10 great road trips around the world: readers’ tips

Our tipsters drive through Transylvania bear country and the bayous of Louisiana, stargaze in Chile and enjoy the solitude of Siberia

This is a wonderfully underrated road-trip destination. From Bucharest, take Road 1 towards the Carpathian mountains, to the well-preserved medieval towns of Braşov and Sighişoara. On the way, you’ll often be surrounded by dense, dark woodland and craggy peaks, where there are bears and wolves, and pass the time spotting castles and horse and carts. In Zărneşti, we stayed at Pensiunea Hora cu Brazi (doubles from £28 room only) near Piatra Craiului national park and enjoyed a slower pace of life, sitting in the farm’s garden and enjoying the homemade and traditional food, wine and spirits.
Sam Wallis

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Travel | The Guardian

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A local’s guide to Edinburgh: 10 top tips

The Scottish capital’s big draw is its festivals but the quieter corners are alive year round – with stylish cafes and bistros, moody bars and thriving art spaces

Dovecot Gallery and Tapestry Studio

The Infirmary Street Baths, built in 1885, were the first public swimming baths to open in the Scottish capital, with the aim of improving public health. Today, the Dovecot Gallery occupies the old Ladies Baths space, while the Dovecot Tapestry Studio is in what was the main pool. Dovecot Gallery will appeal to anyone with a passing interest in contemporary art, but craft and textiles enthusiasts are especially well catered for. Exhibitions showcase art forms such as weaving and jewellery, and summer’s major show is Liberty Art, Fabrics & Fashion (28 July-12 January 2019), exploring 140 years of Liberty London. The tapestry studio, which makes tufted rugs, is not open to the public but can be observed from a viewing balcony.
10 Infirmary Street, dovecotstudios.com

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Travel | The Guardian

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Employment Tips: Resource Roundup for New Grads

If you’re a recent graduate, you are probably looking to put your new skills into practice by finding a job in your field. Regardless of what stage you are at in your job search, the blog posts we’ve gathered provide useful information so that you can be ready for your next big opportunity.

Finding a Job

How to Organize Your Job Search

When you’re applying for many different jobs over a short period of time, it can be difficult to keep track of where you applied and even which version of your resume and cover letter you used to apply for each job. This post provides tips for organizing your job search, like:

  • Creating a filing system for your different resumes and cover letters by making separate folders for each job application and using standard naming conventions (that you come up with) for all your job search documents.
  • Using a spreadsheet to track your job applications that has various columns like the name of the company you applied to, the date you applied, and the resume and cover letter versions you used.

Applying for Jobs Online: Common Problems and Solutions

Walking into a business and asking for a job is basically a thing of the past. Instead, companies generally prefer prospective job searchers submit an online application. While the internet is certainly a more convenient way to apply for jobs over hitting the pavement, it’s not without its flaws. This post offers solutions to common problems experienced during the online job hunt.

6 Common Cover Letter Mistakes

Since an employer can receive hundreds of applications, they often narrow down candidates by looking at each applicant’s Cover Letter.

Having a Cover Letter that stands out and accurately conveys your skills and abilities is essential for you to get an edge over other applicants. Some Cover Letter tips that this post includes are:

  1. Ensuring there are no typos, spelling errors, or grammatical errors in your letter
  2. Trying not to focus too much on yourself, and focusing on how your qualifications and skills can solve the company’s problems instead
  3. Trying not to discuss too much — or too little — of your previous work history
  4. Avoiding clichés
  5. Trying not to make your Cover Letter sound like fan mail — highlight your skills and how they apply to the company rather than sounding like the company’s “super fan”

4 Ways to Ask for a Job Reference

If you make it to the interview process, chances are high that the employer will ask you for professional references from people who can attest to your work ethic and character.

This post offers information and tips on different ways that you can approach colleagues and superiors to ask for job references.

The Job Offer and the Employment Contract

4 Things to Consider Before Signing an Employment Contract: Part 1

Once you’re offered a job, it can be tempting to fill out the paperwork you receive as quickly as possible, since you’ve probably already discussed things like job title and salary with your new employer.

Before you sign the dotted line on your Employment Contract, it’s important to make sure that all the agreed upon terms (like job title, salary, responsibilities, overtime, and benefits) are clearly outlined and match what you and your future employer talked about in the original offer.

4 Things to Consider Before Signing an Employment Contract: Part 2

In Part 2 of our post, we did more research and compiled a list of four more things you should consider before signing an Employment Contract.

For instance, some jobs require you to travel, whether it be locally, nationally, or internationally, so your Employment Contract should specify what your travel compensation will be for things like meals, gas, travel time, accommodations, etc.

Resigning from a Job

Resignation Letter Etiquette

As a former student, it’s likely that you have a job that helped you raise extra money to cover expenses and living costs during your time at school. Now that you’ve graduated, your current job might not be in your field of study and you probably want something that will use your education, or maybe you just want a different opportunity in general.

Even if you are planning on never returning to a company or you don’t particularly like your current job, it’s important to resign as amicably as possible so you don’t squander any future opportunities. This post has tips for resigning on good terms, including what to include and what not to include in your Resignation Letter.

5 Ways to Quit Your Job on Good Terms

Even if you are leaving a job that you are planning to never return to, or you have negative feelings towards the people or the place, it’s always best to quit on good terms. Writing a good Resignation Letter is important, but this post also goes through some other things that you can do to leave a good impression with your former employer:

  1. Give notice to your employer. Giving some notice that you are leaving (usually two weeks, although the amount of time can vary depending on how long you’ve been employed at your job) will help your employer plan for when you’re gone.
  2. Offer to tie up any loose ends. It’s recommended that you make yourself available to finish up any projects that you’ve already started and hand off any remaining tasks to your coworkers.
  3. Help with the hiring process. You can help your employer by offering to write the job posting for your position or go through applications to help create a list of candidates that you feel would make good replacements.
  4. Help with the training process. If you’re employer finds a replacement for you, you can offer to help train the new person so they are ready to go in their new position when you leave.
  5. Be present during your notice period. Since you’ve given your notice already, it’s easy to “check out” and not do your job to the best of your ability, since you’re leaving anyway. However, you should continue to give your best effort to avoid early termination or a bad reference.

Finding Meaningful Employment

Finding a job right after graduation might be daunting, but by following the information in these posts, you can help prepare yourself in the best way possible to maximize your current and future opportunities.

The post Employment Tips: Resource Roundup for New Grads appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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A local’s guide to Poznań, Poland: 10 top tips

Polish musician Daga Gregorowicz reveals the rebellious side of her home city, with its buzzing bars, street art and excellent, cheap restaurants and local cafes

Under the tourist radar and just the right size to explore, Poznań is full of surprises, from cafes in hidden courtyards to riverbank summer pop-ups. Its bourgeois facade masks its anarchic, rebellious side, and it has friendly people, an entrepreneurial spirit and artistic vibe. I also appreciate its intimacy whenever I return from tours, and its flat, bike-friendly geography giving the sense that everything is nearby, including the countryside. With all that, I think Poznań – halfway between Warsaw and Berlin – might be the best starting point for tourists new to Poland. After all, this is where our country was founded, back in the 10th century.

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Travel | The Guardian

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Tips for a fun — and safe — 4th of July with young children

by

Michelle Stein

posted in Parenting

What’s not to love about Independence Day: cookouts, fireworks, parades, family and friends. Fun and games aside, without the proper precautions, these new experiences and unfamiliar environments can pose safety risks to young children.

Here are a few tips to ensure your Fourth of July celebrations are fun — and safe — for the little ones.

Fireworks

The safest bet, according to the AAP, is for families to attend community fireworks displays run by professionals. For those planning on setting off fireworks at home, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following safety guidelines:

• Don’t allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. (Even sparklers come with risks. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sparklers can burn at more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and account for 10 percent of fireworks-related injuries.)

• Always have an adult supervise fireworks.

• Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper. This typically means they were made for professional displays and could be dangerous for consumers.

• Make sure everyone watches fireworks displays from a safe distance.

• Call 911 immediately if someone is injured from fireworks.

It’s important to keep in mind, too, that while many kids love fireworks displays, some babies and younger children may become scared or upset by the loud booms. (It’s not particularly great for their hearing, either, depending on how close you are to the fireworks.) So be prepared for the possibility of changing plans if the whole “first fireworks experience” ends up being a dud.

young child fireworks

Large crowds

Community fireworks displays and festivals tend to draw crowds, making it easy for a small child to slip away from caregivers. We all hope it never happens to us. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Here are some measures to consider:

• Have your child memorize your phone number in case she gets lost. For younger children, consider writing your name and phone number on their hand and then coating it with a liquid bandage so the ink doesn’t smear.

• Take a photo of your child in the morning so you have an up-to-date image of him in case he gets separated. You’ll easily be able to give a description of his clothing and hair this way, too.

• Talk to your children about what they should do if they get lost. How do they identify workers/helpers? Where should you plan on meeting up?

• They may be controversial, but backpack harnesses for spirited toddlers can provide an added layer of safety in large crowds.

family grilling out

Grill safety

Unfortunately, instances of food poisoning peak during the summer months because of the warmer temperatures that allow food-borne illnesses to thrive. So it’s always a good idea to brush up on food and grilling safety if you’re planning on having guests over for a cookout. Here are some pointers from the CDC:

• Separate: While out shopping, grab meat, poultry and seafood last and be sure to separate them from other food in your cart to avoid cross-contamination.

• Keep it chilled: Make sure to keep meat refrigerated until it’s time for cooking. When transporting, keep the temperature below 40 degrees in an insulated cooler.

• Clean: Wash your hands before and after handing raw meat. Don’t forget to do the same with surfaces, utensils, and the grill.

• Cooking: Use a food thermometer to ensure you’re cooking meat hot enough to kill harmful germs. (See this chart for details.)

Last but not least, make sure children know that playing near the grill itself is strictly off-limits. Keep those little fingers safe!

grill safety

What safety tips do you have to offer? What are your plans for this Fourth of July?

Images by iStock

This post was originally published in July, 2017.

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Expert Tips for Selecting the Right House Plan

The Winchester plan offers a great open
concept kitchen and family room for informal
entertaining and a separate dining room for
more formal events!

It can be a little overwhelming to decide between so many fantastic options so we asked Diego Rizzardo of SanDiego Homes to share some of the tips he uses to help homeowners pick the best home plan for their lot at their Lakeside Living community in Innisfil!

LIFESTYLE Consider the daily needs, activities and hobbies of those who will live there. If you love to cook, a kitchen with plenty of pantry and workspace is a must. If you are a fitness buff, choose a plan that allows space for a gym. If you work from home, you will need space for a home office. Another important aspect is your entertaining style. “If you often have a large number of guests, a flexible, open concept space is a must,” says Diego. “If you prefer a more intimate setting, you may want a plan like The Winchester that has a separate, formal dining space.” You will also want to consider bedroom space if guests often stay overnight.

The Strathmore plan offers bungalow style living
with plenty of space for guests, perfect for
those who love to entertain and want a home
that will allow them to age in place.

CURRENT AND FUTURE NEEDS It is important to consider how your needs may change over the next 5-10 years. A newlywed couple may feel that a two bedroom plan is perfect for them but if they plan to have children in a few years, they will outgrow that plan quite quickly. For older homeowners, it is important to consider future health and mobility needs. “We offer a variety of bungalow style plans that will allow homeowners to age in place without costly renovations down the road,” says Diego. “Wide hallways are also standard in all models to ensure ease of mobility.” A main floor laundry, master bedroom and bathroom may not seem like a necessity right now but may greatly affect your ability to live independently in the home later in life!

PROPERTY AND LOCATION The lot you are building on and the surrounding area may also affect your decision. How will the position of the sun and wind direction affect the home? What is located on each side of the property? Large windows that take in a beautiful view of the sunset are great but those same windows facing the side of the neighbor’s home are much less enjoyable. “Choose a plan that will take advantage of the best aspects of your property.” says Diego, “But also consider available outdoor space and choose a plan that leaves space for outdoor entertaining, gardening or other outdoor activities you enjoy.”

The post Expert Tips for Selecting the Right House Plan appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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Project Cost Tips: 3 Dos and Don’ts of Creating Estimates

Construction Worker Planning Constractor Developer Concept

As a contractor, finding the balance between profit and positive customer relationships can be tricky if you own your own business. Of course, you know that there are many factors that go into creating an estimate for a home improvement project, and that no two jobs are exactly the same. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to strike a balance by giving your clients an accurate and fair price without compromising on costs. Here are top dos and don’ts for creating estimates.

Be accurate

Estimates are essential tools for contractors, and not only because they outline the specific costs of a project for potential clients. These figures are also useful for your records because they help shape your future estimates. That’s why it’s so important to include everything that you view as a cost for each project. Some of the most common costs include:

  • Materials
  • Labor
  • Miscellaneous costs, including:
    • Building permits
    • Administrative and other fees
    • Rental vehicles and equipment

Methodically listing and pricing each individual cost—or stick estimating, as it’s called in the industry—is a common way of accurately estimating a building project. However, it can be very time consuming. Some contractors now prefer to estimate by using unit costs instead, while others make use of construction estimating software to make the job even quicker and easier.

If you opt for the high tech route, we recommend checking out a variety of programs and choosing one that suits you and your business best. If you need help choosing, other construction pros love the estimation software from companies such as BuilderTREND, Quick Bid, Sage Estimating, and Procore.

Whichever estimation method you choose, remember that accuracy is key. Ballpark figures aren’t good enough here; although it is just an estimate at the end of the day, your past projects will provide enough information to help you produce an estimate that is right on the money (so to speak!).

Be honest

If there is one thing more important to your customers than a good price, it’s honesty. This applies to the entire process of a building project, of course, but is particularly useful to remember when producing estimates for potential clients. If, for whatever reason, you decide to quote a price that is much lower than you actually anticipate, know that your decision will become evident sooner or later.

While under-estimating may secure a new lead and boost your clientele initially, rising costs throughout the course of the building project will soon become apparent. Once your client knows that the price you quoted isn’t exactly accurate, you will lose their trust and, most likely, their business. A positive client-professional relationship is more important than a high profit margin at the end of the day, because happy clients will be more likely to become repeat customers who give you great reviews and more business.

