Dear PuppetFest MidWest Attendees and other interested parties,

        The Board of the Rumpelstiltskin Society and Festival Directors Debbie and Peter Allen would like to Thank You for your support of PuppetFest MidWest over the last 10 years.

        2012 was definitely the last year that Peter and Debbie will organize PuppetFest MidWest at North Central Missouri College in Trenton, Missouri. The terrific Trenton trifecta (a college with affordable dorms and classrooms, at least two performance spaces and a late night gathering spot all within walking distance) that started this whole process is no more.

        With the departure of Residence Life/Conference Coordinator Paula Czirr from the college 6 years ago, we lost the immediate contact, caring and concern that we needed to run this festival.  Peter and Debbie are frustrated and exhausted from dealing with a college that doesn’t want to be bothered with PuppetFest MidWest. The closing of the Main Street Theatre several years ago left us lacking a late night performance space. With the closing of the downtown Wild Onion Cafe we lost that nearby late night place for fun. The only thing left is the Grundy County Jewett Norris LIbrary Hoover Theater which is still wonderful (as is the library staff), but not enough to make up for the loss of all the rest.

        We will keep you posted as we search for a new venue for 2014 and beyond.

Thank you,
Peter and Debbie Allen, Directors
PuppetFest MidWest


A Breakdown of the Freight Forwarding Process

International freight is usually broken down into five steps regardless of the place of origin or the destination of the cargo. Sometimes, depending on the additional requirements in the place of destination such as Singapore, the process is extended.

Therefore, business experts recommend that entrepreneurs who import and/or export goods on a regular basis should hire a freight forwarding services company instead of relying on an individual freight broker to negotiate with a logistics company. Remember that in most cases, the freight forwarder is a separate party from the party responsible for the actual transportation of goods, a job usually performed by a logistics services company or a shipping company.

Freight forwarding is a complicated and expensive process, but as an entrepreneur, you need to understand how it works and why you need a third-party freight forwarding at Singapore to act as liaison to the various parties involved in the inspection, haulage, storage, and clearances.

1. Export Haulage

The first step is to transport the goods from the company warehouse to another warehouse in Singapore (sometimes called local freight) usually assigned by the freight forwarding services company. In some cases, the storage warehouse is also owned by the freight forwarder instead of leased from another company. Depending on your arrangement with the freight forwarder, either you or the consignee is responsible for the other processes.

2. Inspection and Documentation

Although the freight forwarder will assist the entrepreneur throughout most of the process, you will also have to provide accurate information during the receipt and inspection of the goods. You should supply the following: description of the items in the containers (be as precise as possible); indication of any hazardous items; weight in both kilograms and pounds; country of origin and port entry details; and related information required by the freight forwarder.

3. Completion and Submission of Documents

The freight forwarding company must then provide all the documents to the customs before the goods are given approval to exit the country of origin. Although the type of documents might vary in some countries, most international freight will need documents such as the following:

• The Bill of Lading, which is a form signed by the entrepreneur who owns the products and the shipping company
• A certificate indicating the origin of the goods; an inspection certificate that indicates the goods have been approved by the customs or the inspector
• An export license that will include details of how many and how much goods can be exported by the concerned party
• An invoice from the seller to the buyer, which will be used to determine the value of the products; and
• A packing list that details all the items and the relevant information such as weigh, measurement and packaging.

4. Handling and Import Haulage

Once you have completed the documents needed to export the goods, the freight forwarder will be handling the rest of the process for you. A reliable freight forwarding services company in Singapore usually has a contract with one shipping company or logistics company that will provide the transportation of the goods. These goods are usually placed in containers and transported through land freight, sea freight, and air freight.

If it’s intended for export, the shipping company might use a combination of all types of transportation to get the goods to the consignee (receiver of the goods) in the cheapest and fastest way possible. The fees charged by the air freight, sea freight, or land freight companies are charged directly to the freight forwarder in Singapore. To avoid confusion and surprise fees, you should always ask for a detailed breakdown of the costs and surcharges of freight forwarding.

Once the cargo has arrived at its destination, it will undergo another process of customs inspection and clearance. To avoid problems with the requirements, don’t hesitate to ask from Singapore for details about the documents, and to make sure that the freight broker assigned to you is licensed. As for the fees required for the destination handling, the shipping company or the consignee might pay for the costs depending on your arrangement.

5. Import Haulage

Once the destination handling is cleared and completed, that is the only time the cargo can be dispatched from the warehouse. Like the export haulage process, the freight forwarder must make sure the cargo will reach the consignee on schedule and in good condition. The process can involve land freight or other modes of transportation, depending on the location of the consignee.

However, the consignee can also handle the haulage himself/herself without the help of the freight forwarder, but he/she will still have to negotiate with a logistics company for the transportation of goods. If you choose to sign with a freight forwarder from the export haulage to the import haulage, it will save you time and effort when negotiating with other logistics services. However, if the freight forwarder services do not include import haulage, the company should still make recommendations for trucking companies that can help.

Although you can easily break down the process into the following, export haulage, origin handling, land freight/sea or ocean freight/air freight, destination handling, and import haulage; freight forwarding is so much more complicated than that. You, the shipper, should work with the consignee, the freight forwarder or the freight broker, and the shipping line to complete the process. However, freight forwarding can be simplified with the help of experts from a freight forwarder company in Singapore.

