Sunday, June 16, 2019

Repairing vs. Replacing Your AC

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Summertime is in full swing, and that means your air conditioner is probably going full throttle — that is, unless it's not working correctly. Before you start searching "AC repair near me" though, it is important to consider whether you truly need repair, or whether your home would benefit from an entirely new unit.

 How Old Is Your Air Conditioner?

The first thing you should consider when working through the "repair vs. replace" debate is the gave of your HVAC unit. Of course, there is no steadfast age that makes a unit too old to repair, which is why some experts use a dollar amount instead. To determine if your air conditioner is too old to repair, consider its age as well as how much the repair cost is. Multiply them, and if the number is more than $5,000, consider replacement instead. For example, a 10-year-old unit that is going to cost $500 to repair will equal to exactly $5,000, so it may be best to replace it instead. However, a 5-year-old unit at $350 will only multiply to $1,750, so it is fine to repair.

Is Your Current Unit Energy-Efficient?

Energy efficiency matters as well. Even if your HVAC unit is technically repairable, it could still be costing you hundreds of dollars each year if it lacks any energy efficiency. Energy Star recommends purchasing an energy-efficient unit if your current unit is 10 years old or older, and even HVAC technicians recommend replacement after 15 years. The average lifespan of a unit is 14 years, so if yours is on the brink of old age, now is the time to purchase something more efficient.

Whether you decide to hire someone to repair your current unit or replace it with a brand new, energy-efficient model, it is important to hire technicians who are licensed, certified, and insured. This not only saves you money but ensures the safety of you and your property since HVAC work requires being around dangerous electrical or gas components.

Saturday, June 15, 2019


My sister celebrated her 50th birthday by booking a staycation for the entire family at a hotel in the outskirts of the city.

We checked in at the LeBlanc Hotel and Resort, USA. Nope, not United States of America, but "Upper Side of Antipolo." It took us about an hour to drive from our home in Quezon City to get to the place.


The hotel is nestled in the hills of Antipolo, Rizal. We arrived there at around 3 pm and waited for 20 minutes in the car until we were ushered in. Upon entering, I noticed the hotel was clean and the staff was friendly. 



We stayed in twin deluxe rooms on the 3rd floor. It was rather small, but it was clean and the beds were really comfy. It had a mid-size TV, a small desk/dresser, a closet with a safe, and toilet and bath with a hot/cold shower enclosure.


The floor to ceiling window of the rooms offered a great view of the pool.  Once we were settled in our rooms, the kids started changing into their swim wear and could not wait to get into the pool. I can't blame them. Summers in the Philippines can be brutally hot and humid.

The hotel's pool is not big, but the size was ample enough for the kids to swim and play, and for adults to just soak the heat away. The poolside staff was readily available to provide towels, and take your orders for food or refreshments from the Bistro.



We had dinner at The Bistro, located on the ground floor of the hotel. The dining area was nice and clean. The food was okay. Our tummies were happy.

This hotel also has function rooms for events and corporate meetings, and a rooftop area for weddings or private parties.

To summarize, the LeBlanc Hotel is a perfect family getaway not too far from home. Great for weekend staycations to celebrate special occasions. It is also a nice hotel to book a stay if you simply want to unplug and unwind.

How to Choose a Valve Lock System

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When it’s time to perform maintenance or repairs on a pressurized valve, it’s necessary to shut off whatever material is in inside. Valve locks perform this critical role, one which can prevent potentially harmful accidents. But before you install one, it’s important to know that valve locks are not one-size-fits-all. There are several different types which are engineered for specific valves.

It’s more likely than not that your valve is one of the three most common: Ball valves, butterfly valves, or gate valves. Here’s how their corresponding valve lock systems work:

Ball Valve Locks

Ball valve lock systems combine an outside handle with an interior ball to control flow through the valve. You simply shift the handle to the off position to do so. They typically range from one half to eight inches in diameter and will work on a wide variety of pipes, including ones constructed of stainless steel, brass, bronze, chrome, titanium, PVC, CPVC and others.

Butterfly Valve Locks

Butterfly valves themselves are discs positioned in the center of a pipe. When given a quarter turn, they control flow. They are generally cheaper than ball valves because of their lighter weight. Butterfly valve locks, like ball valve locks, can be used on different sizes of pipes, but have a more limited range of 2.5 to 4 inches in diameter.

Gate Valve Locks

Gate valve locks work by blocking access to valve handles. They are thermoplastic covers in the shape of half circles. After they’re installed, a padlock or hasp can be used to secure them in place. Gate valve locks are mostly used with larger pipe diameters (from 2" to the largest pipelines).

Valve lock systems have a wide range of applications: manufacturing, mining, utilities, municipal service, and oil and gas. But before choosing one, always make sure it is the right fit for the valve you need to shut off.

Friday, June 14, 2019

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It is difficult to admit that you have a problem with anger. Many people don't recognize issues with their reactions and actions toward others, and even some of those that do, deny such a problem exists either out of shame or embarrassment. However, when these feelings escalate to the point of court appeals and mandates, then perhaps it is time to recollect and engage with the process that has led to such a result. Therefore, if ordered to seek counseling or anger management classes, seize it as an opportunity for self-renewal and reflection, and try to use the tools taught there to have greater control and improved relationships.

