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SDF - A Lifestyle Element

New Yorker | City dweller | blogger | solo traveler | lifestyle | photography | interior design | cuisine | social media | DDB Blog Ambassador | LUCKY Magazine Contributor

Updated: 2018-01-23T09:27:31.774-05:00


Cruise the Australian Coast and Enjoy the Vacation of Your Dreams


As far as vacationing goes, cruising is probably the best, most magical experience you can have. Go to Australia, and you’re practically guaranteed an unforgettable vacation full of adventure and great moments full of fun. But which places to visit when the continent is surrounded by water and is basically just one giant coastline? Well, we’re here to tell you about some of the best destinations and interesting places that you can visit if you want to enjoy a fun, relaxing cruise.QueenslandBrisbane, QueenslandThe many islands of the Sunshine State are perfect for all the fans of wildlife and water sports, or just for those who want to pause, take a break, and relax on one of the many sandy beaches. Queensland also has more than 200 national parks, so depending on the cruise you pick, you might have time to really indulge and explore the beautiful nature of this state. The seabird colonies on the Willis Island are a good spot for those who wish to observe wildlife, or perhaps the shores of Moreton’s Island, where you will get to spot dolphins and whales and get the chance to enjoy one of the best swimming and diving spots. If you prefer a more fast-paced environment, then definitely check out Brisbane. It offers great entertainment with its multiple bars and restaurants, but culture fans will find plenty of museums to enjoy as well. We recommend the Gallery of Modern Art. More on the south lies the Gold Coast, famous for its colorful theme parks and beach parties, so if you’re craving some urban fun, go there. Queensland is also the home of five of eleven Australia’s World Natural Heritages, and one of the Wonders of the World – the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier ReefHeart Reef, The Great Barrier ReefSo beautiful, so grand, and so enchantingly interesting that it deserves a whole mention of its own, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living organism on the planet. Big enough to be noticed from space, it has an ecosystem of its own that’s full of varied fish, plants, and other sea life. This is definitely a must-see destination, so try to find a cruise that covers it in depth. If you’re frugal and want to get the best bang for your buck, you can keep an eye out on the best cruise deals for 2018 so you could snag a spot on a cruiser and see this magical wonder. We recommend that you go diving while visiting the Great Barrier Reef if you really want to get to know it. While it’s utterly impressive from above the water, the true charm and uniqueness lie beneath the waves; it’s an explosion of color and life and it deserves to be appreciated fully. TasmaniaTasmaniaWith the nickname “Island of Inspiration,” you can already tell that Tasmania is going to be something special. From azure lakes to rainforests and tall mountains, this is a land that’s full of untouched nature and gorgeous sights. However, if you’re looking for a more cultural experience, the capital of Tasmania, Hobart, is the place where you want to be. The bustling Salamanca Market, the numerous coffee shops and restaurants, and the great Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is the largest one in the country, and features great works of art that date back to ancient Egypt and all the way to the modern times. Going on a cruise is the best way to explore a place because it allows you the opportunity to both relax and go on adventures. Treat yourself to an Australian cruise and you’re bound to come home with interesting stories to tell. [...]

5 Bathroom Trends to Explore in 2018


Remodeling your bathroom is one of the best ways to introduce a major change into your home and your life – if organized properly, this process can be completed in just a couple of days, yet its benefits are quite lasting. Even though bathrooms are usually the smallest spaces in our homes, they still deserve and require a ton of attention, and everything you invest in them will make them seem nicer, cozier and more intriguing. However, you can’t just pick up a hammer and start remodeling the bathroom without thinking about it first, which is why most people spend quite some time contemplating what needs to be done and planning how to do it adequately. In order to get the job right, you might also want to take some of the most popular bathroom trends into consideration and get inspired by other people’s work. More and more spaceBathrooms are the smallest spaces in our homes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get bigger! Increasing the size of a bathroom isn’t easy and cheap, but it’s doable, especially if your bathroom is located next to a spare bedroom or a pantry. This project will require quite some time, but it will bring amazing results for all members of your family, so be sure to consider it. However, if you realize it isn’t such a great idea, there are ways to make your bathroom seem larger, and these are always worth exploring – opting for certain colors, adding more light, decluttering regularly and installing smaller fixtures are just some of the ideas to make a small bathroom appear bigger, so be sure to explore these as well.Storage areaLarge families need lots of storage space for their clothes and personal belongings, and this is also true for the stuff they use in the bathroom as well – just imagine being surrounded by all those shampoo bottles, towels, combs and toothbrushes every single day! Adding more storage space to your bathroom will become quite popular this year, so look into installing new vanities, adding more plastic containers, utilizing every inch of free space and, after all, hiding away some of the things in other parts of your home as well. Nonetheless, before you start doing all that, please remember to declutter your bathroom and throw away everything that isn’t absolutely necessary – this way, you’ll get more space and won’t have to worry about storage anymore!Comfort and cozinessBesides being practical, bathrooms should also be quite cozy, which is a fact many people don’t pay enough attention to – they use their bathrooms just for certain activities and tend to forget about their own comfort. Luckily, this problem has a simple and straightforward solution that can help you understand the importance of coziness in your bathroom and appreciate it more than ever: a new bathtub. With lots and lots of models on the market, picking an awesome bathtub is now much simpler than before; all you need to do is browse through reliable and spacious bathtubs that will provide you with all the luxury and relaxation you need on a daily basis.New fixtures and fittingsWhile investing your time and money into large renovation projects is quite all right and bound to turn your bathroom into something spectacular, focusing on details is rather important as well. This is the reason why lots of people stick to the basics and try to introduce a more permanent change into their bathrooms by replacing fixtures and fittings. This idea seems too simple to work, but going for simplicity instead of choosing something avant-garde will become more popular this year than ever before, so think in this direction. Installing new features will take you only a day or two, but their effects will last much longer.Organic materialsRealizing that our planet is in a major problem and probably facing an ecological disaster sooner than we expect can help us understand the importance of sustainability and using eco-friendly materials day after day. This goes for all areas of your home, including the bathroom, so choosing organic environmentally-safe materials is the w[...]

Broke Abroad: What To Do If You Run Out Of Travel Money



Running out of money is every traveler’s worst nightmare. How am I going to get home? How am I going to afford a hostel? How will I party tonight without any cash?! To an average person, this problem seems trivial yet it’s the end of the world when you are alone in a foreign country. How you react may affect your life for a long time to come, which is why it’s vital not to make a mistake. To help, underneath are four options which will make the process simpler.

Define ‘Broke’

Some people say and think they have no money and their bank account says differently. Unless there is a zero, or worse a minus, then you still have the cash with which to play. The first step is to create a budget to ensure that the money goes as far as possible before it reaches its limit. Then, you have to consider any payments and purchases which are unnecessary. Living a frugal life is about questioning prices at every opportunity. Finally, shop around for the best deals and never accept a charge without haggling.


Get A Loan

Don’t dismiss this out of hand as a rash decision. The truth is that a bank loan is dangerous if you let the situation escalate. However, there are advances which may suit your needs down to the ground. If you can find one and secure it, you won’t have to deal with the emotional turmoil of coming home prematurely. Before you can apply for loan, it’s essential to figure out the pros and cons. there are many options, but a credit card with 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers is usually a fantastic backup plan. With credit, you can buy now and pay the balance back later.

Beg For A Job

Paid positions aren’t easy to come by because that isn’t the traveler lifestyle. So, you have to think about the conditions of the job before you start applying. Think about your biggest expense – is it accommodation? If so, try and find a role at a hostel which lets you work for free yet it covers the cost of a bed. The great thing about hostel work is the fact it can cut the cost of other expense too. Typically, there’s a food allowance and the guys and girls behind the bar will give you free drinks.