Dry Cleaning: What It Is

Dry cleaning is one of the most common laundry service in most laundry pick up and laundry delivery shops in Singapore, but not everyone knows what happens during the process and why it’s the fastest way to get you clothes washed.

Let’s look at the process of dry cleaning and what makes it ideal for cleaning certain types of clothes, linen, and upholstery.

The Origins of Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is not a new process in most commercial laundry services like laundry first/ from Singapore. In fact, there is evidence that the dry cleaning process goes as far back as the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The technique is quite different from the one the laundry service uses today, because they used a type of clay to remove dirt from the fabrics, although it was still essentially a cleaning process that did not use water.

Most wash and fold laundry services shops in Singapore, however, model their process to the use of dry cleaning solvents which became popular in the mid-1800s. Over the years, the dry cleaning technique and the products used continued to improve as the demands for safer alternatives were considered. Most of the concern focused on the search for solvents that were less flammable, and by the 1930s, the most popular type of dry cleaning solvents in most laundry service shops was created.

The idea of using a solvent to remove dirt from fabrics is based on the extraction of compounds by using non-polar chemicals. Delicate types of fabrics that are not supposed to be soaked in water could get damaged, because most of the stains can only be removed in high temperatures and water-based detergents. The non-polar dry cleaning solvent will not interact with the fabrics and will avoid stretching, shrinking, and distorting the fabric. Not only is dry cleaning ideal for delicate fabrics, but for almost any type of fabric including uniform laundry that is prone to wear and tear.

The Dry Cleaning Solvent

There are various dry cleaning solvents that in Singapore have been using in their 24 hour laundry service. These includes solvents like turpentine spirits, kerosene, benzene, camphor oil, petroleum solvents, white gasoline, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, glycol ethers, n-propyl bromide, liquid carbon dioxide, trichloro trifluoroethane, trichloroethane, decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, trichloroethylene, and perchloroethylene. The most widely used commercial dry cleaning solvent is the perchloroethylene which is also known as perc.

The dry cleaning process, however, is not entirely a dry process because most commercial laundry services still use other detergents and chemicals to remove stains. These are special types of detergents that perform the following functions: carry the moisture to remove water-soluble dirt, suspend the dirt removed from the clothes, and to act as spotting agent to allow the water and solvent to remove the stains.

You should also ask the laundry services if they use the following chemicals: brighteners, fabric conditioner, bactericide, anti-static, and anti-lint products. The dry cleaning machine will look similar to a regular washing machine and will also use mechanical friction or tumbling, but the chemicals are less harsh on delicate fabrics.

Questions You Need to Ask Your Electrician

Finding a good electrician in Singapore is easy if you know what to ask. It is essential to find the best licensed electrician because electricity is an important resource that also has the capacity to cause injuries and damage.

These are the important questions you need to ask the electrician services company before hiring them.

1. What type of electrician services are available? Narrow down your choices of electricians in Singapore by looking at the services they provide.
2. Do you provide a free consultation or inspection? If you’re not sure what the problems is, it’s better to call in the expert electrician to inspect the place.
3. Do you provide free estimates? You can ask this during the site inspection.
4. Can you provide a price listing for the services you offer? Even if you don’t need other repairs now, you should ask for a complete list of services available.
5. Are there any special electrician services or packages available? Some electrical services companies specialize in specific jobs. Knowing this can be helpful especially if you own commercial buildings.
6. Are there any additional costs not included in the price list? Do you have an hourly rate or a fixed rate?
7. If there are damages or changes to the structure affected by the electrical works, does your electrician services company provide additional services to fix it or do I have to hire another professional to fix it?
8. What are the most common problems you work on? This will let you know if the electrician has any experience with your problem.
9. Do you have any experience with this specific electrical works problem?
10. Will you provide the materials and tools, or do I have to purchase some of the items needed?
11. Do you recommend shops or products where I can purchase replacements for light fixtures? Some electrician services company like power max in Singapore provide their own quality materials.

12. I have a fixed budget; can you provide a breakdown of all the expenses for this specific work? It may be possible to choose what you’re only willing to pay for.
13. Do you provide emergency repairs? Owners of businesses and commercial buildings should have a reliable electrician to contact in case emergency repairs are needed to avoid interruption of daily operations.
14. Are you a licensed and accredited electrician? It’s important to hire a good electrician with the right training and experience to avoid accidents from substandard work.
15. Are you insured? There is always a risk of accidents at work. You don’t want to pay for unnecessary fees in case of injury or damage to the structure.
16. Do you have any specialty? Some electricians like Singapore have more experience with specific jobs than others.
17. Do you have any additional training and experience?
18. Is it possible for me to inspect your credentials?
19. Can you work with special projects, such as installation, data cabling, solar equipment, and others?
20. Do you work with other contractors for remodeling spaces?
21. How about working in newly-constructed buildings?
22. How long have you been in business?
23. Who will perform the work? Are they employees or will you be sending contractors?
24. If you are sending contractors, are they covered by the contractor’s insurance?
25. Can you provide the credentials of the members of the team who will be working on the problem?
26. Are there differences in the rate of electrician specialists in your company?
27. How do I pick from one of the licensed electrician specialists in your company?
28. What are the differences between the different licensed electrician specializations?
29. Will my problem require the expertise of a master electrician?
30. Can you provide references or reviews? You can find some of the reviews on the company website, but you can also gain additional information from the electrician.
31. Is it possible for me to check any work in progress?
32. What are your experiences in electrical works at home?
33. What are your experiences in electrical works at commercial and industrial buildings?
34. Are you well-versed in the electrical code requirements of Singapore?
35. Do you have any experience in the installation of electrical appliances?
36. Do you have any experience in the repair or troubleshooting of electrical appliances?
37. How long do repairs take? When will the work commence? The electrician should come in early to start the work and finish it on the agreed time and date.