Mandatory Classes

While a judge will probably specify a certain number of hours for the court ordered anger management classes, know that you can continue going if the lessons are helping. Most classes are in person and require signatures from the instructors to prove your enrollment and participation. However, a judge or an order may allow for online courses in certain situations, which may ease some anxiety. The class type mandated typically depends on the severity of the accusation or assault. Anger that results in violence and injury usually requires a more intensive in-person program, whereas an emotional outburst that did not result in serious injury or harm may only require a certificate of completion from an online provider.  

Course Lessons

While the online and in-person courses vary in length and design, anger management classes teach a variation of the same topics: emotional and physical signs and triggers. Some emotional signs you are getting angry are feeling internal tension like you can't say what you want or that you want to yell. Physical symptoms of anger may appear through a clenched jaw, tightness in your back, poor sleep or a racing heartbeat. While courses spend some time exploring signs and symptoms of anger, they typically dive deeper into discovering your emotional stressors or triggers to help you combat them.

You may not want to take court-ordered classes. However, consider them an opportunity to heal. Find approved anger-management classes and start your recovery. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Understanding Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

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For individuals to successfully navigate through society, sound finances play a significant role. With many people unable to support themselves with savings or investments, remaining current with any outstanding debts is essential. However, there will always be extenuating circumstances which arise in life and require unplanned expenditures. If these types of situations occur frequently, you will likely have to consider filing for bankruptcy. Making this type of decision is undoubtedly nerve-racking, but there are quite a few options for you to take. Bankruptcies happen across the country, and this is undoubtedly the case for Orlando, FL. If you live in this area and are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, consult with a chapter 13 lawyer Orlando Fl.

Determining Eligibility for Chapter 13

With there being so many types of bankruptcy to claim, it is essential to understand which form applies to you. If you are interested in filing chapter 13, then your unsecured debts must be lower than $349,725 to proceed with this filing. There are also laws about secured debts, also which a chapter 13 lawyer would be able to explain in detail. A court of law will also determine your eligibility based on any recent filings made under your legal name. If 180 days have not passed since a recent filing was cut short due to negligence, you would not be eligible for chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Understanding the Process

There is a lot of documentation that a bankruptcy court will require for this process to move along. Most people do not have a schedule of assets and liabilities on-hand for personal property and the accompanying valuations. All of this information must be accurate to the best of your ability, and an attorney can assist with this process. Filing for bankruptcy is not easy, but seeking legal counsel can help aid in this burdensome task.

Tips for Planning a College Spring Festival

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Although college is a learning environment, it is also a place of community. With that, comes a need for socialization. Why not celebrate springtime? The sun is finally shining, providing some much-desired vitamin D. Kick off the season with a good old-fashioned festival. Young adults, after all, need enjoyment just like little kids, and (let's face it) college is not just about academics. It's also about having fun. Here are a few tips to make the most of the event.

Get Help

Planning a large scale event takes time and coordination. Consider hiring a college event planner. This could relieve some of the pressure, and it might offer some discounts from vendors. This person brings experience to the table that might present some new ideas and exciting concepts. Also, don't take it all on yourself. Ask campus organizations to sign up and work on a committee or sponsor booths. Let them get creative with activities appropriate for the campus and student body. Getting others involved provides a personal investment and pride. It might also make your job a little bit easier.

Think Variety

Remember that people have different interests so you'll want to provide options. For example, festivals usually include silly booths and inflatables. Select a range of activities. Some a little tame, and some more adventurous. Music keeps events lively, so consider a DJ or a band. Don't worry so much about genre. Just ensure it's upbeat. Lastly, don't forget the food. Festivals have your traditional fare: cotton candy and popcorn. Rent some machines to have large quantities. Think of offering those for free as a perk to those who attend. With food trucks readily available, arrange for some to provide additional choices. You'll save set up and time by using their menu and supplies.

Enjoy the day. Many people want to return to those carefree childhood days. A spring festival offers a chance to relive the fun and memories.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

If you are considering buying a new car, there are likely lots of things that are running through your mind right now. From the obvious and straightforward choices you need to make to the ones that take a little more consideration, it can feel like every time you think you know what you are doing, another one of those thoughts pop up in its place. Fear not, however, as that is why we have written this post - to help you out by listing all of the things that you need to think about when it is time to purchase a new car. 

Photo by Raivis Razgals on Unsplash
Selling Your Old Car

Many people need to sell their old car to fund the purchase of their new one. You first need to think about the condition that it is in. If it is still roadworthy and not too battered and old, you will probably get a fair amount of money for it. However, if it could be described as an 'old banger', then that is probably not going to happen. Do a thorough inspection of the car, from the interior to the exterior, and under the hood. If there any minor issues, think about addressing those before you try to sell it on - this can help increase the value of the car. 

You then need to think about how much you are aiming to get for it. Be realistic with your expectations - do not aim for something ridiculously high that you are never going to get, but at the same time, do not undervalue your car. You can always drop the price when negotiating with a potential buyer.  You also need to decide whether to sell to a private buyer or a trader. There are benefits to both options, so weigh up the pros and cons of each and decide which would be best for you.

New or Second Hand?

When we are talking about a new car, we do not necessarily mean brand new - we mean new to you. You may well be looking for a second-hand car, and if this is the case, you need to check out sellers very carefully.  If you are going car shopping in Tucson, AZ, a reputable dealership may well be your best option. Sometimes, it can be a little risky to buy from a private seller.  You will find that most established second-hand auto traders offer you some sort of guarantee or warranty that is not provided by private sellers, but this gives you an extra layer of protection on the off chance that something should go wrong.

