Those summer plumbing problems

Every so often the summer brings with it joy and merrymaking. However, there are times when it might bring with it some bad news, like bad plumbing issues. You might find yourself with plumbing emergencies of various kinds. The first thing you should do in such situations is not to panic. There are many plumbers that will happily and quickly solve your problem for your restoring your summer to the default state of joy it should be in.

Once you call a good plumber, they should be able to give you some practical advice on what you can do to mitigate the situation before they arrive, based on the name and address that you have provided them with. That said, they should be able to solve the problem as soon as they arrive and even prevent it from ever occurring again. If you determine that the specific emergency you are facing with your plumbing is especially serious or even life-threatening, then it is a good idea to call the plumbing service’s emergency number at once for a much quicker response. You should also call 911 for the case where the plumbing emergency poses a threat to human life.

That said, the right plumbers should be well-trained individuals who can handle all kinds of plumbing and other emergencies, such as gas leaks, whether your emergency is at a residential or commercial property. They should be able to arrive in a minimum of time and solve the problem in the most professional manner. If you figure that the plumbing or other emergency poses a danger to you or those around you, then you should make an effort to keep both yourself and your belongings safe.

If the plumber instructs you to turn off your electricity at the meter, then please ensure you do so. You might also be asked to turn off both your water supply and your gas supply. Please do not hesitate to do so. Never try to solve a plumbing emergency by yourself or to carry out any inspection or repair procedures alone. The professionals have been trained hard and long to do exactly the kind of thing you are trying to do by winging it, so it’s obviously not a very good idea. Call your nearest California plumbers to come and handle the situation straight away. That said, here are some of the common emergencies you might face in the summer.

Gas Leaks

This is usually as a result of normal wear and tear. When your gas system has been around for long, then the seals in your gas appliances or the joints in gas pipes may wear down to the point of leaking. Gas leaks can be dangerous if you do not attend to them immediately.

Luckily, it’s typically very easy to detect a gas leak. The first sign is the smell. While the kind of gas you use in your home is naturally odourless, a certain chemical is added to it by packagers to make it easily detectable. If you smell gas in your house, especially near the meter or a cylinder, then waste no time in calling in a plumber on their emergency number. If you happen to smell the gas in an area that is heavily populated or, God forbid, have already witnessed an explosion or fire due to a gas leak, then you should act immediately. Call the local authorities and the emergency numbers of Santa Clarita plumbers or other nearby plumbers. Meanwhile, you should make an effort to help as many people as you can to evacuate the vicinity.

Hot Water Issues

Sure, this isn’t an exclusive summer issue, seeing as summer is hot by nature and it might seem counterintuitive that you would want hot water in the summer. However, people do have their preferences, and they cannot be held against them. There may naturally be a problem with your hot water supply so that the water coming out of your hot water faucet is always cold. In that case, it means there is a problem with your hot water system, and it either needs repair or a complete overhaul.

The first thing to do in such instances is to check that the pilot light is still on, in case your hot water system runs on gas, and the circuit breakers, in case your hot water system runs on electricity. Sometimes they’re just off and need to be turned back on. However, sometimes it could also be a more serious problem requiring the complete replacement of your hot water system. In that case, a good plumbing service should give you plenty of options as far as water heating solutions are concerned, including gas, electricity, and solar options, all being eco-friendly, of course.

If your water supply has been cut off, there is a high chance that it has been cut off by the local authorities. You should call your local authorities to find out if they have any planned maintenance activities in your area and also ask when the water supply is likely to be restored.

Blocked Sewers

Blocked sewers can be very frustrating, especially when the effluent begins to back up into your toilet and the foul smell fills up your house. This tends to happen when sewer lines have been blocked, such as by tree roots. You will see the warning signs long before the effluent actually backs up into your toilet. For example, you will hear a gurgling sound when you flush the toilet and notice the water taking longer to drain than usual. The best thing to do when you witness these signs is to call your local SoCal plumbers immediately to fix the problem.

Good plumbers should have the right tools to inspect the sewer system and rectify the problem that led to the blockage as soon as possible.

In the event that a blocked sewer occurs at your commercial premises, it is especially important that you call an emergency plumbing service to rectify the problem immediately as it could severely interfere with your normal business operations and make your customers uncomfortable. It could even ruin your products and floors.  

