Sunday, May 20, 2018

Organizing your family can feel like a tough task. There is always something to do, places to be or kids sports clubs to attend. To keep all of that information in your head would be crazy. It’s easy to forget things or become unorganized over time. So I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some tips for getting your family life on track.

A good calendar or journal

The first tip for getting more organized would be to consider getting yourself a big wall calendar or journal. This will be an essential tool to keep you on track. It allows you to place all appointments and events in the one place. At a glance, you will be able to see what you have on that day and week. This avoids you double booking yourself or overcommitting. You will also be able to communicate with anyone else involved and organize the week ahead of time. This will help for pick and drop offs.

Meal Plan

Planning your meals in advance can save you time and effort during the week. Especially on those busy nights where you may end making something unhealthy or ordering in. Meal planning can save you money on a weekly basis as you tend only to buy what you need. You may also want to think about batch cooking in advance, meaning you save even more time at night when preparing meals.

Keep all your family health check up to date

It can be difficult to remember when you need to do what. Especially when it comes to family health check ups. From health checks at the doctors through to eyes and hearing tests, they all need to be kept up to date. You also need to be able to manage expectation of appointments like hearing, so you can find out more online on how you can do that. Health checks are essential to keep underlying problems at bay or to hopefully stop and resolve issues in the future. Eye tests, hearing and general health check ups should all form part of the yearly schedule for the family.

Organize your home to make life easier

You don’t need to be one of those super organized people with labels on drawers or color coordinated wardrobes. But you can make life a little easier for yourself. School bags can be kept in the same place, as can coats and shoes that you need each morning. Try and pack things the night before to save yourself the morning rush. All it takes is to think outside the box a little at what could make things easier. Then put a plan in place to implement it.

Keep a schedule

Finally, try and keep yourself to a schedule each week. This is for things like grocery shopping and chores. If you know what needs to be done each day, you will have a much better chance of getting it done. Rather than being busy doing a lot of nothing. Again it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, but see how much more organized your life gets by doing it.

I hope this helps you get your family more organized.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bring Some Class Into Your Garden
It's a far too common occurrence that a lot of people tend to focus, almost exclusively, on the interiors when taking care of their homes. Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with this. After all, you're going to end up spending the vast majority of your time inside your home, so it makes sense that you will focus a lot of your energy on it. However, it becomes a problem when you focus so heavily on the interiors of your home that you start to neglect the outdoor spaces. Your garden is a part of your home as well, and if you're not paying enough attention to it, then it's going to start to suffer. With that in mind, here are some ways to bring some class into your garden.

Keep the lawn trim

There's a pretty good chance that your lawn is the most significant and obvious part of your garden, so it only makes sense that it's going to have a serious impact on how it looks. Even if you're not paying that much attention, you can tell at a glance if your lawn is unkempt and overgrown. Because of that, it's important to mow it as frequently as possible. If you only mow it occasionally, then you're just going to end up with a lumpy, uneven lawn that both looks and feels pretty unpleasant.

Create divisions

One of the best things that you can do to help your garden look just a little bit neater and classier is to divide it up into sections. If you just have things growing all over the place, then it's going to look a lot messier, and sometimes that's okay. Having areas where you divide your garden into different areas for things like flowers, vegetables, seating areas, and the lawn can really make a huge difference. Not only that but it makes it a whole lot easier to take care of that way as well.

Improve your patio area

There's no point in having a really nice garden if all you can do is sit indoors and look at it through your window. You should make sure that you have a patio area that you can actually use. Using things like Indian sandstone can help to bring a touch of elegance to your patio giving you an area of your garden that is not only practical but pleasant to look at as well. That way you can create a space for yourself where you can sit in your garden and enjoy all of the hard work that went into making it as wonderful as it is. 

Now, no one is saying that you need to dedicate all of your time to your garden, after all, the key is to find the best possible balance that allows you to bring them both up to the highest possible quality. If you're able to balance spending time on your interiors and exteriors, it's going to be that much easier to make it a part of your everyday routine.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Every member of your family has a hard week, whether they’re working in an office full-time or studying at school full-time. You might not relax together as a family as much as you’d like because you’re all busy during the week. Once the kids finally do finish their homework and you’ve all had your dinner, you probably just want to crash onto your bed and fall asleep. Rest is an important part of relaxing and recovering after a long day, but you and your family should also find some time to relax whilst you’re still awake. Eating dinner together is important, but that shouldn’t be the only time you gather as a family. The following suggestions should give you some ideas for family activities to help you unwind. If you have a free weekend then you should use it to try these things out.

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Do something creative.
The best way to unwind as a family is to do something creative together. You could try painting as a family. None of you need to be the next Van Gogh for this to be fun. You just need a blank canvas, some paint, and the desire to be creative. If you create a work of art then you could even hang it on your wall. That’ll be a testament to the importance of spending time together as a family. If the piece of art is an atrocity then you can hang it on the fridge and laugh at it as a family. Either way, it’ll bring you all together, and it’ll be a great way to unwind. Of course, there are other creative ways to unwind. If anyone in the family can play guitar then you could sing songs around the fire in your back garden.