38. Will I be notified before the work starts? This is important to know if you own a business so that you can prepare beforehand.
39. The building needs electrical repairs; are you going to work with live circuit or should I provide a shutdown notice beforehand?
40. I own a commercial building; will my daily operations be affected? In some cases, the elevators are left to function while the work is ongoing.
41. Can I stay at home while you work and how long will you work within a day if the work takes several days?
42. Are there any changes I need to be aware of once the work starts?
43. Am I allowed to check the progress of the work periodically? If the work will take several days, you should be allowed to inspect their work, or you should at least be updated of the progress.
44. Do I need to apply for a permit for electrical works especially for a commercial building?
45. Will you perform a safety inspection once the work is done?
46. Are there any potential problems that I might have overlooked?
47. Do you guarantee quality of your work?
48. Do you have any warranty of your work?
49. Does your warranty also cover the materials you used?
50. If there are problems, can I contact your company?

What Makes a Good Commercial Electrician?

Part of property management is maintaining a safe and well-functioning electrical wiring in a building. To be able to achieve this, one should hire a commercial electrician. Commercial electricians specialize on the electrical structure of factories, hotels, shopping complexes, and residential buildings and are the people responsible with the installation and maintenance of the electrical systems of the said structures.

So, if commercial electrician is what we need, how are we able to know that the prospect contractor we’re currently dealing with is a good catch? Here are the most important traits that you and your condo manager should look for to be able to differentiate a good commercial electrician from a bad one.

1. A good commercial electrician is adaptable and creative
From years of experience, professional electrical contractors have done countless of estate maintenance projects and are already capable to provide on the spot solutions to any electrical problems. Oftentimes, when buildings are constructed, engineers and architects and even your condo manager have no idea how and where the electrical systems will be installed. The job to find ways for the installment of outlets and wires is entirely up to the electrician. The electrician recommended by one of the best property management companies in Singapore for your requirements needs to be creative and inventive enough to work out a solution plan and then get the idea executed as soon as possible.

2. A good commercial electrician is able to work with other contractors
Being able to adjust and work well with other people is another important trait that a commercial electrician should possess. Electricians should be able to communicate effectively with the building owner, managing agent, and other contractors and explain the job in a clear and understandable manner.

3. A good commercial electrician has ample experience and relevant licensing
In Singapore, electrical contractors are licensed only when they complete apprenticeship. Continuing higher education, in the form of seminars and trainings, is also a must to keep up with the ever changing technology. You and your managing agent can assure this by asking for certificates of recognition from a prospect contractor before deciding on hiring them.

4. A good commercial electrician is complete with essential equipment
Electrical contractors should be complete with relevant equipment that can be used to evaluate existing electrical structure and perform estate maintenance for the property’s power system. Find out whether a prospect electrician uses advanced detection methods, like computer evaluation techniques or camera fitted probes, to accurately locate and diagnose potential or existing electrical hitches.

5. A good commercial electrician shows a sense of interest in addressing client’s needs
Oftentimes, when an employee’s field of specialty has to be performed, that employee feels excited and challenged to complete the task. Same thing goes with electrical contractors. Since this is their field of specialization, when a property owner or a property managing agent presents an electrical problem, they should convey a sense of excitement to the client.

Looking for a good commercial electrician could be something that is uncommon for many of us, but knowing the traits that make a good electrical contractor helps us get acquainted with this task more. To further help you in searching for a quality contractor, seek professional advices from your property management company.

The Function of Brand Names and Logos in Marketing

Having a registered mark for your goods and services allows you exclusive rights to use and profit from this brand indefinitely. Not only will trademark registration bring more revenue for your business, but this also puts more value on the brand that can transcend the combined physical assets of your company.

What Trademark Registration Can Do
Trademark registration protects your intellectual property from being stolen and used without your knowledge and consent under law. This allows you to enjoy all the benefits that come with the right to exclusive use of your brand name and logo.

Much like real, physical property, trademarks can be bought, sold, borrowed, and even rented for a certain amount of time. The key thing to note here is that you can gain all these profits without having to worry about losing your brand.

Here are a few other advantages that will justify you to register trademark in Singapore:

• Brand uniqueness (your goods and services are more distinguished);
• Right to exclusive use; and
• Certified proof of ownership.

These advantages, and more, can be accessed fully and exclusively when you apply for trademark registration, which is now easier to apply for in Singapore. But how do you come up with a registered mark? What is a brand? And how do you market it to your audience?

