22Oct
0

If you own or manage a business and think your first in-person impression depends on your employees, you’re wrong. Your first impression is your curb appeal if clients or customers are coming to you. Whether you own or lease commercial space, it’s crucial that the first impression a client forms is a favorable one. There’s not much you can do about the architecture or types of cars in the parking lot, but landscaping might be fully in your control. Are you capitalizing on it?

In some instances, business owners might think it’s a good idea to form a community garden to encourage camaraderie. However, that’s often not allowed by management or, if it is, you simply can’t deliver the kind of skills and dedication to maximize the beauty of curb appeal. Relying on a reputable property and landscape maintenance crew can bring in more customers, satiate the expectations of current customers, and drive more business your way:

1. It encourages walk-ins

Regardless of the type of business you manage, scoring walk-ins is always a bonus. There’s no telling who might be walking, biking or driving by and your beautiful building catches their eye. Maybe they’ve been on the hunt for a new apartment or software development company, and your location is perfect. What makes the difference between them stopping and moving on might just be the quality of your space.

2. It instantly improves everyone’s mood

What would you prefer: Walking into a colorless, barren building every day or enjoying a lush landscape and maybe some blossoms? Plants, greenery and flowers are linked to better work ethic, self-esteem, optimistic outlooks and better health. From your employees to your customers, why wouldn’t you want to prioritize that? It sets the mood for the entire day.

3. It automatically heightens the property value

If you own or manage commercial property and want to ensure happy tenants and low vacancy rates, one of the easiest and most affordable ways to do this is with landscaping. If someone is deciding between your property and another very similar one, all it might take to push the odds in your favor is a little landscaping. It’s instant curb appeal that makes your space more desirable.

4. It adds value to the neighborhood

A good local business cares about the neighborhood at a local and hyperlocal level. Improve your neighborhood with a little greenery and you might be surprised by the new connections you make.

21Oct
0

loftus-bathroom-installation-1

Let’s skip the jokes about “taking care of business” and get serious about the bathroom cum in-home spa for a moment. While every nook and cranny of your home is important (after all, you pay the same for every square foot no matter where it’s located), some rooms are “trending” more than others. There was a time when the kitchen got all the attention, but in an era where few people have time for epic home cooking sessions, it’s moved to the back burner.

Now, homeowners and renters alike are indulging in the finest accoutrements for bathrooms because it’s their relaxation zone. It’s where bubble baths are taken, where you get ready for a night out, and more and more bathrooms are enjoying music piped in. If you want to create your own Zen experience, try focusing on the most peaceful part of your home. Here’s why the bathroom is kind for upgrades and flipping:

1. It’s where you feel your best

Whether it’s decompressing after a long day or simply getting ready for an exciting first date, a lot happens in the bathroom. You want to feel your best and look your best here, which is tough to do when you don’t love your space. The addition of a new sink, fixtures or heated towel rack can make all the difference in the world. For most homeowners, little splurges here can set the tone for the entire day.

2. It’s where you start and end each day

Brushing your teeth, putting on makeup, showers and skin regimens; most people start and end their waking hours in the bathroom. Who wouldn’t want to open and end the chapter of the day in a place where they’re comfortable and a little pampered? By upgrading a few key bathroom pieces, you can ensure a day’s full circle that’s full of luxe.

3. You need to balance that “heat to clean” feeling

Everyone has a different household chore they loathe, but for many people it’s cleaning the bathroom. Toilet scrubbings, getting rid of soap scum and hard water stains, the bleach-induced headaches; who actually enjoys this task? To counterbalance that negative energy, you can do one of two things: Hire a weekly cleaning crew or make your bathroom more inviting on non-cleaning hours.

Ready to make the most of your personal spa? A few touches might be all it takes.

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15Oct
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One thing you need to know is that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is growing very fast. It has given many firms a cost advantage over on-premise software installation and use. This service differs from Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in that you can consume the service directly as an end user. The term “end-user” in this case refers to your employees and customers who have access to the service. According to this website, what makes SaaS distinctive is its characteristics and client-specific benefits.

SaaS Characteristics

Accessed via a Browser on Demand

You access all the services you need in your business over the internet. The software is available globally over the internet through a top browser.

Usage Based

You can install the software per user. You pay for this service on a recurring basis.

Vendor-Monitored and Maintained

The vendor monitors and maintains all aspects of the software and the service. This is regardless of your area of operation and different components that make up the service you subscribed to. This makes it easier for you to have standard services spread across all your branches.

