Wednesday, April 24, 2019
If you are reading this, congratulations! You have successfully given your child the foundation to be a productive member of society - a college degree, moral upbringing, and a lot of encouragement and support to let them reach for their dreams.

Now that your child is about to receive his/her first paycheck, what advice would you give them to be financially smart with their money? Here are 5 ways to do it.

1.  Keep all payslips.
Keeping all payslips until the end of the fiscal year can be used as reference when checking for discrepancies. Was there a change in pay rate? Were the deductions justified? Was the amount reflected in the pay slip the same with the amount credited in the payroll bank account? These are just a few things your employed child should be aware of.

2. Regularly check if mandatory deductions have been credited to the respective agencies.
Withholding tax on salary, social security payments, government health insurance, etc. are but a few of the mandatory deductions being taken out of an employee’s paycheck. They should regularly check if these deductions are being forwarded to the respective government agency. It is their money, it is for their future use, so it is only right that they monitor these remittance payments.

3. Advise them to arrange for an Automatic Transfer of Funds in the bank that handles their payroll account.
This is the easiest way to ensure that they save money. Make an arrangement with the bank to automatically transfer a certain amount, let’s say 10% of their pay to a savings account. It will teach them to make do with what is left with their pay after putting aside some savings.

4. Pay off loans first before splurging.
It is always so tempting to buy designer clothes, shoes, and bags, a new smartphone, or another high tech gadget when they have cash on hand. Remind your child that his/her cash flow should follow this equation: 

Cash from Income Payment minus Savings and Loan Payments equals Spendable income.  

There may not be much left, but this scheme will pay off in the long run. They will have savings in the bank and their loan (if they have any) will be cleared in a short period of time.

5. Share their blessings.
Let your child learn the habit of giving back. Small tokens of appreciation, volunteering their time, and helping out with non-profit charitable institutions are some ways to give back and share their blessings. It is not that we, as parents, expect to be “paid back.” Simple gestures to let us know they treasure they gift we have given them is enough. 

Motivate them to participate in community volunteer activities - soup kitchens, donation drives for the needy, or helping out in a local shelter for the homeless/elderly is a good way to start. “What goes around comes around,” so encourage them to spread kindness and love, and it will come back to them a hundred-fold. 

These 5 tips will definitely help your child to secure a financially healthy future. For the parents,  you can rest assured that your children will lead a good life.  

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easy Ways to Boost your Own Fitness Level

Boosting your fitness level doesn’t need to be difficult. When you know the steps that you need to take, you will soon find that it is easier than ever before.

Increase your Weight Training

If you are worried that strength training is going to make you look bulky then think again. Building muscle will help you to burn way more calories when you are at rest. The more muscle you have, the easier it will be to maintain, and this can be a major bonus. If you want to help yourself then you need to try and practice doing some simple bodyweight exercises. You can do these at home or you can even go to your local gym if you want, but either way, it is a fantastic way for you to really boost your confidence and your results.

Fitness Community

You will be far more likely to stick to your fitness plan when you have someone who can hold you accountable. It doesn’t matter whether you have a workout buddy or whether you plan on joining an online community because it can really help you with your confidence and it can also help you to stay committed too. If you don’t have a fitness buddy or someone who you can work out with then it’s always a good idea for you to sign up to a class. When you do this, you can then feel assured knowing that you have people to set the pace. This is also a fantastic way for you to meet new people too.

People who are in shape know more than anyone that you have to keep your body guessing. If you keep on doing the same workout every single day then this will have a detrimental effect on your fitness level and it will also make it much harder for you to see results as well. A lot of people find an exercise that they love and they stick with it. This is understandable, but you will be increasing your risk of injury if you do this. You may even find that your performance suffers as a result too, and this is something that you want to avoid at all times.

Stress can keep you stuck at a certain weight. It can also cause you to gain weight too. Fit people tend to get ahead of the stress that they are under by trying to manage it in healthy ways. They take a walk, or they even meditate. It is very easy for you to try and do this yourself, and it can also help you to boost the results you get through working out as well. If you want to do something more intensive than walking, then hiking is a fantastic option and it will help you to burn way more calories as a result. If you want to get started then look into some canes for sale, as this will give you the support you need when walking over uneven terrain or even on long walks in general.

Friday, April 19, 2019

How Do You Cope With A Roadside Breakdown?

You’re driving down the road on your latest vacation, or you’re just heading home from work, when suddenly a tyre bursts on you, or your fuel gauge starts lighting up, or there’s some weirdly colored smoke coming out of the hood of your vehicle… No matter what warning sign your car is producing, you’re going to have to pull over and take a look. 

So, you might be able to fix the issue then and there, say change a tyre or get another car to help out with the jump leads. But sometimes, you’re going to have to deal with a roadside breakdown, and who knows how well that’s going to go?! 

But it doesn't have to be a disaster - here’s just a couple of things you can do to make sure that the next time you have to pull over for vehicle maintenance, you won’t be stranded and panicking. 

Pack an Emergency Kit First

Whenever you’re getting into the car, you’re playing a game of chance: is today the day you’re finally going to have a breakdown? After all, it can happen at any time, even when you’ve recently had a service and thought you were completely fine! 

Technology has a habit of suddenly going kaput on us, and you should always have this thought in mind. Because if you don’t, you won’t have an emergency kit in your car for when the worst does occur and you have to pull over in the middle of nowhere. 
So whilst you might have a bit of spare oil in the back, and be sure to grab some from if you don’t, you’re going to need some specialist items as well. 

