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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: 2017-09-24T04:38:05.569-04:00


Fade To Gray: A Serene Monochrome Bedroom Space


A monochrome bedroom can look both striking and serene if it's done properly. Making it the perfect scheme if you are looking for a way of making your bedroom over. So, with this in mind check out my advice below on how to get a comfortable but stylish monochrome bedroom with the minimum of effort. What is monochrome?Monochrome is all about decorating your room in the values of only one color. The color that is usually picked is black, and then its contrasted with white. That doesn't mean that you have to only use plain black though, as grays are value shades of black too. Although you are welcome to go for pure black and white if you want a particularly striking look. Decorating a room in monochrome can work so well because it's easy to do. Most items of furniture come in black and white, as do many fabrics. Making it easy to find things to decorate the room with without having to shop around too much. The simple contrast of black and white colors can be calming too if executed properly. As well as it being something of a trend at the moment. So keep reading to find out how to get this look in your own home. Design schemeNow, the design scheme of the whole room is something you will have to consider very carefully in a monochrome space. This is because the interplay of texture, pattern, and light can differ so widely. Even though you are using the same tones and shades. For example, a feature wall painted in a black or dark gray will make the room seem a lot cozier and intimate. Whereas all white walls will open up a smaller space making it seem lighter and bigger. Regarding texture, a contemporary look can be achieved with lacquered or laminated furniture items that are geometric. Although you can soften a monochrome look considerably by using natural materials like wood in more traditional styles. Along with aged finishes. Something that demonstrating monochrome style i truly flexible enough to be customized to your particular needs and wants. Patterns in a monochrome bedroom are important too, as you can achieve many different looks with just white, black and gray. Use small geometries for a modern urban feel, plain color blocks for calm serenity, and illustrative designs to add a little character and whimsy to an otherwise stark room. Bed The bed is always the central feature in any sleep space, and the monochrome room is no exception. Although you will, of course, want to stay away from natural wood colors and go for black, white or gray instead for the frame and headboard. Remember too that, as we spend way more time in our bed that we do our cars it is something that is worth investing in, Not just for the look and its ability to fit in with our monochrome design scheme but also for its quality and comfort. So if you need a new bed to fit in with your monochrome design, then remember to check out sites that examine the top rated beds on the market. As when it comes to where you sleep, it's not all about the visuals, you need to get the size and firmness level right too. Otherwise, you'll be left with a super stylish room that you won't want to spend much time in because it won't be comfy enough and that would be a real waste.DecorationsAs monochrome is such a huge trend at the moment, it is pretty easy to get decorations like cushions, wall hangings, and pictures that easily fit in with this design scheme. A very easy way to decorate your monochrome bedroom that won't set you back too much money is to buy a selection of frames and use them to display black and white types pictures, photos, or illustrations on the wall. You can even be a bit naughty and add an accent color with the frames if you like. Rose gold and copper being the most in vogue at the moment. Think carefully about your picture placement in this sort of room because you need to tread a fine balance between having enough interest on the walls, and not being overwhelmed with images. A large framed picture in darker hues, hanging square over the head of the bed can work really well as[...]

The Best Ways To Travel By Yourself!



Traveling on your own can be a brilliant experience, you’re only going to have yourself to look out for which means that your money is going to go further and you can do exactly what you want because there is no one else telling you what to do! But what are the best ways to travel when you’re on your own? Well, read on and find out!

Travel Groups

This slightly defeats the object of traveling on your own, however it’s a great way to meet more people that are likeminded and doing the same thing that you’re doing! Singles travel groups are great for those of s who want to meet new people and go traveling at the same time; the people in your group are going to be taking the exact same route as you and will be most likely wanting to do the same things as you so you’re not going to be held back at all, and even if you are you can drop out at any time to get on with your own thing! This makes solo travel not so lonely, and makes it a bit safer too!

Camper Vans

Hiring a van and going out on the road by yourself is an experience truly like no other. You’re going to get to drive to wherever you want to go, giving you a much wider scope of freedom because you’re going to be able to get to places much quicker than you usually would on foot, it allows you to traverse countries or states in a matter of days instead of weeks. This is a much quicker version of doing it all on foot, but it’s brilliant for anyone who just wants a taste of what it’s like to travel without all of the hard and grisly bits!

Bed And Breakfast Hopping

This is a very commonly used technique amongst solo travelers, and you can see why! B&Bs are a great service to use if you’re only going to be staying somewhere for one night; the prices are cheap enough for the one night, rooms often only accommodate one and you get a breakfast in the morning to set you up for the rest of the day. You’re going to be able to travel from one to another each day, giving you a comfortable place to rest and eat after a hard day of traveling.

All of these things are great for the solo traveller as all of these options are going to suit you! Join a travel group to meet up with like minded individuals who are doing the same thing as you for some companionship, perhaps rent out a campervan to be able to travel the roads with no one else bothering you or hop between B&Bs to get you through the nights with comfort! If you’re looking for areas of the world to travel to that aren;t very expensive to go to at all, then read this to see which places you should be visitng!

6 Reasons Why Europeans Would Love NYC


If you’re from the old continent and you’ve decided to open your wings and fly to a new adventure in the States, then New York City is the perfect place to start your new life. As Truman Capote summed up quite rightly, New York isn’t a tree or a street or a house, something that belongs to you, but you belong to it anyway. The feeling of belonging is exactly what brings the various districts, cultures, and people of NYC together. Wherever you come from, you’re from NYC when you live here. In fact, it’s difficult not to love NYC as there’s so much the city has to offer – and keeps offering day after day, night after night. But if you’re European, visiting the Big Apple can feel like a very long journey. After all, you’ve got amazing countries just next doors. So why should you come and see NYC nevertheless? I can give you 6 excellent why you will love New York City if you’re from Europe. New York City#1. Your fashion world might implodeIf you’ve got a strong sense of fashion, you’ll enjoy the New Yorker’s approach to fashion more than anything else. Fashion in the Big Apple is very different from Europe: The contrast in style and personality is appealing, to say the least. Compared to the effortless and timeless Parisian elegance the New York gal always follows the next big trend. Trends in NYC come and go as fast as you can blink, while Paris cherishes a sense of underdone style that never dies. In the Big Apple, it’s about getting noticed, and consequently mixing brands, colors, and trends for a ‘notice my style’ effect. Not an avid admirer of the Parisian style? How about the edgy and experimental class of Londoners? The New York style has a researched runaway touch to it, while British girls are happy to mix and match their bold and edgy patterns for an individual festive style. If you love your brands, you’ll enjoy the American branded style in New York. What about the German style? Berlin is a cultural hotspot that happily mixes flea market discoveries and high-end fashion. There’s a sense of eccentricity that brings together unmatchable patterns. This eccentric mismatch of labels, designs, and prices is a bright clash against the polished NYC trends. #2. We happily mix cabs & public transportIf you’re used to living in big towns, you’re probably an expert in public transport solutions. Places like Oslo have a vast network that goes from the sea to the mountains just via subway/tramway and buses. If you live in London, you’re certainly an expert of the Oyster card, the public transport card that allows you to use boats on the Thames – the ones connected to the transport route – intercity trains and subways all for the same price. There are buses too, but they tend to be a favorite only at night when the subway stopped running. Paris also uses a strong network of subways and inter-regional trains to connect all the suburban areas. For most cities, taxis tend to be a one-off solution to take you to an appointment without the stress of switching between transport connections. Here, in NYC, taking the cab is a much more natural exercise, and especially for short distances. It’s a change of mindset for the European culture, but most budget transportation in NYC adds cabs for short travel, whether it’s to reach to neighborhoods safely at night and to avoid being crammed in public transports when you’ve got a lot of things to carry. We love our iconic yellow cabs and are happy to book the trendy limos from JFK Car Service from the airport into town. Traveling by cab is a lot cheaper than you might think, as long as you’re smart with your transport choices. Short distance and defined services are okay. Just don’t grab a cab to get you to the other end of town as it’ll cost you an arm!#3. The Big Apple is a melting pot of culturesWe are a melting pot with 18 ethnic micro neighborhoods spread across the 5 boroughs of the city. Chinatown and Little Italy are the most famous of them, but they are far f[...]