Be professional

In any business, professionalism goes a long way towards creating a brand that is both reputable and successful. For contractors, staying professional during the estimation process means:

  • Being honest – By following the recommendations outlined above, you will be able to provide your clients with an accurate and honest estimate for their home improvement work.
  • Keeping a paper trail – Always provide written estimates for your clients to look over (it’s also a good idea to keep a copy on file for future reference).
  • Communicating your costs – Arrange a meeting to discuss a breakdown of your estimate with your clients, taking time to answer any questions or concerns they may have about the itemized prices.

If, after costing a project for a potential client, you feel like you can’t commit to the expenditure, service, or time scale required, let them know as soon as possible.  Part of your job as a contracting professional is making sure you are the right person for the job, so if it turns out you aren’t, your clients will understand and appreciate your honesty.

Producing an estimate for every construction job you undertake may sound time-consuming and monotonous, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. If your estimates are accurate, truthful, and clear, you will establish a positive relationship with new customers from the very beginning. This transparency will be appreciated by your leads and stand you and your business in good stead for a financially viable and successful future.

The post Project Cost Tips: 3 Dos and Don’ts of Creating Estimates appeared first on Modernize.

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10 of the UK’s best waterside pubs: readers’ travel tips

On canals, coast and riverbanks, readers pick their favourite pubs for a drink in the sunshine while taking in the action – or lack of it – on the water

Waterside pubs are an amazing link with the past on the UK’s 3,000 miles of canals. One of the very best is the Admiral Nelson at the locks near the entry to the Braunston tunnel. The very cosy interior is supplied with a pile of foodie books by an enormous fireplace. You can watch the stream of canal boats and colourful work boats with their gorgeous decorations as the locks are operated, two boats up and then two down. There is a ghost in the part of the pub that was once the canal worker’s morgue. She walks through the wall into the bar, apparently. The Nelson has always been a meeting point for boaters with stories of canal trips around England, and has been for 300 years.
theadmiralnelson.co.uk
Kate Holbrook

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Travel | The Guardian

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Tips to Help Lower Your Cholesterol

It is never too late for you to decide to change your eating habits and work to improve your health, and when it comes to preventing high cholesterol levels, diet plays an important role. So, here are two ways to use food to help.

1. Choose fats that are good for you. Far too many Americans are consuming too much fat. According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, “saturated fats, found primarily in red meat and dairy products, raise your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol.” As a rule, they suggest that you should get less than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fats. You can choose from a list of foods like avocados, olive oil, dark chocolate, eggs, and fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel, to help get good saturated fat into your diet.

2. Limit the amount of trans fats you consume. In simple terms, trans fats are created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. It allows for foods to have a longer shelf life but can lead to insulin resistance, inflammation, high cholesterol and belly fat accumulation. The easiest way to cut back on trans fats is to limit the amount of processed oils –vegetable oil, corn oil and lard – and junk food such as snack cakes, chips, cookies, and other processed foods. Check the labels and read the ingredients to determine what you are consuming and be aware of labels stamped as fat-free. Food manufacturers are allowed to place a fat-free label on products that contain small amounts of trans fats.

Following these two tips could help you to maintain good cholesterol levels and good health.

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Digital Marketing Tips for Today’s Residential Contractor: How Consumer Trends are Shaping the Roofing Industry

Roofers tend to think in terms of regionality, not demographics. After all, being able to identify materials that will withstand an area’s high winds or stand up to a sudden hailstorm is pretty useful information for customers. The contractor’s mind is packed with practical insights and solutions to counter the logistical challenges of weathering the elements.

However, given how the construction industry lags behind other fields in terms of marketing, some knowledge of what attracts customers and drives their purchasing decisions could be enough to propel a business toward previously overlooked markets. Roofers who include more digital marketing channels will position themselves well for the future, especially since digitalization is beginning to seriously impact consumer behavior. Download our eBook to learn how today’s roofers can take advantage of several burgeoning consumers trends to grow their markets and attract and wider range of homeowners. 

The post Digital Marketing Tips for Today’s Residential Contractor: How Consumer Trends are Shaping the Roofing Industry appeared first on Modernize.

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This summer, keep your kids happy with these essential safety tips

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life

Summer is almost here! I can’t wait. Our family is so done with schedules and schoolwork, and we’re ready for some hiking and swimming and other outdoor adventures.

But it’s good to be aware of the risks as well. Not so we can sit at home afraid to go out, but so we can be prepared to handle emergencies if we should have to. I fervently hope we do not.

summer safety tips for babies and children

Sun Safety Tips:

-Sunscreen

The FDA, the Mayo Clinic, and most professionals recommend that babies under 6 months do not wear sunscreen, but instead remain out of the sun. This is especially important between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun is at its peak. Be sure to keep your baby in a hat with a wide brim, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing. All children over 6 months old should wear sunscreen of at least SPF 15 when you go outside. Be sure to reapply often — at least every two hours, and every time after they get out of the water. Also, most people don’t apply enough — be sure to use at least as much sunscreen as would fill a shot glass.

You can find more information on sun safety here. 

-Heat

Be sure your babies and young children are also well-protected from heat stroke. Dress them in light, loose-fitting clothing and keep them in the shade as much as possible. Cool the car before taking them anywhere. Breast milk and formula will provide enough hydration for babies, older children should have plenty of water handy while they’re out and about.

We never, ever want to consider the possibility that we might forget a baby in the car, but it does happen. It’s even happened to me (fortunately, only for about 30 seconds, but enough for me to realize that we’re all susceptible). I once heard the suggestion that you take off your shoes and put one (or both) next to your baby’s carseat when you get in the car to drive. This post has some more great suggestions. Also remember to keep cars locked at home to prevent kids from playing inside.

Finally, be sure you don’t make this common mistake — putting a blanket, even a very thin one, over a baby’s stroller to shield him from the sun can cause the inside temperature to rise and your baby to overheat.

You can find information on heat stroke in babies here. 

Water safety

-When to take babies in the water

In this BabyCenter article, Dr. Howard Reinstein, a pediatrician and American Academy of Pediatrics spokesman, recommends parents not take babies younger than 2 months in pools, lakes, or other swimming places. Newborns are vulnerable to illness and it’s safer to wait until they’re older. When you do take babies swimming, remember that they’re not as able to regulate their body temperature — watch your baby for signs they’re cold and dry them off when necessary. Also, be sure babies and young children do not drink the water in pools, streams, or wherever you’re swimming.

-Help prevent drownings

An estimated 370 drownings and 5,600 near drownings involving children under 15 occur in pools and spas each year, and 77 percent of those are children under the age of 5. The Life Saver Pool Fence’s Guide to Pool Safety recommends multiple layers of protection for pools — access doors that lock, pool alarms, a pool fence, water survival training for children who are old enough to crawl or walk, and CPR and rescue training for parents who own pools. Parents can buy wearable immersion alarms for their kids to wear, which go off if the child falls into the water.

Also, be sure children can’t climb over any fences using chairs or tables, and be sure doggy doors that would allow access are also blocked. Practice “touch supervision” as well — parents should be within arm’s length of a toddler at all times they’re near water.

We always had our babies and toddlers wear a PFD (personal flotation device) fitted for their size — babies are wiggly and I wanted that extra layer of protection. And even now that our kids are older and my husband and I are good swimmers, everyone wears PFDs when we’re kayaking, paddleboarding, or doing other boating activities. Our other personal rule is that no one swims alone with a baby. If something were to happen to a parent (we hit our head, got a cramp, whatever) I wanted an extra person there to help out.

Check here for more information on water safety. 

Tick and Mosquito Bites:

The best way to prevent tick and mosquito bites (and the diseases they carry, such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus) is to make sure the environment around your house isn’t one they like. Keep ticks out by keeping your lawn well-cared for and manicured. Create a tick barrier — a wide strip of wood chips or bark — that separates your lawn from taller grass or brush. Keep deer out of your tick-free zone by putting up a deer fence. Also, ticks get Lyme disease from mice, so eliminate any wood piles or other nooks and crannies where mice like to live. Keep mosquitoes out by eliminating any standing water around your property, including places like flower pots or birdbaths. Make sure you have screens on your windows to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

You can also avoid bites by wearing long sleeves and long pants (I know…exactly what everyone wants to hear in the summer!). Children and adults should use bug spray, but talk to your pediatrician about what kinds of bug spray are for babies and kids, and how old they should be before wearing bug spray.

Inspect kids for ticks when they come inside and remove them immediately with tweezers. And call your pediatrician immediately if your child develops any out-of-the-ordinary reactions, such as a rash, fever, or flu-like symptoms.

Johns Hopkins has more information on ticks here, and the CDC has information on ticks and mosquitoes here.

This post was originally published in May, 2017.

Do you have any summer safety tips?

Photos by Laura Falin and iStock

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

BabyCenter Blog

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Perfect Gifts for the Perfect baby

3 Productivity Tips for New Freelancers

Starting a new freelancing career comes with some unique challenges to productivity that you might not find in a typical office job. It’s difficult for many people to set clear boundaries between work life and home life when they take place in the same physical space, and that can negatively impact a freelancer’s ability to stay motivated throughout their day.

In this post, we’ll share three tips that new freelancers can use to ensure their new self-employed career gets off to a successful and productive start.

1. Create a Separate Work Space for Yourself

It can be difficult to separate your “home” self from your “work” self when you work in the same place where you’re accustomed to relaxing. Many studies on work-from-home productivity show if you don’t set clear boundaries between work and home, it can seriously affect your ability to decompress and sleep—your brain might even start registering your home as “the office”, where you’re not conditioned to rest easily.

If you want to be as productive as possible from home, it’s essential that you create a separate space to work. You don’t necessarily need to renovate an entire room to set up a home office—some people even manage to turn closets into functional office spaces on the cheap—but you need something where you can see a clear division between living space and working space.

A devoted office space will also allow you to keep your work things organized and separated from your personal belongings. There’s nothing worse than misplacing your invoices, client contracts, or other important files because they’re scattered around your house.

2. Set a Schedule (and Stick to It)

One of the common hindrances to productivity when you work from home is the potential for you to lose any sense of structure in your workday. The best way to combat this issue is by creating a schedule for yourself and sticking to it.

Some people will work a typical 9-to-5 day from home, but you do have the option to be more flexible with your schedule. In that case, you should work when you’re most productive (whether that means starting at 6 a.m. or noon), or even splitting your day so you work half in the morning and half later in the evening.

The nice thing about setting your own work hours is that you also have the freedom to pick which days of the week you want to make your weekends. Some people prefer to take days off in the middle of the week, while others prefer to split their weekend up. It’s up to you so long as it doesn’t interfere with your communication with your clients.

Keep in mind, in some cases you might be at the mercy of your clients in regards to meetings, conference calls, or emails, which may involve rearranging your schedule.

3. Don’t Treat Your Work Day Like It’s Just Another Day at Home

If you’re going to keep up the division between work and home, you need to treat your work hours like you would if you were spending them in any other office. This means you should go through the motions of getting ready for the day to get yourself prepared for work.

It’s hard to feel productive when you’re unwashed, unkempt, and hanging out in your pajamas. So when you get up in the morning, take a shower, comb your hair, put on real clothes, and have a good breakfast. It will help kickstart your brain into working mode. And if you’re feeling cooped up in the house, you can always work in a public space like a library or coffee shop.

Don’t forget that in any decent job you get breaks, so remember to take a few! Some people are tempted to graze on junk food and work from sunup to sundown, but you need a genuine break to recharge (and make some real food to help keep your energy up).

Find a Work-Life Balance at Home

The most important thing for a freelancer working from home is to treat their work the same way they would any other job with a regular workspace away from their house. Doing this will also ensure that your days off don’t feel like another day at the home office and hamper your ability to get some genuine rest.

Our brains work against us when it comes to productivity at home because we’re used to relaxing there, so it takes a more conscious effort to maintain motivation. But by employing some of these tips, you’ll find it easier to get through an eight-hour day at home without faltering.

Do you have any tips that help keep you on a productive track when working from home?

The post 3 Productivity Tips for New Freelancers appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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4 Essential Tips On How to Improve Credit Scores In 2018

If you have a credit score that you are not proud of then you are not alone. According to Experian, approximately 1/3 of Americans have a “not so good” credit score. In fact we take our credit and credit cards so seriously, one report says more than 7 million Americans have hidden a bank or credit card account from their spouse or partner. This breaks down to approximately 4.4 million men and 2.8 million women. And if you fall in that number of Americans with poor or fair credit, don’t be alarmed. Here are four tips that are not outdated, on how to improve your credit score.

1. Check your credit annually

First, it is important to see what is actually on your credit report. Keep in mind, you don’t have to pay for a copy of your credit report but you can obtain a free copy of all three reports at annualcreditreport.com. However, in order to receive your credit score, you may have to pay a nominal fee. Taking time to review your reports is essential. Determine if there are any inaccuracies and if so dispute! This way, negative reporting items could possibly be removed, thus maximizing your overall credit score.

2. Add the positives to your credit score

If you review your credit report and find that an account in good standing has not been reported, take action! In some cases, there may be instances where an account that can actually help boost your credit score was omitted from your report. Consider contacting the creditor and request the information is added. Doing so can also help improve your overall credit score.

3. Use a credit calculator

If you are thinking of making changes to your credit situation, consider using an online calculator first. Credit Karma has a cool calculator to answer “what if” scenarios, such as:

What if I pay off a credit card?
What happens if I increase my line of credit?
What changes will be made to my score if I charge on my credit card?
How many points will my score decrease if I miss a payment?

4. Pay down balances

It also essential to have an understanding of what comprises your credit score. Amounts owed and payment history comprise 65% of your credit score! So with that being said, it is not only important to make certain you make timely payments but it is also essential to be mindful of your credit utilization.

So what does that mean? If you have a credit line of $ 1,000 and used $ 600 of your available credit, your credit utilization is 60%! Not a good idea. Using 30% or less of your credit lines can help improve your credit score.