You’re going to need a flashlight at the very least, just in case it’s dark, or you can’t see properly when you pop the hood. You’re also going to need some water back there, in case it’s hot out, or some gloves and scarf, for when you have to wait on the side of the road in the freezing cold. And make sure you’ve got your breakdown assistance company’s number written on a bit of paper back there as well.  

Stop Ahead of Time

If you ever suspect a problem with your car, be sure to pull over as soon as possible, or as soon as it’s safe for you to do so. Hopefully somewhere where there’s phone signal, or near an SOS box whilst you’re on the highway. Don’t let the steam from the engine start billowing out before you make the decision to stop. 

Stay Out of the Car

And once you have pulled over, make sure you stay out of the car, and wait on the roadside where you’re both safer and a lot more visible. You can wave down help from here, and you won’t suffer from smoke inhalation, or any overheating either. 

Coping with a roadside breakdown doesn’t have to be a disaster; simply know what you’re doing. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

When public transport just won’t cut it anymore, buying a car seems like a savior in comparison. You don’t have to worry about your personal space being invaded, someone sitting close by eating a tuna salad, or babies crying within arm's length of you and so on. Your own car is likened to your own mobile home. It should be comfortable, protect you from the elements, and if your budget will allow, provide a few luxury gadgets for you to engage with on your journeys. But above all, your own car means freedom and saving time spent waiting for the bus/train to arrive, and last, but not least it also means you can give back to the world by helping your family and friends when they need you the most. If you’re not too interested in the idea of buying a brand new vehicle, a second-hand car could be your ticket to freedom that won’t leave you strapped for cash. Whether scouring for cars online or taking a look at used vehicles from local dealerships, here are a few essential tips to use to your advantage when buying a second-hand car which gives you some structure on what to assess when buying and what to use to your advantage when haggling.

Test Drive
Photo by Dids
Taking your potential car for a thorough test drive could help you to weed out any problems sooner rather than later. Use your test drive as a time to figure out if the car is, of course, comfortable to drive, but also listen out for any mysterious knocks and bags that sound out of the ordinary. It’s essential to turn down the music system, and if possible drive somewhere that is quiet. If you notice that the gear stick is getting stuck, the brakes feel spongy, or the clutch is exceptionally high, save a mental note of the issues, and a real note when you get chance to write it all down. This will come in handy later on to negotiate down the price of the car if you choose to buy it later on. Or alternatively, lead you to another second-hand vehicle where there appears to be little to no work to have to tend to.

What’s Included?

While maintaining your poker face, and not appearing too interested in a car that you may very well of fell in love with at first sight, if the vehicle you are looking at is from a sales lot, query precisely what is included with the car. This could mean a full service, a few months warranty, or maybe just an air freshener. Either way, it’s handy to know, and again will help you make your decision when the time approaches to assess if the car is the right fit for you.


Another note to be wary of is if a warranty is included, assess what this entails to avoid having to pay for urgent issues that could crop up from the car. For instance, does it cover engine, gearbox, mechanical issues or more? Also, who will the warranty company be? Checking there is a legitimate warranty in place for your car, will provide you with peace of mind for the months following your car purchase.

Under The Hood

Providing the car has been switched off for a while, giving the fluids under the hood a chance to settle, you can pop the lid and take a look at how the car is performing inside. Whether checking the level of oil in the engine (plus the color and consistency), the hydraulic fluid, and the engine coolant. If any of the fluids are particularly low, or there is liquid on the floor underneath the car, this could be a warning sign that one of the fluids are leaking. If this is the case, be sure to bring it to the owners/car salespersons attention.

Car Paperwork

Unlike new vehicles, second-hand cars will sometimes arrive with a pack of history kept and passed down from the original owner. This should entail receipts for car repairs, service history, and whether the car has been in an accident. The premise of checking the paperwork is to give you an idea of what the future of owning this car might look like to avoid any stressful pitfalls that could have been avoided. For instance, regular issues that keep occurring, for example, headlamp positioning problems, issues with the electric locking system that recur throughout the car's history and so on. Keeping your wits about you when looking at the vehicles past will enable you to paint a better picture of the car you are thinking of buying. This will help steer you in the right direction of whether buying a particular car is the right decision, or whether it may amount to more stress in an attempt to rectify the reoccurring issues.

Running Costs

Choosing an old car with a large engine may initially look, sound and drive amazing, however, it may not be the most affordable option, not just in terms of buying but also in running it throughout the time you wish to own it. So don’t shy away from asking the owner or salesperson what the gas usage is like on the car you’re interested in, how much it costs to service, and how much you can expect to pay for simple upkeep for the vehicle such as an oil change from Telle Tire and tire changes. This will help you arrive at a conclusion on whether you can afford the car you wish to buy and help you to avoid straining your finances.

The Price

In most cases, unless stated otherwise, there is usually some room for negotiation involving car sales by private owners and car salespeople. Now that you’ve collected all of your information about a particular car you wish to buy, you may want to try pushing down the price or alternatively asking for some extras. You can do this by identifying issues you’ve noticed about the car that were not mentioned in the advert, also don't forget to mention similar cars you’ve seen for sale at a better price. The key is, to be honest about what you’ve found out about the car and see if the seller may budge the price tag. If they do,  you’ve saved yourself some extra money and relieved some of the stress it takes to buy a car. Where some sellers may be unwilling to budge on price, you can always ask if they may give you an extended warranty. In this situation, the worst thing any seller can say is no.

