Saturday, July 22, 2017

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A home is your castle, the place you feel the most comfortable. It is the place you yearn for after a hard day’s work and the building that holds the most memories. It makes sense, then, that your property is a home and not a house. What is the difference, you ask? Well, simply put, a house is a property that lacks personality. Scratch that – it’s a property that lacks your personality. As the owner, it is your job to imbue it with as many of your character traits as possible. That way, the transformation process can begin. 

Obviously, adding personality isn’t as easy as saying it out loud or in your head. To make it happen, it is essential to take action and start the process. So, if you don’t know where to start, you should take a look at the following. These are the tips that will instill character into your house. 

Move Out

‘Seriously? I Need To Move?!’ No, you don’t have to go if you don’t want because it is a long and stressful process. However, a new property is a chance to stamp your authority into a property. The problem with old houses is that they have too much going on to be able to concentrate on one area. If you look around, it is probably almost impossible to see where you are going to make any changes. Indeed, homes are notorious for being stubborn from a design perspective. Thankfully, a new house allows the owner to start over again. The right property is a blank check, and, like a painter’s easel, it is waiting for you to throw color. Anyway, the average person moves more than eight times in a lifetime. For those who are below this number, then moving might be on the agenda in the future. Better to get ahead now than to react later. 

Visualize & Buy

Okay, moving out is a bit too much for now. That isn’t a problem as there are other options. The first is to add furniture throughout the house. Furniture is important in any property because it takes up lots of space and acts as a focal point. From an interior design perspective, the right pieces will add warmth and the style you want. More importantly, the comfort of the furniture should play a part in the decision process. A sofa, for example, is a place to sit and relax to take off the edge after a stressful day. As such, it’s vital to picture yourself using the item before you sign on the dotted line. Armchairs that aren’t comfy or mattresses that aren’t relaxing don’t fit the brief, and the only way to tell is to try before you buy. 

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Play Around

Once you have the items at home, there is no reason to keep them in the same place. Static furniture is boring, and it soon loses its appeal. Even if it adds a level of character, it is hard to see it when you aren’t pleased or perceive a different reality. The solution is simple: restructure the room. It is worth noting that some fittings will have to stay put, like the shower or sink. Still, the ones that are moveable are the perfect candidates for a restructure. All you have to do is swap the armchair with the sofa, or turn the attention away from the TV to an alternate focal point. This is a minor change but it makes all the difference in most homeowners’ minds. It is amazing what a play around with furniture can do for the entire property. 

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Accessorize 

For now, let’s focus on the furniture because accessorizing the whole house is a big deal. Thankfully, decorating furniture is a lot easier. The trick is to add cushions and pillows and blankets to give the piece a new contrast. The fact that you do this, and it is unique to your home, makes it personal. However, it is possible to add personality by accessorizing the accessories. What does this mean? It means you can take one and add another level of character. Think about a throw pillow for a moment. Most people buy them from the store and stick with the same style. But, you can change the pillow’s cover by knitting a new one which is less generic. Or, in the case of the blanket, don’t buy an industry one. Instead, use one that you have had for a while, one that has sentimental value. You can even take it further by stitching one together with your belongings. 

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Add Artwork 

The great thing about art is that it is incredibly personal to the individual. So, there is no reason to use a piece that has been in your family for years. Let’s face it; most families don’t have a piece of artwork they pass down through the generations. Therefore, you can go out and buy the pieces which take your eye. They don’t even need to have a backstory as art can simply make you feel a certain way. Of course, using pieces that have sentimental value does take it to the next level. If you like to paint, don’t be afraid to use your drawings and paintings around the house. Or, you can opt for artwork that a friend has created with you in mind. A reminder: artwork doesn’t have to be a painting or a drawing. For all you pottery buffs, homemade antiques are a perfect addition. Artwork is a broad term for anything creative. 

Decorate With A Hobby

There aren’t many things more personal than a hobby. A hobby is something you do a couple of times a week which keeps you occupied and happy at the same time. As a result, it is a huge part of your life. The good news is that you can use a hobby or hobbies for interior design purposes as long as you think outside the box. Take music as an example. A musician like you will have instruments lying around the house. But, instead of ushering them into a corner, you can put them on the wall or create space. Not only are they striking, but they are a beautiful addition to any home. Just think about how often you see a home piano and think ‘I would love one of those.’ This works for any hobby, from a sports enthusiast to a gym lover. 

Display Achievements 

When you reach a certain age, accomplishments are more readily available. The problem is that they don’t have the same glamor when you are older. It’s something about having perspective. As such, most people hide them away or put them in storage and forget they exist. Apart from being a sign of disrespect, it is always a missed opportunity. Achievements are personal to the individual because only a handful of people can say they have done the same thing. Therefore, they are unique and need displaying around the house. Whether it is a trophy or a medal, or a plaque or whatever, there is no better way to add personality. Plus, looking at them evokes memories, and memories are another great way to set to create an atmosphere. 

Finally, don’t forget about the exterior. Everyone thinks turning a house into a home is all about the inside when it is not. If anything, the outside of the home has a big a role as any to play because people make quick judgments. Also, it’s a huge space which you can tailor to your needs and wants. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

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There comes a time when you realise that your house just doesn't look or feel the same anymore. The appliances are breaking, the door keeps getting jammed, the window still hasn't been replaced, and the roof has holes in it. Sound familiar?

This happens to the best of us, but then one thing seems to add to another, and it feels as though the whole house is going to come crashing down on us!