Plead For Help

The final option is the Bank of Mom and Dad. Sometimes, they will be willing to fund your travels and other times they won’t. All you can do is put on your best phone voice and bat your eyelids as much as possible. If you’re lucky, a rich buddy might be willing to lend you the money to keep the band together. Sadly, this technique includes a lot of begging and it isn’t good for the ego. But, a traveler has to do what a traveler has to do to see the world.

Hopefully, you’ll never need to use any of the above. If you do, be savvy and don’t negotiate a bad deal.

Active Adventurer? These Destinations Should Be on Your Bucket List!


There’s nothing wrong with lying on a beach for a week or two, and if it’s relaxation that’s just what the doctor has ordered then go ahead and kick back! However, if that’s not really your style and you much prefer to be up and doing things, chances are you’ll be on the hunt for something more active and exciting. If you want to explore, hike, bike and generally be up doing things, here are a few destinations that are well worth considering. Honshū, JapanHonshū is the main island of Japan, home to most of the country’s major cities and cultural sites including Mount Fuji, an iconic, snow-capped volcano. A walk up here can provide some of the most spectacular views, especially on a clear day. Alternatively, travel down to the Noto Peninsula, a peninsula projecting north into the Sea of Japan. Look into self-guided cycling tours in Japan where you will see dramatic coasts and seaside villages amongst other things. The perfect way to be up and moving on your vacation while viewing some breathtaking sites. Orlando, USThe home of Disney as well as thousands of other tourist attractions, if you want a holiday jam-packed with exciting things then Orlando should be on your list. Certainly not one to be lazing around on, you could visit theme parks, wildlife and animal experiences, go to shows, browse the shops and out on boats at the beach or Florida Keys. Make sure you’ve packed some comfortable footwear as you’ll be up and about doing exciting things every day that you’re there!Rome, ItalyIf submerging yourself in history and culture is your kind of thing, you won’t be disappointed in Rome. There are plenty of places to explore on foot from ancient ruins from the Spanish Steps and Coliseum to impressive modern architecture. There are galleries and museums, cathedrals, parks and much more, It will involve lots of walking, but if this is what you’re after then it could be your perfect getaway.The Outback, AustraliaThe Australian Outback is no easy place to explore, with difficult terrain, extreme heat and all kinds of animals and insects that you’ll have never seen anywhere else in the world. However if you really want to push yourself, and have an active break then where better to do so. The outback has places that are so remote, people claim to have spiritual experiences and many go to ‘find themselves.’ It’s certainly not for everyone but if you want a challenge and to do something completely different then it’s one to consider. You could go on a camel trek from an overnight experience to ten days in the wilderness. You could explore some of the National Parks, go on hikes and take some spectacular photos. There’s not a tourist attraction in site, but perhaps this is the kind of break from society that you’re looking for?[...]

When You've Had Enough of Hostels


The hostel and the budget backpacker go hand in hand the same way as peanut butter and jelly, rum and coke, or Buzz and Woody. But if you’ve been dragging your bag around with you for a while, sharing dorms with strangers and never having the privacy of your own bathroom, the hostel environment can get old.If you’ve had enough of bunk beds, doors opening at all hours, and the potential for bed bugs, then looking into alternative accommodation during your travels, just for a night or two to recharge, is not that difficult. Here are some options for when the hostel life has you completely drained.SPLASH OUTThere’s not a lot much better in life than having a fancy hotel room with a bed the size of a truck, your own bathroom and room service (maybe). Staying in a hotel will remind what it is like to be a real person and will give you the chance to unwind in luxury, even if it’s just for a night.Checking into places such as one of the Staybridge Suites Charlotte-Ballantyne, can take you away from the hectic atmosphere that the hostel inspires. While you won’t meet as many cool and interesting people, at least you will have some time to yourself, which we all need from time to time.INTO THE WOODSBeing one with nature out in the forest where artificial light is but a myth and you have nothing but the moon and stars and wind to keep you company is an experience that you won’t forget. There are beautiful landscapes all over the world where you can pitch a tent, get a fire going and camp in the heart of woodland or overlooking vast valleys.Camping out in the wilderness can be spooky, but waking up in the morning to picturesque sunrise and babbling brooks will make it all worth it. Of course, you need to ensure that you are legally allowed to camp there and that you are not trespassing on private property. And, as always, remember to leave the place exactly how you found it. LOCAL FLAVOURIf camping or luxury isn’t your thing and you want to get a real taste of the local culture, then consider looking into local residences, or homestays, that will accept travellers to stay overnight. Not only will this save you money on accommodation, but you will also be exposed to a side of the country that you don’t often witness.Staying with local families in villages will allow you to sample genuine cuisine and culture and in return, all they may ask for is a bit of help with the washing up. Some places will charge, but it is not like staying anywhere else in the world. You will learn, you will laugh, you will make connections in the most unlikely of places and have friends for the rest of your life, should you ever choose to pass through again.Hostels are a great place to meet people, but jumping from hostel to hostel makes you miss out on what else the country has to offer. Whether you need to get away from the party atmosphere and have some to yourself or merely explore the hidden secrets of the country, there are alternative options for you to find a place to sleep that might just make you never want to sleep in a bunk bed ever again.[...]

Why You NEED to Visit the Caribbean


There are many things that people associate with the Caribbean; the clear blue seas, white sandy beaches, and laid-back lifestyle are just three of them. And while it is a favourite of the rich and famous, there are still plenty of more affordable ways to visit this incredible destination. If you needed any more convincing, here are just a few more reasons why you should be moving it to the top of your travel list.Diving and SnorkellingIf you are a fan of seeing marine life in its natural habitat, there are plenty of diving and snorkelling opportunities to enjoy in the Caribbean. Just a few of the species that you have a chance of spotting include dolphins, rays, turtles, and fish of all different colours. If you have never dived before, there are plenty of schools out there offering tuition. The seas are both warm and clear, making the conditions ideal for diving.The AccommodationThe accommodation in the Caribbean is varied to suit the needs of all types of traveller. Perhaps you are looking for an exclusive hotel or something more private like the Nautilus Beach Apartments. Either way, you are bound to be impressed by the options that are available to you.The Food and DrinkWhile you are in the Caribbean, you should certainly look to indulge in some of the local cuisine. Seafood is obviously high up on the menu as you are surrounded by water! Traditional Caribbean food tends to be a blend of various different cuisines from all around the world. Famously, it tends to be on the spicy side, so prepare yourself if you are not used to this. Some classics that you should try include jerk chicken and plantain. To wash it all down, why not enjoy a nice fruity cocktail or two?Island-HoppingRather than just staying in one place, why not try travelling between a few of the different islands? There are thousands to choose from, and the choices are wide and varied. Ferries run between the different islands, and you can also rent cars on the more developed ones.The Natural BeautyWe have already mentioned this at the start, but the Caribbean really is an area of the world where natural beauty reigns supreme. Enjoying the sunset while the azure water laps around your feet isn’t an experience that you will forget in a hurry. The LifestyleThe only problem with visiting the Caribbean is that you will get so used to the lifestyle, you won’t be able to return to normal life again! The vast majority of the people are very relaxed and happy-go-lucky - it is extremely difficult not to simply go with the flow. Of course, they also know how to party when the sun goes down as well! These are just five of the reasons why the Caribbean is such an appealing destination, so why not pay a visit over here yourself to see what all the fuss is about? [...]