Have a day of games and festivities.
If you really want to get the kids on board with the idea of spending the weekend together as a family then you should promise a day of games and festivities. You could play a classic game of Hangman with a pencil and a piece of paper. You could get Monopoly out if you think you’ll be able to play it without people getting too competitive. You might even want to try out an escape room in your local area. Solving riddles in a locked room with your family before the time runs out will teach you to work as a team. Of course, it’ll be an adventure too. The point is that your day should be full of fun things for everyone to enjoy; don’t just organize a day out that will make the parents happy. It’s important that you connect as a family.

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Relax outside.
The best way to unwind with your family is to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air. You could simply relax in your garden by playing on the water slide, or you could even head out to your local park. Take a frisbee and pack a picnic. You could have a really fun day with the family if you just got outside and did something together. You don’t need to plan an extravagant day out; what matters is that you’re all together.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

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There are a lot of challenges that are going to face you when you start any kind of business. Whether it's getting the funds together or attempting to reach out to the largest possible audience, being a small business that's just starting out can often involve a lot of roadblocks. However, it's often the case that one of the most significant roadblocks that you have to deal with is the perception of your business from the outside world. This happens far more often than a lot of people realise but, in the internet age where anyone can set up their own business, it's often hard to get people to take you seriously. If you're not doing things exactly right, it can often be very easy for customers and investors to assume that your business simply isn't worth taking seriously. With that in mind, here are a few things that you can do to show the world that you really do mean business.

Improve your branding

The first thing that sets any truly professional business apart from the amateurs is their branding. The reality of the modern world is that customers are surrounded by so many businesses that it can actually be kind of overwhelming. Because of this, most customers end up having to focus on the most surface level aspects of a business when choosing between them. This might sound shallow but modern day customers just don't have the time to spend weighing up various different businesses. If your branding looks amateurish, then customers are going to assume that the rest of your business isn't going to be worth their time.

Use a virtual mailbox

It's a real shame, but a lot of the time, if a customer sees that your business is based out of your home, they will assume that you're not worth paying attention to. It won't matter how great your product or service is, they will assume that you're an amateur. Fortunately, there is a way around this. The use of a virtual mailbox from a site like can help to present your business as being much better established than it is. Customers can see that your business has a dedicated space and, regardless of the reality that your product was always high quality, will be much more likely to give it a chance.

Leverage your size

Of course, you don't always have to treat your business's size as a disadvantage. There are so many huge companies out there, and customers are actually becoming less and less interested in them. Instead, customers are becoming more engaged with smaller businesses that they can relate to on a personal level. You might not have considered it before, but one of the best things that you can do is to leverage the size of your business in comparison to bigger companies. You can show customers that you're far more connected with them than huge businesses could ever be. Creating this personal connection with your customers is something that is so valuable and far easier for smaller businesses to achieve.

Project confidence

One of the most common mistakes that a lot of new businesses make is that they act somewhat apologetic for their size. They often act as though customers would be better off going with a larger business since they simply can't achieve the same results. This is tantamount to business suicide. No matter what level your business is working at, you need to make sure that you project the kind of confidence that your customers are interested in. Be unapologetic in boasting the things that your business can provide. Your customers want to have faith in your business, and without that faith, they're almost certainly just going to end up going elsewhere.

It's easy to get discouraged when your business is first starting out, and you're surrounded on all sides by much larger and more well-established companies. It can often be enough to make you feel as though you're never going to be able to reach that kind of level. Just remember that even the biggest and most successful business in the world started out in the same position as you. Focus on what you're doing and the level that you're at rather than spending all of your time worrying about businesses that are way higher up the food chain than your own. Once your business reaches those heights, and you're in direct competition with them, that's when you can start to be concerned about what they're doing.
For a lot of people, the dream is always going to be to move overseas. Whether this has been a dream of yours for a long time, or it’s something that you’re only just starting to think about, you may find that moving abroad is all you want to do. Because when you have a dream, it tends to be something that you fixate on until you make it happen. As dreams go, they’re often always going to be scary, big, exciting, and just that little bit out of reach. Because they wouldn’t be dreams otherwise. But when it comes to moving abroad, this can often be something that you know you want to go after, but you just don’t know where to start.

It’s safe to say that the process of moving overseas isn't going to be easy. If so, we’d all be doing it. But at the same time, it’s not something that has to be impossible. As long as you have the right expectations and you’re willing to put the work in to make this happen, you can enjoy a new life abroad. Because this is what it’s all about - creating the best life for yourself. If you’re happy with your life and you very much want it to stay as it is now, then perhaps moving abroad won’t work for you. Because everything will change. But if this sounds like a dream come true, here’s how to create a new life for yourself abroad in ten simple steps.

1. Know Where You’re Heading

While some people will know exactly where they want to be when it comes to creating their perfect life abroad, not everyone will. Because sometimes, it’s more of a vision than a definite plan. So the first thing you need to do is figure out where you want to go. This list might be able to inspire you When you’ve chosen a location, the fun can then begin.