Lastly, remember, you can boost your credit score yourself. You don’t have to pay tons of money to get your credit together! Don’t be discouraged, keep pressing and keep pushing and one day you will have a score that works best for you!

 

The post 4 Essential Tips On How to Improve Credit Scores In 2018 appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

A local’s guide to Vilnius, Lithuania: 10 top tips

‘Vilnius, the G-spot of Europe: Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing’ … a bold claim from a recent tourist ad that went viral

The poster produced by two students referring to Lithuania’s capital as Europe’s G-spot really sums the city up: it is not where you thought it was. It is not in eastern Europe, not even in central Europe, but the capital of a Baltic state in northern Europe.

Founded in 1323 by grand duke Gediminas, who attracted Jewish and German tradesmen and merchants with generous tax exemptions, for centuries it became a destination for those fleeing religious persecution (there was even a Scottish Calvinist community in Vilnius) or tough trade guild regulations. The city’s coat of arms features Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travellers.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

TRAVEL DEAL UPDATE:

Etiquette Tips for the Office Gym and the Gym Near the Office

gym near the office etiquette (and office gym etiquette tips)Here’s a topic we haven’t talked about in forever: what are your best tips office gym etiquette? Whether your workplace has a gym for employees, there’s a gym near the office so you always see coworkers there before, after, or during work — or you’re traveling with coworkers and see them at the hotel gym — what are the dos and don’ts? (ARE there any in 2018?) We’ve talked about a lot of office to gym issues in the past, including how to fit in mid-day workoutswhat to wear to workout in front of your coworkers, and how to handle workouts near the office — and we kind of discussed whether leggings with “daring” mesh cutouts were appropriate in our recent conversation on comfortable workwear for late nights.

So let’s discuss! Various questions:

  • do you really care about how much “cooldown” time you’ve got as a buffer between your gym time, or are you cool to go to a meeting with your cheeks flushed and some sweat still in your hair?
  • If you exercise at a gym before work, is wet hair at work ever acceptable?
  • Are there certain things you won’t wear to the office gym (e.g., bra tops, short shorts, leggings with mesh cutouts, graphic t-shirts, 80s-inspired workout headbands)?
  • Are there any workouts you won’t do in the office gym, like preferring not to do a bouncy aerobics class in a windowed room?
  • Similar to our discussion of the dos and don’ts for salons near the office — do you try to avoid dumping a lot of work on your subordinates and then working out in a more public spot like something viewed from the windows (or being seen in the office hallways with workout gear on)?

For my $ .02, I’ve seen more men make gaffes with “gym near the office etiquette” — I remember one older partner regularly coming into work at like 9 AM straight from his shower at the gym up the street with his shirt completely unbuttoned so his bare chest was on full view… and while I’m not sure it’s a gaffe or not, I do remember one more junior partner who would dump a bunch of work on me and my team members and then loudly announce he had a 4 PM spin class to get to. (Good for him for fitting exercise into his busy day… just maybe keep it more vague?)

All right, ladies, let’s hear from you — what are your thoughts on corporate gym and gym near the office etiquette?

Further Reading:

Working out near your workplace is a great way to fit exercise into a busy day -- but there are some business etiquette issues to know about! These are some of the top things to consider for office gym etiquette and gym near the office etiquette...

The post Etiquette Tips for the Office Gym and the Gym Near the Office appeared first on Corporette.com.

Corporette.com

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Work Fashion Tips for Petite Women

work fashion tips for petite womenIt’s on my to-do list today to update a lot of our older posts with advice for where to buy petite-friendly clothes for work, and I thought I’d ask the readers: what are your best work fashion tips for petite women? Do you think certain styles work better than other — or is it all about knowing your body shape and tailoring it? I’m 5’4″, so I’m right on the cusp of petite sizes… these are some of my best tips for petite women, but I’d love to hear yours…

  1. Don’t feel like you have to wear 5″ heels to look professional — it’s ok to be short! (We’ve actually even discussed whether 4″ heels are appropriate for interview heels or other work situations — know your office before you buy a ton!)
  2. Know where to shop. We’ve rounded up the best workwear for petites in the past — but it’s also worth noting that depending on your exact dimensions, sometimes regular sizes may work best for you (for example, as a 5’4″ woman, I often buy petite pants but regular-length skirts) — and many brands offer “short” lengths that are cut slightly differently than petite lengths. Keep an eye to quality and style, but it’s worth noting that if you’re very petite you may be able to shop in juniors’ or children’s size ranges as well. (If you’re on the hunt for the unicorn that is plus-sized petites, check out our roundup of the best workwear for size 16 and beyond.)
  3. Tailor it up. We’ve rounded up the best suiting alterations for women and common tailoring alterations for women — but you can also learn to do some things yourself, such as hemming pants. YouTube is a great source for free tutorials, and you can find affordable online courses at places like Craftsy or Skillshare, as well as in-person lessons at local fabric stores like Joann. It’s also worth noting that some stores provide free alterations on your purchases, at least up to a certain point — for example, Nordstrom offers many free alterations on full-price clothing — “basic alterations are free for many full-price items purchased at Nordstrom and Trunk Club (online or in stores)” — and depending which level Nordstrom rewards cardmember you are, you may be entitled to $ 100 or more of reimbursement for alteration expenses.
  4. Know YOUR body. It’s hard to say “petite women always look great in this” because petite bodies come in all sizes, with all sorts of leg/waist/hip/bust ratios. A structured, shrunken one-button blazer may look great on one petite woman — while a dolman-sleeved sweater may look great on another.
  5. Don’t expect every look to work on you. Learn which styles work well on you and which don’t. For example, a large print may overwhelm your frame — the current trend of “stick a ruffle on it” may really, really not work for you. Start with clean, minimalist clothing in neutral colors, and build from there. Our four-week work outfit challenge may be just what you need to try different work outfit ideas.
  6. A note on looking young (and trying to use fashion to look older): A lot of young professionals who are petite worry about looking like high-schoolers, but we’ve noted in the past, “looking young” has every bit to do with how you hold yourself, speak, and otherwise present yourself — in other words, it often comes down to “acting young” more than looking young. Before you buy designer clothes, get expensive highlights, or buy a slew of uncomfortable heels, you may want to check out this post on executive presence, or this post on how to be taken seriously when you look young, where we advised a 30-something college professor on some beyond-the-basic tips.

How about you, readers? What are your best work fashion tips for petites? Which are your favorite petite stores for workwear — and suits?

Pictured: Deposit Photos / envivo.

We rounded up 6 easy work fashion tips for petite women -- and asked our readers for more. Whether you're concerned about looking young, gaining height, dressing professionally, or just knowing WHERE to find petite-friendly clothes for work, we've got you covered.

The post Work Fashion Tips for Petite Women appeared first on Corporette.com.

Corporette.com

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Nurse Alice: Men’s Health Month Tips for the Ladies

Ladies, do you have #teamus #usagainsttheworld #forever #relationshipgoals? If so, know that June is Men’s Health Awareness Month and whether we like to admit it or not, nine out of 10 times we’re the ones who are nudging (or nagging) our men to go to the doctor. So really, it’s an awareness month for us to remind them. Getting your favorite guy to visit the physician for an annual checkup is a simple and essential step to keeping him healthy. I know he may work your nerves from time to time but whether you’re dating, in a situation-ship, engaged, or married, I know you want him to stick around for a while. So use Men’s Health Month as a reason for him to get checked out. Still need help getting him there? 

Try these tips to get your man/bae/boo to the doctor’s office. 

Make the appointment for him. 

This may make you feel like their mom, but it helps a lot. Half of the time, men just don’t want to find a doctor who is in their insurance network, wait on hold to make an appointment, and look at their calendar. If you do the dirty work for them, then you’ve won half the battle.

Go with him.

You may as well schedule your physical at the same time. Even if you don’t need one, you could always go along and get a flu shot or have your blood pressure measured. There is comfort in company.

Look into his father’s health history.  

Men often identify strongly with their father’s medical history. If you determine that your partner’s father and grandfather all struggled with similar conditions, this may be enough evidence that your partner should go to the doctor.

Bring up the kids. 

Whether you already have children or are planning on having children, remind him that he will probably want to be around for his child’s high school graduation, college graduation, wedding, and more.

Tell him he’s a role model. 

If you do have children, then you can remind your partner that your kids take their cues from him. If he won’t go to the doctor, then why should they?

Give him something he wants.  

Look, men can be like kids when it comes to going to the doctor. Maybe you should just let him buy the wet bar he wants for the kitchen or the video game that just came out. Honestly, that’s a small price to pay if it means he’ll go in for his physical.

The post Nurse Alice: Men’s Health Month Tips for the Ladies appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEALS UPDATE:

Celebrate the Earth: Tips for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet

Taking care of our planet is important and we can contribute in many ways — both big and small— that also benefit our own health and well-being. Try some of these tips for healthy people and a healthy planet.

 

Take time to unplug … and plug in

Unplugging is important for both electronics and for humans.

  • Unplugging chargers and small electronics from the wall socket when they are not in use can save energy. For people, disconnecting from our ever-present devices and getting out in the fresh air can help us to refuel.
  • Consider plugging in. An electric or hybrid car can significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption and air pollution. There are more than 300 electric-vehicle charging stations available at Kaiser Permanente facilities, with more planned.

Eat sustainably

icons of earth day tips

Download full infographic (pdf) or view text from infographic

A great way to eat more sustainably is to visit your nearby farmers market to seek out small, local farmers who use fewer synthetic chemicals to grow food.

Move more

Your commute and short trips can be an opportunity to get outdoors and add physical activity to your day.

  • Leave the car at home. Whether you walk, jog, ride a bike, skip or turn cartwheels, finding alternatives for short trips can help you to be more active and reduce pollution in your community.
  • Use public transportation. People who take public transportation are more likely to walk 10,000 steps a day than car commuters. And walking the recommended 150 minutes per week happens quickly if you include 15 to 20 minutes each way getting to and from work.

Hydrate and landscape responsibly

Water is an important and precious resource.

  • Drink plenty of water, but avoid single-use plastic bottles to save money and reduce plastic waste.
  • Save water — and save on your water bill — by regularly checking for and fixing leaks, as well as being conscientious in your water use. Taking shorter showers and waiting to run washing machines or dishwashers until they are full can save gallons of water each time.
  • Choose native plants for landscaping to save both water and energy.

Curtail chemicals

There are several ways to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals.

  • Make your own household cleaners — white vinegar and baking soda are non-toxic and work on almost everything.
  • Choose healthier products, including soaps, lotions and other personal care products without synthetic chemicals or fragrances.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Manage waste

One of the best ways to reduce waste is to avoid producing it in the first place.

  • Where possible, consider buying durable and reusable products and limiting purchases of goods that are less necessary.
  • When you do consume, recycle more. Increasing numbers of communities have curbside pick-ups for compost and plant waste, so food scraps and garden clippings don’t have to go to a landfill.
  • Be sure not to flush unused or expired medications down the drain. Wastewater treatment plants are generally not designed to treat pharmaceutical waste. Learn about the FDA’s guidelines on proper drug disposal or search out drug take-back programs in your community.
  • When you have household hazardous waste such as batteries, make sure to dispose of it properly to avoid contaminating the soil or water in your community.

Learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s efforts to protect the environment and the health of communities, as well as additional tips for your home.

The post Celebrate the Earth: Tips for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet appeared first on Kaiser Permanente Share.

rss-feed – Kaiser Permanente Share

NEW PARENT ESSENTIAL UPDATE:

7 tips to planning a music festival trip with your girlfriends

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Summer is finally on the way, and all those music festivals are about to hit. After years of dreaming, you and the girls are finally off on your adventure! But there are some things to remember before loading up the car and setting off.

Which bands matter?

You’ll be making a list and checking it twice as you sit with your besties and decide who is a top priority to see. Sadly, there could be two bands on at the same time. As much as it would be great to see them, no one can be in two places at once. It’s all about working out who will be the best to see as well as who goes on tour more than others before making your final decisions. Plus, you may have to sacrifice seeing one of your bands in favor of your friends.

Final check

As much as you have planned, many festivals may change their lineup shortly before the big event. It’s time for another night of gossiping as you go through the schedule one more time. Has anyone been added? Is someone missing? Although everything may not go according to plan, at least you know when the main ones to see will be playing. Who knows, the festival may have even kept one of the leading acts a secret until the final few days. The suspense is too much to handle!

Expect the unexpected

Of course, the headliners may have been the ones to draw you to the festival in the first place. However, there are plenty of other bands and musicians in the lineup, too. One of the best parts of heading to a festival is getting a chance to enjoy all the new music on offer that you may never have heard before. By being open to new plans, you could soon discover a new favorite band. As well as new music, you could walk past a stall or food truck that is offering up a brand new experience. After all, you only live once.

App check

Smartphones are wonderful inventions, and now there are many apps to give us even more excuse to be on our phone. Before heading off to the festival, have a look and see if there is an app available to download. It could include a planner for your time away, or even offer up unique camera option to capture the perfect moments with your squad. Plus, everything will then all be in one unique place without the worry of losing those precious memories or that ever important schedule.

Keep hydrated

It’s all too easy to forget to drink water, but spending all day in the sun and walking around can quickly leave you dehydrated. Team that with any drinking and it could spell a recipe for disaster. The last thing you’d want after forking out on the tickets and planning all the details is to miss your favorite bands down to something so avoidable such as dehydration. Many festivals will let music lovers carry an empty bottle around with you to keep yourself topped up at all times.

Portable chargers = lifesavers

Many festivals now offer up opportunities to charge your phone while your out and about with their various outlets dotted around. However, what happens if you haven’t had a chance to get some juice and you’re wandering around the festival grounds all day? Plus, there is always the chance that you could get split up from your group. What if your cell dies? Having a portable charger means you’ll be able to keep on top of taking all those incredible pictures, as well as having a backup just in case you need someone in an emergency.