Taking Your Life To Bigger Heights


When it comes to taking your life higher, there’s usually no better way to do so than to travel! Unless you can travel and earn money at the same time, this is how the majority of normal people like to experience the world around them, so join the masses. We live on a beautiful planet, and seeing as much of it as we can in our lifetime is a big goal for a lot of us. So, if you’re looking to work on your bucket list for the time being, there’s no better way to enrich your experiences than trying out more of a nomadic lifestyle. Here’s some things to think about if that sounds like it could be for you. Getting Money Out of the Way FirstThe money we need to go jet setting around the globe is often the main worry. If you’re planning an around the world trip for example, it might be time to set it back until you’ve got all the necessary funds and then a little more ( has a good guide for this). However, if you’re in debt, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend more money on things that aren’t essential to your life, but at the same time getting away from it all sounds incredible, doesn’t it? To help soothe over such money worries like this, whether your credit card bills are overlapping or your electricity was just turned off, you can help yourself by checking out This is a good way to pool your resources together and make any debt less of a mountain to get to the top of. This post is here to give advice after all!Take it a Bit at a TimeIf you’re looking to cross the oceans as soon as you start off with your new plans, you may be at bit of a loss. So, it’s time to downsize your plans whilst saving for the bigger options, and realize you can have as many adventures in your own nation. Make sure you’ve already visited all the local landmarks there are around you. If you have, it’s time to take a road trip, which are always a lot of fun. Grab a friend and pack some bedding in the trunk, collect the snacks you can’t live without and go on a tour of the cities and states around you. You never know what hidden gems you can find in your own country, Keep an Eye Out for DealsThis is a key point you’ll need to get used to, as prices can vary all over the place according to the time of the year, and you might just have to wait a little longer for that already long awaited trip to Venice! Get yourself an account with all the travel agents you can and then look around!Making sure you can afford travel whilst also living your best life isn’t impossible to do![...]

The Most Popular Holiday Meals in Australia


Just add some light-hearted humour and booze and you’ve pretty much got yourself a merry little Australian holiday. Far from being sticklers for tradition, a lot of Aussies love to have a mix of tastes and spices in their meals, especially when the holidays come and it’s time to indulge in good food and good company. Still, some dishes are incredibly popular and can be found on the plates of most Aussies who like to celebrate, and as it turns out – these are pretty delicious meals. If you like our friends from the Down Under, here’s a list of things that they like to prepare with some ideas on how you could spice up your own holiday menu.Sweet, boozy puddingBrought to Australia by the British, pudding is one sweet, delightfully odd dish that can just melt in your mouth if you prepare it well. Their secret? A mix of sultanas, figs, almonds, and of course always a dash of rum or brandy to give it a softer texture. Ginger and cinnamon are the best spices to add, but what really makes it special is orange or lemon juice. The pudding will get a rich, zesty tang and once you serve it with custard it will have the perfect blend of sweetness, spice, and just a hint of sour. Pro tip if you’re serving it to kids: replace custard with ice cream.Anzac biscuitsArguably one of Australia’s most important holidays, the ANZAC day celebrates the bravery of Australian and New Zealand soldiers during the World War I and II. Golden, crispy, and made from various oats, Anzac biscuits are the perfect treat for anyone with a sweet tooth. Add some coconut, make sure you’ve got plenty of butter, and add golden syrup into the batter for some delicious goodness. The real trick to this recipe is to keep it simple: you may experiment if you like, but then they won’t be real Anzac biscuits. Flour, desiccated coconut, golden syrup, butter, oats, and bicarb – that is all. Bake for 15-18 minutes, no more, no less. Smokey roast ham for ChristmasWho doesn’t love a good roast ham for Christmas? Apricot and honey mustard glazed, served with roasted apples, and left in the oven for at least two hours, this is one mouth-watering meal that will make your entire house smell delicious. Want a little secret ingredient to spice it up a bit? Cloves. Just stick a few into the ham itself before roasting, then remove when done. It’s very important to prepare it in a non-stick roasting dish like Anolon, especially if you like to use the melted juices from the ham as a sauce. This way you’ll make sure the ham is roasted evenly and that the taste is still deliciously smoky and juicy when done. Seafood and cold meatsPerhaps an odd Christmas tradition if you’re not used to Australian weather, but seafood, especially prawns, are quite popular. Barbecue fresh prawns and serve them with cold meats and salad and you’ve got a pretty delicious, light meal that won’t sit heavy on your stomach. Want to make them crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside? The trick is to dry brine them. Let them sit in kosher salt for a bit before roasting them, and you’ll love the result. There we go, and hey, if you really want to feel like an Aussie, you can never go wrong with simple BBQ. Throw it all on the rack, barbecue it, and enjoy a few beers as you eat delicious meat."Zara Lewis is a regular contributor at, a traveller and a mother to two. Originally from Chicago, she found her place in the sun in Perth, Australia. Passionate about creating a better world for the generations to come, she enjoys sharing her knowledge, experience (and recipes) with others."[...]

Explore the Mysterious Side of New York


New York City is a bustling, dazzling city with many beautiful and stunning famous landmarks. Its people are stylish, confident, and perpetually on the go. This is the idea that most people have of New York, and it’s a pretty accurate one. NYC is all these things, but what you may not know is that the city also has a mysterious side. Here are some of New York’s most intriguing secrets.Paranormal Activity In The VillageGreenwich Village on the west side of Lower Manhattan is known for being an artists’ haven. It is for its quirky, bohemian vibe, and is home to many art galleries, quaint boutiques, and jazz lounges, as well as the ghosts of New York City. Dating all the way back to the 16th century, the Village has a rich and complex history. It was the scene of several tragic events, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911. Today, it is the site of many reported hauntings and paranormal activity.If you want to learn more about the city’s dark and fascinating history, New York ghost tours are absolutely the way to go. On these nightly walking tours, you will be led through the streets and historic buildings of Greenwich Village by a knowledgeable and engaging tour guide, who will tell you all about reported sightings in the area. These aren’t just made up ghost stories; these are actual accounts backed up by witnesses and research.Clandestine Train PlatformsThese days, the rich and famous all use private jets and decoys to escape quickly from the public eye. Back in the day, private train stations actually existed to help them get in and out of places without being seen. One such station is Track 61, a secret train platform buried under the historic Waldorf Astoria. Renowned VIPs such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Andy Warhol used this platform to exit and enter the hotel virtually unnoticed. Today, the train tracks are closed to public, but if you look right out of the window of certain Metro-North trains as you depart, you might just catch a glimpse.Spooky Marble CemeteriesTucked away in the East Village is the oldest public non-sectarian cemetery in NYC, the New York City Marble Cemetery. Also known as the Second Avenue Cemetery, it was incorporated in 1831, with most of the interments taking place between then and 1870. The deceased are all in below ground vaults made of solid white Tuckahoe marble, and there are no gravestones, only an eerie sense of calm pervading the place. If you'd like to go on a tour, they are usually only conducted once a month. But if you have unconventional tastes, you could always rent the place out and host a garden party—or even a wedding.These are just some of the mysterious secrets and intriguing spots that can be found on almost every corner in New York. Everywhere you go in this vast and multifaceted city, you can unearth a wealth of history and fascinating stories from the past. The next time you visit, be sure to make time to visit some of these sites along with the usual popular tourist attractions.[...]