If you do decide to buy a brand new car, make sure that you shop around to get a good deal and make sure that you do get a comprehensive warranty from the dealer because while unlikely, things still can and do go wrong. 

How Are You Going To Pay For It?

If you have the cash to buy the car outright, that is great, but if you are upgrading your car or purchase brand new, it is likely that you wouldn't be able to purchase it outright. This means that you need to look into a car financing option that works for you. There are many ways of doing this, such as hire purchase. This means paying an amount every month, but you do not own the car until you have fully paid it off. Others prefer to get a personal loan from the bank so that they can pay cash for the car and then pay the loan back to the tender. The advantage of this is that you have a good credit score; you may be able to get a lower interest rate on your vehicle. Be aware though that interest charges on your loan can fluctuate without warning

Car Insurance

Car insurance is something you need to think about before you purchase a car. There is no point in buying a car if you cannot afford to pay the insurance on it because of the engine size or because of it being a particularly desirable car. Once you know the registration of a car, you should be able to go online and get quotes for the insurance to give you an idea. By doing this, you will be able to compare prices and know whether you can afford the monthly or annual insurance premiums. 

Other Costs 

There are many other costs that you need to consider on top of the purchase price and car insurance. For example, you need to think about the vehicle tax. You would need to pay this every six months or every year, depending on the plan that you choose. As well as this, it is always a good idea to add on breakdown cover just in case - you do not want to break down and have no way of getting to your destination! All of these costs add up, and these are not even the full extent of it.

You also need to take into account the amount of fuel that you will need to run the car. This is dependant on a range of factors, such as how often you drive, the distances you cover, and how economically you drive. You must not forget to take this into account when you are looking at all the costs associated with a new car. It is all well and good to be able to afford the purchase price and insurance, but if you can't afford to put fuel in, you will not be going anywhere.

Also, remember that if something goes wrong and a guarantee or warranty do not cover it, you will need to fork out for the repairs. If there is something wrong with the engine, that is going to cost you. Tires, which do need replacing regularly, will cost you a fair bit. 
All those smaller costs add up and usually come to bite you when you least expect it or can afford it,  so, you need to plan for every eventual cost that you could need to pay before you purchase a new vehicle.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

What’s Likely To Influence Your Attitude To The Road?

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Do you even really know what influences your attitude when you’re on the road? Do you know how to stay in control on the road? Let’s take a look at some of the things that may influence your attitude when you’re on the road.

Your Mood

First of all, one of the biggest influences that may significantly influence your attitude to the road and driving in general, is your own mood! If you’re in a bad or negative frame of mind, it can make you perform differently, and react different on the road. And so you need to bear that in mind and aim to control it.

Other People

Now, another thing that can often largely influence how you are on the road, is other people! It’s not always your own attitude or outlook on that day. Sometimes, the actions of others can really influence you. But if you want to make sure that you’re able to stay safe on the road, stay sane, and also avoid confrontation too, you have to be weary of those.

The Facts

Finally, something that you may not know much about, is the facts of the road. And here, we’re talking more about the negative side of things, as unfortunately there are lots of traffic collisions as you can see in the infographic below. Sometimes, when you know more about the statistics surrounding road issues, alcohol, drugs, and fatigue, you’ll often be much more wary of your own actions on the road.



Infographic Design By Canada car accident statistics

Friday, May 31, 2019

When MTV premiered the iconic “Pimp My Ride”, 15 years ago, nobody knew how much the show would influence car owners all across the country. Viewers could follow the experience of turning a regular car into an exciting road monster, ready to devour the miles with style and comfort. Since then, it has come to light that the final vehicle they got to drive may not have had a lot in common with the car that appeared on the show. You can even find some candid reviews as AMAs on Reddit from car owners who have been on “PImp My Ride”. Regardless of how the show handed contestants, there’s no denying that the legacy lives on. More and more car owners are inspired to upgrade their vehicle. 

Do you love pimping your car?
You need to gather data first

One of the most popular upgrades car owners add to their vehicle is to try to increase the overall power output, which is designed to make the car quicker on the road and lighter to handle. Rally and racing vehicle, typically, undergo similar tuning operations to reduce the weight of the car by stripping out everything that isn’t strictly required. In a racing car, this would be the rear seats, the stereo, some body parts, and the spare wheel, for instance. In your day-to-day car, you can’t just ditch body parts and equipment. Instead, you need to modify your tuner, by adding an SCT tuner, for instance, to boost horsepower and maintain the power delivery as smooth as possible. Tuners are used to overwrite the existing tune on your vehicle computer. However, you need to understand not only what you want to modify but also how your engine performs to pick the best solution. 


Lack of knowledge is harmful

As a rule of the thumb, you can’t afford to modify your car unless you’re confident you understand the work you’re doing. Cars is an area where enthusiasm without know-how can get extremely costly. Take a look at these example of tuning gone wrong to understand the risks. Similarly, you also need to work with professionals who are experienced in tuning and modifications. 


You need to know WHEN to stop

It’s easy to let your enthusiasm lead the way. However, when it comes to car modifications, health and safety should remain a priority. You should stay away from add-ons that can obstruct any of the windows while driving, as it’s likely to make your vehicle NOT road legal. Some of the modifications you might have seen on “Pimp My Ride” were removed before the car owner could take the vehicle home! 