2. Know What To Expect

Next, you need to have a bit of a rough idea of what life is going to be like for you. The worst thing you can do is to have all of these incredible images of what your new life overseas will be life to them find out that actually it’s nothing like that. So, connect with other expats, join forums and get talking to people online. This is often a great way to make sure you’re managing your expectations.

3. Get To Know Local Laws

As a part of that, you’re also going to want to make sure that you get to know any laws or customs that the location will have. If these are drastically different to what you’re used to, it will be handy for you to figure this out well in advance. That way, you’ll ensure that you are going to fit right in as a new resident.
4. Visit The Area

But before you make any rash decisions on heading out when you’ve never even been to the location before, you’re going to want to make sure that you visit. Paying a visit for a week or two and taking a vacation there will allow you to get to know the different areas, and scope out the place before you dive right in.

5. Rent Somewhere

From here, the next thing that you need to do is find yourself somewhere to live. At first, it’s often a  good idea to find an apartment rental, just so you can be sure that you’re in the right place. Something like this - can often help you to make the right decision.

6. Find A Job

The next thing on your list needs to be a job. Ideally, you’ll have enough money saved to support yourself for a while, but you will also need to be actively looking for a job. These tips should be great for helping you with your search.

7. Set Up A Business

On the flip side, maybe you want to start your own business and that’s always been a part of the dream for you? When that’s the case, you will want to know the local procedures like before you dive in. You may also want to speak to a commercial property specialist to get their advice on the best way to go about it.
8. Make Friends

When you do move, or even beforehand, you’ll want to ensure that you can make new friends. This may seem hard but as this shows you can make it happen. This will also help you to settle into your new life.

9. Contribute To The Community

At the same time, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re apart of the local community. Join in with events, help out, and make sure that you’re really getting involved. This is often the best way to make sure that you can adjust to the new location and really make a life for yourself here.

10. Live!

And last but not least, you have to make sure that you embrace the new life that you’re created for yourself. Above all else, you have to enjoy it. Even if you get scared and things aren’t as you’d expected, run with it. Of course, life will be different now, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Instead, you just need to be able to out yourself out there, try new things, and get used to this way of life. When you do, you’ll be able to live the life that you’ve always dreamed of.

Friday, April 27, 2018

There are many reasons why people borrow money. In my opinion, people are forced to borrow money as a last resort when they could not raise the amount of money that is urgently needed. For those who are borrowing money for the first time, especially from family members or friends, it is not easy for them to open their mouth. They run the risk of their pride being hurt if their request is rejected.

In the old days, parents borrow money from rich relatives to put their children through higher learning but now we have study loans from educational ministry, association, etc. Once their children starting working, the loan will then be paid back in installments. There are advantages and disadvantages with borrowing money for their children education. With the loan, their children had the chance for better education and a better future. The disadvantage is that the children have to pay back the loan once they started working. 

These days, having your own personal transport such as buying a car is necessary when the young people joined the working force. In countries, where there is a good public transport system, owning a car may not be necessary. It is only when public transport is scarce that getting a car is necessary. When we don’t have the cash, we need to apply for a car loan before we can buy a car.

With an auto loan, we get a buy a car to commute to and from work but the disadvantage is that we are burdened with the repayment of the loan for the agreed period, sometimes for a minimum of 10 years. The same applies when we want to buy a house. We need a bigger loan to purchase a house. Applying for a house loan could burden us with many years of repayment.

One advantage of taking a loan e.g. housing loan from established loan lender is that the loan is covered with insurance and if the borrower dies before the full repayment of the loan, the next of kin that inherited the house need not have to continue with the loan.

Sometimes, applications for a loan can be rejected or disqualified for certain reasons when terms and condition were not met or complied. What happens is that people who need the money urgently will turn to alternative means to borrow money such as the California bridge loan lenders. Bridge loan lenders provide homeowners with residential bridge loans in California or commercial bridge loans for real estate investors. These bridge loan lenders offer fast approval and funding, competitive rates and reliable service for direct bridge loan financing.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

When choosing how you are going to operate your new business, you may decide that an LLC formation is the best structure to have. There is a lot of flexibility within an LLC, which can be beneficial for both you and any business partners you may have. However, what’s important to remember is that this entity type is not federally recognized. This means it varies from state to state. As such, you may have to apply for EIN online to get it registered with the federal government. Let’s take a look. 

How Does an LLC Work?
A limited liability company is designed to allow business owners to run their company in a few different ways:

First, you can be an individual and form an LLC. In some states, you have to have at least two partners, but that’s not always necessary. 

Second, an LLC has pass-through tax benefits, which means that your business earnings and wages are not taxed separately. The money you make is only taxed once, not twice. 

Finally, since it has limited liability, partners in an LLC are not responsible for business debts or financial burdens. This is one of the better benefits of having this entity type. 

Overall, you can run the business on a more personal level while still keeping your liability to a minimum.

What is an EIN?
An employer ID number is used to create a separate tax entity for business purposes. While you can start your LLC with your social security number, an EIN may be necessary for the following reasons: 

  • You have employees
  • You have more than one partner
  • You wish to be taxed as a corporation or partnership (meaning you don’t want to use your SSN for business expenses)

To get an EIN, you can use a third-party organization to help you fill out the paperwork and get the number from the IRS. Fortunately, you can usually get the number in a day or so and start using it right away. An EIN is also helpful if you want to open a business bank account since most financial institutions won’t accept an SSN. 