It's not a nice feeling, and it can really take its toll on you mentally, because it's a constant stress hanging over your head, (literally). We begin to question why we even bother trying to sort it out. It's too much time, effort and money, right? - But what's your plan? You're just going to wait until you're forced to move out? - There's no need. You just have to tackle your problems head on, and once it's done - it's done. You don't have to think about the issues anymore because they no longer exist!

Here's how.

Start with a few
Don't try and get everything done at once. Although it's tempting, you will just exhaust yourself, and it will work out being even more difficult than you originally expected because you are limiting yourself to time, and that's not only stressful, but unrealistic in general. So instead, pick a few things, and give yourself a week (or more depending on the job) to complete them. Then you can cross them off your list of things to do until there's nothing left.

Know your DIY Limit
You'd be surprised by the amount of things you can actually fix yourself with the right YouTube video and tools! Having said that, know your limit. If the task is feeling rather intimidating - it's for a reason, so don't push yourself otherwise you could end up breaking whatever it is you're trying to fix for good, or even worse, cause yourself an injury. Instead, get a quote fast and see whether your expenses can cover it. Then you can take it from there.

Don't cut corners
If you have a repair in which requires you to purchase the top of the range materials - do so. Otherwise, you won't be doing it properly, and even at the time it may look and feel as if there's no problem, but after a while, you will come to realise why you should have got the more expensive stuff. 

It really isn't worth being cheap, especially because you will just end up buying it anyway! The same goes for paying someone to do the job for you - you get what you pay for.

Befriend online forums.
Nowadays the internet is the only source of information you need, and forums are just a gold mine for issues.

People come together collectively to share tips and tricks from all aspects of life, whether that be Mommy tips, business ventures or relationship advice. So put out your issue and wait to hear back from other people that have gone through it and are more the wiser.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Modernizing your home might seem like a daunting project to take on, but it doesn’t have to be. And just focus on the outcomes; your home will look stunning and up to date, and that’s worth the effort and investment required. If you’re wondering which steps to take in order to get started, read on and get inspired.

Brighten Up the Exterior

You should start on the outside. After all, people always see the outside of your home before they see the inside. If you want to make the exterior look fresh and modern again, you should start by brightening it up. This is easy to do, but it has a big impact on the initial impressions people get of your home. If the windows have shutters, you should paint them bright and vibrant colors. You should do the same with your front door. Add some flowers, and the transformation will be complete already.

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Make the Most of Contemporary Art

Adding some new contemporary art to your home could have a big impact on how modern and up to date it feels. It will make the space fresh and interesting. If your home currently feels stuck in the past, this modern blast could be just what it needs to switch things up a little. There are so many options out there when it comes to choosing modern art. And you don’t have to just stick to hanging paintings on the wall. You might want to choose sculptures instead.

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Install Solar Panels and Embrace Renewable Energy

Installing solar panels is a great way to make your home modern. Sure, it doesn’t necessarily do much for how the home looks, but looks aren’t everything. You also have to make sure that your home functions in a way that is modern and up to date. Solar panels allow you to embrace renewables and live in a way that is clean and green. This is just what you need if you want your home to be modern. Solar panel installation is affordable and easy these days. And you’ll end up saving a lot of money, so take action today.

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Opt for Some Unexpected Colors and Patterns

Older homes can often seem a bit drab and dull. If that’s the case in your home, you should make an effort to liven up the space a little. By doing that, you can give the home a new look right away. It will be bright, vibrant and striking as soon as anyone walks in. It’s even better to opt for colors and patterns that are not usually associated with older homes. When you make design decisions that are not what most people would expect, you can make the home feel new and modern again, which has to be a positive.

There is no reason why your home has to be stuck in the past just because it’s old. If you take the steps mentioned above, you will be able to blend the old with the new in a way that works wonderfully.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Because there are lots of appliances available, it is hard to sort out the weak from the strong. Some people will think there is no need to bother when you can have your cake and eat it, too. However, they have yet to consider the implications of running dozens of high energy appliances all year round. The effect on the environment is pretty substantial, as is the impact on your bank balance. To avoid these pitfalls, it’s best to review what you need and don’t need in the kitchen. Here are a couple of the essential devices you shouldn’t throw away. 

Pic from flicker
Eco-Friendly Fridge

If there is one appliance you need more than anything else, it is a refrigerator. Quite simply, it never stops regardless of the situation or time of year. The majority of people even leave it running while they go on holiday. But, the problem with this is that it constantly guzzles electric, and energy prices are on the rise. To lower the energy bill at the end of the month, you need a fridge which isn’t as hungry. Eco-friendly fridges fit the bill as they emit have a lower output and emit fewer emissions. If yours is a hungry hippo, try turning it down a notch or two. 

Washer And Dryer

No, a washer and a dryer are not two separate appliances. Yes, they can be, but there are front loading washer and dryer combos that come in one neatly wrapped package. Unlike a refrigerator, most houses don’t use them twenty-four hours a day for seven days a week. Instead, they are only necessary when you have dirty clothes to wash and clean ones to dry. Still, its impact is no less. Quite simply, a washer/dryer makes life much simpler. Because there is no need to worry about a time deadline, you can wash and dry clothes at will. It sounds lazy, but every homeowner will agree. 

Pic from flicker
Water Purifier

In the western world, you can turn a knob and clean water floods out of a faucet. It’s an amazing amenity that people take for granted, especially when you look at other situations around the world. However, the water isn’t as clean as people like to imagine. It may not kill you, but it does have substances that aren’t great in large quantities. And, you may consume them if you drink a lot of tap water. Thankfully, a purifier solves the issue as it takes out the potentially unhealthy materials beforehand. 