The Brand and the Logo
With countless of products and services that are becoming increasingly available to the market, it becomes harder to distinguish yourself from others despite the objective quality of yours.

The concept of branding itself can be pretty vague, even for people who have studied marketing, but the gist of it is simple. The basic definition of the word “brand” is that it is a name, term, design, symbol, or any feature that distinguishes one’s goods and services from those of others.

In the world of marketing, there is so much more to think about and put into your brand. Oftentimes, much of what makes the brand is the emotional aspect (how the brand makes you feel) just as the physical one (what it looks like).

The Brand Idea
There are many ways to think of a brand, but one of the best ways to think about it when you’re trying to come up with it is as an idea.

The idea for your brand has to be easily understood and relevant to your target demographic. Not only are there many ways for your idea to be too complicated for your audience to grasp quickly, but there are also so many ways it can be unimportant to them.

A good thing to think about when coming up with your brand is this question from the perspective of a potential consumer: “What’s in it for me?” This helps to keep your brand from being self-serving and makes it relatable to your target audience.

The key thing in order to relate to your audience is empathy. The brand isn’t solely about the product, but is and should also be about the customer experience.

The Logo
All these elements make up the logo, which is what you see on different products and services to allow themselves to stand out among hundreds, if not thousands, of other market players and competitors.

The logo is simply the graphical representation of your brand, and what consumers see when they buy a product or service. As products can be easily copied by other players in the market, your brand should be what makes yours stand out.

While there is no one right way to make a logo that’s effective and draws in customers, there are a lot of ways that a logo can confuse your customers.

The brand has to convey a lot of things to the consumer in so short a time span, which is why it’s usually best to hire a graphic designer if you’re not absolutely sure you can do it yourself.

The Difference between TM and R
The ™ and ® symbols are some of the most commonly used in the industry in both branding and marketing, and are very important aspects of IP protection allow you to protect your brand.

™ – This is the symbol used for claiming ownership over a brand not necessarily offered protection by trademark. This brand may be either be unregistered or in the process of being reviewed to see if they are qualified to register trademark.

Using this symbol next to your brand name allows you to assert your ownership and prevent anyone from using it either by accident or mistake. However, you should apply to register trademark for your brand before doing so.

® – The “registered” symbol denotes a trademark that has already been issued a certificate of registration by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. After you successfully register TM for your brand, you are given a protection of ten years from the date of application.

Having a protected trademark along with a well-designed brand that can appeal to potential consumer demographics and draw them in is often the first step to establishing brand loyalty.

Brand loyalty is a pattern of behavior among consumers where they become committed to brands, making several instances of repeated purchases over the span of an indefinite period of time regardless of convenience or price.

A successful brand is able to establish brand loyalty through a lot of things, the most important of which is through customer engagement, which is the first step to maintaining a successful business in Singapore.

Tips for a Healthier Barbecue Party

Each day is a perfect day to do some barbecue cookout party. Lazing around in the pool or beach, sunbathing while enjoying your lemonade, and indulging your favourite barbecue meal have always been part of outdoor celebrations in Singapore. While most summer activities revolve on fun outdoors and enjoying delectable grilled meals, it’s still enticing to indulge on local barbecue favourites like otah and satay. However, not everyone gets to enjoy grilled goods as high-fat meats are often used for barbecue meals. So to help you come up with a bbq party wherein everyone gets to enjoy the meals that you prepared, here’s a list of tips on how you can have a healthier bbq party.

1. Go for Low-Fat Meats Instead of the High-Fat Ones
One way to have a healthier barbecue meal for your party is to substitute the high-fat meats to low-fat alternatives. Ask your Singapore bbq catering provider to come up with a menu that uses low-fat meats instead of the usual sausages, hotdogs, and beef patties. If you’re a health and figure-conscious individual, then you already know that a serving of burger patties with coleslaw and potato salad on the side, served sundae and lemonade already holds 200 calories. If you decided to pair it with an alcohol drink, then you’d be consuming another 500 calories.

Although it’s fine to spoil yourself during these occasions, going for healthier alternatives would still be a lot better. So instead of sticking with the regular high-fat patties, ask your bbq catering provider to serve lean meats like ground turkey breast instead, or other alternatives like shrimp kebabs, skinless chicken breasts, and salmon.

2. Incorporate Low-Fat Dishes with the High-Fat
A barbecue meal is nothing without salads and sides. Sidings like pasta salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, and coleslaw are the traditional favourites to complement each barbecue meal. But since these sidings are full of sodium and calories, it would be better if you just choose one Singapore bbq catering food option and substitute the rest with grilled veggies and fresh fruits. As you plan the menu for your party, ask you bbq catering provider to include some vegetable kebabs on your bbq meal instead of sticking to all-meat meals.

You can go for mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, onions, and cherry tomatoes for your vegetable kebabs, while pineapples, peaches, and melons are your best bet for fruits that go well with barbecues. If you’re looking for a potato salad alternative, then grill sweet and white potatoes, drizzle with some seasonings and olive oil, and you’re good. With these selection of side dishes, you’re sure to get full without ruining your figure.