Four Life-Changing Things That Could Be Written In The Stars For This Year


We are well into the flow with January now, and many of us might be flagging behind with our new year’s resolutions, or perhaps soldiering on through. Realistically, we can often set ourselves goals that can be too much to achieve in such a short space of time. But giving yourself the entire year could be a better way to track any changes or certainly get you to where you want to be. I wanted to share with you four life-changing things that could be written in the stars for you this year. Maybe it might inspire you to add some of these goals to your own list and journey. Moving home or buying your first placeIt can often feel like you are overly reaching for the stars when you start to think about moving home or buying your first place. It is one of the biggest purchases you make in your lifetime, and even if you have bought before, the process can still be overwhelming and stressful. Not only do you have to think about saving enough money, finding the right property, but the actual moving side of thing can be equally just as daunting. So it is always advisable to research local movers who can then help you with some of the bigger tasks. Especially when it comes to transporting items and the heavy lifting. However, I think everyone will agree that once you get the keys to your new place, it is pretty amazing. A promotion or a career changeYou could consider a promotion or career change as being a life-changing event for the year ahead. January always sparks inspiration and motivation to make changes such as these, as you start to plan out the next twelve months ahead. You may be feeling unfulfilled in our role, perhaps want more earning potential, or feel that some of your attributes and skills may be more useful in other career options. The best advice is to figure out what you want to do, and then make a plan to make it your reality. Starting a familyAnother big decision for the year ahead could be starting a family. Deciding you want a baby or to add to your family is definitely not a decision to take lightly. So there should be no surprise that it is deemed as life-changing. You need to figure out whether the dynamics of your life will work or be easily changed to accomodate. You need to decide on the financial impact a baby will have, and if you can make it happen in regards to having enough space in your home. However, it can also be a long process, so deciding sooner rather than later can help you get your body on track and feeling at your most healthiest. Change your lifestyleFinally, deciding that you want to change your lifestyle may sound like a simple thing to do, but the benefits and impact on your life can be dramatic. Things like changing your diet to plant based or going vegetarian or gluten free can really make a difference to your weight and how you feel. Exercising more can actually have a real good impact on your health, and give you more energy and help you sleep at night. The benefits far outweigh the negatives, and it could certainly be a life-changing year ahead. I hope that this has inspired you to consider some of the things you could do to your life this year.[...]

Does The Neigborhood You Live In Define You?


It's not something we always think about, but how does the neighborhood you live in affect you? Of course, it's that nature vs. nurture debate when it comes to issues like raising our children, but for those who live far away from other people, or live the nomadic life, how much importance should be placed on the neighborhood in terms of how it makes the living experience? Let's address some of the key factors that should be considered, and whether you are looking to move, or you are planning on setting up a new life in a new place, here are some things that you should carry at the forefront of your mind.The Safety ConcernsNot just in terms of the crime rate, but do the people as a whole have a sensible approach to tackling and preventing crime in the neighborhood? The idea of a neighborhood watch program is always a great thing to keep an eye out for, but it's not always something that we see nowadays. There are close-knit communities who still have them in place, and when you factor in something like the cost of a house in a specific neighborhood, they might have been an influx of people moving there because of it being so cheap. But with it being so cheap, it does mean that there may be a sense of suspicion when it comes to your neighbors. Likewise, if you go to an area where the living costs are high, there may be more of a community spirit to help protect themselves. And if you do move to an expensive or wealthy neighborhood, the chances are that there could be high crime anyway. It is always beneficial to bear these things in mind when you do move to a new neighborhood, but it also doesn't hurt to have additional safety concerns. It is common sense to have some home security set up, and a company like Suddenlink has plenty of home security options for the average person. The big concern about moving to any new neighborhood is the factor of the unknown. There are so many aspects of the neighborhood that we don't really know, even if we've been there quite a lot to visit friends or family. So it's always beneficial to get the real opinions of the people that live in the neighborhood, and this will give you a better understanding of the place and how it feels to live with regards to every aspect, not just crime.The Health ImpactAn oft-overlooked aspect of urban living now is the impacts, positive and negative, on our health. Because of the so-called urban sprawl, it's common for towns and cities that were not crowded 10, 15, or 20 years ago, to be oversaturated, as can be witnessed with more neighborhoods being built in formerly rural areas, as well as high rise buildings. And it's this feeling of being hemmed in that can have a major effect on our health, not just in a physical sense, but a mental one too. Lots of people choose to move out to the country to get the benefits of rural living but still commute into the city to work. This can have pros and cons attached to it. The inevitable con with living so far away is the act of commuting itself. This can have a detrimental effect on anyone's health, so it's vital that when you pick a neighborhood to live in that it gives you that feeling of escape from the urban lifestyle that is so unhealthy now. Not only this, but if you are living in an urban landscape and raising children, there can be a negative impact on their mental health in one respect, because of the pressures you face in terms of high living costs, the stresses of work, and so forth. But also, there are positives for an urban setting for your children, in regards to how they develop social skills and urban living as shown to be much better for children to develop socially. And so, if you decide that living in a more rural area is better for you and your family in terms of finances, as well as quality of life, what do you need to conside[...]

Home Builder Guide: Saw Selection


The price of a scroll saw typically ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on the various factors including size, features and add-ons. However, the most expensive scroll saw is not necessarily the best scroll saw. In fact, as a beginner, you should look for a decent scroll saws that costs no more than $200. While these relatively inexpensive scroll saws may lack extra features and add-ons such as dust blower/collector, they are generally adequate for most scrolling projects. Once you learn how to use the saw properly, you can sell it and upgrade.Important FeaturesAccording to many scroll saw reviews, one of the important features that you should consider as a factory option when choosing your first scroll saw is the variable speed control. This is an important feature, especially for a beginner. With that feature, you would be able to slow down your scroll saw, allowing you to make precise and accurate cuts without leaving burn marks on your projects. Unfortunately, you cannot add this feature as an aftermarket accessory. Another key feature to consider is the blade system. Some scroll saws take "pin-end" blades while others take regular "flat" blades. Each of these blades has its own advantages and disadvantages. The pin-head blade system, for example, has no clamp to work, making it easy to change and tension the blade. Because of this, it is popular among people who prefer not to change or tension the blade. However, the pin-head blade system lacks blade variety and cannot slip through very small holes, limiting its application. Moreover, the metal of the pin-end blade system has to be thick in order to receive the pin. Unfortunately, a thick blade creates several potential problems. Firstly, such a blade will break more easily on tight turns. Secondly, it cannot fit through small holes, limiting its capability.Selecting the Best Scroll Saw BladesA brand new scroll saw typically comes with a few sample blades. Often times, sample blades are of an inferior quality. Put another way, sample blades almost always have a short lifespan. For this reason, you should find a manufacturer that produces quality blades. The best way to do that is to experiment with various brands. In terms of size, blades range from 3/0 to 12, starting from the smallest to the largest. The smallest blades, which can be as small as a strand of human hair, are used for the finest work. They include 3/0, 2/0 and 1/0. The larger blades, on the other hand, are ideal for cutting thick and hard materials, such as ¾" stacked or unstacked material. The common types of blades of blades available on the market include non-reverse, double-tooth, skip-tooth and reverse-tooth blades.Tensioning the Blade You should learn how to tension your blade properly. Unfortunately, this is something that you will have to learn by yourself. If your blade appears blurry when the saw is running, you should tension it properly. When properly tensioned, the blade should appear as a single black line when the saw is running. In general, if the blade is too loose, it will pop out of the clamp. On the other, if it is too tight, it will break often. Scroll Saw Project IdeasAs a beginner, you do not necessarily need patterns to have fun with your scroll saw. You can begin by learning how to make simple scroll saw cuts including straight and angled cuts. To cut a pattern, you would need to affix it to a wood stock using a spray adhesive such as 3M 77 spray adhesive. If you need to make an inside cut, use a drill bit that is slightly larger than the blade to drill through the stock, preferably close to a corner. Then, thread the blade up through the hole and make your cut.Cutting and Safety TipsWhen using a scroll saw, allow the blade to do the cutting. In[...]