Shoe worries

Yes, those new high heels look beautiful. Are they suitable for a festival? Probably not. Going to a festival is the perfect excuse to buy a new pair of shoes, but it’s vital to think about how comfortable they will be after walking around for hours. Will you still be able to enjoy yourself with massive blisters? Chances are, it will be a good mood ruiner. Instead, opt for something that will be comfortable to wear all day rather than something that will look good in an Instagram post.

The most important thing to remember while at the festival is to have fun. After all, why else would you be there? Music festivals offer atmospheres like no other and create everlasting memories with your girlfriends. Now you all know how to make the most of your time away.

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The post 7 tips to planning a music festival trip with your girlfriends appeared first on Worldation.

Worldation

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

A local’s guide to Kraków: 10 top tips

It’s Kraków’s striking medieval old town, one of the finest in Europe, that attracts visitors, but the city’s youthful restaurants, bars and cultural hangouts are well worth checking out, too

Hotel Forum was a monstrous concrete carbuncle of a hotel built during the Soviet era (started in 1978, it took 11 years to complete) next to the Vistula river in the middle of the city. It represented unprecedented luxury in Poland at the time, and featured a swimming pool, mini golf and a casino. But it only stayed open for 13 years – a design fault led to the basement constantly flooding, and it stood decaying and abandoned for many years. The long-term fate of the building is still uncertain, but five years ago, a group of creatives set up Forum Przestrzenie, a contemporary cultural centre with a bar and a good kitchen, which is now one of the hippest venues in the city. Local beers cost about 8zl (£1.65), pizzas from £6.30. Alongside concerts, movie screenings, food and fashion shows, locals come to relax on deckchairs and enjoy the sunset, with Wawel Castle across the river. DJs provide extra ambience. It has a very relaxed atmosphere in a retro setting.
Ul Marii Konopnickiej 28, forumprzestrzenie.com

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

TRAVEL DEAL UPDATE:

7 Money Tips to Slay Your Dream Summer Vacation

Summer is right around the corner, making this a prime time for travel adventures. According to WalletHub, 49% of Americans say they need a vacation more this year than last year, and 56% actually plan on acting on the urge. Whether it’s a simple state-to-state road trip or an international voyage, taking the time to get a bit of relax-relate-release from all the pressures of life is essential for one’s mental health and can strengthen family and friendship bonds.

Anyone who travels knows navigating the trip financially can be a bit challenging without proper research and planning. WalletHub reveals telling facts about this year’s travelers and a few insights into how to circumvent the worries and get to the fun.

7 Money Tips to Slay Your Dream Summer Vacation

  • Americans spend more than $ 245 billion on international travel each year. According to WalletHub, several banks and card issuers offer incentives including travel rewards or cut foreign transaction fees altogether. Some also offer services like insurance for lost luggage, free overnight replacement cards, and courtesy worldwide acceptance. (Check out this list on the most popular credit cards on the market that are travel-friendly for international treks.)

 

  • 47% percent of travelers worry about money, yet 35% of people think travel is worth getting into debt forExperts say planning makes perfect. Instead of going into debt, try creating a savings plan that you work throughout the year and make realistic goals for a vacation budget. Get realistic about what type of trip you can afford and try cost-saving sites like Groupon.

 

  • Search out cards that offer points for the essential purchases you make daily and you might have enough for that 2019 trek through Europe without spending a dime.

 

  • 40% of travelers have used credit card rewards to pay for at least part of a vacation. 

 

  • 50% of travelers worry about a weather issue, 45% about travel delays, 38% about theft and 33% about illness but the good news is that 70% of card issuers offer financial assistance for travel emergencies. Contact your bank or card issuer to find out your options before your trip or check out this list.

 

  • 40% of Americans think about post-vacation credit card bills while on vacay. Why struggle with future worries instead of enjoying the moment? Setting up automatic withdrawals and sticking to a true budget will help with the issue of being overwhelmed when it’s time to return to business as usual. Experts also recommend paying some bills before you leave so that you can put your mind at ease when it’s time to face upcoming ones.

The post 7 Money Tips to Slay Your Dream Summer Vacation appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

17 self-care tips for moms who have no freaking time or money

by

Maggie Downs

posted in Life

Self care is the buzzword du jour, I guess.

After I gave birth, everybody talked about it, including the doctor, my friends, my mom’s group, and a random person in the drugstore aisle. And while they meant well, I always wondered how?

How can you possibly care for yourself when time is in short supply, money is tight, and all your energy is given to the tiny human who depends on it?

Selfie of mom with sleeping baby

I do think it’s true that moms – and new moms especially – require a solid dose of self-care as a necessary part of caring for others.

But putting on the oxygen mask first before you care for others feels counterintuitive as a new mom. Moms routinely eat cold food as they feed their own children first, abstain from sleep to tend to another, and do without the resources they need in order to provide for the babies. It doesn’t surprise me that women report higher rates of extreme stress than men.

Whenever my well-intentioned acquaintances offered suggestions of self-care, like, “You should treat yourself to a pedicure!” I couldn’t help but laugh like a maniac. Yeah, I know my needs should come first, but who will take the baby? How will I pay for it? Is it worth the guilt I’ll feel for spending resources like time, energy, and cash on myself?

 

Woman swinging and sun shining by her crotch

There has to be a better way to self-care.

After 2.5 years of mothering, I think I’ve finally realized I needed to change my own definition of what it means to treat myself. Self-care doesn’t have to be a costly day at the spa. It doesn’t have to involve spending money. And it doesn’t always mean spending a large chunk of time away from the family.

It’s anything that returns your focus to you. It’s making room for at least one happiness in a day of chaos and poopy diapers. It’s recognizing that you and your health needs are essential.

And then it’s integrating this into your daily routine.

As the writer and activist Audre Lorde said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.”

Here are some suggestions for doing just that:

• Cross something off your to-do list.

• Play your favorite song and have a five-minute dance party with your child.

• Unplug from electronics for an amount of time, whether it’s a half-hour or an afternoon. Put the phone on vibrate. Don’t answer email. Turn off the news.

• Plan some healthy snacks ahead of time. Cut up veggies or fruit, make bean dip, freeze homemade juice popsicles, have a smoothie ready to go.

• Light a candle.

• Put flowers on the table.

• If your child is doing something crafty, join in. It’s fun to draw, scribble, paint, or get your hands in clay.

Paint palette with dirty brushes

• Cuddle an animal.

• Look at beautiful things, whether that means window shopping or an art museum.

• Use your old coffee grounds to make a bath scrub that feels decadent but costs almost nothing.

• Get some fresh air. (During my son’s naps, I often brought the baby monitor outside while I sat on the front steps. Just having a few minutes of air and sunshine made my entire day better.)

• Take a walk.

• Do something nice for someone else.

• Play on the playground. (My non-scientific opinion: Swings are the best.)

• Drink an extra glass of water.

• Stretch. Find some good videos on YouTube.

• Go to bed early.

How do you care for yourself?

Images by Maggie Downs, and Unsplash and iStock

This post was originally published in March, 2017.

BabyCenter Blog

BABY CARE UPDATE:

Perfect Gifts for the Perfect baby

Tips from a family of four who quit their jobs to travel the world full-time

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Family time is precious and can lead to plenty of new and exciting memories. These parents took their young family one step further. Prepare for the birth of the @bucketlistfamily! After packing their bags to head on the adventure of a lifetime, parents Jessica and Garett have plenty of tips on how they have made their traveling lives work by creating an online persona for themselves.

Stand out from the crowd

In a world of 7.4 billion people, it can be hard to stand out. However, these parents admit it is vital to find your selling point. Whether it is taking unique photos such as picturesque underwater shots, or traveling to a certain number of countries in a set time; to reach fame you need a selling point that will always keep people coming back for more. For this pair, it is their family life and adventures they share with their three children!

Using your skills

Jessica and Garett admit they have always had a love of journal keeping. So when it came time to decide on their online pages, they opted for a way they could capture all their precious memories forever while also pursuing careers. What skills do you possess? It could be blog writing, photography, or vlogs of your travels. It’s time to put those talents to good use and turn them into a real money maker.

Be yourself

After all, it will be much easier to keep up your online antics if you are just being you. These parents admit that in their vlogs they talk as if they are telling the stories to their friends and family back home. Your followers will love the honesty, and fall in love with your content thanks to its individuality. If you try and act as though you’re someone you’re not, you could find yourself losing out on potential business and upset your fans.

All about meaning

One of the most important parts of creating online pages is to create something that is meaningful to your family, according to Jessica and Garett. The parents admit they use Instagram as a way to hold onto the memories of the family adventures so will only post photos that capture their time together. If you aren’t in love with your content, then it may come across in your posts.

Reach out to the fans

The fans are the ones that will make your lives possible! Without a following, it may be hard to live a life on the road as traveling extraordinaires. Jessica and Garett state that it’s better to build up a relationship with a small following than it is to have thousands of fans that never interact with your content. This could be asking questions in your posts, setting up polls, or creating competitions. Whatever it is you choose to do, don’t forget about the people that make your lifestyle possible.

Find the brands

You may be surprised at how many brands are willing to team up with people that are building themselves on social media. If you know you want to work with a particular company, then look at the other content they are putting out there. Could you recreate it with your own unique spin? Brands may not start sponsoring you straight away, and you may just receive some free content in return for some promotions on your page. However, as your fan base continues to grow, the paychecks may just soon start rolling in.

It may sound daunting, but the @bucketlistfamily have shown the world how you can raise a young family while still getting to take in all the sights the world has to offer. Just imagine raising your family in a new country every month. Could you soon be booking your plane tickets to join them on this incredible adventure?

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The post Tips from a family of four who quit their jobs to travel the world full-time appeared first on Worldation.

Worldation

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

A local’s guide to Brussels: 10 top tips

The Belgian capital isn’t all boring Eurocrats: a cast of creative types are busy doing their arty things – often with humour and a social conscience

Veer sharply left by the Chanel store on Boulevard de Waterloo and you’ll find yourself in a tiny oasis among Brussels’ busiest shopping streets. The gardens of the elegant Egmont Palace (now the home of Belgium’s foreign ministry) are a public park, one of the most secret in Brussels. It’s home to a charming little statue of Peter Pan, a gift from the children of Britain to the children of Belgium, and the palace’s former orangery is now a cool, modern restaurant, La Fabrique en Ville, that boasts Brussels’ best terrace for brunch in the sun. Poached eggs and homemade hollandaise on an English muffin is on the expensive side at €13.50, but well worth it for brunching like a king in the grounds of a former palace.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

TRAVEL DEAL UPDATE:

10 of the best early summer breaks in France: readers’ tips

Our tipsters love a pre-season jaunt across the Channel – it’s the perfect time to visit Mediterranean villages and idyllic Atlantic resorts, or to go walking in the French Alps

Cassis, around an hour’s drive from Marseille, is a tiny port town famous for its salty rosé (not to be confused with blackcurrant liqueur crème de cassis, from Burgundy) and herb-scented whites. We had the delight of a vineyard tour at Clos Saint Magdeleine, where the family greeted us like long-lost friends and took us on a journey through the vines, allowing us to sample their beautiful pale rosés made with grenache and cinsault grapes. The town has a great little beach under a towering cliff, Cap Canaille, one of France’s highest. Taking a boat or hiking three or four kilometres you can visit the many calanques (steep-sided limestone inlets) along the coast, which offer deserted bays for swimming. In May, just before the high season begins, accommodation should be that little bit easier to find.
Alice Pedroza

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Travel | The Guardian

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‘Legion’ Director’s Tips On Decoding the Show’s Complicated Scripts

If you’re a fan of Legion, it won’t have escaped your notice that it’s a complicated show. If you find yourself frequently lost, be assured that you’re not alone. Its confusing nature isn’t lost on series director Tim Mielants, who benefits from the intervention of series creator Noah Hawley and the show’s co-writers to shed light on what’s going on in the scripts. FANDOM asked Mielants to help viewers decode the complex shenanigans of the entirely unique superhero series. Here are his top five pointers.

1. Know That It’s Character Driven

Mielants says to always watch with the characters front and centre in your mind, rather than the events and story per se.

“The character is always at the centre of it. What are they feeling, what’s the relationship, what’s the central feeling of it all?” he says.

“I know where the show is going,” he adds. “I know what’s going to happen with [main characters] David and Syd and I know these two characters are at the centre of it. You’ll always feel emotionally engaged with these characters [as the show progresses], and I think that’s going to be important; I know that’s what the story is about. About them, and about Syd, and about identity. About all these different things that really connect with an audience.”

2. Think of It As Poetry


Legion-david-syd-1
Rachel Keller as Syd and Dan Stevens as David.

It doesn’t always have to make sense.

“I like to see Legion as an experience where you don’t necessarily have to understand everything,” says Mielants. “It’s like something hypnotic. So, approaching everything from a rational point of view isn’t necessarily the experience [we’re going for]. When I did the first season, I was watching a lot of [Russian filmmaker] Tarkovsky and, strangely enough, I see a lot of similarities. It’s more ‘let the poetry come to you, and just let the images and everything come to you’ rather than attempting to understand everything. Because you might end up very frustrated.”

3. The Showrunner Hires Directors Who Bring Personality

Look at other work by the episode directors to help you understand what you’re watching. And be aware that each individual episode may have its own independent feel.

“Noah pushes you to put your own personality into it and give your own point of view,” says Mielants. “Because he likes to have a subjective point of view from the director in approaching the material. [Reading the script for the first time], I always start crying for a while because it’s so difficult. Am I going to pull it off? But if you just work on it step by step and you keep on collecting ideas, and try differing things out and go back into film history, you always come up with a solution — and that’s always very rewarding.”

4. Put the Marvel Comics Aside and Watch Buñuel Films


You may find more to help you unpack Legion in the films of Luis Buñuel than in comic books.

You may well find yourself more in tune with what’s going on if you look to surrealism.

Mielants says, “From a personal point of view, I’m a director who loves surreal cinema. I’m a big Buñuel fan and I’m a guy who really loves European surrealism, and [artist] René Magritte and [director] André Delvaux. When Noah asked me to do the show, I told him I have no Marvel experience; I know nothing about comic worlds. He said, ‘I just like the crossover from surrealism to the American world and that’s all very interesting, this exploration’.