#NYFW - New York Fashion Week Master Schedule Fall 2017



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#NYFW Special: Fashion Comparison New York vs. European Capitals


When it comes to fashion, despite what you may believe, Europe and the USA are quite different. If you’re an avid traveler, and a fashion-savvy one at that, you will have noticed the vast difference in style between women from European capitals and ladies from the US, New York city included. Now, if you haven’t had the chance to personally compare and contrast, we’re here to give you all the details concerning the differences in the fashion and style department, and then you can be the judge as to who wears it better.Paris vs. New YorkOk, the differences between a classic Parisian and New York gal could literally fill an entire book, but we’ll try to narrow it down. It’s important to emphasize that New Yorkers are always in pursuit of the next big trend, and they follow each and every one of them like there’s no tomorrow. They’re also known for those ‘Carrie Bradshaw’ impossible combinations that are just beaming with colors and prints. That is exactly why fashion here is much more disposable. Trends have a lifespan of a fruit fly, and it’s no wonder new clothes are quickly discarded to make room for new ones. New York girls also have a tendency to mix not only different prints but clashing styles as well – they’re all about the ‘notice me’ effect’. For instance, the athleisure style that has been dominating the streets of NYC for quite some time allows women to pair their tracksuits with expensive bags and patent leather loafers.This is something you could never spot on the streets of Paris. Parisian girls are all about effortless and timeless elegance. Their staple outerwear doesn’t change with the arrival of a new trend – it’s always a trench coat and a well-tailored winter coat that fits just perfectly. For New Yorkers, denim and leather jackets, such as the ones by Ena Pelly Clothing, are staple outerwear items. With Parisians, the mix of color and fabric is very streamlined, and there’s always a poignant yet subtle detail gracing their outfit. Neutral tones and monochromatic outfits trump everything else. There’s a certain ‘underdone’ quality to their style, but it’s always impeccable, although a tad restrained. The Paris fashion week might be ostentatious, but modesty rules the streets, even when they’re wearing high-end garments.London vs. New YorkThe style of your typical British girl could be described as “girly with an edge”. When it comes to high-street, there’s no denying that London girls do it better than anyone else. They will pair a floral skirt or shorts with black opaque tights, and complete the look with plimsolls. As trendy as New York girls are, they can never be as experimental as London girls. These gals will mix and match without giving it a second thought. In a way, they have that Parisian careless quality, but their choice of garments is bolder and edgier. As mentioned, the classic New York style revolves around trendy pieces and these women usually have that ‘just stepped off the runway’ look. British girls will rock their wacky colors and flaunt their ‘festival style’ all year round. The differences can be spotted even in garments from British and American designers. You have trendy and polished by Ralph Lauren on the one side and then punk, eccentric and clashing by the one and only Vivienne Westwood. You can now judge for yourself. Berlin vs. New YorkAs The New York Times Magazine points out, Berlin is a city of inexpensive living and a laid-back lifestyle. Everything is done at a slow pace, but it’s undeniable that Berlin is a cultural hotspot. It’s also a place where high-fashion meets flea market finds. Just like Londoners, Berliners have a knack for eccentricity and matching the unmatchable. Matching jeans and jacket thrown over a kimono topped off with a clunky scarf and black clunky boots – you’ll surely spot more than one person rocking this kind of thing on the streets of Berlin. Your classic New[...]

Kitchenspiration: All Your Favorite Recipes, But With A Twist


Like most people, you know what you love. But sometimes, eating exactly the same recipes week after week can get a little dull. But fear not, you don’t have to raid the supermarket to find something entirely new. Why not just tweak your favorites for a new experience? Here are some popular recipes, but with an interesting twist.Swap Out Regular Pasta For ZucchiniIs there anything that zucchini can’t do? If you’re trying to cut back on refined carbohydrates, like soba noodles or instant noodles, zucchini might be the perfect fix. The best way to make zucchini noodles is to use a spiralizer. But even if you don’t have one, you can make them by hand. Either use a mandolin - preferably with the right attachments. Or just use the grater, making sure to use long strokes the maximise the length of each “noodle.”Go For A Portobello Burger Instead Of BeefAccording to estimates from Britain, people eating plant-based diets has increased by nearly 300 percent over the last decade. Thus, it seems as if we’ve reached a threshold, with more and more people willing to try meat-alternatives.One of the most popular “meat alternatives” - and something which has been around forever - is the portobello mushroom. Unlike many meat substitutes, products which use industrial processes to mimic the flavor and texture of meat, portobello mushrooms are all-natural. Most people think that portobello mushrooms are a different kind of mushroom from regular white mushrooms, but it turns out that they’re just regular white mushrooms you find in the store which has been allowed to mature for a few extra days and open up.Want a delicious tasting burger that’s something a little different from the usual? Try making a spelt, mushroom, avocado burger.To Make The Spelt RollSpelt is an ancient grain that is related to modern wheat. Unlike modern wheat, however, it has a dense, nutty flavor. First, put the spelt, some active yeast and a tiny bit of sugar into a bowl and mix it up. Then add lukewarm water and knead with your hands until you get a doughy, non-sticky texture. You’ll need to fold the dough a few times to make sure that all the particles of flour are incorporated into the mixture.Next, leave the yeast to react for about an hour. The yeast will feed on the sugar in the dough, creating pockets of air which will then give the spelt rolls a large rise. Finally, cut the dough into roll-size balls and place them on baking paper, put them in the oven at 200 degrees celsius for 20 minutes.To Make The Mushroom BurgerWhile the spelt rolls are cooking, it’s time to make the mushroom burger. Take the portobellos out of the packet and put them on a baking tray. Get some garlic, black pepper and thyme and crush it all up to make a paste. Smear the paste on the gills of the upturned portobellos and put them in the oven for 15 minutes with the spelt rolls.While the rolls and mushrooms are cooking, grab a couple of avocados and mash them up in a bowl. When the rolls are done, cut them in two and smear them with the mashed avocado, just like you would do if you were making avocado toast. Then add your choice of toppings. Pineapple rings, seitan, chopped sundried tomato, salsa, and salad leaves all work really well.Mix Up Your Morning MilkWhen it comes to milk, we’re living in extraordinary times. Just a few years ago, the only alternative to cow’s milk was plain, bland soya milk. Now though, there are dozens of different kinds of milk, including goat milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, rice milk and even milk made from oats. Try pouring a different kind of milk on your muesli the next time you sit down for breakfast.Almond Butter Cups Instead Of Reese's Peanut Butter CupsLove Reese's peanut butter cups? You’re not alone. But did you know that there is a whole world of nut butters out there, all of which are equally, if not more, delicious than peanut?Almond butter is probably one of the tastiest, espec[...]

Style And Substance: Value-Adding Projects For Your Home


When you think about your home, how do you feel? Is your home a safe haven, a relaxing retreat or your undisputed happy place? If so, this is brilliant news. We all strive to find a sanctuary that makes us feel calm and secure. While it’s essential to feel comfortable and celebrate our individual style at home, it’s also wise to remember that your home represents a financial investment. This is probably the most important and valuable asset you’ll ever have, so it’s always a good idea to think about how you can protect and grow your money. If you’re keen to ensure your home delivers on all fronts, it may be worth considering undertaking work to increase the value of your nest. Here are some of the best value-adding projects out there.Loft conversionIf you’re lucky enough to have a loft, you’re almost certain to make money if you convert it into a functional room. Loft space is often redundant, but it can offer a versatile range of uses. You could use the attic to create an extra bedroom, a den for teenage kids, a guest suite or a study or studio. If you have more usable space, your home will also appeal to a wider range of buyers when you do come to sell. That extra room could make the property a viable option for families, as well as singles and couples, for example. The average cost of a loft conversion in the US is around $49,000, but the figure will vary hugely according to the size of the space, the use of the room and the types of materials you use. In most cases, this kind of project could increase the value of the property by up to 20 percent. ExtensionExtending your home may be an option if you have a growing family or you’re simply eager to make the most of your plot. If the house is relatively small and you don’t need a lot of land at the back, for example, adding an extension could enable you to create an extra reception room, a study or a large, open plan kitchen. Building an extension isn’t a cheap way to increase the value of your home, but you can really reap the rewards when you sell your home if you stick to a budget. Make sure you can cover the cost of the building work before you sign on any dotted lines. If you need more money to finish off the interior details, there’s nothing wrong with waiting and doing the final bits as and when you can afford them rather than automatically considering options like an installment payday loan. Sometimes, you have to speculate to accumulate, but don’t get into a situation where you can’t afford to complete the project, and you owe money. Get a number of quotes before you make a decision, and make sure you know exactly how much money you can afford to spend. Basement renovationLike lofts, basements often represent wasted space, but they can really enhance the look and appeal of a property if the conversion is done well. Basements make excellent kitchen-diners, and they’re also great for offices, home gyms, wine cellars, games rooms and playrooms. If you are thinking of renovating your basement, it’s wise to call some local building firms and get some quotes. You may find that one company offers a completely different price to another, so shop around. The cost of a project can vary hugely, so make sure you have an accurate written quote before you sign any agreements. It’s always worth getting an idea of how much value the project could add by asking local real estate agents for advice. Looking in magazines and online for ideas and inspiration can also be a useful exercise, as it can be hard to imagine how the space could look when you’re staring at a dark, empty space. It’s particularly beneficial to consider revamping the basement if you have a small kitchen and you want to target the family market when you sell your home. The kitchen is the most important room in the house for most buyers, and a show-stopping basement kitchen could make all the difference.&n[...]