Little Luxuries That Will Give Your Home The Boost It Needs


Every home needs a little luxury. Whether your home is a tiny cottage with just three or four rooms or a larger property with so many rooms that you lose count, it should have a few luxurious features to it. After all, everyone deserves a home that makes them feel special, don’t they?For the most part, our homes are functional spaces; places where we sleep, eat and live, but that is not all that they can be. It’s amazing how with a few simple updates to your home, you can create a space that is wonderfully opulent and luxurious.Want to know what you can do to give your home that little luxury boost that it needs? Below are some simple and affordable ideas for every room in the house…In the hallway:For a sense of tranquillity and calmness the moment that you walk through the door add a scent machine from and use a relaxing oil, such as a lavender oil, for instance.To bring life to the space, add an indoor pot plant or two. This might seem like a simple update, but it’s amazing how much impact one small pot plant can have.For the bathroom:Replace any old towels with new, plush ones. There’s nothing more luxurious than getting out of the bath or shower to a warm, snuggly towel. For an added boost of opulence, consider adding a towel robe and a pair of slippers, like you would get at a spa.Investing in luxurious bath products can also be a great way to create a more opulent vibe in your bathroom. From bath bombs and bath salts to body creams and foot scrubs, a selection of pampering products can make a big difference to the look and feel of your bathroom.In the bedroom:To overhaul your bedroom and create a more luxurious-looking space, consider investing in some new bedding. Pick the design that you opt for carefully, and make sure that whatever you go for, it is a good fit for the design and style of the room, as well as the furniture.Layer your lighting. There is nothing less relaxing and tranquil than overly bright, overhead lighting. That’s why, if possible, it is a good idea to consider layering your lighting, so that you can make your bedroom into a more calm and tranquil space.For the living room:If you have hard flooring in your living room, adding a faux fur sheepskin rug can be a great way to add a sense of additional opulence. There’s something about layering various textures, that helps to create a more luxurious-looking space.Adding a scented candle, such as a Yankee Candle, can also be a great way to add a little extra luxury to your living room. Just make sure to select a scent that helps to relax you, and will help you to unwind at the end of a long and stressful day.There you have it, a few ideas for little luxuries that you can use to give your home that boost that it needs.[...]

French Flavours in the South Pacific: French Polynesia – A Land of Escape


How do you feel when you hear names like Tahiti, Bora Bora, Taha'a, Huahine or Tikehau? Most people imagine blue waters, white sandy beaches, exotic cocktails and only love and happiness on their mind. If this description comes to you like a breath of fresh air, then you simply must take a week off and fly to the paradise on earth that is French Polynesia. Its numerous islands offer pristine vacation experiences for people of all lifestyles and expectations. No matter whether you’re travelling with your family looking for an adventure or only with your better half looking to spend a romantic week, French Polynesia has it all. Welcome to the Blue Lagoon One of the first things people notice even before they touch the French Polynesian ground is the picture-perfect water and beaches. The blue waters of the lagoons are especially breathtaking and to many people, it seems like they stepped into a photoshopped travel agency ad. However, the water is unbelievably blue because of the breaking of the light waves through water at just the right angle and it looks like that all year round. It is spotted with a few darker patches, but those are actually the most interesting parts: the coral reefs. You can grab your snorkel and drift through the hundreds of tropical fish, colourful clams and interesting corals. Fun family escape French Polynesia also offers fun family vacation options. Mainly Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine and Raiatea islands have a variety of experiences and accommodations appropriate for families with kids. These islands offer its visitors larger bungalows fit for families and plenty of land and sea activities both kids and adults will love. And when the adults want to steal a few hours, many resorts have a kids’ club or even a nanny that can provide parents with some alone time. Escape for a week of romance The most romantic of the 118 islands is certainly Bora Bora. It offers everything two people in love need: beautiful views, cosy amenities and most of all, privacy. All of these make Bora Bora a top destination for romance lovers. Also, if you visit this island, don’t miss the chance to book a stay in an overwater bungalow. They are indeed a bit more expensive, but they offer such a unique experience that they are really worth every extra dollar. Resorts that offer OWBs specialise in romance and each has their unique blend of romantic experiences you can try out with your significant other. For instance, the beautiful InterContinental Bora Bora resort offers relaxing spa treatments that include balneotherapy and thalassotherapy that will rejuvenate both your body and mind and make your trip an unforgettable experience. Tropical wedding? Many couples come to French Polynesia to tie the knot in one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world. Most of the resorts in Tahiti and Bora Bora have a chapel for ceremonies. You can go for a simple wedding at the resort or try something more luxe with a catamaran wedding or a traditional ceremony on a private beach with dancers and musicians. Later, you can enjoy a romantic lagoon view with your new spouse while having amazing food and great French wines. And of course, breakfast in bed is a must. So, if you’re tired of your grey everyday routine and just need a few days to unwind with your loved one(s), opt for French Polynesia. You’re guaranteed to have the time of your life and return rejuvenated and full of amazing memories and experiences. About the author Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carrie[...]

Fun Ways To See The World


Traveling is an exciting and enriching experience. Of course, this doesn’t mean traveling will feel that way all the time. If you visit the same place or same type of place too many times then your annual vacation is going to start feeling a little stale. There are more ways to travel, however, than simply jetting off to some quaint little island and lying on a sun lounger for two weeks. Here are some fun ways to see the world that might get you excited about traveling again.A cruise ship.No, this isn’t a mode of transport reserved for wealthy retirees. Sailing the ocean on a beautiful cruise liner is one of the best possible ways to travel. Not only are you staying in a plush hotel but a mobile hotel that can take you to limitless locations. Restricting yourself to one place for a vacation is a missed opportunity. This year, you should be more adventurous and set sail to multiple destinations in one trip. Plus, it’s a really fun way to see the world. Who doesn’t want to pull into some beautiful harbor on a majestic cruise ship? You can even travel on a freighter cruise if you want a quirkier mode of sea-based transport.This is the best way to travel and there’s no doubt about it. You can enjoy the luxuries of a cruise ship for a few days and then stop off at a wonderful destination to both enjoy a break on dry land and experience a brand new part of the world. It’s essentially a way to squeeze several vacations into one vacation. Of course, you should check out these money saving tips by Allcruisehotels to ensure that you’re saving as much money as possible when you book your cruise. You want to ensure you have as much money available to buy souvenirs and other fun things at the places you visit.A road trip.There’s nothing quite like a road trip if you’re looking to travel in style. Hitting the open road is so much fun in itself that the destination almost doesn’t matter. Much like the previous suggestion on this list, traveling by road puts all of the power in your hands. You don’t have to merely visit one place; your journey could take you to multiple destinations on a rollercoaster ride of a vacation. Take a campervan on your travels and you’ll be able to live on the road as you travel. Whether you’re on a trip with your family or friends, there’s some cozy and thrilling about the idea of heading on a road-based adventure.A house-swap.A final idea for those of you struggling to think of new ways to travel this year is to house-swap online. There don’t have to be any limits on the destination you choose to visit this year if you agree to swap homes with someone on the other side of the world. Once you take the cost of accommodation (and possibly even food if the fridge is stocked) out of the picture, traveling becomes much cheaper. This could give you the opportunity to travel to somewhere you have always wanted to visit but were worried you didn’t have the funds to do so.[...]