Remain in a Good Shape Beside Work, Family and an Active Social Life

As a millennial, you are already living quite a busy life. You choose experience over possessions, and therefore you are usually spending more than you earn, which requires working more and more from month to month. And after work, there are hobbies, there is your social life that has to be maintained, etc. It is logical that remaining in shape seems nearly impossible when your life is so fast. However, with these simple tips and tricks, you will be able to live your life normally and manage to stay in shape. Take notes.

Planning ahead

You are already aware of the fact that you are super busy all the time. In other words, when you want to incorporate something new into your lifestyle, efficient time management is simply essential. Make the most out of every single moment. This, of course, doesn’t mean you should spend every spare minute you have working out, but a couple of squats and pushups while you are waiting for your lunch to finish cooking is perfectly fine.

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Stop making excuses

If you keep telling yourself things like “I’m too busy to start today, I’ll start next week,” before you know it, weeks and months will have passed and you will not be able to get round to it. The hardest part about exercising is starting it, so don’t think of it as something optional, but rather a priority that is too important to be canceled.

Make your workouts flexible

Not all of us have easy access to a gym or swimming pool, and when you throw in a busy lifestyle into that equation, staying in shape seems nearly impossible. However, there is a solution for everything. If, for example, the weather is too cold for you to ride your bike around the neighborhood, you could check this exercise bike out and put it in your home for your indoor workouts. You can do many other workouts that don’t involve any equipment as well. Exercising at home is a great alternative for those of you who simply don’t have the time or the opportunity to visit the gym or workout classes.

Diet

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Staying fit isn’t just about exercise, it also involves diet. Of course, it must be really tempting to make it easier for yourself and simply grab a quick (processed) ‘meal’, but you are not doing yourself a favor by it. Instead, start off with small dietary changes such as a snack-swap, for example, where you will replace your junk food with a healthier option such as fruit. Furthermore, try eating stuff that will keep you full for much longer and provide you with more energy, like lean protein, for example. After workouts, eat something rich in potassium, such as banana, in order to replace all that potassium that was lost during the workout. And finally, no matter how busy you are, never skip meals. Prepare them in advance if you need to, but never skip them.

H2O!

Even the birds know how important it is to be hydrated. Our body is 70 percent water, which means we need around 10 glasses of water DAILY. So, instead of drinking a bottle of coke, try replacing that with a bottle of water. It is both healthier and will make you feel much more energized and stronger.

Sleep

With all those obligations, it can be quite hard to give your body the rest it needs and deserves. However, being sleep deprived can lead to poor physical health and it can affect your brain by decreasing concentration and social interaction and problem-solving skills. So, in other words, make sure you always have at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

Have fun

Last, but not least – have fun. If it is not fun, you won’t be doing it, so the key is not to think of working out as a chore, but rather as a time for you to detach yourself and eliminate all the stress you are going through. Listen to motivating music, find a workout buddy, do everything you can to make this experience the best it can be.

As you can see, remaining in a good shape is not that hard. All it takes is quality time management and some inspiration, and you will get the results in no time.

Safety is the Priority: Renovation Tips for A Safe Bathroom for the Whole Family

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Keeping a house safe isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your home itself can be dangerous for your family if you’re not careful. In the UK, around 6,000 deaths occur in the house. Children under five years old and elderlies over sixty-five are more prone to accidents.  In Australia, 16% of injuries acquired by children aged five to fourteen years old occurred inside their home.

Out of the rooms in the house, the bathroom is considered one of the most dangerous places where accidents are prone to happen.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conveyed in 2011 that 235,000 people (15 years old and above) go the hospital annually because of injuries which happen inside the bathroom.

Assess your home if it’s a safe place for your family, mainly your bathroom. If you see some areas which need improvement, maybe you should consider a bathroom renovation. Before you begin, here are some tips to help you renovate your bathroom and turn it into a haven for your family.

Get a walk-in tub

This type has the same function as the usual tub, but it’s designed to be a safer, more comfortable, and more convenient. Some models come with a walk-in door, which means that you don’t have to step over the side of the tub. Easier access to the bathtub implies that there are fewer chances of you losing your balance or slipping on the floor.