Cheaper

Due to reduced distribution, monitoring, and maintenance costs, you will end up spending less on installing SaaS as compared to having in-house hardware.

Automated Support

Previously, you had to call a vendor to come and install upgrades, updates, and latest patches for installed programs. SaaS applications feature automated service changes without the vendor being on site. This means rolling out of changes is much faster. This reduces the downtime that could otherwise reduce your business performance.

Multiple User Support

This system supports multiple users. Each user accesses the same version of the software regardless of the location. The service gives you a shared data model through a single-instance multi-tenancy model that allows hundreds of users to work on a task from the same software. This is suitable if you have an extensive workforce handling the same project for you.

Specific Benefits to you as a SaaS Client

SaaS provides benefits for both the client and the vendor. Here are some benefits that will allow your business to go to the next level when you subscribe as a client.

Eliminate the Upfront Fee

Traditional purchased software requires an upfront fee for installation. On the other hand, SaaS is installed in a subscription model. Here, you pay monthly, yearly, per seating or per the service you want from the vendor. This allows you to access only relevant services at any particular time. You also don’t pay upfront for eventual long-term needs.

Scalability

Your business is constantly changing. This change can be up or down. It would therefore be inappropriate and detrimental to the business for instance if the business expands and the services are stagnant. It would be wasteful if the business cuts down on operations and services are same as before.

With this platform, it is easy to add or remove some components of the service to suit your business requirements at any particular time.

13Oct
0

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to significant health issues, including poor cardiovascular health, muscle entropy, and decreased stamina. Forcing yourself to hold certain positions at your desk can also lead to repetitive stress injuries, such as tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome. If you constantly work at a desk, you can make certain lifestyle changes that will improve your overall health and wellness. Take a look at these four ways for office workers to get in better shape.

Standing Desks

Stretch out your back, neck, and all of those aching muscles with a standing desk at work. You can quickly modify your current desk with simple shelving units or purchase a custom standing desk that automatically adjusts itself to different heights. Talk to your supervisor and see what options you have. Make sure that the standing desk is high enough so that you’re looking straight on at the monitor, rather than bending your neck to see information.

Cardio Workspaces

This is likely a modification that you’ll want to pursue at home. Look into attaching a desk surface to an exercise bike or an elliptical machine. This way, you can use your laptop while getting your cardio workout in for the day. Like standing desks, you can create this workspaces in a DIY fashion, or your can purchase specialized equipment to mount your computer onto a cardio machine.

Use Breaks Wisely

How are you utilizing your break time at work? Your lunch hour or your fifteen-minute breaks can be ideal times to stretch, walk, or even do some anaerobic exercises. Create mini workout routines so that you can stay invigorated throughout your work shift and get your blood flowing. These mini workouts might also help you avoid the post-lunch slump.

Get a Personal Trainer

Many people sign up for gyms, but then aren’t able to motivate themselves to reach new cardio and weightlifting goals. A personal trainer can help you develop effective training skills, so that you’ll remain committed to your health goals. They can also help you prevent injury during your workouts, so that you’ll be in shape to continue your fitness regimen.

Office life can incrementally take a toll on your health. If you neglect your personal fitness, you might discover that you can no longer run, stretch, or life weights like you could before. Don’t let your work life take a toll on your physical and mental well being. These steps can help you lead a more well balanced life.

11Oct
0

Responsive design is an umbrella term that means a website is designed to “respond” well no matter what browser or device a person is using. A subcategory of responsive design is mobile readiness, which became a reality in 2014. This means that the majority of people use mobile devices to access the internet, which makes responsive design even more critical. Make sure your website(s) are responding well and mobile ready before the end of the year.

The reality is that responsive design will never be permanent; it will evolve as needs and devices evolve. Looking forward and predicting the future of responsive design can save you time, money and trouble in the long run. Here are some of the best, easiest and cheapest ways to improve your responsive design before the year comes to a close. Tick as many off your list as possible to ensure a prime website.

1. Ditch the flash, bells and whistles

The more accoutrements you have on a website such as mega-sized images, videos, pop-ups and ads, the slower your page load speed. Even one second longer of waiting will have people clicking away from your site. Plus, this can also lower your SEO success rate since it reads as spam and slow sites aren’t in keeping with quality designs.