Coffee Maker

There is no doubt that coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. And, as it has become more prominent, people have become coffee snobs. Nowadays, nothing but the best brew will do, which is where a coffee machine comes in handy. Instead of drinking the swill that is instant coffee, you can brew your own and make it to your tastes. For those of you that depend on caffeine, this is not an indulgence but a necessity. 

Add these and your kitchen will have everything it needs to run smoothly. 

Time To Buy: New Build vs. Lived In

Choosing a new home is never simple, but perhaps the trickiest part of the decision is a question that has troubled buyers since the beginning of time: do you want your home to be newly built, or already lived in?

While you may instinctively think you already know the answer to that question - most people have a preference off the bat - there’s always a chance you’re overlooking something. Before you throw yourself into a search that only covers one base, why not consider the pros and cons of both options?

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PROS: New Build 

  • You’re going to spend a lot less time doing maintenance if you buy a new build house. When you get the keys, that should pretty much be it - the build is complete, and you won’t need to do anything drastic to the appearance unless you choose to do it. 
  • Somewhat inevitably, this is going to save you a lot of money. The cost of renovating or remodeling a house is incredibly expensive, especially if you have a lot to do. From the exterior siding repair to the interior complete bathroom overhaul, there’s going to be a lot of problems you have to fix. Issues on the exterior of the house are particularly problematic, as you’re going to see them every single time you arrive home - a constant reminder that your house isn’t quite up to scratch. While these things can be repaired, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to want to do it immediately. It’s nice to be able to give yourself a few months after moving to be able to just settle in, rather than having to launch yourself straight into a repair job.
  • A new build is a blank canvas. You’re going to be able to choose all the decor right from the off, especially if you buy off-plan and can then be involved in choosing the flooring, countertops, etc. 


CONS: New Build 

  • You are not settling into an established community. There’s going to be a sense of a lack of the familiar, as the neighborhood has been thrown together rather than evolving organically. If you tend to rely heavily on having friendly faces close to you and a sense of community spirit, then you might find this difficult to cope with. 
  • Some people find that new build houses have a tendency to be rather sterile. Obviously, your mileage may vary on this one - it entirely depends on your preferences, but it’s worth keeping in mind. Knowing that your house has no history might be something you struggle with.
  • The fact that a house is newly built is not a guarantee that is has been built well. There’s every chance there have been mistakes made in the construction process, some of which you might not discover until years later - when the house is well and truly out of warranty. It can be dangerous to assume that just because something is new it is perfect, so don’t fall into that trap. 

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PROS: Lived In
  • You get a house with history, with a story, in a neighborhood that is already well established. If you want to quickly foster a sense of belonging in your area, you will be surprised to discover just how much quicker this can be obtained in a lived in house.
  • Lived in houses tend to be cheaper when you compare them on a room-by-room basis, which is important if you’re trying to get the most for your money. If you’re willing to opt for a house that is in need of a little bit of TLC, then you can lower this purchase price all the further. 
  • There are going to be no surprises with lived in houses. The house is already established, the address is on all the databases, the routines and routes of the local services have already got your house included. New builds can sometimes take awhile to officially appear on maps and such services, which can be incredibly frustrating for the first few months of living in your new home. 

CONS: Lived In
  • The problem with houses that have already been owned is you might find yourself dealing with the mistakes of other people. If, for example, the former owners knocked a wall down where they shouldn’t, then it’s going to be you dealing with the consequences of that. This is one of the fundamental reasons you should always have a survey completed before you make an offer on any house. 
  • You might be faced with a lot of renovation. While it’s not impossible that you will find a house on the market that is exactly to your taste, in which you don’t want to touch a thing… it’s not exactly likely. When viewing lived in houses, you have to train yourself to see past the decor to the underlying structure. Only when you remove the previous decor efforts are you going to be able to put your stamp on things. 
  • There may be hidden problems that you have no way of knowing before you move in, but which the owners were well aware of. For example, you might discover that you have moved into a house where the outdoor space frequently floods during bad weather. Technically, the owners are meant to tell you about these risks, but a lot of people just don’t - after all, they’re trying to sell their house! It would definitely put a dampener on their sale efforts to tell you this, so they just won’t mention it. However, you might find out when you try to insure the house and are told your policy is going to be hundreds of dollars more than you budgeted for. 
With a better idea of the pros and cons of the situation, which idea stands out to you? Do you like your houses to be new, fresh and waiting for a history to be created within them, or to buy somewhere with an established character? The choice, ultimately, is yours - but hopefully this will have provided some insight that can help you along the way! 

You don’t need me to tell you how important sleep is for you. You know the feeling well enough when you don’t get as much sleep as you'd like. You feel groggy, and you're more susceptible to illnesses. There is a big focus on sleep by health authorities now, because the more we learn about sleep, the more we find out how good it actually is for us! Even a catnap in the afternoon has proven to have rejuvenating effects. But it all starts with the bedroom. So many of us don’t have the right type of sanctuary for sleep, so here is your one stop shop for making your bedroom the cozy and comfortable place you need for some shut-eye.

Are You Comfortable?


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There could be many things that are stopping you from getting a relaxing night’s rest. Your bed is the best place to start. If you have sheets that are too thick, then you could be too warm in the night, so make sure you have the right thickness in relation to the temperature to where you live and what time of year it is. Have you changed the mattress in the last 10 years? If not, this could be another factor. Get comfy, keep the temperature low and it will help you relax. Another simple hack to get yourself at a good temperature is to have a cold shower a couple of hours before bedtime, you don’t want to do this just before bed because you’ll wake right up!