Add a shower

If you have a regular tub at home, consider installing a showerhead, so it’s not difficult for you or other family members to take a bath. If you have enough space, you can add a showerhead instead of replacing your tub. Ask for advice from designers from renovation companies Melbourne or London has and tell them your plans. They can help you achieve your goals.

Remove the stairs

If there’s an elevated part of your bathroom which comes with a short flight of stairs, consider removing it for safety. It will make your bathroom look sophisticated, but both kids and adults are prone to slipping on stairs. If you don’t want to remove it, you should add handrails to make the area safe for use.

Install grab bars

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Grab bars can save your life inside the bathroom because it can break your fall, keeping you safe from more severe injuries. You can get a vertical pull bar which has a length-bar that you can adjust and a curved grab bar. The horizontal grab bar is the most common type, which you should install horizontally or vertically, but never at an angle.

Choose rounded edges

When you’re choosing your bathroom fixtures like the sink or tub, avoid those with sharp edges. It can be dangerous if ever someone slips in the bathroom and hits any part of the body on these edges. Go for those with rounded corners because even if you get bruises, it won’t cut your skin open.

Put skid-proof mats on the floor

Get safety bath mats to help your family avoid slipping on the slippery bathroom floor. You can buy the non-skid type, and if you want total comfort, look for products which have soft and quick-drying features.

Improve the lighting

Some accidents occur because people can’t see where they’re going, or maybe they don’t notice that the floor is wet due to poor lighting. Make sure that you have adequate lighting fixtures in your bathroom.

Add recessed lighting for overall illumination, and have at least two lights in the shower and tub area. Light the vanity area so you can see your reflection clearly as you prepare for a busy day ahead.

Keep dangerous chemicals out of your child’s reach

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If you store your medicine and a first-aid kit in the bathroom, make sure that you place it somewhere safe that your kids can’t reach. Kids can get curious sometimes, and it’s dangerous if they get hold of medicines which they might ingest.

If you also have cleaning agents in the bathroom, put it in a safe place as well. Your wandering child might mistake it for something edible, or spill it on his skin.

Takeaway

Safety is essential in the home. Keep your house as safe as possible, mainly in the bathroom. Renovate if you have to and ask an expert to help you out. Check every detail and add accessories and fixtures which will help keep your family safe as they stay inside your home.

Best Gas Efficient Family Car – AUDI A4 Or Honda Fit?

Of all the ten thousand factors to look at when choosing a family car, fuel economy should be right at the top of your checklist. Since low fuel price is just a dream, it’s wise to consider a car that’ll not blow a ton of money on fuel. The best part – you could still say that you’re on a SAVE THE EARTH mission!

Back in the day, fuel-efficient family cars used to have a reputation for being small and underpowered, but with modern technologies, automakers offer best-in-class comfy cars without compromising space, performance, and practicality.

With quite an array of choices, how do you choose a stylish gas sipper for your family? Here is our best bet.

Honda Fit 2018

Why should you buy a Honda Fit: Incredibly reliable, superb fuel efficiency, plentiful cargo space, and fluid steering to name a few.

Honda Fit MPG: 36 mpg

Why we chose the Honda Fit: Now that’s a question! This vehicle is a solid proof that an all-around fun, the comfy daily driver can offer good fuel efficiency and uncompromising style. Remember the famous ‘never judge a book by its cover’ quote? It’s absolutely true with this hatchback – the 2018 Honda Fit comes with a surprisingly roomy cabin with spacious legroom in the back.

The Fit has smaller engines and provides better fuel efficiency. In LX models outfitted with the CVT, the Honda Fit achieves 33 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway – one of the highest ratings in the subcompact category. In the manual transmission, gas mileage is said to be 29 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.

The subcompact family car has a sharp and fluid steering and fine-tuned suspension. The Honda Sensing Suite – automatic high beams and lane departure warning system – is another biggest reason why we love the 2018 Honda Fit.

Audi A4 Ultra

Why should you buy Audi A4 Ultra: Because this family hatchback ticks most boxes on the car buying checklist.

