Monthly Archives: April 2017

Tips for safe online shopping

If Black Friday is the traditional holiday shopping kickoff for bricks (i.e., brick-and-mortar stores), then Cyber Monday is considered the kickoff for clicks. This term was coined for the phenomenon involving the Monday after Thanksgiving – the one day out of the year when people rush to work… so they can use their high-speed office computers to take advantage of fantastic online sales.

Though it’s still a massive holiday sales day, thanks to huge deals and free shipping, Cyber Monday is really just the beginning of the online holiday shopping season.

Now, people shop all season long from the convenience of their couch, commuter train or local coffee shop, using phones, tablets and other mobile devices

In a recent survey of 1,215 mobile device users, Webroot found that 50 percent of respondents are likely to purchase holiday gifts using their smartphones or tablets this shopping season – up from 22 percent who did so in 2010.

There is no better time to shop online than the holidays, when the hoards of shoppers can sap your energy and holiday spirit. But the Grinch may be stealing more than the presents from Whoville; he might be stealing your personal information if you don’t take precautions for safe online holiday shopping.

1. Ho-ho-hold on before you click on a link delivered to you in an email. Can’t wait to buy that Chia Pet for 80 percent off? Beware clicking on links you receive from unfamiliar websites. It could be a “phishing” scheme, where shoppers who click through are led to a false site developed to steal their data. If the deal is too good to pass up, enter the website name by hand into your browser.

2. Santa’s watching! And so are thieves unless you lock your device. Webroot found that a surprising 53 percent of respondents leave their devices unlocked, which can expose their personal information to prying eyes. Most devices request that you lock it with a password or code; take advantage of this feature to keep your information secure.

3. ‘Appy holidays: For safe online shopping, make sure your apps are downloaded from a trusted source, such as the Android Market, Apple App Store or the Amazon App Store. When you download the app, it will ask for various “permissions.” Be sure to read through them and note whether they make sense… for example, does a shopping app need access to your contact list? Another way to check on the safety of apps is to read through the feedback in the comments section of the market and choose apps with a high rating.

4. There’s no place like home for the holidays… for safe online holiday shopping. Remember, a secure network connection – like that in most homes or workplaces – is ideal. Public Wi-Fi can be hacked by someone with the right tools, exposing your passwords, billing information and other sensitive data. Therefore, if you’re using a public connection, it’s best to limit yourself to window-shopping and price comparing, rather than buying.

5. Deck your halls: A security app is more than ornamental window dressing -it’s vital for online shopping. Webroot found that only 40 percent of respondents have a security app installed on their smartphones and tablets, putting their devices and personal information at risk. Take a hint from older surfers: While younger users more often use their devices for shopping – to place orders, compare prices and download coupons – the survey found that users ages 50 and older were more likely to have security on their device.

Wedding dress shopping tips

You’ve got the ring, now it’s time to find the dress! Wedding dress shopping can be very exciting, and is no doubt a moment that you will want to cherish and make the most of. Just remember, it’s never too early to shop for a dress, especially if it’s for an event that happens once in a lifetime!

If you’re not sure where to start, or maybe you’re a little nervous, here are some essential reminders to help you when shopping for your wedding dress…


Know your look

You’ve worn many dresses and perhaps it’s about time to figure out which showcases your character and form. This is the best foundation in purchasing your best dress style: are you going for a mermaid, an A-line or a ball gown? What shapes fit your body shape best, and what design elements enhance your features? These are all things to consider when you begin shopping for your wedding dress.


Do it early

Start looking for your wedding dress at least six months before your wedding day, (some eager brides even start 12 months before!), this allows time for finding the gown and then any alterations or changes you may want to make. ‘Do it early’ also applies to your appointment time, if you’re planning to go to a few boutiques during the day you may want to book your first appointment as early as you can.


Set a budget

Setting a budget means you can go in with a game plan, and will help give the salon assistants an idea of what gowns to suggest. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a gown that is ridiculously over budget. Also remember that without setting a budget and using planning tools like a budget calculator, it is easy to let the expense of a wedding become much greater than you expected.


Book your appointment on a weekday

Weekdays make great salon appointments and mean you can avoid the crowds. If it’s possible for you, schedulea working day appointment and leave your desk for that all-important fitting.