10 Simple and Affordable Interior Design Tips to Create A Bedroom That Feels Like Home


The bedroom is my favorite room in the house.It was where I played as kid, where I spent most of my time when I moved into my first share-house and it is still a room that holds a great level of comfort and enjoyment for me to this day.However, thinking back to my share-house days, it took me some time to work out how to make my bedroom look and feel like ‘my bedroom’.A great interior designer will tell you is above two things above all else: letting the room inform the design and making all the elements you use do as much as possible. That second point is crucial for anyone who wants to do more with their bedroom space with limited resources.I’ve put together 10 awesome tips on how to create the bedroom decor that feel right to you - on a budget. Every one of these ideas is completely accessible to anyone and demonstrate how a lot can be done with not much to create a bedroom that feels like home.LinenThe most important part of a bedroom is … the bed. Whether you prefer neutral colors or bright patterns, keep in mind how your bedsheets will look in relation to the rest of your room. For example, if you have curtains with a bright pattern on them then make sure these don’t clash with your bedsheets. Choice of material and texture can also have a huge impact, so try to educate yourself on the different fabrics available before you buy and avoid ordering online if possible as touch is everything when it comes to linen. You can also decorate your bed by adding a pile of cushions or a snuggly down comforter on top. It is also crucial to note that without proper care of your sheets, the look you initially create in your bedroom can fast deteriorate. Ensuring proper care when washing, drying and storing will give you the look you want for much longer.Wall Tapestry An easy way to give your bedroom character and cosiness is to hang a tapestry on your wall. These are very lightweight and easy to hang up. You can choose from hundreds of prints and countless colors. They come in a variety of sizes and can look great over your bed or on a particularly empty wall. Keep in mind that dark designs will absorb light from your room, while light designs can add brightness to dark rooms. Also, consider how different colors and patterns will look with the rest of the room, especially your bed linen, curtains, and other textiles.   Photographs What better way to personalize your room than to put up your favourite memories? Whether you frame them, hang them up from a string with wooden pegs, or pin them to a cork board, photographs will add character and color to your room. It can be nice to be surrounded by images that make you feel at home, especially if you’ve just moved to university or into a new room or house.Posters and Prints Posters and prints are another easy trick for decorating and personalizing your bedroom. Whether it’s a picture of your favorite band, an inspirational quote, a poster from your favorite event, or just artwork you like, you can easily make your space your own with a few large prints. If you’re feeling super creative you could even draw some posters yourself. Try putting some up on walls that could use some decoration and seeing how they look. Lights and Lamps Lights and lamps can make all the difference. In addition to the overhead lighting in your room, consider having some smaller and dimmer lights for a more relaxed mood. You could have a bedside lamp, a desk lamp, or a standing lamp by your reading chair. You can even hang up some fairy lights for a dreamy effect. If you are short on space, an awesome option is to go for a mounted lamp (although that’s probably not as feasible if you’re only a temporary tenant)Rug Rugs can make any boring floor look nice, and any hard or cold floor a delight for the feet. Many rugs are washable as well, so you don’t have t[...]

Enjoy Your Best Holidays at These 5 Wonderful Places of the World


When life gives you vacations, turn them into expeditions. That's the best way of giving into the vibe. Today, I’d like to describe some beautiful places in the world. These wonderful places are located around the world, waiting for you to pay a visit!Hallstatt in AustraliaYou might be paying annual homage to Australia but we bet that this one hasn't caught your attention yet. Positioned between Salzburg and Graz, Hallstatt is a home of the early pre-historic mines. Ask no more, it is a UNESCO heritage site down to its cultural richness. Best things always come in small packages and for your testament, you can travel the whole of this town in barely half an hour! The stunning salt caves, ice caves and the Hallstatt Lake will steal your breath.Jackson Hole in WyomingTravel to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to feel a nostalgic adventure in the heart of this American West! It is flanked by this sweeping Teton along with Gros Ventre huge batch ranges and jagged peaks that offer powdery skiing in winters and beautiful hiking in summers. From winter sports to hiking, windsurfing, and paragliding, think of an outdoor activity and you can do it here. During the winters, Jackson Hole can be a wonderland of excellent skiing conditions, skiing snowmobiling, along with ice-skating. Summer in Jackson Hole is great again, because of the hiking, white water rafting, golfing and horseback riding experiences. Sure, you are not going to encounter the glitz along with glam of Aspen or Lake Tahoe, but the beauty and vastness of the Jackson Hole is enchanting. It has caught the eyes of famous Hollywood people like Harrison Honda and the politicians such as the former American Vice Chief Executive, Dick Cheney.New York City in the United StatesOnce you have lived in New York and made it your home, no place else is good enough. – John SteinbeckNew York is a location in the US flaunting many famous buildings like the Empire State Making, the Statue of Liberty, Central Recreation area, the Metropolitan Public of Art and countless more.New York is the city that never sleeps. This city carries a dazzling array of restaurants, hotels, events, and sites that draw tourists worldwide. Besides, you can enjoy the finest things here. Cafes are open until 4 am. The New York cocktail is a must have if paying a visit to this place. Hip-hop runs in the veins of people and you can easily spot cool dudes grooving to the musical.Udaipur in IndiaThe city of lakes and the Venice of the East Udaipur is a big city, identified for history, culture, scenic locations as well as the Rajput-era palaces. It was voted as the best city in the world in 2009 by the Travel and Leisure magazine and is the first South Asian hot spot to win the title. Udaipur boasts of several gleaming lakes against a backdrop of the Aravali hills. Many famous places include the magical Lake Palace, now a magnificent five-star hotel, and the gigantic City Palace on East standard bank of Pichola, displaying epic courtyards along with stunning paintings. The city earned the tag of ‘the most romantic place in the Indian continent’ in 1829 by Colonel James Tod, the East India Company’s first Political Agent in the area. Udaipur is famous for lakes, palaces, forts, gardens, and romantic backdrops. People throughout Udaipur usually prefer wearing bright coloured clothes which is again a visual delight in itself. Colourful festivals and fairs express the cultural prosperity of Udaipur.Biarritz in the Bay of BiscayThe last in this list of beautiful places, Biarritz, is a city on the Bay of Biscay, around the Atlantic coast in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in southwest France. It is a luxurious seaside town and is particularly popular with holidaymakers. A stylish seashore town on France’s southwestern seacoast, Biarritz was the vacation s[...]