 Audi A4 Ultra MPG: 31 mpg

Why we chose the Audi A4 Ultra: Thanks to the technological sophistication and luxurious appeal, Audi A4 Ultra was able to make the cut in the end. It offers a combined EPA of 31 (27 mpg in the city, and 37 mpg on the highway). Like all Audi models, the Audi A4 Ultra has a stylish interior that promises a comfortable daily commute

Despite its focus on gas mileage, it has best-in-class security features to keep the passengers and pedestrians safe and sound.  The pre-sense system is what that makes Audi A4 great. Speaking of the tech-savvy side of the Audi A4, we can’t ignore Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and ‘Virtual Cockpit’  display.

Light steering, plenty of visibility and parking-aid features, and quick response to dabs of the throttle make Audi A4 better than its rivals in ensuring a smooth drive around the city with family.

To wrap up, we do not want to get into ‘Which is the best among two’ debate as both the models have pros and cons.  So, it’s up to you to select the best gas mileage car suiting your requirements.

The Importance of an Annual Health Check

We all like to think that we are doing all that we can to be as healthy as possible. However, most people don’t visit their doctors nearly as often as they should, and they seem to only go there when they’re already sick. However, it’s clear to everyone that when we talk about health, prevention is always better than treatment. So let’s see how often you should visit your doctor to make sure your health is at your prime.

All-around check-up

The most important check-up you should do is one with a general practitioner once per year. They will do a complete examination of all of your vital functions and make sure that there aren’t any major issues that need to be addressed immediately. If they do notice something that could be cause for concern, they will refer you to a specialist who will examine you further. You should always be completely honest with your GP. They don’t have too much time to examine you, so you need to tell them if you’ve noticed any problems that they should focus on, like shortness of breath, dizziness, pain or other discomforts. They might also ask you about your lifestyle and give you some tips for improving it.

Dentist

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You might think that visiting your dentist shouldn’t be at the top of your priority list, however, the dentist can discover a lot of health issues just by looking at your teeth and gums. These include infections in the body, diabetes and heart problems. But also – the health of your teeth. This is why you should get your teeth troubles sorted in Lancaster for the best treatment services. If any of your teeth are damaged, corroding or inflamed, it could severely impact your diet and lifestyle. In addition, beyond looking for problems that can be nipped in the bud, they might also recommend some new treatments for non-urgent issues which couldn’t be fixed in the past. If you’re an adult with crooked teeth, but you don’t want to wear braces because of their appearance there are options such as Invisalign at Bondi Junction, which is a completely invisible set of braces that can straighten your teeth.

Fitness assessment

Health means nothing if we aren’t fit enough to do things we want. This is why everyone should not only have a regular exercise routine, but also have a fitness assessment every year to see where they stand and whether there’s something they should adjust in their routine. A professional fitness trainer will spend about an hour testing your strength, stamina and flexibility. They will ask you about your workout routine, lifestyle and whether you had any previous injuries. If they find your fitness on a satisfying level, they will give you a thumbs up and perhaps suggest a new routine, if you want to improve further. However, if your fitness isn’t on a high enough level, they will most certainly give you a program that you should stick to and tell you to come back in a few months for a re-assessment.

Bloodwork

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The last thing you should check (at least) yearly, is your bloodwork. Having your blood analyzed is the best way to spot any potential problems before they start showing symptoms. Have a doctor go over the results and check your sugar and cholesterol levels, iron, potassium and look for any other irregularities. Your GP might ask you to have your blood drawn before coming in, and recommend appropriate actions if any measures need to be taken. These issues can usually be adjusted with dietary changes or by taking some supplements.

Our health should be a priority for us, and no matter how busy our lifestyle is, we need to make time to visit the doctor and check up on our physical health.

 

Freelancing As A Military Spouse Career Solution

For the military spouse, settling into a job or career can be pretty challenging. Moving around all the time, trying to manage a house and kids alone during deployments, and days filled with uncertainty about where you will be next, whether in the continental U.S. or overseas. So how do you manage to create a way to make a living, while maintaining the flexibility to manage everything yourself if your spouse gets deployed? One solution is to become a freelancer.

Freelance work essentially means that you work on a contract basis for someone else, performing a task they either do not know how to do or simply may not have time for. Since you are paid by the project, sometimes income can be sporadic, but there are methods to stabilize, like finding regular clients and getting referrals from past clients for new contracts.