Picture by Pixabay
So there you have it, a few tips to help you with buying your second-hand car in a stress-free way. The general idea is to collect as much information about the vehicle that you are looking to buy. This is to see if it’s worthy of taking care of you on the roads, to make sure that it won’t cost you a lot of money in the future for issues that were overlooked, and that you’re getting a fair deal. Taking steps towards making the right decision for buying your second-hand vehicle, will provide you with happy months and maybe even years to follow.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Placebo Effect and Healing Crystal Stones

Image credit
The placebo effect is a phenomenon in which scientist have been unable to describe completely. Double-blind studies usually occur before new medicines hit the marketplace. These studies involve using two control groups who are not aware of the members of each group. One group receives the actual drug, and another generally takes sugar pills. Scientists want to make sure the group administered sugar pills do not mistakenly induce the thought of being healed by a false drug. This type of thought process becomes even more interesting when thinking about healing crystal stones.

Analyzing the Placebo Effect

Each crystal found in nature received particular healing properties for those who encounter them. There are no reports scientifically proving these effects, but many crystal users can experience altering states of consciousness when next to them. So, if there is one party claiming crystals are pseudoscience and another party that claims they possess healing elements, who do you believe? Well, this is where the placebo effect comes into play. If you can experience positive results from crystals because you think they help, there is no reason not to use them. However, it is best to use your best judgment when dealing with topics about health and wellness.

Determining the Usefulness of Crystals

With the thoughts above in mind, crystals may be of use for those with open minds. Many crystals provide a wide array of perceived benefits and researching crystals can be a worthwhile endeavor. Many areas of interest do not follow the mainstream consensus that possesses the ability to change your perceptions. Ancient civilizations have and continue to use crystals for ceremonies and daily energy cleansing. Since these are not common phrases, some dismiss them without a second thought. If you are curious about the healing properties of crystals, follow your intuition and see for yourself.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Do You Often Travel For Business?

In the present day and age, travel plays an extremely important role in most businesses’ operations. There is a limitless number of reasons why companies may travel abroad and it proves to be a great way of expanding and growing. Nevertheless, there is one major downfall, and this is the fact that it can be a significant company expense. However, the truth is, it doesn’t have to be! Read on to discover the top five expense management tips for corporate travel, no matter whether you manage yourself or the travel of many people…
1. Pre-Paid Cards – Instead of sending your employees away and getting them to give you a massive bill when they come back, you should send them off with a pre-paid card instead. You can fill it with the amount your employee is allowed to spend on the company whilst away, and then if they use it they have to fund the rest themselves. 

2. Re-Booking Options – Unfortunately there are many instances where travel plans have to be re-organized because a meeting is re-scheduled or a client can’t make it and so on and so forth. Make sure you select an airline and accommodation that allows you to easily and cheaply re-book. You don’t want to have to pay for your trip twice. 

3. Flexibility – If you can be flexible in relation to when you fly, then do so. Flying at awkward hours can be much cheaper. You may need to give your employee a day off work when they get back to recover, so work out what option is going to be the most efficient. 

4. Travel Management Software – There are lots of excellent travel management companies available nowadays. Their service is extremely beneficial. They have links with airlines and accommodation providers and thus they will be able to give you exclusive deals that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. 

5. Convenience - When booking a hotel, consider the convenience factor. For example, let’s say you need a hotel in Schaumburg, IL for a conference. How close is the hotel to the conference venue? How much will have to be spent getting there?

6. See The Full Picture – Last but not least, one of the reasons companies spend an excessive amount when travelling is because they fail to look at the full picture. For instance, when you are looking for the cheapest flights you should take into account the price of baggage and such like. Moreover, when it comes to accommodation, assess whether you have to pay for Wi-Fi and how much it will cost you to get to the conference centers and so on and so forth.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

15 Years Ago Today: My Taiwan Journey

April 4th, 2004. 

15 years ago to this day, I left my family for a two-year work contract in Taiwan. It was the first time I have ever left my children behind to work in a far away land. 

Those were the two longest years in my life.

I reluctantly boarded that Cathay Pacific plane for a 90 minute flight connecting flight to Taipei, stopping briefly in Hong Kong. 

I even doubted my decision of working abroad. What was I thinking? I have a college degree, I was employed in a government office, I was doing fine.

However, my eldest child, my daughter, was about to start college and my meager salary as a government employee would not be enough to send her and her two brothers to school. My ex-husband offered no help financially. A boy with his toys, trapped in the body of a man. 

When I submitted my application for work abroad, I was hoping my ex-husband would "man-up" and say, "Let me be the one to go overseas to work," but that never happened.

Oh well, past is past and that is all he is. An X. He eXited my life when I was barely a year into my work contract. He eXcluded himself from all responsibilities of raising our kids. So in my heart, he ceased to eXist. He left in 2005 and we have never heard from him since then. I have no regrets with ending the relationship with a bum.

Anyway, living by myself, working my butt off in a foreign land was a learning experience for me. I learned a lot about sacrifice, about frugality, about establishing friendships and looking out after each other, and about adapting to a foreign culture.

I learned Mandarin which was good, especially if you want to haggle for the price of an item. I learned to drink more tea instead of coffee, how to cook delicious, authentic Taiwanese food, and to travel that small island all by myself during my rest days.

Me (in blue shirt) with my workmate, Rosie at the facility's park
However, I would love to go back to Taiwan for a visit. I would love to see my friends again and visit the places where I used to hang out when I was there. I would like to see Tao-Yuan City once more - my home for two years. I would want to spend a few days in Keelung, Yilan, Taipei, Shilin, Songshan, Taichung, Chiayi and Kaohsiung! I want to travel to Danshui, sit by the riverbanks in the early morning to watch the sunrise, then enjoy the street party and night market in the evening. 