Earth, Water, And Fire: An Elemental Trip Of America


The US has always felt the harsh and unrelenting force of Mother Nature. Being such a big continent, the variations in landscapes, climates, and ecologies are huge from place to place. Along with this, its size and location make a lot of the country prone to natural disasters. Over the years, this has created some amazing sights throughout America, giving tourists loads to soak in and enjoy. Of course, though, it can be hard to know what you want to do in such a big place. So, to help you out, this post will be going through some of the best elemental activities to enjoy on your stay. EarthCanyons are formed over thousands of years, as the result of moving water eroding the ground around it. In some cases, the quantity and flow of water are great enough to make these landmarks into gaping chasms, often with incredibly unique appearances. One of the most famous examples of a Canyon in the US is the Grand Canyon, in Arizona, which is known for its huge size. Along with this option, though, you also have examples like Antelope Canyon which has beautifully shaped walls, letting the light shine on the floor in nice patterns.Mother nature doesn’t just go down, though. Along with this, some of the biggest natural wonders in the world are going straight upwards. Denali, in Alaska, is the USA’s tallest mountain. With a peak of over 6000m, this landmark is sure to take your breath away, while also giving you the chance to climb one of the hardest mountains in the world. If you’d like something smaller, though, Alaska is home to loads of different mountains, and many of them give you the chance to look right into Canada.WaterSome of the most impressive of mother nature’s feats lie in water, in the form of lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and coastlines, and the US has its fill of all of these. Starting with lakes, you have dozens of options to choose from. In Oregon, you have Crater Lake, a place perfect for scuba divers and those that want to see a unique lake on their trip. Alternatively, you could look at something a little bigger, with Lake Superior in Michigan. Some of the lakes in the US are massive, with water sports and summer fun wherever you go. But, others are colder, giving you the chance to enjoy some of Earth’s hardiest wildlife.Next, it’s onto waterfalls, and possibly the biggest reason to travel inland in the US. From the Niagara Falls and other waterfalls in New York to the options in Yosemite National Park, you have the chance to see loads of gushing water on your stay in America. There are loads of different ways to see this sort of landscape. Some people will use the normal viewing platforms which are provided. But, if you want something a little more exciting, you could also consider the idea of using a helicopter tour to see this part of the US.Being such a large continent, the US has one of the widest ranges of coastline any country has to offer. From sandy beaches, with clear water and beautiful wildlife, to rock pool filled areas, with murky water and rich history, America has all the ocean you could ask for. For those looking for the perfect beaches for relaxation, Florida and California have some of the best options for you. But, for those looking for something different, you could travel to a huge range of places to get your fill. Most of the US is built on the coast, with most of its major cities and towns dotted around the edge. This gives you an excellent opportunity to see this wonderful part of the US.FireFinally, it’s time to think about fire. It may be hard to think of any locations or landmarks in the US which are based on fire or heat, but there are plenty. One of the most famous of these is Yellowstone Park, a National Park which sits on top of an active volcano. This has created huge areas which are filled with natural hot springs and geys[...]

Design Tips and Hacks for a Small Living Room


If you're reading this, I'm guessing you're not exactly living in a luxury Upper East Side mansion and your most expensive furniture item is that funky ottoman you picked up from the Salvation Army shop. Am I close?Well don't despair, even the smallest living space can be made – practically and visually bigger – using a few clever tips and tricks. And that ottoman could play its part!When dealing with a small room, especially a well-used space like a living room, you are always going to have to balance storage and visual space. Getting that right is the key to having a pleasurable living room.Storage, Storage Everywhere When it comes to storage you basically have three options. Put your stuff inside something (a cupboard, cabinet, basket, etc.); put it on top of something (a shelf, a sideboard, a window ledge, etc.) or just leave it lying around for folks to trip over. If you have a tall room, you will usually find a lot of vertical space that could be utilised by using shelves. Corner shelves and floating shelves are popular storage options but why stop there? From fixing wicker baskets to walls to converting stepladders into shelving units, people are finding ultra-creative solutions to a common lifestyle problem. As mentioned in the intro though, its best to balance storage with visual space – so don't drill into every square inch of wall and ceiling.Think Small, Thin and Leggy OK, so you have probably already realised that a huge luxury modern sofa isn't going to work in your itsy bitsy living space, but furniture comes in all sorts of weird shapes and dimensions so take some measurements and then explore your neighbourhood (or the online auction sites) for suitable options. Popular space-savers include miniature stools, which can be tucked out of sight until friends pop over; nested tables and ultra-thin console tables. These can sit almost invisibly behind a couch but provide a useful hard surface for eating at when snack time arrives. Chairs, tables and sideboards on long legs are also useful for giving an overall impression of space.Lighten Up Playing with light is one of the most fun parts about interior design. The strategic placement of mirrors and light sources can transform the look and feel of any space, not least your poky living room. One popular trick is to hang a huge mirror directly opposite a window. This gives the illusion of another window as well as the very real benefit of extra reflected light. Buying furniture made of light-colored woods or painted white can help a small room look bigger and even a transparent coffee table can make a big difference. Replacing heavy curtains with light ones – in weight and color – will create an airy and spacious ambience. Avoid One Trick Ponies By one trick ponies I mean those pieces of furniture that are restricted to one use. When space is at a premium, any chair or table that can double up as a storage unit is worth seriously considering. Some items will be so versatile they can perform three or more functions. Take that ottoman. By removing the upholstery and using some basic carpentry (if its not already hinged) you can turn it into a combined chair/footrest/coffee table/storage unit.Some Extra Ideas You're probably itching to get to work on some serious home re-modelling but before you go, here are some more ideas to inspire you: Place plants in corners or beside bulky furniture items to create a feeling of depth A feature wall is another way of adding depth to a small, bland space Choose a rug with a small pattern. This makes your room look bigger Having friends round to stay? A compact sofa bed might be feasible in a small roomAbout Ronnie: Ronnie is a home decor and DIY geek, HGTV addic[...]

Amazing African Animal Encounters!


Want to do something really adventurous, something that will truly take your breath away on your next vacation? Forget the same old beaches and shopping destinations, a trip to Africa could allow you to get up close and personal with some of the most incredible, powerful wild animals on the planet. Africa is a massive continent made up of fifty-four different countries, so as you can imagine there are completely different experiences depending on where you go. From high plateau tablelands with rolling hills and mountains to desert, rain forests, lakes and more. Here are just a few of the ways you can encounter spectacular animals while you’re visiting.Go on SafariOne of the best ways to experience Africa and see some of the most amazing animal species is to go on a guided safari. The tour guides will know exactly where to go in order for you to get the best animal viewing experiences possible. Depending on where in Africa you are visiting, you can expect to see rhinos, elephants, hippos, wildebeest, giraffes and of course the king of the jungle- all in their natural habitat. Book your Africa lion safari today if this is something that interests you- it’s one thing seeing them at a zoo but quite another seeing them in the wild.Go on a Self Driving TourIf you’re a little more experienced or want more freedom where you can go, instead of a guided safari, you have the option of driving yourself. There are 4x4s you can hire for exactly this purpose which will give you ease of access over the wild terrain. You could either plan out a route based on advice from a guide or you could take it as it comes. An awesome option for seeing all kinds of wildlife in Africa. Visit The National ParksThere are a huge number of National Parks in Africa, which of course are all completely different due to the diverse terrain and weather conditions on the continent. But they are an excellent opportunity to appreciate Africa- you can go hiking, bird watching, boating, rock climbing and so much more making it a fun and adventurous trip. And of course, you get to spot some wildlife, from wildebeest, gazelle, and zebra to lions, leopards, cheetahs and jackals and so much more. Go on a Boat TourAs well as traveling by land to see some of Africa’s most spectacular animals, how about traveling by water? You could go in the canoe-like Mokoro boats which are commonly used for viewing game safaris. You could travel by motor boat or even river cruise boat. The benefits of this is you get to access different places which you wouldn’t be able to get to by land. Which could mean some different opportunities to see animals!Are you planning on seeing animals in an African country in the near future? Which of these options most appeals to you?[...]