Get Rid Of Electronics


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Yes, for the perfect bedroom, you need to leave you electrics at the door. The big CEOs like Ariana Huffington swear by leaving their phones outside their bedroom, and you should do the same. A lot of people think that they can't fall asleep without Netflix or a DVD in the background, but this could stop you entering the deeper stages of sleep, and your children can benefit from this too, especially if they have games consoles and TVs in their room. If you really need to use your phone or computer, then install a filter like F.Lux to cut back on the blue light that interrupts your body’s production of melatonin.


Have A Routine


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Much like when you were a child, and you were sung to sleep after a nice bath, or a story was read to you, these are things which highlight the importance of a pre-bedtime routine. With life being as busy as it is, we are going to bed at the last possible minute and hoping to fall asleep right away. This isn’t possible without a routine. Some people journal and others take some time to breathe, but by winding down and getting rid of the troubles of the day, it’ll help you to prepare for a sleep state.


Sleep should be a third of our lives, and we need to keep it this way. A lot of us are in danger of not getting enough sleep, and while we tend to think that being busy is good, it’s interrupting our lives. So get to bed early once in a while!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Starting a daycare business is a fantastic way to do what you love for a living and get paid to do it. If you value the joy of working with children, and you’d like to cultivate a small group of people all with a similar goal in mind, you might need to think about opening a daycare center. It’s simpler than you might think because essentially the concept of a daycare center is a modern evolution of how human beings used to take care of the community’s children in the Mesolithic Period. The key is to get the community involved or look for professionals in your local area to be part of the guardians. Wrap the business around the human connection, because caring for children as a business is an entire people person job. 

Source: The Irish Labour Party
Is the need there

Assessing the need for a child care in your community is the next step to finding the relevant information so that you can make future decisions. Research the market and look specifically for a demand in your local area for day care. There are a number of ways you can gather this information and the easiest way to do so, if by testing the waters. Go around the neighborhood with a questionnaire, knock on people’s doors, or put fliers through their letterboxes.

Opening your own center

There are pros and cons to opening your own childcare center. If the properties around your neighborhood or the desired location you’ve chosen are far from sufficient, the only other option is to open your own. The size of the property you finally settle on will be determined by a number of children you’re willing to take on. Community centers of Moreover, the buildings designed for such an institution are the exact type of building that can be used for day care also. A company such as armstrong can provide you with affordable steel, so as to give you strong material which won’t cost you an arm and a leg. The structure and floorplanning can be an integral part you can discuss with the company, who will use their best technicians to wire the building safely considering they’ll be children inside.

Credit: Bureau of Reclamation
What kind of care will your provide

Next, you need to decide what kind of childcare you will offer parents and the various different ways of administering it to the kids. You could start a center which specializes in caring for children with mental health issues, who need very specific care. You might have a history of healthcare in this area so you can use your experience to help children with special needs, short attention spans, anxiety disorders, autism and learning difficulties. On the other hands, you may care specifically for children with physical deformities, children who are wheelchair bound, having missing or misshapen limbs, diseases such as cancer, blindness or lack of hearing. The staff you hire and the rules and practices you assign them to adhere to will characterize the type of daycare you’ll provide. Helping you to make this decision will be a gap in the local market, where this is an exploitation to be had, you could capitalize it and thus, charge competitively immediately rather than if you were a standard care center. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Living room is the center of homeowners’ universe. It is the place where we spend most time and engage in conversation with our loved ones. Given this special purpose (both functional and emotional) it is the part of our home that matter the most.

Although people spend most of their life in this small room, they tend to neglect it awfully lot. Sometimes, you can see that interior design hasn’t been changed for decades and there is no indication it will be in near future.

Homeowners do not like addressing their living room as they often think that the costs will be too high. This isn’t always true. Sometimes, you can accomplish a lot with just a small investment. Let’s see what the best ways to do it are.

1. Adding a few mirrors
Mirror can do a lot for your space. Due to its specific form and the fact they reflect things; you can accomplish various effects with them. In fact, mirrors are a cheap alternative to expensive paintings. Instead of decorating your whole walls with lots of paintings you can accomplish almost the same effect with one larger mirror.

Hollywood mirrors are especially neat. Besides the mirror itself, they come with lots of light bulbs that can deepen the experience for the viewer. You can start your mirror search by visiting HollywoodMirrors.co.uk where you will find a decent collection of illuminated mirrors for your home.

2. Go for intricate wall paintings
Again, instead of getting paintings, you can paint a picture on the wall. This form of art is really modern and artsy and it can be a good substitution to anything else you would’ve put on wall otherwise. It is something that sticks with a viewer and completely solves your problem.

However, do not do this yourself. It is much better if you get a proficient person to do the job. In the end, you wouldn’t like to repaint your walls again, wouldn’t you?

3. Switching up things a bit
The oldest trick in the book is switching up your furniture. It might not be the best option and you can accomplish much more by simply purchasing a new set of items but it is by far the cheapest option at your disposal.

You should always try and reposition your stuff so that the room feels more homey. Try creating an oval shape with your sofas and chairs. This way, when your guests arrive, they will all be placed in a circle instead of rectangle. It is a small trick that most people neglect. However, it will have such a mental impact on your guests that they will feel as if you completely changed the whole room.

4. Remove obstructive things from your windows
Here is a similar trick as the one with furniture. You are not actually changing anything; instead you are simply removing excess things. 

