.

  • Paint in the colors

Once your primer has dried, proceed to paint in your colors! If you want to make them last for a long time, it will definitely help to get a sealant that will work with the type of paint you’re using for your work surface.

To get a more even re-painting job, be sure to choose the same paint hue as the original coat. You can find this hue by taking a sample of the flaking paint and comparing it to the rest when choosing at your nearest hardware store.

5 Crucial Signs that Say It’s Time to Organize Your Room

When in Singapore, being busy can be a normal thing. However, there may just be times when your schedule is just too crammed and too hectic to the point that you don’t have any more time to slow down and re-organize.

If you notice these signs happening in your life, it might be the time to take a step back and re-asses where you are – and make changes as needed:

  1. You keep misplacing everything

Everyone misplaces things now and then, but when you can’t even keep track of your essentials – your phone, wallet, keys, etc. – it means that your routine is breaking down in one part or another, and you need to get it back on track as soon as possible.

For your room, this means placing them back in the same spot you usually place them in, or keeping them in your handbag for easy access anytime you need it.

  • Menial tasks frustrate you

You may think that you’re not moving fast enough and there are a lot of ways to save time to get to what you need to do faster, and you can start by getting rid of these small, everyday tasks.

But it turns out the solution to getting things done is to actually start with these small things. Not only do they help you establish a routine, but you can also use them to take a look at the bigger picture that is your hectic schedule.

  • Your attention span is shorter/you’re more easily distracted

Because there are so many things going on at once, you don’t even know where to start for fear of missing out.

And this also reflects in your personal space – having a really cluttered one is a sign that you’re too distracted to focus on any one thing for a longer period of time, and the solution is to take the time to clean out your desk or your room.

  • You feel overwhelmed

There comes a point when everyone feels like there’s simply too much to do with so little time. However, there is a way to manage this without being overwhelmed, and that is through effective time management and prioritizing tasks.

So if you have so many post-it notes and reminders that you can’t seem to sift through, the first thing you need to do is to find the things you need to do first.

  • You feel ashamed to invite friends over

If the thought alone feels embarrassing for you, this is the biggest sign that you need to get started right away

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