Out With the Old and In With The New: Beauty Basics to Reconsider


We’re all guilty of sticking to what we know, especially when it comes to beauty products. Chances are that once you find a brand that you are happy with, you settle with it, adding it to your basket each and every time you head to the supermarket to replenish your supply of beauty products. While you may be comfortable with your choice, it’s important to remember that many companies and brands will change their products’ formulas over time, meaning that over the years you’re actually buying multiple different products that are merely placed in the same packaging that you are used to. This means that you may well end up using a product that isn’t as effective or suited to you as the one you originally chose. It is also paramount that you keep an eye on the ethical guidelines of the companies that you use. Perhaps you’ve opted for a certain brand because of their cruelty-free aspect. While many brands are cruelty-free and do not test on animals when they start out, they may turn to animal testing as their popularity increases in order to sell their products to larger markets such as China, where animal testing is a necessity for any product being sold to the nation’s public. What starts out as a cruelty-free product may well develop into a product that doesn’t conform to your moral or ethical compass. So, here are a few parts of your routine that you might like to switch up!Shampoo and ConditionerYou may think that all shampoos and conditioners are pretty much the same besides their scent, but you’d be surprised at how much the ingredients can vary. Many hair products are packed with chemical nasties that may make your hair appear good in the short term but will prove damaging in the long run. Be particularly wary of products that claim to give your hair a high-shine finish, as these products often coat your hair with particles of plastic based substances in order to reflect light. You should also avoid sulfates and parabens as much as possible. Sulphate, in particular, in a surfactant that removes dirt and oil from hair. While this may sound ideal, it is actually damaging, as its chemical composition strips hair of natural oils, often leaving it dry and straw-like. So, instead of immediately reaching for your usual hair care combo, try out the best sulfate free shampoo and conditioner combinations. You will see the benefits in no time.Bath ProductsWhat’s better than a long hot soak in a bubble bath? Well, a long hot soak in a bath that is completely cruelty-free and composed of all natural ingredients. Many bath bombs, bath salts, and bubble bath liquids contain harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin. Instead, check out the amazing ranges available to you by brands such as Lush. Lush dedicate themselves as a company to creating delicious smelling, magically coloured products that can transform your bath into a mermaid lagoon, intergalactic space landscape, or glittery pink haven. What’s more? They’re completely against animal testing and many of their products are also suitable for vegans. Perfect!Remember, as well as switching up your cleansing products, you should also keep an eye on the makeup, hair styling and hygiene products that you make use of. It’s always best to be well aware of what you’re using and placing on your body.[...]

Places To Travel With a Low Budget


Everyone likes to travel every once in awhile, and for a lucky few of us it’s a fulltime reality. However, time and money can get us bogged down, and the thought of a holiday ends up being just a dream. After booking a vacation, the cost of amenities can get too much and we have to cut down on those important hints of luxury as well. However, you can still travel when you only have a few bucks in the bank. So if you do have some time on your hands, here are a few suggestions of where to go when you only have a budget to live on for some time away from home. Head Off to ThailandThailand is popular with tourists for good reason. There’s plenty of locations to head off to including jungles and beaches, perfect for exercising your swimming skills or adventurous side. Taking a bite out of the street food is wonderful for the experience as well, with plenty more flavour then you’d get at home. Visit the Phi Phi Islands in affordable and fun speed boat trips. Try your hand at rock climbing, or even get a tattoo from one of the local shops in remembrance of your time away. As Thailand is tourist hotspot number one, sites such as have plenty of offers and coupons when it comes to finding places to stay, and even for booking a package holiday itself. Use the internet to your advantage and scour for some deals that will be a godsend for rolling in the little money you have to indulge your adventurous side. Check Out GreeceTourism to Greece has increased by 6.6 percent in 2017 alone. The recent economic crisis in Greece is a reason in itself to head over there on holiday. You’ll be supporting its economy with one of the main ways all countries make money: tourism. Every dollar you spend is a step in the right direction, and there will be more deals when it comes to hotels and eating out. Greece is full of something for everyone, including historical hot spots and beaches. This appeals to the mythical side in all of us, so go and discover the origins of Zeus himself. Similarly, Greece has perfect climate temperatures all year round, so for Christmas this year head down to the beaches. If You Want, You Don’t Even Have To Leave The Country Having a good vacation is all dependent on what you do with it. So when a colleague comes into the office with tales of their trip away, don’t be jealous. Have culturally enriched tales of your own holiday to share. Visit landmarks and shopping districts to take the best photos and find the best deals. You can even roadtrip cheaply with just a good friend and some sleeping bags in the back. Eating out of gas stations and convenience stores is already a staple of student life, so do it in style this year.[...]



In the Airbnb Travel x Decór Series, we sifted through Airbnb's collection of beautiful apartments to bring you this eclectic gallery and potentially a place for you to stay in your next visit.Rome is the perfect starting point for an Italian adventure in the ancient city with a modern buzz. Whether you have 36 hours or just a few days, there is so much to see and do!  Luckily, many of the must see sites like the Trevi Fountain,  the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon are all within walking distance of each other. While the Colosseum and the Forum, are easily accessible by metro. From delicious pizzerias, to espresso bars, to gelato shops and the boutiques of Via Nazionale and Via del Corso. Well Rome is the epicenter of history after all, with enviable architectural, food and lifestyle. 1) $109 / night / entire home - Your host is MatteoLoft at the Colosseum, within walking distance from Domus Aurea park, very well connected, it is 5 minutes from Colosseum Metro. 2) $42 / night / private room - Your host is PatrizioA nice quiet area in the center, with all excellent public transport connection, Metro A station and Porta Maggiore, where it’s possible to take several trams to go to Termini, Vaticano, Colosseum and other peripheral areas are nearby. View of Basilica Santa Croce, Basilica San Giovanni and Scala Santa.3) $52 / night / private room - Your host is ValeriaLocated right in the heart of Rome’s historical center, refined sunny double room in a cozy apartment, with air conditioning, bathroom shared with only another room, shared kitchen. The Colosseum and Domus Area are only 1 km away, as for the Baths of Caracalla and Circus Massimo. The apartment is excellently connected by subway (line A) and main bus lines and it's located in one of the best neighborhoods of Rome with bars, restaurants, shops and green areas.4) $46 / night / private room - Your host is DamianoGarbatella was built in an area marked by hills and meadows crossed by Via delle Sette Chiese. Via delle Sette Chiese provided a link for the pilgrims to travel between San Paolo fuori le mura and San Sebastiano. It was organized in blocks, called Italian Lotto, by multiple architects over a period of about 20 years. Not far away is the ancient Via Appia with Roman archeological sites such as the catacombs and Tomba di Cecilia Metella. A bike path connects the area to the city center (15 minutes).5) $109 / night / entire home - Your host is BenedettaThis is a special loft suspended between sky, roofs and typical balloons in the heart of the only San Lorenzo.6) $121 / night / entire home - Your host is LuciaCozy, small, clean, beautiful! A few steps from the Colosseum and the main monuments. Located in a beautiful street full of shops, cafes, restaurants. Just restored with a philosophy of retrieval of ancient materials.7) $32 / night / private room - Your host is Barbara Pigneto is perhaps "up and coming" with many bars and restaurants, and easy to reach Termini or La Sapienza by tram. San Lorenzo is also very nearby and offers a lively nightlife full of students and young people, the Ex Dogana centro sociale which often hosts top international musicians and DJs, and other attractions.8) $39 / night / private room - Your host is DaniloSpacious home with 3 bedrooms, terrace, kitchen with sofa bed, a bathroom, in one of the most popular districts of Rome: San Lorenzo.[...]