The advantage of freelance work is that it can be done anywhere in the world in most cases. You do not have to be nearby your clients at all. Using cloud services and shared hosting platforms, you can share files across the globe, and in some cases work on them simultaneously.

Do What You Know How to Do

Freelancing encompasses several fields and a number of skills. Though it’s by far one of the most common fields for freelancing, you don’t have to be a writer; there are plenty of options in a wide variety of different fields:

  • Writing: This can be anything from web copy to technical manuals and include ghostwriting books and articles, both fiction and nonfiction.
  • Website Building: from finding an individual or company domain name, choosing a host and the best type of hosting, to creating content and building the framework of a website, these tasks can all be done on a freelance basis. You can also use website builders such as Pixpa to create a professional website and deliver it to your client.
  • Design: From logo and ad design to many other graphic design tasks, these can all be done remotely.
  • Photography: Freelance photography can be done from almost anywhere. In some instances though, you may have to travel.
  • Artistry: From commissions to do a family portrait, to posting your regular artwork that is sponsored by patrons, drawing or painting is a great pastime that is relaxing, engaging, and can be done anywhere.

You’re not limited to just creative endeavours either. You can do accounting, be a virtual assistant or do nearly any job freelance. With the rise of more remote workers, many companies will even offer you the opportunity to work from home regardless of your position.

Other companies offer customer service or technical advisor type positions you can work at home as well. More than likely, you can use skills you already have to build an at home career. A permanent change of station doesn’t have to be a career killer anymore.

Deploy Yourself (Work Anywhere)

The mobile nature of all of these jobs means you can essentially deploy yourself and work from anywhere in the world. This can offer your family financial stability and keep you focused on a career path.

When you find yourself working towards the long-term in certain areas, you can also recruit local clients, and then keep them even if you move. Working for a local business does have some social, and even financial, benefits from time to time, and working in person can help you develop valuable people skills that will help you once military life is behind you and your spouse.

Set yourself up with the supplies you will need for your office even when you move around. Be sure that you have a desk, the technology you need, and when you look for housing, make sure there is adequate space for you to work in.

Set up Your Mobile Business

You’ll want to set yourself up as an LLC, and that will mean choosing a location, as you don’t want to keep shifting your company every couple of years depending on where you live.

This means you can choose, to a certain extent, where to set up your business. Because you are in the military, you can do this either in your home state or a state where you have been stationed. The best first step is to meet with an accountant and see what state may have the best tax advantages to you.

In addition, you may want to consider where you and your spouse plan to settle when you get out of the military, since that may end up being your home state. Think long term, since this may end up being your business for years to come. Just realize you will have to pay taxes and file reports in whatever state you register as your business’ headquarters, regardless of whether you live or own property there or not.

Timing is Everything

When it comes to business, location is often everything in the physical business world, but in the freelance world timing is everything. Getting into the right field at the right time can make a difference between immediate success or a long-term struggle.

When you freelance, more often than not, you’re driven by final deadlines, not set hours. This is appealing to many remote workers, and is especially useful for military spouses: you can use the daytime hours to do any family or household chores you need to, pick up the kids after school, and then start working when your spouse gets off duty.

In addition, being able to make the time to work from home and meet client deadlines is also a vital part of your formula for success. If you have children or other responsibilities, you need to make sure your schedule will allow you to work enough to handle not only your work week but the additional marketing and other tasks that come with owning any business.

Freelance work is not the ideal for everyone, but for a military spouse who is constantly moving around, it may be the best solution for establishing a career or even just working a job. You have to be smart about it. Do what you know how to do, make sure you can do that work anywhere, set up your business well, and ensure your timing.

How to Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Under Control

Those suffering from type 2 diabetes know very well how important it is to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Most of them have also experienced unpleasant moments when those levels start racing up and down. Such swings are horrific and cause justified panic. Therefore, it’s vital to control blood sugar levels if you wish to lead a normal life.

How difficult is this challenge? Well, it depends on how disciplined you are. In theory, it’s not that hard, but we all know that some people have great problems adjusting their lifestyle and changing their habits. Let’s take a look at some tips that should help you gain control of not only your blood sugar levels but your life as well.