Most living rooms are exposed to the sunlight. There are likely windows or glass doors on one side of the room. Unfortunately, homeowners tend to ruin the atmosphere by adding curtains, putting plants near the windows or obstructing the view in some other way. 

Natural light is great for your eyes and your psyche. Even if the light may seem overbearing at times, it definitely helps more than it makes the issue. So, make sure to introduce more of it.

5. Buy new trinkets, refresh your photos 
Everybody has small trinkets, items and photos in their living room. Although they may be important for us or remind us of something, think about changing them once in a while. If a photo is significant for you, you can simply relocate it to bedroom or some other area of your house. However, this swap as small as it may be is really significant for your living room d├ęcor. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A year ago, I quit my post as a Quality Assurance Specialist in the Business Process Outsourcing industry.

The pay was good, but it was not worth all the stress and the toll it had on my health. I hung up the towel after a decade of working the night shift.

My job as a QA with various companies were all memorable, but the best ones were the unexpected responses from the agents either during a live call, or during coaching sessions.

During one ordinary shift, I came across a bad call and gave an agent Auto-Fail. I approached her station and took her in for immediate coaching. She cried and said she wanted to quit. I told her, "Hey, its just a bump in the road. Now you know what you shouldn't do. This job brings food to the table and sends you kids through school. Don't give up! I'll be here if you need help or when you need advice. Remember, every time you encounter difficulties, just F.I.G.O. - Forget It and Go On."

Touching base with my friends who still work in that company told me this girl is now a Team Leader. I guess I did something right.

Three years later, in another company, I got to do the task of being a Virtual QA (which means the agents I handle are off-shore), I came across a most unforgettable statement from one of the agents assigned to me. Markus was very upbeat in handling the customer's concerns and while the customer was waiting for her order to be completed, the customer asked him, "So how are you doing today?" I was expecting a canned response in the likes of. "I'm doing good. Thank you for asking." But no! Markus responded with something that hit home. He said, "Well, I'm breathing, I'm employed, and I get paid on Friday. Everything's good. All is good."


Wow.

That was one wake up call for me. Why worry about the unimportant stuff when waking up is already a blessing in itself. Being able to breathe, walk, talk, interact, love and be surrounded with family and friends is a blessing! Doing what you love to do and get paid for it is a bonus! God is really good!

So now I go about living my life, my perfectly imperfect life. And when I get frustrated or depressed, All I have to do is remember Markus' words and carry on through the day. Fifteen words that touched my heart and made me be thankful of even the tiniest thing. 

Blessings sent! Have a great day.

Monday, March 27, 2017

If there is a gadget that is ever present in every performance, it is definitely the volume pedal. The Ernie Ball VP JR features a compact design, an optimized potentiometer for passive instruments and a micro taper switch to provide two distinct swell rates. Those three features alone are enough to prove that this is worth its price.

Normal wear and tear is expected, however, buy up options for coverage are provided upon purchase. Warranty beyond the manufacturer's warranty period is an offer difficult to refuse. Unexpected breakdowns, normal wear and tear, damage brought about by spill, drops, and cracks, dust, internal heat and humidity, and power surges are covered for only a few pennies each day. 

I believe this is the best deal I've seen today. You know of someone who would need this? Click on the link and purchase it for them. They'll be ecstatic, I'm sure.  

 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

From time to time, we all deserve a treat. Many of us would like to have more disposable income to spend on going out for dinner, a weekend away or a new outfit, and it may not be possible to treat yourself every month. However, with these savvy shopping tips, it is possible to save on shopping. If you like to indulge in some retail therapy now and again or you’re hoping to try and cut the cost of your weekly grocery shop or monthly gift haul, bear these pointers in mind.

Image by https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictures-of-money/16678606754
Clothes and accessories
We all need clothes, and if you have an interest in fashion, you probably like to add new pieces to your wardrobe on a regular basis. The cost of updating your closet every season can soon mount up, but there are some crafty ways to save on shopping.

The first thing to do if you love fashion is to embrace online shopping. If you shop online, you often get a much better choice, but you can also take advantage of lower prices and flash sales. If you have stores that you love, go online, visit their website, and join their mailing list. When you’ve done this, register with some discount sites, and sign up for alerts. Every day or week, you’ll receive an email full of the latest sales and promotion codes. Even if you’re only saving 10%, you could still save a significant amount over the course of a few months or a year. If you do find items you like, and you’re thinking of adding them to your basket, always compare prices first. This is particularly beneficial if you’re buying branded items, for example, a pair of trainers. Type the make and style into the search engine, and it will show you prices from different retailers. Sometimes, there’s a huge difference, and spending a couple of minutes doing some research will have saved you all that money. 

Image source: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Shopping-Money-Woman-Online-Credit-Card-Wallet-2125548
If you often find yourself looking in magazines and sites like Pinterest for style inspiration, it’s always a good idea to look for copycat items. If you see a designer coat you’re desperate for, but you can’t afford, have a look around for high street copies. Popular stores are really good at offering cheaper alternatives to the styles and pieces you see on the catwalks, so you spend less and still be on trend. 

Buying secondhand clothing or items that people don’t want is another way of making shopping more affordable. If you don’t already have an account for online auction sites, it’s really easy to set one up. All you need to do is sort out your profile and your payment information, and you can start bidding on items you like. You can tailor your search. If you’re looking for a black coat, for example, you can choose which brands to include and select size and style options. Once you have an account, you can also consider selling. If you have clothes, bags, or shoes that still have the tags on, or are barely worn, you can sell them, and put the money you make towards some new purchases.