2. Consider a mobile website version

While responsive design in and of itself should ensure that your site looks great no matter what device it’s being accessed on, it might be easier to have a mobile version created. Your consumers will have an option of going to the mobile version or “regular” version when visiting on a mobile devices. Mobile websites are simpler, cleaner and faster.

3. Think about an app

Does your website need a complementary app? It doesn’t work for every field or every business, but when it works it can really take off. This allows consumers to get the nuggets they need right on their device’s desktop and they can even access it offline. Apps are easier to create than ever, or they can be designed for you at a competitive rate.

4. Embrace neutrality and sans-serif fonts

If you use bright colors and kitschy fonts, your site will be outdated within a year. Instead, stick to classic designs that you can see lasting a lifetime. Responsive design is also about mass appeal, and it’s easy to go off track.

Is your site responding like you want? If not, it’s time to change things up.

10Oct
0

A superfruit is essentially any fruit that furnishes superior health benefits that are beyond normal nutritional standards. To be honest, though, several fruits have enjoyed this title in the media without meriting it by providing those extra benefits.

To avoid wasting your money and time on fruits that don’t live up to their hype, you need to educate yourself on which are the real superfruits.

So what’s a superfruit?

The difficulty in determining which fruits actually qualify as a superfruit lies in the fact that there’s no authoritative classification system. People have pushed for one to be developed, but instead the list of fruits has only grown longer.

In the words of Paul Gross, Ph.D., “Superfruits are an important category for introducing healthful fruit formats to consumers; yet there is only a vague definition for what qualifies a fruit with ‘super’ status.”

He goes on: “During the past five years, almost every novel exotic fruit has been called a superfruit, a total now of about 36 called ‘super’ in industry media.” In his book Superfruits, Gross advocates for stricter classification criteria.

Six major superfruits

That being said, certain superfruits are generally accepted by nearly everyone. Here’s a look at six of these grocery-store heroes:

  • Acai. Acai trees are native to the Amazon rainforest region, and can grow more than 15 meters high. These towering trees produce tiny, dark-purple berries that Brazilian natives long ago discovered carry healing properties.

    When consumed on a regular basis, these berries are known to improve hair and skin texture, increase energy, and treat aches, pains, and ailments. Some say acai berries helped native Amazonians survive long periods of famine.

    The berries contain an estimated 50 nutrients that have yet to be clearly determined. Of those that have been identified, there are proteins, omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, antioxidants, and immune-boosting nutrients. Consumption of even a few berries has been shown to improve overall well-being.

  • Pomegranate. Not only does pomegranate taste good, it’s also extremely nutritious. The juice from pomegranates has been shown to improve blood flow, reduce stress, discourage the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels, and slow the growth of prostate cancer.

    The fruit grows on small trees or shrubs and is typically found in the northern hemisphere. It’s usually harvested between September and February in the northern hemisphere and March through May in the southern hemisphere.

  • Blueberry. Did you know that blueberries are the most widely consumed superfruit in the United States? While much of that is a result of their beguiling color and wonderful taste, people are also interested in the nutrients packed inside.

    With one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegies, and spices, these berries benefit the nervous system and brain. Studies have shown that blueberries aid memory and delay the onset of cognitive problems associated with aging.

    Some of the phytonutrients found in blueberries (prepare to be amazed) are: malvidins, delphinidins, pelargonidins, cyanidins, peonidins, caffeic acids, ferulic acids, coumaric acids, gallic acids, protocatechuic acids, kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, pterostilbene, and resveratrol.

  • Goji Berry. Don’t let a strange name scare you off. Goji berries have been consumed in the Eastern hemisphere for centuries, and are only recently catching on in Western nations. These powerful berries grow on trees found in the Himalayan Mountains, and are commonly referred to as “the key to eternal youth.”

    Goji berries offer a number of health benefits, including protecting the liver, assisting eyesight, improving fertility, increasing circulation, promoting weight loss, and raising overall well-being.

    When applied to the skin in the form of creams, such as L’dara, the nutrients found in goji berries help prevent aging and can smooth out the skin.

  • Cherries. Cherries are another very popular superfruit. A staple American fruit, cherries are easy to find and cheap to buy. They have been shown to ease arthritis pain, fight free radicals that cause cancer, aid sleep, and lower blood pressure in certain people. Some fans report success in losing weight by eating cherries instead of fatty foods.

  • Avocado. Over the past few years, avocado has been a hot topic in the arena of superfruits. Many people love these bright green fruits for their texture and taste, but others include them in the diet for health benefits such as lower levels of cholesterol, controlled blood pressure, prevention of birth defects, and more.