At the National Cinema Park in Shilin, Taipei
This is one experience I will treasure forever. Would I wish to do it over again? Maybe, maybe not. If I would, I'd rather work as an English tutor instead of doing another nursing home stint.

I flew home on the 29th of March, 2006. The feeling of being with my kids once again was indescribable. I could not speak. I just hugged them all tightly.

15 years have gone by so fast.

What has changed? I am older, a little heavier and so much wiser. My kids are grown, now all college graduates and two of whom are gainfully employed. I am now a grandmother to one charming little boy.

What has remained the same? I still practice my Mandarin, I still cook Chinese stir-fry, and I still love Jerry Yan. Yeah! 😍

There is just no place like HOME.

When taking out an international medical insurance policy there is a lot to take into consideration. Not only do you need to be sure that the policy is right for you in terms of cover and benefits, but you must be fully aware of all of the terms and conditions that are in place. One of these conditions will be an annual limit. All global health insurance plans have an annual limit in place. Read on to discover everything you need to know about this…
What is an annual limit?
This is the maximum amount of money an insurer will agree to cover you for per year. For example, if your annual limit is $60,000 then the insurance company you use will only cover medical expenses up to this amount. Anything in excess of $60,000 you will have to fund yourself. 

Why is it important to carefully consider your annual limit?
A lot of people make the mistake of underestimating medical expenses when it comes to taking out international health insurance. However, you could easily find yourself in a situation where you are faced with a massive bill. 

Let’s say you suffer a serious injury or illness whilst on vacation or even in your current place of residency. You go to the hospital only to discover that you cannot get the treatment you require there. As a result, you have to go to a hospital in a nearby state or even a different country. In the end, you will need to pay for the care and support you received in the country you were in whilst you were taken ill, as well as the cost of an air ambulance and treatment in the location you received the necessary help. 

This could easily amount to costs in excess of $60,000 – if that was indeed your annual limit. As a result, it is pivotal to consider your annual policy limit with a great amount of care to ensure you do not need up in such a scenario. 

You also need to have a high annual limit if you have an existing health condition. Let’s say you have hearing loss. You are going to be likely to need checkups throughout the year and hearing aid devices. You need to ensure that your policy is going to cover all of this. 

All in all, your policy’s annual limit is just another factor you need to consider when you are looking for the right worldwide medical insurance policy. You should analyse your policy with a scrutinizing eye before agreeing to it. Many people rush into buying international health insurance and unfortunately it is something they live to regret when they discover they are not covered to the level they had expected. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

About 3 years ago, I was caught in a daydream brought about by being unable to get out of the house because of a terrible tropical storm. My mind was filled with thoughts of my dream house and I found myself writing a post about it. 

Fast forward to the present time. 

I still don't have that dream house but I am still dreaming of making improvements on my "virtual property." Hey, it is free to dream, right?

I have always wanted a tree house since I was a little girl, but at my age, I think that would no longer be something I would find enjoyable. I am seriously taking into consideration certain physical limitations once I get into my senior years so my dream house should be a beautiful and "Person-With-Disability" friendly. My dream home should enable me and my husband to move around freely and enjoy the outdoors without posing any danger of a slip or a fall. It should also provide us access to natural light without requiring us to go outside. Growing old can be so complicated!

So putting these wishes in mind, my dream house will undergo some renovations. I would love to have a conservatory or a covered patio, or even a living room with an aluminium lantern roof. It will be a place to relax, with a fantastic view of the outdoors in the daytime and a perfect place to sit to watch the stars at  night. 

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A lantern roof would be a great way to get natural light into my home. Aside from its aesthetic feature, it is also an efficient way to reduce energy costs. When installed professionally, lantern roofs help keep the heat in during winter, and provide a nice well lit room during the summer. 

Natural light has health benefits too. It has been known that it is a good source of Vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin," which is essential for bone health. Vitamin D can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.  

Natural light can reduce the effect of SAD (Seasonal Anxiety Disorder). Many of us experience some sort of anxiety especially during the autumn season. Having a lantern roof and getting as much natural light into my home as I can will help keep anxiety at bay. Furthermore, without anxiety, I can sleep better too! We all know what a good night's sleep can give us - increased productivity during the day, a happier disposition and better health.

While I am still day dreaming about lantern roofs and natural light flooding my home, I might as well add an indoor garden in my dream home too. A little space near my living room filled with tropical flowering plants, orchids in particular, a zen fountain and a hand-carved wooden bench. Of course, to keep those plants alive, I would need a lantern roof over it too! What an wonderful way to see green plants and flowers blooming all year round! 

My dream home is complete at last! I know it is a far cry from reality but no one ever knows what the future holds. For now, I will dream and work hard until the dream becomes a reality.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Essential Guide To Garden Water Features

You might take one look at the jungle like environment that has exploded in your back garden, only to put off the clearance job you need to embark on to make your garden fit for purpose this summer. While you might not have a horticultural bone in your body, you don’t need to be super green fingered to whip out the rubble sacks, put on your garden gloves and start cutting back the overgrown foliage outside. Once you can see the square footage you have to play with, and you have a blank canvas, you can start thinking about the sort of garden that you want to design. Many people choose to install some sort of water feature to add a touch of class to their outside spaces. A water feature doesn’t just look pretty but the sound can be soothing and therapeutic. Take a look at this guide to water features to inspire your garden design.