3. Take Note of the Calories of your Beverages
Cold, refreshing drinks is one of the major factors to enjoy an outdoor party. But instead of replenishing your liquids with margaritas and frozen daiquiris, replace this calorie-loaded drinks with sangria or white wine instead. To add more variety, you can ask your Singapore bbq catering provider to also serve flavoured herbal teas with orange or lemon slices. This will help you quench your thirst without gulping large amount of calories.

4. Think of Food Safety First
Always remember that humid environments is the main enemy when it comes to food safety storage. If you’re serving mayonnaise-based salads and dips, do serve them in a bed of ice. Also remember that your perishables shouldn’t be kept outside for more than two hours, especially if the temperature on your location is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. When you’re about to grill, immediately discard the marinade you used for your raw meat and use a thermometer to measure the heat that you’ll use for grilling.

Selecting the Best Gemstone for the Proposal and the Wedding Rings

Selecting the perfect ring for your beloved might seem like a tedious task, but think of this as a once-in-a-lifetime grand gesture to express your love through something that can be touched and seen. Finding the ring isn’t as difficult as it sounds if you take note of the most important characteristics such as the type of gemstone, gemstone qualities, mounting, and setting.

Let’s look at each of these characteristics in more detail.

Types of Gemstones
There seems to be an agreement among couples that a proposal ring should have a diamond, but this is not the only gemstone you should consider. You can also mix and match different gems if you decide to have a customized wedding ring.

Sapphire. One of the four precious gems (besides diamond, emerald, and ruby), sapphire comes in other colors besides blue. It’s a hard gem, but not as expensive as diamond.
Emerald. The luxurious green color can be paired with yellow gold and other gems to create a unique design.
Ruby. The blood-red tone of ruby is just as attractive as clear diamonds, but the highest quality can be more expensive than the latter. It is getting popular for wedding bands in Singapore due to the colours and pricing
Pearl. This organic gem can easily tarnish and scratch, but its beauty gives the jewelry a classic, elegant look when set into harder gems.
Amethyst. This purple gem is durable and can be paired with rose gold, but it’s not a hard stone.
Turquoise. The pretty color can be paired with other gems for a luxurious ring.
Aquamarine. A type of beryl stone, aquamarine is tough and clear, and with the right cut, it can be as dazzling as a diamond engagement ring.
Topaz. The clearer the topaz, the more beautiful and expensive it is.
Garnet. Besides the signature red color, you can also find pink garnet. They look gorgeous on rings with antique motif.
Tourmaline. This gem is a mix of different colors and won’t easily scratch, chip or tarnish.
Opal. Each opal is unique from the other, that is why it’s a perfect gem for a customized engagement ring.
Moissanite. The clear varieties can look like diamonds with the right cut. They’re also the second hardest gem, but are not as expensive as diamonds.
Diamond. Not all diamonds are colorless, but colored diamonds are sometimes more expensive than the nearly-colorless varieties.

Gemstone Qualities
When you have decided on the type of gemstone for your wedding rings, you should consider the following qualities while at the jewelry shops in Singapore:

Carat. This is the unit of measurement for the weight or size of the gem. The higher the carat, the more expensive the gem is, but remember that size doesn’t have to be the most important factor when it comes to choosing rings.
Color. Gems with the most vivid and brightest colors have the best quality, but are also the most expensive types. Some gems also come in other colors, so the rarer colors tend to fetch higher prices. For an engagement ring, the medium-tone is recommended by jewelers.
Clarity. All gemstones have flaws, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Some flaws can make the gem rare by changing the natural color, while others can create unique patterns. If you want a gem with no inclusions (the name for the flaws), look for more expensive wedding rings.
Cut. The cut of the gem can make the inclusions less noticeable or bring out the color of the gem more vibrantly, so it should maximize the brilliance of the gem and the reflection of the light on the surface. Remember that some diamonds can even appear dull when not cut properly.

Gemstone Mounting
The mounting refers to the metal used for the ring band. The following are the most commonly used metals you might find at jewelry shops in Singapore:

Platinum is very strong, pure, and hypoallergenic.
Gold doesn’t tarnish, can be cleaned easily, and can be mixed with other alloys to create other colors.
Palladium doesn’t tarnish and is hypoallergenic and flexible.
Titanium is hypoallergenic and corrosion-resistant.
Sterling Silver can have a matte finish and comes in either bright white or grayish white colors.
Tungsten is scratch-resistant and durable, ideal for wedding rings.

Gemstone Setting
The gem setting refers to the metal form, which has prongs and claws, that holds the gem in place. It is not to be confused with mounting or finding, or the name for the metal. So, why is this important? The setting of the gemstone is determined by the size and shape of the gem so that it maximizes the brilliance as well as prevent the gem from falling off.

These are the types of setting you might see at jewelry shops in Singapore while looking for a wedding ring.

Four-Prong. It’s ideal for any gem shape because it allows the maximum amount of light to come into contact with the stone.
Six-Prong. This provides a more a secure setting for the gem than the four-prong type.
Multiple Prong. Some rings have more than six prongs to show off other qualities of the gem and to make the setting more secure at the same time.
Full Bezel. The gem is encircled completely by and is set deep into the metal. This setting gives more protection than the prongs and can be used for any gem shape.
Semi-Bezel. Some parts of the gem are not closed in by the metal, allowing more light to touch it.
Flush Set. In this setting, the gems are found beneath the bands to protect it from scratches.
Pave. This setting allows for several gems to be set closely together with only thin beads of metal separating them.
Pave with Millegrain. The metal edge of the wedding ring is lined with tiny gems to give it a more luxurious look.
Channel Set. The gems in this setting are set side by side within a groove of the metal band. A proposal ring with this setting sometimes has a center stone.