There’s no point unless you protect your car

Last, but not least, there is a lot you can do with your car, even if you stick by the rules of knowledge, cautious and research. But, you can afford to invest in tuning and modifications if you don’t know how to look after your vehicle. A car cover is a crucial investment to protect your vehicle from damages as a result of moisture, sun exposure, or even mold. Ideally, you want to park your car in a secured area – preferably a locked garage. 


The bottom line is that when it comes to upgrading your vehicle, you need to proceed with caution. You should also research your options, find the best experts and solutions for your car. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Home Tech Innovations Which Are Worth The Spend

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Technology and homes go hand in hand, and the latest solutions are so smart they can do everything from keeping your home tidier and more secure to saving you money on the household bills, enhancing your lifestyle and increasing the value of your property. All we need now is a flying car in the driveway and we really will have arrived in the future we were promised as kids. Of course, as with all home gadgets, there are some which are a great idea and others which aren't worth the spend. Here's a run down of the latest tech additions it could be worthwhile investing in… 

A Smart Doorbell

Knowing who is at the front door before you answer - whether you're home or not - is incredibly useful. Not only can you keep tabs on that delivery that arrives when you pop out, but you can also avoid that sales call you didn't want to be in for. Plus, you can ensure better security for your property when you go away. Smart doorbells from companies like Nest feature a HD video stream using your home WiFi so you can check exactly who is there. There's also an in-built microphone and speaker so that you can communicate with any visitors - even if you're far away from home. 

A Soothing Soak

If you're into relaxing in the bathtub with a glass of wine after a long, hard day, then you may want to get on board with the new wave of technology coming to a bathroom near you. The Archer VibrAcoustic bath harnesses the power of technology to make that bathing experience even better. Housing a Bluetooth speaker and made of acoustic materials, the idea is that you can play your favorite relaxing Spotify playlist while you soak in the tub and feel every note in three dimension with music waves rippling through the water. As well as accessing your own music library, the bath has several soothing pre-programmed mixes to add something a little extra to your bath! 

An Entertaining Experience

If you're in the mood to treat yourself, and add value to your home, Home Theater Installation could be a path to consider. Movie aficionados will relish being able to dodge the queues at the cinema, re-watch the classics at their leisure or even do proper justice to those epic Netflix picks with a big screen and surround sound. With custom smart technology, you could queue up that movie, dim the lights and have a chilled beer waiting all by the time you pull up in the drive. 

No More Mowing

If you have a lawn in your garden, then you'll know what a pain it is to maintain around this time of year, when it seems to grow faster than you can cut it! Bring the power of robots to the job with the Worx automatic lawn mower. Similar to the famous Roomba vacuuming robot, this little guy has a clever shock sensor system which can detect and mow around obstacles and automatically returns to it's base if the battery gets low to recharge or it senses rain. Everyone's least favorite chore just got a hell of a lot easier. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Dear Unknown Japanese Soldier,

I know, it has been about 75 years since that day. Long time, huh? Well, I don't know if you are still alive, but I just wanted to let you know about a few things.

You were the one who shot and killed my grandfather. A man I never had the chance to meet. Were you also the one who pushed his body into that deep well along with countless other men and women you massacred? 

Did you know that the man you killed had a pregnant wife at home and 4 young daughters all under the age of 10 who were too young to understand why there was a war?

Did you know that my grandfather had a very good singing voice and was the lead singer in the church choir?

What did he do to hurt you? All those men and women you rounded up in the town plaza, giving them false hopes of peace and free rice? And what did you do? You mercilessly gunned them all down. Why?

My grandfather worked hard to raise his daughters, hoping to give them a bright future. With your bullet, you put an end to his dreams.

My poor grandfather did not live long enough to even see his youngest daughter. You robbed my mother and my aunts the chance to grow up with a father to guide and protect them. 

Don't you have a father yourself? How much hate did you have in your heart when you did this? I cannot understand your lust of bloodshed. What made you so evil? I want to know. But it is too late now. Way too late to know the truth.

We only have one photo of my grandfather. 

ONE. 

In the photo, he was tall, dark complexioned, with black wavy hair and beautiful deep set eyes. I wish I met him. I wish I got to know him. But all I have is that one photo. And his name, Casiano. 

He missed seeing his 5 daughters graduate from college. He missed walking them down the aisle when they got married. He missed getting to know all his 13 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren (plus one great-greatgrandson)

My grandfather's 13 out of a total of 18 great grandchildren.
(13 girls and 5 boys. Missing 3 other girls and 2 other boys not in the photo)
We can no longer change the past. The war is now etched in my country's history. I can only pray that that would be the last war, and the last foreign invasion that would come to our shores. 

So to you, Unknown Japanese Soldier, I hope you were given the time to repent for the atrocities you committed. I hope you at least felt sorry for all that you did. 

And despite all the hurt you caused my grandmother, my mother and my aunts, I want you to know... 