Bottom Line
An EIN is not always necessary for an LLC, but it’s recommended. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Moving Country: It's Expensive, But You Can Cut The Costs

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You’re probably excited and apprehensive about moving country in equal measure. The new experience is exciting, but the cost of moving can be stressful. Still, whilst moving your entire life to a brand new country was always going to be an expensive process, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation. There are lots of ways to reduce the costs of moving so that you’ve prepared yourself financially. And that’s important because you’re going to need a strong financial safety net. Here’s some advice to cut the costs of moving country.

Learn about buying property abroad.
We’ve talked a lot about the logistics of buying property abroad before because it can be confusing for anyone who doesn’t understand the laws of a foreign property market. Of course, investing in foreign property is tricky whether you’re looking to sell on that property or keep it. It’s important that you learn about the foreign property market before you purchase a new home in a new country. You need to know how the terminology works in a foreign country, for example. That isn’t just a matter of the language barrier - it’s just that the property market isn’t universal. Details differ from country to country.

You might even want to seek help from a specialist who can help you with your property purchase to make sure that you’re getting a fair and cost-effective deal. Otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of money on a bad property; and the costs might continue in terms of maintenance or other expensive aspects of the property that you didn’t fully understand because of the linguistic and legal difference between your present home country and your future home country.

Prepare for the costs of becoming a citizen in a new country.
Unless this is only a temporary move, you’ll probably need to become a full citizen if you’re going to move to a new country. Of course, this comes with its fair share of costs. You should head here if you’re looking for a cheap option when it comes to the immigration medical examination. The technical side of moving to a new country can be costly if you don’t do your research first. You might also want to save money by learning about the difference in cost of living when comparing your home country to your future home country. You might want to rethink your expenses to make a new budget for your new life. This will help you to avoid costly lessons once you’ve already moved.

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Transport your belongings cheaply.
The final way in which you could save money when moving country is to make sure you transport your belongings as cheaply as possible. Obviously, your possessions are very precious to you; you want to make sure they reach their new home safely. However, speed doesn’t matter. And you can save a lot of money by choosing to ship your belongings overseas rather than transporting them via plane. Otherwise, you could be spending 4 times as much as money. Save yourself a massive expense.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Getting Older? Don't Panic

For a lot of people, getting older is a frightening prospect. The changes that the body goes through often do not mirror the mind, and age often comes with frailty, infirmity and a general vulnerability to illness. The life expectancy for men and women has continued to rise year on year, which means that you get the chance to live a lot longer – based on the right choices. Everyone wants to live that little bit longer, but there’s no point in living longer if you’re not going to live life in a healthy manner.

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Old age is something that should be taken very seriously. It demands to be taken seriously, whether you want to or not. You can’t be flippant about your age if you’re not looking after yourself. Remember the vulnerability that I mentioned earlier? Old age comes with that, and your body won’t be so accommodating of the pressure that you put on your body in your 20s when you’re 60. Living longer is the goal for many people, and with oncology research and medical research being as aggressive as it is today, it’s becoming the reality for many. Making even the smallest of changes can actually change your life entirely, but you have to be bold enough to make those choices and choose your health over anything else. There is no need to panic about getting older; it’s saved for the lucky ones. So, while you’re there and wondering how you can improve your life so that living longer is the result for you, check out these ways that you can do just that.

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1. Laugh. There is so much research out there that states that laughter is a good medicine. Not only has it been shown to ease pain, it can boost blood flow and help you to fight heart disease. Even when you don’t look unhealthy on the outside, your insides could be struggling. Laughter also boosts the mood and leads to overall motivation to do and be better.

2. Sleep. There is a balance that is required when it comes to the length of time that you sleep. Sleeping far too much is just as bad for you as not sleeping enough. You need a happy medium of around six to seven hours a night to be able to live longer than others. The human body is extremely resilient, but not enough to need less than four hours a night to repair and recharge.

3. Eat. Understanding the foods that make you healthy is one thing but understanding that garlic can extend your life is another. This stinky food may not be too nice to sniff during cooking, but it tastes amazing and is known as ‘nature’s antibiotic’. It’s a very powerful cleanser of the digestive system, and you can promote a healthy heart and good circulation with it. It can also lower your blood pressure. With high blood pressure being the side effect of many other issues, it’s important to know how to combat it. Given the importance of cancer research, there is a lot of evidence that can suggest the prevention of cancers of the digestive system can be aided with – you guessed it – garlic.

4. Sex. Being active in the bedroom isn’t just for fun, it’s going to make you healthier. You can keep active and reduce your risk of a heart attack by enjoying sex three to four times per week. Not only that, but you can sleep better and be far more content with your partner. This means a longer, happier life.

5. Tea. Tea is one of the drinks of the world that is so common to wake up to and there’s no denying the benefits of black or green tea on your health. Tea is packed with antioxidants and can help you to increase your bone density. A daily cup of tea is going to help you to boost your health and make you feel on top of the world.