The Importance of Having Regular Car Maintenance

Any car trouble can turn into a hassle, especially if you’re in a hurry or if your drive brings you some place far from any car servicing shops. In order to avoid ending up in such desperate situations, it is important for you to regularly keep track of your car maintenance duties. Getting regular maintenance sessions with your dealer can easily save you from dealing with frustrating mechanical breakdowns.

The importance of regular car maintenance cannot be stressed enough. In purchasing a vehicle, whether new or used, it must be considered a big investment on your part — hence it becomes a duty to follow a maintenance schedule to protect the asset from costly breakdowns and repairs. Not only does a constant check-up help you get the best performance your car can offer, but it also increases the machine’s life span.

In general, car repair is a broad subject composed of many aspects. It can range from a simple part inspection or maintenance to a vehicle’s complete overhaul. The repairs and condition vary with each car, which is why it is important to get your vehicle personally checked by a best car servicing in Singapore specialist.


While there are a number of people in Singapore with too heavy work schedule or tight budget to even bring their vehicle in for a consultation, poorly maintained cars can actually put their life at risk. Cars which fail to get a routine general maintenance check-up tend to act up and cause problems out of the blue, endangering the life of the driver and passengers with potential car collisions.

It also goes without saying that improper car maintenance prompts you to spend a thousand more dollars over repairs and surgeries. With that, it is greatly advised for any car owner to always consider the importance of having a regular car repair. There are many shops offering car servicing in Singapore which can help you ensure that your vehicle is not only safe but also at its peak condition.

Several car servicing measures must be observed to keep your car running efficiently and extend its mechanical lifespan. These measures must be undertaken routinely, instead of putting it off for a few months after a single consultation

You can check with your owner manual for a quick guide and run-through about the overall process. However, personally taking your car to a car workshop is still highly encouraged so it can be thoroughly checked by a mechanic. There might be issues you won’t spot at one glance, or existing technical problems that isn’t written down in the pages of your manual.

Tire check

The pressure of your tires must be checked every time you head out to avoid any related problems while on the road. This includes the spare tires you keep in your trunk, which generally often goes overlooked. Remember that the weight of your car is carried by your tires, thus they must be sturdy and strong in order to ensure its overall performance doesn’t disappoint.

This is one aspect to car servicing you can also opt to do yourself with the use of a tire gauge. It is important to point out any faulty issues, such as having an under inflated tire, for it can make your driving experience perilous as you hit the brakes. Tire maintenance also involves tire rotation to keep them wear evenly. This results to increased consistency and overall safety.


Having your brakes checked regularly is also essential for a safer driving experience. For one, the brakes are considered as the most critical component of your vehicle. Although they are often overlooked by many, car servicing centers in Singapore never fail to remind car owners of how important it is to get regular brake check-ups.

Thanks to the many advancements in technology, new cars now have improved brake features — but still, that doesn’t spare them from the need of undergoing routine inspection and maintenance checks. Operational issues must be prioritized as soon as possible to avoid machine failure and additional costly repairs.

Oil and filter change

Car maintenance also requires having your car’s oil and filter changed every once in a while. This is actually considered as one of the most common requirements to keep your vehicle’s performance at its peak. To keep things short, regular oil change is crucial since it becomes invaluable to your engine’s life. It effectively reduces wear and friction as well as directs heat away from rather critical areas. In turn, it makes engine parts run cooler.

Having a regular oil and filter change also prevents the accumulation of rust and corrosion and helps in reducing engine noise at the same time. This is one aspect to a good vehicle maintenance check that is recommended by most mechanics in Singapore since it serves as a key to a long and hassle-free machine life.

Other services

Apart from the key maintenance aspects presented above, there are also other services you must take into consideration to maintain a well-performing vehicle. Coolant levels must be kept filled to the correct level to prevent destructive engine wear and tear. Wiper blades should be checked and replaced (if worn). Additionally, batteries must also be checked thoroughly— keeping in mind that they generally last for a good 3-5 years.

Belts and hoses must also be checked regularly, inspecting if there are any leaks or cracks that needs immediate tending. Old spark plugs should also be checked, if not replaced.

Common Plumbing Problems and Mistakes

Usually the most common plumbing problems we have at home are clogged drains. Some problems however can be more than just simple drainpipe blockages. What are the common plumbing problems and what should we do? When do we call a reliable plumber for help? The following is a list of common problems and mistakes and the steps to keep your plumbing at home working perfectly.

Clogged drains. Most drain cleaners don’t do the work. Some are even harmful when used often. Clog removers can sometimes eat away at the drainpipes regardless of the material it’s made of (usually pipes are made of PVC or metal). The best way is to prevent clogging from happening is to keep the drains clear. Avoid placing small items near the drain to prevent blockage. Make sure to clean the strainers or stoppers from time to time. Ask your local plumbing contractor for options if you want these. Keeping your clogs clean however sometimes does not do the job. Reliable plumbing services in Singapore offer cleaning of waste pipes, bathtubs, and toilet bowls. You may also opt for a scheduled maintenance of your plumbing works.