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What happens when blood sugar is not under control?

Type 2 diabetes lowers the production of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. If the insulin level is low, sugar builds up in the blood and eventually harms nerves and blood vessels, which in turn puts you at risk of heart disease and stroke. If the problem is not solved, hyperglycemia may lead to further problems, such as kidney failure and blindness.

The symptoms of high blood sugar include fatigue, increased thirst, blurry vision, and frequent urination. However, the biggest problem is that you may feel fine without realizing your blood sugar is high. That’s why you need to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly.

On the other hand, when your sugar level is too low, hypoglycemia is manifested by dizziness, irritability, sweating, and lack of coordination. This is equally dangerous and can lead to a number of serious problems.

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Adjustments to your diet

Your diet is one of the crucial elements that should be considered when it comes to controlling blood sugar. It’s vital that you follow your doctor’s advice to the letter if you wish to keep your situation under control. The recommendation you receive will likely include nuts, whole grains and non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cucumber, and carrots, which help prevent surges in blood sugar levels while providing you with all the essential nutrients.

It’s also very important not to skip meals if you wish to reverse insulin resistance. You need to spread out your food intake evenly and never skip breakfast. Next, you shouldn’t drink on an empty stomach, since alcohol will make your blood sugar drop up to 24 hours later. So, you have to eat before or while you drink.

Exercising

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To be able to manage your blood sugar level over time, you need to introduce regular exercising. The type of exercise you choose will depend on many factors, such as your overall health, age and time you have available. What is absolutely crucial is that you don’t design your own exercise program, but rely on your doctor’s recommendations. Losing weight is also important for those who are overweight or obese. It’s much easier to control your blood sugar if your weight is optimal.

Therapy

It may seem like the most obvious thing to do, but it’s still worth reminding everyone that you need regular therapy, and strictly following your doctor’s advice is a must. Therapy alone can’t successfully regulate your blood sugar levels, but medications are necessary. It may take some time before the best therapy is found, but in order for your doctor to be able to be spot on with it, you need to be a good patient and do what is required from you.

Basically, the process of keeping your blood sugar levels optimal is complex, since it consists of several factors. If you neglect just one of them, you’ll find it impossible to achieve your goals. Also, it’s important that you understand the problem well and realize why all the steps are necessary. Still, if you’re disciplined enough, you’ll realize that you can lead a long and healthy life even with diabetes.

Outdoor Wedding – Pros and Cons

Planning a wedding is a beautiful but stressful period with so many aspects to it that it’s practically impossible for one person to do it alone. That’s okay – it’s why there are usually two people doing it. But with so many things going on, it’s easy to direct your focus on the napkins or the flowers when you still haven’t taken care of the venue choice. And a big decision to be made will always be: indoor or outdoor? There are many downsides to an outdoor wedding, but do the positive ones outweigh it?

Pro: Longer guest list

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Very often, having an outdoor wedding means that it’s easier for people to have a longer guest list and invite more people because there’s no strict restriction on how many people the space can fit. And even if you invite the same number of people that you would in a closed space – it feels roomier. When you are out in the open, everyone feels free and like they have more space.

Con: Weather

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Let’s address the obvious one. If it was always a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze, very few people would actually have their wedding indoors. But the weather is unpredictable, and you might find yourself running under the nearest shelter to escape a sudden downpour. It’s important to pick the right date and to look at the weather forecast often, but most importantly – you need to have a backup plan. Whether it’s a nearby indoor venue or a large tent that your guests can hide under, you have to take it into consideration. There’s also the danger of some food ingredients melting or the drinks getting too warm if the weather is too hot.

Pro: It’s beautiful

There really isn’t any venue that can compare to a stunning beach wedding or a fairy tale forest getaway. Unless, of course, it’s a beautiful outdoor wedding venue location. It’s good to have the logistics support of a closed object nearby, but everything from the ceremony to the photos will look better if you’re outdoors. Nature is beautiful, and if you allow it to be your wedding décor, you will have the most breathtaking wedding day.