6. Checks. When you have a shower, it’s important to go over your body with a personal health check yourself. Self-checking your breasts if you’re a woman and your testicles if you’re a man can mean the difference between being ill without knowing it and being in tune with your body. You’re going to live much longer if you catch lumps on your body that aren’t supposed to be there early enough.

7. Medical Appointments. Smear tests for women and prostate exams for men are no joke. There is nothing nice about an invasive procedure, but it’s going to save your life. Hang your dignity at the door along with your underwear for a quick examination that has the possibility of preventing any diseases which could kill you prematurely. Don’t be afraid; a little discomfort is far better than an early death.

8. Drink. While alcohol is usually off the list of things that are going to be healthy for you, a glass a day of red wine is actually very good for your health. The best thing for your health is always going to be water and drinking enough water every day will honestly change your life. You will find yourself far more energized and ready to take on the world if you are hydrating your body and brain properly every day. The human body is made of between 55-75% water, which sweats out of your pores and when you cry. 8 glasses a day is what we need for our health, so start counting.
Relax. Whether your favorite way to kick back is with friends or reading a good book, you need to find the time every single day to relax. It reduces your blood pressure and can really help any issues related to stress that you may be suffering. Relaxation exercises like these can make a huge difference to the way that you feel every day.

Taking the time to work on extending your life and living a healthier and happier lifestyle is never going to be a bad thing. You can never have any guarantees, but why not live the best life that you can, anyway?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Create Your Own English Country Garden Anywhere

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English country gardens are renowned for being beautiful, sophisticated and positively blooming. They are the gold standard up to which other gardens should be measured. Best of all, you don’t even have to be English or live in England to have your own English country garden!

Wherever you may be, you can enjoy the singing if the birds, the buzzing of bees and the aroma of beautiful blooms in your own slice of England. Here’s how:

Keep Your Plant Choices Classic

It’s fair to say that the English country garden is pretty traditional and this is no more evident in the choice of plants that you will find there. Roses, primroses, daisies, and wisteria are amongst the most common English country garden choices. So, keep it simple and classic, but bring in as many colors and aromas as you can if you want to get off to a brilliant start.

Wisteria Up the Wall

While we’re on the subject of wisteria, if you happen to have a brick wall, there can be nothing more traditional English country garden than allowing wisteria or ivy to climb it’s way up the wall, adding some extra green and making the outdoor space look even more beautiful.

Don’t Forget the Fountain

Go to any big English country garden estate, and you are sure to see at least one water feature like the fountains at That means that if you want your garden to be authentic, you’ll need to install a fountain too. The bigger and more ornate it is the better! It’ll bring some much-needed tranquility to the garden.

Manicured Hedges and Topiary

English country gardens are most often lined by extremely precisely manicured hedges or shrubbery rather than lots of fences and walls because hedges are more natural and actively enhance the beauty of the garden. Not only that, but you will typically see interesting topiary shapes and sculptures somewhere on the grounds too. You know what you need to do!

Mature Trees

England has a lot of trees, and many of them are very old indeed. They are the English country garden’s protector and main source of decoration. So, don’t be afraid to bring in lots of mature trees, like the ones at and use them to line your garden alongside the hedges or as a feature in their own right. Pear trees, apple trees, cherry blossom, and oaks are great for getting the right feel, but any tree that is old and majestic and which will thrive in your garden will be fine.

Wonderful Wildflowers

Although English country gardens are pretty formal for the most part, many gardeners allow a small area of the garden to get a little wilder. You could let the grass grow long, and the trees grow freely to achieve this look, but planting wildflowers and allowing them to flourish in all their bright, bold beauty is probably a better idea, not only because they are more beautiful but also because they attract birds, bees butterflies, and frogs which are so much fun to watch.

Add all of these elements and your garden will look like it’s just been transported from England to your property for sure.

Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

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Mother to Son

by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—


But all the time

I’se been a-climbin’ on,

And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.

So boy, don’t you turn back.

Don’t you set down on the steps

’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now - -

For I’se still goin’, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Beautiful poem by Langston Hughes. It speaks of a mother's encouragement to her son, that despite all the hardships, he must continue moving forward. 

Life is a never-ending journey. May you find enlightenment with this wonderful piece.

If you are a parent with a child (or children) in college, you would have been wracking your brains trying to figure out how you will survive financially for the rest of the year. The first semester of School Year 2014-2015 has started for a majority of universities in Metro Manila and the budget crunch for parents has begun all over again.

It is a known fact that in the Philippines, a degree earned in a reputable university instantly assures the graduate of a good job later on. However, not every Filipino parent can afford to pay the tuition fee. Some parents planned ahead and bought an educational insurance plan for their children to pay for college fees. This group of parents is the ones who had disposable income when they were starting off as a family. However, a majority of parents are the ones who take on private loans, sell farmlands, or take on second jobs to make ends meet. As a popular Filipino saying goes - "Ayan lang ang kaya kong ipamana sa iyo, anak." ("That is the only inheritance I can give you, my child."), which is probably the reason why parents tend to give up everything for a child to get a college education. To give you an idea of how much tuition fees are, check on the infographic below. That is the cost per unit, so if your child enrolls in 21 units (or credits), you'd have to multiply that amount by 21. I am sure these figures are higher now, considering this infographic was based on 2014 statistics.