I forgive you.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Four Tricks For A Luxury Kitchen Redesign

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The kitchen truly is the hub of the house - it's where people tend to congregate and socialise, where we entertain our friends, visit with our family and talk to our children. So it's little wonder that making an investment into this room can enhance your life and make your property much more saleable. If you're looking to achieve an elegant redesign that look luxurious, the trick is to combine practical innovations with beautiful finishes to get that high-end appearance. These tips will show you some of the best ways to get the look… 

Let There Be Light

Immaculate lighting design for your kitchen is something that often gets overlooked, or only addressed as an afterthought, when it's actually quite fundamental. A kitchen is a unique space because it demands a mix of functional, task lighting and more relaxed mood enhancing lights for dining and entertaining. Your lighting scheme could include a mix of LED spotlights in the main body of the kitchen, a hanging pendant light over an island unit or peninsula, and then downlighters or a dramatic cluster light over the dining area - you could even add a dimmer switch for ultimate mood lighting control. 

Get Classy With Countertops

If your mission is to give your kitchen that high end look, then one area where you don't want to cut corners is on beautiful quality countertops and splashbacks. Installing something like Quartz Countertops gives a sleek and durable finish that instantly makes your kitchen look upscale. If you're trying to make the case for a luxury look on a budget, then it's better to spend more on the countertops and try to make savings on the units of the kitchen and the appliances by sourcing them separately online rather than purchasing at inflated kitchen showroom prices. 

Luxe Up The Details

Steering away from basic handles in favour of something more unique and luxurious can really make your kitchen standout. Unusual finishes such as brass, copper or leather can totally elevate a more basic design and make it look expensive. You can also add to the look by choosing sockets, switches and taps in more stand-out materials - this can add a lot of sophistication to the look of the room in a subtle way. Don't discount the impact a beautiful extractor hood can have as well - they are highly functional items but they can also be very decorative and add to the overall look in their way. 

Create A Standout Feature 

Every elevated design features a talking point which makes a lasting impact, so think about what would make sense for your home. If you're a wine lover, a beautiful alcove filled with honeycomb wine holders can make an arresting sight. If you have small kids, painting a wall with chalkboard paint and allowing them to make colourful scribbles - or noting down quotes that make you smile or even your shopping list - injects a little personality into proceedings. For others it could be beautifully designed furniture or a standout piece of art. Just make sure there is one element that draws focus in the mix. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Preparing For The Family Vacation In Style

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Family vacations can feel fantastic to attend and to look forward to, but not always to prepare. Of course, selecting a location is a wonderful thing, but budgeting, preparing, and planning your routes can often feel like busywork. However, we all know it’s a necessary evil, much as losing at least an hour a day to our commute to and from work can be one. 

Preparing for the family vacation in style can help you ahead of time is rarely something you can avoid, lest you pay over the odds to have every single small circumstance sorted for you. But none of us enjoy that kind of inquiry, so we look to see just what might benefit us, now and in the future. 

A great idea is to consider how you might spend time with your family through the preparation. This way, the excitement can grow even further as you all look to equip yourselves for that you might need. Not only this, but as you’re likely to start that process even earlier, you might feel more comfortable in how things will turn out. Let’s see what that might look like:

Prepare The Vehicle

The most common means of taking a family vacation is to drive to the destination. Of course, this is not necessarily always the case, but it’s so common that it should be considered the default standard. This means that preparing your vehicle for a long-haul drive should be an essential part of your daily efforts. Preparing your vehicle could and should be part of that. For example, using Thule products to help you attack your bicycles to your car should be an appropriate means of securing personal effects safety to the storage connections there. This also goes for if you wish to use a top-box to hold your luggage and reduce the space taken up in the car. Also, consider how you store items within. Give your children enough leg room, perhaps find them entertainment such as a DVD screen for playing movies, and ensure your tire pressure, your brake fluid and oil are all topped off. When you plan this out on top of your route, driving to your destination will be a joy, not a horrible chore.

Give Yourself A Structure

It can often be hard for families to make the most of the day, because not only will people wish to see disparate things, but it can sometimes be hard to motivate the troops up and out by a certain time. This is where giving yourself a structure can be a great idea. Heading to the pool, visiting the local culture, enjoying beautiful food can all be completed on-time and loosely within a guiding path should you consider your routes ahead of time.

Consider All Needs

Consider the appropriateness of the vacation before you select it. Consider how members of your family might interact with the environment. For example, if you have young children and the elderly, a much more relaxed experience on a beach could be the best idea, rather than hiking around a beautiful yet hilly medieval town. Consider all needs ahead of time, and then when there you’ll be able to ensure everyone can have an equal amount of fun.

With these tips, you’ll be sure to prepare for the family vacation in style.

Keeping The Car Clean With Little Kids

Where kids go, mess tends to follow. This is something all parents realize sooner rather than later. When you take the little ones in the car, therefore, this can cause a lot of trouble. Unlike the home, a vehicle is an incredibly small space. This means that even a small amount of junk or dirt can leave it looking a mess. It can also make your family and anyone else who travel in your car quite uncomfortable. With that in mind, here are five ways to keep your car clean, even with kids.

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1. Keep A Trash Container

Rather than leaving trash to float about your car, you should give it somewhere to go. Some people choose to use a grocery bag, others a cereal box, and some buy trash bins specifically for their vehicles. You could give each of your kids their own trash container or use one for the whole car. Either way, you should empty it at the gas station every time you fill up the tank. 

2. Leave Food At Home

Kids are easily motivated and distracted by food. This is why many parents use food to treat their kids and cheer them up. The only problem with this is that food can be messy. Your little one could drop their food on the seat and stain it or make the car smell. For this reason, you should consider banning food from the car and only allow water, as this makes very little mess.