Con: Fighting with nature

As beautiful as nature is, it also has some downsides. When the night falls, it can rapidly get colder, and your guests might not come prepared, so have some cardigans and blankets around. Mosquitoes will come biting, so lighting up special candles to keep them away is a good strategy to use. Lastly, you can never know if one of your guests will be allergic to a plant that is abundant nearby. You can ask them in the invitations, or you can go out with an expert to the location to check if there are any plants that are known allergens or that can cause a negative reaction when touched.

Pro: Family-friendly

Two things can happen to kids at an indoor wedding: they will get bored because they have to sit down inside, or they will get irritated by the crowded space and the music that is too loud. But outside, kids can be free to be kids without interrupting any important parts of the ceremony. You can even set up a small play area where they can have fun and be loud without bothering anyone. Extra points if you hire a babysitter to watch them while the adults are attending the ceremony.

Outdoor weddings have so many amazing advantages, and the cons can most often be easily avoided with the right preparation. So, when you’re looking at venues, don’t be scared to look towards the outdoors. Enjoy your wedding with all of your guests under the sun and the stars and breathe the fresh new air of marriage.

6 Tips for Buying Your First Family Home

The American real estate market is bouncing back into shape. Homebuyers are eagerly snatching up new properties. If you’re not experienced with the process, it can be anxiety-inducing. The process is particularly fraught with emotion for new parents. They’re buying the house that they’ll raise their children in, the house where their family will shape itself.
Fortunately, people have been working on perfecting real estate transactions for a long time. You’re not exactly journeying into uncharted waters. There’s a lot of good advice around if you’re willing to look for it.

Are you a first-time homebuyer? Here are some tips to make the experience go smoother.

1. Get Pre-Approved

Don’t waste your time chasing after homes that your family can’t afford. Get pre-approved for your home loan and you’ll know exactly how much you have to work with. If you have a realtor, getting pre-approved shows that you’re serious. It could give you an advantage with sellers as well.

Another benefit of dealing with the bank early in the process is that it gives you time to look around for the best deal. Carefully read the loan terms and be on the lookout for any hidden fees.

2. Study the Neighborhood

Your quality of life is going to be affected by your neighbors, especially if you have a young family. Living next door to the party couple that blasts music all night long might be fun for some people but it can make it difficult to keep your little ones in the bed or to get a night of uninterrupted sleep.

Spend time in your new neighborhood before you buy your house. Drive around at night and see what the atmosphere is like, check if there are there any commercial real estate developments. Try speaking with your neighbors. The more you stalk the neighborhood, the less likely it is that you’ll be blindsided by unpleasant surprises upon moving in.

3. Hire an Inspector


It doesn’t matter if your house was constructed in 1910 or in 2018, you need to hire a home inspector. An out of the blue structural problem is the last thing that you want to deal with when you move in. If there are problems with the property, and there might be, it’s better if you learn about them early.

A professional home inspection isn’t free but it might be your only chance to spot problems with the construction before it’s too late. Negotiating with the builder is a lot harder once you’ve already moved into the property.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

Sellers can price their home however they want. Don’t assume that the price is fair or that the seller won’t budge. People expect to negotiate costs in real estate.

Take a look at how much similar homes in the area have sold for to get an idea of a reasonable price. If the neighborhood is particularly desirable, you might end up having to pay more than the seller originally asked for.

5. Don’t Fall in Love

Obviously, you want to love your new home, but you don’t want to become blind. Purchasing real estate is a serious transaction, you need to act rationally or your finances will suffer. You might be charmed by the breakfast nook and the spacious backyard, but if the home is out of your price range, there’s nothing that you can do.

You should also save your raptures until after your home inspection. A professional might be able to spot problems that you were blind to.

6. Keep Your Money in Place


If you’re planning to take out a home loan, you should avoid making lavish purchases for at least a few months. Banks want to see that you’re a steady, reliable spender. Spending huge amounts before buying a house can look reckless. Opening credit cards or amassing more debt will make it harder to get approved.

Start Your Search

Your family is growing; purchasing a new home is the natural next step in life. Choosing where you live is an important decision. The neighborhood that you settle on will decide what type of school your children attend. Your neighbors will be the people who shape your day-to-day environment. You’ll see them at the grocery store, at the park. It’s critical that you pick a home that you and your family feel comfortable in.