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Saving on gifts
If you have a large family or you’ve got into the habit of buying your friends and their children gifts, life can get pretty expensive. Before you know it, you’re devoting a significant sum to buying presents every month. It’s always a nice gesture to buy gifts, but if you can’t afford to keep spending like you are, there are ways of reducing costs. Now that you’ve got to grips with Internet shopping, you can use it to save on gifts, as well as clothes. Look out for special offers and online sales, and shop around for the best prices. If you’re buying vouchers or gift cards, it’s worth checking out sites like Cards2Cash and if you’re stocking up on toys, look out for bundles and multi-buy offers. Often, you can save money by buying 2 or 3 items at the same time. If you’re a creative person, you can also reduce spending by doing some DIY gifting. If you can bake or sew, make the most of your talents. You could buy some mason jars and fill them with brownies or homemade cookies or create some bespoke cushion covers, quilts, or t-shirts. 

Image credit https://pixabay.com/en/gifts-wrapping-paper-presents-932349/
Grocery shopping tips
If you added up how much you spend on food each month, you’d probably be amazed. We tend to spend a lot on putting meals on the table, and once you throw in additional items like pet supplies, cleaning products, and toiletries, the costs can soon spiral. If you’re spending too much at the grocery store, these saving tips should come in handy.

Plan ahead
Always go to the supermarket with a list. If you just grab things here and there, you’re likely to miss items you need, and you’ll end up spending more. Work out what you’re going to eat in the week ahead, and write down the ingredients you need. If you’re keen to cut costs and save time in the week, batch cooking is a fantastic idea. If you have a few hours on a Sunday afternoon free, you can cook up meals like casseroles, pasta dishes, and curries, and freeze individual portions. Later in the week, all you have to do is defrost as many servings as you need and then heat them up when you get home. 

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Unless you spot offers on products that you usually buy, try and avoid promotions. If you find this hard, shop online. This way, you’ll have a running total to show you how much you’ve spent, and you won’t have neon signs or eye-catching displays trying to lure you away from your list. If you’re buying items like pet food or nappies, which you tend to buy in bulk, go online and compare prices first. If you find a store that has them on offer, you can stock up.

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If you’re spending too much on shopping, but you’d like to be able to afford the odd treat, try adopting these savvy shopping tips. Hopefully, you’ll be able to save more and get more for your money when you do decide to treat yourself. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Life has a funny way of gifting us problems and issues when we least expect it to or when we need issues the least. It’s just like that.

If you’re worrying about work, it feels like your car is more likely to break down. If you’re out and about without an umbrella, it’s obviously going to pour down with rain. Life just does these things to us.

That’s why it’s so important to prepare for emergencies - things can take us by surprise, but if we can be proactive and work to prevent issues - we can save a lot of time, money and hassles.

For the family, most emergencies are going to center around three things. The home, health, and cars. All three can keep in good condition with maintenance, and these basic tasks need to be performed as it will lower the risk of an emergency.

The home requires constant care and attention, like the other two things listed above, but the difference is that so much money is pumped into our home that we would simply be throwing money away if we allow issues and problems to spring up, these issues and problems can turn into true household emergencies.

(Source)
Thankfully, household issues can be prevented by basic DIY and maintenance.Anything that can develop into a serious problem usually affords the homeowner plenty of warning signs and usually doesn’t develop into a big problem unless there’s neglect. Leaks, plumbing issues, and structural issues are usually slow burning problems that have a simple root cause.

There’s a number of things you can do to make sure that you keep your house in good shape and prevent any emergencies or issues from developing.

Firstly, keep a clean home. A clean home will prevent pests from appearing as the aura of cleaning products will put them off. Plus, if there is no food lying on the floor, you’ll be less likely to develop a pest problem as they will look elsewhere for sustenance. This will also stop dust and grime from building up in your household.

Preventing leaks is key and if you notice any issues stemming from your sinks, toilets, showers or bath - call in a professional who can take a closer look in case it’s not solved by tightening washers. A plumber called in before the leak worsens can save you a lot of money in the long run. It will also highlight a potential emergency as a ceiling can easily collapse under the strain of a long-running leak. Clearing your gutters and removing the debris that piles up in them can work wonders for the health of your home as your roof will be able to remove water.

The family car likely gets used a fair bit, so look after it! Learn how to change the oil, running fluids and tires and keep your car in good condition. If something is wrong with your car, you’ll know because of the sound it makes when it runs. Dirty engines are going to splutter; worn brakes are going to screech. If you notice a drop-off in the basic performance of your car, there is likely an underlying issue that could have been solved or prevented with basic maintenance. Change your oil when it is dirty to keep a clean engine, change your tires when they are worn to keep your car handling safely. This is all pretty basic stuff, and there is a guide on the internet for each and every car issue you could encounter. Of course, you can also purchase the car owner's manual to bring you up to speed.
Simple tasks like that can prevent serious issues and help your family prepare for almost any issue in the home or on the road. Prevention and maintenance does cost money, though, albeit less money than covering the cost of a true emergency! You do have to spend in the short-term to prevent long term issues, and if you’re short of money, it will be worth your while to research payday loans online to cover the cost of any maintenance issues or serious problems. Money is a big issue and saving it should become a priority. Having cash on hand can fix a lot of problems, so make sure to spend less than you earn to develop an excess of cash that can be saved just in case a serious issue crops up. Keeping money on hand for times of trouble is a really good idea.

Issues will happen, just don’t let them turn into major problems via neglect!