3. Protect Seats And Floors

If you can’t or won’t ban food from the car, then consider investing in protections instead. Seat covers and floor mats will both help to prevent stains, as well as any other damage. They can also both be removed, which means that it’s much easier to clean them than the floors and seats themselves. You could also put shades on the windows to keep fingers off the glass. 

4. Limit What’s Allowed In

When you start letting your little ones bring things into the car, it’s very difficult getting them to stop. Because of this, you should set rules on what is allowed in your vehicle. You might let one blanket and a few books in, for example, but say no to pillows and toys. Whatever you allow into your car, make sure that your little ones take it back out again when you get home. 

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5. Create A Cleaning Schedule

Unless you have a plan, you will put car cleaning off until its a huge task, and you just don’t want to do it. This is why you should create a schedule for your cleaning tasks. Some jobs, like wiping down the dashboard and removing toys, can be done daily, while others, like vacuuming, can be done weekly. Splitting up the job like this makes it a lot less daunting. 

Children are messy creatures, but that doesn’t mean that your car should turn into a tip. With the advice above, you should be able to keep your vehicle relatively clean. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

As a proud homeowner there is nothing quite like updating your lovely living space from time to time. Your home should be a place where you feel completely at ease and relaxed after a busy day at work. Whether you are putting your feet up on the comfortable sofa or taking a long, hot bubbly bath, your home needs to be your serene sanctuary of calm. When it comes to home improvements there are a number of different updates you could make around your home. If your goal is to make it smarter and more soothing, the following sprinkles of inspiration should bring you one step closer to having the dreamy dwelling you have always wished for.

1. The Power of Plants

Never underestimate the power of plants when it comes to transforming your living space. Not only can plants make you feel calmer, but they add a smart vibe to your home. Consider an indoor wall garden to bring a pop of color to the interior of your house. These succulent walls are much more unique that regular potted house plants and they will make your space much more interesting and appealing. Plants inside the home also make the air much cleaner, which can help to reduce pollution.

2. Outdoor Overhaul

The outside of your home can often become neglected during the cooler months, but now the sun is starting to shine it might be time for a little makeover. Plant a pretty flower bed and add some growth treatment to your grass; this will make your garden pop with beautiful bright shades. You might also want to invest in some new garden furniture to complement your newly styled backyard. From comfy sofas to loungy hammocks, you can choose your furniture based on your personal tastes.

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3. Soothing Scents

Choosing a signature scent for your home is an excellent way to boost the sophistication levels right away. Finding an amazing aroma that makes you feel soothed and relaxed is essential for every homeowner. Whether you use an array of scented candles around your abode or you invest in beautiful incense sticks that exude your ideal aroma, there are so many ways to inject a signature smell into your smart and sophisticated living space.

4. Cool Kitchen Additions

Your kitchen is probably one of the most heavily used rooms in the home, so you need to make sure it is practical and smart. Whether you use it to host dinner parties or you enjoy some alone time with your coffee in the morning, you could make some much needed changes to make it work better for you. You might want to invest in a new smoothie maker or add a vase of fresh flowers to the countertop. These small additions will make your kitchen feel more like home right away.

5. Wonderful Workspace

Working from home is never easy when you are living in a cluttered and messy environment, so now might be the time to give it a much needed overhaul. Whether you work in a separate office space or you simply have a desk in the corner of your dining room, there are many ways to make it feel more productive. Declutter your workspace and make sure your seat is comfortable too, as this will effective your motivation levels.

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6. Amazing Artwork

Even if you’re not too hot on the artwork scene, you can easily grab some inspiration online. Adding artwork to your home is one of the best ways to smarten it up in an instant. You don’t have to spend a fortune on artwork either; your local home store will have an array of artwork to choose from, so why not head there and get some wonderful wall art today?

7. Digital Detox

Even though technology is at the forefront of everybody’s mind at the moment, it is important that your home isn’t overburdened. Although home assistant systems are funky and large smart TVs are attractive, it doesn’t always help your mindset. Make at least one room in your home completely digital free and see how that makes you feel. You might love the idea of escaping to a quiet corner that has no screens or methods of communication once in a while!

8. Happy Hobbies

Your home should be the perfect place for you to carry out or practice your hobbies. For example, if you love arts and crafts you should create a dedicated space in your home for this type of activity. Discover whatever type of activity is soothing to you and make a point of incorporating it into your home in some way. If baking is your thing you might want to step up your kitchen utensils and stock up on some essentials in your cupboards for your next creation!

9. Noise Control

Although this might be out of your control sometimes, it is important to make your home a place of peace, quiet and calm. If you have kids or roommates you might want to set some ground rules so that you know you can always feel relaxed when you step through the front door.

10. Neutral Shades

When your home is made up of mostly neutral colors, it is definitely the best remedy for a calming environment. If you are constantly staring at bright and bold tones, you might find it quite difficult to relax. Similarly, it is much more difficult to accessorize when you don’t have a blank canvas to work with. Repaint certain rooms in your home and you will soon find a way improving the soothing atmosphere around you.

11. Cozy Comforts

Cute and cozy comforts make your home feel like yours instant. There will always be an area in your home that makes you feel completely at ease from the moment you walk in the room, so you definitely need more of this in your life. Whether you love looking at a certain piece of artwork or a specific smell relaxes you, these small home comforts will make the world of difference when you add them into your home.