Image credit

If you have ever been to a stately home or a park, the chances are you have seen the vast and ornate fountains within the grounds. These cherub like stone features are enormous and probably won’t fit into your humble space. However, you can glean inspiration from such traditionally made fountains. Your fountain could also be made from stone, have a central figure or be something totally different and be inspired by the water fountains outside of Japanese temples. There are water orbs, trickling fountains or spray versions. Consider the sort of fountain that would be most apt for your space. Don't forget that you will need to select from a range of fountain pumps to ensure that you maintain the correct pressure and that the water remains hygienic and safe. With any luck, your water feature will become the focal point of your garden, for all of your visitors to admire.


If you have a small brood in tow, you might be a little wary of putting a pond in your back garden. The danger of slipping in is all too real. However, if you install adequate safety netting and barriers, a pond could be the ideal educational resource for your little ones. By attracting wildlife such as toads, frogs, newts, and birds to your back garden, you can teach your kids all about the animals, their habitat and how they can do their bit to care for them. Most children are interested in nature so it might be useful to harness this. Ponds need very little maintenance so long as you have a pump and an adequate liner to ensure the water doesn’t drain into the surrounding soil. Ensure that you clean the pond once or twice a year to remove algae and you could have a superior environment for local wildlife.

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While you won’t be considering anything on the scale of Niagara Falls, you can have a small waterfall in your garden, especially if you need to utilize a gradient. Sloped gardens are perfect for waterfall type features. Install a rockery with some hardy plants, and allow your waterfall to go alongside this. This makes for an elegant water feature that has a subtle sound; perfect for those moments where you want to head outdoors and relax with a book.

Your garden needn’t be a flowering paradise, but it can be a water idyll.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

How To Protect Your Hearing

Image Source. Licensed under Creative Commons.
Hearing loss can be debilitating for many people, making social interaction more difficult and leading to frustration and depression. It’s natural for many people to develop minor hearing loss as they get older, however some people can develop more serious hearing problems later on in life as the result of their lifestyle and actions. Here are just a few ways in which you can keep your sense of hearing sharp long into old age.

Wear ear protection in noisy environments

One of the biggest causes of hearing loss is not wearing ear protection when it is needed. In many noisy work environments such as construction sites, airports, factories and nightclubs it is a legal requirement for employers to supply ear protection. You should make sure that you are wearing this protection at all times whilst at work if you want to look after your sense of hearing.

You may also want to buy your own earplugs for certain leisure events that may be noisy. These include motorsports events, air shows, music concerts and night clubs. Many advanced ear plugs are able to channel out certain sounds making it possible to still have conversations with people around whilst filtering out more harmful distant levels of noise.

Stop using cotton swabs

Using cotton swabs to clear out earwax could be doing more harm than good. Whilst you may remove some earwax whilst using cotton swabs, you could find that a lot of the wax gets pushed further into the ear. This can often lead to hearing loss and could even lead to permanent damage of the ear canal and eardrum.

If you’ve got a build up of wax in your ear, your best way of clearing out is to use water. Whilst taking a shower, you could find that the water clears it out. If this doesn’t happen, you may want to look into ear drops or professional ear cleaning. Ear wax build-ups affect 1 in 20 adults and 3 in 10 senior adults.

Turn down the volume

Listening to music loudly can also damage your hearing. Most audio equipment can reach volume levels above 85 decibels – the volume at which hearing loss is thought to occur. If you commonly listen to music on full volume for long periods, you could be causing yourself serious damage.

Modern smartphones and sound devices tend to come with warning such as red indicator to show when you’re reaching an unhealthy volume. As for listening to music in the car when going down a highway, if you can’t hear the engine because your music is so loud it’s likely you’re on the threshold.

Give yourself a noise detox

If you’re not prepared to wear ear plugs to a rock concert or a nightclub, another way to protect your hearing could be to ensure that you give yourself a noise detox. This involves giving yourself at least 24 hours of quiet time. During this period try to only listen to music on low volume and keep to quiet activities (i.e. not going to another noisy music venue or nightclub). This can help your ears to recover and could stop any damage caused from being permanent.

Know when to get a hearing aid

Once you start to notice hearing loss, it’s worth getting yourself a hearing aid as soon as possible. Having a hearing aid will allow you to hear at a normal level and could also prevent further damage. Many people with hearing loss tend to compensate by adjusting the volume when playing music or watching the TV – as a result many people can end up turning it up to an unhealthy level.

Getting a hearing aid fitted is easy and there are now places including opticians and doctor’s clinics that can supply hearing aids for an affordable price. You should make sure that your hearing aid is maintained so that it’s not making any unusual noises – you don’t want to damage your hearing with a faulty hearing aid!

All too often, it can be easy to ignore those little health worries, unusual symptoms, and various physical concerns. You might hate the thought of booking an appointment, seeing a healthcare professional, or seeking treatment that will aid your recovery. However, you’ll be smart enough to understand how ignoring these issues, will only lead to them getting worse, and potentially having a negative impact of your life, not to mention your overall health and wellbeing. You might just have got quite good at getting on with things and living with issues, or, you might just be purposely ignoring things because you fear acknowledging them. Therefore, it’s crucial to know that seeking advice, care, and the right help, will only lead to good things.

It’s time to open your device and get online (oh hi, you’re already here), grab your phone and type in the correct number, or discover where and when you can get your health concerns taken care of. Make the most of living in an age where there is so much available out there, and that you definitely won’t be the first person to be suffering with what’s bothering you. Let go of any pre-judgement, embarrassment, and fears, and head straight to where you need to be so that you can prioritize your health, from head to toe. The following are some ideas and advice for those who have become far too skilled at ignoring their health concerns, and are ready to make a positive change, for a healthy and happy life ahead. 