Utilize Your Home


At this time of year, it’s safe to say that most of us could use a little extra money, and f you’re lucky enough to own your own home, then you have endless opportunities to make money for the things you’re passionate about, whether that’s traveling, fashion, family or even your home itself. You see, when you have a home, you (hopefully) have an appreciating asset, but you also have something that you can leverage to bring in a little extra cash.So, if you’re looking to boost your income potential right now, and you have your own property, here are a few things you can do to turn the lace into a money-spinner:Become a Host on AirbnbIf you haven’t heard of it already (where have you been?), Airbnb is a fantastic website which enables property owners to rent out their space, whether it be a single room or the whole property, to individuals who are looking for a comfy place to stay while they’re traveling or spending a short time away from their home for whatever reason.If your home is clean, attractive and in a good location, then you could make lots of money renting out a room. If you aren’t comfortable having people stay with you, then even if you just rent out the space while you yourself are away on vacation or whatever, you could make a decent amount of money, So sign up now!Become a Filming LocationAnother way to turn your home into an extra source of income is by registering with one of the many location agencies out there. What’s a location agency? It’s exactly what it sounds like - an agency for filming locations. Just like actors go through agencies to find work, property owners can go through agents to find ‘work’. If a production requires a home with a certain look or a photographer needs a particular place for a shoot, they will hit these agencies up, and they will pay hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars a day for the privilege. Obviously, you’re never guaranteed any income when you sign with a location agency, but if you’re willing to have a crew over and you'd like to potentially meet with celebrities, there’s nothing to lose by making your place available.Rent a RoomOf course, one of the easiest and most consistent ways of making money from your home is by renting it out to a roommate. The obvious downside of this is that you will have to share your space with others, but since they could help you pay your mortgage off and have a lot more fun it’s worth considering, Just make sure that you take the time to really get to know and thoroughly vet anyone who’s interested in living with you before you let them in.Mortgage RefinancingThis is something that you should never jump into without careful consideration, but if you need some ready cash to start a business or renovate your home, cash-out mortgage refinancing is a relatively fast and simple way of spinning money from your home. Of course, unlike many of the other examples in this post, it is money that you will need to pay back with interest, but the terms are often better than you’d get elsewhere and you’re more likely to have your application approved because you have an asset to secure your loan against.Turn Your Drive Into DollarsIf you live in a prime location - a place where lots of people will visit often for either work or pleasure, then you could make thousands of dollars annually by renting out your driveway to people who are looking for a safe, affordable place to park. These kind of places are becoming increasingly difficult to find, so if you really do live in a place where parking is in high demand, you should have no trouble at all generating a regular source of revenue.Turn Your Garage [...]

Is Your Home Safe?


One of the most important possessions you will ever have is a home. It is the place we seek sanctuary and shelter at the end of each day, it is where we eat our meals and raise our family. But have you checked lately how safe your home really is? Understand your electrics Main SwitchYour consumer unit contains a main switch which lets you turn off the electrical supply to the home. This is crucial for if an emergency ever occurs where you have to turn the electrics off, such as a fire or if you are having work done in the Home. FuseMost homes will have a rewireable fuse which you can disconnect in order to prevent danger. When a fuse overheats or overloads it will get hotter until it melts, which can cause a fire in your home. The good thing is that when a fuse melts, it will break the circuit and the electrics will go off. Circuit-breakersA circuit breaker is similar to a fuse box but is more precise. When they trip due to a fault, they will switch off the circuit to prevent damage.Residual current devices (RCD)Residual current devices are used as a tool to prevent you from being seriously injured by electricity if you touch a live or bare wire. You can find more about these here: how old your wiring isOne of the biggest causes of fires in the home is faulty and old electricals. Ideally you will want to have regular checks to make sure that your electrics are performing well and they are still safe to have in the home. Keeping your electrics safe:-check sockets and plugs for buzzing, burn marks and heat. Any of these could be a sign you need to update your plugs. -Never pull a plug out of the socket by the cable, you could be putting strain on the cable and this may cause a damage to occur between the connection of the socket and cable. -Make sure any plug has a safety mark on it -If you find a damaged cable, replace it immediately. You do not want to risk touching a live wire and sustaining an electric shock. Try to be aware of how many plug sockets you have in your home. With today’s technology, it is understandable that you may have several machines, devices, consoles and other gadgets plugged in at one time, but you need to stay aware that the more you have plugged in, the higher the risk of a fire. Try your best to stick to 4 things per room if possible. Kitchen SafetyWater and electricity aren’t friends. If you are plugging in appliance, make sure you keep them away from your sink. Bathroom safetyWith us often having wet skin in the bathroom, our bodies have a reduced resistance to electricity- meaning there is much more danger of you hurting yourself seriously and even fatally from an electric shock. Ideally, keep everything electrical away from the bathroom apart from the essentials. Garden SafetyLawn mowers are great devices which help take our gardening to the next level, however there is a much higher risk of us hurting ourselves outdoors. Don’t stop using your lawn mower, just avoid using it when wet. If you are installing camera or lights from, make sure you don’t have any cables lose in the garden. [...]

How To Look Younger - 7 Easy Steps


There’s one certainty in life and that is that every day you get older. Getting older should be seen as a positive rather than a negative, as age brings wisdom and the feeling of contentment. Sometimes we may not like the way that age shows in our appearance.Luckily there are plenty of ways to help combat the signs of aging and although you can’t turn back time, you can help slow the process of aging showing in your appearance. These tips will help you present a more youthful image.HairAs we age the texture of our hair changes. The appearance of white hairs are a frustrating part of aging which happens to most of us. To hide grey hairs consider visiting a salon for professional hair colouring. Sometimes your grey roots can reappear after only a short time so unless you have an unlimited budget that allows you to visit a salon every couple of weeks, purchase a root concealer to extend your salon visits and save you money! Often it is advised to go a couple of shades lighter when you get older, this brightens your skin. Get advice from your hairdresser when choosing a hairstyle and don’t stick to styles that you were happy with in your younger days.BrowsYour eyebrows frame your face and draw attention to your eyes. A well shaped and maintained brow can take years off you. Don’t be tempted to pluck too much, as your eyebrows may never grow back. Salons offer lots of treatments relating to getting the perfect brow! SkinMoisturise, moisturise and moisturise! Our skin tends to become drier as we age, which leads to fine lines and wrinkles. It’s essential to replace lost moisture both on our faces and bodies, Daily. Concentrate on your neck and chest area, which is where aging tends to show first. ClothesWearing the wrong clothes is one of the main causes of someone looking older than they actually are. Just because you’re getting older, it doesn’t mean that you have to start wearing clothes that your granny would wear! You can still be fashionable with a few tweaks here and there. If you’re struggling to find your style, consider asking a personal shopper for assistance.HandsDon’t neglect caring for your hands, as age shows on your hands more than anywhere else if they are not cared for. Invest in a really good hand cream and pop a travel sized version in your handbag so that you can reapply frequently. DietYou are what you eat, is never more important as when we age. If you eat a healthy diet then you will feel healthier and have more energy. A diet rich in fruit and vegetables does wonders for your skin too.ExerciseAs we age our bodies require a little more maintenance to keep aches, pains and excess weight at bay. Regular exercise will help to keep our bodies healthy and supple, which in turn radiates a youthful appearance. The key is to find a form of exercise that you love and stick with it. Plans can be found on Pinterest, which you can adapt to your own needs [...]