Are you taking advantage of all these superfruits have to offer?

03Oct
0

Anyone and everyone can be a candidate for rehab. When you have endless connections, money, fame and opportunities, it can be more tempting to get into a dangerous and addictive lifestyle. Whether it’s alcohol and drugs, food restriction addiction or another life-threatening habit, celebrities also have the means to afford the “best” rehab clinics. Plus, it looks much more glamorous than going to jail or community services.

The good news is that there are quality and affordable drug rehabilitation options for everyone. Follow in the (positive) steps of these celebrities who recognized when they were ready to get outside help. Nobody can help an addict who’s not ready, but a little evidence that A-listers are people, too, can be motivation.

1. Ke$ha

This pop star went into rehab for an eating disorder, which she only went public about after taking that first step. The demands on any person to look a certain way can be devastating, and for celebrities it can be even more extreme. When she debuted her new, healthier self at an awards show, the support for the singer poured in from around the interwebs.

2. Lindsay Lohan

She’s been in rehab more times than she’s had hit movies, but that’s actually pretty common. There’s no “cure” to an addiction and it’s common to slip back into old habits. Instead, dealing with addiction is more like dealing with a chronic disease. There will be good days, bad days, and what’s crucial is to keep moving forward. Rarely does a single stay in rehab stick for life.

3. Charlie Sheen

The poster boy for drug and alcohol addiction, Sheen is an extreme celebrity example. While every type of addiction is dangerous, involving chemicals can make it even tougher to get healthy. There are some instances where “chronic rehab” becomes a cycle and perhaps the only thing keeping severe addicts relatively safe.

4. Selena Gomez

What you go into rehab for is nobody’s business, and Gomez’s reps have strongly denied that her two-week stint had anything to do with drugs or alcohol. However, they also kept mum on what the real reasons were. There have been rumors spreading that she was partying hard, but given the confidentiality surrounding such clinics, fans may never know.

5. Demo Lovato

Eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, depression and cutting were all reasons for Lovato checking in to rehab. Now that she’s in recovery, she’s become exceptionally vocal about the importance of self-care.

01Oct
0

There really isn’t a more authentic place to spend Halloween than on the east coast. Not only is it steeped in the nation’s history, but it’s also home to some of the nation’s most beautiful fall foliage. While the golden leaves are softly falling in Central Park, the rest of the city is happily gearing up for Halloween with a delightful mish-mash of spooky festivities.

Village Halloween Parade

Every year, Sixth Avenue in Manhattan yields to the magic that is Halloween and fills with masterful puppetry by some of the best professionals in the business. While the stunning works of creative prowess highlight this parade, what makes it unique is anyone can join the parade–so long as you’re in costume. Each year has a different theme, and as the puppets parade down Sixth Avenue, they’re followed by anyone and everyone off the streets who want to join in on the “most wildly creative public participatory event” in the world. Manhattan gets decidedly crowded, so if you’re coming from outside the city, it’s probably a good idea to skip the dicey traffic and check out the bus schedules instead.

Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade

New Yorkers love their dogs, so it’s only natural that they get the canine counterparts involved on the big day. With over $4,000 in prizes up for grabs, these costumes get elaborate pretty quickly. You won’t find Dachshunds in hot dog costumes at this parade–not if you want to win a prize like a new iPad for the “Best in Show”. If you don’t have a dog, various rescues are present to help you find the new member of your family.

Blackout Haunted House

The Blackout Haunted House at the Vortex Theater scares the pants off you in a slightly sadistic twist: you have to go through the haunted house alone. Yep, no partner to grab onto as you creep through darkened rooms and wait for someone to jump out at you. When you enter, you’ll be given a protective mask and a flashlight before you’re shuttled through to have every ounce of bravery scared out of you. Beware as this isn’t for the young; you have to be at least 18 to enter. Simulated situations can get a little…R rated, and there is some pretty terrifying physical contact throughout. If it gets to be a bit much, you’ll be given a safe word, and someone non-scary will appear and escort you to safety.

Get Spooked by Some Real Ghosts

If simulated horror isn’t your thing, go for the real deal at some of NYC’s most haunted locales. Many of these offer tours, and some even capitalize on their paranormal activities with ghost tours. Go to the Billop House, built in the 1680s, where British loyalist Christopher Billop murdered a female servant because he believed she was spying for the Patriots. Spectral sightings of both Billops and the murdered woman have been sighted, as have glimpses of patrolling Redcoats.