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Keep An Eye On Your Senses

Starting with all those functioning things on your head, you’ll want to ensure that they are in tip-top, working order so that you’re not missing out on all the lovely things that life has to offer. Sight is something that can deteriorate in countless people, at any age or stage of life. Therefore, if you’re noticing that things are getting a little blurry, or difficult to see or read; it’s time to get yourself off to a reputable optician. It’s nothing to worry about, loads of people use glasses or contact lenses; and, there’s even the option to fix your vision with laser treatment nowadays. So, take a deep breath, make an appointment, and enjoy being able to see things with crystal-clarity once again! Also, you can get some pretty cool glasses now.

Another common issue among many, is hearing problems, Whether it’s tinnitus, or hearing loss of another kind; it’s always worth your time and effort to get it checked out. It might simply be that you need your ears cleaned, or perhaps you can make the most of some discreet hearing aids; there are plenty of options out there, so you just need to find what’s right for you. Often people will have forgotten what it’s like to hear things clearly, making the moment you get your hearing problems treated, a truly special one; you’ll be able to enjoy all that music, t.v, and conversation that you may have been missing-out on. Sorting out ear problems can also help with balance issue and even headaches and migraines, so, get them looked at as soon as you can!

Deal With Those Creaks And Clicks

It can be easy to ignore hearing your joints creak and click regularly, especially when so many put it down to old age, or a busy lifestyle. However, if you’re beginning to suffer aches and pains, alongside those creaky joints; it’s time to seek some professional help. You don’t want to continue to rely on painkillers all the time, or just getting used to wincing when you get out of bed, or up from a chair, each time. Things like this can dramatically decrease your quality of life, and they often happen so gradually that you just get used to the symptoms. 

Most importantly, you’ll need to ensure that these joint and muscle issues aren’t related to something more serious; surely, that’s enough of an incentive to head to the doctors ASAP? You doctor will be able to run tests, and give you the right treatment. More often than not, it’ll be down to something totally benign, and something yu can treat with the help of a physio, diet, and exercise. The power to move freely and pain-free is something many take for granted, and many feel that there’s little that can be done once these things deteriorate. This simply is not the case, so stop just “getting on with it”, and seek reputable advice, help, and treatment so that you can literally give these issues a good kicking!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

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Older homes have a certain amount of charm and character that new ones simply don’t have, so it’s definitely easy to see why they’re such a popular choice for people who are looking for a new home, and even why a lot of newer homes are built using the style of older homes as their inspiration.

However, as beautiful and full of character as they may be, they also come with their own challenges just like a newer house does, so it’s really important that you take the time to understand what exactly you’re getting into when you buy an older house and if you’re ready and willing to make the time and energy commitment to it.

So, in this post, we’re going to share with you some of the things to consider when buying an older home.

Safety checks:

Unlike newer homes that have to be built with the latest health and safety standards in mind before anyone can even buy them, older houses may not benefit from those standards unless they were completely renovated and checked over within the last 10-20 years and upgraded, so you’ll need to make sure that your home is free from things like asbestos, doesn’t have any lead paint or other toxic substances, and it will also need to have things like the plumbing, pipework, and electric systems checked over to make sure they’re safe for living. 

Insurance costs:

Insurance is something that every home owner should have, and although the cost of it will vary and depend on different factors, the monthly premium you pay is definitely going to be worth it if you ever need to use that insurance since the cost of repairs or replacing things will be a lot higher. 

However, one of the factors that will determine how much you pay for insurance is going to be the age and condition of the house when you buy it, so since the chance of an older house needing more work doing to it is going to be a good bit higher, then the insurance premiums will be reflected in this.

Energy efficiency:

Nowadays homes are built with the latest energy-efficient standards in mind, however, many older homes won’t have been built that way or won’t have been updated to reflect them, so it’s really important that you consider this and then look at your options for bringing your home up to the latest standards of energy efficiency. Not only will it help keep your monthly bills lower, but will be better for the environment and also make your home more comfortable. You should also look at things like how well insulated your house is so that you can take the measures to update this and ensure you’re actually keeping heat in during the winter. 

Being energy efficient certainly doesn’t mean that you need to give up the original features of your house such as hardwood floors, bay windows, and even a chimney if you’re lucky enough to have one - you can still keep these original features, but just make sure they’re in line with modern standards when it comes to health and safety and energy efficiency. The best way to get advice on how to do this is to speak with professionals in each of these areas, such as a company like Capitol Chimney Sweeping Services, as well as a glazier who can come in and give you tips about the best ways to care for your windows and keep them well insulated.

Renovation costs:

One of the best things about older homes aside from them having lots of original features is that they’re generally going to be a good bit cheaper to buy than a newer one would be, but the downside to that is that the costs and need for renovations is going to be a bit higher. However, if you’re okay with this and are prepared to put in the work, then the upside is that you’re really going to be able to make the house exactly the way you want it and it can be far more rewarding than going in to something that’s been done by someone else.

When it comes to buying an older house, you should always consider this as part of it and make sure you factor the additional renovation costs into your budget when deciding how much you’re able and willing to spend on the place you want to buy so that you’re not going to be stuck with unexpected costs.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Breast Cancer Claimed Another Beautiful Soul

My mother when she was only 19 years old
February 12, 2019 at 9:55 am, one month ago today, my mother lost her battle with Breast Cancer. We were with her when she breathed her last.