Infographic designed by Jonathan Asuncion, and reported by AJ Abando (

Before the K+12 program was implemented by the Department of Education, high school graduates in the Philippines were 15-17 years old on the average. Eager to enroll in college and sensitive to their family's financial standing, these kids try to find employment to help out. 

Here are their options:

1. Apply for a part time job. Great. Workers get a decent per hour rate. However, most businesses that employ student workers would require "at least two years of college education." 
My questions are:  (a) Why would you need at least two years of college education to flip burgers and clean tables? (b) Would you need college algebra to bag groceries or work in a department store as a sales clerk? I am not stereotyping, however, there are some businesses that really require this, together with tons of licenses, permits and documents.

2. Apply for a job in the college/university. These are mostly clerical jobs - filing, typing, encoding. However, a grade point average should be maintained, and it does not pay much.

3. Offer tutorial lessons. Those students gifted with above average IQs can offer tutorials to their peers, high school students or grade school students in their neighborhood. 

4. Start a small business. They can save some of their allowances to use as a capital for a small business. They can sell goodies to their friends, like packed lunches, or cupcakes or homemade cookie cups. Those into arts and crafts can make things to hold gadgets in, like a pretty crocheted pouch, or make trendy loom bands.

5. The last and the best option they have is to study hard, get good grades and apply for a full academic scholarship. This way, they not only relieve their parents of the financial burden, they also bring pride and joy to the family. To see a child graduate with honors is one rewarding experience for parents. 

To conclude, I would want to applaud all parents out there, for their selfless work and sacrifice. I also throw up a prayer to God to bless all the college freshmen, that they take advantage of the privilege that has been given to them and to move forward to the future with gratefulness in their hearts. 

My dear children, go on and reach your dreams. 
Mama will always be here to support you in every way I can. 
That's my pinky promise!

Suggested readings:

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Residential water features such as a water fountain, aquarium, swimming pool, reflecting pool, pond, or even just a simple birdbath can make a big difference in any home environment. If you’re planning to install one in your home, it makes perfect sense to learn as much as you can about their benefits so you can have a better idea as to whether or not you should pursue the project. That said, here are some of the reasons why having a water feature in your home is actually a great idea.

Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal
Water features like a tiered front yard fountain, a waterfall, or a pond can make your home look a whole lot better on the outside, therefore raising its curb appeal and its equivalent monetary value. This is advantageous if there’s ever a need to sell your home in the future.

Raise the Value of Your Home in General
Even water features that are not necessarily seen from the outside can make your house more desirable. For instance, a family swimming pool or a backyard whirlpool can significantly bump up the value of your home because these are very sought-after amenities.

Beautiful D├ęcor for the Indoors and Outdoors
As already mentioned, installing a water feature can instantly beautify your home and its surroundings. Indoors, a beautiful wall fountain or a tabletop fountain can make any living room more interesting. Outdoors, a birdbath not only serves as an attractive decorative piece, it can also become haven for birds that need to cool down and drink.

Bring Nature into Your Home
One of the easiest ways to bring nature into your home is by installing a water feature. Some water features like aquariums and fish ponds are designed to serve as a home for living animals, and as such, they are often put together in a way that simulates the natural ecosystems where these animals thrive. Other water features are simply built to mimic inanimate features found in nature. For instance, a water-fountain-and-pond setup can incorporate natural stones, vegetation, and cascading waters to simulate a small tumbling stream that flows into a pond.

Relaxation and De-stressing
As a homeowner, there is probably nothing you’d like better than to retreat in the comfort of a relaxing home at the end of a long, tiring day. Having water features in your home can actually help in this regard, thanks to the soothing sound of their gently flowing and falling waters. Whether you have a tabletop fountain or a standing floor fountain, the sound of water can help calm your nerves as it will remind you of natural bodies of water.

Drown Out Unpleasant Sounds
Whether you hate the sound that your air-conditioning or refrigeration units make or your neighbors are annoyingly noisy every single day, you can count on your water feature to provide a pleasant background sound to drown out all these unpleasant noises.

Good for Your Health
Aside from their sound helping you de-stress, water features may also help in terms of actually physically making your environment healthier. Like your bathroom shower, water fountains naturally produce negative ions. Negative ions are invisible molecules that are believed to help increase the levels of the “happiness hormone” serotonin in the body, thus alleviating stress and depression. Negative ions are also generated by natural bodies of water like beaches and waterfalls.

With their many benefits, it’s understandable why many people would want to install a water feature in their home. How about you? Which water feature is your favorite?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pay Very Less for Awesome Items at!