Running toilets waste a lot of water and can add up to your bill. This usually happens when the flapper valve does not fit properly. The flapper valve allows the water to pass from the tank to the bowl. If fixing this is beyond your skills, it would only worsen the problem. Call a reliable plumber.

If you are planning a renovation and engaging a good plumbing services from Singapore or remodeling of your bathroom, make sure that there is enough space around the toilets. This will not only prevent small objects from accidentally dropping into the bowl, but there will be enough leg room as well. If you do not have this option or the budget to fix the placement of the toilet, make sure to avoid placing objects near it.

Dripping faucets. This is usually caused by the deteriorating washer made of rubber or silicone. When this happens the washer does not prevent enough water from pushing its way through the pipes. Ignoring this problem, no matter how common, can rack up your water bills. Replacing the washer will need specialized tools. It’s best to consult a reliable plumber if the problem has been going on for a long time. Otherwise, you can do the job yourself.

Silent leaks. Some issues cannot be seen right away until you notice that your water bill has gone up. Schedule an appointment with a plumber for maintenance and check-ups. Low water pressure can also be a sign that the pipes leading to your home have a leakage. Ignoring this problem might cause damages to your property.

Low water pressure. The most common cause is a blockage of deposits in the faucet aerators. Some faucets have aerators that can be removed for cleaning. If no changes occur even when you do this, the problem might be even more serious. A pipe may have a leakage that you could not see. It could also be due to problems in your local water supply system.

Leaky pipes. Usually leaks occur at U-joints in pipes. If you notice a water build-up in pipes leading to your house, there is a possibility that a line is broken. Some leaks however are not noticed immediately. Fixing leaks can be easy but if you do not want the mess that goes with it, call plumbing services or a 24 hours plumber.

Lack of traps or vents in the drains. The S-shaped pipe under your sink is an example of a trap. If you need to make sure your home’s plumbing has enough traps and vents, ask a reliable plumber about it.

Water heaters have pressure and temperature relief valves. The valves have to be placed correctly for them to work. The installation of water heaters should be done by a licensed plumber to avoid problems.

Fast-fixes that go wrong. Sometimes the problem seems minimal that we tend to come up with easy and fast solutions. If it is beyond your repairing skills, do not try to do it yourself. Call a 24 hours plumber if a problem occurs at night.

Poor installation. It is good to invest in quality plumbing. When planning to move into a house or building a new one, consult a plumbing contractor. This will save you money, time and effort. The fewer problems in the future, the less worries for your family. Most plumbing contractors have websites if you need more detailed information on the services they provide. One common mistake is that drainpipes do not have enough slope. The wastewater will travel slower and there is a tendency for waste materials and debris to accumulate.

For fuel gas piping, Singapore has laws for the supply, installation and fitting of gas pipes. It is important that you know your rights for your safety.

Mismatched pipes. This can also be avoided if proper installation is done. Sometimes we overestimate our plumbing skills and consequently cause bigger problems in the future. Pay attention to the pipe size, material and fitting. Better yet, ask a plumber to replace the pipes for you.

Finding local plumbers can also be a hassle. Luckily, Singapore has licensed quality plumbing services providers for every plumbing needs. Determine your problem first. Knowing the cause beforehand will make the job or repairs easier. Keep your budget and time constraints in mind as well especially if you need a quick repair at home. Keep a list of numbers of your reliable plumber or the nearest plumbing services center. Lastly, make sure that the plumber is licensed and qualified for the task.

How to Use Your VoIP Service

Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP is a cost-efficient and safe way to transmit messages no matter where you are in the world. In Singapore, the hosted VoIP system is the most preferred method of communication by businesses, especially companies that send their employees overseas or have offices outside the country.

Get to know the different trends in VoIP services before selecting which hosted VoIP system or cloud VoIP works best for your company.

How Does VoIP Work?

In the past two decades, companies have been slowly switching from public switched telephone network (or PTSN) to VoIP because it costs less, has advanced features, safer, and includes other perks. VoIP has evolved over the years because of the demands in business and communication. To better understand how it works, let’s look at the meaning of the terms used in VoIP.

VoIP is the successor to the time-division multiplexing system, but it has been around for some time in the business sector until it became available recently to the public with the use of applications that support VoIP. IP, an offspring of the web, refers to the standards needed for data to travel in a common network. The “IP” in VoIP is the modern Internet protocol which is the means of supporting a combination of the voice delivered through the TDM or time-division multiplexing telephony and the web-based data streams.

VoIP evolved because there was a need to combine the Web-based data streams and the closed-circuit TDM telephony at a low cost. TDM used to run on a voice network separate from the IP; therefore, VoIP is the intersection of the Internet and telephony, where the latter is the medium for the voice while the former is the channel.

TDM operates in a closed circuit or a dedicated connection, which is safer than VoIP, but does not allow for sharing of the data. This is where the high cost of traditional telephony comes from. In voip ip pbx from Singapore the voice codes are converted into digital codes in a process called packetization and travel through the web using the most efficient path so that it uses minimal network resource. As a result, there is little to no traffic at all and it is also easier to manage data.