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Image Source: Wikimedia
If you have a small outdoor area and aren’t sure how to utilize the space well, there are many ways to enhance it, without breaking the bank. It’s all about being creative and working with what you’ve got. 

Don’t forget About Your Balcony

If you live in an apartment and haven’t got access to a garden, don’t overlook your balcony space. Just like you would a garden, think of it as a place to unwind, and add your own unique and personal touch. There are a number of ways to use a balcony, from relaxing with a book to entertaining guests. It’s an extension of your home that definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.

Inject Some Greenery

There’s no reason why you can’t incorporate certain aspects of a garden when transforming your balcony space. Potted plants and flowers add vibrancy and color, helping to break up the monotony of concrete walls. Evergreens are the most practical type of plant, as they provide color all year round and are easy to look after. Japanese elms and Madagascar dragon trees are ideal for balconies. It’s worth investing in a decorative sturdy pot to enhance the overall look.

Create a Chill Out Zone

Without some form of outdoor furniture, your sanctuary will be lacking a much needed relaxation zone. For balconies, a long bench with padded cushions works well against the wall. Beanie bags are also fun for affordable vibrant seating. Prioritize furniture that’s light, and easy to move around or fold.  It’s important to durability into account too. For backyards with limited space, foldable chairs are a good idea, or use cushions on mats and moroccan pouffes. Foldout tables are perfect for entertaining in confined spaces.

Image by Flicker
Add a Splash of Color

Contrast against boring brick tones and concrete with vibrant decor. Ethnic style plastic floor mats are great for balconies, and allow you to sunbathe in privacy on hot summer days. For small patios and decking, accessorize with colourful textured cushions and throws. This creates a more intimate setting and utilizes your space better. They’re also super easy to rearrange.

Tame your Lawn

An overgrown lawn is going to overwhelm a small garden space. Your most convenient option is to purchase a quality lawn mower, or for small patches of grass, garden shears will do. For small patches of grass, make sure there’s no plants or trees creating shade and depriving your green patch of nutrients.

Make the most of Wall Space

For small gardens with no much room for planting, grow upward plants like vines or wall creepers. For balcony spaces, wind chimes are a great option for creating a peaceful ambience. Mosaic mirrors are also great for creating the illusion of more space. Walls are also an opportunity for lighting. Lanterns and LED sensors are just a few options you could choose from.

However you decide to transform your outdoor space, make sure it’s a reflection of your true individuality. It’s always fun to experiment with DIY projects and find new ways to get inventive. So don’t be afraid to get stuck in!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Turn Your Workspace Into A Working Hub

Where you do your work has such an impact on how you work. A messy office can make it so much harder to concentrate, as well as causing you to lose valuable time during your working day hunting for lost items. It’s also been shown that a tidy office can increase productivity by as much as 20%. The first step is to get things in order, but you then have to make sure they are kept that way. Here is some useful advice when it comes to making your office a more productive environment and improving your worklife.

Photo credit
Your Table and Chair

If you work in an office or from home, you will spend a big proportion of your day sat at your desk. First start by making sure you have a comfortable chair that is easily adjustable so you don’t cause yourself any back problems. Make sure the top of your computer monitor is at eye level and try to keep it at least 17 inches away from yourself. Keep your feet resting on the floor and remember to take regular breaks to keep your blood circulation going.

Declutter

The number one enemy to productivity is clutter. Make sure only active work remains on your desk, while everything else can be filed away for reference. Keep all your stationery together in one place which is in easy access. Position your phone and anything else you use on a regular basis on your most dominant side. 

Personal Items

It’s a nice idea to keep some personal items around to keep your mind positively focused. Whether these are pictures of your family or some personal trinkets to remind you of a happier time, these can provide a welcome distraction from work. If you are looking for a unique novelty item for your desk, you can get some personalized bobbleheads of you and your family made up. Other novelty items you could look at include mini pool tables, mouse mats, pen pots or mugs.    

Colour, Sound and Air

The colour of a room can have a major impact on us. It’s been shown that the colour blue can help encourage productivity, so try repainting your office to see what impact this has on you. If you don’t like it, changing your mind is pretty straightforward.

Some people prefer quiet when they are working, while others like to have some music in the background. If you work in a naturally noisy environment, try some noise cancelling headphones to block out what is going on around you. Many people find it tricky to work if there is complete silence, so take some time to experiment with what works best for you.

Too much recirculated air can have a major effect on our ability to concentrate. Try to open the windows at least a couple of times a day and open the door to get the through draught going. Even if it is the middle of winter, there’s nothing like some bracing cold air to perk you up!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Everyone, young and old, appreciate music. Whatever your choice of genre, listening to music gives you all sorts of emotions - happy, nostalgic, relaxed, etc. Going to a concert provides you with a different kind of high.

I am a proud Thomasian. My Alma Mater, the University of Santo Tomas provides its students and alumni a yearly Christmas party called "Paskuhan." There are many activities that students and alumni can participate in, however, the most awaited is the concert and fireworks display.




Students, alumni and artists from the music industry provide performances like no other and it seems to get better and better year after year. You may be wondering how can it be that they can provide such quality performances with clear, crisp sound that even the person in the farthest area of the football field can enjoy. These artists must have the best musical tools available, and one of them is undeniably the musicians friend kaossilator pro in stock. This device that looks like something from the control panel of an aircraft allows anyone to easily create melodies and phrases, even among those without any performing experience! With its intuitive touch pad, simply rub, stroke, or tap it to instantly create complex phrases with a single finger. Horizontal motions control the pitch, while the vertical axis can control tone parameters such as cutoff, feedback, or modulation depth. This makes it easy for anyone to create entirely original sounds and musical phrases. 