12. Clever Deep Cleaning

Is there any feeling better than seeing the results of a deep clean at home? When you spend the time spring cleaning every inch of your house, it can feel extremely rewarding. Don’t forget to do the less obvious places too, such as the top of cupboards and closets; these are always areas that are missed. Try to use natural cleaning products wherever possible as this will help you to keep the air fresh and clean, rather than polluted with toxins from strong substances.

13. Beautiful Blinds

If you want to improve the privacy throughout your home new blinds and curtains are an excellent way to do this. Blind and curtains don’t just have to act as a practical use in your home, they can also be super chic and stylish. Although you might not think they add much to a room, they can really enhance your windows or doors if they are a feature in your home. Head to your local home store and order some made to measure blinds for a chic new addition to your home décor.

14. Blissful Bedroom Touches

Your bedroom should always be one of the most relaxing places in your home. If you don’t feel an instant sense of calm the moment you walk through the door, you are definitely doing something wrong in there! There are many ways that you can make your bedroom more calming from scented candles to luxurious sheets. One of the best things you can do in your bedroom is to remove as many distractions as possible. If you often struggle with your sleeping pattern, you might find that adjusting the temperature, changing your duvet or adding a blackout blind might help too.

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15. Savvy Space

There is nothing like having a good old clear out when you feel claustrophobic in your home; even if you have a large living space you might not be making the most of it right now. Think about how you could rearrange the furniture and make more use of the corner and nooks inside your home. You might be surprised at how much space you have when you have a little declutter and rearrange throughout your home.

So get stuck into this fun filled home improvement project and you will be on your way to having a chic, sophisticated and soothing home environment. You will soon be one step closer to living in the amazing abode you have always dreamed of. With just a few simple and smart updates your house can be transformed from basic to beautiful in just a matter of minutes! Keep your own personal style in mind at all times and don’t be afraid to stick to the interior designs you love. Your home should be so personal to you, so the most important thing is to be relaxed and comfortable. As soon as you have made these changes you will notice a huge improvement in your overall mood; when your home is clean, clear and smart your mind will be too!

Upgrade Your Car With These Practical Additions

You use your car every day, so it makes sense to try and make it as practical as possible. On its own, it’s probably only capable of taking you from A to B, and then to C, D, and E as you act as a taxi driver for your kids. 

But, with just a few little additions, you can upgrade your car into a more practical beast. Now, you can do a whole bunch of things that will benefit both you and your family. 

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Get a bike rack

Bike racks are very practical as they let you use your car as a way of transporting your bikes from place to place. If you’ve ever gone anywhere with your kids, then you know how valuable this is. They always want to bring their bikes, which is impossible if you don’t have a good bike rack. But, now that you’ve armed your car with a great rack, you can take their bikes wherever you want. So, no more screaming kids on a family day out!

Attach a towbar

A towbar gives your car the ability to, well, tow things behind it! While this might not seem all that beneficial, it’s surprisingly useful. Top-quality towbars will be strong enough to pull another vehicle behind you, which gives you an excuse to buy a caravan for your family holidays! On a more realistic level, a towbar lets you pull small trailers behind you - which can be very handy if you’re doing something like clearing out your home and need a way of transporting all the rubbish. Regardless of how you use it, it will definitely add a new level of practicality to your car.

Get a USB charger

This is such a simple addition that makes your car so much more useful. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare; you’re driving for a long time, and your phone runs out of battery. You don’t have a portable charger, so you’re resigned to your phone dying. But, if you add a USB charger to your car, it gives you the ability to plug your phone in and boost the battery. There are ones that fit in the cigarette lighter and can charge multiple devices; super practical.




A digital assistant

You know those things like the Amazon Echo that have been growing in popularity the last year or so? Things like that are basically digital assistants that provide you with all the information you request. Mainly, you use them in the home, and they can be pretty useful. But, you can also get them for your car as well. By adding one to your vehicle, it makes it way more intelligent. Essentially, you’re driving with a co-pilot all the time! If you need directions, you can ask the assistant. If you need to accept calls, you can do it via the assistant - and so on. It allows you to do things you previously couldn’t, so your car is more practical. 

Add any of these things to your family car if you want to give it a bit of an upgrade. They’re all relatively low-cost, and they definitely make your car better. 

Tips To Train Your Puppy

One of the most joyous, loving, loyal additions to any family unit is a dog, and puppies are just the cutest darn’ thing in the world. However, your new bundle of joy needs love, play, your attention and most importantly training. One of our best friends and housemate for many years has great experience at training rescue dogs and puppies, and his mantra for a long-time happy dog is ‘A happy dog is an obedient dog’. 

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Training through play

Dogs love to play, it’s their favourite thing to do. Be it fetching a ball or stick, tug-of-war on a rope, jumping for a toy, rolling over or, something more productive in terms of training, even learning to sit and stay - if you can make the training task you are trying to achieve become a game, your dog will enjoy this activity and learn from it. Play is a treat for a dog in itself, so if you can use play as a treat rather than using treats to get your dog training through play, then you’ll have a healthy and obedient dog in no time.


House training

Dogs need to learn where it is allowed for them to go and do their business and where it is not allowed for them to do this. This really is the trial and error part of dog training, as they’ll never learn they can not wee or poop on your lovely carpet or floor until you tell them otherwise. Many owners will pick their dogs up during the act and physically move them to the garden or pet toilet area until they learn this is the place to do it. Others will tell off their dog at the scene of the crime, so they learn that this is not ok. In both of these well-known approaches, it is key that you praise your dog when they are weeing or pooing in the right place! 