How Do I Choose a VoIP Vendor?

Choosing the correct VoIP vendor in Singapore means that you should also understand how this voice technology is supposed to work. Upgrading the company’s telephone system to VoIP will boost overall productivity as well as provide an entry point for other companies that want to upgrade their telephony systems.

When purchasing VoIP services, there are always two factors involved: the service and the phone system. Most hosted VoIP system services in Singapore include both and do not require integration because they will provide the company with IP-enabled hardware. However, for companies that choose to upgrade their existing telephony systems, the analog or digital phones must be converted so that they can work in a dedicated voice network but not in an IP network. To convert the phones, they will need either an Analog Telephone Adapter or something similar.

Businesses with an existing telephony system can choose to upgrade because it will not cost much, but for establishments which do not have a telephony system yet, a full VoIP service using IP phones is more practical.
Businesses in Singapore are slowly switching to VoIP services such as the IP PBX telephone system and cloud VoIP not only because they cost less, but also for the network convergence and the consolidation of the media streams. Network convergence is the porting of the voice traffic to the company’s data network so that it becomes easier to maintain because the business needs only one network for everything. The hosted VoIP system also includes features and applications that are not possible with traditional telephony.

What is Cloud VoIP?

Cloud VoIP uses cloud technology to store and move data in the Internet instead of storing files in the hardware or computer. It has been around for decades, but has been popular ever since consumer-based cloud technology has become available. The name “cloud” represents the Internet, where the company can access data and other services using different devices if there is a connection.

There is a variation of cloud VoIP called cloud PBX, which includes all the features of a public branch exchange system without the need of PBX technology. PBX refers to the hardware that has to be installed and operated to route calls in the company. Cloud VoIP is ideal for small businesses that do not need several phones. Ask your VoIP vendor about cloud VoIP and all its features.

What is Hosted PBX?

The PBX phone system nowadays no longer need an operator to function or to have their own VoIP system within the company. It is cheaper to lease equipment and services from a host company through a system called hosted PBX. You don’t have to worry about upgrading, maintaining, and repairing all the hardware and software because most hosts that can do hosted PBX already provide a complete package.

What is a PBX Phone System?

For companies that have multiple phones and several employees, the PBX phone system is the most ideal setup. You might also hear the name IP PBX telephone system, which is a setup that allows employees to switch from VoIP to traditional phones and vice versa, and to switch from VoIP on local lines and the sharing of external phone lines.

Companies used to have the traditional PBX which has separate networks for data and voice communication even within the office. An IP PBX telephone system on the other hand, integrates both data and voice lines so that the employees can have access to the Internet, VoIP, and all traditional communication systems.

Taking Your Pet to a Groomer for the First Time

The first time you bathe your pet, you should expect that it’s not going to be a pleasant experience at all. That will also probably give you an idea about your pet’s first trip to a pet grooming services in Singapore.


How do you prepare your dog for its first experience with pet grooming? And what services can you expect at the groomer?


Find the Right Groomer

You need to find the right pet groomer for your pet in Singapore to make the experience pleasant. You can ask your veterinarian for advice or your friends for some feedback and experiences with the different groomers. The pet groomer should be experienced with the different dog breeds, coats, and grooming techniques. Once you find the right one for your dog, book an appointment with an allowance of a few days to prepare.


Take the Vaccination Records

If you want to groom pet, some groomers in Singapore will ask for a record of your pet’s latest shots, such as rabies vaccinations to protect your pet and the groomer from the virus. You should also tell your veterinarian about your plans, if you haven’t already, if it’s still a puppy. Most veterinarians will recommend that a puppy should be taken to a groomer within 16 weeks after its second round of puppy vaccinations.


The Right Age for Grooming

The dog should be taken to a pet grooming in Singapore service as young as possible after the second set of vaccinations have been completed. Puppies are less anxious around strangers than older dogs that have not been socialized with humans and other dogs. If you got a slightly older rescued dog, it’s important that the dog gets socialized first before taking it to a groomer to make it easier for it to adjust to strange noises and objects. Don’t forget to take some treats, too, while your dog is still getting used to pet grooming.

Train Your Dog

Socialization is important not just to prepare a dog for pet grooming, but also for its overall physical and psychological health. Dogs who are exposed to humans and other animals will find it easier to adapt to different situations, such as being handled by a stranger during pet grooming. A few days before the set appointment, train your dog to get used to being placed on a raised surface, such as a table, to lessen the fear.


Research About Proper Grooming

By now you have already learned how to bathe and brush your dog at home, but you should also research about the proper pet grooming methods based on the type of coat. Not all dog coats should be treated the same way, because some are more prone to matting and tangling than others. Not all dogs can also use the same shampoo, conditioner, and brush or comb.

Observe and Assist

During the pet grooming session, you should be present to restrain your dog from biting or running away. Assist the groomer while he/she is trying to settle down your dog, so that the next trip will be easier. Reward good behavior and firmly object against whining and complaints. If you have already trained your dog before the trip to the groomer, this part will be much easier.


Dog Grooming Services

A complete dog grooming service in Singapore should consist of the following:  washing, drying, brushing or combing, trimming, nail cleaning, butt cleaning (anal glands), ear inspection and cleaning, and dental cleaning.