Reverse Dryness & Get Back Your Dewy Skin


Have you suddenly noticed dry, flaky patches on your once beautiful skin? Fear not! There are ways you can reverse this dryness and get back your dewy, glowing skin. Although changes in skin type can be down to many factors and happen to us at any time, you can do the following things to help remedy it:Avoid Hot Baths Hot baths tend to suck much of the moisture out of skin, so they could be the reason that your skin no longer feels soft and smooth. The occasional hot bath shouldn’t hurt, but if you’re having them a lot of the time, you should definitely cut back and see if this helps with your issue. Take cooler showers in place of hot baths and you’ll save your skin, as well as money on your water bill! Avoid Products Laden With Harsh ChemicalsCheck out the labels on products you’re using and figure out if they could be too harsh for your skin. Using products filled with chemicals can be harmful to skin in the long term. They can be cheaper, but spending a little more makes sense for your health. You don’t want your skin to soak up dangerous chemicals every day! Go For Organic/Natural SkincareTaking care of your skin with organic skincare is something you should do everyday. You can even make your own if you like! There are lots of moisturizers and face masks you can make with natural products that could work wonders. Coconut oil is an amazing thing to have in your home at all times, as it can be used for numerous things, as well as a cleanser/moisturizer for your face and body. Some people swear by it! Use A High Quality RazorIf you’re using a low quality razor, chances are you have many nicks and scrapes from shaving. For the smoothest, softest skin, you need to use a good razor, similar to one from It isn’t always about the razor either. By using a quality shaving cream, you can also get better results and avoid dry patches and other problems. Moisturize At Least Once A Day You should moisturize your body and face at least once a day. Using other skincare methods alongside this will enhance the results, so consider cleansing, toning, and sometimes exfoliating your skin. Using a serum can help penetrate the deeper layers of skin that may not be getting any moisture. You should moisturize after a bath or shower for body, and after cleansing for face. Usually this is upon waking and before going to bed. See A Dermatologist If all else fails, seeing a dermatologist could be an option. They will be able to take a deeper look at your skin and come up with a plan/recommend products that will work best for you. Bear in mind it’s usually better to try natural remedies than taking tablets and medication to clear up problem skin! Do you have any go-to tips for soft, dewy skin? Leave them below![...]

Sun-Kissed, Not Sun Burnt


We all want that perfect sun-kissed glow at the end of the summer, but it can often be a tough balancing act between getting tanned and getting burnt. Your skin care routine during the summer will be vastly different to your usual routine, because your skin is encountering some very different elements. To protect your skin, while still letting it experience the sun, here are a few tips to incorporate into your skin care regime. Use sunscreen, not sunblockIt’s been hammered into us since childhood that we should not spend hours in the sun without protection. After all, we all remember when our mothers wouldn’t let us run rampant on the beach until we had been slathered with sun lotion? That said, you have to make sure you use the correct sort of protection. There are two types of sun lotion designed to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Sunblock is a physical kind of lotion, containing both organic and non-organic ingredients that sit on top of the skin acting as a barrier between your skin and damaging UV rays by reflecting or scattering the light. Sunscreen is a chemical lotion that penetrates the skin and filters the sun's UV rays. Essentially, it keeps most rays out, but lets some in, which means that your skin can absorb the vitamin D emitted by the sun. Since your body still needs to absorb vitamin D for health reasons, sunscreen is the best option for your beach days. A minimum SPF of 30 is recommended and must be applied 20-30 minutes before you head out into the sun. If you are going swimming, then keep applying as and when it gets washed out.Follow some basic sun safety rulesNothing provides better protection against sunburn than some basic sun safety rules. In addition to wearing sunscreen whenever you go out - and topping it up throughout the day - you should also avoid tanning between 10 AM and 4 PM when the sun is strongest, you should wear a hat and sunglasses if you need to go out, and you should always stay hydrated. Not only is drinking water good for your body during a heat wave, water has amazing benefits for your skin that should not be undervalued. Keep up a good skin care routineIf you want your tan to look flawless, you need to take good care of your skin before, during, and after spending time in the sun. During the summer, you need skin care routine that keeps your skin clean, hydrated, and free of grime. You might find, you’re more prone to breakouts in the summer because the sweat can clog your pores if you don’t clean your face on a regular basis. You should also use an effective moisturizer to prevent your skin from drying out. Any moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid will have incredible benefits for your skin; hyaluronic acid is a natural substance in skin that improves skin hydration, stimulates production of collagen in skin, works as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger, and maintains skin elasticity. It doubles as a hydrating moisturizer, and anti-ageing agent. Also, make sure you seek shade during peak sunlight hours, and apply an aftersun lotion after you’ve been out all day. Aftersun lotion can replenish lost moisture in the skin, and soothe the heat that is still radiating from it. Ideally, use an aloe vera based lotion. Aloe vera can replenish the moisture on the skin in small doses. Mind what you eatWhen the weather is particularly hot the last thing we want to do is eat heavy foods that make us feel sluggish. Unknowingly, you have been doing your skin a huge favor. Heavy foods leave your skin more susceptible to breakouts, which can feel even worse when combined with sweating. Instead, snack on seasonal fruits and [...]

Style Upgrade Your Home with Decorative Glass Doors


Your home’s entrance door is one of the first things that guests and passersby see. In most cases, it can even be used as an interesting conversation piece. If you’re tired of being labelled as “plain and boring” by your gossipy neighbors, then perhaps it is high time you give your home an upgrade. You don’t have to do anything too drastic, just yet. In most cases, installing a decorative glass door is enough to turn heads and give your home a makeover.What are your Decorative Glass Door Options?When you go online, you will find various types of decorative glass doors. Every style offers a unique touch to your home and serves a different purpose.Stained Glass DoorsThis is the type of decorative glass you commonly see in churches and museums. Also known as art glass, stained glass can also be used for homes, adding to the aesthetic appeal of the house. No matter what design you choose, stained glass door is absolutely beautiful and adds an artistic touch to your home. It brings together color and elegance, adding more life to your boring home’s exterior.Aside from that, stained glass decorative doors are versatile. You will find a wide selection of design options. So you can choose the one that is suitable for the look of your home. It is advisable to use this as an accent piece on your front door.Etched Glass DoorsEtched glass doors are becoming more and more popular these days because of the variety it offers. Also known as carved glass, doors with glass etchings offer endless design options. So, you are sure to find something that is suitable to the style of your home.When you run your fingers over the glass etching, you will feel the carvings of the design. If this is something that you would not fancy, then other decorative glass door options might be more suitable for you.Frosted Glass DoorsClear glass is the classic design option for an entry door. However, if you are after privacy, then the aforementioned option is not for you. The ideal decorative door for you is one with frosted or opaque glass.What frosted glass does is blur the other side so your pesky neighbors would quit peeking into your home. At the same time, you can still let sunlight shine through your door. If you do not fancy the way frosted glass looks, you can choose from other opaque glass design options that will still add class and elegance to your entry door.Why Opt for Decorative Glass DoorsYou might have heard of the term “curb appeal”, but why does it matter? What is all the fuss about? Is it just a topic that your neighbors throw around carelessly? Well, if you’re planning to sell your home in the future, you might have to review your house’s curb appeal. You see, the more curb appeal your house has, the higher its selling value is.Now, your front door contributes greatly to your home’s curb appeal. As we’ve previously mentioned, it is the first thing that visitors see. There are many ways you can increase your entry door’s curb appeal and installing a decorative glass door is one of them. Take a look at some of the benefits you can get from having a decorative glass entry door.You can Customize the DesignDo you want to express your artistic side through your front door? If so, then stained glass would be ideal for you. Not a fan of color, but still wants an intricate design? Well, glass etching would be your best choice. Are you concerned about your privacy? The ideal solution would be to opt for frosted glass.Whatever your option may be, one thing remains true—you can customize the door’s design to fit the style of your home. You can choose among a [...]

4 Easy Ways To Clear Up Your Skin


Skincare is difficult and at times, confusing.. The average person can go an entire lifetime without ever figuring out how to truly take care of the body’s largest organ. The Internet doesn’t make things, particularly easier either--there’s simply too much information out there for the average Joe or Jane to make sense of. And not to mention a lot of that information happens to be false or, at the very least, exaggerated.Consider these four simple and basic rules of skincare to keep your complexion clear and youthful:1. Moisturizer is the Skin’s Best FriendOne of the most common conditions that the average person could suffer from is dry skin. All kinds of nasty and highly visible symptoms can arise from a failure to keep the skin nice and moisturized --itching, flaking, and when things get really bad, even bleeding.Moisturizer is common, usually cheap, and absolutely invaluable in maintaining passably healthy skin. For those who want to go the extra mile, brands like Well Within Beauty provide products that come packed with added value: skin protection, antioxidants, and a host of compounds that leave skin even healthier than before.2. Gentle TouchApplying excessive pressure to sensitive parts of your body, such as the eyes and temples can lead to the early development of unsightly wrinkles. Using a gentle touch comes highly recommended across the cosmetic profession, and is by far the cheapest way to keep your face clean and youthful.For those who can’t help but touch their faces, investing in things like stress balls and fidget toys can help break the nasty habit. The bottom line here is discipline: take corrective steps when you catch yourself doing these or any other unhealthy habits.3. Adopt a Healthy PerspectiveOn the subject of erasing bad habits, it’s also well-advised to maintain good ones. Half the battle in taking care of any part of your body is in making sure your outlook on life is one that includes health as a priority. This means eating well, sleeping on time, and keeping up a generally healthy lifestyle.You’ll find that keeping proper eating habits does wonders for the complexion, drinking the right amount of water can prevent skin problems as well as keep your kidneys healthy, and eight hours of sleep a night can leave you looking refreshed at zero cost.4. Bring in the ProfessionalsWhen all else fails, consulting experts in the fields of dermatology and nutrition is your safest, simplest bet towards looking and feeling at your best. Consultation doesn’t always come at a hefty price, and you’ll end up avoiding the cost of suboptimal skincare routines and wasteful products for the cost of a session.Keep an open mind, but make sure to be critical of their advice and recommendations for the kinds of products you should invest in --there might be more reliable products out there, and the general principle of what you’re after is a great enough take-away from a session.Ordinary people rarely find the time to devote to daily maintenance routines. With luck, you can find a regimen that works best for you, as well as the motivation to keep it up --after all, if you aren’t going to take care of your complexion, who will?[...]