So next time you are at a concert and you happen to get close to the stage, you are bound to notice this little wonder of wonders. Isn't it amazing how technology has given us things to improve our craft? I can't wait for the next gadget or tool to be introduced in the market!

Friday, January 27, 2017

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Christmas may have just come to an end, but if you want to ensure that Christmas 2017 is bigger, better and more stress-free than last year’s festivities, it might not be a bad idea to start thinking about the most wonderful time of the year, and your plans for it, now.

“But it’s too early!” I hear you cry. The fact is, it’s never too early to organise Christmas, especially when you’re a busy single mum with a lot on your plate. Here’s why:

Keep Control of Christmas

Christmas might be the most wonderful time of the year, but can also be one of the most stressful if you let it slip out of your control. The beauty of starting early is that you can set firm plans that no one will be able to break once they know how long they’ve been in the pipeline. No more will you be brow-beaten into attending events you’re just not interested in. No longer will you have to visit your annoying distant cousin – you can do things your way!

Reorganise Your Gift Giving Policies

If you have long thought that gift-giving should be relegated to children and the most special people in your lives, don’t leave it too long to tell your wider circle that you want to give up gifting between you and them because they may already have purchased your gifts! Instead, get in early, renegotiate your combined gifting policies and streamline your Christmas Budget.

Spread the Cost

If you start buying your Christmas gifts now, not only will you not be hit with a huge credit card bill come the January after Christmas, but you will not be in a mad dash to find the last of the hottest toys for Christmas, come Christmas Eve.

Buying one gift once a week, or month, in the run-up to Christmas, depending on how many you have to buy, is more than enough to ensure that you are ready and organised come the holidays.

Make Your Own Gifts

If you want to save money this Christmas or you simply want to give more personal presents this year, there is never a better time to start than now. The best handmade gifts are the ones that were planned and executed well in advance, so it is never too early to start making gifts,

From pickles to sweaters, there are so many things that you can handmade for the holidays, and in most cases, you can get the kids involved, so a handmade Christmas is a great way to bond too!

Have a Great Time
Of course, the most important reason to consider organising your Christmas sooner rather than later is that you will be the only one who is not running around like a headless chicken come the festive season. While everyone else is busy frantically shopping on Christmas Eve, cooking and negotiating Christmas plans with their families, you can sit back and relax with an eggnog and have a fantastic time with your family completely stress-free.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

If you're looking to spruce up of the look of your home and make your bedroom especially inviting, there are several simple steps you can take that will make a big difference. These tips can help you look forward to spending time in your bedroom and relaxing in your home overall.

Buy Organic Bedding

Organic bedding is not only great for the environment, it can also help you get a better night's sleep. Sheets and bedding made from bamboo is smooth and comfortable, and doesn't contain harsh chemicals, which is beneficial if you have sensitive skin. Organic cottons and silks can also make your bed especially inviting and there are several bedding colors to choose from, so you can find bedding that goes with your decor scheme. Once you find the bedding you like, select a few over-sized pillows or an organic vegan throw pillow to add texture to the bed and make it even more comfortable.

organic bedding

Don't Overclutter

We suggest following the "melon" rule when it comes to decorating your bedroom. If the decorations in your room are smaller than a melon, it can make the space look too cluttered. Select a few large vases and sculptures to adorn the bedroom, and take out the smaller items. You can also follow this decorating rule of thumb for the other areas of your home to reduce clutter.

Paint the Walls

You can paint your walls a soft shade of blue to improve the look of your bedroom and promote a good night's sleep. Blue has a calming effect on the mind, and can also lower your blood pressure and heart rate, as opposed to purple, which stimulates the nervous system and can reduce your sleep time by up to two hours!

Add Art

bedroom art

According to Apartment Therapy, a piece of artwork in your bedroom can really make the space especially lively and add more texture to the bedroom. You can even take a piece of art from another room and put it in the bedroom so you won't have to spend money on new bedroom decor. Using this idea when it comes to lighting can make your bedroom more attractive as well. For instance, if you have a lamp in the hallway that will go well with your decor, move it to the bedroom. Often times, we place the most beautiful furniture in our homes in places where guests will see. However, it's important that we take just as much care to decorate our bedrooms, since it is the most intimate place in our homes and should be beautiful.

Add Curtains and Rugs

Depending on how large your bedroom is, you may want to add an area rug or two to the space. A rug by your bed will keep your feet warm when you get out of bed in the mornings and can compliment the color of your bed or nightstands. A larger area rug in the center of your room gives the bedroom a more polished look. If most of the decor in your room is simple, a patterned rug can serve as a focal piece. Curtains are a great way to spruce up the bedroom as well. Not only will they shield the sun and keep the room from being extremely bright in the mornings, curtains can serve as another way to bring color and pattern into your bedroom decor.

Use Wallpaper

Adding some wallpaper to a few unconventional places in your bedroom can also make the space come alive. You can use patterned wallpaper for the center of your door to make the bedroom especially appealing. Or, you can use wallpaper to line the sides of your drawers for more visual appeal each time you put your clothes away. There are also wallpaper borders that you can apply to the tops of your walls if you don't want the entire wall to be patterned. Wallpaper is also a little easier to change than paint, so you can use this design trick every few months when you want to give your room a different look. These are just some of the innovative and cost-effective ways that you can make your bedroom look its best. Of course, using a combination of these tips can make your bedroom one of the most appealing rooms in your home.