5 Ways To Add Style to Your Functional Home


There some things you add to your home that are there for style, while others are purely functional; they’re there to do a job. However, you don’t need to think of these two as being completely independent of one another. It’s sometimes possible to have functional items that also bring a touch of style to proceedings. Below, we take a look at five ways you can make your home look terrific without losing any of the conveniences we all need.On the Wall It’s not always the big things in the house that grab all the attention. Life, as they say, exists in the small details, after all. Things like your clocks, coat racks, shelving, and kitchen utensils will all be on the wall, but they don’t have just to do their job and nothing more. There’s real scope to make these items an eye-catching aspect of the home. A unique clock, maybe vintage, and a coat rack that doubles up as an attractive eyepiece will both add a sense of style to things that are usually just there “to do a job’.Staying Warm, Keeping CoolYour home observes the seasons just like the rest of the world. In the winter, you want a cosy home; in the summer, you want to keep it cool and comfortable. Indeed, it can feel like this is the only important thing, especially when the weather outside is living up to its season! For the warm months, take a look at ceiling fans for large rooms; they’ll look great, and will also be the most important item in the house. In the winter, there’s nothing better than staying warm in front of a roaring log fire. Accent ChairsYou might decide to buy all your furniture from one store, and in one style. But a room that only has one style of sofa and chairs tends to look bland. You can liven up your living room areas by adding an accent, vintage chair. If there’s only one, it’ll complement the rest of your furniture well. Take a look at flea markets and second-hand websites, and add a beautiful chair which, of course, can also be used for seating. In the BathroomBathrooms are funny things. We spend next to no time in there, there’s nothing in there that doesn’t serve a purpose; and yet, it’s considered one of the most important rooms in the house. As such, it’s worth making an effort to ensure they look good. Pay particular attention to the taps, sink area, and bathtub/shower. Who knew function could look so good?Golden Rule: ThinkUltimately, when it comes to adding style to your home, it’s important to always have the golden rule at the forefront of your mind: think! For everything you need, there will be many options. Have a look at what’s available, and choose an item that best suits your overall decor design. When it comes to your home, you’ll never regret spending a little bit looking over your options.[...]

Aim for the Stars


Every travel needs inspiration. Some travel to follow the sun. Others travel to ski down the snowy slopes of a mountain. When you go somewhere, you need a reason for your trip. In the countdown to the festive season, is there a better reason to travel than to follow the stars? After all, it’s the Star of Bethlehem that inspired the three wise men to travel to Jerusalem where they found Jesus. There is, nowadays, a variety of different kinds of star, and not all of them shine in the sky at night to celebrate the spirit of Christmas. But all of a certain panache, shine, and magnificence in common, which are excellent reasons to take the road and visit some of the most star-filled regions in the USA. In short, jump in the car and prepare yourself to go stargazing in some of the most beautiful and culturally rich places in the country.  Space Center HoustonDeep into spaceYou can’t talk about stargazing without mentioning the Space Center in Houston, the official visitors center of NASA’s Johnson space center. As it’s a big place, make sure to arrive early because you could spend an entire day wandering around with your head in the stars. Make sure to follow both tours, if possible, as you can get to see both the astronaut training facility and the historic mission control room from Apollo 13. If you go with young children, you might find that skipping some shows is for the best, as complex exhibitions simply don’t work for kids. Fortunately, there’s plenty to see and do to keep people of all ages entertained! And what better way to conclude your trip that by staying at the Best Western Premier Energy Corridor in Greater Houston? You can relax without the constant buzz of the town around you. The singing stars of the USIf you’re a fan of music, you need to travel through the music history of the States, from Minneapolis where you can hear a particular brand of heavy synth funk  – think Prince – to Athens in Georgia to see the Music Hall of Fall in downtown Macon. There’s a lot to love, especially if you know your music history. If you need a little help to get by, head to the Bronx and dive into the magical universe of hip-hop with one of their renowned guided tours. Follow the stars of the big screenFinally, for every cinema lover, there’s an iconic landscape not to miss. You can head to the abandoned textiles town of Henry River Mill village in North Carolina to find some of the shots of Hunger Games. If you prefer old classics, try visiting the Timberline Lodge in Oregon where the exterior and aerial shots of The Shining were filmed. It’s impossible not to feel the creepy atmosphere grow on you! The Shining, corridor In short, all you need to do is to pick your favorite kind of stars and to jump in the car to visit it. Whether you’re an astronomy enthusiast or you love the proper sound of old school music, there’s a star-infused trip waiting just for you. [...]

Hotels, Hotels Everywhere: The Art Of Choosing The Perfect One!


There is a common misconception that the hardest part of planning any trip is choosing the destination. However, often one of the most complicated parts of planning a trip anywhere is choosing the accommodation. The issue with accommodation is knowing how to book the right place.While having plenty of choices is great, when it comes to hotels it can become somewhat overwhelming. There is always going to be a lot of hotels to choose from, so having a process in place that helps to make selecting the right one easier is important.Below are some tips and suggestions for ways that you can make the process of choosing a hotel for your next trip easier and less stressful.Focus on locationThey say that it’s the location that makes a hotel, and they couldn’t be more right. Believe it or not, it’s the location of a hotel that makes it. The fact is that when it comes to booking a hotel for any trip, it is important to focus on the location and ensure that you set your hotel search up to only show you hotels within a set location of where you are going, such as one mile. You can also use online search tools to select options like ‘only show hotels near a beach’ or ‘only show accommodation with a restaurant’. Little things like this can make a big difference when it comes to finding the right accommodation.Read reviewsBefore choosing to book any accommodation, it is important to take the time to read reviews about the places that you are considering. Say, for instance, you are planning a trip to Zambia and are considering staying at Protea Hotel Lusaka. It’s important to take the time to do your research and read up about the hotel, to make sure that it is a good fit for you and your travel needs, as well as anyone else who you are travelling with. Before you book any accommodation, it is wise to ensure that you know what kind of place it is, and what other people have said about it in the past.Know what you wantIt never hurts to know what you want. When it comes to booking accommodation for a trip, it is important to make sure that you know what you want from where you are staying. Write a list of the things that you want your accommodation to have, such as en-suite bathrooms, access to a swimming pool, and complimentary breakfast, and only look at hotels that offer these options. If you know what kind of place you want to stay in, and where you want your accommodation to be located in comparison to everything else, then you can ensure that you end up in the kind of hotel that you want to be in, and enjoy your trip more as a result.When it comes to choosing the perfect hotel to suit your travel needs, it’s important to take note of the tips above and implement them, to make it easier to find and book the ideal hotel.[...]

Interior Design That'll Make Your Home Look Sublime


Everybody wants a home as pretty as the ones they see on renovation-based TV shows. We all want the sparkling makeover that seems to turn a bog-standard house into a palace. But that’d cost a fortune, surely? Well, it depends on how much effort you’re willing to put into your renovation. If you’re willing to put time into making small changes to your home by putting your DIY hat on then you could entirely transform your property’s interior. Here are some great pointers that will show you the way.Minimalism is everything.The fantastic thing about minimalism is that it never goes out of style. How could it? The essence of a minimalistic house is that it reduces clutter and maximizes space. That’s a concept that’ll never tire because everybody wants to feel comfortable in their home. And it doesn’t have to be costly to make your home look minimalistic. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Clearing out your house of all the old possessions you no longer need could make you money to go towards improving the rest of your property; some of your old things might still be valuable.The goal of designing your home in a minimalistic way is to get rid of the excess so that the important aspects of a room can shine. You should always aim to have one enticing focal point. For example, the living room might be furnished with a beautiful chandelier or the kitchen might be furnished with stunning cabinets and countertops. You don’t have to fill your room with excess things to make it look nice; the small details can make all the difference. Repaint some walls, cupboards, and doors to help freshen up the aesthetic of your humble abode. You’ll be surprised by the difference a minimal vibe could make to the feel of your household.You need to focus on the bedroom.Interior design has to be more than surface-level. It has to make your home feel cozy as well as simply looking appealing. When you spruce up your house, the goal has to be a comfier abode to call your own. That’s why you should divert your attention to the bedroom. This should be the coziest room in the house. How can a property be your home if you don’t have a warm and inviting space to enjoy at the end of a long day? You should use candles and warm lighting to improve the vibe of your bedroom.Of course, a bedroom is nothing without a comfortable bed. Yes, it’s nice to have pretty pillows and duvet covers, but what about the practicality of your bed? You need a good sleep to feel cozy and happy in your home. However, getting 8 hours of rest every night isn’t enough to achieve that. You might want to look into getting an Amerisleep mattress because memory foam bedding can definitely help to give you a soft yet supportive night’s sleep. We all want to sleep in a bed that’s warm and cozy but you need to think about more than surface-level comfort. If you wake up with aches and pains then you really ought to consider whether a bad mattress might be the culprit. Remember, when renovating your home, comfort is just as important as the aesthetic of your household. Your house has to not only look homely but also feel homely. That’s the mark of a well-executed renovation project.Let your personality shine through.So many homes look beautiful on the surface but lack any depth. We’ve already touched on the importance of interior design evoking a feeling of warmth and comfort as well as looking aesthetically-pleasing but it’s so important to make the interior design process personal to you and yo[...]