Tips For A Family Weekend Getaway


It’s been a while since you’ve taken some time off work to relax. Perhaps you’ve already booked off all your vacation days for Christmas, summer, and countless other holidays or events throughout the year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still go on trips with the family. You still have the weekends, and a weekend can be a very long time if you stretch out that time for something fun. Here are some top tips for a family weekend getaway if you’re feeling a little stressed about sitting in a dull office cubicle every day.Start by taking a road trip.If you and the family can’t decide on any single thing to do or any single place to go then you could do it all and head off on a road trip. Turn your weekend getaway into an adventure; you might find you don’t have to travel far before you find somewhere new and exciting. The kids will certainly love the sense of spontaneity. Of course, you may not have a single destination in mind, but you should at least plan how long the trip will be.You’ll need to think about getting back on Sunday, most likely, if you and perhaps your partner have work on Monday morning. Still, when all the boring planning is done, you can give yourself a window of opportunity to explore; hop from town to town, and maybe do a sneaky bit of research beforehand to see if there are cool things to do an hour’s drive away from you (you don’t have to tell the kids that it wasn’t 100% spontaneous).Go camping.You could step things up and turn your road trip into a full-on camping trip. You’ll need to do some extra planning, of course. If you’re looking to get a trailer, then you might want to check out some of the new Ford models which are really great for a heavy-duty family trip, whether you want to travel across the breadth of the country or simply head to a local campsite for some quality time together.You’ll also need to think about safety, given that you’ll be towing what is essentially an entire home behind you, so you might want to look into getting a brake controller to help stabilize the trailer whilst on the move. Again, choosing your vacation is the easy part, but you need to really put some time in the planning stage so as to ensure you have a stress-free weekend with the family. It’s meant to be your time-off, so make sure you plan everything in advance and, that way, you can switch off.Just have fun.The best tip of all is simply to just relax. Whatever you spend your weekend doing, whether it’s jetting off to Paris or visiting the local zoo, just enjoy the time with your family. A weekend can be a lot of fun if you’re just a little bit spontaneous now and then (with a healthy dose of planning for safe measure, of course).[...]

How to Bring Hygge Into Your Home


Have you heard of hygge? Originating in Denmark, hygge (pronounced hue-guh), is an all-encompassing term for the feeling of contentment that comes from being comfortably cozy in your own space. The phrase made its trans-Atlantic voyage decades ago, but reached peak trendiness in 2016, when it was shortlisted for the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year.Of course, the best application of hygge is not in the pages of a dictionary, but in the atmosphere of your home. Here’s how you can bring that blissful coziness of hygge into your space, regardless of the time of year.Prepare Your Home for HyggeStart building the foundation for a hygge-inspired home by ensuring that your house is filled with nothing but clean, warm air.Eliminate DraftsOne of the best ways to accomplish a sense of coziness is to avoid having a drafty home. While it’s one thing to be bundled up on the couch with a blanket, it’s another to rely on that blanket to stop you from freezing.Drafts can enter into all sorts of sneaky places, from the obvious door and window gaps, to more surreptitious spots, including around electrical boxes and wall outlets. There are a few methods the U.S. Department of Energy recommends in order to detect an air leak in your home:Perform a visual inspection. Search for obvious leaks and places where cold or hot air could enter your home.Perform a pressurization test by turning off all heat-producing appliances on a particularly blustery day. Shut all windows and doors and use a fan or vent to blow as much air out of the room as possible. Light an incense stick and watch to see if and where the smoke escapes. This will help you locate small cracks. Hire an expert who can perform an energy audit or a blower door test in your home. Professionals can also survey your duct and sealing system for leaks that will minimize the effectiveness of your heating and cooling system. Parts of your home are also more prone to letting cold air in, namely your basement and attic. The first rule of hygge: make sure these areas are properly insulated to be more comfortable and save money to boot. Watch Your Air Quality Whether it’s summer or winter, keeping tabs on the air quality in your home will make all the difference in accomplishing the hygge vibe. How often do you change the filters on your HVAC system? Experts suggest this should be done at the start of each season, especially before heavy HVAC months like winter and summer. Regularly changing your HVAC filters has been shown to improve the effectiveness of a system by up to 15% — not to mention increasing the air quality you and your family breathe in. A clean filter will mean your system is better equipped to either cool or warm your house, regardless of what Mother Nature throws your way. Fireplace-Free Heating Fireplaces feature heavily into hygge. They are undoubtedly cozy on a winter day — until they start spitting smoke and ash into your home. Direct-vent furnaces give you all the benefits of fireplace coziness without the smoke and effort needed to tend to a real fireplace. These furnaces are a low-profile way to bring extra warmth into your home.Hygge Your Housewares Now that the air in your space is top-notch, you can employ various techniques to make your home more cozy, whether it’s furniture, art, textiles, or paint color.Use Warm Color Tones Warm hues are one of the easiest ways to accomplish hygge in your home. These include colors in the red, orange, and yellow range — represented t[...]

5 Ways Cycling Keeps You Healthy and Fit


Why pay to go to a stuffy gym when you can just sit on your bike and get all the exercise you need in the fresh air and free of charge? And it will be in your own time and on your own terms. Cycling is the simplest thing in the world. Everyone can do it. But did you know how healthy it really is? No? Well, read on and find out about these 5 ways you’re helping your body stay healthy and in top-notch shape by cycling. 1. Exercise for the Whole BodyThose that believe that bike riding is only good for building leg strength are in the wrong. First of all, cycling is an excellent way to strengthen your heart muscles and get the blood flowing’ through the body. Besides, regular cycling increases the body’s muscle function, and this physical workout is practically risk-free when it comes to strain or “overriding yourself.” It also builds your physical endurance. If you’re new to cycling, you may not be able ride great lengths. But every time you get on the bike, you’ll notice daily improvements and see that you can ride farther and farther every time. 2. Calorie BurnerNaturally, cycling helps with losing those pounds that might be bothering you a little bit. Riding your bike at the same tempo can burn from 300 up to even 650 calories per hour. So just calculate how much fat you want to burn and set your rides accordingly. You’ll see that calories will melt away with every ride you take. And out of all the physical activities you can take up, riding a bike is probably the least strenuous. And another thing: daily bike rides will also speed up your metabolic system, which additionally helps with weight loss.3. Painless for the JointsEven if you have some health issues, that is not an excuse to stay dormant. You should do quite the opposite. For those that have problems with joints or stiffness due to their age, as well as knee problems and osteoarthritis, bicycles are a God-given way to exercise. While you’re on the bike all the body’s pressure is put on your pelvis, as opposed to running, when your body weight is put on your legs. You’ll be doing your body a great favor if you paddle at least 30 minutes a day. And if there’s an uphill street or you’ve simply gotten tired of all the pedaling, you can get one of those affordable electric bikes, so you can just press the switch button whenever you want to.4. Cycling Keeps Diseases at BayA study published in 2012 showed that cycling helps patients with Parkinson’s disease. And, according to Dr Jason Gill, those who cycle to work have a lower risk of getting sick. Primarily, it helps with keeping high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer at bay. And not just that, but your lungs will work better too. There is also some evidence to suggest that regular cycling can help combat dementia as it increases cerebral blood flow. And one more thing. If you suffer from anxiety, the best thing to do is to take your iPod with your playlist and go and ride.5. Cycling Prolongs Life ExpectancyWe hear it all the time from the doctors and the media, but stressing it for the thousandth time is not enough. We live in a sedentary society and that way of life is detrimental to our health. If you don’t exercise regularly, you’ve got slim chances of staying healthy and of becoming a centennial. Regular exercises rejuvenates and helps us live longer. Through constant exercise our body becomes better at defending itself as it regenerates body cells much faster. Something as simple as pedalin[...]