Ask for opinions…but not too many

Ask the opinions of those closest to you. Bring your best counsel around and let them give opinions about the dress and the look you’re going for. However, sometimes letting too many people voice their opinion can become quite overwhelming so limit you shopping party to as small a number as possible.

Tips For Ordering Plants

Winter doldrums are soon swept away by the appearance of seed and plant catalogs in the mailbox. Usually around the New Year, gardeners greet the postal person with uncharacteristic glee. Seed and plant catalogs are the harbinger of finer weather and fun times in the outdoors. Using mail order catalogs, and now online companies, requires a little know how and sometimes some translation. Here are some guidelines on how to decipher plant catalogs and get the right plants for your garden and the best value. Tips for Ordering Plants First, you have to decide what is important to you as a gardener. Ask questions. Do you only want organic selections? Seeds that are part of the national seedbank? A company that gives back to community and global concerns? Is price your main concern? Many questions go into the decision regarding what company to use as your seed and plant catalog connection. References from publications you trust, veteran gardeners and even the local master gardener’s organization can clear up which companies are reputable and which are “seedy.”

Now that you know which nurseries and seed suppliers you want to work with, you must decide on the types and varieties of plants you require. A primary concern is the United States Department of Agriculture zone in which you garden. This knowledge ensures that you choose plants that will thrive in your climate and that are hardy. Hardy refers to the maximum cold temperature the plant can withstand and survive. Next, you should see which varieties of plants do best in your zone. Just because a tomato is hardy in your zone if planted at the right time of year doesn’t mean it will produce well. There are cultivars that are designed for wetter areas, drought prone zones or difficult soils. Know your basic horticultural terms such as annuals, which only come once per year; perennials, which grow year after year, and cultivation terms like disease resistant. Your garden’s soil, local moisture, amount of sun and a variety of characteristics should influence your seed and plant choices. Using mail order catalogs lacks the personal touch and advice of a local nursery, so do your research before you complete your order.

Singapors shopping strips

Singapore’s mania for shopping almost rivals its obsession with food, and barely a year goes by without a vast new retail monolith flinging open its doors. Prices may be higher than in Malaysia and Thailand, but Singapore beats its neighbours for sheer convenience and familiarity. Electronics and computers are no longer the steal they once were, but they can be cheaper provided you do your homework and shop around. Clothes are cheaper than in most Western countries, and you can pick up reasonably priced Asian antiques provided you know what you’re doing.

This 2.2km shopping boulevard inspires awe and horror in equal measure. Packed with more than 20 shopping centres, from label palace ION Orchard to the high street staples of 313@Somerset, the sheer scale of this retail onslaught is overwhelming. As if there weren’t enough malls already, another giant – Orchard Gateway – opened in 2014. You have two options on Orchard Road: dive in, or run screaming.


Haji Lane

Blink and you’d walk right past this narrow alley in Kampong Glam without a second thought, but Haji Lane is a place of pilgrimage for Singapore’s hipsters. Boutiques here open and close faster than local fashion bloggers can keep up with, but you can be sure to find a great range of cool womens and menswear, accessories and homewares during any visit – along with a handful of cute cafes and bars. One of the more popular stores that has stood the test of time is quirky womenswear boutique Dulcetfig.


Tiong Bahru

Singapore’s hottest new shopping enclave rivals Haji Lane for its selection of hip fashion and lifestyle boutiques such as Nana & Bird and BooksActually. Reward your efforts with a leisurely brunch at Tiong Bahru Bakery, PS Cafe Petit ( or 40 Hands Coffee (


Little India

A world apart from the gleaming malls of Orchard Road, Little India’s ramshackle streets are a treasure trove of art, antiques, textiles, food and music, while the infamous 24-hour Mustafa Centre department store is an experience in itself. Keen bargainers can score cut-price electronics here, while computer enthusiasts will do well at Sim Lim Square. Heading down towards Kampong Glam, you’ll find handicrafts, textiles and boutiques and, sandwiched between the two areas, the thoroughly un-Singaporean ‘thieves’ market’. A short walk away is the old neighbourhood of Bugis, which, while strictly located neither in Little India or Kampong Glam, has something of the atmosphere of both.