Her cancer has spread to her hip bones which gave her so much pain with the slightest movement. I cared for her every day, kept her company, fed her through the tube in her belly, changed her diaper, watched TV with her and responded to her questions even if it was no longer in line with reality. I checked her blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels at regular times during the day.

I even argued with her when she asked for coffee. She was not allowed to have anything by mouth, because of the risk of aspiration. I just told her she'd have coffee when she was well enough to sit up.

Five days before she passed, Mama lapsed into a coma. She was no longer responding, no longer complaining of pain, no more struggling every time I had to change her diaper. She started getting a high fever, which did not go back to normal even with anti-pyretic medications. 

Then I noticed her oxygen saturation level was dropping. It went down to 84%. I told my sisters and brother that it was not a good sign. Her blood pressure was on the low side too. The following morning, my brother bought two medical oxygen tanks, a regulator and cannula. We immediately set it up to get some oxygen into her lungs. I took a reading after a few hours and her oxygen saturation went back up to an acceptable 95%. Mama's vital signs were stable the whole night. I then went home to attend to my own family.

At 5:00 am of February 12, my sister called me and told me that she took Mama's oxygen levels and it was down to 72% despite having oxygen supplementation. I rushed back to Mama's house and stayed with her. My sister started making calls to my aunts and cousins. Mama was slipping.

I sat on the couch beside her bed and turned on the TV. I then noticed that Mama's respiratory rate was getting slower. There was a long pause between breaths and I shouted, "Mama!" I took her vital signs again. She had high fever, her blood pressure was down to 80/50 and her oxygen saturation was 46%

My sisters and I held her. We knew it was time. Mama took her last breath at 9:55 in the morning. I thought I was prepared for this. In reality, I was not. No one is ever prepared for a loved one's passing.

I will miss my Mama for as long as I live. 

I will miss her cooking. 

I will miss our lively conversations about politics, college sports, current events and showbiz scandals. 

I will miss seeing her cuddle and kiss her great-grandson. 

I will miss everything about Mama.

I will seek comfort in the thought that she is now together with my Daddy. Mama has gone to a happier place, with no more pain and suffering. She is with God and with all her loved ones who have gone before her.

I love you Mama. I love you Daddy. Please do watch over us always.

No goodbyes. Just "See you again sometime" and "Till we meet again."

Why Doing DIY May Make Your Life Better

Image via Pixabay
There is a big, dedicated, and lively “self-help community” out there, as well as a related industry that churns out large numbers of books, video tutorials, pamphlets, retreats, seminars, and other guides and techniques for becoming your “best you” and getting over whatever situation might be holding you back in life.

In the self-help sphere, in general, you often hear about things like meditation, holistic health techniques, certain dietary practices, and so on. You’re not so likely to hear about the ways in which performing DIY can help to make your life better, and bring out your “best you”, however.

DIY is probably less popular these days than it has been in some time. The abundance of information provided by the World Wide Web in general means that we can always contact specialists when we need to conduct some roof maintenance, or replace a leaking faucet.

And of course, there are many situations where you really should leave it to the experts.

That being said, by living a life devoid of DIY, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Here are some reasons why doing DIY may make your life better.

It can help to get you out of your own head

From time to time, we are all likely to fall victim to the phenomena of being “stuck in our own heads.” That is to say, we're all vulnerable to getting caught up in our negative ruminations, daydreams, uncertain reflections and fears, and all the rest.

Often, we construct mental prisons for ourselves that essentially stall our ability to make progress in our lives in general, to live the kind of lives we want to live, or to become the kind of people we want to be.

Often, people try and think their way out of their mental prisons, and there may be something to that. The “Positive Psychology” school that brought us the concept of “Learned Optimism” emphasises the importance of challenging critical thoughts, and they seem quite successful in doing so.

Then again, it can be the case – and often is – that what we really need to do when we’re caught in our own mental prisons, is to find ways of breaking out altogether.

Largely, this is a matter of doing things that force you to engage physically and directly with the world around you – whether that means socialising with friends in a public place, engaging in an active hobby, exercising, or in fact doing DIY.

When you’re working on repairing a damaged appliance, or sanding a table, you’re physically active, and it can be easier to get out of your own head.

It can boost your self-esteem by making you more self-reliant

One of the downsides of having so many amenities, services, and goods at our disposal these days, is that we tend to be significantly less self-reliant than the generations that came before us.

That lack of self-reliance can often be tied into a lack of self-esteem, and a sense of being somewhat more vulnerable and helpless in the world and we would like.

When you get into DIY properly, however, you are making yourself significantly more self-reliant, and more capable of dealing with the issues that are likely to arise in everyday life.

A lot of anxiety can melt away when you feel that you are up to the challenge of facing the world head-on, and dealing with the problems you find there.

It can help you to appreciate the complexity of the everyday amenities you take for granted

These days, we all tend to be pretty spoiled, and take for granted the amazing variety of amenities that we enjoy, that people only just recently in history would have considered supreme blessings from above.

For example, how much appreciation do you feel on an everyday basis when you turn on the hot water tap in your shower, and the water actually comes out hot?

When we take things for granted, we essentially strip them of their special value and meaning, and react to them as if they were just unremarkable features of the environment.

But when you take up DIY as a pastime, however, you are constantly confronting those amenities from a problem-solving state of mind. This will very quickly motivate you to see the value in these things, to be reminded of the miracle of their very existence, and to appreciate them.

This, in turn, can help you to feel more grateful for your life in general.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

DIY Time: Sourcing Parts For Your Home's Pipework
If you are doing any pipework in your home, then there will be some essential accessories that you will need to buy. Before you go ahead and start completing the task it is crucial that you think of all the options at your disposal. After all, you need to make sure you have all of the necessary accessories. 