The Realities Of Decorating As A Tenant


When you are renting your home, there’s no doubt that there are some issues in your way when it comes to decor. Unlike homeowners, you will be restricted on what you can and can’t do by the details of your tenancy agreement. Some of these details will depend entirely on the landlord and how much leeway they are willing to give you. Some landlords, for example, will be more than happy to give you free rein to do anything that you want. Others will absolutely micromanage, refusing to let you make even the smallest of changes. If you refuse to obey their rules in pursuit of your own style, it could lead to some awkward questions when the time to move finally rolls around - not to mention the occasional property inspection that all landlords are entitled to! When you think of a guide to renting a property much of the time, it will focus on the legal side of things. That’s all well and good; it’s necessary in fact - going into a tenancy unaware of your rights and obligations is likely to cause big problems further down the road. So while the legal and essential side of renting is something you need to be well-informed on, there’s a second guide that you need: a guide to renting that also discusses how you can still have the stylish, wonderful home you want - but without making an enemy of your landlord! The best way of doing this is to focus on a few rules. Rules are useful as most of us are disinclined to break them; even if they’re self-imposed, we find ourselves wanting to conform along with them. So to that end, why not set yourself some strict rules for what you will and will not do when it comes to decorating as a tenant? If you’re in need of some inspiration about what might apply, then here are a few ideas to get you started. Raise your right hand and declare…“I Will Not Do Anything That Cannot Be Repaired In A Single Day.”The single day timespan is useful, because it gives you a direct marker point if you are not sure if you should go ahead and do something. It gives you a way of dividing a line between what’s easy to remedy and what requires more work.There’s a practical application here, too. Say you decide to walk on the wild side and play with decor themes and ideas without your landlord’s permission. That’s not a good idea, but there’s no denying that thousands of tenants do just that every year - it would be naive to suggest it doesn’t happen. If your landlord gives you notice (which should be 24 hours) that they intend to visit, then having applied the “one day fix” rule is hugely beneficial. It means you’re going to be able to reverse anything you suspect they won’t like, within the standard time frame of notice that your landlord is obligated to give you. It’s worth mentioning that the one day rule doesn’t just apply to each individual area. If you decide to install a new light fixture then sure, that passes, because it will only take a day to put that back to how it was when you moved in. If you then go and repaint the entire bathroom, that too passes because it would only take a day to put right. The only problem is, now you have two days worth of changes, just in different areas of the house. Keep the one day rule firm throughout the entire rental, so you can go around making quick changes if you need to. “I Will Never Do Anything Structural.” Structural work is tough enough at the best of times, when you’re the owner and can d[...]

Live The Life Of The Rich And Famous With A Trip To Dubai


A city of unparalleled luxury and unashamed playground of the rich and famous. It’s difficult to not admire Dubai, the amount of effort, planning and untold scale of architecture, building and artistic innovation it took to make the city what it is, deserves applause. It’s a gutsy ambition of many around the world to one day say that they lived like kings and queens in the city of Dubai. The hard-to-impress society had become accustomed to the world’s tallest buildings, islands shaped like palm trees and even the audacity of an indoor skiing facility. Dubai refuses to rest on its laurels, and in 2020, perhaps the grandest projects of them all will be revealed at the World Expo. All the major brands are here; you can see them elbowing each other out of the way by vying to win the favor of the wealthy with their very own activities. It’s time to learn how they live. Private yacht to go sightseeingExplore the ocean by securing a private yacht tour to see Dubai’s most popular, remarkably elaborate architecture, something that’s become a welcome stereotype of the city. However, the really beautiful sights are those that have state-of-the-art design and darings wrapped in their DNA. As you cruise down the Arabian Gulf, you’ll see the building known as Burj Al Arab Jumeirah which impressively takes the shape of a sailboat. If you book a bespoke itinerary, trip with, you can choose a one or two-hour private sightseeing package at a considerable competitive price. The tour will travel a little further down the coast, where you’ll meet the The Logo Islands, which are two entirely man-made islands which look like a palm leaf. One can only wonder how much time and effort that took, and such mesmerizing landscapes can only be appreciated by yacht. Ferrari WorldThe pinnacle of Formula One has always been the team, which has donned the scarlet red color of their car; of course it’s a Ferrari. This is where the rich in the region, come to test their newly bought supercars, as the Yas Marina Circuit is but a stone’s throw away. If you don’t have such a supercar, you can feel the shocking sense of acceleration which Ferrari F1 cars possess instead. Strap yourself into Ferrari’s very own roller coaster the Formula Rossa. It’s the fastest roller coaster in the world because, in just 4.9 seconds, you’ll be flung from 0 to 240kmh. If you want to know what powers Ferrari’s road cars, take a tour of their world famous V12 engine museum where you can see the previous race engines and the current hypercar engine that’s in the La Ferrari. Helicopter flightThis is how the mega rich get about in Dubai, nothing but the best will do, and the best way to travel is in a helicopter. You can book a 30-minute flight over the city with the ability to secure five seats in a clear glass fuselage. Fly over the archipelagos of The World, and loop over to the Skyscrapers that punch through the clouds. Enjoy a glass of wine and tasty canapes while you admire the extravagant Burj Al-Arab Hotel in all its twinkling light.[...]

The Best Tips For Managing Your Money While Traveling


Keeping track of your money, and sticking to a budget, can be very hard overseas, even for the most seasoned of travelers. You’re using an unfamiliar currency, and it seems that everywhere you look there’s something you want to splurge on. If you’ve had some slip-ups in the past or you just want to be better prepared, here are some helpful tips for managing your money while travelling.Plan AheadWherever you’re headed, you’re going to need some local currency, even if it’s just for a couple of minor expenses when you’re first arriving there. Order some early on from your bank, travel agent, or whoever gives you the best exchange rate in advance if you need a particularly obscure currency. Furthermore, it can be a good idea to order some US dollars and Euros as a reserve. Many developing countries are full of businesses that will accept these. If you need any non-convertible currency, plan, sourcing this in the country you’re going to well in advance. When you’re loading up on foreign currencies, be sure to spend some time shopping around. Charges vary from outlet to outlet, and you need to take the exchange rate and commission on board before settling.Consider Prepaid CardPrepaid cards are a relatively young invention, but more and more travelers are beginning to use them, especially for trips spanning several different countries. With a good travel money card, you’ll be able to load the card up with several different currencies, and then use them on your travels the same way you’d use a credit or debit card. If you run out of a certain currency, you can usually add some more quickly and easily as long as you have internet access. The fact that they’re not linked to your bank account, or fraud protected, and have nothing to do with your credit makes them a great choice for globetrotters.Know What You’re WorthYou may run into instances where you need to exchange currency in a foreign country. If this is the case, do your homework and make sure you know roughly how much you can expect for the money you’re exchanging. Tellers rarely get the exchange wrong, but if they do, it pays to know straight away. You wouldn’t be the first traveler to shrug, take the money you’re given, and only later discover that you’ve cheated yourself out of a large sum of money through your complacency!Beware of Black MarketsMany countries have thriving black markets that have poisoned the local currency exchange trades. These are generally easy enough to spot, as you’ll always be pestered by touts who offer rates that sound too good to be true. However, there are some kiosks and bureaus that seem legitimate, but are just fronts for scams. You may wind up taking a terrible rate for the exchange, or even worse, be given counterfeit money. Fake cash is going to be much harder to spot if you’re not familiar with the currency, so be careful who you exchange with.[...]