Another house training to consider is where you want your dog to be allowed to go or not go in your home. This is completely down to you as the owner, but don’t just rely on gates or objects blocking their paths to these areas - you must teach them where they can and can’t go.


Dog obedience school

As well as your owning training methods, and the tips above, you should also go to a dog trainer or a dog obedience school. Here you will get professional help from trainers with years of experience behind them, in all forms of training and will all types of dogs. What’s great also is that this is a place your dog can meet and play with other dogs in a controlled safe space, but do make sure they don’t pick up any bad behavior from fellow dogs.

Training your dog takes time, care, strategy and your unwavering love and attention - but with these tips, you can make the most out of training your dog and reap the rewards which are a happy dog and happy family!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Making the Most of Your Backyard Space

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If you are looking for a favorite spot to relax on summer evenings, look no further than your own backyard. All it takes is a bit of planning to create your own bit of heaven at home.

Layout and Building

Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a postage-stamp sized patio, it can best be utilized by a bit of planning and organizing. Basically, you need a place to sit, a place for food and a bit of shelter. Install some kind of flooring, whether you use brick, concrete pavers, plank decking or poured concrete. A shelter is a good idea if you can swing it. Build a wooden pergola, add a sunshade or even use a patio umbrella to protect from the sun and rain.

Furnishing

You can choose something as simple as a couple of chairs or as elaborate as a wood, iron or wicker seating group complete with an outdoor dining table. It all depends on the area you have available and the kind of use it will receive. Look at the variety of patio furniture Kennesaw GA has available for choices you will love. Choose colors and finishes that will complement your home and yard.

Amenities

Depending on the type of space you have and the usage your new patio will get, you may want to install anything from a small hibachi for grilling to a fire pit to a full outdoor kitchen. A wet bar may suit some people. Provide a way to serve food for parties or evenings with the family. Opening a pass-thru window from the kitchen may be a space-saving option.

However you serve it up, a patio can increase the usability and enjoyment of your home. A few additions can create a comfortable space to entertain and enjoy time with your family. 

Build A Garden Pond In These Simple Steps

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Now that the winter is finally gone for good and the weather is warmer, it is time for many of us to turn our attention away from the house and towards the garden. As soon as the temperature starts to rise we are gifted with sprouts, colours and blooms from the garden and this can be a wonderful thing. Today we are taking a look at a fun project that you can try in the garden this year to add a fun feature and also to pull in some wildlife to the space: a pond. 

Mark it out 

The first step for creating a cute little pond in the back garden this year is the mark out where you want the pond to be, what size it will be and what shape it will be. It will all depend on your personal preference whether you make a small pond or a large one, and you can always take some inspiration from people online as to the design and the shape of the pond you want to make. The best way for you to mark out the space is with some string and this will ensure that you stay within your boundaries while you plan it out. 

Above or below?

One of the things you will want to consider is whether you are going to build a trench for the pond or whether you are going to build it raised from the ground up. This is something you need to think carefully about because a raised pod will take a lot more work for you to create. As long as you are happy with putting the time into it, a stone raised pond can look stunning in any garden. Have a think too about the depth of water, make sure to buy Grundfos CR pumps to keep the water clean, and keep the water fairly shallow if you want a wildlife focused feature.

Add liner 

Once you are happy with the depth and size of the pond it is time to add the liner. Liner will prevent the water from seeping into the soil below and it will ensure that the pond stays full and stable. You can buy liner from any garden center and even the most basic one will be ideal. 

Add water 

Now that the pond is ready, it’s time to add the water. If you have any bog plants which you want to install in the pond, make sure that you know whether they should go in before or after the water as it can vary depending on the type of plant you use. 

Add wildlife

Now the fun part! If a family member has a pond, see if you can ask for some frog spawn. As well as this you can buy fish for the pond, pond snails to keep the water clean, and other small creatures. There’s no need to go overboard because over time animals will find their home here. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Be Prepared for your Medical Imaging Appointment

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Medical imaging is an important diagnostic tool that is improving all the time. It can be intimidating, though, especially if you're not sure what to expect. Whether you're having a simple CT scan, an ultrasound, or digital x-ray imaging, there are a few things you can do to be ready before your imaging appointment.

Talk to Your Doctor

Make sure to get a clear idea of what's going to happen and why. When your doctor tells you you need to have imaging done, ask what they're looking for, and how they will be looking for it. The answer might be complicated, and might involve other options; there are an increasing variety of digital imaging technologies, and more being invented all the time. If you're still having trouble understanding, go to the internet. There are other people out there who've had this procedure done for the same reason. 

Talk to Your Imaging Techs

You might be encouraged to make your appointment online, or you might not even be required to make an appointment, but don't be afraid to call and ask a real live person for clarity. You might need to do some prep work; drinking or fasting or avoiding certain foods. Make sure to get a checklist of what you need to do in order to be ready for your appointment. And of course you want to be absolutely certain your insurance will cover this procedure, and how much you will be expected to pay. Have your insurance information at the ready when you make the appointment.

Be Patient

Answers very likely won't be instantaneous, no matter how much you wish they were. The techs on the day probably won't be able to interpret your results, and you'll have to talk to your doctor again before you know what your results really mean. Imaging technology isn't a magic bullet, it's a complex and subtle tool in getting you the diagnosis that will help you get healthy.