I occasionally do online shopping, especially when pressed for time. Let's just say, I am a last minute shopper. Most online stores loaded with ads and this is a turn off for me. I favor purchasing items in an online store that is easy to navigate and offers unique high-quality products at the most affordable price. That is exactly how I discovered Bearyless

Bearyless is an eCommerce site that offers really great products perfect for gifting or for our own personal use. I am a homebody and anything that would make my home a little prettier is sure to catch my attention. I browsed the website and I found some items that I will purchase soon. Let me share these with you.
3D Light Rechargeable Moon Lamp with Touch Switch - $35.00 now only $22.99!

Click here to learn more about this product
This would make a really nice night lamp! Once I have this in my bedroom, I am sure it will help foster relaxation and a good night's sleep. I have always been in awe of the beauty of a full moon. Now I don't have to wait for 28 days. I can have it every night!

Wall Mount Hanging Glass Mini Aquarium / Fish Bowl and Plant Vase -$18.50

Click here to learn more about the product
Now, how cool is this! A wall mounted aquarium! I will put this on my wall in my home office. It would bring me a sense of calm just watching the little fish swimming around in that uniquely shaped fish tank. I am guessing my children would want to have this in their rooms too. 

Natural Rattan Storage Basket For Home - $18.00 now only $12.00!

Click here to learn more about the product
These natural rattan baskets are fantastic. I love the many ways I can use them around the house. I also find it awesome that these baskets can be folded and stored with ease!

Don't get me wrong. Bearyless is not only about home decor. They have fashion and beauty items too! Clothing, accessories, make up, etc! So if you are shopping for yourself, or for a gift for Mother's day, make sure to check out Bearyless. I guarantee you will find an item (or more) there that you will truly love to give and/or receive. 

Don't forget to follow their Facebook page here and grab the code for free shipping on orders totalling $75 above.

Note: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Friday, April 13, 2018

6 Tips on House Training Your Puppy

House-training a puppy can be challenging, to the point where many owners simply resign themselves to just cleaning up wherever their canine companion leaves its doings. But house-training has more to offer than just allowing you to spend less time cleaning up after your puppy: it also helps them become a more well-mannered and disciplined pet, one that you can depend on to look after themselves on the occasions that you have to leave them unsupervised or in someone else’s care.

With that said, here are some tips that should make house-training your puppy an easier affair.

1. Get your puppy a good collar and leash. Contrary to the belief that you should let puppies go collarless until a certain age, it’s in fact to their benefit that you get a dog collar for your puppy as soon as possible. This not only allows them to get used to wearing one earlier, but also helps you secure them to a specific location when you’re not around to supervise them - thus protecting them from any danger their curiosity may put them into. A collar and leash is also definitely mandatory whenever you take them out for walks. Yes, we know that it’s irresistible to want to just carry them everywhere, but puppies need to be active.

2. Use the fifteen-minute rule to your advantage. A puppy’s digestive tract is very active and very small, so they’re very likely to need to go to the bathroom within five to fifteen minutes of doing pretty much anything: eating, drinking, exercising, or even waking up from a nap. You can take advantage of this regularity to teach them where exactly they can do their business. Bring them every time to this exact spot and they’ll soon remember it. You can also reinforce this lesson by rewarding them with a snack every time they eliminate in that spot.

3. Don’t punish accidents. Accidents can and will happen, especially when you’re house training a puppy. While it’s tempting to discipline your puppy for going where they weren’t supposed to go, either with a gentle hit on the nose or a chiding lecture, many trainers agree that it’s a very counter-productive move to do so.  Instead, simply clean the area where they eliminated as much as possible, enough that they won’t be able to smell any trace of themselves when they return to that area. Puppies and dogs are more comfortable eliminating in areas that they can smell their own urine and feces on, so in cleaning up their accident thoroughly they will be discouraged from returning to that place. You can then proceed with your training of your puppy as normal.

4. Always keep in mind your puppy’s ability to hold their bladder. As a rule of thumb, a puppy can hold their bladders for as many hours as they are how many months old, plus one. So a month-old puppy can hold their bladder for two hours maximum, a two-month old puppy can hold theirs for three, and so on. Keep this time limit in mind whenever you do activities with your puppy – letting them hold onto their urine for too long may not only cause them to have accidents but also make them feel comfortable about reveling in their own filth. It’s imperative that you don’t allow this behavior to take place by being mindful of their limits. 

5. Don’t rely on pads and newspapers. One of the most tried-and-true ways of house training is to train your puppy to eliminate on puppy pads and newspapers. While it’s possible to wean your pet off of them when the time comes, it may just complicate matter further and confuse your puppy in the long run. By training them to eliminate on a specific spot outside as soon as possible, you make things easier on both your dog and yourself.

6. Get a professional involved. If you’ve tried everything and it just doesn’t seem to be working out, remember that you can always ask for a professional’s help in house-training your puppy. However, this should only be your last resort, as having someone else house-train your dog in another location could obviously make it difficult for your puppy to get comfortable with eliminating when it needs to.
House training may seem like it’s more trouble than its worth, but by taking the time and effort to do so will instill important self-discipline in your pet, as well as ensuring their happiness and healthiness in the long run. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Health is a vital issue no matter what our age, but as we get a little older it can help to make it even more of a priority. After all, our health is the one thing that can have the power to improve our quality of life, something that most people want to maintain as much as possible as they age. With this in mind, check out the simple guide below on the health matters that those over 50 should be looking out for as they age. 