The first thing that you should do is make a list of all the accessories and goods that you need for your home DIY task. This will ensure that you do not forget anything. After all, there is nothing more frustrating than starting a job only to find that you cannot complete it because you are missing a key component. The following are some of the main accessories you will need to consider; compression reducers, pipe clamp fittings, backing rings and end feeds. Don’t forget to make sure that you have all of the tools for the job as well. 

Once you have made your checklist you can then begin to search for all of the accessories you need. The first thing that you should do is source out a reputable company like Slater Pumps. This is crucial because you need to be assured of quality. Moreover, a top company can provide you with advice regarding which will be the best accessories for you as well as even giving you a heads up relating to the task at hand. The best way to discover a company’s worth is to see how much experience they have in the industry. At the end of the day, you don’t want to be someone’s practice project.

Once you have found a good company to source your materials from you will also need to decide on which material pipe accessories you need. If you are doing some pipe work repair and already have either metal pipes or plastic pipes then you will have to stick to the material you have already utilized. Nevertheless, if you are starting a job from scratch then you have choices at your disposal. People generally tend to lean more towards plastic because it is much more durable and long lasting. The reason for this is because it does not corrode or rust and thus you need not worry about any expensive repair work in the future. Moreover, the thickness of plastic means that it tends to act as a heat retainer as well and therefore it is energy efficient.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Trickiest Things To Deal With When Moving Home

Moving house is a big step in life. When you first moved out of your parents’ home, and you were on your own in the big wide world for the first time, you probably felt an equal mix of excitement and trepidation. Staying up all day and sleeping all night, going out when you wanted, eating and drinking whatever and whenever you needed to, You were ready to move into your very own place, maybe with a roommate or two, and all in all you had a good time. 

But now, you’ve got a family to look after, a career to boost, and a home to keep all safe and happy and tidy. And that makes having to move house a lot more stressful than it ever was before! You’ve got a lot more inventory to keep track of this time around, and considering you’re more likely to be buying instead of renting at this point, you’ve got a lot more admin to do as well. If you’re not ready to take on the challenge of finding and keeping a buyer, or doing your mortgage research, this is going to be one of the hardest points of your life!

So with that idea in mind, let’s think about what’s the trickiest to deal with when you’re moving home. After all, you want to prepare yourself accordingly. 

Deciding on the Mortgage

If you’re out to buy a home, or any kind of real estate, there’s a good chance you need a mortgage. Indeed, about 70% of American homeowners have a mortgage still on their credit score, and only the other 30% (give or take) have managed to pay theirs off already. You can immediately see that the financial odds are stacked against you, but you wouldn’t take out a mortgage unless you were completely ready to move on up and own your own home. Therefore, it’d be a waste of time to worry about this prospect in the here and now!

But if you’re ready to get on with buying some property of your own, you need to know you’re getting the right mortgage, using the right lender who is both quite lenient and has a good reputation, and will offer you a good amount of time to keep up with your payments. After all, finding an arm loan is a big deal, and it’s one you should take your own time with - you need to know what you can afford, you need to get a mortgage deal in the bag before you try to buy a home, and you need to know if you can have more than one person on the policy you’ve chosen if you’re moving in jointly with someone else. 

Make sure you do plenty of research in the here and now, and at least know the type of mortgage that’s going to be most beneficial to your plans. 

Packing Correctly (and then unpacking correctly!)

Packing is something we all worry about, at the end of the day. No matter if you’re going away on vacation for a few days, or you’re moving your entire household from one end of the country to the other, you need to know you’ve packed correctly. And once you’ve arrived at your destination, you need to know you can unpack easily, with a simple system on hand to help you out. 

You’ll need to have a good moving company on hand, who understand what kind of care needs to be taken during transit, and listen to your needs. So start with a sharpie pen, or a similar marker, to label the boxes you’ve bought and intend to pack all your things away in. Use color coding if need be - red for the kitchen, blue for the living room, green for your son’s bedroom etc. Even if people don’t read the word on the front, they’ll notice the color in their rush to get everything out of the moving van and immediately head to the right room. 

When it comes to fragile objects, make sure you wrap up everything with some bubble wrap, and then put some protective paper padding inside the box as well. Make sure only you or your partner are taking these boxes inside the house, to prevent tripping or falling or running into each other, which kids are far more likely to do! 

Discovering the Neighborhood and the Neighbors

You’re moving to a new area you’ve probably never even visited before, maybe for work purposes. Or maybe you visited this new area on vacation once or twice when you were younger, but now you can’t remember much of your childhood trips. Either way, you need to get to know the place and the kind of people who live in it, to determine if you’ll get along, and if you’ll get plenty of peace and quiet throughout the day and at night. 

But you don’t know your neighbors’ schedules, you have no idea where the nearest convenience store is, and the only point of reference you have is the local school. What do you do? You explore! Be sure to knock on the doors of the people who live either side of you and introduce yourself, as you’re going to want to make friends with the people partly privy to what goes on in your walls. Always be friendly and civil with them, at the least - if you do, you even get another layer of protection when you’re away from the home. Then get the car out and drive around for a good hour or so, getting to know where the local haunts and the town are. 

How Do You Feel About Moving Home? 

Moving home is always going to be a tricky point in your life, and you’re going to have say some kind of goodbye each time you move up and on. So be sure you’re always aware of what the trickiest things to deal with are going to be, so you can prepare properly for them.