A Musical Map of the US


Music is a great many things to a great many people. For some of us, it’s what gives us the motivation to hit the gym or go for a run on a cold winter’s morning. For others it’s been our solace in times of woe or helped us to navigate an emotionally troublesome time. Music enriches our lives and even has some surprising health benefits for the mind and body. For some of us, however, music is our obsession. We can’t go a day without it whether we stream it through our phones or catch it live in concert with our friends. For the musically obsessed traveller, the United States are a veritable smorgasbord of musical history.Across this richly diverse country, there are many cities where music is an integral part of their cultural identity from the jazz bars of New Orleans to the blues capital that is Memphis Tennessee there are iconic destinations across the US that all music fans should visit, whatever their budget or musical taste. Hear the Minneapolis sound in personIf you’re a Prince fan, then you’ll know that the Minnesotan capital is the home of a particular brand of synth heavy funk that the world came to know as the Minneapolis sound. While there are numerous venues where you can still hear this sub genre in its natural habitat, the city is a thriving hub of all kinds of musical genres. The midwestern city is also a hub for hip hop and indie rock and is home to some events and festivals that are the envy of the nation. Visit for Rock The Garden or the Basilica Block party and you’ll see the city come alive.Every serious music fan should visit AthensIf you’re passionate about music there are few places you’ll feel your passion more closely matched than in Athens, Georgia. The entire state is famous for its love of music from rock cafes like 37 main which you can check out at to the (sadly now closed) Music Hall of Fame in downtown Macon. Athens, however is home to some of the coolest music venues in the country including the Georgia Theatre and the uber cool 40 watt club.The Bronx is a Mecca for hip hop fansHip hop is more than a musical genre, it’s a lifestyle and a culture that’s reflected in the language, art and politics of the cities in which hip hop rose to prominence. While West Coast hip hop will always LA its home, rap pilgrims owe it to themselves to visit the birthplace of hip hop in The Bronx which offers guided tours of the genre’s birthplace. Immerse yourself in the spirit of New OrleansThere are few cities in which the music is so deeply enshrined in the culture and feel as New Orleans. New Orleans is the very spirit of jazz itself rendered in timber and brick. The jazz and blues are such a big part of the city’s idiosyncratic charm that even those with no interest in the genres can emerge from a visit with a strong love of them.Wherever your musical passions lie, if you love music, there’s somewhere in the US for you.[...]

Garages: Metal vs. Plastics vs. Wood


If you are thinking about adding a garage to your home or business, one thing you will need to consider is the material it is constructed from. The three main options you have to select from are as follows: wood, plastic, and metal. Below, we take a look at the pros and cons associated with all three to help you make your decision.WOODLet’s begin by taking a look at wooden sheds. This is generally the most expensive option, both in terms of the initial cost and maintenance. However, it is one of the most stylish options. Plus with the correct treatment, it can last for a long time. If you are thinking about installing a garage for non-traditional means, i.e. for personal use or an outdoor office, wood is a good selection because it can be customised easily and well insulated too. If you do go down this route, it is important to take the necessary measures to treat the wood so that it does not rot or corrode. Whether your garage is weatherproof or not will all depend on the treatment.PLASTICOut of all the options, plastic garages or sheds are the cheapest. However, as they say, you often get what you pay for, and plastic structures are known to get a bit brittle over time. Nonetheless, there are some benefits to note. Plastic garages are considered a low maintenance option, plus you do not need to worry about mould or rot. Generally, the main thing you need to think about is the initial outlay versus how long a plastic shed will cost you in the long run. Yes, you are going to spend less to begin with, but the lower lifespan can mean more money spent overall, so do keep this in mind.METALLast but not least, we have metal sheds. You can check out Armstrong metal buildings for an idea regarding the style of these sheds. They are modern and extremely durable. In terms of price, they are usually mid range when compared to the former two options. Metal garages are very popular because they are less of a fire hazard and they are arguably the most secure. In terms of maintenance, you will need to give your new garage a little bit of TLC if you do go down this route. This is because rust can arise if you don’t take care of your new investment. On the other hand, though, you don’t have to worry about insect damage and your garage should last for years and years to come too.Hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding the pros and cons associated with all three material choices. There is no right or wrong answer when choosing the right on for you. It is all about selecting a material that fits into your requirements, the style of your property, and your budget. [...]

The Deep Clean Solutions Your Home Could Be In Need Of


At some point or another in life, you’ll stand back and look at your home and just wonder how it got so dirty. And this can be one of the most frustrating feelings to have. Because you often spend a large portion of your time trying to keep things clean and tidy. But sometimes, you could clean and clean and clean and you will still find areas that need a little more attention. And at the same time, while you’re busy trying to tackle the day to day aspects of keeping a clean and tidy home, you realize that the more specialist areas need to be handled too. But sometimes, these deep clean solutions are better off dealt with by professionals.Oven CleaningFirst of all, there’s always oven cleaning. Now, this is technically something that you could consider doing yourself. But really, it’s one of those jobs that just tends to get put aside and then it never gets done. And it can really take a lot of elbow grease. So when you have work to focus on or kids to look after, it can be impossible to do yourself. Thankfully, you will find a local specialist cleaning company that will come in and do it for you for a small fee. Simple!Chimney SweepIf you have a working fire in your home, then you’re going to be more than aware of the fact that you need to have your chimney cleaned. But it could be one of those things that you tend to put off - like the oven. Yet this can be dangerous. Cleaning the chimney is essential to make sure that the air flows as it should. So make sure you get this done yearly, or more if you notice that your fire doesn’t burn well or that the smoke isn’t clearing as well as it should.Carpet CleaningAnother big cleaning job is always carpet cleaning. If you have a machine at home, then it might be something that you try and do yourself. But it is hard work. And it can take hours - which you may not have. So while you’re out at work, why not think about having the carpet cleaners come in and give the fabric floors a good shampoo? It gets done and you don’t have to have the hassle of doing it yourself.Pest ControlThen, there’s also pest control. If you have a feeling that there are little pests running around then you will benefit from having pest control consultation as soon as possible. Even if you’re not sure, bringing in the experts will mean that you can be confident your home is pest-free and as clean as possible.Gutter CleaningFinally, you may also realize that your rain gutters need tending to too. Because they can tend to get bogged down with dirt and debris, which in turn makes your drainage inefficient. But don’t worry about getting the ladder out and getting your hands dirty if you really don’t want to do it. Because a local handyman or maintenance firm will do it for you.[...]