Hearing health 

Many people believe that hearing loss is a natural part of ageing and that it is very little we can do to prevent it. However, this isn't always the case. In fact, there are plenty of things that we can do to safeguard our hearing health throughout life.  

Picture source
The first thing is to try and minimize any infections in the ear. Decrease infections by rinsing out the ear canal after bathing or water sports, as this can prevent bacteria getting logged in there. Remember as the ear canal is a warm and moist place it is the perfect environment for such bacteria to grow, and when they do so your chance of having an infection that your body can find hard to fight off increases, and can damage your ears. 

Also, it can be useful to use hearing protection in situations that are noisy such as music performances or work environments. The reason ear protection is so necessary is that is can stop damage occurring to the hair follicle in the cochlea which can result in a decline in hearing health and even hearing loss over time. 

Heart health 

The over 50s also need to be aware of the health of their heart, as any unnecessary strain on this organ can be problematic. The health of the heart is so crucial because it is a vital organ that pumps blood around our bodies, and that means we cannot do without it. After all, if it is not working at full capacity, it can cause all sorts of issues from fatigue to poor circulation, to heart attacks. 

Keeping the heart healthy for the over 50s is something that requires a three-pronged approach. The first is to have a regular checkup that looks out for problems such as atrial fibrillation that you may not be aware you have. 

In addition, eating well and keeping at a healthy weight is vital to this. Also exercising to keep the heart strong and blood pumping around the body is an essential part of maintaining heart health well into your 50’s and beyond. 

Bone health 

Another issue that many folks over the age of 50 can experience is a problem with bone density. This condition is particularly evident in women of this age because the hormonal changes brought about by menopause can speed up the loss of bone matter in the body. 

Minimize the risk of this, by maintaining a healthy diet that includes plenty of calcium as this is used to build and strengthen the skeleton. It is also vital that you cut out any other actions that mean you are a higher risk such as smoking, excessive drinking and taking some medications. Lastly getting a regular scan and taking supplements to help improve bone density can be useful in minimizing this issue in those over 50. Something you can read more about here.

Mental health 

Lastly, let us not forget that mental health issues are often prevalent amongst those that are over 50, at least as much as those under this age. After all, ageing can be tough as not only do you have to deal with physical changes in your body but also the psychological impact of major life changes such as menopause, empty nesting, retirement, and the like. 

Luckily, there are plenty of approaches that can help you keep mentally healthy no matter what life throws at you. The first step to accessing these is usually finding out what specific problem it is that you are suffering from. Many people use online diagnostic tools for this, or go and see their doctors who can then refer them to a specialist that will be able to provide coping strategies for anxiety and depression issues. 

Remember that if your mental health isn't too good, it's likely that your physical health and quality of life can suffer as well. With this in mind, it is vital that you deal with any mental health issues as promptly as you would physical ones, particularly if you want to safeguard your health well into your 50s and beyond. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Remember MTV Cribs, the show that let us peek into the homes of the rich and famous? Yeah, that was a double-edged sword. On the one hand: it was fun to see just how glamorous life can be. But on the other: it showed us a home we’ll likely never possess for ourselves! But it’s important to remember that you don’t need to have millions in the bank to have a luxurious home. While you might not have your own custom-made swimming pool or home cinema system, there are plenty of ways to up your home’s luxury levels. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Focus On the Main Rooms

You’re not going to have the budget to overhaul your entire home with luxury decor, but then again, you don’t need to. Instead, focus your luxury attentions on a few key areas in your house. In particular, the bathroom, living room, and kitchen. These are the three most important rooms, the ones where you spend most of your time (excluding the bedroom that is, but who sees that besides you and your partner?). Take a look at a few ways to make your kitchen feel more luxurious, and in no time at all, you’ll feel like you’re on an episode of Cribs when you’re cooking. Well, nearly. 

Add Luxury Touches

Luxury is just what looks good and what doesn’t look like it was grabbed from the bargain bin; whether it’s big or small in size is not important. As such, why not make the most of a few small, inexpensive additions you can make around the house? It’s all about the finishing touches. For example, switch out the door handles that came with your purchase for a more luxury option. The cost will be next to nothing, but the impact will be big. 

Get Individual 

If you’re after a luxury look in the home, then you’re going to have to avoid those mass-produced items that you find in the big superstores. Everyone has them, and even though they can look good, their charm is kind of undone by just how ubiquitous they are. Instead, get individual, and show off your personality at the same time. For your lamps, look at getting a stained glass version from For your wall decoration, don’t buy the same blown-up photograph every has on their walls; scour vintage markets, and pick up something unique and with a backstory. 

Well-Lit Spaces

If you’ve ever spent any time in a luxury hotel, you might have noticed something: they’re extremely well-lit. This is the secret to creating a luxury feel! You want lights that show off the strengths of your home, while also being functional. If you don’t know where to begin, take a read of what you should be doing to get the best light in each room at

Unique Furniture

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of unique furniture! Hit those flea markets, pick up something old school and unique, and your home will be screaming luxury in no time.