“The first thing I do is I go into movie history and I steal the hell out of it. Really steal, literally. And then you combine your own ideas and you come to a result, for better or worse. But that’s the way I have approached every episode of Legion so far.”

5. Gen Up on the Works of David Lynch


Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me
The work of David Lynch holds the key to getting to grips with Legion.

Mielants says there’s a definite Lynchian influence apparent in Legion. “I’m a kid from the 80s so you can’t be indifferent from watching [David Lynch’s work]. It sticks with you forever. So it’s there always, whatever I do. And I know it’s the same for Noah. He loves David Lynch.”

So there you go. The next episode of Legion should be a cinch to decode. Cheers, Tim.

The post ‘Legion’ Director’s Tips On Decoding the Show’s Complicated Scripts appeared first on FANDOM.

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4 Bra-Fitting Tips an Expert Wants You to Know

According to Fitzgerald, styles that once worked for you may no longer do your figure justice—especially if your body’s gone through significant changes. Be open to trying on different styles, cuts, and sizes.

Shopping for bras, no matter what size you are, is likely the last thing you want to do. Between navigating the right size and finding a style that makes you feel cool and confident underneath it all, it’s a tedious task. However, if you have the right bra-fitting tips, it can make things a whole lot easier.

Let’s face it—there’s nothing more uncomfortable than an ill-fitting bra. After all, it’s one of the reasons we can’t wait to remove them at the end of the day or go into the braless territory is to avoid the lingerie piece altogether.

We looked to Tiffany Fitzgerald from The Lace Lounge in Los Angeles for her best tips to make sure you get the right bra fit. When you have these in mind, finding the perfect bra that feels comfortable and looks great will be a breeze. Check out her tips now.

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Wear this under your favorite blouse. Available in sizes S to L.

“A woman’s breast size can change several times during her lifetime. Do not get married to a size, go with what fits, and don’t get hung up on sizing,” she says.

Once you’ve added these to your cart, check out how to wash your lingerie to make sure those last as long as possible.

“Most of the time you might wear a 36C, but depending on how a style or brand is running, you may sometimes need a 36B or a 34D,” Fitzgerald says. She also mentions that different fabrics and your breast shape dictate how a bra will fit you.

Fitzgerald says, “28D, 30C, 32B, and 34A are sister sizes. These sizes have the same cup volume but have different band lengths. The band and cup work in ratios. For instance, 30B, 32B, 34B, 36B, and 38B all have the same cup-to-band ratio, but each is one cup size bigger than the other.”

Now shop for some gorgeous bras to add to your own lingerie collection.

Celebrity Style and Fashion Trend Coverage | http://www.whowhatwear.com

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Surf Tips with Surf Insight | Back Foot Positioning

Tim from Surf Insight walks us through a simple yet vital skill, learning where to place our back foot when surfing.

It’s crucial when you pop up, that your back foot lands towards the tail end of the board. That “sweet spot” can be located right above your fins. This positioning will give you the most power and control as you surf.

The post Surf Tips with Surf Insight | Back Foot Positioning appeared first on .

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A local’s guide to Nice, France: 10 top tips

The once-sleepy grande dame of the Côte d’Azur is now its vibrant artistic hub, with cool new bars, restaurants and galleries enlivening its classic sights

Nice is booming, despite and in defiance of the terrorist attack that shattered the Bastille Day celebrations here less than two years ago. Irina Brook, daughter of legendary director Peter Brook, who runs the prestigious Théâtre National de Nice, reveals her favourite art venues, restaurants and bars.

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Travel | The Guardian

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3 Tips for Selling Items in a Divorce Sale

During the divorce process, spouses need to decide how their shared assets will be divided between them.

Sometimes it is easier to sell any shared items or property and distribute the money earned from the sale equally rather than spending time negotiating how jointly-owned assets like items, stocks, or properties will be distributed between partners.

Divorce sales are a way for couples to sell off their shared assets and split the profit instead of trying to figure out who will end up with what. In this post we explore some of the ways you can sell your assets, such as online, in-person (through a garage or yard sale), or through an auction.

Preparing for a Divorce Sale

Before you jump into planning a divorce sale, you’ll want to sit down with your husband or wife and determine which items you both want to sell and which items each of you want to keep for yourselves. It might take a while to go through all your stuff and separate the jointly-owned assets, but it’s worth the effort to minimize the possibility for conflict later on.

If you and your spouse are not able to work together or talk to each other in a productive way, you can look at getting a mediator to help you out.

One of the ways that you both can make sure the final decision on your assets (including property) is official before you get a divorce is by filling out and submitting a Separation Agreement. A Separation Agreement can be used as part of the final divorce proceedings and may lessen the amount of time needed for an otherwise lengthy divorce process.

Items Commonly Sold in a Divorce Sale

Items that are commonly sold in a divorce sale include everything from furniture, appliances, art and paintings, jewelry, and anything else that the couple wants to offload and split the earnings from selling. Typically, a couple sells the matrimonial home as well.

The matrimonial home refers to a couple’s family home, or the home that they lived in during their marriage. Generally, separating couples choose to sell their family home and divide the earnings equally, similar to selling other assets.

However, just because you are going through a divorce, doesn’t mean the house needs to be sold. Instead, either you or your former partner might decide to keep the home for various reasons, such as familiarity for your children or proximity to family.

There are other considerations as well, such as who is responsible for home maintenance and mortgage payments during the divorce process.

Similarly, if there are any jointly owned vehicles or other items that still require payments, you and your spouse will need to work out those financial responsibilities.

Navigating through financial responsibility can be complicated if you and your spouse can’t reach a consensus but remember that you can always hire a mediator to help you both reach a final decision.

Online Divorce Sales

While garage or yard sales and in-person auctions are popular ways to sell your things, offloading your assets online is also a popular option due to the fact that you can reach a wider audience and sell your items without having to leave your home.

As an example, in order to finance his divorce settlement, Russell Crowe held an online auction to sell off some of his possessions. According to the auction site, Sotheby’s Australia, Crowe’s auction raised more than 3.7 million dollars, with some of the items selling above their market value.

Online divorce sales can take place on regular online auction or sales sites like eBay or Craigslist, and sometimes even social media sites like Facebook. Other options are websites such as Worthy that specialize in selling second-hand diamonds and jewelry if you’re looking to offload your wedding ring.

Selling Shared Assets in a Divorce Sale

Divorce is never easy and dividing and selling your shared assets and property can be a lengthy process. A divorce sale is a good way to simply sell off the items that you once shared with your former spouse and split the earnings between both of you have the funds you need to begin your new lives apart from one another.

The post 3 Tips for Selling Items in a Divorce Sale appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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‘God of War’: Advanced Combat Tips and Builds

SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from God of War. Proceed at your own risk.

Listen here, boy. This is spoiler territory. You’d do best to watch your step around here if you are new to the game.

There are tough fights lurking in God of War. Battles you’ll struggle to win. When it wants to knock things up a notch, it’s a brutally punishing game tied to systems that can leave you reeling from every shot you take from an enemy.

It’s the sort of combat that has earned God of War comparisons with Dark Souls, and like From Software’s masterpiece series, God of War is entirely beatable — in fact, like Dark Souls, winning at God of War will often come down to a state of mind.

Road to Runes

We’re going to be straight up with you — attacking like normal is for chumps. Kratos‘ regular attacks are powerful — you’d hope so, considering — but Runic Attacks are the bread and butter of how Kratos can demolish anyone in his way.

By holding L2 and R1 or R2, Kratos unleashes a devastating attack. You can equip different ones as you find them, and each of Kratos’ weapons can equip different attacks, which means you can tailor them to your preferred playstyle, and even the enemies you’re facing.

Some attacks are single target, others have a very wide area of effect — and there are some that are in between. Finding the attacks that work for you is key, and experimenting is a great way to keep the game feeling fresh as you play it.


Upgrade page for Runic Attacks God of War 2018
Make sure you upgrade your preferred Runic Attack!

Still, once you’ve found your preferred options, upgrade them as soon as you can. They ramp up in effectiveness as you spend XP on them, and because of the way the game works you needn’t worry about not being able to unlock skills down the track because of ‘wasted’ XP.

With your Runic Attacks upgraded, it’s simply a matter of target selection — focus on your meanest target, Runic attack them, hammer them with Atreus‘ arrows, pop the alternative attack and they should be stunned and waiting for a grapple attack.

If they’re not, then here’s the beautiful trick — switch weapons, and runic attack again. The Blades of Chaos (you heeded the spoiler warning right?) Runic Attacks don’t share a cooldown with the Leviathan, so you can effectively pop four runic attacks on an enemy if you need to.

Advanced ‘God of War’ Builds

Initially you’ll just want to make sure your equipment is upgraded at all times, as per our other tips guide, but eventually you’ll want to think about your build.

Damage type resistances never really become *critical* in God of War outside of the insane God of War difficulty — with one major exception being Niflheim Mist Resistance.


Armour page in God of War
The Cursed Mist Resist Chist Piece

When you’re in Niflheim, you’ll want to build your Mist Resistance by farming mist echoes. You get back mist timer for every chest you open, but you’re still sometimes better off just running through an area — there’s no point having thousands of mist echoes available if you die before you can bank it. Your build in Niflheim should be whatever gives you the best mist resistance — it’s otherwise inconsequential.

Outside of Niflheim, you should build Cooldown first and foremost. As we explained, Runic Attacks are crazy powerful, and they only become more powerful as you stack damage into them. Atreus’ summons benefit too, so those wolves become more potent — and it means you’ll get to see Ratatoskr more often (and he’s the best summon in any game ever).

Your gut might tell you to stack Runic, because you’re focusing on runic attacks right? But over the course of the game you’ll get ample opportunity to acquire runic damage — cooldown is comparatively hard to come by. Even if you focus on CDN as your primary stat, you’ll find your Runic numbers are naturally way higher anyway.

The Valkyrie armour is a great source of cooldown with some Runic to boot — and you can upgrade them to a full allotment of sockets.

With that in mind — sockets are more important than almost any other build option in the game, and if you have a choice between a Talisman with a powerful ability or something with a garbage ability and many sockets, you should go for the sockets.

The rest of the build is largely up to you, but we prioritise Defence, Strength, Luck, and then Vitality in that order. It’s a glass cannon build — the idea being that things die fast enough that we don’t take any damage. If they don’t die, we just have to not get hit.

Taking A Stance

Now we’re hitting some advanced techniques. As you make your way down the Skills list, you’ll eventually find Kratos is able to switch stances.

It took us ages to actually pull off, until we watched the demonstration video — what you need to do is attack, pause for a full beat until Kratos shifts on his feet, and then attack again.

Kratos already has some fantastic combos, detailed in the Skills themselves, but you can really start to create your own with the stance system.

A particularly showy one is with the Leviathan — R1 attack, pause, R2, R1, R2. It’s a great option for when you’re surrounded, as the axe will twirl around Kratos (although you’re still usually better off just using the Blades of Chaos when facing enemies from multiple directions).

What’s a God to a Non-Believer?

Going in with a clear mind is more important than you might think. God of War is different to Dark Souls, because generally in Dark Souls you won’t die ‘unfair’ deaths. Without the burden of troublesome story-telling, Dark Souls has managed to refine its combat systems into something near flawless.

God of War on the other hand weaves a complex tale of paternal growth, utilising the Tend and Befriend drive to create an emotional attachment between you and the characters within.

What we’re saying is there are some goofs in God of War that will see you die in ‘unfair’ ways — especially if you build a glass cannon style Kratos (and you almost certainly should).

The camera is probably the biggest issue — it has trouble tracking enemies that leave the ground. Some enemies can forcibly break target locking and the the target locking itself is inconsistent. So keep a healthy attitude! Heck, this is good advice even in Dark Souls. If you remember Happy Hob beating Dark Souls, you’ll know that a good outlook is critical to success.

Valk Kil(m)ler

The Valkyries aren’t like every other enemy you’ll face in God of War. They can’t be stunned and grappled, most of them spend far too much time in the air and they all have different movesets you need to learn and deal with.

They’re our favourite enemies in the game, and the Valkyrie Queen is the best of them all — she’s the closest you’ll get to a Dark Souls battle. She has the moveset of every other Valkyrie in the game, and she can pull any of them out at any time.

Like Dark Souls, these moves all have tells, and you can actually dodge all of them if you know what to look for. Having beaten all eight other Valkyries, you’ll know what to do already — just stay vigilant, play it conservatively and you’ll beat her. She hits like a truck, but she can be beaten — and if you can defeat her, you can beat literally anything God of War throws at you.

Good luck, and know that the Dad of War believes in you!

The post ‘God of War’: Advanced Combat Tips and Builds appeared first on FANDOM.

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‘Fortnite Mobile’ Tips to Make You Dance Emote on 99 Enemy Graves

Before we gather our materials and build your Fortnite Mobile know-how up to the sky, you ought to be aware that this small-screen version packs the same punch as its older brethren. All of the basic stratagems and pitfalls you’re aware of on PC and console — like camping in bushes, or dying like a noob to fall damage –­ translate just as well here.

That said, we have a handful of important mobile-centric tips that have made our lives a heck of a lot easier (and the deaths of our enemies all the more frequent).


Firing from a rooftop on a builder in Fortnite Mobile

Defy Default Settings

Have it your way and mess with the camera setting sensitivities to find what works best for you. Tinker with the lot: the standard camera controlled by finger large swipes, the one that’s more sensitive for when you’re ADS-ing (aiming down sights), and the one that’s super-duper sensitive for scope aiming.

Personally, we keep our standard camera between 30-40. ADS should be 70-80. Scoped is 80-90. Start there, tweak as you go.

You should also switch from auto-loot to “Tap To Interact”. Hoovering up loot sounds awesome, however that sort of rampant kleptomania will leave you swearing at your mobile device when you’re forced to stop and ditch all of your dreg guns. The only downside to tapping: if there’s a game of musical chairs between you and enemy who still has it enabled, they’re probably going to nab that gun first.