The best advice for first-time homebuyers is to take your time. You want to be absolutely certain that you’re making the right choice before you agree to sign any contract. Your home is your castle, you want it to be as close to perfect as possible.

Top 10 Artisan Crafts And Food Sites Across America

Artisan crafts and food across America is a booming business. From local sales to national shipping, artisans from every state are leveraging the Internet to build and grow passions into businesses.

If you think that the artisan retail niche is small, think again. And consumers want more artisan stores at their fingertips. Why? They serve up a personalized experience, which 56 percent of consumers crave.

Do you love artisan crafts and food as a consumer? Are you thinking of starting your own craft and food retail store and need some great ideas? The following 10 sites across America can serve as your artisan playbook.

1. Texas Treats: Georgetown, Texas

Texas Treats serves up delicious Texas food gifts and artisan crafts to locals in the Georgetown, Texas, as well as 48 states via shipping. Texas Treats is everything Texas, bringing together artisans who make food and crafts from every corner of the Lone Star State. From wedding favors to gourmet food, you can bring the taste of Texas home.

2. Urban Timberworks: Portland, Oregon


Urban Timberworks is an artisan furniture company located in the Pacific Northwest city of Portland, Oregon. Naturally, this artisan furniture company crafts handmade chair sets, tables, coffee tables, and more from salvaged urban trees.

3. Sage Inspiration Artisan Jewelry: Tucson, Arizona

Sage Inspiration Artisan Jewelry is a brick and mortar store in Tucson, Arizona with an online presence. They have lots of handmade jewelry necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and other artisan jewelry available to locals and those just passing through.

4. Beth Miller Jewelry: Marquette, Michigan


Beth Miller Jewelry is an artisan jewelry company that incorporates rich colors, metalworking, and nature in each handcrafted design. Located in Marquette, Michigan, Beth Miller crafts unique wedding rings, earrings, pendants, and everything else you need to compliment your style.

5. Vermont Soap: Middlebury, VT

Vermont Soap is headquartered in Middlebury, VT and boasts being, “Soap for the People.” This artisan soap company is USDA certified and meets organic standards by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF). They ship in the U.S. and they even say their soap is available in Japan. From lemongrass to lavender, you can shop for your artisan soap by scent with Vermont Soap.

6. Farm To People: New York, New York

You wouldn’t normally associate farm fresh food with New York, but Farm To People aims to change that thinking. They are bringing farms and small food producers in the U.S. together with the people. They serve up products that are GMO-free, small-batch, non-artificial, and humanely raised animals. Ready to spice up your culinary skills?

7. Bird Trouble: Chicago, Illinois


Bird Trouble is an artisanal leather handbags company located in Chicago, Illinois. They typically craft 5 to 10 handbags at one time with the production of one bag taking up to a month. The designer and artist behind Bird Trouble are Alexz Sandoval, an artisan that has been handcrafting products behind her sewing machine since High School.

8. Market Hall Foods: Oakland, California

Looking for artisanal food from Europe? Market Hall Foods in Oakland, California delivers. Their mission is to source the best food from around the world to the Bay Area community and the rest of the U.S., and they have been doing it for 30 years. From product collections to Market Hall Foods recipes, they connect artisanal food to those enthusiastic about exploring culture in the kitchen.

9. Michael Perez Pop Artist: Miami, Florida

Michael Perez is a modern pop artist that has a gallery in Miami, Florida. Perez, however, began his pop art in New York and continues to create art that is modernly aesthetic, as well as rich in meaning. He has appeared on NBC’s “Weekend Today Show” and been featured in The New York Times. Perez also uses his art to help various charities and support causes he feels passionate about.

10. Becky Grismer Art: Spearfish, South Dakota

Becky Grismer Art encompasses nature in many of her pieces using tree bark to craft her sculptures and other art pieces. Grismer currently works as a sculptor in Spearfish, South Dakota, and she also creates ceramic sculptures that are unique and conversational. Truly an artisan with a new perspective that is a welcomed change to the art manufactured to sell at retail stores.

Wrapping Up . . .

There are a lot of artisanal crafts and food available across America. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, you can find just about any artwork or a delicious treat for your home and kitchen. Add a little Americana, and even a bit of other cultures to your home today.