As if NYC isn’t magical enough, they pull out all the stops for the month of October. From raucous parties to their haunted houses, you’ll find it all somewhere in the city.

29Sep
0

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Are you thinking about transforming your yard or some other area of your home into a safe play area for your children? Parents can create a fun and imaginative space for kids to get some exercise and stay out of trouble. With childhood obesity on the rise due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles, getting your kids outdoors has become imperative for many families. Here are four things to keep in mind as you build a play area for your children.

Follow Assembly Instructions

When you purchase play equipment for your kids, it’s important to always follow the assembly instructions to ensure safety. Improper installation or usage can result in serious injuries. Make sure that all equipment is safely anchored so that it cannot fall down on a child.

Inspect Periodically

Test out your playground equipment regularly and inspect items for loose nuts and bolts. This equipment should be able to withstand hours of rough play. If a component seems loose or unsteady, don’t allow your children to play on it. Examine outdoor play equipment after long periods of disuse or after major storms, and clear slides of debris. Careful playground maintenance can help ensure that your play areas are safe.

Build Enclosures

Once you set up fun spaces for your children to play, you might want to consider building an enclosure around their play space for safety and privacy. A gated fence can prevent children from leaving your property and wandering away unattended. Fences can also prevent strangers from entering your property or watching your children while they play. Enclosures can also provide you with a certain degree of weather and temperature protection, shielding play areas from excessive wind and heat.

No-Slip Surfaces

Specialized outdoor play surfaces can prevent falls and provide youngsters with safe areas to run on. Play surfaces can often be customized with fun colors and designs, which will get your children excited about going outside and romping around. A grippy, no-slip surface can be the perfect safety addition to your indoor or outdoor play areas.

Are you ready to start building a unique play area for your children? You can decrease the risk of accidents by ensuring that play equipment is assembled and maintained properly. Keep outside threats away from these play areas with the use of a fence, which can also keep children from wandering into unsafe areas. Finally, safe play flooring can prevent children from slipping and falling as they run. These components can be used together for fun and safe recreational experiences.

25Sep
0

Does your garage look suspiciously like an after hours lumber store? Are their stacks and stacks of two by fours against one wall and sheets of plywood against the other? Are you secretly hiding blocks of wood in the shadows beneath the work table attached to the wall next to the door that leads into the house? No one faults you for all that wood lying around, except for maybe your wife who would like the extra room to park her car in the garage. But, despite itching to get your hands dirty on another wood working project, the ideas just seem to allude you at the moment. You even spent some time looking at electric sanders online in hopes that it would inspire your mind to conjure up that perfect wood working project idea.

With all this nice wood around, you would think you could find tons of uses for it. But, try as you might, the ideas just are not coming to mind. Never fear, here are a few do-it-yourself wood working projects to consider tackling.

Upgrading Your Little Boy’s Room

Your son is getting bigger and he has been having some trouble keeping his room organized. This is the perfect opportunity to consider building a shelving unit for his room. It does not have to be anything too extravagant. A couple of metal wall braces, some positioning brackets, and a few long sheets of wood, painted to work with the color scheme of his room. It’s a project you could probably knock out in a couple of hours.

Building Your Daughter A Desk

Your daughter is entering eighth grade this year and she’s starting to outgrow that little school-desk you bought her a few years back. This time around she needs something that can manage her books, her computer, and a lamp for additional lighting. Plus, with her interest in doing art projects, the extra table surface would really come in handy. It would be nice to fill in the bare space at the back corner of her room anyway. This would be a perfect use for some of those thicker slats and those sheets of sturdy pressed wood you’ve been holding on to for some time now. And maybe a new bookshelf is in line for her room as well, if you are feeling really crafty with that power saw.

The Entertainment Stand

With the high cost of a well made entertainment stand these days, you might consider building your own out of the spare wood you have storred away in the garage. A few nicely cut shelf like pieces, with sturdy sides and metal brackets would probably do the trick. This would give you room for the television, the sound bar, the X-box, DVD-player, and even attachments for additional speakers. If you want, you could continue with a shelving system on each side for harboring your DVD and video-game collection as well. One thing is certain, if you make it from scratch, it will be a lot better built than that last flimsy one you had to put together from a box. There are numerous ways to customize the stand for your entertainment center, so do not be afraid to be creative.

Before you know it, you will find many good uses for all that wood out in your garage.

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