Fortnite Mobile players are fired on while descending from the sky

Speaking of acquiring things, go and grab yourself some sweet cans (headphones that is). With the volume turned up (and if you know how to read the mobile-specific visual cues of player sounds) your situational awareness on the battlefield will double.

Nearby footsteps will appear as a white arc on the screen and will signify both your foe’s approximate location and the “distance” of their footfalls. In the same vein, gunfire shows up as a red arc.

Double Tap Screens, Llamas

Why repeatedly stab at your screen to do things? Many players overlook the fact that double tapping on the lower left “movement circle” will send you into an auto-run state. Likewise, double tapping your actual gun may be used as an alternate means to reload it.

You can also double tap anywhere on the screen to constantly attack with your current weapon. That’s not a great plan for scoped weapons, but it sure is useful for close-quarters with a submachine gun. Or to make yourself continuously mine materials with your trusty pickaxe.


Fortnite Mobile tip. Not every bush is a player.

You’d be well-advised to clonk that pick on the local wildlife, too. Surprisingly, a lot of new players flocking to Fortnite Mobile haven’t cottoned on to this tip. Don’t ask us why, but llamas in Fortnite are full to the wool with very respectable loot. They’re randomised though — you might get lucky in one game and in the next llamas will be harder to find than Emperor Kuzco on the lam.

Fortnite Mobile Has Its Quirks

Here’s a problem that’s fairly unique to Fortnite Mobile players: shoehorning Fortnite down into smaller devices has introduced some draw distance issues. It’s not game-breaking at present, but every once in a while you may find yourself freaking out and unloading on a bush that’s just winked into being. (This is an understandable reaction in a game that allows people dress up like shrubbery.)

What we’d recommend is to not go around with a hair-trigger. Nine times out of ten what you’re about to light up won’t be a player who’s trying to be the online gaming equivalent of a shrubber. It’ll just be a defenceless plant and you’ll needlessly give away your position.

One last tip before we leave you to fend for yourself: even if you religiously abstain from pistols and scoped rifles in the other versions, we ask that you reconsider you step out of your comfort zone in this version.


Firing a rocket launcher onto a player on the street.

Never forget that this version of the game has drastically increased aim-assists on these particular weapons, which means that even the most cross-eyed among you can reap the benefits of high-damage output delivered at an extreme range.

Fortnite Mobile is in a constant state of flux due to hot-fixes and new builds aplenty. There’s also the big game-changer coming that is Bluetooth controller support. Be sure to check back with us as we update this guide accordingly!

The post ‘Fortnite Mobile’ Tips to Make You Dance Emote on 99 Enemy Graves appeared first on FANDOM.

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Tips for a Successful Linear Drain Installation

linear drain installation

Linear shower drains are a popular choice for modern homes and can offer many benefits but proper installation is key. We asked the expert behind the QuARTz by ACO collection and they shared these important consideration for a successful linear drain installation.

linear drain installation
Photo Source: QuARTz by ACO

Use an Experienced Installer

A linear shower drain requires only one slope while a traditional center point drain requires all 4 sides to slope towards the center. You are able to use large format tiles and have only linear cuts in the tiles. For this reason, a linear drain installation is considered to be easier but it is important to use an installer who has experience installing linear drains. They will have the experience to ensure a proper install so that you do not run into issues down the line.

Plan Ahead

When choosing a Linear drain it is important to plan in advance.  Decide on whether you would like a curbless shower or not. Making the right steps ahead of time will ensure an easy and proper install. Communication with your installer about the membrane being used, measuring the shower from the finished walls, even choosing your grate designs are all important to do prior to buying the drain.

Placement for Curbless Showers

If you are planning a curbless shower, it is important to place the drain either along the opening to the shower or the wall directly across from the opening. Placing the linear drain installation perpendicular to the opening will result in a slop that creates a lip and becomes a tripping hazard. Linear drains can be placed in the center of the shower, as seen in the bathroom below by Tego Bathroom Solutions, as long as they are parallel to the opening of the shower.

linear drain installation

Choose the Correct Size

QuARTz linear shower drains come in a variety of standard sizes ranging from 27.55″ to 55.12″. After measuring your shower and taking into consideration the finished wall to wall length, choose the size that best suits your shower and location. If you choose to put the drain at the entrance we recommend the drain spans the entire length of the opening, It will prevent water getting around the drain and out into the bathroom. ACO also offers custom linear drain sizes upon request. 

Plan for Flow Rates

You will want to ensure the drain can handle the water volume of your planned shower installation. A luxury shower with multiple heads will require a much higher flow rate then a a single low-flow showerhead installation.

Choose Tile Prior to Laying the Floor Bed

One of the benefits of a linear drain is that it can be installed flush with the floor for a curbless finish. It important to select the tile you will be installing around the drain before you lay the floor so that the floor can be laid accordingly, ensuring that when the tile is installed, it sits completely level to the drain without any lip.

The post Tips for a Successful Linear Drain Installation appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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Four Tips to Increase Your Credit Score From a Credit Expert

Credit is nothing to play with. It can work in your favor or completely work against you. Black Enterprise caught up with founder Christia’n Annice of eMillions+, a credit repair agency, who gave us four tips on how to increase your credit score.

(Image: Credit Karma)

(Image: Credit Karma)

 

1. Pay your bills on time.

Delinquent payments and collections can have a major negative impact on a credit score. According to FICO data, a 30-day delinquency could cause as much as a 90- to 110-point drop on a FICO Score of 780 for a consumer who has never missed a payment on any credit account.

In comparison, as stated on Equifax, a consumer with a 680 FICO Score and two late payments (a 90-day delinquency on a credit card account from two years ago and a 30-day delinquency on an auto loan from a year ago) would experience a 60- to 80-point drop after being hit with another 30-day delinquency.

2. Keep balances low on credit cards and other “revolving credit.”

When your balance is low so is your utilization percentage which is extremely important to your score. To boost your score, pay down a credit card with a high balance relative to its credit limit. Also, try and increase your credit limits. You can do this by calling credit card companies to negotiate.

3. Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed.

Applying for new credit accounts for about 10% of your FICO score, so the impact is relatively small but still important to consider.

Open new accounts is a different scenario. If you only have had credit for a short time, don’t open a lot of new accounts too rapidly. As stated on MyFico, new accounts will lower your average account age, which will have a larger effect on your FICO® Scores if you don’t have a lot of other credit information.

4. Pay off debt rather than moving it around.

It is extremely important to pay off your debt. A lot of people use moving it to different cards as a strategy but, the only sure fire way to make sure that it is affecting your score in a positive way is to pay it off.

For more information on getting your credit in shape, click here.

The post Four Tips to Increase Your Credit Score From a Credit Expert appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

It’s time to meet: 5 tips to nailing a business introduction

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Great news! You’ve been invited on an important business trip with your company, and today’s the first day of an amazing week.

You’ve had a good night’s sleep, you’ve gotten in a few laps at the pool, and you’ve fueled up with La Quinta Inns & Suites™ FREE Bright Side Breakfast®.

You’re hanging out in the lobby when you see your boss and the CEO of your company. They want to introduce you to a very important client—who’s standing right behind them.

For a moment, nerves get the best of you, panic sets in, and you’re convinced that you’ve forgotten your own name.

But breathe: we’ve got you covered. You’ve got this! Here’s a 5-step refresher on nailing that intro: Read more…

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A local’s guide to Chicago: 10 top tips

The city’s bars and music scene are among the most vibrant in the US. And with Lake Michigan beaches to relax on and two new budget flights from the UK, now is the time to go

Traditionally overshadowed by coastal powerhouses New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago is on the rise, with a record 55 million visitors in 2017 – and new direct flights from the UK with Norwegian and Wow making the US’s third-largest city more accessible. While visitors tend to congregate around the downtown and lakefront areas to admire the city’s world-renowned architecture, there’s a thriving music and bar scene that shouldn’t be missed.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

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New Kid in Town? These 7 Tips Can Jumpstart Your Job Search


Over the past four years, I’ve lived in six different cities.

No, I’m not homeless. I’m not unstable. (Well, that’s debatable, depending on who you ask!)

I’m a traveler, and I’m always on the go. Only one of those moves was due to an employment offer. In the other five towns, I had to find a new job from scratch.

There are plenty of reasons we find ourselves in new places. Reasons that have nothing to do with our careers. I’ve relocated because I graduated from college, moved back in with my parents, traveled, decided to live with my significant other (now husband) and followed him to a large university where he began a master’s program. Each new city brought an overwhelming job search.

So how do we find positions in new cities? Particularly in places where we don’t know anyone?

Here’s how to find a job in a new city.

1. Put a Local Address on Your Resume

If you search for positions before you’ve arrived in your new city, you’re probably filling out online applications.

Whether you apply through LinkedIn or a job service website like Indeed, make sure you submit a resume with a local address. Even if you haven’t moved to that city yet.

You may not move to that town for two more weeks. But if you’ve already found a place to live, go ahead and put that address on your resume.

Although I’m writing primarily to people who don’t have any connections yet, if you do have family or friends in the area, ask permission to use their address if you don’t have one yet.

Many employers receive hundreds of applications for one position. If they see you don’t live in the area, they might toss your resume aside before even looking at it.

One caveat, however: Only include a local address if you can do so ethically. Don’t just make up a random address to make yourself look better.

2. Mention the Big Move in Your Cover Letter

A woman carries moving boxes.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

This advice is especially important if you can’t ethically include a local address in your application.

This way, if your potential employer overlooks your address and reads further, you can give context to your living arrangements in the cover letter.

Even if you have a local address listed, you should still mention the move in the cover letter.

The fact you’re moving could make you stand out from other applicants. At the very least, this gives you the opportunity to mention your earliest date of availability.

3. Update Your Online Profiles

Whether you use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or another social media profile, go ahead and change your location to your new city, even if you haven’t moved yet.

Annoying as it may be, many employers do look at potential employees’ social media accounts before making a hiring decision. Posting your new city could help them find you. And if you have included a local address on your resume, putting that same city on your profiles will eliminate any confusion.

4. Apply to Tons of Jobs Online

A woman types on her computer.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Search online job hubs such as IndeedMonster and CareerBuilder for the field you’re interested in.

Then apply.

And apply.

And apply.

5. Narrow Your Search to Five Jobs

Once you’ve finished your online application marathon, narrow down your search to your five favorite positions. You might end up accepting a totally different job offer, but it’s helpful to have your favorites picked out.

Now, when you arrive in your city, take a couple of days to settle in. On day three, walk into any of the five businesses you haven’t heard from yet.

That’s right. Don’t email. Don’t call. Walk in, introduce yourself, and hand in another resume so they can look it over while they talk to you.

This tactic sounds intimidating, but it’s worked for me multiple times. As a potential employee, I come off just so-so on paper. (That whole “moving to a new place every six months” thing doesn’t look great on a resume.) But I leave a good first impression. Walk into the office so people can actually meet you.

Hopefully, this strategy is super successful, and you land yourself a job! But just in case, take a look at items six and seven on this list.

6. Consider a Temporary Job

After a week or two, you may need to start generating income. If you still haven’t heard back from any of those five jobs, consider a short-term gig to make yourself some cash.

You can always go through a temp agency. Or consider a job where you can start right away, such as serving tables at a restaurant or making coffee at Starbucks.

7. Network, Network, Network

Two people network over drinks.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

As time goes on, you’ll meet people in your new city.

Take advantage of conversations with people at that temporary job or at a local pub. Share your passions with them. You never know what will come of it.

If you’re moving to a new area and don’t know what you’ll do for income yet, hopefully this list has given you some fresh ideas to keep you from freaking out!

Follow these steps and your biggest concerns will be what to wear on your first day and topics you can bring up to spark conversation around the water cooler.

Laura Grace Tarpley is a teacher and freelance writer in Athens, Georgia. She spends all her free time playing with her new corgi puppy, Tuna.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder

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7 tips for FaceTiming with a child who would rather watch TV

by

Maggie Downs

posted in Life

I just spent a little over a week away from home for a professional development conference, which meant I was forced to communicate with my 3-year-old son by FaceTime.

The expectation is always that FaceTime (or your video chat service of choice) will go very, very well. It will be a tender moment of connection between mother and child. It will be a meaningful exchange in which distance is transcended in mere seconds. It will be the best part of the day.

The reality, however, is that FaceTime with a toddler is a digital hellscape.

A small boy sits at a table touching a tablet, like an iPad

 

There is no good way to FaceTime with a toddler because:

1. He expects Paw Patrol when he looks at a screen.

2. I am not Paw Patrol.

Whenever this realization hits my child, he looks at me with the same expression I reserve for the DMV when I’ve made an appointment and still end up #87 in line. The only difference is that I’ve learned to stifle my screams. Beyond that, there’s a performative aspect to FaceTime that makes these conversations feel phony.

I was ready to call it quits after a night of him running circles around the iPad, ignoring me in favor of his toys, then a meltdown when I said I was going to hang up. Yet I missed my child. I still wanted to connect with that stinky little muffin of mine, so I tried and tried again until we made it work.

During that time away, I picked up a couple of tricks for making FaceTime chats as painless as possible for kids of any age. Maybe some of them will work for you and yours:

Two babies hover over a tablet computer between them

 

• Have good lighting. Sometimes this can mean doing FaceTime in the bathroom. (Really, some hotels rooms have perfect selfie light, which also means it’s perfect for a video chat.) As long as you’re not pooping, you’re all good.

• Don’t FaceTime in a busy place. Don’t set up for a chat in the hotel lobby or a coffee shop, if you can help it. The noise and people are too distracting for both you and your child.

• Make eye contact. It can be pretty tempting to look at your own little video square to keep tabs on how hot you are, but stay focused on the kid.

• Bring a book. And by that, I mean a book to read to your child. I like to tuck a few slim Golden Books into my luggage and continue our bedtime story routine, even when I’m away. I hold the pages up as I’m reading, LeVar Burton-style.

• Share a meal. Sometimes conversations with my son feel stilted, as though he has to perform for me. Having a snack or a meal together can take some of that pressure away — even if the bulk of time is spent with him shoveling oatmeal into his mouth.

Be active. Turn up some music and have a dance party. Sing some songs together. Play peek-a-boo.

• Whatever you do, don’t toss a hotel robe over your head and say, “Uh-oh. Mommy disappeared and is never coming home” — no matter how tempted you are to stay in the land of room service.

How do you chat with your child when you’re away?

BabyCenter Blog

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Perfect Gifts for the Perfect baby

Use these tips to organize your traveling suitcase

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Going on vacation is one of the most exciting times of the year – but when it comes to packing your suitcase, it just seems like a chore. By the time you’ve got out everything you want to take, you’ve gone over your weight limit, your favorite hat is getting squashed, and you just know your shampoo and conditioner is going to leak in your bag. But never fear, we have the solution. Use these tips to organize your traveling suitcase.

Use a rolling duffel bag instead of a hard case

It can be difficult to imagine going on your travels without your trusty hard case – but actually, it could be causing more trouble than it’s worth. With a rolling duffel bag, you can still easily maneuver your belongings around the airport. One of the advantages of the duffel bag is that they are often lighter than your average hard case – meaning more weight for that extra pair of shorts.

Roll your clothing

One of the handiest packing hacks is to roll your clothing rather than fold it. Not only does this ensure you can pack even more clothes as there is more space, but this method also leaves your clothes wrinkle free when you get to your destination. No more having to spend your vacation ironing.

Stuff your shoes with smaller items

There’s nothing worse than getting to your hotel and not being able to find your charger amongst your clothes. And don’t even get us started on trying to find your toothbrush to get that airplane taste out of your mouth. But if you stuff your shoes with these smaller items, they will stay in place during the flight, and you’ll know exactly where to find them when you get to your hotel.

How to prevent leaks

One of the worst things to happen is that you open up your suitcase and find that all of your shampoo or all of your sun lotion has exploded all over your (once) clean clothes. Holiday ruined. To prevent leaks, open the bottles up and cover the holes with cling film. Screw back on the lids and look forward to a leak-free suitcase. It’s a super smart hack you’ll wish you’d known sooner.

Don’t overpack

Let’s be honest; we’re all guilty of this. We all think we need six dresses for our long weekend, when really – we don’t. One way to combat this is to gather all of the clothes you think you need to take together and lay them out on your bed. And then, get rid of a third of them. The aim is to wear everything you are going to bring with you, so think logically and plan ahead.

Take compression bags

Throughout your vacation, you’re stuck with dirty laundry that takes up so much room you can’t find space to bring back that extra large bottle of rum from the Bahamas. Because they’re dirty, we don’t care if they get wrinkled – so stick them in a vacuum compression bag and shrink them down to make more space for more important things. Like the rum.

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The post Use these tips to organize your traveling suitcase appeared first on Worldation.

Worldation

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Eco-Friendly Landscaping Tips

Eco-Friendly Landscaping

There are many ways you can create a beautiful backyard while keeping the environment in mind. Landscape designer, Janet Ennamorato share her thoughts on eco-friendly landscaping.

In recent years, governments and consumers have begun attaching greater weight to environmental imperatives and related landscaping implications. The new emphasis on environmental amelioration and sustainability has broadened the designer’s artistic palette by bringing new materials and techniques into the commercial mainstream. There are more options for exercising creativity in impressive and inspiring ways that break old molds and raise the level of aesthetic impact to new heights.

You can have the best of both worlds. Here are a few examples:

Eco-Friendly Landscaping

Permeable Pavers: Using permeable pavers for your driveway creates an attractive and functional driveway while helping reduce the amount of storm water run off into the municipal sewer system!

Eco-Friendly Landscaping

Pollinator Plants: Introduce pollinator plants to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators into your garden. These are gorgeous and very inviting while still helping the environment.

Eco-Friendly Landscaping

Easy Balance: New products are now available that allow for an easy balance between aesthetics and concern for the environment. One example is rain chains which are a decorative way to safely direct water away from the home. – Text by Janet Ennamorato, Creative Gardens

The post Eco-Friendly Landscaping Tips appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

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A local’s guide to Australia’s Gold Coast: 10 top tips

As the Commonwealth Games get under way in this sunny Queensland city, an insider offers tips on what to see and do – and where to eat and drink – away from the sporting action

Hugging Queensland’s southeast coast for a whopping 70km, the City of the Gold Coast extends far beyond the borders of Surfers Paradise, its hedonistic heart. Once renowned for its tackiness, the “Goldie” has, ahead of the Commonwealth Games, attained a level of sophistication few expected of the city that birthed gold lamé bikini-clad Meter Maids. A raft of swanky new hotels, including The Darling, opened last month, the ongoing refurbishment of Hota, the city’s premier arts hub, and revamped dining and nightlife scenes are among the highlights of a multibillion-dollar facelift. Despite this flurry of development, the vibe remains relaxed. With few must-sees beyond its dazzling beaches, the Gold Coast is a city best explored through your taste buds – one seaside suburb at a time.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

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3 Tech Tips to Help You Move

Relocating for business can be a massive hassle, especially if your current company isn’t involved in expenses or execution. Here are three tips that will make your transition much more seamless.

3 Tips on How to Relocate

Credit

Having a great score is a must. Make sure that your credit score is fully intact before you move. Try to get it as high as possible. Any high credit card balances? Pay them down. Any outstanding loans, make sure they are up to date. Pull your own records and do a check. Credit Karma is one service that can help. They give you a breakdown of everything that is going on and even suggests ways to fix any mishaps or consolidate any loans. Don’t wait for your new place to pull your score. By then it’s too late.

If you see anything out of the ordinary, feel free to dispute it. There are companies like eMillions+ that will do that for you for a reasonable price if you aren’t familiar with how to do it on your own. In the end, your credit means everything to your move; it will determine the amount of your deposits, both for your apartment and utilities and even if you get the place that you are eyeing.

(Image: Credit Karma)

(Image: Credit Karma)

 

Apartment Scouting 

When you are looking for a new place, you want to be extremely diligent. It’s very difficult if the place is somewhere across the country and you don’t have access to see it beforehand. Apartment List is a platform that allows you to input all of your living/home workspace criteria and shows you the best matches in your desired location. It’s also extremely visual, providing you with pictures and layouts of the location.

Once you’ve found several matches that fit your standards, call the location and ask the property manager to do a virtual tour for you or check the site to see if a virtual tour is already set up. Additionally, you can also check apartment ratings through Yelp or Google to see how other tenants have rated the apartment, home, and surrounding community.

Shipping

When you are ready to ship your items consider using a marketplace. It is much cheaper. uShip is a platform that allows you to upload the items that you want to be delivered and movers to bid on your shipment. This will save you lots of time and money, giving you peace of mind because the platform allows you to see the mover’s ratings and what they’ve delivered in the past.

 

The post 3 Tech Tips to Help You Move appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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5 Easter Tips For Everyone Who Hasn’t Been To Church In Ages

1960s AFRICAN AMERICAN...

Source: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock / Getty

It’s that time of year again — the day Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified on the cross.

And if you’ve gotten this far and still don’t know what I’m talking about, this article’s for you.

Or at least the people who haven’t been to church in a while.



No matter you’re religious background (or lack thereof), at some point, you might find yourself at church on Easter — the holiday that celebrates Jesus’ final miracle.

And there’s a certain number of tips that might be helpful, especially if you’re going to a church that’s, shall we say, more melanated.



Whether this is your first time to the house of God or you’re stopping by for a visit, swipe through for some pointers that could get your Sunday on and poppin’!

Life & Style – Black America Web

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Top Tips for Cottage Opening Season

Spring is finally here and for cottage owners, this time of year is perfect for opening the cottage! Start your cottage season right by following these tips and tricks from Saniflo:

  • Before you head to the cottage, especially if it’s a far drive away, make sure to check your car’s lights, tire pressure and fluids. If it needs a tune-up, take it in for servicing before your trip.
  • Assemble a car emergency kit, including first-aid items, water and other tools so that you’re always prepared in the event of a breakdown. Restock your emergency kit on a seasonal basis.
  • Make sure your boating and/or fishing license hasn’t expired. And, don’t forget to check that your boat trailer is in good working condition.
  • After arriving at the cottage, walk around and look for any signs of winter damage to the exterior. Check the electricity meter and look for any signs of faulty or chewed wiring from weather or pests before turning on your power.
  • Test your cottage smoke detectors and replace the batteries if needed before you fire up the barbeque for the season!
  • Examine your plumbing and look for signs of water damage in the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms.

If you’re looking to repair or upgrade your cottage bathroom or kitchen, or add a laundry room for added convenience at your home-away-from-home, Saniflo’s range of plumbing systems are a great solution. All you need is a power supply and water!

Saniflo provides a wide array of simple, cost-effective renovation possibilities for cottagers no matter the situation. The Saniplus is perfect for installing full bathrooms, especially in cottage basements where you can’t drill down below the bedrock. For a laundry room install, the Saniswift can be used to pump waste water up and away from a washing machine and/or laundry sink.

All Saniflo’s powerful plumping solutions are designed to handle the toughest applications meant for grey water pumps. They feature quiet operation with minimal power consumption and are easy to install without hiring a professional.

For more information about Saniflo, please visit saniflo.ca.ca and find us on !

The post Top Tips for Cottage Opening Season appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

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Diaper pail smells like crap? 12 mom tips to help control the funk

by

Becky Vieira

posted in Parenting

I was naive about a lot of things when I was a new mom. One, in particular, was the job of a diaper pail. Sure, I knew the basics. Dirty diapers go in. My husband (hopefully) takes them out. I also assumed it trapped all odors inside.

Yes, I’m aware that it’s a container filled with pee and poop. As in urine and feces. That sits for days. Sometimes baking, as if in an oven, during the summer months. But it didn’t matter, the pail trapped in the stench. It said so on the box, right?

I was wrong. And made aware of this by my friend’s 7 year-old son. “Ugh,” he said as he walked in our house. “I forgot how it always smells like Archer’s dirty butt in here.”

Bam. From the mouth of babes comes truth. One I needed to know.

toddler stands next to diaper pail

Diaper pails emit a wretched odor. The first few months it’s present for just a brief moment, only when it’s open. Soon, it starts to linger after it’s shut. Like a heavy cloud of rot and misery that hangs at nose-height in your nursery. Finally, anywhere from 6-12 months later, there’s no area that’s safe. The aroma overtakes your home like the smoke from a raging wildfire. A poo wildfire.

I was at a loss. Of course I’d been cleaning it. Emptied it frequently. In fact, I didn’t even use it for a month in the summer to avoid the aforementioned poo bake in the July heat.

I decided to turn to my army of moms on Instagram for help. Here’s what they said:

  1. Clean it. Before you roll your eyes and say “duh,” let me explain. Soap and water are lovely, but you need to get industrial. Baking soda and vinegar. Bleach. Alcohol. Lysol. Maybe even all of it. Be sure to do this outside or somewhere with good ventilation. Plastic pails can absorb or erode, so be sure to test a small area first.
  2. Essential oils. Peppermint oil was recommended multiple times. It’s pretty potent: try diluting it with water in a spray bottle. Use for cleaning and maintenance sprays.
  3. Double-bag it. In addition to lining your pail with a bag, buy dog poo bags. Wrap up your diaper in one and then place it in the lined pail.
  4. Air and sun. Many moms leave their pails outside at least one night a week. Some also let it sit in the sun to kill any bacteria.
  5. Dryer sheets. Drop in a scented dryer sheet, between the pail and liner. You can also add a second inside the bag. If you have those scented wash beads you can shake some in also.
  6. Relocate. When the smell gets too strong it may be time to move. The pail, not your entire home. We ended up taking ours out of the nursery and into our laundry room.
    12 mom-tested tips to reduce diaper pail odor
  7. Coffee. Another reason it’s mom’s best friend. The grounds can help absorb odor. Wrap some up in a filter — even used grounds will work — and drop into the bag.
  8. Cut down on poop. Try to avoid putting poop diapers in the pail. Either drop the dump in the toilet (if possible), or take the diaper to the outside garbage immediately.
  9. Keep the count low. The longer the diapers sit, the more they smell. Consider emptying the bag nightly or don’t let the count get much higher than 10.
  10. Deodorizer discs. Many pails are made to accommodate a disc with baking soda or other deodorizers. Use one. Even if yours doesn’t technically hold one you can drop it in the bottom.
  11. Spray. Each time you empty the pail spray the inside. Diluted alcohol or vinegar, Lysol. Take your pick. Keep a spray bottle near the pail == but out of reach for little ones — so you don’t forget.
  12. Buy a new one. When all else fails you may need to buy a new pail. Many moms pick up a fresh pail for each baby. It’s frustrating, and not the most cost-efficient approach. But can you really put a price on keeping the smell of poo from invading your family dinners?

For more mom moments, follow me on Instagram at Witty Otter.

Does your diaper pail scent your entire home? How do you minimize the smell?

Images by Becky Vieira

BabyCenter Blog

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A local’s guide to Lisbon: 10 top tips

The Serbian-born writer picks the best places in his ‘beautiful, luminous’ adopted city for eating, shopping, walking or just hanging out and soaking up the views

Before I moved to Lisbon, almost a quarter of a century ago, someone told me: “From afar, it looks like a queen. But from closer you see that the old empress’s make-up is smudged and flaking, and that the ornaments fluttering in the wind are not lace, but someone’s laundry drying at the windows. But she’s still is a real beauty.”

I fell in love with Lisbon from the off. The city has since been seriously spruced up and redeveloped, but it hasn’t lost its shabby-chic glamour. It’s a very user-friendly city: not too big, not too small, safe, and not too expensive. Even today, 20 years later, it still manages to surprise me with its beauty and luminosity.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

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‘Hollywood Medium’ Tyler Henry Shares Tips To Connect With Those Who’ve Passed On

The star of the show Hollywood Medium Tyler Henry has shared several tips to help people connect with loved ones who have passed on. According to Henry, he recognized his gifts at the age of 10-years-old when he knew that his […]
Celebrity Insider

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Small Space Design Tips

small space design

Design expert Tina Marie Singh of Lionsgate Design shares her favorite small space design tips with Canadian Home Trends Magazine (As Seen In Condo/New Build 2018).

small space design

USE COLOR WISELY – Keep it light, especially when using a dark flooring material. Dark colors make a space feel a lot smaller but a light wall color will make the space feel open and airy.

HANG TALL CURTAINS – Place a drapery rod really close to the ceiling to make the ceiling appear higher.

ADD A MIRROR – A full-body mirror adds dimension and makes any small space appear much larger.

PULL FURNITURE AWAY FROM WALLS – Leaving a few inches between the wall and the back of your sofa, will make your living room look more open.

BRING IN A PLANT – Greenery makes even the smallest spaces feel fresher and lighter. If you don’t have room on the floor, try a hanging plant.

THROW IN SOME METALLICS – A shimmery lamp, light fixture, or object will have a similar effect as a mirror.

INVEST IN DUAL PURPOSE FURNITURE – Look for multiple uses in everything you buy. An ottoman is cozy, but one with hidden storage is even better.

OPT FOR AIRY PIECES – Instead of a solid-wood coffee table, choose a see-through acrylic one or a table with an open base.

Photo Source

The post Small Space Design Tips appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

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These 16 Budget Travel Tips Can Help You See More of the World in 2018


People ask me all the time how I can afford to travel so much.

The biggest reason is I prioritize travel over nearly everything else, but I also owe it to the fact I know a lot of tricks that help me stretch my dollars while traveling. I’ve learned these little tricks from years of scraping together money for trips near and far.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to travel more, these tips should help you do so without blowing your budget.

These 16 budget travel tips can help you see more of the world in 2018.

How to Save Money on Flights

When people say travel is too expensive, they’re often referring to the cost of getting there. How are you supposed to go somewhere when you can’t even afford the plane ticket?

These strategies should help you save money on your next flight:

1. Start Collecting Miles and Points

Don’t wait another second; start collecting travel rewards right now. Not doing so is throwing money away.

It’s not as intimidating as you think: You just need to sign up for one airline in each of the major alliances, and start linking your number whenever you fly.

For a full primer, here’s my guide to getting started with travel hacking.

2. Step up Your Search Game

If you’re only searching Expedia to find flights, you’re making a big mistake. These days, many other tools make finding cheap flights easier than ever.

Check out a few of my favorites:

  • Google ITA Flight Matrix: This site allows you to search multiple airports and multiple dates. It doesn’t have the prettiest interface, but its search capabilities are unparalleled.

  • Skiplagged: This website is a travel hacker’s dream. It puts together one-way flights and weird stopovers to find you rock-bottom prices.

  • momondo: This search engine scans more than 700 travel sites to find you the best deal. It even includes independent carriers, like Southwest, which other search engines omit.

You can also use tools like AirfareWatchdog and Hopper to track particular routes; both alert you when fares drop on routes you’re interested in.

When it’s time to purchase your flight, book directly through the airline’s website. Doing so gives you easier recourse in case your flight is cancelled or delayed, and also makes it less likely you’ll be bumped, as airlines give preference to their own customers.

3. Follow Airlines and Blogs on Social Media

Have you heard of mistake fares? After accidentally being published by the airlines, these low fares are scooped up very quickly — so you have to act fast if you want one.

The best way to find out about mistake fares and other airfare sales is by following airlines, travel sites and travel bloggers through social media and email.

These 21 travel hacking blogs and 19 travel hacking resources are good places to start.

4. Don’t Buy Tickets on a Friday

When it comes to low fares, you might only think about your travel dates, but it’s also important to consider your booking date.

When you book the ticket can have a huge effect on your fare, and new research has shown Fridays are the worst day to buy flights.

The best day to book? Sunday, followed closely by Saturday.

As for how far in advance to buy, it varies from 57 days out for domestic tickets to 176 days out for flights to Europe.

How to Save Money on Lodging

Another big travel expense is a place to lay your head at night. Luckily, there are lots of ways to save money on lodging.

I’ve written in detail about money-saving alternative accommodations before, but here are some of my favorite options:

5. Try Airbnb or Couchsurfing  

The sharing economy has significantly brought down the cost of travel accommodations; with sites like Airbnb, you can rent a whole house for a fraction of what a hotel room would cost.

For example, a group of fellow Penny Hoarder staffers and I traveled to Nashville and each paid under $ 200 for three nights in a gorgeous apartment in the heart of the city!

Many people believe you have to share a living space with your Airbnb host, which is not true. Like us, you can rent an entire apartment (or castle, even!) through the platform.

Alternatively, Couchsurfing is a totally free option, though you’re encouraged to also host people when you’re back home.

6. Consider a Work Exchange

Have you heard of work exchanges? With these opportunities, you work a half- or full-day in exchange for room and board.

Duties include everything from milking goats (one of my personal favorites) to restoring old buildings.

Intrigued? Read more about work exchanges here.

7. Check Hotel Discount Sites

New hotel discount sites pop up all the time; it’s hard to keep track of them all. Some of my favorites include HotelTonight, a last-minute booking app; Trivago, a hotel aggregator; and Priceline, which allows you to get low rates by bidding on unnamed hotels.

Just like with flights, though, call the hotel first to see if it is willing to match the lower rate. It often will, because it would rather not pay a commission to a third party.

Booking directly gives you a leg up over other customers when it comes to things like upgrades or scheduling conflicts.

8. Apply to Be a Housesitter

Did you know there are people who will let you stay in their house for free, in exchange for watching their pets or watering their plants? It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not.

Thanks to sites like Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House, it’s easy to find housesitting gigs all over the world.

How to Save Money on Food

A girl’s gotta eat, but restaurants can quickly take a big bite out of your budget.

That’s another reason I like staying in Airbnbs; since you have a kitchen, it’s easy to save money by cooking your own food.

If you want to go out, though, here are a few ways you can save money on food while traveling:

9. Check Online Food Deals

Want to enjoy restaurants without the high price tag? Check online.

You can often find deals for restaurants (and attractions!) on Groupon. Or check Restaurant.com, where gift certificates are almost always deeply discounted — both on its site and Raise. Before buying, make sure you like your destination’s participating restaurants.

If you’re on the go, check Yelp; some restaurants offer discounts if you “check in” on the app.  You can even use Yelp’s search filter to only show restaurants with deals, helping you get straight to the good stuff.

10. Hit up Happy Hours

Even though you’re on vacation, you and your wallet still deserve happy hours — one of my favorite ways to try a new city’s cuisine and drinks without spending a ton.

It’s also a great way to meet people, as you’ll usually find lots of locals taking advantage of the deals.

11. Eat Where the Locals Do

I generally avoid eating at any restaurants listed in a guidebook; as soon as an establishment makes it in there, it jacks up its prices and starts worrying less about food quality.

Instead, I check Yelp and Chowhound to see which restaurants the locals like, and I also ask for recommendations from everyone I meet. For me, finding good cheap eats is key to a successful trip!

How to Save Money on Everything Else

What about all the other little travel expenses? They add up, too.

Here are a few ideas for saving on everything else:

12. Travel During the Shoulder Season

This tip is basic, yet many people ignore it.

Unless you have specific work or personal demands that restrict your schedule, you should try to travel in the shoulder season, when you’ll find lower prices and fewer people.

Shoulder season often occurs during the spring and fall, but it’s different for every destination.

To figure out when it is, simply Google your destination plus “shoulder season.”

13. Look Into City-Wide Passes

Many tourism boards promote city-wide passes that include discounted transportation, sightseeing or both.

To find these, try using search terms like “tourist pass” or “city discount pass,” or visit the city’s tourist office.  

14. Get a Travel-Friendly Credit Card

Foreign transaction and ATM fees can quickly add up, so be sure to sign up for a travel-friendly debit and credit card.

My faves? The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card and Charles Schwab debit card, neither of which charge any fees for international usage.

15. Research Activities and Attractions Ahead of Time

If you’re going to see the famous Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona, you can either pay 15 euros to buy tickets online and skip the line, or you can wait for hours and pay the same amount in person. You can guess which option my poorly prepared self experienced.

I learned my lesson, though: Do your research ahead of time.

Don’t schedule your activities down to the minute — but if there are things you must see or do, spend a few minutes looking for discount codes or advance tickets. You’ll save time, and maybe money.

16. Check the Local Newspaper

If you can read the local language, or if your destination has an English newspaper, grab a copy!

Not only will you get to know the city’s news and residents, you may also spot free events or restaurant specials. I’ve found lots of cool happenings by browsing through the newspaper like a local person would do.

Will You Travel More in 2018?

Even if you’re on a limited budget, you CAN travel this year. Take small steps to save up, and then follow these tips to keep your costs low.

Trust me: You won’t regret it!

Susan Shain, contributor for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Sam's Club Membership Offer

Job Management Software: Tips for Choosing the Best for Your Business

Business ownership is all about finding the balance between craftsmanship and technology. The construction industry is no different—many contractors spend more time managing their projects from inside their offices than out on the building site. But technology doesn’t have to be a burden on your business day. It can even help you be more productive and successful. Job management software that is tailored to your business will streamline processes, improve communication, and free up time and resources to get you back on site. Here are 3 of our top tips to help you choose the best job management software package for your business.

Professional two engineers are discussing the new project. They are using a laptop and smiling. The senior man is standing and holding the blueprint. Copy space in left side

Prioritize your needs

If you’re thinking about investing in job management software, you first need to decide what exactly you want the technology to do for you and your company. Generally speaking, these kinds of software programs are meant to be used as a tool to simplify and integrate the construction management process from start to finish, including:

Project management

  • Employee timetabling
  • Building schedules
  • Fine details of the construction process

Finances

  • Payroll
  • Client payments and bills
  • Purchasing
  • Estimation software

Communication

  • Between contractors and subcontractors
  • Between architects and builders
  • Between pros and clients

If your construction business is already excelling in one or more of these areas, you can begin your software search by focusing on programs that will help bring the slower aspects of your business up to speed.

Shop around

Once you’ve determined what your business needs, you can move on to checking out different software programs. Of course, software will vary in terms of price, ratings, and usability, and it’s worth checking out reviews to find out the good, the bad, and the ugly about each program you consider.

Most job management programs – which start at around $ 100 a month for basic use – include the features we mentioned above. However, by doing some research (and spending a bit more money), you can opt for programs that include more specialized features, such as:
Integration with well-known financial platforms such as QuickBooks and Sage
Built-in CRM (customer relationship management) software
Customizable smartphone and tablet apps

While basic packages may be cheaper, it may be worth investing in a bespoke service that is tailored to you and your business’ needs specifically. It’s also a good idea to think about connectivity and accessibility, because remote access is essential if you work from anywhere other than your desk. Programs like Tradify connect with the accounting app Xero for a seamless user experience, while CoConstruct has an app generator that lets you show off your brand to clients and other pros.

Try before you buy

As with any business purchase, finding the best product at the best price is key for job management software. Since these products can end up being pretty pricey if you opt for customized options, it’s essential that you can find a software program that’s right for you and your business. Many web-based programs offer free trials or money-back guarantees (for example, Joblogic offers a 30 day trial period, while simPRO has a free demo), so you can try them out with little commitment and know you’re choosing the right product when all is said and done.

The post Job Management Software: Tips for Choosing the Best for Your Business appeared first on Modernize.

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Tips for Low Maintenance Landscaping You’ll Love

low maintenance landscaping

Life is busy, and it just keeps getting busier. For many of us, our backyards offer an opportunity to relax, unwind and recover after a busy day or busy week. If you’re like a lot of homeowners, the last thing you want is to have to spend your whole weekend maintaining your outdoor living spaces! We asked our landscape design expert, Janet Ennamorato of Creative Garden Designs to share some of her favorite tips to help you create a low maintenance landscaping plan that you will actually have time to relax and enjoy!

Low Maintenance Landscaping
Photo Source: 5 Easy Shrubs for Your Landscaping

Select Plants with Care

Your Landscape Designer will be able to help you select plants that will require minimal maintenance. This may include drought-tolerant plants that require less water, disease-resistant plants, or slow growing plants that will need little or no pruning. Native plants which are known to grown well without extra care are often the best choice. Using shredded mulch over all the gardens will also help minimize weed development and retain moisture in the soil so you do not need to water or weed as often.

Consider Zero-scaping

If you like a more modern look, you may want to try zero-scaping. Zero-scaping refers to creating low maintenance landscaping that includes little or no plants. Much of the landscaping is made up of rocks, gravel, mulch and other landscaping elements. Because there are no, or nearly no, plants to water or weed, zero-scaping is very low maintenance.

Invest in an Irrigation System

Another great way to cut down on maintenance is to have an irrigation system installed. Your Landscape Designer can help plan out an irrigation system customized to the specific needs of your garden, your plant selections and your lifestyle. This can all but eliminate the need to spend time watering!

low maintenance landscaping

Reduce Lawn Space

Keeping  an immaculate lawn is definitely a high maintenance endeavor.  So, reducing or eliminating lawn space is a practical way to reduce your garden maintenance! Low maintenance ground covers adjacent to lawn areas can provide the look of a lush green space without as much lawn. If you prefer to have some lawn space, try to design your landscaping to leave the lawn area as unobstructed as possible. The less time you have to spend trimming around decorative features, trees or the like in your lawn area, the better.

Ask About Fusion Landscaping

Fusion gardening is an innovative approach that brings together traditional design with contemporary, eco-friendly plants to create a landscaping plan that is easy to maintain, affordable and water preserving. Part of fusion landscaping involves managing storm run-off to preserve water. This also helps prevent damage caused by heavy rain falls.

low maintenance landscaping
Photo Source: Creative Garden Design

Use Quality Materials and Professional Services

Structures within your low maintenance landscaping plan are the other aspect that can affect maintenance. This includes things like decks, patios and walkways. It is important to have these professionally installed so they will stand the test of time, direct run-off appropriately, and need less ongoing repair. It is also important to ensure your deck builder and Landscape Designer use the best materials for holding up against  seasonal wear and tear. This may include composite or PVC for decking and high quality natural stone and color fast, quality concrete pavers from trusted suppliers.

The post Tips for Low Maintenance Landscaping You’ll Love appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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